I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges

So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Saint John, Letter to Galatians 4:16

Freedom of Religion - Freedom from Religion - Freedom of Public Display of Religion and Traditions

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.
Ronald Reagan (Temple Hillel Speech, 1984)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chapter 46: The Apostle Saint Peter

Phenomenology of World Religions ©
Chapter 46
The Apostle Saint Peter
What little is known about Simon Peter, known as Peter in the Gospels, as Jesus referred to him and chose to be one of his twelve disciples, is that he was a fisherman by trade and lived in house shared with his brother, Andrew, who also became a disciple of Jesus and later beatified by the Roman Catholic Church.
It was Andrew who discovered Jesus and who returned one day to Peter who was fishing along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and told Simon Peter that he had found the Messiah, as foretold by the prophets of the Hebrew/Greek scriptures of the Old Testament. Upon hearing this, Simon Peter dropped his fishing net and went to see for himself.
Nothing has been recorded, or at least survived in history, any reference to Simon Peter's life before that time. Much of what we do know was recorded in the Gospels of the New Testament scriptures of the canonical Holy Bible.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chapter 67: Noncanonical - Testament of Abraham

Phenomenology of World Religions ©
Chapter 67
Testament of Abraham
This text is part of the group of Jewish scripture that is part of a group of falsely attributed works in the pseudepigrapha category, usually Jewish religious texts that were written between 200 BC to 200 AD. This and other texts of its type are not part of the canonical Bible nor is it accepted in canonical Hebrew scriptures; but appear in the Septuagint and Vulgate versions of the Hebrew Bible or in Protestant Bibles. Catholics categorize these books as Apocrypha or Apocalyptic literature and whose works were popular among early Christians, but later excluded by the Roman Catholic Church as part of the legitimate canon for various reasons. Some Apocalyptic scriptures were included among the canonical books: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Zechariah, and Daniel. All are in common with the themes of being prophetic scriptures.
Some pseudepigrapha texts were either discovered or produced after the final canonization of scriptures of the Hebrew Bible and before the production of the Christian canon by the Roman Catholic Church and the edition authorized by King James of England. The list is quite extensive. Some feel that the exclusion of some books was only on a decision based upon size of the canonical Bible.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chapter 45: The Apostles: First Evangelists

Phenomenology of World Religions ©
Chapter 45
Apostolic Evangelists
This is an introduction to a series of chapters dedicated to the biographies of the original twelve disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, who came to be known as Jesus Christ. They became known as apostles after Jesus left the earthly world.
The number of apostolic biographies totals to thirteen, because Matthias took the place of Judas Iscariot after the latter's tragic ending. The period during the lives of the disciples-turned-apostles is referred to by theologians as the Apostolic Age. The disciples had transformed from followers of the teacher to evangelists of Christianity, the evangelism of the Word and spreading the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the Jews and Gentiles of the ancient world. The Apostles were the founders of the first churches, the location of the first seven are mentioned in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. The primary apostles were also the authors of the Gospels, as well as letters and books that were put together to make the addition to the original Hebrew Bible text.