Organized religion got its start about 4,000 years ago with the acceptance of “monotheism” by the Jews. That is, they simply recognized the “one God” concept and began ritualistic group practices of worshiping the “one God.” Further, they created the “Priest” ruling class, who wrote the Tora, a document that essentially defined what they could and could not do to remain “holy” in the sight of this God. Thus they had everything they needed to become a true “religion.” It should be noted that Islam also had its start around the same time and followed a similar pattern of establishing itself.
Fast forward 2,000 years, God incarnate, in the form of Jesus Christ, choices to make himself known to the world much to the chagrin of the Jews, who refused to acknowledge him as the one true God, primarily because of the perceived threat he posed to their “Priest” ruling class. There’s more than a little irony in that the Jews’ “Priests” actually aided in the creation of the new religion that was in competition with their own. With the public persecuting of the self-proclaimed “Messiah,” by the Jews he became a much publicized martyr.
The Gentiles pretty much followed the same pattern as the Jews in setting up their religion. They simply built on what the Jews had already begun. They incorporated the Jews’ Torah into their own “Holy Bible” as the “Old Testament” and added the historical accounts of the life of Jesus and his teaching following his death and resurrection. Thus their Bible was and is a historical accounting of the totality of the Christian faith, including all of the philosophies of how one must live to be righteous in the sight of God, from both the old and new testament perspective.
The Christian Holy Bible was canonized in 325 A.D. under the auspices of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who created the council of Nicaea for that purpose. Constantine used the council’s work as a means of gaining political control of the multi-fractured Christian churches. The council choose from literally dozens of written “Gospels” to include only four in the new testament. Apparently, those four were deemed to be the most representative historical accounts.
The Christian church is today splintered into literally hundreds of “Denominations” and sub groups, all supposedly in support of the teachings in the Holy Bible, however, in reality they exist to serve the “Priest” class, not the parishioners. I realize how cynical that sounds, but I am not writing this in service to the self-proclaimed “Holy” men and women. It should be noted that the Jewish faith has also splintered some what, however, not nearly to the extent that the Christian church has.
The Christian bible is, by and large, never viewed as a historical document, although that is precisely what it is. It is seen to be a “holy” document to be worshipped and “studied” as the means by which one may be “saved” and understand the true nature of God. Many today, at the behest of “Holy” men, subscribe to the belief that the words written in the bible are set in stone, i.e. they are not subject to any interpretation. The ancients who wrote those words were the scholars of their times and knew full well how to use literary devices to make their writing the most effective. The bible is full of examples of literary devices, parables, imagery, allegories, etc.
I could go on writing in greater detail, but I won’t. I have my thoughts about who profits the most from the points I’ve touched on, I leave it to your good judgment to come to your own conclusions.