As the Roman Empire collapsed, disorder increased. Civilization requires order, and Europeans were well past the point where they could live simply. So, a new order came into being, an alliance between the Roman Catholic Church and powerful aristocrats—royalty. At this point, the only relationship Christianity had with Christ was philological. The Church was corrupt, as were the royals. Real principles are acquired only through diligent honesty and fairness. You can’t be a massive egotist and have principles. The royals depended on the Church to help keep their subjects in line through fear of damnation. The Church was riddled with superstition, and to maintain the illusion of omniscience, they insisted that people believe their nonsense. But as European civilization developed, it kept discovering contradictions between reality and what the Church taught. General dissatisfaction was also growing with the royals who were oppressive and owned pretty much everything. Rule by hereditary monarchy seemed arbitrary. The rising merchant classes, necessary to the royals, resented having their freedom impinged on. More and more opposition arose to the alliance between the church and the royals. Some people started saying that human beings should be guided solely by what’s actually true, and that the way to discover what’s true is through the power of pure reason. Which brings us to the beginnings of our modern age.
I want to say something about what I’ve been doing here. I’m quite aware that I’m making sweeping generalizations, some of which are not controversial at all (the Church was riddled with superstition) and some of which, given the way most of us understand our history, require a great deal of explanation (Jesus was a sage and in no way different than Buddha). I intend to get back to the ideas that are at variance with general, long-held understandings. But my chief aim here has been to deliver a nutshell version of what I believe we’ve been through to get to these here modern times. I know it bugs a lot of people to have to deal with Jesus in any way, shape, or form. Am I some kind of Jesus freak, or what? No. But we need to come to a clearer understanding of who he is/was. One other reason for these abbreviated essays—the main reason—is that I have two other projects going, both of which are major, and I have to give them most of my energy. But the things I’m trying to deal with in this blog have been festering for quite some time. To the degree that I can, I want to get them off my chest, to start learning how to talk about them.