Author Topic: Early Christianity Based on Modern Christianity  (Read 571 times)

Offline Baruch

Re: Early Christianity Based on Modern Christianity
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2019, 05:35:45 PM »
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Well, I used to be a Christian apologist, but I'm very sure I'm not one now. ;)

Anyway, it might help if we take this discussion in smaller bites. As I see it, Christian belief in miracles has not changed much in two thousand years. Christians today as in the first century (or at least the latter part of the first century) believe Jesus healed the lame, restored sight to the blind, and raised the dead among other magical works. Many Christians today believe as the earliest Christians did that they can be filled with the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues and prophesying.

So do you agree with me so far? Agree, disagree, why or why not?

Yes, the idea of miracles is perennial, in all religions.  What is viewed as miraculous (and technically nothing is) is based on culture.  Interestingly, the Buddhist engaged in, but denied the importance of paranormal events, same as Jesus.  A real miracle would be for Jesus to snap his fingers and all the Romans in Judea/Galilee disappear ;-)

Yes, per the Didache ... you have unintelligible speaking in tongues, but it isn't edifying unless an inspired interpreter is available.  Such pairings are a recurring phenomena in Jewish false messiahs (this is a recurring phenomena).  Modern speaking in tongues, doesn't originate in the West, not then nor now.  The Church had completely supressed it.  It came about from the African-American church about 120 years ago.  An African phenomena, just as circumcision is.  That is because African medicine men are closer to shamanism.  One of these Black preachers ended up in Kansas and then it expanded from there, particularly to Los Angeles CA.

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This movement was millennial and inter-racial (like early Christianity).  When Pentecostalism went more mainstream, the intolerant White members broke away and became Charismatics ... race mixing was very progressive even 50 year ago.

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Re: Early Christianity Based on Modern Christianity
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2019, 07:30:37 PM »
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Well, I think the earliest Christians were gnostics, but I think there are few of those around these days. Even Saul/Paul, the founder of what later came to be called Christianity, has been accused of having been a gnostic.

I'm familiar with the Christianity-came-from-Gnosticism theory. It's a controversial theory because many scholars maintain that Gnosticism came from Christianity.

In any case, the two belief systems do resemble each other. They both see "the world" in a negative way, both maintain that there is an unknowable God, and both are ways to achieve salvation.

So I agree that at least some of the earliest Christians held beliefs that might qualify them as Gnostics although many other Christians might have seen them as heretics.

Some Gnostics are still active today. For example, the Mandaeans are an ancient Gnostic sect still active in Iran and Iraq with small communities in other parts of the world.

But I'm still not sure how the relationship between Gnosticism and early Christianity disqualifies modern Christianity as a model of nascent Christianity. Like the Gnostics, modern Christians believe in an unknowable God, frown on that which is "worldly," and hope for salvation.

Re: Early Christianity Based on Modern Christianity
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2019, 07:42:44 PM »
Yeah, I have no problem with that. It may just be a matter of point of view, though, or a matter of definition. Maybe you need to specify exactly what you mean by modern Christianity, and then make your points about how the early Christians were similar. You've already done some of that, but not in a comprehensive way. If you give us bullet points we can better see how you mean it. Some of us are dense, and need to have it spelled out for us.
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"Ideas have consequences, and totally erroneous ideas are likely to have destructive consequences."
Steve Allen

Offline Baruch

Re: Early Christianity Based on Modern Christianity
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2019, 09:56:52 PM »
Perennial phenomena are ... perennial.  We can see them as well today, as 2000 years ago.  But not everything is perennial.

Gnosticism was judged by the bishops prior to Constantine, as heretical.  Same as pentecostalism.  But where the bishops not just buttering their own bread, at the expense of the parish?  And post Constantine, what the bishops said, now had the force of law.

Paul himself was gnostic (he never knew a historical Jesus, nor should he have).  The Johannine theology is closest among the official gospels, to the Pauline theology, and therefore closest to the gnostic view (in that sense it is older than the synoptics not later).  I consider the Didache and the Gospel of Thomas, primitive forms, in content, prior to the synoptic Gospels etc.  Paul's authentic letters are the oldest material we have, but you can't legitimately explain them in terms of gospels that Paul never read.  The synoptic gospels were Hellenistic novellas, mythologies, designed to appeal to an illiterate laity.  Borrowed from popular pagan and Jewish themes (Damon & Pythias for example).  Both Paul and Clement of Alexandria speaks to this, that the mature in faith say different things among each other, than they do around the laity.  The unbaptized are not allowed access to the "mysteries".  Indeed, as the husband of a clergy spouse, I can tell you it is still true.  And laity are more well read now than 2000 years ago.  It is conventionally analyzed that when Jesus speaks of "ears to hear and eyes to see" he is condemning Jewish people, particularly Jewish religious authorities.  I don't read my NT that way ... the laity are the ones who are ignorant, to the experts.  But once you get on the tiger (teaching a mythology as history) how do you get off without the tiger eating you?  In the annotation to the Gospel of Peter, one clergy writes to another ... "we can't have Jesus doing this ... even if Jesus did, we can't teach it".

Shamanism, sometimes spontaneous, works in 1400s France too ...

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« Last Edit: May 24, 2019, 10:13:11 PM by Baruch »
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luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy

 

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