Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jesus did not start Christianity

Who really founded Christianity? Was it Jesus, as most Christians believe? Did it directly evolve from the Essene with Jesus at the central point? Or was it Paul who established this new faith? Probably it was an amalgamation of all the three but the role of Jesus was insignificant. He perhaps wanted to reform the hypocritical Jews and make people live as per the tenets of the Torah. It was St. Paul who gave a divine meaning to the passion and death of Christ which had not been thought about by anyone else.  He invented the idea that Christ died for the sins of the world. It is obvious that most of the Christian sacraments and rituals were not introduced by Jesus. They are found in the writings of St. Paul who could have borrowed them from the mystery religions like Mithraism and monastic sects like Essene.
Pauline Christianity is the most prominent one that shaped the early Christian communities. Many of the best references to support the theology which Christians hold on to and support are gleaned from the epistles of St. Paul. Hyam Maccoby (British Jewish scholar and dramatist who specialized in the study of the Jewish and Christian religious traditions) believes St. Paul formed a new religion, taking ideas such as baptism, the Eucharist, Christology, the Holy Spirit, and eschatology and melded them with Jewish sacred history, Gnosticism, the teachings of Quran community and the pagan mystery religions like Mithraism. The teachings of Jesus had common elements with the Jewish Pharisaical teaching and that of the Essene. Jesus was born a Jew; he lived and died one. Jesus did not wish to abrogate Judaism, but was only in conflict with certain practices of the Jewish elite. He wouldn’t then accept his own divinity. The Synoptic gospels prove this point, but not John's  as it was done much later after the establishment of the theology propounded by Paul. Even the Synoptic gospels were written 30-40 years after Christ’s death and there was plenty of time for the Pauline theological ideas to creep into them and shape them.
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Paul was a free man from the Greco-oriental world of Asia Minor whose Roman name was Paul. In Asia Minor there were many mystery religions, and they were centered upon young gods who died young and resurrected. Sacraments of bread and wine prevailed too.  And those were considered to be bonds between the gods and the faithful. Through them people thought gods bestowed on them divine life.  He had all these in mind when he went to the land of Israel.
Paul was originally a Pharisee who persecuted the Christians.  He was conscious of the inefficiency of his own religion and was probably looking for a better one. Paul would have compared the doctrine of the pagan mystery religions  which proclaimed about gods who had passed away in the bloom of life and risen into a new life with the one of whom the Christians talked about who died young on the cross. It was a part of the Jewish faith that the dead would be awakened again.  A prophet had spoken of the revival of the Jewish men on the third day. Like the pagan sacraments, nourishment with the bread and wine and the baptism of initiation could be found among the new Christian communities too. Baptism with water had been a sacrament of Judaism. The thought of the prophecy about the coming of a mighty ruler flashed across his mind. Then he could feel not only the hopes of the Jews, but also the yearnings of what had been promised in those mysterious realms. But before the Messiah would return, faith in him might grant everything that the mystery cults promised to offer to the initiated through the sacraments.
Paul has a vision
Soon he joined the congregation of the followers of Jesus. He read whatever he could get on the Nazarene. He was awe-inspired at the life of this ideal man who loved the poor and preached eternal life to them. He tried to find a new meaning for his crucifixion and passion. Why did he have to die like that? What did he do to deserve it? Was he not the best human ever? Still he was scourged, beaten up and made to carry a big cross on which he was crucified.  He had a new awakening. One day He saw Jesus coming to him with a big cross in an apparition. The sight of the Messiah carrying a heavy cross upon his bleeding shoulders was enough to deduct that Jesus was carrying the sins of the world. He could find out a meaning for the suffering Jesus underwent. He wanted to repent for all his sins and he started preaching his new awakening and the new revelation to whomever he could find.
Paul’s faith became the center of his life.  The vision he had consumed his whole being. What had happened in Paul was a revolution, a transformation rather than a mere conversion. He had to forget many things: his past life, its wrong deeds and its beliefs. The manifestation made him a new apostle, a new revolutionary. His old Jewish Theo-centered-faith got converted into a new Christ-centered one. The vision had disclosed to him the celestial meaning for life. Jesus became the promised Messiah and the Son of God whose death and resurrection were his main concerns.
The romantic certainty with which Paul spoke was derived from the psychic experience. It had the power of a revolution. He seemed to get the truth finished and completed. Jesus seemed to speak to him and he had only to listen. Any person who has such an experience, according to psychologists, gets the feeling that grace has descended on him.
Paul organizes a new religion
Paul was a man of letters and he could command a literary skill.  He was well-versed in the common religious tongue of the Greek. He also had artistic and poetic talents. All these are reflected in Paul’s writings.  Later the Church canonized his writings and they are included in the Bible. The letters of St. Paul propound the Christian faith.
These writing are different from the Gospel narrations. He speaks not about the doctrine of Jesus but about him.  The gospel teachings and the new faith they enshrine take a sidetrack; theological discourses of the sacraments and the rituals the believers have to perform take prominence. His incarnation, death and resurrection displace the good deeds and the teachings of Jesus. According to scholars on St. Paul’s writings, Jesus had remained a Jew always; but Paul the Jew became Paul the Christian. Jesus, the founder of the sect had been a prophet and dreamer and Paul organized and built up the foundations of a new religion. He introduced a new ethical code. And to spread a new religion from the faintest outlines, he borrowed a lot that was pagan.
As mentioned, it was St. Paul who gave a meaning to the death of Christ and to Christianity. Many think he was the real founder of Christianity. He was the one who developed the idea of Christ as both divine and human. The relationship and analogies of Paul’s religion with those of the mystery cults are so evident that sometimes historians think Paul is the founder of a new mystery cult.
He thought of Christ as a personal redeemer, savior or Lord through whom mankind will attain salvation. These terms were all known to the mystery cults like Zoroastrianism that they were easily assimilated by the new converts. Further, to attract the intellectuals of Greece, he borrows the idea of ‘logos’ from Philo’s philosophy. He had taught that God, the All father, had contact with the earth only through intermediary beings known as Logos, ‘the word’, ‘the son of god’, and ‘the Holy Spirit’. See how Christ became the Son of God and the prominence ‘word’ and Holy Spirit got accorded to in the gospels.
Paul adopts pagan rituals and holy days
Many of the sacramental rituals of the pagans were simply adopted as such. In many of the mystery religions there had been means for entering into communion with God. The raw blood of the bull was eaten to have divine life of the deity concerned. The priest’s administration ‘to cut up and minister the cake and distribute the liquid to the devotees’ recorded in the fragmentary inscriptions from Tomi on the Black sea scroll indicate the same sacramental element (like the present day bread and wine sharing) in the Samo-Theracian cult. St Paul established the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist form such mystery religions. The sacrament of baptism was also derived from the Pagan religious rituals. In the worship of the Pagan mother-Goddess, Cybele and her cohort Attis, initiation into a blessed immortality was secured by anointing the body of the novice with a mixture of mud and bran. 
To spread his new religion St Paul as mentioned, adopted many of the sacramental elements of the pagan religions. He adopted the Mithraic Sunday instead of Jewish Sabbath. The Mithraic holidays such as Christmas, Easter and epiphany were simply adopted as such. The sacramental ritual of the Mithraic religion was preferred to the Jewish temple sacrifice. Like the mythological gods, Christ, the Son of God came to be conceived of a virgin. Pictures of Jesus and Mary which had a remarkable resemblance of the older picture of Osiris and Horus were set up in the new Churches.  Almost all the Christian ceremonies are, in some way or other connected with the ceremonies of the mystery religions. Many authors have brought them to light. Gerald L. Berry, ‘Author of Religions of the World’, draws a parallel between the past mystery cults and Christianity and shows clearly how the latter evolved from the former.  
There are scholars who believe that the Gospels are opposed to the material found in the letters of Paul. They point out to many supposed contradictions between that which Jesus taught and what Paul wrote. These according to them prove that the message of Jesus, a true Jewish Pharisee, was not the same as that of Paul’s. Other scholars believe that that Jesus and Paul are not in full contradiction with one another, and that most of what Paul claims are already in the Gospels though in a different way. One of the reasons for this stand could be that most of the New Testament books were written after the theology of St. Paul was well established and known to all early Christians.  Because there are no known writings from Jesus or any direct apostle, or anyone that actually knew Him in the flesh. Most of what he taught is lost forever. 

Why Paul does not mention anything that Jesus is said to have done in the Bible?
In all the Epistles of Paul, there is not one word about Christ's virgin birth. Does it mean that the story of the virgin birth had not yet been invented when Paul wrote?  A large portion of the Gospels is devoted to accounts of the miracles Christ is said to have wrought. But Paul has not given the slightest hint that Christ ever performed any miracle. Is it conceivable that Paul was not acquainted with the miracles of Christ? Didn’t he know that Christ had cleansed the leprous, cast out devils, made the blind see, deaf hear, dumb speak, raised the dead and walked over the lake waters?  Why Paul didn’t write a single line on the wonders Jesus did? Could it not be possible that the accounts of the miracles wrought by Jesus had not yet been invented or recorded anywhere when Paul's Epistles were written? (Obviously, the gospels were a later product.)
Paul was not only silent on the virgin birth and the miracles of Jesus; he did not have the slightest knowledge of the teachings of Jesus like the Sermon on the Mount. Paul had not heard of Lord’s Prayer now recited by every Christian in the world. Christ taught in parables; Paul was not acquainted with them either. Paul, the man who perhaps established Christianity is almost ignorant of the teachings of Christ. Why does he not quote a single line of what Jesus Christ said in all of his thirteen Epistles? 
 Is it not a wonder that the teachings of Christ had not been known to Paul? If he did, he would have made use of them in his writings. Why did  a Christian missionary would go to foreign lands and work for  many years to convert people for  Christ, and never once mention what Christ had said to the masses,  the Lord's Prayer or at least  of one of the parables and be silent on the master’s precepts? The Churches have been teaching throughout the centuries these teachings of Christ-the virgin birth, the miracles, the parables, and the precepts of Jesus not mentioned by St. Paul.  The answer could be that the virgin-birth, miracles, preaching of Christ, parables, Sermon on the Mount, Lord’s Prayer and all were not known to the world in Paul's day- or they were not yet invented!
The Christ Paul knew was the Christ he saw in a vision while on his way to Damascus and not a living, human being, who preached and worked among men. The Christ Paul knew and the Jesus of the Gospels is two different beings. Paul does not speak of a Christ, followed by the multitude or one who performed miracles and taught substantial things. He was more concerned with why he had to die and what rituals the Christian followers Had to practice.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The way Paul conjured up Satan twice in the New Testament as a teacher indicates he was no saint. Paul held sway over the way official Roman adaptation of Christianity played out because he was a full Roman citizen in Roman law enforcement, something most Christians skip over when they say simply that "Paul persecuted Christians". He had Roman authority and expectation to do that. Read the last part of Acts and notice how rumors of Paul's martyrdom were greatly exaggerated.

  3. Titbit: Jesus did not exist..

  4. An extremely logical article.I think he is "right on".