Summer loves spending time with her family, reading, traveling, and cuddling with her puppy.
The Truth- The Beginning of Christianity
Having been raised very strict Catholic, it was never prudent to question priests or teachings from the Bible. Many children were simply disciplined by their parents, teachers, and clergy by being threatened to burn in hell if they did something wrong. We now know that this (as well as several rapes and sexual misconduct by the Catholic clergy) was a form of child abuse. We are speaking out. We are pointing out the hypocrisy.
Christians will tell you that 'God' (a man who looks an awful lot like the Greek God Zeus), floats around on a cloud in a long robe and white beard and 'sees all.' They will tell you that they know God is real because they have a personal relationship with Him. They will say that God is real because the Bible was written, and there were miracles performed leading up to the greatest sacrifice ever, which was God's only son dying for our sins.
Translation- Big Brother is watching so you better keep yourself in line or you're suffer for eternity because some stories were written and passed down. Some guy died on a cross (like millions of others) but this dude came back (so he didn't really die, right?)
Well, let's look into why people believe that the 'Bible' was written by 'God himself,' and then explore where the stories most likely truly came from.
Ok- Who Exactly Wrote the Bible?
If we're talking the Old Testament, scholars agree that the Old Testament were stories that were verbally told over centuries. Various authors wrote down these stories to create the Book of Genesis which were the first stories to be recorded. This occurred more than 3400 years ago, around 1400 BC. The Old Testament was continually written until around 150 BC. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and is considered sacred to the Jewish Faith, while the New Testament focuses on the time after Jesus Christ died and Christianity began. The Old Testament was written by scholars in different parts of the world and the writings have direct correlation to the history of where they were written at the time. The New Testament is divided into Jesus' supposed disciples, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and it focuses on the teaches of a man named Jesus Christ.
Almost every biblical scholar agrees that the biblical portions of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not written by these disciples at all. The truth is, the stories were written by a Jewish scribe based off hypothetical stories about Jesus and his followers. In fact, most biblical scholars agree that none of the Bible was written by anyone who was eye witness to Jesus Christ. Some scholars believe there was no one person named Jesus Christ, but it was a movement of people who wanted an end of Roman Persecution.
The Bible therefore, is a collection of stories that were written by scribes and people who heard the stories and likely embellished, and many of the stories have been translated and changed over the years. The real authors of the Bible are unknown, but scholars have the authors narrowed down to certain people who lived over two hundred years after Christ supposedly died.
Constantine, the Creator of Weak Women and Political Religion
What Did Constantine Do?
Constantine was the the Roman Emperor 300 years after Christ died. Like every ancient ruler of great civilizations, Constantine knew that the key to being respected as a leader was to get control of the masses. There were all of these writings and teachings floating around, and in order to get everything under one single religion so everyone would be 'on the same page' (so to speak), good old Constantine paid lots of money to make the Bible exactly what he wanted it to be. He bribed various clergy and religious leaders to agree on one canon (Bible) that would be taught as the Christian Bible- thereby unifying the unrest to gain more power over the Roman people. He had all of the church leaders meet at the Council of Nicaea to vote on what would be put in the Bible, and what would be left out.
It's important to know that Constantine was a pagan. He simply adopted Catholicism as a political move for power. That's all it was. A religion was created by men who were bribed to vote on certain passages, and the Bible was made.
Let's Be Honest- Where Do You Think All of the Major Ideas For Christianity Came From?
This is a subject a lot of Christians don't like to think about, talk about, or simply don't know about. However, before Christianity became a religion (and thousands were murdered, but we'll get into that later), there were Pagan beliefs. Pagans had the practical ideologies when it came to their worship. They worshiped things they could see but couldn't necessarily understand, like the moon, the stars, the air, the wind, fire, rain, etc. They believed in several different immortal gods. They had rich traditions, and some of them might seem a little bit familiar.
Peter Paul and Mary- Look Familiar?
Truer words were never spoken..
Where did the Christian Holidays come from?
Seriously, Just Read Up On It
Where Did The Term 'Pagan' Come From?
People who didn't practice Catholicism were deemed 'Pagans' in the middle centuries, which carried a negative connotation. Pagans were though to have been devil worshipers in need of conversion.
Christians had to find away to convert Pagans to Christianity, for more power and control of the masses. This led to Christianity adopting many Pagan traditions in order to sort of 'meet in the middle' and entice Pagans to convert to Christianity. After Constantine held his council and created the Bible, it took twelve years to outlaw the Pagan religion entirely. Pagans and their temples and property were destroyed, plundered, and all of their literature and books were destroyed. If someone was caught practicing Paganism, they were threatened and often times maimed or worse.
To gain the Pagan population, Christianity developed Pagan traditions. Our current calendar is the same as the old Pagan calendar, but we replaced Ostera with Easter, Winter Solstice with Christmas, Samhain with Halloween, and the list goes on. Christianity is a lot like Paganism. The tradition of taking communion is a tradition from worshiping sun gods. The 'sun' became the 'son of God.' Even chalices were used. Sunday is the day of the Christian Sabbath- the original day to worship the sun. Pagans also believed that getting in water was 'cleansing' and they revered water. This meshed into the idea of Christian baptism, where a person is 'cleansed of their sins.'
Pagans worshiped a Mother Goddess. Constantine made Mary a virgin who gave birth, but barely mentions her in the Bible. Statues of Mary holding a baby was another way to convert Pagans to see familiar sites. It made the transition easier.
Almost every Catholic tradition can somehow trace back to a Pagan tradition, which also came from the ancient Greeks and Romans.
This article is not meant to offend anyone. I understand that many people believe in a Christian God and it makes them feel like they are safe, and doing the right thing. It's worthwhile though, to go back to the true roots of the New Testament to see what the real history is, and understand that it's not a divine book from God, but a book that's been put together by scholars and scribes, and controlled by the founder of the Catholic Church.
Will You Look Into It?
Paladin_ on September 18, 2018:
I can't find that restriction in the FAQ or User Agreement, but I suppose that leaves us at an impasse. It sounds like another of HubPages' multiplying restrictions on authors and commenters -- which is why I stopped publishing here. If we can't even post links to sources, I suppose I'll have to stop commenting here as well.
A damned shame...
James from Maine, USA on September 17, 2018:
"No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites."
You'll have to search for it yourself. I don't post links anymore on HubPages.
Paladin_ on September 17, 2018:
Actually, James, I was sort of hoping for links to said sources. I suppose I should have been more specific. My bad.
That aside, could you please provide a link to some authoritative source to support your claim that Bart Ehrman changed his opinion on authorship of New Testament writings because of "flak" from "militant atheists?"
Yes, Dr. Ehrman has changed his mind on certain ideas, but only because new information was brought to his attention, not because people gave him "flak." He doesn't strike me as the sort of scholar who would bend his analyses or conclusions to accommodate social pressure from others.
JC Santiago on September 17, 2018:
I have four words for you: Will you marry me? :) All you wrote here is truthful and based on actual facts! I define Christianity--as well as all other religions--as an Operant Conditioning scheme to control the masses--exactly what Constantine and Theodosius implanted in Rome and all over their provinces. They knew this! I completely agree with you, and what you wrote here serves as the base of any argument anyone tries to bring when they lecture me about the religions' fallacies. Great writing, and although it is not for everyone (a lot of brainwashing on this planet), it might create some common sense on a few who will free themselves from the fear of religious principles. I have done extensive research on the subject as I tried to find the truth of the matter. It is hard to find people who have done research on this subject for the main reasons you mentioned in this article: eternal punishment! Lol! Did I mention that the bible, as well of all other religion books were written by men for men? Remember, women are the cause of our death as Eve ate a damn apple from the stupid tree that should not have been there in the first place! What a joke! If people are looking for a book that demeans women they should read the Old and New Testaments. All Saints are men! WTF?! Lol! Some people, such as you and I, are freed from this controlling calamity, but I still think that most humans are not ready to find that their morality has nothing to do with their religion but lies within their innate traits when they are born. I guess they need to be controlled so they can behave, just like criminal law exists to keep people at bay. Anyways, I look forward to see more "awakening" writings and recyclable facts. :))
Markus on September 17, 2018:
Wow. Have you actually looked for answers to the "problems" you note. Just about everything here is false. Example:
"The real authors of the Bible are unknown, but scholars have the authors narrowed down to certain people who lived over two hundred years after Christ supposedly died.".
This is blatantly false and supported by just about every biblical scholar. Earliest date for the first gospel was around 63 A.D.
This article is pure crap. You should try sources for you statements, at least back up what you claim.
James from Maine, USA on September 16, 2018:
James D. G. Dunn, Tom Wright, Bart Ehrman (before he started taking flak from the militant atheists and backtracked), Gary Habermas, Markus Borg (yes that is his real name), Paula Fredriksen to name a few.
Gary Habermas has some great presentations up on YouTube, and of all those mentioned, puts forth some good evidence for early dates of NT writings.
Paladin_ on September 16, 2018:
Sorry for interrupting, but something James said caught my eye. In response to Summer's assertion that Paul's books -- including Acts -- aren't written as eye-witness accounts, James replied:
"We have good reason to believe all 3, actually..."
This is contrary to my understanding of Paul's reputed authorship of books in the Bible. What I've heard from reputable experts (most notably Bart Ehrman) is that Paul never even MET Jesus, that what he wrote was years after the events he described, and that much of the content attributed to him is either disputed or outright disproven.
If James has reliable and authoritative sources for his assertion that this content IS written as an eye-witness account, I'd love to see it, if possible. Thanks!
James from Maine, USA on September 16, 2018:
"Without the Catholic religion, there would be no 'Christianity' as it is now."
Lol, no. It existed before the Roman Catholic Church was created by Constantine, and it did fine in spite ~1,700 years of persecution by it. Quite often the RCC would burn people at the stake for owning a bible, or saying the Lord's prayer in a language other than Latin. Bible-believers were put to death for "heresy" against the church system, not heresy against the bible. They died as heretics, in spite of professing a belief of Jesus, for their crime of denying the RCC.
"Remember Luther's 95 thesis is what sparked the reformation to divide the Church."
Luther didn't say anything a lot of Christians weren't already believing before he came along. How do you think he got his ideas?
"That didn't happen until 1517, and then old Henry number 8 decided that he wanted a divorce so he made England 'protestant' (Anglican)- for his own gains of course."
Some times, other people prosper as a result of one people's greed. It just happens, and it happens quite a bit. That in-and-of itself isn't a bad thing. There were quite a few wonderful English monarchs, like Queen Elizabeth I and King James (VI) I. Why focus on only the bad?
"Political power and greed has created the taming of the masses."
Those poor repressed masses! How awful! I find it comical how often people say things like this, and then also lament the drawbacks of mob mentality in the very next breath. It's like there's this cognitive dissonance going on where people are blamed for being a part of this repression, and also being dumb enough to fall for it as if it were their own fault. How can it be both? Or would you prefer mob justice over, say, a political system that upholds integrity in a legal system?
"We no more know that Paul and the Acts were written as eye witness accounts than if Homer really wrote the Odyssey."
We have good reason to believe all 3, actually. Philology is a thing, you know.
"The New Testament was originally translated from Greek, and you know how those Greeks were about their gods.."
That we know of. Give it time, and we might just find another "Dead Sea Scroll" cache of manuscripts of the New Testament in Hebrew. Not that it matters, because languages don't dictate beliefs. We both are communicating in English, but we obviously don't believe the same thing. Greek was just the language of commerce at the time, and in wide-spread use. Just a convenient way of disseminating a text, by choosing the language most people in the world use.
"And yes, the priest who married my parents and baptized my siblings, cousins, and myself ended up being the worst sex offender in Canadian history and he raped some of my cousins- ..."
Truly disgusting. I think the offenders should be put down like the rabid animals they are.
"... but this didn't make me start to doubt the bs shoved down my throat since I was born- ..."
I've heard this so many times that I just don't believe it. Our life experiences effect us in ways that we are sometimes not even conscious of. Sure the lifelong indoctrination of Catholic dogma doesn't help, but if you think it didn't effect you in any way... Why even mention it? Do you not have any GOOD memories of life in the church? Or any fond memories of friends who are still devout Catholics? Nothing good ever came of the rigor and discipline of church life? You never benefited from anything they did, ever?
"... it did however, help me solidify my beliefs and reaffirm what I knew once I did a little research and learned that like everything else, all religion is man made for power and money."
No, not all. That's like saying all white people are inbred hillbillies, or all black people are thieving thugs, or [insert stereotype here]. Everyone is an individual, and as well I'm sure many a Catholic are deep down truly good people, the Roman Catholic Church as an institution is not. There is no "one-size fits all" ideology for every single person.
"Good luck to you too. One thing I am sure of, when you die- you aren't going to come back and say 'Hey, there is a heaven, I told you so.' Cause no one ever has."
Oh ye of little faith. YouTube awaits you! There are plenty of stories of people who were clinically dead for hours or even days, and came back to life, with a newfound belief in the afterlife. I wouldn't necessarily say that these beliefs people have after these experiences are universal, but they do happen, and explaining them as natural is ridiculous.
"Unless of course, you count Jesus (which sorry, I don't.) :/"
No skin off my nose. Tell me though, would you believe that anyone had a supernatural experience? Have you never had one yourself?
Summer LaSalle (author) from USA on September 16, 2018:
Without the Catholic religion, there would be no 'Christianity' as it is now. Remember Luther's 95 thesis is what sparked the reformation to divide the Church. That didn't happen until 1517, and then old Henry number 8 decided that he wanted a divorce so he made England 'protestant' (Anglican)- for his own gains of course. Political power and greed has created the taming of the masses.
We no more know that Paul and the Acts were written as eye witness accounts than if Homer really wrote the Odyssey. The New Testament was originally translated from Greek, and you know how those Greeks were about their gods..
And yes, the priest who married my parents and baptized my siblings, cousins, and myself ended up being the worst sex offender in Canadian history and he raped some of my cousins- but this didn't make me start to doubt the bs shoved down my throat since I was born- it did however, help me solidify my beliefs and reaffirm what I knew once I did a little research and learned that like everything else, all religion is man made for power and money. Good luck to you too. One thing I am sure of, when you die- you aren't going to come back and say 'Hey, there is a heaven, I told you so.' Cause no one ever has. Unless of course, you count Jesus (which sorry, I don't.) :/
James from Maine, USA on September 15, 2018:
You were raised in the Catholic tradition, so I'm not surprised by any of this, but... Catholicism is a lie from the get-go, and has nothing to do with "bare-bones" Christianity, which is basically Judaism. Constantine declared himself Pontifex Maximus after "converting" to Christianity, incorporating pagan holidays and gods as saints into the mix. First "Christmas" on record by decree was 325 AD I do believe.
Jesus was Jewish, had no money, didn't want your money and let the guy who betrayed him have control of the money bag. Don't you ever remember Jesus talking about giving tribute money to Caesar to the Pharisees? He didn't care about money. Like, I've no idea where to start with how wrong all of this is, except to say it's wrong.
For example we know that Acts and most of Paul's letters WERE written in the eye-witness period. Even some of the more hostile scholars, who (by the way) don't believe Jesus performed miracles, do attest to the possibility that the gospels and Acts were written in the 50's AD. Simply the fact that Nero blamed the burning of Rome on Christians in 64 AD says a lot.
Dig deeper, find more. That's all I can tell ya, and good luck.