Is the cross christian?

mee

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"Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world. India, Syria, Persia and Egypt have all yielded numberless examples . . . The use of the cross as a religious symbol in pre-Christian times and among non-Christian peoples may probably be regarded as almost universal, and in very many cases it was connected with some form of nature worship."—Encyclopædia Britannica (1946), Vol. 6, p. 753.




"The shape of the [two-beamed cross] had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ."—An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (London, 1962), W. E. Vine, p. 256...so then ,is the cross christian or is it yet again mixed in with other religions, yes i believe that Jesus was put to death on an upright pole but not with a cross piece ,as the bible uses the word

stau·ros´

The Greek word rendered "cross" in many modern Bible versions ("torture stake" in NW) is stau·ros´. In classical Greek, this word meant merely an upright stake, or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece. The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: "The Greek word for cross, [stau·ros´], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole."—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376 so then should our bibles say cross or is this yet again a mistranslation .i think so, what do you think?

 
I see mee is smarter than I, she reads controversy in another thread and instead of deverting simply creates a new one...

another thread which discussed this did get off topic but then back on...
http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=276

I've also read a lot about the stave, pillars, poles, that were used and without cross beams, for crucifictions...I also found it interesting this was held on private land not on a ridge for all to see and deride. And the short time Jesus was 'on the cross' where as it was common for the criminals to be left rot for days, with the birds and vermin eating at the flesh for all to see..

All of this leads to more questions about the occasion and the cross...
 
I seem to remember reading somewhere that the X cross represented the female and the T cross represented the male in some early religeons. Cant remember where though.

TE
 
A very common symbol among indigenous/earth-based religions that you find worldwide is the cross and circle, sometimes called the medicine wheel now. It looks quite a bit like the Celtic cross. Common meanings for the symbol include the four elements, four directions, unity of heaven and earth/divinity and nature or humanity, the sun (the circlular part) and the earth, and more. It's a symbol we find on many shamanic rock art pieces all over the world. In fact, there's a bunch of them in our local petroglyphs out here in the high CA desert. They predate the modern Paiute and no one really knows how old they are.

This is precisely why my preferred symbol of my faith is the Celtic cross. The cross has meaning for me as Jesus' sacrifice and obedience to His divine nature in the face of death, as well as containing all the symbolism of my more earth-based beliefs (connected to modern druidry)- the four elements, seasons, and directions, the union of eternity and the moment, of heaven and earth, and of divinity and humanity.
 
so do others think it is right to change the word stau-ros which just means an upright pole or stake, to the word cross in our bibles.?
 
Perhaps, but it is only one of very many translational 'errors'. The importance attached to the symbolism of the crucifix would now make it practicaly impossible too.

TE
 
Tao_Equus said:
Perhaps, but it is only one of very many translational 'errors'. The importance attached to the symbolism of the crucifix would now make it practicaly impossible too.

TE
yes i agree , with the many errors in most but not all bibles, i feel it is a shame that most people are led to believe a falsehood , just because the world in general are led along does not make it good in Gods eyes . it has led to idolotry and veneration of symbols which the God of the bible does not approve of .for me i dont need any symbol or cross to recognize Jesus sacrifice and the ransom that he provided. and i dont think it is right for christians
1 Cor. 10:14: "My beloved ones, flee from idolatry." (An idol is an image or symbol that is an object of intense devotion, veneration, or worship.)

Ex. 20:4, 5, JB: "You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them." (Notice that God commanded that his people not even make an image before which people would bow down.)

Concerning first-century Christians, History of the Christian Church says: "There was no use of the crucifix and no material representation of the cross."—(New York, 1897), J. F. Hurst, Vol. I, p. 366 for me i think the cross is to mixed up with other beliefs to have any thing to do with it ,best to keep spiritualy clean in the eyes of my God

 
mee said:
it has led to idolotry and veneration of symbols which the God of the bible does not approve of .for me i dont need any symbol or cross to recognize Jesus sacrifice and the ransom that he provided. and i dont think it is right for christians
1 Cor. 10:14: "My beloved ones, flee from idolatry." (An idol is an image or symbol that is an object of intense devotion, veneration, or worship.)

Ex. 20:4, 5, JB: "You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them." (Notice that God commanded that his people not even make an image before which people would bow down.)

i think the cross is to mixed up with other beliefs to have any thing to do with it ,best to keep spiritualy clean in the eyes of my God


First, according to your (correct) definition of an idol, I don't think there are many Christians who have the cross as an idol. I don't know any Christians, including myself, who are devoted to, venerate, or worship the cross. I don't know of any who bow down to the cross. The cross, to me, is simply a symbol of my faith. Just like all symbols, it is representative of something else and not an entity of its own that could be worshipped. It is a useful visual symbol that basically represents a variety of my beliefs. I would wager it is such for most Christians- that and a symbol of one's identity as a Christian.

Though this may get fuzzy in denominations in which the cross is itself considered to have power. But I'm not of that mindset, so I cannot speak for them.

And I will add, that perhaps for you the fact that the cross may be "mixed up with other beliefs" means that you feel it is not "spiritually clean," but that is certainly not a widespread belief in Christianity. Personally, I do not think symbols can be spiritually clean or unclean, because they are simply images- it is how we define and use them that matters. The same symbol could mean different things to different people. And I do not think, based on my own experience of God, that He finds it repugnant that my own beliefs about the symbol of the cross include reminders of His goodness in His creation- the directions, elements, seasons, sun and earth. Indeed, I find it wonderous that such a powerful symbol appears all over the earth in various cultures, seemingly etched into the human mind. Perhaps rather than interpreting this cross-cultural generality as tainting the symbol, we can instead see it as evidence of God reaching out to all peoples and the symbolic results of people's striving for spiritual progress.

The cross reminds me to be grateful to the Creator- not only for Christ's teachings and sacrifice, but also for all creation and the gift of life itself- and I think that is a good thing.
 
Early Christians of the Roman Empire used the chi-rho symbol - which so far as I understand it was a pictograph formed from using Greek characters from the word for "Christ" and putting them together in a form that represents Jesus on the cross.

So the early use of the cross symbol was quite different than we have now.
 
How would you feel if one of your dearest friends was executed on the basis of false charges? Would you make a replica of the instrument of execution? Would you cherish it, or would you rather shun it?

 
I said:
Early Christians of the Roman Empire used the chi-rho symbol - which so far as I understand it was a pictograph formed from using Greek characters from the word for "Christ" and putting them together in a form that represents Jesus on the cross.

So the early use of the cross symbol was quite different than we have now.
yes the cross goes right back to a babylonian God
According to history, Tammuz was a Babylonian god, and the cross was used as his symbol. From its beginning in the days of Nimrod, Babylon was against Jehovah and an enemy of true worship. (Gen. 10:8-10; Jer. 50:29) So by cherishing the cross, a person is honoring a symbol of worship that is opposed to the true God

 
Tao_Equus said:
I seem to remember reading somewhere that the X cross represented the female and the T cross represented the male in some early religeons. Cant remember where though.

TE

Various figures of crosses are found everywhere on Egyptian monuments and tombs, and are considered by many authorities as symbolical either of the phallus [a representation of the male sex organ] or of coition. . . . In Egyptian tombs the crux ansata [cross with a circle or handle on top] is found side by side with the phallus."—A Short History of Sex-Worship (London, 1940), H. Cutner, pp. 16, 17; see also The Non-Christian Cross, p. 183

 
the cross as I understand it is a symbol for the human body, when one stands with arms out to the side parallel to the floor they become the human cross .... it represents the meeting of heaven and earth on many different levels and can be found among many traditions because many traditions have different ways of describing this meeting of heaven and earth .... but from the standpoint of the inner spirit of man, the spiralling energy within the body must travel up the spinal column into the head or center of the brain .... when the whole system connects this is called the cross-over or the meeting of heaven and earth.... in the hawaiian tradition it is simply the marriage of wakea (sky father) and papa (earth mother), but it takes place within the human body .... the "tree" is also the same symbol, the idea is that we are rooted to the earth and our branches reach for the heavens (we are also the tree symbolically) .... to me this is also symbolized in the "severed head" .... when we are disconnected from the internal system and the energy cannot flow, we are disconnected from heaven (our head) and when we are reconnected, we reattach the head ....


The house of god is sometimes represented on the cross (as the upper world or the heavens) and that is reflected in the shape of the celtic cross .... and the "tau" or staff is usually just a symbol for the spinal column that the energy must move up and down .... that is why one sometimes see the spiralling of snakes on the staff (the spiralling snake representes the spirallinge energy) and this is the symbol on the medical caudacus ....


just another perspective to share in this discussion .... he hawai'i au, pohaikawahine
 
It occurs to me that the Ethiopian people also have a fertility symbol that dates far back into pre-history that is very 'cross-like'. It is a female figure with an over large head, outstretched arms and feet together. I am sorry but the name of it escapes me at the moment. Ethiopia was also one of the first places to develop a sizeable Christian community.
Despite several googles I am getting nowhere here, if anybody could provide any useful links on this I would be very grateful.

Regards

TE
 
mee said:
How would you feel if one of your dearest friends was executed on the basis of false charges? Would you make a replica of the instrument of execution? Would you cherish it, or would you rather shun it?


There is something lacking here in your story. Christ was not just executed on the basis of false charges, at least not to most Christians. He sacrificed Himself for the betterment of us all. It was Christ's choice to show us the way to peace and love, in the face of evil. He had the capacity to save Himself, but He chose saving us instead through His teachings and example of following His own Divine nature to death. Jesus wasn't just a person condemned on false pretenses- otherwise He'd be just like the thousands of others that have this happen to them. He wasn't the only Jew by a long shot who was executed for His beliefs and political trouble-making either. So what sets Him apart from the others? The power He had, His teachings, and who He really was. He had the power to save Himself, and yet He did not, and in so doing, He showed us the Divine nature in the face of evil and injustice. He showed us that goodness, peace, and love overcome even death and cruelty.

I think that it is appropriate to have a symbol that reminds us of that sacrifice. Indeed, my favorite Celtic cross that I own was forged by a blacksmith from horseshoe nails, sautered together in the center with copper. It is a symbol that ever helps me to remember the gift I have in Christ, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that springs from this gift (the bright copper in the center- representative of the Awen or inspiration from God).

Furthermore, as the Hawaiian example illustrates (and thank you, P, for that post- very interesting and similar to my own beliefs), the Celtic cross is not simply a symbol of Christ's cruxifiction for me. It also symbolizes the goodness of all creation, the unity of heaven and earth, divinity and humanity, us and God.

If you feel the cross is a symbol you don't like or doesn't fit with your beliefs, so be it. I do not wish to get the entire world to use the same symbol I do to represent their faith. But you'll get very little swaying on my part in this matter as to my own beliefs. As a mystic, I am primarily concerned with my relationship with God. The opinions and doctrines of any one church concern me very little. I have had the cross as a symbol of my faith for years, and I have never felt God to be displeased or upset about it. Indeed, over the years, He has only blessed me with a more rich meaning of this symbol.
 
I think the basic question here is one of reality....is the cross made up?

Was Jesus nailed to a cross or a pole?

Was it converted from a pole, to a cross as a marketing tool, a familiar logo that others around the world were already familiar with and that which would allow them to accept this christianity thing all while keeping their foot into their Celtic, or Egptian, or Roman or whatever else theology?

And like the move to SUNday, and the Winter Solstice, and the Spring Equinox, and Santa, and the Christmas Tree and Wreaths...is the cross yet another dilution of Jesus's word?

aside: (thou shall not commit adultery...ad-ult (add another) don't dilute your principles)

ps I was just trying to copy mee's original thread starter onto to this post and low and behold it has disappeared and it looks like I started this thread....what is up with that?
 
Yeah, I too have noticed this thread is doing strange things.

As far as I know, Jesus was nailed to a pole.

I think all symbols are, well, symbols. And having Sabbath on Sunday, celebrating Christ's birth erroneously around Winter Solstice, etc. does not necessarily dilute Christ's message. I would hate to reduce Jesus' teachings and example to his birthdate, what the "cross/pole/whatever" looked like, or whether or not we have a Christmas tree. The message of Christ is much deeper and stands independently of the cultural traditions, symbols, and heritages that non-Jewish people possess. I do not think I'm meant to be Jewish in order to be Christian. I can maintain my Celtic heritage (just as others could maintain their Native American heritage or whatever) and still believe fully in Christ's message and sacrifice, and find it holy.

Besides, it is bad marketing for a symbol to just be a pole. I don't think the symbol of Christianity has ever really been the literal "cross." It's always been more than that. Which makes sense given that the Christian message is more than Jesus' execution.

Personally, I am completely in agreement that one should not dilute their principles. But I don't think a symbol is a principle- the principles are what the symbol stands for, which each person defines for him/herself. Same goes for the other stuff- a Christmas Tree is not a principle. Neither is a wreath, holly, mistletoe, etc. (all Pagan stuff- and stuff, might I add, that I love and carries meaning for me). None are principles. All have the capacity to be symbols, if we give them such meaning. For most people, they are neither principles nor symbols- they're just traditions and fun things to do and decorate the house with. Symbols, in my opinion, don't have a life of their own. We give them meaning, we choose the principles that we associate with them.

Or maybe I'm just a heretic. But I'm a joyful and peaceful heretic. :D
 
No, Jesus was nailed to a structure with a cross-beam. Every physical description of the execution implements includes the cross-beam, although there variations in the structure.

And Tammuz was never represented by a "tau" since the Babylonians used the cuneiform script (and pronounced the name du-mu-zi, there being no resemblance whatsoever between the du logogram and any kind of cross). That pseudo-fact was invented by a fellow named Hislop, back before anything was really known about Babylonian so that he could invent anything without fear of contradiction. The repetition of Hislop's fantasies a century and a half later is not excusable.
 
Every physical description of the execution implements includes the cross-beam, although there variations in the structure.
Can you provide a few...
I can maintain my Celtic heritage (just as others could maintain their Native American heritage or whatever) and still believe fully in Christ's message and sacrifice, and find it holy.
amen...

I think that nails the question....just because we are aware of the changes and modifications...doesn't mean we have throw the baby out with the bath water...as it were. It's the message.

ps. thanx for glueing 'mee' back on to her thread.
 
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