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Author Topic: What Christianity stole from Paganism  (Read 6146 times)

Chatelaine

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2016, 02:56:02 am »
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.


It can mean that, but it's not the default meaning. After all, there's talk of 'venerable elders' in all sorts of tradition, without any doubt over their humanity.

I can see how the Catholic position can be confusing, with the whole 'Mariology' side and the recent 'co-redemptrix' hooey, but I'm not speaking from a Catholic position anyway. The Orthodox tradition is very clear on Mary being fully human, because any hint that she was anything but, would mean Christ was not fully human either. (Compare iconography on the Assumption and the Dormition.) The prayers addressed to her and to all other saints combine honour to their sanctity and pleas for mediation on our behalf. The idea that only divine beings should receive prayers has been a misunderstanding going back centuries - very ironically, since those were the times when 'prithee' was a daily expression.
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sionnachdearg

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2016, 08:30:51 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;186374
It can mean that, but it's not the default meaning. After all, there's talk of 'venerable elders' in all sorts of tradition, without any doubt over their humanity.

I can see how the Catholic position can be confusing, with the whole 'Mariology' side and the recent 'co-redemptrix' hooey, but I'm not speaking from a Catholic position anyway. The Orthodox tradition is very clear on Mary being fully human, because any hint that she was anything but, would mean Christ was not fully human either. (Compare iconography on the Assumption and the Dormition.) The prayers addressed to her and to all other saints combine honour to their sanctity and pleas for mediation on our behalf. The idea that only divine beings should receive prayers has been a misunderstanding going back centuries - very ironically, since those were the times when 'prithee' was a daily expression.

 
I will agree with you that I do not understand the Catholic Church and I do not wish to cause any insult or misrepresent anything because of my lack of understanding. I also do not think that the catholic church stole anything from paganism I was only suggesting that it could have been influenced by a pagan community with the power and influence of the Roman State. But that is just my opinion and I do now have the resources to prove it.

In the case of Mary, was she mortal at least at one point as the saints were. If you can communicate through her is it then possible to communicate to any mortal who has died? Can those how have died still help us in the view of the Catholic Church? (I am asking this as a serious question and not meant to be an insult or sarcastic)

The other think I would like to know is in reference to a book I just finished reading called Anam Cara A book of Celtic Wisdom by John O'Donohue. From my understanding he was a catholic priest (he has died since from what I have read) and yet in his book there seem to be so much more of a blend of Christian and pre-Christian ideas, at least the way I understood his meaning. Are you familiar with his writing and is this in keeping with the catholic faith or does he say things outside of the Catholic faith? I really enjoyed his book and would like the perspective of someone familiar with Catholic beliefs on his ideas.  Actually would like the view of anyone how is familiar with him on his writings.

Jack

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2016, 08:44:16 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186450
In the case of Mary, was she mortal at least at one point as the saints were. If you can communicate through her is it then possible to communicate to any mortal who has died? Can those how have died still help us in the view of the Catholic Church?

You can pray to or for anybody, as a Catholic, but (and it's been a long time since Sunday school) I'm pretty sure only the ones in Heaven can put a good word in with God on one's behalf.
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RecycledBenedict

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #48 on: February 12, 2016, 07:52:30 pm »
Quote from: sionnachdearg;186328
The developing Christian Roman Church did not develop in a vacuum and there is no reason to believe that they were not influenced by the pagan rituals and beliefs in Rome.


Obvious examples of Roman pagan influences on Christian customs are the dedication of church buildings, and the annually occuring dedication festival of every particular church building. Another one is praying the Litany in the fields on the 25th of April. I advice, however, against trying to find influences were they are missing, since events occurred in the wrong order or in the wrong place to be specimens of such influences.

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. 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.


Ancient Roman religion celebrated festivals on many days of the year. So does the Roman Catholic Church. That a Christian festival falls on the same day as an ancient pagan festival is not in itself enough to prove an influence. Otherwise, the celebration of St. Angela Merici on 27th of January would be influenced by the Roman dedication festival of the temple of the Dioscuri, the celebration of St. Sigfrid would be influenced by the Roman Lupercalia festival, the celebration of the seven founders of the Servite Order would be influenced by the Roman festival of Quirinalia, and so on.

We don’t know if the winter solstice was important for ancient Romans. If it was, the Saturnalia festival falls between 17th of December and 23d of December, thus not only observing the actual date of the solstice, but also the surrounding week. Sol Invictus, on the other hand, falls several days after the Winter Solstice.

Quote from: sionnachdearg;186328
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.


The 'pagan beliefs of having different heroes and ancestors' is a more probable pagan root to the Christian devotion to saints, than ’pagan beliefs of having different gods/goddesses'.

Another root to the Christian devotion to saints is probably the admiration Jews (and early Christians with Jewish ancestry) had for prophets and martyrs at the time of the emergence of Christianity. The Maccabaean uprising in 167-160 BCE claimed many victims, and led to a mindset which was open for a mild form of admiration of the Jewish martyrs. If you visit Israel today, you will find that the alleged tombs of Jewish patriarchs, matriarchs and prophets are places of veneration within Judaism. That the observance of memorial days for martyrs is not unknown in Judaism, is shown by the minor fast day called Fast of Gedaliah (Tzom Gedalyah).

Admiration for some departed in the past did not take the same expressions in Judaism as in Christianity, but it is a noticeable example that the Maccabaeans often were celebrated in the Christian calendars of saints before the reforms in the 1960s. Characters from the Hebrew Bible are mentioned with admiration as exemplars in Hebrews , and the tale about St. Stephen in Acts 6-7 is the oldest Christian martyr-legend (The second oldest is the Martyrhood of St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John). Supernatural visions of the martyrs are described in Rev. 4.4.; 6.9-11; 7.9-10; 15.1-4 and 16.5-7.

Quote from: sionnachdearg;186328
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 historical date must have been of low importance. Otherwise the church wouldn’t have settled with two different celebrations of the nativity of Christ: 25th of December and 6th of January. They didn’t believe that he incarnated twice, did they?

Quote from: sionnachdearg;186328
In Ireland All Saints day was initially celebrated on April 20th to avoid the connection with the festival of Samhain since Samhain was such an important festival in Ireland. It was pope Gregory III who made November 1st to be the official date for All Saints day to make the celebrations at the time of Samhain to be only related to Christian beliefs.


Thank you for connecting the removal of All Martyrs' from May, and the making of it into All Saints on 1st of November, to Gregory III (731-741 CE). I wasn't aware of when the switch of date took place.

The decision only affected Rome, of course, and had nothing to do with Ireland, which continued to celebrate on 20th of April for a while. The regional churches of the time were very diverse, regarding how the eucharist was celebrated, which saints' days were celebrated (and when), and how the daily office was structured.

Since the Irish church celebrated the martyrs/saints in April, the reason of that choice can not have been to replace Samhain, which you now agree to, don't you?

Quote from: sionnachdearg;186328
The Roman Church made a campaign to place Churches over previous pagan sites and to Change pagan festivals to Christian festivals to remove all influence of any of the pagan religions.


Not ’remove all influence’. Those parts of pagan religion, that was a part of education, were retained. It is thanks to monastic libraries that Graeco-Roman mythology is known to us. Not all pagan festivals were turned into Christian festivals, and many Christian festivals lack pagan roots. Some pagan festivals were just abolished, other survived as secular festivals. Examples of the latter alternative are how emperor Justinian celebrated Brumalia in the 520s and 530s, and how emperor Leo IV celebrated Maiouma in 777.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #49 on: February 12, 2016, 07:58:33 pm »
Quote from: FraterBenedict;186550
Characters from the Hebrew Bible are mentioned with admiration as exemplars in Hebrews ,


Make that Hebrews 11.

Castus

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #50 on: February 12, 2016, 08:29:01 pm »
Quote from: Jack;186453
You can pray to or for anybody, as a Catholic, but (and it's been a long time since Sunday school) I'm pretty sure only the ones in Heaven can put a good word in with God on one's behalf.

 
Indeed, only the saints have the ability to intercede. Now, granted, if Grandma was a Catholic and on the up-and-up then in the Church's view she's probably in Heaven, but we don't know for sure. Asking Grandma to whisper in Jesus' ear when he's not too busy personally approving football plays is fine, but there's a chance that nobody will be on the other end. Far better to stick to the capital-S saints, who the Church says we know are certainly in Heaven.

Jack

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Re: What Christianity stole from Paganism
« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2016, 12:37:57 am »
Quote from: Castus;186554
Indeed, only the saints have the ability to intercede. Now, granted, if Grandma was a Catholic and on the up-and-up then in the Church's view she's probably in Heaven, but we don't know for sure. Asking Grandma to whisper in Jesus' ear when he's not too busy personally approving football plays is fine, but there's a chance that nobody will be on the other end. Far better to stick to the capital-S saints, who the Church says we know are certainly in Heaven.

 
Now if Grandma got run over by a reindeer while she was trying to bring the gospel to SATAN CLAUS then she's a martyr and you know you're good to go. But yeah, otherwise she might be in purgatory working through a few things and you never quite know when she'll pop right on into heaven so you might as well stick with the better-known Saints.
Hail Mara, Lady of Good Things!
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