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Old 04-08-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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I think one of the main points of the encyclopedia article as well as the Pagan source I linked and quoted from on my last post was that the Persian version and the Roman version of Mithras are not connected in any meaningful way. The two would have to be shown to be from the same religion/mythology for the anti-Christian claims to have any meaning. So it doesn't really matter if the Persian version had a virgin birth; it wouldn't support the Jesus-is-Mithras claims, anyway.



Oh, sure. I was kind of saying the same thing in my own long-winded way upthread somewhere. orngbiggrin.gif I suppose if one really wanted they could argue that the Christian story and Roman Mithraism share a common ancestor in Zoroastrianism without directly influencing one another but, aside from that suggesting that the water goddess birth account was more prominent than it appears to really have been, that would suggest that in this sea of gods and goddesses and births and creations coming about by all manners imaginable, any two vaguely similar stories across times and places (in this case, impregnation without sex) are themselves like parent and child to one another.

(My personal favorite story that is often claimed to be connected to the Christian account of Jesus is the "resurrection" of Osiris.)


What I find a bit ironic is that these fake Mithras and Osiris connections are also used by some fundamentalist groups to show that Catholisism is actually pagan.

 


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Old 04-08-2011, 12:27 PM
 
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What I find a bit ironic is that these fake Mithras and Osiris connections are also used by some fundamentalist groups to show that Catholisism is actually pagan.

 

 

The irony struck me as well.  I've kind of gone down this rabbit trail a bit over the last couple of days investigating the various "copycat" claims made by the various groups (and they seem to be everywhere now especially with Pascha coming up).  I had a good conversation with my priest about it yesterday, too.  It's been very interesting.

 

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Old 04-08-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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As a long time Pagan who didn’t have a lot of Christian upbringing, I look at Jesus as one amongst many Deities.

 

I tell my DS Jesus is a Solar God who is born at Winter Solstice (called Christmas) as the returning Sun. He is a vegetation God (the Sun God’s representation on Earth) who is resurrected back from “the dead” at the Spring Equinox (called Easter). This seems to explain to him why Jesus is so celebrated at these times of the year. And keep a postive light on Jesus, not encouraging any Us against Them mentality.

 

Rhianna

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Old 04-08-2011, 02:34 PM
 
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What Jesus *didn't* do, you ask?  Well, have you seen world peace lately?  Not only hasn't it existed lately, it hasn't existed since he was born, lived, and died.  That's first.  The Jewish concept of Mashiakh is that whole lions-and-lambs-making-peace-and-swords-into-plowshares thing.   Next is the simple fact that the Mashiakh is supposed to get it right the first time; no "second coming" required

 

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As other Christians on here have pointed out, the Jewish tradition of a Messiah was that He will set up an earthly Kingdom and that peace will reign. If Christians and the world lived 100% by the teachings of Christ, there WOULD be peace on earth. But because most Christian traditions have reasoned away the Sermon on the Mount, they think there are exceptions to "turning the other cheek" and "do not repay evil for evil". I no longer believe the gospel is about salvation from a fiery hell, but rather in a truly subversive language is about the Kingdom of God on earth. Buddhists are probably closer to this concept than most Christians

 

 

It is very interesting to see the Jewish and Christian concept of a Mashiakh /Messiah. And if Jesus did or did not fulfill it. I am curious if Christians feel Jesus did fulfill the Peacemaking concept for the world? Is offering your teachings of Peace fulfillment enough – compared to just making it so? I am thinking that Jesus had some powers (changing water into wine, healing the sick, etc) beyond that of a normal man so perhaps he could indeed change the hearts of man in the same way he did the other miracles? Zap, make it so!

 

However, I am also not sure if bringer of Peace is among the Christian requirements for a Messiah, for Jesus? Eternal salvation and dying for your sins seem more common.

 

Thanks!

 

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Old 04-08-2011, 06:04 PM
 
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As a long time Pagan who didn’t have a lot of Christian upbringing, I look at Jesus as one amongst many Deities.

 

I tell my DS Jesus is a Solar God who is born at Winter Solstice (called Christmas) as the returning Sun. He is a vegetation God (the Sun God’s representation on Earth) who is resurrected back from “the dead” at the Spring Equinox (called Easter). This seems to explain to him why Jesus is so celebrated at these times of the year. And keep a postive light on Jesus, not encouraging any Us against Them mentality.

 

Rhianna


This strikes me as really odd. Do you happen to tell him that this is not what Christians actually believe? Because it might be confusing for him later...
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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It is very interesting to see the Jewish and Christian concept of a Mashiakh /Messiah. And if Jesus did or did not fulfill it. I am curious if Christians feel Jesus did fulfill the Peacemaking concept for the world? Is offering your teachings of Peace fulfillment enough – compared to just making it so? I am thinking that Jesus had some powers (changing water into wine, healing the sick, etc) beyond that of a normal man so perhaps he could indeed change the hearts of man in the same way he did the other miracles? Zap, make it so!

 

 

 

However, I am also not sure if bringer of Peace is among the Christian requirements for a Messiah, for Jesus? Eternal salvation and dying for your sins seem more common.

 

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

Rhianna

 


Yes, Christians understand Christ as the bringer of peace.  This touches on eschatology - how Christians understand the end times.  There can be some pretty wide divergences among Christian groups on this question.  There are a few ways you could look at the traditional view.  To a child the you'd just say that Christ will come again (the second coming) and there will be the end of the world as we know it, but we will all be judged in some way, and then the world will be remade anew.  Not a totally new world, but rather the perfecting of the world that was made before.  The period between the birth of Christ and the second coming is described as 1000 years, but in more traditional Christianity that is not understood to necessarily be literal. (though the people living in 999 were pretty hyped up about it.)

 

However, you could also say that there is a sense in which the Kingdom with perfect peace has already come, but we just don't perceive it, or we are not fully present in it.  This gets into questions around how time exists for God.

 

 

 


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It is very interesting to see the Jewish and Christian concept of a Mashiakh /Messiah.


My husband was raised Jewish. He's not been to temple in years but he remembers the text as being written to say that they were expecting a "warrior king". Something Jesus was most definitely not.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:04 AM
 
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It is very interesting to see the Jewish and Christian concept of a Mashiakh /Messiah. And if Jesus did or did not fulfill it. I am curious if Christians feel Jesus did fulfill the Peacemaking concept for the world? Is offering your teachings of Peace fulfillment enough – compared to just making it so? I am thinking that Jesus had some powers (changing water into wine, healing the sick, etc) beyond that of a normal man so perhaps he could indeed change the hearts of man in the same way he did the other miracles? Zap, make it so!

 

 

 

However, I am also not sure if bringer of Peace is among the Christian requirements for a Messiah, for Jesus? Eternal salvation and dying for your sins seem more common.

 

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

Rhianna

 

 

Right, it is true that in Catholic and Protestant (I used to be Protestant) theology the Messiah died for our sins to secure eternal salvation. In Orthodox theology the gospel is more about mankind and all of creation being healed from it's fallen state and restored to it's Creator in a mystical union of love. As a Christian mystic I do not hold to any systematic theology, my experience has been  of Jesus but I do not believe in one way to God as mainstream Christianity teaches. I believe as the title of Tolstoy's book is called, "the Kingdom of God is within you". What I was trying to point out is simply that the gospel that came directly out of the mouth of Jesus as it has been recorded (whether or not it is myth I am at peace with) is of the Kingdom of God, not of salvation from damnation or anything else that Pauline Christianity has made it out to be. And how to live in the Kingdom of God is listed in the sermon on the mount, "do not repay evil for evil" "turn the other cheek" "resist not the evil person". If we live the Kingdom of God, and practice non-violence, we will have peace. The gospel of non-violence fosters change, as demonstrated by Martin Luther King Jr and Ghandi (Ghandi was influenced by Tolstoy, our modern Christian mystic).

 

I just feel there is a fourth "Christian" view of Jesus (after Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) that is mysticism, more closely related to Orthodoxy than the other two..and also close to UU and Buddhism. Yeah, Jesus might be God, and He might be myth but either way His teachings have mystical power that I have personally witnessed.
 

 


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Old 04-09-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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 I am thinking that Jesus had some powers (changing water into wine, healing the sick, etc) beyond that of a normal man so perhaps he could indeed change the hearts of man in the same way he did the other miracles? Zap, make it so!



I believe (as do most Christians) that God created us with free will because love is always free.  If God just "zapped" and changed the hearts of men, then we would not be free to truly love God or each other.

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Old 04-11-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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As a long time Pagan who didn’t have a lot of Christian upbringing, I look at Jesus as one amongst many Deities.

 

I tell my DS Jesus is a Solar God who is born at Winter Solstice (called Christmas) as the returning Sun. He is a vegetation God (the Sun God’s representation on Earth) who is resurrected back from “the dead” at the Spring Equinox (called Easter). This seems to explain to him why Jesus is so celebrated at these times of the year. And keep a postive light on Jesus, not encouraging any Us against Them mentality.

 

Rhianna




This strikes me as really odd. Do you happen to tell him that this is not what Christians actually believe? Because it might be confusing for him later...


Sure. Similar to how Christian parents make sure their kids know that Pagan Gods are not the Devil. Because that might confuse them later...

 

Rhianna
 

 

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Old 04-11-2011, 11:30 AM
 
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Sure. Similar to how Christian parents make sure their kids know that Pagan Gods are not the Devil. Because that might confuse them later...

 

Rhianna
 

 

Um they don't! Some radicals might, but that doesn't mean all or even most do. 
 

 


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Old 04-11-2011, 11:45 AM
 
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I remember reading a news article about a Jewish sect that DID believe Jesus was the messiah, sorry I don't recall their name.

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Old 04-11-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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Sure. Similar to how Christian parents make sure their kids know that Pagan Gods are not the Devil. Because that might confuse them later...

 

Rhianna
 

 


Oh nevermind.  It was an honest question. 

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Old 04-11-2011, 02:10 PM
 
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Sure. Similar to how Christian parents make sure their kids know that Pagan Gods are not the Devil. Because that might confuse them later...

 

Rhianna
 

 


I heard this all the time growing up in the south.. that the pentagram was the sign of "devil worshipers".
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Sure. Similar to how Christian parents make sure their kids know that Pagan Gods are not the Devil. Because that might confuse them later...

 

Rhianna
 

 




I heard this all the time growing up in the south.. that the pentagram was the sign of "devil worshipers".


Yes, from some extreme Protestant Christians. Most likely either Southern Baptist, "nondenominational", or Evangelist churches. Not the status quo for all christians at all.


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Old 04-11-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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In light of this discussion – which is a diverse look at Jesus, showing that many religions and MDC members have different view points.

 

Do the other parents in this thread share only their view of Jesus with their kids or do you share that there is a diverse view (Christian, Muslin, Jewish, Pagan, etc)?

 

If you are not Christian do you make sure your kids know the specific Christian view of Jesus? Would it otherwise seem misleading or confusing to only offer your personal opinion or the view of your religion?

 

For me, we are a Pagan family who is interested religious history and different forms of spirituality. Our son is very young and we’ve only barely discussed world religions. He attends Pagan events with us. Because Christianity is so prevalent and Jesus is commonplace, DS asks about him. I have shared my opinion in brief conversation, however; it is different from what Christians view.  It is probably different from what Jews and Muslins view as well.

 

I feel there will be more discussion down the road and I could see myself using world religion books to cover a lot of it. But I also feel that Christianity is very mainstream, very prevalent and I wonder if it is even possible for a child to not learn about it. IMO. (see below)

 

Editing to better communicate what I really mean LOL Just like other famous icons it would be hard to think a child living in the US would not learn about Jesus or basic Christianity. Definitely not saying I think a child shouldn’t or that I don’t want my child to learn.

 

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Old 04-11-2011, 03:43 PM
 
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Hmm well I am Catholic. My kids are still very young(oldest is 4), so if they ask I give a very basic idea of what I(and our family) believe about Jesus and what he is for our religion. When they are older and if they ask about other religions(or religious leaders) I would tell them about them and what the other religious belief thinks. I wouldn't go out of my way to tell my kids what other religions think about Jesus(unless the asked specifically) because it's not really relevant if it wasn't central to that faith. I might use it to explain that it is the main difference in how Jews are different than Christians, but that's it.

 

If I weren't Christian, I probably wouldn't bring up Jesus unless my child asked or was asking about a holiday(Christmas, Easter, ect...), and I would say what Christians believe about him since he is central to that faith. I don't think it's confusing to tell your child about other religions that are not your own as long as it is truthful(as in what the other religion actually believes, not that you think it is true). Like, if my child asked about Mohammad from Islam, I would just explain what the Muslim's believe about him, and I wouldn't say at the end, but "none of that is true" for instance. Just like when studying Greek or Roman gods I don't say "but I don't believe it's true", even thought I don't. My kids know what we believe and don't believe because it's part of our every day life. What PP posted about what she tells her son about Jesus I feel IS confusing for him though because he will grow up thinking that is what Christians believe. Similar to what many Protestants teach their children false things about Catholicism(that they worship Saints, worship Mary, ect.) I actually thought those things because I was taught it until I actually started learning about the Church in RCIA.

 

I'm sure you will have Jesus come up a lot with your son since Christianity is the main religion here. I don't think that he could not learn about it, but I don't think he shouldn't either. Like it or not it is part of the American "culture" since so many of America's people and customs are rooted in it. It's no different than living in another country where Islam is the main religion(like in Northern Africa and the Middle East). It's impossible to live there and not learn about it, same in the far East with Buddhism or Taoism or Hinduism, or Judaism in Israel. It's just part of the culture whether you are of the religion or not.

 

Originally Posted by rhianna813 View Post

In light of this discussion – which is a diverse look at Jesus, showing that many religions and MDC members have different view points.

 

Do the other parents in this thread share only their view of Jesus with their kids or do you share that there is a diverse view (Christian, Muslin, Jewish, Pagan, etc)?

 

If you are not Christian do you make sure your kids know the specific Christian view of Jesus? Would it otherwise seem misleading or confusing to only offer your personal opinion or the view of your religion?

 

For me, we are a Pagan family who is interested religious history and different forms of spirituality. Our son is very young and we’ve only barely discussed world religions. He attends Pagan events with us. Because Christianity is so prevalent and Jesus is commonplace, DS asks about him. I have shared my opinion in brief conversation, however; it is different from what Christians view.  It is probably different from what Jews and Muslins view as well.

 

I feel there will be more discussion down the road and I could see myself using world religion books to cover a lot of it. But I also feel that Christianity is very mainstream, very prevalent and I wonder if it is even possible for a child to not learn about it. IMO.

 

Rhianna


 

 


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Old 04-11-2011, 06:51 PM
 
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I don't think I have the luxury of not explaining the differences between the Christian and Muslim views of Jesus to my (young) kids, personally, explicitly because Christianity is so ubiquitous in American culture. The likelihood of it coming up between children, and with children who are not aware that the Christian POV is not the only POV, is too high. Views that may be held by other religions, though, no, I don't feel so obligated to make a point of doing so. I'm looking at it from a protective viewpoint, not a diversification viewpoint.

ETA: Obviously it is different if they ask "what do X believe about Y" than "who was Y." So, forgetting Jesus for a moment, if my kids asked "who is Lot," I will tell them as he is described in my religion. If they were asking about differences between views -- Biblical and Qur'anic -- obviously that would call for a different kind of response.
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This came up for me the other day.  My daughter, who is 6, realized a while ago that some people don't go to church and asked why not, and I said that they weren't Christians.  But anyway a few days ago we were reading a book about a Jewish family and she wanted to know about that, so I explained about what Judaism was.  Anyway, she asked me outright if they were right that Jesus wasn't God, so I couldn't really avoid that.  I just said that I thought they were wrong, but they thought they were correct, and she said she thought they were wrong too.  I asked he why she thought so but she didn't really have an answer - which is not surprising. 

 

I don't think I'd feel honest with any other approach I can think of.


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Old 04-12-2011, 05:50 AM
 
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My children have always gotten that there are diverse views of Christianity.  (My oldest child is 14, youngest is 2, and there are two in between.)  First of all, I have only been a Christian for less than a year and a half now, and before that I was Pagan for nearly 17 years, and DH is not a Christian.  Maybe it's where we live, a very liberal part of a pretty liberal city, and the people we know, but I don't find that Christianity is the dominant worldview around us.  What I find is that the non-religious have the loudest voice, and a lot of this is expressed in terms of 'religious tolerance' for all religions except Christianity, and that is justified by throwing around assumptions that Christians are judging everyone around them and teaching their children that everyone else is going to hell (or that Pagans are worshiping the devil, or things of that nature, which btw no Christian I know does).  I know this because I used to do the exact same thing, and I fit in quite nicely here in my little corner of the world.  I don't feel that I fit in anymore. 

 

The main thing that I see about Jesus, however, is that He either was simply a good "teacher" or did not exist, but certainly not the traditional Christian position on Jesus' divinity.  Many self-professed Christians don't even believe in that, or at least think that it doesn't really matter.  Again, maybe it's just where I'm from and the people I know, but even in the liberal mainline protestant churches I attended as a kid, this is what I noticed.

 

So, coming from this background, I do think it's important to at least try to give kids a good idea of what the traditional beliefs of Christianity are and then put that into the context of what other people believe.  It's more honest than anything else I can think of, and I think that this would naturally go for any other religion.  It's only fair to describe Buddhism, Paganism, Islam, and any other religion in terms of what their adherents believe, so why not Christianity?

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My children have always gotten that there are diverse views of Christianity.  (My oldest child is 14, youngest is 2, and there are two in between.)  First of all, I have only been a Christian for less than a year and a half now, and before that I was Pagan for nearly 17 years, and DH is not a Christian.  Maybe it's where we live, a very liberal part of a pretty liberal city, and the people we know, but I don't find that Christianity is the dominant worldview around us.  What I find is that the non-religious have the loudest voice, and a lot of this is expressed in terms of 'religious tolerance' for all religions except Christianity, and that is justified by throwing around assumptions that Christians are judging everyone around them and teaching their children that everyone else is going to hell (or that Pagans are worshiping the devil, or things of that nature, which btw no Christian I know does).  I know this because I used to do the exact same thing, and I fit in quite nicely here in my little corner of the world.  I don't feel that I fit in anymore. 

 

The main thing that I see about Jesus, however, is that He either was simply a good "teacher" or did not exist, but certainly not the traditional Christian position on Jesus' divinity.  Many self-professed Christians don't even believe in that, or at least think that it doesn't really matter.  Again, maybe it's just where I'm from and the people I know, but even in the liberal mainline protestant churches I attended as a kid, this is what I noticed.


This is what it's like where I live too.  The non-religious are the largest group, then Christians, most of whom are pretty liberal religiously, then Buddhists who are also liberal in their belief/practice.

 


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Old 04-14-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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As a pagan, who was once Lutheran, I wouldn't describe Jesus from a pagan stand point, since he isn't pagan. Instead, we address Jesus from my childhood understanding and from a UU perspective. For us, Jesus was a man who lived, who helped people, told some amazing stories, and worked with people to help change the world. Currently, I don't believe in the literal truths of his messages-  I don't believe he actually changed water into wine, but his parables do relate, in many ways, to our current life.

 My children attend church with my Mom, so they the Lutheran perspective, a more liberal view from our UU faith, and my own beliefs.

 

 

 


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Old 04-14-2011, 01:04 PM
 
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Hey, here is that jewish info I meant earlier http://www.messianicassociation.org/

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Old 04-14-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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This is what it's like where I live too.  The non-religious are the largest group, then Christians, most of whom are pretty liberal religiously, then Buddhists who are also liberal in their belief/practice.

 


I should have known I'd have to go all the way to Nova Scotia to find my kind of people....;)

 

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Old 04-15-2011, 10:26 AM
 
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That is something to think about. I think it is better to describe a deity from the perspective of their own religion. From my comment that Christians might not always describe Pagan deities from a Pagan perspective, instead relating them the Christian etc Satan/Devil concept. I am just saying that perhaps that has happened at least a few times in the last hundred years. I mean maybe not yesterday in the liberal town where we all live.

 

What I have learned from this thread is that Jesus has a role in 3 major religions. As a prophet in both Judiaism and Muslim. I feel embarassed to say I didn't know this. And as saviour in Christianity, which I do understand.

 

If we are neither of those religions - which perspective do you chose to describe him to others, to your child?

 

Do Jewish and Muslin parents also go with Christ as Saviour as the best way to describe Jesus to kids? As opposed to their own belief. Because that is what Christians believe, and he is their saviour and they have a whole religion based on him. Or do they just mention all perspectives?

 

I am thinking that might be the case when it comes to Jesus :-)
 

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As a pagan, who was once Lutheran, I wouldn't describe Jesus from a pagan stand point, since he isn't pagan. Instead, we address Jesus from my childhood understanding and from a UU perspective. For us, Jesus was a man who lived, who helped people, told some amazing stories, and worked with people to help change the world. Currently, I don't believe in the literal truths of his messages-  I don't believe he actually changed water into wine, but his parables do relate, in many ways, to our current life.

 My children attend church with my Mom, so they the Lutheran perspective, a more liberal view from our UU faith, and my own beliefs.

 

 

 



 

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Old 04-15-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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Yes, I would address Jesus from the Christian perspective, since he is of that religion. I would say something to the effect of, "The Christians believe that Jesus was their Savior." I would explain what Savior means.  I would ask the child what they thought about that, and let the conversation flow from there.

 I don't know how other parents address Jesus to their children, if Christianity isn't their religion, but I think trying to portray the religion as accurately as possible, is important. We have books from many cultures and religions, that others have recommended to us- they have really helped when having conversations with the kids.

 

I don't think you did anything wrong, you addressed the issue as best you could with the information you had.

 

I actually liked your story you told your child but i would pair it with another version as well.

 


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Old 04-15-2011, 06:45 PM
 
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Right, it is true that in Catholic and Protestant (I used to be Protestant) theology the Messiah died for our sins to secure eternal salvation. In Orthodox theology the gospel is more about mankind and all of creation being healed from it's fallen state and restored to it's Creator in a mystical union of love. As a Christian mystic I do not hold to any systematic theology, my experience has been  of Jesus but I do not believe in one way to God as mainstream Christianity teaches. I believe as the title of Tolstoy's book is called, "the Kingdom of God is within you". What I was trying to point out is simply that the gospel that came directly out of the mouth of Jesus as it has been recorded (whether or not it is myth I am at peace with) is of the Kingdom of God, not of salvation from damnation or anything else that Pauline Christianity has made it out to be. And how to live in the Kingdom of God is listed in the sermon on the mount, "do not repay evil for evil" "turn the other cheek" "resist not the evil person". If we live the Kingdom of God, and practice non-violence, we will have peace. The gospel of non-violence fosters change, as demonstrated by Martin Luther King Jr and Ghandi (Ghandi was influenced by Tolstoy, our modern Christian mystic).

 

I just feel there is a fourth "Christian" view of Jesus (after Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) that is mysticism, more closely related to Orthodoxy than the other two..and also close to UU and Buddhism. Yeah, Jesus might be God, and He might be myth but either way His teachings have mystical power that I have personally witnessed.
 

 


Have you ever read any Cynthia Bourgealt ? I think you would really enjoy her writings.

Wife to amazing dh, mama to dd 12/08
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:34 PM
 
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It's kind of an interesting question, isn't it? Who owns the Jesus story, I mean? I'm not quite sure how I feel about this idea of, when answering children's questions about Jesus, defaulting to some sort of telling of the Christian narrative.
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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I, personally, as a secular/agnostic/atheist parent, explain Jesus from as many different perspectives as I can - primarily the Christian view when discussion holidays like Easter and Christmas (and we've talked about various different Christian views on who Jesus was and what the things he's reported to have said mean), but we also talk about how he is considered a prophet in Islam, that he was Jewish by birth, etc. I also talk about him from my secular/historic perspective. I don't think any one person/group/tradition/religion "owns," the story, but I think it's important to talk about what people believe from their perspective.
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:36 PM
 
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I haven't, scottishmommy...but I will put her on my list of "to read"


Happily married to DH for 6 years, in process to foster-adopt 3 children DD4, DS3 and DS2. We may be bringing half brother age 9 one day as well! We are not infertile, we just have decided that since there are precious children who need homes there is no need for us to have biological children.

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