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HISTORY of Christian Theology
Polytheism

Polytheism

In order to understand the origins and revolutionary nature of Christian theology, it is important to view it in proper relief against the religions in the region at the time of Jesus’s birth. Besides Judaism, which we will discuss in a subsequent lecture, various forms of polytheism dominated the religious landscape at the time Christianity came on the scene. Each province was subject to its own set deities with different powers who controlled the various forces of nature with one god typically becoming pre-eminent. But they all were still subject to the law of fate and eternal destiny. The nature of the gods in each society often differed from the nature of the gods of other areas. Some were plants, like the large sacred oaks or other...

The Human Factor

Our review of history enables us to identify various themes that reoccur over time from which we can derive various principles to guide our understanding of the truth. We enhance our study of Christian religious history by considering how the following six human influences have continually impacted religious thought and actions throughout history: Religious activity is part of the human experience People often try to influence deity in an attempt to control their future The tension between human free will and God’s sovereignty The pendulum effect – beliefs often gravitate to extremes Religion is often used to justify improper behavior People generally project their own values and beliefs onto others, which often distorts historical...

Fear and Religion

Sigmund Freud wrote that religion is a delusion created by our subconscious mind in its attempt to deal with fear. He taught that humans are subject to three innate fears: the fear of death, the fear of the destructive forces of nature, and fear associated with suffering and the physical demands of life. He believed that humans sublimate these fears by repressing them and then transmuting and redirecting them through the culturally acceptable expression of religion. For Freud, God is nothing more than our subconscious desire for a father figure in the sky to protect us from harm, and heaven is simply our fantasy of a place without labor and suffering. There is no question that fear plays a role in human social interaction, including many...

Period I – The Early and Medieval Church

1 – Polytheism In order to understand the origins and revolutionary nature of Christian theology, it is important to view it in proper relief against the religions in the region at the time of Jesus’s birth. Besides Judaism, which we will discuss in a subsequent lecture, various forms of polytheism dominated the religious landscape at the time Christianity came on the scene. . . . moreHinduism & BuddhismEgyptianGreco-Roman PaganismMiddle Eastern PaganismZoroastrianism 2 – The Greco-Roman World Judaism gave birth to Christianity in a Greco-Roman world where Christianity’s Jewish roots merged with the Roman imperial culture and Greek philosophical ideas to mold Christianity into the institution it became in the early Church...
The Human Quest for Meaning

The Human Quest for Meaning

Is God Dead? In 1882, the philosopher Friedrick Nietzsche proclaimed that “God is dead,” and with his death our world is cut loose from its moorings to drift aimlessly through space without direction or meaning. with the death of God, nihilism was bornThe ordered cosmos is no more. He later wrote: “Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of the universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of “world history,” but nevertheless it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die.” Thus, with the death of God, nihilism was born,...
The Origin of Religion

The Origin of Religion

One’s world view greatly impacts how we see reality. Our modern secular culture is based on an atheistic evolutionary view with reliance on science as the gage by which we measure truth. So, without acceding to the correctness of this worldview, we will begin our inquiry into the origins of religion from this familiar, albeit non-exclusive, perspective. We will first review the existing archeological evidence, then look at the most widely accepted current theories, and then review the historical development leading to these current views. We will consider the often ignored truth that the most primitive cultures worshiped a benevolent supreme being who created the universe and established the moral law for these cultures. We then end by...