Most upvoted comment
Do we know the real events (and religions) that led up to Christianity?(r/DebateAnAtheist)
> But from which predating religions did Christianity borrow?
The foundational and essential basis for Christianity, and all the Abrahamic Religions, is that of monotheistic Yahwehism. So let’s look at Yahweh, and Yahweh worship that precedes the Torah/OT narratives (hypothesised as starting with the Jahwist/Yahwist/J source written around the exilic and/or post-exilic period (6th–5th centuries BCE)) and what do we find in the physical archeological and linguistic anthropological sources?
There is reliable physical archeological and linguistic anthropological evidence that the concept of monotheistic Yahwehism, was created by man via the evolution of the polytheistic worship of Yahweh in the large El (or El Elyon), Father God/God Most High Pantheon, where Yahweh (one of many  sons of El) was a subordinate fertility/rain/warrior local desert God whom, through a process of convergence, differentiation and displacement (synthesis and syncretism), was elevated from polytheism to henotheism (a monolatry for Yahweh; Yahweh is in charge, there are other Gods to worship) to an aggressive monolatrist polytheistic belief (Yahweh is the most important God, there exists other Gods but worship of these other Gods is to be actively rejected) to, finally, a monotheistic belief system (there is and, somehow, always has been, only Yahweh) as documented in the revealed holy scriptures of these religions and cultures that directly influenced and/or became the Biblical Israelites.
Traces of the foundational polytheistic (many many gods, El is in charge) belief, and it’s evolution into a man-driven politically and militarily motivated monolatry for Yahweh (Yahweh is in charge, acknowledgement of other gods) to monotheistic Yahwehism (where Yahweh is and, somehow, always been the one and only god “There is no god but Allah”/“You shall have no other gods before Me”), litter the Torah and Old Testament of the Bible which survived editing and redaction. To a lesser extent (as it is based upon already redacted material and with better editing/explicit rationalizations already included) the New Testament and Qur’an also show linkages to this foundational polytheistic belief.
Some references on the growth of monotheistic Yahwehism from a historical polytheistic foundation of revealed holy scripture to the development of the monotheism of early Biblical Israelites:
- 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
While limited to starting with the Hebrew Bible as a basis, and not addressing much pre-Torah scripture related to Yahweh, the following takes a look at:
- Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism? Toward an Assessment of Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible, by Michael S. Heiser, PhD
While a College Senior Thesis (and the perception therefore of a less credible scholarly/appeal to authority level), the following is a good source of other reference material:
- The Ascension of Yahweh: The Origins and Development of Israelite Monotheism from the Afrasan to Josiah by Andrew Halladay
Some of the on-line summaries/arguments which related to the above argument/position are:
- 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
> simply demonstrate that Christianity is also a man-made religion?
The basis for Christianity, that of monotheistic Yahwehism, can be shown, to a level or reliability and confidence that is equal to, or better than, any narratives related to Abrahamic monotheistic Yahwehism to be “made up” from the initial and original polytheistic worship of Yahweh.
Given that the tradition of monotheistic Yahwehism is the essential foundation of the Abrahamic Religions, this falsehood propagates to any/all doctrine/dogma/claims dependent/contingent upon this foundation – rendering these religious tenets/doctrine/dogma/”truths”, at best, demonstratively invalid; and nominally, morally and culturally reprehensible.