Faith - Ye New Testament

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

Thomas Paine

New Testament

The New Testament was a product of war, deceit, murder, and dishonesty. For the first 10 decades, the early christian cultists were true to their hatred of education and learning. They did not trust putting any words into paper. Part of the reason was that literacy was not one of their strengths. Another reason was that by being able to repeat only the words as they chose, in the order that they chose, christian cult leaders could adapt and adopt the words at will. Not wanting to “cheapen” god’s words with pen and ink, (No joke. Several early christian scholars objected to the written word for that reason) they relied on the inaccurate and mistake filled method called the Oral Tradition.

If you have ever played the party game “telephone”, you can only imagine how the words got changed and mangled over time.

The pseudo-historian Papias (d. 130 CE) was one of the earliest people to gather the words of actual witnesses, such as John the Evangelist, and put quill to parchment. One of the reasons was he was one of the very few who learned how to read and write. He included some of his favorite, new and improved apocalyptical theories that called for a reign of peace a thousand years long after which the world as we knew it would end.

We must have missed that somehow, especially that thousand years of global peace. Some of his many critics suggest that he might have authored them as part of his own fraud.

Around 200 years later, Eusebius made a point of showing that Papias got it mostly wrong. (He also called Papais “a man of exceedingly small intelligence”, a serious insult, even in those days.)

By then, christians were well along with their “creative” gospel writing efforts. Because their god was considered to be a living being, many authors thought that they could change gospel language or add to it as they saw fit. Some gospels’ authors were against war, others were against priests and bishops, and still others were decidedly against all organized religious organizations.

The christians who were in power at that time faced a serious problem. The drafters of all these new and improved gospels were gathering more attention and support than the original ruling class. These competitors had to be stopped at all costs, before the “in” cults lost all that access to money and power. Besides the newly created, more popular cults had ideas which did not sit well with them.

Many competing cults had started up over the first few centuries, each of them claiming that their words and ideas were more powerful than others’. This "I'm right, you are wrong" approach has been copied on many other significant religions, including the Hebrew, Muslim, even Buddhist faiths. Needless to say, these approaches have led to bloodshed and torture, even in our modern times.

The Gnostics claimed that their members receive “revelation” from above, based mainly on intuition. Their growing popularity was the biggest reason that the orthodox “in” christians, refocused their attention on the apostles’ version of the gospels. This also led directly to the “canonization” (think of editing with a heavy hand) of the New Testament.

The Montanic cult started up in the second century. Their popular message about spirituality created yet another serious problem for the early christians. They responded with a redoubled effort to clean up their instruction manual, with the previously mentioned “canonization”. They also murdered anyone promoting a competing cult.

At one time more than eighty competing Gospels existed. In many of them, this Jesus character didn’t even exist. The four gospels that first mention Jesus’ existence weren’t written, edited or concocted until around the 4th century. Even in those, they contained horrible historical errors. Despite what their “inerrant” book says, Nazareth did not even exist in Palestine at the alleged time of Jesus’ life.

Fraud and political maneuvering were rampant. Cooking these books was a way of life. Think about Enron or Halliburton’s Iraqi accounting and billing techniques and you will get the general flavor. Except here, the stakes were much larger. There was an entire religious movement to mold and control. And with that movement under your control, endless riches could be gained.
The first time that this canonization effort was officially attempted was by the famous anti-Semite Marcion. He simply deleted any topics or phrases that sounded “too Jewish” or too Old Testament. Partly because of his work, and other factors, the christians decided on four gospels as authoritative (although their actual contents were subject to change for many centuries to come).

Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria was the first of many individuals who tried to make inter-cult peace between east and west christian leaders. He was also the first to decide that 27 books of the New Testament were “canonical”. (translation: they were good enough for him to include in his version of the bible.)

Even this approach ran into problems as newer (and much older) documents turned up in different parts off the Middle East. Although forgeries were common, many apparently authentic documents simply disagreed with the accepted Christian dogma of the day.

In the 7th century, the Syriac Church finally accepted those 27 books as accurate, in the spirit of their god. But since everyone but the Syriacs themselves ignored their decision, we’ve said enough about them.

During the next few centuries, many versions of the Vulgate were generally the most popular. During this time, many popular, but not favored gospel texts were searched out and destroyed as heretical.

Let’s jump forward again to the Council of Trent (1545–63, 1590), where the canonization of the entire bible was to be negotiated and ultimately decided. Lest I left you with a mental image of beautifully robed bishops and cardinals involved in peaceful, scholarly, and intelligent discussion, you should know that it was anything but that.

Roving gangs, supporting one cult, a specific gospel or a particular chapter or verse against everyone else’s, combed the city of Trent to search out and physically attack competing Christian gangs. Bloodshed, murder, bribery, riots and political scheming ruled the day. Being on the losing side meant that you would lose status, income, power, perhaps even your life. These street skirmishes continued almost unabated for more than 17 years, with very few breaks.

Many of these canonical battles were fought by the sword, and not with Prayer, Faith or scholarly contemplation. Given even those bishops’ collective hatred for all things scientific, intellectual or historical, one must wonder much of the final version came to exist because its supporters had larger, better armed, and more successful gangs, instead of scholarly support. This was still a full century before christians persecuted and prosecuted Galileo simply because he was right and they were wrong. The christian hatred of logic, rational thought and creativity had its roots in much earlier times, from the very beginning.

The idea that “might makes right” did not start with Adolph Hitler, but with christianity. During the Crusades, that idea was tested repeatedly, although rarely with any measure of success. Still, the Rear Echelon Mystic Fundies who organized the Crusades always did quite well, regardless of the result in battle. Unless you were a Templar knight.

By the time that the battles of Trent started, given many forgeries, letters, wars and new cults, there were over 100,000 different variations of different gospel texts (and their variations) available to the warring parties. That, and the constant political and physical battles, explained why the Council of Trent took so long to come up with their final findings.

The problems that true christian believers will face in the near future are varied and disturbing, that is, if they permit themselves to think rationally. As translations rely on more advanced computing power and rely on data comparisons, the accuracy of the translations will continue to improve. It will be subject to fewer personal biases and anecdotal portrayals.

Modern technology has helped uncover some surprising findings. Perhaps the most astounding revolves around Jesus himself, and how he appeared on earth. The possibility of his existence seems to ebb as more information becomes known.

A more modern view, one that is gaining acceptance, (except within today’s christian cults) as serious scholars create better protocols and algorithms, reinterprets many ancient Hebrew and Aramaic words. The new and much improved translation into modern English strongly suggests that JC’s earthly mother, the V. Mary, should have been described as a “Young Woman”, and not as a “Virgin”. If further research confirms this analysis, the result can only be described as earth-shattering, at least to the Fundies of America.

While this might go a long way to solve some obvious scientific and medical issues revolving around a virgin giving birth, just imagine how much christian teaching and dogma would go by the wayside if this basic building block of modern christianity was proved to be based on a bad translation. Churches, schools, prayers, even entire cults would disappear into the Ether.

If there never really was a miracle of virgin birth to kick off JC’s life, but only a young girl having a son because she was a normal human sperm receptacle, their whole religious house of cards collapses.

This alleged virgin birth means everything to christianity. Like a cornered, injured animal, fighting for its very existence, the christian cults will do everything to protect what they believe is their (extremely profitable) turf. New revelations like this would be devastating. As they should be.

Even worse, a growing body of scholarly research suggests that the whole issue of Jesus' existence is a fraud. There is a growing body of evidence that christians simply plagiarized ideas and texts wholesale from the ancient Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites and other, much older cults who created their own versions of personal saviors and monotheistic gods. There are some exciting comparisons between Horus (and Osiris) and Jesus. The similarities are too numerous to ignore.

Osiris (circa 2400 BCE) was both a god of fertility and the embodiment of the dead and resurrected king. The king at death became Osiris and the dead king's son, Horus became the god of the sky. Osiris and Horus were treated as father and son. Horus was also born to a virgin, he died for his people, was resurrected, and joined Osiris back in heaven. Sound familiar? The details are even more similar.

Now you see why any rational study of history is frowned upon by so many christian cults. A lack of a virgin birth and a lack of a real Jesus would destroy their whole religion, regardless of which sect you consider. Praise be.

The Lost Gospels and Forgeries

It is interesting to see how christian scholars can call certain gospel texts forgeries, yet others to be true. In one sense, they were all forgeries, depending on how you define it. None of the words contained in the New Testament were ever written by an apostle. They were concocted later, sometimes, hundreds of years after the “fact.”

One gospel claimed to be written by Jesus’ older brother, James. In it, the V. Mary’s virginity was confirmed by a gynecological examination by a midwife. Others, such as the Gospel of Basilades, and the Gospel of the 12 Apostles, were fundamental to the Gnostic cults. Because of Proto-Orthodox efforts at clearing their slate, and their outright destruction of competing texts, the Gospels of Matthias and the Egyptians no longer exist. Perhaps, copies may yet be found in some cave in Palestine.

There is a glaring problem with that gynecological exam and James’ purported story, however. If Jesus had an older brother, how could V. Mary still be a virgin? In response, some biblical scholars have waved a magic wand and now suggest that James was younger than Jesus, or that he was only his half-brother.

The Gospel of Peter, or at least the fragments still in existence, is probably the most anti-Jewish ancient text ever created. It took the KKK and Hitler a thousand years to reach racial the hatred contained in that text. Peter takes some of his own interesting liberties with history. The entire crucifixion is blamed not on the Romans, but on Jews. Rather Pontius Pilate ordering his death, it was the Jewish King, Herod.

“Then King Herod ordered the Lord to be taken away and
said to them, ‘Do everything that I ordered you to do to him.’ ”

This Gospel earned significantly more popularity than Mark, which actually made it into the New Testament.

The Gospel of Thecla is one of sexual repression, Paul’s repeated tests of her chastity and her battles with lions, and tigers and bears, not to mention a successful morning dip into a large vat filled with man eating seals. The concept of sex being something evil has had a lasting impact on humanity, and was repeated in other Gospels.

Thecla’s popularity was huge throughout the 3d and 4th centuries. Given the way women are viewed by christians, a gospel based on a woman would never do, regardless of the lessons it contained.

Another popular theme was the upcoming apocalypse. Many gospels, known as the Apocryphal Acts, predicted that the world was coming to an early end. In them, neither Paul nor Jesus ever wanted to change society. Society would not be around long enough according to these gospels. More on the Apocalypse later.

There seems to be a Gospel available for every taste. One claims that Jesus was just a man, another that there are two gods, not one. Still another claims that there are 365, one for each day of the year. The rights of women are supported in several gospels, while another suggests that Jews are unclean sinners who should not be allowed to live.

The Gospel of Paul raises some fascinating issues. Initially, Paul opposed and fought against Jesus, finding his teachings to be an abomination. After suffering from a vision, (some suspect that it was either food poisoning or an epileptic fit), Paul found himself transformed into one of the most strident supporters of Jesus’ new cult.

One problem he faced was that the Jesus teachings could only be applied to Jews. When he started his teaching of Gentiles, he questioned whether all the pagan non-Jews had to first convert to Judaism, and only then be saved under Christ. This did not seem to be popular or cost effective, so he ended up with a more moderate approach.

Eventually, Paul decided that all that the pagan gentiles had to do was believe in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, so long as they paid their entrance fee. They would live as christians, but not as Jews. These converts were not required to follow Jewish law. Instead, they would follow christian rules, handed down by their current leaders as they saw fit.

Rather convenient, don’t you agree? Not only did it make the new converts dependent on the leadership, the leadership could cement its control over their sheep in how the rules were enforced, created or changed as circumstances required.

Paul’s ultimate decision conflicted with the Gospel of Matthew, which taught that christians were to follow all Jewish rules, dietary, sanitary, and marital. So which one is correct? One thing that both Matthew and Paul agreed on was the need for the convert to pay for the opportunity to join. Think of club fees, like Bally’s. I suspect that those who failed to pay up got treated the same way.

Recently, a newly found Gospel of Judas has re-appeared, despite the Catholic Church's best efforts to eradicate and erase it from this globe. In this version, Judas is a good guy following orders. The impact on the inerrant bible will be unbelievable. What is amusing is the Lotus-like positions taken by current biblical religious “experts” as they strive to avoid this gospel's impact.

Finally, let’s consider the truth about the Council of Trent. Imagine the mob rule that controlled parts of the city, with battles breaking out, depending on which cult was gaining support for its Gospel. Under these circumstances, they concocted an inerrant New Testament? Indeed.

So, where does this brief history leave us? The hardest part about dealing with today’s Righteous christians is holding a straight face when they claim that their bible is “inerrant” in all ways. With its long, violent, and murder-filled history, given all of the problems of translation, errors, politics, and quest for power, what they claim to follow word for word makes for interesting reading, but it is hardly authoritative. It is even more amusing when these self-proclaimed princes of morality ignore the most stringent requirements outlined in their own bible at the same time that they try to convince you to change your lifestyle to suit their purposes.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you must discuss the biblical instruction manual with true christian believers, make sure that they aren’t heavily armed before you start. They take this stuff pretty seriously, and as you have seen, strong Faith tends to erase rational thought and behavior.

If you start asking pointed questions, well, their history is filled with examples of how christians respond when faced with any opposition to their views. Be ready to duck.

One of today’s modern day heroes enjoys blowing up Planned Parenthood centers in southeastern America, solely because of his christian beliefs. His killing of doctors and staffers does not bother him in the least. He is doing god’s work. Ah, the idea of Faith at work. Even today it results in blood and death.

There are many other current day examples of their intolerance and violence whenever their structure and scripture are threatened.

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PastorAgnostic's picture

Try to imagine: You’re a Pentecostal preacher in small-town Louisiana. Your public reputation, your connection with the people you love, indeed your own sense of self-worth, not to mention your livelihood, are hugely dependent on your passionate faith in Christ.

You’ve struggled to make a reputation for yourself as a man of God, a conduit of the Holy Spirit, who can bring spiritual hope and healing to the people around you. You’ve struggled to balance the rigorous demands of your religious calling with the pressing practical needs of your family. You’ve struggled to make sense of the contradictory teachings of the Bible; of the widely divergent and often contentious sects competing for your loyalty; of the deep conflicts between your deeply held Christian doctrine and what you know, as an ethical human being, to be right.

And you’re realizing that you don’t believe in God. At all. Not just in Pentecostalism; not just in Christianity. You have come to realize that religion of any kind simply doesn’t add up.

Read the article. It has a great interview ofJerry Dewitt, the author of Hope after Faith: An Ex-Pastor’s Journey from Belief to Atheism.

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When I was attending the Unitarian church regularly there was a member who had been a Lutheran minister then lost his faith. He talked about how difficult that was. He's now a UU, where he can work it out in an understanding environment.

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wilderness voice's picture

because she was a normal human sperm receptacle,

I think "normal woman" would do quite nicely.

Biblical inerrancy is a non-starter, considering the 1st two chapters tell irreconcilable versions of creation, including naming different creators.

Agree that the whole virgin birth thing is nonsense, That said, I don't think anyone is in a position to say there was never a Jesus. The Christian movement came from somewhere - why not a rabble-rousing preacher, who got on the wrong side of the Romans, and was strung up as a consequence.

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Said rabble rouser appeared to return from a state of lifelessness and created great awe. A shame he later died of septicaemia. Such inconsistencies get covered up by "miracles".

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Vowing To Oppose Everything Trump Attempts.

A well-meaning co-worker thought I was ripe for conversion once. Just to humor him, I looked at what passed for Genesis in the JW Scriptures. I'm still trying to figure out how any Witness has the time to proselytize anyone when every second word has a footnote which must be looked up to understand what is being presented.

More proof that Napoleon's observation about religion is an accurate one: " Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."

As reddit commenter epicgeek added, "Religion keeps people from being upset over inequality."

edited for typos

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Vowing To Oppose Everything Trump Attempts.

PastorAgnostic's picture

One version I do appreciate is Thomas Jefferson's bible. Probably because he took most references of god's acts out and put the new testament into chronological and rational order. It is far more clear and convincing than Gideon's, JW's, or King James's various versions.

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Big Al's picture

too. Not to mention the Pope. This is truly la la la I can't hear you territory for a few billion people.

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