All religions have been created for political means. People usually say this with a very shallow understanding of the depth of their comment. I have studied the origins of religion for three years. The following is just the surface of what I have been able to uncover:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Jewish and Christian leaders will tell their congregations to ignore the existence of ancient texts known as The Apocrypha. These writings have proved the accuracy of the teachings of all three major religions. The reason the leaders wish them to be ignored is because they are based on Egyptology.
Egypt was a world power 8,000 years ago. Egyptians, as like all people of the time (i.e. Irish, Incas, Mayan, and Japanese) worshiped the sun. The difference was made when the Pharaoh told his people to sign up. The people did. They created all matter of stories about a spectrum of gods. Each small town created a story of how it was the origin of the local patron god in order to become a large city, ergo, powerhouse in its own right. The Pharaoh allowed it providing the people never lost sight that the true god, Ra ordained the Pharaohs power.
The Pharaohs power was ordained by Ra in The Book of the Dead where it states, He giveth life to man, He breatheth the breath of life into his nostrils. Does this sound familiar?
The Egyptians enjoyed great prosperity until about 1000 B.C.E. The people were drawn in too many directions due to the attentions of their local gods. Egypt was in a recession. A new Pharaoh created quite a stir when he demanded the people to convert to monotheism. Yes, a One God idealism. It was an act of desperation to unite the people toward prosperity. It worked.
Other peoples tried it in their own corners of the globe. It worked in those places as well. The Jewish concocted stories about their own oppression under the hands of the evil Egyptians. They did this to strengthen their newly formed religion which took place around the same time, 1000 B.C.E.
Christians added on to the Jewish faith by accepting a Messiah whom was prophesied in the Apocrypha (a well know source of knowledge at the time). He was referred to as the Son of Man. This reference can only be found in the Apocrypha and then in The New Testament. But, as it is stated in the Bible is incomplete without The Head of Days.
Christians also added to their faith through incorporation of beliefs. They convinced the Europeans they encountered to join their faith by allowing the meshing of mythological beliefs. Hell was originally known as the grave in Egyptology and Judaism but was easily transitioned to the idea of Hades to help the Europeans accept the teachings.
Mohammed stated that his religion was a renewal of the one true religion, but he gave credence to the teachings of Jesus in the early teachings of his new faith (600 C.E.). And when he contradicted himself, he blamed it on Satan, a Jewish belief.
These religions all share a common origin Egyptology which is political strength in numbers, unity, and manipulation. And as they are replaced, they share a common end an educated populace.
(I was raised Lutheran, baptized and confirmed. Ive learned the Christian faith from childhood as my father is a lay speaker for the Church. Even after all this, I still had too many questions the Church could not or would not answer. I researched for myself, and now wish to pass on this knowledge. Please indicate if you wish me to write more on this subject. As I stated, this is mearly the tip of the ice berg.)