The New Cult
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” These are the first two lines in the gospel of John.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (John 1.3-5).
John was talking about Jesus Christ, a man, or what some say, the Son of God. But who was he really? And why was he preaching salvation to the people of Israel in the first century? Well, the first question is a matter of debate, and has been debated since the Christianity arose from obscurity in the desert of Israel. The second question is somewhat simpler. Throughout history, figures have arisen out of obscurity to preach a certain doctrine, or proclaim themselves as deities. The notion that a man would preach that he is the Savior and will bring salvation to those who follow him, like Jesus did is nothing new. But for some reason, “the Jesus movement” survived, while others did not. And it is not that it just survived, it flourished and eventually became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. Why? Why did this movement continue and grow when faced with all the adversities and discrimination that it faced in the Roman Empire before 313 C.E? Why would people decide to convert to this new movement when there were so many other religions to believe, and when they knew that hardships lay ahead for them if they did? Well I believe that it was the uniqueness of the doctrine, particularly its fervent beliefs in its view of the afterlife and an all-powerful monotheistic God, which were so contradictory to the common views during the first few centuries C.E., that led to the extraordinary growth of Christianity.
So what distinguished Christianity from the rest of the religions in the Roman Empire?
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God (John 3.16-21).
That, in a nutshell, is the doctrine Christianity. One, all-powerful God, passing judgement upon those who do not accept the message of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is His Son and the Savior, and if you believe that he is, than you will be saved. This God is the only God and he will...