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Author Topic: Distinguishing paganism from christianity  (Read 8507 times)

beith

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #120 on: March 08, 2014, 10:31:23 am »
Quote from: ethelwulf;141933
I can see that accepting Christ as your lord and savior is a primary aspect but does that not imply that you are accepting what he believed in?

 
Speaking from my time as a Christian, not exactly.  It means accepting that his death on the cross absolved humanity of their sins, as long as they accepted that.  It means you're sinful by nature and do terrible things, but Jesus died so that you don't have to so as long as you accept that Jesus did this for you (and you're baptized), you won't go to Hell.

Of course, there are a LOT of flavors of Christianity, so my experience isn't necessarily representative of the whole of Christianity.  I've noticed across these boards a lot talk about Protestant Christian beliefs that seem to be talking about something more along the lines of Southern Baptist than what you would have ever seen in my Lutheran Church.

From an ELCA Lutheran perspective, the religion was about faith and not works.  You didn't have to be the most wonderful person ever, you didn't need to tithe a certain amount to stay in the club, you didn't need to say certain prayers or do a lot of charity.  You just had to believe that Jesus died so that you don't have to.  However, your belief in this supposedly leads to wanting to do good works.  They just aren't what gets you into heaven.

It should also lead you to wanting to be more Christ-like.  From that perspective, it isn't so much about believing what Jesus believed so much as it was about following what Jesus taught.  That information is in the Gospels.  Yes, they were written quite a while after his death, but I still think there is a lot more information there and in other early Christian documents than you have about any early Celtic practices.

This concept reminds me of of Big Bunny.

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #121 on: March 08, 2014, 02:39:48 pm »
Quote from: beith;141973
Jesus died so that you don't have to so as long as you accept that Jesus did this for you (and you're baptized), you won't go to Hell.[

Here's one of those different-flavors things: in my background, baptism was optional (but highly recommended.)  
Doctrinal differences like this are a good argument for 'Christianity' being treated like an umbrella term.

Quote
I've noticed across these boards a lot talk about Protestant Christian beliefs that seem to be talking about something more along the lines of Southern Baptist...

That's because they're the only ones getting into Heaven.  

Quote
From an ELCA Lutheran perspective, the religion was about faith and not works.
 
Not only them.  This is one of those things the Protestants love to fight over.  One cites Paul, the other cites James, both seem to willfully ignore a certain Jewish shit-stirrer who said something about showing faith through works, hinting at something bigger than choosing one over the other.  

You'd think that people who were hung up on legalism would cite the guy who set the precedent, as it were, but alas.
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Valentine

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #122 on: March 08, 2014, 04:34:48 pm »
Quote from: beith;141973
Speaking from my time as a Christian, not exactly.  It means accepting that his death on the cross absolved humanity of their sins, as long as they accepted that.  It means you're sinful by nature and do terrible things, but Jesus died so that you don't have to so as long as you accept that Jesus did this for you (and you're baptized), you won't go to Hell.

Of course, there are a LOT of flavors of Christianity, so my experience isn't necessarily representative of the whole of Christianity.  I've noticed across these boards a lot talk about Protestant Christian beliefs that seem to be talking about something more along the lines of Southern Baptist than what you would have ever seen in my Lutheran Church.

From an ELCA Lutheran perspective, the religion was about faith and not works.  You didn't have to be the most wonderful person ever, you didn't need to tithe a certain amount to stay in the club, you didn't need to say certain prayers or do a lot of charity.  You just had to believe that Jesus died so that you don't have to.  However, your belief in this supposedly leads to wanting to do good works.  They just aren't what gets you into heaven.

It should also lead you to wanting to be more Christ-like.  From that perspective, it isn't so much about believing what Jesus believed so much as it was about following what Jesus taught.  That information is in the Gospels.  Yes, they were written quite a while after his death, but I still think there is a lot more information there and in other early Christian documents than you have about any early Celtic practices.

This concept reminds me of of Big Bunny.

 
Yeah, "accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior" as a definition of Christianity is a particularly Evangelical way of seeing things.  It's not necessarily a good definition even for other Protestants, leave alone Catholic or Orthodox Christians.
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ethelwulf

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #123 on: March 10, 2014, 12:49:54 am »
Quote from: Valentine;141986
Yeah, "accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior" as a definition of Christianity is a particularly Evangelical way of seeing things.  It's not necessarily a good definition even for other Protestants, leave alone Catholic or Orthodox Christians.

 
So accepting Christ or at least believing in Christ is not defining aspect to being a Christian? I know there are many variation of Christians but this one aspect would seem to be one of the more important aspects for calling yourself Christian. If this is not a defining aspect for Catholics, orthodox or Protestants, the what is?

ethelwulf

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #124 on: March 10, 2014, 01:19:28 am »
Quote from: beith;141973
It means you're sinful by nature and do terrible things, but Jesus died so that you don't have to so as long as you accept that Jesus did this for you (and you're baptized), you won't go to Hell.


 I still think there is a lot more information there and in other early Christian documents than you have about any early Celtic practices.

This concept reminds me of of Big Bunny.

 
First I do not disagree about the greater documents written for Christians, I was just reflecting on the fact that there are some similar dilemmas which Christianity faced because Jesus did not write down his message and it was almost 100 years before his message was written. Of course those documents were written in a time of a tolerant pagan culture. The Celtic pagan culture was written down under the influence of an intolerant (of other religions) Christian culture.

I do not disagree that there are many variation of Christianity but would any of them not believe the is one god that they should believe in? Would any of them not see that the way to heaven is through believing in Jesus?

Is the concept of being sinful and requiring the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross also not different than many of the Pagan religions who do not see people as requiring that type of sacrifice to be saved?

Aster Breo

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #125 on: March 10, 2014, 04:25:54 am »
Quote from: ethelwulf;142072
Is the concept of being sinful and requiring the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross also not different than many of the Pagan religions who do not see people as requiring that type of sacrifice to be saved?

What pagan religions include the concept of sacrIfice in order to be saved?  And saved from what?
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Valentine

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #126 on: March 10, 2014, 05:01:19 am »
Quote from: ethelwulf;142070
So accepting Christ or at least believing in Christ is not defining aspect to being a Christian? I know there are many variation of Christians but this one aspect would seem to be one of the more important aspects for calling yourself Christian. If this is not a defining aspect for Catholics, orthodox or Protestants, the what is?

 
Believing in Jesus as Messiah is standard, yes (though Unitarian Christians of various stripes may not accept Jesus as Son of God, which is not a requirement for being Messiah, or may accept Jesus as Son of God but not as being Himself God, because theology is a mucky country indeed), but the formulation "accept Christ as your Lord and Savior" being the definition of a Christian is particularly Evangelical.  Many other flavors of Christians, for instance, might put less emphasis on orthodoxy--believing the right things--in favor of orthopraxy--doing the right things--and thereby might focus more on doing Christ's commandments than on believing in Him or accepting Him into your heart or various other things.  I know a lot of Christian clergy who are iffy on the whole "accepting Jesus into your heart" thing (or even the "believing in YHVH" thing!), but rock-solid on the "fight for the poor and dispossessed and brokenhearted" thing," as an example, who I wouldn't dare suggest weren't Christians.

Part of this comes from the centuries of Christian theological debate about what their God values/values more, in terms of faith, or doing works, or believing the right things, or saying the right creed, or not doing particular sins.  For some Christians what matters is you're part of the community and taking Communion.  For some Christians what matters is confessing that you're a sinner and need salvation and asking for that salvation from the right source.  One of the biggest debates is about faith vs. works and where the emphasis is put in being a Christian.  There are Christians who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior who do none of the things Jesus commanded His followers to do, and Christians who see Jesus less as a Savior and more as a comrade-in-arms while they do things like fight for economic justice, and they're both Christian, from different angles.  We're talking about a couple billion people and a couple thousand years of theological, ecclesiological, and hermeneutical divergence, here.
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Valentine

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #127 on: March 10, 2014, 05:10:55 am »
Quote from: Valentine;142082
We're talking about a couple billion people and a couple thousand years of theological, ecclesiological, and hermeneutical divergence, here.

 
Shorter: the only people who have spent more time arguing about what counts as Christian and what counts as Pagan than all the Pagans put together?  Christians.  They have been debating this stuff and asking these questions since the outset.  (The various pagans of the time have had to catch up, because for the first few hundred years, if you'd asked them, most would say "Christanity who now?")
"Let be be finale of seem." - Wallace Stevens, "The Emperor of Ice-Cream"
"There isn't a way things should be.  There's just what happens, and what we do."
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ethelwulf

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #128 on: March 10, 2014, 10:19:06 am »
Quote from: Valentine;142083
Shorter: the only people who have spent more time arguing about what counts as Christian and what counts as Pagan than all the Pagans put together?  Christians.  They have been debating this stuff and asking these questions since the outset.  (The various pagans of the time have had to catch up, because for the first few hundred years, if you'd asked them, most would say "Christanity who now?")

 
Thank you for the insight. I am trying to understand what believe in which is why I asked what others thought about the difference between paganism and Christianity. I have been surrounded by Christianity for so long and I know there is a distinction between the way I believe but I have not had much interaction with others who are not Christian and I wanted to see what others think differentiates them. Evidently that answer is very difficult to come by so I think I will try a different approach but I have learned much from what has been posted.

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #129 on: March 10, 2014, 10:29:50 am »
Quote from: Valentine;142082
I know a lot of Christian clergy who are iffy on the whole "accepting Jesus into your heart" thing (or even the "believing in YHVH" thing!), but rock-solid on the "fight for the poor and dispossessed and brokenhearted" thing," as an example, who I wouldn't dare suggest weren't Christians.

 
And of course, more relevant to non-Christians, there is the related division between those Christians who think that "fight for the poor and dispossessed and brokenhearted" is the raw essential, and thus that doing that is basically doing Jesus-work whether or not one raises a Jesus-flag over it and thus counts towards salvation even for non-believers, and those who feel that only good works done while working for the correct racket count.
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as our ashes turn to dust
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Valentine

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Re: Distinguishing paganism from christianity
« Reply #130 on: March 10, 2014, 02:37:17 pm »
Quote from: ethelwulf;142093
Thank you for the insight. I am trying to understand what believe in which is why I asked what others thought about the difference between paganism and Christianity. I have been surrounded by Christianity for so long and I know there is a distinction between the way I believe but I have not had much interaction with others who are not Christian and I wanted to see what others think differentiates them. Evidently that answer is very difficult to come by so I think I will try a different approach but I have learned much from what has been posted.

 
Of course!  These are complicated questions, and it's clear you're looking to figure some things out that aren't easy to figure out.  Sometimes the thing that's even more valuable than knowing the answers is knowing the questions that will best serve you.  I wish you the very best of luck.
"Let be be finale of seem." - Wallace Stevens, "The Emperor of Ice-Cream"
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