In my study of religion I am discovering an interesting aspect. The written gospels seem to be after-the-fact narratives. There are countless investigations by all sorts of people educated, uneducated, biased, and prejudiced. Much of the information that I have run into does not dispute the fact that Jesus lived or the apostles were real but that their writings were recollections and that the surviving evidence are, probably, copies of the originals.
There seems to be a disparity of translations and a growing number of discovered records. Apparently much editing has taken place and a very conscious effort of selection and rejection has resulted in the canonized version of the bible with many other records and writings excluded.
My incomplete understanding and exposure to the depth and breath of the material plus my inability to read any language but english makes my thoughts very personal and probably very wrong. However, I am developing an attitude about the information and I wanted to write it down so that I don't forget what I was thinking as I go forward as my knowledge, correct or not grows, and my perspective changes.
I am depressed by the apparent organic way religion has come about. As I study the history of the bible and the empirical evidence it seems to me that there is a incomplete but perceptible path from pagan to Christian. It seems to me that the evidence shows that the people of the time were actively engage in religious writing and that there is reason to believe that the surviving writings are more contrived than actual.
However, that does not preclude the probability of Jesus actually living and teaching. It just seems to me to be a rather futile way to initiate the salvation of man. It seems to me that given the time and nature of man that whatever truth might have been divulged is was probably not understood, misstated, mistranslated, and even corrupted. So then what purpose do the scriptures serve? Why would a loving God leave so much up to chance? I suppose that if Jesus had not shown up when he did history and probably mankind would be different. i.e. china. I suppose that modern day revelation as in the LDS Church would not necessarily be accepted as is the case. Primarily, I think, because of the bias and prejudice of other christian sects. The LDS church seems to be being accepted, at face value, in China at the rate its communist leaders will allow.
So then what does that prove? That there is a time and season for all things? That God exists? That a God does not exist? That God's way are not man's ways? That each of us in our own time and in our own way will come to know the truth or that there is no actual truth to know?