Another euphemism Christians frequently use is “allegorical”.
Wasn’t it a wrong translation rather than a pure fabrication?
Fun fact: In Spain they decided to translate the Talmud to create a better understanding between Christians and Jews. When it was found out the Talmud rejects the idea of the Holy Trinity the Jews were banned.
The Trinity is not an allegory for Christians. Not wrong translation and not fabrication. The New Testament has passages indicating divinity of Christ and Holy Spirit like “baptise in the name of Father Son and Holy Spirit and John 1:1 which explains how such a thing could come about – and Sura Maryam also acknowledges Jesus as Word of God which would imply their acceptance of the implication of that (God’s Word is divine though not the exact same thing as God the Father). (Which is perhaps why elsewhere the Koran vehemently criticizes those who ascribe a “son to Allah”). It is indeed a “mystery” which is not a “cop-out” but a way of saying it is a profound matter which we can barely even comprehend in this life.
As for the common myth that basic Christian beliefs were not established until the 4th century Ecumenical Councils, reading the history of that time makes clear why there were such councils, and why then. A few decades before, Christians were being tortured and killed by the official Roman persecution; no large meeting was possible. It is amazing that documents did survive from the period of persecution, but they did, and they do not contradict the positions of the Ecumenical Councils. The church had endured 300 years of persecution (for precisely these kinds of beliefs) and now it finally could invite representatives from all the churches then in the world just as any organization would want to; and those doctrines were not contrary to what the church believed before and since — all mainstream Christians (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant) hold these beliefs to be fundamental to this day. Including Jesus being fully God and fully Man, conceived by the Holy Spirit yet in a human womb, sanctifying the body with all that implies, and teaching by example. (St. Irenaeus: “God became man that man could become like God”).
Not so Fun fact: the Christian persecution of Jews was absolutely real and shameful, but it would appear that we learned our lesson and have not had Inquisitions for centuries (which were geographically limited and not a universal phenomenon by any means). Persecution of non-Muslims under Islamic states is, however, a sad constant whether we are talking of modern “Islamic republics” or medieval ones.
Many Jews who were persecuted in Spain fled to the Ottoman Empire for refuge, but had safety only as long as the Sultan was well-disposed. Life there for non-Muslims was much like the Jim Crow period of the American South — one perceived slight and the pogroms and lynchings begin; the “dhimma” spelled out the obligations of Jews and Christians to prevent their lives and property from being forfeited, and included dismounting one’s horse and averting one’s eyes in respect to the Muslim, and not striking back if struck, as well as wearing distinctive dress (like those yellow stars in the 1930′s), paying crushingly high taxes (jizyah, punitive tribute specifically for non-Muslims) as well as additional arbitrary assessments (and let’s not forget the devshirme, the taking of one’s children for forcible conversion) and other deliberately humiliating injunctions to insure that they “convert, submit or die”.
Those rules don’t come into play too much nowadays, since most of the non-Muslim “gavurs” there (like “kaffir” in Arabic = “infidel”) have been exterminated, especially the Armenians but also e.g. the Greeks and Jews in Smyrna/Izmir (around September 11, 1922, a million dead, where my grandfather’s from).
Though, both synagogues and churches continue to be bombed in Istanbul every few years in that “secular” state today. The Coptic Christians in Egypt endure regular armed raids on their villages by jihadis who are either not punicshed at all or get token “slap-on-the-wrist” penalties. The aim is everywhere the same, “to rid the land of the infidel” just as Osama bin Laden preaches.
Bit of a thread-killer, that one, Nick.
Agreed, HFB. He hardly has Author’s talent for brevity and wit.
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