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What did the early Christians believe?

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  • What did the early Christians believe?

    Really aimed at H_A. What did the early Christians believe, and how do you know? Thanks.
    "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man." - Alex Vilenkin

  • #2
    Church Fathers
    It does not help much to dwell on those things you did or did not do in the past. At the time, you did the very best you could, given your knowledge, and experience.

    Comment


    • #3
      ok, I'll bite.

      I'm guessing they believed that Jesus was the Messiah, that he died on the cross and rose from the dead, ,,,

      Oh, wait...

      Paul tells us what they believed:


      Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

      2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

      3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

      4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

      5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

      6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.

      7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.

      8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

      --1 Cor 15

      Comment


      • #4
        Here, Peter gives us the identity of Jesus:


        Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

        --Mat 16:16

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Crazy Ivan View Post
          Really aimed at H_A. What did the early Christians believe, and how do you know? Thanks.
          They were all over the map. We know this the same way we know anything else from history. The Nag Hammadi library is a clear example of how diverse Christianity was at the time and how different it was than today, There was also proto-orthodox, which became institutionalized.

          All the various contemporary sects imagining they are the one group that is doing it the way the first Christians did is the height of ignorance.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Crazy Ivan View Post
            Really aimed at H_A. What did the early Christians believe, and how do you know? Thanks.
            Because we have read the fake news version of the story, the propaganda written by Paul and the other anonymous authors. Like other spiritual leaders of the time, he was shown to perform all sorts of miracles, but all of this represented by ancient superstitious men who have an interest in converting you to their own beliefs. The gospel of John says as much in Chapter 20.

            If you fully buy the propaganda documents in the New Tesatment, then you might think it all went down just like it was written. We really have next to no evidence for that except loose historical critical methods that really don't demonstrate that any of the events are verifiable. Did Jesus die on the cross and all his apostles immediately came to think he was resurrected? We really have no clue, as his contemporaries wrote of this after the propaganda documents were in circulation.

            To me this has all the likelihood of Joseph Smith's first vision or Muhammad talking to the Angel Gabriel in a cave. All religions rapidly adapt and romanticize their origins as part of their propaganda strategy.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Derrick View Post
              Because we have read the fake news version of the story, the propaganda written by Paul and the other anonymous authors. Like other spiritual leaders of the time, he was shown to perform all sorts of miracles, but all of this represented by ancient superstitious men who have an interest in converting you to their own beliefs. The gospel of John says as much in Chapter 20.

              If you fully buy the propaganda documents in the New Tesatment, then you might think it all went down just like it was written. We really have next to no evidence for that except loose historical critical methods that really don't demonstrate that any of the events are verifiable. Did Jesus die on the cross and all his apostles immediately came to think he was resurrected? We really have no clue, as his contemporaries wrote of this after the propaganda documents were in circulation.

              To me this has all the likelihood of Joseph Smith's first vision or Muhammad talking to the Angel Gabriel in a cave. All religions rapidly adapt and romanticize their origins as part of their propaganda strategy.
              Propaganda, lol.


              Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. [John 3:11]

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              • #8
                Originally posted by molly View Post
                Here, Peter gives us the identity of Jesus:


                Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

                --Mat 16:16
                And it didn't take centuries and "systematic theology" to figure that out. Imagine that....
                Life is a waterfall
                we drink from the river
                then we turn around and put up our walls....(SOAD)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by molly View Post

                  Propaganda, lol.


                  Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. [John 3:11]
                  Texts that castigate the Jews in the book of John later became the grounds for pogroms and persecution in the Middle Ages. These texts were introduced into an aimless world of chance and its doctrines and theologies evolved according to the existing cultures and events which transpired. The problem is, despite how much I can cast doubt on these events, the initiated will always default to their accepted narratives and beliefs without any skepticism. Such is the effect of propaganda, which is defined:
                  1. information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
                  Our word, propaganda even has Christian roots in the Reformation, where it would be used to refer to the propagating of the gospel message. These were obviously not unbiased representations of events as they unfolded, these are designed to gain converts. The authors of the gospels have apparent themes and messages which they attempt to convince the reader of right out of the gate. It's brilliant propaganda, absolutely astounding for its time as it uses narrative very well along with metaphors and parables which are very effective on human beings. In many ways it gave a better communal justification than paganism, but the Middle Ages demonstrate that this transition came at the cost of fanaticism and many religious wars to come. As it only arose to its place of prominence because Constantine won his battle with the Cross behind his army, but even this was represented in biased fashion and sought to romanticize the events of Constantine's conversion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Derrick View Post
                    Because we have read the fake news version of the story, the propaganda written by Paul and the other anonymous authors. Like other spiritual leaders of the time, he was shown to perform all sorts of miracles, but all of this represented by ancient superstitious men who have an interest in converting you to their own beliefs. The gospel of John says as much in Chapter 20.

                    If you fully buy the propaganda documents in the New Tesatment, then you might think it all went down just like it was written. We really have next to no evidence for that except loose historical critical methods that really don't demonstrate that any of the events are verifiable. Did Jesus die on the cross and all his apostles immediately came to think he was resurrected? We really have no clue, as his contemporaries wrote of this after the propaganda documents were in circulation.

                    To me this has all the likelihood of Joseph Smith's first vision or Muhammad talking to the Angel Gabriel in a cave. All religions rapidly adapt and romanticize their origins as part of their propaganda strategy.
                    So your answer has to be: We have no idea, really, what they believed, because all we DO have is Pauline propaganda.

                    So how do you know that what they believed wasn't what was reflected in Paul's writings? How do you know that Paul's writings are somehow materially different from what the church "pre-Paul" believed?
                    "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man." - Alex Vilenkin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by molly View Post

                      Propaganda, lol.


                      Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. [John 3:11]
                      My Pastor has a friend that says "I know that I know that I know."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Derrick View Post
                        Because we have read the fake news version of the story, the propaganda written by Paul and the other anonymous authors. Like other spiritual leaders of the time, he was shown to perform all sorts of miracles, but all of this represented by ancient superstitious men who have an interest in converting you to their own beliefs. The gospel of John says as much in Chapter 20.

                        If you fully buy the propaganda documents in the New Tesatment, then you might think it all went down just like it was written. We really have next to no evidence for that except loose historical critical methods that really don't demonstrate that any of the events are verifiable. Did Jesus die on the cross and all his apostles immediately came to think he was resurrected? We really have no clue, as his contemporaries wrote of this after the propaganda documents were in circulation.

                        To me this has all the likelihood of Joseph Smith's first vision or Muhammad talking to the Angel Gabriel in a cave. All religions rapidly adapt and romanticize their origins as part of their propaganda strategy.
                        Big word alert: Testament.

                        You have no testimony.

                        Get this.

                        20 PhD's in philosophy do not combine with enough power to over rule 1 testimony.


                        We know your agenda. We know why atheists are not trusted.

                        Comment


                        • #13


                          Originally posted by backup View Post

                          They were all over the map. We know this the same way we know anything else from history. The Nag Hammadi library is a clear example of how diverse Christianity was at the time and how different it was than today, There was also proto-orthodox, which became institutionalized.

                          All the various contemporary sects imagining they are the one group that is doing it the way the first Christians did is the height of ignorance.
                          So we consider Stalin and we consider backup. The word unity comes to mind?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nouveau View Post

                            Big word alert: Testament.

                            You have no testimony.

                            Get this.

                            20 PhD's in philosophy do not combine with enough power to over rule 1 testimony.


                            We know your agenda. We know why atheists are not trusted.
                            Mormons have testimonies too, they bear them once a month all over the world and it has just amount of power over reality as every other religious claim to supernatural knowledge or truth.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Crazy Ivan View Post

                              So your answer has to be: We have no idea, really, what they believed, because all we DO have is Pauline propaganda.
                              We have awareness of the traditions which arose in the late 1st Century, and we can see how the gospel message evolved through the synoptic gospels culminating in the late 1st or early 2nd century formulation of the gospel of John. We ultimately are left with what was written, and the intent of the writings is to persuade people to believe in Jesus by people who are already assimilated and convinced of that message. Almost more than half of what was attributed to Paul wasn't even authored by him, such as the Pastoral Epistles, Ephesians, Colossians, etc. so getting at Paul's views is different when one abandons inerrancy and embraces modern biblical scholarship. The details are ultimately sketchy, content is doubtful in its truthfulness and it is reflective of other mythological religious texts from the period and fits with an anthropological understanding of this human cultural expression.

                              So how do you know that what they believed wasn't what was reflected in Paul's writings?
                              We ultimately don't, and from Paul's writings we even have reason to suspect this perhaps wasn't the case. Paul was an "apostle to the Gentiles" and his two most important writings, in Galatians and Romans are supporting the contention that the mystery of the gospel revealed that Christ's death served as a fulfillment of the promise for all who believe in him, rather than the Abrahamic promise being applicable to all Jews both in following the law or due to fleshly inheritance. Paul also writes in Galatians that he came into conflict with Peter on this subject, as he was influenced by the party of the "Circumcision" which is that adherence to the Mosaic Law and inclusion in the Jewish people would be a requirement for Christian converts. Paul's position obviously focused on justifying his mission and presenting arguments for the unification of Jewish and Gentile believers which was apparently an early contention in the Christian community. Romans more fully fleshed out the importance of justification in providing the opportunity for the inclusion of Gentiles and therefore all people, and then provided his take on the future of god's plan to one day re-include the Jewish people as he explains in Romans 9-11 and how their present exclusion is also serving god's purposes of mercy.

                              As you can see, Paul's writings were reflective of his role and interest as an "apostle to the Gentiles," and we can only attempt to deduce the counter positions based upon this representation.

                              How do you know that Paul's writings are somehow materially different from what the church "pre-Paul" believed?
                              I think its clear that Paul was in the Proto-orthodox camp of the Early Christian Church. What isn't clear is when the emergence of "false teachers" notably the Gnostics arose in Christian communities, but this does look to be quite early on. Syncretism usually would result quite rapidly with any religion as it is adopted in various regions and cultures. I don't think it is a good guide to first go to the gospels, which were written after Paul, to then try and surmise what the "original" Christians believed. This is ultimately a mystery which we can try to piece together in order to arrive at some loose and plausible conclusions, but not confident knowledge of any sort.

                              Comment

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