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thinkinginpictures
Deinonychus
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:59 pm    Post subject: Christianity - A Roman invention Reply with quote

I've been researching and studying the history of Christianity in my spare time for 3 years now.

Although none of my sources, even the most sceptical critical non- and extra-biblical sources (from which I gathered the most of my information from,
regarding the history of the Bible, the area of Canaan, Israel, Juda etc. along with Jesus and how he became Christ) dares to conclude
that Christianity is a Roman invention, I can clearly see the patterns:

From all the sources, when put together, forms a picture of Christianity that has it's roots in the Roman Empire.
The Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible as it is also known as, has its roots from the ancient mesopotamian religions.

This is a very, very rough description of how Christianity became what it is. It is not complete, and it is indeed a very rough picture that I have managed to create now:

1. First we have the ancient Mesopotamian civilization and other ancient pre-Biblical civilizations.
They are responsible for the stories of the great flood (mentioned in the Bible as a history of Noah's Ark) and many other histories.

2. The Hebrew Bible was composed around 700 B.C. and later, by collecting these many stories from the area in and around today's Palestine, Israel and Iraq (and Egypt),
interwoving them as a single, coherent story. The purpose was to gather support from the citizens of Jerusalem, when the city and surrounding areas faced the threat of the
Egyptians and Assyrians/Babylonians. By weaving the stories together into a single book, as one big single coherent story of people of Israel, they could much easier gather support from the people.
You have to remember that wars were fought in spans of decades and a war lasted very long time. Therefore, a book could easily be composed. We forget this fact of the extremely long wars and sieges,
as modern humans, living in a world where a war is fought in less than a week and a siege lasts a couple of days.

3. Jesus emerges around year 0 (plus/minus some years) and dies around 33 or 35 A.D, crucified by the Romans as a Jewish rebel. Rebels were quite common back then.
Jesus became popular, because he was a humble origins. Most other rebels only wanted to recruit and help labourers, craftsmen and middle-class citizens. We think of a carpenter today as a
middle-class citizen, but back then, in Jesus' time, a carpenter was a pretty low class. Jesus recruited and helped the poor, the sick and disabled. This is the basis of the stories of how he "healed the sick". I think that the reality was that Jesus was the Robin Hood of his time. That's why he became popular and that is THE reason he was "ressurrected", not in a literal sense, but in the sense of remembering his good deeds for the poor. I know of the alternative stories about Jesus fleeing to India to Kashmir after being crucified, that Jesus actually survived the crucifixion (there's a BBC documentary about it on YouTube), but I reject this idea, because the Romans were pretty skilled at executing people and ensuring they were indeed dead when taken down.

Jesus was a good philosopher of his time, and the followers, the Disciples, and especially Paul of Tarsus, a greek Jew and a citizen of the Roman Empire, must have been literate enough to know about greek philosophy. He is responsible for a very large amount of the New Testament. In fact, most of the stuff we know about the New Testament, is from Paul.

You have to remember the early Christianity as a Jewish sect, the Jesus-movement. The reason Christianity became so much more widespread and popular, outnumbering the other Jewish sects, was due to Paul, who made an agreement with the Jewish leaders that gentiles (non-jews) could convert to the Jewish resistance movement "Christianity" without need to be circumcised or conforming to Jewish dietary laws.

When Constantine converted to Christianity, it was in fact because he could see a reason for doing so: He had just fought a Battle at the Milvian Bridge against Maximus and the Roman Empire was volnurable to conflicts. By converting to Christnianity, Constantine could gather support from Christians, hence he could become a popular emperor of the Roman Empire, keeping political stability.

Theodosius I finally made Christianity the only legal religion in the Roman Empire, establishing the foundation of the Catholic Church as we know it today.

The Catholic saints are equivalent or very similar to the old pagan Gods. It is yet another evidence that Christianity is made of the Roman Empire, carrying a lot of characteristics of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, politics and jurisdiction.
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MCalavera
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To say it is a Roman invention is to say that the Romans themselves came up with the idea of Christianity. But even your post suggests otherwise.
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Deinonychus
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MCalavera wrote:
To say it is a Roman invention is to say that the Romans themselves came up with the idea of Christianity. But even your post suggests otherwise.


Christianity, at least Catholicism, as we know it today, is a Roman invention.

It has nothing in common with early christianity or the original Jesus movements.

Our christian traditions with christmas, Jesus being born by a virgin, and ressurrecting literally from an execution, would have been completely alien to the early followers
of the Jesus movement.

The only Christians today who's beliefs are more closely related to the original early followers of the Jesus movement, around his time of living, and in the years after his death,
are the Gnostics. And they are not even considered true Christians by Catholics, nor Protestants, nor Orthodox.
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Kraichgauer
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the notion that the Gnostics were the true holders of the Christian faith is a modern day invention. In fact, the Gnostics and their Gospels had been rejected by the early church, long before Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman empire, and was still considered an outlaw outfit by the authorities.
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Dantac
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In a way you can call it their 'invention' ... because it was under Roman pressure that the many different sects of the religion at the time became organized and institutionalized.

Remember, the man that had the first bible made did so because Rome told him they'd wipe out all the sects unless they had representation in Rome in some form. Aka, the Romans needed to have these sects nominate a leader which could then, under Roman rule, impose order on the sometimes wild and violent sects and keep them in check/under control/calmed down.

In many ways you could even say Rome was responsible for Europe's rise to world dominance in the later centuries. Unlike other religions, the Roman church was a centralized power that maintained cultural unity and power and financial strength through the middle ages and Renaissance. Hell, you could even consider it the medieval version of the EU. Because of this centralization, it was possible for the people to break away from the power of the church (thank you Henry the 8th & Luther!) and later on break the hold superstition held on the common people (Age of Enlightenment)... because as a centralized entity the church was vulnerable.

In contrast, middle eastern and asian religions maintained their belief system hierarchy separated and independent in small clusters. Almost like 'resistance cells'. Change in these religions was almost impossible since a challenger would need to take on the hundreds if not thousands of independent cells one by one whereas in Europe you just had to tackle one entity.
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salamandaqwerty
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote]as modern humans, living in a world where a war is fought in less than a week and a siege lasts a couple of days.

are you kidding???? sorry i stopped reading you post after i read this sentence.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kraichgauer wrote:
I think the notion that the Gnostics were the true holders of the Christian faith is a modern day invention. In fact, the Gnostics and their Gospels had been rejected by the early church, long before Christianity had become the official religion of the Roman empire, and was still considered an outlaw outfit by the authorities.


Some early Christian writers, such as Iranaeous, called Simon Magus a gnostic which shows two things. 1. It was contemporary with the very beginnings of Christianity. and 2. It was condemned at a very early date. Acts 8:9-24.

Of course, it will depend on how one defines a gnostic. It really is used as a blanket term.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Dantac"]
Remember, the man that had the first bible made did so because Rome told him they'd wipe out all the sects unless they had representation in Rome in some form. Aka, the Romans needed to have these sects nominate a leader which could then, under Roman rule, impose order on the sometimes wild and violent sects and keep them in check/under control/calmed down.
quote]

The first "new testament" was compiled in 140AD by Marcion of Sinope, a gnostic who was excommunicated by Rome? Is that who you had in mind?

I am not sure what came first, the new testament or the excommunication? I never looked up the exact dates.
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MCalavera
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thinkinginpictures wrote:
The only Christians today who's beliefs are more closely related to the original early followers of the Jesus movement, around his time of living, and in the years after his death, are the Gnostics. And they are not even considered true Christians by Catholics, nor Protestants, nor Orthodox.


Not really. Jesus was an apocalypticist, not a Gnostic.
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Moviefan2k4
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Romans had no reason to encourage the Jews in the first century, because they hated each other. Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be God incarnate, not a prophet on par with Elijah or Abraham. As I've mentioned before, the Sanhedrin could've paraded Jesus' corpse around Jerusalem, crushing Christianity in a flash...but they didn't. Instead, they made up a story about the apostles stealing the body, confirming that the tomb was empty in the first place. The stones blocking entrances to Jewish tombs weighed far too much for even twelve men to move, and Roman guards were executed for far less than sleeping while on duty.
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thinkinginpictures
Deinonychus
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moviefan2k4 wrote:
The Romans had no reason to encourage the Jews in the first century, because they hated each other. Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be God incarnate, not a prophet on par with Elijah or Abraham.


Jesus never claimed to be God or the Messiah. It was others who claimed him to be so, probably way after his death.

The Romans had every reason to crucify him: As a rebel, it signals to others that they should not rebel against the romans, or your fate will be extremely harsh.
It used to work like this, but in the centuries to follow, the members of the Jesus-movement proved otherwise, in the persecution of Christians, which wasn't a real persecution of christians, but
punishing individuals for not conforming to Roman rules and regulations. They didn't target Christians as a group.

MCalavera wrote:
Not really. Jesus was an apocalypticist, not a Gnostic.


I never claimed Jesus to be a Gnostic.
I said that the ones in MODERN day, who are closest to the original Jesus movement, are the Gnostics, because of their emphasis, not on the gospel of Thomas, but on viewing Jesus as
a prophet or teacher, rather than the son of God.
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JSBACHlover
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can go to the library and read the Post-apostolic Fathers (after St. John until 325, the First Ecumenical Council) and then decide for yourself. I think the evidence from these writings contradicts the judgment of the O.P.
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JSBACHlover
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MCalavera wrote:
To say it is a Roman invention is to say that the Romans themselves came up with the idea of Christianity. But even your post suggests otherwise.

This is one clear instance in which I completely agree with you, MCalavera.
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thinkinginpictures
Deinonychus
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JSBACHlover wrote:
You can go to the library and read the Post-apostolic Fathers (after St. John until 325, the First Ecumenical Council) and then decide for yourself. I think the evidence from these writings contradicts the judgment of the O.P.


Do you mind quoting some?
And what exactly in my OP do you disagree with? I came with a lot of different statements.

I'd like at least one quote contradicting at least one of my arguments in my OP. If not, you are yet another flamebaiter.
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Deinonychus
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems like people are only reading the thread title, yet again, people only read the Title not the Content.

If I wrote about how arts influence music, with the thread title "Hitler invaded the USSR", people would debate hitler and soviets, not arts and music.
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