I've tried many, many times to correct some of the widespread misconceptions about the early history of Christianity. Then yesterday this happened:
A: well, Constantine THREW HALF OF THE "BIBLE" AWAY, so even the POPE doesn't have a clue what his own religion is based on...aside from the whims of the editors and rewriters through the century
ME: Constantine ordered 50 copies of the Bible to be made. That's the most that we know about his involvement with the Bible. To me it seems quite possible that he never read a word of it. The topic of what was in the Bible and what was not was not on the agenda of the council of Nicea in 325. No doubt, Arians and Gnostics and other groups of Christians, along with the texts they considered holy, were wiped out with Constantine's help, but that bit about Constantine putting the New Testament together is just one of the many things Dan Brown got wrong.
A: I make no reference to Dan Brown, and the finalization for THAT TIME was at Carthage; in general, the fact that Constantine, the Niceans and later a bunch of other HUMANS decided which fairy tales were "based in reality", and at Nicea the Arians surely got their beliefs torn to shreds and discarded, along with other sects you mention.
Okay, first of all, did you get all that? Yeah, me neither. And secondly, not only did I have no more interest in talking to this person, but also, suddenly, and for the first time, I got the feeling that I no longer wanted to correct anyone who, for instance, believes that Constantine edited the New Testament. And that's an awful lot of people. I probably will keep making the effort, but all of a sudden I just felt so exhausted, and so disinclined to talk about these subjects with anyone who hadn't gone to the trouble of researching what they were going to pontificate about, or had drastically erred in estimating who constituted reliable research material. Is this similar to what Joseph Hoffmann means when he refers to Jesus fatigue?
This is the question of the ivory tower. And I guess I know that I'm going to continue to answer that question the same way: I'm going to stay outside of the tower and try to, please pardon the phrase, educate people. I just can't bring myself to give morons like Dan Brown and all the yokels at the History Channel the satisfaction of giving up and not pushing back any more against all of their bullshit. Even though my task is very difficult and aggravating sometimes.
PS, 10:05 AM: I just came across a comparison of the Bible and Harry Potter for about the 1000th time. Merely simpleminded is nowhere near as irritating as simpleminded and completely unoriginal. It occurs to me that there actually must be very many people have never read any books other than the Bible and Harry Potter.