The Bible and Pagan Mythology

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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby TigerintheShadows » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:20 pm

Margaret Thatcher wrote:So you're saying you could have been saved, in the Old Testament without sacrificing animals?


To have propitiation made for their sins, they did have to place the blame on an animal. That does not, however, indicate that the act of the sacrifice saved people; it was the understanding of why the sacrifice needed to be made that was more important. The animal simply bridges a bit of the gap. My view of the animal sacrifices is that it mattered little the physical act if your heart wasn't right--I highly doubt, for example, that Hophni and Phinehas were made right with God by their sacrifices, considering their moral corruption. And then there's the fact that there were entire periods when Israel was morally corrupt, but still went on with their rituals, and God calls such behavior in Isaiah 66:3 an abomation. So God did allow the animal to be essentially a scapegoat (not to be confused with an actual scapegoat) and be the victim for the people's sins, but that does not mean that they were made right with God.

I think that additionally, the animal sacrifices served as an important reminder of what had to be done for the forgiveness of sins; as Hebrews 9:22 points out, under the law there was no remission of sins without bloodshed. Something that was pure and undefiled had to be slaughtered in order for sins to be ultimately paid for. The fact that they had to do this over and over again represents the burden that sin places on those affected by it, including creation. But I don't believe that they were actively justified by their works or their sacrifices; they were justified by their commitment to God. As I recall, Hebrews 11 doesn't say things like "Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the prophets, and the good kings all had faith in God and they made super awesome sacrifices"; it specifically mentions that "without faith it is impossible to please him". It talks about their faith and their faith alone making them righteous. (The passage does reference Abel making a better sacrifice than Cain out of faith to God, but therein lies the tale--it was because of his faith that his sacrifice was even considered worthy in the first place.)

Margaret Thatcher wrote:Why did Christ have to die as a sacrifice to bear all the sin? If it was just to line up symbolically with the sacrifices of the Old Testament then it seems silly if there's nothing deeper to the OT sacrifices.


I think I'm understanding what you mean here--yes, God counted the sins toward the animal just as He counted all of the sins toward Christ. So yes, the sins were forgiven through the sacrifice, just as they were forgiven through Christ. But in both cases, it's not enough that your sins have been forgiven; you have to be active in that forgiveness and develop a personal relationship with God. That's what I mean when I say "sacrifices save no one"--it's not that there was nothing at all to the sacrifices; what I mean when I say that is that no one was actively justified through them--it's not like, "I made a sacrifice, so I'm clean with God". It was a matter of the sins being transferred to the animal and then the Israelites actively repenting from their sins. This is applicable to us in the same manner--a non-Christian is not justified or made righteous just by the fact that Jesus died; they have to actively begin to develop a trusting relationship with God.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:what should our code of law be based on today then?


The New Covenant, the one that declares the law--the original, God-given one--to be a burden and tells us that we have been set free in Christ--not to do whatever we want, but to obey him without the need for the excessive ritualism.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:10 pm

I totally agree that the right attitude needs to be there, but you can't have one without the other. The right heart attitude will lead to right physical actions as well.

I don't think we as a society have problems today with excessive ritualism. I mean do you partake of any rituals that aren't purely symbolic?
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Termite » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:39 pm

For the thing about sacrifices: watch this from 20:35 for about five minutes... it is without a doubt the greatest revelation I've heard on difference between the Old and New Testament sacrifices.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby TigerintheShadows » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:57 pm

Margaret Thatcher wrote:I don't think we as a society have problems today with excessive ritualism.


I wasn't talking about our society; I was speaking of Old Testament law.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:The right heart attitude will lead to right physical actions as well.


The thing about the right heart leading to right actions is that it really doesn't work both ways. You can have right actions without a right heart, but you don't typically have a right heart without right actions. What I'm saying is that the right heart was what saved them and the right actions were what they did in response, which is what we are supposed to do today as well--I just think we should do it differently than what was stipulated under New Testament law.

It's clear to me that neither of us is going to convice the other to either forget Old Testament law or to adhere to it (as one Jordan Taylor once argued, Internet debates change no one). I think we're both at the point where our arguments have been made and our opinions put forward--anything we continue to state now would be essentially repeating ourselves. In my opinion, this is the part where the debate ends, as neither one of us is really getting anything out of it at this point. (Note: I'm not doing the "respond and then leave under the guise of 'let's drop it'" routine; I've just frankly had enough as of this post.)
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:03 pm

Thank you for the video Termite, that has given me some things to think about.

It was good discussing this issue with you. I completely understand that you'd not responding and dropping it, I agree this is getting a bit long at this point.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Mr. Sunnys » Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:26 pm

Thatcher, you are insane. Sorry if that sounds rude, but The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe being PAGAEN!? INSANITY! It was very representative of Christianity and God and Jesus.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:36 pm

It had magical creatures from pagan mythology as the good guys! How is that right? The good guys used magic, even though magic is a sin! I'm not insane, simply throwing in a Christ figure doesn't Christianize all the pagan elements in the book.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby E II » Thu Dec 19, 2013 11:58 pm

Yep every book/movie made like that it h as some unchristian things to get nonchristians in. Then shows Christian stuff. ALS o the main good guys are human
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Whitty Whit » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:44 am

does this mean I can't read/watch Harry Potter anymore? :( not that I watch it in the first place...

You do realize that The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is fiction, right? It's not intended to be sacred (sacred: means revered due to association with holiness/God), it's designed to entertain. Perhaps, there are some things it teaches that the Bible also teaches; however, just because one could allude Aslan with Jesus, that makes it bad and wicked and nasty and evil?

Here's a question for you: If something is a myth or related to myth, is it bad?

Myths are not necessarily evil. Myths are untrue stories generally derived from ancient civilizations; some myths are about deities/demi-gods/gods, i.e., the Old Norse god hierarchy (the Eddas). They're stories. Does that make them wrong? Is there something inherently evil about them? I'm not asking if they're wrong/inaccurate, I'm asking if they're evil.

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And could this topic be construed as discrimination against Mr. Tumnus for being a faun? Because we here at the ToO are NOT DISCRIMINATORY. We have a policy about that. See Jelly and AIOPsyche Co. or call 1-800-END-HATE for more details.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:39 am

It's wrong to use bad things in an attempt to draw in non-Christians. We should just preach the Gospel, Christ didn't tell stories about false gods and magical beings to draw people in, we shouldn't either. And yes I realize the main characters were human but the rest of the good guys are not humans and some of them are spirits.

Why would you read/watch Harry Potter? The good guys call themselves witches! That is clearly wrong, the Bible has some very strong commandments against witches.

I realize it's fiction but does anything go in fiction now? We shouldn't be reading about evil and wrong things even in our fiction. I wasn't saying that the allusions of Aslan to Jesus were bad just that throwing that in there didn't make the rest of the book okay.

I think anything that talks about false gods is bad, we're to have no other gods before our God. We should read stories that honor our God not honor some made up gods.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Whitty Whit » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:15 am

First of all, I don't even like Harry Potter. I haven't even watched any of the movies let alone read the books.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:We should just preach the Gospel, Christ didn't tell stories about false gods and magical beings to draw people in, we shouldn't either.


Christ didn't have a wife or kids; does that mean we shouldn't?

Margaret Thatcher wrote:I think anything that talks about false gods is bad, we're to have no other gods before our God. We should read stories that honor our God not honor some made up gods.


The Bible talks about Baal and Ashtaroth. Therefore the Bible is bad. Does The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe honor made-up gods though?

So if you don't like talking animals, flying leaves that mimic humanoid shapes, and really creepy ladies, don't bother reading any fiction books, bro.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:45 pm

You're comparing apples and oranges, Christ did tell parables without false gods and magic. That is what we should copy. The fact that he wasn't married or have kids isn't the same and there are many other examples in the Bible of marriage and children. Can you give an example from the Bible when magic or false gods were used for good?

The Bible talks about those false gods in a clearly negative light. In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe they talk about the Greek god of wine and drunkenness in positive terms as though he is a good figure. So yes the book does honor or talk about positively made up gods. Also the good side uses magic, all magic is of the devil.

I don't read a lot of fiction books, I can still read some though. And those things you mentioned aren't the reasons I don't read them. It is when magic and pagan gods are held up as good that I refuse to read books.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby E II » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:37 pm

Where is Dionysus in the book? I don't remember that
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby TigerintheShadows » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:05 pm

Ah, yes. I keep forgetting that we as Christians should be stripped of our ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

It is perfectly reasonable to suggest that you can enjoy something that has supposedly pagan elements in it and still be a true follower of Christ. Are we called to keep our minds pure and be discerning? Sure we are. But the thing is, what will corrupt the mind really differs from person to person. Some people are cool with fantasy magic but can't stand gore, and some people aren't affected by torture scenes but abhor coarse language. I think to say that a book is "evil" simply because it uses one of those things to tell a story is a poor science indeed, and even poorer if the speaker of such a statement is attempting to correct another person's moral behavior based solely on the settings of the books they read.

I consider it acceptable to read fantasy novels. I can tell what's real and what's not, and I know that what's okay in fiction and what is okay in real life are not always--in fact, they are not often--the same thing. However, it should be noted that at no point in CoN does Lewis tell the reader that fauns or centaurs are real in any universe besides the fictional one he has created, or that there really is a talking lion who is the Jesus of another realm. At no point, as I wrote earlier in this thread, does Rowling write that "HARRY MADE HIS DAILY COMMUNION WITH APOLLYON AND BEELZEBUB" or whatever. They don't encourage paganism, they simply use elements of it to tell a story. If you can remember that and actually distinguish between what is real and what is being promoted by the work and what isn't, you're really not doing anything wrong. What is important is that you square everything that the book says with Scripture--what are the general things that the book saying and how are those things being said? If both of those align themselves with Scripture, then why does it matter that they use magic to say it?

The thing about any entertainment is that it is not the Bible, and should not be viewed as a perfect guide for life or as the perfect word of God. Anything created by humans is flawed, no matter how many good traits it has. What we should look at are the overall things the work encourages. Do Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia outright tell readers that witchcraft and paganism are okay? Only if you approach them with the mindset that they are evil and therefore all you will find is "evidence" of their evilness. The teachings of these books include courage, honor, friendship, love, good triumphing over evil, harsh realities of life and that people should hope in spite of them, that everyone has a story, that shades of gray make up most of the world in which we live...I could go on, but I think I've made my point on that front.

Do witchcraft and paganism exist? Yes. Are there real demonic and angelic forces in this world? Yes. Are they--or even God's powers--things to be toyed around with? No. I'm not saying that they're not a big deal; I'm saying that when they're only used as storytelling devices and (at least in the case of Harry Potter; I'm not well-versed in the Narnia-verse) don't even involve actual demonic entities, all they are is plot devices. They're not something that bothers me personally because I know they're not real; I'm being entertained. I can in good conscience worship Jesus Christ and be a Harry Potter fan because I know the difference between what I believe and what is simply fictional entertainment.

Phillippians 4:8 does tell us to think about things that are true, noble, right, good, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Harry Potter and CoN have messages about nobility, goodness, bravery, sacrifice, and love, none of which are in violation of that verse. To me, it's more of a "meat sacrificed to idols" thing--if magic, violence, coarse language, sexual references, drug or alcohol use, or what have you bother you, then that is your call to make, but not everyone's mind is corrupted or disturbed the same way, and it's a bit morally pretentious to act like something is pure evil simply because you are personally bothered by it. By the same token, of course, if you choose to avoid something because it has elements that bother you personally, feel free to talk about it, and feel free to think the way you do--that is your personal conviction, and those are different for everyone. (You should not, however, be surprised that people disagree with you on what is harmful and what isn't.)

The real question for everyone, no matter your convictions, should be thus--does this cause me to sin, either in thought or in deed? Does this promote values that are inherently damaging (i.e. Twilight--throw yourself all over a guy and allow him to be your entire life no matter how creepy or abusive he is or how toxic the relationship is because he's attractive)? The first one is more open-ended; the second one only has so much subjectivity.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Mr. Sunnys » Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:51 pm

Margaret Thatcher wrote:It had magical creatures from pagan mythology as the good guys! How is that right? The good guys used magic, even though magic is a sin! I'm not insane, simply throwing in a Christ figure doesn't Christianize all the pagan elements in the book.


Lewis was a devout Christian, if there were anything he believed wrong in the book, he would've taken it out! And where were the spirits? Sure there were minotaurs, etc, but that doesn't mean they're evil! (Literally, not in the book #-o ) And I don't recall the good guys using magic. Sure, the White Which turned people to stone, but that was representative of satin! If we follow his ways, we will be turned to stone! (Figurative) Like I said, Lewis-devout Christian. And that was Roman/Greek mythology, not pagan.

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Margaret Thatcher wrote:I think anything that talks about false gods is bad, we're to have no other gods before our God. We should read stories that honor our God not honor some made up gods.


A. The Bible talks about false gods. Is it evil?
B. CoN does not in ANY way honor or promote false gods. It has Aslan and his father, but they are figures representing Jesus (Aslan) and God! (his father) How can you believe that Lewis promotes false gods?
C. At the beginning of the topic, you said, and I quote,

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.


so you picked it up again, huh?
D. Reading your first post again has given me more fuel for debate.
E. CoN had no witchcraft (Like I said, the WW was rep. of satin) or paganism!
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby TigerintheShadows » Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:03 am

Mr. Sunnys wrote:CoN had no witchcraft (Like I said, the WW was rep. of satin) or paganism


But it does contain references to magic--the "deep magic" and the deeper magic therein of which both Aslan and the White Witch speak. The pagan elements Thatcher is talking about are the magical creatures--centaurs, minotaurs, fauns, et cetera--all of which were part of pagan lore.

Mr. Sunnys wrote:How can you believe that Lewis promotes false gods?


He already answered that question.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:In The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe they talk about the Greek god of wine and drunkenness in positive terms as though he is a good figure.


Whether this is a fair and accurate judgment depends on the actual context, which is apparently never to be taken into account during these things. I haven't read the book in years, so I won't make the call on whether that's a fair assessment or not. I do, however, believe that in both of these cases, the paganism and whatnot are simply used to tell a story, and that the values that the book promotes and how it promotes them (i.e. what the characters say and do) are of greater import than the plot devices they use to tell the story that promotes the message.

Mr. Sunnys wrote:And I don't recall the good guys using magic. Sure, the White Which turned people to stone, but that was representative of satin!


Aslan speaks of the "deep magic" and the deeper magic of which he was aware that saved him. And the White Witch did a bit more than turn people to stone--hundred-year-long enchanted winter, apparition of Turkish Delight, et cetera.

Mr. Sunnys wrote:If we follow his ways, we will be turned to stone! (Figurative)


Mmm...not quite the meaning Lewis was going for, methinks, considering that most of the beings that were turned to stone were at least sympathetic to Aslan. It was less allegorical and more diabolical--essentially, the enemy has powerful weapons.

Mr. Sunnys wrote:Like I said, Lewis-devout Christian. And that was Roman/Greek mythology, not pagan.


Roman and Greek mythology is pagan. As a matter of fact, so are all of the ancient pantheons--Roman, Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Babylonian, Mezoamerican, Native American, African, whatever.

Dictionary.com wrote:pagan-one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks. Synonyms: polytheist.


The Oxford College Dictionary wrote:pagan - n. A person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions. adj. Of or relating to such people or beliefs: a pagan god.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Mr. Sunnys » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:19 pm

Then God must've used magic to raise Jesus from the dead. The Deeper Magic isn't literally magic. It represents, like many things in this book. And, it was MENTIONED by the WW. Does that mean that since God MENTIONED witchcraft, etc, he used them? Absolutely not!
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:13 pm

Bacchus and Silenus are mentioned as good characters by the faun character. Why would pagan gods be good characters?

So magic, violence, coarse language, sexual references, drug or alcohol use can be noble, right, good, lovely, and commendable in some circumstances? Because to me if they're present then whatever other messages might be there are corrupted. If those things aren't noble, right etc. then their presence means we shouldn't think on those stories.

So Lewis is infallible? He can never make mistakes? As someone else pointed out, Roman and Greek myths are pagan. There are spirits of the trees and rivers mentioned several times.

The Bible talks about false gods and makes it clear they are bad and evil. As I mentioned Roman gods are mentioned in CoN as good. CoN does have paganism, two pagan gods are shown on the side of the good guys.

So God uses magic now? Also when a books says something is Deeper Magic it doesn't mean magic? That seems an odd way of phrasing it if he didn't mean magic, to use the actual word magic and mean something else. And no God makes it clear in the Bible that witchcraft is wrong but in the books good creatures are magical creatures, I read somewhere that in the Prince Caspian book a dwarf character uses a spell to make people go to sleep, so good characters use witchcraft too?
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Whitty Whit » Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:30 pm

Beware, pagan gods are pagan.... and not real.
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Re: The Bible and Pagan Mythology

Postby Margaret Thatcher » Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:38 pm

I realize they're not real, I just wonder why Lewis felt the need to make them the good guys in his books then? Pagan gods are not real but Satan is and we learned how dangerous pagan gods can be from the nation of Israel. Why make light of them by turning them into good guys, even in fiction?
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