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The Origins of Christianity

                         The Real Origins of Christianity
 
 
    Christianity did not begin with Jesus or even with the Hebrews.  Its origins are much older.  Historian
and philosopher Will Durant summed up Christian origins best in the third volume of his eleven volume
work The Story of Civilization.  In volume three, Caesar and Christ: The History of Roman Civilization
and of Christianity from their Beginnings to C.E. 325, Will Durant says on page 595:
 
      "Christianity did not destroy paganism, it adopted it.  The Greek mind, dying, came to a transmigrated
life in the theology and liturgy of the (Christian) church; the Greek language having reigned for centuries
over philosophy, became the vehicle of Christian literature and ritual; the Greek mysteries passed down
into the impressive mystery of the Mass.  Other pagan cultures contributed to the syncretistic result.  From
Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity, the Last Judgment, and a personal immortality of reward and
punishment; from Egypt the adoration of Mother and Child, and the mystic theosophy that made
Neo-Platonism and Gnosticism, and obscured the Christian creed; there, too, Christian monasticism would
find its exemplars and its source.  From Phrygia came the worship of the Great Mother; from Dionysus,
the dying and saving god.  From Persia millenarianism, the 'ages of the world,' the 'final conflagration,' the
dualism of Satan and God, of Darkness and Light; already in the Fourth Gospel Christ is the 'Light shining
in the darkness, and the darkness has never been put out.'  The Mithraic ritual so closely resembled the
Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass that Christian fathers charged the Devil with inventing these similarities
to mislead frail minds.  Christianity was the last great creation of the ancient pagan world."
 
      Although Christianity is, as Will Durant points out above, the accumulated borrowings of numerous
pagan religions, Christianity at its birth was taken almost directly from the pagan Zoroastrian religion of
ancient Persia and their worship of the god Mithras.  Just how this came about is an interesting story,
and it involves the experiences of the early Hebrews, who were, after all, the first Christians.  This is not
meant to be an anti-Semitic diatribe but a simple statement of known facts.
 
      The Hebrews were tribes of wandering nomads until they came to settle on the eastern Mediterranean
coast.  They had no written heritage as did their more powerful and settled neighbors.  Around 900 B.C.E.
Hebrew priests set about the daunting task of inventing a heritage for their people.
 
      The first question they had to answer concerned the origins of the human species.  All ancient cultures
put their own people at the center of this origin, and the Hebrews were no different in this regard.  Myths
already abounded in the area, so the Hebrew priests copied the ancient Sumerian myth of a "creation." 
How do we know this?  We have the actual clay tablets from the Sumerian library in the British Museum
in London, and these clay tablets were written around 2300 B.C.E., about 1400 years before the Hebrews
wrote down their myth of a "creation."
 
      Furthermore, a four-thousand-year-old Sumerian seal, also now in the British Museum, shows a tree,
guarded by a serpent, flanked by male and female figures with the female reaching out to the tree.  This bit
of ancient plagiarism is contained in Genesis 2:4 to 3:24 of the Old Testament.  The seal gives a date for
this myth 3,900 years before the Hebrews wrote down their version of a "creation" myth.  But wait!  This
is in the middle of Genesis.  What is contained in Genesis 1 to 2:3?  Ah, that is the second "creation" myth,
and it contradicts what is said in Genesis 2:4 to 3:24.  How did two different versions of a "creation" myth
come to be placed in the Old Testament?
 
      Around 587 B.C.E. the Babylonians invaded and conquered the Hebrew lands.  The elite of Hebrew
society were sent into exile in Babylon so that they would not cause unrest in the newly-conquered
Babylonian territory.  While in exile in Babylon, this Hebrew elite came to accept the Babylonian "creation"
myth.  Around 538 B.C.E., the Persians conquered the Babylonians and allowed the descendants of
the Hebrew elite to return to the Hebrew homeland of Judea.  These returning exiles insisted that the
Babylonian "creation" myth be used as the official Hebrew "creation" myth in the Old Testament.  As a
compromise, both "creation" myths were written into the Old Testament, with Genesis 1 to 2:3 being the
pagan Babylonian "creation" myth and Genesis 2:4 to 3:24 being the pagan Sumerian "creation" myth.
 
      The contradictions in the two versions of a "creation" myth in Genesis of the Old Testament are quite
striking, but Christian priests and ministers seem not to have noticed these contradictions and they certainly
have not pointed them out to their followers.  In Genesis 1 to 2:3 God "creates" the world in six days and
rests on the seventh day because by 400 B.C.E. the Hebrews had a Sabbath day.  There is no day of rest
in Genesis 2:4 to 3:24 because the Sumerians didn't have a Sabbath day.  In Genesis 1 to 2:3 man is not
"created" until the sixth day.  In Genesis 2:4 to 3:24 man is "created" on the first day, and plants and
animals are brought to Adam to be named.  In Genesis 1 to 2:3 plants and animals are "created" before
man.  In Genesis 1 to 2:3 man and woman are "created" at the same time on the sixth day.  In Genesis
2:4 to 3:24 woman is "created" after man.
 
      When fundamentalist Christians demand that "creationism" be taught alongside the real science of
evolution, just which version of the "creation" myth do they want to be taught?  Any  attempt to teach
"creationism" should be regarded as an assault on the intelligence of the student victims.  Belief in these
conflicting "creation" myths is a result of years of indoctrination within Christian communities.  It is, in
effect, a form of brainwashing that should be left within the confines of these fundamentalist religious
communities.  That some would want to introduce "creationism" into the public schools of America is
a troubling and scary development.
 
      The Earth was formed out of a disk of material orbiting our sun about 4.67 billion years ago.  Space-
based telescopes have shown us photographs of this process taking place around other suns in the universe.
When Genesis of the Old Testament was written, none of this information was available to people living in
the area.  These people were living in ignorance, but there is no reasonable excuse for modern people to
continue living in ignorance.  What "creationism" does is to promote ancient ignorance.  Not so long ago,
religious people claimed that the Earth was "created" about six to seven thousand years ago.  They based
this erroneous assumption on the Christian Bible.  Now that we know the Earth is billions of years old,
should we continue to believe the ignorance written in the Christian Bible?  Even more recently, religious
people claimed that our sun and all the planets of our solar system revolved around the Earth.  Anyone
who disagreed with this ignorance was burned at the stake as a heretic.  Is it any wonder that American
students test well below all industrialized nations and even some Third-World countries in science? 
Religion is promoting scientific ignorance in the United States.
 
      In November of 2012 TV evangelist Pat Robinson said that Creationism does not tell the true story
about how the Earth was formed or the true age of the Earth.  The CNN article reporting this news is
shown below.  What is really sad is that 46% of Americans believe in the Biblical myth of a creation
rather than real science.
 
 
      Hebrew priests also copied the "great flood" myth from pagan sources.  There are twelve clay tablets
in the British Museum in London taken from he library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.  These five-
thousand-year-old tablets contain the Epic of Gilgamesh, the original story of a great flood that the Hebrew
priests modified to fit Hebrew culture.  The priests inserted the character Noah into their version of the
great flood myth to make it seem as if this pagan myth had Hebrew origins.  Any intelligent person knows
there is not enough water on the Earth to cover all the land, so where did this myth originate?  It is a myth
shared by many cultures and religions around the world.
 
      Toward the end of the last Ice Age about 10,000 years ago, the melting ice sheets flooded the oceans,
causing sea levels to rise by about 400 feet.  Coastal settlements throughout the world were submerged
under 400 feet of water.  This flood did not "recede" as reported in the Christian bible.  Those settlements
are still submerged and archaeologists have investigated them off the northwest coast of the United States,
the Black Sea coast and the Mediterranean coast.
       But this would have been a gradual inundation, except for one interesting location in the Middle East. 
As the Mediterranean Sea filled up with an extra 400 feet of water, it broke through a land dam at the
Bosporus and rapidly flooded the Black Sea.  The pagan Assyrians, living on the Black Sea coast, would
have witnessed this sudden flood and written down the event as their Epic of Gilgamesh.  Hebrew priests
thought it was such a good story, they copied it for their religious texts.  Geologists have already determined
that such a sudden bursting of a land dam at the Bosporus did indeed take place.
 
      Now let's look at the enhanced Hebrew mythology in the Hebrew version of the copied pagan myth. 
The first item we should cover is what kind of God would kill off all the world's human beings except for
a chosen few?  He was the hateful God, the God of fear that Hebrew priests used to keep people in line in
those ancient times.  Fortunately, the flood never happened, but knowing that religious people would accept
such a horrendous genocide as part of their religious beliefs is disgusting and sickening.
      The Hebrew Noah is said to have taken two of every animal onto his ark so that they would survive the
flood.  How did Noah get the kangaroos of Australia to the Middle East to be placed aboard the ark?  Did
he have them sent by UPS?  And how did Noah get the llamas of South America to the Middle East?  Was
that by UPS also?  The answer is that the
people living in the Middle East were ignorant of the existence of
kangaroos and llamas.  They were only aware of the species in the Middle East and Africa.  Religious people
claim that the dinosaurs were drowned by the great flood of the Bible.  Why didn't Noah take the dinosaurs
aboard his ark?  And why doesn't any ancient source even mention the existence of dinosaurs?  They would
have been difficult to miss.  The answer is that dinosaurs had been extinct for millions of years, a fact that
religious people don't want to admit since that would make the Earth too old to fit the "creation" myth.
To embrace the "creation" myth and the "great flood" myth of Noah is to worship ignorance, something
that religious people seem willing to do.  Why?
 
      We must also consider the character of a god who, in a fit of pique, decides to drown thousands of
innocent children in a flood.  This is the same god that Christians worship today.  Today this god would
be on trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity.  Only idiots or individuals who have been completely
brainwashed would worship such a psychopath.  The intent of the Hebrew priests was to instill fear in the
people they had under their control to maintain their power and status within the community.  Most 
fundamentalist Christian preachers of today spread that same fear and for the same reasons.
 
      And then we come to Moses.  "My humble mother conceived me; in secret she brought me forth. 
She placed me in a basket-boat of rushes; with pitch she closed my door.  Rescued by a workman, he
became cup-bearer to the king, grew in favor and influence, rebelled, displaced his master, and mounted
the throne of Agade."  This tale is almost identical to the story of Moses in the Old Testament, but it is a
Sumerian legend about Sargon I of Akkad told several thousand years before the Hebrews began to write
the Old Testament.  There is a reason why the ancient Hebrews copied myths from other cultures and
even updated old myths to fit new circumstances.  Hebrews had a tradition called "midrash" which
rendered Scripture relevant to the needs of a specific period of time.  Thus, if a prophet needed to be
validated, deeds performed by earlier prophets would also be attributed to the new prophet.  In this way
the background of Sargon I was attributed to the Hebrew Moses; that is if Moses ever even existed in the
first place.
 
      In the Book of Exodus Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments directly from God.
Well...maybe.  In 1902 at Susa in the area of ancient Babylon an engraved diorite cylinder was discovered
showing the Babylonian ruler Hammurabi receiving a system of laws, The Code of Hammurabi, from the
pagan Babylonian god Shamash.  Just as in the myth about the birth of Moses, Hebrew priests copied the
Ten Commandments myth from an ancient pagan source.  The pagan gods were cruel despots to be feared
by the populace as a control measure put in place by rulers and priests.  This cruelty is revealed in the full
version of the Second Commandment from Exodus 20:4-6: "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the
form of anything in Heaven or on the Earth beneath or in the water below.  You shall not bow down to
them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins
of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand
generations of those who love me and keep my Commandments."  Portrayed in this expanded quote is a
hateful, narcissistic and psychotic god who will punish the innocent offspring of sinners.  It is the image of
gods to be feared held by ancient peoples and out of place in the modern world, so an abbreviated version
of the Second Commandment that hides the hateful rhetoric is shown to modern believers in these gods.  
Not many people are aware that the Catholic Church eliminated the Second Commandment altogether
because the many statues placed in Catholic churches would seem to be in conflict with the commandment.
 
      Most people do not realize that Moses also "parted the waters" before the Christian Jesus performed
this "miracle," and an earlier Hebrew prophet, Elisha, "parted the waters" before either Moses or Jesus.  
Other Hebrew prophets "raised people from the dead" long before Jesus.  However, the ancient Hebrew
prophets were not as "nice" as Jesus since the Hebrew priests were still promoting gods to be feared to keep
the people in line.
      Elisha performed another "miracle" in the Book of Kings too horrific to be attributed to the Christian
Jesus.  The myth goes like this: Kings 2:23 "And he (Elisha) went up from Bethel; and as he was going by
the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him. Go up thou
bald head."  Kings 2:24  "And he (Elisha) turned back, looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the
Lord.  And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and ATE forty and two of the children."
      Here we have the Hebrew/Jewish/Christian God sending two bears to eat alive 42 small children for
making fun of a "prophet's" bald head.  One must wonder if these passages are ever read in Christian
churches today and how the story might be received.  This is the ancient god of hate and fear that is out
of fashion today, but cannot be denied if the Bible is to be taken seriously.
 
      It has already been mentioned earlier that, after the Persian conquest of Babylonia in 538 B.C.E.,
the Hebrews held in exile in Babylonia were allowed to return to Judea, bringing with them the pagan
Babylonian "creation" myth to be added to the Old Testament.  Ancient peoples tended to adopt gods
seen as being more powerful than their own gods.  The Persians had proved the power of their god by
their conquest of Babylonia.  The Persians had even assisted the Hebrews in rebuilding the Temple in
Jerusalem that the Babylonians had destroyed.  Some Hebrews began to adopt the religion of this more
 powerful Persian god, Ahura Mazda and his prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster in Greek).  Mithras, the sun
god also had Persian roots.  The link http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen048.html provides
some background about Mithras.  The halo one sees above the heads of Christian religious figures was
taken from the halo always shown above the head of Mithras, and for some time it was a question of
whether the worship of Mithras or Jesus would prevail.
 
      The Persian worship of both Mithras and Zarathustra predate the establishment of the Christian religion
by hundreds of years.  The Zoroastrian religion even predicted that a savior (Saoshyant) would be born of
a virgin and eventually lead the struggle to conquer evil in the form of Angra Mainyu, the Zoroastrian Satan. 
It was around 600 B.C.E. that Buddha was conceived in a virgin birth, so you can take your pick as to 
which myth the dissident Hebrew priests copied for their new religion.   There was no Satan in the Hebrew
religion, nor was there a Messiah or Savior before the Persians brought the Zoroastrian religion to Judea.
 
      Now, concerning the central figure of the Christian cult, Jesus; some say that such a person never
existed and that his existence is also a myth.  Assuming that such a person did exist, he was not born when
the Christian Bible says.  Using historical records, the date of his birth was either 2 B.C.E. or 5 B.C.E. 
The writers of the New Testament got the ruler in the area and thus their dates mixed up.  This would 
make the Christian Jesus either 35 or 38 at the time of his death and not 33.
 
      Concerning this birth, the original version of Matthew 2:1-2 said this: "Now Jesus was born in
Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem saying,
'where is He who was born King of the Jews.  For we saw His star in the east and we have come to
worship Him'."  Magi were Zoroastrian priests.  Later versions of the New Testament changed "Magi" to
"wise men" to distance the new Christian religion from its pagan Zoroastrian origins.  Look up the word 
Magi in any dictionary.
 
      The worship of "Mother and Child" is also pagan religion.  The Egyptians worshiped the pagan gods
Isis and Horus as "Mother and Child" for thousands of years before Christianity began.  Worship of a
mother goddess has been a part of human history for millenniums. 
 
       The Hebrews were looking for a "Messiah" who would be a warrior king that would lead them in a
revolt against the Romans.  In 4 B.C.E. Simon of Peraea was proclaimed by some Hebrews to be this
"Messiah" because he did lead an armed revolt against the Romans. We have proof of this from the writings
 of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and the Roman Historian, Tacitus.  The following is from Jewish
War 2.57059, Jewish Antiquities 17.273-276 and Tacitus, Histories, 5.9:
 
      "In 4 B.C.E., king Herod the Great died.  Immediately, there were several revolts against the rule of his
son and successor, Herod Archelaus.  One of the rebels was Simon of Peraea, who claimed the kingship for
himself.  The fact that he was a slave, is of no importance: slaves could be highly educated and civilized
people."
      "There was also Simon, who had been a slave of king Herod, but in other respects was a comely person,
of a tall and robust body; he was one that was much superior to others of his order, and had had great things
committed to his care.  This man was elevated at the disorderly state of things, and was so bold as to put a
diadem on his head, while a certain number of people stood by him, and by them he was declared to be a
king, and he thought himself more worthy of that dignity than anyone else."
      "He burnt down the royal palace at Jericho, and plundered what was left in it.  He also set fire to many
other of the king's houses in several places of the country, utterly destroying them, and permitted those that
were with him to take what was left in them for a prey.  He would have done greater things, but car was
taken to repress him immediately.  [The commander of Herod's infantry] Gratus joined himself to some
Roman soldiers, took the forces he had with him, and met Simon.  And after a great and a long fight, no
small part of those that had come from Peraea (a disorderly body of men, fighting rather in a bold than in
a skillful manner) were destroyed.  Although Simon had saved himself by flying away through a certain
valley, Gratus overtook him, and cut off his head." - Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 17. 273-276
      "At Herod's death, without waiting for imperial decision, a certain Simon usurped the title of king.  He
was dealt with by the governor of Syria, Quinctilius Varus, while the Jews were divided up into three
kingdoms ruled by Herod's sons." - Tacitus, Histories 5.9.2
 
      A tablet, known as Gabriel's Revelation or the Jeselsohn Stone with unknown provenance, was likely
found near the Dead Sea around the year 2000.  The tablet has been associated with the people who created
the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The modern historian Simon Israel Knohl reads an inscription on the stone as a
command from the angel Gabriel "to rise from the dead within three days."  The inscription is not that clear
and difficult to read, but Knohl claims the inscription is directed toward the 1st century Jewish rebel called
Simon who was killed by the Romans in 4 B.C.E.  The part about "rising from the dead within three days"
is significant.  Here we have a "Messiah" commanded to rise from the dead in three days decades before
the time of the Christian Jesus.
 
      In 2009 the National Geographic Channel broadcast a documentary "The First Jesus" which laid out the
story of the Jeselsohn Stone and Gabriel's Revelation; the thesis being that the story of the Christian Jesus
might have been copied from the story about Simon of Peraea.  In the Hebrew tradition of midrash, a new
prophet is confirmed by doing the things done by previous prophets.  In other words, the Christian Jesus did
not rise from the dead within three days; this was a myth associated with Simon of Peraea.
 
      None of what has been said here will persuade most believers in the Christian religion to question their
beliefs because such beliefs probably provide a level of comfort that knowing the truth would not supply.
Irrational belief has always been part of human nature and it will continue on as long as there is a human
species.
 
 
 
                                                         Bibliography
 
 
   1. The Christian Bible, Old and New Testaments.
 
   2. Durant, Will, The Story of Civilization, Volumes 1-11, New York, Simon & Schuster.
 
   3. Gibbon, Edward, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 3-volume edition,
       London, Penguin Books, 1994.
 
   4. Graham, Lloyd, Deceptions and Myths of the Bible, New York, Citadel Press, 1975.
 
   5. Lawrence, Bruce, Defenders of God: The Fundamentalist Revolt Against the Modern Age, San
       Francisco, Harper & Row, 1989.
 
   6. Cohen, Norman, Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith,
       New Haven & London, Yale University Press, 1993.
 
   7. Redford, Donald, Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times, Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton
       University Press, 1992.
 
   8. Bernstein, Alan, The Formation of Hell: Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian
       Worlds, Ithaca & London, Cornell University Press, 1993.
 
   9. Fox, Robin Lane, The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible, New York, Alfred A.
       Knopf Publishers, 1992.
 
 10. Pagels, Elaine, The Origins of Satan, New York, Random House, 1995.
 
 11. Spong, Bishop Shelby, Resurrection, Myth or Reality: A Bishop's Search for the Origins of
       Christianity, San Francisco, Harper-Collins, 1994.
 
 12. Barthel, Manfred, (Translated and adapted by Mark Howson) What the Bible Really Says, New York,
       Random House, 1992.
 
 13. Haught, James A., 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, Amherst,
       New York, Prometheus Books, 1996.
 
 
 
                                                    Copyright © 2010 by Paul Roebling    
     
 
 
   
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