Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Western Traditions

At Byzantine, Texas,Josephus Flavius put up a post about when to celebrate Easter. What has been sticking in my mind about that post is this:

However, in modern times, the Western Church has rejected the part of the Nicene formula that requires that Pascha “always follow the Jewish Passover.” Western theologians (and, unfortunately, a few misguided Orthodox Theologians as well) now claim that this provision was never a part of the council’s intention, saying that it is not necessary for Pascha to follow the Jewish Passover. This is hard to understand since, by rejecting this provision of the council, they ignore that the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection was celebrated at the same time from 325-1582, as well as the written witness of early Church historians and even earlier canons such as Canon VII of the Apostolic Canons which reads: “If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon celebrate the holy day of Pascha before the vernal equinox with the Jews, let him be deposed.”

Ah, another 'let him be deposed.' This and more were declared to be the consequences for adding stuff the creed.

Quite aside from doctrine, any serious reading of the councils will have you looking at your church with the same askance as when you hear a politician make yet another unconstitutional declaration, or worse, pass another illegal law.


Stan (Heretic) said...

Hi August, you may find this article interesting and very relevant:

Stan (Heretic)

August said...

Many Christians are now quite text dependent- indeed this is a feature of the entire modern world. But this was not so in early Christianity. Christians endeavored to seek out those who knew Christ, and when they all died, those who knew the Apostles, etc..- down through the ages.
Meanwhile, there were pagans, gnostics, and madmen everywhere- but I seriously doubt they were at the council. Some of the bishops there could certainly have been ignorant men, but then we have this problem now, among all human institutions.
The intergenerational transfer of knowledge, however, in which Christians sought out elders to learn all that they could about Christ, about St. Paul, etc...- meant that there was a large body of orally transmitted knowledge that the councils and the New Testament could not contradict without being rejected by the Christian people. Indeed, this is why there are other 'gospels' that were rejected.
In that era, a forgery simply would not work- not as a forgery might work now, for people now seek out the written word as the arbiter, whereas before they would seek out a man with a pedigree of being taught that could be traced back to the Apostles.

Stan (Heretic) said...

I have some problem with that. Oral traditions did exist but was contradictory and almost always hearsay'ish. There appear to have been several archetypes of the idea of Jesus, one of them was Mithra, there was Apolonius, and several other characters. I studied this for a while (since 1990). There are also some transcribed stories from India, Japan and other places, some legends but they are all inconsistent with each other. That's probably why it took Constantine so long to hammer out some common denominator in Nicea. I am not buying it because of the dubious origin of those foundational scriptures. I had no way of proving or disproving scientifically which of those are fake or distorted and to what extent, so I just decided to throw them all out for my own sake, together with the idea of JC for a good measure. This idea is tied to the following false premises: (1) explicit presumption, that humans have to be saved. (2) implicit presumption that humans are guilty and (3) extremely dis-empowering idea that salvation postulated by (1) must necessarily come from the outside of a human being.

I think (1) is a mistaken generalisation resting upon some archaic myths; (2) is simply false as is the idea of a guilt itself. It is like talking about a 'guilt' of a child. Humans are Children. (3) is hanging upon the first two and is most likely false even on its own since I think that all power comes from within, as you may have already found out.

Best regards,

August said...

This is what I have figured out so far:

The Forgotten Christianity: Perfection Surpasses Form

I also think IQ has been dropping since Victorian times (look up Woodley), and as such, we see a great confusion among Christians, with many of them essentially returning to a previous stage in religious evolution. Many of them are back to wanting to be good, follow rules, and get to heaven, rather than achieve perfection. Some may have even degraded further into a form of paganism. Meanwhile progressive radicals who go into theology tend to get perverse and generate these ideas- like the idea that there are several archetypes of Jesus in other religions. It just isn't true- the point of say, a resurrection, or a god becoming man in another religion is so fundamentally different that it doesn't equate.
Additionally, I am confident that men of the past were intelligent, and could tell the difference between a ghost and someone who had actually risen from the dead.

Stan (Heretic) said...

Very thought-provoking! An idea of a formless perfection (*) or an idea of a human being attaining the maximum possible for a human (**) - that is very different from the fundamental Christianity or churches' created image of Jesus. A friend of mine pointed precisely that out to me. He told me that when he spoke to J. through a channel, what came through was nothing about "salvation" but rather what you wrote in that link more-or-less.
Best regards,
Stan (still a heretic)

*) Digression: I recently realized that the idea of a 'form' or physical dimensions such as x,y,z is a scientific construct, it has no primary physical existence but rather is the consequence of separation of light. The primary physical reality consists probably of time, quantum field intensities and interactions.

**) Totally agree about some ancient human cultures being more intelligent than modern man. I also found thru my far memories, that some pagan ideas of gods were far more advanced and helpful in everyday life, more so than the modern monotheistic systems, than we now realize.

August said...

I am still not sure whether form is the right word. I had started with being, but then thought that that would cause problems.

I am not sure that I would call perfection formless. Perfection is itself. Perfection is one. And perfection doesn't lose any of itself when it incarnates into a human being, so we end up with Trinitarian doctrine.

As you may guess, I think this is very orthodox, but sophisticated, just the sort of understanding that Christianity lost as the revolutionaries swept the world, killed true leaders, and replaced them with bureaucrats.