Category Archives: Paganism

Bible: Myths and their Parallels in other religions By T. W. Doane

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“BIBLE MYTHS, AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONS BEING A COMPARISON OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT MYTHS AND MIRACLES WITH THOSE OF HEATHEN NATIONS OF ANTIQUITY CONSIDERING ALSO THEIR ORIGIN AND MEANING” BY T. W. DOANE
“He who knows only one religion knows none.” -PROP. MAX MULLER.
” The same thing which is now called CHRISTIAN RELIGION existed among the Ancients. They have begun to call Christianity the true religion which existed before,” ST. AUGUSTINE.
” Our love for what is old, our reverence for what our fathers used, makes us keep still in the church, and on the very altar cloths, symbols which would excite the smile of an Oriental, and lead him to wonder why we send missionaries to his land, while cherishing his faith in ours.” -JAMES BONWICK.

In pursuing the study of the Bible Myths, facts pertaining thereto, in a condensed form, seemed to be greatly needed, and nowhere to be found. Widely scattered through hundreds of ancient and modem volumes, most of the contents of this book may indeed be found; but any previous attempt to trace exclusively the myths and legends of the Old and New Testament to their origin, published as a separate work, is not known to the writer of this. Many able writers hare shown so-called Sacred Scriptures to be unhistorical, and have pronounced them largely legendary, but have there left the matter, evidently aware of the great extent of the subject lying beyond.

American author Thomas William Doane (1852-1885) is considered one of the most significant contributors to the Free Thought movement, which held the view that belief should be based on the epistemology of scientific and logical laws, rather than on faith. In support of this philosophy, Doane undertook extensive research delving into the parallels between Christianity and pre-existing religions from around the world, ultimately meaning to show the difference between eternal truths, both spiritual and scientific, and fable. His work; “BIBLE MYTHS, AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONS” was first published in 1882. He takes a methodical stroll through each of the most popular Biblical myths from both the Old and New Testaments, including the Creation, Fall, Flood, the Exodus, Samson, Birth of Jesus, Baptism, Original Sin, Trinity, and the temptation of Christ, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, Eucharist, Christian Symbols, Birthday of Christ Jesus, Paganism in Christianity  and finally ‘Why Christianity Prospered’?
By providing copious evidence of the pre-existence of the morals and indeed, associated details of each, as well as thorough bibliographic information, the fruit of Doane’s labour is a fascinating survey of pre Christianity religions, embedded in the Christian dogmas, a compelling critique of the originality of Christian dogma.
It is unfortunate that very little is known about Thomas William Doane. Many of the early writers on Freethought have been buried in a conspiracy of oblivion. Their books were ignored by respectable journals, apart from an occasional pomposity or outraged condemnation. Public libraries and bookshops banned the books. The literature was prohibited in the mails and frequently seized; the publishers were prosecuted. The authors themselves were cold-shouldered and omitted from standard reference works. Today it is extremely difficult to glean even a few facts about some of these writers.

THOMAS WILLIAM DOANE was born in 1852. Like many pioneers of Freethought, he is not listed in standard biographies. We know that his book became a classic of Freethought for many decades, and that it was his sole literary work. He died young, on August 8, 1885, at Boston, aged 34, only three years after his book had first appeared. That is all we know. The book was first published by J. W. Bouton of New York, the enterprising book dealer who later issued Madame Blavatsky’s sensational Isis Unveiled-a book which also owed much to the Anacalypsis of Godfrey Higgins. Doane’s book joined company with [author] Kersey Graves’ The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors as one of the most popular items in the list of the old Truth Seeker Co. of New York, a trailblazer in Freethought literature.


“BIBLE MYTHS AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONS” By T. W. DOANE,  1882. Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Lisa Reigel, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net  http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31885/31885-h/31885-h.htm#Page_36

Index:

  1. Bible: Myths and their Parallels in other religion- introduction
  2. Crucifixion of Christ Jesus – The Myth
  3. Resurrection & Ascension of Christ Jesus
  4. Jesus Christ as Judge of the Dead
  5. Jesus Christ as The Creator, Alpha and Omega
  6. Khrisha and Jesus Christ Compared
  7. Buddha and Jesus Christ Compared
  8. Eurchrist or Lord’s Supper
  9. Baptism
  10. Worship of Virgin Mother
  11. Christian Symbols
  12. Birthday of Jesus Christ – Christmas
  13. The Trinity
  14. Paganism in Christianity
  15. Why Christianity Prospered
  16. Antiquity of Pagan Religions
  17. Conclusion

Comments/Review-1

The point of the book “BIBLE MYTHS, AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONSis that Christianity is a religion whose ‘holy scriptures’ are a hodgepodge of myths from other earlier religions. One meaning that can be drawn from this is that Christianity is not the ‘one true religion’, but instead is just a creation of ordinary men. Another and more positive meaning which can be drawn is that there is some central core of stories on which many or most of the world’s religions are based, a fact which suggests that these stories are representative of some historical truth which we know of only through mythopoeia. The question of whether the myths are true, however, does not tell us whether the religions which have adopted these myths are true, or are a good guide to behavior. My own view is that Christianity has been a dubious behavioural guide, with points both in its favour and against it, but that the church itself has often acted in a most un-Christian way, and that Christianity has been embraced by the Establishment if for no other reason than because it keeps the peons turning the other cheek instead of sticking pitchforks into the oft-deserving cheeks of their leaders.

Comments/Review-2

Is the Bible true? Ever since Tom Paine’s daring ‘Age of Reason’ at the end of the eighteenth century, Freethinkers have sought a rational, non-mystical view of the universe, and their arguments against dogmatic Christianity have often been reinforced by appeals to pagan religions which contain myths paralleling the New Testament stories and throwing doubt on their priority or historicity. Banned for many years by narrow-minded bookshops and libraries, Freethinkers wrote aggressive attacks on dogma. Now a days the cause of literary freedom and tolerance demands that the Freethought case be properly heard. “BIBLE MYTHS, AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONSis one of two important Freethought classics now reissued. Manufactured in the United States of America, this monumental comparison of the basic elements of many different faiths shows unmistakably that the important details of the Christian story have parallels in pre-existing religions. Like the companion work now reissued (The World’s  Sixteen Crucified Saviours by Kersey Graves), it stemmed  from the powerful impact of Godfrey Higgins’s masterpiece Anacalypsis, a very rare work reprinted in limited edition  by University Books Inc., 1965. Higgins spent twenty years of his life seeking the common thread of all languages and religions, a secret tradition of the mysteries that he believed had been obscured by priest cults and the privileges of establishment. Only the first volume had appeared when he died in 1833; the second volume was published posthumously three years later. This great work was drawn upon equally by Freethinkers and Theosophists, and there are 136 references to Anacalypsis in the present book.
Like Higgins, the author devoted many years to perfecting this study, and consulted nearly a hundred authorities, cited in the bibliography of “Authors and Books quoted.”

Comments/Review-3

The book “BIBLE MYTHS, AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONSis a careful and valuable compilation, the first comprehensive and systematic collation of comparative mythology using the Judeo-Christian Bible as a ground plan. It appeared long before Comparative Religion became a fashionable study at universities, and occupies a position midway between scholarship and the popular polemics of writers like Kersey Graves. It is still an excellent introduction to Comparative Religion, especially for broad-minded Christians who are prepared to consider their faith in the perspective of pre-existing religions. Of course, there are mistakes and misunderstandings, but they stem from the author’s sources and from the scholarship and outlook of his time. They are themselves part of the mythic process.
It is the unique problem of scholarship in this field that the factual study of religion is forever dealing with the outside of things, and cannot be better than the measurement of its time. Religion can never be an exact science because it is constantly changing its form, and the real message of the author’s stupendously detailed comparisons is one which did not occur to him that certain basic symbols are archetypal in the human situation and are reflections of the divine infinity from which man has his origin and to which he returns. The religious person calls this great mystery “God,” and the Freethinker and Atheist may call it “Nature” or “Science” so long as they affirm the rituals and ethical codes that will refine perception of it. Study alone will not enable us to discover that transcendent happiness, that awe and wonder at the marvel of life, which is the secret hope of every human being. If I want to understand how Arjuna felt in his marvellous discussion with Shri Krishna in the Hindu religious classic Bhagavad-Gita, I do not study the scholarly Harvard translation by an impeccable scholar, but rather the four ‘Anna’ (about two cents) Gita mass-produced by a religious temple in India and written by a believer, for here in this cheap, warm-hearted paperback the original inspiration comes alive in a way that dry scholarship could only envy.
The author of “BIBLE MYTHS, AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONSpins much of his “Explanation” on the then fashionable theory that religion stemmed from man’s response to natural phenomena like the  sun and the moon, and that all bibles and myths may be reduced to simple allegories. Great scholars of the nineteenth century like Max Muller and G. W. Cox believed something like that and overtaxed etymology to prove it, but it is not so simple. Someone once said: “The whole of life is nothing more than questions which have taken upon themselves shape-questions that are pregnant with their own answers.” The physical world surrounds us like the words of a gigantic riddle in an unknown language-the shapes of nature, the wonder of male and female, the mysteries of colour and number, the movement of the year, the pattern of the heavens and the significance of days in the calendar. The novelist Charles Kingsley once wrote “When I walk the fields I am oppressed every now and then with an innate feeling that everything I see has a meaning, if I could but understand it. And this feeling of being surrounded with truths which I cannot grasp amounts to an indescribable awe sometimes! Oh! How I have prayed to have the mystery unfolded, at least hereafter. To see, if but for a moment, the whole harmony of the great system! To hear once the music which the whole universe makes as it performs His bidding!”
There are archetypal themes and processes in nature that tell one great story in a myriad different ways, and every living thing is a symbol of the whole. We cannot explain this great secret through the senses and intellect alone, since no mind can contain the knowledge of all other minds-past present, and future-the awareness of all interrelationships in the cosmos. Myth is the poetry of the spirit, where the emotions enter into the mystery of being through shapes, colours, sounds, and rhythms, and all religions have drawn upon the same symbols through the mystical visions of shamans and prophets. Through symbolic rituals of religion, social duties are aligned with divine meaning and separate lives harmonized in one pattern. Mere theory is a pretty poor substitute for the insight and experience of religion, and it need surprise no one that the same myths are common to all. The story of the hero birth of the patriarch Moses is also told of Sargon of Agade in Mesopotamia in 2,350 B.C. Many religions have featured the mysteries of earth and the serpent which crawls upon it, the androgyne behind the division of the sexes, the garden, the tree, and the first parents. Hindus and Gnostics speak of the stages of divine emanation and return. You may compare the Creation of Genesis with the Hindu Parabrahman, origin of the universe, and the Tetragrammaton of the New Testament gospel of St. John. Much of Jewish Cabbala is foreshadowed in Hindu Tantra, and the beautiful transcendentalism of Hassidic legends springs from the same religious experience as the Zen Buddhist koans or the mystical poetry of the Sufis and Hindu bhakti cults. The mythology of mysticism is a universal art, and the basis of true religion. It has little to do with the politics of religious establishment, which the Freethinkers rightly condemn.
No sincere Christian can afford to ignore the terrible record of his own church-the holy wars, centuries of despotism, cruelty, fanaticism, and intolerance of religion turning into politics. It is a tragic story which is not yet over. Yet these things are not the true basis of religion and only contaminate the name. The core of all religions is the mystical experience which reconciles the individual and the divine, the transcendental with the social duties of everyday life. Scholarship cannot validate any single scripture of any one religion over and above that of another. There are history and pseudo-history entangled in all of them, but historicity is not the measure. Their basic strength is myth the poetical truth which is the dark language of the spirit. In modern times, men like Professor C. G. Jung have found that the symbols of myth are the keys to religious experience. More recently Dr. Joseph Campbell has shown how scholarship may be married to insight, and in his fine study The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New York, 1949; 1956) he has illustrated how all the myths treat of the same human situation, a theme elaborated further in his tremendous work The Masks of God (4 vols., New York, 1959-68). These are books which valuably supplement the present work. It is interesting to note that many of the old Freethinkers whose quest for truth led them into infidel fields could not resist the urge to discover a greater meaning in life than mere theory or negative attacks on dogmatic Christianity. D. M. Bennett, founder of The Truth Seeker, had originally spent many happy years in the Shaker community at New Lebanon. He left reluctantly when faith declined. During his later career as a Freethinker he became sympathetic to Spiritualism. It should be remembered that the last two decades of the nineteenth century were a golden age of Spiritualism. It may sound highly irrational that down-to-earth rationalists should be drawn to “spiritual” phenomena, but liberal men and women were naturally attracted to any new controversial science or pseudo-science that promised to provide a non-supernatural rationale for miracles, and thus throw new light on the “superstitions” of the Bible.
No devout Christian will suffer loss of faith through knowing that other religions have anticipated some of the noblest portions of the Christian Bible-rather, I think, he may draw greater strength from a sense of kinship with other great souls, past and present. This book is a key reference work that will start many readers on a new and exciting quest for the source of all religions. [Leslie Shepard,1970]
READING LIST
The following books will be of special interest for further study in conjunction with the present work:
  • CAMPBELL, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces 1949; 1956
  • The Masks of God 4 vols. 1959-68 (Primitive Mythology; Oriental Mythology; Occidental Mythology; Creative Mythology) FORLONG, J. G. R. Faiths of Man; Encyclopedia of Religions 3 vols. 1906; University Books Inc., 1964
  • GRAVES, Kersey. The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors; or Christianity
  • Before Christ 1875 etc.; University Books Inc., 1970
  • HIGGINS, Godfrey. Anacalypsis: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of Saitic Isis; or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages, Nations and Religions 1833-36; University Books Inc., 1965
  • LEGGE, Francis. Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity from 330 B.C. to 330 A.D. 1915; University Books Inc., 1964
  • MAETERLINCK, Maurice. The Great Secret 1922; University Books Inc.1969
  • MEAD, G. R. S. Apollonius of Tyana. 1901; University Books Inc., 1966
  •  Did Jesus Live 100 B.C.? 1903; University Books Inc., 1968
  • Fragments of a Faith Forgotten 1900 etc.; University Books Inc., 1964

Comments-4
Use of intellect to differenciate right from wrong is urged by Islam, more over God sent messengers and prophets in every nation for guidance. Beginning with the first human and Prophet Adam (peace be upon him), there has been many messengers and prophets from Noah (peace be upon him) through Abraham (peace be upon him) for their respective nations. According to Muslim traditions there has been more than 1,24,000 prophets sent to different nations at different times, it includes 315 Rasool (Messenger) who were granted scriptures (law). God says:
“We did aforetime send Messengers before thee (O’ Muhammad): of them there are some whose story We have related to thee and some whose story We have not related to thee” (Qur’an; 40:78)
With the passage of time the true monotheistic teachings and scriptures got corrupted, mixed with idol worship and many myths. This is particularly obvious in the Christianity, where monotheistic message of Jesus Christ was changed, corrupted, and mixed with many pagan myths. Bible itself admits: “How do you say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly he made it falsely; the pen of the scribes made it a lie.”(Jeremiah; 8:8), “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write misfortune which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from justice, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!”(Isaiah; 10:1-2)
Hinduism is commonly perceived to be a polytheistic religion because the common Hindus are observed worshiping many gods. However Hindus, well versed in their scriptures, insist that a Hindu should believe in and worship only one God. The sacred Hindu scriptures, urge monotheism (Tawhid), it is stated: “Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.”(Bhagavad Gita;7:20); “He is One only without a second.” (Chandogya: Upanishad;6:2:1), “Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.”(Svetasvatara: Upanishad;6:9), “There is no likeness of Him.”(Svetasvatara: Upanishad;4:19), “His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye.”(Svetasvatara: Upanishad;4:20). According to Vedas: “There is no image of Him.” (Yajurveda;32:3); “He is bodiless and pure.”(Yajurveda;40:8); “They enter darkness, those who worship the natural elements (air, water, fire, etc.);“ They sink deeper in darkness, those who worship sambhuti (created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc)”(Yajurveda;40:9); “O friends, do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One. Praise Him alone.”(Rigveda;8:1:1).The Brahma Sutra of Hinduism is: “There is only one God, not the second; not at all, not at all, not in the least bit.” (Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kincha).
Buddhism, is considered non committal on God, historical criticism has proved that the original teachings of Buddha can never be known, because his teachings and doctrines were written down 400 years, after his death. Moreover little attention was paid to its authenticity, genuineness and purity.
God sent the last scripture, Quran, through last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon hum) which is miraculously preserved in its original revealed language for guidance of humanity. Accuracy of scientific, historic narratives & prophecies is the logocal proof of its truthfulness [details: http://wp.me/PCgrB-7t]. The Qur’an speaks about hundreds of things that were not known fourteen hundred year ago once Qur’an was revealed; but they have been scientifically proved recently, (details are available in the book ‘Qur’an and Science’ by Dr.Zakir Naik & “The Bible, The Qur’an and Science” by Dr. Maurice Bucaille), some of them are referred here:
The creation of the universe by ‘The Big Bang’: “Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation), before We clove them asunder?” (Qur’an;21:30). Initially there was gaseous mass before creation of galaxies: “Moreover, He Comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: “Come ye together willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We do come (together) in willing obedience.”(Qur’an;41:11). The shape of earth; “And the earth, moreover, hath He made egg shaped.” (Qur’an;79:30). Moon has reflected light and sun has its own light; “And (who) made the moon a light (nur, reflected light) in their midst and made the sun as a (Glorious) Lamp(siraja-own light).(Qur’an;71:16). The Sun Rotates:” It is He Who created the Night and the Day, and the sun and the moon: All (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course.” (Qur’an;21:33). “It is not permitted to the sun to catch up the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day: Each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to Law).” (Qur’an;36:40). The other examples are: The sun will extinguish;(Qur’an;36:38,13:2). The expanding nature of universe; (Qur’an;51:47).
 Atoms can be divided;(Qur’an;10:61). Mountains are like tent pegs firmly fixed providing stability; (Qur’an;78:6-7,21:31,79:32). Darkness in depths of ocean; (Qur’an;24:40). The water cycle;(Qur’an;39:21, 30:24,23:18). Plants & Fruits have male and female; (Qur’an;20:53, 13:3). The bee and its skills; (Qur’an;16:68-69). Lifestyle and communication of ants; (Qur’an;27:17-18). Honey has healing for humankind; (Qur’an;16:69). Creation of man from water;(Qur’an;25:54). Creation of living being;“ We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?” (Qur’an;21:30). Importance of fingerprints: (Qur’an;75:3-4) and the existence of pain receptors in the skin: (Qur’an;4:56). Embryological stages; (Qur’an;23:12-14, 75:37-39,82:7-8). Embryo partly formed and partly unformed; (Qur’an;22:5). First sense of hearing developed then sense of sight; (Qur’an;32:9,23:78). Sex determination factor for child; (Qur’an;53:45-46,75:37-39).
Quran is the criteria to judge the corrupted parts of previous scriptures and restores the original pure monotheistic religion of God.
“O Prophet (Muhammad), surely We have revealed to you the Book (Quran) with the truth, for the instruction of Mankind. He who follows the Right Way shall follow it for his own good; and he who goes astray shall do so at his own peril. You are not set up as a guardian over them.” (Qur’an;39:41)
“To you, O Muhammad, We have revealed this Book with the truth. It confirms whatever has remained intact in the scriptures which came before it and also to safeguard it”. (Qur’an;5:48))
The revelations received by the earlier messengers, some available in the form of books in Bible (Torah, Psalms, Gospel etc) were meant for specific people for specific time, besides not being in the original revealed form, their authenticity can not be established due to variant versions.  Allah says: “He has revealed to you (O’ Muhammad) this Book (Qur’an) with the Truth, confirming whatever there still remains of the scripture which preceded it, as He revealed the Torah and Gospel, aforetime as a guidance unto mankind, and it is He who has bestowed (upon man) the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Behold, as for those who are bent on denying God’s messages- grievous suffering awaits them: for God is Almighty, an avenger of evil.”(Qur’an;3:3-4); “Truth has come and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood by its nature is bound to perish.”(Qur’an;17:81). Allah says: “And, verily, (the essence of ) this (revelation, i.e. Qur’an) is indeed found in the ancient books of divine wisdom (as well) (Qur’an;26:196,link 2:42, 61:6), Qur’an was foretold in Bible, Deutronomy;18:15 &18. Hence to discern the true from the false the previous scriptures have been abrogated and replaced with the final revelation.(Qur’an; 2:106-107, 16:101, 5:48). Hence it is for the humanity to now follow it.
Some verses translated from Quran highlight the points mentioned above:
“By the soul and Him Who perfected it and inspired it with knowledge of what is wrong for it and what is right for it: indeed successful will be the one who keeps it pure, and indeed failure will be the one who corrupts it!”(Qur’an;91:7-10)
“It is He Who has created you (and made you grow) and made for you the faculties of hearing seeing feeling and understanding: little thanks it is ye give.”(Qur’an; 67:23).
“Therefore, stand firm in your devotion to the upright faith – the nature made by Allah, the one on which mankind is created – and the laws of Nature ordained by Allah cannot be changed. That is the ‘Standard True Religion’, but most among mankind do not know.”(Qur’an;30:30).
“…And there never was a people, without a Warner having lived among them (in the past).”(Qur’an;35:24).
“Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book In truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed”(Quran; 2:213)
“And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and  shun false gods. After that, Allah guided some of them while deviation proved true against the others….”(Qur’an;16:36)
“And there never was a people, without a Warner having lived among them (in the past)”(Qur’an;35:24).
“Possessor of the Highest Rank, the Master of the Throne of Authority sends down the Spirit by His command on those of His servants whom He chooses, that he (the Prophet who received the revelations) may warn mankind of the Day when they shall meet Him.”(Qur’an;40:15 and similarly also at 28:68, 42:13, 16:2).
All the Messengers conveyed good news to mankind and admonished them so that, after conveying the message through the Messengers, people should have no excuse to plead against Allah.(Qur’an;4:165).
“God has created the heavens and the earth to manifest the truth, and to reward each human being according to its deeds, and none of them shall be wronged.”(Qur’an;45:22)
“We charge no soul with more than it can bear; We have a Book of record which shall clearly tell the truth, and they shall not be treated unjustly.”(Qur’an;23:62).
“Say: (O’ Muhammad) “I am but a human like yourselves (but) the inspiration has come to me that your God is one God: whoever expects to meet his Lord let him work righteousness and in the worship of his Lord admit no one as partner.”(Qur’an;18:110).
“We have sent Thee (O’ Muhammad) inspiration, As we sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David we gave the Psalms. Of some apostles we have already told Thee the story; of others we have not…(Quran; 4:163-170 )
“Verily, the vilest of all creatures  in the sight of God are those deaf, those dumb ones who do not use their reason.” …(Quran; 8:22)
“O people of the Book! [Jews & Christians] Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but truth.  Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Apostle of Allah and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Apostles.  Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is One Allah: glory be to him: (for Exalted is He) above having a son.  To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth.  And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. Christ disdained not to serve and worship Allah nor do the angels those nearest (to Allah): those who disdain His worship and are arrogant He will gather them all together unto himself to (answer). …” (Quran; 4:171-172)
” Say: “O people of the Book! exceed not in your religion the bounds (of what is proper) trespassing beyond the truth nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by who misled many and strayed (themselves) from the even way. Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected faith by the tongue of David [see Psalms;78, 21,22,31-33, 09:17-18, 78;21-22, 69:22-28, 5:10.] and of Jesus the son of Mary [see Mathew;12:34, 23:33-45]: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses. Nor did they (usually) forbid one another the iniquities which they committed: evil indeed were the deeds which they did.”(Quran; 5:77-79).
“Say: “O Jews and Christians [people of the Book]! come to common terms As between us and you: that we worship none but [one] God  that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God [Allah].” if then They turn back, say: “Bear witness that we (at least) are bowing to the Will of God [Islam]” (Qur’an;3:64)
 “Abraham was not a Jew nor yet a Christian; but He was true in Faith, and bowed His will to Allah’s (which is Islam), and He joined not gods with Allah. Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Abraham, are those who follow him, As are also This Messenger and those who believe: and Allah is the Protector of those who have Faith” (Quran; 3:67-68.)
The Qur’an demands absolute submission (Islam) to God: “Surely Allah’s religion is (Man’s) self surrender to Him (Islam).”(Qur’an;3:19).
At the end of his last sermon during last Hajj (632 C.E) the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
O’ People, no Messengers or prophet will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O’ People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.” More at http://quran-pedia.blogspot.com/

See also:

Bible: Myths and their Parallels in other Religions :http://goo.gl/JV5H2

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Antiquity of Pagan Religions

We shall now compare the great antiquity of the sacred books and religions of Paganism with those of the Christian, so that there may be no doubt as to which is the original, and which the copy. Allusions to this subject have already been made throughout this work, we shall therefore devote as little space to it here as possible.

In speaking of the sacred literature of India, Prof. Monier Williams says:
“Sanskrit literature, embracing as it does nearly every branch of knowledge is entirely deficient in one department. It is wholly destitute of trustworthy historical records. Hence, little or nothing is known of the lives of ancient Indian authors, and the dates of their most celebrated works cannot be fixed with certainty. A fair conjecture, however, may be arrived at by comparing the most ancient with the more modern compositions, and estimating the period of time required to effect the changes of structure and idiom observable in the language. In this manner we may be justified in assuming that the hymns of the Veda were probably composed by a succession of poets at different dates between 1500 and 1000 years B. C.”[450:1]
Prof. Wm. D. Whitney shows the great antiquity of the Vedic hymns from the fact that,
“The language of the Vedas is an older dialect, varying very considerably, both in its grammatical and lexical character, from the classical Sanscrit.”
And M. de Coulanges, in his “Ancient City,” says:
“We learn from the hymns of the Vedas, which are certainly very ancient, and from the laws of Manu,” “what the Aryans of the east thought nearly thirty-five centuries ago.”[450:2]
That the Vedas are of very high antiquity is unquestionable; but however remote we may place the period when they were written, we must necessarily presuppose that the Hindostanic race had already attained to a comparatively high degree of civilization, otherwise men capable of framing such doctrines could not have been found. Now this state of civilization must necessarily have been preceded by several centuries of barbarism, during which we cannot possibly admit a more refined faith than the popular belief in elementary deities.
We shall see in our next chapter that these very ancient Vedic hymns contain the origin of the legend of the Virgin-born God and Saviour, the great benefactor of mankind, who is finally put to death, and rises again to life and immortality on the third day.
The Geetas and Puranas, although of a comparatively modern date, are, as we have already seen, nevertheless composed of matter to be found in the two great epic poems, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which were written many centuries before the time assigned as that of the birth of Christ Jesus.[451:1]
The Pali sacred books, which contain the legend of the virgin-born God and Saviour—Sommona Cadom—are known to have been in existence 316 B. C.[451:2]
We have already seen that the religion known as Buddhism, and which corresponds in such a striking manner with Christianity, has now existed for upwards of twenty-four hundred years.[451:3]
Prof. Rhys Davids says:
“There is every reason to believe that the Pitakas (the sacred books which contain the legend of ‘The Buddha’), now extant in Ceylon, are substantially identical with the books of the Southern Canon, as settled at the Council of Patna about the year 250 B. C.[451:4] As no works would have been received into the Canon which were not then believed to be very old, the Pitakas may be approximately placed in the fourth century B. C., and parts of them possibly reach back very nearly, if not quite, to the time of Gautama himself.”[451:5]
The religion of the ancient Persians, which corresponds in so very many respects with that of the Christians, was established by Zoroaster—who was undoubtedly a Brahman[451:6]—and is contained in the Zend-Avesta, their sacred book or Bible. This book is very ancient. Prof. Max Müller speaks of “the sacred book of the Zoroastrians” as being “older in its language than the cuneiform inscriptions of Cyrus (B. C. 560), Darius (B. C. 520), and Xerxes (B. C.485) those ancient Kings of Persia, who knew that they were kings by the grace of Auramazda, and who placed his sacred image high on the mountain-records of Behistun.”[452:1] That ancient book, or its fragments, at least, have survived many dynasties and kingdoms, and is still believed in by a small remnant of the Persian race, now settled at Bombay, and known all over the world by the name of Parsees.[452:2]
“The Babylonian and Phenician sacred books date back to a fabulous antiquity;”[452:3] and so do the sacred books and religion of Egypt.
Prof. Mahaffy, in his “Prolegomena to Ancient History,” says:
“There is indeed hardly a great and fruitful idea in the Jewish or Christian systems which has not its analogy in the Egyptian faith, andall these theological conceptions pervade the oldest religion of Egypt.”[452:4]
The worship of Osiris, the Lord and Saviour, must have been of extremely ancient date, for he is represented as “Judge of the Dead,” in sculptures contemporary with the building of the Pyramids, centuries before Abraham is said to have been born. Among the many hieroglyphic titles which accompany his figure in those sculptures, and in many other places on the walls of temples and tombs, are, “Lord of Life,” “The Eternal Ruler,” “Manifester of Good,” “Revealer of Truth,” “Full of Goodness and Truth,” etc.
In speaking of the “Myth of Osiris,” Mr. Bonwick says:
“This great mystery of the Egyptians demands serious consideration. Its antiquity—its universal hold upon the people for over five thousand years—its identification with the very life of the nation—and its marvellous likeness to the creed of modern date, unite in exciting the greatest interest.”[452:5]
This myth, and that of Isis and Horus, were known before the Pyramid time.[453:1]
The worship of the Virgin Mother in Egypt—from which country it was imported into Europe[453:2]—dates back thousands of years B. C. Mr. Bonwick says:
“In all probability she was worshiped three thousand years before Moses wrote. ‘Isis nursing her child Horus, was represented,’ says Mariette Bey, ‘at least six thousand years ago.’ We read the name of Isis on monuments of the fourth dynasty, and she lost none of her popularity to the close of the empire.”
“The Egyptian Bible is by far the most ancient of all holy books.” “Plato was told that Egypt possessed hymns dating back ten thousand years before his time.”[453:3]
Bunsen says:
“The origin of the ancient prayers and hymns of the ‘Book of the Dead,’ is anterior to Menes; it implies that the system of Osirian worship and mythology was already formed.”[453:4]
And, says Mr. Bonwick:
“Besides opinions, we have facts as a basis for arriving at a conclusion, and justifying the assertion of Dr. Birch, that the work dated from a period long anterior to the rise of Ammon worship at Thebes.”[453:5]
Now, “this most ancient of all holy books,” establishes the fact that a virgin-born and resurrected Saviour was worshiped in Egypt thousands of year before the time of Christ Jesus.
P. Le Page Renouf says:
“The earliest monuments which have been discovered present to us the very same fully-developed civilization and the same religionas the later monuments. . . . The gods whose names appear in the oldest tombs were worshiped down to the Christian times. The same kind of priesthoods which are mentioned in the tablets of Canopus and Rosetta in the Ptolemaic period are as ancient as the pyramids, and more ancient than any pyramid of which we know the date.”[453:6]
In regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. We have just seen that “the development of the One God into a Trinity” pervades the oldest religion of Egypt, and the same may be said of India. Prof. Monier Williams, speaking on this subject, says:
“It should be observed that the native commentaries on the Veda often allude to thirty-three gods, which number is also mentioned in the Rig-Veda. This is a multiple of three, which is a sacred number constantly appearing in the Hindu religious system. It is probable, indeed, that although the Tri-murti is not named in the Vedic hymns,[454:1] yet the Veda is the real source of this Triad of personifications, afterwards so conspicuous in Hindu mythology. This much, at least, is clear, that the Vedic poets exhibited a tendency to group all the forces and energies of nature under three heads, and the assertion that the number of the gods was thirty-three, amounted to saying that each of the three leading personifications was capable of eleven modifications.”[454:2]
The great antiquity of the legends referred to in this work is demonstrated in the fact that they were found in a great measure on the continent of America, by the first Europeans who set foot on its soil. Now, how did they get there? Mr. Lundy, in his “Monumental Christianity,” speaking on this subject, says:
“So great was the resemblance between the two sacraments of the Christian Church (viz., that of Baptism and the Eucharist) and those of the ancient Mexicans; so many other points of similarity, also, in doctrine existed, as to the unity of God, the Triad, the Creation, the Incarnation and Sacrifice, the Resurrection, etc., that Herman Witsius, no mean scholar and thinker, was induced to believe that Christianity had been preached on this continent by some one of the apostles, perhaps St. Thomas, from the fact that he is reported to have carried the Gospel to India and Tartary, whence he came to America.”[454:3]
Some writers, who do not think that St. Thomas could have gotten to America, believe that St. Patrick, or some other saint, must have, in some unaccountable manner, reached the shores of the Western continent, and preached their doctrine there.[454:4] Others have advocated the devil theory, which is, that the devil, being jealous of the worship of Christ Jesus, set up a religion of his own, and imitated, nearly as possible, the religion of Christ. All of these theories being untenable, we must, in the words of Burnouf, the eminent French Orientalist, “learn one day that all ancient traditions disfigured by emigration and legend,belong to the history of India.”
That America was inhabited by Asiatic emigrants, and that the American legends are of Asiatic origin, we believe to be indisputable. There is an abundance of proof to this effect.[454:5]
In contrast to the great antiquity of the sacred books and religions of Paganism, we have the facts that the Gospels were not written by the persons whose names they bear, that they were written many years after the time these men are said to have lived, and that they are full of interpolations and errors. The first that we know of the four gospels is at the time of Irenæus, who, in the second century, intimates that he had received four gospels, as authentic scriptures. This pious forger was probably the author of the fourth, as we shall presently see.
Besides these gospels there were many more which were subsequently deemed apocryphal; the narratives related in them of Christ Jesus and his apostles were stamped as forgeries.
“The Gospel according to Matthew” is believed by the majority of biblical scholars of the present day to be the oldest of the four, and to be made up principally of a pre-existing one, called “The Gospel of the Hebrews.” The principal difference in these two gospels being that “The Gospel of the Hebrews” commenced with giving the genealogy of Jesus from David, through Joseph “according to the flesh.” The story of Jesus being born of a virgin was not to be found there, it being an afterpiece, originating either with the writer of “The Gospel according to Matthew,” or some one after him, and was evidently taken from “The Gospel of the Egyptians.” “The Gospel of the Hebrews“—from which, we have said, the Matthew narrator copied—was an intensely Jewish gospel, and was to be found—in one of its forms—among the Ebionites, who were the narrowest Jewish Christians of the second century. “The Gospel according to Matthew” is, therefore, the most Jewish gospel of the four; in fact, the most Jewish book in the New Testament, excepting, perhaps, theApocalypse and the Epistle of James.
Some of the more conspicuous Jewish traits, to be found in this gospel, are as follows:
Jesus is sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The twelve are forbidden to go among the Gentiles or the Samaritans. They are to sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The genealogy of Jesus is traced back to Abraham, and there stops.[455:1] The works of the law are frequently insisted on. There is a superstitious regard for the Sabbath, &c.
There is no evidence of the existence of the Gospel of Matthew,—in its present form—until the year 173, A. D. It is at this time, also, that it is first ascribed to Matthew, by Apollinaris, Bishop of Hierapolis. The original oracles of the Gospel of the Hebrews, however,—which were made use of by the author of our present Gospel of Matthew,—were written, likely enough, not long before the destruction of Jerusalem, but the Gospel itself dates from about A. D. 100.[456:1]
The Gospel according to Luke” is believed to come next—in chronological order—to that of Matthew, and to have been written some fifteen or twenty years after it. The author was a foreigner, as his writings plainly show that he was far removed from the events which he records.
In writing his Gospel, the author made use of that of Matthew, the Gospel of the Hebrews, and Marcion’s Gospel. He must have had, also, still other sources, as there are parables peculiar to it, which are not found in them. Among these may be mentioned that of the “Prodigal Son,” and the “Good Samaritan.” Other parables peculiar to it are that of the two debtors; the friend borrowing bread at night; the rich man’s barns; Dives and Lazarus; the lost piece of silver; the unjust steward; the Pharisee and the Publican.
Several miracles are also peculiar to the Luke narrator’s Gospel, the raising of the widow of Nain’s son being the most remarkable. Perhaps these stories were delivered to him orally, and perhaps he is the author of them,—we shall never know. The foundation of the legends, however, undoubtedly came from the “certain scriptures” of the Essenes in Egypt. The principal object which the writer of this gospel had in view was to reconcile Paulinism and the more Jewish forms of Christianity.[456:2]
The next in chronological order, according to the same school of critics, is “The Gospel according to Mark.” This gospel is supposed to have been written within ten years of the former, and its author, as of the other two gospels, is unknown. It was probably written at Rome, as the Latinisms of the author’s style, and the apparent motive of his work, strongly suggest that he was a Jewish citizen of the Eternal City. He made use of the Gospel of Matthew as his principal authority, and probably referred to that of Luke, as he has things in common with Luke only.
The object which the writer had in view, was to have a neutral go-between, a compromise between Matthew as too Petrine (Jewish), and Luke as too Pauline (Gentile). The different aspects of Matthew and Luke were found to be confusing to believers, and provocative of hostile criticism from without; hence the idea of writing a shorter gospel, that should combine the most essential elements of both. Luke was itself a compromise between the opposing Jewish and universal tendencies of early Christianity, but Mark endeavors by avoidance and omission to effect what Luke did more by addition and contrast. Luke proposed to himself to open a door for the admission of Pauline ideas without offending Gentile Christianity; Mark, on the contrary, in a negative spirit, to publish a Gospel which should not hurt the feelings of either party. Hence his avoidance of all those disputed questions which disturbed the church during the first quarter of the second century. The genealogy of Jesus is omitted; this being offensive to Gentile Christians, and even to some of the more liberal Judaizers. The supernatural birth of Jesus is omitted, this being offensive to the Ebonitish (extreme Jewish) and some of the Gnostic Christians. For every Judaizing feature that is sacrificed, a universal one is also sacrificed. Hard words against the Jews are left out, but with equal care, hard words about the Gentiles.[457:1]
We now come to the fourth, and last gospel, that “according to John,” which was not written until many years after that “according to Matthew.”
“It is impossible to pass from the Synoptic[457:2] Gospels,” says Canon Westcott, “to the fourth, without feeling that the transition involves the passage from one world of thought to another. No familiarity with the general teachings of the Gospels, no wide conception of the character of the Saviour, is sufficient to destroy the contrast which exists in form and spirit between the earlier and later narratives.”
The discrepancies between the fourth and the Synoptic Gospels are numerous. If Jesus was the man of Matthew’s Gospel, he was not the mysterious beingof the fourth. If his ministry was only one year long, it was not three. If he made but one journey to Jerusalem, he did not make many. If his method of teaching was that of the Synoptics, it was not that of the fourth Gospel. If he was the Jew of Matthew, he was not the Anti-Jew of John.[457:3]
Everywhere in John we come upon a more developed stage of Christianity than in the Synoptics. The scene, the atmosphere, is different. In the Synoptics Judaism, the Temple, the Law and the Messianic Kingdom are omnipresent. In John they are remote and vague. In Matthew Jesus is always yearning for his own nation. In John he has no other sentiment for it than hate and scorn. In Matthew the sanction of the Prophets is his great credential. In John his dignity can tolerate no previous approximation.
“Do we ask,” says Francis Tiffany, “who wrote this wondrous Gospel? Mysterious its origin, as that wind of which its author speaks, which bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof and canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth. As with the Great Unknown of the book of Job, the Great Unknown of the later Isaiah, the ages keep his secret. The first absolutely indisputable evidence of the existence of the book dates from the latter half of the second century.
The first that we know of the fourth Gospel, for certainty, is at the time of Irenæus (A. D. 179).[458:1] We look in vain for an express recognition of the fourcanonical Gospels, or for a distinct mention of any one of them, in the writings of St. Clement (A. D. 96), St. Ignatius (A. D. 107), St. Justin (A. D. 140), or St. Polycarp (A. D. 108). All we can find is incidents from the life of Jesus, sayings, etc.
That Irenæus is the author of it is very evident. This learned and pious forger says:
“John, the disciple of the Lord, wrote his Gospel to confute the doctrine lately taught by Cerinthus, and a great while before by those called Nicolaitans, a branch of the Gnostics; and to show that there is one God who made all things by his WORD: and not, as they say, that there is one the Creator, and another the Father of our Lord: and one the Son of the Creator, and another, even the Christ, who descended from above upon the Son of the Creator, and continued impassible, and at length returned to his pleroma or fulness.”[458:2]
The idea of God having inspired four different men to write a history of the same transactions,—or rather, of many different men having undertaken to write such a history, of whom God inspired four only to write correctly, leaving the others to their own unaided resources, and giving us no test by which to distinguish the inspired from the uninspired—certainly appears self-confuting, and anything but natural.
The reasons assigned by Irenæus for there being four Gospels are as follows:
“It is impossible that there could be more or less than four. For there are four climates, and four cardinal winds; but the Gospel is the pillar and foundation of the church, and its breath of life. The church therefore was to have four pillars, blowing immortality from every quarter, and giving life to man.[459:1]
It was by this Irenæus, with the assistance of Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian, one of the Latin Fathers, that the four Gospels were introduced intogeneral use among the Christians.
In these four spurious Gospels, and in some which are considered Apocryphal—because the bishops at the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 365) rejected them—we have the only history of Jesus of Nazareth. Now, if all accounts or narratives of Christ Jesus and his Apostles were forgeries, as it is admitted that all theApocryphal ones were, what can the superior character of the received Gospels prove for them, but that they are merely superiorly executed forgeries? The existence of Jesus is implied in the New Testament outside of the Gospels, but hardly an incident of his life is mentioned, hardly a sentence that he spoke has been preserved. Paul, writing from twenty to thirty years after his death, has but a single reference to anything he ever said or did.
Beside these four Gospels there were, as we said above, many others, for, in the words of Mosheim, the ecclesiastical historian:
“Not long after Christ’s ascension into heaven, several histories of his life and doctrines, full of pious frauds and fabulous wonders, were composed by persons whose intentions, perhaps, were not bad, but whose writings discovered the greatest superstition and ignorance. Nor was this all; productions appeared, which were imposed upon the world by fraudulent men, as the writings of the holy apostles.”[459:2]
Dr. Conyers Middleton, speaking on this subject, says:
“There never was any period of time in all ecclesiastical history, in which so many rank heresies were publicly professed, nor in which so many spurious books were forged and published by the Christians, under the names of Christ, and the Apostles, and the Apostolic writers, as in those primitive ages. Several of these forged books are frequently cited and applied to the defense of Christianity, by the most eminent fathers of the same ages, as true and genuine pieces.[459:3]
Archbishop Wake also admits that:
“It would be useless to insist on all the spurious pieces which were attributed to St. Paul alone, in the primitive ages of Christianity.”[460:1]
Some of the “spurious pieces which were attributed to St. Paul,” may be found to-day in our canonical New Testament, and are believed by many to be the word of God.[460:2]
The learned Bishop Faustus, in speaking of the authenticity of the New Testament, says:
“It is certain that the New Testament was not written by Christ himself, nor by his apostles, but a long while after them, by some unknown persons, who, lest they should not be credited when they wrote of affairs they were little acquainted with, affixed to their works the names of the apostles, or of such as were supposed to have been their companions, asserting that what they had written themselves, was written according to these persons to whom they ascribed it.”[460:3]
Again he says:
“Many things have been inserted by our ancestors in the speeches of our Lord, which, though put forth under his name, agree not with his faith; especially since—as already it has been often proved—these things were not written by Christ, nor his apostles, but a long while after their assumption, by I know not what sort of half Jews, not even agreeing with themselves, who made up their tale out of reports and opinions merely, and yet, fathering the whole upon the names of the apostles of the Lord, or on those who were supposed to follow the apostles, they mendaciously pretended that they had written their lies and conceits according to them.”[460:4]
What had been said to have been done in India, was said by these “half-Jews” to have been done in Palestine; the change of names and places, with the mixing up of various sketches of the Egyptian, Persian, Phenician, Greek and Roman mythology, was all that was necessary. They had an abundance of material, and with it they built. The foundation upon which they built was undoubtedly the “Scriptures,” or Diegesis, of the Essenes in Alexandria in Egypt, which fact led Eusebius, the ecclesiastical historian—”without whom,” says Tillemont, “we should scarce have had any knowledge of the history of the first ages of Christianity, or of the authors who wrote in that time”—to say that the sacred writings used by this sect were none other than “Our Gospels.”
We offer below a few of the many proofs showing the Gospels to have been written a long time after the events narrated are said to have occurred, and by persons unacquainted with the country of which they wrote.
“He (Jesus) came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis,” is an assertion made by the Mark narrator (vii. 31), when there were no coasts of Decapolis, nor was the name so much as known before the reign of the emperor Nero.
Again, “He (Jesus) departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea, beyond Jordan,” is an assertion made by the Matthew narrator (xix. 1), when the Jordan itself was the eastern boundary of Judea, and there were no coasts of Judea beyond it.
Again, “But when he (Joseph) heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea, in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither, notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee, and he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophets, he shall be called a Nazarene,” is another assertion made by the Matthew narrator (ii. 22, 23), when—1. It was a son of Herod who reigned in Galilee as well as Judea, so that he could not be more secure in one province than in the other; and when—2. It was impossible for him to have gone from Egypt to Nazareth, without traveling through the whole extent of Archelaus’s kingdom, or making a peregrination through the deserts on the north and east of the Lake Asphaltites, and the country of Moab; and then, either crossing the Jordan into Samaria or the Lake of Gennesareth into Galilee, and from thence going to the city of Nazareth, which is no better geography, than if one should describe a person as turning aside from Cheapside into the parts of Yorkshire; and when—3. There were no prophets whatever who had prophesied that Jesus “should be called a Nazarene.”
The Matthew narrator (iv. 13) states that “He departed into Galilee, and leaving Nazareth, came and dwelt in Capernaum,” as if he imagined that the city of Nazareth was not as properly in Galilee as Capernaum was; which is much such geographical accuracy, as if one should relate the travels of a hero, who departed into Middlesex, and leaving London, came and dwelt in Lombard street.[461:1]
There are many other falsehoods in gospel geography beside these, which, it is needless to mention, plainly show that the writers were not the persons they are generally supposed to be.
Of gospel statistics there are many falsehoods; among them may be mentioned the following:
“Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness,” is an assertion made by the Luke narrator (Luke iii. 2); when all Jews, or persons living among them, must have known that there never was but one high priest at a time, as with ourselves there is but one mayor of a city.
Again we read (John vii. 52), “Search (the Scriptures) and look, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet,” when the most distinguished of the Jewish prophets—Nahum and Jonah—were both Galileans.
See reference in the Epistles to “Saints,” a religious order, owing its origin to the popes. Also, references to the distinct orders of “Bishops,” “Priests,” and “Deacons,” and calls to a monastic life; to fasting, etc., when, the titles of “Bishop,” “Priest,” and “Deacon” were given to the Essenes—whom Eusebius calls Christians—and, as is well known, monasteries were the abode of the Essenes or Therapeuts.
See the words for “legion,” “aprons,” “handkerchiefs,” “centurion,” etc., in the original, not being Greek, but Latin, written in Greek characters, a practice first to be found in the historian Herodian, in the third century.
In Matt. xvi. 18, and Matt. xviii. 17, the word “Church” is used, and its papistical and infallible authority referred to as then existing, which is known not to have existed till ages after. And the passage in Matt. xi. 12:—”From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,” etc., could not have been written till a very late period.
Luke ii. 1, shows that the writer (whoever he may have been) lived long after the events related. His dates, about the fifteenth year of Tiberius, and the government of Cyrenius (the only indications of time in the New Testament), are manifestly false. The general ignorance of the four Evangelists, not merely of the geography and statistics of Judea, but even of its language,—their egregious blunders, which no writers who had lived in that age could be conceived of as making,—prove that they were not only no such persons as those who have been willing to be deceived have taken them to be, but that they were not Jews, had never been in Palestine, and neither lived at, or at anywhere near the times to which their narratives seem to refer. The ablest divines at the present day, of all denominations, have yielded as much as this.[463:1]
The Scriptures were in the hands of the clergy only, and they had every opportunity to insert whatsoever they pleased; thus we find them full of interpolations. Johann Solomo Semler, one of the most influential theologians of the eighteenth century, speaking of this, says:
“The Christian doctors never brought their sacred books before the common people; although people in general have been wont to think otherwise; during the first ages, they were in the hands of the clergy only.”[463:2]
Concerning the time when the canon of the New Testament was settled, Mosheim says:
“The opinions, or rather the conjectures, of the learned concerning the time when the books of the New Testament were collected into one volume; as also about the authors of that collection, are extremely different. This important question is attended with great and almost insuperable difficulties to us in these later times.”[463:3]
The Rev. B. F. Westcott says:
“It is impossible to point to any period as marking the date at which our present canon was determined. When it first appears, it is presented not as a novelty, but as an ancient tradition.”[463:4]
Dr. Lardner says:
“Even so late as the middle of the sixth century, the canon of the New Testament had not been settled by any authority that was decisive and universally acknowledged, but Christian people were at liberty to judge for themselves concerning the genuineness of writings proposed to them as apostolical, and to determine according to evidence.”[464:1]
The learned Michaelis says:
“No manuscript of the New Testament now extant is prior to the sixth century, and what is to be lamented, various readings which, as appears from the quotations of the Fathers, were in the text of the Greek Testament, are to be found in none of the manuscripts which are at present remaining.”[464:2]
And Bishop Marsh says:
“It is a certain fact, that several readings in our common printed text are nothing more than alterations made by Origen, whose authority was so great in the Christian Church (A. D. 230) that emendations which he proposed, though, as he himself acknowledged, they were supported by the evidence of no manuscript, were very generally received.”[464:3]
In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius gives us a list of what books at that time (A. D. 315) were considered canonical. They are as follows:
“The four-fold writings of the Evangelists,” “The Acts of the Apostles,” “The Epistles of Peter,” “after these the first of John, and that of Peter,” “All these are received for undoubted.” “The Revelation of St. John, some disavow.”
“The books which are gainsaid, though well known unto many, are these: the Epistle of James, the Epistle of Jude, the latter of Peter, the second and third of John, whether they were John the Evangelist, or some other of the same name.”[464:4]
Though Irenæus, in the second century, is the first who mentions the evangelists, and Origen, in the third century, is the first who gives us a catalogue of the books contained in the New Testament, Mosheim’s admission still stands before us. We have no grounds of assurance that the mere mention of the namesof the evangelists by Irenæus, or the arbitrary drawing up of a particular catalogue by Origen, were of any authority. It is still unknown by whom, or where, orwhen, the canon of the New Testament was settled. But in this absence of positive evidence we have abundance of negative proof. We know when it was notsettled. We know it was not settled in the time of the Emperor Justinian, nor in the time of Cassiodorus; that is, not at any time before the middle of the sixth century, “by any authority that was decisive and universally acknowledged; but Christian people were at liberty to judge for themselves concerning thegenuineness of writings proposed to them as apostolical.”
We cannot do better than close this chapter with the words of Prof. Max Müller, who, in speaking of Buddhism, says:
“We have in the history of Buddhism an excellent opportunity for watching the process by which a canon of sacred books is called into existence. We see here, as elsewhere, that during the life-time of the teacher, no record of events, no sacred code containing the sayings of the Master, was wanted. His presence was enough, and thoughts of the future, and more particularly, of future greatness, seldom entered the minds of those who followed him. It was only after Buddha had left the world to enter into Nirvâna, that his disciples attempted to recall the sayings and doings of their departed friend and master. At that time, everything that seemed to redound to the glory of Buddha, however extraordinary and incredible, was eagerly welcomed, while witnesses who would have ventured to criticise or reject unsupported statements, or to detract in any way from the holy character of Buddha, had no chance of ever being listened to. And when, in spite of all this, differences of opinion arose, they were not brought to the test by a careful weighing of evidence, but the names of ‘unbeliever‘ and ‘heretic‘ were quickly invented in India as elsewhere, and bandied backwards and forwards between contending parties, till at last, when the doctors disagreed, the help of the secular power had to be invoked, and kings and emperors assembled councils for the suppression of schism, for the settlement of an orthodox creed, and for the completion of a sacred canon.”[465:1]
That which Prof. Müller describes as taking place in the religion of Christ Buddha, is exactly what took place in the religion of Christ Jesus. That the miraculous, and many of the non-miraculous, events related in the Gospels never happened, is demonstrable from the facts which we have seen in this work, that nearly all of these events, had been previously related of the gods and goddesses of heathen nations of antiquity, more especially of the Hindoo SaviourCrishna, and the Buddhist Saviour Buddha, whose religion, with less alterations than time and translations have made in the Jewish Scriptures, may be traced in nearly every dogma and every ceremony of the evangelical mythology.


Note.—The Codex Sinaiticus, referred to on the preceding page, (note 2,) was found at the Convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai, by Tischendorf, in 1859. He supposes that it belongs to the 4th cent.; but Dr. Davidson (in Kitto’s Bib. Ency., Art. MSS.) thinks different. He says: “Probably it is of the 6th cent.,” while he states that the Codex Vaticanus “is believed to belong to the 4th cent.,” and the Codex Alexandrinus to the 5th cent. McClintock & Strong’s Ency. (Art. MSS.,) relying probably on Tischendorf’s conjecture, places the Codex Sinaiticus first. “It is probably the oldest of the MSS. of the N. T., and of the 4th cent.,” say they. The Codex Vaticanus is considered the next oldest, and the Codex Alexandrinus is placed third in order, and “was probably written in the first half of the 5th cent.” The writer of the art. N. T. in Smith’s Bib. Dic. says: “The Codex Sinaiticus is probably the oldest of the MSS. of the N. T., and of the 4th cent.;” and that the Codex Alexandrinus “was probably written in the first half of the 5th cent.” Thus we see that in determining the dates of the MSS. of the N. T., Christian divines are obliged to resort to conjecture; there being no certainty whatever in the matter. But with all their “suppositions,” “probabilities,” “beliefs” and “conjectures,” we have the words of the learned Michaelis still before us, that: “No MSS. of the N. T. now extant are prior to the sixth cent.” This remark, however, does not cover the Codex Sinaiticus, which was discovered since Michaelis wrote his work on the N. T.; but, as we saw above, Dr. Davidson does not agree with Tischendorf in regard to its antiquity, and places it in the 6th cent.
FOOTNOTES:
[450:1]Williams’ Hinduism, p. 19. See also, Prof. Max Müller’s Lectures on the Origin of Religion, pp. 145-158, and p. 67, where he speaks of “the Hindus, who, thousands of years ago, had reached in Upanishads the loftiest heights of philosophy.”
[450:2]The Ancient City, p. 13.
[451:1]See Monier Williams’ Hinduism, pp. 109, 110, and Indian Wisdom, p. 493.
[451:2]See Isis Unveiled, vol. ii. p. 576, for the authority of Prof. Max Müller.
[451:3]“The religion known as Buddhism—from the title of ‘The Buddha,’ meaning ‘The Wise,’ ‘The Enlightened’—has now existed for 2400 years, and may be said to be the prevailing religion of the world.” (Chambers’s Encyclo.)
[451:4]This Council was assembled by Asoka in the eighteenth year of his reign. The name of this king is honored wherever the teachings of Buddha have spread, and is reverenced from the Volga to Japan, from Ceylon and Siam to the borders of Mongolia and Siberia. Like his Christian prototype Constantine, he was converted by a miracle. After his conversion, which took place in the tenth year of his reign, he became a very zealous supporter of the new religion. He himself built many monasteries and dagabas, and provided many monks with the necessaries of life; and he encouraged those about his court to do the same. He published edicts throughout his empire, enjoining on all his subjects morality and justice.
[451:5]Rhys Davids’ Buddhism, p. 10.
[452:1]Müller: Lectures on the Science of Religion, p. 235.
[452:2]This small tribe of Persians were driven from their native land by the Mohammedan conquerors under the Khalif Omar, in the seventh century of our era. Adhering to the ancient religion of Persia, which resembles that of the Veda, and bringing with them the records of their faith, the Zend-Avesta of their prophet Zoroaster, they settled down in the neighborhood of Surat, about one thousand one hundred years ago, and became great merchants and shipbuilders. For two or three centuries we know little of their history. Their religion prevented them from making proselytes, and they never multiplied within themselves to any extent, nor did they amalgamate with the Hindoo population, so that even now their number only amounts to about seventy thousand. Nevertheless, from their busy, enterprising habits, in which they emulate Europeans, they form an important section of the population of Bombay and Western India.
[452:3]Movers: Quoted in Dunlap’s Spirit Hist., p. 261.
[452:4]Prolegomena, p. 417.
[452:5]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 162.
[453:1]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, p. 163.
[453:2]Ibid. p. 142, and King’s Gnostics, p. 71.
[453:3]Bonwick’s Egyptian Belief, pp. 135, 140, and 143.
[453:4]Quoted in Ibid. p. 186.
[453:5]Ibid.
[453:6]Renouf: Religion of Ancient Egypt, p. 81.
[454:1]That is, the Tri-murti Brahmā, Vishnu and Siva, for he tells us that the three gods, Indra, Agni, and Surya, constitute the Vedic chief triad of Gods. (Hinduism, p. 24.) Again he tells us that the idea of a Tri-murti was first dimly shadowed forth in the Rig-Veda, where a triad of principal gods—Agni, Indra and Surya—is recognized. (Ibid. p. 88.) The worship of the three members of the Tri-murti, Brahmā, Vishnu and Siva, is to be found in the period of the epic poems, from 500 to 308 B. C. (Ibid. pp. 109, 110, 115.)
[454:2]Williams’ Hinduism, p. 25.
[454:3]Monumental Christianity, p. 890.
[454:4]See Mexican Antiquities, vol. vi.
[455:1]The genealogy which traces him back to Adam (Luke iii.) makes his religion not only a Jewish, but a Gentile one. According to this Gospel he is not only a Messiah sent to the Jews, but to all nations, sons of Adam.
[456:1]See The Bible of To-Day, under “Matthew.”
[456:2]See Ibid. under “Luke.”
[457:1]See the Bible of To-Day, under “Mark.”
[457:2]Synoptics;” the Gospels which contain accounts of the same events—”parallel passages,” as they are called—which can be written side by side, so as to enable us to make a general view or synopsis of all the three, and at the same time compare them with each other. Bishop Marsh says: “The most eminent critics are at present decidedly of opinion that one of the two suppositions must necessarily be adopted, either that the three Evangelists copied from each other, or that all the three drew from a common source, and that the notion of an absolute independence, in respect to the composition of the three first Gospels, is no longer tenable.”
[457:3]“On opening the New Testament and comparing the impression produced by the Gospel of Matthew or Mark with that by the Gospel of John, the observant eye is at once struck with as salient a contrast as that already indicated on turning from the Macbeth or Othello of Shakespeare to the Comus of Milton or to Spenser’s Faerie Queene.” (Francis Tiffany.)
“To learn how far we may trust them (the Gospels) we must in the first place compare them with each other. The moment we do so we notice that the fourth stands quite alone, while the first three form a single group, not only following the same general course, but sometimes even showing a verbal agreement which cannot possibly be accidental.” (The Bible for Learners, vol. ii. p. 27.)
[458:1]“Irenæus is the first person who mentions the four Gospels by name.” (Bunsen: Keys of St. Peter, p. 328.)
“Irenæus, in the second century, is the first of the fathers who, though he has nowhere given us a professed catalogue of the books of the New Testament, intimates that he had received four Gospels, as authentic Scriptures, the authors of which he describes.” (Rev. R. Taylor: Syntagma, p. 109.)
“The authorship of the fourth Gospel has been the subject of much learned and anxious controversy among theologians. The earliest, and only very important external testimony we have is that of Irenæus (A. D. 179.)” (W. R. Grey: The Creed of Christendom, p. 159.)
[458:2]Against Heresies, bk. ii. ch. xi. sec. 1.
[459:1]Against Heresies, bk. iii. ch. xi. sec. 8.
[459:2]Mosheim: vol. i. p. 109.
[459:3]Middleton’s Works, vol. i. p. 59.
[460:1]Genuine Epist. Apost. Fathers, p. 98.
[460:2]See Chadwick’s Bible of To-Day, pp. 191, 192.
[460:3]“Nec ab ipso scriptum constat, nec ab ejus apostolis sed longo post tempore a quibusdam incerti nominis viris, qui ne sibi non haberetur fides scribentibus quæ nescirent, partim apostolorum, partim eorum qui apostolos secuti viderentur nomina scriptorum suorum frontibus indiderunt, asseverantes secundum eos, se scripsisse quæ scripserunt.” (Faust, lib. 2. Quoted by Rev. R. Taylor: Diegesis, p. 114.)
[460:4]“Multa enim a majoribus vestris, eloquiis Domini nostri inserta verba sunt; quæ nomine signata ipsius, cum ejus fide non congruant, præsertim, quia, ut jam sæpe probatum a nobis est, nec ab ipso hæc sunt, nec ab ejus apostolis scripta, sed multo post eorum assumptionem, a nescio quibus, et ipsis inter se non concordantibus semi-Judæis, per famas opinionesque comperta sunt; qui tamen omnia eadem in apostolorum Domini conferentes nomina vel eorum qui secuti apostolos viderentur, errores ac mendacia sua secundum eos se scripsisse mentiti sunt.” (Faust.: lib. 88. Quoted in Ibid. p. 66.)
[461:1]Taylor‘s Diegesis.
[463:1]Says Prof. Smith upon this point: “All the earliest external evidence points to the conclusion that the synoptic gospels are non-apostolic digests of spoken and written apostolic tradition, and that the arrangement of the earlier material in orderly form took place only gradually and by many essays.”
Dr. Hooykaas, speaking of the four “Gospels,” and “Acts,” says of them: “Not one of these five books was really written by the person whose name it bears, and they are all of more recent date than the heading would lead us to suppose.”
“We cannot say that the “Gospels” and book of “Acts” are unauthentic, for not one of them professes to give the name of its author. They appeared anonymously. The titles placed above them in our Bibles owe their origin to a later ecclesiastical tradition which deserves no confidence whatever.” (Bible for Learners, vol. iii. pp. 24, 25.)
These Gospels “can hardly be said to have had authors at all. They had only editors or compilers. What I mean is, that those who enriched the old Christian literature with these Gospels did not go to work as independent writers and compose their own narratives out of the accounts they had collected, but simply took up the different stories or sets of stories which they found current in the oral tradition or already reduced to writing, adding here and expanding there, and so sent out into the world a very artless kind of composition. These works were then, from time to time, somewhat enriched by introductory matter or interpolations from the hands of later Christians, and perhaps were modified a little here and there. Our first two Gospels appear to have passed through more than one such revision. The third, whose writer says in his preface, that ‘many had undertaken to put together a narrative (Gospel),’ before him, appears to proceed from a single collecting, arranging, and modifying hand.” (Ibid. p. 29.)
[463:2]“Christiani doctores non in vulgus prodebant libros sacros, licet soleant plerique aliteropinari, erant tantum in manibus clericorum, priora per sæcula.” (Quoted in Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 48.)
[463:3]Mosheim: vol. i. pt. 2, ch. ii.
[463:4]General Survey of the Canon, p. 459.
[464:1]Credibility of the Gospels.
[464:2]Marsh’s Michaelis, vol. ii. p. 160. The Sinaitic MS. is believed by Tischendorf to belong to the fourth century.
[464:3]Ibid. p. 368.
[464:4]Eusebius: Ecclesiastical Hist. lib. 3, ch. xxii.
[465:1]The Science of Religion, pp. 30, 31.
Extract from CHAPTER  XXXVIII THE ANTIQUITY OF PAGAN RELIGIONS, “BIBLE MYTHS AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONS” By T. W. DOANE,  1882. Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Lisa Reigel, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net  http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31885/31885-h/31885-h.htm#Page_36

How Christianity Expanded?

EXPANSION OF CHRISTIANITY& IMPLAUSIBLE DOCTRINES

 

.” The same thing which is now called CHRISTIAN RELIGION existed among the Ancients. They have begun to call Christianity the true religion which existed before,” SAINT AUGUSTINE.


” Our love for what is old, our reverence for what our fathers used, makes us keep still in the church, and on the very altar cloths, symbols which would excite the smile of an Oriental, and lead him to wonder why we send missionaries to his land, while cherishing his faith in ours.”JAMES BONWICK.

Introduction:

Christianity is the largest world religion with over 1.5 billion followers; it derives its name form Christ Jesus. It is of academic interest to explore through historic evidence that; How a Jewish sect became the world religion?  The clear teachings of Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) as available in the four existing Gospels indicate that he unambiguously preached to Israelis, the same message of Hebrew prophets; obedience and worship to One God: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”(Deuteronomy; 6:4, Mark; 12:29). The essence of the teachings is presented in the Sermon on the Mount, where he said: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.  For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew; 5:17-20 also 5:3-12, 6:9-13).
The question of the origin of Jesus, his nature and relation to God, which later became so important, was not raised among his early disciples. The belief that Jesus was a man super-naturally endowed prophet of God was accepted without question. Nothing in the words of Jesus or the events in his life led them to modify this view. According to Aristides, one of the earliest apologists, the worship of the early Christians was more purely monotheistic even than of the Jews.
After Jesus Christ, the original followers of Jesus Christ continued to live as Jews and practiced what Jesus had taught them. It did not occur to any of them that they could ever be regarded as followers of a new religion.  They were devout and practicing Jews and they were distinguished from their neighbours, only by their faith in the message of Jesus. In the beginning they did not organize themselves as a separate sect and did not have a synagogue of their own.   There was nothing in the message of Jesus, as understood by them, to necessitate a break with Judaism. However, they incurred the enmity of the vested interests among the Jewish higher echelon.
With the conversion of Paul (4–64 C.E) a new period opened in Christian Theology. Paul a Jew and an inhabitant of Tarsus, had spent a long time in Rome, he was a Roman citizen. He realized the strong hold which the Roman religion had on the masses. The intellectuals were under the influence of Plato and Aristotle. Paul seems to have felt that it would not be possible to convert the masses in the Roman Empire without making mutual adjustments. But his practical wisdom was not acceptable to those who had seen and heard Jesus. However, in spite of their difference, they decided to work together for the common cause.
Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) presented a spiritual message and main ideas concerning human conduct. Christian theology, however, was shaped principally by the work of Paul and alike, who adulterated the spiritual message of Jesus. Paul became the foremost proselytizer of the new religion of Christianity. His influence on Christian theology proved to be the most permanent and far-reaching of all Christian writers and thinkers.
The conflict between the Jews and the followers of Jesus was started by the Jews because they felt that the Christians would undermine their “authority”. The gulf progressively began to widen. During the siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E, they left the city; and refused to take part in the Bar Coachaba rebellion in 132 C.E. These two events brought to the surface the difference between the followers of Jesus Christ and the Jews. Later the efforts of Paul bear fruits, Trinity and other strange doctrines got embedded to form the new religion, ‘Christianity’.
The Gospels written by unknown authors in stages [between 50 to 110 years after Jesus Christ] attributing titles to some familiar names for credibility got some new ideas incorporated. The “Preface” to ‘The Bible, Revised Standard Version’ (RSV) states:-
“The King James Version has grave defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision of the English translation…… The Council appointed a committee of scholars to have charge of the text of the American Standard Version and to undertake inquiry …. If in the judgment of the Committee the meaning of a passage is quite uncertain or obscure, either because of corruption in the text or because of the inadequacy of our present knowledge of the language, that fact is indicated by a note.” [419:1a]
Similarly many other Biblical scholars like Dr.Bart Ehrman, Lloyd Graham, Burton L. Mack Douglas and Lockhart are also in consensus on existence of serious errors and inconsistencies in the Bible. Moreover many modern scholars like Sir Anthony Buzzard and Joseph Good logically prove that the doctrines of Christianity like Trinity do not get textual support even from the Bible. The message of Jesus Christ was clear and simple monotheistic; “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”(Mark :12:29-30), same in Old Testament Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37–41. However the fundamental doctrine of Trinity defines; God as three divine persons (ὑποστάσεις): the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial (ὁμοούσιοι). Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being (οὐσία), this appears to be absurd and irrational to common mind, considered to be a mystery of Christian faith.
Based upon thorough research and historical evidence there is general agreement among many scholars that Christian doctrines like ‘Trinity’, ‘Original Sin’, ‘Salvation through Faith’, ‘Baptism’, ‘Original Sin’, ‘Crucifixion’, ‘Resurrection’, ‘Eucharist’, ‘Birthday of Christ Jesus’ and even ‘Christian Symbols’, have been adapted form other pagan religions. The similarities in the narratives about Jesus Christ, Krishna (Hindu Lord) and Buddha are too obvious to be ignored. The persecution and destruction of works of early scholars like Porphyry (234–305 C.E), Hierocles (430 C.E) and Celsus did not totally eliminate their factual views on Christianity as opposed to the Church.
The question arises that despite being in conflict with teachings of Jesus Christ, lacking in authenticity, logic and rationality, why did Christianity prosper to become a world religion? Why was Jesus of Nazareth believed to be a divine incarnation and Saviour? There were many reasons to it, each requiring a book, however here only four main causes are being touched upon briefly. This is based upon the excerpts with minor changes from the 1882 classic book “Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions” by Thomas William Doane, who undertook extensive research as evident from authentic references quoted to prove the point.

1. Essenes Affinity with Buddhism – A Jumping pad for Christianity:

For many centuries before the time of Christ Jesus there lived a sect of religious monks known as Essenes, or Therapeutæ;[419:1] these entirely disappeared from history shortly after the time assigned for the crucifixion of Jesus. There were thousands of them, and their monasteries were to be counted by the score. Many have asked the question, “What became of them?” We now propose to show:
1. That they were expecting the advent of an Angel-Messiah;
2. That they considered Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah;
3. That they came over to Christianity in a body; and,
4. That they brought the legendary histories of the former Angel-Messiahs with them.
The origin of the sect known as Essenes is enveloped in mist, and will probably never be revealed. To speak of all the different ideas entertained as to their origin would make a volume of it, we can therefore but glance at the subject. It has been the object of Christian writers up to a comparatively recent date, to claim that almost everything originated with God’s chosen people, the Jews, and that even all languages can be traced to the Hebrew. Under these circumstances, then, it is not to be wondered at that we find they have also traced the Essenes to Hebrew origin.
[The Essenes have gained fame in modern times as a result of the discovery of an extensive group of religious documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are commonly believed to be Essenes’ library—although there is no proof that the Essenes wrote them. These documents include preserved multiple copies of the Hebrew Bible untouched from as early as 300 BCE until their discovery in 1946. Some scholars, however, dispute the notion that the Essenes wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.]
Theophilus Gale, who wrote a work called “The Court of the Gentiles” (Oxford, 1671), to demonstrate that “the origin of all human literature, both philology and philosophy, is from the Scriptures and the Jewish church,” undoubtedly hits upon the truth when he says:
“Now, the origination or rise of these Essenes (among the Jews) I conceive by the best conjectures I can make from antiquity, to be in or immediately after the Babylonian captivity, though some make them later.”
Some Christian writers trace them to Moses or some of the prophets, but that they originated in India, and were a sort of Buddhist sect, we believe is their true history.
Gfrörer (1803-1861), who wrote concerning them in 1835, and said that “the Essenes and the Therapeutæ are the same sect, and hold the same views,” was undoubtedly another writer who was touching upon historical ground.
The identity of many of the precepts and practices of Essenism and those of the New Testament is unquestionable. Essenism urged on its disciples to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.[420:1] The Essenes forbade the laying up of treasures upon earth.[420:2] The Essenes demanded of those who wished to join them to sell all their possessions, and to divide it among the poor brethren.[420:3] The Essenes had all things in common, and appointed one of the brethren as steward to manage the common bag.[420:4] Essenism put all its members on the same level, forbidding the exercise of authority of one over the other, and enjoining mutual service.[420:5] Essenism commanded its disciples to call no man master upon the earth.[420:6] Essenism laid the greatest stress upon being meek and lowly in spirit.[420:7] The Essenes commended the poor in spirit, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemaker. They combined the healing of the body with that of the soul. They declared that the power to cast out evil spirits, to perform miraculous cures, &c., should be possessed by their disciples as signs of their belief.[420:8] The Essenes did not swear at all; their answer was yea, yea, and nay, nay.[420:9] When the Essenes started on a mission of mercy, they provided neither gold nor silver, neither two coats, neither shoes, but relied on hospitality for support.[420:10] The Essenes, though repudiating offensive war, yet took weapons with them when they went on a perilous journey.[421:1] The Essenes abstained from connubial intercourse.[421:2] The Essenes did not offer animal sacrifices, but strove to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which they regarded as a reasonable service.[421:3] It was the great aim of the Essenes to live such a life of purity and holiness as to be the temples of the Holy Spirit, and to be able to prophesy.[421:4]
Many other comparisons might be made, but these are sufficient to show that there is a great similarity between the two.[421:5] These similarities have led many Christian writers to believe that Jesus belonged to this order. Dr. Ginsburg, an advocate of this theory, says:
“It will hardly be doubted that our Saviour himself belonged to this holy brotherhood. This will especially be apparent when we remember that the whole Jewish community, at the advent of Christ, was divided into three parties, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes, and that every Jew had to belong to one of these sects. Jesus, who, in all things, conformed to the Jewish law, and who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, would therefore naturally associate himself with that order of Judaism which was most congenial to his holy nature. Moreover, the fact that Christ, with the exception of once, was not heard of in public until his thirtieth year, implying that he lived in seclusion with this fraternity, and that though he frequently rebuked the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees, he never denounced the Essenes, strongly confirms this conclusion.”[421:6]
The facts—as Dr. Ginsburg calls them—which confirm his conclusions are simply no facts at all. Jesus may or may not have been a member of this order; but when it is stated as a fact that he never rebuked the Essenes, it is implying too much. We know not whether the words said to have been uttered by Jesus were ever uttered by him or not, and it is almost certain that had he rebuked the Essenes, and had his words been written in the Gospels, they would not remain there long. We hear very little of the Essenes after A. D. 40,[421:7] therefore, when we read of the “primitive Christians,” we are reading of Essenes, and others.
The statement that, with the exception of once, Jesus was not heard in public life till his thirtieth year, is also uncertain. One of the early Christian Fathers (Irenæus) tells us that he did not begin to teach until he was forty years of age, or thereabout, and that he lived to be nearly fifty years old.[422:1] “The records of his life are very scanty; and these have been so shaped and colored and modified by the hands of ignorance and superstition and party prejudice and ecclesiastical purpose, that it is hard to be sure of the original outlines.”
The similarity of the sentiments of the Essenes, or Therapeutae, to those of the Church of Rome, induced the learned Jesuit, Nicolaus Serarius, to seek for them an honourable origin. He contended therefore, that they were Asideans, and derived them from the Rechabites, described so circumstantially in the thirty-fifth chapter of Jeremiah; at the same time, he asserted that the first Christian monks were Essenes.[422:2]
Mr. King, speaking of the Christian sect called Gnostics, says:
“Their chief doctrines had been held for centuries before (their time) in many of the cities of Asia Minor. There, it is probable, they first came into existence as ‘Mystæ,’ upon the establishment of a direct intercourse with India under the Seleucidæ and the Ptolemies. The colleges of Essenes and Megabyzae at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the Curetes of Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common religion, and that originally Asiatic.”[422:3]
Again:
“The introduction of Buddhism into Egypt and Palestine affords the only true solution of innumerable difficulties in the history of religion.”[422:4]
Again:
“That Buddhism had actually been planted in the dominions of the Seleucidæ and Ptolemies (Palestine belonging to the former) before the beginning of the third century B. C., is proved to demonstration by a passage in the Edicts of Asoka, grandson of the famous Chandragupta, the Sandracottus of the Greeks. These edicts are engraven on a rock at Girnur, in Guzerat.”[422:5]
Eusebius, in quoting from Philo concerning the Essenes, seems to take it for granted that they and the Christians were one and the same, and from the manner in which he writes, it would appear that it was generally understood so. He says that Philo called them “Worshipers,” and concludes by saying:
“But whether he himself gave them this name, or whether at the beginning they were so called, when as yet the name of Christians was not everywhere published, I think it not needful curiosity to sift out.”[422:6]
This celebrated ecclesiastical historian considered it very probable that the writings of the Essenic Therapeuts in Egypt had been incorporated into the gospels of the New Testament, and into some Pauline epistles. His words are:
“It is very likely that the commentaries (Scriptures) which were among them (the Essenes) were the Gospels, and the works of the apostles, and certain expositions of the ancient prophets, such as partly that epistle unto the Hebrews, and also the other epistles of Paul do contain.”[423:1]
The principal doctrines and rites of the Essenes can be connected with the East, with Parsism, and especially with Buddhism. Among the doctrines which Essenes and Buddhists had in common was that of the Angel-Messiah.[423:2]
Godfrey Higgins says:
“The Essenes were called physicians of the soul, or Therapeutæ; being resident both in Judea and Egypt, they probably spoke or had their sacred books in Chaldee. They were Pythagoreans, as is proved by all their forms, ceremonies, and doctrines, and they called themselves sons of Jesse. If the Pythagoreans or Conobitae as they are called by Jamblicus, were Buddhists, the Essenes were Buddhists. The Essenes lived in Egypt, on the lake of Parembole or Maria, in monasteries. These are the very places in which we formerly found the Gymnosophists, or Samaneans, or Buddhist priests to have lived; which Gymnosophistæ are placed also by Ptolemy in north-eastern India.”
“Their (the Essenes) parishes, churches, bishops, priests, deacons, festivals are all identically the same (as the Christians). They had apostolic founders; the manners which distinguished the immediate apostles of Christ; scriptures divinely inspired; the same allegorical mode of interpreting them, which has since obtained among Christians, and the same order of performing public worship. They had missionary stations or colonies of their community established in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Phillippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica, precisely such, and in the same circumstances, as were those to whom St. Paul addressed his letters in those places. All the fine moral doctrines which are attributed to the Samaritan Nazarite, and I doubt not justly attributed to him, are to be found among the doctrines of these ascetics.”[423:3]
And Arthur Lillie says:
“It is asserted by calm thinkers like Dean Mansel that within two generations of the time of Alexander the Great, the missionaries of Buddha made their appearance at Alexandria.[423:4] This theory is confirmed—in the east by the Asoka monuments—in the west by Philo. He expressly maintains the identity in creed of the higher Judaism and that of the Gymnosophists of India who abstained from the ‘sacrifice of living animals’—in a word, the BUDDHISTS. It would follow from this that the priestly religion of Babylonia, Palestine, Egypt, and Greece were undermined by certain kindred mystical societies organized by Buddha’s missionaries under the various names of Therapeutes, Essenes, Neo-Pythagoreans, Neo-Zoroastrians, &c. Thus Buddhism prepared the way for Christianity.”[424:1]
The Buddhists have the “eight-fold holy path” (Dhammapada), eight spiritual states leading up to Buddhahood. The first state of the Essenes resulted from baptism, and it seems to correspond with the first Buddhistic state, those who have entered the (mystic) stream. Patience, purity, and the mastery of passion were aimed at by both devotees in the other stages. In the last, magical powers, healing the sick, casting out evil spirits, etc., were supposed to be gained. Buddhists and Essenes seem to have doubled up this eight-fold path into four, for some reason or other. Buddhists and Essenes had three orders of ascetics or monks, but this classification is distinct from the spiritual classifications.[424:2]
The doctrine of the “Anointed Angel,” of the man from heaven, the Creator of the world, the doctrine of the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus by the blood of his cross, the doctrine of the Messianic antetype of the Paschal lamb of the Paschal omer, and thus of the resurrection of Christ Jesus, the third day, according to the Scriptures, these doctrines of Paul can, with more or less certainty, be connected with the Essenes. It becomes almost a certainty that Eusebius was right in surmising that Essenic writings have been used by Paul and the evangelists. Not Jesus, but Paul, is the cause of the separation of the Jews from the Christians.[424:3]
The probability, then, that that sect of vagrant quack-doctors, the Therapeutæ, who were established in Egypt and its neighbourhood many ages before the period assigned by later theologians as that of the birth of Christ Jesus, were the original fabricators of the writings contained in the New Testament, becomes a certainty on the basis of evidence, than which history has nothing more certain, furnished by the unguarded, but explicit, unwary, but most unqualified and positive statement of the historian Eusebius, that “those ancient Therapeutæ were Christians, and that their ancient writings were our gospels and epistles.”
The Essenes, the Therapeuts, the Ascetics, the Monks, the Ecclesiastics, and the Eclectics, are but different names for one and the self-same sect.
The word “Essene” is nothing more than the Egyptian word for that of which Therapeut is the Greek, each of them signifying “healer” or “doctor,” and designating the character of the sect as professing to be endued with the miraculous gift of healing; and more especially so with respect to diseases of the mind.
Their name of “Ascetics” indicated the severe discipline and exercise of self-mortification, long fasting, prayers, contemplation, and even making of themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake, as did Origen, Melito, and others who derived their Christianity from the same school; Jesus himself is represented to have recognized and approved their practice.
Their name of “Monks” indicated their delight in solitude, their contemplative life, and their entire segregation and abstraction from the world, which Jesus, in the Gospel, is in like manner represented as describing, as characteristic of the community of which he was a member.
Their name of “Ecclesiastics” was of the same sense, and indicated their being called out, elected, separated from the general fraternity of mankind, and set apart to the more immediate service and honour of God.
They had a flourishing university, or corporate body, established upon these principles, at Alexandria in Egypt, long before the period assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus.[425:1]
From this body they sent out missionaries, and had established colonies, auxiliary branches, and affiliated communities, in various cities of Asia Minor, which colonies were in a flourishing condition, before the preaching of St. Paul.
“The very ancient and Eastern doctrine of an Angel-Messiah had been applied to Gautama-Buddha, and so it was applied to Jesus Christ by the Essenes of Egypt and of Palestine, who introduced this new Messianic doctrine into Essenic Judaism and Essenic Christianity.”[425:2]
In the Pali and Sanscrit texts the word Buddha is always used as a title, not as a name. It means “The Enlightened One.” Gautama Buddha is represented to have taught that he was only one of a long series of Buddhas, who appear at intervals in the world, and who all teach the same system. After the death of each Buddha his religion flourishes for a time, but finally wickedness and vice again rule over the land. Then a new Buddha appears, who again preaches the lost Dharma or truth. The names of twenty-four of these Buddhas who appeared previous to Gautama have been handed down to us. The Buddhavansa, or “History of the Buddhas,” the last book of the Khuddaka Nikaya in the second Pitca, gives the lives of all the previous Buddhas before commencing its account of Gautama himself; and the Pali commentary on the Jatakas gives certain details regarding each of the twenty-four.[426:1]
An Avatar was expected about every six hundred years.[426:2] At the time of Jesus of Nazareth an Avatar was expected, not by some of the Jews alone, but by most every eastern nation.[426:3] Many persons were thought at that time to be, and undoubtedly thought themselves to be, the Christ, and the only reason why the name of Jesus of Nazareth succeeded above all others, is because the Essenes—who were expecting an Angel-Messiah—espoused it. Had it not been for this almost indisputable fact, the name of Jesus of Nazareth would undoubtedly not be known at the present day.
Epiphanius, a Christian bishop and writer of the fourth century, says, in speaking of the Essenes:
“They who believed on Christ were called JESSAEI (or Essenes), before they were called Christians. These derived their constitution from the signification of the name Jesus, which in Hebrew signifies the same as Therapeutes, that is, a saviour or physician.”
Thus we see that, according to Christian authority, the Essenes and Therapeutes are one, and that the Essenes espoused the cause of Jesus of Nazareth, accepted him as an Angel-Messiah, and became known to history as Christians, or believers in the Anointed Angel.
This ascetic Buddhist sect called Essenes were therefore expecting an Angel-Messiah, for had not Gautama announced to his disciples that another Buddha, and therefore another angel in human form, another organ or advocate of the wisdom from above, would descend from heaven to earth, and would be called the “Son of Love.”
The learned Thomas Maurice says:
“From the earliest post-diluvian age, to that in which the Messiah appeared, together with the traditions which so expressly recorded the fall of the human race from a state of original rectitude and felicity, there appears, from an infinite variety of hieroglyphic monuments and of written documents, to have prevailed, from generation to generation, throughout all the regions of the higher Asia, an uniform belief that, in the course of revolving ages, there should arise a sacred personage, a mighty deliverer of mankind from the thraldom of sin and of death. In fact, the memory of the grand original promise, that the seed of the woman should eventually crush the serpent, was carefully preserved in the breasts of the Asiatics; it entered deeply into their symbolic superstitions, and was engraved aloft amidst their mythological sculptures.”[427:1]
That an Angel-Messiah was generally expected at this time may be inferred from the following facts: Some of the Gnostic sects of Christians, who believed that Jesus was an emanation from God, likewise supposed that there were several Aeons, or emanations from the Eternal Father. Among those who taught this doctrine was Basilides and his followers.[427:2]
SIMON MAGUS was believed to be “He who should come.” Simon was worshiped in Samaria and other countries, as the expected Angel-Messiah, as a God.
Justin Martyr says:
“After the ascension of our Lord into heaven, certain men were suborned by demons as their agents, who said that they were gods (i. e., the Angel Messiah). Among these was Simon, a certain Samaritan, whom nearly all the Samaritans and a few also of other nations, worshiped, confessing him as a Supreme God.”[427:3]
His miracles were notorious, and admitted by all. His followers became so numerous that they were to be found in all countries. In Rome, in the reign of Claudius, a statue was erected in his honour. Clement of Rome, speaking of Simon Magus, says that:
“He wishes to be considered an exalted person and to be considered ‘the Christ.’ He claims that he can never be dissolved, asserting that he will endure to eternity.”
Montanus was another person who evidently believed himself to be an Angel-Messiah. He was called by himself and his followers the “Paraclete,” or “Holy Spirit.”[428:1]
Socrates Scholasticus (5th century CE), in his Ecclesiastical History, tells us of one Buddhas (who lived after Jesus):
“Who afore that time was called Terebynthus, which went to the coasts of Babylon, inhabited by Persians, and there published of himself many false wonders: that he was born of a virgin, that he was bred and brought up in the mountains, etc.”[428:2]
He was evidently one of the many fanatics who believed themselves to be the Paraclete or Comforter, the “Expected One.”
Another one of these Christs was Apollonius. This remarkable man was born a few years before the commencement of the Christian era, and during his career, sustained the role of a philosopher, religious teacher and reformer, and a worker of miracles. He is said to have lived to be a hundred years old. From the history of his life, written by the learned sophist and scholar, Philostratus, we glean the following:
Before his birth a god appeared to his mother and informed her that he himself should be born of her. At the time of her delivery, the most wonderful things happened. All the people of the country acknowledged that he was the “Son of God.” As he grew in stature, his wonderful powers, greatness of memory, and marvellous beauty attracted the attention of all. A great part of his time was spent, when a youth, among the learned doctors; the disciples of Plato, Chrysippus and Aristotle. When he came to man’s estate, he became an enthusiastic admirer and devoted follower of Pythagoras. His fame soon spread far and near, and wherever he went he reformed the religious worship of the day. He went to Ephesus, like Christ Jesus to Jerusalem, where the people flocked about him. While at Athens, in Greece, he cast out an evil spirit from a youth. As soon as Apollonius fixed his eyes upon him, the demon broke out into the most angry and horrid expressions, and then swore he would depart out of the youth. He put an end to a plague which was raging at Ephesus, and at Corinth he raised a dead maiden to life, by simply taking her by the hand and bidding her arise. The miracles of Apollonius were extensively believed, by Christians as well as others, for centuries after his time. In the fourth century Hierocles drew a parallel between the two Christs—Apollonius and Jesus—which was answered by Eusebius, the great champion of the Christian church. In it he admits the miracles of Apollonius, but attributes them to sorcery.
Apollonius was worshiped as a god, in different countries, as late as the fourth century. A beautiful temple was built in honour of him, and he was held in high esteem by many of the Pagan emperors. Eunapius, who wrote concerning him in the fifth century, says that his history should have been entitled “The Descent of a God upon Earth.” It is as Albert Reville says:
“The universal respect in which Apollonius was held by the whole pagan world, testified to the deep impression which the life of this Supernatural Being had left indelibly fixed in their minds; an expression which caused one of his contemporaries to exclaim, ‘We have a God living among us.'”
A Samaritan, by name Menander, who was contemporary with the apostles of Jesus, was another of these fanatics who believed himself to be the Christ. He went about performing miracles, claiming that he was a SAVIOUR, “sent down from above from the invisible worlds, for the salvation of mankind.”[429:1] He baptized his followers in his own name. His influence was great, and continued for several centuries. Justin Martyr and other Christian Fathers wrote against him.
Manes evidently believed himself to be “the Christ,” or “he who was to come.” His followers also believed the same concerning him. Eusebius, speaking of him, says:
“He presumed to represent the person of Christ; he proclaimed himself to be the Comforter and the Holy Ghost, and being puffed up with this frantic pride, chose, as if he were Christ, twelve partners of his new-found doctrine, patching into one heap false and detestable doctrines of old, rotten, and rooted out heresies, the which he brought out of Persia.”[429:2]
The word Manes, says Usher in his Annals, has the meaning of Paraclete or Comforter or Saviour. This at once lets us into the secret—a new incarnation, an Angel-Messiah, a Christ—born from the side of his mother, and put to a violent death—flayed alive, and hung up, or crucified, by a king of Persia.[429:3] This is the teacher with his twelve apostles on the rock of Gualior.
Du Perron, in his life of Zoroaster, gives an account of certain prophecies to be found in the sacred books of the Persians. One of these is to the effect that, at successive periods of time, there will appear on earth certain “Sons of Zoroaster,” who are to be the result of immaculate conceptions. These virgin-born gods will come upon earth for the purpose of establishing the law of God. It is also asserted that Zoroaster, when on earth, declared that in the “latter days” a pure virgin would conceive, and bear a son, and that as soon as the child was born a star would appear, blazing even at noonday, with undiminished splendor. This Christ is to be called Sosiosh. He will redeem mankind, and subdue the Devs, who have been tempting and leading men astray ever since the fall of our first parents.
Among the Greeks the same prophecy was found. The Oracle of Delphi was the depository, according to Plato, of an ancient and secret prophecy of the birth of a “Son of Apollo,” who was to restore the reign of justice and virtue on the earth.[430:1]
Those who believed in successive emanations of Aeons from the Throne of Light, pointed to the passage in the Gospels where Jesus is made to say that he will be succeeded by the Parakletos or Comforter. Muhammad [prophet, peace be upon him] was believed by many to be this Parakletos, and it is said that he too told his disciples that another Parakletos [to known as Mehdi, guided one] is the prophesied redeemer who will stay on earth for couple of years before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus Christ, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny. According to accepted tradition, the Prophet himself designated the line of descent in which his most important successor would be found, and even indicated his personal appearance. Many people claimed to be Mehdi, in the Muslim world especially during last two centuries, but their claims proved to be hollow. [modified]
History then relates to us the indisputable fact that at the time of Jesus of Nazareth an Angel-Messiah was expected, that many persons claimed, and were believed to be, the “Expected One,” and that the reason why Jesus was accepted above all others was because the Essenes—a very numerous sect—believed him to be the true Messiah, and came over to his followers in a body. It was because there were so many of these Christs in existence that some follower of Jesus—but no one knows who—wrote as follows:
“If any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ, or, lo, he is there; believe him not; for false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.”[431:1]
The reasons why Jesus was not accepted as the Messiah by the majority of the Jews was because the majority expected a daring and irresistible warrior and conqueror, who, armed with greater power than Caear, was to come upon earth to rend the fetters in which their hapless nation had so long groaned, to avenge them upon their haughty oppressors, and to re-establish the kingdom of Judah; and this Jesus—although he evidently claimed to be the Messiah—did not do.
Tacitus (56 – 117 C.E), the Roman historian, says:
“The generality had a strong persuasion that it was contained in the ancient writings of the priests, that at that very time the east should prevail: and that some one, who should come out of Judea, should obtain the empire of the world; which ambiguities foretold Vespasian and Titus. But the common people (of the Jews), according to the influence of human wishes, appropriated to themselves, by their interpretation, this vast grandeur foretold by the fates, nor could be brought to change their opinion for the true, by all their adversities.”
Suetonius, (69/75 – after 130) another Roman historian, says:
“There had been for a long time all over the east a constant persuasion that it was recorded in the fates (books of the fates, or foretellings), that at that time some one who should come out of Judea should obtain universal dominion. It appears by the event that this prediction referred to the Roman emperor; but the Jews, referring it to themselves, rebelled.”
This is corroborated by Josephus, the Jewish historian, who says:
“That which, chiefly excited them (the Jews) to war, was an ambiguous prophecy, which was also found in the sacred books, that at that time some one, within their country, should arise, that should obtain the empire of the whole world. For this they had received by tradition, that it was spoken of one of their nation; and many wise men were deceived with the interpretation. But, in truth, Vespasian’s empire was designed in this prophecy, who was created emperor (of Rome) in Judea.”
As the Rev. Dr. Geikie remarks, the central and dominant characteristic of the teaching of the rabbis, was the certain advent of a great national Deliverer—the Messiah—but not a God from heaven.
For a time Cyrus appeared to realize the promised Deliverer, or, at least, to be the chosen instrument to prepare the way for him, and, in his turn, Zerubabel became the centre of Messianic hopes. In fact, the national mind had become so inflammable, by constant brooding on this one theme, that any bold spirit, rising in revolt against the Roman power, could find an army of fierce disciples who trusted that it should be he who would redeem Israel.[432:1]
The “taxing” which took place under Cyrenius, Governor of Syria (A. D. 7), excited the wildest uproar against the Roman power. The Hebrew spirit was stung into exasperation; the puritans of the nation, the enthusiasts, fanatics, the zealots of the law, the literal constructionists of prophecy, appealed to the national temper, revived the national faith, and fanned into flame the combustible elements that smouldered in the bosom of the race. The Messianic hope was strong in these people; all the stronger on account of their political degradation. Born in sorrow, the anticipation grew keen in bitter hours. That Jehovah would abandon them could not be believed. The thought would be atheism. The hope kept the eastern Jews in a perpetual state of insurrection. The cry “Lo here, lo there!” was incessant. Claimant after claimant of the dangerous supremacy of the Messiah appeared, pitched a camp in the wilderness, raised the banner, gathered a force, was attacked, defeated, banished, or crucified; but the frenzy did not abate.
The last insurrection among the Jews, that of Bar-Cochba—”Son of the Star”—revealed an astonishing frenzy of zeal. It was purely a Messianic uprising. Judaism had excited the fears of the Emperor Hadrian, and induced him to inflict unusual severities on the people. The effect of the violence was to stimulate that conviction to fury. The night of their despair was once more illumined by the star of the east. The banner of the Messiah was raised. Potents, as of old, were seen in the sky; the clouds were watched for the glory that should appear. Bar-Cochba seemed to fill out the popular idea of the deliverer. Miracles were ascribed to him; flames issued from his mouth. The vulgar imagination made haste to transform the audacious fanatic into a child of David. Multitudes flocked to his standard. The whole Jewish race throughout the world was in commotion. The insurrection gained head. The heights about Jerusalem were seized and occupied, and fortifications were erected; nothing but the “host of angels” was needed to insure victory. The angels did not appear; the Roman legions did. The “Messiah,” not proving himself a conqueror, was held to have proved himself an impostor, the “son of a lie.”[433:1]
The impetuous zeal with which the Jews rushed to the standard of this Messianic impostor, in the 130th year of the Christian era, demonstrates the true Jewish character, and shows how readily any one who made the claim, was believed to be “He who should come.” Even the celebrated Rabbi Akiba sanctioned this daring fraud. Akiba declared that the so-called prophecy of Balaam,—”a star shall rise out of Jacob,”—was accomplished. Hence the impostor took his title of Bar-Cochabas, or Son of the Star; and Akiba not only publicly anointed him “KING OF THE JEWS,” and placed an imperial diadem upon his head, but followed him to the field at the head of four-and-twenty thousand of his disciples, and acted in the capacity of master of his horse.
Those who believed on the meek and benevolent Jesus—and whose number was very small—were of that class who believed in the doctrine of the Angel-Messiah,[433:2] first heard of among them when taken captives to Babylon. These believed that just as Buddha appeared at different intervals, and as Vishnu appeared at different intervals, the avatars appeared among the Jews. Adam, and Enoch, and Noah, and Elijah or Elias, might in outward appearance be different men, but they were really the self-same divine person successively animating various human bodies.[433:3] Christ Jesus was the avatar of the ninth age, Christ Cyrus was the avatar of the eighth. Of the hero of the eighth age it is said: “Thus said the Lord to his Anointed (i. e., his Christ), his Messiah, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden to subdue nations.”[434:1] The eighth period began about the Babylonish captivity, about six hundred years before Christ Jesus. The ninth began with Christ Jesus, making in all eight cycles before Jesus.
“What was known in Judea more than a century before the birth of Jesus Christ cannot have been introduced among Buddhists by Christian missionaries. It will become equally certain that the bishop and church-historian, Eusebius, was right when he wrote, that he considered it highly probable that the writings of the Essenic Therapeuts in Egypt had been incorporated into our Gospels, and into some Pauline epistles.”[434:2]
For further information on the subject of the connection between Essenism and Christianity, the reader is referred to Taylor’s Diegesis, Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, and the works of S. F. Dunlap. We shall now speak of another powerful lever which was brought to bear upon the promulgation of Christianity; namely, that of FRAUD.

2. Deceit & Fraud:

It was a common thing among the early Christian Fathers and saints to lie and deceive, if their lies and deceits helped the cause of their Christ. Lactantius, an eminent Christian author who flourished in the fourth century, has well said:
“Among those who seek power and gain from their religion, there will never be wanting an inclination to forge and lie for it.”[434:3]
Gregory of Nazianzus, writing to St. Jerome, says:
“A little jargon is all that is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, the more they admire. Our forefathers and doctors have often said, not what they thought, but what circumstances and necessity dictated.”[434:4]
The celebrated Eusebius, Bishop of CAESAREA, and friend of Constantine the Great, who is our chief guide for the early history of the Church, confesses that he was by no means scrupulous to record the whole truth concerning the early Christians in the various works which he has left behind him.[434:5] Edward Gibbon, speaking of him, says:
“The gravest of the ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius himself, indirectly confesses that he has related what might redound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace of religion. Such an acknowledgment will naturally excite a suspicion that a writer who has so openly violated one of the fundamental laws of history, has not paid a very strict regard to the observance of the other; and the suspicion will derive additional credit from the character of Eusebius, which was less tinctured with credulity, and more practiced in the arts of courts, than that of almost any of his contemporaries.”[435:1]
The great theologian, Beausobre, in his “Histoire de Manichee,” says:
“We see in the history which I have related, a sort of hypocrisy, that has been perhaps, but too common at all times; that churchmen not only do not say what they think, but they do say the direct contrary of what they think. Philosophers in their cabinets; out of them they are content with fables, though they well know they are fables. Nay, more; they deliver honest men to the executioner, for having uttered what they themselves know to be true. How many atheists and pagans have burned holy men under the pretext of heresy? Every day do hypocrites consecrate, and make people adore the host, though as well convinced as I am, that it is nothing but a bit of bread.”[435:2]
M. Daille says:
“This opinion has always been in the world, that to settle a certain and assured estimation upon that which is good and true, it is necessary to remove out of the way, whatsoever may be an hindrance to it. Neither ought we to wonder that even those of the honest, innocent, primitive times made use of these deceits, seeing for a good end they made no scruple to forge whole books.”[435:3]
Reeves, in his “Apologies of the Fathers,” says:
“It was a Catholic opinion among the philosophers, that pious frauds were good things, and that the people ought to be imposed on in matters of religion.”[435:4]
Mosheim, the ecclesiastical historian, says:
“It was held as a maxim that it was not only lawful but praiseworthy to deceive, and even to use the expedient of a lie, in order to advance the cause of truth and piety.”[435:5]
Isaac de Casaubon, the great ecclesiastical scholar, says:
“It mightily affects me, to see how many there were in the earliest times of the church, who considered it as a capital exploit, to lend to heavenly truth the help of their own inventions, in order that the new doctrine might be more readily allowed by the wise among the Gentiles. These officious lies, they were wont to say, were devised for a good end.”[435:6]
The Apostolic Father, Hermas, who was the fellow-laborer of St. Paul in the work of the ministry; who is greeted as such in the New Testament; and whose writings are expressly quoted as of divine inspiration, by the early Fathers, ingenuously confesses that lying was the easily-besetting sin of a Christian. His words are:
“O Lord, I never spake a true word in my life, but I have always lived in dissimulation, and affirmed a lie for truth to all men, and no man contradicted me, but all gave credit to my words.”
To which the holy angel, whom he addresses, condescendingly admonishes him, that as the lie was up, now, he had better keep it up, and as in time it would come to be believed, it would answer as well as truth.[436:1]
Dr. Mosheim admits, that the Platonists and Pythagoreans held it as a maxim, that it was not only lawful, but praiseworthy, to deceive, and even to use the expedient of a lie, in order to advance the cause of truth and piety. The Jews who lived in Egypt, had learned and received this maxim from them, before the coming of Christ Jesus, as appears incontestably from a multitude of ancient records, and the Christians were infected from both these sources, with the same pernicious error.[436:2]
Of the fifteen letters ascribed to Ignatius (Bishop of Antioch after 69 C.E.), eight have been rejected by Christian writers as being forgeries, having no authority whatever. “The remaining seven epistles were accounted genuine by most critics, although disputed by some, previous to the discoveries of Mr. Cureton, which have shaken, and indeed almost wholly destroyed the credit and authenticity of all alike.”[436:3]
Paul of Tarsus, who was preaching a doctrine which had already been preached to many nation on earth,[436:4] inculcates and avows the principle of deceiving the common people, talks of his having been upbraided by his own converts with being crafty and catching them with guile,[436:5] and of his known and wilful lies, abounding to the glory of God.[436:6]
Even the orthodox Doctor Burnet, an eminent English author, in his treatise “De Statu Mortuorum,” purposely written in Latin, that it might serve for the instruction of the clergy only, and not come to the knowledge of the laity, because, as he said, “too much light is hurtful for weak eyes,” not only justified but recommended the practice of the most consummate hypocrisy, and would have his clergy seriously preach and maintain the reality and eternity of hell torments, even though they should believe nothing of the sort themselves.[437:1]
The incredible and very ridiculous stories related by Christian Fathers and ecclesiastical historians, on whom we are obliged to rely for information on the most important of subjects, show us how untrustworthy these men were. We have, for instance, the story related by St. Augustine, who is styled “the greatest of the Latin Fathers,” of his preaching the Gospel to people without heads. In his 33d Sermon he says:
“I was already Bishop of Hippo, when I went into Ethiopia with some servants of Christ there to preach the Gospel. In this country we saw many men and women without heads, who had two great eyes in their breasts; and in countries still more southly, we saw people who had but one eye in their foreheads.”[437:2]
This same holy Father bears an equally unquestionable testimony to several resurrections of the dead, of which he himself had been an eye-witness.
In a book written “towards the close of the second century, by some zealous believer,” and fathered upon one Nicodemus, who is said to have been a disciple of Christ Jesus, we find the following:
“We all know the blessed Simeon, the high priest, who took Jesus when an infant into his arms in the temple. This same Simeon had two sons of his own, and we were all present at their death and funeral. Go therefore and see their tombs, for these are open, and they are risen; and behold, they are in the city of Arimathaea, spending their time together in offices of devotion.”[438:1]
Eusebius, “the Father of ecclesiastical history,” Bishop of Caearea, and one of the most prominent personages at the Council of Nice, relates as truth, the ridiculous story of King Agbarus writing a letter to Christ Jesus, and of Jesus’ answer to the same.[438:2] And Socrates relates how the Empress Helen, mother of the Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem for the purpose of finding, if possible, “the cross of Christ.” This she succeeded in doing, also the nails with which he was nailed to the cross.[438:3]
Beside forging, lying, and deceiving for the cause of Christ, the Christian Fathers destroyed all evidence against themselves and their religion, which they came across. Christian divines seem to have always been afraid of too much light. In the very infancy of printing, Cardinal Wolsey foresaw its effect on Christianity, and in a speech to the clergy, publicly forewarned them, that, if they did not destroy the Press, the Press would destroy them.[438:4] There can be no doubt, that had the objections of Porphyry,[438:5] Hierocles,[438:6] Celsus,[438:7] and other opponents of the Christian faith, been permitted to come down to us, the plagiarism in the Christian Scriptures from previously existing Pagan documents, is the specific charge they would have presented us. But these were ordered to be burned, by the prudent piety of the Christian emperors.

3. Destruction of Evidence: Second Destruction of Library at Alexandria by Theophilus [Patriarch of Alexandria, 385-412 C.E] :

The history of this great Alexandrian library is one of the keys which unlock the door, and exposes to the view the manner in which the Hindu incarnate god Crishna [Krishna], and the meek and benevolent Buddha, came to be worshiped under the name of Christ Jesus as explained later.
In Alexandria, in Egypt, there was an immense library, founded by the Ptolemies. This library was situated in the Alexandrian Museum; the apartments which were allotted for it were beautifully sculptured, and crowded with the choicest statues and pictures; the building was built of marble. This library eventually comprised four hundred thousand volumes [400,000]. In the course of time, probably on account of inadequate accommodation for so many books, an additional library was established, and placed in the temple of Serapis. The number of volumes in this library, which was called the daughter of that in the museum, was eventually three hundred thousand. There were, therefore, seven hundred thousand [700,000] volumes in these royal collections.
In the establishment of the museum, Ptolemy Soter, and his son Philadelphus, had three objects in view: 1) The perpetuation of such knowledge as was then in the world; 2) Its increase; 3.) Its diffusion.
1). For the perpetuation of knowledge. Orders were given to the chief librarian to buy, at the king’s expense, whatever books he could. A body of transcribers was maintained in the museum, whose duty it was to make correct copies of such works as their owners were not disposed to sell. Any books brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once to the museum, and when correct copies had been made, the transcript was given to the owner, and the original placed in the library. Often a very large pecuniary indemnity was paid.
2). For the increase of knowledge. One of the chief objects of the museum was that of serving as the home of a body of men who devoted themselves to study, and were lodged and maintained at the king’s expense. In the original organization of the museum the residents were divided into four faculties,—Literature, Mathematics, Astronomy, and Medicine. An officer of very great distinction presided over the establishment, and had general charge of its interests. Demetius Phalareus, perhaps the most learned man of his age, who had been Governor of Athens for many years, was the first so appointed. Under him was the librarian, an office sometimes held by men whose names have descended to our times, as Eratosthenes and Apollonius Rhodius. In connection with the museum was a botanical and a zoological garden. These gardens, as their names imply, were for the purpose of facilitating the study of plants and animals. There was also an astronomical observatory, containing armillary spheres, globes, solstitial and equatorial armils, astrolabes, parallactic rules, and other apparatus then in use, the graduation on the divided instruments being into degrees and sixths.
3). For the diffusion of knowledge. In the museum was given, by lectures, conversation, or other appropriate methods, instruction in all the various departments of human knowledge.
There flocked to this great intellectual centre, students from all countries. It is said that at one time not fewer than fourteen thousand were in attendance. Subsequently even the Christian church received from it some of the most eminent of its Fathers, as Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Athanasius.
The library in the museum was burned during the siege of Alexandria by Julius Caesar. To make amends for this great loss, the library collected by Eumenes, King of Pergamus, was presented by Mark Antony to Queen Cleopatra. Originally it was founded as a rival to that of the Ptolemies. It was added to the collection in the Serapion, or the temple of Serapis.[440:1]
It was not destined, however, to remain there many centuries, as this very valuable library was wilfully destroyed by the Christian Theophilus [Patriarch of Alexandria from 385 to 412 C.E] and on the spot where this beautiful temple of Serapis stood, in fact, on its very foundation, was erected a church in honor of the “noble army of martyrs,” who had never existed.
This we learn from the historian Gibbon, who says that, after this library was destroyed, “the appearance of the empty shelves excited the regret and indignation of every spectator, whose mind was not totally darkened by religious prejudice.”[440:2]
The destruction of this library was almost the death-blow to free-thought—wherever Christianity ruled—for more than a thousand years.
The death-blow was soon to be struck, however, which was done by Saint Cyril, who succeeded Theophilus as Bishop of Alexandria.
Hypatia, the daughter of Theon, the mathematician, endeavoured to continue the old-time instructions. Each day before her academy stood a long train of chariots; her lecture-room was crowded with the wealth and fashion of Alexandria. They came to listen to her discourses on those questions which man in all ages has asked, but which have never yet been answered: “What am I? Where am I? What can I know?”
Hypatia and Cyril; philosophy and bigotry; they cannot exist together. As Hypatia repaired to her academy, she was assaulted by (Saint) Cyril’s mob—a mob of many monks. Stripped naked in the street, she was dragged into a church, and there killed by the club of Peter the Reader. The corpse was cut to pieces, the flesh was scraped from the bones with shells, and the remnants cast into a fire. For this frightful crime Cyril was never called to account. It seemed to be admitted that the end sanctified the means. So ended Greek philosophy in Alexandria, so came to an untimely close the learning that the Ptolemies had done so much to promote.
The fate of Hypatia was a warning to all who would cultivate profane knowledge. Henceforth there was to be no freedom for human thought. Every one must think as ecclesiastical authority ordered him;  C.E 414. In Athens itself philosophy awaited its doom. Justinian at length prohibited its teaching and caused all its schools in that city to be closed.[441:1]
After this followed the long and dreary dark ages, but the sun of science, that bright and glorious luminary, was destined to rise again.
The history of this great Alexandrian library is one of the keys which unlock the door, and exposes to our view the manner in which the Hindu incarnate god Crishna [Krishna], and the meek and benevolent Buddha, came to be worshiped under the name of Christ Jesus. For instance, we have just seen:
1. That, “orders were given to the chief librarian to buy at the king’s expense whatever books he could.”
2. That, “one of the chief objects of the museum was that of serving as the home of a body of men who devoted themselves to study.”
3. That, “any books brought by foreigners into Egypt were taken at once to the museum and correct copies made.”
4. That, “there flocked to this great intellectual centre students from all countries.”
5. That, “the Christian church received from it some of the most eminent of its Fathers.”
And also:
6. That, the chief doctrines of the Gnostic Christians “had been held for centuries before their time in many of the cities in Asia Minor. There, it is probable, they first came into existence as ‘Mystæ,’ upon the establishment of a direct intercourse with India under the Seleucidae and the Ptolemies.”
7. That, “the College of ESSENES at Ephesus, the Orphics of Thrace, the Curetes of Crete, are all merely branches of one antique and common religion, and that originally Asiatic.”
8. That, “the introduction of Buddhism into Egypt and Palestine affords the only true solution of innumerable difficulties in the history of religion.”
9. That, “Buddhism had actually been planted in the dominions of the Seleucidae and Ptolemies (Palestine belonging to the former) before the beginning of the third century B. C. and is proved to demonstration by a passage in the edicts of Ashoka.” [Ashoka (304–232 BC) was a great Indian King who converted to Buddhism, made it world religion.]
10. That, “it is very likely that the commentaries (Scriptures) which were among them (the Essenes) were the Gospels.”
11. That, “the principal doctrines and rites of the Essenes can be connected with the East, with Parsism [ Zoroastrians ], and especially with Buddhism.”
12. That, “among the doctrines which the Essenes and Buddhists had in common was that of the Angel-Messiah.”
13. That, “they (the Essenes) had a flourishing university or corporate body, established at Alexandria, in Egypt, long before the period assigned for the birth of Christ.”
14. That, “the very ancient and Eastern doctrine of the Angel-Messiah had been applied to Gautama Buddha, and so it was applied to Jesus Christ by the Essenes of Egypt and Palestine, who introduced this new Messianic doctrine into Essenic Judaism and Essenic Christianity.”
15. That, “we hear very little of them (the Essenes) after 40 C.E ; and there can hardly be any doubt that the Essenes as a body must have embraced Christianity.”
Here is the solution of the problem. The sacred books of Hindus and Buddhists were among the Essenes, and in the library at Alexandria. The Essenes, who were afterwards called Christians, applied the legend of the Angel-Messiah—”the very ancient Eastern doctrine,” which we have shown throughout this work—to Christ Jesus. It was simply a transformation of names, a transformation which had previously occurred in many cases.[442:1] After this came additions to the legend from other sources. Portions of the legends related of the Persian, Greek and Roman Saviours and Redeemers of mankind, were, from time to time, added to the already legendary history of the Christian Saviour. Thus history was repeating itself. Thus the virgin-born God and Saviour, worshiped by all nations of the earth, though called by different names, was but one and the same.
In a separate chapter we shall see who this One God was, and how the myth originated.
Albert Revillé says:
“Alexandria, the home of Philonism, and Neo-Platonism (and we might add Essenism), was naturally the centre whence spread the dogma of the deity of Jesus Christ. In that city, through the third century, flourished a school of transcendental theology, afterwards looked upon with suspicion by the conservators of ecclesiastical doctrine, but not the less the real cradle of orthodoxy. It was still the Platonic tendency which influenced the speculations of Clement, Origen and Dionysius, and the theory of the Logos was at the foundation of their theology.”[443:1]
Among the numerous gospels in circulation among the Christians of the first three centuries, there was one entitled “The Gospel of the Egyptians.” Epiphanius (385 C.E), speaking of it, says:
“Many things are proposed (in this Gospel of the Egyptians) in a hidden, mysterious manner, as by our Saviour, as though he had said to his disciples, that the Father was the same person, the Son the same person, and the Holy Ghost the same person.”
That this was one of the “Scriptures” of the Essenes becomes very evident when we find it admitted by the most learned of Christian theologians that it was in existence “before either of the canonical Gospels,” and that it contained the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine not established in the Christian church until 327 C.E, but which was taught by this Buddhist sect in Alexandria, in Egypt, which has been well called, “Egypt, the land of Trinities.”
The learned Dr. Grabe thought it was composed by some Christians in Egypt, and that it was published before either of the canonical Gospels. Dr. Mill also believed that it was composed before either of the canonical Gospels, and, what is more important than all, that the authors of it were Essenes.
These “Scriptures” of the Essenes were undoubtedly amalgamated with the “Gospels” of the Christians, the result being the canonical Gospels as we now have them. The “Gospel of the Hebrews,” and such like, on the one hand, and the “Gospel of the Egyptians,” or Essenes, and such like, on the other. That the “Gospel of the Hebrews” spoke of Jesus of Nazareth as the son of Joseph and Mary, according to the flesh, and that it taught nothing about his miracles, his resurrection from the dead, and other such prodigies, is admitted on all hands. That the “Scriptures” of the Essenes contained the whole legend of the Angel-Messiah, which was afterwards added to the history of Jesus, making him a CHRIST, or an Anointed Angel, is a probability almost to a certainty. Do we now understand how all the traditions and legends, originally Indian, escaping from the great focus through Egypt, were able to reach Judea, Greece and Rome?

4. Coercion & Excessive Persecution:

To continue with our subject, “why Christianity prospered,” we must now consider another great support to the cause, i. e., Persecution. Ernest de Bunsen, speaking of Buddha, says:
“His religion has never been propagated by the sword. It has been affected entirely by the influence of peaceable and persevering devotees.”
Can we say as much for what is termed “the religion of Christ?” No! this religion has had the aid of the sword and firebrand, the rack and the thumb-screw. “Persecution,” is to be seen written on the pages of ecclesiastical history, from the time of Constantine [272-337 C.E] even to the present day.[444:1] This Christian emperor and saint was the first to check free-thought.
“We search in vain,” (says M. Renan), “in the collection of Roman laws before Constantine, for any enactment aimed at free thought, or in the history of the emperors, for a persecution of abstract doctrine. Not a single savant was disturbed. Men whom the Middle Ages would have burned—such as Galen, Lucian, Plotinus—lived in peace, protected by the law.”[444:2]
Born and educated a pagan, Emperor Constantine embraced the Christian faith with ulterior motives. Having committed horrid crimes, in fact, having committed murders,[444:3] and,
“When he would have had his (Pagan) priests purge him by sacrifice, of these horrible murders, and could not have his purpose (for they answered plainly, it lay not in their power to cleanse him)[444:4] he lighted at last upon an Egyptian who came out of Iberia, and being persuaded by him that the Christian faith was of force to wipe away every sin, were it ever so heinous, he embraced willingly at whatever the Egyptian told him.”[444:5]
[NOTE.—The learned Christian historian Pagi endeavours to smooth over the crimes of Constantine. He says: “As for those few murders (which Eusebius says nothing about), had he thought it worth his while to refer to them, he would perhaps, with Baronius himself have said, that the young Licinius (his infant nephew), although the fact might not generally have been known, had most likely been an accomplice in the treason of his father. That as to the murder of his son, the Emperor is rather to be considered as unfortunate than as criminal. And with respect to his putting his wife to death, he ought to be pronounced rather a just and righteous judge. As for his numerous friends, whom Eutropius informs us he put to death one after another, we are bound to believe that most of them deserved it, and they were found out to have abused the Emperor’s too great credulity, for the gratification of their own inordinate wickedness, and insatiable avarice; and such no doubt was that SOPATER the philosopher, who was at last put to death upon the accusation of Adlabius, and that by the righteous dispensation of God, for his having attempted to alienate the mind of Constantine from the true religion.” (Pagi Ann. 324, quoted in Latin by Dr. Lardner, vol. iv. p. 371, in his notes for the benefit of the learned reader, but gives no rendering into English.)]
Mons. Dupuis, speaking of this conversion, says:
“Constantine, soiled with all sorts of crimes, and stained with the blood of his wife, after repeated perjuries and assassinations, presented himself before the heathen priests in order to be absolved of so many outrages he had committed. He was answered, that amongst the various kinds of expiations, there was none which could expiate so many crimes, and that no religion whatever could offer efficient protection against the justice of the gods; and Constantine was emperor. One of the courtiers of the palace, who witnessed the trouble and agitation of his mind, torn by remorse, which nothing could appease, informed him, that the evil he was suffering was not without a remedy; that there existed in the religion of the Christians certain purifications, which expiated every kind of misdeeds, of whatever nature, and in whatsoever number they were: that one of the promises of the religion was, that whoever was converted to it, as impious and as great a villain as he might be, could hope that his crimes were immediately forgotten.[445:1] From that moment, Constantine declared himself the protector of a sect which treats great criminals with so much lenity.[445:2] He was a great villain, who tried to lull himself with illusions to smother his remorse.”[445:3]
By the delay of baptism, a person who had accepted the true faith could venture freely to indulge their passions in the enjoyment of this world, while they still retained in their own hands the means of salvation; therefore, we find that Constantine, although he accepted the faith, did not get baptized until he was on his death-bed, as he wished to continue, as long as possible, the wicked life he was leading. Mr. Gibbon, speaking of him, says:
“The example and reputation of Constantine seemed to countenance the delay of baptism. Future tyrants were encouraged to believe, that the innocent blood which they might shed in a long reign would instantly be washed away in the waters of regeneration; and the abuse of religion dangerously undermined the foundations of moral virtue.”[445:4]
Eusebius, in his “Life of Constantine,” tells us that:
“When he thought that he was near his death, he confessed his sins, desiring pardon for them of God, and was baptized.
“Before doing so, he assembled the bishops of Nicomedia together, and spake thus unto them:
“‘Brethren, the salvation which I have earnestly desired of God these many years, I do now this day expect. It is time therefore that we should be sealed and signed with the badge of immortality. And though I proposed to receive it in the river Jordan, in which our Saviour for our example was baptized, yet God, knowing what is fittest for me, hath appointed that I shall receive it in this place, therefore let me not be delayed.'”
“And so, after the service of baptism was read, they baptized him with all the ceremonies belonging to this mysterious sacrament. So that Constantine was the first of all the emperors who was regenerated by the new birth of baptism, and that was signed with the sign of the cross.”[446:1]
When Constantine had heard the good news from the Christian monk from Egypt, he commenced by conferring many dignities on the Christians, and those only who were addicted to Christianity, he made governors of his provinces.[446:2] He then issued edicts against heretics,—i. e., those who, like Arius, did not believe that Christ was “of one substance with the Father,” and others—calling them “enemies of truth and eternal life,” “authors and councillors of death,” [446:3] He “commanded by law” that none should dare “to meet at conventiclers,” and that “all places where they were wont to keep their meetings should be demolished,” or “confiscated to the Catholic church;”[446:4] and Constantine was emperor. “By this means,” says Eusebius, “such as maintained doctrines and opinions contrary to the church, were suppressed.”[446:5]
This Constantine, says Eusebius:
“Caused his image to be engraven on his gold coins, in the form of prayer, with his hands joined together, and looking up towards Heaven.” “And over divers gates of his palace, he was drawn praying, and lifting up his hands and eyes to heaven.”[446:6]
After his death, “effigies of this blessed man” were engraved on the Roman coins, “sitting in and driving a chariot, and a hand reached down from heaven to receive and take him up.”[446:7]
The hopes of wealth and honours, the example of an emperor, his exhortations, his irresistible smiles, diffused conviction among  the venal and obsequious crowds which usually fill the apartments of a palace, and as the lower ranks of society are governed by example, the conversion of those who possessed any eminence of birth, of power, or of riches, was soon followed by dependent multitudes. Constantine passed a law which gave freedom to all the slaves who should embrace Christianity, and to those who were not slaves, he gave a white garment and twenty pieces of gold, upon their embracing the Christian faith. The common people were thus purchased at such an easy rate that, in one year, twelve thousand men were baptised at Rome, besides a proportional number of women and children.[447:1]
To suppress the opinions of philosophers, which were contrary to Christianity, the Christian emperors published edicts. The respective decrees of the emperors Constantine and Theodosius,[447:2] generally ran in the words; “That all writings adverse to the claims of the Christian religion, in the possession of whomsoever they should be found, should be committed to the fire,” as the pious emperors would not that those things tending to provoke God to wrath, should be allowed to offend the minds of the piously disposed.
The following is a decree of the Emperor Theodosius of this purport:
“We decree, therefore, that all writings, whatever, which Porphyry or anyone else hath written against the Christian religion, in the possession of whomsoever they shall be found should be committed to the fire; for we would not suffer any of those things so much as to come to men’s ears, which tend to provoke God to wrath and offend the minds of the pious.”[447:3]
A similar decree of the emperor for establishing the doctrine of the Trinity, concludes with an admonition to all who shall object to it, that,
“Besides the condemnation of divine justice, they must expect to suffer the severe penalties, which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, may think proper to inflict upon them.”[447:4]
This orthodox emperor (Theodosius, 379 – 395 C.E) considered every heretic (as he called those who did not believe as he and his ecclesiastics professed) a rebel against the supreme powers of heaven and of [earth (he being one of the supreme powers of earth), and each of the powers might exercise their peculiar jurisdiction over the soul and body of the guilty.
The decrees of the Council of Constantinople had ascertained the true standard of the faith, and the ecclesiastics, who governed the conscience of Theodosius, suggested the most effectual methods of persecution. In the space of fifteen years he promulgated at least fifteen severe edicts against the heretics, more especially against those who rejected the doctrine of the Trinity.[448:1]
Arius [presbyter (256 – 336) in Alexandria, declared that, in the nature of things, a father must be older than his son] was excommunicated for his so-called heretical notions concerning the Trinity. His followers, who were very numerous, were called Arians. Their writings, if they had been permitted to exist,[448:2] would undoubtedly contain the lamentable story of the persecution which affected the church under the reign of the impious Emperor Theodosius.
In Asia Minor the people were persecuted by orders of Constantius, and these orders were more than obeyed by Macedonius. The civil and military powers were ordered to obey his commands; the consequence was, he disgraced the reign of Constantius. “The rites of baptism were conferred on women and children, who, for that purpose, had been torn from the arms of their friends and parents; the mouths of the communicants were held open by a wooden engine, while the consecrated bread was forced down their throats; the breasts of tender virgins were either burned with red-hot egg-shells, or inhumanly compressed between sharp and heavy boards.”[448:3] The principal assistants of Macedonius—the tool of Constantius—in the work of persecution, were the two bishops of Nicomedia and Cyzicus, who were esteemed for their virtues, and especially for their charity.[448:4]
Julian, the successor of Constantius, has described some of the theological calamities which afflicted the empire, and more especially in the East, in the reign of a prince who was the slave of his own passions, and of those of his eunuchs: “Many were imprisoned, and persecuted, and driven into exile. Whole troops of those who are styled heretics were massacred, particularly at Cyzicus, and at Samosata. In Paphlagonia, Bithynia, Gallatia, and in many other provinces, towns and villages were laid waste, and utterly destroyed.”[449:1]
Persecution of Norwegians & Heathens to accept Christianity:
Persecutions in the name of Christ Jesus were inflicted on the heathen in most every part of the then known world. Even among the Norwegians, the Christian sword was unsheathed. They clung tenaciously to the worship of their forefathers, and numbers of them died real martyrs for their faith, after suffering the cruelest torments from their persecutors. It was by sheer compulsion that the Norwegians embraced Christianity. The reign of Olaf Tryggvason, a Christian king of Norway (995-1000 C.E. ), was in fact entirely devoted to the propagation of the new faith, by means the most revolting to humanity. His general practice was to enter a district at the head of a formidable force, summon a Thing,[449:2] and give the people the alternative of fighting with him, or of being baptized. Most of them, of course, preferred baptism to the risk of a battle with an adversary so well prepared for combat; and the recusants were tortured to death with fiend-like ferocity, and their estates confiscated.[449:3]
Wikipedia mentions: “Several instances of Olaf’s attempts lead to days of remembrance amongst modern heathens similar manner to feast days of martyred Christian saints. Raud the Strong (remembered January 9) refused to convert and, after a failed attempt using a wooden pin to pry open his mouth to insert a snake, was killed by a snake goaded by a hot poker through a drinking horn into Raud’s mouth and down his throat. Eyvind Kinnrifi (February 9) likewise refused and was killed by a brazier of hot coals resting on his belly. The possibly apocryphal figure, Sigrid the Haughty (November 9), was said to have refused to marry Olaf if it meant forgoing her forefather’s religion upon which Olaf slapped her with his glove, an act that prompted her to unite his enemies against him some years later.”

Conclusion:

Despite obliteration efforts, the affinity of Buddha, Essences and Christianity can still be traced historically. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: “The name Buddha is mentioned for the first time in Christian literature–and there only once — by Clement of Alexandria about AD 200; and it vanished after that from Christian literature for a full 1,300 years. The Apologists from the 2nd to the 5th centuries used legend and myth. Clement of Alexandria employed them as allegories to make Christian concepts intelligible to Greek converts.” It further adds: “It is possible that through the centuries the vast majority of believers have not used the term ‘essence’ to describe the central focus of their faith. The term is itself of Greek origin and thus represents only one part of the tradition, one element in the terms that have gone into making up Christianity. The search for an ‘essence’ may be more urgent for philosophers, theologians (who interpret the language of the believing community), or historians than it is for the regular believers who do not share the burden of scholars. ‘Essence’ refers to those qualities that give something its identity and are at the centre of what makes that thing different from everything else. To Greek philosophers it meant something intrinsic to and inherent in a thing or category of things, which gave it its character and thus separated it from everything of different character. Thus Jesus Christ belongs to the essential character of Christianity and gives it identity in the same way that Buddha does for Buddhism.”
After formulating the new religion with the label of Jesus Christ, next phase was propagation. Beside forging, lying, and deceiving for the cause of Christ, the Christian Fathers destroyed all evidence against themselves and their religion, which they came across. It was a Catholic opinion among the philosophers, that pious frauds were good things, and that the people ought to be imposed on in matters of religion.”[435:4] Christian divines seem to have always been afraid of too much light. In the very infancy of printing, Cardinal Wolsey foresaw its effect on Christianity, and in a speech to the clergy, publicly forewarned them, that, if they did not destroy the Press, the Press would destroy them.[438:4] To suppress the opinions of philosophers, which were contrary to Christianity, the Christian emperors published edicts. Persecution was legitimised to expand the new faith. The respective decrees of the emperors Constantine and Theodosius,[447:2] generally ran in the words; “That all writings adverse to the claims of the Christian religion, in the possession of whomsoever they should be found, should be committed to the fire,” “Besides the condemnation of divine justice, they must expect to suffer the severe penalties, which our authority, guided by heavenly wisdom, may think proper to inflict upon them.”[447:4]
Persecutions in the name of Christ Jesus were inflicted on the heathen in most every part of the then known world. Even among the Norwegians, the Christian sword was unsheathed. Many died for their faith, after suffering the cruelest torments from their persecutors. It was by sheer compulsion that the Norwegians embraced Christianity. The reign of Olaf Tryggvason, a Christian king of Norway (995-1000 C.E. ), was in fact entirely devoted to the propagation of the new faith, by means the most revolting to humanity.
Paradoxically, the end of “established Christianity” in the old sense resulted in the most rapid and most widespread expansion in the history of the church. The Christianization of the Americas and the evangelization of Asia, Africa, and Australasia for the first time gave geographic substance to the Christian title “ecumenical.” Much of the evangelization appeared to be an integral part of military conquest. Growth in areas and in numbers, however, need not be equivalent to growth in influence. The original methodology of oppression and persecution was supplemented with new techniques of education, charity and other social welfare services. Missionaries working with Red Cross and other NGOs [Non Governmental organizations] in war and calamity hit areas are first visible to be noticed busy in noble works. Despite its continuing strength throughout the modern period, Christianity retreated on many fronts and lost much of its prestige and authority both politically and intellectually. Free flow of information has opened new avenues to the people; now its difficult to convince that 1+1+1=1 not 3. Some straightaway turn to atheism while those who take a deep look find Islam as rationally acceptable.

FOOTNOTES:

[419:1]”Numerous bodies of ascetics (Therapeutæ), especially near Lake Mareotis, devoted themselves to discipline and study, abjuring society and labor, and often forgetting, it is said, the simplest wants of nature, in contemplating the hidden wisdom of the Scriptures. Eusebius even claimed them as Christians; and some of the forms of monasticism were evidently modeled after the Therapeutæ.” (Smith’s Bible Dictionary, art. “Alexandria.”)
[420:1]Comp. Matt. vi. 33; Luke, xii. 31.
[420:2]Comp. Matt. vi. 19-21.
[420:3]Comp. Matt. xix. 21; Luke, xii. 33.
[420:4]Comp. Acts, ii. 44, 45; iv. 32-34; John, xii. 6; xiii. 29.
[420:5]Comp. Matt. xx. 25-28; Mark, ix. 35-37; x. 42-45.
[420:6]Comp. Matt. xxiii. 8-10.
[420:7]Comp. Matt. v. 5; xi. 29.
[420:8]Comp. Mark, xvi. 17; Matt. x. 8; Luke, ix. 1, 2; x. 9.
[420:9]Comp. Matt. v. 34.
[420:10]Comp. Matt. x. 9, 10.
[421:1]Comp. Luke, xxii. 36.
[421:2]Comp. Matt. xix. 10-12; I. Cor. viii.
[421:3]Comp. Rom. xii. 1.
[421:4]Comp. I. Cor. xiv. 1, 39.
[421:5]The above comparisons have been taken from Ginsburg’s “Essenes,” to which the reader is referred for a more lengthy observation on the subject.
[421:6]Ginsburg’s Essenes, p. 24.
[421:7]”We hear very little of them after A. D. 40; and there can hardly be any doubt that, owing to the great similarity existing between their precepts and practices and those of primitive Christians, the Essenes as a body must have embraced Christianity.” (Dr. Ginsburg, p. 27.)
[422:1]This will be alluded to in another chapter.
[422:2]It was believed by some that the order of Essenes was instituted by Elias, and some writers asserted that there was a regular succession of hermits upon Mount Carmel from the time of the prophets to that of Christ, and that the hermits embraced Christianity at an early period. (See Ginsburgh’s Essenes, and Hardy’s Eastern Monachism, p. 358.)
[422:3]King’s Gnostics and their Remains, p. 1.
[422:4]Ibid. p. 6.
[422:5]King’s Gnostics, p. 23.
[422:6]Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 2, ch. xvii.
[423:1]Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 2, ch. xvii.
[423:2]Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. vii. “The New Testament is the Essene-Nazarene Glad Tidings! Adon, Adoni, Adonis, style of worship.” (S. F. Dunlap: Son of the Man, p. iii.)
[423:3]Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 747; vol. ii. p. 34.
[423:4]”In this,” says Mr. Lillie, “he was supported by philosophers of the calibre of Schilling and Schopenhauer, and the great Sanscrit authority, Lassen. Renan also sees traces of this Buddhist propagandism in Palestine before the Christian era. Hilgenfeld, Mutter, Bohlen, King, all admit the Buddhist influence. Colebrooke saw a striking similarity between the Buddhist philosophy and that of the Pythagoreans. Dean Milman was convinced that the Therapeuts sprung from the ‘contemplative and indolent fraternities’ of India.” And, he might have added, the Rev. Robert Taylor in his “Diegesis,” and Godfrey Higgins in his “Anacalypsis,” have brought strong arguments to bear in support of this theory.
[424:1]Buddha and Early Buddhism, p. vi.
[424:2]Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 121.
[424:3]Ibid. p. 240.
[425:1]”The Essenes abounded in Egypt, especially about Alexandria.” (Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 2, ch. xvii.)
[425:2]Bunsen’s Angel-Messiah, p. 255.
[426:1]Rhys Davids’ Buddhism, p. 179.
[426:2]This is clearly shown by Mr. Higgins in his Anacalypsis. It should be remembered that Gautama Buddha, the “Angel-Messiah,” and Cyrus, the “Anointed” of the Lord, are placed about six hundred years before Jesus, the “Anointed.” This cycle of six hundred years was called the “great year.” Josephus, the Jewish historian, alludes to it when speaking of the patriarchs that lived to a great age. “God afforded them a longer time of life,” says he, “on account of their virtue, and the good use they made of it in astronomical and geometrical discoveries, which would not have afforded the time for foretelling (the periods of the stars), unless they had lived six hundred years; for the great year is completed in that interval.” (Josephus, Antiq., bk. i. c. iii.) “From this cycle of six hundred,” says Col. Vallancey, “came the name of the bird Phœnix, called by the Egyptians Phenu, with the well-known story of its going to Egypt to burn itself on the altar of the Sun (at Heliopolis) and rise again from its ashes, at the end of a certain period.”
[426:3]”Philo’s writings prove the probability, almost rising to a certainty, that already in his time the Essenes did expect an Angel-Messiah as one of a series of divine incarnations. Within about fifty years after Philo’s death, Elkesai the Essene probably applied this doctrine to Jesus, and it was promulgated in Rome about the same time, if not earlier, by the Pseudo-Clementines.” (Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 118.)
“There was, at this time (i. e., at the time of the birth of Jesus), a prevalent expectation that some remarkable personage was about to appear in Judea. The Jews were anxiously looking for the coming of the Messiah. By computing the time mentioned by Daniel (ch. ix. 23-27), they knew that the period was approaching when the Messiah should appear. This personage, they supposed, would be a temporal prince, and they were expecting that he would deliver them from Roman bondage. It was natural that this expectation should spread into other countries.” (Barnes’ Notes, vol. i. p. 27.)
[427:1]Hist. Hindostan, vol. ii. p. 273.
[427:2]See Lardner’s Works, vol. viii. p. 353.
[427:3]Apol. 1, ch. xxvi.
[428:1]See Lardner’s Works, vol. viii. p. 593.
[428:2]Socrates: Eccl. Hist., lib. i. ch. xvii.
[429:1]Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 3, ch. xxiii.
[429:2]Ibid. lib. 7, ch. xxx.
[429:3]The death of Manes, according to Socrates, was as follows: The King of Persia, hearing that he was in Mesopotamia, “made him to be apprehended, flayed him alive, took his skin, filled it full of chaff, and hanged it at the gates of the city.” (Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. xv.)
[430:1]Plato in Apolog. Anac., ii. p. 189.
[431:1]Mark, xiii. 21, 22.
[432:1]Geikie: Life of Christ, vol. i. p. 79.
[433:1]Frothingham’s Cradle of the Christ.
[433:2]”The prevailing opinion of the Rabbis and the people alike, in Christ’s day, was, that the Messiah would be simply a great prince, who should found a kingdom of matchless splendor.” “With a few, however, the conception of the Messiah’s kingdom was pure and lofty. . . . Daniel, and all who wrote after him, painted the ‘Expected One’ as a heavenly being. He was the ‘messenger,’ the ‘Elect of God,’ appointed from eternity, to appear in due time, and redeem his people.” (Geikie’s Life of Christ, vol. i. pp. 80, 81.)
In the book of Daniel, by some supposed to have been written during the captivity, by others as late as Antiochus Epiphanes (B. C. 75), the restoration of the Jews is described in tremendous language, and the Messiah is portrayed as a supernatural personage, in close relation with Jehovah himself. In the book of Enoch, supposed to have been written at various intervals between 144 and 120 (B. C.) and to have been completed in its present form in the first half of the second century that preceded the advent of Jesus, the figure of the Messiah is invested with superhuman attributes. He is called “The Son of God,” “whose name was spoken before the Sun was made;” “who existed from the beginning in the presence of God,” that is, was pre-existent. At the same time his human characteristics are insisted on. He is called “Son of Man,” even “Son of Woman,” “The Anointed” or “The Christ,” “The Righteous One,” &c. (Frothingham: The Cradle of the Christ, p. 20.)
[433:3]This is clearly seen from the statement made by the Matthew narrator (xvii. 9-13) that the disciples of Christ Jesus supposed John the Baptist was Elias.
[434:1]Isaiah, xlv. 1.
[434:2]Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 17.
[434:3]Quoted in Middleton’s Letters from Rome, p. 51.
[434:4]Hieron ad Nep. Quoted Volney’s Ruins, p. 177, note.
[434:5]See his Eccl. Hist., viii. 21.
[435:1]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. pp. 79, 80.
[435:2]”On voit dans l’histoire que j’ai rapportée une sorte d’hypocrisie, qui n’a peut-être été que trop commune dans tous les tems. C’est que des ecclésiastiques, non-seulement ne disent pas ce qu’ils pensent, mais disent tout le contraire de ce qu’ils pensent. Philosophes dans leur cabinet, hors delà, ils content des fables, quoiqu’ils sachent bien que ce sont des fables. Ils font plus; ils livrent au bourreau des gens de biens, pour l’avoir dit. Combiens d’athées et de profanes ont fait brûler de saints personnages, sous prétexte d’hérésie? Tous les jours des hypocrites, consacrent et font adorer l’hostie, bien qu’ils soient aussi convaincus que moi, que ce n’est qu’un morceau de pain.” (Tom. 2, p. 568.)
[435:3]On the Use of the Fathers, pp. 36, 37.
[435:4]Quoted in Taylor‘s Syntagma, p. 170.
[435:5]Mosheim: vol. 1, p. 198.
[435:6]”Postremo illud quoque me vehementer movet, quod videam primis ecclesiæ temporibus, quam plurimos extitisse, qui facinus palmarium judicabant, cælestem veritatem, figmentis suis ire adjutum, quo facilius nova doctrina a gentium sapientibus admitteretur Officiosa hæc mendacia vocabant bono fine exeogitata.” (Quoted in Taylor’s Diegesis, p. 44, and Giles’ Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 19.)
[436:1]See the Vision of Hermas, b. 2, c. iii.
[436:2]Mosheim, vol. i. p. 197. Quoted in Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 47.
[436:3]Dr. Giles: Hebrew and Christian Records, vol. ii. p. 99.
[436:4]”Continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” (Colossians, i. 23.)
[436:5]”Being crafty, I caught you with guile.” (II. Cor. xii. 16.)
[436:6]”For if the truth of God had more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also judged as a sinner.” (Romans, iii. 7.)
[437:1]”Si me tamen audire velis, mallem te pænas has dicere indefinitas quam infinitas. Sed veniet dies, cum non minus absurda, habebitur et odiosa hæc opinio quam transubstantiatio hodie.” (De Statu Mort., p. 304. Quoted in Taylor‘s Diegesis, p. 43.)
[437:2]Quoted in Taylor‘s Syntagma, p. 52.
Among the ancients, there were many stories current of countries, the inhabitants of which were of peculiar size, form or features. Our Christian saint evidently believed these tales, and thinking thus, sought to make others believe them. We find the following examples related by Herodotus: “Aristeas, son of Caystrobius, a native of Proconesus, says in his epic verses that, inspired by Apollo, he came to the Issedones; that beyond the Issedones dwell the Arimaspians, a people that have only one eye.” (Herodotus, book iv. ch. 13.) “When one has passed through a considerable extent of the rugged country (of the Seythians), a people are found living at the foot of lofty mountains, who are said to be all bald from their birth, both men and women alike, and they are flat-nosed, and have large chins.” (Ibid. ch. 23.) “These bald men say, what to me is incredible, that men with goat’s feet inhabit these mountains; and when one has passed beyond them, other men are found, who sleep six months at a time, but this I do not at all admit.” (Ibid. ch. 24.) In the country westward of Libya, “there are enormous serpents, and lions, elephants, bears, asps, and asses with horns, and monsters with dog’s heads and without heads, who have eyes in their breasts, at least, as the Libyans say, and wild men and wild women, and many other wild beasts which are not fabulous.” (Ibid. ch. 192.)
[438:1]Nicodemus, Apoc., ch. xii.
[438:2]See Eusebius: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. xiv.
[438:3]Socrates: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. xiii.
[438:4]In year 1444, Caxton published the first book ever printed in England. In 1474, the then Bishop of London, in a convocation of his clergy, said: “If we do not destroy this dangerous invention, it will one day destroy us.” (See Middleton’s Letters from Rome, p. 4.) The reader should compare this with Pope Leo X.’s avowal that, “it is well known how profitable this fable of Christ has been to us;” and Archdeacon Paley’s declaration that “he could ill afford to have a conscience.”
[438:5]Porphyry, who flourished about the year 270 A. D., a man of great abilities, published a large work of fifteen books against the Christians. “His objections against Christianity,” says Dr. Lardner, “were in esteem with Gentile people for a long while; and the Christians were not insensible of the importance of his work; as may be concluded from the several answers made to it by Eusebius, and others in great repute for learning.” (Vol. viii. p. 158.) There are but fragments of these fifteen books remaining, Christian magistrates having ordered them to be destroyed. (Ibid.)
[438:6]Hierocles was a Neo-Platonist, who lived at Alexandria about the middle of the fifth century, and enjoyed a great reputation. He was the author of a great number of works, a few extracts of which alone remain.
[438:7]Celsus was an Epicurean philosopher, who lived in the second century A. D. He wrote a work called “The True Word,” against Christianity, but as it has been destroyed we know nothing about it. Origen claims to give quotations from it.
[440:1]Draper: Religion and Science, pp. 18-21.
[440:2]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. p. 146.
[441:1]Draper: Religion and Science, pp. 55, 56. See also, Socrates’ Eccl. Hist., lib. 7, ch. xv.
[442:1]We have seen this particularly in the cases of Crishna and Buddha. Mr. Cox, speaking of the former, says: “If it be urged that the attribution to Crishna of qualities or powers belonging to the other deities is a mere device by which his devotees sought to supersede the more ancient gods, the answer must be that nothing has been done in his case which has not been done in the case of almost every other member of the great company of the gods.” (Aryan Mythology, vol. ii. p. 130.) These words apply to the case we have before us. Jesus was simply attributed with the qualities or powers which had been previously attributed to other deities. This we hope to be able to fully demonstrate in our chapter on “Explanation.”
[443:1]”Dogma of the Deity of Jesus Christ,” p. 41.
[444:1]Adherents of the old religion of Russia have been persecuted in that country within the past year, and even in enlightened England, a gentleman has been persecuted by government officials because he believes in neither a personal God or a personal Devil.
[444:2]Renan, Hibbert Lectures, p. 22.
[444:3]The following are the names of his victims:
Maximian,  His wife’s father,           A. D. 310
Bassianus, His sister’s husband,   A. D. 314
Licinius,     His nephew,                  A. D. 319
Fausta,       His wife,     A. D. 320
Sopater,     His former friend,         A. D. 321
Licinius,     His sister’s husband,   A. D. 325
Crispus,     His own son,                 A. D. 326
Dr. Lardner, in speaking of the murders committed by this Christian saint, is constrained to say that: “The death of Crispus is altogether without any good excuse, so likewise is the death of the young Licinianus, who could not have been more than a little above eleven years of age, and appears not to have been charged with any fault, and could hardly be suspected of any.”
[444:4]The Emperor Nero could not be baptized and be initiated into Pagan Mysteries—as Constantine was initiated into those of the Christians—on account of the murder of his mother. And he did not dare to compel—which he certainly could have done—the priests to initiate him.
[444:5]Zosimus, in Socrates, lib. iii. ch. xl.
[445:1]”The sacrament of baptism was supposed to contain a full and absolute expiation of sin; and the soul was instantly restored to its original purity and entitled to the promise of eternal salvation. Among the proselytes of Christianity, there were many who judged it imprudent to precipitate a salutary rite, which could not be repeated. By the delay of their baptism, they could venture freely to indulge their passions in the enjoyments of this world, while they still retained in their own hands the means of a sure and speedy absolution.” (Gibbon: ii. pp. 272, 273.)
[445:2]”Constantine, as he was praying about noon-tide, God showed him a vision in the sky, which was the sign of the cross lively figured in the air, with this inscription on it: ‘In hoc vince;’ that is, ‘By this overcome.'” This is the story as related by Eusebius (Life of Constantine, lib. 1, ch. xxii.), but it must be remembered that Eusebius acknowledged that he told falsehoods. That night Christ appeared unto Constantine in his dream, and commanded him to make the figure of the cross which he had seen, and to wear it in his banner when he went to battle with his enemies. (See Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, lib. 1, ch. xxiii. See also, Socrates: Eccl. Hist., lib. 1, ch. ii.)
[445:3]Dupuis, p. 405.
[445:4]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. p. 373. The Fathers, who censured this criminal delay, could not deny the certain and victorious efficacy even of a death-bed baptism. The ingenious rhetoric of Chrysostom (A. D. 347-407) could find only three arguments against these prudent Christians. 1. “That we should love and pursue virtue for her own sake, and not merely for the reward. 2. That we may be surprised by death without an opportunity of baptism. 3. That although we shall be placed in heaven, we shall only twinkle like little stars, when compared to the suns of righteousness who have run their appointed course with labor, with success, and with glory.” (Chrysostom in Epist. ad Hebræos. Homil. xiii. Quoted in Gibbon’s “Rome,” ii. 272.)
[446:1]Lib. 4, chs. lxi. and lxii., and Socrates: Eccl. Hist., lib. 2, ch. xxvi.
[446:2]Eusebius: Life of Constantine, lib. 2, ch. xliii.
[446:3]Ibid. lib. 3, ch. lxii.
[446:4]Ibid. lib. 3, ch. lxiii.
[446:5]Ibid. lib. 3, ch. lxiv.
[446:6]Ibid. lib. 4, ch. xv.
[446:7]Ibid. ch. lxiii.
Plato places the ferocious tyrants in the Tartarus, such as Ardiacus of Pamphylia, who had slain his own father, a venerable old man, also an elder brother, and was stained with a great many other crimes. Constantine, covered with similar crimes, was better treated by the Christians, who have sent him to heaven, and sainted him besides.
[447:1]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. p. 274.
[447:2]”Theodosius, though a professor of the orthodox Christian faith, was not baptized till 380, and his behavior after that period stamps him as one of the most cruel and vindictive persecutors who ever wore the purple. His arbitrary establishment of the Nicene faith over the whole empire, the deprivation of civil rites of all apostates from Christianity and of the Eunomians, the sentence of death on the Manicheans, and Quarto-decimans all prove this.” (Chambers’s Encyclo., art. Theodosius.)
[447:3]Quoted in Taylor‘s Syntagma, p. 54.
[447:4]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. p. 81.
[448:1]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. iii. pp. 91, 92.
[448:2]All their writings were ordered to be destroyed.
[448:3]Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. p. 359.
[448:4]Ibid. note 154.
[449:1]Julian: Epistol. lii. p. 436. Quoted in Gibbon’s Rome, vol. ii. p. 360.
[449:2]”Thing”—a general assembly of the freemen, who gave their assent to a measure by striking their shields with their drawn swords.
[449:3]See Mallet’s Northern Antiquities, pp. 180, 351, and 470.
                   
Modified Extract from CHAPTER  XXXVII, WHY CHRISTIANITY PROSPERED “BIBLE MYTHS AND THEIR PARALLELS IN OTHER RELIGIONS” By T. W. DOANE,  1882. Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Lisa Reigel, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net  http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31885/31885-h/31885-h.htm#Page_36
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