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Old 10-09-2001, 09:11 PM   #21
P_Brian_Bateman
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Also, I should say that I am not saying that Christianity was a "SEX mystery cult". Some of these cults were considered to have sexual practices as a main feature, some weren't. As Pantera pointed out above, it was the Romans who painted the picture of this practice onto the mystery cults, and from the writings that I have read in my history class of Christianity, I'd say that the Romans had it wrong in thinking orgies took place behind closed doors. Thus, its possible they could have had it wrong about the other cults as well. Any way, I'm just arguing that christianity started out as a mystery cult. Thats all.
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Old 10-09-2001, 11:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by P_Brian_Bateman:
<STRONG>Also, I should say that I am not saying that Christianity was a "SEX mystery cult". Some of these cults were considered to have sexual practices as a main feature, some weren't. As Pantera pointed out above, it was the Romans who painted the picture of this practice onto the mystery cults, and from the writings that I have read in my history class of Christianity, I'd say that the Romans had it wrong in thinking orgies took place behind closed doors. Thus, its possible they could have had it wrong about the other cults as well. Any way, I'm just arguing that christianity started out as a mystery cult. Thats all.</STRONG>
I should hope you didn't mistake us for a sex cult... :] LOL
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Old 10-10-2001, 12:11 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by P_Brian_Bateman:
<STRONG>Photocrat, I will make myself even more clearer now.

Christianity was a mystery cult in the beginning stages of its lifetime.

It was a cult because it was a somewhat small religious group(Christianity didn't grow much at all until after it became the Roman religion), and its practices were centered around a charismatic figure (the word,"charasmatic", in contrast sometimes to common usage, used to, and in this case, means someone who is somehow divinely inspired). The religion of Christianity was a minority one at the time period, and thus, it perfectly matches the definition of a cult. Of course, I'm not meaning cult in a pejorative way. I'm using the religious/sociological definition of cult.

Now here is where I think you misunderstood me. Christianity is a mystery religion because once you became bapitzed, you were CHANGED! Unless you had converted, you didn't recieve the new character change that resulted. I'm not meaning to put this in a Gnostic sense, but Christianity, like the other mystery cults, offered its iniatives a change of some sort. The mental character of the converts was changed. Their way of thinking was hidden to those that hadn't converted. And this process was all the more mystified by the early Christiain practice of having the converts (those who were baptized) perform the practice of the Euchararist behind closed doors.

I don't consider it an insult to Christians, or an attack on their beliefs to call their early predecessors members of a mystery cult. Therefore, this is a purely factual argument for me. And I don't understand why someone would object to Christianity being called a mystery cult in its early stages UNLESS they had factual reasons to think other wise.

[ October 09, 2001: Message edited by: P_Brian_Bateman ]</STRONG>
Mmmm. There are, of course, differences in saying "X is a mystery cult" and saying "X is a derivative of other mystery cults." Primarily, I have a problem with the latter. I'm sure that any small, new religion would be looked upon as a cult in Roman times. Of course, I'm also piqued by just how far the word "cult" can go... :]

Requirements listed thus far:
1) Is a "cult."
2) Has secrets (mysteries).
3) Has meetings.
4) Converts are thought to be "changed" somehow upon conversion.
5) Attention given to charismatic figure(s), hero(es), etc.

Lets examine these for the case of the SecWeb:

1) Is a "cult." Here is the definition:
http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=cult

Only definition 6 is of relevance:
"An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest."
I doubt you'll have trouble calling humanism, secular interests & the like as "intellecutal." As for "exclusive" you have that "Community of Reason" board and the like.

Esoteric could be harder, but apparently if you would declare your religion as either "heathen," "atheist," or "none" (definitions that should match most everyone here...), you rank below "Jedi" as a religion in raw statistics [well, in New Zealand, anyhow :]
http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/28/22113.html

The different names, mind you, may well be indicative of splits in "doctrine" or core beleifs, so, just as you mention that proto-Orthodox Christianity was the survivor amongst many failures, the same is trivially true of the SecWeb. After all, we all know that "atheist" is often a loaded term--it could mean "skeptic" or "secular humanist" or all manner of other things.

Ergo, the SecWeb is a "cult."

2) Has secrets.

What's in the "Community of Reason"? The "Freethinker's Private Forum"? Look like secrets to me...

3) Has meetings.
http://www.atheistalliance.org/directory/

Umm, yup. Meetings are also conducted by the board of directors of this site, on the private boards, etc.

4) Converts thought to be "changed."

I put "thought to be" in there because I sincerely doubt that you belive in the Holy Spirit in any way, shape, or form.

But tell me, are not converts to non-theist thinking considered more reasonable in that they've discarded those "outdated superstitions"?

How can someone be truely "reasonable" -- enough to be a member of the "Community of Reason" in all its regalia if not by denying the existance of "old fairy tales?" Are not converts far more changed in your oppinion by accepting the scientific fact that religion is "untenable" than they would be by undergoing some "pointless ritual?"

Why else is deconversion listed by some as an "awakening" --
http://www.atheistalliance.org/awakenings/index.html

I have to think that members of your clique accord a considerably different oppinion of people based on their [lack of] religion than many other factors. As such, converts are regarded as changed by their beliefs and meet this criterion.
5) Attention given to charismatic figure(s).

Well, "divinely inspired" has to be a little narrow. I also have my doubts that *all* educated greeks regarded some mysteries as "inspired by god(s)" and didn't join for, well, ... other ... reasons. But a notion of "heroes" and such does fit, so I will construe "charismatic" somewhat more broadly, here.

The definition of "charismatic" mostly refers to "charisma" but can be found here: http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/di...rm=charismatic

It seems better to go to the definition of "charisma" itself, whcih is here: http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=charisma

The relevant part is "A rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm."
It seems to me that that would fit any number of figures. Hume, Kant, Edison, Freud, Stalin, Frost, Lovecraft, Hemingway, etc.

Here's where you can find many more & it has links to other pages of them:
http://www.mega.nu:8080/atheist_quotes_3.html
I believe that this establishes some heroes for your community. I know that Dawkins is often celebrated on these boards for his opposition to the "cretinists," and several others get constant mention (Hume, Kant, & co.) so you meet this requirement, as well.

The best arguement I can see for these not being established is the need for a religion (not all definitions of "cult" require it--sorry! how else could there be silly "UFO cults" where they do not worship the UFOs? [granted, there are those that do, but I've mostly ignored the lot of them]
So, just for fun, I have established that the SecWeb meets the criteria for being called a "mystery cult" ... What does this tell us?

Well, either there is a SecWebber now sneaking up behind me with an athame (ritual dagger or saying "Christianity is/was a mystery cult" doesn't actually mean anything.

Would someone inform the Jesus-Mysteries people of this? I'm worried that they'll next claim that we borrowed the cross from $cientology, or that it was a part of "R6" that Xemu gave to Jesus or something equally rediculous :]

They allready think that we had to borrow the 12 disciples [no, nobody noticed that there were 12 months in a year or used it based on that in any way, nuh-uh, that number couldn't pop up all sorts of places, nope it's only slightly less common than '3' or '7' which don't pop up in all sorts of places, either :] ... *sigh*
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Old 10-10-2001, 05:00 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
<STRONG>How do you know they didn't? After all, their enemies said they did.

Michael</STRONG>
No they didn't! The Pagan's who were oppossed to Christianity never said they were made up out of a mystery cult, and no one ever accussed Jesus of being made up until the 19th century.

Personally I have long suspected that Richard Carrier is made up out of a combination Barker and Till.

Why Not? Metacrock is made up.
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Old 10-10-2001, 05:03 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Photocrat:
<STRONG>

Then how do you justify the claim? It's like saying that I know of no reasonable way for the Incans to have copied the Egyptians in their pyramids, but they must've found some way...</STRONG>
I wasn't making the claim that proto-orthodox-ers were a minority, but that their Christianity was one among many Christianities.

Michael
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Old 10-10-2001, 05:06 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by Metacrock:
<STRONG>

No they didn't! The Pagan's who were oppossed to Christianity never said they were made up out of a mystery cult, and no one ever accussed Jesus of being made up until the 19th century.

Personally I have long suspected that Richard Carrier is made up out of a combination Barker and Till.

Why Not? Metacrock is made up.</STRONG>

NO, you're responding to the wrong point. Photocrat said that Christianity was not a sex cult, and I was responding that their enemies did indeed say Christians were licentious in their sexual behavior, not that they were a mystery cult.

Michael
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Old 10-10-2001, 04:13 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
<STRONG>

I wasn't making the claim that proto-orthodox-ers were a minority, but that their Christianity was one among many Christianities.

Michael</STRONG>
And the proto-orthodox atheism of today is one among many 'non-theisms' ... Why we have atheistic Bhuddists, modernists, post-modernists, secular humanists, "heretics", and "none" [see previous post comparing population of atheists in New Zeland to population of "Jedi" :]

Would it be interesting to note that they both stayed in touch with their "roots" [Christians & Judaism, atheists & modernism]? Nah, they're both obviously mish-mashed ideas shaped by the oppinions of the day, right? ;]
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Old 10-10-2001, 04:21 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
<STRONG>

NO, you're responding to the wrong point. Photocrat said that Christianity was not a sex cult, and I was responding that their enemies did indeed say Christians were licentious in their sexual behavior, not that they were a mystery cult.

Michael</STRONG>
Yet someone then points out that that was a common polemic or something... Granted, I'm inclined to believe it for some of the mysteries (e.g. it's hard to picture Bacchus, their god of drunkeness *not* having wild parties...)

But you're right--it is good to note our sorces & their credibility. How much credibility do the sources we're using to compare proto-orthodox Christianity & the mysteries have, again? :]

That's what bothers me, especially whenever I hear this from "skeptics." I mean, if you want to go into borrowing on any level, did anyone notice that the skeptics have borrowed the Christian fish (ICHTHVS - Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior) into the "evolve" fish? Why skepticism must then be a branch of Christianity that adopted the ideas into a different framework. Wow :] Not to mention the term "free thinker" which I seem to recall being used (along with atheist) to describe Christians before it was used on non-theists...

What does it mean? Probably nothing, but if I'm going to be consistant with the theories we're discussing, well, I suppose that I have to read some significance in that... :]
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