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The Crucified Fish - Do Christians Understand Their Own Symbols?

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posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 03:39 PM
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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 these groups.

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!

-The Cross-
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 LOGICAL..???
"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..?

-The Fish-
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"..

-My View-

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





posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 03:50 PM
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reply to post by HyphenSt1
 


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



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 03:51 PM
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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.



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 04:03 PM
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reply to post by UxoriousMagnus
 


Crucifixion was a really brutal means of pacifying an area in ancient Rome. It wasn't typically used on Roman citizens. Generally, it was used on non-Romans and slaves or pirates and the like.

You did it to those you wanted to humiliate and torture.



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 04:36 PM
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Not a bad thread actually. Why couldn't Christianity choose a symbol other than the cross to represent Jesus. I mean they could have taken one of his many good deeds and capitalized on that.

The whole thing seems a little fishy to me. Maybe that is what the fish symbol is all about. S&F



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 04:40 PM
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Always thought that this was a stylised vagina, representing the feminine in the 'Mother Earth' sense (all life springs from her womb) and celebrating fruitfulness.

Also thought it pre-dated Christ.



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 04:53 PM
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reply to post by HyphenSt1
 

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.



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 05:01 PM
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ketsuko
reply to post by UxoriousMagnus
 


Crucifixion was a really brutal means of pacifying an area in ancient Rome. It wasn't typically used on Roman citizens. Generally, it was used on non-Romans and slaves or pirates and the like.

You did it to those you wanted to humiliate and torture.


exactly...

what's your point though.......?



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 05:11 PM
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reply to post by UxoriousMagnus
 


Just adding to what you said that Romans considered it so bad that they didn't even use it on their own common criminals.

When I learned that, it just added a whole new dimension to how degrading the whole episode was meant to be.



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 05:18 PM
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ketsuko
reply to post by UxoriousMagnus
 


Just adding to what you said that Romans considered it so bad that they didn't even use it on their own common criminals.

When I learned that, it just added a whole new dimension to how degrading the whole episode was meant to be.


oh...gotcha....yes it was about humiliation.....it was not an efficient way of killing people. Just run a sword through them and it is done. It was meant for torture and humiliation for sure....

good point....sorry I didn't catch where you were going with that



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 05:20 PM
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Crucified fish?!?

This is how you supposed to deal with the infidel fish believers



haha



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 05:36 PM
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reply to post by BombDefined
 


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.

CdT



posted on Jan, 20 2014 @ 06:02 PM
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BombDefined
Always thought that this was a stylised vagina, representing the feminine in the 'Mother Earth' sense (all life springs from her womb) and celebrating fruitfulness.

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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