Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Christianity - The Fundamentals

Quite a long time ago, the Christian church was very different. It really was persecuted and outnumbered - not at all in the elevated and privileged position it holds worldwide today. It had little power and sway over those who followed it and gathered in their own small independent little community churches. It was young and still learning the ways of control and mass manipulation. It was not yet in full agreement with itself on the dogma and scriptures it used in those days. Every little church had its own particular favorite gospel - some even used the 'Gospel of Mary Magdelene', who was even viewed as one Christs Apostles - and many of these gospels were not the ones in today's bible. It was not centrally controlled and neither was the book today called the bible. In fact, back then, there was no bible. It was a loose assortment of books - and there were many more of them than those contained in the present bible used today.

In fact, even as recently as one century ago, there were stark differences in the bible and the number and names of books contained in it.

It seems that one day a certain pope woke up with nothing to do and decided to perform a little house cleaning and to compile all the religious scriptures into what would become the bible we have today. He went through all the different books and gospels and discarded what he felt did not contain the "central message" or fundamentals of Christianity - and kept those which he felt were relevant. His legacy today is the basis of the bible that we gay and transgender people today get bashed over the head with.

Soon after this, all Christian churches were forced to follow the new doctrine and to use only the new "bible" - or themselves suffer persecution for it. Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it?

I'm not sure if you can get what I am trying to say here - but quite a few books ended up on the cutting room floor - more than 40 if you believe researchers. Some angered the patriarchy for elevating women to the same social status as men, and some told stories they could not understand (as though they could understand in full context any of those kept in the Canon afterwards). Many were destroyed - and only recently have some surviving, recently rediscovered copies been translated and studied by scholars. Some have recently made the news such as the "Gospel of Judas" and the "Gospel of Thomas". In the 19th century the books known as the Appocrypha were left out - not because they were considered "inappropriate" - but ostensibly because one of the largest English bible publishers of the time considered it would have taken too long and cost too much to translate them from German into English! Needless to say they continued to be included in German bibles for some years afterwards. A similar trend has continued to this day with different translations being favored over others, and especially those coming from the USA where the bible printing process is controlled by predominantly conservative and fundamentalist groups who have their own ideas about what is the Word of God and what is not.

I wonder how many of those ardent gay-bashers out there who use the vaunted KJV or King James Version bible actually know that King James was himself gay? I kid you not.

( Look it up here: http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/history/king_james_gay.html and on Wikipedia )

Today the Christian bible is about half as thick as it ought to be - with all the missing books that were cut out. In essence, if they claim the other books were not relevant - who decided that? Did I? Did you? Somebody else - a human being decided that for us, decided that THESE books were written while inspired by God - and THESE were not. That these books were relevant and these were not.

Today Christians read and believe a Word of God that has been faithfully reproduced for nearly two millenia along with all the omissions, mistranslations (both accidental and deliberate) and censorship that has dogged this religion since its birth and traumatic inception. And today people view the correction of glaring errors in earlier translations of ancient languages as "altering the Word of God" - when it is in fact their newer, flawed mistranslations which are the pretenders to the throne. The truth is, the erroneous mistranslations suit them better.

It certainly calls into question the validity and true meaning of the modern fundamentalist claim to the words "biblical worldview", especially when venting hate against gay people.

Central to this issue is the deliberate omission of certain books which explain or even embellish upon other books retained in the modern bible. The reader is then left with only a partial understanding of the situation - or even with completely the wrong impression - which may indeed suit some parties, and makes one wonder if that was not the intention to begin with. Does anyone remember the old saying about the broad and narrow paths? It is often used as a religious and biblical reference and yet the book from which it comes is no longer even included in the modern bible!

As a specific example I mention the section of the Apocrypha which explains that the "flesh of a different kind" referred to in another book in the Old Testament (and used as a weapon against gay people today) is actually a reference to God's own angels who deserted their prime function and fornicated with humans, even producing offspring. Thus, the classic leather-bound club with nails in it, called Sodom - which has been used against gay people for ages - came about through omission and blatant misinterpretation.

How many people today even know that there are vast undiscovered treasures of early Christianity left out of their leather-bound dust collectors? How many of them think that is exactly how their bible has always been and that there is nothing else to it?

At any rate, the early Christian church of the ancient world was a far different animal compared to the goose-stepping, finger-pointing and self-glorifying fascist mutual admiration society we see today.

In the end, it is no wonder we have fundamentalists hijacking the Christian Church - it is because today we have a fundamentalist bible, compiled and controlled by fundamentalists.

One can understand the need of some to want to know the essentials of a religion - I suppose with Christianity one can call the first binding precept "being born again" in that a believer has to accept Jesus Christ into his heart as her or his lord and savior. But even that is not the be-all and end-all of the faith - it is only the beginning. Flowing out from that is all the rest of the faith and its confusing multitude of scriptures... hence their need to cut and whittle the whole bush down to a more managable tooth pick.

In my view, if you want a complete picture of a religion, you need to have free access to all the writings and scriptures that form the basis of that religion - how can you just pick and choose the "fundamentals" out of all of that and then call just that part "the bible" - or "all you need to know about Christianity" and the rest is somehow irrelevant and "unimportant"? Doing so, in essence, is just that - fundamentalism.


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