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Ask a Theologian II

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, May 9, 2008.

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  1. Atticus

    Atticus Chieftain Retired Moderator

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    Do you have some specific view on it? And that inferority-thing? (or what seems to be inferiority-thing)
     
  2. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Very briefly, Irenaeus is important as the most significant theologian of the second century. He was the first person to state many ideas that would become central to Christianity. It's uncertain how influential he personally was, though. Few patristic writers mention him, and it is likely that he was articulating ideas that were common to many people at the time, rather than that he was a true innovator.

    With Eusebius, he is significant as the author of the first (extant) church history after Acts, so he's an important historical source. He's less significant doctrinally - he was a rather half-hearted supporter of Arius - but he did help to create the legend of Constantine and his conversion.

    Here are two summaries I wrote about these two figures some time ago:

    Irenaeus of Lyon
    c. 140-200

    Irenaeus is easily the most powerful and interesting theologian of the second century, but his best work is mired in tedious or trite casuistry, and seems to have made very little impact on his immediate successors. In modern times, Irenaeus has become increasingly popular, and a number of theologians have sought to rehabilitate some of his ideas.

    Life

    Irenaeus tells us (Adversus haereses III 3, and in his letter to Florinus in Eusebius’ Historia ecclesiastica V 20) that in his youth he spent hours at the feet of Polycarp of Smyrna. Polycarp probably died in around 155, so Irenaeus was probably born some time in the second quarter of the second century, in Asia Minor.

    He later moved to Gaul, and joined the church at Lyon, which seems to have had many immigrants from Asia Minor in its congregation. In 177, this church suffered a severe persecution by the state. Irenaeus survived, and was sent to the bishop of Rome with a letter describing the heroism of those who suffered, some of which is preserved in Eusebius’ Historia ecclesiastica V 4. This letter describes its bearer as a “presbyter”, a title that may still have had quite a wide range of reference. Irenaeus was later remembered as a bishop, but seems never to have officially taken this title.

    Irenaeus wrote several works. The only major one to have survived is De detectione et eversione falsae cognominatae agnitionis, normally referred to as Adversus haereses, a work in five volumes written in around 180 in response to the gnostic systems that Irenaeus encountered in Gaul and Rome, especially those of the Valentinians. The work is an important source for early gnosticism, and it is in rebuffing the ideas of his opponents that Irenaeus introduces the positive teachings for which he is celebrated. However, most of the original Greek is lost, and it survives only in a Latin translation.

    The only other work to have survived is the Demonstratio apostolicae praedicationis, which exists only in a Syriac translation. This work does not add appreciably to the theology found in Adversus haereses.

    Irenaeus is remembered as a martyr, but what became of him is unknown, and he is thought to have died some time near the end of the second century. Although he receives much space in Eusebius’ Historia ecclesiastica, and was clearly remembered fondly, he seems to have had no disciples of note.

    Thought

    Irenaeus is hard to assess as an original theologian. Many of his ideas stand out in striking contrast to those of his contemporaries and successors, but whether this is because they are truly original or because they are taken from other, lost writers, is impossible to tell. The apologist Theophilus of Antioch, in particular, seems to have much in common with Irenaeus.

    God

    The element of gnosticism which most distressed Irenaeus was the way Gnostic theologians divided God up by separating the Old and New Testament Gods, or speaking of different Aeons within the fullness of divinity. In opposition to this, Irenaeus places great emphasis on God’s unity, and on the unity of salvation history, which is all the work of the one God. In common with many Middle Platonists, he stresses God’s greatness to the point of transcending ordinary categories. Irenaeus claims that only God truly exists: the world has only a secondary kind of existence, sustained from moment to moment by God. Irenaeus often returns to the image of God holding the world in the palm of his hand, and in contrast to Justin Martyr, he affirms that God actually contains the whole universe within himself.

    Irenaeus’ conception of the Trinity is also quite different from Justin’s. It revolves in part around the Father-Son theology of the Fourth Gospel, rather than the Logos theology of the preface to that gospel. He thinks of the Son as the Father made visible, stressing their unity. Another common image is that of the “hands of God” – the Son and the Holy Spirit. This suggests God’s immediate relationship to the world – he needs no tools to work on the world, just his two hands. So the Son and Spirit are very close to the Father, but still distinct from him, just like the two hands of a human being. As this image suggests, Irenaeus is interested in the Trinity primarily in the context of God’s dealings with the world, rather than as a matter of the relations between the Persons themselves. This emphasis on the “economic” Trinity would be less important in later centuries, although some theologians, such as Rupert of Deutz, would continue to defend it in the Middle Ages.

    Humanity

    Irenaeus begins with the claim of Genesis 1:26 that God intends to make humanity in his own “image and likeness”, but interprets it in a striking way: God makes humanity in his “image” straight away, but his “likeness” is something that they must attain gradually. In fact this process takes the whole of history. So Adam and Eve are children, perhaps physically, but certainly morally. Their sin is not a well-planned rebellion but a childish mistake.

    God always intended the perfecting of humanity to be a long process, involving the coming of Christ. Adam’s sin changed the nature of this process but not its basic length and format. So even if there had been no sin, there would still have been an incarnation, a notion later repeated by Alexander of Hales. So the whole of history since the Fall has been planned by God to help humanity mature. Suffering and death are intended to help humanity learn about good and evil by experience, and to learn to choose what is right freely. Irenaeus likens death to the whale that swallowed Jonah: without it, he would never have repented and obeyed God of his own free will. But it is still a terrible thing, and Irenaeus repeatedly speaks of “corruptibility and mortality” as the effects of sin that the coming of Christ reverses.

    Clearly then, Irenaeus offers a quite different approach to humanity and the world than that of Augustine, which became the dominant view in western Christianity. Suffering is not caused by the misuse of free will, but is sent by God and serves a good purpose. And humanity is not a “mass of damnation”: it is a petulant child that is punished, not out of a sense of justice or retribution, but for its own correction and maturing. Despite the later dominance of Augustinianism, some of these ideas would appear in western authors such as Hugh of St Victor.

    Irenaeus also applies these ideas to the individual as well as to humanity as a whole. If a person is to mature morally and spiritually, the first step is to realise that she is God’s creation and must place herself wholly in his hands. This means accepting God’s timetable, and not trying to become an adult too early. Sin, conversely, is basically the misplaced desire to have it all now. It is impatience, and a childish refusal to submit to God. Irenaeus uses the image of a clay figure being moulded: if it is to become perfect it must remain pliable in the hands of the potter, and not harden prematurely.

    Christ and salvation

    God has planned the whole of history to help humanity become mature, but the focus of the process is the coming of Christ. Irenaeus’ christology is orthodox by later standards: Christ is God made visible, but he is also a human being, formed from clay like the rest of us.

    The fact that the creator has become joined to the creation begins the process of salvation. It is as though creation has been infected with God’s nature. Divinity begins to spread throughout the created order. Before, humans were mortal and corruptible, but now they can take on the divine qualities of immortality and incorruptibility. And this is the beginning of true maturity for humanity. In fact, it is the beginning of the divinisation of humanity. The fundamental distinction between creator and creation is never abolished, but human beings can nevertheless share in the divine qualities and the divine life. This is what it means to become made in God’s likeness, and the process never reaches an end. The immensity of God means that there is no end to the faithful’s pressing forward, becoming more like him every day. Here, Irenaeus anticipates the views of Gregory of Nyssa.

    Irenaeus thus thinks of salvation as revolving around the incarnation of Christ, rather than his death or resurrection. These still play a central part in salvation, but only as part of Christ’s career. Irenaeus thinks of that career as a systematic reversal of Adam’s. Where Adam was disobedient, Christ is obedient, and the supreme test for each of them involves a tree. In fact, Christ passed through the whole of human life, reclaiming and divinising it as he went – a process known as “recapitulation”. Irenaeus is therefore compelled to argue that Christ did not die until he was quite old, a view otherwise unattested during this period except (perhaps) in Melito of Sardis.

    This way of thinking about salvation, as based on the incarnation, would be central to patristic theology, especially in the east. It was later repeated by Athanasius, and lies at the basis of the thought of later Orthodox theologians such as Maximus the Confessor, Simeon the New Theologian, and Gregory Palamas. In the west, however, it would be eclipsed by a more judicial soteriology, focusing on the death of Christ rather than his life.


    Eusebius of Caesarea
    c. 260-340

    Eusebius of Caesarea was a major ecclesiastical figure in the early fourth century, remembered for his defence of Origen, his attempts to find a compromise in the early stages of the Arian controversy, and above all, his pioneering history of the church.

    The date and place of Eusebius’ birth are unknown, although it is usually dated to around 260. He seems to have spent most of his life in Caesarea, in Palestine, where he became associated with the philanthropist and scholar Pamphilus. Pamphilus had built up an important library around the collection that Origen had left in the city, and he and Eusebius continued the research on the text of the scriptures that Origen had pioneered with his Hexapla.

    In 307 Pamphilus was imprisoned and tortured for his faith. However, he managed to co-operate with Eusebius on a now-lost Apologia pro Origene, in response to the criticisms of the great man’s methods and theology that were coming from people like Lucian of Antioch and Methodius. In 309 Pamphilus was beheaded. Eusebius inherited the charge of the library, and was bishop of the town by 315.

    Eusebius became involved in the burgeoning Arian controversy in the early 320s, when Arius, fresh from his condemnation by Alexander of Alexandria, sought asylum in Caesarea. Eusebius criticised Alexander for misrepresenting Arius’ views, and tried to effect a reconciliation between them. He seems not to have held similar theological views to Arius; rather, he believed that God is intrinsically unknowable, as are the relations between the Father and the Son. But he believed that Arius should not have been condemned for his understanding of the matter.

    Eusebius was a prominent figure at the council of Nicaea in 325, where he sat at the right hand of Constantine, and where he presented a conciliatory creed that he hoped would unite both sides of the dispute. His creed was rejected, and Eusebius reluctantly subscribed to the “Symbol” that the council produced. He then wrote a letter to his church, explaining his motives for doing this, and arguing for a rather strained interpretation of the Symbol, according to which the homoousios meant only that the Son is the greatest thing other than the Father, making the Symbol compatible with Arianism.

    Eusebius was then involved in a controversy with the anti-Arian Eustathius of Antioch. After mutual accusations of Arianism and Sabellianism, Eusebius took part in the council which deposed Eustathius in 331. He was offered the vacant see, which he refused. He then took part in the synods at Caesarea and Tyre against Athanasius. He died between 337 and 340.

    Eusebius wrote several works, not all of which survive. His commentary on Isaiah was scholarly and influential, with later commentators such as Jerome making extensive use of it. However, by far his most important work is the monumental Historia ecclesiastica, describing the history of the church from the time of the apostles to Constantine. This was not the first work of its kind, since Julius Africanus’ Chronicon preceded it, and indeed Eusebius used Julius’ work as a source for his own. However, since the Chronicon is lost, Eusebius’ text is the earliest extant church history after the Acts of the Apostles. Despite its thinness regarding western writers, this work is the primary source for the history of the church until the conversion of Constantine, and for the lives of most of its important figures. Eusebius’ Vita Constantini is also important, although it is a panegyric rather than a history; but together with his self-serving letter to the church at Caesarea it is the primary source for the council of Nicaea.

    There are a lot more than that! The two entries I copied above are from an encyclopaedia of patristic and medieval theologians that I'm working on. Here is the list of entries from before Augustine of Hippo (taking that as a working definition of "early"):

    Clement of Rome
    Ignatius of Antioch
    Quadratus
    Aristides of Athens
    Basilides
    Carpocrates
    Hermas (Shepherd)
    Valentinus
    Polycarp of Smyrna
    Marcion
    Justin Martyr
    Athenagoras
    Tatian of Syria
    Melito of Sardis
    Theophilus of Antioch
    Irenaeus of Lyons
    Marcus Minucius Felix
    Noetus
    Clement of Alexandria
    Sabellius
    Bardaisan of Edessa
    Tertullian
    Hippolytus of Rome
    Julius Africanus
    Origen
    Novatian
    Stephen I (Pope)
    Cyprian of Carthage
    Dionysius of Alexandria
    Paul of Samosata
    Firmilian of Caesarea
    Gregory Thaumaturgus
    Methodius of Olympus
    Lucian of Antioch
    Lactantius
    Alexander of Alexandria
    Arius
    Eustathius of Antioch
    Aphraates of Persia
    Eusebius of Caesarea
    Eusebius of Nicomedia
    Pachomius
    Marius Victorinus
    Donatus of Carthage
    Antony of Egypt
    Basil of Ancyra
    Acacius of Caesarea
    Hilary of Poitiers
    Aetius
    Lucifer of Cagliari
    Titus of Bostra
    Athanasius
    Ephraim the Syrian
    Marcellus of Ancyra
    Basil of Caesarea
    Ulfilas
    Damasus (Pope)
    Cyril of Jerusalem
    Gregory of Nazianzus
    Nemesius of Emesa
    Apollinarius of Laodicea
    Eunomius of Cyzicus
    Gregory of Nyssa
    Ambrose of Milan
    Didymus the Blind
    Evagrius Ponticus
    Macarius Magnes
    Pseudo-Macarius
    Tyconius
    Epiphanius of Salamis
    Jovinian
    John Chrysostom
    Pelagius
    Theophilus of Alexandria
    Rufinus of Aquileia
    Innocent I (Pope)
    Jerome
    Orosius of Braga
    Leporius
    Theodore of Mopsuestia

    - and that isn't a complete list, by any means.

    Yes, for example Revelation 13:3, 14; 17:10 are references to the belief, common in the late first century, that Nero wasn't dead at all but had escaped into the east, where he was raising a great army, and would return to reconquer Rome.

    None of that is a logical deduction. It's just an inference to the best explanation, and one which is highly uncertain, I'd say. If different people give different answers to a question, it's true that we'd have to conclude that at least most of them don't know the answer, but I don't see that it would be reasonable to suppose that they are all ignorant for the same reason. And it wouldn't follow that all of the answers are equally probable (or improbable). If forty-nine children give different figures as answers to the difficult sum, and one child says "I don't know what the answer is", is his reply just as likely to be incorrect as that of the others? We can't conclude that a question is inherently unanswerable just because no-one has given a correct answer to it. And we certainly can't conclude that it's inherently unanswerable just because many different answers have been given to it, and we're not sure which, if any, is correct.

    I think we need to be very careful about how we reason in this sort of thing. It's not possible to have the kind of certainty associated with logical deductions, as you imply.

    Miles Teg has commented rightly on that, but I'd add that (a) it depends on what you mean by "the apostles" and (b) it depends on what you mean by "Greeks", too. Paul was an apostle (on at least some definition) and he spoke Greek, apparently as a native. However, I don't see what this has to do with anything. You said that the gospels had been translated into Greek from Aramaic (or at least that is what you implied). I answered that the gospels were originally written in Greek. I don't see what the nationality or linguistic group of the apostles has to do with this, given that they didn't write the gospels.

    What exactly is it you're trying to argue for? Here, you seem to be saying only that (a) we do not possess the original, autograph manuscripts as written by the pen of Matthew etc, and (b) the various scribes who later copied these texts, whose work we are dependent upon for reconstructing said autograph manuscripts, sometimes made errors. Well, no-one's disputing that!

    But that's not what you claimed before. You said that Christians had altered and falsified the texts, for doctrinal reasons. That is definitely not the same thing as a few scribal errors - it is deliberate alteration for doctrinal motives. If you're now giving up this claim, then that's good, although it would be helpful if you said so explicitly. If you're still sticking by this claim, then it's still incumbent upon you to give some evidence for it. Just insisting that I give evidence against it isn't really enough.

    Damn those Craspanians! It's the heresy that will not die!
     
  3. Miles Teg

    Miles Teg Nuclear Powered Mentat

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    Oh no, my mistake. I meant to say that I was startled by the number of early bishops and theologians named "Eusebius"
     
  4. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I think there's no doubt that James (the lesser, that is, James of Jerusalem) was historical, for the same reasons as Peter. He was the main leader of the church in its first three decades, and he is mentioned in Josephus. James (the greater) and John are quite prominent in the synoptic gospels and there seems no reason to suppose that they weren't important figures too. The problem with most of the others is that they're just names, so if you ask whether they are historical or not, you're basically asking if an apostle with that name existed, which isn't very informative. Of course there are later claims about these apostles, such as the claim that Mark went to Alexandria or that Thomas went to Persia or India. These seem to be less plausible.

    With the early popes, it's anachronistic really to use the title "pope" of anyone before, perhaps, the fourth century. The system of church government known as episcopal monarchy (where there is a single bishop, and he's in charge) developed gradually, in different places at different times. It doesn't seem to have been in place in Rome until some time in the second century, perhaps the late second century. So the "bishops" of Rome that are mentioned before this time were, perhaps, just the leaders of certain factions of Christians, not the whole church, or perhaps they still had a collegiate style of leadership. Some of the names before the end of the second century, such as Clement of Rome, seem fairly secure and well attested, but whether they were "popes" or not is another matter.

    Sticking to orthodox Christianity here, Christians believe that Jesus is God. God didn't create him, and there was no time when he didn't exist. Jesus is not the Son of God (properly speaking) - he is the Son of the Father. The Father is the first person of the Trinity and the Son is the second person (and the Holy Spirit is the third). None of these persons is more divine than the others. Each one is fully God, and they are one God, even though they are three persons. So Jesus is certainly not presented as inferior to God. The Son is begotten of the Father, but that does not make the Son inferior to the Father, and still they are both God.

    The Arians, in the fourth century, believed that the Son was not God, and that God created him before he created anything else. On this view, the Son is the greatest of all creatures - like God in many respects, but not strictly divine. God created him in order to create everything else, because everything else was created through him, and he is the Logos or rational principle of the universe. The fourth century saw an incredibly protracted argument about this, which eventually ended with the Arians being condemned and the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, as outlined above, being considered - well - orthodox.

    On neither the orthodox nor the Arian view, then, does Jesus exist just to save people. On the orthodox view, he exists eternally and always has existed as one of the three persons of the Trinity, fully God and fully equal to the other two persons. On the Arian view, there was a time when he did not exist, but he was created for the purpose of creation.
     
  5. Miles Teg

    Miles Teg Nuclear Powered Mentat

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    It may be the heresy that will not die, but it's also the heresy that leaves no trace on Google. Who were the Craspanians, and what did they have to do with daily bread?
     
  6. Atticus

    Atticus Chieftain Retired Moderator

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    Thanks, Plotinus! There's few things I don't understand though. Why the word "son" then? Wouldn't brother be better? Is that explained as simplification that had to be done to talk about it to people? Why was it the son who entered the Earth? Or was he named "the son" because he entered the Earth?
     
  7. Naskra

    Naskra Chieftain

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    Craspanians

    Dr. P jokes. Craspanian = "tomorrow-loaver"
     
  8. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Yeah, that's why questions like "who was the first pope" never really made sense to me. I recall reading in one of St. Jerome's prefaces in the Vulgate him specifically saying that the office of Bishops and Elder are the same, and that this had changed only slowly and at the instigation of the Devil. It didn't seem quite clear though as whether he viewed it as a great failing of the church or a necessary evil to prevent heresy.



    It is a simply Latin based neologism that Plotinus just invented. Cras is Latin for Tomorrow. Panis is Latin for Bread. Thus the Craspaniana are the "Tomorrow's Breaderers."
     
  9. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    The names "Father" and "Son" really come from John's Gospel, where Jesus is presented as referring to himself as "Son" constantly. I suppose that from a historical point of view, this evolved from the earlier titles of "Son of Man" and "Son of God" which were applied to Jesus - the former apparently by Jesus himself, and the latter by (some) Christians. These had various meanings that we've discussed before. What the author of John intended by turning them into simply "the Son" is uncertain.

    Theologically speaking, "Son" is appropriate because the Son is begotten of the Father. This means simply that the Father has logical or ontological priority to the Son. He has priority over the Spirit too, although the relation between them is different - the Father spirates (or something) the Spirit. Protestants and Catholics believe that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (the Filioque) while Orthodox think he proceeds from the Father alone. Either way, the point is that there are different relations between the persons of the Trinity, and they are causal relations. The Father is the first cause and the other two derive from him in some sense. However, despite this, all three of them are eternal and equal, and all three are fully divine - indeed they are one God. So the names "Father" and "Son" do express some elements of the relation between these two persons.

    I think medieval theologians did consider why it was the Son who was incarnate, and not either of the other two persons. They wondered whether it had to have been the Son or whether the others could have done it instead. I think they generally concluded that it had to have been the Son, but I don't remember who argued this or why.
     
  10. Atticus

    Atticus Chieftain Retired Moderator

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    Thanks again! It took me a while before I realized that thinking son as inferior to father is kind of archaic thinking, so I was wrong (even though I might say that at the time of Jesus they thought that way). Also I was going to ask if this being primary in logical or onotological sense and being equal at the same time is one of those paradoxes, but then I understood that that's archaic thinking also. So I'm satisfied.
     
  11. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    I don't think that saying a son is inferior to the father in their minds is entirely accurate. It is not that the son is lesser than the father so much as that the proper role of a son is to honor his father. A son should demonstrate the virtue of Piety (Pietas) which was originally the dutiful love of a son for his father, although it was also extended to a similar loving devotion to the rest of the family, the state, and the gods. To the Romans Aeneas most fully demonstrated this virtue, and he is generally considered a much greater hero than his father Anchises.
     
  12. Atticus

    Atticus Chieftain Retired Moderator

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    Well, I must admit that I'm pretty much supposing people that time thought children to be inferior to their parents. Even though this is siderail, I've understood that in Roman society paterfamilias had right to do anything to his familia. That includes: decide on their marriage, sell to slavery or even kill. Although paterfamilias isn't exactly the same thing as father, this exhibits fathers "superiority", I think.
     
  13. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    As usual Plotinus: Awesome posting.
     
  14. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Thank you. (Since the earliest gospels were written in Greek, they are already translations of the Aramaic stories circulating in early Christianity.)

    Indeed. Now, alterations may be the result of copying errors as well as result from changed Christian doctrines (and what was considered "orthodox" Christianity changed quite frequently throughout the ages). In my mind this then counts as a valid motive for such deliberate alterations. You claim this occurred only rarely. So be it. But the fact that it did occur then is undisputed.

    Anyway, I consider this whole matter to be rather futile. What interest me more is how a simple carpenter's son became one of the ruling deities in the world today and how his eschatological views developed over into time into a world religion. (An interesting case to be compared would be that of Siddharta, whose philosophy developed into a religion and who, likewise, developed into a deity.)

    I suppose this is some sort of theological joke... But why should heresies die?
     
  15. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Entangled Retired Moderator Supporter

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    The Bahai's have your answer:

     
  16. Fifty

    Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Presumably JEELEN wanted a correct answer.
     
  17. Moss

    Moss CFC Scribe Retired Moderator

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    Humanity's instinct is to want something more, an afterlife, and humans have always tried to explain why they exist. As the deities of old become less and less respectable and believable, new deities and religions pop up to take their place. In Christ's case, a core group of followers spread the message of his deeds (however embellished those deeds were) and teachings through preaching and writings, concocted those writings to make Jesus seem like the savior in the already well established Jewish tradition, and for whatever reason, people found it to be somewhat logical and reasonable at the time.

    Religion, IMO isn't logical, heck, Christianity professes to be illogical (you believe by faith)...people grab hold of an idea and it takes off, expands, duplicates itself, and becomes a religion. In Christ's case, it helped that he "fulfilled" an already well-established prophecy.
     
  18. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

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    But the prophecy wasn't really well-established among the very many non-Jewish citizenry of the Roman and Sasanian Empires. Christianity did have a lot better progress among those Gentiles...
     
  19. Moss

    Moss CFC Scribe Retired Moderator

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    It wasn't well known, but what I meant was there was a well-established storyline already in place that Christ fulfilled, so when spreading his message, even to Gentiles, it made it easier to explain His purpose and why they should give their lives over to His purpose.

    Jews, knowing the history much better than Gentiles, had a much more difficult time believing.
     
  20. Gary Childress

    Gary Childress Student for and of life

    Joined:
    May 11, 2007
    Messages:
    4,433
    Location:
    United Nations
    I have a question for you Plotinus. How do you manage your time between writing, studying and playing Civ or making Civ units? You must have a lot of discipline and will power. I was a philosophy major in college and pursued it even after I dropped out for health reasons but I've since become so engrossed in computers and gaming that I have completely abandoned reading or writing or anything really productive outside of work. Do you ever find yourself slouching toward pure hedonism and how do you prevent it? :(
     
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