Thanks for the welcome, Serendipity!
Jesus = Ancient Pagan gods??
Im still reading "The Pagan Christ", finding some interesting things in it:
"The only difference - and it was quite radical - between the Jesus story of hte New Testament and the many ancient myths depicting what seems the identical combination of concepts and characteristics is that nobody among the ancients, prior to the full-fledged Christian movement, believed for one moment that any of the evens in their dramas were in any way historical. What counted were teh deep, timeless spiritual truths behind or beyond the fictional packaging. There was one primal, central myth -- originating undoubtedly in Egypt -- and all the rest flowed from that. In Christianity, however, the myth was eventually literalized. Jesus was historicized."
WOW. I never really knew how far and deep the deceptions ran in religion, until now. Never in a million years did I realize that not only were the stories in the bible just stories, but that they were stolen from centuries old societies, and then every tie Christianity had to the pagans that they stole ideologies from were tortured and burned until no further proof existed. My eyes have been opened, and I think I need a minute or two for this all to sink in.
Hooberus, Thanks for the link. I couldn't read the entire thing, but I wasn't too impressed with the way this guys starts out...
Our friends in Canada had now and then asked me about a journalist up their way named Tom Harpur, who writes all manner of squishy New Agish columns for the Toronto Star. Harpur's work doesn't get down here to the States easily; in fact his book of interest here, The Pagan Christ [Thomas Allen, 2004] I could not find in local bookstores and it could not be had via Amazon's American site until more recently (I ordered it via the Canadian one). Perhaps that may have had something to do with laws against importing foreign toxic waste.
Yeah, I couldn't find any books in the store at Barnes and Noble by Carl Sagan, yet there are aisles and aisles of books on Christianity. Of course I could always special order the Carl Sagan. Go figure, huh. After reading this guy's mission statement I figure it's too biased of an opinion to have any real value to me.
I'm only starting to look into this theory but I'd prefer to start with more reliable, unbiased research. Here's an interesting link...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_myth. Possibly this is a good place to start, before I form any opinion whatsoever.
Yes, Lilycurly. I just posted this at another forum where a discussion about Jesus came up and some know-it-all JW had to share his WBTS garbage. I felt compelled to post this, with little comment from me:
From Barbara G. Walker's book, entitled The Women's Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets. pp. 464-467:
"The Jesus who was called Christos, "Anointed," took his title from Middle-Eastern savior-gods like Adonis and Tammuz, born of the Virgin Sea-goddess Aphrodite-Maria (Myrrha), or Ishtar-Mari (Hebrew Mariamne). Earlier biblical versions of the same heroes were Joshua son on Nun (Exodus 33:11), Jehu son of Nimshi, whom Elijah annointed as a sacred king (1Kings 19:16), and Yeshua son of Marah. The Book of Enoch said in the 2nd century B.C. that Yeshus or Jesus was the secret name given by God to the Son of Man (a Persian title), and that it meant "Yahweh saves."
In northern Israel the name was written Ieu. It was the same as Ieud or Jeud, the "only-begotten son" dressed in royal robes and sacrificed by the god-king Isra-El. Greek versions of the name were Iasion, Jason, or Iasus - the name of one of Demeter's sacrificed consorts, killed by Father Zeus after the fertility rite that coupled him with his Mother. Iasus signified a healer or Therapeuta, as the Greeks called the Essenes, whose cult groups always included a man with the title of Christos. The literal menaing of the name was "healing noon-man," fitting the Hebrew version of Jesus as a son of Mary, The almah or "moon-maiden." (See Virgin Birth)."
"It seems Jesus was not one person but a composite of many. He played the role of sacred king of the Jews who periodically died in an atonement ceremony as surrogate for the real king. "The Semitic religions practiced human immolations longer than any other religion, sacrificing children and grown ment in order to please sanguinary gods. In spit of Hadrian's prohibition of those murderous offerings, they were maintained in certain clandestine rites." The priesthood of the Jewish God insisted that "one man should die for the people . . . that the whole nation perish not" (John 11:50). Yahweh forgave no sins without bloodshed: "without shedding blood is no remission" (Hebrews 9:22)."
"Middle-Eastern traditions presented a long line of slain and cannibalized Saviore extending back to prehistory. At first kings, they became king-surrogates or "sacred" kings as the power or real monarchies developed. The Gospels' Jesus was certainly not the first of them, though he may have been one of the last. One passage hints at a holy man's understandable fear of such brief, doomed eminence:"When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone"(John 6:15)."
"This Jesus seems to have made little or no imression on his contemporaries. No literate person of his own time mentioned him in any known writing. The Gospels were not written in his own time, nor were they written by anyone who ever saw him in the flesh. The names of the apostles attached to these books were fraudulent. The books were composed after the establishment of the church, some as late as the 2nd centurey A.D. or later, according to the church's requirements for a manufactured tradition. Most scholars believe the earlies book of the NewTestament was 1Thessalonians, written perhaps 51 A.D. by Paul, who never saw Jesus in person and knew no details of his life story."
"The details were accumulated through later adoption of the myths attached to every savior-god throughout the Roman empire. Like Adonis, Jesus was born of a consecrated temple maiden in the sacred cave of Bethlehem, "The House of Bread." He was eaten in the form of bread, as were Adonis, Osiris, Dionysus, and otheres; he called himslef the bread of God (John 6:33). Like worshippers of Osiris, those of Jesus made him part of themselves by eating him, so as to participate in his resurrection:"He that eateh my flesh, and drinketh my blood, deelleth in me, and I in him" (John6:56).
"Like Attis, Jesus was sacrifieced at the spring equinox and rose again from the dead on the third day, when he became God and ascended to heaven. Like orpheus and Heracles, he "harrowed hell" and brough a secret of eternal life, promising to draw all men with him up to glory (Joh 12:32). Like Mithra and all the other solar gods, he celebrated a birthday nine months later at the winter solctice, because the day of his death was also the day of his cyclic re-conception. See Attis."
"From the elder gods, Jesu acquired not only hisd title of Christos but all his other titles as well. Osiris and Tmmuz were called Good Shepherd. Sarapis was Lord of Death and King of Glory. Mithra and Heralcle were Light of the World, Sun of Righteousness, Helios the Rising Sun. Dionysus was King of Kings, God of Gods. Hermes was the Enlightened One and Logos. Bishnu and Mithra were the Son O Man and fMessiah. Adonis was the LOrd and the Bridegroom. Mot-Aleyin was the Lamb of God. "Saviour" (Soter) was applied to all of them."
"Mystery cults everywhere taught that ordinary ment could be possessed by the spirits of such gods, and identified with them as "sons" or alter egos, as Jesus was. It was the commonly accepted way to acquire supernatural powers, as shown by some of the charms uses by magicians: "Whatevcer I say must happen . . . For I have taken to myself the power of Abraham, Isaac . . ."
"The ability to walk on water was claimed by Far-Eastern holy men ever since Buddhist monks praised it as the makr of the true ascetic. The Magic Papyri said almost anyone could walk on water with the help of "a powerful demon." Impossibilites have always been the props of religious credulity, as Tertullian admitted:"It is believable because it is absurd; it is cetatin because it is impossible."
"However, repetive miracles were not so believable as original ones. Therefore early Christians insisted that all the older deities and their miracle-tales were invented by the devil, out of his foreknowledge of the true religion, so the faithful would be confused by past "imitations." Pagan thinkers countered with the observation that "The Christian religion contains notheing but what Christians hold in common with heathens; nothing new, nor truly great." Even St Augustine, finding the hypothesis of the devil's intentions hard to swallow, admitted that "the true religion" was known to the ancients, and had existed from the beginning of time, but it began to be called Christian after "Christ came in the flesh."
And so the story continues into infinity.
flog the bOrg with blogs
What credibility would he have?
And why would he be better at it than the original who would have the advantage of religious mysticism?"
I don't know the answer to all that, but here are some interesting ideas about where the "historical" Christ figure might have come from:
Jewishs sect of ascetics, based on sun-worshipping Presian anchorites, who in turn evolved their system from Jain yogis professing to work miracles by living apart from the world and practicing extreme self-denial. Jesus, John the Baptist, and Simon Magus were said to have been trained in Essenic communities, which formed the bulk of the first Christians. Epiphanius said,"They who believed on Christ were called Essenes before they were called Christians."
"An Essenic hierarchy included a chief priest called Christos (Anointed One), "head of the entire Congregation of Israel." There were ordinary priests called "sons of Aaron," and another functionary known as the Messiah of Israel. The latter was also called Teacher Of Righteousness. He suffered physical abuse in atonement for the sins of the entire community, enduring "vindictive sentences of scourging and the terrors of painful sickness, and vengeance on his fleshly body."
I wonder if Mel Gibson has heard about that?
"Josephus said the Essenes "reject pleasures as an evil, but esteem continence and the conquest over our passions, to be virtue. They neglect wedlock, but choose out other persons' children, while they are pliable, and fit for learning; and esteem them to be of their kindred, and form them according to their own manners." We are not told whether these "other persons' children" were abandoned by their parents, or sold, or given to, or kidnapped by, the Essenes. These harsh anchorites imposed cruel sentences for the least infraction of rules, partial starvartion being the most common punishment. Some suffered punishements lasting two or more years for wavering from the doctrines of the community."
Sound like anyone we know?
"The doctrines were strikingly similar to those of early Christianity. Essenes anticipated St. Augustine in teaching that immortal souls belonged in heaven, but were drawn down to earth and entrapped in corruptible flesh by the "natural enticement" of sex. The soul's purity might be recovered by ascetic techniques such as mortification of the flesh, fasting, renunciation of sensual plrasures, and by solitary meditation in the wilderness, like the voluntary exiles of John and Jesus."
"Essenes called themselves Therapeutae, "healers," claiming their austere lifestyle gave them the power to cast out demons of sickness, even to restore life to the dead; Jesus's raising of Lazarus was a typical Essenic miracle. Much of their training as exorcists consisted of learning lists of spirits' names, and the holy names that would expel them. LIke Jesus in the episode of the Gadarene swine, Essenes always demanded the demons' names. . .
They were sworn to strictest secrecy regarding the magical names they used in their exorcisms."
"Essenes preached giving away all one's worldly goods upon joining the sect, which meant those who joined gave away everything they owned to their superiors. Dire punishements were meted out to those who lied about their possessions in order to hold something back for themselves or their families. An Essenic episode in the Gospels tells of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, killed by St. Peter for giving the apostles only a part, but not all, of the money they received for a sale of land. Peter and his associates were jailed for murder, but later escaped (Acts 5:2-10,18)."
"Despite their vows of poverty, the Essenes were strangely obsessed with vision of wealth and power coming to them after Armageddon, "The War of the Sons of Light with the Sons of Darkness." Sons of Light of course were the Essenes, and all others outside their brotherhood were Sons of Darkness, otherwise called "men of the Pit." The Essenes believed firmly in the imminence of the Last Days, when they would be called upon to fight the forces of evil. Their reward would be to rule the world - in an oddly materialistic manner, as envisioned by their scriptures:
"Arise, O Warrior, take thy captives, O glorious man! Seize thy plunder, O doer of mighty deeds! Lay thy hand on the necks of thy enemies and thy foot on the heaps of the slain; smite the nations, thy adversaries, and may thy sword devour guilty flesh . . . Let there be a multitude of possession in the fields, silver and gold and precious stones in they palaces. . . . Let thy gates be continuously open, that the wealth of the nations may be brought unto thee; and let their kings serve thee, and all the oppressors bow down to thee and lick the dust of thy feet."
"A large colony of Essenes occupied the Qumran community from 110 BC to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD with a signifcant period of vacancy during the reign of Herod, 31-4BC. In 31 BC, the site had to be abandoned because a severe earthquake cracked the water cistern and ruined the buildings.
"Survivors evidently took the earthquake as a sign of the oncoming Last Days and went forth into the world to preach their message. Josephus said before 70 AD there were many Messiahs and Christs announcing the end of the world. Some were willing to die a martyr's death, believing this would gain them special privileges in the world of the hereafter. One such martyr may have been John the Baptist, who came from the wilderness to call Herod and his court to repentance, and remained to serve as a sacred king (see Salome).
"Early Mandaean Christians said the true prophet was not Jesus but John the Baptist. They called themselves Christians of St. John, and also Nasoraje, or "Nazarenes." One of the colonies of exiled hermits from Qumran settled around Nazareth and took up the craft of carpentry; hence the craft-brotherhood of Nazorenes, from najjar, "carpenters," after whom the town may have been named. Some Christian authorities of the first centuries AD wrote that during this period "all Christians were called Nazorenes." Jesus too was called a Nazorene. The oldest Gospel called him "Jesus the carpenter" (Mark 6:3).
"Oddly, what began in the east as a carpenters' metaphor passed into the Gospels as masons' metaphor. Essene-like Buddhist hermits described themselves as logs rejected by the carpenter's craft. The same words were put into Jesus's mouth, somewhat altered: he called himself a stone rejected by the masons (Matthew 21:42)."
-Barbara G. Walker, The Women's Encyclopedia Of Myths And Secrets, pp.283-285.