Conflation and Crystallisation
During the First Century BCE, in the multi-cultural fringes of the urban Roman Empire, St Paul created and organised a remarkable new universalistic religion centred on an incarnation of the Jewish God. Jesus had preached the importance of love and forgiveness based on the revolutionary assumption of egalitarian moral worth and he had deliberately sacrificed himself to cancel his people’s sins in a kind of psychodrama in the sacred city of Jerusalem. He was believed to have been miraculously resurrected. Christianity incorporated not only personal immortality as a reward for ethical behaviour but a New Covenant with a new chosen people, a Messianic Second Coming leading to the defeat of the forces of evil by forces of good, and the resurrection and judgement of the dead.
Later, following an economic boom in Europe and the scientific revolution, Christian egalitarianism of souls rewarded with immortality gradually became egalitarianism of citizens with political rights rewarded with better heath and material welfare. This led eventually to the rise of the mass society. The printing press had encouraged the development of language-based political nationalism. With social darwinism overruling traditional moral restraints the rival mechanised, welfare-warfare states of “chosen” nations inevitably collided with appalling ferocity.