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Who founded Christianity? July 8, 2005

Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, church, faith, God, Jesus, Religion, spirituality, Theology.

The obvious answer is Christ. However, it is important to note that Jesus did not write one word of his teachings. In addition, most scholars believe the gospels were written after 70 AD. On the other hand, the epistles attributed to Paul are dated in the 50’s and 60’s. Paul’s death is dated around 67 AD. It seems to be a consensus that Paul wrote prior to the gospel authors.

It is also important to note that Paul never once quotes the gospels, mentions the miracles of Jesus, or the virgin birth. He never mentions John the Baptist who is an important figure in showing that Jesus is the Messiah. Paul even boasted in the fact that he was a Pharisee obviously ignorant of the bad reputation Pharisees were given in the gospels.

Another important point to mention is that Paul probably would have been an adult during the life of Christ but was not familiar with Jesus until his vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. As a Pharisee and an enforcer of the law, surely he would have known of the controversy surrounding the life and teachings of Christ?

This brings me back to my original question, who founded Christianity? What a fascinating question.

Here’s a response from Michael Turton:

Who founded Christianity? I can’t tell. Let’s look at competing views…

1. Conventional Big Bang: Jesus ministers in Palestine, gets killed, followers start the religion. Gnostics are heretical offshoots from main branch. Big Bang many variations, from Jesus as prophet, to Jesus as Jewish Revolutionary. See Kirby’s historical Jesus theories page.

2. Mythicist 1: Christianity evolves out of pre-existing Jewish matrix in Jewish diaspora, projects itself back into Palestine. By the time we get first glimpse, we are seeing maturing cult, so no access to early history. Gnostics are part of many varieties of the cult. See Ellegaard, GS Mead.

3. Mythicist 2: Christianity is Roman project to destroy Judaism. See Atwill’s Caesar’s Messiah, old Piso theory. Gnostics are second century heretics.

4. Dutch Radicals: Christianity is second century or late first century in origin, but created history for itself in conflicts between various Christian cults. All early documents are forgeries of second century.

5. Hellenistic mystery cult: Christianity began as Christ Cult, historicized itself in stages. Gnostics are spin-off/holdover from early Christ Cults. Jesus of History unknown until invented/evolved in Gospels/second century. See Earl Doherty (The Jesus Puzzle).



1. Zoe - June 7, 2005

Good question.

2. Roopster - June 7, 2005

I agree Zoe. I love to ask questions. I think Christians are too afraid to ask questions as they’re taught it’s opening themselves up to ‘doubt and unbelief.’ I’m amazed as to the methods used to keep the faithful in line.

Personally, I believe Christianity will be much better off IF we start being honest and face the difficult questions about our faith.


3. Monk-in-Training - June 8, 2005

I have thought about this, I think Jesus Redeemed us, but Paul started the movement known to us as Christianity. This was more “formalized” by the Christians of the Roman Empire a few years later. I think the Jesus Movement went on to be the Ebionites, and is a tiny sect to this day.

4. Anonymous - June 8, 2005

Good question. While I haven’t read everything, here is an interesting site I found http://www.isaiah58.com/APOSTATEFATHERS.HTM

5. Roopster - June 8, 2005


Similiar cases can be made on some of the writings that are now considered canon. It’s important to remember that this wasn’t determined until the 4th century. There are clear contradictions that we’ve developed out hoops to explain but to a casual reader they are quite evident. Even the essence of what salvation really is can be debated using the 27 books we now call the N.T.


6. BruceA - July 9, 2007

While Christianity is of course rooted in Jesus, Paul’s teachings are probably foundational to Christianity as a distinct religion. It’s no coincidence that the earliest mention of the word “Christian” in the Bible itself is connected with Paul:

“Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.” – Acts 11:25-26

7. Thinking Ape - July 11, 2007

“Who founded Christianity? I can’t tell. Let’s look at competing views…”

Roops, Turton misses Jewett’s Millenarians. Google it, its fascinating simply because its so scholarly, yet so… just… so… odd. Just think – Jesus and Paul, radical paramilitaries bent on freeing Palestine from Rome.

Pseudo-scholarly works supporting type of idea: anything by Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln (of Holy Grail fame, especially Dead Sea Scrolls Deception).

8. roopster - July 18, 2007

Thanks TA. I’ll check it out.

9. grizelda3 - July 25, 2007

Paul founded Christianity. Most teachings people ascribe to Christ are really ideas put forth by Paul, decades after Jesus’ death.
Before Paul had designs on the Jesus cult, the movement was quite possibly poised to become to Judaism what Sufism is to Islam–expressing a beautiful, tender relationship to the divine–an immediate connection to god which doesn’t stand on ceremony or intercession. Paul, in his moments of ecstactic lucidity could have moved Christianity in this direction, but his narcissism turned Christ’s teachings into Judaism for Dummies.

10. Heather - September 24, 2007

I agrre with Roopster. as a christian, you have to be honest. if I have a question ,I look it up in the bible. I’m not questioning my beliefs: I’m just wanting to learn more about it.

11. Heather - September 24, 2007

1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is a great reference it says Christ founded it.

look it up !!!


12. Roopster - September 25, 2007

Are you referring to this?

1 Co. 15:
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

13. carlton figg - October 19, 2007

Really, how old is the world ?

14. carlton figg - October 19, 2007

Really, how old is the world ? According to scientific research, what with carbon-dating and et al, the world, including mankind, is millions of years old. However, according to the Bible, the world, including mankind, is just a bit more than six thousand years old ? Who’s confusing whom ?

15. carlton figg - October 19, 2007

If, as Paul says, it is better to remain a bachelor or a spinster, why did God create the female of the species (Eve) when the male (Adam) was already there as His subject ?

16. carlton figg - October 19, 2007

In the Acts of the Apostles, is it amply clear that St. Peter and his clan were the world’s first Communists — all wealth belonged to the Church and would be distributed to each according to his needs. Why, then, does the Church now frown on Communism when, as we are taught, St. Peter was being guided by the Holy Spirit ?

17. carlton figg - October 29, 2007

Jesus Christ never abandoned Judaism. He was born a Jew, lived the life of a Jew and died a Jew. In fact, His last meal on earth was an essential part of a Jewish festival — it was the feast of the Passover which, in Christiandom, is now referred to as the Last Supper. In his speeches, Jesus very clearly addressed himself to the Jews. His disciples were all Jews. He often referred in derogatory terms to the Gentiles (non-Jews). In fact, when sending his disciples out to spread the Word, he told them that they should not go to the homes of the Gentiles. So, if Jesus was such an ardent Jew, who founded Christianity ?

18. Carlton Figg - November 29, 2007

I don’t believe that Jesus Christ had any intention of starting a new religion, leave alone a religion which initially drew its strength from the Gentiles. Jesus had no time for the Gentiles, as is evident from several passages in the New Testament. For example, when sending his disciples out to spread the Word, He said: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6). Again, in Matthew 15:24, He said: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. And again in Matthew 6:7-8, He derides the Gentiles for their style of praying. However, in John 10:16, Jesus speaks of the possibility of drawing people of other faiths towards Judaism. He said: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must being them also (to his fold) . . . So there will be one flock and one shepherd”. We must keep in mind that Jesus had never sought to condemn or renounce Judaism, other than castigating the Jewish clergy for their personal conduct. The Bible does mention that Jesus told Peter He (Jesus) planned to build His “church” on the “rock” that he called Peter. It is this passage that the Christian churches underline to justify their existence. However, there is also the argument that Jeus never used the word “church”, and that he was actually referring to His ministry among the Jews.

As far as the foundation of Christianity is concerned, I believe we need to take a closer look at the Roman emperor Constantine who, it is said, promoted Christianity for his own political reasons. I am convined that Jesus Christ did not establish Christianity, and that His name was merely borrowed by people with their own agendas.

19. MIHECHA - December 3, 2007


20. carlton12 - December 14, 2007

Mihecha, I won’t know who your “scientologist” is — nor do I know why he just doesn’t call himself a “scientist” ! What I do know is that he is wrong — there are no stories similar to the story of Jesus Christ.
If this friend of yours is sure of his facts, ask him to name the stories. He’ll probably refer to the life of Buddha. Close. But not similar.
As for Shakespeare helping to “compose” the Bible — we are still wondering if he himself composed the works he has been given for ! Shakespeare and the Bible ? Preposterous !

21. hk - June 1, 2008


22. elipmerompecy - January 1, 2010

OMG enjoyed reading this article. I added your feed to my blogreader!

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