Something or someone or some group started christianity. If someone named Christos was involved, I'm personally not all that surprised. Our genes for things like Bieber-fever have been around a long time.
Obviously the thing we are not agreeing on is the divinity, and later the resurrection, of this Christos character. Tacitus said he existed in a history of Nero's reign. Paul said he existed in his biblical contribution. But whether actual or mythical, christianity sprang from the roots of his story.
For christianity to grow from a small group to it's present position as one of the worlds largest religions (ignoring the many divisive groupings) took either divine intervention and dedicated followers or a string of happenstances and dedicated followers. Given that dedicated followers don't actually require things that they follow to be real (neither of us is debating the truthiness of islam or hinduism or zoroastrianism), it is the divinity of your Jesus character and the story of his resurrection that concerns us.
Corinthians 1 and 2 exist because Paul was having a hard time getting his new religion to take. The church he had started in Corinth was in trouble, and dealing with many a divisive pressure. Different factions forming, and worse yet, moral principals laid down by Paul as per the teachings of Jesus were being ignored. In fairness, his effort to spread the message outside of Judea was big job. It's not surprising it didn't go well. Real religions with real gods might somehow get help from, oh, I don't know, that real god. But well-meaning but false religions (i.e., all of them) have it rougher at times. Because made up stuff lacks inherent stickiness.
But he had to stay on message, and his biggest message was that by golly, you were born a sinner (a new concept to me) and if you don't accept Jesus as your lord and savior, you're toast. That's the modern version because it's unnatural for me to number each verse of my writings.
Of course Paul comes right out and says he saw Jesus after the resurrection. That's nice. I can't figure out the politics of leaving him out of the gospels though. As oversights go, that's a biggie. All these different stories about how it happened and no mention of a key figure in the religion being in the neighborhood. The whole gospel resurrection story told in the writings of Paul is built on and embellished in the gospels but they leave him out. I find this strange, but it proves nothing. Nor does it disprove anything.
If you can really disprove the resurrection, then you have effectively disproven Christianity.
Let me work on that. Granted, thousands of scholars, both pro and anti your Jesus story, have failed to prove it either way, but I'm pretty sure I'll come up with something by the end of the week
You are impressed that christianity succeeded, and I am not. You are so impressed that you believe what you read in your bible. And I do not. Christianity had several attributes that apparently helped it along, despite the fact that it was and is just as false a religion as jainism an scientology.
So while you're oohing and aahing of 1st Corinthians, I'm paying attention to those attributes. They include:
1: Christianity was big on caring for the poor. Though somehow lost to modern American fundamentalists, this was very appealing to early peoples, because like today (post housing bubble), most folks were poor. You can counter and say of course god cares for the poor. And I can counter and say he sure drowned a lot of poor folks once. But the humans in christianity at that time took the lessons of Jesus to heart, including the importance of the impoverished. Kindness worked in their favor.
2: Christians proselytize. They always have. Though they diss science whenever it's convenient, the invention of the doorbell was probably seen as divine intervention. And though early christians had none to ring, they still went around spreading the word. What Paul was doing by taking his religious teachings our of Judea was not a normal thing. Romans might chop up your kids and rape your wife, but they didn't run around insisting that you get all hot and bothered about Minerva and Apollo. Most religions of the time respected other cultures gods, even as they beat them into submission and enslaved them. But not the christians.
3: They were flexible. Paul was pretty adamant about things like sex. If you're gonna get laid you'd better get married. But if you want to eat foods dedicated to false gods, go for it. No biggie. And later on, when christians were trying to get people hooked on one god and one god only, they gave in and started creating patron saints, one for sailors and one for sheepherders, etc., to make up for the lost gods that provided similar assistance. I find it ironic that that christians are more flexible than yogi's.
Put 200 little kids at one end of a football field and have them race to the other. Someone is going to win. In hindsight we can all sit around, watching the YouTube video and declaring that the winner had the latest footwear offered by Nike, or the longest legs, or the most determination. But the bottom line is that someone was going to win unless they all got lost and couldn't get good directions. Some religions was going to win the religion wars, and for western civilization, it happened to be christianity.
Sadly my day is ending and I must sleep. I shall return tomorrow and respond to more of your words. And give you more to respond to.
Edit: Fixed Freudian slip. Typed "sin" instead of "win" in the next to last paragraph. I'll talk to my shrink about it.