Almost everyone is familiar with what is recorded in the New Testament concerning the differences of opinion that arose between Peter and Paul. But how many are aware of the fact that this split continued to grow?
For several centuries after the time of Jesus the best and most prominent of the Church Fathers were irreconcilably divided among themselves on issues of basic doctrine.
In order to retain power and authority, the dominant sectarians inaugurated a custom never before known in the recorded annals of religious history — the custom of anathema.
These Churchmen were too narrow and dogmatic in belief to allow room for natural divergences of opinion, which alone could have made of Christianity a vital and healthy organism. The result was a course of action diametrically opposed to the principle of tolerance reflected in the life of their declared inspiration, Jesus of Nazareth.
Having no faith in their capacity to win the adherence of thinking minds, the Church Fathers used anathema for the purpose of “persuading” those who could not be converted — and of silencing those not to be persuaded.
For the millennium “beginning with Buddha and Pythagoras at one end and the Neo-Platonists and Gnostics at the other, is the only focus left in History,” says Mme. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine — (see Holy Heretics) —