Rich wrote:Large parts of the Gospel story were fabricated for the sake of political considerations.
One of the fun things about this is that, ultimately, there isn't much proof either way, and it seems a lot zanier to argue that there was a conspiracy about the Gospels going back to the 1st century in order to manipulate everything,
and that the Apostles carried identical messages that would get themselves killed in order to manipulate people with their own fabricated story to do things that they would never see.
What sort of things did they want them to do to take advantage of them after their death? Who knows. Their gains are not monetary or material, what are they? They did not even have a power structure in place that could be exploited by anyone they knew.
The New Testament argues that Christians are the true Jews and are hence entitled to the same privileges as Jews, not having to take party in Emperor worship and other state mandated rituals. But at the same time the Gospels tell us that Christians are nothing like those nasty Jews that revolted against the Roman empire. The Christians have a new covenant with God which voids the previous covenant the Jews had. The implication is clear, Christians should receive a new covenant with the Roman empire and the their old covenant with the Jews has been voided. Failing to make libations and offerings to the Emperor could be punishable by death. It would be like someone saying that they didn't think much of the five year plan under Stalin. Stalin it should be noted, admitted to his mother that he was a kind of Tsar, the Russian word for Caesar.
This is a total perversion of the Christian position.
Christians did not want to offer sacrifices to false gods, just like Jews; Jews had the right to not offer these, and the Christians also
wanted this right. As Wikipedia
Decius' edict was intended to act as an Empire-wide loyalty oath to the new emperor (who had come to power in 249 AD), sanctified through the Roman religion. There is no evidence that Decius sought to specifically target Christianity or initiate a persecution of its practitioners. Jews had been specifically exempted, demonstrating Decius' tolerance of other religions. Nevertheless, Christians were not similarly exempted, apparently because they were not considered to be a religion. Christian monotheistic beliefs did not allow them to worship any other gods, so they were forced to choose between their religious beliefs and following the law, the first time this had occurred.
Julius Caesar had formulated a policy of allowing Jews to follow their traditional religious practices, a policy which was followed, and extended, by Augustus. This gave Judaism the status of a religio licita (permitted religion) throughout the Empire. Roman authorities respected tradition in religion and the Jews were following the beliefs and practices of their ancestors. It was well understood that Jews would not perform sacrifices to the Roman gods or burn incense before an image of the Emperor. In contrast, the Christians were a new phenomenon, and one that did not seem like a religion to Roman authorities at all; both the earliest extant Roman references to Christianity, Pliny the Younger and Tacitus in his Annals about 116, refer to Christianity as superstitio, excessive and non-traditional religiosity that was socially disruptive. Christians had abandoned the religion of their forefathers, and were seeking to convert others, which seemed dangerous to the Romans; refusal to sacrifice for the Emperor's well-being appeared seditious.
Do you have some first hand sources which talk about Christians attempting to remove the Jewish exemption to this? Isn't it far more feasible that Christians were actually just a persecuted minority?
Are you blaming the victims, now, Rich? II.
New Covenant is correct, though. Hebrews 8:13 talks about how the Jewish covenant is now irrelevant. There is also this awesome fire from John 8:
34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.[b]”
39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41 You are doing the works of your own father.”
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
But there is no command for us to harm anyone.
We simply believe the Jewish covenant is completely resolved, and these people are not the sons of Abraham in a meaningful sense, rather, anyone who does the will of God, whether they are of African or Asian or European or Hebrew descent, is a son of Abraham.
But I am sure someone will say that it is "Anti-Semitic" to say that all people who follow God are children of God,
but it is perfectly fine to say that only ethnic Jews who follow God are sons of Abraham.
Paul invented the idea that Jesus was crucified. Crucifixion was a very painful death, but the key thing for Paul was the humiliation. There were no loin cloths in crucifixion. Paul was a homosexual, who hence could not keep to the Jewish law. Creating the Sadomasochistic homosexual fantasy of crucifixion allowed him to spiritualise his shameful homosexuality as a form of religious purity. Paul's Jesus like the proto Christians that preceded him did not believe Jesus had ever been on earth. Paul's Jesus was crucified by demons in the lower heavens in ignorance of who he was. Later as Jesus became euhemerised it was natural to imagine or presume that he been executed by the Romans. Later still Christians became uncomfortable about the implications of this so invented the story about Judah / Judas and the perfidy of the Jews.
So the Gospels are all wrong, and St. Paul completely created this story out of thin air because he was gay?
There can be zero actual evidence of this, but it might be interesting to see the mental gymnastics you went through to read that far into the texts and jump to this conclusion.
The Gospels are late. There had already been a long and complex story evolution. Take the feeding of the four and five thousand. Someone invented a story of mass feeding. That story got written down in 2 different versions. Because of the ancients tendency to venerate the written word, it was presumed that the 2 versions must refer to 2 separate events, when the historical truth is that there were no feedings, no loaves, no fish, no boats, no Judas and no Jesus. There was a man called Pontius Pilate, but the Gospels have zero information to give us about him.
"None of this ever happened, there is no proof of it... but, remember, Paul is gay, and he made up the crucifixion story."
So, you think hundreds of people in Israel made up a story about Jesus, dedicated their lives to travelign the world and spreading it, and faced death and torture because it'd be a good gag..? Because that is all it could have been, heed you. Nobody got rich off of this story. They were imprisoned, exiled, reviled, etc., by the Jews first, and the gentile authorities second.