Jesus the Sun God?

There are undeniable correlations from religion to religion. For example, almost all religions have a flood story. In the story the creator flooded the earth because of our bad behavior, but a few chosen were spared and left to repopulate the earth. This theme can be found across the Globe from the Mayans, the Greeks, and of course in Christianity.

Some might argue these correlations are evidence of the truth of the story. Obviously the flood happened because sparse populations all across the globe are talking about it. Right?

Maybe there is some truth to that, but I think a more likely scenario is that over time these legends and stories have been borrowed and integrated. It’s important to remember that much of religion and culture is based on oral tradition – and if you’ve ever played the telephone game (where you pass a sentence around a group of people until it gets back to the original person and laugh at how much it has changed) you know that ideas and “truth” can change drastically in a short period of time.

Historicity of Jesus

One thing a lot of people fail to realize is that the history and story of Jesus was not written down until almost 100 years after his life and death. Most of these stories (some compiled in the bible) come from corespondents and letters written by Christians. (i.e., Letters of Paul).

Some people have the mis-understanding that the Paul, John, Matthew, etc. from the books of the bible are eye witnesses – Jesus’s disciples. This is just not accurate. No Priest or Pastor would disagree with me there. So ask yourself: how much of the story was changed, exaggerated, mis-remembered, and manipulated after 100 years of oral tradition?

Edit: The information to follow is highly disputed and for the most part subject to interpretation. After you watch the video give this website a once over and decide how serious to take it.

In general, describing Jesus goes something like this:

1. Born of a Virgin
2. Performed Miracles
3. Known as the light, the truth, God’s Son, etc.
4. 12 disciples
5. December 25th: Star of Bethlehem, followed by three kings on his birth night
6. Sacrificed himself for the sins of the people
7. Resurrected after 3 days

It turns out this story, like the flood story, is pretty common. See the video below.

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12 thoughts on “Jesus the Sun God?

  1. Hyperborean

    Atticus, the Zeitgeist story is bullshit. Too much edgy teenage atheist nonsense. The flood story is common because it is originally an Aryan story that spread with the Aryans. The rest of the Zeitgeist nihilist nonsense has been debunked by various sources.

    Reply
      1. Holden

        I’ve read much of the same as what Hyperborean is saying once I heard about the documentary and started just “googling” it. I got a real sneaking suspicion it was mostly bunk when an angry Atheist co-worker said they were a huge fan of the movie.

        Anyone who claims to be anti-religion, but then acts favorably towards something with almost religious like zeal, throws up a red flag.

        Reply
      2. Hyperborean

        Jesus is actual a combination of a few pagan gods: for one, Odin. Odin sacrificed himself to himself by impaling himself to the world tree for nine days to gain the wisdom of writing (to give to us). There is also Baldur, son of Odin, that was killed and resurrected — he was the god of light. Thor is another.

        Reply
  2. njnapier

    atticus, New to your blog…thanks for writing but I need to differ only slightly. The traditions circulating around Jesus were written down much earlier than 100 years afterward and MANY priests, theologians, philosophers agree with me here. For example, it is common biblical scholarship that Paul’s letters could be as early as mid-40’s and no later than 50-52 for letters like Thessalonians and Galatians (so maybe within 10-15 years of Jesus death) not 100. Paul was dead in the mid 60’s, so he did all his letter writing within 30 year of Jesus. And it is there we find early corroboration for things like Eucharist (In 1 Corinthians…so Gospel is being told within the community of Jesus)…long before a Gospel was ever written. Mark was most likely written in the 60’s…maybe early 70’s. The last Gospel to be written was John…and this is late 80’s-mid 90’s…so the oldest Gospel is a little more than a generation from the events, 60 years. You are also only somewhat correct when you say the Gospels are not written by “eye” witnesses…The tradition on Mark is that John Mark is its source. John Mark was a disciple of Peter’s…that’s pretty close to eyewitness (admittedly memory is a tricky thing), Matthew…you’re right. Tradition is the disciple tax collector but this is probably not the case. Luke, not a disciple or eye witness. (but Matthew and Luke most likely would have spoken to “eye” witnesses or witnesses of witnesses or else no one would listen to them…stories of Jesus were too well known to be entirely fabricated by a rogue disciple as Paul’s Eucharist references makes clear)…John…tradition is this is the Beloved disciple, but again, no one knows for sure…but tradition is he wrote it in old age…at least this is what folks like Tertullian thought) All that to say, Richard Bauckham, a very respected NT biblical scholar at Edinburgh has recently argued that the Gospels are eye-witness testimony (see his “Jesus and the EyeWitnesses” and his “The Gospels for All Christians”.) The usual track is that gospel authors shaded and wrote for their own respective communities shaping the events of Jesus for their theological agenda…this is the normal biblical scholarship take. So scholarship has emerged such as Johannine Theology, Matthean community, etc, etc…However, Bauckham’s thesis challenges this and creates a hybrid from it…that this may in fact by the case but such doesn’t negate that some of the testimony could be eyewitness and still produced for a specific kerygmatic goal. I hope you find that I’m not being too contrarian, just thought maybe some other thoughts might be helpful. Thanks for writing and creating discussion.

    Reply
    1. Atticus Post author

      Excellent information. I think there are differing opinions between scholars about most of the things we have discussed – for example when and who wrote the Gospels. In general I think my overall point is that due to the number of years and the element of oral tradition that it is likely a lot of what we know about Jesus is not 100% accurate or has been embellished/mixed with other traditions. Thanks again for the comment.

      Reply
  3. reconciledme

    Like anything, you can find “proof” of just about anything. The idea that no pastor will deny that none of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses is simply not true. Whether the gospel written is true itself we can discuss. I believe that they are. Also, your assertion that oral histories are the same thing as the telephone game can be argued as well. When your only source of historical fact is oral tradition there would be enormous importance placed upon accuracy. It is not the same as the telephone game.

    The historicity of Jesus really can’t be questioned. The diety of Jesus can. The idea that there are other stories similar to Jesus’ isn’t a shocker. The Old Testament speaks very clearly in places of a coming savior and what the circumstances around Him will be. That someone could read this and fabricate a false messiah or figure isn’t out of the question.

    Reply
    1. Atticus Post author

      I believe that Jesus was a real historical person, but I think there is little doubt that the story of Jesus was manipulated over time. People add and subtract from stories to fit their local culture – mix it with a little of their own tradition, exaggerate, etc. Analogies and examples suddenly become true events.

      You are right, I’m sure some pastors would disagree about the origin of the Gospels; however, the scholarly priests and pastors who have dedicated their lives to the study of these documents typically agree they were not in fact written by eye witnesses and especially not Jesus’ disciples.

      I personally think it is more likely Jesus was a philosophical and political radical who made history. The other things were likely tacked on over the years.

      Reply
      1. reconciledme

        We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this. There is information giving both of us facts. One thing I have always found compelling is how these men who perpetuated these myths died. They wrote and said what they believed to be true and we’re killed for it. All of the apostles minus John were martyred. They weren’t killed fighting, in the traditional sense, but allowed themselves to be killed without fighting back. Many people have laid down their life for what they believed to be true, but how many have done this for what they new to be false?

        But then, I’m sure the historical accuracy of this is questioned as well.

        Reply
  4. Holden

    I remember way back in the day, while studying ancient poetry (think Beowulf and the Iliad) in one of my college Literature classes, is was mentioned that traditions passed down orally tended to stay pretty well preserved. I did some Googling looking for research today and mostly only found religious people clawing at a way to justify their beliefs- no good scholarly research. 😦

    I did find one article that had some good things to say though. I enjoyed it.
    http://journal.oraltradition.org/files/articles/2i/7_rosenberg.pdf

    And a decent excerpt I found interesting….
    “Not to dispute those pious scholars and laymen who believe that
    Scripture is literally true in a sense that would be comprehensible to a
    literate historian, but oral traditions are rarely accurate with the precision
    of those who keep written records. This is one of its strengths. Useless
    data are forgotten in an oral tradition, while remembered phenomena are
    updated—made consistent with current beliefs and attitudes. Jack Goody tells the
    story (1968:33) of Gonja myths (of northern Ghana) at the beginning
    of this century which explained the seven political subdivisions in
    terms of the founder and his seven sons, each of whom succeeded to
    the paramountcy in turn following the father’s death. Fifty years later
    two of these subdivisions had been absorbed, for one reason or another,
    and British anthropologists collecting in the area found that the myths
    now described the founder and his fi ve sons. The geneologies were
    altered to fi t the facts of political reality during a half-century of serial
    remembering of etiological legends. And, Goody concludes, a similar
    process will transmute other elements of culture, even sacred lore, such
    as myths.”

    Reply

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