Research on Belief in God

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Jspear said:
Tertullian and Origen lived at just the same time as the philosophers you mentioned (alive earlier than a couple of the ones you mentioned) and they were Christians. Personally I think we can trust their writings over the work of Roman and Greek philosophers because this was more of their "field" of professionalism.

Here is an article on archaeology and the bible. There is more material evidence for the bible than any other book in antiquity.

https://answersingenesis.org/archaeology/does-archaeology-support-the-bible/

http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbbible.aspx?pageid=8589952738
Precisely because they were Christians, they were writing to discredit the people you claim to have no historical merit. But this is a bad, biased and generally unreliable historical approach, hence of poor quality.

Their value rather resides in allowing us to perceive the anti-social and transcendentalist Christian ethos at the time. Anti-social because under their narrow, vapid innocence, one detects the fierce intransigence of the sectarian who values himself above other men, and the voluntarily circumscribed vision of a self-appointed elect to be "saved"; transcendentalist because they believed in forms of life and thought which were in fact not their own, while, in shunning life, glorified virtues befitting of children and uneducated slaves at the expense of more virile and more intellectual qualities. Hence we find the reason behind Plutarch's castigation of all such superstitions that lulled the simple-minded, or the cowardly into their clutches.

In spite of their singularly flat prose, furthermore, one can nevertheless discern in these writters the appealing charm of virtues of simple folk, all which strongly resembled the fraternities and mysteria that slaves or poor citizens found almost everywhere in honor of the pagan gods in the crowded quarters of ancient Roman cities. (Plutarch's "states of opinion" to be combated).

Another apologist Quardratus even hoped to make a Christian of the emperor, assuredly striving to convince him of the excellence of his doctrine, and to prove, above all, that it offered no harm to the State. Yet any tolerance shown to these fanatics was immediately mistaken by them for sympathy for their cause. His work, now lost, though commented on by Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, Book IV, was a defense of his religion about the life of a young prophet named Jesus who was the founder of the sect, but who died a victim of Jewish intolerance a century before. This young sage seems to have left behind some teachings not unlike those of Orpheus, to whom at times his disciples compared him. In it, too, as with Tertullian and Origen, were those scraps of wisdom ineptly borrowed from the works of the gentile philosophers. One speedily tires though of such captious arguments.
 
Echoes said:
Man, the Catars claimed that usury was no sin. If you agree with that, fine but then allow me to disagree. The common people supported the repression in their majority. The Cathars' score was settled. They got what they deserve. God Bless saint Lous. End of story.
I know time makes our senses dull and all that, but this might be the most disgusting thing I've read in a while. It basically amounts to an apology of genocide.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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rhubroma said:
Their value rather resides in allowing us to perceive the anti-social and transcendentalist Christian ethos at the time.
Well, I think it's more the case that they became social outcasts because they refused to worship pagan gods and the emperor, rather than because they have an inherently anti-social attitude. Everything in ancient society was drenched with pagan elements. They couldn't partake in the emperor cultus. They couldn't partake in the cultus of local deities. They couldn't partake in any associations. (Associations played a very large part in ancient Greco-Roman society, but because they would also incorporate religious elements, Christians couldn't partake in them in thus almost automatically became social outcasts.)

rhubroma said:
Anti-social because under their narrow, vapid innocence, one detects the fierce intransigence of the sectarian who values himself above other men
A bit ironic, this one here!

If anything, ancient Christians were supremely egalitarian compared to their ancient counterparts. Slaves (the majority of the people) and women were hardly treated as human beings in the ancient world. Now Christians might have said some things that don't fall well in modern ears as well and they haven't always acted on their principles, but it's undeniable that they have a basic notion of equality; where everyone is equal before God. Slaves and free men. Jews and Gentiles. Men and women.

In fact, our modern notion of equality is really just a secularized Christian value. As much as the western world has profited from the inheritance of ancient Greco-Roman society, you won't find all men equal in that world.

rhubroma said:
In spite of their singularly flat prose,
What?! There were many ancient Christian authors, including some of the authors of the Bible, who write in excellent Greek and seem to have had a decent amount of education. But sure, considering ancient Christians, unlike the other ancient, actually cared about slaves and felt that slaves and their masters were all equal before God; they also appealed to these groups. And considering in that in that idyllic nice ancient Greco-Roman society the vast majority of the people were slaves, it's not that weird that they are appealed to rather prominently, no?

Paul writes excellent Greek and shows he has had some training in ancient rhetoric in how he structures his letters. Justin Martyr is well educated and shows familiarity with the dominant schools of philosophy of his day and one could go on for a while.
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
A bit ironic, this one here!

If anything, ancient Christians were supremely egalitarian compared to their ancient counterparts. Slaves (the majority of the people) and women were hardly treated as human beings in the ancient world.
Indeed. So you're saying that women and slaves didn't have the rights and mobility of white, free men, but now they do and that's the definition of human beings and their proper treatment? So the same thing once denying their "humanity" is now the full measure of it?
 
Oct 23, 2011
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aphronesis said:
Indeed. So you're saying that women and slaves didn't have the rights and mobility of white, free men, but now they do and that's the definition of human beings and their proper treatment? So the same thing once denying their "humanity" is now the full measure of it?
I'm not entirely sure what you are saying.

I was saying that in the ancient Greco-Roman society women and slaves were hardly treated as human beings. In contrast to this Christianity sees everyone as essentially equal before God.

I'm even going so far as to claim that modern western egalitarianism is essentially the Christian value of everyone being created equal expressed in secular terminology.

(Note: I'm not claiming Christians have always acted on this principle and I'm fully aware that there are plenty of texts in the Bible that don't fall so well with the modern notion of egalitarianism.)
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
I'm not entirely sure what you are saying.

I was saying that in the ancient Greco-Roman society women and slaves were hardly treated as human beings. In contrast to this Christianity sees everyone as essentially equal before God.

I'm even going so far as to claim that modern western egalitarianism is essentially the Christian value of everyone being created equal expressed in secular terminology.

(Note: I'm not claiming Christians have always acted on this principle and I'm fully aware that there are plenty of texts in the Bible that don't fall so well with the modern notion of egalitarianism.)
I'm not sure why it's unclear. You're saying that women and slaves weren't treated as human beings and yet, somehow, those denying them that treatment were the measure of what human beings and their treatment consist in? Or are now?
 
aphronesis said:
Indeed. So you're saying that women and slaves didn't have the rights and mobility of white, free men, but now they do and that's the definition of human beings and their proper treatment? So the same thing once denying their "humanity" is now the full measure of it?
What he also misses is first that slavery continued into the Christian era (to say nothing of its reformulation in medieval sefdom), as the fifth century case of the aristocrat Melania offering all of her 6000 slaves along with her Sicilain estates to the Church is exemplary. The senate refused, rightly fearing the consequences for the social order. Secondly he doesn't know that social welfare was invented by the gentiles. Trajan's alimentarius is also exemplary in this regard.
 
Jan 27, 2013
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The Sharp Edge of the Shell
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.ca/


That’s the thing that drove the ferocious rejection of philosophy by the underclass of the age, the slaves and urban poor who made up the vast majority of the population throughout the Roman empire, and who received little if any benefit from the intellectual achievements of their society. To them, the subtleties of Neoplatonist thought were irrelevant to the increasingly difficult realities of life on the lower end of the social pyramid in a brutally hierarchical and increasingly dysfunctional world. That’s an important reason why so many of them turned for solace to a new religious movement from the eastern fringes of the empire, a despised sect that claimed that God had been born on earth as a mere carpenter’s son and communicated through his life and death a way of salvation that privileged the poor and downtrodden above the rich and well-educated.

It was as a social phenomenon, filling certain social roles, that Christianity attracted persecution from the imperial government, and it was in response to Christianity’s significance as a social phenomenon that the imperial government executed an about-face under Constantine and took the new religion under its protection. Like plenty of autocrats before and since, Constantine clearly grasped that the real threat to his position and power came from other members of his own class—in his case, the patrician elite of the Roman world—and saw that he could undercut those threats and counter potential rivals through an alliance of convenience with the leaders of the underclass. That’s the political subtext of the Edict of Milan, which legalized Christianity throughout the empire and brought it imperial patronage.

The patrician class of late Roman times, like its equivalent today, exercised power through a system of interlocking institutions from which outsiders were carefully excluded, and it maintained a prickly independence from the central government. By the fourth century, tensions between the bureaucratic imperial state and the patrician class, with its local power bases and local loyalties, were rising toward a flashpoint. The rise of Christianity thus gave Constantine and his successors an extraordinary opportunity. Most of the institutions that undergirded patrician power linked to Pagan religion; local senates, temple priesthoods, philosophical schools, and other elements of elite culture normally involved duties drawn from the traditional faith. A religious pretext to strike at those institutions must have seemed as good as any other, and the Christian underclass offered one other useful feature: mobs capable of horrific acts of violence against prominent defenders of the patrician order.

That was why, for example, a Christian mob in 415 CE dragged the Neoplatonist philosopher Hypatia from her chariot as she rode home from her teaching gig at the Academy in Alexandria, cudgeled her to death, cut the flesh from her bones with sharpened oyster shells—the cheap pocket knives of the day—and burned the bloody gobbets to ashes. What doomed Hypatia was not only her defense of the old philosophical traditions, but also her connection to Alexandria’s patrician class; her ghastly fate was as much the vengeance of the underclass against the elite as it was an act of religious persecution. She was far from the only victim of violence driven by those paired motives, either. It was as a result of such pressures that, by the time the emperor Justinian ordered the last academies closed in 529 CE, the classical philosophical tradition was essentially dead.

That’s the sort of thing that happens when an intellectual tradition becomes too closely affiliated with the institutions, ideologies, and interests of a social elite. If the elite falls, so does the tradition—and if it becomes advantageous for anyone else to target the elite, the tradition can be a convenient target, especially if it’s succeeded in alienating most of the population outside the elite in question.
 
Echoes said:
Pretty poor argument, if you ask me. You can do better, I think. ;)

Peter was a married man, so were any priests and Popes until 1123. Oriental Catholic priests still may marry. So this self-disciplinary rule is only restricted to the Roman Church.

But more importantly, it's just a rule and NOT a dogma. It means that as a Catholic, I'm entitled to agree or disagree with it.

The rule is rooted in Cor 7:1-9 and Matthew 19:12.
Regardless of whether is a rule or dogma it still stands that Catholic priests (Latin rite priests) cannot marry. The reason that the Catholic church gives, they say, is both "theological and canonical" (according to Catholic Answers.)

My contention with this statement is that is is NOT theologically sound at all. The decision on whether to marry or not is not up to a Church to decide. It is between that person and God. God is the one who gives the gift of celibacy. Jesus and Paul both make this clear in the very verses you cited. 1 Timothy and Titus both state that Elders (which is the same office as a priest) are to be married to one wife. This tells us that it is perfectly fine for a minister of the Word to be married. Furthermore in 1 Timothy 4, Paul makes it clear that those who forbid people to marry are teaching doctrines of demons - such teachings come through lying hypocrites whose consciences have been seared with a hot iron.

All that being said it is unbiblical to forbid a category of people not to marry.


Echoes said:
It's generally agreed, even among Protestant theologians that the rock that Jesus referred to was Peter (Petros in Greek). The name change from Simon to Peter is just a confirmation of this.
Even if you want to say that Peter was the rock that doesn't elevate him to the status that the Catholic church has given him. It is complete isogesis of the text to assume this. Peter was a pillar in the church (Gal 2:9) as was James and John (who are mentioned by name along with Peter) and all of the apostles. They were all apart of that foundation of whom Christ was chief.



Echoes said:
Peter clearly had primacy at the council of Jerusalem. Acts 15:7 says "And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said to them, Men and brothers, you know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe."
Peter didn't have primacy at the council of Jerusalem...no apostle was over the others the way the Catholic church states Peter was. I could just as easily say that James had supremacy. In the same chapter which you have cited, it was James that gave the wise council which they gave to Paul and Barnabas to give to the gentile churches. Of course I don't believe that because Peter calmed the men meeting or that because James gave them the advice for the gentiles, that either of them was more special than the other apostles. I'm just pointing out that Peter had no primacy at that council.


Echoes said:
There are many other traces of Peter's primacy. So for example in John 21:15-17, Jesus told Peter 3 times: "feed by lambs" "take care of my sheep" "feed my sheep".

Again it is complete isogesis of the text to assume from this that Peter was greater than the other apostles. Jesus instructed all of his disciples to proclaim all that they had seen and heard. In this text you mention Peter had just denied his Lord. The Lord instructed him to feed His sheep the same number of times that he denied the Lord.


Echoes said:
Luke 22:31-32 even teaches the Popes infallibility: "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers."

(the "you" that I have underlined is a plural in Greek, every apostle is concerned but the "you" in "I have prayed for you" is singular, which means the reference is Peter only).
More isogesis on your part. "Satan desires to sift you" - this is speaking of the disciples. "but I have prayed for thee" - you are correct, this is referring to Peter. Now why would he pray for Peter exclusively...maybe it is because at that time God was allowing Satan to test Peter exclusively. :eek: Jesus knew that the other disciples weren't going to be sifted by Satan the way Peter was...Peter was the one who needed prayer because he was the one who was going to fail and deny his Savior.

The greatest argument against the supremacy of Peter and the institution of a Pope is that nowhere in scripture were we told to institute such an office. What we see in scripture is Elders, Pastors, Priest ordained to serve the local bodies of Christ...that is what we see. The institution of the Pope is an invention of man.

To be clear I do believe the apostles where instrumental in the writing of the New Testament, in the spreading of the gospel, and the starting of the early church. What guides us now is local pastors in the local churches who teach the Word of God and exhort believers to be living by the power of the Holy Spirit and to be in the Word themselves.
 
Jan 27, 2013
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Matthew 6:5-6
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6:5-6&version=KJV

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

So go meditate. If you need something to meditate on...
you shall surely die.

It's the only guarantee. What does that mean?
 
hrotha said:
I know time makes our senses dull and all that, but this might be the most disgusting thing I've read in a while. It basically amounts to an apology of genocide.
The great thing with the word "genocide" is that you can make a mountian out of a mole-hill. Since when were the Cathars, an ethnic? :eek: If the US kill all Al Qaeda members, is that a genocide?

And people should stop thinking they were resistant with pure hands.

I'm not entirely sure what you are saying.

Maaaaaaaarten said:
I was saying that in the ancient Greco-Roman society women and slaves were hardly treated as human beings. In contrast to this Christianity sees everyone as essentially equal before God.

I'm even going so far as to claim that modern western egalitarianism is essentially the Christian value of everyone being created equal expressed in secular terminology.
Bravo. :)

rhubroma said:
What he also misses is first that slavery continued into the Christian era (to say nothing of its reformulation in medieval sefdom), as the fifth century case of the aristocrat Melania offering all of her 6000 slaves along with her Sicilain estates to the Church is exemplary. The senate refused, rightly fearing the consequences for the social order. Secondly he doesn't know that social welfare was invented by the gentiles. Trajan's alimentarius is also exemplary in this regard.
What you miss is that Christianity abolished both slavery and serfdom (which are two different things). The Melania case is precisely an example to illustrate this. Since Louis X, the Quarreler (14th century), neither slavery nor serfdom were tolerated anymore on the French soil. If a master came to France from the colonies with his slaves, those slaves were automatically freed.
Christianity struggled to have the workers control their means of production, which they had under the absolute monarchy. It's not like Trajan giving his people "panem et circenses" to appease tensions. The anti-Christian French Revolution destroyed that and created the proletariate after voting two ignominious laws (d'Allarde and Le Chapelier) in 1791 (strengthened by Buonaparte), prohibiting corporations and any kind of working coalition, trade unions and strikes. The workers were alone against the market and became wage earners, which is a form of slavery that Christians are fighting against, as well.

Oh and of course, Christians are also gentiles ...


PS: I don't have time to respond to JSpear now, but might come back to it later. :p
 
Oct 23, 2011
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aphronesis said:
I'm not sure why it's unclear. You're saying that women and slaves weren't treated as human beings and yet, somehow, those denying them that treatment were the measure of what human beings and their treatment consist in? Or are now?
Well, I didn't really intend to get into a discussion about what constitutes a human being. Let's put it this way then; in the ancient Greco-Roman world slaves and women were not considered equal with free males. Christianity didn't - at least not initially - overthrow the structures which were abused to oppress women and slaves, but rather they undermined it with the idea that everyone is created equal.

rhubroma said:
What he also misses is first that slavery continued into the Christian era (to say nothing of its reformulation in medieval sefdom), as the fifth century case of the aristocrat Melania offering all of her 6000 slaves along with her Sicilain estates to the Church is exemplary. The senate refused, rightly fearing the consequences for the social order. Secondly he doesn't know that social welfare was invented by the gentiles. Trajan's alimentarius is also exemplary in this regard.
Which off course is irrelevant to the point I was making. The point I was making, is that in the ancient Greco-Roman world slaves and women were not equal to free males. For the Christians however all are essentially equal before God. Paul is addressing slaves in his letters as equals and as brothers in the faith; this is quite a revolution for the ancient world!

And I've noted specifically IIRC that I don't claim for a moment that all Christians have always enacted fully upon this principle.

But it's good to read a bit on Christians and slavery by the way. Though they didn't abolish it in ancient times, the idea painted in popular culture, that almost seems to attribute slavery in the early modern times to Christianity, isn't quite right either. The pope had already issued a bull (Pope Paul III, 1537, Sublimus Dei) against slavery before the age of colonialism and slave trade got underway and especially in the Evangelical, conservative, pietistic you so loathe we find a significant opposition to slavery and a serious concern for social welfare. Think of William Wilberforce, John Wesley and John Newton for instance. We always hear this idea of how terrible Christians were in supporting slavery and all, but this has very little to do with actual history. If the catholic countries had listened to the pope and if the Protestant countries would have listened to their fundamentalist pietistic preachers, we wouldn't have had so much of the tragedy of slavery in early modern times.
 
Jul 16, 2011
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Echoes said:
Man, the Catars claimed that usury was no sin. If you agree with that, fine but then allow me to disagree. The common people supported the repression in their majority. The Cathars' score was settled. They got what they deserve. God Bless saint Lous. End of story.
I'm with Hrotha on this. This argument is twisted. The killing of people for religious beliefs rather than nationality is not strictly genocide , but a) are you really saying that claiming that charging interest on money is not a sin justifies the slaughter of entire towns?

b) The common people supported the repression? Even if they did, people are subject to the discourse around them. If you fear the religious and secular authorities, as would be reasonable in the circumstances, what do you do?
A lot of the "common people" in the UK and the US affected by media discourse support very aggressive politics against certain Islamic states. Does majority support justify such a level of aggression?

Echoes said:
But more importantly, it's just a rule and NOT a dogma. It means that as a Catholic, I'm entitled to agree or disagree with it.

The rule is rooted in Cor 7:1-9 and Matthew 19:12.
Lighter here (at least somewhat). Certainly one aim of the rule of celibacy aimed to stop dynasties. It was not completely successful (see the Borgia dynasty). As someone from a protestant background, I can see that not having other responsibilities can help in doing your priestly duties, but when all priests are supposed to be celibate, there becomes much more of a gap between the priest and congregation, which makes it more difficult to be a pastor (apart from other problems have become apparent).


Echoes said:
Luke 22:31-32 even teaches the Popes infallibility: "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers."

(the "you" that I have underlined is a plural in Greek, every apostle is concerned but the "you" in "I have prayed for you" is singular, which means the reference is Peter only).
This is stretching a circular argument to far beyond breaking point. Jesus sees that Peter will play a role in spreading his teaching. The "you" is singular, any extrapolation to "successors" of Peter is simply wishful thinking.

I've some (more general) thoughts on the propogation of ideas that work and
the concept of "the Church", but I'll post that later.
 
Jan 27, 2013
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Celibacy and Mithraism (the age of Taurus). Apparently the priests are supposed to be using all that sexual energy for higher purposes, it's not working out too well.

One of the most interesting things about the RCC (to me), is that it's an amalgam of so many Pagan religions that came before it in it's symbols and rituals.

There's only one sun and moon (the keys to heaven - male/female principles) though so they've always been playing with the same basic ingredients.

Humans have always worshiped Power. In agrarian times the sun was a potent symbol of power and benevolence. These days we worship money and science, our symbols of power.

Just pointing out the bloody obvious of course.
 
Echoes said:
The great thing with the word "genocide" is that you can make a mountian out of a mole-hill. Since when were the Cathars, an ethnic? :eek: If the US kill all Al Qaeda members, is that a genocide?

And people should stop thinking they were resistant with pure hands.

I'm not entirely sure what you are saying.



Bravo. :)



What you miss is that Christianity abolished both slavery and serfdom (which are two different things). The Melania case is precisely an example to illustrate this. Since Louis X, the Quarreler (14th century), neither slavery nor serfdom were tolerated anymore on the French soil. If a master came to France from the colonies with his slaves, those slaves were automatically freed.
Christianity struggled to have the workers control their means of production, which they had under the absolute monarchy. It's not like Trajan giving his people "panem et circenses" to appease tensions. The anti-Christian French Revolution destroyed that and created the proletariate after voting two ignominious laws (d'Allarde and Le Chapelier) in 1791 (strengthened by Buonaparte), prohibiting corporations and any kind of working coalition, trade unions and strikes. The workers were alone against the market and became wage earners, which is a form of slavery that Christians are fighting against, as well.

Oh and of course, Christians are also gentiles ...


PS: I don't have time to respond to JSpear now, but might come back to it later. :p
Trajan did not give the plebs "panem et circenses," but monthly allotments of grain, oil and other essentials to feed themselves, paid for by the Dacian War. You see charity never comes without its price.

The Church didn't abolish slavery, as it was merely transmuted into permanent serfdom between antiquity and the Middle Ages, when the landowners had become more powerful than the emperor himself. And what became the most powerful landowner of them all? Previously aristocrats saught positions in govenment, now they did so in the Church that in effect obtained governance.

The Church did not abolish serfdom either, as that gave way under the impulse of a developing urban base of production and the emerging burger class, in which the late medieval civic humanism flourished.

The bull Dudum siquidem of 1493, by which Alexander VI gave the New World to Spain, to the contrary, hardly speaks of liberty.
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
Well, I didn't really intend to get into a discussion about what constitutes a human being. Let's put it this way then; in the ancient Greco-Roman world slaves and women were not considered equal with free males. Christianity didn't - at least not initially - overthrow the structures which were abused to oppress women and slaves, but rather they undermined it with the idea that everyone is created equal.



Which off course is irrelevant to the point I was making. The point I was making, is that in the ancient Greco-Roman world slaves and women were not equal to free males. For the Christians however all are essentially equal before God. Paul is addressing slaves in his letters as equals and as brothers in the faith; this is quite a revolution for the ancient world!

And I've noted specifically IIRC that I don't claim for a moment that all Christians have always enacted fully upon this principle.

But it's good to read a bit on Christians and slavery by the way. Though they didn't abolish it in ancient times, the idea painted in popular culture, that almost seems to attribute slavery in the early modern times to Christianity, isn't quite right either. The pope had already issued a bull (Pope Paul III, 1537, Sublimus Dei) against slavery before the age of colonialism and slave trade got underway and especially in the Evangelical, conservative, pietistic you so loathe we find a significant opposition to slavery and a serious concern for social welfare. Think of William Wilberforce, John Wesley and John Newton for instance. We always hear this idea of how terrible Christians were in supporting slavery and all, but this has very little to do with actual history. If the catholic countries had listened to the pope and if the Protestant countries would have listened to their fundamentalist pietistic preachers, we wouldn't have had so much of the tragedy of slavery in early modern times.
You previously said Christianity treats everyone equal before God, though this doesn't square with the centuries long debate over the female soul. And the bible wielding proponents of the greatest genocide in history? Where does the verdict reside between the XVI and XVII centuries, in which it is estimated that 150 million natives in America, north and south, perished? And mass backlash in the so called bible belt to black emancipation on the part of white Christians, where do we place that with your "actual history"? To say nothing about the centuries long slave trade and the subjuation of entire continents that involved millions of Christians in the colonnies...

PS. I don't hate anyone personally, but just have to refute ignorance, or self-serving legitimizations.
 
Oct 23, 2011
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rhubroma said:
You previously said Christianity treats everyone equal before God, though this doesn't square with the centuries long debate over the female soul. And the bible wielding proponents of the greatest genocide in history? Where does the verdict reside between the XVI and XVII centuries, in which it is estimated that 150 million natives in America, north and south, perished? And mass backlash in the so called bible belt to black emancipation on the part of white Christians, where do we place that with your "actual history"? To say nothing about the centuries long slave trade and the subjuation of entire continents that involved millions of Christians in the colonnies...

PS. I don't hate anyone personally, but just have to refute ignorance, or self-serving legitimizations.
Wait, I just admitted several times that Christians throughout history clearly haven't always acted on the Christian principle of equality. Let's put it this way; though certainly not all the people who were called Christian throughout the ages have supported equality, without Christianity the very principle of equality among all humans wouldn't even exist.

As for the 16th and 17th century slave trade, I'll just have to repeat myself. In 1537 Pope Paul III, at the very dawn of the era of colonialism, issued the bull Sublimus Dei, which specifically forbids slavery of all peoples. Furthermore in Protestant countries it were the most moralistic conservative fundamentalist types of Protestants that opposed the atrocities of slave trade. England abolished slave trade for a large part because of the work of William Wilberforce; clearly part of the low church Evangelical wing of the Anglican church. In my own country, also Protestant, we have for instance Isaac Da Costa, another conservative Christian politician, like William Wilberforce, who vehemently opposed slavery in the Dutch context.

So I submit to you that if the 'Catholics' had listened better to their pope and if the Protestants had listened better to their fundamentalist preachers we would have been spared of the atrocities of the slave trade.

Anyway, for all the wrong and good Christians have done throughout history, let's compare their notion of equality with the classical idea we find for instance in Aristotle; Aristotle, in Politics, Book 1, section 1254b, claims you can see some men are born to be slaves while others are born to be free. He says the service of those natural slaves is more or less comparable with domestic animals. He literally says "And also the usefulness of slaves diverges little from that of animals; bodily service for the necessities of life is forthcoming from both, from slaves and from domestic animals alike." Oh and in the same passage he compares this distinction between some men being born to be free and to rule and other men being born to be slaves and to serve, with how we can see in nature that males are superior and females are inferior. So much for this great philosopher!
Look it up for yourself here if you want http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0058:book=1:section=1254b


By the way, in the late Middle Ages and the early modern times, proponents of slavery appealed to Aristotle and his idea of natural slavery. For instance Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda in a 16th century debate about how to treat the Indians referred to Aristotle, as one of his primary arguments, suggesting the Indians were stupid and naturally disposed to be slaves and the Spaniards were fit to be their masters. Sure he also referred to the Bible and some patristic literature, but for the main line of his argument he needed Aristotle. He might have tried to justify the atrocious treatment of the Indians through Christianity, but he needed an awkward mixture of Aristotle and Christianity to do so.
 
Maaaaaaaarten said:
Wait, I just admitted several times that Christians throughout history clearly haven't always acted on the Christian principle of equality. Let's put it this way; though certainly not all the people who were called Christian throughout the ages have supported equality, without Christianity the very principle of equality among all humans wouldn't even exist.

As for the 16th and 17th century slave trade, I'll just have to repeat myself. In 1537 Pope Paul III, at the very dawn of the era of colonialism, issued the bull Sublimus Dei, which specifically forbids slavery of all peoples. Furthermore in Protestant countries it were the most moralistic conservative fundamentalist types of Protestants that opposed the atrocities of slave trade. England abolished slave trade for a large part because of the work of William Wilberforce; clearly part of the low church Evangelical wing of the Anglican church. In my own country, also Protestant, we have for instance Isaac Da Costa, another conservative Christian politician, like William Wilberforce, who vehemently opposed slavery in the Dutch context.

So I submit to you that if the 'Catholics' had listened better to their pope and if the Protestants had listened better to their fundamentalist preachers we would have been spared of the atrocities of the slave trade.

Anyway, for all the wrong and good Christians have done throughout history, let's compare their notion of equality with the classical idea we find for instance in Aristotle; Aristotle, in Politics, Book 1, section 1254b, claims you can see some men are born to be slaves while others are born to be free. He says the service of those natural slaves is more or less comparable with domestic animals. He literally says "And also the usefulness of slaves diverges little from that of animals; bodily service for the necessities of life is forthcoming from both, from slaves and from domestic animals alike." Oh and in the same passage he compares this distinction between some men being born to be free and to rule and other men being born to be slaves and to serve, with how we can see in nature that males are superior and females are inferior. So much for this great philosopher!
Look it up for yourself here if you want http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0058:book=1:section=1254b


By the way, in the late Middle Ages and the early modern times, proponents of slavery appealed to Aristotle and his idea of natural slavery. For instance Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda in a 16th century debate about how to treat the Indians referred to Aristotle, as one of his primary arguments, suggesting the Indians were stupid and naturally disposed to be slaves and the Spaniards were fit to be their masters. Sure he also referred to the Bible and some patristic literature, but for the main line of his argument he needed Aristotle. He might have tried to justify the atrocious treatment of the Indians through Christianity, but he needed an awkward mixture of Aristotle and Christianity to do so.
But Aristotle was talking about the social condition from an objective, nonmoralistc viewpoint. How is that any different from what serfdom did in the Middle Ages, colonial slavery did in its era, or delocalization has done in regards to the means of production for the so called developed countries today, all under a hegmonic Christianity? Well, if you like, how about Jesus saying: "The poor, you will always have them." But me no. This was an implicit admitting to the very condition Aristotle, unhypocritically, recognized.

I don't see how Christianity, therefore, per say, has worked toward effective, universal means of changing it; neither in theory, nor practice. To the contrary, it has always extolled the virtues of being meek, poor and subjugated. "Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the meek," etcetera, as if its very premise was to permit an underclass to accept their dire straights, under the promise that in any case this world is full of sin and that only the "afterlife" is to be valued. But this seems to me a cop-out, or at the very least an alibi for the alpha class. At the same time it gives the subjugated the illusion that their plights, which cannot be ameliorated in the here and now, will be recompensated infinitely in the great beyond. I'm not buying this though.

Aristotle, furthermore, was addressing a necessity for survival as regards to the polis, for which there are roles that need to be fulfilled within a hierarchy that he believed had a cosmic origin. Aristotle also said that it was better to be wealthy than poor, not in the material sense that wealth procures, but because the poor are reduced to a state of survival and in this sense are more like beasts than humans. By contrast those that don't occupy themselves with only survival can pursue the type of otium necessary for the intellectual studies of the philosopher. For this reason there must be those who toil and work and that this was "natural" to the human condition, otherwise everything would collapse. Harsh as this may seem, the philosopher's perspective was informed by the realities of the society in which he lived and, as such, need to be contextualized thusly.

At any rate the teachings of Christianity if anything reinforced this order, by teaching that not only is poverty and subjugation to be endured stoically, if you will, by those afflicted by them (in fact this is what the governments, acting in the interests of wealth, still tell the underclass whenever it dares to manifest its discontent); but that it is even a virtue of the supreme order and the true means to salvation. Aristotle, by contrast, saw no such virtue in being more like beasts than men. Whereas Christ made of wealth, contrary to Aristotle's thesis, something of the devil. Indeed he said that it is harder for a rich man to enter God's Kingdom than for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle. Had his cause remained here, at blank face value - that is had the upper class not taken over the administration of what became a new religion - then I can assure you it would have been relegated to the gutter of history, like so many of the other ancient savior cults; which, to the contrary, offered no clearcut philosophy to exact the necessary pressure to bear in keeping the lowly in their "rightous" condition.

The most appalling, because most hypocritical, aspect of the faith, therefore, is that under its hegemonic rule over the West since late Roman antiquity, wealth, far from being the work of the devil, has in our consumer driven social model been transformed into the highest virtue. This is why I can never support those who insolently call themselves the faithful, who find no contradiction in being "Christian," while at the same time worshiping their true god: money. For wealth cannot be reconciled within the teachings of Christ. By contrast Aristotle, in at least identifying the lack of virtue in the necessity of slavery, no reconciliation is required. Rather the possibility to seek the means to a more noble individual exisitence exists; for which wealth is a means to an intellectual end, not an end in itself. Everything else is just superstition to keep the poor and enslaved in their place. It offers them only illusions from which to find justification for their condition and solice in believing that justice will be their eternal reward (after death of course); though this is at the expense of more virile and more intellectual qualities.
 
Jspear said:
Even if you want to say that Peter was the rock that doesn't elevate him to the status that the Catholic church has given him. It is complete isogesis of the text to assume this. Peter was a pillar in the church (Gal 2:9) as was James and John (who are mentioned by name along with Peter) and all of the apostles. They were all apart of that foundation of whom Christ was chief.
I don't know what you think the Catholic Church elevated Peter to. What is sure is that his original name was Simon and that Jesus gave him the name Peter. A name change IS a change of status. Hence name change from Abram to Abraham in the OT to give Abraham the role of a leader (Abraham means the father of a multitude). God also called Abraham the rock (Deut. 32:4; Isaiah 51:1-2). The other references I mention just confirm that fact (even though Jesus' words don't need confirmation). Jesus did not change the name of any other apostle to my knowledge.

Catholics have always considered Christ as the King, Peter as His minister. Don't claim we are saying things we are not claiming.

Jspear said:
The greatest argument against the supremacy of Peter
I'm not sure that any Catholic has ever used the term "supremacy". Using the right word is crucial here. I have heard the word "primacy" but that's it (I'm refering to my last comment).

Tank Engine said:
I'm with Hrotha on this. This argument is twisted. The killing of people for religious beliefs rather than nationality is not strictly genocide , but a) are you really saying that claiming that charging interest on money is not a sin justifies the slaughter of entire towns?
No justification in any of my post. I haven't studied the issue very closely. Wars have always had their share of innocent victims/collateral damage, especially civil wars. What remains is that the Cathars approved of usury, which is very dangerous, in socio-economic terms. So somehow they had to be combatted. They are no heroes. I think it's rather telling that communists and socialists are seeing them as martyrs for a good cause... :rolleyes:

Maaaaaaaarten said:
But it's good to read a bit on Christians and slavery by the way. Though they didn't abolish it in ancient times, the idea painted in popular culture, that almost seems to attribute slavery in the early modern times to Christianity, isn't quite right either. The pope had already issued a bull (Pope Paul III, 1537, Sublimus Dei) against slavery before the age of colonialism and slave trade got underway and especially in the Evangelical, conservative, pietistic you so loathe we find a significant opposition to slavery and a serious concern for social welfare. Think of William Wilberforce, John Wesley and John Newton for instance. We always hear this idea of how terrible Christians were in supporting slavery and all, but this has very little to do with actual history. If the catholic countries had listened to the pope and if the Protestant countries would have listened to their fundamentalist pietistic preachers, we wouldn't have had so much of the tragedy of slavery in early modern times.
..and I continue. In order to drive the point home.

Christianity is NOT to blame for the slave trade because the slave trade was dominated by Jews, since the early days of the American discovery and even before. They didn't even justify it by the Bible but by some Talmudic glosses and comments by Moses Maimonides who considered Blacks as sub-humans.

The Dutch West India Company had Jewish shareholders in its majority. They had a monopoly on slaves at some point. I can refer to a conference by Dr Tony Martin (! historian and TTist:p) on the subject. The Jews were dominant in the trade, in terms of financiers, ship owners and landowners, whether in the Dutch, French or British Caraibbeans, South America and in the US. Marc Lee Raphael was a Jewish historian who said: "Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade."

Spielberg recently directed a film on the slave trade, I don't remember the title but he wished to show that Christians were the villains while the Jews were their victims as well as the Blacks, which is an obvious distortion of the truth.

By 1685, Louis XIV issued the "Code noir" which was supposed to give protection to the black slaves in the colonies and to break the Jewish monopoly on the trade, should be conceded the King did not abolish it but at least it was a progress. AND I repeat the French monarchy did NOT allow anybody to be a slave on its own soil. Because it was the Church's "Elder Daughter".

There had been several cases of Masters coming back to France from the colonies, with their slaves. Once these slaves were on the continent, they would escape, sue their masters and be enfranchised straightway because slavery has never been tolerated on the French soil. the cases of Gabriel Pampy & Amynthe Julienne is a well-known case.

Robespierre abolished slavery in the colonies because he still had a Christian heritage, I think. Buonaparte restored it. He was an atheist!
 
Echoes said:
I don't know what you think the Catholic Church elevated Peter to. What is sure is that his original name was Simon and that Jesus gave him the name Peter. A name change IS a change of status. Hence name change from Abram to Abraham in the OT to give Abraham the role of a leader (Abraham means the father of a multitude). God also called Abraham the rock (Deut. 32:4; Isaiah 51:1-2). The other references I mention just confirm that fact (even though Jesus' words don't need confirmation). Jesus did not change the name of any other apostle to my knowledge.

Catholics have always considered Christ as the King, Peter as His minister. Don't claim we are saying things we are not claiming.


I'm not sure that any Catholic has ever used the term "supremacy". Using the right word is crucial here. I have heard the word "primacy" but that's it (I'm refering to my last comment).
When I say "elevate" I simply mean giving him a higher status than the other apostles. That can't be shown if you read through the NT is context. Couldn't we also build a case for John being more special than the other disciples because he was the "disciple whom Jesus loved." That wasn't said of any other disciple....(I'm speaking in jest of course)
 
Jan 27, 2013
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rhubroma said:
But Aristotle was talking about the social condition from an objective, nonmoralistc viewpoint. How is that any different from what serfdom did in the Middle Ages, colonial slavery did in its era, or delocalization has done in regards to the means of production for the so called developed countries today, all under a hegmonic Christianity? Well, if you like, how about Jesus saying: "The poor, you will always have them." But me no. This was an implicit admitting to the very condition Aristotle, unhypocritically, recognized.

I don't see how Christianity, therefore, per say, has worked toward effective, universal means of changing it; neither in theory, nor practice. To the contrary, it has always extolled the virtues of being meek, poor and subjugated. "Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the meek," etcetera, as if its very premise was to permit an underclass to accept their dire straights, under the promise that in any case this world is full of sin and that only the "afterlife" is to be valued. But this seems to me a cop-out, or at the very least an alibi for the alpha class. At the same time it gives the subjugated the illusion that their plights, which cannot be ameliorated in the here and now, will be recompensated infinitely in the great beyond. I'm not buying this though.

Aristotle, furthermore, was addressing a necessity for survival as regards to the polis, for which there are roles that need to be fulfilled within a hierarchy that he believed had a cosmic origin. Aristotle also said that it was better to be wealthy than poor, not in the material sense that wealth procures, but because the poor are reduced to a state of survival and in this sense are more like beasts than humans. By contrast those that don't occupy themselves with only survival can pursue the type of otium necessary for the intellectual studies of the philosopher. For this reason there must be those who toil and work and that this was "natural" to the human condition, otherwise everything would collapse. Harsh as this may seem, the philosopher's perspective was informed by the realities of the society in which he lived and, as such, need to be contextualized thusly.

At any rate the teachings of Christianity if anything reinforced this order, by teaching that not only is poverty and subjugation to be endured stoically, if you will, by those afflicted by them (in fact this is what the governments, acting in the interests of wealth, still tell the underclass whenever it dares to manifest its discontent); but that it is even a virtue of the supreme order and the true means to salvation. Aristotle, by contrast, saw no such virtue in being more like beasts than men. Whereas Christ made of wealth, contrary to Aristotle's thesis, something of the devil. Indeed he said that it is harder for a rich man to enter God's Kingdom than for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle. Had his cause remained here, at blank face value - that is had the upper class not taken over the administration of what became a new religion - then I can assure you it would have been relegated to the gutter of history, like so many of the other ancient savior cults; which, to the contrary, offered no clearcut philosophy to exact the necessary pressure to bear in keeping the lowly in their "rightous" condition.

The most appalling, because most hypocritical, aspect of the faith, therefore, is that under its hegemonic rule over the West since late Roman antiquity, wealth, far from being the work of the devil, has in our consumer driven social model been transformed into the highest virtue. This is why I can never support those who insolently call themselves the faithful, who find no contradiction in being "Christian," while at the same time worshiping their true god: money. For wealth cannot be reconciled within the teachings of Christ. By contrast Aristotle, in at least identifying the lack of virtue in the necessity of slavery, no reconciliation is required. Rather the possibility to seek the means to a more noble individual exisitence exists; for which wealth is a means to an intellectual end, not an end in itself. Everything else is just superstition to keep the poor and enslaved in their place. It offers them only illusions from which to find justification for their condition and solice in believing that justice will be their eternal reward (after death of course); though this is at the expense of more virile and more intellectual qualities.
It's pretty hard to attain samadhi (40 Hz) if you're always concerned with social climbing, the world (maya/the devil) I imagine. It'd probably be difficult while starving too.
 
Jul 16, 2011
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Echoes said:
Spielberg recently directed a film on the slave trade, I don't remember the title but he wished to show that Christians were the villains while the Jews were their victims as well as the Blacks, which is an obvious distortion of the truth.
Spielberg directed "Amistad", but hardly recently. The film came out in 1997. The most recent high profile about slavery was "12 years a slave" directed by Steve McQueen (a British film director, not to be confused with the American Actor of the same name).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_McQueen_(director)

Certainly, the nastiest of the slave owners quoted a lot from the Bible, often in justification of his power over his slaves and punishments. The film is based
on the autobiography of the main character, Solomon Northup. As such, the film is a pretty accurate depiction of the story given the confines of the medium of film, see

http://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/24q2b5/how_historically_accurate_is_the_movie_12_years_a/

Hence, the film aims to give a slave's view point on slavery, which you might call the (in my opinion highly justified) agenda of a black director. It's not a historical critique of slavery, but a personal critique and, as such, and on this scale is certainly not "an obvious distortion of the truth"



Echoes said:
..and I continue. In order to drive the point home.

Christianity is NOT to blame for the slave trade because the slave trade was dominated by Jews, since the early days of the American discovery and even before. They didn't even justify it by the Bible but by some Talmudic glosses and comments by Moses Maimonides who considered Blacks as sub-humans.
There have been members of many groups that have justified colonialism and slavery in one way or the other (the Aztecs, Romans Greeks, Arabs, Brits, you name them). Some of them were naive, believing that colonialism would "civilize" them, although many of them lost their naivity. Some of them were cynical in their use of scripture (like the character in the film). On the other hand, those like Wilberforce used their understanding of the equality of humans based on religious faith to fight for the abolition of slavery. Human nature is more complex than the labels we use to describe ourselves and other people.


Echoes said:
The Dutch West India Company had Jewish shareholders in its majority. They had a monopoly on slaves at some point. I can refer to a conference by Dr Tony Martin (! historian and TTist:p) on the subject. The Jews were dominant in the trade, in terms of financiers, ship owners and landowners, whether in the Dutch, French or British Caraibbeans, South America and in the US. Marc Lee Raphael was a Jewish historian who said: "Jewish merchants played a major role in the slave trade."
Many people of my nationality played a HUGE role in the slave trade (including the positive role of Wilberforce). Slavery was/is the result of HUMAN nature and not due to a particular racial group. The views of
the Afro-American Dr. Tony Martin and colleagues from the school of Afrocentrism have been widely debated. One of their main texts: Black Athena by Martin Bernal describes the effect of African culture on classical Greek thought. Here's an article on it by a German Classical scholar

http://gfa.gbv.de/dr,gfa,002,1999,a,03.pdf

Maybe it's a bit of a mouthful, but the conclusion is that although it is great that African scholars have found a voice, many of the conclusions in the book made are based on dubious, or even patently wrong, historical argument. For example, Aristotle was supposed to have stolen a lot of his material from the library in Alexandria, although the library did not come into existence until after Aristotle's death. In short, like everyone else, Dr. "Panzer Wagen" saw everything through his own filter.
 
Jun 5, 2009
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rhubroma said:
At any rate the teachings of Christianity if anything reinforced this order, by teaching that not only is poverty and subjugation to be endured stoically, if you will, by those afflicted by them (in fact this is what the governments, acting in the interests of wealth, still tell the underclass whenever it dares to manifest its discontent); but that it is even a virtue of the supreme order and the true means to salvation.
That is not really true though, is it? As far as I recall, Christ repeatedly stressed the importance of helping the poor and downtrodden. Following his teaching can thus not be equated with reinforcing the existing order. And to state that the oppressed are close to heaven is not to declare that they should simply accept their lot.
 

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