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Thread: A burning question and some advice please

  1. #1
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    Question A burning question and some advice please

    Hey everybody!

    OK you guys. I hate to do this for a first post. But I have a burning question here {and sorry ahead of time to those in the abrahamic category...in particular those who practice Christianity}. And this is it...

    Why do some pagans defend Jesus????...

    Before I go on with why I'm asking that let me explain a few things...

    My beliefs are somewhat eclectic. My mother's family was Episcopal and I was baptized in the Episcopal church. My father's family was Latin Rite Catholic and my stepfather is Latin Rite Catholic {Pre Vatican II}. I have always had a fascination with mythology and folkore from a very young age. In 1997 I began studying paganism in earnest and I have incorporated a few things from Christianity into my pagan beliefs {in particular the Virtues and Deadly Sins and
    the belief in angels}. I was born with cerebral palsy and one of the main reasons that I converted to paganism had to do with the accounts of miraculous healing in the New Testament. The true reason and how those accounts have impacted their views toward those who are handicapped from birth. For those who aren't aware. Most of these accounts center around people with physical disabilities and other physical conditions {the lame...as those who had paralysis in the legs were called back then...and the blind...come up in these accounts}. Christians like to claim that those healings were conducted out of a sense of compassion. But rather than that...I believe that those lame, blind, lepers and others who were healed...were people who asked to be able to join his flock and were told something like "sure you can...but you have to be healed first". I realize that there are accounts of miraculous healings in faiths other than Christianity {see the Native American legend "Scarface" for another example}. But none of those tales are used to justify excluding those with disabilities from birth from becoming a practicing shaman etc etc. Where as in the case of Christianity {although christian clergy will never admit this}...their accounts of miraculous healing are used as a basis for discouraging those with disabilities from birth from entering the clergy and taking an active part in it. I already knew {somewhat} what the attitude toward those with birth disabilities is like {ie the "I will pray for you" thing}. But the bigger problem is that the number of physically challenged in the christian clergy {both Protestant and Catholic} is in the single digits. Two of those {Faustina Kowalska and Solanus Casey given name Bernard Casey...were exploited...Solanus Casey for instance had a learning disability...and barely made it through Seminary...his superiors were looking for reasons to deny him ordination and realizing that they couldn't find any justification for doing so...ordained Solanus Casey but didn't allow him to lead a mass or given confession...Faustina Kowalska was autistic...she was permitted to take the veil...but she was moved to different convents over several years and treated as a servant}. And then there's the vandalism of the Jarusalem temple...which christians refer to as "the cleansing of the temple" {this despite the fact that christians call Jesus the "prince of peace"}...

    So here's why I'm asking this...

    I have an acquaintance who is also pagan. He doesn't get out very often and may be thinking with a sense of naivete as a result because he isn't in contact with too many people. Awhile back he posted something on Facebook that went along the lines of "traditional Jesus or Republican Jesus?". The furthest I'll go into my reply is to say that I said that I consider Jesus problematic {which I do}. Recently during a chat with him on FB Messanger...this conversation about Jesus came up. I basically explained my beef with Jesus concerning the whole miraculous healing thing. And his response was "that's probably an artifact of the period" {I'm actually very worried about him because of this...among other things...which is another thing entirely}...

    Any thoughts????
    Get back to me,
    Thanks!
    Gabriel

    PS: Sorry for the color change and size increase. Sight impairment.
    Last edited by Gabriel_Mystic_Cherub; 10 Oct 2020 at 01:13.

  2. #2
    Member CottonIchor's Avatar
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    Re: A burning question and some advice please

    most pagans (earth based religion practitioners) don't condemn ANY deities - I must say that with a title like "traditional Jesus or Republican Jesus?" it doesn't sound like he is to fond of Christ himself.... I'm not so sure that I would be worried about his theological path - however - it does sound like you still have a lot of resentment and anger over biblical references - if you have placed your faith outside of Christian theology and this is still burning your ass then I have to wonder if you don't have some more work to do to heal...

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: A burning question and some advice please

    Separate the teaching from the practises of any group before judging the teaching, then judge the group by the teachings they claim to endorse.

    A relevant quote comes from Nietzsche - "I'm not against Christians, but so far, there's only been one of them."
    Every moment of a life is a horrible tragedy, a slapstick comedy, dark nihilism, golden illumination, or nothing at all; depending on how we write the story we tell ourselves.


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    Kick Ass Little Crow Corvus's Avatar
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    Re: A burning question and some advice please

    It's worth noting that basically all the ancient near east religions, and most pre-modern organized spiritual practices in general, had a strong ableist lean. The old testament has a pretty uncharitable view of disability, likening it to a state of impurity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leviticus 21:16-23 NIV
    The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food offerings to the Lord. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. 22 He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; 23 yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the Lord, who makes them holy.’"
    It's not really exclusive to Christianity, or the Abrahamic faiths in general. However, this view becomes much more compassionate in the new testament, which is a pretty big component to Jesus in general. Historically, disabilities were not often seen in the same way they are now. That is to say that the notion of being differently abled was rather foreign, which makes sense considering that widespread and socially supported accessibility is a product of modern innovation. There are some exceptions, like blind prophets that show up all over, but even this was considered to be a give and take deal, and disability overall was seen as being a downside which should be eliminated.

    It is an a relic of the period which the texts originate. This is not to defend it as there is biblical precedent for a great many terrible things. It is important to note that there is also less problematic decrees involving disability. Here's a few verses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuteronomy 27:18 KJV
    Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leviticus 19:14 KJV
    Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord.
    There's also some biblical figures who are either explicitly disabled in some manner, or could feasibly be considered to be disabled. Mephibosheth in the book of Samuel is probably the best example, as he is not cured of his inability to walk, but is brought forth by king David to "show the kindness of God" to the house of Saul, who then welcomes him to the palace. Some interpret this as a metaphor for the kingdom of God and it's inclusivity.

    I will say that don't agree with your interpretation of Jesus healing the disabled. I don't believe the textual evidence fully supports Jesus being exclusionary. I do not recall any point in the narration where a person refused Jesus's healing, or was rejected a request for healing. The bible is obviously not complete and there's surely many "off screen" events. As you say, it is meant to show the compassion and mercy of God, but also to show the power of God. These power contests between God and the other deities of the near east occur a bunch of times in the old testament. Jesus is not competing with false gods, however he is attempting to demonstrate that God would do what the false gods would not, to emphasize the universality of God and bring His power to common people in a direct, observable, way.

    Quote Originally Posted by John 9:2-7 KJV
    And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.
    We also see here that Jesus is explicitly saying this man's blindness is not the result of sin, but a different part to God's plan, in this case in order that he might be healed to cultivate faith in the masses and demonstrate the compassion of God. Personally, I think that's a bit shite, but I'm also not a Christian who believes in the omnipotent and omniscient nature of God.

    Christianity also has a complicated relationship with the concept of suffering, which I'm sure surprises no one. Regardless of how we currently view disability, it's not difficult to say that many disabilities make life harder for people, and historically that hardship has been considered a state of suffering. Throughout time how that is interpreted by church leaders has varied, either as punishment or blessing from God is generally the stance, but obviously those are both a bit contradictory. Mother Teresa, a saint who is notable for behaving in rather unsaintly ways on occasion, often likened suffering to a blessing which allows us to appreciate and know the benefaction of God, both in consideration to the positive aspects of our lives, and in the bond of suffering with the passion.

    Lastly, I think it's important to separate the institution of the Church from the faith. It is subject to the same faults of prejudice, ableism, discrimination, and such that any other institution would be. Especially notable are the Church's history in colonialism and eugenics. The faults of the Church are not the faults of Christ. Your friend's post about "traditional or republican Jesus" has a good point. Jesus is a symbol which can mean many things, but as a literary or historic figure (like how most people examine non-Abrahamic mythology) Jesus can be examined in much more grounded attributes. The American Republican party, and conservatism in general, and it's relationship with "Christian values" is a bit complicated and more than I really want to write because I'm a non-Christian liberal hippie socialist and I want to go do something else, but suffice to say there's been some drift in the values of commercial Christianity and political Christians compared with textual and canonical precedent.

    The god of Abraham is not my god, nor do I accept the salvation of Jesus. This puts me in doctrinal opposition to Jesus, but on a personal level? The teachings of Christ have value just as the teachings of other religious leaders do and Jesus who is among the poor, argues for equality, believes in community support, and engages with both men and God in a decidedly human way, doesn't seem incompatible with my morality. While it is impossible to divorce Jesus from his religious message, that hasn't seemed to be a problem with other people examining "inspirational" quotes from Buddha, Confucius, or any other figure who has a religious and cultural status which cannot be disentangled from their statements.

    Pagans, in general, have a problem with the fire and brimstone God, and the political institution and religious structure of the church which engages in persecution, and has often personally chuffed them in some way. One might argue this is a factor of being culturally Christian, or raised in a way that values biblical teachings, and maintaining some aspect of that culture when one is no longer Christian. When people, not just pagans, move away from Christianity, they will often keep some of the "ideas" of Christianity. Overall, I don't think there's many people that specifically dislike Jesus, because the dude's entire thing is compassion and love for people, regardless of social, political, or religious status, with an emphasis on assisting the underprivileged or those who society believes are unworthy. When examining the text, Jesus as a figure is fairly unobjectionable, it's the institutions of Christianity, the religion as a whole, or the misuse of the symbol of Jesus which people have an issue with.
    “They moaned and squealed, and pressed their snouts to the earth. We are sorry, we are sorry.
    Sorry you were caught, I said. Sorry that you thought I was weak, but you were wrong.”
    -Madeline Miller, Circe

  5. #5
    Silver Member Bartmanhomer's Avatar
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    Re: A burning question and some advice please

    I'm a Christian and I'm not entirely sure, to be honest.

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