- Published on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 22:06
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 19299
My favourite book on the History of Christianity (and other religions) was written by William Hopper and was called The Heathen's Guide to World Religions. William Hopper had two talents (probably more - but two are relevant): he was a humourist and he had an extensive education in Comparative Religions. I would like his book to be read by everyone but it is a book and as such too big to put on line - besides, he wants to sell his book! Instead, this article summarizes what I think is a key section - and before you dismiss it as fantasy, there are others who have said much the same thing so it has not been invented. I challenge anyone to dispute the facts given here.
So I'll summarize in bullet form to keep it as short as possible.
- Constantine was a well liked successful Emperor of Rome from 306 to 337 AD.
- Constantine was a worshipper of Apollo - not a Christian - but his mother, Helena, was a Christian. Therefore he did not want to kill Christians since she would be either be dead or hate him for it
- Constantine used the Christian Symbol (the cross) in battle and won. (I guess it scared the other guys). He therefore paid homage to the particular god who had helped him - just like any follower of Apollo would.
- Constantine set up the image of Jesus as being similar to the image of Apollo at the time - a beautiful male figure wrapped in white robes and looking very loving and wise. Unfortunately for Christians, there was one credible genuine historian at the time of Jesus (Josephus) who described Jesus as follows:
At this time, too, there appeared a certain man of magical power, if it is permissible to call him man, whom certain Greeks call a son of God, but his disciples the true prophet said to raise the dead and heal all diseases. His nature and form were human; a man of simple appearance, mature dark skin, small stature, three cubits high (about five feet) hunchbacked, with a long face, long nose and meeting eyebrows, so that they who see him might be affrighted, scanty hair with a parting in the middle of his head, after the manner of the Nairites, and an undeveloped beard.
And to quote Hopper:
This description was edited by Christians in the fourth century to read as follows:
" ... Ruddy skin, medium stature, six feet high, well grown with a venerable face, handsome nose, goodly black eyebrows with good eyes so that the spectators could love him, with curly hair the color of unripe hazelnuts, with a smooth and unruffled, unmarked and unwrinkled forehead, a lovely red, blue eyes, beautiful mouth, with a copious beard the same color as the hair, not long, parted in the middle, arms and hands full of grace ... "
If you read anything else by Josephus, you'll understand the guy would never write anything this flattering about anyone. (Both of these passages are quoted directly from A Criminal History of Mankind by Colin Wilson, pages 215 and 216.)
Do not accept my word. Look it up. You'll find a really good translation of this description in a book titled The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist, by Robert Eisler. Also, read the original Josephus. Any copy will do, but as Eisler explains in his book, the early Christians doctored some (though not all) of the copies of Josephus's works. The original text is still readily available. You'll know you have the undoctored version if Jesus' description reads more like someone you'd see at Halloween than at Christmas.
This illustrates that early Christians were not at all averse to changing texts to suit.
- In Constantine's time, there was no such thing as the Church. No pope, no central authority and no bible. But there were a bunch of Christian Sects that disagreed with each other. The Roman and Greek sects said Jesus was divine but not the others who said he was a teacher and prophet (like Mohammed said later). So Constantine called the Council of Nicea. It was called the Ecumenical council which simply meant Council of the inhabited world. The goal was to have a single religion that did not contradict Constantine's right to be Emperor. The proceedings were recorded in detail and these documents are available today.
- The first item to be decided was whether Jesus was divine like Constantine believed. Everyone agreed that he was (since they knew that the Emperor wanted that) but two bishops (Arius and Marcius) disagreed quite eloquently and logically. After some debate, they were declared heretics and beheaded on the council floor. That effectively stopped disagreement. (These days the pope just excommunicates anyone who disagrees. That is, he condemns them to hell.)
- The texts brought to the council were then selected so that only those that agreed with the pre-conceived notions were "approved" - thus was born the bible. Many texts were destroyed and banned. To disagree risked being beheaded.
- However, in the 1800's, some buried texts (the Gnostic texts) were discovered that included many of these banned versions. The discovered texts included:
The Gospel of Mary
The Gospel of Thomas
The Gospel of Philip
The Act of Peter
And many more. That's where the stories of Mary Magdelene as Jesus's "wife" come from.
So the bible is a compilation of texts selected to agree with the line wanted by the "Power of the time" and conveniently supported what he wanted to hear. There is no support for consistency of the story or any reason why it should be believed. It is simply ridiculous to talk about it as anything more than a good book of myths in the same way that stories on Greek god myths are entertaining.
Addendum: For a longer more detailed account of Constantine and how he created the bible, go here.