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Jesus's Birthday?

If it's news, but not politics, then it goes here.

Most contemporary American Christians have a striking lack of knowledge about the factual history of their own faith.

I agree; most Christians hardly know anything about the state of the world during the time their Religion was spawned or promoted.
24
96%
I disagree, everything you need to know is in the Bible.
1
4%
 
Total votes : 25

Postby snoqueen » Sun Nov 30, 2003 9:21 pm

m_venk wrote: The current situation to some degree is that the spirit of the Holy Crusades has come back and bitten us on the ass. ...


If this is true -- and it is to some extent -- we are in deep shit indeed.

Just like to the extent the war is about oil, we are in deep shit.

Any way you cut it we are in deep shit.


Let's update the custom this year and burn our Yule logs in honor of a spirituality of earthly cycles instead of ancient texts, and in honor of the practicality of renewable energy sources.
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Postby m_venk » Mon Dec 01, 2003 7:47 pm

snoqueen wrote:
m_venk wrote: The current situation to some degree is that the spirit of the Holy Crusades has come back and bitten us on the ass. ...


If this is true -- and it is to some extent -- we are in deep shit indeed.

Just like to the extent the war is about oil, we are in deep shit.

Any way you cut it we are in deep shit.




i KNOW. cAN'T THESE BARBARIANS JUST SAVE ALL THEIR AGGRESSION FOR THE PLACE IT REALLY BELONGS, - ON THE MAT, BETWEEN THE ROPES, INSIDE THE CAGE ON LIVE, PAY PER VIEW WRESTLING? LOL. Personally, I don't see what's so wrong with Muslims that so many Christians insist on hating them so (calling their religion the religion of war and terrorism, etc); nor to I see what's so wrong with these infidels, .. uh, I mean, Christians (at least in America, lol), that so many Muslims have to hate them either. Or why religious belief should be so vital a cornerstone in the foundation of hate that people across the globe seem to feel for eachother. But hey, why be enlightened about things, right? So the Crusades are ancient history, - what's a millenium anyways, in the long scheme of things, on the long and winding road towards glory... Uh, I mean Apocolypse, or uh.. Ragnorok, or uh, .. What was I saying again? What's on teevee tonight? 'American Idol'...? Cool. Yah, see you guys, have fun with all this political stuff. :twisted: LOL.
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Postby m_venk » Mon Dec 01, 2003 8:24 pm

Darthcrank wrote:Alright, I appologize for the "hate speech" comment.

What has become apparent to me in my time in the church and out is that discussions of this nature often are completely dependant on which view you are coming from.


Well, I'm not an athiest or anything like that...


Darthcrank wrote:In this case, folks who already have a gripe with Church politics assume that idiots in the church think that they came up with Christmas Trees and holly berries and really believe that Jesus was born on Dec. 25th.


Well let's just say that many church goers can't always be classified as the most informed, knowledgable folks on the planet. I get the idea that "lack of exposure" is sort of an ideal for a lot of church officials, otherwise the word 'secularism' might as well not be in the dictionary. Those dogmatists are the worst of the bunch, I'd say. Still, I've found that those who are able to keep their faith active and yet prevent it from becoming an unhealthy obsession often make good company, being that there's a lot of common ground there. And I'd say, if you don't make good company, how can you make a good Christian? It's not like you're going to make a lot of friends if all you like to do is bark out dogmatism and launch missles at Saddam Hussain, lol. (Sorry, hadda say it... :twisted: )

Darthcrank wrote:Christians recognize that the early church for some reason or another decided to celebrate at the same time other folks around them celebrated, in many ways combining customs as they celebrated separate ideals. Maybe it was a sneaky way to convert other pagans, but maybe it was only a matter of convenience.


Do you really think that this assertion is accurate? I have to wonder... Kind of seems like the perpetrators of the evolving church have been nutorious for trying to rub out any trace of the faiths of virtually every other culture that they've come into contact with, with many notable examples. Heck, even in this country, I hear they didn't take to well to the belief system of a bunch of famous witches in Salem... Look at how few venerable traces of ancient, Native American culture remain in today's America, and I think we can start to see a trend, right? It was all nothing more than 'the devil's work' to them, as I've read in the letters and newspaper articles from places like the 'Jamestown Colony'... And in the end, they always seem to be the ones who get to write all the history books, so who's to know? And if that , at least, is a changing trend, then I'm God Damned happy to hear it.


Darthcrank wrote:At one time, the church was small and persecuted, and it would make sense for them to appear to be celebrating the same way others did, to adapt already popular holidays to suit their own purposes.


Well, that was certainly a while ago, wasn't it? In the history of Christianity, that stage is merely the blink of an eye. But it was an emperor of Rome who eventually declared Christianity to be the official religion of the Roman Empire, was it not? Christianity has been used as a tool of conquest ever since, even now, by some standards and to some people. All I can say is that I've found it best to keep that particular faith at arms reach for the most part. Heck, I even like Christianity; I like the stories, I like the characters, I like the lessons, I like the morals. But in a historical context, it's hard to say it's been anything more than 'bad medicine' for all of humanity in general. It's actually hard to ever look back and see the good in all that's been wrought in the name of that faith; even in peoples' own, personal lives, I'm forced to make the same distinction. Christ himself was a rabble rousing fellow, though, and I do consider his to be an inspiring story. Now, if all these Christians felt the same way I do about that story, I guess there wouldn't be anything left to complain about. In any case, I'm sure that he did not intend to for all that has taken place in his name.

Darthcrank wrote:Oh, and textual criticism is so full of holes and biases it isn't even worth discussing, in my opinion. The Bible (even if you chose not to believe it) has withstood centuries of analysis and criticism because it is a unique and special book.


Agreed.

Darthcrank wrote:Your poll needs more options as well, as i can't answer either of those two options.


Like what? What would you like to see? You name it and it's done.
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Postby shoeless » Tue Dec 02, 2003 10:42 am

Darthcrank wrote:Oh, and textual criticism is so full of holes and biases it isn't even worth discussing, in my opinion. The Bible (even if you chose not to believe it) has withstood centuries of analysis and criticism because it is a unique and special book.


Actually, the New Testament has not survivied. Ecumenical councils have constantly editted, re-written, and censored entire books from the New Testament over the last two thousand years in order to further the political ambitions of the Catholic Church. The gospels of Thomas, Mary, and several others are not included, because they tell a somewhat different story. Early accounts about the birth of Jesus tell that Jesus' mother was driven out by the carpenter husband to whom she was betrothed because she had committed adultery with a Roman soldier named Panthera. Have you ever wondered why there are no accounts in the Bible of Jesus' childhood?

The Gospels of Thomas and Mary indicate that Jesus did not rise physically from the dead. Rather, he appeared to them in visions after his death. Although this account is obviously more believable, this version of the story did not fit into the political plans of Peter, who asserted that the spirit of Jesus could only be accessed through a preist of the Church.

Those who supported these alternative views were persecuted by the Catholic church for centuries. The 5th Ecumenical Council in 569 AD finally decided to destroy all opposing literature and proceeded to scour Europe and N. Africa of the Apocryphal texts. Monastaries were ransacked and the texts were burned until no evidence remained.

In 1947, the only known texts of the Apocrypha were discovered in Egypt. These Gospels had been buried by Greek Orthodox monks in order to save them from the rampaging Catholic Church.
Last edited by shoeless on Tue Dec 02, 2003 3:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby TAsunder » Tue Dec 02, 2003 3:55 pm

I'm sorry I have to ask, but who exactly is offended by a nativity scene? I'm trying to imagine who these people are. Basically they would have to be people who close their eyes while driving down the street then only open them in public places, otherwise they'd be pretty offended by all their neighbors too.
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Dec 02, 2003 6:24 pm

TAsunder wrote:I'm sorry I have to ask, but who exactly is offended by a nativity scene? I'm trying to imagine who these people are. Basically they would have to be people who close their eyes while driving down the street then only open them in public places, otherwise they'd be pretty offended by all their neighbors too.

You miss the point completely. It's really quite simple.
I am not offended by people displaying symbols of their faith, I am offended by public funds being spent to further one religion at the expense of all others. A nativity scene in your yard means you are a Christian, but a nativity scene at a courthouse, a school, the Capitol or anywhere else suggests that the government is endorsing one particular religion, which is a violation of the separation of church and state.
That said, I generally think this is a non-issue, since even nativity scenes convey very little religiosity in this day and age - they are "symbols of the season", just as snowflakes, Christmas trees and Santa Claus are. Since Christmas has been essentially robbed of all meaning by commercialism, Jesus is just another spokesperson for selling your kids crap they don't need. As an atheist, I could care less if I am forced to look at little baby Jesus for a month, but if I was a Christian, I think I would be offended that the nativity scene had been reduced to the same level as reindeer displays and silver bells. However, I support any and all efforts to keep the government (and my tax dollars) from endorsing religious beliefs and that's what the fuss is all about.
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You tell 'em Prof!

Postby Marvell » Tue Dec 02, 2003 11:56 pm

Exactly. Thanks, Waggs - you said much of what I was going to say.

I would only add that, if you were forced to witness, everyday, people breaking the law and defying the U.S. Constitution, and justifying it with their faith in some religion other than Christianity, would there be the same level of confusion?

The poll in this thread says something about, 'most Americans have very little understanding of the epoch in which their religion was [sic]spawned (no editorial bias there!).' Well, what epoch do Americans have any understanding of? They don't understand the period of the Bible, they don't understand the period of The Crusades, they certainly don't understand the period of the early United States (if GLY and Ned's recent fawning over that old Satanist Ben Franklin is any indication), much less anything that has come since. So by all means, let's piss on one of the most central tenents of the framing document of our nation in the interests of celebrating the non-birthday of a man who may or may not have even existed!

"Render unto Caeser that which is Caeser's, and unto God what is God's, " goes the quote. It's from a book, one I wish all these so-called 'Christians' would fucking read for once.
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