A Conversation for Atheism
Andy B Started conversation Nov 27, 2002
Slightly more pedantic, but to quote the article:
"[Easter also has the] crucifix which one would think would be rather off-putting, but this is Christianity's most successful icon - logic often fails to explain the actions of its adherents. "
I think the writer misses the point that for the New Testament church (and Christianity since the first century), the cross has been a powerful symbol *precisely because* it is "rather off-putting". I think (and I am prepared to stand corrected) that Christians would say the whole point of the symbol is as a reminder of the suffering and death of Jesus of Nazareth. And thus it needs to bear witness to the harsh reality. What makes less sense is non-Christians wearing it as fashion accessory. What next? Little gold necklaces featuring the electric chair?
This of course links rather neatly to one of early Christianity's most puzzling features. The historical evidence is clear on this point --- that the first Christians were adamant that Jesus, the one who they claimed to be Messiah, had been executed by being nailed to a Roman cross. Yet in traditional Jewish thinking, the Messiah would surely be the one who conquered the Roman oppressors, not one who was killed by them. A dead Messiah was a false Messiah. In short, a crucified messiah was an oxymoron. Yet this was precisely the kerygma (preaching) of the early church. Yes, it was coupled with a witness to the resurrection, but 21st century sceptics we tend to miss the point --- to first century Jews the shock was not the resurrection claim, but the "crucifixion and yet still messiah" claim. This needs to be investigated more carefully.
Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit Posted Nov 28, 2002
Thanks for the comments, Andy.
First off, the quoted passage is poorly written. It was an error introduced during editing. It should have read: "Christianity has jolly old Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny. It also has the crucifix..." So "it" was Christianity, not Easter.
It seems that we agree that the image is off-putting, so there's no argument there. Your point about it being effective because it is so grotesque (you might choose a different word here with a different connotation... perhaps "evocative") is well taken.
The crucifix has always been one of the more difficult aspects of Christianity for me to resolve. Isn't there a commandment about idols and graven images?
As for the messiah argument, I can understand the Jewish perspective. After all, it is their messiah. It's their concept, they originated it and defined it with certain qualifications. It's like a foreign group coming to America and saying Donald Trump is the president.
As for the resurrection, I'm not too sure the Jews believe it. It may have simply been an easier argument to say that he does not qualify as the messiah, so the mystical argument of resurrection never even needs to be addressed.
Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron Posted Nov 28, 2002
Isn't it kind of silly to argue the logic of their own mythology? Why bother?
Franklin Eugene Rhoads Posted Mar 1, 2003
Just thought I would add my two cent web page on the cross.
Insight Posted Aug 20, 2003
Yes. That's why true Christians don't revere the cross.
Well, it's one of the reasons. The other reason is that the cross is a pagan symbol, and there is no reason to believe Jesus died on a cross. It is accepted that the Greek word in the Bible that is often translated cross would be more accurately translated 'stake' or 'tree'.
The cross came into Christendom because the Roman Catholic church for a long time was a lot like the Borg - it grew by assimilating other religions. As Pope Gregory I said, according to Natural History magazine, “instead of trying to obliterate peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope’s instructions were, use them. If a group of people worship a tree, rather than cut it down, consecrate it to Christ and allow them to continue their worship.” Many so-called Christian customs come from other religions, and true Christians will not practise them, as the Bible says to have nothing to do with false religion:
“Watch out for yourself ... for fear you may inquire respecting their gods, saying, ‘How was it these nations used to serve their gods? And I, yes, I, will do the same way.’ You must not do that way to Jehovah your God, for everything detestable to Jehovah that he does hate they have done to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:30, 31)
“Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Belial [footnote, Satan]? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever?”—2 Corinthians 6:14, 15.
Here are some quoted examples of celebrations come from other religions:
The Symbols of Christmas
The Christmas tree “has precious little to do with Christian celebration and a lot to do with the stubborn survival through the millennia of pagan rituals of winter light and rebirth.” (The Boston Herald) “Trees with trinkets hanging on them were part of the pagan festivals for centuries.”—Church Christmas Tab.
Holly was popular with the Celts “to keep the house goblins in order at winter solstice time. . . . It could deflect evil, help in the divination of dreams, defend a house from lightning.”—Beautiful British Columbia.
Mistletoe “came from the Druids in England who used it in strange worship relating to demonic and occult powers.”—Church Christmas Tab.
On December 25 “the Mithraists celebrated the birth of Mithra . . . There is absolutely no biblical authority for December 25 as having been the day of the Nativity.”—Isaac Asimov.
Gift giving was a feature of Saturnalia. “You were expected at this festival to make some present to all your friends.”—Ancient Italy and Modern Religion.
The star “atop the tree was worshiped in the East as a symbol of purity, goodness and peace 5,000 years before the nativity of Christ.”—United Church Herald.
The candle “does not come . . . from the Christian sanctuary. We took it from a much earlier altar, the Druid oak.”—United Church Herald.
Santa was stolen “from ancient German mythology: ‘Thor was an elderly man, jovial and friendly, of heavy build with a long white beard. He drove a chariot and was said to live in the Northland . . . His element was fire, his color red. The fireplace in every home was sacred to him, and he was said to come down into it through the chimney.”—United Church Herald.
The Rites of Spring
Easter was “originally the spring festival in honor of the Teutonic goddess of light and spring known in Anglo-Saxon as Eastre.” (The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible) “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament.”—Encyclopædia Britannica.
The rabbit “was the escort of the Germanic goddess Ostara.”—Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend.
Eggs “were said to be dyed and eaten at the spring festivals in ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome.”—Celebrations.
The Easter bonnet originally “was a wreath of flowers or leaves. The circle or crown expressed the round sun and its course in the heavens which brought the return of spring.” The new Easter outfit developed because “it was considered discourteous and therefore bad luck to greet the Scandinavian goddess of Spring, or Eastre, in anything but fresh garb, since the goddess was bestowing one on the earth.”—The Giant Book of Superstitions.
Hot cross buns: “Like the Greeks, the Romans ate bread marked with a cross . . . at public sacrifices.” They were eaten by pagan Saxons in honor of Easter.—Encyclopædia Britannica.
Sunrise services parallel rites “performed at the vernal equinox welcoming the sun and its great power to bring new life to all growing things.”—Celebrations.
So true Christianity doesn't really have any of the icons that were mentioned in the article. I know that's not the point that was being made, but I still thought it should be said.
Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit Posted Aug 20, 2003
You're absolutely right about the origins of those symbols, and the borg assimilation of the ancient church.
The point you make, however, is absolutely wrong.
"That's why true Christians don't revere the cross."
Christians revere the cross. They wear it. They display it. They bow before it. They kiss it. They touch it. They make the sign of it with their hands and treat it as a magical device, to cure their ills, bless them, or drive off evil spirits. That is the very definition of reverence.
Whether they are "true Christians" or not is a matter of opinion, and every Christian is of the opinion that they or their small sect are the only ones. Personally, I don't think any such thing has ever, or could ever, exist.
Ghost Researcher Posted Sep 6, 2003
I agree about the cross being a graven image, but then again the christians have been predicting the Apocalypse scince the bible(New Testament) came out , after they added to the torah which was written by the Jews during the second Babylonian civilization i think...(the one with the tower of Babel)and we are still here so they are proven to be humans like the rest of us...and capable of making mistakes...even if it is contradicting their religious texts....
Note:From an true Atheis.
Insight Posted Sep 11, 2003
If true Christians are defined as people who follow the Bible, they can't do the things you've said because the Bible forbids, among other relevant things, bowing before an image or practising magic.
Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit Posted Dec 30, 2003
And yet, there you have it. People who consider themselves to be true Christians practice magics that they believe cure afflictions (laying on hands, etc)... after all, Jesus and his disciples practiced the same magic. They believe in devils and make gestures and carry devices to protect them from the same. The ritual cannibalism practiced at the eucharist is a magical ceremony, wherein the bread and wine are supposed to transmute into the blood and body of Christ (a horrifying thought!).
And they bow before graven images, of Jesus and his mother in particular. They come from the entire world to gaze at, touch, and basically revere a window pane in a trailer home in Lobotomy, Missouri which the village idiot claims showed an image of a fiery cross, while their neighbor produces a potato shaped like Mother Theresa's face.
None of this matters anyway. If anyone really behaved as a "true Christian," they'd spend their lives in prison. There are so many crimes endorsed in the Bible that it's hard to think where to start... everything from domestic violence to genocide.
And following the Bible is impossible anyway, since it leads to a situation Ned Flanders so eloquently summed up: "I've followed every part of the Bible--even the parts that contradict the other parts."
The Sign of the Cross a Pagan Symbol?
Franklin Eugene Rhoads Posted May 9, 2005
I have moved my web page on the cross to: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/YAHWEHFrank/Cross.html & http://www.angelfire.com/wy/Franklin4YAHWEH/Cross.htm
The Sign of the Cross a Pagan Symbol?
Franklin Eugene Rhoads Posted Aug 5, 2005
I have moved my web site from http://www.maxpages.com to http://www.angelfire.com because Max Pages started placing an accesssive amount of addware and spyware on the site.
My new web site URL: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/YAHWEHFrank/Interest.html
Easter - Pagan Holidays: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/YAHWEHFrank/PaganHolidays.html
Christmas - Satan Claws: http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/YAHWEHFrank/SatanClaws.html
Mankoi Posted Apr 4, 2007
While we are on the subject of errors, I always heard that Albert Einstein was not an Atheist. As a matter of fact I always heard that quantum uncertainty bothered him and that he said "God does not throw dice." Im I just mislead?
Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit Posted Apr 11, 2007
You have been misled. Einstein was a complicated man with some complicated views, and said a lot of things that have been gleefully taken out of context by blinkered theists who are despaired of the link between intelligence and disbelief. "Look, here's a guy who believes, and he's smarter than you!" As usual, they've got it totally wrong. Einstein was alive while some of this was happening, and he answered the question categorically.
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Andy B (Nov 27, 2002)
- 2: Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit (Nov 28, 2002)
- 3: Two Bit Trigger Pumping Moron (Nov 28, 2002)
- 4: Franklin Eugene Rhoads (Mar 1, 2003)
- 5: Insight (Aug 20, 2003)
- 6: Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit (Aug 20, 2003)
- 7: Ghost Researcher (Sep 6, 2003)
- 8: Insight (Sep 11, 2003)
- 9: Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit (Dec 30, 2003)
- 10: Franklin Eugene Rhoads (May 9, 2005)
- 11: Franklin Eugene Rhoads (Aug 5, 2005)
- 12: Mankoi (Apr 4, 2007)
- 13: Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit (Apr 11, 2007)