The Bible and Pagan Mythology

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The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:00 pm

I tried to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe one time and just all of the witchcraft and the pagan elements really got to me and I had to put it down.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby jelly » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:03 pm

Margaret Thatcher wrote:I tried to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe one time and just all of the witchcraft and the pagan elements really got to me and I had to put it down.

Good call. I'd also stay far away from the Bible, it's kind of like that but a LOT worse.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby TigerintheShadows » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:12 pm

Jelly wrote:
Margaret Thatcher wrote:I tried to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe one time and just all of the witchcraft and the pagan elements really got to me and I had to put it down.

Good call. I'd also stay far away from the Bible, it's kind of like that but a LOT worse.


Aaaannnd Jelly verbalizes my thoughts. \:D/ Except what I was going to say was a lot more long-winded and rant-y, largely including such phrases as "allegorical work", "the codifier of the Messianic figure in literature", and "C.S. Lewis was a devout Protestant and a well-respected theologian and apologist".
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby Amethystic » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:55 pm

TigerintheShadows wrote:
Jelly wrote:
Margaret Thatcher wrote:I tried to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe one time and just all of the witchcraft and the pagan elements really got to me and I had to put it down.

Good call. I'd also stay far away from the Bible, it's kind of like that but a LOT worse.


Aaaannnd Jelly verbalizes my thoughts. \:D/ Except what I was going to say was a lot more long-winded and rant-y, largely including such phrases as "allegorical work", "the codifier of the Messianic figure in literature", and "C.S. Lewis was a devout Protestant and a well-respected theologian and apologist".
Guys, relax. :roll: I can understand why some people might have a problem with the books; half the non-human characters are mythologically-inspired creatures, after all. Does it bother most Christians? No. But then, there's a whole lot of things that don't bother most Christians that arguably should.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby jelly » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:20 pm

Amy, relax. :roll: We're well aware of how wicked we are for not empathising the way you do.

Fact: if you are unable to appreciate mythology, literature or allegory, and are more interested in keeping a list of religious rules, then you might as well not even read the Bible anyway. You won't be capable of appreciating it.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby Amethystic » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:50 pm

Jelly wrote:Amy, relax. :roll: We're well aware of how wicked we are for not empathising the way you do.

Fact: if you are unable to appreciate mythology, literature or allegory, and are more interested in keeping a list of religious rules, then you might as well not even read the Bible anyway. You won't be capable of appreciating it.
It's not being wicked, it's just being a bit harsh, no?

And wait, what? :-s I think it's a little silly to say that to disagree with C.S. Lewis' use of mythological creatures means that you are incapable of properly appreciating the Bible.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby jelly » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:59 pm

Amethystic wrote:I think it's a little silly to say that to disagree with C.S. Lewis' use of mythological creatures means that you are incapable of properly appreciating the Bible.

I didn't. Read my post again. ;)
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby Amethystic » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:05 pm

No?
Jelly wrote:Fact: if you are unable to appreciate mythology, literature or allegory, and are more interested in keeping a list of religious rules, then you might as well not even read the Bible anyway. You won't be capable of appreciating it.
Do tell what you meant then.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby jelly » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:39 pm

Is my language too cryptic? :anxious: tl;dr: if you are unable to appreciate mythology, literature or allegory, you are ill-equipped to properly appreciate the Bible.

..it's like if decided to make A Tale of Two Cities the number one authority in my life, and refused to actually learn anything about the French revolution. Or the practice of historical fiction. Or how to actually read.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby TigerintheShadows » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:25 pm

Amethystic wrote:
TigerintheShadows wrote:
Jelly wrote:
Margaret Thatcher wrote:I tried to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe one time and just all of the witchcraft and the pagan elements really got to me and I had to put it down.

Good call. I'd also stay far away from the Bible, it's kind of like that but a LOT worse.


Aaaannnd Jelly verbalizes my thoughts. \:D/ Except what I was going to say was a lot more long-winded and rant-y, largely including such phrases as "allegorical work", "the codifier of the Messianic figure in literature", and "C.S. Lewis was a devout Protestant and a well-respected theologian and apologist".
Guys, relax. :roll: I can understand why some people might have a problem with the books; half the non-human characters are mythologically-inspired creatures, after all. Does it bother most Christians? No. But then, there's a whole lot of things that don't bother most Christians that arguably should.


I understand that. I'm not trying to be harsh; I did not intend to be, and I am sorry for what I admit might not have been the best word choice. I just don't really see why witchcraft or paganism or mythological creatures should impede one's appreciation of or desire to read an allegorical work that is obviously meant to parallel many aspects of Christianity.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby Amethystic » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:03 pm

Jelly wrote:Is my language too cryptic? :anxious: tl;dr: if you are unable to appreciate mythology, literature or allegory, you are ill-equipped to properly appreciate the Bible.

..it's like if decided to make A Tale of Two Cities the number one authority in my life, and refused to actually learn anything about the French revolution. Or the practice of historical fiction. Or how to actually read.
Well, then what does it mean to "appreciate" something in this context--and how does one fail to properly "appreciate" the Bible?

The thing about A Tale of Two Cities, though, is that it wasn't divinely inspired. (Granted, most people don't think the Bible is divinely inspired, but that's their prerogative. I'm arguing this from the assumption that the Bible is, in fact, God's perfect Word.) God gave us the Bible as His direct words to us, and so while learning about historical context and external references is extremely beneficial, one's ability to be a righteous and effective servant of Christ is not impeded by the absence of them.


TigerintheShadows wrote:I understand that. I'm not trying to be harsh; I did not intend to be, and I am sorry for what I admit might not have been the best word choice. I just don't really see why witchcraft or paganism or mythological creatures should impede one's appreciation of or desire to read an allegorical work that is obviously meant to parallel many aspects of Christianity.
Why does witchcraft, paganism, and/or mythology in literature bother people? Well, people can debate or nuance the topic all they want in relation to fiction, but the fact is that the Bible spends a whole lot of time condemning witchcraft and paganism (the latter category also encompassing Greek/Roman mythology, which back in the day wasn't just a bunch of stories, but part of a religion). It just makes sense that some people would read that in the Bible and come to the conclusion that it's a good idea to avoid entertainment that incorporates those elements, regardless of the fact that some of that entertainment was created by an esteemed Christian theologian. After all, just because something has the word "Christian" or "allegorical" on it, doesn't mean it's theologically sound.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby TigerintheShadows » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:56 am

Amethystic wrote:It just makes sense that some people would read that in the Bible and come to the conclusion that it's a good idea to avoid entertainment that incorporates those elements, regardless of the fact that some of that entertainment was created by an esteemed Christian theologian. After all, just because something has the word "Christian" or "allegorical" on it, doesn't mean it's theologically sound.


Which then begs the question of why one would choose to read a book that has "witch" in the title in the first place, if one knows that witchcraft and paganism will bother them and they ought to avoid it...but I concede the point. It is true, "Christian allegorical work" does not a theologically sound work make.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:33 pm

I didn't check back on this topic until just now. TigerintheShadows brings up a good point, Christian allegorical work is not automatically sound theology. I don't need to be able to appreciate pagan myths to be able to appreciate the Bible. I don't even understand how those two are connected. Unlike your analogy of The Tale of Two Cities the Bible does not borrow from pagan mythology nor is it similar to pagan literature of the time. The Bible is unique in that it is divinely inspired, I don't need to know how to study pagan literature or myths to understand the Bible. Everything necessary for Salvation and the Christian life is in Scripture itself.

So no, simply because Lewis attempted to Christianize some pagan myths doesn't make that good. The Bible is pretty harsh toward witchcraft and paganism.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby jasonjannajerryjohn » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:00 pm

Jelly wrote:Is my language too cryptic? :anxious:


BWHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHA. Oh geez. Wow. That was hilarious. Thanks, I need that. :lol:

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Re: What Not to Read

Postby TigerintheShadows » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:53 pm

Margaret Thatcher wrote:I didn't check back on this topic until just now. TigerintheShadows brings up a good point, Christian allegorical work is not automatically sound theology. I don't need to be able to appreciate pagan myths to be able to appreciate the Bible. I don't even understand how those two are connected. Unlike your analogy of The Tale of Two Cities the Bible does not borrow from pagan mythology nor is it similar to pagan literature of the time. The Bible is unique in that it is divinely inspired, I don't need to know how to study pagan literature or myths to understand the Bible. Everything necessary for Salvation and the Christian life is in Scripture itself.

So no, simply because Lewis attempted to Christianize some pagan myths doesn't make that good. The Bible is pretty harsh toward witchcraft and paganism.


Yes, I did state that. I also questioned why you would read a book that even has "witch" in the title and is part of a series that is notorious for including elements of pagan mythology. I'm not trying here to be harsh, critical, or judgmental, MT; I honestly want to know why you chose to read TLtWatW if you knew the witchcraft would bother you. Relatedly (just out of curiosity), have you read Lewis's other works?
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:16 pm

I was told that it was good and that C.S. Lewis was a good Christian author, so I read it despite my misgivings. I haven't read any of Lewis' other works.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby Pirate Oriana » Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:45 pm

Personally, I love all the Chronicles of Narnia, and I wish you could enjoy them as much as I do. However, if your conscience tells you not to read it, don't. Just because something doesn't bother me, doesn't mean that you're overly sensitive because it bothers you. That being said, I would encourage you to take a look at some of Lewis's other work. Specifically the Screwtape Letters. I love that book, and Focus did an awesome version of it that I have listened to many, many times. \:D/

Also, I hated The Giver of Roses by Kathleen Morgan. I felt like it blurred lines between Muslim and Christian and had too much "romantic" (which is a generous word) angst in it which ended really stupidly. Put me off Kathleen Morgan for life.

Nevermore by James Patterson was also pretty stinking horrible in my opinion. I really like the first several books, which just tells you how bad things ended when I kind of just wanted everyone to die. It went from epic sci-fi adventures to terrible teen romance.

Oh, and Alice in Wonderland......I just kind of want to slap everyone in that book....

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Re: What Not to Read

Postby jelly » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:25 pm

Margaret Thatcher wrote:Unlike your analogy of The Tale of Two Cities the Bible does not borrow from pagan mythology nor is it similar to pagan literature of the time.

Except that this simply isn't true. >_>

Very little of of the Biblical text is wholly 'original'. Much of the Old Testament is heavily influenced by other ancient texts that predate it. Scholars and historians agree that there are even 'trends' when it comes to ancient creation mythology. The various writers of the Old Testament books were, of course, influenced by the popular genres and literature of the times.. because that's how writers write.

Most of the Proverbs are borrowed from other ancient cultures. The Ten Commandments are understood to be directly influenced by ancient Egyptian and/or Canaanite principles. Both Jesus and Paul quote 'pagan' sources, and the Judaic concept of Hell that Jesus refers to in the New Testament is directly influenced by Persian mythology. And on, and on, and on...

The books that make up the Bible were not written in a historical vacuum, nor were they dropped out of heaven by an angel. They were composed and arranged by many different authors at many different points in history, and in-depth study has led to surprising new understandings about its contents based on historical context. And yes.. those who have a better understanding of what they're reading will consequently have a better appreciation of it. That's the way it works. ;)

I would encourage you do your own research. Study up on the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Code of Hammurabi and the Instruction of Amenemope for starters. If you're feeling even more adventurous, you can look into Zoroastrianism and Buddhism to see some of the striking parallels between other ancient religions and Judeo-Christianity at large. There's a vast wealth of knowledge out there.. and the more you become antiquated with it, the more alive and exciting history becomes! :)

Margaret Thatcher wrote:The Bible is unique in that it is divinely inspired, I don't need to know how to study pagan literature or myths to understand the Bible.

Yes, you do. You may have an idea about the Bible, or an understanding of Biblical association.. but you cannot fully appreciate the value of the Biblical text unless you're actually willing to study it in its historical context, just as I cannot fully appreciate the Tale of Two Cities unless I'm actually willing to study the French Revolution or the art of fictional literature.
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Re: What Not to Read

Postby Over the Rainbow » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:00 pm

Jelly wrote:
Margaret Thatcher wrote:Unlike your analogy of The Tale of Two Cities the Bible does not borrow from pagan mythology nor is it similar to pagan literature of the time.

Except that this simply isn't true. >_>

Very little of of the Biblical text is wholly 'original'. Much of the Old Testament is heavily influenced by other ancient texts that predate it. Scholars and historians agree that there are even 'trends' when it comes to ancient creation mythology. The various writers of the Old Testament books were, of course, influenced by the popular genres and literature of the times.. because that's how writers write.

Most of the Proverbs are borrowed from other ancient cultures. The Ten Commandments are understood to be directly influenced by ancient Egyptian and/or Canaanite principles. Both Jesus and Paul quote 'pagan' sources, and the Judaic concept of Hell that Jesus refers to in the New Testament is directly influenced by Persian mythology. And on, and on, and on...

The books that make up the Bible were not written in a historical vacuum, nor were they dropped out of heaven by an angel. They were composed and arranged by many different authors at many different points in history, and in-depth study has led to surprising new understandings about its contents based on historical context. And yes.. those who have a better understanding of what they're reading will consequently have a better appreciation of it. That's the way it works. ;)

I would encourage you do your own research. Study up on the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Code of Hammurabi and the Instruction of Amenemope for starters. If you're feeling even more adventurous, you can look into Zoroastrianism and Buddhism to see some of the striking parallels between other ancient religions and Judeo-Christianity at large. There's a vast wealth of knowledge out there.. and the more you become antiquated with it, the more alive and exciting history becomes! :)

Margaret Thatcher wrote:The Bible is unique in that it is divinely inspired, I don't need to know how to study pagan literature or myths to understand the Bible.

Yes, you do. You may have an idea about the Bible, or an understanding of Biblical association.. but you cannot fully appreciate the value of the Biblical text unless you're actually willing to study it in its historical context, just as I cannot fully appreciate the Tale of Two Cities unless I'm actually willing to study the French Revolution or the art of fictional literature.


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Re: What Not to Read

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Tue Sep 10, 2013 8:06 am

I would of course argue that the writers of the Bible were influenced by God and I would wonder if you think God had any part in the Bible? You say the Judaic concept of Hell that Jesus refers to in the New Testament is directly influenced by Persian mythology. I would say that the Biblical concept of hell that Jesus talks about is simply the truth about hell, not influenced by Persian mythology. Persian mythology may have gotten something right about hell but the myths of man did not alter the reality of hell.

I don't have any desire to read those books or find out more about other religions. I think your thinking is very messed up if you think those books and religions are similar to Christianity or influenced Christianity. The Bible and Christianity itself is truth, to say that it is influenced by pagan books or religions is simply not true. Now I will agree it wasn't dropped out of heaven by an Angel, I'm not a Mormon, and while the historical context of the Bible can help us understand the analogies and the references we should not say that the truth of Scripture itself is influenced by the culture at the time. After all God is still responsible for giving us His word and His word is not influenced by false sources and is not limited to any one time or culture.
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