The great question in theology for the Higher Critics1 of organized religion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was, What is Christianity? The many fine scholars (Couchoud, Guignebert, Klausner, Schweitzer, et al) who dedicated so much of their lives to the investigation of the origins of Christianity, have provided us with a good deal of excellent historical information and a number of educated guesses regarding the theological developments that occurred around 1900 years ago in the Hellenistic Orient. Nonetheless, we are still in the dark regarding the actual origins of one of the foremost religions of our time.
What is now recognized as the Christian religion developed in and through myth. The historical principle that all religions are simply phases of continuous evolution is irrefutable. The creeds of all mankind run into, and derive from, the myths of some other religions. It is logical to conclude, therefore, that no system of belief inculcated on the dangerous and malevolent territory of faith is rational: and, indeed, there is no evidence to sustain a single one. It logically follows, too, that ALL Christian traditions are myths; and that brings us to the crux of the problem: When the facts of reality are woven into the “antique fables and fairy toys” of transcendentalism, they are never easy to unravel.
But what is myth? Is it folklore? Or is it “an effort to explain a custom or belief whose origins have been forgotten”? Is it “an intermediate between collective dreams and collective poems”? Does it “create for itself a collective symptom for taking up all repressed emotion”? Is it “another way of saying that emotion will create for human yearning those goals which mind cannot establish as fact”? Is it “a way of disguising or evading the shocking facts of life rather than recognizing and accepting them”? It it “the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious”? Does it “correspond to the displaced residues of wish fantasies of entire nations”?
As often happens, the scholars have provided more questions than answers. We can be certain of one thing, however: Myth does seem to be everywhere in all times. Look around and you can observe the creation of legend which myth absorbs. The legend of FDR. The legend of the Kennedy’s Camelot. The legend of Lee Harvey Oswald.
For hundreds of years scholastic theologians have been elaborating on, and in some cases refining, the primitive myths of Catholicism, including the principal myth of the Western World, which is not God or the Mother, but what we call the Christ – the myth, that is, found with practically all ancient peoples of the deliverer, the savior, and with all but the Jews, “the sacrificial offering on the fructifying tree.” The Christ myth is the foundation upon which the Gentile church built the orthodox teaching of Christianity.
From time immemorial the death and resurrection of a salvation-deity considered to be both human and divine have been the prime tenets of the gospels of the many Gentile mystery (meaning secret) religions within Hellenistic Asia and the Far East. The origin of death being necessary to life evolved out of the progression of the seasons. If Mother Nature could die down in winter and revive herself in springtime, then surely a god could die for the benefit of his worshipers and then provide redemption by returning to life. Symbolically, the Sun, born as the Son of God, threatened by the powers of darkness, growing up as the shepherd of the heavenly kine, is eventually revealed as the triumphant hero and the deliverer of the world.
Animals have also been used throughout history for essentially the same purpose – to lift the mantle of troubles from the shoulders of the believer. On the Day of Horn Blowing, or the Great Day, also known as the Day of Atonement, the sins of Israel would be transferred to the scapegoat for Azazel (originally a god of the flocks, just as Astarte was a cow-deity), which was then taken into the wilderness and shoved backward off a precipice. (The history of sacrifice is full of surrogates – of the animal for man, of wine for blood, of prayers for sacrifices.)
The scapegoat ritual, which resulted in the sins of the community being expelled into the wilderness, bears a close resemblance to the Babylonian puhu, or substitution ritual. The Judean rite also duplicates the ritual-mystery of the red heifer, which in Egyptian mythology stood for Typhon, the Evil One.
Within the more sophisticated mystery cults of the Hellenistic Orient, the impurity of the guilty human race is done away in the body of a human deity who is himself untouched by impurity. Thus, the dying god differs in degree, but not in principle, from the common scapegoat. He is loaded with the sins of the world, which then die with him on the cross. The obscene sacrifice of the just to the unjust, of the ideal to the nonideal, of virtue to vice, allows the sinner to palm off on someone else the accumulated transgressions and misfortunes which he shrinks from bearing himself.
Psychoanalytically speaking, the folk-soul seeks to deceive God and evade the claims of justice. This desire leads to the creation of an elaborate scenario in which a salvation-deity dies for the benefit of his worshipers. The Son, the divine sacrifice for all, submits to the Father and is then slain, which results in a sense of guilt, the need for self-punishment to relieve it, and a mystery of salvation based on the suffering and death of the savior-god conceived as redemptive.
And thus it is that myth esoterically reinforces that most subversive of psychological defenses – the denial of reality. In the simplest terms, myths are “life lies” that enable us to believe that supernaturalism exists in a natural world… that nonmateriality exists in a material world… and that miracles and prophecies exist in a world in which there is no scientific proof of supporting miracles and prophecies.
Within the world of mysticism, there are no metaphysical givens. Transcendent theories are created first. Facts are then created to fit the theories, with tradition always altering truth in the process of its development. Indeed, among the reasons which retard the progress of religious history in the modern world, the most conspicuous is this: Dogmas that have been canonized and traditions that have been agreed upon are widely accepted as historical truths.
Conceived in the womb of mythology, the Christian Bible is composed of fetishes, legends, parables, poems, songs, prayers, moral apothegms and wildly exaggerated exploits; and Christianity is a complex mystery religion composed of saints, multiple deities (three gods in one substance), demons, oracles, prophets, miracles, wonder-workers, prodigies, signs, portents, auguries and magical sacraments – a veritable metaphysical dungeon containing much of the primitive “baggage” of the Semitic and salvation religions of Asia. To any student of history whose capacity to distinguish truth from error hasn’t been suborned by faith, therefore, the orthodox account of Christian origins cannot stand up to critical examination, and the facts supporting this statement are overwhelming.
On Tuesday, October 31, 1961, the discovery of the largest single collection of historic documents ever unearthed in the Holy Land – second in importance only to the Dead Sea Scrolls – was announced by Dr. Yigel Yadin, professor of archeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In all, there were 64 documents, including two Bible fragments from the Book of Numbers and the Book of Psalms, which were among the earliest fragments of the traditional Jewish holy writings ever found. As with the first set of documents that were unearthed in a cave near the Dead Sea in 1947, the newly discovered scrolls, which established the existence of Bar Kochba, a legendary figure in Jewish history whose existence had been questioned, made no mention of Jesus the Nazarene or the early Christian Church – although they dated from 88 to A.D. 135. Dr. Yadin candidly admitted that he found the omission “strange.”
Strange? Not to a substantial number of the Higher Critics, who have comprehensively investigated both Judaism and Christianity in conjunction with the AGE in which they were developed, for the very pertinent reason that the two sets of remarkable scrolls discovered in the Terra Sancta belong to an ancient literary country within whose bourne no historical Jesus has ever been found.
The Jewish philosopher, Philo of Alexandria, gained prominence within that literary realm during the alleged lifetime of the Nazarene. He left more than fifty works without a single allusion to the Christ of his followers.
Justus of Tiberius was born in Galilee, circa A.D. 30. In his two monumental works comprising a history of the war of independence and a chronicle of events from Moses to Agrippa, not the smallest reference to either Jesus of Nazareth or the Christ cult can be located.
The Jewish historian Josephus was born around A.D. 37. In his Jewish Antiquities, he purportedly wrote that a holy man called Jesus arose from the grave after he was crucified and appeared before his disciples, and that the holy prophets had “predicted of him these and many other wonders.”
Over 200 years ago the statements of Josephus were exposed as forgeries by scholars who had a broad knowledge of Jews and Judaism as well as Christianity. They were able to prove that an intellectual Jew like Josephus, who sincerely believed that the day would come when all men would accept the Torah, would never have written that the holy prophets of the Israelites had predicted the coming of a Jewish savior-god who would be worshiped by Gentiles in a mystery cult setting. When did the spurious insertions take place? Some time in the latter half of the 3rd century, after Origen, who read the Josephus work and stated that the author did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and before Eusebius, who read it in the 4th century with the insertion and accepted it. The discrepancies in Josephus’ writings are so glaring that even Catholics now admit the forgeries.
Even more mystifying is the fact that the Christ controversy is nowhere to be found in ANY of the writings of the 1st century of the Common Era (as the Jews prefer to render the period A.D.), aside that is from the New Testament – which cannot under any circumstance be accepted as a factual historical document. I am referring to such notable figures as Seneca, Petronius, Pliny the Elder, Juvenal, Martial, Quintilian, Epictetus, Plutarch, Appian, and others, whose works have not left us with a single reference to the Nazarene or the Christ.2
What on earth happened? Surely some of the contemporaries of Jesus – IF HE LIVED – must have heard of the man who supposedly “attracted the multitudes.” Is this blank-out merely accidental? Or coincidental? Or part of God’s master plan? Or even Satan’s master plan? After all, notable Christians used to preach that Satan, anticipating the true religion to come, had planted such things as virgin births, body and blood ceremonies, stars announcing the births of savior-gods, and resurrections, in a “diabolical parody of the uses of the Church” just to create doubt and confusion when the true Messiah finally arrived. In particular, Clement and Justin Martyr fed the flames of this fantasy. When Justin learned that Perseus was begotten of a virgin, he blamed Satan for counterfeiting the incident. The rationalizing of modern Christians in this regard is a bit more sophisticated: “The Church Fathers saw truly when they saw these aspects of paganism as part of the divine preparation for Christianity.” Rather than “satanic,” the preparation is now “divine.” (The genius for pious falsification appears to know no bounds.)
And what are we to make of the fact that orthodox Judaism has never accepted the Christian Messiah as either divine, or as the Same Davidic Messiah whose coming is predicted in the Jewish version of the Old Testament? (In the Talmud, Jesus is represented as a false prophet who supported his claims with sorcery.) In truth, Jews could never acknowledge the divinity of Jesus and still remain Jews. The foundation of all Judaism has been the unity and the spiritual nature of ONE divine being. Just as there could be no ghost, no angel, and no spirit of Yahweh, there could be no SON of Yahweh. Even emperor worship was considered to be blasphemous to the extreme by orthodox Jews.
Like it or not, these devastating historical records tell us in no uncertain terms that the “Christ-Myth” theory is true. And they tell us in even more forceful terms that the religion of Christianity is rooted in fraud, and that the whole Western world has for close upon two thousand years lain under the spell of a lie. Admittedly, this is a mind-boggling impeachment. And yet, if the sense of realism is ever to triumph over the dogma of infallibility in all of its forms, the day will surely come when intelligent Christians will have to accept these harsh historical judgements, and subsequently decide how to save what is worthwhile in their religion.
With what, then, are we left? Without doubt, the most intriguing “Who done it?” in the history of the Western world – a world, incidentally, that now seems to be patently indifferent to this remarkable mystery. Not that this cavalier attitude is surprising, considering the fact that virtually no one today is aware of the radical conclusions cited above. Nor are they aware of the fact that numerous erudite scholars of the 19th and 20th centuries were utterly convinced that the biblical Jesus never existed. To Volney, the Nazarene was an astral myth; to Dupuis, the sun; for Kulicher, a vegetation-god; to Bauer, perhaps the first great scholar to deny the historicity, he was the personification of certain ideals then current; to Kalthoff, he was an illusion of reality more compelling than fact itself; and to others, he was just one more composite image of the mythical savior-gods.
The premier proposition that must be recognized and accepted by the historical sleuth interested in shattering the bubble of this enigma is that the entire New Testament was written and rewritten and expanded and edited over a period of several hundred years beginning sometime during the latter half of the 2nd century. I am referring to the one Gospel, composed, according to the Canon of Muritori, of more than one version, as well as the remaining New Testament books, including the so-called Epistles of Paul that postdate him by several centuries. It is clear to all serious scholars that the New Testament was the result of a lengthy Christianizing process that occurred during that period of time when the Gentile Fathers of the Church were determining what the religion was supposed to be.
The only extant copies of the Gospel reach back no farther than the 3rd century. Not a single copy is free of mistakes and no two copies agree. The first certain traces of a Gospel are to be found in Irenaeus, circa A.D. 180; but its existence is neither mentioned nor implied in the Epistles nor in Barnabas nor in the Didache, a book of moral precepts that was authored around the turn of the 3rd century. In fact, to this day we don’t know when the Gospel was accepted without further editing and changing. For example, somewhere along the way, a passage declaring without question or qualification that the three divine entities were of “one” substance (“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one…”) was added to the Book of John; but it was omitted from the Revised Version (1881) after it was demonstrated to be a forgery. And it simply isn’t coincidental that Clement of Alexandria, one of the more significant theologians of the 2nd century, never made use of what are now called the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke) – just one more indication that the Gospel was fabricated long after the events it relates supposedly occurred.
The only logical conclusion that can be drawn is that the Gospel discourses had a wide oral circulation before they were ever written down; and over the centuries the redactors retained whatever sayings and memories that could be reshaped in a messianic light, while discarding any recollections that didn’t harmonize with the Christianizing process. According to their own conceptions, they revised, corrected and created history: and what became known as the Evangelic Tradition consisted of little more than anecdotes – “the naive products of the folk-mind” – told and retold for the purpose of explaining or defending differing and even contradictory beliefs and practices of the Church over the centuries. (Tradition invariably goes beyond commemoration and into creation and fabrication in its description of significant events and personalities.)
In time, the first version of the Gospel gained authority in the Syrian congregation; the third was influential in Greece proper and in Rome, where Mark was also in use; and the fourth had taken root by that time in the congregation of Asia. In the finished products, the authors of Mark concentrate primarily upon persuading the readers that Jesus was the Davidic Messiah whose coming was predicted in the Septuagint. Matthew goes further and expounds the view that the teaching of Jesus had the force of a new law. The most conservatively Jewish version of the Gospel, Matthew is also unquestionably anti-Pharisaic, although the Pharisees are also denounced in the Books of Mark and Luke. Luke’s authors indicate an acquaintance with Josephus’ Antiquities; and like Matthew, Luke contains material that does not appear in Mark.
What finally emerged as the Gospel of John appears to be primarily the work of a Jewish Hellenist motivated to include a Gospel version interpreted from the standpoint of Paul that would stand out from the Gentile impressions of the story. His condemnation of the Jewish people was probably induced by the conviction that the Pharisees had murdered Paul just as they murdered Stephen. Some scholars have described John as the Philo of the New Testament.
Over the lengthy period of time the Christians were seriously involved in creating a Gospel dedicated to proving that their so-called Messiah was the same as the Davidic Messiah, any number of “good news” writings were produced by authors eager to contribute to the newest mystery cult.
There were gospels according to the Ebionites, the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Nazareans and the Hebrews. There were gospels according to various men, including a Barnabas, a Bartholomew and a Pepias. There were little books called Acts according to various Christian leaders. There were letters said to have been written by Jesus, Mary of Magdala, Joseph and the brothers and sisters of Jesus. There were said to be quaintly detailed lives of Adam and Eve and of other persons in the Jewish religious books, not to mention the apocalypses of Noah, Abraham, Joshua, David and Elijah, along with the testaments of Isaac, Jacob, Enoch, Daniel and others. There were books about Solomon telling of incredible wonders that he had performed; booklets relating wondrous prophecies and miracles that were to come; and writings about persons who were said to have known Jesus, including two Roman emperors.
There were even “good news” books on the infancy and childhood of Jesus telling how he caused the sun to stand still: how with his own little fingers he shaped animals of clay and brought them to life; and how he moved mountains, stilled the seas, hushed the winds, made barren trees give fruit, and with numerous other wondrous events proved that he was the long-awaited divine child. From the most fanciful minds of the time came the most wondrous events of all – those that occurred when the divine child was born. The temple of Apollo at Rome burst asunder and fell down; the earth opened in such wide clefts that the doomed souls in hell were able to come up and peer out; and it was a totally painless and bloodless birth for the mother – who, after the event, miraculously retained an intact maidenhead.
More notable among the many contradictions in the four versions of the Gospel that were finally accepted by the Church (probably because there were four established congregations by that time: Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch and Ephesus) are the ones involving the visitors to the sepulcher. According to John, Mary Magdalene came unto the sepulcher the first day of the week; Matthew thought it was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary; to Mark, the visitors were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome; and Luke introduced not only the mysterious Joanna to the group including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, but also the other women who were with them.
Among other contradictions, the Synoptics limit the duration of the public career of Jesus to one year at most. John extends it to two, or even three years. John tells us that Jesus went up to the Holy City five times, while the Synoptics take him there only once. And John reveals that Jesus celebrated three Easter festivals with his disciples instead of only one, and that he died on the 14th and not on the 15th day of the month of Nisan.
Luke alone tells the story of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple. Four brothers and several sisters are mention in Mark. Where does Jesus’ age place him among the children? We do not know. In addition, nothing is said anywhere about the physical appearance of the Nazarene or the state of his health or even the language he spoke.
One explanation for the many New Testament contradictions is that community interests controlled the formulation of the information. In particular, the Gospel versions appear to have evolved as literary basins into which materials developed in different conditions and needs, were poured. The 11th chapter of John is a striking example of the way in which the most glaringly opposed inferences can be transcribed side by side by authors indifferent to either embarrassment or shame.
What of the famous Twelve known as the Apostles? The word apostle means “to send or commission.” The apostolic implication is that the Apostles were with Jesus and commissioned by Jesus to go forth and preach. But just as there was no Jesus, there were no Apostles “commissioned” by Jesus. Once again, it isn’t coincidental that the thoughts and labors of the legendary Twelve are unknown to Eusebius, the eminent Christian historian, in the 4th century. The “Apostles” were all chosen long after the 1st century by different people in different times – which makes it nearly impossible to determine who’s who and who’s what within the apostolic circle.
Mark and Matthew contain nearly identical lists of the Twelve. Luke has two lists in which he identifies Simon the Cananean as Simon the Zealot. In the place of Thaddaeus-Lebbaeus, he provides us with a Judas, who is a brother of Jacob called James. But which Jacob is he referring to? Jacob the son of Alphaeus or Halphaeus? John’s version doesn’t list all of the Apostles, but he does make reference to at least some of them: Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus (the name given in early Syriac literature as Judas Thomas, meaning Judas the Twin), Nathanael of Cana, Jacob and John the sons of Zebedee and a couple of others who are unnamed. We also have John mentioning Philip, Judas Iscariot and another Judas (not Iscariot). Just one of the rather improbable conclusions to be drawn from this jumble of names is that there were three persons among the Twelve with the name Judas.
Why twelve? The number betrays a symbolic intention. With twelve helpers Joshua passed through the Jordan. Jason went after the golden fleece with twelve helpers. The sun wanders through the twelve signs of the zodiac. And so it was that Jesus wandered through the Holy Land with twelve disciples. In the religion of the sun-worshipers the twelfth month is the betrayer of the sun that sickens and dies at the winter solstice. Ergo, Jesus is betrayed by the twelfth disciple.
The reasons cited above explain why it has always been so difficult for scholars to identify, not only the Twelve, but also the family of Jesus; why one author writes of Joseph’s pedigree AND the account of the virgin birth; and why another has Jesus attack Jewish laws AND, in practically the same breath, censure the slightest departure from them. Typical of the confusing elements to be found within these writings is the fact that prior to the Council of Nicaea in 325, Eusebius time and time again quoted the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 as follows: “Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations in my name.”
Is it any wonder that St. Augustine once saw fit to remark that he wouldn’t believe the Gospel to be true if it wasn’t for the authority of the Church?
There are additional reasons to believe that the Christianity that supposedly existed in the 1st century didn’t begin to develop into a Gentile mystery cult, with the notion of the doctrine of spiritual immortality apart and free from the body attached to it, until much later. It was late in the 2nd century in the city of Antioch, located in Southern Turkey, that Christians were first identified by that name. There was no distinction at that time, however, between the active and passive members of the faith. What later developed as the Catholic conception of the priesthood was foreign to the first two centuries. By the end of the 3rd century, the “clergy” of the new faith were thought to be a divinely “chosen” group. A bishop, according to Ignatius, ought to be regarded as the Lord himself.
As late as the 4th century, seven pieces – Epistle to the Hebrews, Apocalypse of John, and five Catholic Epistles – were not acknowledged as canonical by some of the congregations. Typically, the Christian author of the Epistle to the Hebrews – written long after the 1st century – not only misconstrues every verse, but also misreads several words of Scriptural text.
The LAST or HOLY Supper – “The flesh is fed with the body and blood of Christ that the soul may be made fat from God.” – wasn’t transformed into the Mass until the latter half of the 4th century. The word “Mass” derives from the Egyptian Eucharist in which the cakes were called “Mest.” The Israelites learned the word and called it “Mass” (or plural Massoth). The Church of Rome adopted it as “Mass” or “Messe.” The word “host,” which is used in the Catholic ritual is from the Latin Hostia, which can be interpreted as an animal slain in sacrifice – a sin offering. As the Mass came more and more to be regarded as a heathen sacrifice, so it increasingly was equipped with external trappings and observances borrowed from pagan rituals. Purgatory, on the other hand, wasn’t accepted by the Church for the first five centuries, because it was considered to be a heathen tenet and therefore heretical. It’s interesting to note, too, that by the 7th century, the Church was endeavoring to suppress the picturing of Christ as a lamb because of the paganism inherent in the idea.
It wasn’t until the 5th century that the Church hierarchy decreed that the Christ would be represented to the world as a tortured body fastened to an instrument of punishment more infamous than any ever invented. The cross, chosen as the emblem of the Christian faith, was borrowed from the mystery cults, where it usually signified salvation. It was the sign of the T-shaped cross by which Osiris (the Egyptian god of vegetation) gave eternal life. Soon thereafter the image of the cross was stamped upon all nature and all art within the Christian world. Even the doctrine of the trinity wasn’t proclaimed by the Church until around the time the new city of Constantinople rose to power – approximately A.D. 380.
The transmission of the power from the legendary Apostles to those who were assumed to be their successors is one of the most audacious frauds in history. The first definite reference to the founding of the official church by Peter and Paul was made by Dionysus of Corinth about 170. The founding of the Papacy, the first distinct signs of an episcopal government, and the Roman claim to be in a special sense “the see of Peter,” all occurred long after the Nazarene and supposedly ordered the establishment of a Universal (Catholic) church. As to the time of the origins and relative ranks of various church officials (bishop, presbyter, deacon), there is still uncertainty. (Presbyter is a Greek word meaning “old men.” The word priest is derived from this term.)
Surprisingly, there was no authentic portrait of Jesus – no identifiable type of features had been determined – as late as the 5th century. The Nazarene was variously represented as dwarfed, ugly, and sometimes repulsive. Not until the Middle Ages was he distinguished by handsome, straight-nosed, Gentile features – with, at times, blond hair.
Most difficult for some Christians to understand is, why Christmas day wasn’t introduced as the birthday of Jesus until the 4th century. At that time, religion hadn’t reached the point of proclaiming that God must be sought within the domain of the ideal and the absolute outside of the world of sense. The only rational and scientific cult they had to turn to was that of the Sun. During the process of creating their own savior-god, therefore, the Christians were drawn more and more to the most significant days in the calender of sun-worship. December 25th was the birthdate of the Persian savior-god, Mithra, and other sun-gods. By the middle of the 4th century, Christians were beginning to assign the Nativity of Jesus to the winter solstice in December because that was deemed the Nativity of the Sun. Not until the 6th century, however, was the day of Jesus’ birth finally commissioned. A Scythian monk, Dionysius Exigius, chose for Jesus the birthday of the sun. The festival of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin was then commissioned to be celebrated in the Roman Church on March 25th, a date fixed by the fact that it was exactly nine months of embryogeny before December 25th.
The date of the crucifixion was also determined following the assimilation of the new Christ to the savior-gods of Asia. For the purpose of giving some credence to the claims of the supernatural events that supposedly occurred when the “Son of God” was cruelly put to death, the Catholic hierarchy chose a day when a partial eclipse of the sun had occurred – an actual event (April 3rd, A.D. 33), according to modern astronomers. The Cappadocians first made the vernal equinox the date of Easter or the resurrection. The attraction to the glory of the Sun’s day, coupled with a growing resistance to purely Jewish observances, prompted the Christians to shift their Passover celebration to the Sunday following the Jewish celebration. Our Easter was initially dedicated to the celebration of the pagan resurrection of the unconquered sun. For reasons both obvious and ironic, modern theologians would prefer not to be reminded of the fact that for the first few hundred years most Christians were sun-worshipers. According to Leo the Great – Pope from 440 to 460 – it was the custom of many of the Christ-folk to “stand on the steps of St. Peter and pay homage to the Sun by obeisance and prayers.”
By now, it should be apparent to those people to whom the facts of reality and the conclusions of reason are of value, that the traditional origins of Christians are false.
To be continued…
BACON, B.W.: “St. Augustine’s view of the predictive character of Psalm 22 is of course impossible.”
BATES, M.S.: “From the two Testaments taken together, the dogmatist, the bigot, the man of faction, the literalist, the bureaucrat, the disciplinarian, the sadist have been able to justify their will, from that day until now.”
CARPENTER, E.: “Early man felt great truths and realities of life – often, I believe, more purely than we do – but he could not give form to his experience. That stage came when he began to lose touch with these realities; and it showed itself in rites and ceremonials.”
CHEYNE, T.K.: “The Christ religion is a synthesis, and only those who have dim eyes can assert that the intellectual empires of Babylonia and Persia have fallen.”
GOGUEL, M.: “Tradition has so little belief that baptism goes back to Jesus, that the 4th Gospel after quoting a statement that Jesus had baptised, itself corrects this (John: 4-2).”
GUMPLOWICZ, LUDWIG: “Every code of human morals from the earliest times to the present day has this thoroughly characteristic peculiarity: the product of actual occurrences and relations is everywhere explained by, and derived from, imaginary circumstances.”
HALL, STANLEY G.: “True miracles are things which are absolutely false. They never happen… Why then the persistent credulity of so many who should know better concerning this class of marvels?”
HARNACK, ADOLF: “I would reject the current opinion that Jesus was formally tried by the Sanhedrin for an alleged offense against the Hebrew criminal code… The case against Jesus could under no circumstances be tried by any tribunal except that of the governor… All four Gospels must be wrong in stating that the trial occurred on the day before the Sabbath, for it was forbidden to hold court on that day.”
LIPPERT, JULIUS: “If to the savage in his intellectual isolation a soul seems to be the cause of every phenomenon, then in the natural development of thought to a philosopher, whose intellectual horizon has expanded to comprehend the idea of the universe, the cause of causes behind the universe, must seem to be a universal soul. From this idea, so evidently derived from the domain of the cult, man has never been able to extricate himself.”
LOISY, ALFRED: “… the sin of the guilty human race is done away with in the body of the Man-Christ, who was himself untouched by it… childish dreams worked up into a theological nightmare and adapted, by hook or crook, to a lofty moral conception!”
McCOWN, CHARLTON C.: “The 19th century ended with the destruction of its characteristic ‘liberal’ portrait of Jesus. It would appear that after nearly forty years [now nearly 100 years], the 20th century has discovered none at all of its own.”
MENCKEN, H.L.: “Men simply credit to Gods whatever laws they evolve out of their own wisdom or lack of it.”
MURRAY, GILBERT: “Previous historians of Christianity have generally been theologians, convinced of the miraculous nature of their subject, and consequently, however learned, compelled to be uncritical.”
ROBERTSON, J.M.: “There is not one teaching in the Gospels that cannot be paralleled in the ethical literature of the Jews, Greeks, Romans, and Hindus… I shall be obliged to any theologian who will bring me a saying which I cannot prove to have been already in existence in his time.”
SCHECHTER, SOLOMON: “Although the Jews of Jesus’ time are supposed to have been both the target of his wrath and the object of his pity and prayers, the literature of the Jews of his time has not left us a single reference to this controversy.”
1 Higher Criticism, in contrast to textual or “lower” criticism, describes the kind of broad, scholarly research necessary to eliminate traditions and dogmatic opinions – to clear the historical ground, as it were, of the turgid mythology that prevents objective thinking and constructive building.
2 Not until much later were writings produced allegedly proving that Jesus Christ was an historical figure. It is neither logical nor scholarly to accept the 2nd century speculations and conclusions of Tacitus, Suetonius, Pline the Younger and others, however, who were motivated to write off Christian legends that were by then being developed as if they were rooted in historical fact rather then in evolutionary folklore and evangelical fancy.
SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, February 1990