Most upvoted comment
I am a “christian”. But I’m in a period of doubt.(r/DebateReligion)
Sure, so apart from a lack of reason to accept those extraordinary claims I listed before, I would also defend the statement that we have firm evidence that Christianity is a human invention, a simple product of human culture.
This should not be too outlandish a claim, as even Christians can probably agree that most of the worlds religions are creations of our changing society (after all, Christians probably would disagree that Hinduism, paganism, Nordic, Hellenistic, aboriginal religions were divinely inspired/authored).
By looking back into the origins of Christianity, and the origins of the Judaic system from which it is derived, we can very clearly see changes in religious deities and stories, as the religion began incorporating myths from surrounding areas and as general patterns of beliefs changed. From what we can currently understand, it appears the the origin of Christianity started as a polytheistic pantheon with at least Yahweh, El, Baal and Asherah. It then moved slowly from polytheism to henotheism to monaltry to monotheism, as was relatively common in the Axial Age.
All of this points to the religion not representative of singular divine inspiration, and instead being representative of being a product of human culture, changing along with society.
This is a rather large topic of course, and if you want further reading, I recommend:
- The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel by Mark Smith
- The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts by Mark S. Smith
- A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong
- The Religion of Ancient Israel (Library of Ancient Israel) by Patrick D. Miller
- Religions of Ancient Israel: A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches by Ziony Zevit
- Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan (Library Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies) by John Day
- God in Translation: Deities in Cross-Cultural Discourse in the Biblical World by Mark S. Smith
- Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism? Toward an Assessment of Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible, by Michael S. Heiser, PhD
- The Ascension of Yahweh: The Origins and Development of Israelite Monotheism from the Afrasan to Josiah by Andrew Halladay
- Are Yahweh and El the same god OR different gods?
- Ugarit and the Bible
- Israelite Religion to Judaism: the Evolution of the Religion of Israel By David Steinberg
- The evolution of God