Deception in the early church
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20-05-2013, 08:06 AM
RE: Deception in the early church
(22-09-2012 04:42 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Well well. What do we have here?
Isn't the legal standard for the veracity of a witness "Liar in one, liar in all"?

Admitted, purposeful deception in the early Christian Church by "Church Fathers"

Let's look at a few early church leaders, many of whom had access to gospels texts, meaning they could have changed them.

"I will only mention the Apostle Paul. [...] He, then, if anyone, ought to be calumniated; we should speak thus to him: ‘The proofs which you have used against the Jews and against other heretics bear a different meaning in their own contexts to that which they bear in your Epistles'."
Jerome, Epistle to Pammachus

"We see passages taken captive by your pen and pressed into service to win you a victory, which in volumes from which they are taken have no controversial bearing at all ... the line so often adopted by strong men in controversy – of justifying the means by the result."
St. Jerome, Epistle to Pammachus (xlviii, 13; N&PNF. vi, 72-73)

Was Saint Paul a liar? Looks like it.

"For if the truth of God hath more abounded by my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also adjudged a sinner?"
St. Paul, Romans 3.7.

However, in context, Paul is actually censuring other Christians who say "Let us do evil, that good may come" (that is, from God's judgement). But like Paul, we can "take the passage captive" to make a point.

Bishop Eusebius, the official propagandist for Constantine, entitles the 32nd Chapter of his 12th Book of Evangelical Preparation:

"How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived."

Eusebius is famously the author of many great falsehoods, yet at the same time he warns us:

"We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity."
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, chapter 2

Clement of Alexandria was one of the earliest of the Church Fathers to draw a distinction between "mere human truth" and the higher truth of faith:

"Not all true things are the truth, nor should that truth which merely seems true according to human opinions be preferred to the true truth, that according to the faith."
Clement (quoted by M. Smith, Clement of Alexandria, p446)

John Chrysostom, 5th century theologian and erstwhile bishop of Constantinople: "Do you see the advantage of deceit? [...] For great is the value of deceit, provided it be not introduced with a mischievous intention. In fact action of this kind ought not to be called deceit, but rather a kind of good management, cleverness and skill, capable of finding out ways where resources fail, and making up for the defects of the mind ... And often it is necessary to deceive, and to do the greatest benefits by means of this device, whereas he who has gone by a straight course has done great mischief to the person whom he has not deceived."
Chrysostom, Treatise On The Priesthood, Book 1.

"Golden Mouth'' John is notable for his extensive commentaries on the Bible which emphasized a literal understanding of the stories. The style popular at Alexandria until then was to acknowledge an allegorical meaning of the text:

"Thus eminent ‘believers’ added falsehood to the beliefs of later generations. ‘For the best of reasons’ they ‘clarified’ obscure points, conjured up characters to speak dialogue that could have been said, invented scenarios that could have happened and borrowed extensively from a wider culture. And this all before they became the custodians of power and had real reasons for lies, inventions and counterfeits. As we shall see, god's immutable laws became as flexible as putty."
(St.?) John Chrysostom

The 5th and 6th centuries were the 'golden age' of Christian forgery. In a moment of shocking candour, the Manichean bishop and opponent of Augustine Faustus said:

"Many things have been inserted by our ancestors in the speeches of our Lord which, though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith; especially since – as already it has been often proved – these things were written not by Christ, nor [by] his apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by I know not what sort of half Jews, not even agreeing with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports and opinions merely, and yet, fathering the whole upon the names of the apostles of the Lord or on those who were supposed to follow the apostles, they maliciously pretended that they had written their lies and conceits according to them."

In the huge battle for adherents, the propagandists sought to outdo each other at every turn. For example, by the 5th century, four very different endings existed to Mark's gospel. Codex Bobiensis ends Mark at verse 16:8, without any post-crucifixion appearances. It lacks both the 'short conclusion' of Jesus sending followers to 'east and west' as well as the 'long conclusion', the fabulous post-death apparitions, where Jesus promises his disciples that they will be immune to snake bites and poison.

Once the Church had gained acceptance by much of Europe and the Middle East, it's forgery engine went nuts.

"The Church forgery mill did not limit itself to mere writings but for centuries cranked out thousands of phony "relics" of its "Lord," "Apostles" and "Saints" […] There were at least 26 'authentic' burial shrouds scattered throughout the abbeys of Europe, of which the Shroud of Turin is just one […] At one point, a number of churches claimed the one foreskin of Jesus, and there were enough splinters of the "True Cross" that Calvin said the amount of wood would make "a full load for a good ship."
Acharya S, The Christ Conspiracy.

Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), the zealot for papal authority and founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, wrote:

"We should always be disposed to believe that which appears to us to be white is really black, if the hierarchy of the church so decides."

The Reformation may have swept away some abuses perpetrated by the church liars, priesthood but lying was not one of them. Martin Luther, in private correspondence, said:

"What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church [...] a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them."
Martin Luther (Cited by his secretary, in a letter in Max Lenz, ed., Briefwechsel Landgraf Phillips des Grossmüthigen von Hessen mit Bucer, vol. I.)

The Donation of Constantine:
'This document is without doubt a forgery, fabricated somewhere between the years 750 and 850.'
Catholic Encyclopedia

A two-part document purporting to be from the first Christian emperor to Pope Sylvester I (314-35). In the 'Confessio', Constantine thanks Sylvester for his Christian instruction and baptism (and consequent cure of leprosy!). In his 'Donatio', Constantine confers on the pope and his successors primacy over all other bishops, including the eastern patriarchs, senatorial privileges for the clergy, imperial palaces and regalia, Rome itself and the Western Empire.

In truth, this monstrous 8th century forgery (peppered with anachronisms) was almost certainly written by the future Pope Paul I (757-67) while his equally ambitious brother Stephen II (752-57) sat on the papal throne.

The False Decretals (aka Pseudo-Isidorian Forgeries):
They are a riot of more than a hundred fake letters and decrees attributed to pontiffs from 1st century Clement (88-97) to 7th century Gregory I (590-604). Today they are attributed to either 'Isodore Mercator', a supposed 9th century master forger and papal aide, or to a group of Gallic forgers trading on the name and reputation of Isodore of Seville. Like the Donation, the Decretals conferred rights and privileges on the papacy.

A similar collection, the 'Dionysiana', was named for a 6th century monk 'Dennis the Little' (Dionysius Exiguus), inventor of the BC -AD dating system. Dionysius provided the papacy with Latin translation of the canons the Eastern Church. This ripe collection included fifty canons from the very Apostles themselves.

The 'Thundering Legion' Decree of Marcus Aurelius:
In this fabricated letter from the emperor to the Senate, Marcus is said to have forbidden persecution of Christians because prayers from Christian soldiers brought on a thunderstorm which rescued the Romans from thirst and dispersed the barbarian opponents in a battle with the Quadi in 174. The emperor is said to have accorded the Twelfth Legion the suffix fulminata or fulminea, that is, 'thundering'. Tertullian (c.160 – c.230), a North African theologian, made up this nonsense; the twelfth legion had had the suffix legio fulminata from the time of Augustus. The stoic Marcus Aurelius had nothing but contempt for the Christians.

'Letters' of Emperor Antoninus Pius to the Greeks:
More fakery, this time from the pen of 4th century Bishop Eusebius (Ecclesiastic History, IV, 13). He has the pious 2nd century pagan forbid 'tumults against the Christians.'

The Clementines:
These fakes, twenty books of 'curious religious romance' (Catholic Encyclopedia), masquerade as the work of 1st century pontiff Clement I. Written in the 4th century, their purpose was to bolster Rome's claim to be the primary see. Here we have the 'Epistle of Clement to James' which originated the notion that St. Peter was the first Bishop of Rome.

More "pious fraud".

Thanks for posting this B-Ball! I was woefully unaware of these writtings. My favorite quote has to be

"How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived." - Bishop Eusebius

Now I'm going to create a bumper sticker that says just this!

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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20-05-2013, 08:10 AM
RE: Deception in the early church
Excellent information throughout this thread....

There must be some well respected and verifiable authors who've written about this subject and this period of history (say from about 200 BCE to about 400 CE).
Who are they and what are the titles of some of the books?

"People don't go to heaven when they die; they're taken to a special room and burned!"
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20-05-2013, 08:12 AM
RE: Deception in the early church
Bucky, which Eusebius are you quoting?

Eusebius of Caesarea
Eusebius of Pampilus
Eusebius of Nicomedia
Eusebius of Vercelli
Eusebius of Dorylaeum
Eusebius of Milan

It's like looking up John Smith

Edit: Just found this

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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20-05-2013, 11:51 AM
RE: Deception in the early church
the quote by Acharya S is referenced to something called a Freethought Datasheet #5. Perhaps my google skills are deficient but I see several places referencing this same source but the source appears to be a mystery. Has anyone seen this source?
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20-05-2013, 04:24 PM
RE: Deception in the early church
Interesting history lesson!

Godless in the Magnolia State
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22-03-2014, 10:55 PM
RE: Deception in the early church
I just discovered this excellent Bucky classic.

I can add a little to the discussion with this section from my book. It's a bit long but some may find it interesting...

The Integrity of the Early Christians
"It is clear to me that the writings of the Christians are a lie, and that your fables are not well-enough constructed to conceal this monstrous fiction: I have even heard that some of your interpreters, as if they had just come out of a tavern, are onto the inconsistencies and, pen in hand, alter the originals writings, three, four and several more times over in order to be able to deny the contradictions in the face of criticism."
(Celsus 178 CE,

“A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, the more they admire. Our forefathers and doctors have often said not what they thought, but what circumstances and necessity dictated.”
St. Gregory (mid fourth century, from Jerome's letter 52 to Nepotian,

“It will not appear strange to those who have given any attention to the history of mankind, which will always suggest this sad reflection: That the greatest zealots in religion, or the leaders of sects and parties, whatever purity or principles they pretend to have seldom scrupled to make use of a commodious lie for the advancement of what they call the truth. And with regard to these very Fathers, there is not one of them…who made any scruple in those ages of using the hyperbolical style to advance the honor of God and the salvation of men.”
(Dr. Conyers Middleton, 1844)

Were the church fathers reputable, honest commentators? We can examine their writings to find out.

Papias was one of the very earliest “fathers.” As mentioned, Eusebius claimed Papias knew someone who had known the author of Mark’s Gospel, yet gave no details about this. Surely Papias would have documented something so important. The name “Mark” wasn’t associated with the authorship of a gospel until about twenty years after Papias’ death, which means the claim is untrue.

Unfortunately for Papias’ reputation, Eusebius expressed serious reservations about the caliber of his intellect:
“I guess he got these ideas from a misinterpretation of the apostolic accounts. For he did not understand what they said mystically and in figurative language. For he obviously was a man of very little intelligence, as one can tell judging from his sayings. Nevertheless, it was due to him that so many churchmen after him adopted a similar opinion, basing their position on the fact that he was a man of the earliest era” (Eccles. Hist. 3.39.12–13.) Eusebius had to guess where Papias got his facts from, wrote him off as unintelligent, and then admitted he was a significant and early source of dogma!

Papias wrote that Jesus said:
“The days shall come, in which there shall be vines, which shall severally have ten thousand branches; and every one of these branches shall have ten thousand lesser branches; and every one of these branches shall have ten thousand twigs; and every one of these twigs shall have ten thousand clusters of grapes; and everyone of these grapes being pressed shall yield two hundred and seventy-five gallons of wine. And when a man shall take hold of any of these sacred bunches, another bunch shall cry out ‘I am a better bunch, take me, and bless the Lord by me!’” (Irenaeus, Adv. Hær., v. 33, 3.) He was willing to concoct anecdotes and obviously wasn’t a reliable historian.
Ignatius, or someone writing in his name, wrote of the “star of Bethlehem:”
“A star shone forth in heaven above all other stars, and the light of which was inexpressible, while its novelty struck men with astonishment. And all the rest of the stars, with the sun and moon, formed a chorus to this star” (to the Ephesians chapter XIX.) He may have been writing metaphorically, yet to claim something this comical is childish.

Justin was unscrupulous. He interpolated the Septuagint with a number of phony prophecies concerning Jesus, which were weak, clumsy, and dishonest. They can be found in the dialogue of Justin with Trypho the Jew ( Trypho didn’t exist; he was a straw man, Justin’s literary invention he used to argue against Judaism.

Justin justified his belief in Jesus as follows:
"When we say also that the Word, which is the first birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified, died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter" (First Apology, chapter 21.) Instead of discussing evidence, he said (quite correctly) that the Jesus account was similar to myths about other gods, and should therefore be equally true. Yet Jesus, if he ever existed, had died only one hundred years earlier.
He claimed that Socrates (469–399 BCE) and Heraclitus (535–475 BCE) were Christians, (First Apology Chapter 46, Second Apology Chapter 10) a statement similar to saying that Galileo was a scientologist.

He believed insane people were possessed by the souls of the wicked, so were proof of the immortality of souls. (First Apology, Chapter 18.)

Irenaeus praised ignorance as a virtue:
“It is therefore better and more profitable to belong to the simple and unlettered class, and by means of love to attain to nearness to God, than, by imagining ourselves learned and skilful” (Against Heresies, Book II, Chapter 26.) He had little respect for human intellect or integrity.

Origin wrote:
“Before replying to Celsus, it is necessary to admit that in the matter of history, however true it might be, it is often very difficult and sometimes quite impossible to establish its truth by evidence which shall be considered sufficient” (Contra Celsum 1.58.) This was a plain admission that many Christian claims couldn’t be verified. At least he was candid enough to admit it.

He also wrote:
“As this matter of faith...we accept it as useful for the multitude, and that we admittedly teach those who cannot abandon everything and pursue a study of rational argument to believe without thinking out their arguments.” (Contra Celsum 1.10.) He admitted that “we” turned to faith as a tool to convince a gullible crowd. “We” were his fellow bishops, the men who promoted Christian dogma.

Origen thought the sun, moon, and stars were living creatures, each with a free will, that sometimes sinned. One might forgive him for having no understanding of astronomy, but not for imagining that celestial objects had thoughts. He clung to the pagan superstition that comets and new stars portend great world events, and thought that this gave credibility to the story of the star of Bethlehem:
“It has been observed that, on the occurrence of great events, and of mighty changes in terrestrial things, such stars are wont to appear, indicating either the removal of dynasties or the breaking out of wars, or the happening of such circumstances as may cause commotions upon the earth, why not then the Star of Bethlehem?” (Contra Celsum, chapter 1.)

Tertullian was a teller of tall tales. He asserted,
“I know it that the corpse of a dead Christian, at the first breath of the prayer made by the priest, on occasion of its own funeral, removed its hands from its sides, into the usual posture of a supplicant; and when the service was ended, restored them again to their former situation.” (De anima chapter 51.)

He denounced the sin of going to the theatre:
“We have the case of the woman—the Lord Himself is witness—who went to the theater, and came back possessed. In the outcasting (exorcism), accordingly, when the unclean creature was upbraided with having dared to attack a believer, he firmly replied: ‘And in truth I did most righteously, for I found her in my domain” (De Spectaulis.)

He believed the hyena could change its sex every year (De Pallio, Chapter 3,) eclipses and comets were signs of god’s anger (To scapula, Chapter 3) and volcanoes were openings into hell (De Penitentia, 12.)

He advised Christians not to think critically, but to employ blind faith. To him, all kinds of rational thinking became superfluous compared to holy writings:
“For philosophy is the material of the world’s wisdom, the rash interpreter of the nature and dispensation of God. Indeed heresies are themselves instigated by philosophy… What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What has the Academy to do with the Church? What have heretics to do with Christians? Our instruction comes from the porch of Solomon, who had himself taught that the Lord should be sought in simplicity of heart. Away with all attempts to produce a Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic Christianity! We want no curious disputation after possessing Christ Jesus, no inquisition after receiving the gospel! When we believe, we desire no further belief. For this is our first article of faith, that there is nothing which we ought to believe besides.” (De Praescriptione, Chapter vii.)

He claimed, without evidence, that Pilate converted to Christianity:
“All these things Pilate did to Christ; and now in fact a Christian in his own convictions, he sent word of Him to the reigning Caesar, who was at the time Tiberius” (The Apology, Chapter 21.)

He wrote:
“The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed because men must needs be ashamed of it. And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed because it is absurd. And He was buried, and rose again; the fact is certain, because it is impossible. But how will all this be true in Him, if He was not Himself true--if He really had not in Himself that which might be crucified, might die, might be buried, and might rise again?” ( He obviously preferred faith to reason, and disliked complexity. In the same work he called Aristotle “wretched” and disparaged the tentative investigative nature of Greek science as
“self-stultifying…ever handling questions but never settling them.” This attitude was the antithesis of rational thought. Compare this to what his contemporary Celsus said:
“For why is it an evil to have been educated, and to have studied the best opinions, and to have both the reality and appearance of wisdom? What hindrance does this offer to the knowledge of God? Why should it not rather be an assistance, and a means by which one might be better able to arrive at the truth?” (Excerpts from Contra Celsus by Origen, book 3 Chapter 59.) Celsus realized early Christians were irrational.
Tertullian lacked common sense, was a lazy thinker, justified his own ignorance using religion, and thought he could invent facts to advertise an agenda.

Jerome was an impressive scholar, (it was a daunting task to translate the Old Testament) yet admitted to employing babble to beguile the hoi polloi:
“There is nothing so easy as by sheer volubility to deceive a common crowd or an uneducated congregation.” (Epistle to Nepotian, lii, 8.)

He claimed:
“It is usual for the sacred historian to conform himself to the generally accepted opinion of the masses in his time” (The book of Psalms in Latin, XXVI.) In other words, the historian need not rely on facts, but could consider common opinion as the truth.
Eusebius is notorious as the author of numerous falsehoods. He probably created the "Testimonium Flavianum," ( and may have forged a letter in Jesus’ name. He admitted on at least two occasions that he was less than honest:
“We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity” (Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, Chapter 2.)
“How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived.” (Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, chap. 2.) So much for integrity and objectivity from Christianity’s most important historian!
He wrote of a man who was tortured until his body
“was one continued wound, mangled and shriveled, that had entirely lost the form of man” and then “recovered the former shape and habit of his limbs” (Ecclesiastical History, book V, Chapter 2.) These are the words of a man using falsehood as a medicine.

The Catholic Encyclopedia claims Augustine was
“a philosophical and theological genius of the first order, dominating, like a pyramid, antiquity and the succeeding ages. Compared with the great philosophers of past centuries and modern times, he is the equal of them all; among theologians he is undeniably the first, and such has been his influence that none of the Fathers, Scholastics, or Reformers has surpassed it.” High praise indeed! Yet this sounds like an apology for all other church theologians. The author is conceding there’s not a single theologian other than Augustine whose intellect can compare with great philosophers past and present. That doesn’t say much for the school of theology. Is Augustine thought a greater theologian than Paul, who more or less invented Christian theology? I wonder if this wording will be changed in future editions.

There’s no doubt he was highly influential. ( Whether he was a great philosopher is more controversial. How could someone who relied so heavily on scripture rather than rational thought, be taken seriously?

He was adamant the earth was no more than six thousand years old:
“They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not yet 6,000 years have passed…” (City of God, Bk. xii, Chapter 10.) Science has proven the great philosopher’s “sacred writings” wrong. He was writing in the fourth century, and he didn’t know any better, but he was bone-headed about it, and derided anyone who didn’t believe the creation story:
“For as it is not yet 6,000 years since the first man, who is called Adam, are not those to be ridiculed rather than refuted who try to persuade us of anything regarding a space of time so different from, so contrary to, the ascertained truth?” (City of God, Bk xviii, Chapter 40.) His “ascertained truth” was the Old Testament, which was wrong about the age of the earth by a factor of close to a million!

Although many Greek philosophers from Pythagorus on had held that the earth was round, and Augustine had heard the theory, he was adamant it was flat and inhabited on the upper side only:
“As to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say, men who are on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets to us, men who walk with their feet opposite ours, is on no ground credible.” (City of God, Chapter xvi.)
This “towering figure of early Christianity” claimed:
“I was already Bishop of Hippo, when I went into Ethiopia with some servants of Christ there to preach the Gospel. In this country we saw many men and women without heads, who had two great eyes in their breasts; and in countries still more southly, we saw people who had but one eye in their foreheads.” (Sermones, xxxiii.)
The great doctor invented his own biological facts:
“Frogs are produced from the earth, not propagated by male and female parents” (City of God, Chapter xvi) and
“There are in Cappadocia mares which are impregnated by the wind, and their foals live only three years” (City of God, Chapter xxi.)

This number one theologian attempted to explain how people could survive fire in hell without being consumed, and wrote two chapters in City of God, on the topic, the first entitled
“Whether it is Possible for Bodies to last Forever in Burning Fire,” and the second
“Examples from Nature Proving That Bodies May Remain Unconsumed and Alive in Fire.”

This highly influential intellect thought demons caused disease:
“All diseases of Christians are to be ascribed to these demons; chiefly do they torment fresh-baptized Christians, yea, even the guiltless new-born infant” (De Divinatione Daemonorum, Chapter 3.) I know some superstitious people today who still attribute illnesses to demons.

The great interpreter of scripture accepted the fable of the miraculous translation of the Septuagint, (six-hundred-odd years before his time)
“It is reported that there was an agreement in their words so wonderful, stupendous, and plainly divine, each one apart (for so it pleased Ptolemy to test their fidelity), they differed from each other in no word, or in the order of the words; but, as if the translators had been one, so what all had translated was one, because in very deed the one Spirit had been in them all. And they received so wonderful a gift of God, in order that these scriptures might be commended not as human but divine, for the benefit of the nations. Who should at some time believe, as we now see them doing. If anything is in the Hebrew copies and not in the version of the Seventy, the Spirit of God did not choose to say it through them, but only through the prophets. But whatever is in the Septuagint and not in the Hebrew copies, the same Spirit chose rather to say it through the latter, thus showing that both were prophets.” (The City of God, book xviii.) In reality the Septuagint translation was notoriously unreliable, a fact any Hebrew scholar can confirm today. Augustine invented history to justify the traditional text.

This “great pyramid of learning” pondered over
“…whether angels, inasmuch as they are spirits, could have bodily intercourse with women?” ( City of God, book xv, Chapter 23.) After much deliberation over an entirely imaginary subject, he concluded that they can and do, and that he had proof:
“Many proven instances, that Sylvans and Fauns, who are commonly called ‘Incubi,’ had often made wicked assaults upon women, and satisfied their lusts upon them: and that certain devils, called Duses by the Gauls, are constantly attempting and effecting this impurity.” (City of God, book xv, chapter 23.)

Augustine devoted two whole treatises to the topic of lying (a topic he knew a lot about.) The first of these, 'De mendacio' ('On Lying,') written in 395 CE, discussed the pros and cons of lying. Of the eight kinds of lie that he identified, (each with several sub-types) he excused 'jocular' lies, was 'uncertain' about others, (depending on motive and the likelihood of being believed) and questioned the morality of the remainder. The second, 'Contra mendacium' written in 422 CE, cautioned the brethren as follows.
"One never errs more safely, methinks, than when one errs by too much loving the truth, and too much rejecting of falsehood." (St Augustine, Retractations, Book I.) He’d evidently thought long and hard before gracing his readers with this conclusion, yet frequently failed to follow his own advice.

This “philosophical genius” wrote
“I would not believe in the Gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not influence me to do so.” (Against the letter of Mani 5,6.) He thought “the Gospel” wasn’t believable, but that the church knew better. Today the Vatican claims Augustine was their number one authority. The two ideas produce a classic circular argument.
He too derided the value of critical thought.
“There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity…It is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn.” (Confessions.) This comment denigrates scientific investigation; an attitude that is, in fact, the antithesis of good philosophy.

Augustine was a reasonably intelligent man, although his great rival Pelagius was far more sensible. His teachings on original sin, women and sex were despicable. He claimed to be an authority on history and scientific subjects he knew very little about, and invented facts to fill in the gaps. He wasn’t honest enough to admit the deficiencies of his religion.

The men discussed here were the more educated members of the early Christian churches. Yet they were narrow-minded, superstitious, and dishonest, and a few of them even admitted it. Some of them forged documents. They displayed very little critical faculty; no story was too silly, no falsehood too glaring, no argument too weak to prevent them teaching it with full confidence of its truth. They thought it was permissible, and even commendable, to assert falsehoods for the sake of selling faith. They were the tabloid journalists of their day. It’s on their testimony and others of their ilk that today’s Christian assumes the Gospels are truthful.

It’s obvious that these characters, and others with the same attitude, would have edited and interpolated the New Testament. Some altered quotations from the Septuagint to create phony prophecies concerning Jesus. Someone added Jesus’ resurrection appearance to the Gospel of Mark (discussed in chapter 15.) Someone attributed the authorship of the Gospels to Jesus’ apostles. Someone probably inserted into Matthew’s Gospel that Jesus wanted to start a new church with Peter at its head. Someone probably inserted Jesus’ name into Paul’s writings. Some wrote literature in Paul’s name. Someone wrote Acts to try to link Yeshua’s disciples with Paul’s theology. Some incorporated traditions from other cults into the new one. There are countless other examples of their dishonesty. There was a corrupt culture in the early Christian church. There was also a patronizing attitude towards the common people; they were to be fooled and manipulated for the church’s benefit.

There are no excuses for this. Fiction touted as truth, uncritical scholarship, and appeals for faith are unacceptable to an educated audience.

They were using the type of arguments that some groups in that era considered acceptable. Yet there were men of their time and before them such as Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Celsus, Cicero, Philo, Seutonius, Tacitus and others, who employed much higher standards of scholarship. Their compositions are believable, consistent and still read well, whereas most of these Christian writings don’t.

None of these church fathers were honest enough to publicly admit what their peers such as Celsus pointed out; their faith was formed on a foundation of manufactured nonsense. How could anyone today be convinced of the divinity, the miracles, or the teachings of Jesus after considering what these characters had to contend?

It’s crystal clear to me why they concocted lies and denigrated other commentators such as the Gnostics and Marcion. Promoting their version of the dogma fortified their own power and status, and that of the institutions they represented.

Consider the writings attributed to Ignatius. He emphasized the importance of bishops to bolster the power of his church and counter all opponents. In the letter to the Ephesians he wrote:
“Wherefore it is fitting that ye should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also ye do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung.”

In his letter to the Trallians he paralleled the position of bishop with the position of Christ:
“For, since you are subject to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, you appear to me to live not after the manner of men, but according to Jesus Christ, who died for us, in order, by believing in His death, you may escape from death. It is therefore necessary that, as you indeed do, so without the bishop you should do nothing,” ( and
“...Let us be careful not to resist the Bishop, that through our submission to the Bishop we may belong to God...We should regard the Bishop as the Lord Himself.” Ignatius was advocating an earthly monarchy with a bishop on the throne. Paul had said much the same thing 50+ years earlier, with himself as the equivalent of a king. The Vatican still runs a monarchy today, with the pope as God’s mouthpiece.

Tertullian too claimed bishops were at the top of the tree.
“The supreme priest (that is the Bishop) has the right of conferring baptism: after him the presbyters and deacons, but only with the Bishop's authority.” (

St. Augustine wrote,
“Neither in the confusion of paganism, nor in the defilement of heresy, nor yet in the blindness of Judaism, is religion to be sought, but among those alone who are called Catholic Christians.” (De Vera Religions, chapter v.) A heretic was any Christian who didn’t believe exactly what Augustine believed. He wrote,
“There is no salvation outside the church” (De Baptismo. IV, cxvii.24.) Anyone who didn’t go to his church was denied heaven.

These men were bishops buttressing their own positions and their church’s coffers. They were pompous priests who perched themselves in high places in pursuit of power, money and prestige. Elders or presbyters were beneath the bishop, deacons or servants below the elders, and the common plebs at the bottom of the pile. The people were poorly equipped to detect dishonesty, or to tell the difference between truth and fiction. Bishops had little real respect for them. They regularly referred to the public as “rabble” or “fools” or “the multitudes” or the “crowd,” yet it was the commoners who put cash in their collections.

It’s sad, wrong and ironic that generations of trusting Christians have wasted their time dissecting the New Testament, expecting to be enlightened, when the characters who created it were so cavalier with the truth. Priests have always insisted people believe the bible was divinely inspired. By forcing faith on children and adults too busy to carefully consider it, they’ve ruled over human reason.

Times have changed. We mustn’t let these writings and those who advocate them have an authority they don’t deserve. It’s time bibliolatry and theology were replaced with open-mindedness, pragmatic thought, and genuine empathy. The era in which uninformed people blindly believe Christian dogma and bow down to those promoting it should now be over.
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22-03-2014, 11:50 PM
RE: Deception in the early church
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23-03-2014, 08:57 AM
RE: Deception in the early church
(22-03-2014 11:50 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  [Image: 162182__UNOPT__.gif]

Yabbut at least this post deserved to be resurrected.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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23-03-2014, 09:45 AM
RE: Deception in the early church
(23-03-2014 08:57 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  
(22-03-2014 11:50 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  [Image: 162182__UNOPT__.gif]

Yabbut at least this post deserved to be resurrected.

Dude, it was either Ponies or Altered Beast... Tongue

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