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Impressions of “The Shepherd of Hermas,” translated by Daniel Robinson

The Shepherd of Hermas is early Christian apocrypha.

Shepherd was probably written about the same time as 1 Enoch, 2 Esdras, and The Protoevangelium of James but the style is modern. Shepherd is also archetypical, and reads like a compansion to Jordan Peterson. Its Christology is mainstream — with the exception of a novel Procession of the Trinity. Like other apocryphal literature its purpose was to provide a bridge to Christianity — in the case of Shepherd, that community is well-off Romans.

The Writing

The framing of Shepherd reminds me of C.S. Lewis, in particular his use of a fictionalized version of himself as the narrator in The Great Divorce.

Just as the framing device in Divorce is a Lewis on bus ride, the frame for Shepherd is a long walk interrupted by visions:

Twenty days after the former vision, brothers, I saw another — a representation of the tribulation that is to come. I was going to a country house along the Campanian road, which is about one and-a-quarter miles from the public road (the district is one that is rarely traveled).
“The Fourth Vision”

The author at turns ironically chides himself:

They were stubborn and eager to place themselves, wishing to know everything and yet knowing nothing at all. Because they were unbending, understanding left them, and foolish senselessness entered into them. They praise themselves as having wisdom, and though they are destitute of sense they desire to become teachers.
“The Ninth Parable”

And at other times, is heavier in his self-criticism:

“Because, sir, I don’t know if I can be saved!” I replied.

“Why is that?”

“Because I never spoke a true word in my life, but have always spoken deceitfully to everyone, and made lies out to be truth. No one ever contradicted me, but rather believed my words. How can I live since I have acted like this?”
“The Third Commandment”

In The Seven Storey Mountain Thomas Merton ensnares the reader by first writing ina secular or licentious way, and then (all while retaining a present-perfect point-of-view) transitioning to a more discerning perspective. Shepherd does the same — the gazing upon a naked woman is at first denied to be lustful:

The master who raised me sold me to a woman named Rhoda in Rome. Mayn years after this I met her again, and began to love her as a sister. Some time after I saw her bathing in the Tiber river, and I gave her my hand and drew her out of the river. The sight of her beauty made me think to myself,” I’d be a happy man if I could get a wife as good and beautiful as she is.” This was the only thought that passed through my mind — this and nothing more.
“The First Vision”

until the truth is revealed, and the narrator of the Shepherd’s self-criticisms become not-so-gentle after all:

With a smile she [a woman in a vision] replied, “The desire of wickness arose in your heart. Isn’t it your opinion that a righteous man commits sin when an evil desire arises in his hearth? In such a case there is sin — and the sin is great, for the thoughts of a righteous man should be righteous. By thinking righteously his character is established in the heavens, and he will find the Lord merciful to him in everything. But those who entertain wicket thoughts in their minds bring death and captivity on themselves, especially those who set their affections on this world and the glory in their riches, and don’t look forward to the blessings of the world to come.
“The First Vision”

I am not aware of any of the books of scripture which use such an unreliable narrator — though of course some (as Robert Alter has explained at depth) were at least using the tools of fiction.

The Archetypes

I am grateful that I finished Dr. Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief immediately before beginning Shepherd. Just as the narative similarity to C.S. Lewis stories makes me suspect Lewis took notes from Shepherd, the self-conscious use of archetypes in Shepherd imply a similar understanding of the collective unconscious. (Either the author of Shepherd and Carl Jung came to very similar conclusions about archetypes, or Shepherd is one source document for Jung’s theory.)

This is true both in its prescriptions,

Instead ask the Lord, so that you may receive understanding to know them. You cannot see what is behind you, but rather what is before you .So whatever you cannot see, let it alone, and do not torment yourself about it. Make yourself the master of what you do see, and don’t waste your energy on other things.
“The Ninth Parable”

which echo Peterson’s from 12 Rules for Life

Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world.
Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

… and in more complex allegories:

I also saw other stones which had been thrown far away from the Tower and landed in the public road; and they did not stay on the road, but were rolled into a pathless place. I saw other stones falling into the fire and burning, and others falling close to the water yet not capable of being rolled into it, even though they wanted to enter.
“The Third Vision”

Peterson’s interpretation of the “path”:

The unknown is yang, cold, dark and feminine; the known yin, warm, bright and masculine; the knower is the man living in Tao, on the razor’s edge, on the straight and narrow path, on the proper road, in meaning, in the kingdom of heaven, on the mountaintop, crucified on the branches of the world-tree — is the individual who voluntarily carves out the space between nature and culture. The interpretation of words in relationship to these prototypes (unknown, knower, known) is complicated by the fact of shifting meaning: earth, for example, is unknown (feminine) in relationship to sky, but known (masculine) in relationship to water; dragon is feminine, masculine and subject simultaneously.
Jordan B. Peterson, Maps of Meaning, pg 90

The same is true of the archetype of the water-beast…

I had gone on a little farther when, suddenly, I saw dust rising up as high as the heavens about two-hundred yards away. “Are cattle approaching and raising the dust?” I thought out loud. Then I saw more and more dust rising, and I started to think it was something sent from God. The sun shone out a little and suddenly I saw a mighty beast like a whale, a hundred feet long and with a head shaped like an urn, and fiery locusts were coming out of its mouth. I began to weep, and to call on the Lord to rescue me from it, but then I remembered the words I had heard: “Doubt not, O Hermas.”

Therefore, my brothers, clothed with faith in the Lord, and remembering the great things He had taught me, I boldly faced the beast. Now it came on with such noise and force that it could have easily destroyed a whole city, yet when I came near it the monstrous beast stretched itself out on the ground, showing nothing but its tongue, and did not move at all until I had passed it be. “The Fourth Vision”

… which likewise is addressed by Peterson:

The battle of a god against an ophidian or marine monster is well known to constitute a widespread mythological theme. We need only remember the struggle between Re and Apophis, between the Sumerian god Ninurta and Asag, Marduk and Tiamat, the Hittite storm god and the serpent Illuyankas, Zeus and Typhon, the Iranian hero Thraetona and the three-headed dragon Azhi-dahaka. In certain cases (Marduk-Tiamat, for example) the god’s victory constitutes the preliminary condition for the cosmogony. In other cases the stake is the inauguration of a new era or the establishment of a new sovereignty (cf. Zeus-Typhon, Baal-Yam). In short, it is by the slaying of an ophidian monster — symbol of the virtual, of “chaos,” but also of the “autochthonous” — that a new cosmic or institutional “situation” comes into existence. A characteristic feature, and one common to all these myths, is the fright, or a first defeat, of the champion (Marduk and Re hesitate before fighting; at the onset, the serpent Illyunakas succeeds in mutilating the god; Typhon succeeds in cutting and carrying off Zeus’s tendons). According to the Satapatha Brahmana (1.6.3-17), Indra, on first seeing Vrtra, runs away as far as possible, and the Markandeya Purana describes him as “sick with fear” and hoping for peace.
Jordan B. Peterson, Maps of Meaning, pg 117

The similarity with Peterson is all the more notable, as while Peterson’s theory of the Son redeemer the Father seems to be original to him, Shepherd‘s concept of the Son proceeding from the Holy Spirit is likewise unique.

The Trinity

The “procession of the Trinity” refers to the way the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit relate to each other, considering that each Person is eternal and co-equal with the others. For the past thousand years the main question in the Procession has been whether the Holy Spirit “proceeds” from the Father alone, or from the Father and the son. Western and Eastern Christians to this day pray the Nicene Creed differently, with Western Christians adding the words in bold to strew the procession of the Spirit from the Father and the son:

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
Nicene Creed

While this difference in formula may or may not be theological, there is a unity in this difference: almost all contemporary Christians profession either a Father-Son-Spirit procession, or a Father-Son and Father-Spirit co-procession.

The view of the Shepherd of Hermas seems to be different, and describes the Father, then the Spirit, and then the Son.

God caused that holy, pre-existent Spirit which created all things to dwell in a body which he chose. The body into which that holy Spirit was placed served the Spirit, walking rightly and purely in humbleness, never defiling that Spirit. The body obeyed that holy Spirit at all times, laboring rightly and virtuously with Him and not faltering in any way. That wearied body served in humility, but was mightily approved to god with the Holy Spirit, and was accepted by Him. This courageous course pleased God because e was not defiled in the earth but kept the Spirit holy. Therefore He called His Son and the glorious angels as fellow councilors, so that this body might be given a place of honor — since it had served the Holy Spirit blamelessly — and that it would not seem to have lost the reward of its service. For the body in which the Holy Spirit dwelt that has been found without spot of defilement will receive a reward.
The Shepherd of Hermas, “The Fifth Parable”

This is confusingly even laid out in a parable, when it’s revealed that the “son” of the story is in fact the Spirit!

“The field is this world, and the lord of the field is He who created, perfected, and strengthened all things; the son is the Holy Spirit, and the slave is the Son of God.
“The Fifth Parable”

This surprised me, and is rare, because a Father-Spirit-Son view is not one that can be derived easily from the Bible. A sort of Duotheism can be found in the Hebrew Bible, and Jewish Messianism a core of the Christian New Testament, but these both rely on the importance o the Father and the Son.

In a footnote the translator insists on using “holy Spirit” for “Holy Spirit,” and debates what seems to be a straw-man argument that Shepherd is adoptionist — that it argues Jesus was a holy man who was simply adopted as Son of God, perhaps in the manner of his ancestor David. But I don’t think that this is a point. Rather, Shepherd was written for a Roman audience used to philosophical monotheism, who could more easily view the Spirit as proceeding from the Father, and the Son in some way as coming from the Spirit. I would argue, though, that by using this Procession of the Trinity both the writer and the readers missed one of the central but most confusing claims of Christianity: that the Creator became a creature.

Thus, while Shepherd misses out on an important Christian message, its lack of easy compatibility with the Nicene Creed is not as terrible as it may seem. The Creeds are not the central statements of Christianity. As N.T. Wright notes, they are statements against specific heresies. To the best of my knowledge, the Father-Spirit-Son procession was simply unknown or irrelevant to the Fathers who promulgated the Nicean creeds, and thus was not intentionally condemned.

The Romans and the New Testament

The non-canonical Messianic works I have read — 1 Enoch, 2 Esdras, Protoevangelium, and now Shepherd all translated Christianity to populations with their own traditions. 1 Enoch tells an exciting story of the war of angels, 2 Esdras emphasizes the Jewish nature of Chrstianity, and Protoevangelium turns the Holy family into the stars of a melodrama with a recurring cast.

Shepherd of Hermas, the most philosophical and self-aware of the works, is a bridge for wealth Romans to the religion preached by the carpenter from Nazareth:

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Mark 10:17-31

The Shepherd is patient with the rich, and provides a path for salvation even for those poor sinners who in material things are not as poor:

“Listen, he said. “The rich man has much wealth, but is poor in things that relate to the Lord becaues he is distracted by his riches. He offers very few confessions and prayers to the Lord, and those he does offer are small and weak, and hav eno power above. But when the rich man refreshes the poor and assists them in their needs, believing that what he does to the poor will be able to find its reward with God, he helps them in everything without hestitation. And the poor man, being helped by the rih man, prays for him, giving thanks to God for the one who gave him the gifts. The rich man continues in a zealous conern for hte poor man to make sure his needs are constantly supplied, for he knows that the prayer of the poor man is acceptable and influential with God. So both accomplish their work in their own way: teh poor man continues in prayer — which is the very riches he has received from the Lord — nand in this way pays back the one who helped him. The rich man, in the same way, unhesitatingly gives the poor man the riches he has received from the Lord. This is a great and acceptable work before God, because the rich man understands the purpose of his wealth, and has rightly carried out his duty to God by giving to the poor what the Lord has given to him.
“The Second Parable”

The Shepherd (as did later writers who referred to “Green Martyrdom“) also recognized as martyrs those who accepted partial mortification, whether by Roman persecution, loss of business, or friends:

The ones who returned their branches green with offshoots but no fruit are those who were not put to death, but have been afflicted because of the law and did not deny it.
“The Eighth Parable”

Finally, the Shepherd has an original teaching about the Harrowing of Hell and baptism. Heiser, in The Unseen Realm, notes the connection between these two passage as emphasizing that the fallen angels, who provoked the flood, were visited by Christ after the crucifixion…

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine long-suffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

There is also an antitype which now saves us — baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.
1 Peter 3:18-22

… but Shepherd allegorically reads that passage as indicating the spirits who are preached to in prison by Christ as us, in this world, before our baptism.

“Even those who fell asleep had to receive the seal of the Son of God, for before a man bears the name of the Son of God, he is dead. Once he receives the seal, he lays aside his deadness and obtains life. The seal is the water: they descend into the water dead, and they rise up alive. So this seal was preached to those who had fallen asleep, and they took advantage of it so that they might enter into the kingdom of God.”
“The Ninth Parable”

This is an interesting interpretation. The Harrowing of Hell is normally considered a supernatural-historical event while baptisms are performed constantly — but perhaps they are not so different after all!

The Conclusion

While Shepherd is a striking book — both very modern and very old in its style, both inclusive of a gentile readership and exclusive of our Procession of the Trinity, it was not read as any of these things when it was written.

It was read as proclaiming Christ, as calling people to holiness, as pleading with them to repent. Crying for us sinners to live the gospel in their lives:

“Therefore do good works, you who have received good from the Lord! While you delay in doing them the building of the Tower may be completed and you will be rejected from it — and there is no other tower to be built! The work on that Tower was suspended for your sake, and unless you hurry to act rightly, it will be finished and you will be excluded.”
“The Ninth Parable”

Amen!

New Book on Jesus, Diocletian, 4GW, and COIN

D.M. was kind enough to join the hype-cycle for my new book, which will soon be followed on by a published version of the “John Boyd Roundtable,” edited by Mark Safranski of ZenPundit fame.

Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity

I wrote Revolutionary Strategies in Early Christianity: 4th Generation Warfare (4GW) Against the Roman Empire, and the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Campaign to Save It to help explain the persecution experienced by the early Christians in light of strategic theory. I believe that Romans, who martyred so many Christians, were not foolish or stupid. I think they knew what they were doing: they understood that if the Christianity triumphed, the world they knew and loved would be turned upside down.

The Romans acted according to the same basic rules that guided the Nazi fight against la Résistance in France… and the American fight against al Qaeda in Iraq.

I hope my book will be useful to those who want to begin learning about modern strategy, and for people who wish to know a little more about the rise of Christianity. From Joseph Caiaphas to the Prophet Muhammed, I describe the early enemies of Christianity as wise fighters who used strategies that now have buzzwords for names (COIN, xGW, and so on), but whose use goes back to the dawn of time.

Christianity and the Military-Industrial Complex

Larry Dunbar, a polymath interested in genetics, psychology, and many other subjects has a new post synthesizing his thoughts on Christianity and the Military-Industrial Complex:

Take for instance the statement: the military/industrial complex will bring about world peace. Someone, a lot smarter than I, said something to that effect, and actually believes this to be true; it is his reality.

The real amazing thing is that this person pretends to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth. Although I have never read the teachings of Jesus, I have been around the practitioners of Jesus all my life.

The military/industrial complex is what Howard Bloom calls a resource shifter. In Jesus’ time the moneychangers would represent them. I think Jesus had something harsh to say about moneychangers. I may have misunderstood, but I don’t think it had anything to do with world peace.

Larry is referring to my writings on Embracing-Defeat and Jesusism-Paulism. In the former series I argue that a military-industrial complex is necessary for victory in protracted struggles, and that are defeats in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia are tied to a lack of a military-industrial-counter-insurgency complex. In the latter, I explain how early Christians used 4GW to conquer the Roman Empire and establish an order based on universal human dignity.

I’m interested in Larry’s thoughts, and I hope he expands on them. However, I don’t think the point he uses in his post is persuasive. Of course anything shifts resources, because anything costs. The question is whether the shifted resources are worth it. In the case of the Military-Industrial Complex the answer is a clear yes. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a more Christian task for a great nation than building one.

Thank God, truly, that we are half-way there.

Jesusism-Paulism, Part V: The People of the Book

John Boyd, the American Air Force Colonel, wrote that there were five stages to victory. In the first two, Penetration and Isolation, one’s forces enter the enemy’s networks and began tearing it apart. In the last two, Reorientation and Reharmonization, the old world is refashioned in one’s desired image.

There is only one grand choice, but that choice is critical. If, for the third stage, one chooses Subversion, one desires to “take-over” the enemy. The enemy’s house — his many mansions — should be viewed as one’s future property, and so their substance must be preserved while the deed is (re)-written

alpha_chi_ro_omega_md
Victory Through Submission

Christianity, a political philosophy that could accurately be described as Jesusism-Paulism, was designed to Subvert the Roman Empire and seize her institutions in order to remake them. Jesus summed up the essence of subversion — the conquest of force by the service to force — in one line:

If someone [a Roman soldier] forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
Matthew 5:41

Of course, there is another strategy. Instead of attempted to take-over, one might take-down. One might Subdue the enemy, destroying what is his, and win through war instead of through peace. Six centuries after Jesus, another Semite elucidated that strategy


Submission Through Victory

It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
The Spoils of War:67

The Rule-Set Revolution of Islam had begun.


Muhammed ibn-Abdullah was clearly aware of Christian victory over the Romans. Muhammed changed two basic strategies of Christianity, by transforming it into a strict monotheism and optimizing it for victory in chaotic conditions. Yet these are details compared to his grandest innovation. Muhammed focused his faith not on the Most High or on His Son, but on a Rule-Set. Islam is, at its core, is not Muahmmed and is not Allah. Islam is the Holy Koran.

Muslims were the first “People of the Book” in all history. The earliest Semites were tribalists who wished for their gods to protect their families, and Judaism falls into this category. Jews may be thought of as People of their Father and Mother. The land of the Jews is given to them because of descent from Abraham:

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates- the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”
Genesis 15:17-21

and his wife, Sarah

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” … Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
Genesis 27:15-22

The Christians, meanwhile were the People of the Son

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:20-23

Muhammed saw a basic weakness in loyalty to a personality or Holy Family: ruleset corruption.

An essential difference between Christianity and Islam is that the faith of Jesus focused on resiliency while the religion of Muahmmed centered on resilience. Resiliency is “the ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity.” The Christian takeover of Rome exhibited resiliency because the faith could adapt to problems, through unifying mechanisms such as the Nicene Creed. However, Muhammed wanted Islam to have resilience instead. Resilience, the capacity of a material to absorb energy when it is deformed elastically and then, upon unloading to have this energy recovered, focuses on recovering the initial form. Christianity as practiced during its take-over of Rome would not be operationally the same as Christianity after the fall of Rome, because the needs of a 4GW force in its early stages are different from the needs of a 4GW army in its later stages. However, Muhammad wanted Islam to be the same everywhere, he made his words into a universal ruleset.

To Christians flexibility was not a problem — only Jesus was the Word of God and revolution could “unfold.” The purpose of Christianity, after all, was not Law but Love, and Love is a magic cloud beyond words, but it is not measurable and not objectively verifiable.

To Muhammed this was a problem. As he said:

Say: “Of your ‘partners’ is there any that can give any guidance towards truth?” Say: “It is Allah Who gives guidance towards truth, is then He Who gives guidance to truth more worthy to be followed, or he who finds not guidance (himself) unless he is guided? what then is the matter with you? How judge ye?”
Jonah:35

Mohammed was the first theorist in all history to define religion exclusively as rule-set adherence. Jesus and Paul had integrated a 4GW strategy — loving your neighbor — in with faith in order tow in. But Mohammed integrated every strategy into the faith. Contract law, criminal law, family law, even military strategy were elucidated before hand. Mohammed viewed Judaism and Christianity as failed because of the memetic drift they experienced.

Judaism and Christianity both “unfold” over time. Judaism can accurately be described as a Religion of Life because the focus is on the promulgation in this world of offspring of Abraham and Sarah. All Jewish Laws must be interpreted as rules to guide the People of Life. A Jewish Law that works against Life is not, in this context, being properly understood. Christianity can accurately be described as a Religion of Love because the focus in on the promulgation of loving kindness as described by Jesus and Paul. All Christian Laws must be interpreted as guide to the People of Love. A Christian Law that works against Love is not, in this context, being properly understood. In contrast, Islam can accurately be described as a Religion of One Ruleset, the Koran, in opposition to all others. The only proper Rules are those that spread the Ruleset. As a genetic program, Islam is frighteningly advanced.

It is fair to say that Judaism is Tribalist, Christianity is Ideological, and Islam is Totalitarian. Not in some particular implementations, but in their meaning and purpose.

The victories of Islam were swift, and they kept coming. A well evolved super-organism, the Ruleset and its Armies move conquered all of Roman Empire, Roman Iberia, all of Roman Asia outside of Anatolia. Fleets would soon sail to the indies, and assist in the flow of labor from Africa to the empire through slavery.

Much worse for the Christian Revolutionaries, the shattering attacks would not stop. The Cosmopolitan Empire, imperfect as it was, of the Greek Christians would be less and less able to export the security a Cosmopolitan faith like Christianity required. The old Maoism of Greco-Roman Civilization, which Christianity aimed to conquer, would re-emerge and the Western Church would fall pray to the barbaric tribalisms of a petty continent.

Islamic ideals would challenge Christianity as the fumbling counter-insurgency of the Romans never could. Before the Christian Revolutionaries could even calculate their losses, the Islamization of Christianity had begun.

But that is a post for another time…


Jesusism-Paulism, a tdaxp series in six parts
1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
4. The Fall of Rome
5. The People of the Book
6. Embrace and Extend

Jesusism-Paulism, Part IV: The Fall of Rome

On October 27, 312, the world changed.

What exactly happened is disputed. A “heavenly sign,” apparently some form of crossed disc, appeared to Gaius Constantinus outside of Rome. Constantinus read into it “By this, Conquer.” Within twelve hours the world had have turned. Christianity had a shield. More importantly, the Christians had an army.

alpha_chi_ro_omega_md
With This You Win

The Roman Legions were not the first military force fielded by the Jesusist-Paulists. The Armenian King Trdat III submitted his armies to Christ eleven years earlier, but if Christianity had stopped at Armenia the plans of Caiaphas and Diocletian (to force Christianity to morph into violent military force that could be processed as a regular insurgency) would have been victorious. When Tiridates III converted, Christianity gained a weak country. When Constantine I converted, Christianity gained the world.

This exponential increase in the size of Christianity’s 4GW militia was not entirely surprising. In spite of being under a persecution that would last until 313, the Christians were using the using the power of women to subvert masculine lines of control and communication. While the fading crypto-Maoist ideals of Greece were passed along in masculine education, Christianity focused on the conversion of women and subsequent mother-to-child indoctrination. Constantine’s mother was a Christian.

Once Christianity began what 4GW theorists call “stage 3 operations,” what traditional military men call “phase IV operations,” or what others call “Reorientation/Reharmonization,” the Christians followed a Boydian program for success. This “Constantinian Shift” was the natural and correct Christian response to winning the war. In the last slide of his epic brief, Patterns of Conflict, John Boyd wrote

Evolve and exploit insight/initiative/adaptability/harmony together with a unifying vision, via a grand ideal or an overarching theme or a noble philosophy, as basis to:
Shape or influence events so that we not only amplify our spirit and strength but also influence the uncommitted or potential adversaries so that they are drawn toward our philosophy and are empathetic toward our success…

Penetrate adversary’s moral-mental-physical being in order to isolate him from his allies, pull him apart, and collapse his will to resist.

Constantine helped unfold Christianity’s grand unifying ideal. The 325 Council of Nicea, assembled by Constantine, defined the unifying vision and noble philosopher of Christianity. The Creed of Christianity would unfold over the years, but in the 325 Declaration the nature of the Religion was promulgated

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty
Maker of all that is seen and unseen,
And in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, begotten from the father, only-begotten, that is, from the substance of the father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten not made, one in Being with the Father,
through whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth,
Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down and became incarnate,
suffered,
On the third day he rose again
he ascended to heaven
He will come again to judge the living and the dead,
And in the Holy Spirit,
But as for those who say, There was when He was not, and Before being born He was not, and that He came into existence out of nothing or who assert that the Son of God is of a different hypostasis or substance, or is subject to alteration or change – those the Catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes.

  • Constantine increased the physical connectivity of Christians. While the Church issues the 325 Manifesto (“First Nicean Creed“), Constantine’s 313 Declaration, the Edict of Milan, not only protects Christians but persecution but also gives to them the physical tools needed to spread the face

    When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I Licinius Augustus d fortunately met near Mediolanurn (Milan), and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security, we thought -, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred; whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule And thus by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one whatsoever should be denied the opportunity to give his heart to the observance of the Christian religion, of that religion which he should think best for himself, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence. Therefore, your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever, which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially, concerning the Christians and now any one of these who wishes to observe Christian religion may do so freely and openly, without molestation. We thought it fit to commend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Christians free and unrestricted opportunity of religious worship. When you see that this has been granted to them by us, your Worship will know that we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases ; this regulation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dignity or any religion.

    Moreover, in the case of the Christians especially we esteemed it best to order that if it happens anyone heretofore has bought from our treasury from anyone whatsoever, those places where they were previously accustomed to assemble, concerning which a certain decree had been made and a letter sent to you officially, the same shall be restored to the Christians without payment or any claim of recompense and without any kind of fraud or deception, Those, moreover, who have obtained the same by gift, are likewise to return them at once to the Christians. Besides, both those who have purchased and those who have secured them by gift, are to appeal to the vicar if they seek any recompense from our bounty, that they may be cared for through our clemency,. All this property ought to be delivered at once to the community of the Christians through your intercession, and without delay. And since these Christians are known to have possessed not only those places in which they were accustomed to assemble, but also other property, namely the churches, belonging to them as a corporation and not as individuals, all these things which we have included under the above law, you will order to be restored, without any hesitation or controversy at all, to these Christians, that is to say to the corporations and their conventicles: providing, of course, that the above arrangements be followed so that those who return the same without payment, as we have said, may hope for an indemnity from our bounty. In all these circumstances you ought to tender your most efficacious intervention to the community of the Christians, that our command may be carried into effect as quickly as possible, whereby, moreover, through our clemency, public order may be secured. Let this be done so that, as we have said above, Divine favor towards us, which, under the most important circumstances we have already experienced, may, for all time, preserve and prosper our successes together with the good of the state. Moreover, in order that the statement of this decree of our good will may come to the notice of all, this rescript, published by your decree, shall be announced everywhere and brought to the knowledge of all, so that the decree of this, our benevolence, cannot be concealed.

    Constantine decreased the physical connectivity of non-Christians. Money was diverted from pagan temple to the Christian Church, in nearly exactly the same way later Chinese Communists would divert wealth from churches to the Communist Party. Non-Christians could not own Christian slaves, a measure designed to prevent an anti-Christian reaction by the chattel-owning class.

    The “non-Christian” tag was applied, with some calculation, to those considered semi-Christians. Self-professing Christians who refused to swear the Nicean Creed were exiled, a fate the Communist Leon Trotsky would suffer after running foul of the larger Communist Party of the Soviet Union. (Unlike Communists, however, the Christians did not send assassins after the exiles.)

    Jews, who worshiped the same God as the Christians but did not claim to worship Christ, were recognized as fellow travelers. Treated better than either Pagans or schismatic Christians, their position was superior to contemporary “fellow traveler” parties, such as the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese KMT in China today. The Christians did those both to seperate Jews from their potential pagan allies, and create a broader, generally correlated force to “influence the uncommitted or potential adversaries so that they are drawn toward our philosophy and are empathetic toward Christian] success.”

    Christianity won. The hope of a victorious 4th Generation War was successful. The old Roman Civilization was dead, and with it the ancient communitarianism of the pagans. Everyone was equal in the eyes of God. The slave. The woman. All equal. Even human-rights laws, such as

    • Improvement in the condition of slaves
    • Improvement in the condition of prisoners
    • Improvement in the condition of non-farm workers
    • Abolition of Crucifiction
    • Abolition of Gladiatorial Execution

    were promulgated. But as that philosopher of underground cults, Howard Lovecraft, wrote

    That is not dead which can eternal lie,
    And with strange aeons even death may die.

    The old Maoism of Greek civilization would not lie dead dreaming for long. It spoke to men in strange dreams. It would teach the Romans new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves. All the Christian world would flame. A New Rome would be born.


    Jesusism-Paulism, a tdaxp series in six parts
    1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
    2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
    3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
    4. The Fall of Rome
    5. The People of the Book
    6. Embrace and Extend

  • Basileus Romaion v. Imperator Romaniae

    Catholicgauze notes that 745 years, today, the Roman Empire was crushed by the Empire of the Romans. On that date Byzantine Emperor Michael VII defeated Latin Emperor Baldwin II, restoring Constantinople to Greek rule. Nowadays the Turks are in charge.

    Catholicgauze also explains how that the end of the this civilizational wars between the Roman Emperors led to the fall of the Greek Empire

    In a twist of irony Michael VII’s rise to emperor restarted the fall of the empire. He withdrew troops from Asia Minor to fight wars of reunification in Greece and against the Bulgarians. The lack of troops on his east flank allowed the Arabs to conquer more territory. Michael also refused to reform the government and bureaucracy of the empire which the term “byzantine” (number 4) comes from.

    Wikipedia shows that the Latin Empire, at least in legal fiction, also survived its catastrophic defeat. The title of Empire of Rome was used until Emperor James, who willed the title to the Duke of Anjou — who never cared enough to use the title himself. Thus the Latin Empire fades into history.

    (Unrelated, Enterra CEO Stephen DeAngelis adds his thoughts to an article that begins with Rome as a Multinational Enterprise…)

    Jesusism-Paulism, Introduction: The Revolution of Early Christianity

    After a particularly long post, Chirol from Coming Anarchy suggested that when I have a lot to say, I should break it up into a series of articles. I’ve taken his advice, and now for several subjects (Embracing Defeat, Guerrillaz, Liberal Education, and OODA-PISRR) I’ve written four tetrologies.

    However, before all that I wrote a trilogy on early Christianity. I described it as essentially a 4G movement, such as Maoism, but one that also drew energy from existing family structures. In that sense it is similar to the religious right in America or al Qaeda in Iraq. Early Christianity was profoundly shaped by two thinkers, Jesus and Paul, similar to the way that Sovietism was shaped by Marx and Lenin.

    alpha_chi_ro_omega_md
    Symbol of the Revolution

    This insight is not original. About the time I wrote my posts, Jeffrey Obbins of Lebanon Valley College published The Politics of Paul, where he wrote…

    Paul is every bit Jesus’ equal as a social and political revolutionary, standing to Jesus as Lenin does to Marx.

    The importance of this is at least threefold: First, this recovery of Paul is a repoliticization of Christianity – or, more precisely, the realization of the intrinsically political nature that was and is at the very heart of the Christian identity. Second, as a politicized religion, this Christian legacy (which is distinctively Pauline, if not Paul’s own creation) establishes the conditions of Western thought

    Nonetheless, I think my original posts have something to contribute. So with his introduction and some fiddling in the original works, I am reformatting by trilogy as a series. Since then I have continued the story, chronicling the Christian and Muslim battles against Rome

    There are five parts

    • Part I, Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
      Christian doctrine was built to win. It emphasized People’s War from its first commandments.
    • Part II, Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
      The High Priest and the Emperor get a bad wrap for attacking a harmless religious. Yet they correctly understood the political implications of the growing movement and attempted to kill it. They almost succeeded.
    • Part III, Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
      The early Christians used gender to their advantage. Exploiting genetic tendencies in men and women, they equipped themselves for unlimited war. They won.
    • Part IV, The Fall of Rome
      Constantine gave the Christians their Army, and with it the Christians gave Constantine his Empire. A short conventional victory to a long unconventional war, the Battle of Milvian Bridge brought about the defeat of Greco-Roman civilization.
    • Part V, The People of the Book
      Hundreds of years after the Christian victory, another semitic religion would emerge to challenge the Christian Empire of the Romans. Perhaps the first Totalitarian faith in history, Islam would shatter the unipolar world of the Christians while replacing itself with a minimum of mutations.
    • Part VI, Embrace and Extend
      While Christianity in the East was shattered by Islam and Islamization, the Church in the west continued its ancient 4G operation. Refusing to look away from the worst of barbarian culture, the Catholic Church embraced and extended the pre-Christian ways of modern Europe, eventually exterminating rival organizing principles.

    To all those who have not read these yet, I hope you enjoy.

    Empires of Connectivity and Generations of Empire

    All Roads Lead to Rome,” by Jeff Vail, A Theory of Power: Jeff Vail’s Critique of Hierarchy & Empire, 5 October 2004, http://www.jeffvail.net/2004/10/all-roads-lead-to-rome.html.

    The blogosphere is abuzz with empires. Chirol started it by talking about themtwice. Zen Punditthree times. Jewish Blog jumped on the bandwagon. Even Dr. Daniel Nexon, someone with formal education who actually knows what he is talking about, offered his thoughts.

    I offered my humble thoughts earlier. So for this I’d just like to highlight an article I found that discusses how Empires manage connectivity.

    Author Jeff Vail first notes that Rome was a new type of Empire. Previous empires were largely thirst-based, but Rome became connectivity-based

    Many of the major empires that preceded Rome shared a common source of formational energy. As described by historian Karl Wittfogel, they were all “hydraulic” empires. The mechanism of centralization [of the old Empires] was their shared need to pool massive labor and resources to build and maintain the irrigation works upon which their agricultural sustenance depended. Rome formed in the absence of great public-irrigation projects. As such, it required a new mechanism of political centralization to provide formational energies and counter the distributed spacing and centrifugal tendency of economic organization. Rome pioneered a new form of Empire, a connectivity empire, laying the groundwork for modern hierarchical state-economies (See Figure 4).

    If we use Chirol’s concept of “generations,” we might call a Hydraulic Empire a “Zeroth Generation Empire” or a “Pre-Modern Empire.” In a Pre-Modern, Hydraulic, of 0G Empire, the most important “flows” are the flow of labor into the center and the flow of water into the periphery. However, in a Connectivity or 1st Generation Empire the flows become much richer. Now the main flows are wealth and security, with a flow of wealth into the center and a flow of security into the periphery.

    However, this is not done in a vacuum. In the Roman Empire, for example, this was done through roads.

    If Rome had allows the market to function naturally, the power of the City of Rome would have gradually been reduced as other cities enjoy the economic benefits of security. A natural ebb-and-flow of exchange creates a decentralized Empire.

    Visually:

    medium_empire_rome_figure3_md.jpg

    However, the Romans did not want this. The Romans did not want ;the Empire’ to become a decentralized polity. They wanted the Empire to remain a tool of Rome.

    So the Romans purposefully warped their economy through their road network, purposefully undercutting minor hubs and linking as many nodes as possible directly to Rome.

    medium_empire_rome_figure4_md.jpg

    So, some open questions

    • Chirol described First Generation Empires as defined by “hard power” and Second Generation Empires as defined by “soft power.” But the fact that Pre-Modern Empires exported water, without which a painful death is almost immediate, shows that their power was even “harder” than Rome. So instead of “hard power” and “soft power,” do we simply have a continuum of “power hardness”?
    • Likewise, the arteries of Pre-Modern Empires were canals that carry water, and the arteries of 1st Generation Empires were roads and ocean-routes that carried goods and men. Does this mean that the arteries of 2nd Generation Empires are telecommunication lines that carry ideas? But we know thatideas spread through the Roman road system. And many claim that information itself can be deadly. Is this another example of a continuum of power-hardness?
    • If America wanted to “calcify” (in Vail’s words) her world power, could she arrange ultra-high-speed fiber-optic lines to all run through the continental US? Or is this form of geographic power now obsolete?
    • How does Rome’s strategy of isolating competitive nodes harmonize with Chirol’s statement that “Great empires don’t compete against other systems per se, they strive to become “the system.””

    Update: Mark at ZenPundit alerted me to Dr. Daniel Nexon’s new post on Empires

    As he agrees with me on the Mongols

    Might there be a pattern in the phrases: Pax Romana, Pax Mongolica, Pax Britannia and Pax Americana?

    That three of them were largely connected through internal waterways, high-tech roads, and/or oceans, while a fourth is a revisionist defense of a temporary barbarian occupation built-to-fail?

    (compared to)

    Chinggis Khan, for example, combined steppe cavalry techniques with a reorganization of the tribal structure of his forces, a not-so-healthy does of sociopathic paranoia, and, eventually, Chinese siege techniques. Despite Chirol’s assertion about the Mongol imperium (which lasted, as such, for an extremely short period), it is pretty hard to know whether it was really a net positive. The Mongols did enormous damage to regions of China, destroyed the Kievan Rus’, crushed the Abbasid Caliphate, and just plain killed a lot of people. The factors that led to Mongol success in warfare had very little to do with whatever contributions they brought to the world by making the east-west trade routes safer for a time.

    he’s clearly a genius. He also picks up this post’s theme of a hydraulic Empire, if critically

    I wasn’t aware of Vail’s work – and his book – until Dan linked to it; Vail shares some of the same sensibilities that Patrick Jackson and I have articulated in some of our collaborative pieces. That being said, the hydraulic theory of empire is, as a comprehensive account of the formation of ancient empires, probably wrong

    Go read!

    Jesusism-Paulism, Part III: Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat

    alpha_chi_ro_omega_md

    Something is strange in the heart of Christianity

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Paul (Galatians 3:28)

    “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”

    Paul (1 Timothy 2:12)

    If we wanted an easy answer, we would say Paul (or “The Bible”) is contracting himself. Or that two different people wrote it. Or that it was just meaningless rhetoric. But Paul is followi Jesus’s pattern. In spite of reaching out to women far more than others around him, Jesus notably did not choose a single woman as a disciple. His inner-circle was a diverse lot — a tax collector, a Zealot, various fishermen, even a non-Galilean (Judas Iscariot) — but not one woman. What is going on?

    If we view Paul objectively — as the hyper-lingual ex-State-Church secret-policeman with training in history, science, politics, philosophy that he was — we can see what he saw. We can read the tactics and strategies he devised and published so plainly, like Mao and Ho after him.

    Paul saw what the 20th Century feminist Rebecca West famously saw while researching her magnum opus Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, and captured as

    “The main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics and women are idiots.” Rebecca West (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

    Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is a travelogue of ex-Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo) immediately before the Nazi invasion. Over and over again she saw the same pattern: men were swept away by far-away schemes and ideas (like lunatics), while women were so absorbed by families and personal relationships they ignored those same forces (like idiots). To Dame Commander West, men were idiotically refusing to focus on the real details of daily living while women were foolishly refusing to focus on the fate of their nation and culture. In other words, men are idiots for not engaging in long-term coalition building on a family level (in “tight” or “dense” networks) while women are fools for not engaging in long-term coalition building on the national and ideological level (in “loose” or less “dense” nets).

    Rebecca’s West breakdown of mankind:

    To an anthropologist this might be interesting. To a feminist, troubling. But to a netstruggle strategist, it is a description of the warriors and an opportunity.

    Paul built his population of Christian warriors — what he called “wrestlers” — on this difference. Men would be maneuver-warriors. Women would be occupation-warriors. And together they would build a Christian future worth creating.

    Paul’s breakdown of mankind:

    Where else do we see the same breakdown?

    Maneuver Warfare + Occupation Warfare = Victory

    “PISRR” is an acronym invented by Col. John Boyd to describe the steps to victory. It stands for Penetrate-Isolate-Subvert-Reorient-Reharmonize. In netwar or “4GW” PISRR, like China with Mao or Vietnam with Ho, guerrillas build up from small cells in a very loose network to ruling and controlling a dense network. We can apply this to a Christian “attack” on a family:

    Christian-Family PISRR

    1. Penetrate

      Preacher converts small number of family members

    2. Isolate

      Converts denormalize old beliefs

    3. Subvert

      Converts co-opt family (mini Roman takeover)

    4. Reorient

      Family power relationships further new beliefs

    5. Reharmonize

      Parents raise children in Christian home

    The latter in the attack, the dense the network. It is no surprise then that the later in the attack, the more “feminine” the attack becomes. The first stage, Penetration, would be done by a preacher who finds a convert. The last stage, Reharmonization, would be done by mothers who raise their children to think of Christianity as natural.

    It may help to think of the Christian take-over of a Family like the Nazi takeover of France.

    German-French PISRR

    1. Penetrate

      Blitz shreds French lines, occupying little

    2. Isolate

      Mop-up attacks separate French troops from friends

    3. Subvert

      Collaborators co-opt nation (Petain’s Regime)

    4. Reorient

      French economy geared to German economic union

    5. Reharmonize

      New generation grows up “Vichy” (ABORTED!)

    The Germans did not have the same force-structure conquer France as ruled France. As Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett said

    It’s time to admit that you can’t have the same 19-year-old kid doing all these things

    Indeed, and the Germans did not. The first weeks of the war were fought by panzers and other high-maneuverability low-density fighting machines. When we think of 1940, we think of tanks and the style of war that Erich Ludendorff created. But panzer brigades could hardly pacify France! Soldats — Germans in charge of walking-the-beat-style policework did that. Maneuver war needs panzers, but occupation war requires soldats.

    What Paul’s ideas did for Christians, and the Ludendorff’s for the Germans, was to deconflict the elements of the attacking force. A PISRR victory requires two different forces fighting in two different battlespaces. The panzer-soldat deconfliction is what Dr. Barnett means when he talks about the separate “mixes needed for front-half [war waging] and back-half [peace making] portions.”

    When forces for very different battlespaces are combined — when an attacker foolishly becomes “joint” — that attack loses. The French had “better” tanks fighting jointly with “better” soldiers, France lost her army to inferior tanks and nearly lost her history to inferior soldats. Like the Germans, the Christians started out weak, poor, and oppressed. Like the Germans against France thousands of years later, the Christians in Rome deconflicted the components of their movement, exploited each to its maximum comparative advantage, and won.

    (Sidenote: The economic version of the easier victory an appropriately deconflicted force has over an inappropriately joint force has be known since David Ricardo, Spanish-Jewish-Britain, invented the doctrine of “comparative advantage” in the early 19th century. An extremely good introduction to this, leading up to point “R” on ” Figure 16: World production possibilities curve,” is available at http://www.econ.iastate.edu/classes/econ355/choi/ric2.htm).

    So now Paul’s words aren’t so strange or contradictory at all. He was setting up two different forces for two different struggles in two different arenas. Paul recognized and exploited the natural differences in men and women to further Christianity. Indeed, the grand strategist Tom Barnett makes almost the same distinction as Paul, for almost the same ends. Talking about his front-half force (the “Leviathan”) and his “back-half” force (the “System Administrator”), Barnett writes

    That’s why I call the Leviathan your Dad’s military (“Don’t make me come in there!”) and the Sys Admin force your Mom’s military (“Oh, you make me so proud when you do that for yourself!”).

    We can see the basic Panzer-Blitz-Leviathan-Fast-Father / Soldat-Police-SysAdmin-Slow-Mother divide as so…

    … just as we can see that the feminization of religion is as self-defeating as the French joint tank-soldier method of losing the Second World War.

    Centuries later, Paul’s creation would deform under the frictional heat of Islam. But such is a post for another time…

    Update: Feministing links to an article that focuses on pitch and harmony processing instead of network density.


    Jesusism-Paulism, a tdaxp series in six parts
    1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
    2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
    3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
    4. The Fall of Rome
    5. The People of the Book
    6. Embrace and Extend

    Jesusism-Paulism, Part I: Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You

    alpha_chi_ro_omega_md

    The founders of Christianity knew how they would win

    But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

    Jesus (Luke 6:27-31)

    The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Paul (Romans 13:9)

    Generally, there are two means to use against an enemy — violence and politics — and two strategies — take-over and take-down. To put it in a 2×2 matrix

    Many movements try to use several methods, so that the enemy has to protect himself on many fronts. For instance, American conservatives are trying to both neutralize the courts (by limiting the Judiciary’s powers of even allowing Congress to overturn Court rulings) and co-opt them (by making more conservative judges). Similarly, in Iraq the terrorists are trying to destroy the Iraq government (violently take it down) and conquer Iraqi lands (by moving forces into cities like Fallujah, creating mini Islamic Republics that keep existing infrastructure).

    Christ and Paul ruled out the destruction, conquest, or neutralization of the Roman Empire.

    No Destruction: The State’s military must be supported

    If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles [centurians could lawfully force a subject to help carry their gear for one Roman mile — tdaxp]

    Jesus (Matthew 5:41)

    No Conquest: The State must not face rebellion

    Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

    Paul (Romans 13:1-2)

    No Neutralization: The State’s finances must be supported

    Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”

    But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

    “Caesar’s,” they replied.

    Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

    And they were amazed at him.

    Jesus (Mark 12:13-17)

    By ruling out destruction, conquest, or neutralization, The Apostle and The Christ forced the faithful to co-opt the Empire. And indeed by AD 313 the Roman Empire had submitted itself to the Christian Faith. But how did this work?

    In 4th Generation War, sometimes called “netwar,” the object is not to destroy your enemy’s ability to resist — it is to destroy his will to resist. This is why some famous 4GW tactics — terrorism, exagerating civilian casualties, hit-and-run-attacks — are the tactics of the weak. Because a lot of enemy will can be destroyed by using little strength.

    Jesus and Paul understood that the Roman Empire was a hyperpower. It was undefeatable in any meaningful sense. Even areas “liberated” of the Roman military (like Germania) quickly fell into the Roman economic and cultural orbit. Further, as Jesus lived a day’s walk from a town that had been butchered in a reprisal by Roman troops, and Paul had been a secret policeman for a State Church, both respected the Roman security system.

    To understand why love was an appropriate tool to co-opt the Empire, think back to friction networks.

    Friction exists when two entities oppose each other. This can be a block moving along a table

    medium_friction_cray_sm.jpg

    Or two enemies who hate each other.

    To co-opt the Empire Jesus and Paul decided to limit friction — to become slippery.

    (If the friction nets were complete slippery on each other, they would “embrace” by sharing all attributes — they would be “in bed” with each other)

    As long as Christianity could avoid becoming existing, supporting the state was a methodical route to Christian victory. The Empire. To see how this worked, imagine the Roman power structure as a table.

    The State rested on many groups, the People, the Senators, the Armies, the Merchants, etc, who gave their power to the state. In this way they supported Rome like legs support a table. (The same, of course, is true of any government.)

    However, they demanded that the state protect their interests. So while the state ammased power from these special interests, it had to turn around and spend it on them too!

     

     

    This situation is stable. But the Christians knew things would change — they only had to wait

     

    “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

    Jesus (Matthew 24:4-8)

     

    Sure enough, the Romans soon faced new barbarian enemies — further drains on its power

     

    You can think of this like an even heavier load being placed on the Roman Table

     

     

    The Romans had to look for a cheap new power source. The power source had to be already running (because the barbarians were at the gates now), resiliant (because the barbarians are violent and effective), and inexpensive (it had to support the state even if the state couldn’t export security to it). Christianty was for Roman political power what cold fusion would be to modern-day electric power. Sure Romans now found themselves ‘encouraged’ to convert, but that was a lot cheapter than gold for a new army, an army for a new market, or a new market to enrich the merchants, or more merchants to tax to enrich the Senators.

     

     

    By loving their enemy, by intermeshing their friction nets, the Christians had only to wait for a Crisis and see the Empire spread their belief over the Realm. This is why Rome became Christian when Rome became weak. Christianity treated Rome as it wanted to be treated — as an object of veneration and protection.

     

    And so the last become first, the poor become rich, the weak became strong, and Christianity co-opted the Empire.

     

    In the modern world, the United States is the only hyper power. Is there a “new Christianity” out there, giving us a co-option attack like the Christians gave Rome?

     

    Early Christianity was, and continued to be, a netfaith, until finally deformed under the heat of the Islamic Invasions. But that is a post for another time….


    Jesusism-Paulism, a tdaxp series in six parts
    1. Love Your Enemy As You Would Have Him Love You
    2. Caiaphas and Diocletian Did Know Better
    3. Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat
    4. The Fall of Rome
    5. The People of the Book
    6. Embrace and Extend