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Old 02-09-2001, 11:25 PM   #81
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Constantine converted to gain political power. He was in a struggle to gain controll of Rome. Christianity grew, and in order to gain support from the folk, he converted. Kinda like the presidential campaigns. Constantine was after the religious right.
 
Old 02-10-2001, 06:16 PM   #82
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Sort of reminds you of President G.W."Duh" Bush, doesn't it?
 
Old 02-12-2001, 12:08 PM   #83
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JragonFli:
Much can be learned from unbiased experts. Are you claiming that these people are unbiased? I have plenty to learn from non-fanatic experts, who use science rather that superstition to come up with conclusions.
Really.
</font>
These are the scholars I mentioned: E.P. Sanders, Raymond E. Brown, John P. Meier, Graham Stanton, Ben Witherington, and N.T. Wright.

I take it by your response that you have neither read, nor heard of, these scholars. None of these scholars argue for the doctrine of inerrancy. They are all well-respected leaders in the field of New Testament studies. They certainly are not apologists.

In particular, I have found Meier and Brown to be exceptionally dispassionate scholars.
 
Old 02-12-2001, 12:10 PM   #84
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by dmvprof:
Constantine converted to gain political power. He was in a struggle to gain controll of Rome. Christianity grew, and in order to gain support from the folk, he converted. Kinda like the presidential campaigns. Constantine was after the religious right. </font>
Thank you.

For helping to prove my point. Christianity had grown so influential and widespread in the Roman Empire that Constantine was convinced that siding with them would strengthen, not weaken, his political position.
 
Old 02-12-2001, 01:24 PM   #85
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
Thank you.

For helping to prove my point. Christianity had grown so influential and widespread in the Roman Empire that Constantine was convinced that siding with them would strengthen, not weaken, his political position.
</font>

Your welcome, but I don't see this as a positive thing for you. Agreeing that the first acceptance and recognitian of your religion by a state was politically motivated undermines the idea that christianity has the ability to sustain itself for religious reasons alone. It became a political tool, used quite frequently in history. States had an interest in sustaining the church as it was another means of controlling people...

Napolean was notorious for it....

Question,
What does an all powerful god need with a tithe. that is hilarious to me. Aparently another part of this meme was to finance itself.

David
 
Old 02-12-2001, 01:45 PM   #86
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I'm not sure how Constatine's recognition of Christianity means that Christianity could not have sustained itself regardless? Your "point" ignores the fact that Christianity had gained such prominence in the face of official hostility. It also ignores the success of Christianity in the face of secular governments and hostile environments.

Even so, Constantine did not outlaw paganism or persecute pagans.

Furthermore, Christianity survived and prospered when the pagan Julian became emperor and attempted to squash Christianity and reinvigorate paganism. His attempts, despite being being supported by the full force of the state, failed. Christianity remained the dominat religion.

And FYI, the Roman Empire was not the first government to officially adopt Christianity as a state religion.

Tithing. Tithing supports the church's activities and demonstrate obedience and recognition of God's soveriegnty. My church's books are public information and I have no quarrel with how my donations are spent.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited February 12, 2001).]
 
Old 02-12-2001, 04:38 PM   #87
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"prominence in the face of open hostility"? Why are you any more amazed by christianity that you are by the women liberation movement? Or the Gay Rights movement? Both faced extreem hostility, but they have grown into political powers of some clout. What difference does it make if you are impressed by the "power" the church gained politically?
 
Old 02-12-2001, 04:55 PM   #88
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You have an annoying habit of protracting arguments so long that you lose site of the point being made. And since I'm not into forensic posting, forgive any misstatements about the history of the argument.

As I remember it, I was initially responding to a point that god would not have chosen the "crude" method described in the gospels to further his message. My point was that the method chosen, whether by God or not, worked pretty darn good given the rapid spread of Christianity.

Someone took exception to my phrase "spread like wildfire" (although, apparently, not my main point), and said that Christians only numbered 7500 by 100 CE, etc. Although unrelated to my point, this response stated that Christians did not face empire wide persecution until the third century.

I responded with a post I thought indicated the presence of, and persecution of, Christians in excess of that characterized.

A common theme throughout this was that somehow Christian development after Constantine was somehow illegitimate. Someone, you, I believe, implied that Christianity only endured because of Constatnine's use of state power.

MY POINT was that Christianity prospered and endured before Constatine, in places Constantine had no authority, and, after Constantine during the reign of Julian the Pagan.

I never commented on Christianity's attributes, or lack thereof, as a political movement.
 
Old 02-13-2001, 07:26 AM   #89
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Layman,
I agree that christianity did survive on its own merits prior to constantine, as did many other religions but not nearly as rapidly as it did when it was ingrained into the state. The state embraced it as the great pasifier, it kept the folk happy, and the church became the political tool it is today.

It is my theory that had constantine not been in a power struggle at the time, he would not have embraced the christians and roman paganism would have continued to thrive. Christians should make constantine a Saint, your story would surely have faded was it not for him.

David
 
Old 02-13-2001, 07:58 AM   #90
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Just which historians are you reading?

Far from simply pacifying the people, Christianity established rivals for state power. Paganism offered no such challenge and was a much more useful tool of the state. The struggle between spiritual and secular authority continued on through the middle ages.

If the state wanted a useful religion that pacified the people, it would choose paganism, rather than create a serious competitor. This is one reason that Christians were viewed as so subversive, they wouldn't worship the Emperor like the pagans would. Are you telling me that, given its choice, the state wouldn't rather have had a religion that would view it as a god?

And if the people were so gung-ho about paganism, why didn't Emperor Julian's efforts to squash Christianity and bring about a pagan renewal have any effect? Despite the enthusiastic backing of the state, no one seemed really interested in returning to paganism.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited February 13, 2001).]
 
 

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