Jesus was Never Born

Jesus was probably one of the most influential men in OTL history, if not the most. Today, billions live for him, and millions more sadly died because of him.

But what if Jesus was never born? How would this effect empires from Rome to England to the United States? What will become of the numerous religions somehow influenced or destroyed because of him? This ATL will attempt to answer those questions.

(Note: This is my first attempt at an ATL, and I am quite new at this, so any and all suggestions are accepted. If someone created something like this, I am sorry and assure you I will not copy your ideas. And also, since I am Jewish, I am nowhere near an expert on Christianity, so I ask people to tell me historical info on Christianity.)
 
If Jesus was never born, this would obviously butterfly Christianity, which may in turn butterfly Islam as well. Judaism would still be the dominant religion in the MidEast, but they would only have to contend with Roman paganism. Down the road, Judaism may have to compete with either Zoroastrianism, Buddhism or just plain old paganism for future powers. The Roman Empire may still live today, but I'm not sure if it will ever collapse. It's because of Jesus's work that Christianity became prominent, but Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire during his reign.
 
The First Big Butterfly

At first, there is little differences in the world. In Judaea life moves on. Self-proclaimed Messiahs preached and died. Herodian kings and Roman prefects came and went. Although a few butterflies happened in the early decades, all were small, and most would be hardly noticeable to someone comparing the two worlds.

The only exception is, obviously, no Christianity. Many of Jesus' would-be disciples turn to one of the countless sects of Judaism instead. Some, like John the Baptist, even form their own Messianic sect of Judaism, of which there is no shortage at the time.

This changes, however, in the year 64 CE (I am keeping the years for simplicity ). Rome burns to the ground. Many outraged citizens blame emperor Nero for this catastrophe. Without Christians to blame, Nero blames the other monotheistic sect in his empire; Judaism.

Persecution for the Jews increases more than ever. Combined with the rising power of the Zealots, the Jews rebel against the Romans in 64 CE, soon after the Fire. The Great Revolt is about to begin.
 
Ok, this is a cool idea, but you can't presuppose that if Jesus's birth lead to the rise of Christianity. According to the books, some guy named Jesus lived and was killed. Constantine stopped persecuting Christians in the Roman Empire 300 years later. A lot happened in that time. That is the stuff that had to with the rise of Christianity.
For the opinion of someone who knows what they are talking about, read Peter Brown's "The World of Late Antiquity." It deals with a lot of complex issues, but the rise of Christianity and why is one of them.
Good, luck with the timeline, I look forward to more.
Scipio
 
I dunno. I'm inclined to think conditions were right for some sort of big religious movement. If Jesus doesn't happen, I suspect there are plenty of others who can fill his shoes. The particulars will be different, and over 2,000 years those particulars will butterfly into some huge changes, which would make for a very interesting (if entirely speculative) TL if done by the right person. But I think some major messianic religious movement is going to happen at some point.
 
Ok, this is a cool idea, but you can't presuppose that if Jesus's birth lead to the rise of Christianity. According to the books, some guy named Jesus lived and was killed. Constantine stopped persecuting Christians in the Roman Empire 300 years later. A lot happened in that time. That is the stuff that had to with the rise of Christianity.
For the opinion of someone who knows what they are talking about, read Peter Brown's "The World of Late Antiquity." It deals with a lot of complex issues, but the rise of Christianity and why is one of them.
Good, luck with the timeline, I look forward to more.
Scipio
Although that time period is when Christianity becomes popular, what I am attempting is take any idea of Christianity out of the picture. And because Jesus was the founder of Christianity, no Jesus should mean no Christianity.
 
Ok, this is a cool idea, but you can't presuppose that if Jesus's birth lead to the rise of Christianity. According to the books, some guy named Jesus lived and was killed. Constantine stopped persecuting Christians in the Roman Empire 300 years later. A lot happened in that time. That is the stuff that had to with the rise of Christianity.
For the opinion of someone who knows what they are talking about, read Peter Brown's "The World of Late Antiquity." It deals with a lot of complex issues, but the rise of Christianity and why is one of them.
Good, luck with the timeline, I look forward to more.
Scipio
Actually Constantine just stopped persecuting Christians for his reign, his sons and successors were more then happy to go after Rival Sects.

Well there is some debate but it would appear that a 'Messanic' tradition had already been eestablished within Judaism so its likely at some point someone would attempt to reform Judaism but it is possible they do not wish to convert any Gentiles so Judaism remains a influencial Ethnic religon. Meanwhile the Cult of Isis and Serapis and the Cult of the Sol Invictus seem poised to combine with Neoplatonism to form a Henotheist 'Salvation Religion' that absorbs aspects of the Roman Religion to create a new continuation of Polytheism much like Hinduism.
 
Actually Constantine just stopped persecuting Christians for his reign, his sons and successors were more then happy to go after Rival Sects.

Well there is some debate but it would appear that a 'Messanic' tradition had already been eestablished within Judaism so its likely at some point someone would attempt to reform Judaism but it is possible they do not wish to convert any Gentiles so Judaism remains a influencial Ethnic religon. Meanwhile the Cult of Isis and Serapis and the Cult of the Sol Invictus seem poised to combine with Neoplatonism to form a Henotheist 'Salvation Religion' that absorbs aspects of the Roman Religion to create a new continuation of Polytheism much like Hinduism.
Interesting, King of Malta. I didn't think of that. I'll have to think about including that in.
 
The Great Revolt

All over Judaea, Jew rebel. Jerusalem is quickly taken from Romans. Within a year, many formidable fortresses, like Masada, are taken by the Jews.

Nero, naturally, is furious at this rebellion. He sends Vespasian to bring this rebellion down. For the next three years, the Romans and Jews fight. A good portion of the Roman forces are concentrated in besieging Jerusalem, which proves to be a challenge for the Romans. But inside the walls, things are getting hard for the Jews.

Jerusalem is becoming increasingly divided between the Zealots, who want to fight against the Romans, and an alliance between the Pharisees and Sadducees, who want to create a peace treaty. Things are getting rather bloody inside the walls.

But this changes in the year 69, five years after the Revolt began. The Pharisee-Sadducee alliance stage a coup and offer a peace treaty to the Romans. The revolt would come to an end and Jews would declare their loyalty to Rome in exchange for autonomy in certain areas. Vespasian agrees.

The people open the gates to Vespasian and his son, Titus. They tour the city and offer a beautiful cow to be sacrificed in the name of peace. The people are surprised at the respect the two show to their city, Temple, and God, not to mention their agreement to an end to the war with such good terms. They proclaim Vespasian to be king. Although he is initially against this treasonous claim, things quickly change after he receives an interesting message from Rome...
 
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Are we actually sure he even existed in the first place?

Yes. A wholly invented Messiah would be portrayed very differently.

1) He wouldn't have been baptised by John the Baptist. A sinless Son of God wouldn't, on the face of it, need Baptism, and couldn't logically accept it from a lesser being than Himself.

2) He wouldn't have forgiven the woman taken in adultery. Christians condemned that sin just as much as Jews or Pagans, so there'd be no reason to attribute such an action to Him.

3) The big one. He wouldn't have been crucified. It was a major embarrassment to early Christians that their Founder was a criminal who had been executed by the Roman state. Hence the Gospels' blatant attempts to whitewash Pilate and put the blame for Jesus' death primarily on the Jews. Had the whole thing been fiction, Jesus would have been stoned to death by Jews, not crucified by Romans.

BTW, since "Christ" is a title, not a name, it would be perfectly possible for a religion founded by someone else to be still called "Christianity". Of course "Yeshua" (Aramaic "Yisu") was a very common name, so you could also get a Christianity "not founded by Jesus but by another Jew of the same name".
 
I dunno. I'm inclined to think conditions were right for some sort of big religious movement.
yeah... I'd think that sooner or later, someone would come up with a monotheistic and aggressively evangelistic religion... for some reason, conditions were ripe for it back then, and once Christianity got going, rulers adopted it fairly quickly...
 
yeah... I'd think that sooner or later, someone would come up with a monotheistic and aggressively evangelistic religion... for some reason, conditions were ripe for it back then, and once Christianity got going, rulers adopted it fairly quickly...
I do plan to have a Roman-wide religious movement, but it will take a few updates before it will be obvious. ;)
 
I dunno. I'm inclined to think conditions were right for some sort of big religious movement. If Jesus doesn't happen, I suspect there are plenty of others who can fill his shoes. The particulars will be different, and over 2,000 years those particulars will butterfly into some huge changes, which would make for a very interesting (if entirely speculative) TL if done by the right person. But I think some major messianic religious movement is going to happen at some point.
It really depends on the mood of the Romans at the time.
 
Are we actually sure he even existed in the first place?
Pretty much. But it is fairly open to scholarly debate if the Jesus who actually lived was very much like the Jesus that came to be defined by the various councils of the Church after 300. But that's irrelevant because it is the Christ as defined by the church that influenced history and the spread of Chistianity.

My guess is that "no Jesus" means that Judaism develops a number of sects surrounding various messianic figures. Judaism remains essentially an ethnic religion - one of many tolerated by the Roman Empire. Perhaps (and I'm completely speculating here) some form of overarching monotheism develops and becomes dominant in the Roman Empire from the synchretic fusion of several diverse belief systems. It has been argued that Constantine and later Roman Emperors adopted monotheistic Christianity as a tool to fight the increasing disunity in the Empire. Perhaps the state would adopt some similar faith (or develop its own). Alternatively, the Empire's paganism might just continue to devolve into irrelevance, being replaced by some sort of hellenistic platonism.
 
Assuming an historical Jesus Christ, the lack of him, as had been said, might simply lead to another religion taking its place based on some other prophet (Simon Magus) or the Emperor's worship growing in popularity.

Butterflies are numerous obviously but I don't think that taken on the whole would follow completely different trends except perhaps less of european unity on a certain level if there is no central religion.
 
Assuming an historical Jesus Christ, the lack of him, as had been said, might simply lead to another religion taking its place based on some other prophet (Simon Magus) or the Emperor's worship growing in popularity.

Butterflies are numerous obviously but I don't think that taken on the whole would follow completely different trends except perhaps less of european unity on a certain level if there is no central religion.
Actually, I do plan to have a central religion, but one you probably wouldn't expect.
 
Jesus was probably one of the most influential men in OTL history, if not the most. Today, billions live for him, and millions more sadly died because of him.

But what if Jesus was never born? How would this effect empires from Rome to England to the United States? What will become of the numerous religions somehow influenced or destroyed because of him? This ATL will attempt to answer those questions.

(Note: This is my first attempt at an ATL, and I am quite new at this, so any and all suggestions are accepted. If someone created something like this, I am sorry and assure you I will not copy your ideas. And also, since I am Jewish, I am nowhere near an expert on Christianity, so I ask people to tell me historical info on Christianity.)

Well for your first attempt I think you're aiming a little high. :eek:
Christianity and Islam (which would probably be butterflied away) have dominated Europe and world history for the last 2000 years.

I think King of Malta's idea sounds interesting, I agree that some sort of major religous movement would have probably emerged in the era, I'd also throw in the Imperial Cult there too. Hinduism is probably the best present-day example to go by.

Jesus probably didn't exist, and so many elements of what Christians believe and do is lifted directly from other religions that its highly likely that this religion would probably resemble modern Christianity in some ways. If this new religion exists its more likely to be more empire based, so a version of Islam is less likely to develop but maybe the Roman Empire would continue existing united by this religion?
 
Well for your first attempt I think you're aiming a little high. :eek:
Christianity and Islam (which would probably be butterflied away) have dominated Europe and world history for the last 2000 years.

I think King of Malta's idea sounds interesting, I agree that some sort of major religous movement would have probably emerged in the era, I'd also throw in the Imperial Cult there too. Hinduism is probably the best present-day example to go by.

Jesus probably didn't exist, and so many elements of what Christians believe and do is lifted directly from other religions that its highly likely that this religion would probably resemble modern Christianity in some ways. If this new religion exists its more likely to be more empire based, so a version of Islam is less likely to develop but maybe the Roman Empire would continue existing united by this religion?
First of all, although this is an admittedly big attempt towards a timeline, I do hope people like you help me out. I'm not attempting to create an extensive or amazing ATL; only a good one that I can proudly call my own.

As for the idea of a major religious movement, I do plan to create one, but it will be rather surprising when I reveal what the movement is.

And as for the existence of Jesus, I personally think he did exist as a historical figure, and therefore is the indirect creator of Christianity. Without Jesus, no Christianity.
 
Jesus probably didn't exist, and so many elements of what Christians believe and do is lifted directly from other religions that its highly likely that this religion would probably resemble modern Christianity in some ways. If this new religion exists its more likely to be more empire based, so a version of Islam is less likely to develop but maybe the Roman Empire would continue existing united by this religion?
The majority of historians would sincerely like to speak with you on that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus#Existence_of_Jesus
 
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