This week we talk about why it’s hard to trace Christianity’s origin, have updates on a number of stories we’ve talked about in years past, Washington’s measles outbreak, Trump’s trans military ban going into effect, and more. We also announce some changes coming to our Patreon rewards.
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Dustin’ off the Degree – The Origins of Christianity Part 1- Why it’s a difficult question
We know Christianity existed in some form by the mid-first century CE, but the best information on what the early church was like is not found in the New Testament, it’s the writings of the Early Church Fathers and the apologists, the bishops of the 2nd and their century. The bishops wrote a lot about the need to fight the heretics and trying to convince the Imperial Roman governors that their followers we’re not a threat, the heretics were. When they could win over the authorities, they would lead them right to the heretics and their texts. The authorities would then round them up and burn their texts.
Once Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the empire it became very important to destroy the rest of the texts that didn’t fit with the developing orthodoxy, a policy that was continued for more than 1000 years. This went beyond just destroying the direct Christian heresy texts, but included Plato and other classical Greek texts, the writings of Mithraism, and anything else that wasn’t part of Christian orthodoxy.
It’s not necessarily the case that there wasn’t good documentation of the founding of Christianity, but if there was it’s been destroyed. This means that what we know with reasonable certainty is that something that would become the Christian Church was in existence by about 55 CE. That’s just a few lines from a song. We then have letters that Paul wrote to churches he had founded starting around 60 CE. The rest of the New Testament was written after 70 CE and parts of it potentially as late as 120 CE.
The details, if they were ever written down were either lost to history or intentionally destroyed. What was left is the official party line which was more concerned with preserving an orthodox narrative, than they were with the historical record.
Justin Murray’s application to become a Humanist Chaplain (Episode 270) with the Australian Defence Forces has again been rejected
The State of Washington has declared a state of emergency over a measles outbreak that as of the date of recording has resulted in 30 confirmed measles. This currently centered in Clark County, home of Vancouver, WA just across the river from Portland.
Worth noting is that the World Health Organization, looking at the rebound measles is making around the world, has ranked the anti-vax movement has a greater risk to global health than dengue fever and HIV. It’s beat out by a global influenza pandemic, which could also be prevented by vaccination.
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to lift a lower court’s preliminary injunction against Trump’s trans military ban. This isn’t the ban the total ban on trans people from serving in the military that Trump had announced by tweet, but is the actual policy that would allow service members who have already started transitioning to continue that process and update their records as was available under the old policy, but will block any service member who has not already transitioned from starting the process as well as prevent trans people from joining the military.
The National Organization for Marriage wants Gabbard to apologize for apologizing for her past work fighting against gay rights.
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