Paul and the Mystery Religions | mikan-toumorokoshi.info
In fact, it's hard not to place Christianity among the mystery religions (even though While a direct connection between them is difficult to establish, both of these. do not make Christianity any more than bits of matter make a human Recent study in the mystery religions is one of such methods. Professor Case's article narrates facts which will be of great value to If the probability of this relationship is. The practices of the mystery religions give evidence that mankind is aware Research resources on religious movements, cults, sects, world religions and related issues similarities between Christianity and the mystery religions for a long In fact, archeological finds reveal no evidence of close proximity.
Specifically, we will compare the theology of the apostle Paul with ideas found in the popular Greek mystery religions present during the early church period. Although these ideas rarely surface in everyday discussions, Christians entering the academic world of our college campuses would benefit from time spent understanding this issue.
In the hands of a professor hostile to Christianity, partial truths and exaggerated similarities between Christianity and the mystery religions can overwhelm an unaware teen. Being conscious of these arguments against Christian thought prepares us to give an answer to everyone who questions the hope that we have in Christ.Christianity - God and the Scientists
Arguments Against a Strong Dependency on Mystery Religions Viewpoint Previously we noted that the History of Religions movement claimed that Christian thought had a direct and strong dependency on the mystery religions. Although some scholars agreed with this view, many did not. A good example is the famous German historian Adolf von Harnack, who wrote: We must reject the comparative mythology which finds a causal connection between everything and everything else.
By such methods one can turn Christ into a sun god in the twinkling of an eye, or one can bring up the legends attending the birth of every conceivable god, or one can catch all sorts of mythological doves to keep company with the baptismal dove. The annual vegetation cycle was often at the center of these cults. Deep significance was given to the concepts of growth, death, decay and rebirth.
The cult of Eleusis and its central deity, Demeter, goddess of the soil and farming, is one example. The mystery religions also had secret ceremonies and rites of initiation that separated its members from the outside world. Every mystery religion claimed to impart secret knowledge of the deity. This knowledge would be communicated in clandestine ceremonies often connected to an initiation rite.
The focus of this knowledge was not on a set of revealed truths to be shared with the world, but on hidden higher knowledge to be kept within the circle of believers. At the core of each religion was a myth in which the deity returned to life after death, or else triumphed over his enemies.
Paul and the Mystery Religions - Christianity Defended
The goal of the believers was a mystical experience that led them to believe that they had achieved union with their god. The various religious movements found throughout the Roman Empire were not united in doctrine or practice, and they changed dramatically over time.
Any impact that they may have had on Christianity must be evaluated by the time frame in which the religions encountered one another. When comparing religious systems, Philosopher Ronald Nash warns that caution is advised against using careless language. This fallacy occurs when someone argues that just because two things exist side by side, that one must be the cause of the other.
The mere fact that other religions may have had a god who died and then came back to life in some manner does not mean that this was the source of Christian ideas, even if it can be shown that the apostles knew of this other set of beliefs.
Some scholars, hostile to Christianity, tend to exaggerate, or invent, similarities between Christianity and the mystery religions. British scholar Edwyn Bevan writes: Of course if one writes an imaginary description of the Orphic mysteries.
On this plan, you first put in the Christian elements, and then are staggered to find them there. This initiation rite, in which the blood of a sacrificed bull is allowed to pour over a neophyte, is claimed by some to be the source of baptism in Christianity. In fact, a better argument can be made that the cult borrowed its language from the Christian tradition. The cult of Cybele did not use the taurobolium until the second century A. After noting the change in meaning that the taurobolium experienced over time, scholar Robert Duthoy writes: It is obvious that this alteration in the taurobolium must have been due to Christianity, when we consider that by A.
He had studied under Gamaliel, the most celebrated teacher of the most orthodox of the Jewish parties, the Pharisees.
Christian Similarities to the Mystery Religions Answered
And in Colossians he warns against the very syncretism he is being accused of proposing. During the first couple of centuries, Gnostism and the various Gnostic cults that sprung up were the first major heresies Christianity had to deal with.
You will in fact find that much of the teaching of the early Christian apostles was specifically directed against Gnostisms. For example, the shorter letters written by the Apostle John were directed squarely against a prevalent Gnostic teaching that Jesus did not actually have a physical body but was just a vision, something like a hologram projected into this physical world. Contrary to modern perceptions, the first obstacle that Christianity had to overcome was not convincing people that Jesus was God but convincing people that God actually took on flesh and became a man.
The mystic religions of the time said that this was shameful, that a pure holy God would never defile himself by becoming fleshly. John explained the Christian doctrine to the contrary starting his letter with these words: His body was real.
Early Christian history is littered with evidence of their opposition to mystic teachings. According to some popular mystic ideas, salvation was to be freed from this physical world: Christianity stood in opposition to this, claiming salvation through the work of God redeeming both the spiritual and eventually the physical worlds.