Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saul of Tarsus ...

... was the Wayne Allyn Root of early Christianity.

He started off on the other team, "converted," then immediately went to work trying to change (by Hellenizing/Romanizing/paganizing) the religion he had adopted.

He worked himself up into a major snit whenever those who had been Christians when he was still thumping heads for the Sanhedrin chided him for preaching positions diametrically opposed to those of Jesus Christ (who preached ... Judaism!).

According to his own (allegedly) accounts, both the council at Jerusalem and his "incident at Antioch" with Peter went his way, but in the latter case at least there's no particular reason to believe that to be true.

And, eventually, he disappeared. Tradition has it that he departed for Rome to be persecuted and eventually executed, but there's no particular reason to believe that, either. He may well have retired to Rome to live out his life in a well-appointed villa as reward for a job well done.

Unfortunately -- for the actual early Christians, anyway -- his ideas didn't disappear with him. The Judaism taught by Jesus mutated into a pagan cult per Paul, and eventually caught the eye of Constantine, who made it an official Roman religion at a bargain-basement price (abandoning the Sabbath in favor of the day of the sun, official religious day of the state's Sol Invictus cult; settling on the doctrine of trinity -- along with Paul's deification of Jesus -- rather than the Arian interpretation as official policy, so as to return the Paulinized church to at least pro forma monotheism; and putting Rome in charge of the church).

I wonder if Root's ideas will fare equally well in the Libertarian Party now that he's gone?

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