Christian churches have convinced many believers that “salvation” only exists in the afterlife. But a truer understanding of the word – and its synonym “shalom” – reveals them to be messages calling for the present world to become a place of human fulfillment, writes Rev. Howard Bess.
Despite originating in Jesus’s messages of peace, Christianity has been arguably the world’s most violent religion with its adherents committing genocide on all continents except unpopulated Antarctica. Again and again, Christian churches have blessed warfare, but a new generation is objecting, says Rev. Howard Bess.
For Christians, the search for the real Jesus can be a challenging pursuit, given the two millennia of doctrine, dogma and distortion that have built up around his teachings. For some followers, the key has been to strip away those traditions and find a purer historical understanding, says Rev. Howard Bess.
Christians celebrate Jesus’s birth and the immediate events around his crucifixion, but less attention is given to the clearest sign of his political activism, his overturning of the money-changing tables at the Temple in Jerusalem, the likeliest reason for his execution, as Mark Manolopoulos explains.
Republicans are fond of throwing the charge “class warfare” at anyone who seeks to reverse the rapid division of modern society into haves and have-nots. But the ancient story of Cain and Abel is a cautionary tale about the violence that class stratification inevitably brings, writes Rev. Howard Bess.
Prophets and priests have served rival and often contradictory roles throughout history, with priests officiating at society’s rituals and prophets addressing society’s injustices. Recently, the Rev. Howard Bess found himself in a position to serve both functions.