Why Did They Invent Christianity?

I’m trying to put together the big picture for the idea that the Jesus story was a noble lie:

  1. Love seems to be a central theme of early Christianity.
    Paul wrote
    – 8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not give false testimony, You shall not covet," and if there are any other commandments, are summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love works no evil to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
    Mark seems to echo the commandment of love as we find it in Paul:
    – The Great Commandment: 28 One of the scribes came and heard them reasoning together. Perceiving that Jesus had answered them well, he asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?" 29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 30 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28-31)
    (2) The problem of trying to create a benevolent, just society was that the Christians believed the central feature of that society, the Temple, was corrupt. Mark has Jesus say: “17Then He began to teach them and declare, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’" (Mark 11:17). Jesus and his atoning death that effectively rendered useless the temple cult “coincidentally" emerged at just the time in history when a big problem for the Jews was, as Lataster says, the “inaccessibility caused by the temple being controlled by the Roman-loving Temple cult. One noteworthy example would be the more ‘progressive’ Pharisees, what with their synagogues and Old Torah, who had less need for the Temple; likewise the Essenes who thought the Temple leadership so corrupt that they developed and performed their own religious rituals elsewhere. (Lataster, Jesus Did Not Exist, 223-224)."
    (3) To rectify this problem, the first Christians invented a story of an atoning Christ, keeping the philosophy of love paramount, but substituting the temple cult with, to use Paul’s words, a simple and pure (2 Cor 11:3-5) faith in Christ.

Carrier agrees on this point. He writes:
‘A better question is “Why did they invent the idea that the messiah got crucified?" Because they needed one, is the mythicist answer. It accomplished what they needed: the elimination of dependence on the Jewish temple cult and its Jewish leadership. It also created a plausible Jewish variant of a massively popular fashion among salvation cults at the time.’ http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/10134

Doesn’t the apostle Paul seem to suggest mythicism when he says, in large part, what makes him an apostle is that he has “seen" Christ (“Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? – 1 Corinthians 9:1), perhaps suggesting it was a rare thing to have seen Christ (because Jesus was not a popular faith healer who had an earthly ministry, but rather was a mythical being)?
Lataster picks up on this too when he writes: “Paul outright says this, effectively claiming that Christians only know about Jesus because of chosen ones like himself (Lataster, JDNE, 245)." Lataster cites in support of that contention the following passage from Paul:
14How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!" (Romans 10:14-15).

Much ado about nothing, no matter you fancy up the language. They might as well be talking about Harry Potter. Fiction is still fiction.

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Carrier agrees on this point. He writes: ‘A better question is “Why did they invent the idea that the messiah got crucified?" Because they needed one, is the mythicist answer. It accomplished what they needed: the elimination of dependence on the Jewish temple cult and its Jewish leadership. It also created a plausible Jewish variant of a massively popular fashion among salvation cults at the time.’ http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/10134
1. The scriptures taught both the crucifixion (Psalm 22, quoted by Christ while hanging on the cross), and the RESURRECTION, centuries before Christ. 2. The Gospels were written before AD 70, and quoted Christ as saying, in or around AD 30, that within that "generation" (that was a 40-year period), the temple in Jerusalem would be utterly ruined, and so it was, by Titus and the Romans. In AD 70.
Doesn’t the apostle Paul seem to suggest mythicism when he says, in large part, what makes him an apostle is that he has “seen" Christ (“Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? – 1 Corinthians 9:1), perhaps suggesting it was a rare thing to have seen Christ (because Jesus was not a popular faith healer who had an earthly ministry, but rather was a mythical being)? Lataster picks up on this too when he writes: “Paul outright says this, effectively claiming that Christians only know about Jesus because of chosen ones like himself (Lataster, JDNE, 245)." Lataster cites in support of that contention the following passage from Paul: 14How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!" (Romans 10:14-15).
I don't get it. Were they supposed to watch Christ rise from the dead on youtube or something?
Fiction is still fiction.
Indeed. And that's what this is all about; namely, did Christ rise from the dead, or not? Fiction, or nonfiction? Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians boldly that if the RESURRECTION is made up, then the whole Christian faith is a worthless sham. He and the rest of the Apostles were certainly "all-in," and "doubled-down." They were even given the death penalty over it. Zero reports of Apostles recanting their testimony.
Fiction is still fiction.
Indeed. And that's what this is all about; namely, did Christ rise from the dead, or not? Fiction, or nonfiction? Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians boldly that if the RESURRECTION is made up, then the whole Christian faith is a worthless sham. He and the rest of the Apostles were certainly "all-in," and "doubled-down." They were even given the death penalty over it. Zero reports of Apostles recanting their testimony. You're a little too quick to accept the company line there my friend
You're a little too quick to accept the company line there my friend
OK, which part? The part about the multiple executions of Apostles?
You're a little too quick to accept the company line there my friend
OK, which part? The part about the multiple executions of Apostles? Yeah, that part. Candida Moss wrote a book about that.] I'm sure people did die for what they believed, but that doesn't prove anything. And really, zero reports? Are you sure about that?
You're a little too quick to accept the company line there my friend
OK, which part? The part about the multiple executions of Apostles? Yeah, that part. Candida Moss wrote a book about that.] I'm sure people did die for what they believed, but that doesn't prove anything. And really, zero reports? Are you sure about that?I didn't say it proved anything. But that there were multiple executions of Apostles is a fact of history. Yes, zero reports. Do you know of one? Or any? If the RESURRECTION is nonfiction, what might you expect to have happened, that didn't?
You're a little too quick to accept the company line there my friend
OK, which part? The part about the multiple executions of Apostles? Yeah, that part. Candida Moss wrote a book about that.] I'm sure people did die for what they believed, but that doesn't prove anything. And really, zero reports? Are you sure about that?I didn't say it proved anything. But that there were multiple executions of Apostles is a fact of history. Yes, zero reports. Do you know of one? Or any? If the RESURRECTION is nonfiction, what might you expect to have happened, that didn't?Again, you're just treating stuff you read in the bible as if it had any relevance at all. A bunch of ignorant people made up stories to help them get through the day. And their days were tough compared to ours. Over time the stories changed, the main character changed, and the rest is history. Doesn't matter if someone thought there was a ressurection or not. There's no such thing. And pretend it happened today. Even today no one would believe it unless there was video evidence from multiple sources, hundreds of verified eye witness reports, and so on. Short of that, and what you read in the bible is 110% short of that, then it's just a bunch of stories. Doctor it up however you like with fancy terms and whatnot, makes no difference.
you're just treating stuff you read in the bible
The multiple executions of the Apostles and non-Apostle Church bishops are not in the Christian Bible, but are recorded elsewhere, even in non-Christian sources. The execution of James the Just for instance is recorded by Josephus, far from a Christian source.
as if it had any relevance at all. A bunch of ignorant people made up stories to help them get through the day. And their days were tough compared to ours. Over time the stories changed, the main character changed, and the rest is history. Doesn't matter if someone thought there was a ressurection or not. There's no such thing. And pretend it happened today. Even today no one would believe it unless there was video evidence from multiple sources, hundreds of verified eye witness reports, and so on. Short of that, and what you read in the bible is 110% short of that, then it's just a bunch of stories. Doctor it up however you like with fancy terms and whatnot, makes no difference.
So, given that there was no such thing as "video evidence" in or around AD 30, what would you accept as proof of the RESURRECTION? And why would anybody go to their doom, versus recanting something they knew to be a falsehood? I'm not saying it proves anything, but what would you expect to occur if it were made up? And conversely, what would you expect if the RESURRECTION is nonfiction?
you're just treating stuff you read in the bible
The multiple executions of the Apostles and non-Apostle Church bishops are not in the Christian Bible, but are recorded elsewhere, even in non-Christian sources. The execution of James the Just for instance is recorded by Josephus, far from a Christian source.
as if it had any relevance at all. A bunch of ignorant people made up stories to help them get through the day. And their days were tough compared to ours. Over time the stories changed, the main character changed, and the rest is history. Doesn't matter if someone thought there was a ressurection or not. There's no such thing. And pretend it happened today. Even today no one would believe it unless there was video evidence from multiple sources, hundreds of verified eye witness reports, and so on. Short of that, and what you read in the bible is 110% short of that, then it's just a bunch of stories. Doctor it up however you like with fancy terms and whatnot, makes no difference.
So, given that there was no such thing as "video evidence" in or around AD 30, what would you accept as proof of the RESURRECTION? And why would anybody go to their doom, versus recanting something they knew to be a falsehood? I'm not saying it proves anything, but what would you expect to occur if it were made up? And conversely, what would you expect if the RESURRECTION is nonfiction?Josephus as corroboration is pretty weak. Valuable yes, but ultimately weak because he's just relaying stories he heard as well. It's the old Telephone experiment plain and simple. As for proof of resurrection, there's no such thing because the notion of ressurection itself is a loaded word. The best you could ever hope to prove is that a person levitated to a certain height. They could even have levitated into the clouds. All that means is some very odd physical event occurred. Says nothing about there being a heaven to be resurrected to, there being a god, Jesus being divine, etc. For all we know, some "ancient alien" could have beamed Jesus up Star Trek style out of view from below and whisked him away because he was a nice guy. That in itself would be hard to prove.
You're a little too quick to accept the company line there my friend
OK, which part? The part about the multiple executions of Apostles? Yeah, that part. Candida Moss wrote a book about that.] I'm sure people did die for what they believed, but that doesn't prove anything. And really, zero reports? Are you sure about that?I didn't say it proved anything. But that there were multiple executions of Apostles is a fact of history. Yes, zero reports. Do you know of one? Or any? If the RESURRECTION is nonfiction, what might you expect to have happened, that didn't? No, but I don't know much about the apostles at all. So what they DIDN'T do really doesn't add anything to my lack of knowledge. I have no reports of them smelling bad either, but I'm not going to make claims about them having excellent bathing habits. Here's what Robert Price had to say about it.] If you are really into it, you should read Richard Carrier's "On the Historicity of Jesus". It needs some good peer review. I'd love to hear your opinion. He looks at all other god sacrifices in history and how they have been proven untrue as well as lots of other claims, and concludes it is unlikely Jesus existed at all.
Josephus as corroboration is pretty weak.
All I'm saying is that Josephus reported that James the Just was executed, and that, for his witness to the RESURRECTION. I don't rely upon Josephus for anything more than that.
Valuable yes, but ultimately weak because he's just relaying stories he heard as well. It's the old Telephone experiment plain and simple. As for proof of resurrection, there's no such thing because the notion of ressurection itself is a loaded word.
Well then let's unload it. The RESURRECTION means that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and then rose from the dead.
The best you could ever hope to prove is that a person levitated to a certain height. They could even have levitated into the clouds. All that means is some very odd physical event occurred. Says nothing about there being a heaven to be resurrected to, there being a god, Jesus being divine, etc. For all we know, some "ancient alien" could have beamed Jesus up Star Trek style out of view from below and whisked him away because he was a nice guy. That in itself would be hard to prove.
You're jumping the gun, talking about the Ascension. All I'm talking about is His RESURRECTION.
Josephus as corroboration is pretty weak.
All I'm saying is that Josephus reported that James the Just was executed, and that, for his witness to the RESURRECTION. I don't rely upon Josephus for anything more than that.
Valuable yes, but ultimately weak because he's just relaying stories he heard as well. It's the old Telephone experiment plain and simple. As for proof of resurrection, there's no such thing because the notion of ressurection itself is a loaded word.
Well then let's unload it. The RESURRECTION means that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and then rose from the dead.
The best you could ever hope to prove is that a person levitated to a certain height. They could even have levitated into the clouds. All that means is some very odd physical event occurred. Says nothing about there being a heaven to be resurrected to, there being a god, Jesus being divine, etc. For all we know, some "ancient alien" could have beamed Jesus up Star Trek style out of view from below and whisked him away because he was a nice guy. That in itself would be hard to prove.
You're jumping the gun, talking about the Ascension. All I'm talking about is His RESURRECTION. Nihilo there is no evidence to support that this event occurred. The title if the thresd gives it away. All religion is made up. Man made mythologies has gived us religion
RESURRECTION. . . RESURRECTION . . . RESURRECTION.
Nihilo there is no evidence to support that this event occurred. The title if the thresd gives it away. All religion is made up. Man made mythologies has gived us religionImagine it did happen, two thousand years ago. How would we know?
Much ado about nothing, no matter you fancy up the language. They might as well be talking about Harry Potter. Fiction is still fiction.
Prove it. You made a claim. Now prove it. This is the exact same challenge we present to theists. If you walk away from the challenge of at least trying to prove your own claim, you become a heretic to your own chosen methodology. Remember, we aren't talking here about the other fellow's claim. That's his problem, his burden. We're talking about YOUR CLAIM. And that's your burden. So your response should not include anything about why the other fellow is wrong. As example, a theist can't prove their case merely by endlessly repeating that atheism is wrong. They have to prove their own claim independently of anything atheists may be thinking or saying. If there were no atheists anywhere in the world, that would not lift the theist's burden. The burden arises out of the claim itself, and not from anything or anybody else. So, prove your claim that, say, the divinity of Jesus is fiction. If you are going to reference lack of evidence and so on, then please first prove that your chosen authority of human reason is qualified to address issues which may be outside the laws of nature (ie. divinity). If you attempt to meet this challenge in an intellectually honest manner which respects the processes of reason to which you apparently give your loyalty, you will soon see the burden is impossible to meet, and thus your atheism will collapse like the teetering house of cards that it is. Will that make you religious? No. It will make you a person of reason. It will convert you to your own chosen methodology.