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HISTORY of Christian Theology

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  (pending) Hinduism & Buddhism Egyptian Greco-Roman Paganism Middle Eastern Paganism Zoroastrianism 2 – Christianity’s Jewish Roots  (pending) In order to understand Christianity, it is essential to grasp the importance of the following concepts and history to the Jewish community at the time of Christ’s birth: Monotheism God’s Covenant with his chosen People King David and the Temple in Jerusalem The Babylonian Captivity and Return to Jerusalem 3 – 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...
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...

Preliminary Overview

Introduction We invite you to join us as we embark on a journey through history to retrace humanity’s search for meaning and discover where this pursuit has led us today. Perhaps during this expedition, we may each discover something new about ourselves and our fellow travelers on this quest. . . . more  1 – The Human Quest for Meaning We universally recognize that our capacity to reason is a distinguishing characteristic of the human race, yet we often fail to appreciate the magnitude and force of the human need for purpose. The innate human need for meaning and purpose in life is an even greater defining attribute of humanity than reason alone. In a very broad perspective, to be human is to be religious, whether one...

Introduction

We invite you to join us as we embark on a journey through history to retrace humanity’s search for meaning and discover where this pursuit has led us today. Perhaps during this expedition, we may each discover something new about ourselves and our fellow travelers on this quest. As your guide you should realize that I am a believer, but I am not so arrogant as to think that I know all of the answers. This is an explorative expedition after all. We can all learn something from each other, so I encourage you to actively participate and share your ideas and questions, regardless of your perspective or your status as a skeptic or believer. I encourage this active dialog not because I believe all ideas and beliefs have equal value–I believe...