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Thread: The root of Christianity

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    ... these church fathers could be awfully annoying and seems to have gone out of their way to provoke the authorities. As if they were trying really hard to go the way of their idol.

    To sum it up, Christian persecutions was grossly exaggerated by the Christian church.
    Funny story about that. According to Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, the provincial Roman magistrates were no fans of the periodic persecution edicts from on high, and developed three resistance strategies:

    1. As Gilbert and Sullivan might have put it, why should I require you to sacrifice to the Emperor when an affidavit that you've sacrificed to the Emperor will do just as well?

    2. When a person was denounced to the authorities as a Christian, it was the duty of the magistrate to arrest him. But rather than sending legionaries to carry out the arrest, suspected Christians were arrested by mail. Those not set on martyring themselves were given every opportunity to skip town.

    3. If all else failed, the final resort was to the Romans' infamous brutality. In a sort of inverted Inquisition, magistrates would have a confessed Christian tortured until he recanted his confession and admitted he wasn't really a Christian. Then they'd let him go.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    This is deliberately not telling the whole story. What do atheist apologists really think they have to gain by all this? We live in the internet age; anyone can pick up Pliny the Younger and read about vicious persecutions from the lips of the persecutor. Why put forth an argument that anyone who has ever studied the issue at all knows is misrepresenting the subjecty? Are you really hoping to convert only the stupidest and laziest of Christians to your cause? I ask this of all evangelists of any faith: why use stupid arguments? It seems to me that using stupid arguments could only, ever, win you only the most dim-witted of new recruits.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

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    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Atheism needs no apology. An absence of evidence supports a lack of conviction.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Atheism needs no apology. An absence of evidence supports a lack of conviction.
    Whether or not atheism needs apologists seems immaterial to whether there are any. Whenever I see people trying to skepticize religiousleaders/events etc., people straight out of history, usually armed with with as little evidence to back up their own claims as the people they are ostensibly criticizing, my general assumption is that they are proselytizing. Why else would you engage in such silliness? On the whole, very little is really known about the religious politics during the time of the early Christian (or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Jain, or...) histories, and what we do know defies simplistic analysis. In all cases it was a syncretic, fragmented, politically turbulent world in which regional realities routinely trumped affairs of Empire, and indeed knowing what we do know about the genesis of the major world faiths, it's more likely than not that at the bottom of any search for the roots of a faith tradition will lead you to a similar time of fragmentation, uncertainty, and casual violence. Because those are the very conditions that lend conviction and sometimes ammunition to nascent revitalization movements.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

  5. Top | #55
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    I watched a PDS show today Secrets Of The Dead that looked at the newest archeological evidence around the time of the alleged King Arthur.

    There is no evidence of any large scale conflict or battles between Britans and Anglo Saxon immigrants. It was an agricultural society iwth interbreeding and mixing of ciltures.

    The story goes Arthur battled an invading horde, did not happen. A n 11th century monk published a historynof England and creted the fiction, with supernatural elements.

    A Jewish heretic sect eventually deveoped a sepaate identity as it spread to gentiles and coopted the Jewish scripture as their own.

    The Jesus myth arose out of a Jewish biblical myth of a svior who woud retun them to power.

    The Jesus Jewish myth morphed into the Jesus as sent from god tp save the world.

    Christianity grew in the same manner as the Arthurian legend evolved. Generation by gubernation and human imagination.

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    Elder Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Apologetics for atheism are unnecessary. If some like to take it up as a hobby or pastime, that is their business.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    This is deliberately not telling the whole story. What do atheist apologists really think they have to gain by all this? We live in the internet age; anyone can pick up Pliny the Younger and read about vicious persecutions from the lips of the persecutor. Why put forth an argument that anyone who has ever studied the issue at all knows is misrepresenting the subjecty? Are you really hoping to convert only the stupidest and laziest of Christians to your cause? I ask this of all evangelists of any faith: why use stupid arguments? It seems to me that using stupid arguments could only, ever, win you only the most dim-witted of new recruits.
    It's not a long read. It's pretty clear to me that Christians, were going out of their way to be persecuted. Why not just make sacrifices to the emperor? What's the big deal?

    Rome didn't have mass media. The only way to know what people thought and felt was to see and hear them in person.

    Since Rome was multicultural, multiethnic and multi religious special steps were taken to ensure peace and to avoid sectarian violence.

    The Roman custom of Pax Romana was that all Romans had to show up for all religious festivals (even if they disliked them) and make offerings. This sounds like work, but wasn't. You just basically needed to show up and not behave like an idiot for an hour or so.

    Christians refusing to take part in this, I think is, incredibly childish and silly. Christians were going out of their way to be disrespectful to non-Christians. Obviously the authorities had to do something about that, if only to maintain peace in the empire. The persecution of Christians was also performative rather than an attempt to stop them. Since Christians systematicaly insulted other cults the Roman authorities needed to show the non-Christian Romans that they took this very seriously. They executed as few as possible and hoped that soon Christians will come to their senses. But they never did.

    This is the context. And what Pliny is writing about.
    .
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plin..._on_Christians

    When Christians refused to give offerings to the idols of other cults, I think, they knew what they were doing. I think they were steering the authorities towards persecuting them to allow themselves to be martyred. And then also the Christians took those martyr events and spun the crap out of them and also invented some.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    It's not a long read. It's pretty clear to me that Christians, were going out of their way to be persecuted. Why not just make sacrifices to the emperor? What's the big deal?
    So your feeling is that religious persecution isn't really persecution, provided you can escape punishment by recanting your faith to align with the arbitrary and self-serving demands of an all-seeing State and its Gods?

    This kind of thing is exactly why Christians, and everyone else, are wary of letting atheists take control of the government. Your unashamed embrace of fascist ideology is not the boon to your cause that you think it is.
    "Banish me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of knowledge."

  9. Top | #59
    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    It's not a long read. It's pretty clear to me that Christians, were going out of their way to be persecuted. Why not just make sacrifices to the emperor? What's the big deal?
    So your feeling is that religious persecution isn't really persecution, provided you can escape punishment by recanting your faith to align with the arbitrary and self-serving demands of an all-seeing State and its Gods?

    This kind of thing is exactly why Christians, and everyone else, are wary of letting atheists take control of the government. Your unashamed embrace of fascist ideology is not the boon to your cause that you think it is.
    You're putting modern ethical standards and using modern communication technology paradigms straight onto the Roman government.

    Rome was a huuuuuge empire. In a world with little communication technology. That places certain demands on how it must be run not to fall apart.

    One thing that's really important is that the various ethnic groups and cults treat eachother with respect. What Christians were doing was in effect to insult other religions and the emperor. For no reason other than to cause trouble. It was a calculated act of defiance. Pax Romana is older than Christianity. Each and every Roman convert to Christianity knew what it meant to publicly refuse to give offerings to other cults.

    Also, stop pretending we're talking about modern politics. We have mass communication. Rome's government had things to worry about that a modern government doesn't have to worry about.

    In the Podcast he mentioned martyr stories under emperor Severus. But these martyr stories are late additions. The Christian historian Tertullian, contemporary with Severus and who lived in the same city called Severus a great emperor who protected Christians and allowed them to worship in peace.

  10. Top | #60
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    The way I say it the Romans had two rules.

    1. Promote that which promotes order and wealth.
    2. Anything interfering with 1 is harshly suppressed.

    Pragmatic Romans may have seem them as delusional threats to order. Thy coud not hve people covrting oters to belive in a god and Jesus above all inclosing Roman authority.

    We see it today. People claim vaccination for COVID is a violation of beliefs. Romans would probably say comply or die.

    Christianity does not appeaser to have ver been any kind of monolithic belie and group.

    Look ath forum today. No insult intende but we an array fof Christians passing through, nd we have one who identfies as Pagan Christian and one as Gnostic Christian.

    I expect early Christianity was no different. Paul refers to people claiming to be followers of Jesus but that the leaders were false. Christian diversity began early. There was violence among early Christians.

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