What is it that blocks otherwise intelligent people from looking objectively or critically at Christianity? Is it like overlooking the defects of a loved one? Is it denial, like refusing to see the signs of drug abuse in a loved one? Is this how the myriad contradictions are reconciled within the believer’s mind? While all religions are fabrications, Christianity deserves special investigation because of its aggressive history, namely in the forced conversions and the murderous removal of opposing sects. It is this very sort of abusive power that has controlled what the masses hear, but anyone who wishes to discover the true origins is by no means completely blocked. It is not an ordinary thing, however, for someone to actually research history, especially when it applies to religious farce.
The one thing that is common to all forms of Christianity is the myth of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus. It should be interesting to note that the story of the resurrection did not exist in the earliest manuscripts. Further, the Gospels were composed during times when hundreds of Jews were being crucified each week. They were written for a Greco-Roman audience. If the events did actually happen, the obvious role of the Romans in the trial of Jesus as well as his execution “had to be whitewashed and presented as sympathetically as possible” (Holy Blood, Holy Grail 348). There was absolutely no criticism of Roman oppression, nor any mention of Jewish revolt. The Jews were cast in the role of villains, but this is historically illogical because they (the Sanhedrin) had the right to pass death sentences. They did not need Pontius Pilate. Further, if they had wanted Jesus to be killed, he would have been stoned to death, not crucified. Crucifixion was exclusively used by Rome to execute the enemies of Rome. It was never a Jewish form of capital punishment. If he really was crucified, he did something to provoke Roman wrath, not Jewish wrath.
The three Synoptic Gospels have Jesus being arrested and condemned by the Sanhedrin on the night of the passover. This could not be real history because the Sanhedrin, by Judaic law, were forbidden to meet over Passover. The Gospels state that the arrest and trial occurred at night, but the Sanhedrin “were forbidden to meet at night, in private houses, or anywhere outside of the precincts of the temple” (Holy Blood, Holy Grail 349).
The story of Barabbas being freed in exchange for Jesus is pure fiction. Two Gospels describe a Roman custom of freeing a prisoner during passover festival, but no such policy ever existed on the part of the Romans. A Roman procurator, especially someone as ruthless as Pilate, would likewise never consent to the pressure of a mob.
Pontius Pilate, as he is depicted in the Gospels, appears to be a decent person who consents only reluctantly to the crucifixion of Jesus. History paints a different picture of him. He was a procurator of Judea from A.D. 26 o 36, and he was a cruel and corrupt man. Why is there no criticism of him in the Gospels?
Another historical impossibility in the crucifixion story is the removal of the body of Jesus from the cross. According to Roman law at the time, a crucified man/woman was denied burial. The person was left to the elements, birds, and animals, which completed the humiliation of this form of execution.
There is no verification of a significant crucifixion in the writings of historians such as Philo, Tacitus, Pliny, Suetonius, Epictectus, Cluvius Rufus, Quintus, Curtis Rufus, Josephus, nor the Roman Consul, Publius Petronius. The crucifixion also was unknown to early Christians until as late as the Second Century.
The punishment for robbery was not crucifixion. The New Testament accounts of the crucifixion depict two thieves being crucified along with Jesus. Crucifixion was never the penalty for robbery. On the other hand, the Romans spoke of Zealots as ‘Robbers’ in order to defame them. Zealots were crucified because of their crimes against the Roman empire.
Muslims have never attributed the crucifixion of Jesus as true. “And they killed him not, nor did they cause his death on the cross” (The Koran, Surah 4). Although the premise of this essay is that all religions are fabrications, it is interesting to note how they regard each other.
“Messiah” is a term that Christians think had specifically been applied to Jesus, but for people living at the time of Jesus, the idea of a divine Messiah “would have been preposterous, if not unthinkable” (Holy Blood, Holy Grail). The Greek word for Messiah is Christos. The term generally referred to a king. For Zealots, the term implied a lost king, someone from the bloodline of David who would liberate them from Roman tyranny. In one Gospel, the lineage of Jesus is traced to David, which is ironic because his father is named as Joseph, which contradicts the myth of the immaculate conception in which Jesus is birthed by a deity as well as a mortal woman.
“Many of the now-called persecutions of the early Christians were due solely to the fact that they were criminal activists, not religious devotees. As Marcellinus Ammianis (c. 330-400), the famous Roman historian said of them in his time, ‘the atrocity of the Christians against opponents surpasses the fury of wild beasts against men’.” (The Bible Fraud 96) Rome was tolerant of all religions except Druidism. They resented religions that presented political rivalry.
Gospels that do not appear in the New Testament, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Truth, and the Gospel of the Egyptians, were mentioned by the early church fathers, like Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, and Origen. These texts date no later than A.D. 150. What is interesting about them is that they escaped the censorship and revision of the later Roman orthodoxy, and they were written for an Egyptian audience, so they weren’t slanted to the Roman ear. The Gospel of Thomas was unearthed in 1945. This, and other works that were salvaged, are collectively called the “Nag Hammadi” scrolls. In one such scroll, Jesus speaks:
I did not succumb to them as they had planned and I did not die in reality but in appearance, lest I be put to shame by them. . . my death which they think
happened. . . their error and blindness.. . . And I was laughing at their ignorance.(Holy Blood, Holy Grail 381).
Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is actual history, and apparently they believe that totally different stories are equally valid. According to Luke, when Jesus was born he was visited by shepherds. According to Matthew he was visited by kings. There are many such contradictions, and the validity of any is questionable, if not utterly fictitious. For instance, Nazareth did not exist during the lifetime of Jesus, but it did exist at the time of the writings which occurred much later.
It wasn’t until A.D. 325, at the Council of Nicea, convened by Roman emperor Constantine, that it was decided, by a vote, that Jesus was to be depicted as a god, not a mortal prophet. A year after this the Council of Nicea, Constantine ordered all works that challenged the official orthodox teaching to be destroyed. In A.D. 331, he commissioned and financed new copies of the Bible. It was at this point that crucial alterations were made, and the new status of Jesus was fabricated. Constantine never converted to Christianity. He was actually baptized when he was on his deathbed, completely unaware.
The Bible is only a selection of works. It has been subjected to drastic editing and revision. One ommission from the Gospel of Mark, which gives a different account of raising Lazarus from the dead, depicts him as calling out from the tomb, never having been dead in the first place. After which, the passage reads:
And going out from the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. . . and in the evening the youth comes to him, wearing a linen cloth over his naked body. And he remained with him that night. (Holy Blood, Holy Grail 321)
Clement freely acknowledge the existence of the secret Gospel of Mark. In a letter to one of his underlings, a man identified only as Theodore, Clement writes in regard to people who criticize Church writings: ”Even though they should say something true, one who loves the truth should not, even so, agree with them” (Holy Blood, Holy Grail 319)
On no subject has the world been more blinded or deceived than that of the church’s portrayal of the character and integrity of the presbyters. “In the early days, the New Testament was oral. During that time, the presbyters were beggared entertainers of the public, and nothing more” (The Bible Fraud 165). For the first 300 years, the church had no organization and the clergy had no special title. They were called presbyters. The word originally meant ‘old man’ and when it was simplified into Old English it was changed to ‘preost’ which today is ‘priest’.
The three presbyters credited with the founding of the church were Irenaeus (115-202), Clement of Alexandria (160-215) and Tertullian (160-210). In The Canon of the Bible. Professor Samuel Davidson said of all of them:
The three presbyters of whom we are speaking had neither the ability nor incli nation to examine the genesis of the documents. . . No analysis of their authen ticity and genuineness was seriously attempted. . . The ends which they had in view, the polemic motives, their uncritial inconsistent assertions, their want of sure data, detract from their testimony. . . The very arguments they use to estab lish certain conclusions show weakness of perception (The Bible Fraud 166)
The presbyters could not agree about which stories or writings should be publicly spoken. The scandals of their debates were embarrassing to the later church and many records of these deliberations were suppressed. One of them, Eusebius (260-339) is on record saying ‘It is an act of virtue to deceive and lie, when by such means the interests of the church might be promoted’.
One of the most vocal critics was Celsus, who wrote a book called ‘True Discourse’ which was destroyed by the Fifth Century Church. He wrote:
They openly declared than none but the ignorant were fit to hear their discourses and that one of their rules was ‘let no man who is learned come among us’. They never appeared in the circles of the wiser and better sort, but always took care to intrude themselves among the ignorant and uncultured, rambling around to play tricks at fairs and markets” (The Bible Fraud 170).
Toward the end of his life, St. Augustine confessed that Christianity was ‘a religion of threats and bribes unworthy of wise men’. Ironically he is called ‘Doctor of the Church’.
St. Jerome, a transvestite who was taught to read and write Hebrew by an old monk, was paid a large sum of money in A.D. 382 by Pope Damasus to reword and restructure the Bible, which later became the Vulgate Bible. He was commissioned for this task despite being accused of heresy for preferring to read Pagan literature.
The presbyters had strange beliefs. They believed in the Phoenix, and Clement said that he saw it. Origen not only believed in the Phoenix, but he insisted that the sun, moon, and stars were living creatures who were rational because they moved across the sky. He argued that because stars could only be seen at night, the air was populated by demons. St. Justin Martyr believed in demons and said that they were the offspring of angels who had sex with the daughters of men. He went on record saying that the insane were possessed by the souls of the wicked who had died in sin, and claimed that this possession was proof of the immortality of the soul. Theophilius claimed that the pain of childbirth and the fact that snakes slither on their bellies is proof of the story of Eden. Tertullian believed that the hyena changed sex, and that the stag renewed its youth by eating poisonous snakes. He also taught that volcanoes were the openings of hell. They also thought that the Garden of Eden was not on earth.
The presbyters of the Second. Third, and Fourth centuries developed the Christian texts. The earliest version of the Gospel of Mark had no mention of Mary or the virgin birth, or any of the prophesies about a Messiah. It did not have the term “Son of God”, and it did not contain the family tree which links Jesus to King David. In it, Lazarus was alive when Jesus came to him in the tomb. It also did not contain any story about any resurrection.
Rabbi Ebion authored the Gospel of the Hebrews (Essenes). The presbyters had a copy that they falsified and later named the Gospel of Matthew. Rabbi Ebion’s document was the original Hebrew language version of the Matthew Gospel, and there are some alarming differences. Most notably, it did not contain the first two chapters that are read today. It likewise has no story of any resurrection, no family geneology of jesus, not any Old Testament references to Jesus fulfilling prophesies. The Catholic Encyclopedia now states that the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew were added in the Third Century. The earliest form of the Gospel of John, like that of Luke and the others, do not have the story of the virgin birth. In A.D. 374, St. Epiphanius listed 118 passages where the later Gospels differed from earlier manuscripts.
Many of the earliest texts that were written that were originally included in what would become the New Testament were later removed and suppressed, like the Gospel of Peter. It was said to have contained heresy.
Emperor Constantine ordered all presbyters to attend a council in Nicaea in 325, and they were to bring with them their manuscripts. The council, over which he presided, was to decide what Christianity was, and which writings were to be used. It was at this council that it was decided to preach that Jesus was divine, not just a man. This was a bitter debate. Arius from Alexandria, and his followers, argued against the notion. Nicholas, whom the Santa Claus myth is based on, was so enraged at Arius that he punched him. Arius was later poisoned. The whole affair became so violent that Constantine called on the army to restore order. After a process of elimination whereby surviving representatives were permitted to vote, Jesus became a god by a vote of 161 against 157.
Constantine instructed Eusebius to compile a uniform collection of writings from the collection of presbyters’ manuscripts, with the instruction “make them to astound!” This was the first Christian New Testament. Constantine decrees that these were to be considered the “words of God”. Constantine proclaimed Jesus to be the “Prince of Peace” although that title was originally bestowed on Augustus. The New Testament was also to be bound with the Old Testament to give the appearance of combining the two religions. Constantine then ordered that anyone possessing the earlier manuscripts should be beheaded instantly. E also sent Joseph of Tiberias to Jerusalem to construct a small temple over the site of a cave that was to he referred to as the birthplace of Jesus. He offered bribes for influential people to accept the new creed.
Constantine issued edicts forbidding other sects to hold meetings, and many were put to death. After the council of Nicaea, various records were forged to establish that Jesus was a historical personage. One such fabrication was inserted into the writings of Josephus (which has long since been exposed). No such passages were found in any copy of the works of Josephus prior to Eusebius.
I t should be noted that Constantine drowned his wife in boiling water and killed his son, which is hardly the way that Christians like to depict him.
The Roman Catholic Church apparently inherited Roman cruelty and lust for dominion. No other Christian sect was tolerated. The Cathars, in France, like many others, rejected the notion that Jesus was in any way divine. Further, they denied the validity of all priests, bishops, et cetera. To them, there was no intercession between a person and his/her deity. They doubted the story of the crucifixion, and they certainly saw no relevance in it. They regarded the cross as an emblem of Rex Mundi, lord of the material world, which was a world that they rejected. Their common ideal was that life on earth was to transcend matter and to renounce anything connected with power.
This denial of Roman Catholic authority met with tragic consequences. In 1208 Pope Innocent III ordered their extermination. Over 30,000 Cathars, which included children, women, and the elderly, were brutally massacred over a number of years.. Those who escaped the sword were burned alive and subject to other horrific deaths.
In A.D.1607 a committed of 47 men took two years and nine months to re-write the Bible, which is now called the King James Bible. It removed seven books from the Catholic version. King James chose Sir Francis Bacon to edit the manuscripts. It should be noted that the earlier Greek versions were not written until around the Fourth Century, and before that, the writings were in Hebrew and Aramaic.
Since the Dead Sea scrolls were found, close associates of the Vatican were placed in dominant positions in every phase of the translation. Priests regulated the flow of information and controlled its release. J. Edgar Hoover commented, “It can be held certain that information that is withheld or suppressed contains truths that are detrimental to the persons involved in the suppression” (The Bible Fraud 51)
Flavius Josephus recorded that the Essenes considered it a grave sin to reveal anything to outsiders. Dr. Barbara Thiering boldy claimed that the Dead Seas Scrolls dated from the time of Jesus instead of before his birth. The official dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls was based on writing, but the writing of the scrolls is in cursive, which cannot be dated. Additionally, dating had to allow error of up to sixty years because the scribe can be very old or very young. The Dead Sea Scrolls described a way of hiding information in stories. The stories would themselves have meaning, but beneath the surface lurked important details, which in Dr. Thiering’s interpretation were secret histories which needed to be protected from the marauding Romans. The word “pesher” is used to name the procedure. The authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls used the “pesher technique” when they transcribed Old Testament books, like when they wrote about Babylonians marching toward Judea, but the message is really about the Romans during the time of the writing of the scrolls. Part of this technique is to give words special meaning. Applying this to the New Testament, where the word “wicked” appears, as in “wicked men” the passage refers to “the wicked priest” so particulars are made out of universals. (The Wicked Priest is a figure described in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and scholars bitterly argue as to the true identity of this character. Some argue that it is Jesus.). If the hypothesis is to hold, the “pesher” must be true in every instance of the term, etc.
Dr. Barbara Thiering thusly removes the supernatural essence of the New Testament stories and gives their political significance. The raising of Lazarus was nothing more than Jesus rescinding the excommunication of a friend. The virgin birth describes how Mary conceived Jesus while in the second marriage to Joseph, an Essene. The Essenes had strict dynastic wedding rules, and Jesus was of the line of David. During the second marriage, which followed the first (same couple), the woman was called “virgin” and was not to conceive. It was because she had conceived during this stage that opponents regarded Jesus as illegitimate, according to Dr. Barbara Thiering. It is also revealed that Jesus married Mary Magdeline (which is one of the items that were omitted from the New Testament Gospels), fathered three children, and lived until at least the age of 65.
People should act on facts, not beliefs, especially when beliefs have undergone such a drastic change over the centuries. The god that the Christians collectively worship today was originally four gods. Ashtoreth was openly worshiped by the Israelites until the 6th century BC. She was the wife of El, the supreme male deity, and they were together the Divine Couple. Their daughter was Anath, Queen of the Heavens, and their son, the King of the Heavens, was called He. As time progressed, the separate characters of El and he were merged to become Jehova. Ashtoreth (Ashera) and Anath were then similarly joined to become Jehova’s female consort, known as the Shekinah or Matronit.
The name Jehova is a late and somewhat Anglicized transliteration of Yahweh, which itself is a form of the four-consonantal Hebrew stem YHWH into which two vowels have been interpolated. Originally these four consonants (which later became a sort of acronym for the one god) represented the four members of the heavenly family: Y represented El the Father, H was Asherah the Mother, W corresponded to the Son, and H was the Daughter, Anath. In accordance with the royal traditions of the time and region, God’s mysterious bride, the Shekinah, was also reckoned to be his sister.
In practical terms, the cementing of the Hebrew ideal of the one god did not actually occur until after their 50 years of captivity in Babylon (586-536 BC). When the Israelites were first deported there by Nebuchadnezzar, they were effectively disparate tribes belonging to at least two major ethnic streams (Israel and Judah), but they returned to the Holy Land with a common national purpose as Jehovah’s chosen people
There is quite simply no reason to adhere to laws made by semisavages who had very limited understanding of the world, or more specifically, science. It is illogical to regard the words of the Bible as true because of the numerous revisions and mistranslations.. If the words are indeed “eternally true” then they should never have to be removed or altered, but that is not the case, and so they are, by this very argument. false.
Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. Holy Blood, Holy Grail. New York: Dell Publishing, 1983
Tony Bushby. The Bible Fraud. Australia: Griffin Press, 2001
Dr. Barbara Thiering. Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls. New York: HarperCollins, 1992