Saturday, January 8, 2011

Notable Quotable

This tidbit really struck me today.  I have read this essay before and this is the essay that was the final nail in the coffin of my disbelief but today, I was amazed by this.

Did Jesus Christ Really Live? (ca. 1922)  by Marshall J. Gauvin
http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/marshall_gauvin/did_jesus_really_live.html
The full article can be found at the link above.


On the theory that Christ was crucified, how shall we explain the fact that during the first eight centuries of the evolution of Christianity, Christian art represented a lamb, and not a man, as suffering on the cross for the salvation of the world? Neither the paintings in the Catacombs nor the sculptures on Christian tombs pictured a human figure on the cross. Everywhere a lamb was shown as the Christian symbol--a lamb carrying a cross, a lamb at the foot of a cross, a lamb on a cross. Some figures showed the lamb with a human head, shoulders and arms, holding a cross in his hands--the lamb of God in process of assuming the human form--the crucifixion myth becoming realistic. At the close of the eighth century, Pope Hadrian I, confirming the decree of the sixth Synod of Constantinople, commanded that thereafter the figure of a man should take the place of a lamb on the cross. It took Christianity eight hundred years to develop the symbol of its suffering Savior. For eight hundred years, the Christ on the cross was a lamb. But if Christ was actually crucified, why was his place on the cross so long usurped by a lamb? In the light of history and reason, and in view of a lamb on the cross, why should we believe in the Crucifixion?


We once again see the evolution of the Christ story.  For the first 800 years of Christianity, Christ was not depicted on the cross.  A lamb was depicted.  A very human decree by a Pope changed history and the views on Christ.  With the stroke of a pen the Christ story took on whole dimensions of new meaning.  


Now we could talk of the torture of Jesus before he died.  His fully human, fully God status.  His vile treatment at the hands of the Jews.  [As if God wasn't fully responsible.  How Christians have loved to hate the Jews for killing Jesus, who was also a Jew, in these tales from the pages of the Bible.]  No longer was a lamb sacrificed to the Heavenly Father.  Now it was His own Son, His own flesh and blood, reviled, tortured, whipped and brutally hung on a cross.  The drama of the story is complete. An amazing tale of a demi-god. 


Think about how crazy this story is.  That God sacrificed Himself to save all of us from Himself, when He could have just issued a decree saying:  There, there my children, if you see what you have done wrong and truly repent and try very hard to do better in the future, then I forgive you." The whole story of Jesus is cobbled together by one power monger after another that want very much to have a say in what each of us believes about God.  For his own benefit.

7 comments:

  1. "Think about how crazy this story is. That God sacrificed Himself to save all of us from Himself, when He could have just issued a decree..."

    To me, this point, all by itself, is sufficient to prove that the authors of the NT were superstitious primitives who never bothered to think through their stories. Every day, all over again, I am amazed that there are billions who take this nonsense seriously. Nice post, Liz.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, I think. I am not in all that much pain and I don't think this post showed I am in pain at all. It is nice of you to care. This post was more about facts than feelings.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As I read this post, the first thing I thought of was this famous piece of anti-Christian graffiti that dates from 200 AD. Its intent was to mock Christians for their beliefs.

    http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/gladiators/graffito.html

    I'm at work right now, so I don't have time to dig this up, but there's evidence that shows that Christians believed in the crucifixion from the very beginning, and it wasn't a later embelishment. One verse that comes to mind right now is 1 Timothy 3:16. If I remember correctly, in this verse the apostle Paul, writing in the latter half of the first century AD, is quoting an early Christian confession.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Ross, I almost never get comments since this is a minor hobby for me. Thanks for the info.

    Here is one link I found interesting.

    Previous to the time of Constantine, we find no trace of an image of Christ, properly speaking, except among the Gnostic Carpocratians, 509 and in the case of the heathen emperor Alexander Severus, who adorned his domestic chapel, as a sort of syncretistic Pantheon, with representatives of all religions.
    http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/Early-Christian-Art.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. Here is something else I found, Ross.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_symb.htm

    The use of the cross as a symbol was condemned by at least one church father of the 3rd century CE because of its Pagan origins. The first appearance of a cross in Christian art is on a Vatican sarcophagus from the mid-5th Century. 11 It was a Greek cross with equal-length arms. Jesus' body was not shown. The first crucifixion scenes didn't appear in Christian art until the 7th century CE.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Renoliz, I'm also RDM363874 on John W. Loftus's blog. Paul also quotes from early Christian hymns in Colossians 1:15-20, Ephesians 5:14, and Philippians 2:6-11.

    ReplyDelete