Term Paper: Mythology - Christianity Mythology

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Mythology - Christianity

Mythology and Christianity

In an era when Bibles are looked at as a product to be sold as a fashion statement with a hot pink cover, it may seem odd that a person would be going into a profession that utilizes the Bible alone as a reference and bases their entire faith, occupation and future on it (Simon 1).

During this confusing age, it is necessary for some brave leaders to step forward to help others find the Truth. This is the intention of a Minister and, as the minister begins the journey and chooses the path, the minister must realize that, though one may be secure with the choice, one still has a long way to travel.

There are about 40 major, recognized religions and 101 cults to be found in the world. Christianity has far and away the largest number of members, with 76,502 million, followed at a distance by Neopagan religions, Judaism and Islam. but, because of its large numbers and popularity, Christianity is a religion in which one finds it easy to drift away from the central beliefs that Jesus taught. Living one's life as a Christian was not supposed to be all sweetness and light. The harsh truth is that in an age where wealth is a goal and anything is acceptable on TV and in the streets, it is difficult to maintain one's true Christian beliefs.

One must decide what one believes, when one begins to preach and to minister to others. First of all one must define "Religion." One's Religion is what one believes about God, what one does to worship God and how one's philosophy about life and how the ethics one believes God dictates, determine one's actions.

Christianity is built around the teaching of one named Jesus, who His followers believed was the Christ, or the Messiah. Christianity is the belief that God is working among humans on earth and in the ultimate sacrificial act, sent down his only son, Jesus, to become a human being to walk among mortal beings on the earth. This is the myth that surrounds Jesus, and the unbelievable belief that has become the heart of the faith of those who follow Jesus' teachings. It is, indeed, Jesus' teachings which have stunned the world into looking at this Jewish Rabbi, born between 6 BC and 30 AD in an obscure village in Palestine, as divine. Jesus was born poor and remained poor his entire life by choice, yet he has become the most well-known man on earth today.

If so, how did Jesus become the huge religious phenomenon that he has become? And do we really know him? He was so revered by his disciples that they all wrote about him, each one from their own perspective, yet they clothed him in the common mythology they built around him in their many sermons, as they told and retold his story and taught the teachings he had made them memorize.

Jesus taught his followers about the real nature of God, as a loving and forgiving deity who came down to earth in the form of a spirit, a wind, a breath of air, the very air humans breathe in and out. God was to be that much a part of their lives. This spirit, sometimes described as appearing in the shape of a dove, was a comforter and was yet another way God revealed Himself to mankind. When Jesus ascended and left the earth, the Spirit descended to be with Jesus' followers in a very real way, helping them to preach to the heathen about God in their own languages.

Jesus did not claim to be the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament, yet he did not deny it, either, according to the disciples in their books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Jesus did claim to be sent by God, but it was the disciples who told how he arrived incarnate from a virgin, therefore was sent to earth as a half-god and half-man, as the Roman gods were known to claim. Jesus did not lead great armies into battle. He did not provide wealth on demand for his followers. Jesus' message was that God was Charity, or "Love," and that he had come to teach his followers and believers to love not only their neighbors, but themselves and their enemies as well.

This was a hard pill to swallow, but Jesus was able to couch this message in many different ways, through parables like the story of the poor woman who found a coin, through simple, easy-to-remember phrases like "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." (Matthew 7:12), and through memorable visual images, like "If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matthew 5:39).

The mythology which surrounded Jesus involved his birth, his baptism, his death, his resurrection and ascension into heaven. These stories about Jesus which the disciples wrote in their books, attempt to emphasize Jesus' unearthliness, but Jesus himself tried to draw attention away from himself and focus on the down-to-earth ministry to the needy of body and spirit. He lived a poverty-stricken, yet generously giving, life. If a minister going into counseling ever needs guidance, it could come from Jesus' actions and words: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful" (John 14:27).

Jesus cared for people psychologically. He taught his disciples how to apply one's beliefs in the nature of God (Love) to the needs of the people, and taught compassion for those who mourn. A minister is a person who will encounter every kind of person and every kind of need during his ministry, from pre-marital counseling of youth, to divorce counseling, from counseling the "hungry in spirit," to counseling gays and lesbians, angry blacks and prejudiced whites, the sick and the old; those about to die and young children who have lost their parents.

A pastor is what his name implies, a good shepherd of his flock. He makes sure each person is happy and fulfilled each Sunday morning, having been made aware of the underlying theological thought that feeds them and makes them so. The pastor is careful to use examples from life as Jesus did, to teach his disciples and the congregations who gathered around him, to teach the precepts one is to use in daily life.

Most of all, a minister embodies the nature and characteristics of Christ. The beliefs that Jesus taught are so well incorporated into the minister's own psyche and belief system that his actions teach as loudly as words, by example. If a minister cannot be loving and compassionate for all of humanity, then this minister is not teaching Christ. Of course, no one can be perfect, and we all make mistakes. It is the mistakes that make one a human, and the humility and perseverance with which one faces these mistakes and the results of mistakes, makes one holy. The pastoral caregiver learns how to pray, as well as how to study human nature, in order to minister most wisely to the flock given to him.

The integration of the theoretical system with the practical is not that difficult if one sets the nature of Christ before oneself as an example. In the worship service, one re-enacts symbolically the sacrifice of Christ's body, as well as his birth and rebirth in the resurrection. The singing of hymns is a joyful re-enactment of "making a joyful noise before the Lord," and the offering up of prayers is the burning of the sacrificial lamb, as one offers up one's hopes, expresses one's sorrow and regret for… [END OF PREVIEW]

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