Religious founders don't found their religion!

Susma Rio Sep

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Naive teachers

Religious founders don't found their religion!

foundationist.org said:
Something I thought was a bit strange while originally looking at different world religions...

Lao Zi did not write the Tao-Te Ching - it was compiled by later followers,

Kong Zi did not write the Analechts of Confucius - it was compiled by later followers,

Buddha did not write the Pali Canon - it was compiled by later followers,

Muhammed did not write the Qur'an - it was compiled by later followers,

Jesus of Nazareth did not write any New Testament texts - they were compiled by later followers,

Guru Nanak did not write the Adi Granth - it was compiled by later followers.

Does anyone not find any of this strange?

In some instances, such as Muhammed, he is traditionally believed to have been illiterate anyway. But the others, so far as I can tell, could easily be considered as literate either by direct or indirect inference fom their lives and teachings.

So what's going on? Does this mean that such central texts have become all the more polluted by their writing and compilation by figures never claiming to be divine?

So strange that literate people, claimed to be in possession of profound and Divine insight, should not write their own words. Am I the only one confused by this?

There are several possible reasons why founders of religion mentioned above did not themselves put their teachings in their own self-redacted written records. Like the following (in no particular order of logic or importance):

1. They did not know how to write.

2. They did not think their teachings were good enough to preserve for posterities.

3. They did not want there to be any records of their teachings, because these records could be used as irrefutable evidence against them should authorities find their teachings subversive.

4. In the case of Jesus, He thought the world was ending during His own lifetime or very shortly after, so why bother to produce written records; no one would be around to read them.

5. They intended their teachings to grow in quantity and quality even after they left, from their disciples' additions and elaborations, which would not be possible if they had congealed their teachings in written form.

6. They were so simple-minded they never realized the importance of putting in writing their teachings.

7. They were ashamed of their grammar and style.

8. They were cautious not to put their teachings in writing, so that plagiarists would not take the credit for them.

9. There were never sure of what exactly they wanted their teachings to assume in their final doctrinal physiognomy.

10. They did not want to put down their teachings in written records, because without written records intelligent people would find it frustrating and almost impossible to analyze their teachings and point out all their errors of facts and errors of judgments.

11. They did not genuinely intend to found any religion to last beyond their lifetimes.

I agree with the original OP: founders of religion did not found their religions. My opinion is that their disciples found the religion and ascribed it to them.

Susma Rio Sep
 

barefootgal9

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Susmo-- Hi! Goodness, your comments here seem quite a bit snarkier than what I've seen in most of your posts. Something in this topic must have hit a sore nerve!

I'm afraid I very much disagree with the thought that the Founders did not found their religions, or did not intend to -- and think you and others in this topic have overlooked some very pertinent historical points.

Especially in the case of Moses, who, it is recorded, most deliberately set up the rules of his community, with Aaron as his "vicegerant" to make sure all was correctly delivered to the people. In the case of Muhammad, it is unequivocally clear and indisputable that He was knowingly establishing an independent religious community with all deliberateness. This is also unequivocally clear in the most recent claims of the Bab and Baha'u'llah.

From what we know of the immediate history following the appearance of Christ and most, if not all, of the other newborn faiths -- the early followers faced the very real threat of severe persecution or death for following the new Teacher. No doubt, to be caught in possession of actual texts would have been a death warrant in many cases. Remember that in almost every case, the "powers that be" did their utmost to eliminate these upstart "heresies." This was absolutely the case with the early Babi and Baha'i Faiths and many of Their writings WERE lost because of this. I recall one story where the believers actually ATE the texts so as not to be caught carrying them! But for the fact that these Founders were extrodinarily prolific, we wouldn't have the large body of writings we do have. (They were quite aware a lot of texts would be lost -- and already were being lost while They were still living, and like good engineers, or a DNA string, made sure there was a safe margin of redundancy!) We know that the early Christians were also severely persecuted in the years following the life of Christ, and then dispersed at the destruction of Jersusalem in 70AD. That Christ's ministry spanned only about four years, if He had committed some of His teachings to writing, He probably did not have a lot of leisure time to ensure a lot of redundancy, and it does not strike me at all remarkable that any texts by His own hand would easily have been lost or destroyed. It would probably be more amazing if any had survived.

I vote with those who suggest that the verbal tradition of storytellers was the safest, and probably most reliable way to protect the transmission of the teachings, for a good story can last hundreds or even thousands of years with only minor variations in cultures where well-trained storytellers and "rememberers" are established institutions.

This is not to say that every teaching has survived, or that the renderings of the stories remained perfectly accurate in detail, or historically completely without ding or dent, but I would put a great deal of confidence in the correctness of important spiritual concepts, lessons and commandments they were meant to convey. I don't think people "forget" what they regard as Divine commandments very easily!

No doubt all the written variations developed over the centuries have muddied the waters, but, I don't think those waters are impossibly or hopelessly turgid. The core truths (submission to God! love thy neighbor! and much else) that were taught by each Founder can still be clearly discerned in the recorded texts, and maintain at least much, if not very near all, of their initial potency to this day.

I think there is no case for claiming, on the basis of missing texts or lost 'originals' (if in fact any such every really existed in a "whole" form), that the religions therefore were invented "whole cloth" out of the imaginations or corrupt intentions of their followers. I grant sincere good intentions and best, if not sometimes even divinely guided, effort by the huge magority of the scribes, monks, and others attempting to set down the sayings and accounts accurately. Occassionally, yes, here and there may have been some bad apples among the transcribers, but to presume from this that the entire community and body of beliefs were shaped by the bad apples is unlikely in the extreme.

Additionally, in each case the original Founders of the faiths gave a body of teaching so different, and as best I can tell, so >challenging< to the "orthodoxy" of Their day, that there was no way that they could be put into practice BUT by separating from the established religion of their time. The followers may not have been fully aware of this, in fact, probably weren't -- as most were simple people, not theologians. I've no doubt each Founder was very well aware of the hornet's nests They were stirring up and went forward, nevertheless, with fulfilling the missions and teachings which They felt commanded by God to deliver.
 

arthra

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Revelations revealed through Prophets:

The Baha'i view in my opinion is that we can be fairly certain that what was revealed through Prophet Muhammad, the Bab and Baha'u'llah was authenticated and attested....

What was referred to earlier as

"Muhammed did not write the Qur'an - it was compiled by later followers.."

would not be our belief...

The Qur'an was first recited and then several secretaries wrote it down during the life of the Prophet. What was revealed was regularly recited and memorized by His Companions... When the Uthmani Qur'an was set down and standardized there was general consensus that this was in fact what had been revealed.

In the case of the Bab and Baha'u'llah the actual manuscripts authenticated by Them are still extant and preserved in vacumm vaults... and microfilmed for prosterity.

From what was revealed in the Qur'an it's also very clear I think that Islam as an identifiable religion was revealed through Prophet Muhammad. It had it's own Qiblah, revealed Writings and manner of prayer.

That the revelations of the Bab and Baha'u'llah were also clearly intended to be new religions is also very clear...

- Art ;)
 

Postmaster

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Re: Revelations revealed through Prophets:

Religious founders didn't actually right there teachings which just goes to show there intensions was not to create a religion otherwise they would have made an effort to write there stuff down at the time, that’s what anyone with a brain would have done. So this also goes to show that the religious founders weren’t in it for the glory. However maybe the potentness of the teachings started to grow weaker with less divine people writing it with the way they seen it and the out come was a half potent book like the bible. But still it’s all we have of the son of God, so in my view it’s the best thing we have.

I think this sums everything up :)
 

Sacredstar

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Re: Revelations revealed through Prophets:

Postmaster said:
Religious founders didn't actually right there teachings which just goes to show there intensions was not to create a religion otherwise they would have made an effort to write there stuff down at the time, that’s what anyone with a brain would have done. So this also goes to show that the religious founders weren’t in it for the glory. However maybe the potentness of the teachings started to grow weaker with less divine people writing it with the way they seen it and the out come was a half potent book like the bible. But still it’s all we have of the son of God, so in my view it’s the best thing we have.

I think this sums everything up :)

hmm....well they were spiritual teachers and prophets and as such would fall into the mystery schools category. There is a lot better then the bible PM from my perspective.....Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary Magdalene, Gospel of Truth, Gospel of Philip is about as good as it gets. Some scholars say that the more radical the saying the more chance there is, that the man called Jesus said it.

Blessings in Abundance

Sacredstar
 

Sacredstar

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I guess the difference between now and modern day is that spiritual teachers do not tell their disciples to go out and spread the word, they just allow and trust GOD to inspire them to do so. The good ones also encourage others to commune with GOD direct.

blessings in abundance

Sacredstar
 

Sacredstar

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brian said:
For example, if we are led to believe that Jesus was literate, as the Gospels imply, then it absolutely begs the question of why Jesus never wrote anything for posterity.

Doubt if he had time between communing with GOD, contemplation, dealing with his contempories, healing and teaching......ask yourselves how much time to get to write a book?

The mystery schools of that era were very much about oral tradition weren't they?

being love

Sacredstar
 

arthra

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Re: Revelations revealed through Prophets:

Postmaster said:
Religious founders didn't actually right there teachings which just goes to show there intensions was not to create a religion otherwise they would have made an effort to write there stuff down at the time, that’s what anyone with a brain would have done. So this also goes to show that the religious founders weren’t in it for the glory. However maybe the potentness of the teachings started to grow weaker with less divine people writing it with the way they seen it and the out come was a half potent book like the bible. But still it’s all we have of the son of God, so in my view it’s the best thing we have.

I think this sums everything up :)

I guess we've been working on this thread slowly over time... It's interesting i think to study how say Christianity began... and maybe consider some of the reasons why say the Gospels were not written by Jesus Himself...

As i understand it the process went something like this...

First of all Jesus lived in a more or less verbal Aramaic culture where teachers explained religion to people and i think people in a more verbal culture tend to have better memories... Later this Aramaic verbal culture got set down in Koine Greek and in the Letters ascribed to Paul...still later, additional materials were added..

There had to have been quite an Elan or energy at the beginnings of Christianity.. Can we say for sure what exactly Jesus said? and if He intended for there to be a new religion?

Well, if you take the three synoptic Gospels and even consider the Gospel of Thomas look at the Logia or sayings of Jesus and see the similarities...I think a pretty good circumstancial case can be made that these were as close to the original teachings as you can get...

How Christianity developed later is a pretty complex study as there were many churches and peoples who were in the then "Jesus movement" and this was very heterogenous in the beginning... As Christianity became more powerful, it looks like the church began to standardize it and "package" it in more like it's present form...

The developement of Islam I think as i noted above back on April 8, 2004 was different than that of Christianity.

- Art ;)
 

Faithfulservant

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Interesting topic. Old on also. From a Christian prospective to questions about why Jesus did not write his own gospels is because of what proof would that be to people?... ohh the man wrote it himself he must be full of it. How can we believe this if noone saw it? So he gathered to himself witnesses of his works and his teachings. Men who are normal men. Not religious educated men that knew the scriptures but men who followed Christ when asked.

John 5:31 If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true.

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

John 1:7-8 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

Susma said "In the case of Jesus, He thought the world was ending during His own lifetime or very shortly after, so why bother to produce written records; no one would be around to read them."

-This can be found nowhere in the bible.
Faithful Servant
 

Basstian

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Funny in Babylon men saw the writing on the wall and still the party went on

Suppose for just for the thought there was a bible that shined with an unearthly light handed down from one priest to another. Would that priest step out in front of the world and speak the truth?

I am glad I have the story of a fisherman that new Jesus written down I am happy to read the letter from a Docter to his friend Describing this "Man" named Jesus. I wonder Did paul really expect his letters to his friends and fellow believers to be scripture. When he said study to show yourself approved rightly dividing the word of truth what was he reffering to?
All scripture is profitable for doctrine ? What scripture his letters? Peters letters ?
Peter wrote of Pauls letters that they were confusing and already some were twisting to there own destruction.
I dont know about the others I have limited my study to the Bible I have searched for both the accurate Greek and Hebrew translations I have found some questionable changes but none as of yet that would make me doubt its place as a book to base my Beliefs in.

If I die tommorrow and this flesh is just that and rots to dust and that is how I remain.
I have lived today with peace in my heart felt true love and Lived a life that blessed those around me because of the Word I have lived by.
 

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FaithfulServant and Basstian, Sacredstar Good Posts. I am right there with you guys on this one. Give me Jesus and the apostles, throw me some Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel and the rest of God servants and we are gonna have a GOOD time when we get over yonder:D
I see a whole line of righteous seed who never started an organized religion or forced God on anyone.
 

Master Vigil

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I know some think Lao Tzu didn't write the Tao Te Ching, but I believe he did, or atleast most of it. I agree some may have been added, but he indeed did write some. There is evidence of bamboo books going back to around the time he left, but they were not in the same order as they are today, the first book being the Tao book was second. So instead of calling it Tao Te Ching, it probably should be called Te Tao Ching.
 
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