Pearls Before Swine?

pig_roast  EATING  PORK 

Many religious people are admonished not to eat pork because it is so written in the Bible.

Well consider Gods true concern.

IS IT WHAT YOU EAT?

OR IS IT WHAT YOU THINK?

The pig is a symbol of the lower mind because it loves to roll in the mud.

Not eating pork is a symbol of not consuming the lower flesh which is the carnal mind of emotions and feelings.

 God is saying you are to seek the higher mind in meditation and not consume the lower, which is the pig.

 

So when you are meditating and separating from thought, you are abstaining from pork.

  Matthew 15:11 1. It is not that which goes into the mouth that defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, that defiles a man.

by Bill Donahue – www.truemeanings.com

 

You can make all the excuses you want and continue to roll in the mud of your literalist beliefs, but that my friend is consuming the flesh of swine.

 

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Belief vs Gnosis

load-of-crap

Yup, I’m going there again. Always my most unpopular posts are about the Jesus myth. This says more about the masses than this little post could ever say. I’m not politically correct and do not care if I hurt someone’s feelings. Feelings are the problem. OK, I believe that the mythical Jesus Christ being changed to an historical person was a deliberate Roman political invention to be used as a diversion and/or distraction that keeps humanity from true spirituality, and from working on and evolving our own souls. The fictitious character of “Jesus” was invented from spiritual CONCEPTS originating in the Far East, such as spiritual alchemy, the kundalini energy, Buddhism, Krishna, and what is known as the “vril” “chi” “life-force” and Astrotheology STORIES from the Old Testament. Judaism was very astrological. This bit about the exoteric story hiding the esoteric from the ”profane” is a bit of nonsense. It wasn’t until the Inquisition drove the true message underground that it became esoteric. I believe it was at one time common knowledge that these myths meant something much deeper than the Vatican would allow people to know, that we are Gods, we are the Jesus character and by following his Initiation example we would become aware that we are indeed ”God.” Truth be known, one saves one’s own soul through advancing spiritually. In this way I think Jesus is a mystical representation of each of us, but this Christian god-man, along with biblical Literalism, is a deterrent to gnosis of the mystery and therefore keeps humanity from doing anything spiritually, keeping mankind enslaved to living a totally material existence, separated from God, nature and everything else (even each other). Christians cannot argue with this, because they do not know true spirituality. They have not experienced it. They are programmed to ”feel” Jesus as an emotional truth and become trapped in the Empirical political/material deception.

Once one’s eyes are opened and one is aware of the black magick concept, they can clearly and easily see how and why this Literalism/Orthodoxy was invented, but those with fear based egos and beliefs will never see it. That is just the way it is. (And I guess that’s OK, although as a member of the human race I think we’d evolve quicker if beliefs were replaced with knowledge and fear replaced with love). I also think the art of meditation should be taught in school, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. Most parents probably don’t meditate thus wouldn’t be able to teach it to their kids, but what a better world it would be if it was a part of daily life in the whole world. Those who are a member of the mainstream, and who take network news as gospel truth (pun intended) are too involved in the fictional game of life to experience intuitive knowledge. These people are great in number and an angry bunch, prepared to kill for their belief in their ”loving” God. As George Carlin said: “Our God has a bigger dick than your God.” These people will use the most ridiculous arguments to ”save jesus” from the trash can. They don’t understand how history is invented, dates are incorrect and that their brains are thoroughly washed by the thought police.

The fictitious character of Jesus Christ:

The “Jesus saves” baloney [ad nauseum] and the “born again” phrases have been twisted and incorporated into this fictitious Matrix (Or paradigm, or culture. Words are always just symbols so take all this with a grain of salt, but not literally with a grain of salt, that would be …. weird). In other words, deluded ones have been deceived into believing this Jesus character will take care of everything spiritual as long as they conform to the ”agenda.” This deters one from working on one’s own spirituality. There is nothing at all spiritual about this Jesus thing, or the Roman invented Christian program. It’s emotional ego crap, and somewhat arrogant to think a God loves you and all you have to do is pray to another person (Jesus) that He (God) killed to forgive you from sins that He Himself created, but only if you stroke His massive ego with meaningless ritual and worship. Prayer doesn’t work, there’s no one to pray to, meditation is what works. Intent, intuition, self improvement takes work on one’s self from a position of knowledge, not belief. Consider one who does good because they believe it’s the right thing to do. They’re still doing something good, right? But is it coming from the heart or from a belief? If one knows that actions here will effect their future karma and the evolvement of the Consciousness of the human race, rather than just acting on belief, how much better the good deed will be.

The “Jesus” character has acted as the thought police for ultimate control. Wars have been fought repeatedly over beliefs and ideas. When the enemy controls what is in the mind of humanity, the enemy then controls humanity.

Since Jesus is fictitious, he can be anything to anyone. He is whatever the current system claims and dictates. He changes with the times and conforms to any agenda, with the Bible which that has verses and contradictions to suit any argument or purpose. (See the oldest bible, the Sinai Bible, to view for yourself  later additions, many omissions, editing, and interpolations that suited the dogma of the times).  The ancient wisdom of that day was hijacked by politics and rewrote. What the ancient teaching were about is really not important as far as us learning any actual truths from them. They are mythical literature from days gone by. Truly we can write a new myth and live our own gospel in the present time. (I like the simulated reality/virtual reality analogy presented by Tom Campbell, Peter Russell and other scientists breaking away from mainstream science dogma and talking about their experience with Consciousness.

Gnosis is a word that is beyond man’s ability to define — and it indicates Spiritual Knowledge revealed directly to man by ‘God’ (I am beginning to have issues with the word God. It never bothered me before because I knew what it meant to me, and understood it meant something else to others. I just dealt with that fact, but now I feel it’s a word that is harmful and shouldn’t be tossed about as if there really was an egotistical entity that is the one and only God. I prefer Consciousness to God. Consciousness doesn’t have an ego, doesn’t need to be worshipped and is not separated from us). As for the bible, gnosis cannot be conveyed to another in a book. It can’t be taught by one person to another. Gnosis was deliberately suppressed by the Church. Gnosis has nothing to do with the wisdom of this world. It is impossible to study Gnosis in a school, college or university. The Gospel of Thomas portrays this world as dwelling in a state of abject poverty, because the wisdom of this world is devoid of the essential elements of what can be portrayed as Higher Spiritual Knowledge — the ‘Divine Manna of the Kingdom’ — or, in the Greek language what is portrayed as Gnosis.

It is impossible to enter the Kingdom in the manner that the Orthodox church teaches, without possessing the Knowledge of one’s true self and your relationship to Creator-God-Consciousness and receiving Knowledge (Gnosis) directly from Consciousness. The original objective of the Gospels was to alter and evolve the Initiate’s mind and body in the process of spiritual transformation that would enable the Initiate to achieve and bring about the necessary subsequent stages of birth — to learn directly from Source (instead of dependency on the organized church) — and become restored as a child of Consciousness, or whatever you want to call it. (In fact the Church had no other choice than to do this as it would have quickly died without using deception, murder, genocide, torture and trickery – but like the Scribes and Pharisees they are truly not needed and better off avoided. They just don’t want YOU to know they aren’t needed. For fellowship, join a poker club or something less mundane than Church). You can learn from wiser people without making them gods. How can any other human being be better than yourself? Give me a break!

 

SPREADIN’ SOME ORTHODOX BIBLE LOVE:

“I will corrupt your seed and spread dung upon your faces!” (Malachi 2:3)

”Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock.” (Psalm 137:9)

”I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over man; she is to keep silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)

”And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat the flesh of their neighbors.” (Jeremiah 19:9)

”This is what the Lord Almighty says… ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’” (1 Samuel 15:3)

“Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” (1 Peter 2:18)

 

 

In fairness, there is a spiritual meaning to these and other such quotes, but Literalism kills spirituality. Saul calls it ”the Letter that killeth.” Jesus tried to convey this and was crucified by religion and politics. Stupid ass Rome left some hidden treasures in the bible, too bad Christians don’t get it. LITERALISM KILLS SPIRITUALITY! To this day the Church does not pay taxes, they’re in bed with govern (means control) ment (means mind). Government by literal definition means ”mind control.” I mean how ”in your face” does it have to get?  Orthodox religions serve the Machine only, and the Machine is broken and hell bent on destruction. It’s a mass of ego induced lunatics with a perverted world view driving us all over the cliff. Counter culture always worked best for me. So yes, I went there again. No Historical Jesus as described in the bible ever lived ;) And remember, Jesus was a Greek name, it was never a Hebrew/Aramaic name. Now a days, when people pray to Jesus, they’re praying to some guy in Puerto Rico. How lame is that?
 
I end with;
Amen (Ra) Amen and Amen-Ra, Egyptian Gods. They still use the Egyptian God’s name to end a prayer to a fictional person, this cracks me up. Life is a comic book.

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…

04

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).

© Copyright New Dawn Magazine, http://www.newdawnmagazine.com. Permission granted to freely distribute this article for non-commercial purposes if unedited and copied in full, including this notice.

© Copyright New Dawn Magazine, http://www.newdawnmagazine.com. Permission to re-send, post and place on web sites for non-commercial purposes, and if shown only in its entirety with no changes or additions. This notice must accompany all re-posting.

Christ Myth

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I found the following in my notes. I cannot source any of it, I just found it and decided to put it on my blog. I encourage open minded investigation into the well proven and sensible fact that Jesus never existed as anything more than a religious mythical idea, an energy if you will,  but not a person in history. It’s very important to realize this fact in order to grow spiritually. The “Jesus As History” has become a religion unto itself, it is a doctrine of men, and not very good men at that. Myth doesn’t mean lie. It is a way of teaching something that is other wise beyond words. It’s Jewish Midrash and like all religions is based on Astrotheology (The Holy Science of ‘As Above, So Below’). The fact is that Rome actually did take the writings and artifacts from the earlier Jewish Gnostic Christian sect in 325CE and had a new story written and the original stories destroyed. It was a clever political move, however it’s very cleverness depended on the stupidity of the masses. Then as now, the stupidity of the masses is solid and reliable. Ignorant people are easy to control. It was a Roman legal maxim that read: “Let he who wishes to be deceived, be deceived.” My love of the bible and the mystical teachings of Christianity (and other religions) is not in question. I am not an Atheist. I am a Free-Thinker, a Mythicist, and a modern Gnostic. I see symbolism and allegory everywhere, and the biblical allegories and symbolism is amazing if read with the spiritual eye, which resides in the right side of the brain. ”Cast your net to the right side and catch more fish.” Part the Red Sea and enter the right brain. Meditate and activate the Single Eye, the Pineal gland and release the Christified Light from the kingdom of heaven. Where is this kingdom? ”The kingdom of heaven is within you.” Myth teaches spiritual truths, history is a whole other subject.

The idea that Jesus may not have existed is still very controversial. It is difficult to raise the subject and present argument and evidence because frankly, few people are willing to listen. ・Everybody has always believed in the historical Jesus・ or ・No serious scholars doubt that Jesus really lived・ or ・how can so many people be wrong?・ are usual responses.

1. There is no evidence for the Christ Myth theory.

The Christ Myth theory is considered groundless speculation because there is no physical evidence that Jesus Christ did not exist. This is like arguing that, because there is no physical evidence that a giant purple monster is not standing on my head, I cannot prove that there is not one there. It is based on a logical rule that you can’t prove a negative, or can’t prove something that wasn’t there.

The flip-side of this criticism, however, is usually that there is evidence for a historical Jesus. This is nonsense. If there were such evidence, there would be no controversy – it would be ridiculous to claim that Jesus Christ was a myth if there were irrefutable evidence that he actually existed. In actuality, there is no evidence for Jesus whatsoever that is not hotly contested, which only shows that both theories are equally based on groundless speculation; the Christ Myth theory, however, is able to explain and answer a great many questions and historical factors which proponents of the historical Jesus are forced to ignore.

2. The Christ Myth is just a “proof from silence”.

A common attack on Christ Myth theory is that it often starts from a “proof from silence” argument. Many Christ Mythers try to show that there are few historical references to Jesus, and insinuate that,had Jesus existed, there would have been more. Critics argue that silence alone proves nothing; there were no TV or news casters in those days, and anyway, Jesus “flew under the radar” by staying mostlyin the countryside. While I agree that the lack of historical references cannot prove anything about Jesus, I feel that critics miss the overall significance of this point. If there were any solid historical references to Jesus, then the Christ Myth theory is obviously untenable.While Christians have been, for at least 1,000 years, adamantly affirming the historical reliability of a few selected texts which they claim verify the historical Jesus, a Christ Myther, as well as any historianor secular scholar, (even those who believe that Jesus was historical,) can point out that these same historical documents are not reliable; their authorship and genuineness are continuing subjects of debate. Therefore, to even begin a Christ Myth hypothesis, it is highly relevant to show that the assumption of Jesus’ ministry being the “mostheavily documented event in the history of the world” is blatantly false. Only after we have cleared away the assumptions surrounding the historical Jesus can we begin to look for the Mythical Jesus.

3. Christ-Mythers are not scholars.

There have been only a small handful of marginally academic writers who have published on the Christ Myth theory, and critics point out that they are “out of their field.” They don’t have Ph.D’s inrelevant studies, they may not be trained in the rigorous investigation, clear logic and referencing that is now demanded in intellectual circles, and they may allow their passion for the subject to a) quote from sources they haven’t personally checked or b) make comparisons and assumptions that can’t beproved empirically. They may even (heaven forbid!) self-publish, or publish with an ill-reputed publishing company.

I’ll admit, as a “Christ Myther,” or someone who doesn’t believe in the historical Jesus, I can be accused of all the same flaws. I’m inexperienced, and sometimes don’t care enough to back up every statement with irrefutable evidence, because I have seen that there is no evidence that is irrefutable – whoever does not agree with your conclusions will begin by questioning your research methods, and after that, attacking your character.

In an attempt to tear apart the Christ Myth theory some critics will demonstrate that all of its proponents are uneducated attention seekers – and yet, the largest claims of the Christ Myth theory opens windows into Christian tradition which refuse to be shut again. In the proverbial “finger at the moon” story, a Zen master points at the moon and says “don’t focus on the finger – look at what I’m pointing to.”  Criticism based on undermining professional experience simply cuts off the finger, hoping that without it, the moon will disappear. As more and more people become familiar with the Christ Myth theory, and recognize in it some questions that cannot be swept away by criticizing the author’s biography, there may eventually be too many people looking at the moon to cut off all the fingers.

4. No “real” scholars agree with the Christ Myth.

I find this unfortunate, but can guess several reasons why traditional scholars have not yet supported the Christ Myth theory. First of all, the tendency of the academia is to focus on and study the specific, not the general. They may begin with a B.A. in Philosophy, then an M.A. in Religious Literature, and finally get a Ph.D. in “The Influence of Paul’s Theology on the Writing of Mark’s Gospel.” They may be the experts of the details, but the Christ Myth theory is really about the big picture – comparing and making relationships between many historical and literary documents, from many cultures and time periods, and analyzing their similarities and possible influences.

For example, a scholar might find the remains of a Roman crucifixion, analyze the wood and the nails,and determine with certainty exactly how the punishment was inflicted; these could be interpreted by other researchers as applicable to the death of Jesus Christ. The Christ Myther, on the other hand, will search into mythology and religious traditions to find stories that echo the biblical description of Christ’s passion, and then, finding an underlying spiritual theme, try to interpret the story as a metaphor and release its original meaning.  It is unfair to compare a historian with a Christ Myther because they aren’t really in the same field; Christ Mythers are primarily concerned with textual analysis and literary criticism. When placed in the field of “World Literature” or “Sociology”, their methods no longer stand out as being unempirical.

Further, it is ridiculous to dismiss the Christ Myth theory by trying to separate it from the Academic Community, because almost all scholars do agree that nearly everything in the gospels and in Christian tradition came from Pagan tradition. All professors of Religion or Theology recognize that Christianity developed out of previous traditions and that many of its ideas and symbols are not new.

Most scholars also agree that when we cut out all of the Pagan influences, there is virtually nothing left to be said about the historical Jesus. The only difference between Christ Mythers and the average scholar is that, faced with a complete lack of evidence concerning the historical Jesus, scholars engage in sorting through the wreckage, dusting off the pieces, and trying to imagine what the historical Jesus would have been like. If he was a carpenter, what would his shop have been like? If he was married, what would his relationship have been like?

In short, taking the Biblical testimony as a starting ground, they form a hypothesis and then try and support it through historical research. Allowing that their foundation is nothing more than the assumed historical Christ, is the Christ Myther any less credible? Lastly, I want to point out that the academia is not necessarily the best birthing ground for Truth. Being a researcher or a professor at a University is a public career, and depends on both innovative research and peer review. Backing a controversial theory is not a good idea for most scholars, who are concerned with career, status and nice things, just like everyone else.

5. Christ-Mythers make comparisons and connections that cannot be verified.

I find it amazing that Christians can discredit Christ Mythers as fanatics, whose theories are absolutely without basis, because they see similarities between Jesus and other miraculous, dying and resurrecting sons of god. Even if we ignore every modern attempt to compare Jesus with other traditions, it is more than enough to provide just one quote from Justin Martyr, a Christian apologist who acknowledged the similarities between Jesus and Pagan gods around 1800 years ago.

“When we say that the Word, who is first born of God, was produced without sexual union, and that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven; we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter(Zeus).” Justin Martyr, First Apology

If, as Justin testifies, Christianity’s central articles of faith (crucifixion, resurrection, ascension) areidentical to Pagan mythology, is it any wonder Christ Mythers seek out more similarities, or questionwhere these similarities came from? And while it is the overwhelming conclusion of modern scholars that Jesus was a historical person, there is plenty of evidence, especially from the first several centuries BC, that there has always been a debate over the historical Jesus. There were many heresies, decades after the alleged death of Jesus, that claimed Jesus had been born in appearanceonly, and was never an actual human being. Why should we believe the tradition of our Christian heritage, rather than investigating the claims of those other communities? Is it irrational, or crazy, to try to understand history from another point of view? Everyone knows that history is written by the winners; is there any reason to assume that in this case alone, the history written was absolutely free from prejudice?

The Christ Myth theory is not a modern idea; it is a revival of a very ancient and very common criticism of Christianity: that Jesus did and said some things that other, earlier, Pagan god-men didand said. Critics try to knock down these similarities by either questioning the source, or calling them “coincidences” by playing up their differences. While Jesus was born of a Virgin, some other savior was born “without sexual union”.  While Jesus was crucified on a cross, some other savior was nailed to a tree, or a rock, or a T-shaped bar, or somewhere in the skies. The problem with focusing on the differences rather than the similarities is that, while it may work in one or two isolated cases, it cannot be applied to absolutely every proposed similarity without weakening in effect. And it also doesn’t work on more specific cases; like Jesus was called “son of God”, as were others, or born on December25th, as were others.

In response to these claims, critics will say that many of the so-called similarities really were added onto the story of Jesus by Pagan influences, but that these don’t change the core Christian message. Firstoff, if you agree that Christianity absorbed some of its symbols from mythological traditions, then you are a Christ Myther. Relegating our position to a simple “Jesus did not exist” is too easy:  what we intend to show is that the person worshiped by Christians, along with all of his miraculous titles and abilities, is indebted to earlier traditions. It is meaningless to argue that Jesus was a historical person, but that motifs like his birth date, the virgin birth, crucifixion and resurrection, his role as son of god and savior were added into the tradition (and into the Bible!) by Pagans, and also that Jesus is still the Way, Truth and Life. What good is using this argument against Christ Mythers, and ending up with a human Jesus with no divine attributes?

Critics will also argue that mythology may have prefigured Jesus in some way, but the things said about those Pagan gods were just stories, while Jesus was a real, physical human being. This doesn’t answer why there should be any similarities at all. The only argument ever used to explain the similarities between Jesus and early Pagan saviors, which is continued by Christians in many ways today,  is called “Diabolical Mimicry”. This argument can only be accepted through a faith-based Christian paradigm that believes in a struggle between God and Satan, and for a non-Christian, it doesn’t go far explain how a historical person mistakenly acted out the precise details of hundreds of diverse cultural mythologies.

6.) Christ mythers have an agenda: to disprove the existence of Jesus. They already thought of the end result and take material and twist it to fit into their hypothesis. All historians should know this is not how research is conducted. Again, this is an easy way to dismiss Christ myth theory without actually looking at the evidence it presents. Criticizing the methodology, the intention, and the characters of the people challenging traditional Christian history is like a magician’s sleight of hand – great at keeping your eyes focused on the wrong thing entirely because, if you were to look at the truth, the illusion would disappear.

I’m not beyond accepting that the Christ Myth theory may turn out to be wrong. It seems to me, given the available evidence, to be a very reasonable and highly probable version of Christian history, but I won’t be upset if further evidence later induces me to change my ideas. However, what I find both disturbing and dangerous, is any attempt to disprove or vilify a hypothesis without referring to the argument itself or the evidence provided. To assume that the Christ Myth theory is false, because it wasn’t convincing the first time it was given, and that every subsequent version of it is likewise false, shows an aversion to truth that is difficult to respond to.

This is not an attemptat trying to disprove God. Some things may really be beyond our ability to comprehend – but Jesus Christ was either there, historically, or not. This is not one of those unfathomable mysteries. There is convincing evidence that Jesus Christ never existed as a historical person, and it is possible to discover in the history of Christianity the process by which a mythical figure was accidentally mistaken for a real human being. Or perhaps, worse, intentional literalizing of gnostic Christian science.

Why I Think Jesus Didn’t Exist: A Historian Explains the Evidence That Changed His Mind

Dr. Richard Carrier flew in from California to lecture the UNCG Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics on the historicity of Christ. The historicity of Christ has appeared in the public consciousness over the last few years because of such individuals such as Robert Price and Dr. Carrier. This topic deals with the analysis of historical data to determine if Jesus existed as an actual person.

The fact the Jesus is a myth doesn’t mean the bible is lie. It’s a religious book, not an historical text book or science book. It’s a spiritual book and much of what was presented to the Nicene assembly were Gnostic texts that were pregnant with deeper meanings than a mere historical person could possibly contain. What ever Christianity looked like precisely before Rome’s involvement is impossible to know since all the books and records have been destroyed by Rome. That definitely makes a level headed person suspicious. The essence of the teaching can be found in the Zoroastrian books, the teachings of Krishna and Buddha, the teaching of Plato and more. They were all plagiarized and the evidence of this destroyed. It’s not rocket science, but it’s hard to tear down centuries of ignorant belief in the deceived masses. The bible is still sprinkled with Gnosis throughout, and only one’s spirit can reveal the hidden meanings to the Self. Operating from the lower animal ego left brain, one will remain blind to Truth and kept under the control of the ”system.”