2) The Major Means of Forgiveness in Christianity:
a) Forgiveness through the Belief in the Idea of Crucifixion:
Belief in crucifixion is central to Christianity.
According to Paul, crucifixion is the corner stone for all Christian Beliefs, and those who deny it are not considered Christians and do not deserve God's blessings. They cannot enter the Kingdom of God or transcend to glory. They will be destined to eternal torture in Hell for being disobedient to Jesus Christ.
What is the content of this idea? Where did it come from?
The content of this idea is found in some of Paul's epistles to the Romans, Corinthians and Hebrews. He claimed that Christ was not betrayed and crucified by his enemies (the Romans and the Jews) because of the threat he posed to their beliefs and secular powers, but he willingly chose to be humiliated and crucified as a kind of atonement for people's sins, liberating them from the original sin committed by their father, Adam, who ate from the forbidden tree.
In his epistle to the Romans, Paul wrote wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ hath abounded unto many."
Here Paul claims that those who do not believe in the idea of crucifixion are not worthy of God's mercy or His forgiveness. They will not go to Paradise and will not be granted eternal life. Instead, their eternal abode will be Hell because they denied the idea of purgation.
In the light of Paul's interpretation of Adam's sin and the way sins are forgiven, all people including prophets and messengers are cursed by God: therefore, their inevitable fate is eternal torture in Hell. Moreover, all those who deny the idea of crucifixion and salvation are contaminated with the original sin and expelled from God's mercy.
Priests were greatly influenced by Paul's ideas regarding the story of salvation. One of them, Hanna Maqar Al Isawi, wrote a letter in the sixth century Hegira addressing Abu Ubaidullah Al-Khazraji, an Andaulsi scholar inviting him to believe in Christianity and the idea of crucifixion to
save himself from the inherited sin. The letter appeared in Abu Ubaidh's book, Between Islam &Christianity. It says "God's peace and mercy be upon you. I praise God who rightly guided us and supported us with his son. He extended his mercy by crucifixion of Jesus Christ who redeemed us with his sacred blood. He saved us the torture of Hell and carried for us Adam's sin. He shed his own blood for the happiness of all mankind who were cleared of this sin except those who do not believe in him. If you want to be granted God's mercy and reside in Paradise, believe in God and say: Jesus Christ is God's son who is God Himself and the Holy Ghost, three deities in one."
Where did these satanic ideas come from?
How did they seep through into Christianity?
The celebrated Western theologist, Rodolf
Boltman said in his book Jesus, "Paul took his ideas from the Jews of Minor Asia who adopted Christianity. They had been greatly influenced by Greek philosophy and the myth of the Great Mother, which was widespread in Greece at that time. And it seems that they mixed the doctrines of Christianity with their old religion which was not totally abandoned."
The religion of the Great Mother derives from a myth about the goddess, Sabella, who was
engaged to a man called Attas. She adored him, but
he suddenly died. She mourned over him. Nature,
including trees, rivers and beasts, shared grief with her and sadness crept over the whole universe.
Suddenly, as the myth goes, Attas was resurrected from death. He was transformed from an ordinary human being with limited powers to lofty god. Sabella was beside herself with joy. And nature again shared happiness with her. The sun rose, the rivers overflow, and the land became green with vegetation. People came out to celebrate the occasion. It became customary to celebrate this event every spring to glorify Attas who conquered death and gave life to the dead land. On that day, they used to sacrifice offerings for the god who conquered death. Year after year, a class of monks appeared, urging the people to believe in this myth and to sacrifice offerings for Attas in order to liberate themselves from their sins and admit them to the Kingdom of God.
No wonder then that Paul took the idea of
crucifixion and redemption from the Jews of Asia Minor since he had been originally a Jew himself. During his early life he began to prosecute Jews who were converted to Christianity because their new beliefs and behavior offended him. But one day, while traveling to Damascus, he supposedly encountered the risen Christ. This experience
impressed Paul so greatly that he soon became a Christian.
Paul did not hesitate to borrow myths and folktales and put them in the Christian Book. His justification was that he wanted to encourage non-Christian pagans to incline to Christianity. Ahmed Shalabi, an Arab Scholar, commented on this incident in his book Christianity saying, "The universality of Christianity, introduced by Paul, was the turning point in the history of this religion. By opening the door wide to everybody Paul was obliged to adapt various doctrines to bridge the gap between the religion of the Jews and pagan beliefs that were widespread in Europe at that time. So he introduced the idea of the Trinity and salvation to cope with the beliefs of the nations that were being converted to Christianity."
In many places in his epistles, Paul affirmed that the doctrines he introduced to Christianity were not dictated to him by Christ, but they were his own. This is stated in his epistle to the Galatians where he wrote, "But I certify you brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
In this way, Paul's efforts to find a way to eradicate Adam's sin produced a religion
fundamentally different from the religion preached by Jesus (peace be upon him). This distorted religion created by Paul is the same religion which is preached everywhere today under the name of Christianity. And this is what the famous Western Theologist, O. T. Davis, illustrated in his book Preachings on the Mountain where he wrote, "True Christianity did not exist until Paul met with the second divinity within the Trinity and unified with Him. He then began to write his epistles to the different nations preaching Christianity as he received it from the Redeemer. So Paul is considered the real founder of the Christianity we see today. Had Paul not appeared, Christianity would have never been a universal religion, and it would have never been largely accepted by millions of people."
Therefore, the idea of crucifixion introduced by Paul, who made it an obligation for true believers, is an alien concept that had not existed in Christianity before Paul developed it. It is not related whatsoever to the true teachings of Jesus the Son of Mary. Thus, the entire idea is totally rejected.
Moreover, Paul did not refer to the sources where he got the news about Jesus. Instead, he admitted that Jesus's teachings were revealed to him in his dreams. This nullifies his claims since the
direct communication with his chief source was lost. And his tales are only a collection of myths and visions lacking documented evidence.