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Author Topic: Christianity's relation to Paganism  (Read 1430 times)

bluefrog20

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Christianity's relation to Paganism
« on: November 01, 2016, 02:40:46 pm »
What do people here think of the theory that states that Christianity can be disproved based on the things in its writings that have been taken from other religious traditions? I've been researching this for a while, and I've found a lot of interesting information on it. This article summarizes some of the evidence well:
[Click-spam link removed]
Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? I've had an interest in this for a while and was looking for more information on it.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2016, 05:49:47 pm by RandallS »

Jack

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Re: Christianity's relation to Paganism
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2016, 03:12:47 pm »
Quote from: bluefrog20;198461
What do people here think of the theory that states that Christianity can be disproved based on the things in its writings that have been taken from other religious traditions?

 
In general I think spending time proving or disproving religions misses the point.

Also if you throw out any religion that has things that evolved from an earlier religion we're left with like... nothing.
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Re: Christianity's relation to Paganism
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2016, 03:40:59 pm »
Quote from: bluefrog20;198461
What do people here think of the theory that states that Christianity can be disproved


Regardless of what comes after this sentiment, it is a terrible theory.

Go disprove some poetry and a painting first, and then work up to religions.

Quote
Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? I've had an interest in this for a while and was looking for more information on it.

 
Looking at the front page for the website you linked shows a shallow comprehension of minor branches of Christianity, so if that's the scholarship you're working with you're screwed.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Soletaken

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Re: Christianity's relation to Paganism
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2016, 06:07:32 pm »
Quote from: Jack;198463


Also if you throw out any religion that has things that evolved from an earlier religion we're left with like... nothing.

 
^this.
Also, it's kind of douche-y (if that's even a valid adjective lol) to try to disprove someone's religion. You wouldn't want it done to your religion, you might want to rethink trying to do it to someone else's. Just my opinion.

Sefiru

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Re: Christianity's relation to Paganism
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2016, 08:04:28 pm »
Quote from: bluefrog20;198461


 
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We don't often get a chance for this fine tradition these days ...

Faemon

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Re: Christianity's relation to Paganism
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2016, 09:24:49 pm »
Quote from: bluefrog20;198461
What do people here think of the theory that states that Christianity can be disproved

Ehh...the literal belief, more than that the ethnocentric hostility to non-Christian belief systems might soften up once somebody gets deep enough into what fandom culture calls the "meta" of the canon text. Blankets by Craig Thompson is an autobiographical graphic novel that deals a bit with this, and Evid3nc3 on YouTube has a series on Deconversion from their Evangelical Christian childhood based on debating with an overeducated atheist, reading Some Mistakes of Moses, and one of Karen Armstrong's books.

Christianity's still going to exist, though, as a mode of symbolic vocabulary, as a community or several of practice...that's not all going to disappear in a puff of logic. I think it's a bad theory when it remains theoretical in contradiction to what's actually practical.
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Re: Christianity's relation to Paganism
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2016, 04:48:54 am »
Quote from: bluefrog20;198461
What do people here think of the theory that states that Christianity can be disproved based on the things in its writings that have been taken from other religious traditions? I've been researching this for a while, and I've found a lot of interesting information on it. This article summarizes some of the evidence well:
[Click-spam link removed]
Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? I've had an interest in this for a while and was looking for more information on it.

 
As a religious studies scholar (technically), I have issues with this claim... Many, many books from the fields of biblical studies and religious studies have tried to analyse the claims of Christianity, and no one can be sure of what's historically true and what's not. For example, there's a school of thought that says that Jesus was a myth rather than a historical figure, but those scholars can't prove it - only suggest it, by (fairly unconvincing IMO) extrapolations from various sources. Similarly, there's an entire school of thought around the 'historical Jesus', with scholars who think they can demonstrate that Jesus definitely existed. Neither can 'prove' their position. Anyone who says they can 'prove' Jesus either existed or didn't exist is making a claim that would make them a lot of money if they really could substantiate it, so I would avoid books that state either claim is beyond a shadow of a doubt. Most books that go too far in either direction are more ideological than scholarly.

Most scholars of religious studies are far more interested in what people believe and why. You have people in this world who believe things that have been demonstratively disproven - crop circles for example. And people who don't believe things that can be clearly proven - climate change for example. 'Proving' or 'disproving' a thing won't kill an idea, ideology or religion.

So the question then becomes: why do people believe things? And why do people believe this thing you're looking at, in particular? And how does it affect their lives on a practical level? That's what I'm interested in.

For more on the 'Jesus myth' try the Wikipedia article on the subject, which has a good summary of the scholarship on it over the past two centuries https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_myth_theory. See also Robert M Price, who is the biggest proponent of it at the moment: http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/ He hosts an interesting podcast called The Bible Geek if you want to hear more.

For the Historical Jesus approach, here's the Wikipedia summary https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus There are a number of events widely accepted by scholars (Christian and non-Christian alike) as probably historically true, including the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist and his crucifixion by the Romans.

For a good introduction to the way we think in religious studies, the Immanent Frame blog wrote a summary of three scholarly approaches to religion: http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2014/02/05/three-approaches-to-the-study-of-religion/
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