My brother and I just drove for two days to get from Guadalajara to South Texas and the topic of Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of Rome" came up. He commented that the multi-volume work is required reading at British universities and some Ivy League colleges in the U.S., or used to be. Gibbon, I'd been told, concludes that the fall of the of the Roman Empire was not caused by decadence, lead in the drinking water, and pagan orgies but by introduction of Christianity. So it isn't exactly new what one finds in a new book by a Biblical scholar who says Romans were force-fed Christian myth and dogma as the official state religion because the pagan masses were unruly. (Pity the pagani didn't have James Madison to guide them to a separation of church and state, but then Seneca had already blabbed about religion being true to fools, false to the wise, and an aid to rulers.) I shot the photo in Colima, State of Colima, Mexico, and titled it "Peeling Christ." The New Civil Rights Movement has the story: http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/bible-scholar-jesus-never-live...
This is silly, the roman emperors were not christian and considered them problematic up until constantine saw it as a political tool to quell the empire, how could it possibly have been invented by the emperors 250 years before it would be used? Now was jesus real? possibly a person by that name lived some semi interesting life that lead to a brilliant proselytizer named thomas spreading the word around the entire Mediterranean. If there was no thomas, there would be no Christianity, he spread the word and converted thousands of people to a religion that had never been heard of before. But thomas is a real person we have found mountains of evidence of his existence, Jesus on the other hand might as well be a ghost. The jesus story is a mix of a half a dozen different gods prevalent in the time and region Thomas visited. So no the romans did not invent jesus, the emperor constantine, did use jesus as a way to say his rule is a heavenly mandate and that his will can not be questioned. He did use it to cleanse the empire of people apposed to his rule. The guy wasnt even christian its been proven that he never converted to christianity until he was on his death bed.
I do not believe that Jesus was invented by the Romans either. However, I do still believe that Jesus was, nonetheless, a complete fabrication. Read Michel Onfray's book carefully on the subject and judge for yourself.
like I said the guy is a ghost, no evidence for him whatsoever, and if he did exist he was nothing like the biblical jesus.
I am also in the camp of non existence
Nothing you say conflicts with what I wrote and thus I don't see what I wrote (or what Anthony wrote, for that matter) as "silly." And I think it was Paul, not Thomas, who primarily spread the religion at least through the Levant and to Greece. "Roman rulers" does not exclude Constantine, though I might have mentioned him by name for clarity's sake. His religion (and that of the Roman military at the time) was Mithraicism. It, too, featured a baptism, just not one in water, one in blood; specifically, the blood of a bull, which as you point out had points in common with other religions of the time, including that of Tammuz worship. As for the many points in the myths of gods prevalent at the time, don't leave out Krishna and Gautama "the Buddha." "Jesus Christ" definitely was an amalgamation of many deities. Although I can hardly prove it, I believe "Jesus Christ" as a rabbi named Joshua ("Yeshua"), and that this Reb Yeshua was probably an Essene, as Qumran scholars now believe. I get a lot of my information from Gerald Massey, by the way. He was a huge influence on my becoming atheist.
silly was the wrong word, your right about that, I just meant that the concept of jesus being a roman invention is irrational. Christianity was a convenient tool for the time thats all.
Jesus may have been invented. This would explain why he appears in the scriptures sometimes as a madman and at other times like a gentle shepherd. His very words seem to conflict, but if you are a believer you can pick the "jesus" that you want. In my church days preachers would jump up and down about the idea of Constantine "conquoring in the sign of the cross," praising god that he saw the light, and so on. Stupid preachers, and maybe a smart Constantine.
Quelling the political unrest of the time might require a state religion because there was so many up and coming religions anyway. Christians would make good soldiers. They were loyal and if they died in battle they were closer to their goals anyway. Making a big deal of the new found christianity, Constantine authorized commissions to sort out the various writings (including over 20 gospels and 15 apocalypses) and put them together as one book, and that book became our bible. Therefore, Constantine and those he appointed became the "god of the bible" over 300 years after the death of jesus. Roman law had decreed a new religion in a big time way, but the modern christian looks at his bible and thinks of god, not Constantine.
When those today want to know what I think on "how things might play out," (that's their BS about the end times) I act stupid until they say they are talking about our holy bible. Then I say, "oh, you mean that book that Constantine had put together in 333 AD." People are shocked!
No doubt about it. Constantine wrote the bible about 333 AD. I guess that makes him the god of the bible.
I think it was 325 C.E. actually. And you bring up a point that I had not considered, for which thanks. You point out that if soldiers were indoctrinated into the belief that by dying in hoc signe vinces, the troops would have no fear of death. (Gee, who does that remind us of? Does jihadist terrorism sound familiar? Seventy-three virgins in Paradise, or 73 raisins, take your pick.) As to the books that made it into the N.T., a recent program on one of the cable history channels pointed out that the Nag Hammadi library, the codices found by a shepherd boy at Qumran, present a portrait of "Jesus" quite different than the canonical presentation. And the Gospel of Thomas, I might add, shows him to be advocating androgyny and/or bisexuality. The Book of Mary was left out of the N.T., as was the more recently discovered Gospel of Judas. What we know now is that the N.T. was a selection and thus a marshalling of only those accounts the compilers wanted to present to the world. Of course, to their credit, since we only discovered the Qumran codices in the '40s and '50s, these gospels may not have been known to the compilers. Finally, I don't think scholars believe Constantine "wrote the bible." The N.T., like the Old, probably was written by many persons. But one thing is clear: they all had an agenda.
Note the blatant choice of name for the Judeo/Christian Messiah...Yeshua (Jesus), Hebrew for "God Saves". How convenient that the Messiah is named Jesus. And also note the meaning of the name of the birthplace of Joseph of Arimathea ("A lion dead to the Lord"). Funny that Joseph of Arimathea shows up after the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5:5) has died. Funny also that Jesus calls himself the "Bread" of life (John 6:35), while the city of Bethlehem just happens to mean "House of bread". Completely fabricated.
James, you are right about the bible being a "book of selections" and it's in this context that I meant Constantine as the "writer" of the bible. Before this book was put together as our bible, it was simply lots of books, a great many of which were left out. This is why in other posts I have compared the bible as being sewn together like the Frankenstein monster. Thanks for the other information as well.
Anthony, you are pointing out many things here that I did not know either. Where did your information come from? Even in my church days it struck me wrong that jesus came into a city riding on a donkey "so this prophecy could be fulfilled" etc. Rather than a "fulfillment" it always looked to me like a setup. IE, if it was written that he was good with a bow and arrow, he would have had to go out and practice shooting a lot.
Much of my knowledge of the Bible is a holdover from my days as a preacher.
I am impressed. I only had six hours of bible at Texas Christian and another six in world religions. At the time,they required one semester O.T. and one N.T., but I was so fascinated with the subject I went on to take another year of it as electives.
Thanks for sharing that, Anthony. Now I know. In my case I was the one chosen by my parents to be the preacher. I can identify with Hugh Gortner although I was never water boarded. My folks just said it was the calling of god. Everybody believed it, and I took a big interest in the bible, taking studies in mail order from Berean School of the Bible in Springfield, Mo. Later I took the Finis Dake courses and also got his bible. In actual preaching I might have done 3 sermons, scared to death the entire time, but mostly I was the sacred cow that got to sit on the podium up front with all the rest. I thought I fully believed, but I had battles with alcohol, and I slipped in and out of religion for years. A little over a year ago I discovered (much to my surprise) that I'm atheist. Prior to that my beliefs had slipped from Pentecostalism and I was pretty much a deist without really knowing it.