The recent discussions about Christians and their beliefs got me thinking about how the concept of Christianity came about. So I did a bit of research and I have come up with my version which is probably irreverend but nevertheless relevant.
I am going to tell you a story. It’s about a boy and girl who fell in love. They weren’t married and by the time they got round to telling their parents the baby was almost due. Naturally the parents were upset and insisted they go away from the village to have the baby, thus avoiding any scandal. The couple who were uneducated on matters of a sexual nature tried to deny that any sexual contact had taken place resulting in family members referring sarcastically to a virgin birth. Yes you’ve guessed it, the baby’s name was Jesus and he grew up and founded a movement called Christianity. We don’t know much about his early life other than he served his time as carpenter. He was baptised late in life by John the Baptist in and around his 30th year. This might suggest that his parents were not very religious or didn’t believe that a child of a few weeks could decide what religion they wanted baptised into.
John the Baptist was a hippy. He wandered around in the wilderness, dressed in clothes made of camel’s-hair. Like a modern-day Bear Grylls he lived on locusts and wild honey. Fuelled by the stories of his ancestors who believed that a Messiah was coming, John saw in Jesus a charismatic figure who could fill the role and so declared that he was the Messiah and the Son of God. Jesus was raised as a Jew and until his meeting with John probably didn’t have any intention of starting a new movement. But egged on by John and not happy with his lot ( he came from peasant stock) he had an epiphany and realised he could do something to change society.
He was determined to better himself so he went to the temple where he mixed with the scribes and Pharisees who helped educate him. He also realised he was good at performing tricks, a bit like Dynamo. People were amazed and their only explanation was that Jesus was the Son of God. I suspect in 33 A.D. it was not always possible to tell when a person was dead or in a coma, so perhaps he got lucky on many occasions. Jesus started to believe his own hype and as his reputation spread he amassed a large following. It is reported that he was friends with all kinds of people but we know he was friendly with Mary Magdalene who some described as a prostitute while others have suggested she may actually have been his wife. It would have been unusual for a man of his age not to be married in the Jewish culture but I’m not going there. There are claims that he spend 40 nights in the desert fasting. While there the devil tempted him. More likely he became delirious through a poor diet. John being an inhabitant of the desert was probably not too far away keeping him supplied with locusts and honey.
Meanwhile Jesus was gaining attention from political leaders and particularly from Pilate. When others started referring to him as King of The Jews, Pilate accused him of treason and summoned him before a tribunal. Judas who was jealous of Jesus daubed him in while on on a visit to Gethsemane. It strikes me as strange that Judas had to identify Jesus with a kiss as he was well known to the authorities. Where’s Crimewatch when you need it? Pilate, who was a Roman governor, was reluctant to convict Jesus but after persuasion from the Jewish authorities he washed his hands before the crowd and told them to do what they wanted. Now this is where I have a problem. How can anyone believe that a loving father i.e. God would have his only son (allegedly) crucified and exactly how would this save us from our sins? What sins have the young children who die every day through abuse and starvation, committed? And don’t start me on original sin. What’s that all about?
Jesus was buried in a large tomb but during the evening, wary of his followers trying to view the body either Jesus was taken by his followers or by the authorities and reburied in a secret place. In order to placate his followers the apostles spread the word that, as he was the Son of God he had ascended into heaven. Easy in those days to convince uneducated followers. His fellow disciples perpetuated the story. Thomas was obviously a bit sharper than the rest of the apostles or was not included in the conspiracy as he couldn’t be trusted. Whatever the reason, he didn’t believe the story and who can blame him? The story was retold and probably was embellished as it was 80 A.D. before three of the four gospels were composed. The authors remain anonymous but they are thought to be Jewish.
The spread of Christianity was perhaps due to a desire by a disillusioned people to believe in an afterlife. While the ethos of Christianity is love thy neighbour and do onto others as they would do to you, this has not been translated into words and deeds. Christianity has also been hijacked and used as a weapon to attack non believers and those of other religions and lifestyles. The misuse of Christianity by a number of religious orders in the middle ages to justify crusades where hundreds of thousands were killed in the name of God is a prime example. ( ” Kill them all, God will know His own” )
My intention in writing this is not to offend or insult anyone but to look at the birth of Christianity and to question the belief that Jesus was the son of God. I believe Jesus was a man who saw a role for himself in helping his community. He started a movement which has lasted two millennium but as stated earlier the movement has been hijacked along the way by those who want to rule and control.