Preview for Nov 30, Week 10

I’m a little late with this post but wanted to alert you to a major topic for the discussion during our next session:  if religion was not about belief until the advent of Christianity (and it was not), what can account for the sudden emphasis on belief beginning in the letters of Paul and continuing forward? This is not a question I’ve seen addressed anywhere so we’re on our own to come up with possibilities; no attempt is too far out, so put your thinking caps on!

2 thoughts on “Preview for Nov 30, Week 10

  1. I almost hate to quote this man, but here’s what the ex-wife of the most recent Colorado shooter said of him: “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases, He is obsessed with the world coming to an end.”

    I am still pursuing my theory that “belief” is a continuum from what we can prove with evidence (belief/knowledge) to what we can’t prove (belief/faith). I don’t think it makes too much sense to cloud the issue with when ‘belief’ happened and whether it was belief in Jesus as God, or the resurrection, or the Virgin Birth – they are all part and parcel of the same belief/faith end of the spectrum! That’s my two cents worth – roll on next week!

    I suggest that belief is a continuum, or a spectrum, from belief (as in knowledge) at one end, which can be proved by observation/facts/data etc. through doubt, somewhere in the murky middle, to belief (as in faith), at the other end, which cannot be proved by science/facts/data, but is ‘known’ to be truth by those who believe!

    Two examples:

    Galileo – grew up in 16th century Catholic Italy, where, because the savants of his day said so, he believed that in an earth-centered universe as the accepted ‘truth’. However, his observations of the movement of the planets led him to doubt that truth and to begin to believe in a solar-centered universe based on his data.

    Darwin – grew up in a traditional English home where the Bible stories of creation were accepted as ‘truth’, and because scientists at that time supported that idea. His travels to the Galapagos Islands and S. America and his observations of animal life there led him to doubt that truth and to develop a different theory. Darwin came to believe in evolution, not creationism, based on the data he collected.

    * * * * * * *

    Paul was an educated Jew, raised to believe in God/Yahweh and His rules/commandments. His belief in Judaism was so strong that he actively persecuted believers of the new sect until his sudden conversion to Christianity and he thus developed his belief in Jesus. If he said that you must believe to be saved, then in what did he want people to believe? And saved from what?

    I think that each of these men traveled the full spectrum of belief, starting with one truth, moving through doubt to another belief. While Galileo and Darwin’s final beliefs can be scientifically proved, Paul’s final belief cannot. Does that make any of the three beliefs the less ‘real’?

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