Friday, February 18, 2011

More Mary Poplin Nuttiness

I forgot to mention one more nutty claim by Mary Poplin at Waterloo: "John the Baptist recognized Jesus while he [John] was in the womb" -- and this is proof that the Jews of the 1st century had advanced medical knowledge because "only recently did scientists figure out that babies could hear and react to stimuli in the womb". She mentioned this as the way that Christianity would be useful for medical science.

No claim, it seems, is too deranged for Prof. Poplin - provided Christianity says it is so.


Eamon Knight said...

I'm sure that mothers since the Paleolithic have been aware that, past a certain point of pregnancy, babies kick and move around, sometimes in apparent response to something outside. I don't think we needed modern medical knowledge to come up with a story like this.

John Stockwell said...

How much is Ms. Poplin reinforcing the myth that
babies take on all sorts of characteristics as a
result of fetal exposure during pregnancy?

Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that John the
Baptist (Ionnes) is mythological figure that is
associated with the Babylonian water god

This, in fact is not the only myth-derived event in the New Testament. Another example is the New Testament "my name is Legion" story, wherein what Jesus casts the demons out of a possessed man the enter the bodies of pigs, which in turn drown in a pond.

The same pigs going into the ground motif exists in many myths, including the myth of Persephone

going back so far into the past that the same
pig killing myth is found in the story of Hainuwele
in Ceram

Takis Konstantopoulos said...

John Stockwell:
There is no doubt that each religion borrows elements from previous ones. And, indeed, Christianity has borrowed many elements from Orphism.

One of my favourite examples is the origin of the halo on top of saints' heads. This, apparently, comes from Zoroastrianism (a religion older than Judaism). Ahura Mazda is decorated with a halo on his head.

Another, more significant, is the origin of the architecture of the first Christian churches. It seems to be directly related to the Pythagorean basilicas. A spectacular evidence for this is the subterranean neo-Pythagorian basilica of Porta Maggiore in Rome, discovered around 1915, but closed to the public because the Vatican tries to hide the fact that a moral system, not based on god, can [and has] exist[ed].

The Quran also contains "embryological information" as well as many other "scientific facts". The Muslim creationist Harun Yahya is promoting this a lot, and spending millions of dollars in order to exert direct influence to the Turkish government and education. Just like the Christian creationists.

Anonymous said...

Re John Stockwell's interesting comment: there is a book by Earl Doherty, The Jesus Puzzle, which argues that Jesus of Nazareth never existed. (This possibility was also suggested in Bertrand Russell's famous address "Why I Am Not a Christian.") It's beyond my expertise to assess Doherty's work, but I will at least say that his book does not read like the work of a crackpot.

Jonathan Blaney said...

From what I have read, the halo seems to have been taken from the iconography of Apollo, the sun god. At first it was only used in depictions of Jesus, and gradually spread through his close companions until finally it was used for any saint. The earliest surviving Christian art is found in places like the Roman catacombs, so it's natural that the immediate influence would be Roman imagery. It is also thought that early Christians would have commissioned things like tomb sculpture from pagans, who would just slightly adjust their standard repertoire for these clients.

Takis Konstantopoulos said...

Jonathan Blaney:
It could very well be so. I don't claim authority on the subject of cross-religious or cross-cultural influences. The point is, of course, that no religion appears ex nihilo. Religion is a man-made concept and, as such, it borrows elements from other cultural/religious systems. These elements range from gadgets to belief systems.

As for the Pythagorean Basilica of Porta Maggiore, here is an early article: Gilbert Bagnani (1919); The Subterranean Basilica at Porta Maggiore; The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 9, pp. 78-85..

Regarding your last observation, it reminds me of an interview by an infamous idiot, the ex-archbishop of Greece, Christodoulos, who, in presenting a book he wrote, said:
"The [early] Christians respected the faith and religion of their ancestors and sanctified their temples which were dedicated to idolatric deites, they sanctified them by using them as Churches or by using their materials in order to build Christian Churches."

Jonathan Blaney said...

Takis Konstantopoulos:
Of course Greek art was influenced by Egyptian and Persian art, so you could be right, but the Roman god Sol Invictus was also an influence on early Christianity. It's all a jumble, as you would expect.

As far as the archbishop goes, the extent of the destruction of pagan art and literature, and the appalling persecution of pagans and Jews when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire is not widely known or discussed. Especially not by archbishops.

John Stockwell said...

To: Takis Konstantopoulos

It is more significant that simple syncretic borrowing. Part of the Christian belief system is that the stuff writtten in the Bible, particularly those regarding Jesus Christ are supposed to be historical. To find in the New Testament an obvious knockoff of a well known story is a direct attack on the claim of historicity.

Takis Konstantopoulos said...

Jonathan Blaney & John Stockwell:
I agree. Also,if it was not clear from my previous posting, I do not claim I'm an expert on the history of religion. I just gave an example or two of things I have read and which seem quite plausible (to me). I'm open to new findings and discussion.

If I'm not mistaken, there are contradictions in the Bible, so, indeed, its historicity is not established.

I also agree that archbishops will defend their version of the story, but some of them do so in a smarter way than others. The particular archbishop I referred to was, simply, obviously, stupid.