How Religious Insanity Begins
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06-03-2012, 07:11 AM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(06-03-2012 02:14 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  
(06-03-2012 02:00 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(05-03-2012 09:54 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  What a fascinating theory. Made all the more interesting that the idea back-fired and brought down the empire a few centuries later.

But while it interests me, I'm not sure how the worship of an imaginary Jesus could stand for worship of the emperor. I'm behind the idea of a government conspiracy, but can't make the logical leap that it could be translated to emperor worship. [/font]

Hi Erxomai. Yeah....I was "blown away" when I read this. I am a bit slow..had to read his book 3x before I got my head around it.

Re the emperor worship idea.....the point is that if you were a "dyed in the wool" Jew, you believed that the messiah would arise soon to defeat the Romans and place the Jews where they thought they belonged....at the top of the world's pecking order (where, in fact, the Romans in real life were). Christianity claimed the messiah had already been and gone, and he wasn't a military leader but a spiritual guru who preached pacifism, so there was no longer a point in dreaming about another war. Titus and the other people in government didn't mind too much that Titus himself wasn't worshipped by Jews....as long as the Jews stopped causing trouble and obeyed the government. They had a laugh amongst themselves by creating "Jesus" as a caricature of Titus.

(05-03-2012 10:40 AM)lucradis Wrote:  Holy shit Mark Fulton.
Didn't know you were still alive man.
How's the book coming along?

Gooday mate! How are you? Thanks for asking. The book just keeps getting re-edited by myself and others. Its bloody hard! Almost done though!

Ah, ok, thank you, Mark. I guess I wasn't thinking it through enough before I responded. It's much clearer now. It could be related to a CIA psy-ops mission to trick the enemy. Actually a pretty damn good idea.

The thought I have that might refute the theory is I would think there would be some sort of Imperial Record that subsequent emperors might have had access to and the idea could have been exposed by later emperors once they saw Christianity becoming a viable threat. But I suppose a case could be made that Constantine, for instance, knew it was a make believe religion, but it was politically expedient to use it to unify his empire.

It also lends credence to all the echoes of previous religions and gods with Jesus powers like Mithras and Horus, etc. If you're going to invent a religion, what better way to do it than to use previous material.

I would imagine there's just not enough evidence, but it is a pretty cool theory to consider.

I hear you about the lack of an imperial record. Shit....wouldn't it be BIG NEWS if there was such a record! I think we must remember that what became Christianity in the fourth century destroyed everything that contradicted what became the conventional story, so there may have been a record from the Flavians that was destroyed.

Atwell claims his next book will link Paul in with this theory. That is going to be an interesting read! A couple of years ago it dawned on me that Paul was probably a Roman government agent. I've since read some stuff that backs up the idea. I'd love to share this with anyone interested, so I will, haha...yes...this is a little cut and paste from my writing...hope it is not too wordy...
Was Christianity a Roman Plot?
There is another fascinating angle to consider. It is probable that Paul’s philosophy was inspired by the need for anti Jewish propaganda, and was instigated by an arm of the Roman government. The fact that belief in the divinity of Jesus arose in many diverse areas of the empire a number of decades after his death suggests to me that it could have originated from a central source, which definitely wasn’t Nazarene.

The inspiration for such a plan would have been to undermine the power of Judaism, and particularly messianic Nazarenism. Jewish zealot extremists promoted the subversive idea that a king of their race would soon govern the world on behalf of God and in place of Caesar. Some gentiles were converting to Judaism. The Roman authorities must have been worried. If they couldn’t pacify the Jews, it would set a dangerous precedent for other races to revolt. They needed to keep control over the valuable trade routes to Asia and Egypt. They must have been thoroughly frustrated at having to use force to suppress Jewish extremists, as it was disruptive, expensive, and taxing on the army. Roman vitriol towards Jews bubbled over when soldiers razed the Temple in 70 CE when there was no real military need to do so. Judaism’s nerve center had to be destroyed.

I think the Roman government promoted its own propaganda that included Paul’s writings and the Gospels. They tried to weaken Judaism from within by infiltrating and diluting it with gentiles. They knew words could be more effective than weapons. A story that the Jewish messiah had already been and gone and was not a political activist, but rather a spiritual intermediary between God and man, suited their agenda nicely. If the idea caught on, there would be no more messiahs and no more revolts. “Blessed are the peacemakers,” “turn the other cheek,” and “love your enemies” meant getting on with Rome. To promote such a story would have been a lot less expensive and less hassle than having to repeatedly use the military.

If there is any truth in this, there could have been many “Pauls” throughout the empire who were working as agents of the Roman government, spreading propaganda. Paul attempted to infiltrate the Nazarenes, undermine them and their messianic message and would have passed information about them on to the Roman authorities. His conversion and his rather novel beliefs would have been his cover and his modus operandi.

It fits with Paul being a Roman citizen who had very dubious Pharisaic credentials.
This would explain how Paul managed to support himself financially.

It fits with a man who was at first in league with the Sadducees, but later preached that the Torah was obsolete and that Christ was not a crucified political dissident but a pro-Roman God risen from the dead.

It explains why Paul repetitively ran into trouble and was physically attacked by Messianic Jews nearly everywhere he went, yet was never attacked by gentiles.
It would also explain why he was treated so well by Roman authorities, despite being labeled as a trouble causer.

It would explain why Paul wrote the following to the Nazarene community in Rome:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:1-7 KJV). These words are from a government agent, not from a Pharisee who has seen the light!

It would fit with the fact the book of Acts states:
“Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul” (Acts 13:1, KJV). So the earliest Christian community at Antioch boasted a probable member of the family of Herod Antipas, the pro-Roman Tetrarch who had murdered John the Baptist! Paul (Saul) was associated with him. There is even the suggestion Paul was closely related to the Herod family of pro-Roman client kings, via Aristobulus, mentioned in Romans chapter 16.

Paul finished off his letter to the Philippians with a salutation: “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household” (Phil. 4:22, KJV). This confirms that Paul had contact with the Emperor Nero’s household!

Paul’s “arrest” by the Romans is not necessarily inconsistent with the fact he was in league with them. Paul was a little out of control and ended up being a source of civil unrest. He had become a diehard dogmatist causing trouble wherever he went. Instead of undermining Judaism, he incited Jews to the point of violence, something Rome didn’t want. The “arrest” was, in fact, for his own protection. He was never treated like a prisoner. Rather, there were significant Roman resources used to protect him.
Five days after his so called arrest in Jerusalem, the High Priest Caiphas and his lawyer Tertellus went to Caesaria and accused Paul of being an insurrectionist:
“Now after five days Ananias the high priest came down with the elders and a certain orator named Tertullus. These gave evidence to the governor against Paul. And when he was called upon, Tertullus began his accusation, saying: “Seeing that through you we enjoy great peace, and prosperity is being brought to this nation by your foresight, we accept it always and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. Nevertheless, not to be tedious to you any further, I beg you to hear, by your courtesy, a few words from us. For we have found this man a plague, a creator of dissension among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. He even tried to profane the temple, and we seized him, and wanted to judge him according to our law. But the commander Lysias came by and with great violence took him out of our hands, commanding his accusers to come to you. By examining him yourself you may ascertain all these things of which we accuse him. And the Jews also assented, maintaining that these things were so.” (Acts 24:1-9). The High Priest was cow tailing to the Romans, falsely claiming Paul was an enemy of Rome. It is ironic that a few years earlier another High Priest had tattled on another suspected ringleader of the Nazarenes, Yeshua, yet he suffered a very different fate to Paul. Paul was a Roman citizen and a useful intelligence asset, so Felix, the Roman governor, was not about to hand him over to the High Priest. Paul, after two years in Caesaria, where he was kept in “safe custody” under the protection of Felix, was eventually packed off to the relative safety of Rome, where he still needed a Roman guard to protect him from the Nazarenes. He was allowed to continue writing his pro government letters there. I suspect his employment was eventually terminated and he was put out to pasture somewhere safe, which may be why we don’t know for sure how or when he met his demise. There were no more letters after his sojourn in Rome. It is said he was tried and executed in Rome, yet there is no evidence for either.

If this propaganda theory is true, Paul was a spy and a massive charlatan, and a cog in the wheel of a very cunning plan. It means Rome created a benign pacifist messiah. Even today, most non-Jews misunderstand what the actual Messianic movement was. This misunderstanding was Rome’s doing.

The government twisted the knife to further wound Judaism by blaming the crucifixion of Jesus on the Jews and making Romans look like the innocent good guys. They then taught that Jesus was a celibate who produced no posterity, just in case his real family caused them future grief. They wanted no more messiahs claiming the right to rule and inciting Jewish peasants to insurrection. The Roman emperors Vespasian, Titus and Domitian sought out members of the “royal house of David” in the late decades of the first century to help make sure this didn’t happen. The government hoped the story of the new idol would convince people that true spirituality and the promise of eternal life were synonymous with getting along with the Roman government. It was the winners that wrote the history.

This would explain why the true identities of all four Gospel authors are unknown. It is ironic that they became the most successful literary enterprises ever undertaken in the history of the world, yet were not based on real history. Christianity solidified the allegiance of superstitious people throughout the Empire to Rome.

In modern times, this is called propaganda or disinformation or psychological warfare. It is fascinating to imagine these subversive tactics as part of the first-century Roman Empire and jaw-dropping to realize the dogma has survived without being exposed for what it is, and is still coloring the way people, and in particular Christians, look at the world.

The reader may well be wondering why, if this is true, it is often claimed the government persecuted Christians. The fact is persecution of Christians was rarely a policy of the state. It may have happened sporadically about one hundred years after Paul was gone, and only if Christians refused to worship the god or gods of the state. By this time the militaristic ambitions of peasant Jews had been finally and definitively crushed in the second Jewish war of 132-5 CE, and there were different agendas on the government’s mind. What is more, many stories of supposed persecutions of Christians by the Roman government are, in fact, now recognized as ninth century fabrications.

It took a lot of reading and thinking before the idea that Christianity could have originated in the government dawned on me, and I was encouraged by discovering that many other commentators had deduced something similar too. Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah” in which they postulate that Paul was “supporting the imperial structure, benefiting from it, cooperating with it, often saved by it. The end product for Rome was exactly what it wanted-a loyal, other –worldly, spiritual movement that was completely divorced from Palestinian revolutionary movements, from Jewish nationalism and from any challenge to Roman imperial authority. Its followers were supposed to pay taxes and be loyal citizens of the emperor.” Robert Eisemann, Peter Cresswell, Joseph Atwell (whose theory about the origin of the gospels I will discuss in chapter 15) and no doubt many other authors have reached similar conclusions.

I hope the reader understands the significance of this. Are the hairs on the back of your neck standing up? They have been on mine. If this is true, Christianity has been the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on humankind.
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06-03-2012, 08:32 AM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
Hey Mark, fascinating theory. There definitely was something funky going on with Paul. His writing focuses so much on a Celestial Being named Christ, but he never once references that Jesus ever lived on earth. Much of what he writes has no connection with, and sometimes contradicts the Gospels. His eschatology definitely contradicts what is found in Revelation.
I'm going to digest this some more. It's really interesting to me, and if you're right, it's monumental. Thanks for sharing!

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06-03-2012, 09:58 AM (This post was last modified: 06-03-2012 10:03 AM by Blood.)
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  There is another fascinating angle to consider. It is probable that Paul’s philosophy was inspired by the need for anti Jewish propaganda, and was instigated by an arm of the Roman government.

I really don't think that the Romans were scared of anyone by the first century, especially not Jews. If they needed anti-Jewish propaganda, they could have just written anti-Jewish propaganda, without the need for some bumbling double agent like Paul of Tarsus and his torturous explanations of being "saved by grace."

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The inspiration for such a plan would have been to undermine the power of Judaism, and particularly messianic Nazarenism. Jewish zealot extremists promoted the subversive idea that a king of their race would soon govern the world on behalf of God and in place of Caesar. Some gentiles were converting to Judaism. The Roman authorities must have been worried.

I doubt it. Self-proclaimed messianic figures were viewed as a joke by the Jews themselves, so I don't know why the Romans would be shaking in their sandals about them.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I think the Roman government promoted its own propaganda that included Paul’s writings and the Gospels. They tried to weaken Judaism from within by infiltrating and diluting it with gentiles.

Jews had been welcoming gentiles into their religion for centuries by that point. So nobody would have noticed or cared about this supposed infiltration.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  It explains why Paul repetitively ran into trouble and was physically attacked by Messianic Jews nearly everywhere he went, yet was never attacked by gentiles.
It would also explain why he was treated so well by Roman authorities, despite being labeled as a trouble causer.

Our only source for this is Acts, which is a fictional comic book adventure story, so this doesn't explain anything.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Paul finished off his letter to the Philippians with a salutation: “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household” (Phil. 4:22, KJV). This confirms that Paul had contact with the Emperor Nero’s household!

None of Paul's letters "confirm" anything historically, except that the church in the second century edited/wrote letters under the name of an evangelist who may or may not have actually existed in the first century.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Paul’s “arrest” by the Romans is not necessarily inconsistent with the fact he was in league with them. Paul was a little out of control and ended up being a source of civil unrest. He had become a diehard dogmatist causing trouble wherever he went. Instead of undermining Judaism, he incited Jews to the point of violence, something Rome didn’t want. The “arrest” was, in fact, for his own protection. He was never treated like a prisoner. Rather, there were significant Roman resources used to protect him.

And our only source for this is a fictional comic book adventure story.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Five days after his so called arrest in Jerusalem, the High Priest Caiphas and his lawyer Tertellus went to Caesaria and accused Paul of being an insurrectionist

And our only source for this is a fictional comic book adventure story.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  If this propaganda theory is true, Paul was a spy and a massive charlatan, and a cog in the wheel of a very cunning plan. It means Rome created a benign pacifist messiah. Even today, most non-Jews misunderstand what the actual Messianic movement was. This misunderstanding was Rome’s doing.

I think it's more likely gentile proselytes within the Levant created Christianity to empower themselves, not Rome. It was they who created a benign pacifist messiah, not for any conspiratorial political reasons, but because it allowed them to steal Judaism wholesale. They were highly desirous of the "scriptures" but didn't want to convert to Judaism, or be subservient to Jews.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  In modern times, this is called propaganda or disinformation or psychological warfare. It is fascinating to imagine these subversive tactics as part of the first-century Roman Empire and jaw-dropping to realize the dogma has survived without being exposed for what it is, and is still coloring the way people, and in particular Christians, look at the world.

Psych warfare it was, but it was psych warfare waged by proselytes against ethnic Jews, Pharisees, Sadducces.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The reader may well be wondering why, if this is true, it is often claimed the government persecuted Christians. The fact is persecution of Christians was rarely a policy of the state. It may have happened sporadically about one hundred years after Paul was gone, and only if Christians refused to worship the god or gods of the state.

If Tacitus is correct, it started under Nero.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I hope the reader understands the significance of this. Are the hairs on the back of your neck standing up? They have been on mine. If this is true, Christianity has been the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on humankind.

Christianity is indeed the biggest fraud ever inflicted on mankind, but nobody planned it to be so. The NT was written by and for a very small group of people -- perhaps less than 10,000. The author of Revelation was being hugely ambitious when he wrote that 144,000 would be righteous enough to enter the Christian heaven.
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06-03-2012, 01:03 PM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
Interesting reading all around, thank you all for sharing! There are some theories here that work on the mind, though I'm not willing to commit myself to them just yet.
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06-03-2012, 01:13 PM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(06-03-2012 01:03 PM)kineo Wrote:  Interesting reading all around, thank you all for sharing! There are some theories here that work on the mind, though I'm not willing to commit myself to them just yet.

I think there could be a great fiction story here that would be as captivating to the masses as The DaVinci Code. Smile

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06-03-2012, 10:18 PM (This post was last modified: 07-03-2012 03:38 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(06-03-2012 09:58 AM)Blood Wrote:  
(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  There is another fascinating angle to consider. It is probable that Paul’s philosophy was inspired by the need for anti Jewish propaganda, and was instigated by an arm of the Roman government.

I really don't think that the Romans were scared of anyone by the first century, especially not Jews. If they needed anti-Jewish propaganda, they could have just written anti-Jewish propaganda, without the need for some bumbling double agent like Paul of Tarsus and his torturous explanations of being "saved by grace."

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The inspiration for such a plan would have been to undermine the power of Judaism, and particularly messianic Nazarenism. Jewish zealot extremists promoted the subversive idea that a king of their race would soon govern the world on behalf of God and in place of Caesar. Some gentiles were converting to Judaism. The Roman authorities must have been worried.

I doubt it. Self-proclaimed messianic figures were viewed as a joke by the Jews themselves, so I don't know why the Romans would be shaking in their sandals about them.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I think the Roman government promoted its own propaganda that included Paul’s writings and the Gospels. They tried to weaken Judaism from within by infiltrating and diluting it with gentiles.

R So nobody would have noticed or cared about this supposed infiltration.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  It explains why Paul repetitively ran into trouble and was physically attacked by Messianic Jews nearly everywhere he went, yet was never attacked by gentiles.
It would also explain why he was treated so well by Roman authorities, despite being labeled as a trouble causer.

Our only source for this is Acts, which is a fictional comic book adventure story, so this doesn't explain anything.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Paul finished off his letter to the Philippians with a salutation: “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household” (Phil. 4:22, KJV). This confirms that Paul had contact with the Emperor Nero’s household!

None of Paul's letters "confirm" anything historically, except that the church in the second century edited/wrote letters under the name of an evangelist who may or may not have actually existed in the first century.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Paul’s “arrest” by the Romans is not necessarily inconsistent with the fact he was in league with them. Paul was a little out of control and ended up being a source of civil unrest. He had become a diehard dogmatist causing trouble wherever he went. Instead of undermining Judaism, he incited Jews to the point of violence, something Rome didn’t want. The “arrest” was, in fact, for his own protection. He was never treated like a prisoner. Rather, there were significant Roman resources used to protect him.

And our only source for this is a fictional comic book adventure story.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Five days after his so called arrest in Jerusalem, the High Priest Caiphas and his lawyer Tertellus went to Caesaria and accused Paul of being an insurrectionist

And our only source for this is a fictional comic book adventure story.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  If this propaganda theory is true, Paul was a spy and a massive charlatan, and a cog in the wheel of a very cunning plan. It means Rome created a benign pacifist messiah. Even today, most non-Jews misunderstand what the actual Messianic movement was. This misunderstanding was Rome’s doing.

I think it's more likely gentile proselytes within the Levant created Christianity to empower themselves, not Rome. It was they who created a benign pacifist messiah, not for any conspiratorial political reasons, but because it allowed them to steal Judaism wholesale. They were highly desirous of the "scriptures" but didn't want to convert to Judaism, or be subservient to Jews.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  In modern times, this is called propaganda or disinformation or psychological warfare. It is fascinating to imagine these subversive tactics as part of the first-century Roman Empire and jaw-dropping to realize the dogma has survived without being exposed for what it is, and is still coloring the way people, and in particular Christians, look at the world.

Psych warfare it was, but it was psych warfare waged by proselytes against ethnic Jews, Pharisees, Sadducces.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  The reader may well be wondering why, if this is true, it is often claimed the government persecuted Christians. The fact is persecution of Christians was rarely a policy of the state. It may have happened sporadically about one hundred years after Paul was gone, and only if Christians refused to worship the god or gods of the state.

If Tacitus is correct, it started under Nero.

(06-03-2012 07:11 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I hope the reader understands the significance of this. Are the hairs on the back of your neck standing up? They have been on mine. If this is true, Christianity has been the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on humankind.

Christianity is indeed the biggest fraud ever inflicted on mankind, but nobody planned it to be so. The NT was written by and for a very small group of people -- perhaps less than 10,000. The author of Revelation was being hugely ambitious when he wrote that 144,000 would be righteous enough to enter the Christian heaven.

Hi Blood, welcome to the forum. I will address your comments in order.

Re Romans being "scared": I didn't actually say they were "scared" of Jews...but, like all governments, they needed to have the people obeying the laws of the land. The Jews had a long history of starting uprisings. Read about Galilee in 4BC, and again in 6AD. Jesus tried to start a war with the Romans circa 30 AD (that's a whole fascinating story in itself). The first Jewish war of 66-70 required 50,000 troops to suppress. Then there was the second Jewish war in 132 -135 CE. Literally millions of Jews died in these wars. All of this was expensive and troubling. Go to Rome (lol), or wikipedia, and have a look at the arch of Titus that celebrated victory over the Jews in the first war. Jewish rebelliousness was a serious issue for Rome.

I agree Paul was bumblibng and pathetic. What part of the bible isn't! There could well have been scores of Paul's. The point is they needed to unrail Judaism from within. Deriding Jews from the sidelines wouldn't work.

I don't agree that self proclaimed messiahs were regarded as a joke. Read about Judas the Galilean (6AD), John the Baptist (read Josephus), Jesus the Nazarene, John of Gischala, Menahem, Eleazar ben Yair, Simon bar Giora, Simon bar Kochba and I could go on. I'm not sure how familiar you are with first and second century Jewish history...if these names don't mean much to you google them and have a read. These wannabe messiahs commanded thousands of Jews. They were the real thing.

Re "Jews had been welcoming gentiles into their religion for centuries by that point."
That is true of many Pharisaic Jews. BUT....the point is Christianity was NOT part of Judaism...it was a heresy.

Re " So nobody would have noticed or cared about this supposed infiltration. " I wonder why you say that? Religion was serious business in those days. Wars were fought over it and hordes of people killed. Have you read the history of the Nazarenes, led by James, Jesus' brother? It was very real for them. It may not, at the time, have been an issue on millions of people's radars, but it certainly has been ever since. Consider the Jewish relatives of 6 million holocaust victims. I think they have an opinion about Christianity's distortion of their scripture. I could go on.

Re gentile levant proselytes. I agree. The real birth of the Christianity monster was in 325 when these power hungry proselytes formalised the doctrine and started to suppress competing cults. I just think the original seed may have been planted by the Flavians. PS Thanks for using the word "levant"....I had never read that until now.

I agree Acts is largely fictional. Yet it is not unreasonable to read it in conjunction with Paul's letters ( which, yes, have been tampered with too) to surmise that there was serious friction between Jews and proto Christians.

Re Tacitus, it is said that in 115 CE, a Roman historian, Tacitus, made the first mention of Jesus. However, this reference is not mentioned by any of the Christian Fathers, and has been shown to be a forgery (although this is not universally accepted.) Possibly, maybe, Nero blamed followers of Jesus (Yeshua) for the great fire of Rome in 68 AD. If that were the case, these people were Nazarenes ie Jewish followers of Yeshua....not Christians. If it happened , it was a one off event, not a policy of the state. There were hundreds of cults in Rome at the time that enjoyed their right to worship. Proto Christians were not persecuted until well into the second century, and then only briefly

Re "Christianity is indeed the biggest fraud ever inflicted on mankind, but nobody planned it to be so." MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm. I'm glad we agree it is a fraud. What about Paul?Constantine? Eusebius? Ambrose? Augustine? I agree that there was no one "Adolf Hitler" type character who created the whole show, but these people and scores of others seriously tried to control everyone and used fraudulent documents to do it.

Re "The NT was written by and for a very small group of people -- perhaps less than 10,000" Gee mate...um....apart from 6 of Paul's letters, we don't know for sure who wrote any of the NT, and dates of composition range from 40 AD to well into the fourth century. I'm not sure how you can claim "it" was written for anybody. I can agree that certain letters seem to be addressed to certain groups, but the letters of the NT were not definitively compiled into an entity until the late fourth century. I would say that the compilers of the books were hoping to proselytise mainly gentiles of the empire....a population of millions. Unfortunately they succeeded LOL.



(06-03-2012 08:32 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  Hey Mark, fascinating theory. There definitely was something funky going on with Paul. His writing focuses so much on a Celestial Being named Christ, but he never once references that Jesus ever lived on earth. Much of what he writes has no connection with, and sometimes contradicts the Gospels. His eschatology definitely contradicts what is found in Revelation.
I'm going to digest this some more. It's really interesting to me, and if you're right, it's monumental. Thanks for sharing!

Hi...when I share I learn...I have learnt from yours and others comments. I totally agree with you about Paul.

I really dislike the Paul dude. I would say he was deluded, anxious, manipulative, misogynistic, homophobic, racist and just....full of shit. I could go on. When you consider how his writings have polluted the world's thinking...its such a shame.

Christians today read him as God's word!
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07-03-2012, 09:28 AM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I agree Paul was bumblibng and pathetic. What part of the bible isn't! There could well have been scores of Paul's. The point is they needed to unrail Judaism from within. Deriding Jews from the sidelines wouldn't work.

Judaism was already splintered. The Romans didn't need a secret agent for that job.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I don't agree that self proclaimed messiahs were regarded as a joke. Read about Judas the Galilean (6AD), John the Baptist (read Josephus), Jesus the Nazarene, John of Gischala, Menahem, Eleazar ben Yair, Simon bar Giora, Simon bar Kochba and I could go on. I'm not sure how familiar you are with first and second century Jewish history...if these names don't mean much to you google them and have a read. These wannabe messiahs commanded thousands of Jews. They were the real thing.

Sure, a few of them were important, but my point was, somebody like Jesus going around Galilee saying, "Look at me, I'm the Messiah!" would probably have been a fairly common thing and therefore not taken too seriously by most people.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re " So nobody would have noticed or cared about this supposed infiltration. " I wonder why you say that? Religion was serious business in those days.

Nobody would have cared because it was so common. Non-ethnic Jews were commonly converted into Judaism. These were the proselytes.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re gentile levant proselytes. I agree. The real birth of the Christianity monster was in 325 when these power hungry proselytes formalised the doctrine and started to suppress competing cults.

Well, by that time they were no longer proselytes. The proselytes I'm referring to are those people in the first century who had converted to Judaism from the outside.
Non-ethnic Jews, who desired possession of Judaism but didn't want to be subservient to the kohens.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I agree Acts is largely fictional. Yet it is not unreasonable to read it in conjunction with Paul's letters ( which, yes, have been tampered with too) to surmise that there was serious friction between Jews and proto Christians.

The problem with Acts is the same problem we have with the rest of the Bible. We have no way to gauge which parts are facts, and which are fiction. Could there be an historical core to some of the people and events described? Yes, but we have no reliable way of determining that. Since the Christians were engaging in wholesale theft of the Jewish religion, it is reasonable to assume that there was friction in some areas. But that is no reason to think that Acts's perspective represents historical reality. We cannot use it as a source for historical reality.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re Tacitus, it is said that in 115 CE, a Roman historian, Tacitus, made the first mention of Jesus. However, this reference is not mentioned by any of the Christian Fathers, and has been shown to be a forgery (although this is not universally accepted.)

There are no forgeries within Tacitus's Annals. His mention of "Chrestus" is accepted as genuine by all, as far as I know.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re "Christianity is indeed the biggest fraud ever inflicted on mankind, but nobody planned it to be so." MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm. I'm glad we agree it is a fraud. What about Paul? Constantine? Eusebius? Ambrose? Augustine? I agree that there was no one "Adolf Hitler" type character who created the whole show, but these people and scores of others seriously tried to control everyone and used fraudulent documents to do it.

Fourth century figures aren't pertinent to the point. We were talking about the origin of Christianity. Nobody in the first century was consciously planning to create a fraud. They didn't need to. Religious ideas saturated their world. They simply created a better religious myth than the other mythmakers.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re "The NT was written by and for a very small group of people -- perhaps less than 10,000" Gee mate...um....apart from 6 of Paul's letters, we don't know for sure who wrote any of the NT, and dates of composition range from 40 AD to well into the fourth century.

We don't actually know that "Paul" wrote any of the letters attributed to him. And I believe that the entire book was published in the second century. Read David Trobisch's "The First Edition of the New Testament."

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I'm not sure how you can claim "it" was written for anybody. I can agree that certain letters seem to be addressed to certain groups, but the letters of the NT were not definitively compiled into an entity until the late fourth century. I would say that the compilers of the books were hoping to proselytise mainly gentiles of the empire....a population of millions. Unfortunately they succeeded LOL.

It was written for Christians, a very small group in the mid-first century, as a legitimization exercise. Jews had "scriptures," so it became necessary in their eyes that, in order to be legit, we too need to have "scriptures."
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07-03-2012, 08:25 PM (This post was last modified: 07-03-2012 08:58 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(07-03-2012 09:28 AM)Blood Wrote:  
(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I agree Paul was bumblibng and pathetic. What part of the bible isn't! There could well have been scores of Paul's. The point is they needed to unrail Judaism from within. Deriding Jews from the sidelines wouldn't work.

Judaism was already splintered. The Romans didn't need a secret agent for that job.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I don't agree that self proclaimed messiahs were regarded as a joke. Read about Judas the Galilean (6AD), John the Baptist (read Josephus), Jesus the Nazarene, John of Gischala, Menahem, Eleazar ben Yair, Simon bar Giora, Simon bar Kochba and I could go on. I'm not sure how familiar you are with first and second century Jewish history...if these names don't mean much to you google them and have a read. These wannabe messiahs commanded thousands of Jews. They were the real thing.

Sure, a few of them were important, but my point was, somebody like Jesus going around Galilee saying, "Look at me, I'm the Messiah!" would probably have been a fairly common thing and therefore not taken too seriously by most people.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re " So nobody would have noticed or cared about this supposed infiltration. " I wonder why you say that? Religion was serious business in those days.

Nobody would have cared because it was so common. Non-ethnic Jews were commonly converted into Judaism. These were the proselytes.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re gentile levant proselytes. I agree. The real birth of the Christianity monster was in 325 when these power hungry proselytes formalised the doctrine and started to suppress competing cults.

Well, by that time they were no longer proselytes. The proselytes I'm referring to are those people in the first century who had converted to Judaism from the outside.
Non-ethnic Jews, who desired possession of Judaism but didn't want to be subservient to the kohens.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I agree Acts is largely fictional. Yet it is not unreasonable to read it in conjunction with Paul's letters ( which, yes, have been tampered with too) to surmise that there was serious friction between Jews and proto Christians.

The problem with Acts is the same problem we have with the rest of the Bible. We have no way to gauge which parts are facts, and which are fiction. Could there be an historical core to some of the people and events described? Yes, but we have no reliable way of determining that. Since the Christians were engaging in wholesale theft of the Jewish religion, it is reasonable to assume that there was friction in some areas. But that is no reason to think that Acts's perspective represents historical reality. We cannot use it as a source for historical reality.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re Tacitus, it is said that in 115 CE, a Roman historian, Tacitus, made the first mention of Jesus. However, this reference is not mentioned by any of the Christian Fathers, and has been shown to be a forgery (although this is not universally accepted.)

There are no forgeries within Tacitus's Annals. His mention of "Chrestus" is accepted as genuine by all, as far as I know.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re "Christianity is indeed the biggest fraud ever inflicted on mankind, but nobody planned it to be so." MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm. I'm glad we agree it is a fraud. What about Paul? Constantine? Eusebius? Ambrose? Augustine? I agree that there was no one "Adolf Hitler" type character who created the whole show, but these people and scores of others seriously tried to control everyone and used fraudulent documents to do it.

Fourth century figures aren't pertinent to the point. We were talking about the origin of Christianity. Nobody in the first century was consciously planning to create a fraud. They didn't need to. Religious ideas saturated their world. They simply created a better religious myth than the other mythmakers.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re "The NT was written by and for a very small group of people -- perhaps less than 10,000" Gee mate...um....apart from 6 of Paul's letters, we don't know for sure who wrote any of the NT, and dates of composition range from 40 AD to well into the fourth century.

We don't actually know that "Paul" wrote any of the letters attributed to him. And I believe that the entire book was published in the second century. Read David Trobisch's "The First Edition of the New Testament."

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I'm not sure how you can claim "it" was written for anybody. I can agree that certain letters seem to be addressed to certain groups, but the letters of the NT were not definitively compiled into an entity until the late fourth century. I would say that the compilers of the books were hoping to proselytise mainly gentiles of the empire....a population of millions. Unfortunately they succeeded LOL.

It was written for Christians, a very small group in the mid-first century, as a legitimization exercise. Jews had "scriptures," so it became necessary in their eyes that, in order to be legit, we too need to have "scriptures."

Hi. Thanks for your comments.

Do you totally dismiss the idea Rome created the gospels? If so maybe if you are interested you could read the books I've mentioned for a fresh perspective? This idea rings true for me, and I've been studying the history for the last 7 years. That doesn't mean I'm "right". No one knows for sure about this.

Yes there were many wannabe messiahs...Josephus mentions at least 10....and some of them would have been "two bit players." The ones I've mentioned weren't.

I agree with you re Acts. Yet, it is there, in the bible, the only"official" history of the early church. For your interest I'll cut and paste my summary of my chapter on "Acts"...here it is...

Summary of Acts
The book of Acts is a work of fiction written by an amateurish, dishonest spin-doctor. This fabricated story in which Christianity inherited the teachings of Yeshua is grossly misleading. Nazarenism was Yeshua’s religion, not Christianity. Paul, not Jesus, was the founder of the novel theology.

I find it condescending that the author of Acts assumed his readers were gullible enough to believe what he wrote. In my opinion Luke’s clumsy attempts to denigrate Judaism and promote Christianity are pathetic. That, of course, is a consequence of my modern perspective, one from which we expect we should be told nothing but the truth. This was not an important priority for many ancient storytellers. Acts was written to buttress and convey belief, and historical truth could be sacrificed in the process.

The casual reader may be wondering whether it matters that Luke indulged in some creative writing. I can’t speak for everyone, but I suspect most modern people resent being lied to, particularly about characters as important as James, Peter and Paul.

What is more, if Luke and Paul hadn’t hived off Christianity from Judaism, and it hadn’t happened some other way, there would have been no Christianity as we know it. The world would be a vastly different place today.





(07-03-2012 09:28 AM)Blood Wrote:  
(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I agree Paul was bumblibng and pathetic. What part of the bible isn't! There could well have been scores of Paul's. The point is they needed to unrail Judaism from within. Deriding Jews from the sidelines wouldn't work.

Judaism was already splintered. The Romans didn't need a secret agent for that job.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I don't agree that self proclaimed messiahs were regarded as a joke. Read about Judas the Galilean (6AD), John the Baptist (read Josephus), Jesus the Nazarene, John of Gischala, Menahem, Eleazar ben Yair, Simon bar Giora, Simon bar Kochba and I could go on. I'm not sure how familiar you are with first and second century Jewish history...if these names don't mean much to you google them and have a read. These wannabe messiahs commanded thousands of Jews. They were the real thing.

Sure, a few of them were important, but my point was, somebody like Jesus going around Galilee saying, "Look at me, I'm the Messiah!" would probably have been a fairly common thing and therefore not taken too seriously by most people.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re " So nobody would have noticed or cared about this supposed infiltration. " I wonder why you say that? Religion was serious business in those days.

Nobody would have cared because it was so common. Non-ethnic Jews were commonly converted into Judaism. These were the proselytes.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re gentile levant proselytes. I agree. The real birth of the Christianity monster was in 325 when these power hungry proselytes formalised the doctrine and started to suppress competing cults.

Well, by that time they were no longer proselytes. The proselytes I'm referring to are those people in the first century who had converted to Judaism from the outside.
Non-ethnic Jews, who desired possession of Judaism but didn't want to be subservient to the kohens.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I agree Acts is largely fictional. Yet it is not unreasonable to read it in conjunction with Paul's letters ( which, yes, have been tampered with too) to surmise that there was serious friction between Jews and proto Christians.

The problem with Acts is the same problem we have with the rest of the Bible. We have no way to gauge which parts are facts, and which are fiction. Could there be an historical core to some of the people and events described? Yes, but we have no reliable way of determining that. Since the Christians were engaging in wholesale theft of the Jewish religion, it is reasonable to assume that there was friction in some areas. But that is no reason to think that Acts's perspective represents historical reality. We cannot use it as a source for historical reality.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re Tacitus, it is said that in 115 CE, a Roman historian, Tacitus, made the first mention of Jesus. However, this reference is not mentioned by any of the Christian Fathers, and has been shown to be a forgery (although this is not universally accepted.)

There are no forgeries within Tacitus's Annals. His mention of "Chrestus" is accepted as genuine by all, as far as I know.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re "Christianity is indeed the biggest fraud ever inflicted on mankind, but nobody planned it to be so." MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmm. I'm glad we agree it is a fraud. What about Paul? Constantine? Eusebius? Ambrose? Augustine? I agree that there was no one "Adolf Hitler" type character who created the whole show, but these people and scores of others seriously tried to control everyone and used fraudulent documents to do it.

Fourth century figures aren't pertinent to the point. We were talking about the origin of Christianity. Nobody in the first century was consciously planning to create a fraud. They didn't need to. Religious ideas saturated their world. They simply created a better religious myth than the other mythmakers.

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Re "The NT was written by and for a very small group of people -- perhaps less than 10,000" Gee mate...um....apart from 6 of Paul's letters, we don't know for sure who wrote any of the NT, and dates of composition range from 40 AD to well into the fourth century.

We don't actually know that "Paul" wrote any of the letters attributed to him. And I believe that the entire book was published in the second century. Read David Trobisch's "The First Edition of the New Testament."

(06-03-2012 10:18 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I'm not sure how you can claim "it" was written for anybody. I can agree that certain letters seem to be addressed to certain groups, but the letters of the NT were not definitively compiled into an entity until the late fourth century. I would say that the compilers of the books were hoping to proselytise mainly gentiles of the empire....a population of millions. Unfortunately they succeeded LOL.

It was written for Christians, a very small group in the mid-first century, as a legitimization exercise. Jews had "scriptures," so it became necessary in their eyes that, in order to be legit, we too need to have "scriptures."

ps I'll discuss more later
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07-03-2012, 09:23 PM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(07-03-2012 08:25 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Do you totally dismiss the idea Rome created the gospels?

No. My opinion is that we cannot dismiss anything regarding the possible origins of Christianity, because we have absolutely no reason at all to regard documents that originated within the church as genuine representations of reality. I haven't read the Roman conspiracy stuff, so I could be completely wrong. But I'm reminded of a truism that goes along the line of, "Never attribute to a conspiracy that which can more easily be explained by gullibility and stupidity."

(07-03-2012 08:25 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I find it condescending that the author of Acts assumed his readers were gullible enough to believe what he wrote. In my opinion Luke’s clumsy attempts to denigrate Judaism and promote Christianity are pathetic.

Agree 100%! If you haven't already, you may wish to read Richard Pervo's book "Profit With Delight," a complete demolition of Acts as a historical source. Great book and highly readable, unlike most biblical scholarship.
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08-03-2012, 10:47 AM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
Wow, point-by-point rebuttals create such an ungodly mess that is difficult on the eyes. Let's just say this, Blood... you have to assume the premise that Paul's letters were historically accurate and true from Paul's point-of-view (as well as the premise that Paul wrote them) in order to accept any of Mark's points. But I think this premise was left unstated because, frankly, who gives a shit about what anyone has to say about Paul and his views on Christ if you don't already accept these premises?

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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