For more information, see: Kersey Graves and The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors by Richard Carrier
THE report in authentic history of a case of a virtuous woman giving birth to a child with the usual form, and possessing the usual characteristics of a human being, and who should testify she had no male partner in the conception, might in an age of miracles and ignorance of natural law, be believed with implicit credulity. But in an age of intelligence, when the keys of science have unlocked the sacred shrines and hallowed vaults of sacerdotal mysteries, and modern researches of history have laid bare the fact that most ancient religious countries abound in reports of this character, a profound and general skepticism must be the result, and a total rejection of their truth by all men of science and historic intelligence.
Many are the cases noted in history of young maidens claiming a paternity for their male offspring by a God.
In Greece it became so common that the reigning king issued an edict, decreeing the death of all young women who should offer such an insult to deity as to lay to him the charge of begetting their children. The virgin Alcmene furnishes a case of a young woman claiming God as the father of her offspring, when she brought forth the divine Redeemer Alcides, 1280 years B.C. And Ceres, the virgin mother of Osiris, claimed that he was begotten by the "father of all Gods." Mr. Kenrick tells us the likeness of this virgin mother, with the divine child in her arms, may now be seen represented in sculpture on some of the ancient, ruined temples of that ruined empire. And Mr. Higgins makes the broad declaration that "the worship of this virgin mother, with her God-begotten child, prevailed everywhere." This author also quotes Mr. Riquord as saying, this son of God "was exhibited in effigy, lying in a manger, in the same manner the infant Jesus was afterward laid in the cave at Bethlehem." Mr. Higgins further testifies that the worship of this virgin God-mother (that is, the God and the mother) is of very ancient date and universal prevalence in all the eastern countries, as is proved by sculptured figures bearing the marks of great age.
In corroboration of this statement we might cite many cases, if our space would permit, from the religious records of India, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, Mexico, Tibet, etc. Maia, mother of Sakia and Yasoda of Chrishna; Celestine, mother of the crucified Zunis; Chimalman, mother of Quexalcote; Semele, mother of the Egyptian Bacchus, and Minerva, mother of the Grecian Bacchus; Prudence, mother of Hercules; Alcmene, mother of Alcides; Shing- Mon, mother of Yu, and Mayence, mother of Hesus, were all as confidently believed to be pure, holy and chaste virgins, while giving birth to these Gods, sons of God, Saviors and sin-atoning Mediators, as was Mary, mother of Jesus, and long before her time.
Mr. Higgins remarks that the mother was still held to be a virgin, even after she had given birth to other children besides the deity-begotten bantling, which furnishes another striking parallel to the history of Mary, as she was still called a virgin after she had given birth to Jesus and his brothers James and John. And it is an incident worth noticing here, that, in the case of Mayence, virgin-mother of the God-sired Hesus of the Druids, the ancient traditions of the country, more than two thousand years old, represent her body as being enveloped in light, and a crown of twelve stars upon her head, corresponding exactly to the apocalyptic figure described by the mystagogue, St. John, in the twelfth chapter of his Revelation. She is also represented with her foot on the head of a serpent, according to Davie's "Universal Etymology." (Vide the case of the seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head, Gen. iii. 15.)
Auguste Nichols tells us, in his "Philosophical Essays on Christianity," that Io is called, in Eschylus, "the Chaste Virgin," and her son "the Son of God." (For other similar cases, see Guigne's History of the Huns.) Gonzales informs us he found on an ancient temple in India the Latin inscription 'Partura, virginis,' "the virgin about to bring forth." And similar inscriptions have been found on pagan temples in the country of the ancient Gauls. (For proof, see Riquord's Theology of the Ancient Gauls, Chapter X.) "He who hath ears to hear, let him hear," and treasure up these facts. According to Chinese history there were two beings -- Tien and Chang-Ti -- worshiped in that country as Gods more than twenty- five hundred years ago, born of virgins "who knew no man." The mother of the mighty and the almighty God Hercules, we are told, "knew only Jove."
If history and tradition, then, are to be credited, God had many "well-beloved sons," born of pious and holy virgins, besides Jesus Christ. And some of them are represented as being his only begotten," and others his "first begotten," sons. And all these cases appear to be equally as well authenticated as the story of Jesus Christ. All stand upon a level, the same kind and the same amount of evidence being offered in each case.
Here we will note it as a curious circumstance, that Several of the above-named Saviors are represented as being black, Jesus Christ included with this number. There is as much evidence that the Christian Savior was a black man, or at least a dark man, as there is of his being the son of the Virgin Mary, or that he once lived and moved upon the earth. And that evidence is the testimony of his disciples, who had nearly as good an opportunity of knowing what his complexion was as the evangelists, who omit to say anything about it. In the pictures and portraits of Christ by the early Christians, he is uniformly represented as being black. And to make this the more certain, the red tinge is given to the lips; and the only text in the Christian bible quoted by orthodox Christians, as describing his complexion, represents it as being black. Solomon's declaration, "I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem" (Sol. i. 5), is often cited as referring to Christ. According to the bible itself, then, Jesus Christ was a black man.
Let us suppose that, at some future time, he makes his second advent to the earth, as some Christians anticipate he will do, and that he comes in the character of a sable Messiah, how would he be received by our negro-hating Christians, of sensitive olfactory nerves? Would they worship a negro God? Let us imagine he enters one of our fashionable churches, with his "rough and ready," linsey-woolsey, seamless garment on, made of wild sea-grass, thus presenting a very forbidding appearance and what would be the result? Would the sexton show him to a seat? Would he not rather point to the door, and exclaim, "Get out of here; no place here for niggers?" What a ludicrous series of ideas is thus suggested by the thought that Jesus Christ was a "darkey."
And the tradition of divine Saviors being born of undefiled and undeflowered virgins has an astronomical chapter we must not omit to notice. The virgin, with her God-begotten child, was pictured imaginarily in the heavens from time immemorial. They are represented on the Hindoo zodiac, at least three thousand years old, and on the ancient Egyptian planispheres. And if you will examine "Burritt's Geography of the Heavens," you will find the infant God-son (the sun) is represented as being born into a new year on the 25th of December (the very date assigned for Christ's birth), and may be seen rising over the eastern horizon, out of Mary, Maria, or Mare (the Latin for sea), with the infant God in her arms, being heralded and preceded by a bright star, which rises immediately preceding the virgin and her child, thus suggesting the text, "We have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him." (Matt. ii. 8.) Such facts led the learned Alphonso to exclaim, "The adventures of Jesus Christ are all depicted among the stars."
And such facts fasten the conviction on our mind that the stories of Gods cohabiting with young maids or virgins, and begetting other Gods, is of astrological origin -- the story of Jesus Christ included. A critical research shows that astronomy and religion were interblended, interwoven, and confounded together at a very early period of time, so indissolubly, that it now becomes impossible to separate them.