Religous debates and questions [2]

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Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:34 pm

Given the complete lack of earthly-based written stories until 60 years after the fact, from any sources, I think it's simpler to assume there was nothing to tell stories about. We know there were christians, but everyone who interviews them seems completely mystified as to what they are blabbering on about. pretty nebulous.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:47 pm

60 years is not long.

Jesus dies. His surviving followers preach his story, some even go their deaths doing so, their children grow up and have children, they begin collecting the stories and writing them down making the lost but presumed to have existed, proto-gospels. The first generation starts to die off. Paul plays up Jesus as the spiritual being downplays the mortal man bit, the gospels as we know them are not yet written, he as free reign to a wide degree, he uses Jesus the spiritual being as the means, through him of course, to convince the Church the Promise still holds, just deferred.
Church survives, and most importantly for Paul so does he as head of it.

I can see those events taking 60 years.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by bungobaggins on Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:17 pm

http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/16/europe/italy-migrants-christians-thrown-overboard/

Send these people back to Lybia. They're not ready for modern civilization. I suspect they never will be.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:07 pm

Another plus for Pope Francis.  Thumbs Up
I know some of these women who are doing really good works, despite the inertia of the Church.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_REL_VATICAN_US_SISTERS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-04-16-16-14-59

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican has unexpectedly ended its controversial overhaul of the main umbrella group of U.S. nuns, cementing a shift in tone and treatment of the U.S. sisters under the social justice-minded Pope Francis.

The Vatican said Thursday it had accepted a final report on its investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and declared the "implementation of the mandate has been accomplished" nearly two years ahead of schedule. The umbrella group for women's religious orders had been accused of straying from church teaching.

The brief report stated the organization would have to ensure its publications have a "sound doctrinal foundation," and said steps were being taken for "safeguarding the theological integrity" of programs. But no major changes were announced and the direct Vatican oversight that the sisters considered a threat to their mission was over.

"I think there are still some questions about how this is going to play out, but that it concluded early was an overwhelming affirmation of what the sisters do," said Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a religious studies professor at Manhattan College.

The report's tone stood in stark contrast to the 2012 Vatican reform mandate, which said the nuns' group was in a "grave" doctrinal crisis. Vatican officials said the Leadership Conference had over-emphasized social justice issues when they should have also been fighting abortion, had undermined church teaching on homosexuality and the priesthood, and had promoted "radical feminist" themes in their publications and choice of speakers.  The nuns' group called the allegations "flawed." But Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle was appointed to conduct a top to bottom overhaul of the conference.

Just last year, the head of the Vatican's doctrine office, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, sharply rebuked the nuns' group for its "regrettable" attitude and behavior during the process. He accused the LCWR of being in "open provocation" with the Holy See and U.S. bishops because they planned to honor a theologian, Sister Elizabeth Johnson, whose work had drawn sharp criticism from the U.S. bishops.

But on Thursday, leaders of the umbrella organization and the Vatican officials in charge of the overhaul released statements of mutual respect, and the sisters met in Rome for nearly an hour with Pope Francis. The Vatican released a photo of the nuns sitting across a table from a warmly smiling Francis.

The turnabout suggested possible papal intervention to end the standoff on amicable grounds before Francis' high-profile trip to the United States in September. The investigation, and a separate but parallel review of all women's religious orders, prompted an outpouring of support from the public for the sisters, who oversee the lion's share of social service programs for the church.

I wonder if we'll be seeing women priests and "out" priests before the next Pope?

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:19 pm

No. But recognizing the Nuns for the works they do is a nice step forward.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:58 pm


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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by Eldorion on Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:07 am

How the hell does it take someone seven minutes to eat a donut?
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Sun Apr 19, 2015 2:12 pm

The evolution of the nicene creed certainly supports the theory. This is assuming one can establish that the original "apostles creed" (with all the old roman symbol material regarding a corporal existence; Pontus Pilate, Virgin Mary etc) was formulated after the first council of Nicea (~325). Although the old roman symbol is first referenced ~340, Irenaeus suggests its content is much older. But it is interesting to note (I am sure Carrier points this out) that its rule of faith predecessor does not include reference to Pontius Pilate or a crucifixion (only the Virgin Mary).

Irrespective of the truth of the argument (which rests on a lot more than the articles of faith being discussed in this post), what doesn't make sense to me here is the following. With all the heresies being documented around the 4th century (most of which have some scriptural basis, and so can't have been that heretical in comparison), why wasn't there a heresy devoted to the non-existence of a material Jesus (irrespective of his divinity)? Why was this "gnostic"/"docetist" heresy dealt with ~381 (340->450), after the arian heresy was dealt with ~325? Did the church think perspectives on the divinity of the Christ were more important than his historical presence on earth? Or did denial of his earthly presence only become an issue later in time?

Thanks for providing the book review Halfwise. I only had a minor issue regarding Paul's perspective on the existence of eyewitnesses (critiqued earlier). I think Petty has a good idea also regarding the mitigation of apocalyptic hope.
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Sun Apr 19, 2015 2:58 pm

That's a very good point, RBB, which unfortunately Carrier does not address.  It could be that the lateness of such a heresy is because the undercurrent of Christ as a purely celestial being had not quite worked it's way through.  As late as 230 we have Origen stressing the symbolic nature of the gospels, but as David has pointed out - so long as Christianity still had trappings of a mystery religion, people would be rather cagey about the details.

I class Petty as being pretty much a bona-fide biblical scholar, and his thoughts on the early church bear weight. I can only spout off the one guy I've read. Like Petty, Carrier also suggests that out of the many Joshua/Jesus cults that existed, the one that survived did so in large part because of an emphasis on a celestial Christ that did not have to be tied to earthly events.  The question is, was this a real man who Paul pushed into the heavens and later christians pulled back to earth, or did he start in the heavens and got pulled down to earth by later christians?  The second scenario is simpler.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by richardbrucebaxter on Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:22 am

It appears simpler based on the arguments presented so far. Personally what I would like to see demonstrated is that all references to a crucifixion in the epistles have been forged (or at least that they might have been forged).

This examination is conducted with the dates quoted in http://bibletranslation.ws/manu.html (which appear authentic based on; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Testament_uncials: http://www.earlham.edu/~seidti/iam/table_gkmss.html / http://www.kchanson.com/papyri.html#GC). English translations of the P46 folios are available at the Chester Beatty Library and the University of Michigan (theoretically; this one appears out of print - and am in the process of acquiring a translation).

P52 (c. 125) is the earliest copy of the gospels (also the earliest copy of any new testament material), and contains explicit references to Jesus' trial by Pontius Pilate; John 18:31-33,37,38. The next earliest copy of the gospels (P90; c. 175) includes the same content; John 18:36-19:7. P66 (c. 200) includes pretty much the entire passion, death, and resurrection (John 18:1-40,19:1-42,20:1-20,22-23,25-31). Likewise P64+67 (c. 200) includes allusions to his imminent death; Matthew 26:14-15,31-33. More recent manuscripts containing the gospels are dated to the 3rd century.

P46 (c. 200) is the oldest known copy of Paul's letters. This excludes the following crucifixion references; 1 Thessalonians 2:14, Galatians 3:1 (despite including 3:2-29), and 1 Corinthians 1:13,23 (despite including all surrounding text; 1:1-24). Note folios 40/8x containing 1 Corinthians 2:8 and Galations 5:11 are at the University of Michigan (have been independently translated) and so I haven't been able to check these references yet. P46 does however include "cross" of Christ references (1 Corinthians 1:17,1:18, Philippians 2:8,3:18, Galations 6:14,6:17), and one symbolic crucifixion reference; "the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galations 6:17). The next earliest manuscript of the epistles (P65; 3rd Century) excludes crucifixion reference Thessalonians 2:14 (despite including 2:1,6-13). Note P30 (3rd Century) also contains 1 Thessalonians material, but it does not contain any of the second chapter, and so cannot be used in this analysis. The next earliest manuscript of the epistles (P16; turn of 3rd/4th century) excludes crucifixion references Philippians 2:8,3:18 (despite including 3:9-17;4:2-8 ). More recent manuscripts containing the Pauline Epistles (references to crucifixion material) are dated to the 4th century.

It is interesting to note that the earliest non-canonical epistles (the Didache and the First Epistle of Clement; both expected to have been written ~100 CE.) do not include any crucifixion references. The First Epistle of Clement includes sayings attributed to Jesus (effectively Luke 6:37-38/Matthew 6:14,7:1, Mark 9:42). Note it also contains a third, OT like saying attributed to Jesus; "Come, ye children, hearken unto Me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth to see good days? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are [open] unto their prayers. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles." "Many are the stripes [appointed for] the wicked; but mercy shall compass those about who hope in the Lord.". The Didache contains text which is ascribed to Jesus by the gospels (Mark 12:30-31, Matthew 5:43-48, Matthew 5:38-42, ~Matthew 5:25-48, Matthew 5:5, ~Matthew 25:1-12).
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:37 pm

Wow, great research, RB!

Interesting how the early epistles are missing some crucifixion references, yet the earliest Clement writings include sayings of Christ (that may be OT). What a tangled web...

Carrier believes Clement's writing were earlier than the typically accepted dates of 90-100 AD. He points out no mention of the destruction of the temple or Neronian persecutions, and so hypothesizes that Clement was writing around 60 AD. Of course, then one has to wonder why Paul never mentions him...

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:17 pm

, yet the earliest Clement writings include sayings of Christ -Halfy

That would fit if jesus was a real man, part of John following, much of what Jesus says anyway is very much in the air at the time, people like Hillel a generation before him were saying much the same sort of things- with that crucial difference on repentance.
I find it more likely his divinity and the crucifixion are the fake parts than Jesus himself being an entire fake creation.
That would also explain why we have early sayings recorded but no mention of a crucifixion- which you would think would be a rather important bit of the story if he got back up from the dead three days later- its not the sort of thing passes without mention. And yet it seems to have done just that for about 100 years.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:14 pm

Eldorion wrote:How the hell does it take someone seven minutes to eat a donut?

I was laughing the whole time: set up a pretentious title, and make everyone sit and watch it for 7 minutes waiting to find out what it's all about. And what it's about is exactly what the title said, no more, no less. Very sly joke.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:05 pm

richardbrucebaxter wrote:It appears simpler based on the arguments presented so far. Personally what I would like to see demonstrated is that all references to a crucifixion in the epistles have been forged (or at least that they might have been forged).

Yes, that's an interesting point. And while we're on the subject of crucifixion, do any of you biblical scholars happen to know what the earliest authority for St. Paul's crucifixion is and how it's presented? I can see how emphasizing the glory of Jesus' crucifixion could take on a whole new importance once church leaders are being crucified.

I don't remember right now if Peter is living or dead at the time Paul is supposedly penning his epistles, but I remember he mentions him once or twice (in relation to the circumcision discussion I seem to remember...Embarassed ) That's an interesting point too.

Halfy, does Carrier draw any conclusions about the existence and role of the 12 apostles, if Jesus didn't exist in the flesh?

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by Eldorion on Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:07 pm

halfwise wrote:I was laughing the whole time: set up a pretentious title, and make everyone sit and watch it for 7 minutes waiting to find out what it's all about.  And what it's about is exactly what the title said, no more, no less.  Very sly joke.

I skipped ahead to the end after about 30 seconds. Wink
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:33 pm

I had a few minutes while I was online, so I checked wikipedia on Peter, Paul and the early martyrs.
Wow! There's really nothing that can be said with certainty, is there? Shocked

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:14 am

Nope. Acts is widely regarded to be mainly fiction. And since the guy who wrote acts also wrote one of the gospels....

I never suspected either until Carrier said his piece on youtube, and now about 900 pages later (two books out of several he's written) I feel about the same way I did when Petty dragged me through the actual reasons for dropping the atomic bomb. And these things are common knowledge among scholars, it's just the rest of us who have innocently been lapping up the party line.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by Eldorion on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:56 am

halfwise wrote:Nope.  Acts is widely regarded to be mainly fiction.  And since the guy who wrote acts also wrote one of the gospels....

I never suspected either until Carrier said his piece on youtube, and now about 900 pages later (two books out of several he's written) I feel about the same way I did when Petty dragged me through the actual reasons for dropping the atomic bomb.  And these things are common knowledge among scholars, it's just the rest of us who have innocently been lapping up the party line.

Completely side-tracking the thread here, but my sense of "well there were legitimate military reasons to drop the atomic bomb" was shaken recently when I learned that Truman actually believed that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were purely military targets, and that the Air Force brass in general were deluding themselves into thinking that they were taking reasonably precautions to avoid harming civilians.  But that really ties into a more general condemnation of terror bombing than anything about the atomic bombs themselves, which after all weren't even the deadliest air raids of the war.

Edit: http://blog.nuclearsecrecy.com/2014/08/08/kyoto-misconception/

Harry S. Truman, 25 July 1945 wrote:This weapon is to be used against Japan between now and August 10th. I have told the Sec. of War, Mr. Stimson, to use it so that military objectives and soldiers and sailors are the target and not women and children. Even if the Japs are savages, ruthless, merciless and fanatic, we as the leader of the world for the common welfare cannot drop that terrible bomb on the old capital or the new.

He and I are in accord. The target will be a purely military one and we will issue a warning statement asking the Japs to surrender and save lives. I’m sure they will not do that, but we will have given them the chance. It is certainly a good thing for the world that Hitler’s crowd or Stalin’s did not discover this atomic bomb. It seems to be the most terrible thing ever discovered, but it can be made the most useful.

books.google.com

Harry S. Truman, 9 August 1945 wrote:The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, in so far as possible, the killing of civilians.

But then, after he had received reports on the actual effects of the atomic bombs (presumably including the fact that Hiroshima was not "a military base"):

Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace wrote:Truman said he had given orders to stop atomic bombing. He said the thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was too horrible. He didn't like the idea of killing, as he said, 'all those kids'.

Note that the first Truman quote (and the Wallace quote) is from a private diary. The second Truman quote is a public statement, but the pattern of delusion about civilian targets was consistent in both public and private statements.


Last edited by Eldorion on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:12 am; edited 5 times in total
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:06 am

If it's not too much trouble, would somebody mind providing a link to where Petty drags Halfy through the atomic muck? I missed that!

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by Eldorion on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:22 am

Google suggests it's probably this thread (continues onto the subsequent page):

http://www.hobbitmovieforum.com/t236p540-freedom#49183

Interestingly, another quote from the page that I edited into my previous post touches on the same issue of the bombs being more about the Russians.

Secretary of War Henry Stimson, 24 July 1945 wrote:We had a few words more about the S-1 program, and I again gave him my reasons for eliminating one of the proposed targets [Kyoto]. He again reiterated with the utmost emphasis his own concurring belief on that subject, and he was particularly emphatic in agreeing with my suggestion that if elimination was not done, the bitterness which would be caused by such a wanton act might make it impossible during the long post-war period to reconcile the Japanese to us in that area rather than to the Russians. It might thus, I pointed out, be the means of preventing what our policy demanded, namely a sympathetic Japan to the United States in case there should be any aggression by Russia in Manchuria.
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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:21 am

This isn't the best article, but the most persuasive one I remember hasn't come up in recent search:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-real-reason-america-used-nuclear-weapons-against-japan-it-was-not-to-end-the-war-or-save-lives/5308192

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Wed Apr 22, 2015 3:12 pm

Eldorion wrote:Google suggests it's probably this thread (continues onto the subsequent page):

http://www.hobbitmovieforum.com/t236p540-freedom#49183

Thanks! I see I was involved in the discussion back then after all.
[That was back when I'd only been here in Forumshire less than a year, and was still telling my best stories to show off for you folks Embarassed ]

I see I even used the Robert McNamara quote I was thinking of just now:

Why was it necessary to drop the nuclear bomb if LeMay was burning up Japan? And he went on from Tokyo to firebomb other cities. 58% of Yokohama. Yokohama is roughly the size of Cleveland. 58% of Cleveland destroyed. Tokyo is roughly the size of New York. 51% percent of New York destroyed. 99% of the equivalent of Chattanooga, which was Toyama. 40% of the equivalent of Los Angeles, which was Nagoya. This was all done before the dropping of the nuclear bomb, which by the way was dropped by LeMay's command. Proportionality should be a guideline in war. Killing 50% to 90% of the people of 67 Japanese cities and then bombing them with two nuclear bombs is not proportional, in the minds of some people, to the objectives we were trying to achieve.


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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:06 pm

How Christianity Invented Children
(published in The Week)

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
April 23, 2015

We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought. In fact, we forget about it precisely because of how deep it was: There are many ideas that we simply take for granted as natural and obvious, when in fact they didn't exist until the arrival of Christianity changed things completely. Take, for instance, the idea of children.

Today, it is simply taken for granted that the innocence and vulnerability of children makes them beings of particular value, and entitled to particular care. We also romanticize children — their beauty, their joy, their liveliness. Our culture encourages us to let ourselves fall prey to our gooey feelings whenever we look at baby pictures. What could be more natural?

In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity. If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe's ancient pagan world.

As the historian O.M. Bakke points out in his invaluable book When Children Became People, in ancient Greece and Rome, children were considered nonpersons.

Back then, the entire social worldview was undergirded by a universally-held, if implicit, view: Society was organized in concentric circles, with the circle at the center containing the highest value people, and the people in the outside circles having little-to-no value. At the center was the freeborn, adult male, and other persons were valued depending on how similar they were to the freeborn, adult male. Such was the lot of foreigners, slaves, women...and children.

High infant mortality rates created a cultural pressure to not develop emotional attachments to children. This cultural pressure was exacerbated by the fact that women were more likely to develop emotional attachments to children — which, according to the worldview of the day, meant it had to be a sign of weakness and vulgarity.

Various pagan authors describe children as being more like plants than human beings. And this had concrete consequences.

Well-to-do parents typically did not interact with their children, leaving them up to the care of slaves. Children were rudely brought up, and very strong beatings were a normal part of education. In Rome, a child's father had the right to kill him for whatever reason until he came of age.

One of the most notorious ancient practices that Christianity rebelled against was the frequent practice of expositio, basically the abandonment of unwanted infants. (Of course, girls were abandoned much more often than boys, which meant, as the historical sociologist Rodney Stark has pointed out, that Roman society had an extremely lopsided gender ratio, contributing to its violence and permanent tension.)

Another notorious practice in the ancient world was the sexual exploitation of children. It is sometimes pointed to paganism's greater tolerance (though by no means full acceptance) of homosexuality than Christianity as evidence for its higher moral virtue. But this is to look at a very different world through distorting lenses. The key thing to understand about sexuality in the pagan world is the ever-present notion of concentric circles of worth. The ancient world did not have fewer taboos, it had different ones. Namely, most sexual acts were permissible, as long as they involved a person of higher status being active against or dominating a person of lower status. This meant that, according to all the evidence we have, the sexual abuse of children (particularly boys) was rife.

Think back on expositio. According to our sources, most abandoned children died — but some were "rescued," almost inevitably into slavery. And the most profitable way for a small child slave to earn money was as a sex slave. Brothels specializing in child sex slaves, particularly boys, were established, legal, and thriving businesses in ancient Rome. One source reports that sex with castrated boys was regarded as a particular delicacy, and that foundlings were castrated as infants for that purpose.

Of course, the rich didn't have to bother with brothels — they had all the rights to abuse their slaves (and even their children) as they pleased. And, again, this was perfectly licit. When Suetonius condemns Tiberius because he “taught children of the most tender years, whom he called his little fishes, to play between his legs while he was in his bath” and “those who had not yet been weaned, but were strong and hearty, he set at fellatio,” he is not writing with shock and horror; instead, he is essentially mocking the emperor for his lack of self-restraint and enjoying too much of a good thing.

This is the world into which Christianity came, condemning abortion and infanticide as loudly and as early as it could.

This is the world into which Christianity came, calling attention to children and ascribing special worth to them. Church leaders meditated on Jesus' instruction to imitate children and proposed ways that Christians should look up to and become more like them.

Like everything else about Christianity's revolution, it was incomplete. For example, Christians endorsed corporal punishment for far too long. (Though even in the fourth century, the great teacher St John Chrysostom preached against it, on the grounds of the executed's innocence and dignity, using language that would have been incomprehensible to, say, Cicero.)

But really, Christianity's invention of children — that is, its invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings — was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God. If the God who made heaven and Earth chose to reveal himself, not as an emperor, but as a slave punished on the cross, then no one could claim higher dignity than anyone else on the basis of earthly status.

That was indeed a revolutionary idea, and it changed our culture so much that we no longer even recognize it.

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by David H on Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:48 pm

:facepalm:

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Re: Religous debates and questions [2]

Post by halfwise on Fri May 01, 2015 3:12 pm

I thought this was a rather clever put-down of atheist apologists, with the best point being that believers are out-breeding non-believes by roughly 1.5:1. So the heralded new dawn of rationalism may not exactly be around the corner...

http://theweek.com/articles/552685/new-atheists-are-back--dumber-than-ever

I've done enough teaching to lose faith in the implicit rationalism of the human race. It takes training, and a focus on ways of thought rather than factual content. Most (not all) people seem to want a cookbook guide to life and thought.

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