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Author Topic: Pagan Christianity - is anyone familiar with this??  (Read 7667 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 21, 2008, 04:22:11 PM »

I'm on another online forum and one of the members is recommending Pagan Christianity by Viola and Barna (George).   Red flags went up everywhere with a title like that.  I haven't read it, so how can I honestly respond to it.  Has anyone read the book?  Can they give me a synopsis and what its major flaws are?

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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 04:33:37 PM »

In the synopsis I read, it looks like they just point out how Church traditions (especially Catholicism) are rooted in Paganism. Even if the original Pagan meaning of the ritual has been replaced by a Christian one, that's 100% true, so I think it might be worth a read.
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 04:48:54 PM »

This is from Amazon:
Quote
From the Inside Flap

Sorting out truth from tradition

Many Christians take for granted that their churchs practices are rooted in Scripture. Yet those practices look very different from those of the first-century church. The New Testament is not silent on how the early church freely expressed the reality of Christs indwelling in ways that rocked the first-century world.

Times have changed. Pagan Christianity leads us on a fascinating tour through church history, revealing this startling and unsettling truth: Many cherished church traditions embraced today originated not out of the New Testament, but out of pagan practices. One of the most troubling outcomes has been the effect on average believers: turning them from living expressions of Christs glory and power to passive observers. If you want to see that trend reversed, turn to Pagan Christianity . . . a book that examines and challenges every aspect of our contemporary church experience.
This begs the question of what they consider to be the Church. According to their introduction, "the church in its contemporary, institutional form has neither a biblical nor a historical right to function as it does (p. xx)." So what are they looking at as the contemporary, institutional church? At any rate, it sounds intriguing.
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 05:28:55 PM »

The phenomenon of dvoeverie has received a fair amount of study.
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2008, 06:59:15 PM »

Wow, you guys are much more accepting than me.  I immediately assumed the worst.

Thanks

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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2008, 07:01:30 PM »

The phenomenon of dvoeverie has received a fair amount of study.

I'm not sure what this is?  Huh
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2008, 07:08:38 PM »

I'm not sure what this is?  Huh

dual-faith, aka, syncretism?

such as the slavic penchant for mixing aspects of paganism and eastern orthodoxy? that's what comes to my mind anyhow.
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2008, 07:34:28 PM »

About this "dvoeverie" - oh yes, there is a lot of that in Slavic countries... In Ukraine, virtually everyone is confident that on February 2 (15), we are celebrating Stritennya, which literally means that Spring is meeting with Winter and replacing it. The week after Christmas is Kolyada, the word coming from the ancient Kolo Lada, "Circle of Order," a very old Pre-Christian symbol of eternal order established by the numerous gods of the forces of nature. People sing "Kolyadky," where it is sometimes mentioned that Christ is born, but a lot more often - that we wish this or that family to have more cattle and sausage and money in this New Year. The week after the Pentecost is Zeleni Svyata, Green Holidays, when people gather green twigs and grass and put that on the floor of their houses. St. John's Feast Day in June is always Ivana Kupala, when young people jump over bonfires in the woods, girls make wreaths of flowers and let them swim downstream forest creeks, and people are looking for a mysterious "fern flowers." Fall Orthodox holidays are Didy ("Grandfathers"), a series of extremely pagan feasts celebrating the memory of ancient founders of the tribe.

One of the funniest customs is on St. Basil's Day (January 1/14, an "old" or Julian New Year), when Ukrainians traditionally celebrate the "Malanka." For some reason, the folk tradition imagines Vasyl' (Basil) as a young lad who plows his field, and accidentally meets a young girl called Malanka, who is looking for two lost ducks. They fall in love, make out, etc. There is a very beautiful Malanka dance, which in recent years was somewhat modified, modernized, so it began to resemble a waltz. Of course, nobody ever mentions or remembers the "great Cappadocian Father," St. Basil the Great, St. Basil of Cesarea... Yet, I am sure that he does not mind and rejoices in heaven anyway. Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2008, 07:56:56 PM »

dual-faith, aka, syncretism?

such as the slavic penchant for mixing aspects of paganism and eastern orthodoxy? that's what comes to my mind anyhow.

The church certainly did not stamp out that which existed before.  The fervency of devotion to the Bogoroditsa was probably a direct carryover from earlier times.  It was at least an idea that made sense.

http://www.byzantines.net/epiphany/pentecost.htm
http://www.winterscapes.com/slavic.htm
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2008, 08:22:21 PM »

About this "dvoeverie" - oh yes, there is a lot of that in Slavic countries... In Ukraine, virtually everyone is confident that on February 2 (15), we are celebrating Stritennya, which literally means that Spring is meeting with Winter and replacing it. The week after Christmas is Kolyada, the word coming from the ancient Kolo Lada, "Circle of Order," a very old Pre-Christian symbol of eternal order established by the numerous gods of the forces of nature. People sing "Kolyadky," where it is sometimes mentioned that Christ is born, but a lot more often - that we wish this or that family to have more cattle and sausage and money in this New Year. The week after the Pentecost is Zeleni Svyata, Green Holidays, when people gather green twigs and grass and put that on the floor of their houses. St. John's Feast Day in June is always Ivana Kupala, when young people jump over bonfires in the woods, girls make wreaths of flowers and let them swim downstream forest creeks, and people are looking for a mysterious "fern flowers." Fall Orthodox holidays are Didy ("Grandfathers"), a series of extremely pagan feasts celebrating the memory of ancient founders of the tribe.

One of the funniest customs is on St. Basil's Day (January 1/14, an "old" or Julian New Year), when Ukrainians traditionally celebrate the "Malanka." For some reason, the folk tradition imagines Vasyl' (Basil) as a young lad who plows his field, and accidentally meets a young girl called Malanka, who is looking for two lost ducks. They fall in love, make out, etc. There is a very beautiful Malanka dance, which in recent years was somewhat modified, modernized, so it began to resemble a waltz. Of course, nobody ever mentions or remembers the "great Cappadocian Father," St. Basil the Great, St. Basil of Cesarea... Yet, I am sure that he does not mind and rejoices in heaven anyway. Smiley

That's extremely interesting! Maybe the little pagan girl in me has always been secretly fond of Ivana Kupola! ;)See there I am in the meadow, seeking flowers for my wreath!  Now (the tiresome question), how should we feel about this as Orthodox Christians? I know the Evangelicals would find this horrifying, offensive, and Evidence of the "darkness" of Orthodoxy...Evidence that their faith is the pure, unadulterated light of the Gospel and ours is some sort of diabolical compromise...after all, George has plainly laid out the damning evidence before our very eyes...

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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2008, 08:34:19 PM »

The church certainly did not stamp out that which existed before.  The fervency of devotion to the Bogoroditsa was probably a direct carryover from earlier times.  It was at least an idea that made sense.

http://www.byzantines.net/epiphany/pentecost.htm
http://www.winterscapes.com/slavic.htm

Totally cool links, AMM. I always love learning about the old pagan ways, for some reason (is this wrong?).
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2008, 09:52:52 PM »

That's extremely interesting! Maybe the little pagan girl in me has always been secretly fond of Ivana Kupola! ;)See there I am in the meadow, seeking flowers for my wreath!  Now (the tiresome question), how should we feel about this as Orthodox Christians? I know the Evangelicals would find this horrifying, offensive, and Evidence of the "darkness" of Orthodoxy...Evidence that their faith is the pure, unadulterated light of the Gospel and ours is some sort of diabolical compromise...after all, George has plainly laid out the damning evidence before our very eyes...



Ho Hum.

The alphabet we are writing with has pagan (and religious) origins.

The days of the week in most European languages, as well as the months of the year have pagan names.  In the case of the months, the orgins are pagan: ditto the Hebrew calendar.

When Solomon built the temple, he had pagan Phoenicians do it.

Plenty of pagan temples ended up as Christian Churches (e.g. the Parthenon).

We don't celebrate the Unconquerable sun on Dec. 25: we celebrate the birth of the Unconquerable Son.  This might be a bad example, as it has now been argued that the Feast of the Unconquerable Sun was a pagan imitation of Christmas, in an attempt to coope the Church, much like Julian the Apostate would do later.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-mediate on these things.
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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2008, 10:26:51 PM »

Totally cool links, AMM. I always love learning about the old pagan ways, for some reason (is this wrong?).

It shows the church isn't about obliterating culture but transforming it.
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2008, 04:39:24 AM »

I think G.K. Chesterton said something about Christianity preserving the good of paganism.  He was Catholic (though he said that as an Anglican, I think), but the same could apply to Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2008, 08:22:00 AM »




PAGAN-PARALLEL THEORY REFUTED

http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/cri/cri-jrnl/web/crj0163a.html

BOOKS REFUTING THE PAGAN PARALLEL THEORY

 Myth Became Fact, by C.S. Lewis

 The Gospel and the Greeks, by Nash

 The Case for the Real Jesus, edited by Lee Strobel

 The Riddle of Resurrection, by Mettinger

 


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« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2008, 08:53:03 AM »

I am sending this topic to the Free for all Religous Forum as the appropriate site for this topic. Please feel free to continue to post there.

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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2008, 10:11:54 AM »

Why deny all the peoples but the ancient Hebrews who happened to live before Christ came the possession of parts of the Truth and prophetic insights? I personally love studying ancient mythologies and actually find in them proof of the universality of Orthodoxy - all peoples were prepared for the coming of the Messiah, not just the Jews!
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2008, 10:45:25 AM »

That's extremely interesting! Maybe the little pagan girl in me has always been secretly fond of Ivana Kupola! ;)See there I am in the meadow, seeking flowers for my wreath!  Now (the tiresome question), how should we feel about this as Orthodox Christians? I know the Evangelicals would find this horrifying, offensive, and Evidence of the "darkness" of Orthodoxy...Evidence that their faith is the pure, unadulterated light of the Gospel and ours is some sort of diabolical compromise...after all, George has plainly laid out the damning evidence before our very eyes...

Well, who was it - Origen, or Tertullian, or someone else? - who said that the human soul is always Christian... Smiley In this regard, really, I don't see any evil in the tacit transformation of the ancient Pagan holidays into Orthodox holidays WITH (not without) the local culture, customs... To me, it's so much better when young girls in Ukraine launch the traditional Ivana Kupala flower wreaths downstream and sing songs not mentioning "sweet Jesus," then when these same girls go to some adrenalin rush-based Charismatic gatherings and sing about "sweet Jesus" being accompanied by the roar of electric guitars, and then listen to a sermon by some pastor imported from the USA, teaching them that God particularly likes you when you are rich...
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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2008, 11:15:57 AM »

Why deny all the peoples but the ancient Hebrews who happened to live before Christ came the possession of parts of the Truth and prophetic insights? I personally love studying ancient mythologies and actually find in them proof of the universality of Orthodoxy - all peoples were prepared for the coming of the Messiah, not just the Jews!

I completely agree... its just that there is a certain vein in Protestantism that, like Rosehip said, finds this appalling.  I have friends who refuse to use the word "Easter" because of the its pagan origins  Roll Eyes  I asked them why they were so afraid of a little word like "Easter".  But, that just offended them and they started quoting scriptures like "Whatever proceeds from the mouth...."  (insert: throwing up hands in frustration).
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2008, 11:26:35 AM »

I completely agree... its just that there is a certain vein in Protestantism that, like Rosehip said, finds this appalling.  I have friends who refuse to use the word "Easter" because of the its pagan origins  Roll Eyes  I asked them why they were so afraid of a little word like "Easter".  But, that just offended them and they started quoting scriptures like "Whatever proceeds from the mouth...."  (insert: throwing up hands in frustration).


Next time point out only English and German say Easter, the rest of the world says Pascha, the word for Passover in Hebrew.  They have a problem with the Hebrew Scriptures?
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« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2008, 11:35:22 AM »

Next time point out only English and German say Easter, the rest of the world says Pascha, the word for Passover in Hebrew.  They have a problem with the Hebrew Scriptures?

Not trying to quibble, but I thought Pascha was a Greek word derived from the Hebrew word Pesach, meaning Passover.
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« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2008, 11:40:23 AM »

Not trying to quibble, but I thought Pascha was a Greek word derived from the Hebrew word Pesach, meaning Passover.

That is the essence of his point, no?
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« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2008, 11:50:50 AM »

This article seems to show Orthodox missionaries utilizing evangelization with aspects of non Christian cultures that are within boundaries of God's natural law. http://www.theandros.com/witchcraft.html.
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« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2008, 12:49:49 PM »

There is a latin term that escapes me at the moment, describing exactly the replacement of the older order with a new one, converting the former´s symbols of authority to its own, to establish its power. And I think there has been a conversation about this in the past. Where the Christian Church prevailed over pagan religions, took over traditionally sacred places converting them to churches. The scope I think is precisely this: Replacement. There is not a pagan church AND a Christian church, a pagan celebration AND a Christian celebration. In the collective conscience, one must replace the other, leaving no space for both. In the collective mind, a place of worship can remain holy or sacred or special even after its decadence and the same happens with certain dates and religious customs that form part of a cultural tradition. Christianity incorporated and adapted some of them in its tradition (small t), when and where suitable, in order to reform the collective conscience accordingly. If something is holy, let it be holy because it is Christian now. It is a kind of consecration or Christian "baptism" of institutions, places and days, to make them new and good, for the sake of the new Christians. This is a humble theory, and badly put at that, as I have not studied the subject. I only remember my religion teacher who was a priest, telling us that the form of the Liturgy was partly inspired by the Greek ancient theatre in an attempt to appeal to the Greeks and the Romans when the Church was trying to get to the western world.
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« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2008, 06:21:24 PM »

Next time point out only English and German say Easter, the rest of the world says Pascha, the word for Passover in Hebrew.  They have a problem with the Hebrew Scriptures?

I have done that.  It wasn't much help...
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« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2008, 09:56:55 PM »

There is a latin term that escapes me at the moment, describing exactly the replacement of the older order with a new one, converting the former´s symbols of authority to its own, to establish its power. And I think there has been a conversation about this in the past. Where the Christian Church prevailed over pagan religions, took over traditionally sacred places converting them to churches. The scope I think is precisely this: Replacement. There is not a pagan church AND a Christian church, a pagan celebration AND a Christian celebration. In the collective conscience, one must replace the other, leaving no space for both. In the collective mind, a place of worship can remain holy or sacred or special even after its decadence and the same happens with certain dates and religious customs that form part of a cultural tradition. Christianity incorporated and adapted some of them in its tradition (small t), when and where suitable, in order to reform the collective conscience accordingly. If something is holy, let it be holy because it is Christian now. It is a kind of consecration or Christian "baptism" of institutions, places and days, to make them new and good, for the sake of the new Christians. This is a humble theory, and badly put at that, as I have not studied the subject. I only remember my religion teacher who was a priest, telling us that the form of the Liturgy was partly inspired by the Greek ancient theatre in an attempt to appeal to the Greeks and the Romans when the Church was trying to get to the western world.

Do you mean incultration?
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« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2008, 05:01:59 AM »

Why deny all the peoples but the ancient Hebrews who happened to live before Christ came the possession of parts of the Truth and prophetic insights? I personally love studying ancient mythologies and actually find in them proof of the universality of Orthodoxy - all peoples were prepared for the coming of the Messiah, not just the Jews!

Yes!  Orthodoxy is the perfection of all ancient religions.  Christianity is as universal as truth itself.
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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2008, 05:22:54 AM »

I completely agree... its just that there is a certain vein in Protestantism that, like Rosehip said, finds this appalling.

Indeed.  I must say that the outright labeling of all things pagan as EVIL is a Protestant invention.  Unfortunately, it is a foolish presupposition that ultimately leads to agnosticism and even atheism.  On the internet forums alone, you will find many atheists attacking Christianity for being "pagan" as they win converts along the way.
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« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2008, 11:02:11 AM »

Indeed.  I must say that the outright labeling of all things pagan as EVIL is a Protestant invention.  Unfortunately, it is a foolish presupposition that ultimately leads to agnosticism and even atheism.  On the internet forums alone, you will find many atheists attacking Christianity for being "pagan" as they win converts along the way.

I think I agree to an extent. I have noticed that when Christians become over-zealous at blasting things "pagan" and equating them with things evil, the response usually is, "look, you yourself are a bunch of ignorant rootless, culture-less robots." There is a tremendous uprising of Neo-Paganism in my native Ukraine today, and perhaps to some extent it is provoked and nourished by the negative attitude of some Christian clergy to ancient pre-Christian customs, feasts, songs etc. Incidentally, the word "pagan" in the modern vernacular Ukrainian sounds like "pohanyn," and, very unfortunately, immediately reminds of the word "pohanyj" (bad, evil), even though semantically the word "pagan" means simply native, ethnic - not "bad."
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« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2008, 02:09:09 PM »

I recently found some photos of a group of wooden pagan gods in a Russian clearing. Apparently some zealous Orthodox stepped in and razed them to the ground, and in their place set out icons and candles. Wasn't sure if this was the most diplomatic  of gestures either...

Ironic that there are those who would accuse the Orthodox of being too lenient in allowing traces of paganism to coexist with the religion and yet the Orthodox also have their limits of tolerance in some cases.
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« Reply #30 on: May 23, 2008, 02:59:14 PM »

I think I agree to an extent. I have noticed that when Christians become over-zealous at blasting things "pagan" and equating them with things evil, t=

Yuri, yet this trait of separating the Sacred (good) and Profane (evil) is a basic tenant of Paganism.
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« Reply #31 on: May 23, 2008, 06:39:42 PM »

Next time point out only English and German say Easter, the rest of the world says Pascha,

This is incorrect.  There are some other languages that use a form of the word Easter such as Japanese where it is "I-suta-"

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« Reply #32 on: May 23, 2008, 06:59:30 PM »

I completely agree... its just that there is a certain vein in Protestantism that, like Rosehip said, finds this appalling.  I have friends who refuse to use the word "Easter" because of the its pagan origins  Roll Eyes  I asked them why they were so afraid of a little word like "Easter".  But, that just offended them and they started quoting scriptures like "Whatever proceeds from the mouth...."  (insert: throwing up hands in frustration).


Well, we avoided this subject during the Spring for the last couple of years, so I guess it's time to bring out the true information again.  "Pagan Origins"?  "Easter" in English comes from the Anglo-Saxon/ Old English word for the feast of the Resurrection.  There is one reference in Bede to his theory that there was some 'goddess' named "Eostre" and even saints can make mistakes.

In the Anglo-Saxon language "east" means "east" as in the direction the sun rises.  In John R. Clark Hall's A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary can be found the list of words that have "Easter-" in them.  They refer in some way to the Christian feast, including "Eastremonad" ( the "d" is really an "eth" a letter we don't have now for a 'th' sound) which is "Easter-month" , that is April.

There is no Anglo Saxon 'goddess' named "Eostre", and I've seen some other really dubious things associated with this non-existant being such as a claim that the homone "Estrogen" is gets it name from that source.  (It doesn't)

So "Easter" is not a "pagan" word.   

Here are the links to the pertinent pages of Clark Hall:

http://lexicon.ff.cuni.cz/png/oe_clarkhall/b0085.png
http://lexicon.ff.cuni.cz/png/oe_clarkhall/b0086.png

They'll show up in very tiny print. Click on the symbol in the lower right corner to enlarge.

Ebor
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« Reply #33 on: May 23, 2008, 07:19:42 PM »

Ebor,

It's in the same vein as the whole "Samain was a Celtic God who demanded human sacrifice; hence Halloween is a satanic festival - and would you really like to sacrifice your children to the devil?" confusion that gets touted every October.
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« Reply #34 on: May 23, 2008, 08:54:42 PM »

Ebor,

It's in the same vein as the whole "Samain was a Celtic God who demanded human sacrifice; hence Halloween is a satanic festival - and would you really like to sacrifice your children to the devil?" confusion that gets touted every October.

Oh yes, and we've had a thread here about that in which that story was in, as I recall, the writings of an EO Bishop.  There is no such 'god' as "Samain/Samhain/Soween etc etc".  (just to make it plain to the casual reader  Smiley )

It's important to get the real, true information out, I think.

Ebor
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« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2008, 08:58:41 PM »

I completely agree... its just that there is a certain vein in Protestantism that, like Rosehip said, finds this appalling.  I have friends who refuse to use the word "Easter" because of the its pagan origins  Roll Eyes  I asked them why they were so afraid of a little word like "Easter".  But, that just offended them and they started quoting scriptures like "Whatever proceeds from the mouth...."  (insert: throwing up hands in frustration).


Just for information's sake, btw, the "Easter" is a pagan word from an Anglo-Saxon goddess bit has shown up in some EO places such as some time back on the "Indiana List" as I recall.  It's not just some branch of the Protestant Churches that puts that out.

Ebor
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« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2008, 09:02:00 PM »

Oh yes, and we've had a thread here about that in which that story was in, as I recall, the writings of an EO Bishop.  There is no such 'god' as "Samain/Samhain/Soween etc etc".  (just to make it plain to the casual reader  Smiley )

It's important to get the real, true information out, I think.

Ebor

I wholeheartedly agree. Last October, I received an email from a friend regarding what the EO Bishop had written, with the accompanying dire warnings, so I sent an explanation that he was just so far off base as to not even be on the field. Funny thing is, though, people would still prefer to believe the misinformation. I suppose it's more sensational than the truth.
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« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2008, 09:03:55 PM »

Just for information's sake, btw, the "Easter" is a pagan word from an Anglo-Saxon goddess bit has shown up in some EO places such as some time back on the "Indiana List" as I recall.  It's not just some branch of the Protestant Churches that puts that out.

Ebor

Exactly!
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« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2008, 07:17:11 AM »

I wholeheartedly agree. Last October, I received an email from a friend regarding what the EO Bishop had written, with the accompanying dire warnings, so I sent an explanation that he was just so far off base as to not even be on the field. Funny thing is, though, people would still prefer to believe the misinformation. I suppose it's more sensational than the truth.

Isn't that the truth.
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« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2008, 07:19:46 AM »

Thanks Ebor your explanation was helpful as well.
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« Reply #40 on: May 24, 2008, 07:25:22 AM »

Thanks Ebor your explanation was helpful as well.


You're very welcome.  I hope to be of service.  Smiley

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« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2008, 03:43:12 PM »

In terms of pagan influences, doesn't the Coptic Church use the Ancient Egyptians names for the months of the year?? They also use the Kemetic symbol, the ankh, AFAIK.

Last year for my history course, I wrote a paper on the Varangian-Rus (Scandinavians) and their influence on the early history of what is now Ukraine and Russia. I came across an article which was not bad, written about the Conversion of Ukraine in 988. Although I disagreed with the "dumbing-down" of a hagiographical account to the point of being just a sociological response to the events of the time, I do agree with the basic premise. That, all in all, past religions DO have an influence on a culture's acceptance of Christianity.

The Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru: Courage, Truth, Honour, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self Reliance, Industriousness, Perseverance. Are any of those anti-Christian?? I don't think so. I think we should all practice those virtues. In this aspect, Asatru is perfectly valid as opposed to Satanism or the like. THAT SAID, believing in more than One God is NOT a belief I would espouse. The Orthodox Church is the Fullness of Truth. But others might have some truth.
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« Reply #42 on: May 24, 2008, 04:55:24 PM »

Last year for my history course, I wrote a paper on the Varangian-Rus (Scandinavians) and their influence on the early history of what is now Ukraine and Russia. I came across which was not bad, written about the Conversion of Ukraine in 988. Although I disagreed with the "dumbing-down" of a hagiographical account to the point of being just a sociological response to the events of the time, I do agree with the basic premise. That, all in all, past religions DO have an influence on a culture's acceptance of Christianity.

The Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru: Courage, Truth, Honour, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self Reliance, Industriousness, Perseverance. Are any of those anti-Christian?? I don't think so. I think we should all practice those virtues. In this aspect, Asatru is perfectly valid as opposed to Satanism or the like. THAT SAID, believing in more than One God IS not a belief I would espouse. The Orthodox Church is the Fullness of Truth. But others might have some truth.


That is a very interesting point for consideration, Ukiemeister, and one that might be worth some more discussion.  The thought is in my mind about "pagan" that is pre-Christian *culture* as well as the religioun and how it has an influence on the acceptance of Christianity.  Two examples that came to mind (and this isn't totally thought through I'll admit) are Iceland and Japan.  The Icelanders voted to become Christian at the "Althing" the Gathering of the people to go over laws and suits and other affairs.  In Japan after some initial acceptance by some lords and a presence of about 45 years, the missionaries were expelled by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and there were martyrdoms.  From my reading this was based on the view of how Christianity would disrupt the social structure of the country as well as a possible threat from the Spanish and Portuguese to take over. The social aspect had to do with loyalty to one's family head/lord/Shogun in the hierarchy.   There were Christians there for some years but eventually it was forced deeply underground with known believers being executed and any attempts by missionaries to land there after the "Closing" dealt with by death.

What do you think?

Ebor
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« Reply #43 on: May 25, 2008, 05:37:06 PM »

That is a very interesting point for consideration, Ukiemeister, and one that might be worth some more discussion.  The thought is in my mind about "pagan" that is pre-Christian *culture* as well as the religioun and how it has an influence on the acceptance of Christianity.  Two examples that came to mind (and this isn't totally thought through I'll admit) are Iceland and Japan.  The Icelanders voted to become Christian at the "Althing" the Gathering of the people to go over laws and suits and other affairs.  In Japan after some initial acceptance by some lords and a presence of about 45 years, the missionaries were expelled by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and there were martyrdoms.  From my reading this was based on the view of how Christianity would disrupt the social structure of the country as well as a possible threat from the Spanish and Portuguese to take over. The social aspect had to do with loyalty to one's family head/lord/Shogun in the hierarchy.   There were Christians there for some years but eventually it was forced deeply underground with known believers being executed and any attempts by missionaries to land there after the "Closing" dealt with by death.

What do you think?

Ebor

I think Iceland and Japan are but two examples of the trend. Smiley Atheims in truth does not exist, everyone believes in a god, some merely choose to worship a false God; sex, power, wealth etc. The fact that religion exists outside of Christianity is indicative that humanity as a whole is subconciously aware that our humanity in its current state is a shattered and corrupted form of our true destiny. Thus, everyone tries to correct themselves, through seeking money, success, etc. or by worshipping Odin or Wesir or Krishna, or by seeking to follow the path of Buddha.

It is also interesting to note that the Japanese belief in the Emperor as divine is not dissimilar to what the Apostles expected Jesus to do, establish His Kingdom on Earth.
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« Reply #44 on: May 25, 2008, 07:54:01 PM »

I think Iceland and Japan are but two examples of the trend. Smiley

Well, yes, they were the first two that came to mind of cultures that shared some of the virtues mentioned.  And I think it might be worth a thought.

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Atheims in truth does not exist, everyone believes in a god, some merely choose to worship a false God; sex, power, wealth etc.

I'm not an atheist, but I think that there would be some who would disagree with you on that point. 

Quote
The fact that religion exists outside of Christianity is indicative that humanity as a whole is subconciously aware that our humanity in its current state is a shattered and corrupted form of our true destiny. Thus, everyone tries to correct themselves, through seeking money, success, etc. or by worshipping Odin or Wesir or Krishna, or by seeking to follow the path of Buddha.

C. S. Lewis wrote about this more then once.  The Abolition of Man looks at some of the common morals and ethics in different places and times.  He also wrote of God sending "Good Dreams" to people in the times before the Incarnation.

Quote
It is also interesting to note that the Japanese belief in the Emperor as divine is not dissimilar to what the Apostles expected Jesus to do, establish His Kingdom on Earth.

 Huh  I'm sorry?  Could you please explain a bit of what you mean here?  I cannot see anything like that in the Kojiki that tells of the origins of the 'kami' and the descent of the Japanese Imperial House.   And "State Shinto" wasn't codified until after the Meiji Restoration in the mid-19th Century.

I would suggest that a more similar parallel for Christianity in Japan would have been that of "Amida Buddha" in Nembutsu and "Pure Land" Buddhism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Land

Ebor
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