Joined: May 2007
I would like to draw attention to "The Jesus Mysteries" by Peter Gandy and Timothy Freke. I have read it many times and have also read the extensive notes section as well as the list of literature references.
One may disagree with the authors on the conclusions they draw but we nevertheless - unless we have sold out to the Bible - may want to reconsider some of our thoughts on the origins and the content of the NT.
I quote from the first page:
|The Unthinkable Thought|
Jesus said, "It is to those who are worthy of my Mysteries that I tell my Mysteries."
The Gospel of Thomas
On the site where the Vatican now stands there once stood a Pagan temple. Here Pagan priests observed sacred ceremonies, which early Christians found so disturbing that they tried to erase all evidence of them ever having been practiced. What were these shocking Pagan rites? Gruesome sacrifices or obscene orgies perhaps? This is what we have been led to believe. But the truth is far stranger than this fiction.
Where today the gathered faithful revere their Lord Jesus Christ, the ancients worshiped another godman who, like Jesus, had been miraculously born on December 25 before three shepherds. In this ancient sanctuary Pagan congregations once glorified a Pagan redeemer who, like Jesus, was said to have ascended to heaven and to have promised to come again at the end of time to judge the quick and the dead. On the same spot where the Pope celebrates the Catholic mass, Pagan priests also celebrated a symbolic meal of bread and wine in memory of their savior who, just like Jesus, had declared:
He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation.
In "The Gnostic Gospels", Elaine Pagels argue:
|It is the winners who write history-their way. No wonder, then, that the traditional accounts of the origins of Christianity first defined the terms (naming themselves "orthodox" and their opponents "heretics"); then they proceeded to demonstrate-at least to their own satisfaction-that their triumph was historically inevitable, or, in religious terms, "guided by the Holy Spirit." But the discoveries [of the Gnostic gospels] at Nag Hammadi reopen fundamental questions.|
The fundamental choice to be made, given the available information, is not whether chance provides a better explanation than design, but whether natural laws provide a better explanation than a design. - Sean Devine.