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Switch to Forum Live View The Cross, Paganism, and Pagan Symbols
3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 3:27AM #1
Hmmm
Posts: 5,020

The below quotes are taken from page 46 of the Is the Bible Flawed? thread:

Mar 15, 2014 -- 10:31PM, Oeste wrote:


Likewise I think it pretty brazen for someone to insist tha pagan thoughts about the cross applies to Christians today. This seems much less an appeal to popularity as it is an appeal to common sense. Yet that's exactly the assertion being made here. Pagans hold no authority over what Christians believe, and I'm at a loss as to why anyone would surrender such authority, much less insist on it.



Mar 16, 2014 -- 12:56AM, Kemmer wrote:


Because  the  pagans  already worshipped  crosses...



I challenge you to point me to one single pagan society which worshipped a plain cross.



However, I would like to move the discussion about the cross, paganism, and pagan symbols from that thread to this new thread, since that conversation seemed to have morphed into a life of it's own, and seemed to have highjacked the other thread.


Therefore, if the other posters don't mind, could you bring the rest of your questions and replies from the Is the Bible Flawed? thread to this thread? Plus, I would like widen the parameters of this topic to also include other alleged pagan symbols in Christianity and compare JWs' views and non-JWs' views on those symbols also. Thanks.


However, I am going to start off this thread by replying to Oeste's and Kemmer's posts above.


A quote from an article called "The Cross" says:


Numerous other sects of India, also used the sign of the cross as a mark on their followers' heads. "The cross thus widely worshipped, or regarded as a 'sacred emblem', was the unequivocal symbol of Bacchus, the Babylonian Messiah, for he was represented with a head-band covered with crosses. "It was also the symbol of Jupiter Foederis in Rome.103 Furthermore, we read of the cross on top of the temple of Serapis,104 the Sun-deity of Alexandria.


This is Tammuz, whom the Greeks called Bacchus, with the crosses on his head-band.


After Constantine had the "vision of the cross", he and his army promoted another variety of the cross, the Chi-Rho or Labarum or sometimes . This has subsequently been explained as representing the first letters of the name Christos, the being the Greek for "Ch" and the being the Greek for "r". but again, this emblem had a pagan origin. The identical symbols were found as inscriptions on a rock, dating from the year ca. 2 500 B.C., being interpreted as "a combination of two Sun-symbols", as the Ax or Hammer-symbol of the Sun- or Sky-deity, and the or as the ancient symbol of the Sun, both of these signs having a sensual or fertility meaning as well.[Hmmm: Think of our friend, older.] :-)


Another proof of its pagan origin is the identical found on a coin of Ptolemeus III from the year 247 - 222 B.C.  A well-known encyclopaedia describes the Labarum (Chi-Rho) as, "The labarum was also an emblem of the Chaldean (Babylonian) sky-god and in Christianity it was adopted..."Emperor Constantine adopted this Labarum as the imperial ensign and thereby succeeded in "uniting both divisions of his troops, pagans and Christians, in a common worship ... according to Suicer the word (labarum) came into use in the reign of Hadrian, and was probably adopted from one of the nations conquered by the Romans. "It must be remembered that Hadrian reigned in the years 76 - 138, that he was a pagan emperor, worshipped the Sun-deity Serapis when he visited Alexandria, and was vehemently anti-Judaistic, being responsible for the final near-destruction of Jerusalem in the year 130.


Another dictionary relates the following about the Chi-Rho, "However, the symbol was in use long before Christianity, and X (Chi) probably stood for Great Fire or Sun,and P (Rho) probably stood for Pater or Patah (Father). The word labarum (labarum) yields everlasting Father Sun."


www.albatrus.org/english/religions/pagan...


Therefore, even though I am not 100% sure of your question, Kemmer, the information provided at least said that India once worshipped a plain cross.


Also, in response to what Oeste said, it seems to me that if the origin of the cross in Christianity was related to Constantine's "vision of the cross," and subsequently, his use of the the Chi-Rho or Labarum cross in the Rome, which, consequently was instrumental(no pun intended) in 'uniting both divisions of his troops, pagans and Christians, in a common worship'....well, that would kind of make me go, hmmmmm. 


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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 6:24AM #2
Oeste
Posts: 3,711

Mar 16, 2014 -- 3:27AM, Hmmm wrote:


www.albatrus.org/english/religions/pagan...


Therefore, even though I am not 100% sure of your question, Kemmer, the information provided at least said that India once worshipped a plain cross.


Also, in response to what Oeste said, it seems to me that if the origin of the cross in Christianity was related to Constantine's "vision of the cross," and subsequently, his use of the the Chi-Rho or Labarum cross in the Rome, which, consequently was instrumental(no pun intended) in 'uniting both divisions of his troops, pagans and Christians, in a common worship'....well, that would kind of make me go, hmmmmm. 



Hi Hmmm...Thanks for starting a new thread. This particular subject did take on a life of its own. Will you be joining in on the discussion?


The site you quoted  also says men should not wear wedding bands because it invalidates the wedding ceremony:


"Orthodox Rabbis refuse to perform a double ring ceremony, because they feel it invalidates the idea of the groom acquiring the bride as a wife in exchange of something valuable...


...At no point does the bride should give anything to the groom. In fact, if she were to do it would invalidate the ring he has given her! After all, he has to symbolically bring her into his domain: her giving him a ring then destroys that effect. Many orthodox Jewish men do not wear rings...


...The ceremony in the Church of England Book of Common Prayer, from 1549, includes the words "with this ring I thee wed" - but involves only the presentation of a ring by the man to the woman. In medieval Europe, Christian wedding ceremony involved putting the ring on the bride's index alone...

...So we see here that with the feminization of society the men have lost (given away) their God given headship over their wives, their families and their nations and we can easily see everywhere the appalling consequences on our societies. The men wearing the wedding rings are a powerful sign of abdicating their manhood."


If Witnesses allow themselves to be influenced by what pagans thought about the cross, I can't imagine how much more influenced they'll be by what Jews and earlier Christians thought about wedding rings!  I'm sure anyone influenced by Watchtower dogma wouldn't allow men in their congregations to wear wedding  bands after learning of this alarming revelation.


But that's not all. I see another "quote" from this site which I find alarming:


“But if any man thinketh that he behaveth himself unseemly toward his virgin daughter, if she be past the flower of her age, and if need so requireth, let him do what he will; he sinneth not; let them marry.” (1Co 7:36) <sic>


I can't find the word "daughter" anywhere at 1 Corinithians 7:36, so I'm not sure how much trust can be placed in any particiular quote from this site. 

Never argue with stupid people. They will drag
you down to their level and then beat you with
experience ~ Mark Twain

If you are neutral on situations of injustice
you have chosen the side of the oppressor ~
Desmond Tutu
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 8:35AM #3
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082

Oeste - Two tangents already?  Are you that desperate to find another excuse to hurl false accusations about my religion?


On the wedding ring tangent, see:


wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000010?q=...


Excerpt:



But what about customs that may once have been linked to questionable practices but that today are primarily viewed as social etiquette? For example, many popular wedding customs—including the exchanging of rings and the eating of cake—may have pagan origins. Does this mean that Christians are forbidden to observe such customs? Are Christians required to scrutinize meticulously each custom of the community to see whether somewhere or at some time it had negative connotations?




Paul points out that “where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17; James 1:25) God wants us to use this freedom, not as an inducement for selfish cravings, but to train our perceptive powers to distinguish right from wrong. (Galatians 5:13; Hebrews 5:14; 1 Peter 2:16) Hence, in a matter where there is no clear violation of Bible principles, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not create a hard-and-fast rule. Instead, each Christian must weigh the circumstances at hand and make a personal decision.


On your 1 Corinthians 7:36 tangent - you are on the wrong thread!   I'll leave it up to Hmmm whether to pursue this accusation on this thread in depth - but I will respond briefly here.


First of all, note NW for this verse:


wol.jw.org/en/wol/bl/r1/lp-e?q=1%20Corin...


1 Corinthians 7:36
36 But if anyone thinks he is behaving improperly by remaining unmarried,* and if he is past the bloom of youth, then this is what should take place: Let him do what he wants; he does not sin. Let them marry.+


NW footnote on "unmarried" from the following link: Or “toward his virginity.”


wol.jw.org/en/wol/fn/r1/lp-e/1001061150/...


From our free JW library APP, our Kingdom interlinear for the phrase in question:


Εἰ If δέ but τις anyone ἀσχημονεῖν to be behaving improperly ἐπὶ upon τὴν the παρθένον virgin αὐτοῦ of him


That's parthenon, which usually means a young virgin woman - aka virgin daughter.


So, which translation renders 1 Corinthians 7:36 parthenon literally?


And, really, this is WAY off thread theme!




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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 8:37AM #4
Newtonian
Posts: 14,082

Hmmm - Thank you for starting a separate thread on the cross.  Here is another link carried over from the other thread:


studybible.info/vines/Cross,%20Crucify


Cross, Crucify


[ A-1,Noun,G4716, stauros ]
denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake." On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroo, "to fasten to a stake or pale," are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed "cross." The shape of the latter had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the "cross" of Christ.

As for the Chi, or X, which Constantine declared he had seen in a vision leading him to champion the Christian faith, that letter was the initial of the word "Christ" and had nothing to do with "the Cross" (for xulon, "a timber beam, a tree," as used for the stauros, See under TREE). 

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 11:55AM #5
Kemmer
Posts: 18,459

Cross, Crucify


[ A-1,Noun,G4716stauros ] 


denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake."



This given definition says cross.  Where do you get "stake"?  Apart from your "literature", that is.

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 1:16PM #6
Oeste
Posts: 3,711

Mar 16, 2014 -- 8:35AM, Newtonian wrote:


Oeste - Two tangents already?  Are you that desperate to find another excuse to hurl false accusations about my religion?


On the wedding ring tangent, see:


wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/102000010?q=...


Excerpt:



But what about customs that may once have been linked to questionable practices but that today are primarily viewed as social etiquette? For example, many popular wedding customs—including the exchanging of rings and the eating of cake—may have pagan origins. Does this mean that Christians are forbidden to observe such customs? Are Christians required to scrutinize meticulously each custom of the community to see whether somewhere or at some time it had negative connotations?


Paul points out that “where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17; James 1:25)



I'm not sure what "false allegations" you are referring to Newt. If you're going to hurl accusations at me, you'll need to be a tidy more specific.


I look for consistency in arguments. When I find none, I get frustrated. You should know that by now.


Let's make this brief and cut to the chase here. Please explain why its okay to wear wedding bands but not okay to give a toast at a wedding.


Feel free to use the same rationale you gave above. I liked the scripture regarding "freedom".




Never argue with stupid people. They will drag
you down to their level and then beat you with
experience ~ Mark Twain

If you are neutral on situations of injustice
you have chosen the side of the oppressor ~
Desmond Tutu
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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 3:38PM #7
Kemmer
Posts: 18,459

 Are Christians required to scrutinize meticulously each custom of the community to see whether somewhere or at some time it had negative connotations?



Does it matter that those for whom these "customs" were separate from any notion of Christianity have been dead and forgotten for millennia?

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 6:14PM #8
five_point_dad
Posts: 4,719

Mar 16, 2014 -- 3:38PM, Kemmer wrote:

 Are Christians required to scrutinize meticulously each custom of the community to see whether somewhere or at some time it had negative connotations?



Does it matter that those for whom these "customs" were separate from any notion of Christianity have been dead and forgotten for millennia?


I'm still trying to get a straight answer as to what difference the configuration of the instrument of crucifixion matters.  The Jehovah's Witnesses vociferous argue that it was an upright stake.  While that doesn't conform to the Scriptural description and none of their artwork of Calvary does either, they must have a pretty strong reason for making such an inconsequential and unprovable teaching a test of organizational association.  But what is that reason?  Danged if I know!

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 7:01PM #9
Kemmer
Posts: 18,459

 they must have a pretty strong reason for making such an inconsequential and unprovable teaching a test of organizational association.  But what is that reason?  Danged if I know!



It's quite clear this "stake" business was just another attempt to separate the JWs from Christianity, despite the total historical and scriptural evidence to the contrary.

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3 years ago  ::  Mar 16, 2014 - 7:45PM #10
AnnOMaly
Posts: 3,460

The albatrus article quotes from Hislop and Vine's entry on the Cross is influenced by Hislop (Newt, particularly, take note and commit it to memory).


Hislop's speculations and distortions have been exposed for what they are. He provides no historical evidence that the Babylonian god Tammuz was represented by a Tau and besides, the Babylonians didn't write in Greek! Their writing was logographic and the signs for Tammuz don't look like crosses.

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