Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Evolution & Jesus of Nazareth - (Post 6)

As we move forward, we go into an idea of extreme controversy. Over the last several decades, the battle of evolution verses creationism has plagued the relationship between religion and science as a two-sided unwavering argument, in which both parties very well may be wrong (I do anticipate just about everyone to taking offense to that last line). This theory of genesis, as I have come to call it, asserts that several religious texts and traditions have suggested what is now known as the theory of evolution, and that evolution and creationism combined can show quite similar attributes when looked at from a deeper level. Put more simply, religious texts somewhat show elements of evolution within the creationist theory. Before I may get into this hybrid creation-evolution theory though, I will explain both the theory of evolution and the theory of creation, so that everyone has a clear understanding.

 The theory of evolution, based on natural selection, is quite simple. It states that animals evolved through millions of years due to genetic mutations that helped them in nature, and therefore were passed on to their offspring. For instance, a fish with larger fins could swim away from predators faster, therefore the fish with larger fins didn’t get eaten and lived on to reproduce, which led to more fish with larger fins at which time the process repeats itself. There are numerous evidences for this theory including microevolution, which shows that some diseases have mutated or evolved to become immune to some antibiotics, and other evidences such as similar bone structures in animals. For example- our hand, a fishes fin, a birds wing, and an alligators front foot have similar if not identical bone structures, possibly meaning common ancestors. Evidences for this theory go on and on, but the basics of the theory of evolution should be clear.

Creationism on the other hand, mostly provides counter-evidence against evolution asking questions such as, how did life, even single celled organisms just happen to appear or develop without a creator? It also questions the complexity of evolution such as, how did fish change the way the move and the way they breath to become land animalsespecially when no land animals have gills or fish tails? (Much like the creation and destruction of energy we talked about earlier, where did this conscience come from?) Then of course, the strongest argument for creationism comes from the believers and the religious texts. The three most widespread and accepted religions in the world have the same story for creation, so that billions of Muslims, billions of Christians, and billions of Jews all agree on their origins on this earthwhich obviously includes a creator.

It strikes me as odd that intelligent conscience life could spawn from nothing, or could mutate to become so complex without outside aid. Yet it also strikes me as odd that many creationists refuse to accept scientific evidence of even small mutations and change over time. The problem, I believe, is that so many creationists take the religious texts so literal and word for word, when it is widely known that religious texts are often written in parables and metaphors so they are more easily understood and comprehended. It is widely known that one must look much deeper into the texts to find the meaning of all history. I believe that when broken down, religious texts actually show the first claim of a creationist evolution and through reading and thinking, can prove such a concept. In fact, it has been said that the first theory of natural selection was from a very religious man of Abrahamic belief. A Muslim named Al-Jahiz wrote a book called Kitab alHayawan (The Book of Animals) that talked somewhat about natural selection in the 800s AD.

The initial piece of evidence is the serpent, Satan. In the religious texts, God (known as Allah or Yahweh to some) punished the serpent in the Garden of Eden by making all serpents from that day forward crawl on their bellies. Serpents have also been used as an evidence for evolution in that all current serpents have undeveloped legs under their skin that show they once had legs and later, according to that theory, mutated out of them. Thousands of years before Darwin, people did not have the scientific skill to know these under legs were there or what they were. This is the only direct evidence of change occurring to living organisms in the religious texts, but there is evidence of a separate timeline by which different organisms came into existence (meaning Darwin4 s timeline may have been wrong).

Religious texts claim that God created organisms in the following order: plants, water organisms, birds (or winged animals of the air as it is written), land animals, then finally humans. Scientists generally agree with the water organisms, land animals, and lastly humans potion of the timeline in the theory of evolution, but the other two are where the differences arise. Think for a moment though, about how such a process could work. Photosynthesizing organisms (plants) develop to a point where they can survive while floating or submerged in water, and then the submerged organisms could develop to where they could absorb or eat other organisms, all while not having to breathe the toxins present in the earth’s atmosphere at this time like other animals would. This is the point where religious texts become more probable in scientific terms, because fish developing into birds is more likely than animals developing into birds. I say that because fish are not only more likely to jump higher into the air than land animals, but fishes fins more closely resemble wings than land animals arms do, and fishes scales more closely resemble birds feathers than land animals skin does. One can only hypothesize though.

I can already anticipate the counter argument for this theory as being “why would the religious texts not say that there was a change or evolution within these organisms?” from which I will now continue my theory. First is the fact that people in ancient times would have a hard time accepting or understanding such a concept, so it would be more likely to be hidden or coded into the texts for later generations to understand. Then of course is the fact that often, biblical texts speak in metaphors, codes, and parables to get a point across. We know for instance that science shows the world was not created in seven “days,” but perhaps these were not literal days. We know days, nights, weeks, and years were not separated until the forth scriptural “day,” so we again see this metaphorism and possibility for scientific authentication.

The final question in this theory is, if God created this world, why would he or she change it? That answer comes in two forms. First back to the serpent example from before, which is a direct example of God changing an organism. The second bit of evidence is in the form of Jesus, a prophet of the Muslims and regarded as the messiah to the Christians. In the religious texts Jesus is a carpenter, which symbolizes work never finished. A table built as a table will work its purpose, but a carpenter can always make it stronger, better, and more fitting to its environment. So as the world changed, so must its organisms- an amazing feat of perfect imperfection, for a perfect being.

Therefore, through the Abrahamic religious texts we see that organisms were changed, the order in which they were brought into existence goes along with scientific probability better, the time period in “days” was most likely not literal days, and like carpentry, anything can be changed to be better or better suited for its environment. This is the theory of genesis. The theory that either early religious scholars were the first to theorize evolution, or evolution was supematurally guided. Darwin himself recognized the inconsistency of chimpanzee’s non-development of tools, religion, and art- raising a virtual enigma of how this great intelligence was developed by human beings. Abrahamic faiths seem to unknowingly bridge Darwin’s gap. These Abrahamic faiths all talk about the knowledge of good and evil in human existence, suggesting a divine evolution of human thought and actions.


Jesus of Nazareth

The final piece in this chronicle is the story of a man. A man that has caused peace and has been the subject of wars. A man revered by different peoples around the world. For ages, people have bowed to or fought against the idea of this man, yet he remains a key piece of religion and culture as a remarkable being. This man is Jesus of Nazareth. Again, I will leave everything up to your interpretation, giving only different facts and points of view on this man’s impact upon us. I will start with the views of those that reject him outright, then go to those who revere him for different reasons.

In doing the research for this section I studied documentaries and books on atheism and some that are not really atheist, but just simply anti-Jesus. Either way the arguments are all the same when aiming to disprove this man. Most are based off of loose interpretations of varying subjects and attempts to connect unrelated dots, often trying to compare Jesus to sun worship. For instance, the comparison of Jesus of Nazareth to different deities throughout time. Not only did these deities exist outside the range and generations of those that followed Jesus, but they also only have a couple of minor similarities- most actually faked. Many atheist try to compare Jesus’ life to that of Krishna, Horns, Mithra, and Dionysus by saying that they were bom of virgins, cmcified, and resurrected, but this is simply not tme. All of them have birth stories such as being born from a rock or almond seed, and all of them have death stories, such as killed by an arrow or eaten alive. None of them died as atonement, were bom of virgins, nor were they resurrected. The comparisons are mostly just falsified from loose interpretations.

There are also claims that the nativity story was taken from other religions. The fact is that there are things attributed to Jesus that were skewed or guessed by people generations after Jesus existed, often to fit their own convenience. We have no knowledge of whether or not Jesus was bom on December 25th , and it is even likely that this is several months off. We also do not know that three kings (or wise men) came and visited him, only that someone visited him with three gifts- an occurrence that actually happened a length of time after his birth (in fact it could be anywhere from two Wise Men to fifty). The date in December and the story of the how many visitors came were added after all of the disciples and apostles were dead, all of which kills the star alignment theory on Jesus promoted by atheists.

Additional theories touted by atheist groups that Christianity is based off of sun worship, are the comparisons between “son” and “sun” and the supposed lack of outside historical records concerning Jesus. Atheists cite the similarities between the fact that Jesus was God’s “son” and the Egyptians worshiped the “sun.” This is nothing more than a coincidence in the English language. In Greek and Aramaic these similarities to not exist, and trying to find a connection between this is a waste of time. As for records, we turn to the histories written by Flavius Josephus, who was born around the time of Jesus’ death. Though Flavius Josephus was neither a Christian nor a Jew his written histories that mention Jesus as an important figure show that Jesus was a widespread figure influencing the area very shortly after his lifetime.

In short, claims of any comparison between Christianity and sun worship are just false. What remains here is Jesus’ impact on other religions to show what this man truly meant. We will examine him from many religions points of view from around the world. We will begin with the most obvious place to start, the Jews.

The Jews believed Jesus could not possibly be the messiah because he did not conquer the Romans and did not become king of the holy land. Yet they held a very worldly perspective. While it is true that Jesus never raised an army, never fought the Romans, and never took Judea out of Roman hands, Jesus did do much more to complete the same expectation. Constantine I, bom in 272 became the last Emperor to rule from Rome after changing the capital to Constantinople, but did something far greater in becoming the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity. Then in 300, Theodosius I took this conversion a step further and made Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire. In essence, the entire Roman Empire bowed before Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore, while Jesus never fought the Romans in battle, he still conquered the entire Empire, a much greater feat the Jews could never have expected.

Many of the world’s other large religions accept Jesus of Nazareth as a major figure in their religion as well, including Christians, Muslims, and Baha’i. Christianity states that Jesus was the manifestation of God on Earth to be the savior of people’s sins and the Messiah the Jewish people had been waiting for. This led to his cmcifixion, in which he became a literal sacrifice, the last sacrifice for human sin. Muslims accept Jesus as the Messiah of the Jewish people and the last Jewish prophet before Muhammad. Muslim belief is that the cmcifixion was a betrayal by the Jews, and Jesus’ body was switched out with that of Judas on the cross. Finally, Baha’i’s state that Jesus was in fact the son of God, but was never resurrected after being cmcified on the cross. All three religions, which make up a majority of the worlds religious practitioners, accept Jesus of Nazareth in one way or another as the Messiah and an important messenger of God’s word.

One of the most fascinating acceptances of Jesus in other religions is that of Buddhism. Many Buddhist teachers, including Zen master Gasan Joseki, have stated that they believe Jesus of Nazareth was an enlightened being, known as a Bodhisattva. In 2001, the Dalai Lama himself, who is revered as a reincarnation of a Bodhisattva himself, stated that he too believed Jesus was an enlightened Bodhisattva. This widespread belief in Buddhism (a religion completely unrelated to the Abrahamic faiths) has even spawned a belief noted by Indira Gandhi, that many Buddhists believe that in the 15 unknown years of Jesus, he may have traveled to India and encountered Buddhists. Either way the acceptance of Jesus as a religious figure into this far eastern religion is significant as it shows the truly remarkable impact of this man upon the world, as the only figure worshiped in this widespread of a manner around the world. This shows a spiritual impact that many have felt from him.

ual impact that many have felt from him. Therefore, as we have seen, the concept of Jesus having Pagan roots based on sun worship and being mentioned only by Christians beyond the 90’s AD is simply a fabrication of loosely fitting or completely fabricated facts based on inaccuracies of dates and languages. The Atheist arguments using these concepts have simply chosen to overlook original translations, the work of Flavius Josephus, and other essential facts in order to promote their agenda. Jewish belief that Jesus cannot be messiah because he did not conquer the Romans is up to personal debate over whether or not the Romans converting and following Jesus constitutes conquering or not. In the end, when factoring in Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, and Baha’i beliefs it becomes apparent that this man had a widespread physical and spiritual impact upon the world. How we interpret that impact or choose to proceed with that is completely up to us as individuals and as peoples of different faiths. I'm sure the debate will continue for centuries, as we will know all the facts of this world, but it is up to us to decide our personal beliefs on this remarkable man.

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