David R. Koch
Western Civ. 1
April 13th, 2009
The Truth Shall Set Us Free: The Myth of Christianity Exposed
Gandhi once said that “The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives." Virtually every religion imaginable is reliant upon speculation and opinion in place of biography and history. Martyrs and zealots have quickly sacrificed their own life, or the life of another, to defend a theory which can never be proven. Our account of Inquisitions, Crusades and the infamous Salem Witch Trials vividly illustrates the wreckage of our collective past. Closer examination of the history surrounding our modern culture reveals that our deceits have been distorted and manipulated for centuries. Contemporary Valentine’s Day, for example, has little to do with the narrative of numerous historical Roman saints who were martyred for their faith. Similarly, our tradition of Thanksgiving makes no mention of the innocent Native Americans slaughtered by our very “religious” Pilgrim founders. Christmas, easily the most recognizable American holiday, could also very well be our most extraneous. December 25th is a date which can be traced back to numerous other religions, pre-dating Christianity significantly, and yet it is widely accepted as the birth-date of Jesus Christ. Further research persuasively demonstrates that the majority of Christian facets are astrologically based and that Jesus was a permutation of earlier, non-historical religious deities.
Religion itself dates back as far as civilization has been recorded; in fact, part of what established the emergence of civilization during the Neolithic Age was a distinct religious structure where “the gods were deemed crucial to the community’s success” (Spielvogel, 5). In early Mesopotamia, the Sumerians formed a theocracy where the gods ruled the city and temples atop of ziggurats were the most renowned buildings. From Egyptian Pharaohs to Ashur in Assyria, Marduk in Babylonia to Zoroaster in Persia, each culture had its own tradition. Mystery religions soon emerged, such as the Egyptian cult of Isis, which eventually helped to originate Christianity. “All of the mystery religions were based on the same fundamental premises. Individuals could pursue a path to salvation and achieve eternal life by being initiated into a union with a savior god or goddess who had died and risen again” (Spielvogel, 109). Mystery religions and cults offered ordinary people the opportunity to justify their existence in this life while ensuring them salvation and immortality in the next. The Elusian cult associated with the Greek myth of Demeter, the Babylonian Astarte or the Syrian Atargatis, and notably Mithraism in Persia, all offered solace to the spiritually unfulfilled. “In the Roman world, Mithra came to be identified with the sun god and was known by his Roman title of the Unconquered Sun” (Spielvogel, 170). Ultimately, religions came to borrow from and build upon one another.
As Roman culture developed through the Greek civilization, Greek gods such as Hermes and Demeter would soon become Roman gods Mercury and Ceres. “Eventually, a complete amalgamation of Greek and Roman religion occurred, giving the Romans and the Greeks essentially the same ‘Greco-Roman’ religion” (Spielvogel, 127). Although Christianity grew slowly, it was eventually able to attract substantial followers. The Christian promise of eternal life and salvation seemed appealing to Romans who suffered daily injustice. “Second, Christianity was not entirely unfamiliar. It could be viewed as simply another eastern mystery religion, offering immortality as the result of the sacrificial death of a savior-god” (Spielvogel, 175). Christianity formulated its magnetism at the right time, regardless of Jesus and the ‘Holy Bible’ from which his story is told having no basis in historical fact. “What it does record is a ‘history’ of the development of religious ideas and how they are usurped and passed along from one culture to another. The gospel is also reflective of a concerted effort to unify the Roman world under one state religion, drawing upon the multitudes of sects and cults that existed at the time” (Acharya, 212). Christian’s refer to the Bible as the ‘Word of God,’ though it is the only place where the story of Jesus can be found. Historians who lived during the supposed birth of Christianity - including Flavius Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius or the Roman biographer Plutarch – make no mention of a historical Jesus in any documents. “Many scholars today doubt that the early books of the Hebrew Bible reflect the true history of the early Israelites. They argue that the early books of the Bible, written centuries after the events described, preserve only what the Israelites came to believe about themselves and that recent archaeological evidence often contradicts the details of the biblical account” (Spielvogel, 35).
When compared to the mythological story of ‘The Iliad’ from Greek poet Homer, the Bible is equivalent to poetry; a fable replete with characters, moral lessons and vivid analogies. Disaster has ensued when religious fanatics seek to interpret Biblical allegory as factual events, from a talking snake to the parting of the Red Sea, despite all logic and reason. Though this topic remains highly debatable, an unyielding obstinacy to defend a misguided faith is no justification for the atrocities that have been committed in the name of God, and certainly not when the moral compass is broken. “… This position is absolutely untenable…even if we discount the countless mistakes committed over the centuries by scribes copying the texts, the so-called infallible ‘Word of God’ is riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions, errors and yarns that stretch the credulity to the point of non-existence” (Acharya, 15). Christianity leaves a bloody trail of carnage in an attempt to defend the mendacity enclosed between the pages of each anecdote found in the Bible. Can we really acknowledge Biblical accounts as being historical while simultaneously disregarding earlier versions of the same tales as being incredulous? “Once the Bible begins to be interpreted literally instead of symbolically, the idea of its God becomes impossible. To imagine a deity who is literally responsible for everything that happens on earth involves impossible contradictions. The ‘God’ of the Bible ceases to be a symbol of a transcendent reality and becomes a cruel and despotic tyrant” (Armstrong, 283). Numerous inconsistencies and errors aside, it is also apparent that the Bible pages are rife with forgeries. Paul is alleged to have written numerous epistles and letters after the death of Jesus; however, a closer examination reveals that Paul never quotes Jesus directly or refers to any of his supposed miracles, including his crucifixion and resurrection. Clearly, “…the reality is that none of the gospels was written by its purported author and, indeed, no mention of any New Testament text can be found in writings prior to the beginning of the second century of the Common Era (‘CE’), long after the purported events” (Acharya, 25).
Perhaps most fraudulent is how Jesus Christ is identical to limitless religions across the world. Christianity is neither inimitable or innovative, from the virgin birth to the resurrection, and even the countless pictures of Jesus we are familiar with are inauthentic. “The image held today of a white man with long, dark hair and a beard is also that of Serapis, the syncretic god of the Egyptian state religion in the third century BCE, who was by the fourth century CE the most highly respected god in Egypt” (Acharya, 79). Research into earlier religions reveals similarities that can neither be ignored or rationalized. Attis of Phrygia, Dionysus of Greece, Krishna of India, Buddha, Horus of Egypt and Mithra of Persia are all examples of pre-Christian religious figures that were supposedly born on December 25th to a virgin mother. All of them had titles bestowed upon them such as ‘King of Kings’, ‘Lamb of God and ‘Way, the Truth, the Light’. They were sacrificed, buried in a tomb for 3 days and then resurrected. Horus taught in the temple at age 12, disappeared for 18 years and was baptized at age 30. He had 12 disciples, performed miracles and delivered a ‘Sermon on the Mount’. The birth of Krishna was signaled by a star in the east; he raised the dead, healed lepers and used parables to teach the people about charity and love. Prometheus of Greece came down from heaven as God incarnate to save mankind. Buddha walked on water, was transfigured on the mount and will return in later days to judge the dead. The religion of Mithra had a ‘Lord’s Supper’ at which Mithra said, “He who shall 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” (Acharya, 119). Quetzalcoatl of Mexico was born of a virgin, was designated as the morning star and fasted for 40 days. Zoroaster of Persia was baptized in a river, astounded wise men with his wisdom, and was tempted in the wilderness by Ahriman or the devil. “It is evident that Jesus Christ is a mythical character based on these various ubiquitous godmen and universal saviors who were part of the ancient world for thousands of years prior to the Christian era…The existence and identity of all these mysterious characters who are so identical in their persona and exploits, constituting the universal mythos, have been hidden from the masses as part of the Christ conspiracy” (Acharya, 125).
Astrology plays a significant role in the development of Christian dogma. Essentially, Jesus Christ can be seen as a personification of the sun, and the Bible can be viewed as an astrotheological text not meant to be taken literally. “The sun figured in the stories of virtually every culture worldwide. In many places and eras, the sun was considered the most visible proxy of the divine and the most potent bestower of Spirit…In addition to being a symbol of the spirit because it rises and sinks, the sun was the ‘soul of the world,’ signifying immortality, as it is eternally resurrected after ‘dying’ or setting” (Acharya, 149). The parallels between Jesus Christ and ancient sun-worshippers are abundant. The sun “dies” for 3 days at the winter solstice on December 21st to be born again or resurrected on December 25th. The sun of God is “born of a virgin,” referring to the ‘virgin’ moon or the constellation of Virgo. The sun’s “birth” is attended by the “Three Kings,” which represent the three stars in the belt of Orion (Acharya, 154-155). After the alleged ‘virgin birth,’ Jesus is said to have taught in the temple at age 12 and then, for reasons never explained, vanished until the age of 30 when he was baptized in the river by John. “The story of Jesus being baptized and beginning his ministry at age 30 is a rehash of the identical tale of Horus, representing the sun moving into a new constellation…” (Acharya, 193). Jesus having had 12 disciples is also a representation of the 12 Zodiac signs. His apostles were not literal figures but rather proportional astrological associations.
Ultimately, ancient religions and philosophies were borrowed from, built upon, stolen or manipulated to continuously perpetuate the myth which suited the needs of the people at the time. “Likewise, old pagan feasts were to be given new names and incorporated into the Christian calendar…The Christian feast of Christmas, for example, was held on December 25th, the day of the pagan celebration of the winter solstice” (Spielvogel, 198). Religion may offer discipline to those who lack moral structure, but in our contemporary world today, a doctor who performs abortions could potentially be murdered for disobeying the “Word of God.” According to the Bible, God created man in his image; however, homosexuals are an abomination, women are subservient and slavery is both tolerable and proverbial. While religion may offer hope to the despondent, it has also fostered disunity while encouraging inhumanity, hatred, separation and racism under the illusory guise of spirituality. As Karl Marx has stated, “religion is truly opium for the masses.” The pitiable and ailing proletariats are assured salvation and true happiness in heaven as opposed to solutions for the dilemma of their modern day circumstances.
The core of Christian faith is based on the supposition that man disobeyed God which led to the “original sin” from which we need a savior to ensure our salvation. Concomitantly, extremists refuse to even consider the possibility of evolution; it eliminates the necessity to be saved. Furthermore, without needing redemption, cogent deliberation illustrates that “God” did not create us in ‘His’ image. Rather, humanity produced “God” to further develop our emerging civilizations in an effort to rationalize mysteries beyond our comprehension. Jean-Paul Sartre maintains in ‘Existentialism and Human Emotions’ that there is no God to comfort us and that man is nothing more than what he makes of himself. The major tenet behind this philosophy is that man must not only realize he is alone but, more importantly, he must take responsibility for the course of his life and the consequences of his deeds. “…God does not exist, and as a result man is forlorn, because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to” (Sartre, 22). In his classic book ‘Beyond Good and Evil’, Friedrich Nietzsche states that “The great epochs of our life are the occasions when we gain the courage to rebaptize our evil qualities as our best qualities” (Nietzsche, 97). Once man has been freed from the shackles of dogmatic religious traditions, he is left to conquer a world of his own choosing and, through this process, re-define himself and his essential elucidations of morality and ethics. God does not subsist to answer our prayers while the universe is indifferent to our feelings. Ultimately, we must persistently re-evaluate ourselves and force our characters to evolve. We must create our own path in life to travel or suffer the consequences of repeating the mistakes of our ancestors. We are liberated, responsible for our actions, and we should behave accordingly…
Acharya S. The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold. Illinois: Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999.
Armstrong, Karen. A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. New York: Ballantine Books, Random House Inc, 1994.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil. London, England: Penguin Books, 1973.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism and Human Emotions. New York: Citadel Press, 1957.
Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization, Volume I: To 1715. 7th Edition. California: Thomson Higher Education, 2009.