Listen on Spotify
Spreading the Word
For a while, things have been going well. The new covenant seems to be succeeding. The disciples are quietly but persistently maintaining their work, promoting the contrived but well-meaning gospel of Yeshua; and a growing number of people seem to be accepting there is value in replacing competitive toleration with synergistic cooperation.
The gospel of Yeshua has been made purposefully uncomplicated: Be good, obedient, and righteous, and God will favour you.
Yeshua had insisted: everyone is equal in the eyes of God. So, the disciples are emphasising this through their own behaviour; ensuring everyone understands that as apostles, they are teachers but not superiors, and it is everyone’s duty as peers, to evangelically promote the new covenant: Everyone is a scholar, and everyone is a teacher.
The plan is working. The gospel is spreading. Stories that tell of a kind empathic holy Spirit, as opposed to a wrathful, jealous god, are being eagerly received. Everything about the new Gospel sounds ideal. It promises more happiness, less conflict, greater cooperation, fewer punishments… It can’t fail… assuming the Ego is kept under control. The problem is: the Ego isn’t under control.
A Samaritan and pagan priest by the name of Simon Magus, also known as Simon the Sorcerer, has been observing the disciples at work. He has watched them baptise people into the faith; and has seen how they manage to improve peoples’ state of mind and sometimes the state of their body, just by improving their spiritual perspective. He is fascinated by their work, to the point of attending many sermons and eventually becoming baptised himself.
Simon, however, is a rather unscrupulous character, skilled in the art of deception and fraud. In his eyes, the apparent miracles being performed by the disciples are just clever tricks; convincing deceptions intended to increase their popularity. So, based on that assumption, he tries to buy the knowledge from the disciple called Peter.
His proposal is not well received. Peter is enraged to think that Simon considers their work to be a form of deception, similar to what he so skilfully practises himself. He refuses to help, condemning Simon and promptly dismissing him. Simon is undeterred. He is a clever and determined man, so he begins to mimic the work of the disciples and is soon performing similar demonstrations of seemingly miraculous feats.
After some time, Simon develops a reputation of his own, and is often mistaken for the genuine apostle, Simon Peter; a mistake he conveniently fails to correct. As a result of his efforts, Simon is eventually ostracised and discredited by the genuine apostles.
A New Religion
Simon the Sorcerer is unperturbed. He has learnt enough about the practices of the apostles to feel confident enough to begin developing a territory of his own. So, he heads for the influential city of Rome.
He can see a wonderful opportunity to develop and promote a new religion of his own. However, by nature Simon Magus is impatient and unscrupulous, and has no time to waste. He needs to rapidly develop and promote his new church, so considering how the people around him are largely pagan, he begins linking events from the life and gospel of Yeshua with significant celebratory dates in the established pagan calendar. He links the winter solstice, where the Pagans celebrate the rebirth of the sun, with the birth of Yeshua. Easter, when the pagans celebrate the spring equinox, when day overcomes night and sees in the season of new beginnings, he conveniently links to Yeshua sacrificing his life to signify a fresh start for Humanity.
There are many connections he can make, such as entwining details of the life of Yeshua with those of established pagan demigods, like Horus, whose mother, Isis, can be likened to Yeshua’s mother, Mary. And the more connections he makes, the faster his church grows.
Simon’s arrival is perfectly timed; Rome is in crisis, the Empire is beginning to crumble. The Emperor is in need of a way to reunite his people, and when he hears of the gospel of Yeshua, which seems to offer a potential solution, he sends out messengers to find the leaders of this new covenant. His efforts lead him not to the Disciples of Yeshua, but directly to the new church established by the pseudo apostle, Simon Magus, who is most accommodating.
The new religion is called Catholicism, based on a word meaning universal. It is a highly appropriate name, because Catholicism is a spurious religion, based on many things, whilst actually standing for very little. The whole concept has been designed and built on a selection of popular aspects, events, and dates, borrowed from several different and competing religious systems. It is intended to appeal to people of all faiths, though in reality, it demonstrates contemptuous disregard towards anything but its own advancement.
Simon the Sorcerer, who is now happily allowing himself to be called Peter the Apostle, even to his face, is highly ambitious. In his mind, the importance of the covenant lies in its political persuasion. The words and ramblings of a long dead, obviously deluded street preacher, are quite irrelevant; nothing more than tools, useful only for promoting his own new project. The people are referring to the Messiah as The Christ, and to their belief in Catholicism as Christianity. Christianity belongs to Simon Magus, and he intends taking it to a new level.
In the mind of Simon Magus, not only does spiritual ideology exist, it is the foundation upon which his church is built, but… especially when need be, it must be flexible. Only a fool would fail to recognise the potential of religion as a convenient instrument for political advancement; an effective means of gaining power. Religion is big business and Simon is determined to make Catholicism the biggest and the best. And to achieve that, it must appeal to everyone.
Christianity must be for all people, something the Jewish Christians, who have suffered years of persecution, are easily persuaded to accept. They are understandably happy to welcome a few modifications in exchange for their freedom and liberty. Similarly, many Pagans have been pacified too. Catholicism has, often forcefully, adopted pagan churches, though they have been allowed to keep many of their idols, even though it defies the commandments of God. Yeshua himself has been added to the existing pagan cross, to signify his crucifixion, and plenty of celebratory Pagan festivals have been added to the Christian calendar.
The Real Peter
The real Simon Peter never visited Rome. Consequently, when he dies, Simon the Sorcerer is conveniently accepted as Peter the Apostle and considered a demigod and the founder of Catholicism.
The church decides an official book is needed to give the new religion credibility. The resulting Bible gladly adopts and acknowledges much of the history and credibility of the Torah, but then subtly overrules it with a New Testament of its own, based on the creatively revised Christian ideology known as Catholicism.
The original apostles, whose lives and work provide an essential and undeniable part of the story, eventually become something of an inconvenience, threatening to contradict and undermine the new and carefully prepared narrative. So, it is arranged for them to be rounded up and imprisoned, forced to write memoirs that can be used later. They are then either hung, burned, or crucified.
A charismatic and politically astute man, named Paul, who like Simon Magus, never actually met Yeshua, is recruited to undertake the task of promoting Catholicism. Like Simon, Paul has been very successful in promoting his own version of the Gospel of Yeshua, so it is important the two ideologies are united and aligned.
The new Emperor, Constantine, likes Christianity. It is a bizarre combination of the new gospel of Yeshua and established pagan practices. It has tradition, yet it feels modern and forward facing. The fact it is twisting everything Yeshua had wanted almost beyond recognition, is of little relevance when considering its political potential.
Within a couple of centuries, Catholicism becomes a powerful institutionalised religion; a politically motivated, hierarchy-controlled oligarchy.
Its ideology may be loosely based on the gospel of Yeshua, which it adamantly claims to represent, but in practice, it is largely pagan. Nevertheless, it quickly collects vast amounts of wealth; takes control of all pagan churches; recruits powerful ranking leaders, and creates a new ultimate rank of Pope, which elevates the man holding that position, to the Earthly equivalent of God.
By the time the Bible is published, the story has been edited and re-edited almost beyond recognition. The brief existence of Yeshua and anything he might have said, has been rehashed by the Angels, then by the Apostles, and finally rewritten and edited to suit the requirement of a powerful religious institution.
Once again, without even trying, the Demons and the irrepressible Ego have entirely obliterated any hope of success. The concept of spirituality is in there, but it is awash in a sea of adulation that is focussed upon the church and the ideology. It is Babylon reborn.
The Catholic church carries on accumulating power and wealth, while simultaneously spreading wildly, waging war on any nation or party that dares to oppose it. It is a process that carries on unchallenged until the emergence of another successful prophet around 600 years later.
It is clear that Catholicism has become a politically motivated institution of incredible wealth and power. While protecting its own interests and those of its hierarchy, it masquerades as a force for good, supposedly representing the gospel of Yeshua, which in some ways, it does. As an institution however, its values, practices, and sentiment have been corrupted and distorted beyond recognition, even if many of its followers are genuinely good people.
The corruption of Christianity has not gone unnoticed by a descendent of Ishmael by the name of Muhammad.
Muhammad can see the Hebrew nation is in turmoil. Their claimed territory is still being violently disputed; their credibility has been damaged; they are being accused by the Christians of instigating the execution of Yeshua, the Messiah, and their own temple has been destroyed again, this time by the Romans.
To Muhammad, Judaism shares many of his own values, and much of his heritage too, but as with Christianity, their belief system has become the victim of abuse and misinterpretation, losing much of its true meaning and principle.
Muhammad has seen the Abrahamic religion fall into polytheistic turmoil, and although he enjoys a respectable and successful life, Muhammad is suffering great frustration. The importance of spiritual destiny, so clearly emphasised by his forefathers, is too important to be allowed to fall into disarray.
Yes, both Judaism and Christianity focus on abiding by the instruction of their holy books, but Muhammad is convinced that the instructions themselves have been corrupted by egocentric Human rhetoric.
A Good and Well-Intentioned Man
Muhammad is a good, well-intentioned man. He studies the two Abrahamic faiths, and as well-meaning as they might be, he feels they have both drifted from the truth. They are misrepresenting the monotheistic faith, which he himself holds dear.
Muhammad is a strong man, with a powerful personality and natural leadership qualities; so, he decides he is the right man to set the matter straight. Determined to intervene, he begins meditating in a concerted effort to consult God. If it is possible, and there are plenty who are convinced it is, then Muhammad is going to refine his skills enough to attract God’s attention; and in his determination, he succeeds in attracting the attention of the UCC.
The contact leads to a regular form of communication, but this time the UCC decides to approach things differently. This time information will be introduced gradually, and Muhammad will be instructed to record the details of each communication as they happen, thereby reducing the risk of exaggeration or misinterpretation.
Muhammad is very different to Yeshua. His confidence is brash and outspoken; he is physically strong and a fearless warrior. He doesn’t suffer fools or tolerate dissent, and being an experienced businessman, his negotiations are conducted forcefully and without compromise. Yet for all his harshness he is also wise and compassionate… with those who deserve it.
His intention, to create an ideology that will remain steadfast, is different too. He can see that the Hebrew ideology had been strong; only beginning to fail when it became weakened by Human intervention. He can also see how Christianity has proved that passivity, as an ideology, simply doesn’t work. Without fear, people are not respectful; it is that simple. Maybe it will change one day, but right now, it is a concept that allows non compliant egocentrics to do as they please.
Significantly however, Muhammad can see that corrupt as it may be, the institutionalisation of Christianity has made it strong.
Muhammad works tirelessly. He faces enormous opposition and resistance, but he is strong, and he has the benefit of being simultaneously guided by the UCC. He is organised and resourceful. He allows no organisation, individual, or even army, to stand in his way. He names his ideology Islam, and although its objectives are theoretically similar to that of the Hebrews and Christians, the methods by which it is promoted and implemented are very different.
Muhammad is pragmatic; he accepts that Humans are incapable of handling too much free will. They require discipline, and that is what Islam will bring. It will not tolerate opposition, and it will not tolerate dissent.
The eventual book of Islam becomes known as the Qur’an. The followers of Islam are known as Muslims; and in Islam the Qur’an represents the unquestionable words of God. It supersedes the Torah and both the old and new testaments of the Bible. It contains the direct instruction of God, and it is very clear and precise. No modification or written interpretation will be permitted, and no Muslim will be allowed to question or undermine its authority. It is the word of God; and cannot be changed other than by God himself.
So Far, So Good
For a while it all looks good. There is a great deal of bloodshed in the promotion of Islam, but Muhammad has accepted that for a monotheistic ideology to succeed, sacrifices must be made. Society can only succeed if it abides by one solitary ideology. Every person will be given the chance to embrace Islam, and even if they don’t, on the provision they respect Islam, and accept the superiority of Muslims, they will be tolerated, even if they are not respected.
A trend begins. As Islam spreads and encounters Christian and Hebrew held territories, conflict is inevitable. Christianity rises to the challenge, and for a long-time, religion is war.
The Muslims are fearless, vicious, and committed. They too believe that ultimately only a few will be chosen to join God, but their spiritual commitment is also strong; they have great faith in the afterlife. For the Muslims, the afterlife is a wonderful destination, and dying in defence of Islam is respectable, honourable, and well rewarded to the point of being desirable.
Muhammad, Islam, and the Qur’an have taught Muslims not to fear death. Fearing the process of dying itself, especially dying in pain, is understandable, but death itself is inevitable, and dying well is something to be proud of. But first they must live in accordance with God’s wishes. That is essential in ensuring a successful afterlife.
Inevitably, Muhammad eventually dies, so his direct physical influence is no longer available; but he has made Islam strong, and the Qur’an is clear and comprehensive. But as is always the case, the Demon seed and the Ego are powerful and resourceful adversaries. So, it is only a matter of time before egocentric individuals begin to find ways of misinterpreting the carefully written and prepared verses, twisting them in ways that suit their own agendas.
Once again, the waters leading to spiritual purity become muddied. Moses would frown to see how his descendants have compromised the words of the Torah. Yeshua would abhor the clerical hierarchy, opulence, wealth, and political manoeuvring of Catholicism. And now, there are emerging aspects of Islam that would surely enrage Muhammad.