The Pokey Finger of God

meditations on religion and culture

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Another Student of Cumont

June 10th, 2008 · No Comments · christianity, history, media

I was looking to see what content wiki had on early Christianity, when I found a link to a digital version of papers written by Martin Luther King, Jr, when he was in divinity school. Most immediately, I’ve enjoyed his study of Mithraism and his paper on Mystery Religions in Christianity.

It is at this point that we are able to see why knowledge of the Mystery religions is important for any serious study of the history of Christianity. It is well-nigh impossible to grasp Christianity through and through without knowledge of these cults. It must be remembered, as implied above, that Christianity was not a sudden and miraculous transformation, springing, forth full grown as Athene sprang from the head of Zeus, but it is a composite of slow and laborious growth. Therefore it is necessary to study the historical and social factors that contributed to the growth of Christianity.

MLK asks a very interesting question at the end of his Mystery Religions paper:

Christianity, however, [strikeout illegible] survived because it appeared to be the result of a trend in the social order or in the historical cycle of the human race. Forces have been known to delay trends but very few have stopped them. The staggering question that now arises is, what will be the next stage of man’s religious progress? Is Christianity the crowning achievement in the development of religious thought or will there be another religion more advanced?

This is remarkable to me because I had just come to the conclusion that we’re currently living in a cultural environment not dissimilar than that existing during the development of Christian thought. It seems to me that if there is to be a new evolution that we’re in that place from which such things develop.

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