‘It has served us well, this myth of Christ’ No matter how unpalatable this statement may be to the faithful, it was allegedly uttered by Pope Leo X, no less. *
As late as the sixteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church was fully aware of the shaky foundations upon which its dogma was formulated. Each year the world comes to a standstill as the devout celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of a mythical entity bequeathed to the world by the iniquitous Nicene Council of 325AD.
If such a man did exist, he was, in all probability, one of many minor insurrectionists rebelling at the Roman occupation at that time. It is sad to reflect on the havoc it has wreaked in the name of Jesus Christ since the conception of Christianity. There are three major criteria that contributed to the evolution of the Christian faith as we know it today, namely, mistranslation of early texts, the Pagan influence and erroneous historical and geographical detail.
It is well to keep in mind that prior to the formulation of the Nicene Creed, what little of the original biblical documentation remained, was completely adulterated as it went through the transition from the spoken Aramaic to the written Hebrew, to the Coptic Greek, the Latin and, finally, to the antiquated language of the English bible. To add to the degradation of the early texts, the translations were not written with the refinements we have today, such as punctuation, paragraphs, upper case characters and spacing between words.
What followed was a gross misrepresentation, accidental or intentional, of vital meanings. Just one mistranslated word can, and often did, alter the entire structure of a statement, with tragic consequences. Jesus’ name would be a good starting point. It is a Greco/Roman, application for, the Semitic ‘Yeshu’, a common enough title of that period and a derivative of Joshua from the Old Testament, a name still in common usage. There seems to be no valid reason why the compilers of the King James Bible did not revert to the original.
There has, and always will be conjecture over the claim of the Virgin Birth. The gospel of Mark, which is now known to precede Matthew and Luke, strangely makes no mention of this important event. The whole body of ‘evidence’ rests on an outlandish dream that Joseph had in the Matthew synoptic. The term ‘virgin’, according to modem scholarship, was substituted for the Hebrew ‘Almah’, meaning, merely, a young woman or a woman without children. In the Luke account, which largely copied Mark, the virgin birth becomes established fact and the dream sequence is conveniently overlooked.
The canonical gospels tell us that Jesus the Nazarene, as he was known, was born during the reign of Herod, who died in 4BC. He was baptised in adulthood and worked as a carpenter for a living. Let us examine these assertions in some detail. No-one knows the true date of Jesus’ birth. It was originally celebrated on the 6th of January prior to Constantine’s edict of 325 but was changed to the 25th December to accord with the Pagan festival of the rebirth of the sun. It also concurred with the ancient god men of the Pagan mysteries, who were also born on that date. The edict also required the Judaic Sabbath to be changed from the Saturday to the day of the sun – Sunday.
The halo behind the heads of Christian saints was borrowed from the image of the Sun God. Baptism was a common ritual in the Pagan Mysteries, its origin lost in the mists of antiquity. Its purpose, of course, was to wash away all previous sins. The similarities between the Christian and Pagan rituals were fully recognised by the early Christians but they had little compunction in adopting them. The church father, Tertullian, stated: ‘In certain (pagan) mysteries, it is by baptism that members are initiated and they imagine that it will result in the remission of their sins.’ To the non-believer, it is beyond comprehension why the Son of God should feel the need to cleanse himself of sin!
Yet another contentious point concerns the designation, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ However, this assumption is incorrect. From archaeological findings in that region and the fact that it is never mentioned in detailed journals from reliable contemporary historians such as Josephus, most biblical researchers are agreed that Nazareth did not exist at the time of Jesus. Nazarene refers to Jesus’ membership of a religious/political party, one of many Judaic splinter groups that abounded at that time, i.e., the Zadokites Sadducees, Essenes, Pharisees and, not least-the militant Zealots.
It is evident that those unknown scribes writing from far away Greece, Rome and other locations had scant knowledge of the Palestinian region where Jesus dwelt. It was recorded in Mark 7:31 that Jesus travelled through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee. But at that period, no road existed between these two locations and, in any case, Sidon was in the opposite direction. This is just one of innumerable geographical anomalies recorded in the gospels.
It has been indelibly impressed on our minds since childhood that Jesus was born and grew up in humble circumstances and worked as a carpenter. Not only is the traditional story of his birth in a manger unsubstantiated but also his occupation.
The Greek translation was conveniently degraded in the final text (Mark 6:3) to present Jesus as a poor, working-class man. However, the original Greek word could denote any number of trades or professions, or simply, ‘master’ or ‘teacher’.
Finally, we come to a mistranslation of major significance. Much discussion has ensued to the present day over whether Jesus was, after all, a militaristic leader bent on delivering his Judaic people from the Roman yoke, or a peace-loving prophet preaching love and humility with his small band of disciples.
There are two incidents in the New Testament that serve as a vital test case, in which there was, without doubt, a violent confrontation. First, Jesus and his band of men’ infiltrate the temple and overthrow the money-changers’ tables, notwithstanding that a Roman cohort of 500-600 men were garrisoned within the temple precincts. But the gospel writers neglect to mention the outcome of this obvious conflict.
In the second incident, a ‘band of men’ is dispatched to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. This implies a small number, perhaps twenty or so, which seems reasonable enough to deal with Jesus and his disciples. In the original Greek text, though, the term ‘cohort’ was used and this delineates a definite number of Roman soldiers, officially 600, although in some circumstances, it could vary from 500 to 800.
Why would Pilate consign such a large contingent of troops to confront a small, peaceable group of individuals, only intent on espousing their brand of Judaic spirituality? There is one very embarrassing disclosure in the Luke gospel that is impossible to disregard. Prior to the encounter in the garden, Jesus instructs those of his followers who do not have swords, to purchase them. The violence begins when one of his henchmen slices off the ear of one of their opponents.
From this foray it is not difficult for the thinking person to conclude who was responsible for Jesus’ demise, even though the gospel writers were unfortunately successful in shifting the blame to the Jews, with its appalling consequences.
Having now shown how this faith, Christianity, is founded on misinformation, biblical interpretations that become dogma, and a diabolical dream that led to the proclamation of Jesus’ divinity 300 years later, it can only be described as The Immaculate Deception!
1 The original text was recorded by John Bale (1495-1563) in his “The Pageant of the Popes.” This is quoted in Joseph McCabe’s Rationalist Encyclopaedia.
By Tony Lee