This is material that I can't get added to the gospel narrative section on the Jesus page.
Jesus' explanation that he intentionally obscured his message Mark 4:10-12 is not to be taken at face value. In John, he tells no parables at all.
Jesus gave secret teachings to the twelve (see, for example, the Last Supper).Jesus preached. . . judgment (Matt 25:31-46), castigation (Matt 23:13-39, John 8:38-48), destruction (Matt 10:11-15), and hellfire (Mark 9:43)
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You'll see me monkeying around with various Bible articles, trying to strike a neutral balance between what believers and nonbelievers see.
In all fairness, I'll point you to my personal web site so you can see where my bias is. My personal web site is for bias. I'll do my best to keep my Wikipedia edits neutral.
My best page about Jesus is this one: Christianity and Equality
And my page on my favorite religion: Latter Day Saints
I'm a materialist.
Nicest things anyone's said about me on Wikipedia: "I am sorry if other participating Christians are bothered by this, but JT has been right on almost every count. All he wants to do is refer to controversy among a certain set of scholars in a scholarly way, and so far as I can tell his Christian detractors seek to dissemble and make this difficult without being able to really cite the reasons. In fact what JT wants in the article is quite dry and basic -- reading context, it seems to me that he has learned to settle for very tiny steps. I may not agree with his ultimate agenda, but his methods and reasoning are sound or even admirable and the opposition's lacking."
Trying to shorten this to two paragraphs.
Persecution Christians generally oppose persecuting people for their religious beliefs. Christians (as well as members of other religions) are persecuted in many Muslim and totalitarian countries.
Jesus himself was persecuted and killed, as were many early Christians. The authors of the New Testament portrayed the Roman Empire as hostile and under the Devil's control. The image of faithful Christians facing death in the arena rather than renouncing their beliefs was formative for the early Christian church. The ideal of suffering for God plays a large role in some Christian traditions.
The Christian church, however, went from being persecuted to being the law of the Roman Empire. The Church came to support the emperors and kings rather than fear them. The Roman Empire became the Holy Roman Empire. Christians became the persecuters, killing people for their beliefs. Christians killed Jews, Muslims, and heretics. Christian nations, however, eventually established religious liberty as a human right.
Christians have frequently suffered from persecution. Starting with Jesus, persecution was a feature of the Church at its earliest beginnings. Notable early Christians such as Stephen, Paul, and, according to tradition, 10 out of the 11 remaining disciples of Jesus, were all executed. Adherence to Christianity was declared illegal within the Roman Empire, and, especially in the 3rd century, the Emperors demanded that their subjects (save only the Jews) participate in the imperial cult, where ritual sacrifices were made in worship of the traditional Roman gods and the Emperor, a practice incompatible with monotheistic Christianity. Refusal to participate was considered akin to treason, punishable by death. Systematic state persecution of Christians culminated in the Great Persecution of Diocletian and ended with the Edict of Milan.
Persecution of Christians persisted or even intensified in other places, such as in Sassanid Persia. Later, under Islam, Christians were subjected to social and legal proscriptions and at times also suffered violent persecution or confiscation of their property, although that was not typical.
There was some persecution of Christians after the French Revolution during the attempted Dechristianisation of France. State restrictions on Christian practices today are generally associated with those authoritarian governments which either support a majority religion other than Christianity (as in Muslim states), or tolerate only churches under government supervision, sometimes while officially promoting state atheism (as in North Korea). For example, the People's Republic of China allows only government-regulated churches and has regularly suppressed house churches or underground Catholics. The public practice of Christianity is outlawed in Saudi Arabia. On a smaller scale, Greek and Russian governmental restrictions on non-Orthodox religious activity occur today.
Complaints of discrimination have also been made by Christians in various other contexts. In some parts of the world, there is persecution of Christians by dominant religious groups or political groups. Many Christians are threatened, discriminated against, jailed, or even killed for their faith. Christians are persecuted today in many areas of the world including Cuba, the Middle East, North Korea, China, the Sudan, and Kosovo.
Christians have also been perpetrators of persecution, which has been directed against members of other religions and against other Christians. Christian mobs, sometimes with government support, have destroyed pagan temples and oppressed adherents of paganism (such as the philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria, who was murdered by a Christian mob). Jewish communities have periodically suffered violence at Christian hands. Christian governments have suppressed or persecuted groups seen as heretical, later in cooperation with the Inquisition. Later denominational strife has sometimes escalated into religious wars. Witch hunts, carried out by religious authorities or popular mobs, were a frequent phenomenon in parts of early modern Europe and, to a lesser degree, North America.
- Religionfacts.com, Persecution in the Early Church
- ChristianityToday.com 313 The Edict of Milan
- Macro History, The Sassanids to 500 CE
- While they could legally practice their faith, this was subject to various restrictions: The performance of religious rituals had to be in a manner inconspicuous to Muslims, and they were prohibited from proselytizing.(Lewis (1984) p. 26)
- Bernard Lewis wrote: "Sometimes, when a persecution occurred, we find that the instigators were concerned to justify it in terms of the Holy Law. The usual argument was that the Jews or the Christians had violated the pact by overstepping their proper place. They had thus broken the conditions of the contract with Islam, and the Muslim state and people were no longer bound by it."; see also Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam.
- Lewis, The Jews of Islam p. 44; Lewis (1984, p. 8.) states that "persecution in the form of violent and active repression was rare and atypical".
- Mortimer Chambers, The Western Experience (vol. 2) chapter 21
- Paul Marshall, Their Blood Cries Out; Worldnetdaily.com, Christians persecuted in Islamic nations
- see persecution.org;christianmonitor.org; and Cliff Kincaid, aim.org Christians Under Siege in Kosovo