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Old August 12th, 2018, 10:15 AM   #1
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Pagan Societies were barbaric because Christian values were not around.


A history check will show what societies were like before Christianity:

Roman society entertainment of gladiators and people being fed to wild beasts for example.

All societies before the Christianity you will find very inhumane and barbaric lifestyles. These societies did not have Christian values of respecting life and dignity of life.

The Moral World Before Christianity: The Moral World Before Christianity - Faith Movement

For centuries pagan societies have tried to lift themselves up to this God or Gods and put themselves in there place.

That's another thing what makes Christianity so unique, man does not go up to God, but that God comes down to man. He reveals himself, slowly through the prophets of the old testament and fully revealing himself in Christ.
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Old August 12th, 2018, 10:42 AM   #2
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Yes, christians luckily got an inquisition to raise moral values. Poor pagans with no inquisition and no respect for life.
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Old August 12th, 2018, 10:52 AM   #3

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I don't want to insult your faith but you seem to ignore the medieval christian practises towards other religions, and you seem to forgot ancient Greece.
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Old August 12th, 2018, 10:58 AM   #4

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As a person of faith, I will argue, that - on principle - Christianity presented a more charitable, civilized way of life than what most people in antiquity had experienced. In reality, many who adhered to the faith did so nominally, or not fully understanding the gospel message, or - as flawed humans - with blinders as to their actions. That would include the desire to convert those to the faith at all costs. Some who did so were blinded with a misguided zeal, others used the guise of conversion for their own nefarious ends.
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Old August 12th, 2018, 11:01 AM   #5

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How embarrassing. Folks, *please* don't take this person as a typical representative of Christianity, any more than you would take him as briliant historian...


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Old August 12th, 2018, 11:23 AM   #6

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Quote:
Originally Posted by YilloDS View Post
All societies before the Christianity you will find very inhumane and barbaric lifestyles. These societies did not have Christian values of respecting life and dignity of life.
That claim is simply indefensible. You are implying that only Christianity brings decency, and you glossed over the MANY instances of heinous brutality of Christianity ... using a logic that could be applied to any other culture.

The Hebrews were around for a couple of thousand years before Christianity. Did you forget they invented the Bible?

Fidel Castro was educated by Jesuits: how did that work out for Cuba? Everyone in the world knows the modern scandals of the Roman Catholic Church, the foundation of Christianity for 1000 yrs (mainly because they made it their business to exterminate competing Christian sects).

50? years ago, Nat'l Geographic ran an article on a primitive tribe in the Philippines called the Tasaday (there's nothing on Wiki about their culture). They were described as unusually peaceful, non-combative, caring for their families ... no intertribal wars, no gladiators, no inquisition, no burning at the stake, no head-hunting. They were "animists" (and still are) and seem very non-barbaric without Christianity.

It's true that 19th-20th century anthropologists wanted to BELIEVE in "the noble savage." A lot of Margaret Mead's work has been debunked. However, there are MANY examples of tribal cultures that aren't "barbaric". We know the Maya & Aztec were pretty horrendous ... but there were other tribes further south that just stayed out of their way. There were Native Americans that declared war on each other for "sport" ... but there were some that didn't.

There are many, many warlike cultures in the past. Christianity didn't seem to tamp that down in any way.

What about Tibet? I would argue that before the Chinese rolled over them like flattening asphalt, their Buddhist culture was particularly non-barbaric. Yes, the temple organization built itself into a powerful political entity and did some dreadful things to its people ... but I would say, all summed up, much less than the Vatican.

Last edited by Dios; August 12th, 2018 at 11:29 AM.
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Old August 12th, 2018, 12:01 PM   #7

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Behold, the travesty of so called justice amongst the heathen barbarians. Gasp in shock at their lecherousness, debauchery and total lack of any civilization and humanity. What wretches to only have 42 "commandments"....



Hail, Usekh-nemmt, who comest forth from Anu, I have not committed sin.

Hail, Hept-khet, who comest forth from Kher-aha, I have not committed robbery with violence.

Hail, Fenti, who comest forth from Khemenu, I have not stolen.

Hail, Am-khaibit, who comest forth from Qernet, I have not slain men and women.

Hail, Neha-her, who comest forth from Rasta, I have not stolen grain.

Hail, Ruruti, who comest forth from heaven, I have not purloined offerings.

Hail, Arfi-em-khet, who comest forth from Suat, I have not stolen the property of God.

Hail, Neba, who comest and goest, I have not uttered lies.

Hail, Set-qesu, who comest forth from Hensu, I have not carried away food.

Hail, Utu-nesert, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have not uttered curses.

Hail, Qerrti, who comest forth from Amentet, I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.

Hail, Her-f-ha-f, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have made none to weep.

Hail, Basti, who comest forth from Bast, I have not eaten the heart.

Hail, Ta-retiu, who comest forth from the night, I have not attacked any man.

Hail, Unem-snef, who comest forth from the execution chamber, I am not a man of deceit.

Hail, Unem-besek, who comest forth from Mabit, I have not stolen cultivated land.

Hail, Neb-Maat, who comest forth from Maati, I have not been an eavesdropper.

Hail, Tenemiu, who comest forth from Bast, I have not slandered [no man].

Hail, Sertiu, who comest forth from Anu, I have not been angry without just cause.

Hail, Tutu, who comest forth from Ati, I have not debauched the wife of any man.

Hail, Uamenti, who comest forth from the Khebt chamber, I have not debauched the wife of [any] man.

Hail, Maa-antuf, who comest forth from Per-Menu, I have not polluted myself.

Hail, Her-uru, who comest forth from Nehatu, I have terrorized none.

Hail, Khemiu, who comest forth from Kaui, I have not transgressed [the law].

Hail, Shet-kheru, who comest forth from Urit, I have not been wroth.

Hail, Nekhenu, who comest forth from Heqat, I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.

Hail, Kenemti, who comest forth from Kenmet, I have not blasphemed.

Hail, An-hetep-f, who comest forth from Sau, I am not a man of violence.

Hail, Sera-kheru, who comest forth from Unaset, I have not been a stirrer up of strife.

Hail, Neb-heru, who comest forth from Netchfet, I have not acted with undue haste.

Hail, Sekhriu, who comest forth from Uten, I have not pried into matters.

Hail, Neb-abui, who comest forth from Sauti, I have not multiplied my words in speaking.

Hail, Nefer-Tem, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have wronged none, I have done no evil.

Hail, Tem-Sepu, who comest forth from Tetu, I have not worked witchcraft against the king.

Hail, Ari-em-ab-f, who comest forth from Tebu, I have never stopped [the flow of] water.

Hail, Ahi, who comest forth from Nu, I have never raised my voice.

Hail, Uatch-rekhit, who comest forth from Sau, I have not cursed God.

Hail, Neheb-ka, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not acted with arrogance.

Hail, Neheb-nefert, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not stolen the bread of the gods.

Hail, Tcheser-tep, who comest forth from the shrine, I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.

Hail, An-af, who comest forth from Maati, I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.

Hail, Hetch-abhu, who comest forth from Ta-she, I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.
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Old August 12th, 2018, 12:07 PM   #8

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The pagan were detested for polytheism. I don't think pagan Greeks and Romans were any barbaric people, their ancient philosphy triggered Renaissance in Europe.
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Old August 12th, 2018, 01:07 PM   #9

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The problem is that many nominal Christians never make even a half-hearted attempt to follow Jesus Christ.

True Christianity is an unbelievably rare phenomenon, which is why there have been billions of Christians but only a few thousand saints.

So while a truly Christian society, that is, a society where everyone lived in accordance with the teachings of Christ would indeed by the most peaceful and most civilized ever, no such society has ever existed.

This extends even to the clergy by the way. I believe it was St. John Chrysostom who said "The road to Hell is paved with the bones of priests and monks, and the skulls of bishops are the lamp posts that light the path."
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Old August 12th, 2018, 01:14 PM   #10
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So you’re saying before Christians, people didn’t value life? Wow. That’s so ******* convenient.

The problem with your thesis is that it doesn't really account for societies that are and were relatively nonviolent and peaceful, and that also aren't Christian. Your articles from faith.org is one whole bunch of cherry picking, observational selection with a hint of confirmation bias, but I will get to that later. There are societies that were never touched by Christianity that came to the same conclusions about morality that we do. The Semai people of Malaysia for example, with a recorded history that dates back a good 10,000 years before Christianity, don't have a word on their language for war. How do you explain Japan, then, where there are less than 1% of Christians and they still enjoy one of the lowest violent crime rates in the developed world? Granted not everything about Japan or China are morally sound but my point still stands. With hardly any Christian influence taking over and running the countries, they turned out fine.

On top of this, you have a very narrow view of people who don't follow Christianity and it's gods. While following Christianity doesn't necessarily promote violence (but it is a great tool to promote it), not following Christianity also doesn't promote violence.

All you're doing is declaring on equivocation and implying in a plethora of different ways that, "Without Christianity, everybody is a barbarian devoid of morality.". I am gravely insulted by this. Sorry but that is simply not true. Christianity isn't a foolproof method of producing sound moral integrity you know. There are a great many Christians in this day and age who do not respect life or the dignity of life.

Quote:
A history check will show what societies were like before Christianity:
You are oversimplifying things too much. You are taking credit for how human societies evolved. We have seen small, slow yet significant improvements of morality since like the hunter-gatherers age. Just because there was a slight improvement during the periods that were dominant by Christianity doesn't mean it is the sole harbinger of morals.

You are correct, millenia ago things like slavery, human sacrifice, and in your example the Roman Empire killing people for entertainment was commonplace. What you fail to mention, however, is that this barbarism continued after Christianity was founded: the Middle Ages in Europe are often considered one of the darkest periods of human history, marked by plague and disease, no education and illiteracy, feudal societies, petty wars between tiny kingdoms, violence, etc. Ironically this was the period in which Christianity had the strongest hold over Europe (for comparison, the Islamic world, China, Mesoamerica, and more regions of the world were thriving, with various problems but they were still better off than Christian Europe). Crime was almost commonplace, and the violence was likely horrendous. As the Enlightenment arose and more secular ideas prevailed, the world gradually got better in almost every way: science and technology flourished, morals continued to evolve, and while violence and crime continued at incredibly high rates, it was less common.

Jump to the world of today: horrible things happen everywhere: wars, human trafficking, crime. Yet I, and almost every other statistical and historical source can assure you that less violence and crime happens than it did in the 20th century, and certainly less than any other century before. If anything, the rise of secularism and humanism seems to be helping the world, whereas before religion did almost nothing on a large scale.

Christian morality isn't superior to Roman or Pagan morality. It did not stop Christians from murdering pagans, destroying their temples, or destroying their cultures. It did not stop christians from murdering other christians who dared voice so called heresy. It did not stop christians from invading other lands and killing/enslaving their people. I can give an accounting of this if you so wish. Early Christian societies could be arguably worse than the Pagan societies they succeeded. They murdered Pagans, homosexuals, Muslims, and Jews, as well as Christians they disagreed with. So it's not like the Christians were paragons of virtue.

Look, I get you, you are right that societies before had inhumane and barbaric practices and as time went by and we evolved and became more knowledgeable and civilized, we slowly but slightly changed our moral values and practices. We are an evolving species after all. This is not news. There is nothing arbitrary about society dictating morals. It is simply the brute fact and the historical record. But, these evolved in spite of Christianity - not because of it.

You are wrong is your implications that:

1) Christianity was needed for these inhumane practices to change
2) Christianity is the sole innovator of these moral values that ever so slightly changed these inhumane practices
3) That Christianity didn’t have it’s hand in much of the same inhumane practices and that it did not create new ones when they became more dominant.

1) Was Christianity needed for these inhumane practices to change? Was pre-christianity in such bad shape as you claim?

While yes, it was indeed pretty bad, my point here is to show you that there are at least 13 ancient civilizations pre-rome and I would not describe any of them as "very inhumane and barbaric". This is simply your implicit bias as a western christian. You don't have the capacity (it seems) to see the world from a different perspective. The Indus River civilization was particularly peaceful.

What this shows is that societies began to change into civil societies without the need for Christian values.

There are plenty of examples of groups of people in the West who were not exposed to Christianity and discovered in the 20th century. Guess what? They weren't all killing each other in a pagan blood fest. For example: The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole. These are the first five tribes that Anglo-European settlers generally considered to be "civilized" according to their own worldview. Peaceful without Christianity.

This shows that Christianity was not needed for humanity to advance in morals values. People are raised with cultural moral standards. Religion is a part of the culture, but religion isn't responsible for say Western values, no doubt you will claim. Religious thought changes to follow current social morality. Moral standards existed before religions. Religion is not the innovator here, just an imitator. Religions just codified them into laws and rules.

2) Was Christianity the sole innovator of these moral values that ever so slightly changed these inhumane practices

And these laws and rules can be traced far beyond the Christian rein. Our "modern" laws evolved out of the basic laws the Sumerians were using up to 10,000 years ago, long before Christianity or even Abrahamism was a concept in the human mind. Christianity just co-opted the good and bad from existing thought. Mosaic law is the result of the Code of Hammurabi. These are the oldest written laws we have thus found, these are the laws that influenced Abrahamic religious concept of "god's laws" or "commandments"... does "laws written on stone tablets", “do unto other as you would want do unto you” ring a bell?

So if you really want Christianity to take credit for these moral values, you ought to credit it’s true origin.

3) Did Christianity have its hand in much of the same inhumane practices and create new ones when they became more dominant?

They instituted their own flavor of barbarity. Entirely new forms of barbarity and inhumanity were practiced by christians that pagans and romans wouldn't have even dreamed of. The torture, imprisonment and murder of people for heresy, and the near total annihilation of indigenous peoples and cultures, and the intimidation and murder of those of different faiths all-together. It wasn’t a complete sudden divide/stop between these two era’s, for much of the time these practises carried over.

Christians invented a whole new kind of evil with their violence against heretics. St. Augustine himself was initially against the practice, but even he came around to it:



Ending a few barbaric practices means absolutely nothing if you institute new and even more barbaric ones in their place.

Quote:
All societies before the Christianity you will find very inhumane and barbaric lifestyles
All societies? Every single one of them? Gonna need more than a single paper from faith.org to believe that one. You're going to need a citation when you say "ALL pre-Christian societies" were that way. Especially after the fact I gave you examples of societies pre-christian where there was a sound moral system given it’s time. Second, you're going to need to justify why any Christian society at all would have comparable barbarism. There are plenty of examples of non-barbaric non-Christian societies, and barbaric Christian societies.

Quote:
“The Moral World Before Christianity: July / August 2018 - Faith Movement
This article is perhaps the single worst piece of pseudo-history I have ever read in recent times and I have read some Ken Ham books, much to my embarrassment, though I could not finish them. Anyways, the guy started with a point he wanted to make, then picked a grab bag of factoids to support his speculation while discarding all contradictory information; that’s doing history backwards. What you linked is a perfect example of a texas sharpshooter. Is there a credible, perhaps from an unbiased source/site that either back his statements up or come to the same conclusion? I would very much like to see it.

The author cherry picks instances of inhumane behaviour and policies from Classical Antiquity (including several which are just blatant inaccuracies), while completely and utterly ignoring, to a comical degree, the incredibly brutal nature of Christian society in the Middle Ages.

For example, from the article it says:

Quote:
“slaves commonly made up the majority of the population.”
1) This is false from my understanding of history, unless you want to stretch the meaning of “commonly” to “very rarely and even then only in relatively small regions for relatively short periods of time”.

2) Even if this was true, the author’s conclusions do not hinge on the examples of Classical inhumanity, but on his mischaracterization of Medieval Christian society as being relatively more humane and being so due to Christian values. He provides no support for either, instead he just lists a cherry picked selection of dubious factoids about Classical Antiquity and insists without evidence that 12th Christendom was better.

I'm not interested in proselytizing. if you have some facts to share, then they will exist without proselytizing. Share those instead. I don’t have the time, interest, or patience to fact check that entire trash article for you, and anyway if it’s absurdity wasn’t apparent to you from a cursory glance I suspect you believe in this pseudo-history too strongly for me to dissuade you with evidence.

Tell me, explain to me why I should accept an article written by an Absolutist? Let alone actually read it? Except to get a good oul’ laugh? If it ain't a scientific or historical journal paper or study or an article summarizing a scientific or historical journal paper or study, then it is not evidence it is merely someones own inferences from the premises/points being discussed. ALWAYS remember, if it cannot be verified or falsified, it ain't evidence. Science is the ONLY set of disciplines as of yet in which ANY paper MUST go through the rigorous and arduous process known as Peer Review. In the realm of the Absolutists, there is no such check and balances. Anyone can write anything based on religious beliefs and/or doctrine and it NEVER gets Peer Reviewed. It just gets published along with the rest of the garbage that Absolutists force onto the public.

Quote:
”For centuries pagan societies have tried to lift themselves up to this God or Gods and put themselves in their place.”
They were doing exactly the same thing as those pagans. Read Exodus 25:8–40, 26:1–13.

Nevertheless, trying to be godlike doesn't mean you don't value life... unless you're saying that your god doesn't value life. I assure you they valued life. The Norse, for example, had rituals of giving a child the name of an ancestor or dead relative, they practiced adoption, they married, they buried the dead, etc. They are so barbaric as you seem to make it out to be. You are right that societies were barbaric in their lifestyle but to say they were all devoid of morality is taking it a bit for don’t you think. Certain principles of moral conduct tend to emerge naturally in social groups purely because they help to preserve the group. Are we expected to except until the advent of Christianity humans being had no sense of how to treat each other to exist as social creatures? Don’t be absurd.

Quote:
"All societies before the Christianity you will find very inhumane and barbaric lifestyles. These societies did not have Christian values of respecting life and dignity of life."


What makes you think they didn't value life? Just because these societies had gladiator fights or people being "fed to wild beasts" doesn't necessarily mean everyone lacked the ability to respect life. A few minutes ago I referred you to moral codes that have the basics of respecting life.

Those are clearly and obviously not Christian values. They are values common to a large portion of humanity and are included in many mythologies and codes of conduct and philosophies and sets of laws. That some small portion of some Christians has taken them and claimed them as 'Christian Values' does not make them so. Why do you think atheists don't value life? I value life immensely, because believe this is the only one we have.

Last edited by Jaym; August 12th, 2018 at 01:32 PM.
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