Posted by panch (188.8.131.52) on February 13, 2002 at 22:28:45:
I have become more polite. At bethsuryoyo I asked this question. Last time I asked it all hell broke loose. I really would like an answer. Anyone?
I have a serious question to pose...don't mean to offend anyone, so if someone does manage to get offended at least you know it wasn't intentional.
Among many things I don't understand is the contention that King Abgar was a great man because he brought Christianity to Assyrians. Well, I don't know how many people go that far, but they do seem to accept the notion that he heard about Jesus and his miracles, and about his troubles in Judea. This prompted him to extend an invitation to Jesus, offering him protection and welcome, and maybe some help with a certain medical condition he had. He wrote the letter...Jesus was too busy or was needed where he was, so a retrurn letter was sent which miraculously cured the King.
Perhaps I lost out on some of the finer points of the story, but that's the best I could do at it. Now, I have never understood what there was in this story to make an Assyrian proud. Seems to me it is an allegory or metaphor, or one of them things, which sought to prove that the god Ashur had lost the ability to "heal" his own people, and another God was found to be more effective.
For one thing, are you supposed to change Gods when you find a better one? Doesn't that sort of fly in the face of the position Christian Assyrians staked out as a people willing to die and see their children killed off before they would ever consent to change once again? Was our God worthy of being abandoned while the new one must be adhered to no matter what?
The other question I have is how Abgar could have heard anything of Jesus? Communications were not the best...the roads weren't so good, there were bandits and other dangers. Jesus had only about three years of preaching and probably didn't get into full swing right away. I doubt that he was much known outside of his small world...and can't imagine why or how news of him would have spread anywhere. As the Romans and the Jews of that day addmitted, the Jews produced Messiahs by the sackfull...and how was anyone to know HE was the one...when he wasn't accepted in his own city?
The final question I have regards the religion of Jesus. In every reference in the Bible Jesus is a Jew. There is no mention at all of him being a Christian. He said himself that he came to fulfill the Mosiac law, not break it...and that meant he was here to confirm the End of days etc. If Abgar heard anything, he heard about another Jew with a Messianic claim, hardly anything shattering at the time or worthy of note.
If indeed Abgar wrote the letter and if the return post cured him...he was cured by a Jew, not a Christian. And if the Assyrians of that day converted, they converted to a new form of Judaism, Christianity being reserved for Paul to create several years later. Indeed it was a full seventy years after the death of Christ that non Jews were even allowed to become Christian...and it was Pauls claim that circumcision was no longer a requirement for induction into Christianity that almost got him killed...and only the fact that he was a Roman citizen that sort of saved him.
I think questions, especially when put so politely, with the intention of now "shutting up" and listenning, should be met with a courteous reply...which aims at my education, not my reformation, damnation or removal. If Democracy and Freedom and Education are as important here as everyone says...then I should soon get some answers from David, Rich or Fred...or anyone else.
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