christianity is not monotheistic.

jarrod

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this isn't intended as a dig at christians as a whole, but it is just something i've noticed about CERTAIN christians. i'm not even sure it applies to denominations. it's just an observation i've made based on individual talks with various believers

often it seems that when something a believer approves of happens, god is credited. but when something disapproved of happens, satan is blamed. there is seldom an established criterea for determining if an action was that of god or satan, & it's worth noting that this is a distinctly different roll for satan than is played by him throughout the first testament. in early parts of the bible, satan is simply "the adversary", a being sent to tempt us & test our faith in god, but not personally interested in inspiring us to do evil. (see "the origin of satan" by elaine pagels if you are interested).

so since he is now set up as the opposite or at least enemy of god, doesn't that make him "a" god? many polytheistic religions have or have had deities that were malicious, but they were still gods in their own right.

satan has his own realm, his own supernatural followers (demons), & according to many in popular thought, at least some ability to operate outside of the wishes of god, a supposedly omnipotent being. i think this classifies him as a god, & therefore christianity as a polytheistic religion, even if the "dark god" is not to be worshipped or revered.

i want to state one more time that this post is in no way a judgement on christianity. it's just an observation on my part.

EDIT: also wanted to add that the ten commandments don't state that there is only one god. only that believers are not to worship another god besides the god of isreal.

jf
 
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Well, you can call it a trinary faith "father, son, holy spirit", or a bi-pantheon "god/devil".
 
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jarrod

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Well, you can call it a trinary faith "father, son, holy spirit", or a bi-pantheon "god/devil".

that is a really, really good point that i hadn't thought of. let's take hinduism for example: sure there is vishnu, shiva, & brahma, but they are often spoken of as different aspects or manifestations of the same entity. now a shiva devotee might think vishnu is an avatar of shiva while a vishnu devotee might think the opposite, but they agree that they revere the same deity. yet hinduism is commonly accepted as a polytheistic religion.

jf
 
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jarrod

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How many legs has a dog if you call the tail a leg?
FOUR! Calling the tail a leg doesn't make it one.

my point exactly! you can't say satan isn't a god just because.

jf
 

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my point exactly! you can't say satan isn't a god just because.

jf
Just because thousands of years of scholarship and scripture says he isn't?
By your (let's be kind and call it) "thinking" Judaism and Islam are the same because the god of Ishmael and the god of Issac are the same.
I'd encourage you to try that one out at the nearest mosque and see what kind of reaction you get.
 

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One of the things St Patrick is famous for is using the shamrock's three bladed leaf to explain that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are in fact, one and the same. Not THREE, ONE.
 
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jarrod

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oh i'm sorry i must have misunderstood your "reasoning".

where in the bible does it directly state that satan is not a god? i'm not saying it doesn't, but i can't think of a spot off of the top of my head.

also i'm not really sure where you're going with your judaism/islam "point". they are clearly different religions though they do worship the same god.

i'm happy to discuss this with you, but please try to answer the points i raised in my OP. i.e., why is satan accorded so much power if he's not a deity.

jf
 
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jarrod

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yes, i remember st pat's shamrock analogy. however there are other religions classified as polythiestic which explain each individual deity as one aspect of the same god. so should we dispense with the classifications of monotheistic/polytheistic all together? maybe we should.

jf
 

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Dipping way back into my past memories of religious indoctrination, isn't it the case that Satan is just as much a Son of God as Jesus i.e. one of the angels created by God to enforce and enact his will?

That begs the additional question of "enforce against who?" but the pertinent point here is that the higher echelons of angels, of whom Satan was one of the highest, were powerful spiritual beings. Satan was guilty of beginning to think that he was indeed an equal for God and brought about a civil war in heaven.

His great crime was that he and his followers, comprising about a third of the angels, lost the battle and he was cast out from heaven and bound to the vicinty of the earth.

The reason for this was that he was to be allowed to try and tempt human kind away from worship of the Almighty and then, when he failed, God would destroy him and all the 'evil' humans who did not believe.

I have many issues with this, to me, pseudo-logical mythology but again these are not applicable to the question of whether Satan is divine or not. The short answer is, yes he is. The longer answer is, no, not really. He has many of the powers associated with divinity but these were not only granted by God but have since been limited by him too.

The core query that lingers in the background with regard to Christianity is whether it is monotheistic or not. The answer to that is equally equivocal.

It is treated as if it is monotheistic now but it is a religion rooted in the polytheistic Babylonian faiths and has absorbed into itself many of the extant pagan beliefs and rituals of Western Europe.
 
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What you are missing, intentionally, imo, is that in monotheistic religions there is ONE god, that is the FOCUS of worship, other entities are not gods.
Please, go tell it at a mosque, but, wear your running shoes. Tell Islamic people that Satan is as much of a god as Allah and see how that goes over. Or, are you only comfortable deriding Christian beliefs? I mean, if you truly believe that Christianity is not monotheistic, because of the existence of Satan, then Islam cannot be either, as they also have Satan. Go forth and speak your piece to them, see how they answer you.
 
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jarrod

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thank you sukerkin, i appreciate your addressing the discussion at hand.

i've been reading up on some comparative mythology lately & it seems as if almost all religious systems have a deity which is in opposition to the supreme or benevolent deity. most all follow the model of primordial chaos-creation-duality-destruction & return to primordial chaos. it seems that christianity is no exception, but for other reasons has not afforded the opposition entity the status of deity.

jf
 
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jarrod

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What you are missing, intentionally, imo, is that in monotheistic religions there is ONE god, that is the FOCUS of worship, other entities are not gods.
Please, go tell it at a mosque, but, wear your running shoes

don, i stated twice in my OP that i meant no offense to christianity but wanted to discuss some ideas that had been running through my head lately. if this discussion gets your hackles up, feel free to withdraw your participation, no hard feelings. if you would like to stay & play though, please bring up the actual points i made rather than shooting down straw men that have nothing to little to do with what i'm saying.

all the best,

jf
 

Big Don

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don, i stated twice in my OP that i meant no offense to christianity but wanted to discuss some ideas that had been running through my head lately. if this discussion gets your hackles up, feel free to withdraw your participation, no hard feelings. if you would like to stay & play though, please bring up the actual points i made rather than shooting down straw men that have nothing to little to do with what i'm saying.

all the best,

jf
No straw men, I just suggest that, since you believe this, you should share it with the mosque nearest your home, and see what they think about it.
The definition of monotheistic is belief in one god, you are calling Christianity polytheistic by a reasoning that is specious at best. One god means just that ONE. Where in any scripture is Satan referred to as a god? There are, in the bible, a number of mentions of Baal, who some worshiped as a god, what there is no mention of is Satan being a god.
Your whole argument is based on the idea that Satan is the opposition, ergo, he is a god. That is foolish at best.
 

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I don't think it helps to examine the issue simply to say that other religious groups are just as aggressive in rejecting proper discussion of 'doctrine' as the worst of fundamentalist Christians.

Of course, where we have trouble discussing anything that springs forth from the Bible is that it is it's own source of reference and there is a tendency amongst the faithfull to reject out of hand anything that is not explicitly stated in it's pages (in one mis-transaltion or another). Even the increasing evidence that it is far from "the unerring word of God" doesn't prevent this.

From my own life, I have been arguing theology with my father for more than thirty years now and we always reach such an impasse.

His logical constructs do fit together and make a good deal of sense if you accept the starting premise that there is an invisible, omnipotent being, who arose from nothing and created everything else out some need to not be alone and to be worshipped.

As is clear, I do not accept such an idea as having any roots in the reality that we have observed to date - thus, we can never agree as he thinks I'm just stubborn whereas I think he's abrogated his innate responsibility to reason :lol:.

My point with this is that, if even a father and son who have a strong and friendly relationship cannot get past the sticking point of absolute faith in a book claimed to have been inspired by a being of unproven existence, what chance do we have of making any progress on the Interwebs where people are invariably driven to be far less reasoned in their responses?
 

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Differenct cultures shape the same spiritual path.

Zoroastrianism was the world's first monotheistic religion, the acceptance of Christianity by Zoroastrians was proved crucial to Christianity's survival. The earliest use of December 25th as the birthday of Jesus Christ stems from the early Christian interaction with the Zoroastrians, who believed in one God, Ahura Mazada (translation: Wise Lord), whose birthday was celebrated on December 25th. The Zoroastrrians also believed a beast by the name of Angra Manyu (translation: hostile spirit). The influence in our culture still shows today with the word "angry". The Zoroastrians recognized him as the personfication of evil, but not an actual god.

The Zoroastrian influences resulted in the Christian notions of heaven, hell, and Satan, and also why the Christian view of an afterlife is different from the Jewish version of an afterlife...even though Christianity is an immediate descendant of Judaism.

The various influences continued as Christianity spread west. In the English and the German speaking world, the Christian high holiday, Easter, is named after reproductive cycles (estrus) or more specifically, a pagan goddess of fertility (Oestra). The Spanish gave the holiday a more descriptive name: Resurrection Day (Dia de la Resurreccion).

There are a few places around the web that are a bit (ahem) critical of Christianity that use information like this to prove that Christianity is not what it claims to be. While I don't identify myself as a Christian, I don't share this criticism. When one looks at the Zoroastran and pagan influences on Christian festivals, they are not only seeing Christianity itself but also the path it took to get where it is today.
 
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jarrod

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No straw men, I just suggest that, since you believe this, you should share it with the mosque nearest your home, and see what they think about it.

no where did i state that i thought judaism, christianity, & islam were the same religion. this is an example of a straw man. if you want to debate whether or not they worship the same god, feel free to start another thread.

The definition of monotheistic is belief in one god, you are calling Christianity polytheistic by a reasoning that is specious at best. One god means just that ONE. Where in any scripture is Satan referred to as a god? There are, in the bible, a number of mentions of Baal, who some worshiped as a god, what there is no mention of is Satan being a god.

as i said in my OP, which i am getting really tired of repeating to you, these thoughts were based largely on discussion with INDIVIDUAL christians. what individuals believe is not always based on the authority of their sacred texts.

so for one final review, we are addressing questions such as:

why is satan not regarded as a deity when other religions have non-worshipped, evil gods? at what point is an entity considered a god & not another form of supernatural being?

why is the christian 3-in-1 god considered truly 1 while gods such as the hindu shiva-vishnu-brahma considered 3, thereby making that religion polytheistic?

are the classifications of mono/polytheistic accurate? are they useful?

Your whole argument is based on the idea that Satan is the opposition, ergo, he is a god. That is foolish at best.

i believe this is the second time you've insulted me in this thread. it not only shows that you don't understand what we're talking about, it also demonstrates a weak character.

jf
 

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Not being a Christian I've always wondered about the worship of the Virgin Mary and how she's seen as as well as the Christian saints. people pray to her and the saints, are they seen as gods ( perhaps with a small g) or why else pray to them? the worship of the Virgin mary confuses me somewhat because it's often accompanied by a lack of respect in general for women ie women priests/vicars been banned, women full of sin etc

I'm not sure about Satan tbh, I don't honestly think he/it exists. I suppose though you have to have opposites. My idea of hell though would be the same as the Norsemen...a frozen waste, I hate the cold with a passion, a hot hell would be fantastic!

I think btw the OP is a good one,I don't think however Jarrod is stating his beliefs as such, he's questioning beliefs and asking questions, to my mind a good thing. I can explain my beliefs and not be insulted or feel the need to result to insults just because they aren't shared or understood by others.

Personally I like learning things! Which I have already by reading this thread!
 
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jarrod

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Differenct cultures shape the same spiritual path.

Zoroastrianism was the world's first monotheistic religion, the acceptance of Christianity by Zoroastrians was proved crucial to Christianity's survival. The earliest use of December 25th as the birthday of Jesus Christ stems from the early Christian interaction with the Zoroastrians, who believed in one God, Ahura Mazada (translation: Wise Lord), whose birthday was celebrated on December 25th. The Zoroastrrians also believed a beast by the name of Angra Manyu (translation: hostile spirit). The influence in our culture still shows today with the word "angry". The Zoroastrians recognized him as the personfication of evil, but not an actual god.

The Zoroastrian influences resulted in the Christian notions of heaven, hell, and Satan, and also why the Christian view of an afterlife is different from the Jewish version of an afterlife...even though Christianity is an immediate descendant of Judaism.

The various influences continued as Christianity spread west. In the English and the German speaking world, the Christian high holiday, Easter, is named after reproductive cycles (estrus) or more specifically, a pagan goddess of fertility (Oestra). The Spanish gave the holiday a more descriptive name: Resurrection Day (Dia de la Resurreccion).

There are a few places around the web that are a bit (ahem) critical of Christianity that use information like this to prove that Christianity is not what it claims to be. While I don't identify myself as a Christian, I don't share this criticism. When one looks at the Zoroastran and pagan influences on Christian festivals, they are not only seeing Christianity itself but also the path it took to get where it is today.

my knowledge of zoroastrianism is a little rusty, but didn't they hold that the forces of light & dark were equal? i was thinking that their concept of duality influenced later manicheaen thought, but i may be off.

jf
 

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At its roots, Jarod, Christianity isn't necessarilymonotheistic, or quite as monotheistic as some would like to believe. Good boy. :asian:

Let's start with Satan, or, Shaitan, Hebrew for "adversary." He was supposed to have been an angel-"much loved by God." The glorious and shining one, Lucifer-the "light bringer." He was an angel-and angels, the theologists tell us, glorious as they are, lack the gift that we've been given: free will. In the end, they're nothing more than God's little wind up attack dogs and boom boxes-sing for him when they're not out doing his will. At least, that's the way those ancient theologists Imagined it to be, more or less, and what they imagined became doctrine.

And yet, somehow, without being endowed by the omiscient and all knowing Creator with free will, this "adversary" set himself up in opposition to God, rebelled against him, convinced some of his brother angels to go along with it and was cast out-to become the adversary.So, we have a being that lacks free will exhibiting free will it was not endowed with , and opposing the Creator-either the Creator isn't omniscient or he's somehow in on it-in either case, the "adversary," as the name implies, while not necessarily believed to be the equal to "God," is, apparently has, in some ways, a greater power than God does in regards to man in that he can directly influence our "free will." Thus, the argument-one that has taken place for thousands of years and is only resolved by the individual, whether that individual is an outsider, believer, quasi-believer, scholar, non-believer or atheist. In the end, you wind up believing what you choose, whether by logic, faith or study. No point in arguing it.

The Trinity is a touchier subject, especially when discussing it with believers, who have myriad convoluted explanations for something that can easily defy understanding. In any case, Don, if Jerrod were to go to the nearest mosque and say that the Trinity is not monotheistic, the imam might just agree with him, and, since he's arguing that "Christianity is not monotheistic," not that there's no such thing as monotheism, he'd be on pretty solid ground with Muslims, theologically speaking.

In any case, some "Christians" (since the term is open to definition) are tritheistic, in that they believe in three gods: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Most believe that god has a pluralistic nature: one god, three faces-in addition to believing that Jesus has two natures: human and divine. These things were argued about, pretty extensively, back in 325 at the Council of Nicea. Prior to that, there was no one Christian thought on the Trinity-there were arguments about the nature of God -as there had always been; I'm going to avoid Jewish monotheism because it's equally complicated and convoluted, and you've singled out "Christianity." There were arguments about the nature of the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, there were arguments about the nature of Jesus-was he man, divine, separate from the God the Father, of the same substance, or merely of "similar substance"? In the end, the early church fathers decided that Jesus was of the same substance as God the father.[/B]

I'm going to repeat that: early church fathers decided that Jesus was of the same substance as God the Father.

In fact, they took a vote. :lfao:

Of course, many maintain that they were "moved by the Holy Spirit" to do so, but the distinction is only necessary for "believers" not thinkers. (Not saying the two are mutually exclusive, just that one can certainly influence and bias the other-free will, and all that :lol:) IN fact, thining has led to a variety of Christian sects that don't believe in a Trinity at all, as well as a few that view the Trinity not as "one," or "a unity" or any of the other convolutions that mainstream Christian Orthodoxy (Catholic and Orthodox churches, as well as most Evangelicals and Protestants) go through to get to "monotheism," but as three separate beings. Though, technically, for most the Holy Spirit isn't really a "person," but a manifestation of God's power.

THen of course, there's the whole Catholic practice of sainthood, whereby some exceptional people have been somehow elevated to not quite godhood, but a sort of demi-godhood. They can, through God's grace, be prayed to and answer prayers, but they're not "gods." Though,historically, if you look at some of the more mythological of those saints-St. George who slew the dragon, for example-you'll find the ancient local favorite deity of the local tribe that was converted to Christianity, all those years ago. Old God absorbed and made a saint, so the people could continue to pray to him. Often, throughout Europe, one will find that beneath a church, one that's been there for hundreds or even more than a thousand years, one will find the holy site of a God whose worship predated Christianity in the area, and beneath its altar another for that other God.

THen there's the whole practice of praying to the Virgin Mary. Let's not go there-I've got to make breakfast, and feed the animals, and this is long enough as it is.:lfao:

To sum up though, while many will argue against your reasons for stating that "Christianity isn't monotheistic," they've got lots of arguments because those very discussions have been taking place since, well, the beginning of "Christianity." I'd say that it depends, upon what CHristians one is talking about, and how they define it-Catholics polytheistic? WHether they like it or not, almost certainly. Belief in the Trinity tritheistic? Could be, though it's been my experience that most Christians just accept St. Patrick's "shamrock," and don't think about it too much. St. Patrick, btw, while a real person, has many stories about him that are a conflation of Christianity with Irish myth and pagan religion, Don, since that's pretty much what he did as an outreach to pagan Celts: he combined elements of their worship with Christianity. He used bonfires on Easter, because the pagans used fire to celebrate, and he combined the sun with the cross to form the Celtic cross, so that they would see something else they had already worshipped, and be comfortable. THe shamrock is notable because what was called the Arian heresy, named after the church father at the council of Nicea who put forth the idea, was still popular in some parts of Europe-the Arian heresy? It was the belief that Father, Son and Holy Spirit were not of the same substance, but separate.......:lfao:


In short,"Christianity" is pretty much what people want it to be. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no absolute truth in this regard, short of what people choose to believe.
 
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