Reza Aslan addressing the Los Angeles World Affairs Council

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1 Sahil Badruddin = ""It may be tempting to view the Nicene Creed as an overtly politicized attempt to stifle the legitimate voices of dissent in the early church. It is certainly the case that the council’s decision resulted in a thousand years or more of unspeakable bloodshed in the name of Christian orthodoxy. But the truth is that the council members were merely codifying a creed that was already the majority opinion, not just of the bishops gathered at Nicaea, but of the entire Christian community. Indeed, belief in Jesus as God had been enshrined in the church centuries before the Council of Nicaea, thanks to the overwhelming popularity of the letters of Paul. After the Temple was destroyed, the holy city burned to the ground, and the remnants of the Jerusalem assembly dispersed, Paul underwent a stunning rehabilitation in the Christian community. With the possible exception of the Q document (which is, after all, a hypothetical text), the only writings about Jesus that existed in 70 C.E. were the letters of Paul. These letters had been in circulation since the fifties. They were written to the Diaspora communities, which, after the destruction of Jerusalem, were the only Christian communities left in the realm. Without the mother assembly to guide the followers of Jesus, the movement’s connection to Judaism was broken, and Paul became the primary vehicle through which a new generation of Christians was introduced to Jesus the Christ. Even the gospels were deeply influenced by Paul’s letters. One can trace the shadow of Pauline theology in Mark and Matthew. But it is in the gospel of Luke, written by one of Paul’s devoted disciples, that one can see the dominance of Paul’s views, while the gospel of John is little more than Pauline theology in narrative form."-Zealot, Reza Aslan "