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Similarities between religions


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#16    trublvr

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 04:37 AM

QUOTE
Christmas was accually moved to Dec. 25 when they christians were converting the pagans in England/Europe. Historians accually placed Jesus's birth somewhere in spring. However, with Yule, it's the celebration of the rebirth of the god. The god being The goddesses consort and the idea that through them like will spring foward again. Yule origonaly had the tree you decorate, the yule log, the gift giving... Santa Clause... It all basicaly got absorbed into christianity to help then convert. "No no no.. look here, see... You're not really celebrating the birth of your devil god, you're worshiping the birth of Christ... he's your saviour..."



SilverCougar, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, no one in the biblical texts ever tries to pinpoint Jesus’ birth on or around December 25.  

QUOTE
They changed the Horned God, what was a being of nature into thier Satan, to scare more people into converting.


Please demonstrate how Christians “invented” satan so as to scare non-Christians into converting.  I don’t understand how that works.  Also, what evidence is there that Christians changed the horned deity into satan?  Is it (I ask this seriously) only that satan and the horned deity both have horns?  

QUOTE
Granted some people have found simularities between Osiris's ressurection and Jesus's.


I'm glad that you brought this up, SilverCougar.    Actually, we discussed the supposed similarities between Jesus and Osiris on the now-defunct Jesus thread. My response to the Osiris-Jesus "similarities" was this:
QUOTE
One thing to keep in mind is the way in which some scholars intentionally reconstruct mystery cult stories using Christian language.  An example of this occurs with the story of Osiris, in which many see similarities to Jesus's story. Osiris's brother murders him, puts his body in a coffin, and then puts the coffin in the Nile River. Isis, Osiris's wife, gets his body and brings it to Egypt. Osiris's brother gets the body from her and carves it up into 14 pieces, which he scatters all over. After a long search, Isis finds all of the pieces of Osiris's body. Osiris, somehow, comes back to life after all this.

When certain scholars re-tell this story it goes something like this: Osiris, the savior-god, is killed by someone close to him (=Jesus is a savior-god, betrayed by someone close, killed); Osiris's body is immersed in some water (=Jesus's baptism); Osiris is somehow resurrected (=Jesus's resurrection).

But this is deceptive. First, Osiris was not a savior deity in any way, nor did his death have any saving significance. Second, outside of the fact that his body got wet, Osiris's burial at sea by his brother was in no way like Jewish or Christian baptism (mikvah for Jews). Lastly, Osiris's resuscitation can't be compared with Jesus's resurrection because none of the mystery religions believed in the Judeo-Christian concept of resurrection. Not only that, but the original Osiran myth is not clear on what in the world happened to him anyway. Also, Osiris's coming back from the dead is never said to have any salvific significance.

Also, when we begin to delve into where the Christians got their stuff, we have no further to look than Judaism. Baptism corresponds to a pre-existing Jewish purification rite of immersing in water. Communion corresponds to the Jewish passover ritual. Jesus's language about being the "Good Shepherd" in John ch 10 is borrowed directly from Ezekiel 34 and Jeremiah 23. Jesus's language about being the "Light of the world" in John ch 8, v 12 is imagery borrowed directly from Jewish metaphors for the guidance and judgment of God (like in Psalm 27 v 1, and the light images of the Dead Sea Scrolls). Jesus and the early Christians had no need to turn to the mystery religions for imagery and metaphor and ritual; they had their Jewish heritage to go to. And said Jewish heritage pre-dated much  of the mystery religion material.


Edited by trublvr, 06 June 2004 - 04:38 AM.

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#17    Falco Rex

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 12:17 PM

I know the popular image of Satan has horns, but I don't recall a horned Satan in the Bible. The few times he shows up I believe he's described as looking like a regular person isn't he? If your job is to tempt souls to damnation, you wouldn't be very good at it if you had horns and a tail and were 10 feet tall would you? tongue.gif  


#18    trublvr

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 12:23 PM

QUOTE
I know the popular image of Satan has horns, but I don't recall a horned Satan in the Bible. The few times he shows up I believe he's described as looking like a regular person isn't he? If your job is to tempt souls to damnation, you wouldn't be very good at it if you had horns and a tail and were 10 feet tall would you?


  Great point, Falco Rex.

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#19    Stellar

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 01:39 PM

I just got a question, does it say anywhere in the Bible that Satan controls hell or is it just understood that way?

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#20    Falco Rex

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 01:48 PM

I don't recall it saying that anywhere now that you mention it.I'm not 100% sure but I believe in Judaism at least, Hell and Satan don't have anything to do with each other.  


#21    Chauncy

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Posted 06 June 2004 - 04:04 PM

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The purpose of the missionaries was to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others with the hope that they would desire to follow Jesus.


And what would happen if they did not desire to follow Jesus?......you can sugar coat your response, as to maintain consistency, if you like.

QUOTE
I think it crucial to differentiate between “evolution” and “development” in a religious context.


How bout in the context of reality Trublvr. Are you trying, cleverishly, to imply that your religion has been in a constant state of developement as to the point of perfection and finally to God.....is this an on going thing or did the developement to prefection only begin at the onset of your belief??

No offense friend, but it seems that you know the truth but as of now want to say that mankind was always searching for God because God exists and it took awhile for man to gain an understanding of God......then Christianity came along and set the record straight and allowed for direction.....is this your jist?

So in your eyes all these similarities show a 'developement' ...where as other religions represent 'misunderstandings' and 'wrong' interpretations, where as christianity is the TRUE and proper interpretation......lol.....sorry had to chuckle there.

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#22    cloudedmoon

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 12:35 AM

Here is something interesting.
MITHRA, Sungod of Persia

The story of Mithra precedes the Christian fable by at least 600 years. According to Wheless, the cult of Mithra was, shortly before the Christian era, "the most popular and widely spread 'Pagan' religion of the times." Mithra has the following in common with the Christ character:

Mithra was born on December 25th. He was considered a great traveling teacher and master. He had 12 companions or disciples. He performed miracles. He was buried in a tomb. After three days he rose again. His resurrection was celebrated every year. Mithra was called "the Good Shepherd." He was considered "the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah." He was identified with both the Lion and the Lamb. His sacred day was Sunday, "the Lord's Day," hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ. Mithra had his principal festival on what was later to become Easter, at which time he was resurrected. His religion had a Eucharist or "Lord's Supper."

Oh gee is that familer.
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#23    trublvr

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 08:32 AM


  Cloudedmoon,

        Welcome to the discussion.  

QUOTE
Mithra was born on December 25th. He was considered a great traveling teacher and master. He had 12 companions or disciples. He performed miracles. He was buried in a tomb. After three days he rose again. His resurrection was celebrated every year. Mithra was called "the Good Shepherd." He was considered "the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah." He was identified with both the Lion and the Lamb. His sacred day was Sunday, "the Lord's Day," hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ. Mithra had his principal festival on what was later to become Easter, at which time he was resurrected. His religion had a Eucharist or "Lord's Supper."


   I've encoutered the Mithraic material before from a variety of sources.  Concerning the Mithraic story, scholars have precious little to work with because there is only little bit of material.  From the material, though, we have no indication that Mithras was referred to as "The Good Shepherd" or "the Way, the Truth, and the Light.  I also know of nothing that signifies that Mithras was worshipped on Sunday or that he was identified with the Lion or the Lamb.  As far as Easter goes, you'd have a much better argument if you went back to the goddess Ishtar.  

   All that said, the only similarities that Mithras and Jesus share are the following: The celebration of Jesus and Mithras on Dec. 25 and the usage of a sacred meal to celebrate Jesus and Mithras.  

   As far as the Dec. 25 date goes, I've noted elsewhere that it appears nowhere in the New Testament in reference to Jesus's birth.  In fact, it's not even clear from the Mithraic material that it was celebrated in reference to the Mithras's birth.  There are 3rd and 4th century references from early church patriarchs that Jesus's birth was celebrated on that day, but the reason for designating Dec. 25 had to do with Christians trying to compete with religions that worshipped the sun on Dec. 25.  Emperor Aurelian set aside this day for reverence to the sun in AD 274.  The earliest mention of Dec. 25 in reference to the celebration of Jesus's birth is about AD 337.  These Christians were trying to compete with the non-Christians sun-worshippers, so they decided to worship Jesus on that day.  The motive wasn't to pinpoint the exact day of Jesus's birth.  The closest thing we've got connecting Mithras with Dec. 25 is a scant possibility that adherents celebrated Mithras's emergence from a rock on this day.  But this is as close as scholars have gotten.

  As far as the sacred meal goes, many religions had (and still do have) sacred meals.  However, this is a far cry from saying that Mithras adherents participated in a Eucharist or Lord's Supper in the Christian sense of either of those terms.  To prove your point, you can't merely rely on pointing out that both religions had meals; you have to show that the significance of the meals were similar.  Not only that, but in the Lord's Supper, Jesus relies so much on the Jewish passover ritual that if you want to accuse Jesus and Christians of borrowing, you have no further to look than Jewish culture and scriptures (which is no big secret).  And the Jewish rites and culture are older than the Mithraic myth.  

  This is the same problem with some of the other similarities you have listed:  "The Anointed"[Messiah] and "The Savior".  Gods in some way being anointed or in some way being saviors is very widespread, even among cultures that have had no contact with one another.  These qualities are so universal in their general meaning that we can't say that just the use of these words in reference to one god or another automatically points to one religion borrowing from another.  You have to show that references to Mithras being "anointed" and "a savior" mean the same thing as when those terms are applied to Jesus.  And they simply do not.  Mystery cults did not mean the same thing metaphysically/theologically by these terms.  And the terms are too universal to be able to make a connection.  Also, Jesus got the terms "Anointed One" and "Savior" from the Jewish scriptures, which were already around before Mithrasism.  

QUOTE
Mithra had his principal festival on what was later to become Easter, at which time he was resurrected. His religion had a Eucharist or "Lord's Supper."


  There is little proof that Mithras was a dying and rising deity to begin with.  In fact, in the mystery religions that do feature a dying and rising deity, the "deaths" and "risings" of said deities only occurs because they are one with nature, and therefore subject to seasonal cycles like winter (death) and spring (birth, or re-birth).  Concerning resurrection, no mystery religion has a concept of resurrection that looks like what happened to Jesus.  

Lastly, while some mystery cults are older than Christianity, some of the superficial things they have in common with Christianity are not.  What has been found, actually, is that in some of the language and rituals of mystery cults was adopted after Christianity was established as religion!  So if the allegation of borrowing is going to be rooted in a "who's older?" question, then the mystery cults may be guilty in instances where the Christian-sounding language or rituals they adopted came after Christianity was established.  Unfortunately, scholars try to read the post-Christian era mystery cult material back into the pre-Christian era life of mystery cult.  This is poor scholarship, though, on their parts.


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#24    cloudedmoon

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 03:07 PM

trublvr,
I should have put were I found that,  I didn't write that.  I'll put were my research is from and you put were your research is form.  I think there is actual quite a bit know about Mythra and it will known as the time of the early christians.
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#25    trublvr

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 03:45 PM


   Cloudedmoon,

   Below I've listed two websites that have info on this stuff (especially the first one).  On the first website there's a great article on the methodology that should be employed when trying to figure out if one religion has borrowed from another.  The article's title is "Some notes on alleged parallels between Christianity and pagan religions".  It's a great guide.  On the second site, there's about three articles on the issue of Jesus and mystery religions.  The one I utilize the most is by Prof. Ronald Nash.  

   My other resources are just some books I have in my library.  There's a book called Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus has Lost Its Way by Philip Jenkins that touches on this subject in some chapters.  Also, in a significant article on Jesus's miracles, Gary Habermas speaks of Jesus in comparison to other deities.  This article appears in Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Re-Invents the Historical Jesus (ed. by Michael Wilkins and J. P. Moreland).  I've also referenced some the ideas on this issue from the works of J. N. D. Anderson (specifically in his book Christianity and World Religions), Vinoth Ramachandra (in his book The Recovery of Mission: Beyond the Pluralist Paradigm), and some things written by C.S. Lewis in his book Miracles.  

  Some of my research came from just reading up on mystery religions in general from secular sources when I was in college.  

Christian apologetics


Jesus Christ Q & A



If truth is not a matter of majority vote, neither is it a matter of minority dissent.        

                                                --Douglas Groothius

#26    odinsgrl

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Posted 08 June 2004 - 10:28 PM

Hello all,
I thought I'd just my two little cents in. All of the responses I've read above, are very informative and intelligent. I love to hear intellegence in responses or posts!Some of my faith in humanity has been restored.
As for the, borrowing/copying and similarities between religions, I have noticed MANY similarites. As I've stated in some of my previous posts, I love to read about every religion I can find. Christianity, Hindisim, Judaica, Islam, Wicca, so many more; heck, I've even delved in to the Sumerian religion, for fun!
The Sumerians, I noticed, started out a long line of stories and mythologies, that I have found to show up most in other religions. The epic tale of Gilgimesh, for example, shared an astoundingly similar tale, to Noah and the Ark. Not to say, that other religions/followings have not had thier stories, and mythologies skewed and used to teach in other religions.
I do not debunk any religion over another, I feel that all deserve thier place among people. I have always found it interesting, how so many groups can disagree, on something they all say; they all just say it in different ways.
Thanks!


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