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Religion and the men that made them

 
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Skyweir
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PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2021 7:33 am    Post subject: Religion and the men that made them Reply with quote

Ever ask what was before Genesis?

Genesis the book that is, not genesis the concept? In reality it was never a book, but a selection of verbal "his-stories" right? Passed down from one generation to another, prior to "his-stories" being recorded in writing. Noting that only scribes were entrusted with the recording of stories, many hundreds of years after their occurrences.

And, what about god? He/she/i is supposed to exist outside of time, space etc, right? What was he/she/it doing prior to this planets making? We probably have no way of knowing .. so we can reasonably and rightly shelve this ... for now.

And why Judaism (old testament religion)? Why the books that have been consolidated into the Christian Bible, and not others?

We know that these decisions were made during the Council of Nicea under the auspices of Constantine at about 325AD-ish hundreds of years after the death of Christ and Peter, who's name the church

Christian Persecution led to Constantine's efforts in its end in 311 under Emperor Galerius. Although Galerius stopped the Persecution, Christianity was not legally protected until 313, when the emperors Constantine and Licinius agreed to what became known as the Edict of Milan, guaranteeing Christians legal protection and tolerance but that was 12 years before the Council of Nicea. And of interest Christianity in the region was labelled as Nicene Christianity.

However, Nicene Christianity did not become the state religion of the Roman Empire until the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 [55 years after the Council of Nicea].

In the meantime, paganism remained legal and present in public affairs.

Constantine's coinage and other official motifs, until the Council of Nicaea, had affiliated him with the pagan cult of Sol Invictus and he was not baptised till over a decade after the Council.

Quote:
Constantine's role regarding Nicaea was that of supreme civil leader and authority in the empire. As Emperor, the responsibility for maintaining civil order was his, and he sought that the Church be of one mind and at peace. When first informed of the unrest in Alexandria due to the Arian disputes, he was "greatly troubled" and, "rebuked" both Arius and Bishop Alexander for originating the disturbance and allowing it to become public.

Aware also of "the diversity of opinion" regarding the celebration of Easter and hoping to settle both issues, he sent the "honored" Bishop Hosius of Cordova (Hispania) to form a local church council and "reconcile those who were divided".

When that embassy failed, he turned to summoning a synod at Nicaea, inviting "the most eminent men of the churches in every country".

Constantine assisted in assembling the Council by arranging that travel expenses to and from the bishops' episcopal sees, as well as lodging at Nicaea, be covered out of public funds.

He also provided and furnished a "great hall ... in the palace" as a place for discussion so that the attendees "should be treated with becoming dignity".

In addressing the opening of the Council, he "exhorted the Bishops to unanimity and concord" and called on them to follow the Holy Scriptures with: "Let, then, all contentious disputation be discarded; and let us seek in the divinely-inspired word the solution of the questions at issue."

Thereupon, the debate about Arius and church doctrine began. "The emperor gave patient attention to the speeches of both parties" and "deferred" to the decision of the bishops.

The bishops first pronounced Arius' teachings to be anathema, formulating the creed as a statement of correct doctrine. When Arius and two followers refused to agree, the bishops pronounced clerical judgement by excommunicating them from the Church.

Respecting the clerical decision, and seeing the threat of continued unrest, Constantine also pronounced civil judgement, banishing them into exile.

This was the beginning of the practice of using secular power to establish doctrinal orthodoxy within Christianity, an example followed by all later Christian emperors, which led to a circle of Christian violence, and of Christian resistance couched in terms of martyrdom


Why Christianity? Why different books to the Torah? A dissatisfaction with judaism? Had judaism secured too much control, too much power?

I submit that religions are a socio-political constructs and as such are agenda driven: akin to any socio-political constructs.

Lets discuss Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed May 19, 2021 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as certain books consolidated into the Christian Bible that has two factors.

1. The Nicean Council ( If I remember correctly?) selected which books to include and exclude. There are some books that have been and in some cases still are in included in some versions of the Bible. There are some books that have been included/still included which some scholars/believers feel should not be included the most famous example is Song of Solomon.

2. Most Christianity believes Judaism was the foundation of Christianity and some of the beliefs and practices stem from the Judaic foundation. So it makes some sense to include those roots in study and knowledge.

Ironically I fell that Christianity spread due to the fact that Judaism had too much control and power but at the same time powerless. Jewish people were subjugated to Roman rule and power. Christ's influence of being under Gods rule and not Roman rule had great influence and power. Such to the point that his teachings were widely spread and eagerly accepted. Some Jews even felt it was a call to actual arms or at least resistance.

Christ calling many of the Jewish leaders hypocrites also touched people. First many people were dissatisfied with the dogma and the restrictive nature of the practices of Judaism. Especially since they were under Roman huge thumb and Jewish leaders did not seem to be doing anything about it. A discussion of freedoms light a tinder box of emotion and practices and belief systems

By the time Roman rulers figured out about the these new teachings it was too late. The teachings had already spread widely. So widely the Romans leaders felt if they tried to snuff the beliefs out that they could ruin the domination they sought. Instead they did something more subversive they tried to sneak in their own beliefs into early Christianity. This was made easier by human nature of not wanting to follow exact guidelines and choosing a easier path. Especially an easier path directed by an oppressive force.

Some of these pagan belief systems snuck into the Nicean council and even into Christianity to this day. The easiest example is the celebration of Christmas. Most biblical scholars agree tat Christ was born in the spring not in December. December came about from pagan rituals that occurred in December and just eventually became recognized as Christ's birth.

Well that's all I got for now. But this discussion could goo 100's of directions Smile
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2021 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aye I think it could. Good input sammy

Re your point 1. Iím not sure what comprised the future ďbibleĒ was addressed during that specific council, though definitely following that first council it must have been on the agenda lol 😂 Bit itís been a long time since Iíve studied what took place under Constantine.

Re your point 2. Yes that IS understandable and an entirely organic evolution from one religion (judaism) to the other (christianity) interconnected in many ways.

One of the things supposed to have been addressed was actually Easter/Oestre ... as it was being celebrated at different times of the year and in different ways under Aries/ ironically identified as the Aryan problem ... as a mix of passover tradition and paganism tradition led to inconsistencies of practice.

Itís the universality of each iterations assertions that I find perplexing. All religions believe THEY alone possess the/a truth element - and thatís kinda easy to understand - till they claim they possess ALL truth.

Then when you start to unpack the many and varied claims - you are left with more questions than answers.

Of course such *faith-based* paradigms require different degrees of blind faith - and many demand this.

A convenient process through which cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias are firmly galvanised and questioning effectively quashed.
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2021 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't normally tread in the Close, but my contribution here is more historical and I used to have this discussion with Russ, so perhaps a little nostalgic. Very Happy

The story was that Constantine, in 312, marching with his army on the way to what would be the the battle of the Milvian Bridge just outside of Rome against a rival Caesar. He said he looked to the sun and saw a vision of the sign of the Christian cross along with the words in Greek, "under this sign conquer".

He took that as a sign that he had the favor of the Christian god and that he would rule favoring Christians. There was no recognition at the time of a separation of church and state. One of an emperor's titles was often Pontifex Maximus, or chief priest, and he was expected to ask for divine favor for the state with the gods. So it was natural that Constantine would want to do the same. However, after three centuries there was no common definition of what was it was to be a christian and since it wasn't an official state religion no one really cared much on how they worshiped their god. Constantine, after the defeat of Licinius, needed to know how to do it right if he was to become the chief priest. Which was why the Council of Nicaea was called.

Following the Council of Nicaea has since became the baseline of who is a Christian. From the beginning this set outside the gnostics and the followers of Arius, or Arians. Arius and his followers had a strong following inside the empire as well as outside the empire among the Goths and other western tribes.

Constantine himself didn't care so much what they decided as long as they decided something. As for himself, I don't think he was baptised until very late in life if not on his deathbed. The son of his that survived the wars after his death, Constantius, had religious views that made him Arian though he didn't really challenge the bishops. The last of Constantine's relatives who became emperor was Julian the Apostate, who wasn't christian at all. After his death in 363, then there was political instability until the next council.
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Skyweir
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PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2021 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent overview Damelon and you are right Constantine was not himself baptised till the last days of his life.

Interesting the rather natural appropriation Christianity was for Constantines imperial purposes given that historical context.

What Iíve never fully appreciated is how the bishops drew authority to Christ himself (as Christís church) through the medium of ďSaint PeterĒ 🤔
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is interesting Damelon. Do you have any good books you can recommend about the history of that time? I have never studied it too in depth and I would like to get to know more about that period.

PS I know this was before the timeframe (pretty sure at least) but how do you feel about Josephus writings do they seem to match other history studies?
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PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2021 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

samrw3, an interesting recent overview of the influence of Christianity on our culture and how a lot of it isn't apparent at first glance is Tom Holland's book Dominion: How the Christian Revolution remade the world . Its chapters cover topics from ancient Athens to the Beatles. Two of the same author's books on Roman history, Rubicon , on the Roman civil wars and Dynasty, on the first emperors up to Nero, are good for getting an idea of the Roman mindset was like.

I have not read Josephus, but my general understanding is that he is the prime surviving source on Judea from that time as the main Roman writers like Tacitus didn't spend all that much time on what to them was a small province.

Pliny the Younger, wrote a lot of letters that have survived (including an interesting eyewitness account of the eruption of Vesuvius that buried Pompeii) did write to the Emperor Trajan in about 110 CE on how to deal with some Christians in the province he was administering at the time.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Damelon! I plan on checking those things out!!
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