Hot Topic 8/14/16 – Pagan Celebrations that got converted to Christian Holy Days

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    As I mentioned in the last two articles posted as forum background for tonight’s HOT TOPIC, I posted them to save our readers from having to look them up.  I had downloaded the Chat and then copy here that part of Chat for 8/14/2016 that had to do with the main discussion of the Hot Topic.

    Me: The HOT TOPIC appears to be Pagan celebrations that were converted to Christian Holy Days (9:02PM)
    arrowLX: ok back (9:03PM)
    arrowLX: Catholic Holy Days mosgtly (9:03PM)
    arrowLX: mostly (9:04PM)
    Me: The Book Saving Jesus from the Church by Robin Meyers documents that many of our items of faith were borrowed from pagan religions and declared to be Christian. If one did not know when Jesus was born, one simply took a pagan holiday at December 24-25th and converted it to the Birth of Jesus (9:05PM)
    Brotherlawrence: The Assumption comes from the Gospel of Thomas in which the Apostle Thomas upon the death of Mary has a vision of her being taken up into heaven the same way her Son was (9:09PM)
    arrowLX: I heard it was celebrated parallel to the pagan holiday so they could celebrate without being discovered by the Romans (9:09PM)
    Brotherlawrence: He then goes to the tomb and finds it empty believes and goes and tells the other apostles (9:09PM)
    arrowLX: and it stuck as time went on (9:09PM)
    arrowLX: Thomas? (9:13PM)
    arrowLX: were there two Thomases? (9:14PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Yes (9:14PM)
    arrowLX: ok (9:14PM)
    arrowLX: not the doubter then (9:14PM)
    Brotherlawrence: A Gnostic gospel rejected by the church when it put the books together except for the part on the Assumption of Mary (9:15PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Yes the Dounter one and the same (9:15PM)
    Brotherlawrence: It was allegedly written by the Apostle Thomas though most scholars believe it to have written by someone else and attributed to Apostle Thomas (9:19PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Hello Tom (9:19PM)
    arrowLX: so that story runs counter to the Bible account…… (9:19PM)
    DaytonaTom: Hello gentlemen (9:20PM)
    arrowLX: hi Tom (9:20PM)
    arrowLX: the Gnostics were condemned by the early church (9:20PM)
    Brotherlawrence: There is no biblical account of what happens to Mary. She goes to live with John and after that nothing more is known of her biblically (9:21PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Ah yes Allan (9:22PM)
    DaytonaTom: Typical of patriarchal Bible…minimize or omit thoughts and deeds of the women (9:23PM)
    Me: First of all, the Gospel of Thomas is actually not a story but a collection of what are believed to be sayings of Jesus which at the end of the book says Here ends the Gospel (Good News) (9:22PM)
    arrowLX: hehe (9:23PM)
    Brotherlawrence: So the RC church picks and chooses what to believe from that will support their beliefs (9:23PM)
    DaytonaTom: But Mary had to be influential — raised Jesus from infancy, was with him at the end, and presumably witnessed him in resurrected form (9:24PM)
    arrowLX: so Thomas may have nothing to do with it (9:24PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Then I may be wrong then but comes from one of the Gnostic gospels (9:24PM)
    arrowLX: agreed Bro L (9:24PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Hold on Let me check something (9:25PM)
    Me: Actually in the beginning of the Religion there were followers of Jesus and there were politicians who started a religion loosely based on Jesus and with the direction of Constatine who was a follower of Mithros, the Sun God. (9:25PM)
    Me: Yes, Tom, Mary was influential but she was no Virgin. Once again the wrong translation of a word which most would translate as Lesbian, which makes even more clear her supposed statement that she never had anything to do with a man. (9:28PM)
    arrowLX: …………………… (9:29PM)
    arrowLX: if not a virgin, at least Jesus had no human father (9:31PM)
    Me: Once again, let me remind everyone, this is HOT TOPIC and what is said is opinion and therefore is to be discussed but may or may not be true or factual. (9:32PM)
    arrowLX: understood (9:33PM)
    Me: ()
    arrowLX: interesting, if unlikely story…never heard of it before (9:36PM)
    Me: in which case, it could be said that since no one knew who the father was, she had gotten pregnant from God. At that time, there were many virgin birth stories. Some of the Greek and Roman Gods were conceived that way (9:37PM)
    Me: ()
    DaytonaTom: Dad. does that legend have any connection to the other legend that purports Mary could have been raped by a Roman legionaire — which would make Jesus probably half Gentile (I dont think many Jews served in the Roman army) (9:38PM)
    arrowLX: the Biblical prediction occurred before the Greek and Roman empires (9:39PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Well the RC ignores the issue completely just saying the assumption is of Apostolic tradition (9:39PM)
    Me: Well, Tom, one must remember who made up the Roman Army, some were nobility but many were slaves and Jews were slaves of Rome (9:39PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Yes (9:41PM)
    Me: and the army was kept in control by the threat of being sent to work in the rock quarries (9:40PM)
    DaytonaTom: Interesting…in any case, Jesus would still be Jewish because of his mothers lineage (9:41PM)
    Me: As Bruce will confirm (9:41PM)
    DaytonaTom: I have wondered why some of the Gospels make a point of reciting the geneaology (9:42PM)
    arrowLX: two do (9:43PM)
    arrowLX: they are given to prove Jesus worthiness to be the Messiah (9:44PM)
    Me: (The following article is adapted from a chapter in Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled, as well as excerpts from other articles, such as The Origins of Christianity and The ZEITGEIST Sourcebook.) Both Mithras and Christ were described variously as the Way, the Truth, the Light, the Life, the Word, the Son of God, the Good Shepherd. The Christian litany to Jesus could easily be an allegorical litany to the sun-god. Mithras is often represented as carrying a lamb on his shoulders, just as Jesus is. Midnight services were found in both religions. The virgin mother…was easily merged with the virgin mother Mary. Petra, the sacred rock of Mithraism, became Peter, the foundation of the Christian Church. (9:43PM)
    Me: http://www.truthbeknow…a.htm (9:44PM)
    arrowLX: both Josephs and Marys are given (9:44PM)
    Me: ()
    DaytonaTom: But if they are claiming Jesus was begotten by God, what difference does it make which tribe Jesus was born within….Possibly just a reflection of inter-tribal rivalry and jealousy? I believe Jesus was a Levite, and thus born to the priesthood (9:45PM)
    arrowLX: both families fulfill the requirements for the Messiahs lineage (9:46PM)
    arrowLX: big difference Tom, according to the Bible predictions of the Messiah (9:47PM)
    Me: ()
    Brotherlawrence: How then did this teaching come to have such prominence in the Church that eventually led it to be declared an issue of dogma in 1950? The first Church father to affirm explicitly the assumption of Mary in the West was Gregory of Tours in 590 A.D. But the basis for his teaching was not the tradition of the Church but his acceptance of an apocryphal Gospel known as the Transitus Beatae Mariae which we first hear of at the end of the fifth century and which was spuriously attributed to Melito of Sardis. There were many versions of this literature which developed over time and which were found throughout the East and West but they all originated from one source. Mariologist, Juniper Carol, gives the following historical summary of the Transitus literature: An intriguing corpus of literature on the final lot of Mary is formed by the apocryphal Transitus Mariae. The genesis of these accounts is shrouded in history’s mist. They apparently originated before the close of the fifth century,… (9:47PM)
    arrowLX: no, Jesus came from the lineage of Judah (9:47PM)
    Brotherlawrence: … perhaps in Egypt, perhaps in Syria, in consequence of the stimulus given Marian devotion by the definition of the divine Maternity at Ephesus. The period of proliferation is the sixth century. At least a score of Transitus accounts are extant, in Coptic, Greek, Latin, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Armenian. Not all are prototypes, for many are simply variations on more ancient models (Juniper Carol, O.F.M. ed., Mariology, Vol. II (Milwaukee: Bruce, 1957), p. 144). (9:47PM)
    arrowLX: his priesthood came from Melchizedec, according to Hebrews (9:48PM)
    arrowLX: all Greek to me Larry, hahaha (9:50PM)
    Me: Like I said before, here in HOT TOPICS, we do not argue, we discuss. A lot of Truths have been handed down by a lot of Preachers, many without any known basis in truth, only in Belief (9:50PM)
    arrowLX: true (9:51PM)
    DaytonaTom: I think in our modern world view, we like to think that anyone of merit can become a national leader. But in ancient times, leadership roles were confined to certain tribes or caste….your career was determined by your birth — high or low (9:51PM)
    Me: Also, by the time of Jesus, most of the Tribes were lost. I believe many Jews traced their heritage back to an ancestor but were not actually from the part of the Holy Land that had received that share of the land. (9:53PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Actually according to the Proto Gospel of St. James has a completely different Christmas story than found in any of the 4 gospels (9:54PM)
    Me: And I also believe that many Jewish people were marrying outside their ancestral families. So Elizabeth may have been of the Tribe of Judah and her husband of the Tribe of Jevi. But according to the Scripture, Mary and Joseph were both of the house of David (9:55PM)
    DaytonaTom: Which is?? (9:55PM)
    arrowLX: thats why they they gave the lineages in the Gospels (9:55PM)
    Me: what is really interesting is that the Gospel of Mary does not clarify any of this (9:58PM)
    DaytonaTom: Those lineages may have been meaningful to the Jews who became Christ followers in the first century or two, but almost meaningless to us modern Gentiles. (9:59PM)
    Me: Nor does the Infancy Gospel of James which was supposedly written by the same James who wrote the Gospel of St James (10:00PM)
    Me: Nor the Gospel of the Egyptians (10:01PM)
    arrowLX: just lets us know that Jesus fulfills the Biblical prophesies of the Old Testament (10:01PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Genealogy was included to prove Jesus was the Messiah promised (10:02PM)
    Me: ()
    arrowLX: right (10:02PM)
    Me: Although most people have never seen or heard of it, this book gives us many details concerning the life of the Mother of God that have become familiar through the Feast Days dedicated to her memory. In The Protoevangelium of St. James we discover that the names of the Virgin Marys parents were Joachim and Anna. It relates to us the events of her conception, birth, presentation in the Temple, her betrothal to Joseph and the Nativity in Bethlehem. (10:02PM)
    DaytonaTom: Dad….would you say all these shadowy unofficial gospels to some extent undermine the credibility of the official canon? Even within the Canon, there are so many contradictions (10:03PM)
    Me: It is also possible that many of the traditions found in the book were passed down orally from an earlier time until they were brought together in this written form. Although we disdain any and all oral traditions today, such was not the case in the ancient word. For example, among the collections of writings of the Apostolic Fathers are often found the literary remains of Papias, who heard the Apostle John preach and was the Bishop of Hierapolis. He recounts the basis of his writings: If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings, what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lords disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice. It is possible that the parents of the Theotokos lived… (10:04PM)
    Me: … near the Temple, providing a basis for such things as her Presentation, even if those events are not understood to be literally true in every detail. In fact, in Jerusalem today there is an Orthodox womens monastery literally a stones throw from the Temple site that claims to be built over the house of Joachim and Anna. Inside you can descend a narrow staircase into a typical first century one-room house at what may have been street level centuries ago. (10:05PM)
    Me: On the other hand, there are many details in the Protoevangelium that are obviously inspired by Gospels. A rather crude illustration of this is the refusal of Salome to believe the midwife that Mary was and remained a virgin in giving birth, which was obviously based on the story of St. Thomas in the Gospel of John: And the midwife came out of the cave and Salome met her. And she said to her, Salome, Salome, I have a new sight to tell you about; a virgin has brought forth, a thing which her condition does not allow. And Salome said, As the Lord my God lives, unless I insert my finger and test her condition, I will not believe that a virgin has given birth (Protoevangelium of St. James). If nothing else, the Protoevangelium of St. James illustrates that the core catholic beliefs about Mary and her perpetual virginity could have been presented in a developed written form less than a century after the end of the Apostolic age and accepted as normative by the Church with few… (10:05PM)
    Me: … exceptions. We must point out again that while The Protoevangelium of St. James was condemned by the Church, many of the traditions concerning the Mother of God that it relates were accepted as a part of the deposit of faith by the Early Church. (10:05PM)
    Me: ()
    Brotherlawrence: Yep again they pick and choose what they will accept and what they wont (10:07PM)
    Me: In answer to your question, Tom, let me look back and see what it was (10:07PM)
    Me: DaytonaTom: Dad….would you say all these shadowy unofficial gospels to some extent undermine the credibility of the official canon? Even within the Canon, there are so many contradictions (10:08PM)
    Me: Undermine the credibility, hardly, rather the ancient texts Prove how incredible the canon really is and acknowledge that it is not a true history but rather a statement of FAITH (10:10PM)
    Brotherlawrence: According to it St. Joachim father goes to Jerusalem to pay his taxes. The priests refuse to accept them on the grounds he is the male in Israel to have produced no children for the nation of Israel. He doesnt believe it and so investigates and finds out it is true. So he goes out in the desert refusing to eat or go home to his until God gives him a child (10:11PM)
    Me: In spite of tons of proof that Jesus is not who the Bible or the Holy Roman Church says that he is, The True Jesus still shines out in his word, ignoring words that are obviously scribes notes added to make it sound more like the Official Version PEOPLE BELIEVED in Jesus enough to go to their Deaths willingly (10:13PM)
    DaytonaTom: I guess the problem I am getting at is this — every Sunday we hear preachers proclaim that God loves everyone. On the other hand, we have this scriptural tradition claiming that God picked one man, Abraham, to receive his revelation, and later on, one particular people to get first dibs on a lot of Mideast real estate, and then centuries later, one particular maiden of a certain lineage to produce the Messiah. So our modern concept of equality runs up against the concept of a Chosen People. (10:14PM)
    Brotherlawrence: His wife St. Ann thinks her husband is dead and begins to mourn for him and also for the fact she is a virgin and now will never have children. While on a walk in her garden she has a vision in which an angel appears to her and tells her husband is alive and on his way home and she wiil have a child (10:14PM)
    Me: YES, Tom and notice the most important thing you said in the first sentence (10:15PM)
    Me: preachers proclaim Not THE WORD PROCLAIMS (10:16PM)
    Brotherlawrence: The child is Mary who is taken to the temple and dedicated to the Lord and left there. She remains there making vestments and other things needed for the temple (10:17PM)
    Me: Like I tell people and did today again, The Word in Isaiah 56:3-5 Proclaims that God has set aside space in his Heaven for the Eunuch (homosexual) who believes that is equal or better than that set aside for his chosen people. But how many preachers ever mention it (10:18PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Then she becomes 12 and the priests afraid she will defile the temple with her periods decide to kick her out of the temple. All the old men were summoned and it was decided that they would all present their rods before the Lord and the one whose rod has something miraculous happen to it would be the one that was chosen by God to marry Mary (10:22PM)
    DaytonaTom: Dad….interesting you bring up Isaiah 56. Our church had a guest sermon about 5 years ago by a gay-friendly straight Baptist minister. His prophecy was that eventually, maybe in 100 years or so, the Southern Baptists would finally acknowledge Isaiah 56 as a beacon for gay acceptance….just as they eventually came around to admit blacks as members and ministers about a century after the Civil War. (10:22PM)
    Me: by the way, what I was quoting from came from © 2016 by the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. 312 Garfield Street, Johnstown, PA 15906 (10:21PM)
    arrowLX: brb (10:23PM)
    Brotherlawrence: Joseph rod had a bird fly out of the rod of Joseph so he then chosen to marry Mary. He protest that he is old and has children and therefore doesnt want to remarry again (10:24PM)
    Bruce1: if joseph is old and has children already maybe those children are the half brothers and sisters of jesus? (10:25PM)
    Me: ()
    DaytonaTom: I like how Old and New Testaments repeatedly single out old people for miracles and big assignments….Gives hope to us retirees! (10:26PM)
    arrowLX: back (10:26PM)
    DaytonaTom: I have the Forgotten Books in my library. Will have to dust it off, literally, and see if it has some or all of the Protoevangelium….But I have bookmarked your link also. (10:27PM)
    Brotherlawrence: However he is told God will strike him dead as he did to Dathan and Abiram when they refused to obey so he takes Mary but does not consummate the marriage calling her the woman he travels with (10:28PM)
    DaytonaTom: Time for me to get some sleep. Our local library is starting up a tai chi class tomorrow morning, and I am going to check it out. (10:28PM)
    Me: I also have or had the Forgotten Book in my library, if I can scoop the dust off of it (10:28PM)
    DaytonaTom: goodnite everyone…glad chat room is functioning.

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