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Author Topic: Pagan claims  (Read 2156 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin
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« on: January 16, 2004, 02:25:20 AM »

I assume this is the right place for my following post.

A friend of mine claims to adhere to something of a person faith based on the Nordic Pantheon.  He claims that since the Nordic religions existed prior to Christ's birth, that Oden (due to his own 'crucifixion') is in fact the basis of the Christian faith.  In addition he claims that Baldur (I think) is another basis for Christ due to his betrayal and murder.

My question is:  How can one mistake fictional stories of mythology for the more concrete events in the Bible?  and Did the evil one help to establish these religions before the time of Christ?  I'm sorry if my question is a bit unfocused, but it's half past one in the morning.

Anything anybody can add would be helpful.
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2004, 03:22:24 AM »

My two cents:

For the most part I believe these pre-Christian, non-Judeo religions are human attempts to reach the divine which humanity, before Christ, found itself alienated from. Also, there is the possibility that some of these faiths were introduced by the devil. I know the psalms speak of this, as well as Milton
( Smiley ) .  I've had these "human striving" religions explained to me in the "onion dome" analogy. If you take a circle, this circle can represent all human potential and possibility. The ability to be cruel, arrogant, prideful, lusty, etc. all falling somewhere in the bottom portion of this cirlce. Other human qualities such as kindness, a certain measure of abstinence from sinful behaviors, selflessness, charity, llove, etc. all fall somewhere in the topmost section of this cirlcle. However, as was said, this circle merely represents human possibility with perhaps some of God's will working from the outside.  Now picture a dome with a nice point attached  to the top of that cirlce. This dome is Christ. With Christ , after he put on humankind, and we, through baptism are grafted onto his body, can transcend this circle. Now the human qualities can be infused with the divine and lifted outside of this circle to what, with Christianity, is this onion dome of sorts. Being brought outside this circle to the dome is the salvation of Christ. Without Christ though, no matter how good and pious we are, we can't reach the peak of that dome and therefore have salvation.  Does that make any sense?

Also, some elements of these pagan religions, whether in stories of the Virgin Birth in Greek mythology, or perhaps the story of Krishna coming to Earth in the Bhagavada-Gita, or maybe even some aspects of Norse mythology which I don't know about,  may all serve as prototypes for the real event of man's salvation through Christ. Some modern biblical scholars, and even a few who claim to be "Christian", make the same claims as your friend- that the Christian "stories" were all influenced by the mythology of the past. However, if Christ really is the redeemer of the whole world, why could he not redeem and sanctify  the mythology of the past? Or, perhaps these myths, being products of mans' desire to come into contact with the divine(i.e. salvation) are just more testaments to the failure of a mankind without Christ, represented in pale images and stories in preparation for Christ. The myths are kind of like the shadows on the walls of Plato's cave. Perhaps mankind collectively and instinctively knew that real salvation would come about through certain means- virgin birth(greeks), God coming to Earth(the Vedas), etc.,  and these events were worked out into stories still within that realm of the circle, not yet topped by the dome of salvation.

Hope there's some sense to all of what I just wrote.
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2004, 09:03:40 AM »

Has he ever read Voluspa? I have!

You should read Ronald Hutton's The Triumph of the Moon and The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles.  The first one is specifically a book on the bogonitudelack of historical basis of neo-pagans. He's a proper historian and the books in question are genuine history.

Part of the problem is that most of what we know about Norse religion is filtered through Christian authors (as Hutton points out in a passge on pp. 280-282 of the second work). It's entirely possible that the story of Baldur echos that of Jesus because these stories were given that color later, for instance. The Baldur story more precisely echos that of Persephone, which is hardly surprising: they are both mythologizations of the passage of the seasons. As Lewis points out, one of the interesting things about the Judaeo-Christian tradition is that they have no interest in the particular topic at all; seasons happen out of divine ordinance, and the Bible is done with the topic before the end of Genesis 1.
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Ebor
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2004, 11:01:03 AM »

Is it "Asatru" that your friend is talking about?  

Lewis writes of the earlier mythologies being God sending messages to prepare for the Reality of Jesus.  I'd have to look up the exact passages.

We don't actually *know* how old the Norse myths are.  We only have when they were written down.  They are old, yes, but Judaism existed prior to Christ's birth...so why didn't he choose it on that criteria?  

Odin didn't "crucify" himself for the good of humanity.

"+ô+¦inn is said to know all, but his search for knowledge never stops.+ô+¦inn learned the runes, that is the power of magic, by hanging in a tree for nine days and nights, wounded with his own spear. The pains which +ô+¦inn went through is a well known rite, some kind of an initiation. These kinds of initiation, which often includes faking one's death and then resurrecting as a fully-grown man, are well known among tribes all over the earth. Some think that the story of +ô+¦inn hanging in the tree is an imitation (of the story) of Christ on the cross."

The above quote is found at:
http://www.islandia.is/~oldnorse/gods/odinn.htm

Ebor
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2004, 11:19:25 AM »

Good posts all.  I would also throw into the mix a few books by Mircea Eliade, "Shamanism" and "The Sacred and the Profane".  

"The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."

Arthurian legend is a good example of a culture expressing the transition from prechristian paganism into Christianity.   Even though the entire world was not prepared for Christ by way of Judaism, God in his ineffable mercy revealed enough of His nature that the world may understand the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of our Lord.  St. Paul's conversations with Greek philosophers at Mars Hill also bear witness to this.
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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2004, 11:28:45 AM »

For those who wish to compare Odin's hanging on Yggdrasil to the Crucifixtion, here is a link to the "Havamal", The Sayings of the High One, from the "Elder Edda"(the Prose Edda as opposed to the Poetic Edda)

http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/havamal.html#men  

The quest for the runes starts at verse 137. You can click the link at the top for Quest after the Runes.

Ebor

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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2004, 11:59:26 AM »

Its funny that these claims of pagan origins for Christian teachings did not show up in the early church.  I don't recall ever reading in any of the discourses of the church fathers a claim by pagan that Christianity was a counterfeit of their faith.  It is not until the "enlightenment" that we begin to see these bogus claims come to the surface.  In their desperate attempts to reconnect with the classical and pre-Christian world - which allowed and encouraged the licentiousness which they desired - they invented the “pagan origins” myth.  SADLY, many Christians today are buying into this falsehood.
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2004, 12:21:32 PM »

Its funny that these claims of pagan origins for Christian teachings did not show up in the early church.  I don't recall ever reading in any of the discourses of the church fathers a claim by pagan that Christianity was a counterfeit of their faith.  It is not until the "enlightenment" that we begin to see these bogus claims come to the surface.  In their desperate attempts to reconnect with the classical and pre-Christian world - which allowed and encouraged the licentiousness which they desired - they invented the “pagan origins” myth.  SADLY, many Christians today are buying into this falsehood.


I agree with you, Br.Max,OFC. But I also speculate that the Neo-platonists actually started this corruption in concept long before the Reformation and it continues to fit a secularized view today.

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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2004, 10:06:27 PM »

Thanks everybody for your responses.  What is the general opinion on ultra-inclusionism brought up by my Catholic friend.  'You have choose the religion that is right for you.'  How is that even compatible with Christianity?  I know that we pray for all to attain salvation, but how can we say 'don't worry about following Christ, if you believe somebody else got it right, go right ahead.'  That sounds like a dangerous thing to say.
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2004, 11:48:56 PM »

Justin: there is only one way to heaven - Jesus Christ, but there are MANY different ways of traveling that road. Some ways of traveling the road are bumpy, some are comfortable; some ways are fast and dangerous, some slow and safe - but so long as a person is on the road of Christ and not of Buddha or Mohamed . . . .I for one am not going to worry.  I'm willing to share with a fellow traveler about the way I have chosen to travel the road, but I for sure am not going to force everyone to get in the car with me!!
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2004, 02:19:25 AM »

Well said Br. Max, OFC.  I completely agree with you.  I just don't understand how anyone can say that all roads (including Buddha's and Mohamed's) lead to heaven, from a Christian, especially RC perspective.
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2004, 11:02:58 AM »

Justin: Wishful thinking on their part.  
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2004, 04:22:24 PM »

Thanks everybody for your responses.  What is the general opinion on ultra-inclusionism brought up by my Catholic friend.  'You have choose the religion that is right for you.'  How is that even compatible with Christianity?  I know that we pray for all to attain salvation, but how can we say 'don't worry about following Christ, if you believe somebody else got it right, go right ahead.'  That sounds like a dangerous thing to say.

Well, it isn't compatible, it's a contradiction. Believing something that is not True doesn't make for a "right way".  The various pantheons of myth and legend are not Real In Time and Space and History.  "Odin" can't be placed in a specific place and time as Jesus can.  Also, due to the imperfection of Human Beings, deciding that something is "Right" for them sometimes means "I like this" or "This lets me do what I want." or something like that.  I've read that there are people in Greece advocating worship of the Olympian Gods. But do these people *REALLY* believe that there is a Zeus who will hurl a thunderbolt? Do they live in fear of his wrath and attempt to appease him?  Or is it their way of rebelling against what they percieve as a culture that is telling them they shouldn't do things they want to or that has hurt them in some way?  I don't know.  But I think of questions and try to understand *why* people do things.

Ebor
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The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
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