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Time, History, Judgement- the "Abrahamic" Faiths vs "Paganism".

Discussion in 'Religion' started by SwordOfStCatherine, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. SwordOfStCatherine

    SwordOfStCatherine Legend Political Irish

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    Though through a reaction to the slanderous polemics of Adolf Harnack against Eastern Christianity as a whole Eastern Orthodox Theologians (I'm thinking principally here of Vladimir Lossky who never the less is well worth reading) and apologists (the really awful Alexander Kalimiros springs first to mind) have tended the play down or even deny the connections there can be no doubt there is immense over lap between (Neo-) Platonism and Traditional historic Christianity (I'm including High Church Lutherans, Anglicans and even some of the Reformed there along with Catholics and the Orthodox Churches- obviously not Baptists and what have you though). For all St Thomas Aquinas's Aristotelianism his is an Aristotelianism placed within the framework of the Dionysiusian Corpus which at the time was believed to have been written by St Dionysius the Areopagite the disciple of St Paul but which bears all the marks of being reworking in a Christian frame work of the works of Proclus the "Pagan" Neo-Platonist (I will get around to doing a thread on the Dionysusian Corpus- suffice to add also that Proclus was a significant influence also on St Maximus the Confessor, one of the most important Byzantine Theologians).

    Now a lot of Christians will say that the key difference between Platonism and Christianity is that the latter valorizes the material world while the former doesn't. However anyone who has struggled through Plotinus's polemics against the Gnostics knows that this is a gross simplification. Indeed a case could be made that it is the other way around as Platonism sees this material reality wedded to corruption as a necessity while as Christianity sees it in the form it takes now at least as the product of a cosmic disaster (though the entrance in it of human persons may be seen as such in Platonism). In reality both the works of Plato and the New Testament are ambiguous about this world that we now find ourselves in and one can find passages in both to support a "world denying" or "world affirming position".

    Leaving aside what Plato himself actually thought on this subject for the moment (this issue calls for a thread for itself), all the "Pagan" Neo-Platonists believed in a cyclical view of history, and generally also in an "Eternal Return", and they shared this belief with the Stoics. Hinduism and Buddhism while not being clear whether they believe in an "Eternal Return" (I suspect a lot of Hindus do- but Buddhists do not) both take a cyclical view of history and conceive likewise of time as something essentially infinite just like the Platonists and Stoics of European antiquity. Christianity and the other "Abrahamic" Faiths on the other hand believe that time moves essentially in a straight line which is not to say that it doesn't have patterns within it and that one Day will have an End, which will be Final. The belief that time is finite and liner as opposed to circular and infinite is the key issue as far as I can see separating the Abrahamic Faiths from the more sophisticated forms of "Paganism".

    The problem than arises here for those who see these different Theological outlooks of having a basis in different racial make-ups is that we have strong evidence to suggest that Zoroaster existed before Abraham, and this is married to the reality that it is far easier to construct arguments for the actual historical existence of Zoroaster than it is for that of Abraham. It is with Zoroasterianism that Faith in the Last Day, a Final Judgement by Fire which will transfigure the just even as it torments the unrighteous so far as secular historians of Religions are concerned first comes on the scene and Zoroaster was an Indo-European (if Indra was supposedly blonde haired maybe also he was as well). Besides all that though I reject "Racial Post-Modernism", all humans have the same human essence and what is more live in the same objective reality, so while we may approach that reality from different angles I reject the notion that something can be true for a Semite and false for an Indo-European or false for an Oriental but true for an African- which isn't to say that we don't approach and respond to that objective reality with our own ethnic genius.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  2. OP
    SwordOfStCatherine

    SwordOfStCatherine Legend Political Irish

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    An endless infinity of indifferent happenings isn't history in the sense that European man has experienced it up until very recently, by placing humanity under the demand of decision the knowledge of Eschaton awakens a sense of freedom that humans subsumed in the cyclical pulse of nature cannot know, or only can of dim intuitions of.