1. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Apr '10 19:38
    "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this wise. When his mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph,before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
    Now the birth of the Greek demigod, Perseus, was in this wise. When Acristus, King of Argon, was warned that he would be killed by the son of his daughter Danae, he built a tower of brass in which she was imprisoned and so hoped to frustrate the oracle. But the God Jupiter visited the maiden in a shower of gold and thus was Perseus born.
    And the birth of the Aztec God, Huitzilpochtli, was in this wise. When Catlicus, the serpent skirted, was in the open air, a little ball of feathers floated down from the heavens. She caught it and hid it in her bosom and thus the god was born.
    The birth of the god Attis was in this wise. From the blood of the murdered Agdestris sprang a pomegranate tree and some of the fruit therof the virgin Nana gathered and laid it in her bosom, and thus the god was born.
  2. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Apr '10 19:451 edit
    Also the founder of the Manchu dynasty was born in this wise. A heavenly maiden was bathing one day when she found on the skirt of her raiment a certain red fruit. She ate, and was delivered of a son. Likewise was Fo-Hi born of a virgin. and the virgin daughter of a king of the Mongols awakened one night and found herself embraced by a great light and gave birth to three boys, one of whom was the fanmous Genghis Khan. In Korea, the daughter of the river Ho was fertilized by the rays of the sun and gave birth to a wonderful boy. Likewise was Chrishna (sic) born of the virgin Devaka; Horus was born of the virgin Isis; Mercury was born of the virgin Maia; Romulus was born of the virgin Rhea Sylvia.

    Taken from Chapman Cohen who concluded: When the missionary sets forth to convert the savage, he is attacking the parent of his religion. For the savage alone can tell him why "the birth of Jesus was in this wise."

    Just interesting. He remarks that, until very modern times, people had a very dim understanding of how babies were conceived and many bizarre (to us) explanations were offered.
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    17 Apr '10 20:30
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Also the founder of the Manchu dynasty was born in this wise. A heavenly maiden was bathing one day when she found on the skirt of her raiment a certain red fruit. She ate, and was delivered of a son. Likewise was Fo-Hi born of a virgin. and the virgin daughter of a king of the Mongols awakened one night and found herself embraced by a great light and gav ...[text shortened]... understanding of how babies were conceived and many bizarre (to us) explanations were offered.
    "For the savage alone can tell him why "the birth of Jesus was in this wise."
    Not sure what you mean by this.

    He remarks that, until very modern times, people had a very dim understanding of how babies were conceived and many bizarre (to us) explanations were offered.
    Even more interesting, is how, despite such veiled understanding, the promise given to the woman, i.e., that the Messiah would come from her seed.

    The ignorance which was prevalent until recent discoveries still nearly universally allowed for the understanding that the seed aspect of conception was the domain of the man.

    Out of the Garden, God foretold His redemption plan would not involve man's seed, tainted as it was with sin nature. Crazy, huh.
  4. Standard memberfinnegan
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    17 Apr '10 22:47
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    [b]"For the savage alone can tell him why "the birth of Jesus was in this wise."
    Not sure what you mean by this.

    He remarks that, until very modern times, people had a very dim understanding of how babies were conceived and many bizarre (to us) explanations were offered.
    Even more interesting, is how, despite such veiled understanding, the ...[text shortened]... edemption plan would not involve man's seed, tainted as it was with sin nature. Crazy, huh.[/b]
    No what I find interesting is how much of the Biblical story is comparable to other stories in other religions and other cultures, including many that were far earlier, and some that were obviously quite independent. For example, was not Huitzilopochtli worshiped in the Mexican forests long before Europeans arrived? He also had no human father; his mother was a virtuous widow and he was born of an apparently innocent flirtation that she carried on with the sun. When he frowned, his father the sun, stood still. When he roared with rage, earthquakes engulfed whole cities. When he thirsted he was watered with ten thousand gallons of human blood. I quote H.L. Mencken here, author of famous reports about the Scopes "monkey trial" in Tennessee in 1925. A full list of the gods that have enjoyed immortality and awesome power must await a later post. Apparently the one who arrived in Palestine was quite unique - though actually I think that claim would only make sense if someone would take into account the countless indications otherwise and explain them. I just pick the virgin birth tale as a starter.
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    18 Apr '10 12:42
    Originally posted by finnegan
    No what I find interesting is how much of the Biblical story is comparable to other stories in other religions and other cultures, including many that were far earlier, and some that were obviously quite independent. For example, was not Huitzilopochtli worshiped in the Mexican forests long before Europeans arrived? He also had no human father; his mother ...[text shortened]... tless indications otherwise and explain them. I just pick the virgin birth tale as a starter.
    There are flood motifs in literally every culture known to man, as well. I wonder why.

    Okay, I'm just messing with you on that one: we already know why. If we can take the Bible to be true on its face, the promise of the woman was given prior to the establishment of any civilization. Surely this information would have been exchanged and carried with each dispersion, yes?
  6. Standard memberfinnegan
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    18 Apr '10 15:295 edits
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    There are flood motifs in literally every culture known to man, as well. I wonder why.

    Okay, I'm just messing with you on that one: we already know why. If we can take the Bible to be true on its face, the promise of the woman was given prior to the establishment of any civilization. Surely this information would have been exchanged and carried with each dispersion, yes?
    OK so this promise was carried with each dispersion ( a reference of course to the descendants of Noah) and strangely enough it resulted in a plethora of claims to have identified the promised god born of a virgin. It did not result in a plethora of sources all leading to the one manifestation of a virgin birth. And it resulted (by your account) in a diversity of gods with no possible similarity to each other.

    For example, I do not recall Jesus advocating too many human sacrifices - just the one and he had the decency to volunteer for the job. When Carthage was facing destruction by the Romans, the people angrily suggested this was because the aristocracy, when their children were selected for sacrifice, had a practice of paying to substitute a plebeian child in their place. So they sacrificed lots of aristocratic children to mollify their angry god, who of course was not mollified and now we forget who he was.

    I suppose we could debate the links between human sacrifice and Christian predilection for martyrdom.

    If there was a prophecy it was like Nostradamus - so many unrelated events could arguably match the prediction that it is, in the end, no prediction at all.
  7. Standard memberfinnegan
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    18 Apr '10 15:35
    Originally posted by finnegan
    OK so this promise was carried with each dispersion ( a reference of course to the descendants of Noah) and strangely enough it resulted in a plethora of claims to have identified the promised god born of a virgin. It did not result in a plethora of sources all leading to the one manifestation of a virgin birth. And it resulted (by your account) in a divers ...[text shortened]... ildren to mollify their angry god, who of course was not mollified and now we forget who he was.
    Talking of the dispersion, I am reminded of a Jesuit who worried greatly about the Sloth when it was discovered in South America. Being such a desperately slow mover and restricted in its habitat, he wondered how it could have got so far in the time available since the flood. Another mystery.

    http://www.google.co.uk/images?hl=en&q=Sloth&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=eybLS7CMGZmL_AbYq4T_BQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CCsQsAQwAA
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    18 Apr '10 17:153 edits
    Originally posted by finnegan
    "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was in this wise. When his mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph,before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost."
    Now the birth of the Greek demigod, Perseus, was in this wise. When Acristus, King of Argon, was warned that he would be killed by the son of his daughter Danae, he built a tower of brass i ...[text shortened]... the fruit therof the virgin Nana gathered and laid it in her bosom, and thus the god was born.
    Are we supposed to be impressed because you can use similar wording as is found in the New Testament, to explain something about your mythic figure of choice ?

    "Now the birth of ..... was in this wise "

    That's a rather cheap trick and not at all conclusive of anything.
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    18 Apr '10 17:351 edit
    Copied with permission from "Was Jesus Just a CopyCat Myth ?"

    http://www.christian-thinktank.com/copycatwho1.html

    Attis (p. 523). "The complex mythology of Attis is largely irrelevant to the question of dying and rising deities. In the old, Phrygian versions, Attis is killed by being castrated, either by himself or by another; in the old Lydian version, he is killed by a boar. In neither case is there any question of his returning to life...Neither myth nor ritual offer any warrant for classifying Attis as a dying and rising deity."

    "All of the attempts in the scholarly literature to identify Attis as a dying and rising deity depend not on the mythology but rather on the ritual, in particular a questionable interpretation of the five-day festival of Cybele on 22-27 March. The question of the relationship between the Day of Blood (24 March) and the Day of Joy (25 March) caught the attention of some scholars, who, employing the analogy of the relationship of Good Friday to Easter Sunday, reasoned that if among other activities on the Day of Blood there was mourning for Attis, then the object of the 'joy' on the following day must be Attis's resurrection. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that this was the case. The Day of Joy is a late addition to what was once a three-day ritual in which the Day of Blood was followed by a purificatory ritual and the return of the statue of the goddess to the temple. Within the cult, the new feast of the Day of Joy celebrates Cybele. The sole text that connects the Day of Joy with Attis is a fifth-century biography of Isidore the Dialectician by the Neoplatonic philosopher Damascius, who reports that Isidore once had a dream in which he was Attis and the Day of Joy was celebrated in his honor!" [p.523]
    There are several accounts of Attis' death (and relationship to Cybele):


    "Attis was born in Phrygia of human parents, normal except for the fact that he was unable to beget children. As an adult, he moved to Lydia and established the rites of the Mother there. These rites attracted an enormous following, more so than the cult of Zeus, with the result that Zeus was jealous and sent a boar to kill Attis. In view of the manner of his death, the Galatian residents of Pessinous refused to eat pork." [ascribed to Hermesianax, in Pausanias 7.17.9, from HI:ISGM:240, no mention of resurrection, etc.]

    "A more grisly variant on this narrative can be found in Servius' Commentary on Aeneid 9.115. In Servius' story, too, Attis becomes conspicuous for his devotions to the Magna Mater, but in this account Attis's undoing is his physical beauty, which attracts the attention of the king of his (unnamed) city. To escape the advances of this king, Attis flees from the city to the forest, but the king pursues him and rapes him. Attis retaliates by castrating the king, who then castrates Attis in turn. Attis is found by the attendants of the Mother's temple lying under a pine tree, dying of his wounds. They try unsuccessfully to save him, and after his death, they institute an annual period of mourning in his honor, during which the goddess's attendants, here called archigalli, castrate themselves in memory of Attis." [HI:ISGM:240n11; no mention of resurrection--only perpetual death]

    "Diodorus preserves a rather simple tale in which the human Cybele, cast out by her parents, falls in love with the handsome young shepherd Attis. She becomes pregnant by him but then is recognized by her parents and taken in again. When they learn of her pregnancy, they cause Attis to be killed, whereupon Cybele goes mad with grief and wanders through the countryside. Eventually, after a famine, she is recognized as a goddess and Attis is worshipped with her. Because his body had long since disappeared, an image of him served as the focal point of his cult" [HI:ISGM:241]

    “Attis rages round like a wild maenad, until he falls down exhausted, under a pine-tree and in an access of insanity emasculates himself. Only when he sees Attis dying of his mutilation does Agdistis regret his behavior, beseeching Zeus to raise Attis from the dead and resuscitate him. The god does not refuse Agdistis’ request completely, and allows Attis’ body to remain uncorrupted, his hair to grow on and his ‘little finger’ to stay alive and move continuously (digitorum ut minimissimus vivat).” [from Ovid, Pausanias, Arnobious, et.al. XCA:91]

    Notice that none of these accounts have even a semi-resurrection or semi-rebirth aspect in them...
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    18 Apr '10 18:00
    Copied with permission from a discussion on ANE alledged Dying and Rising Dieties:

    "Was Jesus Just a CopyCat Myth ?"

    http://www.christian-thinktank.com/copycatwho1.html

    "Nevertheless, the figure of the dying and rising deity has continued to be employed, largely as a preoccupation of biblical scholarship, among those working on ancient Near Eastern sacred kingship in relation to the Hebrew Bible and among those concerned with the Hellenistic mystery cults in relation to the New Testament.

    "Broader Categories. Despite the shock this fact may deal to modern Western religious sensibilities, it is a commonplace within the history of religions that immortality is not a prime characteristic of divinity: gods die. Nor is the concomitant of omnipresence a widespread requisite: gods disappear. The putative category of dying and rising deities thus takes its place within the larger category of dying gods and the even larger category of disappearing deities. Some of these divine figures simply disappear; some disappear only to return again in the near or distant future; some disappear and reappear with monotonous frequency. All the deities that have been identified as belonging to the class of dying and rising deities can be subsumed under the two larger classes of disappearing deities or dying deities. In the first case, the deities return but have not died; in the second case, the gods die but do not return. There is no unambiguous instance in the history of religions of a dying and rising deity."

    Now, we can summarize this quote thus:

    There is simply "NO unambiguous data" to support the belief in the existence of ANY dyin'-n-risin' deity apart from Jesus Christ;
    There is (therefore) data CONTRARY to the belief that this was a COMMON figure before the time of Christ (to say the least);
    And therefore, there would not be ANY motif/images FROM WHICH the NT authors could even borrow the image of a dying and rising God.
    (And also that any biblical and ANE scholarship that still uses this image in trying to understand ANE sacral kingship and NT Mystery Religions is simply unaware of the fact that the comparative data has moved out from under them)
  11. Standard memberfinnegan
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    18 Apr '10 23:561 edit
    Originally posted by jaywill
    Now, we can summarize this quote thus:

    There is simply "NO unambiguous data" to support the belief in the existence of ANY dyin'-n-risin' deity apart from Jesus Christ;
    There is (therefore) data CONTRARY to the belief that this was a COMMON figure before the time of Christ (to say the least);
    And therefore, there would not be ANY motif/images FROM WHI ...[text shortened]... gions is simply unaware of the fact that the comparative data has moved out from under them)[/b]
    Not sure that I described a dying and rising anything in my post about the virgin birth ( I did comment on human sacrifice) but I mustn't grumble.

    Your first statement (there is no unambiguous data), even if accepted for the sake of argument, does not lead inexorably to your second, and neither leads in any direction that might include the third. It looks like a logical argument but that is only in appearance. It is more like an exercise in poetry than an argument.

    But I would have no difficulty accepting your statement that, as a matter of historical evidence, the story of the death and resurrection of Christ is a totally original feature of the Christian story compared with the stories of other religions. None at all BECAUSE you base your claim on historical evidence and that is a perfectly reasonable approach - it is available for anyone with the required expertise to raise evidence against you if it is out there. And that is fair debate.

    And by the same token I imagine you will accept the torrent of evidence that much of the Bible is a re-hash of other stories from other cultures and religions.
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    19 Apr '10 01:00
    Originally posted by finnegan
    OK so this promise was carried with each dispersion ( a reference of course to the descendants of Noah) and strangely enough it resulted in a plethora of claims to have identified the promised god born of a virgin. It did not result in a plethora of sources all leading to the one manifestation of a virgin birth. And it resulted (by your account) in a divers ...[text shortened]... related events could arguably match the prediction that it is, in the end, no prediction at all.
    b]OK so this promise was carried with each dispersion ( a reference of course to the descendants of Noah) and strangely enough it resulted in a plethora of claims to have identified the promised god born of a virgin.[/b]
    Not altogether certain that you're use of the word 'strangely' is appropriate for the situation proposed. IF the biblical account can be taken at face value and SINCE information degrades by a matter of fact, it isn't too much to rightfully assume that all subsequent stories emanating from that original source are indirectly borrowing from the same. Nothing strange about that scenario whatsoever, really.

    It did not result in a plethora of sources all leading to the one manifestation of a virgin birth.
    If there existed no degradation at all, I'd be thoroughly suspicious.

    And it resulted (by your account) in a diversity of gods with no possible similarity to each other.
    Really? If anything, I see various iterations of the same God, only varying degrees of the same. Ironically, none of them supersede the God of the Bible: it's as though they're all shadows of the same. Weird.
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    19 Apr '10 02:595 edits
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Not sure that I described a dying and rising anything in my post about the virgin birth ( I did comment on human sacrifice) but I mustn't grumble.

    Your first statement (there is no unambiguous data), even if accepted for the sake of argument, does not lead inexorably to your second, and neither leads in any direction that might include the third. It l ...[text shortened]... vidence that much of the Bible is a re-hash of other stories from other cultures and religions.
    ===================================
    Your first statement (there is no unambiguous data), even if accepted for the sake of argument, does not lead inexorably to your second, and neither leads in any direction that might include the third. It looks like a logical argument but that is only in appearance. It is more like an exercise in poetry than an argument.
    =====================================


    But where was your concern for "poetic" exercise while you were fabricating what appeared to be identical phraseology of your myths to the book of Matthew?

    The portion of discussion I pasted served the purpose of directing anyone interested into sources for discussing the Attis, Osiris, and other popular staples of the "Jesus the CopyCat" argument.

    And can you find anything in your myths which sound like the following portion of historical details from the Gospel of Luke ?

    "Now in the fifteenth year of the government of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zachariah in the wildreness" (Luke 3:1-2)

    Could you quote for me the writing of one of your mythic figures with an ample amount of historical backround data ?


    =================================
    And by the same token I imagine you will accept the torrent of evidence that much of the Bible is a re-hash of other stories from other cultures and religions.
    ==================================


    I will not accept as evidence "rehashing" dating back to ideas invented after the completion of the new testament. Don't submit cultic mystery religious writing of the post Christian era.

    I also will not accept data which is purely traditional, ie. Roman Catholic tradition, which is not emphasized in the new testament itself. For example, Hislop already informed of "Mother and Child" portraits dating back to ancient Babylon. "Mother and Child" icons appeared in China and India which apparently pre-dated the arrival of Christianity.

    That is all well and good. I accept that the "Mother and Child" motif could be related to Nimrod and his mother going back to Babylonian myths. But the New Testament itself does not labor on the matter simply because Catholics adopted "Mother and Child" portraits as a part of their Maryolotry.

    Other than the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin, there is NO special emphasis on revering this sacred relationship between Jesus and the so-called "Mother of God".

    Don't bother submitting things like this as proof that the Christian Gospel is rehashing earlier religions.

    Apart from these kinds of arguments I'd consider two or three of your strongest cases for saying the Gospels are rehashing earlier sacred stories. I don't need a "torrent". Just two or three of your strongest cases will suffice. Submit your strong cases first rather than leaving them for latter.
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    19 Apr '10 03:10
    Christianity has borrowed many beliefs and practices from other religions. One either accepts this fact or doesn't. It has no bearing on the value of what one might or might not perceive as spiritual truth.
  15. Standard memberfinnegan
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    19 Apr '10 09:221 edit
    Originally posted by jaywill
    ===================================
    Your first statement (there is no unambiguous data), even if accepted for the sake of argument, does not lead inexorably to your second, and neither leads in any direction that might include the third. It looks like a logical argument but that is only in appearance. It is more like an exercise in poetry than an a ice. Submit your strong cases first rather than leaving them for latter.
    The New Testament is only a part of the Bible and I was commenting on the Bible. So if I debated with you the story of Noah and the Flood, you would apparently snort that this is not part of the New Testament. Yet the most irritating brand of Christian are those insisting on the literal truth of the Bible and notably those advocating creationism based on Genesis. So for my purposes I am not sure why I have to agree to your restrictions and without an explanation I decline (but I have explained why).


    I also accept that many Christians disagree with Roman Catholics but I regret to advise you that the category "Christian" incorporates Roman Catholics and it would be absurd to consider and debate the history of Christianity without accepting the dominance of the Catholic Church in Western Europe for over a thousand years. Also for many issues, notably the argument of science and religion, it would be illiterate to ignore the Catholic Church's role.

    You cannot expect serious debate on your terms because you are cheating.
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