View Full Version : Mithras Sect

15th Aug 2001, 04:40
At last the proof you all needed. From www.sackclothandashes.org

Mithraism, The Origin of Christianity

Mithraism is an ancient pagan religion on which Christianity is based. Unlike Christianity, which has thousands of ancient documents which seem to ad to it's authenticity, Mithraism is based on more concise records numbering about 600. This allows researchers seeking to discover "the historical Mithra" an ease of navigation and clarity of mind impossible for Biblical scholars who might get confused by the plethora of ancient texts containing redundant passages. In addition, Christian epigraphic artifacts can be found within a half century of the lives of the actual writers of the New Testament who claimed to have known "Jesus". (Christianity's name for "Mithra") This early attestation makes re-editing and historical research difficult.1 The earliest texts concerning Mithra however are dated decades later than the Christian copies, which allowed the writers time to check their sources and get their stories straight, thereby ensuring a higher level of authenticity.

Much can be made of the similarities of Christianity and Mithraism, for instance the attending shepherds at both the birth of Jesus and the birth of Mithra. Of course the miracle of the shepherds in the Mithra story exceeds the Christian myth in that the shepherds attend Mithra's birth quite some time before Mithra decides to create mankind. Both Mithra and Jesus are called "mediators." Mithra mediates because being the sun or perhaps light he exists in the air above us, therefore between us and the gods, who are the planets, which would of course include Uranus.2 Jesus mediates by paying the penalty for mankind's sin thus allowing His followers to have fellowship with God.

Mithraism and Christianity both have a communion service. In one bread and wine are eaten as a sacrifice to Mithra and in the other bread and wine are eaten to remind the participants of Jesus sacrifice of himself for them. It is exactly the same except that the Christians got it backwards. Of course, being Christians, they were sure to botch up their job of copying Mithraism in other ways as well. Mithraism welcomed the practice and worship of all gods and sects so Christianity welcomed all people from any social strata to join. Mithraism did not allow women and catered to a particular social class so Christianity did not allow the worship of any other gods or sects.

The list of similarities reaches every aspect of both religions. Mithran people were known to wash up as a part of their worship. Christians only washed up once and called it "baptism." Mithra was born of a mother-rock by a river under a tree. Jesus was born of a mother as well, and though she was not a rock, he was born in a stable carved out of a rock and the manger was a tree byproduct. Mithra first gives battle to the sun, conquers him, crowns him with rays and makes him his eternal friend and fellow; nay, the sun becomes in a sense Mithra's double, or again his father. Jesus, early in his ministry, confronts Peter, crowns him fisher of men, and makes him his brother. Mithra sacrifices a bull and from its body makes wine and animals and stuff. Jesus sacrifices himself, makes wine out of water, and being a carpenter, made stuff. Most Mithrans were Roman soldiers. Christianity has a hymn called "Onward Christian Soldiers." Mithra has a god friend named Ahura Mazda. Many Christians drive a Mazda. Mithra was born with the Phrygian cap on his head. The pope also wears a funny hat. Coincidence? I don't think so!

15th Aug 2001, 04:56
Outstanding. THE PROOF. About bleedin time.
I am, for one,convinced.

15th Aug 2001, 05:38
Well done, Guy, but since it mentions in the bible about Jesus riding through Jerusalem in his Triumph I'm sure that would be the vehicle of choice for his followers.


15th Aug 2001, 05:47
Wasn't there a movie awhile back, something like "Mithra vs. Godzilla?"

15th Aug 2001, 05:49
Well Triumph 650 of old or a Norton. Bows to Nortons. Landscape blurrrrrss.

15th Aug 2001, 08:57
I think it was a Triumph, most probably the cub rather than any of the 650's. It is described elsewhere as a Donkey or Ass, so that rules out the Norton. Of course, they may have mistaken a Francis Barnett as something with more muscle. That would explain them strewing palm leaves on the road to soak up the oil...

Through difficulties to the cinema

15th Aug 2001, 09:03
On second thoughts, the oil palms needed to soak up the oil definitely point to a Royal Enfield Crusader.

The natives of Jerusalem can hardly be blamed for mistaking a Crusader for a Triumph. Foreigners probably all looked the same to them...

Through difficulties to the cinema

tony draper
15th Aug 2001, 11:32
Been telling folks about the similarities between the Mithras story and Christianity for years, read a book about it a long time ago, seems to have been studiously avoided by scholars.
I remember that Mithrasism also had ritual canabalism in that his followers were asked to eat his body and drink his blood,that the christians pinched.
Also that he was born in a cave of the earth mother.
I remember being amazed that this predated the christian myths the similarites were very clear.
Gonna post that on another forum lots of OCB clones frequent the place.
Stir up the waters a tad. ;)
Incidently it was the popular religion of the roman soldier, so there's a few Mithratic temples knocking about the uk.

[ 15 August 2001: Message edited by: tony draper ]

[ 15 August 2001: Message edited by: tony draper ]

15th Aug 2001, 12:31
Yep, Tony - that's what "Temple" in London is - an old temple of Mithras. I recall a wine bar somewhere around there called "Mithras".

15th Aug 2001, 17:01
Actually, Guy, I think if you remember some of us pointed this out to you a while back.

Actually, you'll find that Mithras is not the only 'Saviour' to have similar details as the Jesus story (including virgin birth, disciples, ritual death and resurrection - and being the 'son of god'. Some of these predate the New Testament writings by thousands of years. Unfortunately, due to the rampaging early Christians a lot of the books and reference material was burned or destroyed - how convenient. There is some evidence that even the word 'Christ' comes from ancient Hindu 'Kris' meaning 'sun'.

The 10 Commandments are rehashed from at least two earlier Codes of Conduct.

But if I read you right, you are ridiculing this Mithraic cult, and claiming it is later than Christianity (when it predates it by around 600 years). What epigraphic artifacts prove that the Gospel writers actually knew Jesus.

How sad that so many Christians always have to play this 'My God is better than your God' game.

The church historian, Mosheim, writes that, 'The Christian Fathers deemed it a pious act to employ deception and fraud.' [Ecclesiastical Hist., Vol. I, p. 347.] Another historian, Milman, writes that, 'Pious fraud was admitted and avowed by the early missionaries of Jesus'.

Incidentally, should I start sending my taxes to Rome instead of the UK Government.

16th Aug 2001, 06:40
The Mithras cult was not ignored by scholars so much as suppressed by Christian establishments. You'll find plenty of published academic research if you pop round to your local university. Its even pretty well covered in Encyclopaedia Brittanica! I pointd out in one of the 'OCB' threads that Constantine was a devotee of Mithras until his conversion to Christianity, after which he imposed Christianity as the official religion of the Roman state.

The Mithras Cult was one of many societies known as "Mysteries" in Greek and Roman civilisation. The majority were non-religious clubs or 'secret societies' with entrance rituals and initiation ceremonies. Freemasonry survives today as a good example of a typical "Mystery" Many of the mysteries formed around religious beliefs and became religious cults. The Mithras cult itself absorbed many facets from different places, mainly oriental beliefs and traditions from Persia and beyond in the Indian sub-continent. [Remember "We three kings from orient are..." ??] It is entirely possible that early Christian beliefs became entangled with Mithraic culture to produce the early Church and the rituals associated with modern Christian worship. Don't try and convince a Bishop though - they are trained to refute such allegations when they train for the priesthood!

As Tony Draper is probably aware there is a pretty good excavation of a Mithraic temple at Housesteads Roman Fort on Hadrians Wall that includes an altar carving showing Mithras emrging from an egg - an early portent of Easter perhaps?

Through difficulties to the cinema

16th Aug 2001, 08:20
I think Mithras is as similar to Christianity as people want it to be similar. I'm sure you can find similarities between every religion or cult and Christianity if you set out to do it. Does that make them the same? Does that mean Christianity is just a collection of everything else?

I don't deny that Christianity got mixed up with pagan religions as it was spread across Europe in the fifth century, but that is 400 years after the New Testament. The Mithras theory is far fetched. It is more of a jump to conclude that Christianity came from Mithraism than to accept Christianity at face value.


There is a Christian inscription at Pompeii prior to 60AD (when the lava came and made it really hard to inscribe anything).

I'm not playing a my God better than your god game. But the bible is an arrogant book by today's standards. It says that the God of the bible is the only God. All others are made up.

I've never heard of Mosheim or Milman. So I will have to do some research. What time are they from? Are they reliable historians?

Don't send your takes to Rome, that would be to badly misread your bible. (Although if you have any Roman coins I'm sure there are some museums there who would love to display them).


Those Bishops! Such a terrible conspiracy! If only they could look at the facts instead of spending all that time being brainwashed.

There is a lot of work to be done to connect Christianity to the Mithras sect given that the first portion of the New Testament (that we have found) is dated at its latest at the end of the first century. It will be rather difficult given that the Roman historians (most likely) familiar with both Christianity and Mithraism did not connect the two. Comments from them to the effect that Christianity is emptying all the temples and the fact that Mithraism was based in a temple will be extremely difficult to explain.

Have a read of the opening post again. Is it really that familiar?

16th Aug 2001, 16:03
Nice line in irony Guy, but really are you now expecting us to believe you have changed your spots.

I did read your post very carefully, which is why I question your intent. I don't need proof that Christianity is a cobbled together religion from a mish-mash of existing cults and faiths prevalent around 2000 years ago, I already know this. However, I do agree that it would be good if people looked at facts instead of relying on brainwashing ;)

The facts are that the Bible is a collection of books, much of which is myth, legend and hearsay - edited into a rather odd mixture of obscure references and geneology, stories and records then presented as the Word of God, unalterable and sacred. To be accepted whole and complete without question (or else - eternal damnation and torment).

I agree the Bible and Christianity are both arrogant in assuming they are the only ones who have the keys to heaven. Strange, I seem to remember you stating the very opposite.

Guyincognito quotes:
'Not at any moment do I agree the bible has errors'.
'I'm an evangelical Christian......'

Very amusing start, but then you always were more intelligent and considered in your responses.

17th Aug 2001, 05:19

I didn't think I'd have to say this, but the original post was satire. ie. at no time did I think the Mithras sect theory even came close to explaining the origins of Christianity.

I hope Velvet that you are predisposed to fact-finding, as to seeking out all those that agree with you and deeming their work as undisputable proof. Not that I put you in this category (unless you want to be), but there are people out there that refuse to believe Christianity to be true, and will do so regardless of all the proof in the world. I'm sure that's exactly the accusation that you level at some Christians for their faith.

These 'facts' are your opinion. Feel free to question the bible as you desire. I have done so myself and found that it stands up to scrutiny.

The bible is a collection of books over a 1500 year period. Despite this extraordinary time of writing and diversity of authors there remains an impressive central unity to the bible.

I don't think I am particularly arrogant. But I trust in an arrogant book. A book that claims itself to be the Word of God and without error. I have never denied this. I must admit I don't understand your accusations and the intentions of your quotes.

Thank you for your generous comments to my intelligence and humour value.
Please let me know if you want me to raise clearly all the points of difference raised in the original post. It's the least I can do. ;)

17th Aug 2001, 06:03

I too don't believe that Christianity originated in Mithras but the Mithraic cult is an interesting illumination of the general religious culture that it emerged from. It is inevitable that the result would be tainted by the pre-existing beliefs and culture of those who were converted. We need knowledge of this background to untangle the web that surrounds the ministry of Jesus and his disciples. He was very far from conventional Judaism in his day - what really was his agenda? There is at least a suspicion that those who have sought to impose themselves as true interlocutors with specific aithority to interpret the word for us [its those Bishops again, guy :)] have altered the meanings to suit their own agenda.

The early church had to reconcile the new religion with pre-existing beliefs in how the world worked and God's place in the scheme of things. It is therefore inevitable that much of the Judaic basis for Christianity would be obscured by an overlay of the paganism into which the early evangelists preached.

Islam too has a Holy Book taken to be the immutable word of God, but it has already spawned two major sub-divisions - Sunni and Shi'ia that are themselves in the process of being sub-divided. These are the inevitable results of conflicts arising from evangelical conversion among people of widely differing culture and pre-existing belief systems. I cannot help but consider that the existing condition of the revealed religions obscures a basic truth.
But all is not plain to see, there is in these words that which is hidden and a critical approach is needed to root out the underlying message.

You see, I reject all interpretations made for me by others. I insist on working it out for myself and that means exploring every avenue critically and with eyes wide open.

Through difficulties to the cinema

17th Aug 2001, 07:09
Sounds good Blacksheep. Try the source documents for Christianity - ie. the bible. I too seek to interpret the bible, not blindly holding to another's interpretation, but checking it for myself.

You'll find in Paul's writings especially a constant exhortation for the new converts to leave behind paganism and stick to the apostles teaching (who were all Jews, btw). Those who have any idea how seriously Jews took their culture are hard pressed to make claims that they just lapped up paganism.

17th Aug 2001, 11:07
engage pedant mode/

HugMonster, geographic note: there is indeed a Mithraic Temple in London. It is now located close to Mansion House (not its original location, it was dug up and moved to avoid being buried by a 1960s development), but the Temple district of London (now occupied by strange people wearing horsehair wigs) does not take its name from the Temple of Mithras. The name derives from the Knights Templar, an order of crusader fighting monks who were violently suppressed by the Papacy in the C13 (or C14, forgotten which) amidst spectacular allegations of witchcraft and assorted naughtiness (but in reality because they had lots of cash and didn't toe the Vatican line). They had taken their name from the ancient Hebrew Temple in Jerusalem, and built the beautiful Temple Church just off Fleet Street. When the Templars were chucked out, the lawyers moved in and the rest, as they say, is history.

pedant mode disengaged/

tony draper
17th Aug 2001, 11:31
Thats right pick on us Knights Templers,
We were only doing our job.
I suppose you know about Barphomet also.
If so, keep it to yourself or we will have you sent for. ;)

17th Aug 2001, 18:03
Guy, why would God's Word need interpreting by anyone? No-one should need to decipher a message from a supposedly superior being.

The Gospel of Thomas and Gospel of Philip are just two of many documents found at Nag Hammadi in 1945, both very different from the existing New Testament, and either removed or left out because they did not fit in with the ‘official Christian church message’. The Gospel of Thomas states that Jesus was married, or at least intimate, with Mary Magdalene, that he was not born of a virgin, and that he did not bodily resurrect.

There are also amongst others the Apocryphon of John, the Apocalypse of Adam (a much different Genesis version), the Allogenes which has a female aspect as part of the Triple Godhead, the Hypostasis of the Archons (yet another version of Genesis) and the Gospel of Truth condemned by Irenaeus in 180 AD, These documents are Coptic translations made around 350-400 AD. The dating of the originals is not easy, however, they were written at the latest during the 2nd Century possibly earlier with some based on earlier documents, so are at least contemporary with the ‘allowed’ Gospels. There is some evidence that several of these were also based on earlier and pre-Christian ideas, concepts and manuscripts.

There was a concerted effort (by the Christians) to destroy all copies, but it is known they were in circulation at the beginning of the Christian era. Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century AD, and possession of heretical books was a criminal offence, with any copies found burned. Some copies survived in Egypt, and these are now being studied. The authors considered themselves to be Gnostic Christians, a process by which knowledge is obtained by observation or experience. That to know oneself deeply is to know God, this is, of course, where agnostic comes from – that of not knowing God.

For several decades, the documents found at Nag Hammadi were subject to political and scholarly battles, and thus their publication was delayed until the 70s; when an international team copied and translated most of these documents.

The main difference is that these Gospels see Jesus as totally human, not as a divine being, but a guide to enlightenment and spiritual understanding. St Thomas (who is accredited with one Gospel) is recorded in tradition as the Apostle who went to India, and Gnosticism does seem to have been influenced by Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism.

Were these texts heretical, or were they the orthodox originally and the heretical teachings eventually became the official religion. There were many power struggles during the 3rd and 4th Centuries between the factions causing a schism in the Church - hence the Eastern and Western Christianities. Prior to 200AD, there were as many divisions and creeds and faiths within Christianity as there are today (or more), then some order and organisation was imposed and ‘heretics’ (those who did not toe the party line) were expelled, punished or even killed if they did not accept the changes. It would appear that the Gnostics were a branch of Christianity that looked upon the Orthodox as the heretics.

The Christianity which was selected in the early centuries of the first millennium fell in line with the thinking of a very few, but powerful, figures. This small group of men chose which version of Christianity would be the ‘official and sanctioned’ one, which books would be included in the Bible and more importantly which would be left out. Anything that did not agree with that narrow concept was destroyed including men, women and children.

The Codex Sinaiticus has the complete New Testament, but with the Epistle of Barnabas and the first quarter of the Shepherd of Hermas, however, this too has been written and corrected and transcribed. It was corrected against a manuscript that had itself been corrected from an original. It contains thousands of corrections made by several different people – and was originally written in the 4th Century by 3 scribes. It begs the question why corrections are needed if it is indeed the Word of God – cannot He at least get it right first time. Presumably the corrections are necessary when the original does not match the official version.

Why were certain Gospels, Epistles, and books left out of the ‘official’ Bible, which it is now claimed is not only infallible and a factual history, but is incapable of error – despite the obvious myths and oral traditional reports, and the many contradictions and corrections made over the centuries.

There is no real proof of when Jesus was born (if he did in fact exist), we know it had to be several years at least before the date chosen (based on biblical descriptions connected to real events) and that it didn’t happen on 25 December. Strange too that there are no contemporary reports of the miracles and events – surely, there should be at the very least one report (outside the bible) of how 5000 people were fed from only a few loaves and fish – or even that a guest had turned water into wine at a society wedding. These would have elicited at least a mention from one of the writers at that time. There is not even a passing note on the killing of hundreds of boys under two years old, during Herod’s reign, not something that would have gone unnoticed, especially by his critics. The obvious reason would be that none of these were real events, but at best apocryphal.

There is even less proof that the Old Testament is accurate or true, as with the several Genesis stories, two of which made it to the Bible, and the mythological Noah, just one amongst many ancient flood legends – nearly all of which pre-date the Hebraic version by thousands of years. In one Gnostic version it was the Goddess who saved Noah and mankind, after the evil destroyer Jehovah decided to wipe out life on earth.

Tony, I'll head off any mention of Baphomet - sssshhhhhh

tony draper
17th Aug 2001, 18:43
SSShhh Miss Velvet,even the typing of the name is dangerous,even now dedicated search engines could have swung into play seeking out where the word was typed from,
Vatican Bankers have been found hanging under bridges, for the mere mention, need I say more.
The Priory of Sion wealds immense power, and it is rumoured that they now have the head in this country.

[ 17 August 2001: Message edited by: tony draper ]

19th Aug 2001, 05:44

Firstly the bible doesn't need interpreting in the sense of decoding. It needs interpreting in the sense of reading and understanding, like you interpret the newspaper. It needs to be read and understood.

Secondly, your history of the bible is missing a very significant section. That is the second century, when a lot of your gnostic books where written. Even during the apostles time, but especially after their deaths, false teaching was spreading throughout the church. It was not universal, but it was widespread. It was not until these false prophets started writing their own 'genuine' apostolic accounts that people were concerned in laying down a canon. The gnostic writings fall into this category, along with other false teachers' collections, like Marcion for example.

So how did they work out which books were real and what were fake? Well, the next generation after the apostles, the 'church fathers', wrote letters between churches quoting what are now the books of the bible, but where then the letters and gospel accounts. From the way they treated these writings, (with the respect afforded God's word, or as good reading, but not necessarily God's word) the canon was debated and eventually decided (but not at the Council of Carthage as some erroneously claim). The canon debate went on for two centuries before being settled. As historians and churches have looked back into the details, there has been no serious criticisms of the result we now have in the modern bible.

A quick note on the Gnostics- They believed Jesus was human, but Christ, some spiritual reality manifest himself on Jesus throughout his life. When Jesus was to be crucified, the Christ left him, and Jesus just died. Dead and buried. It's not the smartest false-teaching in the world. Gnostics value knowledge, by which they mean revealed knowledge, or insights. They were around during the apostles' time and were roundly refuted in the bible itself.

Another small note: The Christian writings predate the Gnostic ones by a century.

Corrections: How do we know that the Codex Sinaiticus was corrected? Because we have thousands of other copies. We have the uncorrected copy at our disposal. The bible was independantly copied so many times that we can be 99% certain we have as good as the original. There remains small controversies over particular words and phrases, there is two passages that are probably not original in most bibles - both clearly marked in modern translations, and none of the controversies affects the overall clear message of the bible.

Compare this with our knowledge of Julius Caesar. It rests on seven texts, the earlies of which is centuries removed from the original. Yet no-one questions the details of his life.

You talk Velvet as if we know all there is to know from those times. In actual fact we have only a fraction of the writings from those times and piece together small fragments of the puzzle with what we have. The most reliable piece of the historical puzzle, much to most people's dismay, is the bible, which stands far above all other ancient texts in the reliability stakes.

19th Aug 2001, 06:48
So the only true Christians are the European versions guy? And the, oh, lets say.. the Ethiopians for example, are just ignorant heathen? Time for some more missionary work then ...

Through difficulties to the cinema

19th Aug 2001, 18:48
I do question the fact that people do give a lot of relevance to all holy books. Is it not a fact that the followers of the profit Mohammed treat the Koran as sacrosanct and is the word of god. Equaly Christianity treats the new testament in the same way. Judaism follows the teachings in the Old Testament. All of the prementioned religions acknowledge that the Prophets mentioned in all these books are to either a greater or lesser extent worthy. All these books were written many hundreds of years ago and were relevent to the times they were written. I am not sure if they are relevent to the 21st century in as much that all religions claim to be the one true path and the rest be dammed. The fact is that a great deal of the worlds ills can be laid at the door of organised religion and I for one want no part of a vengeful god. Until some one brings me irrevocable proof of the existance of a GOD I will continue to be an agnostic and treat these stories as the myths that they are. :confused: :confused: :confused:

20th Aug 2001, 04:35

Sorry mate, don't follow.


Holy books are revered because they are a different type of knowledge: revealed knowledge. God, who knows everything, has told us something.

You are correct in saying that Christianity, Judaism and Islam all claim to have books which are the word of God. You may be interested to know that the Koran (surah 3)recognises the bible as the word of God, even though Islam do not.

The bible does not hold that the prophets were especially worthy men, and therefore God spoke to them. Jesus does however claim to be without fault.

The fact is that last century, the worst century in history for bloodshed, a great deal of the world's dead can be laid at the feet of those who claim God didn't exist. (eg. Nazi, USSR, China) Organised athiesm is just as dangerous as organised religion.

Who will judge if this proof is irrevocable? You? Do you trust yourself not to be biased on the 'God doesn't exist' side? What sort of proof are you searching for?

Funny that you should treat the bible as myth while non-Christian historians use it for a reference document.

20th Aug 2001, 11:12

Re: the Movie. It was Mothra ( a giant moth-like insect ) Vs Godzilla. A classic!!

Tricky Woo
20th Aug 2001, 11:19
Herr Draper,

It's been simply ages since the funny handshake mob hung someone upside-down from Blackfrairs Bridge. Have the Masonic bosses learned to be a little more tolerant, or have the naughtier Mason minions been toeing the line?

We should be told.


tony draper
20th Aug 2001, 13:23
Draper's lips are sealed. ;)

20th Aug 2001, 13:44
Latin teacher at school liked to be known as "Louis Mithras Alexis".

No deed poll involved, just a brain tumor.

He taught latin well, and I still feel a touch bad about failing that subject close to the time he died.

20th Aug 2001, 14:09
what proof am I looking for? Do aeroplanes fly? Yes. Is the grass green? yes. Is the earth solid to the touch? Yes. Is the world a safe and good place. No!!! If there is a God why does mankind face such suffering, especialy the weak and the elderly. If God is so compassionate why does he allow such suffering. I know the theological answer is that he gave us a free will, however no one of such immense power and so called compasion could sit back and let mankind destroy itself. As regards the said Nazis in Germany, I would suggest that they were practising christians and would invoke God to suit their purposes.

To be truthful I do not know what proof I require, only that I would know it if I saw it. :confused: :confused: :confused:

[ 20 August 2001: Message edited by: rover2701 ]

[ 20 August 2001: Message edited by: rover2701 ]

20th Aug 2001, 15:27
Guy, the Bible is not evidence of the Bible being fact or truth, much of what is written is acknowledge myth.

I did not give a history of the Bible, I merely pointed out that there are many books which could have been included and weren't because of a political agenda (nothing to do with being false). I don't know all there is to know about that century or any other - but I do know that the Bible is neither the definitive nor even an accurate historical document - and it certainly is not a model on which I would base my spiritual wellbeing.

It all comes down to whether you believe you need a support mechanism to find your God, for you it appears to be a blind acceptance of the Christian Scriptures and Jesus and that your God suddenly stopped communicating with mankind 2000 years ago.

However, you are wrong - Gnosticism is now generally thought to be pre-Christian - you are probably thinking of Manichaeism which did indeed post-date early Christian and borrowed from it. But, Gnostic thought was prevalent far earlier than the first century AD. There is also evidence that the Nag Hammadi manuscripts are based on earlier books and writings; additionally they are as authentic and possibly pre-date the traditionally accepted Gospels.

To dismiss everything that does not accord with your fundamentalist viewpoint purely because it is outside the recognised and orthodox teaching is to denigrate the worth of your message. It is to deny the intrinsic value of Christianity and to accept that it is incapable of standing up to independent analysis. It is also, as had been said elsewhere, to hold fast to the keys of heaven and God's Presence and allow only those you consider worthy to enter in.

Blacksheep, it would appear so ;)

Mine too Trickster ;)

[ 20 August 2001: Message edited by: Velvet ]

21st Aug 2001, 08:31

ref Nazis. I think you will find that, despite a few token slogans around which still carried reference to God (like old belt buckles worn on the Eastern front left over from WW1) the Nazis were anti-God. Definitely Hitlers overriding philosophy was humanist, and he was a big follower of Nitsche (sp?), the philospher.

ref: suffering. The bible records our rebellion of God as the source of our suffering. That is, not that suffering directly results from every little rebellious action, but rather that because we have rebelled against God, as a race, we are in a world filled with suffering.

There is a worse fate for someone than suffering, however. That is to stand before the judgement of God and receive the due penalty for our rebellion against him.

He has done something to end suffering though: suffer himself. Jesus Christ, who is God, suffered and died on the cross, an innocent man, in our place, taking the judgement we deserve. If we accept him as our Lord or master (hence seeking no longer to rebel against him) and trust that in him, then we will be saved from the judgement and enter life without suffering, after we die, in heaven.

This is the bible's message.

21st Aug 2001, 08:45

The Ethiopian Christians do not use the Gospels as known to the Romans and Greeks. They have their own. Many of the priests learn the gospels by heart, end-to-end and there is a strong oral tradition. Islamic history tells us that the early Muslims sought refuge from persecution with the contemporary Christians and these were widespread along the western arabian peninsula. It is possible that the Muslim tradition of Hafiz - learning the scripture by heart to protect against loss of the word through destruction of rare handwritten texts - had its origins in the Ethiopian Christian oral tradition. Such tradition is known to have preserved the Koran so close to its original codification by the Caliph Omar that it may be considered unchanged.

Whatever, the Ethiopian Church owes next to nothing to the European version. Though the similarities are obvious, the differences are striking. It would appear that the African church was the result of evangelical work dating back to the apostles. Arguably, the oral tradition suggests that the Ethiopian gospels are closer to the original preaching of the apostles than the versions "authorised" by the European churches - that is Roman and Greek.

It would be arrogant to suggest that the African gospels are a primitive aberration. They carry as much weight as any version authorised by a politicised instrument of state policy, such as the Roman Church was from the fourth century onwards. Just because a source is at variance with one's own outlook does not mean that we can reject it; it means that we must adjust our outlook to take account of the difference.

Through difficulties to the cinema

21st Aug 2001, 08:52

Ok, I say it all happened one way, you say it was all a big political conspiracy. The time has come to lay down your sources.

What is your basis for saying:
"I do know that the Bible is neither the definitive nor even an accurate historical document"

"much of what is written is acknowledge myth"
"there are many books which could have been included and weren't because of a political agenda"

I know of respected historians who do not acknowledge that much of the bible is myth, and accept large portions as unchallenged, accurate history. Obviously someone has claimed that the closing of the biblical canon is political. Can you remember where you heard it, so I can look into their claims?

Whether gnosticism predates the NT or not is not important. That the false belief existed before even Christ existed does not give it supremacy to the Christian message. By that rationale we should all believe the earliest religion that ever existed. The apostles interacted with the Gnostics when they wrote the NT, and soundly refuted it. That process continued throughout the time of the church fathers all the way into the councils of the fourth century, and to some extent still continues today. False teaching is as rife today as it was back then, and largely nothing that people come up with is new.

I don't mean to sound dismissive of your independant analysis of Christianity or the bible, it's just that it has a certain ring of popular literature about it. I'm sure that's not the case, and you haven't formed your views from the stands of the best-seller controversy books or equivalent websites. I'd like to be able to address them for myself, so any suggestions you have to search for the appropriate information would be helpful.

For you edification most of my information comes from the 'New Bible Dictionary', I think by Eerdmans, as well as the 'Evangelical Dictionary of Theology'.

21st Aug 2001, 14:37

You still have not answered the basic question. Why if God is all powerful and compasionate, are we still suffering. If you said that he sent his son Jesus Christ to suffer and atone for our sins why is the world still a frightening and wicked place. Why has he not revealed himself to us for over 2000 years. Surely the time is ripe for him to show us the true path. Another thing why would any supreme being want to be worshipped and feared. Surely displaying affection and love is all that should be required. I dont have to get down on my knees to my loved ones to show them that I love them.
Last but not least. How do we know that the Holy scriptures are TRUE. Who says so. Its down to belief. No more

21st Aug 2001, 16:58
Guy, apart from the Nag Hammadi documents not being populist literature and many other documents which you would claim to be from false prophets (but are merely those which did not fall into line with Orthodox teachings), my sources are many and varied and I've studied biblical source documents and other reference material (not always in English) many years ago. I had to conclude on my own analysis both from reading the bible and other holy works and myths and legends from as varied civilisations as Babylon, Sumeria, Egypt, India and Europe etc, that it had been edited to deliver a certain message; I'm sure that you're genuine in your belief the Bible is the Word of God. You can't prove this, and to claim it is its own verification is completely self-referential. However, it should be enough that you believe - I don't need to. You don't need me to.

As for myths, take Noah - this has been discussed in another thread in some detail, it's neither factual nor realistic and inerrantists always skim over the points which would clash with their belief or come up with such ludicrous justification as to make themselves look ridiculous. It is neither unique, nor an unusual story - and none can stand up to independent verification of the events. Samson is generally accepted as a myth even amongst biblical scholars - unless they are inerrantist. I've discovered over the years at least 8 variations on Genesis, as many Noah stories, and a fair number of man-god legends with numerous similarities to the biblical Jesus.

Some of the events described in the Bible have no independent verification - there is no record of Herod's supposed massacre of young boys; no record of dead saints wandering around Jerusalem en masse etc etc.

I could quote so many instances from within the Bible which would not stand up to even the most cursory examination, but it would bore us both before I got even a tiny fraction of the way. I could also give a very detailed analysis of why what is written is impossible. Enough that I have studied the bible, I have understood it and my faith does not require its support.

A belief and faith should be just that, neither requiring proof nor justification from external sources. No matter what you say, nor how you denigrate my studies and research and faith you will not dent, nor shake it.

I accept you have your path, why can you not accept that my way is not yours. I seek neither to convert nor to change what you believe; for you it is the right one and I respect that.

May your God go with you Guyincognito and may you find what you seek.

21st Aug 2001, 23:28
I love you. Thanks for your views on this. Sometime I feel very isolated. I just want some one to prove it to me!!!

[ 21 August 2001: Message edited by: rover2701 ]

22nd Aug 2001, 03:05

The problem with your theory of the European or Roman churches editing the bible as they saw fit is that we have copies of the New Testament prior to their influence. And they agree quite closely with the latter copies. We have, in our environmentally-controlled, protected capsules portions of the New Testament from as early as 100AD. That is at least 200 years before Constantine got to 'skew' everything his own way. We have the source documents before Constantine had a chance to change them (which we can determine that he did not).

I'm not suggesting that the African gospels are a primitive aberration. I know very little about their differences from the manuscripts. I suggest that they should be awarded the same validity as the rest of the manuscripts have been, and compared to their record. They should be awarded the appropriate weight that a manuscript might have amongst 10,000 others.

(I must admit I find it amusing, Blacksheep, that you make such a strong case for oral tradition, when it is a strong disposition against oral tradition that causes a lot of people to criticize the events recorded in Genesis).

22nd Aug 2001, 04:30

I am the reason. You are the reason. We are the reason that people suffer in the world. We have attracted God's appropriate anger for our neglect and rebellion of him. That anger should rightly end in our immediate destruction. But God is merciful, allowing us to continue, that we may return to him through his Son, Jesus Christ. There is a far worse end for a human than suffering. It is called hell. It is not a pleasant place, but it is the just end of all that rebel against God, of which I am one. But thank God, that through his mercy he has rescued me, undeserving as I am, from that end. I am a beggar showing another beggar where I found food.

(God is not only revealed in Scripture as powerful and compassionate, but also holy, righteous and just).

God has given us his word, the bible, which tells us all we need to know of him. We can meet with God in his word. You and I have relationship by communication. I have relationship with God, opened by Jesus, through God's word. I can also have access to God in prayer, because I am a Christian, so he will hear my prayers. God has not left himself unknown for 2000 years.

If God is true, and he is God, then who are we, his creation, to decide what is required of us. This is the nature or our rebellion. We have determined for ourselves what is right and wrong, and in so-doing have rejected God's word.

The Holy Scriptures are true, firstly because they say they are true. This is God's word. It is entirely appropriate that it should comment on itself and proclaim its status as such. Who else can judge God's word? Who will stand over God and make a decision or not as to what is and is not God's word.

Secondly, God's word stands up to outside investigation. As we check the details of God's word against the other evidence we have in the world, we see that it is true. It has been backed up again and again with archeological evidence and independant historical record. It also gives a description of humanity which is entirely consistent with our experience.

Everything is a matter of belief in life. But belief is based on reasonability. It is reasonable to believe in the bible.

22nd Aug 2001, 04:46

Why can not to intelligent adults debate this area of life? Why is it illegitimate to claim that something might be true for all people? I respect you Velvet. I respect your views. But does that mean we are not allowed to discuss them? Or do the Taliban have the right idea in killing those that preach Christianity?

I am interested in your theory, Velvet. At what time was the bible edited? What do you mean by edited? Do you mean that the documents themselves were changed? What proof do you have that this editing took place?

A lot of people attack the Genesis accounts. The truth is we know very little from that time. It is hard to understand what life was like back then, what the world was like back then. But later biblical writers and characters took it seriously. Jesus took it seriously. So I take it seriously.

Of what we can verify in the bible, it stands in strong accord with the surrounding evidence. It is by far the strongest historical recorde of its times, regardless of what you think of its message. It is verified again and again (but not in every detail) by archeological and histroical record. There are a few arguments against it (eg. Luke's account of Quirinius), but remember that we know so little about those times. We certainly do not have every bit of information we would like about those times.

Is this the standard of proof you require of all historical documents? Must absolutley every fact be independantly verified? How could you trust any document with a requirement of proof that demanding?

Your faith and my faith must be based on the truth. If they are not, then we are self-deluded. To divorce faith and truth is to divorce brain and head.

You are very generous in seeking to end our discussion with 'let us agree to disagree'. The bible, however, does not allow me to relativise truth. It is for our own good that we consider with gravity its claims, and respond accordingly.

22nd Aug 2001, 05:50
My, isn't this civilized. Discourse. Pity it didn't happen a "Bye Contrite" ago. :)

edited for an anagram

[ 22 August 2001: Message edited by: Rollingthunder ]