What if you were talking to a Learned Theologian and you mentioned Islam, and his reaction was to give you a dead-fish expression and say, “What is Islam?”
I don’t know about you, but I would be deeply suspicious of what that Learned Theologian actually knew.
It won’t happen, because everybody who has the intelligence to button his shirt, and many who don’t, know what Islam is.
Half of the civilized world in the period when Christianity developed consisted of the Persian Empire. The official religion of Persia was, and had been for over a thousand years, Zoroastrianism.
Let me tell how this gets practical.
Christians always talk about Manichaeism. Manichaeism was developed by Mani, a resident of today’s Iraq. He sought to harmonize the teachings of the two great religions of his time.
The two great religions of Mani’s time were, let me repeat, Christianity and Zoroastrianism.
Saint Peter was a Manichaean in his early life. It is from that background that he derived his fanatically hatred of sex.
How can a person be an expert on religion, someone who knows all about the influence of Manichaeism, but be completely ignorant of half of the basis of Manichaeism, which is Zoroastrianism?
Easily. He just has to be a historical and theological moron.
The great religious teacher Origen actually castrated himself for Christ.
Now let me ask you something. How can you possibly get the idea that castrating yourself is a good deed by reading the Old Testament?
Where does all this monasticism and genetic suicide come from? Did Saint Paul just invent it out of his own head?
Saint Peter was a married man. Jesus said a lot about adultery, but, and this is not exactly a technical point, he never said anything against sex or procreation. Jesus had a brother. His mother had actually had sex and procreated with Joseph.
Neither Jesus nor James the Just, his brother, ever seemed to be horrified by the fact that their mother had had normal sex with a man and produced children.
But Paul tells us that it is better for a woman not to have sex at all, but “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Will anybody ever notice the fact that this makes Mary, Christ’s mother, a second-class citizen?
Of course not.
Where in heaven’s name did this Manichaeism come from?
If you get paid to talk about nothing but the Old Testament, you just avoid the question entirely. You sure can’t find the answer there.