Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Levelling the Playing Field -- #4 -- Xerox deity

His disciples gathered in the middle of the winter, on the darkest day of the year, on December 25th, to celebrate the birth of the Son of G-d. Their deity had been sent to earth in human form to die for the sins of mankind and to redeem the world. He was known as "Savior," "Son of God," "Redeemer," and "Lamb of God." His followers ate a sacred meal of wine and bread, which symbolized his flesh and blood, celebrating the arrival into the world of this saviour-god in a cave, born of a virgin mother. The priests, clad in white, lit candles and sang his praises. They told his faithful how the saviour had travelled far and wide with his 12 disciples as a teacher and illuminator of men. He was buried in a cave and rose from the dead. The walls of his temple were inscribed with the words: "And thou hast saved us by shedding the eternal blood." The divinity? Mithras.

Christianity can hardly call itself original. In fact, it is but another pagan faith. As Christianity developped, it incorporated many of the pagan myths of the surrounding peoples. Many aspects of Jesus' life appear to have been preceded in pagan mythologies of their own gods. The Mediterranean, in the time of early Christianity, was full of diverse creeds and beliefs. Roughly speaking the ancients' gods:

- Were born on or very near our Christmas Day
- Were born of a Virgin-Mother
- Were born in a Cave or Underground Chamber
- Led a life of toil for Mankind
- Were called by the names of Light-bringer, Healer, Mediator, Savior, Deliverer
- Were however vanquished by the Powers of Darkness
- And descended into Hell or the Underworld
- Rose again from the dead, and became the pioneers of mankind to the Heavenly world
- Founded Communions of Saints, and Churches into which disciples were received by Baptism
- Were commemorated by Eucharistic meals

Christianity's legends were so similar to that of other pagan saviour-gods that Christian apologist Justin Martyr (1 Apologia, 66, 4) denounced the devils for sending a divinity like Jesus- yet preceding him. When Christianity was new and just beginning to spread its "Good Word", Mithraism was already an ancient faith. Originating in Persia, Mithras was worshipped as G-d's Messenger of Truth and long revered in by Zoroastrians and Hindus. His cult eventually spread to Rome where it was destroyed by fanatical Christians.

Another god that died and was resurrected to redeem humanity was Attis, a pagan godman originating in ancient Turkey. Attis was born of the Virgin Nana on December 25th. He was both the Father and the Divine Son. Attis' worshipers at a sacramental meal of bread and wine. The wine represented the God's blood; the bread became the body of the savoir. They were baptized in this way: a bull was placed over a grating, the devotee stood under the grating. The bull was stabbed with a consecrated spear. "It's hot reeking blood poured in torrents through the apertures and was received with devout eagerness by the worshiper...who had been born again to eternal life and had washed away his sins in the blood of the bull." Attis's adherents, who received eternal life and remission of sin for his sacrifice, called him the "Good Sheppard," the "Most High God," the "Only Begotten Son" and "Savior." Pagans and Christians had frequent disputes as to the overlaps of their two saviour-deities. The Pagans argued that their god had come first and was therefore the original. The Christians admitted that Jesus came after but that Attis was a Satanic immitation.

Long before any Roman king supposedly plotted to do away with any messianic upstarts, the god-king Osiris had been betrayed and murdered by his cruel brother Seth. The Discovery of Osiris [Inventio Osiridis] was the great autumn festival of the religion. It celebrated the death of the God on October 28th, and His resurrection on November 3rd. On the first day of the festival the faithful, dressed in black, chanted laments, beat their breasts and cried out with grief as they joined Isis (the wife of Osiris) in mourning the death of the G-d. His followers took comfort in the fact that Osiris' sacrifice allowed his to ascend to heaven where he would judge the dead. "The keys of hell and the guarantee of salvation were in the hands of the goddess, and the initiation ceremony itself a kind of voluntary death and salvation through divine grace." [Apuleius, Metamorphosis, Book 11, 21] "Be of good cheer, O initiates, for the god is saved, and we shall have salvation for our woes." [Firmicus Maternus, The Error of Pagan Religions, 22.1]


While the individual details of each deity differ, the basic concept is the same. A god consorts with a mortal woman who bears a demigod. This demigod attracts to him many followers and spreads the good news and truth throughout the land. At a certain point, this god is either killed or betrayed, and dies for the sins of the world. His followers bury him and yet they find his tomb empty, symbolizing his triumph over death. This event is commemorated every year and he is worshipped in mystery cults and rituals. The same goes for Christianity. The heretical Jews who began the Christian offshoot could not fathom G-d as Infinite and Completely Beyond the World. They decided to create G-d in their own image and instead of placing Him, Unknowable, in heaven, He took the form of a human being and descended to earth. When they shared this idea with the pagans, they quickly accepted it as it was familiar to them. All of their gods had human forms. Krishna was born of the virgin Devaki; the Savior Dionysus was born of the virgin Semele. Buddha too was born of a virgin, as were the Egyptian Horus and Osiris. The old Teutonic goddess Hertha was a virgin impregnated by the heavenly Spirit and bore a son. Scandinavian Frigga was impregnated by the All-Father Odin and bore Balder, the healer and savior of mankind.

Christianity is both a good and original faith--- except everything good about it is plagiarized from Judaism and everything original is bad. Worship of Jesus is idolatry in that it reduces G-d to a human being, gives Him a form and places limits on the Limitless One.

23 comments:

Ralph said...

Levelling the Playing Field -- #4 -- Xerox deity

I read your post through and if I were qualified would award ten out of ten for scholarship and research. Much of what you have posted is, as far as I am aware, the truth. Especially your references to Mithras, of whom I have read, and the others that can probably be found through any Google search if you know where, and have the need, to begin.

After reading your post a number of thoughts came to mind, Deuteronomy 4 was one. The other, and it might seem strange to you, was the ‘Lulav’.

I am familiar with the ‘Lulav’, and what it represents, having been involved in it’s use on more than one previous occasion.
So, I looked again for the ‘Symbolism of the Four Species’ and found it at this reliable web address:-

http://www.ou.org/chagim/sukkot/aspects.htm

which tells us:-
"1. The "Etrog," the Citron, resembles in its shape, the heart, the driving force behind all our actions. The "Lulav," the Palm Branch, resembles the spine, which holds the body together and, without which, we would be unable to move. The "Hadasim," the Myrtle Branches, resemble, in their almond-shape, the eyes, with which we behold G-d's World. And the "Aravot," the Willow Branches, resemble the lips, with which we give expression to our thoughts and feelings.
By holding these four together, we show that a person should devote all of his-or- her strengths and capacities to the Service of Hashem.
2. The "Etrog" has both a pleasant taste and a pleasant aroma, symbolizing one who possesses both the blessings of KNOWLEDGE of Torah and of GOOD DEEDS. The "Lulav," the branch of a tree (the date palm) the fruit of which has good taste but no aroma, symbolizes the person who has Torah KNOWLEDGE but not good deeds. The "Hadas," the myrtle, which has pleasant aroma only, symbolizes the person who has GOOD DEEDS but not Torah. And the "Aravah," the willow branch, which has neither pleasant taste nor pleasant aroma, symbolizes the person who has neither Torah nor good deeds.
Holding these four in a tight bond represents the unity that is Hashem's goal for the Jewish People. The bond represents the conversion of a set of separate individuals into a People, which is far greater than any individual in both the Crown of Torah and the Crown of Good Deeds, and is far more deserving than any individual of the blessings of Hashem."

Then I compare with Deuteronomy:-
Deu 4:6 Observe therefore and do them; FOR THIS IS YOUR WISDOM AND YOUR UNDERSTANDING IN THE SIGHT OF THE PEOPLES,that, when they hear all these statutes, shall say: ’SURELY THIS GREAT NATION IS A WISE AND UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE.’
Deu 4:7 For what great nation is there, that hath G-d so nigh unto them, as the LORD our G-d is whensoever we call upon Him?
Deu 4:8 And what great nation is there, that hath statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? (source: e-Sword – Tanakh –JPS)

So I look back to your post and can equate it with the ‘Lulav’; plenty of “Knowledge”, libraries and the internet are replete with this commodity. "Good Deeds" – well, the ‘Sisters of Mercy’ are abundant with these but would have little use for a 'Lulav'.

However with both the ‘Lulav’, which is characterized above as:-
“Holding these four in a tight bond represents the unity that is Hashem's goal for the Jewish People. The bond represents the conversion of a set of separate individuals into a People, which is far greater than any individual in both the Crown of Torah and the Crown of Good Deeds, and is far more deserving than any individual of the blessings of Hashem.”

and your post, I find a singular lack of ‘Understanding’ and a practical void of ‘Wisdom’.
IMHO

גילוי said...

BK,

It is not proper to write "G-d" when referring to pagan deities, just god.

Ralph said...

Another thought that came to mind concerning the 'Lulav' and particularly the 'Etrog' was from:-
"Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceeding weak (or 'wicked') - who can know it?"
(source: e-Sword Tanakh-JPS)

Bar Kochba said...

Ralph, I'm not sure what your rant is supposed to mean. How do you respond to my charges of Christian plagiarism from pagan sources?

Papa Frank said...

BK -- the story of Jesus is the story of God. The story of God has been written on each and every heart since creation so that all know that things are not as they ought to be and we are in need of God. The idea that some are in tune enough to see this story even though they do not believe in God is no surprise.

Papa Frank said...

Even without the Torah the truth of God would come across loud and clear through His creation. We are all made in His image and even those who do not want to acknowledge Him are still His workmanship and bear the marks of their Maker. Is it any wonder that "fiction" bears some truth albeit twisted or bent?

Bar Kochba said...

Jason, your answer is the typical answer of Christian apologists. In other words, the pagan predecesors of Jesus were diabolical copies, or at best, pale imitations compared to the truth of Jesus. However, there is no reason to suggest that Jesus is truth whereas Mithras is false. Jesus might as well be a pale imitation of Attis. There is no real difference between Jesus and any of the other pagan saviour-gods.

Papa Frank said...

My answer is not given to show you that Jesus is God or that Jesus is the Messiah. it is given to teach you that the reason that there are so many similar accounts is that they are an echo of the truth of God as it has been written on all of our lives. This is why there are thousands of people who have never read the Torah and yet they create literature with some of the principles found in the Torah. The Torah is God's truth and the writing down of His story. Since this is the story that He has written on the hearts of men all men get some things right although they don't understand fully. Their truth is bent but part of what they believe will ring true.

Ralph said...

Bar Kochba
on July 2, 2008 12:22 PM, you said:-
"How do you respond to my charges of Christian plagiarism from pagan sources?"

Make that 'Roman' plagiarism and I'll be happy to respond. I know the message hasn't gotten across yet, but the Roman religion is NOT Christian.

Ralph said...

The Romans worship a false Christ. An imposter whom they claim was crucified on a Friday, hence the term 'Good Friday'.

Ralph said...

BK, in your post of Tuesday, July 1, 2008 you wrote:-
"His cult eventually spread to Rome where it was destroyed by fanatical Christians."

Would you allow me to rephrase that to say:-
"His cult eventually spread to Rome where it was later adopted by fanatical Romans, who called themselves Christians"

Rome was never the headquarters of the original Church of G-d.

Ralph said...

on July 2, 2008 12:51 AM I said:-
"I read your post through and if I were qualified would award ten out of ten for scholarship and research. Much of what you have posted is, as far as I am aware, the truth."

Does any of your research give any indication as to what day of the week the 'Sun god', Mithras, or any of the other pagan gods, died?

Ralph said...

Now here's an extract from an interesting 'topical' news item found today.

"By ETHAN BRONNER
Published: July 6, 2008
JERUSALEM — A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days."

Full article may be found here:-
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/06/world/middleeast/06stone.html?_r=1&hp.&oref=slogin

Bar Kochba said...

Ralph, the cult of Mithras extends into prehistory. We cannot be sure of any of the details of his mythology and they changed frequently. There are many differences in the stories of Mithras, Attis, Osiris and Jesus. The importance is on the shared concepts such as death, resurrection and salvation.

As for the stone tablet, Judea at the time had an enormous proliferation of religious sects. Think of the Sadducees, Essenes, Boethusians, etc.

Ralph said...

The point I was leading to is that the mythical figures you have described in your post are just that, myth. I think it possible that they may have existed in some form or another but there is no 'eye witness' proof of them to be found today.

Quite a different situation with Jesus of Nazareth. Even the Talmud admits to His existance and there is a multitude of copies of 'eye witness' accounts of His literal appearance to many people after His death. Accounts for which many were prepared to give their very lives. Also, the 'day' of His death can be determined from sources outside of the New Testament.
eg: "On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged."
(source: Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 43a)
Not so with Mithras and the others.

As noted elsewhere, 2 BILLION people, world wide, acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth. How many followers claim the name of Mithras today?
Perhaps Justin Martyr had a valid point.

With regard to the stone tablet, I simply introduced it as a topical point of interest as I found it on the day I made comment. To me it is still a matter of interest but with some suspicion. "Ink" that has weathered the storms on stone for 2 thousand years, hmmn. Engravings, maybe, but ink?

Bar Kochba said...

You are mistaken with regards to Jesus's historicity. There are no accounts from his life and the only ones come from Christian sources hundreds of years later. The Talmud does not speak of Jesus as Yeishu was placed hundreds of years before in the time of Alexander Yannai. Yeshu is an acronym for "May his name and memory be erased."

It is possible that Jesus existed in some form but his followers probably adapted traits typical of saviour demigods when preaching to pagans.

Ralph said...

Bar Kochba
on July 11, 2008 2:20 AM you said:-
"The Talmud does not speak of Jesus as Yeishu was placed hundreds of years before in the time of Alexander Yannai."

So, how do you know that? Does the Talmud have a 'date index'?
also:-
"Yeshu is an acronym for "May his name and memory be erased."

I was just recently made aware of that from another source. The rabbis surely must be credited with a 100% success rate as they have applied it to Jesus of Nazareth.
also:-
"It is possible that Jesus existed in some form..."

over 2 BILLION people worldwide, including many Jews, believe that he did and for that matter, still does.

Ralph said...

2 BILLION!
Maybe it's time you started to "incline after the majority",
according to the Talmud viz:-
"“Said R. Jeremiah: That the Torah had already been given at Mount Sinai; we pay no attention to a Heavenly Voice, because Thou hast long since written in the Torah at Mount Sinai, After the majority must one incline.5
(source: Babylonian Talmud ‘Baba Mezi'a 59b’ – under the editorship of RABBI DR I. EPSTEIN B.A., Ph.D., D. Lit.)”
LOL

Ralph said...

oops, I forgot. That only applies to the rabbis, who are in the minority.
Does that mean we should incline after the majority of the minority?
LOL!

Sorry BK. I think you know you can moderate me out at any time that suits your fancy.
However, if you do, such a step would deny the title of your Blog.

Bar Kochba said...

Ralph, the Talmud places the story of Yeshu in context. He is in the time of Alexander Yannai and not the Romans. Also, Yeshu was stoned and not crucified.

The majority view used to be that the earth was flat. Since millions of people believed it, it must have been true. Most people believe in Darwinism. Do you?

A priest once challenged a rabbi and said that the Torah says that one must follow the majority. Since Christianity is in the majority, the Jews must follow it. The rabbi replied that one must follow the majority only in the case of a doubt. As Jews however, we have no doubt as to the falsehood of Christianity.

Ralph said...

Bar Kochba
on July 14, 2008 9:11 AM you said:-
"A priest once challenged a rabbi and said that the Torah says that one must follow the majority. Since Christianity is in the majority, the Jews must follow it."

Now that's reminicent of my previous comment and I can assure you, I am not a priest. Are you a Rabbi?

You then went on to say:-
"The rabbi replied that one must follow the majority only in the case of a doubt. As Jews however, we have no doubt as to the falsehood of Christianity."

On the other hand, you do have doubt as to the validity of Chritianity. So, having doubt, aren't you then obliged to 'incline after the majority'?
LOL.

Ralph said...

On a more serious note, doubt is normally associated with acquittal yet you seem to be saying "If in doubt, incline after the majority," even if it means to do evil.

I try to maintain the maxim of "If in doubt, don't".

Ralph said...

BK
In the conclusion to your post you have said:-
"Worship of Jesus is idolatry in that it reduces G-d to a human being, gives Him a form and places limits on the Limitless One."

How can such be the case when Yeshua has been resurrected to life as a spirit being, King of Kings?
The Tanakh speaks of King David as coming king over a regathered Israel as in:-

"Eze 37:24 And My servant David shall be king over them, and they all shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in Mine ordinances, and observe My statutes, and do them."

"King over THEM" being the combined houses of both Israel and Judah as in:-
"Eze 37:19 say into them: Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his companions; and I will put them unto him together with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in My hand."
and

"Hos 3:5 afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall come trembling unto the LORD and to His goodness in the end of days."
(source: e-Sword Tanakh - JPS)

If the Almighty can resurrect King David to rule over 'all Israel' would it be such a hard task to have resurrected Yeshua to rule over all nations, including the nation of Israel and its king, David, and be the 'One Shepherd'?

Isn't it the philosophy of Judaism that the Rabbis messiah will be a human being and will be worthy of worship and to be unhesitatingly followed as to 'his' rule over Israel?

"Main Entry: 2worship
Function: verb
Inflected Form:-shiped or -shipped ; -shiping or -shipping
Date: 13th century
transitive senses
1 : to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power
2: to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion
intransitive senses : to perform or take part in worship or an act of worship
synonyms see REVERE
–worshiper or worshipper noun
(source: Merriam-Webster software dictionary)

In addition to that, don't the Rabbis believe that their messiah will be subject to them, and will 'incline after the majority'?