Why the Christ story is not a copycat of ancient religious myths by Rocket Kirchner

by Rocket Kirchner
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Dandelion Salad
Rocket Kirchner (blog)
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March 6, 2011


Image by Maia C via Flickr

Every time I hear someone say that the story of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is nothing more than recycled ideas from mystery religious cults and myths, it just reminds of me of that famous line by British playwright George Bernard Shaw, “People would rather die than think”. The standard line goes something like this, “Well, you do know that there really is nothing Jesus either said or did that is laid out in the gospels that cannot be found in the pagan mystery rites and stories of Mithras, Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, Osiris, and many many others.” To which I respond, “Oh, really?”

French scholar Andre Boulanger said, “The conception that the god dies and is resurrected in order to lead his faithful to eternal life is represented in no Hellenistic mystery religion”. Now, if Boulanger’s statement is historically accurate than why do most people today think and state the contrary? A) They just heard it somewhere as a pop culture catch-all phrase and don’t really study in-depth the ancient world. Or B) They are reading revisionist historians like Freke, Gandy, Harpur, Graves, and many others that blur the lines between the utter uniqueness of the Christ story with pagan religions. Many like to start with the Persian myth of Mithras, claiming virgin birth and sacrificial death. But legend tells us that Mithras was born out of a rock fully formed, and his sacrifice to the gods was not Himself but rather a bull. There is no virgin birth in the stories of Persus or Dionysus, Greek mythology is clear about that. So then, what about the story of Adonis’ resurrection many would ask. There is a lot of truth to that but along with the resurrections of Murduk and Attis, these are all post-dated some 150 to 350 years after Christ. And the word in Greek for Christ’s resurrection is not the same as the Greek word for the others. One was a literal bodily resurrection and the others were just resuscitations.

Now, a favorite to bring up in this area of discussion for many is the intriguing myth of Osiris. Here we have a clear cut resurrection, but he never gets up from underground. The Roman historian Plutarch writes about this 200 years after Christ. So, how could all of these myths that post-date the era of the Christian martyrs of the early church have any influence on them? The fact is, they didn’t. Those who are not thinking this through have their chronology all backwards. All today’s revisionists have are sweeping generalizations based on questionable evidence that could never stand up under the scrutiny of careful investigation. World renowned historian of religion Mircea Eliade in his three-volume definitive set on the history of religion from the pre-stone age until the late 20th century said,”There is no reason to suppose that primitive Christianity was influenced by the Hellenistic mysteries.” This does not account for the later post-Constantinian church 300 years later that incorporated some of the myths. Eliade was referring to the early church that died specifically for what they believed in full public view, the early first century text of the writings of the New Testament and the early Roman historians that wrote about them of the late first and early second centuries.

So, why is this so important to try and set the record straight on this comment misconception? Because it is just another excuse for people to not look seriously into the absolute uniqueness of the Christ story. It is just another excuse to punt the issue. But when all of the excuses have run out it will take honest intellectual and personal fortitude to embrace Christ as not just another fable, but rather to face Him and his claims head on. And it will take that to dispel self deception and the deception around us in order to get to the root of the problems that can bring the antidote to a sick world that is reeling out of control on the edge of vertigo.

References and more info at the links:




The Evidence for the Existence of Jesus

The Jewish Foundation of Christianity

Zeitgeist Refuted Final Cut

Exclusive: Blessed are the destitute, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven by Rocket Kirchner

New Age Christianity: The Crossless Gospel of Deception By Rocket Kirchner

The Crossing: The Event That Changed My Life by Rocket Kirchner


197 thoughts on “Why the Christ story is not a copycat of ancient religious myths by Rocket Kirchner

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  5. Hello David,Rocket and everyone,i just accidently ran into this thread again,if everyone is still around and have some input I am willing to join in again.Just email me at:josephosborne59[at]yahoo.com
    Jay Osborne

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  10. We need to take this much further Rocket,and I really appreciate Jay’s input recently.
    I’ve been watching the start of a fantastic new series on BBC4 tonight with Waldemar Januszczak do please check it out, the first episode is now available on iPlayer here http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00zbtmr/The_Dark_Ages_An_Age_of_Light_The_Clash_of_the_Gods/
    I really think you’ll enjoy this. Maybe if Jay reads this he’ll want to take a look as well.
    Brings a lot of complicated historical information into coherent perspective through the understanding of art as a sequential record of symbolic transitions.

    • I really don’t care about getting on your blog none of you are oin the subject nor does Rocket answer or try to refute what i sent,i really don’t know what yoiur purpose is.I appreciate David’s notes to me the rest of you are on a weird,seems to me silly theory.I recieve 8-10 sendings from you per day but none of it concerns what i sent or makes any sense whatsoever about whether christianity is a copycat religion.As far as Rocket is concerned i think he is a weirdo with the dumbest religious belief in his supposed Christ beliefs I HAVE EVER RAN INTO.I have had enough stop forwarding to me and GOODBYE.AS YOU CAN TELL I SAY WHAT I MEAN AND MEAN WHAT I SAY.

      • Jay, you can always unsubscribe from the email notifications like I’ve mentioned to you before.

        Please do not use name calling to anyone, the author or any who may comment here. It is not allowed on Dandelion Salad.

        Rocket replied to you today and has continued to be patient and civil in his responses to you. You have no right to call him names.

        Jay, have you even read the article that Rocket wrote before commenting? Rocket lays it out very clearly in the article.

        This article is not about proving Christianity, or the historical Jesus. It is only about the uniqueness of the story. You have yet to disprove it.

      • I’m sorry to see you leave Jay. You have a great book inside you. I think I’ll assemble all your online comments I can find on this topic, because I find your ideas helpful and thought provoking. What do you think of Jo Atwill’s Caesar’s Messiah thesis? He recently put out a film about the “Flavian Signature” that was screened in LA around a month or so ago.

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    • I am quite aware of how christian apologetics twist this writing by Justin Martyr but the fact is it shows christianity copied from paganism and the writer of this article that claims there is no proof christianity did the copying is incorreect.


      Justin Martyr – 100-165 AD

      One of the first christian historians and defenders wrote:

      “When we say that he, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was produced without sexual union, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven WE PROFOUND NOTHING DIFFERENT from what you believe regarding the sons of {the god} Jupiter.”

      In a different writing, Justin Martyr said:

      “He was born of a virgin, ACCEPT THIS IN COMMON with what you believe of [The god} Perseus.”

      Its obvious that Justin, and other early christians new how similar christianity was to the Pagen religions. However Justin had a solution. As far as he was concerned,the devil did it:

      “The DEVILS…Craftily feigned that Minerva was The Daughter of Jupiter not by sexual union.”

      The devil had the foresight to come before christ, and create his characteristics in the pagan world.

      FROM ME:

      It’s very easy to see Justin was forced to admit to Trypho the pagan that ancient pagan sun gods long before christianity were claimed to have virgin births,were crucified died and rose again and ascended to heaven,notice it says Jesus is no different from Jupiter(or Jove)and also Persusand Minerva,Justin’s only excuse was that the devil got there first not that the pagan sun gods copied from christianity.

      Jay Osborne

        • Do your own research,i can already tell you have not done anything but a biased research.Do you think you and i are the only ones reading these emails between us when you publish it on your own internet site publically.The Justin Martyr quote is all over the internet it’s in ancient writings which are open to the public.Maybe you need to get permission to quote scripture and the other ancient writings you sent me.
          P.S.You need to stick to the subject you posted that i answered or admit defeat,instead of blowing hot air and changing the subject.

        • You may be confusing me (the editor of the blog) with the author of this piece, Rocket Kirchner.

          I always ask for source(s) to quotes for copyright reasons. I do understand the ancient works are not copyrighted but the selection you copied and pasted was someone else’s work. It may not be copyrighted, I do not know nor do I have the time to run down your source.

          Rocket Kirchner will respond to your comment the next time he is on the Internet.

          For the record, no one sent you anything via email except a notice that someone has responded to your latest comment and that is sent by WordPress.com, not by me and not by the author.

      • Jay , thank you for your response. first off let us remember that Justin Martyr is just one Church Father . to counter balance that statement from the Didache i would recommend Tertullian’s famous statement, ” What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem ?”

        Tertullian’s statement is really based more in the historical narrative of the Acts of the Apostles as we have seen in ch 17 when St. Paul confronts the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers at Mars Hill, and their response was ”what is this new doctrine ?” or they used the words ”strange deities ” . in other words there is nothing in Paul’s preaching in anything that they recognized as corresponding to the pagan myths that they all grew up with .

        Had there been , they would have said something like this ” Paul , you are just restating in a different form ( insert various mythos of the time and before ) .

        This is why Paul starts off his famous preaching in Athens as this ”Men of Athens , i perceive that you are superstitious in all things”. ALL THINGS –is key here. Then he goes on to juxtapose their superstition with the message of Hebraic view of the Jewish Messiah Jesus , which is utterly unique.

        Ergo , the Patristic Age comes after the Apostolic with a far more ”elastic form of christian apologetics ”because it lacked the direct miracle power of the Apostolic that confronted the Pantheon head on with an utterly unique and uncompromising message. ..with the martyrs in the Roman arena’s as evidence to its uniqueness . For after all no one was being martyred for being in the cult of Isis, or any other form of religion .

        • Your email is barely staying on the subject that i responded to which is did christianity copy paganism.But let’s look a little at Paul since you want to throw him in.Paul wrote before the gospels,he would have been living at least when Jesus was supposedly crucifiedbut it’s pretty positive that he would have been born about the time your supposed Jesus was born,but yet Paul knows nothing about a virgin birth,nothing of Jesus miracles,his parables,the Sermon on the mount or any of Jesaus supposed sayings,all Paul knows is his claim of a spiritual vision on the road to Damascus.So it is impossible to claim that Paul would prove anything about christianity copying earlier paganism.Not only does Justin Martyr prove christianity copied paganism everything in christianity comes from paganism.
          Christmas comes from paganism long before christianity see Jer.10:2-5 for the heathen (sun god worship)keeping Christmas before the Roman Catholic church called it CHRISTS-MASS and adopted,copied,counterfeited it to Jesus.Easter(from Ishtar pronounced Easter)is from pagan sun god worship and see Ezek.8:14-16 for an Easter sunrise service before it was called Easter.Notice they faced the East(the rising sun)and worshipped the sun that’s exactly what christians do at an Easter sunrise service.By these two examples writen in your O.T.long before christianity and showing pagan sun god’s were first long before christianity.Christianity did not defeat paganism it merely became the new paganism.Easter,Christmas,Communion,Babtism,the Cross,Salvation,dying and resurrecting Savior sun gods and much more all came from pagan sun god worship.Christianity is not unique it’s a copy,adopted,counterfeited from paganism.It is silly for you and christianity to claim christianity did not copy off of paganism.Even your O.T.tells you that is a lie.Apologetics have learned to twist and lie and cover up ancient early church fathers writings and your own supposed Holy Bible.Your Bible is not inerrant,infallible or god inspired it is filled with easily proved contradictions,discrepancies and outright lies.There is a bunch of proof and evidence that christianity copied off of the ancient pagan sun gods.YouR O.T.& N.T.if you read it closely proves itself that the O.T.god is a sun god,read Ps.84:11 KJV where it says god is the sun.The N.T.says Jesus is “THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD”.What is the light of the world?Of course the sun is the light of the world.I would ask you to send me contemporary historical or philosiphical proof that Jesus the miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead Jesus ever walked this earth as a flesh and blood person.Yes,there were Jesus’es(people named Jesus)in the first century but i ask for proof of the miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead Jesus.
          In Real Truth
          Jay Osborne

        • Did you get permission from “The Divine Evidence”site to send this link to me?Their theory in proving a historical Jesus is worthless.First none of the claimed secular sources are contemporary with Jesus,second century writings would allow time for christianity to develop myths and legends about christianity.Second the mere mention of christians in ancient writings without the name Jesus attached means asbsolutely nothing,because we know Paul started christianity and he wrote about 50-60 A.D.so of course there were christians.See how apologetics twist and lie about ancient writings.Now let’s look into Tacitus the article claims it doesn’t look like any tamperings were done,really how ignorant.
          The earliest manuscript of Tacitus dates to the 11 th.century or 1000 years after he supposedly wrote it,what did someone copy this late manuscript off of?You have to have something from Tacitus dating to an original writen about 115 A.D. Also the paragraph states there were a vast amount of christians in Rome in 64 A.D.we know that’s a lie because there was not even a vast amount of christians in Jerusalem in 64 A.D.Also Tacitus writing in 115 A.D.would have known that Pilate was a prefect not a procurator but yet this paragraph claims Pilate a procurator.A prefect was a military official which Pilate was,a procurator at this time was a financial advisor,so of course the Tacitus passage is a much later interpolation and a lie.The article claims Suetonius mis-spelled Christus and wrote the word Chrestus of course this is another apologetic lie,Crestus was a common Greek name at that time and merely meant “Good”or good one,it was even used for slaves if he were a good slave.So more lies trying to connect Crestus with Christus.
          There are no surviving writings from Thallus what you have is a second hand claim that he mentioned an earthquake and sun darkening at the supposed crucifixtion,but Seneca lived all the way through Jesus supposed time and he tracked and wrote about earthquakes and sun eclipses but he knows nothing of either at the supposed crucifixtion time.Again Pliny mentioning christians could only mean Pauline christians because he does not mention Jesus.The Babylonian Talmud Jesus hung on a tree on Passover Eve was not the N.T.Jesus.First this Jesus was stoned,the N.T.Jesus was not,if you trace the Talmud Jesus back this magician type Jesus came out of Eygpt and was hung on a tree(doesn’t say crucified)about 100 years before the N.T.Jesus in 80 B.C.,This Jesus was Jesus Ben Pandera.So again apologetics are caught lying.Josephus did not write any of the Jesus paragraphs,those paragraphs were added(interpolated)by Eusebius about 350 A.D.who said of himself (quote)”I have added anything favorable to christianity and omitted anything unfavorable”(unquote).Origen says Josephus was not believing in Christ and Justin Martyr quoted a lot from Josephus in 150 A.D.and he never quotes the Jesus paragraphs even though his efforts to convert pagans would have required him to quote the Jesus paragraphs had they been in Josephus writings in 150 A.D.Josephus died a believing Jew never,ever would he have writen those paragraphs.
          The Jesus paragraphs also interupt the story flow in his writings showing those paragraphs were interpolated later.What the article says about Philo is also a lie.Philo was born about 10 B.C.AND DIED ABOUT 45 A.D.he lived all the way through Jesus supposed time,he wrote extensively about the Jewish religion and happenings in Galilee right during the time Jesus was supposedly doing all the miracles,But yet he knows absolutely nothing about a miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead Jesus.More apologetic lies about Philo.There is not one iota not one ounce of reliable proof that Jesus the miracle worker,crucified and resurrected from the dead ever walked this earth as a flesh and blood person.ZERO,NONE.So you guys may as well admit that all you have is biblical mind control,biblical brainwashing and pure blind faith.
          In Real Truth,
          Jay Osborne

        • Why would I need permission to post a link to a previous blog post on Dandelion Salad? It is Chris White’s video that I posted. He gave the link to the Divine Evidence website.

          And I will repeat, it would so much easier to read if you would put spaces between the sentences. Thanks for at least trying to put in paragraph breaks.

        • It would so much easier to read if you would put in some paragraph breaks and put spaces between the sentences. This is a very long comment for one paragraph and all the sentences run into each other.

          You may want to read some of the author’s previous comments on this post. At the end of the comment section you can click “older comments” to go back.

        • I can separate the paragraphs,but i have spent 20 years researching and investigating the Jesus tale,all apologetic claims are nearly the same so i have no reason to go back waste my time and read earlier comments.I await answers not your different grippings.

        • Jay , i dont play the christian apologetics game . i am with soren kierkegaard who said ”all christian apolegetics is blasphemy”.

          My article is not about proving or disproving the historical Jesus , be it in all three quests from Lessing to Swietzer to Crossan . My article is simply about the uniqueness of the gospel as proclaimed by the early martyrs that were viewed in plain site in the arenas for not putting their Savior in the Pantheon . Roman historian and Senator Tacitus who was studying rhetoric in Rome at the time was 17 and was an eye witness to the cruelty of Nero and the martyrdom of the early Jesus followers . He could not stand them both . But even he saw their movement as unique by stating that they were haters of mankind . He never called any other religion that.

          1. Osoris in the cult of Isis rose from the dead but never got from up from the underworld . the early christians claimed that Jesus was seen having risen from the underworld . that claim does not make it true , but makes it unique.

          2. Paul –got the right hand of fellowship from Peter ( book of Galatians ) ..therefore what Paul experienced Peter endorsed . Paul is a known quantity , and even Bart Erhman in his new book ” Forged ” admitted that there are at least 7 of Paul’s epistles that were not forged and Galatians is one of them .

          3. Baptism –not a pagan rite but rather came from the Essenes who had the same lifestyle as John the Baptist.

          4. Christmas from Paganism ?– another popular fallacy with no historical fact. The argument for the fallacy is the feast of Saturnalia. The argument against it is that The Roman Church used the darkest day of the year as a symbol to talk about the light coming into the world . also , you may want to go to Werner Keller ‘s work on Kepler ‘s theory of the star of Bethlehem and its ”conjunction of the 3 planets ” every 900 and something years , which brings us back to 6 B.C. Herod died in 4 B.C. so this would be about that Christ would have been born according to the story . again , the point is not to prove the story but its uniqueness .

          5. i never said that the bible was inerrant , or infallible so please don’t put words in my mouth . i am not a fundamentalist . when you speak to me you are dealing with a different kind of a christian than probably what you are used too .

          6. Sacrificial death motif — not unique in either paganism nor Judaism . but the Christ story makes it universal , anti-tribal and unconditional.

          7. please be specific –if you wish to counter my piece, you have to be specific about which gods and cults you think that the early church copied .

        • Cosidering what little i know about your beliefs which from what i have gathered so far is very,very different than anyone else i have contacted i will try and comment on only 2 things in this email and will answer the others you have sent in separate emails.Your #3 in this note i disagree with Babtism did come out of paganism but not for the remission of sins as the christian babtism claims.We can go into that however right now i’ll just leave it open for debate.

          And your #4 states “Christmas from paganism another popular fallacy”That is not so first read Jer.10:2-5 where it says “Learn not the way of the heathen”in other words paganism,this was the same custom the Roman Catholic church re-named CHRISTS-MASS and adopted,copied,.counterfeited it to the Jesus tale.What later was called Christmas had to do with the winter equinox and can be traced clear back to the Sumerians the earliest civilization leaving records.About the 21-22 of December ancient peoples noticed the sun seemed to die(shortest day of the year)_but by the 25th..of Dec,they could see the sun moving back north and see the days begin to get longer.So the eqinox(later Christmas) then also got attached to the Jesus tale.

          Jesus was supposedly in the grave 3 days and 3 nights just like the sun seems to die(Dec.22nd.) then resurrects on the 25th.so there is your 3 days and 3 nights of Jesus dying then resurrecting from the dead 3 days later on what’s now called Christmas.The sun also was claimed born again on Dec.25th.just like christians now claim they are born again.Jesus is nowhere in contemporary history or philosophy,even Philo born about 10 B.C.and dying about 45 A.D.Who lived all the way through Jesus supposed time and who wrote extensively about the Jewish religion and he wrote about happenings in Galilee right during Jesus supposed time of doing miracles but even he knows absolutely nothing about a miracle worker,crucified or resurrected from the dead Jesus.Yes Christmas(later called)comes straight out of pagan sun god worship.I know as christians know Jesus was not born on Dec.25th.the dead of winter because the shepherds were still in the fields but that did not stop christianity from adopting,copying,counterfeiting it to the Jesus tale,they did that to draw in the pagans to christianity.There is more to it than this but that pretty well answers your theory that Christmas did not come from paganism.
          In Real Truth,not malice,

      • Jay, understand your point of view very well,indeed I share some of your conclusions, but you would elicit more credibility if your comments were less hostile.
        I know this topic well, and am well aware of the complete works of D M Murdock aka Acharya S., Kenneth Humphreys, and others like G.A. Wells and more recently the intriguing work of Joe Atwill, to mention only a few of the more controversial protagonists. Interestingly, Acharya does not entirely support Atwill’s thesis.
        I’ve been hoeing this controversial and complex row for more than thirty years, and I’ve witnessed the enormous changes and developments in scholarship. Much of it is still apologist, and frankly worthless, but some is very astute.
        I jumped into this thread ages ago and had a go at Rocket, who I quickly discovered is a really sincere man, extremely patient,very polite and genuine in his beliefs.
        I still don’t agree with him, but I respect him and his right to express his understanding in whatever way he sees fit.
        My own view on the solar idea is that this is precisely what crucifixion represents, both symbolically and even literally. It is the Dionysian (or even Orphic) image of the true adept. It derives from the motif of the cosmic man, that I suspect is originally Persian. So I subscribe to the notion that the initiatic christ formula is gnostic, very ancient and also universal. Personally I also believe it is no longer of major value, since we have moved into a greater cosmos and have more knowledge than our predecessors. It does have authentic minor applicability however, insofar as it may be subsumed into a deeper universal experience that we can at present only aspire to.
        So yes, the future is indeed golden, as was the past for those with the wisdom and the courage to affirm it.

        • I have been looking into this for a little over 20 years,but before that i was a supposed christian for 32 years so i do know the Bible tales well also..I never meant to be hostile however i have writen hundreds of apologetics in the last 20 years and most of them come on strong and hostile believing only they could be correct and so i try to say what i mean and mean what i say.

          I see no reason to continue this conversation or debate any farther,beside that Word Press is filling my mail with junk all the time.So Goodbye and happy thinking.
          Jay Osborne

        • I’m sorry about the link to the source thing. Please don’t take it personally as I ask this of anyone who leaves long quotes/articles on my blog’s comment section.

          I don’t understand how WordPress.com is sending you “junk” email. If you clicked the box to receive notification (email) when there is a new comment to this post, you should only be receiving emails that you requested.

          Maybe you clicked the link to subscribe to all comments? That would mean that you would receive an email for any comment on any blog post. Certainly that would not be in your interest. There is a way to unsubscribe at the end of each and every email. So, please do that.

          The author of this piece will respond to your additional comments since he was last on here but he generally works weekends as he is a professional musician.

        • What Word Press does is everytime i send you an answer they send back a link to subscriibe to all comments,that’s the very same thing everytime i answer.Up till 10 years or so ago i also was a professional muscian,i played country music and cut a record in Nashville in 1978.

        • Hmm, are you coming on to the blog to make your comment or are you replying via email? If you come to the blog and make your comment, you shouldn’t receive any new email unless you check the box saying that you wish to receive notification of new comments. I’m sorry if that is confusing.

          Very cool that you are/were also a professional musician.

          Totally off-topic, but my favorite song by Rocket on his latest CD is on this blog post. https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/rocket-kirchner-hiding-in-america-live/ At the end of the post is a link to hear and download all of the latest songs for free via Soundclick.

        • i AM ANSWERING BY EMAIL,THANKS FOR THE SONG “HIDING IN AMERICA”I JUST LISTENED TO IT.Rocket and i may have music in common b ut we will disagree on religion,i read his article about running into 2 friends in St.Louis which evidently converted him.My expierence was the opposite i was in christrianity first then de-converted.When i retired from work with plenty of spare time i decided to put 1 Thess.5:21 to the test i inbvestigated and researched most days 8-10 hours per day and the Bible tales failed miserablly.

        • Glad you listened to the song.

          I’ve never used the reply by email, so good to know that it works. Sorry again about all the notifications via email.

          Thanks for reading The Crossing by Rocket. He’ll be here tomorrow to respond to your comments.

        • Thanks for the acknowledgement, I’d like to read more of your stuff ~ I managed to find a few of your comments at refuting-mithras-myth-parallelism-to-christianity. Ever considered writing a book?

        • David,that was a nice comment thank you.No i never had even thought of writing a book.I guess you read what i wrote on Prayson Daniel’s site on Word Press?I am also on King David’s site.And on a few more religious apologetic sites.Some i didn’t know they were going to post it.Thanks Again David.

        • I am sorry Jay to hear that you have run into some toxic Christianity . in America it is hard to avoid . if you are looking for signs and evidence you will never understand what the messianic kingdom ”within” is all about .

          in fact –the whole notion of the paradox of the God-Man as a concept is that The Reason that rejects The Paradox is ironically being judged by The Paradox as Kierkegaard points out in his book ”Philosophical Fragments”. why ? because The Reason is dependent on the Paradox itself to be critical of it .

          When Fuerbach wrote ”The Essence of Christianity” ( one of the best critiques on the subject ) , Kierkegaard came back by not seeking to refute him but by inverting his critique.

          Fuerbach states that all religion is anthropological and that Christianity is ”projection” , hence illusion .
          Kierkegaard says that because the Reason is dependent on the Paradox , therefore Fuerbach suffers and is a victim of an ”acoustical illusion ” as it reverberates back to him .

          The bottom line in all of this is that the whole point of the notion of the Paradox of the God-Man Christ is that is on purpose not provable , because to seek objective uncertainty would take away from aking Christ an object of faith . Hence ”no sign will be given to this generation ” as Christ states in Mark’s account . that is why christian apologetics is not only folly and futile but blasphemy.

        • correction –i meant to say ”to seek any objective certainty is to take away from Christ as object of faith ”.

        • The only thing in this note that i see that needs answerng is that the N.T.Christ never existed as a flesh and blood person.There is ZERO reliable evidence for him.Second century writings about Jesus are worthless this was well after Paul starting christianity and all kinds of legends,myths,fables and tales about him had plenty of time to grow.

        • Jay — Nashville –cool . i have gigged there , and been on TNN . a lot in common ..cool again . the only difference that we may have on religion is that i hate it more than you do , because it counterfeits my Savior . I have been a victim of ”Christophobia ” , being judged by secularists for my faith in Christ , and being judged by religious people for performing in bars and nightclubs for living .

          to the toxic false christian world in America , they can dismiss you as a typical non believer. but they hate me . why ? because i represent the Jesus that they profess .

        • Been there done that playing in bars and night clubs.I have been out of the music life for about 10 years,i just turned 75 years old,it’s time i kicked back and enjoyed the rest of my time here.

        • Jay , concerning your reply about Christmas on Dec 2 , we can find in De Paschae Computus written by Clement of Alexandria in 200 A.D. that he states the origin of Christmas and it is not pagan . If you have a problem with the first 2 centurys of Christianity , then i give you a reliable Church Father in the start of the 3rd century way before Pope Julius the first declared it a holiday .

          Also , if the gospel of Christ is a copycat of paganism then how come in the first 3 full centurys of Christianity the Christians were persecuted daily , while the goddess Isis , the goddess Demeter , and the Persian god Mythras were allowed to be worshiped openly and freely ?This has all been documented by 18th century Atheist scholar Edward Gibbon in his 7 volume set “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. http://creation.com/pagan-copycat-thesis-refuted

          check this link out above . Again i seek specific refutation in my article above .I am not seeking to prove that the Christ story is true , but that it is not and has never been based upon other myths .

          name me one myth or cult in the ancient world that even comes close. Hercules many say . but he was not proclaimed to be born of a virgin .

          Let us assume for discussion sake that Paul invented the whole thing . If he did then he is as Shakespearean scholar Harold Bloom said , a genius , because of its UNIQUENESS . its uniqueness is all i am saying , nothing more. the reason why claiming it to be unique bothers people is because then they cant just dismiss it as ”just a mishmash or composite story from paganism/Judaism . If one is convinced that it is unique , then it becomes a possible threat to ones lifestyle because then it can’t just be written off , and it might just be considered to be true after all.

          you may consider looking at this link in regards to the copycat thesis and how it is refuted.

        • First you forget to add the # 5 in your reply and say Christmas Dec.2.Then i would ask if you can not see the connection to Christmas in Jer.10:2-5 which perfectly shows a Christmas as it is celebrated now?Therefore it was custom celebrated by pagans long,long before christianity.And therefore was copied by christianity.Easter was also adopted,counterfeited into christianity,the word Easter is from the pagan sun god Ishtar(pronounced Easter)While you were playing music .Now read Ezek.8:14-16 and notice they worshipped Tammuz another ancient sun god the word Tammuz means “Sun of life,alsao notice they faced the sun to the East and worshipped the sun,this is nothing but what is now called an Easter Sunrise service which christianity counterfeited to the Jesus tale.So now i have sent you 2 statements from you own Bible that show christianity is a copycat religion who copied Christmas and Easter from paganism.

          While you were playing music i sent a copy paste about what Justin Martyr wrote here again i will not copy it but type it out.In his Dialogue with Trypho the pagan Jew he says (quote)When we say that he Christ,our teacher was produced without sexual union(virgin birth)was crucified and died,and rose again,and ascended to heaven “WE PROPOUND NOTHING DIFFERENT FROM WHAT YOU BELIEVE REGARDING THE SON’S OF GOD JUPITER(or Jove)(unquote).Apologetics like to twist this writing by early church father Justin Martyr,but what he admits is that he is telling about Christ nothing different than what was claimed by the sun god Jupiter and admitting Jupiter was first in being claimed he was born of a virgin,crucified,rose again and ascended to heaven.In another writing Justin says (quote)He was born of a virgin,accept this in common with what you believe of (the god)Perseus (unquote) And still in another place Justin says (quote)The Devils craftily feigned that Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter not by sexual union(unquote) so there you have an early church father naming 3 different sun gods that exactly the same claims made of them as claimed of Jesus Christ.It is not speculation that christianity copied off of paganism it’s in black and white above,it is foolish to claim that christianity did not copy,counterfeit from paganism.

          Christianity is not unique it did not defeat paganism it became the new paganism,every custom in it including the Popes attire came from paganism.All Justin could claim was the devils got there first and duplicated Christ before his time.Another thing is in Italy a Catholic church sits on top of a Mithra cavern on it’s walls writen before christianity was a Mithra writing celebrating and using the same words as used in the christian communion in 1 Cor.11:23-26,the exact same words,so there again is more prooif that christianity is a copycat from pagan sun god worship.Mithraism began in the Roman Empire about 80 B.C.OR 100 YEARS BEFORE CHRISTIANITY BEGAN.Yes christianity did not fully adopt Christmas until the the fourth century but it did so to draw in the pagans.Church father Ambrose(c339-397)described Christ as the true SUN not son.As far as christians persecuted daily and christian martyrs all you have is Roman Catholic traditional claims,claimed by the church for the church.The Tacitus paragraph about Pilate is an interpolation nearly all of it can be proved incorrect.

          There should be enough proof and evidence in this email to prove to any sane person not biblically mind controlled that christianity is a without a doubt a copycat religion.
          In Real Truth,

        • The link you sent has a lot of falsehoods in it,it’s worthless as reliable proof.It is kinda hard to prove christianity as a copcat religion without including the fact that there is no historical Jesus.They both work together.

        • Rocket forgive me for interpolating here, but I’d like more real clarity as much as the next person. My concern is that we may be confounding rite and writ and riddle. The so-called “pagan” cults, actually better to say classical mysteries, are/were understood or apprehended directly through experiential rites. The pauline gospel idea comes through as a story, a narrative, deploying Jewish typology. First we have Paul or whomever’s Damascus epiphany (of course it would have to be in Syria,) then we get gospel accounts that flesh out the pauline gnostic-jewish concept.
          OK, so arguably we may have an original interpretation of the cosmic divine man idea, from a Paul or Valentine or Simon Magus or possibly even the divine Apollonius, but it does not mean that this is literal history focused on one “saviour.” It is a gnostic typology lensed through jewish colloquial zealotry.
          I see no evidence of Nazareth existing back then, for example, only a sect of that root name as Acharya points out. Strikes me the originality is all in the presentation. How do you respond to Atwill’s thesis for example, that Acharya disagrees with? As for this persecution of alleged christians, I simply don’t buy it. That’s surely propaganda from wannabe bishops jumping on the new camel train, love that wavy-gravy all the way to the stars.
          I mean, after all, we still had Neoplatonists flourishing until Nicaea at least. These people were educated, but we don’t hear much from the those best informed & deeply learned mystics of Alexandria about a new rabbinic Serapis being the real deal ~ just had to say it…

        • David,getting messages from you and Rocket sending to me is very confusing.And i have to say both of you are bringing up writing and things i never heard of that don’t even approach the subject of whether christianity did or did not copy from paganism.All both of you are doing is confuse the subject.

        • Jay, I’ll mention this to you again. Neither David nor Rocket are sending you emails. The email notification comes from WordPress.com and it’s an automatic reminder to let you know that someone has commented on this blog post (thread).

          Please come to the blog post to make your replies, it will cause far less confusion on who you are responding to as you can click the “reply” button under whomever you want to reply to.

        • Jay I very much appreciate your response and can understand your exasperation. I should make myself perfectly clear. I do not subscribe to historicist dogma at all. I arrived at this realisation about 35 years ago, but am still struggling with the scholarly detail.
          I do have profound respect for Rocket’s deep sincerity as a seeker after authentic mystical truth, and have established a constructive relationship with him through Dandelion Salad.
          Essentially I agree with your position. However I should like to gain more contextual understanding of the nuances of the classical mystical legacy, so I really hope you continue to contribute your ideas here.
          If you scroll down the menu at the top left of the site, you will see a link to the Dandelion Salad Open Forum, that might be an appropriate place to develop this conversation.
          That “old man in the Edsel” has a lot more to contribute!

        • David,i didn’t dream you had heard of the old man in the Edsel,i signed that to J.P.Holding (Tektonics) probably 2-4 years ago after he called me an old man driving down the freeway in an Edsel looking for a place to get off at.J.P.Holding blocked me off his email.

        • Jay , responding to your dec 3 comments. just because Christianity has become something distorted and disfigured from its original uniqueness thru what became known as Christendom ..does not mean that when it arrived on the scene was not unique.

          Tacitus is the most credible of all Roman historians whether he was writing about Germania , the corruption of the Caesars or Christus and his followers. Josephus used interpolation on many topics , and did also concerning Jesus of Nazareth . There is no evidence that Tacitus did .

          Taking the Gospel accounts at face value there is no goddess , god, or myth that even resemble it . And you have not been able to come up with one .not one. in all my 40 years of studying the Ancient world i still cant find anything that compares , whether there was a historical Jesus or not . Uniqueness is not dependent whether he lived or not , but by comparisons and contrasts of ancient texts of various myths. The Christ story stands alone and unique.

        • Dave , just an aside not –with todays transhuman movement and the dangers of ”technological singularity ” as a counterfeit to Teliard de Chardin’s Omega point via Christogenesis , you want to reconsider the possible relevancy of the Orthodox Christic formula. I plan on writing a piece about this techno conflict verses the organic Christology and Soteriology of de Chardin soon . No doubt you are familiar with his work .

        • David , in regards to your recent comments: i would not call Voltaire , Hume, and Gibbon wannabee bishops . they all confirm the persecutions of the early Christians . Gibbons decline and fall goes so far as to blame them and the barbarians for the fall of Rome.

          have you read Elaine Pagels ”The Gnostic Paul”? it strikes a good balance here for this dialogue.

          also — Tacitus is not interpolation like Josephus is on this issue . the Christians were PERSECUTED. it is an historical fact. why did not the other cults that Jay says are so like it not persecuted? because the pure gospel was not a part of the synchronization of the Pantheon. The message was clear : we do not accept Caesar as the SON OF GOD , but rather Jesus as the Son OF GOD. what other cult said that ? none that i can find in all my 40 years of study on the subject.

        • iT LOOKS LIKE BOTH ROCKET AND DAVID ARE ARGUING WITH EACH OTHER AND NOT EVEN APPROACHING WHAT I AM SAYING.I will say David is correct the town of Nazareth did not even exist in the first century but that has to do with there not being a historical Jesus.Like i have told apologetics the easiest way to disprove whether any of it is true(copycat or Jesus)is to prove there never was a a historical flesh and blood Jesus,if there never was a flesh and blood Jesus it matters not who copied who.Christianity has waited 2000 years every generation having some nut case claiming Jesus would return in their lifetime(that includes Jesus and Paul)he hasn’t and he never will because Jesus is yet another SUN GOD developed by the Roman Empire and later the Roman Catholic church because the Roman Empire needed a state religion to better govern over the different nationalities it governed over who had many different sun god beliefs.

        • In response to Rocket claiming Tacitus is not an interpolation.Do you know the earliest manuscript claiming to be Tacitus writings dates to the 11th.century or 1000 years after he supposedly wrote it about 115 A.D.What did they copy off of to claim Tacitus wrote it.Also in the Tacitus paragraph it claims there were a vast amount of christians in Rome in 64 A.D.that’s a lie there was not even a vast amount of christians in Jerusalem in 64 A.D.

          Also Tacitus claims Pilate was a procurator if Tacitus wrote that about 115 A.D.he would have known Pilate was a prefect not a procurator.They did have some word changes about 44 A.D.but at the time of Jesus a prefect was a military official which is what Pilate was,,but at that time a procurator was a financial advisor.So considering all of the above the Tacitus claim was interpolated or lied about by some christian 1000 years later.It’s not worth consideration.

        • We may be running out of space on this thread. Good to hear from you as always Rocket. Thanks for the those sensible thoughts. I’ll think about all that, look into it more as I don’t want to be sophist. I shall source Tacitus.
          As for Pagels, I did not find her Gnostic Gospels enlightening, but will check out the Paul ref.
          De Chardin was immensely lionised in the late sixties. Frankly I think his Omega Point is just a metaphysical inversion of the atheistic Big Bang, a bit of a whimpering singularity in my estimation, McLuhan egged it & from thence we get Terence McKenna time-wave theory, 2012, Kurzweil etc. it keeps being resurrected, no pun intended. The Noosphere originated with Vladimir Vernadsky, a genius.
          Which reminds me: I wanted to mention V D Macchioro’s Orpheus to Paul. I found this fascinating. Do you know this work? It’s a rare book difficult to find,but I got a copy through an inter-library loan many years ago. I’d like to read it again as I think the real key to much lost gnostic/mystical context is in Orphism..

        • Jay, don’t want to lose you. Please stay around ~ perhaps through another comment thread if we run out of space here. This thread dates back to 2011. Your input is worthwhile and should be noted. Hope you get to read this.

        • David, there is unlimited space here to post comments. When there is no “reply” button under someone’s comment it is because the column is too narrow for any more responses. Just start a new comment, please if that happens. Thanks.

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  18. Your literal Apollonius-is-us “look alike” blue cowboy is a sacred illusion designed by four gnostic committees, 12 cuneiform Irishmen and a wannabe Qabalist, all very fine if you like that sort of thing, but ‘he-she,it’ won’t get you far across the desert. Forget the Aramaic bust-trust, vote for Joyce’s Wake.

    • David , i see nothing Gnostic in the synoptics. and does Joyces Wake or his Ulysius even compare to Homer’s Odyssey of the theme of ”getting home”, and then when he gets there he goes unrecognized?

      Thematically , Homer over Joyce on Ulysius is the closest you will get to the uniqueness of the Christ story . Not only because of what it means metaphorically , but the fact that we dont recognize him when he got there , even if his purloin letter is smack dab in front of our face.

      And if you are gonna try and find any correlations between the story of Apollonius and the Christ story , the burden of proof is on you to at least find any twin pairing between the 2. lots of luck on that one David .

      • Hey RK, I appreciate you responding. I was being provocative, hyperbolic and not a little facetious, but if you are really serious about this issue, I would encourage you to take a look at the work of the Canadian academic, the late Northrop Frye who was a great Blake scholar.

        There’s an old Irish joke, the short version runs something like this: Jesus was Irish (obviously) – he had 12 drinking mates, his mother thought he was God and he thought she was a virgin…need I say more?

        Something that did occur to me is the notion of course that the gospels, that is to say all 52 gospels that we are aware of, were written stories; surely that was something of an innovation – to invent a truly catholic fable? Most ordinary people understood and experienced their local born and resurrected deities through vernacular rites peculiar to their own cultural context. It was only the “telestai” (those who are aimed, or know like the gods) who understood the greater mysteries.

        Joyce’s great genius was arguably his literary empathy with the gods as authentic personifications of mankind’s higher aspirations and heroic identity, like the Chinese “superior man” or Greek daimon. Limiting one’s potential to one rather unconvincing rabbinic individual is a bit of a narrow view of our sacred individualised options in my opinion…

        • David , the narrow view that may be hanging you up actually is what Chesterton calls ”the freedom of limitation”, in regards to the gospel as he debated Shaw’s Fabian take on Neitzche ‘s unlimited Ubermensch.

          Stravinsky picks up Chesterton and runs with it in his famous ”Poetics of music ”. every composer knows that we are limited. One can just have an open mind for so long , because an open mind is like an open mouth , it eventually has to close on something . The Rabbinic individual in question here …even if taken as a composite character smacks of a universal archetype that is pregnant with Homer’s Ulysius more than Joyces. This is no disrespect to Joyce. i think ( and you may disagree ) that Bloom was right to put Homers in the Theocratic age of lit , and Joyces in the Chaotic age of lit.

          the Blakean narrative even as seen thru the works of Frye on Christ i never saw as coming up to snuff as to the Swedenborg/Blake dynamic .
          Blake knew that Christ was unique (both in experience and in study). So did Swedenborg.

          I do like your emphasis on innovation and catholicity though . Koester’s work ”Ancient Christian Gospels” ( 1991) is the best take on cross referencing the extant gospels both canonical and non canonical and stating that the zeitgeist in messianic Hellenized Judaism was the vicarious expiatory sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth , and that the emphasis should be placed on that and not the by product of that. Again , not proven to be true , but unique and not a copy cat mimeo graph of something pagan . after all , is it any wonder that the pagan philosophers in Athens called St. Paul’s gospel ”strange” , and ”new”. ?

        • Sorry I’m no fan of Chesterton and as for “Saint” Paul, frankly I think he’s an eponymous hybrid like Don Juan. If the author of that vision is fabricated, why should we slavishly bask in his sacrificial epic. On the other hand, if there was this Orphic original who had an authentic vision of the cosmic man crucified in a tree or whatever (read your GRS Meade), then good for him. Why should it have anything to do with anyone else? Mystical epiphany is not for the tabloids. Even Tim Leary didn’t tell people what to experience just to taste immortality. To be perfectly honest, I got more out of the Life of Brian than the Canonical “readers digest” version of the absolute and only truth of vicarious atonement. I think you’ll find you might get more mileage out of the life of John the Baptist and the Essenes once you get over your adolescent crush on the golden rabbi.

        • David , adolescent crush ? hahahah ! i like your attitude . i cant blame you for saying that . after all , you don’t know that i was converted 37 years ago , and that i am 57 years old. the crush ended a long time ago and hardened into concrete conviction . i am afraid that i am a lost cause to the world of unbelief. However , i do like the Essenes and the John the Baptist model of being what i call as a professional musician ”the opening act” .

          Saint Paul — if by ”hybrid ” you mean not historical , even Ehrman in his book ”Forged” conceded the fact that 7 letters in the new testament were authentically from Paul . Paul is as much of a known provable quantity as Philo and Seneca. As in regards to Chesterton …well he may just be too Elizabethan for your taste or too much of what Shaw called ”a colossal genius”, what Mr Mccabe called ”too frivolus”. either way , i like his father brown mysteries , and how he weaves theological truths into murder mysteries to make a point .

          concerning the Orphic , the Sacrifice , etc.. one must look at the era between the Testaments. A friend of mine here did his masters thesis on interstamental Lit and Mark 10:45 . all of this was ”in the air ”. for example –the 2nd and 4th book of Maccabees is very interesting in this regard. this has to do with the non violent Mac martyrs who saw themselves as the sacrifice for the Syrians taking over the Holy of holies and not allowing the Jews to sacrifice . This mentality of human sacrifice carried into the early Christian era. as we read the N.T. we see that the 2 differences was that Christ said he was gonna finish this thing once and for all , and that it was gonna be for everyone , not just his own tribe of Jews. wham ! Universalism thru the Bodhisattva ideal of Karmic sacrifice .

        • Apologies for not acknowledging your reply, in the midst of moving & restoration, without broadband this March – I shall pick this up in due course as I appreciate your civility and good humour.

  19. How refreshing to see a semi-intelligent discussion of the christ myth. I am so pleased! I am following the new translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls, http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah#3:7
    because they are the earliest actual written records of any length that we have today.

    The reason I am following this, and this post or blog or whatever the current term is, is that my grandfather was a person who did not work but instead spent his entire adult life going to shul daily and arguing with other devout Jews about each and every word in the Torah of the day–early 1900’s–and what the derivation, connotation, and denotation of each original (?) Hebrew word was and how that affected the meaning of its, wait for it, TRANSLATION into English.

    As a longtime teacher of literature, and a person who has translated passages from one language (French) to another (English), I am going to make a couple of comments here.

    The oral tradition of storytelling is the oldest form of human communication. Everyone told stories from the earliest days of man until, of course, today.

    The eventual recording of these stories, such as they existed when writing/symbols came about around 3500 years BC, reflect whatever version of the cultural myths existed at the time. Rocket’s comments on the various cultures of the various regions is key here. We all know from reading the excellent book, 1491, that native Americans existed in huge numbers in ALL the Americas and had for many centuries. Each tribe developed its own mythology, stories of creation, explanations of whatever they could not explain, and so forth. None of the various myths were identical, but some were similar as there are only so many ways to attempt to explain whatever it is we do not understand at any given time in history. Point is, locale, culture, and tribal history/myth played a major part in both the similarities and differences in the various tribal myths. This is key to understanding Rocket’s POV. I am reminded of the conversation between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black:
    “Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”

    The identical situation existed in the areas where earliest man lived, although given the Scandanavian populations, one does wonder about the various migration theories, but that is another topic. If the native Americans, from what is now called South America north to what we call the US today, each developed their own mythology and so forth, why would anyone doubt, and given the numerous sources Rocket and others provided, why should they, that each and every group or tribe or whatever you wish to call them, also developed both an oral and, eventually, a written tradition explaining everything they did not understand?

    Having studied literature for going on 50 years now, and having dealt with translations for as long, one understands that translations can be both academically and politically motivated, and of course, they ALWAYS are. It is inevitable that the translators champion a specific agenda, even if it is viewed as noble at the time. Thus, it is with great surprise that I read that the newest translations of the DSS, aided by computers of all things, basically support many of the original translations made hundreds of years ago. Now, there are many sects of Christianity today, and they all have their own special translations of the Bible that support their various points of view, hence proving the political slant of the documents in question.

    Also interesting are the DIFFERENCES between the various versions of the scrolls and what became the Hebrew bible around 100 AD or so. It is these DIFFERENCES I have been leading up to here. All of us have played the child’s game of telephone, I am sure. We know that oral histories are open to, shall we say, interpretation. Also, we all know the basic anecdotal version of the story of “eye witness” testimony in legal matters.

    So, Rocket and everyone here relying on texts from languages that are thousands of years old that are mostly no longer spoken—Sumarian?—that were derived from symbols created over 3000 years ago, mixed with various cultures, beliefs, physical locations–people living near the sea would obviously have more stories about gods of the sea than those living in the mountains, who would need stories about the gods of the trees, etc.—are simply relying on UNRELIABLE texts. Yes, there is some actual historical fact in some of these documents. Yes, some myths persist longer than others. But, NONE of it is true. Some of it is partially true, and some of it may actually be factual by accident or luck.

    Thankfully today, people can believe what they wish in most places on Earth, which is nice. Religion is a man-made artifice that has been used ever since people felt the need to explain what they could not explain or had the desire to be creative or to hold power over others. It has various origins, histories, myths, stories, etc. associated with it. Several of the major religions are prominent today—a tiny speck of time in universe time—but all of it is superstition and myth. All of it. There may well have been a Jewish man named Jesus who told people to be good to each other. So did Rufus in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure—”be excellent to each other”—but I don’t believe that any of these characters were divine, either. Regarding stories about this specific event or that one—well, I wasn’t there and, sorry, I won’t take your word for it. I don’t believe in magical talking snakes or women made from spare ribs, or poison apples—well, there is Sleeping Beauty-hmmm…—and I don’t believe that a group of stories passed down orally over thousands of years and then written down in ancient languages and translated many, many times over by individuals with agendas are any more factual than the “eye witness” testimony of the person on the stand who SAW Joe shoot Tom, even though Tom was 1000 miles away at the time and can prove it. Believe what you wish; I am pleased if it makes you a better person on this planet, but please, do not support the silliness that is organized religion. Do you really believe that your Jesus was all about giving millions of dollars to people to build a giant, ornate church and then buying the preacher a fancy car?

    • Rich — nice to read your response. most people as you can see from the responses just attack the messenger or don’t know enough about the Ancient world to engage in this manner of dialogue .

      I have made it clear over and over and over again that though i personally am a christian , that the Christ story as we know it was not a copycat of other mythos. that does not prove anything about the validity of the story as passed down in various texts , be they canonical or non canonical. it just proves that it is unique . it does not prove that it is true . in fact , it is so unique that a known quantity like Paul of Tarsus when he preached in Athens was met by Stoic and Epicurean philosophers with saying that he talking about strange deities . they were intrigued .

      Paul at Mars hill is really key here , because we know next to nothing about Jesus of Nazareth but a hell of a lot about Paul. Even the most ardent scholars , Jewish and Christian that love to deconstruct the Christ story admit that Paul was as much of a historical figure as Philo or Seneca. This begs the question : Why did some of the most educated Philosophers hearing Paul at the center of Hellenistic –pagan philosophy not recognize in his message anything about it at all in early pagan writings? they called it ”strange”. why didn’t they just say ”Paul , that is just the cult of Isis rehashed ?” well…because it was not . in that speech Paul talked about the resurrection of Jesus . this was strange and foreign to their ears.

      along with Martin Hengel’s little book called ”Crucifixion” , The Christ mythos stands out as being so totally other in its absurdity , and the fact that this rag tag group called Christians , another known quantity… would actually worship a crucified Jew with the same title as Caesar –SON OF GOD , was so offensive to the Roman historian Tacitus , that as much as he hated Nero , he was living in Rome studying rhetoric as teenager , he wrote later in life seeing that first hand account of this treason by those who worshiped a man condemned by the Empire , that they just discussed him . Everyone else , every myth , belief , religion joined the Pantheon but the Jews ( special dispensation ) and the early followers of Jesus . Unique in every way .

      thank you for your input.

      • Rocket,

        My pleasure! I did, of course, understand your oft-written point about the uniqueness of the Jesus story, and by definition, one unique story or more ARE clearly important when evaluating cultures. Today, unique novels and films are quite useful in bringing people to different points of view and putting a new twist on an idea that results in a creative story that enthralls listeners/viewers—I mention the recent Harry Potter phenomenon as a prime example of a tried-and-true concept taken to extraordinary heights in world culture. Personally, I am mesmerized by people who ARE creative; I suppose that this is true because I am not. I went to school for a very long time and studied lots of things–I spent 3.5 years as a chem major and was fortunate enough to work in an immunology lab that was run by a researcher from Australia who was seeking an antigen to combat organ transplant rejection. This was in the late 1960’s when transplants were new and exciting! Yet, I spent my career in both public and private education and 25 years in the computer industry teaching, writing, and managing technical projects.

        The uniqueness of the story and its persistence across several centuries certainly adds credence to the tale, and, as you point out, Jesus’ elevation to protagonist was, among other things, directly related to Paul’s PR effort regarding his life and works. Ogilvy could have possibly learned something there!

        The political climate of the time in the Empire would have, as you state in this post, caused much consternation over the Jesus story among government loyalists, just as such a tale today would cause an upheaval among citizens of any nation whose citizens suddenly began worshiping a person who was not only deemed a criminal by the government, but also publically executed! I can only imagine how that would go over today given the current state of OUR(USA) national discourse. In those days, government took more decisive actions when confronted with such situations, hence crucifixion as a way of managing the deviant population that was both public and cautionary to those who witnessed such acts. Of course, crucifixion was probably considered tame to those ancients who skinned and burnt or boiled or hung-out to dry (in public) those judged to be “deviating” from their current cultural norms. One totally understands Tacitus’ reaction to the perceived “strangeness” of the story. Why he and others did not connect the story to pagan myths may have been due to a lack of education on the part of the listening audience. As exists today, there are massive gaps in the educational process. People who are on the forefront of nanotechnology or biochemical research have little to speak about to those who do not have such esoteric educations and do not wish to hear about what these scientists are discovering or are totally ignorant (uninformed) regarding how such research may change their lives in the future. These people may be investment geniuses running large companies and be competent in similarly unique areas of life, but their interest in, say, the science examples above, is non-existent since it does nothing to put money in their pockets in the next minute, which is their total focus, of course.
        So, given the uniqueness of the tale, in some specific areas, I do understand its persistence across cultures and time, but personally I see it as simply another Harry Potter-type phenomenon since there is clearly no proof for the most important elements of the tale. That is, persistence and uniqueness may offer some support for longevity and pervasiveness, but, as the Matthew McConaughey character, Palmer Joss, posits to the Ellie Arroway character in what I believe is an excellent film, Contact:
        Palmer Joss: Our job was to select someone to speak for everybody. And I just couldn’t in good conscience vote for a person who doesn’t believe in God. Someone who honestly thinks the other ninety five percent of us suffer from some form of mass delusion.
        Thanks for continuing the conversation…

        • Rich , yeah .. right on . You being a literary man would understand where I am coming from when i say that i don’t approach texts to prove nor disprove , but rather to ask ”what is this writer REALLY trying to say ?” and how can it inspire me ? where are the nuances ?

          I view the Christ story the same way that Harold Bloom stresses the Ulysius theme in his book ”The Western Canon ”. It is all about the journey to get home , wherever that is for each writer . ..be it Homers Odyssey, The Gospel of Mark , Augustine’s Confessions , Dante’s Commedia , so on and so forth . in a word , i never waste my time on textual polemics. I believe in the New testament only because it inspires my personal transformation with Christ .

          It is interesting that i should mention Paul though . in the last 15 years there has been some serious Pauline revival in scholastic circles , mainly among Jews . Mark Nano’s ”The Mystery of Romans ” got Jewish book of the year award in 1997 . the whole book was on Paul’s letter to the Romans ! also among the ultra orthodox ”The repatriation of the heretic ” , and of course Segal’s work on Paul where he states that between Ezekiel and the Kabballa there is nothing so confessionally intelligent in Judaic writing that measures up to Paul …so ignoring Paul our history becomes ”ruptured”. Paul was no pagan peddler as had been told to many , but rather a man with a distinct Hebraic message. This , the pagan philosophers in Athens as i said viewed called ”strange ” , and another word they used was ”new teaching ” .

          The upshot of all of this is that as a professional musician and songwriter i love literature , and the Bible needs to be taught as Theocratic Literature , and has relevance as to the questions of what it means to be human in an age where the post Kafka and Beckett Chaotic Lit has not been able to answer this question . I cannot think of a more important question then what does it mean to actually be human ?

        • Rocket: finally catching up on this entire conversation ~ admittedly about a year on. I think Rich made some excellent points.
          You said in response to him (Feb 9th) ” I cannot think of a more important question then what does it mean to actually be human?” You’re cooking with gas all right!
          This is the question of questions. Why are we here ~ to what end?
          There is no doubt in my mind Paul is important. But who was this mysterious Paul and his alleged female companion, Thecla?
          We must assume they had at least heard of Plato unless of course they were uneducated.
          What about Gautama? Surely they would have been acquainted with the Buddha, also with the traditions of the Persian Gnostic Magi and their contemporary equivalent like Apollonius of Tyana, if Paul was a genuine mystic. Of course he might have been an “ordinary” profane individual who had a spontaneous vision of the sacred, like Mohammed, or possibly he was even a renegade initiate of some obscure messianic Judaic sect (cf Atwill’s thesis Caesar’s Messiah, Zealots etc)
          How do we determine this? All we have are certain writings. One of the finest collections of such ancient manuscripts is in the Chester Beatty archive in Dublin that includes many ancient NT fragments and also the most beautiful Arabic Qur’anic examples. That is where we can see the oldest papyrus manuscript of the writings of Paul dated around 200ce..
          As you say elsewhere, it is really about what it can inspire in you, not some literal “truth.” As Rich suggests also, that truth is always conditional and culturally embedded.
          So what should we make of the collection of ancient texts called the Dao De Jing ~ can we ever expect to understand them?
          What of the Egyptian Thoth, Hermes Trismegistos?
          The blue avatar Krishna? Or Moses? What if the Ark of the Covenant was the holy vessel of sacramental entheogenic mysteries Moses brought from the Garden of Eden, to which the Temple of Solomon was originally dedicated? Surely we would need to taste the tree of life to gain mastery of the tree of knowledge?
          These aren’t mere “pagan traditions” they are seminal dispensations that changed the world.
          For example, what we loosely define as Greek “pagan traditions” in my view are actually specific local examples of the spiritual expression of the current of Dionysos.
          Now everyone says that is all myth. What if he were actually the great missing link in the supreme chain of adeptship? The true “lost word” of freemasonry?
          Don’t you think we need to operate the symbols to understand them?

        • David , the Paul and Thecla thing is documented by Karen Armstrong . The way to understand Paul in my view is to go thru the intertestamental texts of Hellenic Judaism . Philo is important too. Paul went from being a real intelligent Hellenized Jew raised in Tarsus to being a Messianic Jew who believed that Jesus Messianic vision in mystical way was THE WAY .

          I don’t use ”myth”in the pejorative …but rather as a part of our psyche that needs it and by today’s hyper rationalism has been denied.

        • david , the socio-relgio text between the testaments as well as the non canonicals , pseudo-epigraphical writings help us get a view of the ”zietgiest” of the time and how this whole messianic Jesus mindset movement grew and thought . Paul was just the Harvard Professor type of the bunch. I mean who else could write such a masterpiece as the Book of Romans?

        • Rocket I’m going to try and post this here as a reply becausethe sequences are tricky to follow, even though it’s already a comment awaiting moderation back at the top again. It is essentially for your benefit. However if this doesn’t work or Lo has had enough for the time being, I’ll defer to the forum. This is the comment, amended
          We need to take this much further Rocket,and I really appreciate Jay’s input recently (I hope he does not abandon us, I’ve suggested the forum,and so did Lo)
          I’ve been watching the start of a fantastic new series on BBC4 tonight with Waldemar Januszczak ~ do please check it out, the first episode is now available on iPlayer here http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00zbtmr/The_Dark_Ages_An_Age_of_Light_The_Clash_of_the_Gods/
          I really think you’ll enjoy this.
          Maybe if Jay reads this too he’ll want to take a look as well.
          It brings a lot of complicated historical information into coherent perspective through the understanding of art as a sequential record of symbolic transitions.

  20. From Facebook, comment #2:

    “thanks for this article – I read it – but it does not persuade me much, however. Just because certain ideas were around after the death of jesus (if he existed at all!) does not say much. Early christianity was not much like today’s or even the christiantity of 300+ years after his death. Plus, during that time there were many christianities and ideas were not as centralised as they are today. I would be nice to read a more in depth researched article.”

    • Facebook 2 — the trouble with short articles is that they are short. i did not have much space to get into all of the detail on the subject. however i would recommend Eliade’s 3 volume set on relgion from the stone age to present. he leaves no stone unturned .

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