Can Christians be considered as pagans/heathens?
There are three titled religions that all intersect at one point in holy scripture, which is the time of the first Patriarch, Abraham. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all line up with one another until this point. This is when the Quran, the Muslim's Bible, goes on with Hagar and Ishmael and splits from the two other religions. Then, once the Old Testament ends, Christianity goes on into the New Testament, and the Torah, the Jewish Bible (aka the Old Testament) stays behind. Now I come to the point; If Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, does this mean that Christians worship more than one being, which makes them heathens or pagans? I believe so. Christians believe in both Testaments, and there is a difference in the two; The Old Testament doesn't say anything about Jesus, and God does not speak in the New Testament. If this is not clear evidence of paganism, than I shall make it clearer. The first three commandments out of the others that were given to Moses by God say the following (basically):
I am God
There are no other gods
Thou shall not worship idols
These three commandments, the very first three out of the many, are broken by the idea that Jesus Christ is the son of God. Christians worship both the God in the Old Testament, and Jesus Christ in the New Testament. This breaks at least one of the three commandments shown above.
I want the challenger and the voters to know that I have nothing against paganism, as Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions believe are heathenry and are not wrong in any way. I do not hate Christians, nor do I hate any other religion. I apologize for any hard feelings taken during this debate. But I stand my ground in saying that Christianity supports heathenry and should admit it as is. Good luck to my challenger.
RadiatedDalek, that's a great name, by the way.
Thanks for the debate subject.
First thing, it seems like a more accurate term than pagan or heathen for what your are getting at is polytheism. Pagan and heathen are both terms generally used to describe people who are not Jews, Christians, or Muslims. [1, 2] Only a technically obsolete definition of pagan seems to fit with what the idea you seem to be using. Anyway, it is obvious you are saying Christianity is a polytheistic religion, so if you don't object, I will use that term. (for the record, I don't have any problem with using obsolete terms, as long as we understand what we mean.)
Christians are not Polytheistic. They do believe the Old Testament (OT) is the inspired word of God, and do not change it from what Jews have. Yes, your summary of the pertinent commandments is correct, God said there is only one of him and no other is to be worshiped. But there are some strange things in the OT that reveal more than what is obvious about the characteristics of God. Twice he is referred to in the singular, but converses with himself in the plural in the same quote.
"Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;"
The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another"s speech."
This would have to be considered a mystery or mistake in the text if it were not for other events that clarify God's character:
And He [God] said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; ... But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!"
Now the Lord appeared to him [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him;
The rest of Genesis 18 on is Abraham actually having God and two angels over for lunch, while they are disguised as humans. God cannot be seen, but Abraham sees God face to face in human form. The same thing happens in Judges 13 when Samson's parents receive an incognito visit from the angel of the Lord. It might seem the angel of the Lord is just a special angel, (an angel OF the Lord) but in Judges 13:13-23 it is clear that the angel of the Lord IS God, and the two parents of Samson are surprised they have not been killed for seeing God. God is also seen face to face in the OT by Balaam (Numbers 22:31), Jacob (Genesis 32:30), and Gideon (Judges 6:11-16) to name a few. All evidence in the Bible points to Jesus being the angel of the Lord. Both are God incarnate, and after Jesus, the angel of the Lord never makes a dual appearance alongside Jesus that would indicate they are separate. In fact, after Jesus comes to Earth, the angel of the Lord never makes another appearance. Considering both Jesus and the angel of the Lord serve the same roles on Earth, and one disappears while another one stays, indicates very strongly Jesus IS the angel of the Lord.
Add to this body of evidence the uncontested deity of the Spirit of God by Jews, and your argument would have to be changed to both Christians and Jews are polytheists, but Jews don't recognize Jesus as the angel of the Lord.
But that argument wouldn't hold weight either because it is viewing the Father-Son relationship from a modern, Western perspective, not the ancient Middle-Eastern perspective the writers of the Bible were communicating from. In ancient times, the son was viewed as a direct extension of the father, not just the slightly elevated family relationship that it is viewed as here and now. Israel, Moab, Ammon, Edom, Ishmael, and Rome (Romulus), are all examples of nations that were also ethnic people groups named after their patriarch. Curses and blessings on the father applied to all the descendants. The descendants were an extension of their [fore]fathers.
To top it off, Jesus identifies himself as one with God, who is one according to the OT, but also has three forms, in the OT, Father, Spirit of God, and angel of the Lord:
If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, "Show us the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”  Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.
This was my brief explanation for the concept of the Trinity, which was a word not invented until well after the Bible was used to describe a concept clear throughout the OT and NT.
4 Genesis 35:9-12
5 Genesis 19:37
6 Genesis 19:38
7 Genesis 36:8-9
8 Genesis 37:28, 17:20
9 Genesis 27:26-41
11 sacred term God used to identify himself in Exodus 3:14 that devout Jews are careful not to speak or even correctly spell
Many of your sources in the OT are not so "valid" as they seem at first glance. Thanks to a guy in the comments, DecayingFunim, many of your references have been interpreted differently. And when I went through the OT for myself, I saw that his interpretations were the same as the Bibles (OJB, CJB, NKJV, etc.)
Here are his interpretations:
Genesis 1:27 And G-d created man in His image, in the image of G-d He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 11:8 Thus the Lord scattered them from there over the face of the whole Earth; and they stopped building the city.
In your argument about Judges, divine being only means that the being lives in heaven. If an actual angel, not Satan or any other famous angel like that, told you that you can't know his name, would you think it is G-d?
Exodus 3:17 - 18 And the Lord said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have asked; for you have truly gained My favor and I have singled you out by name." He said. "Oh, let me behold Your Presence!"
In the Old Testament, Exodus 12:1 onward for the story, G-d reveals that he appears to people in dreams, so your Jacob argument is invalid. With Balaam, the same situation applies as does with Samson's parents.
There are more notations that can be viewed in the Comments. But, going into my final statement now, there is much to the Old Testament that can be interpreted in different ways. Much of the evidence my opponent has given has been disproven in many published Bibles. I rest my case that the Christian religion practices polytheism and paganism. Thank you.
For future reference, while you can accept help from others in a debate, it is considered bad form to use the comments section for posting debate arguments if you are actually participating in the debate. Posting references is sometimes acceptable in the comments section if opponents agree beforehand, and quoting from the comments is also acceptable, as you have done. However, in this debate I'm only going to address arguments actually posted in a debate round, not “more notations that can be viewed in the comments.”
DecayingFunim's Bible quotes are not even the same verses as the ones I've quoted, so there's no way they can be alternate interpretations. They are just verses before or after the ones I quoted that do nothing to change the context or meaning of the ones I quoted. If they do change the context or meaning, please explain how.
As to DecayingFunim's argument that God appears in dreams to people, I wouldn't disagree with that, but I would disagree with the implication that because God appears in dreams he never appears in real life. If the the accounts of Balaam, Jacob, and Samson's parents were dreams, please provide references that call them out as dreams. Because when people do see God in a dream or vision, the Bible puts it in no uncertain terms that it was a dream or vision. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] In the case of Balaam, he was on his way to see a group of royal officials. He never awoke, received a foot injury from his donkey, and actually later arrived at his destination to meet the officials. This was not a dream. Jacob wrestled with God and received a dislocated hip, and walked away limping, and crossed the river to catch up with his family. This was not a dream. Samson's mother was the first to see God, then later brought her husband to also see Him. They cooked some food and brought it back to God as an offering and discussed together seeing God. If this was a dream, when did they wake up? And if it is the tradition of the Bible to announce that a vision of God is a dream, why was it not announced this time, and why did both Samson's parents both have the same dream at the same time?
DecayingFunim also argues that the angel claiming to be God may have been an imposter. If that were the case, the imposter had supernatural powers, rose back up to heaven, was capable of predicting the future, and totally on the same page as God as he was predicting the birth of a man who would save God's people from their oppressors (Philistines) just as God had been doing throughout the period of the Judges. So this “imposter” does everything God was doing at the same period of time, claims to be God, is recognized as God by two of his followers, but he's not really God? What in the Bible indicates this angel was an imposter other than “well, it might have been an imposter.”
I think DecayingFunim's free advice is worth as much as you paid for it
1 Genesis 28:12-13
2 Genesis 20:3-6
3 1 Kings 3:5
4 Matthew 2:22
5 Acts 9:10
6 Acts 18:9
RadiatedDalek forfeited this round.
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