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2 Bumps

If the Bible had never been written

What do you suppose Christianity would look like today?

Do you think it would have gone the way of other mythologies, with small pockets of  followers possibly remaining in the Middle East, or perhaps small communities practicing some primitive version of the faith around the world?  Or would it have spawned even more different versions than exist today?  Would Islam or Mormonism have developed , since both took much of the book in creating their beliefs?

We have so many discussions about the veracity of the Bible, and it seems that many people who consider themselves "modern" Christians say that they don't believe in the literal translation of the Bible, but rather as a slightly, occasionally historical account of tribes of the Middle East with allegories that can be used to help us guide our lives.  Some even say that they aren't sure if the stories of Jesus are real, or more metaphors and allegories.  Still, even doubting the historical possibilities of a real Jesus, they consider themselves "Christian", and believe in a better, kinder, more loving version of the god of the Bible. 

If, however, the Bible had never been written down, what do you think the religious landscape would look like?  I know, it's a game, really, to speculate, but I think it would be fun and interesting to consider what the world might look like without the influence of this contentious book.  We could go even further and discuss what the political landscape might be without the divisiveness of the beliefs that grew from the book, because clearly that would be different, too, but that might be best for a separate discussion (if it's even possible to separate religion from politics . . .).

 

Answer Question
 
jsbenkert

Asked by jsbenkert at 9:37 AM on Feb. 16, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (20)
  • I think someone else would have written something else and people would have followed that story.
    staciandababy

    Answer by staciandababy at 9:59 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • I think things would have been very different, but it's hard to say how. I mean, when you consider that as Christianity swept through some places, it's pretty much completely obliterated the religions that were there (pagans, etc.), it's really hard to say how things would have gone if the Bible hadn't been written. If the religions that weren't wiped out didn't get wiped out, what would have happened to them? Would they have become myths and legends or would they have continued? Or what if those religions had been able to fight back to retain their own beliefs?

    There are just too many variables to say how things would be today if that one thing hadn't happened.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 10:10 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • So you think that some other religion would be dominant today?  I wonder what it would be - another invisible, almighty single god, or multiple gods that rule over different aspects of mere humans' lives?  Curious.  I wonder . . .

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 10:11 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • Interesting, Wendy.  I wonder if the other religions would be around with greater, or at least equal strength, had the Bible not been written.  You make an excellent point.

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 10:12 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • Well, the Bible wasn't really written as the Bible. It's a collection of writings from numerous different authors, and over the years, some books have been added and some taken out, hidden, and even destroyed. I think some of it is about the people who were in control of the church as the Bible emerged, and how they developed it.

    So, I don't know how things would be different, there are so many books and writings that make an impact on the world. If the books put together to make the Bible had never been written, or never been assembled to be "The Bible" or had been assembled differently, would it have changed religion? Probably, but people will always seek answers to understand the world we live in, so who knows what would have happened or how it might have turned out.
    ohwrite

    Answer by ohwrite at 11:21 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • This is an excellent question, in my opinion. I've often looked at much older texts regarding life and law and cannot help but see the comparisons to be made

    If we look at the Code of Hammurabi, dated approximately 1770 BC, we see many of the same laws/commands etc that we see in the Bible, but much less harsh (look at the treatment of women, for instance). Clearly, long before the birth of Christianity, societies were addressing the moral, ethical and legal aspects of a successful community.

    I'm of the opinion that, Bible or no, some religion would have become dominant. The difference, I believe, is that I think we'd have a much more well-defined religious pluralistic world
    Mrs_Prissy

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 11:21 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • They would have found something else to believe in.
    louise2

    Answer by louise2 at 11:38 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • I'm no scholar, but it seems to me that the world might be full of smaller, more localized religions because the three "major" faiths of the world--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--all have their roots in the Old Testamant, the history of the Jewish people. Still, with wider and wider travels over the centuries, and the shipping trade that eventually united the peoples of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, religion in some form would have become dominant. People seem to always want to make their system of faith, law, and attitudes the way everybody lives.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 1:46 PM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • It would've stayed a niche thing in the middle east, there never would have been a financial incentive for Roman emperors to convert, so it never would've spread like it did by force. It trickled into other areas, where it was incorporated into the existing religions, it didn't replace them. Replacement only happened when it was accompanied with a threat.

    Also, there wouldn't have been the patronage that made it rich - no bible, nobody bothering to buy themselves into heaven, no vast riches for the ministry - they'd be no different than minstrels and prostitutes - someone who offers a secondary service. The merchant class would've risen to power sooner, and the entire world would be different.

    That's not even including the potential of the millions of people slaughtered when they refused to convert.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 1:56 PM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • i read this earlier today but never answered...i need clarification. are you talking specifically about the Bible that was put together in the early 1600s or are you talking about the scripts that eventually became the Bible that were written mostly around 100 CE? cause...well it makes a big difference in my answer haha.
    okmanders

    Answer by okmanders at 6:50 PM on Feb. 16, 2013

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