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Continuing on... more on "Hank"
> Well, perhaps "cynical" isn't
> precisely the correct term. I'm referring to
> the generally negative tone and the many
> references to early Church fathers and
> "the Church" being controlling,
> manipulative, and dishonest.
> Now, I don't deny that there were some
> pretty unsavory, corrupt, & even
> downright evil characters in or attached to
> "the Church" over the centuries.
> No excuses; I don't defend them. But, as you
> said in your post to Phil, "... you
> should not blame a religion for things done
> in its name"
That's right. And I have not blamed the religion. Not once have a pointed a boney finger of accusation at Christianity per se.
> Your presumptions imply that the Church
> leaders had no moral integrity whatsoever
> and were just trying to control and take
> advantage of the "sheep" they'd
> ensnared with this new religion.
Well. They did.
The HolyWater sprinkler is a direct adaption of a pagan phalic symbol. Easter is the Church corruption of the Pagan festive event. Christmas is also - in my opinion - a rip off of pagan celebrations.
What better way to "get people on side" than have your religion mimic certain important events and days.
Point is... if we were really going to "follow in Jesus' footsteps" we would not celebrate those days (Xmas and Easter) nor "go to mass". These "things" I cannot find Jesus encouraging people to do.
Basically, the early Church thus twisted the Christian teachings to suit its purpose.
> attributed such motives & actions but
> given no evidence.
Paul is, I am sure you will agree, the real instigator behind getting Christianity spread - so to speak. Thus HE will have placed his influence on a lot of what came to be the early church. He hates women... women are all given bad roles in the gospels. NOT the equaility of Jesus' teachings.
The Gift of Constantine has now been acknowleded by the Church as being a forgery. Thus they (The Church) give back the lands they have had and used and used to become wealthy for over a thousand years. How about giving back the wealth that gift enabled them to acquire?
I have yet to read any
> indication that there was much, if any, of
> this type of behavior by leaders of the
> early Christian Church, especially in the
> first couple of centuries, which is
> basically the period we've been talking
As the Church is pretty well the sole source of such information - and no one dare go against the Chruch - it is not surprising there is not much "evidence" of corruption. Jeeze... even in this day and age the Church covers up their wrong doings.
> Perhaps there is a much looser definition of
> modern-day Gnosticism that you are referring
Yes. I think this is where we are encountering problems... in what we both attribute "gnostic" to mean.
> While that may be true in some, perhaps
> many, cases, it isn't always. At the very
> least, a debate gets people thinking about
> the issues. Hopefully, it helps the debaters
> themselves to strengthen their arguments,
> possibly modify their tactics in the future.
> If there are others witnessing the debate,
> hopefully they are encouraged to become more
> familiar with the issues. They may even be
> persuaded more towards one side or the
> other, especially if they were a
Good point. And on this I think we somewhat agree. That is... either side just "digs in" more to strengthen their position.
> One also needs to be
> intellectually honest with themselves and
> open to going where the evidence leads, even
> if it makes them uncomfortable.
Yes. This is important. Alas... the opposite actually happens. Even under the guise of "being open."
Such as: Being open to look (read, hear) an alternative BUT dismissing it because it goes against currently held belief.
Example: Shroud. Fake or real? MY opinion is that it is a masterful fake. Made by Michael Angelo. Using a unique form of photography which he knew of at the time. (Remember, he was a "man of science".)
Part of this is evidenced by. He was the Official Portrait Painter to the family who owned the shroud at the time. The same shroud which had previously been condemned by the church as an obvious painting some years earlier - before Angelo came to their employ. The head sits wrong. The back image is different size to the front image. He was known for being a "details" man. The cloth used was available of the correct age and from the correct region. The "face" is almost identical to other faces on his other works.
Scientifically, when his photography technique is used to create similar images, they too look like nothing much under normal light but show great details under "negative" light.
Science indicates... masterful fake.
True believers dismiss the evidence and believe what they want. Even after being "open" to reading the evidence.
> Did you make this up? I read it, and I even
> chuckled a bit at the ending scene.
I did not make it up. It was originally from a Maralyn Manson discussion group some four or five years ago.
Yes. I think the end is a crack up.
> I understood all the supposed parallels
> (e.g., Hank = God and/or "the
> Church"; the Million $ Gift = God's
> blessings (some on earth, but most as our
> "reward" in Heaven); Hank's Letter
> = probably Mosaic Law, possibly the Bible as
> a whole and/or further Church teaching,
I actually take Hank's Letter to be more representative of Is-lam and the verses - which were dictated to Muhummed and which he then repeated to scribes to write down because he couldn't write. Thus it being considered the real word of the lord because Muhummed was illiterate and could not have "thought up" such beautiful verses - which others are challenged to also create (if they can) if they doubt the authenticity of the verses.
Perhaps there is meant to be a
> broader application to certain other
> religions. All I will say is that it
> represents a sad and warped view of what it
> means to know & serve the Lord.
It is not meant as a view of anything. It is a parody of many religions in one. And should be read as such. Much like "The Life of Brian" should be viewed as the comedy it is, not an assult on any one particular religion. (BTW, I first saw The Life of Brian in the company of some extremely religious people. They were laughing their guts out.)
> Isn't that a little like saying, "We'll
> never know all the rules & regulations
> that were never included in the NFL Official
> Handbook."? (Is there such a thing?) An
> imperfect analogy, but I hope you see my
> point. :-]
I see your point. And disagree with it.
My point is... there were many many writings of the time. Dealing with life and the teachings of Jesus. The compilers of what has become known as the Bible, selected (and most likely edited to suit) the texts they wanted/needed to serve their intended purpose.
Lets face it. If there was a text which specifically said anything about Jesus being married to Mary M and that they had offspring, those texts would not be included. Doing so would undermine the authority they were trying to establish. (Why listen to some Pope when the heirs of the founder existed and would thus rightly be the ones to listen to.)
Thus. We miss out on a lot of "good stuff". That's all I was getting at.
> (This is fun & educational, too!)
Yes. Because we are keeping it civil.
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