Tell me the pros and cons about these thoughts of mine. Let me know if They are wrong. Expound on it please! I don't want to tell anything if it is wrong.

The bible was composed for governments. It was never intended to be a people's book. The council of Niccea composed this book as more of a constitution. A book to put fear into any nation who opposed them (like the Hebrews). Now you could only pray to God using the Christian method and our savior from our country. Only in the name of Jesus would God hear you from now on.

Thanks for any input.

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"I think we would agree that the problem is not religion per se but rather prejudice and fear of the other, plain and simple. Religion is merely a form of justification for that prejudice."

Sometimes it's boring have a conversation with you because we agree about so much :-)

Fortunately, you have a huge supply of interesting facts from a perspective which is foreign to me. Which makes it very non-boring most of the time.
'..what is the core cause of that prejudice? I am certainly not a scientist, but since it is so universally prevalent, I often wonder if its not biological--a kind of survival mechanism.. '

Speaking as a psychologist, fear of others who are different appears to be inbreed. Part of the socialization process (that allows communities to cohere and work together) is learning to overcome this fear. Some are more successful at this than others. It is partly due to education and partly due, as you suspected, to inbuilt personality factors and biological arousal mechanisms. For example, the authoritarian personality is naturally more prejudiced against out-groups than the non-dogmatic personality. They are also more religious. This would suggest that the reason why dogmatic religion and prejudice go together is that they are both the product of a third factor: innate biology.
It's hard to say what it was originally written for (hell, maybe some guys really believed it all) but the version we have now - manipulated and watered down by generations of religious leaders, is most certainly all manipulation.
This seems to be a good summary of modern scholarship relating to who wrote the Bible and why.
What do our resident experts think?
It's definitely not bad! I agree with most of what he says (though he's just a little sensationalist and there are a couple of things I think he misrepresents -- for example the principal argument with Arian about the details of the divinity of Christ, was decided by vote, not by edict from Constantine).

But overall it's a really good summary. Also note how it doesn't say jack about Nicea deciding what gets into the Bible and what doesn't ;)
This seems to be a good summary of modern scholarship relating to who wrote the Bible and why.

What do our resident experts think?

They think they're experts, and thank you for the catnip.

Ducking the subjective label of 'expert,' ... looks like an A paper to me and generally consistent with what I've studied thus far. Though I hadn't heard of Paul being so influenced by Gnosticism. I'd have thought more like he cherry picked a few bits, but not enough that I'd call it "Influence." Interesting theory. Eager to follow up with more.

Some important points the author drives home that I wish more Christians would wake up to:

- "Based on the Negative Evidence Principle, we have good reason to doubt the historicity of Jesus and that lack of reliable evidence suggests no good reason to accept it."

- That the earliest writings about Jesus were written well after Jesus' supposed lifetime, and these writings neglect some of the details that would later come up in the gospels: Further lending to the altered history/mythology theme.

- That even then, it was common practice of the time to attribute authorship to someone else. We know for certain at least some of Paul's letters were not written by him.

- That "Original" Christianity ("Real" if you will, before folks started co-opting it for new agendas) was a revival of sorts for Judaism. Sorry all you anti-Semitic Christians out there.

- That up until Constantine and Nicaea there were many competing doctrines and churches, none having any less claim to 'truth' than the other (since none of them have any solid foundation in factual events). Any one of them could have won the game of king of the Christian mountain. Alas, the collective prom queen at Nicaea with the backing of Rome, and its swords, emerges as the winner. Pure coincidence, I'm sure. (/Sarcasm)

In short, if this were any other religion, Christians would be quick (and correct) to point out that the entire thing smells of a conglomeration of myths and personal/social/political wishes of the various authors, none of which should be taken as having a scrap of historical accuracy.

Mythology aficionados would note that those myths/legends that stick are usually rooted in some real person, persons or events. But with so many writings, from so many sources, with so much agenda behind them and with so much corroborating/opposing evidence being lost to time, it would be impossible to say which scraps of the Jesus story if any had any grain of fact to inspire them.
I'm not one of the experts whom you called upon, but I do find the article interesting.

Indeed, when scholars apply the Negative Evidence Principle, it begins to look like the Jesus we know from the New Testament is the result of late first-century mythmaking.

This made me smile, because I recall when a former friend who was extremely xtian fundy said something about "the historical record of Jesus."

One of my atheist friends said that he considers Jesus "to be one of the greatest blokes of all time. It is just too bad that his followers don't try to be more like him."

When my son who is atheist, and I discuss religion and its role in history, I usually take the stance that Christianity can be credited for much of the more humane developments, despite notable exceptions such as the Spanish Inquisition. At this moment, however, the thought occurs to me that the credit should go, oddly enough, to human nature itself. Human nature deserves credit for a drive to cooperate and make things better for each other just as much as it gets credit for murder and destruction.
Additional note: the article notes a possibility that Paul may have been a gay man. I have often wondered about that. Paul wrote, regarding sexual desire, that he wished that all men could be as himself but since they weren't, it was "better to marry than to burn." Considering that Paul was also somewhat of a misogynist, then one might consider that in his mind, heterosexual desire was particularly bad.

Nonetheless, I have enjoyed reading those writings attributed to him. They are very stirring and I have even heard them referred by Christians as "Paul's love letters."
Given how often the most vehemently anti-gay holy rollers turn out to be gay themselves, I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Paul's writings are the original form of Christian Self Loathing.

Ahhh, to be able to jump in a time machine and be a fly on someone's wall!
This question is a bit misplaced. The "Bible" was not "composed" in the same way, say, a novel is "composed"--one author or a couple of authors sitting down for a period of time to write a continuous work. The Bible is a collection of individual books from two separate religions, spanning several thousands of years in date, with more interpolations and post-authorial stitching together than you care to think about.

So to ask about a specific "purpose" for the Bible is a little short-sighted if you think about the full history of the bloody thing. Interestingly, "The Bible" is a phenomenon from several centuries after Christ, when the Christian Fathers got together and decided what books were "in" and what books were "out." This is an old story, but it makes it clear that when you think about the purpose of the Bible, it is better to think about the purpose of the book itself and not the purpose of the compositions within it. This may seem like splitting hairs, but I think they are important ones to split. I mean, to think that the author of Ezekiel, for example, had a purpose in any way similar to Paul is too far fetched to be plausible (whatever the Christians will say about fulfilled prophecies and all that...).

The Bible is a lot of things, used for a lot of purposes in a lot of different contexts, and it was so from the start. But it is a tradition in every religion to have a central text or collection of texts in which the core doctrines and sources of "faith" are located, whatever its later uses end up being. So nowadays the Bible can be the proof for why homosexuals should be killed, condoms should be outlawed, etc., etc. You find in it what you want to find, but always with an agenda.

The Bible is really the ultimate Judeo-Christian agenda, the glory of Paul and the Rabbis, some of the greatest myth makers in human history.
If we were to ask the Emperor Julian this question it is likely that he would respond thus:

"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that the fabrication of the Christians
is a fiction of men composed by wickedness.

Though it has in it nothing divine,
by making full use of that part of the soul
which loves fable and is childish and foolish,
it has induced men to believe
that the monstrous tale is truth.
the bible was composed, or rather compiled, to iron out and make seem legitimate the beliefs of the christians, and to expel certain beliefs from christian conventional doctrine.

on the matter of the historicity of yeshua, that will never be settled ... and on the possible other myths that the christ was derived from, after yeshua was deified ... i agree that the people who put together zeitgeist should have done their homework. osiris is a better model for the christ than his son, horus. so is dionysus, especially the dionysus of the orpheic mysteries, which included a communion identical to the christian one where people could become one with the body of Dionysus.

The Orpheic mysteries taught that in the end Dionysus was going to replace Zeus as the Cosmic Ruler just as Zeus replaced his father, and Chronos had replaced Saturn, etc. Dionysus would reign 'at the right hand of his father Zeus' ... and his mortal mother Semele was also deified and 'ascended to heaven' just like the doctrine of the Assumption of the Virgin did with Jesus' mother.

When Jesus said 'I am the vine' this does not make sense to us today but to an ancient Greek, they knew exactly who they were talking about: the god of the wine was Dionysus. To them, Jesus was stating his identity as one and the same with Dionysus. This was brilliant propaganda on the part of Christians, in a world dominated by these Greek ideas.

but on the fact that christianity was born as an egyptian sect, probably a proto-gnostic sect, of that there can be little doubt. in fact, there was a cup that was found under the waters in Alexandria recently which read 'jesus the mage'. the jesus the mage cup is remarkable, not so much because it says that jesus was wizard (and the cup is believed to have been used in oracles) but because it was dated to PRIOR to the Common Era, in other words Jesus was worshiped as a mage in Alexandria even BEFORE the Yeshua of history was even born.

And so it seems like, just as the deities 'El' and 'Jehovah' were commingled in the moses story in the old testament, so also the deities 'yeshua' and 'christ' were also combined in the new testament, and this was all cleverly done via scriptures whose authors we'll never know.



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