Why do Christians use the cross?

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by mee, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    they were promised remission of their sins by the pope [as well as doing what their land 'lord' commanded].
     
  2. Marsh

    Marsh Disagreeable By Nature

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    Oh, I read plenty. Actually, I know all about the so-called "Peasant Crusade," and was waiting for it to come up. Well, Holysmoke's argument is that Christians use what Paul said as a way to rationalize their involvement in state-sponsored genocide. As the "peasant crusade" (if you want to differentiate it from the First Crusade, of which it is generally considered part) was a non-governmental movement, it is outside the scope of the argument, yeah? The people who went along couldn't have rationalized their involvement as simply following government orders because they weren't following the government-- unless you want to say that this was, in fact, part of the First Crusade, in which case the whole "peasantness" of it all ceases to be a factor.

    By the way, what happened to those peasants? How many acts of genocide did these farmers and urban labourers perform-- BEFORE THEY WERE DESTROYED BY A PROFESSIONAL ARMY? I'll help you out: none.

    Yep, reading's good....
     
  3. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    The oxford illustrated history of the crusades by J.Riley-smith, professor of ecclesiastical history, university of cambridge -

    'Above all, the church was equipped to impose a degree of systemization and consistency upon the issues which violence raised. It had inherited from Roman law, the OT and NT, and the early church fathers, pre-eminently St Augustine, various terms of reference by which to analyse instances of violence and pronounce upon their quality.' ie just war.

    Gregorian Reform..'A consequence was that when pope Urban launched the 1st crusade he was able to mobilize the resources,enthusiasm and communication skills of many individual clerics and religious communities, a body of collective support which had already grown sensitive to papal initiatives. The preachers of the crusade would have been wasting their breath,of course,had not many europeans been eager to respond to what was held out as a voluntary undertaking. The crusade was proposed as a devotional act of pilgrimage, and therein lay its attraction'.

    There were of course other 'holy crusades' [or political if you will, all the same in medieval times],going on in europe at the same time, concerning submission to papal authority, becoming vassals.

    ..'Indeed, it must be stressed that at the very time [1096] that the 1st crusades were en route to Jerusalem, Urban II quite unambiguously permitted, or rather urged, Catalan nobles who had taken the CROSS for the crusade to the East to fulfill their vows in Spain. In return for aiding the CHURCH of Tarragona, they were promised FORGIVENESS OF SINS'. [my emphasis.

    'The core of all crusade promotion consisted of papal proclamation of the expedition in question since popes ALONE possessed the requisite authority to declare a crusade and offer the spiritual and material privileges enjoyed by crusaders'.

    'According to the account of the council of clermont, Urban II actively sought to dissuade the elderly,the infirm,women.clerics and monks from taking crusade VOWS, a stance confirmed by his surviving letters. ..'12th century popes maintained this attitude,but unsuccessfully. Large numbers of NON-COMBATANTS took the CROSS and departed, especially on crusades to the holy land,thereby causing immense problems'.

    'Urban had intended that the crusade army should consist fundamentally of knights and other ranks that would be militarily useful.However as news of what he had proclaimed at clermont spread through the west,so men and women OF ALL SOCIAL CLASSES AND OCCUPATIONS took the CROSS. Urban had lost control in the matter of personnel. One immediate consequence was the APPALLING violence unleashed against the jews of northern France and the Rhineland, the 1st of a series of pogroms and other forms of anti-semitism that would become closely associated with crusading activity in succeeding generations. Many, but by no means all,of those responsible were drawn precisely from those social groups that Urban wished to keep at home, especially bands of urban and rural POOR'.

    The problem with seeing history from one perspective ie christian, is that one gets a squinted one percpectival viewpoint.
     
  4. Marsh

    Marsh Disagreeable By Nature

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    I'm not sure that you meant it to, but this exactly proves the point I was making. According to this professor, the popes (who are political as well as spiritual leaders) who called for crusades motivated people to join them by rationalizing the war as just, and by promising them forgiveness of sins. Precisely.

    Now, what Holysmoke would have us believe is that individual Christians rationalize their "godless" violence by using Paul's letters. The professor you quoted indicates that the opposite is true: that it is the political authority that does the rationalizing, while the peasantry merely follows them as they've been brought up to do. The authorities know that the war is wrong; the participants are conditioned to think that it is right. Where's the godlessness? Right where I said it was: in the seat of authority. Now, Paul advised that Christians should obey the authority, yeah? But the authority is the authority, and has no need to obey the authority, yeah? So it follows that this particular of Paul's counselings ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT APPLY to this case.

    Ta da! ;)
     
  5. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    have no idea what you're on about. Yes the spiritual authority ie the pope justified the crusade using the precedents mentioned, and yes the peasantry were serfs under dominion of the their landlords and under the thrall of the veracity of their churches belief system which promised salvation from their measly medieval existence. The whole period was chaotic during this militiarisation of society where kings/dynasties and clerics/monasteries/papal authority were in conflict over land and power.

    Did the authorities [ie the representative of the christian g#d] think it wrong? No it was a time of papal expansion and as mentioned unrest due to the accumulated wealth of the church; the crusades, like many wars, were a symptom, a deflection, an exploitation of the wider picture going on, as now.

    So whats new now? The cross was at the helm of christian armies then as now [in the name of] despite secularization [which it has been argued is a product of christianity in the west]. Just look at the recent verbals of US presidents against other 'infidels'.

    l have a problem with monolithic religions which have an EXCLUSIVE agenda. Might as well say cheerio to world peace with a mind set which believes only they have the truth the way the light and everyone else are somehow less than. What is the 1st commandment? the 2nd ... Why don't religious adherents practice what they preach [am talking of all the abrahamic religions 'at war' with each other]. What on earth would JC make of it? certainly not this state of affairs.

    lts time to lay to rest the absolute veracity of scriptures and spriritual authority which continues to separate humankind from each other. lts time to lay down the cross of manifestation as its served its purpose; why not stick a circle on top of it its much more gentle and signifies spirit above incarnation. Symbols are strong and why they are absent from churches in the US that bring together many denominations in a spirit of ecumenism, of unity.
     
  6. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    and there you have it , it seems that they (religious leaders)are not promoting what Jesus taught at all . i am glad that i have found the right channel that is giving out right instruction matthew 24;45-47


    and it is spiritual food straight from the hand of Jesus :)

    NOW THATS BETTER the learning of war is out
     
  7. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    The cross is strong imagery, it has been said that it is like a sword thrust into the dirt, a sign of conquest.
    Its use as a means of crucifixion is just a continuance of the same.
    To me it is a sign of death and is morbid, a very dark symbol.
    I have never liked it and think its use to be in terribly bad taste.
     
  8. soma

    soma New Member

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    I see the symbolism of the cross with the horizontal beam representing the physical or pure consciousness manifested and the vertical beam representing the spiritual or pure consciousness not manifested.
     
  9. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    its also a sign of initiation whilst incarnated. but the point l wanted to make, was that because of its bloody connotations through history [heck some muslims still believe that the crusade is still continuing] it should be dropped. lt is not necessary anymore; it is an external symbol that causes harm or rather offence to some so if it is used overtly what does that convey?
     
  10. GlorytoGod

    GlorytoGod There is a River

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    you dont half talk some nonsense you know, the cross is the cross it probably means different things to different people, for some it will symbolize freedom and liberation for you its offensive and you want to stifle peoples religious freedom because of your own beliefs, either way its entirely subjective live and let live thats what I say.
     
  11. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    its personally not offensive to me; l am thinking of the wider picture, but yes l am aware of the embedded connotations it has for christians l just feel [yes subjectively but also for an objective greater good] that in this day and age because of its negative connotations attached to it historically it should be no longer used as it may be a rallying symbol to adherents but an alienating symbol to the wider [world] majority. [Christian] colonialism remains in the minds of many.
     
  12. Marsh

    Marsh Disagreeable By Nature

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    There's no such thing as a Christian army anymore, dude, and there hasn't been for a long time (if ever, really). And religions are not at war with each other; all of this is an illusion to cover up the reality that war is and has always been a power game.

    What I was "on about" was Holysmoke's assertion that the teachings of Paul have led to Christianity's godless history, which isn't Christianity's history at all, because Christians would be filed under the realm of social history rather than political history, while war and conquest are political in nature.

    History is not this simple. We cannot say that such and such a country is Christian, and this other one is Muslim, and this one over here is Jewish, because countries are political entities-- lines drawn on maps with governments in authority of what lies within. Though individual soldiers may be religious, we cannot say that an army is a Christian one, or Jewish one, or Buddhist one, because armies are extensions of political power, and the order of the general trumps the dictates of the individual soldier's religion.

    This is my complicated way of saying your portrayal of history is way too simplistic, as it paints things with strokes much too broad to be reasonable. Don't blame the wars of today on the soldiers; blame them on the officers, who are sent to war by the governments, who are run by political leaders. The reasons why countries go to war are extremely diverse, and I'd argue that religious beliefs do not factor into them at all. And yes, I believe that even applies to Bush.
     
  13. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    hi marsh
    l would have to disagree on your take that religion and politics arent and havent been intertwined throughout history, particularly christianity from constantine onwards [until governments wrested themselves from the yoke of religious authority from the french revolution onwards].

    from wiki
    Oath of allegiance

    All soldiers must take an oath of allegiance upon joining the Army, a process known as "attestation". Those who believe in God use the following words:
    “ I (state your name), swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors and that I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully defend Her Majesty, her heirs and successors in person, crown and dignity against all enemies and will observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, her heirs and successors and of the generals and officers set over me.[19] ” Others replace the words "swear by Almighty God" with "solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm."[20]




    the footnote is quite a recent innovation and of course the queen is the head of the church.


    Religious wars, take a look at Kosovo, Afghanistan [mujihadeen] etc etc, yes secular governments [Israel]? l think you are being naive and simple in your understanding as well but whatever; l think quite a few muslim counties would disagree with your separation of state and religion.
     
  14. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    This all has to do with the nobilities bit of fraud they have pulled with their "divine right to rule" BS. All rulers know that religion is a great power tool in running empires or little nomadic tribes, so the shaman and the ruler would be in some kind of conspiracy or another together, or the ruler takes the position of head shaman.
     
  15. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    The cross is something that means different things to different people. I am not sure why those of us to whom the cross is a deeply meaningful symbol should have to avoid it because others find it disturbing, meaningless, or associated with colonialism. In fact, I think that is partly what is necessary- that we put symbols in their rightful place and reclaim them from misuse.

    At any rate, I haven't the time at the moment to go into any deep elaboration on what the cross symbolizes for me, but it symbolizes a great deal. It has long been a symbol of meditation for me in many ways, both relating to Christ and relating to nature/the earth.

    Somewhere... maybe it was in comparative, I go into my thoughts on Christian Druidry and the overlap of the Trinity, the four directions, the four elements, and so on... the Celtic cross, for me, both is a symbol of Christ's teachings and selfless service, a reminder (take up your cross and follow me), a symbol of conquering the seeming hopelessness of death... as well as a symbol of unity and One-ness of the Divine and all beings (the circle in the Celtic cross), the interrelated nature of all things (the Celtic knotwork), and the medicine wheel (the four directions, four seasons, four elements, and so on). More broadly, I think of the cross as the Tree of Life, rooted in the ground but reaching up toward heaven and outward to encompass all beings in its compassionate embrace.

    The cross, for me, is anything but morbid and dark. Death is not the end, but just the beginning of the next chapter. Destruction and death are the counterpart to creation and life. One feeds the other in a never-ending cycle and death is only morbid if we choose to see it that way. If we see it as the shedding of incarnation to move on to the next journey, it is not so bad.

    At any rate, the cross means a ton for me and I get a lot of mileage out of contemplating it. This is why I placed it on myself permanently with a triskelion in the center- it is on my back and seeing it each day reminds me of death and life, of nature and God's embrace, of Jesus' selfless last act of forgiveness. It is deeply rooted in both my Christian and Druidic beliefs.
     
  16. Marsh

    Marsh Disagreeable By Nature

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    You look on a map and see a country. It's not a Muslim; it's a country. And you want me to believe that this entire country with its millions of people in it think with one mind? Please!

    Think carefully about that oath of allegiance that you included. The very fact that God is interchangeable with Queen Elizabeth shows that it has nothing to do with Christianity, and everything to do with politics.

    If you read carefully, you'd see that I have never said that religion and politics are not connected, because insofar as political leaders can assert power by using religion to motivate their constituents/subjects, then yes, they are connected. But the causes of war are not religious; they are economic, and religion is just used as a smokescreen to cover that up, because if soldiers knew what they were really fighting for, they probably would not fight.

    But that's not even the point that I was arguing!

    I was arguing against the assertion that individual Christians such as myself rationalize nasty behaviour based on Paul's letters and the content therein.
     
  17. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    the reformation wars? yes that was totally politics [other blood bath].

    quote path of one:
    I think that is partly what is necessary- that we put symbols in their rightful place and reclaim them from misuse.

    case in point - the swastika
     
  18. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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  19. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    Is​
    the Cross Really Christian?

    A ROMAN emperor was preparing for battle and felt the need of help from the gods. As the story goes, he saw a bright light in the sky in the form of a cross and with it the words: “By this conquer.” Adopting the sign as the standard for his army, he went on to win a series of crucial victories that led to his becoming sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 324 C.E.



    The hero of this famous story was Constantine the Great.


    From that time on, the Roman Church became the official religion of the empire and grew rapidly in prestige, popularity and power. At the same time, the cross became the official symbol of the church—it gradually adorned religious buildings, was erected on hilltops and mountains, at crossroads and in public squares. It was hung on the walls of homes and around the necks of millions of people.


    so as we can see Jesus was no part of this at all , but it was mixed in and that is not good is it?

     
  20. soleil10

    soleil10 New Member

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    I wish Christianity celebrated the crown of Jesus' victory instead of promoting the cross.
     

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