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John Hudson The end of Christianity.pdf

John Hudson The end of Christianity.pdf

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Published by Andrzej Michalski

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Published by: Andrzej Michalski on Apr 02, 2013
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01/14/2014

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1
FinalVersion
THEENDOFCHRISTIANITY:THEBIGPICTURE
ByJohnHudson
 
Hi,mynameisJohnHudsonandIamheretotalkabouttheBigPictureofwhatthisresearchmeansfortheendofChristianity.ButbeforeIgetstartedIwouldlikeusalltodoanexercise.Justforamomentwillyoupleasecloseyoureyesandtrytoimagineyouaregoingacrosstimetothefaranddistantfuture.Asthecenturiesslippast,fasterandfaster,imagineforamomentyouhavereachedtheyear4013.Overthelasttwomillenniatherehavebeenseveralworldwars,civilizationhasslippedbackintoalesshightechexistence.ImaginealsothatHollywoodandthemovieindustryhavebeendestroyed.AllthatsurvivesareafewprojectorsandsomepiecesofaBatmanmovie.Ourdescendantsdon'tknowwhatamovieis,theythinkitshowswhatreallyhappenedinGothaminthelate20thcentury.SoagroupgetstogethertoprojectthebatlogoontothecloudshopingthatBatmanwillcomeandsavethem,asifhewerearealsuperhero,asifhereallyexistedandwasnotjustaliteraryfiction.Doesthatsoundabsurd?Butreallyit'snotsodifferenttohowAmericanstodaytreatanother2000yearoldliterarysuperhero.
....
OK.Youcanopenyoureyesagain.Thisconferenceistitled
VisionsfromtheEdge;theEndofReligion
.Theresearchthatisoutlinedinthe
Caesar’sMessiah
documentaryaddressesonlyonepartofthatquestion,theendofChristianity.Butthatisquitebigenough.IamveryhappytobepartofapanelthatisbeginningtothinkabouttheBigPictureimplicationsofNewTestamentscholarship.Thisisnoobscureacademicmatter.Itishighlyrelevanttotheworldaroundusineveryway.Christianityisoneofthebiggestandmosttoxicproblemsthatweallfaceandtheleastunderstood.Itisalmostlikeapieceofmalwarethatyouthinkispromisingsomethinggood,butthatactuallyiscontaminatinghowathirdoftheglobalpopulationseetheworld,bypoppingupallthesedistortinglensestopreventusseeingclearlyandhijackingourabilitytothinkforourselves.
 
2Globally,ChristianitycontinuestogrowrapidlyinthedevelopingworldanditstillremainspowerfullyentrenchedhereinAmericainmanythousandsofdifferentvariants.Althought heyoungergenerationofMillenialsismuchlessinterestedinChristianity,inthepopulationatlarge,whichismucholderandmoreconservative,thefantasticChristianstoryisstillveryentrenched.AmazinglyathirdoftheUSpopulationstilltakestheBibleliterally.Specificbeliefsareevenmoreworrying.TheRasmussentelephonesurveyinApril2012foundthatoverall86%ofAmericansbelieveJesuswasarealhistoricalfigureand77%believethathephysicallyrosefromthedead.Itwouldbeonethingifthesewerejustcrazyprivatebeliefs.Buttheyaren’t.AsavotingblocthefundamentalistReligiousRighthasrealsocialandpoliticalimpact.IthaspushedChristianitydrivensocialpoliciesregardingabortion,gayrights,lackofcareforthepoor,thedestructionofourecology,supportforthemilitary,andsupportofmassivewarsallintheinsanehopetheywillbringaboutArmageddonandthereturnofJesusandanewworld.Attheheartoftheproblemisourinabilitytodistinguishfactfromfiction,ortodistinguishhistoryfromliterature.JustlikethatBatmanmoviediscoveredbyourdistantdescendants,thegospelsseemrealistic,oratleastatfirstglance.ThisisbecauseRomanvisualandliteraryartsatthetimefavoredrealism.ThinkofthosebanquetscenesintheruinsofPompeii.Thegospelsareverycleverworksofliteraryart.AndrealisticmovieslikeMelGibson’s
ThePassionoftheChrist 
,whichmade$600minboxoffice,goevenfurthertomakepeoplethinktheNTtextsareaccountsofeventsthatactuallyhappened,and---byswitchingthegenrefromtexttovideo--theyremovetheliterarymarkersshowingthatthesearesimplyfantasyliterature.Theothersiderarelyreceivesahearing.Peoplehavebeendrawingattentiontotheevidencethatthegospelsarenothistorybutsimplyliteraturesinceatleastthe3
rd
century.Researchoverthelasttwohundredyearshasshownthatthesetextswerecreatedbypeopleskilledincreatingfictionalhistoriesandfantasticstories,andwhousedreligionsaspartoftheapparatusofStatepower.AsProfessorRobertEisenmancantestify,theydonotmuchresembleauthenticJewishtextsliketheDeadSeaScrolls.Whattheyresembleis
 
3Romanfantasyliteratureandfantasybiographies.Theirnamealsogivesthemaway.ThewordinGreek‘evangelion’meansGoodNewsofMilitaryVictory.Thatiswhattheword‘gospel’reallymeans.Iwouldliketobantheover-usedword‘gospel’andinsteadhaveeveryonesayGoodNewsofMilitaryVictory,becauseitbegsthequestionsof
whose
militaryvictories,over
whom
,and
forwho
werethesevictoriesgoodnews.Wenowknowtheanswerstothosequestions.TheyareGoodNewsof
Roman
MilitaryVictoriesover
theJews
.ThathasbeenconfirmedbyJosephAtwill’sdiscoverythatthekeyeventsintheGospelsareactually
literarysatiresofindividualbattlesinwhichtheJewsweredefeatedbytheRomans
---andtheyappearinexactlythesameorderastheydointheauthorizedaccountoftheRoman-Jewishwar.Thisdiscoveryisreallythemissingpieceofthejigsaw,afterwhicheverythingelsefallsintoplace,anditshowsthatthecharacterof
Jesusisasortofliteraryallegory
forCaesar.Thisreallyshouldnotbeasurprise.ItwassimplythenormalRomanstrategyforEmpirebuildingwhichwasrenamingandco-optingthelocalgods.ThusCamulus,thewargodoftheGauls,wasrenamedMars-Camulus,theshiningCelticgodLughwasrenamedMercury,andthegoddessSulliswhopresidedoverthespringofhotwateratBath,England,wasrenamedSullis-Minerva.ThisiswhattheRomansthendidinJudeawiththeJewishMessiahorChrist,torewriteJewishliteratureinordertotryandtricktheJewsintoworshippingCaesarastheirLordandSavior.SonowweknowthatthissupposedGoodNewsofMilitaryVictoryissimplyancientRomanwarpropagandaandfantasyliterature,doesn'titseemabsurdthatmillionsofpeopleshouldruntheirlives,letalone21
st 
centurypoliticalpoliciesbasedonthisancientreligionofcovertCaesarworship?Christianitydestroysrationalthought,andmakespeopleapproachtheworldasasortofnarcissisticfantasywhichoperatesfortheirpersonalbenefit,throughmiraclesandangels,throughdemons,supernaturalforces,prayersandmagicalthinking.Isitanywonderthatthisworldisinsuchamess?ThislackofcriticalthinkinghaslongbeendiagnosedamongtheReligiousRight.AsMark

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