Throughout its history, Christianity has been influenced by various types of human thought, making it a fertile ground for many pagan and philosophical texts whose followers still cling and preach to. In this article, we see some of the aspects of this influence and how Christians have influenced the teachings of Prophet Jesus badly and have had a tendency contrary to what he -peace be upon- him followed.
Influence Of the Old Testament
Christianity was influenced by the Old Testament. It is no wonder for according to the Gospels, Jesus “came to complete the law not to abolish”. But, however, it is more astonishing that the Christian tradition inherited even Jewish distortions and false doctrines.
There are many axes for Christian-pagan influences came from several aspects, including Christian-non-Christian influence by the conversion of non-Christians to Christianity and bringing their inherited ideas to Christianity:
Aminus (d. 242 AD) introduced pagan ideas to Christianity after he had embraced it and turned back to Roman paganism.
When the philosophy of Plotinism and other philosophies was spread, Christianity, like all others, was influenced and influenced by it.
Jesus’ teachings were mixed with pagan idolatrous ideas that interpreted the universe and the concept of God according to pagan philosophies and Greek mythology. Those ideas permeated the Indian circles of Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions. Buddha’s teachings were on the Scene five centuries before Christ and modern studies shows some identical teachings for both of them as the Gospels present Jesus’ life.
The idea of Trinitarianism was endorsed by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, reflecting the modern Platonism that brought most of the ideas of Eastern philosophy. Plotinus (d. 270 AD) who travelled to Persia and India had a prominent impact on Christian beliefs. Christianity became a complex of different beliefs and cultures. He stated that the world in its management and action is subject to three things:
- The first Old Originator.
- Spirit, which is a source from which all spirits are emitted.
All of such ideas laid the foundation for the Trinity as the originator was considered to be God and the mind to be the Son and the Spirit is the Holy Spirit.
The doctrine of the Trinitarianism was not known in the Apostolic Age (French Apostle).In the French Encyclopedia, we find, “The Old disciples of Jesus knew him very well and were devoted to him were too far from considering him as a hypostasis in a trinity to the Creator. Putus and other disciples could only consider him a s only a man who received revelation from his Lord.
Dapliu Reid says, “Paul changed Christianity that he became its second founder. He rather became the founder of the ecclesiastical Christianity .Luni Nick observes that “Without Paul Christianity would have become a sect of Judaism and would not have been a universal religion”.
Christianity was influenced by the religion of the Mitras in Persia, about six centuries B.C. and which included narrations near to the story of the Last Supper.
Christianity was also influenced by Hindu ideas of Trinitarianism which upholds that God has three names: Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer Brahma, the Creator. The Indian ideas of hypostases and crucifixion for atonement for sin, asceticism and monasticism and getting rid of money to be admitted into the kingdom of heaven all had their great influence on the Christian doctrines distorting its real image.
Islamic Position on Such Impact
The Qur’an outlines the message that Jesus (peace be upon him) brought in its original dress and how he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) called on people to monotheism and worship Allah only as a god. He rejected paganism, worship of other than Allah and all forms of exaggeration in his person, his mother or the Holy Spirit:
“So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?” [Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and zakah as long as I remain alive And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me a wretched tyrant. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.” That is Jesus, the son of Mary – the word of truth about which they are in dispute. It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He! When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, “Be,” and it is. [Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.” (19:-29:37)
The features and characteristics of his message in the Koran agreed to the message of his predecessors of Messengers or Prophets:
“I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness” (5: 117).
Although Islam realizes all such aspects of distortions on the Christian side, it maintains a fair and just position where it considers the heavenly origin of Christianity and Shows false doctrines to its followers and deals peacefully with them. It forbids shedding their blood as long as they were peaceful to Muslims. Islam guaranteed them certain rights known as the rights of the people of “dhimmah” (i.e. who had a truce with the Mulsims). Prophet – peace be upon him- says -:
“Be kind to (Christian) Copts for they share us a pledge of peace and maternal relationship”.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade his followers from rush to judge all that is mentioned in the Gospels as false and said:
“Do not trust the people of the book and do not distrust them i.e. Do not believe them in all of what they say and do not disbelieve them in all of what they say).
in Fat-h al-Bari, Ibn Hajar said: “The sayings by the people of the book (Jews and Christian) (which are not known to be false or right) are equivocal: They may be true or false. Therefore, the Prophet prohibited them to believe them, lest that they be believe in a lie, and also prohibited them to disbelieve in them, lest that they may be true (i.e. they should keep silent at them).
The Prophet (peace be upon him), moreover, prohibited his companions to rely on the Christian and Jewish traditions in approving or disapproving religious teachings for the distortions they had and their deviation from the right path and real messages of the Prophets.
It is reported that, once, Omar ibn Al-Khattab came to the Prophet bearing a sheet of paper of the Jewish and Christian scriptures and read it before the Prophet who reprimanded Omar for the act for it may lead to suspecting the real message of Islam. He showed him that had Moses was alive, he would have believed in him (Prophet Muahammad).
-ManiAl-Juhani, Al-Mawsuah Al-Muassarah fi Al-Adiyan Wal Madhahib Wal Ahzahb Al-Muasirah, Al-Nadwah Al-Alamiyyah publishinghouse.
-Shalabi, Christianity in Islam.