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View Diary: Is there a God? (With Poll) (279 comments)

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  •  The concept of God is not necessarily associated (4+ / 0-)

    with an afterlife.  Belief in an afterlife was not even a universal or even common belief of Hebrews until a few hundred years before the birth of Jesus.

    Prior to that, the Hebrews looked to God to help them in THIS life.  It was only after being screwed over by virtually every powerful nation in their vicinity that it occurred to them that maybe God didn't give a rat's ass about their lives here, so there must be something else, and the idea of an afterlife was born.  

    Not that it was anything new, as the Egyptians believed it before Judaism existed.  In fact Hebrew belief in an afterlife was very possibly influenced by their history with the Egyptians.

    Now, even the idea of a Messiah was not originally associated with an afterlife.  In the time of Jesus it had everything to do with being God's sword on earth to defeat the Romans and restore Israel to power - on earth.

    The idea of an afterlife only gained traction with Jewish Christians after Jesus died.  That was unexpected and a shock to them, much like their Old Testament defeats by the Assyrians, Babylonians, etc. had been.  

    With Greek Christians (Paul's audience) such a belief was much easier.  They didn't have the Hebrew concept of an earthly Messiah to overcome.  

    If you read the gospels carefully, you will note that they were written over a period of perhaps 70 years or more, and each one built upon the ones before vis a vis the concept of Jesus' divinity and the afterlife, until both ideas blossomed fully in the gospel of John.

    Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

    by ZedMont on Sat May 18, 2013 at 05:57:02 PM PDT

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