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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » ACLU bashes religion again (Page 2)

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Author Topic: ACLU bashes religion again
Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
starLisa,

Christianity did not start out like you describe, starLisa, and I'm certain you know it. It did not start out by forcing people to convert to itself and killing those who refused. Are you a liar, to say things you know are untrue? Or are you just stupid and didn't know it was untrue?

If someone said something equally stupid and untrue about Jews, for example, I think it likely you would label them bigoted, ignorant, and anti-Semitic. You participated in a discussion regarding the Golden Rule recently. Well, I'm assuming you don't want people spreading bigoted lies about your religion. So don't do it about theirs.

I'm neither stupid nor a liar. The Jewish sect of the first couple of centuries CE was not what I was talking about. And I think you know that. There was a lot of Judaization in those early years. A lot of Romans converted to Judaism or became Noachides. But the Nazarene sect was easier, because it made fewer demands.

It wasn't until the Constantine adopted it as the official religion of the Empire that it really exploded. And it didn't take its foot off of people's necks for another 14 centuries, give or take.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
quote:
Gee, and here I thought I already had it, and just didn't have to work for it any more.
My point was you sacrificed it with yet another cheap shot at Christians.
At Christianity. There is a difference. And I don't think it was a cheap shot at all. It's a legitimate question to consider.
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Rakeesh
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starLisa,

quote:

They are unusual in this. And what they share is that they started out killing anyone who didn't share their religion, and then kept that going by becoming the state religions of the countries they'd conquered.

...

I'm neither stupid nor a liar. The Jewish sect of the first couple of centuries CE was not what I was talking about. And I think you know that. There was a lot of Judaization in those early years. A lot of Romans converted to Judaism or became Noachides. But the Nazarene sect was easier, because it made fewer demands.

I have a very hard time believing you're being anything but deliberately obtuse here. Obviously I did not say if I said the same thing about Jews you did about Christians. I said that if I said something as untrue and stupid-if I said, for instance, that Jewish moneylenders ruled the planet-you'd label me bigoted, ignorant, and anti-Semitic.

Are you really saying you didn't get that? I called you either stupid or a liar because of this statement...

quote:
They are unusual in this. And what they share is that they started out killing anyone who didn't share their religion, and then kept that going by becoming the state religions of the countries they'd conquered.
And I went on to say that Christianity did not "get its start" killing anyone who didn't convert.

Your dodge won't work. Which is it? Are you either stupid as regards this subject, because you believe something like that is true? Or are you lying, because you know it's not true-it took awhile for Christians to start killing in the name of God? Which is it? This is either another bear moment for you, or you were lying. Which is it?

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Bob_Scopatz
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Whether forced conversions were the first recruitment method of an organized Christianity, or that tactic was saved for a later period in history matters less than the fact that they occurred at all.

It was never right, never should have happened, and should not be tolerated today.

It is also impossible to tell how large the Christian faith would have grown without the sinful use of coercion. I suspect it would be extremely large today, and perhaps less splintered. It certainly would have less of a checkered past arguing against it.

If anything, that past makes it harder to recruit people today. Yet people are joining churches in large numbers. That may say something to the question about what would've happened if those earlier leaders had managed to avoid political entanglements, wars and forced conversions.

I think the possibility of a larger more cohesive Christianity is at least as likely as a smaller, sideline cult is.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

And I went on to say that Christianity did not "get its start" killing anyone who didn't convert.

To bridge the gap in understanding here, may I suggest the possibility that starLisa does not consider Christianity to have gotten its "start" until it became the state religion of Rome?
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dh
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An important distinction to make, Tom, since that position is extremely different from what most people consider to be the "start" of Christianity and therefore leads to some needless confusion. Perhaps something can be said here for speaking in terms which have a (mostly) universally agreed-upon definition, rather than privately changing definitions of words to make them mean whatever one feels like.
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dh
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quote:
Originally posted by Bob_Scopatz:
Whether forced conversions were the first recruitment method of an organized Christianity, or that tactic was saved for a later period in history matters less than the fact that they occurred at all.

It was never right, never should have happened, and should not be tolerated today.

It is also impossible to tell how large the Christian faith would have grown without the sinful use of coercion. I suspect it would be extremely large today, and perhaps less splintered. It certainly would have less of a checkered past arguing against it.

If anything, that past makes it harder to recruit people today. Yet people are joining churches in large numbers. That may say something to the question about what would've happened if those earlier leaders had managed to avoid political entanglements, wars and forced conversions.

I think the possibility of a larger more cohesive Christianity is at least as likely as a smaller, sideline cult is.

I basically agree with you. Many (including me) would support that idea that being made the state religion of the Roman Empire very nearly killed Christianity, and led to all sorts of horrible practices, since it then became a method of social advancement and a ticket to power, rather than a community of followers of Christ. As I have said before, unfortunately Christianity has usually fared best under persecution, or at least intense opposition. During the persecution by the Romans, the Church grew exponentially.

It's human nature. Give any one group too much power, and unscrupulous, evil people who want nothing but power will gravitate towards that group.

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Dagonee
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quote:
To bridge the gap in understanding here, may I suggest the possibility that starLisa does not consider Christianity to have gotten its "start" until it became the state religion of Rome?
This is what I suspect as well, but that doesn't make what she's doing any more accurate. It just changes what she's being either inaccurate or dishonest about.
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Lyrhawn
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dh is right, before, and even after it was adopted as the "official" religion of the Romans, Christians themselves were heavily persecuted and spread greatly in numbers under Roman oppression. Competing missionaries from different Christian schools of thought heavily converted in the Germanic north during the first days of Constantinian Christianity.

Interesting side note, Constantine wasn't baptized until the day he died.

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King of Men
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To eb fair about it, the Jews weren't exactly very nice to people who didn't share their faith either. They didn't even give you the option of 'convert or die', it was more 'move away from the lands we want or die, or better still become our slaves.'
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Lyrhawn
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Yes but after they got what they wanted, they mostly stayed put and didn't bother anyone.

Right starLisa?

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Icarus
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quote:
Interesting side note, Constantine wasn't baptized until the day he died.
That was pretty common at the time, because the sacrament of Reconciliation didn't yet exist. It was believed that at Baptism, you got a clean-slate, sin-wise, but that any sins you committed afterward were on your Permanent Record. So it made sense to wait until on your deathbed to be baptised, if you could time it just right, to go to the afterlife with a light conscience.

(Rather cynical of them, no?)

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Lyrhawn
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Yeah I know. Not really surprising given the attitude of the rich during this part of the Empire. It's hard to have orgies, go to gladiatorial matches, order people killed, be cruel to slaves and in general be a despot when you had to worry about getting into the afterlife.

You don't really see a true-believer in the Emperor's seat until Theodosius, who bowed to the pressure of the Bishop of Milan for his un-Christian actions.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

You don't really see a true-believer in the Emperor's seat until Theodosius, who bowed to the pressure of the Bishop of Milan for his un-Christian actions.

Actually, you can make the argument that Constantine, too, was clearly a true-believer. An ability to find loopholes does not forego genuine belief -- and actually, the very fact that he bothered to find one suggests that belief was present.
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BannaOj
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Or his mother was...
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Rakeesh
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I thought of that same thing too, Tom. If starLisa expects people to believe she is as informed about this sort of topic as she claims to be, though, I must assume that she knows that, and could have made her meaning clearer had she been interested in accuracy or honesty.
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Rakeesh
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I guess I'm left to make my own assumption, then.
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Paul Goldner
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"Actually, you can make the argument that Constantine, too, was clearly a true-believer."

You CAN make that argument. But I don't think it would be an argument in support of what is accurate.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

But I don't think it would be an argument in support of what is accurate.

Well, the man CLAIMED to have seen a vision from God. Who are we to call him a liar?
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Stephan
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While I think starLisa is right about Chritianity's past crimes, I don't believe that is the sole reason it is so large today. (Of course many Christians will say it is large probably because it is right.) I think a large part is that the beliefs themselves were designed perfectly to appeal to the masses. It was the first religion I am aware of that preached of a loving single god to non believers. It offered hope of a better afterlife to millions who had no hope in this life. It also allowed for relatively easy conversion methods.
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Rakeesh
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See, starLisa isn't right about Christianity's past crimes. She did not just say, "Christianity has compelled outsiders to join it or be destroyed." How could anyone argue with that? It's true.

She said that Christianity started by doing that, which is quite different. Islam did not start by hating Jews and all non-Muslims, but in some places, it's become that. Judaism did not start the way it is today. Zen Buddhism didn't start by being the fanatical death-seeking religion of Japanese warriors.

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Stephan
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I guess it depends on when you consider Christianity to have started. I consider the early Jewish sects to be Christian, so I agree with Rakeesh.

edit. Jewish sects that followed Jesus' teachings that is.

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Dagonee
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Christianity stopped being limited to "Jewish sects" while the Apostles were still alive.
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Paul Goldner
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""Who are we to call him a liar?"

Hrm. I believe your word choice has typically been "Deluded."

"Well, the man CLAIMED to have seen a vision from God."

Yes, he did. And it was a very politically expedient vision, wasn't it?

I'm not saying Constantine wasn't, at least partially, a believer in christianity. I don't think, though, that its very accurate to call him a "true believer". He jumbled paganism and christianity up so much in his political acts, and performed the rites of the pontifex maximus (at the time, definetely NOT a christian title) which would indicate that he wasn't a true christian. Most of his christian acts had significantly positive political consequences for him.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

And it was a very politically expedient vision, wasn't it?

The list of inexpedient visions is a short one.
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Rakeesh
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Expedient for whom? Many people claiming to have had visions have suffered a great deal for it, and did not derive any direct personal benefit.
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Paul Goldner
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"The list of inexpedient visions is a short one."

I agree. His whole life seemed to be about political expediency, though, which is why I question whether he was a true believer. You'd think a true believer might, for example, not have put forth imperial decrees on five different dates that the first day of the week, rather then the seventh, is a holy day. Or might not have performed the rights of sacrifice for Sol Invictus. Etc.

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Paul Goldner
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"Expedient for whom? Many people claiming to have had visions have suffered a great deal for it, and did not derive any direct personal benefit."

Visions were more acceptable in roman culture.

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
Christianity stopped being limited to "Jewish sects" while the Apostles were still alive.

Good point. As soon as they went outside of Judaism to convert people to their belief, it became a new religion.
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Paul Goldner
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"Good point. As soon as they went outside of Judaism to convert people to their belief, it became a new religion."

SO what you're saying is that every time an LDS goes on a mission, we're talking about a new religion?

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
Christianity stopped being limited to "Jewish sects" while the Apostles were still alive.

Good point. As soon as they went outside of Judaism to convert people to their belief, it became a new religion.
So basically, the religion practiced by Reform Jews is a new religion as well, right? I mean, they actively seek converts, and their beliefs are vastly different from those they broke away from.

But the thing is, they still consider themselves to merely be practicing a different form of Judaism. And I think a lot of those early sects, if not all of them, thought the same.

Rakeesh wants to play games. There were thousands of sects all over the place back then. It wasn't until the Roman Empire adopted it as a religion that Christianity really took off. That's when it started. Hell, for the first few centuries, Easter was determined by the Jewish determination of the years and months. That's not a separate religion.

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Stephan:
quote:
Originally posted by Dagonee:
Christianity stopped being limited to "Jewish sects" while the Apostles were still alive.

Good point. As soon as they went outside of Judaism to convert people to their belief, it became a new religion.
So basically, the religion practiced by Reform Jews is a new religion as well, right? I mean, they actively seek converts, and their beliefs are vastly different from those they broke away from.

But the thing is, they still consider themselves to merely be practicing a different form of Judaism. And I think a lot of those early sects, if not all of them, thought the same.

Rakeesh wants to play games. There were thousands of sects all over the place back then. It wasn't until the Roman Empire adopted it as a religion that Christianity really took off. That's when it started. Hell, for the first few centuries, Easter was determined by the Jewish determination of the years and months. That's not a separate religion.

I can't speak for all Reform Jews, but after going to Israel, I will happily agree that Reform Judaism is a separate religion. The difference in beliefs on conversions and practices are more then many of the Christian protestant religions.

Though as far as I know, no Reform temple I have ever gone to ever ACTIVELY sought converts. Jews found there where there because they didn't feel accepted by conservative or orthodox temples for one reason or another. Either that or, they found more truth in Reform then the either two.

[ December 13, 2005, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: Stephan ]

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
"Good point. As soon as they went outside of Judaism to convert people to their belief, it became a new religion."

SO what you're saying is that every time an LDS goes on a mission, we're talking about a new religion?

Only if a missionary was trying to convert people AND teach them about something contrary to Mormon belief.

The moment they started converting people they became another religion. Judaism does not believe in having missionaries. They weren't Jewish any more then the modern day Jews for Jesus.

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kmbboots
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The Roman Empire adopted Christianity as a state religion because it had really taken off.

If Constantine's conversion was expedient (and there is every reason to believe it was) this would only make sense if he were converting to a relatively popular religion.

Christianity didn't become a "state religion" until the Milvian bridge (ce 312 - I think). Certainly "the state" recognized a difference between Jews and Christians for a couple hundred years. There were sufficient numbers of Christians to bother trying to get rid of them (larger scale persecutions) by the middle of the third century. And too many to wipe out easily.

Actually, I often think that Constantine was the worst thing to happen to Christianity.

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Paul Goldner
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"The moment they started converting people they became another religion. Judaism does not believe in having missionaries. They weren't Jewish any more then the modern day Jews for Jesus."

Jews not beleving in having missionaries is a philosophical view point, not a religious one. Currently, reform jews try to convert non-jews who marry jews. At the time of the late roman republic and early empire, some jews were actively converting people.

So I'm not sure how "trying to convert" people makes christianity "not-judaism"

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Rakeesh wants to play games. There were thousands of sects all over the place back then. It wasn't until the Roman Empire adopted it as a religion that Christianity really took off. That's when it started. Hell, for the first few centuries, Easter was determined by the Jewish determination of the years and months. That's not a separate religion.
Alright, you'll weasel your way out with semantics. No big surprise there, really. I didn't expect you to be as fierce with admission of mistake as you are in condemnation.

So Christianity didn't really start when people started preaching that Christ was the Son of God, died and was resurrected...it started when it became Big Time? Don't make me laugh.

How in the heck does one say that Easter-the recognition of Jesus being the Son of God and his death and resurrection for Christians-being determined by a Jewish calender not be a seperate religion? In what reality does one have to live to think that Jews-who do not believe the Messiah has come yet-and Christians-who do-aren't seperate religions, just because of similarity in annual reckoning?

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
"The moment they started converting people they became another religion. Judaism does not believe in having missionaries. They weren't Jewish any more then the modern day Jews for Jesus."

Jews not beleving in having missionaries is a philosophical view point, not a religious one. Currently, reform jews try to convert non-jews who marry jews. At the time of the late roman republic and early empire, some jews were actively converting people.

So I'm not sure how "trying to convert" people makes christianity "not-judaism"

If my fellow reform Jews are pressuring non-Jewish spouses into converting, it is news to me. I'm marrying a Methodist, and the Rabbi hasn't even mentioned the idea of conversion. My Rabbi growing up never even brought up the topic to my Catholic father. I would rather my fiance remain a non-Jew that only must follow the 7 laws of Noah. This is also why Jews not having missionaries is a religious belief. The Jewish faith believes that non-Jews have a much easier time of getting into the world to come.
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tern
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quote:
There were thousands of sects all over the place back then. It wasn't until the Roman Empire adopted it as a religion that Christianity really took off. That's when it started.
Hmmm. That's basically the situation that we're in now. Does that mean that Christianity is stopped right now? Please call your local ACLU office.
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Valentine014
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quote:
What happens if I rip my Star Trek Fan Club card i nhalf?
[Eek!] Why would you do that?!
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Paul Goldner
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"If my fellow reform Jews are pressuring non-Jewish spouses into converting, it is news to me.'

Recent change in views. I can't find any web articles on it at the moment, but if you poke around, there should be something.

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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
"If my fellow reform Jews are pressuring non-Jewish spouses into converting, it is news to me.'

Recent change in views. I can't find any web articles on it at the moment, but if you poke around, there should be something.

There is misinformation spread by all parties. Orthodox Jews have told me "facts" about my beliefs which hold no truth. I am also sure that I am told stuff about them that is not 100% accurate.
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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:


So I'm not sure how "trying to convert" people makes christianity "not-judaism"

It was actively converting others AND the belief in Jesus that no longer made them Jewish. Among many other factors including lack of circumcision of converts.
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Paul Goldner
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I have no idea what you hope to accomplish by reposting without additional commentary. In the last couple weeks, the reform movement officially changed its position on conversion. *shrug* Doesn't make reform jews less jewish.
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Stephan
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quote:
Originally posted by Paul Goldner:
I have no idea what you hope to accomplish by reposting without additional commentary. In the last couple weeks, the reform movement officially changed its position on conversion. *shrug* Doesn't make reform jews less jewish.

I'll look for articles. If this is truly the case then I need to actively look deeply into my own beliefs. There are many things Jews can even argue among themselves about our own beliefs, but actively trying to convert non-Jews to me is wrong on so many levels. If true I'll have to thank you for bringing it to my attention.

Of course those who convert to Reform Judaism are not considered Jewish by any other Jews but Reform.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Rakeesh wants to play games. There were thousands of sects all over the place back then. It wasn't until the Roman Empire adopted it as a religion that Christianity really took off. That's when it started. Hell, for the first few centuries, Easter was determined by the Jewish determination of the years and months. That's not a separate religion.
Alright, you'll weasel your way out with semantics. No big surprise there, really. I didn't expect you to be as fierce with admission of mistake as you are in condemnation.

So Christianity didn't really start when people started preaching that Christ was the Son of God, died and was resurrected...it started when it became Big Time? Don't make me laugh.

Actually, I'm not saying that at all. I don't think they were preaching that at all until it was Romanized. In fact, I think the original Nazarene sects were absolutely appalled at the adoption of the beliefs you refer to.

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
How in the heck does one say that Easter-the recognition of Jesus being the Son of God and his death and resurrection for Christians-being determined by a Jewish calender not be a seperate religion? In what reality does one have to live to think that Jews-who do not believe the Messiah has come yet-and Christians-who do-aren't seperate religions, just because of similarity in annual reckoning?

<blink> Are you serious? Rabbi Akiva thought that Bar Kochva was the Messiah. Until he died, anyway. That kind of belief wasn't the huge divide that it is today. And it's only like that today because of the Christianization of the concept of Messiah into a "savior" or "deity".

Don't get then confused with now.

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Lisa
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Actually, Reconstructionists pretty much accept anyone. They'd probably accept a collie.
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The Rabbit
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To claim that Christianity was simply a branch of Judaism until 312 AD when Constantine converted, requires either a complete ignorance of Christian history or an intentional distortion of the facts.

Secular historic text from as early as the end of the first century AD recognize Christians as distinct from Jews. By the mid-second century Christianity had established clerical schools and there were numerous Christian writers including Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, Aristides, Theophilus of Antioch, Tatian, Quadratus, Melito of Sardis, Apolli-naris of Hierapolis. By the late 2nd centrury, there were many division within the Christians including several groups that were later declared heretical including the Arians, the Marconians and the Gnostics who have no connection with Judaism.

Before Constantine converted to Christianity, two countries, Armenia (301 AD) and Ethiopia (302 AD) had made Christianity their state religion.

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kmbboots
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quote:
So Christianity didn't really start when people started preaching that Christ was the Son of God, died and was resurrected...it started when it became Big Time? Don't make me laugh.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Actually, I'm not saying that at all. I don't think they were preaching that at all until it was Romanized. In fact, I think the original Nazarene sects were absolutely appalled at the adoption of the beliefs you refer to.

Paul was pretty clearly preaching that two and a half centuries before Constantine.
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Dagonee
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quote:
So basically, the religion practiced by Reform Jews is a new religion as well, right? I mean, they actively seek converts, and their beliefs are vastly different from those they broke away from.

But the thing is, they still consider themselves to merely be practicing a different form of Judaism.

And I think a lot of those early sects, if not all of them, thought the same.

starLisa, you are speaking of what you do not know when you compare reform Judaism to early Christianity. One of the first big controversies in the church was whether non-Jewish converts to Christianity had to follow Jewish Law. It was decided that, no, they didn't. They were told to follow a list of laws that is remarkably similar to the Noachide laws.

In other words, Christianity carefully considered the question of whether it consider itself to merely be practicing a different form of Judaism, and it answered no. Definitively.

quote:
Rakeesh wants to play games. There were thousands of sects all over the place back then. It wasn't until the Roman Empire adopted it as a religion that Christianity really took off. That's when it started.
You're the one playing games. The Christian Church holds its founding event to be Pentecost. We have a date for when it started. 50 days after the Ressurection.

quote:
Hell, for the first few centuries, Easter was determined by the Jewish determination of the years and months. That's not a separate religion.
They were commemorating an event that happened at the time of the Passover celebration. For a few centuries, this was done following the Jewish calendar because that's when Passover was. It was later changed to follow a solar calendar rather than a lunar calendar.

quote:
Actually, I'm not saying that at all. I don't think they were preaching that at all until it was Romanized.
Wow. Just...wow. As kmboots said Paul was preaching this.
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foundling
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quote:
I basically agree with you. Many (including me) would support that idea that being made the state religion of the Roman Empire very nearly killed Christianity, and led to all sorts of horrible practices, since it then became a method of social advancement and a ticket to power, rather than a community of followers of Christ.
dh

See, this is yet another reason why the religiously charged political climate of today makes me so freekin nervous. I completely agree with this statement, dh, and wonder how this affects your view of religion in politics today?

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