Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A Christain And A Mithraist II

See here.

There is a further issue here. Maximus contemptuously dismisses Gratillonius as "pagan," thus categorizing him alongside worshipers of the Olympian pantheon. Probably Maximus would not have liked it if the boot had been on the other foot: a Mithraist establishment classifying Christians as pagans? Or would Maximus have been a Mithraist if that had been the established religion?

A minimal requirement for mutual respect and understanding is that we describe others in terms acceptable to them:

Muslims should not be called "Mohammadans";
Catholics should not be called "idolators";
social democrats should not be called "communists" (these terms were synonymous but both have changed their meaning).

Are some Catholic practices idolatrous? It is important that we listen to Catholics and understand why they do not accept that description. On the basis of understanding, we might convert to Catholicism or continue to accept some other world-view. How much avoidable ill will is caused by wilful misunderstandings?


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

While I certainly agree with the rightness and necessity of being courteous to persons I disagree with, such as Mithraists (if any still exists), I would argue that legitimate points can still be raised. One is that I don't believe there is such a Being as Mithras. Another is that Mithraism is actually quite late, being more a creation of the Greco-Roman world than of Persia.

I am not at all I can agree with it being wrong to call Muslims "Mohammedans." After all Christians have no hesitation being called by that name, it indicating they follow the faith founded by Christ. And Mohammed was the founder of Islam, after all.


Paul Shackley said...

Muslims believe that Islam, submission to God's will, began with Abraham and that Muhammad was merely its last Messenger;
they want to emphasize that their religion is centered in God, not in any man;
they think, rightly or wrongly, that "Muhammadanism" suggests or implies worship of Muhammad;
it need not imply that but that is what they think;
I think that we do need to call people what they want to be called - there is unnecessary friction and resentment otherwise.

Paul Shackley said...

Of course we can and should argue about which gods, if any, exist.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And I deny the factual truth of Muslims claiming Islam beginning with Abraham and that Mohammed was a "messenger" of God.

I say it's wrong of Muslims to say "Mohammedan" means worship of Mohammed. After all, Lutherans don't mind being called "Lutherans," but they certainly don't worship Luther!

Most times I don't mind using "Muslim," with the mental reservation that I consider "Mohammedan" an equally valid name for followers of Islam.

And one point to remember about Mithras/Mithraism is that no one has ever claimed Mithras was HISTORICAL while Christ was historical and mentioned as such by Flavius Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, etc.


David Birr said...

I'm afraid I have to disagree with you about "Mohammedan." Unless you're trying to deliberately insult all of them, I feel it's flawed to argue that a term EVERY Muslim finds improper is just as legitimate as the one they prefer. Yes, Lutherans (which I am) are perfectly fine with being called Lutherans. THAT is why it's OK to call us that.

Roman Catholics accept, at least to large extent, the authority of the Pope.* Consider how you'd feel if someone insisted the term "papist" was just as good for your faith.

*Well, except for some in the U.S. who say the Vicar of Christ had no right to express an opinion on whether or not a U.S. political figure is truly Christian. I thought the task of making just such judgments is WHY Peter was given the Keys.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

Thanks for your comments!

Strictly as a matter of logic, "Mohammedan" simply means a follower of the religion founded by Mohammed. And "Lutheran" means a follower of the Christian theological tradition or school founded by Luther. Defined like that I still think "Mohammedan" a valid name.

HOWEVER, because practically all Muslims dislike that term, I avoid, most times, the use of that word. While still disagreeing with their dislike of the term. But, every atrocity, massacre, brutal acts of persecution, etc., by fanatical Muslims that we see these days makes me less and less inclined to humor them.

Yes, "Papist" is one of those words which were never meant to be anything but offensive. One of those words gentlemanly people never use. Alas, it was coined by Martin Luther, by the way.

"Infallibility," in the Catholic Church, is strictly and narrowly defined. And seldom used except to resolve doctrinal disputes. And has to be invoked by the Pope only when citing his authority of "confirming the brethren" in matters of faith and morals. In his merely private and personal views any pope can be and will be as fallible as anyone else.