Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Something fishy about the origins of Christmas

An effulgence of lights, crowds of zealous shoppers and soul-destroying music announce that it is Christmas time again. But what is Christmas? Who was Christ? Why do we still call this annual shopping spree after this mysterious mythical figure? He dominates our historical consciousness insofar as our understanding of history is determined by before and after his supposed existence, but is there any reason to believe such a figure ever existed in the sense of an actual historical person walking upon the earth? The churches would have us believe that Christ was both God and man, and inspite of this apparent contradiction, actually existed, actually was born on the 25th of December in a stable in Bethleham, performed miracles and died to save humanity. However, close scrutiny of the scriptures and the writings of his contemporaries reveal no evidence of such a person. We are told he came from Nazareth even though this town did not even exist at the reputed date of Christ's birth! The truth is simply that Jesus never existed. He was the result of a complex ideological fiction that took centuries of assiduous editing and re-writing before the New Testament was finally presented as fact. Rather than an historical person, Christ is, to borrow a phrase from the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, a conceptual person.

Anthropology, however, does show that the idea of Christos or 'The Anointed One' precedes this biblical figure. Adonis and Tammuz, for example, were born of the Virgin Sea-goddess Aphrodite-Maria(Myrrha), or Ishtar-Mari(Hebrew Mariame). In the Bible itself, we have Jehu, son of Nimshi, whom Elijah anointed as a sacred king( 1 Kings 19.16) and Yeshua son of Marah. It is likely that Jesus was another personification of ancient moon worship. The cults of the ancient Essenes always included a healer with the title 'Christos'. The 'chrism' was actually an oil which was used to lubricate the phallus of the statue's of Osiris for penetration by temple virgins in ancient Egypt.

Some theorists have derived the name from 'healing moon-man'. This would fall in with the Hebrew notion that makes Jesus the son of Mary, the almah or 'moon maiden'. It is odd that in spite of Christ's reputed miracles and the oft related furore that surrounded his deeds, that there is no mention of him in any of the renowned scholars of his time. Tacitus, Pliny, inter alia, all eminent scholars and au fait with the events of their time, do not even mention him. This prophetic Jew whose miraculous powers were said to have been considered a threat to the security of the Roman empire, failed to make world-headlines in his day. That is because he wasn't invented until 60 years after his birth when Mark the evangelist sat down to write his first novel! As with all crafy writers, Mark was a skillful plagiarist.He must have been familiar with the writings of Plato, as the Gethsamene episode( 14.32-42) where Jesus continues to pray while the apostles are too drunk to stay awake, is taken straight out of Plato's Symposium. Jesus, like Socrates, just doesn't want the party to end!

One perceptive writer by the name of Aulus Cornelius Celsus, refers to vagabonds and mendicants traversing the Middle East claiming to be the Messiah. He writes:
'Each has the convenient and customary spiel, "I am the god," or "a son of God", or " a divine spirit", and " I have come. For the world is about to be destroyed, and you, men, because of your injustice, will go( with it). But I wish to save, and you shall see me again coming back with heavenly power. Blessed is he who worships me now! On all others, both cities and countrysides, I shall cast eternal fire. And men who( now) ignore their punishments shall repent in vain and groan, but those who believed in me I shall preserve immortal.'
Sound familiar? It was certainly familiar to Celsus but, as you can see, he wasn't too impressed. Of course, the tradition has more or less continued to this day with religious cult leaders still terrorising people into belief. Most of the so-called miracles in the Bible are simply rechauffé stories culled from earlier mythological sources. The changing of water into wine at Canae, for example, was an old trick practised by certain followers of Dionysus. It was a trick involving vessels and sifons which was invented by an engineer named Heron. There were many stories centuries before Christ of priestesses curing the blind with spittle, and Demeter of Eleusis mulitplied loaves and fishes in her role of Mistress of Earth and Sea. Stories of healing the sick and raising the dead were so common at this time that Celsus tells us they were " nothing more than the common works of those enchanters who, for a few oboli, will perform greater deeds in the midst of the Forum... the magicians of Egypt cast out evil spirits, cure diseases by a breath, and so influence some uncultured men, that they produce in them whatever sights and sounds they please. But because they do such things shall we consider them the sons of God?'

The notion of a man-god or god-king sacrificing himself for the sake of his people goes back thousands of years before Christ. This explains the rather cannibalistic ritual of Christianity.In fact, there is very little origininality in the Christian myth. Even the idea of the stable was borrowed from Christ's predecessor Zoroaster, who apparently was born in a stable. The date of Christmas is unsurprisingly nine months after his birth, common to pagan circular theology.There are many more examples which reveal the sources of the Christian myth which I cannot go into here, but what a pity Bishop Theodore of Cyrrhus destroyed up to 200 different Gospels in 250AD, leaving us with only four! As a parting thought, some Irish scholars derived 'Jesus' from the old Irish 'Ischa' meaning fish. Always suspected something fishy myself!

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