top of page
Search

Jesus and the Christmas myth

Christianity: Just Another Mystery Religion.


The earliest record of the appearance of the Christian cult is not a favourable one: it seemed have attracted an uneducated class of people and appeared to have nothing original to say. Its story was already a familiar one in the ancient world.

In fact, a second century Epicurean philosopher, Celsus, gives us his impression of this new cult when he reports that ignorant men were allowed to preach: 'weavers, tailors, fullers, and the most illiterate and rustic fellows' who ' openly declared that none but the ignorant (were) fit disciples for the God they worshipped'. Celsus was not alone in this condemnation.


It is hardly surprising that learned men of the time jeered at the teachings of those representatives of this new cult because their religion ' contains nothing but what they hold in common with heathens; nothing new, or truly great'. (Doane, 411) So why would learned men hold such a view? And what were the reasons for their total derision? The reasons for this antipathy were firstly, that the Christians claimed that their story was new and secondly, that their story was true in that there was a historical godman who actually died and rose again.


In his book, ‘Fiction as History’, Bowerstock states that the fiction and mendacity that Celsus wished to expose in his ‘True Discourse’ were nothing less than the Christian representation of the life and death of Jesus Christ. The detractors of Christianity in the second century described it as a fiction: a new superstition. Christianity, they tell us, and the religion of the pagans differed not at all: they were one and the same thing.

The most significant criticism by the Pagan academics, was that Christians were plagiarists. As Acharya S writes:

(They) were plagiarists and degraders of old ideologies and concepts, an accusation that the Christians were compelled to confirm as they attempted to gain respectability for their "new superstition".


An old story in new clothing


The original authors of the new religion were Jews from Alexandria who never intended the story to be taken literally. They were Gnostics who simply wanted their own version of the Mystery religions that were prevalent at the time. Christianity began as a Gnostic cult which recognised that the story of Jesus, like all the other similar death and resurrection tales of the time, was a myth. It was never intended to be taken literally but was symbolic of the wakening from darkness of ignorance to the light of the understanding of the true spiritual nature of man. Regrettably, the evemerists took hold of the story and portrayed the myth as history and to validate their claims resorted to forgery and lies.


There is not one trace of evidence for the existence of the historical Jesus. The very fact that so much has had to have been written in defence of this thesis (which seeks to prove the historical existence of this man Jesus), suggests that there is a case for its proponents to answer!

Consider this: we are not called upon to prove the existence of Plato, Julius Caesar, Josephus, Hannibal, the Empress Xixi of China, Henry 1st of England, Saladin or the Emperor Napoleon. Why not? Because the evidence for their existence is overwhelming and there have never been any doubts.

Not so with Jesus. From the very start in the first century of the Common Era and even today, Christians seek to 'prove' the existence of Jesus. Why? Why have they always sought to defend their founder's existence? It's because he is a fiction! There is nothing to support their thesis other than their 'belief'. (Interestingly, the letters that make up most of the New Testament contain not one reference to a historical Jesus. One would have thought that people would have remembered such a charismatic leader and wanted to relate their memories of him. But they don't because they can't.)


The story of the life of Jesus is irrelevant in these New Testament letters which talk only about The Christ. The narrative contained in them is strikingly similar to the message of the Gnostics. The influence of Plato, himself a prominent Gnostic mystic, on these letter writers is obvious. The Gnostic message was very well known in the ancient world. So, what about the stories we find in the Gospels? Aren't they true? Well no they're not and they're not even original.


Main Elements of the various versions of the Story


All these myths contain elements of the same story. The Table below illustrates this commonality:

*The items marked in red indicate the most significant of the story’s elements.



The Story


The story is of a dying and rising god-man, common to all the mystery cults of the time. They all have the same elements. A godman is born of a virgin (on December 25th) and usually in very humble circumstances - a cave or barn. The birth is foretold by supernatural beings (angels) and by Magi (wise men) whose interest, in some versions of the story, stirs up the envy of a king who sees his role being threatened by a baby upstart and orders the mass killing of all new-borns. It is a star in the East that leads the Magi and shepherds to the site of the birth. After the birth, there is almost nothing in the story about the baby or his upbringing. The only tale we have is the child being portrayed as a prodigy, being comfortable in discussion with learned men and being recognised for his knowledge and wisdom.


Our dying and rising god character doesn't appear again until about the age of 30 when he lives a humble life healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching in parables and taking the high moral ground with the malpractices of the establishment. Eventually he is killed: but not before he has established a ritualistic phenomenon in the form of a cannibalistic meal in which participants will eat his body and drink his blood as a memorial meal. He is killed and buried but miraculously he is raised from the dead and ascends to heaven from where (in some versions) he will sit in judgement on his detractors. He is, thereafter, referred to as the Lamb of God, the Way, the Truth and the Light, Son of Man, Light of the World.


The Myth of the Dying and Rising God


The story of Jesus is a compilation of traditions and gods that were worshipped around the world at that time. This story can be found in India and Tibet with Indra, in Egypt with Horus, Osiris and Serapis, in India with Buddha and Krishna , with Jupiter in Rome, with Quetzalcoatl in Mexico, Thor of the Gauls, Deva Tat of Siam, Chang Ti of China, Hesus of the Druids in Britain and in Gaul and more. Higgins tells of another group of 'Pagan' critics: " …Brahmins who constantly tell more recent Christian missionaries that the Christian religion is only corrupted Brahminism! They, of course, already had the story of Krishna: a dying and rising god. So, here’s version which actually still exists and claims seniority through age, over the Christian version. Krishna worship travelled into Europe around 800BCE and even appears in Ireland at that time. Alexander the Great reinjected it back into his empire after his visit to India.


When we observe these common elements of the ancient myth we have to ask ourselves why this particular story is so popular and then how do we account for it being found in such distant places such as Mexico. I will attempt to address these questions in the next Blog at the end of January.

One version of the story which had a profound influence on the creation of the Jesus myth has to be that which emanates from Egypt. We cannot underestimate the importance and influence of the Egyptian religion upon the known world at that time. 3,500 years ago, on the walls of the Temple at Luxor images were painted of the Annunciation, Immaculate Conception, Birth and Adoration of Horus. Thoth tells Isis that the Holy Ghost, Kneph, will impregnate her and she will give birth to Horus who will be visited by three kings bearing gifts.


Another version of the story influenced Christianity because of its proximity to Rome: that of Mithras. This was the god of the Empire – the religion of the military. It explains why the church had a ready hierarchy of bishops, priests and deacons, a liturgy, hymns and ready places of worship established in various places throughout the known world. St Paul even quotes from Mithraic texts: “They drink from that spiritual rock and that rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4) – in the original that rock was Mithras. Paul’s home was a site of Mithraic worship. The Mithraic Pope was known as Papa and Pontimus Maximus.




Dionysius with his mother:



Krishna and Mother:




The worship of the virgin Mother was popular throughout the Roman world and it was Isis that held centre stage: many of the epithets used to describe her were adopted by the early Church: “Queen of Heaven”, “Our Lady”, “Star of the Sea” and “Mother of God”.


Conclusion


The Christian story of the birth of Jesus is not original and Jesus Christ is a mythical figure based on the various Godmen and Saviours that populated the ancient world. The stories are so similar that coincidence has to be ruled out. The truth has been hidden from ‘the faithful’ of the Christian church for over a millennium. Christianity has ‘got away with it’ for 2000 years because of the manner in which Christianity exerted its influence following the Council of Nicea in 325. Up to that point the Christians had been Gnostics and knew not to take their story literally: it was a tale that contained hidden meanings designed to convey the Mysteries of the spiritual life and world.


From 325 the literalists held sway, holding that their Christ really had walked on the earth and really had died and ascended into Heaven. From 325 the Roman church, now the official religion of the Empire destroyed all evidence of the earlier Gnostic version and simultaneously erased as much of the rival mystery religions, their priests and people, their writings and buildings as they possibly could. Thereafter Christianity was spread by the sword and maintained by the sword, by torture and cessation of education in the sciences and the arts for which Alexandria and Greece had been famous. Pope Leo X said, 'It has served us well, this myth of Christ' for the Church held the monopoly on spiritual lives, learning and men's souls. The Dark Ages began in 325 and continued until the Renaissance when the Church began to lose its hold on the masses and men and women became enlightened once again.


Next

Where did these ancient cults get their ideas from? Why are the stories so similar? Why are the dates of the birth and the death of the godmen at the same times of the year? This will be the subject of the next Blog and will involve a certain amount of star gazing. Until then, seasons greetings and Peace to all on Earth.

38 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Go Go Go

Regular weekly shares at Orchard Cottage. New Reiki 1 and Reiki 2 Courses. Another Childrens Reiki Workshop with attunements Another Half Day Retreat. Mindfulness course well under way. Our first Budd

What Is Normal?

Almost a year ago (when we were still Stourport Meditation Group and Stourport Reiki Healing Circle) I suggested that the Coronavirus epidemic was creating a seismic change to the way that society vie

Comments


bottom of page