As we saw in our initial definition of freedom, this concept includes freedom of mind and spirit as well as freedom of the physical body. During the period from 1000 B.C.E. to 100 B.C.E., three teachers developed philosophical systems which have contributed to the legacy of freedom: Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha; Confucius; and Lao Tzu. Buddha taught that the cause of suffering is uncontrolled desire and instructed his disciples in ways to gain self-control. Confucius taught a system of ethical precepts for the management of society, based on the practice of jen--"human-heartedness"--in one's relations with others and demonstrated through adherence to li, a combination of etiquette and ritual. Loa Tzu taught of a Way: an approach to life in which humans meditate on wise sayings to gain serenity and discernment.


Confucius: "When you see a man of the highest caliber, give thought to attaining his stature.

     "When you see one who is not, go home and conduct a self-examination."

     In 200 B.C.E. Rome declared war on Philip V of Macedonia, the ruler of the Hellenistic Empire. Three years later, Philip V was defeated by the Roman consul Flaminius at Cynoscephalae and was forced to turn over his fleet, pay a huge indemnity and withdaw from Thessaly and Greece.

     The Roman Empire centered on the Mediterranean, built a vast domain of client-states. In Rome, the citizens were pacified and enervated with "bread and circuses." A vast infrastructure was created throughout the empire, including aquaducts for carrying water and an extensive network of roads for maintaining political and military control. As the empire began to crumble - from internal decay - the surrounding nations started their incursions which would ultimately result in the fall of the Roman Empire.

     It was around 25-30 B.C.E. that a man named Jesus preached a strange new faith concerning a spiritual kingdom in which the person who would be leader must be a servant of all. After Jesus' crucifixion by the Romans, with the blessing of the Jewish authorities, Jesus' first genuine followers spread his message of a spiritual re-birth following a complete transformation of one's way of thinking (metanoia).

      As with most religious teachings, the next generation of disciples perverted Jesus' original message, creating a new cult. This was spread, despite sporadic persecution, throughout the Roman Empire by missionaries, who extended the cult from Jews to Gentiles. In 313 C.E.. the new cult was recognized by the Roman Emperor, Constantine I, transforming the cult into a political-sacerdotal religion. In the East the church became centered in Constantinople and was largely subordinate to the emperor; in the West, Christianity was contolled by the Papacy at Rome.

     Jesus' teachings, as recorded in the New Testament and the recently discovered apocryphal gospels, contain ideas which provide a sound foundation for human freedom. Jesus was a teacher in the Perennial Tradition, which meant that esoteric teachings were restricted to a chosen few, those who "had ears to hear." The Perennial Tradition continued underground as Jesus teachings were perverted into a state religion which sanctioned the most ghastly destruction of human freedom. The Ortodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant factions have shackled the minds of their followers. In Christian countries throughout the centuries, including the present, the Church has endorsed the most brutal political and economic rulers.

     Other religious faiths have engaged in this same sanctioning of the destruction of human freedom. Christianity is no better or no worse than other religions in this regard.