Archive for February, 2012

Holy Threats of Hell

Posted in Atheist, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, random, religion with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by chouck017894

The rigidly structured faith systems of man’s invention have collectively subscribed to the notion that the omniscient creator of all the diverse manifestations in the universe had some pressing need to create an external place of punishment for “sinners.”  We are not supposed to ask what beneficial end an omniscient being could have foreseen in creating a fiery region for sadistic torture and eternal vengeance for his wayward beings.  For resentful humans the idea that always chafed spirit was that evil doers are not adequately punished in their matter-life experience. This, not surprisingly, assured that vengeance and infliction of unending torment by the Lord would always be a hard-sell feature of priest-written scripture.

In early Hebrew scriptures the word Sheol referred to “grave” or “pit,” but in theological development Sheol evolved into the dungeon of endless torture.  The Greeks called it Hades. The Muslim hell is known as Jahannum, derived from the Hebrew word Ge’Hinnom, Gehenna.  And the Christians know that pit for barbecuing souls as Hell.

Judaism didn’t seriously recognize the use of hellfire threats for faith merchandising until post-exilic time, and then the self-appointed spiritual shepherds in Jerusalem began elaborating upon an imagined section of the Creator’s setup which was reserved specifically for punishment of sinners.  This is emphasized in 1 Enoch 22:10-11.  The Jewish version of the fiery pit, Sheol, is defined in the book Habakkuk 2:5; and Sheol is used also in Daniel 12:2, and in Isaiah 66:24, etc.  Sheol, like Hades the Greek version of hell, was presented more as a detached sphere of existence, which was generally thought of as being located in the underworld—as in Numbers 16:20 and in Matthew 11:23.   Those deemed “godless” were threatened with destruction in hell by the psalmist and prophets (as in Psalms 9:17, and in 55:15; in Isaiah 5:14, 28:15, and 66:24).  The indirect suggestion seems to be that god must get some voyeuristic stimulant from inflicting punishment, for it is revealed in Psalms 139:8, in Job 11:8 and in Job 26:6 that hell is never hidden from god’s eyes.

Isaiah, as mentioned, contributed to the interpretation of Sheol as being hell, such as in Isaiah 14:15, which concerned the king of Babylon, saying (the king) “…shall be brought down…to the uttermost depths of Sheol…”  That little bit of wishful priestly thinking then gave rise to the concept that Sheol (the pit) was constructed with various depths or levels, each lower level corresponding in relation to the severity of the sinners’ punishments.

Fear tactics are still in common use in the merchandising of all faith systems.  Every man-conceived faith system insists that their dreamed up ceremonies and rites provide the only protection from such a hellish afterlife.  And to promote this assertion, these faith systems routinely resort to passing negative judgments upon the rest of humanity that fails to follow their particular man-invented procedures.  Among Christian sects, for example, personal ego is intentionally appealed to by confusing it with spirit or soul.  Thus we read in verses such as Matthew 7:13-14, “enter ye in the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat…”  The suggestive threat continues, “Because strait is the gate and narrow the way, which leadeth into life, and few there be that find it.”  In other words, the Creator apparently anticipated that his many diverse life expressions would take wayward paths.  Priest authors then interpreted this as god having planned in advance to let most of his favorite life forms function as little more than briquettes for a barbecue pit.  To avoid such divine torture, god’s representatives concocted theatrical routines in which they, of course, held the leading role.

Interestingly, Jesus is presented as having been born in a Roman Empire province, and strangely in his brief ministry he is depicted as talking more about hell than he ever elaborated upon heaven.  In the synoptic Gospels, Jesus is depicted as referring to the place of punishment for sinner after death as Gehenna.  Originally Gehenna was the name of a valley just south of Jerusalem’s southwestern hill, and was a “burning place” for refuse.

The “fathers” of the Roman Catholic Church, who formulated the early sect in the Roman Empire, loved the hierarchical trappings of governing and consequently subdivided the imagined realm of hell into four convenient categorical assignments.  The specifications of hell were, apparently, divinely revealed to them, and it was made up of four levels.  1) The limbo of infants where the unbaptized enjoy bliss but are denied the ecstasy of beholding god: 2) The limbo of the fathers, meaning anyone who died before Christ sacrificed himself for selected people: 3) The cleansing region known as purgatory, where minor breaches of moral conduct are sanitized to permit eventual admittance into heaven: and 4) The realm of Satan himself, where those who die unrepentant of serious sin are to fry eternally.

As noted earlier, god’s indulgence in vengeance and fanning the fires of hell interweave throughout priest-composed scriptures.  For example, god’s vengeance and/or everlasting punishment is stressed repeatedly in such priest-authored holy books as these:

  • Genesis 4:15, which relates the vengeance of god toward Cain; apparently Hell had not been set up yet.
  • Numbers 16:30, “…and they go down quick into the pit.”
  • Deuteronomy 32:35, “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense…”; and in 32:41. “…I will render vengeance to mine enemies…”  (How could an omniscient Creator have enemies?)
  • Psalms 9:17, “The wicked shall be turned into hell…”; hell is inferred in 31:17; and 55:15 says, “…and let them go down quick into hell…”
  • Isaiah 34:8, “For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.  More on hell in 5:14, 28:15, 38:18, and 66:24.
  • Daniel 12:2 “…and some (to sleep in) shame and everlasting contempt.”  (No mention of being fried.)
  • Nahum 1:2, “God is jealous, and the Lord is furious; the  Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.”
  • Habakkuk 2:5, Sheol is mentioned.

Christian Gospels do not shrink from imagining godly vengeance and his favorite den of fiery torture either.  A few examples:

  • Mark 9:43, “…go to hell, where the fire never goes out.”
  • Matthew 5:22,  hell, (Gehenna) is defined.  And in 11:23, “…shalt be brought down to hell…”
  • Luke 3:17,  hell is suggested; 8:31 hell is called “…the bottomless place”, and in 16:23 hell is alluded to, “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments…”
  • Romans 10:7, refers to “…the lower parts”, and in 12:19, “…for it is written vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not god, and that obey not the gospel of Our Lord… (9) Who shall be punished with  everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from his glory and power…”
  • Jude 1:7, refers to “…punishment of eternal fire.”
  • And good old Revelation 14:11 conjures up, “…smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever.”

How could the establishment of such a despicable region for eternal torture be of help to mankind in finding what is claimed to be the only approved path into his higher spiritual potential?  Even more bewildering, how could such a region of endless retribution be of any real benefit to an omniscient (all-knowing) god?  If, as holy writ insists, god is all-knowing, then would “he” not have designed his favorite creatures so they would devise their own methods to curtail detrimental behavior among themselves?  It would be expected by a principled omniscient Creator that mankind would eventually learn that the best path for evolving into his higher potential is to be found in avoidance of infringing upon the personal rights of each other.

Unfortunately, the involvement of energy which transfigures into matter, although temporary, is a mesmerizing state of involvement, and mankind’s slowly evolving minds seek to impose their will upon that of others.  In seeking such “dominion” within the illusion of matter the inventors of faith systems chose to manipulate people’s attention and gain obedience through fear and bribery—the threats of an unproven hell and the bribes of an unconfirmed heaven.

Promoting fear as a devotional incentive is corrupt spiritual guidance, for fear is always the spawning grounds for such things as intolerance, prejudice, fanaticism, bigotry, racism, sexism, preconception and the like, all of which serve as seeds for violence.  So are we to logically regard the use of threats of everlasting punishment to be an ethical or moral form of spiritual clarification?

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Seven Deadly Sins Still Popular

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 13, 2012 by chouck017894

Pope Gregory I (540?-604), traditionally advertised as “the Great,” and also called a “saint,” is credited with warning mankind of the seven deadly sins which threaten man’s “fallen” condition.  In truth the pontiff simply built upon the musings of a fourth century monk, Evagrius Ponticus, who had pondered over a list of what he considered to be eight “evil thoughts.”  Undoubtedly the studious monk Evagrius Ponticus and Pope Gregory I built their insight on what led to sin from consulting the Old Testament book of Proverbs 6:16-19, which stated that the Lord was not pleased with “…a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood (verse 17), a heart that devised wicked imagination, feet that be swift in running to mischief (18), a false witness that speaks lies, and he that sows discord among his brothers (19).  [Loosely drawn from King James version.]

In Gregory’s revision he kind of- sort of dropped “sorrow” from Ponticus’ list of evil thoughts as being a condition of sinfulness.  (More on this later.)  The “sins” that Gregory mined into propagandist gold were:  1) lust, 2) gluttony, 3) greed, 4) sloth, 5) wrath, 6) envy, and 7) pride.  There is bittersweet irony encapsulated in this list, for throughout all the centuries of Catholic Church history the church itself has wallowed in all of them (and still does).  It is interesting to compare the religious and political extremists in the US today against this honored yardstick of sinful behavior.  [Roman Catholic Catechism revised Gregory’s order of sins as 1) pride, 2) avarice, 3) envy, 4) wrath, 5) lust, 6) gluttony, and 7) sloth.]

Gregory I listed the first sin as being luxuria, Latin, which means “extravagance,” but he wasn’t really referring to sexual thoughts or desires as the  word “lust” is commonly used in his sin list today.  “Lust” is an Old English interpretation of the Latin meaning “extravagance,” but both connotations can be easily applied to the extravagances of the religious and political extremists in the US today.

Second on Gregory’s list of sins was gulga, from the Latin gluttire, which actually referred to the gulping down of food or drink.  This is the common indulgence associated with over-consumption or over-indulgence, i.e. gluttony, the consequence of which is the habit of waste.  Thomas Aquinas (1226?-1274?), expanded upon this sinful aspect (one might say that he over-indulged himself in this) by listing six ways of committing gluttony.  By whichever standard it is easily applied to the typical conduct of the extreme rightists.

Third on Gregory’s list was avaritia, Latin, from avarus, meaning “greed.”  Like gluttony, the indulgence in greed/avarice is a sin of excess.  As commonly interpreted by the church, this is applied particularly to the acquisition of worldly wealth.  The sin lies in the fact that temporal things are treasured more than the  divine, and therefore is an abandonment of god.  Now this is a particularly easy one to associate with the radicals, especially the corporation-loving political right.

Acedia, Latin (variant of accidie) implied spiritual torpor, and was the fourth on Gregory’s sin list (as utilized by Thomas Aquinas), but it was not a reference to what is translated as sloth today.  Gregory had dropped “sorrow” from Evagrius Ponticus’ list of “evil thoughts,” but the inclusion of acedia by Aquinas can be better understood as the feelings of depression, apathy, melancholy, dejection, etc.  Such feelings, when allowed to dominate, were judged to induce spiritual indifference which would result in one’s failure to do “god’s work.”  Such an immobilizing state of emotion is not the same as laziness or not moving around more that is required as “sloth” means today.  So the old meaning of an unwillingness to love and care for the diverse works of god is what this listing as acedia originally meant.  And in that understanding it certainly applies to the religious and political radicals in the US today.

Number five on Gregory’s legendary sin list was ira, Latin, meaning wrath, anger, rage, or ire.  Such emotional concentration has the tendency to blind one to aspects of truth, both in regard to others and circumstances, or with self and circumstances.  This can lead to acts of vengeance—such as slander, defamation, assault, physical abuse, murder, and even genocide.  Sort of makes one think of the common far-right characteristics, doesn’t it?  Wrath—violent anger—is an emotion that is not always due to selfish reasons or self-interest, and thus smoldering fury commonly flames out explosively harming everything around it and within itself.  It is this feature of internal harm which is deemed to be a major transgression, for it amounts to a rejection of god’s gift of life—the same reasoning that the Catholic Church says suicide is the ultimate transgression.

Gregory’s sixth named sin was invidia, Latin, from invidere, meaning to look at with malice; in other words, envy.  Envy is often entangled with greed, but its distinction is the emotional state of resentment that another person or situation has something or achieved something that make them feel slighted by dame fortune or god.  The gnawing hostility called envy is the aspiration to deprive the others of their status.  Ask the people in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and others how malicious conduct of the radical Republican faction led to the betrayal of citizens equality laws which were once the crown of their states’ governments.

Last on Gregory’s sin list was superbia, Latin, translated as pride.  Roman Catholic Catechism placed pride at the number one spot, and there is logic to this.  Pride, hubris, vanity, conceit, narcissism, whatever it is called, is the blindly emotional indulgence of self-glory.  It has been characterized in the United States Congress by the Republican and Tea Party crowd who always say, “No!” to any compromise.  It is this emotional condition out of which all other sins arise.  With love focused upon oneself (self-interest) the result is the failure to  acknowledge the goodness which is active within the diverse gifts of others.  This type of behavior was seen by Gregory as the person holding himself apart from his proper position toward the Creator, hence sinful.

Whether the understanding of serious transgressions to which man is prone come from the book of Proverbs or Gregory’s list of deadly sins, it is obvious that the extreme faction which has taken over the Republican soul in the United States chooses to ignore the advice upon which they so loudly claim to place their faith.

Centuries of “Holy Word” Revisions

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, faith, history, religion with tags , , , , , on February 9, 2012 by chouck017894

Four hundred years ago, in 1611, King James of England commissioned fifty-four scholars to write a new English translation of the Bible using Medieval Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, and instructing the scholars to paraphrase the original texts and avoid literalism.  The scholars were also instructed to use as their literary model the poetic style of the contemporary William Shakespeare as closely as possible.

The reason for this project was an attempt to resolve the many disputes about doctrine that prevailed due to all the contradictions that existed in various “holy” editions such as the Great Bible, the Geneva Bible, the Bishops Bible, etc., etc.  The scholars’ completed work was destined to become the most popular version of “scripture” in history.

But controversy and disagreement over what constituted true “holy word” could not be so easily resolved.  There remained the dispute as to which old writings should have been considered worthy enough to include as being doctrinal in the King James version.  In layout, the 17th century version followed the Protestant example and separated the Apocrypha into an appendix.  Thus inconsistencies would continue with some Bibles containing the Apocrypha in the appendix and others keeping the book as part of holy word.  Catholic canon, for example, include some books, and some Protestant versions also include at least three books that are recognized in Eastern Orthodox tradition, but which are not recognized by the Vatican.  Why god does not bother to clarify his word so everyone understands his requirements has never been explained by any of the many Christian divisions.

Early examples of revision.  Back even further, c. 392, “saint” Jerome began to render the Bible—the Old and New Testaments—into Latin which was spoken by the people.  This version is known as the Vulgate.  Having assembled the Vulgate from Greek and Hebrew into Latin to be use exclusively by the Catholic Church, any coded meaning embedded in the original verses then became nearly impossible for the common people to discover.

“Saint” Jerome felt so devoted to his task that he set about touching up the original unsatisfactory ending to the book of Mark (written c. 55-60, and re-edited c. 70-80) by appending it with two variations that had circulated among the people from the early second century.  The so-called long version is not much appreciated by the Catholic Church, the reason being that Mary Magdalene is presented as the first person to witness the risen Jesus.  In the earlier book of Mark it was implied that the first witness of the miracle of resurrection was meant to be the head of his church.  Such a situation contradicted the claim that Peter (Simon/Cephas) was designated by Jesus to establish his church.  So the second short version used by Catholics does not have Mary Magdalene being the first to witness Jesus’ resurrection, but says only in 16:9, “But all the things that had been commanded they related briefly to those around Peter.  Further, after these thing, Jesus himself sent out through them from the east to the west the holy incorruptible (the Pauline) proclamation of everlasting salvation.”

The two arbitrary conclusions of the book of Mark provided by Jerome have inspired “faith” divergences that would have amazed Jerome.  Probably the most repulsive to him would be the misinterpretation of five words in verse 18 of the last chapter:  “They shall take up serpents…” and elevate that idea into a practice of handling venomous snakes as a testament of their faith and devotion.

The revisionist merry-go-round of religion and its self-styled history has been an endless indulgence.  In the 14th century John Wycliffe decided that Jerome’s revision needed revision.  This was the timeframe of the English poets Geoffrey Chaucer and William Langland whose writing impressed the commoners as well as the literary crowd with their strong imagery.  An interesting sidelight of Wycliffe’s attempted updating of the Vulgate was that his work was not appreciated by the self-proclaimed “true believers.”  After Wycliffe’s death the indignant doctrinaires exhumed his body and burned it for his imagined breach of Jerome’s holy word.

The Tyndale influence.  Around 1520, ninety-one years before the King James version of the Bible was published, William Tyndale, an Oxford scholar, had a burning aspiration.  He wanted to translate the New Testament so, as he said, “every plough-boy might read it.”  Tyndale hoped to gain approval and sponsorship for this project from the bishop of London, Cuthbert Tonsall, but the bishop was much more concerned with political maneuverings.  Tyndale was strongly influenced by the reformer Martin Luther, and the ecclesiastical authorities had made note of that fact.  Tyndale thus became startlingly aware that his ambition to translate the New Testament into plough-boy English was fanning mounting danger to himself.  Fortunately, a wealthy cloth merchant believed such a translation was admirable and provided Tyndale with the means to travel to Germany.  There Tyndale visited with Martin Luther, and enrolled at the Wittenberg University.  The printing of his translation was begun at Cologne in 1525, but it was stopped by an injunction obtained by Johann Dobeneck, a former dean at St. Mary’s Church in Frankfurt.

Tyndale then carried his project to Worms where 6000 copies were printed between 1525 and 1535.  Copies were smuggled into England, but Archbishop Worhan and the aforementioned Bishop Tonsall got word of the shipment and had the books seized and burned.  Attempts were also made to seize Tyndale, but he fled to Marburg and the protection of the landgrave of Hesse, a hub of Protestant Reformation.  Later, however, officers of the emperor captured Tyndale at Antwerp in May 1535.  He was imprisoned at Vilvorde, Belgium, and although Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex, attempted to save him, Tyndale was tried for “heresy” by the holy church and degraded from holy orders.  Then on October 6th he was strangled in the name of Jesus and his body burned.

But the intercourse of religion and politics was as tangled and devious in the 16th century as it is today in the USA.  Back in England, Thomas Cranmer, who had been nominated to the vacant archbishopric of Canterbury by King Henry VIII, encouraged the king to approve an English translation of the Bible.  Commissioned to do the work was man name Miles Coverdale.  In a sense, he vindicated Tyndale, for Coverdale’s “translation” was practically a word-for-word copy of Tyndale’s work.  That “translation” was published in 1535.  Thus William Tyndale’s influence upon English literature endured, chiefly through the use made of his translations that make up most of the later King James version of the Bible (1611).  Indeed, it has been estimated that over sixty percent of the English version of the New Testament was reclaimed from Tyndale’s work.

As for Archbishop Cranmer, who had been nominated by King Henry, his policies leaned increasingly toward Reformation.  He forswore allegiance to the pope, had the pope’s name stricken from every prayer-book, pronounced the king as the new head of the English Church, and abolished many festivals of the Roman Church.

Much later in 1553, however, Mary Tutor ascended the throne (Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII by his first wife), and began her reign by restoring the authority of the pope and abolishing the religious innovations of her father.  Because papal jurisdiction had been reestablished by Mary, Archbishop Cranmer’s attempt to allow the common people to read the Bible for themselves met with charges of heresy.  Thus he was tried as a heretic, publicly degraded of his archbishopric and excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church, and then burned to death by the unforgiving self-appointed Catholic representatives of god.

Despite the countless revisions imposed upon “holy word” for over 2000  years, the 400-year old King James edit job still tops the popularity poll.  Unfortunately, revision of the “holy word” remains a runaway merry-go-round, and lately we have been presented with the Revised Standard Version of “holy word,” and Paul’s quotes and many more lines have been readjusted to support the needs of those who seek temporal influence.

* Footnote:  The US Senate, which apparently felt there were no pressing national problems to address in 2011, was asked to consider a resolution for the national celebration of the influence that the 400-year old King James Bible had had on the nation.  The resolution for consideration was falsely promoted by contending that the “…teaching of Scriptures have inspired concepts of civil government contained in our founding documents and subsequent laws.”  (The founding fathers did not use the Bible as model for “founding documents,” nor for establishing laws of equality among citizens.)  The alleged purpose for this proposed resolution, according to its sponsors Robert Aderholt (R. Ala.) and Nick Rahal (D. WV), was to express “…gratitude for the influence it has bestowed on the United States.”  These representatives of the people apparently remain ignorant of the fact that such an endorsement of a specific religious object by the nation’s governing body is specifically disallowed by Constitutional mandate.

Manufacturing the Christian Faith System

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, faith, random, religion, Social with tags , , , , on February 2, 2012 by chouck017894

Most of the writings that are known as the New Testament were established by canon through several different timeframes after the year 200 CE.  In this manufacturing process the “fathers” of the Christian faith system were highly selective in their choices of various texts available to them in their era.  Their primary concern was not the saving of souls or the spiritual awakening of followers, but what could be used to give the appearance of heaven’s bestowal of spiritual authority.

This may be a hard pill to swallow for those who regard every word of the Bible to be the incorruptible “word of God.”  And yet the fact that the “authority” of the Christian policies were self-proclaimed was clearly stated in the admission of none other than Cardinal Hosius of Cordova (c. 257?- c.358?).  He said, “But for the church, the scriptures would have no more authority than the fables of Aesop.”

In implementing their power structure the fathers of the Christian faith system often rejected some parts within a literary work they were considering or even rejected complete works of the same general tone.  In other words, the synods and councils that took place were primarily set up to establish the politics they wished to structure into their faith system, and it required careful pruning and rejection of numerous literary works.  Many of the texts that were under consideration were texts that were being used by outlying cults of the movement which had spread throughout the Roman Empire.  The “fathers,” in their zeal to impose a management system upon as many seekers as possible, indulged themselves in a pick-and-choose orgy of various literary works that often presented contradictory features.

With politics of the struggling faith system always uppermost in their minds, the “fathers” therefore found the Gospel of John to be tolerable but cast aside similar works such as the Gnostic work, The Dialogue of Thomas.  As an example, they favored the Gospel of John because it happened to be written in such a manner that it could be utilized to promote certain belief policies for promoting an authoritarian structure that the “fathers” favored.  Gnostic-like works such as The Dialogue of Thomas encompassed a much broader or freer acceptance of religious practice than the power seeking fathers preferred.  Being Rome-centered and empire oriented, the faith system shapers were inspired to imitate the authoritative structure of the Empire itself so that the people who could be drawn into the faith would be made totally reliant upon the dictates of the church representatives.  If seekers believed that a person could approach the creative power that was personified as “God” only through his son-agent, and the church was the son’s representative on Earth, then the church had to be obeyed.

As a brief example of what the fathers thought seekers should be led to believe, consider the Council of Hippo in 393.  Found worthy of holy belief was the book of Daniel in Jewish scripture (a work taken from a Babylonian poem) to which the fathers added the story of Susanna as chapter 13 (now regarded by most Christians as apocryphal).  The corporate atmosphere of what was to be marketed as revealed truth continued to be modified up and after the eighteenth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church which assembled at Trent, Italy in 1545.  That little shindig was noteworthy for the fact that it continued with only a few intermissions from 1545 until 1563!  Three pontiffs—popes Paul III, Julius III, and Pius IV—would sit upon the papal throne before that council would be closed.

It was in the fourth council session (1546) that sacred tradition was elevated by the priests as being on par with priest-chosen scripture.  This long-winded council of the Middle Ages set the standard of the Roman Catholic faith and most practices still remain.  Many aspects of those plotted practices seeped into the reformation sects that branched off.  How tentative the council choices happened to be is shown by the council dropping the books Third and Fourth Maccabees due to criticism of protesters.  Those protesters’ criticisms gave rise to the faith system known today as the Protestants.

Thus the literary works that were not rejected in those many pick-and-choose conferences managed to survive the selection process largely because the chosen works served the political needs of the authority-seeking priest class.  The early shapers of the Christian cult had cunningly followed the example of the 7th century BCE Yahweh priest-authors who had understood that the basic institutional structure of an organized faith system had to have the apparent support of “God-authorized” scriptures.

The political platform upon which episcopal authority (church government) campaigned and overran the more natural and honest Pagan beliefs of earlier timeframes was the insistence that each person had to have a means beyond their own personal power to approach the creative primacy that was/is personified as “God.”  To accomplish this the wise perception of the Pagans that “salvation” was gained only through personal integrity had to be displaced.  So emphasis was shifted toward claims that “salvation” was totally a matter of churchly supplication and no longer a personal affair between each person and their Creator.

The irrationality of having a corporate styled faith system thrust between each seeker and the Absolute had to carry the appearance of being divinely ordained if it was to become an influencing factor over the masses.  And this is what accounts for the careful selections that make up the New Testament books that have been held out to Christians over the centuries a being God’s only approved pathway to heaven.  It was not simply coincidence that those painstakingly selected literary works also happened to allow for the souls of seeker to be held hostage as means of financial resources and political muscle to be used by those self-appointed representative of that manufactured faith system.