Through literary analysis, a Bible scholar has found reason to believe that Jesus Christ was actually invented by the Romans. A classic intelligence trick, the goal was to take the rebellious energy of the messiah-seeking Jews and channel it into a messiah they controlled —
because he existed only in the writings they produced — and one who preached cooperation with the empire.
The Gospels in turn were woven from the fabric of the ancient pagan “mystery schools” and earlier Jewish literature. The rest of Christianity blended the Roman emperors’ favored Stoic philosophy with Greek pagan beliefs and more Jewish scripture.
This is an extraordinary claim to be sure. I’m not sure there’s the necessary extraordinary proof to back it up… and I, as an atheist busy with more practical matters, don’t really have the time or inclination to dig in and figure out whether this position is likely to be correct. If you do, one place to start might be a fundamentalist’s hostile review, and the original author’s subsequent rebuttal: http://www.tektonics.org/books/csmessrvw.html
Nevertheless, I find the whole business fascinating on a logical / conceptual level… if Christ was actually the Antichrist, then…?
There’s also an interesting thread of Greco-Roman tradition one can draw through all kinds of things, but that’s far outside the scope of this list. Some of Berlin’s museums are well worth visiting if you’re interested in that.
Smartphones: Holy crap, someone’s actually gone and done it — proved that using smartphones makes you dumber! South Korean researchers found that smarphone use creates “a deterioration in cognitive abilities more commonly seen in patients who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness.”
Perhaps the solution does indeed involve electroshock therapy or a lobotomy… no, not at a medical facility, that involves paperwork. Find a really sketchy “lab” and do the procedure there on a suitably new-model “patient.” Stage it like the worst kind of horror from the annals of psychiatry. Shoot a video and use it to promote a crowdfunding campaign for a “straightjacket” smartphone case that encourages people to get back into the real world by making their phones impossible to use.
Yes, the NSA does run Tor nodes — the released docs show they had a batch of their own up in late Feburary 2012, and it’s not clear what other ones they might have run / be running: https://twitter.com/CDA/status/386174790924394496/photo/1
The question of parallel construction in the Silk Road case has reached Forbes:
“When the Flavians seized control of the Roman Empire, they needed to legitimise their rule, so they had their Jewish court historian Josephus (originally Yosef ben Matityahu who adopted the name Titus Flavius Josephus) create a large body of work which became the only official history we have of the Jewish-Roman War.
Bible scholar Joseph Atwill noticed many parallels between this historic account of the war and the events in the life of Jesus in the Gospels. Through his study of the ancient Greek texts and his discovery of an antiquated Hebrew literary genre, he found dozens of parallels between the Jesus story and the war history that occurred in the exact same sequence. This shows that the events of Jesus’ life which supposedly took place forty years earlier, were actually all dependent on the events in the military campaign of the Roman Caesar Titus Flavius. Ancient texts were much more allegorical, multi-layered and complex than today’s writing, and when you read the Gospels and the histories of Josephus side by side, a new meaning arises which reveals the authors of the Gospels to be the Roman Flavian Caesars, their co-conspirators, and their literary team.
Along the way, the Bible scholars show how the Roman Imperial Cult — set up to worship Caesar as a god — formed the basis for the Roman Catholic Church, and that some of the Church’s first saints were members of the Flavian court. Atwill also shows how the “second coming of the Christ” referred to a historical event that already occurred.”
” ancient confessions recently uncovered now prove, according to Atwill, that the New Testament was written by first-century Roman aristocrats and that they fabricated the entire story of Jesus Christ. […]
Alert citizens need to know the truth about our past so we can understand how and why governments create false histories and false gods. They often do it to obtain a social order that is against the best interests of the common people.”
Atwill asserts that Christianity did not really begin as a religion, but a sophisticated government project, a kind of propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of the Roman Empire. “Jewish sects in Palestine at the time, who were waiting for a prophesied warrior Messiah, were a constant source of violent insurrection during the first century,” he explains. “When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare. They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system. That’s when the ‘peaceful’ Messiah story was invented. Instead of inspiring warfare, this Messiah urged turn-the-other-cheek pacifism and encouraged Jews to ‘give onto Caesar’ and pay their taxes to Rome.”
Was Jesus based on a real person from history? “The short answer is no,” Atwill insists, “in fact he may be the only fictional character in literature whose entire life story can be traced to other sources. Once those sources are all laid bare, there’s simply nothing left.”
Atwill’s most intriguing discovery came to him while he was studying “Wars of the Jews” by Josephus [the only surviving first-person historical account of first-century Judea] alongside the New Testament. “I started to notice a sequence of parallels between the two texts,” he recounts. “Although it’s been recognised by Christian scholars for centuries that the prophesies of Jesus appear to be fulfilled by what Josephus wrote about in the First Jewish-Roman war, I was seeing dozens more. What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of [Emperor] Titus Flavius as described by Josephus. This is clear evidence of a deliberately constructed pattern. The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar.”
How could this go unnoticed in the most scrutinised books of all time? “Many of the parallels are conceptual or poetic, so they aren’t all immediately obvious. After all, the authors did not want the average believer to see what they were doing, but they did want the alert reader to see it. An educated Roman in the ruling class would probably have recognised the literary game being played.” Atwill maintains he can demonstrate that “the Roman Caesars left us a kind of puzzle literature that was meant to be solved by future generations, and the solution to that puzzle is ‘We invented Jesus Christ, and we’re proud of it.'”
Is this the beginning of the end of Christianity? “Probably not,” grants Atwill, “but what my work has done is give permission to many of those ready to leave the religion to make a clean break. We’ve got the evidence now to show exactly where the story of Jesus came from. Although Christianity can be a comfort to some, it can also be very damaging and repressive, an insidious form of mind control that has led to blind acceptance of serfdom, poverty, and war throughout history. To this day, especially in the United States, it is used to create support for war in the Middle East.””