Will and Elst.

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by prajapati, Sep 15, 2005.

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  1. prajapati

    prajapati Cosmic Otter

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    "Isis with the babe Horus became the Madonna with Child. The bearded and horse-borne Germanic god Wodan became Saint Nicolas, later americanized as Santa Claus. Even the Buddha found a place on the saints’ calendar under the name Saint Josaphat. The autumnal celebration of the dead became All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, which is nowadays regaining its purely Pagan colours in the form of Hallowe'en. The date of Easter (from the Germanic dawn goddess Eostra/Ostarra) combines the Pagan symbolism of Spring Equinox and Full Moon with the Christian innovation of Sunday as the day of the Lord,-- an innovation which itself was borrowed from the solar cult of Mithraism, a late-Roman type of Masonic Lodge inspired by both Iranian Mazdeism and astrology. Winter Solstice as its feast of the Invincible Sun became Christmas."

    - Dr. Koenraad Elst.


    and

    Will Durant - "Christianity didn't destroy Paganism, it adopted it."



    true or false ??
     
  2. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I seem to recall that the original position was one of trying to *replace* existing deities, rather than control the rituals used to actually celebrate their view of Divinity.

    I'll also move this to the comparative board, as it's really asking for a comparative analysis.
     
  3. prajapati

    prajapati Cosmic Otter

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    ok maybe... but is it true that the things considered christian today, christmas and easter etc, were actually important events or deities of pre christian europe ??

    if so , then will durant is vindicated and christianity becomes the last pagan religion and christians become pagans in denial
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Nope - those sort of comments would be quite ignorant indeed, and that sort of attitude not welcome at CR.

    Christianity assimilated itself into existing cultures, and in doing so, clothed itself in many trappings. But the trappings remains cultural additions upon a theological base.

    Many cultures celebrated key rituals in Spring and mid-Winter, but Christianity certainly kept one thing clear - though it would share with the times of celebration, it wouldn't share in pagan theology.
     
  5. prajapati

    prajapati Cosmic Otter

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    after reading your post i am now sure that will durant was a complete ass to have made an outrageous comment like that.

    but though christianity never adopted pagan theology, it did superimpose itself around paganism did it not. why else is the solstice the same day on which someone is supposed to have been born?? and why then do we have churches in norway that have viking carvings and figurines.

    show me how i am wrong.
     
  6. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    The point is, Christianity as a general point didn't try and create mono-cultural societies, but instead became an accepted part of a diverse range of societies.

    So you'll see Christianity present in many different cultural forms - but the forms are like clothing over a core body of beliefs.

    It would be like saying that science has adopted Islam, or Buddhism, or Christianity, or Paganism, because science if present in many societies and surrounded by the trappings of these socieities. But science has not adopted these cultures, but these cultures have adopted science. Same with Christianity.

    Christianity is not a culture - it is a belief system that can exist within many different cultures.
     
  7. prajapati

    prajapati Cosmic Otter

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    these festivals like easter and chrismas are cultural events then and not religious events??
    like a new year or labours day??? if so, i see your point.


    as for your 1st paragraph, the "christianity BECAME AN ACCEPTED part.." - well what can i say ?!
    i just hope you know the history of christianity in europe, esp in scandi countries and how exactly it "became an accepted part..". hint. charlemange.
     
  8. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    The events may be specifically religious, but the method of celebration can be distinctly cultural. My suggestion is that these are two different issues.

    And that's very much a part of it - the cultures remain the same, but with a different theological emphasis.

    If you've read about Christianity in Europe, you'll also be aware of the irony that it was the Christian Reformation that killed a lot of cultural social events which had strong roots from pre-Christian times.
     
  9. prajapati

    prajapati Cosmic Otter

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    yes i guess they found it un-necessary to hold on to "cultural social events which had strong roots from pre-Christian times" - after introducing christianity to europe by adopting a lot of these same "cultural social events which had strong roots from pre-Christian times" (after giving it a considerable christian spin ofcourse - ie. like they made chrismas out of solstice) - of which the ones i named in the original post are the remaining ones (which havent yet been "killed" - maybe another round of reformaion is needed??)



    still i am not convinced that paginism doesnt live vicariously in christianity.

    you said - " The events may be specifically religious, but the method of celebration can be distinctly cultural."

    so you agree that christian religious festivals are celebrated in whats undeniably pagan cultural ways ??
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    There are different levels of arguments - I try to maintain a neutral standing at CR, so if you had argued that there was no pagan presence, then I might try to argue a point of balance otherwise.

    In this instance, I think there is a danger that you are dangerously over-simplifying the matter of the relationship between theology and culture.

    For example, if a Christian were to take up Morris Dancing, would they simply be a Christian doing dancing, or would they be performing a Pagan fertility ritual? That's the point I'm making about the distinction between ritual and culture.

    I don't think anybody argues that the Christian Nativity contains Christmas Trees, or that the Easter Bunny witnessed the Crucifixion - but there is a different between the cultural experience, and the personal/social spititual experience.

    Christians with Christmas trees I doubt see themselves as worshipping those trees or forming a spiritual/religious bond with Yggdrasil, simply for decorating them with flashing lights from B&Q.

    Conversely, I also don't think the original Pagan sentiment is present in the use of Christmas trees - whatever the original source of the ritual, the Christmas Tree has almost certainly lost it's original meaning over the centuries.

    What of the non-Christians who have a tree and celebrate Christmas? Are they therefore becoming a spiritual Christian-Pagan hybrid by proxy simply for doing so?

    See my point? There's a level of complexity in the argument I don't think you're appreciating.
     
  11. prajapati

    prajapati Cosmic Otter

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    In this instance, I think there is a danger that you are dangerously over-simplifying the matter of the relationship between theology and culture.
    >>>> yes we are idiots, me will durant and koenraad elst. we oversimplify.



    For example, if a Christian were to take up Morris Dancing, would they simply be a Christian doing dancing, or would they be performing a Pagan fertility ritual? That's the point I'm making about the distinction between ritual and culture.

    >>>>>>>>>>>> if a christian took up morris dancing and LINKED it to some biblical event, then, it would be superimposing religion on existing cultural activity. you havent at all managed to disprove that.



    I don't think anybody argues that the Christian Nativity contains Christmas Trees, or that the Easter Bunny witnessed the Crucifixion - but there is a different between the cultural experience, and the personal/social spititual experience.
    >>>>>>>>>>> yes there is. still doesnt make chrismas trees and easter eggs christian - since they never were there in the middle east nor was someone born on dec 25th. if i celebrated your birthday on labour's day wouldnt mean it is.



    Christians with Christmas trees I doubt see themselves as worshipping those trees or forming a spiritual/religious bond with Yggdrasil, simply for decorating them with flashing lights from B&Q.
    >>>>>> no they dont. they still are hanging on to non-christian things though. an Oester (not easter) egg by any other name.....



    Conversely, I also don't think the original Pagan sentiment is present in the use of Christmas trees - whatever the original source of the ritual, the Christmas Tree has almost certainly lost it's original meaning over the centuries.
    >>>>>>>>>> really?? saint nicholus too ??




    What of the non-Christians who have a tree and celebrate Christmas?
    >>>>>>>> they just join the party and have the fun. not the spiritual chrismas.


    Are they therefore becoming a spiritual Christian-Pagan hybrid by proxy simply for doing so?
    >>>>>>>>>>>> no they are becomming "go with the flow" types. christians in india play holi - festival of colours. they dont become hindu by doing so. they just join the fun.


    See my point? There's a level of complexity in the argument I don't think you're appreciating.
    >>>>>>>>>>> no complexity. they have changed names, or changed the symbolism - but are holding on to the same pagan stuff.


    if they have to celebrate someone's birthday - then do it on his birthday.
    why take solstice and celebrate it then??


    i still dont get how they can factor all that paganism into blical christianity - and maintain that christianity has not been paganised considerably.


    interestingly i'd like opinions from the pagan members of this board too.
     
  12. Awaiting_the_fifth

    Awaiting_the_fifth Where is my mind?

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    If said Christian were simply doing morris dancing, then (s)he remains a Christian doing morris dancing.

    But if that Christian then claimed that Morris Dancing was a Christian ritual, representative of the way the people danced when Jesus entered Nazareth (the sticks of course, representing the palms), what then?

    This probably wouldn't do any harm but I think most people would agree it would be a very strange thing to do, and is it really so different than celebrating the Winter Solstace and calling it Jesus' birthday or celebrating the Vernal Equinox as the Date of his ressurection?
     
  13. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Indeed, but I still don't see a Christmas Tree in the Nativity, or an Easter Bunny in the Crucifixion story, nor any claim of a *spiritual connection* between these things and Christian theology.

    It is worth remembering that if we're talking about Christianity in western cultures, then we're talking about societies that have undergone the "Enlightenment Period" and the explosion of Humanist thought.

    In that instance, it could be well worth underlining that the reclaimation of distinctly pagan rituals is more a Humanist grab, than a Christian ideal.

    Sharing similar dates is not really an issue - we all share the same earth, and that earth undergoes very marked changes, which were often celebrated across cultures.

    I might have difficulty finding a religion in Europe and near Asia that did not have any manjor festivals in Spring and Winter. By your reasoning, would that not mean that they are all just copying each other?
     
  14. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    This is the sort of aggressive and pointlessly confrontational attitude I've warned you about before.

    If I have to tell you one more time about your attitude in your posts then your posts will have to be pre-moderated or stopped completely.

    CR is not usenet - we expect a level of maturity and civility here.
     
  15. prajapati

    prajapati Cosmic Otter

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    i dont get you.

    if you want to ban me then do so.

    but dont accuse me of lack of civility.

    last time i said a certain sect is "loony" - thats without knowning that they were reporesented here.
    now i call myself an idiot for oversimplifying and you say i am being aggressive??
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    The first point is that any given Revelation, being a disclosure of the True (and one might also say the Real, the Good, the Beautiful), will naturally - in fact supernaturally - assume all 'lesser truths,' all lesser modes of reality, goodness and beauty, unto itself, rightfully so as all truth is One - these lesser modes being human in origin, but nevertheless 'welcome' to God, in that they comprise a blind, or obscure fumbling towards the Divine.

    (St Clement was not alone among the Fathers who spoke of 'Christians before Christ.' There are those who believe that the Hermetic sciences were given to the Egyptians by Moses, rather than by the god Hermes. I doubt this, even as a Christian, for although I am a Christian I also acknowledge man's natural capacity for logic, reason, intuition and wisdom - in the same way that the Fathers acknowledge the wisdom of Plato as a 'Master' in an age when philosophy was not divorced from the sacred.)

    The second point is that any given revelation, being a disclosure of the True, will naturally - and again in fact supernaturally - utilise all natural and cosmological means at is disposal to manifest itself in accordance with the harmony of the whole. Thus it should be no surprise that Christ will utilise and imbue the mundane with sacramental significance.

    Thus, as the late Pope pointed out (in continuation with christian Tradition) that the foremost 'revelation' of God is in the Incarnation, and second to it is Creation and its cosmology - this knowing of the world is summed up in The Philosopher's Stone, the very term 'stone' signifying the crystalisation and sum total of the knowledge of the manifest order, which is as much 'knowing' as human reason and logic can naturally aspire to.

    Knowledge of the supernatural is and can only be 'revealed' from above - yet what must not be missed is that there must be something a priori in the nature of man that can recognise it and in the recognition sought to clothe it in understanding.

    Thus Christian doctrine, for example, recognises 'mundane' or 'pagan' knowledge as knowledge of truth, but must always call on man to raise his gaze higher, to concentrate (or meditate) upon the 'one thing needful' which invested in all human knowledge a Mystery - the discreet semblance of Itself.

    In so doing, of course, God and man is obliged to 'refute' error - and it's worth mentioning here that the Fathers were not alone in refuting what later came to be called 'gnosticism' - the great Platonist and Stoic philosophers also decried the errors in what was largely a profane, magical and populist pseudo-philosophy which imputed to the gods a false anthropomorphism.

    Indeed it was Plato who observed of the Greek Pantheon that if they were gods on Mount Olympus, it was about time they started acting like such and ceased to display those sentiments that are counted as the worst vices of human nature.

    Thomas
     
  17. prajapati

    prajapati Cosmic Otter

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    wow i had heard of racisim. now i know the religious equivalent of it.

    so paganism is lesser truth, lesser mode of reality and at best achieves a blind or obscure fumbling towards the divine, whilst christianity is the truth.

    wonder what the pagan members have to say to that.
    as also non-pagan non-christians.

    if there were christians before crist, then surely christ's teachings were nothing new cos there already were people who lived by those.

    aahh, so pagan practices are mundane too !!

    meanwhile revealations are 'the true".
    btw, others have claimed revealations too (eg. islam).

    i suppose you did not want to use the word "any" cos that would make islam true too.

    so other people to whom no revealations were made, had no knowledge of the supernatural??

    i hate being euphemistic, so can i describe the above as a crude attempt at evangelization. ??



    one final question.... supposing you are right and the pre-christian pagan beliefs were indeed lesser and mundane truths, - why be selective then??

    why opt to incorporate some of these lesser truths, say from the germanic dawn godess Oester, into christianity, and why not the pagan beliefs of the sky worshipping mongols or the voodoo or the maya??

    are there "gradations" amongst these lesser mundane pagan beliefs??
    are european pagan meliefs less lesser than mayan and mongolian pagan beliefs?
     
  18. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    If I'd have wanted to ban you, I would - but you raise some good questions and carry some good discussions, but you have a very brusque manner which doesn't carry very well in only the written medium. It makes you look pointlessly aggressive in tone, hence the repeated call to chill-out.

    As for Thomas's comments above - you asked about a Christian perspective - and you have it. :)

    There are some Christians here who give paganism a very high regard, but in mainstream Christian belief Christianity is concerned with the fulfillment and self-realisation of God's Will on earth via the sacrifice of Christ. So it would be unfair to expect mainstream Christians to subject themselves to being subservient to other Faith viewpoints - as with other Faith's also.

    Pagan's have their own views, Christians theirs, and many others somewhere in between and beyond. :)

    Point being that it would be a shame if you deride a Christian opinion when you have asked for a Christian opinion.
     
  19. prajapati

    prajapati Cosmic Otter

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    I am not impolite or rude nor do i cuss.
    i do make scything attacks and often talk tongue-in-cheek.

    adults usually do.
    ban me if you will - but pls supply a concrete reason.
    or say that tongue-in-cheek comments are not allowed either !!


    yes we have a christian's perspective. and thus we know how supremacist their opinions can be sometimes.

    thats highlighted bit - there you r assuming.
    thinking of their religion as the be-all and end-all of spirituality is a decidedly secondary semetic (christian and ialam) thing. pagans and followers of eastern religions dont look down upon other religions.



    so there's nothing wrong in his "christian oipnion" though its clearly "my way IS the highway" in nature.

    bah !!

    i asked for views - not for posts that implicitly consider other beliefs "lesser" and "blind attempts to reach the divine" or some such.


    is it not possible to come up with a christian opinion thats respectful of pagan faiths as well ??


    anyways, comming to what you said... the religion and culture thing -

    say i was a mongolian and my culture requires me to ride a horse for an hour everyday.
    i become christian and also continue with the horse habit.
    thats one thing.
    thats a person changing his religion whilst holding to his culture.

    but if christianity was to incorporate horse riding as part of its festival (as solstice has been made a part of christianity) and then connected something biblical to the horse riding (as someones birthday has been woven) - that would be a different thing.

    that would be a religion changing itself, so as to fit itself along the boundary conditions of another culture.

    which is what i believe happened with christianity wrt the pagan religions of europe.***


    btw, and this is not to you, wont the person who made those disrespectful remarks about pagan faiths ever reply to the questions i asked him.


    ***ofcourse the customs of other non-european cultures were never thought worth christianity's while to attempt to fit itself into/incorporate into itself. if there's another reason, i'd like to know it. why for example a hindu who converts to christianity now, cant also play Holi whilst becomming christian, the way whites continue to celebrate solstice in another name. and why does the hindu have to celebrate solstice, though its neither christian, nor a part of his own culture.
     
  20. Bandit

    Bandit New Member

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    i can see where some pagan things were acquired & put into christianity. but to say the whole thing was adopted FROM pagan roots is is way left field.
    rather, in some other ball park.
     
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