Some comments on Christmas

RJM

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I track with all but the last two paragraphs.
Ok. Well, we can lose the last two, then, lol.

Its not where I want to take it, but there is some sort of demon possession in someone who can drive a truck along a crowded sidewalk, trying to kill people? Or light a petrol fuse to execute a man a in a cage? Again, this is a direct experience, but the opposite of 'God'.

But not the opposite. There's a whole study. Darkness is the lack of light, not the oppposite? Cold is the lack of heat. Yin is not the opposite of Yang. So it goes on to endless words and philosophising?

As for the last para: i feel uncomfortable in the role of someone qualified. I think everyone knows.

Hope you're still tracking. :)
 

wil

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Nope, yes, this is where we disagree...

Demon possession? Nah. A moral, possibly diseased, sick, tumor, raised wrong, traumatized....lots of reasons for bad behaviour....but in my understanding demon possession is not one of them.
 
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RJM

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'But the word of the Lord was upon them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little; that they go and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.' Isiah 28: 13.

Really sorry to do Bible tracts :) Not my usual style ...
 

wil

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Omg that demon alcohol? Why didn't you.say so? I thought you were talking about some little critter making people.do things they don't want.

Of course excessive alcohol abuse is an issue...
 
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Omg that demon alcohol? Why didn't you.say so? I thought you were talking about some little critter making people.do things they don't want.

Of course excessive alcohol abuse is an issue...

Well, yes and no. I meant to be talking about how scripture can create murder cults by obsession with the letter of the law. Satan is the ape of God. But I have had a glass or two of wine, so I had better stop talking now. Lol. Thanks for the good advice ...
 

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I mean ape in the sense of imitator. Although it's not a quite exact meaning. Good night :)
 

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Digging out my dog-eared copy of Josephus the Jewish War -- all stuck together with sticky-tape -- I indeed find Josephus using the name Quintillius Varus for the governor referred to elsewhere (eg: by historian Robin Lane Fox and Wikipedia) as Publius Sulpicius Quirinius, and by Luke in the King James Bible as Cyrenius.

Are they all referring to the same individual?

Any answers?
 

Thomas

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History is no theory...it happened, or it did not.
Quite.

What religion does with history, for political expedience (remember, the two are one and the same in this period of time, politics *does* influence religion and religion *does* influence politics)...
Quit wrong. In the era under discussion the two were definitely not the same at all.

Until the 4th century, the church suffered sporadic persecution. The worst under Diocletian and Galerius in the 290-310AD:
"...more troubling was the resistance of veteran Christian soldiers to the revival of pagan rituals in the camps. The conversion of pagan soldiers and the conscription of Christian believers had increased the Christian presence in the army by the end of the third century. As long as these fideles were not forced to commit idolatry, many of them seemed willing to offer service to a state that was not persecuting their brethren." (Odahl's 'Constantine', p.64)

A scandal erupted when Christians in Diocletian's service made the sign of the cross while soothsayers were trying to divine the future for the emperor, and they complained the Christians were causing difficulties. Diocletian demanded the Christians be whipped. He orders all Christians serving in the military must offer sacrifice to the gods or be dismissed from service. (Lactantius, 'Of The Manner in Which the Persecutors Died' 10.6)

In 303AD an edict was issued ordering all Christian church buildings to be destroyed (and many were house churches), all sacred writings were to be surrendered to authorities to be burned, all sacred items used in Christian meetings to be confiscated, and worship meetings were outlawed. A few months later, another edict was issued ordering the arrest of all clergy, and so many were arrested that it had to be halted due to the overflowing of the prisons. In early 304 all Christians were required to make sacrifice to the empire on the pain of death. Later that year Diocletian retired and was succeeded by Galerius. Under Galerius the persecution intensified until Diocletian's death in 311.

Eusebius graphically describes the persecution and torture in Book 8 of his history.

(some) were committed to the flames; some were drowned in the sea; some offered their heads bravely to those who cut them off; some died under their tortures, and others perished with hunger. And yet others were crucified; some according to the method commonly employed for malefactors; others yet more cruelly, being nailed to the cross with their heads downward, and being kept alive until they perished on the cross with hunger ... Others being bound to the branches and trunks of trees perished. For they drew the stoutest branches together with machines, and bound the limbs of the martyrs to them; and then, allowing the branches to assume their natural position, they tore asunder instantly the limbs of those for whom they contrived this... All these things were done, not for a few days or a short time, but for a long series of years. Sometimes more than ten, at other times above twenty were put to death ... and yet again a hundred men with young children and women, were slain in one day, being condemned to various and diverse torments.
We, also being on the spot ourselves, have observed large crowds in one day; some suffering decapitation, others torture by fire; so that the murderous sword was blunted, and becoming weak, was broken, and the very executioners grew weary and relieved each other. (VIII.8-9)

When reports came in that the cilil population was growing uneasy at the persecution, the style changed ...

Therefore it was commanded that our eyes should be put out, and that we should be maimed in one of our limbs. For such things were humane in their sight, and the lightest of punishments for us. So that now on account of this kindly treatment accorded us by the impious, it was impossible to tell the incalculable number of those whose right eyes had first been cut out with the sword, and then had been cauterized with fire; or who had been disabled in the left foot by burning the joints, and afterward condemned to the provincial copper mines, not so much for service as for distress and hardship... (VIII.12.10-11)

Christianity did not become the state religion until 380AD, by which time the matter under discussiuon was a done deal, accepted East and West.

The "weight" of your evidence is about as ponderous as a feather.
Well that feather certainly outweighs the syncretism argument, based not on evidence but assumption, and plenty to suggest its chronologically highly unlikely.

... (and I noted your aversion to Jan 6...quite comical actually, considering both are actually the same date whether according the Julian or Gregorian calendar...which I already understood but you included in your own defense earlier yet seem to have so quickly forgotten).
No. As you say, it's the same date if one takes in the calendar adjustments.

I have yet to see your claims of December celebration earlier than Nicea shown...
Then you've ignored the sources: Tertullian, Hippolytus, Africanus, the North African Donatists ... I'm illustrating materials which support an argument, unlike yourself.

I *could* get all conspiratorial and note the vast underground library the Vatican keeps, of records no doubt, dating back to the time of Constantine, records no mere mortals shall ever see, and no mere mortal has been allowed to see for over 1500 years. That aside...

Ah, come on, you resorting to conspiracy theories now? Please check the facts, look it up online ... The library is accessible to research scholars, about a thousand a year. There are no records prior to the 8th century. If you think that's not the case, please supply evidence to that end.

That the Roman Church, indeed Roman religion in the broad sense of the word, as a matter of pragmatism, were and still are in the case of the Catholic Church *very* syncretic in their approach particularly when it came to proselytizing and expansion is not a point of contention.
You cannot equate the Roman catholic Church with Roman religion in general, so no, this is illogical.

I've shown but a few, I have read of *many* more and will be happy to share should the need arise.
Please do, but please make sure it's spported by material evidence and rest on more than assumption.

The Church *beginning* at Nicea ...
It by no means *began* at Nicea.

Ablution was discarded at Nicea, for no other reason than that it was a Jewish custom.
OK. I'm now going to Trump you over 'made up facts'.

The actual practice of the rite of baptism in not mentioned in the Canons of Nicea. You're making this up.

Simply put, no-one knows precisely how baptism was administered, and it's generally agreed that submersion, immersion and affusion were all considered suitable. Remember John baptised in the Jordan, this was not deemed necessary. By the fourth and fifth centuries, baptism had become a several-week-long rite leading up to the actual baptismal washing on Easter. Catechumens receieved intensive instruction, often by a bishop. At dawn following the Paschal Vigil starting the night of Holy Saturday, they were taken to the baptistry where the catechumens disrobed, were anointed with oil, renounced the devil and his works, confessed their faith in the Trinity, and were immersed in the font. They were then anointed with chrism, received the laying on of hands, clothed in white, and led to join the congregation in the Easter celebration.

In 895AD, the Council of Tribur commented on the traditional teaching that the triple immersion in baptism was an imitation of Christ for the three days he spent in the tomb, and the rising from the water an imitation of the resurrection of Jesus.

Triple immersion is found in Cyril of Jerusalem (313–86AD) and Gregory of Nyssa (c335-394AD). Between the 12th and the 14th centuries, affusion became the usual manner of administering baptism in Western Europe, though immersion continued to be found in some places even as late as the 16th century.

If, as you said, Messiah was the Pascal Lamb, a point I do not contend with...why did the Catholic Church then distance itself from the High Holy Day of Passover, and attach that significant point of our Faith to a longstanding pagan holiday?
To fix the Resurrection on a Sunday, as I explained. The Church declared Christ 'our Passover' — we celebrate His resurrection, not Israel's deliverance.

With all of these facts...
They're not facts. They're your opinions, and like your assumptions about Nicea, Baptism, Constantine, easily shown to be inaccurate if not plain wrong. They're not supported by evidence nor by scholarship.

tried to bale earlier, and should have, this is going nowhere.
 

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Actually, don't bother with your 'evidence' juantoo3 ... I'm done on this one.
 

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We have no clue...
It was the day that was picked
Odds are high it is not the day he was born.
The argument was whether the date was arrived at through syncretism or the tradition's own internal logic.
 

juantoo3

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Quit(e) wrong. In the era under discussion the two were definitely not the same at all.
Was, or was not, the Emperor of Rome considered a god?

Until the 4th century, the church suffered sporadic persecution. The worst under Diocletian and Galerius in the 290-310AD:

...Under Galerius the persecution intensified until Diocletian's death in 311.
I'm a little more familiar with the persecutions than you give me credit. The Diocletianic persecutions didn't fully end until Galerius renounced them on what was effectively his deathbed, days before he died (less than a week) of a gruesome abscess of his scrotum.

However, Constantine after Milvian Bridge, in coordination with Licinius (remember him?) issued an edict of toleration, prior to the sparring between those two, causing Licinius to retract the edict in his realm. It wasn't until Constantine defeated Licinius and brought the entire Empire under single rule that the persecutions completely ended.

I also notice you quote Eusebius when convenient...I thought the Aryans were heretics, not to be trusted?


Then you've ignored the sources: Tertullian, Hippolytus, Africanus, the North African Donatists ... I'm illustrating materials which support an argument, unlike yourself.
Sources you continually allude to without ever showing quotes or attributions or any way to follow up. I appreciate you are a learned person, but this is a great source of frustration....you expect me to do your scholarship in addition to my own. I can throw names around too, doesn't help my cause any.

Just because you can name a list of "early church fathers" at will does not in any way mean that what you imply they said or intended is in fact so. You *never* seem to get around to quoting chapter and verse and linking so someone can follow up on your supposed "evidence." You behave, routinely, this isn't the only conversation between us where this has happened, as though all you have to do is mention a string of these people's names and all is well with your world. Perhaps, but that does not serve in ANY fashion as scholarship in a discussion(s!) such as ours. I have noted this more than once, and you continue to ignore my plea. You are no less than appealing to authority, and wishing that to suffice without ever producing a whit of actual evidence that any of these men said anything you say they do.

Out of time, will have to address the rest later
 
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wil

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Christianity did not become the state religion until 380AD, by which time the matter under discussiuon was a done deal, accepted East and West.
Seems the goals of the church (control) and the fears of the previous administrations were well founded.
 

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Seems the goals of the church (control) ...
Another pejorative and chronologically-dubious opinion without a shred of supportive evidence.

Unless you can demonstrate with materials to show the church was intent on world domination? :rolleyes:
 

wil

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World domination? Maybe...control of individuals and groups? Is that not like 2+2?

I know you hate it, but what exactly were the crusades? Inquisition? If not attempted power grabs or support of this 2000 year old monarchy?

Why run one country when you've got a billion spread among many?

Intent? We have to prove intent when the results are seen?
 

juantoo3

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You cannot equate the Roman catholic Church with Roman religion in general, so no, this is illogical.
Oh? How so?

What, a new Emperor comes into power (sometimes 3 in a single year!) and instantly! in the wink of an eye! every person throughout the land is of one accord???

Christianity was tolerated in greater and lesser degrees for almost 300 years leading up to the Diocletianic persecutions. There were other persecutions of Christians, and there were occasional politically motivated persecutions of other cults as well over the period I am speaking of. With Constantine, Christianity gained official support and some degree of official sanction, but paganism was still alive and well throughout the Empire. As you alluded to, it wasn't until some years later that Christianity became the only game in town and paganism was formally and officially outlawed...and even then it appears, if Frazer is to be believed, that it continued to linger in rural areas for over fifteen hundred years after that.

So yes, the Romans had a habit of syncretizing among its pagan faiths...it was not at all unusual for a given person to pick and choose among those available, be they Roman, Greek, Egyptian or Other. Greeks in particular were noteworthy for gleaning what they felt were the best parts of the cultures they encountered going back to Alexander. You alluded to as much not far back in this very discussion pertaining to Mithraism, do you believe this Roman habit of syncretizing began and ended with that cult? So why the bristle? I can only guess it is motivated by some staunch rejection of reality.

It by no means *began* at Nicea.
You misinterpret, and I can't help but believe it is intentional...you know precisely what was intended by my words. "The Church" technically started with Messiah and his band of merry men. "The Catholic Church," regardless of your protests, was consolidated and sanctioned at Nicea, circa 325 AD. The two are NOT synonymous.


OK. I'm now going to Trump you over 'made up facts'.
You know what? You are correct. Ablution was not directly addressed by the Council. I had to do a little rereading to recall where that came from. A little matter called the Meletian Schism, which was addressed directly by the Council, was in small part related to the practices of that sect, to wit:
Catholic Encyclopedia said:
Theodoret mentions very superstitious Meletian monks who practised Jewish ablutions.
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Meletius_of_Lycopolis
So yes, there is more to the story, but it does not in any way diminish the efforts that expanded exponentially at this time to distance the newly minted officially sanctioned "everyone in agreement on policy" Catholic Church.

We both know how long that lasted, but didn't end the effort to put distance between the source and where the leadership wished to go.

And if you wish me to quote Constantine's anti-Semitism directly, from Catholic Scholarship!, I am at the moment prepared to do so while the source is fresh in my mind. I drag my feet out of respect to the Jewish Faith, but it is no invention of mine that the Great Emperor (this is no sarcasm, the man utterly fascinates me!) Constantine was an avowed anti-Semite. We all have our shortcomings, this is but one of his.

To fix the Resurrection on a Sunday, as I explained. The Church declared Christ 'our Passover' — we celebrate His resurrection, not Israel's deliverance.
What needed to be fixed? G-d's way of doing things? Messiah walked out of the tomb on "the first day of the week," so Christianity uses that to justify turning the first day of the week into a new Sabbath.

They're not facts. They're your opinions, and like your assumptions about Nicea, Baptism, Constantine, easily shown to be inaccurate if not plain wrong. They're not supported by evidence nor by scholarship.

tried to bale earlier, and should have, this is going nowhere.

I think there's quite a bit of pot and kettle here.
 
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RJM

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... "The Church" technically started with Messiah and his band of merry men. "The Catholic Church," ...

Messiah walked out of the tomb on "the first day of the week," so Christianity uses that to justify turning the first day of the week into a new Sabbath ...

Disrespectful, patronising and pre-judged ... Imo
 
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juantoo3

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Disrespectful, patronising and pre-judged ... Imo
I'm sorry you feel that way, but my comments are founded in my research, which includes a LOT of deep soul searching and prayer for guidance. My choice of words may not always be the best, but the underlying meaning has basis in comprehensive understanding...and always subject to correction.
 
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