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Religious Topics / Re: Intercession of Most Holy Mother of God
« Last post by Porter ODoran on Today at 06:22:46 PM »
Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, Savior, save us.
Nothing was a bit off on the actual dates but substantially right nonetheless . No Gospel was written by eyewitnesses, they do contain mythical material . If there is some debate about he resurrection accounts , there is virtual unanimity among the scholars that the nativity accounts are ahistorical by and large. Except in what they try to conceal .

Every Gospel was composed by eyewitnesses except St. Luke. None contains mythical or inaccurate material. The nativity accounts make no attempt to conceal anything.

A Christian or honest inquirer does not consider the early Christians liars, forgers, and conspirators.
Other Topics / Re: Picture of the Day
« Last post by Gamliel on Today at 06:09:45 PM »
2016 presidential election:
Religious Topics / Re: Intercession of Most Holy Mother of God
« Last post by augustin717 on Today at 06:06:55 PM »
Cool story bro!
Nothing was a bit off on the actual dates but substantially right nonetheless . No Gospel was written by eyewitnesses, they do contain mythical material . If there is some debate about he resurrection accounts , there is virtual unanimity among the scholars that the nativity accounts are ahistorical by and large. Except in what they try to conceal .
Kevin Allen of Ancient Faith Radio said that he practiced Eastern religion in the past, and he interviewed a Malankara Orthodox priest on his program:

Kevin asked what was his and the Malankara church's relation to Hinduism. He replied:
Something we have taken from Hinduism in the rite of marriage... we during the sacrament of matrimony, the groom ties a band around the neck of his bride and that is called the tying of the min or tally and that is a very Hindu tradition, the tying of the mongol supera... and we have incorporated that. And the idea of taking the shoes off in a church... They have been able to blend with the local without compromising the theology of the Orthodox faith.

The gospel of John ["No one comes to the Father except through me"] becomes a stumbling block for a lot of Hindus... That is a big claim for them to swallow. I feel that their minds are so embedded with that idea [eg. Samsara, the cycle of reincarnation] that they cannot break free of that.... That "My life is all part of my [Karma]"

Another thing I heard that the Malankara church uses is a special lamp on the side.

Paul M. Collins writes in the book "Christian Inculturation in India" about what he sees as native Indian architecture in the St Thomas churches:
The Church in Chenganoor dated by some to 4th c. CE and a nearby Hindu Temple share a number of common features... Both temple and church have an elaborate gopura leading into the compound of each and within each compound standing stone lamps are to be found which are exactly similar. The gateway into the church compound and the porch and entrance into the main church are extensively decorated with motifs... mainly from the animal kingdom. In the precincts of church and temple various forms of obelisk or stambhas are to be seen. ... Outside the church compound at Chenganoor a large standing cross is to be found [incorporating] the lotus flower... The plint also incporates... the possibility of a small fire.
He shows this photo:

The other obelisk feature... are the large wooden or copper or brass flagpoles kodimara in the precincts. .... the hoisting of the flah kodiyettu signifies the beginning of a major festival. ... vilakkumadas ... are a particular feature of Hindu temples in Kerala...
Another distinctive feature ... is the separation of the nave from the sanctuary by a curtain or screen.... The decoration [ of the screens uses] small colored electric lights...
in the bema ... in Palai... the pulpt is emerging from the mouth of a sea creature. James Menachery comments that many pulpits are designed in the form of a flower, usually the lotus, some of which are carried by an elephant on its trunk.

The older tradition is of a suspended oil lamp from the roof.... But more recently standing brass oil lamps have been introduced... [St Thomas Christians understand the Church] in terms of "the mountain of God"... Another striking custom is the use of flower garlands to decorate lecterns, altars, statues, and pictures.
So the St Thomas Christians have been able to distinguish cultural artwork from Hindu theology.

Wikipedia talks about how St Thomas Christians advocated for important reforms:
In 1918, Saint Thomas Christians formed the League for Equal Civic Rights, which sought the opening of all branches of government service to Christians, Muslims and avarna Hindus, as well as an end to the practice of untouchability. Their demands were partially met in 1922 when the Revenue Department was separated from the Devaswom, a semi-government organization that managed the Hindu temples, thus removing the restriction on non-Hindus and avarnas in the executive service.

However, I don't know what art forms and other such unique concepts it is talking about when Wikipedia claims:
Saint Thomas Christians typically followed the social customs of their Hindu neighbors, and the vestiges of Hindu symbolism could be seen in their devotional practices. Social sins like Untouchability entered their practices... The rituals related to birth, Vidyarambham, marriage, pregnancy, death etc. were also similar in both communities. Now also, tying Thaali, a Hindu symbol of marriage is the most important rite in the Christian marriages too. They used to learn temple arts... like Kathakali, Kooth and Thullal and their own art forms like Margam Kali and Parichamuttukali have some resemblance to Yathra kali Pattu of Brahmins in Kerala. In 1519, a Portuguese traveler Duarte Barbosa on his visit to Malabar commented on the practice of Saint Thomas Christian priests using Kudumi similar to that of Hindus....

The upper-caste Hindus and Saint Thomas Christians took part in one another's festival celebrations and in some places in Kerala, the Hindu Temples and Saint Thomas Christian Churches were built on adjoining sites by the Hindu Kings. Until the 19th century, Saint Thomas Christians had the right of access to Hindu temples and some leading Saint Thomas Christians held the status of sponsors at Hindu shrines and temple festivals.[129] But in the 19th century, Saint Thomas Christian integration with the Hindu caste system was disrupted: their clean-caste status was questioned in some localities and they were denied access to many Hindu temples. They tried to retaliate by denouncing Hindu festivals as heathen idolatry. Clashes between upper-caste Hindus and Saint Thomas Christians occurred from the late 1880s, especially when festivals coincided.

Of course, let's trust what Malankara Christians themselves teach on these questions over the amateur-compiled Wikipedia. Hindu festivals are "idolatry" as St Thomas Christians say, when the festivals use statues that Hindus consider to be impagned with their alleged gods. I don't know how one can argue otherwise, unless a specific festival lacks the statues. Am I wrong?

My question here to the Forum and people who actually know something about Malankara Orthodoxy like Mor Ephrem is how well do Wikipedia's other descriptions of Indian Malankara Christians actually correlate to reality?

Key terms:
Vidyarambham [is] observed on Vijayadashami day mainly in Kerala and Karnataka, where children are formally introduced to learning of music, dance, languages and other folk arts. It involves a ceremony of initiation into the characters of the syllabary... The Vijayadashami day is the tenth and final day of the Navratri celebrations, and is considered auspicious for beginning learning in any field.

A mangala sutra (from Sanskrit mangala, meaning "holy, auspicious", and sutra, meaning "thread") is a necklace that a Hindu groom ties around the bride's neck in a ceremony called Mangalya Dharanam (Sanskrit for "wearing the auspicious"), which identifies her as a married woman. The significance of the mangala sutra was re-iterated by Adi Shankara in his famous book Soundarya Lahari. According to Hindu tradition, the mangala sutra is worn for the long life of the husband. Dictated by religious customs and social expectations, married women have to wear mangala sutra throughout their life as it is believed that the practice enhances the well-being of her husband.

It is called thaali (താലി) in Malayalam,

Kathakali (Malayalam: കഥകളി, kathakaḷi) is one of the major forms of classical Indian dance. ... The fully developed style of Kathakali originated around the 17th century, but its roots are in temple and folk arts such as Kutiyattam and religious drama of southwestern Indian peninsula, which are traceable to at least the 1st millennium CE.

Kathakali is also different in that the structure and details of its art developed in the courts and theatres of Hindu principalities, unlike other classical Indian dances which primarily developed in Hindu temples and monastic schools. The traditional themes of the Kathakali are folk mythologies, religious legends and spiritual ideas from the Hindu epics and the Puranas.
It makes sense that Christians would be more likely to perform them as they were not developed in the Temple setting but in a more secular one.
I want to thank Onesimus for the wonderful work he's put in, in this thread.

I want to thank Onesimus for the wonderful work he's put in, in this thread.
I'm not sure what this is supposed to go to, Onesimus, and actually Ehrman does show that the gospel narratives are from the 2nd century but more importantly that they were revised, redacted, rewritten because of controversies between many various Christianities (which held differing views on who Christ is), texts with differing interpretations that have numerous sources. This is undeniable. His scholarship represents the scholarly consensus regarding these texts.

He also shows in meticulous detail how the manuscripts changed and how orthodoxy became the prevailing view which then tried to tendentiously re-write history by stamping out competing views but that's contrary to what the historical evidence shows. The early church had quite a few different views on Jesus; it was never the case that Jesus was God from the start, that was a later theological construction.

All of which is entirely and importantly false.
Faith Issues / Re: Hillel and our Lord in Orthodox theology
« Last post by Porter ODoran on Today at 05:28:04 PM »
Hillel, the Jewish aage who died in 10 AD, aaid many things similoar to what our Lord taught, for example, the Golden Rule; he went as far as to say like our Lord that the entire Torah was simply an explanation of this principle of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Since Hillel died when our saviour was just a boy, do we have any hagiographic or doctrinal position on him?  It seems to me that at a minimum, he was an exceptionallly enlightened man, who. in some respects may have received divine grace to prepare the Jewish population for our Lord in the same way that Sts. David, Solomon, Ezra, et al did, that is to say, he was not, like St. John the Baptist, the Forerunner, but he could well have been a saint whose enlightened teachings corresponded in large measure to those of our Lord,

I'm not inclined to form or offer an opinion without access to primary sources. For example, it's often stated in undergraduate-level texts that the Golden Rule can be found in every major faith tradition; however, when I actually saw a list of quotes to supposedly illustrate this, very few of them were even on the same subject as Christ (many of them were just generic comments on justice or charity).

On the other hand, it should not surprise us if Hebrew or pagan forbears knew something that is true or good. After all, if something is true or good, and it has attributes accessible to mortals, then it can be known. Christ's conversation with Nicodemus is an illustration: At one point, Christ says, I am the only one who's been to Heaven and can testify of Heaven; yet at another point he chides Nicodemus for not understanding being born of the Spirit -- "Are you a teacher in Israel and don't know these things?"
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