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[P]
The Fish Goes Away

By localroger in Culture
Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:45:49 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

If you watch religious groups at all you may have noticed the Vatican doing some, well, strange things in the last few years. First there was that distinctly non-aryan new face of Jesus, then they apologized for taking such a casual attitude toward the Nazi Holocaust. And then there was another apology for the Inquisition. It's enough to make you wonder if they're about to come to their senses with regard to birth control.

If you'll bear with me through some speculation about rituals and magic, I think I can turn up a good reason for this ancient institution's sudden change of heart. And it's not about the obvious changes they must live with in our modern technological world. It's about a symbol that was chosen over 1,900 years ago -- one that probably seemed like a good idea at the time.


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We've all seen those little fish symbols devout Christians wear or stick on their cars, and some of us even know the usual explanation for that symbol -- that it was an acrostic. But there was another very good reason for the 1st century Christians to pick a fish for their symbol, and for that you have to look up.

The ancients took magic for granted in the same way we take nuclear weapons for granted; nobody doubted that it worked, even if nobody had ever seen it do anything spectacular themselves. They believed that rituals could affect the world (at least if done right), and that various signs and forms of divination could reveal hidden secrets about the world. Among other things, they believed very much in astrology.

This astrology was not the simple sun-sign pap you get in modern newspaper astrology columns. It was a complicated affair involving every planet, which at any given time was in one of the twelve Zodiacal constellations as well as a certain distance above or below the horizon (its "house"). Mastering this symbolic system required as much effort as acquiring a modern university degree, but conferred great power -- at least if your studies didn't piss off Caesar or his equivalent.

In the deep, deep background of astrology there is the great year. Over a period of 26,000 years the Earth's polar axis describes a circle in the heavens, at any given time pointing toward one of the Zodiacal constellations. During the time of Jeshua ben Miriam the axis was moving out of the constellation of Aries into Pisces. This was thought to have a deep and thorough-going effect on how things would go during an era, and to those early Christians the rise of Rome would certainly seem Aries-like. (Aries is the sign of masculinity, fire/passion, and direct if sometimes uninformed action. It describes the Romans surprisingly well) The Christians would naturally associate the coming change of Great Month with their own prophecies. Pisces is everything Aries is not -- feminine, water/emotion, passive.

Constantine pulled a tremendous scam on the early Christians when he "generously" adopted their religion as the official one of Rome. All writings hinting that individuals could personally use magic or divination to communicate with God were suppressed. This included knowledge about ritual magic and astrology. It is all but inconceivable that these people suddenly decided that these things didn't work; what is much more believable is that they decided to hide these sources of power in the same way our governments try to limit the spread of information about nuclear weapons, and for exactly the same reason. This is why gnosticism in particular was to be suppressed so ruthlessly.

So ordinary Christians have forgotten about the Age of Pisces, unless they received information from sources outside the Church (an action which would have once got you killed, a fact for which the Church only recently apologized). But you can bet the guys who run the Church haven't forgotten about it. They may not have the same attitude toward magic as their ancient predecessors did but nobody who takes all those old rituals seriously enough to become a cardinal can remain completely skeptical about such a fundamental symbol.

As you probably know, the Age of Pisces is over. Since (by the most common calculations) the early 1960's we have officially entered the Age of Aquarius. Aquarius is as different from both Aries and Pisces as they are from each other; it's a masculine sign (like Aries) but its element is air, not fire or water, making it a sign of intellect rather than impulse or emotion. It is really very hard to look at the 20th century and the whole Great Year thing and not get the impression that there is really something to this astrology stuff after all.

In particular, the hippies who celebrated this passing were underinformed about Aquarius. Just as Pisces had its dark side -- the Inquisition was a very Piscean thing (Negative traits: "Vague, careless, secretive, easily confused, unable to cope with the practical running of their lives, indecisive) Aquarius can have its bad hair days too ("Unpredictable, eccentric, rebellious, contrary, tactless, fixed in his opinions, straining to be unconventional.") The Age of Aquarius will not have Inquisitions because it will be too busy building nifty death machines like the Manhattan Project and concentration camps.

Back to reality. It doesn't really matter whether you believe in any of this crap (or whether I, with my birth chart stellium in Aquarius believe it :-) but it does matter that the high muckamucks of the Catholic Church seem to believe it. It's the only reason I can think of why after centuries they have suddenly decided to try to clean out the linen closet and make peace with the world's other religions. Their own divination system has told them it's endgame, the party's over, it's time for the baton to move West.

So now they're in disaster recovery mode, trying to establish a place for themselves in whatever new Aquarian order emerges (perhaps hoping for a nicer place than they made for the pagans and dissident Christians 1,700 years ago). The end of the Age of Pisces itself was just about the last meaningful chance for any long standing prophecies to be fulfilled, and it's obviously all fizzled.

I'm already calculating when the Great Day of Bemusement gives way to the Great Week of Uncontrollable Laughter. When I get it worked out I'll let you know.

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The Fish Goes Away | 145 comments (128 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
the Fish and other recognition badges (4.00 / 2) (#1)
by Speare on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 10:39:09 PM EST

Not to shamelessly self-promote (okay, maybe slightly shameless), but Everything2 has a node about the original fish symbol, and I linked it to a metanode I wrote about Recognition Badges. I've always liked this sort of subconscious subcultural communication.

Recognition Badges metanode.
 
[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]

Hrm? (4.33 / 9) (#4)
by Delirium on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 10:58:09 PM EST

So you're claiming that the top hierarchy of the Catholic Church is removing the fish symbol because they are afraid that they will be destroyed by an emerging "Aquarian order," so this is their attempt to appease it?

I've heard some interesting conspiracy theories, but this one is rather amusing. Regardless of what you believe about astrology, I'd say there's a fairly low probability that the Pope believes the same.

Fish, Jesus, Osiris, and Dionysus (4.00 / 13) (#7)
by Anatta on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 11:12:37 PM EST

If you want to be absolutely blown away with some fascinating information, check out this link. The link contains comparisons of Jesus, Osiris, and Dionysus.

If you read the link, you will find the similarities between the three figures to be striking... and likely you will find that they are all the same figure.

Among the really really interesting similarities between the "Godman" (taken from the link):
- Osiris-Dionysus is God made flesh, the saviour and 'Son of God'.
- His father is God and his mother is a mortal virgin.
- He is born in a cave or humble cowshed on 25 December before three shepherds.
- He offers his followers the chance to be born again through the rites of baptism.
- He miraculously turns water into wine at a marriage ceremony.
- He rides triumphantly into town on a donkey while people wave palm leaves to honour him.
- He dies at Eastertime as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
- After his death he descends to hell, then on the third day he rises from the dead and ascends to heaven in glory.
- His followers await his return as the judge during the Last Days.
- His death and resurrection are celebrated by a ritual meal of bread and wine which symbolize his body and blood.

Reading that information completely and thoroughly changed my understanding and respect of chrisitanity and christian mythology... it is an absolutely fascinating "must read" for anyone interested in religion/spirituality/gnosis/whatever... Included in the link are some fascinating references to where the whole "fish" thing really came from...
My Music

intermixed legends (4.16 / 6) (#8)
by Delirium on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 11:14:39 PM EST

Yeah, the old mythologies all borrowed a bunch of stories from each other. The Gilgamesh flood legend has striking similarities to the Biblical one as well.

[ Parent ]
A few things that don't quite hold up... (3.00 / 6) (#9)
by theboz on Mon Jun 25, 2001 at 11:51:56 PM EST

- Osiris-Dionysus is God made flesh, the saviour and 'Son of God'.

The problem with that is that while you can "be your own grandpa" you can not be your own father. So the legends either have to be the supreme being, or the son of the supreme being, not all of the above.

- He is born in a cave or humble cowshed on 25 December before three shepherds.

The historical and early Christian version of Jesus was born in about September or so. I think according to the older texts it was Tishre(sp?) 1 which was an important day for the ancient Hebrews. This also coincided with decent weather for travel (it gets very cold in the middle east in Winter, sometimes snows, etc.) to be able to go to participate in the census which was documented by the Romans. As far as the being born in a shed, I believe that supposedly happened because since they went into town for the census there was no room left in the hotel so they had to stay in the only place available, not for some humble reason, though that may be false according to whatever religious texts as well.

- He offers his followers the chance to be born again through the rites of baptism.

The interesting thing is that in the bible Jesus was supposed to have said something about how his life eliminated the need for water baptism. So why do most Christians still do that?

- He miraculously turns water into wine at a marriage ceremony.

I can do that. Just let me get drunk sometime and I'll make some "yellow wine" for you. This is a joke of course and can be safely ignored since it has nothing to do with the rest of the post.

- He rides triumphantly into town on a donkey while people wave palm leaves to honour him.

So did Yankee Doodle. In all seriousness, I don't remember ever hearing about people waving palm leaves when Jesus went anywhere, for the most part everyone hated him, and of those that didn't they just wanted some free handouts of food and healing.

In any case, most religions have similarities. The reason could be attributed to stemming from the same source, a God if you want, but there is a simpler explanation. If you have a problem with your pants always falling down, you are possibly going to buy a belt. Another person may buy suspenders. Another may just buy new pants that fit better. However, there will be people that do at least one of these things to fix the same problem.

I think the similarities in some religions are like that. Death scares most people. Religion comes in to calm people about death. While most religions have differing aspects on how it is accomplished, most of them have some form of an afterlife involved, and often have similarities to each other. Another issue is morals, most religions have a moral code of some sort that you must follow to satisfy the requirements of your religion. Most of these moral codes will be the same in various religions because they address the issues of humanity as a whole. However, there are also the differences that will get in the way that cause problems. There is also the need to have a "leader" that is or was human at some point. People like to have their supernatural force to believe in, but also need a human or semi-human example for them to follow both as an example and as a charismatic leader.

Of course, I tend to not to believe much of anything, but I do defend people's rights to believe in whatever they want and not be ridiculed, so we'll see how this article turns out. I voted against it because it just seemed to be too much speculation without any real documentation on the hypothesis. Just throwing some facts together does not necessarily point into the direction the article says it is.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

I think you missed the whole point of the article (4.50 / 4) (#14)
by Anatta on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 01:35:15 AM EST

All of your arguments are correct if we assume all that stuff literally happened... but if you read the article, it suggests that NONE of that stuff literally happened, but rather that the myths themselves have great significance, and reveal not a real diety, but rather a glimpse into the human mind, and how to "understand" the secrets of the universe, or whatever you'd like to call them...

The historical and early Christian version of Jesus was born in about September or so.
As far as I know, the historical jesus is basically not documented, but according to one of the gospels, the animals were left outside at night, and that is a clue that it would have to be in the summer/early fall nights...

But the real point is that Jesus' widely held birh symbolized a renewal point in the yearly cycle... similar to Yule and other holy days...

As for baptism, again, it is widely accepted that chrisitanity usually involves a sort of baptism... water is usually considered the "life giver, the life sustainer"... so it is a pretty natural symbol for being in harmony with one's surroundings...

The "water to wine" part is a perfect example of reading the words vs. getting the message... If you read it literally, the only "teaching" is that you learn that jesus would be good at parties... but if you take it metaphorically, understanding that water is a substance that sustains and gives life, while wine is a substance that... makes you drunk, brings out joy and spirit. The story was saying that jesus (the symbol of love) took the water (life) and made it wine (joy, spirit, whatever you want to call it).

In any case, there are many ways to read and understand any spiritual text, or parable, or philosophy... I'm just suggesting one that takes a more gnostic/buddhist... I think a literal interpretation of the bible is stupid, too... but it becomes much more interesting if one steps beyond that, into symbol and metaphor, and searches for the meanings behind the stories...
My Music
[ Parent ]

dont get too allegorical (3.28 / 7) (#15)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:22:33 AM EST

As far as I know, the historical jesus is basically not documented

The historical Jesus is better documented than any person in ancient times, comprising several thousand references in Christian and non-Christian texts dated to within the first century. It's wise not to lose sight of the fact that someone called Jesus did indeed challenge the religious and political authorities of the time to the extent that they were changed forever after his death. There's no shortage of evidence for any of this.

In any case, there are many ways to read and understand any spiritual text, or parable, or philosophy. [...] I think a literal interpretation of the bible is stupid, too

While there may be various meanings waiting to be read, it strikes me as silly to question that Christianity is anything other than a faith based on historical events. You are free to interpret accounts of miracles as you see fit but there is considerably more evidence for event X in the actual life of Christ than there is for event Y in the life of, say, Emperor Nero.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Citations? (4.00 / 3) (#16)
by brion on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:49:53 AM EST

The historical Jesus is better documented than any person in ancient times, comprising several thousand references in Christian and non-Christian texts dated to within the first century.

I've never actually heard anyone claim the existance of primary sources documenting the historical Jesus during his lifetime. If this impression is wrong, I'd be mighty curious to hear more.



Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
primary as compared to what? (3.33 / 3) (#20)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 03:48:48 AM EST

The evidence for ancient history isnt as reliable as the stories in yesterday's newspaper. The lives of Jesus' contemporaries, especially those that lived most of their lives as anonymous carpenters, are mostly a matter of presumptive fact based on whatever text has actually survived and been discovered. Even if you were to find birth and death certificates, how would you authenticate them? The question you must ask yourself is whether there is sufficient evidence to support the existence of Jesus in history. Apart from Christian sources which are sufficient evidence for the historicity of Jesus, there is at least Pliny, Tacitus and Josephus. Knock yourself out.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

I'll look these up, thanks! (3.50 / 2) (#24)
by brion on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:52:11 AM EST

What I mean by "primary source" is documents written by people who were physically present at the described events as opposed to documents written by people who weren't physically present at the described events. (Here, the gospels qualify, though they present a rather one-sided view of course.)

What I mean by "during his lifetime" is documents written, well, during his lifetime, as opposed to years later. (Here, the gospels do not qualify. The great distance in time necessarily skews the viewpoint and accuracy of recollections, and the writings may be influenced by later events.)

Of course, even secondary sources during the lifetime would be interesting to see. Alas, as you say that era was not as over-documented as today's world, you can't just sift through back-issues of "The Judea Times" for articles about the execution of an alleged rabble-rousing cult leader. :)



Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Interesting stuff (4.00 / 2) (#37)
by Anatta on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:37:16 AM EST

However, as far as I know, there is no non-spiritual, "primary" writings about jesus that we are aware of... Josephus is an excellent source for learning, but it seems he was born in 37CE, well after jesus died...

Tacitus, it seems, grew up under Nero, so he didn't have a great look at jesus, either...

Pliny lived well after jesus, apparently he was a governor between 111-113CE.

All of the "first hand" accounts of jesus are spiritual -- the gospels, etc. -- there is no historian yet found (as far as I know) who happened to be talking about something else while mentioning this odd jesus fellow who would wander around on top of the water... that's not to say that it didn't happen, but we haven't really found any good evidence of it, and it would be safe to say that oddities like that would likely draw some attention...

It seems to me that there likely was a person named jesus, and he was probably a religious figure, but my feeling at least is that the fantastic stories associated with him were either part of the jesus mysteries (see my first post) or stories created by early christians to exhault their "godman"...
My Music
[ Parent ]

Where have all the missionaries gone? (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by ipinkus on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:06:11 AM EST

Offtopic:

I really hate seeing these one sided discussions. In the end the threads always seem to conclude with either, religion is complete hogwash or religion X is pretty good but with MY input it'd be correct.

Are there no true followers of doctrine online? Why is it that there are no bible college students posting to kuro5hin? There are plenty of well educated hard-lined christians out there who could lunge and parry the bulk of these articles. Where the heck are those guys?

I really wish there was some sort of effort by the bible colleges, or some christian governing authorities to get these students posting on the nets. . . Wouldn't it be a great way to learn? blah

I'm so naive...

[ Parent ]

Not THAT one-sided (3.75 / 4) (#46)
by Anatta on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:22:40 AM EST

It seems to me that virtually everyone that has posted so far on this topic has made their points, cited a few items, and noted that if anyone has any information to the contrary, it would be dandy if they could supply it. And there has been some variety in opinion as far as I can tell... someone (assumed fairly "fundamentalist") suggested that in my previous post, I went too far into allegory, yet really did not attack any of my logic. Until he/she does, I will disregard it.

I've spent a decent amount of time talking with fundamentalist christians about dogma, scripture, and history... the majority that I have talked to likely had not ever read the bible, nor did they really have any insight... however, there are many fundamentalists that know the bible well and can argue it logically and passionately... it's kinda hard to weed them out from the noise, tho... if you can think of a way, maybe you should let us know...
My Music
[ Parent ]

Good question (3.66 / 3) (#105)
by weirdling on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:49:33 PM EST

In my experience, including two years in theology at the college level, and an entire youth spent as a very conservative christian, I have come to the conclusion that christianity is, by and large, driven by fear. Open discussion is to be stopped because it results in the possibility of being convinced other than the orthodoxed view; hence the Dark Ages. I guess it doesn't really surprise me that there aren't a lot of hard-line conservatives on a site as well known for questioning everything as K5. They prefer to be on sites where the heretics are refuted.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Dark Ages? (2.00 / 1) (#121)
by scorchio on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 06:17:08 AM EST

I thought the Dark Ages were due to the fall of the Roman Empire and the descent into Europe of 'unenlightened' pagans: Huns, Vandals, Alans, Visigoths, Ostrogoths...



[ Parent ]
Dark ages.... (3.00 / 1) (#126)
by spiff on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 05:04:09 PM EST

Open discussion is to be stopped because it results in the possibility of being convinced other than the orthodoxed view; hence the Dark Ages.

The Dark Ages where caused primarily by the rise of the Arab Empire which effectively blockaded Europe from engaging in any sort of commerce. That's why land was so valuable in Europe during that time (there was no gold). And the best place to find educated people was in the church, that's why most of the older western university's where founded by the church.

[ Parent ]

Gospels aren't exactly first hand (4.00 / 2) (#61)
by guinsu on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 12:15:10 PM EST

The only Gospel author who was with Jesus was John, the apostle who managed to live the longest. Even he did his writing later in his life (about 60 AD?). Also, the contents of the Gospels did change a bit and some of it was based on orally transmitted stories. They were not put into the form we know now until the council of Nicea, where the leaders of the church basically sat down to decide exactly what they were going to tell everyone to believe. As far as I know most of the Gospels are a mix of what a particular author wrote (and each author was writing for a particular audience such as Greeks, Jews etc) and pieces that were added later or changed over time. They are far from an accurate record due to this, though I am not saying that none of it is true or that none of it was observed to have happened.

[ Parent ]
Or so many would prefer to believe (4.50 / 2) (#87)
by spiff on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:31:24 PM EST

The only Gospel author who was with Jesus was John, the apostle who managed to live the longest.

Matthew was also one of the twelve. Mark was probably an eye-witness to Jesus and accompanied Peter. So his account is based on Peter's teaching.

Even [John] did his writing later in his life (about 60 AD?).

Yes but remember that his was the last gospel to be written. The most conservative estimates place the completion of the New Testament at about 70 AD. Also remember that Jesus was crucified about 30 AD. So the New Testament was finished less than 50 years after the Crucifixion.

Also remember that Paul's letters predate the gospels. Specifically in 1 Corinthians 15:3-9 (which I believe was written about 5 years after the crucifixion) Paul quotes a creed that was given to him ("For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received") that states a belief in Christ's death for our sins and resurrection. And it mentions the existence of more than 500 witnesses to the resurrection most of which were alive as of the writing of the letter. How many myths come to be in less than 5 years in the same area where they where said to have occurred and supported by more than 500 witnesses?

They were not put into the form we know now until the council of Nicea, where the leaders of the church basically sat down to decide exactly what they were going to tell everyone to believe.

The books already existed, the council only gave their approval to books *ALREADY* considered scripture.

They are far from an accurate record due to this

Comparing our current scripture with ancient manuscripts and quotes in the writings of early church fathers (from which most of the New Testament can be rebuilt) found in different locations and in different languages. They all agree more than 90% of the time. Most of the differences being in spelling and the order of words. And none of the core doctrines are in question.

[ Parent ]

Jesus' last words (5.00 / 3) (#90)
by mbrubeck on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 05:47:36 PM EST

The death of Jesus is undeniably one of the two most important events in Christian history (the resurrection is the other). One imagines that faithful eyewitness accounts would at least agree on the Savior's words at the moment of salvation. Here are the last reported words of Christ according to the evangelists:
  • Matthew, Mark: "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)
  • Luke: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
  • John: "Now it is finished."
This is just a minor example, but a striking one. I agree that the gospels are important documents, but they are also flawed and contradictory. One must be aware of their limitations and origins in order to read the gospels critically and reach their true value.
The most conservative estimates place the completion of the New Testament at about 70 AD.
This is simply false. Many Christian scholars date the writing of the gospels to somewhere between 100 and 140 AD. As an example, here are some exerpts from translators' notes in the New American Bible. This translation was produced by Catholic scholars and sponsored by an organization of Catholic bishops - hardly a radical or fringe group.
"Matthew's gospel in its present form was written in a Jewish milieu, probably after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. [...] Besides the sayings of the Lord, it is certain that the author of Matthew had access to the present Gospel of Mark. [...] Current and more common opinion dates the composition of the Gospel of Mathew between 80--100 AD, or roughly 85 AD. There is also the compelling evidence for the dependence of Matthew on Mark..."
"According to Papias (135 AD), the author of the second gospel was Mark who served as Peter's 'interpreter' (editor of Petrine material?). ...the majority of modern scholars consider the gospel to have been written in Rome. The date of composition is c 70 AD."
"Early Christian tradition ascribes the companion volumes of the Lucan gospel and Acts of the Apostles to approxmately 75 AD, and identifies the author with Luke the physician, friend of St. Paul..."
(regarding John) "How can the ancient tradition about the authorship of the fourth gospel be reconciled with modern biblical scholarship? Many scholars, Protestant and Catholic, are coming to accept a theory with tries to do justice to both. This proposes that behind the fourth gospel there was an ancient tradition of the words and deeds of Jesus, a tradition of real historical value... Thus, jst as the name 'Peter' has been associated with one of the traditions behind the synoptic gospels, so the name 'John, son of Zebedee' may well be attached to the tradition behind the fourth gospel. [...] The theory further proposes that it was one of John's disciples who actually developed the tradition into the pattern of the gospel as we know it. [...] The final editing of the gospel and arrangement in its present form probably dates between AD 90 and 100."
Luke himself prefaces his own work (Luke + Acts) by saying,
"Many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events which have been fulfilled in our midst, precisely as those events were transmitted to us by the original eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. I too have carefully traced the whole sequence of events from the beginning, and have decided to set it in writing for you..." (Luke 1:1,2)
The fact is, the Vatican and the Protestant churches have accepted new evidence and analysis regarding the gospels' origins. Only a few fundamentalist churches still insist on apostolic authorship of the canonical gospels, and they do so mainly by ignoring evidence rather than refuting it. The facts all agree that the gospels are valuable retellings of earlier traditions, but they are not the first-hand accounts asked for in this thread.

[ Parent ]
Last words (4.00 / 1) (#135)
by spiff on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 02:23:27 PM EST

The death of Jesus is undeniably one of the two most important events in Christian history (the resurrection is the other). One imagines that faithful eyewitness accounts would at least agree on the Savior's words at the moment of salvation. Here are the last reported words of Christ according to the evangelists: - Matthew, Mark: "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?) - Luke: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." - John: "Now it is finished.

I don't see any problem with Jesus' last words. If you take a tax collector, a Jew, a Greek physician and a fisherman I think it would be very likely for each of them to emphasize different parts of the same event.

As to the inconsistency you find in Jesus' last words here is a reconstruction from all four gospels (I have skipped some parts not directly related to your quotes):

Jesus is on the cross ( read Psalms 22) and there is darkness from the sixth until the ninth hour ( Matthew, Mark, Luke). Jesus cries out "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?" (see Psalms 22:1)and says He is thirsty ( Psalm 22:15) (can't tell the order of the last two) and someone brings Him a sponge filled with wine on a pole ( Matthew, Mark, John). He says "it is finished" ( John). He cries out "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" and dies ( Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

This is just a minor example, but a striking one. I agree that the gospels are important documents, but they are also flawed and contradictory.

Only if given a set of possible explanations you choose the contradictory one.

One must be aware of their limitations and origins in order to read the gospels critically and reach their true value.

Yes, one must be aware of their origin and cultural/historical background. Beware! This is a double edged sword, for it is the source of many of the so called contradictions.

The most conservative estimates place the completion of the New Testament at about 70 AD.

This is simply false. Many Christian scholars date the writing of the gospels to somewhere between 100 and 140 AD. As an example, here are some exerpts from translators' notes in the New American Bible. This translation was produced by Catholic scholars and sponsored by an organization of Catholic bishops - hardly a radical or fringe group.

What is the date on these excerpts?

Supposing you're right, and taking 140 as the completion date, that's only 110 years between the crucifixion and all the gospels being completed. I guess that would mean that at least part of at least one of the gospels wasn't completed by the original author. Even supposing that to be true doesn't take away much of the validity of the accounts. It's not like the disciples locked themselves up in a room after the resurrection and didn't come out till they had finished writing the gospels. They had been preaching the contents of the gospels since day one. Which would make changing any part of the story a VERY BIG CONSPIRACY INDEED, involving just about anybody who had heard the disciples, heard Jesus, or had a father/mother/friend/uncle who had done one of the above. Anyway I believe the evidence points against a later date.

My NIV (Zondervan) bible places the completion of the whole New Testament somewhere between 85-100. This translation is, I believe, the most used modern language translation of the bible.

You also have to deal with things like the John Rylands Papyrus which contains a fragment of the gospel of John (agreed to be the last gospel to be written). It was found in Egypt (quite a ways from Ephesus where the original was most likely written) and dated between 98-150 AD. That's the earliest fragment of the New Testament so far.

Have you ever read the book of Acts? It's a sequel to the gospel of Luke and tells the history of the early church. It doesn't mention the destruction of the Temple and fall of Jerusalem (70 AD). It doesn't mention Paul's death (62 AD), and he's the main character (Luke was his disciple). The Jewish War (66 AD). Or the death of James (60-62 AD). I doubt Luke thought those events too lacking in importance to include. Which leads me to believe that Acts and therefore Luke and probably Mark and Matthew where completed before 60 AD.

And you also have the writings of early church fathers which quote scripture. For example there's Clement of Rome (95 AD), called a disciple of the apostles and appointed by Peter. His writings quote from: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, I Corinthians, I Peter, Hebrews and Titus. Ignatius (70-110 AD) the Bishop of Antioch who knew the disciples quotes from: Matthew, John, Acts, Romans, I Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Galatians, Colossians, James, I&II Thesalonians, I&II Timothy and I Peter.

Of course you could argue that this only proves that the New Testament was being written and evolving during that period. But there is no evidence to back that claim. The thousands of manuscripts of the New Testament currently known all agree 99.5% of the time. And we are talking about manuscripts that span more than one thousand years, discovered in different locations and written in several languages.

The fact is, the Vatican and the Protestant churches have accepted new evidence and analysis regarding the gospels' origins. Only a few fundamentalist churches still insist on apostolic authorship of the canonical gospels, and they do so mainly by ignoring evidence rather than refuting it. The facts all agree that the gospels are valuable retellings of earlier traditions, but they are not the first-hand accounts asked for in this thread.

To be honest I don't mind being called a "fundamentalist minority" :-) I also think people are really scared of the implications of the gospels being first-hand accounts and would much prefer not to have to deal with it.

[ Parent ]

With that argument you can't loose (4.00 / 1) (#133)
by spiff on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 10:11:11 AM EST

However, as far as I know, there is no non-spiritual, "primary" writings about jesus that we are aware of... [...] All of the "first hand" accounts of jesus are spiritual -- the gospels, etc. -- there is no historian yet found (as far as I know) who happened to be talking about something else while mentioning this odd jesus fellow who would wander around on top of the water...

But if some historian suddenly mentioned this fellow who would walk on water wouldn't that make it a "spiritual" writing? :-)

So you appear to be saying that you won't believe in Jesus or His miracles because everyone who saw Him and wrote about it says he performed miracles. And of course if someone came up and said he didn't perform any miracles you'd say "Aja, see He didn't perform any miracles". It's a win-win situation you've put yourself in.

[ Parent ]

the gospels (2.50 / 2) (#22)
by Delirium on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:18:49 AM EST

Well, the four Gospels, being written by contemporaries of Jesus, should be considered primary sources of history on his life.

There's quite a few from a non-Christian perspective as well (the Romans kept good records), but I don't have any of those handy (see eLuddite's post).

[ Parent ]

History of the Gospels (4.66 / 3) (#62)
by mbrubeck on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 12:34:34 PM EST

It is widely believed (though not universally agreed) that the four canonical gospels were written about 100 years after the time of Jesus of Nazareth, or at the very least are extremely modified renditions of earlier works by eyewitnesses. Appendices to both my copies of the Bible (New American and King James translations) agree that this is likely.

Here is a thorough overview of issues in Gospel history. It does not assert a particular viewpoint, but examines strengths and weaknesses of all the most common hypotheses. If you find that overview lacking in concrete details, check out the Synoptic Gospels Primer at the Rutgers University Department of Religion. It gives an excellent layman's overview of the evidence and arguments used in scriptural history.

(Not a Catholic, but I spent nine years in Catholic schools.)

[ Parent ]

Historical Jesus (3.71 / 7) (#17)
by Nyarlathotep on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 03:20:24 AM EST

I've heard losts of people make the claim that Jesus is very well documented, but I've never seen anyone site real sources. I'm shure that there is plenty of evidence for his existance as a chalenger of religious beliefs, but there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that the stories which are commonly told about him are copied from older religions.

Plus, it's unrealistic to think that the ancient christians would beat the ancient Moslems at recording facts about their respective profits. Mohamed's life was recorded durring his lifetime (not 40 years later like Jesus) and the rennesance which followed him copied everything for posterity. Remember, the Moslems after Mohameds death were more advanced then the Romans and they valued libraries and education highly. Also, the stories about Mohamed do not seem to copy from previous religions like the stories about Jesus do.

Anyway, the "Jesus is the most well documented most influential person in history" claim is christian propoganda. Mohamed was much more influential and (almost shurely) much more well documented. There are likely to be far eastern characters who are better documented and more influential too.

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
ancient times (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by Delirium on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:20:08 AM EST

Anyway, the "Jesus is the most well documented most influential person in history" claim is christian propoganda. Mohamed was much more influential and (almost shurely) much more well documented. There are likely to be far eastern characters who are better documented and more influential too.

You'll notice that he said "in ancient times," not "in history." Mohammed, living in the 7th century C.E., didn't really live in ancient times.

[ Parent ]

better documented than ANY person... (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by neuneu2K on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 05:01:39 AM EST

While I believe that
"someone called Jesus did indeed challenge the religious and political authorities of the time to the extent that they were changed forever after his death. There's no shortage of evidence for any of this."
Is quite true, it is certainly not the most "documented" chain of events of this period... Julius Cesar is a very good example of a man who immediatly impacted more people and is therefore more documented...
- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
memo to self: no more superlatives (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 05:43:22 AM EST

Julius Cesar is a very good example of a man who immediatly impacted more people and is therefore more documented...

That does make sense, doesnt it. I dont doubt that the archeological and historical evidence for Caeser is incredible but (1) the gap between the earliest known records describing Caeser's life is several hundred years compared to thirty for Jesus; (2) unless you doubt the historical accuracy of the New Testament and various other "biblical" scrolls and manuscripts, Jesus is certainly mentioned more often than Caeser in the body of discovered textual evidence for either man. There are literally thousands of ancient manuscripts describing what Christ did and said compared to the dozen or so remote histories of the Gallic Wars.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

grammar belch (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 06:09:55 AM EST

the gap between the earliest known records describing Caeser's life is several hundred years compared to thirty for Jesus

That is to say, the gap between events and when they were recorded. The discovered histories of Caesar were written well after his death.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Caeser wrote his own history (3.00 / 1) (#119)
by epcraig on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 03:36:49 AM EST

While nobody has a copy in Iulius Caeser's own hand, Caeser's authorship of the Gallic Wars is undoubted. The text is internally consistant, and the external references are as consistant as can be.
Casesr wrote his own history, as accurately as self aggrandisment allowed. Doesn't anyone take Latin anymore?
There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org
[ Parent ]
oh, personnal life description... (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by neuneu2K on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 06:26:01 AM EST

If you speak about the person, well you are right, there are more total documentation about the life of Jesus then about the life of Cesar...
I believe that it is because the personal life of Jesus and his teachings is much more important.(while the acts of Cesar are more important then the acts of Jesus...)
On the other hand, while you may perfectly be right about the date of the first historical references to the life of Jesus, the "New Testament" as it is generally defined is much older then that (that is NOT to say that it is not a copy of older texts...).
The first-order historical data on Jesus is quite low and from much less people, so well documented: maybe; More pertinent documentation: maybe; but better first-order historical data... i do not think so...

PS: I am quite uneasy on this thread because it seems to me that my backing of facts is quite low, if any much better historian would care to provide some advice I would be grateful! (HELP !)
- "And machine code, which lies beneath systems ? Ah, that is to do with the Old Testament, and is talmudic and cabalistic..." - Umberto Eco
[ Parent ]
A few notes (3.00 / 2) (#103)
by weirdling on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:42:07 PM EST

The gospels do not <a href="http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert_ingersoll/foundations_of_faith.html">agree</a> with each other.<br>
Muslim scholars apparently don't think <a href="http://www.answering-christianity.com/gossip.htm">John the disciple</a> wrote the gospel of John, rather that it was written by John the Elder around 95 AD.<br>
However, of course, almost everyone with any interest at all in the gospels has a vested interest, so you'll get plenty of people morally huffed about quoting Muslim or <a href="http://www2.prestel.co.uk/littleton/ra1fic5.htm#5">secular</a> works that undermine the bible. The truth is that no one really knows who wrote the various books.<br>
That being said, what I have been able to piece together seems to indicate that Mark wrote the first so-called 'synoptic' gospel, from which Matthew and Luke liberally plagiarized, while John wrote an independant gospel that may have been the first gospel, as early as 70-90 AD, IMHO, but, just as likely, was written around 100-150 AD by someone else entirely. Mark was most certainly written after 67 AD, and likely as late as 130 AD or so, as Matthew and Luke had to plagiarize it to get included in the accepted canon around 150-185 AD.
Understand that I am agnostic, so, naturally, I tend to disbelieve the bible, but you'll find that textual analysis of most documents demonstrates that, with the exception of the body of Pauline literature, which, incidentally, Luke plagiarized from, as well, most biblical books were written by committee well after the fact. It is entirely possible that these works were 'works in progress' until the Catholic church got ahold of them and made the canon, which subsequently made them no longer living documents. Anyway, there isn't really a lot of strong evidence for literal authorship of the gospels, or even the pentateuch as being authored by Moses. That doesn't stop people from asserting that it is so and that it can't be proven otherwise, the same tact taken in the face of evolution...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Fixup of "A few notes" by "wierdlin (none / 0) (#138)
by Scribe on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 01:08:40 AM EST

The gospels do not agree with each other.

Muslim scholars apparently don't think John the disciple wrote the gospel of John, rather that it was written by John the Elder around 95 AD.

However, of course, almost everyone with any interest at all in the gospels has a vested interest, so you'll get plenty of people morally huffed about quoting Muslim or secular works that undermine the bible. The truth is that no one really knows who wrote the various books.

That being said, what I have been able to piece together seems to indicate that Mark wrote the first so-called 'synoptic' gospel, from which Matthew and Luke liberally plagiarized, while John wrote an independant gospel that may have been the first gospel, as early as 70-90 AD, IMHO, but, just as likely, was written around 100-150 AD by someone else entirely. Mark was most certainly written after 67 AD, and likely as late as 130 AD or so, as Matthew and Luke had to plagiarize it to get included in the accepted canon around 150-185 AD.

Understand that I am agnostic, so, naturally, I tend to disbelieve the bible, but you'll find that textual analysis of most documents demonstrates that, with the exception of the body of Pauline literature, which, incidentally, Luke plagiarized from, as well, most biblical books were written by committee well after the fact. It is entirely possible that these works were 'works in progress' until the Catholic church got ahold of them and made the canon, which subsequently made them no longer living documents. Anyway, there isn't really a lot of strong evidence for literal authorship of the gospels, or even the pentateuch as being authored by Moses. That doesn't stop people from asserting that it is so and that it can't be proven otherwise, the same tact taken in the face of evolution...




--
Someday I may have a .sig :)
[ Parent ]
(Editorial) HTML appearing as text ... (none / 0) (#139)
by Scribe on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 01:14:55 AM EST

I modded wierdling's "notes" down, while copying the text verbatim, because his HTML was treated as text. This not only messed up his comments, but the whole page on which it appeared (long hrefs that made the page much wider, making all lines too wide to read comfortably).




--
Someday I may have a .sig :)
[ Parent ]
Based on History? (4.50 / 2) (#40)
by Anatta on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:44:18 AM EST

In another post floating around, I just mentioned that as far as I know, there is no non-spiritual (i.e. historical) text written by people who actually saw, were in contact with, or were present when jesus wandered by... If you could supply some, I would be absolutely fascinated to see them.
While there may be various meanings waiting to be read, it strikes me as silly to question that Christianity is anything other than a faith based on historical events.
I'm not so sure it's fair to say that; if you read that jesus mysteries article here there is some pretty compelling (and quite logical) argument that christianity is a faith not at all based on historical events... if you would like to attack specific items in the article, or other comments by me, that's fine, but saying it's silly just because that's what most "organized" religions say isn't really teaching anyone anything...
My Music
[ Parent ]
i think you're a rather touchy (3.00 / 4) (#53)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:32:17 AM EST

there is no non-spiritual (i.e. historical) text written by people who actually saw, were in contact with, or were present when jesus wandered by...

Then the ancient world must be a ridiculous liberal myth since pretty much every written trace we have of it is a history after the fact, a history invariably tainted with the religious and superstitious beliefs of its narrators. It is, after all, ancient history.

"Oh look, there goes a Hebrew who will become famous. Quick, Sartorius, make a show of science and estimate his height by the shadow he casts. Scribble it down on this parchment which I shall seal in the time capsule."

"I shall do that, Flavius! By Jupiter, wouldnt our day end on a grand note if the elusive Shakespeare also made an appearance?"

Please stop grandstanding like some scietificist git and learn a thing or two about the nature and reliability of evidence for ancient history. The PBS link found on Christian Origins section of the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook would be a good place to start if one knew absolutely nothing of the historical research devoted to Jesus. Start there.

Incidentally, I havent actually surveyed all the literature to know for a fact that there isnt any evidence of the kind you demand. I am, however, fairly damn certain that you do not know enough to categorically claim that no such evidence exists.

I'm not so sure it's fair to say that; if you read that jesus mysteries article here

"Here" is actually excerpts from a rather lurid bestseller which ** you can order now! **. Did you consider that it's author, Timothy Freke, a world authority on Tai Chi and the proud owner of a BA in philosophy, is to biblical scholarship what Fritjof Capra, the author of "The Tao of Physiscs", is to physics?

but saying it's silly just because that's what most "organized" religions say isn't really teaching anyone anything...

Sorry, I'm refering to a secular exegesis of historical manuscripts, not church dogma. Teach you? What am I going to teach you if your standards of proof are Timothy Freke instead of the portal I provided? You ask for non spiritual evidence but in turn you cite nothing less than an interpretation of mythology by a pulp spiritualist. There may very well be some truth to a historical figure called Jesus on whose life story a number of elements from the "mystery religions" were later grafted, but I'm afraid the onus is upon you to contradict the crush of established scholarship which concludes with ample evidence for a historical Jesus, not upon me to entertain you with a critical book report of The Jesus Mystery.

Finally, it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Jesus never existed; but your citation of The Jesus Mystery as proof of such a hypothesis can summed up in two short words: ha, ha.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

I'm the touchy one? (4.80 / 5) (#82)
by Anatta on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 03:28:16 PM EST

I haven't ridiculed your arguments... yet you seem to have no problem ridiculing mine...

As for the Frontline special, I thought it was quite good, though I fail to see the signficiance of it in this argument... truthfully, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a real figure named jesus who wandered the countryside, preaching and helping others. This does not conflict with the argument that the significance of jesus is in the myths surrounding him, not in the actual "miracles". I would challenge the historical "fact" of such miracles, as do most scholars (including those on the frontline site).

As far as I know, there really are no good accounts of jesus' life... no birth records, none of that, supposedly there was a census, but there seems to be no record of it, etc. In my previous post, I said there were no good accounts, but then said that if anyone knew of any good items, I'd love to see them. This implied that if someone had a piece of contradictory information, I would be interested in examining it. I still don't feel I've seen any...

In a quick look at the Frontline link, it seems to me like they're supporting the idea that the gnostic gospels are very important documents, and may even have been around before the 4 traditional ones. It also seems to me that they suggest that as the church got more firmly planted in politics and the state, it did some unpleasent things to the "heretics" to silence this sort of insolense, and that a whole lot of early christians really did accept the logic of the gnostics you seem to attack so readily, though they were eventually exterminated. I don't see all that much different from what Freke wrote, other than the PBS symbol of quality...

The link I gave was (I felt) an insightful look at the mingling of myths that goes on throughout history, and the significance of those myths in understanding "humanity". It is clearly not comprehensive, but rather a jumping-off point. Perhaps Mr. Freke is attempting to introduce some interesting ideas to a new generation, similar to the way the Tao of Pooh book introduced people to Taoism... if they were interested, they could go read the Tao Te Ching and get the info from the source. If you find Mr. Freke too simplistic, then you can check out Joseph Campbell's camp; he basically said the same thing, on a larger scale. Or you could just read the frontline information you just showed me... if anything, it supports the logic I proposed. Or you could go read the Gospel of Thomas...

Why is it that when we read a history of Alexander the Great, we see him cut the gordian knot... yet none of us believe that he actually cut the knot, nor that it existed? It is obviously metaphor. Yet somehow when we read the gospels, we are forced into accepting a literal interpretation... an interpretation that would require fundamental alterations in physcis, biology, and chemistry. You attack my ideas as spiritualist pulp (the idea that the significance of jesus is in the metaphorical understanding of what he did) and put science on the more literal side (yet you seem to not mind the "miracle" issues, like how jesus fed thousands of people with a few fish and pieces of bread). I'm not sure that's a fair argument, given the alterations of science required to walk on water or perform any other miracle.

Using the bread/fish story as an example, it seems quite clear to me that the meaning of that story is that by offering his food to the people, the people saw his generosity and were generous with their own food, resulting in abundance for all (that pesky golden rule). It doesn't say that in the text... but it certianly is a lot more logical than the idea that some guy magically made the fish and bread REALLLLLY FILLING. And he is god.

In summary, it is quite clear that for the 2,000 years since the concept of christ has existed, there have been many many different interpretations of his ideas. To say that a metaphoric, mythological interpreation of the bible is "silly" seems to me to be extreme.. especially when considering the resultant assumption, that a literal interpretation of the NT and all its miracles is required.
My Music
[ Parent ]

you were certainly condescending (2.50 / 2) (#89)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:47:52 PM EST

Why is it that when we read a history of Alexander the Great, we see him cut the gordian knot... yet none of us believe that he actually cut the knot, nor that it existed? It is obviously metaphor.

Obviously, but we do not then conclude that the evidence for Alexander is based on metaphorical evidence. Why were you so quick to discount evidence for Jesus -- and therefore Christianity -- as purely "spiritual text" and less compelling than Freke's mystery religions of paganism? Was it because Freke's evidence for Dionysus' December 25th birthday is historical, "text written by people who actually saw, were in contact with, or were present when Jesus wandered by"? There was a certain amount of intellectual dishonesty and condescension in your position.

The link I gave was (I felt) an insightful look at the mingling of myths that goes on throughout history, and the significance of those myths in understanding "humanity".

That may very well be true but it is also quite a different statement than the link's executive summary:

We have become convinced that the story of Jesus is not the biography of an historical Messiah, but a myth based on perennial Pagan stories.
You made similiar statements.
I'm not so sure it's fair to say that; if you read that jesus mysteries article here there is some pretty compelling (and quite logical) argument that christianity is a faith not at all based on historical events... if you would like to attack specific items in the article, or other comments by me, that's fine, but saying it's silly just because that's what most "organized" religions say isn't really teaching anyone anything...
Compare this with a scholarly interpretation of the the historical evidence (after we've tossed out the Gordian Knots and what not)
Jesus as a man who made a deep impression upon those who he came in contact with, his ability to attract large crowds, his ability to attract a dedicated core group of followers or disciples, and then a much larger group of people sort of in the margins of the core group who saw him as somebody special. After all, there presumably were many Galilean teachers or preachers in the first century of the Common Era. There will have been many who were executed by Rome as trouble makers or people who are threats to the social order. They will have been many wandering holy men around about Judea or even the Roman Empire. But this man clearly was peculiar. This man clearly made a mark, left an impression, somebody you didn't forget. Somebody who had power in a social sense. Someone who actually was able to somehow attract, enchant, and hold a large group of followers already in his lifetime. And this point, I think clearly must be true. I don't see how else we can understand the stories that are told in the gospels, even if the stories themselves may not be true, but the pattern, I'm arguing, has some truth to it.
To say that a metaphoric, mythological interpreation of the bible is "silly"

It is not as silly as suggesting that I said any such thing. What I said is "While there may be various meanings waiting to be read, it strikes me as silly to question that Christianity is anything other than a faith based on historical events." I suggested you show restraint in your metaphorical interpretation of Christianity as a "mystery religion". Not only is the Christian faith based on the Bible as if it were history, the actual history of Christianity does not appear to contradict its Biblical narration. I also said that "there may very well be some truth to a historical figure called Jesus on whose life story a number of elements from the 'mystery religions' were later grafted." It is also true that Christians from various parts of the world differ in their religious customs according to vestiges of their previous pagan beliefs.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Gnosis vs. Literalism... (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by Anatta on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:48:27 PM EST

we do not then conclude that the evidence for Alexander is based on metaphorical evidence
This is true... but as soon as we elevate the dialog to discussions of the supernatural (e.g. son of god, miracles, etc.) it seems to me that we must require a higher level of proof than would otherwise be required.

Why were you so quick to discount evidence for Jesus -- and therefore Christianity -- as purely "spiritual text" and less compelling than Freke's mystery religions of paganism?
I discount it because reading claims of walking on water, changing water to wine, etc. requires a great deal of substantive proof in order to accept. Especially when we add to the mix all the miracles that are often attributed to jesus that other figures like osiris and dionysus performed as well. Why would we believe that jesus actually performed the same tasks that osiris, dionysus, and other "godmen" supposedly performed years before jesus was even conceived of?

The supression of information on osiris/dionysus was clearly in the interests of the early church (say 2nd century and after), and most scholars seem to feel that they did indeed promote "diabolical mimicry", the idea that Satan came to the future, found out what miracles jesus performed, and then went back and created myths based on those portents. Seems pretty diabolical to me, too... but it was the church that was diabolical. If they must resort to such tactics in order to make their literalist case, it would seem wise to me to discount their arguments...

We have become convinced that the story of Jesus is not the biography of an historical Messiah, but a myth based on perennial Pagan stories
Yes, the text does say that... but in order to understand what it is talking about, we must separate the "story" from the "history". The story of George Washington includes never telling a lie... which of course is myth, inside his history. In GW's case, the history is much more important than the story. In jesus' case, the story is arguably much more important than the history. The gnostics clearly felt that whether or not jesus lived, wandered galilee, and died is nowhere near as important as the understanding that can come from learning his teachings.

Jesus clearly left a mark on Galilee... however Socrates and Diogenes left similar marks on their societies... but they didn't have myths associating them with god on their side. If there was a historical jesus, he arguably only had about 12 real followers when he died. It would seem to me that a fantastic way to create a "story" around this jesus character would be to take what the gnostics were talking about re: osiris and dionysus, and throw jesus into the mix... spread that message, add water (or was it wine?), and voila, religious movement.

Once the religion got entrenched into Roman society and politics, well it was here to stay...

Not only is the Christian faith based on the Bible as if it were history, the actual history of Christianity does not appear to contradict its Biblical narration
I wonder if the 2nd century church said the same thing. Fortunately, it is easy to see that the christian faith was being spread well before there was any new testament, and while the organized, Roman church absolutely focused on the historical significance of jesus, it is quite clear that the broader movement at the time did not necessarily do so.

As far as I can tell, there was much more variation of ideas about christian faith in the early days of christianity than there are now. The gnostics seemed to reject the historical signficance (or at least greatly deemphasize it), and replace it with a "spiritual search" for understanding. All you have said is that they were wrong, and probably heretics... the same thing the church said. This makes them neither wrong nor heretical... and most certianly not "silly".

In any case, this is one of the most fascinating discussions I've had in a while...
My Music
[ Parent ]

loose ends (3.00 / 1) (#115)
by eLuddite on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 01:07:28 AM EST

I discount it because reading claims of walking on water, changing water to wine, etc. requires a great deal of substantive proof in order to accept.

Well that's very scientific of you but why are you bringing this up? I've never expressed an interest in historical proof for faith or miracles. I've focused on the historicity of Jesus. The evidence of Jesus' historical life informs the Christian faith whether or not one believes the articles of faith scattered throughout the evidence. You've also been skeptical of the evidence but this skepticism has been a philosophical objection to the nature of proof. I think the current scholarship weighs heavily against such a simple expression of skepticism.

Why would we believe that jesus actually performed the same tasks that osiris, dionysus, and other "godmen" supposedly performed years before jesus was even conceived of?

As I said, "there may very well be some truth to a historical figure called Jesus on whose life story a number of elements from the 'mystery religions' were later grafted." Personally, I dont think Christ performed any magic at all. Whether the miracles were embellishments of creeping gnosticism, religious decoration or political license is an interesting question I explicitly avoided.

Fortunately, it is easy to see that the christian faith was being spread well before there was any new testament, and while the organized, Roman church absolutely focused on the historical significance of jesus, it is quite clear that the broader movement at the time did not necessarily do so.

"Fortunately, it is easy to see" sounds suspiciously unlike evidence or reasoning. However, I'm prepared to believe you. What of it? The "Roman church absolutely focused on the historical significance of jesus" sounds like an admission of the point I've tried to make throughout this thread.

As far as I can tell, there was much more variation of ideas about christian faith in the early days of christianity than there are now.

I believe you.

The gnostics seemed to reject the historical signficance (or at least greatly deemphasize it), and replace it with a "spiritual search" for understanding.

I'm not arguing matters of theology.

All you have said is that they were wrong, and probably heretics... the same thing the church said. This makes them neither wrong nor heretical... and most certianly not "silly".

I never said any such thing. If you reread the thread begining with #15 you will see that I made claims for the *historicity* of Jesus H Christ and its importance to *Christians*. I suppose I should have said modern Christians. I never stated an opinion on whether gnostics will go to heaven or hell.

Jesus clearly left a mark on Galilee...

I think this, too.

however Socrates and Diogenes left similar marks on their societies... but they didn't have myths associating them with god on their side.

You mention them as if they existed :-) I find it interesting that you hold Socrates to a lower level of historical proof than Jesus. It doesnt matter. Again, I claim that Jesus existed and that the Bible, a selection from the testament of Jesus' life, is the basis for Christianity.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

The Crux (4.00 / 1) (#122)
by Anatta on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:31:13 AM EST

I've never expressed an interest in historical proof for faith or miracles. I've focused on the historicity of Jesus.

Historicity seems to be a word casually thrown around... a quick look on dictionary.com defines historicity as Historical authenticity; fact. So, using that, we must ask what the "facts" are regarding jesus. We've got four gospels claiming rather fantastic miracles, which puts into question their factual accuracy, a bunch of gnostic text (clearly mythological), and josephus, a jewish historian with a "vested interest" casually mentioning jesus in two sections. It seems to me that everything after that was built on those sources. Yes, the volume of text on jesus is much greater than that of Caesar, but again, he didn't have a church.

I think the real meat of our disagreement is in the definition of "Christian". My guess is that you define the word as it might casually be used today: the organized churches, literalist belief, etc. When I use the word "Christian", I refer to a group of people that in some way, shape, or form worship some aspect of jesus the christ... a definition much closer to the original (and much more accurate) meaning of the word Christian.

The "Roman church absolutely focused on the historical significance of jesus" sounds like an admission of the point I've tried to make throughout this thread.

The Roman church is not the totality of christian thought. If we assume that it is, then you are correct. If we assume that it is not (as I do) then I would argue that you are still incorrect.

Fortunately, it is easy to see" sounds suspiciously unlike evidence or reasoning

Again, lets look at your PBS website which you seem to accept as decent scholarly work... this article:

As far as we can tell, the earliest Christian communities had an enormous variety of viewpoints and attitudes and approach, as we've said. But by the end of the second century, you begin to see hierarchies of bishops, priests and deacons emerge in various communities and claim to speak for the majority. And with that development, there's probably an assertion of leadership against viewpoints that those leaders considered dangerous and heretical.
I would be happy to find many more references, if it would please you.

I suppose I should have said modern Christians. I never stated an opinion on whether gnostics will go to heaven or hell.

And there is the crux... when you say Christian, you immediately think of the post-2nd century church christian... I don't necessarily think of that. Again, from that same article:

The people who wrote and circulated gospels like the Gospel of Thomas certainly didn't think they were heretics. They thought of themselves as Christians who had received, in addition to the other gospels, secret teaching.
Clearly the gnostics considered themselves christian, and they only became heretics when the church declared them heretics. It would seem to me a much more defensible position if we include the Gnostics under the wider umbrella-definition of "Christianity". From this text(again, from the Frontline site) we can see that the scholars clearly feel the gnostic gospels were written at right about the same time as the 4 traditional gospels... with at least one scholar suggesting the gnostic gospels actually written before the traditional ones. Judging from that evidence, it seems quite necessary to include these people (who did not focus on historical accuracy) in the definition of Christian, as they were around at the same time as (if not before!) the literalists...
My Music
[ Parent ]
this is not the original discussion (3.00 / 1) (#125)
by eLuddite on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 01:34:07 PM EST

I think the real meat of our disagreement is in the definition of "Christian". My guess is that you define the word as it might casually be used today: the organized churches, literalist belief, etc. When I use the word "Christian", I refer to a group of people that in some way, shape, or form worship some aspect of jesus the christ... a definition much closer to the original (and much more accurate) meaning of the word Christian.

I have to point out that is very unlike your original opinion which basically had little need for Jesus and was content to interpret Christianity almost entirely as a mystery religion.

The Roman church is not the totality of christian thought. If we assume that it is, then you are correct. If we assume that it is not (as I do) then I would argue that you are still incorrect.

I really care very little about Churches and their theologies. In fact, I care very little about the nature of anyone's religious truths. It matters very little to me what you think wine and water are metaphors of, in other words.

I would be happy to find many more references, if it would please you.

And I can find many different kinds of Marxists. The important point is that they will all, after their own manner, be followers of Marx. In other words, despite Marxists, Marx isnt a mystery man.

Everything else you've written is perfectly reasonable and it may very well be true for some degree of truth and fact but none of it is evidence for a faith that wasnt informed by Christ. To dismiss the literal aspects of Christ's life in favor of some text which is content to focus on a message, whatever that message might have meant to whoever wrote it, diminishes the importance of Christ's life. To the extent that you are comfortable in doing such a thing is to the extent that you are comfortable with moving away from the history of Christ's life and, therefore, as far as the weight of evidence is concerned, Christianity. The existence of gnostics, the Church will tell you, is not evidence for accurately informed Christians. It is merely evidence for a theology. The Romans tolerated many theologies, but not Christ.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Just wanted to throw this in, too (4.66 / 3) (#85)
by Anatta on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:18:53 PM EST

From the PBS Frontline site you supplied, here is a link to an article in the atlantic monthly.

And I quote...

...there are limits to what historical research can provide by way of hard information about Jesus and his earliest followers. The only known first-century texts dealing with first-century Christianity are specifically Christian documents, such as the books of the New Testament, and the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote at century's end and mentioned Jesus and Christians only twice.
Anywho...
My Music
[ Parent ]
the full quote (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 06:14:53 PM EST

there are limits to what historical research can provide by way of hard information about Jesus and his earliest followers. The only known first-century texts dealing with first-century Christianity are specifically Christian documents, such as the books of the New Testament, and the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote at century's end and mentioned Jesus and Christians only twice. So scholars read those books over and over and try to find something new there, or try to bring another discipline -- literary criticism or sociology or anthropology -- to bear on what they read, or hope that archaeologists will dig up new stones and new texts to explore. Given the scholarly urge to break new ground -- especially in America, where there are so many universities -- it is not surprising that an entire industry has grown from the Q scholars' hypothesis.

"There's this big black spot in early Christianity," James Robinson told me, sitting in the library at his institute, where tall volumes of Nag Hammadi facsimiles line the shelves. "There must be something there, so we're projecting back from the texts we have, trying and trying to get some kind of understanding of what it was."

Robinson continued: "I think that Jesus was an important person, one of the most important people who ever lived. In modern times many enlightened types have become skeptical, and we look down on the uneducated types who believe. It's sort of a pity that all that most of us know about Jesus is from the creeds, which we can't believe in. This focus on the sayings is a way to make Jesus comprehensible in this age. Jesus was giving people the kingdom -- a kind of selfless society where everybody is supposed to have a trusting attitude toward one another."

There are limits to what historical research can provide by way of complete information about any historical figure, from Julius Caesar to John F. Kennedy. One thing the article does not do is contest the existence of a historical Jesus. When everyone and their dog has a personal agenda for a historical figure, it shouldnt come as a complete surprise that incomplete historical evidence might raise more questions than it answers.

Frankly, I fail to see your point. If your point is to suggest that the creeds of Christ -- confessions of faith -- are not a rational basis for belief in a New Testament God, so what? A proclamation of God's inexistence is just as much an article of faith as a statement of religious belief. Neither affirm or refute the historicity of Jesus.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

The point, I believe (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by weirdling on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 07:27:12 PM EST

Is in the original statement in which the poster asked for original third-party first-person posts that do not involve apology. The quote you give admits that *none such exist*. The existence of Jesus is based entirely on the quotes of Josephus, whose histories are about as accurate as any person of third-grade intelligence and no moral scruples, and those who firmly believed in him. The histories from those who believed in him are quite fantastical, actually managing to be less believable than Josephus himself.
Now, Julias Caesar shows up time and time again and I know people who personally saw John F. Kennedy, so, literally, if we use those two as a standard, it follows that Jesus did not exist.
The historicity of Jesus is going to have to be established independantly and from several sources before it becomes accepted fact.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
oops, missed the most critical misunderstanding (2.00 / 1) (#58)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 11:43:49 AM EST

In any case, there are many ways to read and understand any spiritual text, or parable, or philosophy.
While there may be various meanings waiting to be read, it strikes me as silly to question that Christianity is anything other than a faith based on historical events.
I'm not so sure it's fair to say that;

By "a faith based on historical events" I meant that Christianity is revealed in the life of Christ as narrated in the bible. I am 100% sure that it's fair to say that. Regardless of whether Christ actually, scientifically turned water into wine, was resurrected or attended someone's wedding, the Pope and lesser Christians insist that their faith is based on the Bible as accurate history.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Well documented in some ways, but (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by error 404 on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:28:40 AM EST

There is no record that says Jesus was born on day X. Which isn't surprising - recording a birth in a carpenter's household, especialy if the household was on the road when the birth occured, just wasn't something people did at the time.

Still, in the comparison with Osiris and Dionesius, what counts is the observed date, not the historical. And that observed date is December 25.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

well, that's scholarship for you (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:57:51 AM EST

There is no record that says Jesus was born on day X.

Nor of Alexander the Great, Shakespeare, Caesar, or any number of historical figures. Most of the historical text we have of the ancient world was written hundreds, often a thousand years after events transpired. In contrast, narrations of Jesus' life -- narrations, not mythologies -- were committed to the historical record by his apostles very shortly after his death. First person accounts such as this are compelling, particularly when they are verified by secondary sources and when their details ring true according to the known history of the times. This is not about whether Christ was the Son of God, this is about whether an ostensibly mortal figure named Jesus existed.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

What? (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by delmoi on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 01:30:57 PM EST

Are you saying the Romans didn't keep accurite records of what was going on in their government?

Anyway, Ceasar was born on either July 12 or 13th in 100 BC. Roman record keeping was about as good as say, 17th century england or whatever.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
I am saying (3.00 / 1) (#81)
by eLuddite on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:40:03 PM EST

that the earliest known records we have for some Roman Emperors were written several hundreds of years after their death.

Anyway, Ceasar was born on either July 12 or 13th in 100 BC. Roman record keeping was about as good as say, 17th century england or whatever.

Except that all hitherto discovered historical records of Caesar -- words on a page that also happen to contain the string 'Caesar' -- were written almost a thousand years after his death. Incidentally, the death of Caesar caused the Roman people to elevate his status to that of a God. The Truth is out there, somewhere, I guess.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Yah, scholarship... (4.00 / 2) (#94)
by weirdling on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 07:19:45 PM EST

The stated position of most literalists is, of course, that the gospels were written by the very people they are attributed to, but the higher critical method tends to disbelieve this. Simply put, Matthew certainly didn't have the scholarly ability to have written the things he is said to have written, it being much more likely that a Matthean partisan wrote Matthew after his death or towards the end of his life, largely from the oral tradition inherent in Matthean tradition. Some people are relatively certain that John actually wrote John, and it seems likely that Luke wrote both Acts and Luke, but that's ok; it's mostly heresay anyway, as Luke never knew Jesus himself and likely wrote from the Pauline tradition of Christianity. Paul, himself, very likely wrote the things attributed to him, or, more precisely, dictated such, but Paul is the great infiltrator, bringing the majority of Greek ideology into Christianity through his writings, which likely influenced every gospel but John heavily. That leaves Mark as a gospel, which is one of the less-useful gospels, and, likely as not, also written by markan accolytes rather long after Jesus' death and quite possibly long after Mark's death.
What I'm saying is that according to tradition, the earlies written *gospel* would actually be John, which would be around 60 years after Jesus' death, at the earliest, being quite possibly written by John's accolytes at a later date. The latest gospel could have been 150 years or so after Jesus' death. However, as to historical accuracy, they are all sitll suspect...
Now, as ongoing record-keeping was common in empires, there are first-person references that are far more solid for almost every known emperor in ancient times. Biblical archaeologists have been trumpeting this for decades, as proof that the bible itself is accurate historically. These aren't necessarily histories; they may be deeds, receipts, commands, declarations, birthdays, poems written to pander, whathaveyou. There are none such references about Jesus, the most bulletproof references coming from the likes of Josephus, an acknowledged scoundrel, and later Roman historians who had a vested interest in making Constantine happy, so often wrote pure unadulterated drivel simply to keep their heads in contact with their necks.
Don't get me wrong; none of this disproves a literal Jesus; the case for such just isn't as strong as most Christians make it out to be.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
well, weirdling (2.00 / 1) (#118)
by eLuddite on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 03:20:29 AM EST

It looks like we've found your true calling. What's strange is that, not *entirely* unlike you, my dad got kicked out of a seminary education in his youth and he's a pretty libertarian kind of guy too. Scary :-)

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Palm leaves (3.00 / 1) (#88)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:46:10 PM EST

In all seriousness, I don't remember ever hearing about people waving palm leaves when Jesus went anywhere
I can only assume that you either aren't Christian or you slept through even more CCD lessons than I did. I'm not a lapsed Catholic, I'm a never-was Catholic, but even I remember Palm Sunday.

[ Parent ]
Been a while (3.00 / 1) (#93)
by weirdling on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 07:07:17 PM EST

However, I'm pretty certain there isn't any historical reference insisting that the census required a return to the place of birth. Such a massive migration would have been extremely disruptive to the Roman empire as a whole.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
And then again... (3.00 / 1) (#128)
by spiff on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 06:05:41 PM EST

Maybe the similarities come from a combination of the overactive imaginations of liberals and pagan religions incorporating Christian elements. Remember that thou some of these religions predate Christianity they where not static and most of the concrete information we have about these religions comes from around 300 AD, well after Christianity was established.

You might want to check this out.

[ Parent ]

Fascinating... (4.00 / 1) (#131)
by Anatta on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 07:56:48 PM EST

But still, it seems that the author assumes the chrisitan works must have a literal interpretation... if we step back from that, many of the arguments fall away. Take a look at what www.gnosis.org has to say... and take a look at the gospels of thomas, philp, etc. -- written right around the same time as MMLJ, or possibly even before...

Very intersting stuff. But I will certianly have to review your link some more...
My Music
[ Parent ]

Dates (2.00 / 1) (#132)
by spiff on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 09:10:46 AM EST

But still, it seems that the author assumes the chrisitan works must have a literal interpretation...

And you seem to assume that none of it should be interpreted literally. There are parts that don't have a literal interpretation ( In this example it is obvious that Jesus isn't saying that we are chunks of salt). But Peter himself states that they didn't make up the stories .

and take a look at the gospels of thomas, philp, etc. -- written right around the same time as MMLJ, or possibly even before..

I have read about them (but I haven't read them). I haven't heard of any serious research that dates any of them before, if I recall correctly, the second century. That is way after MMLJ etc where finished.

[ Parent ]

Dates (3.00 / 1) (#136)
by Anatta on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 02:49:39 PM EST

I guess I must examine the motivation behind Peter's claim... Peter wanted to start the "organized" church (he was the "rock")... if you wanted to start an organized church, wouldn't you claim that the miracles you profess are "real"? It would seem that every religion that has a mystical element follows the same tradition...

Take a look at this link... here's the relavent information...

About the dating of the manuscripts themselves there is little debate. Examination of the datable papyrus used to thicken the leather bindings, and of the Coptic script, place them c. A.D. 350-400. But scholars sharply disagree about the dating of the original texts. Some of them can hardly be later than c. A.D. 120-150, since Irenaeus, the orthodox Bishop of Lyons, writing C. 180, declares that heretics "boast that they possess more gospels than there really are,'' and complains that in his time such writings already have won wide circulation--from Gaul through Rome, Greece, and Asia Minor.

Quispel and his collaborators, who first published the Gospel of Thomas, suggested the date of c. A.D. 140 for the original. Some reasoned that since these gospels were heretical, they must have been written later than the gospels of the New Testament, which are dated c. 60-l l0. But recently Professor Helmut Koester of Harvard University has suggested that the collection of sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, although compiled c. 140, may include some traditions even older than the gospels of the New Testament, "possibly as early as the second half of the first century" (50-100)--as early as, or earlier, than Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John.

There seems to be little certianty about when these gospels were written... but it seems safe to say that they were in use around the same time as MMLJ (especially when considering the issues with dating those gospels!)... which makes them very very important if one wishes to understand the mindset of early christianity, and well worth reading.
My Music
[ Parent ]
A little note about the Fish (4.64 / 14) (#10)
by larsdahl on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 12:38:05 AM EST

(and no, not Altavista's Babelfish, as I first thought on seeing this story in the moderation queue :)

As far as I'd ever heard (though this is likely to be heavily romanticized, considering my source is Protestant Sunday School :) the continuing attachment to the Fish/Ichthus symbol comes from its original use as a sign and counter-sign to identify fellow Christians in the days when Christians were persecuted by the Romans for their beliefs.

To identify yourself as a Christian to someone else (presumably also Christian), you would casually draw an down-turned arc, much like a frown, in the dust on a wall or in the dirt. Then, the other person would reply by drawing an up-turned arc, similar to a smile, starting from one end of the 'frown', and intersecting it two-thirds of the way along, giving the body and the tail of the 'fish', and hence signalling that they too, were Christian. You could then go off and join their underground cell Church, or if it was a Roman spy who'd figured out the signal, the lions instead.

Its use as a symbol now is as recognition of this struggle of the early Christian Church to overcome persecution to practice their faith, and in an abstract way, to indicate your acceptance of the risk of similar 'persecution' from the world in showing your identity as a Christian. Either that, or it's because the early Apostles were all fishermen, and as the parable goes, 'fishers of men' as well, and hence showing off your fish means that'd you'd been 'caught' (become a Christian), but that to me is not quite as nice and fluffy an explanation :)

If the Roman Catholic Church has decided to throw it out, well, bully for them - I know lots of Protestants (and probably some Orthodox Catholics, too, if they ever used it, though I can't vouch for them, since I don't know any) who will continue using it quite happily in the way I described, in ignorance of its gnostic/astrological significance. However, I do know some fundamentalist Protestants who don't use the Fish (they use the Dove instead, I believe), and who are aware of the gnostic traditions (they've been trying to stomp on it by kicking out the Freemasons who brought it with them) who were once avidly proclaiming the Endtimes, and have now become very quiet - maybe they're aware of this conspiracy of prophesies too? Could it be because they're still trying to figure out why the world didn't go boom in Y2K? Hey, but let's not attribute to stupidity what can be attributed to malicious conspiracy, shall we? :)


--
A .sig? Now what would I want with one of those?
more on the fish (3.00 / 2) (#120)
by joshaz on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 04:42:15 AM EST

If anyone can stand another fish-related posting: Jung argued that the fish represented the intersection of the spiritual and physical worlds to Catholics. To derive the image, the spiritual world was drawn as a circle, with a physical world circle drawn below. The intersecting arcs were cropped to form the fish -- supposedly a fitting symbol for their spiritual world's earthly representative.

[ Parent ]
Highly improbable (4.33 / 9) (#11)
by delmoi on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 12:50:06 AM EST

The main thrust of you're comment is that whatever information the Church destroyed almost 2000 years ago is still kept, and belived by those 'high up' in the church. I find that pretty hard to belive

Another problem is that the Cathloc church dosn't really control most of the people putting those things on their cars, and selling them. It's mostly Protestants
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Please clarify this for me... (4.11 / 9) (#18)
by ti dave on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 03:26:08 AM EST

"As you probably know, the Age of Pisces is over. Since (by the most common calculations) the early 1960's we have officially entered the Age of Aquarius."

segue to...

"The Age of Aquarius will not have Inquisitions because it will be too busy building nifty death machines like the Manhattan Project and concentration camps."

When you state "like the Manhattan Project and concentration camps", do you mean to use those specific examples, or just things similar to them?

I ask because, IIRC, the Manhattan Project pre-dates the early '60s by about 16 years, and concentration camps do by over 60 years.
This doesn't seem to mesh with your Aquarian timeline.

Cheers,

ti dave

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

The transition isn't instantaneous (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by localroger on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 07:14:48 AM EST

IIRC, the Manhattan Project pre-dates the early '60s by about 16 years, and concentration camps do by over 60 years.

According to astrologers, all these transitions take a certain amount of time. (This is even true of transitions from one Sun sign to another; if you're born right on the edge between two signs it's called the "cusp" and you will be figured as having a mixture of traits.) The cusp between two Great Months is accordingly large, on the order of a century according to most astrologers. After all, it wasn't until after 300 AD that Christianity made its place in the Empire.

The people who really believe in this figure the entire 20th century has been a transition period as Piscean attributes are gradually replaced by Aquarian ones. It is not like a microprocessor where you flip a switch and the whole world starts doing something different the next nanosecond.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

LOL! (2.50 / 8) (#19)
by thunderbee on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 03:46:47 AM EST

+1 FP

Confussed. (4.20 / 5) (#21)
by Tezcatlipoca on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:13:33 AM EST

Since when did the catholic church got rid of the fish symbol?

The first assertion you made, saying the Vatican is doing strange things, and then linking to the article about th black Christ, is wrong. It was not the Vatican who selected the picture, thus your assertion is false (I will not say what I think about somebdoy refering to the catholic church as the whore of Rome, but if an article is going to debunk something they should stick to the truth at least).

Some people think the article was humorous, I it is so it seems to me completely unvoluntary humor.



Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
Doesn't say that (4.33 / 3) (#26)
by brion on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 05:02:30 AM EST

I thought the title was about Babelfish being shut down [horror of horrors! glad that's not true], then after reading the intro I too thought it might be about the Catholic church somehow getting rid of the fish symbol.

But it's not, and the article says no such thing.

It's a confusing way of saying that the age of pisces (the fish) is ending (has ended), and therefore blah blah weird confusing stuff pagan power structure blah blah astrology blah blah.



Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Wha? (3.83 / 6) (#30)
by Neuromancer on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 06:15:57 AM EST

Dude, I'm pretty sure that the pope isn't sitting in Rome practicing Wicca and lying to us about it. I've never met a priest who preaches about God and secretly goes and changes history by petitioning the Goddess. This is a cute conspiracy theory, but I'm not much more interested in it than any about JFK. When the hell are we going to have more technology articles. No offense to the poster.

More... (4.00 / 3) (#32)
by Neuromancer on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 06:30:29 AM EST

The first link is from a magazine. A magazine selected a nice portrait, if it was purposeful that it was a black woman's portait selected, it is probably to broaden the appeal of Catholicism (not the huge black catholic population in New York, no? Right.) The second, one of MANY things the Pope says. They probably apologized years ago as well. One has to remember that in the 1930s - 1940s, we weren't exactly the people we were in the 1600s, do you think that the US will start bombing Australia if the Pope tells us to? I doubt it. It's a gesture. The Nazis weren't the Catholics, hell, the whole killing Jews thing wasn't even a part of the political goal, it was an engine that an opportunist used to rise to power, they were an easy scapegoat, anybody who paid attention in HS history could tell you that. The third link had nothing to do with the inquisition. It just said that a lot of people use the Catholic Church's name to back bad ideas. Congratulations. European monarchs wanted to take over Africa and boost their egos with more land, so they throw up a Mission and say that they're helping the church too. People feel a purpose and go along with it.

I would take this more seriously, if it wasn't so easy to attack the Catholic church. While I see nothing wrong with the practice of any religion, I dont' see anybody saying that the local pagans are apologizing for Viking expansionism. But really, who gives a shit? I'm not going to go over to my friend (who happens to be a Wiccan religious and institutional leader) and say, hey, I want you to apologize for that Thor dude, he really messed up my great great great great grandfather's estate. I could be an earl and have inheritted wealth, but because of that jerk, now I'm working in a fulfilling job, and still wealthy.

Again, when they put magic in a micorprocessor, I'll give a shit.

[ Parent ]
I paid attention in highschool history (none / 0) (#67)
by delmoi on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 01:21:32 PM EST

And you're wrong, Hitler and the nazis definitely did want to kill all the Jews, in fact, they didn't even really start 'ramping up' the killing until it became apparent that they were going to loose.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Not meant to be offensive (none / 0) (#106)
by Neuromancer on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:58:29 PM EST

I'm not part of the aryan nation or anything, I was just saying that the catholic church didn't have anything with the holocaust. I recognize that it was a terrible and f*cked up thing that they did. What I was saying, is that they were an engine by which Hitler came to political power. Hitler once wrote an essay saying "Jesus was a jew." In a time when it was acceptable to defame jews. I am SURE that Hitler was exploiting the jews in order to achieve his political goals, using them as a scapegoat for the state of Germany after WWI. That was what I was saying. I'm not some KKK youth who's saying the Holocaust never happend, or that it's fun to kill people who are different from you. Perhaps you should pay a visit to the history channel bud.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#111)
by delmoi on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:03:24 PM EST

I wasn't saying that you were a nazi sympathizer or whatever, I was only trying to correct a mistake. While scapegoating may have been convenient (although I doubt it. The French would have been a better scapegoat if you needed one. French demands caused a lot of problems in post-WWI Germany).

Secondly, whether or not they needed a scapegoat, they, and Hitler especially most certainly did hate the Jews.

One of the characters in "Shindlers' List" once said "I can't believe it, it isn't true, we are their workforce, why would they kill off their workforce?". Why indeed. BECAUSE THEY WERE FUCKING NUTS! By the time they really started 'burning the midnight oil' so to speak on the holocaust they were already fucked in the war. Where is the 'political expedience' in diverting thousands of men, weapons, equipment, and logistics from a desperate, loosing, war effort in order kill off all of your slave labor? Hell, they didn't even tell their citizens what they were doing! (Early propaganda videos showed Jews pleasantly reading books and hanging out on bunk beds, they said it was an improvement for them)

Before Hitler killed himself, he told his men that the most important thing was to kill off all the Jews. Not to protect Germany, or make sure the German people were safe, or even smack England with more ballistic missiles. He told them to make sure to kill off all the Jews. Why did he tell them that? because he wanted then to kill all the Jews!. I'm pretty fucking sure he wasn't thinking of his own political career as he bit down on that cyanide capsule.

Perhaps you should pay a visit to the history channel bud.

You spend your whole post defending yourself in the face of imagined nazi accusations and then tell me I need to watch the history channel? Perhaps you should take your own advice, rather then flame people out of ignorance.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Interesting (none / 0) (#113)
by Neuromancer on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:07:11 PM EST

Hrmm, thanks for the info. I guess that I have learned something new today. Sorry about freaking.

[ Parent ]
oh (none / 0) (#117)
by delmoi on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 02:37:18 AM EST

that's ok
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Read this, I am not anti-semitic (none / 0) (#107)
by Neuromancer on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:05:54 PM EST

Ok. I should have phrased that one sentence differently. Hitler used the jews as a scapegoat on which to blame the post WWI state of affairs. Not a scapegoat on which to blame his actions of WWII. Hitler once wrote "Jesus was a jew" in a report. The simple fact of the matter was that Hitler didn't commit attrocities to build up the Catholic Church, he did them as a way to rise to power. This works pretty well too, about any jackass can rise to power based on racism and discrimination (I won't go into details). If anybody thinks that I am an anti-semite, then you are MISTAKEN, and there are many who would speak on my behalf to this effect. It is a shame that I should have to defend MYSELF when I was merely sparking discussion, on a premise that many historians would say is well founded, merely because instead of saying "Hitler wanted to kill jews" I said, "Hitler killed jews as a political engine for expansionism." Ironically, it doesn't make his actions any more right, but in a nation where a man can't say, "I'm white" without people jumping down his throat and accusing him of being a member of the "Aryan Nation" I guess that I should have expected some uneducated zealots to jump down my throat.

[ Parent ]
Have you ever been to church? (3.75 / 4) (#47)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:27:20 AM EST

Church is an hour-long (or more) magic ritual.

And for those of you who consume the Eucharist, that's symbolic ritual cannibalism.

I mean, the priest blesses some wafers and wine and transmutes them into the body and the blood of Christ, respectively, and then some hundreds of people eat it.

And this is supposed to have an effect on the person who does so. That's freakin' magic, man, 'cause it's certainly not scientific.

Further, there's nothing wrong with that! There is something wrong, IMO, with the fact that Christianity denys magic, and that this ritual is magic...

farq will not be coming back
[ Parent ]
I'm not fully up on Catholicism (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by Rasvar on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:07:25 AM EST

I mean, the priest blesses some wafers and wine and transmutes them into the body and the blood of Christ, respectively, and then some hundreds of people eat it.

I am Methodist. I know for a Methodist, the bread and wine[grape juice] is symbolic of blood and body of Christ and is mentioned as such. Now if the Catholics 'transmute' a wafer and wine. That seems odd to me. I could be wrong, I thought it was all symbolisim of accepting Christ and faith. Not some magical ceremony.

[ Parent ]
Its not magical, and yes they are transmuted. (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by kovacsp on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:31:35 AM EST

All it takes is a little faith. Something which so many people seem to lack these days.

[ Parent ]
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1913 (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 12:54:14 PM EST

Superstition [...]
4. Belief in the direct agency of superior powers in certain extraordinary or singular events, or in magic, omens, prognostics, or the like.

farq will not be coming back
[ Parent ]
Uh (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by kostya on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 01:10:58 PM EST

I don't think you can make superstition and faith equivalent just by quoting a dictionary definition and pointing out similar nuances in the words.

That's like saying that making love and hedonistic sex are both the same thing because they both revolve around intercourse. Sure, faith refers to higher powers, supreme beings, events beyond understanding. But that doesn't mean faith and superstition are equivalent.

But then you knew that--I've read you other posts, so I know you aren't that sloppy normally ;-)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Faith and superstition (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by bluesninja on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 01:34:55 PM EST

Faith and superstition are equivalent (if not semantically interchangeable). They both come down to a non-rational belief in supernatural phenomena.

However, theology and superstition are not equivalent , which is what I suspect you are actually taking issue with. Theology is a philosophical tradition that begins by assuming God, rather than by assuming logic, as in traditional secular philosophy, or assuming nothing as in post-modern philosophy.

Faith (in the religious sense) is just a less stigmatized word for mainstream superstitions. We'd call the greek's belief that ravens are a good auspice superstition, but the Christian belief that invisible guardian angels watch over us is a matter of faith. Its just a matter of what superstitions are popular at the present time.

/scott

[ Parent ]

Or maybe ... (none / 0) (#78)
by kostya on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:21:16 PM EST

One's man's faith is another man's superstition?

:-)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
You're absolutely right (none / 0) (#76)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:18:32 PM EST

Although, the definition itself does equate the two, adequately, I feel. Provided those definitions are acceptable, then that kind of faith is superstitious.

Though, yeah, I was being lazy. Normally I add more comments, but I really didn't feel like it at the time.

That kind of faith is definitely present (because the church would never recognize any self-contained powers of the priest, only the ability to act as a channel for God - yeah, I went to church as a child.) Etymologically, superstition is pretty much the definition of that kind of faith, though I don't have the etymological breakdown at hand.

farq will not be coming back
[ Parent ]
not a symbol (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by guinsu on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 11:53:22 AM EST

The transmuting of the water and wine is not a symbol in the Catholic Church, they believe that the water and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. From my Catholic education I rememeber that was one of the big differences between Catholicism and Protestantism (sp?). Its funny too that when a non religious person performs some act unable to be explained by science its "magic" but if a priest does it its "faith", somehow no church will relize that what they say they are doing is actually magic. (Not that I think they actually perform magic, just that what they call faith is really a belief in magic)

[ Parent ]
The word you seek is... (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by darthaggie on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 01:31:42 PM EST

...transubstantiation.

Further, there's nothing wrong with that! There is something wrong, IMO, with the fact that Christianity denys magic, and that this ritual is magic...

Many Christians object to the idea of transubstantiation. To them, it is merely bread and wine, of no great importance, even if it flies directly into the face of 1 Corintians 11:27.

But where is this denial of magic? what is denied is that one should use magic. According to the Old Testament, witches where to be killed on sight (Exodus 22:18).

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

1 Cor 11:27 (none / 0) (#109)
by dgwatson on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:19:37 PM EST

I think you're misinterpreting this verse. I think it's essentially saying that if you dishonor the bread and wine that you're doing the equivalent of mistreating Christ's blood and body. Just because something is symbolically equivalent doesn't mean that it is physically equivalent.

[ Parent ]
Uhmm (3.50 / 2) (#110)
by Neuromancer on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:37:44 PM EST

I'm pretty well educated in the area of my religion being a Lutheran with a pastor who has explicitly explained most of the rituals to me. MOST of what we do is petitions and such. There are all sorts of portions of the religion which can be easily dismissed as "magic" and I won't deny that. There's exorcism for one, and in fact, exorcism is part of every baptism ("Do you renounce the devil and all his empty promises... Other phrases."), and all sorts of ritualist prayers. What I'm saying, is that my pastor isn't going back stage and performing "magic," that is to say, that he believes that by his own means, he will be able to change world events.

Also, the Eucharist is widely debated, but none attribute it to "magic." Were it magic, the priest would be changing the wafers and wine into blood and skin. Obviously he isn't, since it still tastes like styrofoam (not skin), and wine (not blood). At one extreme, is the notion that it is entirely symbolic, at the other, is that it transfigurates (God changing it, not the priest). In all cases, it's considered a blessing. Nobody says, "I'm going to take communion, mix it with some cinnamon, and grow bigger muscles." MAGIC, would infer that the priest is doing at least ONE of these things.

[ Parent ]
Huh? (2.00 / 1) (#116)
by brion on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 01:25:27 AM EST

I fail to see the practical difference between "I, with my own magical powers, transmute this matter" and "I call upon a separate magical being to transmute this matter" insofar as one involving "magic" and one not. They both involve magic, unless you have some different definition of "magic" than I do.

I'm guessing this is like the difference between "religion" and "superstition" -- a superstition is a religion you don't believe in. Perhaps you reserve "magic" only for unapprovedsupernatural powers?



Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
The distinction (4.00 / 1) (#123)
by error 404 on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 10:54:39 AM EST

is that magic is an attempt to control, and sacrements are asking politely. Rather like the difference between passing the hat and collecting taxes. Sacrements are defined a bit differently between the faithful, but that description pretty much covers the magic-like aspects of sacrements.

Now, from what I've seen of other traditions, the kind of magic where the practitioner forces an entity to submit to his will are rare in practice but common in stories, with the practitioner typicaly not ending up happy.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

That still requires a magical being to ask. (none / 0) (#129)
by brion on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 06:24:19 PM EST

Unless you'd care to argue that the Judeo-Christian god is not a magical being?

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
Magic (3.20 / 5) (#34)
by slaytanic killer on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 07:15:02 AM EST

There was a result by Claude Shannon that demonstrated how stable circuits could be built from faulty parts. For some reason I think of this; I do not know why.

Interseting article, well-written, but seeing as Rome is home to some of the world's best politicians, I'd be more inclined to see a different and more important reason for any reversals by the church.

"High muckamucks." Cross between Robert Anton Wilson and Anton LaVey?

clarifying the fish (3.60 / 5) (#35)
by atomic on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 07:52:30 AM EST

the symbol of the fish is used by many christians, not just catholics. this is clearer in the begining of the article, but gets vaguer toward the end.


atomic.

"why did they have to call it UNIX? that's kind of... ewww." -- mom.
And, in fact... (none / 0) (#73)
by 11223 on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:05:25 PM EST

Those anti-evolution fish that you see so often actually conflict with commonly accepted Catholic belief... even the fairly conservative Pope admitted that evolution was "more than a theory".

I went to hear a speaker once at a local Catholic church (it was supposed to be a non-denominational event), and in the middle of the speech the speaker started to decry evolution as the cause of much modern evil... whoops, should have checked out the beliefs of the church I'm speaking in before that!

--
The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.
[ Parent ]

Poor examples, try Vatican II (4.40 / 5) (#36)
by abdera on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:19:10 AM EST

All three of the examples that you cited not only occurred on the late 1990s, but were specifically addressed to the turn of the millenium. The "new face of Jesus" wasn't even related to the Vatican, but was the winner of an art contest by the Natoinal Catholic Reporter. The Second Vatican Council on the other hand, was opened under Pope John XXIII in 1962 and precipitated sweeping changes in the Catholic community.


#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol

If they really want to sell the product ... (3.00 / 2) (#59)
by loaf on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 11:53:13 AM EST

... they've just got to dig out Tom Lehrer :)




[ Parent ]
Get in line in that Processional... (3.50 / 2) (#79)
by msphil on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:35:06 PM EST

...Step into that small Confessional/There the guy who's got religion'll/Tell you if your Sin's Original/If it is, try playing it safer/Drink the Wine and chew the Wafer!/

[ Parent ]
Bullshit (2.60 / 10) (#41)
by JohnSaulMontoya on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:48:10 AM EST

It is amusing that you attempt to advocate one magic over another, when both magics have an equal basis in reality: none.

It would be one thing if you were to draw purely historical conclusions about the fish instead of made-up, new age drivel.

... [that's] like calling a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast lame because his dungeons are so bad.

No advocation (none / 0) (#44)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:15:49 AM EST

There is no advocation of magic. It's psychology, really.

It's what people believed, and it doesn't matter whether they were right or wrong about it.

And, finally, the new-age drivel isn't the concern, it's what people believed in olde times that is the concern, so the new-age is quite irrelevant to the whole article.

farq will not be coming back
[ Parent ]
You know... (none / 0) (#45)
by slaytanic killer on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:19:13 AM EST

I am tired of reading historical crap from Scholem and stuff about vaginal eyes. There is no easy road to understanding mysticism other than actually doing it. I have known enough to believe in some new age drivel, but nothing in the way of real proof that is absolutely incontrovertible.

On the other hand, it would be great if localroger mentioned where he learned about Christian mysticism. Rudolf Steiner?

BTW, clicking on these links before reaching 50 might make you go blind or something.

[ Parent ]
Age of Aquarius (3.50 / 6) (#50)
by Kinthelt on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:11:31 AM EST

You say that the polar axis points to Aquarius? I thought it pointed towards Ursa Major (the big dipper), where Polaris (the north star) is located.

Yes, I do realize that the axis does move. But the north star is going to be above the axis (or closer to it than any other star) for the next couple thousand years.

I was always under the impression that the zodiac symbols are constellations that are on the same plane as earth's rotation. Each month, the sun occludes one of the zodiac constellations.

Equinoctial precession (4.00 / 2) (#66)
by abdera on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 01:21:20 PM EST

Equinoctial precession is the effect of the sun and moon on the rotational bulge of the Earth. Indeed, the Earth's axis does not point directly at Aquarius, but slightly toward it. This changes through the signs in a cycle of about 25,770 years, so in 13000 years Polaris will not be due north. BTW Polaris is in Ursa Minor not Ursa Major.

#224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol
[ Parent ]

Polaris isn't due north now (none / 0) (#74)
by brion on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:07:29 PM EST

It's about 0.75 off. Perhaps you mean that some other bright star will be closer to due north than Polaris at that point?

Chu vi parolas Vikipedion?
[ Parent ]
and... (3.77 / 9) (#54)
by Ken Arromdee on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:44:18 AM EST

What could possibly falsify this theory?

Conspiracy theories are convenient, because they're consistent with just about any sort of evidence you can find, or with no evidence at all. How can you *disprove* that the higher-ups in the Catholic Church are secretly pagans?

Check out the paintings on the walls. (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by error 404 on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 02:20:48 PM EST

Especialy the Borgia Apartments. Lots and lots of images from Greek and Roman mythology, mostly painted in the mid-teen centuries.

OK, it doesn't prove anything. But I didn't see the article really trying to prove anything either, just presenting an idea.

I went to a Catholic college. Not a seminary, so there weren't priests-in-training there, but there were quite a few priests there on one errand or another, often quite willing to sit around and chat. One of the more frequent topics of discussion was when it was appropriate to offer services the Dionessian mode and when the Apolonian mode was better. (With students, the Dionessian is almost always preferred. For the nuns, Apolo tends to go over better most of the time.) No, these weren't heretical semi-pagan priests (well, mostly not) they were just using convenient terminology from their rather wide studies.

Is there some pagan conspiracy involved? Unlikely. Are there lots of people in the Vatican who have a real good grasp of a wide variety of topics including astrology and the mythology and rituals of earlier religions? Absolutely. Does that color their ideas? Probably. That's part of what the Protestants were protesting. And the exessive partying and spending loads of cash on gorgeous paintings of Roman mythological scenes. And about 92 other things.

But my guess as to why the fish is not used by Catholics much lately is that we tend to avoid doing (non-core) things that Protestants do. The fish is a bit of a fad with Protestants at this point (particularly the fish eating the Darwin fish) so we avoid it. I'm considering getting a fish made for my truck, with the word "fish" (or perhaps "tuna" or "bass") in it.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Get your fish here (none / 0) (#86)
by yogger on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 04:26:15 PM EST

How about a "hooked on fishing" fish? This site and this one both carry them.

The second one has a wider variety of them but they cost a little more. I have the procreate one myself.


The is only a test .sig
If it were a real .sig it would contain useful and/or funny information
[ Parent ]
And Einstein was motivated by his belief in pixies (4.44 / 9) (#57)
by afeldspar on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 11:35:25 AM EST

It's the only reason I can think of why after centuries they have suddenly decided to try to clean out the linen closet and make peace with the world's other religions. Their own divination system has told them it's endgame, the party's over, it's time for the baton to move West.

Gee, that makes a lot of sense. Especially since this century has seen no other examples of institutions that used to rely on coercion and force trying to be more inclusive and tolerant. I mean, we haven't seen institutions like nations going from the behavior of "after you've won, crush 'em under your iron heel" (WWI, Treaty of Versailles) to "after you've won, help 'em back onto their feet" (WWII, Marshall Plan), so an institution like the Church being in any way more inclusive and "kinder and gentler" must be motivated by some obscure astrological reasons!

Oh, wait -- Rodney King was quoted as asking, "Can't we all just get along?" Well, there you have it: proof that Rodney King is an astrologer!


-- For those concerned about the "virality" of the GPL, a suggestion: Write Your Own Damn Code.

MUWAHAHAAAA! (4.45 / 11) (#63)
by kostya on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 12:40:08 PM EST

At first, I was just totally incredulous. Localroger's understanding of the Jesus Fish was just way off base. Then came the astrology conspiracy theories for its origins (wooo boy!). Then came the theory that the Catholic church had seen the "writing on the wall" as it were--in this case the stars. That the Catholic church was making decisions based on astrology.

I was speechless. Then I started to laugh. That is the most preposterous thing I have ever heard, with no evidence to back it up. I can't figure out if this is supposed to be humor or if it is a troll trying to goad naive Christians into venting.

Many have already explained the Jesus Fish and its origins below. I'll add that it was one of SEVERAL symbols used by the underground Christian church to identify themselves to one another. Along with the fish, Christians would also carve symbols of grapes (The Vine and the Branch metaphor in John), the dove (Peace, Holy Spirit, etc), the bread ("This is my body broken for you ...") and others to help Christians from out of town to find them. Most Christians did this to provide a "safe place" for fellow Christians; if you were in trouble, needed a place to stay, or were looking for a local church to attend, you looked for these symbols to find the houses and dwellings of Christians. Since you couldn't just go around asking for Christians in that time, the need for secret code (symbols that no one would think twice about) were necessary for survival.

The Fish was one, of many symbols. It had nothing to do with astrology. The acrostic was one part, the fact that Jesus was a "Fisher of men" and that many of the original disciples/apostles were also fisherman was another. Since none of the other symbols that were in use have anything to do with the Zodiac or astrology, I think that might make your "theory" even a bit more implausible.

A good laugh--if you were trolling or trying to be funny. An even better laugh if you were serious ... man, talk about being off base!! Where do you come up with this stuff? :-)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
off topic... (2.00 / 2) (#97)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 07:33:23 PM EST

"if you were in trouble, needed a place to stay, or were looking for a local church to attend, you looked for these symbols to find the houses and dwellings of Christians."

So what is up with those flags outside houses these days? You know, the ones with flowers or butterflies or clouds or whatnot. Are they hidden movements?



[ Parent ]

Wow ... (2.00 / 1) (#112)
by kostya on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 10:04:47 PM EST

If they are, they are perfect. I hate them--utterly, no holds bared. So my absolute hatred of these stupid flags (they just strike me as looking so dumb) blinds me to their true purpose. There could be this whole hidden movement that I know nothing about!

:-)



----
Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Which surprises you more... (3.00 / 1) (#137)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 05:22:51 PM EST

... that the flags have a hidden purpose? or that you aren't in on this secret society? ;)

On second thought, it might not be a single secret society. Maybe there are several warring sects each under a different, happy-looking banner.



[ Parent ]

I was almost intrested... (4.00 / 13) (#71)
by SvnLyrBrto on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 01:47:46 PM EST

... until you got to that neo-hippy "age of aquarius" crap.

Newsflash: the 60s are over... done with, dead. Let it go.

Those pot-smoking, acid dropping, VW driveing hippys? They grew up to become the '80s coke-snorting, beamer-driveing, junk-bond trading, yuppies.

And now, a they're infesting washington, and various state governments, being driven around in mercades, passing mandatory minimum laws to send people of MY generation to prison for experimenting with the very same drugs they used to partake... those and any new drug that they didn't have the chance to try. They're deamonising the music *MY* generation perfers in the same manner their ancestors deamonised Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Alice Cooper. They blame all the world's problems on my generation and claim that I have no morals... EXACTLY like their fossilized precursors did to them.

"Never trust anyone over the age of 30", sounds great.... until you turn 30 yourself.

The "age of aquarius" is bunk. If ANYTHING, hippy is nothing more than shorthand for hipocrite.


john

Imagine all the people...

Question: (4.00 / 1) (#124)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 10:55:32 AM EST

Haiku:
I am not a drone.
Remove the collective if
You wish to send mail.


Question: If I remove the collective from your email address I get:

SvnLyrBrto@.com

This does not seem to me to be a valid email address.

People using "Yahoo!" (clue: no company with a brain has an exclamation point in their name), making fun of Microsoft, should stop designating the water-heating device as colorless. ;-)


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Uhh, dude... (none / 0) (#143)
by liberalmafia on Sun Jul 15, 2001 at 05:31:15 PM EST

There *are* decaffeinated brands that taste just as good . . .

[ Parent ]
Quit beating around the bush (4.11 / 9) (#83)
by abdera on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 03:32:26 PM EST

and tell us what you really think of the Catholic Church. It seems that you harbor some sort of ill will toward the Catholic Church. Besides your incredulous assertion that the offices of the Vatican base their decisions on new-age astrological mumbo-jumbo, just about every link in your article is to a site that either delivers anti-Catholic sentiment, or has the credibility of a voice-mail psychic.

<disclaimer>My intent is not to discredit any Protestant groups. I have a great respect for many Protestants as well as non-Christian groups and individuals</disclaimer>

To site some specific examples:

  • new face of Jesus - Hmm. This site goes so far as to call the Catholic Church "the Roman whore" and the Roman Catholic cult. It's not likely that an evangelical fundamentalist Christian would be a source of an unbiased, objective examination of Vatican policy. The only reason that I can see for including the link is to get people to read his hatred of the Catholic Church. Why not link to the story in the Natoinal Catholic Reporter concerning the decision to choose the particular winner? Because you're not likely to find anti-Catholic rhetoric there, of course.(BTW I don't have anything against evangelical fundamentalist Christians.)
  • apologized links to a university student newspaper site. Although such publications typically carry frequent anti-religious sentiment, I can't really verify that this one does because their archives are full of broken links.
  • apology links to a talk radio show that has such flattering articles on the Catholic Church as this article promoting an interview with a disgruntles feminist ex-theologan and a review of Hitler's Pope, which levels scathing accusations against Pope Pius XII.
  • usual explanation - Wow, you can't even find a Catholic site that offers an explanation of the ichthus. At least the Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church doesn't feel it necessary to demonize the Catholic Church as a primary purpose of their faith.
  • astrology - a great site if you're looking for a sun-sign pap.
  • Great year - a quasi-scientifiv description of equinoctial precession. Like we're suppoed to believe an "HTML programmer" who thinks the Illuminati is responsible for everything from the assasination of 2 Russian Czars to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Gulf war.
  • adopted their religion - a horrendous interpretation of the Nicene Creed by the authority on near-death experiences. Yeah, I believe them especially because they don't have the slightest clue about the Nicene Creed.
  • gnosticism - finally, an informative and interesting link. Thank you.

    So, what personal issues do you have with Catholics that inspires you to contrive this attack on the Vatican using such subjective and anti-Catholic content as your backup. Perhaps there is something deeper that you would like to share with us, localroger.

    #224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol

  • About the links (4.33 / 3) (#95)
    by localroger on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 07:20:49 PM EST

    I mentioned this briefly in my ubercomment post, but this does deserve a direct reply. I spent about two hours with a search engine looking for links to illustrate this story, which took me about half an hour to write. Most of my primary documentation is either on dead trees or has passed from the Web.

    I wish I could have supplied all my links from sites like religioustolerance.org (the gnosticism link) but there are not a lot of sites like them out there.

    Some items are virtually impossible to find. I was going to provide links to descriptions of the signs Aries, Pisces, and Aquarius, but spent over half an hour hitting sun sign sites. (The site I linked also has the sun-sign pap section, but their history of astrology is fairly consistent with my dead tree sources.) The new face of Jesus was a widely distributed news item in its day, but now the only sites that bother to archive it are those with an axe to grind. Last time I posted an article I got raked for not providing cites, so I provided the ones I could find. No, I didn't find a Catholic site (as you did) stating their story on the ichthus. I didn't bother looking too hard since I went to a Catholic high school and took Catholic religion classes and noticed that their explanation was almost exactly the same as the one I received in a Southern Baptist Convention Sunday school.

    Although I tried to weed out the sites that were obviously bent, I didn't chase them too far off the pages the search engine turned up because I have a life and other stuff to do. If some of them are off the wall anyway, well, sorry; that's the bias of the entire Web. The fact that bad people believe something doesn't make it untrue.

    The sad fact is that there are no really good, complete general sources of knowledge available on the Internet, and even if there were some of the salient points of this little observation probably wouldn't be covered by them.

    Most of my factual allegations are really very uncontroversial. I'm not the only one in my circle of acquaintances (a lot of them Catholic) who think the Church has been acting strangely since 1995 or so. Did the Church practice astrology? In those days everybody who could afford to either practiced it or hired someone who did. Do they still practice it? Well, they still preach the doctrine of transubstantiation, that the wafer actually physically changes into the literal, physical body and blood of Christ. So yeah, if they were practicing astrology in 325 A.D. the smart money says they are still doing so.

    Is the "real" origin of the Ichthus Pisces? Like most religio-magical symbols it was probably chosen for a confluence of reasons, and it would be hard to imagine the Age of Pisces not being one of them given the age and attitude of the time. As for whether this implies a motive for current interesting behavior, you can draw your own conclusions. It isn't a knock. (Well, maybe a small one for keeping it secret, but there aren't been many occult secrets that stayed secret in the last few centuries.)

    As I said in the other post, it is mildly amusing for reasons which are not particularly hostile, considering how a lot of other people feel on the subject.

    I can haz blog!
    [ Parent ]

    Re: About the links (5.00 / 1) (#114)
    by abdera on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 11:12:21 PM EST

    Most of my primary documentation is either on dead trees or has passed from the Web.
    What printed material did you use as your primary sources? I would agree that all but the flakiest of printed information is far better thought out and presented than the drivel that typefies the WWW.

    The new face of Jesus was a widely distributed news item in its day, but now the only sites that bother to archive it are those with an axe to grind. Last time I posted an article I got raked for not providing cites, so I provided the ones I could find.
    A quick serach on Google turned up a great deal of information on the Jusus 2000 (the real name) contest by the National Catholic Reporter (the publication that hosted it). As a matter of fact there wasn't a single link on the first page of hits that were even slightly inflammatory.

    No, I didn't find a Catholic site (as you did) stating their story on the ichthus. I didn't bother looking too hard since I went to a Catholic high school and took Catholic religion classes and noticed that their explanation was almost exactly the same as the one I received in a Southern Baptist Convention Sunday school.
    Okay, that site was really hard to find. I may have been nitpicking there.

    The fact that bad people believe something doesn't make it untrue.
    But it does lend little credibility to your argument when you reference them.

    Well, they still preach the doctrine of transubstantiation, that the wafer actually physically changes into the literal, physical body and blood of Christ.
    A common misconception. To understand the Catholic teachings on transubstantiation, one must discuss the ideas of accidents and essence. Essence is what makes something what it truly is, while accidents refers to everything else about that thing. Take for example a human being. What makes us human? I will not even try to answer that exept to say that our essence makes us human. When one dies does your corpse still contain your essence? Is it truly you? No, the corpse, and the physical body for that matter is the accidents of a human being, while the essence is something entirely different, call it a soul, spirit, mind, will, whatever. The human body is not what a human truly is. A few would disagree, but I think the illustration is fairly clear. Now back to the Eucharist. The substance in transubstatiation refers to the essence. So, according to Catholic belief, when the host is consecratied, the essence of bread and wine leave the objects and are replaced with the essence of Jesus Christ. So the physical characteristics (accidents) of the bread and wine remain, yet the Eucharist is truly the presence of Christ.

    As for whether this implies a motive for current interesting behavior, you can draw your own conclusions. It isn't a knock.
    Perhaps I was quick to conclude that your illustrative links were indicative of a hostile attitude toward the Catholic faith in particular when in fact they can be easily explained as hastily researched. My apologies.

    I wonder if you would be interested in examining the Second Vatican Council in light of your hypothesis. I expect that you would find a wealth of material to support you, given the spirit of the Council. Particularly relating to the allowal of vernacular during the sacramental rites, and the theme of religious tolerance.

    #224 [deft-:deft@98A9C369.ipt.aol.com] at least i don't go on aol
    [ Parent ]

    Dead Tree sources & etc. (4.00 / 1) (#130)
    by localroger on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 07:13:11 PM EST

    What printed material did you use as your primary sources?

    I have a small library of books I acquired during a period when I was selling semiprecious gemstones and a lot of my customers were New Age. The most serious is The Astrologer's Handbook by Frances Sakoian and Louis S. Acker. A more popsy but still well researched all-around intro guide is The New Compleat Astrologer by Derek and Julia Parker. There are also some other books I don't have which I read back in those days and I relied on memory for a few ideas. These books are distinguished by a reliance on full charts, exhaustive indeces of aspects which lend themselves to interpretation, and an experimental approach to determine the astrological properties of newly discovered heavenly bodies like the outer planets and asteroids.

    There is broad agreement among people who are into the field this seriously, despite the fineness of their claims. For example, everyone gets pretty much the same interpretation out of my own birth chart. Aspects say some impressively specific things compared to the more familiar sun-sign column vagueness. While astrology is certainly open to criticism -- starting with its fundamental hypothesis "as above, so below" -- the oft-cited knock by scientists that it is undisciplined and vague simply isn't true. I have one entire book, Time Changes in the USA by Doris Chase Doane, of 200 pages documenting the application of daylight saving time and shifting of time zone boundaries so that one can calculate the correct sidereal time from the figure on a birth certificate. If you visit a New Age bookshop and examine these books, you will easily be able to identify the others of similar quality.

    I also read plenty of books on ritual magic(k) back in those days, enough to be aware of the similarities between alternative systems. Make no mistake, the Eucharist is every bit as much a magic ritual as a what a hermetic Kabbalist or Wiccan does. If you take an average between Barbara Walker, various Llewellyn writers, and far-out syncretists like Robert Anton Wilson, you get surprisingly consistent and interesting patterns emerging.

    A quick serach on Google turned up a great deal of information on the Jusus 2000 (the real name)

    I remembered and searched for the new face of Jesus, the headline used by several major news organizations. Oh well.

    Re: Transubstantiation. Your explanation is the modern one, but one of the more cantankerous and bickersome colleges held by the Church was over this very issue and I seem to remember them coming down rather more definitely in the direction of body as in flesh and blood as in red fluid. Alas, I can't remember which book the reference is in. The Church does have a lot of ideas still on the books which strike modern sensibilities as just plain silly (Papal infallibility, anyone?) and I'm sure I remember this being one of them.

    I was certainly aware of Vatican II, since it was held not long before my entrance into the aforementioned Catholic high school and it was a big topic of discussion. I think VII was a more deliberate effort to get with the flow of an obviously changing world in order to secure their position therein. There were not a lot of apologies forthcoming even though they did make the Mass more accessible. These new actions strike me more as the desperation plays of someone who fears their position may be lost. Apologizing for the Inquisition might be a noble thing and it might have been long overdue, but it was entirely out of character. One can't but wonder what is being left unsaid.

    I can haz blog!
    [ Parent ]

    Your explanation of the Ages is incorrect (4.00 / 2) (#84)
    by hoops on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 03:51:57 PM EST

    The Earth's polar axis does indeed describe "a circle in the heavens." However at no point does it point to ANY of the Zodiacal constellations. If it did, we are currently in the Age of Ursa Minor. The current age is defined as the constellation that rises at dawn on the Vernal Equinox. Currently that constellation is Pisces, prior to that is was Aries.

    Unfortunately I can't find any two sites on the net that agree on when the Age of aquarius will begin.

    More Reading:
    William's Lunar Tree Calendar has a date of April, 8 1996
    Astrosight.com says 2160
    Access New Age says anywhere from 2060 to 2100 AD
    Is this the age of Aquarius? No one seems to know.

    Hoops
    --Hoops
    If I were a koala bear, the first thing I would do is urinate all over you and bite you in the scrotum. - bri4n

    Don't trust my sources (none / 0) (#108)
    by dgwatson on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 09:10:47 PM EST

    But I just heard on the radio today that the Age of Aquarius will begin in about 200 years. This article was so poorly researched I wouldn't believe anything of it - 1960s? I guess you think that because it's in a song it must be true.

    [ Parent ]
    I think it begins in 2170 something (none / 0) (#140)
    by gte910h on Tue Jul 03, 2001 at 02:36:41 AM EST

    I remember reading that it would begin for quite awhile...but I don't remember where.

    [ Parent ]
    A few quick points (3.00 / 7) (#92)
    by localroger on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 06:54:09 PM EST

    Well, I wasn't even sure this would get posted but I figured it was worth a shot. The whole point of K5 is that there are things other than computers in the world.

    • Sorry about the confusion vis-a-vis Babelfish. If it had occurred to me that the title would mislead people like this I'd have picked a different title.
    • Poor links. Some of this stuff is hard to find on the Web. The new face of Jesus, for example, was a widely reported news story but only sites with an axe to grind are likely to have links to it now. I checked the sites that I linked to make sure they weren't ridiculously biased and that their factual information jibed with what I either remembered or have on dead trees.
    • I am aware of the usual explanation for the fish symbol; I even linked a nice description. That is the public story. I revealed the occult story. That word does not mean "wacko mystical new-age," BTW; it literally means hidden.
    • Nowhere did I say the cardinals are practicing Wicca. That is a different religion (in fact, a synthetic one constructed very recently). If you don't think the Church has a traditions resembling ritual magick, though, I encourage you to look up the word "transubstantiation."
    • To the people who thought I said the Church was getting rid of the fish symbol, please RTFA before posting next time.
    • Yes the fish is used by other Christians than Catholics, but they are not the ones who are acting like they have figured out the show is over. The Protestants by definition did not take many of the Church's secrets with them, and in some cases those secrets were what they were Protesting. Astrological secrets were jealously guarded because of the danger of an unpleasant fate being revealed, either to one's subjects or to one's enemies.
    • To the knee-jerk magic-is-worthless crowd, you do not have to believe astrology works to understand the significance of activities by other people who do. I tried to make the article relevant regardless of whether astrology really works.
    • I did not say the Earth's axis points directly toward aquarius. This is deliberate density, as even astronomers use the zodiacal terminology for the constellation the axis is nodding toward.
    • It's not a conspiracy theory. It's a suggestion that a particular single organization is acting in a particular way because it has made an observation it isn't telling anybody about. This is a long way from implying that the Illuminati are behind something.
    • "new-age age of aquarius crap" -- next time please RTFA before commenting. People have believed in the significance of the Great Months for at least four thousand years. The 60's dimwits who thought it was all sweetness and light are about as far as you can get from the people I was writing about.
    And finally: No, the article is not meant to convey hostility toward the Catholic Church (or religion in general for that matter). I could have reported this with the tone "look what these stupid dimwits believe," or just as arrogantly as "they really have figured out that they are screwed, nya nya nya" as if it were as real as a stone.

    It does amuse me, because the Church has done a lot of nastiness in its day and their current activity resembles the squirming of someone who knows he's about to be busted. It's amusing if they are right, because what goes around is coming around, and it's amusing if they are wrong because they are squirming at an illusion only they (and a few thousand others who study this field) can see.

    I can haz blog!

    Oh man! (3.50 / 2) (#98)
    by kostya on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 07:42:35 PM EST

    You really were serious! That's even more hilarious than when I thought you were trolling!

    Wooooo Boy! Thanks! I've been having a bad day. That just gave the long hard laugh I needed. Man, oh man, that is just priceless!

    I have to say, as consipracy theories go, the is even better than the fundemantalists' beliefs that the Pope is the Antichrist and all these apologies are an attempt to create the 7 year peace treaty (see Revelation). I mean, have you ever thought that maybe he's just trying to live up to the teachings of Jesus Christ?

    I mean, I know its boring to consider that the pope is just trying to live out his faith, but hey--it just might be true!

    This is just soooo funny.



    ----
    Veritas otium parit. --Terence
    [ Parent ]
    *BLINK* (3.50 / 2) (#102)
    by localroger on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:26:05 PM EST

    I mean, have you ever thought that maybe he's just trying to live up to the teachings of Jesus Christ?

    Now there's an original idea. And yes, it's just crazy enough to be true. But old habits die hard, and once you divide the history of the Church by Occam's Razor it's easy to forget that you have to add in the first Polish Pope to get the final result.

    Your proposal is probably more likely than I'm inclined to think, just as mine is probably more likely than you are inclined to think.

    It's also hard to say just how much of this is directly driven by John Paul II and how much is systemic. (Interesting side note, you should look up who John Paul I was. It was a rather daring thing for the current pontiff to take that name.) I honestly don't know the truth. I sought only to point out an interesting possibility.

    I can haz blog!
    [ Parent ]

    You know (4.00 / 3) (#100)
    by RangerBob on Tue Jun 26, 2001 at 08:08:14 PM EST

    Yeah, I'm cranky, but this just pushed me over the edge today. Without a doubt, this has to be one of the most incorrect and asinine pieces I've read online in a while. Not only is it just plain wrong, but your conclusions are what I'd expect from Slashdot. For one, how in the hell you can draw the conclusion that they're acting like they've been "caught"? How are they acting like they've been busted? Yes, they know they've done wrong in the past, but there aren't a whole lot of religious organizations that haven't done bad things to the world. The church has already apologized over and over, get over yourself. While it's nice to see you have an animosity towards the church, you could at least check up some facts before you post this type of trash.

    And there's a huge difference between believing that something really is something else and that something has symbolic meaning. You don't even have to be a religious group to believe in the symbolism of something. This really shouldn't be a concept that's hard to understand. It's a shame that you can't understand this, because you've really embarassed yourself with this one.

    I think that if articles like this get voted up, I might as well go back to Slashdot. There have been a lot of goofy things like this posted lately, and it's hard to differentiate between the two anymore.

    [ Parent ]
    Your last point . . . (none / 0) (#144)
    by liberalmafia on Sun Jul 15, 2001 at 05:39:10 PM EST

    Could you cite a specific source for the claim that astrologers were aware of the Great Month cycle as far back as two thousand years ago?

    This conflicts with my own understanding that back then astrologers didn't know of the precession of the equinoxes, the fact that stars actually do change their positions in the sky over time, etc. Before I change my mind, I'd like to know the evidence. (A dead-tree source would be *fine*.)

    [ Parent ]

    Roman Catholic Church and astrology (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by K5er 16877 on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 05:49:26 PM EST

    The Roman Catholic Church long held belief in astrology throughout the dark, middle, and later ages. It follows actually quite simple logic.

    The Church observed that objects in the night sky moved. The sky was commonly equated with heaven. God rules both heaven and earth. If there is movement in the heavens, it cannot be random. God is deliberate; God rules the heavens; therefore, the movement of heavely bodies must be deliberate.

    The mid era Church believed that to understand the movements of the heavenly bodies would be to come closer to understanding God's will. As such, they routinely employed astrologers and astronomers. In fact, this ties into Galileo.

    One of the astronomers that the Church hired to study the heavens was Copernicus. His uncle, Lukasaz Watzenrode, a powerful bishop, dictated much of Copernicus's life. Copernicus was employed at the Frombork Catherdral in Poland. During his employement, took careful measurements of the heavens and stated the equvilant of the following (with copius editorial privilage):

    We all know that the sun revolves around the Earth. But, it is mathematically easier if we just assume, for the moment, that the Earth revolves around the sun.
    Copernicus saved his head by not asserting that his findings proved the fallacy of the Church. That was left to Galileo.

    I have no idea whether this article is true or not. I don't know much about astrology. But, the Roman Catholic Church did, at one time, believe in astrology.

    Dave

    A few points. (none / 0) (#134)
    by jd on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 10:29:59 AM EST

    First, though, a brief statement of where I stand. I'm a Christian, in the sense that I believe that the two laws Jesus stated are, essentially, "true", that those two principles are ALL you need to form a peaceful, genuinely civilised society, and that the entire Bible (including all sections that are ignored, or have been edited or destroyed) serves as a collection of HOW-TOs and case studies.

    (I also believe that whatever or whoever God turns out to be, assuming God exists, that they would prefer personal and societal growth over and above emotional or physical homocide.)

    Ok, let's start from there. So, what's this fish symbol about? Well, it's nothing to do with astrology, for a start. It's not really anything to do with Christianity, either. It's a borrowed symbol. The fish symbol is most likely to relate to water worship, which is probably one of the earliest religions to have existed. Evidence of water worship can be seen across Europe. For actual living practices, though you need to go to Derbyshire, England, where elaborate garlands and murals are made for the wells there, each year.

    How does astrology fit into all of this? On the whole, it doesn't. It's a much newer religion, primarily practiced in Babylonia. The "three wise men" that are mentioned in the Nativity story, were likely Babylonian astrologers. They weren't after Pices, though, but a King Star. (Certain astronomical phenomina were believed to indicate the rise and/or fall of Kings. The story suggests, in this case, they were confident that it was the rise of a very powerful King.)

    Ok, how about the use of the fish symbol today? It's largely metaphorical. Peter was called upon to be a "fisher of men". The symbol would imply, then, that this is a person who has been "fished". There is an additional metaphor, which is important. The "Fisher King", of Celtic mythology, was a tale about the high price arrogance and pride can have. The symbol could then also represent the recognition that humility and humbleness are not just a good idea, they're the Lore.

    Could the Catholic Church be trying to clense itself of its turgid past? Given that Popes can't be sacked (only fired), I suspect it's much more to do with the fact that the current Pope feels sufficiently politically strong that he can (more or less) do what he wants. If that means running rough-shod over ultra-conservatives, he'd probably do so. (He certainly did, in the case of Beatifying Mother Teresa.)

    The Jesus Fish (3.50 / 2) (#141)
    by mindstrm on Tue Jul 03, 2001 at 08:33:16 AM EST

    Although all this stuff about the origin of the symbol is interesting... I beleive the origin of the Fish being associated with Christians is not all that mystical.

    1) They borrowed it from somwhere, not for real mystical reasons...


    I'm sorry I don't have a good memory for dates.. but way back somewhere when Christians were being persecuted, and had to worship in secrecy.. the fish was a code.

    One man would draw an arc in the sand/dirt with his foot/stick/whatever..... (half the fish)
    Another man, upon recognizing this, would draw the other half, thus both men would know they were Christians. To an outsider, it's just a line in the dirt.

    I'm not sure what that has to do with the Vatican.. Catholicism is rather different anyway.


    The Old Man and the Sea (none / 0) (#142)
    by Neuromancer on Tue Jul 03, 2001 at 07:25:13 PM EST

    "Damn my fish"
    Betcha that lil kid wanted his fish to go away.

    If you don't get that, read some Hemingway :-P

    i thought... (none / 0) (#145)
    by flummox on Tue Jul 17, 2001 at 12:55:49 PM EST

    it was meant to symbolize "creation", or the belief that "god created the universe"... why fish as opposed to any other animal? well, i just guessed that was because the whole "fish turned into amphibians and then into other land-based creatures" belief...

    it is also a geometrically sound symbol. two equal parts (the lines) reversed and then joined together to make another shape... which aslo leads into the whole marriage (or monogomy) thing. two parts make a perfect whole... to enforce the marriage of one person to another. not the one person to many routine of "other religions"...

    then there is the spoof of the fish that is the "darwin fish"... this fish has legs on it to symbolize evolution instead of creation... pretty funny stuff, huh? not really

    anyways... i think you can look a hell of a lot deeper and probably find the real meaning. either way, good read and great topic. let's hear more!

    cap'n flummox


    ...bring me my cheese...

    The Fish Goes Away | 145 comments (128 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
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