The Triumph of the Christ Myth

Nicholas Carter

the triumph -The Appearance of Christ

The story of the salvation-deity is one of the oldest myths in the recorded history of mankind. Prior to the emergence of the Christ, there was hardly a god in four continents who hadn’t been born of a virgin, persecuted by wicked rulers, condemned to death, and sacrificed for the benefit of his followers. The melodramatic rise and fall of the savior-god was essentially the same everywhere: A lowly human creature is elevated to the level of a deity. He is then dragged down to the lowest depths of humiliation and degradation. He is then murdered so that he can come to life again and offer forgiveness and salvation to the very people who denounced him.

To pave the way for a more complete understanding of how mythological Christianity was created, consider for a moment the fabrication of a less complicated scenario: The Apostle’s Creed – an obvious forgery exposed long ago by a scholarly gentleman named Lorenzo Valla. If we attribute the name Dionysus or Krishna or Hercules or Osiris or Attis for the name of Jesus, and instead of Mary insert the name of Semele or Devaki or Alcmene or Neith or Maya, and for Pontius Pilate use the name of any terrestrial tyrant who comes into the corresponding story, we will have a creed that fits in all particulars into the rites and worship of any of the savior-gods of the Hellenistic Orient and beyond.

The Gentile theologians who came to be known as Catholics created, developed, and elaborated a Christ myth at the expense of the Gospel of the original Jewish Hellenists who were quickly dismissed as schismatical and forgotten. They accepted the form of the Hellenic Jewish sect without the substance; they presided over the gradual assimilation of that faith to the mystery religions; and they grafted upon that form the incredibly complex layers of orthodoxy that would eventually result in the establishment of an oppressive theocracy. It was only logical that Gentile theologians would concern themselves with shaping their new faith after the pattern of the salvation-cults so popular at that time. Could the masses be convinced to believe in the validity of a god on the esoteric basis of faith and love alone? No. But convince them that the god had been born of a virgin, had walked on water, and had even ascended from the grave, and the new god-cult might have a chance to succeed.

Ironically, priests and witchdoctors dedicated to spirituality and non-materiality have never been able to “sell” an abstract god to the human species. In lieu of the “unknown god” whose silence is more terrifying than his wrath, they have had to create gods out of the sun, the moon, thunder, lightning, and animals with human heads and vice versa. “Prophets” and “servants” of God with personal pipelines right to the heavenly kingdom have been invented. Even totem poles and stone idols have found acceptance as deities. Through the manifestation of the presence of the Great God in material form, the deity is personalized. God-surrogates are materialistic bridges designed to span the gap between man and the invisible “spiritual” god.

Gentile Christianity began with the trappings of just another messianic-cult as it rearranged the patterns of fear, tradition, superstition and motivation. By the turn of the 3rd century, it had bloomed into a full-fledged mystery religion – a Graeco-Oriental creed offering salvation, more exclusive claims than its competitors, the promise of immortality for repentance in the form of fasting and a little prayer, and shortcuts to heavenly kingdom through baptism and other sacraments so magical and powerful that they could change human nature – or so simple faithful believed. Through the sacraments they could be “born again” and “become the children of the eternal and unchangeable God instead of the children of mortal men.”

How did it all come about? How did this curiously convoluted religion, rooted as it is in both the mystery-cults of Asia and orthodox Judaism, evolve into the slave of dogmatism and the tyrant of souls?

By the time Justin Martyr was a young man – A.D. 130 to 135 – the New Covenant, with a martyred, Hellenized Jew having been accepted by that time as a Jesus or “savior” and a Christ or “anointed one,” had spread widely enough among Gentiles to attract the attention of Greek and Roman mystics. Over the following decades, scholastic theologians from Clement to Tertullian joined in the movement with Justin. They were not the best educated men outside of their theological studies. Augustine, who came later, best exemplifies the type of thinker who engineered the Catholic revolution. He had a profound contempt for all educational traditions. And his cynical epigram, Inter faeces et urinas nascimur,” was obviously the product of one who had developed an exaggerated doctrine of total depravity.

In light of the fact that the Founding Fathers of Catholicism were transcendentalism-intensive creatures who regarded all the things of earth as vile in comparison with the priceless treasures of heaven, it isn’t difficult to understand why their spiritual heirs delivered over without hesitation to dungeons, flames and slaughter, a far greater part of the human species than any other religion; and why Christianity prevailed to produce such a “melancholy record of human error and folly.”1

The eventual success of Catholic Christendom can be accounted for only when we consider the intense longing on the part of the people, and in particular the illiterate masses, for a heroic figure more divine than human to take the darkness from their eyes and lead them to salvation. Marana Tha, “Our Lord Come” – not “Our Lord has come” – was the watchword of the day. It was a common occurrence during that era to apply the term Son of God to the hero-prince of Graeco-Roman mythology. To the Jews, Sons of God was simply an idiom conveying nothing more than the truth of the spirituality of man. As a mythical conception, Son of Man, on the other hand, originated in those Gentile religions in which the protagonist was in some sense “the second man.” Among the Phrygian Ophites, “A Man and a Son of Man” were said to be the origin of all subsequent things; and in the Avestic literature of Persia, Gayomort the son was the pattern and the source of the whole human race. When the Catholic authors of the New Testament attributed these words to Jesus, “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head,” they were describing their Messiah in the Phrygian sense of his being the Son of the Creator of all things, or God.

The all-important issues confronting the Gentile Christ-folk once they decided to transplant the New Messianism into the Graeco-Roman world were: 1) whether he was to be perceived as a man who became human; 2) how to provide both prophetic and miraculous confirmations for the existence of the first Jewish savior-god; and 3) how the moral and spiritual worth of their savior could be supported by great moral apothegms.

The task they set for themselves was a far-ranging project calling for the nearly endless borrowing of ideas and rites from other religions, the rearrangement and fertilization of myths, the divorcing of the new religion from that of the Jews to as great a degree as possible while retaining the Jewish God, the laws supposedly given to Moses on the holy mount, and the writings of the prophets. Rather than fabricating just another virgin-born Tom, Dick or Harry, their dedicated purpose was to create a savior-god in the greatest measure of them all – a “true” Son of God who would save mankind. An effective reflection of sublimity would emanate from THEIR Christ. Every aspect of HIS divinity would be validated by the holy writings of the ancients. HE would be the Mystical Body of the new Church. HE would be the eternal vine – his worshipers the branches.

The methodology they adopted was both creative and ruthless. In time they began to master the art of molding words and ideas – Savior, Epiphany, Illumination, Mysteries, the most sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, Logos, etc. – to suit Christian dogma. The Logos is of cardinal interest because some scholars content that the notion was the proper formula for uniting the Christian religion with Greek thought.

“Logos” was coined by Plato to describe possibly both the thought and the will of God – although the word has no single equivalent in modern language. Defining the genealogy of the new savior-god involved the Logos Christologists who regarded Jesus as the eternal Logos or Word of God, a pre-existent god who became human, and the Adoptionists who claimed that Jesus was first a mortal man. After a raging controversy, the first group prevailed. Jesus was assimilated to the Greek Logos; and from that point on, the Christians identified the Logos with the Son of God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”

In their attempts to bring the fabled Jesus and the cosmic Christ into a single personality at once historical and raised above time, the mortal Savior had to be shoved aside and virtually ignored. So little about the biblical Jesus – his appearance, his brothers and sisters, and so on – is included in the Gospel, that his “life” might have been sketched in as an afterthought. The “Jesus” of history was far less important to the builders and shapers of the new cult than the “Christ” of dogma. Nor could Jesus be the mere son of a man and a woman.

By the end of the 2nd century, however, that decision had still not been made. The manual of church ordinances known as the Didache (the word is Greek, and it means “teaching”) had appeared by that time with its strong emphasis upon the Davidic line of descent leading from David to Joseph to Jesus: “We give thanks unto thee, O our Father for the holy vine of thy servant David which thou hast made known to us by thy servant.” Notice that the title servant is applied to both David and Jesus. To the Jews, their Messiah, “born of the seed of David according to the flesh,” would have been the Servant rather than the Son of God, for such was the designation of the “men of Yahweh.” And some of the spurious writings attributed to Saul stated that even though Jesus was the son of Joseph, he had been declared the Son of God “through the Spirit of Holiness.” It seems evident that an evangelium infantiae wasn’t considered to be a necessary part of the early development of Catholicism. A Sinaitic Syriac manuscript discovered in 1894 stated simply that “Joseph begat Jesus.”

But more astute Catholics were soon to realize that if Jesus was to be the exclusive Son of God, he could not be the son of Joseph. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” they eventually wrote in the Gospel – thus specifying the mother to the exclusion of the father. And in Matthew we find this exclusionary form of expression: “And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, and of her was born Jesus called the Christ” – the implication being that Joseph was only the apparent father of the child of Mary. The conclusion that a savior-god born not of the blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God alone, was far more significant than a messiah cast in the limited Jewish image, meant that a different god and an entirely different messianic system would have to be created. The new god had to be a savior. The new religion had to offer salvation. Only if the man Jesus died and was then resurrected could he become the supernatural, divinely glorious judge. Only in that way could his death be made acceptable.

The first step in the creation of the Christ was to assimilate Jesus to the sun-gods of Asia. Only then could the resurrection of the Christ become a central part of the faith. Then, like Mithra, he could be entombed, and the circulation of the story of the empty grave or tomb could then become a logical part of the legend. For the day of his death they chose a time when a partial eclipse of the sun had occurred. And soon, Mary (Myrrh, Maia, Maya, Maira, all the same as mare, meaning the sea) – the mother of numerous other gods – became the virgin mother of Jesus. By now, the movement from the Hellenic ethics in which there were no sacraments, ceremonies, sin-offerings or guilt, to a faith which redeemed man from his slavery to sin by an obscene and bloody sacrifice, was well on its way.

Of the many mystery-religions, Isis and the Magna Mater (the Great Mother, Cybele, whose Phrygian cult was introduced in Rome in 204 B.C.), were most influential on the Catholic creed. They all had characteristics in common: a purification rite of initiation, a communion with the deity, a look to the future life, a foundation dealing with a god’s life, death and coming back to life; the mourning of the dying god; the celebration of resurrection; the glorification and exalting of the god; the promise of personal salvation through sacraments; and the triumph of the God following suffering and death.

The Catholics even borrowed from the Jewish Sibylline Oracles, the works of the legendary prophetesses who tried to foretell events for their illiterate and superstitious followers. In particular, the Christ-folk were impressed with the prophetic declarations that “he shall satisfy five thousand men in the wilderness with two fishes” and “he shall raise the dead.” And thus it was that Jesus had to raise the dead and feed a multitude with fish. Then they learned about the legendary Babylonian Ebani, a wild and shaggy man who lived in the wilderness while preaching that the Kingdom of God was near. One day, he entered a boat with his disciples and a storm developed and, miracle of miracles, he stilled the waters. So Jesus had to be placed in a situation where he could still the waters when they became rough.

Like the other savior-gods, the Jesus of legend had to rise from the grave and ascent to heaven. (Among the Egyptians the ascension of Osiris was called the passion.) Like Attis, Dionysus, and Mithra, Jesus had to rise on the third day. Like Osiris, Adonis, and Attis, Jesus predestined, prepared, and assured the salvation of those who became partakers in his passion. And, naturally, Jesus had to measure up to the Greek god Poseidon and the divinized Buddha who walked on water.

Catholicism owes to the mystery-cults its ideas of secrecy, symbolism, mystical brotherhood, sacramental grace, the three stages of the spiritual life, and more. From Buddhism, for example, came these observances: monasticism, the tonsure, the use of beads, confession, penance, and absolution, relic worship and miracles wrought by the church, the purchase of salvation by gifts to the church, and the pilgrimage to sacred places. Various other so-called pagan rites, symbols, and conceptions were adopted by the church, including the form of her sacraments and the periods of her fasts and festivals.

One of the bottom lines to this inquiry encompasses the actuality that the Christ-cult did not develop as a single religion, or as the result of one, or even a few men. It became a product of the ages and a complex of many religions through the intermingling of Persian, Greek, and other doctrines, with the Mosaic elements being attached to, but not well-blended with, the myths of the Aryan and Oriental peoples. The result: a chosen Jesus, or savior, was transformed into a solar deity like Ra, the Egyptian god, and like Mithra, the Persian deity buried in a rock tomb, and like countless other savior heroes all wrapped up in one. Even the language attributed to Saul, but written long after his death, reveals a strong similarity between Christian sacraments and the terminology used in the worship of Dionysus and Mithra: “Oh mysteries truly holy… the Lord is the hierophant and seals the mystes for himself, himself the photogogue.” For these reasons, it is safe to assume that there wasn’t a great deal of controversy on the part of those individuals among the masses who switched their faithful allegiance from one savior to another. In Antioch, for instance, where the identifying termChristianwas first used, the people regularly celebrated the death and resurrection of their savior-god, Adonis. Once they converted to the new cult, they didn’t lose their old customs, they merely transformed them to Jesus called the Christ.

The second step in the development of Christism involved the ferreting out of distinctive words and statements expressing or implying prophetic and miraculous vindications of the new faith in the holy writings of the Israelites. The Catholic Doctors did it with the aid of the only basically Jewish “Old Testament” available to them, the Septuagint. Once the Gentiles accepted the Jewishness of Joshua, they discovered, as if by miracle, the “Version of the 70 – a kind of spiritual anatomy of Jewish faith, observance, culture and nation – a wealth of inspired Scripture that could be used to prove that their new Christ had the spiritual power and fitness to be chosen as the Son of God. And, lo and behold, it was written in the popular Greek language. Regardless of the degree of Old Testament accuracy or lack of same within the Septuagint – depending upon which critics are considered – it is important to recognize that the Septuagint was a treasure-trove of inestimable value to the Catholics for the singular reason that they were able to “fulfill” their theological legends through the duplicitous use of the holy writings of the Israelites.

Legend has it that King Ptolemy II of Egypt, in response to a suggestion by Demetrius Phalareus, ordered each of 70 Greek-speaking rabbis to make, on his own, a full Greek translation of the available Scriptures of the Israelites in exactly 72 days. The manuscripts would then be compared with the hope that they would all be exactly alike, showing therefore, God’s approval or miraculous assistance in the project. Obviously, they wound up with 70 garbled and variant versions of Holy Writ, since at least 250 years passed before the powers-that-were finally put the stamp of approval on the most “inspired” version, which was accepted near the beginning of the Common Era. By the 2nd century, a number of laboriously transcribed copies were probably available to the Gentiles.

In the Old Testament, prophecies are made according to events. In the New Testament, events occur according to prophecy. It was a common practice then to tailor ancient writings to fit the emotions of the day, even if a great deal of “culpable temerity” – to use Origen’s words – had to be employed in translating and/or interpreting the writings in question. The modus operandi of the Catholics was to provide the new messianic faith with a historical background on a prophetic warrant by claiming for their very own every Septuagint passage that might be interpreted in a revealing way that would vindicate and illustrate the object of their faith. For this reason, the words, “that the Scriptures might be fulfilled,” are often repeated in the New Testament.

Hand in hand with the creation of a NEW Testament – designed primarily for the purpose of proving their Christ was the same Davidic Messiah whose coming had been predicted in the Jewish Bible – the Christians began to forge their own OLD Testament, a “Christianized” version of the Septuagint, with the books aligned in exactly the same order – no coincidence, to be sure. Over hundreds of years, the Catholics fabricated, forged, edited and molded their very own HOLY BIBLE, with the Christ being the bridge linking one testament to the other, until it reflected the entire package of Christian dogma.

The Higher Critics who have studied both Judaism and Christianity have concluded that Catholicism could never be supported by straight-forward interpretations of the Jewish holy writings. Because the original Old Testament was essentially a Jewish book, any and all attempts to find in it a series of prophecies foretelling the coming of Christendom were radically wrong. The Jewish Bible never contained anything even remotely resembling the appearance upon earth of such a personality as a savior-god born of a virgin, for instance. In fact, the concept of a savior was so little Jewish that even the word was unknown to the Israelites; and the word messiah as used in Jewish Scriptures did not have the supernatural significance which it came to possess when used by Christians to describe their Christ. Only by means of forgery, misinterpretation and clever allegorization could orthodox Judaism be used to validate the existence of Gentile Catholicism. Only through duplicity could Psalm 22, for example, become the fountainhead of the Christian legend.

To create a “One Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father,” the Christ-folk rewrote the Scriptures of the Jews so that the Christ could be called “the creator even of themselves who spoke to Him”… so that he could be David’s Lord, as being Lord of all”… so that he could be called at one time “the Angel of great counsel,” and “a Man” by Exekiel, and “like the Son of Man” by Daniel, and “a child born of a virgin” by Isaiah (rather than born of a “young woman” as originally written), and “Christ and God to be worshiped” by David. They rewrote Isaiah even further for the purpose of describing the Coming One as having been “wounded” and “bruised” for the transgressions of Israel. By having to share “his grave” with the wicked and “his death” with the rich, Jesus is subjected to the same degradations as the savior-gods who preceded him. But the true Servant of Yahweh with the divine spirit upon him could never have been bruised or degraded; nor would have been chosen as a scapegoat for the sins of both Jews and Gentiles.

One of the more significant Jewish texts purloined by the Catholics was the Moses’ statement, “God will raise up for you a prophet from among your brethren…” Foreverafter, Jesus the Christ was proclaimed as the prophet whose coming was predicted by Moses. Moreover, it didn’t matter to the ruthless Catholics that when the prophets personalized their appeals to Yahweh, they were always speaking of all Jews, not one, and certainly not a messiah. “Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles” (Emphasis added.) “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” – meaning why have you forsaken Israel? ”O Yahweh, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear?” – meaning that Israel is crying out to Yahweh. “Out of Egypt have I called my son,” wrote Hosea: But Hosea meant that Israel was the son being called from Egypt. “Thou art my son [meaning Israel]; this day have I begotten thee.” “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame?” was not David’s cry; it was Israel’s cry. No! Nothing mattered to the Catholic Christians as they appropriated and twisted any and all Jewish texts that appealed to them as grist for the “prophecy” mill.

The light shining on Jesus, the interpreting of Shiloh to mean the Christian Lord, the scepter rising out of Israel, the betrayal of a familiar friend, the offering of a pain-killing drink (“they made me eat gall…”), the curing of the sick, the cries in the wilderness, the parting of garments among them, the piercing of the hands and feet, the desolation of the high places, the circumcision of Abraham (supposedly looking forward in spirit to the coming of Jesus), are choice examples of the many concepts taken from writings of the Jews never intended as support for anything outside of their own totally obsessive religion, and twisted and corrupted by Catholics in a fanciful effort to fulfill everything that they could conceive of being a “prophecy.” And then they had the mind-boggling gall to not only call their savior-god the son of the Jewish Yahweh, they salted the wound with the declaration that Israel had been abandoned by the Jewish God.2

Within the boundaries of their NEW Testament, the Catholics emphasized that the words and actions were commanded by God: “The spirit of the Lord spake unto me…” They implied that what others had said or done was similarly commanded: “The words which the Lord of hosts hath sent by his Spirit by the former prophets…” They had the Apostle Peter set forth the full inspiration of the Jewish-inspired Scripture and definitely assert that it was the direct word of God, or the Holy Spirit. They placed into the mouth of Jesus the claim that the Pentateuch was the very word pronounced by God himself; and they claimed that the Holy Spirit’s assistance in recalling the words God spoke was guaranteed to the disciples of Jesus, enabling them to say that the statements were not to be received as the words of men, but as the words of God himself – that they had been taken up by his Holy Spirit and brought by his power to the goal of his choosing. The expression “it is written” introduces between 80 to 90 quotations in the New Testament; and many quotations from the Old Testament are introduced as having been spoken through the prophets. For the purpose of repudiating the significance of mortal men, they placed these potent words into the mouth of Saul: “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” And then they enunciated the “gigantesque” claim that the prophetic element in their Bible – so obviously fraudulent – was unique in that the Bible itself “made the fulfillment of prophecy the test and proof of its own validity.” No other word to which the inscription of “sacred literature” is given, they claimed, “makes, or could make, this claim.”

In other words, via the process of underwriting their Graeco-Roman creed with Judean theology, the Catholic Christians raised theological obfuscation to the level of an art form.3

The concluding step in the creation of Christism involved the adoption of the moral precepts of the wisest thinkers of Western Asia and beyond to be blended into the legend of Jesus the Christ. There isn’t a single teaching in the Gospel that cannot be paralleled practically word for word in the ethical literature of Greeks, Romans, Hindus, Jews, and others.

The passage in Matthew 5:28 (“Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart…”), was taken almost verbatim from one of the treatises of the Talmud called Ghallah. In the little Jewish book called the Sotah, the Catholics found the worst words about the son turning against the father, the daughter against the mother, and the daughter-in-law against the mother-in-law in the time of the Messiah, “when a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Hence, in Matthew, those terrible words about hating one’s relatives are placed in the mouth of Jesus.

In other parts of the contemplative forest, Lao Tse, Buddha, Socrates and Pittacus had been teaching that good must be returned for evil; the Jews said, “Cast not your pearls before swine…” first; ”He who would do injury to another has already done it, declared Seneca; “The Gods regard with delight the man who when struck does not strike back,” says a Hindu proverb – and, lo and behold, Jesus repeats them all. Two hundred years before the Common Era, Tiberius Gracchus said that the foxes had holes and the birds had nests but man had no place to lay his head. So the Christians give the words to Jesus. As if it was his, they have Jesus repeat the old Jewish maxim about those who exalt themselves being humbled, and those who humble themselves being exalted. From Seneca, Plato, Buddha, even from the Sibyls, the Christians purloined words and ideas and used them to provide their fabricated Jesus with ethical and speculative credence.

The Christian Establishment denies the issue of plagiarism by claiming that the disciples and their proselytes would not have been capable of “inventing the remarkable statements of Jesus, which are so obviously stamped with personal originality combined with profundity of thought.” The evidence indicates, however, that the redactors had no intention of inventing anything. They confiscated, instead, the wisdom of philosophers both ancient (such as Buddha), and contemporary with the genesis of the Common Era (such as Hillel and Seneca).

Throughout the evolution of the Catholic system antinomianism, the doctrine that a state of spiritual perfection exempted men from the obligations of the moral law, circulated unchecked within the “Mystical Body of Christ.” With a scarcity of fair dealing and truthfulness that would shock an unregenerate cynic, the Christians became adept at ignoring truth or misinterpreting it to fit the latest dogma. This plethora of duplicity led the deliberate and completely fraudulous creation of the literature of the Church.

The golden age of Christian deceit began in the 2nd century and continued well into the Middle Ages. Flying in the face of Job’s words, “God does not need our lies,” the Catholic Doctors of theology professed to believe that it was an act of virtue to deceive and lie, when by that means the interests of religion might be promoted. Eusebius, for example, freely avowed that he would omit whatever might tend to the discredit of the Church and magnify whatever might contribute to her glory.

“It is not we who take our opinions from others,” argued the Christians in response to critics, “but they who take theirs from us.” The “deceiving serpent,” they claimed, had counterfeited Catholic practices in the mysteries of Mithra, Osiris, Buddha, et al, religions that antedated Christianity – some of them by centuries. Some Christians even presumed to declare that Greek philosophy was derived from what they called Hebrew wisdom, and they supported their thesis with spurious quotations from ancient Greek poetry.

To be sure, nothing in this grand procession of orthodoxy occurred quickly. Catholicism developed slowly, evolving by minute steps toward the completion of the basic Catholic foundation with its emphasis on predestination, original sin, the trinity, the incarnation, the sacrifice by God of a Son for the sins of mankind, and the resurrection. Because the Catholic cult speedily divided into quarreling sects – nearly 90 by Augustine’s time – every step of the way was marked by double-crossing, dissembling, and at times bloodshed, activities so ferocious that the emperor Julian was moved to describe theologians divided by dogma or opinion as being worse than savage beasts. For hundreds of years to follow the Catholics continued to edit, expand and fine-tune the results of their labors, in addition to squabbling over the settling of such dogmatic “innovations” as purgatory, indulgences, limbo (limbus infantium), the immaculate conception, the ascent of the Virgin Mary into heaven, and the modus operandi to be employed by inquisitors during the questioning and torturing of witches, heretics, and heathens.

Catholicism began with the conviction that “all kingdoms of the world and the glory of them” were the proper possession of Satan; but as soon as it appeared that the Emperor Constantine was on the brink of becoming a Christian, the hierarchy quickly came to the realization that the Roman idea of the State – government and religion should be one – was not an altogether bad thing. Not surprisingly, the Christian historian Eusebius described Constantine as a man “adorned with every virtue of religion.” On the other hand, Constantine, whom some historians call willful, voluptuous and self-conceited, may have realized better than most that religion is the only conceivable sanction of despotic power; ergo, he embraced Christianity for the sole purpose of enhancing his own power. In any event, it didn’t take him long to conclude that additional benefits could be accrued from his cozy relationship with the new theocracy. He and his successors were subsequently divinized by the Senate; and if with the Emperor Gratian the custom ceased, the Christian emperors were for some time afterward still spoken of as gods.

In the final analysis, the “apostolic faith” that eventually came to be known as Christianity was not the religion of Philo and his students, or of Stephen and Saul and their disciples. Instead, everything that had been achieved during the 1st century was swallowed up by the incomprehensible mysteries of Catholicism – the Christ of the Apostle’s Creed, “the only Son of God the Father Almighty”… the Christ of the Nicene Creed, ’’Very God of Very God, being of one substance with the Father”… and the Christ of the so-called Athanasian Creed, “at once perfect God and perfect Man” – with the long dead prophet of the 1st century having been transformed into the Alexandrian Christ. What was achieved was not the gathering of the Gentile world into the religious/ethical world of Hellenistic Judaism, but an overthrow of the very basis of that Gospel, with the word faith coming to be transferred from simple trust in one good and loving God to the acceptance of a series of complex propositions in abstract metaphysics that led to the virtual elimination of creative mental effort, the complete subordination of intellectualism to the dogmas and institutions of religion, a rigid fixity of institutional character, and a deadening imposition of external authority on the consciousness of men.

Once their savior-god had been created, the Catholic Christians recognized him as the divine head of their mystery-cult and themselves as his initiates and God’s chosen people. The word Christ was turned into a proper name with Jesus the Christ becoming Jesus Christ. Many minds working under an obsessive religious impulse created the legend of the pre-existent god who descended from heaven in order to become a sacrificial goat for humanity.

Christianity succeeded because out of the man sacrificed for an idea, it created the ideology of a willing self-sacrifice of one who dies for all others and for that reason alone is himself immortalized. In following this tortuous god-building path, the Christ-folk reduced the esoteric, poetic myth that developed around the original messianic legend to dogma.4 They debased it to the level of common understanding until it became only another superstition – and they did it, as French historian and critic Ernest Renan describes the process, “with mere baggage brought from the pagan mysteries.”

From a great feast of religions – in other words – the Christians stole scraps.

HISTORICAL COMMENTARY

CARPENTER, E.: “The Nicene Creed had nothing to propound except some extremely futile speculations about the relation to each other of the Father and the Son, and the relation of both to the Holy Ghost, and of all three to the Virgin Mary – speculations which only served for the renewal of shameful strife and animosities…

CARPENTER, J.E.: “At the opening of the 3rd century Christianity stands at the parting of the ways… the two great sacraments, Baptism and the Eucharist, were soon set in the light of the mystery-cults of Greece, Egypt, and the East, and the sanctity of an exclusive priesthood gradually enveloped in them.”

CELSUS, AULUS CORNELIUS: “Let no educated man enter, no wise man, no prudent man, for such things we deem evil; but whoever is ignorant… unintelligent… uneducated… simple, let him come to Christianity and be welcome.”

COBB, J.H.: “The Catholic scholar begins with Scripture and tradition, the total deposit of the faith as, and only as, this is officially interpreted by the living magisterium of the Church… when the Catholic scholar writes about Jesus, messianic prophecy, and the doctrines expressed in the various New Testament books, he is controlled at every point by loyalty to the teaching Church.”

CUMONT, FRANZ: “During the first five centuries Christians felt an unconquerable repugnance to the representation of the Savior of the world nailed to an instrument of punishment.”

DREWS, ARTHUR A.: “It is little wonder that the Fathers, from the 2nd century, saw in Mithra the most formidable foe of Christianity. Indeed, the resemblance between the two religions… were very striking.”

ELLIS, HAVELOCK: “The ascetics, those erratic and abnormal examples of the variational tendency… knew that every natural impulse of a woman is the condemnation of ascetism. All true lovers of the artificial and perverse find women repulsive…”

GOGUEL, M.: “The Hebrew text has a word which signifies ‘young woman’ and not virgin. It has no relation whatever to the Messiah. The prophecy of Isaiah relates to the deliverance of Jerusalem besieged by the king of Syria.”

HATCH, E.: “Prophesying died when the Catholic Church was formed. The voice of the prophet had ceased, and the voice of the preacher had begun… when one generation was bound to accept the symbolical interpretations of its predecessors…”

MANSON, T.W.: “The 80 or 90 sects into which Christianity speedily divided, hated one another with an intensity that provoked the wonder of Julian and the ridicule of the Pagans.”

MILL, JOHN STUART: “It is one of the most tragical facts of all history that Constantine, rather than Marcus Aurelius, was the first Christian emperor. It is a bitter thought how different the Christianity of the world might have been, had it been adopted as the religion of the empire under the auspices of Aurelius…”

MOORE, G.F.: “Christians found the distinctive doctrines of Christianity expressed or implied in all parts of the Old Testament. With the weapon of allegorical exegesis in her hands, the Church was able to defend the Old Testament, and to read into it whatever she judged to be ‘spiritual’ truth.”

MURRAY, GILBERT: “The Gnostic redeemer has various names which the name of Jesus or ‘Christos’, ‘the Anointed’, tends gradually to supersede… in some sense Man, or ‘the second Man’ or ‘the Son of Man’… He is the real, the ultimate, the perfect and eternal Man, of whom all men are feeble copies.”

PFLEIDERER, O.: “Not because the heathen were irreligious, but because they were so incurably and tenaciously religious, Catholic propagandists actually made little headway with them at first.”

REYNOLDS, REGINALD: “In its first embraces with Roman civilization, the Christian Church would appear to have done little to preserve, and a great deal to undermine, the standards of cleanliness among the people. Thus we read of the Blessed St. Jerome rebuking the dames who followed him for too much washing.”

ROBERTSON, J.M.: “It was the insistence on the imminent end of the world, the preaching of celibacy, the disparagement of earthly dignitaries, the vehement assault on the standing cults of the State, no less than the refusal to sacrifice to the emperor’s statue, that had so long made Christism seem the natural enemy of all civil government.”

SILVER, ABBA: “The major effect of most of the New Testament writers was to ‘Christianize’ the Bible, and the Rabbis were constantly engaged in opposing their views.”

SMITH, G.B.: “When one recalls the innumerable stories of sacred dramas, serious or comic, narrated in The Golden Bough, with the killing of their kings of masquerade, or the mysteries of Osiris, one asks by what somber coincidence the execution of Jesus repeats most of the features of those terrible festivals…”

SMITH, ROBERTSON: “In almost every case, the myth was derived from the ritual, and not the ritual from the myth.”

TAYLOR, HENRY OSBORN: “The Fathers of the Church were accustomed to a historical tradition and practice in which facts were presented so as to conduce worthy ends.”

Ibid.: “Whether a Church which stands convicted of having forged its Creed would have any scruples of forging its Gospels, is a problem that the reader will solve according to the influence of prejudice or probability on his mind.”

TENANT, F. ROBERT: “Christians were not persecuted because of their creed, but because of their universal claims… With sublime audacity the followers of Jesus proclaimed that Christ must be all and in all… emblazoned on its banners its loathing and disdain for all the cults around.

TERTULLIAN (Roman theologian – circa 150 to 230): “I believe because it is unbelievable… the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed because it is absurd. And He was buried and rose again; the fact is certain because it is impossible.”

 


1  The Christian hell, it seems, is always just around the corner from the Christian heaven.

2  Israelites were the Chosen People in the Old Testament; but their special status ceased after Christ began his ministry. From then on, God’s Chosen People are those who believe in Christ. Thus speaks the invincibly ignorant Christian, blissfully unaware of the fact that he is spitting in the face of Judaism.

3  The patent use of Jewish propositions to support non-Jewish doctrines backfired when a Bishop tried to influence the King of the Khazars to convert to Christianity. Rejecting both Christism and Islam, the Khazars converted to Judaism around A.D. 740. The common denominator shared by the three faiths; the Old Testament, which originated with Judaism, indicated to them that the Jews were “nearer {…}

4  Religious myths are conceits, born of metaphors. They are produced by poets and corrupted by power-hungry theologians. ’Twas ever thus.

SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, January 1991

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