Good questions, and if you're really interested, try "Bible Myths and their Parallels to Other Religions by Thomas Doane.
I warn you, not easy reading.....
Also, there were Gospels left out of the Christian Bible.... either they were just too off the wall, or showed Jesus in an unflattering light...Gospel according to Thomas, and Mary (Magdalene). You can likely find these on line.
Some of these stories did remain in the "holy book" collections and are still part of the bible used in Ethiopia....stories that most of us have never heard.
You can as well, get, likely on line the Book of Enoch and Book of Jubilees, part of the Hebrew tradition that never made it into the Bible. Do some research to find out what the writings, folk lore and fairy tales of the Hebrews.
"All true?" Of course not. This all came from a group of stone age starving goatherders. When you have no science, you rely of stories.
Purgatory is a Roman Catholic ---sometime after 300 CE. invention, never was in any Hebrew writings. There was no global flood, but every culture has a flood story. Floods are life altering... people die, your parents, your children, your family. And ancient cultures marked those with stories of how things were saved. When you read Noah, some scientists calculated the measurements of the Ark, and ended up with it being not even large enough to contain 2 each of this planet's most successful insect....beetles.
Christianity isn't "true" or "not true".... it is a religion. And as such, belief in such things as heaven, hell, miracles, raising from the dead, etc., are simply contrary to experience.
However, remember where it came from......... a horrid place to live, food very precious, your children died very young, so did you, and tragedy was everywhere. These stories gave them some security.
Grad courses in Bible, Comparative Religion, Christian Ethics, University of Chicago's Divinity School
· 10 years ago