For more information, see: Kersey Graves and The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors by Richard Carrier
OF course such an extraordinary circumstance as the birth of a God into the world must be marked with unusual incidents and great eclat. This was first exhibited by angels, shepherds, prophets, magi or "wise men," flocking around their cradles. In the second place we observe an unusual display of divine power and providential care on the part of the great Father God, who was still left in heaven to save the young saviors through their infancy.
It is certainly a remarkable circumstance that so many of the infant Saviors should have been threatened with the most imminent danger of destruction, and yet in every case miraculously preserved, and thus were the Saviors saved.
A jealousy seems to have existed in several instances in the mind of the tyrant king or ruler of the country that the young Saviors and prospective spiritual rulers (who were mostly of royal descent) would ultimately acquire such favor with the people, by such a display of superior power and greatness of mind, as to endanger his retaining peaceable possession of the secular throne; to express it in brief, he feared the young God would prove a rival king, and hence took measures to destroy him.
In the case of the Christian Savior we are told that an angel, or "the angel," warned Joseph (the assumed father) to take the young Savior and God and flee with him into Egypt, because "Herod the king sought to destroy the young child's life," and had, in order to effect this end, decreed the destruction of all the children under two years old. And Joseph heeded the divine warning, and fled as directed. An angel and a dream, then, it will be observed, were the instrumentalities used to save the young Judean Savior from massacre.
And strange as it may seem, we find the same agencies had been previously employed to effect the rescue of other Saviors likewise and similarly threatened.
In the case of Chrishna of India, in particular, the similitude is very striking in nearly every feature of the whole story.
In the first place there is the angel warning. In the Christian story we are not specifically informed how the tyrant Herod first became apprised of the birth of the Judean Savior. The Hindoo story is fuller, and indicates that the angel was not only sufficiently thoughtful to warn the parents to flee from a danger which threatened to dispossess them of a divine child, and the world of a Savior, but was condescending enough to apprise the tyrant ruler (Cansa) of his danger likewise -- as we are told he heard an angel voice announcing that a rival ruler was born in his kingdom.
And hence, like Herod, he set about concocting measures to destroy him without a direct attack. Why either of them should have taken such a circuitous or roundabout way of killing an infant, when the life of the strongest man, and every man in their kingdoms, was at their instant disposal, "divine inspiration" does not inform us.
But so it was. And we must not seek to "become wise above what is written" in their bibles. Herod's decree required the destruction of all infants under two years of age (see Matt. ii. 16) -- first ordering, however, "Go, and search diligently for the young child." (Matt. ii. 8.) Cansa's decree ran thus: "Let active search be made for whatever young children there may be upon earth, and let every boy in whom there may be found signs of unusual greatness be slain without remorse."
Now, let it be specially noticed that there is to this day in the cave temple at Elephants, in India, the sculptured likeness of a king represented with a drawn sword, and surrounded with slaughtered infants -- admitted by all writers to be much older than Christianity. Mr Forbes, in his "Oriental Memories," vol. iii. p. 447, says, "The figures of the slaughtered infants in the cave of Elephanta represent them as being all boys, who are surrounded by groups of figures of men and women in the act, apparently, of supplicating for those children." And Mr. Higgins testifies relative to the case, that Chrishna was carried away by night, and concealed in a region remote from his natal place, for fear of a tyrant whose destroyer it had been foretold he would become, who, for that reason, had ordered all the male children born at that time to be slain. Sculptures in Elephanta attest the story where the tyrant is represented as destroying the children. The date of this sculpture is of the most remote antiquity. "He who hath ears to hear, let him hear," and deduce the pregnant inference, Joseph and Mary fled with the young Judean God into Egypt; Chrishna's parents likewise fled with the young Hindoo Savior to Gokul.
Now, let us observe for a moment the chain or category or resemblance.
- There was an angel warning in each case relative to the impending danger.
- The governor or ruler was hostile in each case to the mission of the young Savior.
- A bloody decree was issued in both cases, having for its object the destruction of these infant Messiahs.
- The hurried flight of the parents takes place in each case.
- And it may be remarked further, that the "Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus," once believed by the Christian world to be "inspired," and which for hundreds of years passed current as divine authority, relates that Christ and his parents sojourned for a time at a place called Matarea, or Mathura, as Sir William Jones spells it, who says it was the birth place of Chrishna.
Sir William Jones says: --
The Indian incarnate God Chrishna, the Hindoos believe, had a virgin mother of the royal race, who was sought to be destroyed in his infancy about nine hundred years before Christ. It appears that he passed his life in working miracles, and preaching, and was so humble as to wash his friends' feet; at length, dying, but rising from the dead, he ascended into heaven in the presence of a multitude." The Cingalese relate nearly the same things of their Budha." And several authors of Egyptian history refer to a story perpetuated in the Egyptian legends concerning the God Osiris, who was threatened with destruction by the tyrant Amulins, to save whom his parents fled and concealed him in an arm of the River Nile, as Christ was concealed in the same country, and, for aught that appears to the contrary, in the same locality. The mother of another and older Savior of Egypt fled by a timely warning to Epidamis before the birth of the divine child, and was there delivered of "our Lord and Savior," Horus. And the earthly or adopted father of the Grecian Savior, and God, Alcides, had to flee with him and his mother to Galem for protection from threatening danger.
In the ninth and tenth volumes of the "Asiatic Researches," we find the story of the "only begotten" or "first begotten son of God," Salvahana, of Cape Comorin, son of a virgin mother (as were all the other Saviors referred to), and a carpenter by the name of Taishnea. (It will be remembered that Joseph, "foster-father of Jesus," was a carpenter.) The story of this "Son of God" presents several features very similar to that relating to Jesus. Sir William Jones, Colonel Wilford, and the Rev. Mr. Maurice all confess to the antiquity of this story, as originating before the birth of Christ. Speaking of Zoroaster of Persia (another case), 600 B.C., an author remarks, "Tradition reports that his mother had alarming dreams of evil spirits seeking to destroy the child to whom she was about to give birth. But a good spirit came to rescue him, and consoled her by saying, 'Fear not; God Ormuzd will protect the infant, who has sent him as a prophet to the people and the world who are waiting for him.'" China, too, presents us with a case of the threatened destruction of a Savior in infancy, evidently recorded more than two thousand five hundred years ago. It is the case of the God Yu, who was concealed in a manner similar to that of Moses -- a commemoration of the story of which is perpetuated by an image or picture of the virgin mother with a babe upon her knee -- sometimes in her arms. Now, let it be noted that these virgin-born Gods, who, we are told, came "to save the world," could not save themselves, but had to be protected and saved by other Gods.
Without pursuing the subject further in detail, we may mention by way of recapitulation, that Chrishna, Alcides, Zoraster, Salvahana, Yu, to which list we may add Bacchus, Romulus, Moses and Cyrus, according to their reputed history, were threatened with death and destruction, but were providentially and miraculously preserved. The case of Augustus is related by Suetonius, that of Romulus by Livy, and that of Cyrus by Herodotus. It will be recollected that Pharaoh, like Herod, in order to reach the infant Moses, ordered the massacre of all the male infants (Herod making no distinction of sex), in order that he might, by this singular and circuitous method, reach the object of his jealousy and malignity without passing a direct sentence of death upon him.
The whole story of Herod's slaughter edict, with the familiar history of its execution, like nearly every other miraculous incident related in "The Holy Scriptures," which detail their histories, are traceable in the skies. Herod, we are told, literally means hero of the skin -- a term applied also to Hercules, a personification of the sun -- because the sun, on entering the constellation of the Zodiac in July, was supposed or assumed to invest himself with the skin of the lion, and this became "the hero of the skin," or a hero with a new skin. Now this solar Herod, passing through the astronomical twins and young infants of May, was said to destroy them, though the word destroy is in the Greek anairean, which any person, on turning to the Greek lexicon, will observe means also to take away, pass through, or withdraw from, so that Pharaoh more properly passed through the infants than destroyed them.
The text, "In Rama there was a voice heard," "Rachel weeping for her children," etc., is quoted by a writer (Strauss) as referring to the children slaughtered by Pharaoh. Let two things be noticed here: 1. Rama is the Indian and Phenican name for the zodiac. 2. Rachel had but two children to weep for -- Joseph and Benjamin -- just the number found in the fifth sign, or May sign, of the zodiac. And Venus, among the ancient Assyrians and Phenicans, was in tears when the sun, in his annual cross through the heavens, passed through or over the astronomical Twins (Gemini), doubtless fearfully apprehending their destruction.
The case of the massacre is an illustration and example of the manner in which all the miraculous stories related in the Christian Scriptures, as having been practically exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ, are traceable to older sources, frequently terminating among the stars.
INCREDIBILITY OF THE STORY OF THE MASSACRE, OF THE HEBREW INFANTS
- It is a cogent and potent fact, calculated to render the story of the murder of the Hebrew children by Herod wholly incredible, that not one writer of that age, or that nation, or any other nation, makes any mention of the circumstance.
- Even the Rabbinical writers who detail his wicked life so minutely, and who bring to his charge so many flagitious acts, fail to record any notice of this horrible and atrocious deed, which must have been published far and wide, and known to all the writers of that age and country, had it occurred.
- And still more logically ruinous to the credit of the story is the omission of Josephus to throw out one hint that such a wholesale slaughter ever took place in Judea. And yet he not only lived in that country, but was related to Herod's wife, and regarded him as his most implacable enemy, and professes to write out the whole history of his wicked life in the most minute detail, devoting thirty-seven chapters of his large work to this subject, and apparently enumerates every evil act of his life. And yet Josephus says not a word about his inhuman and infamous butchery of the babes which Matthew charges him with (about four teen thousand in number) -- a bloody deed, unmatched in the annals of tyranny. Such facts prove the story not only incredible, but impossible. Josephus could not and would not have omitted to notice this the most notorious and nefarious act of his life, had it occurred. It, therefore, could not have occurred. And it is almost equally incredible that Roman historians, who furnish us with a particular account of Herod's character, should pass over in silence such a villainous and bloody deed.
- And then some of our ablest and most reliable chronologists have shown that Herod was not living at the time this bloody decree should have been issued by him; that he died about three years prior to that period, and hence could have been guilty of no such villainy, and highhanded murder, and cruel infanticide.
- And even if living, he would have been an old man (not less than sixty-eight according to Josephus). Hence, he could not have calculated on surviving long enough for the son of a village carpenter, then a babe, to oust him from his throne.
- It is wholly incredible, also, that Herod should have adopted such a roundabout method of destroying the object of his fear and envy when he could have singled him out, and put him to death at once, and thus avoid the felonious act of breaking the hearts of thousands of parents, and his most loyal subjects, too.
- From the foregoing considerations, we endorse the sentiment of the Rev. Edward Evanson, that it is "an incredible, borrowed fiction."