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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

I’m sure many of you will have seen this claim in online discussions with Creationists. Estimates on the age of the universe based on biblical sources were prevant during the heyday of the Atheist-Creationist conflict. Of course, this is no new thing, but old as Christianity itself.

From early on some Church Father realized that the Bible contained dates and clues that oculd be used to estimate the age of the world. It was the Byzantine Empire that enshrined one of these estimates by law and used the Creation in September 1st of 5509 B.C. as a basis for its calendar. It sounds funny, but this Anno Mundi Calendar was used for many centuries. It first appeared in the 7th century and started getting replaced in the Orthodox World by “A.D.” and “B.C.” just in the 16th century (in Russia it was changed by Peter the Great in the 1700s).

This is also the source of the well-known image from the website of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which has been amply mocked by the greek atheist community.

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With the end of the 2015 National Elections in Greece, it became a point of interest that Greece elected their first ever openly atheist Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras. While this is mildly interesting (mostly since I’m more inclined to believe that Tsipras’ atheism is an outgrowth of his marxist past than any real philosophical reflection) it is important for people to understand the history that has shaped the current entangled relations between the Orthodox Church and the Hellenic Republic and why this creates special challenges for the secularization of the country.

Hopefully the following article will help you understand the complex interaction between Orthodoxy, the greek national identity and the government.

And in order to do that we have to start our historical journey way back, in the era of the roman and byzantine emperors. Yes, the seeds of the current situation were planted all the way back in 313 A.D., when Emperor Constantine signed the Edict of Milan.

Two notes: All unsourced images are public domain images from Wikipedia; the word “Church” is used with two meanings: before the establishment of the Greek State, it refers to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, after that it’s a reference to the Church of Greece.

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The article was originally written in Greek and its translation is posted today, on the day the Orthodox Church celebrates the birth of John the Baptist.

 

  A few months back I saw this YouTube video by John Armstrong (aka Deist Paladin) and author of the book “God vs The Bible”) where he discusses the conflicting reports of the evangelists about the life of Jesus and how they are contradicted by modern historical findings.

As I was watching it, I thought that some points he made seemed a bit off and I decided to do my own research on the subject. This article can, in a sense, be considered an appendix to Adam Lee’s article “Choking of the Camel” and I also recommend that after you’re done reading this piece, head over at Infidels.org and read an article by Richard Carrier (entitled “The Date of the Nativity in Luke”) that counters common apologetic attempts to rescue the historicity of Luke.

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