RELIGION
Trialogue 94-118 (Christianity 1) Text.pdf

Trialogue 94-118 (Christianity 1) Text.pdf - Wat Jews and...

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Wat Jews and Muslims Need to Know E N and could freely decide and could love. They even— i W tually came to a monotheistic understanding, i which became characteristic not only of their reli— i ,meuns ilesus Qi '2 ' "' gion but also of the three major religions which i [Nazarethgdmh H fi bfw sprang from their roots: Judaism, Christianity, and §,,,lesus won rive een l l E L, Islam. The story of the development of the : "Ithi 5 name 10 m tomwl Hebrew religion is set down in “The Book” (Biblos 5 but laws and Muslims Need to Know in Greek). In its beginning it tells of one God who ' is the source of all reality through creation (not ex nihilo [out of nothing]; that is a later Christian doctrine). The crowning point of creation was humankind, made in God’s image. Human beings were persons who could know, freely decide, and could love. Modern critics of religion 'Would say that rather than humanity, homo, being an Image of God (an Imago Dei in St. Jerome’s in uential Latin) God, Deus, is actu- ally an image of humanity, imago homims. Modern theistic adherents of religion would respond that both are doubtless true in different but analogous ways. In this tradition everything that exists is good simply because it has being, and this being springs from God, who is all good. Then whence evil? For to the Hebrews, as to everyone else, it was obvious that there was evil in the world, indeed in every human being. Their answer was that human beings themselves are the source of evil, for by their free will they can refuse to choose the good, and their choice then is called evil. This understanding is embedded in the story ' of the “fall” at the beginning of the book of Genesis: Because humanity did not follow the right order of its nature, the “self,” as created by God, in God’s image, it became “dis—ordered” in its relationship to its own self and its creator, and in turn to all the rest of creation. Here was the fi rst “domino theory.” The way to live an authentic human life is to live according to one’s authen— tic “self one’s Image of Godwone’s Imago Dei. Perceiving that Imago Dei became dif fi cult, however, after the “fall” and so, according to the Hebrews, God arranged for special help to be made available, at least to a Chosen People, the Hebrews, who 1n turn were to be “a light unto the nations.” This special help was God’s instructions, God’s Torah, on how to live a true human iife, one in accordance with one ’3 true self, the Imago Dei. i Thus, the Hebrew religion was basically optimistic, for the source of all eality was the one God, who was goodness itself. God’s creation was as it says Genesis “good,” toy, and in the end even “very good,” mod toy. But it also The fi rst thing to be aware of about Christianity is that there have been, and are, many understandings and lived versions of Christianity.
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