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Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
07-07-2013, 06:01 PM
Post: #1
Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
I believe that Christianity might have started as a secretive cult with a lot of secret teachings not revealed or simply forgotten.

My evidence is this verse:
“Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whosoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whosoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."

I also believe that Christianity was not just influenced by Judaism but also secretly influenced by Zoroastrianism. Because of the Dualism concept in Christianity which to me is oddly similar to the same concept in Zoroastrianism. One God of Light and One God of darkness in an eternal struggle of good and evil for all eternity. Both believe the light is good and the darkness is evil. The word "Magi" is used in the New Testament to describe the "wise-men" who visit Jesus. I am attempting as of now to find more evidence of how Early Christianity was corrupted. I do not believe all light is good or all darkness is evil, in reality even the entities we believe are evil where created by the One God for what ever purpose. Why be blinded by the light when a person can wade in Gods shadow.

What are your thoughts?
Could it have started as a secret society with teachings not revealed to every one?
Could it have had connections with other theological systems other than Judaism considering that many of the concepts in both Faiths seem to be very different in fundamental ways?

"Hidden underneath the stoned cold surface of every Pious Person lays buried a Kinky Pervert, Stop bringing shovels, Where not digging!"-Azrael
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07-07-2013, 07:16 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2013 07:19 PM by shiverleaf15.)
Post: #2
RE: Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
It did start as a secretive religion. That's kind of a good thing, but with bad side-effects: Romans at times claimed many ugly things about what Christians did during their secret night-time meetings. I've read from two Christian sources addressing Roman perceptions of Christians that in their day (200s AD) it was said that Christians would gather in secret at night and engage in orgies with their "brothers" and "sisters" of an imagined incestuous type. The rite involved letting a dog loose to kick down a candle or lamp light. Another allegation was that Christians kidnapped Roman children and cut them up for their initiation ritual, eating its flesh and drinking its blood (hence a deranged variation of communion or the Lord's supper). It was an ancient blood libel against Christians.

(Ironically enough, many Christians later claimed Jews did this in the Middle Ages, and some Muslims claim Jews do this to this day in the Middle East.)

It's pure anti-Christian falsehood (although there were Gnostic churches-within-the-Christian-church that other Christians themselves claimed did orgiastic rituals of creepy natures). But it goes to show how the fact early Christians were secretive led largely to their opposition as a "cult".
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07-07-2013, 07:30 PM
Post: #3
RE: Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
(07-07-2013 07:16 PM)shiverleaf15 Wrote:  It did start as a secretive religion. That's kind of a good thing, but with bad side-effects: Romans at times claimed many ugly things about what Christians did during their secret night-time meetings. I've read from two Christian sources addressing Roman perceptions of Christians that in their day (200s AD) it was said that Christians would gather in secret at night and engage in orgies with their "brothers" and "sisters" of an imagined incestuous type. The rite involved letting a dog loose to kick down a candle or lamp light.

It's pure anti-Christian falsehood (although there were Gnostic churches-within-the-Christian-church that other Christians themselves claimed did orgiastic rituals of creepy natures). But it goes to show how the fact early Christians were secretive led largely to their opposition as a "cult".

But what did they do in these secret meetings?
Why have secret meetings?

Do you think Christianity might trace it's origins to theologies other than Judaism?

"Hidden underneath the stoned cold surface of every Pious Person lays buried a Kinky Pervert, Stop bringing shovels, Where not digging!"-Azrael
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07-07-2013, 07:32 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2013 07:34 PM by shiverleaf15.)
Post: #4
RE: Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
Well we can do a little exposition on the history of Christianity from original mystery religion to common-knowledge western world religious tradition. If you'd like, I can do that.

As for where Christianity gets its theologies: the hypothesis of some is that it derives its aspects from places like Mithraism, the Dionysian mysteries, Zoroastrianism, and unique sects of Judaism other than Pharisaism or Sadduceeism, sects like Essenism or perhaps ones more obscure that may have resembled proto-Gnosticism. Also, some say it borrowed its philosophies and theologies from Stoicism and Platonism too. Lastly, some people (and these are few) allege Jesus went to India somehow and got Buddhist influence from there. Or else, that the Therapeutae ascetic Jewish Essene sect in Alexandria was actually a community of Buddhist Theravada monks.
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07-07-2013, 07:34 PM
Post: #5
RE: Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
(07-07-2013 07:32 PM)shiverleaf15 Wrote:  Well we can do a little exposition on the history of Christianity from original mystery religion to common-knowledge western world religious tradition. If you'd like, I can do that.

Yes please, Share what ever knowledge or wisdom you have.

"Hidden underneath the stoned cold surface of every Pious Person lays buried a Kinky Pervert, Stop bringing shovels, Where not digging!"-Azrael
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07-07-2013, 07:54 PM
Post: #6
RE: Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
(07-07-2013 06:01 PM)Azrael17 Wrote:  I believe that Christianity might have started as a secretive cult with a lot of secret teachings not revealed or simply forgotten.

My evidence is this verse:
“Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whosoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whosoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."

I also believe that Christianity was not just influenced by Judaism but also secretly influenced by Zoroastrianism. Because of the Dualism concept in Christianity which to me is oddly similar to the same concept in Zoroastrianism. One God of Light and One God of darkness in an eternal struggle of good and evil for all eternity. Both believe the light is good and the darkness is evil. The word "Magi" is used in the New Testament to describe the "wise-men" who visit Jesus. I am attempting as of now to find more evidence of how Early Christianity was corrupted. I do not believe all light is good or all darkness is evil, in reality even the entities we believe are evil where created by the One God for what ever purpose. Why be blinded by the light when a person can wade in Gods shadow.

What are your thoughts?
Could it have started as a secret society with teachings not revealed to every one?
Could it have had connections with other theological systems other than Judaism considering that many of the concepts in both Faiths seem to be very different in fundamental ways?

I too believe that there has been a switch. I have my conspiracy theory that shows that there has been a change and it happened when the Two Witnesses were slain, and I place that in the mid-19th century.

I myself, like some others believe that we live in a manufactured infrastructure that includes a world of cults while the Truth was removed intentionally, and this is when books were ripped out of the Bible at the same time, it's one and the same violation.
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07-07-2013, 08:18 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2013 08:30 PM by shiverleaf15.)
Post: #7
RE: Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
Okay, I'll try as best I can (:

So first, you must realize that Christianity basically began as a mystery religion. The message that Christians gave to others was "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand". Only the apostles of Jesus were told that he was actually the promised Messiah, and the Son of God, and were asked to keep it secret.

During Jesus' lifetime, we hear him tell his disciples not to cast pearls before swine, nor to throw precious things before dogs. He also tells his hearers many parables, but doesn't usually explain them to them, rather he explains them to his apostles in private: some of the parables aren't exactly explained in the NT either. Jesus told his apostles there were things they could not yet be told, but would learn later. It may be that once Jesus resurrected and remained forty days with them, he told them. The very resurrection of Christ was originally also a secret that only the apostles and a few others knew about, and Jesus didn't want them to publicize it.

The notion that Jesus himself founded, therefore, was one of prudent concealment of holy mysteries (revealed truths) from the world. Only those spiritually mature could be told about them. There were two reasons why this was so: first, because the mysteries were sacred, and ought not to be profaned, therefore Christians were tasked with safeguarding them from the "swine" and "dogs as best they could, and secondly, because if someone who wasn't spiritually mature got a hold of them, aside from profaning the mysteries ("trampling" them), they would also turn against the Christians themselves, as Jesus forewarned.

During the times of the apostles, Paul mentions that spiritually immature Christians could only be fed milk, and not yet meat, and he mentions this in two of his epistles. He says they're not yet ready for the "meat". There's a parable Jesus once told, about servants having to be ready before Christ came back. Then Peter asked him: do you mean us (apostles), or do you speak about everyone else too (all Christians)? And Jesus responds rhetorically, by saying the faithful and wise steward is him whom his lord (Christ) appoints as ruler over his household (Church) to feed the household (Christians) their "meat" in due season. So the faithful steward of the parable referred to select Christians like the apostles meant to feed the Church with "meat", and were the only ones appointed to shepherd the Church and distribute this very same "meat". Paul, speaking of him and other apostles like Peter, tells the Corinthians that they are stewards of the mysteries, and as stewards must be found faithful: he is clearly making an allusion to Jesus' parable of the faithful and wise steward. The very chapter before this he had spoken about milk and meat! It follows that "meat" means the mysteries that are not to be revealed to the common Christian neophytes or the rest of the world due to spiritual immaturity. The "milk" are the first principles of the Gospel.

I know that Paul lists seven mysteries as being "milk" in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which are, the doctrines of faith, repentance from dead works, baptism, laying on of hands, the resurrection, the eternal judgment, and perfection (how a Christian can become perfect, that is, or what follows once he does, and what can not happen once he does). He then goes on to explaining this doctrine of "perfection" because he tells the Hebrews that they should already know the first six doctrines well. But earlier he tells them they are like children in need of milk who can not eat meat yet, which is why he says he needs to explain the first principles again. He just skips the first six to go straight to the seventh.

It's clear that the Bible explains these first seven mysteries rather well. Even then, historically, Christians weren't super-vocal about them to non-Christians: there were no loud Evangelical missionaries back then like today. Instead, Christians would visit people among the lowest rungs of society, like the poor, women, or persons working in simple crafts (i.e. visiting tanners), and then ask them questions and invite them to find out more.

They had meetings at nighttime, at what in Roman times would be akin to the "witching hours of the night" if you get what I'm trying to say: they were superstitious about doing deeds at night, it implies ominous behavior. Romans suspected that Christians performed all manner of libertine monstrosities, and even planned acts of terrorism and brainwash during these meetings, like arson, or converting people with a seditious and treasonous anti-Roman agenda. But Christians met at night precisely because of their secretive nature. The Bible never mentions such thing as a church building: Christians always met in "upper rooms" or "upper chambers" to break bread, and learn about the Gospel, etc. Later they started to have meetings inside catacombs.

So the question becomes: are there any additional "mysteries" of ancient Christianity which we no longer have?

Well people claimed there were, in fact, additional dimensions of secretiveness within Christianity which other Christians themselves contested. These Christians were like a church-within-a-church: and they existed in various schools of thought, but we know them today as Gnostics. Gnosticism at first wasn't a separate Christian religion, but a society of Christians within the mainstream Christian Church who taught that Jesus and/or the apostles had secretly handed down mysteries from initiate to initiate and these mysteries taught that the OT god was evil and a demiurge, that Jesus really didn't have a body and was a hologram, and that salvation didn't become actual through mere faith, but had to be obtained through "gnosis", which was a personal religious experience wherein a Gnostic obtained "knowledge" of the divine.

Let's take for an example Valentinus. This man almost became the Bishop of Rome (imagine if we had obtained a Gnostic pope?), and he claimed the classical Gnostic doctrines about the evil Yahweh being a demiurge named Yaldabaoth, the creator of an inherently-fallen irredeemable world, and about the divine pre-Yahweh deity Bythos, and about how Jesus was actually an emanation from Bythos sent to save mankind from Yaldabaoth's fallen creation. In Gnosticism, man's soul was inherently divine, part of the original realm of philosophical abstractions (like in Plato's Theory of Forms), and through gnosis and the doctrines taught (allegedly) by Jesus, man could return to his original state in harmony with Bythos. Valentinus claimed he was initiated into these mysteries of Gnosticism by a certain Theudas, and he claimed Theudas was in turn initiated by Paul the apostle himself. Valentinians therefore interpreted Paul's letters in a very unique way. Christian bishops like Irenaeus opposed Valentinianism and all the other Gnostic secret societies within the Christian Church and disagreed that Jesus or the apostles had secretly set up successors to be taught the most-secret mysteries while they kept the bishops (visible successors of the apostles) in the dark.

I tell you all this knowing that you may find Gnosticism interesting. If you want to know what I personally believe as an LDS considering Christianity's primitive mystery-religion form, I may make a topic about it in my blog. I think this should suffice though.

It was after Christianity became Rome's official religion that Christians stopped being secretive. So you could say stuff previously secret became well-known common knowledge after that. Meanwhile, other stuff was perhaps completely forgotten once the most "initiated" of Christians began dying off without successors: we could say that happened and have little evidence for it, but for your sake, we could say it could have happened and still never know.
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07-08-2013, 12:18 AM (This post was last modified: 07-08-2013 12:19 AM by Fossilgirl.)
Post: #8
RE: Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
(07-07-2013 06:01 PM)Azrael17 Wrote:  I believe that Christianity might have started as a secretive cult with a lot of secret teachings not revealed or simply forgotten.
I believe Christianity started about 6,000 years ago. The Bible tells us how God loved us even though we as humans reject Him. Our sin seperates us from a Holy God. He laid out a plan of redemption for man... and that plan was the Messiah, the start of Christianity.

(07-07-2013 06:01 PM)Azrael17 Wrote:  My evidence is this verse:
“Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whosoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whosoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."
That verse is telling us (when you read full context) that there are people who reject our Creator,,,There are people who do not want to know God...But God will reveal Himself to those who seek Him.

"I challenge...to come up with one practical application of biology that would have been impossible were it not for the hypothesis of evolution" Sonenthal, New Scientist
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07-08-2013, 12:24 AM
Post: #9
RE: Could Christianity have started as a secretive cult?
(07-07-2013 07:54 PM)matrixmaker Wrote:  
(07-07-2013 06:01 PM)Azrael17 Wrote:  I believe that Christianity might have started as a secretive cult with a lot of secret teachings not revealed or simply forgotten.

My evidence is this verse:
“Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whosoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whosoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."

I also believe that Christianity was not just influenced by Judaism but also secretly influenced by Zoroastrianism. Because of the Dualism concept in Christianity which to me is oddly similar to the same concept in Zoroastrianism. One God of Light and One God of darkness in an eternal struggle of good and evil for all eternity. Both believe the light is good and the darkness is evil. The word "Magi" is used in the New Testament to describe the "wise-men" who visit Jesus. I am attempting as of now to find more evidence of how Early Christianity was corrupted. I do not believe all light is good or all darkness is evil, in reality even the entities we believe are evil where created by the One God for what ever purpose. Why be blinded by the light when a person can wade in Gods shadow.

What are your thoughts?
Could it have started as a secret society with teachings not revealed to every one?
Could it have had connections with other theological systems other than Judaism considering that many of the concepts in both Faiths seem to be very different in fundamental ways?

I too believe that there has been a switch. I have my conspiracy theory that shows that there has been a change and it happened when the Two Witnesses were slain, and I place that in the mid-19th century.

I myself, like some others believe that we live in a manufactured infrastructure that includes a world of cults while the Truth was removed intentionally, and this is when books were ripped out of the Bible at the same time, it's one and the same violation.

I'm interested to know who those 19th century Two Witnesses were.
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