This is a season of myth, legend, folklore, fantasy, make believe and superstition. In the interest of mental and spiritual health a few historical facts need to be kept in perspective. I know that is difficult while being drowned in an emotional/devotional frenzy.
The Christmas Jesus stories are pure mythology. That is a fact that is accepted and taught in the Religion departments of every major university in this country, or the world. By "major" university I am talking about those schools that are free of the financial and academic coercion that is always present if the school is under the control of a Christian denomination.
I will use only one example out of many.
Mithraism (6th century B.C. Persia and India). Mithras was born of a virgin, with only shepherds present. Mithras was known as "the way," "the truth," "the Life," "the Light," "the Word," the "Son of God," and "the Good Shepherd." He was pictured carrying a Lamb on his shoulders. Sunday was sacred and known as "the Lord"s Day" centuries before Jesus was ever born.
On December 25th, there were glorious celebrations with bells, hymns, candles, gifts, and "communion" was observed by the followers.
From December 25 until the Spring Equinox (Estra or Easter) were the "40 days" which later became Christian Lent. Mithras was finally placed in a rock tomb called "Petra." After three days he was removed with great festival, celebrations and joy.
The followers of Mithras believed there would be a day of "judgement" when non-believers would perish and "believers" would live forever with Mithras in "paradise," which is a Persian word, not Hebrew.
All of these mythological formulas were later absorbed, by diffusion, into the Christian cult and their rituals.
As hundreds of eminent scholars have brought to our attention, Christianism is saturated with the mythology of Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Egypt and Babylon. It is hardly "controversial' when this material can be found in every major library in this country; and when it is accepted and taught in the Religion departments of every major university not financially imprisoned by 'orthodox' Christian control.
It is even being taught in my grandson"s high school class on Comparative Religion in Santa Rosa, California where the light of religious literacy floods the darkness of superstition.
I repeat my opening paragraph: in the interest of spiritual and mental health, a few historical facts need to be remembered as a balance in perspective. To ignore and close our eyes to such knowledge is to walk around about a half bubble off plumb.
There is nothing wrong with fantasy, so long as it is recognized as such.
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Copyright © 1999 by William Edelen. This electronic version is copyright © 1999 Internet Infidels, Inc.