The Beginning of the End for Christianity?
In the early 1980’s the percentage of Americans that claimed to be religious was 95%. That dropped by 10% over the next fifteen years 1. In the five years since, that figure has dropped by another 5% leaving 80% of Americans claiming that they are religious. 2
Similarly, in the UK, Christianity could be facing a catastrophic collapse in Britain according to official figures suggesting it is declining 50 per cent faster than previously thought. The Office for National Statistics disclosed in 2011 that there were in fact 5.3 million fewer British-born people describing themselves as Christians, a decline of 15 per cent in just a decade. It suggests that only a minority of people will describe themselves as Christians within the next decade, for first time.
In South Africa, an international study has shown that the number of people who consider themselves religious has dropped from 83% in 2005 to 64% in 2012. According to the latest global poll released by WIN-Gallup International study, South Africa joins other nations showing a decline in the number of religious people. The study showed that 59% of people worldwide said they were religious. 3
As the international community has increasing access to the internet, so the belief in religion has declined.
Now this bombshell may just be latest the coup-de-grace to Christianity.
American Biblical scholar Joseph Atwill will be appearing before the British public for the first time in London on the 19th of October to present a controversial new discovery: ancient confessions recently uncovered now prove, according to Atwill, that the New Testament was written by first-century Roman aristocrats and that they fabricated the entire story of Jesus Christ. His presentation will be part of a one-day symposium entitled "Covert Messiah" at Conway Hall in Holborn.
Although to many scholars his theory seems outlandish, and is sure to upset some believers, Atwill regards his evidence as conclusive and is confident its acceptance is only a matter of time.
"I present my work with some ambivalence, as I do not want to directly cause Christians any harm," he acknowledges, "but this is important for our culture. Alert citizens need to know the truth about our past so we can understand how and why governments create false histories and false gods. They often do it to obtain a social order that is against the best interests of the common people."
Atwill asserts that Christianity did not really begin as a religion, but a sophisticated government project, a kind of propaganda exercise used to pacify the subjects of the Roman Empire.
"Jewish sects in Palestine at the time, who were waiting for a prophesied warrior Messiah, were a constant source of violent insurrection during the first century," he explains. "When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare. They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system. That's when the 'peaceful' Messiah story was invented. Instead of inspiring warfare, this Messiah urged turn-the-other-cheek pacifism and encouraged Jews to 'give onto Caesar' and pay their taxes to Rome."
Was Jesus based on a real person from history? "The short answer is no," Atwill insists, "in fact he may be the only fictional character in literature whose entire life story can be traced to other sources. Once those sources are all laid bare, there's simply nothing left."
Atwill's most intriguing discovery came to him while he was studying "Wars of the Jews" by Josephus [the only surviving first-person historical account of first-century Judea] alongside the New Testament. "I started to notice a sequence of parallels between the two texts," he recounts. "Although it's been recognised by Christian scholars for centuries that the prophecies of Jesus appear to be fulfilled by what Josephus wrote about in the First Jewish-Roman war, I was seeing dozens more. What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of [Emperor] Titus Flavius as described by Josephus. This is clear evidence of a deliberately constructed pattern. The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar."
How could this go unnoticed in the most scrutinized books of all time? "Many of the parallels are conceptual or poetic, so they aren't all immediately obvious. After all, the authors did not want the average believer to see what they were doing, but they did want the alert reader to see it. An educated Roman in the ruling class would probably have recognised the literary game being played." Atwill maintains he can demonstrate that "the Roman Caesars left us a kind of puzzle literature that was meant to be solved by future generations, and the solution to that puzzle is 'We invented Jesus Christ, and we're proud of it.'"
Is this the beginning of the end of Christianity? "Probably not," grants Atwill, "but what my work has done is give permission to many of those ready to leave the religion to make a clean break. We've got the evidence now to show exactly where the story of Jesus came from. Although Christianity can be a comfort to some, it can also be very damaging and repressive, an insidious form of mind control that has led to blind acceptance of serfdom, poverty, and war throughout history. To this day, especially in the United States, it is used to create support for war in the Middle East."
Atwill encourages skeptics to challenge him at Conway Hall, where after the presentations there is likely to be a lively Q&A session. Joining Mr. Atwill will be fellow scholar Kenneth Humphreys, author of the book "Jesus Never Existed." 4
Personally, I am in agreement with Mr. Atwill, and have made the case before for the non-existence of Jesus here:
And a possible further nail in the coffin of Christianity is this study:
” The KJV of the NT was completed in 1611 by members of the Church of England.
There were, and still are, no original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down hundreds of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these manuscripts, with no two alike.
The King James translators used none of these anyway. Instead, they edited previous translations to create a version that their king and parliament would approve.
So, 21st century Christians believe the ‘Word of God’ is a book edited in the 17th century from 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be lost letters written in the 1st century.” 5 / 6
This seems to be more than just a coincidence compared against Mr. Atwills findings.
I have no doubt that those who continue to believe in god(s) despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary are intentionally choosing delusion rather than face the reality of life without their particular brand of god, the afterlife, faith healing, prayer, and other such totally irrational concepts.
I, for one, will be waiting for the 19th October 2013 with more than just an inkling of interest.
1 Soul Searching, Nicholas Humphries (print edition)
3 Daily Dispatch 22nd March 2013 (newspaper from East London, S. Africa)
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