> Churches as we currently have them are mostly the
> creation of governments. The Roman Catholic and
> Eastern Orthodox Churches are remaining fragments
> of the church created by the Roman Imperial
Not sure if I agree, but I think I get what you're getting at. Three centuries of persecution prior to Constantine and all that.
Most Protestant Churches are
> affiliated with governments, essentially "national
> religions". (E.G. - The Episcopal Church is still
> the "official" religion of the UK, for example,
> but the various laws that could be used to
> penalize believers in other religions are not
> actually used any more.) Religious movements that
> don't have government endorsement have tended to
> suffer persecution by those that do have it.
> Consider the various Anabaptists (Amish, and
> related movements) or the Quakers.
So it's not
> some idiosyncratic view on my part to say that
> religions, at least in the "West", are actually
> political movements. Nothing 'Marxist' about it
> either. (But then there's not much at all original
> about Marx anyway...)
No, not idiosyncratic at all. Furthermore, there's a lot of substance to it.
> The word hamartia, translated very closely by
> 'sin', is used in NT documents written long before
> the co-opting of the religion by the Imperial
> government. So no, I would not claim that 'sin'
> did not exist prior to 'churches' inventing it.
The problem with this answer, for me, is that it does not account for the worst among us back when 'sin' just meant a mistake or missing the mark. Leaving aside the churches' corrupting influences, what about those serial killers, etc? Surely you wouldn't liken them to less-than-perfect archers!?
> But the concept has been severely corrupted by the
> drive to control people. The sense of debt, and
> the power of the official church to judge it
> and even discharge it, is the new layer that
> concerns me (and many others).
We're certainly on the same page there, Nolondil. But to my same question, what of those clergy who preach damnation only as a means of self-enrichment, (those who don't believe in damnation, other than its potential for profit)? Is that just another mistake, or is it a 'sin' as we might use the term now, something that is just wrong, premeditated and vile?
Mainly, I dispute
> that this authority exists among mortal
If I may ask, do you believe that such an authority does or might exist elsewhere?