Myth comes from myth and ritual comes from ritual. Myth and ritual are borrowed in the way fire is borrowed to light another flame.
John 6:53 says that whoever does not eat (Jesus’) body and drink his blood will have no life in him. v54 extending the thought into the positive and saying that the partakers will get life and resurrection... But eating people is not nice!
In fact the Greek word trogon translated “eat” in this verse 54 conveys an even more vigorous sense; that of ‘gnawing’ at the flesh. There was no doubt about the strength of the meaning. The apologists say that Jesus was speaking symbolically and without doubt it must be so, for most things can be made symbolic in meaning, but that does not explain the reason for its inclusion in the Greek writings especially as the Jews would have bridled at the concept of drinking blood?
In the headlong competition of the Christ cults in the early centuries of our calendar, to gain converts the short-cut to success was not to come up with new and strange ideas, they would become a barrier and exclude people; the method for religious popularity was to incorporate the prevailing pagan beliefs... or re-cycle them as we would call it today. The main characteristic of Jesus-Christianity was not novelty or originality but its borrowing of ideas from every pagan source.
Who said this first:“Whoever does not eat the flesh and drink the blood, the same will not be with me in paradise.” This is an inscription from the Mithraeum or temple of the Saviour Mithras which lies under the present Roman Vatican City Cathedral of Saint Peters. How does it happen that this Christian teaching had been already in place for another saviour? We see how the fusion Jesus-cult had fed off the strengths of Roman Mithraism:
"The worshippers of Mithras held strong beliefs in a
celestial heaven and an infernal hell. They believed that the benevolent powers
of the god would sympathize with their suffering and grant them the final
justice of immortality and eternal salvation in the world to come. They looked
forward to a final day of judgement in which the dead would resurrect, and to a
final conflict that would destroy the existing order of all things to bring
about the triumph of light over darkness.
Purification through a ritualistic baptism was required of the faithful, who also took part in a ceremony in which they drank wine and ate bread to symbolize the body and blood of the god. Sundays were held sacred, and the birth of the god was celebrated annually on December the 25th. After the earthly mission of this god had been accomplished, he took part in a Last Supper with his companions before ascending to heaven, to forever protect the faithful from above.” Craig Lyons, ‘Mithra’s contribution to Christianity’, section ‘Have you heard this before?’
The Jesus cult had borrowed the annual memorial ritual of the saviour’s death but have you ever stopped to think about its root meaning? The thrust of the pre-Christian story is that the god-man, son of the Sun God, gave up his earthly life in sacrifice and returned to his heavenly father at the spring equinox. We are referring to a sacrificial death. But there is more; we are referring to the most abhorrent reason to sacrifice a person: to eat their flesh and drink their blood. The normal name for this practice is cannibalism.
Superstitious people are susceptible to what is claimed by others to be holy. The essence of this innately human streak is to be found in Paul’s words, it is that desire for,”Power beyond what is normal.” (2Cor 4,7) The religious mind, not finding comfort from the ‘world’ seeks help from an intangible spirit realm to assist. After all, the mass of humanity historically speaking have been peasants. That meant being poor, illiterate and powerless. So to clutch at the straw of divine intervention in their benighted lives and believe in fanciful spirit beings and sacred rituals was all the strength they could muster, this was Paul's”the power beyond what is normal.”
The Bible was written by the literate few who were in the employ of the kings and princes of their time. The mighty texts emanated from the courts of the ruling elite. That is why when reading texts which became part of the Bible we must bear in mind this dynamic: it was written for illiterate people who would naturally revere something which was beyond their own comprehension i.e. writing. Yet in that world back in the Iron Age of the Levant when the Bible writings were collated, for the common people it was not the text but ritual and action which primarily counted in religion. Making the writings sacred came later. The most potent spiritual magic any community could summons was that of sacrificing a human life. By partaking of the flesh and blood of the chosen victim, the purpose would have been for appeasement of the gods, ritual purification and restoration of equilibrium and cementing of group loyalty.
Last autumn, I was travelling in the Mediterranean and by chance came across an archaeological site which was a Tophet or child sacrifice place as used by Israel’s neighbours the Phoenicians. I shuddered at the implications.
The JW memorial is now a confused and irrelevant affair because the leaders are themselves unsure of the meaning of it and to whom it applies! By looking at the history from the pagan original down to its mere shadow of today's ritual, shows the crass desperation of Christianity relying on the notion of tribal magic to make claims for its central doctrine.
Eating sacrificial flesh and drinking blood even symbolically cannot get you everlasting life...nothing does!
The fictional idea that the god-man Jesus came to save us is truly primitive thinking. Do not support the Watchtower's unholy memorial of borrowed magic.