Are You an Orthodox Christian?

As time goes on, more ancient documents are discovered and more archological evidence is found.  In addition, there are more than 10,000 people in the world pouring over  information from ancient times, piecing together the vast information and coming to conclusions different from those in the past.

One on-going question about Christianity remains, what was it about at the very beginning?  Scholars come up with new conclusions.

Today, I would paraphrase Christian orthodoxy as God made the universe, Jesus is God’s son, was human and remains a god and so on.

Back in 1934, the German scholar, Walter Bauer, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, asserted that what we now call orthodoxy was in ancient times heresy.  For example in Syria and Asia Minor, original Christianity was Marcionite (there were two gods, Jesus was not human), Eygpt was Gnostic and other areas had other versions. Some details he reported were incorrect, but his overall conclusion has stood the test of time.

We know the majority of Jews did not believe Paul’s version of the faith, nor did Jesus’ brother James, nor Paul’s opponents in Galatia, nor later groups like the Ebionites.  Documents show all manner of Christian groups were going about trying to stop the spread of other factions including the one which dominates today.  Each of these groups had reason to believe all others were in error.

Of all these groups, the version that made it to Rome stressed clerical hierarchy, that religion is decided by officials in religion, not by peons.  In fortuitous circumstances, religous heirarchy married a powerful govenment hierarchy.

This marriage brought us “orthodox” Christianity.

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About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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45 Responses to Are You an Orthodox Christian?

  1. Michael Ross says:

    A starving man in a famine may be reduced to eating rats and rubbish, rather than die of hunger. Similarly, a conscience-stricken soul, deprived of God’s Word, should not be judged too harshly by us, if they struggled to find comfort in the most debassing superstition. However, we must never forget that it was from such superstitions which the Reformation delivered us.
    http://frontline.org.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=896:how-the-reformation-changed-the-church&catid=25:reformation-revival-cat&Itemid=202

    The common man did not have the Bible after the invention of the printing press which produced the first biblically literate society, America.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 3:50 “..we must never forget that it was from such superstitions which the Reformation delivered us.”

      There would be millions, make that BILLIONS, of people who would say the Reformation delivered people INTO superstitions, not out of it. Those billions would include people of other religions plus nonbelievers who exist everywhere in the world.

      To me, someone telling me I will go to hell unless I pledge belief in Jesus is like another telling me I will have bad luck is a black cat crosses in front of me. They are both in the realm of superstition because there is no factual, varifiable or objective information that provides evidence either are true.

  2. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; Re. “…nor did Jesus’ brother James”. See Incident at Antioch” @ wiki. in it’s entirety. The issue was not so much (as you have claimed) the Gentile’s fear of having their little peckers whittled on, but the necessity OF it. Baptism, (washing) was already present in custom pre Christ, but the “Baptism of the heart” AKA” circumcision of the heart” was related to the New Covenant, (The Gospel).
    The other issue overblown by most was more a matter of semantics of works vs. faith. (chicken or egg). Luther was accused by the RCC of antinomianism (against the Law), by his comment on James’ epistle of being an epistle of straw, but in reality, the early part of the quote was “compared to” the gospels. It should also be noted that Luther did preach sermons with James as a text for the content of his sermons. Hardly a thing he would have done had he not recognized the value of it.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wanna 1:53 “See incident at Antioch.”

      I looked at “incident at Antioch, Brother of Jesus.” It confirmed what I wrote in this blog. There was a schism between a big branch of Jews at the time and what Paul was preaching. It says James would not even think of eating a meal with gentile.

      The remains plenty of indisputable evidence that the version of Christianity dominent in the U. S. and Europe today was not favored by most of the early believers in Jesus. It is dominent today, not because it is “right”, but because of flukes in historical events.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Jon; Of course there was a ‘schism” between a big branch of Jews at the time. The Jews went their way, and the followers of Jesus went theirs. After the fall of Jerusalem 70 AD, the Christians at Jerusalem were pretty well scattered. Peter too agreed with James at first, but saw the error of his understanding, and went along with Paul. It is understandable certain Jews believing in Jesus would have a problem with eliminating some “customs” they were accustomed to. These were called the “Judaizers”. They didn’t want to give up the ceremonial, dietary, and civil laws the New Covenant fulfilled. These changes in understanding take time. “Custom” was just as difficult a problem at the time of the Reformation. Many of these matters fall in the area of ecclesiology, rather than theology or doctrine. And these types of problems are around us today.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 4:52 So, following Jewish law was a “custom” that could be blown off given enlightenment and time. It does not invalidate my point: Today’s version of Christianity was not viewed favorably by a big portion of Jews or Jews who believed in Christ. The only reason the current version is so powerful is a fluke of historical events. I guess one could say the belief that Jesus died for our sins is a custom.

          On you favorite technique of arguing, take some big words, classify issues to fall under the words, then drop the entire matter as if using the words wins the argument, I did not find any clear indication the practices and beliefs of Jews falls under eccelsiology and not theology. Under Wiki it refers to eccelsiology and the study of a group’s theology. The word originally applied only to religious archecture. There was disagreement with Paul, period.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Again you miss the point. From Wiki incident at Antioc; subheading incident…”Describes the dispute as being resolved by Peter’s speech and concluding with a decision by James the Just to not require circumcision for Gentile Converts. From Acts.
            Your point is……pointless.
            That you don’t understand the differences and relationships of “some big words” (your words), simply reveals the fact that you are not even qualified to speak to the same with authority. You are free to, but that is all.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Your inability to understand what I said is noted.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      Bathing, (being clean physically) was something enacted by Pagen temples. Specifically Greek temples to their various Gods stressed the importance of cleanliness and associated hygien with health. The symbols on abmulances are Greek Pagen symbols:

      The symbol of medicine in North America is the caduceus, two snakes wrapped around a pole (originally the pole had wings). It is a symbol of the planet Mercury, also of the ancient Roman god Mercury. Mercury was the messenger god, also the god of commerce, of merchants, gamblers, and thieves.

      But as a medical symbol it is confused with another symbol, the Staff of Asclepius. Asclepius was a Greek god of astrology, also of medicine and healing. You can see his symbol here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_of_Ascl

      Asclepius has only one snake, and it’s wrapped not around a messenger’s staff but just a stick.

      The symbolism of a snake in medicine is not totally understood. One theory is that the snake sheds its skin so it’s a symbol of renewing, healing. Another is that many words that today mean medicine once meant poison (and many medicines today are made from things that were known as poisons before a medical use was found for them).

      There are many symbols of health, healing, and hygiene that stem back to Greek origins. I found this tidbit funny. The red cross symbol, is deemed to be the inverse of the greek flag… White cross on a red back ground. heh..

      John the Baptist had a good idea, and sounded like a character in need of washing… (washed others but never himself…) Sounds typically represenative of the christian nature.

      That said, cleansing of one’s soul, sounds like a superstitious form of therapy. Getting help to work through negative behaviors and things that hurt others.

      • Wolfy32 says:

        Correction, Flag of switzerland, which uses a Greek Cross… Not a Greek flag..

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Wolfy; your 3;35, and especially your last paragraph reveals you don’t have a clue. I won’t go deeper due to the futility of it.

        • Wolfy32 says:

          LOL, nice, just because I corrected myself instead of letting a false fact sit there means I don’t know anything about what I posted. I was typing too fast…

          But you never make any mistakes… I forgot, Christians don’t make mistakes, they’re perfect.

          Henry and Wanna are perfect, everyone around them is not.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Wolfy: See my 3:51. You haven’t shown me anything to change my mind. ” Especially your last paragraph.” Nor will I exercise futility. The information is out there, if you care to look.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            I’m not trying to change your mind, in fact you haven’t told me what’s on your mind. LOL.. I was trying to state I made a mistake, I corrected it.
            As to whether you get anything out of it, is up to you. Not my goal get you to think or believe a certain way. I know you want me to think or believe similarly to you. I get that. But, I’m really at peace with letting you think I was trying to convert you to believing something.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Wolfie; You get nothing. I’m not trying to get you to believe anything in particular. I don’t think you know yourself. Now, you think you I think you are trying to convert me to believe what you think? strange thinking.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            In fact, trying to follow your thinking is a little like looking through a kaleidoscope, so I don’t try. It is interesting though.

  3. entech says:

    That you don’t understand the differences and relationships of “some big words” (your words), simply reveals the fact that you are not even qualified to speak to the same with authority. You are free to, but that is all.

    I have asked before, what makes you so qualified to speak with such authority, with such perfect knowledge ?

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      #1. I know the subject matter—#2. Jon reveals he doesn’t. #3. You sound jealous.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Wanna 8:24 “#1. I know the subject matter.”

        Perhaps a qualifier is appropriate here. You know some of the subject matter. I’m not seeing an explanation from you, other than the one I provided, for the success of the current version of the faith. It would be refreshing to have you admit its success was a fluke of history, not the quality of the message per se.

      • entech says:

        You sound like a know it all autodidact with delusions of adequacy, but that doesn’t answer any questions.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Hmmmmmm. More “big words”. See Jon’s 7:28, 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence. apply to yourself. More boring.

          • entech says:

            OK in plain English:
            You sound like some one self taught, some one with the idea that he is far better and more knowledgeable than he is.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            You sound like you are speculating, with an attitude of having superior knowledge over anyone you disagree with. More boring.

        • entech says:

          OK, that is enough fun for now, you are starting to go around in circles.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Now there is an arrogant defensive statement. You fail.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            I like this, Entech can’t prove that wanna is going in circles so Wanna proved it by circling back to his previous antics.

            Religion aside… playground antics didn’t work when we were children, why would they work as adults?

            Either way, it’s entertaining like watching the the three stooges…

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Interesting that Jon can’t see the inaccuracies in his statement, and his cheerleader jumps in to defend him with the “playground” method., resulting in a failed attempt to exit with dignity. Follow the thread.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Resulting in the incorrectness of Jon’s subject diverted to “playground antics”. A not uncommon tactic here. “If you can’t defend it, try/ introduce something else to take the heat off”. That in of itself, is “playground”.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I have presented substance, @1:53-4:52-7:40. Only to be met with attitude.
            You wolfy are more like the schoolyard brat inserting yourself, and instigating a fight with no idea of what it is about. You have not contributed to the discussion one bit. More “schoolyard.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            I wasn’t defending anyone, just inserting a fact. I was entertained. A thank you is what I missed.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            “A fact” as you see it. Back to the playground with you.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            So, now you’re arguing about how I feel? Please, do tell me, how I feel or should feel? An expert on others feelings now too?

            The entertainment continues. (Insert what Wanna feels I should feel here, since how I feel about something isn’t a fact.)

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Wolfy: Did I say “feel”? No . Your own words reveal your understanding. That’s the only thing I can go by. How you “feel” about it, I could care less. Now you are reverting to the modality of the AG, from which you came, but can’t escape. So now, I ask you, how do you feel about that?

          • Wolfy32 says:

            My 4:56 stated “just inserting a fact. I was entertained”

            Your 5:00 stated: “A fact” as you see it.

            My “fact” was referring to the statement “I was entertained”. A state of being. Aka a feeling…
            You stated, that my entertainment was a fact as I saw it…. That you perceived my entertained state of being as something else. (what I don’t know.)

            I agree what we say is what any of us go by, I was going by what I said and how you responded that my state of being was wrong..

            That’s all I had to reference and go on…

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            As long as it makes you “feel good”. Baazzaarrioo. ( The sound a balloon makes when you let it go.)

          • entech says:

            7:54.
            I have never heard you speak but I would imagine the noise you try to describe is what comes out when you do speak.

            The same noise probably comes out of either end and makes as much sense.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Let me guess. School yard talk. Whoda thunk it.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech; To bring things down to your level, and or your further edification, “Yasser Arafat” is the sound of Dolly Parton taking off her bra at night, or any other time I suppose.

          • entech says:

            Now that is plain stupid, Dolly Parton never had a beard.

            Actually I was thinking of your friend Marty, talking about his favourite people when he said something about
            Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?

            It is just that you spout out with such authority and everyone else is so very wrong and stupid for not recognising it, I can just see your little feet stomping around the keyboard, squealing in anguish “Why don’t they recognise genius when they see it”.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            In reference to Miss Dolly’s “beard”. Some may call you lucky to have such personal knowledge. I’ve never given it any thought.

            Re. “farts” (your word), No Angels, no farts, no dancing. Makes for a long day, and an even longer night I would guess. I would venture a guess “Marty” would have said the same for the likes of you, even without a god, (small g).

            Re. the “stomping”. More hyperbole from the playground. Ever lick a flag pole at 20 below F?

          • entech says:

            10:31
            Well you are certainly thinking of it now. Does your mind ever get above your navel.

            Luther’s reference to angels dancing in response to farts was actually a snide reference to your own attitude when you “inform” people on this site. You seem to expect instant acceptance and jubilation from the enlightenment you dispense, so much so that even a fart should be considered enlightening if it came from you.

            Not hyperbole, there you go misusing big words again, just idle speculation.

            Now try to follow along and don’t let your mind sink to the gutter, don’t mistake the rude noises you make for intellect and do calm down and let someone else be wrong for an change.

            Time to go out now. You have given enough fun for one day. I nearly choked on my breakfast cereals laughing at you.
            More in a day you two.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            And again, he comes with the tactic of withdrawing with self assumed superiority. Revealing himself to being more so than his opposition. We have seen this before, and it didn’t work then. All through this topic, we have seen no substance to his posts, only defensive and childish opinion. Interesting bluster.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            Wanna, it has sunk to school yard talk, because well, discussing anything serious with you is just impossible. You can’t give any consideration, openness or connection to anyone’s viewpoints other than your own. Your own is the only one that matters.

            The difference between an athiest and a Christian in a bar…

            Christian: “I had a good time in church, and I really agreed with xyz.”

            Athiest: “So, what’s your take on ABC? I like your take, is there other possibilites or is that the only one though?”

            Do you see the difference? Do you? Nope, I would guess not…. I’ll spell it out…. The Christian immediately states their own view. There’s is all that matters. The Athiests, asks questions about others viewpoints, discusses them, asks more questions. Then if asked states their viewpoint….

            They don’t immediately assume they’re the only ones right on anything significant. Christians assume they’re it, they are all that matters, no one else, no other ideas or thoughts matter. No one else might as well exist, because they’re all going to hell anyways.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            So you go/ went to church to have a good time. That’s when the train went off the tracks in the first place.
            Anything that disagrees with non faith IS an argument waiting to happen. Those of non-faith don’t agree with faith, and you apparently don’t know what you believe. Only “could be” There is where the kaleidoscope comes in. Like a leaf blown in the wind. I have not seen serious questions presented for dialogue, only angry antithesis, or going off topic to escape and confuse.

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