Roman (Catholic) Catholicism is a form of Christianity that was founded at the First Ecumenical Council (325 AD), which was convened by Roman Emperor Constantine.
There were subsequent Councils that further defined, consolidated and formalized Roman Catholic doctrine and theology as the faith spread throughout Europe. Accordingly, Roman Catholic (Christian) monarchs were the rulers of the respective countries that constituted Western Europe. Roman Catholic monarchs ruled Europe from the 4th until the 16th century, and advent of the Protestant Reformation. In the wake of the successful religious reformation, Christianity in the western hemisphere bifurcated between Catholics and Protestants. Hence, a Catholic and Protestant dynamic became the subtext and backstory in the popular history of Western Europe, New World development and expansion.
Prior to the advent of Roman Catholicism, Christianity was represented in the framework of Oriental Orthodox tradition, A/K/A Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Communion of Churches includes, Syrian Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, among others. This diverse Christian community was among the earliest Christians, and they represented the persecuted Christians that lived under the realm of the Roman Empire, during the first 300 years prior to the Catholic dispensation. Prior to the advent of Roman Catholicism, the Christian faith (Eastern Orthodox Christians) community was diverse and eclectic.
The effect of the First Ecumenical Council consolidated the Christian faith under the domination of the Roman Catholic Church. The First Ecumenical Council was consequential to world Christianity because the Orthodox bishops that did not embrace the domination of Roman were excommunicated from the proceedings of the first Council, and all future ecumenical councils. Hence, history records that an “east vs. west schism” developed that ultimately divided the Roman Catholic Church from the Eastern Orthodox group of churches.
While there is much irony associated with the fact that Roman Empire Constantine, a neophyte Christian, was somehow able to convene the bishops representing world Christianity, and convinced them to sign-on to Roman Catholic domination. Be that as it may, history records parallel accounts of the procession of the Christian faith in the east as well as in the west. As a practical matter those of us that hail from the western hemisphere are exposed to Judeo-Christianity in the context of Roman Catholicism and respective Protestant denominations, primarily. Interestingly enough, the discovery of the New World in the 15th century was embroidered with by the unfolding Catholic vs. Protestant religious dynamic. And in particular the founding of America during the 16th century was a Protestant enterprise, by way of the Puritan sect. Although the centuries have witnessed egregious brutality originating from both sides (Catholic and Protestant), some Catholic ideas were grandfathered into the Protestant religion. Additionally, the Protestant “America” experiment incorporated in the United States Constitution, Roman Catholic international law vis-à-vis, Article one, Section eight (Law of Nations). Therefore, elements of both Catholic and Protestant moral sensibilities and ideas reside as a subtext and backdrop of the United States Constitution.
The “America” project is unique to the world in various ways and the America concept pioneered a new paradigm in the nature and organization of nation states, governance, human relations and affairs, for example. Prior to the advent of America, European nation states were governed by a theocracy in the framework of Roman Catholic monarchs. On the other hand, Protestant America was established in the context of a secular government with the operative principle of a separation between church and state.
Moreover, the America government system is comprised of three coequal branches including legislative, executive and judicial, therefore the United States of America established a truly unique new type of nation state. And while America has a secular government, she boosts vociferously her Judeo-Christian founding ethic to the world. Also, the uniqueness of America includes “religious tolerance” which is broadly promoted as a universal objective, if not a moral obligation. Accordingly, many Americans as well as others represent America as a Christian country, in terms of social morals, and philosophical thrust.
Currently, the secular model of government tailored to the specific needs of nation states is vogue in much of the world today, as populations in countries around the world are increasingly pursuing “democratic” reforms. There is the popular perception in many parts of the world that “democratization” is a progressive political objective, and in some quarters, democracy is promoted as a panacea…
On the other hand, some argue that the idea of democracy, as it is popularly defined, is a term of art that is too loosely defined. They observe that the definition of democracy is similar to beauty… And just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, democracy is also in the eyes of the beholder. Needless to say, we don’t intend to explore the various renditions of “democracy” in this essay. However, we observe that there are some nation states define their democracies in various ways. There are one party democracy’s, social-democracies, religious democracy’s, military democracy’s, among other variations. And as a political matter of fact America is a constitutional republic and is not a democracy, as per the founding documents…
Currently, America and Western European have 5 centuries of secular government under their respective belts roughly. Although there are many emerging democracies, the majority of people in the world continue to live under a theocratic form of government. The most prominent theocracy governing in the world today is the religion of Islam, but other predominantly Islamic countries have secular governments. Christianity and Islam are the most popular religions in the world and their respective dominance will remain for the foreseeable future.
Any cursory examination of history relative to the two religions will reveal centuries of adversarial relationships between Christians and Muslims, shedding each-others blood from ancient times until currently. The unfolding adversarial relationship threatens a world-wide conflagration in secular terms, and from a religious standpoint it portends end-times eschatology and apocalyptic biblical implications. As some find it easy to draw odious conclusions concerning the near future, a coherent understanding of history relative to the advent of Christianity and Islam, and their dynamic interface is elusive. On the other hand, the popular historical narrative is uninformed from both conventional religious perspectives. It is timely and propitious to examine both Christianity and Islam in the framework of their organic relationship as religions of Abraham.
IN PART TWO WE WILL OFFER A BASIC EXAMINATION OF THE HISTORICAL PROCESSION OF CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM…
For a broad reference visit www.BalthazarMonastery.comMaterial is accessible, but please know that the site is having a major facelift that will be complete in from 4 to 6 months. Stay tuned…
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