This is something that I discovered very easy in my investigation of the history of Christianity. Unfortunately, few Christians are able to look objectively at its history enough to see how political motivation has influenced doctrine and the councils. Here is an excerpt of from my first book with the clearest explanation of the origin of the eternal damnation doctrine.
In the second book, I will spend more time talking about Joan of Arc and her role in helping to pull Europe out of the dark ages. But for now, a conversation from the 1999 movie called Joan of Arc between the bishop and the dauphin illustrates the power of dogma.
(Dauphin) It’s not fair you know, the church has so many clever means of raising revenue. The most endearing is the plenary indulgence, paying to rescue poor grand mama’s soul from purgatory. My people are grateful to pay.
(Bishop) His majesty trivializes the power of holy intercession.
(Dauphin) I am speaking of power to collect money. If I need revenue, I must levy taxes and people complain.
(Bishop) His majesty can collect revenue by force, the church can collect only through faith.
(Dauphin) But it is you who wield the sharper sword. I can only frighten them with prison. You can frighten them with hell.
(Bishop) As his majesty’s spiritual advisor, I would caution the king against feeling too competitive with the church. [i]
Logic and reason has been absent from religion for literally centuries. It was so long ago, that most people today assume that reason or logic never had a home in religion or spirituality. I hope I have shown you that it is not true though. Below is a list of dogmatic teaching that cause the greatest discourse within a modern democratic society, and would greatly benefit from an open dialog between science and religion.
Eternal damnation and its many corollaries like “only born again Christians will be saved”.The concept of eternal damnation was brought into the Roman Catholic church for exactly what was stated above – to control the people, specifically the slaves. People who believed in the type of reincarnation taught in early Christianity made poor slaves. They would rather die, than be forced to do the bidding of the holy roman empire. This is the real reason why the emperor declared Origen a heretic – early Christians made poor slaves and Rome needed a constant influx of new slaves to prosper.
[i] Joan of Arc . Dir. Peter Bray. Perf. Ted Atherton, Jacqueline Bisset, Powers Boothe. Artisan, 1999. DVD.
This underlying attitude is still strong today.