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#15082146
Verv wrote:this sophist argument

Saving souls...

is an argument used by the orthodox and the heretic whose heresy has become the new orthodoxy.

An argument used by Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims.

This is a sophist's argument, again

Seeking martyrdom...

is not uncommon among those giddy with religion. It was so common among the glory-seeking Early Christians that it became a problem for the Church and the Church was forced to condemn the practice.

It has been sought by Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims.

you are just making this sophist argument without really believing it.

Why do I have to believe? The arguments were made by first century Jews and Christians.
#15082152
Just out of interest when Einstein said "God doesn't play dice" was he expressing the Platonic / Augustinian / Calvinist view?
#15082159
@Verv

It is understandable why the orthodox chose to 'discipline' the heretics.

Early Christians vilified Judaism as apostate, sinful, worse than the Gentiles, and even of the devil.

They ranked Jews with the "enemies of God" and refused to acknowledge that faithfulness to the Torah was a legitimate path to salvation.

They wilfully distorted and misused the Jewish scriptures in order to make "religious sense" of the reality that their Messiah had been both rejected and killed by the people he came to save, read back into Jewish history a record of apostate Israel as rejecting and killing the prophets, in order then to read this pattern forward again to make the death of Jesus the predicted and culminating act of this history of apostasy.*

etc, etc ...

And while John gives the ultimate theological form to that diabolizing of the Jews which is the root of anti-Semitism in the Christian tradition**, anti-Jewish sentiment permeates the New Testament, it being especially evident in the writings of Paul.

It would piss anybody off.


* Ruether, Faith and Fratricide

** ibid


@Rich

Just out of interest

Platonic.

Although it could be read as God 'plays' with the universe, just not dice ie. He reacts, which puts the kibosh on that and places it firmly in the Calvinist camp.
#15082380
Pants-of-dog wrote:This does not show that Jews persecuted Christians. It shows that Saul did. And he seems to have various reasons to have done so.

At the time, not all Jews were antipathetic to Christians. While the Pharisees (like Saul) and others may have had differences with Christians, this does not mean all Jews did.


i. It verifies that St. Paul was among the Jews who regularly persecuted Christians and apparently even took them prisoner to high priests in different areas, and sought the permission of priests to do this. People literally in charge of synagogues were a part of this scheme, according to the passage.

This would be rather grave and unacceptable if it was a story about Bishops hunting gay Christians, wouldn't it?

Would you say... this would be an example of generalized persecution of Christians?

ii. Of course not all Jews. Many Jews became Christians -- but, technically, by modern Jewish law as I understand it, they then cease to be Jews. But I am sure it is more complex than that.

No. Read more carefully.

He asked for letters, or papers, so that he could travel to Damascus. He needed these because it was not under Roman rule at the time and so he could not just walk in.


This seems like it's letters to get over to the synagogue in Damascus and be allowed to conduct an inquisition. Hence, he asked for letters to the synagogues, not permission to Roman authorities.

How would you read it if it said...

"9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who are gay, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem."

Something tells me that you would read it quite differently.

I know he persecuted Christians. I was questioning your claim that he did it because he was a Jew, which is not supported by your texts so far.

And since we are discussing whether or not the Bible myths were modified for political reasons, you cannot claim that one of your premises is that it has not changed.


So St. Paul had a team of other Jewish men and letters from the high priest to the synagogue of Damascus to go enforce a Roman persecution?

This was clearly a fight between the Jews and the Christians.

As far as whether or not these myths were modified, I still insist that the recordings of these were way too early to envision some "long game" con on the Romans to ingratiate themselves to them. I also do not think the texts themselves are designed to ingratiate themselves to Romans.

I would entertain any claims that they really were designed to that end, if you want to bring them up. I feel like I should have asked for a more concrete backing up of this point earlier and now regret that I did not.

The fact that these words were not written until decades after it supposedly happened.

The fact that each gospel tells it slightly differently.

The fact that each gospel progressively makes Pilate looks less culpable and the Jews look worse.

The fact that shortly after these gospels came out, Christianity became the ruling religion of the empire.


ia. The words likely were written down before that point. We know that St. Paul came over to the church something like three years after Christs' death, though some put it later into around 5+ years after his death. His epistles survive and were written, copied, etc., so it would make sense that the Gospels were recorded very recently after the death of Christ.
ib. I also believe it was completely normal for these to then be memorized and carried on, as was the practice of anyone. This provides sort of a doubel insurance on the quality of the text.

ii. The Gospels record different aspects of the same events, and sometimes similar events. But this is something that is best discussed on an example by example basis.

iii. So you would say that there is a known order of the Gospels, and that the Gospels were, in fact, fixed and remained unchanged when you suggest that each Gospel makes Pontius Pilate look less culpable?

iva. I believe the Gospels were widely circulated and known in the 1st century, and that there is evidence of a canon being establsihed in the late 2nd century because it had become necessary. In the 4th century, tolerance of Christianity became normalized and Christian ascendance really did begin. In the 5th century, there were also plenty of Pagans around. Paganism died slowly, and was tolerated.

ivb. I am curious... How would the Christians ingratiate themselves to Rome?

What is a Roman? Who were the Romans? Who were they appealing to?

Did Roman identity exist in some broad way like some powerful national or cultural ID?

Weren't Jews also Romans, as you pointed out?


No. I never claimed it was wrong because it was a myth.

You were initially arguing that Pilate was indifferent, while simultaneously arguing that Romans were persecuting Christians. I replied by pointing out that the indifference portrayed in the Bible was also used as a theological justification for pogroms and other discrimination against Jews.

You seem to have confirmed this with your firm belief that Jews persecuted Christians instead.


There weould be crimes against Jews centuries & centuries & centuries after the ascendance of Christianity to political power. That is completely irrelevant here.

No.

They were saying things like “oh crap these romans are here to rape and torture us again. We need to get some political power to stop this. Oh Jeez, that hurts. I have no faith that god will get us out of this. Tell then what they want to hear. Tell them we think they are the good guys and this is all the fault of the Jews. Oh hod, why do they always sodomise us?”

Et cetera.


What does the timeline on this look like? I do not understand how 1st century Christians could be excited to let themselves face gross persecution and change their holy texts knowing that it would pay off in the early 4th century.


Yes, and Christians are still just as greedy and just as good as hoarding up treasures as the rest of us.

And it is still going on. You do not see those television evangelists giving away their money, do you? No. Quite the opposite. Quite the opposite.


I do not imagine many greedy people throwing in their lot with the early Christians.

Did she never play “telephone” in school


It is actually very easy to change the record once you have given yourself the power to decide which version is the right one.


What do you think about her actual argument, though?

It's obvious that the "Telephone" rebuttal doesn't actually apply. We know that people in dramatically different places all memorized the Rg Veda and could recite it back to us by heart, reciting exactly the same thing, usually even using the exact same tones...

How do you respond to Doniger's position in a way that accounts for the facts on the ground?
#15082381
ingliz wrote:Saving souls...

is an argument used by the orthodox and the heretic whose heresy has become the new orthodoxy.

An argument used by Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims.


Souls are saved by sincere belief, and not by false belief, correct?

Seeking martyrdom...

is not uncommon among those giddy with religion. It was so common among the glory-seeking Early Christians that it became a problem for the Church and the Church was forced to condemn the practice.

It has been sought by Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims.


What's your point?


Why do I have to believe? The arguments were made by first century Jews and Christians.


I am unaware of an argument that I am supposed to convert you by the sword?

ingliz wrote:

It is understandable why the orthodox chose to 'discipline' the heretics.

Early Christians vilified Judaism as apostate, sinful, worse than the Gentiles, and even of the devil.

They ranked Jews with the "enemies of God" and refused to acknowledge that faithfulness to the Torah was a legitimate path to salvation.


Evidence?

They wilfully distorted and misused the Jewish scriptures in order to make "religious sense" of the reality that their Messiah had been both rejected and killed by the people he came to save, read back into Jewish history a record of apostate Israel as rejecting and killing the prophets, in order then to read this pattern forward again to make the death of Jesus the predicted and culminating act of this history of apostasy.*


I am sure you are now referring to the way that St. Paul believed in celibacy and talked about the law having been fulfilled by Christ, the old covenant passing away, etc.

These are standard Christian beliefs.

You are basically upset that Christians are not Jews. Why? Why does Christianity have to forever trod out the same legalistic faith of the Jews -- what has that faith shown us that has to be continued down the years..?

And while John gives the ultimate theological form to that diabolizing of the Jews which is the root of anti-Semitism in the Christian tradition**, anti-Jewish sentiment permeates the New Testament, it being especially evident in the writings of Paul.

It would piss anybody off.


* Ruether, Faith and Fratricide

** ibid


St. John's anti-Semitism?

He records Christ's interaction truly as a harsh response to those who would eventually crucify him, and explains to them the necessity of living without sin and being true sons of Abraham.

Christ speaks out against the sons of Abraham being something done by blood, but as something done by action.

Remember, these Jews would not so much as break bread with a gentile, but we are talking about St. John and Christ as "anti-Semitic" and "diabolizing" the Jews for speaking out in strong words against ethno-nationalists who ritualistically distanced themselves from all outsiders.

What St. John does is the opposite of what you accuse him -- he fights to free religion from an ethnic enclave and bequeath it to the world.

Here is the pertinent part of John 8:

31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.[b]”

39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.

“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
#15082421
Verv wrote:sincere belief... false belief

The OT only requires that you love (worship) no other god but Him and observe the Law. It promises that if you walk in obedience to him - keep his commands, decrees and laws - then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you.

What's your point?

My point is the Early Christians, giddy with religious fervour, willingly sought martyrdom until the Church forbade it. And why not? It blotted out Original Sin, and all actual sin, together with the punishment due to it. It was the no-questions-asked ticket to Paradise.

For the true believers, the deluded, sinners wallowing in the abyss of corruption (Augustine, Confessions 1:1), the Jews/Romans were doing them a favour by guaranteeing them salvation.

by the sword

Yes, that is exactly how Christianity has spread through the ages.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)

Evidence?

Professor Lillian C. Freudmann, author of Antisemitism in the New Testament (University Press of America, 1994) has published a detailed study of the description of Jews in the New Testament, and the historical effects that such passages have had in the Christian community throughout history.

I suggest you read it.
#15082488
Verv wrote:i. It verifies that St. Paul was among the Jews who regularly persecuted Christians and apparently even took them prisoner to high priests in different areas, and sought the permission of priests to do this. People literally in charge of synagogues were a part of this scheme, according to the passage.

This would be rather grave and unacceptable if it was a story about Bishops hunting gay Christians, wouldn't it?

Would you say... this would be an example of generalized persecution of Christians?

ii. Of course not all Jews. Many Jews became Christians -- but, technically, by modern Jewish law as I understand it, they then cease to be Jews. But I am sure it is more complex than that.

This seems like it's letters to get over to the synagogue in Damascus and be allowed to conduct an inquisition. Hence, he asked for letters to the synagogues, not permission to Roman authorities.

How would you read it if it said...

"9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who are gay, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem."

Something tells me that you would read it quite differently.


https://biblehub.com/commentaries/acts/9-2.htm


    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
    (2) And desired of him letters to Damascus.—We learn from 2Corinthians 11:32-33, that Damascus was at this time under the government of Aretas, the king of Arabia Petræa. How it came to be so, having been previously under Vitellius, the Roman president of Syria (Jos. Ant. xiv. 4, § 5), is not clear. It is probable, however, that in the war which Aretas had declared against Herod Antipas, in consequence of the Tetrarch’s divorcing his daughter in order that he might marry Herodias (see Notes on Matthew 14:3; Luke 3:14), he had been led, after defeating the Tetrarch (Jos. Ant. xviii. 5, § 1), to push his victories further; and, taking advantage of the absence of Vitellius, who had hastened to Rome on hearing of the death of Tiberius (A.D. 37) had seized on Damascus. In this abeyance of the control of the Roman power, Aretas may have desired to conciliate the priestly party at Jerusalem by giving facilities to their action against the sect which they would naturally represent as identified with the Galileans against whom he had been waging war.
    ......

And if they had been hunting homosexuals instead, they would not even have written it down, since that would have been commonplace and morally acceptable: i.e. to imprison, torture, and kill gays.

So St. Paul had a team of other Jewish men and letters from the high priest to the synagogue of Damascus to go enforce a Roman persecution?

This was clearly a fight between the Jews and the Christians.

As far as whether or not these myths were modified, I still insist that the recordings of these were way too early to envision some "long game" con on the Romans to ingratiate themselves to them. I also do not think the texts themselves are designed to ingratiate themselves to Romans.

I would entertain any claims that they really were designed to that end, if you want to bring them up. I feel like I should have asked for a more concrete backing up of this point earlier and now regret that I did not.


When was the myth of Stephen’s martyrdom recorded?

ia. The words likely were written down before that point. We know that St. Paul came over to the church something like three years after Christs' death, though some put it later into around 5+ years after his death. His epistles survive and were written, copied, etc., so it would make sense that the Gospels were recorded very recently after the death of Christ.

ib. I also believe it was completely normal for these to then be memorized and carried on, as was the practice of anyone. This provides sort of a doubel insurance on the quality of the text.


The earliest Gospel was written thirty years after his supposed death.

And then the other three were written up to 80 years after the supposed crucifixion.

This writing then occurred during the early part of Roman persecution of Christians.

ii. The Gospels record different aspects of the same events, and sometimes similar events. But this is something that is best discussed on an example by example basis.

iii. So you would say that there is a known order of the Gospels, and that the Gospels were, in fact, fixed and remained unchanged when you suggest that each Gospel makes Pontius Pilate look less culpable?


Yes, there is a known order.

No, the Gospels did not stay fixed and unchanged.

iva. I believe the Gospels were widely circulated and known in the 1st century, and that there is evidence of a canon being establsihed in the late 2nd century because it had become necessary. In the 4th century, tolerance of Christianity became normalized and Christian ascendance really did begin. In the 5th century, there were also plenty of Pagans around. Paganism died slowly, and was tolerated.

ivb. I am curious... How would the Christians ingratiate themselves to Rome?

What is a Roman? Who were the Romans? Who were they appealing to?

Did Roman identity exist in some broad way like some powerful national or cultural ID?

Weren't Jews also Romans, as you pointed out?


They would ingratiate themselves to Romans by, for example, changing their myths slightly to make Romans look less culpable and make the Jews look guilty.

As for the ins and outs of Roman citizenry, Colleen McCullough writes some nice historical fiction set in the time that clearly lays this out.

There weould be crimes against Jews centuries & centuries & centuries after the ascendance of Christianity to political power. That is completely irrelevant here.


The justifications for killing Jews comes from the myths created by early Christians at the time we are discussing.

What does the timeline on this look like? I do not understand how 1st century Christians could be excited to let themselves face gross persecution and change their holy texts knowing that it would pay off in the early 4th century.


I would say that they were hoping it would pay off right away.

I do not imagine many greedy people throwing in their lot with the early Christians.


Why not?

What do you think about her actual argument, though?

It's obvious that the "Telephone" rebuttal doesn't actually apply. We know that people in dramatically different places all memorized the Rg Veda and could recite it back to us by heart, reciting exactly the same thing, usually even using the exact same tones...

How do you respond to Doniger's position in a way that accounts for the facts on the ground?


Myths can have unchanged elements in them passed from one person to another if the context in which the two people operate is understood by both. But the contexts for the person who originally told the Pilate myth was not the same as the person retelling the story for a Roman audience thirty (or more) years later.
#15083182
ingliz wrote:The OT only requires that you love (worship) no other god but Him and observe the Law. It promises that if you walk in obedience to him - keep his commands, decrees and laws - then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you.


I do not have issue with that. However, you are aware that the Jews of the first century rejected the Samaritans and did not believe it was right to break bread and associate with gentiles, right? Or is this a distortion of that reality?

My point is the Early Christians, giddy with religious fervour, willingly sought martyrdom until the Church forbade it. And why not? It blotted out Original Sin, and all actual sin, together with the punishment due to it. It was the no-questions-asked ticket to Paradise.


SOme amount of them did do that. I do not think it is relevant. But I take issue with the idea that someone who goes and seeks death to enter paradise is actually doing the right thing if that is the primary goal in their mind.

For the true believers, the deluded, sinners wallowing in the abyss of corruption (Augustine, Confessions 1:1), the Jews/Romans were doing them a favour by guaranteeing them salvation.


What am I supposed to take away from this? Really, what's your conclusion?

It's good to murder Christians, you do them a favor..?

Yes, that is exactly how Christianity has spread through the ages.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (Matthew 10:34)


This is obviously symbolic. Christ personally healed the ear of the man who was bringing him to his death. No one is telling Christians to reach for their arms.


Professor Lillian C. Freudmann, author of Antisemitism in the New Testament (University Press of America, 1994) has published a detailed study of the description of Jews in the New Testament, and the historical effects that such passages have had in the Christian community throughout history.

I suggest you read it.


I am sure that Lillian Freudmann has published such a study about how her people are discriminatd against by an ancient book that people of her own ethnicity wrote. Her work seems subpar, self-obsessed, accusatory, and Christophobic:

The belief that salvation is only through Jesus Christ is a denial and a rejection of the Torah, of Judaism and of the covenant that God made with Israel … Many Christian scholars … have long realized that supersessionism … denies the legitimacy of the Torah … When Christians insist that theirs is, as he [Jacob Neusner] writes, the ‘sole true faith’ and consider Judaism ‘as false, but a good try,’ the wise professor should understand that they are denigrating Judaism. Although some Christians who profess these ideas maintain cordial relations with Jews and may even disavow anti-Semitic behavior, their statements indicate a lack of respect for Judaism and its believers.


Chalcedon.edu
#15083183
Pants-of-dog wrote:https://biblehub.com/commentaries/acts/9-2.htm


    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
    (2) And desired of him letters to Damascus.—We learn from 2Corinthians 11:32-33, that Damascus was at this time under the government of Aretas, the king of Arabia Petræa. How it came to be so, having been previously under Vitellius, the Roman president of Syria (Jos. Ant. xiv. 4, § 5), is not clear. It is probable, however, that in the war which Aretas had declared against Herod Antipas, in consequence of the Tetrarch’s divorcing his daughter in order that he might marry Herodias (see Notes on Matthew 14:3; Luke 3:14), he had been led, after defeating the Tetrarch (Jos. Ant. xviii. 5, § 1), to push his victories further; and, taking advantage of the absence of Vitellius, who had hastened to Rome on hearing of the death of Tiberius (A.D. 37) had seized on Damascus. In this abeyance of the control of the Roman power, Aretas may have desired to conciliate the priestly party at Jerusalem by giving facilities to their action against the sect which they would naturally represent as identified with the Galileans against whom he had been waging war.
    ......


So, as a tactic to facilitate peace, the Romans allowed the Jews to persecute Christians. I think this actually assists my point.

And if they had been hunting homosexuals instead, they would not even have written it down, since that would have been commonplace and morally acceptable: i.e. to imprison, torture, and kill gays.


I'd refer you to this quote from an article by Jonathan McCormack to have a better idea of what my position on this is:

Undoubtedly, there are individuals, in the Middle East and elsewhere, who engage in sodomy, but—confoundingly—this does not mean they necessarily construct identities around such acts, and certainly not in the same manner Westerners do. The West is exporting its own culturally determined notions of sexuality while arrogantly presuming their universality. It is a Euro-American styled homosexuality that has little to do with foreign sexual identities. And, as Edward Said reminds us, “imperialism is the export of identity.”

The European man, in some Rousseauian fever dream, imagines a universal man abstracted from history, the pure subject. And lo! He fits the mold of a 21st century, white, middle class cosmopolitan—l’homme naturel, primitive, without civilization, grunting in the wilderness—listening to NPR and reading The Washington Post.

One of Columbia’s own, Joseph Massad, Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History, has reiterated just this for years in his work. With a fanaticism surpassing the Catholic Church at the height of its evangelical zealotry, Massad says the pressure for gay rights in the Middle East is the result of a “missionary” campaign orchestrated by what he calls the “Gay International.” In his book Desiring Arabs, he writes, “It is the very discourse of the Gay International which produces homosexuals, as well as gays and lesbians, where they do not exist.” He makes the further point that “it is the publicness of socio-sexual identities rather than the sexual acts themselves that elicits repression,” and that in forcing Arabs who engage in same-gender sex to go public, “the Gay International is destroying social and sexual configurations of desire in the interest of reproducing a world in its own image.”


The Agonist

Homosexuals did not exist because the construction of an identity around the fetishization of sodomy was not a thing.
The existence of same-sex attraction or sodomy does not actually equal the existence of a homosexual identity.

When was the myth of Stephen’s martyrdom recorded?


It isn't a myth. It was witnessed, talked about, and written about very shortly after it. I have no proof of it having been written immediately, and no one really does. It's too far back to expect reliable records.

Why do you call it a myth? Do you have evidence that it is a myth?


The earliest Gospel was written thirty years after his supposed death.[/quoe]

And then the other three were written up to 80 years after the supposed crucifixion.

This writing then occurred during the early part of Roman persecution of Christians.


Alright, what is your evidence for this? I have made my position clear and said what I believe, what, exactly, do you base these things on?

Yes, there is a known order.

No, the Gospels did not stay fixed and unchanged.


Then how did the Gospels progressively show some change in attitude as you had stated in the previous quotation?

They would ingratiate themselves to Romans by, for example, changing their myths slightly to make Romans look less culpable and make the Jews look guilty.


What's the evidence that they changed?

As for the ins and outs of Roman citizenry, Colleen McCullough writes some nice historical fiction set in the time that clearly lays this out.


You are referring me to historical fiction for this..?

The justifications for killing Jews comes from the myths created by early Christians at the time we are discussing.


I don't understand the relevance of this. Jesus criticizes contemporary Jews, and in Acts, they recorded the perecutory actions of the Jews. THese are then references centuries later during flare ups of violence.

What does this have to do with anything? More half-hearted attempts at saying that the Gospels are Anti-Semitic?

... I think now would also be a good time to define anti-Semitic. Do you have a definition?

I would say that they were hoping it would pay off right away.


How is that logical? What about them being written in this way was logical?

And why would people who thought they were going to have it pay off immediately be willing to change their faith like this, but would still largely be unwilling to burn incense to the Emperor? Why wouldn't they just write "and the Emperor is also an avatar of God," or some such, to just immediately become palatable to the Romans? This would probably also guarantee that the Romans would protect them from the Jews.

None of this just comes together as logical to me, and you are being pretty tight lipped, making it harder to untangle all this.

Why not?


They would not want to become Christians because it was a death wish.

Myths can have unchanged elements in them passed from one person to another if the context in which the two people operate is understood by both. But the contexts for the person who originally told the Pilate myth was not the same as the person retelling the story for a Roman audience thirty (or more) years later.


You do not have evidence of this, but it is just an assumption that they were changed to some extent to get some kind of benefit, right. But what benefit, really, when they woudl go on to be persecuted indefinitely and the way that you alleged the Gospels were changed did not save them.
#15083218
Rich wrote:Just out of interest when Einstein said "God doesn't play dice" was he expressing the Platonic / Augustinian / Calvinist view?

Einstein was a mathematician that was raised in the Jewish religion, so I don't believe when he said, "God doesn't play dice" that he was expressing any of those views you mentioned. I think he was referring to the mathematical precision and purpose of God's creation in nature. If wasn't a guessing game or dice game of creation with God.
#15083242
Verv wrote:It's good to murder Christians, you do them a favor..?

These Early Christians seemed to think so. They willingly gave themselves up to the law to be killed and died with a smile on their face.

As mentioned earlier, it became so common a route to salvation for zealots that the Church issued edicts declaring the practice anathema (cursed by God) and struck them off the list of martyrs.

This is obviously symbolic.

It's a shame then that nobody told the Catholic missionaries when they attempted to drive the Wesleyan Protestant missionaries from the Tonga Islands in the 1830s or the Wesleyan Protestant missionaries when they encouraged their new converts to forcibly convert their heathen brethren.

It was a missionary war - a war in which the club and the Bible were linked against the
powers of darkness; and no knight-errant ever went against the Crescent with greater zest than the
new converts showed in their quarrel with their heathen countrymen.


Basil Thomson, The Diversions of a Prime Minister
Last edited by ingliz on 10 Apr 2020 09:41, edited 1 time in total.
#15083247
So what's the point?

What do we learn from this?

Real Christianity should encourage people to actively kill them?

And you are supportive of different communities joining together to martyr Christians so they can have eternal life?

The basis of Christianity is not providing a new way of life that is profoundly beneficial to people by freeing them from worldly attachments and guiding them along the right way to spend their lives, in a loving relationship of God... But, ultimately, it's about getting martyred and seeking violent deaths for your identity as a Christian...?

Can you say with a straight face that this is not just sophistry meant to derail the discussion, @ingliz ?
#15083248
Hindsite wrote:Einstein was a mathematician that was raised in the Jewish religion, so I don't believe when he said, "God doesn't play dice" that he was expressing any of those views you mentioned.

Judea was an intellectual shithole that produced little in the way of ideas. Christianity may have got stories from Judaism, but it inherited its philosophical and fundamental theological views and questions from Zoroastrianism, Babylon, Greece and others. In Plato we see the fundamental immutability of God. Arguably the current fashion for pure Functional Programming can be seen as a form of Neo Platonism.

The great question of Gnosticism was how could a pure unchanging immutable God or prime mover interact with an impure, decaying, mutable world. Calvin was dealing with the same question when he came up with predestination. For God to decide to save someone in time, would mean that God was changing, that God was mutating. Therefore he reasoned that God must have decided who was to be saved before time had begun.
#15083252
Verv wrote:But, ultimately, it's about getting martyred and seeking violent deaths for your identity as a Christian...?

These zealots were by any account poor deluded brainwashed fools, the first century equivalent to ISIS, but that doesn't explain why you are so keen to deny that they seemed to think so.

Could it be because for some years prior to the persecutions really taking hold the Church hummed and hawed (exploited the useful idiots' zealotry for their own base ends) before condemning the practice?

Daniel Boyarin, Dying for God, explores the psychological tricks used by the Early Church to exploit suffering and martyrdom, to construct a purely Christian identity, to create a particular kind of self. That many ancient Christians came to believe that to be a Christian was to suffer is testament to the efficacy of their program.


:)
Last edited by ingliz on 10 Apr 2020 18:47, edited 3 times in total.
#15083320
Verv wrote:So, as a tactic to facilitate peace, the Romans allowed the Jews to persecute Christians. I think this actually assists my point.


No, not at all. The historical facts I mentioned do not support or imply that. I was pointing out that the Romans were not even in Damascus at the time, and Saul needed travel papers from other authorities.

I'd refer you to this quote from an article by Jonathan McCormack to have a better idea of what my position on this is:

The Agonist

Homosexuals did not exist because the construction of an identity around the fetishization of sodomy was not a thing.
The existence of same-sex attraction or sodomy does not actually equal the existence of a homosexual identity.


Oppression has nothing to do with how we self-dentify. Instead, it is about the identity that the oppressor imposes on the oppressed. In this case, the Christians imposed their view of LGBTQ people as deviant sinner perverts on LGBTQ people and then attacked them.

It isn't a myth. It was witnessed, talked about, and written about very shortly after it. I have no proof of it having been written immediately, and no one really does. It's too far back to expect reliable records.

Why do you call it a myth? Do you have evidence that it is a myth?


A myth is a story we tell ourselves about how the world works and how we fit in the world. It can be true or false. So, the story of Pearl Harbor is both a myth and a true story.

And my point was that the story of this supposed martyrdom was not written down until decades after it supposedly happened.

Alright, what is your evidence for this? I have made my position clear and said what I believe, what, exactly, do you base these things on?


If you have trouble with the currently accepted ideas about when the Gospels were written, then please tell us why historians are wrong.

Then how did the Gospels progressively show some change in attitude as you had stated in the previous quotation?


I already explained this.

As I pointed out, the story of Pilate changes with each mention in the Gospels. If we put them in the chronological order in which they were written, we see that each reiteration makes Pilate look less guilty and makes the Jews look more guilty.

What's the evidence that they changed?


Things like the changing perspective on Pilate are a good example.

You are referring me to historical fiction for this..?


Yes.

Because she involves historical context into the plot directly, there is far less chance of you misreading it.

I don't understand the relevance of this. Jesus criticizes contemporary Jews, and in Acts, they recorded the perecutory actions of the Jews. THese are then references centuries later during flare ups of violence.

What does this have to do with anything? More half-hearted attempts at saying that the Gospels are Anti-Semitic?

... I think now would also be a good time to define anti-Semitic. Do you have a definition?


Again, these passages that you refer to, that supposedly show Jewish persecution of Christians, were used as justification for violence against Jews by Christians.

How is that logical? What about them being written in this way was logical?

And why would people who thought they were going to have it pay off immediately be willing to change their faith like this, but would still largely be unwilling to burn incense to the Emperor? Why wouldn't they just write "and the Emperor is also an avatar of God," or some such, to just immediately become palatable to the Romans? This would probably also guarantee that the Romans would protect them from the Jews.

None of this just comes together as logical to me, and you are being pretty tight lipped, making it harder to untangle all this.


I already explained this.

Once again, they wanted the persecution to stop. That was the immediate pay off they were looking for.

And they could not claim that the emperor was holy since that would completely and openly contradict the central tenet of Christianity. So they needed another way to ingratiate themselves.

They would not want to become Christians because it was a death wish.


This would suggest that no one would become a Christian. I asked you why you think the early Christians did not include any greedy people.

You do not have evidence of this, but it is just an assumption that they were changed to some extent to get some kind of benefit, right. But what benefit, really, when they woudl go on to be persecuted indefinitely and the way that you alleged the Gospels were changed did not save them.


The way early Christians changed the Gospels did save them, just not as quickly as they hoped. But it worked so well that they took over the empire and eventually ruled whole continents.
#15083328
Rich wrote:Judea was an intellectual shithole that produced little in the way of ideas. Christianity may have got stories from Judaism, but it inherited its philosophical and fundamental theological views and questions from Zoroastrianism, Babylon, Greece and others. In Plato we see the fundamental immutability of God. Arguably the current fashion for pure Functional Programming can be seen as a form of Neo Platonism.

The great question of Gnosticism was how could a pure unchanging immutable God or prime mover interact with an impure, decaying, mutable world. Calvin was dealing with the same question when he came up with predestination. For God to decide to save someone in time, would mean that God was changing, that God was mutating. Therefore he reasoned that God must have decided who was to be saved before time had begun.

In my opinion, Calvin reasoned wrong.
#15083937
ingliz wrote:These zealots were by any account poor deluded brainwashed fools, the first century equivalent to ISIS, but that doesn't explain why you are so keen to deny that they seemed to think so.

Could it be because for some years prior to the persecutions really taking hold the Church hummed and hawed (exploited the useful idiots' zealotry for their own base ends) before condemning the practice?

Daniel Boyarin, Dying for God, explores the psychological tricks used by the Early Church to exploit suffering and martyrdom, to construct a purely Christian identity, to create a particular kind of self. That many ancient Christians came to believe that to be a Christian was to suffer is testament to the efficacy of their program.

:)


To be human is to suffer. Indeed, Liang Shuming, when he was comparing and contrasting Eastern & Western philosophy, attempted to distinguish east Asian philosophy by observing that it is largely the position of Western and Indian philosophy (a subsection of Western philosophy, in his opinion) that life itself is suffering. He went so far as to regard Buddhism as not really Chinese because it is also based on this premise.

The trend of viewing suffering as a central character of Christian life has nothing to do with martyrdom, but has everything to do with the beliefs concerning how the soul is ordered, and how it should be ordered. The proof of this is evident in the way that these teachings have continued century after century.

Moreover, this does really come full circle... The pain and suffering that we face is actually the means through which we can begin to realize things about ourselves and become truly repentant.

“Every trial and temptation is permitted by God as a cure for some sick person's soul. Indeed, such trials not only confer on us forgiveness of our past and present sins, but also act as a check on sins not yet committed.”

St. Peter of Damascus, d. 715


Do you have hard evidence for anything that you have said concerning exploiting martyrdom?
#15083939
Pants-of-dog wrote:No, not at all. The historical facts I mentioned do not support or imply that. I was pointing out that the Romans were not even in Damascus at the time, and Saul needed travel papers from other authorities.


Acts 9 states...

" He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. "

He did not want letters to Roman authorities, but letters to the synagogues in Damascus that would be pertinent to the purge that he was going to conduct on behalf of the Jewish authorities. If he needed separate Roman papers, maybe that's the case.

But it is clear what he was asking for.

[Oppression has nothing to do with how we self-dentify. Instead, it is about the identity that the oppressor imposes on the oppressed. In this case, the Christians imposed their view of LGBTQ people as deviant sinner perverts on LGBTQ people and then attacked them.


What is an LGBTQ person?

A myth is a story we tell ourselves about how the world works and how we fit in the world. It can be true or false. So, the story of Pearl Harbor is both a myth and a true story.

And my point was that the story of this supposed martyrdom was not written down until decades after it supposedly happened.


That is an interesting definition of myth. I fully accept that it can be defined that way but I will not use it in this fashion. If our debate was in a more public venue, I would also continue to dispute its use.

You assume it was not written down until decades later. What is your evidence? There is none, but rather, you just assert your preference.

If you have trouble with the currently accepted ideas about when the Gospels were written, then please tell us why historians are wrong.


I do not know if I have any problems with it. I do not know that there is some overwhelming consensus.

I already explained this.

As I pointed out, the story of Pilate changes with each mention in the Gospels. If we put them in the chronological order in which they were written, we see that each reiteration makes Pilate look less guilty and makes the Jews look more guilty.


What is the chronological order?

Give me the dates that you believe that they were written, and I would like to see this "escalation."

Things like the changing perspective on Pilate are a good example.


OK, make your case.

Yes.

Because she involves historical context into the plot directly, there is far less chance of you misreading it.


I do not think historical fiction is reliable.

Again, these passages that you refer to, that supposedly show Jewish persecution of Christians, were used as justification for violence against Jews by Christians.


Relevance?

I already explained this.

Once again, they wanted the persecution to stop. That was the immediate pay off they were looking for.

And they could not claim that the emperor was holy since that would completely and openly contradict the central tenet of Christianity. So they needed another way to ingratiate themselves.


So you believe... they took a very, very subtle route, and simply portrayed Pontius Pilate better in later iterations of the Gospels..?

So, Christianity has not been distorted because the Christians would not overturn their fundamental beliefs, but they would portray something with a different vibe? Is that an accurate description fo your position?

This would suggest that no one would become a Christian. I asked you why you think the early Christians did not include any greedy people.


Greedy people prioritize the acquisition of wealth. It is hyperbolic to say that becoming Christian is a death wish, but if becoming Christian generally results in jeopardizing material gain and facing death, it seems unlikely that greedy people would be attracted to the Church.

Oh, of course, we all have sins that we relapse into and it is possible to have split loyalties. But hey, I do not think it is ridiculous to say that greedy people generally are not attracted to fringe belief systems that invite sacrifice and death. Would you agree?

The way early Christians changed the Gospels did save them, just not as quickly as they hoped. But it worked so well that they took over the empire and eventually ruled whole continents.


But surely taking over the whole empire was not the intention of portraying Pontius Pilate in a better light.

Moreover, it seems doubtful that the texts were altered to portray him in a better light to simply avoid persecution.

But I will listen to the case you put forward.
#15083987
Verv wrote:exploiting martyrdom?

The Church was claiming the witness of their many martyrs as proof of the truth of their doctrines.

And when the Nations of the World hear all of this praise, they say to
Israel, Let us go along with you, as it is said, “Whither is thy Beloved gone,
O thou fairest among women? Whither hath thy Beloved turned, that we
may seek Him with thee?”


— From the late third-century midrash on Exodus, the Mekhilta,

The martyr consciousness is very rarely seen among Christian Jews in Palestine. The early martyrs were for the most part refusing to violate a negative commandment (to worship idols); it is only in later antiquity that the commandment the Jewish Christian sect is fulfilling through their deaths is a positive one (to love God).

The Church created the idea of martyrdom as a positive religious value per se.

Why was seeking martyrdom declared anathema?

The 'poor deluded brainwashed fools', being many and not always Orthodox, became a problem when heretics began to use the same argument claiming their many martyrs as proof of the truth of their heresies.

Jewish sect?

So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

Matt. 23:3

I know you disapprove of me calling the Early Christians a Jewish sect but, if you go at it step by step and verse by verse, all the teachings of Jesus are to be found in the utterances of the rabbis, at any rate those teachings and words of Jesus which really are of any significance. The Pharisees, under Gamaliel, were friendly to the Jerusalem Church. It was Paul who denied Jesus's Jewishness (Galations 1:12).

What is the chronological order?

Mark is the earliest Gospel and it stops at...

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

16: 8

Mark gives no accounts of anyone seeing Jesus as Matthew, Luke, and John later report. In fact, according to Mark, any future sightings of Jesus will be in the north, in Galilee, not in Jerusalem.

historical fiction

It was considered so deficient by later Christians that various endings were added by editors and copyists to try to remedy things - The most famous being found in the KJV.

Theologically, how he started the Gospel was also problematic. He has no account of the virgin birth of Jesus or for that matter, any birth of Jesus at all.
#15084042
Verv wrote:Acts 9 states...

" He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. "

He did not want letters to Roman authorities, but letters to the synagogues in Damascus that would be pertinent to the purge that he was going to conduct on behalf of the Jewish authorities. If he needed separate Roman papers, maybe that's the case.

But it is clear what he was asking for.


Again, this does not support your claim that Romans worked with Jews to persecute Christians.

Nor does it support the other claim you made (that contradicts the claim I just mentioned) where the Jews were persecuting Christians without Roman help.

Again, Sail asked for travel papers to go to a city that was no longer run by Romans, which meant that his Roman citizenship would not be enough to enter the city.

What is an LGBTQ person?


You know already.

Again, my point was that oppression has nothing to do with self-identity, and is based solely on how the oppressor identifies the oppressed. So your claim that oppression of LGBtQ people coild not have happened (because of a lack of self-identity) is wrong.

That is an interesting definition of myth. I fully accept that it can be defined that way but I will not use it in this fashion. If our debate was in a more public venue, I would also continue to dispute its use.

You assume it was not written down until decades later. What is your evidence? There is none, but rather, you just assert your preference.


He supposedly died in AD 34.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Stephen

Acts of the Apostles (which tells his story) was written in AD70.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Ac ... -Testament

What is the chronological order?

Give me the dates that you believe that they were written, and I would like to see this "escalation."

OK, make your case.


Okay! Let us start with the easy bit.

When were the four Gospels written?

So you believe... they took a very, very subtle route, and simply portrayed Pontius Pilate better in later iterations of the Gospels..?

So, Christianity has not been distorted because the Christians would not overturn their fundamental beliefs, but they would portray something with a different vibe? Is that an accurate description fo your position?


1. Their portrayal of Pilate and other Romans was only one tactic among a whole slew. It would be incorrect to say that this was the only method by which they ingratiated themselves with the Romans.

2. Christianity could not have been “distorted” because there was no Christianity to distort. Whatever they made at this time would end ip being Christianity. It is not as if there was a natural and organic Christianity that came into being without humans.

Greedy people prioritize the acquisition of wealth. It is hyperbolic to say that becoming Christian is a death wish, but if becoming Christian generally results in jeopardizing material gain and facing death, it seems unlikely that greedy people would be attracted to the Church.

Oh, of course, we all have sins that we relapse into and it is possible to have split loyalties. But hey, I do not think it is ridiculous to say that greedy people generally are not attracted to fringe belief systems that invite sacrifice and death. Would you agree?


While Christians claim to eschew material gain and are supposed to sacrifice their worldly goods, the vast majority of them do not and have not.

It is easy to imagine a scenario where a Roman adopts Christianity for selfish purposes and never worries about getting caught because of other powerful contacts he has.

But surely taking over the whole empire was not the intention of portraying Pontius Pilate in a better light.

Moreover, it seems doubtful that the texts were altered to portray him in a better light to simply avoid persecution.

But I will listen to the case you put forward.


Once again, I did not claim that the texts were altered.

I claimed that the myths were altered before they became written texts.
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