Did the Catholic church invent Jesus, write the gospels in the 4th century and suppress the truth?

catholic-procession

This page in brief

Did the Catholic Church invent Jesus, create legends about his life, write the New Testament which is more fiction than fact, and suppress the truth about the origins of christianity?

Claims like these have been made in comments on this blog and elsewhere, but is there any historical basis to them?

It turns out that the claims made recently in comments on this blog are almost all based on the writings of Tony Bushby. Tony is not a historian, and as far as I could investigate, it seems that the claims were almost totally invented – nothing less than outright lies and deception. He has invented books and authors, fabricated quotes, and misapplied genuine quotes so they are no longer accurate.

People who believe these claims are unwittingly being taken in. If you are interested in the details, please read on. (Otherwise, this may be a good place to stop!)

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How sermons are stifling christianity

Cartoon

Preaching is one of the mainstays of Protestant christianity (though not so important in Catholic and Orthodox churches). Bible colleges teach how to do it, websites tell us how important it is, and those considered good preachers can become celebrities.

Yet the words “sermon” and “preaching” have negative connotations to many people, jokes about sermons abound (did you know that if all the people who sleep through sermons were laid end to end, they’d be more comfortable?) and educationalists and psychologists tell us they are not very effective in teaching or changing people.

Recently several friends, strong and active christians who attend church regularly, made strong anti-sermon comments. It made me think again, that sermons are stifling christianity.

Here’s how.

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Learning from an atheist

Apologetics series

CATHEDRAL

Many atheists have alleged that great harm has been done by religion, christianity in particular. Even if they have overstated their case, we can, and must, still learn from their criticisms. And if the analysis is fair, we have all the more reason to listen and repent.

Keith Parsons is a US philosopher and atheist who writes about the philosophy of religion, and actively engages with christian belief via The Internet Infidels website and the Secular Outpost blog. Keith has made his assessments of christianity in two posts on Secular Outpost, and they are worth checking out.

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Unbounded church – church as we haven’t known it for a society as we haven’t known it

People in a cafe

Albert Einstein apparently once said: “The significant problems we face can’t be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

Churches in the western world are facing declining numbers and interest. Most of them are continuing to do the same things they’ve always done, hoping maybe to do a little better and so turn the corner.

One person who thinks this isn’t sensible, and isn’t going to work, is a minister of an interesting church near Sydney.

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Struggling with church

Book: Finding Church

About two years ago, this book was published. I reported on it here because I am one of 37 christians who relate some of their experiences of church in the book. (My chapter is copied on this site, at Church and me.)

When I received my copy of the book, I read a number of the chapters, but never finished it and never reviewed it here, and other books became higher on my reading list.

But these summer holidays I went back to it and read every story. It was well worth the read.

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Unintended consequences of employing church staff

Minister

Most churches in first world countries employ staff these days. Small churches may have just a Minister or Pastor, but larger churches commonly have several pastors, an office secretary and a youth minister, and perhaps other staff as well.

It is an obvious step and perhaps the only way to get things done, especially when western christians are asset rich and time poor. But I think it has some drawbacks and unintended consequences that should be considered – many of them I have observed happening.

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There’s nothing like a sermon to make it hard for christians to learn and grow

Preaching

It is well established that lectures and sermons are poor ways to teach and to change – see Sermons – not how we learn best? A good sermon may encourage the congregation, but only a small percentage of people learn that way, and most don’t remember much, especially after the first 15 minutes.

More research information is coming in all the time. And it seems christians are the last to learn.

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