The harmony of the human soul and its relationship with the universe at large has traditionally been the cultural province of Religion:
Christianity began making inroads into the Atlantic Northwest of Europe around the time of the collapse of the Western Roman Imperium in the 4th/5th centuries CE. Its arrival came upon the tails of a set of Imperial edicts – the ‘Theodosian Code’ – which sought to spread the new official Imperial religious cult of christianity out over Rome’s dominions by taking over the official religious sites and festivals of paganism. It was too expensive and politically difficult to destroy paganism, and Roman christianity decided to pursue a policy of replacing pagan sites and festivals with Christian versions.
During this period, Augustine of Hippo’s student – Orosius (4th/5thC) – wrote the following comment on pagans in his important text Historiae Adversus Paganos:
…You bade me reply to the empty chatter and perversity of those who, aliens to the City of God, are called pagani because they come ex pagis (from the countryside) and the crossroads of the rural districts, or gentes (pagans/heathens) because of their wisdom in earthly matters. Although these people do not seek out the future and moreover either forget or know nothing of the past, nevertheless they charge that the present times are unusually beset with calamities for the sole reason that men believe in Christ and worship God while idols are increasingly neglected…
Here we have an example suggesting that the prime thrust of christianity was in urban areas (Augustine’s ‘City of God’ was a Christian allegory of the city of Rome and its globalist Empire). Pagani or Gentes (‘gentiles’) represented a class of people who threatened this order – people in touch with the forces of nature, a description of which was so markedly absent from the Graeco-Judaic Christian textual/literary tradition attempting to replace the oral culture and learning dominating rural districts of Europe. Orosius points out that contemporary pagans believed that the new Christian thinking was responsible for the calamities being experienced by all European people in his days. He may well have been right, but the responsibility lay as much with the corruption of Europe’s traditional paganism within the Greek and Roman Empires.
The problem with old religion (paganism) was that it sought to define the natural world and interpret its divine nature. It used the arts to express the divine narrative in a plastic, relatively adogmatic style using story, poetry, music, art and drama. The new religion sought to define one thing: LITERAL AUTHORITY:
This was the authority of a single over-weening God and his ‘elected’ representative on earth – the emperor-pope who headed the Roman Empire, modelled on the example of Alexander ‘The Great’ of Macedon.
The Christian religion was a Greek-influenced offshoot of Post-Hellenic Judaism – a religion designed to support a single-nation political and religious creed imposed by a group of post-Alexander monotheist politico-religious hierarchs returned from their Babylonian exile to dominate the Kingdoms of Israel (N) and Judea (S) in the late 1st millennium BC. In the pre-exilic period, evidence of a nationalist monotheism is lacking from the historical and archaeological records, although modern Israel and its global network of supporters have been actively attempting to present evidence of this, or argue the toss based on limited evidence.
This religion stated practically nothing about the cycles of nature and had no philosophical vision of the perceived universe, depending instead upon a model of de facto creationism and absolute power of a single creator-rewarder-punisher god, mimicking the role of the Babylonian, Greek or Roman Emperors. Such a system fitted the (locally) ‘globalised’ cultures of the imperium, replacing their ancient earth-based traditions with a faith based upon metropolitan authoritarian power.