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CELTIC-L  May 1999

CELTIC-L May 1999

Subject:

Onward Christian? soldiers

From:

Graeme Bailey <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Graeme Bailey <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 20 May 1999 16:45:36 +1000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (319 lines)

Greetings to all,
I've just been sitting back in my chair, thinking about
all the people on this list, wondering what they're really like...
how much they can take :-)

The only evidence I have so far of their existence is the written word...
A bit like reading what was written by other people
more remote in time rather than space...
like Augustine of Hippo, Herodotus, Caesar, Bede, Patrick, Saul etc

So I'm thinking of Gil, Raimund, Sharon, Danielle, Shae, Georoid
and all the others who have subscribed to this list, and wondering
about who they are, I can 'feel' their varying personalities,
their very different points of view :-)

Now to get back on the straight and narrow...
My interest in Celtic things is from more than one aspect...
Firstly my ancestors who are not royalty :-)
come from these 'Celtic' lands... in my veins flows blood formed
by whatever processes that geneticists are trying to unravel...

In my brain, (if heriditary processes give any predisposition
to poetry, mystery, freedom of the spirit... )
is an attraction, a desire to know what these people were like...


Before fantasising on the fairies, Stonehenge, old poems, and dancing
in the moonlight, my understanding is mixed with some caution
that there is on record in these Celtic lands centuries of strife,
mind-boggling years of war, cold, conquest, oppression, slavery,
and the sheer harshness of man's inhumanity to man...

Enough said about the dark side...

My intention was not really to try to convert lost souls...
but I do have a genuine interest in the power of the early church...
This is the spread of Christianity among the pagans
while the church was still young, before Constantine and his
questionable life and methods, before the long philosophical
speculations about how many Gods were involved, one or three...
before the great schism... and the slide into the 'dark ages'

I was curious about the Celtic church *before* it became
dominated by the wordliness of Rome,
or before the church in Europe became involved in the politics
of Europe or the messy and bloody business of keeping the
moslems, Huns, Avars, Mongols etc out of *Ireland*

In the evidence we have, is the absolute fact that most of
Europe for one reason or another become Christian,
and the early stories show that mostly the conversion was
a peaceful process, in contrast to the moslem conquest...

From the early church we have most of our evidence for
what the pagans believed. Cutting down sacred Oaks,
destroying idols, stopping animal and human sacrifices...

It seems hard to separate the known history of the Gaels
from the mostly Christian chroniclers and influences?
Is it possible?

At 04:09 PM 19-05-1999 +0200, Raimund wrote:
>Graeme Bailey wrote:
<...>
>> that this Christian message was is and will be accepted by all
>> types and cultures and races all around the world...
<...>
>Except, of course, for the Muslims, Hindu, Taoists and Buddhists,

Come on Raimund :-)
I just meant that Christianity is just about *everywhere* on Earth...
it has proven to be satisfying, logical and acceptable
to most races, tribes and cultures, historical and contemporary...

>number of the "new" religions pooing out of nowhere all over the western
>world.

This sounds *really* deviant, do I detect tantric Buddhism?
what evidence do you have of this ? :-)

>Even more, what christian message do you mean? Catholic?
>Orthodox? Protestant? Jehova's Witnesses?

If you read my messages, I have tried to explain coherently?
that I believe it is the *written* word that keeps 'checks and balances'
on religion...
ie renewed interest in the original greek manuscripts
after the fall of Constantinople in 1452 led to 'protestantism'
a good example of how the written word
influenced people to action after realising
that 'worldliness' has crept into the original doctrine...

Remember that Roman Catholic claim to pre-eminence
is based on the written statement of Jesus
about Peter and the keys to heaven...
(documented, ie as written in scripture,)
and the (undocumented) idea of  'apostolic succession'
and the (undocumented) existence in Rome of Peter (and his keys?)

Jehovah's witnesses have sprung up since the late 1800's
from one man's 'revelation' that there was really no hell...

>> Is this true? Do people kill as part of true Christian doctrine,
>> or in spite of it?
>
>Depends upon what variant of christianity you follow. The crusaders
>killed as part of the true christian doctrine at their time.

Killing was *never* a part of 'true Christian Doctrine'.

Maybe you don't know?
The bible is in two major sections, with the history
of the Creation, the promise made to Abraham
who lived among pagan child-sacrificing heathens :-)
The testing of Abraham's faith in the aborted sacrifice of
his long-awaited only son,
then enslavement of his offspring in Egypt, their escape
and tribal wandering, the promised land...
their desire for a king like the other nations,
then their failure and God's curse...
and the prophecies... the promise of a special
'Messiah' who would come to save the world...

400 years later came Jesus Christ, the Messiah...
who was rejected, despised and killed...
Then almost immediately afterward the destruction
of Jerusalem, and the prophesied scattering of the Jewish people
over the face of the earth...

Perhaps you should read all this stuff again with an open mind... ?

The *old* testament, (ie the Torah and the prophets)
was the long and sad indictment of man's failure...
especially one family's failure... (the descendants of Abraham)
and the victory of sin, it is about the promise, and the curse...
the broken covenant... and the (Jewish) diaspora...

You need to be fair in your criticism of Christianity...
I am not justifying the behaviour of the crusaders,
but think of the moslem armed conquests,
the invasion of Europe
stopped by a confederation of tribes under Charles the Hammer
in Southern France,
the centuries of armed resistance in Spain and the Balkans,
the devastation of North Africa and the Middle East,
the invasion of Sicily and lower Italy,
even the sack of Rome by the Moslems,
the slaughter of those whose refused to convert to Islam..
the sanctioned killing of moslem apostates...
jihad 'holy war'...

In spite of all these things, I don't have anything but love
for *all* people, moslems, Hindu or animist, as God himself does...
it's what they *do* that can and must be judged right or wrong...

>> What of paganism, is there war and murder in these systems,
>> and is it justified?
>
>As much or not as those in christianity. There's no reason to assume
>that one is superior to the other.

I don't follow this reasoning... you are saying that paganism is
not superior to Christianity, or vice versa?
ie that they are morally the same?.

Surely then the extra benefits of Christianity should tip the balance
in Christianity's favour?
ie some percentage of a nominally Christian population
should actually hold to its principles, ie actually believe it and be
a blessing to both friend and foe, ie perform good works, work
for peace and harmony, literacy and education etc etc
>
>> My understanding is that the actual beliefs of the Celtic pagans
>> were 'secret' therefore probably shameful,
>
>They were definitly neither secret nor shameful, at least if we can
>reconstruct anything at least partly correct of pagan Celtic religion -
>which we actually can.

Didn't Caesar say that the Druids didn't put their religious beliefs
down in writing? Weren't ceremonies held in dark groves
and involved blood and death? Didn't 'Runes' mean 'secret'?

What of these 'gods'?
Badb *war* goddess (In Gaul Cauth Bodva 'War fury')
Morrigu "to be seen hovering over the battle-field,
as a carrion or hoodie crow"
Nemon *war* goddess 'the venomous'
Fea  *war* goddess 'the Hateful'
Macha *war* goddess, name means 'Battle'
Balor "one eye had been poisoned, but the eye retained the power to
strike dead at a glance..."
Bile the ruler of the underworld
'the Head of Bran' the decapitated 'wonderful' head of Bran...
etc
I understood these Gods were placated with sacrifices?

>They were not put in writing, but this doesn't
>make them inferior or shameful.
>
>> and that at an early time,before most of the written evidence, there was a
>> distinct history of Christianity as a force opposing the Celtic idolatry...
>> We have written evidence of this ...
>
>Do we?

this quote from Patrick is an example of
Patrick's Christian love opposed to paganism....

"...Whence Ireland which ... always adored idols and things unclean..."
"... behind my back they were saying 'Why does he expose himself to
danger among enemies who know not God?' ... daily I expect either
a violent death or slavery..."


>> Now it might be interesting to see and try to deduce what pagan
>> Gaels believed, but for the love of God let's not start *doing*
>> the paganism again...
>
>And why not, actually? If it is adopted for the modern situation, what's
>wrong in praying to Lugh or the Dagda or the Morrigan or Boand? As long
>as modern pagans don't sacrifice humans?

Don't you see the dangers in awakening active participation in
demonology? At its worst, he people at Carthage
ritually killed their own children at somewhere between 1 and 10 per week
for a thousand years... the description we have was the children's
head's were stroked to comfort them before throwing them in the fire...

It's at least comforting that you don't agree that the modern
'pagan' should go that far, ie that these practices were evil and wrong?

>If they are happy with it, why
>should this be wrong?

Raimund!!!!????
>> What of the documentary evidence that the Roman pagans wrote:
>> that the Christians were shaming them by doing good works, looking after
>> widows, feeding the poor, and burying the dead  etc...
>
>This would interest me, too. I've never heard of anything like this. In
>what sources is this in?
>>

Lucian of Samosata, second century (alluding to Christ)
" ... the man who was crucified in Palestine...
persuaded them that they were all brothers one of another after
they have transgressed once for all by denying the greek gods and by
worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws"

Lactantius (c 240 - 320) Instit VI, 12
Writes of providing the development of charitable service...
including  helping to bury the dead for those unfortunates
not able to get proper burial...
"We will not allow the image and creation of God to be thrown
out to the wild beasts and the birds as their prey; it must be given back
to the earth from which it was taken"



Julian the Apostate 332 - 363 (Roman Emperor 361 -363)
(He saw clearly that what was drawing many to the Christian
faith was this manifest exhibition of love in practice)
"Atheism [ie Christian faith] has been specially advanced through the
loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the
burial of the dead. It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who
is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their
own poor but for ours as well"

Gibbon 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'
"But as long as the contributions of the Christian people
were free and unconstrained... reflected honour on
the religious society... the feasts of love - the agapae,
as they were called... it was distributed to support widows
and orphans, the lame, the sick, and the aged...
to support strangers and pilgrims, and to alleviate the sufferings
of prisoners and captives... the pagans... while they derided
the doctrines, acknowledged the benevolence of the new sect...
there is reason to believe that great numbers of infants who,
according to the inhuman practice of the times, had been exposed
by their parents, were frequently rescued from death, baptized,
educated, and maintained by the piety of the Christians..."


>> What of the pagan kings? What of the destroying pagans who
>> wrote nothing, built nothing, and just went on rampaging campaigns of
>> wholesale murder?
>
>Like which? I know of not a single pagan group that did what you
>describe here.

Black Huns? White Huns? Avars? Magyars? Petchenegs? Cumans?
Hsiung Nu? Genghis Khan? Timur Leng?

Talking about wholesale murder, Julius Caesar did a pretty good
job of genocide when he felt like it (the Veneti for example? )
And the Vandals got themselves a lasting reputation :-)

>Perhaps they lived their lives in different ways than we do
<...>
I hope so :-)

>So why do you think that the atrocities commited by pagans were
>requirements of their religious systems? That they did not commit such
>atrocities in spite of their religions, like you claim to be true for
>the christian faith? I really don't see the logic behind your argument!
<...>

My point was that most pagan societies *glorified* war,
whereas Christianity is a force for love, peace and forgiveness...

Graeme M. Bailey <[log in to unmask]>
Graphics, 2D/3D and Fine Art especially Portraits

see Portrait examples at
http://fastinternet.net.au/~gbailey/GBPage1.html
or the general page which includes paintings, 3D, illustration at
http://fastinternet.net.au/~gbailey

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