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Thread: A Summary of Cathar Belief

  1. #11
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    The Cathars beliefs were blasphemous. Not to mention with their beliefs gnostic beliefs meant you could never trust one. As nothing here on this plane is of any importance. They believed in female equality something directly contradicted by the Bible and free sex something else contradicted by the Bible. They sound more like a feminist cult than anything else.
    Then theres the issue of the material world being of no importance and wanting to leave it as soon as possible. Theres so much wrong there and so much potential for disaster I don't know where to start. Frankly I couldn't imagine why the church wouldn't want to be rid of these people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astragoth View Post
    Then theres the issue of the material world being of no importance and wanting to leave it as soon as possible. Theres so much wrong there and so much potential for disaster I don't know where to start. Frankly I couldn't imagine why the church wouldn't want to be rid of these people.
    Although I feel a sense of pity for the fate of the Cathars, I'd also have to agree with that. From what I gather, they were more or less completely pacifistic. Europe would never have survived the encroachment of the people surrounding our continent had the Cathars gained serious traction in European culture.
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    Senior Member SaxonPagan's Avatar
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    They believed in female equality something directly contradicted by the Bible and free sex something else contradicted by the Bible. They sound more like a feminist cult than anything else.
    Astra, you're just looking for stuff on the www that you can distort.

    Just because there was no bar on women becoming Perfects this doesn't make them a 'feminist cult'.

    Nor did they advocate 'free sex' (in anything like a 21st century sense) but - unlike the Catholics - they had no objections to non-procreative sex.

    Even today, the Catholic Church is still against non-procreative sex with all of the problems that this entails. The Cathars were far more enlightened in this respect.

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    Montaillou

    Montaillou: Cathars and Catholics in a French Village 1294-1324





    The village of Montaillou was the last stronghold of the cult of Catharism in medieval France. Under the Inquisition of Bishop Fournier, members of this sect were persecuted and some burnt at the stake, and the interrogations about the way they lived were chronicled in a Register. From this document Ladurie has reconstructed an intriguing account of everyday peasant life in a medieval village. "Montaillou" gives us a glimpse into how people really lived 700 years ago: from their homes and the food they ate, to their body language and attitudes to sex.

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    Senior Member Ravenrune's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Žoreišar View Post
    Although I feel a sense of pity for the fate of the Cathars, I'd also have to agree with that. From what I gather, they were more or less completely pacifistic. Europe would never have survived the encroachment of the people surrounding our continent had the Cathars gained serious traction in European culture.

    I think these kinds of beliefs and ideas tend to be for serious pockets who generally want to leave normal human society. Some similar groups have created sanctuaries on top of high-cliff mountains to hopefully keep way from anyone getting to them. (this isn't even just true for Europe .. look at the political history of China and those mountain sanctuaries up at the top of steep cliffs ... who's going to go up after you to make you fight in some false political war when they can't reach you)

    I think there is a huge difference between this idea and people or religions which still have one foot inside this physical world.


    Their whole idea is that this physical world and all it's political issues and confrontations is *THE* problem of this physical world and they see no way to be part of it so want out.


    At this epoch of the human situation, I see no way that this could be considered normal ..... perhaps it is too Utopian to be practical for the masses at this stage in time.


    --------------------


    I'm not a Christian so I guess my ideas do not conform to that. However, I think Christianity as a religion that was officially developed by humans over a few centuries was distorted and is not based fully on Jesus (as basically a "yogi" or Buddha ). It was distorted to created another usual man-god religion like Heracles son of Zeus and an Earth woman. It's a template I feel bypasses everything that eastern religions have in full sight. In Christianity, they don't want anyone to claim they feel he same thing Jesus felt ... being One with the entire Universe .... they look down and at times burnt those people at the stake for heresy - the same way they tried to kill Jesus for saying the same thing!).



    Anyway, there are groups of people who realize this physical world is just too much of a problem ... they do not want to come back and hopefully all attachments to this place are cut when they die so they will not incarnate here again (maybe that seems selfish in a way).

    Of course there are the rare ones who could leave and never incarnate but chose to come back again (Bodhisattvas) .... in an attempt to help some people get closer to this leaving or to help create a better society that would help people get closer to this goal.


    I have read that Hitler was a Bodhisattva who attempted to change things for the ultimate better but basically was destroyed and vilified by the forces of materialistic and misguided modern powers.

    If you look at this world right now it is this : Banks pushing you to get into dept: Paying interest: Advertisers always telling you to buy buy buy this and that and get it on credit .... Universities with outrageously costly enrollment figures! No religious guidance at all... mass media full of temptation all around ... lies from politicians who get money, go to sex parties where they are recorded for blackmail purposes, ........... the list goes on and on! This is where we are in our political world (Trump, Bushes, Blair, Obama, Kerry, Trudeau, Macron, Mercel, Clintons (not to mention the tons of people with power behind the scenes nobody ever herd of of whom many are dual Israeli US citizens!) .... all these people are frauds working for a "higher" [ or should I say, a more "worldly powerful"] agenda! And there is a path of suspicious deaths and people like Epstein to provide their entertainment all around. Our world is completely fucked up! And all we hear is some new movie from Hollywood about those "evil Nazis" .. or some new lame video game where you kill the evil Nazi zombies with plan at world domination LOL ... what a bunch of BS!.... wow ... it's almost insane to see this - but to have nobody in your immediate world who sees this or understands this - it is like anyone who figures this out is meant to be confined into their own prison of thought - you can't say these things in normal interactions .... nobody wants to hear and nobody believes you and they think you're nutty if not dangerous!



    Now I can see why some groups who have heretical ideas just gather together and try to hide. I guess this is why some people become so distraught with this physical world, they want to escape it for good ... I can't blame them.


    If there is reincarnation as eastern religions (and even some old European religious ideas say) say , I can't imagine how incredible a Bodhisattva must be to decide not to leave here for good (ie, not be reincarnated) but to decide to actually come back in an attempt to help other humans get closer to leaving here.


    Sorry for the big long tirade ... I guess I felt like expressing my ideas .... something I don't feel I can do many places - er rather no place!

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  11. #16
    Sound methods Chlodovech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JtB
    Cathars weren't a part of the Church and could not 'legally' be heretics by Church law
    They were heretics by any Christian definition of the word heretic. In your first post you do mention some of the heresies they believed in (if they weren't Christian, then why be offended by the cross as a religious symbol because it's an instrument of God's torture if you don't believe in Christ, for instance?). The Cathars were former Catholics whom still considered themselves to be Christian and they still talked Christian subjects.

    The Cathar Prayer of the Lord is almost word for word the Catholic one - if you're not Christian you wouldn't recognise the difference. Fun fact: after the last parfaits had been executed the remaining faithful fled to remote mountain hamlets in the Pyrenees and Alpine region, decapitated and lost and unable to receive the consolamentum they were without guidance and pretty much doomed. Nonetheless, traces of their presence remained until the mid 20th century (!) - when a researcher stumbled upon an elderly woman in the Pyrenees who prayed the Cathar version of the Lord's Prayer, meaning that centuries of religious tradition had continued in this woman. How I would've loved asking her some questions - such as - "who instructed you?", "which other religious instruction did you receive?", "are there still more of your around or are you the last Cathar?" - that woman could've been a living medieval time capsule. But I fear it's likelier she and her family probably were the last of the Cathars and wouldn't haven't been able to tell us much more as in all likelihood they weren't theologians but shepherds and all they had was centuries old oral tradition, parts of it forgotten, other parts diluted with the passing of time. Nonetheless, it's utterly bewildering to think that there were still some Cathars left back in the forties and that they have never come out as Cathars, not even after the French Revolution - perhaps they simply didn't care, as is the case for the descendants of the old Orthodox living in the wilderness of Siberia to this day.

    The Albigensians remind me of the Druze, who also believe in reincarnation and clearly an earlier, older religion, but embraced Islam to survive in Islamic countries. And like with the Druze, one is only fully initiated in the secrets of the religion at a certain stage. The Cathars secretly believed that Christ had been married to St. Mary Magdalene and they condemned Christ for that. This story was a popular medieval legend/Christian lore in the Languedoc and made its way into their religion that way. But a believer would've only been informed of "Christ's secret life" upon becoming a parfait. The roots of the Albigensian religion are in the Orient and even predate Christianity, but when the religion came to Western Europe, it adopted a Catholic guise, or better put: it merged with Catholicism: more than that, there was never a non-Catholic catharism in the West, despite it being very well possible that the Druze and the Cathars may orginally come from the same religious tradition. The Cathars would've never been in direct dialogue with the earliest tradition though, Catharism presented itself as a Christian sect and that's what they were - albeit a heretical one.

    Oddly, Catharism emerged in the Rhineland and Flanders first, but never got very far in Northern Europe, in contrast with Italy and France.

    It's a good thing the Church crushed the Cathars, otherwise Western Europe may consist of impoverished societies like Nepal and Tibet. And the Albigensians were actively advocating the end of Europe and even the human species as they considered sex and life evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by JtB
    Hell: To the Cathars this world IS Hell, created by Satan and fundamentally corrupt. This does not mean, though, that Cathars adopted a 'woe is me' attitude. Quite the opposite occurred: as this was what we have to work with, why not make it better and not worse? As a result the Cathars built a remarkably open, inclusive, and vibrant society in their lands and in that sense have been regarded by historians- despite the persecution by the Church- as one of the bright spots in an otherwise pretty bleak Europe of the times. Essentially, they didn't get bogged down with moaning about how bad the world was- even though they knew it was corrupt- and instead sought to thumb their noses at Satan by not giving in to despair.
    Oh but they did adopt that attitude. They were anti-marriage, anti-sex and anti-children. The Cathars were the ultimate doomers (more so, because doomers aren't against these things in principle). And to actually make it to the parfait stage, which was required of all believers/"listeners" (as they were called), you had to be an extreme ascete. The demands placed upon the believer were so extreme and joyless most only became parfaits on their deathbed, so they could die in a state of grace, knowing how hard it would be not to give into temptation if they still had to live a full life. Also, any historian who portrays the middle ages as a bleak era can be safely ignored.

    I came across this comment on YouTube last week, entirely unrelated to the Cathars, but it reminded me of them as it sums up their beliefs quite nicely:



    As for the open, vibrant and inclusive society the Cathars lived in: well, that was just medieval Occitania, it was not the work of the Cathars but the Occitan Catholic majority. It's the Cathars who were accepted as outsiders, just like Jews were tolerated .... but there was one group which everyone discriminated against: the Cagots, the accursed race of untouchables. And I would think the Cathars discriminated as much against them as everyone else, but I doubt we're ever going to find historical references of this because it was so common and quite irrelevant at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by JtB
    Sex: There were differing views on sex among Cathars.
    No, just one - and it was unfavorable. All temporal pleasure is sinful for Cathars. And all sex was potentially pro-creative sex back then and even if it had not been, they would've been against it. We're talking about people who consider all that is material evil, even our own bodies. And as an aside: contrary to popular belief in the modern day secular West, Catholicism never embraced such a position. The Church launched crusades over this issue, that's how important Rome thinks sex and the good life are.

    Quote Originally Posted by JtB
    As for the Cathars, it's entirely possible the Church played up the threat to Christianity posed by Catharism in order to justify its campaign against the 'Good Men'. After all, the Cathars had no armies and no power-charged bureaucracy to challenge the authority or influence of the Church- essentially, all the Cathars had was their personal examples of faith. (Indeed, when local nobles were approached by the Church for assistance, they basically told the Church to F off, that they had lived around Cathars for years and had seen them living nothing but good and honorable lives dedicated to God.)
    The Cathars did pose a huge threat to the Church, their heresy is considered by the Church to be the most dangerous of the ancient heresies, already existing in the first century AD. Them being against the Church was the reason for their existence. And their movement gained traction. But indeed, yes, let's not forget that the military force opposing the crusaders from up north was led by Catholics and the supreme commander was a Catholic. However, prior to the first crusade in Occitania the Church and the Albigensians were negotiating and may have arrived at a comprimise, as not all Cathars were equally radical in their beliefs. The moderates for example maintained that the good god would eventually triumph over the equally powerful Demiurg as opposed to good being forever locked in a cyclical struggle with evil without any force gaining the upper hand (which is what Cathars would normally believe). That is, until an outside, extemist Bogomil preacher from the Balkan arrived in Southern France and riled everyone up again. After that, there was no more talking.

    Quote Originally Posted by JtB
    The Inquisition, too, was created specifically to combat the spread of Cathar belief- but even some of those Inquisitors saw the merit in Catharism and joined them instead.
    Citation needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by JtB
    Jesus and the Resurrection: Cathars held that, as this world was evil by its very nature, God would not have sent his son into it. As such, Jesus could not have been divine and was considered to be just a man, but more enlightened than others. This being the case, upon his death there was no ‘resurrection’ of the flesh- only the escape of Jesus’ soul to the spiritual realm of God.
    They did believe there was something divine about Christ, just not His corpus. Instead they believed that God had merely taken on the guise of a human as opposed to being one of flesh and blood. Christ's human form was nothing but an illusion to them - since in their eyes all matter has to be evil. On the basis of that fact they didn't believe in the resurrection either. How can that which physically does not exist either die or be resurrected, they reasoned.

    All the modern day praise for of Cathars fits the anti-Christian tendencies of our own age, it's not necessarily warranted or historically correct - it exists for political consumption of the braindead masses who want a clean conscience and pat on the back for being degenerate wretches. The world we live in has a to make heroes out of anyone who was ever persecuted by the Church - even witches - it reveals a lot about the nature of our liberal democracies.

    And IMHO Cathars, Puritans and SJWs all go hand in hand and belong, as pointed out before in this thread, indeed to the same tradition which thank God the contrareformation delivered us from in Catholic Europe (until the last 50 years or so). Their message: beer is evil, sex is rape and evil, music is evil, acting is evil, Christmas is evil, power is evil, hierarchy is evil, the world is evil - and you have to point it all out, etc., etc. Yes, one has to admire the courage of conviction of the Cathars, but never forget they were a pansified and pacifist kind of taliban. If you don't like Christianity, you surely would have disliked Catharism.
    “Individuals trapped in a dying culture live in a twilight world. They embrace death through infertility, concupiscence, and war. A dog will crawl into a hole to die. The members of sick cultures do not do anything quite so dramatic, but they cease to have children, dull their senses with alcohol and drugs, become despondent, and too frequently do away with themselves. Or they make war on the perceived source of their humiliation.”
    — David P. Goldman, as quoted by Jack Donovan in The Way of Men.

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  13. #17
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    They were anti-marriage, anti-sex and anti-children. The Cathars were the ultimate doomers (more so, because doomers aren't against these things in principle).
    Chlodovech, for tribal religious reasons you’re trying to portray the Catholics as a joyful, easy-going and tolerant bunch whilst contrasting this with the Cathar ‘doomers’ whose lives were grey and miserable.

    There are, however, several logical fallacies in what you’ve written because if the Cathars were ‘anti-marriage, anti-sex and anti-children’ then it’s miraculous that they somehow managed to survive for well over 200 years.

    It’s also counterintuitive to assume that folks were signing up for Catharism en masse because they wanted a whole load of restrictions - even on their sex lives! Actually, the Catholic Church had far more issues with sex than the Cathars did and considered masturbation to be an even graver sin than rape. That’s pretty messed-up thinking, even for the 13th century!

    Funnily enough, only 5 posts previously Astragoth was saying that the Cathars believed in free sex and you thanked his post, presumably agreeing with him, and yet now you’re telling us they had a phobia to it so who is right here? You’re obviously both doing Google searches and posting whatever smears you can find, even when they contradict the previous ones

    Fact is that Catholics and Cathars coexisted peacefully and many families had both Catholic and Cathar members so I think it goes without saying that one group was not a happy-go-lucky one whilst the other was full of dreariness. If you think about it, there’s no way that society could have functioned normally had this been the case so it’s a false dichotomy you’re trying to create here.

    For the record, the majority of Cathars were outraged by the excesses and hypocrisy of the Catholic hierarchy. It was a protest movement against this, first and foremost, and prominent Catholics themselves recognised the problem. Here it tells us:

    Cardinals, bishops and priests lived in great luxury and dressed in gorgeous robes. Even Churchmen recognised the fault of their fellow shepherds. Pope Innocent III, the richest man in Christendom, noted of the Archbishop of Narbonne:

    "…He knows no other god but money and has a purse where his heart should be. His monks and canons take mistresses and live by usury… Throughout the region the prelates are the laughing stock of the laity."


    The Cathars (who were not anti-Catholic per se) went out of their way to do things differently to the Church because they were disgusted by its representatives and that is the crux of the matter. The Church, then as now, was essentially run as a business and the Cathars were eating into its profits. You really don’t have to look much deeper than this!

    any historian who portrays the middle ages as a bleak era can be safely ignored.
    Well you would say this because you long to return to a time when the Church had absolute power. You’ve already declared your love for this epoch and I remember you once even put a positive spin on the Inquisition itself, claiming that it forms the basis of modern justice so some good came from it. I suppose that in view of this, your implication that the Middle Ages were a fun time to be around is not unexpected. There's obviously a subjective element but let's just say you're in an extremely small minority!

    Interestingly, the Troubadours came along during the same period as the Cathars and tried to brighten up people’s lives a bit with some romantic ballads but this was of course frowned upon by the CC, who persecuted them as well Church leaders inevitably found something ‘immoral’ about their music and lyrics so once again this contradicts the cheerful Catholics/gloomy Cathars narrative and the promotion of the Middle Ages as a happy era for all.

    All the modern day praise for of Cathars fits the anti-Christian tendencies of our own age, it's not necessarily warranted or historically correct - it exists for political consumption of the braindead masses who want a clean conscience and pat on the back for being degenerate wretches. The world we live in has a to make heroes out of anyone who was ever persecuted by the Church - even witches - it reveals a lot about the nature of our liberal democracies.
    There may be a degree of truth in this, although your own prejudices far outweight those of these people you describe as ‘anti-Christian’. I suppose everyone has their axe to grind and I’m not claiming to be 100% neutral myself, but if Christians hadn’t committed atrocities such as the genocide of the Cathars then their opponents today would simply have no ammunition

    The ‘braindead masses’ to whom you refer (although they’re actually more enlightened than their Medieval counterparts, believe it or not!) don’t give two hoots about anything we’re discussing here and nor do the ‘degenerate wretches’ for that matter. Your view of society is a very downbeat one and (ironically) you’re almost sounding like those caricatures of the world-weary Cathars with all this pessimism.

    Look, history goes in cycles. We’re currently in the midst of an ultra-liberal phase (that I generally disagree with) and a degree of decadence has set in for sure. This is undeniable, but I’d rather be where we are now than back in the times when ‘witches’ were burned alive at stakes and folks used to turn up in large numbers to watch this ‘entertainment’.

    Sorry, that’s just my own take. It's all about keeping things in perspective.

  14. #18
    Senior Member SaxonPagan's Avatar
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    Dealing with this as a separate (and interesting!) side-issue ...

    Fun fact: after the last parfaits had been executed the remaining faithful fled to remote mountain hamlets in the Pyrenees and Alpine region, decapitated and lost and unable to receive the consolamentum they were without guidance and pretty much doomed. Nonetheless, traces of their presence remained until the mid 20th century (!) - when a researcher stumbled upon an elderly woman in the Pyrenees who prayed the Cathar version of the Lord's Prayer, meaning that centuries of religious tradition had continued in this woman. How I would've loved asking her some questions - such as - "who instructed you?", "which other religious instruction did you receive?", "are there still more of your around or are you the last Cathar?" - that woman could've been a living medieval time capsule. But I fear it's likelier she and her family probably were the last of the Cathars and wouldn't haven't been able to tell us much more as in all likelihood they weren't theologians but shepherds and all they had was centuries old oral tradition, parts of it forgotten, other parts diluted with the passing of time. Nonetheless, it's utterly bewildering to think that there were still some Cathars left back in the forties and that they have never come out as Cathars, not even after the French Revolution - perhaps they simply didn't care, as is the case for the descendants of the old Orthodox living in the wilderness of Siberia to this day.
    One of my old French lecturers at the Sciences Po in Toulouse (1985) claimed he could trace his lineage back to the Cathars. It's not uncommon to hear this sort of stuff in the region, although how much is factual I wouldn't like to say.

    The above is no doubt an authentic case but beyond the curiosity value I'm not sure what else can be drawn from it. She would probably know as much about the original Cathars as I would know about King Edward expelling the Jews from England in 1290.

    In 30 or so generations virtually everything is lost but it's remarkable that the Lord's Prayer survived for so long. It only takes one generation to abandon a tradition for it to disappear completely and yet somehow this particular chain remained unbroken over the centuries ... chapeau!

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  16. #19
    Senior Member SaxonPagan's Avatar
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    Hey, Johan, I’ve just noticed on your profile you’ve become a Cathar

    Is this the latest stage on your spiritual quest?

    I think it's safe to say you're the only Skadite following this religion.

    Anyway, best of luck!

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    As I noted in my opening post, I am not an academic nor do I claim any 'secret knowledge' of the Cathars. My information is based only on what I've read and understood to be the best combination of surviving information both praising and damning of the Cathars. As such, I am certainly no expert on the subject.

    And yes, I do admire the Cathars and I find their spiritual and mortal outlook very intriguing; I have listed myself as a Cathar, but as there is no remotely official 'Cathar Church' at this time, I look upon it as many do their Nordic faiths- largely an individual practice. As such I'm in the same boat as many Nordics- having to piece together a faith that 'might have been' based on a relative few concrete examples. Nordics have it better, though, as much of the Nordic tales and legends survived the ages while nearly everything the Cathars wrote was destroyed or otherwise suppressed by fire and sword.

    I claim the Cathar name currently, but does that mean I know everything there is to know about the Medieval Cathars? No, certainly not- no more than any modern Heathen knows everything there is to know about their faith as originally practiced. I'm on a journey just like everyone else learning as much as I may and doing the best I can along the way. Do I intend to live exactly as a Medieval Cathar? Certainly not, that would be impossible- but there's no reason why their principles can't be applied to modern life just like any other ancient religious practices.

    And finally, of course I recognize there are those who praise the Cathars, those who condemn them, and those who for any number of reason don't give a F about them. And that's fine with me- what a boring place this would be if everyone agreed on everything

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