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How Christianity Became Pagan

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by godnotgod, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    One can't, despite the somewhat dated nature of its content, get far into understanding the Hellenistic mysteries without addressing Burkert's Antike Mysterien. This includes the relationship between the Mithras cult and Christianity. However, whether one sees the Mithras mysteries specifically, or the mystery cults in general, as "religions" at all rather than a loose narrative related to a semi-fixed set of ritual practices, one still has to deal with our sources. A central source, and one of the reasons behind the assumption that the Mithras had much of a following at all during the period of the Roman empire, is the writings of Christian apologists who either wished to demonstrate that Christianity could be palatable to pagans, or that various pagan practices not only offered nothing Christianity did not also have, but were perversions of Christian practices. So despite the fact that we have no evidence the cult existed until the beginning of the 2nd century/end of the first, and that our non-Christian sources consist mainly of imagery, many authors followed Cumont in painting a picture of a much more cohesive practice and one with a wide-spread following than the evidence warrants. Martin's paper on the topic (published in the edited volume Rhetoric and Reality in Early Christianities, 2005) is not only helpful in demonstrating how Christian texts in the Roman empire skew reality by painting other practices (from Mithraic to other Christian sects) as conceptually cohesive rivalries of christianity, rather than the loose set of narratives and practices they were, but also how little we actually no concerning the practices of the mysteries of Mithras. In particular, Martin points out (here as well as in his paper on Mithras published in the journal Numen vol. 36 pp. 2-15), that modern research on the mysteries of Mithras and the slaying of the bull indicate that this was "a cosmic image rather than the narrative event of transformed Persion myth" (p. 8 of the paper in Numen). In fact (from the same paper) "This increasingly public nature of third century Italian Mithraism suggests no other significant interaction between it and Christianity than a competition for available real estate in the crowded, public areas of urban Rome by two recently introduced and rapidly expanding "eastern" cults." (p. 5). As for the relationship between the Roman mysteries of Mithras and the Persian deity, the literature is too vast even for a representative bibliography, but a single paper (e.g., Sick's 2004 paper "Mit(h)ra(s) and the myths of the sun", vol. 51(4) of Numen) will suffice to demonstrate what all approaches have in common: the two are quite different, so pointing out that the Persian deity predates Christianity is meaningless.


    We have an actual scrap of John's gospel which is from around the middle of the 2nd century. In other words, we have an actual piece of papyrus dated from that time which was once part of someone's copy of John, which was written last (compared to the four canonical gospels, at least).

    Let's just start here. What does Herodotus actually say? In Greek:

    τούτοισι μὲν δὴ θύουσι μούνοισι ἀρχῆθεν, ἐπιμεμαθήκασι δὲ καὶ τῇ Οὐρανίῃ θύειν, παρά τε Ἀσσυρίων μαθόντες καὶ Ἀραβίων. καλέουσι δὲ Ἀσσύριοι τὴν Ἀφροδίτην Μύλιττα, Ἀράβιοι δὲ Ἀλιλάτ, Πέρσαι δὲ Μίτραν.
    "Although from the beginning they [the Persians] sacrificed to these [deities] only, they later learned to sacrifice to the heavenly [goddess], being taught by the Assyrians and Arabians. But the Assyrians call Aphrodite "Mylitta", and the Arabians, "Alilat", and the Persians "Mitra." (translation mine).

    So apparently worship of a goddess mentioned in Herodotus is evidence for a god somehow. I'm not sure how, but apparently Acharya (whose work, apparently, continues to mislead no matter how many actual specialists on the Roman empire, Hellenism, or early Christianity demonstrate the problems with it) thinks that the worship of this Goddess is somehow evidence of a pre-Christian Jesus-figure.
     
    #21 LegionOnomaMoi, Oct 13, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  2. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    except the one he required...
     
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  3. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    Jesus chose the course. He did not have to die by crucifixion, once He became fully aware of who He was He could have departed His body at any time. He chose to exit this world by experiencing human death, not to impress humans who didn't understand it's significance, but to earn the respect of the angels and other ascended beings who knew that He did not have to go through that if He did not want to.

    Matthew 26:28, the Last Supper, breaking of bread and eating is as if it's Jesus body and drinking wine as if it's Jesus blood, this is symbolism, it's metaphor. Jesus often took old traditions and modified them in order to show a better way.

    You use the bible as support against Christianity when neither have any control over the universe, God, or Jesus, the bible is simply primitive man attempting to understand revelation that was very much beyond their ability to comprehend.

    Christian doctrine has become static dogma? All religions do that. They get stuck in a primitive timeframe and cease to evolve and waste their time arguing with other religions but still belief's do evolve over time and will continue to do so. People should not put one religion over another but instead see them each as a step on a ladder that goes higher than we can see.
     
  4. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    If 'not to put one religion over another', then why did Jesus put one over all the rest?_______
     
  5. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    'Could have' is neither here nor there. The fact is that Jesus (actually Yeshu, as there was no such 'Jesus'), had no plans on being crucified. Yeshu was a vegetarian, for one thing, and his sect abhorred even animal, let alone human sacrifice.

    The point of the Crucifixion, as stated by Christian doctrine, was to shed divine blood as sin remission for mankind; the point of the Resurrection and Ascension was to prove to man that Jesus was who he said he was: God in the flesh. Humans were the primary beings he had to convince in order to gain their following.

    Are you saying that Jesus was not fully aware of who he was at some point? Would'nt that be impossible for God himself in the flesh?


    I was waiting for that shoe to drop. Yes, it is symbolic representation of the act of eating/drinking flesh/blood, but that is besides the point, which is that eating/drinking flesh/blood, whether actual or symbolic, has the power to redeem sin. My point in all this is that, if such a doctrinal belief is the case, then it is pagan.

    My understanding is that the original 'Bible' was forbidden in the hands of ordinary folk. Fact is that the Bible has a great degree of control over life on Earth. This should be understood without further explanation. It is precisely for this reason that I raise the question of the validity of blood sacrifice as a means of sin redemption.

    Christian practices may change, but the core beliefs are rigid dogma, one of them being that the blood sacrifice of Jesus somehow paid for the sins of humanity.

    The fact that other religions are also static dogma does not make Christian dogma any more acceptable as a valid representation for reality.

    Christian dogma is today being challenged from every quarter, and Christianity has responded by launching paranoid attacks on every single idea that comes into conflict with that dogma, especially those whose orientation has a feminine aspect to it, such as Zen, Yoga, Gnosticism, etc.
     
  6. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    Jesus built no religion.
     
  7. Father Heathen

    Father Heathen Veteran Member

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    :facepalm:
     
  8. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    Jesus given name was not Yeshu, it was Joshua ben Joseph. While He may not have had plans to be crucified He did have to leave His body one way or another. He was not a part of a "sect" unless you consider the Jews of Nazareth a "sect".

    Some Christians can think whatever they want to think, the universe does not change to suit their belief, it never has and it never will.

    Jesus did not have to gain any following, there was no Christianity for hundreds of years after Jesus death.

    Jesus was not fully aware of who He was until late adolescence. You're trying to put God into a human formed box of rules that God does not have to follow. The whole point of the universe is so God can get away from always being "all knowing" and experience things that He otherwise would not be able to experience.

    Eating or drinking flesh or blood has the power to redeem sin? You can misinterpret Christianity all you want, it's you who others will see as being incorrect.

    The core Christian belief's are rigid? Really? Ever here of Bahai? Mormons? The Urantia Book? Wingmakers? Lyricus? Just because you are stuck in a two thousand year old book doesn't mean others are.
     
  9. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    Christian religion did not even begin until many years after Jesus death.
     
  10. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    Joshua ben Joseph is his Hebrew name, but Yeshua bar Yosef (Yeshua, son of Joseph) is the original Aramaic name for Jesus the Nazarene. Aramaic is the language Jesus spoke.

    No such town of Nazareth existed at the time. There is no archaeological evidence to support its existence. It suddenly appears in the NT, with zero mention of it in the Talmud or the OT. Yeshua was a Jewish mystic of the sect of the Nazarene (Nazorean) Essenes of Mt. Carmel, so 'Nazarene' does not refer to a town or village, but to the mystical Jewish religious sect he belonged to and led.
     
  11. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    So what does this say?:

    "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
    Matthew 26:28 NKJV
     
  12. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    Jesus learned to write Aramaic, Greek, and later on, Hebrew, and learned to read, write, and speak all of them fluently.

    There is no archeological evidence for a town of Nazareth? There wasn't any for Troy either.

    Jesus was NOT a Jewish mystic of the Essenes of Mt. Carmel. The Essenes lived in monasteries. None of the apostles were Essenes.

    Jesus did not come to the earth to follow men.
     
  13. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    Was it blood or was it wine?

    If it was wine then you should change your "theory" to the Christian doctrine of the "wine sacrifice".
     
  14. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    No. The wine/bread ritual was symbolic of flesh/blood sacrifice, flesh that was shortly to be crucified and blood that was shortly to be shed, as Jesus said, 'unto many for the remission of sin". So whether actual or symbolic, the doctrine says that divine blood possesses redeeming power. It is this doctrine of redemption via blood sacrifice that I am bringing into question as being of pagan origin.

    You will remember that the Jewish scapegoat was a prefigurement of the atonement for sin by Jesus, as was the Paschal Lamb that was killed and eaten by the Jews upon their exodus out of Egypt.

    "Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world....etc...."

    The Paschal Lamb represented purity and innocence; Jesus was the (sacrificial) Lamb of God.

    The 'wine sacrifice' as you put it, is not about wine; it is about blood, and the power it was (is) believed to possess, when there is no rational basis for believing it to be so.
     
  15. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    Excellent. Then no doubt you will have a number of texts (or at least translations of texts) which concern this topic (redemption through blood). So why not cite them?
     
  16. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    The Biblical account of Jesus ends when he is 12 years of age, and does not pick up again until age 30 or so when he enters Jerusalem on an ***. The only accounts of these missing years comes to us from the East, from Persia, India, China, and Tibet. Where do you get that he learned to read, write, speak the languages you claim? He was a Galilean, and spoke the very distinct dialect of Galilean Aramaic. We have no writings from him in any language.

    But was Troy written about during the time it was supposed to have existed? We have zero writings about any 'Nazareth' before or during the 1st century. All of a sudden, we have numerous mentions of it in the NT. Strange. Archaeologically, we have one small farmhouse, a winepress, and a few farm implements. However, just 10 miles to the north, we have the surviving Essene monastery of Mt. Carmel, and a surviving original letter attesting to the fact that John the Baptist had just died, and mentions Yeshua, Peter, and James, with Yeshua as the successor of leadership of the monastery.

    Here. Maybe this will help you understand about 'Nazareth':

    [youtube]ZxEJHO8KIXY[/youtube]
    Archaeology vs the Bible (James Randi) - YouTube

    At the time of Jesus, there were three major Jewish Sects. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were relatively similar in their beliefs and traditions, but the Essenes were radically different and openly opposed the theology, doctrines, and the spiritual integrity of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. (which is precisely what 'Jesus' did.)

    At the time of Jesus, there were three distinct Essenian groups that played important roles in his life, and their religious practices and spiritual theology mirror in his teachings. They were:​

    • The Theraputae of Egypt; where the infant Christ and his family fled during Herods rein. ​
    • The Essenes of Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls), the strict, celibate monastery of which John the Baptist was a part.​
    • The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel, the cooperative family village where Jesus lived and studied.​
    So the Nazarenes were a sect of the Essenes, and it is the Nazarenes to which the Bible refers to here:


    "And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the maids of the high priest [see Caiaphas] came; and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, "You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus." (Mark 14:66-67 RSV)


    ...and here:


    "For we have found this man [Paul] a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." (Acts 24:5 RSV)


    What is a Nazarene

    Furthermore, there are many elements in his teachings which are unmistakably mystical in nature, the two that comes immediately to mind are his famous "The Kingdom of God is within you", and "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me"
     
    #36 godnotgod, Oct 14, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  17. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    The OT is filled with accounts of animal/blood sacrifice which served as the vehicle for sin redemption.

    There was the Jewish practice of infanticide to the solar deity, Moloch.

    We have the Mithraic ritual of the slaying of a bull and the washing in its blood by a spiritual initiate as a cleansing ritual.

    We have the Mithraic Eucharist of the eating/drinking of the flesh/blood of the slain bull.

    Mithraic monuments show Mithras and Sol (the Sun) sharing a meal on the body or the hide of a bull, and this sacred feast functioned as the prototype for a holy meal eaten by the Mithraic mystai.

    Mithras' religion had a Eucharist or “Lord’s Supper,” at which Mithras said, “He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.”
     
  18. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    The wine/bread were symbolic of a flesh/blood sacrifice? Yes, because this was something the people of that time understood. It had meaning to them, it doesn't matter that there is no rational basis for believing flesh/blood has power now, it was seen to have power then.

    If Jesus really was the Son of God, how could the Son of God die? The "unto many for the remission of sin" remark Jesus made was so the apostles would understand why He was willingly giving up His life. The apostles needed a reason or they would completely lose faith after Jesus death. The real reason Jesus had to die was to take His place as leader of this part of the universe and stop the Lucifer Rebellion.
     
  19. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    The bible is not the only book out there. You're not even trying.

    Was Troy written about during the time it was supposed to have existed? Yes, ever hear of the Trojan Horse story?

    We have zero writings about Nazareth? It was a small insignificant town other than Jesus being born there. What would you expect it to have, a Colosseum? Maybe you think the Son of God would have, or should have, chosen Rome?

    The main purpose of Jesus bestowal experience was to get it over with. He had to bestow in order to then assume the title of leader of this area of the universe. Now, while He was here He did His best to give humans some more advanced concepts without outright violating free will.

    Jesus was not an Essene. Here are some differences:

    Jesus’s group was open while the Essenes were exclusive
    Jesus taught love while the Essenes taught hatred
    Jesus was not concerned with ritual purity and taboos but Essenes were
    Jesus associated with the unclean but for Essenes it was anathema
    Jesus associated with gentiles but for Essenes it was anathema
    Jesus mixed with women but for Essenes it was anathema
    Jesus had a reputation as a wine bibber and a glutton but Essenes were ascetic
    Essenes were not interested in missionary work but Jesus was
    Jesus spoke simply but the Scrolls are abstruse and sometimes in code
    Jesus, not the Essenes, was famous for healing miracles
    Jesus did not require any prolonged initiation but the Essenes needed three years
    Jesus had twelve apostles with three special ones but did not have a clearcut hierarchy
    Jesus did not follow the solar calendar but the Essenes did
    Jesus wrote nothing but the Essenes wrote continuously
    Jesus told his supporters not to swear an oath whereas the Essenes swore solemn oaths when they entered
    Jesus honoured the prophets but the Essenes re-interpreted what they wrote implying they thought them ignorant
    Jesus taught in parables but the Essenes just set down endless laws
    Jesus did not believe in fate but the Essenes did
    Jesus believed in the resurrection of the dead at the End Time but there is no clear evidence that Essenes did
    Jesus never mentioned the names of the angels but Essenes had to remember them and had an extensive angelology
    Jesus was liberal about observance of the sabbath while Essenes were sticklers for it
    Jesus considered himself to be God’s son but the Righteous Teacher did not
    The Essenes prayed at dawn and dusk and had an extended metaphor of light and dark for good and evil which Bent Scholar denies that Jesus had
    Jesus taught about the coming kingdom of God but the Essenes never used the expression


    The "Kingdom of God is within you" is absolutely correct. It means that the soul is a fragment of God. It also symbolizes the fact that you have a chance to return to heaven.

    "You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about me", this remark was made after Jesus healed the man on the sabbath. The Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the sabbath rules so He told them the truth which was that they spent so much of their time trying to read their books to understand God's will when it was standing right before them.
     
  20. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    No, it wasn't.
     
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