Christian Mythology

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Leonel JB

Christian Mythology

Post by Leonel JB » Mon May 08, 2006 2:28 am

The Pagan Origins Of Christian Mythology[credits]
by Brice C. Smith


The Judeo-Christian religions were founded in a region of the world where savior religions existed for thousands of years. Much of the symbolism and many of the stories in the Bible may be traced to earlier myths of the Persians, Egyptians, and other people from the near east. Under Constantine when the Roman Empire adopted Christianity the festivals and stories were further infused with the traditions of the earlier Roman pagan religion. Constantine himself worshipped both Jesus and the sun god Sol Invitus, the Romanized version of Mithra, until he died. It is, therefore, crucial to the proper understanding of the Bible to understand the influence that these ancient religions had on the early Jews and Christians when they were forming what was to become the Jeudo-Christian tradition.

Mithra
Among the religions that played large roles in influencing the types of religious beliefs of the ancient near east, Zoroastrianism was probably the must important. Zarathushtra is the Iranian word for Zoroaster who founded this religion in ancient Persia approximately 2000 BCE. In ancient Iranian mythology, Ahura Mazda was the lord of light and wisdom, originally an equal to Mithra the god of light and justice, was elevated to the supreme being by the prophet Zoroaster. The extent to which the writers of the Old and New Testaments were acquainted with the Persians is evident in the numerous references to the Medes and the Persians in the Bible. Mithraism, an off-shoot of Zoroastrianism, holds many striking parallels in symbolism and mythology to the latter Jewish and early Christian writings.

One very interesting addition to the Jewish mythology thought to have been taken from Mithraism is Satan himself. Up to the time of the exile, the source of both good and evil to the Israelites was God. After the exile from Egypt, the doctrine of Mithraism became widely know to the Israelites. Their writings then begin the claim that God is the one God of the universe and that he is a God of righteousness. They introduce the character of Satan to explain all of the evil in the world. It is probable that the earliest writings about Satan were actually modeled on the arch deity Angra Mainyu of Zoroastrianism. The elaborate angelology and demonology of the later Judaism, the idea of a divine judgment and a final resurrection, and a future life which may be definitely described all seem to have come at least partially from the mythology of Zoroastrianism. An interesting side note to be mentioned here is that it is commonly believed that the Magi who are described visiting Jesus at his birth were Zoroastrian priests.

The influence of Mithraism on Christian mythology is even more pronounced. Mithra, a character already ancient by the birth of Jesus, appears to be one of the models for the later mysticizing of Jesus and his ministry. It is apparent that as each of the gospels was written more and more mystery and magic was accredited to Jesus. It is these additions to the story, added many years after his death, that borrow heavily from the earlier religions already well established in the near east. The story and role of Mithra is very similar to that of Jesus. The Zoroastrian religion centered on the struggle of Order against Chaos, Light against Dark. In this battle the Sun-god was a powerful ally for the side of light. Mithra was the son of the Sun- god sent to Earth to aid in this battle against evil and to be the savior of the world.

The Mithraic festival in celebration of Mithra's birth was held on December 25, the recognized date of Jesus' birth. Long before Christmas was celebrated, December 25th in the Roman world was the Natalis Solis Invicti, the birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. This feast, which took place just after the winter solstice, was in honor of the Sun God Sol Invitus who was nothing more than the Roman adaptation of Mithra. Mithra was said to have been born in a cave or grotto where shepherds attended him and gave him gifts. This brings to mind much of the story of Jesus' birth in a stable. Mithra, like Jesus, is believed to have descended from heaven to earth, shared a last supper with twelve of this followers, and redeemed mankind from sin be shedding blood and rising from the dead. Mithraism postulates an apocalypse, a day of judgment, a resurrection of the flesh, and of a second coming of Mithra himself when he will finally defeat the principle of evil. The Mithraists even baptize their followers as Christians do, though they use bull's blood instead of water.

The similarities do not stop there. The symbol of Mithra was the setting and rising sun, which invoke images of Christ's death and resurrection. Both religions also included a sacrament of bread and wine derived from the last supper of their respective saviors. The influence of Mithraism on Christianity is even more pronounced in the symbolism and style of the later Gospels as well as in the language and dress of the early Christian leaders. The style of many Mithraic verses seem quite familiar to modern Christians. A typical verse used in a Mithraic service is "Be of good cheer, sacred band of Initiates, your God has risen from the dead. His pains and sufferings shall be your salvation." It is clear that many of the phrases used by Paul seem to draw heavily upon the terminology and style of the Mithraic religion. Another example of this borrowing of Mithraic symbolism is when Paul says "They drink from that spiritual rock and that rock is Christ" (I Cor. 10:4). Mithra was sometimes termed the god out of the rock and Mithraic services were often held in caves. In fact the Vatican hill in Rome that is sacred to Peter, the Christian rock, was already scared to Mithra. Many Mithraic artifacts have been found there. This should not be surprising when it is realized that Mithraism was introduced to the Roman empire around 70 BCE, over 350 years before Christianity was adopted as the official state religion, and that Tarsus, the home of Paul, was one of the chief centers of Mithra worship in the ancient world.

The liturgy of the Eucharist that John describes requires the converted to be born again. In John 3:3 Jesus states that "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." This concept of rebirth is again not unique to Christianity. It was in fact integral to the Mithraic religion for 2000 years before Jesus was born. In the Mithraic liturgy, it is stated that it is necessary "so that [the speaker] may gaze upon the immortal beginning with the immortal spirit that I may be born again in thought." Along with the concept of rebirth, the description of the Mithraic communion is nearly indistinguishable form the Christian accounts. The prayer said at a Mithraic communion is "He who will not eat of my body, nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved." This prayer may be compared to the Christian communion story in Luke 21:19 when Jesus breaks the bread and says "This is my body to be given up for you. This cup is the new covenant in my blood which will be shed for you." It is clear just how much influence the symbolism and terminology of Mithraism had on the earliest Christian writers. The other stylist influence that Mithraism had on Christianity is in the dress and trappings used during religious services.

The Mithraic Holy Father wore a red cap, garment, and ring and carried a shepherd's staff. The early Christian leaders adopted the Mithraic title of priest as well as their style of dress. Like the Mithraic priests, the Christian's became Father' despite Jesus' specific proscription of the acceptance of such a title. In Matthew 23:9 Jesus states that you should "call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven." The Mithraic priest wore robes which featured the sword (cross) of Mithra which are identical to the robes worn by Catholic priests to this day. The Mithraic bishops wore a mithra, or miter, as their badge of office which was also adopted by early Christian bishops. During a mass, Mithraists commemorated the ascension of the sun-god by eating a mizd, a sun shaped bun with the sword (cross) of Mithra. The mass and the communion wafer were likewise adapted to Christianity. The Roman Catholic mass wafer has maintained this sun shape for over a thousand years. No one would claim that the Judeo-Christian religious tradition is taken entirely from one source. As I will show, many similar adaptations were taken from Egypt, Rome, and other ancient civilizations, but it is clear that the Persian cult of Mithra was one of the most influential sources of mythology and symbolism to the ancient Israelites who wrote the Bible.

Egypt
Another important source that the early Christians drew from was the great civilization to the west, Egypt. Many of the pieces to the stories surrounding Jesus which differ from Mithraism may be found in the mythology of the Egyptians. Due to the vast differences in writing systems, the Egyptian religion did not have as strong an influence on the style of early Christian writings, but the influence of the characters and the magic associated with each is even more pronounced than it is for Mithraism.

The four most import figures in Egyptian mythology needed to understanding the Christian stories are Set, Isis, Osiris, and Horus. In earliest times, Set was the patron deity of Lower (Northern) Egypt, and represented the fierce storms of the desert whom the Lower Egyptians sought to appease. However, when Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt and ushered in the First Dynasty, Set became known as the evil enemy of Horus (Upper Egypt's dynastic god). In Egyptian religion Set, of Seth, came to stand for the forces of chaos and destruction, of energy misplaced. He was the opposer of light and the champion of darkness. Set was the principle of all which burns and consumes. In later periods, Set was identified with the Greek genie Typhon who had a serpents body. The snake is a symbol long associated with Set which undoubtedly influenced the use of the snake as the evil influence in the story of Adam and Eve. In the dynastic periods, when Osiris, Horus, and Isis were worshipped, followers of Set were persecuted and his priesthood was finally destroyed in the XXV dynasty. When the Hebrews emigrated from Egypt during the XIX dynasty, it is clear that they took with them the character of Set which was later used along with Angra Mainyu as the model for Satan. Even the word Satan was probably derived from the Egyptian hieroglyphic Set-hen, one of Set's formal titles.

The next major Egyptian character who had a large influence on the early Christians is Isis. Perhaps the most important goddess of all Egyptian mythology, Isis assumed, during the course of Egyptian history, the attributes and functions of virtually every other important goddess in the land. Her most important functions, however, were those of motherhood, marital devotion, healing the sick, and the working of magical spells and charms. She was the sister and wife of Osiris, sister of Set, and the mother of Horus the Child (Harpocrates). Isis was responsible for protecting Horus from Set during his infancy; for helping Osiris to return to life; and for assisting her husband to rule in the land of the Dead. Isis figures strongly in the rites and symbolism associated with Mary. She was considered to be the mother of the king who is thought to be a God made man to rule over his earthy kingdom. The cult of Isis was widespread in Egypt and spread from there to Phoenicia, Syria and Palestine; to Asia Minor; to Cyprus, Rhodes, Crete, Samos and other islands in the Aegean; to many parts of mainland Greece - Corinth, Argos and Thessaly amongst them; to Malta and Sicily; and, finally, to Rome. In the first century BC, Isis was perhaps the most popular goddess in Rome, from which her cult spread to the furthest limits of the Roman Empire, including Britain: her only rival was Mithras. An interesting side note to this is that the 'Black Virgins', so highly reverenced in certain French cathedrals have been shown to be in fact basalt figures of Isis. Many of the parallels between Isis and Mary also figure in the parallel between Horus, her son, and Jesus. Obviously the most important similarity is that Isis was said to be a virgin when she gave birth to Horus. This is, of course, to be compared to the biblical story of the immaculate conception. As well as similarities between their stories and their functions, there are several similarities in the types of symbols and language surrounding Isis and Mary. Isis is constantly referred to as the honored one or as the holy one. She is referred to with language like "Immaculate is our Lady Isis" which is nearly identical to the language used about Mary. Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, openly embraced Isis and simply anthropomorphized her into Mary.

Osiris was the god of the dead, and the god of the resurrection into eternal life; ruler, protector, and judge of the deceased. Osiris was the brother of Set and Isis, who was also his wife by whom he fathered Horus. Osiris ruled the world of men in the beginning, after Ra had abandoned the world to rule the skies, but he was murdered by his brother Set. Through the magic of Isis, he was made to live again. By Dynasty XVIII, Osiris was probably the most widely worshipped god in Egypt. Reliefs of Roman emperors, conquerors of Egypt, dressed in the traditional garb of the Pharaohs, making offerings to him in the temples exist to this day. His death was avenged by his son Horus, who defeated Set, castrated him, and cast him out into the Sahara. Horus then became the divine prototype of the Pharaoh. As Heru-Ur, "Horus the Elder", he was the patron deity of Upper (Southern) Egypt. Initially he was viewed as the twin brother of Set (the patron of Lower Egypt), but he became the conqueror of Set around 3100 BCE when Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt and formed the unified kingdom of Egypt.

There are many striking similarities between the stories surrounding Osiris and Horus and those surrounding Jesus. I will first describe the similarities between their stories and then I will talk about the similar themes and imagery used in the stories. Horus was born to the virgin Isis as Jesus was to Mary. Horus was born in Annu, the place of bread, where a star announced his birth. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the house of bread, with an eastern star leading the Magi to his birthplace. Horus was baptized with water by Anup the Baptizer at the age of thirty just as Jesus was baptized at thirty by John the Baptist. Horus had twelve followers known as Har-Khutti and Jesus had his twelve followers known as disciples. Horus was carried off by Set to the summit of Mount Hetep where they did battle. Jesus was carried off by Satan to the Mount where Jesus was tested by Satan. After Horus' death he was wrapped in a mummy bandage that was woven without seam just like the vesture of Christ is without a seam. And finally there was That-Aan who bore witness to the word of Ra and to the testimony of Horus just as John bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus. The stories of Osiris also shows many similarities to Jesus. Osiris was considered to be the bringer of enlightenment. He forced no man to carry out his will. He induced them to practice what he preached by means of gentle persuasion. His lessons were often imparted to his listeners through hymns or songs. Much of this may be seen in the later writings about the ministry of Jesus.

Of course, the most important similarity between the stories of Osiris and Jesus is their death and resurrection. Osiris was killed by his brother Set, his body stripped, torn to pieces, and finally scattered about. In this way, the death of Osiris bears similarity to the death of Jesus when his body is stripped and his clothes were divvied up among the soldiers. Osiris was then resurrected with the aid of his wife/sister Isis and his son Horus and in doing so became the lord of death and the keeper of the afterlife. This is mirrored in the story of Jesus' resurrection and subsequent mastery over death. Each year Osiris was the subject of the Abydos passion play, a ritual that stretched from the Old Kingdom up until around 400 CE. The Abydos passion play depicts the slaying of Osiris and his followers by Set. The figure of Osiris is then torn to pieces by Set, after which his remains are gathered up by his wife, Isis, and son, Horus, who then restore him to life. This ritual is mirrored by modern day Christians during Easter when the death and resurrection of Jesus is reenacted in modern passion plays. Some of these stories about Horus are accredited to Osiris and vise versa, but what is clear is that much of the mystical aspects that were added to the later stories of Jesus' ministry drew heavily from the earlier Egyptian texts with which the writers were undoubtedly familiar.

Even more startling than the plot similarities are the symbolic similarities between the Egyptian and Christian stories. Horus was associated both with the lion and with the lamb as was Jesus. Horus was identified with the Tat or cross as well as with the shepherd's crook and the rod. This association was first made through Isis, his mother. In an ancient Egyptian text Isis states that "I am the staff of his power in his youth, and he is the rod of my old age." This association was strengthened by the pharaohs, who were called Kings of the Kingdom and The Great Shepherds of Their Flock. In the tradition of Horus, who was called "The Good Shepherd", the pharaohs carried the staff and rod as the symbols of their heavenly power . Jesus' association with the cross goes without saying but he was also portrayed as the Good Shepherd, and in Rev. 12:5 and 19:15 he is said to "rule with a rod of iron." There are also Old Testament associations between God and the shepherd's crook and the rod. In the Book of Psalms the famous line "Yea, though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy Rod and thy Staff, they comfort me" ( Psalms 23:4 ) points to the influence of the Egyptian traditions.

Horus was known as Iu-em-Hetep, he who comes in peace, Horus the avenger, and Horus the afflicted one. Latter Jesus would be called the bringer of peace, he who brings the sword, and the afflicted one. Horus was the sower and Set was the destroyer in the Harvest field. Horus was identified with the plant, the shoot, and the natzar. Jesus was the sower of good seed and Satan the sower of tares. Jesus was also associated with the "true vine".

The influence of astrology on the stories of Horus and then later on the story of Jesus goes far beyond the star that signaled both their births. Horus was known as the Morning Star or as he who gives the Morning Star to his followers just as Jesus was. Horus also spoke of the paradise of the pole star Am-Khemen just as Christians have the Holy City lighted by one luminary that is neither the Sun nor the Moon, which makes it most likely the pole star. Along with the symbolic comparisons, some of the sayings attributed to both deities also show the influence of the Egyptians on the early Christian chroniclers and to those who later translated the Bible. Horus says "It is I who traverse the heavens; I go around the Sekhet-Arru (the Elysian Fields); Eternity has been assigned to me without end. Lo! I am heir of endless time and my attribute is eternity". Striking a remarkably similar cord, Jesus later says "I am come down from Heaven. For this is the will of the Father that everyone who beholdeth the Son and believeth in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

Another similarity in speech is when Horus says that "I open the Tuat that I may drive away the darkness." Jesus is later quoted as saying "I am come a light unto the world."

One final example is when Horus says that "I am equipped with thy words O Ra (the father of heaven) and repeat them to those who are deprived of breath. These were the words of the father in heaven." Jesus speaks with much the same feeling when he says "The Father which sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say and what I should speak. Whatsoever I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."

Finally the most important similarity between the Egyptian religion and Christianity is the concept of a holy trinity. The tradition of the trinity goes back to the Amon theology of the Rameside period. The one god has three appearances or forms which are combined and treated as a singular being. In the later periods, the Egyptian trinity was taken to be Atum the Father, Horus the Son, and Ra the Holy Spirit. This is of course paralleled in the Christian trinity of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is clear that not only the Persian cult of Mithra, but also the ancient pagan religions of Egypt strongly influenced the formation of the Judeo- Christian religion which grew up trapped between these two giants.

Conclusions
With all of these comparisons and similarities, I have not intended to imply that the Bible is merely plagiarized from these earlier sources. Nor have I intended to prove the that the Bible is a work of fiction. What I have intended to show, and what is apparently clear, is that when the founders of the Christian faith set out to document the life and message of their founder, Jesus, they drew from the best sources of religious doctrine available.

Just as any other writer, the writers of the Bible were influenced by their own cultural biases and view points as well as by the religious figures they met. And as time went on and Christianity was adopted and spread throughout the Roman Empire and the rest of the world, it is not surprising that it was infused with the religious doctrine, symbolism, and mysticism of the cultures it encountered.

To show that these were not just isolated examples from two religions, here is a list of over thirty saviors who were said to have descended from heaven, taken the form of men, and furnished evidence of their divine origin by various miracles and marvelous works. Each laid the foundation for salvation, all were worshipped as Gods or sons of Gods, many were said to have been born to virgins, and many were also said to have been crucified. The list includes such figures as Chrishna of Hindostan, Budha Sakia of India, Salivahana of Bermuda, Zulis and Orus of Egypt, Odin of the Scandinavians, Crite of Chaldea, Baal and Taut of Phoenecia, Indra of Tibet, Bali of Afganistan, Jao of Nepal, Wittoba of the Bilingonese, Thammuz of Syria, Atys of Phrygia, Xamolxis of Thrace, Adad of Assyria, Deva Tat and Sammonocadam of Siam, Alcides of Thebes, Mikado of the Sintoos, Beddru of Japan, Hesus or Eros and Bremrillah of the Druids, Thor of the Gauls, Cadmus and Adonis of Greece, Hil and Feta of the Mandaites, Gentaut and Quexalcote of Mexico, Universal Monarch of the Sibyls, Ischy of the island of Formosa, Divine teacher of Plato, the Holy One of Xaca, Fohi and Tien of China, Ixion and Quirinus of Rome, Prometheus of Caucasus, Mohamud or Mahomet of Arabia. So, truly, the study of the Christian faith must be a study of world faiths. For if we ignore or dismiss the beliefs of others, even those of ancient civilizations, then we are missing an essential part of our own faith.





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Article by Brice C. Smith
elrond@MIT.EDU





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Gelin_

Re: Christian Mythology

Post by Gelin_ » Mon May 08, 2006 1:09 pm

[quote]...One very interesting addition to the Jewish mythology thought to have been taken from Mithraism is Satan himself. Up to the time of the exile, the source of both good and evil to the Israelites was God. After the exile from <u>Egypt</u>, the doctrine of Mithraism became widely know to the Israelites...[/quote]
This argument mentions the return from Babylon - not from Egypt. Another thing: religious jewish writtings BEFORE the exile not only warned about the upcoming exile, but also were precise about its duration in Babylon. The study of these writtings prompted some deportees (the prophet Daniel among them) to start making arrangements to return home when the period was fulfilled.

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon May 08, 2006 1:35 pm

Gel, I am glad that is the only thing you've found!!!
Why is Christianity using Myth from the Egyptians?
Did you know that?
Personally, I did not know until a couple of months ago.
Kidonk, Jezi te viv de mil ane anvan!! Ala de tray papa.
La sent vyEj Mari, pote'm sekou...
leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Mon May 08, 2006 1:57 pm

[quote]Gel, I am glad that is the only thing you've found!!![/quote]
Non bòs papa....:-) That's not the only one. But I guess what I pointed out is good enough to raise some doubt about the content and possible implication of what's in the text. And we could keep going....

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon May 08, 2006 2:10 pm

Gelin, Gelin, Gelin, we are talking about Mythology from Egypt, Greece elatriye.
This was called Mythology because our civilisation does not believe in it. But yet, there is a very big Similarity with Christ's story. Don't you think?
Is your faith shaken?
Remember, this was BC (Before Christ). Therefore, mwen pa bezwen di'w kilEs ki kopye...
Yo bare Toli lagonav, PawOl la'p pale.
By the way, go on Greek/Egyptian Mythology. You would find strories on Isis and all. Remember, Egypt was conquered by the Greeks. Therefore, some of the names are changed...
PLease, my Bro. let me know what is wrong with this story? Do not kill the Messenger!
leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Mon May 08, 2006 3:33 pm

[quote]...Is your faith shaken?[/quote]
leo my friend don't tickle me like that. Why would my faith be shaken? Because somebody wrote a text about similarities found between biblical christianity and greek/egyptian mythology. I already pointed out one inaccuracy regarding the return of the jews from exile...

There are some common points among all religions because religion in general attempts to answer deep questions and provide solutions (at least in theory) to some of life's biggest challenges. If I am not mistaken, papalegba (???) is seen as the creator of the universe in vodou theology.

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon May 08, 2006 4:20 pm

Komanman, mwen ba'w legen papa!
Rete, apa Gelin fE kOm si'l pa konprann.
M'pE'w. Se konsa'w move.
Guy, I need help with this guy!
Please go back, and read it once more.
I understand that rejecting Christianity would mean a lot of other things would need to be changed also.
For instance, our calendar.
Mwen bezwen Tayi kounye 'a, where are you?
leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Tue May 09, 2006 8:43 am

[quote]Komanman, mwen ba'w legen papa! Rete, apa Gelin fE kOm si'l pa konprann...[/quote]
leo monchè, men kijan bagay la ye...

[quote]...What I have intended to show, and what is apparently clear, is that when the founders of the Christian faith set out to document the life and message of their founder, Jesus, they drew from the best sources of religious doctrine available.[/quote]
False. The people who wrote the historical (!) books of the New Testament were all contemporaries of Jesus, living during the 1st century in and around palestine. Most of them had lived with Jesus and were his immediate deputies or disciples. They did not have to draw "from the best sources of religious doctrine available" in order to document the life of their religious leader. They lived with Jesus, ate with him, walked with him, and abandoned their whole life to follow him for over three years. They knew what they were writing/talking about.

One thing you could say is that the 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) have many references to the Jewish Bible or the Old Testament. In Matthew for example, these references were meant to point Jesus to the Jews as their long promised Messiah. But the events surroundings the life, ministry and teachings of Jesus would not be uncommon for his time.

[quote]I understand that rejecting Christianity would mean a lot of other things would need to be changed also. For instance, our calendar.[/quote]
Changing the calendar would affect cultural christianity but that would not affect the teachings of Jesus one bit. I have always made the difference between what Jesus taught and what has developed through time with his name on it...Jewish or Chinese christians may use their own calendar for example...

gelin

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Post by admin » Tue May 09, 2006 9:27 am

[quote]The people who wrote the historical (!) books of the New Testament were all contemporaries of Jesus, living during the 1st century in and around palestine. Most of them had lived with Jesus and were his immediate deputies or disciples. They did not have to draw "from the best sources of religious doctrine available" in order to document the life of their religious leader. They lived with Jesus, ate with him, walked with him, and abandoned their whole life to follow him for over three years.[/quote]
Most of what you refer to is contained within the books themselves, and you obviously believe that the writers were inspired by God, so there's probably a fundamental conflict between the skeptical inquiries you might have wanted to apply as a man steeped in scientific research and the obedient acceptance of the Word that your faith urges you submit to. Nothing new in that conflict, however, as it is fairly universal among believers. However, how strong is the historical record outside the books themselves on the statements that you made above, namely: 1) The people who wrote the historical (!) books of the New Testament were all contemporaries of Jesus, living during the 1st century in and around palestine. 2) Most of them had lived with Jesus and were his immediate deputies or disciples... They lived with Jesus, ate with him, walked with him, and abandoned their whole life to follow him for over three years.

I repeat: how strong is (or what is) the historical record outside the books themselves?

Once you have given me an answer, would you mind extending it to the books of the Old Testament too?

I am very curious about historical evidence, so I welcome your insights, as long as you don't tell me that History proves that Bouki was a contemporary of Malice, because you have read it in all the Bouki and Malice books.

I am not trying to be irreverent, I know you understand that. I just want to crystallize the historical approach that you have laid out here to see how genuine it really is.

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Tue May 09, 2006 1:36 pm

[quote]...I repeat: how strong is (or what is) the historical record outside the books themselves?...[/quote]
It's not strong but it exists.

This question (and other similar points) is based on the assumption that contemporary outside records should validate the accounts presented in the 4 gospels. I think it's not necessarily right, and here is why:

a) For one, we are dealing with what was seen as a religious sect (or minor branch) inside judaism that started to sprout in rural Israel a little over 2000 years ago. Who would care (apart from adpets) to investigate every single religious movement/deviation at that time and in that specific place. There were many. Outside sources started recognizing and mentioning followers of Jesus only after many of them began to be seen inside the big cities like Rome, Alexandria, Constantinople, Corinth...By then, the religious books that spell out the core of Jesus' teachings had already been writen by 1st century believers and followers - many of whom had actually lived with the man and died for their faith.

b) If we apply the same reasoning to the propher Mohamed, Bouddha, or Confucius for example, we are likely to conclude that they probably never existed. Why? For the same reasons I mentioned earlier. When these particular belief systems were being established, they started on a very small scale and with very little significance to "outsiders". It's only after they have become big and relevant that people started to investigate their foundation.

That's why most references to christianity outside the books of the New Testament are found later after the 1st century. But it's my opinion and leo could easily cry out for more help....:-)

gelin

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Post by admin » Tue May 09, 2006 10:14 pm

[quote]It's not strong but it exists. [/quote]
That's exactly what I thought. Your "historical" record is 99.9% faith-based. But faith is stronger than glue and often likes to masquerade as history or science. Hence your willingness to find fault with one thing or two the author says and hence dismiss the body of his thesis. On the other hand, none of the obvious contradictions in New or Old Testaments ever stands in the way of a believer's process of rationalization.

2 pwa, 2 mezi!

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Wed May 10, 2006 3:33 am

Gelin, I have absolutely no reason to dismiss anyone's beliefs or Faith. I have been born from Catholic Parents. I went to Catholic Schools. But, I never knew that I was using a Religion based on Mythologies.

I am pretty sure that my Mother wouldn't believe it either. I won't blame her! But, I am sure that she would have felt differently if she knew about it first hand.

I am not trying to show that I am right and you're wrong. Nope!

But, I believe everyone can reason at least. We are talking about Mythologies of other People some thousand years before Judaism or Christianism.

Now, we can be very selective by saying the Egyptians and Greeks believed in Myths. But, The Judeo-Christianists have the truth which is by the way had their sources from MYTHS. Do you agree or not?

I am convinced that everyone of us learned about Zeus etc from the Greek Mythologies. Do you think that they had some truth in them? Like the famous story of this guy who could bring down a building because HE had long hair (Samson).

I went to Morocco to this cave believed to be Hercules'cave. They can even show footprints of the mythical Giant.

But you and I know that this was Mythology or legend!

Why do you think that baby Jesus born from a Virgin and there was a Star on top of wherever to guide "les trois Rois Mages"?

If no one associated this to Religion, wouldn't you think that this was a Myth also???

Yo aplike sipEstisyon lE yo vle, nan gou Jezi! Yo itilize Jezi jan Yo vle'l! Se sa'k fE oun seri de moun kapab rele tEt yo "Born again". Yet, they can kill innocents elsewhere...

N.B. Gelin, lE mwen itilize "Yo", mwen pa mete'w non papa. Paske, tes péchés seront pardonnés! Tu es mon Mounpa.

Please, do more researches on Mythologies of different groups. We have our own also with Vodoo (that's for another thread soon).

Pa fache avE'm. Pa fache ak tEt nou, paske nou fE twOp tan nan manti. Men, fache ak moun ki pEfeksyone e itilize manti yo pou kenbe nou anba tab pou yo ka galonnen...

Je suis la verite (INRI)
leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Wed May 10, 2006 8:49 am

[quote][quote]It's not strong but it exists. [/quote]
That's exactly what I thought. Your "historical" record is 99.9% faith-based....2 pwa, 2 mezi![/quote]
I don't see it as 2 pwa 2 mezi because of the very nature of the documents themselves. Remember the gospel of Judas...? It has historical value AS a religious doucument written during a specific time and concerning a man many have talked about for the last 2000 years. In my opinion that's a good way to approach ANY religious writing put out by a group or sect that started out on a very small scale.

Religious writings can and have been used as "historical documents" also since they came into existence at some point in history. Don't get me wrong here. I don't see any way one can study the life and teachings of Confucius or Mohammed for example WITHOUT considering the original writtings that served to propagate their views. In that sense I would have no problem studying a text from Bookman (if there was one) even if NO OUTSIDE SOURCE exists that could validate it. One can disagree with the content of the teachings but the value of the texts itself is not something I would minimize.

The other side of the coin is that these documents often mention historical events or place that outside sources have also mentioned. And that can be seen as a plus - relatively speaking.

[quote]...I believe everyone can reason at least. We are talking about Mythologies of other People some thousand years before Judaism or Christianism...[/quote]
I agree with you and that's what we are trying here. I'll come back to some of the mythologies, today or later.

gelin

Gelin_

Re: Christian Mythology

Post by Gelin_ » Mon May 15, 2006 12:25 pm

[quote]...The extent to which the writers of the Old and New Testaments were acquainted with the Persians is evident in the numerous references to the Medes and the Persians in the Bible...[/quote]
One major problem with this view has to do with date. For example, there are many references to Satan in books of the old testament written prior to the persian encounter - like the book of Job. leo, read another view on this:

[quote]Resemblances Between Zoroastrianism and Judaism.</b>

The points of resemblance between Zoroastrianism and Judaism, and hence also between the former and Christianity, are many and striking. Ahuramazda, the supreme lord of Iran, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal, endowed with creative power, which he exercises especially through the medium of his Spenta Mainyu ("Holy Spirit"), and governing the universe through the instrumentality of angels and archangels, presents the nearest parallel to Yhwh that is found in antiquity. But Ormuzd's power is hampered by his adversary, Ahriman, whose dominion, however, like Satan's, shall be destroyed at the end of the world. Zoroastrianism and Judaism present a number of resemblances to each other in their general systems of angelology and demonology, points of similarity which have been especially emphasized by the Jewish rabbinical scholars Schorr and Kohut and the Christian theologian Stave.

There are striking parallels between the two faiths and Christianity in their eschatological teachings—the doctrines of a regenerate world, a perfect kingdom, the coming of a Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, and the life everlasting. Both Zoroastrianism and Judaism are revealed religions: in the one Ahuramazda imparts his revelation and pronounces his commandments to Zarathustra on "the Mountain of the Two Holy Communing Ones"; in the other Yhwh holds a similar communion with Moses on Sinai. The Magian laws of purification, moreover, more particularly those practised to remove pollution incurred through contact with dead or unclean matter, are given in the Avestan Vendidad quite as elaborately as in the Levitical code, with which the Zoroastrian book has been compared..

The two religions agree in certain respects with regard to their cosmological ideas. The six days of Creation in Genesis find a parallel in the six periods of Creation described in the Zoroastrian scriptures. Mankind, according to each religion, is descended from a single couple, and Mashya (man) and Mashyana are the Iranian Adam (man) and Eve. In the Bible a deluge destroys all people except a single righteous individual and his family; in the Avesta a winter depopulates the earth except in the Vara ("enclosure") of the blessed Yima. In each case the earth is peopled anew with the best two of every kind, and is afterward divided into three realms. The three sons of Yima's successor Thraetaona, named Erij (Avesta, "Airya"), Selm (Avesta, "Sairima"), and Tur (Avesta, "Tura"), are the inheritors in the Persian account; Shem, Ham, and Japheth, in the Semiticstory. Likenesses in minor matters, in certain details of ceremony and ritual, ideas of uncleanness, and the like, are to be noted, as well as parallels between Zoroaster and Moses as sacred lawgivers; and many of these resemblances are treated in the works referred to at the end of this article.

Causes of Analogies Uncertain</b>

It is difficult to account for these analogies. It is known, of course, as a historic fact that the Jews and the Persians came in contact with each other at an early period in antiquity and remained in more or less close relation throughout their history. Most scholars, Jewish as well as non-Jewish, are of the opinion that Judaism was strongly influenced by Zoroastrianism in views relating to angelology and demonology, and probably also in the doctrine of the resurrection, as well as in eschatological ideas in general, and also that the monotheistic conception of Yhwh may have been quickened and strengthened by being opposed to the dualism or quasi-monotheism of the Persians.

But, on the other hand, the late James Darmesteter advocated exactly the opposite view, maintaining that early Persian thought was strongly influenced by Jewish ideas. He insisted that the Avesta, as we have it, is of late origin and is much tinctured by foreign elements, especially those derived from Judaism, and also those taken from Neoplatonism through the writings of Philo Judæus. These views, put forward shortly before the French scholar's death in 1894, have been violently combated by specialists since that time, and can not be said to have met with decided favor on any side. At the present time it is impossible to settle the question; the truth lies probably somewhere between the radical extremes, and it is possible that when knowledge of the Assyrian and Babylonian religion is more precise in certain details, additional light may be thrown on the problem of the source of these analogies, and may show the likelihood of a common influence at work upon both the Persian and Jewish cults.

More: http://www.sullivan-county.com/z/zor6.htm#6 [/quote]

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon May 15, 2006 1:35 pm

Gelin, I would like to know, if you see any connection or similarities between the Egyptian/Greek mythologies with Christianities'truth? :D
Wasn't Jesus born from a Virgin on december 25th, etc etc?

Greek/Egyptian myths:[quote]Horus was known as the Morning Star or as he who gives the Morning Star to his followers just as Jesus was. Horus also spoke of the paradise of the pole star Am-Khemen just as Christians have the Holy City lighted by one luminary that is neither the Sun nor the Moon, which makes it most likely the pole star. Along with the symbolic comparisons, some of the sayings attributed to both deities also show the influence of the Egyptians on the early Christian chroniclers and to those who later translated the Bible. Horus says "It is I who traverse the heavens; I go around the Sekhet-Arru (the Elysian Fields); Eternity has been assigned to me without end. Lo! I am heir of endless time and my attribute is eternity". Striking a remarkably similar cord, Jesus later says "I am come down from Heaven. For this is the will of the Father that everyone who beholdeth the Son and believeth in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." [/quote]

Mezanmi, li byen wi.[quote]One final example is when Horus says that "I am equipped with thy words O Ra (the father of heaven) and repeat them to those who are deprived of breath. These were the words of the father in heaven." Jesus speaks with much the same feeling when he says "The Father which sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say and what I should speak. Whatsoever I speak, therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak. The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." [/quote]

Gelin mon frE, mwen te youn kwayan menm jan avE'w. MEn, bagay yo twO dwOl! Se pa de en manti non ki genyen. Pa ekzanp: The Lord God, the Omnipotent, the Merciful. The one who knows the Present the past and Future, created the Earth in six days. Then RESTED THE SEVENTH DAY! Why resting, GOD?

He made Man (Adam) ALONE! Then, was saddened by Adam's Loneliness. He took a couple of Ribs from the poor Man asleep (he didn't use anesthesia, I suppose, He finally used his Magical Power). He made Woman who was supposed to OBEY MAN. For, She decided to seduce Poor Man. And they committed the Biggest CRIME OF THE CENTURY. They ate a lousy apple. This, Mesdames et MESSIEURS, THE REASON GOD HAD TO SEND HIS FAVORITE SON JESUS TO SAVE US FROM THE ORIGINAL SIN.

Therefore, I will not go to Hell! Jesus saved US!

A la tray papa,

24 Desanb, met oun soulye gOch anba tEt ou pou'w jwenn kado TONTON NWEL...

If God took about six days to build the Earth, how long will it take him to build Universe, all the Planets?

No wonder He could not hear any prayer. He is busy building somewhere up there!

AMEN,
leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Mon May 15, 2006 2:34 pm

[quote]...Wasn't Jesus born from a Virgin on december 25th, etc etc?[/quote]
No date is given in Matthew-John for his birth. Rome pickep 12-25th for other reasons. There is NO evidence that 1st century Believers ever celebrated christmas, and it's not part of the original package.

[quote]...Gelin mon frE, mwen te younkwayan menm jan avE'w. MEn, bagay yo twO dwOl!...[/quote]
Se konsa menm wi bagay la ye wi, leo...toujou gen va-e-vyen nan kesyon lafwa a. Gen moun ki prale, gen lòt kap vini....elatriye. Pa ekzanp, gen yon filozòf/agnostik fransè ki te rele "Francis Schaeffer" ki vin gen lafwa apre li fin etidye menm liv sa yo nap pale la a...al voye je w la a: http://www.rationalpi.com/theshelter/

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Mon May 15, 2006 11:01 pm

Rome picked Dec 25th for other reasons???
KI fE, nEg yo pran sa yo vle. E yo ba nou'l kOm orijinal!!!
Gelin, mwen te konn fE defans tou lE mwen te konn jwe foutbOl. Kidonk, ti drib anretrE sa, pa'p pase.
Christianity can be and was arranged and rearranged to fit Rome's program!
Ma'p kenbe menm djaz la, MYTHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY...
One day, People will realize that they were duped by some Rich White Men who used Religion at their own advantages.
Malere ap priye. Pandan se tan, Aloufa ap konte lajan menm nan blakawout.
Malere ap di Bon Dye bon. Pandan se tan, Gran nEg wE bonte ak benefis non Bon Dye sa'a.
Li lE pou nou sispann pran nan Malatchong!
Isn't it true, Christianity took its birth from Egyptian Mythology?
I rest my case,
leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Tue May 16, 2006 7:50 am

[quote]Rome picked Dec 25th for other reasons??? KI fE, nEg yo pran sa yo vle. E yo ba nou'l kOm orijinal!!![/quote]
That's the way it goes....Even after the 'reformation' many protestant churches have kept some of the traditions introduced by Rome long ago.

[quote]Gelin, mwen te konn fE defans tou lE mwen te konn jwe foutbOl. Kidonk, ti drib anretrE sa, pa'p pase.[/quote]
Se ou menm kap eseye drible m.....fòk m fè defans....:-)

[quote]Christianity can be and was arranged and rearranged to fit Rome's program![/quote]
True. And I won't argue against it.

[quote]Ma'p kenbe menm djaz la, MYTHOLOGY, MYTHOLOGY...[/quote]
Your call...

[quote]One day, People will realize that they were duped by some Rich White Men who used Religion at their own advantages. Malere ap priye. Pandan se tan, Aloufa ap konte lajan menm nan blakawout. Malere ap di Bon Dye bon. Pandan se tan, Gran nEg wE bonte ak benefis non Bon Dye sa'a. Li lE pou nou sispann pran nan Malatchong! [/quote]
Many have done it and are still doing it today. Some reject all forms of religion, others reject just "christianity" - however different it can be from the original way of life established by Jesus in rural israel.

[quote]Isn't it true, Christianity took its birth from Egyptian Mythology?[/quote]
I can argue against that....

gelin

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Thu May 18, 2006 4:45 am

Gelin pap, mwen nan degonn ou.
You said that you can argue with Mythology in Christianity...
JwET pou ou, frEm. Ou konnen m'ap toujou la pou'm koute the Greatest Gelin. Whom I love very much so...
Mwen tounen Ti djo, ma'p kenbe menm djaz la, Ma'p di.
Mwen ta vle pale de jenesis a ak de Noe. Men, na'p rete nan kontEks mitoloji nan nouvo testaman an.
Jesus was born from VIrgin Mary! Three Wizards only knew about it by following the Star... They brought him gifts etc etc.
If I change the name and said, Gelin was born dans une pauvre etable...
Wouldn't you think that was fiction?
I know that you're afraid to admit that was a complete lie. But, believe me. I got your back, Gel!
Tes peches seront pardonnes!
leonel

Gelin_

Post by Gelin_ » Sat May 20, 2006 10:24 am

leo: semenn sa a nèg pran nan lyann. m ontijan okipe piplis e sa lakòz m ka pa reponn ou vit. men map tounen sou ou kanmen.

Annatandan men kijan m wèl: sou zafè relijyon, nenpòt moun ki kanpe deyò ka voye je yo anndan epi yo mouri ak ri paske yo pa fè pati de bann nan. se pa pou levanjil sèlman, men se konsa m wèl pou prèske tout aktivite ki mande lafwa. moun ki anndan yo panse se yon bagay serye yap regle e moun ki deyò yo panse ke se pèdi sak anndan yo ap pèdi tan yo. vwala maglwa...:-)

gelin

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