Originally Posted by joseph dawton
Constantine was responsible for the modern form of Christianity, before the 4th century there were several streams, all independent.
The Romans incorporated bits of Mithra, Hermeticism (see corpus hermetica), celtic paganism, roman paganism and of course the Christian cult itself that had evolved out of radical Judaism (propably essenes).
What the CC did was eliminate gnosticism and any 'heretic' forms of christianity to create it's 'one and only' reinvented brand controlled from Rome. They thought they had destroyed or captured almost all of the Gnostic and Jewish texts that relate to the early church, but the dead sea scrolls and nag hamadi gospels survived to demonstrate that some of the ideas in christianity pre-date Jesus. The idea of the trinity was probably stolen from the druids of gaul or britain. Certainly Mary was elevated to divine status to attract followers of Isis, Ishtar, Brigid etc - without a female character to worship the CC was missing out on potential followers and income of course!
The ideas about the afterlife and judgment are lifted straight out of Egyptian religion, also the ideas about the soul relate to helenic and celtic belief in the immortal soul, although CC rejected any idea of reincarnation.
Modern christianity is a mixed bag, we'll probably never understand exactly what Jesus' pure teachings were - probably the closest we'd get is the officially discredited gospel of Thomas.
Anyway, we can thank the CC for preserving our festivals (albeit wrong dates) and some pagan practices such as candle lighting, holy water, altars, visiting holy wells, baptism etc - what they could not destroy they assimilated instead )
Thanks for your comments on my posts. I agree with quite a lot of what you have said above.
I believe basically that true Christianity is as per the Bible. That said. you have got to be careful with the Bible because it contains mistranslations and other errors. However, some teachings or principles are repeated again and again by the various different authors in the Bible and therefore should be considered as central to the overall message.
I did my own investigations as what the Catholic Church (CC) teach on various subjects and came to the conclusion they contradict the Bible with their doctrines on the following.
!. The doctrine of the trinity.
2. The teaching that man has an immortal soul.
3. The teaching that their is immediate judgement after death.
4. The teaching of hell as a place of punishment for the wicked.
5. The teaching of the existence of a place called purgatory.
6. The teaching that salvation entails getting to heaven.
7. Their encouragement of the worship of the Virgin Mary.
The above listed are just the CC's main diversions from the Bible on doctrine. Their practice of insisting on celibacy for priests also contradicts the Bible. Some of their dates for festivals and practices are also derived from pagan origins.