The Roman Catholic Church is the Triumph of Christianity over Human Imperialism

Before Christmas, Dr. Michael Bird posted that December 25th means the triumph of Christianity over Paganism. The same may be said for the Roman Catholic Church, which sits above the ruins of the Roman Empire. There was a time when the Emperor of Rome declared war on Christians, seeking to eradicate them in a genocidal manner,

“It was the nineteenth year of Diocletian’s reign [AD 303] and the month Dystrus, called March by the Romans, and the festival of the Saviour’s Passion was approaching, when an imperial decree was published everywhere, ordering the churches to be razed to the ground and the Scriptures destroyed by fire, and giving notice that those in places of honour would lose their places, and domestic staff, if they continued to profess Christianity, would be deprived of their liberty. Such was the first edict against us. Soon afterwards other decrees arrived in rapid succession, ordering that the presidents of the churches in every place should all be first committed to prison and then coerced by every possible means into offering sacrifice.” - Eusebius, History of the Church (VIII.2)

But, long before this attempted holocaust, Rome set about trying to destroy the young Church, the history of which we can read in John’s Apocalypse. In this book, John writes that soon, a time will come when Rome would fall to be replaced with the New Jerusalem. Through chapters 17 and 18, Imperial Rome is give a eulogy, with it being not necessary to decipher that the author meant the ancient city of Rome:

Here is a clue 1 for one who has wisdom. The seven heads represent seven hills upon which the woman sits. They also represent seven kings: (Rev 17:9 NAB)

Throughout the rest of the book, we see the great promise that one Babylon, Rome, is destroyed, the New Jerusalem will come down wherein all peoples will flock to worship God. It took two hundred years for Rome to, after trying to destroy Christianity, succumb to it. No, I don’t agree with Emperor Constantine and the confusion of Christianity and Politics. Nor do I think that at that moment, the Catholic Church was somehow created. But stand back, here, at the tail end of history, and examine the marvelous view. The city which tried to destroy Christianity so many times, in blood bath after blood bath, is now synonymous with Christianity. Whereas the ancient gladiatorial arenas which saw Christians forced to suffer deaths by animals and beastly men are crumbling, the Vatican stands, as do other non-Catholic Churches, still. It was the Catholic Church and not Rome which secured Europe through the Middle Ages, and while I uphold Protestantism as a measure to reminder the Catholic Church of what it should be doing, I marvel at the greatness of the Roman Catholic Church.

Post By Joel Watts (9,928 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, working on the use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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33 thoughts on The Roman Catholic Church is the Triumph of Christianity over Human Imperialism

  1. Just because an idea has survived for so long does not make it valid. The fact is, millions of people the world over have been jolted out of their blind faith by the actions of various religions. 9/11 was a real wakeup call to thinking people the world over that religion fosters bad ideas and kills people. Priests molesting children is yet another example of how religious dogma creates opportunities for bad things to happen. Believing in a god that no one has ever seen, let alone proved exists is merely a form of mental illness…and just because that mental illness has survived for so long does not make it right. Instead of blindly following the church, start thinking. Even my 10 year old daughter, who was brought up a Buddhist, saw right through Christian thinking when she first heard the story of the Battle of Jericho. She came home and asked how it was possible for trumpets to destroy the walls. That started her questioning all the other things that were being taught in her religious education class (in a State School no less!!) until a few months after her first question to me she came home and announced she couldn’t believe anything the bible said, because it was all so childish. She doesn’t believe in fairies or Santa Clause either. Perhaps you should examine your own beliefs in light of so much scientific evidence that what the church teaches is wrong.

    • A Buddhist? A religion… so she has mental illness?

      Further, I’m not sure you actually know what what mainstream Christianity teaches.

      • Sorry Joel, but you are showing your ignorance yet again. Buddhism is not a religion. It is a philosophy. Buddhism has no gods. In fact, Buddhists are atheists.

        Of course I know what mainstream Christianity teaches. I was brought up a Catholic. But I soon saw through the lies they preached. In all my years since then I have heard nothing that will convince me any different.

        I take it that you are referring to Hitler, Lenin, and Pol Pot in your reference below to atheists. Once again you show our ignorance. Hitler was a Christian. He stated it many times, even his book Mein Kampf, which I assume you have never bothered to read. Why let the facts stand in the way of ‘faith’?

        As for Lenin and Pol Pot, their deeds had nothing to do with atheism. Pol Pot was a Buddhist, and Lenin believed in the social ideological beliefs of Karl Marx. Marx thought that everyone should be equal, but that isn’t possible whilst a class system existed, and so the lower classes need to overthrow the upper classes and create equality for everyone. But we can see, particularly in Russia, this didn’t exactly work. His religious beliefs had nothing to do with his actions. His was an ideological war that turned into ‘cleansing’ perceived enemies of the state.

        Lenin killed millions of Russians, but how many more millions have died because of Christianity over the centuries?

        I don’t care if you are Christian, Hindu, Muslim or if you believe in Thor. All religions deny people self respect and seek to subjugate their believers to the tenets of their particular lunacy.

        My daughter asked a very good question: If there is really a god, why does he allow so many different religions to all claim that they are his only true representatives? Smart girl, my daughter.

        • Wow.. Mike, I’ll answer shortly, but you really need to read Justin and Thomas. Christianity isn’t a religion either

        • Okay, I’m ready…

          Sorry, had church and they had to take my daughter to a birthday party…

          First, Buddhism may be a philosophy but it has supernatural elements as well.

          Hitler was baptized a Christian, and indeed was supported by some Christian Churches in Germany, although he expressed a very non-Christian view of the world, and I don’t mean racism, etc… but the occult and Aryanism, which, ironically, comes from Buddhist thought.

          Tell me, what lies specifically.

          I note that you allow that Hitler’s ‘Christianity’ but dismiss Pol Pot’s Buddhism. Note that Stalin actually killed 20 million or more Russians, and was an atheist.

          As to the other question, hiding behind your daughter is a difficult thing to overcome, so I speak with trepidation.

          A man has a real son, but many seeing that they could be rich they there were his, claim to be his. This doesn’t mean that the father doesn’t exist, but that the courts must decide which of the children are real and which are fake.

  2. A litany of wrongs done to Christians and then, as per the usual, the oppressed became the oppressors. Of course they are kind and gentle now because they have no choice. Now instead of directly killing people for heresy and other thought crimes, the Church demands they kill themselves with HIV and malnutrition, because their God has a thing about condoms. Congratulations, the Church is old. Isn’t that remarkable?

  3. People like Mike need to look back to the not so distant past and review the history of the bloodiest, most violent century in human history…all brought to us by our friendly neighborhood atheists!

    • Actually, World War 2 was brought to us by a Catholic and a god incarnate (the Arahitogami Hirohito).

      Furthermore, the 20th century is not the bloodiest time in history. In fact, violence has been diminishing for quite some time. Atheist countries like the Nordic countries tend to be very non-violent as well.

      Cody: if you have evidence otherwise, pull it out. Let’s see.

  4. While still a Catholic, I came to believe that Jesus wouldn’t much like the religion that had been established in his name. My views on that pretty much haven’t changed.

    • how do we know that Christ hasn’t moved through the Spirit to establish the various religions in his name?

      • Joel, if you are so convinced that your religion is the only true religion, just as all the other religions claim as well, then why aren’t you out there stoning all the women today who have not gone to a separate tent during their period? Why aren’t you out there stoning adulterers? Why aren’t you killing first sons who disobey their fathers? Your Bible says you must do all these things doesn’t it?

        I know. Your reply will say that the old Testament is not what Christianity stands for, or something. But the fact is, you keep the old Testament. Why?

        In the Latin Catholic Church, clerical celibacy is mandated for bishops and, as a general rule, for priests and for deacons who intend to become priests. In Eastern Christianity, celibacy is mandatory for all bishops and for any priest who has been ordained while unmarried or who has lost his wife.

        The earliest Christian leaders were largely married men. The mention in Mark 1:30, Luke 4:38, and Matthew 8:14-15 of Saint Peter’s mother-in-law indicates that he had married (Matthew 8:14-15: “when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.”) According to Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, III, vi, ed. Dindorf, II, 276), Peter was married and had children and his wife suffered martyrdom. Pope Clement I wrote: “For Peter and Philip begat children”.

        On the other hand, in Luke 18:28-30 Jesus responds to Peter’s statement that he and the other disciples had left all and followed him by promising a great reward to anyone who has left wife (etc.) for the sake of the kingdom of God.

        In 1 Corinthians 7:8 Paul the Apostle indicates that he was unmarried: either single or a widower. In 1 Corinthians 9:5 he contrasts his situation with that of the other apostles, including Peter, who were accompanied by believing wives. Martin Luther held that the “loyal yokefellow” of Philippians 4:3 was Paul’s wife, a view that is not without difficulties. An idea already found in Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History Book III, Chapter 30 says Paul did not take his wife about with him “that he might not be inconvenienced in his ministry”.

        Some hold that married men who became clergy were expected to live in complete continence, refraining permanently from sexual relations with their wives. They also conclude that, because of the exclusion of sexual relations, the members of the clergy were even then not entitled to marry.

        George T. Dennis SJ of Catholic University of America insists “There is simply no clear evidence of a general tradition or practice, much less of an obligation, of priestly celibacy-continence before the beginning of the fourth century” Peter Fink SJ agrees, saying that underlying premises used in the book, Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy, “would not stand up so comfortably to historical scrutiny”. Dennis says this book provides no evidence that celibacy had apostolic origins.

        I experienced the results of celibacy with the Catholic nuns who taught me. But instead of sexually molesting me they beat the crap out of me with their canes. That is, until I grew big enough in my last year of primary school to take the cane off one particularly cruel bitch and break it into pieces as I warned her never to use the cane on any of us again. At the same school, I also witnessed our cigarette smoking, gambling on horses, alcoholic Irish priest tie the school bully to a pole in the school yard and whip him with a stock whip. He did this in front of the whole school, small children included. Again, I say this madness was caused by the celibacy the priest was forced to endure. The fact is, when you impose restrictions on human nature, as celibacy does, then you end up creating a situation ripe for mental illness.

        So my question to you is, if celibacy was not mandated by Jesus, why have the Popes insisted on it for so long, and especially these days, when it so obviously creates a situation where sexually frustrated nuns and priests are driven to molesting children?

        And please do not say, “Oh dear” again. That is not a valid answer.

        • Mike,

          First, I’m not Roman Catholic. I am, for the record, United Methodist, although I do tend to be more Catholic than not.

          Second, I am convinced that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and through His Cross, all will access the Father.

          “The Bible says” is a defense only those who don’t actually understand Scripture use. Surely, Mike, being educated as you are, know Scripture, how to use it and what’s more, how silly it is to proof-text anything. Would you only take a portion of an instruction manual and attempt construction?

          I am sorry about the story you relate, Mike, and I don’t personally agree with celibacy. As a matter of fact, just the opposite.

          However, celibacy doesn’t have the place of doctrine. Instead, it originates from the time of Pope Gregory the Great who saw Catholics Priests using their priesthood wrongly, creating heirships, etc… Celibacy, in my opinion, was an ideal state for those who wish to serve Christ through the Church so as not to create political imbalances and allow the Church to be used to support bloodlines.

          As you know, even the best intentions aren’t always successful, but for the most part, and it is the most part, the issue of celibacy has worked. I do believe that it needs to be revisited in this modern age, but I am not Catholic.

  5. Ok, Joel. You are not a Catholic, but a member of an offshoot of the first Christian sect, Catholicism, and you ‘do tend to be more Catholic than not’, whatever that means. You say you are ‘convinced that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and through His Cross, all will access the Father.’ Just what does that mean? What has the cross got to do with believing in a god? I don’t see it. Nor have you provided any evidence of the Truth. Just what is the Truth Joel? As for Life? We are living it. I live for today, and I plan for the future, as I learn from the past.

    To me, I see Joel as a lost soul basing his life on a book and a set of rules written centuries ago. It is not relevant to today’s realities. We know that the earth circles the sun. We know that the world is not flat. Yet the people who wrote the bible and set the rules for church behavior did not know these things, and when they were presented with the reality they tried hard to deny the Truth. So just what is your Truth Joel?

    Of course I refer to the bible. Don’t try and throw that old accusation at me that I am descending to using it, when christians always refer to the bible when confronted with reality. The bible is your ‘holy book’, just as the koran is the holy book of the muslims and the upanishads are the holy books of the hindus. Each of these books was written at times when man did not have the scientific knowledge we have today. The muslims and jews will not eat pork because it is ‘unclean’, but that was only because they didn’t have the knowledge or technology to keep the meat clean and edible back then. To carry that stricture over into our modern life just shows that they are hidebound by tradition and not by logic — nothing to do with believing in a god. So when I refer to your bible I am also showing how illogical it is to continue to live to moral and social codes that were written so many ages ago. That is why I pointed out the ridiculous parts of it to you. If you can’t live your life without referring to a ‘social manual’ written by ignorant sheep herders and priests who wanted to control every aspect of the lives of their adherents, then you have a problem.

    But you are right. Discussing the bible is pointless, simply because so many people pay only lip service to it anyway, or resort to quoting scripture when faced with truth and reality. But that is a two-edged sword. We atheists can also point to so many inconsistencies in the bible that it must really bend your brain when confronted with the real Truth.

    So we come down to the question of your belief. You claim you believe in god, but you have not provided any proof of his/her existence, other than your ‘faith’. I’m sorry, but I would not base my life on that kind of faith. I have faith that the tunnel an underground train will not collapse on me because engineers have worked hard to design it so that it is strong enough to withstand the pressures put on it. We are all taught to have faith in our politicians, yet they have shown time and again that a large number of them cannot be trusted. They are men/women, after all and subject to all the weaknesses we are all prone to. Just as the men who lead churches are prone to the same weaknesses. So if you want to go about claiming that you have the ultimate truth, then the onus is on you to prove it.

    One of the things I like about Buddhist thought is that the Buddha taught us to think for ourselves and that we are all responsible for our own lives. We can be happy. We can be miserable. It all depends on our approach to LIFE (not some mythical being, a god), and how we live our lives.

    You see, I don’t believe there are any gods. I arrived at this conclusion after much thought and research. I have read a lot of the ‘holy books’, although I have not read the upanishads in full. However, one doesn’t have to read them all to understand that they all say much the same thing, and that can be distilled down to: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Everything else is just dross.

    So, just what is it you think you are going to achieve by publishing this blog, when you won’t provide any proof. You are just blowing smoke in the wind.

    • Mike, do you actually want to engage about what these things mean, or will you simply continue to view everything through your own lens?

      Mike, if you think Truth is limited to a visual reaction to seeing the sun rise, then I suspect you don’t really know what philosophy is.

      I love this idea of ‘scientific knowledge.’ Again, this simply means you don’t know what philosophy is.

      Further, you can’t even take my words and not twist them. You seem to be using nothing but talking points, Mike, and tired ones at that.

      I love this “The Buddha taught us to think for ourselves.” That’s, um, illogical.

      I’m so glad you’ve come to your conclusion by your own studies and your own perception; however, it doesn’t hold water.

      Again, I note that you are using talking point. When you really want to discuss something, please let me know.

    • Oh, and the Buddha didn’t exist. No proof. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence that you actually exist.

      • If you want to talk about the existence of the Buddha and Jesus, let’s examine a few facts. There is plenty of documentary evidence that Buddha actually existed. Where is the proof that Jesus existed? There is NONE.

        The bible says Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem because the Romans were conducting a census. But there is not one single Roman record that a census was held at the time the bible says. Nor is there any proof that Jesus existed. In fact, the Romans are well known for keeping meticulous records, yet there is not a single record saying that Jesus was tried and executed. Not one!

        If you cannot engage in discussion without throwing silly accusations at me then please refrain. I have quoted passages from the bible at you showing exactly what it says, yet you refuse to acknowledge this. You have not tried to explain a single statement you have made, nor have you provided any proof to back up your assertions. In short, it is YOU who keeps resorting to ‘talking points’ and accusations.

        I am disappointed Joel. It makes me wonder just who wrote the original blog on this page. From the look of your debating skills I seriously doubt you did.

        If you want me to take you seriously, give me some topics to discuss. But when you do, please provide some serious proof of what you say. Otherwise, we are wasting our time here.

        • First, you are getting a few things wrong. There is record of a census. The Romans kept records, but not so detailed as you would like to think.

          What statements would you like me to prove?

          • “no historical sources mention a worldwide or even a Roman-controlled world census which would cover the population as a whole; those of Augustus covered Roman citizens only;[18] and it was not the practice in Roman censuses to require people to return to their ancestral homes.[19]” Follow the references from Wikipedia and you’ll see that there was no census as described in Luke. The star of Bethlehem is not documented by any astronomers. The sky darkening to black after Jesus’ death is not documented by any historians. The dead people coming to life described in Matthew 27:52 is not documented by historians. In fact, nothing about Jesus is documented by historians or bureaucrats who wrote during his lifetime.

          • Oh my… Why is it the fundamentalists are the same, whether they believe in God or not?

  6. Paul, forget trying to have an intelligent discussion with Joel. Every time we make a valid point all he can say is, “Oh my!”. Remember that saying, “If you argue with a fool, you’ll become a fool just like them, and you’ll make a fool of yourself!”

    I won’t be bothering any more.

  7. That’s right Joel. I did take the time to look up my facts. So I take it you think it is ok to hold a discussion and rely on ‘faith’ and ‘holy writ’ to back you up?

    Obviously, we are wasting our time trying to hold an intelligent discussion with you. I’m out of here!

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