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Thread: Just As Pagan

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    Over 1000 post club allsmiles's Avatar
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    Just As Pagan

    a couple of days ago Clete mentioned in the Feng Shui thread that Taoism with it's Yin and Yang was a pagan "religion", i mentioned in reply that christianity is based on the dualism of god and satan, just as zoroastrianism is based on the dualism between ahura mazda and angra mainyu.

    i would like all of my pagan brothers and sisters to help me come up with some more examples of christian paganism, whether it be theological, ritualistic or whatever.

    Dualism is a good place to start. god and satan, ahura mazda and angra mainyu, yin and yang, etc.
    The most important thing anyone can learn from 1st century greco-roman mystery cults is that complex religious systems can arise and develop without an historical founder.

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    Old Timer Justin (Wiccan)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allsmiles
    a couple of days ago Clete mentioned in the Feng Shui thread that Taoism with it's Yin and Yang was a pagan "religion", i mentioned in reply that christianity is based on the dualism of god and satan, just as zoroastrianism is based on the dualism between ahura mazda and angra mainyu.

    i would like all of my pagan brothers and sisters to help me come up with some more examples of christian paganism, whether it be theological, ritualistic or whatever.

    Dualism is a good place to start. god and satan, ahura mazda and angra mainyu, yin and yang, etc.
    Eh ... big problem. Technically speaking, "Dualist Christianity" is a heresy that's not supported by their scriptures, nor by the tradition or doctrines of many of the mainstream sects. Catholicism, Orthodox, and most Protestant sects have long stood against such teachings ... it's mostly the "fringe groups" such as (in modern times) Liberation Theology and Dominion Theology that get into such things.
    Justin

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    Rookie monochrome's Avatar
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    Well, there's the One True God and the Demiurge of gnostisism. I always liked that one. Of course, any real gnostic takes the story as moral principle rather than factual occurance anyway.

    Oooh! and the Light side versus the Dark side of the force. That's a good one too. I'll come up with a better answer (one worth reading) after lunch. Maybe.

    - m -
    En garde!

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    Over 1000 post club allsmiles's Avatar
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    Justin, there's no black and white relationship between the christian god and satan?
    The most important thing anyone can learn from 1st century greco-roman mystery cults is that complex religious systems can arise and develop without an historical founder.

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    Rookie monochrome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin (Wiccan)
    Eh ... big problem. Technically speaking, "Dualist Christianity" is a heresy that's not supported by their scriptures, nor by the tradition or doctrines of many of the mainstream sects. Catholicism, Orthodox, and most Protestant sects have long stood against such teachings ... it's mostly the "fringe groups" such as (in modern times) Liberation Theology and Dominion Theology that get into such things.
    *hides under desk* Don't remind me of the bad men! I was raised at a Dominion-based church, which is why I find this topic interesting.

    Even in the churches who speak out against these teachings, however, I find that dualism is still prevelant. It may be harder to spot, but there's still going to be talk of either "man's choice to follow Gor or Satan" or "God or Satan battling over man".

    Perhaps I haven't sat through enough semons at other churches to really get a good view of it though.

    - m -
    En garde!

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    Over 1000 post club allsmiles's Avatar
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    gor verses satan.

    interesting...
    The most important thing anyone can learn from 1st century greco-roman mystery cults is that complex religious systems can arise and develop without an historical founder.

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    Old Timer Justin (Wiccan)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allsmiles
    Justin, there's no black and white relationship between the christian god and satan?
    "Black and white"--yes. But dualism is a different critter entirely, where both "sides" of the battle are of equal (or almost equal) force, and it's a constant state of war between the two--in some mythologies, there's doubt as to whom will win. Think Star Wars, but the Jedi and Sith would be angels and demons.

    For what you're talking about that's a "binary" religion--either you is, or you ain't. That's not terribly uncommon in Abrahamic religions, but it is a significant difference with Paganism.
    Justin

    My lance is tipped o the hammered flame,
    My shield is beat o the moonlight cold;
    And I won my spurs in the Middle World,
    A thousand fathom beneath the mould."

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    Over 750 post club Balder's Avatar
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    Blood sacrifice to appease/satisfy a deity.
    "Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something that needs our love" ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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    Over 1000 post club allsmiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin (Wiccan)
    "Black and white"--yes. But dualism is a different critter entirely, where both "sides" of the battle are of equal (or almost equal) force, and it's a constant state of war between the two--in some mythologies, there's doubt as to whom will win. Think Star Wars, but the Jedi and Sith would be angels and demons.
    i've never understood dualism in that particular light, the light of doubt over the victor. i've always understand the black and white of yin and yang to both be equally necessary and the idea of victory of one over the other to be out of the question.

    without the power of satan and the threat of hell there would be no need for a savior, would that perspective be a little more in line with what I'm talking about? without one (satan) there would be no need for the other (christ) therefore the opposing forces are equally necessary.
    The most important thing anyone can learn from 1st century greco-roman mystery cults is that complex religious systems can arise and develop without an historical founder.

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    Old Timer Justin (Wiccan)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allsmiles
    i've never understood dualism in that particular light, the light of doubt over the victor.
    Well, "doubt over the victor" in Zoroastrian mythology isn't in doubt, but for some (like the Norse), the "bad guys" win Ragnarok, and for some (like the Greeks vs the Titans), there's some doubt if that "final battle" will ever come. That may not specifically be "doubt over the victor" exactly, but it's an indication that the good guys don't universally win.

    i've always understand the black and white of yin and yang to both be equally necessary and the idea of victory of one over the other to be out of the question.
    Yeah ... that's a different critter like I said.

    Maybe it helps to add some terminology for clarification: the religions where a "good guy" fights against an equivalently powered "bad guy" could be called "oppositional dualism." Religions like Taoism (or even like my own Wicca) where there are two opposite but complementary forces could be called "Complementary dualism," because both sides of the coin are needed for either to work. And religions like Christianity (Judaism and Islam to a lesser extent) could be called "Unequal Dualism," because the bad guy is definitely much weaker, and his fate is pretty much sealed.

    A good fictional example of "Oppositional Dualism" would be the Valar in the Simarilion: the "good guys" (the Valar) fought against the "bad guy" (Morgoth), but Morgoth was actually himself a Valar--indeed, he was stronger than any of the others, even Manwe. Since Illuvatar wasn't going to get directly involved in the Battle, it was up to the Valar ... and there was considerable doubt for quite some time over who would win.

    without the power of satan and the threat of hell there would be no need for a savior, would that perspective be a little more in line with what I'm talking about? without one (satan) there would be no need for the other (christ) therefore the opposing forces are equally necessary.
    No, because even at that, it's not the power of Satan that necessitates "salvation," but the consequences of our own sins. Satan's just along for the ride as a tempter--yeah, he's powerful, but according to the literature even a single Christian can make him flee.

    No, I think the closest it gets to what you're talking about is Zoroastrianism, or the Christian heresy of Manicheism. When Satan was adopted by Judaism (and thence by Christianity) from Zoroastrianism, he really got weakened, and is no longer even remotely equivalent to God.
    Justin

    My lance is tipped o the hammered flame,
    My shield is beat o the moonlight cold;
    And I won my spurs in the Middle World,
    A thousand fathom beneath the mould."

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    Over 1000 post club allsmiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin (Wiccan)
    Well, "doubt over the victor" in Zoroastrian mythology isn't in doubt, but for some (like the Norse), the "bad guys" win Ragnarok, and for some (like the Greeks vs the Titans), there's some doubt if that "final battle" will ever come. That may not specifically be "doubt over the victor" exactly, but it's an indication that the good guys don't universally win.



    Yeah ... that's a different critter like I said.

    Maybe it helps to add some terminology for clarification: the religions where a "good guy" fights against an equivalently powered "bad guy" could be called "oppositional dualism." Religions like Taoism (or even like my own Wicca) where there are two opposite but complementary forces could be called "Complementary dualism," because both sides of the coin are needed for either to work. And religions like Christianity (Judaism and Islam to a lesser extent) could be called "Unequal Dualism," because the bad guy is definitely much weaker, and his fate is pretty much sealed.

    A good fictional example of "Oppositional Dualism" would be the Valar in the Simarilion: the "good guys" (the Valar) fought against the "bad guy" (Morgoth), but Morgoth was actually himself a Valar--indeed, he was stronger than any of the others, even Manwe. Since Illuvatar wasn't going to get directly involved in the Battle, it was up to the Valar ... and there was considerable doubt for quite some time over who would win.



    No, because even at that, it's not the power of Satan that necessitates "salvation," but the consequences of our own sins. Satan's just along for the ride as a tempter--yeah, he's powerful, but according to the literature even a single Christian can make him flee.

    No, I think the closest it gets to what you're talking about is Zoroastrianism, or the Christian heresy of Manicheism. When Satan was adopted by Judaism (and thence by Christianity) from Zoroastrianism, he really got weakened, and is no longer even remotely equivalent to God.
    thanks for the lesson, i hope other people read this.

    as a christian, how and when were you made aware of the tranference of satan from zoroastrianism to judaism and consequently to christianity, and how do you think a christian would be able to explain the apparent and historical progression?
    The most important thing anyone can learn from 1st century greco-roman mystery cults is that complex religious systems can arise and develop without an historical founder.

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    Old Timer Justin (Wiccan)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allsmiles
    as a christian, how and when were you made aware of the tranference of satan from zoroastrianism to judaism and consequently to christianity, and how do you think a christian would be able to explain the apparent and historical progression?
    I learned about that after I left Christianity--the closest equivalent is that I had heard of Gilgamesh before I left. But ... well, it's not very complementary to me, but I simply took the word of my pastor that the flood story in Gilgamesh was copied from Noah, even though Gilgamesh was older than Moses could have possibly been and Gilgamesh was written first.

    Edited to add: at that time, I also still believed the "traditional" author attributions for the OT.
    Justin

    My lance is tipped o the hammered flame,
    My shield is beat o the moonlight cold;
    And I won my spurs in the Middle World,
    A thousand fathom beneath the mould."

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    Over 1000 post club allsmiles's Avatar
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    cool stuff justin, thank you.

    Balder, as for the human sacrifice to appease a deity/deities, how about the story of Prometheus?
    The most important thing anyone can learn from 1st century greco-roman mystery cults is that complex religious systems can arise and develop without an historical founder.

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    You find an interesting variation on complementary dualism in Balinese Hinduism. The priests where cloth printed with white, black, and gray check marks, indicating the dualism of good and evil (white and black) and the "balancing" (gray) that takes place in the human realm. One of the regular temple rituals is the dance of the Barong, a mythical creature which battles and defeats evil. In Balinese Hindu tradition, the battle of good and evil is eternal, but it is not an equal balance of powers: good will always prevail. Evil is a distortion of the good, and derives from the good, thus it cannot be considered equal. In our realm, it is the human duty to find a balance between them, striving for the good and learning to deal with and "corral" evil on a personal and social level, through ritualization and transmutation of "evil" impulses.
    "Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something that needs our love" ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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