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Author Topic:   The Marketing Of Christianity
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 1 of 413 (780807)
03-21-2016 4:33 PM


In our other thread started by member jar, What Is Christianity? the opportunity was given for anyone who called themselves a Christian to define in their own words what Christianity was to them. The topic had some valuable and well thought posts, but began to drift towards argumentativeness as to what was right and what was wrong. jar did not intend to argue the point there, so I propose starting a new topic called "The Marketing Of Christianity". In this topic it is appropriate to argue. Please present your best case and prepare to defend it. I will also allow atheists(Hard variety) to present arguments as to why they believe that Christianity is a fiction of humanity.

Keep in mind, however, that there is a clear distinction between facts and beliefs.

Per Forum Guidelines, The sincerely held beliefs of other members deserve your respect. Please keep discussion civil. Argue the position, not the person.
I'll start--with jar as my chosen debator. The rest of you feel free to jump in as we get this party rolling!

jar writes:

Were any of Jesus teachings related to a religion? Or is Christianity more the product of the early salesmen and writers?

I would say that Christianity is a product of the early church as well as the latter church. Religion is similar to politics in that many people simply regurgitate what they are taught---through various popular scriptural quotemines, thoughts of others told to them which they parrot on down the line, and personal bias.
jar writes:

A great example of why following the teachings and actions of Christ can be a problem can be seen in the evolution of "The Great Commission" (see The evolution of the Great Commission over time. ). The "Great Commission" is what the stories says Jesus told the disciples to do and yet it grew and evolved and changed over time as the authors of the different stories modified it to fit their narrative and epistle.
The same pattern can be seen in the iterations of Paul's vision.

I agree that the emphasis has changed over time. Different people have different personal experiences...some even claiming personal encounters with GOD and/or what they call The Holy Spirit. And lets take this term marketing. It is one thing to hawk sunglasses at a Yankees game or positive thinking seminars or instant wealth generating seminars or any other manner of livlihoods and schemes to earn a living. It is arguably different to devote ones life---to the extent of being in personal danger and losing all that one has---to proselytize with the motive not of making money or earning a living but with the motive to help other people find a better life. I will argue that the evidence shows that Saul Of Tarsus was knocked off of his high horse not by a tree branch or a bolt out of the blue but by God Himself. Paul was a chosen instrument of God so that everyone could be Jewish---but with a few improvements.

Faith & Belief, please.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

  
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Message 2 of 413 (780809)
03-22-2016 8:08 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the The Marketing Of Christianity thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
jar
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Posts: 28838
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 3 of 413 (780816)
03-22-2016 12:32 PM


Early Marketing
To get things started it might be interesting to look at the products being marketed by some of the early players in the market; Jesus, James (brother of Jesus), Peter, John and Paul.

James, Peter and John were said to be disciples and companions of Jesus while Paul was a self appointed apostle.

Jesus himself was a Jew, and never other than a Jew. He seemed to see himself not as a priest but rather as a rabbi; a teacher and judge.

James was definitely a Jew and a strong supporter for strict observance of Jewish traditions, practices and law.

John (as seen through the lens of the Gospel of John) saw the emphasis not so much on how to live ones life and the relationships of man to society and to god but rather solely on absolute adoration of the caricature of Jesus as divinity. Miracles were not for the results of the miracle but rather solely as evidence of Jesus divinity.

Paul's product was quite different than any of those, broader in scope and acceptance of non-observance of so called laws and tradition, more open to adopting pagan practices, cultures and rites and more concerned with social practices than John. His was a pragmatic product that evolved from a simple End of Times position to one of long term organization and evolution.

Peter seemed to be the conciliator, the one that kept different groups in the same room but allowed them to have their own small tables.

Gradually Paul's product came to dominate the early church partially because he seemed to live longer, was more open to compromise with outside authority and the fact that his conversion did nothing to diminish his obsessions and the fact that he was always writing inter-office memos.

Edited by jar, : appalin spallin rites not rights


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Phat, posted 03-22-2016 4:11 PM jar has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 4 of 413 (780826)
03-22-2016 4:11 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by jar
03-22-2016 12:32 PM


Re: Early Marketing
jar writes:

James, Peter and John were said to be disciples and companions of Jesus while Paul was a self appointed apostle.

Paul might claim that once he was knocked off of his horse, God Himself had a mission for Paul to do. Perhaps one question to ask would be what we discern concerning the motives of the marketing.

These days they call it networking.

What are the motives in any community gathering? As we watch politicians we ask what the motives for various platforms are. Religion differs from politics at times, and is nearly identical in human behavior other times.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by jar, posted 03-22-2016 12:32 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 03-22-2016 5:45 PM Phat has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 28838
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 5 of 413 (780827)
03-22-2016 5:45 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Phat
03-22-2016 4:11 PM


Re: Early Marketing
The motives it seem was to convince others that their product was the right product. Paul at least constantly modified his product based on demographics of the potential buyers.

AbE:

Phat writes:

Paul might claim that once he was knocked off of his horse, God Himself had a mission for Paul to do. Perhaps one question to ask would be what we discern concerning the motives of the marketing.

Yes, Paul advertised that God wanted Paul to market Paul's product to new possible clients.

It seems you don't like the word "marketing" but when someone says "My tonic will cure warts and make you feel 20 again", that is marketing. Whether the product is insurance or savings accounts or education or snake oil, when you tell people to try it that is marketing. Whether the goal is to make money, interest folk in a cause, help cure pimples, make them fall in love, reduce inventory, fill a stadium or the pews, it is marketing.

Edited by jar, : see AbE:


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Phat, posted 03-22-2016 4:11 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Phat, posted 03-23-2016 2:53 AM jar has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 6 of 413 (780834)
03-23-2016 2:53 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
03-22-2016 5:45 PM


Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
Before we go much further, perhaps it might be a good idea to examine Judaism since it was the religion of both Jesus and Saul(before he became Paul and "started" a new religion) I'll confess that I've never studied Judaism in any depth, but I thought that before we get too deep into the marketing and belief of Jesus Christ as any more than a rabbi,teacher,and/or judge we might examine how Jesus and Paul understood G-d. I pulled up an article Judaism 101 and was reading a page called The Nature Of G-d. The author states that
quote:
Most areas of Jewish belief are open to significant dispute, but not the nature of the Creator
. Assuming this has always been true, it might be helpful for us to study a bit how Jesus taught concerning the nature of the Creator and contrast this with how Paul taught. IIRC, Paul mentioned Jesus much more often than he ever taught about God. According to Judaism 101
quote:
Judaism firmly maintains that G-d has no body. Any reference to G-d's body is simply a figure of speech, a means of making G-d's actions more comprehensible to beings living in a material world.
We are forbidden to represent G-d in a physical form. That is considered idolatry. The sin of the Golden Calf incident was not that the people chose another deity, but that they tried to represent G-d in a physical form.
Thus could Paul as a Jew have reconciled Jesus Christ as God with the idea that God has no form?

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 03-22-2016 5:45 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by jar, posted 03-23-2016 8:59 AM Phat has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 28838
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 7 of 413 (780836)
03-23-2016 8:59 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Phat
03-23-2016 2:53 AM


Re: Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
Phat writes:

Thus could Paul as a Jew have reconciled Jesus Christ as God with the idea that God has no form?

What makes you think Paul saw Jesus as God?

What makes you think Jesus saw himself as God?

What makes you think James or Peter saw Jesus as God?


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Phat, posted 03-23-2016 2:53 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Phat, posted 03-24-2016 5:19 PM jar has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 8 of 413 (780856)
03-24-2016 5:19 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
03-23-2016 8:59 AM


Re: Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
jar writes:

What makes you think Paul saw Jesus as God?

Good question. I knew I would have to actually read the Bible in order to defend my beliefs. This morning I was reading the book of Acts and reading about the stoning of Stephen. Several questions arose in my mind concerning what I was reading and whether it was relevant to our discussion regarding the marketing of Christianity and the evolution of Saul/Pauls beliefs. The author apparently had access to Stephens speech to the Sanhedrin nearly verbatim. Thus my focus at the moment is on the author of the Book of Acts and whether this so-called "new religion" movement can be traced before Saul got knocked in the head(heart?) and began his "new religion". Reading on, I saw where Stephen was selected along with others, one even called a proselyte.
quote:
6 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. 2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

I suppose that my question is this:
What is the Word of God? Why did the Hellenists and the Hebrews disagree?

What are the differences between the Jewish idea of the word(s) of God and the Hellenists ideas of the word?

What did the author mean when he said that "they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch."? Why did the Apostles mention the Holy Spirit...or at least why did the author of Acts mention it?

What makes you think Jesus saw himself as God?
My understanding is that Jesus saw God as His Father...and even according to Philippians 2:6...Jesus.. who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. What puzzles me though is that if Judaism teaches that God has no form, why would the author of Philippians state that Jesus was in the form of God?
What makes you think James or Peter saw Jesus as God?
I still have a lot off study to do, so it may take awhile to understand this one.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by jar, posted 03-23-2016 8:59 AM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 5:57 PM Phat has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 28838
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 9 of 413 (780857)
03-24-2016 5:57 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Phat
03-24-2016 5:19 PM


Re: Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
Phat writes:

What did the author mean when he said that "they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch."? Why did the Apostles mention the Holy Spirit...or at least why did the author of Acts mention it?

You seem to be wandering all over the place. Acts is still later in the development cycle. The Gospel of Luke-Acts was likely written sometime around 80-90 AD by an anonymous source and adding emphasis to what had evolved over the preceding half century. One key feature is the Pentecost and thus that narrative played a significant role; thus the mention of the Holy Spirit.

But again, what is shown is the evolution of the various products being marketed that were far different than what might have been marketed by Jesus or James (brother of Jesus).

Also, remember proselyte simply means a convert. Paul was a proselyte. Peter was a proselyte. John was a proselyte.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Phat, posted 03-24-2016 5:19 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Phat, posted 03-24-2016 10:21 PM jar has responded
 Message 11 by Phat, posted 03-24-2016 11:01 PM jar has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 10 of 413 (780860)
03-24-2016 10:21 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
03-24-2016 5:57 PM


Acts
jar writes:

The Gospel of Luke-Acts was likely written sometime around 80-90 AD by an anonymous source and adding emphasis to what had evolved over the preceding half century. One key feature is the Pentecost and thus that narrative played a significant role; thus the mention of the Holy Spirit.

This fact just does'nt sound definite to me for some unknown reason. Perhaps I am guilty of imagining what truth actually is.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 5:57 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 11:24 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 11 of 413 (780861)
03-24-2016 11:01 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
03-24-2016 5:57 PM


Re: Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
what is shown is the evolution of the various products being marketed that were far different than what might have been marketed by Jesus or James (brother of Jesus).
One mans "evolution" is another mans "progressive revelation." Had Jesus ministry lasted any longer it too may have shown evidence of progressive revelation.

Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 5:57 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 11:26 PM Phat has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 28838
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 12 of 413 (780862)
03-24-2016 11:24 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Phat
03-24-2016 10:21 PM


Re: Acts
Phat writes:

This fact just does'nt sound definite to me for some unknown reason.

I'm not sure what that quite means, but maybe this might help clear some points up.

Let's start with the positions of the initial group where known.

Most of the disciples saw the movement as a Jewish sect. In particular, James (and to some extent Peter) were strongly opposed to the movement being anything new, outside of traditional Judaism.
So There was a high holy Jewish holy day that took place 49 days after the first day of Passover (the 50th day) called Savuot. It corresponded with the first grain harvest and was celebrated as the Day when the Ten Commandments were given to the Nation Israel. In the early traditions of the followers of Jesus it was considered the Day of Pentecost, when the gift was given, not of Ten Commandments or wheat or barley but the Holy Spirit.

This was the first instance of adopting and evolving a Jewish tradition to attach a Jesus centric mythos.

If Jesus death is placed around the year 30AD then Paul's conversion took place 4-10 years afterwards.

Does that help?


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Phat, posted 03-24-2016 10:21 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
jar
Member
Posts: 28838
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 13 of 413 (780863)
03-24-2016 11:26 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Phat
03-24-2016 11:01 PM


Re: Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
Phat writes:

One mans "evolution" is another mans "progressive revelation." Had Jesus ministry lasted any longer it too may have shown evidence of progressive revelation.

Sheesh.

What does the evidence show.

Jesus ministry did not last longer so speculation is simply silly.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Phat, posted 03-24-2016 11:01 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Phat, posted 03-24-2016 11:44 PM jar has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 14 of 413 (780864)
03-24-2016 11:44 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by jar
03-24-2016 11:26 PM


Re: Judaism 101 as a pre-course to Christianity.
all im suggesting is that progressive revelation is certainly possible in life. I know things now that i was not ready to know 30 years ago.

But lets get back towards our main topic. I think I was hung up on the origin of the term "Holy Spirit"...
AbE: Oh I see you addressed it...

jar writes:

This was the first instance of adopting and evolving a Jewish tradition to attach a Jesus centric mythos.

If Jesus death is placed around the year 30AD then Paul's conversion took place 4-10 years afterwards.

Does that help?

Using our old Source/Content argument, perhaps the author of Luke/Acts had inspired content. Stephen certainly sounded genuine. Saul gets knocked off the horse shortly after...Stephen certainly was a product of the Pentecost conversions.

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


Chance as a real force is a myth. It has no basis in reality and no place in scientific inquiry. For science and philosophy to continue to advance in knowledge, chance must be demythologized once and for all. –RC Sproul
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." –Mark Twain

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by jar, posted 03-24-2016 11:26 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by jar, posted 03-25-2016 9:06 AM Phat has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 28838
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 15 of 413 (780868)
03-25-2016 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Phat
03-24-2016 11:44 PM


Christianity 101
Phat writes:

Stephen certainly was a product of the Pentecost conversions.

Again, not quite. There is no evidence Stephen was at the Pentecost event. Stephen was likely a Deacon of the Church in Jerusalem.

AbE:

Maybe a little more history is needed.

The story of Stephen begins in Acts 6 and carries on through most of Acts 7 where his speech is recorded.

Stephen was appointed by the Twelve as a Deacon and his job duties were to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, comfort the sorrowful. His was a mission of doing. He too was a Jew and saw the Jesus movement as completely Jewish, not a new religion but rather a Reformation. In fact his defense at his trial (recounted in Acts 7) was that Jesus and his movement was not to destroy Judaism or create a new and separate religion but rather Reformation. And it was that message, "The problem is YOU not Jesus or the Mexicans or the Muslims or the liberals but YOU. " and it was that message that got him stoned.

It's not healthy to tell the voters that they are the problem.

Edited by jar, : see AbE:

Edited by jar, : fix sub-title

Edited by jar, : appalin spallin as a not a a


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Phat, posted 03-24-2016 11:44 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Phat, posted 03-25-2016 4:01 PM jar has responded

  
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