Have you ever stopped to wonder why the major books of the Bible were all written by a John, Mark, Matthew and Luke? My point is why do we have books so important, yet written by four people with no second names. If a traffic officer stops you for a driving offence and he asks you what your name is, will you tell him ‘Luke’. Just Luke? It sounds ridiculous. This is one way of perpetuating methodical forgeries. According to Richard Carrier, “Unsigned works are a peculiar Christian phenomenon, in works with a dogmatic, apologetic, and propagandistic aim in other words, works already suspect, and thus made even more so by an author’s anonymity.”
It is generally well-known that most of the texts in both the Hebrew bible and the New Testament were forged in the names of their authors to give them authority. This merely helped others recognise ‘the higher truths’ presented to them. Who could argue with Solomon, say, or Apostles of the Lord?
John Chrysostom, 5th century theologian and bishop of Constantinople said: “Do you see the advantage of deceit? …For great is the value of deceit, provided it be not introduced with a mischievous intention. In fact action of this kind ought not to be called deceit, but rather a kind of good management, cleverness and skill, capable of finding out ways where resources fail, and making up for the defects of the mind …And often it is necessary to deceive, and to do the greatest benefits by means of this device, whereas he who has gone by a straight course has done great mischief to the person whom he has not deceived.” (Chrysostom, Treatise On The Priesthood, Book 1)
The art of Christian forgery reached its peak in the 5th and 6th centuries. Faustus, a Manichaean and sworn enemy of St. Augustine said: “Many things have been inserted by our ancestors in the speeches of our Lord which, though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith; especially since as already it has been often proved these things were written not by Christ, nor [by] his apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by I know not what sort of half Jews, not even agreeing with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports and opinions merely, and yet, fathering the whole upon the names of the apostles of the Lord or on those who were supposed to follow the apostles, they maliciously pretended that they had written their lies and conceits according to them.”
This took a frightening dimension with the conquests of Europe and the Middle East. Acharya S, said in ‘The Christ Conspiracy’: ‘ The Church forgery mill did not limit itself to mere writings
but for centuries cranked out thousands of phony “relics” of its “Lord,” “Apostles” and “Saints” There were at least .26 ‘authentic’ burial shrouds (of Jesus) scattered throughout the abbeys of
Europe, of which the Shroud of Turin is just one. At one point, a number of churches claimed the one foreskin of Jesus, and there were enough splinters of the “True Cross” that Calvin said the amount of wood would make “a full load for a good ship.”
Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the militant Jesuits Order wrote: “We should always be disposed to believe that which appears to us to be white is really black, if the hierarchy of the church so decides.”
Martin Luther, the reformer just couldn’t get around the lie debacle too. He wrote privately: “What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.” (Cited by his secretary, in a letter in Max Lenz, ed., /Briefwechsel Landgraf Phillips des Grossmüthigen von Hessen mit Bucer/, vol. I.)
Michael Alfred “Mike” Warnke of Evansville, Indiana is a Christian evangelist and comedian. With the success of his books and recordings, Warnke became one of evangelical Christianity’s best-known experts on the subject of Satanism before his claims of having been a Satanist high priest were debunked in 1991 by the magazine, Cornerstone.
Quite recently, the Pope chose to canonize Juan Diego, supposedly a sixteenth century Mexican Indian who had the good fortune to have the Blessed Virgin (in the guise of ‘Our Lady of Guadeloupe’) impress her own image onto his cloak. Commenting David Brading, Professor of Mexican History at Cambridge University said: “When the Pope canonises Juan Diego, he will have elevated to sainthood the hero of a religious work of fiction.” (The Times, 31 June 2002).
This same edition of Time Magazine continued: ‘An interview with the man given the task in 1947 of restoring Diego’s cloak, on which an image of the Virgin appeared, revealed that the image was not a miracle. Instead, he said, it had been painted on it.
New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, in addressing the issue of early Christian forgeries, writes that there is a history of “lies and deception in the history of the Christian religion” and “irony in the fact that lies and deception have historically been used to establish the ‘truth.’” It is beyond contestation, as he points out in his recent book, ‘Forged’ (2011) that pious Christians practiced deceit on a large scale.
So, use your intuition!