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Switch to Forum Live View Christianity without Mythology
8 years ago  ::  Aug 06, 2010 - 12:55PM #1
Posts: 2,053




Not Your Typical Bunch of Christians: Biblical Christianity Versus Orthodox Tradition


    The Truth of the Bible without all that Dogma:

      The truth is surprisingly straightforward and easy to understand. The doctrines of Mainstream Christianity are difficult because they have falsely adopted the Philosophy of Plato (circa 400 BC). His beliefs were the most popular in Greece and Rome when Christianity made its debut into those regions. Early Christianity battled the influence of Plato. But the adherents to Platonic philosophy came to dominate the Church from the 3rd century AD to the present. The vast majority of "Christian" doctrines are adopted from Plato's Philoshophy.

      The most difficult aspect of bringing the truth to light are the gymnastics required to refute the tricky semantics of Platonic Metaphysics utilized to link them to Biblical verses. This forms the "proof" which the Traditional "Christian" Orthodoxy uses to bolster it's false doctrines.

A Little Personal Aside:

    I found it very difficult to strip the un-biblical doctrines away from the Christianity that I had been taught. It was disorienting and it did not feel right. But I guess that feelings aren't a good basis for understanding, since my previous beliefs do not feel right now. It might feel comfortable to rely of the "traditions of our fathers", but Jesus said that this was a poor choice. This shows the necessity of relying on the actual Bible writings and translating them with a proper understanding of the original languages, including the idiomatic meanings, and the cultural norms of the chronology and geography involved. Look in the Bible and look for confirmation in the writings of the Early Church Fathers (link to these writings below). Please bolster what I've written by checking all the links on this page for additional information. I was fortunate to be guided initially by two books (The Making of a Tradition, by Mark M. Mattison, and The Doctrine of the Trinity, Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound, by Anthony F. Buzzard and Charles F. Hunting. Additional helpful resources were a Greek and Hebrew interlinear Bible, lexicons, a Trinitarian systematic theology text, and access to an Early Church Writings website (linked below).

Were these Traditional doctrines handed down by the Apostles outside the Bible?

      Read the writings of the first generation of disciples of the Apostles: Timothy, Barnabus, Polycarp, etc. They were taught and counseled by the Apostles for several years. Their writings can be found at the Early Church Fathers site provided by Wheaton College. You won't find any mention of Jesus as being God or the Holy Spirit as a separate God from God the Father. These concepts evolve in the later writers who came into Christianity from pagan backgrounds (not Jewish), and were further removed from the Apostles.

(Continues @ LINK)


Highlight is my  edit to point out what I find intriguing about this article. I look  forward to your thoughts as to this articles claim that today's  Christianity may be Platonic in nature.

"Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family."
Stephen Colbert
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 03, 2010 - 6:19PM #2
Posts: 916


It seems to me that all religions have mythology.  The mythology becomes the story of the religion.

The closest one can come to the bare bones Christianity without the mythology is in the Gosple of Thomas, which has no narrative, no stories.

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2011 - 9:39AM #3
Posts: 282

For me, the mythology is very much the point of it all.

Fr. Dan Dunlap, writing at Catholic in the Third Millenium, nicely puts his finger on what I think is the important point:

[A]cademic honesty compels the scholar to admit that "proving" the historicity of the mythos is impossible. But then it should be noted that disproving the historicity of the mythos is just as certainly impossible (a fact that the likes of John Shelby Spong and company disingenuously dismiss). Simply put, the mythos – the very object of the Church's faith – is not subject to historical or scientific investigation (either in proof or disproof). Rather it transcends critical inquiry, while, paradoxically, benefiting in the many new ways of understanding the Faith that may thus emerge from such investigation into the biblical milieu itself.

[. . .]

The Christian Faith is not a belief in the historicity of the resurrection (as an end in itself), but rather faith in the resurrected Christ; it is not a belief in the historicity of the virgin birth (as an end in itself), but rather faith in the Christ who was born of a Virgin.

Most fundamentally, I think the sort of fetishization of a "demythologized" Christianity one sometimes sees in certain liberal or progressive circles ultimately falls prey to what my friend Ruth Ellen, in her sermon "the cancer sermon (no snazzy title)" places under the category of "angel worship." She's responding to St. Paul's urging in Col. 2:18-19 to

not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

Ruth Ellen reminds us that
there's a deeper kind of angel worship that arises when we begin worshiping the messenger instead of living the message. When we start worshiping the Bible instead of the living Word that is Christ, when we devote our energy to preserving the edifice of the church instead of living as Christ's Body -- then we are worshiping angels instead of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the angel worship has become cancerous. 

I'm 100% agreed with her that Bibliolatry is cancerous in this type of way. However, I think the "quest for the historical Jesus" also becomes the type of angelogical project that Ruth Ellen talks about, a type of "worshiping the messenger," when it represents (as I think it usually does) an attempt to avoid having to engage in Spirit-driven dialectical conversation with the Risen Christ in the context of our contemporary world and culture, here and now. By trying to determine what we would or would not hear if we were able to travel via TARDIS to the times and places at which Yeshua bar Yosef would have taught, I think we "empty out" Christianity and the empty shell which is left is little more than a cult of personality. The attempt to recover some type of uncorrupted pre-Pauline Gospel message can quickly develop into its own type of fundamentalism when it becomes little more than a search for rules and principles to follow handed down by a millenia-old source. 

What Fr. Dan calls "the mythos to which the early fathers provided normative articulation in ancient creedal and doxological symbols that are with us to the present day -- preserved in the liturgies of the great apostolic churches" provides an alternate route to that path; an embracing rather than a rejection of the mythological character of Christianity. My bias is to think that properly understood (where "properly understood" of course means "understood the way Cole wants it to be understood") Chalcedonian Christology presents us with the antidotes to both types of fundamentalism. Worship of the Word-Made-Flesh, eternally begotten from God the Mother, both fully human AND fully divine, two natures in one person: this, I think, is about as far removed from a cult of personality as it is possible to get. Worship of the Triune God similarly leads us to value relationship, conversation, and dialecticality.

Following a Chalcedonian-Christological Jesus and a Triune God means more than simply following the ethical principles the historical Jesus would have exemplified in his life, then (even if we did have a reliable mechanism for extrapolating those principles apart from the post-Pauline Christian tradition, which we don't). We don't just follow Jesus. We worship Christ. More importantly, we are part of Christ's Body--"Christ has no hands on Earth but ours" (St. Teresa de Avilla)--and it falls to us, the Church, with the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, to build God's Kingdom--a kingdom which is marked primarily by sexual, economic, and political liberation, because Christ IS liberation; that's the essence of the Sacred Heart.

"This is my prayer: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best." -- "St. Paul's" [deutero-Pauline] Epistle to the Philippians 1:9-10

"Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD." -- First Isaiah 1:18
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