1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Featured The Resurrection is it provable?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Riders, Jul 14, 2022.

  1. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    64,370
    Ratings:
    +43,393
    Religion:
    Atheist
    They were? What source do you have for that? The earliest writings that I know of were Paul's. And the earliest claims of a bodily resurrection that I know of were alt least 30 years after the fact. That was in the Gospel of Mark.

    I don't know about claim number two since you seemed to have screwed up your quote, but claim number 3 is highly dubious. Were early Christian persecuted at times? Yes. We know that. Were they "willing to die for their beliefs"? No, that is merely a claim of the Church that is not supported by evidence at all. Please find the many cases from a reliable source that Christians were offered the chance to change their religion or die and chose death. Not even the claim of Peter's death is well supported by evidence. it is merely church tradition.

    Or another alternative is that you did not consider all of the possible answers.

    There may be more than one Mythra origination myth, just as there are two different Nativity myths for Jesus.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  2. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    64,370
    Ratings:
    +43,393
    Religion:
    Atheist
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    64,370
    Ratings:
    +43,393
    Religion:
    Atheist
    Bart Ehrman's work is posted in professional journals. I gave you a one time exception above. Remember until you make up for you past behavior you are on corrections only. Demands from you carry no weght.


    Richard Carrier regularly published his work in professional journals too.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  4. Left Coast

    Left Coast The Fabulous
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2019
    Messages:
    9,503
    Ratings:
    +15,848
    Religion:
    It's Complicated
    This was based on the sentiment of your last reply. You'd have to tell me whether you're interested or not.

    LOL no, it doesn't. I didn't claim all early Christian writings were pseudepigraphal. So what you said about me doesn't stand at all.

    Because you claimed there were witnesses to the resurrection. For the 20th time, that's the entire point of this interaction. If ever you're confused about the topic: the topic is your claim that there were witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. So if Luke didn't speak to any eyewitnesses who can actually be identified - who are the witnesses you're claiming?

    If the answers are obvious, then provide them. Is your claim that the author of Luke spoke to every single person he wrote about? If not, which did he speak to?

    Some writings are pseudepigraphal, some aren't. Do you know what criteria scholars use to tell the difference?

    LOL sorry, so you want me to make your case for you? :tearsofjoy:

    Ken, you brought up Papias and said you trust what the guy had to say. That you're now again trying to pass the buck to me is transparent. You need to answer the questions if you want Papias to be taken seriously as a source.

    Sure. :rolleyes:

    Paul to Peter:
    “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” Galatians 2:14

    Who wrote the book of Acts and why should we care what they thought?

    The relevance is the trustworthiness of Papias. Was Matthew originally written in Hebrew or Greek?

    LOL yes I do Ken. It was shared between people who weren't witnesses of the events. The whole reason oral tradition was necessary was to pass on stories to people who weren't there to see the events themselves. And we know for a fact that those oral traditions changed, intentionally and unintentionally, with time. So if the author of Matthew extensively copies Mark verbatim...is he an independent witness of the events? Or is he simply passing on received tradition?

    No it was to answer your question about the trustworthiness of Papias. If you don't want answers, why ask the questions?

    If you'd like to discontinue the conversation, you're welcome to do so at any time.

    Your persistent efforts to shift the burden of proof in this conversation to me is indeed, very understandably, irritating. If you have witnesses, tell me who they were. If all you've got is the Gospels, and you're just going to take whatever they say as infallibly true no matter what the actual evidence is, then there's really nothing more for us to discuss.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  5. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    9,179
    Ratings:
    +11,962
    Religion:
    None
    From Other Gods That Rose From the Dead in Spring Before Jesus Christ | Griffin (gsgriffin.com)
    • "Dionysus was killed, descended into hell, and was reborn — in Zeus’ thigh of all places. Greek gods, goddesses, and mortals often descended into hell for various reasons and later rejoined the living. Demeter’s daughter, Persephone, descended into Hades and returned in the spring."
    • "Attis, a Phrygian-Greek vegetation god born of the virgin Nana, castrated himself and, depending on the version, either bled to death from this or was hanged on a pine tree. He was reborn after three days, his blood redeeming the earth as it fell from his body. His worshipers celebrated the salvation from death offered to them by Attis by decorating a pine tree each spring."
    • "In Egypt, Osiris died, was resurrected, and ascended into heaven. Horus came back from the dead. Like many gods related to vegetation, Adonis, worshiped in Babylonia and Syria as early as the 7th century B.C., died annually (in the fall) and was resurrected (in the spring). In Greece, Heracles was mortal but rose into heaven to take his place among the gods just before he died."
    • "In Hindu mythology, Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head but Pavarti convinced him to bring the god back to life. Krishna is accidentally killed by a hunter, but comes back to life and ascends into heaven. The Sumerian king Tammuz was killed but resurrected by the gods and made a god himself. According to the Mesoamerican people, Quetzalcoatl killed himself, but after a few days in the underworld returned to heaven."
    The dying and rising god is a metaphor for the dying sun each winter solstice, where the site of the eastern sunrise stops moving south for three days, and then is reborn leading to spring - a pagan motif of death and rebirth, just like bunnies and eggs, also borrowed form pagan traditions. This I believe is the source of the resurrection story in Christianity, not anything witnessed.

    Also, the motif of the superman being born from the union of a god and a human, for example, plays out in multiple traditions. It doesn't matter that these are pagan religions: List of demigods - Wikipedia

    How does that make it unlikely that the resurrection story began later that just after the death of Jesus?

    According to this, Christian cross - Wikipedia , the cross wasn't a symbol of Christianity until the 6th century AD. It's a clear indication that the crucifixion was a central theme in Christian doctrine by then.

    They didn't base their new religion on these gods. I don't think any of the other risen gods were saviors or killed by men, for example. They just used some familiar motifs in their new religion, just as Joseph Smith did using angelic visitation and the twelve tribes of Israel. He just appropriated older tropes to give an air of authenticity to his religion.

    We've covered this. It doesn't seem unlikely to me.

    And we discussed that as well. I asked you what you thought might have been seen when they "saw something" that would be convincing evidence of the resurrection of a man three days dead. As far as I know, all that is claimed is an empty tomb, unless one want to go to the Gospel of Peter, where a giant Jesus and a talking cross appeared after crucifixion.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  6. Kenny

    Kenny Face to face with my Father
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    Messages:
    19,472
    Ratings:
    +7,532
    Religion:
    Judeo/Christian
    Again... I opened the door and then you ask a question... as if you don't want to answer?

    I never said you did. Do you add to what people say? I believe it is against RF policy to misrepresent what someone says. We were talking about Peter.

    So my statement still stands. If you can remember what the statement was.

    And I gave you Peter for sure (which you conveniently dismissed.

    Paul preached it but your position, apparently, is that it doesn't matter what he preached (Preaching a cult when he was a Torah adherent? - I don't think so.

    I mentioned the Gospels (that those closest to the writings agreed that they were the gospel) - but you didn't want to accept those.

    Acts is irrelevant for you though those who were in that historical account were eye-witnesses, deciding it was inadmissible evidence (conveniently). Maybe someone made it up?

    So, as I see, no matter what is said, you won't acknowledge it. So... what are we talking about?

    I think we already covered it. I'm sure you read it, but did you digest it?

    Irrelevant question. Give me evidence on Peter.

    No... I just think that if you are dismissing Papias... you should at least study it before forming an opinion.

    :D - It seemed to be obvious.

    Do you always mine quotes? Did they teach you how to read and study the Bible... context?

    12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

    1) Apparently he ate and had fun with the Gentiles... so much for forcing them
    2) It was "fear of the circumcision" and not personal conviction.

    Did you take a course on exegesis?

    Inquiring minds want to know? History? Answer a plethora of your questions? Who wrote it? Someone who researched it?

    No. Septuagint was a Greek translation of the Hebrew... quite good.

    Why would I believe he was a witness since he added an additional 50% to what Matthew said

    I ask the questions because it seems like you aren't really putting effort?

    OK... it seems like you want a way out of providing proof of your position since you don't care what the answer are (as noted).

    So feel free to not answer any questions and remain in your position.
     
  7. leroy

    leroy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2018
    Messages:
    6,925
    Ratings:
    +547
    Religion:
    christian
    Funny how you support your claims with blog posts written by people who actually make a living out of promoting anti Christian ideas……. But you demand that @KenS or me to provide peer review sources written by non-Christian apologetics

    I am willing to play by your rules, If you think blog posts are acceptable it´s ok with me, I would be happy to read your sources and tell you specifically why I disagree but I expect the same courtesy from you.


    So what? what you are expected to do is provide a peer reviewed source supporting that specific claim


    .
    Well that confirms my initial claim / you are not willign to support your claims
     
  8. Left Coast

    Left Coast The Fabulous
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2019
    Messages:
    9,503
    Ratings:
    +15,848
    Religion:
    It's Complicated
    Ken, for the final time it is you who first staked out the position in question from the very start of this conversation. You have tried, desperately, to push that burden of proof back to me to prove some negative. It's not going to work.

    We've covered Paul. He wasn't a witness of the resurrection. Doesn't even claim to be.

    We've covered Gospels/Acts. We have no evidence they were eyewitness accounts. They're anonymous for goodness' sake.

    We've covered Papias and the other Early Church Fathers you cited. None of them were witnesses of the resurrection either, nor did they claim to be. They weren't even born till long after it happened.

    So you've got no witnesses to the resurrection to speak of. If you have some then name them.

    Until such time, there's nothing further to say.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  9. Kenny

    Kenny Face to face with my Father
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    Messages:
    19,472
    Ratings:
    +7,532
    Religion:
    Judeo/Christian
    I see you selectively mined my answers...

    But I can see your way out "Until such time, there's nothing further to say".

    So we respectfully go to our corners of faith and learn to love each other in our differences.
     
  10. Left Coast

    Left Coast The Fabulous
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2019
    Messages:
    9,503
    Ratings:
    +15,848
    Religion:
    It's Complicated
    Except my corner doesn't require faith. :shrug: But yes, I'm happy to respectfully disagree.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  11. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    64,370
    Ratings:
    +43,393
    Religion:
    Atheist
    Sorry, but you won't play by the rules. You merely try to distort them. You need to support your claims by actual scholars and not apologists, aka Liars for Jesus. I said that as a source you need someone that publishes in the professional journals. Journal articles themselves are far to often behind a pay wall, but those same people will publish in the more popular press. Apologetics sies are out unless one can show that the author has some authority. Merely being a pastor only tells us that he studied the text of the Bible. It does not tell us that

    One cannot use sites that are easily proven wrong. If they support the Flood myth that tells us that they are not scholars. If they support the Adam and Eve myth that tells us that they are not scholars. If they support the Moses myth, that tells us that they are not scholars. Al of those ideas have been refuted. You should know that by now.

    By the way, haver you followed along and seen how @KenS 's claims were refuted? He did the typical creationist trick of dumping a number of names saying that they all claimed that Mark and Matthew were written by the people whose names that they bore. Checking that claim it was found out that the first name that I checked did not support his claim. Papias has a record of only two quotes about Mark and Matthew and in neither of them does he say that they were the author of any gospels. If anything it was evidence against the claim of Matthew being an author. His claim noted that Matthew kept some written records . . . in Hebrew. Matthew was originally written in Greek.

    As to Peter's work he makes unsupported claims about Peter as well. There is no recorded date of his death. Some think that he died in prison 20 years earlier than others. And that is by using the Bible as a source. But the Bible does not say when or how he died. That is a bit odd for such an important early leader. The Catholics have their tradition, but it does not seem to be supported by any evidence as so many other claims are from that time.

    At any rate, I did support my claims with the work of an actual scholar. One that could be said to be an authority. There is a dearth of Christian authorities. I recently watched a video that featured a man that was an evangelical Christian that became a scholar specifically to support the works of the Bible. He ended up being an atheist. The more he learned and the more he read the Bible, especially the earliest manuscripts, the more he realized that the book does not match history.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    64,370
    Ratings:
    +43,393
    Religion:
    Atheist
    It may be against forum rules to accuse others of using faith.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Riders

    Riders Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2015
    Messages:
    7,900
    Ratings:
    +2,269
    Religion:
    Unitarian Universalism,Pagan,Zen
    Just because Christians were and are still some ready to die for their faith does not prove the ressurrection. There are Pagans ready to die for their faith too. All religions have people like that.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
  14. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,256
    Ratings:
    +1,786
    Subscribing or not has no relation to what is true. What matters is what is the evidence. But I don't think you even know what you are talking about, clearly you just skim over anything that doesn't agree with your position.

    First, this is not Carriers position. This is the consensus in the field. All peer-reviewed papers and books have given evidence that demonstrates Peter 2 is a forgery.
    One paper cited is The Apologetic Use of the Transfiguration in 2 Peter, Jerome Neyrey, Catholic Biblical Quarterly.

    Peter 2 also knew the Gospels so he wasn't writing independent of them.

    But it seems Carrier feels Peter 1 may not be a forgery and could be included with the Pauline letters. Carrier states that few scholars would agree with this position but Carrier feels it may have merit. The main reason it's considered a forgery was because of the claim Peter was an illiterate fisherman. The Gospels likely exaggerated that. Muhammad was also claimed to be illiterate but the son of one of the wealthiest mercantile families in Arabia he could not possibly have been illiterate or uneducated.

    So you don't agree that Peter 1 was authentic and dates around the time of Paul?


    The bandwagon fallacy is specifically a fallacy of relevance.

    It is fallacious when the fact that everyone is doing something is not relevant to the accuracy of a statement.

    But when it comes to consensus that is based on evidence it's not really the consensus you are looking at, but the amount of evidence that supports a position.

    What you are doing is purposely hiding from actual evidence given by people who understand how to read original sources, analyze a literary work and many more skills and knowledge directed at understanding the best version of truth regarding this material. Which means you do not care about what is actually true. Just what you want to be true. And yes I follow apologetics.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,256
    Ratings:
    +1,786
    We believe Paul was real. The visions were added flare to the myths about Jesus he had been hearing and was now buying into. Muhammad, Joe Smith, Prince Arjuna, Cargo Cults, Paul, all had revelations, 2 of them changed Christianity one formed it. They are all incredibly unlikely but incredibly likely embellishments to the stories. You cannot single out one and disregard the others.


    E.P. Sanders already tries this and made a fool of himself. Claiming the sources for Jesus were better than Alexander.
    Unlike Jesus, we have over half a dozen relatively objective historians discussing the history of Alexander (Diodorus, Dionysius, Rufus, Trogus, Plutarch.....)These are not romances or propagandists or fanatical worshippers or anyone concerned about dogma. They are disinterested historical writers employing some of the recognized skills of critical analysis of their day on a wide body of sources they had available that we do not. Whichh doesn't mean we trust everything they say, but we still cannot name even one person for Jesus. None is not more than half a dozen. They all had eyewitness sources to work from.
    We have mentions of Alexander in several other eyewitness sources including the speeches of Isocrates and Demosthenes and many more. Plus coins, sculptures and many archeological verifications of historical claims about him. That is only a small bit. There is all sorts of archaeology of his battles, day and time of his death, clay tablets preserving his histories recovered in tablet archives of Persian court astrologers.......

    I can't believe you said "no physical evidence"?????????
     
    • Like Like x 2
  16. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,256
    Ratings:
    +1,786

    please go back to my post 345, 246, 347 and explain away all the evidence that Mark used the Epistles to construct his narrative.

    There is more as well. I didn't post the chiasmus which used Paul's material and can no way have happened in real life.
     
  17. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,256
    Ratings:
    +1,786
    No, the stories claim a character did miracles. Miracles of this kind are all over Greek mythology and this is a Greek savior demigod. There is extremely good evidence that all the Gospels, even John was based on Mark and each were adding stories. There is no evidence any of this happened.



    Nope. We know from the synoptic problem that Matthew and Luke copied Mark and made changes as they saw fit. The Gospels often consist of rewrites of pre-christian Jewish tales, sometimes pagan, from scripture and other. Matthew borrows stories from Moses and then expands to turn Jesus into a full-blown Rank-Raglan hero. Or borrows from Daniel to re-write the empty tomb narrative of Mark, or Mark created the empty tomb out of Psalm 22, or invented the notion that the disciples were fishermen in order to make Jesus the new Odysseus with his clueless sailors.
    Several scholarly books demonstrate how the entire Gospel narrative can be derived from scripture

    Carrier

    "That Matthew is essentially a redaction of Mark is almost universally agreed. HE borrows extensively from Mark and frequently duplicates his material verbatim. Matthew then adds a ridiculous Nativity Narrative and a brief but vague resurrection appearance narrative, which most historians also doubt is historical, and then revised the material in between, often altering or expanding on stories Mark invented, occasionally inventing new ones and adding large sections attributing new teachings to Jesus.

    Matthew simply copies Mark's Gospel and tweaks it and adds to it, we have no good reason to trust he has any more reliable source material than Mark. That Matthew clearly and routinely and even egregiously fabricates narratives (such as his nativity or his absurd redaction of Mark's empty tomb narrative) only further raises the prior probability that that is just what he did everywhere else in his Gospel"

    So it's just Mark and we can point out most of his sources. None are real life.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  18. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,256
    Ratings:
    +1,786

    Wait, you want "supportive documentation" and your last source was an apologetics site with no sources, no author, no anything? Yeah I can send you to a site that "proves" Jesus was a creation of the Roman Empire or Jesus was a copy of the Sun God from Egypt? But I actually care about what is true and that is crank made by amateurs.

    The Wiki page at least gives the scholars work being used.
    Dating the Bible - Wikipedia
     
  19. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,256
    Ratings:
    +1,786
    There is no evidence for any God. All of the cosmological arguments have been debunked and we have zero evidence for any theism.
    Christianity is an absolute mix of Judaism, Hellenism and Persian myths. All this can be demonstrated. The myths about salvation, savior demigods, souls that get redemption and go to heaven, baptism, eucharist, word becomes flesh, revelation, Satan vs God and more....existed Before Christianity in Greek and Persian religions and both occupied the Hebrew lands for 5 centuries before Christianity.

    We also have direct evidence from scholars saying the Hebrew did in fact take this mythology from these sources.


    In the story. Maybe a Rabbi was executed.


    The empty tomb is a myth.

    There is a scholarly article here:
    Why Did Mark Invent an Empty Tomb? • Richard Carrier

    explaining where the idea came from, why and how we know it's made up

    Here John Dominic Crossan PhD explains why there was no empty tomb




    In the gospels which evidence shows is fiction.



    Every religion has martyrs. It doesn't mean the Gods are real.
    Martyrdom (called shahadat in Punjabi) is a fundamental concept in Sikhism and represents an important institution of the faith. Sikhs believe in Ibaadat se Shahadat (from love to martyrdom). Some famous Sikh martyrs include:[31]

    • Guru Arjan, the fifth leader of Sikhism. Guru ji was brutally tortured for almost 5 days before he attained shaheedi, or martyrdom.
    • Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru of Sikhism, martyred on 11 November 1675. He is also known as Dharam Di Chadar (i.e. "the shield of Religion"), suggesting that to save Hinduism, the guru gave his life.
    • Bhai Dayala is one of the Sikhs who was martyred at Chandni Chowk at Delhi in November 1675 due to his refusal to accept Islam.
    • Bhai Mati Das is considered by some one of the greatest martyrs in Sikh history, martyred at Chandni Chowk at Delhi in November 1675 to save Hindu Brahmins.
    • Bhai Sati Das is also considered by some one of the greatest martyrs in Sikh history, martyred along with Guru Teg Bahadur at Chandni Chowk at Delhi in November 1675 to save kashmiri pandits.
    • Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh – the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru.[32]


    NOw didn't these people die in the Gospels?? So that may also be fiction/



    No it supports that the resurrection was in a myth that people bought. It doesn't demonstrate an empty tomb, people dying or anything else beyond a new mythology emerged and had been emerging since the occupation of Persia and then Hellenism. It is no coincidence that Christianity took every single aspect of Hellenistic changes the same as all other local mystery religions, right down to savior demigods that rose in 3 days to get followers to an afterlife.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  20. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,256
    Ratings:
    +1,786
    The Relationship between Hellenistic Mystery Religions and Early Christianity:

    A Case Study using Baptism and Eucharist
    Jennifer Uzzell
    Baptism has been widely compared with initiation into the Mystery cults. In many of the Mysteries purification through ritual bathing was required as a prerequisite for initiation.


    It is interesting to note that the early Christian writer Tertullian (c. 160-225CE) would not have agreed with this appraisal. Not only did he believe that certain of the Mysteries practiced baptism, but also that they did so in hope of attaining forgiveness of sins and a new birth. This was so striking a similarity that it clearly demanded some form of
    Eucharist.

    -Perhaps the clearest point of contact between the Mysteries and Christian Eucharist, and one of which the Church Fathers were painfully conscious, lay in a sacramental meal of bread or cakes and wine mixed with water in which initiates to the cult of Mithras participated.

    They seek salvation from the debased material world through a spiritual ascent through the spheres. Mithras was expected to return to earth to lead his followers in a final cataclysmic battle between good and evil.

    Christianity is a combination of Hellenism (pagan) and Judaism

    https://wwwc.com/topic/Hellenistic-religion/Beliefs-practices-and-institutions

    -the seasonal drama was homologized to a soteriology (salvation concept) concerning the destiny, fortune, and salvation of the individual after death.


    -his led to a change from concern for a religion of national prosperity to one for individual salvation, from focus on a particular ethnic group to concern for every human. The prophet or saviour replaced the priest and king as the chief religious figure.


    -his process was carried further through the identification of the experiences of the soul that was to be saved with the vicissitudes of a divine but fallen soul, which had to be redeemed by cultic activity and divine intervention. This view is illustrated in the concept of the paradoxical figure of the saved saviour, salvator salvandus.


    -Other deities, who had previously been associated with national destiny (e.g., Zeus, Yahweh, and Isis), were raised to the status of transcendent, supreme



    -The temples and cult institutions of the various Hellenistic religions were repositories of the knowledge and techniques necessary for salvation and were the agents of the public worship of a particular deity. In addition, they served an important sociological role. In the new, cosmopolitan ideology that followed Alexander’s conquests, the old nationalistic and ethnic boundaries had broken down and the problem of religious and social identity had become acute.


    -Most of these groups had regular meetings for a communal meal that served the dual role of sacramental participation (referring to the use of material elements believed to convey spiritual benefits among the members and with their deity)


    -Hellenistic philosophy (Stoicism, Cynicism, Neo-Aristotelianism, Neo-Pythagoreanism, and Neoplatonism) provided key formulations for Jewish, Christian, and Muslim philosophy, theology, and mysticism through the 18th century


    - The basic forms of worship of both the Jewish and Christian communities were heavily influenced in their formative period by Hellenistic practices, and this remains fundamentally unchanged to the present time. Finally, the central religious literature of both traditions—the Jewish Talmud (an authoritative compendium of law, lore, and interpretation), the New Testament, and the later patristic literature of the early Church Fathers—are characteristic Hellenistic documents both in form and content.


    -Other traditions even more radically reinterpreted the ancient figures. The cosmic or seasonal drama was interiorized to refer to the divine soul within man that must be liberated.


    -Each persisted in its native land with little perceptible change save for its becoming linked to nationalistic or messianic movements (centring on a deliverer figure)


    -and apocalyptic traditions (referring to a belief in the dramatic intervention of a god in human and natural events)


    - Particularly noticeable was the success of a variety of prophets, magicians, and healers—e.g., John the Baptist, Jesus, Simon Magus, Apollonius of Tyana, Alexander the Paphlagonian, and the cult of the healer Asclepius—whose preaching corresponded to the activities of various Greek and Roman philosophic missionaries



    Not in ancient Asia. Or anywhere else. Only the West, from Mesopotamia to North Africa and Europe. There was a very common and popular mytheme that had arisen in the Hellenistic period—from at least the death of Alexander the Great in the 300s B.C. through the Roman period, until at least Constantine in the 300s A.D. Nearly every culture created and popularized one: the Egyptians had one, the Thracians had one, the Syrians had one, the Persians had one, and so on. The Jews were actually late to the party in building one of their own, in the form of Jesus Christ. It just didn’t become popular among the Jews, and thus ended up a Gentile religion. But if any erudite religious scholar in 1 B.C. had been asked “If the Jews invented one of these gods, what would it look like?” they would have described the entire Christian religion to a T. Before it even existed. That can’t be a coincidence.

    The general features most often shared by all these cults are (when we eliminate all their differences and what remains is only what they share in common):

    • They are personal salvation cults (often evolved from prior agricultural cults).
    • They guarantee the individual a good place in the afterlife (a concern not present in most prior forms of religion).
    • They are cults you join membership with (as opposed to just being open communal religions).
    • They enact a fictive kin group (members are now all brothers and sisters).
    • They are joined through baptism (the use of water-contact rituals to effect an initiation).
    • They are maintained through communion (regular sacred meals enacting the presence of the god).
    • They involved secret teachings reserved only to members (and some only to members of certain rank).
    • They used a common vocabulary to identify all these concepts and their role.
    • They are syncretistic (they modify this common package of ideas with concepts distinctive of the adopting culture).
    • They are mono- or henotheistic (they preach a supreme god by whom and to whom all other divinities are created and subordinate).
    • They are individualistic (they relate primarily to salvation of the individual, not the community).
    • And they are cosmopolitan (they intentionally cross social borders of race, culture, nation, wealth, or even gender).
    You might start to notice we’ve almost completely described Christianity already. It gets better. These cults all had a common central savior deity, who shared most or all these features (when, once again, we eliminate all their differences and what remains is only what they share in common):

    • They are all “savior gods” (literally so-named and so-called).
    • They are usually the “son” of a supreme God (or occasionally “daughter”).
    • They all undergo a “passion” (a “suffering” or “struggle,” literally the same word in Greek, patheôn).
    • That passion is often, but not always, a death (followed by a resurrection and triumph).
    • By which “passion” (of whatever kind) they obtain victory over death.
    • Which victory they then share with their followers (typically through baptism and communion).
    • They also all have stories about them set in human history on earth.
    • Yet so far as we can tell, none of them ever actually existed.
    This is sounding even more like Christianity, isn’t it? Odd that. Just mix in the culturally distinct features of Judaism that it was syncretized with, such as messianism, apocalypticism, scripturalism, and the particularly Jewish ideas about resurrection—as well as Jewish soteriology, cosmology, and rituals, and other things peculiar to Judaism, such as an abhorrence of sexuality and an obsession with blood atonement and substitutionary sacrifice—and you literally have Christianity fully spelled out. Before it even existed.


     
    • Like Like x 1
Loading...