First off, I never claim to be a scholar of theology or an "expert" of any kind. I am not a theist, nor an atheist, and i would say i am an agnostic,
but that would be to act as if i have no "faiths", which is also not true. I feel that i have integrated aspects of Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism,
Hinduism, Occultism, Classical Philosophy, and Mysticism, with my own observations and intuitions, but i don't claim to "follow" or "belong" to any of
Secondly, this thread was inspired by the recent environment of thought and debate around here, and hopefully this train-of-thought can provide
suitable "battle grounds" where things are less likely to degrade into "I am right because i agree with the infallible Bible" versus "I am right
because I agree with the infallible Science".. Battle with honor people!
I am aware that I am working off of knowledge that is also bias, and "incomplete" as it were, but I don't think this prevents anyone from making
accurate observations when focused in the right direction..
i am interested in asking the right questions instead of finding "all the right answers"..
Feel free to contradict or refine any observations i make!
Jesus had many things to say and teach, and (even with miracles excluded) I think that most people (theists and non-theists) can agree that the
acts and the character of Jesus are admirable..
So why is the instrument of his torturous demise, used as a symbol of his teachings? people often say "well, he died on the cross for our sins, and
we must remember this.." but what does this MEAN..? An all-powerful, all-wise, all-LOVING God required this primitive act of corporal-punishment for
the rest of humanity to go on..? Is there any way of phrasing this in a way that is consistent with the character of God, let alone
"He died for our sins" are the words that have answered this question for these people and they have become comfortable regurgitating these
words (think Pavlov's dog..), but are there any Christians out there still willing to defend the use of the cross..? Does anyone find it frightening
that most Christian Churches have a giant wooden cross on their property, as if they were ready to crucify someone if they had to..?
Perhaps this symbol better represents the teachings of Jesus, but I still think that this symbol is misunderstood and misused. This symbol can
be taken as being connected to the disciples of Jesus being fisherman and being taught to be “fishers of men”, or it may be connected to the
miracle of turning two fish into many, as well as being used as a symbol for early Christians to recognize each other.. But whatever the given
meaning, Christians tend to have only a shallow understanding of it, and use it as a symbol of belonging to a group out of a comfort and safety
instead of it being a method of finding sanctuary in a world hostile to your belief system (as in the case of the early Christians)
it is often understood as representing the POWER of Jesus and his miracles and (as we can see in the mindsets of many Christians) and seems to be more
about learning to DEPEND on God, instead of COLLABORATE with "Him"..
To ME I think the cross and the fish has much more potential to represent the teachings of Jesus, than most Christians realize.. and perhaps
they did represent different things a loooong time ago.. I’m not going to quote the bible or try to CONVINCE anyone of my interpretation of these
symbols (because they are just that.. MY interpretation), but perhaps others can use this view:
-The Cross – instead of a crucifix, it can be seen as a person with outstretched arms, welcoming all teachings and lessons to be learned, accepting
all challenges and experiences to come. It can also represent the four rivers in the garden of Eden, The Rosy-Cross, etc etc. It does not have to be
a symbol of martyrdom and suffering for a future that may never come, but instead can be a reminder that many have stood before greater challenges
than you in the past, and you are capable of adapting and confronting any challenge.
-The Fish – instead of a symbol of dependence and blind-faith, to me it represents the ability of the mystic (which Jesus was..) to “swim
in the waters that the madman drowns in” to paraphrase mythology scholar, Joseph Campbell. Sure, an aspect of this mysticism was indeed to
seemingly create resources out of thin air (as in the miracle with the fish) but this is simply to say,You learn to take care of yourself
and others when you live this life which is exactly the OPPOSITE message of the modern Christian message of “developing a dependence on God”..
I am not arguing for or against "Christianity" itself (although I'd love to hear anyone attempt to define that word in the first place..) but rather I
am attempting to discuss the usefulness and validity of their symbols, and how might they be understood in a way that opens one's mind to new
opportunities and lessons instead of leading to ignorant bliss and a loss of free-will altogether (when you don't use it.. ya lose it..)
Am I missing anything folks?
edit on 20-1-2014 by HyphenSt1 because: forgot to include Bill Hicks' view on the matter
uh....yeah your missing some things.....in that I think you are making too much of a small thing
The cross is what was used in Rome to kill people...God sent his son to be the last sacrifice (to die by human hands) and that is how they did it then
.... to open heaven to the gentiles not just the Jews.
The Roman pagan church was huge into symbols and statues and when Constantine flipped the switch from pagan to Christian....many of those symbols
carried over into the Catholic church.....protestants are not big fans of these things including the use of the cross but most use it anyway....never
could understand that.
The fish is as you say....symbol of fisher-of-men....
early Christians also used "X" as a secret symbol to show what they were but to hide from those that would kill them
I always thought the fish was, besides what you mentioned "fisher of men" and the fish producing miracle, a reference to vesica picses and the holy
trinity of father/son/holy ghost. If you looked at the evolving geometry of holy ghost being the eternal ground combined with the father or generative
catalyst producing offspring (the son) of this world of form.
The meaning of any symbol is defined and controlled by the minds of the people who are using it.
So it's an empty exercise to take a Christian symbol and claim that it "really" means or "used to mean" something else.
A Christian symbol, when used by Christians, must by definition mean what Christians think it means- no more, no less.
It does. The Pythagoreans's called this symbol Vesica Piscis which translates into the "Vessel of the Fish". The shape is from taking two circles
intersection and is believed to represent the intersection between the spiritual and material worlds. A sacred doorway between to states of being.
It was quite natural due to not only the shape, but the name and meaning - to associate this symbol with the vagina.
The Egyptian called this symbol "Ru" and similarly represented the vagina and the sacred doorway in which spirit materialized in the world.
So their two metaphors do show continuity in association with this symbolism. Not only is this symbol chosen to represent Christ, but it also
represents "The World" card in the Major Arcana of the Tarot. It's also found in association with the Goddess. Such as seen on the cover of the
well at Glastonbury.
Now the X to mark the spot of Christians, isn't quite right. They actually used the Ichthys Wheel which looks like a simple six-spoked wheel. But
like the use of the Vesica Piscis, it was a clever way to use ancient, readily knowns symbol to identify one another while remaining hidden, as their
persecution was great at that time in history. So anyways, the greek letters IXOYE can be laid over the symbol.
The IXOYE later was shortened down to the symbolic monogram for Christ - IHS. Comprised of the letters iota, ete, and sigma which are the first three
letters of Jesus' greek name Iesous. It also stands for the Latin phrase, "Jesus, Saviour of Man." The symbol later became the sign of peace. This
is the symbol that you see embossed on communion wafers surrounded by the rays of the sun.
As to the cross... well that it a subject all to it's own. We have the Tua Cross, Atlantis Cross, Brighids Cross, Latin Cross, Celtic Cross,
Jerusalem Cross, Leviathan Cross, Palm Cross, and I could go on and on... but I won't. Needless to say, the Cross has more ancient roots also.
Just to clarify for a moment though. The Latin Cross is the Christian Cross, only when Christ is depicted upon the cross it becomes a crucifix.
Technically, the Latin Cross is a symbolic victory of life over death and before it became associated with Christianity, was a symbol of protection.
So when Catholics, move their hands and say "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost", this is meant correctly to be a protection ward. And
in actuality this wasn't the first choice in the symbol to represent their new Faith Christianity. At first they used the Labarum, up until the 3rd
Century... when the books were drawn together by the Council of Nicea, then the Latin Cross was adopted. Surprise, surprise! Right?
The Christian Cross, when in it's correct dimensions can be folded into a cube. Kinda symbolic for me, as all organized religion seems to want to
stuff everyone and everything into a box!
The labarum is the earliest Christian symbol. It looks like and elongated P with and X in the lengthened line in the P. This symbol is an adaptation
of the Ankh and was also a symbol of Mithras. When it's associated with Mithras though, the symbol is enclosed with a circle. This symbol bridged a
gap between roman soldiers who ascribed to Mithraism and Christianity. Legend says that Constantine had a dream of this symbol appearing to him and
his army in the sky. He was so moved by his vision, believing it to be a sign of victory, that he had all of his soldiers paint the symbol onto their
shields. This is similar to the story of the Star and Crescent Moon seen by Osman of the Ottoman Empire. Later, Constantine, was the one responsible
for replacing the Labarum or Chi Rho with the Latin/Christian Cross.
Always thought that this was a stylised vagina, representing the feminine in the 'Mother Earth' sense (all life springs from her womb) and
Also thought it pre-dated Christ.
Exactly right. PreChristian use of it was for the Yoni (vagina) symbol. If you turn it sideways with the tail facing downward and then use some
imagination, you can understand why. The tail is part of the outline of the buttocks if the woman is lying down.
I always giggle when I see a fish symbol on a car and praise the Goddess for such an awesome sense of humor and poetic justice.
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