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> Christianity And Celtic Destruction
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teashoci 
Posted: 14-Apr-2006, 12:02 PM
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how do people in this messageboard feel about christianity and the impact it had on destroying celtic culture in the post celtic era in scotland and ireland.

I myself come from scotland where the vast majority of people are athiests,I have always viewed religion as a choking blanket on scotland and her people. and am proud to come from a nation slammed for its pagan attitude by the pope.

what are your feelings on your belives and do you think they interfere with the beliefs of your distant ancestors ?
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Posted: 14-Apr-2006, 01:29 PM
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We moved this topic to a more appropriate location!


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Antwn 
Posted: 14-Apr-2006, 07:44 PM
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The only difference between a cult and a religion is social and political ensconcement. For a religion to obtain social preeminence and political power, its predecessors must be relegated to the level of myth. Thus Christianity subjugated everything which came before it wherever it gained a foothold - as the mafiosi might say "its nothin' personal, its just business". Who knows what would have happened if Constantine hadn't adopted it. Would it have spread beyond culthood in a grass roots effort? Would it have been stamped out? Rome with its pagan beliefs was crumbling and maybe the time was ripe for fresh ideas - good or not.

As it grew throughout Europe, and given the migratory habits of humans, how could Britain remain unaffected, particularly after the Norman invasion? I remember hearing a story about St Patrick. He along with a group of believers built a huge bonfire which was viewed by a pagan king and his druids on a distant hill. A druid said to the king "if you don't stamp out that fire now, it will never be stamped out". He didn't mean the actual fire, but the fire of Christianity. Prophetic words, if true.

I say this not to suggest an inherent superiority in Christianity, because other religions have spread similarly throughout the world, or been crushed, as the case may be. While conquering present day Iran for example, Alexander burned all the Zoroastrian holy writings...... one of the oldest religions in the world. Another example is the Muslim invasion of India over several centuries, the biggest of which occurred when Muslims left their countries to escape Mongol hordes. Many Hindus converted because a large tax was levied against non Muslims.

I say all this because I think the conversion of Celtic Britain was inevitable.

How do I feel about it you ask? Well, aside from the fact that the diversity of delusions is more interesting, I personally like pagan reverence for Nature and think its quite healthy, although re-creation of a Celtic pantheon of gods is unnecessary to my mind - but what the heck, everyone needs a hobby. Besides it spreads the appreciation of Celtic culture and languages. Though I study a Celtic language myself, I'm not a Neo-pagan or Druid or wannabe. Nor am I Christian. I do love the Welsh language however.

Although there have been positive cultural effects of Christianity, particularly in the arts, the overall effect of its beliefs have been highly detrimental to human spiritual evolution in my opinion, and as "social salvation", meaning furthering the ability of humans to get along with one another amicably and cooperate in establishing and maintaining the utility of a functional harmonious social order, its been an abysmal failure. Ironic considering how much Jesus emphasized love, assuming the reality of Jesus and the accuracy of what's attributed to him. Personally I think its high time that Christianity was relegated to myth like its predecessors. What will replace it? Haven't the foggiest, though I remain optimistic. Hopefully something which asserts the grandeur of inherent human spiritual beauty and its development as opposed to inherited human sin, escape from which we're told is only obtainable via Christianity itself, highly limiting one's options, assuming acceptance of the initial premise to begin with.

By the way, is it true that the vast majority of people in Scotland are atheists? If it is I'd be very surprised.


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Aaediwen 
Posted: 15-Apr-2006, 12:30 PM
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I, too, would be extremely surprised if Scotland is found to be mostly athiest. Are there numbers to support that statement?

My opinions on the Genocide perpitared at the hands of Rome in the name of Jesus is far from favorable. I'm convinced, that during a certain aptly named period in history, the Devil did more work through the Roman Catholic church than did God. Odds are that the Protestant church wasn't immune to this either. I have problems with the idea of evils such as the inquisition being perpitated in the name of a God who teaches tolerance, forgiveness, and love. According to the way they were living during that time, Mary Magdeline wouldn't have stood a chance at living more than 5 seconds outside of the bounds of shackles and the clutches of The Rack.

Add to this outlawing a heritage, a language, and a way of life, such as the English crown did in Ireland and Scotland. This is not doing God's will and spreading his word. This is murder and genocide on a scale to make Soddom and Gamorrah look like small inner-city riots. That was just two towns. This is entire countries and cultures!

From what I can tell, It appears that the Christian church is much better off now than it was in that time. I can only pray that I am correct that the evils in the church are just an old scar, and not a currently festering wound.


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Antwn 
Posted: 18-Apr-2006, 07:41 PM
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And Wales too, thanks to Henry VIII. Ironically however it was Elizabeth's allowing the Book of Common Prayer and the Bible to be translated in Welsh and used which helped the language survive through that period, as well as unifying all the myriad dialects into a standard language. No doubt her motives were more than altruistic towards the Welsh - it must have assisted her efforts to help the Church of England gain greater strength in the realm against the threat of Catholic uprisings. Another thing I'm grateful to Christianity for, and to Elizabeth I.
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CelticRadio 
Posted: 18-Apr-2006, 10:44 PM
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From what I understand, Christianity came to the Ireland, Scotland and Britian without bloodshed.

I was reading some articles a while back that explained that alot of the traditions and culture was mixed between Christianity and Celtic culture. Even the Catholic church today is very ritural.

What might be appropriate to examine is the death of religion across much of Europe. I know this is not really related to the topic, but is somewhat related because there is definitely a coming clash of cultures between Christian and Muslim worlds.

Religion is a very powerful force and one that has been with humanity for eons. We can not just ignore the fact that it has won wars and motivated people to perform higher causes.

Christianity teaches people to accept others for who they are, but hence that is perhaps why Celtic and Christianity was blended. In fact, there is a whole music sub-genre called "Celtic Christian".....a testament to the bloodless conversion from Celtic to Christianity.

The same does not hold true for what is currently going on in Europe. I maybe wrong, but based on the recent news stories I have seen and read, I seriously doubt that the Muslim world would ever accept Jews in their lands or people with different outlooks on life. It is very scary to think about. All it is going to take is for a few countries to gain a Muslim majority and suddenly we could be talking about a French Muslim State:

Read a bit about the fall of France and the Multiculural World War:

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/989

Religion is very important. It is were we draw our strength, character and more. When you see the people in the countries of Isalm - they all stand together as one and it is scary to think what exactly their plans are!
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teashoci 
Posted: 19-Apr-2006, 07:19 AM
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scotland is predominatly athiest, pope john paul blasted scotland for its pagan ways several times.
asking someone their religion in scotland is asking them a political question (not a religious one), which is why the national census numbers on people who actually belive in god are inaccurate. someone might be athiest but claim to be a catholic when asked to confirm their support to the republic of ireland, while another athiest may proclaim to be protestant to reafirm their support to the crown.

church attendance in scotland is almost non existant except places in the northern highlands to the shtland and orkney islands.

the hard fact is if someone reguarly went to church in glasgow where i am from it would be considered odd.
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Elspeth 
Posted: 19-Apr-2006, 07:42 AM
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Being that none of us were alive at that time the Christians moved into Celtic regions, there is no way to know how the people of that time and place felt about it. You are assuming they felt their culture was being destroyed, you don't know that. They may have welcomed the change, they may have not. We don’t know. More than likely it was a mixed response. Those who had things to lose by the change more than likely fought it. History tells us the celts allowed their culture to be altered, so why are we to assume they didn't welcome the change?

A culture is only destroyed if it allows itself to be. Look at what has been done to the Jews over the centuries. Genocide, persecution from many quarters, pushed from one land to another.... And, yet they are still here and their culture is still going strong.

If people believe in something strongly enough, they hold onto it and don’t let it be destroyed.

Christianity is flourishing in many parts of the world where those in power are doing all they can to extinguish it.

People in power can't take away a belief. They can make it difficult to practice, but they cannot take away a belief.

And, for the record, Christianity also teaches stewardship of the earth. Those who worked the land for a living understood this. As the industrial age progressed and people got away from the land, that repsonsibility of stewardship got lost by many. That was the fault of people, not Christianity.

Christianity is a belief in Christ. Much as been done over the centuries by people who profess themselves to be Christians, but did not follow the laws of Christ. To then condemn Christianity because of the fallibility of some is like condemning everyone to jail because some steal.






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Antwn 
Posted: 20-Apr-2006, 07:55 PM
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Well Elspeth, I agree its hard to know the degree of Celtic complicity with the loss of culture since so little survives from pre-Christian Britain. If we can assume however that the desire to preserve one's cultural affinity is inate, then resistance occurred. Conversion was gradual and there was frequent "marriage" of pagan and Christian practices. Celtic Christianity developed differently than Roman. For example the Vikings who had many settlements in present day England just incorporated the Christian god in their existing pantheon. For one to claim they were Christian because of this would be inaccurate. The Christian conversion of Britain was gradual.

I think your statement that if people believe in something strongly enough they won't let it be destroyed is an oversimplification. Examples can be provided for both the pro and con sides of that argument. More or less complete assimilation doesn't necessarily mean aquiescence, sometimes force has just been effective and persistent enough to accomplish it over enough time that subsequent generations no longer remember enough of their language, traditions or beliefs to facilitate an unadulterated continuity.

Of course this isn't the fault of Christanity alone, since its a religion not a culture itself, its an aspect of culture. I'm assuming the original question of the thread is how people feel about Celtic religion being supplanted by Christianity, since Celtic culture being destroyed by a religion is hard to fathom, and Celtic culture is a dubiously defined entity itself. We have very little left but languages and literature, the religious beliefs are very unclear.

The library where I am typing this is closing so I'll have to stop.

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Mailagnas maqqas Dunaidonas 
Posted: 21-Apr-2006, 10:29 AM
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IMHO, the deliberate destruction of Celtic culture in Ireland and Scotland which was essentially completed by the Anglo-Normans in Elizabethan times had little to do with the introduction of Christianity. Rather, it was a manifestation of the struggle between those who prefer a strong central government with absolute power, following the example of the Roman Empire and those who prefer a family-oriented society and a weak central government with no more power than needed for mutual self-defense, such as was found in Celtic kingdoms.
Historically, there is at least some evidence that the Celtic Church actually predated the Roman Catholic Church, and was adapted to Celtic tradtion by the Druids who were likely the founders of the Celtic Church.
It may seem somewhat ironic that the Republic of Ireland is at once the most Celtic of modern nations and a strongly Roman Catholic country. However, I suspect Celts have always been highly spiritual and have used their faith to nourish them during good times and to sustain them during hard times. I am of the opinion that the introduction of Christianity may well have assisted the Celts in resisting Roman and Anglo-Norman oppression, by giving them the faith needed to sustain them through the many centuries of genocide practiced against them.
Even today, the areas of the USA that are most strongly in favor of a family-oriented society, with mininum interference from any government, but especially the Federal government are the states in the South that were heavily influenced by the Celtic migrations from Scotland and Ireland, and in the West where many descendants of the immigrants from Celtic areas went after the Confederacy lost the War Between the States.
I also think it likely the Druids who converted to Christrianity were responsible for retaining much of what Celtic tradition remains available to the modern world. While pre-Christian Druids were in fact literate when they chose to be (some "Roman" writers were in fact Celts), they had such a strong oral tradition that very little of their knowledge was put into writing until after they converted to Christianity.
Thus, it seems to me that far from destroying Celtic culture, Christianity may well have saved it.
As always, YMMV,


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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 21-Apr-2006, 11:15 AM
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The Celtic Christian church merged with Celtic culture with little conflict. The clash came when The Roman church was introduced and many Celtic rites banned. This was during the rule of Malcolm Canmore. Then the Protestant movement tried to demonize what was left of Celtic culture by declaring the music, social gatherings, etc. to be evil. Please understand that this was not Christianity per se, rather it was the political entity known as "The Church". When ANY religion becomes a political entity/movement, then it ceases being a true religion and becomes an instrument of repression. The same is true of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism or any other major religion one may care to name.


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dundee 
Posted: 21-Apr-2006, 05:05 PM
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+1 carolina...

remember Christ was crucified by the "church" of the time.
atrosities are commited by people... not by faiths or philosophies...

ahhh i think that might make sense....

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Aaediwen 
Posted: 21-Apr-2006, 06:32 PM
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Last time I read this thread, I thought I might have to defend my position, but was not in a mood to post. Now I see others have covered for me here. thanks smile.gif
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Robert Phoenix 
Posted: 12-Jul-2006, 07:57 PM
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I've been working on my master degree in religion ed and the one thing I have noticed in history is that Christianity always went bad when the local-regional-state-country goverment was working withit and/or semi controlling it. Prime example was Constantine. It was a persecuted Jewish sect untill he made it a state religion and millions were forced to convert or did so just because it was the state religion. The office of priest came about because of the huge influx of new believers during this time. Most people adopted the religion of the rulers untill the reformation.


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stoirmeil 
Posted: 30-Aug-2006, 08:52 PM
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QUOTE (teashoci @ 19-Apr-2006, 07:19 AM)

church attendance in scotland is almost non existant except places in the northern highlands to the shtland and orkney islands.

I do remember reading that if you go up to Stornoway you have to be prepared for everything to be shut down on Sundays, because they take their Sunday very seriously and you can't get transit or find any stores or restaurants open, and it's considered an oddity that tourists have to be warned about, because it's not at all normal on the mainland.
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