Tag Archives: faith

Is Richard Dawkins’ Claim That Religious Faith Is the Main Cause of Violence Correct?

One of Richard Dawkins’ recurring themes is that religious faith is the primary cause of violence around the world. Mr. Dawkins is right when he says that religious faith is often manipulated for terribly evil ends. Jesus said that too, and on that point Christians should be in agreement with Mr. Dawkins. Further, I’m sure that a case can be made that the greater the claims for truth and righteousness a group or person makes, the more revolting is their hypocrisy. Perhaps this is what makes religious hypocrisy especially repugnant. But religious hypocrisy isn’t the only kind of hypocrisy, and religious faith isn’t the only kind of faith implicated in violence.

Richard Dawkins points to violence around the world that is justified with religious rationalizations, and says that it is wrong for children to be given identities such as Catholic, Muslim, and Hindu at a young age that result in their distrust and hatred of others with different religious/faith identities.

His implication seems to be that someone (presumably people who agree with him, assisted by governmental power) should stop religious indoctrination of children. This raises the question: What will replace religious training of the young? Children are inevitably going to develop identities and will have to have some kind of faith, even if it isn’t “religious.”

Would it be better if faith in a particular form of religion and the people who represent it (Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, etc.) were replaced with faith in a “universal” ideology such as Communism, or faith in one’s people or nation (Judaism, nationalism, etc.)? Probably not. The ideologies of Communism and Fascist/nationalist movements were major contributors to the two World Wars and other major and minor wars of the past century.

What about faith in something that transcends religion, ideology, ethnicity, and nationalism? Can we trust the corporate/economic system (let’s call it “mammon”—the worship of material wealth) that is currently invading and reshaping the world, obliterating cultures, peoples, and traditions, and making the poor spiritually and materially poorer while granting a small elite hitherto unimaginable riches and power?1 Degraded “mammonite” culture is proliferating like a bacterial infection by means of the Internet, mass media, and actual military and political aggression. In fact, it seems apparent to many that one of the greatest forces for destruction and evil in the world today is misguided faith in the corporate/economic beast that is reshaping the world to suit its needs.

Faith in mammon doesn’t seem to be a good idea either. How about faith in science and reason?

Unfortunately, as the political and social leaders of the past 300 years have discovered, science and reason are tools that can be used for good or evil, but they aren’t adequate objects of faith.

What’s left as a basis for faith?

  • Religion (faith in God) is out.
  • Nationalism is out.
  • Ideology is out.
  • The corporate/capitalist system is out.

It looks like Mr. Dawkins would have to say that we need to have faith that atheists like him would indoctrinate children wisely if government gave them the power to do so.

If Mr. Dawkins had this kind of power, we would discover sooner rather than later that he and others sharing his perspective are really no more trustworthy than the religionists, ideologues, and nationalists who have caused humanity so much suffering and heartache.

The ultimate cause of violence in the world is not religion, nationalism, ideology (including atheism), or even mammon. The primary cause of violence is evil that is deeply embedded in human nature, an evil deadliest when undetected or ignored. Hearts unaware of their own wickedness corrupt faith of any kind into evil and violence.

  1. In Matthew 6:24 and Luke 16:9, Jesus personifies the Aramaic word for riches, making it the name for an idol/false god that people worship rather than the true God. Back To Article
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Can Assurance of Salvation Be Found in Obeying the Old Testament Law?

The foundation of Jewish orthodoxy is the lawthe Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament) and the Talmud (the official rabbinical interpretation of the Pentateuch). These are the sacred Jewish Scriptures called Torah.

Both Jesus (Matthew 5:17-18) and Paul (Galatians 3:19-25) affirmed the authority of the law. But they also considered the law a mixed blessing. It brings awareness of sin to people who are unconscious of their depravity, but it offers no solution for human corruption besides a hopeless striving to perfectly fulfill all the law’s requirements (Romans 3:20).

This vain striving for perfection could already be seen in the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, who added ever more complicated rules to the laws of the Old Testament, thinking that by making and keeping rules they would attain greater spiritual purity and peace with God (Matthew 23:1-5, 15-26). Modern orthodox Jews are heirs of the Pharisees. In dispersion they added many volumes of detail to the official interpretation of the law. Today, even a lifetime of Talmudic study can never provide mastery of all of the minutiae of rules and regulations inscribed in rabbinical tradition.

The apostle Paul was a Pharisee (Acts 22:1-5). However, as a Pharisee he discovered that keeping the external detail of the law did not bring peace with God. He discovered that while the law makes people conscious of sin, it offers no means of deliverance from sin’s power. In fact, once the law brings awareness of sin, it has the opposite effectit inflames rebellion.

It is difficult for a person who hasn’t been reared in legalism to understand Paul’s meaning when he speaks of the law “arousing sinful passions” and causing sin to “spring to life” (Romans 7:5-9). However, when someone has no other basis for forgiveness than keeping the law, they begin to view the law itself as the source of salvation. This, in turn, introduces such an emphasis on rules that rebellion is the natural result. A Jewish survivor of German concentration camps, Israel Shahak, described the extent to which Orthodox Judaism strives to avoid violations of the law:

“The following example illustrates even better the level of absurdity reached by this system. One of the prototypes of work forbidden on the Sabbath is harvesting. This is stretched, by analogy, to a ban on breaking a branch off a tree. Hence, riding a horse (or any other animal) is forbidden, as a hedge against the temptation to break a branch off a tree for flogging the beast. It is useless to argue that you have a ready-made whip, or that you intend to ride where there are no trees. What is forbidden remains forbidden for ever. It can, however, be stretched and made stricter: in modern times, riding a bicycle on the Sabbath has been forbidden, because it is analogous to riding a horse.” 1
Dependency upon the law for righteousness and security before God results in rules so complicated and impossible to fulfill that they make life impossible. This results not only in hostility towards the law, but a desire to find ways to circumvent it.2 Fully aware of the law’s function and effect, Paul realized it was not the law, but faith that brings salvation. (Romans 4:9-16). But what is the basis of this saving faith?

Assurance of salvation can’t be based on the law, as the law only magnifies consciousness of sin. Any attempt to achieve assurance on the basis of the law will produce greater guilt. (This is why children of legalistic Christians, Muslims, or Jews often become self-righteous bigots who project their own sinfulness on everyone else or rebels who reject all morality and tradition.) Faith in the law as a means of forgiveness for sin leads only to a cycle of desperate legalism leading either to self-righteous arrogance or despairing rebellion.

The Jewish Bible offers a basis for faith outside of the law. It points to a Messiah who will bear the sins of His people (Genesis 22:1-8; Exodus 12:3-7; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53:1-12). The church was founded on the confidence that Jesus was the Lamb of God ( John 1:29 ) 3, bearer of a gospel that offers forgiveness of sin (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 15:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 5:12).

Unlike faith in the Law alone, faith in Jesus as the Messiah confirms the authority of the Law while offering deliverance from its condemnation, offering both Jews and Gentiles forgiveness and peace with God.

  1. Shahak continues: “My final example illustrates how the same methods are used also in purely theoretical cases, having no conceivable application in reality. During the existence of the Temple, the High Priest was only allowed to marry a virgin. Although during virtually the whole of the Talmudic period there was no longer a Temple or a High Priest, the Talmud devotes one of its more involved (and bizarre) discussions to the precise definition of the term ‘virgin’ fit to marry a High Priest. What about a woman whose hymen had been broken by accident? Does it make any difference whether the accident occurred before or after the age of three? By the impact of metal or of wood? Was she climbing a tree? And if so, was she climbing up or down? Did it happen naturally or unnaturally? All this and much else besides is discussed in lengthy detail. And every scholar in classical Judaism had to master hundreds of such problems. Great scholars were measured by their ability to develop these problems still further, for as shown by the examples there is always scope for further developmentif only in one directionand such development did actually continue after the final redaction of the Talmud.” (Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion (pp. 40-41))  Back To Article
  2. Israel Shahak offers examples of the kinds of subterfuges that orthodox Jews have used to “keep the law” in a way that allowed them a degree of normalcy in daily life:

    “Milking on the Sabbath. This has been forbidden in post-talmudic times, through the process of increasing religious severity mentioned above. The ban could easily be kept in the diaspora, since Jews who had cows of their own were usually rich enough to have non-Jewish servants, who could be ordered (using one of the subterfuges described below) to do the milking. The early Jewish colonists in Palestine employed Arabs for this and other purposes, but with the forcible imposition of the Zionist policy of exclusive Jewish labour there was need for a dispensation. (This was particularly important before the introduction of mechanised milking in the late 1950s.) Here too there was a difference between Zionist and non-Zionist rabbis. According to the former, the forbidden milking becomes permitted provided the milk is not white but dyed blue. This blue Saturday milk is then used exclusively for making cheese, and the dye is washed off into the whey. Non-Zionist rabbis have devised a much subtler scheme (which I personally witnessed operating in a religious kibbutz in 1952). They discovered an old provision which allows the udders of a cow to be emptied on the Sabbath, purely for relieving the suffering caused to the animal by bloated udders, and on the strict condition that the milk runs to waste on the ground. Now, this is what is actually done: on Saturday morning, a pious kibbutznik goes to the cowshed and places pails under the cows. (There is no ban on such work in the whole of the talmudic literature.) He then goes to the synagogue to pray. Then comes his colleague, whose ‘honest intention’ is to relieve the animals’ pain and let their milk run to the floor. But if, by chance, a pail happens to be standing there, is he under any obligation to remove it? Of course not. He simply ‘ignores’ the pails, fulfills his mission of mercy and goes to the synagogue. Finally a third pious colleague goes into the cowshed and discovers, to his great surprise, the pails full of milk. So he puts them in cold storage and follows his comrades to the synagogue. Now all is well, and there is no need to waste money on blue dye.

    “Similar dispensations were issued by zionist rabbis in respect of the ban (based on Leviticus 19:19) against sowing two different species of crop in the same field. Modern agronomy has however shown that in some cases (especially in growing fodder) mixed sowing is the most profitable. The rabbis invented a dispensation according to which one man sows the field lengthwise with one kind of seed, and later that day his comrade, who ‘does not know’ about the former, sows another kind of seed crosswise. However, this method was felt to be too wasteful of labour, and a better one was devised: one man makes a heap of one kind of seed in a public place and carefully covers it with a sack or piece of board. The second kind of seed is then put on top of the cover. Later, another man comes and exclaims, in front of witnesses, ‘I need this sack (or board)’ and removes it, so that the seeds mix ‘naturally.’ Finally, a third man comes along and is told, ‘Take this and sow the field,’ which he proceeds to do.” Back To Article

  3. Interestingly, The Qur’an (3:39) also refers to John the Baptist calling Jesus “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Back To Article
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Is Religion Just a Crutch for Weak People?

Many people today think religion is “pre-scientific,” bound to the past, and practiced only by the superstitious and ignorant. In their view, we’d be better off without it. John Lennon expressed this sentiment in his song “Imagine” when he wrote, “Imagine there’s no heaven, and no religion too.”

This anti-religious viewpoint has a lot of appeal to people who don’t want their personal moral choices “restricted” by tradition or creed. It appeals to young people who want to “kick over the traces,” and to older people who long to suppress the ache of a guilty conscience. Regardless of its appeal, it doesn’t hold up under examination. Religion is basic to human experience. It is such a basic aspect of our experience that we can’t get rid of it. Other creatures may live without religion, but people can’t. We are religious to the core.

Why are people so incorrigibly religious? Perhaps the main reason is our consciousness of the inevitability of death.

No matter how we try to suppress it, we all know that we are living on borrowed time, making decisions that define us forever. With maturity and age this awareness becomes even more intense and more troubling. Death is approaching; time is limited; the ways we invest our lives express our values and our source of meaning.

Our religion gives us our basic set of values and our source of meaning. Living consciously in the shadow of death, we express our religion involuntarily by the way we live.1 Animals live entirely in the moment, aware only of present time. But human consciousness, which is created in God’s image, constantly scans past and future, searching for patterns of meaning that link the isolated experiences of our lives. Humans can be immersed in the present only for a limited time, like a diver who submerges to see the wonders of a coral reef but inevitably comes back up for air. Meaning is as essential to our survival as the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.2

The longing for ultimate meaning has a dark side, as does the longing for greater knowledge. Both religion and science have been misused. People have done terrible things in both their longing for meaning and knowledge. Evil people exploit our longing for meaning and knowledge to promote their agendas. The life-denying effects of false religion are confirmed by Scripture:

Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence ( Colossians 2:23 ).

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world ( James 1:26-27 ).

But it would be as unreasonable to condemn religion because it is sometimes misused, as it would be unreasonable to condemn science because it is often twisted to evil purposes.

The issue isn’t whether we are religious, because we all are. It is disingenuous to claim that one can live without religion, or that true religion is responsible for evil done by false religion. The crucial issue is whether our basic values are true or false, whether our reason for living brings life or death, whether or not it is aligned with the purposes of the Creator.3

  1. The term religion comes from a Latin word that refers to “the bond between man and the gods.” Worship is uniquely human. For ancient people, the “gods” referred to deities personifying aspects of their experience. But the “gods” also had a symbolic reference — a reference to the transcendent powers that unify human experience and give it meaning. Back To Article
  2. The fact that we are hungry for meaning and concerned with establishing a link between our past and our future doesn’t imply that it is good to be anxious about the future. Jesus Himself spoke of the importance of living fully in the moment. But He didn’t speak of doing so in the context of living like an animal. In fact, He stressed that animal existence couldn’t be our goal. As people, we don’t live on bread alone, “but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). He showed His disciples their potential for enjoying the present because of faith in the Father’s goodness — i.e. because of religion. Back To Article
  3. A final comment to a brilliant popular musician: Doing away with the possibility of final punishment for evil and reward for good — the possibility of ultimate justice — would never make the world a better place. If convinced of “no hell below” and “only sky” above, people would be even less compassionate, more desperate for immediate satisfaction, and less willing to endure personal hardship for the sake of others. Back To Article
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Don’t New Testament Passages Say Christians Will Perform Greater Miracles than Christ?

This question refers to several passages, including John 14:12:

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Jesus wasn’t saying that His disciples would be able to perform all of the supernatural acts that He did through the power of the Holy Spirit (although they did perform miracles). He was speaking of the work that He considered most important: the spread of the gospel. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary contains an interesting explanation of this verse:

He wanted to impress on the disciples that He was not disbanding them in anticipation of His departure but, rather, He was expecting them to continue His work and do even greater things than He had accomplished. Such an expectation seems impossible in the light of His character and power; yet, through the power of the Spirit whom Jesus sent after His ascension, there were more converts after the initial sermon of Peter at Pentecost than are recorded for Jesus during His entire career. The influence of the infant church covered the Roman world,whereas Jesus during His lifetime never traveled outside the boundaries of Palestine. Through the disciples He multiplied His ministry after His departure. The Book of Acts is a continuous record of deeds that followed the precedent Jesus had set. As the living Lord He continued in His church what He had himself begun. He expected that the church would become the instrument by which He could manifest His salvation to all people.

Several other passages, such as Matthew 7:7; 21:22 ; John 14:12-14 ; and 1 John 3:22-23 are often mistakenly understood to mean that God places no restrictions on what we should be able to receive in response to our prayers. But if there were no limitation on the things we could receive from God through prayer, why would Jesus say, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. . . .Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”? ( Matthew 5:4,10 ).

In other words, if our lack of faith is all that stands in the way of our having whatever we want, we should never be mournful, persecuted,or afflicted. But that was not what Jesus promised, and His disciples did not receive everything they might have wanted. Just as Jesus had no permanent place to lay His head ( Matthew 8:20 ), the apostles suffered persecution and hardship ( 2 Corinthians 6 ), and eventually all but John were martyred.

These passages assume that we will pray in humble, childlike faith( Matthew 7:11; 17:20 ), with sincerity, out of genuine love ( Matthew 5:44 ), with good motives (Matthew 6:5 ), with perseverance ( Matthew 7:7 ), and in submission to God’s sovereign will ( Matthew 6:10 ). When we pray this way, we won’t make improper requests. Also, we will be so in tune with God that we will be satisfied when His plans prove to be different than we hoped they would be.

 

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Must A Person Have A Clear Understanding of Jesus’ Deity To Be Saved?

An accurate response to this question has to reconcile the importance of truth with the simplicity of faith. According to Jesus Christ, faith doesn’t require intellectual sophistication. He didn’t say that one must become a philosopher or a rabbi to enter the kingdom of God. He said that one must become like a child (Mark 10:15). He also compared His followers to sheep (John 10:3-4,16,27). Sheep aren’t known for their intelligence, but they survive by knowing their shepherd and following him. Similarly, saving faith can’t be based as much on theological abstractions as on the simple recognition that Jesus is the Shepherd-Savior and we must follow Him.

The implications of Jesus Christ’s deity weren’t defined until the counsels of Nicaea (ad 325), Constantinople (381), and Chalcedon (451), but millions of Christians had already declared their allegiance to Jesus Christ, and thousands had died as martyrs as testimony to their faith in Him.

What did Christians who lived before these great church councils know about the Trinity or Jesus Christ’s deity? The very earliest followers of Jesus Christ knew Him personally, saw His miracles, heard His teaching, and had either seen Him following His resurrection or heard about His resurrection from sources they considered utterly reliable. The next generation of Christians had the firsthand teaching of the witnesses to His life, death, and resurrection. Later generations had the canon of New Testament Scriptures, which had by then been assembled. All of these generations believed in His sinless life, His works of supernatural power, the supernatural authority of His teaching, and His supernatural resurrection from the dead. Nearly all of them would have had extensive access to either the verbal or written records of what Jesus had taught, including the way He described Himself as the “Son of Man” and the “Son of God,” and the things He spoke (and which were recorded by the Gospel writers) about His own authority and His relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

The first verses of the gospel of John declared, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1-3). When face-to-face with the risen Christ, the apostle Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). The apostle Paul clearly affirmed Jesus Christ’s divine power and authority when he wrote concerning Him:

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:17-20).

The early Christians knew these things, accepted these things, and staked their lives and futures on these things, but they hadn’t yet worked out all of their theoretical implications.

Christian missionaries traveled far into the barbarian lands with the gospel at great risk. While they believed all the things about Jesus that are described in the paragraph above, the majority of them couldn’t explain exactly the philosophical and theological implications of biblical references to Jesus as the Son of Man (Matthew 9:6; 12:8,40), the Son of God (Matthew 4:6; 8:29; 14:33; 26:63), one with the Father (John 10:30), the Creator (John 1:14), and Lord (Matthew 7:21-22; 8:8; 12:8; John 20:28; Acts 7:59). In fact, the Germanic peoples to the north of the Roman Empire were evangelized by Arian missionaries who held a view of Christ’s deity that differed from the one established by the Council of Nicaea. 1 Tragically, long before the church could reach a peaceful consensus about these things, Constantine granted it government protection and patronage. Because he wanted a unified church to support a politically unified empire, he put pressure on the church leaders to resolve their differences quickly. Great church buildings were built with state funds, church leaders were subsidized by the government, and wealth flowed into church coffers. Theological differences became complicated by rivalry over worldly power and real estate. Riots, small-scale battles, kidnappings, and murders were spawned by the conflict between Arians and Catholics.2

Ironically, after the orthodox Catholic (Nicaean) perspective on the deity of Christ was generally adopted within the Roman Empire—largely due to the support of secular leaders—the empire was overthrown by the same Germanic tribes (Visigoths and Ostrogoths) that had already been converted to Christianity by Arian missionaries! Historian David L. Edwards notes in Christianity: The First Two Thousand Years:

“Church life seems to have been much the same under the two creeds and probably few on either side were seriously interested in the theological arguments. . . . However, just as those who lost in civil wars lost their lives or at least their eyesight, so bishops and other teachers defeated in theological battles should expect no mercy. When they had the opportunity, Arians could be as merciless as the Catholics who in the end prevailed.”

In fact, one of the tragic effects of the violent, politically motivated division within the church over the Arian controversy and other theological issues may have been the loss of heart that led to a generally passive acceptance of the Muslim conquests of the seventh and eighth centuries.

This historical example illustrates the danger of seeing a direct correlation between salvation and the ability to give an accurate theological exposition of the deity of Christ and the Trinity.

Probably no more Christians today, on an average, are able to give a coherent explanation of the doctrines of the Trinity and Christ’s deity than could have done so at the beginning of the fourth century. If they can’t, is their faith less genuine than that of those who can theologically defend what they believe? Is mere verbal assent to something one doesn’t understand more important than childlike faith in the gospel and the authority of the Gospels? To say that there is a direct relationship between doctrinal accuracy and salvation would make salvation more dependent on intellect and IQ than the heart.

Today, theologically trained Christians know that the doctrine of Christ’s deity explains the basis for salvation. Athanasius’s insight is widely accepted: If Jesus were not God in the fullest sense, He could not be our Savior. Only God’s own sacrifice could atone our sins.3 But even though this is an essential doctrine, it took centuries for the best thinkers of the church to define it accurately.

Childlike faith in Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd of our souls must be considered sufficient to save us. While theological understanding will grow with the maturation of faith, the depth of any particular person’s faith may not be expressed in the ability to articulate theological truths.

  1. Both Arians (who were the majority in the Greek-speaking church) and Catholics (who dominated only the Latin-speaking West) had powerful philosophical and biblical arguments in support of their positions. Both Arians and Catholics agreed that the Son was the eternal logos (Word) become flesh. Catholics taught that the Father and Son were of the “same essence” (homo-ousios). The Arians were uneasy, however, about considering the Son to be of the exact same essence as the Father, because they feared such a belief could lead to a denial of any real difference between the Father and Son (Sabellianism). They insisted that the fact that the Son was “begotten” and the Father “unbegotten” implied that the Son was either “begotten” or “created” by the Father before the creation of the universe, Subsequently, according to this view, the Son (as logos) created the universe. They preferred to refer to the Father and Son as being of “different essence” or “similar essence” (hetero-ousios,homoi-ousios).
    Eventually, the Catholic position, as defined at Nicaea and further defined and confirmed at Chalcedon, was accepted by the whole Catholic Church. Kenneth Scott Latourette summarizes why the Catholic position came to be accepted:

    “As in the Apostles’ Creed, so in the Nicene Creed, painfully, slowly, and through controversies in which there was often lacking the love which is the major Christian virtue, Christians were working their way through to a clarification of what was presented to the world by the tremendous historical fact of Christ. At Nicaea it was more and more becoming apparent to them that the high God must also be the Redeemer and yet, by a seeming paradox, the Redeemer must also be man. The astounding central and distinguishing affirmation of Christianity, so they increasingly saw, and what made Christianity unique and compelling, was that Jesus Christ was ‘true God from true God,’ or, to put it in language more familiar to English readers, ‘very God of very God,’ who ‘was made man.’ Thus men could be reborn and become sons of God, but without losing their individual identity” (A History of Christianity, p. 156). Back To Article

  2. Historian Will Durant wrote that more Christians were killed by fellow Christians in strife between Catholics and Arians than were killed in the pagan persecutions of Christianity during the three previous centuries. Back To Article
  3. In his book, A Layman’s Guide to Protestant Theology, William Hordern offered a brilliantly simple explanation for the importance of the Nicene definition of the Trinity:

    “The problem of the Trinity arises from the Christian belief that God was acting in and through Jesus Christ. In the fourth century Arius put forward the theory that Christ was a lesser god created by God. This lesser god came to earth in the man Jesus who was not really a man at all, but a divine being freed from the normal limitations of humanity. If the Arian party could have got their iota into the creed, their point of view would have become orthodox Christianity. It would have meant that Christianity had degenerated to the polytheistic stage of paganism. It would have had two gods and a Jesus who was neither God nor man. It would have meant that God himself was unapproachable and apart from man. The result would have been to make of Christianity another pagan mystery religion” (p. 6). Back To Article

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