ADVANTAGES

The New Testament gives evidence for such a belief. From age 12 to 30, there is about what Jesus was doing with his life. More than half of Jesus's life is missing. It vanished.My mystical sources have long told me that the Council of Nicea was where much of Jesus's life was "weeded out" of the New Testament. That was partly because he spent those "lost" years traveling the world on his spiritual pilgrimage. He attained his enlightenment outside the Roman Empire and gained valuable insights from Buddhaic and Hindu masters of the East, with their ideas of reincarnation and other ideas that were unacceptable to the imperial religion.Thusly did Jesus's life and teachings make it to the big time, although what it became was probably nearly unrecognizable to Jesus. Yet, in its core, it was still about love. The Roman Empire's adoption of Christianity was not as easy as Constantine may have hoped. His successors fought for years over the Christianity issue, Christianity and Paganism went at it tooth-and-nail at times, and Christianity prevailed. In the end, Christianity adopted many Pagan rites, partly to market it, which further altered Christianity.There is only one word worth remembering about Jesus's life: love. Using ancient teachings to justify judging, killing, punishing, or oppressing people is not enlightened. It is not what one believes that gets them into “heaven,” so much as . religions are corrupted, not just Christianity. The Dalai Lama may have said it best when he said, "My religion is kindness."Regarding holy words, it is instructive to recall that neither Jesus nor Buddha left behind any writings. Spiritual teachings have stated that when the master has left earthly life behind, the teaching is finished, and any writings left behind belong to the realm of philosophical literature, not the basis of religions. Jesus and Buddha cannot have believed much in the holiness of written words if they did not leave any behind.Early Christians persecuted and killed, which was typical in those days. The Coliseum, along with other arenas around the empire, was the site of constant bloodbaths. The Roman equivalent of going to the movies was going to the arenas and watching staged battles, put on for the masses' entertainment, which was a tradition that lasted for about a millennium in that region. The prime attraction at the arenas was gladiatorial combat. Originally an Etruscan funerary rite, gladiatorial combat developed into the Roman Empire’s primary entertainment. Gladiators were one of many slave classes in the Roman Empire, which meant that they were people conquered and captured by Rome's armies. They were trained for battle in the arena. One-on-one combat was most common, but group battles could become extravaganzas. Augustus Caesar once had 10,000 men fight each other in eight battles. The battles were usually to the death.Roman historian Michael Grant noted that history's "two most quantitatively destructive institutions are Nazism and the Roman gladiators." Modern estimates are that at . Any appreciative musings about Roman achievements in the area of law, architecture, economics, and other "advances" of civilization need to be tempered by considering the unparalleled evil of forcing people to murder each other for . The Romans themselves were not too proud of that form of entertainment, as imperial Roman coinage, which depicted all manner of Roman life and culture, never portrayed gladiatorial combat.The thumbs up, thumbs down gesture came from those times, when a gladiator might be spared if he fought valiantly enough. So the audience would not become bored, the events were creative. People fought lions, tigers, and bulls. Fights were staged with lion against tiger, elephant against rhinoceros, and bear against water buffalo. Other novel offerings were dwarves and cripples against women. The Coliseum could be filled with water for naval battles. A gladiator was nearly always doomed to an eventual death in the arena, although many killed themselves first. If a gladiator became the day's "hero," he would be showered with gifts and applause, only to go into battle the next day. Sometimes it was declared that no warrior would be allowed to survive the day, and every one would have to fight to the death. Few survived long enough to "retire." That was the favored of the day. Criminals and Christians were among those condemned to die in the arena. Few Romans ever complained or questioned the nature of that entertainment. In those times, cruelty and bloodshed was equated with fun. The crueler that a spectacle was, the more that the crowd liked it.The spread of Christianity is generally credited with the end of gladiatorial combat, although it was far from an immediate effect. Emperor Constantine, who made Christianity the state religion, issued an edict forbidding gladiatorial combat in 326 CE, the year after the Nicean Council, but never enforced the order. Constantine was hardly a "good Christian," having both his wife and son executed, and his wife by boiling her. Constantine staged some of the gorier spectacles that ever graced the Coliseum. For Constantine, Christianity was a strictly political matter. In 404 CE, a Christian monk from Asia Minor apparently leapt into the arena to try separating the combatants, and the enraged crowd tore the man to pieces. Gladiatorial combat was not finally abolished until 681 CE.The earliest Christians were Jews, and Rome considered Christians to be a Jewish sect. By 212 CE, Jews became imperial citizens, and their life was as good as the times could dictate, until Constantine made Christianity into the state religion in 325 CE. Then Jews began a hard ride. Although the Christian hierarchy at the time did not advocate anti-Jew violence, Christian mobs regularly burned down synagogues. Babylonia, outside of Christian and Roman influence, became the center of Judaism by 300 CE. Pagans were being wiped out too, even while Christianity appropriated many of their customs. Christian intolerance replaced the laissez faire spirituality that characterized pre-Christian RomePower corrupts, and as the Christian church became more powerful, pagans and Mosaic Law Jews paid heavily. Constantine's ploy was not very successful, as the .Jews were dispersed across the Roman Empire and further, and when the Empire collapsed, the Catholic Church became Europe’s unifying institution. It was a different kind of Roman Empire. For all of its spectacular failures and the great evils that it would eventually wreak on its subjects, the Catholic Church may have helped hold European civilization together for the next 500 years.As the Catholic Church gained in strength as the state church, it became increasingly bigoted and racist. Although three early popes were black Africans (Miltiades, Victor 1, and Gelasius 1; saints Augustine and Benedict were also black) the Church became decidedly racist, and Vatican artists later "whited out" those African popes and saints.

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