Posts tagged ‘Christianity’

The history of the Jews goes back thousands of years. Below are some important evens in the first thousand years of the Common Era. Use your knowledge of Judaism, and the history of the region to determine their correct order. Number them 1-8, with 1 as the earliest event.

a. After the Jewish expulsion from Jerusalem by the Romans, Jewish oral law is written down in a book called the Mishnah.
b. Jews in the Roman Empire are repressed.
c. The Romans reconquer Jerusalem and destroy the Temple.
d. The Muslim Empire expands to cover southwestern Asia, northern Aftrica, and Spain
e. Jews rebel against Roman rule and seize Jerusalem.
f. The Jews begin to scatter around the world.
g. Christianity becomes the primary religion of the Roman Empire.
h. The Romans crush the rebellion and prohibit Jews from living in Jerusalem.

from Thousands attend Boulder debate on atheism and religion

Father Kevin Augustyn, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, prefaced the debate, saying, “As Catholics, we are not afraid of intellectual debate. Faith and reason are not opposed to each other.”

Modern science, he[D’Souza] said, was “faith-based” in that it was rooted in Christian assumptions. We presume that we live in a lawful, rational universe whose external rationality is mirrored in our own minds, presumptions nourished by Christianity.

Man is placed between two distinct domains of “the way we are” and “the way we ought to behave.” – D’Souza

If atheism were correct, Hitchens argued, “we would be in precisely the same place we are now” in considering what our duties are towards others and why we are here.

Hitchens then raised the raised the questions of why Christianity should be considered superior to other religions, such as Islam.

D’Souza replied by noting the disconnect between “the way things are” and “the way they ought to be.” This can be explained by supposing a chasm between the “human level” of existence and the “divine level.” In D’Souza’s view, Islam and Judaism hold that this chasm may be closed by mankind building a “ladder” to climb to God.

Christianity, however, declares this project “wonderful but impossible” by teaching that the chasm “has to be closed from the other side” through God entering the world in the person of Jesus Christ.

Hitchens then explained that he finds it “extraordinarily objectionable” to exclude the “occupant of the womb” from the human family.

Following the debate, CNA spoke with Father Augustyn. He said it was an “excellent debate” with both speakers doing “very well” on their positions. In his view, D’Souza countered and “unmasked” some of Hitchens’ “unfair” and “selective” comparisons of religions.

“At the same time, Christopher Hitchens is a formidable opponent. He’s very witty, very sharp, he makes good points, and he brings out audience participation. I don’t think his arguments hold water, but I think he is a good debater.”

Christianity is based on the teachings of Jesus. His life is sometimes summarized like this: He was born in a stable. He didn’t go to college, and he wrote no books. He worked as a carpenter. At the age of thirty-three, he was executed as a criminal.

Does this sound like the life story of someone who ended up changing the world?

What did Jesus, whose teachings are the basis of Christianity, teach people to do? What was his lesson for the world? He told people to be loving and grateful. He told people to forgive others. He told people to serve the needy and the outcast.

Do you think these teachings are good? Do you try to do some or all of these things?

When Jesus, whose teachings form the basis of Christianity, was born, Palestine was under Roman rule. Jews were treated badly and had to pay high taxes. Different groups responded to this situation in different ways.

One group, the Sadducees, tried to make the best of things. They accepted Roman rule and tried to fit in with Roman society.

Another group, The Essenes, thought the situation in Palestine came about because the world was corrupt. They withdrew from the world into their own independent communities and devoted themselves to a life of piety.

A third group, the Pharisees, wanted to change society. They remained within society but tried to make Judaism strong again by sticking strictly to the Jewish code of holiness.

A fourth group, the Zealots, also wanted change. They tried to use force to overthrow Roman rule.

Based on what you know about the teachings of Jesus, which of these four groups do you think he had most in common with?

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