Monday, December 19, 2011

I Will Make Arian Doctrine Orthodox

I command the Eternal Army of Rome.
Refuse me this, and I will make Arian doctrine Orthodox and hunt down and dispatch all Heretics from this, their mortal coil.
I, of course, am speaking of you and a premature meeting with God himself.
- Pax Romana
by Jonathan Hickman

In Hickman's Pax Romana, Vatican time travelers from the future persuade Constantine to intercede at Nicaea and make certain demands that will benefit and prolong his rule. This is one of the major problems when those in political power get the keys to religion, and vice versa: they inevitably assert their religious influence for their own political gain.

Actually it's a problem with all people. We all wish religion would bend to our will. We might not come out and say it (except for me, I'm totally saying it), but life's always better when God agrees with our personal beliefs and ambitions. I mean, if I say something, so what? But if I say it, and can find some way to make it appear that God says the same thing, then that will carry real weight.

Wait, wait, wait. Am I saying that people try to manipulate religion for personal gain? Yes, yes I am. Just turn on the TV and watch a televangelist sometime.

Anyway, in this panel Constantine is threatening to make the Arian heresy the official doctrine of Christianity unless he gets his way. And if that happens, he will declare all those that can't agree with the heresy to be heretics and they will be hunted down and dealt with. In this depiction, Constantine doesn't care much about what true Christian belief and theology is. Instead he's using the religion to garner support and solidify his political power.

Which, of course, is what some think Constantine's actually approach to Christianity was.

But the dramatic Chi-Rho vision and conversion makes for a much better story. At least for organized Christianity's assertion that its political and worldly power are ordained by God.

Wait. That would be pulling like a....reverse Constantine.

Get Pax Romana from Amazon or TFAW.

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