Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Variety is the Spice of Life!

As we study the numerous and significant ways in which religious beliefs direct the flow of historical events, it is always important to look at the subtle distinctions within belief systems.

In the ancient world, we can't merely make generalizations about Jews, because two thousand years ago, we find several differing currents within Jewish though. There were Pharisee, Essene, Zealot, and Sadducee groups. To complicate matters further, recall that Christianity was, at first, regarding as simply another type of Judaism.

Among the Christians, we find by the early 400's A.D. that quite distinct forms of Christianity arose. Thus we have a Coptic Church in Egypt, a Syriac Church, a Chaldean Church in Babylonia, and a powerful and well-developed Persian Church in what is now Iran.

The same is true today: among modern Jews we find Orthodox, Hasidim, Lubavitcher, Satmar, Breslov, Conservative, Reform, and Messianic. Among Christians, we see Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and many other groupings.