reply to post by Wandering Scribe
I do not think that Pagan culture is primitive, barbaric, or chaotic.
I was speaking from the Hebrew viewpoint (in their opinion). Clearly, yours would be different. Which is fine.
Were they masterful story-tellers who understood how to map the emotions, thoughts, and personalities of people the entire world over? Definitely.
I can appreciate your understanding of pagan doctrines. My use of the word pagan, just so you know, is not meant pejoratively. It just happens to
refer to anything that is not influenced by Judaism (or the Hebrew Bible). Even then, Christians have called Muslims pagans and Muslims called
Christians pagans. etc
For convenience sake, I use the word. But I mean no offense.
So I hope you do not take offense when I sort of disagree that the Hebrews were the more sophisticated, refined, and civilized culture.
Actually, it's inevitable that we butt heads here. But I can keep it light-hearted and not be bothered.
What I do hope people appreciate is the goodness within other traditions. The Jews have been slighted bad in this area - beginning with the
antisemitic insinuations of the new testament down to our modern era. People inveigh non-stop against the Bible, ignoring the fact that 'love the
stranger' etc, ideas preached by Jesus, are derived from the 5 books of Moses
What I hate with an utter passion, however, is the type of barbarity that allowed the Romans to take human beings and pit them against animals in
gladitorial fights. Just the more I read about them, the more I'm sickened to my stomach with their callousness. Smart, Sophisticated, wily,
sagacious, etc, the Romans were, but men with hearts who didn't sacrifice the person to the principle, they werent. And as I think I mentioned, this
is the beautiful idea contained in the Hebrew Bible with the story of Abraham and Isaac. The sanctity of a human life. That we are not objects to
bring entertainment to a mass of frothing sadists.
I tend to think that much of what is recorded in the Old Testament (forgive my Christian references, it is how I am familiar with the Hebrew
traditions) to be quite primitive and barbaric.
Do you take the weirdness within pagan myth so literally?
The collecting of foreskins; the mistreatment of slaves; the ordered murder of infants, children, and women; the insistence on racial superiority.
The Hebrew clearly picked up this somewhat tawdry approach to story telling from their pagan brothers.
Mistreatment of slaves? Where does this idea appear? Historically speaking, a slave was a member of a household, as Josephus describes. Sort of akin
to our concept of a 'hired worker'. A hired worker is a modern slave; whether he realizes it or not, he is subject to someone elses authority, and
lives according to his good will (although today there are laws etc, sometimes that isn't enough, especially under socialism).
In any case, it's hard to pronounce judgement on a world that was so harshly different from what we know today. When all your enemies kill the
woman/children/ etc, or take them as concubines, you do the same thing. The Hebrews, of course, in their own social affairs, were just. And perhaps
when dealing with enemy combatants, they were coldly realistic about what would happen if you left alive children who's parents you just killed.
In any case, it's the philosophy - the ideas beneath the literal narratives, that I'm attracted to. I'm not an orthodox Jew, although I do enjoy the
works of Martin Buber and Abraham J Heschel.
I don't have the character-count to fully delve into it here, but the Pagan gods are actually more human than the Hebrew God.
I understand your criticism and respect your claim that pagan gods had pathos. Let me frame it this way: the Jewish God was very much a 'reasonable'
God, in what he asked of his creations - ignoring of course the war bits in the Hebrew Scriptures, which, in the context of war, is hard to judge.
But, with the 10 commandments, the idea of love the stranger (which was HIGHLY UNUSUAL in a day where tribal gods were the be all and end all), let
the land lie fallow every 7th year, leaving the extra cuttings in the field for the poor, these are tremendously good ideas that have received scant
e main reasons why I, personally, feel drawn to the Anunnaki and a small set of other Pagan deities. While you say the Hebrew God is personable and
warm, I found that He was distant, domineering, aggressive, and often times acted on angry impulse without thought or repent for His actions.
Strange that you get this idea. Read the Psalms. The God being referred to is a God who is obviously a God of warmth and sensitivity, who arouses awe
This I feel is due to a great deal of propaganda and bad press. It's no secret that the intellectuals of the 17th, 18th, 19th etc centuries hated the
Jewish element within their cultures. And they took this hatred to an extreme. Read Spinoza's nonsense tracatus. This is where Hegel got his ideas of
Judaism. And yet, these were the most false and ignorant ideas from a guy who knew little himself of Judaism (spinoza grew up in a christian
household, despite being from a Jewish family).
The Jews themselves forgot the the precise meaning of their scriptures, but their spiritual traditions certainly retained the crux of their spiritual
bent. Kabbalah, Chassidut, both represent highly spiritual paths towards understanding God. Path's I feel very touched by. You see similar ideas in
certain schools of Sufism and the works of certain Christian mystics.
Obviously I expect that you wouldn't hold this view, but you seem to be a much more devout Jew than I am. Which is fine; to each their own.
You're Jewish? What do you know! Me, the gentile, takes a liking to the Hebrew Bible, while you, the Jew takes a liking to pagan scriptures.
Funny how life works.
edit on 9-11-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)