Passion of Sophia – Gnostic Creation

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In the two slightly different tellings of the Gnostic creation story we have at the center our Divine Mother Sophia. Before we get to the shortened Passion of Sophia we really need to know a little more about Gnosticism, starting with Sant Mat.

The term Sant Mat literally translates as the Path of the God-Realized. A Sant is defined as an individual that has attained to the highest spiritual potential to which any human can aspire – complete self-knowledge and God-realization. This spiritually transfigured being, is commissioned by his own Sat Guru, as the literal embodiment of the Sat Purusha, the True God, sitting in all humility amongst humanity. His way, according to Sant Mat, is that of love, forgiveness and compassion. He teaches the necessity of individual spiritual awakening through certain methods of meditation practice. He also teaches the cultivation of ethical virtues including strict vegetarianism as an essential aspect of ahimsa, the virtue of non-violence.

One of the cardinal functions of a Sat Guru is to absolve through his own grace, sympathy and suffering, the accumulated karma of the spiritual aspirant, referring to the cycle of action and reaction that keeps the soul bound in creation, and is the motor force of the wheel of birth and death, the cycle of reincarnation. Without this forgiveness of the karmas of the past, there can be no liberation, for the soul remains ever bound in the karmic wheel. Therefore the guru, as the Word-made-flesh, the embodiment of Spirit incarnate in human form, plays a critical and central role in Sant Mat, and is regarded as an absolute prerequisite on the path of spiritual liberation.

The spiritual practices taught by the Sant: meditation on the inner spiritual Light and Divine Music. The spiritual practice is based on the belief that creation emerges as a state of vibration having two aspects: Light and Sound, termed the God-Into-Expression power, as its true nature is consciousness itself. The spiritual aspirant is guided into contact with the lowest links of these spiritual principles, as they represent the fundamental and formless nature of spirit and regarded as a direct contact with spirit. The first method involves meditation on the Ajna Chakra or third eye, while repeating a mantra consisting of five names, given by the Spiritual Master. These five names relate to the five major divisions of creation and are imbued with the spiritual power of the Sant who has attained each of these stages. They are also said to confer protection on the inner spiritual planes. Meditation at this center, leads to the awakening of inner vision and revelations of light.

The second spiritual practice is meditation on the inner spiritual sound. This practice does not involve any mantra, but attunement within to inner harmonics that first are heard on the right side, then gradually seems to come from above, changing character at each stage and having the quality of dramatic musical tones.

The practice of meditation on the Light and Sound principle as the fundamental worship of spirit, can be traced through various schools of Sufism, through the ancient Upanishads of India, through the practices and references of the Pythagorans and in the Egyptian Book of the Dead itself. It can also be found in the writings of the Gnostics: “I cast a Sound into the ears of those who know me. And I am inviting you into the exalted perfect Light.” – Trimorphic Protennoia

The Sant’s teach that their path has been maintained in its pristine form, unchanged and unchanging in its spiritual principles and practices, and as ancient as humanity. However, its outer expression and terminology has taken different forms according to the circumstance of the time. Kirpal Singh quoting Hazur Baba Sawan Singh in his biography of Hazur: “True Saints are not fastened to any religious sect or dress. They are free personalities. They are neither a party to one nor a foe to the other.”

In other words, in the mind of the Sants, they regard the spiritual teaching as universal, not a distinct sect or cult, but a basic spiritual dharma or truth teaching that is for all humanity regardless of their cultural/religious background. Therefore, they are not tied to any place, time or religious identity but adapt to the environment of the time.

Gnosis is a term synonymous with the Sanskrit term Gnana, and distinguishes direct spiritual realization from belief based on faith alone. As the Christian church grew and attempted to standardize, socialize and politicize its beliefs and doctrines, these mystic schools of Christian thought were increasingly viewed as heretical. Over several centuries, the church gained political power, suppressed the Gnostics and systematically destroyed their works. It was only in the latter part of the nineteenth century that original Gnostic writings came to light. In the early nineteen forties the remains of an entire library of Gnostic literature was found buried near the village of Nag Hammadi in Egypt.

The esoteric spirituality of the Gnostics existed within the setting of a great cosmic drama in which humanity is held captive by a creator God who functions through the rule of law (karma), and seduces man into his false worship. Yahweh is one of the many names of this false God. The True God on the other hand is a transcendent and Unknowable Absolute whose realm is the true place of spiritual liberation and whose nature is truth, love and forgiveness.

As with most of the great myths and “fairy tales” of the old world, story and allegory are meant to speak to the innermost recesses of the heart, mind and spirit. These are esoteric tales regarded as a symbolic/mythic rendering of the actual process and structure of creation. Some of the chief characters such as Sat Purush (The True Form of God/Gnostic: The Only-Begotten) and the opposing force, the energy that gives rise to materiality and rules the realms of karma, known as Kal (Dharam Rai, the Negative Power/Gnostic: Ialdabaoth, the Demiurge, etc.) are a very real presence in the discourses of the Gurus of Sant Mat.

Formless God and the Eternal Realm of God’s Attributes The Eternally Unmanifested Absolute takes form as the Timeless,
Changeless and Perfect Realm, known as Sach Khand (the True Realm) in Sant Mat or the Pleroma (fullness) of the Gnostics. Its inhabitants are the Perfect, Eternal and Distinct Elements of the Divine Totality. According to the teaching of Sant Mat in all ages, it is not given to the hypostasized elements of the Absolute to have the experience of the Wholeness from which their distinction takes its value.

”Only human beings, of all creation, can realize God within their lifetime. In the mystery of humanity is the opportunity for reconciliation between the parts and the whole and in this is hidden the very purpose of creation. It has been said that if even the angels wish to realize God, they too must take on human form, through which the potential for Godconsciousness may be fulfilled.” – Kirpal Singh

“In one there is always the delusion of many, and the totality does signify the existence therein of so many parts. The idea of a part and of the whole go cheek by jowl, and both the part as well as the whole are characterized by the similarity of the essential nature in them. The essence of a thing has its own attributive nature and the two cannot be separated from each other. Just as the essence is both one and many, so is the case with its attributive nature.” – Kirpal Singh

The Gnostic term, Pleroma and the eastern term, Sach Khand, are used interchangeably. These cosmic attributes are known as the Sons of Sat Purush in the East and the Aeons in Gnosticism. Sat Purush or the Only-Begotten is the Aeon that is the Being or the Mind, of the Absolute: pure consciousness and consciousness on all planes, thus also the bridge to creation proper.

“The Only-Begotten Mind alone, having issued from him directly, can know the Fore-Father: to all the other Aeons he remains invisible and incomprehensible.” – Hans Jonas

‘It was a great marvel that they were in the Father without knowing Him.’ – Gospel of Truth 22.27

Creation, Version One:
The myths now run in distinct and precisely opposite directions, at least in the Gnostic forms. The Kabiran version and one of the Gnostic versions states that there was an Aeon that cherished a desire for its own creation as an inherent part of its nature. We could say that the potential for separation from God is itself an Aeon. This leads ultimately to a creation existing in negative polarity with eternal Sach Khand, spinning the universes that exist in Time.

This separative Aeon, known as Mind or Time (Kal), is Sat Purusha’s first expansion in the Gnostic version and fifth in the Kabiran version. Kabir’s Anurag Sagar states that “He is created from the most glorious part of the body of Sat Purush”. Thus Sat Purush is cosmically linked to the “lower” creation, which eventually develops through Kal’s activity. In this we are warned away from value judgements of good/evil, and reminded that this entire process is under Divine Will (Hukam).

This Aeon was female: “Rushing up to the depth of the Father, she perceives that whereas all the begotten Aeons generate by copulation, the Father alone generates out of himself (being in this version without consort); in this she wants to emulate him and also generate out of herself without spouse, so that she may not fall short of the Father’s achievement. She failed to perceive that this is the power solely of the Unbegotten One, and so she managed only to bring forth a formless entity.”

Creation, Version Two:
In the second Gnostic version, the motivation is exactly the opposite; rather than a desire for separation, there is a longing for union. Structurally the tale is very similar in many respects. Here the longing of the Aeon, Sophia, to know the Absolute completely, is the primary force that sets in motion the process that eventually leads to
the development of the lower creation.

So it was that: “The Aeons longed only secretly to behold the begetter of their seed and to search for the root without beginning.” This longing is “the beginning of a crisis in the Pleroma”…since the Aeons “cannot forgo the aspiration to know more than their limits permit and thus to abolish the distance separating them from the Absolute. The last and youngest (and therefore outermost of the Aeons), the Sophia, leapt farthest forward and fell into a passion apart from the embrace of her consort. That passion had originated and spread from the vicinity of the Mind and Truth but now infected
the Sophia and broke out in her so that she went out of her mind, pretendedly from love, actually from folly or presumption, since she had no such community with the Father as the Only-Begotten Mind…The passion was a search for the Father, for she strove to comprehend his greatness. This, however, she failed to achieve, because what she attempted was impossible, and so she found herself in great agony; on account of the depth of the Abyss, into which in her desire she penetrated more and more, she would in the end have been swallowed up by its sweetness and dissolved in the
general being, had she not come up against the power that consolidates the All and keeps it off the ineffable Greatness. This power is called Limit: by him she was consolidated, brought back to herself, and convinced that the Father is incomprehensible. Thus she abandoned her previous intention and the passion engendered by it. These, however, now subsist by themselves as a ‘formless entity.'”

Sophia’s return to harmony in the Pleroma is, as noted by Jonas, “..the first restoration and salvation in the spiritual history of total being, and it occurs entirely inside the Pleroma, though as we shall see it is the cause of a chain of events outside it.”

The image of what has taken place in the Pleroma itself, indicates that the Aeon’s longing, which will ‘later’ lead to the lower creation, is eternally latent, eternally activated, and eternally reconciled. This certainly casts the mold for the triune attributes of creation described by Hinduism, that is, the triple Godhead and the three gunas. However, Kabir and Soami Ji assert that Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, satogun, rajogun, and tamogun come much later, far outside Sach Khand. In the meantime, ‘the formless entity’ created by Sophia’s passion, as we shall see, becomes the basis of all subsequent creation outside the Pleroma.

Creation Born of Sophia’s Passion
Once the “integrity of the Pleroma” had been restored and Sophia rejoined to her consort, she contemplated on her fate and the ‘formless entity’ to which her passion has given birth. This gives rise to various emotions, which also become embodied in the formless. The emotions evoked vary according to different Gnostic authors, but include grief, fear, bewilderment, shock, and repentance. A lesser Aeon is thus created out of the admixture of the Sophia’s longing for union, as well as her emotions in the wake of her failure.

The residue of this disturbance in the Pleroma “has become hypostatized as a positive realm by itself. Only at this price could the Pleroma be rid of it.” Thus the Limit (‘which separates the Aeons from the unbegotten Father” above and the ‘formless entity’, soon to be below – NT.) was not planned in the original constitution of the Fullness, i.e., of the free and adequate self-expression of the godhead, but was necessitated by the crisis as a principle of consolidation and protective separation.”

As ignorance and formlessness had appeared within the Pleroma, deep perturbation remained among the Aeons, who no longer felt safe, fearing like happenings to themselves.” A collective prayer to the Father invokes a new pair of Aeons whose purpose is to restore true serenity to the Pleroma and take care of the residual formlessness. These are Christos and Holy Spirit. The Christos imparts to the Aeons knowledge of their relationship to the Father that leads them to perfect repose. “As a fruit of their new unity, they all together, each contributing the best of his essence, produce an additional (and unpaired) Aeon, Jesus, in whom the Fullness is, as it were, gathered together and the regained unity of the Aeons symbolized. This ‘perfect fruit of the Pleroma,’ who contains all its elements, has later, as Savior, to carry in his person the Fullness out into the Void, in which the residue of the past disturbance, meanwhile
“formed” by Christos, still awaits salvation.”

The new Aeon, the Desire of the Sophia, is now separated as an entity unto itself, is called the Achamoth or the lower Sophia. Together with the Passions she is cast “outside” the Pleroma. Energized by the Christos reaching out from the Pleroma, she is left “with the awakened awareness of her separation from the Pleroma and the aroused longing for it. This initiates a redemptional task whose accomplishment requires a long detour of suffering and successive divine interventions.” In other words lower creation now becomes an inevitable development, yet paradoxically essential for
the higher purpose of reconciliation.

“The deserted Sophia impetuously sets out to seek after the vanished light, but cannot reach it, for the Limit obstructs her forward rush. She cannot penetrate through him, because of her admixture of the original Passion, and forced to remain alone in the outer darkness she falls prey to every kind of suffering that exists. In this she repeats on her own level the scale of emotions which her mother in the Pleroma underwent, the only difference being that these passions now pass over into the form of definitive states of being, and as such they can become the substance of the world… grief, because she could not get hold of the light; fear, lest besides the light also life might leave her; bewilderment, added to these; and all of them united in the basic quality of ignorance (itself counted as an ‘affection’). And still another state of mind ensued: the turning (conversion) toward the Giver of Life.”

The essential ignorance of the Demiurge, which leads him to declare himself to be the “unique and highest God”. “Ialdabaoth was boastful and arrogant, and exclaimed: ‘I am Father and God, and beyond me is none other.’” However, the processes he sets in motion, believing them to be his own, are in fact, fashioned by his mother. In this it is again suggested that no matter how ‘fallen’ creation ultimately becomes, the entire process is an expression of Divine Will.

The polarity between an ignorant creator God, well removed from even his Mother, and a far distant Eternity of Consciousness, i.e., the True God, is at the center of Gnostic and Sant Mat theology. Soami Ji repeatedly asserts, as did the Gnostics, that the God of the various world religions is none other then Kal or the Demiurge. Therefore, his worship is false and leads to ever-greater enmeshment rather than true liberation.

The Achamoth, the lower Sophia, leads the Demiurge into the knowledge of what is above him; “however, he keeps to himself the great mystery of the Father and the Aeons into which the Sophia has initiated him and divulges it to none of his prophets.” Imparting knowledge of the Father to the lower creation itself is left to “the incarnation of the Aeons Jesus and Christos from the Pleroma in the person of the historical Jesus.” This, at least, is an interpretation of
the Valentinian perspective, that being the Christian Gnostic tradition from which this story is derived. However, the extension of this concept in other Gnostic circles and so essential to Sant Mat, is that the incarnation in the world of “the common fruit” of the Pleroma, to bring salvation to the lower creation, is a perpetual manifestation,
somehow essential to the structure of the world. This is none other then the Living Master, the Grace bearing manifestation of Sat Purush. In this conception, the Godman, or Word-Made-Flesh, is ever present in the world, not a periodic incarnation as with Vishnu, or one that appears once in history and then again at the end of time, returning as judge and savior, as in the Christian conception.

Unwittingly, the Demiurge, (also known as Ialdabaoth), is led to the creation of godlike, yet innocent primal humanity, but leaves them in ignorance of their true origin and potential. His mother, the lower Sophia, however, working through the snake of wisdom, imparts Adam with gnosis, the spiritual knowledge of his true station. Seeing this awakened state, the jealous and angry Demiurge casts humankind farther into matter, where human nature recapitulates the passions and longing of its high progenitors. This, of course, is the tale of Adam and Eve turned on its head. The first children are
banished, not by God, but their apparent creator, who is, in fact, an impostor.

Despite the jealous machinations of the Demiurge it is the destiny of humanity to be the receptacle of the highest mysteries.

“…Listen to me, the Sound of the Mother of your mercy, for you have become worthy of the mystery hidden from the Aeons..” – Trimorphic Protennoia Nag Hammadi Library p.467

“Behold, Zostrianos, you have heard all these things of which the gods are ignorant..” – Zostrianos Nag Hammadi Library p.392

According to the Gnostics, the hope for salvation from the bondage of Time proceeds from the original passion for mergence in the Absolute God of the primal Sophia, which necessitated creation in the first place.

“Since Oblivion (the lower world) came into existence because they (the Aeons) did not know the Father, therefore if they attain to a knowledge of the Father, Oblivion becomes at that very instant nonexistent”

“Thus the world, unbeknown to its immediate author, is for the sake of salvation, not salvation for the sake of what happened within creation and to creation.” – Gospel of Truth 18. 7-14

In Gnostic theology there is no primal act, such as Eve’s so-called sin against God’s commandment, for which, all of humanity collectively partakes in guilt and for which salvation exists as a path to restoration, according to Christian doctrine. Indeed, true Gnosis is not the reconciliation of God and his rebellious creation, but in the poignant metaphor of the Gnostics, the vicarious fulfillment of the longing of the eternal Children of God, the Aeons, to merge in the Absolute. In this noble vision, though creation is a bridge extending from the fully illuminated realms to the dark, density of matter, this long journey out into Time and Mind generates a path of return transcending all attributes and merging in the undifferentiated Source.

“In Your Absence,
where is the once blooming
and ecstatic state of my heart?
I’m afraid lest the secret of our love
may be disclosed now.
Otherwise, who knew this hidden tale besides You.” – Sant Kirpal Singh

Source used: Dr. Neil Tessler’s book Sant Mat and the Gnostic Myth of Creation
If this resonates with you I recommend the Gnostic book Pistis Sophia (http://gnosis.org/library/psoph.htm)

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Gnostic Chrestians

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The Historical Jesus Christ (the presentation of “the Christ” as taught through the medium of a presumed historical person to serve as an example for all mankind to emulate and follow), is not all there is to christianity. It’s the milk for the infant spirit, to awaken it to the mythical and then the amazing mystical. Every major religion has it’s mystical counter part, Islam included (called Sufism).

The Mythical Jesus Christ is the personification of the Sun as it moves on its prescribed path through the Heavens where we find it moving through each house of the Zodiac which goes hand in hand with the changing seasons of the year [Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, Winter Solstice.

The Mystical Jesus Christ is the allegorical expression of a hidden teaching, a secret doctrine, given under strict and exacting conditions to approved candidates by the Ancient Masters of Spiritual Wisdom regarding the descent of the Logos (God) into matter, ie., mankind.

What escapes the vast majority of Christianity in today’s world is that many of the stories of these “solar gods” and “godmen” down through history which parallel the events in the life of the New Testament “Christ” as found in the New Testament and which appear at first thought to be apparently historical were really purely allegorical. This is why the stories of Osiris, Horus, Dionysus, Attis, Adonis, Mithra, and a host of others read like the New Testament “Jesus Story”. Nowhere is it more necessary to understand this than when we are studying the story of Jesus, surnamed “the Christ”, for when we fail to separate the allegory from the literal truth, and see where the symbols have been mistakenly taken and believed as “historical” events, allegories as histories, we lose most of the instructiveness of the narrative and much of its “Eternal Truth” once given to the Ancient Spiritual Masters. Men fear that Christianity will be weakened when one comes to this understanding, and that it is “dangerous” to admit that events thought to be “historical” have a deeper significance in both a “mythical” and “mystic meaning”. Those who advocate not delving into these deeper areas of understanding of “the Christ” keep others from recovering the truths concerning “the Christ” as the Ancients who gave us those concepts understood them and “him” in the first place. Let us not forget that as Egypt taught in the beginning of recorded history mankind was made in the image of God and not God in the image of man!

The “Mystical Jesus Christ” is how the earliest Christians (actually called Chrestians, not Christians; Chrestians literally means The Good Ones) and the First New Testament from Marcion, which Rome would later corrupt and destroy, understood “the Christ” as a Divine Allegory of a Divine Concept inherent within all of mankind and not exclusive to just one person. That is why this First New Testament of these earliest Gnostic “Chrestian” believers did not teach a “fleshly” or a “historical Jesus Christ”. Nor did the authentic letters of Paul in the modern New Testament teach a Jesus of flesh. His letters were edited, and even misrepresented to make it look like Paul, a Gnostic, hated Gnostics. What a cruel thing to do! An Epistle of Paul are truly now just ”a piss hole of Rome.”

The “Gnostic” understanding of “the Christ” would be lost to the world by the fifth century and forced “underground” by Roman Christianity and their military might. These earlier Gnostic Spiritual Masters were almost persecuted out of existence by Rome and the “Divine Allegory of the Christ Within” would be later “literalized” by Rome in their Second New Testament. Lost to the world will be the earliest understanding of “the Jesus Christ” as known since the beginning of recorded time. This is where most of Christianity exists today believing in a “Literalized Jesus Christ” which has been presented as a historical person when the deeper truths of the “Christ Within” are seldom heard and that goes double for the “Mythical Christ”.

Christians and followers of “the Christ” have a spiritual book given us by Rome that is “forged” in key places which hides these deeper truths from us. It is well past time we get new “keys” to understand our Creator and His true message to us.

Gnosticism flourished in Egypt and Western Asia between 250 B.C. and AD. 400. It was a Theosophic movement made up of elements of Egyptian mythology, Indian metaphysics, Judaism, and Greek philosophy. Gnosticism was overwhelmed by Orthodox Christianity in the fourth century, AD., but some of the lost Gnostic literature has been recovered. The ancient Gnostics were those who “knew”, just as the modern Agnostics are those who “do not know”. Gnostics believed in a Supreme God who was both unknown and unknowable. This unknown god was not the creator of the world; this task was delegated to lesser gods (the demiurge), who were emanations of this Supreme God. Egypt called this the “many in the One”. These subordinate gods or emanations (attributes) from the One true God, who created and governed the world, were called “Aeons”. Among the Aeons were:

 

The Logos (The Word, Christ [masculine])

 

Sophia (Wisdom [feminine])

 

Nous (Mind)

 

Phronesis (Judgment)

 

Dynamis (Power)

 

All of the above are but attributes of the One Supreme Mind, they exist separately but yet are interrelated. The Supreme God and the Aeons altogether formed the Pleroma (Fullness of the Godhead).

After the Roman Emperor Constantine made the Christian religion the State religion of the empire the remaining Gnostics were persecuted out of existence and their literature was destroyed. How and why Gnosticism was destroyed by organized Christianity is, as a rule, glossed over in history textbooks. One American scholar has penned an accurate and colorful account of these episodes. Please read the following slowly and gleam the truths from it:

“Preceding Christianity there was a school of science and philosophy which had accumulated practically all the wisdom and knowledge understandable to mankind. The object was to broadly educate the masses of the people by a unit system which would give to humanity a wisdom in common. This was the most potential period in human intellectual advancement the world has known. This school was called Gnosticism. Gnosis means to know – knowledge. Christianity means to believe – ignorance. These are the two schools; the one advocating the universal education of men, the other the universal ignorance of men. The one desired to develop the unit man, the other desired to suppress the unit and level all mankind to a common plastic mass. To accomplish this necessitated the suppressing of all extant knowledge; the closing of all the avenues through which people might acquire independent learning, education and intellectual training, and the debasement of humanity in abject ignorance The school which pitted itself against Gnosticism assumed the name Ecclesia. This name at once identified the purpose for which the organization was created to seize control of government, that it might exploit mankind for profit, and for its own glorification. Temporal power was the church goal. The name Ecclesia was derived from the Greek, and signified the legislative body which governed ancient Athens long before Christianity was invented. The first essential act of the Eccliesiasts was to suppress Gnosticism, and confiscate its vast accumulation of wisdom and knowledge, in order to control the education of future generations in a manner to adjust mankind to its purposes. Therefore the Gnostic wisdom was not wholly lost to the world but its great, universal educational system was supplanted and displaced. It is a well-established historical fact, not denied by the church that it required about 500 years to accomplish this submersion of Gnosticism, and to degrade the new generations in ignorance equal to the state of imbecility. History again points its accusing finger at the living evidence. The horrible results of such a crime against nature and mankind are pictured in the Dark Ages .. . Not even priests or prelates were permitted to learn to read or write. Even bishops could barely spell out their Latin. During this period of mental darkness, the ignorant masses were trained in intolerance, bigotry, fanaticism, and superstitious fear of an invisible power secretly controlled by the church; all of which begat a state of hysteria and imbecility. Through this terrorism popes seized control of the temporal power, retaining this control for nearly 1500 years. They appointed and deposed kings at will, hence they dictated legislation to their ends and purposes – the very essence of government . . . This process of legislating evil into mankind is to vindicate that damnable doctrine of original sin, which slanders nature and insults all mankind . . . Originally the motive was to confiscate the intellects of man, but the modern policy is much more concerned in confiscating their personal rights and property. Here is the other aspect of the suppression of Gnosticism. Its method of teaching was an understandable symbolism. It specifically recognized nature as the great teacher, and visible things as the traditional records of past events, in progressive evolution from the lowest state to the highest, with thinking, reasoning man as the highest evoluted being. Man did not fall, he was raised up by a natural promotion. Hence every man was a Gnostic to the extent of his accumulated knowledge and understanding. Thus each unit man became a teacher, and all men were given equal rights in the acquirement of knowledge. It was wholly an educational system, and a natural consequence in evolution. The Eccliesiasts, the Roman church, being thoroughly familiar with the Gnostic wisdom concerning astronomy, chemistry, and mathematics, as demonstrated by the splendid systems of Babylon, Egypt and Assyria, conceived the idea of developing a religio-political form of universal government, to control and exploit the future generations of people upon the earth through living, personified agents of the imaginary heavenly powers. . . to monopolize such a divine power as that contemplated it was necessary to personify nature, using the Gnostic system of symbolisms, and to give to these wholly imaginary beings names and functions. The Gnostic system had to be confiscated, and Gnosticism suppressed, to prevent exposure. This is why Christianity is so viciously antagonistic towards science and philosophy.” ~ (Thomas Sawyer Spivey; The Last of The Gnostic Masters, pp. 544-551.)

 

source: Craig M. Lyons Ms.D., D.D., M.Div. – Bet Emit (House of Truth)

 

Jesus Myth – The Case Against Historical Christ

The majority of people in the world today assume or believe that Jesus Christ was at the very least a real person. Perhaps he wasn’t really “the Messiah”, perhaps he was not “The Son of God”, and perhaps he didn’t actually perform miracles and rise from the dead, but he really was a great moral teacher who traveled around Galilee with followers and got arrested by the Jews and crucified by the Romans right?

Not likely. In fact, a close examination of the evidence shows that the best explanation for the story of “Jesus Christ” is what we call “mythology”. The case that I will be outlining here is that there never was any “Jesus Christ” nor any meaningful real life basis for the story of “Jesus Christ”. Like many other religious figures, “Jesus Christ” began as a theological concept, was later used as a character in allegorical stories, and was then historicized as someone whom people believed really existed. The belief in a literal “human” Jesus most likely emerged as eucharist rituals and theology developed around the concept of the “flesh” and “blood” of Christ and these concepts merged with allegorical narratives about the figure.

What is the basis for the claim that “Jesus never existed”?

Actually, there are many important facts that support this conclusion. First let’s look at an outline of some of the major points in this case:

None of these points are meant to stand on their own, but collectively they provide a very strong argument against the story of Jesus Christ being based on a real person.

It is important to note that we have one, and only one, source of information about the life of Jesus and that is the Christian Gospels. The Gospels are the sole source of information about this figure; everything that we “know” about “him” depends on these sources.

There are two basic views of the Biblical Jesus as a real person today, the religious Christian view and the secular historical view. The religious Christian view takes the Gospels as accurate and reliable accounts of the life of Jesus, including all of the miracles. The religious Christian view demands that Jesus Christ was a popular and well known figure in the region, who drew crowds of thousands of people and performed great miracles, who was such a revolutionary figure that the Jewish priesthood was compelled to have him arrested and put to death in dramatic fashion before hundreds or thousands of witnesses.

The secular historical view, which may also be held by some Christians,  takes the Gospels as exaggerated accounts of the life of a real Jesus. The secular historical view basically starts with the Gospels and then removes the fantastic or “supernatural” claims in the Gospels and accepts what is left as history. The secular historical view tends to minimize the role of Jesus in the region, stating instead that he was barely noticed by others. Secular historians who believe that Jesus existed rely on the Gospels as essentially historical, but inflated, accounts of his life.

But are the Gospels reliable historical accounts?

Click the links or visit the original website here:  Jesus Myth – The Case Against Historical Christ.

Rescuing the Bible from Literalism

As you can probably tell, saving Christianity and Christ Consciousness from religion is very important to me. Sometimes it feels like it was my mission before being born. Maybe I was burned as a heretic in a past life…

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By RICHARD SMOLEY

“The world,” wrote the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, “is the totality of facts, not of things.” So it is, but facts take many forms. The hard-edged events of ordinary reality are only one form, and not always the most important.

This insight can be hard to accept in the positivist world of mainstream Western thought. In these terms, either an event took place or it did not. Truth and falsehood are judged by this criterion alone. And yet such a stance has only a limited value. It is indispensable in history and journalism and perhaps in science (although the anomalous discoveries of twentieth-century physics have blurred the picture somewhat). But in the spiritual dimension, even though there are facts here as well, they are not of this kind. To overlook this truth is to mistake one reality for another.

Conventional Christianity has often made this mistake. Practically from the start, it has presented its case in literalistic terms: the Bible is true; moreover it is literally true. Its facts must be historical facts, and its record of the past must be a true one. At first these claims fostered Christianity’s rapid success in the ancient world. By the early centuries of the Common Era, Greco-Roman civilisation could no longer take its own myths seriously, so it was persuaded to adopt the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians on the grounds that these presented not only sacred truths but an accurate record of the past.

Since the Enlightenment, such claims have been more of an embarrassment than an advertisement for the faith. Over the last 250 years, scholars in many fields have taken Christianity at its word and investigated in great depth just how much the Bible jibes with science and history. The findings have not exactly vindicated the Good Book. Indeed the trend over time has been to call more and more of the Bible into question as a historical record.

From a scientific point of view, the tide began to turn in the early nineteenth century. In 1830–32, the British scientist Charles Lyell published his classic Principles of Geology, arguing that geological changes that are recorded in rocks could not possibly have taken place in the mere 6,000 years that Genesis assigned to the earth’s lifetime, but had occurred over a much longer period. A generation later, another, even more famous scientist, Charles Darwin, suggested that animal species had not been created by the Almighty on a single day of creation in 4004 BCE, but had evolved over much longer periods by what he called “natural selection.” (In fact, when Darwin had finished his magnum opus, The Origin of Species, he sent it to Lyell for comments.)

Historicity of the Bible Questioned

In recent decades, archaeology has cast doubt even on parts of the Bible that had seemed more or less factual, such as the history of Israel in the Old Testament. To take one example, a generation ago most scholars accepted the historicity of the Exodus from Egypt, believing at least that some migration of this kind happened, even if the narrative had to be stripped of its miraculous festoonings. Since then, the picture has changed considerably. Summarising recent findings in their 2001 book The Bible Unearthed, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman contend that the Exodus did not happen in any form that is recognisable from the archaeological record. The first mention of Israel in any known inscription, they note, dates from the reign of the Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah in 1207 BCE. While this is around the time traditionally assigned to the Exodus, the inscription speaks not of a flight of Israelites (or even an expulsion), but of Merneptah’s successful incursion into Canaan, where Israel is reckoned among the peoples subdued. In any case, the Israelites could not have escaped to Canaan out of the hands of the Egyptians, because Canaan was part of Egyptian territory at the time; Merneptah’s invasion would have been to quiet a troublesome province.

Instead, Finkelstein and Silberman suggest that the biblical account of the Exodus is a composite of folk memories of the Hyksos – a Semitic people who ruled Egypt from c.1670 to c.1570 BCE before being expelled by the Egyptians. The Exodus story as we know it was framed in the seventh century BCE, when the national ideology of Jerusalem and the nation of Judah was beginning to crystallise – and Egypt was a powerful and aggressive neighbour.

Other scholars have come up with equally revolutionary insights. In her work The Great Angel, the British biblical scholar Margaret Barker points out that originally the Israelites worshipped a female goddess, known as Asherah (or sometimes as Hokhmah or “Wisdom”), as the consort of Yahweh, alongside El, the Most High God, and Yahweh himself, who was essentially a national deity allocated to Israel alone. Barker suggests that the famous Deuteronomic reform under the Judahite King Josiah – in which Josiah purges the Temple of these other gods and restores the worship of Yahweh alone (2 Kings 22-23) – was not a reform but an innovation, a purge of time-honoured traditions in an attempt to create a “Yahweh-alone movement.” This movement eventually took over Judaism after the Babylonian Exile and imposed its own agenda on the past.

One could make similar points about much of the rest of the Bible. The “quest of the historical Jesus,” as Albert Schweitzer so famously dubbed it, has gone on for over two centuries now without any really conclusive results. Most scholars are convinced that there is some admixture of myth and legend in the life of Christ as portrayed in the New Testament, but they differ enormously about just what was legend and what was not. The panel of liberal New Testament scholars known as the Jesus Seminar has won some notoriety for contending that Jesus neither said nor did most of the things attributed to him in the Gospels. As shocking as some may find this claim, it is hardly new: an array of German New Testament scholars reached much the same conclusions in the nineteenth century. A still more radical view holds that Jesus never existed at all: his story was merely a Jewish equivalent of the numerous death-and-resurrection myths circulating in the ancient world. Since there is no archaeological evidence for Christ’s life, and the textual evidence is elusive (none of the Gospels, canonical or apocryphal, even claims to be an eyewitness account), this position, as extreme as it is, is hard to definitively refute.

Biblical Stories as Allegory, Not History

What, then, are we to do with the Bible as history? Some will no doubt cling to it. The literary critic Harold Bloom has noted that in evangelical Christianity, the “limp leather Bible,” waved at the audience by the preacher, has itself become a totem. But others are unlikely to find refuge in a simplistic bibliolatry. They may be drawn to another approach – one that is equally ancient, and possibly more profound. It is that the Bible is not, and never was, meant to be taken literally, but has deeper meanings that are to be unearthed by those are capable of doing so.

This idea goes back to the very beginnings of Christianity and has always existed side by side with narrow literalism. Ironically, it was a major impetus for the creation of Christianity as a separate religion from Judaism. The nascent Christian movement often had to allegorise the Hebrew Scriptures to make use of them for its own purposes. The Apostle Paul writes about one biblical passage:

It is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.

But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.

Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.

For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all (Gal. 4:22–26).

Paul is saying that the real meaning of the story of Abraham and his two sons lies in the relationship of the Jews and the Christians. Ishmael, the older son, born to Hagar (or Agar), “the bondwoman,” is the Jews, who are in “bondage” to the Law of Moses. Isaac, the younger, born to Sarah, the “freewoman,” represents the Christians, who are freed from having to follow the Law. The story is an “allegory.”

The first authority to use the word “allegory” in this sense (the Greek is allegoria) – and the first to expound the Hebrew Bible in this way – was a philosopher who lived at the same time as both Jesus and Paul: Philo of Alexandria (c.20 BCE–c.50 CE). Although there is no reference to Jesus or Paul in his works or to Philo in the New Testament, it would be hard to overstate Philo’s influence on Christianity. To take one example, it was he who first used the Greek word logos (often translated as “word”) to mean the creative, structuring element in consciousness and to contend that this principle had engendered the world. Philo’s view was prevalent in the Judaism of the first century CE, in which the logos was often seen as a kind of deuteros theos or “second god.” The Christians appropriated this theology, especially in the Gospel of John, whose prologue “In the beginning was the Word” etc. is almost a programmatic statement of Philo’s thought. Philo, of course, never equated this logos with Jesus, as the Christians did, and once the Christian view had spread throughout the ancient world, the Jews dropped the concept of the logos entirely.

In any event, Philo viewed the Hebrew Bible through the lens of allegory. Here is Philo on Genesis:

“And on the sixth day God finished his work which he made.” It would be a sign of great simplicity to think that the world was created in six days, or indeed all in time…. But… it would be correctly said that the world was not created in time, but that time had its existence as a consequence of the world….. When, therefore, Moses says, “God completed his works on the sixth day,” we must understand that he is speaking not of a number of days, but that he takes six as a perfect number.

Philo goes on to explain what he means by a perfect number. Obviously this is a far richer and more sophisticated understanding of a sacred text than the simplistic idea that the world was made in six literal days.

The Christian theologian who is most indebted to Philo was the third-century Church Father Origen. Origen went further than Philo, however, in being much more eager to discard the literal truth of passages that seemed contrary to reason. Here is Origen on Genesis:

Who is so silly as to believe that God, after the manner of a farmer, “planted a paradise eastward in Eden,” and set in it a visible and palpable “tree of life,” of such a sort that anyone who tasted its fruit with his bodily teeth would gain life: and again that one could partake of “good and evil” by masticating the fruit taken from the tree of that name? And when God is said to “walk in the paradise in the cool of the day” and Adam to hide himself behind a tree, I do not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history and not through actual events.

Origen does not spare the Gospels or the writings of the Apostles, “for,” he writes, “the history even of these is not everywhere pure, events being woven together in the bodily sense without having actually happened; nor do the law and the commandments contained therein entirely declare what is reasonable.”

Such an attitude seems strikingly modern – and yet these are the words of a third-century Church Father. Origen spoke of three levels of meaning to Scripture (body, soul, and spirit, in accordance with the tripartite division of human nature accepted by early Christianity). This view would be tremendously influential. The scholar Beryl Smalley has written that “to write a history of Origenist influence on the West would be tantamount to writing a history of Western [biblical] exegesis.”

By the Middle Ages, Origen’s three levels of meaning for Scripture would be expanded to four. They were called the literal, allegorical, moral, and “anagogical” or mystical senses. Dante, writing in the early fourteenth century, refers to them in his Letter to Can Grande, where he says of the Exodus:

If we look at it from the letter alone it means to us the exit of the Children of Israel from Egypt at the time of Moses; if from allegory, it means for us our redemption done by Christ; if from the moral sense, it means to us the conversion of the soul from the struggle and misery of sin to the status of grace; if from the anagogical, it means the leavetaking of the blessed soul from the slavery of this corruption to the freedom of eternal glory. And though these mystical senses are called by various names, in general all can be called allegorical, because they are different from the literal or the historical.

Origen, who is evasive about actually setting out the hidden meaning of Scripture (“it was the method of the Holy Spirit rather to conceal these truths and to hide them deeply,” he writes), makes reference to Egypt as well. He speaks of “the descent of the holy fathers into Egypt, that is, into this world.” For Origen as for Dante, then, the Exodus ultimately presents an allegory of spiritual liberation.

Origen died around 253 CE, crippled by torture during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman Emperor Decius. Since then, Origen has had an ambiguous destiny in the mainstream church. Revered in his own day, in later centuries he fell into disrepute among the orthodox. This happened for a number of reasons, but it was largely because his views on the relationship between the Father and the Son did not jibe with the doctrine of the Trinity as it would evolve in the fourth and fifth centuries. Furthermore, later theologians did not feel entirely comfortable with Origen’s assertion that much of Scripture was not meant to be taken as literally true. Although the churchmen were generally content to accept his idea that there were other meanings in addition to the literal one, they did not like to think the literal sense was wrong or even (as we’ve seen Origen say about the myth of Eden) ridiculous.

Protestantism and Literalism

If the Catholic and Orthodox churches were always comfortable with a symbolic meaning to the Bible, where did today’s excruciating biblical literalism come from? Partly from Protestantism. Catholicism and Orthodoxy always regarded the Bible as an authority, but never as the authority: the teachings and practices of the Church itself were held to be of at least equal weight. The Catholic Church always insisted that the Bible could be easily misunderstood by those who lacked the proper training; this was why the Church discouraged Bible reading by laypeople until comparatively recently.

By the early modern era, however, the Catholic Church had become so corrupt that some Christian leaders (and many of the ordinary faithful) realised that the church was keeping an exclusive monopoly on spiritual power largely to suit its own worldly ends. In breaking with the church, these leaders – the Protestant Reformers – decided to return to the Bible as the only proper authority: sola scriptura, “Scripture only,” as the formula had it.

This in itself might not have been so problematic, but the Protestantism that reached the American frontier in the nineteenth century was dominated by men who had little education and little idea of any other literature than the Bible. Such people have always existed: Thomas Aquinas, the medieval Catholic theologian, was alluding to them when he said, “Timeo hominem unius libri”: “I fear a man of one book.” In the United States, and, I suspect, in much of the rest of the English-speaking world, evangelical Christianity has become co-opted by these “men of one book.” Today in many parts of the US, it is possible to go into people’s houses and see no other book than the Bible. It is this element in Christianity that has made its presence felt in the rise of fundamentalism.

As a result, the Bible’s inner meaning has increasingly become the province of esotericism. Regarding the story of Christ, in her book Esoteric Christianity the Theosophist Annie Besant speaks of “the Christ of the human Spirit, the Christ who is in every one of us, is born and lives, is crucified, rises from the dead, and ascends into heaven, in every suffering and triumphant ‘Son of Man.’” The story of Christ is thus the story of each of us; the Incarnation symbolises our own descent into the world of materiality, where we pass across the stage for a short while before being crucified on the cross of time and space. But this suffering and death is only transitory or even illusory, since the Logos – the principle of consciousness – in ourselves cannot die. It will be resurrected again in other forms, recognisable or otherwise. (In the Gospels the risen Christ is sometimes recognised by his disciples, sometimes not.)

Some may find themselves impatient with these ideas, insisting that they are nothing more than a way of skirting the issue of historical factuality that must supposedly serve as the bedrock of faith. But what, might one ask, is being dismissed as mere allegory? Viewed in the way sketched out above, the stories of the Exodus and the passion of Christ are not mere edifying tales of the past. Nor are they creeds for blind belief or flags around which to rally the faithful. Rather they are deep expressions of what is going on inside us now. To know from inner experience what it is to be spiritually in “the land of Egypt, the house of bondage,” to see the Logos in ourselves crucified on the cross of time and space, is not evasion but among the most profound insights a human being can have.

I would even take the argument a step further. An allegorical reading of the Bible can actually be more demanding than merely dwelling on the meaning of the letter. Acknowledging “Pharaoh,” “Moses,” the “scribes and Pharisees,” even Christ as parts of ourselves can be unsettling. Few are eager to come to grips with their inner tyrants and hypocrites, and there are possibly even fewer who can bear to see their own higher natures. After all, to know that Moses the lawgiver exists in oneself is already a step out of the house of bondage. To see the Christ within is already to experience a resurrection. Such realisations confer a responsibility upon us that we are not always delighted to face.

As a result, it is often easier to keep these things at the safe remove of antiquity – to follow the disputes about who was the Pharaoh of Exodus; to pore over accounts of recent excavations in Biblical Archaeology Review; to thrill over the latest news feature that breathlessly proffers some allegedly new fact about the historical Jesus. In such a way we can keep these issues alive, but at a comfortable distance: they remain ineluctably “other,” about people who lived long ago. I suspect that this dynamic helps explain the unshakable thirst for biblical archaeology among the American public.

All this said, there is admittedly a problem with leaning too heavily on allegorical readings of Scripture. To be no longer able to take one’s own myths literally – even while accepting them in a figurative sense – does strip them of their power. This is due to the limits of our own understanding; we as a civilisation seem unable to hear the message “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed” (John 20:29). This is not a call to blind, stupid faith; it is an appeal to recognise realities that do not present themselves to our physical eyes and hands – the “evidence of things unseen.” But, trusting as we do in the Gradgrindian world of cold, hard facts, we put more trust in texts than in our own inner experience. We discover that the texts are not telling the exact truth about history, and we lose our faith.

Despite the noise (much of it overstated) about rising fundamentalism in the Western world, this loss of faith is likely to accelerate. What will happen when the news sinks in and we collectively understand that much, perhaps most, of the Bible is not literally true? We may continue to see their beauty and power as myths, just as we do with the tales of the Olympian gods, but they will have lost their numinous force for us. We will see the old gods mocked and derided, as they were in antiquity in the satyr plays of the classical Athenian stage and the satires of Lucian, and as we see today in films like Dogma and Jesus Christ Superstar.

In such instances, new myths, new versions of eternal truths arise. What these will be in the future remains to be seen; it is hard to imagine that they will come from any religion now existing. Of the models of reality now available, it is above all the one provided by science that has most captured the imagination of the thinking public. Like Christianity in ancient times, it seems to offer truth in place of myth, actualities in place of legend. And then we are left with a question that, I suspect, will not be answered in the lifetime of anyone reading these pages now: what will happen when the facts of science, implacably hard and substantial as they now seem, are proved to be myths in turn?

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Bibliography

Dante Alighieri, Letter to Can Grande della Scala, Translated by James Marchand, http://medieval.ucdavis.edu/20B/Can.Grande.html

Margaret Barker, The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second God, Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/John Knox, 1992.

Annie Besant, Esoteric Christianity, or the Lesser Mysteries, Reprint, Wheaton, Ill.: Quest, 2006.

Harold Bloom, The American Religion, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, New York: Touchstone, 2001.

Susan A. Handelman, The Slayers of Moses: The Emergence of Rabbinic Interpretation in Modern Literary Theory, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982.

Origen, On First Principles, Translated by G.W. Butterworth, Reprint, New York: Harper & Row, 1966.

Philo, The Works of Philo, Translated by C.D. Yonge, Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1993.

Albert Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus: A Critical Study of Its Progress from Reimarus to Wrede, Translated by W. Montgomery, Reprint, New York: Macmillan, 1961.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Translated by D.F. Pears and B.F. McGuinness, 2nd edition, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971.

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RICHARD SMOLEY is author of Inner Christianity: A Guide to the Esoteric Tradition; Hidden Wisdom: A Guide to the Western Inner Traditions (with Jay Kinney); and The Essential Nostradamus. His latest book is Conscious Love: Insights from Mystical Christianity. He is editor of Quest Books and is executive editor of Quest magazine. His web site is www.innerchristianity.com.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 110 (September-October 2008).

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Jesus Myth – The Case Against Historical Christ

I came across this website in my search for the beginnings of Christianity. I have since become convinced that Jesus was first a symbol of the sun, as is the case for all main religions. They are all first based on Astrotheology, and then go deeper from that starting point. I differ  with some of the anti-historical Jesus thinking about the Christ figure. Many of them are Atheists,  I am not. I think Atheism is a reaction to finding out the church has been lying to you for almost 2,000 friggin years! I understand it. BUT, if one would become able to read the allegory with the spiritual eye and see the meanings of the symbolism, you would see that myth is the best way to teach the nature of reality.  I certainly dig it. It is ever pregnant with deeper meaning and was designed to confuse the ‘profane.” In modern times we have quantum physics, which speaks in modern language (non mythical),  and yet mirrors precisely what the ancients said in their scriptures about nature of reality and our interconnectedness with creation.

By researching certain scientific test results and comparing it to ancient mythological wisdom,  I’m convinced that we are PARTICIPANTS and CO-CREATORS of reality. That was the essence of Jesus’s message. And of Buddha, Krishna and the now lesser known mythical figures.  The exoteric story, cloaked as history, is quite meaningless unless you can grasp the esoteric meaning.  That’s why I believe it’s important to know Jesus was a mythical person and Christ a form of Consciousness, symbolic of ourselves and other things ordinary language doesn’t convey. Thus the use of mythology. Myth doesn’t mean LIE, it doesn’t negate the existence of God, but rather better explains it. Perhaps the Gnostics were the fist Christians. (It is known Jewish Gnosticism goes back further than Christianity). The details have intentionally been lost, and as much as I’d like to know the facts, ultimately it’s not really important. It’s fascinating to know our core beliefs shape our reality. Notice the new paradigm since 9/11? FEAR! FEAR! FEAR! Even the weather is sensationalized to sound worse than it is. But Love conquers fear, we need to have love as part of our core belief, deep in our hearts, because it has been proven that our belief co-creates reality. We are truly Divine Spirits having a human experience. We are entangled with the whole universe, essential to it’s very existence, so much so that the Cosmos is actually a mirror of ourselves and could not exist without us, as above so below.

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 By – January 03, 2007

The majority of people in the world today assume or believe that Jesus Christ was at the very least a real person. Perhaps he wasn’t really “the Messiah”, perhaps he was not “The Son of God”, and perhaps he didn’t actually perform miracles and rise from the dead, but he really was a great moral teacher who traveled around Galilee with followers and got arrested by the Jews and crucified by the Romans right?

Not likely. In fact, a close examination of the evidence shows that the best explanation for the story of “Jesus Christ” is what we call “mythology”. The case that I will be outlining here is that there never was any “Jesus Christ” nor any meaningful real life basis for the story of “Jesus Christ”. Like many other religious figures, “Jesus Christ” began as a theological concept, was later used as a character in allegorical stories, and was then historicized as someone whom people believed really existed. The belief in a literal “human” Jesus most likely emerged as eucharist rituals and theology developed around the concept of the “flesh” and “blood” of Christ and these concepts merged with allegorical narratives about the figure.

What is the basis for the claim that “Jesus never existed”?

Actually, there are many important facts that support this conclusion. First let’s look at an outline of some of the major points in this case:

None of these points are meant to stand on their own, but collectively they provide a very strong argument against the story of Jesus Christ being based on a real person.

It is important to note that we have one, and only one, source of information about the life of Jesus and that is the Christian Gospels. The Gospels are the sole source of information about this figure; everything that we “know” about “him” depends on these sources.

There are two basic views of the Biblical Jesus as a real person today, the religious Christian view and the secular historical view. The religious Christian view takes the Gospels as accurate and reliable accounts of the life of Jesus, including all of the miracles. The religious Christian view demands that Jesus Christ was a popular and well known figure in the region, who drew crowds of thousands of people and performed great miracles, who was such a revolutionary figure that the Jewish priesthood was compelled to have him arrested and put to death in dramatic fashion before hundreds or thousands of witnesses.

The secular historical view, which may also be held by some Christians,  takes the Gospels as exaggerated accounts of the life of a real Jesus. The secular historical view basically starts with the Gospels and then removes the fantastic or “supernatural” claims in the Gospels and accepts what is left as history. The secular historical view tends to minimize the role of Jesus in the region, stating instead that he was barely noticed by others. Secular historians who believe that Jesus existed rely on the Gospels as essentially historical, but inflated, accounts of his life.

But are the Gospels reliable historical accounts?

via Jesus Myth – The Case Against Historical Christ.