Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Christianity

After reading the book Azazil by Youssef Zeidan, which revolves around the history of Christianity and created much controversy, I fired some question to my "history mentor" Jacques soliciting his valuable contribution. Jacques did not disappoint. I copy his response here and his invitation for further discussion.


<blockquote>First the word <font color='#ff0000'><big><b>"Christ"</b></big></font>; Many <br />people believe this is the "last name" of Jesus: Jesus Christ like Jacques <br />Leblanc !!! This is totally wrong. There are historical evidences of the <br />existence of a man known at the time as Jesus of Nazareth, named from the place <br />where he used to live his childhood. In his days, he was described as a prophet, <br />or as a philosopher or as a political activist.  "Christ" is a greek word <br />meaning "anointed". It was not used by Jesus himself (he spoke only aramean) nor <br />by any one around him. It was introduced by the church as a greek translation of <br />the hebrew "mashiah" (anointed). As a non-believer, I prefer to call him Jesus <br />of Nazareth.<br/><br/><big><b><font color='#ff0000'>Whether Mary was the mother of Jesus <br />of Nazareth</font></b></big> is generally accepted, but whether she was <br /><b><big><font color='#ff0000'>the mother of God</font></big></b> is another piece <br />of cake !!! It immediately raises a question that was hotly disputed for <br />centuries: the nature of Jesus, whether human or godly or both. This question <br />today leaves most people entirely indifferent but the people of the first five <br />centuries AD became wildly impassioned with it.<br/><br/>Upon Jesus's death around 30 <br />AD some followers gathered together around two main beliefs: 1)Jesus was the <br />Messiah announced by the some of the prophets in the Bible and 2)Jesus came back <br />into life on the third day after he was put to death by the romans authorities <br />in Jerusalem. Those followers were not anything more than a sect among Judaism. <br />The turn was the result of Paul (or Saul) deciding to use the teaching of this <br />sect and preach it to the Gentiles. He was a jew but held an office in the roman <br />administration that was ruling the whole Mediterranean area.As a public officer <br />in the eastern part of the Roman Empire, he was using greek as his daily <br />language. The oldest christian writings we have are letters he wrote around 50 <br />AD. Christianity could just as well have been called Paulinity since it is his <br />preaching which took this teaching beyond the limits of the jewish community. <br/><br/>In <br />the early writings, Jesus of Nazareth is reffered to as Messiah (Jesus of <br />Nazareth is supposed to have personally refused to be referred as such) or the <br />Son of Man (from Daniel's chapter in the Bible) or Son of God (a traditional <br />title of the kings of the Séleucide kingdom established after Alexander the <br />Great passed away in the 4th century BC; this kingdom used to cover Syria, <br />Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and probably Koweit. It disappeared in the 1st century BC, <br />when the Romans moved in) It is in the second century AD that the idea of the <br />godly nature of Jesus emerged in some circles. This was a touchy subject since <br />if Jesus is of a godly or divine nature, then several episodes of his life are <br />loosing significance: when he is tempted, sad, happy all humanly feelings of no <br />significance for a God. And, worst of all, he did not suffer when he was put to <br />death on the cross, God could not suffer, hence the whole concept of God coming <br />down to earth to suffer and redeem the sins of human kind was loosing sense. <br /><br/><br/>In 312, Arius preached that Jesus is more human than divine and most of the <br />non-greek and non-roman christians followed him. The Council of Nicée (now <br />Iznik) in 325 decided that Jesus is totally God.<br/><br/>A century later, Nestorius, <br />archbishop of Constantinopolis (now Istambul) preached that Jesus has a human <br />nature and a divine nature. This is still the belief of some christians in Iraq <br />(the nestorian church). Cyrille, Archbishop of Alexandria (Egypt) and the <br />Council of Ephèse (Turkey) in 431 fought against Nestorius insisting that Jesus <br />has only one nature simultaneously human (he suffered) and divine (totally God). <br /><br/><br/>Thus Mary, mother of Jesus, could be called "Théotokos", mother of God. This <br />was an outrage to those who said that God had been existing for ever and thus no <br />woman could be called His mother. Reports suggest that the day when the Council <br />in Ephèse approved the word "Théotokos", crowds fought in the streets of Ephèse <br />and left thousands of deads on the pavement. I believe, today, it would be <br />difficult to find people prepared to merely discuss the issue, let alone fight <br />for it. This insistence to a single nature of Jesus created the "monophysite" <br />church which remains in Egypt (coptics) and Ethiopia. The conclusion of Ephèse <br />were later fine tuned by the Council of Chalcédoine (now Kadikoy, Turkey) in 451 <br />whose conclusions are still today the basis of both the orthodox and catholic <br />churches. The words "mother of God" are still present in prayers that are <br />repeated daily by many christians, but I believe most of them do not pay <br />attention to the problem.<br/><br/>The <b><big><font color='#ff0000'>Trinity <br /></font></big></b><font color='#000000'>is a concept that was progressively <br />elaborated over centuries</font>. You remember from above that Jesus of Nazareth <br />was occasionaly referred to as <b><big><font color='#ff0000'>Son of <br />God</font></big></b> (from a greek tradition of the Séleucide hellenistic <br />kingdom) Jesus himself, when he was talking of God, would refer to Him as <br />"<b><big><font color='#ff0000'>the Father who is in Heaven</font></big></b>" Thus <br />it came naturaly to mind that God, although unique, consist of<big><b><font color='#ff0000'> a father and a son</font></b></big>. <br/><br/>The Council in Nicée (325) <br />introduced the third component: the<font color='#ff0000'><b><big> Holy-Spirit, (or <br />Paraclet </big></b></font>from the greek word for "intercessor) He appears as a <br />go-between or a messenger passing words from the Father to the human-kind. His <br />best known action is when all 12 apostles were together after Jesus death, the <br />Holy-Spirit is supposed to come and visit the apostles and send them to preach <br />christianity all over the world. This is a holy day we call White Sunday or <br />Pentecost. <br/><br/>The Holy-Spirit is generally pictured as a white dove. But there has <br />been a lot of fights about<b><big><font color='#ff0000'> the addition of the <br />Holy-Spirit and thus the invention of the Trinity</font></big></b> and it is <br />finally the reason for the separation between the orthodoxe church (Greece, <br />Russia, most slavic countries and many countries in the Near and Middle-East) <br />and the catholic church in 1054. Orthodox (meaning in greek "the right faith") <br />insist that the Father is the most important of the three, Jesus and the <br />Holy-Spirit derive from the Father. Catholics (meaning in greek "Universal") <br />insist the Holy-Spirit derives from the Father <font color='#ff0000'>and the Son <br />(in latin "filioque")</font>, thus putting the father and the son on the same <br />standing.<br/><br/>I hope you found some answers to your questions in the few lines <br />above. And I hope it was not too boring. Do not hesitate to confront my answer <br />to other people who may have a more expert view on the topic. And let me know <br />their feed back if any.<br/><br/>Let me add that at the beginning of the Bible there <br />is a sentence reading approximately "God created man in His own image" I believe <br />that in Christianity like in many other religions, the sentence should be <br />reversed into "Men created God in his own image". <br/></blockquote><br/>  <span class='newsdeta'><span style='font-size: 12pt;'><span style='font-size: 12pt;'><strong><span style='font-size: 12pt;'/></strong></span></span></span><br/><br/></div> <div style='clear: both;'></div> </div> <div class='post-footer'> <div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-1'> <span class='post-author vcard'> Posted by <span class='fn' itemprop='author' itemscope='itemscope' itemtype='http://schema.org/Person'> <meta content='https://www.blogger.com/profile/07800692996425418103' itemprop='url'/> <a class='g-profile' href='https://www.blogger.com/profile/07800692996425418103' rel='author' title='author profile'> <span itemprop='name'>Bu Ziyad</span> </a> </span> </span> <span class='post-timestamp'> at <meta content='http://www.q80economics.com/2010/07/christianity.html' itemprop='url'/> <a class='timestamp-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2010/07/christianity.html' rel='bookmark' title='permanent link'><abbr class='published' itemprop='datePublished' title='2010-07-28T21:28:00+03:00'>9:28 PM</abbr></a> </span> <span class='reaction-buttons'> </span> <span class='post-comment-link'> </span> <span class='post-backlinks post-comment-link'> </span> <span class='post-icons'> <span class='item-action'> <a href='https://www.blogger.com/email-post.g?blogID=38100469&postID=6360936491657101284' title='Email Post'> <img alt='' class='icon-action' height='13' src='https://resources.blogblog.com/img/icon18_email.gif' width='18'/> </a> </span> <span class='item-control blog-admin pid-867791206'> <a href='https://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=38100469&postID=6360936491657101284&from=pencil' title='Edit Post'> <img alt='' class='icon-action' height='18' src='https://resources.blogblog.com/img/icon18_edit_allbkg.gif' width='18'/> </a> </span> </span> <div class='post-share-buttons goog-inline-block'> </div> </div> <div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-2'> <span class='post-labels'> </span> </div> <div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-3'> <span class='post-location'> </span> </div> </div> </div> <div class='comments' id='comments'> <a name='comments'></a> <h4>No comments:</h4> <div id='Blog1_comments-block-wrapper'> <dl class='avatar-comment-indent' id='comments-block'> </dl> </div> <p class='comment-footer'> <a href='https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=38100469&postID=6360936491657101284' onclick=''>Post a Comment</a> </p> <div id='backlinks-container'> <div id='Blog1_backlinks-container'> <a name='links'></a><h4><!--Can't find substitution for tag [post.backlinksLabel]--></h4> <p class='comment-footer'> <a class='comment-link' href='' id='Blog1_backlinks-create-link' target='_blank'><!--Can't find substitution for tag [post.createLinkLabel]--></a> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div></div> </div> <div class='blog-pager' id='blog-pager'> <span id='blog-pager-newer-link'> <a class='blog-pager-newer-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2010/08/what-arabs-need.html' id='Blog1_blog-pager-newer-link' title='Newer Post'>Newer Post</a> </span> <span id='blog-pager-older-link'> <a class='blog-pager-older-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2010/07/story-of-emirates.html' id='Blog1_blog-pager-older-link' title='Older Post'>Older Post</a> </span> <a class='home-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/'>Home</a> </div> <div class='clear'></div> <div class='post-feeds'> <div class='feed-links'> Subscribe to: <a class='feed-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/feeds/6360936491657101284/comments/default' target='_blank' type='application/atom+xml'>Post Comments (Atom)</a> </div> </div> <script type='text/javascript'> window.___gcfg = { 'lang': 'en-US' }; 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href='http://www.q80economics.com/2010/07/story-of-emirates.html'>The Story of Emirates</a></li> <li><a href='http://www.q80economics.com/2010/07/duba-airport.html'>Duba Airport</a></li> </ul> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2010/06/'> June </a> <span class='post-count' dir='ltr'>(4)</span> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2010/05/'> May </a> <span class='post-count' dir='ltr'>(5)</span> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2010/04/'> April </a> <span 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<span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2008/12/'> December </a> <span class='post-count' dir='ltr'>(9)</span> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2008/11/'> November </a> <span class='post-count' dir='ltr'>(6)</span> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2008/10/'> October </a> <span class='post-count' dir='ltr'>(12)</span> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2008/09/'> September </a> <span class='post-count' dir='ltr'>(11)</span> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2008/08/'> August </a> <span class='post-count' dir='ltr'>(10)</span> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2008/07/'> July </a> <span class='post-count' dir='ltr'>(8)</span> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> ►  </span> </a> <a class='post-count-link' href='http://www.q80economics.com/2008/06/'> June </a> <span class='post-count' dir='ltr'>(4)</span> </li> </ul> <ul class='hierarchy'> <li class='archivedate collapsed'> <a class='toggle' href='javascript:void(0)'> <span class='zippy'> 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