I was given this article by a Muslim. It is long. I don’t know enough about the time period to write a basic refutation. Can anyone else point out some errors the article makes? I think I saw one in his mention of Arianism and North African Christianity but I’m not sure. Thanks and God bless.
THE DIVINE UNITY : In any tradition the pure origin is to be found at its beginning, and follows is always a decline. It is from this perspective that the history of Christianity should be viewed. It began with the belief in one God but was then corrupted as the doctrine of trinity cme to be accepted. The result wa a confusion that led man away from reason.
According to Theodore Zahn, until 250 AD the article of faith was “I belive in God, the almighty.” Between 180 and 210 AD the word “Father” was added befor “Almighty”. (See Articles of the Apostolic Creed, pp. 3-37). This was bitterly contested by a number of Church leaders. Bishops Victor and Zephysius are on record as condemning this act. They regarded it an unthinkable sacrilege to add or subtract any words in the Scriptures. They also the tendency to regard Jesus as divine. They laid great stress on the unity of God as expressed in the original teachings of Jesus and asserted that although he was a prophet, he was essentially a man like other men, even if highly favored by his Lord.
The same faith was held by churches which had sprung up in North Africa and West Asia. As the teaching of Jesus spread, it came into contact with different cultures and into conflict with those in authority. It began to be assimilated and adapted by these cultures but also was alterered in order to diminish persecution by rulers. In Greece, especially, it became metamorposhed, both by its being expressed in a new language for the first time and by its realignment with the ideas anf philosophy of that culture.
It was multi-god viewpoint of the Greeks that largely contributed to the formulation of the doctrine of trinity together with the gradual elevation of Jesus by some Christians, notably Paul of Tarsus, from prophet to God. It was in 325 AD that the doctrine of trinity was declared to be the orthodox Christian belief.
Even then, some of those who signed the creed did not belive in it, as they could find no authority for it in the Scriptures. Athanasius, who is considered to be the father of this creed, was himself not very sure of its truth. He admits that whenever he forced his mind to mediate on the divinity of Jesus, his toilsome and futile effirts recoiled on themselves, and more he wrote, the less capable he was of expressing his thoughts. At one point he even wrote “There are not three but onr one God.” His assertion of the doctrine of trinity was not based on conviction but on policy and apparent necessity. That this historic decision was based just as much on political expediency as on the faulty reasoning of philisophy is shown in the part played by Constantine, the pagan emperor of Rome who presided over the Council of Nicaea.
The growing communities of Christians were a force whose opposition he feared. They could weaken his empire, but on the other hand, their support would be invaluable in strengthening it. By remodeling Chriatianity, Constantine hoped to gain the Church’s support and at the same time ened the confusion that had arisen within it, which was the source of yet more conflict within his empire.
The degenration of Jesus’ pure teachings never went unchallenged. When, in 325 AD, the doctrine of trinity was officially proposed as the orthodox Christian doctrine, Bishop Arius (one of the leaders od the Apostolic Church in North Africa) stood up against the combined might of Constantine and the Catholic (Pauline) Church and reminded them that Jesus had always affirmed the oneness of God. Constantine tried to crush the troublesome “one-God” people with all the force and brutality at his command, but he failed. Ironically, although Constantine embraced the belief that God is one before his death, the doctrine of trinity was eventually accepted officially as the basis of Christianity in Europe.
This doctrine caused much confusion among men, many of whom were told to believe without trying to understand it; yet, some people tried to prove and explain it intellectually. Broadly speaking, three schools of thought developed. The first is associated with St. Agustine, who lived in the 4th century and was of the view that the doctrine could not be proven but could be illustrated. St. Victor, who lived in the 12th century, believed that the doctrine could be both demonstrated and illustrated. The 14th century saw the growth of the third school, which taught that the doctrine of trinity could be neither illustrated nor proven, but should be blindly accepted and believed.
The effective abandonment of the teaching of Jesus was largely due to the complete obscuring of his historical reality. The Church had made religion not only independent of the Scriptures but independent of Prophet Jesus as well, so that the man Jesus bacame confused with a mythological Christ. Belief in Jesus does not necessarily mean belief in a resurrect Christ. Whereas the early followers of Jesus had based their lives on his example, Pauline christianity was based on a belief in Christ aafter his supposed crucifixion. The life and teachings of Jesus were no longer important. As the established Church to continued to distance itself from the teaching of Jesus, its leaders became increasingly involved in the affairs of those authority throughout the land. As the differences between what Jesus had taught and what those in authority desired became blurred, the Church, while asserting its separateness from the state, became in reality more and more identified with it and thus grew in power.