|(Isis and Horus -- Mary and Jesus)|
"The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind."
-- H.L. Mencken; American Author
"History does not record anywhere or at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unkonwn without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it."
-- Robert A. Heinlein; American Author
"Man is a marvelous curiosity . . . he thinks he is the Creator's pet . . . he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to him and thinks He listens. Isn't it a quaint idea....I do not fear death. I was dead for billions of years before I was born, and did not suffer the slightest inconvenience for it."
-- Samuel Clemens ('Mark Twain'); American Author
Three authors; three quotes - same conclusion. There is no 'god'.
Most people who call themselves 'atheist' are really saying they're 'not Christian'. Of all religions, Christianity takes the prize for being the easiest to manipulate; the most-'feelgood' - and, as a result, the greatest danger.
As to 'god'-in-general, that's been rather fully-addressed -- (1) the simplest explanations for the existence of the universe do not include phantoms, as they cannot be proven to exist; (2) the universe is a random place; (3) earth itself is not a 'closed' system, existing in harmony - in fact, the opposite is true; (4) to believe in the existence of a 'god', one must accept many things entirely on faith - which is based on circular, unprovable statements.
This is enough evidence to prove to me that a 'god' cannot possibly exist. If it's not enough for those who may read this missive, that's fine -- I'm not attempting to change anyone's mind here - I'm explaining why 'god' doesn't work for me.
Now, I'm going to back up.
Actually, about 5,000 years - because to understand the Abrahamic religions, we have to understand their origins. I'm going to pick four major ones - you can make up your own mind as to the 'unerring authenticity' and 'divine authorship' of the Bible.
The Sun - Everyone's Original 'God':
From the beginning of any recorded history -- starting with petroglyphs on every continent - the sun has been the Original Fact. Without this, nothing happened. Early man knew that there was a direct correlation between the sun and the crops - the more sun during the spring and summer months, the more things grew. During the dark months, everything 'died' (went dormant), and came back ('resurrected'). It's no suprise - or shouldn't be - that every culture in the world has a 'resurrection mythology' - usually dealing with a god who died and came back to life, associated in some manner with the sun.
The historian, James Ballantyne Hannay, in his book "Christianity - The Sources of Its Teaching and Symbolism", was one of the first modern historians (in the 1920's) to make these comparisons between the Abrahamic religions and their ancient counterparts. While his book was controversial, and was banned by the Catholics, his revisionist observations created the groundwork for what is commonly known today -- none of the Abrahamic religions are unique.
Horus; Horus - Who's Got The 'Horus'?:
The greatest example of this comparative is the ancient Egyptian pantheon, which gave rise in turn to the Greek, then the Roman, pantheon. Although this piece of text is rather long, take a moment and review the comparatives between Horus and Jesus - there are over thirty:
|Conception:||By a virgin.||By a virgin. 8|
|Father:||Only begotten son of the God Osiris.||Only begotten son of Yehovah (in the form of the Holy Spirit).|
|Mother:||Meri. 9||Miriam (a.k.a. Mary).|
|Foster father:||Seb, (Jo-Seph). 9||Joseph.|
|Foster father's ancestry:||Of royal descent.||Of royal descent.|
|Birth location:||In a cave.||In a cave or stable.|
|Annunciation:||By an angel to Isis, his mother.||By an angel to Miriam, his mother. 8|
|Birth heralded by:||The star Sirius, the morning star.||An unidentified "star in the East."|
|Birth date:||Ancient Egyptians paraded a manger and child representing Horus through the streets at the time of the winter solstice (typically DEC-21).||Celebrated on DEC-25. The date was chosen to occur on the same date as the birth of Mithra, Dionysus and the Sol Invictus (unconquerable Sun), etc.|
|Birth announcement:||By angels.||By angels. 8|
|Birth witnesses:||Shepherds.||Shepherds. 8|
|Later witnesses to birth:||Three solar deities.||Three wise men. 8|
|Death threat during infancy:||Herut tried to have Horus murdered.||Herod tried to have Jesus murdered.|
|Handling the threat:||The God That tells Horus' mother "Come, thou goddess Isis, hide thyself with thy child."||An angel tells Jesus' father to: "Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt."|
|Rite of passage ritual:||Horus came of age with a special ritual, when his eye was restored.||Taken by parents to the temple for what is today called a bar mitzvah ritual.|
|Age at the ritual:||12||12|
|Break in life history:||No data between ages of 12 & 30.||No data between ages of 12 & 30.|
|Baptism location:||In the river Eridanus.||In the river Jordan.|
|Age at baptism:||30.||30.|
|Baptized by:||Anup the Baptiser.||John the Baptist.|
|Subsequent fate of the baptiser:||Beheaded.||Beheaded.|
|Temptation:||Taken from the desert of Amenta up a high mountain by his arch-rival Sut. Sut (a.k.a. Set) was a precursor for the Hebrew Satan.||Taken from the desert in Palestine up a high mountain by his arch-rival Satan.|
|Result of temptation:||Horus resists temptation.||Jesus resists temptation.|
|Close followers:||Twelve Disciples.||Twelve disciples.|
|Activities:||Walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He "stilled the sea by his power."||Walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He ordered the sea with a "Peace, be still" command.|
|Raising of the dead:||Horus raised Osirus, his dead father, from the grave. 10||Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave.|
|Location where the resurrection miracle occurred:||Anu, an Egyptian city where the rites of the death, burial and resurrection of Horus were enacted annually. 10||Hebrews added their prefix for house ('beth") to "Anu" to produce "Beth-Anu" or the "House of Anu." Since "u" and "y" were interchangeable in antiquity, "Bethanu" became "Bethany," the location mentioned in John 11.|
|Origin of Lazarus' name in the Gospel of John:||Asar was an alternative name for Osirus, Horus' father, who Horus raised from the dead. He was referred to as "the Asar," as a sign of respect. Translated into Hebrew, this is "El-Asar." The Romans added the prefix "us" to indicate a male name, producing "Elasarus." Over time, the "E" was dropped and "s" became "z," producing "Lazarus." 10|
|Transfigured:||On a mountain.||On a high mountain.|
|Key address(es):||Sermon on the Mount.||Sermon on the Mount; Sermon on the Plain.|
|Method of death||By crucifixion.||By crucifixion.|
|Accompanied by:||Two thieves.||Two thieves.|
|Burial||In a tomb.||In a tomb.|
|Fate after death:||Descended into Hell; resurrected after three days.||Descended into Hell; resurrected after about 30 to 38 hours (Friday PM to presumably some time in Sunday AM) covering parts of three days.|
|Resurrection announced by:||Women.||Women.|
|Future:||Reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium.||Reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium.|
The coincidences are evident.
This, taken alone, would be enough evidence to question all four gospels as simple 'lifting' of prior religious mythology. Unfortunately for the Abrahamic religions, it gets worse - at least, for the practitioners of the Abrahamic faiths today.
Akhenaten, The Heretic King and the 104th Psalm:
This is the single-most controversial argument, because it predates the Christian world.
The 104th Psalm is a piece of religious literature attributed to King David, and which is found in the Old Testament. While it's a moving piece of literature, and a hymn to the 'god' of Abraham, there's one problem.
In 1883, the tomb of Aya, the mother of Amenhotep IV, was discovered. In it were four hymns, written by Amenhotep IV.
Amenhotep IV was an enigmatic character. There's no doubt his early personality was formed by the presence of Froelich's Syndrome, a deformity creating broad hips and other feminine features (the likely result of royal-inbreeding). Upon ascending the throne sometime around 1353BCE, Amenhotep IV put in place many of his personal philosophies, honed during his childhood. Chief among these was the worship of a single deity - a sun god he called "Aten".
Changing his name to "Akhenaten" ('Glory of Aten'), he set about re-creating Egyptian theology itself. Banning all the other gods, he built a city near Amarna called "Akhetaten" ('City of Aten'). In it, he created a massive temple to the Aten, and set about writing the theology which would support his new 'god'.
Needless to say, the established priesthood did not appreciate being turned out of their temples and being forced to find other employment. Akhenaten's reign would prove short - but not without consequence.
The four hymns he wrote survived, thanks to the fact that they were in his mother's tomb, which was not desecrated after Akhenaten's death, as she was considered more her husband's (Amenhotep III) wife than her son's mother. What the French archaeologists who translated the writings didn't know at the time was that they'd discovered the Smoking Gun of the Bible - proof that the Bible is not original, 'god'-authored, or 'inspired'.
The Bible - or quite likely good parts of it -- are little more than restated ancient text.
It turns out that the Hymn to the Aten has at least eight points of direct translation to the 104th Psalm, and the 'feel' of the entire piece is too similar to be dismissed as coincidence.
One or two direct correlations would be enough. Unfortunately, the 104th is a near-complete copy of the Hymn to the Aten.
There's a problem here, folks.
The Hymn to the Aten was written at least 300 years prior to the life of King David.
The Sinai Codex and the Evolution of the Bible:
Beginning in the Middle Ages, Western culture began a huge disservice to education - they began granting degrees to preachers through 'collegium' which were established not to teach objective fact, but religion.
This practice continues today, and is in great measure responsible for muddying the waters between legitimate arts and sciences, and the study of religion.
Put another way - to the layman, all degrees look the same. A 'Doctorate of Divinity' conferred by a 'Bible' college looks the same as a legitimate degree in history from a real university.
This has allowed generations of 'professors of divinity' to vouch for the accuracy of the Bible - in the eyes of most laymen in the Western world, the Bible is the unerring, infallible word of 'god'.
There's only one problem with this. It's not true.
The smoking gun here is the Sinai Bible, or the Codex Sinaticus, discovered in 1761 by an Italian traveler and scholar in a monastery in Sinai. The book was incontrovertibly dated to between 325CE and 350CE, and is the earliest known complete copy of the Bible.
Upon examination, it is widely believed by serious historians that this Bible is one of 50 copies commissioned by the Emperor Constantine upon his conversion to Christianity.
There's a problem.
Several (twenty-five) missing verses; four missing passages, and four missing phrases, to be exact.
While none of these materially affect Christianity as it is known today, the missing bits attest to this: The Bible is not, and has never been, a 'complete' document.
The fact is, it's been changed over the centuries to fit cultural norms.
The Gospels - Not As Current As We Need Them To Be:
The earliest gospels only date to between 65-70CE. This would be like trying to write the history of the Panama Canal or the Spanish American War with only anecdotes from the people who'd built it or been there. Imagine trying to chronicle the failed efforts of DeLesseps, then the further efforts of the Americans in building the canal - at least, we'd have the date in the main lock as proof!
Now, imagine trying to write the history of the Spanish-American War with only the input of a few Cuban grandmothers and a handful of anecdotes from American participants, as handed down to their descendants.
You get my point. Lacking contemporaneous evidence, there's a high likelihood that Jesus himself is a fiction, created from several ancient texts and 'celebrated' on days coincidentally close to those of more-ancient religions.
A simple comparative of Christian holidays will give you what you really need to know - it turns out that Constantine co-opted pagan holidays as Christian in order to help keep the Empire together, which was busy coming apart at the seams because of religion.
The final nail in the Bible's coffin comes not from the Romans, Greeks, or Egyptians - but the Sumerians.
In 1844, a British archaeologist excavated some mounds near the present-day city of Mosul in Iraq. Several of these tablets, written in cuneiform around the year 2100BCE referenced a King Gilgamesh, who ruled the region some 600 years prior.
In what is now known as the Epic of Gilgamesh, there is the story of a Great Flood, which Gilgamesh helps alleviate by putting two of every creature in a huge boat to survive the deluge.
The thing is, this story predates the Biblical story of Noah's flood by at least a thousand years.
The Bible, while a collection of sometimes-moving stories, is a work of fiction. That fiction has been handed down as truth for centuries, by people who had something to gain from the control over other people, to people who wanted a convenient answer to the workings of the universe.
Abrahamic religion - the belief in one god who created everything, and which is responsible for everything, is not new, nor 'revolutionary' in any regard. It's a compendium of several religions dating back nearly 5,000 years, and which has taken large amounts of its story from religions-past.
On trial, there is nothing to commend the Bible, Judaism, Christianity, or the offshoot of Judaism, Islam, as anything more than a compendium of other religions.
"But doesn't this 'prove' that there's a common thread to history? Doesn't this 'prove' there's a 'god'? Can so many people through the ages be wrong?"
Yes, they can. History proves this, through the discovery of non-worship.
In observing these beliefs through the ages, we have to remember that the same people believed a lot of things -- first, by observation (the sun rises and sets; there is more light during the growing season, and less when things are dormant; blood makes the ground fertile - burying dead things in the earth makes it even more so; putting manure on the ground also makes for better crops), then by practice (sacrificing someone around the end of the year seems to make the sun come back).
The Egyptians learned that things went right on being the way they had been - and chalked it up to not letting Akhenaten get by with things for too long. However, when the Romans supplanted the Egyptians, their religion died out -- because no one wanted to worship a set of 'gods' which had let their people down.
The Greeks were in the same boat - and while the Romans left their 'gods' alone, the residents of Greece and the Hellenic region gradually gave up on Athena Parthenos and all the rest - for the same reasons.
It's pretty apparent that none of the religions of the world -past or present - have explained the mysteries of the universe adequately enough to have survived. In my own case, I've just gone one-'god'-further than most.