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I was expecting possible heresy here; absolutely none detected (except it doesn't talk about Orthodoxy but hey, I didn't write it.) Like the icons of the Philosophers in Churches in Greece, Christ blesses and saves the native culture, elevating the people so that they may attain union with God. Great essay!

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"20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some." --1 Cor 9

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Gotta say, I really dig this article. It explains exactly what I've wanted to tell people for years, but couldn't because I didn't know how to phrase it: that elements of "pagan" culture from before were not appropriations nor a secret persistence of paganism beneath a Christian veneer, but a merging of local culture with the legacy of Christ's sacrifice where Christ was both accepted while local tradition was also integrated organically apart from a handful of heretical tidbits. Though it is worth pointing out that Estonia might be a singular exception where Christianity didn't succeed at taking off on a deeper level in Europe, due to historical reasons. (though I only started learning more about their history recently, so I could be wrong)

This also reveals (to me, anyway) something I didn't notice before: Iceland's increasing return to paganism. (though I guess you'd put paganism in quotes based on what you said about return) For awhile, I thought that maybe the Icelanders, being so far away from Rome, really were surface-level Christians. But as Jesus the Chieftain is substituted with Jesus the Shepherd once again, it seems to correlate with the rise of paganism in Iceland. Correlation doesn't always mean causation, of course, but it says a lot. Europe really does need a chieftain, even in these relatively more peaceful times. It explains why in Poland they built an enormous statue not of Jesus as shepherd, but Christ the King.

By the way, I'd love to share this on my Substack if it's all right with you. (I like to ask first: just weird like that, I guess)

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author

Poland is a really good example of this

and yeah feel free to share, thanks

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This is just rewriting history to remain Christian lol

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can you stop sperging out in my comment sections with sub-90 IQ pagan LARP please

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Reading this I’m reminded of a podcast I was listening to before, where the hosts were talking about how people accuse Christianity of “appropriating” pagan festivals (Christmas appropriated Yuletide / Winter Solstice, etc.) but how the reality is that it was simply that the newly-converted peoples were free to still celebrate their own festivals - in other words, they still retained their parochial traditions as well as being Christians. Gradually over time the pagan elements fell into the background; but this proves that Christianity was, from its earliest moments in Europe, not opposed to different tribes still adhering to their traditions.

I’ve explained this terribly but I hope you get my point.

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Mar 31, 2023Liked by Andrew

Thank you so much. I’ve been trying to put my finger on this for a while.

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Easily your best essay yet. Well done mate.

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Apr 2, 2023Liked by Andrew

Excellent piece, although I do disagree with one point. I do not think we should abandon European cultural heroes and stories, but Christians ought to emphasize those found in the Old Testament because of the ancient Israelite’s covenant with God. It’s the Hebrew’s special relationship with God that makes those stories and figures important to study. That said, European cultural history definitely should not be ignored.

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Great essay! It discusses something I feel Christians need to do more of, emphasize the Western European nature of Christianity rather than the Eastern Jewishness. The age of the Jews ended with the coming of Christ followed by the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. There is no need to revere them so much as their time has passed.

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Mar 7Liked by Andrew

Very interesting. Much of this resonates with my understanding of Scripture. It also echos thoughts of GK Chesterton in Everlasting Man and CS Lewis in That Hideous Strength. All Truth is God's Truth so it should not be surprising that we see truth in other cultures not Christian. Nor why many diverse flood and orign myths are familiar to us. It is why Aristotle can be read with profit.

I'm new to your writing, but in this context what role do you assign to the Hebrew Scripture, aka the Old Testament?

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author

could you clarify the question? Obviously I consider it scripture but I assume you mean something beyond that?

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Thanks. I should have been more clear; my question your view of its authority. Your initial question could be taken in many different directions, not all of them good.

God chose to reveal Himself, His character and His law through a people He specifically called. They were chosen to be the bloodline of the promised Messiah who then more fully revealed the Father and His purpose for the true people of God, the Church.

Is Christianity Jewish? No, it is the fulfillment of all that God revealed through Moses and the prophets.

I'm thinking we are on the same page?

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Apr 3, 2023Liked by Andrew

Great piece, it gives you a new View rather than the old "pagan-jewish" accusations

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This is a great piece, it’s something I’ve felt for a while but never fully had the gumption to write, I was working my way towards it but didn’t have the time. This makes me feel like others are seeing the same point, really encouraging. Thank you for this.

When I was reading “Albion’s Seed” I noticed that before the Puritans many Europeans stuck to their naming customs and Hebrew OT names only really started showing up after. I was named after a Hebrew OT name and I like it, but my wife and give our kids traditional European “Pagan” names because as Catholics especially, we feel we are able to honor our pre-Christ ancestors without any qualms because of the exact points you’ve made, and will raise them understanding their heritage on the pre-and-post sides of Our Lord’s redemptive work. In fact, our catholic faith has given us a whole new window into a lot of our pre-Christian heritage as it’s survived in our Christian traditions in a really positive light... but I digress. Thanks again.

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I thought Jesus was a Jew.

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"European Christians that consider any religious belief in Europe pre-christianization to be demon worship or idolatry."

Original Source: Vlasis Rassias, Demolish Them!

Published in Greek, Athens 1994

314 Immediately after its full legalization, the Christian Church attacks

non-Christians. The Council of Ancyra denounces the worship of Goddess

Artemis.

324 The emperor Constantine declares Christianity as the only official

religion of the Roman Empire. In Dydima, Minor Asia, he sacks the Oracle of

the god Apollo and tortures the pagan priests to death. He also evicts all

non-Christian peoples from Mount Athos and destroys all the local Hellenic

temples.

325 Nicene Council. The god-man gets a promotion: 'Christ is Divine'

326 Constantine, following the instructions of his mother Helen, destroys

the temple of the god Asclepius in Aigeai Cilicia and many temples of the

goddess Aphrodite in Jerusalem, Aphaca, Mambre, Phoenicia, Baalbek, etc.

330 Constantine steals the treasures and statues of the pagan temples of

Greece to decorate Constantinople, the new capital of his Empire.

335 Constantine sacks many pagan temples in Asia Minor and Palestine and

orders the execution by crucifixion of "all magicians and soothsayers."

Martyrdom of the neoplatonist philosopher Sopatrus.

341 Constantius II (Flavius Julius Constantius) persecutes "all the

soothsayers and the Hellenists." Many gentile Hellenes are either imprisoned

or executed.

346 New large scale persecutions against non-Christian peoples in

Constantinople. Banishment of the famous orator Libanius accused as a

"magician".

353 An edict of Constantius orders the death penalty for all kind of worship

through sacrifice and "idols".

354 A new edict orders the closing of all the pagan temples. Some of them

are profaned and turned into brothels or gambling rooms.

Execution of pagan priests begins.

A new edict of Constantius orders the destruction of the pagan temples and

the execution of all "idolaters".

First burning of libraries in various cities of the empire.

http://mountainman.com.au/essenes/article_060.htm

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Is Christ a European man or a Levantine man? Simple question. If you say he is god, then you misunderstand. At that point I will just say he is a Levantine god.

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Jul 11·edited Jul 11

Good essay. I find myself in a similar position on this debate that's been raging on the right for a while now. I couldn't bring myself to fully agree with either side, but they way you present things, it makes sense. To me the pagan side was ridiculous in that they were apparently so ethnocentric and European, but yet they hate a good chunk of European history and indirectly admit that our ancestors were just gullible cattle. Which just can't be true. But, I think we do have Rome to thank for how Christianity developed in Europe.

And the same can be said of the Christians that look down upon everything before Christ. It also didn't seem plausible to me that the Gods of our religions before were really just demons, perhaps some could seen that way, but certainly not all of them. Who's to say some of them weren't really angels?

And I like that you touched on the point that so-called monotheism was way more common in the ancient world then is often portrayed by both sides. It wasn't the exact same monotheism as today, but there were groups in Greece that worshipped God most high or the unknowable one, while believing in lesser gods. And that can be found in literally every culture. To give the jews a monopoly over this seems ridiculous. And I can relate to a Christianity that is basically a war, a cosmic war between Good and Evil, Order and Chaos, etc. On that teaches that we shouldn't make peace with evil, evil will be met with the sword. That to me is a very European way of looking at Christianity.

But that being said, I'm not a Christian. I'm skeptical of the Church, and not just the protestant churches of America, the Catholic Church, and even the Orthodox Churches. And it's not because I don't believe necessarily. I'm skeptical that any of them have it all right. They can claim to divine inspiration, but that's an easy thing to claim as long as what you promote is palatable to people. So I'll explore the divine on my own. And if I go to hell for not believing the right things, so be it. For some reason I highly doubt that God most high would condemn me to such a fate for not praising him all the time.

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The Church, as in the Church with a capital "C" established by Christ and led by His Vicar on Earth, always, in its missionary activities, allowed maintenance and incorporation of local cultural elements into their adoption of the Faith, provided that those elements were not idolatrous, pagan, or contrary to the Faith. This was done throughout the world, from Africa to Asia. We don't have to look further than Southern Italy where Greeks were allowed to retain the Rite of Constantinople and enthusiastically encouraged to do so.

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