Amazing to hear all the comparisons with Paganism, as if one dogma is superior to another, or more real because one adopted part of another.
Pagnism is just an offshoot of animism, probably the oldest set of beliefs there is. Paganism has been used to control the masses the same as christianity, islam etc. Arguably it was only when people realised how easy it is to control other people through fear and promises that religious organisations arose.
For what it's worth I don't think anyone has said that one dogma is superior to another, anyway no-one has a clue about what actually went onto the ancient 'pagan' beliefs, the modren stuff is just tree hugging rubbish, the ancient pagans were probably beating the shit out of the next tribe over because thier soul tree was bigger than theirs.
Mistletoe was used around the solstice to cause miscarriges in any newly pregnant women, to avoid having any more mouths to feed the next winter, as usual in any religion women always seem to get the short end of a rather shitty stick.
A couple of things in the above two quotes -
I think with the paganism thing, people are just saying that Christianity wasn't some amazing new invention, rather that it was just inherited, modified and probably most importantly, written down and distributed.
Mistletoe or as it was Mistletan translates roughly back to 'bird shit twig' so yes, it is a shitty stick indeed!!!
My own beliefs? I was brough up CofE but I believe in a god or gods, and certainly not the bible, although the old testament is quite an interesting word of mouth historical tome. The new testament has it's moments but I certainly wouldn't base my life around what someone said 2000 ish years ago. The reasons I believe in there being some sort of godlike entity are amongst other things
1. My tiny mind boggles at the fact that once upon a time nothing existed, likewise the fact that we exist only by coincidence, which the militant atheist/science brigade try and peddle - something which I compare to door knockers and al qaeda - i.e. shut up and live and let live.
2. As a gardener I am constantly amazed at what nature can come up with in it's beauty and brutality, birdsong, flowers, etc without wanting to sound like some sort of hippy, it's amazing no? Do animals believe in an afterlife? Do they need to? Again I find it impossible to be a colossal coincidence.
3. As far as heaven/valhalla/nirvana/reincarnation/64 virgins etc goes, I've had too many experiences to suggest that people simply cease to exist after death, and yes I am talking about ghosts and the like.
4. At the end of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, if I recall correctly Abraham Lincoln tells everyone to 'Be excellent to each other' That's the best advice I could give anyone on how to live their lives.
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