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Old 03-17-2001, 10:47 PM   #21
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Any theory that has Nomad and Metacrock's knickers in a knot is interesting if only on that basis alone! I'm really interesting to see where this goes.

Remeber that the dating of the specific books is not itself a refutation of Koy's hypothesis. If I were starting a new religion, I would pick interesting bits of a relatively popular pre-existing religion, throw in some stuff about obeying the emperor and other authority, and call it a good day's work. It's the collection and the packaging that's the key, not the dates of the various writing.

For instance, David Koresh didn't invent a whole new religion, he just repackaged and reinterpreted the Bible for his own secular purposes.

[This message has been edited by SingleDad (edited March 17, 2001).]
 
Old 03-18-2001, 11:58 AM   #22
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SingleDad:

Remeber that the dating of the specific books is not itself a refutation of Koy's hypothesis. If I were starting a new religion, I would pick interesting bits of a relatively popular pre-existing religion, throw in some stuff about obeying the emperor and other authority, and call it a good day's work. </font>
Koy has set the dates for when this could have happened much to early though. For instance, Koy suggests that Constantine was the culmination of this when in fact he would have been very near the beginning of it. That Rome adopted and tried to use Christianity for it's own purposes does have some support. (If I recall correctly, for instance, Constantine tried to get an Arian doctrine of the Incarnation pushed through at Nicea and failed.) I don't think that's the point that Nomad and Meta are arguing with Koy. Koy seems to be suggesting that the very Roman authorities who persecuted Christianity had a very direct and deliberate influence on forming its scriptures. But by the time Rome co-opted Christianity, these Scriptures were already in their final form. Perhaps Koy's argument would be stronger if she started with Constantine rather than ended with him and suggested that the selection and interpretation not the creation of the scriptures was influenced by Rome. Koy has not done this however, instead preferring to see some sort of Roman conspiracy from near the beginning and only suggesting that someone should look into it (people already have and found very little) without actually detailing his/her theory and attempting to demonstrate it.
Edited in:
Ok, I've just reread some of Koy's speculations and they're jumping all over the place. First it's Constantine then it's Nero, then it's Herod ,, then Vepasian. Some of Koy's suggestions are more logical than others but a lot of grasping at straws is going on. I'm not even sure if Koy is suggesting that Rome authored the New Testament or just used pre-existing scripture for it's own purpose. So I'll ask Koy to state cleary who he/she is suggesting made up the myths and when. If Koy's suggesting that the Romans actually authored any of the NT, he/she's just plain wrong.




[This message has been edited by not a theist (edited March 18, 2001).]
 
Old 03-18-2001, 12:58 PM   #23
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Constantine may have had political reasons for adopting Christianity, but one such reason couldn't have been fear of the Jews. The Romans had demolished Jerusalem in the first century, destroying their Temple and scattering the Jews. The "barbarians" threatened the Roman empire (plus many internal factors) not the Jews. So the Romans certainly wouldn't have devised a Jewish cult or written the heavily Jewish NT documents to pacify gentiles. Why would the gothic tribes have been especially susceptible to Jewish theology? On the other hand, the Roman authorities could have plucked from the great number of new cults at the time one that showed signs of synergy, the combination of theological ideas from different religions, and pounced on it as a way of unifying the empire, both Jews and gentiles. Christianity was very useful in this regard, and may have won out in a sort of evolutionary struggle of survival by popularity.

One tactic that was used to gain "converts" in the barbarian tribes was to simplify the Trinity doctrine that they couldn't understand. As the Catholic Encyclopedia (CE) points out, Arianism was "an attempt to rationalize the Creed by stripping it of mystery so far as the relation of Christ to God was concerned" (CE, i, 707). The Bishop "Ulphilas (311-388) taught the Goths the Arian theology; Arian kingdoms arose in Spain, Africa, Italy. The Gepidae, Heruli, Vandals, Alans, and Lombards received a system which they were as little capable of understanding as they were of defending, and the Catholic bishops, the monks, the sword of Clovis, the action of the papacy, made an end of it before the eighth century" (CE, i, 707).

There are indeed pro-Roman and anti-Jewish messages in the NT, but I don't think these were planted by Roman CIA-like officials as opposed to true, if cosmopolitan, believers. There's also an anti-authoritarian, "cynical" message in the NT according to which those successful in worldly terms will be in danger of spiritual condemnation. A more likely scenario is that Constantine saw a political advantage in adopting a pre-existing synergistic cult that was open to anyone (with no pesky laws to follow), included both monotheistic and polytheistic capabilities, and contained at least a mixed view of the Romans (including the whitewashing of the Romans' guilt for Jesus' execution).

In any case, the fact that a Jesus movement ultimately joined itself to the Roman hierarchy that executed Jesus would probably have made even Jesus lose his faith in God. The question of whether Christianity conquered Rome or Rome transformed and used Christianity is an open one.


[This message has been edited by Earl (edited March 18, 2001).]
 
Old 03-18-2001, 02:26 PM   #24
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Just FTR, I have no idea if Koy's speculations have any objective merit at all. My knowledge of history is superficial and incomplete.

AFAIK, Christianity really got going after its adoption as the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine. Koy seems to speculate that the adoption of Christianity specifically was politically motivated; I'm sure on the general principle that most actions all rulers are politically motivated.

It is, IIRC, historical fact that Constantine ordered the adoption of christianity as the Roman state religion. It seems trivially wrong to claim that Constantine invented christianity; All of the OT and most of the NT was already in place. However one might speculate that he might have influenced the creation of the canon -- eliminating the non-authoritarian gnostic gospels in favor of those more directly supporting the authority of the church.

I'm just trying to reformulate Koy's speculations so that I can at least understand the question, if not the actual answer.
 
Old 03-19-2001, 08:22 AM   #25
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by SingleDad:
Just FTR, I have no idea if Koy's speculations have any objective merit at all. My knowledge of history is superficial and incomplete.

AFAIK, Christianity really got going after its adoption as the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine. Koy seems to speculate that the adoption of Christianity specifically was politically motivated; I'm sure on the general principle that most actions all rulers are politically motivated.

It is, IIRC, historical fact that Constantine ordered the adoption of christianity as the Roman state religion. It seems trivially wrong to claim that Constantine invented christianity; All of the OT and most of the NT was already in place. However one might speculate that he might have influenced the creation of the canon -- eliminating the non-authoritarian gnostic gospels in favor of those more directly supporting the authority of the church.

I'm just trying to reformulate Koy's speculations so that I can at least understand the question, if not the actual answer.
</font>
A Moderator of the Biblical Criticism and Archeology board is taking him seriously. Now I know this board is not to be taken seriously.

 
Old 03-19-2001, 09:34 AM   #26
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Per usual, SingleDad is correct (especially about watching Nomad get his panties in a twist ), but I'm throwing more into the soup on the speculation side in order to fully form the hypothesis, before seeking direct evidence to support it.

So, here's the back-thought in a nut (apropos, eh Nomad?): If you take the Bible for what it is (a collection of deliberately concocted myths descriptive of a certain belief structure specific to a certain region on this planet), then you must also take it for what it is not (i.e., true).

So if it's not "true," then it was carefully designed/crafted for a specific purpose. The sheep think it's one thing; the shepherds know it has another purpose.

So, the obvious question (and genesis of my hypothesis) goes to what that purpose is and who would be the logical shepherds?

Somebody had to create the concept of the Church/State. Political machinations like those don't just "evolve" slowly over time no matter what the propaganda generated; they are deliberately concocted and implemented through hierarchical decree (trust me, I've worked in politics and only the proles feed off of ridiculous, marginallized propaganda, which seeks to give the impression that government takes a long time to slough threw the trenches--it's all bullshit in order to keep the workers obliviously happy as to what's actually going on).

As mentioned previously, I fully grant right from the start that this is speculative; necessarily speculative at this point, since any "historical" references (given my hypothesis), would also be a part of the Great Big Lie. So, yes, this is partially in the realm of "conspiracy theory," if only by definition, however, there is enough prima facie evidence one could take indirectly from the New Testament to point to the Christian myth (not the cult, mind you as I explain a little later, but the myth) being a Roman piece of "black op" subversion.

So, I guess I am speculating more along the lines of Roman "infiltration," rather than merely Roman co-option. After all, with the possible exception of most of the Pauline letters, nobody knows for sure who wrote the majority of the New Testament; that field is just as speculative as is my hypothesis and the Romans gave birth to the Body Politic, so devious tricks of the trade were largely their invention (with a considerable nod to the Greeks).

This along with the fact that the Jews remain standing to this day no matter how many were slaughtered and how desperately the Romans wanted them gone; I just feel that any speculation, which begins with any other premise than the one I'm positing here (watch Nomad's face, Single) is simply not mature enough to be taken seriously.

All propaganda aside, childish creation/salvation myths based on fear with the intent to subjugate individuals into becoming unquestioning sheep is in no way a doctrine of godhood and is in every way a doctrine of man's inhumanity to man, i.e., political power struggles; the haves maintaining their reign over the have nots.

Who was in power at the time and who was subjugating whom and most importantly, what was the outcome?

That's the basis for the hypothesis and the point of this "journey." Given the Pro Roman bent to the New Testament and the fact that the Roman Empire became the Holy Roman Empire and still controls millions of people throughout the world and given that the New Testament (especially) is a deliberate work of mythology designed to subjugate citizens (as well as teach them to hate the Jews, of which Jesus was one), it seems much more plausible (to me at any rate; yes, that's right, this is entirely my own speculation without any shred of direct evidence, Nomad--just like your belief in God, I might add) that the Christian myth (again, not necessarily the cult based upon the Sayings Gospel Q, but the myth of the Messiah; the deliverance of Elijah, finally, to His people) was a work of Roman theological espionage.

Unless somebody else has a better hypothesis as to where the concept of the Church/State came from and who had the intelligence, power and motive for implementing it?

So, before we really get into this, just to shut the thumpers up one last time, officially I'll state:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Everything I have posited here has been speculation based upon my personal take on the origins of the Christian myth.

Your contrary observations serve no argumentative purpose and are entirely granted. Currently, there is no direct evidence to support any aspects of this hypothesis. I post it merely as an interesting exercise in speculation and theory formation.

If you do not believe the Bible to be a work of fiction, then you have no reason to include your observations here, though you are certainly welcome to do so. We will simply ignore them.

This is a test of the emergency atheist network. In the event of a real theistic emergency, you will be informed as to which fallout shelter shall act as your crematorium.

Do panic.
</font>
Everybody got that now? Let the games begin...

(edited for formatting - Koy)

[This message has been edited by Koyaanisqatsi (edited March 19, 2001).]
 
Old 03-19-2001, 10:08 AM   #27
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Koyaanisqatsi:
Unless somebody else has a better hypothesis as to where the concept of the Church/State came from and who had the intelligence, power and motive for implementing it?
</font>
The OT Jews already had a concept of the Church/State (Josiah, Ahab, et al.) as did Rome before Christianity. Hell, half of the OT is about the Israelite/Jewish Church/State(s). Or what about the Greek city-states with their patron deities. Trying to find ancient civilizations without a church/state relation is the hard part. This particular type of relationship has been around for a long time.




[This message has been edited by not a theist (edited March 19, 2001).]
 
Old 03-19-2001, 11:19 AM   #28
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Excellent point, not a. Perhaps I need to change the definition of Church/State to Statechurch (if you follow the logic); the idea that if you can't beat them (the Jews), usurp their religion (or just force a new one on them the way the Christian cult has operated for centuries).

(edited for clarification - Koy)

[This message has been edited by Koyaanisqatsi (edited March 19, 2001).]
 
Old 03-19-2001, 01:43 PM   #29
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Koyaanisqatsi:
Excellent point, not a. Perhaps I need to change the definition of Church/State to Statechurch (if you follow the logic); the idea that if you can't beat them (the Jews), usurp their religion (or just force a new one on them the way the Christian cult has operated for centuries).

</font>
If that was the plan, it had mixed results. The bishops at Nicea for example actually thwarted the will of Constantine. It seems that by making Christianity the state religion, the power of the Emperor was actually weakened and that of the bishops strengthed. In fact, some of the Roman intellectuals actually blamed the decline of Rome on Christianity. The bishops were less interested in preserving the Roman interests than in converting their conquerors.

 
Old 03-19-2001, 01:48 PM   #30
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by not a theist:
Quote:
Originally posted by Koyaanisqatsi:
Excellent point, not a. Perhaps I need to change the definition of Church/State to Statechurch (if you follow the logic); the idea that if you can't beat them (the Jews), usurp their religion (or just force a new one on them the way the Christian cult has operated for centuries).

</font>
If that was the plan, it had mixed results. The bishops at Nicea for example actually thwarted the will of Constantine. It seems that by making Christianity the state religion, the power of the Emperor was actually weakened and that of the bishops strengthed. In fact, some of the Roman intellectuals actually blamed the decline of Rome on Christianity. The bishops were less interested in preserving the Roman interests than in converting their conquerors.
Excellent point.

Perhaps the most serious flaw with this line of speculation, is that far from giving more power to the state, Christianity actually developed into one of the chief competitors to the state's secular authority. This was a far cry from the pagan cult of the emperor, which viewed the emperor as a god. Or the pagan religions which offered very little competition to the state.

If you were an emperor trying invent a religion to ensure the state's unequivocal authority over your citizen's lives, Christianity would have been a disaster.
 
 

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