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Friday, March 19, 2010

THE GOLDEN EVOLUTION (Part 14): CHRISTIANITY


The following, with a few updates, continues the serialization of Chapter 5 on religion from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity:

Christianity

Christianity started 2000 years ago, was derived from Judaism, and was named after Jesus Christ. Christ, in Greek, means the anointed one. Christians believe there is one God and that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the savior of Mankind. There is supposed to be a Second Coming of Jesus…any day now. There is a Heaven and a Hell in this religion, and The Bible is the accepted authority, although interpretations vary. The bottom line is that your soul will maintain consciousness until Judgment Day when only the righteous will be resurrected.


Constantine the Great, the first Roman emperor to embrace Christianity, although he did it more for politics than religion, moved the capital city from Rome to Byzantium, and renamed it Constantinople, which is now known as Istanbul. He has been said to have re-constructed The Bible, including the deification of Jesus, through a council he convened in 325 AD. Just because The Da Vinci Code said some of this does not mean it has to be fiction.


















The Protestant Reformation in the beginning of the 16th century, for which Martin Luther (1519), a monk from Germany, no doubt played an important role, was reinforced by King Henry VIII, who named himself as the head of England’s church. Without going into the more interesting excesses of Roman Catholic money-grubbing, concubinage, military alliances and the fact that the Pope would not approve of Henry’s marriage dissolution from Catherine of Aragon, prosaically, in 1604, King James I convened the Hampton Court Conference to begin re-translating The Bible. The completed work was issued in 1611, is today the bible of choice, and for the longest time, has been the #1 best seller, with more than 6 billion copies sold. No other publication has sold even a billion, although Quotations from Chairman Mao is getting close to ten digits at #2. The two most recent books in the top ten appeared in 1966: Chairman Mao's and Jacquelin Susann's Valley of the Dolls at #10. Yes, Jacquelin Susann.


So, beginning with Hebrew and Greek history came a Roman emperor, then a British King, who are credited with being the prime movers of the most popular religion today. John Remsburg (sometimes spelled Remsberg), who passed away in 1919, has catalogued what The Bible authorizes and defends, and this list is merely a portion: lying, cheating, theft, murder, wars of conquest, human sacrifices, cannibalism, slavery, polygamy, prostitution, ignorance, cruelty to animals and injustice to women.


Christianity is so split that there are 38,000 factions/sect/denominations/etc. There must be something to strength through diversity.


Half the world's Christian are Roman Catholic, but while the Pope, their leader, operates out of the Vatican, the country with the largest number of Catholics is Brazil. Italy has, purportedly, 90% Catholics, but, the reality is that one third, maybe, practice.


Now there is a growing ecumenical movement to promote unity within the Church. That is a good first step towards a simple solution.


The evangelicals have more recently made religious life more meaningful. Leaders (pastors) have used high technology and mass marketing, and have become quintessentially American. Evangelicals are more intense in their beliefs and tend to be a little more Southern, rural and older. They are self-appointed ambassadors for Jesus. Sexual morality, anti-evolution and being tough on immigration are watchwords. White evangelicals are more conservative, vote Republican and oppose gay marriage (84%). Black evangelicals support Democrats. The movement picked up in the later 70’s when Jimmy Carter (D-Georgia), a born again Christian (admitted to in a Playboy interview), was elected president. President George W. Bush (R-Texas) has been quoted to say: “I also have this belief, strong belief, that freedom is not this country’s gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty’s gift to every man and woman in this world. And as the greatest power on the face of the Earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom.” He stands as the poster boy for the mission, but there are rock bands (MercyMe, Switchfoot), recording artists (Amy Grant), actors (Stephen Baldwin), next door neighbors and family members as devout evangelicals.


Eighty three percent of the U.S. population are Christian, with 13% having no religion, a figure which has doubled over the past decade. The U.S. is slightly more than half Protestant and quarter Roman Catholic. Incidentally, the U.S. has the largest number of Christians. Atheists represent from 3-9% of the population. More about this non-belief factor and politics later, but if you wish to learn more now, click on Set Free, which reports that 29.5 million Americans have no religion, with Oregon at 28% and Alabama 7%.

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I had my typical Friday beach lunch today. Picked up a bento plate from Don Quixote featuring lau lau, pork cabbage and teriyaki fish with two scoops of rice, plus a small bottle of sake. Smoked a Drew Estate Natural Churchill, preserved according to NASA vacuum standards in a titanium cylinder while listening to my iPod from United Airlines for traveling 2 million flight miles. Here was my view. This looks similar to previous photos I have taken, but note now that the building right of the Hilton Rainbow Tower, the Trump Tower, is now finished. That second harmonic rainbow, though, has the colors in reverse. You can't see all of them, but 50 or so surfers were to the right.


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The Dow Jones Industrials slipped 37 to 10,742, and world markets were mostly also down, except for the Orient, which was kind of a relief, for this was quadruple witching day, which occurs on the third Friday at the end of each quarter, and traders can go bonkers. The previous one was on December 19, which was a dud, for nothing happened. Gold sunk $18/toz to $1107 and crude oil went down to $80.65/barrel.


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Tropical Cyclone Ului is set to make landfall Sunday morning along the Queensland coast, but the storm, now at 65 MPH is continuing to weaken, and residents seem almost unconcerned.

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