Fitting the Pieces Together, the Christian Puzzle is Solved!

I think I've finally solved the Christian puzzle. Here is my solution in brief (details are linked to, and a much fuller explanation is needed):

Christians do not believe in the God of the Bible, despite what they claim. Instead, they believe in the perfect being of St. Anselm in the eleventh century after centuries of theological gerrymandering. The Bible isn’t consistent in describing its God, but one probable description is as follows: Rather than creating the universe ex nihilo, God fashioned the earth to rise out of the seas in divine conflict with the dragon sea god sometimes called Rahab (in Job 26:9-12). This God is merely the “god of the gods,” who like the other gods had a body that needed to rest on the seventh day and was found walking in the “cool of the day” in the Garden of Eden. Yahweh, the god of Israel, probably emerged out of a polytheistic amalgamation of gods known in the ancient Near East in pre-biblical times. In the ancient Near East, all pantheons were organized as families, and Yahweh was simply one of the members of that family. Some biblical authors consider Yahweh, the god of Israel, as one of many gods fathered by Elyon whose wife was Asherah, to whom was given the people and land of Israel to rule over (Deut. 32:8). This God was responsible for doing both good and evil, sending evil spirits to do his will and commanding genocide. As time went on, Yahweh was believed to be the only God that existed. Still later, Satan was conceived as an evil rival in order to exonerate Yahweh from being the creator of evil. Still later, in the New Testament the God of the Bible was eventually stripped of physical characteristics and known as a "spiritual being" (although, in an era where gods could become men and where women were regarded as merely receptacles of the male seed, the virgin birth story is problematic in the New Testament, and hard to reconcile with a God who is considered a "spiritual being"). As theologians reflected on their God, they came to believe he created the universe ex nihilo. Anselm finally defined him as the “greatest conceivable being.” But Anslem’s God is at odds with what we find in most of the Bible.

The origin of the Christian cult started with an apocalyptic prophet who preached a doomsday message and gained a small following in Palestine. Jewish prophets like these were a dime a dozen and they had it easy given the harsh Roman rule.

After Jesus was crucified his followers had visionary dreamlike or ecstatic experiences which led them to believe Jesus was alive in a heavenly type existence. As time went on an empty tomb sequence was added to the story as well as other mythic elements, like a virgin birth a transfiguration, and so forth.

Their story was of a God who loved people so much that he sent his Son to atone for our sins in a culture where human, animal, and child sacrifice was acceptable to large segments of society. This story made sense and so evangelists and missionaries like Paul were able to reach the people of the whole Roman empire who themselves were superstitious to the core, since they believed in many gods and goddesses and had no evidence for them either. The best story had the best chance of success in those times.

Since warriors go to war in the name of a god, and since the Christian religion was growing in numbers, Constantine went to war in the name of the Christian cross and established a Christian empire. Upon becoming Emperor he called upon the church to settle their disputes which decided orthodox doctrines at that time. So Constantine's battle on the Milvian bridge decided which religion would dominate in western cultures from that time forward. We have inherited our religious beliefs because of this whole process. Had Constantine fought in the name of another god then history might have turned out differently.

Since that time Christianity has simply reinvented itself in every generation, much like a chameleon.

The only reason Christians refuse to acknowledge these things is because they simply are defending their culturally adopted beliefs. Many Christians refuse to even acknowledge that human beings don’t reason logically about this at all! That’s because, as Dr. David Eller argues, our culturally inherited beliefs are what we use to see with. These inherited beliefs are much like our very eyes themselves, so it’s extremely difficult to examine that which we use to see with. We cannot easily pluck out our eyes to look at them since we use our eyes to see. But we must do this if we truly want to examine that which we were taught to believe.

And as far as where we got our morals from in our western cultures, the same things can be said. Our morals evolved.

There is no basis for believing. The only antidote to the brainwashing of our culture is to demand evidence!

The Christian puzzle has been solved for me. In this sense Christians are no different than roughly half of Icelanders who believe in the existence of elves.