Poking into Christianity reveals a hundred inconsistencies, frauds, mealy-mouthed excuses, dumbfounding lies – and unveils an imperial religion that easily leaves spirituality in the dust. Spirituality is yours to reclaim, but I recommend unbuckling it from people who want to control your mind for their purposes. Sounds heavy, and I guess it is. So, let’s get on with the list, and you’ll decide whether to do the deeper reading.
1. The gospels were written 40 to 70 years (or more) after the death of the character of Jesus or Yeshua that they describe. Nothing appears anywhere before that. This new revision of Judaism only shows up after the destruction of Jewish identity in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Jews and the destruction of their mother Temple in Jerusalem, after which they were made slaves of the empire. In other words, when the old guard had been vanquished, the outliers had room to recreate a new kind of Judaism that did NOT make enemies of the Roman Empire.
2. The first three gospels are all copies of the first, which was so bad it was put in second place (Mark), and the second written (Matthew), which is a nicely touched-up version of Mark, was put in first. The third, Luke, is ‘gentrified’ and written ‘pretty’ for the non-Jews. The Fourth, “John,” is a strange, mystical, apocalyptic blend of Jewish doomsday prophesying and Greek-Hebrew mystic spirituality, called “Gnosticism.” The “Holy Spirit” or “Logos” in the fourth, mystical, drug-induced gospel reads precisely like “Gnosticism,” with its emphasis not on the manifested, miserable s.o.b. YHWH (Yahweh) of the old testament (Torah), but instead on the transcendent and ephemeral nature of “spirit.” (Many progressive or complexly-thinking, non-literalist Christians today favor this view, perhaps without realizing it.)
Scholars believe* that the first gospel written (Mark), was also a copy (or reinterpretation) of previously collected stories that had been floating around in the gnostic and messianic-seeking communities (Messiahs were people ‘prophesied’ to throw out the Roman oppressor in Judea – there were many Messiahs in that era, and, in fact, many “Jesuses” or Yeshuas.)
*(“Scholars believe” means that it’s generally accepted without much controversy from either side.)
– What happens in Nazareth…stays in Nazareth.
3. The was no “Nazareth.” This was a misreading of the word Notzri, which was a description of a spiritual seeker or someone in a mystery cult, like one of the “Gnostics,” whose devotions favored a concept of transcendence from the physical realm, rather than slavish devotion to it. So, Yeshua was never “From Nazareth;” the description was of someone who was a Nazarene (Nozerim, Notzri) – a spiritualist; someone in a Gnostic sect. The town that exists today called “Nazareth” was built where early church fathers hoped the misprinted non-place should be, but wasn’t. Today’s Nazareth is perhaps the first fully-functional Biblical tourist resort.
4. Fraud: Many church documents have been down-graded over the years; many letters, many pieces of wood, nails, linens, bones, body parts and broken things from lives long past, which were once claimed to be evidence of the true history of the stories of Jesus and the many saints that followed have slowly but sorely fallen by the wayside, as they’ve been revealed, through the patient work of analysts fighting a religion, to be fraudulent, or as the church gingerly puts it: “inauthentic.”
The volume of “inauthentic” but once “true” ephemera could fill a museum; and probably does.
– Dinner with Mithras
5. Sister religions: Throughout the long history of the church, Christian scholars have revealed a great volume about the borrowings of Christianity from its cousin and sister religions in the ancient world. Some of the harshest, most vehement criticisms of the filigree and minutia of the church have come from the inside, from the disillusioned once true-believers who ‘lost their faith’ due to a preponderance of contrary evidence to the stories they were teaching.
That said, it has been the students and teachers of world religion and comparative mythology who have made the deepest revisions to the fable that Christianity was the ‘one true faith,’ or that any of its stories were original. It is, in fact, one in an endless line of dying-and-rising God-man mythologies, whose value relates to the solar cycle; to the ascent to a higher spiritual or psychological plain; to the harvest and the dying of the sun in winter, and its rebirth in spring.
What we got stuck with was the greedy fingers of the Roman Empire, which infused the Gnostic vision with a rattling coin box, and who revivified the cruel teeth of Leviticus into our world, so we’d never quite feel okay just being human…
Liam Scheff is author of “Official Stories,” drilling to the core of the gooey religious center of science.