Paganism & Christianity

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by Child of a New Day, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. Child of a New Day

    Child of a New Day New Member

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    In another thread someone mentioned a book about Christianity and Paganism. I guess the author was trying to get people from the different faiths to talk. I wanted to get this book but I can not remember the name or the author of the book. I think it may have been WHKieth or Ben that recommended it. If this sounds familiar to anyone can you please help me out? ;)
     
  2. Sacredstar

    Sacredstar New Member

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    Dear Childofanewday

    Sorry do not remember the book mentioned but here is a website from a scholar and professor to keep you going in the meantime.

    The Pagan Origins of Christianity

    http://www.medmalexperts.com/POCM/index.html

    being love

    Kim xx
     
  3. Child of a New Day

    Child of a New Day New Member

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    Thank you Sacred Star.
     
  4. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    There are a number of books out that discuss how Christianity and Paganism are intertwined. "The Pagan Christ: Recovering The Lost Light" by Tom Harpur is a recent one. (Tom Harpur is a Canadian journalist who has made his career writing on religious and spiritual issues. He's widely respected in Canada.)

    "Pagan Christs: Studies in Comparative Hierology" by John M. Robertson is another one that talks specifically about Pagan origins of claims made about Christ. "The Origins of Pagan and Christian Beliefs" by Edward Carpenter is another one.

    There are others like "Pagans and Christians" by Robin Lane Fox that discuss Paganism and Christianity in the Roman empire during the third century.

    For a more spiritual exploration that looks to both Pagan and Christian practice, you might find "Pagans & Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience" by Gus Dizerega to be insightful.
     
  5. Chalice

    Chalice I am the Grail

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    If there are books about how paganism and Christianity are intertwined, then do you think that Christianity is a "type" of paganism, as the Jews first accused Christianity of, and many still believe? I have often wondered about this: Am I, as a Christian, really a pagan? Am I a blend between monotheistic Judaism and paganism? This is confusing.
     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi Chalice -

    The meaning of the word 'pagan' is uncertain but generally agreed that it means 'one who is from country,' in effect a bumpkin (if you know the term!)

    The word 'heathen' has a similar significance, meaning one who lives on the heaths and in the country.

    In Christian terms 'pagans' and 'heathens' were followers of their local cultic beliefs and superstitions. (Not that these are necessaarily wrong.) Thus the pagan comes to Christ through initiation into the Mysteries. (And many pagan ideas and practices have found their place in the Divine Economy.)

    Modern writers invariable have a limited grasp of philosophy and none of metaphysics, which is how they can suggest that Christianity is a type of paganism - a 'type' in this sense is a manifestation of a mode of being (its archetype or logos).

    In fact the reverse is the case.

    Thomas
     
  7. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    The word "pagan" is like the word "witch" in that there are many (often conflicting) definitions that are in use today. The definition that Thomas gave for "pagan", that is a person who comes from the country, is definitely one of the earliest meanings. However the word is often used in very different ways today with some of those definitions having little to do with whether the pagans in question are country-dwellers or city-dwellers.

    Another common definition for pagan is to simply say non-Judeo-Christian-Muslim. But while this is a common definition, there are many groups that are not Jewish, Christian, or Muslim who would say they are not Pagan either.

    By some definitions, some Christians could be considered to be Pagans. But by other equally valid definitions of Pagan, they most certainly would not be Pagans.
     
  8. Chalice

    Chalice I am the Grail

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    I think your point is valid, and I never thought of it that way. But when I have visited with orthodox Jews on line, they are convinced that Christianity is a very pagan religion, because it mimicks alot of the obvious things in the pagan religions through time, such as the virgin birth, the fact that jesus was born in a "cave" like Mythra, the "trinity" concept, Jesus' miracles are counted as high Magick by the Jewish leadership, and the Talmud accuses him (as the New Testament accounts) of working with the Devil to bring about his miracles (i.e. sorcery). Some Jews argue that considering any human being as God, or endowed with God's Spirit is pure paganism. But you are right, I have heard that the word "pagan" means "country folk", and Christianity is a religion you have to go to a central locale to learn and be admitted to. I know that some Jews consider Christians pagan, but why don't the Pagans? The idea of a baby "sun" or solar (heavenly/spiritual?) deity being born, using his powers to "heal the earth" and "grow life" on earth, and then dying, only to be resurrected seems to be a Pagan theme in some pantheon systems. In Paganism the solar deity is born of his mother the earth, represented by Mary, and then later marries her to insure his birth again the next year is repeated by the idea that Mary, Christ's first believer, becomes his "bride" in that the church and everyone in it is considered "the Bride of Christ" who will celebrate their union at the "Marriage Supper" in eternity, a type of Great Marriage. To me, it sounds like the similarities are at least on the surface, applicable to paganism...no?
     
  9. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    For me, one of the main criteria to help me decide whether it's appropriate to use a specific label for a group is whether the group in question embraces the label or not.

    If a particular religious group doesn't feel the label "pagan" applies to them, then it's probably not appropriate to say they are pagan then.

    Wiccans, many Druids, and many reconstructionist religions that are not based on Judaism, Christianity, or Islam do use the term "pagan" when referring to themselves. In those cases I think it is fair then to say they are pagan.

    Since very few Christians would say that their faith is a pagan faith, I don't think it's appropriate to say Christianity is pagan.
     
  10. Chalice

    Chalice I am the Grail

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    I think that by the "correct" or earliest definition of "Pagan", the word Christian does not fit, because when it developed it was the hottest, newest thing going, just like the resurgence of neo-paganism is now, leaving the majority baffled as to how anyone could possibly believe "that". The majority is not going to join up, because they aren't sure about it since it is just to new, but those who do join, leave the rest of the "old timers" to their antiquated thinking, and "old ways" - hm, in a funny twist, Neo-paganism actually makes the old, traditional religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam the real "Pagans", hahahah!

    But then again, Christianity's idea of the baby born in a "cave", the marriage of the "spirit" to an earth woman to give that baby a birth, and that baby's adult life used to heal and work supernatural things on or toward the earth, as well as his symbolic "marriage" to his own mother ( is of the earth and represents earth), because all believers become his "bride", (and she definitely believed), and of course his awaited "return" - that all matches up with the pagan cycle of holidays, only the pagan cycle of holidays takes place over a year, not millennia, which Christ's story does.

    While we are at it, When Moses left Egypt's pantheon system for the "one" God, he was leaving behind the "old" beliefs and replacing them with new ones, so he left paganism behind. But in a strange twist, when Christians came up with their "new Jewish doctrines" they left some of Moses' antiquated thinking behind, making jews the "old timers" or Pagans...

    By the way, I noticed that someone mentioned the "Key of Solomon" Grimoire on one of the posts. I have read an online version, and I have to tell you a couple of my observations about it. First, it, like the 6th and 7th book of Moses, offer all the same things as the Bible does - friendship, health, wealth, Every parchment mentioned in these Grimoirs has an equivilent promise in the Bible that is aquired by faith in the "one" deity spoken about in that other post. The Grimoirs come much later on in time, and offer these things through the wearing of different parchments and so forth, a much more complex and less secure method (God forbid you forget to wear it, or loose it or something). The Bible offers these things just for believing in God (that unknowable spirit mentioned in other posts). You don't have to go through all that "work" to get the things you seek. I think the Bible - the "Old" method (pagan) is much easier, and these Grimoirs base their offer of these things on Biblical ideas anyway, but try to make aquiring these givens as a secret and mysterious challenge that is not necessary. In fact, before reading the 6th and 7th Book of Moses, or the Key of Solomon, you may enjoy the background information of the First Five Bookfs of Moses (the Pentateuch), and the background information of King Solomon (i & ii Kings and i & ii Chronicles) and Solomon's background story/ancestry, which is from the Book of Joshua on through Kings and Chronicles in the Hebrew Scriptures. I am amaized that people seeking to gain the most knowledge would avoid the background writings to what they consider important background works on the subject, or not realize this...that does not make any sense at all, because it was so obvious to me. I Read these Grimoirs on line and thought - "ok, they say to wear this parchment to get that...but I already have that promised to me just for belief in "the One"..why doesn't the writer of the Grimoire realize this? Didn't he read the background books before writing this piece???" I was left baffled that a writer who advocates these types of gains did not "know" about the easier, guaranteed route. I personally do not see how the Key of Solomon or the 6th/7th Book of Moses can be taken seriously when you read the Pentateuch or Kings/Chronicles, because these Grimoires try to "correct" Biblical information/outcome/offers that already basically guaranteed to anyone who just believes in God (the "one"), and you don't have to wear a parchment tucked away in your clothing, or do any sort of ritual, you just "have" it as a gift because you are loved by "the One" (God, mentioned in another thread). While that thread wonders whether one can know that "one", The Bible contends that you can, and if you do get to know "the One", you will get lots of good, free stuff! I'm in for easy, and for security, especially when you get exactly the same thing free, as opposed to having to do alot of elaborate things to get the same effect. Am I missing something? That's my reasoning anyway, and the word pagan, or not, I think doing something the most efficient, easiest way is really what most people need.
     
  11. queenofsheba

    queenofsheba New Member

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    There are a lot of influences from paganism (= Germanic and Celtic polytheism).

    E.g.: Hella was the goddess of the underworld, the christmas tree. There are great myths about God and Saint Peter visiting the earth. These must be copies from older germanic myths.
     
  12. mee

    mee Interfaith Forums

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    i would say that true christianity is not pagan, but christendom as a whole is very mixed up with pagan beliefs. true christianity that Jesus taught has no pagan beliefs attached to it . and there is a big difference between christendom and true christianity. christendom has apostasized from Jesus teachings and taken on board many things that are out of line with Jesus teachings. the trinity teaching is a main one along with other things
     

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