Was The “Original Jesus” A Pagan God?
Pros: Painstakingly researched and documented; very hard to refute
Can you identify this religion? The central motif of this faith concerns itself with the crucified and resurrecting Godman whose father is the supreme God and his mother a mortal virgin who after her death ascends to heaven and is honored as a divine being. Naturally most people would guess Christianity and they would be correct. What few people are aware of is that Christianity is only one of successive mystery faiths of the ancient Mediterranean to have a similar motif. Most interestingly, these all predate Christianity by hundreds of years. In Egypt this resurrecting Goodman was named Osiris, in Greece- Dionysus, in Asia Minor- Attis, in Syria- Adonis, in Italy- Bacchus, in Persia- Mithras. Yet these ancient spiritual practices are regarded as myths and understood as allegories, while in the Christian tradition the gospels are touted to have historical credence and to be interpreted as one might any other historical phenomena. Could it be that there never existed a person named Jesus Christ and the central figure in Western Civilization merely the ancient Mediterranean Osiris-Dionysus myth related in a Jewish context? More importantly, how were ancient mystery religions transmuted into diabolic adversaries of the Roman Catholic Church? And what have been the consequences for Western civilization of having its ancient Pagan heritage severed two thousand years ago and declared “off-limits?” These are but a few of the questions explored by Timothy Freke (honors degree in philosophy and authority on world mysticism) and Peter Gandy M.A. in classical civilizations) in the pages of The Jesus Mysteries: Was the “Original Jesus” a Pagan God?
Whatever your religious affiliation this book will forever change the way you think about matters spiritual and the institutions that politic on their behalf. This magnificent blend of detective story, historical research and clear thinking will also prove to the reader that history is not merely RELATED but often CREATED to suit the needs of those in power. Consider for example the celebration and reverence for Native American beliefs and spiritual practices that have been embraced by popular culture. Similarly, many African Americans have sought a reconnection with the traditions of their ancient African ancestors and people think nothing of it. But if a person is of European heritage and delves into the spiritual practices of their ancient ancestors they are still likely to be seen as traveling down a dangerous path, one many people mistakenly associate with Satan worship and evil. Yet, as Freke and Grandy demonstrate, there exists considerable evidence that the Roman Catholic Church hijacked Western spirituality, from its Pagan heritage and superimposed a hierarchical church with rigid and dogmatic authoritarianism. Christianity as it was originally practiced has more in common with ancient European polytheism as it was practiced in the polytheistic Mediterranean than it does with modern evangelical sects.
But how did the Literalist version of Christianity come to be regarded as orthodox? If people take the time to familiarize themselves with spirituality as practiced prior to the rise of Christianity many similarities between the old and new become quite evident. Yet it has been ingrained into the minds of Christians that there is only one God and salvation can only be attained though acceptance of his son Jesus Christ as savior. But as Freke and Gandy demonstrate, there is no such thing as a perfect crime and the deceptive deeds of the Literalist Christians (what evolved into the Roman Catholic Church) to purge Christianity of its ancient origins can be pieced together. After the ruling classes of Rome converted to Christianity under Constantine, Overseers (or Bishops as they came to be called) began to consolidate power over what became the official religion of the Roman Empire. This new Universal or Catholic Church began to systematically destroy contradictory faiths, particularly Pagan Mystery religions. Documents were altered and forged to construct historical facts favoring the new orthodoxy. Church leaders distorted documents written by Pagan holy men and Gnostic theologians to villanize dissenters or make them appear to be in sympathy with what was regarded as orthodox teachings of the time. And when there were no documents to fit the needs of Literalists they resorted to forgery to give the impression that their spiritual beliefs were triumphant because the Holy Spirit guided them. Early leaders of the Roman Catholic Church endorsed the most absurd theories put forth by propagandists. One of the more extreme lies was cooked up by Eusebius, the official historian of the early Church that Satan had copied the story of Jesus in advance of it happening and created the Osiris-Dionysus myth to lead people astray.
Putting asunder Pagan traditions was something that the church could not do overnight. In fact it is easy to argue that it never was totally done away with. For two hundred years following the popularization of the Jesus myth, Christianity was practiced on two levels, more popularly known as Inner and Outer teachings. Those who were on the periphery of the new religion concerned themselves with literal interpretations of the Jesus story basing their faith on blind allegiance. Those who were indoctrinated into the Inner realms of the faith were called Gnostics and their understanding was more mystical and the Jesus story was understood to be an allegory. Inner and Outer beliefs coexisted as two aspects of the Jesus story. There was no orthodoxy in these early days of Christianity as it is now understood.
But how did the Bishops propel themselves into power? The answer begins with the inclusion of the Mystery Religions into Jewish culture. As Roman persecution of the Jews intensified so did the hope a savior. This coincided with the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 CE and opened the door for the historization of the Jesus Myth. After the Romans laid waste to Jews with the knowledge of only the Outer Mysteries and its limited understanding of what Christianity was all about were spread around the Roman Empire as slaves and refugees. Bishops in the West were cut off from the master Gnostics in the East and developed a new religion based only on the Outer Mysteries, preaching only a literal interpretation of the Jesus story where salvation was promised to anyone who believed the Jesus myth to be literally true. By the middle of the second century, Gnostics of the East who created the Jesus story were being attacked by Literalist Christians (centered in Rome) as heretics who had perverted genuine Christianity. When Gnostic sages of the Inner Mysteries visited Rome, Literalist Bishops were not pleased to have some foreign mystic tell them they needed further initiation. With no knowledge that there could be a deeper understanding of the faith the Bishops grew resentful of the Gnostic masters believing they would steal their flock. The struggle for the soul of Christianity ensued. The Outer Mysteries suited themselves more to strict Roman hierarchy and tight control and naturally were appealing to the Emperors especially Constantine who was the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity. The Literalist version of Christianity became further entrenched when the Council of Nicaea in 325AD that put forth a sacred creed that is still repeated in churches today. Soon after the pillage of Pagan holy sites ensued and Roman Catholic Churches were erected in their places. In fact the place where the Vatican now stands was once a Pagan temple where Pagan priests observed sacred ceremonies!
This book will be a breath of fresh air to anybody who is inspired by the message of Christianity but have been turned-off by the dogmatic dribble that many Christian Fundamentalists espouse. Readers brought up under the guise of “our way is the only way” zealotry can see that there is nothing wrong with incorporating outside ideals into the way they practice and still consider themselves a true Christian. It also offers a chance for Westerners to re-connect with the heritage of their ancient ancestors in ways that heretofore have been looked down upon or forbidden outright. In doing this we can move toward the notion of what the ancients called a cosmopolitan (citizens of the cosmos) where we don’t feel the overriding need to affiliate with one particular country, country or religion. People will be free embrace spirituality that speaks to their heart and is relevant to all human beings regardless of their place of origin or social status.
Consider the grandeur that has been tragically decimated regarding to our ancient Pagan heritage. The notions of democratic rule and political freedom have their origins in the Senate of Pagan Greece. Ancient Pagans celebrated a profound love of logic and scientific inquiry exemplified by the magnificent library located in Alexandria Egypt that housed hundreds of thousands of scrolls and papyri until its destruction was ordered by authorities of the Literalist Christian church. Pagans created the pyramids in Egypt and the Parthenon in Greece. Within a few hundred years of Literalist Christian rule many were stupefied as to how to construct a simple brick building. Posidonius created a model of the solar system that accurately represented the orbit of the planets. Eratosthenes estimated the circumference of the Earth within a few percent. By the beginning of the fifth century AD it was sacrilegious to not believe that God placed the stars in the heavens each night and the Earth was flat. It can be little wonder that Europeans who rediscovering works of the ancients during the Renaissance chose to refer to the thousand year period that preceded their era the Dark Ages.
For wishing to learn more about the mystical Inner Mysteries of the ancient Pagans and the original Christians the authors have established a web site: www.jesusmysteries.demon.co.uk
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