Philo's guide to decoding the Hebrew Bible

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

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rich
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Post by rich » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:18 pm

seeker wrote:
Even if there is something I've overlooked there is a certain poetry in thinking that after millenia of theological and philosophical discourse we still placate ourselves by watching a magic man burn a goat over a sacred fire while waving a magic stick, grunting a magic grunt and praying that the god of the sky will masturbate on our crops.
Not me - I'd be pissed and say "where's da beef?"
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin

Ishtar
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Post by Ishtar » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:26 pm

seeker wrote:
Ishtar wrote: The reasons go back to shamanism, in my experience.
I've been thinking about this (I readily admit to having no life).

I do think that shamanism underlies religion. Certainly the concept of communing with spirits, souls, God etc are shamanic (is that a word?) as is the concept of using ritual to influence the course of action the Gods would take. You could probably argue that the entire concept of a priesthood arises from the notion that certain people can intercede with spirits.
Yes, and I frequently do!

I go further - I say that religion began when certain people said that they can intercede for you, instead of letting the individual have their own relationship with the spirits. Once someone offers to become your interface to spiritual guidance, it's only a matter of time before they start laying down rules from said spirits that benefit him and his. And the person, having lost contact with their own spirits, has no way of checking if these rules are right or true. So that's when religion starts, and power seeking and corruption surely follows.
seeker wrote: The question for me is whether theology evolved past shamanism or still relies on it. Is a priest still merely the mediator between the material and spirit worlds or does the priests communal role and the tradition of that role separate them from shamanism? I'm pretty sure that a Catholic priest would argue (as I believe Joseph Campbell did) that there is a distinction but when you peel off the theological crust of Christian lore it is just another set of mystical trappings.
It's devolution, not evolution. Religion is a corrupton of shamanism, and I doubt you could find a priest who even could talk to the spirits for you. They're even cagey about doing exorcisms, which they are supposed to do. But they hate doing them and would rather find a nice, rational explanation for you ... because they can't do them and they're shit scared after seeing the Exorcist. Half the Anglican clergy in England are not even sure if they believe in God anymore, let alone spirits.
seeker wrote: Even if there is something I've overlooked there is a certain poetry in thinking that after millenia of theological and philosophical discourse we still placate ourselves by watching a magic man burn a goat over a sacred fire while waving a magic stick, grunting a magic grunt and praying that the god of the sky will masturbate on our crops.
Er ... yeah, that sounds like the local medicine man that gets brought out to thrill the tourists. Shamanism is not like that ... there is a specific method whereby the shaman journeys across the three worlds and talks to the spirits and then brings back guidance and healing and there's not much grunting or goat burning or praying for gods to masturbate - in my experience, anyway.

And you can get a shaman to perform an exorcism, which is more than you'd get from a priest.

:lol:

seeker
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Post by seeker » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:24 pm

Ishtar wrote: Yes, and I frequently do!

I go further - I say that religion began when certain people said that they can intercede for you, instead of letting the individual have their own relationship with the spirits. Once someone offers to become your interface to spiritual guidance, it's only a matter of time before they start laying down rules from said spirits that benefit him and his. And the person, having lost contact with their own spirits, has no way of checking if these rules are right or true. So that's when religion starts, and power seeking and corruption surely follows.[\quote]

Certainly that point when one person can claim a monopoly on being able to gain benefits for everyone is the point when they can become the focal point of a religion. I don't think shamanism necessarily excludes interceding for others though, nor is the making of rules in and of itself the beginning of religion, rather it is symbolic of the beginning of exploitation. Shamanism itself is a religion
Ishtar wrote:It's devolution, not evolution. Religion is a corrupton of shamanism, and I doubt you could find a priest who even could talk to the spirits for you. They're even cagey about doing exorcisms, which they are supposed to do. But they hate doing them and would rather find a nice, rational explanation for you ... because they can't do them and they're shit scared after seeing the Exorcist. Half the Anglican clergy in England are not even sure if they believe in God anymore, let alone spirits.
That's because Christianity's main focus is political. Gnosticism is Christianity's last foray into spirituality.
Ishtar wrote: Er ... yeah, that sounds like the local medicine man that gets brought out to thrill the tourists. Shamanism is not like that ... there is a specific method whereby the shaman journeys across the three worlds and talks to the spirits and then brings back guidance and healing and there's not much grunting or goat burning or praying for gods to masturbate - in my experience, anyway.

And you can get a shaman to perform an exorcism, which is more than you'd get from a priest.

:lol:
Sorry, I was a little over the top with that.

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Post by Ishtar » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:47 pm

seeker wrote:
Ishtar wrote: The reasons go back to shamanism, in my experience.
I've been thinking about this (I readily admit to having no life).
FWIW, neither do I, Seeker - I think about these things all the time too, and really resent anything that gets in the way of me thinking about these things.

Anyway let me know if you want an exorcism!

I promise no goats will be treated badly!

:D

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Post by rich » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:50 pm

Does that mean you're gonna treat them nice??
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin

seeker
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Post by seeker » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:42 pm

If I need an exorcism you'll be the first one I call Ish. Now I have to get this image of goats in a workout spa wearing little workout outfits out of my head

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Post by Minimalist » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:58 pm

What about horny old goats?
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

seeker
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Post by seeker » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:21 pm

In workout outfits?

rich
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Post by rich » Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:38 pm

i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin

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Post by War Arrow » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:38 am

Hmmm... further to points made by both Ishtar and Seeker, and I'm just throwing this into the mix to see what happens...

My understanding of Nahua religion (at least as formalised in larger centres, although I believe the same principle applied at smaller scales even in village life) tends to view the sacred world as something not only powerful, but also potentially quite dangerous. Therefore anything perceived to bear the influence of sacred forces (persons with physical deformities, certain animals or plants, even colours) was treated with 'kid gloves' (no goat jokes please!)... as sacred in fact he said stating the bleeding obvious, for fear of invoking the unpredictable nature of said forces. The religious elite (whether full scale Tlamacazqui, complete with life-long abstention from washing plus often eccentrically lacerated man-bits, or local wise guy) therefore seem to have been people who deliberately placed themselves in direct (and perilous) contact with the sacred in order that folks like myself might be able to get on with our less extreme lives.
I'm not necessarily suggesting that I have described practices which may be more than an after-the-fact theological justification of political power, but whatever power the Aztec (see previous whining posts about use of term) religious elite may have weilded, I'd say they probably more than earned it with all the excrutiating stuff they put themselves through in order to get closer to the Gods.
Image

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Post by seeker » Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:15 am

That's Ishtar's point, to a degree, that by taking on the role of interceding for other people it actually leads people away from spirituality while making the person willing to go to such extremes the focus of religious beliefs. It's a situation perfect for exploitation

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Post by Ishtar » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:36 pm

Ha! I wondered how long it would take to get to: "But will it hurt my willy?"

But don't worry, War. Your willy is safe. What you're describing, in my view, is religion at its worse and thousands of years from shamanism.

It looks like the metaphorical sacrifice of blood (fire) and water (of the two initiations) became literalised in Mesoamerica long before the Literalist Christians arrived there. But in this case, the religion is still polytheist - it hasn't become monotheist - so instead of having to placate one God, they're having to placate 33 or 33,000.

I think you once told me before, War Arrow, that the Aztecs went one further with their placating. They weren't just going for the usual atonement .. they were trying to put the gods/spirits in debt to them.

This is laughable in the shamanic context. The help of the spirits is totally free anyway and those who do remain in the lower earthly dimensions, which humans inhabit, to help us do so out of their benevolence and altruism. You can't cut a deal with someone who's giving you everything out of unconditional love. There are no bad spirits - what you sometimes get is energy in the wrong place, but not the Devil which is the invention of Christians.

Energy in the wrong place might need some explanation. I have given this example before. If you're on holiday in the African congo and decide to go for a walk in the jungle, you would, if you were sensible, take a guide with you. However, if you didn't take a guide, and decided to wade across a river full of crocodiles, nobody could call the crocodile evil or the Devil Incarnate if it bit your leg off!!
:D

In the case above, you would be the "energy in the wrong place". Shamans see everything in terms of energy and working from that awareness, they can move it around.

Similarly, when shamans have to wade across croc infested rivers, metaphorically speaking, they have with them their spirit guides to protect them. No shaman would journey into another dimension without taking his spirit guides or animal guides with him. So he's always protected from being the energy in the wrong place.

So next time you see one of these smelly individuals, I suggest you grab him by the willy and lead him to a hot, soapy bath and a scrubbing brush! Actually, you get saddhus and fakirs like that in India. It sounds very similar. But they're not necessarily holy and often can be complete charlatans.

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Post by Forum Monk » Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:54 pm

Really? What evidence do you have for the above statement? I've offered you evidence that even the early Christian leaders like Clement and Origen thought of Christianity as being like the mystery religions.
The evidence is presented in my post given by the list of foundational beliefs of mainstream christianity. I have said throughout this thread, that the similarity between christianity and mystery religions is fact. But when looking at the details of the beliefs, the similarity fails. One can not assume that because two things are similar they are related. That is a logical fallacy. The early christian writers, for example, Justin Martyr also point out the similarity and then go on to explain in chapter after chapter how they are not related.
Actually this is not true at all. The Hebrew Messiah is always represented as an earthly King not a spiritual savior. In fact the only King that the OT ever actually names as a Messiah is Cyrus, the Persian king.
This is false. The anointing upon Cyrus is not a prophecy of the messiah. Many characters in the OT were anointed. No jews ever mistook them for the messiah of promise. Jewish kings were anointed as a signification of being set apart and chosen (empowered) by god to execute the office of king.
As to reading a messianic prophecy into Gen 3:15 that's a pretty far reach. The funny part is that the whole 'crush your head strike his heel' motif comes from the Egyptian Book of the Dead (the Set, Osirus, Thoth saga) and even further suggests the late authorship of the OT.
Most mainstream christian churches believe this the first prophecy, inspite of your scepticism. Many prophecies in the OT speak of the a very non-kinglike messiah, which the Jews failed to comprehend.
Psalm 22 contains many prophecies of the cruxificion, Isaiah 50:5 speaks of his being mocked, Isaiah 53:3 his rejection, Isaiah 53:5ff his death, and many more. Hardly the king who would overthrow Rome.
Could be but the greater probability is that the same underlying beginnings of the Hebrew bible was the basis of Gnosticism. This makes more sense because the entire region was a part of the Persian Empire under which all of these beliefs developed.
The Persians had long since been conquered. The influence of the Achaemenid empire was dimishing by 400BC, and replaced by Hellenism by the time Alexander rolled through. Of course the greeks did not immediately drive zoroastranism back into Iran until the Seleucid period, but it declined as well, some 200 years BC. Of course, some may say Zoroastranism altered the hebrew religion, but it is a matter of conjecture and depends very much on how early one decides the hebrews established their fundamental beliefs. They were practicing some kind of religion before the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests.
Forum Monk wrote:
1. Christ came in the flesh and lived, died and resurrected. Gnostics do not believe this - flesh is evil

You are forgetting figures like Julius Caesar and Pythagoras who were definitely real people. You are also forgetting that Christ as a 'real' figure had to be declared so by the Council of Nicea precisely because of the Gnostic belief that he wasn't.
You're forgetting Paul's letters existed before the Council of Nicea and they affirm belief in a physical Jesus.
Forum Monk wrote:
2. Christ has redeemed people by his blood and people are saved by faith in who he is and what he has done - gnostics believe salvation comes from attaining sufficient secret knowledge.

Again this is a later declaration and has little to do with early beliefs. At best you have assumed this.
See my previous response
Forum Monk wrote:
3. Christ is the creator - gnostics believe the evil demuriage is the creator

Actually untrue on many levels. Christ is supposedly the son of the creator to most Christians. Some Gnostics see the demiurge as the creator but most see the demiurge as a corruptor if the creator's corruption, much as you see the devil.
Virtually all mainstream christians believe Christ is the creator. Long before the new testament, the hebrews spoke of the creator in terms of worship in the psalms and prophets. the creator is never equated with evil. Further the devil is never credited with creating anything. The idea of a holy creator is well attested even before it is affirmed in the Gospels and by Paul.
Forum Monk wrote:
4. Christ is seated at the right hand of the father - gnostics believe the goddess Sophia is at god's right hand
5. The name of Christ is above all names - gnostics honor Sophia.

Again you are making some assumptions that simply belie the facts. Not all Gnostics believe in Sophia. In fact most Christian Gnostics take the logos (of which Sophia is a personification) to be Christ.

I concede you may know gnostic beliefs better than I as I have never been a student and only recently starting investigating. It does not change the foundational christian belief which clearly defines the present location and role of christ.

Forum Monk wrote:
6. Christ is co-equal with god - gnostics believe christ is a conduit to god and do not equate him with god.


Actually quite a few Christians don't equate him with God either, that was another declaration of the Council of Nicea not a reflection of Christian beliefs.
Sorry, this is not correct. All mainstream denominations confess Christ as wholly God and wholly man. It is an essential truth.

Forum Monk wrote:
7. Salvation is can not be attained by ritual, obedience, initiation, lawfulness, goodness or any thing man does, it is a free gift from god - gnostics believe one most attain salvation through learning, rituals, meditations, basically some kind of works.
8. Christ is worthy of all honor, glory and praise - I not sure what the gnostics believe about this.


Both of these are merely declarations on your part. Since evidence for them is impossible I suggest they have little value in the discussion.
I disagree. Both points are thoroughly driven home by Paul. again, before Nicea. Point 7 is so crucial to establishing the difference between christian and gnostic beliefs about how salvation is obtained. There is nothing the christian has (i.e. knowledge or worthiness) that brings about his salvation. It takes place completely without any action on his part. This is a significant difference.
Again the evidence is lacking for this statement. Even if I discount the difference between modern Christianity and 1st century Christians the theology is so loaded with Gnostic concepts as to be right at home in that millieu
None of the essential doctrines deliniated above are modern and they are transdenominational having their source in the scriptures of the OT as well as the NT. In fact modern christianity often loses sight of the essentials.

The same arguments can be made against gnosticism. Most of what is known about its beliefs post-dates the emerging christian era. the earliest picture of what gnostics believed is in the writings of Iraneus, and by the time the gnostic gospels were written, it had already deviated from the picture that Iraneus gave us.
There is no proof that christianity emerged from gnostic type philosophies or early mystery religions. It is conjecture and speculation. It is people saying because they are similar they must be connected and then ignoring the profound differences. It is wishful thinking.

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Post by Forum Monk » Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:09 pm

The evidence for when the books of the New Testament were written is controversial but sustained on the basis of the documents themselves as well as the writings of other early authors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament
The original texts were written in Koine Greek by various authors after c. AD 45 and before c. AD 140. Its 27 books were gradually collected into a single volume over a period of several centuries...


Tertullian, in the 2nd century, is the first currently known to use the terms novum testamentum/new testament and vetus testamentum/old testament. For example, in Against Marcion book 3 [1], chapter 14, he wrote:

This may be understood to be the Divine Word, who is doubly edged with the two testaments of the law and the gospel
...
Seven of the epistles of Paul are generally accepted by most modern scholars as authentic; these undisputed letters include Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon.
...
According to tradition, the earliest of the books were the letters of Paul, and the last books to be written are those attributed to John, who is traditionally said to have lived to a very old age, perhaps dying as late as 100, although this is often disputed. Irenaeus of Lyons, c. 185, stated that the Gospels of Matthew and Mark were written while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome, which would be in the 60s, and Luke was written some time later.
Most secular scholars agree on the dating of the majority of the New Testament, except for the epistles and books that they consider to be pseudepigraphical (i.e., those thought not to be written by their traditional authors). For the Gospels they tend to date Mark no earlier than 65 and no later than 75. Matthew is dated between 70 and 85. Luke is usually placed within 80 to 95. However various scholars disagree with this as Luke indicates in the book of Acts that he has already written the Gospel of Luke prior to writing the introduction to Acts. Acts is written in a journal form indicating that it may have been written during Paul's journeys which it documents. That would put Acts as early as the 60's and the Gospel of Luke earlier than that. This then could push back Mark into the late 50's if one believes that Mark is the source of some of Luke's material. Early church fathers seem to support parts of that. For instance Irenaeus claims "Luke recorded the teachings of Paul, after the deaths of Peter and Paul. He wrote after the Hebrew Matthew, at around the same time as Mark, and before John." Clement though claims: "Luke was written before Mark and John and at the same time as Matthew. " When taken with Clement's writing on Mark, this means that Peter and Paul were alive at the time that Luke was written. The earliest of the books of the New Testament was First Thessalonians, an epistle of Paul, written probably in 51, or possibly Galatians in 49 according to one of two theories of its writing. Of the pseudepigraphical epistles, Christian scholars tend to place them somewhere between 70 and 150, with Second Peter usually being the latest.
Evidence of the early existence of the gospels and epistles of Paul:
Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians - dated 120CE. Polycapr claims to a personal aquaintance of John the Apostle.
He quotes from the synoptic gospels, Acts, Romans, Corinthians 1 and 2, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Hebrews, 1 Peter, and 1 John

Letters of Ignatius dated 115CE written to the churches of asia minor.
He quotes from Matthew, John, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

Letter of Clement to the Corinthians - dated 95CE
He quotes from the Synoptic Gospels, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Titus, Hebrews, and 1 Peter

The actual physical evidence of parchments and papyrii further confirms an early date for the writing of the gospels,and epistles:
http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/papyrus ... ripts.html
Even within the period that runs from c. A.D. 100-300 it is possible for paleographers to be more specific on the relative date of the papyrus manuscripts of the New Testament. For about sixty years now a tiny papyrus fragment of the Gospel of John has been the oldest "manuscript" of the New Testament. This manuscript (P52) has generally been dated to ca. A.D. 125. This fact alone proved that the original Gospel of John was written earlier, viz. in the first century A.D., as had always been upheld by conservative scholars.

We now have early and very early evidence for the text of the New Testament.
...
As you can see, from the fourth century onwards the material base for establishing the text of the Greek New Testament is very good indeed. The manuscripts Sin. (Sinaiticus), A (Alexandrinus) and B (Vaticanus) are almost complete parchment manuscripts. With the help of the earlier papyrus manuscripts we have been able to establish that the text of these three great manuscripts is to a large extent reliable. The papyrus manuscript P75 was the latest to be published, but it showed a virtually identical text to manuscript B. This settled the vexed question whether we have in the parchment manuscripts of the fourth and fifth centuries a safe guide to the original text of the New Testament. We have.
In general the attested evidence of the NT documents is much more reliable and complete than most other classic, ancient documents.

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Post by seeker » Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:44 pm

FM - Glad to see you are back
Forum Monk wrote:The evidence is presented in my post given by the list of foundational beliefs of mainstream christianity. I have said throughout this thread, that the similarity between christianity and mystery religions is fact. But when looking at the details of the beliefs, the similarity fails. One can not assume that because two things are similar they are related. That is a logical fallacy. The early christian writers, for example, Justin Martyr also point out the similarity and then go on to explain in chapter after chapter how they are not related.
You've only talked of mainstream modern Christianity, that doesn't address the evolution of those beliefs or the concepts they evolved from.

How do they fail? Justin Martyr argues not that they are similar but that they are the same.
Forum Monk wrote: This is false. The anointing upon Cyrus is not a prophecy of the messiah. Many characters in the OT were anointed. No jews ever mistook them for the messiah of promise. Jewish kings were anointed as a signification of being set apart and chosen (empowered) by god to execute the office of king.
Have you read Isiaih 45:1?
45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his messiah, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

That clearly shows God considered Cyrus his chosen. Some bibles translate messiah as anointed in this passage but the text reads messiah all the same. There is nothing in the bible that contradicts this point.

Forum Monk wrote: Most mainstream christian churches believe this the first prophecy, inspite of your scepticism. Many prophecies in the OT speak of the a very non-kinglike messiah, which the Jews failed to comprehend.
Psalm 22 contains many prophecies of the cruxificion, Isaiah 50:5 speaks of his being mocked, Isaiah 53:3 his rejection, Isaiah 53:5ff his death, and many more. Hardly the king who would overthrow Rome.
The question is do you believe the people who came along later and desperately took passages completely out context to make them seem like prophecies or the interpretations of the people who actually spoke the language?
Forum Monk wrote: The Persians had long since been conquered. The influence of the Achaemenid empire was dimishing by 400BC, and replaced by Hellenism by the time Alexander rolled through. Of course the greeks did not immediately drive zoroastranism back into Iran until the Seleucid period, but it declined as well, some 200 years BC. Of course, some may say Zoroastranism altered the hebrew religion, but it is a matter of conjecture and depends very much on how early one decides the hebrews established their fundamental beliefs. They were practicing some kind of religion before the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests.
Have you ever bothered to look into Zoroastrianism? The fact is that almost every idea that most people attribute to Hellenization came from Zoroastrianism.

By the way the Acheamenids were in Egypt as late as 332BCE, Egypt was free from about 525BCE till 404BCE then was reconquered by Artaxerxes III, Judah was continuously part of the Acheamenid Empire the whole time. Except for a brief period the Selucids ruled Judah from roughly 332BCE to about 165BCE (The Maccabeean revolt).
Forum Monk wrote: You're forgetting Paul's letters existed before the Council of Nicea and they affirm belief in a physical Jesus.
Really? None of Paul's letters (we are still sticking to the ones we think aren't forgeries right?) refer to any details of Christ's life other than crucifixion and betrayal. Paul mentions no real details and clearly doesn't find them important.
Forum Monk wrote: See my previous response
See my previous response
Forum Monk wrote: Virtually all mainstream christians believe Christ is the creator. Long before the new testament, the hebrews spoke of the creator in terms of worship in the psalms and prophets. the creator is never equated with evil. Further the devil is never credited with creating anything. The idea of a holy creator is well attested even before it is affirmed in the Gospels and by Paul.
I always get a kick out of that bit. God supposedly creates everything including the devil but somehow his creation of the devil and the devils creation of evil with Gods foreknowledge that he would do so isn't gods fault. Actually one of the declarations of the Council of Nicea is that Christ is equivalent to God precisely because it was a common belief among early Christians that they were not the same.
Forum Monk wrote: I concede you may know gnostic beliefs better than I as I have never been a student and only recently starting investigating. It does not change the foundational christian belief which clearly defines the present location and role of christ.
You mean the Christian belief that was declared official at the Council of Nicea. You should really google that meeting and read the declarations yourself. Clearly they had to make those definitions because there were several other beliefs at the time.
Forum Monk wrote: Sorry, this is not correct. All mainstream denominations confess Christ as wholly God and wholly man. It is an essential truth.
Are you sure?

http://www.scripturaltruths.com/jesus/creator/
http://www.scribd.com/doc/207877/Jesus- ... he-Creator

Forum Monk wrote: I disagree. Both points are thoroughly driven home by Paul. again, before Nicea. Point 7 is so crucial to establishing the difference between christian and gnostic beliefs about how salvation is obtained. There is nothing the christian has (i.e. knowledge or worthiness) that brings about his salvation. It takes place completely without any action on his part. This is a significant difference.
Not really, the bible contradicts itself all over the place in this matter. 2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the jugment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
Forum Monk wrote:None of the essential doctrines deliniated above are modern and they are transdenominational having their source in the scriptures of the OT as well as the NT. In fact modern christianity often loses sight of the essentials.

The same arguments can be made against gnosticism. Most of what is known about its beliefs post-dates the emerging christian era. the earliest picture of what gnostics believed is in the writings of Iraneus, and by the time the gnostic gospels were written, it had already deviated from the picture that Iraneus gave us.
There is no proof that christianity emerged from gnostic type philosophies or early mystery religions. It is conjecture and speculation. It is people saying because they are similar they must be connected and then ignoring the profound differences. It is wishful thinking.
If it was only wishful thinking we wouldn't have the writings of Justin Martyr, Tertulian and others comparing them (they wrote about the same period as Iraneaus which suggests that in the 2nd century there were a lot of competing, similar religions).

In any case the Christian era doesn't emerge until the middle of the third century. Richard Carrier notes that by 300 CE Christians only comprised about 10% of the population

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