Monday, June 24, 2013

Dividing History into Periods: Third to Seventh

We may divide the history of Olympia into different periods using religion as our primary criterion. Previously we talked about the beginning of history and its first two great ages: the Age of Olympianity (4004-1921 BC) and the Age of Yahwism (1921-4 BC). Today we will cover the remaining great periods.

AD 1-622 Age of Christianity
In AD 525, a Latin Christian monk named Dionysius Exiguus was the first to start counting years beginning with the birth of Jesus. He did that because he wanted to stop counting years from the first year of the rule of Diocletian. As Roman emperor, Diocletian had severely persecuted Christians. Dionysius saw no need to perpetuate his memory.

Dionysius started his calendar with the year AD 1. "AD" stands for "Anno Domini" or the "Year of the Lord." Jesus, then, was born in AD 1: the first Year of the Lord which was our Lord's first year on Earth.

Using documents of greater variety and accuracy, James Ussher (1658) determined that the date of Christ's birth used by Dionysius was in fact slightly inaccurate. Ussher believed that it would be more accurate to say that Jesus was born on December 25, 5 BC, and that 4 BC was the first full Year of the Lord.

This creates a bit of a dilemma. "BC," after all, means "Before Christ." It seems awkward to say that Jesus Christ was born just over four years Before Christ. Yet, if we stay with Dionysius and his calendar, the calendar we Christians--and the world with us--continue to use today, then we lose the years 4, 3, 2, and 1 BC.

We may also call this age the Christian Age. This is not because everyone in Olympia became Christian. Olympianity and Judaism remained alive and well. It is because Christianity embodied the most significant new religious movement of the time.

622-1648 Age of Islam
In 622 Muhammad, the founder of Islam, and his followers moved from Mecca to Medina. With that move, Islam as a distinct religious movement began. The year 622, according to the Latin Christian calendar, is actually year 1 according to the Islamic calendar.

Again the religions of the three previous ages—Olympianity, Judaism, and Christianity—remained alive and well even during the Islamic Age. But Islam was definitely the most significant new religious movement of its time.

1648-2008 Age of Exuberant Olympianity
A civil war in Latin Christendom broke out in 1517. After 130 years of mutual slaughter, all sides admitted their complete exhaustion with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. After all that destruction and death, Latin Christians given to either reflection or compassion abandoned Christianity as completely discredited.

Here, then, we find the beginning of the resurgence of Olympianity. In due time, these beginnings would become what is called the Industrial Revolution and, in our time, would grow into the Global Technological System (GTS).

This new exuberant Olympianity was certainly the most significant new religious movement of its age. Indeed, the deep and universal popularity of Olympianity, especially of Vulcan god of technology, caused profound deformations in the traditional beliefs and practices of Jews, Christians, and Muslims everywhere in Olympia. Participants in these other three religions are still scrambling to envision a creative response to this robust Olympianity.

2008-? Period of Transition
In 2007, the GTS experienced significant economic stress. I think this stress is one important indicator that it is no longer sustainable and has begun an irreversible decline. There are other indicators as well: political, social, technological, and environmental. So 2008 marks the end of the ability of the Olympian gods—politics, war, technology, sex, money, and consumption—to provide us with their promised security, happiness, importance, justification, and meaning.

At the same time, we do not have a meaningful resurgence of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. They still remain profoundly compromised, as systems of belief and practice, by Olympianity.

This leaves us, for the time being, entering a period of transition. Such periods are always less pleasant than those which come before or after them.

My goal is to discern ways in which we, as radiant witnesses to the one odd god above the fray, may respond creatively to the unprecedented challenges which await us.

New Creation
No one knows how long human life will endure. But, just as it started with creation, so it will be transformed, according to Christian scripture, with the coming of God’s new creation. We may simply note here that this new creation emerges in our world, even now, each time someone witnesses to the truth, freedom, love, and vitality that are ours in Jesus Christ.

Copyright © 2013 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.