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(PennLive)   For those of you who do not know, who is St. Patrick?   (pennlive.com) divider line 70
    More: Interesting, St. Patrick's, Emerald Isle  
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3111 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Mar 2014 at 1:17 PM (19 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-12 03:07:27 PM

quietwalker: As I was named after saint Patrick, I looked up his history and read his life story.

While christanity in general paints a fairly rosy picture, the facts of the matter are not at all positive.  It would not be unfair to pronounce him an unrepentant murderer who not only advocated genocide towards the pagans, but actively participated in it.   He'd use deceit to rile up communities in fear, claiming they kidnapped children, poisoned their crops and animals, and so on, and get them to lynch whole groups en masse.  It was, effectively, the irish version of the inquisition, with wide scale religious persecution which has colored the culture of ireland to affect it to this day (see catholics vs. protestants).



You have to take that sort of thing with a grain of salt, though.  The Internet is full of bogus history, like all those nonsense articles about Christ being just like Mithras/Osiris/Horus/Krishna/Dionysius, or vikings civilizing Polynesia and building the Easter Island statues because Kennewick man and cocaine mummies.

There are a bunch of subcultures that have a motivation to promote an alternate history.  Wiccans and neo-pagans like to imagine their religion as ancient rather than a recent invention, and often identify themselves with pre-Christian pagans and with victims of historical persecution---while at the same time, Internet people have a long-held love affair with alternate historical theories that undermine Christianity.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if Internet research yields a version of Saint Patrick as a genocidal maniac, mostly promoted by people with names like "seeker of wisdom."  I would be skeptical enough to examine the sources, however, since Patrick is historically known for co-opting pagan symbology and beliefs in his attempts to convert the Irish.
 
2014-03-12 03:19:52 PM

Xcott: quietwalker: As I was named after saint Patrick, I looked up his history and read his life story.

While christanity in general paints a fairly rosy picture, the facts of the matter are not at all positive.  It would not be unfair to pronounce him an unrepentant murderer who not only advocated genocide towards the pagans, but actively participated in it.   He'd use deceit to rile up communities in fear, claiming they kidnapped children, poisoned their crops and animals, and so on, and get them to lynch whole groups en masse.  It was, effectively, the irish version of the inquisition, with wide scale religious persecution which has colored the culture of ireland to affect it to this day (see catholics vs. protestants).


You have to take that sort of thing with a grain of salt, though.  The Internet is full of bogus history, like all those nonsense articles about Christ being just like Mithras/Osiris/Horus/Krishna/Dionysius, or vikings civilizing Polynesia and building the Easter Island statues because Kennewick man and cocaine mummies.

There are a bunch of subcultures that have a motivation to promote an alternate history.  Wiccans and neo-pagans like to imagine their religion as ancient rather than a recent invention, and often identify themselves with pre-Christian pagans and with victims of historical persecution---while at the same time, Internet people have a long-held love affair with alternate historical theories that undermine Christianity.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if Internet research yields a version of Saint Patrick as a genocidal maniac, mostly promoted by people with names like "seeker of wisdom."  I would be skeptical enough to examine the sources, however, since Patrick is historically known for co-opting pagan symbology and beliefs in his attempts to convert the Irish.


It was a good attempt at trolling, but it's missing that vital spark that makes the reader really believe you believe it.
 
2014-03-12 03:20:42 PM

Werehamster: Few people know the story of exactly how he drove out the snakes. He stood on a broad plain, raised his arms and said "Enough is enough. I have had it with these motherfarkin' snakes on this motherfarkin' plain!"



Is there a Post of the Year??  EPIC!
 
2014-03-12 03:21:27 PM
He's the one with the funny hat.
 
2014-03-12 03:28:18 PM
My parents both agreed on my name.
Patrick is a good one.
Then March 17th, 1984 came.
Hi, I'm Nick.
 
2014-03-12 03:34:59 PM

quietwalker: It was a good attempt at trolling, but it's missing that vital spark that makes the reader really believe you believe it.


Seriously, though, are there any scholarly sources that establish Patrick actively participating in genocide?

It's hard for me to find any sources quickly, because Google searches just yield a bunch of opinion pieces and comment threads where people just up and say "I'm boycotting St. Patrick's day because here's a bunch of unsourced claims."
 
2014-03-12 04:22:44 PM

NixStix: My parents both agreed on my name.
Patrick is a good one.
Then March 17th, 1984 came.
Hi, I'm Nick.


Mmmmkay...I don't quite follow. What's so significant about that date that they changed their minds?
 
2014-03-12 04:38:34 PM
Wasn't he a pagan snake charmer? Good Christians don't partake in that kind of witch-craft.
 
2014-03-12 04:51:17 PM
He's my youngest stepson. 20 years Ranger. Demolitions expert.
 
2014-03-12 05:05:43 PM

bdub77: He's the excuse I use to get annually wasted.


Yeah, you and a few million others.

I can't figure out how that works with lent.  The catholics have this big "you should limit yourself" thing going on.  Fat Tuesday is a huge party because you aren't supposed to do all those things during lent.  Yet St Patricks day is a huge party that falls during lent.

I'm assuming it gets some kind of catholic exemption, which in turn makes that party even bigger than it would be otherwise.

Tangenital: I will admit to unabashedly enjoying the Dallas Greenville St. Patrick's day parade. There is an undeniable energy about 100,000 people gathered along a relatively short stretch of road to watch strippers in hot tubs on flat bed trucks throwing beads and herpes. On that one magical day the rules are suspended and people can drink out in public without fear of arrest (as long as they don't do anything stupid of course).


It seems like every year, the Dallas Morning News has an article where the cops are saying "If we catch you drinking in public, we'll arrest you".  But they simply can't do that.  If every cop in Dallas arrested four people, there would still be thousands of people drinking on the street.  So for effective purposes, you're right.  Get stupid, start fights, that sort of thing, and they'll take you downtown.  Drink, watch the parade, have a good time, all without being an idiot, and the cops won't bother you a bit.
 
2014-03-12 05:20:28 PM
What this thread needs is more St. Gertrude of Nivelles / rat pride!

img.fark.net
img.fark.net
img.fark.net
img.fark.net
 
2014-03-12 05:41:22 PM

Xcott: quietwalker: It was a good attempt at trolling, but it's missing that vital spark that makes the reader really believe you believe it.

Seriously, though, are there any scholarly sources that establish Patrick actively participating in genocide?

It's hard for me to find any sources quickly, because Google searches just yield a bunch of opinion pieces and comment threads where people just up and say "I'm boycotting St. Patrick's day because here's a bunch of unsourced claims."


Actually, it's very hard to pin down.  There's a very solid set of evidence that indicates there were two 'Saint Patricks' who's lives were alternately swapped or co-mingled, and most of the religious claims attributed to him range from the early 4'th to middle 5'th centuries, while verifying the source of letters and writings is fairly difficult.  Those who wrote most about him dated in the 7'th century, over 150 years since his death, so much of it is - like the bible - at best whitewashed and biased descriptions of events, and mystical fiction at worst.  Like camels in the bible, there are many indications that the writers were making up elements whole cloth.  As the 'victors' of the catholic vs pagan battle, they had the opportunity to write the histories.

So good references are hard to find, on either side of the debate.  The best we can do is drum up summaries from what is written, what we know of the politics and behaviors of people at that time, and attempt to piece together motivations and events as they happened, as opposed to how they were written.

So, among the collected letters and writings, there include references to him as the god of war, the bit where he declares himself a bishop (and one with the power to excommunicate, at that), and specifying certain groups of individuals as devil  He appeared to be associated with kings/warlords who, shortly after he arrived, used religion as an excuse to wage war on other groups of people (pagans ostensibly)  and claim their land. 

He was in several battles-and-or-assassination attempts, though there isn't any indication that he personally killed anyone, there are accounts of deaths - usually only of his followers - after which the combat is simply resolved and never spoken of again.  One must assume that his caravans of clergy and such either had a sizable military following or themselves acted in a military manner (which was standard for much of the clannish/tribal conflicts of that day) and were able to repel enemy warriors.

As far as the church goes, letters about him by those who would have been his superiors in Briton indicate that he was a problem; possibly a charlatan using the name of the church to further his own agenda, and refusing to answer to Rome.  In an era where news between ireland and rome took months or years, there was little to stop someone from claiming they were any given religious role.

In the end, there's quite a lot of indications that - like most of the church through recorded history - he was an awful person, doing horrible things.
 
2014-03-12 05:47:36 PM

B.L.Z. Bub: NixStix: My parents both agreed on my name.
Patrick is a good one.
Then March 17th, 1984 came.
Hi, I'm Nick.

Mmmmkay...I don't quite follow. What's so significant about that date that they changed their minds?


Never mind, I'm an idiot.
 
2014-03-12 05:50:19 PM

CleanAndPure: I always wear red on St. Paddy day to be contrary.

/ drink tawny port instead of crappy green beer too.


You should try wearing orange. And you should do it in actual Ireland.
 
2014-03-12 06:10:07 PM
My CSB:

I went to Ireland for a two week trip, and absolutely loved it, except for the day after I climbed 'The Reek':

upload.wikimedia.org

I could barely walk, so glad I was staying at a Pub/B&B, so didn't have to go far to get Guinness for pain relief.

/people climb it barefoot in July
//I drank a  can of Murphy's Stout when I got to the top
///CSB
 
2014-03-12 07:44:43 PM

quietwalker: Actually, it's very hard to pin down.


The statement that drew my skepticism is this:

"It would not be unfair to pronounce him an unrepentant murderer who not only advocated genocide towards the pagans, but actively participated in it. "

There are three claims here:  that he was a murderer, that he advocated genocide, and actively participated in it.  Which of these claims is "hard to pin down?"  All three?

And what does "hard to pin down" mean?   Do you mean that the scholarly case for these claims is based on vague clues that may only support a tenuous claim of unspecifiable bad behavior?  Does it mean that there's no scholarly case at all?

quietwalker: One must assume that his caravans of clergy and such either had a sizable military following or themselves acted in a military manner (which was standard for much of the clannish/tribal conflicts of that day) and were able to repel enemy warriors.


Wouldn't one have to make the same assumption about any other major figure in "that day?"  I don't see how this counts as a credible argument that St. Patrick, or any specific person, committed atrocities.

In any case, that's just a line of reasoning, and not a scholarly source.  I hate to get all citation-needed on this, but I think that any claim of St. Patrick committing or advocating murder or genocide is extraordinary enough that it should be backed up with something.  It certainly wouldn't be fair to pronounce this guy a genocidal murderer if nothing can be sourced to back that up.
 
2014-03-12 11:49:32 PM

Tangenital: bdub77: He's the excuse I use to get annually wasted.

Oh my god I thought you said anally wasted.


stupidknews.com
 
2014-03-13 12:22:12 AM

JuggleGeek: bdub77: He's the excuse I use to get annually wasted.

Yeah, you and a few million others.

I can't figure out how that works with lent.  The catholics have this big "you should limit yourself" thing going on.  Fat Tuesday is a huge party because you aren't supposed to do all those things during lent.  Yet St Patricks day is a huge party that falls during lent.

I'm assuming it gets some kind of catholic exemption, which in turn makes that party even bigger than it would be otherwise.



There are no exemptions, it's just that Catholics are not all that zealous about lent. They haven't been zealous about it in a very long time, assuming they ever were.

Here in Montreal, this Sunday will be marking the 191st St.Patrick's day parade this Sunday despite a long history of the Catholic church dominating all aspects of life. Of course, nowadays the church has become largely irrelevant to most people.
 
2014-03-13 01:00:47 AM

Xcott: quietwalker:

In any case, that's just a line of reasoning, and not a scholarly source.  I hate to get all citation-needed on this, but I think that any claim of St. Patrick committing or advocating murder or genocide is extraordinary enough that it should be backed up with something.  It certainly wouldn't be fair to pronounce this guy a genocidal murderer if nothing can be sourced to back that up.


That is a totally fair and rational stance, but it's based on an unreasonable assumption.

I propose we first prove the individual existed and who he actually was prior to taking the person of Saint Patrick.  Personally, I don't believe he existed and I'm aware of no reputable scholarly source that actually pins it down.  There are a few guesses, but nothing substantive.  Without that, how can we say "who" did what?

Anything beyond that is - as you point out - pure speculation, and if we restrict ourselves to a black and white view, of course we can't consider that at all.  Further, if we go by the rules of scientific evaluation, there must first be evidence that can be tested with scientific rigour when we claim for the existence of a thing.  Without proof, it's not rational to believe the thing to exists at all.

So the base rational assumption is that there was no such person, and therefore, every act attributed to him is entirely fiction.

I'm getting a bit sophistic here, so bear with me, but if he's a fiction, he's one that obviously exists as an icon, concept or idea.  That idea, in turn, has led to the death of a group of people due to religious persecution, as well as subsumption of their culture.  In this light, it's not unreasonable to state "Saint Patrick caused the death of pagans" - in the same way we can say that other ideas such as racism or homophobia are responsible for deaths.

... so I'm going to stick with him being a killer by default, unless we want to forego the existence thing and attempt to derive a picture of an individual based on reported actions from biased and unreliable sources. ... which in my opinion point to him being the source of religious persecution, though it's obviously only speculation based on available data.

I'd say that between two arguments indicating Saint Patrick was a bad person, the second involving speculation is the weaker of the two, but in order to engage it, you'll have to accept that all the good things are equally speculative.  Personally, I'd say go with that, but we can also just default to saint-patrick-as-a-murderous-concept role too!
 
2014-03-13 01:50:25 AM
quietwalker:  I propose we first prove the individual existed and who he actually was prior to taking the person of Saint Patrick.  Personally, I don't believe he existed and I'm aware of no reputable scholarly source that actually pins it down.

You mean, aside from primary sources like his written confessions and letters.

But okay, so let's start with that:  you don't believe he really existed, but you also believe he committed murder and participated in genocide.   I suppose this is something like those conspiracy people who think that Osama Bin Laden is still alive but was also already dead before he was allegedly killed.


Further, if we go by the rules of scientific evaluation, there must first be evidence that can be tested with scientific rigour when we claim for the existence of a thing.

The "rules of scientific evaluation"?  To determine if an historical figure existed?  Quick, call up the president of Physics!  There's no chemical evidence that George Washington was real!

Sorry, but no:  not only is it silly to demand testable scientific (as opposed to historical) evidence that a 5th century historical figure existed, but it is doubly silly to demand such things after cavalierly claiming that he took part in genocide without citing so much as a single scholarly source.


I'm getting a bit sophistic here, so bear with me, but if he's a fiction, he's one that obviously exists as an icon, concept or idea.  That idea, in turn, has led to the death of a group of people due to religious persecution, as well as subsumption of their culture.

This also requires a source.  What group of people was massacred due to the "idea" of Saint Patrick?

I should add that in two posts we've gone from "one must assume he had a sizeable army" to "we need scientific proof he existed" to conjecturing a large population supposedly killed by or for him.  So where's the evidence for that army?  Where's the evidence for this massacred group?  There doesn't seem to be any consistent standard in your argument, beyond saying whatever to advance the argument.


I'd say that between two arguments indicating Saint Patrick was a bad person, the second involving speculation is the weaker of the two, but in order to engage it, you'll have to accept that all the good things are equally speculative.   Personally, I'd say go with that, but we can also just default to saint-patrick-as-a-murderous-concept role too!

"I have no sources, but we can just default to taking what I said as the null hypothesis."

Here's a better idea:  let's start with the conventional historical understanding of Saint Patrick, as a person that actually existed and who took part in converting the Irish to Christianity.  If you want to argue that he mass-murdered the pagan Irish instead, or that he was a fictional character, you'll have to provide some basis for that beyond some postmodern assertion that everything is equally speculative.

Personally, I think it would be less trouble to simply pony up a source.
 
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