Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001
From: David Braunsberg
Dear Dave, One really good book on Mithraism is the 1989 book by David Ulansey titled "The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries". A summary of his views can be found at www.well.com/user/davidu/mithras.html It would be probably be good to read his book and the page I have just put here.
Sincerely, David Braunsberg
MITHAS AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY
Date: Mon, 06 Aug 2001
From: C T Blake
While I find your sight interesting, I think you are missing much more than is getting posted on the cross-over myths between Mithraic and Christian thought.
Mithras DOES have a resurrection story- see the stories of Mithras under the mountain (usually associated with Ararat- yup, the Ark one, which explains how it got it's "holy" status)- it also has the Mithraic angle on the end of the world, the last conflicts with Ahriman, etc).
Don't forget that the Symbol always associated with Mithras (aside from the obvious Phrygian cap, bull, dog and the rest of the usual symbology) is-- you guessed it- the cross. Mithraic (as well as other solar cults) used the symbol of the cross as a symbol of the Sun. This also puts an interesting spin on the story of Constantine's cross story....and how his Danubian troops (who already marched under the "Sol Invictis"- Mithras) were able to later convert that Mithraic symbol to a more respectible memory later.
The Cult of Mithras was largely wiped out-- violently-- by the early Christian Church, in violence usually associated with thier internal squabbles. Perhaps they realized that, because they had copped so much from Mithras that they couldn't allow it to survive? It's interesting how most of the Mithraruem we find are under churches, monestaries and nunneries, while the few that aren't are those that had been buried and lost. Somebody was pretty ruthless in wiping out most of the sites of Mithras.
CT Blake Nacogdoches, Texas
Response: Thanks for the additional insight. I appreciate it. -David
TRUTH IN MITHRAS
Subject: your site
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001
(My response are in gray-David)
David, I just visited your site about Mithras for research on the novel I'm writing at first, but a lot of the things I read got me thinking. You see, I've known about Mithras for good few years now, but my parents would never let me research anything about him without a just reason (my father is a Presbyterian minister and my mom is quite set on her Christian beliefs...which is just about anything Dad preaches about). I think I discovered why--your site got me thinking. Not that that is a bad thing, but I think my parents wanted to keep me on the 'straight and narrow' so to speak and not question my faith.
The myth surrounding Mithras, this supposed god of Truth and Light, was it basically a prophesy by the Persians proclaiming the coming of a Savior, or am I looking at this all wrong? (You are right). Also, I had read somewhere that Mithras killed the white bull so that man could live forever, (not true, it is the defeat of darkness) and then he himself was crucified in a similar fashion to Jesus (not true, Mithras is a story created from the night sky constelations) ...though Mithras 'existed' much earlier in history (not true, no such histoical person was ever thought to exist by any group). And the star that led the Magi to Bethlehem...does that have a place in the myth as well? (myth points to central truth -Jesus Christ)
Thank you, Lorena
COMMENTS ON SITE
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001
I have been doing a lot of research lately, in writing historical fiction. While I maintain that no one really knows, absolutely for sure, not as in just a matter of faith, but knows in the scientific sense how any of this really played out, there are some interesting things to note.
The Magi visited Jesus based upon the light they saw in the sky. These were very educated men, astrologers who had studied Babylonean astrology, ancient Hebrew prophecies, Hellenism and so on. They felt compelled to leave their land and travel a VERY LONG WAY to see the child to be born in Bethlehem. I am not convinced that they were there at the birth due to the length of their journey, however, Persia being some distance from Bethlehem. But in 7 BC there was a conjuction of Saturn and Jupiter that caused a very BRIGHT light in the sky. Not only that, but it occurred at the end of the age of Aries and the beginning of the Age of Pisces which at the time was rising in Virgo. So I find that interesting.
Each of these astrological ages are 2000 years...we are currently entering the 'age of aquarius'. Jesus' birth ushered in the age of Pisces, and one of the symbols for Christianity is a fish, and he was born of a 'virgin' (although when that is translated it really means, a young woman, not necessarily one who had not known a man) which is the symbol for Virgo. In and of itself I find these facts fascinating. The Magi knew that it was a significant event, being also the end of a Great Year (more astro babel) which only occurs every 26,000 years, give or take).
The ancient religion of Mithras has been around a while. Images of him wrestle a bull, and that makes me wonder if that age ushered in the age of Aries, as the age of Taurus, the bull, was being put down to usher in Aries, and the 'war like centurians' that went with that. Mithras was highly practiced by Rome especially the soldiers and temples can be found as far away as Africa in the South and Scotland to the North. St Peter's in Rome is built over an old Mithraic temple.
Mithras was born of a virgin, in a cave or grotto on December 25th. His followers observed some gruesome ritual where they would stand in a pit with a grill overhead and wait for the bull to be sacrificed, one of the deals with Mithra worship. As the blood poured out on them they would 'wash' themselves in it to cleanse, renew and be born again and upon emerging from the pit, they had become like Mithras.
Many ancient civilizations have a Sun God who is born on December 25th. Egypt had Osiris, there was Perseus and many others. Their stories all reflect each other. Born to a virgin, sacrificed for the good of the land. The winter solstic, December 21st, is the shortest day, the 22-24 within the celtic religion being the nameless days...times of introspection and meditation awaiting the rebirth of the Sun on December 25th when the days once again begin to grow longer. These feast days, however, were based upon a largely agrarian society that depended upon the year's cycles to determine the roles in life.
I think that Paul, in order to reach the great masses, had to make his version of religion acceptable to all and so these pagan practices/beliefs were woven into Christianity to create something that the people would accept and practice. Most of the New Testament is written by Paul and his works were the first written down. The next work was Mark which was done towards the end of the first century, and Matthew Mark and Luke generally reflect Pauls way of thinking...but they did not scribe these works themselves. They were written down by someone else. Who? we don't know. Paul was able to mold Christianity in they way that he thought would best serve and as the 'church fathers' founded the church and its canon toward the end of the 4th century, they decided to put into the bible what they thought would best serve. . .them. I think that a lot of 'truths' have been omitted from the Word of God, to the benefit of the men who founded the Church and grew rich from it and in order to gain the control over the masses that they needed at the time, since most of the world, was still pagan. I believe the Catholic Church is the richest organization in the world, and they posses deep within the recesses of the Vatican documents that have been sequestered away for 19 centuries as it would disrupt the status quo and the very foundation of what we all believe.
And that is OK!!! Religion is a man made phenomenon anyway. What is important is ones spirituality, spiritual growth, and enhancement of ones soul. So if Christianity was founded on pagan practices OK. It does not matter, Jesus was Jewish anyway. But his message, whether distorted by some or not, still brings hope to the hopeless and light into the world where only darkness exists. And as we approach the Age of Aquarius it is my prayer that all may experience the 'christos' state of enlightenment and see the intricate workings of God in all that we do, knowing that he has it all under control within his mechanations of the universe and our lives.
Response is coming -David
MITHRAS AND THE TEACHING OF JESUS
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001
Grey= David's responses.
I have been (still am) on a site called Christianity - General. For a very long time (70 years old) I have been reading everything I could on all the religions and have been struck by the similarities by them and the New Testament Gospels. I keep being told that the cult of Mithras was not around at the time of Jesus, yet everything I read tells me the opposite (Your readings are correct). For me, every past religion has lead up to Christianity and possibly to others newly as come. Was not Mithra the Roman soldiers god of worship and still in practice at the time of Jesus. (Yes) The similarities between Christianity and Mithra is just too coincidental. (There are also, major dissimilarities: Mithras is found in the star stories, not in history, Mithras has no death and resurrection. But there is truth contained in the Mithras myth that points to Jesus: light overcoming darkness, etc.) Not that Jesus was wrong to preach a way of life, but the Christian communities maniacal desire to erase anything that is even close to anything that Jesus taught. In a sense He did not teach "something" new, it was always there, (true, not so much in myth, as in Hebrew scriptures) but that He re-iterated all the positive concepts for people to follow. (Yes, but also "I am the way, the truth and the life" statements are unique to Jesus). Would you be kind enough to enlighten me if I am really as wrong as these fundamentalists believe I am. I am always ready to accept and repent of my errors.
Response: Yes you are generally right. Many Christian have a deep fear of myth. I have none. And all myth points to a central truth: Jesus Christ. -David
Subject: Mithra, Other "Religions", and the Apocryphal Writings
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001
I found the information about Mithra intrigueing. I was in a Christian Forum and someone came in talking about it. Prior to that, I'd heard other people say there were religions, VERY ancient religions, that spoke about the birth, death, and ressurection of the "Son" of God. They used this to say that Christianity was also a myth. (I find it interesting that in almost every subject - including science, which is supposed to be an objective endeavor, by definition - a person's conclusions about a matter spring entirely from world view... i.e., conclusions about "evidence" is never purely objective, but depends on a person's presupposition(s), or basic philosophy of life. This is another reason this page on Mithra is interesting)
Interestingly enough, when I first heard of these other "religions" the thought occurred to me, "Hmmm... what if God were preparing the stage for Jesus, or even telling the story over and over again to make His point clear?" How interesting to visit this site and see the same concept suggested! (Can you say goose pimples?).
I was wondering if you could give me the names of these other "religions". I'd like to use them as reference points for my understanding of Jesus, the Son of God (and God, by the way). I believe they will help shed light on what I perceive to be "missing" pieces.
Which leads me to the concept of the Apocryphal writings.
If these ancient religions, including Mithra, have been hidden from moden thinking, presumably by anyone who might not have wanted the word to get out, perahps some of the Apocryphal writings that, according to popular vote as far as I can tell, were not accepted as cannon may also yeild some important truths. If so, what is a good guide in determining which Apocryphal writings hold the most promise of being contributory? I know... lots of questions.
(I'll bet you were wondering, "How in thw world is he gonna tie these three things together?!") :-)
Thanks, and look forward to your response
BELIEVERS SHOULD USE THEIR BRAINS
Subject: Great Job
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001
From: Ron Bobeck
Dear dave , as a christain 27 yrs. I found your Page great However I think that new Christains would be confused. That said, I had read on mithra while researching a Quote out of an old jack chick Tract. I wish more Belivers would use thier Brains, The story stays the same. God loves mankind we sinned, to redeem us he sends a Savior, has to pay the Ulimate price to save us, So The outline of God's Truth is shown to all man kind. I have no problem that The Lord probably thru Daniel gave the story to Magia. Praise our Coming Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.
Yours trurly Ron Bobeck
MORNONS TO HELL
Subject: MY THOUGHTS
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001
From: "Tom Fenlon"
Anyone who can maintain Christian beliefs when shown the facts is unworthy of life. May you and all like-minded morons die immediately and suffer forever in your hell.
Response: Your compassion toward others who think different than you can use some fine tuning. You seem to have some rage going on. Why is that? Looking forward to more communication with you. -David
HOW YA GONNA WIN AGAINST THE "LEAKS'?
Subject: hi david
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001
Been reading a lot the past few days on the validity and history of Christianity. As I was reading about previous "Messiahs" before the time of Jesus, it also occurred to me that The Story was being told over and over again and I wondered at the possible significance of that. The argument that Truth "leaks" out into every culture is profound, fascinating and also incredibly resiliant. Were I a major debunker of Christianity I would cry foul... if even the innacurracies and myths are "signs" of Jesus' truth...well, how ya gonna win against that one? How funny such a take on history would be so deeply profound ( and perhaps expected of a loving God) while at the same time so suspiciously convienent... best regards.. rick
NO ONE HAS AN EXCUSE
Subject: No one has an excuse
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2001
I have just finished reading Ceasar to Christ by Will Durant and was excited by all the pagan faiths he identified that had some parallelism with the New Testament, especially the teachings of Paul. Because of this excitement I searched for Mithraism and found your site.
I am convinced that if one looks at the timing of the development of these pagan faiths, the state of the Roman Empire, the condition and lifestyle of the people, the infrastructure of roads and relative safety of travel, and the great need for hope, that one has to be convinced a central supernatural being had to orchestrate the events.
We are told that God has planted the knowledge of Him in all our hearts. The concept of a Saviour being born of a virgin, living a perfect life, convicted unjustly, cruelly crucified, and resurrected would simply be too much for a handful of people to convince the world. No one would accept the concept of a blood sacrifice as an atonement unless the belief already existed for centuries. It is amazing how God prepared the Oriental (and Roman) world to receive His Son. He didn't appoint His Son (or Pual) to blend the pagan faith into the ultimate pagan solution. He conditioned men's and women's hearts so that when Jesus came, people were ready to believe. How else can you explain the explosion of the Christian faith throughout the expanse of Europe and Asia? When the Apostles each went their way into the world to disciple the nations, the nations were prepared.
Tradition tells us that, except for John, each disciple died a martyr's death, steadfast in his faith that died was our atonement for sin. John's greatest ministry was in Turkey, the same area Paul spent most of his time ministering and they ageed in doctrine.
CHRISTIANITY IS NOT A PAGAN RIP OFF.
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001
Hello David- Great site- very interesting approach. I was a little bothered by something you said on the Superman page- about the "many pagan savior gods who died and rose again"(quotes are not your exact words, but meaning I disagree with the notion) I have encountered MANY claims of this, usually from atheists who use these accredited "facts" to show how Christianity is just a pagan rip-off! Interesting that you take the positive approach, as signs from God, perhaps a position derived in part from Romans 1 on "they knew God, but..". I know Augustine and CS Lewis took a similar "positive" view in a sense, and I know they were wise on the subject.
Anyways, perhaps I am attacking a straw-man here, but having read a number of words by apologetics on the whole "Christianity stolen form paganism" theories, I found that many of the case the atheists critics use to compare Christianity are grossly misrepresented- I understand the "Christ-type" work you are doing is meant as a positive work, but the negative argument against Christianity uses the same ideas with different conclusions. My point is that the similarities between Christianity and various paganisms have in many way been grossly exagerrated- if you have the time check out this rather thorough link on the subject. I aprreciate what you do and know you mean well, just think that bland comparisons to the "savior-myth gods" often do more harm to belief in Christ to good- sorry for any rough tones.
Response: Ignorance is not bless. Silence is not a solution. Even the Bible mentions the Dying Rising God Myths. So if God's word is comfortable with it, why should I not be. -David
TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTMAS
Subject: Thank you for your site
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001
Thank you for telling the truth about Christmas on you site. It is refreshing. Christmas is such a rediculous myth. On the issue of Santa, the idea of an obese man (caucasion or otherwise) trying to get into my home in the middle of the night is an unpleasant vision. If he does gain access, milk and cookies won't await him. More important, the tale of Santa encourages lying. I told my young son when he was 3 that Santa is a fictional character. I encourage him not to lie, so I will follow my own example. He still has fun on December 25th. He could give a rat's rear end that society tries to associate this date with Jesus. He's only interested in what his father and grandparents bought for him. I buy the same gift for everyone each Christmas. . .nothing. If I did buy into the myth that Jesus was born on December 25th, I would buy Jesus a gift, not everyone else. Would you buy me a gift on your mother's birthday? Your brother's? Then why buy me a gift on Mithras' birthday??? Anyway, Jesus commanded humans to celebrate his death, not his birth. I could go on and on and on, but I won't.
My response: Don't be so legalistic. Enjoy Christmas.
CHRISTIANITY AND THE DRUIDS
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000
From: Thirunethran Govender
Hello, Mithra was one of the most important deities of Proto Hinduism, being seen as the preserver of Cosmic Balance as well as creator of the Universe. He was introduced to Rome by the Persians much as Indra, the Vedic God of Thunder became Dionyces the Greek God of Wine (Introduced to Greece by Selenius Nicator the first Governor of Taxilla) The teachings of Jesus is of sound principles but Christianity still retains much of the Ancient Religions and Paganism eg. The Easter Bunny, Mid Witer and Midsummer of Druidic Worship.
PS Please do not post my e-mail address on your website
Response: You are so right. And the Druids stand on other traditions handed down from the Adamic world.
WHEN WAS JESUS BORN?
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000
i read on your web site that Jesus was not born on december 25th, this i knew. what i don't know is the real birth date. could you possibly tell me this? thank you for your help.
Response: No one knows! -David
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2000
I am sorry to bring this in to the discussion,but the winter solstice was not between Dec 21-25 in the time of Christ. Precession of the equinoxes sees to that. The precession causes the seasons to move forward and the speed of movement is 72 days per degree. It is therefore safe to say that there is a difference of at least 20 days between then and now. Crichton E M Miller This e-mail is solely for the use by the person or persons to whom it is addressed, as stated on this page and may contain personal or confidential information. Any dissemination, duplication, publication to third parties or other use of the contents of this e mail is forbidden.
TRUTH AS MYTH
Subject: Myth as truth
Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000
From: "H. L. Kelley"
My response in grey. -David
Or truth as a myth. Studying diverse Theologies, and Philosophies of men, both of men, and most of the time for men. Take the Jews, they say, ohh all that love your enemy stuff was said by Hilliel before Jesus. Then the Atheist, that say all the Gospels, were copied from a master Gospel years before Jesus was born, the Gospel of "Q", although this Gospel of Q has never been seen, it has been understood insomuch. I wonder why? (Q came before Jesus? -There is not one scholar who would say that -NOT ONE. You have some misinformation. Q = similarities in Mt and Lk minus Mk. Mk is viewed as a primary source, not secondary. John is also considered primary)
Anyway, with the Jewish wisdom predating Jesus, and the Gospel Q placing the Gospels in a secondary status, I pondered. This is what I've seen, and it covers the topic here as well. Jesus said He is the Word, the Word from the BEGINNING. We also see in Isaiah, that The Father had already sent His Word out, and that it would not return void, but shall accomplish what it was sent out to do. I see the problem with Christians, and non-Christians alike, is that they have forgotten that God will rain on the Just as well as the unjust, or rather, worthy and unworthy. It is a mighty big assumption to believe God's words of Love and Mercy were only spoken through His only begotten Son. (You are so very right here)
I tell you now, the Words of Hope and Compassion were received by many, good hearted men of old, and yes, even before Jesus was born of a woman. The Magi were not Christian, nor Jew, yet, God told them, and even showed them where the Savior would be born. (Very true)
The Seer that spoke of the Sun (given the name Mithras), and how it came to slay the darkness (given the image of cutting of a bulls throat), did this Seer see a vision of things to come? Anyway, I've probably said too much and still not made myself clear, so there it is. I'll be happy to express in more depth if you like. I like the comparisons you gave, the one I thought of was the fact that sacrifice was one of the greatest blinders to the light, and He was also sent to do away with that. Peace, not as the world gives.
H. L. Kelley
Response: Thank you. I really appreciate your thinking. You are on the right track. God is the God of all people. And God speaks through myth, story and legend in all cultures. And all myth points to the central truth =Jesus
MYTH AS REAL TRUTH
Subject: Whats wrong with myth?
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000
On your page a person calls Christianity a myth implying that myths are silly or irrelevant. You seem to agree with him saying "would someone die for a myth." In reality many people have died for myth and will continue to do so. Myths are extremely important spiritually and psychologically. Sadly modern man has relegated myth to something thats not that important- "its only a myth". To me at least though myth is more important than any external "rationally" determined "fact". The Jesus of the Bible is a myth and as such has a lot of power. What do you have against myth? Myths are Spiritual and Psychological facts!
Response: We are dealing with two very different definitions of myth here. In terms of your definition (which I prefer, by the way) here is where I stand: Myth is very powerful. Myth is a vehicle for truth. God uses Myth. Myth and all of creation points to the reality of Christ. Christ therefore transcends myth.
JESUS IS A MYTH
Subject: The j.e.s.u.s. myth
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000
From: No name Grey = editor's response
The whole j.e.s.u.s. thing Is a myth, I mean people like paul, luke, matthew give so many different stories about his life (really, Paul never wrote a gospel of Jesus), but really 27 years of his so called life Is misssing he is nothing but a 9th cycle deity, muhammed being the 10th (What? Strange), you see If you study universal religions all of your myths will never stand, because you will find that the whole christian heathen blasphemus doctrine has been taken from the older religions (the central doctrine of Grace is found in older religions? Where? All of the mystery religions had gods who did not really care for humans), research shows that the sun never turned black (what? They know there were no clouds that day in Jerusalem? Remarkable), during this so called christ ressurection, while another one accounts that It was a great earthquake at that time (So let's see, only one account of a small earthquake, so therefore it didn't happen?) tell me , If you are a spiritually inspired writer of our CREATOR, how can all these stories differ? (4 blind men and an elephant comes to mind -same truth, different perspectives) evidently these people are just making up stories for fame and a mythical legacy which still lives for the walking dead (so, why did they die for the "myth"?).
paul was a liar he was an opportunitist that's always trying to be better than all of the prophets that lived before him, he was a story telling lying rat.and matthew, luke, john were not writers they were fishermen (Matthew was a tax collector, and Luke was a doctor, besides do only writers write?), so why are books In the bible named after them? (Yes, good question! If they are bogus won't they be named after famous people rather than "fishers") when they stole and copied works of others like marcion, clement, Ireneaus etc (all these folks came well after the gospels were written. You do not know your history). and who was mary parents? (Jewish) what bloodline did joseph come from? (Jewish) like I said rome Is known for giving birth to many gods and goddess'es, so this should tell you something right there j.e.s.u.s. is just another christ like horus before him, like chrisna etc. there is nothing new under the sun.
Response: You seem to be very angry, or at least you use angry words. No need really. It is very okay to not believe in Jesus. The choice is yours. So, be happy, you are free. May God bless you. -David
April 4, 1999.
In as much as first century writers omitted so much about Jesus and the first to include such material was Paul, I begin to suspect Paul was acting much in the role of Public Relations man with an ulterior motive.
My Responses: Paul? None of the scriptures quoted above are from Paul! Beyond this however, Paul wrote during the life time of all the first century witnesses to Jesus, and he interacted with them. To pull off fraud would have been impossible. All the early disciples of Jesus died for their witness and support of the Gospel of Jesus. No one dies for a lie. No one would have died for the so-called "lies" of Paul. But they died for their experienced truth of Jesus, which Paul gives testimony to.
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