Correction of the History of the Council of Nicea
Copyright 2009, John Manimas Medeiros
The purpose of this essay is to correct world history and add information that has been erased and deliberately discarded by authoritarians whose intent has been to conceal the truth. The purpose of this essay is to restore, to restore the historical truth about what occurred at the Council of Nicea. How do I possess the ability to offer to change history without reference to a particular artifact or document? Because I have a unique viewpoint and a kind of insight that enables me to complete the puzzle of history even though pieces are missing. I sometimes find the missing pieces.
The Council of Nicea as it is known:
Identified by historians as first meeting in 325 (Julian Calendar?) and sponsored by the Emperor Constantine, the Council of Nicea is known as the source of the Nicene Creed, a prayer that summarizes the allegedly unifying and required doctrines of Christianity. Later in world history, the Nicene Creed is viewed as a summary statement of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, and distinguishing Roman Catholics and Roman Catholic beliefs from other Christian groups and institutions, such as the Eastern Orthodox, the Coptic Church in Ethiopia, and later the Reformation or Protestant Christian Churches, which either opposed some of the doctrines of the Nicene Creed, or modified them, and re-evaluated the Council of Nicea more as the establishment of an alliance between The State (the Roman Empire) and The Church (the assembly of Christian bishops) who constituted themselves as the authorities on the subject matter of what is accurate Christian belief and doctrine.
The Council of Nicea, and what is probably the most important Christian concept that was almost unanimously rejected by the Council of Nicea, Arianism, are both described in Wikipedia and on many other websites and printed books. Arianism is often described as the belief that Jesus was human, or simply human like any other man or woman. The ancient Gnostics are also described as a religious group that believed in the cosmic significance of Christ's ministry and the content of his teaching, but the Gnostics also are described as believing that Jesus was a human teacher who was inhabited or inspired by the spirit of God, or by the "Holy Spirit," and who therefore brought important esoteric or secret knowledge to the humans on Earth.
There is an extremely important reality to keep in mind when studying and evaluating this history, which is not only Christian history and Roman history and Mediterranean history, but of course world history and "ancient" history. It must be interpreted and it is subject to the flaws of human character. It was transmitted orally and written by individuals who had a viewpoint, and who interpreted as they transmitted or transcribed. Most sources will acknowledge that our information about Arianism, the Christian beliefs taught by Arius in Alexandria, Egypt, comes from those who opposed those beliefs, and therefore the historical descriptions we have are suspect. Most historians would most likely acknowledge that the viewpoint that Arianism defined Jesus Christ as human as more or less acceptable, although the accounts we have suggest something more subtle and complex, in that the Arians are alleged to have defined Jesus as "begotten," meaning that he did not always exist, as God has always existed, but was born and was physically and spiritually inferior to God the Father and not equal to Him. This level of religious doctrine quickly becomes arcane and obscure and prone to intellectual or imagined detail that is distinct from and irrelevant to the more down-to-earth matters such as what is right and wrong and how does a Christian live and how does a Christian behave. For this reason, the Council of Nicea is often treated as something of interest only to history scholars, and people who live in ivory towers, or those who want to argue endlessly about whether there is one Christian Church or many.
Reviewing the "fall" of the Roman Empire:
Whatever may be one's interpretation of the Council of Nicea, it cannot be seriously dismissed as an insignificant or unimportant event. It is accepted universally or nearly universally as the conference that was assigned the task, by the Roman Emperor Constantine, to bring to an end all of the many versions of Christian beliefs that existed in the ancient world, in particular in what we today call the "Middle East" and including modern Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Ethiopia and most of Europe all the way to Great Britain. Interestingly, Great Britain, or England, was not represented at the Council of Nicea. This is most interesting because centuries later the Church of England was established as a Christian Church that did not recognize the doctrinal authority of the Pope of Rome, later defined as the separate state called "Vatican City." The identified purpose of the Council of Nicea was to adopt a set of beliefs or doctrines that would define the Christian religion and eliminate the many factions and internal disputes that existed at that time, all over the Mediterranean or "Roman" world, in the year 325. This distillation or restriction and closure on the proper beliefs of the Christian religion was also deemed by most historians as the consummation of an alliance of some type between the Emperor Constantine, or of the Roman Empire, and the Christian Church. The activities of the Council of Nicea coincide with the decisions and declarations of the Emperor Constantine that made the Christian religion the state-sponsored religion of all of the Roman Empire. The Emperor and the Council participants designated the newly "united" church as the "catholic" or universal church. This was new.
Roman theocracy replaced local freedom of religion and culture:
It is often not stated that the Council of Nicea produced a dramatic deviation from the Roman past. Some historians have stated that the Christian religion is the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire, which is said to have been a gradual process of course, but more or less finished by the year 576. A more accurate assessment of the relationship between Christian religion and Rome is that Rome had practiced religious tolerance, or a separation of church and state, for centuries, and this practice is deemed by most historians to have been a key policy that sustained Roman success. Because the central authority of the Roman Senate and People did not impose any religion on the territories they conquered or controlled, every religious group experienced religious freedom. Any district or tribe or province within the Roman Empire was allowed to practice their local religion, within reason, so long as they agreed that the Roman government imposed legitimate taxes. In exchange for a satisfactory measure of loyalty to Roman authority and Roman law, Rome would employ its military power to control the roads and the seas and waterways to make the empire safe for commerce. The Roman Empire was therefore a political and economic arrangement, a kind of treaty. Most "conquered" peoples in the empire did not truly submit to or join Roman society, they agreed to the economic and military terms: protection of commerce in exchange for a cessation of hostilities. If we think of the Roman Empire as a corporation, every sub-sector of the Empire was an ally that was more like an affiliate rather than a member. The true relationship of each province to Rome was not incorporation, but cooperation; alliance, not union. Rome provided a service in exchange for the Roman imposed peace or "Pax Romana." Therefore, it makes more sense to say that the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire was the creation of the Roman Catholic theocracy, the change in imperial policy from freedom of religion to imposition of a "universal" religion on all those whose territories were deemed to fall within the boundaries of the empire. This imposition of the Catholic religion was the change that insulted the dignity of every tribal, ethnic, religious or cultural entity that had previously agreed to affiliation with Rome but on condition of retaining freedom of religion and local customs. With the imposition by the central authority of Rome of one religion over all, creating a theocracy in place of a military and economic cooperative, the corrosion of loyalty to Rome began. The feelings of the people about Roman power and authority naturally changed because Rome had changed the deal after the handshake.
From the old Roman World to the New World (that is not new):
The provinces and the people throughout the Mediterranean World were no longer free to practice their own religion or keep their local customs. The abolition of local religions was not instantaneous, of course, but it had begun. The largest and most influential entities, the Celts, the Berbers and the Gnostics and Goths would not submit and would play a major role in the gradual deterioration of Roman military and economic power. Outsiders such as the Huns and Mongols would deliver damaging blows to the Christian theocracy in Europe, and later the Sword of Islam and the Ottomans. As the Roman power, then Roman Catholic power, crumbled through the "Middle Ages," the authoritarian church hierarchy desperately resorted to using the allied state institutions to punish their opposition and all dissenters. Every disagreement with the Roman Church, beliefs both old and new, were met with diverse and disturbed methods of torture and execution. Every act of personal religious freedom was defined as "heresy" and punishable. Science and scientific experimentation were defined as heresy. The Church claimed a form of authority that was "total" over both religion and physical science; hence: "totalitarianism." Some died for their free expression, others hid and ran away and practiced their religious freedom in dangerous secrecy. Some Protestants became as authoritarian as the Catholics, and eventually those who most fervently desired religious and cultural freedom ran away to "the New World." The fall of the Roman Empire, as well as the history of the Christian Church, is a history of freedom of religion versus theocracy.
What was erased from the Council of Nicea?:
How does the history of the world after the Council of Nicea reveal what record was destroyed and therefore made the Council of Nicea a deception? What might a correction or restoration of lost facts accomplish? Would the retrieval of facts that were removed and omitted for centuries help in some way? Make world history more coherent and understandable? Make history more sensible, more explained, more accessible in terms of possessing a unified theme or meaning?
Deceptive history as "Conspiracy Theory":
The concept of a great "conspiracy" secretly controlling our governments or society, or possibly exercising control specifically by controlling military powers or by controlling money or economic institutions, is openly discussed today, and is depicted both frequently and clearly in our books and films. The people, therefore, are more or less familiar with this idea, that a secret society or group, most often designated as "The Masons" or the Knights Templar, or the "Skulls" possibly a set of "fraternal" organizations that secretly, or perhaps not so secretly, exercise control over government and society by controlling who gets elected to office and what public policies will be adopted and enforced. Anyone who studies political science in America might be appalled at the way the "two-party system" is vulnerable to being controlled by an elite or oligarchy with money and influence over economic policies and political "campaigns."
When one studies conspiracy theories, or looks for historical evidence for a secret society that is very old and might exercise a profound influence over human history, one is naturally led back in time to ancient Egypt and the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean region. The lands of the Phoenicians, the Pharaohs, Israel, Greece, Rome and Asia Minor are all redolent with the suspicious smell of something unexplained. Why such fantastic stone structures and monuments? Why did some civilizations suddenly "blossom" and appear to be far more technologically advanced than the surrounding tribal and relatively primitive societies? What is happening here? Why are there so many myths of gods from the skies intervening in human history? Why did ancient royal families and leaders present themselves to the world as either being divine or being emissaries sent to Earth by the divine rulers of the universe? One of the most popular conspiracy theories focuses on the Masons (Free and Accepted Masons) as being directly connected to a timeless order of Masons present in ancient Egypt as well as to the Knights Templar and possibly to the Rosicrucians, and ultimately to the Gnostics of the ancient world who existed long before the appearance of Jesus Christ.
The "knowing" of the Gnostics (ancient and enduring):
The Gnostics believe there is a God, but they can also be called "deists" as the "founding fathers" of the United States of America defined themselves. And this understanding of "Gnostic" and "deist" means precisely that "God" is not to be defined by the group for the individual but instead each individual was free to define "God" as seemed right for themselves. Both the Gnostic and the deist pursue knowledge by all paths, especially by the path or method of science, and without disparaging the path of spiritual inspiration or instinct. However, for a gnostic the goal of the mind, body and spirit is knowledge, hence "gnosis" which means knowing, and understanding. And most likely a deeper kind of knowledge that is hidden or obscure to the limitations of the human intellect. Such knowledge is therefore described as "sacred" knowledge or "secret" knowledge, being not easily accessible to everyone and anyone but available to an individual who follows a disciplined path of growth in the art of "knowing." Secret societies therefore, such as the Masons and the Rosicrucians, could be institutions -- consistent with some of their self-descriptions as well as critical historical studies -- that guide or train individual members in practicing such an art of knowing. Their primary purpose would be to preserve and protect the keys to their ways of "knowing" or gnosis. And this pattern of secretive or "conspiratorial" behavior was not designed specifically to subvert or undermine a government, or obstruct a democratic process, but originally was designed to preserve and protect a religion, a religion that was previously openly tolerated and accepted, even by the Roman Empire -- before Constantine. Gnosis is a religion, and Gnostics are a religious group, and they must have been present at the Council of Nicea. There is no reasonable explanation as to why they would not be there. Ancient Gnostics accepted Christ as a teacher to be studied, as a great teacher. To the ancient Gnostics, one could be both Christian and Gnostic, simply by deeming Christ to have been a kind of Gnostic himself, one who was proficient in the art of knowing and one who defined God for himself and encouraged others to be religious and pursue knowledge and understanding of the truth.
Christ as a Gnostic, Gnostics as Christians:
Many or most Christians today might view a Gnostic as being the opposite of a Christian or a person adhering to beliefs that are so different from Christian beliefs as to be a kind of "opposition" religion, or pagan religion to be almost automatically ridiculed or discredited. But that was definitely not the case in 325, and this is not a rational view of the Gnostics when one considers some of Christ's references to understanding and what it means to "…do the will of my (his) Father in heaven." At the time of the Council of Nicea, the Gnostics were an old and respected religious society. Some Gnostics "became" Christians and adopted Christian teachings as compatible and supportive of Gnostic doctrines. In this time and place, it was not necessary to choose either Gnostic or Christian beliefs. The two sets of beliefs were not even necessarily deemed to be in some obvious way opposed or inconsistent. Therefore, there were Gnostic Christians, and Christian Gnostics. This did not create a religious problem or religious crisis. In this time and place, there was a great deal of religious freedom because there was no higher authority that told everyone what they must believe. Religion was local culture, and it came with the food, clothing, rituals and social and communal ethics of each tribe or region. No one would have thought that there was something odd or dissonant or contradictory about being a "Christian Gnostic" or a "Gnostic Christian." Why then, do we not have an historical description of the participation of Gnostic Christians in the Council of Nicea? Why don't we have an account of what they had to say about the plan to distill and restrict and fix Christian doctrines and bring the freedom of the many, probably hundreds, of Christian sects and communities, and their diverse beliefs, to a close? They must have been there. There is no logical explanation for excluding the Gnostic Christians from the Council of Nicea. They would have been recognized as equal in status to all the other groups, probably their participation would have been considered far more important than the participation of some other groups because the Gnostic viewpoint was consistent with the Arian "heresy" that saw Jesus as being more like an inspired human teacher than a superior divine being who had always existed and was never "begotten" or born. If the Gnostics were there, then their position was erased from history, deliberately and diligently eliminated from the record to discredit them and diminish or remove their influence over others forever, if possible. But they must have been there, Christian Gnostics, Gnostic Christians. What did they have to say? What was their position, most likely, at the Council of Nicea? Most likely, they opposed the Council itself, and any effort to close the door on religious and cultural freedom. That would have to be their position.
The Gnostic Christians opposed the Council itself, and any theocracy:
Here now, is my correction of World History. The Gnostic Christians were present at the Council of Nicea and they opposed the Council itself, and they opposed any effort to close the door on religious and cultural freedom in the Mediterranean World. That would have to be their position. Because Jesus said: "Let them who have ears to hear, hear! Let them who have eyes to see, see!" Which means let each individual strive to understand what they can. Let each individual pursue knowledge, gnosis, according to their ability. This is consistent with the teaching of Christ, and consistent with Gnostic deism.
Because Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 7: 21) Because Jesus said (Matthew 12: 46-50): 46. While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brethren were standing outside, seeking to speak to him. 47. And someone said to him, ‘”Behold, thy mother and thy brethren are standing outside, seeking thee.” 48. But he answered and said to him who told him, “Who is my mother and who are my brethren?” 49. And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said, “Behold my mother and my brethren! 50. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
And because if one studies the meaning of the word "mercy" in the Gospels, one is led logically to the conclusion that it must be more or less synonymous with "understanding." Mercy equals understanding because understanding, understanding of the human condition, understanding of human nature and the causes of human behavior, is the only rational set of reasons for being "merciful." If doing something wrong or destructive had no bearing whatsoever on one's situation, or personal history, or the realities of the human mind and heart, then there would be no basis for "mercy." In Jesus' teaching therefore, the Gnostics recognized what is truly there and which all Christians should recognize: Jesus did teach that understanding is necessary, understanding is required for one to be on the path of Christian love and Christian behavior. Good stewardship and good behavior, Christian behavior, do not spring spontaneously out of a Christian heart or a Christian soul, but require the participation of the human mind, require understanding, knowledge, gnosis. Jesus actually taught that those who understand his message and act upon it are the ones who are doing the will of his Father in heaven. Read my book The Primacy of Stewardship, for a deeper understanding of how Christ's teaching is consistent with science and Gnostic beliefs.
Gnostics and deists as the best allies of democrats:
Therefore, the Gnostic Christians had a legitimate claim on Christian beliefs or "doctrines," as legitimate as any other group that is recorded as being invited to and attending the Council of Nicea. The Gnostics were there, and they opposed the very purpose of the Council. They opposed any effort to create an alliance between church and state; they opposed any effort to create one religion and one religious tradition out of many, and fix and restrict the doctrines that could be called "Christian" and create one "catholic" or "universal" church that would instantaneously abolish and criminalize all other churches. For their vigorous and sustained opposition, they were removed from the record, deleted. The Council was assigned creation of one religion, one religion to be sponsored by Rome and imposed on everyone in the empire, a wild deviation from past policy, from extremely successful policy. Why this foolish change? Maybe it was lead in Constantine's brain; maybe it was bad advice from a psychotic advisor. Maybe it was intellectual exhaustion and exasperation with human differences, a childish conviction that religious and political unity could be created by making disagreement illegal. Whatever the root causes, the Gnostic position had to be not only discredited but deemed impossible or non-existent. Any trace of adherence to the traditional belief in religious freedom, the ridiculed and rejected idea that each person defines God for himself, or herself, had to be obliterated. And it was obliterated from the record, but not from the human conscience, and not from the real people who believed that they could be both Gnostic and Christian, that they could believe in the special role of Christ in human history, but still believe that the search for knowledge goes on, with Christ cheering us on, believing in us and telling us to never give up. The Gnostic Christians then, or Christian Gnostics, persevered in secret, and sometimes came out into the open and had their heads cut off, or were burned or crucified or dismembered by the state religion that was created by Constantine, a man alleged to have boiled his mother. But the Christian Gnostics renamed themselves many times and met in secret, became secret societies. Maybe they are the Masons, or the Shriners, or the Rosicrucians, or the Knights Templar, and or other groups, who conspired to come to the New World to escape the legacy of Roman theocracy and re-create the wisdom of ancient Rome, re-create a world that is safe for religion. In the United States of American they sought to create a civilization that holds religious freedom, and democratic process -- a value of the Greeks both before and after the Council of Nicea -- as being far more important than unity of doctrine. The founders of American freedom hold democracy to be naturally and scientifically superior to theocracy, superior to authorized doctrines that turn out to be wrong, enforced doctrines that stifle the human heart and the human spirit, and that forbid the individual pursuit of "gnosis" or the free search for understanding and enlightenment. The Gnostic Christians exist to this day, in secret and in the open, under many names and in many forms, but they all support democracy and freedom of religion, and they all oppose theocracy. And they will never forget that the favorite activity of theocrats is to kill democrats and anyone who publicly demonstrates their practice of freedom of religion, and the Gnostics and all democrats are natural allies who will never forget that the favorite activity of democrats is to uphold freedom of religion, and promote religious freedom and oppose theocracy by every means necessary. The Gnostic Christians opposed theocracy in 325, and ever since, and continue their opposition to theocracy. This is my offer to add back what was deleted from the historical record. The Gnostic Christians were there at Nicea, and they stated their position against the Council and against theocracy. This is why those who are Gnostic but also respect and revere the teaching of Christ practice their religion in secret, because they were removed from the historical record, but they assert with a kind of cold and disciplined vengeance that they themselves were never removed and can never be removed from history. The battle between Constantine and the Gnostic Christians is not over yet. This ongoing battle is now known more simply as the battle between democrats and theocrats, or "culture wars," and the battle goes on. It is not possible for you to be free if the theocrats win. No matter what your religion is, the Gnostics are on your side. Note: My essay Don Quijote of the Knights Templar describes how "the first novel" Don Quijote de la Mancha, is an effort to teach that "knights errant" meaning Knights Templar, never existed, and were a fictional product of the Muslim Moors imagination, in the late 1500's, the same period when the Catholic Spanish wanted to remove English Queen Elizabeth I from history.
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