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Author Topic: Beginning worship.  (Read 3704 times)

Something

Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #45 on: April 20, 2017, 01:50:04 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;205189
"Hell", linguistically speaking, is of course derived from the Norse mythologies, and thus anyone who is talking about Norse mythology has to dig through all of the interpolation from an unrelated religious system that happened to steal their word for such concepts as Gehenna, the cursed valley outside of Jerusalem (I want to say where trash was burned, but that may be my brain interpolating from something else).

The word actually used in original Biblical texts is "Gehenna" - seven times in Matthew, thrice in Mark, once in Luke, once in James.  The usage of "hell" is a modernism, an act of translation, which I imagine a number of heathens rightly find rather annoying, since it's using their mythological terminology for something that neither refers to the original Gehenna nor the Norse Hel.  (As the modern concept of hell has more roots in the literary works of John Milton than in the Bible itself.)

 
I agree with fact that the amount of symbols, deity concepts and stories that were taken by Christianity from the norse and used for the sole purpose of making people believe what they wanted really annoys me, if it wasn't bad enough that they started burning and hanging those who refused to convert they then don't even take the time to create their own stories and symbols simply stealing them from the norse just adds insult to injury in my opinion.. If Christianity had been introduced as simply a new concept with their own stories and concepts and in a loving freely way then I would at least have some respect for it.. sadly this wasn't the case.. But I should add that this is my opinion on the religion and not those who worship it..

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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #46 on: April 20, 2017, 03:02:16 pm »
Quote from: Something;205247
I agree with fact that the amount of symbols, deity concepts and stories that were taken by Christianity from the norse and used for the sole purpose of making people believe what they wanted really annoys me, if it wasn't bad enough that they started burning and hanging those who refused to convert they then don't even take the time to create their own stories and symbols simply stealing them from the norse just adds insult to injury in my opinion.. If Christianity had been introduced as simply a new concept with their own stories and concepts and in a loving freely way then I would at least have some respect for it.. sadly this wasn't the case.. But I should add that this is my opinion on the religion and not those who worship it..


Assimilating the symbols of the culture you teach, in order to make the concepts taught understandable, is not stealing. It is sound teaching method, regardless of subject.

The Greek term that was translated, many centuries later, as 'hell' is 'kolasis', which means 'punishment'. It is a state, not a place. Early eschatology was quite sophisticated, but much of it was swamped by local ignorance and superstition during the Dark Ages.

Early Christian understanding of hell: http://www.antiochian.org/node/18270
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Something

Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2017, 10:05:20 am »
Quote from: Chatelaine;205255
Assimilating the symbols of the culture you teach, in order to make the concepts taught understandable, is not stealing. It is sound teaching method, regardless of subject.

The Greek term that was translated, many centuries later, as 'hell' is 'kolasis', which means 'punishment'. It is a state, not a place. Early eschatology was quite sophisticated, but much of it was swamped by local ignorance and superstition during the Dark Ages.

Early Christian understanding of hell: http://www.antiochian.org/node/18270

 
Taking something that doesn't belong to you is stealing plain and simple if you choose to believe that it's okay to use it for teaching that's another matter.. And it was not just the norse that had things taken but also Greeks and others.. In my opinion no religion that uses fear tactics and violence to force it's teaching upon others deserves honouring. The persecution of pagans at the hands of Christians is historic fact and not up for debate sadly, like claiming world war 2 never happened.. Even still I would never treat a person different because of their religion because that would make me just as guilty. Imagine how long it would take for a new religion that started claiming all who follow this jesus guy are actually devil worshippers and are all going to punished for eternity would last? Yet there are still those who think that what Christians did was perfectly okay... Deeply sad in my opinion

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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #48 on: April 21, 2017, 11:56:38 am »
Quote from: Something;205293
Taking something that doesn't belong to you is stealing plain and simple


Last I checked, time and nature didn't belong to anyone, nor was there any copyright on symbols.

Quote from: Something;205293
if you choose to believe that it's okay to use it for teaching that's another matter..


Effective teaching needs to be tailored to the culture it addresses. Try explaining black pudding to someone who has never even heard of it.

Quote from: Something;205293
And it was not just the norse that had things taken but also Greeks and others..


Nothing was 'taken'. Repurposed, sure. But it's not even cultural appropriation when it takes place within your own culture. Or do you think that Greeks were converted by some kind of foreigners?

Quote from: Something;205293
The persecution of pagans at the hands of Christians is historic fact and not up for debate sadly, like claiming world war 2 never happened..


As is the persecution of Christians at the hands of pagans (and Christians at the hands of other Christians, and pagans at the hands of other pagans, but let's not broaden this too much).

Quote from: Something;205293
Imagine how long it would take for a new religion that started claiming all who follow this jesus guy are actually devil worshippers and are all going to punished for eternity would last?


Islam has been going on for 14 centuries and counting.
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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #49 on: April 21, 2017, 12:45:58 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;205295
Islam has been going on for 14 centuries and counting.

 
And is far from being a religion that claims "all who follow this jesus guy are actually devil worshippers", so I don't know why you would suggest it in response to that claim.
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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #50 on: April 21, 2017, 01:04:50 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;205296
And is far from being a religion that claims "all who follow this jesus guy are actually devil worshippers", so I don't know why you would suggest it in response to that claim.

Worshipping Jesus as Son of God is blasphemy punishable by death in Islam. The Orthodox Church honours several hundred martyrs from the times of the Ottoman Empire. I doubt Allah would be (perceived as) more merciful than his followers.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 01:11:07 pm by Chatelaine »
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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #51 on: April 21, 2017, 05:32:02 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;205297
Worshipping Jesus as Son of God is blasphemy punishable by death in Islam. The Orthodox Church honours several hundred martyrs from the times of the Ottoman Empire. I doubt Allah would be (perceived as) more merciful than his followers.

 
That strikes me as more plausibly a trait of a particular empire rather than Islam as a whole, though my history of the time period and region is not good. My understanding of Islamic orthodoxy is that they as a whole tend to believe that Christians have some rather silly and misguided beliefs (such as the Trinity), but that they are a part of the same prophetic tradition.  This is not at all comparable to "they are all devil worshippers".

I quote, for example, from http://www.islamicity.org/4659/can-muslims-be-friends-with-jews-and-christians/ :

"God teaches us throughout the Quran that there are righteous Jews and Christians. As such there is no prohibition for Muslims to be friends with Jews, Christians or people of any other faith who are of good character."

And a chunk of https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/why-do-shiites-and-sunnis-fight/ :

"Ultimately, the Islamic reflection on the other two faiths considers them to be earlier versions and revelations of the same truth even if the long history from their sacral origins might have diluted their understanding."

My basic understanding is that Islamic governance allowed for the practice of other monotheistic religions, though at the price of occasionally brutal taxation for non-Muslims and some fairly nasty second-class status.  (Dhimmis were banned from some professions in at least some areas, could not marry Muslims, could not testify against Muslims in court, could not build new religious buildings, and got lower value in blood money judgements.  Enforcement - and periods of persecution - varied by Caliph.)

https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-8711128.html would be really nice to read but I am not interested in paying up for it.  I found a quote from it that is behind the paywall, but which claims to cite a seventh century bishop in saying "Arabs aren’t opposed to Christianity, they respect our religion, honor priests and holy men. We have records of Muslim rulers helping found Christian monasteries."
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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #52 on: April 21, 2017, 06:48:27 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;205303
That strikes me as more plausibly a trait of a particular empire rather than Islam as a whole


One could say that about the Roman Empire too. :) Islam is not, and has never been, any more monolithic than Christianity.

Contemporary accounts reveal many similar patterns to witch hunts, actually. The pretty young woman who gets dragged before the judge because she rejected someone's advances is unmistakable. In the west, she'd be accused of witchcraft; the east goes for apostasy, which is still the worst thing that someone can be accused of in Islam.

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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #53 on: April 21, 2017, 07:18:15 pm »
Quote from: Chatelaine;205297
Worshipping Jesus as Son of God is blasphemy punishable by death in Islam. The Orthodox Church honours several hundred martyrs from the times of the Ottoman Empire. I doubt Allah would be (perceived as) more merciful than his followers.
The Russian Orthodox church also considers a man that ordered soldiers to fire on hungry civilians to be a legit martyr so just being a martyr does not make someone actually worth being venerated.

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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #54 on: April 21, 2017, 07:37:46 pm »
Quote from: Tom;205308
The Russian Orthodox church also considers a man that ordered soldiers to fire on hungry civilians to be a legit martyr so just being a martyr does not make someone actually worth being venerated.

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Also the reason why considering Christ as God being wrong in an Islamic context has more to do with the enforcement of monotheistic belief than in actually being hostile to Christianity. It just happens that the trinity basically can be seen as a form of non-monotheistic belief from a certain point of view. Therefore by saying they've only gone after Christians rather than also including polytheists is disingenuous. After all, the reason why there is very little left of what polytheistic beliefs there were in the Hejaz prior to Islam is because there was a deliberate destruction of it by Muhammad and his followers.

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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #55 on: April 22, 2017, 07:55:45 am »
Quote from: Tom;205308
The Russian Orthodox church also considers a man that ordered soldiers to fire on hungry civilians to be a legit martyr so just being a martyr does not make someone actually worth being venerated.


A martyr is someone who dies for their faith (be it in a religion or an ideology). Being a nice person beforehand is not necessary. However, the process of sainthood in the Orthodox Church is beyond the scope of this thread, so, if you are interested in details, you are welcome to make a new thread in Non-Pagan Religions and Interfaith Discussion.
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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #56 on: April 22, 2017, 08:14:38 am »
Quote from: Something;205247
I agree with fact that the amount of symbols, deity concepts and stories that were taken by Christianity from the norse and used for the sole purpose of making people believe what they wanted really annoys me, if it wasn't bad enough that they started burning and hanging those who refused to convert they then don't even take the time to create their own stories and symbols simply stealing them from the norse just adds insult to injury in my opinion.. If Christianity had been introduced as simply a new concept with their own stories and concepts and in a loving freely way then I would at least have some respect for it.. sadly this wasn't the case.. But I should add that this is my opinion on the religion and not those who worship it..

 
Quote from: Something;205293
Taking something that doesn't belong to you is stealing plain and simple if you choose to believe that it's okay to use it for teaching that's another matter.. And it was not just the norse that had things taken but also Greeks and others.. In my opinion no religion that uses fear tactics and violence to force it's teaching upon others deserves honouring. The persecution of pagans at the hands of Christians is historic fact and not up for debate sadly, like claiming world war 2 never happened.. Even still I would never treat a person different because of their religion because that would make me just as guilty. Imagine how long it would take for a new religion that started claiming all who follow this jesus guy are actually devil worshippers and are all going to punished for eternity would last? Yet there are still those who think that what Christians did was perfectly okay... Deeply sad in my opinion

 
Here we go again. This comes up often enough that many of us are very tired of, and impatient with, debunking the inaccuracies.

The great majority of things that are often claimed to be things Christianity 'stole from the pagans' aren't at all; they are coincidental (such as the date of Christmas), or are a retconning of pagan belief or practice to conform with the Christian thing purportedly stolen (such as 'Jesus' virgin birth was originally Mithras's virgin birth' - only true to the extent that one counts rocks as virgins), or derive from Christianity's roots in Judaism (Easter, or in most languages, Pascha or words derived therefrom, which is the Hebrew word for Passover - a case could be made that Christianity stole Pascha from the Jews, but not from the pagans).

While many cultural customs made their way into Christianity, this usually wasn't because they were 'stolen by the Christians'; the Christians were not a conquering tribe (as Chatelaine alluded to). Rather, they were cultural customs retained by people of that culture after conversion.

You might find this thread informative; the various posts cover a great many different specific claims, often in detail, including things that Christianity did derive from some or another pagan source.

As for the particular thing that began this line of conversation, the word 'hel(l)', that's not theft, that's translation. Its retention, in the English-speaking world, as the standard term, is not because Christianity 'stole' it, but simply because English is part of the Germanic language family.

Similarly, your claim that 'the persecution of pagans at the hands of Christians is historic fact and not up for debate' depends very much on what specifically you're speaking of. Most instances of that are indeed debatable, at least in the form in which they're often presented by modern pagans.

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Something

Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2017, 01:51:20 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;205329
Here we go again. This comes up often enough that many of us are very tired of, and impatient with, debunking the inaccuracies.

The great majority of things that are often claimed to be things Christianity 'stole from the pagans' aren't at all; they are coincidental (such as the date of Christmas), or are a retconning of pagan belief or practice to conform with the Christian thing purportedly stolen (such as 'Jesus' virgin birth was originally Mithras's virgin birth' - only true to the extent that one counts rocks as virgins), or derive from Christianity's roots in Judaism (Easter, or in most languages, Pascha or words derived therefrom, which is the Hebrew word for Passover - a case could be made that Christianity stole Pascha from the Jews, but not from the pagans).

While many cultural customs made their way into Christianity, this usually wasn't because they were 'stolen by the Christians'; the Christians were not a conquering tribe (as Chatelaine alluded to). Rather, they were cultural customs retained by people of that culture after conversion.

You might find this thread informative; the various posts cover a great many different specific claims, often in detail, including things that Christianity did derive from some or another pagan source.

As for the particular thing that began this line of conversation, the word 'hel(l)', that's not theft, that's translation. Its retention, in the English-speaking world, as the standard term, is not because Christianity 'stole' it, but simply because English is part of the Germanic language family.

Similarly, your claim that 'the persecution of pagans at the hands of Christians is historic fact and not up for debate' depends very much on what specifically you're speaking of. Most instances of that are indeed debatable, at least in the form in which they're often presented by modern pagans.

Sunflower
So it's just coincidence that Christianity came at the time of pagan faiths and coincidence that until then nobody had ever heard the name jesus and coincidence that from that point on people were told hel was not the home of the dead but the place where evil people go, coincidence that the devil was made to look identical to the pagan nature god, and all you have to do is abandon your beliefs and you will go to the heavens instead.

coincidence that the stereotype of evil witches cackling around a fire came in at the same time, coincidence that the noahs ark seems to be a blatant copy of the Greek story when zeus flooded earth, and that Christmas covered the same time as yule, and coincidence that the cross was used as a spiritual crossroads symbol yet Christians claim it as where jesus died,

I  could go on for pages here but there has to be some stage where commen sense comes in to play, but the percecution of pagans is history, the Salem witch trials was just the tip of the iceberg sadly.. I have found strangly enough that the only people who seem to think otherwise are devoted Christians..But that's probably a coincidence as well..

Regardless of points of view it doesn't change my opinion that forcing people to believe what you want through fear and violence is wrong..

Although I will not go as far as to say they do not exist because if you believe that it's our energy that comes from belief that creates these world's and beings then enough time has passed with those who believe in it to create it, but as for the concept of the Christian god creating all we see I simply can't see how it would be possible if he never existed until 4000 years ago give or take....

To me if you want to know how things began the first thing you do is go to the beginning.. This is all my own opinion of course and everyone should be free to believe in what ever they want as long as it doesn't harm anyone else..
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 12:00:05 am by SunflowerP »

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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #58 on: April 23, 2017, 03:04:46 pm »
Taking this briefly point by point, because you're conflating a number of different issues in a way that both does not serve your actual point and that may confuse other people.

Quote from: Something;205425
So it's just coincidence that Christianity came at the time of pagan faiths

Well, Pagan faiths were around then. So was Judaism. So were Buddhism and Hinduism, and while they are not normally grouped with western European pagan traditions by people who know much about either, they're from a different line of religious development.

People try new stuff out, including religion. The stuff that was around when they started may or may not influence that. That's not a coincidence, that's a result of stuff being around. (Though there were certainly some aspects of early Christianity that were very much in reaction to state forms of religion in the Roman empire, for example, just like there are some aspects of the development of the United States that were very much in reaction to "The British Empire is doing this thing we don't like so much.")

Quote
and coincidence that until then nobody had ever heard the name jesus

Not sure where you're going with this, but a) Jewish texts discuss the role of someone like Jesus, and b) deities have names, which may or may not have shown up in the historical record prior to someone notably doing something, just like humans do.

Quote
and coincidence that from that point on people were told hel was not the home of the dead but the place where evil people go

I'm pretty sure you're condensing about 1000 years of time here. But I know less about the details than this one...

(Also, the Christian understanding of hell and for that matter what happens after death is complicated and nuanced: the part that's in the Bible is in Revelations which is basically really lousy Greek with a side of 'John was probably hallucinating and/or on really serious drugs' and most sensible people do not use that kind of thing as the core basis for theology.)

Quote
coincidence that the devil was made to look identical to the pagan nature god

This part? Definitely a result of the Crusades, which begin in about 1100 (ok, 1095) and go on through the 1400s.

(Did you know there are actually religious sculptures, in churches, of Jewish and Christian religious figures who are honoured who have horns? The most famous is probably this one by Michelangelo made in 1513-15). Symbology is complicated.)

Quote
the stereotype of evil witches cackling around a fire came in at the same time


Again, much later thing (c. the 1500-1600s), and possibly rooted either in socio-economic bias or anti-Semitic bias.

Quote
coincidence that the noahs ark seems to be a blatant copy of the Greek story when zeus flooded earth

Many many disparate cultures have a flood myth. Quite possibly this is because many many cultures have a long-faded cultural memory of floods.
(Also fairly likely in this case that the two myths initially developed independently, and of course, most versions of the Greek myths and the story of Noah don't necessarily match up on greater detail than "There was a flood. A few people survived. Probably with a boat." That does not a 'blatant copy' make. (You said apply common sense, let's apply it here.)

Quote
and that Christmas covered the same time as yule

Again, many cultures celebrate a thing having to do with light around the shortest day of the year.

(The timing of Christmas is actually sort of fascinating. If you don't want to read the thread Sunflower linked to, I have a shorter article that focuses on whether holidays were borrowed and how we could tell, and specific details on timing on my website, that's a result of several rounds of this particular topic. Short version: the current date is from the 12th century, hence well into Christanity, and involves some highly optimistic theories about a 'perfect pregnancy'.)

Quote
and coincidence that the cross was used as a spiritual crossroads symbol yet Christians claim it as where jesus died

If you're attempting to claim that crucifixion was not a common method of execution in the Roman empire, that's an extraordinary claim and requires evidence. (It was not the most common method, partly because it's time and space consuming, but it was fairly widely used for an extended period of time.)

It seems a perfectly reasonable symbol to me. (Christians also use the fish. Fish exist outside of Christianity. Many modern witches use a pentacle, which has a long history of being a Christian religious symbol before modern witchcraft took it over. Symbols, still complicated.)

Quote
but the percecution of pagans is history, the Salem witch trials was just the tip of the iceberg sadly..

Also not about persecution of Pagans. Persecution of differences, yes. (Personally, I favour the socio-economic theories put out in Boyer and Nissenbaum's classic book, but there's a number of other theories out there that have much more solid evidence for them than your assertion that it's all about Paganism.)

One fact against your theory: the one person whose religion might have been something we'd consider Pagan is Tituba. While she was the first to be accused (this isn't that surprising: she was a slave with absolutely no social or practical power in that society), and she made a confession following torture, she actually survived the trials, unlike a lot of people who very clearly identified as devout Christians (and whose practices and lives seem to support that).

That doesn't mean there isn't - and hasn't been - persecution of pagans historically (just like there has been, basically, persecution of every other religion in situations where they're a minority culture without power in whatever place they are, and sometimes at other times). Just that Salem is not at all a good example of that.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 03:06:41 pm by Jenett »
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Re: Beginning worship.
« Reply #59 on: April 23, 2017, 07:10:35 pm »
Quote from: Something;205425
So it's just coincidence that Christianity came at the time of pagan faiths and coincidence that until then nobody had ever heard the name jesus and coincidence that from that point on people were told hel was not the home of the dead but the place where evil people go, coincidence that the devil was made to look identical to the pagan nature god, and all you have to do is abandon your beliefs and you will go to the heavens instead. coincidence that the stereotype of evil witches cackling around a fire came in at the same time, coincidence that the noahs ark seems to be a blatant copy of the Greek story when zeus flooded earth, and that Christmas covered the same time as yule, and coincidence that the cross was used as a spiritual crossroads symbol yet Christians claim it as where jesus died,I  could go on for pages here but there has to be some stage where commen sense comes in to play, but the percecution of pagans is history, the Salem witch trials was just the tip of the iceberg sadly.. I have found strangly enough that the only people who seem to think otherwise are devoted Christians..But that's probably a coincidence as well.. Regardless of points of view it doesn't change my opinion that forcing people to believe what you want through fear and violence is wrong.. Although I will not go as far as to say they do not exist because if you believe that it's our energy that comes from belief that creates these world's and beings then enough time has passed with those who believe in it to create it, but as for the concept of the Christian god creating all we see I simply can't see how it would be possible if he never existed until 4000 years ago give or take.... To me if you want to know how things began the first thing you do is go to the beginning.. This is all my own opinion of course and everyone should be free to believe in what ever they want as long as it doesn't harm anyone else..

 
I'm not going to start a debate on this in the 'Paganism for Beginners' forum, but if you'd like to bring it up, preferably one subject at a time, in 'Non-Pagan Religions' or some other suitable forum, perhaps we can engage in a friendly fashion and at least see where each other is coming from.
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where\'s the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

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