Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby big_big_bozo » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:01 pm

Not asking about the meaning or significance (or lack thereof hehe) of any of the Judeo-Christian iconography/themes present in the show, just whether or not the Christianty we know of IRL has any tangible presence in Eva's lore/world???

This may sound kinda stupid, like obviously dude consider this; Misato's got her Cross necklace, SEELE are gettin all giddy over The Dead Sea Scrolls, and I can't remember any off the top of my head but I could SWEAR that half of SEELE's dialouge is comprised of poorly translated bible verses, etc. Besides, Eva takes place in Japan afterall, hardly a place known for its deep Abrahamic roots. Makes sense why no one would bring it up all that often. But here's where I get stumped; why the hell doesn't anybody meaningfully react to the goddamn GIANT BIBLICAL CYBER CROSSES that fly outta the dead Angels collective orifices?

Look, I can forgive Shinji/Asuka/tha rest of tha gang for not commenting on it cause they're too caught up in dumb kid stuff like hormones, school, and imminent extincion. Rei obviously gets a pass cause she's a weirdo (that's canon btw). But for everyone else? Misato never thought to look down at her necklace and exclaim "huh, fancy that eh Ritsuko, haha"? Did everyone in NERV skip history class or something? And who's the literary savant that decided to name two of the most important beings in existence "Adam and Lilith"? Where was THAT guy when the Angels were doing their little death dance? That guy certainly read Genesis, let's give him the mic.

The only reasonable answers to these super important questions I can think of are either:

[A] CHRISTIANITY DOES NOT EXIST IN EVA AT ALL
[B] CHRISTIANITY DOES EXIST, BUT IS DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT FROM OUR IRL VERSION
[C] CHRISTIANITY DOES EXIST, BUT THEY NEVER SHOW THE CHARACTERS DISCUSSING THIS ON-SCREEN
[D] PLOT HOLES/LAZY WRITING/IRRELEVANCY
[E] STOP OVER-ANALYSING, ANNO AND GAINAX DON'T CARE AND NEITHER SHOULD YOU

If [A] is true, it raises alot of questions about Eva's timeline LONG LONG before Eva even begins. If you know anything about history, you can't just strike Christianity from the record without explaining yourself a little. And since Eva's world Pre-2nd Impact world doesn't sound all that different from our own, bar the slumbering biblical reference beneath the Antarctic, one has to wonder what acted as the catalyst for all the major conflicts/wars/freaking EVERYTHING that propelled the timeline to reach such a state. Not to mention how the names ADAM and LILITH (basically the OG Eve that got her ass kicked out of The Garden before it was cool) wouldn't even hold any significance without Christianity (also other terms like the Lance of Longinus, etc.).

The show is even set in the year 2015 .... two thousand and fifteen years after WHAT exactly??? Even the way souls are described and used throughout Eva has solid Christian undertones (although I don't know much about Japanese spirituality/Shinto so maybe I'm way off the mark here)? You gonna tell me that everything happened nearly EXACTLY the same way up until 2nd Impact, but Christianty was just swapped out for some alternate universe bizaroo version where the crosses are replaced with silly straws, the Pope lives in Wisconsin, and heterosexual marriage is frowned upon? Well ....

If [B] is true, then you can discard everything I've said above. Makes it easy to rationalize why everyone is so tight lipped about the whole thing. Maybe the whole Adam and Eve/Lilith schtick was just based on some goofy passage from Eva's version of The Dead Sea scrolls (which maybe were written by The Ancestral Race ????????? idk tbh). Maybe Misato's cross holds an entirley different meaning than what you would expect it to be, who knows? Anythings possible in this wacky universe haha! However ....

If [C] is true, then I'm back to being confused again. Just blame the budget I guess.

If [D] is true, well I can hardly claim to be the first to call Eva out for questionable writing. I'd hate for this to be the case though, as I think other aspects of Eva's mythos are fleshed out brilliantly (the biology of the Eva's, Concept of Souls, the LCL, Angel variation (actually I have some gripes with Angels too but that's for another day) etc.). Would be a shame for this too be the case. IF the writers did acknowledge this but just felt it unessasary to work in any pseudo-religous debates between the characters into the show, then I can fully understand.

If [E] is true, I would be ok with that. I am very sleep deprived and would appreciate a cop-out answer right about now.

I know this isn't the most stimulating or pressing question to ask pertaining to Eva's rich lore, but I've literally lost sleep thinking about this, holy moly. Also sorry for my intermittent usage of all-caps, I get very excited, forgive me.
Last edited by big_big_bozo on Mon May 01, 2017 1:30 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:59 pm

When you refer to Christianity, are you referring to the belief system? (AKA, there are people in Evangelion's universe who might believe in Christianity, regardless of whether or not the Bible is true.) Or are you referring to the Bible being part of the canon to the show? (Jesus dies for everyone's sins, rose from the dead on the third day, and roughly 2,000 years later Angels and Nerv and shit start happening.)

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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby big_big_bozo » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:13 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:When you refer to Christianity, are you referring to the belief system? (AKA, there are people in Evangelion's universe who might believe in Christianity, regardless of whether or not the Bible is true.) Or are you referring to the Bible being part of the canon to the show? (Jesus dies for everyone's sins, rose from the dead on the third day, and roughly 2,000 years later Angels and Nerv and shit start happening.)


Well, both I suppose.

If you take the stance that Christian doctrine remains 100% unaltered in the canon, then it would only be conceptualized as a belief system in the context of the show. If you assume that the Christianity in Eva is slightly altered, then one could make an arguement that the holy books of that particular variation did indeed make reference (in some capacity) to the Ancestral race, Adam n' Lilith (as big ugly white lookin vessels of souls, not the first humans), Terminal Dogma, the Black Moon, the coming of the Angels, etc. Then it would be literal canon. Both of these stances are hard to reconcile and carry with them several issues, some of which I have outlined.

This confusion is part of the reason I'm even bringing this topic up.
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Reichu » Mon May 01, 2017 12:06 am

Christianity certainly seem to exist in NGE's world. The majority of the show takes place in Japan, which has a very small Christian demographic, but even so...

  • Dr. Katsuragi passed his Greek cross onto Misato before he died. Assuming he didn't wear a cross for frivolous reasons, this suggests that he may have had a Christian upbringing.
  • Kyoko's funeral took place at a church.
  • Seele possess the "Secret" Dead Sea Scrolls, implying that the not-so-secret Dead Sea Scrolls exist (confirmed by the NGE2 Classified Information).
  • An alien artifact that only vaguely looks like a spear and certainly doesn't belong to anyone named "Longinus" is named the Spear of Longinus. This makes a bit more sense if the name was taken was preexisting lore. (Read: Christian apocrypha.)
  • In Japanese, the Angels are called "Apostles" (as in, followers of Christ).
And so on. The list would be much longer if you did not limit the inquiry to "Christianity", since the Old Testament is fundamentally Jewish, and merely borrowed by Christianity. (But I included the entry on the Dead Sea Scrolls regardless.)

I wouldn't get too hung up on Seele. They're an underground cult who worship scripture most likely written by Jewish (not Christian) mystics who -- via means never specified -- were able to access and creatively interpret the FAR's knowledge. There are some weird inconsistencies that arise from the canonical explanation, like why on earth Jewish mystics would have a fixation with some specifically Christian things (namely the crucifixion of God-Incarnate) -- or maybe there's a workaround for that that I just haven't thought of.

By the way, Shinji does find a moment to comment on the craziness:

Episode 11 wrote:Shinji:
Say, what do you suppose the Angels are?

Asuka:
Why are you talking about that at a time like this?

Shinji:
Angels, messengers of God, enemies named after servants of Heaven.
Why are we fighting them?

Asuka:
What are you, stupid? Strange beings are attacking us.
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Mr. Tines » Mon May 01, 2017 1:06 am

I'll go for option [C] (also applying to the other Abrahamic faiths) for the exoteric world.

It's just that SEELE and key staff within their agencies have the esoteric knowledge about what is really going on behind the scenes, hence exchanges like

Ryouji: That is the point of the Instrumental Project of Mankind,
isn't it?

Gendou: Yes. This is the first human being, ADAM.


Plus, there is long-standing precedent for the use of names out of mythology as code-names for things (the way that the US has raided Greek mythology for naming of rocketry-related kit and programs), so it's not the sort of thing that would excite much interest in the unenlightened masses, especially in regions where none of this is in the cultural background.

We have statements from the staff about the choice of what are essentially Qabalistic motifs being made because the come from, for a Japanese audience, an exotic source, with no thought being given to how they might be interpreted by viewers in Christendom. And it's not only NGE that does that sort of thing it's merely that it has such a high profile in comparison -- the Catholic Church gets pulled in as a source of exotic weird stuff from half a world away in many other titles, from both before and after NGE. This is really no different from Western fiction using random fragments of Oriental religion because that's an easy way of giving an exotic gloss to whatever quasi-magical or just conspiratorial happenings.

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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby big_big_bozo » Mon May 01, 2017 1:26 am

View Original PostReichu wrote:Christianity certainly seem to exist in NGE's world. The majority of the show takes place in Japan, which has a very small Christian demographic, but even so...

  • Dr. Katsuragi passed his Greek cross onto Misato before he died. Assuming he didn't wear a cross for frivolous reasons, this suggests that he may have had a Christian upbringing.
  • Kyoko's funeral took place at a church.
  • Seele possess the "Secret" Dead Sea Scrolls, implying that the not-so-secret Dead Sea Scrolls exist (confirmed by the NGE2 Classified Information).
  • An alien artifact that only vaguely looks like a spear and certainly doesn't belong to anyone named "Longinus" is named the Spear of Longinus. This makes a bit more sense if the name was taken was preexisting lore. (Read: Christian apocrypha.)
  • In Japanese, the Angels are called "Apostles" (as in, followers of Christ).


With all this in mind, it's pretty clear that conclusion [A] is downright wrong. Too much evidence to the contrary.

However, this fails to address one of my principal concerns; why no one in the show speaks plainly about all of this. Not even a scant utterance of "Jesus CHRIST Shinji you bastard!".

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more it starts to look like this is all one big oversight. Kinda makes the point of this thread somewhat moot. God damnit.

View Original PostReichu wrote:And so on. The list would be much longer if you did not limit the inquiry to "Christianity", since the Old Testament is fundamentally Jewish, and merely borrowed by Christianity. (But I included the entry on the Dead Sea Scrolls regardless.)


Perhaps I shouldn't have soley referred to Christianity, but rather the Abrahamics as a whole, so as to make the distinction between Jewish/Christian relatively unimportant.

View Original PostReichu wrote: I wouldn't get too hung up on Seele. They're an underground cult who worship scripture most likely written by Jewish (not Christian) mystics who -- via means never specified -- were able to access and creatively interpret the FAR's knowledge. There are some weird inconsistencies that arise from the canonical explanation, like why on earth Jewish mystics would have a fixation with some specifically Christian things (namely the crucifixion of God-Incarnate) -- or maybe there's a workaround for that that I just haven't thought of.


So, if I am to understand, the entire basis for Christianity/Judaism in Eva is a major misunderstanding/sketchy interpretation of The First Ancestral races shenanigans? Or is it the other way around, and SEELE's interpretation of the FAR knowledge motivated them to conveniently allign it with their pre-existing teachings, so technically none of the Abrahamic religions have any direct relation to the FAR?
Whew.

The only workaround I can see is that at some point, these ancient Jewish mystics took on some followers of a Christian disposition, I'm talkin New Testament typa fellas. Fast forward a few centuries, and now SEELE is comprised of a strange mix of the two faiths.

Although, another way to look at it is Judaism is even more obscure in Japan than Christianity, so going with the latter probably seemed like the better choice of window dressing (heyooo).

View Original PostReichu wrote: By the way, Shinji does find a moment to comment on the craziness:


Completely forgot about this, that's really neat. Kinda funny that they never bring it up again, but eh.
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Mr. Tines » Mon May 01, 2017 1:40 am

View Original Postbig_big_bozo wrote:However, this fails to address one of my principal concerns; why no one in the show speaks plainly about all of this. Not even a scant utterance of "Jesus CHRIST Shinji you bastard!".
How many times do you swear by Zeus or Odin, let alone more exotic names like Buddha or Amaterasu? That's how likely that any of the cast saving perhaps Asuka, would be to use that sort of expletive.

That's before we get down to the point where it's necessary to point out that in Japanese culture, what passes for strong language would, if literally translated, appear merely somewhat brusque to our much less deferential ears.

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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby big_big_bozo » Mon May 01, 2017 1:56 am

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:
Plus, there is long-standing precedent for the use of names out of mythology as code-names for things (the way that the US has raided Greek mythology for naming of rocketry-related kit and programs), so it's not the sort of thing that would excite much interest in the unenlightened masses, especially in regions where none of this is in the cultural background.


Hey man, I think there's a difference between mythological naming conventions and huge energy crosses spouting out of the very beings hell-bent on ending your existence. Something tells me that's the sorta thing that gets people talking.

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote:We have statements from the staff about the choice of what are essentially Qabalistic motifs being made because the come from, for a Japanese audience, an exotic source, with no thought being given to how they might be interpreted by viewers in Christendom. And it's not only NGE that does that sort of thing it's merely that it has such a high profile in comparison -- the Catholic Church gets pulled in as a source of exotic weird stuff from half a world away in many other titles, from both before and after NGE. This is really no different from Western fiction using random fragments of Oriental religion because that's an easy way of giving an exotic gloss to whatever quasi-magical or just conspiratorial happenings.


Yep, this certainly checks out. I wasn't really expounding on the reasoning behind the Abrahamic influences being used to begin with, but it certainly lends credence to the idea that the writing staff didn't go as in-depth as I perhaps would have liked them too.

I also gather that you fall into the "religion in Eva is just for show" camp, or maybe somewhere in the middle (the Christian themes don't really matter, they're just used as mediums to deliver the shows messages).
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Reichu » Mon May 01, 2017 2:02 am

View Original Postbig_big_bozo wrote:However, this fails to address one of my principal concerns; why no one in the show speaks plainly about all of this. Not even a scant utterance of "Jesus CHRIST Shinji you bastard!".

Since Japanese culture developed largely free of Christian influence, you won't see any 'oaths' like "Jesus Christ!" or "god damn it!" It's just not that kind of language. Their idea of rudeness is to use, say, a hyper-polite version of address in an inappropriate context. (I'm serious.)

As for why no one is "speaking plainly about this", what do you want them to say, exactly? If you work in Nerv, you're dealing with a lot of hush-hush stuff that just so happens to be designated with esoteric code names. Almost nobody knows that an actual religious cult is behind everything, so the sorts of conversations that you seem to want just wouldn't be happening. The Angels create explosions shaped like crosses, but so what? From some Japanese Nerv worker's perspective, maybe that's why they're called Angels (or Apostles, rather), and there's nothing deeper to it. They're weird "alien" beings, and the cross is a very simple shape, so it doesn't need to have any deeper significance to your average Taro or Yoko, and especially in such a secular country.

So, if I am to understand, the entire basis for Christianity/Judaism in Eva is a major misunderstanding/sketchy interpretation of The First Ancestral races shenanigans? Or is it the other way around, and SEELE's interpretation of the FAR knowledge motivated them to conveniently allign it with their pre-existing teachings, so technically none of the Abrahamic religions have any direct relation to the FAR?

We have absolutely NO idea how the mystics who wrote the SDSS actually obtained the FAR knowledge in the first place, so it's difficult to speculate too deeply here. But by the by, it's probably simplest to conceptualize this using the analogy of revelation. The actual revelation comes from God, but it's interpreted by the human mind and undergoes significant transformation accordingly. The mystics, thus, would have attempted (almost certainly unconsciously) to fit the wisdom received from on high into their preexisting spiritual framework.

Some chicken/egg problems do occur, of course... The Angel and Eva just seem to "naturally" create explosions that are shaped like crucifixes, for example. (The new movies make this even worse with all of the halos and rainbows everywhere.) The Seeds of Life just seem to "naturally" have Doors of Guf that are in the same place as stigmata. And so on. The two examples I provide could be handwaved fairly easily, I suppose, since the FAR were humanoids themselves, and similar motifs are bound to develop. The shape of the cross comes from a person posed with legs together and arms stretched to the side -- hardly extraordinary.

Although, another way to look at it is Judaism is even more obscure in Japan than Christianity, so going with the latter probably seemed like the better choice of window dressing (heyooo).

Most of the Judeo-Christian references in NGE are either from the Old Testament (a.k.a. Jewish holy scripture) or Kabbalism (a.k.a. Jewish mysticism), soooo......
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Mr. Tines » Mon May 01, 2017 4:18 am

View Original Postbig_big_bozo wrote:I also gather that you fall into the "religion in Eva is just for show" camp, or maybe somewhere in the middle (the Christian themes don't really matter, they're just used as mediums to deliver the shows messages).
At base, the series is best summarised here. Layered on top of that is an Illuminated conspiracy (or, in truth, several conspiracies) to Immanentize the Eschaton, by launching some sort of hard-take-off Singularity event bootstrapped off alien technology found at certain sites around the globe. And in front of that, is a teens-pilot-giant-robots layer.

In the middle layer, where most of the adult characters work, by the time you're taking metabiology out of the lab and into large-scale engineering application, some of the language of theology becomes appropriate as a description of what it is you are doing.

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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby big_big_bozo » Mon May 01, 2017 12:50 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:Since Japanese culture developed largely free of Christian influence, you won't see any 'oaths' like "Jesus Christ!" or "god damn it!" It's just not that kind of language. Their idea of rudeness is to use, say, a hyper-polite version of address in an inappropriate context. (I'm serious.)


Sheesh, and here I thought I was the prude ;)

View Original PostReichu wrote:As for why no one is "speaking plainly about this", what do you want them to say, exactly? If you work in Nerv, you're dealing with a lot of hush-hush stuff that just so happens to be designated with esoteric code names. Almost nobody knows that an actual religious cult is behind everything, so the sorts of conversations that you seem to want just wouldn't be happening. The Angels create explosions shaped like crosses, but so what? From some Japanese Nerv worker's perspective, maybe that's why they're called Angels (or Apostles, rather), and there's nothing deeper to it. They're weird "alien" beings, and the cross is a very simple shape, so it doesn't need to have any deeper significance to your average Taro or Yoko, and especially in such a secular country.


Jeez, well this pretty much puts my qualms to rest. Guess I was too fixated on wondering WHY they were seemingly ignorant, as opposed to WHY WOULDN'T THEY BE? Perhaps the populace of Japan (and NERV staff at large), are a bit too pre-occupied with mounting a defense/surviving to adress the heart of the threat itself (the WHY, WHO, AND WHERE of the Angels). I'm sure sure you could find a way to tie this in with the theme of "failure to properly confront ones inner demons" or something, but that's a bit above my pedigree.

The only remaining irk I really have is why Misato, who carrys with her a reminder of her Fathers potential faith everywhere she goes, doesn't have much to say about the angelic beams. But then again, she would be rather averse to unearthing memories of that nature, so it might me OOC to bring it up so readily.

View Original PostMr. Tines wrote: At base, the series is best summarised here. Layered on top of that is an Illuminated conspiracy (or, in truth, several conspiracies) to Immanentize the Eschaton, by launching some sort of hard-take-off Singularity event bootstrapped off alien technology found at certain sites around the globe. And in front of that, is a teens-pilot-giant-robots layer.


I REALLY like this way of structuring everything! Makes a focused analysis alot easier to digest, if that's your thing.
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed May 03, 2017 12:57 pm

Whereas I don't think What Evangelion is Really About™ will be discovered though the strict exploration of the use of Christian symbols in the series, I do find the question still intriguing. I personally gravitate towards [B], or maybe some un-proposed option where Christianity exists in NGE, but Seele is woefully misinterpreting it. The reference of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a giveaway to the fact that Christianity as presented in the show might have actually occurred, was written in a time contemporary to its occurrence, and its documents later discovered by Seele only for them to find that all of its prophecies are actually coming true. Seele's naming everything the way they do also implies that they at least believe that the entities they call "Angels" are the real deal.

Here's the logic I had while approaching the exploration go the presence of Christianity in NGE:

1. Seele probably thinks through things with a scientific ideology more than they do a religious ideology.

2. Seele’s conclusions leaning towards Christianity specifically was probably formed by the scientific findings of Adam and the Lance.

3. The names Seele gives to the entities they find, such as FAR, Adam, Lilith, and the Angels, are all approximate names for what they believe these entities might really be.

4. Based on those previous assumptions, given the proximity and sheer amount of the research on Adam and the Angels, it seems as though certain names are more confident in nature than other. AKA, Seele is really sure that their Adam is the Adam written about in Scripture. Their scientific research on Adam and the Angels lead them to the conclusion that the Angels are returning to Earth shortly, which correlates with the religious ideologies from which they're naming the entities they discover. As a result, they stack the odds in their favor by placing both Lilith and Adam in Tokyo-3. FAR, on the other hand, is labeled with a more ambiguous title.

5. FAR is far more ambiguously named (“First Ancestral Race”) because little research can be done about them. But Seele suspects that it is most likely the Trinity. (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.) They simply don’t label it as such nor do they act in that accord because there isn’t enough scientific evidence towards that idea, and the more proven Angel attack theories are more imminent.

6. Because of the lack of evidence as to who or what FAR really is, Seele can prove no existence of a factual Salvation through any possible interceeding FAR members that would keep humanity from perishing during the creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth at the expense of the old one. (AKA, The Great Tribulation, AKA, "Third Impact.") Therefore, they build their own Salvation through the Evangelion.

7. Seele believes that the Angels attacking is the beginning of the End Times. This is the real-deal Great Tribulation. Seele tried to prevent God’s plan (possibly FAR’s plan?) of creating a New Heaven and a New Earth at the expense of the old one. (It ends in somewhat of a draw in EoE.)

If all of these things are true, then [C] is out of the question, as we're shown countless scenes of Seele discussion what they believe Christianity is all about. The next question, for me, would be is all of this a misinterpretation of IRL Christianity, or is this a proper interpretation of NGE Christianity?

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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Reichu » Wed May 03, 2017 2:07 pm

Freaky, where are you getting the idea that Seele are Christian? Isn't one of the basic requirements that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior? Seele don't give the slightest intimation that Jesus of Nazareth is even a thing in their worldview. Any of his theological significance is displaced onto other things, like space gods. Seele are a cult of Kabbalists, above all else. Their one true god is likely Ein-Sof, something never mentioned by name in NGE but very strongly implied in the opening sequence.
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Chuckman » Wed May 03, 2017 6:30 pm

I'm not saying they are, but they could be that and be Christians. Those beliefs figure into various Christian heresies.

They're obviously not Lutherans or something but they could revere Jesus as an emanation of the divine.

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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby CommanderFish » Wed May 03, 2017 7:24 pm

Reichu wrote:Seele are a cult of Kabbalists, above all else.

This is how I've always understood it. But I mean, they're a cult, so wouldn't it be perfectly reasonable for them to have their own, separate belief system that just borrows a few names from the Bible? In other words, they're an offshoot of more mainstream Kabbalists who edit their beliefs based on what's written in the SDSS as well as the actual living Gods they found. Is there something unreasonable with this interpretation?
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Ray » Wed May 03, 2017 8:43 pm

Theres this blasphemous fan theory I've read once about the Cthulu Mythos that I think can apply somewhat to the Evangelion Mythos just as well. Basically it says that the prophets were only human beings with psychic powers, but they interpreted psychic emanations from the Old Ones as words from God, and their "divine' powers resulted from interactions with the Old Ones through breeches in reality into their realm. Something similar happened in the Evangelion universe with the prophets of the various religion of the world.

From a meta perspective it would make sense, given Hideaki Anno,the man who created this whole thing is not only just an Agnostic, he grew up and lives in one of the most openly agnostic/Atheist nations on Earth. That's not even mentioning Japans long and rather cold and/or antagonistic treatment of Christians and Christian values in both it's ancient and recent history. Look up "The Battle Of Shimabara", or "The 26 Japanese Martyrs" if you want to cry.

Anno's version of redemption isn't a Christian concept of leaving behind your earthly body and transcending existence to enter heaven to find eternal bliss and be with the ones you love in a great brotherhood of man. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Judging from the instrumentality scene alone.

There was this comment on a Canon In D video, that said something to the affect of. Eva uses Christian themes/imagery/themes to subvert them. It's about accepting that Heaven, the idea of a peaceful existence where you can never be hurt or eternally at peace with yourself/others/God, and be loved unconditionally forever and ever by yourself/others/God is a lie. That this physical world, as messed up and soulless as it may be, it's all we have. People may hurt and abuse you, and you may have a hard time. But longing to escape your problems in this life to go into the next takes away from being able to do anything in this world.

That's part of the reason I was really upset by EOE when I first watched it. If there is no God, if there is no point to human existance, if we really are the result of an alien plot to create instrumentality in some messed up perversion of a Rubber Suit Super Sentai show. Then Why not just accept instrumentality? If it really is the closest thing in a materialistic, nihilistic world where the Christian God doesn't exist to heaven?
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Chuckman » Wed May 03, 2017 10:39 pm

The concepts behind Instrumentality aren't singular to Japan or to East Asia. They're common across multiple cultures and time periods, and among many Abrahamic traditions and cults.

The initiation narrative is universal.

To answer the question in your post, Ray:

It's up to you to decide for yourself whether Shinji and Asuka succeeded or failed, and whether Instrumentality is bliss. In many many paths of mysticism the Self is a temporary manifestation and the goal is to destroy it and become purely part of God/the Oversoul/. In others the Godhead/end state comes from passing through the total ego destruction and coming back as a new being.

Then fundamental difference in Eastern/Western systems is the end goal: Destroy the (painful and temporary) self and join with God or destroy the painful and temporary self and become God. This dichotomy illustrates the typically-assumed dichotomy between Western and Eastern thought, although the predominant theology in the west is still simple: A wonderful heaven where you hang out with your friends and loved ones and all your dogs and play volleyball with Jesus is pop culture. Actual theology among the major instutitions of Christianity is: You sit and stare at God and sing about how great he is, forever. It's a simplified version of the whole Godhead thing that you can explain fast.

Anime/Manga like Ghost in the Shell pretty much state that the second is the brave/better end point.

Evangelion leaves it ambiguous.

My own personal interpretation is Shinji fell short of the Abyss at all and fell away from it before committing to transformative ego destruction (the Left Hand Path) and he didn't get a good end because he couldn't reach that final stage of transformation. You can't become your true self without knowing who you are and the process of knowing who you are is traumatic and painful.

Asuka, on the other hand, passed the challenge of being everyone but also herself. Hence "I feel sick". She went through all that and willed herself back into a physical body and the little jerk still beat her to it by cheating.

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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby big_big_bozo » Thu May 04, 2017 3:09 am

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:1. Seele probably thinks through things with a scientific ideology more than they do a religious ideology.


Considering how little solid evidence there is compared to educated speculation regarding SEELE, it’s quite the leap to make an assumption regarding HOW they think things through, particularly when there’s still debate to this day over what exactly they do and don’t know/think to begin with. The decision to carry out their plans via GEHIRN, and subsequently NERV, as opposed to some other mechanism/insititution, does lend this some weight though.

View Original PostRay wrote:There was this comment on a Canon In D video, that said something to the affect of. Eva uses Christian themes/imagery/themes to subvert them. It's about accepting that Heaven, the idea of a peaceful existence where you can never be hurt or eternally at peace with yourself/others/God, and be loved unconditionally forever and ever by yourself/others/God is a lie. That this physical world, as messed up and soulless as it may be, it's all we have. People may hurt and abuse you, and you may have a hard time. But longing to escape your problems in this life to go into the next takes away from being able to do anything in this world.


I don't actually beleive this plays a large role in Eva in the grand scheme of things, and is far more vague/neutral on religion than you may think, but I'll make a case against it none the less.

So, the rest of this speil assumes we're going along with the "subversion" interpretation:

The way Anno frames Instrumentality as an equivalent to the Heaven spoken of in Christian doctrine speaks to a slight misunderstanding of the faith. The key difference between Instrumentality and Heaven is what one does to earn his/her place; one gives the soul no choice but to comply and become whole, while the other judges each individual soul upon its merit and piety. As such, those souls that follow the faith in their lifetime are encouraged to live life in a way framed as just and Godly, sometimes at odds with the desires and impulses of the body. This inevitably leads to great hardship, which most would refer to as “struggling to keep the faith”. But those that prevail are granted access to God's kingdom, and those that fail are damned for eternity. The dichotomy between these souls is rather simple; one lived a decent life whilst enduring the ever present temptation of sin, whilst the other took the easy road and gave into sin, living a selfish and spiritually isolated existence. Now, it ain't always this black and white, especially if you don't consider yourself an adherent to this ideology, but that’s not what matters when you examine the internal structure of the faith indepedantly.

Now, compare this to Instrumentality. Accepting the warm, gentle allure of an eternity free of pain and loneliness and death and identity is seen as the path of least resistance. Having the protagonist reject it in favor of the harsh world below is a clear assertion of value on Anno’s part. However, Heaven doesn’t operate on the same rules, or lack of rules, as Instrumentality; living a life in all its joy and misery is a prerequisite before you even reach the pearly gates. Eva would decry heaven as a sweet lie, a cop-out to escape actually living at all, but a true adherent of the faith would understand this isn’t the case, at least in theory. Folks tend to behave a lot differently when attempting to practice what they preach, which is likely where Anno pulls his desire to subvert what he might see as hypocritical and small-minded.

k that kinda got a bit rambly at the end, lost the plot so to speak. ehhhhhhh shucks

View Original PostChuckman wrote:Actual theology among the major instutitions of Christianity is: You sit and stare at God and sing about how great he is, forever.


That’s a bit of a gross oversimplification, unless you're referring to mainline Protestantism, in which case it’s more then apt.

My own personal interpretation is Shinji fell short of the Abyss at all and fell away from it before committing to transformative ego destruction (the Left Hand Path) and he didn't get a good end because he couldn't reach that final stage of transformation. You can't become your true self without knowing who you are and the process of knowing who you are is traumatic and painful.

Asuka, on the other hand, passed the challenge of being everyone but also herself. Hence "I feel sick". She went through all that and willed herself back into a physical body and the little jerk still beat her to it by cheating.


I was always under the impression that Shinji’s ego was in fact “destroyed”, specifically during the “Congratulations” scene. Why do you say otherwise? Just because he made the choice to reject Instrumentality, does that necessarily mean he didn't go through the rigamarole of “climbing” back out?
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby Reichu » Fri May 05, 2017 2:00 am

View Original Postbig_big_bozo wrote:The way Anno frames Instrumentality as an equivalent to the Heaven spoken of in Christian doctrine speaks to a slight misunderstanding of the faith.

It's not framed as the Christian Heaven at all. What's giving you this impression? Elements that Christianity and Kabbalah happen to share?

Instrumentality is the result of following the Path of the Sephiroth and becoming one with God again. The path can be symbolically represented by the inverted Tree of Life, which has its roots in the spiritual world and grows down into the physical world. This metaphor is so central that the diagrammatic representation of the Sephiroth (emanations of God) and the paths connecting them is called the Sephirothic Tree of Life. This stuff carries a wide variety of significance to real-life mystics, but if we're just going to talk about Seele it's easier to summarize. They want to return everyone to the higher dimensional realm from where souls originated and reconstitute them into Adam Kadmon, the primordial "oversoul" that emanated directly from Ein-Sof (the unknowable God). This spiritual realm can be thought of as Paradise in a fashion, but unless you've read about the mystic's way of structuring the universe, it will probably not seem very familiar.

View Original PostCommanderFish wrote:This is how I've always understood it. But I mean, they're a cult, so wouldn't it be perfectly reasonable for them to have their own, separate belief system that just borrows a few names from the Bible? In other words, they're an offshoot of more mainstream Kabbalists who edit their beliefs based on what's written in the SDSS as well as the actual living Gods they found. Is there something unreasonable with this interpretation?

Most of what we know about their origins comes from the Classified Information. Namely:

Seele

C. Confidential Information
An esoteric secret society born during the medieval Dark Ages and originally a religious order. Slowly but surely, they extended their influence, until at last they crushed the final forces of opposition in the mid-20th century and became a latent power with covert rule over human society.

D. In-Depth Information
Upon acquiring the Secret Dead Sea Scrolls, Seele turned once again to a creed that, up to that point, they had considered naught but the pipe dreams of their ancestors. By putting the miracle of divinity, in the form of prophecy, within their sights, they restored the faith. Their dogma is the Path to Adam Kadmon — that is, the approaching of a divinity both ageless and undying.

Dead Sea Scrolls

B. Generally Recognized Information
The prophetic text in which the times of the Angels' appearances are recorded.

C. Confidential Information
Seele possess a vast amount of wealth, and, consequently, they had one face as a patron foundation of the arts and research. The Artificial Evolution Laboratory, Gehirn, etc., were funded entirely by Seele. Perhaps because of their origins as a religious organization, Seele often managed the funding support for investigations into the relics of their own faith. Among these, something was excavated that marked a significant turning point for both Seele and humankind: the Secret Dead Sea Scrolls.

D. In-Depth Information
The First Ancestral Race recorded a manual or implementation plan regarding the use of the Seed of Life (Progenitor Entity) and Spear of Longinus security device. This was in turn transcribed by a religious group and adapted to fit their own doctrines, and the Secret Dead Sea Scrolls were the result. They are a book of prophecy, in that even now they continue to operate in accordance with the historical written plan.

Until then, Seele had only fragmentary knowledge of the scrolls' contents and existence, but they had never imagined that the scrolls might actually exist, contain meaningful prophecies, and turn up in near-perfect condition. They were sent to headquarters promptly, upon which the actual truth was skewed and immediately covered up. The parts of little consequence, later released to the public, were called the Dead Sea Scrolls, whereas what Seele made off with were dubbed the Secret Dead Sea Scrolls.

Another interesting tidbit: the name "Seele" wasn't decided upon until the show was over halfway done. Until that point, production materials refer to them as "Essene". The Essenes were a Jewish religious sect who are speculated, in archaeological circles, to have been the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. So when the Classified Information mentions "originally a religious order" and "ancestors", my brain goes immediately to the Essenes.

But even if this is true... By the time they became Seele proper, it feels appropriate to call them "Christian Cabbalists", because otherwise the preoccupation with crucifixion doesn't make much sense. Central to the incorporation of Christian ideology is the cross being conceived as an alternate form of the Tree of Life -- a means to bridge the gap between Man and God. You can see this fusion of ideas manifest in the Tree of Life's cruciform shape.

Biggest plot hole I'm seeing here: Jewish mystics appear to have received the revelation from the FAR (somehow) and put their subsequently transformed beliefs about Adam and Lilith and angels and shit to paper. And yet the Jesus-tastic overcast on the proceedings seem to far exceed what would be reasonably possible if Seele just revised the SDSS with Christian stuff that hadn't originally been there. I mentioned this before, but the Angels' exploding crosses and the Seeds' stigmata-like Gates of Guf seem to imply that Christian iconography was actually "divinely" inspired in some way, but that particular base is going to hard to cover with something found at Qumran. Especially if the Essenes are responsible.
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Re: Does Christianity even EXIST in the Eva canon?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Fri May 05, 2017 5:29 am

View Original PostReichu wrote:Freaky, where are you getting the idea that Seele are Christian? Isn't one of the basic requirements that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior? Seele don't give the slightest intimation that Jesus of Nazareth is even a thing in their worldview. Any of his theological significance is displaced onto other things, like space gods. Seele are a cult of Kabbalists, above all else. Their one true god is likely Ein-Sof, something never mentioned by name in NGE but very strongly implied in the opening sequence.

Hm... Never meant to make it sound like Seele were Christians themselves, only that their conclusions were congruent with most Scriptural events. Sorry, I should have been more clear there.

And, yeah. Seele as a Kabbalist cult is a more apt description of them.


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