Byzantine Empire 555AD
Byzantine Empire 555 AD

Origins of Christianity 101

by Lewis Loflin

Exploring Religion Modern and Ancient 2

The material below is presented to the layperson to introduce them to the many currents that operate within Christianity, Gnosticism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Hellenism. Most of the material I use is written by believers in God (myself included) and I try to avoid the use of material from atheist/Humanist' sources.

Broadly in my view Christianity is a Hellenistic philosophy claiming the "authority" of the Holy Spirit, something not found in Old Testament Judaism. See Gospel Roots Christian Pantheism.

Pantheism holds God and Nature as somehow intertwined or dwells within matter. This is a common theme in New Age Religion, Paganism, and environmentalism.

James Lovelock creator of the Gaia Hypothesis has become concerned his ideas and environmentalism in general has "become a religion, and religions don't worry too much about facts.". science in general is being poisoned by inserting religious mysticism and politics into the mix and failing to adhere to the Scientific Method.

I have no interest in promoting any particular belief system judging each as an individual based on their actions alone. I'm an equal opportunity skeptic.

While Jesus was human and an object of worship, Paul created what became Christianity as can be seen by reading Galatians when Paul broke from Jesus' Jewish church/sect under his brother James and Judaism in total over circumcision - he rejected and hated Judaism anyway being a Hellenist and influenced by Gnosticism. Paul and his followers wrote most of the New Testament, his epistles predating Matthew, Mark, and Luke by 20 years or more. Mark and Luke were Paul's followers and certainly Luke like Paul never met the earthly Jesus.

For the record I don't believe people can communicate with dead people, ghosts, or spirits. Their claims of "divine revelation" while possible without proof are simply their personal beliefs. Christianity is better called Paulism. Paul bitter that his Gnostic beliefs converted few Jews that with his followers concocted the lie Jews Killed Their Own Prophets which they did no such thing.

Christian Origins Hellenism and Gnosticism

After the conquests of Alexander the Great Greek culture was spread across the former Persian Empire. Many embraced a fusion of higher Greek culture with their own while Greek colonists incorporated local gods, religions and cultures into their own culture. Nowhere was this more divisive than among the Jews.

Judah was caught between the endless wars between hostile Greek Syria and a tolerant Greek Egypt. Maccabees 1 & 2 was more about a civil war between Hellenist Jews and Orthodox Jews than freedom from Damascus. That went on even after the time of Jesus.

The vast Jewish communities of Alexandria welcomed Greek ideas and incorporated that into what I'd call Hellenistic Judaism. Philo did just this and some Church Fathers referred to him as the first Christian - he was a contemporary of Paul.

Hellenistic Judaism broadly was more universal, less political, and more "liberal". It certainly was far more spiritual and pantheistic - I'd suggest reading the Apocrypha.

From this Hellenistic stew-pot would arise what became Christianity and its sisters that was considered heresies dumped under the term Gnosticism - they are really the same differing in how the Church defined a single word. Paul claimed salvation by "faith" while Gnosticism claims by divine knowledge - both advocated a spiritual union with the divine. Paul used "faith" and "knowledge" interchangeably.

St. Augustine Father of Protestantism

My introduction to St. Augustine was his Confessions I read in college. While my Christian friends found Confessions uplifting I found it appalling. Written after his conversion I was repulsed by his self-loathing and the entire concepts of grace and election that reduced merely being human somehow evil and "salvation" a mere whim of God.


Zoroastrianism was a great monotheistic of ancient Persia today Iran. This in various forms was the Persian state religion very friendly to Judaism in particular with Nehemiah and Ezra book books at one time a single volume. Under Persian rule the Jews returned to Jerusalem at the decree of the Persian King Cyrus. The Jewish Encyclopedia notes the great influence the Persians had on Judaism and Christianity.

Freemasons, Unitarians, Deists


End Times

Religious Traditions

Web site Copyright Lewis Loflin, All rights reserved.
If using this material on another site, please provide a link back to my site.