“For over fifteen centuries, thanks to the blindly-brutal persecutions of those great vandals of early Christian history, Constantine and Justinian, ancient wisdom slowly degenerated until it gradually sank into the deepest mire of monkish superstition and ignorance. The Pythagorian ‘knowledge of things that are’; the profound erudition of the Gnostics; the world and time-honored teachings of the great philosophers; all were rejected as doctrines of Antichrist and Paganism, and committed to the flames. With the last seven wise men of the Orient, … who fled from the fanatic persecutions of Justinian, to Pursia, the reign of wisdom closed. … They were replaced by the light-fleers, the tonsured and hooded monks of Papal Rome, who dread truth, in whatever shape and from whatever quarter it appears, if it but clashes in the least with their dogmas.” ~H. P. Blavatsky
It is really sad how little most Christians know about the history of their church and their faith. I recently say a comment to a post on Facebook where a woman responded to the post by saying that the Catholic church was founded by Jesus Himself. In fact, any real historian knows that the Catholic church was founded by St. Paul, the guy who claims Jesus appeared to him in the desert and told him to take over running the church. If you actually read the Bible, you will find that when Paul approached Peter and James, the actual brother of Jesus, and told them that Jesus wanted him to take over running the church, they laughed at him and told him that if he wanted to run a church, he could start one of his own, and that is just what he did! There are other places in the Bible where you can find comments in the various epistles written by Paul, or one of his assistants, that try to explain away, or justify, differences between what he was teaching and what was being taught by Peter, James, and the other actual apostles hand picked by Jesus, which should tell anyone with the ability to think that Paul did not take over the church Jesus started, but ran a separate church and that the teachings of Paul’s church often conflicted with the teachings of the true church.
Then some time later we come across the story of Roman Emperor Constantine. Many Christians today actually believe that Constantine was converted to Christianity. The proof of this apparently being that Constantine moved the headquarters of the church, specifically Paul’s church, to Rome. They conveniently forget that Constantine not only moved the headquarters of the church to Rome, he also took over control of its theology, changing anything he didn’t like, and especially anything that criticized Rome, the government of Rome, or the Roman Emperor. In AD 325, Constantine instituted what is called the First Council of Nicaea which attempted to create a uniform theology for the Christian church. What many church histories fail to record is that some of the bishops at the time refused to attend because they knew the emperor would control the new theology and change it what he wanted rather than what Jesus and the great prophets actually said.
But more significant than Constantine changing scripture to make the Romans the heroes rather than the bad guys, was the way he and Justinian replaced or removed all teachings that they considered too mystical, too spiritual, or gave too much power and self-control to individuals and not to the state, or the state-controlled churches. The great teachings of Egypt, the great writings of various Gnostic groups, the teachings of the Essenes, etc. were all removed or altered creating the very materialistic churches we see around us today.
In fairness to the Catholic church, they are certainly not the worst offenders, at least not now. Today we have the Evangelical Christians, who not only have forgotten the true spirituality that goes hand-in-hand with any real religion, they actually oppose it! They also oppose any science that conflicts with a literal interpretation of the Bible and the time lines within it. At least the Catholic church of today accepts most science including that the Earth is much older than 6000 years!