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Fanaticism in the First Christians

There are thousands of cults with wacky doctrines. The People’s Temple of Jim Jones saw over nine hundred people kill themselves for Jones’ lies. It follows that fanaticism means the cult members are deranged and driven by strong religious emotions. A fanatical cult is likely to manipulate people into having visions or experiences or to make them want visions so much that the feeling takes over and their memory is altered to make them think they saw a vision yesterday though they did not.

The primitive Christian Church was characterised by a gross fanaticism. Fanaticism is related to hysteria and hysteria is very very contagious among people in a crowd or those who feel the world is against them – the early Church invited persecution and ranted about Satan to induce paranoia in its victims.

Rarely did any believer in the early Church ever say that the miracles of Jesus’ rival gods like Apollonius or Simon Magus were faked but they attributed them to the Devil. They weren’t difficult to persuade to believe in miracles (The Problem of Competing Claims by Richard Carrier on www). Eusebius believed that the miracles of Apollonius were real but demonic even though the followers of Apollonius saw nothing evil in them. Even today Christians say that Jesus’ miracles are true for he never used them to attract attention to himself. Then what did he do them for? He could have done them secretly and discreetly so that nobody would know a miracle had happened. When Jesus did miracles even though he told the recipients not to tell anyone knowing that they would it is clear he did want to attract attention.

Members of the Church were asked to become Christians and did and the apostles, who founded the Church and included Paul, went about preaching even though the risk of attack and inviting persecution was high enough to make it guaranteed. They were not secretive at least for some of the time.

Members had to hand over all their possessions to the apostles who controlled them and gave them out and Acts is keen to stress that they were distributed fairly. Communism is a mark of a dangerous and loopy cult. And the Christian cult wanted anybody who kept anything back dead as is clear from the Ananias and Sapphira incident. Peter killed them, allegedly with magic, and this terrified the Church. Fear is THE most important ingredient of religious exploitation. And then there was the doctrine of everlasting condemnation to Hades. If Jesus existed he said a lot about it for he says more about it than Heaven. Fear was used on Simon Magus to make him regret asking the apostles to sell him the power of the Holy Spirit. Christians say that Simon believed the apostles would not give him the gift if he merely asked for it and so he thought a bribe would be in order. No outsider would join in when the Church all gathered at Solomon’s porch in the Temple because they found the signs and wonders to be scary (Acts 5:13). This shows how essential terror was in order to get the Church off to a good start.
 
The Christian religion did not originate because of an undeniable resurrection of Jesus that convinced the people as Christians would have you believe. Festus who had access to the records of Pilate his predecessor’s dealings with Jesus and King Agrippa did not believe Jesus rose were not told to go to the records but were virtually asked to believe in it because Paul had a vision that could have been brought on by the sun! Paul said that all the prophets said that Jesus would rise. That was untrue and all Jews would have known it. He even singled out Moses – showing that he was being emphasised – as saying Jesus would rise (Acts 27:23). Agrippa would have known that that was a lie and Paul knew. Paul had to try his luck for there was no evidence. It was not history that produced Christianity. It was the instilling of fear all the way. And signs and wonders were a big thing in the Church. Charismatic groups find it easy to do fake miracles and claim to know things about members nobody told them. It is very powerful to get the people sucked in deeper.

Paul went about collecting money and arranging weekly collections for the aid of the Church in Israel. They were not that badly off if Acts is to be believed about the high number of members and the fact that Jerusalem members would have been well-off being city-dwellers. A person who owned a house in Jerusalem and sold it for the Church, would make a lot of money for it is a city dwelling. The Church was run by con-men. All cults are.

Felix, the Roman Governor, had a lot of meetings with Paul for he wanted Paul to try and bribe him (Acts 24:26). Such a bribe would need to be very very substantial considering Felix would have been very wealthy to start with. The context says that Felix was frightened by Paul’s teaching. He did not want Paul to steal the money when he was scared that Paul was more moral than he was. He wanted Paul to give him Paul’s OWN money. Stealing was bad in his view and bribery was acceptable. Paul must have made a lot of money out of gospelling.

Paul had food on a ship and let the crew of two hundred and seventy-six starve for a fortnight. Finally, he shared it with them (Acts 27). Paul blessed bread. There was wheat on the ship for making it with so Paul had maids and cooks. He must have hired the ship when he was able to keep the crew from knowing that they did not need to starve for they would have taken the wheat. This slip by the writer of Acts betrays just how lucrative religion had been for Paul. It says a lot too about his selfish and devious nature. A lot of the wheat was thrown off the ship after to make it lighter. This was would not have been so serious if Paul had let them eat the bread for the fortnight. This was the man who told others to stop worrying about money and take it easy for the end was near! (1 Corinthians 7). He was a complete and utter fraud and the apostles were no better when they made him one of their own. Well the New Testament says they did so it is doing the accusing here for I think Paul caused a split in the early Church and the apostles hated him
 
 CONCLUSION
 
 The early Church was based on fanaticism and the apostles who founded it were con-men.
 
 
BOOKS CONSULTED
 
ALLEGED DISCREPANCIES OF THE BIBLE, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, undated  
BIBLICAL EXEGESIS AND CHURCH DOCTRINE, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
CHRIST AND PROTEST, Harry Tennant, Christadelphian Publishing Office, Birmingham, undated
CHRISTIANITY FOR THE TOUGH-MINDED, Editor John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship, Minnesota, 1973
IN DEFENCE OF THE FAITH, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene, Oregon, 1996
JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE GOSPELS, Daniel J Grolin, George Ronald, Oxford, 2002
JESUS AND THE FOUR GOSPELS, John Drane, Lion Books, Herts, 1984
JESUS HYPOTHESES, V Messori, St Paul Publications, Slough, 1977
IT AIN’T NECESSARILY SO, INVESTIGATING THE TRUTH OF THE BIBLICAL PAST, Matthew Sturgis, Headline Books, London, 2001
NEW AGE BIBLE VERSIONS, GA Riplinger, Bible & Literature Foundation, Tennessee, 1993
THE BIBLE, THE BIOGRAPHY, Karen Armstrong, Atlantic Books, London, 2007
THE BIBLE UNEARTHED, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, Touchstone Books, New York, 2002
THE CASE FOR CHRIST, Lee Strobel, HarperCollins and Zondervan, Michigan, 1998
THE HOLY BIBLE NEW AMERICAN VERSION, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington DC, 1970
THE JESUS EVENT, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York, 1980
THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. Kittel Gerhard and Friedrich Gerhard, Eerdman’s Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI, 1976
THE PASSOVER PLOT, Hugh Schonfield, Element Books, Dorset, 1996
THE UNAUTHORISED VERSION. Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
THE VIRGINAL CONCEPTION AND BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1973

THE WWW

www.truthbeknown.com/historicaljc.htm
The “Historical” Jesus, Acharya S
 
Galatians@kscable.com,
The “Finding of the Law”

www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html
New Testament Contradictions, Paul Carlson

www.mindspring.com/~bab5/BIB/lessons.htm
Something’s Fishy: Deception, Secrecy and the Gospel

www.freethought-web.org/ctrl/archive/billings_bd.html
Biblical Discrepancies

www.askwhy.co.uk/awstruth/ChristianCase.html
The Case for Christianity Examined

www.bowness.demon.co.uk/wilkin6.htm
Final Response by Steven Carr to Dr Wilkinson, Can We Believe in Miracles in a Scientific Universe?
This points out how the miracles of Simon Magus and Apollonius of Tyana which the Christians took for granted as authentic but ascribed them to demons and the pagan miracles for which reliable first hand testimony exists are rejected by Christians who believe in the gospel ones on less evidence.

www.bowness.demon.co.uk/mirc1.htm
Miracles and the Book of Mormon by Steven Carr. This argues that the Christians complain about Joseph Smith having copied and plagiarised miracle stories in the Bible to fill out the Book of Mormon while the gospellers did the same and stole Old Testament miracle stories and applied them to Jesus. For example the story of Jesus raising the daughter of Jairus is really just the story of Elisha raising a widow’s son to life from the Second Book of Kings. Even a lot of the wording is a perfect match with the Greek version of the Old Testament story. Carr notes how Christians reject many pagan miracle stories as frauds while accepting the miracles of Jesus on as little or even less evidence.

http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/bepart31.html
Biblical Errancy, January 1987, by Dennis McKinsey

www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/indef/4c.html
The Problem of Competing Claims by Richard Carrier