This post is peripherally to be about “The Seven Deadly Sins” that came out in the Christian church in the middle ages. But in reality I will just be using one of them to make a broader point.
Here is what Wikipedia says about the seven deadly sins:
The Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the Capital Vices or Cardinal Sins, is a classification of the most objectionable vices which has been used since early Christiantimes to educate and instruct followers concerning (immoral) fallen man’s tendency to sin. It consists of “Lust“, “Gluttony“, “Greed“, “Sloth“, “Wrath”, “Envy“, and “Pride“.
Let’s focus on gluttony and how it came to be part of this list. The cardinal sin of gluttony , which is a most serious offense, isn’t mentioned at all in the Bible. It was formulated by well-meaning men more than three hundred years after Christ. These men believed that eating too much could send someone to hell. The term gluttony was later expanded by someone else to be an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.
These well-meaning men who we now call theologians are found behind almost all the definitions of sin, faith, doctrine, and beliefs of Christianity and for that matter most other religions today. Generally there was no misguiding intent on their part; they simply wanted to put their thoughts along side others before them as to what they saw when they looked for God.
A common practice was to take a few words espoused by an earlier thinker and expand it into new concept. If that concept gained sufficient following it would later end up being incorporated into the overall church belief system. This is how the rather simple messages of the church’s founder became greatly expanded, some like Thomas Jefferson say complicated, by human thought.
The ramifications of this is that we must realize that much of what is found in the Christian Bible and especially later Christian beliefs did not really come from our founder’s mouth. Some think that if they just go back to the Bible that we use today that somehow they will discover the true foundations of our church. Sadly even the Bible is filled with man-made ideas. When the Roman King Constantine brought together Christian thinkers in the fourth century he had an agenda that worked it way into what we now know as the Bible.
King Constantine wanted a kingdom that was more easily managed. Under his constant oversight the thinkers chose some existing documents as worthy of inclusion in their Bible. They also decided that many other documents held reverent by various congregations were unworthy. After the Bible was formulated King Constantine went about removing those who questioned the decisions of that council. He did this by death or other means. He then proceeded to severely punish anyone in his kingdom who would not proclaim themselves to be Christians.
If you want to see more about this go to my RedLetterLiving archive and do a search for “Constantine”. There are perhaps two dozen posts on the topic.
Jesus himself told us to not believe everything we read in the bible. For instance he said the Old Testament belief in “an eye-for-an-eye” was just plain wrong and needs to be replaced by his message of turning the other cheek.
Does the fact that much of the foundation of Christian belief is not from Jesus matter? It should teach us that whenever we read the Bible we must be aware that much of it is man-made and therefore not infallible.