Holy Week reflections: The greatest story ever told

Holy Week reflections: The greatest story ever told Featured

IN the Christian tradition, commemorating the Passion of Jesus Christ from Palm Sunday to Black Saturday is the holiest week of the year. In between, Christ presided over The Last Supper with His 12 disciples, repairing to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was betrayed by Judas and arrested by officials from the chief priests and tried before the Sanhedrin. He was brought before Pontius Pilate, who convicted Jesus for treason. Consequently, He was forced to walk the “via dolorosa,” carrying his wooden cross toward Golgotha. There He was “crucified, died and was buried. On the third day, He rose from the dead.”

The resurrection of Christ is the linchpin of Christianity, its core belief — without it, Christian faith is meaningless, and Roman Catholicism, a farce. Thus, it is imperative that every facet of his life be examined and held to be unique as befits the Son of God.

Parallel narratives
He was born on December 25 of a virgin mother. At the time of birth, a star rose in the East, where three kings followed in adoration. Not much was known about this child’s younger years, but at age 12, he was considered a teacher. He was baptized and later did his ministry at the age of 30 assisted by 12 disciples. He performed miracles, healing the sick and walking on water and was known as the “Lamb of God, The Light, The Good Shepherd,” etc. He was crucified, was dead for three days and resurrected.

This was Horus, an Egyptian god venerated in 3000 BC. Isis, the virgin gave birth to Horus when the god Osiris impregnated her. These images in hieroglyphs also portray the annunciation and adoration of the Magi etched in stone in a temple in Luxor, an ancient city in Upper Egypt 15 centuries before Christ.

Mithra (1200 BC)
Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25 in Persia. He performed miracles and had 12 disciples. He was dead for three days and was resurrected; referred to as the “Truth, the Light,” etc. Sunday was his day of worship.

Krishna (900 BC)
A major Hindu god in India and the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu was born of a virgin, Devaki. At his birth, a star rose in the East. He performed miracles, he died, shot by an arrow and was resurrected.

Yeshua Hamashiach (Anno Domini)
A Hebrew, he was born on December 25 of a virgin, Mary, wife of Joseph in Bethlehem. At the time of his birth, a star rose in the east where three kings came to adore him. Not much was known about this child’s younger years, but at age 12, he was found at a temple sitting, listening and debating among the teachers. He was baptized and later did his ministry at the age of 30 assisted by 12 disciples. He performed miracles, healing the sick, walking on water and raising the dead Lazarus. He was known as King of Kings, Son of God, Alpha and Omega, etc. He is better known as Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

Common source of narratives
These similarities in narratives and godly attributes permeated many of the world’s culture and religion spanning 3,000 years and perhaps further back to primordial times when early man began to understand his surroundings, the dangers of darkness and the uplifting warmth and security of light. These cannot be dismissed as mere coincidences. From the time writing was invented, these depictions have been preserved, some in cuneiform and hieroglyphs; no doubt passed on from oral traditions. This suggests that there was a common source embellished over the millennia in the retelling, appearing eventually as myths, strong primordial forces to explain natural phenomenon.

Books of the Bible
Our knowledge of Jesus Christ is exclusively from the gospels. Biblical scholars have proven that the writing of the New Testament was an initiative of St. Paul (Saul of Tarsus), the head of the Pauline Church faction decades after the crucifixion, through the four canonical gospels of Mark (66-70 AD), Matthew/Luke (circa 85-90 AD) and John (90-110 AD). These writers never met Christ himself. These names were simply added in the 2nd century. What we have today in the Christian Catholic and Protestant traditions reflect Paul’s perspective after the internecine religious conflict and custodianship of the biography of Christ over the Jerusalem Church faction headed by James, the brother of Jesus (TMT, “Holy Week reflections, Part 1 and 2,” April 17 and 24, 2019).

The Bible is a compendium of selected writings by various people over a period of more than 1,000 years between 1200 BC and 1 AD. The Church included them in the canon (God-inspired, thus, theologically legitimate). But the editing continued until perhaps the late 300 AD. The debates over which books were theologically legitimate continued up to the 16th century.

The current Bible
The Roman Catholic Vulgate contains 39 books of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) while the New Testament contains 27 books. Thus, we have 66 canonical books, but hundreds more were discarded (outside of the canon) by various Church authorities and councils. But biblical scholars, experts and academics, not necessarily of the faith, regard the books of the Bible as simply the work of fables and legends by fallible men. Intriguingly, they could be works of plagiarists over the millennia copying the written work of authors writing about gods and deities of the ancients. How then to reconcile the attributes of Jesus Christ that were also the exact portrayal of deities and gods from Horus to Dionysus that preceded the Christ by 3,000 to 500 years ago.

If Jesus Christ were the point of reference, five features pervade analogous storylines: the virgin birth, December 25 birth date, a star rising in the East, dead for three days and resurrection. The simplest explanation is that these are more than 3000-year-old myths passed down through the millennia. And that these written records, including the current Bible, are simply astro-theological literary hybrid (Wikipedia); meaning these attributes are the barest and simplest explanation by the ancients of natural phenomena, day versus night, the changing of the seasons and more importantly the role of the sun in the heavens, conceptualized by the ancients into mythological structures. And these are collectively embodied in Jesus Christ as the basis of a religion followed by 2.3 billion people on earth today.

To quote Thomas Paine: “The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in which they put a man called Christ in the place of the sun and pay him the adoration originally paid to the sun.”

The belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God may be true in the sense that He in fact, like Horus, Mithra, Krishna and the others before him, are depictions of the Sun God!

Next week: Jesus Christ – God-Sun
This series of articles has drawn heavily from “Zeitgeist the Movie” (the main source) and Timeline-World history documentaries. This columnist claims no profound scholarly work except to titillate the reader to do his own research — thus, no Church imprimatur is needed . . . or the devil’s.

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