Saturday, August 7, 2010

World Religions -- Christianity

Both my younger brother and I are college students. We go to different universities, though. A while back, my brother was taking a class on World Religions. Knowing that I typically get high marks on essays/papers, he decided to pay me a nominal fee to write some of his World Religions and Literature papers.
Normally, I would be ethically against this practice. However, my brother is a Finance major. He'll never have a real use for writing skills, so I see no reason why he should be forced to pay for classes that make him write such papers. In fact, it shows how right Finance is for him that he used money to delegate labor.
So, I wrote some papers for him. This one (and some to follow) were simple little one-page reactions to readings from the textbook. I hope no one feels insulted by these little writings, but if you do, oh well.

The thing that I find most interesting about the reading regarding Christianity is the question of the divinity of Jesus. This is arguably the most important central concept of Christianity. The divinity of Jesus is perhaps the aspect of Christianity that, at least in western terms, defines Christianity as its own independent religion. However, as with most religious concepts posited as fact, the divinity of Jesus is quite debatable.

The status of Christianity as its own religion and not simply a sect of Judaism hinges on the idea that Jesus is in fact a deity, and not simply a prophet. Most sects, or “denominations”, of Christianity exhort the worship of Jesus as a god. To most Christians, Jesus is not simply a prophet, but also the son of the Judaic god Jehovah; not simply the son of God, but also God Himself. While this son-of-self status may not sit well with anyone looking for logic in their god, it is typically explained away with an argument for blind faith. While all “facts” presented by any religion are debatable, perhaps none in Christianity is more debatable than the assertion that Jesus was in fact divine -- whether simply the son of God or also God Himself.

Muslims believe that Jesus was a very important prophet, and many Jews can accept Jesus as a man who once existed and happened to be pretty wise. There are even some people who are typically described as Christians who do not in fact worship Jesus, but simply venerate him as a prophet or the son of God. Even some Hindus recognize Jesus as one of many, many gods. While the divinity of Jesus is dubious at best, what is more recognizable as fact is Jesus’ existence. It is generally accepted (even if there is a lack of HARD evidence) as historical fact that a man known as Jesus traveled and preached a particular philosophy and added seemingly novel insights to his interpretation of Judaism. While there is no logical explanation or genuine evidence for his alleged immaculate conception, various miracles, or rise from the dead, it is reasonable to view his execution as the result of political upheaval in a tumultuous land.

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