The Resurrection

Discussion in 'Theology' started by lunamoth, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Yes, but...

    As much as the terminology seems to automatically draw flak, I *need* to see Jesus in the context of his day and time. If the phrase "historical Jesus" somehow evokes some quasi-political knee-jerk disengagement, I'm sorry but that is not my doing. The *fact* is, if Jesus was a real live person that drew breath and lived and loved and walked and talked, then he existed in a day and time and context that can be mostly comprehended. We might not be able to determine exactly what color hair he had or how long his beard was, but we can make some pretty good educated guesses about the real man versus the mythic man.

    Here's my drive to understand...the mythic man might indeed be a complete and total fabrication. Might be. In which case, why throw my lot in with Christians other than that is what I was born into? Why not be Jewish instead? Or even better, why not chuck it all and be an atheist? Just because there's a feel-good message of love everybody and peace and happiness and all will be well with the world and hereafter? I can get a variation of that anywhere in the major faiths of the world.

    In contrast, if Jesus was an actual living, breathing human that walked and taught, then what was he like? What were his surroundings? What molded and shaped his character and personality? What other factors played into this message he brought to the world?

    If G-d is real, G-d can handle being questioned. If Jesus is real, he too can handle a few questions. Thomas, the doubter, was not damned for doubting. Admonished maybe, but damned...no.

    It is too easy to see how Christianity underwent a drastic reformation at Nicea. I know that our beloved friend Thomas disagrees with me, but as I demonstrated in the Rome in transition thread, there were quite a few variances and re-interpretations that took place in the intervening years leading up to Nicea, and Nicea really sealed the deal as to...if I may be blunt...the Paganization (is that a word?) of Christianity.

    I want to see, understand and appreciate the Jesus that the 12 apostles knew and loved. I want the itinerant missionary Rabbi with a radically new interpretation of the Old Religion of G-d's chosen people. I want the simplistic beautiful naked truth...naked not for prurient interests...naked because of intimacy; naked and unashamed.

    A lot of this is easy to separate...Easter, Christmas, (how the hell did Halloween get into the mix?). Some points are a bit more difficult to differentiate...and of these the most crucial is the resurrection, IMO. If I were to be able to definitively demonstrate to my satisfaction that the resurrection was indeed a Pagan import, I would be inclined to convert to Judaism, the root core from which Jesus came.

    Or the Native American animism of some of my ancestors, which also speaks to my heart in its own subtle ways, which do not conflict with my Christian spirituality.
     
  2. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    No, Easter is not. *Any* good encyclopedia will point this out. How the Pagan festival of rejuvination, complete with celebratory orgy (quick like a bunny?), became associated with the resurrection of the Christian Messiah can be seen as directly affiliated with Nicea. One of the specific points discussed and "clarified" at Nicea was the setting aside of the Jewish Passover in favor of the Pagan Easter. Easter predates Christianity by at least two thousand years.
     
  3. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Of course you realize that the eggs and the bunny etc. are not part of the religious observance of Easter, right? Those are kind of like Halloween stuff, Christmas trees, etc..

    If there were orgies (I've never heard it; what is your source?), it would be *******ized Christianity, obviously not something handed down in the apostolic faith.
     
  4. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I somehow missed this post before, must have been posting at the same time.

    Anyway, thank you, that explains a lot about your POV. I certainly respect your intellectual honesty in your search.
     
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    The Easter Story

    The clues should be evident to the scholar with terms like "fertility (g)-ddess," "magical and religious ceremonies" (in the context of a Pagan fertility rite), and "celebration of the renewal of life" that orgies were common practice among Pagans at this time of year. Sex magic, anyone?

    Edit to add, the final reference quote by Sir James Frazer sums this thought nicely.


    CHRISTIAN ONLINE BOOK RESOURCE

    resource I found, looks promising:

    The Two Babylons, ~Alexander Hyslop

    The Two Babylons: Easter

    And then there's Ezekiel 8:16b;
    This sure sounds like an Easter sunrise service to me, and has since the very first time I read it for myself, in context. In context, Ezekiel is being told this is one of the abominable practices.

    I am not casting judgment on anyone here, my heart convicts me to direct my walk as I am certain everyone else here is directed in their own walk by their own convictions.

    Another promising resource:

    Sacred Texts: Wicca and Neo-Paganism

    An interesting aside related peripherally to the subject at hand:

    The sacrifice of the King's son

    Golden Bough Chapter 26. Sacrifice of the King's Son.

    Golden Bough Chapter 47. Lityerses. Section 3. Human Sacrifices for the Crops.

    One example of a Pagan fertility orgy, although a stretch as it is not directly associated with Easter and its variants...I'll look some more...

    Golden Bough Chapter 47. Lityerses. Section 4. The Corn-spirit slain in his Human Representatives.

    Golden Bough Chapter 12. The Sacred Marriage. Section 1. Diana as a Goddess of Fertility.

    The Golden Bough, ~James G. Frazer

    All preceeding emphasis mine, ~jt3
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  6. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Thank you for the research Juan. I see the pagan fertility stuff and I see Christians after Constantine adopting some of the pagan practices to coincide with celebrating the resurrection, I don't doubt that there were some who just engaged in fertility rites and called it 'Christian' to please whomever needed to be pleased.

    Certainly the blending of Christianity with the state that started with Constantine was not helpful in many ways, no doubt there was much muddying of the water then, as there is now.

    And I agree that eggs, rabbits, Christmas trees etc are leftovers from more ancient religions. To me that is irrelevant.

    My view, and I am not trying to convince anyone of this approach, is that the Christianity that is important to me is the one I find today. I don't think I can reconstruct an 'original' Christianity. I really do take a lot on faith.
     
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Actually, this is about where the myth of the Greene Knight should make an appropriate entrance.
     
  8. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Maybe a new thread?
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Funny how as we get a little older we tend to mellow? You and I have enough history that you must recall moments when I admitted to past indiscretions, specifically of intolerance...as I get a little older, and I pray wiser, I am seeing others sincere in their search for understanding, and every one of them is taking on faith what they are capable of. And they are dismissing, overlooking, or trying to reconcile with what doesn't seem to make sense. I am no different in this regard.

    I want to believe. I know it's corny, but I relate to the Fox Mulder character in the X-files series in a way, except my little green man is Jesus. ;) My Alien invasion is G-d's angels, and the unseen spirits and principalities. My "trust no one" is institutional religion with cut and dried pat answers that don't add up under scrutiny. And my final answer is G-d.
     
  10. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Well, I think there are two or three threads out there already. But the Wild Man / Greene Man myths do associate directly as Pagan fertility myths, even if the Wild Man tradition is better associated with the Christmas season, Yule and the Winter Solstice.
     
  11. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    OK, no need for another. Maybe this is getting too far afield from the topic though. I just don't see where in the NT Jesus or the disciples or Paul etc. treated the Christ movement as a fertility cult.
     
  12. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Well, that's pretty much my point...they didn't. Certainly not at the time.

    Iirc, the Paschal season was...I want to say 8...days, that began with the Passover. If the Gospels are anywhere near accurate, and I suspect in this much they likely are, then Jesus gave up the ghost at the precise hour the Paschal lambs were being slaughtered in preparation for the feast. This is a crucial piece of information, Jesus was our Paschal Lamb going forward.

    Here's the deal as I see it: if Jesus is the Paschal Lamb, and the Paschal Lamb was the lamb whose blood was smeared / painted above and besides the entrances to the house to mark the house so the Angel of Death would not visit. That blood marked G-d's own, and in a spiritual sense Jesus' sacrifice again marks G-d's own.

    What's more, perhaps a fuzz more controversial, is that the veil in the Temple was rent in two, from top to bottom, at the moment Jesus died. I mean, there were a number of natural "witnesses" recorded to the event...the sky darkened, an earthquake...but the veil concealing the Holy of Holys (sp?) is rent in two and now the common lay person can see inside the inner sanctum directly to G-d without "self-proclaimed" or "Institutionally proclaimed" intermediaries. I know our Thomas disagrees with me here too, and I appreciate his concerns about the value of tradition, I simply do not share that view to the extent he does. This event is pivotal and symbolic to me in this regard.

    From here, Jesus is said to have entered the realm of death and reclaimed those saints of the flock of G-d...which we have no way of validating or having any corroberating witness...and as we mentioned does sound remarkably like similar stories from contemporary mythos.

    But then we get to the triumphant resurrection, the empty tomb on the morning of the third day. There is all of the hope, all of the faith, all of the idealism, all of the validation and vindication. Everything leading up to this moment is the set up, walking out of the tomb is the game winning score. Death is defeated. The adversary is held at bay. The promise of heaven and a forever / eternal / immortal existence in another plane / place gains merit and validity. All of those "thou shalt nots" suddenly have a real and tangible reward attached.

    It's not a bunch of wisdom stories and semi-historical fairy tales anymore, it is something worthwhile...something really worth believing.






    All of that, every last bit, vanishes into a wisp of smoke if the resurrection isn't real.
     
  13. Janz

    Janz What's Amatta U

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    Me, too and well said!! I like.
     
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Sorry to dredge up a previous comment, but this particular point nags at me.

    With all due respect, is this not classic circular logic? If the religion has no "proof," it is entitled to invent one to satisfy its' preferred vision of how things should be? Isn't this the type of reasoning that got us into this mess (conflation of truth and political expediency, supplanting reality) in the first place, and has continued to feed that error in the ensuing 1700 years?

    Just some observations, hopefully in time for this weekend's class...
     
  15. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    What is faith?
     
  16. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    :)

    If I were inclined to play rabbi, I would answer the question with a question...like "what is truth?"

    Faith is an ephemeral...moving target. As a child I might have faith in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. As I grow a little older, and hopefully wiser, I can begin to see the error of groundless faith and establish a faith based in reason and reality...hence no longer blind and ephemeral.

    Of course this presupposes a certain demeaner on my part, a demeaner that is in the interests of establishment institutions to discourage.

    Faith in the strictest sense is belief. The difference between faith / belief as I apply to my own walk and that I see in most others is that mine is based in reality and confirmed by experience. Whereas in others I often see a faith / belief that clings on tenaciously *in spite of* reality and experience to the contrary.

    So, twice I have answered. Respectfully, what is truth?
     
  17. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I think truth is the love of God.
     
  18. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    OK, that is an interesting take. ;)

    Jesus lived...truth, or no?

    Hitler lived...truth, or no?
     
  19. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I think you are now asking about facts.
     
  20. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Not really. Just attempting to demonstrate the shortcoming of your definition of truth. I can agree that G-d's love is a truth...but for the reason highlighted by my example I cannot agree that truth is G-d's love...which means that truth has an alternate definition, to me.

    No debate on my part, just bringing to light a difference in outlook between us.
     

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