Christianity has changed over the years. This change has not taken place in Christianity's core beliefs, which are substantially the same as they were at the beginning. The change has happened in its outward expressions. The soul of the faith is little altered; its body has changed.
"The Christians" weren't the standoffish clique historians frequently make them out to be. Many Christians, in fact, were perfectly good Roman citizens. Shockingly, though, very few people have ever gone back to listen to the stories of the quieter ones who lived their lives without any hint of drama.
There are those who were never convinced by the carbon-dating results. They argue the research was compromised and that the
Few Christians today have even heard of the Didache, but this text allows us a glimpse into a largely forgotten form of early Christianity, one that stands in rather stark contrast to the Christianity developed by the Apostle Paul some decades after the death of Jesus.
Lecturer Roberta Mazza encountered the 1,500-year-old document while researching in the University of Manchester's John Rylands
Imagine if Bill O'Reilly were the first scribe to translate the gospels. His ideology surely would have compromised or edited the "words of God." Expand that scenario to an army of Bill O'Reilly scribes down through the ages, with different languages, ideologies and prejudices, and we can begin to appreciate the hazards of thinking of the gospels as history remembered rather than history storied.
Over the last few decades, whenever the notion of a harmonious Christian beginning has been challenged, there seems to have been a readily available "how-to-manual" defense against this perspective.
This sort of religious segregation from common expressions of Greco-Roman piety -- from swearing allegiance to the Roman Gods and to the Emperor to participation in activities associated with pagan temples -- effectively marginalized those adherents to "Christ as a god" from the rest of society.
The notion that Christianity depends on "grace" and Judaism on "works" is a terribly unfortunate misunderstanding of Judaism. What divides Paul from Judaism is his insistence that God's justifying forgiveness is only extended to those who accept his Christ faith.
I actually do not know what system would be better, though I am willing to work with others to create one. Perhaps, a possible solution is more subtle than a change of systems. One of the communal moral corrosions that I see all around will help explain this -- a lack of satisfaction.
"I am a Christian. I don't like the way the English teenagers live. I have always treasured the simple life and the way the Amish live and am looking to hopefully become Amish when I'm old enough," said one teen who described herself as "a modest young lady."
John 20:1-10 is a precious glimpse into a most plausible historical scenario as to what happened after Jesus' death, and why the temporary tomb into which Jesus was placed was indeed empty, before the various theological presentations involving "sightings" of Jesus began to accrue to the story.
I've actually put a lot of thought into my chosen religion: in Islam -- among other things -- I think I'm looking to the most authentic representation of the person of Jesus, for myriad robust and scripturally based reasons.