Is Christianity a Western
or an Eastern Religion?
The answer may surprise you! And, it may even change the way you see the world...
We all take for granted that Christianity is part of the fabric of Western culture—and of course, it is—but it originated in Jerusalem and the surrounding lands. Wouldn’t you agree that Jerusalem is part of the Middle or "Near" East and most certainly NOT part of the "West"? Of course. Not only did Christianity originate in the East, but it flourished and spread throughout the Orient, including but not limited to North Africa, the Levant, Arabia, the Caucasus, the Balkans, and beyond, there are even 2000-year-old churches in India!
If this is so, how could western Christianity be the most accurate interpretation of a belief system conceived within an Eastern Paradigm? What do we mean by "Eastern paradigm"? Well, what images come to mind when you hear the phrase “Eastern Religion”? Meditation? Mystery? Duality?
Depending on your paradigm, the above claim will have drastically different implications, but please hear us out...
Have you ever read the Gospels? The first four books of the New Testament, which recount the life of Jesus Christ? Can you recall the words of Christ? They challenge all people with the dichotomy and duality contained within them. Christ very often sounds more like an Eastern sage than a western academic, to be sure. Would you agree? Some examples:
Whosoever wishes to save his life will lose it, and anyone who loses his life will gain it.
You must eat my flesh and drink my blood. If you do not, you have no part in me.
Let the dead bury the dead
F or whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Anyone who drinks of the water I give them will never thirst again.
Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are "gods"'? If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came--and Scripture cannot be set aside-- what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?
These are neither hyper-rational sayings of a western philosopher or academic nor the platitudes of Jesus as just a "really nice guy".
So, what are we to make of this? What implications does this have for you, my dear reader? Are you someone who has rejected Christianity? Or are you currently struggling with where you are going to church? Or why, even if you are a believer in Christ, you would bother going to Church, especially due to the pandemic? Is there a dissonance between your heart and your head? A yearning for absolute truth?
We invite you to learn more about Eastern Christianity. The ancient faith of the Apostles, still alive and vibrant.
If you are an unbeliever, you believe in "science", in only what can be proven. Someone who has never really considered Christianity, nor took it seriously, but is now in a different place, perhaps after this very difficult past couple of years, we encourage you to put the Eastern church to the test.
If you ascribe to another Eastern Religion or may consider yourself "Spiritual, but not Religious", someone who has a reverence or respect for the person of Jesus Christ, but is put off by Western Christianity, perhaps Eastern Christianity is a bridge between.
If you are someone who perhaps rejected the western Christianity of your youth, but you yearn for a life in Christ, maybe your heart knew there was something else, something more.
If you are a faithful Protestant or Evangelical but are seeking to go "further up and further in" as C.S. Lewis said, perhaps the Ancient Eastern Church is for you.
If you are a faithful Roman Catholic but are troubled at the current state of the Roman Church, perhaps you are being called back. Back in time and back toward the Church of the Apostles. Of Pentecost. Of Peter and Paul in Jerusalem and Antioch.
Whoever you are, wherever you are from, whatever your background, we encourage, challenge, and exhort you to come. Come and see! Put us to the test. Is the Eastern Orthodox church the "real church"? We believe it is. And we do not make this claim lightly. Come and See!
We boldly claim there is One God who sent One Messiah to found One Church. And that this church IS the One Holy Apostolic Orthodox Church.
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