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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Apex of Blind Devotion

Today I saw what, to me anyways, epitomizes the blind devotion to the absolute NEED on the part of some atheists to denigrate Christianity and the positive impact it's had on Western Civilization. The exact quote that I'm referring to is...

"Christians and Christian Empire= Darth Vader and Death Star. Jews and Pagans= Rebel Alliance"

I specifically question the "pagan" part of this statement. Admittedly, this example may be a bit overly simplified but this sentiment is out there. In reference to the fairy-tale that pagans of pre-Christian society were anything resembling Rousseau's "Noble Savages", I wonder if this commenter would like to comment on...
  • The origin of the word "fleshpot" and how Christianity influenced it.
  • The origin of the word "bezerk" and Christianity's role in it.
  • Who was Telemachus and what practice did he end?

I have other examples of course but this should be enough to start the ball rolling on the discussion of What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?

30 comments:

tinkbell13 said...

JD

So much of what we say goes over your head..... We have all been telling you that the Bible draws on multiple mythological sources for creating the narrative. We are constantly showing you direct references found in the Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Pagan mythology, of which you directly ignore.

I did not pull the Star Wars metaphor out of my head, I am not that smart. This was used in reference to an idea from a noted scholar Joseph Campbell, who had compounded on the ideas given to us by Carl Jung. Here is a link.This is not the best reference, but I can give you an idea of how Star Wars ties in. The book, which has been studied extensively, and is basically an intro text in any liberal arts first year university program in Canada and Europe, discusses the archetypal myths that are threaded throughout Western Literature, Bible included. The Hero with a Thousand Faces;

http://www.moongadget.com/origins/myth.html

The reason why so much of this goes past you is because you do not seek the information yourself. We all tell you to pick up a book, research, question the information. You do not. You go on your gut reaction, and you do not know what the hell you are talking about. Next time, ask before you dismiss. I do not think that you are stupid, just very blind to your ignorance.

JD Curtis said...

Which is precisely what I am asking you to do. Pick up A BOOK. I believe there were 3 questions left unanswered.

I did check out your above link. It had little if anything to say about Christianty, unless there was something specific from it I missed that you wanted to point out to me.

Ginx said...

Of all people... mister "Christians invented schools" is telling someone to pick up a book.

I seriously fell out of my chair laughing.

tinkbell13 said...

I will not point anything out to you.

Ginx- I know. We have all been telling him that he needs to educate himself about his faith, and that he has no idea what he is talking about. And, that is what he comes to. Did he really say that Christians invented schools? That is ripe.

I am not answering your questions. Here is a thought- answer your own. You sure can lead good old JD to the water, but he will never drink. Maybe you need to lead him to the beer and pork rinds to get any result.

JD Curtis said...

University of Bologna

Oldest university in Europe, founded in Bologna, Italy, in 1088. It became in the 12th – 13th centuries the principal centre for studies in civil and canon law, and it served as a model for the organization of universities throughout Europe. Link

Saying that Christians invented schools would be a stretch. However to illustrate your point further, perhaps you could provide a link to the comparative studies between literacy rates among children in pre Christian and Christianized Germany?

JD Curtis said...

I am not answering your questions

Fine. Don't answer them, it's a free country. Just don't go around spouting off factual nonsense, grandoising pagan cultures without a shred of evidence to back it up.

tinkbell13 said...

Spoken like a true genius....

"Factual nonsense" Totally speaks for itself.

JD, there is no point with you. You do not listen, do not learn. Let us recap what has happened:

1. I posted about how the Jewish People and the Pagans were the biggest threat to the Roman Empire (which became the first Christian Empire).

2. You wanted credible historians after citing an uncredible source yourself.

3. I told you to read books, learn history for yourself.

4. I gave Feeno a metaphor for Star Wars, which you completely misinterpreted. Then, you posted three questions which you want me to answer. I have told you, again to hit the books.

What is the point? You still have not even looked up the initial argument.

Here is something else, because it looks like you may have actually attempted to research something else for yourself. So wrong about Christians starting schools. Actually, schooling started in Ancient Egypt, and was formalized in Greece. All of this predates the early Christians. if you would actually read any history that actually comes before the Bible, you would not be so ill informed about everything.
http://www.philipcoppens.com/egyptgreece.html

Ginx said...

Considering the 1600 years or so of Christian majority in Western Culture, it would be impossible to claim Christians have added nothing to the development of knowledge. Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Bacon, Newton, Mendel, even Darwin... all Christian. We can throw in Einstein, even though he certainly wasn't Christian, nor did he practice a traditional form of Judaism... but it is safe to say he was a theist to a fault ("God does not throw craps" was Einstein's dogmatic answer to quantum mechanics).

In addition, Classical Greek and Roman cultures were not without their problems (and by problems I mean atrocities). Because many of these "traditions" were enshrined in their religion, Christianity performed an invaluable service in decimating the practice of these faiths (it's unfortunate they felt it necessary to also destroy the beautiful architecture, art, books, and scrolls).

Monotheism is nothing but incomplete atheism, as it is a rejection of nearly all the gods and the ridiculous practices that are demanded by them. Christians do not even realize that they vindicate the atheist when they point out the traditions Christianity has ended. One day, Christianity will crumble and be replaced by something else (not "atheism," but probably some form of religion that is atheistic, like Buddhism or Scientology... *cringe*), and our future generations will laugh about it all in history class.

tinkbell13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tinkbell13 said...

Yes, Ginx. I agree, and the fact that I am referencing the Greeks, Jews, and Egyptians does not mean that I am idealizing, nor endorsing some of their practices. There are certainly many criticisms inherent in their ideologies, some of which were actually improved by the introduction of the Christian Empire. One such example is the treatment of women. Women actually achieved more visibility in contrast to the way that they were forced to live in Ancient Greece. So, I just want to make that clear, but that is a whole other discussion, and not the one on the table right now.

I am just trying to illuminate the fact that Chrisitianity has multiple historical points of view. Ironically, many of the people that call themselves Christians are completely ignorant to this. In contrast, many of us that identify as being atheist are well versed in this. We are also more informed in the history that predates the canonization of the Bible, and the historical contexts of the issues that are embedded in the subtext of the Bible. And, many Christians do not want to learn this. They do not want to crack a book, they do not want to see the complexity of multiple viewpoints, they do not want to learn anything new.

Yes, Christianity will crumble, it already is. Forget future generations, many of us laugh at it now in history class.

Ginx said...

I just don't think it's fair to say Western Civilization was butchered by Christianity. If anything, it was just circumcised.

tinkbell13 said...

Yes, I would also agree with that. LOL.

photogr said...

My esteemed and learned colleagues. Did I detect that if Christianity fails you state it will be replaced with another faith based ideaology? Does this mean mankind needs some sort of faith or religion to have hope for the future?

Perhaps schooling was actually stated before the ancient Egyptian times wouldn't you think? I think the oldest parchment or tablet recorded in history dated before the ancient Egyptian times but I am not a history buff.

OK. So some say the bible is a mythology or full of metaphors. What puzles me most is the predictions that are in the bible written so long ago have actually come true and based on historical facts. Over 500 out of 1,000 predictions.The latest being Israel again becomming a nation in 1947. But then again I am not a history buff. It has a better batting average than any of the modern day sooth sayers and fortune tellers so far.

I am not a scholar or a learned person. I just try to gather the facts and justify the evidence available to me.

Thank you for your wisdom.

feeno said...

JD
I've been waiting for a full report or at least an update on the happenings in Massachusetts.

photogr
And thank you for your wisdom too.

Geenks
Yeah, you might be right. But the Bible does teach that people will turn from God to a form of religion that seems right in their own eyes.

TB 13
You and JD are either Spy vs. Spy or have been married for about 50 years?

Smell ya later holmes, feeno

tinkbell13 said...

@ Feeno- I am way too young for JD, trust me.

tinkbell13 said...

@ Photogr- With all due respect-

There is also many many failed prophecies in the Bible. So, your comment about the batting average is pretty skewed. Please, check out the link so that you can see the information for yourself.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/end_wrl2.htm

I would also like to know if you believe that you have free will?

tinkbell13 said...

@ Photogr

Here is what Dr. Theodore Drange has to say about the claim that the prophecy concerning the return of the Jews to "the holy land" has come true in modern times-

(VIII) The Nation of Israel

Although McDowell does not mention it, Henry Morris takes the restoration of the nation of Israel in the twentieth century as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. [9] He cites Ezekiel 37:21 in which God says:

I am going to take the Israelite people from among the nations they have gone to, and gather them from every quarter, and bring them to their own land. (Tanakh)
The obvious objection is that Ezekiel is not here talking about the twentieth century but is predicting the return of the Jews from their captivity, exile, and dispersal at the hands of the Assyrians (in the 8th and 7th centuries, B.C.) and the Babylonians (in the 7th and 6th centuries). That return occurred in 537 B.C., shortly after the book of Ezekiel was written. In itself, it is a prophecy that became fulfilled, though not a particularly remarkable one. The book was written during the exile, and there may have been good evidence available to Ezekiel that the exile would soon come to an end. Other parts of the prophecy, that the returning Jews would faithfully observe God's laws and that they would live in their restored homeland forever (Eze 37:24-28) were not fulfilled. It is understandable why McDowell stayed clear of this alleged prophecy, though it is sometimes cited by missionaries today. As a prophecy about an event 2500 years in the future, it would certainly be an impressive one if it could be adequately supported.

Undaunted, Morris cites Isaiah 11:11-12, which reads:

In that day, My Lord will apply His hand again to redeeming the other part of His people from Assyria - as also from Egypt, Pathros, Nubia, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the coastlands. He will hold up a signal to the nations and assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Tanakh)
Morris claims that Isaiah's use of the word "again" indicates that he is referring to the twentieth century, A.D., and that "the first time" would be the return from the Babylonian captivity. But there is a more plausible interpretation: that the word "again" is referring to what was then (at the writing of Isaiah) a future return from the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles and that "the first time" would be the Exodus (from Egypt, many centuries earlier).

Although I have not looked at all the alleged remarkable fulfilled prophecies, my conclusion is that none of them is what its advocates maintain. Many of them are not prophecies at all. Of the ones that are prophecies, almost all remain unfulfilled. And the few that are fulfilled prophecies are not remarkable, for one reason or another. Therefore, premise (1) of the Argument from the Bible has not been adequately supported and may reasonably be doubted.

Also, the majority of the prophecies in the Bible were written in the Old Testament. Does it count when they are written after the fact?

JD Curtis said...

Tink, does your social autism know no bounds? If you were to inform me that you posted a couple of questions, directly to me, at your blog, I would answer them. (Provided they were REAL questions, of course).

I see absolutely nothing wrong with the questions that I posed to you. Youre just playing "snipe-and-dodge" at this point.

If youre so sure about Biblical prophecies, then ask your Jewish boyfriend, (if you havent thrown him outta that house already) why Isaiah 53 is verboten to be read in synagogues.

I'll continue this discussion tomorrow. Sleep tight.

Tristan D. Vick said...

Hey JD! I thought I'd come over and check out your blog.

Also, I have to say, thanks for putting up with us stubborn atheists. I know we can be challenging and aggravating a lot of the time.

I commend you on keeping to your faith. You remind me a lot of my Christian friends.

Hey, if you ever has a history question on early Christian origins or anything feel free to drop me a line! I'll try an help clear anything up if you are ever preparing for a debate, and if I don't know the answer I can always email my friends Professor Robert M. Price and Professor James D. Tabor. They always help me out when I can't find a source or reference, and they often correct my errors when I ask humbly enough.

So anyway, if you ever need a nonbelievers perspective who isn't going to belittle you but keep you real by challenging you, I hope you'll think of me.

Catch'ya around the blogosphere. Later dude.

Tristan D. Vick said...

And by has I suppose I mean *have. Yeah, that's what I get for teaching English all day long. I come home and sound like a half retard. Not that I didn't already sound that way to begin with, but you get the point. lol.

Peace out!

JD Curtis said...

Thanks TV. Either through this thread or by sending me an email, please tell me your thoughts on the dating of the gospels. (Sources cited would be nice too).


It would deserve it's own thread.

Ginx said...

Religion is one of those human tendencies, like bigotry. It probably cannot be avoided because the whole of humanity is largely stupid and requires a system which confidently states the truth in simple, easy to understand terms. The average person cannot live in doubt regarding such complex issues because... frankly... most of us have shit to do and we don't have time for everyone to be a spiritual seeker.

Ginx said...

@ Photogr: I agree that schools probably started before we even have any recorded history.

It is interesting you bring up prophecy, as the polytheists saw this as their greatest sign of the gods and their power. Oracles were set up all over the ancient world, and famous ones (such as those as Delphi, Pythia, and Dodona) were renowned for their chilling accuracy. The Delphic oracle in particular influenced the outcome of wars, and it was her advice which saved the city of Athens from Persia.

Suffice to say, fortune telling is an artform that combines religion and human psychology. The key is simply to remain vague enough to never be wrong. Did the Bible predict Israel would be given to the Jews by British order almost 1900 years after the destruction of the second temple? Where is any evidence of the presence of the Muslims or the struggles the Jews would face against them in their new home?

I'll make an atheist prophecy for you right now:

Israel will one day fall
And the world will keep turning

photogr said...

Ginx:

That might be a prophesy. We will have to wait and see if it ever comes true. Considering the Jews lost their land a few times over the centuries it might come to pass.

I have a prophesy too. The USA is being over run by Socialist demagogs in powerful political positions with plans to strip our freedoms away and lead us into the dark ages from whence we escaped from in Europe. And the world will continue to wobble around.

Now I base this on proven fact through history that political powers have come and gone over the centuries and the world continues to wobble around

photogr said...

Tinkbell:

I read the link you suggested. It seems many non prophets made prophesies but I failed to see one prophesy as stated by the prophets in the bible to mean an exact time or the actual fact.

I also noted that Jesus told the prophets admiring the temple in Jerusalem before His death that no stone will not be unturned and that the temple would be demolished. Well the only thing still standing is the holy wailing wall. ( So am I to consider that prophesy is in error?) That temple was destroyed about 70 AD by the Romans over throwing a revolution which killed over 1.5 million of the residents (virtually all of the Jews save the ones that escaped earlier). Thus the Jews did not reunite and get their nation back untill 1947 albet some thorny issues.

You said "I would also like to know if you believe that you have free will?"

Is this a trick question? Free will for what?

Your quite on Dr. Drange. Purely conjecture. It is hard to pin point dates and times unless we have the precise time frame application in that era compared to the current application of time.

However, non of his basis computes to the actual facts or disputes what is written as fact from what we have chosen to rely on.

You really sound like a nice person but are harboring a lot of hostility. I hope you can work through it.

Take care:

Photogr

photogr said...

To ALL of you. I didn't want to come on here and knock any ones beliefs and ideaologies. It was more of a "Look here is another idea to ponder" and an alternative. The ones on here are passionate in their beliefs and I commend them for their passion. Other wise I would have considered them to be hypocrites

This country was built on a theory that all could have rights to worship or believe in what ever they chose as well as the right to voice their opinions freely with out persecution.

I have enjoyed the different views posted here. It has been a pleasure.

tinkbell13 said...

I assure you Photogr- I harbor no hostility. That comment made me smile actually. Please, if you want to come and debate me in a much more civilized area about biblical prophesy, come to my blog. If you look at the thread after this you can see why you think that I am hostile.

tinkbell13 said...

All due respect, not to say that this is what you are intending to say. But, why do religious people always label women who are vocal as hysterical, or hostile? interesting question isn't it? Perhaps the answer lies in history books.

photogr said...

Tinkbell:

My bad. Just an assumption in the way you write sometimes. Was not to be in a harmful way. Accept my alology.

photogr said...

I meant to say apology