My Hypothesis on Christian Roots.
Why Today's Christianity is a Sham.
The earliest form of Christianity was, I hypothesize, a mystical cult. A form of Jewish mysticism, it stemmed from interpretations of Old Testament scripture.
The cult also adopted philosophical ideas of Plato, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and the Persian religion of Zoroastranism (God and Devil). Their various motifs included ideas that, the first-century cult believed, would helped set the cultists free from the material world.
So-called Gnostic Christianity shows some of the fusion; secret mystical knowledge, the gnostics believed, would help set them free from the material world.
The earliest Christian cult promoted a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit; special knowledge, the cultists believed, came by courtesy of the Spirit. Today's Christians claim the same relationship; in fact, they believe that the witness of the Holy Spirit helps set them free.
As time passed, the cultists thought of Jesus as divine; he had been their most active proponent. The followers soon believed that Jesus would favor them with immortality.
The Greek pagan religion already had the god-man Dionysus who granted eternal life.
In the Christian cult, Jesus was cast in the same role. Jesus had started out as only a teacher, but later followers cast him as miracle worker and creator of the world.
A similar process of being cast as divine is seen in the way some Christians pray to Mary; they make her an assistant to Jesus. To them, she's practically at one with him.
The doctrine of heaven or hell went along with accepting or rejecting Jesus respectively, an attempt to lend extra authority to the Christian creed.
The New Testament presents a confusing creed, however, where key points lack clarity. The apostle Paul rationalized about it, he treated this problem with the line, "we see through a dark glass."
The various New Testament authors spent six decades putting the creed down in writing.
But Christians don't understand it all, anyway. Their spokespersons try to clear it up, but their explanations are often problematic and often show their limited grasp of the creed (such as it is).
I say that gullibility played a major role in the development of the Christian cult.
Watch the video that conveys similar impressions:
Intro to Gnosticism