The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

CNN Belief Blog

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN)– Timothy Freke was flipping through an old academic book when he came across a religious image that some would call obscene.

It was a drawing of a third-century amulet depicting a naked man nailed to a cross. The man was born of a virgin, preached about being “born again” and had risen from the dead after crucifixion, Freke says.

But the name on the amulet wasn’t Jesus. It was a pseudonym for Osiris-Dionysus, a pagan god in ancient Mediterranean culture.  Freke says the amulet was evidence of something that sounds like sacrilege – and some would say it is: that Jesus never existed. He was a myth created by first-century Jews who modeled him after other dying and resurrected pagan gods, says Freke, author of  “The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God?”

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About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
This entry was posted in bible, christ, christian, deceived, god, jesus, jesus the christ, jesus the messiah, message and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

  1. Brenda says:

    Thanks for sharing. Interesting read.

  2. unklee says:

    Yes I thought it was interesting too. But unbalanced. There are thousands of qualified scholars who conclude jesus really existed and we can know significant things about him and only two or three who don’t. Yet they gave greater space to the deniers and never mentioned the overwhelming consensus in the positive direction. I guess that’s reporting for you, but you would want to be careful before you believed it!

  3. portal001 says:

    It seems fairly clear that Christianity did not copy pagan myths:

    http://www.tektonics.org/copycathub.html

    • I don’t know about that, look up the historical aspect of Easter, Christmas, christmas trees (Jeremiah 10:1-10), Halloween, even the aspect and setup of the church. George Barna -a highly respected christian researcher …and his book called Pagan Christianity goes through all the pagan aspects of the modern day church of how it came to be, excellent read.

    • to ignorant nescia,

      The idea of decorating a tree for religious purposes is very old, it predates Christmas, Christianity and medieval Germany.

      Jeremiah 10:1-4

      1 Hear what the LORD says to you, people of Israel. 2 This is what the LORD says:
      “Do not learn the ways of the nations
      or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
      though the nations are terrified by them.
      3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
      they cut a tree out of the forest,
      and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
      4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
      they fasten it with hammer and nails
      so it will not totter.

      *Medievil Germany just popularized it as a Christmas tree, and just made it ok for Christians to decorate trees.

      • IgnorantiaNescia says:

        There are several different claims intersecting here, it is prudent to disentangle them first.

        My claim is that Christmas trees are not pagan in origin, but are actually a mediaeval European Christian development. This is separate from the fact that trees have been decorated in other religions before, that’s a fact I would not dispute. But I do reject ideas that Christmas tree ornaments are inspired on the Celtic tradition to hag the heads of murdered enemies from sacred trees or something like that. Then there’s the idea that Jeremiah 10: 1 – 8 refer to decorating trees, a claim that I also deny. The context makes it clear that it is actually about the creation of idols:

        10 1 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the Lord:

        “Learn not the way of the nations,
        nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens
        because the nations are dismayed at them,
        3 for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
        A tree from the forest is cut down
        and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
        4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
        they fasten it with hammer and nails
        so that it cannot move.
        5 Their idols* are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, *) The Hebrew reads “they”
        and they cannot speak;
        they have to be carried,
        for they cannot walk.
        Do not be afraid of them,
        for they cannot do evil,
        neither is it in them to do good.”
        6 There is none like you, O Lord;
        you are great, and your name is great in might.
        7 Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?
        For this is your due;
        for among all the wise ones of the nations
        and in all their kingdoms
        there is none like you.
        8 They are both stupid and foolish;
        the instruction of idols is but wood!

        I hope that clears up what I do and do not dispute.

        Have a good day!

      • yes there are alot of things entangled into this. And I think this where we might have some disagreement. And I’ll explain myself.

        When I mean pagan in origin, -I mean the root beginning of something is in another worldly religion outside of Christianity. In reality nearly all forms of religion or religious tradition derive from some degree from another religion and then the new religion molds it a lil to fit their own religion. And this is something common across the spectrum of time. Even the the Word Holiday derived something else. We get Holiday from the ancient English of Holy Day- hāligdæg.

        So I think the question at hand, is Where did the idea of the Christmas tree come from? Obviously, the Christmas tree, not Christmas itself is biblical. We get the word Christmas from the Catholic eytmelogy of Christ Mass, (when the Catholics had mass specifically on Dec. 25 to honor Christ).

        But where did the Christmas tree come from? Who was the first to call it a Christmas tree?

        To answer this question, one must look up the Winter Solstice. http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/winter-solstice-evergreens-and-the-history/, Which was annual celebration much similar to Christmas now. Now there were several civilizations that decorated trees for holiday festivities. From my understanding, ancient germans and some egyptians, (I’ve heard other smaller ancient greek city-states did also, but I cannot directly verify that information.) http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_tree.htm Even though the tradition, culture, and society of the greeks, romans, and egyptians stopped this practice of decorating trees, The ancient german society apparently did not. Instead of the newly converted christian germans ridding themselves of their old pagan traditions, they en-grafted some their old traditions in with Christianity. This is why decorating trees, continued really only in germany for so years.

        And then when a german prince/king brought his tradition of decorating trees on Christmas to Britain the The Tradition of the Christmas tree then started to spread like wild-fire. It would still take several decades before this tradition would catch on america.

        *This type of thing of newer cultures, & religions adopting some of old culture and traditions from other societies is not something new. Every culture and society has done it.

        Now the reason I went through all that detail, is that for the first few years of my marriage, I refused to have a Christmas tree in my house cause I considered it pagan. And what the bible says in Jeremiah 10. And I even have a few christian friends who criticize me for not taking it far enough. Cause they think I should cut out Christmas all together, cause it is entirely pagan in itself. However after reading, watching documentaries, and even talking to my pastor about it, but mostly giving in to my wife begging me for a Christmas tree, I gave in eventually and decided to get a plastic Christmas tree and decorate it.

      • IgnorantiaNescia says:

        Hmmm, I see where you are coming from, though I still disagree about the Christmas trees.

        The issue with the question of how something originated is that is must show at least a degree of influence, which is not very likely in the case of supposed pagan influence on the Christmas tree. That there are parallels is not deniable, but that doesn’t mean our Christmas tree came from pagan Germanic tribes. Some continuity must be at least likely for us to suppose that. But the evidence seems to point to a later development, one that is much too late. In fact, since it seems to have developed simultaneously in both Germany and the East Baltic, any pagan influence (which would be extremely unlikely anyway by this time) would have more likely been Slavic instead of Germanic, since Lithuania was only Christianised less than a century before.

        http://www.christmastree.org/history.cfm

        The above site claims that the first record of a decorated Christmas tree is from around 1510. That is way too late for a Germanic pagan influence and if it were a Lithuanian pagan influence it is also very strange that Germans would adopt it so soon. I doubt that German traditions would have held to an unattested Christmas tree tradition for several centuries after their conversion.

        I can understand why you would not buy Christmas trees if it were a pagan development (I’m from a Reformed church), but the fact that many pagans venerated decorated trees doesn’t mean the Christmas tree tradition derives from it. And I can also understand it if you wouldn’t buy even if you’d accept they aren’t a pagan element – Christmas trees don’t mean much to me either.

        Now as for Christmas, I agree it contains pagan influences and that there are also other pagan liturgical influences in Christian liturgy. As far as I know the Christmas date is taken from the dies natalis of Sol Invictus, a Roman god (not Mithras, unlike it is often claimed).

      • Alot traditions and even Christians traditions borrow from other culture or society. One of the best examples is I could give is earlier Roman Religion prior to Christianity. Prior to Christianity, Ancient Rome had a polytheistic religion in where they worshiped many gods. But in actuality the romans borrowed their religion from the greeks. and pretty much renamed all the Gods, and altered much of the mythology to fit their culture and society.

        Roman religion was an offshoot of Greek religion. They essentially had the same gods, but they redefined the terms to accommodate their ideals of power. The Roman words for their greek gods added alot more power to the words that they used. Zeus, the king of all greek gods is simply the king of the gods. In the Roman context, Jupiter implied the fury and anger and strength under which the Roman armies fought.

        And their are hundreds of examples like this.

        Now yeah my reasoning for the pagan history is inductive, analogical and circumstantial. So it does lack sound fundamental reasoning. So my conclusion on where the Christmas tree may be flawed, but it is the general consensus on how and the history of the Christmas tree.

  4. IgnorantiaNescia says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention the version used was the ESVA.

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