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Old 01-16-2001, 10:49 PM   #1
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Red face Would anyone have contradicted the Gospel writers?

That's an argument that Nomad makes for the Gospels' historicity. However, the history of cults shows that that a lack of Gospel historicity would not have stopped early Christianity.

Consider what Richard Carrier describes in _Kooks and Quacks of the Roman Empire_ (this site, Modern Library). Alexander of Abonutichus was a fraud, pure and simple. Yet he managed to have a sizable following -- a following that had an allergy to such well-known skeptics as the Epicureans and the Christians.

And I'm sure that there are many more recent examples that some of you may be familiar with, such as Mormonism, Christian Science, and Scientology.

I'm sure that Nomad might not enjoy being lumped in with that sort of company, but it must be said that in its early centuries, Christianity itself was sometimes considered a cult.
 
Old 01-17-2001, 05:40 AM   #2
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lpetrich:
I'm sure that Nomad might not enjoy being lumped in with that sort of company, but it must be said that in its early centuries, Christianity itself was sometimes considered a cult.</font>
Let's not forget that anyone who *did* disagree, or who tried to bring other books to light, were branded heretics and burned, stoned, or otherwise forced out of existence ... and their writings along with them. Yes, it's nice to have the illusion that no one disagreed, when you're the one writing the books.

--W@L
 
Old 01-17-2001, 06:19 AM   #3
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By the fourth century there was enough of a schism to cause the slaughter of over 3,000 Arian Christians - by Catholic Christians. Interestingly, this is more Christians than were ever martyred by the pagan authorities of Rome in the movement's 300 year history.

To be sure, the Arians had Gospel accounts. Apparently Gospel accounts without a divine Jesus.
 
Old 01-17-2001, 01:27 PM   #4
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One thing about the persecutions described by Writer@Large and Smugg:they happened *after* Christianity was made the official state religion of the Empire. But before that, it had sometimes been viewed as a cult. Consider _The Golden Ass_ by Apuleius -- Christianity was viewed in that book as the cult of the Only God.

And my more recent examples are examples of cults that have outlived their founders, something which some apologists have claimed indicates their truth.

It must be said that the main grudge the Roman authorities had had against the early Christians was their refusal to worship the official gods, something which even the most convinced skeptics had been known to do. However, if the early Christians had decided to worship the official gods on the ground that they were the Christian God and a lot of angels in disguise, then the Roman authorities would never have cared about them.
 
Old 01-17-2001, 03:27 PM   #5
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lpetrich:
. . .
It must be said that the main grudge the Roman authorities had had against the early Christians was their refusal to worship the official gods,
. .
</font>
Are you sure about this? My recollection is that the romans were pretty lackadaisical about religion. The existance of the gods was taken for granted, the gods had their own jobs to do and it was up to the paid professionals to make sure they did it. Offerings were made to the gods on a quid pro quo basis. The idea of worshipping a god was foreign to them. The nearest the majority of the people would get to personal involvement with a god was if they made an offering to their household god in return for some favour. Apart from that their involvement was limited to watching the parades and putting up with the many festivals and holidays that disrupted business, sometimes for days on end.

However, I did rather lose touch after Vespasian, but I find it a big change in roman character if they started worshipping their gods and an even bigger change if they started persecuting people for not doing likewise.
 
Old 01-17-2001, 07:29 PM   #6
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I believe that you were supposed to pay lip service to the official major gods--- namely caesar.

Romans learned early on that allowing conquered people to keep their religion (and holidays and land and families) allowed for minimal military presence. This allowed Rome to have the largest controled land mass in history to that point.

They would have erected a shrine of some sort to Caesar, and expected the locals to respect it, and the soldiers would have erected their own shrines to Mithras and who ever else.

As long as Christians paid taxes and did not desecrate the shrine to caesar and did not abuse any mandatory holy days, it was fine for them to be Christian.
 
Old 01-17-2001, 08:25 PM   #7
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lpetrich:
That's an argument that Nomad makes for the Gospels' historicity. However, the history of cults shows that that a lack of Gospel historicity would not have stopped early Christianity.

Consider what Richard Carrier describes in _Kooks and Quacks of the Roman Empire_ (this site, Modern Library). Alexander of Abonutichus was a fraud, pure and simple. Yet he managed to have a sizable following -- a following that had an allergy to such well-known skeptics as the Epicureans and the Christians.

And I'm sure that there are many more recent examples that some of you may be familiar with, such as Mormonism, Christian Science, and Scientology.

I'm sure that Nomad might not enjoy being lumped in with that sort of company, but it must be said that in its early centuries, Christianity itself was sometimes considered a cult.
</font>

&gt;&gt;&gt;This argument doesn't wash. Like most atheists you assume that all ancient world people were stupid and all religions are cults. So compare a cult and say they don't contraidct the leader so no early christians would have contradicted the Apostles. But that makes no sense. Why would they be Apostles in the fris place, why would anyone join them if they knew the whole thing was a lie. he was crucified in the very city and cliamed to have risen from the dead. If it was all made up, no one would have heard of it, no one would join the so called "cult." And of course it is not a fair assumtion to supposse that it's all a cult. Those groups you mention were in it for money they controled things tightly and faked things becasuse they wanted to make money. But the Apostels died for their "lie" why would anyone do that?

It's not fair to call everything relgious a cult and there is no evidence that it was a cult.

Had the basic facts not been there everyone in the city would have known it and no one would have joined.

 
Old 01-17-2001, 08:27 PM   #8
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Writer@Large:
Let's not forget that anyone who *did* disagree, or who tried to bring other books to light, were branded heretics and burned, stoned, or otherwise forced out of existence ... and their writings along with them. Yes, it's nice to have the illusion that no one disagreed, when you're the one writing the books.

--W@L
</font>

That is not true. We are talking about the first 100 years or so. It wasn't unitl way after the second century that the Chruch got power to stone people or in other ways to punish heratics, basically not until they had state power at the end of the fourth century. So this does not apply.

There were many factions in the begining and there were people who did not follow the basic line of the Apostoles and no one harmed them.
 
Old 01-17-2001, 08:29 PM   #9
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by smugg:
By the fourth century there was enough of a schism to cause the slaughter of over 3,000 Arian Christians - by Catholic Christians. Interestingly, this is more Christians than were ever martyred by the pagan authorities of Rome in the movement's 300 year history.

To be sure, the Arians had Gospel accounts. Apparently Gospel accounts without a divine Jesus.
</font>

NO they did not! The ARians did not have any different accounts than the Orthdox, they just interpreited them differently, and they had a divine
christ. The ARians didn't say Jesus wasn't divine, they said he was a lesser deity.

 
Old 01-17-2001, 09:29 PM   #10
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Metacrock:

NO they did not! The ARians did not have any different accounts than the Orthdox, they just interpreited them differently, and they had a divine
christ. The ARians didn't say Jesus wasn't divine, they said he was a lesser deity.

</font>
From Brittanica.com:

Arianism

a Christian heresy first proposed early in the 4th century by the Alexandrian presbyter Arius. It affirmed that Christ is not truly divine but a created being...

According to its opponents, especially the bishop Athanasius, Arius' teaching reduced the Son to a demigod, reintroduced polytheism (since worship of the Son was not abandoned), and undermined the Christian concept of redemption since only he who was truly God could be deemed to have reconciled man to the Godhead.

...


From Encyclopedia.com:

Arianism

Christian heresy arising from the teaching of the Alexandrian priest Arius, c.256-336. To Arius, Jesus was a supernatural being, not quite human, not quite divine, who was created by God...


I was cutting them some slack by not using their opponents' terminology since it's all bunk to me.

Metacrock, are you claiming you know they had no other texts? Does absence of evidence equal evidence of absence?

Anyway, I think I misinterpreted the OP - if the question is were there Gospel accounts that disagreed with the Gospels we have today? There certainly were by the relatively late date of 250, and I suspect there were earlier ones, given the properties of transcribed texts and oral reports.

If the question is were Christians just a cult? I'm not qualified to judge, I suppose, since (as per Metacrock's generalization) I see all religions as 'cults' - given their falsehoods.
 
 

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