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Author Topic: What Christianity stole from Paganism  (Read 6125 times)

Darkhawk

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2016, 10:50:39 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186329
No I am saying that in many pagan religions both Gods and Goddesses were worshiped whereas the Early Christian church celebrated the God only. Believing in both gods and goddesses is not just in wicca. What a creeping Wiccishness is sound more like a creative degradation of either Wicca or of what I said.

 
You're the one who argued that adding "a goddess-like figure" to a system containing a presumed-but-not-actually-male god was supposed to be done in order to be particularly appealing to polytheists.

Gender is not that central to most religions; going to two arbitrarily selected figures chosen by gender does not seem dramatically different than abandoning all and going to one.
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Darkhawk

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2016, 10:59:29 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186328
It is just interesting that the Roman Church felt it necessary to officially celebrate the birth of Jesus at a time during the year when there were other important Pagan celebrations.


Have you ever looked at the Roman calendar of festivals?  I actually dug through it recently because I was putting together a pagan festival calendar that included Religio stuff.

Roman calendar of festivals is a royal pain in the arse because there is no time of the year in which there are not a boatload of them.  It was really, really annoying to program them all into the calendar, but at least the dates are consistent year to year since the modern Western calendar derives from the Roman, so I won't have to do it again.

Given that there are no options for dates that are not on or around a Roman festival date, the fact that things fall on or around Roman festival dates is really, really, really not interesting.  It's like saying that most historical events happened on land.

Quote
All we can really say is that pagan religions saw the winter sulstice and December 25th as important to their rituals and that the Roman Church decided to officially celebrate a birthday for Jesus in around the similar time when it was not a part of its original tradition.


Which pagan religions, and why would the Church care?  We know that the Annunciation was set according to the dates of Passover, and thus had to fall at a particular time of the year, and the church chose to place the celebration of the birth in relationship to that in a particular way.  If they had chosen their other option they would have had the birth and the death celebrations at the same time in the year, which is not useful for a holiday calendar.

They could have made a different arbritrary choice but that would not have played nice with their numerology.  Pagans are not the only people who like crackpot numerology.

Quote
My mention of Tertullian of Carthage was just an example of how the Roman Church tried to justify the date of December 25 when it was clear no one knew the actual date of the Birth of Jesus Christ.


The actual date of his birth is not and never has been relevant to the celebration of Christmas.
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Castus

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2016, 11:05:09 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;186331
Have you ever looked at the Roman calendar of festivals?  I actually dug through it recently because I was putting together a pagan festival calendar that included Religio stuff.

Roman calendar of festivals is a royal pain in the arse because there is no time of the year in which there are not a boatload of them.  It was really, really annoying to program them all into the calendar, but at least the dates are consistent year to year since the modern Western calendar derives from the Roman, so I won't have to do it again.

Given that there are no options for dates that are not on or around a Roman festival date, the fact that things fall on or around Roman festival dates is really, really, really not interesting.  It's like saying that most historical events happened on land.

 
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Darkhawk

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #33 on: February 08, 2016, 02:20:57 am »
Quote from: Castus;186332
There's a reason I only observed like, three holidays when I was a cultor.

 
How did you pick?  That was the thing that drove me batshit.

I mean, I could go through the calendar stuff for the Kemetic and go "Okay, that's a thing I'm including, that's not" and yeah, that's biased, but I know how much research I put into making those decisions.

And then I was going through... I think it was Nova Roma's list and going "FESTIVAL ALL THE THINGS, WHUT" and eventually rather than do the research required to trim it down I picked an arbitrary standard to reduce it slightly and went with that.....
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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2016, 07:11:08 am »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186328

With respect to Mary I did not say she was worshiped as a goddess but she was worshiped as a goddess like figure. The worship of Mary and other Saints as having supernatural powers is not a concept of the Jewish tradition. I believe this was a blending of the pagan beliefs of having different gods/goddesses they could call on now directed to Mary and Saints both male and female. There are many examples of how the Roman Church altered the pagan sites and deities into Christian symbols which aided the conversion of the public to Christianity and away from their pagan beliefs (which ever pagan religion they followed).


Mary and the Saints were never worshipped at all - they are venerated. The Mother of God is not a goddess-like figure, she is a queen-like figure, following Hebrew tradition, where the highest-ranking royal lady was the king's mother, not his wife. That she is to be honoured so is dictated as early as the Gospel of Luke ('all generations shall call me blessed'). There's nothing divine about such honours. The Saints all make it abundantly clear that no human, however holy and righteous, has supernatural powers. On the contrary, they emphasise that, without God's backing, there is absolutely nothing that a human can do of themselves, and that all the miracles they work are a result of fervent prayer and self-abnegation (entirely in line with Jewish tradition, too), along the lines of 'whatever you ask of the Father in my name, you shall receive'.
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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #35 on: February 08, 2016, 09:30:56 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;186333
How did you pick?  That was the thing that drove me batshit.

I mean, I could go through the calendar stuff for the Kemetic and go "Okay, that's a thing I'm including, that's not" and yeah, that's biased, but I know how much research I put into making those decisions.

And then I was going through... I think it was Nova Roma's list and going "FESTIVAL ALL THE THINGS, WHUT" and eventually rather than do the research required to trim it down I picked an arbitrary standard to reduce it slightly and went with that.....


I kept the big community-type festivals that the rest of the Republic celebrated (Saturnalia, Parilia, sometimes Lupercalia, etc) and then just kept the ones directly relevant to my cult or what I wanted to do. It kind of felt like cheating sometimes, but I just didn't have the spoons to observe a full ritual calendar.

sionnachdearg

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #36 on: February 08, 2016, 06:55:12 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;186335
Mary and the Saints were never worshipped at all - they are venerated. The Mother of God is not a goddess-like figure, she is a queen-like figure, following Hebrew tradition, where the highest-ranking royal lady was the king's mother, not his wife. That she is to be honoured so is dictated as early as the Gospel of Luke ('all generations shall call me blessed'). There's nothing divine about such honours. The Saints all make it abundantly clear that no human, however holy and righteous, has supernatural powers. On the contrary, they emphasise that, without God's backing, there is absolutely nothing that a human can do of themselves, and that all the miracles they work are a result of fervent prayer and self-abnegation (entirely in line with Jewish tradition, too), along the lines of 'whatever you ask of the Father in my name, you shall receive'.

 
To be venerated can mean to be worshiped and where I live they worship Mary as a goddess status. She heals people, she protects them and provides for them. They pray to her as much as they pray to Jesus. But maybe they just don't understand enough and need someone to correct them.

sionnachdearg

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2016, 07:03:25 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;186331




  We know that the Annunciation was set according to the dates of Passover, and thus had to fall at a particular time of the year, and the church chose to place the celebration of the birth in relationship to that in a particular way.  If they had chosen their other option they would have had the birth and the death celebrations at the same time in the year, which is not useful for a holiday calendar.The actual date of his birth is not and never has been relevant to the celebration of Christmas.

 
Why would it matter if the birth and death celebration were at the same time of the year and what does it have be useful for a holiday calendar?

Darkhawk

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2016, 07:07:39 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186354
Why would it matter if the birth and death celebration were at the same time of the year and what does it have be useful for a holiday calendar?

 
Because it's really fucking hard to celebrate two totally different things at the same time.  Seriously, this isn't rocket surgery.
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Jenett

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2016, 07:12:20 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186352
To be venerated can mean to be worshiped and where I live they worship Mary as a goddess status. She heals people, she protects them and provides for them. They pray to her as much as they pray to Jesus. But maybe they just don't understand enough and need someone to correct them.

 
Is it also possible that you do not understand the nuances of their practice, and are using inappropriate terms to refer to it? A thousand years ago, this kind of thing would be a dangerous heresy. These days, it's just sort of rude to tell other people what they believe and that they're doing their belief wrong.

(Seriously: There is a vast amount of theological debate within Roman Catholicism about the difference between worship and petition, or veneration. We - as humans - can venerate and honour people for being good people, role models, examples of behaviours to follow, without considering them to be gods. Or goddesses. Or little furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.)
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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2016, 07:19:32 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186352
To be venerated can mean to be worshiped and where I live they worship Mary as a goddess status. She heals people, she protects them and provides for them. They pray to her as much as they pray to Jesus. But maybe they just don't understand enough and need someone to correct them.
None of those things requires that an entity be a god or goddess to handle them.

And speaking as someone who grew up Catholic, a lot of Catholics are really, reeeeally tired of being told they're doing their religion wrong, or that they're too dumb to realize they're worshipping Mary, or a dozen other related insults that usually come from Protestants of various stripes but are just as patronizing coming from non-Christians.

(You would not believe some of the conversations I had with Campus Crusade for Christ when I was in college. My gods, the smug ignorance. I first outted myself as pagan to get them to leave me the hell (lol) alone, and it worked, comparatively.)
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sionnachdearg

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #41 on: February 08, 2016, 09:56:50 pm »
Quote from: Jack;186358
None of those things requires that an entity be a god or goddess to handle them.

And speaking as someone who grew up Catholic, a lot of Catholics are really, reeeeally tired of being told they're doing their religion wrong, or that they're too dumb to realize they're worshipping Mary, or a dozen other related insults that usually come from Protestants of various stripes but are just as patronizing coming from non-Christians.

(You would not believe some of the conversations I had with Campus Crusade for Christ when I was in college. My gods, the smug ignorance. I first outted myself as pagan to get them to leave me the hell (lol) alone, and it worked, comparatively.)

 
I am not saying you are doing things wrong  or trying insult anyone.  I am describing the perceptions  from from people I know who are (or at least consider themselves) catholic speaking about Mary. They see her as an entity who can heal them from their illnesses, provide for them when they are in need, and help them through her miracles that she can perform. They are not academics or priests but they do consider themselves Catholics. Those kind of abilities would seem to me to be similar to someone reaching out to a goddess but I am not Catholic so I well agree that I cannot equate her to how a pagan would have related to a Goddess.

I still find it hard to believe the Roman Christian Church was not influenced buy the pagan religions associated with Rome as it developed. But I have found that people who are Christian know that anyone not Christian could not be correct about Christianity. I will say no more about Christian beliefs.

Juniperberry

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #42 on: February 08, 2016, 10:57:09 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186366
I am not saying you are doing things wrong  or trying insult anyone.  I am describing the perceptions  from from people I know who are (or at least consider themselves) catholic speaking about Mary. They see her as an entity who can heal them from their illnesses, provide for them when they are in need, and help them through her miracles that she can perform. They are not academics or priests but they do consider themselves Catholics. Those kind of abilities would seem to me to be similar to someone reaching out to a goddess but I am not Catholic so I well agree that I cannot equate her to how a pagan would have related to a Goddess.
.



FWIW, I pray to Mary. I feel like there's some things she'll just get and understand better than God would....or, I'm just more comfortable praying to her about some things anyway.
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MadZealot

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #43 on: February 08, 2016, 11:04:19 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186366
I am describing the perceptions  from from people I know who are (or at least consider themselves) catholic speaking about Mary. They see her as an entity who can heal them from their illnesses, provide for them when they are in need, and help them through her miracles that she can perform. They are not academics or priests but they do consider themselves Catholics. Those kind of abilities would seem to me to be similar to someone reaching out to a goddess but I am not Catholic so I well agree that I cannot equate her to how a pagan would have related to a Goddess.


Not Catholic, but I think those abilities would put Mary in the company of the Saints, who worked all manner of miracles but were also mortal men & women, not divinities.

Quote
I still find it hard to believe the Roman Christian Church was not influenced buy the pagan religions associated with Rome as it developed. But I have found that people who are Christian know that anyone not Christian could not be correct about Christianity. I will say no more about Christian beliefs.


Believing so is OK, but it's better to be able to back it up.  And as was mentioned upthread, it helps to be able to identify which specific pagan trads did what, in addition to when Christianity co-opted which practices.  
And plenty of non-Christians can be correct about Christianity.  It just really helps to know which version believes what and when they started believing it.  Lots of the "Christians stole all the things!" stuff you see in pagan spaces can be refuted pretty easily.  Huge chunks of it, like the horrid Eostre/Easter/Ishtar meme that pops up in feeds about this time every year, are pure bullshit.
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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2016, 12:22:41 am »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186366
I am not saying you are doing things wrong  or trying insult anyone.  I am describing the perceptions  from from people I know who are (or at least consider themselves) catholic speaking about Mary. They see her as an entity who can heal them from their illnesses, provide for them when they are in need, and help them through her miracles that she can perform. They are not academics or priests but they do consider themselves Catholics. Those kind of abilities would seem to me to be similar to someone reaching out to a goddess but I am not Catholic so I well agree that I cannot equate her to how a pagan would have related to a Goddess.

 
As a pagan, and as a former Catholic, I can attest from my own experience that people, including me, pray to, offer to, and do work with all kinds of beings in hope of supernatural assistance. I have called on Mary, on saints and angels and demons, on land wights, jotnar and elves, on monsters and egregores and folkloric witches and the Wizard of Oz, and my ancestors and the mighty dead. People do all those things, and not by accident, and not out of ignorance.

It's kind of like, okay, maybe sometimes I email the head of my department for something, but most of the time I email a senior coworker or a supervisor, not because I I mistakenly think or secretly believe they are the head of the department, but because they are less powerful and therefore less busy and more inclined to help me with my problem right now when I need it.
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