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Author Topic: Special Topic: Why We're Touchy About Defining Paganism  (Read 55898 times)
Moone
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« Reply #225: August 10, 2007, 12:17:29 am »

Could you elaborate on any particular teachings that 'smack of paganism'?

My reason for saying this is because I view Chirst as a pagan. He didn't follow any organized religion of his time. Was he a Christian? No, Christianity came after his death. Did he follow the Jewish or Muslim faiths? No, obviously not. Therefore, Christ falls under the definition of a pagan. His teachings did not follow religious doctrine. He taught his followers to seek God within themselves, not through any of the organized religious teachings. So, I see all of his teachings as paganistic. Chirst's teachings followed no religious creed.

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However, once you change a religion enough by introducing beliefs from another religion, it is no longer the same.  Bringing an Earth Mother style Goddess into proceedings is very different from mainstream Christianity.

I see your point here. One thing to consider though, is that the Goddess is not seen as a separate deity. The God and Goddess are one and the same. They are viewed as two aspects of the Divine- the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine, God and Goddess. To recognize one and not the other would be like ignoring a part of the Divine.


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Although I no longer regard myself as a Pagan, even when I did, I wasn't part of a group 'taught to walk in balance.'  In fact that isn't a teaching in a large number of Pagan paths.  Possibly not in the majority of paths.  There isn't a single Pagan religion, and the majority do not involve hermetic beliefs.

I was not trying to imply that is what every pagan is taught or believes. My apologies. I was using this simply as an example of how Pagan Christianity could be viewed.

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Not necessarily.  The things one believes about a Supreme Being are important.  Someone who believes in a malevolent supreme being is not thinking of the same thing as someone imagining a benevolent creator.  Saying that they're both 'really the same' is an attempt to impose your framework on other people.  I rejected that when I was a pagan, and I still reject that now. Smiley

I am not trying to impose any type of framework on others. I am just stating my opinion on the matter. Whether a malevolent being or a benevolent being, to me these are still just different views of the same being.(Notice I said "me" this time, LOL Smiley )

Thanks for responding. Smiley I enjoyed reading your views on the subject.

Blessings~

Moone
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« Reply #226: August 10, 2007, 01:19:49 am »

That right there makes them not Christian by any of the standard definitions of "member of the Christian religion" that Christians have used for centuries. There is nothing wrong with what these folks believe, but calling it "Christian" is not accurate.

I have to agree with pretz on this one. Christianity is a broad term, just like paganism. For every Christian religion there are varied beliefs expressed, the only constant being God and Christ.  They are however still viewed as Christians, regardless of their particular belief system.

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While people certainly may believe that, they really have no right to force that belief on others by purposely misusing standard terminology in ways that make it seem like they really are a part of a group that believes otherwise.

This is just my opinion now, so bear with me. First, I don't see this as a purposeful misuse of terminology. A Christian is more than one who follows the Christian religion. In the dictionary, the term Christian is also identified as "of or derived from Christ's teaching."

There are those who believe in Christ's teachings, yet they do not follow Christian church doctrine. They do not adhere to the religious dogma of the Christian belief system, but by definition they are still Christian.

As I said in a previous post, I do not view Christ as a Christian. Chirstian religion came after Christ's death, created by his followers. Nor did Christ adhere to the Jewish or Muslim religions.  By definition, Christ was a pagan.

How far of a leap would it be now to say that there are those who believe in Christ's teachings, still defined as Christian, yet they do not adhere to any religious dogma, defined as pagan.

I agree that the terminology Pagan Christian is confusing, but the terms Christian and pagan are both broad and open to interpretation. I don't believe that those who identify themselves as Pagan Christians are trying to be purposefully misleading. For lack of a better term this is the only way of identifying their beliefs right now.

It's an interesting paradox.

Blessings~

Moone
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« Reply #227: August 10, 2007, 04:50:44 am »

My reason for saying this is because I view Chirst as a pagan. He didn't follow any organized religion of his time.

You mean other than Judaism?  Admittedly he moved away from some traditional Jewish beliefs, but that was very much his religious background.  It's a pretty important part of the story of Jesus in fact.

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Was he a Christian? No, Christianity came after his death. Did he follow the Jewish or Muslim faiths? No, obviously not.

Actually he followed the Jewish faith, with the exception of areas where one might say that he was trying to 'reform' aspects (from his point of view).  The equivalent of a member of the Church today who says that somewhere down the line, people got it wrong.  As far as I recall, Islam was not extant at this point in history.

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Therefore, Christ falls under the definition of a pagan.

See above as to why I disagree.

 
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I see your point here. One thing to consider though, is that the Goddess is not seen as a separate deity.

Whom are you talking about on this occasion?

Quote
The God and Goddess are one and the same. They are viewed as two aspects of the Divine- the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine, God and Goddess. To recognize one and not the other would be like ignoring a part of the Divine.

To try and split down 'the Divine' on this occasion appears somewhat redundant to me, if one believes that the single divine comprises both.  In fact when I was raised as a Christian, I wasn't taught to regard God as a male.  The use of the word 'he' was, as far as I was aware, a simplification. 'It' tends to have negative connotations.  I was taught that God was genderless.  Koi would be able to talk more at length on this, but historically I believe that God was already considered to reflect both genders anyway.

Although personally I think that expecting a divine force to reflect human gender is a bit limiting. <shrugs>

Quote
I was not trying to imply that is what every pagan is taught or believes. My apologies. I was using this simply as an example of how Pagan Christianity could be viewed.

Well, others have already made it clear that there are other ways that 'Pagan Christianity' could be viewed.
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« Reply #228: August 10, 2007, 07:32:59 am »

My reason for saying this is because I view Chirst as a pagan. He didn't follow any organized religion of his time. Was he a Christian? No, Christianity came after his death. Did he follow the Jewish or Muslim faiths? No, obviously not. Therefore, Christ falls under the definition of a pagan. His teachings did not follow religious doctrine. He taught his followers to seek God within themselves, not through any of the organized religious teachings. So, I see all of his teachings as paganistic. Chirst's teachings followed no religious creed.

(snip)
Moone

Jesus was definately a Jew.  The entire concept of his messianic message is based in Jewish history  and theology.  Matter of fact, for the first few hundred years you couldn't be Christian unless you also converted to Judaism. 

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« Reply #229: August 10, 2007, 08:24:48 am »

My reason for saying this is because I view Chirst as a pagan. He didn't follow any organized religion of his time. Was he a Christian? No, Christianity came after his death. Did he follow the Jewish or Muslim faiths? No, obviously not. Therefore, Christ falls under the definition of a pagan.

Jesus was a Jew. His teachings were almost entirely based on Jewish law and tradition. Many of Jesus' most famous quotes were either direct quotes of Jewish scripture or a slight rephrasing thereof. Were the Jewish religious leaders of his time happy with him? Not according to the Gospels, but leaders are never happy with those who very publicly point out their errors.

BTW, Islam came long after the death of Jesus as well. Early 600s CE.
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« Reply #230: August 10, 2007, 09:39:43 am »

Jesus was a Jew. His teachings were almost entirely based on Jewish law and tradition. Many of Jesus' most famous quotes were either direct quotes of Jewish scripture or a slight rephrasing thereof.

I have to say that this fact causes me some rather naughty internal giggles when I hear someone going off on Jesus' life as a good Christian. So many folks today just seem to have totally dropped the thought that he was a Jew! He was no more a Christian than Buddha was a Buddhist! lol Guess this just proves that people will see what they want to see and get out of something what they Want to get out of it. Most such people are well intentioned, even if they are pushy, arrogant, or simply mistaken. Such is life!
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« Reply #231: August 10, 2007, 04:59:27 pm »

Jesus was a Jew. His teachings were almost entirely based on Jewish law and tradition. Many of Jesus' most famous quotes were either direct quotes of Jewish scripture or a slight rephrasing thereof.

With respect, I have to disagree.

Most of Jesus' teachings were very foreign concepts to Jews at that time.  His teachings are actually strikingly similiar to Taoist concepts, especially the "Passive Way".

"Give unto Caeser what is Caeser's..." is a good example of Taoist doctrine.  "If thy enemy strike thee, turn the other cheek." is incredibly "Way", and contrary to the prevailing attitude of "an eye for an eye...".  The Parable of the Good Samaritan was a lesson that went against the hatred Jews felt at that time towards Samaritans, and expressed a level of tolerance and understanding, and even elevated enemies by considering their actions and not just their cultural and religious differences.  The Widow's Mite is another tale of acceptance and the enobling of the common person over the pompous attitudes of the Jewish and Roman heirarchy.

While Jesus was born a Jew, and participated in many Jewish rituals, I find scant evidence that his teachings actually promoted the Jewish culture or religion.  He promoted the idea of baptism, but made no mention of bar mitzvah.  He taught nothing of dietary restrictions.  He even rejected the Ten Commandments, to a certain degree, and replaced them with only two Commandments.  He openly defied the Jewish practice of stoning, stating, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.".  How about, "My Father's Temple is not of this earth." (in reference to the restoration of the Temple of Jerusalem)?

Jesus may have been pagan, certainly if you consider Taoists to be pagan, but he doesn't appear to be Judaic in personal belief.  Pagan or no, his teachings shook up the status quo and introduced, or perhaps reinforced, ideas that were unusual for that society.

 

 

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« Reply #232: August 10, 2007, 05:12:04 pm »

"If thy enemy strike thee, turn the other cheek." is incredibly "Way", and contrary to the prevailing attitude of "an eye for an eye...".

I can't take all your examples, but this one:

As I understand it, part of "turning the other cheek" involved them needing to hit you again /as an equal/ instead of as an inferior.  It was actually a VERY political statement, and not nearly as passifictic as it looks.
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« Reply #233: August 10, 2007, 05:21:02 pm »

With respect, I have to disagree.

You might was to read what scholars have to say on this subject, for example:

He was born, lived, and died as a Jew
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« Reply #234: August 10, 2007, 06:01:52 pm »

With respect, I have to disagree.

Most of Jesus' teachings were very foreign concepts to Jews at that time.  His teachings are actually strikingly similiar to Taoist concepts, especially the "Passive Way".

"Give unto Caeser what is Caeser's..." is a good example of Taoist doctrine.  "If thy enemy strike thee, turn the other cheek." is incredibly "Way", and contrary to the prevailing attitude of "an eye for an eye...".  The Parable of the Good Samaritan was a lesson that went against the hatred Jews felt at that time towards Samaritans, and expressed a level of tolerance and understanding, and even elevated enemies by considering their actions and not just their cultural and religious differences.  The Widow's Mite is another tale of acceptance and the enobling of the common person over the pompous attitudes of the Jewish and Roman heirarchy.

While Jesus was born a Jew, and participated in many Jewish rituals, I find scant evidence that his teachings actually promoted the Jewish culture or religion.  He promoted the idea of baptism, but made no mention of bar mitzvah.  He taught nothing of dietary restrictions.  He even rejected the Ten Commandments, to a certain degree, and replaced them with only two Commandments.  He openly defied the Jewish practice of stoning, stating, "He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.".  How about, "My Father's Temple is not of this earth." (in reference to the restoration of the Temple of Jerusalem)?

Jesus may have been pagan, certainly if you consider Taoists to be pagan, but he doesn't appear to be Judaic in personal belief.  Pagan or no, his teachings shook up the status quo and introduced, or perhaps reinforced, ideas that were unusual for that society.



And I have to disagree with you.

Your eye for an eye / turn the other cheek examples indicates you are not familiar with Jewish law.

Render unto Ceaser was as much a political statement as anything else.

Widows mite, again lack of familiarity with material, especially Talmud and the Pharisees' teachings.

Jesus wouldn't Have to mention things that were expected of all Jews. Bar Mitzvah is one such thing, especially as at the time it was a relatively minor cerimony. Keeping the laws of Kashrut is another. He'd only have to mentino changes, wether adding, subtracting or re-interpting things.

Yitzhak bar Tzvi Hershel
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« Reply #235: August 11, 2007, 05:57:23 pm »

I can't take all your examples, but this one:

As I understand it, part of "turning the other cheek" involved them needing to hit you again /as an equal/ instead of as an inferior.  It was actually a VERY political statement, and not nearly as passifictic as it looks.

Interesting interpretation!  In Taoism subjugation to authority and/or enemies of superior ability is common sense survivalism.  An inferior would never slap your face, but someone in a superior position may be mollified by submission and cease attacks.  When attacked, according to Taoist precepts, you stand like the mighty oak and be snapped by the gale, or you can bend like the grass and recieve no harm.

Jesus' true intent with this lesson is unknown to me.  Perhaps it was as you say.  I merely pointed out the similiarity with Taoist doctrine, and the apparent conflict with Jewish attitudes of the time.
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« Reply #236: August 11, 2007, 06:03:11 pm »

You might was to read what scholars have to say on this subject, for example:

He was born, lived, and died as a Jew

You refer me to a Christian site over this? 

I have no doubt that Jesus was a Jew.  I disagree with you over his teachings being rephrasing of Jewish laws and traditions.  That site you linked to did not make any comparisons of Jesus' teachings to Judaic teachings.

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« Reply #237: August 11, 2007, 06:18:06 pm »

And I have to disagree with you.

Your eye for an eye / turn the other cheek examples indicates you are not familiar with Jewish law.

Render unto Ceaser was as much a political statement as anything else.

Widows mite, again lack of familiarity with material, especially Talmud and the Pharisees' teachings.

Jesus wouldn't Have to mention things that were expected of all Jews. Bar Mitzvah is one such thing, especially as at the time it was a relatively minor cerimony. Keeping the laws of Kashrut is another. He'd only have to mentino changes, wether adding, subtracting or re-interpting things.

Yitzhak bar Tzvi Hershel


You are right, I have only a vague understanding of Judaic law.  Nevertheless, it appears I am much more familiar with Taoism than you.

I pointed out similiarities between Jesus' teachings and The Way.  Perhaps it is coincidence.

Then again, an open mind might wonder over Jesus' denigration of Pharisees, his open promotion of baptism, his unpopular support of peace and love in a society dedicated to war and opposition to Romans and other civilizations, his rephrasing of the Ten commandments (utter blasphemy!), and his anti-millitaristic and anti-power and anti-wealth stances.
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« Reply #238: August 11, 2007, 06:21:46 pm »

You refer me to a Christian site over this?

Actually, I believe that was a PBS site. But yes, I refer people to good Christian sites for facts, information, and scholarly views about Christianity. The religion of the presenter of accurate information is immaterial. If this bothers you, you probably need to be on a different board as it is not going to change and because we have a degreed Christian theologian on staff. Koi's had to move reserve staff to deal with a very busy real life this year, otherwise she'd be answering your arguments far better than I can.

However, given that the Jews on our board don't seem to see the non-Jewishness of most of the teachings of Jesus, either, I don't see much support for your position.  As for some of the teachings being similar to the teaching of Taoism, most human religions have a lot of apparent and actual overlap in teachings. This doesn't mean they are the same religion or even indicate lots of contact between the religions in question.
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« Reply #239: August 11, 2007, 09:47:20 pm »

Actually, I believe that was a PBS site. But yes, I refer people to good Christian sites for facts, information, and scholarly views about Christianity. The religion of the presenter of accurate information is immaterial. If this bothers you, you probably need to be on a different board as it is not going to change and because we have a degreed Christian theologian on staff. Koi's had to move reserve staff to deal with a very busy real life this year, otherwise she'd be answering your arguments far better than I can.

However, given that the Jews on our board don't seem to see the non-Jewishness of most of the teachings of Jesus, either, I don't see much support for your position.  As for some of the teachings being similar to the teaching of Taoism, most human religions have a lot of apparent and actual overlap in teachings. This doesn't mean they are the same religion or even indicate lots of contact between the religions in question.

I stand corrected!  It is, in fact, a PBS site.  The position statements on this site are all from Christian and Jewish scholars, which is okay.  But no Taoist scholars?  Seems a bit one-sided.  How much more weight the arguement would have if non-JCI folk made the same arguement?

I think a person's background relates heavily towards their point of view.  Those that believe in alien abductions will certainly produce evidence of such.  No one defends Hitler more staunchly than a Nazi!  I mean no offense by this, but I am sure many will be offended.  I am expressing my scepticism, based on my limited scholarship, and I am doing my best to join in discussion based on critical discourse, rather than college degrees and popularity.

I really don't care how many Jews are on this board, or how many Doctorates in Divinity there are.  I was inviting evidence that Jesus was lock-step (in his teachings) with Judaism (at that point in history), and found only, "You are wrong, and if you don't like it, you may leave!"

I pointed out similiarities between Jesus' teachings and those of Taoism.  Why that idea upsets you is beyond me, but you stated in other threads that this site is dedicated to critical thinking, true?  All I expected was a reasoned discourse as to why you and others disagree, but I have received very little meat to sink my teeth into.

Please, drop the veiled threats and the "my scholars are better than your scholars" routine?



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