It is no secret that Christianity has been used as a tool for world domination and white supremacy. Therefore, in understanding the world around us we must also understand how Christianity was altered and used by Europeans to conquer the world.
Christianity as you know it and practice it was not ‘created’ by Christ, but by a Roman Emperor – Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus. You know him as Constantine.
Constantine’s Rise To Power
Constantine was a vice-Caesar to Emperor Diocletian in the East. His father, Constantinus, was a Caesar under Emperor Maximinian who had won a number of battles and had earned the loyalty of a large part of the Roman military in the West. When Constantinus died suddenly in 306, the loyalty of the Army would pass to his son Constantine.
In 303, Emperor Diocletian had begun one of the worst persecutions of Christians in history. Christians were fed to beasts as entertainment for the Roman masses, their churches were destroyed, their scriptures were thrown into great bonfires, and their treasures were seized and melted down. Christians were forbidden from holding any official ranks within the state, and bishops were jailed, tortured, and crucified. Constantine, newly promoted to his deceased father’s position, bore witness to the atrocity of universal persecution, but did not speak out or oppose it. Instead, Constantine quietly went about managing large public works projects, consolidating his support of the people, and earning a reputation with his military victories.
In 304, both Diocletian and Maximian (both co-rulers of Rome) retired and after manipulation by Galerius – a competitor for the Roman throne – Diocletian appointed him as supreme ruler in the East. Galerius would then show favoritism to one of his colleagues named Licinius by making him supreme ruler in the western part of the Roman Empire. Constantine felt slighted, but was unable to respond as his power base was further North in the lands of his father where loyal troops were ready to support his claims of legitimacy.
And so Constantine fled to his power base, where he now had the favor and backing of a large military force, the legitimacy of the support of the former Emperor Diocletian, and a number of successful public works projects under his belt. Galerius declared Constantine a Caesar – not all powerful, but a likely successor should anything happen to Galerius. This infuriated Galerius’ own son-in-law, Maxentius, who rebelled, declared himself an emperor in the southern parts of Italy and North Africa.
The stage was set for battle.
‘With This Sign, You Shall Conquer’
After a series of other events and much political machination, Maxentius offered Constantine battle in the year 312. Although Constantine’s force was significantly smaller than that of Maxentius, Constantine would have history revised to explain his victory. The Greek historian Eusebius wrote the following:
Accordingly he [Constantine] called on [God] with earnest prayer and supplications that he would reveal to him who he was, and stretch forth his right hand to help him in his present difficulties. And while constantine was thus praying … a most marvelous sight appeared to him in heaven. He said that about mid-day, when the sun was beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription “by this sign, you shall conquer” [in hoc signo vinces]. At this sight he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also, which happened to be following him on some expedition and witnessed the miracle.
He said, also, that he doubted within himself what this apparition could mean. [presently he fell asleep] and in his sleep the christ of god appeared to him with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens, and commanded him to procure a standard made in the likeness of that sign, and to use it as a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies.
After waking up, Constantine had his troops create new battle standards (seen above) that symbolized his vision. The first two letters of the Greek word for ‘Christ’ – ΧΡ – were placed at the top of the cross.
With a new standard leading them, the cavalries of Constantine charged into the front lines of Maxentius’ force pushing them into the river that was to their backs and causing a fleeing Maxentius to drown.
Victorious, Constantine fished the body of his enemy from the river, cut his head off, and paraded it through the Roman capital for all to see. Constantine also ordered that every achievement of Maxentius, every honor that Maxentius had bestowed, and every monument that he had built be destroyed, forgotten, or stricken from the record.
The First Holy Roman Emperor
It was following this victory and the accolades that Constantine received that he recognized the power that the idea of Christianity had over others. It’s important to note that Constantine did not declare himself a Christian until the day he died, but that didn’t stop him from using the power of the idea of Christianity. Constantine consolidated his gains and secured the support of the church within the Roman empire.
While Constantine was away, Galerius died in 311 from a particularly gruesome bowel cancer, and Licinius was declared all powerful Augustus in the Eastern half of the Empire. Licinius would continue the persecution of Christians within the empire, but the momentum that Christianity had gained was unstoppable. Constantines popularity with the church led to the demise of Licinius when Constantine declared a ‘holy war’ on his colleague. Licinius made his last stand in Bithynia, home of Nicea and Byzantium, where he was defeated by Constantine in 324. A year later, he was hanged and Constantine was now the supreme ruler of all of Rome.
Following the defeat of Licinius, the new Holy Roman Emperor moved his seat of power away from the old pagan capital of Rome to Byzantium. Thus, Eastern Rome came to be known as the Byzantine Empire, and its capital city would be renamed Constantinople in honor of its founder. All the pagan gods of Rome would be forgotten – along with all of Constantine’s enemies – and assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism.
One of Constantine’s first power moves as the new Holy Roman Emperor was to establish himself as an authority within Christian church. To do that, he convened several synods (pronounced sin-ates): conferences that called presbyters (church elders) and bishops together for the purpose of either asserting or denouncing positions taken by authorities within the church.
The assertions that would become Christian law (also known as Canon, or the ‘truth’ as many Black Christians today call it) wasn’t decided by research, or by divine intervention. It was decided by Constantine himself, who would mediate debates and decide the final vote.
In one such example, a priest named Arius made the assertion that Jesus Christ was not an eternal being, that He was created at a certain point in time by the Father. Other Bishops argued the opposite position: that Jesus Christ is eternal, just like the Father is. Constantine prodded the bishops and others present to make a decision by majority vote defining who Jesus Christ is.
The statement of doctrine they produced was one that all of Christianity would follow and obey, was called the “Nicene Creed.”
This wasn’t a creed based on divine intervention, but based on a vote decide on by a Roman Emperor who would uphold and enforce the creed. Anyone declaring anything other than the creed was considered a heretic.
Let us be clear about the political motive behind Constantine’s use of Christianity: during his time Rome was largely polytheistic, worshiping a group of gods and goddesses. This made it difficult for any ruling authority to unify and subjugate the people.
Without the power of a unified Roman empire, and realizing the influence that religion had over the hearts and minds of the people, Constantine saw Christianity as the one thing other than the sword that could solidify his power over the empire.
- It was Constantine who decided that Sun-Day (the day of the Sun, as the name of the first day of the week derived from Kemetic (Egyptian) astrology) would be the day Christians would worship God
- It was Constantine who decided the day that all churches would observe Easter
- It was Constantine who decided the doctrine concerning the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
- It was Constantine who decided which books of the Bible would be included in the final version, and which ones were to be left out
- It was Constantine who decided how you would be allowed to worship God.
Thus, the man who is the most responsible for modern Christianity is not Jesus Christ himself, but a Roman Emperor – just like the one that killed the Messiah.
If you still consider yourself a Christian, you have a God-given intelligence and a responsibility that demands you know the truth about what you practice and what you preach!
Did you learn about this in Church? If not, why don’t you believe this information is being taught? How – if at all – has this new knowledge affected your perspective on Christianity? Do you think that exposing Black Christians to the truth will change the way they worship? Leave a comment below!