The Jesus Conspiracy

For centuries, early Christians were fiercely divided They could not agree on the very nature of Jesus himself

Was he supernatural God, or a man of flesh and blood? Over the centuries, several major councils of bishops debated this, and by the early 5th century the Church agreed that Jesus was both a man and God, and that the four gospels of the New Testament were the true accounts of His life and deeds But why were just those four gospels chosen over others? Outside the Bible, can we prove Jesus existed? And if he didn’t exist, who created his story, and why? In 1999, Dorothy Murdock argued that Jesus Christ never existed She and authors like Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy say the story of Jesus is similar to older myths in Roman, Greek, Egyptian and other cultures Jesus is just another folk hero She was far from the first to say this

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In the 1970s and 80s, Professor George Wells observed that the New Testament gospels were written decades after Jesus’ lifetime by people who, as far as we can prove, did not know him Christopher Hitchens noted that there is no Roman record of Jesus’ crucifixion, and the Roman census that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem never took place The Bible alone cannot prove Jesus’ existence, because it is a theological text The Bible’s account needs to be corroborated by other, independent sources But in the 1840s, philosopher Bruno Bauer said there are no other historical sources that match the Bible story

He therefore concluded that Jesus did not exist at all Numerous other gospels are known to have existed Commonly called Gnostic Gospels, these texts were rejected by the early Church They typically portrayed a much more human Jesus A man who was very wise, but not divine

We only know what some of them said because of lucky discoveries of badly decayed scrolls hidden in the desert and caves People who followed Gnostic teachings were labeled heretics, because they did not support the teachings of the early Church And when Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in the early 4th century, these heretics went against the authority of Rome, too According to Dorothy Murdock, these alternative gospels were systematically destroyed in the 4th century upon the orders of Emperor Constantine In AD 325 he convened the First Council of Nicea, where it was finally decreed that Jesus was both God and man, part of the Holy Trinity

Murdock says that with the Council of Nicea, Constantine was really establishing a new, standardised faith system that taught all other religions and denominations were heresy He was joining the Roman Empire with the Christian Empire And Jesus is a pacifying figure, teaching us to turn the other cheek and pay taxes to Caesar By destroying the old religions and the many, many pagan deities and replacing them with one all-powerful God, Murdock says Constantine was implementing a new form of control over the poor, and the world Since then, Christianity became the controlling force of rulers all over the world

In medieval times the Pope wielded more power than kings Even modern governments that are ostensibly secular base their laws on older Christian systems Consequently, Christianity has determined the course of history Yet the vast majority of scholars agree that Jesus did exist And there are independent, non-Christian sources that support this

The Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius mention him, as does the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus All of them were writing within a century of Jesus’ death However, the only thing modern historians can really agree is that Jesus was baptised by John The Baptist, and that he was crucified by Pontius Pilate Besides those two facts, scholars of all creeds cannot prove anything else the Bible says about Jesus As a result, Christopher Hitchens and Professor Wells believed that there was a real man called Jesus, who may have preached wise and radical words in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago

But everytdhing else – the miracles, the resurrection, the Holy Trinity – is a fabrication A collection of myths attached to a real man either by mistake, or to deliberately create a new religion Academics criticise Dorothy Murdock’s work as unsubstantiated speculation It’s a nice idea, but with worse evidence and more factual errors than the proof for Jesus’ existence The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are widely believed to have been written within 50 years of Jesus’ death

And it is beyond doubt that most Christians believed Jesus was the Son of God within the first 100 years Meanwhile, the Gnostic Gospels that portray a more human Jesus were written in the 3rd century AD, much later than the New Testament gospels So when Constantine convened councils in the 4th century, he was simply codifying what Christians had already believed for hundreds of years Dorothy Murdock died on the 25th December 2015 Whether or not you believe her theories, is really a matter of faith

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