7
   

Aetheists know more about religion

 
 
kuvasz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 09:53 pm
@InfraBlue,
I believe my remarks showed clearly that I was referring to Orthodox Christianity, an orthodoxy based upon the results of the debates in the Council of Nicea.

Early Christian heterodoxies e.g., Gnostic, Arianism were virtually snuffed out in most places and often used as sacred texts writings not incorporated into the Bible, so the cannons of such sects are virtually unknown to most Christians throughout history.

In 367 C.E. the Archbishop of Alexandria, Athanasius wrote an Easter letter that condemned heretics and their, “apocryphal books to which they attribute antiquity and give the names of saints.” Bishop Theodore, the head of the Pachomian monasteries had the letter translated into Coptic and had it sent to the monasteries and told them it was the law. Most probably because the monks were heretics or were influenced greatly by the books.

Early in the fifth century, Shenoutte, Abbot of the White Monasteries attacked a group of “heretics” at Pneueit, for not accepting the command of Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria these heretics were referred to by Cyril as “kingless”…He threatened the heretics and said “I shall make you acknowledge the archbishop Cyril or else the sword will wipe out most of you and moreover those of you who are spared will go into exile.” He seized their books, “full of abomination and every act of magic.” It is clear that these were Nag Hammadi texts, and the Thomas gospel were perceived as a direct threat to the organization of Mother Church at least back as early as the time of Tertullian and Irenaeus in the middle of the second century C.E. and that their hiding in a jar was meant to preserve them from the long arm of the Bishop of Rome.

Orthodox Jews and orthodox Christians insist that a chasm separates humanity from God, in that God is apart from, not a part of humanity.

For orthodox Christians only Jesus shares the apotheosis. Many Gnostics considered “self-knowledge is knowledge of God; the self and the divine are identical.” This statement is the primary heresy to Christianity as we know it today. Self-Apotheosis.

The Gnostics, especially whose leaders rejected the path of “hierarchical” Christianity, viz., that which is now considered orthodox Christianity essentially believed in “Tut tvam asi” the ancient Sanskrit saying, from the Chandogya Upanishad, which says "You are it" or "thou art that". That divinity which you seek outside, and which you first become aware of because you recognize it outside, is actually your innermost being.

It's not a nice thing to say; for it's not good for institutions if people find it's all within them... it is the God within you coming out... and blasphemy to orthodox Christianity. It was this belief in self-apotheosis, and denial by the Gnostics for the need of a hierarchical system of the faith that drove the Orthodox Christians to persecute them after the Second Century AD, as illustrated above.

As I said earlier, the problem, or distance between the church and the words of Jesus are the difference between the connotation... the spirit of the word, and the denotation... meaning it is a hard fact. This is the basis for the Christian Church, the historical Jesus. But His words, even in the Gospel of Thomas have to be seen as their connotation... the spirit of the meaning... and the pointing of a way to lead a good life and to seek the transcendent. This was and is the religious part of the message, a way to a truly religious or transcendent experience.

Orthodox Christianity indicates that one finds God only through Jesus, and in this contemporary meaning, implies that one finds Jesus only through the Church.

But the Gnostic Thomas text indicates a different inference very clearly:

Thomas II: 20. Saying (3) “Jesus said, ‘ If those who lead you say to you, “See, the kingdom is in the sky, then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea, then the fish will precede you.’ Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father.”

And Saying (113) His Disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?” <Jesus said> “It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying ‘here it is’ or ‘there it is’. Rather the kingdom of the father is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it.”

In the Gnostic gospel according to Thomas, Jesus says, "cleave a piece of wood, I am there; lift up the stone and you will find me there.” in this manner has the historical Jesus identified himself with the Christ... or Buddha consciousness. He is living in terms, not of the ego, but of the Christ, seeing the ubiquity in all of the radiance of that which is the deepest center of being within you……and you wont find that in the orthodoxy of Christianity; too bad, for it works....hhhmmm, maybe that's why it isn't part of the orthodoxy?

One text, referred to by the LA Times as "an absolute Gold mine of Gnosticism" is "The Nag Hammadi Library" 3rd Revised Edition, James M. Robinson, General Editor....... That is the text from which the information presented in parargraphs 3 and 4 are drawn.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Oct, 2010 10:20 pm
@JPB,
kuvasz wrote
Quote:
The Resurrection of Jesus is the first and only time in human history that a person rose from the dead


To which JPB replied
Quote:
I'm looking for sources but I don't think this is true. I know there are many instances where Christianity has been accused of borrowing from pagan beliefs and I think this is one of them. I don't see it so much as "borrowing" but as typical of early faith traditions.


Sure, but there is a profound difference.

Greek mystery religions are replete with their own redemption stories. From the 2nd century to the 5th, a broad stream of Greek mystery religion entered into the Church, and transformed it from simple minded Biblical Christianity of the desert to the mystical sacramentalism that has survived to this day. The Christ sacrifice and communion strike the deepest chords in human psyche: human sacrifice and ritual anthropophagi.

But, Christianity is distinguished from these Greek mystery religions by its historical character and the entirely different significance it imputed by the coming and death of Jesus Christ. Therefore it is by nature, not mystical, but anti-mystical, a nature religion. Nevertheless, Paul and other later writers of the Christian faith adapted a subdued sort of mystery language to their needs.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Oct, 2010 01:45 pm
@kuvasz,
kuvasz wrote:
The Resurrection of Jesus is the first and only time in human history that a person rose from the dead

The only time? Evidently you're not a reader of vampire novels. On the available evidence, they're every bit as historical as the gospels.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Oct, 2010 01:53 pm
@Thomas,
What is this evidence?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Oct, 2010 04:42 pm
There is no evidence available in either case: not for Jesus's resurrection, not for Dracula ever having risen from his coffin.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Oct, 2010 05:01 pm
@Thomas,
But Dracula is a fictional character. Jesus is very well researched. I think He is mentioned in Tacitus. The papers on the lynching were probably destroyed.

The only way to think of Dracula as real is as a personification. And if Jesus is also a personification there's a difference.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 06:53 am
@spendius,
spendius wrote:
But Dracula is a fictional character. Jesus is very well researched.

No, Jesus is not very well researched. Only the literature about Jesus is. There is no eyewitness account of what Jesus did--the gospels were written by people with a religion to evangelize for, decades after the alleged events, based on hearsay. No court of law would accept them as research on Jesus, and neither should we. The same applies to Tacitus. I don't know where he got his story from. But given that he lived from AD 56 – AD 117, it's plausible that he read the gospels. It is impossible that he was an eyewitness. No court of law would accept Tacitus as a witness, either. In any event, Tacitus doesn't mention anything about Jesus rising from the dead.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 07:03 am
@Thomas,
The passage in Tacitus is almost certainly an intepolation. If you remove the passage, the text reads and scans normally. The passage has Nero "blaming" someone for the fire. There was a fire just like it a few years before, and then again about ten years later. No one remarked on them in any contemporary documents, and there is no evidence that anyone was ever blamed or punished. The Romans lived crammed together in cheaply built tenements. Like the Russians, they were taxed by the hearth, so they crammed as many people as possible into as few apartments as possible. The inevitable result was frequent, large fires.

The passage refers to Christians. Christians didn't call themselves Christians when Nero was emperor, and it was not even in use when Tacitus wrote. Even then, the passage is not evidence that the putative Jesus existed--taken at face value, it would only prove that there were sectaries who believed it, not that it was true.

The biggest nail in the coffin of the Tacitus interpolation is that no one mentions the passage until the 16th century. Even Vatican scholars don't believe it is genuine. They believe the passage was interpolated either late in the 15th or early in the 16th century.

All of this is easily discovered by doing a very basic search: "Tacitus+intepolation."
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 07:10 am
Thanks. So Tacitus qualifies even less as "research on Jesus" than I was willing to concede he was.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 07:31 am
@Thomas,
He's no research at all. Tacitus finished his two seminal works on the Empire while he was a governor in Asia (think western Turkey--or, if your geographical knowledge is really good, western Anatolia). He was, therefore, better informed about Christians than most Romans were on the subject--yet this is the only part of his work in which they are mentioned. His two great works on the Empire were The History of Imperial Rome and The Annals of Imperial Rome (not literal translations, those are the commonly used English titles). The only mention of Christians is in the one very dubious passage about the "great fire" at Rome in the reign of Nero.

Furthermore, Seutonius, who was born just five years after the fire (the fire was in 64 CE, Seutonius was born in 69 CE) makes no mention of any punishment of anyone after the fire, and in fact says there were none. He further states that those who were on a list provided to the Senate as being the arsonists were recommended for merciful treatment by Nero. Dio Chrysostom, Plutarch and Epictetus--all living at the time of the fire--make no mention of it at all.

Modern historians believe on sound bases that there were well over 45,000 tenements in first century Rome. Large fires were common. There is no evidence that any of these fires were attributed to any particular community.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 08:19 am
There was a wide-spread belief in vampires and of people rising from the dead thoughout much of the world. What I know comes only from Eastern Europe. There are the usual explanations: people who appear dead but who are only comatose who 'resurrect.' I suspect that death is so frightening that adding another layer to the stories -- of ghosts and the dead rising from the grave -- was a natural extension of fear of the dead.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 08:35 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
There is no eyewitness account of what Jesus did--the gospels were written by people with a religion to evangelize for, decades after the alleged events, based on hearsay.


Gibbon wrote-

Quote:
It was natural that the primitive tradition of a church which was founded only forty days after the death of Christ, and was governed almost as many years under the immediate inspection of his apostle, should be received as the standard of orthodoxy.


It's not very useful to be talking about historians and then claiming any chosen items to be "interpolations".

Quote:
Biblical scholars generally hold that Matthew was composed between the years c. 70 and 100. A minority of scholars believe, however, that the gospel could have been written as early as 63.


i.e. by eyewitnesses. Setanta just presents a load of assertions to try to maintain that Jesus never existed. He chooses who to quote and how to quote them.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Oct, 2010 08:38 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
Thanks. So Tacitus qualifies even less as "research on Jesus" than I was willing to concede he was.


Are you relying on Setanta's statement--

Quote:
The passage in Tacitus is almost certainly an intepolation.


Gee!! Thomas is eager to be persuaded I must say. A bald assertion and containing an "almost". Thomas will never be a scientist.

0 Replies
 
nothingtodo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Dec, 2012 09:14 am
@parados,
This has probably been put forward, but it is quite clear to me that certain religions, even some people without religion, believe that purity resides in holding true ones faith, which requires a broad view of other religions, not detail, to me they are required to change every so often, which is why higher levels of persona within religion question the world and why 'non religious, zero label' people as myself, see we must allow them their queries.

Sometimes the swathe below a religious icon hammer back an enemy, which as of yesterday would have been refuted to be an enemy, if only information had been given, in some religions, this information must go to 'the one God'.. which points out to me that we are left flailing as such a force is momentary, per person, leaving man to have patience or create his own problem. It is far better that logged information goes, for example, to the Vatican.

"God is no doubt still, always with one, but it is your life child..." Would they not say?
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Dec, 2012 03:59 pm
@nothingtodo,
I have just read more than half of this thread today. It is one of the more interesting "religious" threads I have encountered on here.
nothingtodo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jan, 2013 08:17 am
@edgarblythe,
Thank you for mentioning that...
I enjoy hearing the fact that people do indeed read some things..
I unfortunately have been pushed of late and am left with a bit of a sticky situation which distracts from lengthy readings, I no longer read books either.

My apologies, I do hope you can forgive my conceited result and corresponding view.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jan, 2013 09:00 am
@nothingtodo,
That's is indeed unfortunate ntd.

Perhaps if you explained the "sticky situation" we could help you resolve it. We atheists are generally quite good at sorting out sticky situations as we are not burdened with the sentiments and the dreamy, effusive nostalgic baggage that religious people tend to embrace.

A one-way ticket to Australia is our usual solution to sticky situations which are too sticky to be easily dealt with. Assuming you don't live in Australia I mean. Cattle farms out in the bush country are ideal retreats for the disenchanted remnants of civilised society.

Your having the time and inclination to post on A2K suggests that your sticky situation is not sufficiently sticky to require such a solution and is likely therefore to be merely the result of you being surprised at the failings and weaknesses of your companions in this weary world of woe and your frustration at their incapacity to get a grip of themselves.

You might try reading one of Kingsley Amis' more mordant novels. Stanley and the Women for example. Or The Old Devils.

Harold Pinter goes a tad too far imo.



0 Replies
 
 

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