Manufacturing the Christian Faith System

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.

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