Paul Budde's History Archives

Spirituality hijacked by the vested interests

To increase the grip on people – both spirituality and physically – the rulers needed to control the scarce historical information on the persons at the core of the new religions. Their lives and personalities were embellished, extended, and interpreted by the ruling class in a way that further increased their power and wealth.

The turning point for Christianity came when the Roman Emperor Constantine made it the state religion. They used the religion to suit this new situation – and strengthened it where it assisted their authority.

As the Christian religion became more entrenched it developed their own power-strengthening tools. They did this through the creation of dogmas. For that purpose, concepts such ‘son of God’, the Trinity, the Virgin birth, Original Sin, Ascension and Papal Infallibility, were introduced. They became dominant religious issues totally overshadowing the original or core spiritual beliefs. This allowed them to enforce their interpretations of religion on society and the way people should behave. Because of the close integration of state and religion. These dogmas became enforceable by the secular powers.

This strong intertwined relationship between church and state made it very difficult for people who wanted to make changes. There were many that tried such as John Wycliffe around 1350, and Jan Hus some 50 year later, but it was finally Martin Luther who was able to make the breakthrough. It was the protesters (Protestants) during Reformation who became the main drivers of change. This new progressiveness also paved the way for the Enlightenment. Science through experimentation emerged and started to provide answers based on facts rather than on faith. The monotheistic religious authorities and institutions heavily protested and tried to stop these developments but were losing the battle. Some of the ultra-orthodox institutions across these religions are still heavily resisting these new developments.

Religious battles