When I first began this wonderful journey back to God, one of the first things I decided to do was to not only read the bible but also to determine if it is real. There are many who claim that it is a myth and that it was written in order to somehow control the world. After all, if these people could instill a sense of fear into others, convincing them there is an all-powerful “being” that will punish them for doing wrong, they could then control those same people.
Now I am not a biblical scholar (or any other kind of scholar for that matter), nor am I a theologian, archeologist or historian, but I have come to believe that there is enough evidence to prove the bible is indeed true. There is enough physical evidence to prove that the stories we learn in the bible are true and they indeed happened. One of the things that I came across was that evidently there were more books that were banned from the bible throughout the years. I am not talking about the books that are found in the Catholic bible and not in the protestant bible, but some that are not in either. I have recently begun looking into these books which are readily available and I admit I find it fascinating.
Here is a link to an article from Patheos that explains some history of these books in the context of lost Christianities. And as is usually the case with me I read this and then continued off into the land of the internet to read even more. The more I read, the more interesting it becomes. Why were these books left out especially since history shows that many of them were actually part of the “original” bible? Many of them were actually used by some Christians when they celebrated their liturgy. I don’t think we can argue that books were left out, but why?
Before I go on, here is a disclaimer of sorts. I am not a biblical scholar, nor do I play one on the internet, this is my opinion. In addition, I am a Catholic and proud of it. Do I think that some of the early church fathers might have had an agenda, either Catholic, Jews or Protestant? Absolutely. What that agenda was I have no idea nor do I really care. The important thing to remember is that God is, well, God. He is our Creator, He is always there, He guides us and protects us (if we let Him).
Throughout my journey back to God, I have had lots of questions, most of these led to more questions. If there was one thing I learned I would have to say it was that there are some things that we will never have answers to. Here is a perfect example, how was the universe created? Was it through the “Big Bang” theory? If so how did the whole thing start? If two atoms collided, where did these two atoms come from? Something had to start it all. Was it God? We don’t know, we have no proof either way. There are many things we can prove and many we can’t. This is where faith comes in.
Trying to figure out why some books were left out or banned from the Bible is like any good conspiracy theory. For every “proof” of one piece of the puzzle, someone else will come up with evidence that will refute the first proof. Then those who proposed the first proof will come up with further evidence to refute the refuters. And on it goes. Think the JFK assassination. Each year those who had first-hand knowledge of the act are further and further decayed in their graves. “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.”
For the lot of mortals and the lot of beasts is the same lot: The one dies as well as the other. Both have the same life breath. Human beings have no advantage over beasts, but all is vanity. Both go to the same place; both were made from the dust, and to the dust they both return. – Ecc 3:19 – 20
I think what is important is be able to think for oneself. You need to read scripture both official and unofficial and listen to what God is saying and teaching you. It is also important to read more than just the bible. You need to read the church fathers and others. If you’re Catholic, you should read the “Catechism of the Catholic Church“, even if you are not Catholic you can learn a lot about God and faith and what you can believe.
I have been watching various videos and streaming programs about this subject lately and here is one of the reasons given why several of these books were banned. Some of them may lead to the belief that God is either male or female, or neither. The mainstream Christians (most will read that as Catholics) don’t want females to have a prominent place in their male dominated world. This is more than likely the case but the rational person would say what difference does it make if God is male or female? I have always thought that God is neither. Yes, I always refer to Him as a male, but that has always been the accepted practice.
Others say the agenda had to do with wanting to God to be portrayed only as an angry and vengeful God in the Old Testament, and Jesus, our Saviour as the good guy. There may also be some truth to this. Most of the Old Testament tends to portray God as angry and vengeful, and Jesus as never being angry. However, if you read some of the “banned” books, a different picture emerges. In “The Book of the Secrets of Enoch” which used to included in the Old Testament, Enoch is given a tour of heaven and purgatory/hell. And while this isn’t all pretty (although there really isn’t any other description of hell and purgatory anywhere else in the accepted books) the book does give advice how to get to Heaven. Here is just one passage from Chapter LI:
STRETCH out your hands to the poor according to your strength. Hide not your silver in the earth. Help the faithful man in affliction, and affliction will not find you in the time of your trouble. And every grievous and cruel yoke that come upon you bear all for the sake of the Lord, and thus you will find your reward in the day of judgement. It is good to go morning, midday, and evening into the Lord’s dwelling, for the glory of your creator. Because every breathing thing glorifies him, and every creature visible and invisible returns him praise.
If you read this a few times you will note it is very similar to what Jesus teaches us in the Gospels. There are others as well.
As far as Jesus never getting angry (other than when he threw the money-changers from the temple, read “Thomas’s Gospel on the Infancy of Jesus Christ“. Whether you believe what is said or not this gospel doesn’t portray Jesus as always being perfect.
I guess my point of this rather long post is that anything we can learn about God and Jesus helps. We need to accept things with an open mind. So far in my reading of these books I have found nothing to contradict what I already believe or what the Catholic Church has taught me. I do think that there was an agenda by those who began the church to portray God as the bad guy and Jesus as the guy. I only need to remember back fifty or so years ago when I was first taught by those angry looking nuns that God was just waiting for us to mess up so we would go to Hell. I was afraid of God and anyone associated with the church. But I also think that has changed. I think the Catholic Church has toned down that message and we now have a message of God as being an all-loving God. Yes we don’t want to sin, but at least there is a way out.
I’ll discuss the mellowing in the Catholic Church, at least what I see, soon. I know you can’t wait.