Francis Rebuttal #001:
I would like to know when the bible came into exixtance. I am told by a friend recently that the bible was created in the 3rd century during a series of meetings held by the Vatican council. Could you give me some authentic light into this. [sic]
Response to Francis #001:
Your friend is somewhat correct. The canon, as we know it today (66 books), was debated on at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. The Roman Emperor Constantine, who followed the pagan religion Mithraism, convened the Council. Constantine convened the council of bishops because Christians were killing each other over dogma and doctrine. He wanted peace restored to the streets.
Later Constantine converted to Christianity, but he killed his wife and son because they refused to convert.
According to Eusebius, the vote for the current canon was off by 5. Had five bishops voted differently the Bible would be composed of different books. The books that were not voted in are known today as the Apocrypha.
Hope this help.
Francis Rebuttal #002:
Thank you for your reply. I request you to give some clue for the folowing queries.
1. If the Bible and the christianity was accepted by constatnine in 327 AD. How could the christianity survived from persecution and inquisition all these 300 years. [sic]
2. History says, the disciples of christ have gone to the various parts of the world with the message of christ after his death. For example, St. Thomas has come to India and the christain relegion evolved. Similarly christainity has evolved at different parts of the world.
My question is, all these people carried and passed on the same message – of christ, which proves that a single individual Jesus existed, and not a story was given flesh during the council of Nicea.
Response to Francis #001:
FRANCIS:”If the Bible and the christianity was accepted by constantine in 327 AD. How could the christianity survived from persecution and inquisition all these 300 years. [sic]”
Actually, they almost didn’t. If not for Constantine convening the Council of Nicea and later making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire then Christianity would have died and today Mithraism would be the major religion in the world.
Christianity gained its first foothold (remember – they didn’t call themselves Christians until the late 100’s) until 70 CE. In 70 CE the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. This removed the hierarchy of Judaism. Up until this point the Christians were nothing more than a sect of Judaism. The fall of the temple, while starting Christianity on its own, also enabled it to place itself in harm’s way.
Once Christians were unchecked by Judaism they began to expand rapidly – bringing attention to themselves. It is often portrayed that Christians were persecuted because they were Christians, but this is a misnomer. Christians were executed and persecuted not because of who they were – but because of whom they were not. By failing to adopt the official religion of Rome (Mithraism), they were arrested and executed (by many methods) for, in a sense, treason against Caesar and Rome.
Later many Christians were arrested and executed for crimes against other Christians. We have this image of Christians being fed to the lions and this awful persecution, but most of the executions and gladiator-style killings were not because they were Christians – but because they were criminals. They had committed murder against other Christians or were organizing an attempt to overthrow the Roman Empire.
We look back now upon the Roman Empire and her actions against Christians (regardless of reason) as criminal – but even today most Christians embrace the death penalty. How does that make them any better than the Roman Empire for its embracing of the death penalty?
Christianity was a dying religion across the Roman Empire because of its internal conflict and criminal element. Constantine grew tired of the bloodshed and he felt that this internal revolt of Christian versus Christian was destroying the Roman Empire and what she represented. He convened the Council of Nicea in hopes of ending this bloodshed. It helped, but there were still dissentions even after the vote.
The Council of Nicea officially elected the trinity – but many left embracing a Unitarian approach. The Council of Nicea officially made Jesus the Son of God instead of just a prophet – but many left embracing the prophet Jesus instead of the divine Jesus. The Council officially changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday – but many left still celebrating the Sabbath on Saturday – refusing to give up their Judaic roots.
It wasn’t until Constantine converted to Christianity and declared it the official religion of Rome that Christianity’s dogma and doctrine began to congeal. There were at least two more councils convened. The largest was the Council of Trent in 397 CE. However, the influence of Christianity and its internal struggles led to the ultimate fall of Rome. Christianity desolated Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) in a bloody war over dogma and doctrine.
Christianity survived, in mass, because it changed itself – morphed – in order to gain converts. For example, it changed the celebration of Jesus’ birth from April to December. They did this because the pagan religions had huge parties on the Solstice. By moving the celebration of Jesus’ birth to December they were able to compete with the pagan party, effectively being able to say, “We have a big party, too.” Those that continued to celebrate Jesus’ birth in April ultimately became known as April’s fools (now you know where that came from).
By altering doctrine, dogma and holidays Christianity was able to convert people more easily. Of course the sword ultimately became the greatest conversion tool for Christianity – just like the Roman Empire.
Ironically, you can basically say that the founder of modern Christianity is Constantinople – a pagan emperor of Rome.
FRANCIS: “My question is, all these people carried and passed on the same message – of christ, which proves that a single individual Jesus existed, and not a story was given flesh during the council of Nicea. [sic]”
Yes, it is possible that these stories point back to an authentic and historic Jesus. It is equally possible that these shared stories point back to a single person starting a story around a campfire – just as many of modern urban legends are born. Common stories only indicate a common source – but it does not designate a specific source.
The apostles certainly did not carry the same message. There are many contradictions among them. Paul was the first heretic of Christianity because he convoluted and distorted the message of Jesus from earlier sources. Each apostle edited and altered the story to fit their cultural, societal and political makeup at the time.
I think that a man named Yeshua actually existed. There’s no proof of this and no evidence for a historic Jesus. However, every legend has an ounce of truth. For example, there is no evidence that Braveheart existed – but there’s no reason to discount that William Wallace is a total fabrication. Obviously some aspects of the Braveheart legend are bogus and greatly over-exaggerated. Legends are made of .5% truth and 99.5% exaggeration. The same thing can be said of the Jesus legend.
If you really want an interesting read on Jesus – I recommend the Gospel of Thomas. For some reason the writing of Thomas never made it into the Biblical canon.
NOTE: Francis never responded back to me.