Originally Posted by syed1
i've been reading and studying the history of Christianity. from my viewpoint, i guess i'm trying to prepare an answer to the issue of how the original Christianity was morphed into the current trinitarianism. is there historic evidence, or more exactly what is the evidence, for the "evolution" of Christianity? we see it even in the Gospels. Mark, the oldest, has NO evidence that the followers of Isa saw him after he "died". Mark is believed to be written 30 to 40 years after his ascension into heaven. [the oldest and "most reliable" manuscripts end in Mark 16:8; 16:8Then they left the grave quickly. They were trembling and afraid. They did not talk to anyone about it because they were afraid. the rest was added at an unknown time] not until 50 years later, ca 80 to 85, do we have written testimony of a sighting of the written Jesus, excluding Paul's contradictory statements. the 11 apostles would have been near 90 years old at this time IF any were still alive. John, which contains the most "direct" statements of Isa's "divinity" wasn't penned until 95 AD. any of the 11 would have been centenarians by then.
we also have evidence that Christians murdered IN LARGE NUMBERS those whose beliefs weren't "orthodox". much like pagans persecuted those whose religions were "not officially recognized" by the state, Christians eliminated other Christians whose views were deemed as "heretic". thus, as certain times, if you were Arian: Jesus subordinated to God, you were tortured and killed. later, if you believed that Jesus was only either human OR divine you were killed. there was a tremendous battle to figure out what the "correct" beliefs should be and then to eliminate opposing views. thus, if Christians would kill someone who believed that Jesus was a "created God" or only "part God", what would they have done to someone who didn't believe that he was God at all?!
Bart Ehrman gives lots of evidence for changes and contradictions in "the Bible". new histories relate the evidence for the "changes' in Christian beliefs. here are 2 excellent books:
A.D. 381: Heretics, Pagans, and the Dawn of the Monotheistic State
Jesus Wars: How Four Patriarchs, Three Queens, and Two Emperors Decided What Christians Would Believe for the Next 1,500 years
early Christianity was basically a struggle between the centers at Alexandria and Antioch, with Constantinople caught in the middle. Rome played a lessor but growing role in these debates. Rome was hampered by the fact that Latin was its the lingua franca, and the debates were waged in Greek, which was the dominant language in the eastern empire.
it's fascinating stuff and useful in dawah.