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13-08-2015, 02:19   #46
Peregrinus
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Originally Posted by joseph dawton View Post
Constantine was responsible for the modern form of Christianity, before the 4th century there were several streams, all independent . . .
OK, there's a few grains of truth in here, but it's basically all Dan Brown-type nonsense. There is no historical record of systematic attempts by the church to destroy gnostic or Jewish texts; while the Nag Hammadi texts are important, most of the gnostic texts we have survived because they were preserved in monastic libraries. Beliefs about the Trinity certainly do not stem from Celtic druidism. There were independent streams of Christianity not only before the fourth century, but after it. And there still are today. Christian ideas about afterlife and judgment are not "lifted straight out of Egyptian religion"; they were inherited from first-century Pharisaic Judaism. I don't think many scholars believe that Christianity evolved from Essene Judaism; the Essenes may have had some influence on St. Thomas Christianity in India, but in general Christianity's inheritance from Pharisaic Judaism is obvious and striking. And so forth.

Are there elements of Christianity derived from paganism? Yes, but they are mostly superficial - date of Christmas, veneration of holy wells, that kind of thing - and they are massively outweighed both by the elements derived from Judaism and by the influences of Greek philosophy - both direct (influences on early Christian thought) and indirect (influences on pre-Christian Jewish thought, transmitted through Judaism to Christianity).

None of this is news, and people who proclaim it as though they think it's a massive "Gotcha!" are usually disappointed at the equanimity with which it is received. This is old news, not particularly disturbing and in no way a challenge to Christian belief. It's entirely consistent the the self-understanding of mainstream Christianity.
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14-08-2015, 08:18   #47
kieranwaldron
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Constantine was responsible for the modern form of Christianity, before the 4th century there were several streams, all independent.

The Romans incorporated bits of Mithra, Hermeticism (see corpus hermetica), celtic paganism, roman paganism and of course the Christian cult itself that had evolved out of radical Judaism (propably essenes).

What the CC did was eliminate gnosticism and any 'heretic' forms of christianity to create it's 'one and only' reinvented brand controlled from Rome. They thought they had destroyed or captured almost all of the Gnostic and Jewish texts that relate to the early church, but the dead sea scrolls and nag hamadi gospels survived to demonstrate that some of the ideas in christianity pre-date Jesus. The idea of the trinity was probably stolen from the druids of gaul or britain. Certainly Mary was elevated to divine status to attract followers of Isis, Ishtar, Brigid etc - without a female character to worship the CC was missing out on potential followers and income of course!

The ideas about the afterlife and judgment are lifted straight out of Egyptian religion, also the ideas about the soul relate to helenic and celtic belief in the immortal soul, although CC rejected any idea of reincarnation.

Modern christianity is a mixed bag, we'll probably never understand exactly what Jesus' pure teachings were - probably the closest we'd get is the officially discredited gospel of Thomas.

Anyway, we can thank the CC for preserving our festivals (albeit wrong dates) and some pagan practices such as candle lighting, holy water, altars, visiting holy wells, baptism etc - what they could not destroy they assimilated instead )
Thanks for your comments on my posts. I agree with quite a lot of what you have said above.
I believe basically that true Christianity is as per the Bible. That said. you have got to be careful with the Bible because it contains mistranslations and other errors. However, some teachings or principles are repeated again and again by the various different authors in the Bible and therefore should be considered as central to the overall message.
I did my own investigations as what the Catholic Church (CC) teach on various subjects and came to the conclusion they contradict the Bible with their doctrines on the following.
!. The doctrine of the trinity.
2. The teaching that man has an immortal soul.
3. The teaching that their is immediate judgement after death.
4. The teaching of hell as a place of punishment for the wicked.
5. The teaching of the existence of a place called purgatory.
6. The teaching that salvation entails getting to heaven.
7. Their encouragement of the worship of the Virgin Mary.
The above listed are just the CC's main diversions from the Bible on doctrine. Their practice of insisting on celibacy for priests also contradicts the Bible. Some of their dates for festivals and practices are also derived from pagan origins.
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20-08-2015, 15:22   #48
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
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Are there elements of Christianity derived from paganism? Yes, but they are mostly superficial - date of Christmas, veneration of holy wells, that kind of thing - and they are massively outweighed both by the elements derived from Judaism and by the influences of Greek philosophy - both direct (influences on early Christian thought) and indirect (influences on pre-Christian Jewish thought, transmitted through Judaism to Christianity).

None of this is news, and people who proclaim it as though they think it's a massive "Gotcha!" are usually disappointed at the equanimity with which it is received. This is old news, not particularly disturbing and in no way a challenge to Christian belief. It's entirely consistent the the self-understanding of mainstream Christianity.
The incorrect teaching by mainstream Christian churches that man has an immortal soul, as publicised by Plato, is hardly " superficial" ; it is the central plank on which the teachings of going to heaven, hell or purgatory at death are based.
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21-08-2015, 01:54   #49
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Well, I'm not sure why you label it as "incorrect". But leave that aside; the question is whether Christianity acquired the notion of an immortal soul from paganism or inherited it from Judaism? And the answer is, from Judaism.

Jewish beliefs may in turn have been influenced by pagan beliefs, of course. On that view you can argue that the entirety of the Christian faith is derived from paganism. But I don't think that's what you're saying.
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21-08-2015, 11:04   #50
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Well, I'm not sure why you label it as "incorrect". But leave that aside; the question is whether Christianity acquired the notion of an immortal soul from paganism or inherited it from Judaism? And the answer is, from Judaism.

Jewish beliefs may in turn have been influenced by pagan beliefs, of course. On that view you can argue that the entirety of the Christian faith is derived from paganism. But I don't think that's what you're saying.
With regard to your comments, the idea that the soul is immortal was first asserted by the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians influenced the ancient Greeks who adopted the same belief. The Greek philosophers Socrates and his pupil Plato also believed the soul lived on after death. Plato publicised this belief in his writings circa 400 BC. The writings of the latter influenced the civilised world, including the Jews, during his lifetime and for centuries after that. No less a publication than the Encyclopedia Britannica acknowledges this fact when it said the following: "Traditional Western philosophy, starting with the ancient Greeks...shaped the basic Western concepts of the soul."

It can therefore can be seen from the above that the belief in the immortality of the soul clearly has pagan origins. The writings of Plato also influenced Christian scholars like Tertullian, who asserted this belief in his writings , and gave credit for the concept to the Greek philosopher. Tertullian had a major influence in setting out the core beliefs of the Catholic Church around 200 AD; and those beliefs are still with us today.

When I said in my post that the belief in question was " incorrect ", I mean it contradicts the Bible. There is no statement to be found anywhere in the Bible substantiating the belief that man, or any part of him, is immortal.
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24-08-2015, 00:52   #51
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With regard to your comments, the idea that the soul is immortal was first asserted by the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptians influenced the ancient Greeks who adopted the same belief. The Greek philosophers Socrates and his pupil Plato also believed the soul lived on after death. Plato publicised this belief in his writings circa 400 BC. The writings of the latter influenced the civilised world, including the Jews, during his lifetime and for centuries after that. No less a publication than the Encyclopedia Britannica acknowledges this fact when it said the following: "Traditional Western philosophy, starting with the ancient Greeks...shaped the basic Western concepts of the soul."
Sure. But in that sense all Christian beliefs, without exception, are of pagan origin, aren't they?

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When I said in my post that the belief in question was " incorrect ", I mean it contradicts the Bible. There is no statement to be found anywhere in the Bible substantiating the belief that man, or any part of him, is immortal.
Apart from the references to eternal life, of course.
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24-08-2015, 08:44   #52
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Sure. But in that sense all Christian beliefs, without exception, are of pagan origin, aren't they?.
I am not so sure that all of Christian beliefs have a pagan origin but I am certain that a lot of them do have.



[QUOTE=Peregrinus;96725016; Apart from the references to eternal life, of course.[/QUOTE]

Whilst there are references to eternal life or everlasting life in the Bible none of them are given saying man has any immortal element in him during his lifetime; they are all given in the context that eternal life can be attained (ie. gifted by God) if you measure up in the judgement of the dead to come after Jesus Christ returns to the earth.
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