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Did the gospels paint a prophet or a cult leader?
trustyoursources
When i read the account of Christ and I read it as a myth that was meant to be examined as testimony I imagine that instead of reading a book Luke, John, or Matthew are at the bar just telling me a story about some guy they knew. This is what a testimony is after all: a story someone tells you. If a book is written in the format of a testimony thus you must not necessarily believe the narrator at all times. Sometimes you can assume that he is lying or exaggerating things just like a stranger telling you a story at a bar would. (Sorry for the long intro but it will help the rest of this make sense... hopefully) So following this logic and using its lens to examine the bible I make 3 assumptions as I read the accounts of Christs life.

1 - Jesus is not divine and has no special powers. (ex. I've never seen a dude walk on water why would I believe a testimony that says someone saw someone do it somewhere.)

2 - No one else has special powers everyone is a human limited by the knowledge and culture of Iron Age Middle East.

3 - Jesus is corruptible just like every other person.

Now with all this in play as I go through the bible I hear a story about a Iron age Rabbi that ran an organization with lots of hall marks of a cult like abandoning families to follow a holy teacher, giving up wealth, and dedicating one entire life soul, body, and mind to the holy teacher. Further this holy teacher showed them a bunch of cheap parlor tricks. The holy teacher was so narcissistic and egocentric that anytime anything other then him comes up he tells you how unimportant it is compared to him and tells you to give up everything just to worship him and serve him.

Further he is reckless and his delusions of grandeur like thinking he is himself a god as well as his corrupt nature like soaking himself in a years wages worth of perfume in one sitting in front of a bunch of people who gave everything up to obey and follow him. The picture is clear. I do not see a wise and loving guy. I see Jim Jones or Marshall Applewhite.

My analysis lead me to make this documentary about the life of Christ where I go into detail and develop my thesis from birth to crucifixion. If you care for such a thing here is a link.

https://youtu.be/...
 
seeker
Why not take this a step further though? The story is full of the kinds of wild embellishments and geographic anomalies that one would expect to find in a myth. There is no real reason to believe that the character portrayed in the Gospels ever existed at all.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
trustyoursources
seeker wrote:

Why not take this a step further though? The story is full of the kinds of wild embellishments and geographic anomalies that one would expect to find in a myth. There is no real reason to believe that the character portrayed in the Gospels ever existed at all.


I do not believe the character existed at all as far as a historic figure goes. My documentary only has to do with the mythological Jesus plagiarized from Mithras and Horus.
 
seeker
Do you have any exploration of the religious milieu that led to the Roman era mystery religions? For me I think there is a direct line from the conquest religions that the Assyrians used during the first and second millennium BCE which the Persians adapted during the Achaemenid era.

Those religious concepts formed the basis of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and, because they were developed specifically to aid in conquering and subjugating rival civilizations they have the effect of creating fundamentalism and civil unrest. From the Assyrians on conquerors in the Middle East used the ruse of "restoring true faith" to create civil unrest among rival priesthoods.

The most famous example of this is the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great. He sent agitators in to stir up interest in a god called Marduk that had fallen out of favor. The result was that he was able to walk into Babylon and take over with no opposition because he was seen as a savior who restored the true religion. Cyrus the Great is also the man mentioned in the Old Testament as the messiah who restored the true religion of Judaism to the Jews.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
 
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