Most Christians today, as it has been for many centuries, accept that the Bible – Old and New Testaments- is a complete compilation of their creed, of the doctrine of their Church and a true historical description of the life of Jesus Christ and of the events that were part of his life.
It is true that the Bible is a compilation of the Christian doctrine, even if each Christian Church has his own version, but it is also known that it is not a record of the historical Jesus. The best proof of this is in the Bible itself, since the various documents that are included contradict themselves on this subject. Both Old and New Testaments are compilations of texts that have been chosen among a large literature, most of which was left out. The chosen texts are described as canonical and those rejected are said to be of no interest or, worse, heretical. The choice, that has been made during the first centuries of the Christian era, had for first objective to provide an unified text of the creed to be used by all the Christian communities dispersed in all the known world. Even if we assume that the religious authorities of that time made a good choice, we cannot believe that it was a perfect one. The choice, made by the majority of the assembly of the bishops, was based on the knowledge available at that time. However personnel interest and matter of opportunity were also present. For instance, most of the writings that promoted the right of the bishops, and of them alone, to decide on religious matter were included in the Bible while those that suggested a larger base for these decisions were rejected. In the same way, those writings that declared that salvation could only come through the preaching of the bishops, as heirs of Jesus Christ, were accepted while those that suggested that salvation could also be reached directly were declared heretical.
The documents found in the last hundred years at Nag Hammadi and near the Dead Sea, as well as the deciphered Q Gospel, show clearly that the Bible does not give a true historical picture of Jesus Christ. We must not forget that Jesus was a Jew whose language was Aramaic and who followed the Jewish customs and religion all his life. He was condemned to death by crucifixion by the Romans who did not like that his followers considered him as a king (they did not understand that His kingdom was not of this world). But the Romans condemned Him at the request of the Jewish authorities that did not accept the suggestion that he could have been the Messiah they expected, and whose appearance on earth was foreseen by previous Jewish prophets. They knew that if Jesus was the Messiah their authority would disappear.
Jesus was a Jewish prophet who created one more Jewish sect that was accepted as long as he did not put in doubt the authority and privileges of the Jewish priests. Its members were Jewish and converted Gentiles who accepted the Jewish customs, habits and faith; men had to be circumcised. Christianity, as we know it, was created by his followers and, more precisely, by Saint Paul who opened the new church to the Gentiles without restriction and, in this way, made it universal. There is no doubt however that this new Church, the Christian Church, took Jesus’ teaching as the base of its doctrine. It went, however, further in making a myth out of his life that must have been quite ordinary. In particular Saint Paul put much emphasis on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and made it the focal point of the Christian creed: Jesus came on earth, suffered, was condemned to death and died on the cross to save us. This was not part of the religion of the Jewish Christians, his disciples and true followers.
Does all this means that we cannot be Christian anymore? In my opinion this is not the case. We can still be Christian and follow the doctrine as it is reported in the Bible. However we must also keep in mind that the Gospels are only a record of the Christian doctrine, faith and creed. They are not a historical book.
As far as I am concerned this research has brought me back closer to my Church since I am more aware of its origins and aims.