Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Most people would be shocked to learn how little is actually known about Jesus.

Note: This story was co-authored with David Fitzgerald, author of “Jesus: Mything in Action.”

Before the European Enlightenment, virtually all New Testament experts assumed that handed-down stories about Jesus were first recorded by eye witnesses and were largely biographical. That is no longer the case.

Assuming that the Jesus stories had their beginnings in one single person rather than a composite of several—or even in mythology itself—he probably was a wandering Jewish teacher in Roman-occupied Judea who offended the authorities and was executed. Beyond that, any knowledge about the figure at the center of the Christian religion is remarkably open to debate (and vigorously debated among relevant scholars).

Where was Jesus born? Did he actually have twelve disciples? Do we know with certainty anything he said or did?

The more sophisticated antiquities scholarship becomes, the more it becomes clear that the origins of Christianity are controversial, convoluted, and not very coherent.

1. The more we know the less we know for sure. After centuries in which the gospel stories about Jesus were taken as gospel truth, the Enlightenment gave birth to a new breed of biblical historians. Most people have heard that Thomas Jefferson secretly took a pair of scissors to the Bible, keeping only the parts he thought were historical. His version of the New Testament is still available today. Jefferson’s snipping was a crude early attempt to address a problem recognized by many educated men of his time: It had become clear that any histories the Bible might contain had been garbled by myth. (One might argue that the Protestant Reformation’s rejection of the books of the Bible that they called “apocrypha,” was an even earlier, even cruder attempt to purge the Good Book of obvious mythology.)

In the two centuries that have passed since Jefferson began clipping, scores of biblical historians—including modern scholars armed with the tools of archeology, anthropology and linguistics—have tried repeatedly to identify the “historical Jesus” and have failed. The more scholars study Jesus, the more confused and uncertain our knowledge has become. Currently, we have a plethora of contradictory versions of Jesus—an itinerant preacher, a zealot, an apocalyptic prophet, an Essene heretic, a Roman sympathizer, and many more —each with a different scholar to confidently tout theirs as the only real one. Instead of a convergent view of early Christianity and its founder, we are faced instead with a cacophony of conflicting opinions. This is precisely what happens when people faced with ambiguous and contradictory information cannot bring themselves to say, we don’t know.

This scholastic mess has been an open secret in biblical history circles for decades. Over forty years ago, professors like Robin S. Barbour and Cambridge’s Morna Hooker were complaining about the naïve assumptions underlying the criteria biblical scholars used to gauge the “authentic” elements of the Jesus stories. Today, even Christian historians complain the problem is no better; most recently Anthony Le Donne and Chris Keith in the 2012 book Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity.

2. The Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses. Every bit of our ostensibly biographical information for Jesus comes from just four texts – the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Though most Christians assume that associates of Jesus wrote these texts, no objective biblical scholars think so. None of the four gospels claims to be written by eyewitnesses, and all were originally anonymous. Only later were they attributed to men named in the stories themselves.

While the four gospels were traditionally held to be four independent accounts, textual analysis suggests that they all actually are adaptations of the earliest gospel, Mark. Each has been edited and expanded upon, repeatedly, by unknown editors. It is worth noting that Mark features the most fallible, human, no-frills Jesus—and, more importantly, may be an allegory.

All of the gospels contain anachronisms and errors that show they were written long after the events they describe, and most likely far from the setting of their stories. Even more troubling, they don’t just have minor nitpicky contradictions; they have basic, even crucial, contradictions.

3. The Gospels are not corroborated by outside historians. Despite generations of apologists insisting Jesus is vouched for by plenty of historical sources like Tacitus or Suetonius, none of these hold up to close inspection. The most commonly-cited of these is the Testimonium Flavianum, a disputed passage in the writings of ancient historian Flavius Josephus, written around the years 93/94, generations after the presumed time of Jesus. Today historians overwhelmingly recognize this odd Jesus passage is a forgery. (For one reason, no one but the suspected forger ever quotes it – for 500 years!) But Christian apologists are loathe to give it up, and supporters now argue it is only a partial forgery.

Either way, as New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman points out, the Testimonium Flavanium merely repeats common Christian beliefs of the late first century, and even if it was 100% genuine would provide no evidence about where those beliefs came from. This same applies to other secular references to Jesus–they definitely attest to the existence of Christians and recount Christian beliefs at the time, but offer no independent record of a historical Jesus.

In sum, while well-established historic figures like Alexander the Great are supported by multiple lines of evidence, in the case of Jesus we have only one line of evidence: the writings of believers involved in spreading the fledgling religion.

4. Early Christian scriptures weren’t the same as ours. At the time Christianity emerged, gospels were a common religious literary genre, each promoting a different version or set of sacred stories. For example, as legends of Jesus sprang up, they began to include “infancy gospels.” As historian Robert M. Price notes, just as Superman comics spun off into stories of young Superboy in Smallville, Christians wrote stories of young Jesus in Nazareth using his divine powers to bring clay birds to life or peevishly strike his playmates dead.

Early Christians didn’t agree on which texts were sacred, and those included in our New Testament were selected to elevate one competing form of Christianity, that of the Roman Church over others. (Note that the Roman Church also proclaimed itself “catholic” meaning universal.)

Our two oldest complete New Testament collections, Codex Siniaticus and Codex Vaticanus only go back to the beginning of the fourth century. To make matters worse, their books differ from each other – and from our bibles. We have books they don’t have; they have books we don’t have, like the Shepherd of Hermas and the Gospel of Barnabas.

In addition to gospels, the New Testament includes another religious literary genre—the epistle or letter. Some of our familiar New Testament epistles like 1 Peter, 2 Peter and Jude were rejected as forgeries even in ancient times; today scholars identify almost all of the New Testament books as forgeries except for six attributed to Paul (and even his authentic letters have been re-edited).

5. Christian martyrs are not proof (if they even were real). Generations of Christian apologists have pointed to the existence of Christian martyrs as proof their religion is true, asking “Who would die for a lie?” The short answer, of course, that all too many true believers have died in the service of falsehoods they passionately believed to be true—and not just Christians. The obvious existence of Muslim jihadis has made this argument less common in recent years

But who says that the Christian stories of widespread martyrdom themselves were real? The Book of Acts records only two martyr accounts, and secular scholars doubt that the book contains much if any actual history. The remaining Christian martyr tales first appeared centuries later. Historian Candida Moss’ 2014 book The Myth of Persecution gives a revealing look at how early Christian fathers fabricated virtually the entire tradition of Christian martyrdom—a fact that was, ironically enough, largely uncovered and debunked by later Christian scholars.

6. No other way to explain the existence of Christianity? Most people, Christians and outsiders alike, find it difficult to imagine how Christianity could have arisen if our Bible stories aren’t true. Beyond a doubt, Christianity could not have arisen if people in the first century hadn’t believed them to be true. But the stories themselves?

Best-selling New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman believes that the biblical stories about Jesus had their kernel in the person of a single itinerant preacher, as do most New Testament scholars. Historian Richard Carrier and David Fitzgerald (co-author of this article) take an opposing position—that the original kernel was a set of ancient mythic tropes to which unsuspecting believers added historical details. Ehrman and Carrier may be on opposite sides of this debate, but both agree on one important fact: the only thing needed to explain the rise of Christianity is the belief fostered by the rival Christian preachers of the first century.

Witchcraft, bigfoot, the idea that an American president was born in Kenya, golden tablets revealed to a 19th century huckster by the Angel Moroni . . . we all know that false ideas can be sticky—that they can spread from person to person, getting elaborated along the way until they become virtually impossible to eradicate. The beginnings of Christianity may be shrouded in mystery, but the viral spread of passionately-held false ideas is becoming better understood by the year.

Keeping Options Open

University of Sheffield’s Philip Davies—who believes that Christianity probably began with a single Jesus, acknowledges that the evidence is fragile and problematic. Davies argues that the only way the field of New Testament studies can maintain any academic respectability is by acknowledging the possibility that Jesus didn’t exist. He further notes this wouldn’t generate any controversy in most fields of ancient history, but that New Testament studies is not a normal case.

Brandon University’s Kurt Noll goes even further and lays out a case that the question doesn’t matter: Whether he was real or myth, a historical Jesus is irrelevant to the religion that was founded in his name.

That is because either way, the Christ at the heart of Christianity is a figure woven from the fabric of mythology. The stories that bear his name draw on ancient templates imbedded in the Hebrew religion and those of the surrounding region. They were handed down by word of mouth in a cultural context filled with magical beings and miracles. Demons caused epilepsy. Burnt offerings made it rain. Medical cures included mandrakes and dove blood. Angels and ghosts appeared to people in dreams. Gods and other supernatural beings abounded and not infrequently crossed over from their world to ours.

Who, in the midst of all of this, was Jesus? We may never know.

By Valerie Tarico

Posted by John the Revelator

They’re two christian shows I regularly enjoy, “Unbelievable” and “The Jude 3 Project” both for different reasons. My issue is the christian aesthetic. I believe people can worship any deity they please without worrying about being smeared or maligned. Did you discover god or were you born into an already made world. People act as if what they believe, I’m speaking of christians in this instance that their view or way is the only way. This is so destructive and distracting. Not to seem or sound one sided, all these groups feel the same from all the Abrahamic religions. The problem that arises is the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom. To some this verse has meaning to others, its meaningless, void of structure. People spend so much time defending the word they don’t take time to read it. Study to show thyself approved or always be willing to give an answer; as long as it agrees with the christian dogma. As an insider for a very long time and now and outsider I’ve noticed one important thing. That is that people derive their values from scripture but insert their own values.

A question I ask myself. How does one believe and why they believe the way they do. You have to believe it to be true or not. There’s no middle ground, we are surrounded by all types of beliefs, some rationed some not so much. When we look to our limited belief system, me as a black person not as easy as you think since I don’t have a faith, it makes more sense to me. Especially  if i’m trying to reason to have a firm footing. In my earnest opinion you first have to alleviate faith, faith is nothing more than fear disguised as truth. Secondly to balance everything you need history as well as science. Lastly you really have to grapple with textual criticism. You also have two deal with black or white, it does make a difference. Think about it this way, Europe has never created a religion it was the darker races since everything started in Africa as it is known today. This can easily be proven from science as well as your bible.

As I told someone teach Jesus/Yashua is black as well as the inhabitants of the bible, whats wrong with this. It’s quit simple. Think of a black child who gets his affection and discipline from the mother and father but god is white. He or she see’s his parents as the first god figure. That goes to all races. Thats traumatic when the child grows up and see’s first hand, blacks were and are second hand citizens today and the god is white. Simply look at the political climate and how laws are being passed especially in the south to strip blacks of their voting rights. For some they are thinking what this has to do with race; everything! The person who ask the question needs to not worry, it doesn’t affect you. The culture that creates the religion creates the god in their image. We aren’t claiming any type of racial supremacy, its sad to go into a black church with a white Jesus image, we don’t go into white churches with a black image of Jesus even with all the information from the scriptures. This is religious dogma 101 from I speak. We know to much we have too much information, time to teach better truths. Think about the statement from MLK that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. Please, lets have honest dialogue we learn from one another. If the church is divided, how does the world see hope.

Written by John the Revelator

Christmas is the most confusing puzzling issues ever or close to it. Reason, we live in a ready made world, so Christmas was already here before we arrived. My point, what have we learned since then? I came across a blog I enjoy which wrote an article titled “Is Christmas dead.” The title is confusing. The question that remains, what does Christmas have to do with the bible…nothing! I say confusing on two fronts, the baby Jesus birth and the pagan celebration of Christmas. I assure you, you aren’t getting this form the bible. Look to the OT when it says do not behave as the pagan, dressing and the adorning of trees. Jeremiah may not specifically be talking of how it is celebrated and decorated today but his intent to not learn the ways of the Nations is extant. Understand this celebration was taken from sun worshipers. Even the birth narrative was a copy. Birth narratives were done up to 4 thousand years before the biblical birth, look at other cults such as Mithra and Osiris.

When it comes to the birth in the bible it still isn’t clear the meaning. If you look to the gospels for instance each tells a different story that doesn’t line up. For them to get a clearer story they take from all the gospels to create one story. Try this exercise for all the truth seekers. Take the gospels side by side and read all the stories in each story and see if they line up, you will notice they contradict. Look at Luke 1:35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. Mother had to be a virgin. Mathew 1:23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” here Mathew is quoting Isa 7:14 it is to fulfill Prophecy. A note about prophesy. In a text my buddy and me were talking about prophesy and I sent him this text I share briefly, prophecy is told to people at that time, the time they were living. people want to make prophecy relevant for our time…doesn’t work.

Important here is Isaiah 7:14 does it say in Isaiah’s prophesy the babe will be born of a woman. In this verse most people render a virgin will conceive a child.

We have 2 camps in how they want to interpret, you have the liberal or the conservative voices. Liberals look at it to be young woman while conservatives look at it to mean virgin, so to keep the scripture true, not thinking that it could contain errors and lots of them. As I’ve stated earlier this brings up another position or open other suspicions which I will not delve into, but…was Jesus/Yashua just a man? To stay more aligned to the scripture the young woman isn’t identified, she could be the wife of Isaiah Isa 8:3 or of King Ahaz. Even if Isa 7:4 is used used as a proof text the Hebrew word Alma should be young woman. Again it depends on what camp you’re repping.

What I will say here is that I’ve only scratched the surface. My only point in writhing this is Christmas is a made up stolen and spiritualized without proper investigation. If one wants to celebrate whatever myth but understand its all man made. Celebrate it for what it is instead of what was added to make you think it is. I understand this can be hard, ultimately its up to you. As for my house, we left the holiday in the dust bin. Me being black added more complexity to my adherence. Upon reading the “The Slave Narratives” by the great ancestor Frederick Douglas I had to revaluate my celebrations of American holidays, also reading “Afrikan People and European Holidays: A Mental Genocide” part I an II by the ancestor Ishakamusa Barashango helped to further my understanding. If we are honest we should always want deeper clarification and understanding. I leave you with “The Myths That Stole Christmas” David Kyle Johnson and “How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee” Bart Ehrman. Their is no valid reason for us to dislike each other over differences, we all have a different understanding. I leave you with…study to show thyself approved or no investigation no right to complain.

Written by John The Revelator

This piece is thoughtful, I’m posting so that you see differing opinions. The one thing I will say, you can’t take the bible at face value until you study the “history.” 

The earliest gods and messiahs on all the continents were black. Research has yielded an impressive amount of material on the subject…The Messiahs, some of whom lived many centuries before Christ, had lives which so closely paralleled that of Christ that it seems most likely that the story of the latter was adapted from them. Moreover, the word Christ comes from the Indian, Krishna or Chrisna, which means “The Black One.”

J.A. Rogers

Many of the madonnas painted in the earliest centuries of Christ- iandom were black, according to historians, and it wasn’t until the Renaissance that it became popular to give the mother of Christ the features of a Florentine maiden [a white woman]

Washington Post (Religion) May 4, 1979.

Here in the United States, well over 95% of the 27 to 30 million people of African descent are Christians and they joined most of the rest of the Christian world in observing the birth of Jesus on December 25, Christmas Day. No other historical figure has received the recognition, veneration and unquestioned loyalty of Black people in the Western world that Jesus has. Yet, despite their widespread respect for and worship of Jesus, few Black people in the Americas or elsewhere ever have raised the question of whether He was Black and whether the doctrine He espoused was of African origin. Trained by white theologians or taught in White owned, controlled or financed seminaries, the average Black minister will not only deny that Jesus was a black man and claim that it is sinful to raise the question of His color, but also will insist that Jesus was colorless and declare that the blue- eyed blond painting of him hovering over the minister’s pulpit is just a White reflection of Christ’s universality. It is quite understandable, then, that the masses of Black Christians, who generaLly hold their ministers in high esteem, blithely continue to bow before, pray to and worship a blue-eyed blond stranger whom they have come to know as Jesus without ever questioning this image and its impact on them, their families and the Black race as a whole.

Recognizing the historical significance of religion to Black people and observing its present role in their nations and communities the world over, this writer feels that it is high time that the deeply-rooted religious beliefs of Blacks be fully examined by Black scholars with an eye toward freeing the race of false doctrines and misconceptions that were designed to perpetuate Black inferiority and servility. Since religion plays a key role in molding Black opinion and guiding Black behavior in Africa and the diaspora, the specific intent of this article on religion, is to reveal what modern science is proving each day – that the roots of all major religions are traceable to the Black people of ancient Africa and that most of the world’s venerated religious leaders were Blacks. It is hoped that these revelations will instill a sense of pride in Black people, hasten the day when false images will be removed from their houses of worship and free them of the widespread assumption – which is deeply embedded in their individual and collective subconscious – that they are cursed and doomed to failure because they were not created in God’s image.

Professor Locksley D.M. Geoghagen is one of the few black authorities on the origin of the Christian religion. A scholar of African-Jamaican ancestry, he has served as the Associate Director of the Educational Opportunities Program and a teacher in the Education Department at Cal Poly College, San Luis Obispo, California. He is a learning specialist with expertise in brain physiology, especially the cerebral hemisphere, and has teaching credentials on the community college level in psychology, education, political science, counseling and pupil personnel. Professor Geoghagen is also the coordinator of Leadership Programs at Cal Poly College.

A rare pluridisciplinary scholar, Professor Geoghagen has lectured broadly on subjects that range from melanin and the pineal gland to the African roots of civilization. He has often lectured with the distinguished author and scholar, Dr. Donald Cheek, and has traveled extensively, especially in Africa, with the world renowned historian, Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan.

Professor Geoghagen has completed the course requirements for the Ph.D. in education at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and he plans to soon enter the field of Egyptology as an understudy of Dr. ben-Jochannan, Professor Geoghagen’s expertise on early Christianity has been acquired over the past ten years, during which time he has engaged in research, lecturing and writing in the United Sates, the Caribbean and Africa.

The following is an interview with Professor Geoghagen on religion in general and the ancestry of Jesus in particular.

MAAT: Professor Geoghagen, why don’t I just start with the question before us: Was Jesus a Black man?

Geoghagen: Yes, unequivocally and beyond a shadow of doubt, Jesus was a black man and there is much evidence to substantiate this. However, before I discuss this evidence, I would like to consider in some detail who Jesus was and to focus on the history of Christianity because Jesus’ blackness will not be fully understood or accepted without this background.

MAAT: Okay, just who was Jesus?

Geoghagen: That is a very difficult question to answer, for Jesus was and still is many things to many people. To Christians he is a part of the Godhead, the Son of God, the Son of Man, the Prince of Peace, the Word made flesh, the messiah of Jewish expectations. Hence, through his trials, sufferings, temptations, death and resurrection, He provides for the remission of sins, redemption and life eternal for those who follow his teachings and accept him as their personal savior. To me, he is one of the world’s 16 crucified saviors — the last of them, I might add – whose lives fit an almost identical pattern from the time of Horus in 4100 B.C. (according to the most ancient beliefs, he was the first crucified savior) to the time of Judas Christas (Christ the anointed) in the pre-Christian era. In essence, the life that Jesus purportedly led, the activities in which he engaged, his teachings, his trials and sufferings and eventual death and resurrection, are identical to those of Horus and Osiris (two ancient Egyptian gods) and the other 14 crucified saviors. This point of view or revelation, though potentially shocking to the mass of believers, is nevertheless common knowledge to scholars. So Jesus and the belief system that he represents are thus a reappearance of one of the most beautiful ideas of the ancient black Africans of Ta-Merry – now called Egypt – which represented the eternal Father by the ever- coming Son, as in the Child Horus. This was the child of a mother who was the eternal virgin. The doctrines of the Incarnation, i.e., the word made flesh: the virgin birth, the resurrection, the Father-God who is identical to his own son and other doctrines (believed to be specifically Christian) were Egyptian long before there was even the concept of Adam and Eve, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

MAAT: Are you saying that Christianity as a religion had its origins in ancient Egypt?

Geoghagen: Yes. In addition to what I have just stated, in the Eschatology of the Egyptians is found a trinity and a unity, and the Egyptians believed in punishment as well as everlasting happiness. Not surprisingly, then, the doctrine of everlasting life and the belief in the resurrection of the “Spiritual Body” are, according to Dr. Albert Churchward(author of Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man, Origins of Freemasonry, The Origin And Evolution of Religion, The Origin And Evolution of The Human Race, etc.) “the brightest and most prominent features of the Egyptian religion, and this we find was their belief before the time of the first king of the first dynasty.” The general teachings and cosmological world view of the Egyptians eventually filtered down and provided the foundation for later so-called ‘Western Religions,’ i.e., Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This point is thoroughly documented by the brilliant and prolific African scholar, Dr. Josef ben-Jochannan, in an epic work, African Origins of the Major Western Religions. These teachings were handed down to the Essenes (a mythical Jewish sect in pre-Christian times) who were responsible for the development of many of the teachings and concepts attributed to Jesus.

MAAT: Are you suggesting, then, that Jesus was an Essene?

Geoghagan: There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus was an Essene. Essene doctrine is directly traceable to its African-Egyptian roots. In short, Jesus was one of the world’s 16 crucified saviors whose beliefs and teachings were founded on the doctrines and principles of the ancient African Mystery System, and the events of his life directly parallel those of Horus (the first crucified savior), who lived at least 4100 years before Christ. For example, Horus was born of a virgin (immaculate conception), he disappeared at age 12 and reappeared at 30; he died at age 33 and descended into Hell. On the third day, he arose again and ascended into Heaven to sit on the right hand of his father, etc. Horus was cut into 14 pieces; Jesus was stabbed fourteen times. Horus’ mother could find only one piece of him, his penis, and so she built obelisks in his memory. Jesus had the same phallic symbol associated with him, i.e., he had no sexual relations (at least after the conference of Nicene in 325 A.D.). So as you can see, Jesus and the other world saviors are copies of Horus. Their biographical facts are the same; only the names have changed.

MAAT: Are there parts of Jesus’ life that are generally unknown to the public?

GEOGHAGEN: Yes, much if not most of the facts surrounding his life are absolutely unknown to the general public. To be specific, there is a twenty-one year period of his life that is completely unaccounted for in the Gospel. These 21 years, I would argue, are of critical importance in understanding who Jesus was as well as the source, inspiration and eventual development of his message and ministry. The fact is that not only Jesus but also John the Baptizer and some of Jesus’disciples were taught, by Egyptian priests, some of the fundamentals of the African Mystery System which later, through adaptations and distortions, became the foundation for what is now known as Christianity in its various forms and manifestations. The fact that Jesus was an initiate in the African Mystery System; that Jesus was taught and did study at various subsidiary lodges of the Grand Lodge of Luxor in Africa and elsewhere (i.e. Tibet, India, etc.) The fact that it was in Africa that Jesus became acquainted with the Essenes, who were largely responsible for much of the teachings credited to Jesus.

MAAT: You keep mentioning the ancient African Mystery System.Can you briefly tell us what this was?

Geoghagen: Basically, the African Mystery System was the educational system of Africa. It was called a ‘mystery’ by E. Budge, the Famous Egyptologist, and other Egyptian scholars; but it was not a mystery to Africans. It encompassed many branches of knowledge, including all of the sciences, philosophy, physics, all of the liberal arts and, of course, religion and metaphysics.

The foundation of that which was later called Greek philosophy comes directly from the African Mystery System. If an individual wants confirmation of this, he can consult such books as G.M. James’ Stolen Legacy, B.D. Alexander’s History of Philosophy, Alfred Weber’s History of Philosophy, William Turner’s History of Philosophy and Zeber’s History of Philosophy.

Included as a part of the ancient African Mystery System were the major beliefs contained in the so-called ‘Western Religions’ of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. For those who want a closer look at this, I would recommend the Egyptian Book of the Dead and The Ancient Mysteries by C.H. Vail. Another book which provides great detail is Albert Churchward’s Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man. It lays out all of the Hebrew, Christian and Hindu doctrines that come directly from the African Mystery System. A comparable book, also written by Churchward, is Origin And Evolution of Religion.

MAAT: Speaking of references, do you have any sources that support your shocking revelations concerning the life of Jesus?

Geoghagen: I most assuredly do. The details of Jesus’ life from ages 12 to 33 are documented in the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus The Christ by Levi. It gives an account of Jesus’ interaction with his African masters and the teachings which they bestowed on him. Further, it documents the travels of Jesus from Africa to India and his eventual return to Africa; and confirms how Jesus acquired his cosmological world view in the process. The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors by Kersey Graves documents much of what I’ve said thus far. Stolen Legacy by George G.M. James, The Kione Bible (the original new testament written between ca. 50 A.D. – 100 A.D.). Anacalypsis by Godfrey Higgins, The Black Messiah by Albert Cleage Jr., and Jesus and The Zealots by S.G.F. Brandon, The Apocryphal New Testament by M.R. James, Rahids’ Aquarian Gospel (another portion of the books removed from the Bible). The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics by J. Doresee. There are literally hundreds of references to back up what I have said, including the work of Gerald Massey, E.A. Wallis Budge, Joel A. Rogers, Albert Churchward and, of course, the works of Yosef ben- Jochannan. These references that I have given will allow interested scholars and individuals to begin to scratch the surface of the wealth of material that is available on this subject.

MAAT: You keep mentioning the Essenes and the fact that Jesus was somehow connected with them. Who are the Essenes and have there been Any scientific or archaeological discoveries that document their existence?

Geoghagen: A large portion of ‘Western Culture’ is indebted to a little known secret cult (a direct offshoot of the African- Egyptian Mystery System) which was called Essene, among other names. This cult of Hebraic people has been identified by their occupation, geographical location, forms of worship and peculiarities of faith. They have been variously known as The Baptizers, The Third Sect, Men of Essa, The Mystery Sect, The Seers, The Pious, The Associates, The Apron Makers, The Propheciers, Seekers Of The Prince of Righteousness, The Essenes and The Ossenes. Ancient documents indicate some of the earliest Essene origins. Pliny the Elder (70-77 A.D.) called them the Hessenes. Josephus (6-8 A.D.) labeled them the Essenes. The same term was later used by Chrysostam, Eusebius, Porphery, Hippolytus, and many other ecclesias and chroniclers. Many of the descriptions given by these writers, particularly Eusebius and Pliny, depict the Essenes as an ‘awesome, ascetic, pietistic sect which might be viewed as the forerunner of today’s ‘mod’ communities.’ This quotation is from Jesus Christ Super Psychic by T.N. Tiemeyer. Anyway, these and many other ancient references to the Essenes were fragmentary, distorted and often inaccurate. For example, ancient writers reported that the Essenes “lived without women, having renounced all sexual love.”

Yet recent diggings in their ancient cemetery have so far unearthed a number of female skeletons. Greek and Roman historians also failed to discern the religious and mystical element which were basic to Essene thought.

MAAT: But what is their relationship to Jesus and what evidence do you have to support it?

Geoghagen: Like you, my primary concern with the Essenes is the relationship of their Order of Sect, and how, through their guidance and direction, Jesus was able to develop his own spiritual talents. For countless centuries, scholars have suggested that many of the teachings attributed to Jesus were very much influenced by the teachings of the Essenes. No doubt the expression of such a viewpoint subjects one to declarations of heresy by those in orthodox church circles. In other words, to even suggest that any part of the message of Jesus is or was less than original with Jesus is, no doubt, heresy. But, heresy or not, the historical facts speak for themselves. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls by a young Bedouin, Mohammad el-Deeb, in 1945, did much to shed some light on this controversial topic. These scrolls were discovered in the northwest part of the Dead Sea Valley near Jericho in a series of caves on the edge of a valley named Wali Qumran. In the entire twentieth century, no discovery has had a greater impact on Biblicists, theologians and Judea-Christian exponents than the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most scholars greeted the news with exultation. Such was not the case, however, for orthodox Christian believers in Jesus as “the only begotten Son of the Father.” Hence, their response to the discovery of the scrolls and its implications was less than joyful. Ancient prophets, such as Isaiah, Moses and Zacharia, had predicted the coming of “the Messiah,” “the Holy One of God,” “the Prince of Peace,” etc. And, early Bible authorities were aware that the Essenes had prophesied the coming of a “teacher of righteousness.” It was naturally assumed that this was a term equivalent to those in the scriptures and that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Essene prophecies as well. But the Dead Sea Scrolls revealed that by the time of Jesus, the “teacher of righteousness” had already come and gone. Compounding this is the fact that the Dead Sea Scrolls were a source of further embarrassment to scholars of Biblicism because many of the sayings attributed to Jesus as original are found in the Essene records. Among the expressions and sayings generally claimed by Christians as original with Jesus, but yet contained in the pre-Christian Essene records are:

“Peace on Earth and good will to men,” “You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world.” “The thirst for righteousness.” “The kingdom of God.” “The Sons of light and the Children of darkness.”

These are just a few. In addition, I would like to paraphrase from T.N. Tiemeyer’s Jesus Christ Super Psychic. Rev. Tiemeyer states that the Dead Sea apocalyptical scrolls and The Book of Enoch, which were found in the caves of Qumran, beyond a shadow of doubt, have been dated before Christianity. However, these writings contain numerous phrases and concepts similar to those in the Sermon on the Mount. Also a list of selected Essene sayings compared to the Beatitudes of Jesus are remarkably similar. Tiemeyer goes on to say that: “obviously the best explanation is that Jesus was taught in the training schools of the Essenes.” The evidence also points to New Testament persons as disciples of this same cult. The Bible descriptions of John the Baptizer, his life and personal habits conform to the practices of the Qumran community. Again in my mind there is little doubt but that Jesus was an Essene who espoused Essene doctrine which originally came from the teachings of the African Mystery System and were later incorporated as part of the foundation of Christian thought.

MAAT: Now that you have made these astounding revelations concerning the life of Jesus and the origins of his teachings, let us return to our original question: Was this figure of world renown a Black man? And, if so, are there any paintings, statues or icons that portray him as such?

Geoghagen: Indeed, Jesus was a Black man, and there are numerous early paintings, statues and icons that graphically depict both Mary and Jesus as Black people. According to Godfrey Higgins (author of the monumental historical document Anacalypsis), who visited the cathedrals of Europe before the anti-religious period of the French Revolution, all the madonnas and Christ-childs were depicted as black: “In all the Romish countries of Europe, in France, Italy, Germany, etc., the God, Christ, as well as his mother are described in the old pictures to be black. The infant God in the arms of his black mother, his eyes drapery white, is himself perfectly black. If the reader doubts my words, he may go to the cathedral of Moulins – to the famous chapel of the Virgin of Loretto, to the Church of Annunciata; the Church of St. Lazaro, or the Church of St. Stephen at Genoa, to St. Francisco at Pisa; to the Church of Brixer in the Tyrol, and that of Padua; to the Church of St. Theodore at Munich, etc. This is further supported and documented by the work of J.A. Rogers, Albert Churchward, Yosef ben-Jochannan, C.W. King, J.S. Matthews, Gerald Massey and various other writers who give detailed accounts of the original Black Mary and Jesus. It was with the advent of Michaelango, who used his family to pose for the paintings that he did of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, etc. – coupled with European white racism – that we begin to see Jesus portrayed as a white man. But how could it be otherwise? How could a group of people simultaneously proclaim and practice white racism and justify slavery under the guise of bringing the message of Christianity to the ‘heathens’ or ‘pagan black savages’ in Africa – and at the same time tell the truth that Jesus was a Black man and that in fact Christianity started in Africa, where Panteus and Boteus reported that Jesus was born in a cave in Ethiopia? And that it was not until the Nicene conference that Jesus’ birthplace was changed to a stable in Bethlehem.

MAAT: This is the second time you have mentioned the Nicene Conference. Where was this conference held? What was it about? And who attended it?

Geoghagen: There were two councils of the Christian Church held in Nicea (Nice), in what is now northwest Turkey. The most important was called in 325 A.D. by Constantine “the Great” and 219 bishops from all of the powerful Christian regions attended it. It was the intent of Constantine to change Christianity into Christiandom. In other words, religion would now become the vehicle of government control over the people. Achievement of this goal involved changing some of the tenets of Christianity. Anyone who is interested can obtain a copy of the proceedings of the Nicene Conference and see the tremendous political struggle that was going on between the “Men of God.”

One will notice that at least 18 books – including the book of Mary – that were part of the Koin Bible (the original Bible up to that point) were removed from the canons. Furthermore, many of the ancient African teachings, including the concept of reincarnation, were removed from Christianity. And it was at this time that they put into the new Bible the ancient African concept of the Immaculate Conception.

MAAT: Are you literally saying that the original Bible was changed at the Nicene Conference?

Geoghagen: Yes. But this was not the first time that Church leaders had gotten together to fight over what was to be accepted as Christianity. A similar conference was held in Jamnia in A.D. 90, at which time other changes were made.

MAAT: Getting back to the questions of whether Jesus was a Black man: Some scholars, of course, would challenge your position that Jesus was a black man on the ground that he was Jewish and could not therefore have been Black.

Geoghagen: My opinion is that those would be very misinformed scholars because the original Jews were Black people.

MAAT: Some scientists today might also raise the point that the ancient Shroud of Turin, which has been highly touted by the press and which many now claim bears the image of Jesus, does not appear to depict a Black man. What would be your response to this?

Geoghagen: It would be of little consequence as to whether the shroud of Turin appears to be Black, Asian, Caucasian or whatever, because the only thing that scientists are able to determine at this point is that indeed this probably was a shroud that covered a human body and does not appear to be fake.

But no Scientist alive of whom I am aware – racist or nonracist, Christian or non-Christian – can in any way, shape, form or fashion document that the Shroud of Turin is the one that was placed over Jesus’ body at the time of his death.

MAAT: Was Jesus the only great religious leader who was Black?

Geoghagen: Absolutely not. Most of the ancient prophets and saviors of most religions were depicted in their original form as Blacks.

MAAT: If all of these ancient prophets, gods and goddesses were Blacks, does this suggest a universal Black dominance in the ancient world?

Geoghagen: Most certainly, yes. One might read Gerald Massey’s Egypt: The Light of the World, from archaeological and anthropological evidence alone, there is no doubt that the race of Black people was the seed race for humanity. In other words, we were here before anyone else and our presence was felt and known throughout the world.

We not only occupied Africa, but our remains have been discovered from the Fiji Islands to Tasmania, Melanesia, India, China, Japan, Mexico and even Europe. Many scientists have shown that the original race of people in all of these areas was the Black race.

MAAT: Why is it that the facts that you have revealed here are unknown to the general public?

Geoghagen: They are intentionally kept from the public. You take a situation where you have a group of people – namely white people – who have actually taken philosophy, religion, education, science, liberal arts, everything that you can associate with the word “culture” from Black people. They have taken it, distorted it, adopted it and used it against the very people from whom they received it as a justification for slavery. So, it was convenient to enslave Blacks in Africa under the guise of spreading Christianity when it fact the religion as developed in Africa (there were 27 bishops and seven Popes of the North African Church before the first one in Rome – this is documented in the book Libers Pontificals, which, when translated into English, is Book of the Popes). I should also point out here that few references are made to the fact that three of the earliest fathers of the Christian church were Blacks. St. Augustine (born at Tagaste, Numida, North Africa in 354 A.S.), who set the moral doctrine of the Christian Church; Tutillian and Cyprian. How could white people tell Blacks that they had no history or culture other than that which Europeans gave them and at the same time tell them that Christianity was not only developed by Blacks, but that its master, Jesus, was a Black man? This could not be done.

MAAT: Why do you think that it is important for Black people to know that Jesus was a Black man and that Christianity is of African origin?

Geoghagen: I feel that this information is critical to the self- esteem and future of Blacks around the globe. Our contributions as the originators of high culture or “civilization” have been systematically kept from us. Our inventions, our philosophies, our religious concepts and

systems have been stolen, co-opted, distorted, adopted and then used against us. We as a people must begin to assert ourselves and to reclaim our history and our science, and become knowledgeable about who we are, whence we came, and where we are going. Without a thorough knowledge and understanding of African history (including the development of Christianity in Africa), our future as a people is at best bleak. ——————————————————————–

From Legrand H. Clegg II, Editor & Publisher

Posted by John the Revelator

I spent almost 27 years of my life as a believer, a believer in the teachings of Jesus. The conclusion I came to is simple. I didn’t know him at all. He was presented to me by people who also thought they knew him. I knew nothing of the historical Jesus, only what was neatly compacted in the gospels. What did I know about the gospels, nothing. I took them at face value. I didn’t know they were no eye witnesses who wrote the gospels. The gospels themselves don’t claim to be written by eyewitnesses. First time the gospel writers were mentioned by name was by Irenaeus 100 to 180 years after the books were written. I didn’t know the stories were passed down orally, no one wrote anything down. We are speaking of poor people as well as illiterate people. These men and Jesus spoke aramaic and the gospels were written in very high greek. It wasn’t until 60 to 80 years after the death of Jesus were the gospels written.

I had to ask myself a very honest question. Did I know this man Jesus or was I to scared to admit it because of retribution of going to an ever burning hell, in other words I needed my fire insurance. We always put ourselves and how we live currently in place of the time these things were taken place. Jesus wasn’t some space character, some believed he was flesh and nothing more. Others believe he never existed. This is a matter of faith for you to believe. Since I’m writing from my (pov) I don’t know which. I don’t think he was divine, the gospels don’t really bare that out except for John. Mark was written first, Mathew and Luke were copies of Mark, John was/is the apocalyptic gospel written separately.

When Jesus spoke of the kingdom he thought it was going to be in his time. He thought the Roman empire was going to be over turned and he was going to be the king, ruling a literal earth. That idea failed, he was caught his disciples ran away, they couldn’t speak to what happened, only the women who where followers. The word of women didn’t count for much. He was captured and murdered for acts of sedition.The plaque over his head read “king of the Jews.” He was striving for ruler, his revolt ended in his murder.

The gospels go on to tell inconsistent stories of the man Jesus Math 15:24, 28:19, 5:9, Lk 22:36. I do not trust the bible to be an historical book or an historical account of the life of Jesus, since we do not have any original manuscripts but only copies of copies.

Easter or passover is coming, I won’t bore you with the details, except for Easter is erroneously translated in the King James. Do yourself a favor and study about this subject, only if you’re honest. This is my current journey I’ve arrived at. It has been troublesome as well as rewarding. I consider myself fortunate to have come to my conclusion by not succumbing to fear. Why should I have to fear in order to acquire knowledge or wisdom. I don’t believe in the gods of the bible or in other religions, I have my own concepts and beliefs. I do practice meditation. It allows me to have an understanding of me and my surroundings; it brings me peace.

We live in a big world, there has to be something more, maybe(jokingly) we are in an aliens globe being looked at like ants in an ant farm. As you ponder Easter/Ishtar think about why you believe. Is it because someone told you, thats how we usually come to our beliefs. Your faith is personal to you as my belief is to me. It helps me to cope with my world. I know some people will want to pray for me and look at me as lost with no hope. Thats fine, understand this, I searched long and high. I now am happy for coming to my own conclusions. As I end this, after learning what I did about Jesus, I still don’t know him, only from things I’ve read. Belief is a hope, not a fact. What ever you celebrate, enjoy!

Written by John the Revelator

Every so often I hear someone say in despair, “What is this world coming to?” This kind of comment usually comes in response to a doomsday report of some kind. You know the kind I’m talking about…

Statistics show that kids are more sexualized now than ever, and that 70% of kids will have sex before graduating high school!
A new report says that 45% of Americans think that God wants them to be happy more than anything else!
A pew poll report shows that church attendance is at the lowest mark in twenty years!
Studies now indicate that the current presidential administration is the most anti-Christian administration of the modern era!
When we hear these kinds of reports and stats, our gut instinct can be to throw our hands up in despair, panic, or disgust. We are shocked at the behavior of young people these days. Shocked at the levels of immorality at universities. Shocked at the apathy of people toward spiritual things. Shocked at the spike in gay marriages. Shocked at the smut being produced by Hollywood. Shocked at the increase in sexual promiscuity in our culture. What is this world coming to?!?
Whatever happened to the good old days, when a fella could leave his car unlocked without fear of having his stereo stolen? Whatever happened to the days when kids would actually respect authority? Whatever happened to the good old days when young men and women actually treated each other with courtesy, instead of trying to sleep around with each other?

I would venture to say that many conservative television shows, and radio shows, and blogs, and podcasts, perpetuate the “what is this world coming to?” attitude. It’s not uncommon for talk radio hosts to spend three hours lamenting the decay of morals in the world.

But we shouldn’t be shocked or dismayed. The world is coming to exactly what Jesus said it would come to, and this actually gives us a lot of hope.

A GODLESS WORLD

The simple reality is, we live in a godless world. Of course, I don’t mean that there isn’t a God, or that the true and living God is not active in our world. I mean that the natural state of every person is wickedness, godlessness, and evil. It has always been this way, and it always will be this way.

In Genesis 6:5, God looked down on the earth and was grieved by what he saw:

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

God brought the great flood upon the earth because the wickedness of man was great. Every intent, every desire, every thought, bent toward evil. Doesn’t sound that different from today, does it?

Acts 17:16 says, “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.” As Paul walked through the city of Athens, he became acutely aware that the city was absoutely jam packed with false gods. Athens was not a moral, upright, virtuous city. It was a city full of idolatry.

When we see evil and wickedness in the world, we shouldn’t throw our hands up in despair. We shouldn’t be shocked or surprised. Evil and wickedness is not an anomaly; it’s the norm. The evil we see in the world isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s not like things have suddenly gotten out of control in the last fifty years. Wickedness has been standard practice since Cain killed Abel.

So why does this give us hope? Hold on, I’m getting there.

IT GET’S WORSE

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but things are going to get worse. Before Jesus returns, evil and wickedness is going to increase in the world. Speaking of the last days, Jesus said:

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12)

Lawlessness and wickedness and godlessness isn’t going to decrease, it’s going to increase. In fact, it’s going to increase to such a degree that many Christians will find their love for Christ going cold. Dang, son. That’s some serious, intense, lawlessness. Contrary to what the Beatles proclaimed, it’s not getting better all the time. It’s not going to get better, it’s going to get worse.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11, Paul spoke of the “man of lawlessness”:

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

At some point, the “lawless one” will come, and he will come in power, with false signs and wonders. He will be so impressive, so powerful, that many unbelievers will be deceived by him. The wickedness promoted and perpetuated by the lawless one will be on a colossal, sickening scale.

It’s already bad, and it’s going to get worse. But don’t throw up your hands in despair. There’s good news.

DON’T DESPAIR

The good news is that, in spite of the wickedness which fills the world, the gospel of Jesus Christ will continue saving sinners! Yes, evil is powerful, but Jesus is more powerful! Yes, Satan prowls about like a roaring lion, but Jesus is the great lion slayer. Jesus encouraged Peter that the church would not be overcome, and would even stand against hell itself:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

Jesus isn’t particularly concerned with the most recent Barna report, or church growth study, or the state of Hollywood. He will build his church, and there is absolutely nothing that can stop him.

Even as Jesus talked about the spike in lawlessness, he also promised that the gospel would be proclaimed in ALL nations:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

And when the big, bad, man of lawlessness appears, Jesus will take care of him too:

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

When Jesus returns, he will utterly decimate the man of lawlessness. Farewell, lawless one! King Jesus has arrived!

DON’T LOSE HOPE

Should we be concerned about increasing immorality in the schools, and on television, and in politics? Sure. Where appropriate, we should stand for righteousness. And, of course, we should instruct our kids how to think biblically about the sin they will most certainly encounter.

But if we’re constantly outraged, disgusted, discouraged, or panicked, then we haven’t come to grips with the Bible’s grim description of the world, and we aren’t fully trusting in our coming, conquering, reigning king.

Yeah it’s bad. Yeah, it’s gonna get worse. But the gospel will continue to triumph, Jesus will remain on the throne, and Jesus will finally rid the world of wickedness.

Response

My first contention is to say, who ever wrote this has to be a high school student, no adult would have written this drivel. To be fair without sounding ostententious maybe the person was a very young adult or maybe he was full of fervor and passion with no real world experience. Whatever the case this article wreaks of hyperbole.

Firstly, please throw up your hands because your immorality clause has ran out. Your litany of things you are against, your, what is the world coming to moment is very disingenuous. What you are doing is judging people who differ with you, they are correct in their claim to believe how ever they please. Lets take a look at why you’re throwing up your hands.

  1. shocked at the behavior of young people these days
  2. Shocked at the levels of immorality at universities
  3. Shocked at the apathy of people toward spiritual things
  4. Shocked at the spike in gay marriages
  5. Shocked at the smut being produced by Hollywood
  6. Shocked at the increase in sexual promiscuity in our culture

Instead of answering point by point, I will say this. The world hasn’t changed, the world has gotten better without christianity as the major influence, people are now critical thinkers. Without christianity as the influence people are allowed to be critical thinkers. could some be better or change, generations before us thought so, they also probably thought the world during there  time was going to hell in a hand basket. Instead of being narrow people have choices, they can choose how to better live there life instead of a deity they don’t know, they know what’s best for them. What you  are offering is fascist   theocracy. Churches have the right to exist as other have the right to exist. The law of the land is the constitution, not the bible! The bible should never be used to create laws, for it is for the believer to follow. And what about the revisionist decade of peacefulness youre’re speaking off when people didn’t have rights except people that were born the right color.

The being that you speak off is confusing, he creates man (mind you he’s perfect and cannot make mistakes) then repents for creating mankind then destroys mankind for a do over. The first mankind was evil, no good thoughts, what you described earlier sounds basically the same. You on the other hand is awaiting the destruction of the world. You go on to say the world is worse or has gotten or gotten worse, you even throw in some scriptures to substantiate your claim, when you’re not looking at the obvious.

Since you cherry pick, I’ll do the same 2 Cor 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.

Say Satan is the God of this world(the name God/title is a 19th century creation)we have other proofs he is. Read Math 4:1-11 focus carefully on verse 8,9 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

If Satan didn’t have charge he couldn’t have offered the kingdoms of the world. When prophecy  was written it was written for a certain time, the people it was was intended for! I suggest you clean your temple first, your churches. No one can seem to agree on simple doctrine. I’m pretty sure what you believe you believe it to be true…as with everyone else.

Crime has been trending downward, life has gotten better since the 16th, 17th, 18th and early 19th century, life has improved since the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s. You can have your bible and revisionist history. To cherry pick once more I live by Ecc 9 verses 7,5 7 Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already approved what you do. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost.

I believe in the rights of individuals, justice and non aggression, and the right to coexist. You also have the right to live life as you see fitting.

Written by John the Revelator

Just a thought

Posted: February 28, 2016 in Religion, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I was thinking about the whole and beliefs. I looked at my testimony first and I used it as the template. I would have “never” known about Jesus unless someone told me. Lets take African religions, they created there own belief systems, many other groups did the same. For today, no one would have ever heard of jesus if wouldn’t have been for someone telling them. It is so ingrained in our society how can you not know. My overall point is, we would never have heard of him unless someone told us about him. Does this mean it was/is true? I dare to say NO!

Written by John the Revelator

How do we believe the Messiah or Jesus to be. If we believe by faith he’s infallible, but if we believe he’s a man then these versus make sense. Mk10:1818 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. Jesus even say’s “why do you call me good?” This strange if he’s part of the god head or the doctrine of the trinity. What I’m about to say next may be a bit off topic but relevant. If Jesus is fully god, how is it he doesn’t know the day or time of his supposed return? He thought it would happen during his time, so did Paul. In the very next chapter, Jesus is accused of being a glutton, drunkard, but if you believe by faith, he was one with the common man. Lastly, if Jesus was a man shouldn’t he have flaws?

Written by John the Revelator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

;18

Christianity is the most popular religion in the world, and the center of gravity for the faithful is in Africa.
As The Economist recently reported, Black people are the most devout Christians. Although Europe remains the continent with the largest number of Christians, church attendance in Europe is falling due to “creeping secularism,” an emphasis on individual spirituality over organized religion among younger people, and affluence.
The Economist report makes the point that in richer countries, such as those among Western Europe, citizens attend services less frequently. This makes the U.S., with its 58 percent church attendance among self-identifying Christians, somewhat of an outlier.
“The odds that an individual will attend church are 15 percentage points higher in the world’s 29 most unequal countries than they are in the most equal ones,” The Economist reported. “And people on the lower rungs of their own country’s economic ladder tend to be more observant than those at the top.”
In America, which is a wealthy nation with unusual inequality, African-Americans and Latino immigrants are poorer than the national average, and very devout.
While a mere 9 percent of the 100 million people living in Africa were Christians in 1910, 55 percent of the billion people living in Africa today are Christian, according to the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Of five sub-Saharan nations–Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe—90 percent of self-identifying Christians reportedly attend church regularly, meaning there could be as many as 469 million churchgoers in Africa. To put that in perspective, 335 million people who attend church live in Latin America, which is 60 percent more than in Europe, according to The Economist.
It is instructive to examine why the formerly colonized—for our purposes, people of African descent—are the most religious Christians. Why is it that the people who are the most entrenched in poverty and suffering the most, whether Black people in Africa or Black people in America, thump their Bibles the hardest?
Surely, one can understand the role of liberation theology, of social justice Christianity, the notion of Jesus the Black freedom fighter who rights wrongs and helps Black people as they struggle through hard times.
But what happens when the colonization of a people is mental? Missionaries came to Africa to “soften up” the local populations, making them pliable and ready for white supremacy, the exploitation of their land, resources and bodies inherent in colonization. They were given, and gladly clung onto, the least empowering narratives–of God as a white man and a white master, and the notion of blind faith and forgiveness, and enduring suffering in life so that you go to Heaven once you die. But what about having Heaven on Earth? What of the concept of accumulating wealth so as to provide a secure future for one’s children and successive generations? We are not talking about prosperity gospel, which is simply pimping with a collar and cross, but rather a demand for basic human rights, of economic security, dignity, freedom, and justice.

In other words, if our devoutness is related to our continued exploitation and economic subjugation, then what benefits have we derived from our faith, when Christians in the advanced world are not made to sacrifice their wealth for their faith? And that’s wealth they stole from Africans, by the way, with compounded interest.
The key for Black people is to channel their faith—whatever their religion, or lack thereof– in a manner that speaks to their condition, their culture and their values. Certainly, Kwanzaa is an effort to make Black spirituality real, regardless of one’s religion, in promoting strong values, perpetuating institution building, and bringing about positive outcomes in the community.
“I’m saying that you are closer to God the further you get away from organized religions that are all handmaidens of conquest,” Dr. John Henrik Clarke once said. “And these belief systems that had their origins in Africa–all of them, and there is no exception–turned on African people. Everything that was brought into this continent–everything, every idea, every so called religion–was meant to dominate and to control. Every element that was put into the making of every major religion started in Africa. Why is it you are so naïve, you let people redress something you invented, send it back to you and enslave you through it?”

Written by David Love/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by John the Revelator

Most antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are “mythologized history.” In other words, based on the evidence available they think that around the start of the first century a controversial Jewish rabbi named Yeshua ben Yosef gathered a following and his life and teachings provided the seed that grew into Christianity. At the same time, these scholars acknowledge that many Bible stories like the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and women at the tomb borrow and rework mythic themes that were common in the Ancient Near East, much the way that screenwriters base new movies on old familiar tropes or plot elements. In this view, a “historical Jesus” became mythologized.

For over 200 years, a wide ranging array of theologians and historians grounded in this perspective have analyzed ancient texts, both those that made it into the Bible and those that didn’t, in attempts to excavate the man behind the myth. Several current or recent bestsellers take this approach, distilling the scholarship for a popular audience. Familiar titles include Zealot by Reza Aslan and How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman.

By contrast, other scholars believe that the gospel stories are actually “historicized mythology.” In this view, those ancient mythic templates are themselves the kernel. They got filled in with names, places and other real world details as early sects of Jesus worship attempted to understand and defend the devotional traditions they had received.

The notion that Jesus never existed is a minority position. Of course it is! says David Fitzgerald, the author of Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All. Fitzgerald points out that for centuries all serious scholars of Christianity were Christians themselves, and modern secular scholars lean heavily on the groundwork that they laid in collecting, preserving, and analyzing ancient texts. Even today most secular scholars come out of a religious background, and many operate by default under historical presumptions of their former faith.

Fitzgerald–who, as his book title indicates, takes the “mythical Jesus” position–is an atheist speaker and writer, popular with secular students and community groups. The internet phenom, Zeitgeist the Movie introduced millions to some of the mythic roots of Christianity. But Zeitgeist and similar works contain known errors and oversimplifications that undermine their credibility. Fitzgerald seeks to correct that by giving young people accessible information that is grounded in accountable scholarship.

More academic arguments in support of the Jesus Myth theory can be found in the writings of Richard Carrier and Robert Price. Carrier, who has a Ph.D. in ancient history, uses the tools of his trade to show, among other things, how Christianity might have gotten off the ground without a miracle. Price, by contrast, writes from the perspective of a theologian whose biblical scholarship ultimately formed the basis for his skepticism. It is interesting to note that some of the harshest critics of popular Jesus myth theories like those from Zeitgeist or Joseph Atwill (who argued that the Romans invented Jesus) are academic Mythicists like these.

The arguments on both sides of this question—mythologized history or historicized mythology—fill volumes, and if anything the debate seems to be heating up rather than resolving. Since many people, both Christian and not, find it surprising that this debate even exists—that serious scholars might think Jesus never existed—here are some of the key points that keep the doubts alive:

1. No first century secular evidence whatsoever exists to support the actuality of Yeshua ben Yosef.

In the words of Bart Ehrman (who himself believes the stories were built on a historical kernel):

“What sorts of things do pagan authors from the time of Jesus have to say about him? Nothing. As odd as it may seem, there is no mention of Jesus at all by any of his pagan contemporaries. There are no birth records, no trial transcripts, no death certificates; there are no expressions of interest, no heated slanders, no passing references – nothing. In fact, if we broaden our field of concern to the years after his death – even if we include the entire first century of the Common Era – there is not so much as a solitary reference to Jesus in any non-Christian, non-Jewish source of any kind. I should stress that we do have a large number of documents from the time – the writings of poets, philosophers, historians, scientists, and government officials, for example, not to mention the large collection of surviving inscriptions on stone and private letters and legal documents on papyrus. In none of this vast array of surviving writings is Jesus’ name ever so much as mentioned.” (pp. 56-57)
2. The earliest New Testament writers seem ignorant of the details of Jesus’ life, which become more crystalized in later texts.

Paul seems unaware of any virgin birth, for example. No wise men, no star in the east, no miracles. Historians have long puzzled over the “Silence of Paul” on the most basic biographical facts and teachings of Jesus. Paul fails to cite Jesus’ authority precisely when it would make his case. What’s more, he never calls the twelve apostles Jesus’ disciples; in fact, he never says Jesus HAD disciples –or a ministry, or did miracles, or gave teachings. He virtually refuses to disclose any other biographical detail, and the few cryptic hints he offers aren’t just vague, but contradict the gospels. The leaders of the early Christian movement in Jerusalem like Peter and James are supposedly Jesus’ own followers and family; but Paul dismisses them as nobodies and repeatedly opposes them for not being true Christians!

Liberal theologian Marcus Borg suggests that people read the books of the New Testament in chronological order to see how early Christianity unfolded.

Placing the Gospels after Paul makes it clear that as written documents they are not the source of early Christianity but its product. The Gospel — the good news — of and about Jesus existed before the Gospels. They are the products of early Christian communities several decades after Jesus’ historical life and tell us how those communities saw his significance in their historical context.
3. Even the New Testament stories don’t claim to be first-hand accounts.

We now know that the four gospels were assigned the names of the apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, not written by them. To make matter sketchier, the name designations happened sometime in second century, around 100 years or more after Christianity supposedly began.

For a variety of reasons, the practice of pseudonymous writing was common at the time and many contemporary documents are “signed” by famous figures. The same is true of the New Testament epistles except for a handful of letters from Paul (6 out of 13) which are broadly thought to be genuine. But even the gospel stories don’t actually say, “I was there.” Rather, they claim the existence of other witnesses, a phenomenon familiar to anyone who has heard the phrase, my aunt knew someone who . . . .

4. The gospels, our only accounts of a historical Jesus, contradict each other.

If you think you know the Jesus story pretty well, I suggest that you pause at this point to test yourself with the 20 question quiz at ExChristian.net.

The gospel of Mark is thought to be the earliest existing “life of Jesus,” and linguistic analysis suggests that Luke and Matthew both simply reworked Mark and added their own corrections and new material. But they contradict each other and, to an even greater degree contradict the much later gospel of John, because they were written with different objectives for different audiences. The incompatible Easter stories offer one example of how much the stories disagree.

5. Modern scholars who claim to have uncovered the real historical Jesus depict wildly different persons.

They include a cynic philosopher, charismatic Hasid, liberal Pharisee, conservative rabbi, Zealot revolutionary, and nonviolent pacifist to borrow from a much longer list assembled by Price. In his words (pp. 15-16), “The historical Jesus (if there was one) might well have been a messianic king, or a progressive Pharisee, or a Galilean shaman, or a magus, or a Hellenistic sage. But he cannot very well have been all of them at the same time.” John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar grumbles that “the stunning diversity is an academic embarrassment.”

For David Fitzgerald, these issues and more lead to a conclusion that he finds inescapable:

Jesus appears to be an effect, not a cause, of Christianity. Paul and the rest of the first generation of Christians searched the Septuagint translation of Hebrew scriptures to create a Mystery Faith for the Jews, complete with pagan rituals like a Lord’s Supper, Gnostic terms in his letters, and a personal savior god to rival those in their neighbors’ longstanding Egyptian, Persian, Hellenistic and Roman traditions.
In a soon-to-be-released follow up to Nailed, entitled Jesus: Mything in Action, Fitzgerald argues that the many competing versions proposed by secular scholars are just as problematic as any “Jesus of Faith:”

Even if one accepts that there was a real Jesus of Nazareth, the question has little practical meaning: Regardless of whether or not a first century rabbi called Yeshua ben Yosef lived, the “historical Jesus” figures so patiently excavated and re-assembled by secular scholars are themselves fictions.
We may never know for certain what put Christian history in motion. Only time (or perhaps time travel) will tell.

By Valerie Tarico/Alternet

Posted by John the Revelator