Friday, May 6, 2011

Christianity is Fundamentally Flawed

By Saeed Qureshi

Would you agree with my contention that Jesus Christ did no found the Christian religion and that it was brought into being several decades later by Jesus Christ’s perceived followers? In later times more specifically in the second century C. E. when a well knit hierarchical network was crafted by the succeeding generations, Christianity assumed a definite shape and contours.

Let me lace my assertion with historical, logical, chorological facts and developments that were instrumental in the formation of this religion. When the holy book of Muslims says that Jesus was not the son of God and was a prophet of God, it reveals an incontrovertible truth.

In Quran the Christians have been mentioned as people of book whereas Christianity is not been candidly defined as a religion. That can’t be a more appropriate explanation of the Christianity than this.

The divine revelation is passed on to the Jesus for the first time through a dove that descends from the skies and through that bird ( Christian believe it is the holy ghost or the holy spirit that permeates everything) the message of God is revealed to him that says, “you are my son, the beloved; I have approved you.”

While this approval is written in the four gospels, Jesus in his short ministry of three years never mentioned about the dove that was seen only by the writers and not by anyone else. The four writers were not present either on that occasion.

It would be queer to accept that God sent a bird to convey his message to Jesus. Even if an angel came to Jesus in the form of a dove then we can still argue that God did not need to get his angels camouflaged in the form of a bird to convey a very unique message that would be a turning point and a milestone for the Christians of the future. The message came when Jesus himself was a Jew.

The New treatment and the Old Testament make the whole Bible. The first five scriptures named Torah are exclusive to the Jewish religion and the Jews do not believe in the new treatment. Like Christians, the Muslims believe in both old and the New Testament. Yet the Muslims simultaneously maintain that the previous scripture have been replaced by their book Quran.

For Muslims, besides Quran, there are three previous scriptures, namely Torait. Zaboor, Injeel (basically some portion of both old and the new testament) revealed by God on Moses, David and Jesus respectively. Most of their contents were relevant to their respective times; while others were substituted by the Quran revealed on Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) during a period of 23 years.

Bible is a collection of 66 books written by 40 authors over a period of 16 centuries (1513 B.C.E. to 98 C. E.). The Old Testament consists of 39 books including the first five known as Torah. The five books or chapters start from the creation of the world (Genesis) and end at the death of the prophet Moses. The remaining 34 books are accounts and stories of the ancient kings and their mutual rivalries and battles.

These 39 books are called the Christian Hebrew Bible. The 27 books section is known as the New Testament and is exclusively reserved to Jesus Christ and his apostles.

The Jews believe only in the Old Testament or the 39 books while the Catholic Christians believe in all the 73 books. The Protestants among the Christians believe in 66 books altogether. Seven controversial books are called apocryphal.

The first chapter known as Genesis (meaning the creation of the world) describes in graphic details how God crafted this universe over a period of six days and then rested on the seventh day. The author of Genesis gives an impression of being an eye witness when God was busy in finalizing his creation including Adam and Eve.

Now who was the author who saw with his own eyes God’s engagement in creation is not known. As such it is mere a speculation or the flair of writing an interesting episode as one finds in suspense laden stories.

Interestingly in Genesis while God creates day and night on the fourth day, the author counts the days from the creation of the light ad darkness on the first day. When the days and nights are created on the fourth day how these can be mentioned before that when these never existed.

Similarly, it is mentioned in Genesis 2 that God first formed Adam out of "the dust of the ground" and then "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life", causing him to "become a living soul" Now it clearly demonstrates that God was like a human who breathes and was present before Adam like a human. Can this attribute of God be acceptable?
It is also not clear whether the dust was already there and earth was made of dust at the time of the creation. It also means that in paradise there is dust and clay, which only the author claims to, know. Was not there any other method that Omni potent God could make use of?

The fables of Adam down to Prophet Moses are narrated in third person as if the writer or the writers were present during a period of several millenniums witnessing and recording the day to day and moment to moment events.

By any stretch of imagination, this is simply impossible for anyone to live that much longer. And again who wrote the stories of these kings and ancient monarchs and even prophets is not known.

The authors of the Old Testament are anonymous. As such to claim what they wrote was under divine inspiration is also not credible. God’s utterances or commandments cannot be described in the third person. God should be wholly devoted to moral lessons and not uloigising or condemning the past generations and the rulers.

The account of Moses too is not from Moses himself but from someone who wrote his life story later. If the divine inspiration can continue for 1600 years why all of a sudden it stopped at the end of the first century?

The New Testament is entirely devoted to Jesus Christ and his sermons and how he became the anointed son of God and sacrificed his life on gallows for the salvation of the entire mankind. In case of the New Testament the story of Jesus was written by four persons. Which means there are four versions of the life and profile of Jesus Christ? Besides these four main books about Jesus, there are 14 letters written by St. Paul, 4 narrations by John, 2 by St Peter, and one each by James, Jude and Luke.

The main snag with these scribes is that they happened to be a few decades after the death or ascension of Jesus Christ to heavens. Even the existence of Mathew whose name appears as the tax collector whom Jesus met and asked him to follow, becomes doubtful as his name in the Matthew’s own gospel is mentioned in these words, “He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office and he said to him, “Follow me”. And he rose and followed him.”

If Matthew was the real auther he would have said, “He asked me to follow him and I rose and followed him” that shows the writer of this gospel is someone else and not the Matthew mentioned as the follower of Jesus.

St. Luke disowns that he wrote the gospel by admitting that, “they delivered them to us”. It means someone else gave him the manuscript and inserted his name as the author.

The word of God cannot be interpreted is different words and texts. But while the story of Jesus is the same in all the texts, their diction, language and even the correlation of events differed at many places. The words, the metaphors, the construction of sentences and the sequences of events differ from each other. God’s revealed messages should not differ even by one dot. Did God reveal the same on these four scribes in different dictions?

Saint Paul never met Jesus and was on the scene some 22 years after the impaling of Jesus. He is one of the principle architects who resurrected the story of Jesus and exalted him to the level of the “Son of God” while Jesus himself in the light of his own speeches and utterances spoke and preached about one God.

Before the New Testament was written, Torah was already there as the holy scripture of the Jews. Later the additions of subsequent prophets like David and Solomon were made. However, the writing time of the New Testament ranges from 20 to 85 years after the demise or disappearance of the Jesus Christ.

It is utterly impossible to write the life story of Jesus or any person after several decades with verbatim reproduction of long sermons such as delivered by Jesus on Mount, with commas, colons semi-colons, and in parentheses.

The language and texts considerably differ between the four main authors. Matthew heavily copied from the gospel of Mark who never saw Jesus. John also did not write his gospel.

It looks as if there is a time gulf of 2 to 9 decades between the crucifixion of Jesus and the writers of his story. After Christ, for quite some time, this story was circulating by word of mouth.

Thereafter, the story of Jesus was written and circulated by different authors or one author with different names. That interregnum would make one ponder that it was a continuous episode of Jesus passed on verbally by the succeeding generations to the time when someone thought of scribing it.

The story of Jesus looks like a fable that starts as told about kings or saints with their attributes. It can also be deduced that in various societies, the stories of many folk lore saints and pious people abound and pass from generation to generation by word of mouth with relish and glorification to prove the exalted status of the individual concerned.

In case of Jesus it turned out to be a well established creed and an institution of faith that was carried forward by the original believers called Presbyterians or pious elders.

Later when the Christianity in the name of Jesus, became a firm and deep rooted faith, the Romans came down on these original followers with a heavy hand and brutalized and killed them.

But subsequently, the Christianity overwhelmed the Roman pagan religion. It got a big historic and watershed fillip when the Roman emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 313 C. E.

The identity of Jesus Christ is also subject to various interpretations. It is a common belief that he was unmarried until the age of 33 when he was crucified. But other versions claim that he was married to a woman named Mary Magdalene.

About the fatherless birth of Jesus the cynics opine that both Joseph and Mary were already engaged and only the ritual of marriage remained to be solemnized according to the Jewish tradition.

They might have come into physical contact with each and thus there was pregnancy. But since sex before marriage was an unpardonable sin in Jewish theology, they had to make an excuse that it was God’s son as there was no other pretext that could have been made up to save themselves from the then prevailing harsh law about adultery.

The accounts of the visit of females to the tomb of Jesus from where he is stated to have ascended to heaven vary with the four writers of the gospels. St. Mark says there were three women, Matthew says there were two women, Luke says a number of women, and John mentions only one woman Mary Magdalene.

There are roughly fifty thousands such discrepancies and contradictions in the Bible more specifically in the four gospels of the apostles written about the Jesus Christ.

Jesus is quoted to possess extraordinary powers to heal and even to raise the dead and make them living. He could heal the lepers and sick people with similar deformities. His reputation spreads in the valley of Galilee and the terminally sick and disabled people flock to his processions and congregations and assemble where he stays. He must be the most reputed, famed and widely known saint in the cities where he roamed and preached his ministry.

But what happens is that in the wake of his journey to the gallows he is utterly lonely and no one comes forward to console or help him. Only 12 companions are present at the Last Supper. The award of death sentence would have prompted the people to rebellion.

Even the Jews must have known that he is a man of miracles but even then they opposed him. His tomb should have been the venue of thousands of people for his healing powers. But only a woman comes to balm his body. Where is the rest of the population gone? A dead saint is more sought after than the living one.

As a son of God he is a redeemer and would ensure the humans beings to be the recipient of the promised paradise or the kingdom of God on earth. God loves him and he is the only anointed son of God whom God listens. After God almighty he is supposed to be the most powerful person in this world as well in the hereafter.

Yet the Jewish rabbis and clergy get him arrested, dragged him into the Roman courts, and got the death verdict for heresy and for calling himself the C├ęsar and refusing to pay taxes.

After the Roman governor Pontius Pilate awards him the death sentence, Jesus is subjected to the most degrading humiliations. He is traumatized, brutalized, taken almost naked to the place of hanging, his body is pierced with spears, and he is derided and jeered.

He is not able to defend himself despite having miraculous powers. He simply cries, bemoans and beseeches his God for help and questions as to why he has abandoned him in such a horrible situation.

Now to interpret that he wanted to pay for the sins of the humanity with his blood is a convoluted and frivolous argument. He had every right to thwart the insane and savage treatment of his tormenters.

If he was really shedding his blood to pay for the salvation of the humanity then he should not have cried, wailed and sought God’s help to save him from the indignities and torture that were inflicted on him until he was placed on the stake with nails bolted on his body.

Instead of paying the price for the sins of the human race in blood, the redemption from God could be obtained in a peaceful manner. Why giving his life was so necessary?
The end of the Jesus is differently spelled out by Christians and Muslims. While Christians believe that he was taken up to heaven by God from the tomb, the Muslims believe he was never hanged and God lifted him to the heaven before he was to be impaled on the cross.

The Christianity offers an easy way to enter the paradise by merely believing in Jesus as the son of God. It is too easy a ticket to paradise to be attributed as a divine reward. Such belief gives carte blanche and free choice to everyone to commit any sin and evils deeds in this world and enter the paradise by merely professing Jesus to be the son of God.

This panacea gives a free license to go wild and wicked in all manners by killing, robbing, raping and committing of similar criminalities and yet be rewarded with a place in paradise.

The gospel of Matthew starts with these words, “The book of history of Jesus Christian of David, son of Abraham.” After a long list of descendents of Abraham down to Jacob, the gospel says that Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.”

Now this statement contains a big mistake which perhaps happened due to the ignorance of the latter day authors about the Joseph the son of Jacob and Joseph the husband of Mary. As the history tells us that Joseph who was the father of Jesus is different from the Joseph who was the son of Prophet Jacob.

But the writers eliminate the time distance of almost 1600 centuries and confuse the prophet Joseph with the husband of Mary who was a carpenter. Even the time distance between prophets David and Solomon and Jesus is several hundred years. So how could Jacob’s son Joseph be the father of Jesus who was born much later.

As the history of nascent Christianity bears out there were no concept of trinity prevalent during the first century after the demise of Jesus Christ. It was much later that when Christians cam into contact with Romans and Greek that they replaced the concept of one God with trinity which meant God the father, God the son and Mary the mother God.

Later the Mary was replaced with the Holy Spirit. The idea of immortal soul which was not there previously was later imbibed from the Greek mythology.

In bible highly sleazy material about prophets has been given. Various noble ancient prophets have been painted and profiled in most lurid and immoral colors. About Prophet Solomon it says in 1 Kings 1:9-10 section that, “Solomon worshipped false gods in his old age.” It further says that “Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.” About Prophet David it says that, “David danced naked before the people and before the Lord”

About prophet Noah the Bible says that, “Noah was a drunk, and lay uncovered in his tent and his son Ham saw the nakedness” There is a huge pile up of filthy material and writings about sex and women in Bible that makes one feel that it cannot be a divine revelation and must have been written by humans.

Finally let us turn our attention to the so called King James Bible now mostly read by the Protestant Christians. This Bible is rehashed version of the previous brands of Bible texts written and revised from time to time. Ironically the bible being the revelation of God is rewritten by a bunch of humans, claiming it to be an agreed and real Bible.

The entire text of the previously existing bibles was revised, scanned with new terms and diction. The rewriting of this most popular bible started in 1604 under the orders of the King of England and was competed in 1611.

This Bible was in fact a translated version of the previous texts of the Bibles being read for centuries after these were written primarily by the pioneering four disciples. The rewriting was done by 47 theologians from the Church of England from two previously existing versions.

The New Testament was translated from Greek; the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew text, while the Apocrypha were translated from the Greek and Latin. The King James Version is a protestant bible, and therefore has 66 books. The catholic Bible has 73 chapters.

The difference in number of books between the Catholics and Protestants raises a very intriguing yet interesting question. For 17 centuries the Christians have been reading 73 books as the true message of God. But after the Protestantism came into being in 16th century, the seven books were discarded.

It means that from Protestants’ point of view, the Christians were committing a sin by believing in the books they think were apocryphal (false). How can one decide then whether Catholics are right or the Protestants with regard to these seven controversial books?

However, the main point is that King James Version of Bible is not the one that was written by four early apostles. Since it was rewritten by the 17th century writers afresh and with changes made even in the subsequent editions it, cannot be treated as written under divine inspiration.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat
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