What follows are notes I took from an interview with Acharya S (the pen name of D M Murdoch) conducted on the Conscious Media Network by Regina Meredith in Novermber 2005. Find out more about Acharya S here, or visit her website, here.
Modern icons, such as Christ, are as mythical as Isis, Hercules, Dyonisis.
Most religious ideologies originate from the same source.
The symbol of the cross - which is an instance of a cruciform - is sacred in many ancient religions.
There was a Mexican sun god who was crucified between two thieves.
Sun worship dates back to the beginning of agriculture, tens of thousands of years ago.
Astrological knowledge was crucial agriculturally. It was used to foretell such things as when to plant and harvest crops. It's value was such that astrological information was personified and turned into stories that could be more readily passed from generation to generation. This was in times before there were written texts.
Historically the most powerful have always imposed their religion upon others. Ancient religions were sometimes amalgamated into single, new religions in order for those in power to gain unified control of different cultures or peoples.
It's easier to control and manipulate people through religious ideas more than political ones.
In order to make religion more influential - especially to women - gods were 'brought down to earth' in the form of godmen (Jesus, for instance), into figures that were easier for people to relate to.
Christ/Christos: used many times in the Old Testament to refer to a number of people, including Sirus, the Babylonian king.
Jesus: used over 300 times in the Old Testament, relating to anyone named Joshua. In pre-Christian times there were Joshua worshippers. At the time there was no reason for people to think of Joshua as a real person. Joshua was also a sun god.
1) Jesus Christ existed and was the son of God.
2) Jesus Christ was a man who had the myths subsequently bestowed upon him.
3) Jesus Christ has always been a myth.
Acharya S's basic contention is this: The creators of the Christian gospel tale chose themes and motifs from pre-Christian religions and myths - most notably Egyptian ones - and pieced them together in accordance with Jewish scriptures to produce a unique version of the 'mythos' and 'ritual'. These themes and motifs - such as the sacredness of the cross; the virgin mother giving birth to a divine son or Godman, who taught on earth, was murdered, buried and after three days resurected; the ten commandments, and so on - were all pre-existant in ancient Egypt and were known by millions in the same Mediteranean regions that Christianity first appeared. There is nothing unique about them specifically relative to Christianity.
"The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun."
[Thomas Paine from An Essay on the Origin of Free-Masonry (c.1803-1805), discovered after Paine's death.]