At 02:30 PM 17-05-1999 +0100, Sharon wrote:
><...>I think perhaps Ray might be a better person to answer...
> at least coherently]
I'll try not to splutter... and be as coherent as possible :-)
><...>but what is there to suggest the conversion of Celts to
Christianity was anything other than them being usurped by a greater force?
In the religious sense, it could be argued that Christianity has behind it
a greater force... but not exactly in a military sense :-)
This 'force' has associated with it some truly great ideas...
especially love for one's enemy, forgiveness, mercy,
truly impartial justice, the love of the truth,
the virtues of humility, patience, kindness, charity...
Now the answer to the question...
there is a lot of written evidence to suggest that the first
Christians moved among all levels of society, from the highest
to the lowest even slaves,
eg Patrick was captured by pagan slavers, and yet
returned out to Ireland of love for Christ, and
love for the pagan people of Ireland...
Columba was well born, yet put his life at risk to spread the
message of peace and love to the pagans of 'Scotland'...
Many early missionaries died lonely and violent deaths...
yet all over the world, people *benefited*
from the message they brought...
These benefits are the *Christian Virtues*
and shouldn't be confused
with nominally 'Christian' Kingdoms or Institutions...
ie some the actions of Constantine *after* the Edict of Milan
which involved murder etc are NOT Christian :-)
I would suggest that what most civilised people call
'good' or 'bad' is fundamentally coloured by Christian ethics..
Can anyone disagree?
The message carried into the depths of pagan Europe by
the early missionaries, a great many of whom were from Ireland,
undoubtedly led to what we call modern European civilisation,
(although current affairs show the process is not yet finished... :-)
Has anyone read of the discussion in Iceland
that led to their 'democratic' adoption
Has anyone read of the imissionary activities of
St Gall in Switzerland... and of the hundreds of others from Ireland
who brought Christianity to the still pagan areas of Europe...
including Friesland, France, Germany,
even Italy, even *England* :-)
Now an important point:
Was there war before Christianity? What of tribal fighting,
genocide, slavery, ritual murder, conquest, greed, power, lust,
poverty and ignorance? Did these exist *before* Christianity,
during and after? Can Christianity be blamed for all these things?
Or is Christianity a light in a dark world?
Who wrote down the
first grammar of the Irish?
Who *wrote* down the Irish histories,
the stories of CuCullain, Finn MacCool etc that we discuss today?
Is Christianity only Roman?
What of the pre-1000 AD churches
in Ethiopia, India, China, Mongolia, Persia, Iraq, Turkey, Russia,
Egypt, Greece, North Africa etc ???
Who was the missionary who came from China to investigate Rome
How were these early Irish manuscripts preserved?
Where are the *pagan* universities?
(don't answer this one in a modern context :-)
Who (tried:-) to stop slavery?
Who first *cared* for the poor, the widow, and the orphan?
Who goes to the rubbish dumps of humanity'
the leper colonies, the starving children of remote countries
even today to care, bandage, feed, comfort?
And how many of these are Christians?
Initiating war in the name of religion is *not* enshrined in
Christian belief, but in many pagan cultures, war, violence,
murder, destruction is part of the fundamental ethos...
For those that think paganism is 'good'...
what of the unfortunate *victims* of human sacrifice...
What of the people who suffered under the raids of the Vikings,
not to mention Huns, Avars, Magyars, Mongols etc...
Has anyone read for instance of the pagan temple at Uppsala?
What happened in India if a low-caste person was caught learning
This is about where the stains on the world conscience called
the 'crusades' come in...
These are to be heartily condemned for the same consistent reasons...
murder, conquest, rape, pillage etc are equally 'wrong'
even if a person who is called a Christian commits these crimes...
>[Please note (i) I'm just asking a question
>and maybe acting a bit as a devil's advocate,
>I'm sure there were other reasons why the Celts'
>religions or belief systems were subsumed
>by the tide of Christianity <...>
The 'rules' for a successful missionary were to
1. Love your fellow human beings more than yourself.
2. Learn their language, so as to be able to communicate with them.
3. Be willing even to die, to bring the message of hope and love
and eternal life...
Remembering that these are not *my* ideas... they are written down
in the spoken word... and in the history, actions, deeds and songs
among the Irish, Scottish, Welsh and other 'Celts'
from at least the end of the third century, and underly many
of the great historical events since that time...
These Christian influences are at least as early
as any *direct* historical evidence of their Celtic beliefs?
(Indirect evidence is Julius Caesar, graves, archaeology etc)
Now was that coherent enough?
Graeme M. Bailey <[log in to unmask]>
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