How did Christianity get started ?

 
noonespecial
 
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noonespecial
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07 August 2011 18:29
 

I’ve been desperately trying to figure the course of events that lead to the creation of Christianity. I’m just a layman and I feel bad about asking what could be seen as asking others to do my homework for me, but I figure someone here might be more knowledgeable than myself and my meager research tools (Google/Bing) are running out of leads.

I guess the two biggest questions I want to ask are who did it get started with ?-

Did Jesus Exist ? Did the disciples/apostles actually know him ? Did the disciples/apostles exist ? I know some of the church fathers said they knew them. Did they make it up ? What would have been their (any of the parties’) motivation?


-And who added the supernatural elements.

Resurrections, feeding multitudes, coins from fish guts, walking on water ? Did the disciples believe in these things ? Did they exaggerate to win people to the cause. Why was it so important (the cause) to exaggerate ? Were they oral traditions or translation errors that popped up later ?

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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07 August 2011 20:55
 

There are many active threads discussing these issues at Harris’s other site…

http://www.project-reason.org/forum/

 
 
 
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rabbit
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08 August 2011 11:27
 

I guess the two biggest questions I want to ask are who did it get started with ?-

Did Jesus Exist ? Did the disciples/apostles actually know him ? Did the disciples/apostles exist ? I know some of the church fathers said they knew them. Did they make it up ? What would have been their (any of the parties’) motivation?


-And who added the supernatural elements.

Resurrections, feeding multitudes, coins from fish guts, walking on water ? Did the disciples believe in these things ? Did they exaggerate to win people to the cause. Why was it so important (the cause) to exaggerate ? Were they oral traditions or translation errors that popped up later ?

I’ll take that bait.

Whew, ok….

Did Jesus exist?
Probably.
Did the disciples know him?
Some of them probably did, which means at least some of them probably existed.
(The term ‘church fathers’ is a bit of an oxymoron, so it may be better left alone.)
Did ‘they’ make up christianity?
Of course.  It’s a hybrid of several religions that were ‘popular’ 2000 - 3000 years ago, Egyptian and Jewish (the only monotheistic source) being the primary sources, with later contributions from the Greco-Roman religions.
It was most likely a Jewish reform movement from the beginning, Jesus being of the rabbinical class.  There were, in fact, several such movements, some distinctly rebellious, during the era of Roman occupation of Judea.  This speaks also to the motivations of the original movement itself within Judea.
The following question may be more along the lines, ‘What was the motivation for the foundation of the Holy Roman Church?’
That happened ‘officially’ almost three centuries later with the ‘conversion’ of the Roman emperor Constantine and subsequent codification of the modern bible by the Council of Nicea. 
The motivation for those figures was political convenience and the resulting church bore little in common with any of the goals of the original Judaic reform movements.
And who added the supernatural elements?
The ‘supernatural elements’ were rooted, as mentioned above, in existing religious traditions.  They were used to impress people and to legitimize claims of divinity and or righteousness to gain authority for the ‘leaders’.
Were they oral traditions or translation errors that popped up later?
Yes.

 
 
 
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toombaru
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09 August 2011 12:15
 
noonespecial - 07 August 2011 10:29 PM

I’ve been desperately trying to figure the course of events that lead to the creation of Christianity. I’m just a layman and I feel bad about asking what could be seen as asking others to do my homework for me, but I figure someone here might be more knowledgeable than myself and my meager research tools (Google/Bing) are running out of leads.

I guess the two biggest questions I want to ask are who did it get started with ?-

Did Jesus Exist ? Did the disciples/apostles actually know him ? Did the disciples/apostles exist ? I know some of the church fathers said they knew them. Did they make it up ? What would have been their (any of the parties’) motivation?


-And who added the supernatural elements.

Resurrections, feeding multitudes, coins from fish guts, walking on water ? Did the disciples believe in these things ? Did they exaggerate to win people to the cause. Why was it so important (the cause) to exaggerate ? Were they oral traditions or translation errors that popped up later ?

 

No historian from the time of Jesus even mentions his name.
The only reference to him is widely accepted as fraudulent.
There is no evidence that he ever existed.
The origin of all religions is the same.
Human thought evolved to ask questions and make connections.
Those connections which it is unable to attribute to a cause are filed under
the mind’s supernatural speculations.
Simple as that.

 
noonespecial
 
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noonespecial
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10 August 2011 20:29
 

I looked at project reason and I didn’t find much in the realm of what I was looking for (maybe I had the wrong search terms).

I know I’m asking a lot but can anyone point me to something more substantial ? I can find a lot of essays online about the spuriousness of texts, history’s silence on extraordinary events, and unlikelihood of resurrections, but I cant really find the play by play of who did what and why.

 
 
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rabbit
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11 August 2011 11:52
 

I guess i have to ask you some questions to figure out what you really want to know.


Firstly, does it matter to you personally whether or not there was a historical figure named Jesus?
If so, why?

From what I’ve read, the guy probably did exist, or at least someone like him.  But, aside from historical interest, it doesn’t really matter to me one way or the other since he was just a person like Siddhartha was a person, or Ghandi.


Secondly, what interests you about the early evolution of the church?


Try researching the Council of Nicea, Egyptian and Greek Mystery religions, and Gnosticism, btw.

[ Edited: 11 August 2011 11:54 by rabbit]
 
 
 
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toombaru
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12 August 2011 11:52
 
toombaru - 09 August 2011 04:15 PM
noonespecial - 07 August 2011 10:29 PM

I’ve been desperately trying to figure the course of events that lead to the creation of Christianity. I’m just a layman and I feel bad about asking what could be seen as asking others to do my homework for me, but I figure someone here might be more knowledgeable than myself and my meager research tools (Google/Bing) are running out of leads.

I guess the two biggest questions I want to ask are who did it get started with ?-

Did Jesus Exist ? Did the disciples/apostles actually know him ? Did the disciples/apostles exist ? I know some of the church fathers said they knew them. Did they make it up ? What would have been their (any of the parties’) motivation?


-And who added the supernatural elements.

Resurrections, feeding multitudes, coins from fish guts, walking on water ? Did the disciples believe in these things ? Did they exaggerate to win people to the cause. Why was it so important (the cause) to exaggerate ? Were they oral traditions or translation errors that popped up later ?


It’s impossible to research the evolution of any magical thought belief structure.
Trying to isolate the origination of fairies is as logical as tracing the origin of Jesus.
The same thing applies to the Buddha or Mohammad.

 
 
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rabbit
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14 August 2011 08:12
 

Poor toombaru is telling you not to even ask the questions.  Just remember, noonespecial, that anyone who’s afraid of questions is always hiding from something they feel too weak to confront, usually within themselves.  You go right ahead and search.  Keep an open mind and compare the traditions from as many different cultural sources as possible.  What you will probably begin to notice are the striking similarities of narrative.  So, in fact, the Jesus movement was far from unique or divine, especially after the Romans got hold of it in the third century.  But don’t take anyone’s word for it, find out for yourself.

 
 
 
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toombaru
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14 August 2011 09:02
 
toombaru - 12 August 2011 03:52 PM
toombaru - 09 August 2011 04:15 PM
noonespecial - 07 August 2011 10:29 PM

I’ve been desperately trying to figure the course of events that lead to the creation of Christianity. I’m just a layman and I feel bad about asking what could be seen as asking others to do my homework for me, but I figure someone here might be more knowledgeable than myself and my meager research tools (Google/Bing) are running out of leads.

I guess the two biggest questions I want to ask are who did it get started with ?-

Did Jesus Exist ? Did the disciples/apostles actually know him ? Did the disciples/apostles exist ? I know some of the church fathers said they knew them. Did they make it up ? What would have been their (any of the parties’) motivation?


-And who added the supernatural elements.

Resurrections, feeding multitudes, coins from fish guts, walking on water ? Did the disciples believe in these things ? Did they exaggerate to win people to the cause. Why was it so important (the cause) to exaggerate ? Were they oral traditions or translation errors that popped up later ?


It’s impossible to research the evolution of any magical thought belief structure.
Trying to isolate the origination of fairies is as logical as tracing the origin of Jesus.
The same thing applies to the Buddha or Mohammad.

 

Yes.
And while you are at it don’t forget to research the ten thousand or so religions currently being practiced on earth.
There have been literally hundreds of thousands of religions.
They all originate from the same illogical thought process and researching them, although interesting, will tell you nothing
about the nature of reality.
Study them long enough and you may get an insight into how prone the human mind is to magical thought.
If anything definitive were to be found in religious thought, it would have been found by now and be integrated into consensus reality.
There is simply nothing of substance in any religion.
They are all based on hope and fear.
Don’t waste what little time you have left chasing shadows.

 
 
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kman0328
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14 December 2011 21:58
 

Just because there is so much “supposed”  historical and archaeological evidence out there for the proof of the Bible along with the existence of the Jewish people, doesn’t mean that you can trust that it is true.  They have set in place a moral standard that is impossible for anyone to keep.  If the Christians and Jews can’t even keep their own moral laws perfectly, then how do they expect others who have not been indoctrinated to do so.  How can anyone claim to have the ultimate moral truth to the universe?  I don’t know of anyone who follows all of their religion’s laws to the T.  If God existed, then why would’nt he just come to earth and tell us?  Is there any way to find out the accuracy of the Bible?  There needs to be some modern scientific, non-biased research to determine whether or not the Bible is historically accurate to finally silence these fanatics once and for all.

[ Edited: 14 December 2011 22:01 by kman0328]
 
 
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Nick_A
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30 March 2012 18:44
 
noonespecial - 07 August 2011 06:29 PM

I’ve been desperately trying to figure the course of events that lead to the creation of Christianity. I’m just a layman and I feel bad about asking what could be seen as asking others to do my homework for me, but I figure someone here might be more knowledgeable than myself and my meager research tools (Google/Bing) are running out of leads.

I guess the two biggest questions I want to ask are who did it get started with ?-

Did Jesus Exist ? Did the disciples/apostles actually know him ? Did the disciples/apostles exist ? I know some of the church fathers said they knew them. Did they make it up ? What would have been their (any of the parties’) motivation?


-And who added the supernatural elements.

Resurrections, feeding multitudes, coins from fish guts, walking on water ? Did the disciples believe in these things ? Did they exaggerate to win people to the cause. Why was it so important (the cause) to exaggerate ? Were they oral traditions or translation errors that popped up later ?

As i understand it, Christianity is a perennial tradition which means it always was. Its purpose isn’t to teach anything new but rather aid Man’s need to remember what has been forgotten.

To conclude, the great Christian theologian, Saint Augustine in his Retractiones, wrote “The very thing which is now called the Christian religion existed among the ancients also, nor was it wanting from the inception of the human race until the coming of Christ in the flesh, at which point the true religion, which was already in existence, began to be called Christian.”

Christianity began as a conscious tradition,  As it became part of the “World” or “Plato’s cave it became increasingly secularized devolving into sects of Christendom (man made Christianity) The initial quick devolution was due primarily to the fact that Israel imposed on Christian believers the acceptance of the Old Testament and its almighty God, and that Rome chose Christianity as the religion of the Empire.  Christianity is largely unknown while Christendom is highly visible in society.

From my perspective you’ve asked two questions: the origin of Christianity and of Christendom.