The origin of Christianity begins with mystery cults. These mystery cults were secret rituals where you have to be initiated into the group in order to be a part of the group. These cults believe in the concept of the Afterlife or paradise. In order for an individual to reach the Afterlife, you would have to reach Judgment. There are also intercessors that try to help you reach paradise however most intercessors appeal to the disenfranchised, which means that you do not have a vote. The cult of Isis was mostly lead by females. This cult was able to spread but it slowly disappeared after the Virgin Mary is claimed to be the mother of God. The Cult of Mithra was a male only cult and it was very popular with the military. Many Christians believe in the Messianic Theory. The Messianic Theory is the idea that the coming of the Messiah. Around 1000 BCE, Zarathustra founded Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism is based on a monotheist religion. When Zarathustra died, he left behind a holy text which is known as the Avesta. The holy text states that Ahura Mazda is the figure of good and he is fighting against Ahriman which is the figure of evil. The people were created by Ahura Mazda to have Free Will meaning the people can chose to follow either Ahura Mazda or Ahriman. If an individual die they would have to walk across the Bridge of Chinvat in order to enter into paradise. If an individual followed Ahriman during their lifetime, the bridge would become narrower as they walk across.
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Christianity began its succession into the most dominant worldwide religion after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days build another made without hands.” Upon Jesus’ death and resurrection, he completed this task setting forth the development of Christianity. Since Jesus left no formal authoritative power, organization, or agreed upon scriptures, a wide variety of sects gained popularity in the development of Christianity. Most of these sects were later deemed as heretic, one of the most notable being Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a dualist religion believing the material world evil and the invisible spirit realm good. This belief obligated Gnosticism to follow Docetic interpretations. Docetism is the belief that Jesus was never truly man but rather a divine from the spirit world. All forms of Christianity, however, believe Jesus is son of God sent as humanity’s savior from damnation. Docetism, along with other aspects of Gnosticism, drove other Christians condemn Gnosticism as heresy. Gnosticism, however, is more comparable to Canonical Christians than realized. Specifically, the distinction between Docetism and strict Canonical belief is not only insignificant but also justifiable due to Canonical contradictions surrounding Jesus’ existence.
The devil at the dawn of Christianity bore little resemblance to the ruler of hell, the antichrist and agent of evil that he is known as in present day. Satan makes few overt or implied appearances in the Old Testament. For the important role of God’s greatest adversary, early Christians had to flesh out great parts of Satan’s story in order to develop him into his present, fearsome persona. The Christian story of the Devil is heavily influenced by earlier Greek mythology, and early Christian writings about the Devil co-opted local mythology in order to gain new converts and discredit popular pagan beliefs.
Christianity was born and flourished in an empire where the common language was Latin and Greek. Two important people like Paul and Constantine further influenced and were a major part of the development of Christianity. The history of the Jews leading up to the time of Jesus had a major impact on the development of Christianity. “When Christianity was clearly identified as a distant religion, the new religion was considered by its members to be the fulfillment of Judaism rather than a new religion.” “Since Jesus was a Jew and preached to the Jews, Christianity was closely linked to Judaism.” The development of Christianity was due to several historical, political, and social circumstances.
The evidence that exists to prove the diversity of the early Christian community is the many other writings which have been discovered by historians from the same time period (Harris 2014). In addition, the writings reveal that each separate group of Christians from this era had their own understanding of what Jesus was teaching His followers. The “fifth gospel” of Thomas paints the picture of Jesus as a guide towards His disciples by enlightening them with the message that God’s Kingdom already rules, but many people would not believe him. The portrait that Thomas provokes is an example of the diversity of the early writers and several of his ideas are similar to Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Harris 2014).
More women joined the Christian Church than men because Christianity was more appealing to women than any other religion or paganism. Christian women enjoyed much higher status than the Greco-Roman women. They
Zoroastrianism is a type of religion that Darius I and his successors most likely followed. It originated in ancient Iran, and the single god of goodness named Ahuramazda was believed to be in a constant struggle against evil.
Religions take a hold on societies in different ways. Christianity started as a revitalization movement against the Roman hierarchy, and was comprised of mostly woman and the poor. The Roman Empire took up most of the Mediterranean and North Africa. With the death of Jesus, around 33 CE, came a new, unique, religion that was a spin off of Judaism but they believed that Jesus was the foretold Messiah. Although they were persecuted, Christianity took hold in the ancient world because it offered salvation, was fair to all, and preached love and peace.
Christianity and the Roman Empire shared an important bond. Christianity offered the Roman Empire joy, hope, a shift in their world view, and a monotheistic God. Rome offered Christianity a more efficient way of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Zoroastrianism is the belief in one god being Ahura Mazda, the creator of all that is good and who alone is worthy of worship. Zoroastrianism became the official religion
Cults are the groups that exhibit intense and unquestioning devotion to a single cause. All the group members have a same goal or mission, and the group thinking helps the group members to stick on the same goal. For the Heaven Gate, their goal is to enter the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom level above human. The documentary of “Heaven Gate Cult” perfectly shows the four ways for the cult to promote their group thinking.
Zoroastrianism one of the most ancient religions of the world found sometime before 650 B.C in Persia by the prophet known as Zoroaster. The religion of Zoroastrianism is based mainly on two aspect of life. The people who tell the truth are on the side of Asha, and are known as the people of righteousness. The others, who are known as the people of the lie, or druj, followed the dreary way of evil. Zoroastrianism is a polytheistic religion which shows people ways of life but lets the person make a choice of truth or lie. But, it is also believed in Zoroastrianism that a judgment day will occur when good will defeat evil. In this great battle, Ahura Mazda, the lord wisdom would fight Angra Mainya, the fiendish spirit for control over the world. During this war between good and evil, Ahura Mazda and his assistant would defeat the evil Angra Mainya. Furthermore, all evil would be eliminated on earth in an ordeal in which fire and molten metal would burn away all evil and only leave behind good.
In the first chapter of “Christianity Rediscovered” by Vincent J. Donovan he is introducing us to the idea that missionaries now have a poor reputation due to their history. He says “History has offered the opportunity to deflect and distort the meaning of missionary work in every age”. For a long time a missionary was a person spreading the word of God and after years of doing so we have diminished many different beliefs, practices, cultures and history. At the time it was thought to be the right thing, to spread out and share the gospel to help people find meaning and acceptance. In today’s age a missionary is a lot of different things, in many cases it is more focused on the health and physical wellbeing of the people. Many people still share the gospel through missionary work, but in other cases it is more of a material aid. Donovan introduces the book as a voyage of discovery he wants us to put our normal beliefs aside to see his perspective of living a missionaries life and struggling with the fact of if you are helping or hurting.
Zoroastrianism is a religion founded by a priest named Zarathustra Spitma or Zoroaster far back in the 1200BCE, with the principle belief of an almighty God or “the One” Ahura Mazda and the context of a cosmic battle between the good and evil forces.
Throughout history, Christianity always had a reputation, or a “name” following it. Different perspectives approached the reputation that was attached to Christianity in different manners. Justin Martyr and Porphyry had objectives when defining whether this “name” really defined Christianity and the past. They wondered whether the past really represented Christianity. Additionally they honed in on the question of was the past that people represented as Christianity really the roots of Christianity? All around Porphyry and Justin was perceptions of what Christianity rooted from and stood for.
The first part of this paper will explore the mystery-religions, the reasons behind their popularity, and the Hellenistic world in which they grew that began with Alexander the Great. Next, their characteristics and connections first with Judaism and later with Christianity will be more deeply discussed. In the second part it will be shown that the mystery-religions helped to clear the pathway for the Christianization of the Greco-Roman world by men such as Paul the Apostle. Finally, the Emperor Constantine’s role in this story will be mentioned, during whose reign the mystery-religions declined and Christianity became the major religion of Europe and the near east. The paper will conclude with a brief speculation about the significance of