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Protagonist
January 23rd, 2005, 02:12 AM
*sighs* I'm assuming that since the "Watering Down Paths" thread was recieved without clubbings, this, while controversial, won't be shot down entirely. I know places where it would likely be deleted, but not here. So, I'm posting it here. Maybe we can get a good discussion going. I've noticed folks about here are usually more open-minded than elsewhere, and I'm hoping that this won't offend anyone. No, wait, that's not true. I know it'll offend people; I'm hoping the folks it does offend will come back with intelligent rebuttals. That would totally rock. Also, please understand that the following is NOT (I repeat) NOT addressed solely to Mysticwicks. Mysticwicks is better than most about avoiding this kind of thing.

What I'm talking about here is Christianity and paganism. Why do so many pagans think the Christians are out to get us? Why are some of us so mistrustful of Christianity? Why is there such animosity there? On some pagan sites, and in some books, you get the impression that Christians are conspiring against us like some secret evil cabal.

The first mistake in this viewpoint is in clumping all Christians into one evil little corner. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Christianity is, while more united than paganism, not monolithic. If you talk to a Unitarian about how the feel about pagan faiths, you'll get a different answer than if you talked to a Catholic, who will answer differently than a Babtist. Some Christians practice communion, some don't. Some believe homosexuality is a sin, some don't. Some pray to Mary, some don't. The main common theme running through Christianity is a belief in Jesus as the son of God and in him as a savior-figure.

Furthermore, there are very few Christian sects with a "constant misinformation campaign" against us, as someone once suggested (can't remember who). Even very right-wing groups like Focus on the Family have a basic grasp of the reality of paganism, and this is apparent in their literature. Aside from small but vocal exceptions, they understand Wicca as a nature-based duotheistic religion, and have a good grasp of other pagan faiths. Yes, they are critical of them, and point out at every turn how they conflict with Christianity. They don't like our beliefs, and they point out how our beliefs conflict with theirs, but that's hardly misinformation or slander. It's more an expression of their faith. They believe they have found The Way, and want to share it. There's no maliciousness.

Plenty of pagans do the same thing to Christianity. Silver Ravenwolf devotes entire chapters to how the Christians have demonized paganism, and even resorts to making up lies about Mary Magdalene to make paganism look attractive. Even authors like Lauren Manoy who are good at being objective occasionally get their digs at Christianity, implying that Christians still want to burn folks at the stake. Plenty average pagans have similar hangups, no matter what their path. You hear them talking about how oppressive the Christians are, how they "stole" our holidays, how they're awful for saying theirs is the One True Way, Burning Times, Burning Times, on and on.

This is really, really bad for paganism. Most of it is just not true. It makes paganism look attractive, but slanders Christianity: exactly like some folks complain the Christians have done to us.

Few, if any pagans were killed during the Burning Times, and no Wiccans. As one site pointed out, the Burning Times occurred long after most of Europe had been converted to Christianity. There is no record of anything but vague pagan traditions surviving; few actual pagan religions survived in Europe. Yes, a belief in magic, fairies, and other vestiges of the older faiths continued, but that isn't a religion. In fact, most of those who died during the Burning Times were Christians, though maybe not as devout as others. Witchcraft was just used as an excuse, in most cases. What with the world falling apart at the time, there had to be a scapegoat somewhere. Those who were zealous about burning witches had other reasons than religion on their mind.

Furthermore, Christians never "stole" holidays. They don't claim that their holidays aren't pagan-influenced; most acknowledge it. If they don't, it's usually because they themselves aren't aware of the fact. They didn't just choose the day of a pagan festival to hold their celebrations on arbitrarily; the meaning is fairly preserved. Take Sol Invictus, which inspired Christmas. This was about the birth of the sun. They made Christmas about the birth of the son. Oestara was about rebirth. They made Easter about resurrection. Folks, I don't see anything wrong with them borrowing traditions. Modern pagans do it all the time.

Heck, modern pagans are even as "guilty" of "stealing" the holidays as the Christians. Wiccans, for example, celebrate Yule, Imholc, Oestara, Litha, Samhain, and others. These holidays weren't originally Wiccan; they were borrowed, just like the Christians borrowed them from the ancient pagans here and there. Again, as long as both Wiccans and Christians have a respect for truth and context, there's nothing wrong with this. I feel it would show more good will for pagans to stop complaining about "stolen holidays," though.

As to whether Christianity is, in essence, a horrible, oppressive religion that some people suggest it is, well, that's something we can each decide for ourselves by studying Christian teachings, remembering the human element therein. I once saw a button that said "No war was ever fought in the name of Wicca." I wanted to tell the wearer to give it a few centuries, then check back with me on that. It also amuses me to no end when I hear Hellenic Reconstructionists like myself (or other assorted Hellenists) talking about how oppressive Christianity is - it was Hellenists who put Christians to death in the lion pits. Does that say anything about Hellenism? I'd certainly hope not. The fact is, any religion, no matter how great, will have folks who distort it and use it to their own ends.

If we don't want the Christians to demonize us, lets not demonize Christians. If you want to criticize their religion as misogynistic, oppressive, or whatever, that's your choice. But don't complain when they criticize yours in turn. I think that, no matter what you believe, we'd do very good to remember that tolerance works both ways.

Luciferish
January 23rd, 2005, 02:54 AM
Though I cannot give this reply the time it deserves, I have a couple of points I would like to make.

The original poster has some very very valid points, the knee jerk reaction to christianity is as detrimental to our eventual "Accepted" status as a religion as bad press we get from freaks who say "I'm Wiccan" after they kill someone.

However I am going to throw in a wrench, because I don't trust most of christianity, simply because I don't think Jesus would have trusted them. I have come to know Jesus in a much more profound way than I think many christians could. He preached many things that are very in accordance with my beliefs as a pagan. Love, Acceptance, Tolerance and yet a strong sense of justice when our beliefs are stepped upon by others. Seems many christians have missed this about this Messiah of theirs, a very loving tolerant person wanting salvation for all people, spiritual release from the bondage of slavery and oppression. A very powerful set of messages for Pagan and Christian in this modern age. If we pagans could look at Jesus, accept his teaching as wisdom and understand that many christians missed the point somewhere in the New Testament that God is more than just vengeful.

Frankly Their path is no more set in undeniable fact than anyone else's and they should accept this fact. "Wicca", "Witchcraft", "Paganism", "Whateverism" you practice is all about learning the truth about the Universe, no one has a corner on that market. No one has the indisputable truth. Once we all realize this and begin to learn from each other the sooner we can progress into whatever the future holds for all of this religious pomp and circumstance. Zeal only counts for so much in the Eyes of God. A person's actions, intentions and effects upon the human race for good or ill are more likely the weights that we are measured up against in the end. If its the Summerland we go to, Heaven, Hell or whatever happens the only thing that matters is the mark we leave behind. Jesus left a mark and is remembered for it, fraud or not. The pity is that those who followed after him did so much to twist and distort it to their own selfish aims that now it stands a corrupt shell of what it could have been.

Morr
January 23rd, 2005, 10:28 AM
Actually Paul and The Fathers Of The Church did "borrow"/"steal" the Pagan Holidays, Customs and Gods themselves - Baptized them - And made them "Catholic Exclusive" on purpose - In order to make it easier for them to convert Pagans, at the time.

Paul's writing, which were the earliest Christian Documents - Are all aimed at marketing the new religion to NONE JEWS. Hence - Changing around things here and there to make Christianity (ie. YET ANOTHER Massianic Jewish sect) attractive to outsider and prospective/potential worshipers. Paul changed the Jewish laws (which Jesus stuck to and lived by), he cancelled things, altared traditions - All in order to gain followers. Its known that Paul and his followers had arguments and disagreements with James and the Primitive Church of Jerusalem in regards to who can and who cant join the new religion, and what one must do inorder to be accepted into Christianity - James and his followers demanded one must keep the mitzvahs and Jewish laws - INCLUDING circumcizion. Paul and his followers disagreed and claimed that one must only accept Jesus as his/her messiah. Paul made it all about Jesus & his sacrifice.

Interestingly enough, there are many well known Pagan stories & myths about a dying God that sacrifices himself inorder to save the land and his people - These Gods had very VERY active cults in Paul's time, especially in the area where he lived & travelled (Alexandria, Antioch, Rome).
What would be a better marketing plan, than to altar Jesus' life & story & mission to fit the life & stories & missions of the popular Gods of Egypt, Rome and Greece?

Later on, its known that Mary got symbols, names & "powers" similar to Moon Goddesses popular at the time - Isis, Diana, Innana. "Stella Maris", "Queen Of Heaven" are *not* Mary Exclusive.
Same with later saints such as St. Brigit of Ireland, for example.

You cant say that these things (and more) were done innocently by the Church and its Fathers. These were done intentionally, on purpose for political gain ONLY, and nothing more.
HELL, it was scientifically proven (through the information in the Gospels, of course) that Jesus was most likely born in March - The Church made his "birthdate" in December to mimic and fit the Pagan holidays at the time (that symbolize the birth of the God/Sun - as you have mentioned).

Just my 2 cents.

Elderbush
January 23rd, 2005, 11:16 AM
Well, yes, Christians made their religion attractive to aquire new customers in the same way that Walmart does what it takes to win new customers. They, the Christians, marketed themselves with great determination and foresight and turned their religion into well, the Walmart of religions and won customers from their competition. There really is nothing wrong with that. They borrowed ideas. Companies do that all the time, so do countries. Why should it be any different with religions? They have a product to peddle and one of the basic tenents of Christianity is to convert others. Why hammer them for being successful at it?

I think that it is equally wrong to lump all pagans in together as it is to generalize about Christians. I know Pagans and Christians that are bigots, idiots, full of rage, fearful and those who just love to feel all persecuted. And let's not forget the mentally ill. Maybe the people who are Christian bigots are just plain bigots and would continue to be one no matter what their religion is. There is real reason for some of us to fear individual Christians who are bigots and can affect a the quality of life of others.

Protagonist
January 23rd, 2005, 12:59 PM
Actually Paul and The Fathers Of The Church did "borrow"/"steal" the Pagan Holidays, Customs and Gods themselves - Baptized them - And made them "Catholic Exclusive" on purpose - In order to make it easier for them to convert Pagans, at the time.

Paul's writing, which were the earliest Christian Documents - Are all aimed at marketing the new religion to NONE JEWS. Hence - Changing around things here and there to make Christianity (ie. YET ANOTHER Massianic Jewish sect) attractive to outsider and prospective/potential worshipers. Paul changed the Jewish laws (which Jesus stuck to and lived by), he cancelled things, altared traditions - All in order to gain followers. Its known that Paul and his followers had arguments and disagreements with James and the Primitive Church of Jerusalem in regards to who can and who cant join the new religion, and what one must do inorder to be accepted into Christianity - James and his followers demanded one must keep the mitzvahs and Jewish laws - INCLUDING circumcizion. Paul and his followers disagreed and claimed that one must only accept Jesus as his/her messiah. Paul made it all about Jesus & his sacrifice.

Interestingly enough, there are many well known Pagan stories & myths about a dying God that sacrifices himself inorder to save the land and his people - These Gods had very VERY active cults in Paul's time, especially in the area where he lived & travelled (Alexandria, Antioch, Rome).
What would be a better marketing plan, than to altar Jesus' life & story & mission to fit the life & stories & missions of the popular Gods of Egypt, Rome and Greece?

Later on, its known that Mary got symbols, names & "powers" similar to Moon Goddesses popular at the time - Isis, Diana, Innana. "Stella Maris", "Queen Of Heaven" are *not* Mary Exclusive.
Same with later saints such as St. Brigit of Ireland, for example.

You cant say that these things (and more) were done innocently by the Church and its Fathers. These were done intentionally, on purpose for political gain ONLY, and nothing more.
HELL, it was scientifically proven (through the information in the Gospels, of course) that Jesus was most likely born in March - The Church made his "birthdate" in December to mimic and fit the Pagan holidays at the time (that symbolize the birth of the God/Sun - as you have mentioned).

Just my 2 cents.

I agreed with most of this in the original post, though you've gone into much more detail than I ever could've. :yourock:

However, I see absolutely no maliciousness in this "borrowing" of holidays, as I've said before. Yes, the Christians sought converts, but all religions seek converts, whether they admit it or not (even modern pagan faiths.) The Christians had an easier time at it, because, following the fall of Rome things in Western Europe were literally falling to pieces and everyone was looking for something new.

While changing the holidays probably helped, the popularity of Christianity probably has more to do with the situation the converts found themselves in. It isn't as if, by telling them they could still celebrate Oestara or whatever, these ancient pagans were duped into becoming Christians. They weren't that dumb, and, at least in the early days, those that did convert did so because they genuinely changed their faith.

And, again, as I've said, plenty of pagan paths like Wicca have "borrowed" those exact same holidays, for much the same reason. Is this bad? Um, as I've said, I see nothing wrong with it.

Valkie
January 23rd, 2005, 01:07 PM
I'll admit. I was guilty of the "damn the christians" concept for sometime. It wasn't because of what was done to paganism, but because of what it had done to me.

I agree, that most of the Christian groups are not based in hate. Unfortunately, the one that I was part of did exactly this
there are very few Christian sects with a "constant misinformation campaign" against us The "Battle against the New Age" was a big focus of what the church did. We were taught things like Halloween was specifically used for spells against the christian community, that everything in the media was there to desensitize us "God fearing people" to the evils that the devil was unleashing on the world... that the sole purpose of paganism was to drag us away from God.

The church that I was part of also taught that christian sects that didn't follow the strict teachings of the bible (which included 90% of christianity including Catholicism and Unitarian) weren't "real" christians and they were going to hell too. When I heard 'christian', the first thing that popped into my head was the christianity that I knew, not the christianity that is.

When I realized that I had been lied to for all those years, I was very angry and very hateful. I denounced everything that the christianity that I knew stood for. And, I'm ashamed to say, that I took out that hate and anger on people who had no clue why I hated the church as much as I did.

I thank MW for putting me in contact with Christians who are not closed-minded bigots, and making me realize that I was mad at the wrong group of people.

Pure Ahimsa
January 23rd, 2005, 01:11 PM
I'll admit that I have said many bad things about Christianity, some of them being to harsh, some not. I have many Christian friends who do not even believe in a hell, think homosexuality is perfectly valid, and that abortion is a women's choice. This not being the "stereotypical Christian".
Though their are many close minded people in that religion, their are people who are very good and very sensible and knowledgable, and I do respect them.
If you ask me if I respect Christianity, I'll say no.
If you ask me if I respect different christian groups, I'll say I respect some and ignore some.
But I have seen that their are many "New to Wicca" type sites that do view Christianity as bad, and is it their fault?
Their is a difference between disrespecting Christianity and disrespecting Christians, and so far I have only seen people disrespecting the Churches and the religion as whole, and I do not blame them.
But we do have to acknowledge the fact that their is good and bad in all religions, and we should see the good in the religion, and not the bad. This is not to say "Give up all caution"...we do not to protect ourselves from people portaying us as evil, but we should be more respectful. And I have met many open minded people of that faith on this community, even if I do have harsh images of Jesus, they listen to me as I do listen to them.

Morr
January 23rd, 2005, 01:39 PM
I agreed with most of this in the original post, though you've gone into much more detail than I ever could've. :yourock:

However, I see absolutely no maliciousness in this "borrowing" of holidays, as I've said before. Yes, the Christians sought converts, but all religions seek converts, whether they admit it or not (even modern pagan faiths.) The Christians had an easier time at it, because, following the fall of Rome things in Western Europe were literally falling to pieces and everyone was looking for something new.

While changing the holidays probably helped, the popularity of Christianity probably has more to do with the situation the converts found themselves in. It isn't as if, by telling them they could still celebrate Oestara or whatever, these ancient pagans were duped into becoming Christians. They weren't that dumb, and, at least in the early days, those that did convert did so because they genuinely changed their faith.

And, again, as I've said, plenty of pagan paths like Wicca have "borrowed" those exact same holidays, for much the same reason. Is this bad? Um, as I've said, I see nothing wrong with it.


yes but Christianity as a whole turned against these very pagan traditions and damned them all to hell.. ::cough:: hypocrite ::cough::
various Wiccan traditions have not, for the most part, done that. In fact a lot of Wiccans (at least newbies) assume that Wicca is a direct continue to the Acient Pagan religions (which its obviously not).

Aine of the Fae
January 23rd, 2005, 01:45 PM
Oooohhh... I'm not supposed to get involved in these kind of discussions because I get so involved... but ah what the heck....

Protagonist - EXCELLENT POST!

Until circumstances intervened, I found myself often defending my faith, my Christian-Witchyness, to both Pagans and Christians, because the two groups seem determined to oppose one another. It's sort of a Yin and Yang situation, and no one knows who is Yin or who is Yang! So Heaven forbid someone try to find balance in the situation.....

Anyway....

It is not the religion itself that is bad, it is the various interpretations, or misinterpretations if you will, of that religion that are bad. The primary commandments of Christ are Love. Love your God and Love your neighbor. Christ emphasized that over every other law in the Scriptures.

The "Church" did a great disservice to its own religion by canonizing the Scripture. In Jesus time there was no set Scripture. Much of what Jesus and the Apostles would have known as Holy Scripture has even been left out of the Bible, or later removed by people who thought they knew better what should go in there. The Bible doesn't make sense because it's not complete, and I don't think it was ever meant to be. Of course if you tell that to a mainstream Christian you'd better look out.....

Today in my Sunday school class we were going over a lesson about how you can tell if you are abiding in Christ, if you are living a fruitful life based in the Spirit. Not how you can tell if someone else is, but if you can tell if YOU are.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22,23).

Anything else is not enough. No one is perfect, and growth takes time. It could take an entire lifetime to realize all of the fruits. But it reminded me that when I see someone who is showing those fruits, REGARDLESS OF THEIR PROFESSED RELIGION, that they are abiding in the Christ Spirit. And that if I see some who is not manifesting any of those fruits, that it's a reminder that I SHOULD BE.

And that's what you need to look at when judging Christians. Are they manifesting those fruits? Any of them? If they are showing even one, then they are following Christ as they know him. And remember that we are all human, none of us perfect, and that each of us is a work in progress.

God/dess puts situations and people into our lives when we need them, whether we like it or not. Perhaps that Christian who is trying to bash you over the head is a lesson in patience for you. And perhaps you are a lesson in acceptance for them. Consider what kind of lesson you are being, what kind of example you are setting. If you instantly react in anger or defense, what kind of example is that? But if you show patience, and even the least little bit of understanding, how much of a difference could that make? A lot actually. Because they expect you to react in one of two ways. Jump for joy that you've seen the light, or react with hostility because you like the darkness.

Remember that's how they EXPECT you to react. Whether it's what you believe or not, it's what they believe. All who are in Christ are in the light, and all who aren't are in the darkness. If you react negatively or defensively you only confirm their suspicions. Instead react patiently, be interested, honestly listen, even if you know it's not the faith for you. Surprise them, and they might just surprise you.

Morr
January 23rd, 2005, 02:07 PM
Oooohhh... I'm not supposed to get involved in these kind of discussions because I get so involved... but ah what the heck....

Protagonist - EXCELLENT POST!

Until circumstances intervened, I found myself often defending my faith, my Christian-Witchyness, to both Pagans and Christians, because the two groups seem determined to oppose one another. It's sort of a Yin and Yang situation, and no one knows who is Yin or who is Yang! So Heaven forbid someone try to find balance in the situation.....

Anyway....

It is not the religion itself that is bad, it is the various interpretations, or misinterpretations if you will, of that religion that are bad. The primary commandments of Christ are Love. Love your God and Love your neighbor. Christ emphasized that over every other law in the Scriptures.

The "Church" did a great disservice to its own religion by canonizing the Scripture. In Jesus time there was no set Scripture. Much of what Jesus and the Apostles would have known as Holy Scripture has even been left out of the Bible, or later removed by people who thought they knew better what should go in there. The Bible doesn't make sense because it's not complete, and I don't think it was ever meant to be. Of course if you tell that to a mainstream Christian you'd better look out.....

Today in my Sunday school class we were going over a lesson about how you can tell if you are abiding in Christ, if you are living a fruitful life based in the Spirit. Not how you can tell if someone else is, but if you can tell if YOU are.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22,23).

Anything else is not enough. No one is perfect, and growth takes time. It could take an entire lifetime to realize all of the fruits. But it reminded me that when I see someone who is showing those fruits, REGARDLESS OF THEIR PROFESSED RELIGION, that they are abiding in the Christ Spirit. And that if I see some who is not manifesting any of those fruits, that it's a reminder that I SHOULD BE.

And that's what you need to look at when judging Christians. Are they manifesting those fruits? Any of them? If they are showing even one, then they are following Christ as they know him. And remember that we are all human, none of us perfect, and that each of us is a work in progress.

God/dess puts situations and people into our lives when we need them, whether we like it or not. Perhaps that Christian who is trying to bash you over the head is a lesson in patience for you. And perhaps you are a lesson in acceptance for them. Consider what kind of lesson you are being, what kind of example you are setting. If you instantly react in anger or defense, what kind of example is that? But if you show patience, and even the least little bit of understanding, how much of a difference could that make? A lot actually. Because they expect you to react in one of two ways. Jump for joy that you've seen the light, or react with hostility because you like the darkness.

Remember that's how they EXPECT you to react. Whether it's what you believe or not, it's what they believe. All who are in Christ are in the light, and all who aren't are in the darkness. If you react negatively or defensively you only confirm their suspicions. Instead react patiently, be interested, honestly listen, even if you know it's not the faith for you. Surprise them, and they might just surprise you.


Aine, thats nice in theory, and I wish we could all put this patience & virtue & understanding into action.
But as someone who has been bashed - not just by fundie christians, but by fundie Jews as well - for being gay and for being pagan and for many other things... I can tell you - that one is soured of experiences with some people at one point or another.

I'm sorry but having the entrence and outside walls of the Tel Aviv Gay & Lesbian Alliance Hall sprayed with Nazi Crosses and the words "Die Homos" all over it - Doesnt really make you think "Oh I need to embrace these people and understand them. This is a lesson in patiance and accepting that others may view my life differently. They have their own lessons they need to learn and they will with time, as will i"... At the moment, I personally (and im sure many others), look to KICK SOME FUNDIE SEXUALLY FRUSTRATED CLOSED MINDED & IGNORANT ARSE!

Obviously, stooping low to their level wont solve anything, but it does make you "eh" regarding certain religions since their dogmas promote these sort of things, or at least some religious leaders/sects within those religions.

I'm just sayin'...

MorningDove030202
January 23rd, 2005, 02:10 PM
I agree that Christianity isn't evil, infact I think it helps alot of people out there, maintain their morality and they geninly care about pepole. However I have met "Christians" that act as though the only neighbors they have to love are the christians ones and that everyone else is damned and so screw them. These are the "Christians" that I don't trust. Now obviously you can't tell them apart by looking, so I tend to play things kind carefully untill I can tell. I focus on being polite and civil, and gregarious to everyone, because it's far harder to hate someone for being Wiccan, if you like who they are and know them prety well.

I have found many spiritual people in the animal resuce/medicine field, both Pagan and Christian, and I think its sad that we can't always be open about our faith for fear we would lose our jobs, and it's sad when we hear talk around Halloween that Witches are out there looking for cats to sacrifice, when animal shelters turn down food donations from pagan pride day (This happened at the Dover, DE PPD in 2000). I wish we could focus on what we have in common, the idea that the divine cares about animals just as much as He/She/It/They cares about people and that we arn't here to just use and abuse God's four footed children.

But on the other hand, I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable with me. Not everyone is ready to hear that Witches arn't evil either. What it comes down to is that what you call yourself doesn't make one evil, your actions do, and actions speak louder than words.

Ok that's my $1.50 on Christian and Pagan interactions in the work place.....

Dove

IvyWitch
January 23rd, 2005, 02:14 PM
I think what's important to understand is that first of all what those asses are doing is certainly does not carry God's stamp of approval first of all. And second, I think a lot of people who have negative experiences with churches or with Christians just automatically blame the religion itself. It's not the faith that's bad, it's the people that are stupid.

My attitude towards this whole thing is, if you want to be pissed off at fundies, there's nothing wrong with that. Just don't blame it on God, it's not his fault that some Christians are a bit insane in the membrane.

That, and I think a lot of Pagans also need to put thier money where their mouth is. I'm a little tired of hearing Pagans yell "Tolerance for everyone! ...except those damn Christians"

Protagonist
January 23rd, 2005, 02:46 PM
yes but Christianity as a whole turned against these very pagan traditions and damned them all to hell.. ::cough:: hypocrite ::cough::
various Wiccan traditions have not, for the most part, done that. In fact a lot of Wiccans (at least newbies) assume that Wicca is a direct continue to the Acient Pagan religions (which its obviously not).

Well, as much as I hate to say it, plenty of Wiccans will go a long way to demonize Christianity. Plenty of Wiccan authors and website owners get their digs in at Christianity in a variety of ways, often going beyond the usual "Their theology is wrong/ours is right" mode. You'll find long discussions of the Burning Times, usually accompanied by the implication that it is on the verge of happening again. Couple that with a lot of psuedo-feminist rhetoric condeming an entire religion as mysogynistic, and, yes, a good part of Wiccans demonize Christianity. (Interestingly enough, at its outset, Christianity was a much more feminist religion than the pagan religions it came in confict with...)

Are MOST Wiccans anti-Christian? Not from what I've seen of the community. Generally, Wiccans aren't particularly fond of Christianity (if they were, they'd be Christian themselves,) but they don't necessarily demonize it. But, also, we should remember that most Christians don't demonize Wicca, while they might not be terribly fond of it (again, there's a reason they're Christian and not Wiccan.)

In both cases (Wicca as demonizing Christianity, Christianity as demonizing Wicca,) we've got a vocal minority going. If Wiccans (and indeed other pagans) don't want to be judged as a whole based on the angry writings of a few authors and sites, we've got to not judge Christianity based on Jack T. Chick and Fred Phelps.

semi
January 23rd, 2005, 02:51 PM
I don't have a problem with people who are tolerant of other peoples' beliefs and who don't try to force their religion on others. But there are people doing very bad things in the name of God or Jesus and these are the people that bother me, the same as the people who do bad things in the name of Allah, Odin, or whoever. Things ranging from the bombing of abortion clinics to spitting on me for not being like they are. For protesting Pagan Pride events and attempting to physically assault me while I'm doing security at these events. For corrupting the government with their beliefs, as though the government wasn't corrupt enough. These are the things that bother me. Not Christians or Christianity, but people who justify their ignorance with a religion.

Also, I couldn't care less about who's holiday is who's. Every day is a holy day.

karma_lives
January 23rd, 2005, 03:13 PM
I agree with a lot of what you guys said, this is an awesome thread. For me though, it's not 'christianity' in the whole, it's some of the people themselves. One of my teachers, very..devout? christian, when she learned I was pagan, in the middle of class one day she started screaming at me, yelling, calling me names, saying I was evil. She even blamed the hurricanes that Florida was having on me. :whatmewor But that just comes down to people themselves and how they act, they may defend their actions by saying it's because of their beliefs, but I actually have a lot of christian friends who really don't care one way or another what i believe. So I guess basically i'm saying it's just the person, not they beliefs. *in some cases* I dont even know if I explained it right like it is in my head. :doh2:

Maggie
January 23rd, 2005, 03:35 PM
These are the things that bother me. Not Christians or Christianity, but people who justify their ignorance with a religion.

And that's the real problem. Humans being human. Pagans aren't any more tolerant, peace-loving, or understanding than any other group of humans. Pagans built the Roman Empire by force, remember? And the Like me/Not Like Me syndrome also comes into play.

Romans did kill the early Christians, Vikings attacked monastaries, Catholic Bishops have been killed in South America for speaking up for the poor. Islamic countries are notoriously anti any religion but Islam, in the USA Roman Catholics and Jews were denied the vote in the early years. Russia outlawed ANY religion for decades. And, as has been pointed out, Christianity is not monolithic. I was raised in a very fundamental Lutheran church. The only thing I remember being taught about Halloween is that it means All Hallow's Eve, and the Sunday after Halloween was always All Saints Day. My daughter currently belongs to a Lutheran Church in Boston that makes a point of inclusion--and they mean gays too. And 'stealing' holidays? Eclectic anythings deliberately use elements of other paths--why isn't this 'stealing' too?


And the Burning Times--that was more Christians turning on each other than a vendetta against paganism. I've never been to Salem but I hear that some kind of stone with pagan symbols on it near the graves of those executed for witchcraft. Makes me rather uncomfortable because not only was paganism unknown in Salem at the time, the people executed considered themselves good Christians. They actually died denying they were witches. Who is stealing here?

Christianity is taking the rap, IMO, because that's the majority religion here. I suspect the same situation would happen in reverse if paganism was the majority and Christians the minority--because that's how humans tend to behave.

Maggie

djmixon
January 23rd, 2005, 03:44 PM
I am going to stick my head in for a second and hope it does not get lopped off. . .

Aine and Protagonist. . .well done.
Morr, I am sorry you have run into such intolerance, I wish it were different so you would not be so filled with bitterness. I enjoy reading your posts, but today I felt a little uncomfortable.

I would like to throw in something. . .the Catholic church is not the only Christian church but rather only one version of the Christian church and Paul and the apostles did not "found" it. . .others took their teachings during a time where different disciples were teaching and decided to make a sect based on those specific teachings. Look in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. It talks about how there were divisions in the Christian community based on who baptized whom. . . .Paul says he was thankful he only baptized a few of the members there because "Christ did not send him to baptize, but to preach the gospel - not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." In Acts 17: 16-34, Luke tells how Paul went to visit the Jews and God-fearing Greeks in Athens (which is how the great commission was stated. . .first to the Jews in Jerusalem, then to Judea - also Jews, then to Samaria - half Jew so they were outcasts, then to the ends of the earth - including Gentiles). He figured since Athens was a center of cultural influence, the synagogue would be in the town marketplace. There he found many altars to different gods. . .and one to an unknown god. Now, if anyone knows about Athenian history, they will know there was a great plague about 600 years prior to this. The Athenians sent for a mage who was to help appease the god responsible for the plague. He did so by sending out sheep and wherever a sheep laid down, that sheep was sacrificed and an altar erected to the "unknown god". So, there were many of these around. That is how Paul talked to them. . .taking them where they were, in their own belief system and teaching them what he had to teach. Some responded favorably, some not. Then he moved on. . .which is also what Jesus taught.

Christians have for many years been endoctrinated that you keep badgering someone until they convert. . .that is not how Christianity is supposed to be practiced. . .you present, response occurs or not, you move on. . .no judging based on that response. Jesus and his apostles mingled with "sinners" (heck the apostles WERE sinners. . .only Jesus was without sin). . .and those of different faiths. . .so why not us? Many feel uncomfortable stepping outside of their comfort zone and learning about other religions/faiths. . .that is their loss. How else would the apostles and Paul be able to communicate with those of different faiths if they did not have some understanding of how those faiths worked?

Does that mean that I, as a Christian, condemn all those who do not believe as I do to hell? NO absolutely not. It is not my place to make that judgement. It is for God (whatever you call him/her) to make that decision. It is also up to God (whatever you call him/her) to determine the consequences of your actions during your life, whether it is heaven or hell or whatever you may.

I just get on edge a bit when I see Christianity and Catholicism being used interchangeably. . .I do not believe in the diety of Mary. . .she was human. . .a vessel. . .I do believe in the diety of Jesus. I do not pray to icons. . .but does that make me any less Christian than a Catholic? no. . .just different. While we both believe in the diety of Jesus. . .the Father. . .and the Spirit. . .we differ on many other things.

As for canonization of the scriptures. . .well, I think it was an effort to try to get one set of documents together to use. Some of the texts were "hidden". . .many texts repeat the same stories. . .using the idea of casting the widest net possible, I think they did what they could with what they had. There were a lot of politics played to get it done. . .but when isn't politics involved with humans?

I hope that made sense. . .I have been a bit scattered, but I tried to put it together coherently. . .

BB
Donna

Aine of the Fae
January 23rd, 2005, 03:51 PM
I don't have a problem with people who are tolerant of other peoples' beliefs and who don't try to force their religion on others. But there are people doing very bad things in the name of God or Jesus and these are the people that bother me, the same as the people who do bad things in the name of Allah, Odin, or whoever. Things ranging from the bombing of abortion clinics to spitting on me for not being like they are. For protesting Pagan Pride events and attempting to physically assault me while I'm doing security at these events. For corrupting the government with their beliefs, as though the government wasn't corrupt enough. These are the things that bother me. Not Christians or Christianity, but people who justify their ignorance with a religion.

Also, I couldn't care less about who's holiday is who's. Every day is a holy day.

Honestly, some people are going to be intolerant regardless of the religion. They use religion as an excuse. And especially with Christianity they conveniently ignore the "Love Thy Neighbor" in favor of "Thou shalt not...." The tend to forget the emphasis Jesus put on WHO their neighbor is, that it's not just the people in your church but EVERYONE.

But can we blame the religion for that? No, just like you can't blame Wicca for the rebellious teenage down the road who tries to turn her mother into a toad and her boyfriend into a love slave.

Aine of the Fae
January 23rd, 2005, 03:56 PM
Christians have for many years been endoctrinated that you keep badgering someone until they convert. . .that is not how Christianity is supposed to be practiced. . .you present, response occurs or not, you move on. . .no judging based on that response. Jesus and his apostles mingled with "sinners" (heck the apostles WERE sinners. . .only Jesus was without sin). . .and those of different faiths. . .so why not us? Many feel uncomfortable stepping outside of their comfort zone and learning about other religions/faiths. . .that is their loss. How else would the apostles and Paul be able to communicate with those of different faiths if they did not have some understanding of how those faiths worked?



Go in, preach, if you're welcome then stay, if not then leave... That was the gist of the Great Commission. Don't cram it down their throats, it's not meant for everyone. Even Jesus said that it's not meant for everyone.... Does that mean everyone is damned? No, it means that each person has to find God in their own way and you can't force someone to follow your way....

Now if we could just get the Jehovah's Witnesses who keep popping in for a "chat" to understand that one....

Morr
January 23rd, 2005, 04:32 PM
oh - im not anti christians, and i dont demonize them. i certainly dont go ahead and bother them or generalize them about being pagan haters, etc..

im just anti fundie stupid people.. not just christian - of any religions, wicca and pagan as well.

just making a clarification.

Protagonist
January 23rd, 2005, 04:46 PM
I'm sorry but having the entrence and outside walls of the Tel Aviv Gay & Lesbian Alliance Hall sprayed with Nazi Crosses and the words "Die Homos" all over it - Doesnt really make you think "Oh I need to embrace these people and understand them. This is a lesson in patiance and accepting that others may view my life differently. They have their own lessons they need to learn and they will with time, as will i"... At the moment, I personally (and im sure many others), look to KICK SOME FUNDIE SEXUALLY FRUSTRATED CLOSED MINDED & IGNORANT ARSE!

Nazi Crosses? If you mean swastikas, those aren't a Christian symbol and never were. If you mean the Iron Cross, those aren't a Christian symbol either. The Christian cross does not have equidistant points. The Iron Cross was (and still is) an award bestowed upon German veterans deemed to deserve it. It wasn't even originally a Nazi symbol. They originated in late Prussia during the wars with Napoleon and only became associated with the Nazis when the symbol continued to be used as a war decoration throughout World War II. Basically, it isn't a Christian symbol; most Christians don't see it as Christian.

The Nazis weren't Christians, for the most part, either. They might have endorsed various churches as a manner of kowtowing to the public, however, their general ethos was not Christian. In fact, they were more secular humanists, though lacking the emphasis on reason of later secular humanists. They distributed copies of Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra to their soldiers for a reason, and knew full well that it included the stark phrase "God is dead," and was quite good at mocking the tone of the Bible. A few in Hitler's claque also had vaguely Asatru sympathies, Himmler among them. (Once again, when it comes to justifying evil, any religion will do.)

It sounds to me, Morr, that you've had an awful experience. I wouldn't let that turn you against Christianity, though, because it doesn't seem to me that the folks you were dealing with were necessarily Christian. If they'd spray-painted Bible quotes or something, I could understand. Even then, the majority of Christians hold no animosity against you.

Morr
January 23rd, 2005, 04:50 PM
Nazi Crosses? If you mean swastikas, those aren't a Christian symbol and never were. If you mean the Iron Cross, those aren't a Christian symbol either. The Christian cross does not have equidistant points. The Iron Cross was (and still is) an award bestowed upon German veterans deemed to deserve it. It wasn't even originally a Nazi symbol. They originated in late Prussia during the wars with Napoleon and only became associated with the Nazis when the symbol continued to be used as a war decoration throughout World War II. Basically, it isn't a Christian symbol; most Christians don't see it as Christian.

The Nazis weren't Christians, for the most part, either. They might have endorsed various churches as a manner of kowtowing to the public, however, their general ethos was not Christian. In fact, they were more secular humanists, though lacking the emphasis on reason of later secular humanists. They distributed copies of Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra to their soldiers for a reason, and knew full well that it included the stark phrase "God is dead," and was quite good at mocking the tone of the Bible. A few in Hitler's claque also had vaguely Asatru sympathies, Himmler among them. (Once again, when it comes to justifying evil, any religion will do.)

It sounds to me, Morr, that you've had an awful experience. I wouldn't let that turn you against Christianity, though, because it doesn't seem to me that the folks you were dealing with were necessarily Christian. If they'd spray-painted Bible quotes or something, I could understand. Even then, the majority of Christians hold no animosity against you.


oh believe me i know all about the nazies, i just didnt know the term for those crosses LOL im the grandaughter of Holocaust Survivors - believe me I've heard it all.
I wasnt refering to Christians, but to fundamentalist Jews, in this case, which only makes it worse - in my humble opinion.

Point is - I dont make a difference between fundie Christians, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, etc. If youre ignorant enough to be fundie and so closed minded - Then you are not my friend, regardless of your religion.

Rudas Starblaze
January 23rd, 2005, 05:27 PM
*wipes forehead* man, im glad i dont celebrate any holidays then. *scratches head* i wonder what kinda christian that makes me? well, birthdays are all good! Mmmmmm presents,,,, Mmmmmm money!!!

Protagonist
January 23rd, 2005, 05:36 PM
oh believe me i know all about the nazies, i just didnt know the term for those crosses LOL im the grandaughter of Holocaust Survivors - believe me I've heard it all.
I wasnt refering to Christians, but to fundamentalist Jews, in this case, which only makes it worse - in my humble opinion.
It's a bit sad that fundamentalist Jews are employing Nazi symbols, given that the Nazis tried to eliminate all the Jews.


Point is - I dont make a difference between fundie Christians, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, etc. If youre ignorant enough to be fundie and so closed minded - Then you are not my friend, regardless of your religion.
Oh, yeah. Though, it kind of matters what you term a "fundie;" if you mean one who sticks to the "fundamentals" of their religion, then I can deal with that, but folks who use religion as an excuse... yeah, I can't stand them.

fervidnymph
January 23rd, 2005, 06:06 PM
well this was a very interesting thread to read through! i agree and disagree and stand in the middle on various posts. i recently realized what a hippocrite i had been for so long. as another of you had posted; i was also anti-christianity based upon my own experiances. i was raised catholic, and it never felt right to me. vocal as i was (am) i was told that i was evil. i was ridiculed. and it hardened me for many years. i've taken another look at it though. i am an eclectic pagan, but pagan through and through. and to live a life in accordance to my beliefs, to really effect postitive change in the world, i MUST be accepting. i MUST greet every living being w/ the same respect w/out prior judgement on race sex or creed. maybe in my next life i'll be islamic! i can have illuminating conversation reguarding faith w/ someone w/ out having to be in agreement on the source. the differences, yes many, but why not focus more on the interesting similarities. so many faiths over-lap in places. the diversety mingles w/ thecommon and creates a beautiful blanket, lace if you will! in this day people have a hard enough time finding faith at all. we must respect that someone has the strenght to believe in something at all! if more people are willing to accept others, that will truly change the world. my mother died and at her funeral i prayed to goddess while holding hands w/ my gramma who was praying to god who held the hand of my agnostic grampa. our energy was pure and loving reguardless of who we thought was listening. i'm certain my mom was proud as she loomed about that day. and i am proud to no longer hold prejudice in my heart. goddess loves me, and now i can love her entirely, with the acceptance she bestows upon me. just my 2 cents!

Aine of the Fae
January 23rd, 2005, 06:06 PM
It's a bit sad that fundamentalist Jews are employing Nazi symbols, given that the Nazis tried to eliminate all the Jews.

Oh, yeah. Though, it kind of matters what you term a "fundie;" if you mean one who sticks to the "fundamentals" of their religion, then I can deal with that, but folks who use religion as an excuse... yeah, I can't stand them.

"Fundies" at least when I use the term, describes people who are so closed minded they can't even conceive of being wrong, and who use religion as an excuse to get their own way.

djmixon
January 23rd, 2005, 06:20 PM
Fundamentalist does not equate to Extremist, though. . .

I have fundamental beliefs that I do not stray from in my religious practices. . .I am a fundamentalist in that regard. . .however, I am not an extremist.

Unfortunately all religions, well really all groups despite their intent, have extremists (on both conservative and liberal sides), moderates, and all shades in between. . .

oh, and on my earlier post, I didn't come across as an arse did I? I wasn't trying to, but like I said I am so scattered right now I can't really tell. . .

BB
Donna

Elderbush
January 23rd, 2005, 07:33 PM
Is there some comfusion here between ethical behavior and religious beliefs? Defacing property is a problem with ethics and morality, I would say. Harming others is an ethical decision and no religion's moral code says it is ok. People try to twist it, or find others who are as unethical as themselves, to justify unethical behavior in the name of religion but it seems to me to be a problem with the individuals rather than the religion.

chrestomancie
January 23rd, 2005, 07:51 PM
I'll admit. I was guilty of the "damn the christians" concept for sometime. It wasn't because of what was done to paganism, but because of what it had done to me.

I agree, that most of the Christian groups are not based in hate. Unfortunately, the one that I was part of did exactly this The "Battle against the New Age" was a big focus of what the church did. We were taught things like Halloween was specifically used for spells against the christian community, that everything in the media was there to desensitize us "God fearing people" to the evils that the devil was unleashing on the world... that the sole purpose of paganism was to drag us away from God.
.

I know what you mean Valkie. I was raised in a "christian community" that believed these things. In fact my first day in that church was when I was 3 days old. This is one of the chuches that I have overheard other christians call holy rollers. No makeup, can't cut your hair, no pants no jewelry, etc... At one point in my childhood (I also attended the school this church runs) the pastor of said church told my mother (in exact words)"You're raising a monster!" This statement was made simply because I refused to be blinded and brainwashed. I took things they believed or said and asked questions and didn't agree with much of what they taught about christianity. I refused to become a mindless follower like they wanted - amazing that they let me stay in the school. I think the only reason they did was to "save" my soul from eternal damnation which I consistantly said I didn't need. If they wanted to live their lives like that it is perfectly fine with me as long as they refrain from pushing their religious ideals off on me. I really hate that. I live in America, I have the freedom to choose what I want to believe without being told I'm going to hell in a handbasket. And believe me I was told this plenty. I hate the scare factor that a lot of churches/pastors etc use to try and keep the "flock" in line. Also if I want to know about the religion they practice I will ask. I don't like people pontificating to me.

I really try to keep myself separate from all religions. For myself I don't need one and keep my own counsel and simply call myself an eclectic spiritualist. I think that those who do imerse theirself in religion, it is fine, as long as the person believe's their religion passionately and are happy with that decision and keep the thought Do unto others or And it harm none forefront in their mind. In fact, Aine of the Fae posted Gal 5:22,23 and if everyone follwed that it would be I believe peace on earth.

I also believe a quote by Adriana Cahill- "If Jesus ever comes back to see what his philosopy has wrought, he'll say - "you know... this isn't what I meant!"

Also Karma_lives, I am sorry you had to go through that (and everyone else who has had a bad experience) The christians that I know want the end of the world so badly that they pray for it in every prayer they pray. Prayer is, I believe, a source of witchcraft and they need to realize that they themselves could be the cause of what is happening to the Earth lately. I remember the pastor preaching about the end of the world coming before 2000 (in the 80's and 90's).

Anyway through it all I have learned what it says in Gal 5:22,23. And that is what I believe I am here on this Earth to do, learn

Lunacie
January 23rd, 2005, 09:12 PM
Ya know, sometimes Pagans just feel the need to vent a little about what some Christians have said, and done, about us. It doesn't mean we hate all Christians or that we're going to get up in their faces and give 'em back all that hell they've been giving us. We're just venting because they outnumber us, and because they act like we're trying to take over the world... or something like that.



A note about the swastika (Nazi cross): the swastika was a symbol of good luck and prosperity for centuries before the Nazis started using it. Almost every race, religion and continent honored the swastika - it was associated with the hammer of Thor, the footprints of Buddha, the emblem of Shiva, Apollo, Jupiter, and even Jesus Christ! The swastika was the first Christian symbol and is found in the catacombs in Rome. Hindus and Buddhists to this day still revere the swastika as their sacred sign. There are even Jewish swastikas found in ancient synagogues side-by-side with the star of David!

In the early part of the twentieth century Rudyard Kipling used the swastika as his coat-of-arms, Coca Cola made a swastika-shaped lucky watch fob, American pilots used it on their planes when they fought for the French in World War One, it was the symbol for the Ladies Home Journal sponsored Girls' Club and the Boy Scouts. A town in Ontario was named Swastika in 1911 because of a lucky gold strike. (Do a web-search for Swastika.)

Morning Star
January 24th, 2005, 09:04 AM
I find this whole thread to be insulting to my intelligence. If you study Christian scripture, the history and "progression" of Christian dogma, the history and politics of the Christian Church, the philosophies that have been derived from Christian Theology and the general attitude of Christians in the modern world, nothing could be more opposite or opposed to classical paganism. Now, amongst some pagan spiritualists (who are really just Christians who worship God's Creation instead of God) there is little difference. But if you practice the paganism of the classical periods, nothing can be more repulsive than Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

I think essentially it comes down to ones' morality. There are many Christians and Pagans alike who practice a slave(herd) morality, however this kind of paganism is essentially derived from Wiccan ideologies and social activism and not from historical paganism.

I guess another way to put it, is that Neo-Paganism is a Christian Paganism, while Classical Paganism is entirely unique and pre-Christian.

charmedkisses1
January 24th, 2005, 10:11 AM
-.-

christianity isn't evil, nor close to evil, it's the antitheses of evil, get over it everyone who likes to whine, because there are some bad people in the world regardless of their faith or supposed faith (I've never met a mean Christian, a true Christian), and all you can do to counteract it is to not be a bad person.

Morr
January 24th, 2005, 10:31 AM
wow way to take things literally people..

i find it amusing that when people write "fundies" its understoond that its extremists - but in this thread - im nearly shot down for using the word relating it to extremists. All of a sudden ya'll are getting literal.

I meant extremists - not those who follow whatever fundamental belief structure.

And Morning Star - "an insult to your intellegence", way to make people feel good. Just because you study something doesnt mean youre intellegent. And just because some people hold opinions - doesnt mean that they are less intellgent. Not everyone has the option of going to school and not everyone studies the specific things that are discuissed in these forums.

Each religion has its ugly side. Each religion has its "evil" side.

and a big PS to the ones who follow a Christian path out there - Nearly all of you arent "true Christians" in the Jesus sense because there is no absolute guarentee that whatever ANY Christian scripture holds - Comes to close to anything Jesus said or did. And as an interesting side note, while some claim that a "true Christian" is one who follows Jesus' teachings - "Love thy Neighbore" and "Love Thy God"... Well, Jesus was kind of a snob in that one passage where he only agreed to help a none Jew with a miracle of two (I believe it was to heal her daughter or to cast out demons out of her), after the lady begged to him and compared herself to a dog begging for food from its master...

Food for thought...

:dis:
Some responces here just totally ticked me off. Sorry if I sound harsh, but lets all stop being SO literal and SO hollier than thou.

Aine of the Fae
January 24th, 2005, 11:14 AM
Morr's right. We can't possibly know what a "True Christian" is. I hate that phrase. It says "I'm better than you, I interpret the Bible right, therefore I'm the True Christian." It sets up wars and Inquisitions, damns innocent people to torture and ruins lives.

All we can do is read the Bible, pray to God and hope that our personal interpretation is right. But we have to also accept that it might be wrong. Because it's the people who become so focused on being right and having the "One True Way" that implement the most horrendous acts mankind has ever thought of. Consider the Inquisition, instituted by the Medieval Church (church with a big C here, meaning that entity that became alive in it's own right and disregarded individuality....) People were tortured for holding beliefs that were even the slightest bit different from that of the "norm." Heretics were tortured until they confessed or they died, and no one was innocent once they were suspected of heresy. Confession or death were the only options. And once you confessed? You'd likely be put to death anyway.

Christianity at its finest? Hardly, but it's still Christianity. Perhaps not as we'd like to see it.

Now this BS about Classical Paganism? Please explain to me how it's any better than medieval Christianity? Hmm? How about the mass slaughter of Christians by Romans? What about that? The Romans were classical pagans. So explain how that's better than Christianity?

It's not the religion that causes evil, it's the people. The same people who commit acts of atrocity under the name of one religion will do it in the name of ANY religion, as evidenced by the extremists in every group. They are of that religion by circumstance only, extremists are generally raised in a religion.

Quit blaming the religion for the acts of the people. Very few religions actively and openly support violence.

charmedkisses1
January 24th, 2005, 11:21 AM
Morr's right. We can't possibly know what a "True Christian" is. I hate that phrase. It says "I'm better than you, I interpret the Bible right, therefore I'm the True Christian." It sets up wars and Inquisitions, damns innocent people to torture and ruins lives.

All we can do is read the Bible, pray to God and hope that our personal interpretation is right. But we have to also accept that it might be wrong. Because it's the people who become so focused on being right and having the "One True Way" that implement the most horrendous acts mankind has ever thought of. Consider the Inquisition, instituted by the Medieval Church (church with a big C here, meaning that entity that became alive in it's own right and disregarded individuality....) People were tortured for holding beliefs that were even the slightest bit different from that of the "norm." Heretics were tortured until they confessed or they died, and no one was innocent once they were suspected of heresy. Confession or death were the only options. And once you confessed? You'd likely be put to death anyway.

Christianity at its finest? Hardly, but it's still Christianity. Perhaps not as we'd like to see it.

Now this BS about Classical Paganism? Please explain to me how it's any better than medieval Christianity? Hmm? How about the mass slaughter of Christians by Romans? What about that? The Romans were classical pagans. So explain how that's better than Christianity?

It's not the religion that causes evil, it's the people. The same people who commit acts of atrocity under the name of one religion will do it in the name of ANY religion, as evidenced by the extremists in every group. They are of that religion by circumstance only, extremists are generally raised in a religion.

Quit blaming the religion for the acts of the people. Very few religions actively and openly support violence.

I always thought a true Christian of just being Christ-like (loving, forgiving, peaceful, doesn't hold grudges, etc, etc) as all the dogma surrounding the religion completely make me want to... yeah, anways, I agree with Morr and Aine.

Morr
January 24th, 2005, 11:23 AM
Morr's right. We can't possibly know what a "True Christian" is. I hate that phrase. It says "I'm better than you, I interpret the Bible right, therefore I'm the True Christian." It sets up wars and Inquisitions, damns innocent people to torture and ruins lives.

All we can do is read the Bible, pray to God and hope that our personal interpretation is right. But we have to also accept that it might be wrong. Because it's the people who become so focused on being right and having the "One True Way" that implement the most horrendous acts mankind has ever thought of. Consider the Inquisition, instituted by the Medieval Church (church with a big C here, meaning that entity that became alive in it's own right and disregarded individuality....) People were tortured for holding beliefs that were even the slightest bit different from that of the "norm." Heretics were tortured until they confessed or they died, and no one was innocent once they were suspected of heresy. Confession or death were the only options. And once you confessed? You'd likely be put to death anyway.

Christianity at its finest? Hardly, but it's still Christianity. Perhaps not as we'd like to see it.

Now this BS about Classical Paganism? Please explain to me how it's any better than medieval Christianity? Hmm? How about the mass slaughter of Christians by Romans? What about that? The Romans were classical pagans. So explain how that's better than Christianity?

It's not the religion that causes evil, it's the people. The same people who commit acts of atrocity under the name of one religion will do it in the name of ANY religion, as evidenced by the extremists in every group. They are of that religion by circumstance only, extremists are generally raised in a religion.

Quit blaming the religion for the acts of the people. Very few religions actively and openly support violence.


Ainey, one thing - There was never any "mass slaughter" of Christians by Romans.. They were prosecuted, yes. Most were crucified, true. But there was no real "Mass" to "Slaughter" since up to 313ad, Christianity was just another small Jewish Sect in the Empire. It only got autonomy and power because of Constantine's decision, and later on the Nicea Confrence.

Just Sayin'...

charmedkisses1
January 24th, 2005, 11:38 AM
Ainey, one thing - There was never any "mass slaughter" of Christians by Romans.. They were prosecuted, yes. Most were crucified, true. But there was no real "Mass" to "Slaughter" since up to 313ad, Christianity was just another small Jewish Sect in the Empire. It only got autonomy and power because of Constantine's decision, and later on the Nicea Confrence.

Just Sayin'...
There was a slaughter, and though the numbers certainly grew to a mass size afterwards, it was still no small number in the beginning. During the initial prosecution Chrisitanity began to flourish, around the time of Nero's fire (A.D. 64) and Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180), etc, etc... (it's really interesting that Christianity became most popular when it was being threatened, I think the legalization of it by Constantine was bittersweet for them, but that's just me)
P.S. The purpose of the Council of Nicea was to discuss the Arian Controversy, and had nothing really to do with the persecution, unless we are talking about a different conference

Aine of the Fae
January 24th, 2005, 11:50 AM
Ainey, one thing - There was never any "mass slaughter" of Christians by Romans.. They were prosecuted, yes. Most were crucified, true. But there was no real "Mass" to "Slaughter" since up to 313ad, Christianity was just another small Jewish Sect in the Empire. It only got autonomy and power because of Constantine's decision, and later on the Nicea Confrence.

Just Sayin'...

Mass slaughter to me is anything more than one.... They were targeted because they were a growing sect.

Lunacie
January 24th, 2005, 12:00 PM
Seems like calling it a "mass slaughter" would be just as inaccurate and misleading as saying "nine million" witches were killed in the inquisition. All religions have suffered, and all have caused suffering.

Morr
January 24th, 2005, 12:03 PM
There was a slaughter, and though the numbers certainly grew to a mass size afterwards, it was still no small number in the beginning. During the initial prosecution Chrisitanity began to flourish, around the time of Nero's fire (A.D. 64) and Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180), etc, etc... (it's really interesting that Christianity became most popular when it was being threatened, I think the legalization of it by Constantine was bittersweet for them, but that's just me)
P.S. The purpose of the Council of Nicea was to discuss the Arian Controversy, and had nothing really to do with the persecution, unless we are talking about a different conference

From what I have read and learned - Christianity did not flourish as early as 64ad.. They WERE prosecuted, but Paul was still working at the time, and barely any of the gospels were written yet. They werent set as an organized group. They were very few, and again, considered just a small sect.

It didnt become popular at the time of Constantine - Constantine used it for political means. Most of the Empire wasnt even converted at all untill 492ad when Theodosius the 1st made it the official religion of the Empire, and later his son Theodosius the 2nd forced his father's orders and forced conversion around the Empire. And even then, the spread of Christianity was slow. It took a few hundred years.

Nicea was there to deal with the Arian problem but it also marked the beginning of the formation of the Christian Catholic Dogma and Church Organization.

Elderbush
January 24th, 2005, 12:15 PM
All this talk of who killed who the most hundreds of years ago! I've got a question for you - why hate the great great grand son or daughter for somthing the great great grand father or mother (or even someone not related at all) did?

It seems to me to be about grudges. Now if you want to hate a person today for something they personally did, that's up to you but are you going to teach your great grandchildren to hate his or her great grandchildren because of it?

charmedkisses1
January 24th, 2005, 12:21 PM
From what I have read and learned - Christianity did not flourish as early as 64ad.. They WERE prosecuted, but Paul was still working at the time, and barely any of the gospels were written yet. They werent set as an organized group. They were very few, and again, considered just a small sect.

It didnt become popular at the time of Constantine - Constantine used it for political means. Most of the Empire wasnt even converted at all untill 492ad when Theodosius the 1st made it the official religion of the Empire, and later his son Theodosius the 2nd forced his father's orders and forced conversion around the Empire. And even then, the spread of Christianity was slow. It took a few hundred years.

Nicea was there to deal with the Arian problem but it also marked the beginning of the formation of the Christian Catholic Dogma and Church Organization.

I'm not talking about the gospels, I'm talking about word of mouth. Everywhere I've researched the Christian beliefs rose during persecution, though I'm not comparing them to the large numbers that came after Constantine by any means.
You talk about dogma concerning Nicea, but the point was to stop the incessant arguing between the different beliefs and reach a common medium (though the Arian controversy was a hard topic), it wasn't until the Government (ugh) and the Catholic Church rose into power that strict dogma became prominent (believe this only or you are excommunicated.. blah blah) The problem with the Church was it was lead by Government, or directly involved, which caused problems both for the Church and the people.

off topic: I watched Dogma last night, and still can't figure out (maybe they edited it) the loophole in the movie...

Morr
January 24th, 2005, 01:13 PM
I'm not talking about the gospels, I'm talking about word of mouth. Everywhere I've researched the Christian beliefs rose during persecution, though I'm not comparing them to the large numbers that came after Constantine by any means.
You talk about dogma concerning Nicea, but the point was to stop the incessant arguing between the different beliefs and reach a common medium (though the Arian controversy was a hard topic), it wasn't until the Government (ugh) and the Catholic Church rose into power that strict dogma became prominent (believe this only or you are excommunicated.. blah blah) The problem with the Church was it was lead by Government, or directly involved, which caused problems both for the Church and the people.

off topic: I watched Dogma last night, and still can't figure out (maybe they edited it) the loophole in the movie...

CK,
Ever heard of a concept called "The Holy Trinity"?
Yup - That was invented and decided on in Nicea. Its a MAJOR HUGE FUNDAMENTAL part of Catholicism. It became so with the Nicea Confrence because the question at hand was - How do we deal with the Arians, who believed that God did NOT have a seperation within him - Especially regarding the Father/Son duo.

How does Nicea not have anything to do with the Dogma, then?

The Catholic Church didnt have a 100% strict Dogma till the late Middle Ages, but that doesnt mean that Nicea didnt begin the formation of this Dogma.

Are you aware of the whole Catholic "Nicean Creed"? Yup = NICEA. Its a fundamental part of Catholic Dogma to this day. Every kid in Catholic school knows it by heart.

And again, no masses of Christians were prosecuted.

Plus it doesnt matter now does it - Christians got their fun time at slaughtering everyone later on in history... Every religion did that at some point. Islam does it now.

*shrugs*

The movie Dogma - The loophole is, every sinner who passes into that church, is forgiven, hence going to Heaven. Ben and Matt were cast OUT of heaven FOREVER, but by passing through the gates of that church, God's will would be reversed and they WILL be able to go back to heaven - Hence proving that God is NOT allmighty, and that God's will CAN be worked around.

Ben Trismegistus
January 24th, 2005, 01:17 PM
OK, back to the topic.

It's best to think of Christianity the way you think of Magic (see the white/black magic thread in Just Pagan) -- Christianity in itself is neutral. The effect of the religion is based entirely on what the individual Christian decides to do with it.

We have seen on this board that it's entirely possible to interpret the religion of Christianity in a way to be open-minded, tolerant, and otherwise perfectly nice. And we've seen other people who have interpreted Christianity as an excuse to be hateful, intolerant, and condescending. The fault of this lies not within the religion, but within the person exercising that religion.

The same can be said for any religion: In the hands of a good person, a Christian can be loving and tolerant, a Jew can be wise and spiritual, a Pagan can be empowered and in touch with nature. In the hands of a bad person, a Christian can be hateful and intolerant, a Jew can be insular and petty, and a Pagan can be flaky and lecherous. Why blame the religion when it's so much easier to blame the individual person?

This is one discussion where the past simply doesn't apply. You can't blame the Americans of today for the evils of slavery or the genocide of the Indians. So you can't blame the Christians of today for burning what they thought were witches. Judge people on their current actions. If you as a Christian think I'm going to hell, then you're an asshole and I'm going to treat you as such. But that doesn't mean that I disrespect the religion of Christianity, only your interpretation of it.

Thoughts?

Aine of the Fae
January 24th, 2005, 01:20 PM
Ben, I don't think you're going to Hell. Unless of course you want to that is.....

Rhianna813
January 24th, 2005, 02:53 PM
OK, back to the topic.

It's best to think of Christianity the way you think of Magic (see the white/black magic thread in Just Pagan) -- Christianity in itself is neutral. The effect of the religion is based entirely on what the individual Christian decides to do with it.

We have seen on this board that it's entirely possible to interpret the religion of Christianity in a way to be open-minded, tolerant, and otherwise perfectly nice. And we've seen other people who have interpreted Christianity as an excuse to be hateful, intolerant, and condescending. The fault of this lies not within the religion, but within the person exercising that religion.

The same can be said for any religion: In the hands of a good person, a Christian can be loving and tolerant, a Jew can be wise and spiritual, a Pagan can be empowered and in touch with nature. In the hands of a bad person, a Christian can be hateful and intolerant, a Jew can be insular and petty, and a Pagan can be flaky and lecherous. Why blame the religion when it's so much easier to blame the individual person?

This is one discussion where the past simply doesn't apply. You can't blame the Americans of today for the evils of slavery or the genocide of the Indians. So you can't blame the Christians of today for burning what they thought were witches. Judge people on their current actions. If you as a Christian think I'm going to hell, then you're an asshole and I'm going to treat you as such. But that doesn't mean that I disrespect the religion of Christianity, only your interpretation of it.

Thoughts?

I also agree. This discussion belongs under the sociology banner rather than comparative religions. As mention in serveral posts it is human nature to behave this way. History has shown a never ending amount of oppressors and oppressed. Many cultures, religions, and groups have moved on in, used violence and other tactics to overthrow the current regime, borrowed their customs, and ultimately the two get mingled together. And it starts all over again.

In recent years we have seen the oppressed (blacks, women, pagans, gays, etc...) rise up and demand change. Things get shaken up a lot and it seems to some as if the pendelum is swinging way to the opposite side. As if the once oppressed is now on warpath to oppress those who victimized them. I think this is also human nature and sometimes the pendelum must swing far and wide for things to even out in the end. As Ben mentioned every religion, culture, society has the "goods" and the "bads". It always seems like the extremists make the news.

I guess the moral to this story is we can only be responsible for own actions. We can look at history, human nature, and spiritual teachings but can we use this knowledge to make change? Relating to this thread can Pagans ride the pendelum as it swings us away from oppression and it into a balance with all religions?

Well that's my new Lewis and Clark nickels worth of opinion. _catroll_

Rhianna

MorningDove030202
January 24th, 2005, 05:03 PM
I usualy tell Christians who think I'm going to hell that it's none of their buisness where I go after I die. They get this real astonished look on their face when I say that. I'd rather go to hell than belive in the God/Bible of the Fundamentalist Christians who spread hate.
Dove


If you as a Christian think I'm going to hell, then you're an asshole and I'm going to treat you as such.

Morr
January 24th, 2005, 05:18 PM
I usualy tell Christians who think I'm going to hell that it's none of their buisness where I go after I die. They get this real astonished look on their face when I say that. I'd rather go to hell than belive in the God/Bible of the Fundamentalist Christians who spread hate.
Dove

I think that saying you'd rather go to hell than believe in the God of the bible (ie - Y-H-V-H), just because some of the followers of the Bible may be ignorant and stupid, is kind of disrespectful towards that Diety.

I have a connection with him, and he is not what some of his followers claim he is.

Just my humbe opinion.

Morning Star
January 24th, 2005, 07:57 PM
I usualy tell Christians who think I'm going to hell that it's none of their buisness where I go after I die. They get this real astonished look on their face when I say that. I'd rather go to hell than belive in the God/Bible of the Fundamentalist Christians who spread hate.
Dove

I amuse myself with the thought that hell is a place for everyone who believes in its' existence.

Protagonist
January 24th, 2005, 10:31 PM
I find this whole thread to be insulting to my intelligence.
Pity. I'm quite sorry it isn't up to your standards. I'm likely at fault for this, because I started the thread, and, as I've probably already said, I suffer greatly and unwillfully from ignorance. But, perhaps you can help me fix that, hmm?


If you study Christian scripture, the history and "progression" of Christian dogma, the history and politics of the Christian Church, the philosophies that have been derived from Christian Theology and the general attitude of Christians in the modern world, nothing could be more opposite or opposed to classical paganism.

I don't suggest in this thread that Christianity and Classical paganism have anything large in common, and, while I could be overlooking it, it doesn't appear that anyone else has, either. (Correct me if I'm wrong) The force of most of my posts has been to point out how Christianity and pagan faiths needn't be mortal enemies, despite what Silver Ravenwolf tells you.



Now, amongst some pagan spiritualists (who are really just Christians who worship God's Creation instead of God) there is little difference. But if you practice the Peopleism of the classical periods, nothing can be more repulsive than Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
I'm having a bit of trouble discerning what you're saying here. Are you saying Christianity and other Abrahemic faiths are repulsive because their views are no those of Classical pagans? This hardly seems rational. I certainly believe one can disagree with a viewpoint without finding it repulsive. Repulsion seems to be a purely emotional response, and, if one lets one's emotions become that overwhelming, there doesn't seem to be much hope for the rational discussion of religious matters.

I practice (well, strive to practice) Classical paganism. As a Hellenist, I hold no animosity towards Christianity. Granted, much of Christian belief is the opposite of what I believe, but that hardly makes it repulsive. My views conflict with Wicca and Asatru about as much as they do with Christianity, but I've got no animosity for any of those faiths (now, Mattism is another thing...)




I think essentially it comes down to ones' morality. There are many Christians and pagans alike who practice a slave(herd) morality, however this kind of paganism is essentially derived from Wiccan ideologies and social activism and not from historical Peopleism.

I'm a bit unsure what you mean by slave morality. Are you referring to it in the Nietzschean sense? If so, how do Christians and Wiccans practice it, but not Classical pagans? In a broader sense, what is it about neo-paganism that makes it, as you say before, Christian?



I guess another way to put it, is that Neo-paganism is a Christian Peopleism, while Classical paganism is entirely unique and pre-Christian.
Well, I'd think that for neo-paganism to be a "Christian paganism," those neo-pagans would have to believe in a least some of the basic religious tenets of Christianity, such as the belief in Christ as God and personal savior. While there are some self-acknowledged pagan who hold to such beliefs, it is hardly true of all, or even most pagans.

This is not to say that neo-pagan faiths aren't Christian-influenced. Many Wiccan rituals have Christian roots, but Wicca itself is not Christian, simply because the worship of Christ is not a tenet of Wicca. In essence, neo-pagan faiths are Christian-influenced in the same way that Christianity is pagan-influenced, and Classical paganism has roots in animism.

(Excuse me if this is disjointed: I'm on MW@Work mode, and things are all, um, peopled!)

MorningDove030202
January 25th, 2005, 04:59 AM
I think that saying you'd rather go to hell than believe in the God of the bible (ie - Y-H-V-H), just because some of the followers of the Bible may be ignorant and stupid, is kind of disrespectful towards that Diety.

I have a connection with him, and he is not what some of his followers claim he is.

Just my humbe opinion.

Well I belive that no two people belive in any God in the same way and that its possible that there are different vertions of the Christian God, which is why I diferentiated between the nice Yaway of liberal non mainstream Christians, and the Fundi-hateful Yaway.

Dove

Morning Star
January 25th, 2005, 12:05 PM
Pity. I'm quite sorry it isn't up to your standards. I'm likely at fault for this, because I started the thread, and, as I've probably already said, I suffer greatly and unwillfully from ignorance. But, perhaps you can help me fix that, hmm?

I responded to you in another thread for two reasons: 1. I don't really want to talk about Christians, but rather what makes Christians Christians and what makes so many neo-pagans so Christian. & 2. Because such a topic really requires its' own thread, because it takes a long time to explain the antecedent assumptions used in a rejection of the herd-religions, including all the pagan ones.

equinox2
January 25th, 2005, 01:11 PM
Protagonist wrote:



The first mistake in this viewpoint is in clumping all Christians into one evil little corner. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Christianity is, while more united than paganism, not monolithic. If you talk to a Unitarian about how the feel about pagan faiths, you'll get a different answer than if you talked to a Catholic, who will answer differently than a Babtist… The main common theme running through Christianity is a belief in Jesus as the son of God and in him as a savior-figure.

True. Instead, we can look at the data and get a relatively informed idea about how Christianity can be sliced up. First, yes indeed there is a lot of variation (and don’t forget that UUs aren’t “Christian” as a group any more than we are, say, Hindu).

Let’s look at the numbers. Data shows that over 98% of all the people in the world who call themselves “Christian” are traditional Christians (Catholic, protestant, etc.). (That’s taking out the Mormons, JW’s, Gnostics, etc. because a lot of the variation is there, and even added together they are a tiny percentage.) So by cutting out that tiny percent, I can say that nearly all Christian groups see the Bible as the inspired word of God, with only very minor differences (66 books in Prot. Bible, 73 books in Catholic Bible, etc).

OK, next step – we both agree that there are both very liberal and very conservative Christians, with a whole spread in between. How do they stack up by the numbers? In the US, a slight majority of them are pretty much fundamentalists – they believe that all non-Christians go to Hell for eternal torment, that every word of the Bible is literally true, that Jesus will appear in the sky to end the world, (and probably soon) etc. Not only that, in the US this group is rapidly growing, while the liberal Christians are becoming less and less numerous (and less and less relevant).

What about outside the US? They are way ahead of us – the vast majority of the Christians outside the US are already fundamentalist, so as a whole, the world body of Christianity is mostly fundamentalist. Hundreds of millions of fundamentalist Christians are in Southern Africa, South America, Central America – those are the new Christian powerhouses since Christianity has faded in much of Europe. Statistics and their sources for this have been cited on numerous occasions such as the article here: http://www.paganforums.org/showthread.php?t=79101 , and Ben must be sick of them by now, so I’ll just put some discussion at the end of this post between the **** ***** instead of repeating it here also, the big ARIS study is a good source of data: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/studies/aris_index.htm as is this graph http://www.pbs.org/fmc/book/6religion2.htm.


So don’t just take my word for it, but look at poll data stretching back 30 years, or even just recent polls like that in the article (55% of Americans believe every word of the Bible is literally true, with about 80% of Americans being Christian, that is about 80% of U S Christians believe every word of the Bible literally). Also notice all the fundamentalist churches springing up around you (Church of God, Pentecostal, Assemblies of God, Church of Christ, etc, etc, ) – or see all the mega churches, which hundreds or thousands of members – I’ve looked into many of them, and I’ve never seen one that wasn’t fundamentalist. Our local one has many hundreds of members, and that in our small town that you can easily miss while driving! Their beliefs are here http://www.mefchurch.org/about/4/ (#1 = Bible literally true and inerrant, #11 = the rapture, #12 = non-Christians go to Hell). This church, like many of the fundamentalist megachurches, rivals or exceeds the size of many shopping malls.

So while I agree that Christianity is highly varied, we can say that a majority of Christians in both the US and especially in the wider world condemn pagan faiths, and see them as mistakes leading to Hell at best, if not seeing all of Paganism as a direct creation of the devil. We should not fail to say what we can just because there still exist a shrinking group of moderate, tolerant Christians.


Furthermore, there are very few Christian sects with a "constant misinformation campaign" against us……. It's more an expression of their faith. They believe they have found The Way, and want to share it. There's no maliciousness.

I somewhat agree. It usually isn’t a “constant misinformation campaign”, though it sometimes is. When it isn’t, it sometimes is a “de facto misinformation campaign”. Often, it is neither. Christians do put the top priority on having the right religion, and that can sometimes result in de facto maliciousness. We agree that it shouldn’t be exaggerated, in any case.


Plenty of pagans do the same thing to Christianity. .,……, Burning Times, Burning Times, on and on.

Agreed.


Few, if any pagans were killed during the Burning Times, and no Wiccans……, there had to be a scapegoat somewhere.

Agreed.


Those who were zealous about burning witches had other reasons than religion on their mind.

Sometimes. Many of those burned were burned because religion was indeed the issue – they were often the “wrong” kind of Christian – Protestant in a Catholic area, vice-versa, etc.


Furthermore, Christians never "stole" holidays. …. …Heck, modern pagans are even as "guilty" of "stealing" the holidays as the Christians. Wiccans, for example, celebrate Yule, Imholc, Oestara, Litha, Samhain, and others. These holidays weren't originally Wiccan; they were borrowed, just like the Christians borrowed them from the ancient pagans here and there. Again, as long as both Wiccans and Christians have a respect for truth and context, there's nothing wrong with this. I feel it would show more good will for pagans to stop complaining about "stolen holidays," though.

Many Christians don’t acknowledge the “truth in context” idea, though many do. I think it is a constant balance to on one hand use holidays to enrich our own spiritualities, and on the other hand to respect their origins. I agree with you that many Pagans can overdo the “stolen holidays” line though. After all, I celebrate the 8 holidays of the wheel of the year, and I my spirituality isn’t a reconstruction of ancient beliefs, nor even an attempt at it (like Protagonist’s are).


The fact is, any religion, no matter how great, will have folks who distort it and use it to their own ends.

Very true. The best example I can think of is the Shinto religion – very nature based, very peaceful and meditative, yet the Japanese emperor in WWII used even that religion to incite war and cause terrible bloodshed and atrocities. However, as I'll explain below, some (not all) of the bad things done by Christians are direct results of what it says in the bible - so I wouldn't call it a distortion, but rather, part of the Bible.


If we don't want the Christians to demonize us, lets not demonize Christians. If you want to criticize their religion as misogynistic, oppressive, or whatever, that's your choice. But don't complain when they criticize yours in turn. I think that, no matter what you believe, we'd do very good to remember that tolerance works both ways.

Tolerance does indeed work both ways. I think that any belief system that tolerates various beliefs deserves my tolerance. Because many Christians expressly state that any non-Christian belief system is not acceptable, they can’t use the “tolerance” line as a defense. Those many liberal Christians who do think that “all religions lead to the same God”, and accept other religions, do indeed deserve tolerance, and acceptance of their Christian faith as a good thing. As we saw above, the intolerant Christians significantly outnumber the tolerant ones.

We need to be tolerant of different religions, as long as they aren’t harmful and as long as they are in turn tolerant, yet we also have to be intolerant of things that actually cause harm, like the KKK, bigotry, hate, homophobia, and yes, often, fundamentalism. In fact, here on MW I’ve often seen Christian fundamentalism mollycoddled by saying that it is only a tiny minority, or that it’s OK because they are just following their scripture, while at the same time the KKK is condemned (and rightly so). In both cases, we need to treat harmful ideas as harmful ideas – all people deserve respect, but all ideas, all isms, all religions, all ideologies don’t deserve respect.

Part of the problem is what it says in the Bible. The Bible supports fundamentalism, and we can discuss all kinds of different lines from the Bible that explicitly condemn all other religions, tell Christians not to be friends with unbelievers, say that Jesus is the only way to be saved, say that Hell is eternal torment, say that we are not to question God, and say that we are to believe in Christianity regardless of any evidence – only faith. These are in both the old and the new testaments. The Bible time and again explicity condemns all other religions, and calls them “spiritual adultery”. Here are a few, though if I listed more of them this post could easily be pages and pages long:

Other religions: (Deut 13)

If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" … do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. You must certainly put him to death. Your hand must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. Stone him to death…. :goodgrief

Do not be friends with non-Christians: (2Cor 14 )

What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”“Therefore come out from them
and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.” :blushake:

Jesus the only way to Heaven: (John 14)

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Anyway, the fundamentalists are fundamentalists because they follow the Bible. I’ve read the whole Bible, and to be tolerant of other religions, you pretty much have to ignore much of the Bible. Fundamentalists are such because they follow the Bible, while moderate, tolerant Christians see the Bible as a human work that must be partially ignored to lead a good life. A slight majority of Christians in America are fundamentalist, so there is friction between them and the Pagans, and I agree that we Pagans can overreact. It is a constant balance to call a spade a spade, yet to recognize those millions of Christians who are tolerant. It may be better to see them as two different religions than as two types of “Christian”, since a moderate Christian often has more in common with a moderate muslim than he does with a fundamentalist Christian.

Thanks for pointing out some things that really do need to be said (like the fact that it is wrong to demonize all Christians). :yourock: We can discuss any specific point more if you’d like. :ringaroun

Love and light-

-Equinox

****************************************************

I meant that around 40% of the US population are fundamentalist Christians, not that all Christians were fundamentalist. Let’s look at the statistics-

In 1990 it was found about 86% of the US was Christian. By 2001 this had dropped to 77%. Of that 76%, a slight majority are fundamentalist (40% of all Americans, or 40/76 = around 53% of Christians). Data from the Aris study used for this feature: http://www.usatoday.com/graphics/news/gra/gnoreligion/flash.htm. For instance, 30% of Americans (over 100 million people) want a Constitutional Amendment that specifically states that America is a Christian Nation, according to a Barna poll taken earlier this year.

Studies by various groups have all shown that since 1970, moderate Christianity has been withering, while fundamentalist Christian churchs have been growing by leaps and bounds. I think this is because the fundamentalists challenge moderate Christians to support their views using the Bible, and when they try to, they realize that the Bible supports fundamentalism (I’ve read it cover to cover, and I agree with the fundamentalists on this point). So, they are faced with a choice – uphold the Bible and become fundamentalist, or leave Christianity all together. So moderate Christianity bleed members on both sides, explaining why we concurrently see “no religion” rising, fundamentalism rising, and moderate Christianity shrinking. It also explains why fundamentalist power has been growing over this entire time, even though the number of Christians has been shrinking. I see no reason to expect that this polarization of Christianity will reverse what it has been doing for decades.

There are literally millions of moderate and liberal Christians. I don’t deny their existence. I’m just pointing out that though they ruled the country in the 70’s, their influence and members are disappearing, though still significant.

******************************************************

Morning Star
January 25th, 2005, 01:52 PM
Why is it wrong to demonize people or groups of people if what they stand for is disgusting to you? More to the point, don't we have a right to stand against ideals antagonistic to our own and to all that we hold as beautiful and divine? I grew up in the Christian church and I've known many wonderful Christian people, but they all shared what I view as a spiritual sickness. They all felt disconnected from nature and they didn't have any desire to be connected with nature. Most of my family and friends are Christian. I can be friends with them while being disgusted and embarrassed about what they believe. Unlike them, I don't believe they are going to go to hell or to be punished in some afterlife. I just think they hold terrible feelings and thoughts and judgments in their heart, that they are sick...they are an example of what I don't want to become. They are not bad people. They're just, off, wrong, corrupted. I love my family and my friends, but I don't have to agree with or respect the way they see their God...I think their God is evil and disgusting. The God of the Bible is the perfect example of Evil and there really wasn't much that impressed me with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Why is it wrong for me to be honest and straightforward. My friends and family can handle it, but complete strangers can't. It is strange. I guess my friends and family understand that we all have an obligation to make judgments based on our experience and that we shouldn't shy away from our judgments because they hurt the feelings of others.

djmixon
January 25th, 2005, 02:32 PM
I usualy tell Christians who think I'm going to hell that it's none of their buisness where I go after I die. They get this real astonished look on their face when I say that. I'd rather go to hell than belive in the God/Bible of the Fundamentalist Christians who spread hate.
Dove My holier than thou preacher brothers tell me I'm going to hell all the time. . .either in words or by their actions. . .

I tell them to keep the home fires burning for me so I'll be able to find them once I arrive. . .

Otherwise, this thread is taking a less than desireable turn. . .I am not sure I need to add anymore other than to add that historically once the Jews were run out of Rome by Claudius, there were none to blame things on except the Christians. . .which Nero did quite well. . .when the Jews returned to Rome, there were all kinds of problems within the Church. . .

Yes there was a huge persecution of both Jews and Christians. . .does it have relevance today? I don't think so. . .just as the Inquisitions have no real relevance today. Oh, and Witches were not the only ones killed during the Inquisition. . .many Christians were killed. . .it was a political thing. . .not a religious thing. . .The Catholic Church was keeping a strong hold on power. . .notice that is the Catholic church. . .not all Christians are Catholic or hold the same beliefs. . .I am not Catholic so Nicea has no relevance to me. . .

Okay. . .now I will sit back and be quiet again. . .

Donna

IvyWitch
January 25th, 2005, 07:58 PM
Why is it wrong to demonize people or groups of people if what they stand for is disgusting to you?

Personally, I say you can think whatever you want, however, just because you have a bad impression of Christianity doesn't mean it's evil, nor does it give you the right to disrespect the faith and it's followers here.


They all felt disconnected from nature and they didn't have any desire to be connected with nature.

So, because they don't feel the same way Pagans do about nature, that makes them disgusting and bad?

flar7
January 25th, 2005, 09:34 PM
you can dislike who you wish, hate what you want, or you can practice love, respect and understanding. Whatever. But, You will post on this forum with Respect if not tolerance, or you will be banned from it. Thank you.

charmedkisses1
January 25th, 2005, 09:38 PM
Disconcerned about nature? They tell to find God IN nature, it's His creation, I've heard that preached in every Church I visited when I was younger.

Aine of the Fae
January 25th, 2005, 09:56 PM
Your blanket statements about Christians are doing nothing to win your argument. To say that Christians have no reverence for nature is laughable. Not every Christian is the same, and a large number honor nature as the creation of their God. We are told, in no uncertain terms, that we are the stewards of nature. We don't own it, we're here to take care of it. Don't blame the faith, blame the way it's interpreted.

There are jerks in every faith, from Christian to Islam, from Classical Paganism to Wicca. They could change religions and they would still be bull-headed, fundie jerks.

Believing strongly in something is all well and good, but believing it to the point that you are ready to degrade opposing beliefs at the drop of a hat shows nothing but stubbornness and foolishness.

Morr
January 26th, 2005, 01:08 AM
ACTUALLY...
if you want to get into specifics...
the Christian dogma in regards to Creation talks about how God isnt PART of creation but how he just created it all. That he is seperate from this world (taken from the Jewish Creation belief). As well as that in this life, on earth - the physical world, we need to work/pray/be good/whatever in order to reach heaven yada yada yada.

Its nice to hear that some preachers take it to a different level to actually try and have environmental issues and concerns raised in the community, but in essence The Dogma doesnt care about this earthly world - All it does care about is "DONT SIN or else...".

PS - I'm thalking about the Catholic/Protestant/etc type Christianities.. I know theres like hundreds of NEW or more MODERN or LIBERAL Christian movements/churches, im not familiar with their teachings..

Morning Star
January 26th, 2005, 01:56 AM
you can dislike who you wish, hate what you want, or you can practice love, respect and understanding. Whatever. But, You will post on this forum with Respect if not tolerance, or you will be banned from it. Thank you.

Have you ever considered becoming a Nazi? You seem to fit the bill. People either think and speak the way you want, or "screw you, get off my site".

I mean, whatever, you have influence here and what not. You can force your views on whomever you like.

Just don't expect intelligent people to believe it has anything to do with respect. You can use this place to manipulate people into your way of thinking all you wish - but when someone offers, respectfully, a different point of view, you make threats. You are too obvious.

Ban me, don't ban me... You can't force me to respect evil people or respect you.

flar7
January 26th, 2005, 04:26 AM
My use of the word "you" was directed to all members, not just you yourself MS, but it is the rule of the community. If you have an issue with that rule then report my post and speak with the other admins. They will hear you fairly, just as I will. If you sent me anything like that post in a pm, I wouldnt care, and that post in specific is not that terrible, but the border is being approached in this thread, so I thought to warn people to think before they post.

I expect and hope that I get called on every issue or mistake I make where I dont give someone appropriate respect vis-a-vis our rules.

I only get called into these types of situations when the threads go awry and get reported. I dont search them out, and when I show up, I usually just post the "repect" rule and move on. Rarely do I have to close a thread, and I havent banned anyone except for Trolls who post porn and such...

Morning Star
January 26th, 2005, 06:03 AM
I just wish that the matter was actually open to debate, but for the sake of not being banned... I like Christians and everyone is equally valuable. Christians are good people. They believe good things and their view of God is equal to everyone elses view of God. Christians are just as wonderful as everyone else and I don't believe that people's beliefs have any effect on the manner in which they behave because we are simply products of the system and therefore should be equally respected for our opinions and behaviors. The Millions of people who suffer due to religious persecution deserve it because they were most likely disrespectful. A pox on all their houses.

Doodlebug
January 26th, 2005, 07:58 AM
I don't think that Christianity, itself is evil. I do think that some of the followers are though. ;) Take Fred Phelps as a very good example of an evil Christian. The Christian God isn't evil either. Just some of his followers are! :hehehehe:

charmedkisses1
January 26th, 2005, 08:14 AM
ACTUALLY...
if you want to get into specifics...
the Christian dogma in regards to Creation talks about how God isnt PART of creation but how he just created it all. That he is seperate from this world (taken from the Jewish Creation belief). As well as that in this life, on earth - the physical world, we need to work/pray/be good/whatever in order to reach heaven yada yada yada.

Its nice to hear that some preachers take it to a different level to actually try and have environmental issues and concerns raised in the community, but in essence The Dogma doesnt care about this earthly world - All it does care about is "DONT SIN or else...".

PS - I'm thalking about the Catholic/Protestant/etc type Christianities.. I know theres like hundreds of NEW or more MODERN or LIBERAL Christian movements/churches, im not familiar with their teachings..



when an artist paints a picture, that's a part of his identity, his emotions, his feelings. they also preach that God is everywhere, so logically if you step outside, God would still be there. that's what i meant. wasn't meant to be "specific"
the "dont sin or else" teaching is total bull, at least where I live. My mother (a Christian) knows she sins, but she goes to Church to get more spiritual. They dumped the last pastor who kept preaching "or hell" concepts, because though that's a big part of it, knowing God is much more important than being "perfect" (like anyone is?)

Kaylara
January 26th, 2005, 10:19 AM
Have you ever considered becoming a Nazi? You seem to fit the bill. People either think and speak the way you want, or "screw you, get off my site".

I mean, whatever, you have influence here and what not. You can force your views on whomever you like.

Just don't expect intelligent people to believe it has anything to do with respect. You can use this place to manipulate people into your way of thinking all you wish - but when someone offers, respectfully, a different point of view, you make threats. You are too obvious.

Ban me, don't ban me... You can't force me to respect evil people or respect you.
This post is the most disrespectful bit of tripe I've read in a long time. The rules of this site, the rules that you agree to when you sign up say that you should treat everyone here with respect. That includes the administrative staff of which Flar is a member. If you have a problem with a moderation, then please, feel free to contact another administrator. But if I see you post something like this again, I will personally ban you. This is *my* job as well as Flar's. We're members on this site, but we also have responsibilities here. And I don't care if you respect me or Flar, or not. You will follow the rules on this site or you will be oblidged to leave it. This is, "Follow the rules here, or get off of my site."

*End Administrator Mode*


Kaylara

IvyWitch
January 26th, 2005, 10:27 AM
I just wish that the matter was actually open to debate, but for the sake of not being banned... I like Christians and everyone is equally valuable. Christians are good people. They believe good things and their view of God is equal to everyone elses view of God. Christians are just as wonderful as everyone else and I don't believe that people's beliefs have any effect on the manner in which they behave because we are simply products of the system and therefore should be equally respected for our opinions and behaviors. The Millions of people who suffer due to religious persecution deserve it because they were most likely disrespectful. A pox on all their houses.

Really though, if you're that interested in being a part of this debate/discussion, I'm sure you can find a more intelligent way of stating your opinion than saying that the faith in question is disgusting and a spiritual sickness. It's disrespectful, malicious and just plain rude.
And as far as "being equally respected for our opinions", I'm sorry but when you say such rude things, you can't expect everyone to just let it go, especially not here. This isn't a free for all, you follow the rules or else you don't get to play.

Morr
January 26th, 2005, 10:30 AM
when an artist paints a picture, that's a part of his identity, his emotions, his feelings. they also preach that God is everywhere, so logically if you step outside, God would still be there. that's what i meant. wasn't meant to be "specific"
the "dont sin or else" teaching is total bull, at least where I live. My mother (a Christian) knows she sins, but she goes to Church to get more spiritual. They dumped the last pastor who kept preaching "or hell" concepts, because though that's a big part of it, knowing God is much more important than being "perfect" (like anyone is?)


yes, but again - "dont sin or else" is a basis in the Christian Dogma.
I was refering to that. If you look again at my post i acknowleged that there are preachers and other various Christian sects that are more liberal and less strict.

Kaylara
January 26th, 2005, 10:53 AM
...I don't believe that people's beliefs have any effect on the manner in which they behave because we are simply products of the system and therefore should be equally respected for our opinions and behaviors. The Millions of people who suffer due to religious persecution deserve it because they were most likely disrespectful. A pox on all their houses...
I disagree with this. I think that we very much are products of our beliefs. The "system" only has minor influence in that. Our reactions to any given situation are governed by our beliefs, the way we see ourselves interacting with the world around us. I think that people should be respectful of others beliefs until such a time that the other person's beliefs intrude on your personal space. Ie, if you think that all witches should be tied to a lamp post and light aflame, I can handle that. However, if you come over and try to tie me up and light me on fire, then no, sorry. Our beliefs give us a frame work with which we interact with our environment. It's always our decision whether or not those beliefs need adjusting, or should be followed to the exclusion of all else.

chrestomancie
January 26th, 2005, 05:25 PM
Disconcerned about nature? They tell to find God IN nature, it's His creation, I've heard that preached in every Church I visited when I was younger.

Some of the Christians will that's true. The church I was raised in threw the nature in with the world and they see the entire world as evil. They hold themselves above it. Again, I'm not saying that this is all of them, just the church I was raised in. There are good christians that follow Jesus's teachings-very few but they are there. I can say that I know of 3 in my entire life and I love all 3 and respect what they believe and live. I would never tell them they are following an "evil" religion because I also believe that the people following the religion makes or breaks it. The bible is another discussion altogether.

djmixon, If you have any more opinions, I for one would love to hear them. Don't feel you arn't welcome here...

flar7
January 26th, 2005, 07:24 PM
Christianity started with the Arcadian view of nature, that its being from the divine, we merely the caretakers of it, then sometime around Cromwell and the Puritan movement when divine destiny (other name for it eludes me) began and things changed. After that, the wilderness was a hostile place, where the devil lurked behind every tree to snatch the unwary. Many attributed this change to the discovery of the New World and its hidden reaches, and since the Puritans were a majority of the settlers, it became a predominant view within the formation of Protestant faith in the U.S.'s forming.

Early Christianity is full of the Arcadian ideas of nature and our expressed in much of the artwork of the time.

(this is a very simplified view of about the last 1000 years of Christianity, but I post enough as is...:) )

flar7
January 26th, 2005, 09:06 PM
oh, as a heads up. I have not posted in this thread in admin mode, so it shouldnt be thought of as one. Merely as a member reminding other members of the rules, just in case. May your path be free of hardships, and your joys be many.

Protagonist
January 29th, 2005, 12:59 AM
Have you ever considered becoming a Nazi?
Well, I don't think she said anything about National Socialism in open forum. Did she PM you discussing Mein Kampf or something? Seriously, though. I find it distressing when folks bandy words like Nazi about online, using to describe everything from, as in your case, folks they disagree with, to various poltical figures (examples being Bush and Ashcroft.) The way I see it, this is huge, unneccessary hyperbole. What did the Nazis do? They committed genocide, some of the worst atrocities in human history. It is, the way I see it, a bit unneccessary and undue to compare folks who slaughtered millions to someone who's offended you in the comfort of your own home, sitting safe at your computer. I hope neither you nor I ever meet anyone worthy of comparison to the Nazis, but I assure you, no one who has spoken here has committed genocide or is a member of the National Socialist Party.


You seem to fit the bill. People either think and speak the way you want, or "screw you, get off my site".
*shrugs* It's not her site. Besides, I've disagreed with admins enough on this site to know they're more tolerant than elsewhere. I was on Weavings (http://www.wyldwytch.com/) for a few months before they started threatening to kick me off for habitually disagreeing with their view on worship and suggesting that all Pagans weren't Wiccans. Believe me, what''s happening here is nothing by comparison.


I mean, whatever, you have influence here and what not. You can force your views on whomever you like. She's not forcing her views on anyone. If you feel that someone telling you that you're wrong forces you to believe something else, you need to develop some self-determination.

In fact, plenty of us probably disagree with her. I have an inclination that Morr does, and others too, but that doesn't mean that they can't express themselves. Notice they haven't been banned. Notice that when, in a myriad of other threads, someone disagrees with someone, nothing bad happens to them. Once more, there's the respect issue.


Just don't expect intelligent people to believe it has anything to do with respect. You can use this place to manipulate people into your way of thinking all you wish - but when someone offers, respectfully, a different point of view, you make threats. You are too obvious.But you weren't respectful. For someone posting in a philosophy forum, you weren't even rational. You just kept talking about how evil, disgusting, and disconnected from nature Christians were. You never really supported that argument either, beyond stating it over and over.

You even said, right off the bat, that we were insulting your intelligence. Someone with your knowledge of Classical paganism should be aware that hubris of that sort will not win you friends, in this world or any other. In fact, it sets you on a path for making good enemies. In this way, it detracts from any argument you might try to make.



Ban me, don't ban me... You can't force me to respect evil people or respect you. But, I thought you just said you were expressing yourself respectfully?

Furthermore, did you read the rules, as others have pointed out? There's only one:

Rule 1 of 1: Respect your fellow community members.
You seem to disagree with this. You feel some folks don't deserve respect. You've every right to believe that. But, the folks who made this site obviously disagree with you in this respect; otherwise, they wouldn't have made this a rule. This is a private site; it doesn't matter whether you or I feel everyone deserves respect or not. If we want to post here, we've got to show respect. It's part of the contract.

Contract? Yes; we have a contract with Mysticwicks:

By signing up you warrant that you will not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-orientated, hateful, threatening, or otherwise violative of any laws or the rules which are detailed below.

Why bother signing up for this forum if you aren't able to be respectful towards Christians, Wiccans, and whoever else it is you consider "spiritually sick?" There are plenty of other forums out there, some completely unmoderated, and you always have the option of starting your own.

The 'net itself may exist in what verges on a state of nature, but in this forum, we're bound by something like a social contract. In exchange for following the rules (er, rule,) we are provided with the benefits of belonging to the community: posting and so on.

Perhaps, when reading the rule initially upon signing up, it did not occur to you that you wouldn't be able to fulfill your end of the bargin. I've grappled with this myself in forums elsewhere, and really, the only way around it is to reflect about something before you sign up for it.

Morning Star
January 29th, 2005, 09:01 AM
Why bother signing up for this forum if you aren't able to be respectful towards Christians, Wiccans, and whoever else it is you consider "spiritually sick?" There are plenty of other forums out there, some completely unmoderated, and you always have the option of starting your own.

Quite true. Though, I'd much rather recognize this place for what it is and do my best not to interfere with the majority. Besides, there is no reason why I should allow the beliefs of others to frustrate me so much in the first place. I apologize for the attitude with which I posted, but as for the content...I have to pretty much stand by that.

I understand the rules and I understand what they are meant to do. So I'll make sure to keep relatively quiet from here on out. ;) I promise.

Protagonist
January 29th, 2005, 05:57 PM
Quite true. Though, I'd much rather recognize this place for what it is and do my best not to interfere with the majority.

I realize that there's nothing I can say that will get you out of this "I'm an oppressed minority" mindset, so I won't even try.



Besides, there is no reason why I should allow the beliefs of others to frustrate me so much in the first place. I apologize for the attitude with which I posted, but as for the content...I have to pretty much stand by that.
Content? You mean your opinions...? Sorry, I tend to parse "content" as logically supported statements. :mmm:



I understand the rules and I understand what they are meant to do. So I'll make sure to keep relatively quiet from here on out. ;) I promise.
Well, hey, if you can go at things from a rational perspective rather than just insulting everyone and philosophy by jumping into emotionally-charged rhetoric, there's really no reason to keep quiet. I hope you'll consider this option even though it conflicts with the whole "oppressed minority" thing.

But, like I said before; no one is keeping you here. It really is a matter of social contract; if we keep our end of the bargin (the rule,) they'll keep theirs.

flar7
January 30th, 2005, 10:38 PM
Protagonist, ease up ok? Its pretty much calmed down and all except for your last two posts? Not saying dont post, but the old posts are done, lets move on people.

dr_zeus440
February 11th, 2005, 01:34 PM
hmm, i think it comes down to the individuals. in some people, christianity, or rather the social decency it inspires within that individual, is a beautiful thing. but for some people, christianity is a default or a defeat, the shield of the ignorant and weak. this is ugly. so, it all comes down to the individual. hmm, morning star got banned, i was beginning to like his style.

BlackMagicalCat
February 12th, 2005, 05:46 PM
well,i might as well admit im a christian,i hope you dont kick me off your site here.im not much on history,you guys know much more than me.i do know i dont hate anyone,actually i love people and the life i have lived bears it out,you dont know that but God does.i know im not perfect and certianly dont know it all,ive already offended some people on mysckwcks and feel kinda bad. i do know this however,my faith is based on the Lord Jesus making himself known to me personally,a promise He has made to anyone who seeks him.most christians have that in comon,we know the Lord.if you need evidence that HE is real,you have to get it from him directly.The lord has been with me through the years and i love him very much,he is the best friend I ever had.I read someones msg that even if it was proved Christ was real,they would not believe,how sad.last of all,dont blame christ for the sins of others,HE made it clear he died to deliver us from an eternal hell and it cost him his life.i think that is love at its finest.Jesus did say he was the only way to God and there were no others,that may sound intolerant,but if its true,its true. :clapping: :smile: truth is not what we say it is.fire is hot because its hot,not because we say its hot.Gods cannot be created in our own mind,and still be a god or goddess,you can believe what you like,but it doesnt make you right.THE lord forces no one to love or serve him,its up to us to recieve his gift of love. :colorful:

BlackMagicalCat
February 12th, 2005, 05:57 PM
:smileroll im always on the tail end of every conversation,i really dont know anything about witches or pagans,i thought pagans were worshipers of statues,oh well,guess im learnin, _tomatoe_ :uhhuhuh: :thewave:

flar7
February 12th, 2005, 06:07 PM
azzeenasman, I am a fellow christian but feel a need to point out a few things. The idea and faiths derived on Christ, most likely come from the bible. Please think about the bible and who wrote it. The new testament wasnt even began for the most part until about 100 years after Christ's death. So, anyone saying that Jesus said this or that, is saying that they heard it at least third hand. Also, translations vary greatly on the book, otherwise you would not have the large factional differences on just about everything in the book.

Yes, the bible says Jesus is the only way, but it also says of other ways to get in heaven. Perhaps is means merely, that Jesus will decide whether you will or wont, since he made such a sacrifice and knows the pains and trials of mortals...

And we dont kick Christians off the site, or I wouldnt be here. :moped: We do ask for respect, and to avoid preaching or sounding preachy. Some testament is fine, but good judgement is a factor.

charmedkisses1
February 12th, 2005, 06:16 PM
azzeenasman, I am a fellow christian but feel a need to point out a few things. The idea and faiths derived on Christ, most likely come from the bible. Please think about the bible and who wrote it. The new testament wasnt even began for the most part until about 100 years after Christ's death. So, anyone saying that Jesus said this or that, is saying that they heard it at least third hand. Also, translations vary greatly on the book, otherwise you would not have the large factional differences on just about everything in the book.

Yes, the bible says Jesus is the only way, but it also says of other ways to get in heaven. Perhaps is means merely, that Jesus will decide whether you will or wont, since he made such a sacrifice and knows the pains and trials of mortals...

And we dont kick Christians off the site, or I wouldnt be here. :moped: We do ask for respect, and to avoid preaching or sounding preachy. Some testament is fine, but good judgement is a factor.

as long as pagans don't bash the christians *stares at everyone* then the christians here shouldn't be upset. but i'm proud of (most) you guys :smile:

Lunacie
February 12th, 2005, 09:20 PM
azzeenasman, we have several Christians who post here, and I hope you will feel as comfortable doing so as they do.

You say that Jesus has made himself known to you personally and that’s why you believe the way you do. I hope you can accept that most of the Pagans here have also had personal contact with other gods or goddesses, and they are also very real. I know that the bible says that Jesus taught that he was the only way to God, but there are other gods and goddesses and they have their own ways of connecting with them.

Some who have studied the bible very closely believe that the original version was saying that those who do not follow Christ to his Father will suffer the hell of being separated from Him for eternity. All that stuff about the fiery pit and eternal pain and suffereing were taken from writers in the last few hundred years.

BlackMagicalCat
February 14th, 2005, 09:25 PM
hey,wish i had more time but i gotta drive tonight.i love everyone so much i can hardly stand it.im not using this site to preach and im not a member of any church,i drive most sundays and cant realy commit to going.please allow me to say this.i have the assurance the bible is Gods word,i got it from the Lord himself,he has preserved it through the ages for me,the bible does say jesus is the only way to God,and warns us of an eternal hell,ive read it myself .But let me quickly say before i log off.it isnt gods will that anyone go there,the choice is ours,a way of escape has been provided,it cost the lord his life.he made that way because of his great love for us,.i know it sounds awfull,and it is a harsh judgement..............but it is not gods will that any should perish,but that all should come to repentance,and if there was any other way to be saved then Christ died in vain.Jesus is the best friend anyone could ever have,he is not against us,he is on our side,the wicked one is against all of humanity because we were made in the image of god.if you dont believe me,ask him yourself,gotta go,

BlackMagicalCat
February 14th, 2005, 09:47 PM
azzeenasman, we have several Christians who post here, and I hope you will feel as comfortable doing so as they do.

You say that Jesus has made himself known to you personally and that’s why you believe the way you do. I hope you can accept that most of the Pagans here have also had personal contact with other gods or goddesses, and they are also very real. I know that the bible says that Jesus taught that he was the only way to God, but there are other gods and goddesses and they have their own ways of connecting with them.

Some who have studied the bible very closely believe that the original version was saying that those who do not follow Christ to his Father will suffer the hell of being separated from Him for eternity. All that stuff about the fiery pit and eternal pain and suffereing were taken from writers in the last few hundred years.
hi,i do sorta feel like im in someone elses house,so i will try not to offend anyone,and im glad to be able to talk to someone,it gets lonely out here on the road,im fixen to eat at the flying j trck stp.lets pretend me and you are the best of friends ,and i knew you were going to perish for ever when you died,my heart would be grieved for you because we were friends and i loved you.if i didnt warn you,what kind of friend would i be?Imagine how the lord feels after having been crucified and seeing how so many people are angry and against him.and seeing all the sins committed in his name by so many,it grieves him deeply.the evidence of the reality of Christ is foundwhen one turns to christ for themselves.i cant save anyone,only the lord can,but He compells me to go and seek that which is lost,whom he dearly loves.,,,,,,, :javaswim: ,,finally,it would be nice to hear what other people say about what thier god or goddess has done for them,maybe that could be a topic for discssn,thanx for talking to me,may the lord bless you precious one. :bouncybob

Lunacie
February 15th, 2005, 11:42 AM
hi,i do sorta feel like im in someone elses house,so i will try not to offend anyone,and im glad to be able to talk to someone,it gets lonely out here on the road,im fixen to eat at the flying j trck stp.lets pretend me and you are the best of friends ,and i knew you were going to perish for ever when you died,my heart would be grieved for you because we were friends and i loved you.if i didnt warn you,what kind of friend would i be?Imagine how the lord feels after having been crucified and seeing how so many people are angry and against him.and seeing all the sins committed in his name by so many,it grieves him deeply.the evidence of the reality of Christ is foundwhen one turns to christ for themselves.i cant save anyone,only the lord can,but He compells me to go and seek that which is lost,whom he dearly loves.,,,,,,, :javaswim: ,,finally,it would be nice to hear what other people say about what thier god or goddess has done for them,maybe that could be a topic for discssn,thanx for talking to me,may the lord bless you precious one. :bouncybob

I grew up in the Christian church and I tried for so many years to find that special connection with Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit or someone, I begged and cried and ripped my heart to shreds and never felt that any of them were listening to me or cared about my pain. So I finally left the church. A few years later I was having a very difficult time coping with my empathic abilities and asked my husband to teach me how to create a metaphysical shield to block those overwhelming feelings from others, and no sooner had I erected my shield than a vision of a goddess appeared to me and she said “Welcome home, my child. Well done.”

Unless your god is a woman then I must believe that there are other gods and goddesses. This doesn't mean I am angry or against your god or his son, or that I'm committing some sin in his name. I appreciate that you wanted to warn me, but I feel you are crying "wolf" and warning me of a danger that doesn't exist. Hell is being cut off from the connection with the Divine, and I'm very firmly connected with the Divine in the form of both gods and goddesses and the divine spirit that lives in everything and everyone.


Drive safely, mkay?

cheddarsox
February 15th, 2005, 03:16 PM
.Jesus is the best friend anyone could ever have,he is not against us,he is on our side,the wicked one is against all of humanity because we were made in the image of god.if you dont believe me,ask him yourself,gotta go,

I was a Christian for about 30 years. I many times asked Jesus into my heart, asked him to be my friend and all that. I really did. Never made that wonderful connection that I know some have. I was jealous, I admit it.

I have no beef with Jesus. I love christian music and sing it outloud all the time. But he never turned out to be the friend others promised me he was. That is OK, I have learned not to take it personally. In fact, I have made a practice out of not taking the universe personally.

I believe in and worship a totally impersonal divine, but honestly, I actually cry tears over some of the christian songs that talk about God as loving father and Jesus as best friend. I still wish it were true. Anyway, whatever is up there seems cool with me practicing my current faith. Things are much better for me than they have ever been, and I am truly grateful.

I'm so glad for you that you have that terrific relationship with Jesus. I have a terrific relationship to the divine as well, it is packaged very differently, but so far hasn't made me any empty promises.

So blessings to you from a pantheist who still observes Lent and Holy Week because it wa always the most spiritual time of year for me as a kid.

I'm not hatin...I'm waitin...

cheddar

BlackMagicalCat
February 19th, 2005, 01:42 PM
I grew up in the Christian church and I tried for so many years to find that special connection with Jesus or God or the Holy Spirit or someone, I begged and cried and ripped my heart to shreds and never felt that any of them were listening to me or cared about my pain. So I finally left the church. A few years later I was having a very difficult time coping with my empathic abilities and asked my husband to teach me how to create a metaphysical shield to block those overwhelming feelings from others, and no sooner had I erected my shield than a vision of a goddess appeared to me and she said “Welcome home, my child. Well done.”

Unless your god is a woman then I must believe that there are other gods and goddesses. This doesn't mean I am angry or against your god or his son, or that I'm committing some sin in his name. I appreciate that you wanted to warn me, but I feel you are crying "wolf" and warning me of a danger that doesn't exist. Hell is being cut off from the connection with the Divine, and I'm very firmly connected with the Divine in the form of both gods and goddesses and the divine spirit that lives in everything and everyone.


Drive safely, mkay?
hi,im back and i have been driving my rearend off.its nice to talk to you and you treat me nicer than some christians have.precious one(i dont call you that lightly)if you ever prayed to Christ,He heard you . the enemy off your soul is in a battle for your soul,he will go out of his way to keep you from knowing the lord.prayer is spiritual warfare,there are heavenly powers of darkness that fight against us,to keep us in darkness.thats the reason for so much evil in the world and sad to say,in some churches.in christ you have authority over the wicked one and he knows it.the only power he has is the power of deception,and he uses it against us.love ya :)

BlackMagicalCat
February 19th, 2005, 01:56 PM
[QUOTE=cheddarsox]I was a Christian for about 30 years. I many times asked Jesus into my heart, asked him to be my friend and all that. I really did. Never made that wonderful connection that I know some have. I was jealous, I admit it.

I have no beef with Jesus. I love christian music and sing it outloud all the time. But he never turned out to be the friend others promised me he was. That is OK, I have learned not to take it personally. In fact, I have made a practice out of not taking the universe personally.

I believe in and worship a totally impersonal divine, but honestly, I actually cry tears over some of the christian songs that talk about God as loving father and Jesus as best friend. I still wish it were true. Anyway, whatever is up there seems cool with me practicing my current faith. Things are much better for me than they have ever been, and I am truly grateful.

I'm so glad for you that you have that terrific relationship with Jesus. I have a terrific relationship to the divine as well, it is packaged very differently, but so far hasn't made me any empty promises.

So blessings to you from a pantheist who still observes Lent and Holy Week because it wa always the most spiritual time of year for me as a kid.

I'm not hatin...I'm waitin...
:bouncybob hey,nice to hear from you.i was saved as a young man on a boys ranch.i spent my childhood there,went into the marines at 17.my life has not been to bad,but i have faced many trials and i wasnt always following Christ,there have been many dark days of trials for me.the lord has safely seen me through them.not to mention the multitude of sins the lord has deliverd me from,when it comes to sin and weaknesses and issiues of the heart,the Lord is truly the master at changing lives,giving peace,filling a heart with love,teaching a person to walk in a way that leads to life.Noboby will ever love you more than the Lord who created you,he knows what makes you happy and what makes you sad.well gotta go home and spend time with my son,im in carlise pa on my way to rock hill sc :shift: love ya

BlackMagicalCat
February 19th, 2005, 03:03 PM
hi,may i say something about the gender of God?well here goes,then i gotta get driving.God is neither male nor female,he is a spirit.angels are niether male nor female,they are angels,the gender divide is earthly,its not that way in heaven.the bible says in Christ there is no male or female,we are all one in Christ.read the story about the religous leaders who hated Christ and asked him who,s wife would a woman be if she married several times and all of her husbands died.Jesus said nobodys,she would be as an angel.i hate seeing women treated like someones property and especialy by any religous people.sad to say many christians think they are lord of thier wifes and forget the bible says to love them as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it.to love God is to love and cherish and bless and respect your own wife.thats my story and im sticken to it

flar7
February 20th, 2005, 06:36 AM
um, which bible you reading? King James version doesnt hsave Jesus saying that. The riddle was meant as a trick, but Christ caught them on it and said that they erred by not understsanding the true nature of heaven.

As to the Gender of God? I dont know but would assume male based on biology and the old testament. If you want to make a race of people, you need only start with the male form which has all the chromosomes you need, and then clone or build from there....or make from sa rib (clone)

From all that I have ever read, there are no female angels. All text in the bible refers to them being male and even that they marry human females in Genesis. So, most likely, Angels are a separate race of creation from before man, and have only that gender.