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View Diary: Media Assuming Mormon Claims as Part of Christianity (189 comments)

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  •  So few texts survive prior to the 4th century; (1+ / 0-)
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    how do we know who was and wasn't a Christian prior to that time?  That question has real implications for who is and isn't a Christian in the present, insofar as their ideas may address controversies in Christendom before then.  The Mormons want to go back to a time before the Nicene Creed, for example, and they claim to have a good idea of what Christianity was like before the document that, for you, seems to define what Christianity is.  Not that I believe Joseph Smith's claims about golden plates and all, mind you, especially being a New World archaeologist--but what about that vast diversity of opinion before the Nicene Creed?  What about the fact that the contents of that creed were basically determined by an emperor who, let's face it, didn't have the political power he did have because of his theological background?  If things had turned out otherwise, if the Arian faction had won out, would there be any real Christians living today?  

    As far as typologies go, one thing I didn't really address in my comment is that some criteria matter more than others.  Surely someone who denies the existence of any kind of god at all has a lot weaker of a claim to be Christian than someone who believes that God exists, but who also believes that the Christ is not the same being as God.  I haven't quite figured out how to fit that kind of "deal-breaking" criterion into my own work, even with regard to pots, where the stakes are a lot lower.

    •  one of the interesting things about "attention" (0+ / 0-)

      is that prior to something rising to "attention" it was not a problem.

      Take for instance, all the literature on suicide during the industrial revolution. Durkehim gets into the meat of it (not an online resource unfortunately), but suicide was not a real national (french) epidemic worthy of study until people started working 12 hour days in hot factories and unsafe working conditions. Then the issue of suicide rose to attention- it was not considered a problem. Mumford in Technics and Civilization does a decent historical review of quality of life prior to the machine.

      The point of the above, is that Durkheim and other social scientists (of which I am in that profession) would respond that it probably was not considered a problem until 3rd and 4th century. That's the short of it.

      Above Grecian mantles were chiseled these words... Know Thyself... Nothing in Excess... the pop philosophy of its day.

      by ravagerofworlds2 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 12:26:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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