I’ve heard countless arguments from Atheists and Muslims that the 1st Council of Nicea banned books from the Bible, hid inconvenient truths, expunged Mohammed from the Bible and so on, we know that the council was dealing with the Arian heresy, so how did the Council get such a bad rap?

  • 4
    Of course the defeated Arians were not happy. Other than that, could you be more specific and cite some sources for the "banned books from the Bible" and the "inconvenient truths"? Also, the First Council of Nicaea met in AD 325, which was centuries before Mohammed was born. – GratefulDisciple Feb 12 at 3:17
  • 1
    @GratefulDisciple Muslims have mantained the position for years that the Bible in certain sections contained prophecies of Mohammed such as with John 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever," The verse is obviously about the Holy Spirit, but Muslims try and say it was Jesus prophesying about Mohammed, they also claim that Moses prophesied about him in Deuteronomy as well. Maybe it's all the years I have spent in internet chat rooms but I have seen some crazy stuff out there – Joshguy97 Feb 12 at 3:23
  • 2
    Interpreting 18:15-22 to refer to Jesus and interpreting John 14:15-31 to refer to the Holy Spirit were already established hundreds of years before Nicaea, so how are these applicable to your question? We need to see their charges in order to refute them. So please cite some sources. – GratefulDisciple Feb 12 at 3:34
  • 4
    The question is not clear as to what is being asked. Define 'bad rap'. State who is responsible for this 'bad rap'. Link to some evidence. Link to something substantial which can be answered. Otherwise. we have nothing we can reply to. The above is just an opening gambit for a general debate, not a stated question inviting constructive answers. – Nigel J Feb 12 at 4:40
  • 2
    Sometimes people who want to attack Christianity will pick on something and give it a "bad rap". – DJClayworth Feb 12 at 16:37

The council has a bad rap because a lot of people think the Bishops bowed to the secular power of Constantine whose judgement and wisdom is always likened to the secular authority of the day. So when Trump was president, it seems like Constantine is just making baseless decisions on no facts, now that Biden is president people will view Constantine as evolving Catholic doctrine.

However, this is what happened:

The Council was opened by Constantine with the greatest solemnity. The emperor waited until all the bishops had taken their seats before making his entry. He was clad in gold and covered with precious stones in the fashion of an Oriental sovereign. A chair of gold had been made ready for him, and when he had taken his place the bishops seated themselves. After he had been addressed in a hurried allocution, the emperor made an address in Latin, expressing his will that religious peace should be re-established. He had opened the session as honorary president, and he had assisted at the subsequent sessions, but the direction of the theological discussions was abandoned, as was fitting, to the ecclesiastical leaders of the council. The actual president seems to have been Hosius of Cordova, assisted by the pope's legates, Victor and Vincentius.

St. Athanasius assures us that the activities of the Council were nowise hampered by Constantine's presence.


The purpose of the Council of Nicea was to ensure that the Two Natures of Christ, fully God and fully man would be enshrined in Catholic doctrine and Arius would be anathematized. It's no surprise then that groups who think that this is not correct doctrine (Jehovah's Witness and Islamic doctrine is closely linked to Arianism) would be more than willing to criticize the council and a favorite whipping boy of those who criticize the council is Constantine. It's hard to criticize Athanasius, except for being a little blunt, but his writings are so like Luther's that I don't think Protestants bother to come down too hard on him.

But the council didn't ban any books, except the musings of Arius, I believe that was the Council of Rome in 382, and banning the parts of the Gospel talking about Mohammed would need more details to understand, I'm guessing someone says there is some sort of prophecy that Jesus laid out that there would be yet another prophet? I'd never heard of that before and it certainly has nothing to do with the Council of Nicea.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.