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brave_new_world

worthy of belief or skepticism

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BlueZone
But whether or not change in the church happens is not the point. The foundation from which change springs is the point.

The foundation from which the church springs is the culture of it's believers.

Edited by BlueZone

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The foundation from which the church springs is the culture of it's believers.

Gotta disagree partially, Blue. True, the cultural soil of Christianity has a powerful impact. No argument here. However, as we saw with Jesus and his followers (even to this day), the culture is often at odds with the gospel. I mean, there's a reason that Jesus and many of his earliest followers were persecuted or killed. If culture were the primary dictator, then martyrdom wouldn't occur. And it still does to this day.

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BlueZone
If culture were the primary dictator, then martyrdom wouldn't occur. And it still does to this day.

To the contrary, martyrdom can only exist within a cultural context. You need a community of supporters who agree with the martyr. Or else no one would bother remembering the martyr.

But whether or not change in the church happens is not the point. The foundation from which change springs is the point. So when gnostics came along and said, "Hey we're not into this bodily resurrection of Jesus stuff because we think that the material world is inherently evil and that the spiritual world is good," no one said, "Hey, change rocks; let's roll with it." Sure, gnosticism would've been a "change", but a change at the expense of some pretty foundational stuff.

What makes you so sure that it wasn't the "non-Gnostics" who came along and said "We're not interested in this because we think the material world is inherently good"? Gnostic manuscripts are very old and could just as easily have been the original Christian tradition. You believe that your tradition is the real one and Gnosticism is the deviant because, at a critical point in the development of the religion, the founders of your tradition won. The Christian tradition is a composite of Jewish tradition, the preaching of Jesus, and 2,000 years of human history whose path was influenced by all sorts of random factors, many of them cultural.

p.s.- Sorry-- I meant to say the change springs from culture, not the entire church springs from culture.

Edited by BlueZone

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norwood1026

The biggest differences I have found between Christ & Buddha is that Buddha never claimed to be a God not the son of one.Intresting enough Buddhism falls under the Pagan umbrella. There are a lot of people out there who believe that Christianity stems from Paganism.

I liked The Pagan Christ there is a lot of crap thrown in it I agree. You still basing every bit of information on what’s written down how do we know that it never was written down? Being that these religions were a lot older the Christianity they could have been lost what was written down Besides what’s wrong with oral history? It’s possible that though out the history of the world (not just religion) that we might of missed a lot of what was said or done because it never got wrote down or got destroyed. We had touched on the subject of holidays a bit you talked of Christmas & how that you knew it was based on the Mithrac tradations. Very intresting.

Celebration how do you know this if it was not written down? If you don’t buy into the theory of Mithras

Then how do you buy into that idea?

BTW Sunday is a jewish was celebrated so why do the christians celebrated it?

Edited by norwood1026

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Grandpa Greenman
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=2aW2N46vf4Q&...feature=related

Does this make a good point? I think it does. Any thoughts anyone???

The guy pretty much got it right accept for a couple of details. I don't think it should be banned on Youtube. Maybe it will get people to think about what they are doing or a least dig around for some real history. But most people try to make History conform to their idea of what history should be. I think people been doing it since we learned to talk. People love to blow up a story as big as they can to make it exciting.

Some day someone in the future is going to find a copy of Lord of the Rings and make a holy book out of it.

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To the contrary, martyrdom can only exist within a cultural context. You need a community of supporters who agree with the martyr. Or else no one would bother remembering the martyr.

BlueZone,

I agree that martyrdom, just as much as anything, necessarily occurs in a cultural context. I apologize if I did not convey my point very well. I did not intend to try to divorce any element of Christianity or Christian history from a cultural context. Instead, my point is that while Christianity is impacted by culture (again, the New Testament is overt about this) that doesn't necessarily mean that Christianity's most foundational tenets are simply trapped in a kind of culturally-induced free-for-all. Instances of martyrdom are prime examples of Christianity's resistance to cultures at those most foundational points.

For instance, from earliest Christianity, followers of Jesus have maintained that the God of Israel is the architect of the world's salvation via the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The notion that God would do this was culturally scandalous in Jewish and Roman culture. For Jews, a dead messiah simply couldn't be the messiah. Crucifixion was not merely one among many painful ways to die; it was one of the most shameful ways to die. Many ancient cultures (like many cultures to this day) operated on principles of shame and honor as opposed to the Western notion crime and punishment. For Jews and Romans crucifixion was an attempt to obliterate one's memory from the earth. If I'm not mistaken, the Roman historian Cicero makes comments to this effect. In any event, many Jews before Jesus and after Jesus had seen many a rebel and a messianic hope end up hung up on a Roman cross. This kind of shame ended every would-be messiah's bid to liberate Israel. And, aside from Jesus, every rebel or would-be messiah's movement stopped right in it's tracks after he was crucified. For Jews and Romans the cross was the ultimate symbol of shame. Here, we have an example of something that is deeply counter-cultural to both Jews and Romans: the salvation of God and the glory of God on display in the death of the messiah. While this was scandalous to believe, much less to preach and commend to people, the earliest Christians did it. And keep in mind that Jesus himself was anticipating this before his death, and he used the image of cross-bearing as the prime metaphor for anyone who would be his student (Mark 8, Matthew 16, and Luke 9 feature this most prominently). So despite the fact that this ran counter to the culture (and there is simply no precedent for this in Judaism on Roman culture), Christians continued to preach this message. In contemporary cultures that are still based on shame-honor as opposed to crime-punishment, this is still deeply antithetical to cultural norms.

Remember, I'm not advancing the notion that Christianity is not influenced by culture. I'm merely saying that we can't take said instances in which Christianity is influenced by culture to mean that essential doctrines/history is compromised when such exchanges take place. Positively, I gave an example of cultural influence in reference to some Christian translations of the New Testament into the Chinese language. For instance, John 1.1 reads: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Some Chinese translations use tao instead of the Chinese word/character for word. Why? Because in Taoism the Tao is kind of the ever-flowing stream behind everything that causes everything to cohere. To a strong degree, this captures what John was going for when he used the word logos in this passage. John borrowed the term logos from Stoicism because the Stoics believed in a force/power that was behind reality and that somehow made reality cohere. In both John's use of logos and the translators' use of tao point to how folks can use something from another culture to illustrate ideas without compromising said ideas. Both the tao for Taoists and the logos for Stoics is impersonal. John celebrates what's true in the Stoic outlook (yes, there is a power behind the scenes of reality!), but he rejects the notion that this is an impersonal force/power. This is an example of cross-cultural inter-play that leaves the ideas one wishes to convey intact.

What makes you so sure that it wasn't the "non-Gnostics" who came along and said "We're not interested in this because we think the material world is inherently good"? Gnostic manuscripts are very old and could just as easily have been the original Christian tradition. You believe that your tradition is the real one and Gnosticism is the deviant because, at a critical point in the development of the religion, the founders of your tradition won. The Christian tradition is a composite of Jewish tradition, the preaching of Jesus, and 2,000 years of human history whose path was influenced by all sorts of random factors, many of them cultural.

Nothing in the gnostic corpus is older than the Christian material. The earliest extant gnostic document is the gospel of Thomas, and it is dated no earlier than the second century, and many scholars would place it at the end of the second century. The reason for this is that the gospel of Thomas references well over half the New Testament, so it can't both be older than the NT and reference it simultaneously. Also, the saying couplets in the gospel of Thomas are extremely similar to some material found in the Syrian Diatesseron, which is a four-fold gospel document used only by Syrian Christians in the late 2nd century. Among other things, the gospel of Thomas' dependence on this material points to its lateness. Also, gnosticism in general is thought to be a deviation from Christianity simply because there's no evidence to demonstrate that it preceded the Christian movement as it is reflected in the New Testament. Furthermore, it would be very difficult for a movement that posits the God of Israel and his creation as evil and that maintains that spirit is good and matter is bad to come out of the Judaism of Jesus' day. A gnostic Jesus would have been completely unconcerned with justice for the poor and oppressed. We see this from the gnostic texts; there is no concern for this. Why would one care about anything in a world that is inherently evil. With such an outlook, how could a gnostic Jesus even come close to attracting a Jewish following? Also, why would any Roman or Jewish religious leader be so threatened by such a gnostic Jesus as to want to kill him? There's no record of persecution of gnostics by anyone, much less Romans. Sure, Christians rejected gnosticism, but there was no persecution of them. Again, there is no record at all of so-called Christian gnostics that preceded the New Testament church.

Norwood,

BTW Sunday is a jewish was celebrated so why do the christians celebrated it?

The earliest Christians were Jewish, and there is evidence that many of them kept kosher (though they didn't make Gentile converts do this), went to synagogue, and continued to celebrate sabbath (from Friday evening to Saturday evening). This probably continued until just after the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD 70. In addition to the traditional sabbath, Christians celebrated what they called "the Lord's Day", which we now call Sunday. The reason: the traditional sabbath marked the end of God's creation of the world, and was thus designated as a day of rest (Genesis 1). Jesus' resurrection occurred after sabbath (what we'd now call Sunday), and the Christians thought of Jesus' resurrection as the first day of the new creation. Jesus' resurrection from the dead was (and still is) seen as God's victory over the forces of evil and death. For Christians, what God did to Jesus in resurrection, God will do to and for the whole world upon Jesus' return, namely raise creation and righteous persons to a new level that will liberate the entirety of creation from death, sin, and evil. This is why Christians celebrate sabbath on Sunday.

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BlueZone
Instead, my point is that while Christianity is impacted by culture (again, the New Testament is overt about this) that doesn't necessarily mean that Christianity's most foundational tenets are simply trapped in a kind of culturally-induced free-for-all.

I agree with this & didn't mean to suggest that Christianity was some sort of patchwork of fads.

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