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Thread: The root of Christianity

  1. Top | #31
    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Fun line. "after Constantine converted the Roman empire and the Jedis started piloting the Death Star Christian theologians needed to reinterpret what Revelation explicitly says will happen to Rome".

    Edit: its also funny why it was included in the Bible. When what later became the Biblical cannon was first assembled by the Bishop of Alexandria. He interpreted the whore of Babylon as being about Aryan Christians, which he thought were the worst kind of heretics. But that wasn't the reason it was later kept in when the canon was finally agreed upon. That needed more theological juggling.

    Its also no mystery why it was written. It was written around 80 AD, by a very Jewish Christian, at a point when the Roman empire had only just brutally crushed a Jewish uprising in Palestine, demolished the second temple of Jerusalem and taken a lot of wealth and slaves with them. Leaving the Jews destitute. Add to that that Nero had only just tried to frame Christians for the great fire of Rome and was persecuting them, even though pretty much nobody believed this imperial propaganda.

    Portraying Nero as the antichrist was pretty obvious since he was a famously decadent and horrific person everybody in the Roman empire hated him. And had in fact just been murdered by an angry mob.

    Its for the same reason no mystery why this prophecy was popular among Jews and Christians at that time. And ended up widely spread.
    Last edited by DrZoidberg; 07-24-2021 at 11:32 AM.

  2. Top | #32
    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    I realize that I'm now pretty much talking to myself, but I am partly writing to just review what I hear so I won't forget it.

    https://literatureandhistory.com/ind...sode-085-river

    Here's the episode on canon formation. Not just the Christian canon formation, but religious canon formation in general. He presents a fascinating new theory, which he said was quite recent.

    In Nineveh in 1849 the Library of Ashurbanipal was found (dating to ca 650 BC). A large collection of clay tablets of a variety of contents. But there was a section that baffled archeologists. It was a large section which only was the Epic of Gilgamesh. In various states of completion. Some well written. Some badly written. Some in between. It was all just this same book repeated over and over and over. Which defeats a bit of the point of a library. If this section was a library. The new theory is that this section was in fact a school for scribes. What they found on the shelves was homework. And the idea of having a set canon of texts for teachers to teach is the standard way of teaching. And we do it today in any English department. Teachers aren't omnipotent. If teachers are going to have any chance of knowing everything students ask there must be a limited canon in order for them to know what to know. The Epic of Gilgamesh became a standardized work throughout the empire.

    This new theory is that the canon formation of the Epic of Gilgamesh was a practical matter, rather than an attempt to control the beliefs of the population. Something that pagans, (for theological reasons) had no reason to do. The bardic tradition, which the Epic of Gilgamesh comes from, is an oral tradition, which leaves a lot of room for improvisation. We know from our study of bardic tradition that the same bard could tweak stories on different nights depending on audience reaction. These aren't boringly recited verbatim at each performance. They are pieces of performance, entertainment. The scribes only much later wrote down this oral tradition.

    Once the scribal schools defined the canon of the epic of Gilgamesh it became the official canon of the empire.

    Once we found this library/school in Nineveh we've later reinterpreted Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Jewish findings and drawn the same conclusions about what these "libraries" are. Even though the conclusions are more iffy, considering the more perishable materials they wrote on and the extent to which later generations spent on destroying heretic works.

    Once canonization and standardization of religious texts became a normal thing in order to teach scribes, it then later became a tool with which to teach a standardized religion, which created the possibility for monotheism to be established.

    I think it's fascinating that the rise of monotheism might have been more the result of technology than of any philosophical musings.

    He also mentioned a quote from Josephus who talked about the formation of the Jewish canon, which was a ongoing project in his own lifetime. He talks about the degree of importance of certain books. As if some parts of the Old Testament are more dependable than others, and that some of them might be really dodgy and should be taken with a grain of salt.

    He also mentions a quote from S:t Augustine (who lived at a time when the Christian canon was being compiled) where he says that the Biblical Canon (versio vulgata) is the more important books of the Bible and that the Apocrypha is mostly just for specialised academics. As if S:t Augustine thinks they're all genuine part of the Biblical Canon, and that it's more a case of simplicity of teaching it, rather than the Apocrypha being heretic (which it later was deemed as). The name of the Christian Bible, the "Versio Vulgata" does litterally mean "the version for common people" which in the name implies that there is more genuine authentic Christian Bibles for special people.

    And lastly. Before 325 AD when the Catholic church had become dominant and began to aggressively hunt down heretics, Christian theologians were really nice to each other. Their tone toward competing theologies was respectful and focused on doctrinal differences. Arguments were well thought through. Everybody was given a fair chance to make their case. The Catholic church didn't start becoming aggressively intolerant towards other Christians until it became married to the Roman government and it became an arm in running the empire.

  3. Top | #33
    Senior Member Gnostic Christian Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    It should be Paulism not Christianity.
    I think anybody who believes that Jesus is the son of God and the Jewish messiah, no matter what rules they follow or otherwise believe, can be considered Christian. By tradition a Christian is someone who believes exactly what I believe (if I'd be a Christian, I'm not) and if they don't, we will label them with whatever heretic subsect label we want. I don't think it's helpful. I think it's clanish mud slinging, doesn't help and is stupid.

    He does mention later Christians who took Paul very seriously on that they didn't have to follow Jewish law and went completely off the rails inventing all manner of cooky Christianities that have very little to do with Judaism. The Gnostics and the Marcionists for example.
    Gnostic can be applied to any belief system.

    I chose Gnostic Christianity. I could have chosen to be a Gnostic Muslim.

    My love for it created the greatest hate and a Gnostic has a duty to let that hate be known.

    That is why we condemned Yahweh to hell. Not that any such supernatural creations are real.

    We are the black sheep of all religions that we try to improve, in the moral sense.

    Regards
    DL

  4. Top | #34
    Senior Member Gnostic Christian Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Isn't Jesus reported to have said that he did not come to abolish the law, but to uphold it? Did they miss that bit, or just rationalized it away?
    This isn't from the podcast but what I know from other sources, it's hard to know what Jesus really said or didn't. Since Christianity is so focused on Jesus and his personal opinions, that any Christian theologian would put words in the mouth of Jesus. To the point where we know Jesus existed. But we know nothing else about him. Not his life story. Not his opinions, other than in the most general sense. Add to that the obvious embellishments to the Jesus narrative to emphasize his humble origins, to a point where its not believable. Fat chance a unmarried poor illiterate carpenter would get the amount of impact and followers as he did.

    This podcast doesn't talk about the real life of Jesus. It only cares about what is written in the Bible and why it's written there. He doesn't seem to pick a team.
    Having people judge Jesus on his moral tenets is one of the hardest things to get a Christian to do.

    They know they have to condemn him and do not have the Gnostic balls.

    We were called the only good Christians because of our moral sense.

    All the other Christians had was supernatural gibberish and inquisitions to sell their filth.

    Genocide loving Christians. Gotta love em.

    Regards
    DL

  5. Top | #35
    Senior Member Gnostic Christian Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Isn't Jesus reported to have said that he did not come to abolish the law, but to uphold it? Did they miss that bit, or just rationalized it away?
    It is also reported that Jesus will genocide our ass once again with Armageddon.

    Yeah.

    Regards
    DL

  6. Top | #36
    Senior Member Gnostic Christian Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post

    I think anybody who believes that Jesus is the son of God and the Jewish messiah, no matter what rules they follow or otherwise believe, can be considered Christian.
    Scriptures confirm that there are no real Christians because the feats of Jesus have not been replicated.

    Jesus said that even the smallest amount of faith or belief would give that believer the same powers Jesus had and more.

    Supernatural garbage.

    Great stuff if you are not a literalist.

    Regards
    DL

  7. Top | #37
    Senior Member Gnostic Christian Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post

    I get no great pleure from these exchanges. I partipate becuse us Atheists have to rotect ourselves from all forms of relgion, even Gnostic Christianity.
    I have waited a long time and tried to get the more stupid atheists to get the led out of their ass and form more Atheist Churches and Mystery Schools, --- for that same protection you speak of, --- but atheists are a slow lot in some areas, --- like understanding tribalism instincts.

    Atheists might be brighter that theists, but still slow off the mark. It has cost you many good lives and slowed civilized social progress.

    Regards
    DL

  8. Top | #38
    Senior Member Gnostic Christian Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Anger and tension can be a normal response to being confronted by your inconsitncies. You may feel some tension, maybe hitting the keyboard hard and so on.
    Not at all, given that I know not of what you speak.

    [removed]

    Regards
    DL
    Last edited by Rhea; 08-06-2021 at 11:25 PM. Reason: Removed TOU violation

  9. Top | #39
    Senior Member Gnostic Christian Bishop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    A thinking mind would objectively evaluate criticism,
    When seen, and not based on psychobabble, for sure.

    Regards
    DL

  10. Top | #40
    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnostic Christian Bishop View Post
    Gnostic can be applied to any belief system.

    I chose Gnostic Christianity. I could have chosen to be a Gnostic Muslim.
    Sure, but isn't Gnosticism neo-platonism adapted for Christianity? Gnostic Islam is neo-platonism adapted to Christianity adapted to Islam. Why add the extra step and not call yourself neo-platonist? It's simpler.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnostic Christian Bishop View Post
    My love for it created the greatest hate and a Gnostic has a duty to let that hate be known.

    That is why we condemned Yahweh to hell. Not that any such supernatural creations are real.

    We are the black sheep of all religions that we try to improve, in the moral sense.
    I thought Gnostics condemned Yahweh because Yahweh isn't a particularly pleasant Biblical character? The Christian project of trying to pass the early Jewish God off as a loving God who only means well is a tall order. The Gnostics picked a different solution, there is more than one god and Yahweh is an evil god.

    I suspect that what the other Christians didn't like about the Gnostics is that they turned Paul's message of an open and transparent church back into a standard pagan exclusive mystery cult. It was popular at the time because Romans were more familiar with pagan mystery cults than they were with Judaism. So for the regular pagan Roman it was less of an effort to convert to Gnosticism.

    As I understand it the other Christians felt that the Gnostics were missing the point of simplifying Judaism (which fundamentally is all Christianity is) and making it complicated again by adding a bunch of complicated theology that, (as in all pagan mystery cults) will be dripped to the convert drop by drop as they ascend the hierarchy of step-by-step cultish initiation.

    And I sort of understand them. If you're on a project to create a new religion and you get a bunch of converts, who the first thing they do, is to take your religion and convert it back to their old religion, then why did they bother to convert in the first place? Why not stay pagan? But it is a bit of a stone in a glass house because mainstream Christianity is also a paganizing of Judaism. At least Catholics and Orthodox Christianity is more Jewish than the Gnostics are.

    In the early Christian church this was the major debate, "how Jewish should we be?". "How little Jewish is it ok to be?". "How many of the commandments do we need to follow?". The Gnostics were among the most radical of the Christians. They wanted to almost break completely from the Jewish faith and denigrated it as evil. They lost that debate.

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