VerbosityCat

Christians deny the history of how Christianity came to be

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I'm not sure if this is a rant or not. But I am curious to other people's opinions. Do you think Christians are even really AWARE of how Christianity came to dominate the world? I'm not sure if most of them know and ignore it or if they heard it but think it's a "lie from the devil" or if they are just ignorant of that fact and a non-christian could never teach them about it because we don't have "the light of Jesus" or whatever so all our knowledge on all topics is suspect (one wonders how they navigate hospitals. Do they ask every doctor if they have Jesus in their heart before taking medical advice?)

 

It seems extremely obvious to me that if you have a religion that was adopted by a powerful figure (Constantine) in order to gain more power and then that religion was used to forcibly convert a bunch of people, and then it spread to further conquest and then for CENTURIES people's indigenous beliefs were suppressed and people were tortured and executed for believing the wrong way or even for believing the "right way" (Christian) but doing THAT wrong somehow. I mean... you would think people would go hmmm maybe that's not super legit.

 

Like if Islam were to take over the world, in a few centuries would we have a bunch of little western muslims totally ignoring how their christianity was suppressed and destroyed?

 

It seems like religions like this create a brand of stockholm syndrome that goes on for generations until it self-perpetuates. Christianity has lost most of its actual power (example: I can "not be a Christian" and not be murdered) but it doesn't actually need that brute force anymore because the little slaves have been made to think the chains were their idea to begin with.

 

I also get frustrated in talks about the historical context when I hear Christians talking about "the pagans" like they were this whole other foreign group of people (instead of Christianity being the foreign occupying ideology) when they were their ANCESTORS. Their ancestors were pagan but because they can't see themselves in the context of anything other than Christianity, they identify with the oppressors instead of with their actual ancestors. (realistically speaking, most of their ancestors were forcibly converted and lost most of their culture and traditions.)

 

Even when a Christian does know the history, they still seem to think most of the conversions were peaceful and people converted because their faith was "lacking" in some way. Yeah, that's why they fought so hard and held on to all their pagan festivals. I don't often have this conversation with Christians because they just refuse to get it. (part of me thinks if they allowed themselves to get it they'd be mad about how much was stolen from them and wouldn't be able to justify continuing as a Christian but that might be more of a hope than a realistic thought.)

 

And I hate when they pull the "well they weren't real Christians". EXACTLY. Most Christians were not "real Christians" back then. It was about conquest and submission through fear. there were probably only small handfuls of "true believers" in most areas who weren't in some way threatened or doing the threatening.

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"They weren't true Christians" was definitely the stunt my ex-church pulled. The real Christians were hidden among the fake ones.

And no, I don't think the majority of Christians are aware at all of how Christianity came to dominate. I certainly wasn't. But I was directly challenged on this by my therapist at the time, who pointed out to me all the atrocities that Christians had undertaken in the name of faith. And personally, since I was becoming skeptical of the claim that "true believers were hidden", things just weren't adding up for me.

Ultimately, it comes down to what people want to believe. If they have the motivation to believe, they will ignore all evidence to the contrary that is presented to them, go on the defensive and attack, or somehow come up with some explanation that arrives are their desired conclusion. If they are quietly desperate to get out as I was, they will listen to reason and logic.

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8 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

"They weren't true Christians" was definitely the stunt my ex-church pulled. The real Christians were hidden among the fake ones.

And no, I don't think the majority of Christians are aware at all of how Christianity came to dominate. I certainly wasn't. But I was directly challenged on this by my therapist at the time, who pointed out to me all the atrocities that Christians had undertaken in the name of faith. And personally, since I was becoming skeptical of the claim that "true believers were hidden", things just weren't adding up for me.

Ultimately, it comes down to what people want to believe. If they have the motivation to believe, they will ignore all evidence to the contrary that is presented to them, go on the defensive and attack, or somehow come up with some explanation that arrives are their desired conclusion. If they are quietly desperate to get out as I was, they will listen to reason and logic.

 

This is a really good point. I've struggled for years over "why" can't my family "see" this stuff and just leave? But I think you've really laid it out. I never wanted to be Christian. It never appealed to me. I don't like "one true wayisms" or dogma, or being ordered around and threatened with eternal torment for disagreeing. Christianity was never going to be a fit for me, so like you say, as soon as I was presented with reasonable arguments, I was working my way out. But they want to believe. I dont' understand why they want to believe though. I mean it causes them some measure of distress (my family) knowing I am "going to hell" for not believing the same things they do.

 

And it isn't like I went from belief to atheism. That's just not how I see the world either. I respect the viewpoint, but I'm a little more woo woo than that :P So I mean, my family can look at me and see that it isn't like you have the choices: Christianity or Atheism. There are other ideas and ways of being in the world. After all "Spiritual but not religious" is the fastest growing religion.

 

And you're probably right about them not really knowing about the history. ANd it's hard to get into a discussion about it because they are going to get very defensive about it so you can't actually get any solid information to them and so they end up thinking you're just lying or misinformed or exaggerating or whatever.

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Yeah, it amazes me that anyone would believe that an existent power structure would simply terminate because some strangers said they had a better idea.  The better idea needs swords and an army, like the Romans did.  You can make a pretty convincing argument over a former leader's head on a stick.

 

Of course, war wasn't the only way Christians gained ground.  Sometimes they supported second or third sons of nobles that wouldn't previously have much of an inheritance at all, but with the Church behind him could take rulership of the country.  Just convert to Christianity at the end of the whole mess and you're good with the Church.

 

No one wants to hear that their religion had to convert by way of the sword, but in those days taht's how it was done.  Now Christians go to Third World countries and send aid... if you convert.  If you want to be a heathen about it then no food or clean water for you!

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28 minutes ago, 1989 said:

Yeah, it amazes me that anyone would believe that an existent power structure would simply terminate because some strangers said they had a better idea.  The better idea needs swords and an army, like the Romans did.  You can make a pretty convincing argument over a former leader's head on a stick.

 

Of course, war wasn't the only way Christians gained ground.  Sometimes they supported second or third sons of nobles that wouldn't previously have much of an inheritance at all, but with the Church behind him could take rulership of the country.  Just convert to Christianity at the end of the whole mess and you're good with the Church.

 

No one wants to hear that their religion had to convert by way of the sword, but in those days taht's how it was done.  Now Christians go to Third World countries and send aid... if you convert.  If you want to be a heathen about it then no food or clean water for you!

 

 

Of course. And  the way many tribes were set up, if a pagan king converted, pretty much everybody else had to convert as well. Then there was the situation of pagans being used to adding a new god to their pantheon, so Jesus was "just another god to add" until he wasn't. So a pretty big bait and switch. Then there was probably lying... like that Jesus was some badass warrior god. And people who respected strength might be swayed by that. Though most of that applied to people in some level of power. The peasants in the countrysides pretty much clung to the old gods until they had no other choice but death. that's why they were called "pagans" and "heathens". It was just a description of where they lived. Like calling somebody a country bumpkin today. They weren't following the "sophisticated city religion of Christianity". In a hilarious turn, now we see most Christians as the uneducated "country bumpkins".

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You're absolutely right, of course. I think you probably already get it but the main issue is that they've been delicately brainwashed to not ever listen to anyone who disagrees with them. I've been doused with so many "You better be careful not to listen to nonbelievers! They might corrupt your mind!" during my childhood. I actually eventually pieced together that that was evidence they actually didn't believe what they claimed to believe, because if they did they wouldn't be so scared of being proven wrong. What a horrible way to live, too - to be constantly on guard in fear that any stray thought or speech by an unbeliever will corrupt you and lead you to hell!

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18 minutes ago, DestinyTurtle said:

You're absolutely right, of course. I think you probably already get it but the main issue is that they've been delicately brainwashed to not ever listen to anyone who disagrees with them. I've been doused with so many "You better be careful not to listen to nonbelievers! They might corrupt your mind!" during my childhood. I actually eventually pieced together that that was evidence they actually didn't believe what they claimed to believe, because if they did they wouldn't be so scared of being proven wrong. What a horrible way to live, too - to be constantly on guard in fear that any stray thought or speech by an unbeliever will corrupt you and lead you to hell!

 

It's a very elegant system, that's for sure. If I were an evil dipshit or some kind of take-over-the-world mastermind, I'd be applying much of this to whatever my evil plot was.

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I have never personally known a Christian that is even aware of the Historical Critical Field of study. Christians generally know little or nothing about the origins and evolution of the Bible or the Christian Faith, because apologetics is the only thing they've been exposed to. 

 

Tell a Christian there is no historical Jesus & they will look at you like you've grown another head. Tell them the evidence suggests the Apostle Paul was probably a literary character not a real person & they might faint or laugh hysterically. 

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9 minutes ago, Geezer said:

I have never personally known a Christian that is even aware of the Historical Critical Field of study. Christians generally know little or nothing about the origins and evolution of the Bible or the Christian Faith, because apologetics is the only thing they've been exposed to. 

 

Tell a Christian there is no historical Jesus & they will look at you like you've grown another head. Tell them the evidence suggests the Apostle Paul was probably a literary character not a real person & they might faint or laugh hysterically. 

 

For me it's been so long since I deconverted that I forget what was "normal knowledge" for me before I started the deconversion process. You know how you become really well-versed in a subject but you forget that everybody else doesn't know about it? I guess this is one of those categories of knowledge where it just seems like something everybody knows or should know, so I'm ascribing an "agenda"that may not be there. Assuming people know this stuff when they don't.

 

During my deconversion I found the Jesus Never Existed website so comforting.

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But the frustrating part is, you can't exactly impart this knowledge on a Christian because it isn't sound byte knowledge and to really dig down and prove that it's a real thing it would take a lot of time and a Christian just isn't going to sit still for that.

 

It's like all the dying/rising savior god myths that are basically the same as the Jesus story. Bill Maher went over that in Religulous. There was a time in the history of Christianity when EVERYBODY knew about the other dying/rising god myths because they had JUST been pagan. And so there had to be a "cover story" for why the story was so the same but somehow this version was better/the truth. Now though nobody knows about this and if you tell them they think you're just making it up.

 

A lot of Christians are convinced these "atheist websites' are full of professional liars. They can't let themselves believe that the people who talk about this stuff are honestly seeking truth.

 

* And good gods I say "frustrating" a lot. I guess because it's the only word I can use in a lot of these situations. I'm not "mad". It's just pointless to be mad about this. Who would I even be mad AT that is still alive? The "bad actors" died centuries ago. Now we're mostly dealing with well-intentioned ignorance and fear.

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Attempting to "educate" a Christian about the historical realities of the Bible & the Christian Faith is a waste of time & energy. They have been so deeply indoctrinated their mind simply will not process such information. 

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15 hours ago, Cat987 said:

I also get frustrated in talks about the historical context when I hear Christians talking about "the pagans" like they were this whole other foreign group of people (instead of Christianity being the foreign occupying ideology) when they were their ANCESTORS. Their ancestors were pagan but because they can't see themselves in the context of anything other than Christianity, they identify with the oppressors instead of with their actual ancestors. (realistically speaking, most of their ancestors were forcibly converted and lost most of their culture and traditions.)

 

 

Good point. There was no religion called "paganism." The term itself was just a cultural slur, like calling someone a "dago" or "wetback." 

 

As Nietzsche pointed out, it's amazing in retrospect that Europeans were willing to dump their traditional religions en masse in favor of this bizarre cult from the middle east. Some of it was forced conversion and intimidation (as you said), but most of it was done willingly. A lot of it was accomplished through literacy, Europeans being illiterate for the most part. If you are illiterate and a man with beard appears with this book that purports to explain the history of the world, and how your soul can be saved, that can be intimidating. 

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20 hours ago, Cat987 said:

But the frustrating part is, you can't exactly impart this knowledge on a Christian because it isn't sound byte knowledge and to really dig down and prove that it's a real thing it would take a lot of time and a Christian just isn't going to sit still for that.

 

It's like all the dying/rising savior god myths that are basically the same as the Jesus story. Bill Maher went over that in Religulous. There was a time in the history of Christianity when EVERYBODY knew about the other dying/rising god myths because they had JUST been pagan. And so there had to be a "cover story" for why the story was so the same but somehow this version was better/the truth. Now though nobody knows about this and if you tell them they think you're just making it up.

 

A lot of Christians are convinced these "atheist websites' are full of professional liars. They can't let themselves believe that the people who talk about this stuff are honestly seeking truth.

 

* And good gods I say "frustrating" a lot. I guess because it's the only word I can use in a lot of these situations. I'm not "mad". It's just pointless to be mad about this. Who would I even be mad AT that is still alive? The "bad actors" died centuries ago. Now we're mostly dealing with well-intentioned ignorance and fear.

 

 

Just about all the gods of the ancient world were thought of as dead but mystically alive. If that weren't the case, there would be no reason for prayers. The Osiris dying-and-reviving with the vegetation was only one archetype. The religious cults operated in a similar fashion to Christianity and Islam today. 

 

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11 hours ago, Geezer said:

Attempting to "educate" a Christian about the historical realities of the Bible & the Christian Faith is a waste of time & energy. They have been so deeply indoctrinated their mind simply will not process such information. 

 

True story. Don't worry, I haven't been wasting my time and breath with flow charts.

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3 hours ago, Blood said:

 

Good point. There was no religion called "paganism." The term itself was just a cultural slur, like calling someone a "dago" or "wetback." 

 

As Nietzsche pointed out, it's amazing in retrospect that Europeans were willing to dump their traditional religions en masse in favor of this bizarre cult from the middle east. Some of it was forced conversion and intimidation (as you said), but most of it was done willingly. A lot of it was accomplished through literacy, Europeans being illiterate for the most part. If you are illiterate and a man with beard appears with this book that purports to explain the history of the world, and how your soul can be saved, that can be intimidating. 

 

Oh definitely. It's just hard to talk about something without a word for it. My ancestors wouldn't need a word for just living their life LOL. All indigenous native religions share this organic evolution along with the people it comes from. Like the Japanese didn't call their native faith Shinto-ism until they had to have a word to defend it against the encroachment of Christianity. Unfortunately since European "pagans" were the first group to really get the ax with Christianity we were the test subjects and nobody came up with a name so our name was given to us as an insult "pagans" and "heathens"

 

Even though I dont' like labels sometimes I use "pagan" as shorthand because "I follow my ancestral gods and whatever has been salvaged that still makes any sense to me" is quite a mouthful.

 

That's the thing though. They WEREN'T willing. Why do you think Christmas is still pretty much Yule? They clung like stubborn motherfuckers but the structure of how things were set up were not in their favor. The way the cultures were set up first was used against us. Pagan (again no other shorthand word) kings would be converted with promises of more power and wealth (a few of them were very loyal to their people and fought to the bitter end. In fact the Nordic countries were some of the last Christianized and much of the Viking invasions were payback for Christian oppression.) So the pagan kings would be converted. They would convert their armies, then they would decree that the land was Christian and ban all the pagan stuff. The rank and file commoners would either fall in line or be forced to fall in line by the military. They really didn't have a chance. I'm actually amazed by how much even survived.

 

There is some truth to SOME willing conversion but don't kid yourself about that. If it was as willing as you think, I wouldn't still recognize Yule in "Christmas". Yes there was illiteracy but much was just general lying. I mean most people in the modern literate world who are Christian haven't read the bible so literacy probably wouldn't have helped very much. It's likely most thought Jesus was just another badass war god and they just "added him to the pantheon" not realizing what they were doing or what Jesus really was.So I would say SOME (particularly in the cities where people are always looking for the new trend) was willing, but once the truth started to be known, those out in the countrysides which were called "pagans", clung hard. But in the end it didn't really matter.

 

Once Constantine got it into his head to make Christianity the state religion and go on a conquest, it was only a matter of time before the whole identity of Europe was destroyed and assimilated into this stupid religion.

 

One other point on willing conversion. I will grant a few likely. There are always a few people who convert to other things, but human beings are just not wired up that way in general. People pretty much follow whatever ideology and religion they were born with. People who leave their faith of birth or the gods they were raised with are extreme outliers, even today. Even people who leave formal Christianity are often still "culturally Christian". This stuff clings like Saran wrap to people. The  idea that there was some mass conversion to a foreign religious ideology that would have made little sense (remember, a lot of the more sophisticated conversion tactics didn't come along until later in the game), is just ridiculous on its face.

 

Are you telling me this is the singular time in history mass conversions happened "mostly willingly". I have a bridge to sell you.

 

The fact that Christians were burning and otherwise maiming and killing other christians with only slightly different theology from them tells me all I need to know about the "willingness" with which my ancestors gave up their ancestral gods. Also... what kind of nitwit would give up Thor for Jesus. Thor was a fun badass that everybody who worshipped him loved. Why on EARTH would they abandon him for any foreign god no matter what lie was told? I smell bullshit. (in the idea that most converted willingly... not about you personally.)

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2 hours ago, Blood said:

 

 

Just about all the gods of the ancient world were thought of as dead but mystically alive. If that weren't the case, there would be no reason for prayers. The Osiris dying-and-reviving with the vegetation was only one archetype. The religious cults operated in similar fashion to Christianity and Islam today. 

 

 

True but there are also variations. A lot of that was more common in the Mediterranean. There were different conceptualizations that were more common in different areas. Like in the norse/germanic traditions the gods were literally your ancestors. And because ancestor veneration was a big part of things, the idea was that ancestors were still with you just on the other side. So that's sort of the same thing but also not the same thing. When pagan thought gets generalized it always goes back to the Osiris archetype. And although there were many gods who fit that, it doesn't cover all of European paganism. Plus Osiris was Egyptian paganism, not European. And the Greeks were constantly being influenced by foreign ideas. So when we use Egyptian (which isn't even Europe) or Greek ideas to generalize to European paganism we are not really talking about native European belief systems so much as an Egyptian belief system which isn't even on the same continent, and the Greeks which were always experimenting with all sorts of stuff that wasn't exactly indigenous to their area. Like there is a dying/rising god myth in the nordic tradition but it's pretty different. The Baldur myth IMO while sharing some commonalities is just not that related to the Jesus/Osiris thing.

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19 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

"They weren't true Christians" was definitely the stunt my ex-church pulled. The real Christians were hidden among the fake ones.

And no, I don't think the majority of Christians are aware at all of how Christianity came to dominate. I certainly wasn't. But I was directly challenged on this by my therapist at the time, who pointed out to me all the atrocities that Christians had undertaken in the name of faith. And personally, since I was becoming skeptical of the claim that "true believers were hidden", things just weren't adding up for me.

Ultimately, it comes down to what people want to believe. If they have the motivation to believe, they will ignore all evidence to the contrary that is presented to them, go on the defensive and attack, or somehow come up with some explanation that arrives are their desired conclusion. If they are quietly desperate to get out as I was, they will listen to reason and logic.

 

Nailed it!

 

I was presented with an opportunity to opine on the fact the the Bible is merely a collection of literary works and not a histogram as fundies revere it. Mrs. MOHO quoted some OT verse condemning Paganism and how it infiltrates society and brings it down. This verse was an obvious attempt by some ancient ruler to maintain control over his conquests but, of course, wifey-pooh saw it as relating to present day current events and how only strict adherence to scripture will "SAVE" us. 

 

Anyway I bit my tongue turned my back and made a face and slowly moved out of the room. I did this because, just what @TruthSeeker wrote, the religious believe what they WANT to believe. Being a non-joiner, skeptical of all group-think (not just religious), I find this whole "I believe it because because it's in the Bible AND my churchy friends believe it."  concept utterly backward, ignorant, irrational, and possibly dangerous. 

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3 hours ago, Cat987 said:

 

 

One other point on willing conversion. I will grant a few likely. There are always a few people who convert to other things, but human beings are just not wired up that way in general. People pretty much follow whatever ideology and religion they were born with. People who leave their faith of birth or the gods they were raised with are extreme outliers, even today. Even people who leave formal Christianity are often still "culturally Christian". This stuff clings like Saran wrap to people. The  idea that there was some mass conversion to a foreign religious ideology that would have made little sense (remember, a lot of the more sophisticated conversion tactics didn't come along until later in the game), is just ridiculous on its face.

 

 

The idea that one could be saved and live forever, does have appeal to human nature. I think it was Marlene Winell who went over some pretty compelling reasons for why people are attracted to Christianity in her book (Leaving the Fold). I remember reading it and thinking yes now it makes sense, as to how some people could be willing converts.

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48 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

The idea that one could be saved and live forever, does have appeal to human nature. I think it was Marlene Winell who went over some pretty compelling reasons for why people are attracted to Christianity in her book (Leaving the Fold). I remember reading it and thinking yes now it makes sense, as to how some people could be willing converts.

 

Yes, it has appeal but most of the pagan religions ALREADY believed they were immortal in a spiritual sense.  They believed in reincarnation and afterlife realms. I mean the norse had Valhalla but even Hel wasn't a "bad place" it was just a place regular people went to to continue on in their existence.  But those weren't the only two places you could go. Besides those places and reincarnation there were MANY different halls of the gods. And you could be invited into any god's hall if that god found you exceptional in that area (according to their belief.)  And my ancestors I 100% believe would have wanted to be with their family gods in the afterlife.

This idea of being saved from sin they didn't even believe existed, to live forever when they already believed they would... is just goofy. I mean maybe you could say Christian heaven was "way better" than any of the pagan afterlifes, but was it really? Or are we projecting back in time the modern bells and whistles Heaven? If a pagan (again I use Norse examples just because I'm more familiar with it), were to say he wanted a better afterlife, he'd work toward Valhalla, not abandon his family's gods (family and tribe and loyalty was VERY important. And remember, in many pagan traditions the gods were LITERALLY your family. They were your ancestors. So the idea that they would turn to a foreign god for a questionably better afterlife.... it just doesn't jive for me.)

 

Obviously any study of history is going to not be a 100% exact science because who can really know 100% about a lot of this stuff but I just know enough about the traditions and beliefs of my own ancestors that were preserved, as well as pagan thought and ideas in general that it just doesn't wash at all for me.

 

Also, I'm not saying nobody is ever a willing convert to Christianity. I'm saying MASS conversion to any foreign ideology is just not anything we ever run across in historical research without a lot of bloodshed/violence/threats. When we're talking about percentages of people you'll have a small percentage who are adventurous spiritual seekers who will leave what they were raised in for something else or abandon religion altogether. But almost always what you were raised on from birth sticks. We are outliers. And I don't believe it was ever any different in the grand scheme.

 

I also don't believe Christianity was in any way better than the old pagan beliefs. Then just like now, Christianity cuts you and gives you a band aid. Sin is a creation of this "purity obsessed" religion. So much of Christianity would have been so foreign to the European pagan mind it's no shock that outside of cities where new religions were trendy, most people were just like hell no. Until the swords came out anyway.

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Also, particularly to the norse/germanic mind, being "saved" by a god would have been pretty gross and offensive. These were the original "meritocracy" believers. You were known by your deeds. The idea of someone else coming along and "saving you" in any sense would have been considered a serious weakness. Even now, in the modern era this is such a repulsive idea to me I throw up a little in my mouth just thinking about it.  I can't even imagine a bunch of badass warriors being like "Oh yes, Jesus come save me." Even for eternal life (which they already believed in), I can't imagine these people doing that.

 

Also, in many pagan religions the gods were not worshipped in the sense that Christians worship biblegod. There wasn't this master/slave dynamic going on. Why would anybody trade a more respectful god/human relationship that didn't include SLAVERY for a god who wanted a slave? Especially very proud warrior types? I'm not seeing it. Particularly when the gods were your family. Who trades being descended from their gods for an outside foreign god who wants total obedience? A lot of people complain that relationships with pagan gods were "transactional" but in some sense EVERY relationship is transactional. If you have a friend who always takes and never gives, you don't stay close friends for long. All people expect some quid pro quo in their relationships.

 

No doubt there were some willing converts but I definitely don't think it was anything near a majority. And I think most of the "willing" converts were lied to and told things about the religion that were not at all true. I'm not sure I count that in the willing convert pile because it's not a free choice if you don't have full information to work with.

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"I guess there's always a small chance that there's nothing, but I don't want to believe that". Sums it up in a nutshell.

 

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I personally find the NDE research pretty compelling. While I'm not a "true believer". I would be lying if I said I was prepared to say there is nothing beyond this life. I understand why people close themselves off to this possibility but I would be being intellectually dishonest if I pretended I thought we die and that's it. While that's certainly possible, I don't really find it probable.

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Also, sorry for all that blah blah. I get on a tear. I might be being a bit autistic about this. I get that way. particularly about certain topics.

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And since I was being pedantic anyway, conversion wasn't this simple black or white issue either.  The church was mainly focused on its own power and expansion. Even though there was a lot of violence and forced conversion, they simply didn't have the manpower to constantly enforce it everywhere. Like in the smaller countrysides. That's part of why pagan practices and beliefs held out so long. They would be "converted" (by whatever means), then the church would move on to expand further, and as soon as the church representatives were gone, the people went right back to praying to their own gods. That doesn't really sound to me like a people who was convinced Christianity was way better than their old ways since they kept reverting right back to what they were doing and believing before.

 

Christianity promises a lot of great things, but at the end of the day it's a REALLY joyless religion in practice. It's "fake happy". And I'm not saying Christians don't experience moments of happiness with their religion but looked at objectively the whole thing is an obedience gauntlet. And everything is a sin and you're going to hell if you step a single toe out of line or ask a question without later arriving at the church-approved response. And Christianity has always been this F'd up. It was obviously more-so back when the religion was more willing and able to use violence to get their way.

 

If people had to be either lied to, threatened, or constantly monitored to keep the whole thing going, I just can't see that as people converting willingly to a belief system they thought was better. Even if they were lied to. Who reverts right back to their old beliefs the second they aren't being monitored? Not genuine sincere converts.

 

From its inception Christianity has only worked based on threats. It's still that way. Most people are still only christian because they are afraid to question and they are afraid of hell. They will say oh they really believe and jesus is really awesome and it's made such an improvement in their life blah blah blah. And for some small subset of people I'm sure that's true. But they can't leave. They are prisoners. How can you be happy following a god where the alternative is torture?

 

And now I'm really stopping because I'm sure I'm coming off way more combative than I intend to. I don't know why this is so important to me. I guess it's because I don't want to believe my ancestors were the kind of disloyal pieces of shit who would willingly abandon shit that was working fine for us only to bring us the F'd up religion that is now at the top of the food chain (though not for long, as Islam will probably end up winning the day.)

 

Then we can have a conversation with the new muslim converts about how "willingly" they left Jesus for Allah. I'm betting it's going to be the exact same shitshow as it was the first time when the violent asshole religion was Christianity.

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On 9/11/2018 at 2:47 PM, Cat987 said:

Do you think Christians are even really AWARE of how Christianity came to dominate the world?

 

Fundamentalist Christians don't think it matters. They believe that the Catholic Church is apostate, but that their god managed to use that apostate church to help the "truth" survive until the 21st century. They know the Catholics assembled the Bible and that there was controversy over which books should be included (Wesley and the book of James, in particular), but their presupposition is that Jehovah could have made sure what we have today is exactly the way he wanted it, therefore he would have. How it got to the state it's in is irrelevant in their minds.

 

Liberal Christians, or their theologians anyway, have no such illusion. But a lot of them have other illusions!

 

In Deuteronomy 32, the "Song of Moses," the original language makes it clear that the author believed that the nation of Israel was "the LORD's" portion. The other nations were led by other gods. These were given by "the Most High" god to his sons. (Meaning that "the LORD" aka Yahweh is a son of the Most High.) Biblical scholars know this. There's a well-regarded treatise on this subject by Michael S. Heiser (here) where the author goes to great pains to explain that the Septuagint language is correct, and the Masoretic was changed and should not have been, when it talks about the "sons of god." He admits that the language used is exactly like that of other nations at the time, yet he insists that the writer intended for the LORD to be equated with the Most High in this passage. He knows all of this stuff, yet he insists that the Bible is different than the other religions of the time.

 

I looked him up (on Wikipedia here) and, not a big surprise, even though he has advanced degrees from the University of Wisconsin -- Madison, which I would assume is a good school, his undergrad is from Bob Jones, a fundy Bible college. So he managed to get his PhD and hear the truth about the Bible, yet he takes this real sticking point (this passage is the number one reason I could never be a Christian believer again), and he spins it to the fundy view. The cognitive dissonance must be screaming in his brain!

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