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The faithless faith of the biblical Jesus

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The faithless faith of the biblical Jesus

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

What is the name of a person that believes in Krishna, Ganesha, Kali, Rama and Brahma? A Hindu. What is the name of a person that believes in Ghautama Siddharta Buddha and in the idea of Nirvana? A Buddhist. What is the name of a person that believes in the Qur'an and follows the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.? A Muslim. And so we see that existent concepts, especially those that are culturally significant typically exist with particular titles, names or labels attached to them. That is the common practice of civilisations throughout human history. When an idea or a concept or a thing is given recognition as to its existence, the necessary knee-jerk human reaction that is completely natural and logical is to name it. An entity that has no name, has no identity. And an identity-less thing is arguable non-existent in practical reality.

Jennifer Slater writes:

"It was as Christ, and not as Jesus, that Jesus made his impact on the Greeks and Romans. Christians were called after him and as such the name was highly significant in the formation of identity." [1]

Yes, according to Acts 11:26, the term Christian (from which you get Christianity) is nothing but an earthly-mandated label with a particular origin in Antioch that has no connection to the first historical Jesus movement spearheaded by him almost 700 kilometers away in Jerusalem. But what was the name that Jesus would have given to the movement that he started if indeed it was a unique movement distinguishably different from the rest of Jewry? Since it is clear that the historical records that have reached us reveal no trademark of the supposed Jesus movement that Jesus supposedly established, what Christians would have us believe is that Jesus as the founder of a corporation or company founded it without a name and so without an identity. Have you ever heard of a nameless company? There is no getting around the fact that epithets for identification is a necessary cultural norm that even Christians have always vehemently practised-- a fact that is proven by virtue of the thousands of unique names, titles, labels and epithets afforded to the multiple different brands and versions of Christianity. What is Jesus' brand? He had no brand. Isn't that astonishing?

Notes:

[1] Slater, J.(2012). Christian Identity Characteristics in Paul's Letter to the Members of the Jesus Movement in Galatians: Creating Diastratic Unity in a Distratic Divergent South African Society. Indiana: AuthorHouse. p. 39

 

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I remember Syed Muhammad Rizvi mentioning in a speech that Jesus Christ (as) was only sent as a messenger to the Jews, to reform Bani Isra'il. However, deviancies like Sainthood, Catholicism and the Trinity were introduced to turn it into basically a worldwide corporation.

The Christians are extremely divided in belief, but seem not to care too much for intersect dialogue. Just maybe the guys on SC, but I don't see anyone else. No Christian I have met follows a form of Christianity that was mentioned by Isa (as). Shiism was mentioned by Imam Ali (as), but Unitarianism and Catholicism were never mentioned by Jesus Christ (as).

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The disciples of Jesus went out in every direction to spread the message as he commanded them. They were given that name, as pointed out, early on and seem to have accepted it.

The early ekklesias formed in different areas became the historical churches. Jesus would not have used words like " Catholic" (from the greek " katholikos" meaning simply " universal") because they were not in his language.

There is plenty of interfaith dialogue among Christians and even between disparite religions in which Christians participate....from the World Council of Churches down to the local Interfaith Coalition.

The Pope very often meets with leaders and members of other Christian denominations.

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13 minutes ago, LeftCoastMom said:

Jesus would not have used words like " Catholic" (from the greek " katholikos" meaning simply " universal") because they were not in his language.

 

What words would he have used?

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22 minutes ago, Mansur Bakhtiari said:

What words would he have used?

I don't recall Jesus telling His followers to call themselves anything in particular. It was shortly after His death the term Christian came about.  

Christian is one who follows Jesus Christ. It's not that hard, why are Muslims not called Islamist for following Islam? "Muslim" seems to be a description that goes back and spans all religions

I'm assuming this is in contrast to the name "Muslim" that of which Muhammad considered himself to be the first. Then again...The disciples of Jesus called themselves Muslim, and it is said that Adam was a Muslim. Actually the name in English would be "surrendered one" which is not really a name, but a description. Add to that, most Muslims I know don't seem to be that surrendered, so the description is not a true name for the masses. Not saying I know a lot of Christians that are actually "surrendered to the Will of God" either. 

It's a name.

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^That attests to the suggestion that Jesus (as) was sent by God to reform Judaism, and was not sent to the world like the Prophet Muhammad (saw), nor to have a seperate religion but to simply reform Judaism.

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1 hour ago, Son of Placid said:

I don't recall Jesus telling His followers to call themselves anything in particular.

 

Salam Son of Placid,

Great point. Jesus is interested in his followers obeying him, not in what they are called.

 

Quote

Christian is one who follows Jesus Christ.

Amen!!! :)

It's interesting that the first believers are all Jewish, and they were called "circumcised believers" in Acts 10:45. They were "astonished" when Gentiles received God's Holy Spirit too!!! :)

The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. - Acts 10:45 (NIV)

Gentiles being added on to the Children of Israel is part of the New Covenant. Jesus Christ brings the New Covenant. (I boldened some.)

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah;  - Jeremiah 31:31 http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1131.htm

Jesus is in the state of fulfilling many prophecies from the Old Covenant, including the following:

And now saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be His servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, and that Israel be gathered unto Him--for I am honourable in the eyes of the LORD, and my God is become my strength-- 

Yea, He saith: 'It is too light a thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the offspring of Israel; I will also give thee for a light of the nations, that My salvation may be unto the end of the earth.'

Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him who is despised of men, to him who is abhorred of nations, to a servant of rulers: kings shall see and arise, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD that is faithful, even the Holy One of Israel, who hath chosen thee.

- Isaiah 49:5-7

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1049.htm

(Jewish people who reject Jesus as the Messiah disagree, and that's their right. However, Messianic Jews do believe that Yeshua/Yehoshua fulfills this prophecy and many others.) 

Jesus didn't abolish the Old Covenant; he fulfills it.

 Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV)

For Christians, Jesus is the King. It doesn't matter what we call ourselves; what matters is obedience!

Peace and God bless you
 

 

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19 hours ago, Mansur Bakhtiari said:

What words would he have used?

He spoke Aramaic, but the scriptures of the New Testament are written in Koinai Greek.

He used the words for " community" and " assembly" to describe his followers ( the  Greek word is often translated as " church" in English.)

As stated by others, the word " Christian" was coined by others, but the disciples of Jesus seem to have accepted it.

The faith spread beyond the original Jewish followers reasonably quickly after discussions about how to incorporate new non-Jewish members into the community.

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On 3/17/2017 at 11:33 AM, Mansur Bakhtiari said:

^That attests to the suggestion that Jesus (as) was sent by God to reform Judaism, and was not sent to the world like the Prophet Muhammad (saw), nor to have a seperate religion but to simply reform Judaism.

Not really. All Prophets were sent with the same Injeel for the same reason, to turn religion around. Every time humans get involved corruption happens. New man made god laws pop up everywhere and everybody is jumping hoops and paying extra taxes hoping it pleases God because humans called leaders say it will. 

Every Prophet was sent to the world. Their ability to change the world was dependent on how big their world was. Jesus predominantly traveled the lush lands of the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. That was His world. No doubt He found more Jews than Gentiles to speak to, but He certainly didn't reject Gentiles, nor did He keep His teaching from them. When multitudes gathered to hear Him, He didn't weed out the Gentiles, nor tell them the message wasn't for them. Jesus came to turn the Jews away from many years of religious abuse. The Gentiles didn't have a religion to scourge.

From what I understand, Muhammad did the West to East, Southern coast of Arabia, as far North East as Cairo, As far North as the Aleppo area, and as far North West as the Baghdad area. That was his world. Muhammad came to turn the Arabs from idolatry with the same message which by now is obvious, the message of the Prophets is not only for the Jews. 

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20 hours ago, baqar said:

Congratulations.

You now belong to the family of green-eyed men known as "Veteran Members."

Hail! Veteran members!

Sure it's not a St Paddy's day thing?

Is that a hint it's time to retire?

Is there a pension?

 

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On 3/18/2017 at 8:41 AM, LeftCoastMom said:

He spoke Aramaic, but the scriptures of the New Testament are written in Koinai Greek.

Salam LeftCoastMom,

It's possible that Jesus spoke Hebrew too.

In the Messianic synagogues my hubby and I have visited, the people used Hebrew and English together: always translating the Hebrew into English for non-Hebrew speakers.

 

Quote

He used the words for " community" and " assembly" to describe his followers ( the  Greek word is often translated as " church" in English.)As stated by others, the word " Christian" was coined by others, but the disciples of Jesus seem to have accepted it.

Yep.

Quote

The faith spread beyond the original Jewish followers reasonably quickly after discussions about how to incorporate new non-Jewish members into the community.

It shows how God has a sense of humor how He used Paul, an ex-Pharisee, to stand up for Gentiles following Yeshua (Jesus)!!! :)  (I boldened some.) 

Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

- Acts 15:1-4 (NIV)

It's a good thing that God gave Peter the vision which helped him understand that Gentiles are "clean" (Acts 10:1-48) too!

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and elders met to consider this question.

After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.

God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?

11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” - Acts 15:5-11 (NIV)

Peace and God bless you

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The book of Acts says believers were first called  Christians ( little Christ) in Antioch

The name is not an essential point...  a rose by any other name...

The top 10 most quoted books by the apostles in the New Testament are

1   Psalms

2   Isaiah

3   Deuteronomy

4   Exodus

5   Genesis

6   Zechariah

7   Proverbs

9   Jeremiah

10    Hosea

Which  may give a feel for what Christianity is based on

The book of Hosea,  for example,  captures the notion of Jesus as the one who bought back the faithless wife, seen as the church in the New testament

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