Etiket arşivi: Jesus Christ

Comparison Of The Living Religions 1

The religions of the world have some features in common.

  • The belief in One Supreme Being,
  • The claim of divine incarnation,
  • The claim of a supernatural origin of the founder,
  • The claim of divine revelation,
  • The claim of an inspired scripture,
  • The report of miracles wrought,
  • The principle of the “golden rule”,
  • The recognition of an especially sacred community,
  • The hope of a universal religion,
  • The hopes and fears of a future life.

The Belief in One Supreme Being

This idea was repudiated by original Jainism and by original Buddhism. But in the later developments of both systems the founder was worshipped.

Judaism believed in one supreme worshipful God, Jehovah. After the period of the Exile the Jews were consistently monotheistic.

Confucianism teaches the beliefin one Supreme Being, designated either personally as Supreme Ruler or impersonally as Heaven. But Confucianism has limited the worship of this Being to only one person in China, the emperor, and only once a year, on the night of the winter solstice, December 22. Popular Confucianism encourages the common people to worship many spirits, both nature spirits and the spirits of deceased ancestors.

Zoroastrianism sets forth one cosmic power, which is supremely worshipful, Ahura Mazda. But this being is not supremely powerful, because there has always existed an opposing cosmic power, Angra Mainyu, the spirit of evil. Furthermore, Zoroastrianism recognizes many other good spirits, subordinate to Ahura Mazda, yet deserving of worship.

Both Hinduism and Taoism believe in one supreme impersonal cosmic being, named Brahma and Tao, respectively, to be meditated upon, but not exactly to be worshipped. But in both religions the popular phases have been polytheistic, characterized by the actual worship of many deities.

A definite belief in and a worship of one supreme cosmic power by all people, can be found in only four religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. These four religions agree as to the oneness of God.

The Claim of Divine Incarnation

The idea that deity can become incarnate is found in several religions, but with various settings and applications.

In philosophic Hinduism, ever since the period of the Upanishads, every object may be regarded as a temporary manifestation or embodiment or impersonation of the impersonal, non-moral, eternal Brahma, though the high cast Brahman priests are especially venerated as such.

In popular Hinduism there are several deities, who are believed to have taken the form of men. For instance, the god Vishnu, is believed to have entered upon several incarnations; the list varies from nine to twenty-two, but always includes animals. None of these Hindu avatars are represented as morally perfect, nor are they represented as manifestations of one supreme personal cosmic deity.

In Buddhism, despite its explicitly non-theistic basis, Buddha came to be regarded as a kind of incarnation, yet even so only as one of some twenty-four incarnate Buddhas, with a twenty-fifth still to come.

In Christianity, Jesus Christ is the unique incarnation, the Word of God.

In Islam, despite its dominant doctrine of the absolute transcendence of Allah, Shi’ism broke away from Sunni’ism on the issue of imams, divine incarnations. Some subsects among the Shiites differ concerning the exact number of still other incarnations, seven or twelve, and concerning the identity of the last one.

 

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, 1601-02, Neues Palais, Potsdam, Germany. The Divine One became human so that human beings might become divine.” — Athanasius Photo:www.ibiblio.org

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, 1601-02, Neues Palais, Potsdam, Germany.
The Divine One became human so that human beings might become divine.” — Athanasius
Photo:www.ibiblio.org

 

İnanç Dosyası 68 | Christianity 19 The Resurrection

Armenian Church, paintings by J. Rosen, 1928 Ukraine – Lviv.

Armenian Church, paintings by J. Rosen, 1928.
Ukraine – Lviv.

Easter marks the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after His death on the Cross. His disciples stated that on the third day after Christ’s death, He rose from the dead and that He appeared to them on various occasions and dwelt among them for forty days. The resurrection of Christ was the cornerstone of the ministry of St. Paul.

Jesus was crucified and buried on Friday and rose from the dead the following Sunday. Today, all Western Christians observe Easter on the same day. This falls on the first Sunday after the full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox, March 21st. Should the full moon fall on a Sunday, then Easter Day will be observed the Sunday following. This means that Easter may occur between March 22nd and April 25th. However, the Orthodox Eastern Church calculates the date in a slightly different way, so that Easter may occur one, four or five weeks later than this. Easter is a very important festival in the Christian year, around which the whole year of worship is organised. It is regarded as the Christian Passover. From earliest Christian times, Sunday, ‘little Easter”, has been kept as the weekly commemoration of Christ’s resurrection. A banner showing a red cross on a white ground, symbol of the resurrection, is often flown on Sundays from a church tower or spire. This is also the flag of Saint George, patron saint of England…

Turkey – Istanbul Fener Patriarchy, Easter 2002.

Turkey – Istanbul Fener Patriarchy, Easter 2002.

In almost all Churches, the period of Lent features as a preparation for the festival of Easter. It is a season of contrition. After Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, and before he began His ministry, he spent an exemplary period of fasting in the desert lasting 40 days and 40 nights. In the Roman Catholic Church, this period of fasting, known as Lent, begins on Ash Wednesday, Six and a half weeks before Easter and lasts forty days, not counting Sundays. In the Orthodox Church, it begins eight weeks before Easter, and fast days do not include Saturdays and Sundays. The last week of Lent is known as Holy Week, the Friday of Holy Week, two days before Easter Day is called Good Friday, and is the day on which Christ’s crucifixion is commemorated.

The Roman Catholic Easter services include renewal of the blessing of fire by lighting Easter candles, reading lessons from the Holy Bible concerning the sacrament of baptism and celebrating Easter Mass. In the early years of Christianity, the sacrament of baptism was administered only once a year on Easter Sunday. In the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, Easter begins before Saturday night worship with a procession outside the church. This is followed by the sacrament of Easter communion. When the procession is leaving the church, no lights are lit, but on its return, hundreds of candles and coloured torches are lit to symbolise the splendour of Christ’s resurrection.

On returning home after midnight, eggs painted crimson are banged together in celebration of Easter Sunday. Then a rich variety of dishes are served for the mid-day meal. The spicy Easter Loaf, woven like a plait is essential to the feast. In England, small spicy round loaves, decorated with a cross, called Hot Cross Buns, are produced at Eastertide. The proper time for eating them is Good Friday. In the Lutheran church services, and in the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer there are special liturgies for Easter. In different sects of Protestant Churches, the Easter sacrament of Communion is held on different days in Holy Week.

Ukraine –Kiev. A sculpture of ball made of eggs. In the garden of Hagia Sophia Monastery.

Ukraine –Kiev. A sculpture of ball made of eggs. In the garden of Hagia Sophia Monastery.

Among Christian communities, various folk traditions have arisen within the framework of Easter celebrations. Most of these, in the context of the theme of resurrection, stem from the ancient rites of pagan spring festival and from symbols originating in Europe and the Near East. This festival may be thought to be derived from the Sumerian legends of Tammuz or the Anatolian Attis and Agdistis and the Greek Adonis. The death and rebirth of these figures symbolised the death of the year in autumn and its rebirth in spring. Eggs, a food forbidden during Lent and later gaining great significance as the symbol of new life and rebirth, have become, when painted or decorated, the symbol of Easter. During this festival, Christians present each other with gifts of eggs or egg-shaped objects. Eggs may be painted crimson or other colours, white representing the divinity of Christ, red expressing the idea of His sacrifice shows the blood of Christ spilt for the salvation of the whole world. According to a different interpretation, the egg symbolises the world, the shell being the sky, the membrane the air, the white the seas and the yolk the earth’s surface. On the day after Easter, it is customary to visit the graves of loved ones and services of prayers for the souls of the dead are offered up around this time. The rabbit, ancient Egyptian symbol of fecundity is later adopted in Europe. Especially in North America, the Easter bunny, still a symbol of human fecundity features prominently at Eastertide.

Syrian Christians celebrate Christ’s ascension into heaven forty days after His resurrection. During the ceremonies held in their churches, the congregation dip walnut leaves into holy water that has been blessed, and sprinkle each other with it, water being the symbol of the Holy Ghost.

 

 

 

İnanç Dosyası 67 | Christianity 18 Crucifixion

Crucifixion was used from the 6th century BCE on, by Persians, Seleucids, Jews, Carthaginians and Romans as a punishment for pirates, slaves and political or religious dissenters. In 337 CE, Constantine I, the first Christian emperor, put an end to the practice of crucifixion within the Roman Empire, out of deference for Jesus Christ.

Turkey – Midyat, Salah Village, Mor Yakup Monastery (6th century).

Turkey – Midyat, Salah Village, Mor Yakup Monastery (6th century).

The crucifixion of Jesus took place the day before the Jewish Sabbath at the time of the Passover, at a place called Golgotha just outside Jerusalem. Jesus had refused to acquiesce to the demands of the High Priest, so was considered guilty of an offence punishable by death. Therefore He was delivered into the hands of the Roman authorities as a threat to the state. At the age of about 32 He was crucified by order of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.

As recounted in the Gospels of the New Testament, the story of Christ’s crucifixion is as follows: first He was scourged, stripped by Roman soldiers and given a scarlet robe to wear. Then a crown of thorns was placed on His head and He was mocked as the King of the Jews. As He was led away to be crucified, a man called Simon from Cyrene was compelled to help Jesus carry His under whose weight He was about to collapse. He was stripped of His robe and given back His own garments, and, at the third hour, He was nailed to the cross by His hands and feet. Above His head was the inscription, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews”. The soldiers at the foot of the cross divided His clothes among them and again derided Him saying, ‘If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and save yourself”. There were two thieves on either side of Jesus, also being crucified. One of them addressed Jesus saying, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom”, and Christ answered, “Today you will be with me in paradise”. At the ninth hour, Jesus gave up the ghost. A centurion who stood watching said, “Truly, this man is the Son of God”. When one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, blood and water poured out from the wound. When Jesus was taken down from the cross His body was given to Joseph of Arimathea who buried it in a tomb recently hewn from the rock and a great stone was rolled across the entrance.

Germany – Dresden, Hofkirche. The Meissen porcelain statue of the Pieta made in 1973, now housed in a side chapel of this mid-eighteenth century church.

Germany – Dresden, Hofkirche. The Meissen porcelain statue of the Pieta made in 1973, now housed in a side chapel of this mid-eighteenth century church.

Christians believe that Christ’s is a reconciling or atoning death that it is a means of atonement, or “at-onement” with God. The early Christians did not depict the crucifixion realistically until the 5th century, but usually described the event using symbols. The picture of a lamb and a cross adorned with precious stones were the symbols of the crucifixion. The first paintings showed the crucified Christ alive, open-eyed, and triumphant over death, His face showing no sign of suffering. In the 9th century, Byzantine art for the first time depicts Christ dead, with eyes closed.

Two symbolic details systematically mentioned in the Bible are featured in the early illustrations of the crucifixion. One is Adam’s skull at the foot of the cross, the other the wound in Christ’s side, from which blood and water flow. These two items are, iconographically, the pictorial representations of Man’s Original Sin, and Christ’s sacrifice which paid its ransom. By sacrificing His life to atone for the sin of Adam, (Adam’s skull) Jesus becomes the new Adam. The crucifixion of Christ represents the founding of the new Church, the blood and water are used symbolically in the sacraments of Communion and Baptism. In the illustrations produced for the early Church, the two thieves and the two Roman soldiers represent the Church and the Synagogue. According to the teaching of the Christian Church at this time, the repentant thief and the centurion who recognised Christ’s divinity symbolise the Church, while the thief who denied Christ and the soldier who rejected His divinity symbolise the Synagogue. After the 13th century, figures, such as the Virgin Mary (the new Eve) featured on the right hand side of Jesus are identified as the new, while those on His left are the old.

Syrian Christians carry out special ceremonies to commemorate Christ’s crucifixion. After proceeding round the church carrying a coffin decorated with flowers, two persons hold the coffin high up in front of the main door, and the congregation pass under it.  Turkey – Midyat, Mor Barsavmo Church..

Syrian Christians carry out special ceremonies to commemorate Christ’s crucifixion. After proceeding round the church carrying a coffin decorated with flowers, two persons hold the coffin high up in front of the main door, and the congregation pass under it.
Turkey – Midyat, Mor Barsavmo Church.

 

 

 

İnanç Dosyası 50 | Christianity 1 Jesus Christ

Bethlehem – The Basilica of the Nativity during the New Year celebrations of the year 2000. The Grotto of the Nativity houses the Altar of Christ’s Birth. A silver star lit by the light from fifteen silver lamps representing the different Christian communities marks the traditional place of Jesus’ Birth.

Bethlehem – The Basilica of the Nativity during the New Year celebrations of the year 2000. The Grotto of the Nativity houses the Altar of Christ’s Birth. A silver star lit by the light from fifteen silver lamps representing the different Christian communities marks the traditional place of Jesus’ Birth.

Christianity is revealed in Jesus Christ. There is no agreement as to the exact date of Jesus’ birth.  Roman Catholics place it on the night of the 24th of December; the Greek Orthodox Church believes the date was the 6th of January, and the Armenians place it on the 18th of January. Neither the year nor the date is in fact clear though it is now thought to be between 06 BCE – 30 CE. In the sixth century the year zero is regarded as the start of the Christian era.

Nativity of Christ, 8th century Encaustic Icon Egypt – the Sinai Peninsula, the Monastery of Mount Sinai-St. Catherine

Nativity of Christ, 8th century Encaustic Icon
Egypt – the Sinai Peninsula, the Monastery of Mount Sinai-St. Catherine

Virgin nursing Jesus.  Ethiopia – Lake Tana, the Monastery of Ura-Kidanemeret

Virgin nursing Jesus.
Ethiopia – Lake Tana, the Monastery of Ura-Kidanemeret

The House of the Virgin is believed to be the last residence of the Virgin Mary. According to predominant Christian tradition, Mary was brought to Ephesus by the Apostle John after the Resurrection of Christ and lived out her days there. This is based mainly on the traditional belief that John came to Ephesus combined with the biblical statement that Jesus consigned her to John's care (John 19:26-27). (For more: www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/ephesus-house-of-the-virgin). House of the Virgin, Ephesus – Turkey.

The House of the Virgin is believed to be the last residence of the Virgin Mary. According to predominant Christian tradition, Mary was brought to Ephesus by the Apostle John after the Resurrection of Christ and lived out her days there. This is based mainly on the traditional belief that John came to Ephesus combined with the biblical statement that Jesus consigned her to John’s care (John 19:26-27). (For more: www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/ephesus-house-of-the-virgin).
House of the Virgin, Ephesus – Turkey.

 

Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of King Herod the Great of Judea, to the Virgin Mary, wife of Joseph, a carpenter. After Herod’s death in 04 BC, the family came to Nazareth, and at the age of 30 Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist, after which He began His ministry of preaching, miracles and healing. He was crucified in Jerusalem on a false charge. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, found no fault in Jesus and wished to release Him. King Herod, present at the trial, also found Him innocent, but the chief priests, the Sanhedrin and the multitude all called for His death. In the end, Pilate gave in and consented to His death by crucifixion.

Portugal – Lisbon, Christo – Rei, built in 1959.

Portugal – Lisbon, Christo – Rei, built in 1959.

In the Bible angels carry messages between heaven and earth and are thought to have been present at Christ’s birth. The annunciation to Mary that she was to bear a son, conceived through the Holy Ghost, was made by Archangel Gabriel. It is believed that Mary was a virgin when Christ was born and became the mother of the Saviour, and this ties up with the account in the Jewish Bible that the Messiah born of a virgin. Jesus was born that salvation be granted to all, regardless of race. While Judaism is the religion of the tribes of Israel, Christianity will be a universal religion.

The cornerstone of Christian belief is that God came down to earth as Man and His unchanging nature was incorporated in Christ’s humanity, but did not overwhelm it. Jesus Christ was both truly human and truly divine. It was God His father, whose powers enabled Him to perform miracles, heal the sick and forgive sins. The revelation through Jesus of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost makes up the Trinity. According to Christian belief, God made Himself known as

Father and King in Creation, as His Son, Jesus, in saving those who are in need, and as the Holy Spirit, in divine inspiration, who is God within us. The nature of the divinity and humanity of Jesus was first debated in the 5th century. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the twin nature of Jesus was formally accepted, one part divine, the other human, unconflicting, unchanging and inseparable. However, Monophysites held that Christ had only one nature, principally divine, but with human form and human attributes. Today, those classed as Monophysites are acknowledged as acceptable to traditional Christian doctrine. A slight difference occurs between the Western concept of the Trinity, which stresses the supremacy of the unity of God, and the Eastern Church, which holds God to be three persons in the Blessed Trinity. Islamic sources quote Jesus as the “Word of God” or a “Spirit from God”, and maintain that Jesus is sustained by the Holy Ghost, and confirms Mary’s virginity, Jesus’ miracles and the fact that He will return to earth before the Day of Judgment. However, the Koran rejects the idea of Jesus as the Son of God, rather accepting Him as a prophet and servant of God.

Jesus is usually called Jesus Christ. The name Messiah in Hebrew means ‘one anointed with holy oil and dedicated to God’, in Greek Hristos and in Latin Christus, who descended from King David’s line, and derives from the identification of Jews as a Saviour King who is expected to establish God’s authority on earth. Christian sources indicate that Bethlehem is also King David’s city, and attempts to identify it with the Messiah.

İnanç Dosyası 43 | Judaism 11

It is thought that a belief in angels is a relic of Babylonian and Hellenistic philosophy from the time when Jews were under its influence while in exile in Babylonia. Angels have various functions; for instance, Michael is the Jewish angel who protects, and death is believed to occur when the Angel of Death strikes with his sword. There are good angels, but also evil ones, whose leader is Satan, and Jewish mysticism refers to both.

Jews believe that the Torah, that is all of the first five Books of the Old Testament, was God’s revelation. Research into texts and history indicates that the oldest texts in the Torah were composed in the 13th century BCE, and took their final form in the 6th century BCE, while the last texts were compiled in the 2nd century CE. These scriptures were regarded as the Word of God, and the affiliation of the Tanach was proclaimed by Rabbis in the year 70 CE.

Moses is acknowledged to be the greatest of all the Prophets. The writings of other great prophets are contained in the Old Testament.

In the Torah, there is no mention of the immortality of the soul, life after death, judgement, or heaven and hell, which are concepts thought to have arisen under the influence of Zoroastrians. Originally the belief was that after death, both good and evil people would go to a place called Sheol, the abode of the dead. Later, however, the belief emerged that Yahveh gave rewards and punishments in both this world and the next. Eden was the name given for Heaven and Gehenna for Hell. In the Talmud particularly, heaven and hell are frequently written of. On the return of the Messiah, the dead would be resurrected, the evil thrown into torment, and the good transported to eternal bliss in heaven. There is a belief among Jews within Indian cultural environs, that a spirit passes from one body to another and another, not finding rest until at last, all sins are paid for. Pythagoras, the Ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician also believed this, as do Buddhists and also Kabbalists.

At the synagogue during weekday morning service, a Jew is attaching his tephillin, a box which contains passages from the Torah, to his forehead. There are writings in Hebrew on the collar of his tallith.

At the synagogue during weekday morning service, a Jew is attaching his tephillin, a box which contains passages from the Torah, to his forehead. There are writings in Hebrew on the collar of his tallith.

Judaism harbours the idea that there is a “Realm of God“, where no personal and social injustices exist. This Realm would be established through the guidance of God, with the help of man, the Messiah. Among Zoroastrians there is belief in the ‘Son of Man’ who comes as a saviour.  Jewish belief in the Messiah is thought to have arisen during the Jews’ exile and captivity in Babylonia.  Originally, the saviour was expected to be a king of David’s line, but later developed into the concept of the mystic Messiah. Maimonides, who denied the supernatural powers of the Messiah, but claimed that he came only to implement the Body of Laws, also opposed the Christian belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. Faith in the Messiah was a source of hope and comfort to Jews during their hard times and helped them to overcome their difficulties. Various so-called Messiahs have made their appearances from time to time, the most famous of whom was Shabbetai Zevi, who proclaimed himself to be the Messiah in 1665, but whose movement disintegrated when later he was converted to Islam.

The Sabbath is the only day of the week to be given a name in Hebrew: the others are just called the first, second and so on, the Sabbath being the seventh. This holy day of rest in reckoned from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, since Jews count the days from evening to evening. On Fridays, enough food for two days is prepared because on Saturdays no cooking is done, lights or fires are not lit, tools are not used and animals are not made to work. Eastern Jews usually eat fish on the Sabbath. Bread and wine are the two most important items of the Sabbath Day service, as symbols of the fertility of the soil, and these two elements were among the offerings made in the Temple. Sabbath Day rites are performed to commemorate Creation and in memory of the flight of the Children of Israel out of Egypt. The ceremony at home commences at sunset and when prayers and chants have been said, food is served. Service in the synagogue takes place on Saturday morning. The State of Israel keeps the Sabbath as an official holiday.

In Judaism, nothing can intervene between God and His servant, no one can forgive sins, nor worship on behalf of another. After the destruction of Jerusalem, Judaism recognised no hereditary privilege or class, and every member of the community is equal. When the Temple no longer existed, the custom of slaughtering animals for sacrifice, once part of worship, was discontinued.