Sunday, February 28, 2010

Zeitgeist: True, but Wrong

     Claims regarding pagan stories of resurrection predating Jesus are clearly presented so as to be true but wrong. How can a statement be true but wrong?

     Here's an example: "the worship of Osiris predates Jesus by centuries and we have resurrection stories of Osiris."   This same statement is made for many pagan gods; for instance--Dionysus, Adonis, Osiris.   They are all true but wrong.   The reader or viewer sees the statements and concludes "O, so resurrection stories predate Jesus."   This is the desired conclusion which is where the deception lies.   The truth is, yes, worship of these deities predates Jesus.   However, our earliest resurrection stories for these gods come after Jesus, most dating to the second-third century A.D.   Consider what is happening in this time. Paganism is swiftly losing its grip on the masses and more importantly, on the ruling class i.e. It is losing political power.   Consider that by the beginning of the fourth century, Christianity will become openly legal and by the end of that century will become the official religion of the roman empire.   So pagan religions are scrambling to make themselves a viable alternative to Christianity and at the heart of Christianity is the resurrection.   That makes the resurrection a good place to start to try to make one's cult attractive to potential converts.   So, it is actually the other way around. Christianity is not changing to appeal the pagans.   Paganism is changing to prevent conversions that are sweeping through cults and decimating their power base.

     Often the same ploy is used when comparing the Gilgamesh legends and Noah.   The statement is made that, " legends of Gilgamesh date back to the time before Genesis and we have the famous story of Gilgamesh on the sea which bears a striking resemblance to Noah."   Again, technically, all true, but wrong.   The truth is some, not all, legends of Gilgamesh predate the writing of Genesis, the oldest is probably being of Gilgamesh & Dinkadoo the wild man (a metaphor for urban civilization overturning simple tribal life).   However the accounts we have of the sea legend only appear some 500 years afterGenesis. (note: this discounts the theories that all books prior to Nehemiah including Daniel i.e. all books prior to the end of the Babylonian captivity, were actually written by the returning captives.   This theory holds that Jewish refugees made up their history because they didn't actually know it and did so by drawing on Babylonian mythical sources such as Gilgamesh.   This is a silly theory and readily disposed on other grounds.)

     Another example of pagan resurrection predating Christianity often centers around the observance of seasons and the pagan rituals attendant to it.   This leaves a skewed view of history as well as pagan tradition.   It is important to remember the pagan observance of seasons in ancient times had little or nothing to do with resurrection.   They centered mainly on fertility.   The pagan god/godless of your choice but the seasons were always seen as an act of sexual procreation, not resurrection.   The male god would spread his seed over the earth, engorging rivers, creating wetlands, etc and the earth (usually a goddess) would absorb the male seed & bring forth life in due season.   That is a very important concept--the times between the rains & the harvest was seen as paralleling the time between conception & birth.   This was a process that took time.

     It was not a resurrection as nothing was seen to have died.   The terms of a resurrection cannot be seen as a time consuming event.   One is either dead or not dead.   At the moment the dead become alive is the moment of resurrection. There is no process of resurrection.   The ancients were not dull observers.   They saw the fit with sex, procreation and birth as the more natural, unforced metaphor.

     The truth is it is impossible to say that no one, anywhere, ever made a resurrection story prior to Jesus.   There are certainly similar legends of vastly different color predating Christianity.   For example, there are vampire stories going back to ancient Egypt.   However, outside of the dead coming back to some sort of life, the vampire story bears no resemblance to a resurrection story.   However, leaving readers with the impression that there was a plethora of resurrection stories in pagan times and traditions prior to Christianity is specious at best; certainly a distortion if not an outright, cleverly crafted deception.

     Christ is the quintessential prototype for resurrection.   As always, Zeitgeist and its proponents are trying ex post Facto to lay claim to the Christian cross as something so powerful and desirable that deception is seen as an equitable price to pay for the obtaining of it.   Legitimate acceptance of Christ to be subsumed in the body topped with the head that wears the crown is seen as a price too high.   Failing in their attempt, I would hope that those who otherwise would have been convinced by the Zeitgeist lying would sincerely consider the claims of the gospel of Christ and legitimately inherit his crown of Glory in everlasting life.