[quote]Originally posted by Fluffy:
What is your evidence that the immortality of the soul is derived from Platonism? What is your evidence that dualism is derived from Zoroastrianism? The similarity of two belief systems in no way implies that one is derived from the other.
The problem with that position is that you have decided a priori that Christianity is simply another belief system that is derived from other, more primitive religions, and so you draw your conclusions based on that belief. However, if the truth is that there is in fact a dualistic nature to the afterlife, and there is in fact an immortal soul, and that knowledge was known to the first humans as Christianity and Judaism claim, then there is no reason that similar ideas would not appear (altered to various degrees) in different religions. For example, there is a recurring theme throughout the religions of history of the concept of death and resurrection as atonement for sin. The ancient Babylonians, the Egyptions, Assyrians, etc. all held beliefs such as these. It may mean that Christianity simply borrowed from these beliefs, or it may mean that both have inherited the truth, made known to the first men by God. You must choose what you believe. Understandably, you have been indoctrinated into a secular world view that has predisposed you to choose one option over the other, based on what you have been taught (usually under the myth of "objectivity"). But that in no way means that your perceptions are true.
Obviously if I have mis-characterized your beliefs, disregard.
Whew! I warned you at the start that my ideas are a bit unorthodox...
We obviously come from very different backgrounds, so I'm not going to get into a bickerfest with you about this. Disagreement over doctrine is as old as Christianity itself (for example, James and Peter vs. Paul over circumscision).
The link between Christianity and Neo-Platonism is long and complicated. Here's a taste of it: <a href="http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10742b.htm
" target="_blank">Catholic Encyclopedia on Neo-Platonism</a>. From my understanding of it, the immortality of the soul was not originally part of Christianity. We find no mention of it in any of Paul's writings, for example, of which I am aware. It is an idea that gradually crept in from Neo-Platonism. Rather, the description in the BIble is one of "going to sleep" in death, and awakening on Judgement Day. I believe I do have a soul, but not that it is necessarily immortal. It is the part of me which is made in God's image. By consciously rejecting God, I can kill it - thereby destroying my humanity and turning me into simply a highly intelligent animal. Consequently, when it comes time to be resurrected there will be nothing to resurrect, and I will be gone for good. The point, though, is that the Bible teaches resurrection of all the believers, not the immediate promotion of the soul to heaven at death.
As for Satan, yes, he is mentioned numerous times, but his history is largely nonexistent. There are a few allusions to his fall from Heaven, but nothing explicit. Isaiah 14, for example, is often cited as part of this, but Satan is never actually mentioned - in fact, the "bright morning star" more likely refers to Israel itself than Satan. Jude also makes some oblique references, but nothing terribly specific. The whole story of the war in Heaven, of Lucifer being cast out, and so forth is purely fiction - built, perhaps, on the scraps found in the Bible, but 90% of the story is completely made up. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, so long as everyone understands that the story is not, in fact, Biblical.
Well, I don't want to make this too long (it's probably too long already), and as I mentioned at the start we're probably never going to agree on much of this. My attitude on doctrine is that (outside the core beliefs) whatever helps you have a better relationship with God is fine by me. I certainly have no franchise on the Truth, so who am I to be critical of your beliefs? I've developed mine slowly over more than 20 years of study and contemplation. I'm certain they will continue to change as I learn and grow the rest of my life.