On the unoriginality of Christian writings

Many people maybe unaware of the criticisms against Christianity in its infancy especially because most of these did not get to us and even what we have came to us in fragments. I am always grateful to my friend arch for referring me to Celsus. Here are a few gems from his writings. I don’t know what the whole book would have looked liked but it is one of those I would have devoured.

He writes

“Many of the ideas of the Christians have been expressed better– and earlier– by the Greeks, who were however modest enough to refrain from saying that their ideas came from a god or a son of god. The ancients in their wisdom revealed certain truths to those able to understand: Plato, son of Ariston, points to the truth about the highest good when he says that it cannot be expressed in words, but rather comes from familiarity– like a flash from the blue, imprinting itself upon the soul… But Plato, having said this, does not go on to record some myth to make his point (as do so many others), nor does he silence the inquirer who questions some of the truths he professes; Plato does not ask people to stop questioning, or to accept that god id like such and such…Rather, he tells us where his doctrines come from; there is, in short, a history to what he says, and he is happy to point to the sources of his knowledge, instead of asking us to believe that he speaks on his own authority..

he continues

Not only do they misunderstand the words of the philosophers; they even stoop to assigning words of the philosophers to their Jesus. For example, we are told that Jesus judged the rich with the saying ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of god.’ Yet we know that Plato expressed this very idea in a purer form when he said, ‘It is impossible for an exceptionally good man to be exceptionally rich.’* Is one utterance more inspired than the other?”

and then the best line

Christians, needless to say, utterly detest one another; they slander each other constantly with the vilest forms of abuse, and cannot come to any sort of agreement in their teaching. Each sect brands its own, fills the head of its own with deceitful nonsense…