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How much of Christianity is based on Paganism?

 
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 01:42 pm
@Foxfyre,
Foxfyre wrote:

He was pointing out that I was wrong, but he certainly has not shown in any way how I was wrong. I'm pretty darn sure that I was not.


Sorry that my resonses were so short. But since you teach all this, I'd thought you knew about it.

The Edict of Milan announced universal religious tolerance (in the Roman Empire).
However, Christianity ("orthodox Catholicism") became a state religion through the edict "Cunctos populos“ (February 27, 380), issued by the three augusti (emperors) Theodosius I., Gratian and Valentinian II.:
Quote:
Cunctos populos, quos clementiae nostrae regit temperamentum, in tali volumus religione versari, quam divinum petrum apostolum tradidisse romanis religio usque ad nunc ab ipso insinuata declarat quamque pontificem damasum sequi claret et petrum alexandriae episcopum virum apostolicae sanctitatis, hoc est, ut secundum apostolicam disciplinam evangelicamque doctrinam patris et filii et spiritus sancti unam deitatem sub parili maiestate et sub pia trinitate credamus. ... ... ...

Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 02:10 pm
How crude of you Walter, to confound Fox with mere facts . . . she knows what she is supposed to believe, don't try to cloud the issue with evidence . . .
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  0  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 02:11 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
No, I don't and have never claimed to know all about it. But what I related I believe to be essentially verifiable. Constantine's policies were the first to have the effect of making Christianity the state religion though not the only religion. That's why I say that he made the Roman Catholic Church possible. I didn't say that he established the Roman Catholic Church. His policies were taken up and expanded on by other emperors, but that was not important to the information I was providing for the purpose I was providing it.

I teach comparative religion from time to time, but my specialty is Christian history and the development of Christian thought. I do approach it from a purely non-sectarian, non-denominational point of view, however; therefore the emphasis and importance I put on any particular event may differ from that of somebody looking at it purely through Roman Catholic eyes or from the point of view of any other specific denomination and it will absolutely look different than the point of view of somebody who has never studied this stuff or who is generally anti-Christian and/or anti-religion to begin with.

In the coursework I teach, I deal as much as possible deal with all the emperors and all the councils and all the edicts and all the influences that are stirred into the mix, and I don't want to look at it through any particular denomination which is why I use materials from many different denominations. And you will also find differences of opinion expressed by different experts from different universities.

I fully accept that you think I don't know anything and have it all wrong. If you think it better answers Foofie's question, I still encourage you to write what you think I should have written. Then she'll have both points of view.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 02:16 pm
@Foxfyre,
I'm not saying that you don't know anything.

And I didn't say or post anything "with catholic eyes" or with any other religious bias. I quoted from sources and referred to facts.

And those differ a bit from to what you think might be the best to teach at Episcopal, Methodist, and Christian Church seminars.
Foxfyre
 
  0  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 02:22 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
You certainly implied that I was wrong wrong wrong though didn't you? And you suggest that you are far better educated than I am, and you probably are. The question related to Christian persecutions which stopped under Constantine, and I didn't think any of that other stuff was really pertinent to the question. You did. So why don't you answer it instead of criticizing what I said or didn't say?
The Pentacle Queen
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 02:34 pm
@Foxfyre,
I've heard stuff like what was on that video for quite a while now, and I'm not saying if it is true or false, HOWEVER, is there no conclusive book with factual evidence all sumised nicely for us? Or anything like that at all?
And if there IS, then where is it and why isn't it being shoved in the face of christians?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 02:56 pm
@Foxfyre,
I do say that are wrong, but I donÄt claim to be more educated than you, especially, since I didn't study so many different as you did and I didn't teach them, too.

To be honest: it's about 45 years since I last really was engaged in this subject (in the 11, at grammar school - I tried to avoid ancient history as much as possible at university since my Latin isn't the best), and so I had to look it up again to get the facts right.

Foxfyre wrote:
The question related to Christian persecutions which stopped under Constantine, and I didn't think any of that other stuff was really pertinent to the question.



And what about De Mortibus Persecutorum?
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 06:40 pm
I'm still interested in the original post/question.

Fox seems to think that Christianity is pure; no borrowing.
Foxfyre wrote:
I don't think ANY of Christianity is based on Paganism.
But of course she believe this. It would be a very threatening thing to have to acknowledge that Christianity may not be EXACTLY what she thinks it is, dare I say worse--what other's think it is. This insecurity shows it's head when she declares stalemate between her opinion and the record of history.

I am mildly alarmed that she teaches some of this stuff.

T
K
O
The Pentacle Queen
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 08:24 pm
@Diest TKO,
Yeah. YEAH.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 08:32 pm
@Diest TKO,
Spot on.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 08:34 pm
@Diest TKO,
Agreed.
0 Replies
 
mstressman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 09:24 pm
@Foxfyre,
"God who knew of those other legends and cleverly used the concept to introduce Himself to an unsuspecting world?" twisted!

God spoke of this from the beginning and later people used His predictions (statements) to develop their legends. of course things are similar from culture to culture, their roots all go back to the same place.
Foxfyre
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 09:34 pm
@mstressman,
No, I didn't exactly say that. It was offered as one possible explanation for why God did things the way he did them at the time. But I do think it was an unsuspecting world as Jesus did not resemble the sort of Messiah that the Jews had been expecting for a long, long time which made it necessary to introduce himself and do some attitude adjustment among those who would become his disciples. It must have been quite an experience for them.

As for the peanut gallery here, they continue to misrepresent what I've said and make quite erroneous conclusions about what I think and believe. But then what else is one to do when one has absolutely no supportable argument of his/her own? At least they do a good job of congratulating each other in their misconceptions. Smile

Anyhow, welcome to the thread and A2K Mstressman.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  3  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 10:09 pm
It seems to me there is some confusion here on the part of several posters as to what the original questions is really asking. "How much of Christianity is based on Paganism?" If we are talking about the core doctrine of non-denominational Christianity as recorded in the Gospels of the New Testament and the subsequent epistles of Paul and others to the early churches, the only non-Judaeic influences I can see are perhaps some remnants of Hellenistic humanism. It's an entirely different story if we are talking about rituals, liturgy and peripheral doctrines e.g. sainthood (hagiography), celebrations of feasts and even the centrality of the Holy Trinity to Christian thought. Here the basis is almost entirely and completely non-Christian and non-Judaeic. (I don't like to use the word 'pagan'; it has unwelcome connotations to some.)

The emphasis on the Trinity, for example, came about largely as an attempt to make Christianity acceptable to the Celts, as most of their gods and goddesses already had a tri-partite nature. Missionaries could say, "You're right. The god we teach you about is also triple-natured -- father, son, holy spirit." But that doesn't mean that the concept was derived from any Druidic source. It just didn't have any large-scale importance in Christian thought until it became necessary to start stressing it.

Virtually all the Christian holy days that are celebrated today -- both feasts and fasts -- derive from sources much earlier than the time of Jesus of Nazareth. We may claim that the Easter holiday celebrates the Resurrection, but, in fact, all the appurtenances of the celebration go back to the Germanic spring festival of Oester, which was a fertility feast and is therefore symbolized by such fertility icons as eggs and bunny rabbits which are notorious for breeding like...well, you know. Christmas, likewise, is an ancient pre-Christian feast. In the Roman Empire it was the Saturnalia, the mid-winter celebration of the Solstice when the days start to get longer again. In the Scandinavian countries (this one's for you, Saab! Smile) it was Jul (pronounced Yule) and included all the ceremonies of gift-giving and huge logs on the fire and evergreen boughs to symbolize the rebirth of the longer days. This is true of literally every single holy day you can point to in the Christian calendar. Saints simply took the place of demi-gods.

But, all that said, it would foolish to claim that, therefore, Christianity is just an offshoot of Paganism. It is an offshoot of Judaeism, yes, but the European pagan traditions were added on later as the Chistians began to proselytize the new religion. As to the connection between Christianity and earlier Near Eastern beliefs, e.g. the one exploited in that original video, Judaeism grew out of the same traditions as all other Near East religions. Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia to found what eventually became the Jewish religion. He was not yet a Jew. He was a Hebrew and, reading the Torah or Old Testament, it isn't quite clear just what his beliefs and the beliefs of his people were. It's a sure bet they were not yet monotheistic and there's every evidence that they were accustomed to performing human sacrifice just like their neighbors. (Didn't you ever wonder about Abraham so blithely accepting the fact that he had to sacrifice his son Isaac to Jehovah? That story is, in fact, an allegorical eplanation of how the Hebrews ended this practice.) It's hardly surprising, then, that certain core myths would be present in the thinking and belief of all the Semitic peoples of the region.

Again, this is not the same as saying that either Judaeism or Christianity derive from these sources. They are merely sources shared in common. Certainly, the notion of a virgin birth is not original with the followers of Jesus. It was a case where the claim had to be made if the missionaries were to be taken seriously as preaching the word of God incarnate. In the belief structure of the first people they preached to, those of the Levant and Asia Minor, nobody could claim to be a god if he was not born of a virgin.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Jan, 2009 11:56 pm
@Merry Andrew,
It is important to recall two things, however, MA. One is that the "gospel," the scriptures which comprise the "new testament" were in the hands of not simply people who partook of the Hellenistic culture (a sufficiently vague concept which probably exists more in the minds of historians that it ever existed in southwest Asia and North Africa as a concrete, cultural entity), but in the hands of non-Hellenic Egyptians, Aramaeans and Syrians. In fact, the Aramaeans were crucial to the spread of the cult, just as they had earlier been crucial to the spread of confessional Judaism. Origen, in the mid- to late third century is the earliest source we have on scripture, and he arbitrarily decided which scriptures should comprise the doctrinal canon, and which parts of texts of even those selected scriptures were reliable and which were not. Due to the influence of Phamphilus and Eusebius, the version of scripture dictated by Origen was adopted as the "authorized" canon. Origen was several times chastised by the Metropolitan at Alexandria, and by Bishops there and elsewhere, he was not an ordained priest for most of his life, and having been ordained, the Metropolitan of Alexandria voided that ordination. We simply can never know to what extent his version of the scriptures was a product of his personal view of theology, what the influences on that were, nor to what extent his views and his version of scripture were consonant with the doctrine of the early church, from the third century and previously. From textual evidence that he was using a badly corrupted version of the Septuagint, and as that was considered in the early, largely Hellenic church to be the crucial source for messianic prophecy, it makes his editing of scripture suspect--and we know he edited scripture because he states as much, as does his life-long admirer, Pamphilus.

The second problem we have is that much of what you refer to as ritual, liturgy and peripheral doctrines are inextricably intertwined with orthodox (note, "small o" orthodox) doctrine. You use the example of the trinity, and then refer to the Celts. Long before the non-Romanized Celts were confronted with christianity, the doctrine of the trinity had become a part of the orthodox doctrinal canon, and it was the implicit denial of the concept of trinity which lead to the excommunication of Arius of Alexandria, and the subsequent declaration that "Arianism" was heresy--and that was early third century. The Brythonic and Goidelic Celts who had a concept of a trinitarian aspect in some of their gods were not widely and successfully proselytized until after the "legalization" of christianity by Constantine. (As usual, Fox is completely full of it when she claims that Constantine made christianity the state religion of Rome; he and Licinius "legalized" christianity with the Edict of Milan, 313 CE. Walter has been attempting to point this out, but Fox can only hear and understand what she is prepared to believe.)

So the doctrine of a trinity does not derive from any attempt to convert the Celts, most of whom did not even become the object of proselytizing until the fifth and sixth centuries of the current era. I cannot at all accept a claim on your part that it had no large-scale importance in christian thought until it was stressed for sake of converting Celts. That claim hardly squares with the excommunication of Arius in 311 CE because he questioned the doctrine.

There are many other aspects of christian doctrine which can be termed ritualistic or liturgical, which were adapted to appeal to "pagans," but which were nonetheless already the subject of bitter dispute in the early church. It were as foolish to dismiss as minor or peripheral those aspects of christianity which derive from other sources as it is to overemphasize them.
0 Replies
 
midnightcowboy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 14 Apr, 2009 09:13 pm
@rosborne979,
Of course it does. Ever since man became a living creature with feelings he has been afraid of what he doesn't know and thus created Gods to appease those things he could not understand. Today, India still has so many Gods you couldn't count them. A God for every purpose. We, the West, have adopted the Swiss Army God. A God that does it all. Attachments not needed.

Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus whatsoever, nor does Easter, nor does Bethlehem, nor does the supposed crucifix.

Can you imagine anyone crucified wanting the cross to be used to remember him by? Really? Can you?

Think about Bethlehem. 3 Old guys wandering in a desert with little parcels mainly of tree sap. Had to be hash, right, else how did they dream this story up.

They saw a star in the sky and it guided them to a stable in Bethlehem. Right! Given the star was actually over half the globe it would guide you anywhere you wanted it to wouldn't it? Unless that star was within metres of the stable in which case there would have been no stable left when they arrived.

Acceptance of a God is simply acceptance of ignorance. It says "I give up. I don't want to make decisionms or even think. Just give me a book I can follow and that's an end to it".
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Apr, 2009 06:50 pm
@midnightcowboy,
So you're saying it's 100% based on paganism, or just 99% ? Smile
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Wed 15 Apr, 2009 07:00 pm
@midnightcowboy,
midnightcowboy wrote:
Can you imagine anyone crucified wanting the cross to be used to remember him by? Really? Can you?


fan of bill hicks are you
0 Replies
 
midnightcowboy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 16 Apr, 2009 10:27 pm
@rosborne979,
Essentially it's just based on fear. That's all.

Bill Hicks? Of course, he was a great comedian. Are you too?

I liked one of Bill's lines about a night at a Waffle House where he was asked "Why are you reading?" instead of "What are you reading?" What was his answer?
0 Replies
 
nadia 1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Apr, 2009 02:39 am
@rosborne979,
christianity have pagan DNA Whot we see in christian movement and messianic jews movement is manifestation of baal,baalzebub I t is not the spirit of true god of Abraham and Israel
 

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