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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:28 am 
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Thor

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Way back when, I thought I read a quote from some early Christian Father that any similarities between Christianity and other religions was because Satan planted the evidence in history to make it look that way.

Can someone help me out and let me know what the quote was and who said it?

Thanks

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:03 am 
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Tertullian or Justin Martyr?

see : The Devil Did It


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:15 am 
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Quote:
Justin Martyr, The First Apology, XXI (21) (around 150 ce):

"And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all; Æsculapius, who, though he was a great physician, was struck by a thunderbolt, and so ascended to heaven; and Bacchus too, after he had been torn limb from limb; and Hercules, when he had committed himself to the flames to escape his toils; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus. For what shall I say of Ariadne, and those who, like her, have been declared to be set among the stars? And what of the emperors who die among yourselves, whom you deem worthy of deification, and in whose behalf you produce some one who swears he has seen the burning Caesar rise to heaven from the funeral pyre?......."

In chapter 54 of his Apology, Justin specifically claims these parallels, including the Greek god Bacchus/Dionysus’s ascension into heaven, as well the virgin birth and ascension of Perseus, were the result of “the devil” anticipating Christ’s story:

"For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that Christ was to come… [the wicked demons] put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvelous tales, like the things which were said by the poets..."

In chapter 56 of his Apology, Justin pointedly states that the “evil spirits” were making their mischief “before Christ’s appearance.”

"In other words, Justin — and others using the same “devil did it” excuse, such as Tertullian and Lactantius — did not dishonestly deny the parallels, as have many modern apologists.” Indeed, these early Church fathers happily used these correspondences in their polemics and apologies to make Christianity appear less ridiculous — and ridiculous it evidently was perceived to be by the educated Greeks and Romans of the time. To these latter groups, the gospel story could not have been any more “real” or “historical” than that of Apollo or Neptune, and surely doubted Christ’s existence as a “historical” figure in ancient times. Moreover, nowhere does Justin Martyr claim that the Pagans copied Christianity after Christ’s alleged advent, which he certainly would have done, had the copying occurred in that direction..."

- Christ in Egypt, pages 517-19

The First Apology by Justin Martyr

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:27 pm 
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Thor

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thank you both... just what I was looking for!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:45 am 
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I really really can't stand this argument. I get it all the time when debating Fundamental Christians. What do you say back to them in order to make them see reason? Or, is it just impossible? :arrow:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:29 pm 
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I have yet to actually test this retort, because, believe it or not, I have yet to encounter this excuse of the psychic devil.

Anyway, it is 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, with a particular emphasis on verse 8.

Quote:
6Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ

What the author is saying here is how the mysteries of christianity were kept secret since the beginning of the world, and no human mind ever knew them because god had not yet revealed them, and if such secrets had been known to mankind, they would NOT have crucified Jesus. I repeat, had mankind understood what god's plans were and what he was going to do through the life of Jesus, then they would NOT have crucified him.

The author very much emphasizes how this mystery was not known prior to his own time, and how such knowledge is ONLY revealed by the spirit of god, and NOT by "the spirit of the world", i.e., the devil.

So how could the devil have had foreknowledge of these things when this passage makes it clear that such things were unknown and could never be known without the spirit of god?

How could the devil have crucified Jesus if he already knew that this would be the event that would cause his defeat?
Had Satan known that Jesus would die and rise in order to save the souls of mankind from hell, Satan never would've let it happen, and THAT is part of the point in verse 8.

So... this might have been a little more complex than what you may have been looking for, and such a passage is always going to be the victim of various exegetical dances in order to avoid the actual meaning.
But nevertheless, there it is for you if you ever want to use it.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:08 pm 
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Hey thanks! I will put this in the arsenal.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:56 pm 
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It would appear at first glance that Justin Martyr didn't think his apology out that clearly. Because Corinthians says:

Quote:
6Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.


And then Justin says:
Quote:
Justin Martyr, The First Apology, XXI (21) (around 150 ce):

"And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.

And he basically goes on to claim that the similarities are due to the devil knowing about the plan of salvation and seeking to mimick it in the pagan world so people would think the Christ had already come, when he really hadn't come yet. That was the devils way of trying to combat something that he had foreknowledge of, according to Justin. But the deeper question is whether Justin Martyr had any knowledge of what is written there in corinthians as of 150 CE? Or was it a late edition entirely coming from a later generation when it was far easier to try and deny the parallels between paganism and Christianity than it was when Justin Martyr was writing in 150 CE?

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The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

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Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:05 am 
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^Excellent point. Like I've said before, Justin's writings never cite any canonical works, but only apocryphal stuff like The Gospel of the Hebrews(Memoirs of the Apostles).
As I recall, he shows no knowledge of the pauline epistles, and at best shows a second hand familiarity with some of their theology.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:26 pm 
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So the difference between Justin admitting the many parallels to the Christ myth and Corinthians suggesting that there were no such parallels, would appear to be the difference between a time when no such denial could possibly have been made and later times when such denials were becoming commonplace.

I was brought up knowing good and well that many pagan religions have Christ-like characteristics. And the excuse comes from Martyr's apology that the devil got there first. I knew about the other virgin birth stories and Crucifixion imagery and so on. So it was no surprise when I came across all of this in comparative mythology later in life. The only thing new that I learned is just how wide spread and far reaching the pagan and Christian parallels actually are. And it boils down to the question of what is the simplest explanation in the end. Did some supernatural evil being run around making false Christ stories in the pagan world for centuries as part of some elaborate conspiracy to screw up a good supernatural God's plan, or did Christian writers come along as Christianity was being formulated out of previous mythological motifs and concepts and suggest to people that any similarities between Christianity and the older motifs is due to some sneaky devil that tried to copy them in advance?

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 9:58 am 
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Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
And it boils down to the question of what is the simplest explanation in the end.


Good ol' Occam's Razor FTW! :D


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:27 am 
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You know how when the Spaniards arrived in the America's they found striking similarities to the Christ myth in the mythologies of the native cultures. I was brought up on the idea that the explanation for this is that the devil appeared to the natives in the America's as if he were the Christ in order to try and fool the natives in advance to the Christians eventual arrival to the New World. And then Mormonism is explained as a continuation of the trickery. So he came in advance to Christ's advent and went out after Christ's ascension as well in order to mimic his story in the pagan world, as far as that apology goes.

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:25 pm 
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Our friend James Hiscox has posted a thorough rebuttal to some apologetics in regards to Justin Martyr's comments (in particular those of James White, J.P. Holding, and Labarum312/Albert McIlhenny).

Justin Martyr’s 1st Apology and Diabolical Mimicry – The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:43 am 
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Let the games begin-
http://labarum.net/a-forthcoming-response-to-james-hiscox/


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