Christianity was created and defined by men in closed-door meetings. Below is a chronology of some important Councils which gave us the version of Christianity that we know today:
Council of Elvira (304) was the first written mandate requiring priests to be celibate. It also made laws with maintained the separation of Jews and Christians. E.g. Christians cannot marry or share meals with Jews. Jews cannot bless Christian crops, etc. etc.
First Council of Nicaea (325) repudiated Arianism, declared that Christ is “homoousios with the Father” (of the same substance as the Father), adopted the original Nicene Creed, fixed Easter date and rejected a ban on priests marrying.
These pesky Arians logically believed that Jesus and the Father are separate entities, where the Father made the Son. The Arians appealed to scripture, quoting verses such as John 14:28: “the Father is greater than I”, and also Colossians 1:15: “Firstborn of all creation.”
The counter argument quoted scriptures such as: “I and the Father are one”; John 10:30 and “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”; John 17:21.
Apparently, neither Jesus nor God understood their exact relationship, hence man voted and decided for them!
This is where we get the idea that Christ is “begotten, not made”, asserting that he was not a mere creature, brought into being out of nothing, but the true Son of God, brought into being “from the substance of the Father”
The Easter date arrangement was basically just a plot to separate themselves from the Jews. Christians thought their calendar was flawed and decided to create their own.
The Nicene creed is just some weird document that codified these decisions plus added a few interesting things such as worshiping ghosts and stuff.
Not content with the Arians that were still hanging around and a slew of other discrepancies regarding the nature of Christ, Christians decided to create another council to refine Christianity.
First Council of Constantinople (381) repudiated Arianism (again) and Macedonianism (these people apparently did no agree with the idea of worshiping ghosts), declared that Christ is “born of the Father before all time”, revised the Nicene Creed in regard to the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.
Council of Ephesus (431) repudiated Nestorianism, proclaimed the Virgin Mary as the Theotokos (“Birth-giver to God”, “God-bearer”, “Mother of God”), repudiated Pelagianism, and reaffirmed the Nicene Creed (for a third time).
A brief definition of Nestorian Christology can be given as: “Jesus Christ, who is not identical with the Son but personally united with the Son, who lives in him, is one hypostasis and one nature: human.”
Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid. This, of course, didn’t make any sense because in the Christian mind, we are all sinners.
Council of Chalcedon (451) repudiated monophysitism, adopted the Chalcedonian Creed, which described the hypostatic union of the two natures of Christ, human and divine. Monophysites believed that the two natures can be combined into a single and separate nature. As you can see, it’s been almost 500 years since Christ’s death and no one still has any idea who or what Jesus was.
There was a quick change of the guard, some people were deposed for their views and replaced with friends. Politics as usual.
Second Council of Constantinople (553) was called to resolve the same conflict now running a few hundred years. The purpose was to make plain the hypostatic union of Christ as two natures, one divine and one human, united in one person with neither confusion nor division. All other views are heretical (god-dammit!).
The Virgin Mary could not be called the Mother of God (theotokos) but only the mother of Christ (Christotokos) — which was apparently OK at the ecumenical council of Ephesus in 431, but not anymore.
Third Council of Constantinople (680–681) now said that Christ had 2 energies (they couldn’t define this) and 2 wills (divine and human). They rejected those wacky ideas of Monothelitism and Monoenergism which said the while Christ had 2 energies, he only 1 will. They burned for this heresy!
Second Council of Nicaea (787) restored the veneration of icons (condemned at the Council of Hieria, 754) and repudiated iconoclasm (to oppose religious images).
There is an interesting theory on why the Eastern church moved in and out of the veneration of icons. The Muslems were extraordinarily successful in almost everything they did. They, of course, forbade religious imagery. The Eastern Church noticed and implemented the same practice, much to the dismay of the western church and it’s wealthier members.
As you can see, we’re now running at almost 900 years just to decide what Christ really was. The key word is “decide”, for it was human beings that gave the definition of Christ to the world.
Now, there are a few dozen more of these meetings before we get to the present, but I’ll just cover the more important ones. Most of them have to do with land grabs, excommunication of political rivals, power, etc. What else is religion good for?
First Council of the Lateran (1123) is particularly interesting. It sought to consolidate church power within religious authorities only. The Holy Roman Emperor or any other secular institution shall no longer have a say in the Church.
Also, Clerics in major orders may not marry, and marriages already contracted must be dissolved (remember the Council of Elvira in 304?). This law is still followed my many priests today. It was revived to avoid inheritance claims to property or money by a priests’s spouse or child. Business as usual…
Second Council of the Lateran (1139) asked bishops and other holy man to dress modestly and to not cause a scandal by wearing ostentatious clothes. As you can see by the Pope’s gold hat, designer shoes, and gold staff, this obviously does not apply to him.
Third Council of the Lateran (1179) restricted papal election to the cardinals with a 2/3 vote. Of note: This is why Popes like to appoint as many cardinals as they can during their reign, so that they would vote for a Pope with similar views once the current Pope leaves office.
Interestingly enough, it forbade the charging of money to conduct burials, bless a marriage or indeed the celebration of any of the sacraments. Try going to a church now to perform any of these for free. They will literally show you the door.
In addition, it forbade the church from being taxed without the consent of…wait for it…the church!!!
Another gem in this council was the excommunication of those who engage in usury (the charging of interest on loans). For better or for worse, this forced banking activities into the hands of Jews.
Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) was known as the “Great Council”. It said that the bread and wine in mass was literally the body and blood of Christ, a.k.a. Transubstantiation. It is NOT merely a sign or a figure.
Every Christian must confess at least once a year and ordered Jews and Muslims to wear a special dress to enable them to be distinguished from Christians. How nice of them!
First Council of Lyon (1245) asked cardinals to wear those silly red hats.
Second Council of Lyon (1274) attempted to end the Great Schism and reunite the Western and Eastern churches. It didn’t work.
Council of Vienne (1311–1312) disbanded the Knights Templar created in the First Crusade in 1096. They were making too much money and holding too much land in the eyes of a few important people.
Interestingly, there were a number Popes holding office at the same time. They’ve been fighting for years and would continue fighting for another hundred or so years until there was only 1…like a twisted episode of Highlander, only much more bloody. You would think that if they could actually communicate with God this wouldn’t be an issue. Sadly, none can speak to God. Instead, they profess to speak to God to attain power. What other reason can you possibly have for the schism?
In 1302, Pope Boniface VIII’s arrogance reached megalomaniac heights. He issued a bill, entitled “Unam Sanctum”, in which he made the most imperiously possible claim to being superior to all Christian rulers, and to be, in effect, ruler of the Earth, responsible only to God!
Council of Basel, Ferrara and Florence (1431–1445) echoed this master of the world mentality by clarifying for the world the dogma of papal supremacy:
“We likewise define that the holy Apostolic See, and the Roman Pontiff, hold the primacy throughout the entire world; and that the Roman Pontiff himself is the successor of blessed Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and the true vicar of Christ, and that he is the head of the entire Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and that full power was given to him in blessed Peter by our Lord Jesus Christ, to feed, rule, and govern the universal Church.”
Fifth Council of the Lateran (1512–1517) required the approval of the local bishop before a book could be printed.
Council of Trent (1545–63) repudiated Protestants (which didn’t lead to thousands and thousands dead during Europe’s wars of religion from 1524-1648).
This council also defined Church teachings in the areas of Scripture and Tradition, Original Sin, Justification, Sacraments, the Eucharist in Holy Mass and the veneration of saints. In all, 17 dogmatic decrees came out of this council. Basically everything we know about the Catholic religion today was finalized at this council.
First Council of the Vatican (1870) made the Pope infallible, meaning that he can never be wrong! The audacity of the Church has no bounds.
Luckily for us, this Council was cut short when the Italian Army entered the city of Rome at the end of Italian unification. Who know’s what other crazy things would come out of this meeting.
Second Council of the Vatican (1962–1965) was a response to the modern world that was quickly leaving the Church behind. In business, if you you don’t adapt to your new environment, you will soon find yourself out of business. The Church recognized this right away and made some adjustments.
The Council decided to allow the Liturgy to be conducted in whatever language the practitioners spoke. Mass can now be conducted in languages other then Latin.
To their credit, they FINALLY saw to it that the Jews were no longer blamed for the death of Christ. It had only been 2,000 or so years overdue.
Also, in an unusual humanitarian gesture, it proclaimed that “Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation.”
After almost 2,000 years of internal fighting, they finally decided that killing and destroying is wrong. Hallelujah!!!
As you can see, everything we know about Christianity was decided in meetings by men. From the nature of Christ himself to the way you should worship him. From the words you recite during prayer to the Eucharist in Holy Mass. From Mother Mary’s status to original sin.
Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was decided in a meeting by very mortal and very flawed men!
The Christian Church is a complete fraud.