Roman people were pagans, they had never been religious. They had never been interested in airy-fairy things, they were not esoteric at all; very earthbound, very earthly people, solid. Christianity condemned them, condemned their paganism, condemned their life of “eat, drink and be merry.” That was their whole religion in three words – the simplest religion in the world. You cannot make a more condensed catechism than this: Eat, drink, be merry. That is the whole Roman philosophy.
Christianity condemned them, condemned them so much that they stopped being pagans and started becoming religious. They dropped their old way of living joyously, luxuriously. They dropped being warriors, they dropped being imperialists; they dropped expanding, they started shrinking.
When they became Christians they started believing, “Blessed are the poor.” And they wanted to get through the doors of heaven, so they started becoming poor. First psychologically you start shrinking, and then outwardly you start shrinking.
There was a time when all roads led to Rome, Rome was the world capital. Now Rome does not matter at all: whether it exists at all or not will not make any difference. Who bothers about Rome now? This is what Christianity has done to the Roman empire, culture, civilization, just with the condemnation of their material life, the condemnation of Zorba – and the Roman people were just zorbas.
The trouble is that just by condemning the zorba you cannot transform people into buddhas. If you condemn them as being zorbas then you simply destroy them. You are not a help, you are simply poisoning them. The zorba has to be made into the foundation for the buddha. Don’t condemn the foundation; otherwise the whole edifice will become impossible. Christians committed the crime, and Rome suffered.
The same is the situation of America today. It is at the peak of its wealth, scientific knowledge, technological expertise – and it is getting caught in the hands of the Christians. Christians have never been so powerful in America as they are today.
Americans should learn a lesson from Rome; otherwise history will be repeated and the law of mediocrity will go on functioning; but I don’t think Americans are going to listen.
The American president, Ronald Reagan, is a fanatic Christian, and is trying in every possible way to make the country as Christian oriented as possible. In fact he thinks that Christianity is the only answer to communism. He is wrong.
Christianity is not the answer to communism.
In fact, communism is a by-product of Christianity.
It is that idiotic statement, “Blessed are the poor,” which is the base of the whole communist philosophy.