No matter how luminous the aura of credibility surrounding Jesus, no matter how most people think of him and respect him, no matter how many millions have worshiped and do worship him, Jesus is still a mythological creature, like the unicorn, like the mermaid, like Winnie the Pooh, like Peter Pan. Jesus is but a fairy tale/folk tale character, like Rapunzel, like Cinderella, like Jack Frost, like Paul Bunyan. Jesus is merely a literary figure, like King Arthur, King Lear and Romeo and Juliet. Jesus is merely imaginary, like the Golem, like Merlin the Magician, like King Midas, and like Yahweh the God of the Bible and Western civilization.
Jesus is nothing new. He was modeled after other savior-gods who predated him. If you'll read the legends of Horus, Attis, Prometheus, Krishna and Buddha you'll see amazing parallels. Then you'll have to ask "Which came first? Who copied who? Who is the copycat here, the earlier writer of a myth or the later writer?" Then if you're logical and reasonable, you'll realize that since the myth of Jesus is the latest and newest savior-god myth, it is the copy not a prototype.
Even the sacred core item of the Christian iconology: the cross, is a borrowed symbol. It was originally a pagan icon, but few people know that now.
"Heavenly figures who appear as men, perform saving acts, and then return to heaven are equally common in Jewish mythology." - Randel Helms, Gospel Fictions.
In a 19th century classic called The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors, scholar Kersey Graves included a general overview of how ancient literature was rich with tales of savior-gods:
"For researchers into oriental history reveal the remarkable fact that stories of incarnate Gods answering to and resembling the miraculous character of Jesus Christ have been prevalent in most if not all the principal religious heathen nations of antiquity; and the accounts and narrations of some of these deific incarnations bear such a striking resemblance to that of the Christian Savior - not only in their general features, but in some cases in the most minute details, from the legend of the immaculate conception to that of the crucifixion, and subsequent ascension into heaven - that one might almost be mistaken for the other.
"More than twenty claims of this kind - claims of beings invested with divine honor (deified) - have come forward and presented themselves at the bar of the world, with their credentials, to contest the verdict of Christendom, in having proclaimed Jesus Christ 'the only son, and sent of God': twenty Messiahs, Saviors, and Sons of God, according to history or tradition, have, in past times, descended from heaven, and taken upon themselves the form of men, clothing themselves with human flesh, and furnishing incontestable evidence of a divine origin, by various miracles, marvelous works, and superlative virtues; and finally these twenty Jesus Christs (accepting their character for the name) laid the foundation for the salvation of the world, and ascended back to heaven.
"These have all received divine honors, have nearly all been worshipped as Gods, or sons of God; were mostly incarnated as Christs, Saviors, Messiahs, or Mediators; not a few of them were reputedly born of virgins; some of them filling a character almost identical with that ascribed by the Christians' Bible to Jesus Christ; many of them, like him, are reported to have been crucified; and all of them, taken together, furnish a prototype and parallel for nearly every important incident and wonder-inciting miracle, doctrine and precept recorded in the New Testament, of the Christians' Savior. Surely, with so many Saviors the world cannot, or should not, be lost."
The reader who searches the Internet will find a wealth of books on savior-gods which built Jesus, but for the sake of brevity let's consider just one prototype of Jesus: Horus.
Our choice of Horus is significant, because of all the cultures and religions which influenced the creation of the Jesus myth, the Egyptian culture/religion is the one most directly attached to the borrowing process whereby mythmakers adopt and modify myths to suit their cultures and dogmas.
Egyptologist and professor Gerald Massey included in his work Ancient Egypt a chart of 200 similarities and shared identities between Horus and Jesus. Here are several of those commonalities:
Jesus and Horus each had two mothers, one of which was a virgin and the other of which raised the young savior-god.
Jesus and Horus were each with their mother until the age of twelve years.
No literary record exists of the life of Jesus or Horus between the ages of 12 and 30.
Jesus and Horus were both baptized at the age of 30.
Horus, during his baptism, was transformed into the beloved and only begotten son of the Father, the Holy Spirit, represented by a bird; so was Jesus, specifically, a dove.
To say these are coincidences or tricks of the Devil is ridiculous, but that's what most Christians will say when faced with these historical obscurities. Egyptianism is probably the staunchest provider of the evolved legends of Christianity. I quote from Dr. John G. Jackson, who wrote in the incredible eye-opening Christianity Before Christ:
"The Egyptian influence on orthodox Christianity is far more profound than most people realize. All of us have seen the Chi-Rho emblem displayed in many Christian churches, and reputed to be the sacred monogram of Christ. This monogram, originally sacred to Horus, was known in Egypt thousands of years before the beginning of Christianity. The whole Christian Bible was derived from the sacred books of Egypt..."
Jackson continues by quoting from a student of Massey, Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn: "The entire Christian Bible, creation legend, descent into and exodus from Egypt, ark and flood allegory, Israelite history, Hebrew prophecy and poetry, Gospels, Epistles, and Revelation imagery, all are now proven to have been the transmission of ancient Egypt's scrolls and papyri into the hands of later generations which knew neither their true origin nor their fathomless meaning...from the scrolls of papyri five thousand to ten thousand years old there comes stalking forth to view the whole story of an Egyptian Jesus raising from the dead an Egyptian Lazarus at an Egyptian Bethany, with two Egyptian Maries present, the non-historical prototype of the incident related only in John's Gospel. From the walls of the temple of Luxor...there faces Christianity a group of four scenes that spell the non-historicity of four scenes purveyed as history in the Gospel's recital of the Christ's nativity: the angel's pronouncement to the shepherds tending their flocks by night in the fields; the annunciation of the angel to the virgin; the adoration of the infant by three Magi; and the nativity scene itself. Egypt had used the symbol of a star rising in the east as the portent of coming deity for millennia anterior to the Christian era. Egypt had knelt at the shrine of Madonna and Child, Isis and Horus, for long centuries before a historical Mary lifted a historical Jesus in her arms. Egypt had from remote times adored a Christ who had raised the dead and healed the lame, halt, blind, paralytic, leprous and all afflicted, who had restored speech to the dumb, exorcised demons from the possessed, dispersed his enemies with a word or look, wrestled with his Satan adversary, overcame all temptation and performed the works of his heavenly Father to the victorious end. Egypt had long known a Jesus, Iusa, who had been born among celestial portents of an immaculate parenthood, circumcised, baptized, tempted, glorified on the mount, persecuted, arrested, tried, condemned, crucified, buried, resurrected and elevated to Heaven. Egypt had listened to the Sermon on the Mount and the sayings of Iusa for ages. Egypt had known a Jesus who long antedated the Gospel Messiah and who presented to the student some one hundred and eight items of identity, similarity and correspondence in word, deed, and function with his later copy." - From Who Is This King Of Glory?, 1944.
Dr. Massey expounds on this further, for those who are still skeptical: "The Christian dispensation is believed to have been ushered in by the birth of a child, and the portrait of that child in the Roman catacombs as the child of Mary is the youthful sun-god in the mummy image of the child-king, the Egyptian Karast, or Christ. The alleged facts of our Lord's life as Jesus the Christ, were equally the alleged facts of our Lord's life as the Horus of Egypt, whose very name signifies the Lord ...Whether you believe or not does not matter, the fatal fact remains that every trait and feature which go to make up the Christ as Divinity, and every event or circumstance taken to establish the human personality were pre-extant and pre-applied to the Egyptian and Gnostic Christ, who never could become flesh. The Jesus Christ with female paps, who is the Alpha and Omega of Revelation, was the Iu of Egypt and the Iao of the Chaldeans. Jesus as the Lamb of God and Ichthys the Fish, was Egyptian. Jesus as the Coming One; Jesus born of the Virgin Mother, who was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost; Jesus born of two mothers, both of whose names are Mary; Jesus born in the manger, at Christmas and again at Easter; Jesus saluted by the three kings, or Magi; Jesus of the transfiguration on the Mount; Jesus whose symbol in the Catacombs is the eight-rayed star - the Star of the East; Jesus as the eternal child; Jesus as God the Father, reborn as his own Son; Jesus as the child of twelve years; Jesus as the Anointed One of thirty years; Jesus in his baptism; Jesus walking on the waters or working his miracles; Jesus as the caster-out of demons; Jesus as a substitute, who suffered in a vicarious atonement for sinful men; Jesus whose followers are the two brethren, the four fishers, the seven fishers, the twelve apostles, the seventy (or seventy-two in some texts) whose names were written in Heaven; Jesus who was administered to by seven women; Jesus in his bloody sweat; Jesus betrayed by Judas; Jesus as conqueror; Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life; Jesus before Herod; in Hades, and in his reappearance to the women, and to the seven fishers; Jesus who was crucified both on the 14th and the 15th of the month Nisan; Jesus who was also crucified in Egypt (as it is written in Revelation); Jesus as judge of the dead, with the sheep on the right hand, and the goats on the left, is Egyptian from first to last, in every phase, from beginning to end." - Lectures, pp. 21-22.
So, savior-gods are nothing new. So, anyone who worships Jesus must also worship Horus, or reject both.
Millions still worship Jesus because he is the current savior-god. If the Christians of today had been alive in 400 B.C. they'd have believed in their heart that another savior-god besides Jesus Christ was their lord and savior, because Jesus had not been invented or introduced into literature at that point in time.
And if contemporary Christians would simply focus their eyes on the printed page instead of the fucking television screen, they might even get into comparative religion and learn a few things about the history of messiahs and therefore find out their Jesus isn't so precious and special after all, and not be shocked when enlightened ex-Christians tell them of other supernatural literary characters who were the foundation of the Jesus story in composite literature. Christians' smug attitude just sickens me. They go to church once or twice a week, listen to their preacher whom they believe knows everything and can utter no wrong because he attended a prestigious seminary somewhere, then they never investigate things for themselves or read extra-biblical sources for corroboration..
Now, jumping off the tangent and back on the subject matter at hand...
Not only is the legend of Jesus a borrowing and revision of legends from earlier bodies of literature and preserved verbal traditions, it is the byproduct of a heterogeneity among the writers of the New Testament's first four books. Mark wrote his Gospel first, then Matthew and Luke drew upon his material to write their Gospels. Helms calls this mechanism "source blending," and along with elaboration, embellishment, and outright fabrication, it is largely responsible for the Gospels we turn to in our Bibles today.
The Gospel writers depended on exaggeration, but also on writings available to them as resources. "Even if they had known how, early Christians would not have felt obliged to conduct the kind of historical research that might be done by a modern to find information about Jesus; they had a divinely certified source already in their possession - the Jewish Bible, which most of them after about 50 A.D. read in Greek - which the early Christians, by remarkably creative interpretation, turned into a new book that had never existed before, the Old Testament, a book about Jesus. Not only the prophets, but any part of the Hebrew scriptures was subject to being reinterpreted for reference to Jesus. Luke has Peter declare that even the author of Psalm 16 'spoke as a prophet' (Acts 2:30) about Christ.
"The early Christians could have found out what we would call historical information about Jesus, but in fact they did not. It is not that their methods were slipshod - they read the Old Testament very carefully; it is that their methods were not historical. They composed imaginative fiction using a method of getting at the past that involved the creative interpretation of ancient texts read as oracular. Even in those places where historical memory exists in the Gospels, it is structured not according to history but according to a theological pattern dictated by a specific understanding of the Old Testament or other ancient texts.
"We can see this in the way Mark began his Gospel:
In the prophet Isaiah it stands written: 'Here is my herald whom I send on ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. A voice crying aloud in the wilderness, 'Prepare a way for the Lord, clear a straight path for him.' - Mark 1:2-3.
"Mark uncritically used an already-composed account of John the Baptist (whether written or oral is unclear), which was, in a remarkably free fashion, based on the Old Testament." (Helms).
The Gospel writers often seemed desperate to prove to their readers that Jesus was indeed a supernatural Messiah. The desperation became laughable and obvious in at least one instance, that of depicting the genealogy of Jesus.
Tell me, what sense does it make to say Jesus is born of a mysterious copulation between the Holy Spirit and Mother Mary but also to attempt to trace the human ancestry of Jesus? That's just what was done, though. Helms explains:
"Very early among Jewish Christians, the need was felt to define Jesus' ancestry. Jews looked for a messiah descended from David, but Mark has Jesus explicitly deny that he is 'David's son,' and was almost certainly correct in doing so, for Jesus was a Galilean and of different nationality from the Judaean David...
"Many first-century Christians, however, did feel a need for a Davidic Messiah, and at least two separate groups responded by producing Davidic genealogies for Jesus, both to a considerable extent imaginary and each largely inconsistent with the other. One of each was later appropriated by Matthew and Luke and repeated, with minor but necessary changes, in their Gospels. Each genealogy uses the Old Testament as its source of names until it stops supplying them or until the supposed messianic line diverges from the biblical; after that point Christian imaginations supplied two different lists of ancestors for Jesus.
"Matthew's genealogy traces, through the paternal line, the ancestors of Joseph to show that Jesus Christ is 'son of David' (Matt. 1:1). This is not so surprising until Matthew insists that Joseph is not really Jesus' father: 'It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child.' (Matt. 1:20). Why, to show that Jesus is 'son of David,' trace the ancestry of a man who is not his father? The obvious answer is that the list of names was constructed not by the author of Matthew but by earlier Jewish Christians who believed in all sincerity that Jesus had a human father...
"Moreover, according to Luke's genealogy (Luke 3:23-31) there are forty-one generations between David and Jesus; whereas according to Matthew's, there are but twenty-seven."
On that last point, Jesus addicts will still insist on twisting and distorting the genealogies to make them match. But no matter how hard they try, 27 and 41 are not the same number. Therefore, at least one of the genealogies is false and/or incomplete. Another option which Jesus-junkies won't consider is that both are false or incomplete. If they could be reconciled by somehow magically transforming 27 and 41 into the same number, Jesus-worshipers would still have to wonder why the same genealogy was listed two separate times in the N.T.. Two separate genealogies were listed for a reason, as explained above by Helms.
A heavy reliance on the Old Testament was a common crutch for the Gospel writers. It carries on the practice of recycling myths, which probably all cultures are guilty of, but none so often as the Jewish culture and the culture of the West, particularly of the United States.
The writers of the New Testament even recycled and rewrote, and often referred to, passages in the Old Testament, which itself was mostly "stolen" from texts of earlier and simultaneous cultures. Helms tells how the Gospelists extracted from the OT: "All the Gospel stories of Jesus' resurrecting a dead loved one are based on the resurrections in the Books of Kings." That would be First and Second Kings, which any reader can open to any time to test this claim. And another example from Helms is: "...the feeding of the crowds of four and five thousand, stilling the storm, walking on the Sea of Galilee. Like so many of the other miracle stories, these too have their origins in the Old Testament."
Source borrowing (should it be called a type of plagiarism?) and recycling are as integral to mythology as any other mechanisms. A reading, or even a mere skimming, of Joseph Campbell's great books on mythology will prove so.
So far, we've considered the historicity, or lack thereof, of Jesus. Now let's look at his attributes.
While skimming all four Gospels last night, and reading parts of them, I was impressed by how beautiful and eloquent many of the passages were, especially the story of the Prodigal Son. Another salient theme I couldn't help but notice was that Jesus thought he was a big bad dude, and wasn't ashamed to tell people about it. Jesus had a huge ego. He was forever boasting about himself, telling multitudes that he was someone special.
And a paragon of perfection, you say? That's the common (mis)perception. Read his attitude in Luke 19:27 and tell me if that's perfection. It sounds more like the attitude of a sociopath like Charles Manson or Osama Bin Laden to me.
Imagine Charles Manson, or any other much-publicized or notorious serial killer or mass murderer moves into your neighborhood. He asks every citizen of the neighborhood for their allegiance, yea, demands that everyone bow down and worship him as the Messiah, and believe the promise that salvation is available only through accepting him as Lord and Savior. Would you do this? Well, a few of you would...But most of you, of course not! So why worship Jesus? He's not even contemporaneous and you've never even seen him, not even on "Survivor" or "Jeopardy." But the fact remains that Jeezus is a mass murderer-slash-serial killer just like Charlie M. and just like Ted Bundy. If you don't believe me, look it up! Read the Book of Revelations for more on Jesus' rampage through the human race. And while you're at it read Luke 19:27 to learn of Jeezus' homicidal proclivities and sociopathic desires borne of insecurity and egocentricity.
Now let's take a look at how you can get saved by Jeezus. Most Christians say you must believe in your heart, which is to become the receptacle of faith. But, wait a sec, I skimmed other parts of the New Testament last night besides the Gospels, and belief in the heart, whatever that ambiguity means, is something only the apostle Paul preached! Jesus never told anyone to accept him into their heart.
The methods of salvation - yep, there's more than one, which Jeez did mention in the NT include following every jot and tittle of the law, selling all you have then staying poor, confessing with your mouth that he is the Son of God, and having faith that he can heal you. On the latter method, one remarkable thing I noticed in my Bible-browsing was that in several instances Jesus told those he healed that their faith saved them, without them saying anything about wanting to believe or asking to be saved - "Thy faith has made thee whole" was uttered by Jesus at least twice without the healee asking how he/she must be saved.
Regarding the various and sundry methods of salvation the Bible purveys, none of them have any value for those who preceded Jeezus on this planet. Those who lived before Jesus was ever born were fucked. They could not be saved because they lived prior to Jesus. So, they're in the grave right now awaiting Judgment Day when they will be skewered down to Hell.
A few times Jesus stated openly that only Jews were eligible for salvation, thereby scorning Gentiles and countering the open attitude of Paul that Gentiles were welcome in the kingdom of God as well.
Crucifixion was nothing new to the story of Jesus either. It had been used for thousands of years, all over the world. For example, annual crucifixion festivals were held in Mexico and parts of South America.
Likewise, the miracles of Jesus, his virgin birth, and his resurrection, had all been told in earlier mythology in depictions of earlier savior-gods. So Jeezus is far from a prototype but most definitely a new revised version.
Concerning the Second Coming, well, sorry, there won't be one, because there was no First Coming, plain and simple. All this talk of Jesus coming back is useless. All this apocalypse talk is irrelevant. To the people who die every day on this planet, it already is the end of the world. The world has ended for them already, get it? Typically, the Bible doesn't care about individuals though, but only the collective masses who will be alive when the momentous event of Jeezus touching toes on Earth happens again.
And why are people, especially fat lazy Americans, so insistent on telling everyone Jeezus is coming again? Do they want the world to end? Are they unhappy or something?
Speaking of apocalyptic themes, Revelation depicts Jesus as "girt about with paps," alluded to by Dr. Massey above. "Girt about with paps" is surely symbolic. If this representation is symbolic, why isn't the rest of Revelation symbolic? Why do so many Xtians take Revelation so seriously and say its events will be literal? As for the papped Jeezus, you think some Bubba wearing a cowboy hat and a belt buckle with his name on it would accept this effeminate portrayal of his savior while he's sitting on the velvety pew in his redneck church? I just don't think so. If Revelation presented Jeez as a gunfighter with a revolver on his hip and a belt buckle with JESUS on it, a cowboy and a macho type in general would go for that but not for a feminie Jesus with teats. Even the symbolism probably bothers Christians who read the verse, even those Christians who know it's symbolic.
Another variety of symbolism which is frequent in the Bible is astrological symbolism. It bears directly on Jesus himself. He is the sun, and the twelve apostles are the signs of the zodiac through which he traverses. Likewise, he is zodiacally represented by Pisces the Fish, which has a connection with the fish logo you see on cars all the time. New Testament astrology continues the motif of astrological symbolism which is found in the Old Testament as well.
Jesus is also a symbolic vegetation god. (See the anthropology classic The Golden Bough and Joseph Campbell's volumes on mythology).
Still no evidence of Jesus has been found after 2,000 years of rigorous searching. And still no proof, which is much more substantial and convincing than evidence. Seems like by now somebody would have found something. I know what Jesus-whores are thinking...Nope, the Shroud of Turin was neither evidence nor proof - not the genuine article - don't even go there.
Don't go to the argument that people have died for the name of Jesus, either, because, well, ya see, people have died for every savior-god. Martyrdom has been a common theme throughout history, but a Christian won't concede to a rival religion's authenticity simply because people gave up their own lives for it. Muslims give up their lives for Allah every single day but you don't hear Christians saying Allah must be the one true God because of his martyrs, and likewise noone should say Jesus is the one true savior-god because Paul and others have sacrificed their only life for him.
Adonis and Bel were just as precious to their believers as Jesus is to his. Humans are emotional creatures so they accept things like savior-gods. I did - I got saved three times by Jesus.
Graves ended his book by putting the squeeze on Jesus addicts:
"We will close with the testimony of a French philosopher, Bagin, on the subject of deific incarnations. He says 'The most ancient histories are those of Gods who became incarnate in order to govern mankind. All those fables are the same in spirit, and sprang up everywhere from confused ideas, which have universally prevailed among mankind - that Gods formerly descended upon Earth.'
"Now, we ask the Christian reader,
'What does all this mean? How you are going to sustain the declaration that Jesus Christ was the only son and sent of God, in view of these historic facts? Where are the superior credentials of his claim? How will you prove the miraculous portion of his history to be real and the others false?'
"We boldly say it cannot be done. Please answer these questions, or relinquish your doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ."
A quagmire indeed. For the Christian to simply say: "I believe in Jesus because the Bible says he's the savior of the world," or "It's true because the Bible says it is" just won't work. That's just it! - the Bible says Jesus is the son of God and the son of Man, but the Bible is just a book, just literature! A person in Phrygia thousands of years ago would have used the same retort when cornered about his faith in Attis. But the Christian really has no answer because deep down he/she knows the Bible is the source of Jesus and that he/she would never have heard about Jesus if not for having read about him or heard someone who'd read about him repeat the printed page verbally.
Why believe in Jesus? You've never even seen him. You have no idea if he was a long-haired hippie with a brown mane and blue eyes or if he had a Marine's crewcut. You have no idea at all what he looked like and you certainly can't trust the common "portraiture" of the long-haired Jesus which hangs on church and home walls because it was painted long, long after he was allegedly here. You've only read about him in a book and heard him preached. The only thing that sets him apart from most other literary characters is that his writers gave him the claim of divinity. If Winnie the Pooh or Peter Pan boasted a divine nature, you just might be gullible enough to worship one of those literary figures.
The very name "Jesus Christ" is symbolic. Separately both appellations are symbolic and together they're symbolic. So all I can still ask is the question that started this entire essay: "Jesus Who?"