TCS Daily

Christos Anesti

By Jerry Bowyer - March 24, 2008 12:00 AM

I wonder if the people sitting in churches last week understoodd how very much Jesus of Nazareth's last week of life was driven by clashes pertaining to wealth and poverty - freedom and tyranny. Probably not. Theologians generally don't study history. Historians usually don't study theology, and neither study economics.

Here's what happened:


For over a half of a millennium, Israel had been passed from empire to empire. Each new world power treated Jerusalem as a cash cow - diverting it's wealth into imperial coffers in order to finance imperial ambitions. First there was Assyria, then Babylon, Persia, and Macedonia. Then finally Rome was given its turn. It was at this time that Jesus of Nazareth came into the world.


Rome didn't care much about places like Nazareth; it was much more interested in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was a company town, and the company was The Temple. The Temple was the Herod family business, and it had been created for one reason and one reason only - to squeeze enough money out of the region for Herod and his dynasty to buy their way back into favor with Caesar Augustus.

Rome needed money to buy off the urban mob, and Herod needed Rome to keep down the Palestinian rabble. And so when the people, innocents at home, came to Jerusalem to make their offerings to God, they were met at each step in the process of religious devotion with another checkpoint at which tolls were extracted. The journey to Jerusalem often meant crossing a Roman checkpoint - ka-ching! Since the trip was long and hard on the animals, it was better to travel light and buy the sacrifices in Jerusalem - ka-ching! You can't use pagan Roman coins for that sort of thing, of course, so off to the money changers - ka-ching again. Tithes, offerings, sacrifices, festivals, Rome got her cut - ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching. In fact, that's the only reason there even was a temple or a King Herod. Rome would have long ago plundered it and killed him, except you don't kill the goose who lays the golden eggs.


If the temple was the bridge between heaven and earth, Herod was the troll who lived under the bridge. Every pilgrim was forced to pay the toll. That's what kept Herod in power, no ka-ching, no king. Ordinary Jews hated the regime, and the anger was boiling over, but Herod didn't care what they thought; he had Rome on his side.

Into this world steps the young son of a Galilean entrepreneur. Joseph was a 'tekton', a skilled contractor. His adopted son, Jesus, was a rabbi, who gathered around him a small group of apprentices (mathetai, disciples) and set off for Jerusalem. Along the way he said and did things that implied that the temple was losing its status as the exclusive provider of access to the presence of God. Most Jews had already come to similar conclusions. They knew the Temple was corrupt, and turned to small group Torah study as an alternative. Jesus adopted and intensified this new worship model. He created a network of small, nimble and self-replicating clusters of people who could study and pray together and care for the poor. In his words: "Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them." This threatened the templar monopoly.

The temple hierarchy was enraged by this. Their livelihood was at risk. Eventually Jesus went a step further and staged a protest in which he overturned the foreign exchange tables at the temple where Roman coins were swapped for Jewish ones. The temple was forced to shut down. That was the last straw. Jesus had demonstrated in a graphic physical way that The Temple really did run on money. Even worse, he had demonstrated that during the time that The Temple, Inc. ceased to function the world still rolled along just fine without it.


Such knowledge could destabilize the entire world. Palestine was ungovernable without the Herodian Templar system, and an ungovernable Palestine meant the gold would cease to flow to Rome. It also meant the grain would cease to cross the holy land. As our tanks and ships run on oil, their horses and galley slaves ran on grain.

The Temple bureaucrats used their superior war chest to pay activists to call for Jesus' execution, and even to bribe witnesses. The Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, knew how to keep his job in middle management - keep the money flowing to Rome. That meant killing Jesus.

Jesus was a politically sophisticated man. He knew what was coming.

He faced the executioners bravely. He accepted, even embraced his death, and overcame it. By doing this he took the stinger out of Jerusalem and Rome. Behind all the taxes and tolls, price controls and monopolies and behind the governors and tetrarchs and consuls and emperors lurked a tax-hungry greed, and the greed was backed up by the threat of death. The emperor's colossal ego was fed by the people of Rome; the Romans were fed by the bread and circuses; the bread and circuses were fed by the armies; the armies fed on the captive peoples, and the captive peoples who didn't like it were fed to the lions, or (even worse) the crucifix.


Such it has always been. When tyrants rule, money flows uphill and pain flows down. At the top is always a Caesar (or his etymological cousins, a Kaiser or a Czar.) In the modern age, they usually make a hypocritical nod to democracy by calling themselves "President", but the suffix "for life" tells us what's really going on. At the bottom is the enemy of the state and what awaits him is a cross, or a gas chamber, perhaps a syringe filled with poison, or the observation section of a rape room and then a trip to the paper shredder. Every tyrant rules the same way: through threat of torture, humiliation and death.


But when Jesus said, 'Go ahead, do your worst', and, as his early followers testified, overcame death, he ripped the stinger out, rendering the whole wasp twitching and dying from tip to tail. When his followers chose the cross as their symbol, they seemed to be turning 'the world upside down', but they weren't; they were turning the upside-down-world, finally, right-side-up. To get the flavor, imagine a revolutionary era Frenchman displaying a tiny replica of the guillotine, or modern Iraqis wearing little rape room replicas around their necks, or industrial paper shredders. Imagine Russian dissidents making the sign of the syringe, or think of holocaust survivors who display their tattooed identification numbers with pride instead of shame. This is what the early followers of Jesus did with the Roman cross.

Yes, Rome continued to plunder and murder for a time, but Jesus' peaceful army grew. The empire tried to wipe them out, but the movement grew faster than Rome could kill. The Caesars gradually lost their grip on the world. Jesus' new model survived, then prevailed and eventually spread. One by one it has been wiping the little caesars from the face of the earth in a gale of creative destruction.

The gale blows still, Misters Putin, Kim Jong Il, and Ahmahdinejad. The gale blows still Raoul, Hugo, Mugabe. House of Saud, the gale blows still.



One of the more interesting turns on the christian theme
Jesus was certainly a radical in his time; but he was not alone, as this story points out. However, in his name, the radical spread throughout the world and still does.

Interesting and though provoking; good job!

The Political Pulpit
Speaking of turns on the Christian theme, this tidbit from I.M.A.O.:

"I've never been to a liberal church, so I have no idea what stuff they talk about there. The whole idea of liberals and Christianity is kinda odd. At times, Jesus can be a real right-wing Christian -- especially about sex -- and liberals hate that. Isn't it a lot easier to just not believe in the guy than to find some way to twist around His words so that you can imagine Him saying, "Abortion is awesome!"? With the amount of scripture you have to ignore to say that fornication and homosexuality is hunky-dory, it makes me wonder why those people even bother with the Bible. And do liberal Christians have some apocryphal story where Jesus mugs a bunch of people and then gives their money to the poor? Because that would go a long way towards explaining liberal's confusions of taxation and charity."

(P.S.: Perhaps TCS has a little life left in it after all...)

Don't forget about the USA
"The gale blows still, Misters Putin, Kim Jong Il, and Ahmahdinejad. The gale blows still Raoul, Hugo, Mugabe. House of Saud, the gale blows still."

While I certainly will not put the USA on the same moral plane as those above, I do believe all who live in 'freedom' must be very careful we do not follow in the path of Rome.

Rome extracted its wealth from those they subjugated. The USA is extracting its wealth from its citizens. Ostensibly with their permission.

Because of its Judeo Christian heritage the USA has tried to reverse the trends of tyrants over the people. If we don't pay attention and cut the wealth extracted from the citizens, we will once again become the subjects of tyrants.

Love your neighbor as yourself
I don't understand how any Christian can support abortion or government wealth re-distribution schemes.

Jesus wants us to be charitable with OUR money, not our neighbor's money.

He wants us as individuals to give, not force others to give on our behalf.

If our neighbor doesn't want to follow Jesus, we are commanded to persuade, not force him to follow us.

You say that you are commanded to persuade people to follow Him; but when someone asks you to back off, do you respect their request?

How does that help to persuade?
Christians have to decide what is effective.

If an enthusiastic Christian makes you uncomfortable, that is your problem as long as he doesn't violate your rights.

Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons have a right to knock on your door and pass out literature. You don't have to answer.

Last I looked, no one has a right not to be annoyed or offended. Liberty has its responsibilities.

Defense of liberty is no vice
I can support defending the United States and those who support liberty.

What was the cost of the WTC and Pentagon attacks?

What would be the cost of another attack?

What is the cost of permitting those who would attack us again a safe haven in Iraq?

Yes, awesome article!
Reminds me of a book where the authors described the Reformation as a creative destruction caused by the introduction of a better business model. Everything made so much more sense about it.

ka-ching! Why didn't the guidance counselor in high school recommend that I pursue setting myself up as King Herod did? Hmmmmm...

Don't confuse persuasion................... by Joanie
with trepass.

I give enthusiastic Christians one warning. I also call their church and tell their pastors as well that if any member of their congregation returns to annoy me that I will call the cops.

You used a double negative in your last sentence. Are you saying that liberty gives you the right to offend or annoy someone while trespassing on their property? Wow! Your church sounds like big government.

Right to offend
How far do you want to go with trespass?

Unless you have a locked gate at your sidewalk, assuming a typical suburban house, people can walk up an knock on your door. If you call the police to stop anyone from knocking on your door, all the time, I think the police will tell you to put up a fence and a gate.

Liberty gives anyone the right to offend anyone, anywhere. As long as the 'offense' is not violence.

I love this!
The liberals get around it in several ways. One of the more intriguing twists is the "Hate the sin, Love the sinner" theme (as it pertains to sexual sin, as well as a few other things).
Liberal environmentalists have a different twist, theirs is that we should not destroy or desecrate gods gift to us (the earth). I think this is abvious and related to everythin humanity does (city building, mining, extraction industries of all kinds, pollution of any kind, and even farming).

The "Liberal Christian not only exists, they are everywhere. Certain Christian sects are more prone to this behavior (Methodists for example) but most are getting in on the act in some area.

Sure it does
If you loved your neighbor, you wouldn't be annoyed. LOL!!

Seriously, there is a limit to everything, even evanglizing. But I found the easiest way to get rid of them is to invite them in with a bible on the coffee table (Especially Jehovah's witnesses). They are very uncomfortable when someone calls their bluff on their twisted use of scripture. I did it once and the only visit I've gotten from them since was when I moved. I think I'm on their nationwide blacklist now ;)

But, in a broad sense, I have to agree with Marjon; we have no right to not be offended; as long as said offense is not violent in any way. If I shot every person who tresspassed on my property, there would be a lot of dead kids in the neighborhood. Instead, I would rather put up with the occasional curious kid going into my garage or my camper (neither are ever locked as someone might need a shovel or jumper cables in a pinch) and let my yard be "safe zone" where all are welcome.

Heck, I even have a neighbor with a fire pit and leave my tree trimmings piled in the back for them to come get, even if it's midnight, for their fire (saves me having to haul it to the dump).

And yes, we do have some people who are a little "forgetful" about where something came from, so most of my tools and things are engraved; I know who they are.

Hey, I look good in a toga :°
O.K. maybe not! LOL

Rudeness doesn't sell well.
On your property, you have a right to tell people to leave. If they do not, you have a right to use the appropriate force.

However, if you invite people onto your property, you have a social obligation to treat them as a guest just as they have a similar social obligation.

On neutral territory, you have no right to force anyone to not try and sell you something as long as they do not violate your rights. And you have no right NOT to be annoyed or offended.

The famous cannot stop paparazzi from following them or taking pictures in a public place. And neither do you.

If you present and inviting path to your door, you should not be surprised if J.W. or any other salesman stops by your door. You certainly have a right to tell them to leave your property or ignore them at the door.

But the bottom line for any salesman, rudeness does not sell.

Turn the other cheek.
The only person you can control is yourself.

You can choose to ignore those who offend you or you can take offense.

Or, maybe they want you to offend them in return?

Usually those trying to offend want attention. Don't give them the attention. Maybe they will seek less offensive methods to get their attention.

Two different scenarios
"Liberty gives anyone the right to offend anyone, anywhere. As long as the 'offense' is not violence."

The first is what you are allowed to do.

"Somehow that just doesn't seem to jive with your posting entitled "Love your neighbor as yourself."

The second is what a Christian should do.

I can sit at home eating ice cream all day.
I should go to the gym and work out.

Do you see the difference?

Joanie, the concepts of Liberty and Responsibility (including the notion of "offense") are pretty well addressed in most primers of Libertarian thought. I don't recall specifically off-hand which might best cover that territory, but I can recommend as a good starting place Charles Murray's excellent "What It Means To Be A Libertarian" -- also, his "In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government" is quite worthwhile and may indeed broach the specifics you're seeking. However, an very good overall examination of the opposing perception of rights (negative vs. positive) can be found in James Bovard's terrific "Freedom In Chains," wherein he propounds an overview of much of the best classical liberal thinking (Bastiat, Constant, Mill, Locke, Montesquieu, etc) into an overall contrast from the views held by the "progressives," complete with critiques of contemporary policies as examples. Again, I don't recall to what degree it covers the concept you mentioned specifically, but it's a great place to start.

Although admittedly not a full-blown Libertarian, the tomes I suggested are just a few of the Libertarian-themed tracts which have greatly influenced my thinking over the years -- there are many, many more available which I'm sure someone else can recommend.

Sure I do!
All the honeys and the food and the nice cribs! All on the backs of others via some institutionalized scam.

Now I sound like a banker. Or a Lottery Administrator. Oh well.

Hey, I'm all for a 12-gauge reception at the door
Should any one person or group get that annoying, and at the door to my home, I think just carrying Browning pump-action modified choke 12-gauge to the door will get their attention. Telling them to "come on in" as I jack a shell into the chamber will likely get them to decline the invitation.

But I have seldom been pushed to that extreme (though there was this one time…).

Don't confuse trespass with solicitation
Aren't you confusing solicitors with trespassers?

Under your theory of the law, a solicitor becomes a trespasser when you decide that he's unwelcome without advance notice thereof. But he has has no way of knowing your decision in advance unless you clearly notify him, which is why the law does not impose on him the duty to know your mind before he knocks on your door while imposing the duty on you to clearly notify all solicitors that they are not welcome at your door.

Of course, if you post a notice on your property that solicitors are not welcome, this will provide an item of evidence to all who see it that you are a cranky, unwelcoming person. Have you posted the notice, or are you trying to have your cake and eat it, too?

Stepping out to a broader focus, the law attempts to rationally administer reciprocal rights and obligations. But several people consistently trespass on this rational administration, attempting to expand their own rights while burdening others with obligations, all of which the law does not support.

Hey, that was a one-time deal
And it didn't work anyway, Jesus survived.
Yeesh! One attempted (and failed) pre-emptive strike and the guy is labeled a baby-killer for all eternity! LOL ;)

Well done!
That is a good post.

However, the law doesn't stop one from meeting said solicitors at the door with a shotgun. Said solicitor can then decide if further pushing the issue is actually worth the seemingly obvious risk.

"Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly!"

Door to door
Have some compassion on the poor schmucks who do the door-to-door thing. It ain't easy, and it costs you very little to be civil and polite to them in acknowledgment of their aching feet and bruised egos.

This is what it means to be Christian.

Excellent article
I've heard it said that the Bible is a tract on social justice because the words "poor" or "poverty" are mentioned over 1,000 times. But back when the Bible was penned, just about everyone was poor. That's why the fields were ripe with grain ready for the harvest.

I've also heard it said that Cain was a bad guy for answering God's inquiry with, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Sometimes I wonder if anyone realizes that Cain was just being a smart-ass, given that his brother, who he murdered, was a shepherd.

There's lots of dishonest nonsense regarding the Bible in circulation, which is why I'm very glad for the present article. Get real, people.

Government control of religion
The state grants tax exemption for churches with a stipulation minister's can't preach politics from the pulpit.

Unless, of course, it is a liberal church or, better yet, a liberal black church.

If the church is conservative and truly supports separation of church and state, the government can threaten their tax exempt status.

I would hope such churches would tell the government where to go and keep up the message.

"In a letter sent Sept. 22 to churches throughout the country, Americans United for Separation of Church and State reminds church leaders that Internal Revenue Service regulations forbid all tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organizations — including churches — from promoting or endorsing candidates. According to Americans United, this means no partisan preaching or electioneering from the pulpit.

To make its point, Americans United filed a complaint in July with the IRS against Floyd’s church for engaging in partisan politics. Then in August, AU asked the IRS to investigate a political rally at an African-American church in Miami.

But another letter sent to 300,000 churches in September, this one from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, challenges the view that preaching from the pulpit constitutes intervening in a political campaign. When speaking to their own congregations, the letter argues, pastors are exercising their freedom of speech and religion under the First Amendment."

How many times have you heard a lesson from 1 Samuel 8:11-20?

Fair enough ...
... one can only be expected to put up with a limited amount of nonsense.

Politics and ideology
To answer your question about 1 Samuel 8:11-20, I've never heard it even mentioned in church, and I grew up going three times a week. In contrast, three sundays ago a guest speaker showed pictures of each presidential candidate and expressed his views on each one. Guess which one he favored? (Hint: the least pallid) Of course, most of the people in the pews were mystified by this demonstration because they are not Americans.

With that lead-in, here's my two-cents worth: The political parties are not synonymous with the political ideologies they plump; therefore, to the extent a church speaker sticks to discussing a political ideology in a Biblical or social context without linking it up to a discrete political party or candidate, then there should be no problem with the IRS. Consequently, the Wrong Reverend Wright is free to impeach God to damn America all he likes so long as he doesn't go on to say that Obama is the savior who, if elected, will redeem and save America from a certain and well-deserved damanation at the hands of God.

I've learned in my career to let adjudicators connect the last dot themselves; that way, they own the whole picture even though I've given them 99% of it. This isn't very difficult to do, and I'd be happy to teach preachers how it works.

What a travesty
An incompetent article executed by a writer with little or no understanding of ancient economics and certainly no understanding of ancient Roman politics. The errors pile up in the fourth paragraph. The writer seems unaware that direct taxes could not exist in an ancient, primarily rural population. The Roman Empire raised most of its revenues through tolls and port entry taxes. No, the Empire didn't spend most of its filthy lucre feeding the Mob. The largest cost items in the imperial budget were the military, and road and port construction and maintenance, which collectively amounted to about 70 per cent of total imperial expenditures, the army being about 40 per cent. Hence the famous advice of Septimus Severus to his sons. Also quite heavy were the large scale water engineering projects, notably swamp draining and aqueduct construction.

This absurd author claims that Rome would have razed the Temple to the ground if it didn't get its cut. Bushwah. The general practice of the Empire was religious toleration. Religious sects were only suppressed when, like the Celtic druids or the militant Jewish zealots, they proved irreconcilable to Roman secular rule. The Temple in Jerusalem was demolished by Titus because it became a focus of Jewish revolt, not because it no longer paid tariffs to Rome.

The author makes the stupid claim that Herod needed Rome to keep down the Palestinian rabble. More idiocy. Herod was among the last of the Maccabean kings. The kingdom arose as a result of a Jewish revolt in Palestine against the Greek Seleucid empire in Syria (funny ain't it how the author never mentions the Greeks). As such it was squeezed between the Greeks in Syria and the Greeks in Egypt (more of Alexander's successors). Only Roman dominance in the region prevented Palestine from being swallowed (for about the thousandth time in history) by one of the two. The Romans throughout the first half of the Empire always preferred to work through local rulers rather than go to the trouble and expense of administering a region directly. As such, it tended to step on overzealous officials who interfered too much in the activities of the local poohbahs. The persecution of Christ can well be viewed as a matter pertaining to the Jewish puppet monarchy and its established religious authorities, and it is indeed a legitimate question as to whether or not Pilate even had the authority to intervene, let alone the fact that such intervention and undermining of the local authorities would have resulted in a severe reprimand from Rome as contrary to internal policy.

Hi Joanie
It's been quite a while, and it may not be for that much longer, as this site appears to be dying. A symptom of that was the criticism I had of the author's lack of understanding of history in this article. Years ago, the quality was much better at TCS, but no longer.

Anyway, good to hear from you again. As always, your remarks are appreciated. I would simply suggest you not underrate yourself. I may have a knowledge of history, but it's simply the result of many years of reading on a variety of topics and sources. Each of us has something to contribute. There are no doubt areas with which you are familiar for which I have little or no knowledge whatsoever.

Keep well.


One feature frequently lacking in many commentaries is proof or references.

You make your claims that the author is wrong. Where is your proof?

Maybe the author should provide references as well, but if you believe him wrong, why should I believe you?

Interesting points, Colin.

My objections were a little more religious, and a little less historical. The author was apparently trying to look at this topic from a different angle than it is usually looked at. It is a story with religious, historical, and economic aspects, probably in that order. He was trying to pull the economic aspects to the front. But I think he sacrificed a lot in the other areas in the process.

From a religious standpoint, Jesus was clearly not motivated by economics. Sure, those around him were. People are people, wherever (whenever) you go. But his message and actions had little to do with economics, and close to nothing to do with politics. We complain about our government, but it was much worse in those days, and Jesus did absolutely NOTHING to try to change it. Corruption, injustice, slavery, you name it. Even things that a typical religious leader or rabbi would be up in arms about - tithe money being diverted from God's house to support the State, government sponsored idol worship, etc. Despite continuous prodding and promises of support from those who wanted him to make a power move, he never even went there. He told the people to give that which belonged to Caesar (coins) to Caesar. He told slaves to be good slaves. He simply said "My kingdom is not of this world" and left it at that.

So the implied suggestion that by dying on the cross (conveniently providing a symbol around which future generations would join in rebellion against the tyranny of the state) Jesus was intentionally lying the grounds for future political movements really misses the whole point.

Sure, it is an interesting perspective. One that you don't see often. But I think I know why. It is a lot like going to a 4th of July fireworks display, and instead of looking up, staring down at the ground to get a new perspective on how grass looks under flashing lights. You are missing the real show, dude!

Trust but verify: Reagan

author response, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...
I seldom respond to ankle biters like ColinH, but his confident assertions may communicate an appearance of knowledge could be confusing to some. The point about direct taxes is true, but irrelevant. I never claimed that Rome lived by direct taxation in Palestine. I even pointed out the indirect taxation, directly, in my ka-ching section. So he knocks down a straw man.

Another straw man is the idea that most of the Roman budget was to buy off the mob. I never said it, so what's the point of claiming that I did and then allegedy proving me wrong? They bought off the crowds with bread and circuses, the fact that this number was lower than the budget item for infrastructure is really not the point. Infrastructure is more expensive than welfare, then and now.

Regarding the temple, what am I to say? I said that if the revolt were not kept down, the Romans would have razed the temple. Colin denies this. The problem is that 40 years after the time we're discussing, that's exactly what Rome did.

These amateur errors, made in an attempt to accuse me of amateur errors, make sense when you read the extremely condescending, even insulting, tone of the posting. Colin thinks he should be the guy writing columns, not me.

One of the few
At least TCS has provided a link so we can find out who you are and determine if you may have some credibility.

Some 'bios' links on TCS simply list their articles.

Maybe in a newspaper there is no room for references. However, on the internet, links to source material can readily established.

It would be great to see more references. That's how my English teachers taught me to write reports.

some references
the best place to start is with the gospels themselves, especially Matthew and Luke. The way to avoid reading them in merely 'religous' terms is by studying the history of the times so that the references make sense. Josephus will be your best friend there, especially The Jewish War. Eusebius will also help, his Ecclesiastical History is readily available. If you want to be more advanced, there are various collections of the Dead Sea Scrolls available. All of these histories will give you enough of a sense of the times that you can see the gospels in their historical context. I have no idea how so many people with essentially no knowledge of 1st century Jewish/Roman political and history feel that they can authoritatively promote or denounce someone else's attempt.

If the 'professionals' can make up their own history,
why not the amateurs?

In particular I refer to Dan Rather's fake but accurate excuse.

I don't think that anyone is making up their own history...
...and I would most certainly not compare this with Dan Rather. People simply have differences of opinion. That is what I enjoy about coming here...reading completely different points of view about the same topic.

Talking about differences, I've ordered a copy of the Douay-Rheims Bible. It is considered to be the most accurate of the Catholic bibles, because it is translated from the Latin Vulgate and may more accurately reflect the tone and not just the substance of the various books in the Bible.

Perhaps you should go back
and read your own article.

"I said that if the revolt were not kept down, the Romans would have razed the temple. Colin denies this."

but in your article you wrote:

"In fact, that's the only reason there even was a temple or a King Herod. Rome would have long ago plundered it and killed him, except you don't kill the goose who lays the golden eggs."

I denied nothing of the kind. I stated it. You are attempting to obfuscate the issue because you claimed in your article that the temple was of economic importance to Rome, whereas I indicated that it's importance was only one of political control.

No, you made no claims about taxation whatsoever. Your focus on tithes paid by the temple left the misleading impression that this was significant. In the greater scope of the Roman imperial budget, it was trivial. But then we know that this is a trivial article to begin with, given Jerry's absurd "ka-ching" references.

In short, Jerry, it's bad enough that you lie about and deliberately misinterpret what I wrote about your article. It's even worse when your criticisms of my criticism are belied by your own article. In future, keep out of ancient history; it's no place for ignorant rubes like you.

You managed to avoid the central criticism of your thesis which is contained in this quote from your article:
"Yes, Rome continued to plunder and murder for a time, but Jesus' peaceful army grew."

That's the central travesty you don't address. The fact is that Christianity introduced into the Roman world for the first time religion as a cause of conflict. So much for your 'peaceful army'. Are you even aware of the term 'oxymoron'?

Fact is, the Roman empire was one of the very few institutions in human history which managed to prevent warfare from being a direct experience for most of its population on an ongoing basis. I don't expect someone like you to have ever read Edward Gibbon, but if you have, his argument is that Christianity was a key agent in the destruction of the empire, and hence a key causation of a millenium of social collapse.

My original post made it very clear that the beginning of religious intolerance came with the advent of Christianity. Do you quote sources to support your article? No. Why then should I believe any of the tripe you've written when by inspection it's wrong?

It's this simple
and it's the same argument you've used time over time against Eric. The author has made a claim about representing the facts. The author has declined to produce any evidence in support (AGW, remember). It is up to the author to establish his case.

So, Marjon, are you trying to say that one epistemology is required for AGW and another one entirely for religion? You ask me for proof. Go ask Jerry for it, because all he's given you in this article is a pile of his own opinions.

This part is interesting
"From a religious standpoint, Jesus was clearly not motivated by economics."

Absolutely, but the same cannot be said for the followers in subsequent generations. This is often the case with any religious movement, that it is not the founder who shapes the movement but the followers, whoever they may be, who establish the orthodoxy. The origins of Christianity as a religion have little to do with the teachings of Christ and everything to do with the orthodoxy established by the Nicene Council.

"He simply said "My kingdom is not of this world" and left it at that."

Quite so. But his followers, through sophisticated forgeries such as the Donation of Constantine, made it clear that they wanted to run the kingdom. And with Constantine establishing Christianity as the state religion, they got it, and the real repression of religious minorities began in a serious way.

"He was trying to pull the economic aspects to the front. But I think he sacrificed a lot in the other areas in the process."

I have no problem with bringing out economic aspects. My problem is that the author has not the slightest understanding of Roman economics, or politics, or provincial imperial policy, or, well, just about anything about which he was writing. There may well be an argument that can be made about the author's thesis. His problem was that he was simply incompetent in carrying it out.

How peaceful was Rome?
You blame a religion that supports individual liberty and opposes state control for 'social collapse'?

What kind of 'society' do you want to live in?

6000+ crucified
"Spartacus managed to break through Crassus's lines and escape towards Brundisium (now Brindisi), but Pompey's forces intercepted them in Lucania, and the slaves were routed in a subsequent battle at the river Silarus. Spartacus is believed to have fallen at Silarus, but his body was never identified. After the battle, legionaries found and rescued 3,000 unharmed Roman prisoners in their camp.

6,600 of Spartacus's followers were crucified along the via Appia (or the Appian Way) from Brundisium to Rome. Crassus never gave orders for the bodies to be taken down, thus travelers were forced to see the bodies for years, perhaps decades, after the final battle.

Around 5,000 slaves, however, escaped the capture. They fled north and were later destroyed by Pompey, who was coming back from Roman Iberia. This enabled him also to claim credit for ending this war. Pompey was greeted as a hero in Rome while Crassus received little credit or celebration."

Total warfare was not fully realized until the 20th century.

So you say.
Who are you?

So what
All nations suppress disorder. The US shot hundreds of striking coal miners over the course of a century. Your point about total warfare is silly. First, it was invented by the 1st Republic of France, in the late 18th Century. Second, you don't need a modern concept of total war for destruction. They may have been purely local affairs, but feudal warfare, to name just one example, was something that happened just about every spring everywhere for centuries.

But to pursue your Spartacus folly, since you've advocated this, to use a modern example, do you believe then that, say, the environmentalists should be allowed to overthrow the US government because they don't like its policies?

The society I live in
is one which does not define all moral conduct by virtue of religious dictatorship, and does not try to rewrite history in the interest of cleaning up a sordid past.

You didn't answer my question
You and I have both criticized Eric over the years in his many incarnations over his AGW folly. Why are you now adopting his debating methods?

And by the way
the 6600 was only the last batch. The total fatalities in the slave revolt were well over a hundred thousand, and not dissimilar from the two previous slave revolts in Sicily in the early 1st Century BC.

Why should I trust you?
Bowyer has a biography so I can at least verify he might know what he is talking about.

Why should I believe you without references?

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