99 Problems
with pagan parallels (pt 2)

John Zande: I’m sorry, but I don’t quite understand what your last question means. I am by no means moving the goalposts. There is no trick here, and I apologise if you think there is. I assure you, there is not. I am simply asking whether there was anything genuinely new or original in anything the character, Jesus, said or did. For this we’re trying to focus only on the actual things said or done, rather than the theological flights of fancy, much of which are the imaginings of much later people.

 

Of course, this doesn’t exclude these theological things, not entirely, but I hope you can appreciate that by addressing things like “promises” we’re off into an unquantifiable world. For example, the various storylines attached to dying and rising and resurrection matter not. What matters is the act (dying/rising/resurrection) is played out in other, older stories. That is the point. A point you seem to be having trouble grasping. Lemminkainen, for example, drowns, and is smashed to bits. His mother then stiches him back together and he returns to life. The manner in which Lemminkainen dies and is returned to life isn’t of concern. What is, is that he died and was resurrected.

 

Regarding Baal, here we have the Son of the Supreme God, El, who is killed, resurrected, and returns to earth to sit once again on his throne. If you want to read a quite detailed account of his death, resurrection and return, then I suggest this article: Death and Return of Baal: a reply to a near consensus

 

http://vridar.org/2008/06/04/death-and-return-of-baal-a-reply-to-a-jz-ms-smith-led-consensus/

 

Now, as I’ve said, I can’t think of any sage who “promised” to come back, except for perhaps Avalokiteshvara who promised to return and is reborn in every Dalai Lama [citation needed]. I would, however draw your attention to the total absence of originality in what Jesus was actually promising. Judgment Day is found in the far, far older Zoroastrianism, as is the Saviour (the role it is said Jesus will play) who’ll oversee it and “renovate” the world.

 

OK, you’ve made some suggestions. Thank you.
1) “Jesus taught “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
How many sages taught their true believers would have to eat their flesh and drink their blood or no life was in them?”
First up, only Catholics believe this, so it can hardly be considered a universal Christian thing, and I’m sure Evangelicals would have something to say about this. It is, however, nothing but a food ritual. Are you suggesting food rituals are unique to Christianity? Dionysus cults ritually consumed foods. Hellenistic mystery cults ritually consumed foods. In fact, the consumption of sacrificed animals was noted by Edward Carpenter as “…sufficient to show the extraordinarily wide diffusion of Totem-sacraments and Eucharistic rites all over the world.” There’s also the contention that Mithraism had the Eucharist before Christianity, although early church writers liked to accuse them of copying it
The concept, though, of sacrifice and consumption for the atonement of sin is anything but original. In Leviticus (4:35,5:10) we have: “The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.”
Replace the animal with Jesus and you have the exact storyline.

 

2) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

 

How many sages imagined themselves as the ladder dreamt by Jacob in Genesis 28:10-19?”

 

Don’t you think this falls into the same ethereal category of the promised second coming? And how can it be truly original [if], as you say, the idea is found in Genesis? And isn’t the story of Osiris a mirror of this, in that he stands between the earth and the underworld? In Zoroastrianism the dead person’s spirit is escorted to heaven by the guardian spirit, Daena, where the spirit is shown their life (thoughts, words, and actions). An angel at the Chinawod Bridge would then determine if the dead person would go on to heaven, hell, or a third destination (purgatory) where it would wait until the Judgment Day. The idea of a gatekeeper is not new.

 

3) “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
How many sages claimed to be co-equal in authority with the God of Israel before the world began?

 

I’m confused here as to what you’re suggesting. The bible has contradictory statements concerning this. Certainly, in John 10:30 we have Jesus saying “I and the Father are one,” yet then we have numerous occasions where Jesus says he’s not God:

 

Jesus said “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

 

John 13:3 the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God, and went to God.

 

John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

 

John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak,

 

John 8:26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.

 

John 14:24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
Either way, there are many Sons of God stories. Certainly nothing new or original there. Also, the idea of a Trinity (although never actually expressed in the bible) is anything but new. In the Egyptian ”Hymn to Amun” it’s written: No god came into being before him (Amun)’ and that ‘All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them. Hidden is his name as Amon, he is Re in face, and his body is Ptah.' In Hinduism, the trinity (Trimūrti, or The Three Forms) is of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. These three-in-one are called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity”

 

In the Hindu Puranas there is this passage: O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.’
 

In response, the three-gods-in-one (Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva [or Shiva]), replied, Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.’

 

In Babylon it was Nimrod, Semiramas, and Tammuz; within Israel pagan gnosticism it was Kether, Hokhmah, and Binah; In Plato’s philosophy it was the Unknown Father, Nous/Logos, and the world soul.

 

Listen, just to reiterate, there is no trick here. I’ll be happy to grant anything if it stands the test. It’s really quite simple: was there anything genuinely new or original in anything Jesus said or did. Was anything he said truly revolutionary? A while ago we thought we’d found something, Jesus cursing the fig tree, but as it turned out, in Hinduism is a similar event: “Then Vac entered the trees; the gods claimed her but the trees refused to give her up; the gods cursed the trees”

 

That said, although falling under the general category of “miracles” (hardly original) Jesus turning the fish into an ATM machine does appear to genuinely original. So, there’s one.

 

OSC: My goodness, John, an awesome array of quotes misused and deformed beyond recognition. Was it too much to ask you to read the words surrounding the words you’ve quote? Let’s simply read the immediate context of the things you’re uncritically ripping into pieces, let’s see if you too come away with a better understanding of the Bible in context (very important to read in context).

 

You didn’t actually reference where you’d lifted the foremost of your quotes, nonetheless, the quote itself is a proof text for divinity: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
Your quote is actually a perversion, omitting the words “nor the Son” as my quotations hereafter are about to show, they’re from every place in which the saying is found and are historically confirmed as Jesus’ own words:

 

Mark 13:32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”

 

Matthew 24:36: “But of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

 

Let’s just give you the benefit of the doubt, as opposed to thinking you edited the text to better suit your agenda. In saying no one knows the hour, neither the angels, nor the Son, Jesus is speaking in ascending order, explaining how the angels are above mankind, yet, Jesus then, in the portion you’ve somehow managed to delete from the above, places Himself above the angelic host! Jesus says they’re above the angels. Anyhow, considering you’re not bothered to reference where you’ve drawn the quote from, let’s begin by reading the surrounding context found in Matthew, by which we can find anything you’ve. . .missed:

 

Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

 

Who owns and commands the angels, John? Jesus claims the Son of Man, namely Himself, is going to command His angels, and that’s before placing Himself above the angelic host. Moreover, Psalms and Job are both great examples of who commands the angels:

 

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone [Psalm 91:9-12].
God owns the angels, and Jesus too owns the angels, how interesting, not exactly the contraction you’d like it to be. Everything you’re quoting is meaning the exact opposite of the things you’re saying, extraordinary.

 

You continued anyhow, quoting John 8:26, which reads "I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him." One helpful suggestion, try reading verse 8:21, instead of ignoring the entire things and beginning with the portion you find most appealing: Once more Jesus said to them, "I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come." This made the Jews ask, "Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, 'Where I go, you cannot come'?"

 

But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins." "Who are you?" they asked. "Just what I have been telling you from the beginning," Jesus replied. "I have much to say in judgement of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world."

 

"I’m from above" Jesus said, “I am not of this world.” Perhaps you simply missed these portions which are so very close to the things you’re quoting. You using the Gospel of John, of every Gospel, wasn’t a helpful thing to do if you’re hoping to undermine Jesus’ claims to being God. The more context that’s added just undoes everything you’ve been trying to convince people to believe, namely the overplayed narrative that somehow Jesus was just a nice man who said nothing controversial.

 

My goodness, John 1:1 should have given you a hint as to what the author was meaning to convey! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There’s only one way to read John’s Gospel, and it ain’t how you’re reading, in fact, the very same chapter you decided to quote ends by saying: Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word.

 

Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

 

No surprise then in other sections of John, readers find: Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me? “The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God,”
How about another, because you’re quoting from the beloved disciple after all, for which their love of God, and as a consequence truth, compelled him to write as much as they could about both Jesus the man, and the God. You used the following text as found in John 14:24: “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”

 

Try verse 4 and onward in chapter 14 (it’s the very same chapter), instead of ignoring direct claims which undo your preferences:
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?

 

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

 

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

 

Jesus as described by later authors as the “visible image of the invisible God” says “ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” which is of course accepting prayer, as was explained by several independent sources. John ends it best when they wrote “No one has ever seen God, but the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made him known.” Again, “the only begotten God” There certainly are later writers who found material so unpalatable or scandalous that they were open to editing their findings, as you have already done, yet they were not writing divinity into Jesus words, rather they’d in many manuscripts change “begotten God” to “begotten Son” because they had been made so uncomfortable.

 

Nonetheless, you’ve gone on to defend yourself when caught in other slips of the finger. . .repeated slips, even though you’ve been asking the question for years:“I am by no means moving the goalposts. There is no trick here, and I apologise if you think there is. I assure you, there is not.”

 

You used to write: “name anything new or original Jesus said or did.”

 

You’re presently writing: “Well, it’s a promise. Not sure if that actually counts while the promise remains unfulfilled.”

 

People reading can decide on whether or not you’re either a really really bad communicator, or something else.

 

You later insisted: “I am simply asking whether there was anything genuinely new or original in anything the character, Jesus, said or did. For this we’re trying to focus only on the actual things said or done, rather than the theological flights of fancy, much of which are the imaginings of much later people.”

 

We are referring to the Jacobs’ ladder verses and Jesus’ saying of eating His flesh and drinking blood in order to be saved, unless you can show these things were a latter addition to the Gospels, do stop making false claims, if you can however, please go ahead. . .you cannot. The simple fact that Jesus’ blood and flesh saying is historically attested, and practices surrounding the fact were being performed before the Catholic church even existed, strongly suggests they weren’t later developments.

 

Your continued message was undaunted: “Of course, this doesn’t exclude these theological things, not entirely, but I hope you can appreciate that by addressing things like “promises” we’re off into an unquantifiable world.” You don’t mean. . .the world of history?!😛 Again, in your own words: “So, we have Jesus purported words, and we have his purported actions. Somewhere in there was there anything, anything at all, that was genuinely new or original?”

 

The word "purported", as you snidely used, is meant to explain it’s probably inaccurate, rather than something being reported, it’s purported to have happened, so, you’re hoping to find something original in even the purported words of Jesus, meaning you’re not even after words which weren’t a later invention by somebody else, due to which you later writing "we’re trying to focus only on the actual things said or done" means once again, you’re either incapable of using words how they’re meant to be used, or again are dishonestly moving the goalposts, readers are likely to decide. Speaking of not using words as they’re meant to be used, you’re avoiding the word resurrection in an awesome show of denial, once more:

 

You’re failing to discern, then even dismissing, the nuances in how the Jewish culture understood these miraculous acts. Christ is named “the first” fruit from the dead precisely because Their return wasn’t of the order of revival or revivification, rather Resurrection. For example, when Lazarus is raised again to life, he later dies, just as everybody who was raised would do, yet when writing in their letter to the Corinthians Paul states Jesus, by the resurrection body, is raised imperishable! [OSC: Three times I think I had to send this to John, they refused to reply to it in any noteworthy manner however].

 

Try facing up to the Jewish context, as an actual event, or in your eyes a purported event, it’s a one of a kind original claim/happening. You classing everything which remotely resembles returning after death as the Jewish resurrection is wilfully ignorant. An example of your own words: “The manner in which Lemminkainen dies and is returned to life isn’t of concern. What is, is that he died and was resurrected.” Considering you very much enjoy making laundry lists of out of context Bible quotes, try actually reading and understanding the material instead, by definition, to repeat, by definition, Lemminkainen was not Resurrected. You’re going to have to make your peace with that.

 

You continued, even defending your earlier Baal assertion: "Regarding Baal, here we have the Son of the Supreme God, El, who is killed, resurrected, and returns to earth to sit once again on his throne." I especially enjoyed the part where you avoided everything about the actual tablets of Baal as found in my previous post and continued on as if none of your claims have already been explained as faulty. The tablet contains no such event, you’re writing into the missing story the sort of content you’d like to be there, even worse than that you’re writing Jewish notions into a culture which had their own ideas. You’re also misusing the word resurrection (yet again).

 

With regards to the three suggestions I’ve made to you, you offered nothing in terms of a sage who asked their followers to drink their blood, instead used vague references to other food rituals, rather than face up to the substance of the claim. You tried to explain “Replace the animal with Jesus and you have the exact storyline.” meaning rather than truly finding parallels, as you’ve been unable to do, you’re instead searching for any elements, past, present or future, which are shared elements to the entire whole, after finding such a shared element, you then think you’re justified in dismissing something as unoriginal.

 

You’re mistaken, to be original either means to be the first, as Jesus was by your purported standard, or merely to be not copying something or someone else, as you’ve already explained Jesus wasn’t doing. As for Jacob and their ladder, as referenced by Jesus in Genesis 28:10-19, you wrote: “Don’t you think this falls into the same ethereal category of the promised second coming? And how can it be truly original is, as you say, the idea is found in Genesis?” If indeed it’s in the vein of the Second Coming quote, as Cat had already used to win gold, then that’s yet another original thing Jesus either said or did, fantastic.

 

“How many sages claimed to be the God of Israel?” Was my very simple question to you, and you’ve failed to answer, instead you went into a full blown fib fest, aimlessly and poorly attacking the divinity of Jesus rather than simply face the substance of the claim. Making claim to be Thor isn’t to say you’re the God of Israel, saying you’re Zeus, who would become a swan etc, isn’t the same as someone saying they’re the God of Israel, Jesus, by our use of the historical method, has been shown to have made these claims, if as it appears nobody else has claimed to be the God of the Jewish people before Christ, then there’s yet another original claim, one of many many original claims and deeds. You finding other gods in the history of forever doesn’t make such a claim unoriginal.

 

You’ve saved your most interesting misstep until last however, writing how Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva somehow harm the originality of the Trinity. Writing “O ye three Lords! know that I recognise only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.” Concluding, in your words how the “three-gods-in-one” makes the Tri-personal God of the New Testament unoriginal.

 

Hindu views of the divine are in fact pantheistic, regarding the universe and everything within it (which includes your example of three) as an offshoot or expression of the impersonal ultimate. It’s the element in Hinduism which renders everything as in some wise belonging and being an expression of the impersonal divine force which allows for three supposed demigods to reply as if to say they’re one. They’re however mere emanations of the one impersonal force.

 

The three-in-one-gods are not truly gods in the least, rather they’re one substance, whereas in the case for Christ the three aren’t three gods but three persons, yet the Hindu ultimate is impersonal! (No persons). You’re claiming the impersonal endangers the originality of the personal, and that writers who copy Jesus harm Jesus’ originality, or anything anywhere even though they’re totally unrelated to the Gospels harm their originality.

 

Merely due to reading the English word three you falsely imagine it’s somehow endangering the Trinity’s originality, imagine after having heard of the tri personal God someone started babbling: “Ah three, ah ah three musketeers, the three stooges, umm three. . .free. . .free willy!” The number three being involved in something doesn’t harm the Trinity.

― Tyrone Cormack