"A true Christian should have but one fear -- lest he or she should not hope enough." - Walter Elliot
The Bible - We will focus more of our attention on the New Testament given the obvious overlap of the material from the Old Testament with what we already discussed during Judaism.
Defining terms: Old Testament, New Testament, gospels, synoptic
Things to consider:
- How did the New Testament widen the gap with Judaism? (Consider more than just the story of Jesus and his life.)
- Does it matter where the various gospels were written? Why or why not?
- How does the fact that the gospels were written decades or longer after the events influence the interpretation of those events?
Nicean Creed: The Roman Emperor Constantine, who legalized Christianity in the Empire, called together the Council of Nicea to decide issues of Christianity. The Creed that emerged forms the basis of the interpretation of Christian belief. A modern wording is reprinted below.
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son].
With the Father and the Son
he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. AMEN.
Branches of Christianity
Although there are literally thousands of denominations within the Christian family, there are generally considered to be three major branches: Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant. We will look at the major differences among the three.
Relevant pages from The World's Religions:
- Roman Catholicism- pp. 346-352
- Eastern Orthodoxy- pp. 352-356
- Protestantism- pp. 356-362
Distinctive Christian Tenets:
Defining terms: Trinity, atonement, incarnation, Nicean Creed
Huston Smith describes these three unique tenets of Christianity in some detail.
DO THIS: Each of you will choose one of the three tenets and read what Smith has to say about it. We will discuss those ideas together as a group.
- Trinity: Check out Smith (pp. 344-346)
- Atonement: Check out Smith (pp. 343-344)
- Incarnation: Check out Smith (pp. 340-343)
The Judaism Blog Entry and Buddhism Short Essay questions are now past due.
There are links to all other course assignments at the "top" of the blog.