Sunday, November 28, 2010

Zietgeist video- was the Jesus story just an evolved version of the ancient Egyptian Horus story?

Question- Hey Peter I know this is against everything we believe but I just wanna know what you think about it.

As I was watching this, I noticed a remarkable similarity between these videos and those that claim that 9-11 was an inside job. A conspiracy theory. Imagine my surprise when at the end of the video, it moved into the 9-11 conspiracy! (If you continue watching the video to the very end, you will actually find that it goes from facinating to laughable in a very short period.)

At first I found the whole thing fairly convincing- however, the more I watched, the more I realized how much they were deliberately fudging the facts, and misrepresenting them. Some of the errors were very obvious to me, and would be to anyone with even marginal Christian knowledge. What the creators of the documentary are depending on is that people will not actually know the truth, so their lies will easily get past people. (And frankly, they are probably right- most people would buy the whole package. But it does not take muchr esearch to discover the errors.)

For example- the documentary claims that Horus and others were' crucified'. I do not find that in the research I did, and moreover I was fairly convinced that the stories of Horus by far predate crucifixion- and it turns out I was right. Crucifixion goes back to about 500BC, and was used by the Persians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Macedonians and Romans. Not the Egyptians. Here are some other major problems:

The major precepts of Christ were invented at the council of Nicea in 325- Interestingly, the novel "The Davinci Code" makes a similar argument, but still maintains that Christ existed, and even has decendents! I would place the credibility of this video about on par with the Davinci Code- that is to say, they are both clever fictions.

The problem is that the gospels, as every scholar wuill agree, by far predate the council of Nicea- and they include the major points that Jesus was born of a virgin, baptized at 30, crucified, and rose again. So it is ridiculous to claim that the romans made that story up to control their population. There are hundreds of historical documents that predate Constantine and Nicea- in fact, Nicea was called in order to settle the debate as to whether Jesus was God- a debate that could not have existed if they hadn't 'invented' the person of jesus yet.

Jesus never existed.

First of all, the historic document from Josephus is not a settled forgery- it's authenticity is debated. The documentary overstates it's case, which to a thinking person undermines its case.

Secondly, take a look at the gospel of Luke and the book of acts for example. These are both carefully placed in their historic context- they do not speak like myths at all. In fact, the author (Luke) becomes a part of the story in the book of acts- in other words, the events that are happening are first person accounts!

Take Pauls testimony as well, which you can read first hand in Galatians. He claims that Jesus apeared to him, and that's what changed his life. These letters, and the gospels themselves, are in fact historic documents- it's ridiculous to claim otherwise, and no serious scholar would do that. Simply because evryone who recorded the information about Christ also happened to believe it does not mean it didn't happen! (In fact, it seems to increase the likelihood that it happened.)

Easter is when it is because of the coming of spring.

Jesus' life fulfilled the Old Testament. He is the 'lamb of God" because he takes the place of the passover lamb, and he dies when the passover lambs are sacrificed. Jews still celebrate the passover when Christians celebrate Easter. Shall we suggest that Jews are also part of the conspiracy- celebrating Passover when they do to lend credence to Christians?

Jesus was born Dec 25th

It's pretty well known that we don't actually know when Jesus was born, but that we celebrate it Dec 25th precisely because we adopted the Pagan feast of Light, when the days begin getting longer. As Christianity spread and took out paganism, Christians would refer to things already familiar in the culture and adopt them if they lent themselves well. So, we made the winter solstice our clebration of Christs birth. This is like in contemporary times when Christians will produce rap music- we are just trying to make the faith more palatable to contemporary culture. Scriptures don't tell us when Jesus was born- that was a later tradition.

3 Kings-
The story of the three kings is a tradition. In scripture, there are 'wise men", not kings, who come to Jesus, and the number is not specific. It is possible, I suppose, that the later tradition that they are three kings could have derived from the constellation, but the innitial story is different.

South Cross- The idea that the setting sun lines up with the south cross constellation- this constellation is actually not even visible anywhere north of 25 degrees north latitude- in otherwords, while it would some times be visible from Egypt, it is never visible from Israel, or Europe.

Europeans did not discover and map it until the 'age of dicovery', when the portugeuse were exploting Africa, in the 15th century.

Noahs flood story is taken from the epic of gilgamesh

First of all, the epic of giglamesh is from Babylon, not Egypt. secondly, suppose there really was a world wide flood? Wiould you not expect other cultures to have myths about it?

However, for the record, Catholics are not required to believe in a literal workld wide flood. There are parts of the bible that apear to be alegorical, and other parts that are clearly historical. As I mentioned, the Gospel of Luke is clearly historical. The first 12 chapters of Genesis, from Creation to the tower of babel, are not written in a historical but more in a allegorical/poetic style. You may belive in them literally, but you don't have to. I personally don't.

Fundamentalist Christians believe the world is only 12000 years old.

Most fundamentalists actually think the world is 6000 years old, because if you add up all the ages of all the people in the OT, you can figure that out. But again, as Catholics, we don't have to believe that those first few chapters are literal history- they are not even written in such a way as to imply they were intended that way! Science seems to very clearly indicate an older world. St Augustine (who lived around the time of the council of Nicea, interestingly) said that if we discover that science states something contrary to scripture than we need to reinterpret scripture.

The way some protestants read the bible comes from the reformation- where Luther said that the Bible alone is the authority. Since then protestants have taken that assumption, and used scripture as a means of arguing, which has forced them into a very legalistic and literallistic interpretation of scripture, much like americans and their constitution. Catholics do not think that way, and don't have to.

As for the guy ridiculing what Christians think about dinosaurs- I find that they took the most ridiculous argument possible, and treat it like all Christians agree. But ask around- I bet you can't get a single Christians to say that dinosaur bones were put on earth to test our faith! (Or that they were manufactured by the devil to trick us, which may be the other potential ridiculous argument.)

The 12 apostles are a parallel with the 12 zodiak signs

Like I say, Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament. There is a type of theology called "typology" where you look for parallels between somethingb in the OT and how it was fulfilled by Christ- so Joseph was a 'type' of Christ- as was Adam, Moses, Abraham, Melchizedek, David... etc.

Jospeh had 12 borthers, who's families became the 12 tribes of Israel- this is purely history, and the fact that there are 12 zodiac signs are clearly a coincidence. You cannot read the OT and seriously think that the 12 tribes are allegory.

Jesus established a new covenant, and had 12 apostles to represent the 12 tribes. that's why there were 12.

Believe it or not, there's way more, but taht's just the stuff I pretty much knew right off the bat!

There are a lot of funny conspiracy type theories out there, and unfortunately in this age of digital communication anyone can make a documentary to represent 1/2 truths that support their theories and ignore the facts which contradict them I remember being fairly convinced that 9-11 was a conspiracy, then seeing other documentaries that debunk the conspiracy ones and feeling ripped off because the conspiracy ones were preying on my ignorance, and assuming that I would not do the necessary research!

There are other schools of thought along the same lines: 2012, the world is only 6000 years old, man on the moon was faked, great depression was orchestrated, the Davinci Code, Elvis is Alive, Paul McArtney died before the Beatles disbanded, JFK was taken out by the FBI.... etc, etc, etc. Once you realize how many there are, and that you can't get to the bottom of them all, I think the responsible thing to do is not to become paranoid, but take a look at what the serious scholars think, and go from there. Do not rest too much credence in these documentaries! The point is, the ones who attack Christianity are really inconsistent, and actually contradict each other too!

At the end of the day, we have a choice. Either Catholocism is true, or it is a deliberate lie, and all the popes and cardinals are for some reason deliberately proliferating the lie. I, obviously, find that harder to believe than that Christ is real!

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