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Author Topic: What's the difference?  (Read 956 times) Average Rating: 0
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William
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« on: January 24, 2012, 05:59:27 PM »

We Christians like to point at what has happened in atheist states when atheists have taken power, but how is this any different from the suppression of paganism and persecution of heretics that went on in Christian states such as Rome or Russia?
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 06:05:31 PM »

Loaded question fallacy.
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 06:13:17 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Loaded question fallacy.

It is a loaded question, but it isn't exactly a fallacy. We as Orthodox need to grow up and accept our histories without romanticism, otherwise we both appear to be hypocrites while also not learning the depth and wisdom God has given us to transcend beyond our mistakes and shortcomings.  God is perfect, we are not.  We then should learn from our progress, not get stunted in an anachronism.  The OP asks a legitimate question, and while I myself don't have an answer, perhaps it is indeed a question which we ALL should take to heart in prayer.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 06:13:48 PM »

I don't see how my question has any faulty presupposition. It's pretty well known that Christian societies have suppressed various religious groups. I don't know if it was on the same scale as the modern secularist regimes' crimes, and that's largely what I'm asking about.
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2012, 09:04:27 PM »

I was just reading some stuff in the library last week, one was "Anglo-Saxon Spirituality" which had some letters of a Christian convert whose name I forget... he was nothing but disgusted with paganism and spoke of human sacrifices, the practice of abandoning infants, etc. It is no crime that Christianity suppressed that. Or the worship of Crom Cruach in Ireland where people sacrificed their children to him. I'm not sorry at all that Christ put an end to them.
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2012, 09:14:34 PM »

Good point. What about Roman paganism, though? I've heard that it forced women into temple prostitution which was pretty bad, but other than that it doesn't seem so uncivilized.
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2012, 09:29:21 PM »

Well, with regard to the suppresion of paganism I suppose one should specify which suppressions or how they were accomplished to better be able to answer the question, as to "persecution of heretics", as a Protestant I would have said in doing so we "Christians" were betraying our principles, while the atheists were living out the ultimate extremes of theirs.
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2012, 12:25:30 AM »

There is no difference at all; both sides committed evil. Anybody, on either side, who tries to use this argument to attack the opposite side is a fallacious hypocrite because no single group or idealogy is guilt-free; each have committed some evil act in history. However, bringing this up is useful for humbling other types of people. Atheists love to accuse Christians of the atrocities we committed throughout history, yet, they are usually entirely ignorant of the atheistic persecution that went on in Russia or China. By bringing it up, you remind them that no one is guilt-free, even though they will deny it. I would say, however, as someone above said, that Christian persecutions show what happens when we forget about our ideology, and atheistic persecutions are the results of ideologies taken to the fullest which are based upon an atheistic worldview.
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2012, 12:29:04 AM »

Some groups are worthy of suppression, others are not. Also, the methods used to suppress paganism in Christian regimes were quite different than those used by pagans to suppress Christianity.
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2012, 12:45:53 AM »

Some groups are worthy of suppression, others are not. Also, the methods used to suppress paganism in Christian regimes were quite different than those used by pagans to suppress Christianity.

Could you be more specific?

Good post, James.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 12:46:04 AM by William » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 01:47:56 AM »

Loaded question fallacy.

Biro! This truly brought me to tears! Bravo!
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2012, 03:26:22 AM »

Some groups are worthy of suppression, others are not. Also, the methods used to suppress paganism in Christian regimes were quite different than those used by pagans to suppress Christianity.

Could you be more specific?

Good post, James.
Much of the "suppression" of paganism was merely the withdrawal of state support.
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 04:03:12 PM »

There is evil on each side.  But I would say more evil on the Atheists part.  More murders.

Mao & Stalin for example.   Some may include Hitler.

However there was a lot of persecution by Roman Catholics & Protestants to other Christians, such as the Anabaptists.
http://www.theanabaptistschurch.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN6nJV_mxU4


As far as EO goes, I don't think you can compare much the the communist atheists for mass murder of EO Christians.
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2012, 01:17:39 AM »

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« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2012, 01:22:08 AM »

Some groups are worthy of suppression, others are not. Also, the methods used to suppress paganism in Christian regimes were quite different than those used by pagans to suppress Christianity.

Could you be more specific?

Good post, James.
Much of the "suppression" of paganism was merely the withdrawal of state support.

But were not many pagan temples also burnt or torn down?
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« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2012, 01:47:59 AM »

There is evil on each side.  But I would say more evil on the Atheists part.  More murders.

Mao & Stalin for example.   Some may include Hitler.

However there was a lot of persecution by Roman Catholics & Protestants to other Christians, such as the Anabaptists.
http://www.theanabaptistschurch.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN6nJV_mxU4


As far as EO goes, I don't think you can compare much the the communist atheists for mass murder of EO Christians.

Hitler, Stalin, and Mao had the advantage of industrialized armies so it is hard to compare them with people centuries before them who did not have such advantages. Who is to say if that if the Byzantines had it, their persecutions of Jews, pagans, and Monophysites would have been far worse? Same with the Russian Church's persecution of Old Believers and others. 

I see no virtue in arguing about who was worse. We should lament the sins that humanity has inflicted upon itself.

May God forgive us all!
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« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2012, 02:14:38 AM »

While the Christian states were discriminatory toward non-Christian religions, they were not generally engaged in genocidal mania toward groups.  With the modern totalitarian regimes, such as the Nazis, they could not tolerate a group, even if it was made to be severely disadvantaged; they simply said, "Kill all of them."  If the Christian Emperors had wanted to kill all the Jews in the Byzantine Empire, especially before the conversion of the Khazar Empire to Judaism, they could have easily done so.  Perhaps not on an industrial scale, but, it could have been done, since everyone knew where the large Jewish populations where (Thessalonika, etc). However, they choose not to do that, but, instead, to generally follow the advice of St. Augustine and others, and place the Jews as a religious group (though not as an ethnic group, since conversion lifted the situation) under legal disabilities. For example:

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

It wasn't complete freedom of religion, and they were subject to state discrimination, and periodic persecutions, but, it certainly wasn't the Holocaust, nor was it even comparable to the blood letting under the Diocletian period, especially the horrific time in Palestine (see Eusebius of Caesaria). 

Also, Paganism was a dying force, and it could not theological compete with Christianity; you only find the more sophisticated non-Christian 'pagan' Neo-platonists, surviving.  Many of them left to the Persian Empire after Justinian closed down the Academy, but, they found themselves in a far worse situation there, and were allowed back into the Empire.

I think we should not compare the state enforced disabilities and discriminations, and occasional persecutions found, in, let's say the Eastern Empire, to that which the Nazis did.  For one, they were not as violent. Two, their aims were completely different. Three, the Nazis didn't care if you were a Jew who had become a Christian, it was a 'racial' question to them. Fourth, the Nazis plan was to kill every last one of their enemies (Jews, Gypsies, Serbs, kill and partially enslave the Slavs), the Empire idea was to just hem the non-Christian groups in, in order to maintain the concept of what would later be called, "Cuius regio, eius religio".

But, again, it wasn't right, but, then again, it was no where the intention of what the Nazis did, or what the Communists did in Russia.

I'm sure there are other cases of less or greater degrees of this.
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2012, 06:41:19 AM »

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and spoke of human sacrifices

We burned witches.

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the practice of abandoning infants

This was practised centuries after Europe became christian. Often, children who were unwanted or weak were placed out in the forest even before they were baptized, for the animals to take them. In Norway they were called utbyrd and it was believed that the unbaptized spirits could attack a person during night and kill him if he did not bury their corpses on holy ground.
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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2012, 12:42:27 PM »

There is evil on each side.  But I would say more evil on the Atheists part.  More murders.

Mao & Stalin for example.   Some may include Hitler.

However there was a lot of persecution by Roman Catholics & Protestants to other Christians, such as the Anabaptists.
http://www.theanabaptistschurch.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN6nJV_mxU4


As far as EO goes, I don't think you can compare much the the communist atheists for mass murder of EO Christians.

Hitler, Stalin, and Mao had the advantage of industrialized armies so it is hard to compare them with people centuries before them who did not have such advantages. Who is to say if that if the Byzantines had it, their persecutions of Jews, pagans, and Monophysites would have been far worse? Same with the Russian Church's persecution of Old Believers and others. 

I see no virtue in arguing about who was worse. We should lament the sins that humanity has inflicted upon itself.

May God forgive us all!

I agree with your point completely.   I believe they very well could have been as brutal.

However, be careful in hypotheticals, history & the world are confusing enough.   We never know if they Byzantines could have backed off if they did see the brutality they were causing.  I don't know... They could have been more brutal.

What we have is what we have.

The Atheist backed regimes have shown massacre to the levels that the Christians have not.  (Hitler may have not been Atheist, but pagan - besides the point). 

However, how God views this, I do not know. 

But I absolutely understand your point and find it very valid.
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« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2012, 09:29:21 PM »

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« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2012, 03:23:30 PM »

Good point. What about Roman paganism, though? I've heard that it forced women into temple prostitution which was pretty bad, but other than that it doesn't seem so uncivilized.

I don't know about Greek or Roman temple prostitution.  Herodotus makes mention of Lydian women being prostituted, though it seems from his writing that this was a foreign concept amongst the Greeks. 

A quick wikipedia search confirms that it seems to have been rare, mostly confined to the fringes of the Greek world, except the notable case of the Temple of Aphrodite in Corinth.

I've heard nothing about this from Roman sources.  The most famous of the female priesthoods were the Vestal Virgins, who were, as their name implies, required to be virgins.  The penalty for failing in this was pretty harsh (burying alive).  The other all female festival I can think of was the Bona Dea.  Men were not allowed in this at all - so once again - no prostitution.  (Quite a scandal arose when Clodius Pulcher infiltrated one of these ceremonies in drag.)

Looking on wikipedia, there seem to have been some festivals in which prostitutes were involved, though it doesn't look like there was large scale temple prostitution in Rome either.
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« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2012, 05:02:06 PM »

Some groups are worthy of suppression, others are not. Also, the methods used to suppress paganism in Christian regimes were quite different than those used by pagans to suppress Christianity.

Could you be more specific?

Good post, James.
Much of the "suppression" of paganism was merely the withdrawal of state support.

But were not many pagan temples also burnt or torn down?

Paganism had waned anyway by that time in much of the empire. Should the Christian government have subsidized ruins?
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« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2012, 05:33:35 PM »

We Christians like to point at what has happened in atheist states when atheists have taken power, but how is this any different from the suppression of paganism and persecution of heretics that went on in Christian states such as Rome or Russia?
There is some difference, at least theoretically, in forms of suppression. If a certain culture practices human slavery, based on religious reasons, then to suppress that practice or the cultural elements that support that practice, might be justified.
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