Did Most Early Christians Believe The Divinity of Christ?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by RJM Corbet, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    It's generally agreed, even by atheist sociologists (for example) that Jesus died.

    He prophesied that He would die.

    The disciples believed that He would die.

    The people believe that He died.

    The post-resurrection appearances do not make any sense at all if He was still physically alive.

    A survival thesis supposes a massive exercise in deception, if not instigated by Christ, then at the very least colluded in by Him, and Pilate, who was no friend of the Jews and would have been acting very out of character if he did. And either way, it renders Jesus a false prophet and a deceiver, who was happy to sit back and let people die in His name.

    So, on balance, the popular interpretation of the Qur'an is mistaken. Islamic scholars have suggested as much.
     
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  2. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Christians as early as 60AD when Paul was writing believed in Jesus's death on the cross and his resurrection. They practiced the eucharistic ritual of the body and blood as well -- for which they were falsely accused of cannibalism, as discussed earlier in this thread
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    He prophesied that He would. Are you saying He was lying, or mistaken?
     
  4. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    Well, wouldn't you expect that the companions of Jesus would have a better idea of what Jesus was teaching
    than somebody 2000 years later?

    When I talk about "the Law", I'm not referring to fine detail. I refer to what constitutes major sin.
    In my understanding, major sins are murder, adultery, and usury.

    All of these things are rife in "the West". What should we do about it???
    ..just saying that Jesus is God and that there is only "one commandment for Christians" cannot help.
     
  5. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    As I think you know very well, neither.
    There is some doubt as to the sources of the scrolls that make up the NT.

    Matthew, Mark, and Luke, for example, cannot be shown to have anything other than anonymous authors.
    It was common, apparently, to name scriptures after famous people.

    More to the point, the language used is not God's word .. it is an account written by men.
    ..so the word "kill" and "crucify" can have different connotations.

    If the source of the Gospels believed that he died on the cross, it is quite understandable that the word "kill" could be used,
    despite the fact that Jesus did not ACTUALLY say that.
     
  6. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Murder is universally addressed by modern law codes and law enforcement. No society or culture I know condones murder.

    Adultery, now this is also enshrined in modern law codes.

    Usury, well, if you mean unchecked robber baron neocon capitalism, I agree, we need to address that, it is destabilizing our ecosystems and societies.

    None of these are particularly religious concerns, I believe. They all take place between human beings. Best to separate the proverbial church and state, as mixing them up has not been conducive to solving these issues for millennia now. Time for an approach less weighed down by historical disputes over subjective beliefs.
     
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  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I think the salient point is there is some doubt regarding the interpretation of the Qur'an, which Islamic sources acknowledge.

    Professor and Muslim scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoub sums up what the Quran states despite interpretative Islamic arguments:
    "The Quran, as we have already argued, does not deny the death of Christ. Rather, it challenges human beings who in their folly have deluded themselves into believing that they would vanquish the divine Word, Jesus Christ the Messenger of God. The death of Jesus is asserted several times and in various contexts (Quran 3:55; 5:117; 19:33)."
    source: wiki

    What follows is various accounts that can be seen to depend on, or be interpretations of heterodox sources, ie substitution, whilst others accept the death of Jesus on the cross refers to the humanity of Jesus, not that God died on the cross.

    The fact that even the Prophet asserted there are different ways to interpret the Qur'an. Different readings do not mean one or t'other is wrong, that enough should allow for the fact that scholars cannot say definitively what is or is not the case in this regard.

    I do wonder if the Revelation of Mohammed via the Angel Gabriel is addressed to polytheist Arabs, and he never intended to dispute with the monotheism of Judaism or Christianity.
     
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  8. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Take away the climate changing oil they pump into the 'Christian' west, and most Islamic states are not the picture of a perfect world either, lol?
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    To reprise:

    Did the early Christians (prior to Nicaea, for the sake of argument) believe the divinity of Christ? For the most part, yes.

    With the exception of the Ebionites, and Nazoreans, whom I suspect were founded by one or more of the 72 sent out by Jesus to preach prior to His last journey to Jerusalem, and who believed in a Messianic figure within a strict Judaic concept. These followers became marginalised as Jerusalem Christianity established itself under Peter and John, and the Gentile church emerged through Paul and other apostles.

    The Gnostics believed in the divinity of Christ within a framework of populist Hellenic syncretism.

    Christology centred largely on the subordinationism or otherwise of the Son to the Father. A champion emerged in Arius, but again the divinity of the Son was not disputed, only the relationship of the Son to the Father.

    At Nicaea, none of the attending bishops disputed the divinity of the Son.

    A more complete doctrine of the Trinity appeared via the Cappadocians in the 5th century, largely founded on Origen.
     
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  10. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    That's absurd. If people that make up a society have no self-discipline, and there is no real consequence for their actions,
    they will continue to sin without thinking about it.
    For example, we see teenagers getting involved in bad behaviour and if teachers / police don't have effective powers
    to deter them, they get cocky and take the wrong path in life.

    Moral values need to be enforced in a society .. if not, immorality spreads.
    That doesn't mean we have to be extreme. It means those responsible in society need to have strong moral values.
    ..if they haven't..

    The US and Europe, for example, have a usurious financial system that "rules the world".
    Does that set a good example to society?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
  11. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Each individual is responsible for acting according to their moral values, no? This can't be delegated. It's been attempted excessively in my country a few decades ago, but it turns out "I did as told by those responsible" is not a tenable moral argument.
     
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  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Who are the young men responsible for grooming those 'dirty white girls' in the English towns for group sex? Are they of western Christian derivation? What is their religion? Whose fault is it?

    Where are those boatloads of desperate migrants fleeing the decadent Christian west to enter Islamic countries for a better life?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  13. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I don't think so. There would have been 20 plus years under the Jerusalem Church (James, Peter, John) to "set them straight" prior to the killing of James and the razing of the Temple. So an important point would be to flesh out what precisely the expected Messiah was "to be." If we take Bar Kochba as reference, perhaps the Messiah was anticipated to be a human that commanded authority blessed by G!d, at least that is how it would appear to me that orthodoxy anticipated the "Warrior King" Messiah as I see it sometimes interpreted (think along the lines of King David). But I think the interpretation presented here of the Nazareans and Ebionites falls on speculation that doesn't really line up with common understanding of the followers of Jesus or with cultural historical norms. First, why would Jesus personally send missionaries to deliberately misinform recruits?

    His Divinity was already known or at least strongly suspected among his inner circle prior to the mission you mention. So unless these two early Churches changed opinion from Christ's Divinity to non-Divinity, it wouldn't make sense - and I see nothing to indicate this took place. Further, as I mentioned, there was at least 20 years after Jesus' execution for the Jerusalem Church to "correct" any deviance from what they experientially knew to be correct. With all the effort documented arguing with Paul, who spent decades abroad among the Gentiles, one would think that far more intensive effort would be spent shepherding those flocks closer to home. Ergo, the Nazareans and Ebionites were a LOT closer to the source than any flock started by Paul.

    That said, I see nothing to indicate either the Nazareans or Ebionites denying the Divinity of Christ. The source of that Divinity may be in question (whether inborn or bestowed - though I still fail to see where it matters as long as Messiah is Divinely Blessed), but that He was Divine was not a matter of doubt among those early congregations.

    And I still hear crickets around here regarding the Church at Glastonbury, said to have been founded by Jesus himself along with his uncle Joseph of Arimathea - and recognized as such by the Vatican, which is why the Bishop of Glastonbury was accorded special status as representing the oldest Christian Church.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
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  14. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Maryam (Mary) - 19:88-93
    They say: "((Allah)) Most Gracious has begotten a son!"
    Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous!
    At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin
    That they should invoke a son for ((Allah)) Most Gracious
    For it is not consonant with the majesty of ((Allah)) Most Gracious that He should beget a son
    Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to ((Allah)) Most Gracious as a servant


    Cannot be reconciled with God the Father of Christian belief?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  15. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    A poor argument, imo.
    If nobody sets an example, then you can't expect to reform society for the better.
    We can't just leave it to others, and ignore decadence. It consumes everybody eventually.

    Evil breeds evil. It should not be left unchecked. It is irresponsible.
     
  16. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Not at all. The law-and-order governments tend to be the ones most in favor of neocon capitalism ("usury" in your words), I observe.
     
  17. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    Perhaps these governments are comprised of people with no religious knowledge..
    What is religious knowledge. One Christian law / commandment?
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Er ... no ...

    What can I say?

    The legends are manifold and various. King Arthur. Joseph of Arimathea. St Patrick and a host of Celtic saints ... and who knows ... ?

    Do we want to discuss the pros and cons of the legend?

    Sadly, I've only seen Glastonbury Tor from a field at the Glastonbury Festival.
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    A humanist would argue – rightly, IMHO, that the promise of heaven/threat of damnation is a carrot-and-stick argument for doing good, whereas the humanist would do good, simply because it is the right thing to do, that is, they don't need to be told, cajoled or threatened.

    The old saw 'power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely' applies to religious institutions as much as any other; no religion is free nor perfect in its conduct, nor is any society, but to take a superior position on the basis of the profession of religion stands on a flawed and perilous foundation.
     
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  20. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Especially when the states leave much to be desired where that one official religion effectively does rule. Imo

    Others are wealthy because of western demand for oil, which is the main driver of climate change, and which they are content to supply and charge as much as the market will bear?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021

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