World Religions, Sixth Edition
Warren Matthews
Chapter Nine:
Christianity
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Major Centers of Christianity in Europe
Judaism and the New Covenant
 Christians view Jewish history as part of their own
 Before Jesus’ birth, as the “Old Covenant”
 After Jesus’ resurrection, as the “New Covenant”
 View Jews as having rejected the Covenant by rejecting Jesus
 Christians are the ongoing inheritors of the promises of the Bible
The Holy Land of the New Testament
John the Baptist
 History of Jesus
 Prophet in Old Testament Jewish pattern
 Prepared the people for the coming of the Messiah (Christ)
 Preached repentance and nearness of God's Kingdom
 Condemned for doing wrong (breaking Ten
Commandments)
 Baptized for repentance and forgiveness of sins
 Introduced Jesus to people
 Baptized him
 Directed his disciples to Jesus
Life of Jesus
 History of Jesus
 Born as a descendant of David, thus rightful King of Israel
 Raised in the city of Nazareth, in the area of Galilee
 Preached across Palestine, inhabited by Jews
 Used parables (common life stories explaining religious truths)
 Argued that the righteous person goes beyond letter of law
 Stressed inward piety instead of outward shows of holiness
 Said God's Kingdom is here with His presence
The Baptism of Jesus
Life of Jesus
 History of Jesus
 Healed the sick
 Told the poor that God cared for them
 Offended rich and important religious leaders
 Said wealth was a barrier to being God's person
 Denounced hypocrisy of rabbis (religious teachers)
 Denounced misuse of temple grounds (for buying and selling)
Life of Jesus
 History of Jesus
 Condemned to die as a rebellious criminal
 Had Last Supper with his apostles
 Was executed by the Romans in a crucifixion
 Disciples abandoned him in despair
 They shared testimony of the reality of his death
 After the crucifixion, Jesus’ disciples reported experiencing him as
alive, having conquered death
 Appeared to multitudes during forty days after his resurrection
 He claimed to share this victory with his followers
Engraving of the Last Supper and the
First Eucharist
The Crucifixion of Jesus, and the
Women Who Were Witnesses
Christian History
 History of Jesus
 The New Testament is the record of Jesus’ life and the early
years of the church that followed his teachings
 The first four books are the eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life
(as codified by years of retelling them first)
 Other books include early church history and letters to foreign
churches
 Concluded by a prophetic book, Revelations, describing the
last days of the world
Christian History
 New Testament Origins
 Traditional dating of the New Testament
 First three gospels and most epistles by 55 BCE
 John's Gospel and letters in the 90s BCE
 Liberal dating of the New Testament
 Pauline letters by 65 BCE
 Imitations of Pauline letters over the next twenty years
 Gospels written by 90s BCE
 Revelations in 95 BCE
Early Growth of the Church
 The early growth of Christianity
 Ten days after Jesus left the physical presence of Christians, God
proclaimed his continuing presence among the believers with an
event at the feast of Pentecost
 Signs included slips of fire over each person, the sound of wind
 Experiences empowered believers begin to share the message of
Jesus' life
 Crossing language barriers
 Willingness to ignore personal danger and persecution to talk
to others and spread the message
Early Growth of the Church
 The early growth of Christianity
 Many “regular” Jews joined these new teachings
 Many leaders rejected the teachings and the new followers
 Official leaders (priests and rabbis) tried to suppress Christians
 Saul of Tarsus was a leader in this violent suppression
 Suppression resulted in spreading of Christians away from
Jerusalem, moving through many areas populated by Jews
 Under God's direction, Christians began to admit non-Jews
 Christians do not insist upon keeping the Jewish rules of life
Saul/Paul
 The early growth of Christianity
 Saul of Tarsus (a Roman city in Turkey)

A Roman citizen, was called Paul among the Romans

A Jewish Pharisee and intellectual opponent to those Jews
who followed Jesus’ teachings

Met Jesus in a vision on the road to persecute Christians

Became as supportive of Jesus as he had been opposed

Spent years away from Jewish centers

Asked to serve congregation in Antioch as Pastor
The Conversion of St. Paul
Saul/Paul
 Saul of Tarsus
 Asked to serve as a “missionary” to non-Christians

Started a practice still prevalent in Christian communities
 Usually began in Jewish communities

Often ended by opposition within the community
 In Greece, started a change in the local religion

Presented Jesus as one crucified for the listener’s benefit

Stated that participation comes by trusting in Jesus
Saul/Paul
 The early growth of Christianity
 Jesus' disciples are thought to have traveled to many places:

Peter to Rome

Thomas to India

John to Ephesus

James stayed and preached in Jerusalem
 Everywhere the disciples and missionaries went, they established
and/or strengthened the Christian community
Roman Persecution
 The early growth of Christianity
 The early church ended with the Roman persecution under the
emperor Nero

Blamed Christians for the burning of Rome (probably falsely)

Executed the Christian leaders Peter and Paul in Rome
 Christians were persecuted at various times over next 200 years
 The end of the New Testament, “Revelations,” or “Apocalypse,”
was written around 95 CE during such persecutions, for the
encouragement of sufferers
Roman Persecution
 Christians refused to worship the emperor as God
 All other religions did so
 Jews were given an exemption
 Yet Christians were regarded as traitors to the emperor
 As traitors, the Christians were often subject to a policy of
persecution
 Christians accepted persecution as being treated like Jesus
 People who died faithfully (martyrs) were regarded as heroes
 Roman Emperor Constantine (307-336 CE) made Christianity legal
Developments in Christianity
 As Christians became the majority religion in the Roman Empire, the
empire began to insist on standardization of Christian teachings and
practice
 Empire-wide councils were convened
 Led by the recognized Church communities
 Differences in understandings were debated and decided
 The nature of Jesus
 The relationship between Jesus’ divinity and humanity
 The relationship of Jesus to God
Developments in Christianity
 Christians debated and studied Greek philosophers
 Clement and Origen accepted some of the teachings of Plato
 Especially focused on the allegorical study of the Bible
 Ambrose and Augustine used some of Plato's ideas
 Thomas Aquinas used some of Aristotle's methods
Developments in Christianity
 Christians desiring further ways of living a life devoted to God
developed monasticism
 Monastery life was a way of living separated from the world and
devoting oneself to serving and worshiping God
 Some lived alone in the desert
 Some sought a mystical union with God
 Some formed communities of monks and nuns

St. Benedict’s rule

St. Francis’ rule

St. Dominic’s rule
St. Francis of Assisi
Developments in Christianity
 Early Christians in East and West
 Distributed sacraments as God given
 Copied Jewish synagogue worship patterns
 Organized under a bishop and helpers (elders and presbyters)

Cities were organizing units
 Cooperated in theology and practice
Developments in Christianity
 Christians in the East
 Greek speaking
 Center of Greek power was in Constantinople (later called
Istanbul)
 Focused on the mystical union of believers with God
 Christians in the West
 Latin speaking, center of the Latin power was in Rome
 Focused on intellectual relationship of believers to God
 Others
 Coptic in Egypt
Main Altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
Hagia Sophia (Saint Sophia), Christian
church from 532 C.E. Constantinople
Developments in Christianity
 Differences between East and West grew until 1054
 Different view of humans
 Different view of governance
 Some different expressions of devotion
 Split became permanent
 Each division excommunicated the other
 Tried to heal breach during Crusades
 This attempt failed due to military non-cooperation
A Greek Orthodox Service
on Good Friday
Crusades
 Jews, Christians, and Muslims revered the Holy Land, Palestine, and
the city of Jerusalem
 Since the 600s, the Muslims controlled Jerusalem
 Pilgrims were being mistreated
 Muslim attacks on Byzantines were somewhat successful
 Pope Urban II encouraged military expeditions of Western Christians
to safeguard these important areas for pilgrimages
 Eight or more crusades were led between 1095-1270 CE
 For almost 200 years, the Crusades resulted in a Latin Kingdom
in the Holy Land
Later Christian Developments
 Christians in the East were under Muslim governance
 Their problems concerned survival under persecution
 Christians in the West were sick, angry, and fearful about the Church
 Corrupt priests
 Waste of revenue from local parishes
 Conflicts between princes of the world and officials of the church
Later Christian Developments
 Martin Luther
 Objected to indulgences as against God's will
 Translated the Bible into German for the people
 Taught that monastic vows were improper
 Taught that Christians are saved by faith, not the church
 Was excommunicated by the Pope
 Sparked an extensive Reformation in Europe
 Formed a Protestant sect known as “Lutherans”
 Catholic Church responded in the Council of Trent
Later Christian Developments
 John Calvin
 Began as a humanist
 Experienced God through reading the Bible
 Recognized as the leader of French Protestants
 Founded the Protestants known as “Reformed”
 John Knox led “Reformed” in Scotland as “Presbyterians”
Later Christian Developments
 Henry VIII
 King of England
 Separated the Church in England from Papal governance,
primarily for personal reasons (such as divorce)
 Church of England ended up between other Protestants and
Papacy
Later Christian Developments
 Catholic Reformation
 Jesuits
 Founded by Ignatius of Loyola
 Scholarly, focused on mission
 Led counter-Reformation which Catholicized parts of Europe
 Xavier
 Founded Catholic missions to the New World and Asia
 Founded Christianity in Japan
Diversity in America
 Protestant proliferation
 Belief that the individual reads the Bible for him/herself
 Baptists practice baptism by immersion
 Quakers seek a quiet life
 Puritans, Lutherans, and others
 African-American church
 Church as center of life, service in the community
 Leaders included Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther
King Jr., and Andrew Young
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Diversity in America
 Christian Science (Mary Baker Eddy)
 Attempted to meld science and Christianity
 Deny the reality of evil, use only their own healers
 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Joseph Smith)
 Successfully established in Salt Lake City, Utah
 Initially practiced polygamy (since has been forbidden)
 Published the Book of Mormon, formed Mormon faith
Mormon Temple, Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Roman Catholic Revision
 Bishops pressured to recognize modern rationalism and materialism
 They revised Roman Catholic teachings during two Vatican Councils
held in 1869-70 and 1963-65
 Confirmations of beliefs and new understandings included:
 God as personal, natural, and supernatural
 Papal infallibility in matters of doctrine, prominent role of bishops
 Local vernacular languages for scripture and in rituals
 Openness to all baptized Christians
 Reconciliation with Eastern Church
 Jews were no more responsible for Christ’s death than Christians
Worldview: Christianity
 Absolute
 God is one (a complex trinity)
 Jesus is the revelation of God's love and salvation
 Jesus lived as a human, died, and rose (conquering death)
 The World
 God created the world as good, but humanity invited evil in
 Humans
 Captured by sin
 Rescued by God's intervention
 Capable of good activities if helped by God
Worldview: Christianity
 Problem and solution
 People are enslaved to evil
 God's intervention enables escape
 Community and ethics
 Christians live in Jesus through his ways
 All Christians are brothers and sisters
 Christians try to better the world in which they live
Worldview: Christianity
 History
 All history is subject to God
 Jesus is the central point of history
 There will be an end
 God will destroy the present world and make a new one
Worldview: Christianity
 Rituals and symbols
 The cross, recognized universally as Christian
 Baptism, the entrance to Christianity
 Weekly worship together, often with the Lord's Supper
 Easter and Christmas as festival celebrations
 Lent as a preparation for Easter
Worldview: Christianity
 Life after death
 A resurrection to life for Christians
 A dismissal to hell for non-Christians
 Other religions
 Christianity holds that all people should be considered children of
God so they ought to become Christians
 Christianity has sought converts among all peoples
 The Second Vatican Council addressed tolerance for other
religions and brotherly attitudes toward all people
Worldview: Christianity
 Baptism and communion are common rituals for most Christians
 Some Christians enact a wide range of other ritual practices
 Forms of authority and accountability regarding teaching, ritual,
religious life, and ethics vary widely among Christians
 They continue to see all history in terms of before and after Christ
 They believe He continues to reveal himself through the Holy Spirit
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Chapter 2 Victimization and Criminal Behavior