0

Here, I would like to conjure an excercise, as I am well schooled in history and theology of Judeo-Christianity as a side-kick to my Graeco-Roman theological studies and other comparative systems of thought, religion, and philosophy.

How would you convince a Heathen to your religion, if:

His faith is completely reasonable, not faith-based, namely: claiming hypothesis, building arguments upon arguments of pillar-like soundness that are rock-solid as Parthenon, that reach a conclusion that Polytheism is a natural outcome of the intelligent, and the Monadic "One" is an abstract formula of Pythagorean progressions and theology of arithmetic and geometry. It is therefore a reason-based theology that moves Gods closer, and the remote "En To Pan" is unreachable by the human intellect, reason, anyone claiming to impersonate "objective truth" is a charlatan-guru and realizations of Divinities are approached by establishing ratio and intervals of understanding that correspond with Plotinian "notions" of the metaphysical worlds.

Moreover, the aformentioned claims that all religions are man-made, but that does not refute the existence of spiritual worlds, they may be approximated in the eye of the beholder - to a limited extent; there was no reveleation as such, the Gods may or may not reveal themselves, metaphysics and the transcendent realms can do without human belief-systems, a mortal is merely "measuring Heavens and metaphysical realities" with himself, herself, but "heavens and stars are not brought for the sake of a mortal animal" (Iamblichus of Chalcis).

His theology relies solely on antique studies, vast literature that is oft ignored by Christians, apart from living experience bestowed by the Providential Gods, starting from Parmenidian doxology, throughout careful understanding of Egypto-Hellenic theologies, into multiple mystery and initiatory cults, psychopompic, psychagogic and otherwise transformative both aretorolically, up to Plotinian Enneads and into Mithraism. He may and understand the cults and their purpose well, which was an effective deification, heroization and epitomization of the soul. Moreover, he is a practicioner of the methods and schools and receives "Theion Ergon", or work of the Divinities upon him, subverting any form of reliance on the Essene Gnostic Jesus and his ecclesiastikoi (the Church).

His angelology and bestiaries of spirits are related strictly to Republican and Imperial cults of the Graeco-Romans, avoiding the ideas contained in Dionysos Aeropagite of later "hierarchizations" that was strictly Judeo-Christian. His aretology is based on twenty private and public virtues of Rome and paideic standards of the Hellenes.

He doesn't believe in sin or baptism, as an "inventio" of Judaism in face of the dream to be liberated from the Romans, therefore his hamartiology is based not on a "fatal flaw" of birth into nature, but gigantomachia, the battle and overcoming of nature and responsible life, the only transgression is that not to take sculpting in the nature, ethos as a rewarding, heroic enterprise that results in deification posthumously.

On top of that, he may be a blatant, openly effective Heathen theurgist and practicing necromancer, an excorcist etc. avoiding all the Judeo-Christian methods of act, belief, and submission. He believes morality is relative, humaneness is difficult to define, and it is by the virtue of his daimon that he becomes noble, bearing, strong and righteous, moreover that human nature - following Plato - is neither good nor evil - every beastiality and idyll may be found amongst nature and the problem of "evil" is that of conflicting natures, war of the elements and inclinations, to be solved first and foremost within by a noble, strong conduct, overcoming suffering not being conquered by it.

Is there any argument to convert such a person, or merely "believe because so" is the answer provided to a reasoned, educated Heathen that does not accept the Abrahamic god, nor an Essene gnostic "Jesus" as a figure of any relevance, apart from the creed that professes suhc a belief?

9

6 Answers 6

6

I will offer what may be, perhaps, the least favorite answer to the question of how would you Convince a Heathen Theologian with 25 years of Experience.

I would not.

Humanity is replete with those who simply will not be convinced by men away from what they know and prefer. As you are well schooled in history and theology of Judeo-Christianity I am sure you are familiar with the conversion stories of such men as Nebuchadnezzar and Saul of Tarsus.

I, having no innate power to affect such a conversion in myself or anyone else, would gratefully and humbly step aside and merely pray that the LORD will visit you and leave you convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt as He once did me.

And so I do pray, for Christ's sake.

3
  • However, I don't support this narrative that he simply will not be convinced away from what he prefers - as if he hasn't developed his beliefs as you have, and may be as likely to be convinced to your views as you are to his views.
    – Doot
    Commented Jan 30 at 17:06
  • @Doot "as if he hasn't developed his beliefs as you have". It is very unlikely that you know anything about how our beliefs were developed or how they compare. Commented Jan 30 at 19:48
  • Though I would not assume for one second that he will not be convinced to the truth to stay with what he knows and prefers. Perhaps I simply cannot be convinced of the truth of Islam because I want to drink alcohol and am familiar with the stories and teachings of the Bible.
    – Doot
    Commented Jan 31 at 11:11
1

All people have faith. There is no such thing as religion or science either in the absence of faith.

Faith is the expectation of things which are not seen, which are true.

Why would he engage in a rational discussion or experiment at all if he did not believe in the verity of some hitherto unseen outcome? Why would he even get out of bed in the morning?

Therefore he already has faith, and the exercise of it leads to greater faith. The intrigue and thirst for knowledge leads every man to an increased exercise of this faculty, and in more and more powerful subjects, until superstition has given way to science and obsession with facts leads to more interesting, constructive and longer-ranging applications of imagination and yes, belief in the potential of things not yet realized.

This pursuit invariably leads to the Creator unless terminated prematurely, say, out of jealousy or ultimate fear of the unfamiliar. If he retreats it is because he has decided to be less of a man than he could--and ought--to have been.

A Christian is simply an advanced scientist who is in pursuit and application of the most worthwhile knowledge.

2
  • Obviously my arguments were not read, you are just repeating the regular Christian motif of "all have faith". I have a Heathen fate, that is, I do not subscribe under the Judeo-Christian, Abrahamic theologies, morality, doctrines etc. My belief in Divinities is empirical (via what Hindis call "siddhi"), ethical (having "ethos"), and reasonable (supported by ancient philosophy), the only argument left for some is that "The Devil plays the Gods", which is false, as I'm equipped with discernment.
    – user64471
    Commented Jan 26 at 3:57
  • @Wolves'Shepherd. What I have advanced here is empirical, ethical and reasonable. The only reason for avoiding embracing it is because the word "faith" is seen as a turn-off word, which is irrational.
    – pygosceles
    Commented Jan 26 at 4:16
1

Presuppositions Any debate, research, or even dialogue, is founded grounded, and sounded upon presuppositions held by the contestants involved. This being so, knowledgeable apologists do not begin by arguing the finer points of beliefs in question.

Rather, they begin by examining the presuppositions behind the positions of the debaters. And having identified them, they then examine them for veracity. An erudite apologist would push any adherent to examine his own presuppositions...and carry them on to their logical conclusion. Many, if not most, presuppositions are not based on true facts, but are just a repetition of cultural myths, or repeat of disinformation, or just plain ignorance of recent discoveries and contemporary research.

A Heathen Theologian is not excepted. He must examine his presuppositions to see if they are truly accurate historically, logically, and theologically. Fallacies of Logic more than often, abound in philosophical and theological beliefs (creeds). But when repeated continually, they seem to be truthful.

Self-revealing God Note that if we were dependent upon a group of philosophers, theologians, divines, gurus, monks, humanists, agnostics, et al., to come up with the Answers to our Existential questions, we would be depending on fallible human beings to come to truth. A sandy foundation to be sure! (Take a look at a Book containing a pictorial history of philosophy to see a befundling mess of contradictory ideas, outdated progressiveness, and moral uncertainty!)

God, however has not left such important Answers to the existential questions up to human conjecture. As the activist, Francis Schaeffer wrote with acumen, God is there, and He is not silent. Or as the first century observer wrote:

God, who at various times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the Fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son (Jesus)... (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Confirmation The Messages of the prophets of God were not just verbal, but were declarations backed up by supernatural miracles. (Read of Moses's ten plagues, Elijah's answer to Baal priests by fire!, miraculous prophecies substantiated by historical fulfilments, et al.)

Jesus, one of the very few people to ever claim to be God incarnate, backed up His claims in real time, real place, real history, with unmistakable, eye-witnesses, empirical, doctor verified miracles.

...God bearing Him witness, both with signs and wonders, and with various miracles and charismatic gifts...(Hebrews 2:4)

We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were Eye-witnesses of His majesty. (2 Peter 1:16; see also 1 John 1:1-3)

Unlike Pagan Gods The God who has revealed Himself to mankind is unlike the gods of heathenism which are made of wood, overlaid with gold, and eyes made of pebbles! Idols that cannot speak, hear, or even care for its worshippers. Neither is God afar off like heathen deities who reside only in the mythology of cultural literature: Zeus, Thor, Vishnu, Aphrodite, Neptune, Baal, Isis, Ra, Mazda, Ashtaroth, ad finitum. The True God left His fingerprints on Creation, His footprints on the shores of Galilee, and His imprint on the souls of worshippers!

An honest evaluation of presuppositions, a detailed comparison of alleged deities, and a logical conclusion, therefore, should be sufficient to convince any concerned Heathen Theologian (or idolatrous worshipper) of the insufficiency of pagan religions, and the need to repent, convert, and worship the self-revealing God of this universe, the Lord God Almighty.

---A Theist with 50 years experience. Peace.

0

The simplest objection against polytheism is: Who runs the Universe?

The Universe is a coherent unity, with one uniform set of laws governing everywhere at every scale. Were the Universe polytheistic, there would be sovereign spheres owned and operated by each god. Just like how Canada has different laws from the United States due to sovereignty, so would movement from one zone of the Universe to a next result in different laws and operations of nature.

Example: in the realm of the god running the solar system (Sol, Terra, and Luna), you are male or female at birth, but you could immigrate to Alpha Centauri, which has a different god whose jurisdiction permits gender change.

But seeing that physicists have consistently discovered only one sovereign operating zone, therefore there is only one Creator God.

2
  • I'm not a creationist, nor do I need a "universe run". I'm a generationist, that is the panentheist intellect envaulted itself in the generated universe, and produced anima mundi - that is, Hekate - the soul of the Universe. There are deep objective physical laws, and deep metaphysical laws, but none of them account for a "creator". Teleology of "creation" was abolished a long time ago with philosophical methods, convince me that the universe was created by something else than a "something in the image of men". Look from a perspective of a fox, to whom the universe is wholly fox-like
    – user64471
    Commented Jan 26 at 3:54
  • 1
    @Wolves'Shepherd. I did not use the verb "to create" or its past participle "created" once in the argument.
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented Jan 26 at 3:59
0

How to Convert a Hellenist Heathen

This view can be roughly described under a modern version of Hellenism. The main agenda to preach this person should be to prove that the revelation of the Jewish Messiah (i.e. Christianity) fulfils the Greco-Roman propositional philosophies concerning the reality. The religion of the Bible stands in harmony with the Greek philosophy, and the Greek sages prophetically paved the foundation upon which Christian or Western philosophy is based on. We should show parallels and common grounds to draw a heathen to the real monotheistic God, through the revelation of Jesus, by clearing his modern misconceptions. The Greeks should naturally be curious and open-minded to receive the message of Christ, as seen in Acts 17. Luke T Johnson writes in Among the Gentiles Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity (2009):

The Acts of the Apostles places Paul on Mars Hill in Athens, where he declares, "Men of Athens, I perceive that in ev­ ery way you are very religious [deisidaimonesterous]. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To an Unknown God' " (Acts 17:22-23). But Paul's acknowledgement (rhetori­cally a captatio benevolentiae) simply serves as the basis for a correction of the Gentiles' explicit beliefs: "We ought not to think of the deity as like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man" (17-29)

Follow Philo

The first source to study for a Heathen Greek should be the great Philo of Alexandria. Britannica Encyclopedia states,

The key influences on Philo’s philosophy were Plato, Aristotle, the Neo-Pythagoreans, the Cynics, and the Stoics. Philo’s basic philosophic outlook is Platonic, so much so that Jerome and other Church Fathers quote the apparently widespread saying: “Either Plato philonizes or Philo platonizes.” Philo’s reverence for Plato, particularly for the Symposium and the Timaeus, is such that he never took open issue with him, as he did with the Stoics and other philosophers.

in the mid-20th century H.A. Wolfson, an American scholar, demonstrated Philo’s originality as a thinker. In particular, Philo was the first to show the difference between the knowability of God’s existence and the unknowability of his essence. Again, in his view of God, Philo was original in insisting on an individual Providence able to suspend the laws of nature in contrast to the prevailing Greek philosophical view of a universal Providence who is himself subject to the unchanging laws of nature. As a Creator, God made use of assistants: hence the plural “Let us make man” in Genesis, chapter 1. Philo did not reject the Platonic view of a preexistent matter but insisted that this matter too was created. Similarly, Philo reconciled his Jewish theology with Plato’s theory of Ideas in an original way: he posited the Ideas as God’s eternal thoughts, which God then created as real beings before he created the world.

Parmenides ontological exclusivity of the way to truth should easily be seen in Jesus, (Jn 14:6).

The Unwritten Law of the Conscience

The Greek concept of the "unwritten law" and "living law" coincides with the Biblical teaching that God has written the eternal moral code on our hearts, cf. Romans 2. The Bible also teaches that God created man good, and thus, they are responsible for their virtue and vice (Ecclesiastes 7:29, 2 Pet 1:5-11). That person's misconception should cleared by making sure he is correctly representing Christianity, and not being misled by tradition of men. For example, Jesus Christ and the New Testament has nothing to do with Gnosticism. Essenes were not Gnostics, but righteous Jews; and the doctrine of original sin which turns the moral transgression of the law into a metaphysical stain on the soul is actually Gnostic.

After showing the concept of unwritten law of the conscience, and the objective morality, we can demonstrate that the heathen too has the concept of sin which is violation of the divine law. He may simply be using another term for it. If there is a divine law, then man should be humble in repenting back to righteousness.

Demonstrate How My Religion is Better than Yours: While the Greco-Roman would call the emperors and gods as the living law, the Biblical view of giving that role to Moses, Patriarchs and ultimately to the Christ suits better, as we can demonstrate these figures far superior to the counterparts. (See Hellenization Revisited Shaping a Christian Response Within the Greco-Roman World, Wendy Helleman, 1994)

Objective Morality

This person's biggest error is the belief in moral relativism, which is either due to simply being mistaken, or following a selfish ethics that may exploit others by harming innocents. Explain to such a person using Dr Craig's materials on morality being objective, not relative. Use examples like sins against innocent such as children and women should be condemned regardless of situation, and are objectively called evil regardless if majority anyone's or the majority's opinion. And, as the Bible or the Spartan story teaches, we should annihilate such wicked evildoers or nations. Self sacrificial love should be rewarded. The modern European secret practice of sexual sins against children (especially among the elites) clearly seems to be a product of the Greco-Roman immoral culture. Compare how the Jews proves to be perfect in sexual purity, protecting the natural law or gender virtues in this regard (Genesis 19), as they also destroy the wicked surrounding nations which practised sexual wickedness and human sacrifices. The culture of sexual sins against children is a sign of demonic oppression that develops a cycle of sexual depravity, which is very difficult to break. This is to wake his moral duties and sympathy for mankind, away from a selfish view. Also see comparison of the Greek gods justice and morality with the Biblical God, The Justice of the Gods in Homer and the Early Greek Plays, Journal, 2017, which writes,

The ancient stories of Greek gods often seem inconsistent. What Sophocles writes as fate, Homer might write as the gods; in one story Zeus is aloof and distant, while in another he might care intimately about the characters. This inconsistency often colors the gods as fickle, narcissistic rogues. When one takes into account, however, the different perspective of ancient Greek culture, the human characteristics of the Greek gods, and their lack of obligation to mortals, what is left is a picture of godly justice that is appropriately humanistic and aloof. Maria Kip writes in “The Gods of the Iliad and the Fate of Troy,” “The poet needed these gods to open the way for our pity and our awareness of the human condition. When we try to make them just and moralistic in spite of their creator, we dehumanize his poem” (402). I believe contrary to this, however, that when we understand the justice of the Greek gods through the lens of ancient Greek society, we do not dehumanize Homer, but rather, we humanize the gods who become tools to further understand both Homer and the human condition.

Natural Theology Refutes Pantheism: Cosmological evidences suggest that God is outside the universe, thus, it is more likely that a one supreme transcendent God created the world rather than creation being eternal. Theism is a far reasonable position than pantheism. The personal conviction and encounter with the living God is more reasonable than pantheism, which is nothing but a postulation.

Theurgy and Occultism

The purpose of theurgy is to invoke supernatural powers. This person should be introduced to the wonders and miracles by Christians under the power of the Holy Spirit. When God has himself revealed himself to us and allows his spirit as our counselor and protector, we shouldn't seek occult, mysticism and witchcraft to seek any worldly powers. God destroys the earthly powers and spirits through the name of Jesus, delivering the world from the captivity of evil spirits. When this heathen can fulfil the holy union with God through Jesus, he should fulfil his theurgical henosis desires in the living God. Focus should be on the living and experiential faith which fulfills the purpose of life, where God can work in your life; in contrast, the Heathen religion turns out to be human wisdom depending on eloquence of poetry and rhetoric (1 Cor 2).

By contrast Propositional religions are those belief systems, which ask their potential followers to accept the validity of their truth claims without offering objectively verifiable evidence to validate those claims. Thus, they remain mere propositions. This is not to say that Propositional religions do not attempt to offer any evidence for the validity of their claims, just that the evidence that they offer is not objectively or historically verifiable. Rather, religions of this type depend upon personal or subjective experience as the means of validating truth claims. (biblestudying.net)

Conclusion

This person should be taught the true Biblical theology and philosophy, which are truly based on evidence and reason. We can show that his heathen philosophies are actually merely postulations and his motivation to hold the ancient religion maybe simply due to counter culture tendencies which aligns with the ancient Gnostic anti-realism. Heathenism is easily demonstrated as either evil, or a matter of rebellion to God's revelation, thus a faith alone religion, which is described as satanic in the Bible. He thinks that Christianity is faith alone, void of reason, when logos or reason is used as a metaphor for God. After having a conversation to find out his need for God we should move forward in preaching him the Gospel of Jesus, otherwise, if one does not even feel thirst, there is no reason to unnecessary give him water. In other words, traditional dogmatic tactics of guilt trapping someone erroneous doctrines that forces religion should not be used, but an open-minded, practical and spiritual message about the divine work of God should be preached according to his needs. The righteous heathen should quickly embrace the mystery Christ as the revelation and fulfillment of the prophetic hopes and philosophies of the ancient sages.

9
  • One by one: 1. Graeco-Roman philosophy and theology is at odds with Gnosticism and Christianity (the old “thou shall not tolerate contradictions, Gods don’t contradict nature), it was a common tactic to bottleneck Graeco-Roman philosophy and theology into thwarted versions of it to suit the less intellectually demanding Judeo-Christian cause.
    – user64471
    Commented Jan 30 at 1:20
  • 2. Conscience’s original meaning was co-experiencing, co-knowing, by conditioning it to suit the religious purpose, that is scaffolding it with Judeo-Christian doctrine, morality and scripts it abolished the original, genuine meaning of it, and it became a vehicle for indoctrination, as in “our conscience” Vis a vis “the enemy’s conscience”.
    – user64471
    Commented Jan 30 at 1:20
  • 3. In what was is Moses and Jesus Christ superior to hundreds of thousands that surpassed those figures throughout history? It is a flawed effort of elevating a Galilean to the position of a demi-god and than submitting under the rule of otherwise engineered stories about that Essene gnostic. The calibre of the repetitive cultural lie repeated for centuries doesn’t become truth, it deserves to be obliterated, to pave way towards realization.
    – user64471
    Commented Jan 30 at 1:20
  • 4. Morality is confused with humaneness in this response, morality is by and large relative, ask a Hindi, a shintoist, a daoist, a Confucianist, a Buddhist, their morality is highly ethical, humane, yet it is different from Judeo-Christian morality. When Christian morality in the 4th century modern era mixed with Dionisian cults on Sicily, Christians interpreted this combination as an invitation to indulge in orgies and incest, yet called it “Christianity”.
    – user64471
    Commented Jan 30 at 1:21
  • 5. Objection to cosmological idea that “God is outside of the universe”, it makes absolutely no sense on the grounds of presence, if you engage in “Deus Absconditus” ideas, be consequential.
    – user64471
    Commented Jan 30 at 1:21
0

I would first attempt to convince the unbeliever that they may not be able to be convinced. God Himself states through the apostle Paul the following regarding the "wise" that require wisdom for convincing:

1 Corinthians 1:17-31 KJV

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Any effort by man to convince an unbeliever who will not be convinced is considered to be nothing but "foolishness" to the unbeliever. Why then should the believer make any effort to convince an unbeliever? Because the believer does not know the true heart of anyone. Only God in His foreknowledge knows (1 Peter 1:2), but there is always hope to a believer that an unbeliever might be convinced. Maybe it is by merely 'planting the seed' of God's ability of this "foreknowledge" of all things (including that of the heart of the unbeliever) and throughout all of eternity that will lead them to being open to belief. However, if the only requirement for salvation today, simply believing the gospel of God's grace and Christ crucified out of God's love for us, does not do it then I do not know what will.

The gospel:

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

You must log in to answer this question.