If Christmas was pagan, would it matter?


#21

I don’t mean anything against you, but you seem to know quite little about the history of Constantine’s reign. This is some sort of omega fiction myth mashup.


(Shawn T Murphy) #22

I know the written history of Constantine and I also know the minority reports of Constantine. I choose to believe the reports of the peoples he conquered, because their belief is logical. The evidence of what Constantine did to a Christ-like belief is unquestionable. Anyone who kills in the name of God is not Christian and inane enlightened age, we rightly should question their motives. Together, Constantine and Justinian were responsible for the dark ages. They enabled the church to give up logic and forsake the sciences of Euclid, Pythagoras, and Archimedes. Euclid.


#23

What reports of the people he conquered?

Together, Constantine and Justinian were responsible for the dark ages.

And yet British historian Adrian Goldsworthy writes …

The Dark Ages remain fixed in the popular mind, even if the term has long since been abandoned by scholars. (How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower. Yale University Press, 2009, 1)

If I remember correctly, Constantine actually rebuilt the Roman Empire, didn’t he? I also think its awful difficult for Justinian to have started the period of the “dark ages” (which historians think is a myth) considering the conventional starting date for the dark ages is around 500, and Justinian wouldn’t take the throne of the Byzantine empire until 527.

They enabled the church to give up logic and forsake the sciences of Euclid, Pythagoras, and Archimedes. Euclid.

More hoary, antiquated myths. But let’s take this one step at a time. Let’s hear about your minority reports and reaction to the fact that there actually wasn’t any dark ages.

EDIT: By the way, don’t take it that I’m trying to shame you as some sort of ignoramus. Feel free to ask questions and for resources.


(Matthew Pevarnik) #24

Maybe even this helped cause any ‘dark ages:’


(Shawn T Murphy) #25

In 543 AD Justinian declared the core enlightened Christian beliefs as being anathema. The roman empire went on to conquered the newly created barbarians which led to imbalance. These included the Goths and the North African Wandelen, both were so-called arian Christians or enlightened Christians. Less enlightened people and more more unenlightened = dark in my book, but I happy to call it medieval if it appeases the scholars. Yes, Constantine ‘rebuilt the Roman Empire’ with the slaves he captured from these wars.


#26

Well I can’t say Justinian’s reign was the high point of life quality in Scandinavia (though it may have been a high point for architecture and jurisprudence), but I can’t say that his 38 year reign was so much worse than the Third Century Crisis in the Roman empire. You know, that’s when Rome plunged into civil war for half a century (there were anywhere between 30 and 60 emperors in this time), the Plague of Cyprian broke out (just as deadly as the Plague of Justinian mentioned in that article – killing from a third to half the population), and the barbarians in the northern steppes started bludgeoning through the Danubian frontiers of the empire – not to mention that the Persian empire was ravaging Rome’s eastern frontier (and Rome returned the favor). Rome had many really low points, none of which are a dark age.


(Randy) #27

Wow, all of that sounds like a good reason not to look back on the “good old days!”


#28

Wow, all of that sounds like a good reason not to look back on the “good old days!”

Words of wisdom. We shouldn’t pretend like it was all bad, though. The medieval world gave us the modern one, and that can be said without the slightest hint of exaggeration.


#29

Constantine was no angel, but he did make Christianity a legal religion, ending the terrible persecution of Christians. Because the empire was in tumult over the various Christological controversies, he called for the council of Nicea, inviting bishops from across the empire to settle the important questions regarding the nature of Christ.

While debating fundamental theological doctrines about Christ, the bishops were also speaking different languages, living in different cultures, and negotiating different relationships with the emperor.

Unfortunately, the most reverend Bishop Dan Brown missed his train to the ecunemical councils, and his important contributions concerning TRUE orthodoxy were lost, coming to light only recently. Bishop Dan was recently canonized in an alternative universe. Ora pro nobis, Bishop Dan.


(Randy) #30

Oh, that is too funny.Thank you.
Twelve years ago it was scary–everyone seemed to really believe him (where was the department of symbology he alluded to?) I heard something about him recently though .What has happened lately with him?


#31

This whole thread is hysterical.


#32

Yes, even some Christians fell for his crap. I think it’s related to our fondness for conspiracy theories. Not sure where he is is now, and not sure i want to know. .

btw, archaeologists think they have found the church where the council of Nicea took place!


(George Brooks) #33

@beaglelady

That’s why I couldn’t bring myself to ruin the mood by discussing “co-opting” of Winter Solstice symbolism… I trust you approve of my self restraint ! :smiley:


(RiderOnTheClouds) #34

Sorry to go off topic here, but I feel as though this needs to be said:

Lynn White (in his famous essay on the origins of the ecological crisis) agrees that the Pagans had greater reverence for nature. But this was largely based on the fact that they believed in nature spirits, and gods who would take their revenge on humans if their dwellings were mistreated. Obviously these beings do not exist, so the pagan model of ecological stewardship is problematic.

Also, some pagan texts (such as the Egyptian Instruction of Merikare) are pretty explicitly anthropocentric, saying (as the Bible does not) that nature exists for the purpose of man.

I do not doubt that certain biblical principles can be used to support ecological stewardship (even if we do have dominion over the earth). Elijah became closer to God living out in the wilderness. We are also to manage our resources (Proverbs 21:20, Deut 22:6) and respect the lives of humans, which are put in danger by ecological destruction. Finally, nature shows us the glory of God (Psalm 104).


(Randy) #35

There is a LOT in here, @Reggie_O_Donoghue. I grew up in a syncretistic monotheist/animist culture, where “bori” (possession" and fear of spirits and animals was strong still. I remember many being terrified of certain animals, which didn’t frighten us because we had not heard of the myths they had had about their powers (mongooses and chameleons were two). Many were afraid of curses, and Muslim and Christian preachers extolled the benefit of believing in one God over many. There is a freedom of truly loving and caring for animals, without fear, that comes from monotheism (or secularism, especially secular humanism subtype) that is not present in animism/paganism.

GK Chesterton wrote this in his Father Brown series about paganism (not about valuing animals)

"Yes,” said Father Brown, “I always like a dog, so long as he isn’t spelt backwards.”

:https://jimsayers.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/g-k-chesterton-superstition-and-christmas/

"‘It’s part of something I’ve noticed more and more in the modern world, appearing in all sorts of newspaper rumours and conversational catchwords; something that’s arbitrary without being authoritative. People readily swallow the untested claims of this, that or the other. It’s drowning all your old rationalism and scepticism, it’s coming in like a sea; and the name of it is superstition….It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense and can’t see things as they are. Anything that anybody talks about, and says there’s a good deal in it, extends itself indefinitely like a vista in a nightmare. And a dog is an omen, and a cat is a mystery, and a pig is a mascot and a beetle is a scarab, calling all the menagerie of polytheism from Egypt and old India; dog Anubis and great green-eyed Pasht and all the holy howling Bulls of Bashan; reeling back to the bestial gods of the beginning, escaping into elephants and snakes and crocodiles; and all because you are frightened of four words: “He was made Man.”’


(Randy) #36

Here’s a great article by Peter Kreeft about the old and new paganism:


(Mitchell W McKain) #37

Well i hardly have a naive respect for paganism. I rather suspect that human sacrifice was more common in paganism than is currently acknowledged especially in modern paganism (not acknowledged enough that is). It is practically human nature that we tend to extremes and the other extreme here is greater respect for nature than for human life. I see hints of this in a lot of cultural myths and legends as well as some rather concrete examples.


#38

No doubt about it, pagans were into human sacrifice. And even child sacrifice.


(Mitchell W McKain) #39

Yeah the list given of known historical practice of human sacrifice in the Wikipedia article is a long one from all over the world. But I have heard some modern pagans claiming that even the stories of human sacrifices by the Aztecs and Mayans were simply made up by Christians. I am not buying it, and I am definitely not one for sparing Christians the cold hard facts in any way whatsoever.


(Christy Hemphill) #40

I live in Mexico. There are plenty of completely secular Mexican archaeologists who will tell you all about human sacrifice in Meso-America. It reached quite extreme levels with the Aztecs (there are many sources of evidence that do not rely in any way on Christian accounts), and is one of the accepted reasons the empire was weakened and especially susceptible to the conquering Spanish.