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Featured Christians preserving prechristian beliefs

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Wild Fox, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have any information or ideas why Christians monks of Ireland preserved in writing the pre-Christian beliefs and stories when they could have been lost forever since they were an oral tradition. The same can be seen in Icelandic Christians that preserved Nordic pre-Christian beliefs and stories. What motivated these Christians to preserve what could have been easily lost forever?
     
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  2. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    To preserve cultural history I guess.
     
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  3. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Not sure what you are talking about? Do you mean the Old Testament? If you look at the four Gospels, I think it is clear that Jesus did not intend to start what happened in the subsequent books of the NT. I think he was trying to correct Jewish thought of the day. Christianity was not intended.
     
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  4. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    No I am asking why Christian monks in Ireland would preserve the stories and beliefs in pre-Christian Ireland. What would motivate them? The oral traditions would have disappeared entirely if not written down so why preserve them? What made them important enough to preserve. Nothing about the old testament but about the deities and important rituals prior to Christianity.
     
  5. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    But if that culture was not consistent with the Christianity that they were converting the people too, why keep any of the knowledge of the past? I am happy they did but what would the purpose be if they wanted full conversation to Christianity. I don't know so that is what I am asking. Documentation of the historic events are one thing but why record the mythology? Was the mythology and beliefs so deep rooted in the people that to ignore it would have been a mistake or did the monks themselves feel it was important to remember. Ireland is named after the goddess that allowed the Irish to land and settle Ireland and much of the land is connected with goddess figures from its rivers to its mountains. Just curious if anyone has any knowledge of why it was important enough for them to preserve the knowledge?
     
  6. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
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    They're cultural heritage, and great campfire or bedtime stories.
     
  7. leov

    leov Well-Known Member

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    spiritual connection
     
  8. Thirza Fallen

    Thirza Fallen Crazy Cat Lady

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    Religions always absorb some of the local culture. Christianity in Ireland is different than Christianity in the US, etc. Pretty interesting I think.
     
  9. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Well-Known Member

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    To be a Christian does not mean a complete renunciation of the non-Christian past. For example, Christians still read and preserved Plato and Aristotle, despite both figures being pre-Christian. Likewise, Christians in other parts of the world saw value in preserving the cultural artifacts of their ancestors, such as the Norse and Celtic myths. And there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself. Cultures Christianize, not renounce and destroy themselves.
     
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  10. rocala

    rocala Active Member

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    I strongly suspect that @Ellen Brown is correct on this, and as the teachings traveled they were far from the rigid fundamentalism that they became. Eclecticism was not only possible but very attractive.
     
  11. JJ50

    JJ50 Well-Known Member

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    We live in the 21st century where science holds sway, I have much more faith in that than religion.
     
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  12. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe your question is an example of a broader question that I've been asking for a long time: Why do most people value tradition? If the same thing has been done for generations, people want to continue doing it even if it's stupid.

    In Baseball, the batting average isn't an average; it's a percentage. They've been calling it that for a century. They'll continue calling it that even if it's dumb because it's a tradition.
     
    #12 joe1776, Jul 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  13. Wasp

    Wasp Active Member

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    There is nothing in religion that requires people to throw away knowledge - even if it's knowledge of the past.

    The question doesn't make sense to me. What kind of arrogance would it require to make such a decision for the whole future generations as to "destroy" them? Although, wouldn't it be preserved by people regardless?
     
  14. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Spiritual connection with the precristian beliefs? Belief in the sidhe where the previous gods and goddesses became connected with? Belief in the spirits associated with the land? Many of these would seem to be in conflict with Christian belief yet it is possible the monks of Ireland did not want the spiritual connection with the land to be forgotten. Interesting idea.
     
  15. leov

    leov Well-Known Member

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    e.g. druids.
    St. Paul clearly noted that:
    19"because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, ..."
     
  16. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    If that were true we would have much more knowledge of the Celtic and Germanic cultures of the European mainland yet the stories of their deities and myths were eliminated. If the Christians wanted to preserve knowledge of the pre-Christian time we would have plenty of knowledge of the celtic beliefs in gaul and the Iberian peninsula as well as in the area of the alps but we don't. The only two places we have any extensive information is from the fringes - literally islands of Ireland and Iceland with some Welsh stories preserved at a later time. What was the difference that motivated Irish Christians to keep the knowledge compared to Christians that were present in Gaul now occupied by France or even the area of Iberian peninsula.
    I am curious and cannot find an explaination. Was it distance from rome, was it a more gradual transition from pre-Christian to Christian beliefs, is there evidence the people of the areas were less likely go give up the old beliefs, Were the Christians of those areas more influence by the old beliefs and did now want to give them up? Any Ideas?
     
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  17. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    Not sure how that answers the problem. Maybe you can explain it in your words for me to understand your answer better.
     
  18. sojourner

    sojourner Annoyingly Progressive Since 2006

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    Celtic spirituality is deeply ingrained in their culture. When Xy came to Ireland, the Celtic spiritual wisdom was meshed with Xtian theology. Many Celtic spiritual practices were converted to become Xtian practices. Samhain is a good example. It became All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day. Why not preserve the wisdom that so thoroughly informed the new Xtian practices?
     
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  19. leov

    leov Well-Known Member

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    People converted to Christianity had their mystery background, like the Gnostics before Constantine. That background kept them be in touch with spirit as Paul noticed about pagans who "had knew god" but did not know or understand hierarchy.
     
  20. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Such as posting here at RF?
     
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