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Old 10-08-2001, 02:38 AM   #1
Photocrat
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Question Sex mystery cults

Heh, okay, I knew that would get your attention :]

I've heard it said by many that Christianity just cobbled together a lot of old mystery cults & such. Yes, yes, there's a lot of arguement there to go through, dating issues and the like, but that's not the purpose of this thread.

What I want to know is why one specific thing was not copied. Why didn't they copy the pagan fertility rites? You know, all that getting drunk & having indiscriminate sex found in so many other mysteries [where did you think we got the word "orgy" from?] I mean, it undoubtably contributed to their membership... If you want to say that they're "too Jewish" to go for that, or somesuch, though, you present the antithesis to the very arguement by which Christianity is supposed to be a mystery cult in the first place, so we won't go there.

I mean, one of the primary arguements is that Christianity "wouldn't have survived" without adopting all sorts of things from the mysteries, or that we adopted elements of mystery cults as a "me too" kind of thing, or very many other variations on that theme. Why did they ignore such an obvious opportunity, here?
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Old 10-08-2001, 01:13 PM   #2
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How do you know they didn't? After all, their enemies said they did.

Michael
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Old 10-08-2001, 05:29 PM   #3
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
<STRONG>How do you know they didn't? After all, their enemies said they did.

Michael</STRONG>
You've never been to church, have you?

I don't know what you've heard, but I don't think that even the most liberal denominations are like that.
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Old 10-08-2001, 05:44 PM   #4
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I don't know if Christianity copied some of the other mystery cults that were around at the same time, but I do know that the early practices of Christianity gives support to the claim that Christianity was a mystery cult. If you read some of the letters, sermons, and other various writings of the time about the practices of the Christians in their worship, you'd see that Christianity followed a similar ritual that some other cults used. This ritual was the initiation, in some way, of a person who has gained the knowledge/faith, and the distinction made btw those who've been initiated and those who haven't (thus, it becomes a mystery about what those who are initiated do to those who haven't been initiated). I was reading this one account of a Christian service, where reading and praying was done for the group as a large, but when it came time to break the bread and drink the wine, only those who had been baptised (and there was a rigorous process/testing you had to go through before you could be bapitized. This was the initiation ceremony) were allowed to enter the back, closed off room, and perform the Eucharist ritual. This is definitly a sign that Christianity started out much like the rest of the mystery religions.
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Old 10-08-2001, 05:53 PM   #5
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Question

Does the suggestion that the mystery cults engaged in wild sex orgies etc come from members of the cults themselves, or from ancient commentators outside the cults? If the latter, since Roman commentators also told similar stories about the early Christians, what grounds are there for believing what they said about the mystery cults and not what they said about Christianity?
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Old 10-08-2001, 05:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Photocrat:
<STRONG>You've never been to church, have you?

I don't know what you've heard, but I don't think that even the most liberal denominations are like that.</STRONG>
It could be that the practice died out very early on. (Just a possibility.)

Based on my knowledge of mystery cults, which admittedly is small, one of the attractions was a very strict and demanding code of ethics, and perhaps placing strong restrictions on sexual activity was a successful innovation. It can help to differentiate your product from the competition.
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Old 10-08-2001, 07:40 PM   #7
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Question

Quote:
Originally posted by Pantera:
<STRONG>Does the suggestion that the mystery cults engaged in wild sex orgies etc come from members of the cults themselves, or from ancient commentators outside the cults? If the latter, since Roman commentators also told similar stories about the early Christians, what grounds are there for believing what they said about the mystery cults and not what they said about Christianity?</STRONG>
If the latter (ancient commentators outside the cults) how can we even compare Christianity & the mysteries in the first place? If they recycled polemics for each mystery, it's no wonder they would look all alike! We're not making much of a comparison if we're comparing them via our ignorance, now, are we?

Care to clarify further?
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Old 10-08-2001, 07:45 PM   #8
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Question

Quote:
Originally posted by Eudaimonia:
<STRONG>

It could be that the practice died out very early on. (Just a possibility.)

Based on my knowledge of mystery cults, which admittedly is small, one of the attractions was a very strict and demanding code of ethics, and perhaps placing strong restrictions on sexual activity was a successful innovation. It can help to differentiate your product from the competition.</STRONG>
That sounds like a bad pick-up line.
"You have some nice ethics there, m'am."
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Old 10-08-2001, 07:52 PM   #9
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Question

Quote:
Originally posted by P_Brian_Bateman:
<STRONG>I don't know if Christianity copied some of the other mystery cults that were around at the same time, but I do know that the early practices of Christianity gives support to the claim that Christianity was a mystery cult. If you read some of the letters, sermons, and other various writings of the time about the practices of the Christians in their worship, you'd see that Christianity followed a similar ritual that some other cults used. This ritual was the initiation, in some way, of a person who has gained the knowledge/faith, and the distinction made btw those who've been initiated and those who haven't (thus, it becomes a mystery about what those who are initiated do to those who haven't been initiated). I was reading this one account of a Christian service, where reading and praying was done for the group as a large, but when it came time to break the bread and drink the wine, only those who had been baptised (and there was a rigorous process/testing you had to go through before you could be bapitized. This was the initiation ceremony) were allowed to enter the back, closed off room, and perform the Eucharist ritual. This is definitly a sign that Christianity started out much like the rest of the mystery religions.</STRONG>
So, ummmm, they ate together & had special services for the members? Bread & wine doesn't sound far removed from what we ate in France, way back when... Would that make some french free-thought organizations "mystery cults"? I'm sure someone must've held invite-only meals somewhere & served bread and wine ...
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Old 10-08-2001, 10:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Photocrat:
<STRONG>Heh, okay, I knew that would get your attention :]

I've heard it said by many that Christianity just cobbled together a lot of old mystery cults & such. Yes, yes, there's a lot of arguement there to go through, dating issues and the like, but that's not the purpose of this thread.

What I want to know is why one specific thing was not copied. Why didn't they copy the pagan fertility rites? You know, all that getting drunk & having indiscriminate sex found in so many other mysteries [where did you think we got the word "orgy" from?] I mean, it undoubtably contributed to their membership... If you want to say that they're "too Jewish" to go for that, or somesuch, though, you present the antithesis to the very arguement by which Christianity is supposed to be a mystery cult in the first place, so we won't go there.

I mean, one of the primary arguements is that Christianity "wouldn't have survived" without adopting all sorts of things from the mysteries, or that we adopted elements of mystery cults as a "me too" kind of thing, or very many other variations on that theme. Why did they ignore such an obvious opportunity, here?</STRONG>
Since our sexuality is an illusion it is created in the stand off between the positive and negative gender identity. This identity is generated from sexual taboos and thus it is impossible to conceive mystery cults without sexual taboos. If this does not mean that they did not have orgys, the fact that they did have orgys means that orgies were not the norm and hence sexual taboos were in place to make room for orgies.

Amos
 
 

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