From: Simon Ewins To: Johnny Mckinney Apr-07-94 22:51:00 Subject: ARK HOAX JM> MITHRAISM JM> [MYTH rah iz em]-- a Persian religious cult that flourished in JM> the late Roman Empire. In the second century A. D. it was stronger than JM> Christianity in the Roman Empire. But it declined rapidly in the third JM> century. Mithras was considered the god of light and wisdom and the JM> guardian against evil by the Persians. Also see GODS, PAGAN. JM> (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary) JM> (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)That little bit of pablum leaves out the interesting parts.
Mithras was born of a virgin in a cave where shepherds came to attend him with gifts. Baptism played a role in ancient Mithraic rites as did communion. In fact the Mithraic communion rite contains a particularly interesting section:
"He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved."
Sound familiar? It predates Jesus' birth by at least 300 years.
It is also interesting to note that Tammuz, an ancient Sumerian and Phoenician god had also been born of a virgin, died with a wound in his side and, after 3 days, rose from the grave leaving an empty tomb with the stone rolled away from the entrance.
In the above regard it is further significant to note that Bethlehem was not only David's city, but was also the site of a shrine to Tammuz that remained active until as late as the early 2nd century A.D.
Furthermore, Mithraeums have been found in the same section of uncovered ancient villages within spitting distance of Christian churches and Jewish Synagogues. Mithraism was far more important in its influences on early Christianity than you will ever admit to, regardless of the evidence.
The current distortions of the meanings of the words messiah and christ are as bizarre. The Hellenistic belief in a 'saviour' who would come from the 'World of Light' and act as a divine sacrifice in the 'World of Darkness' became associated with the word christ and has stuck. However, there were many such gnostic, mystic, Hellenistic beliefs that were absorbed and adapted by early christians. Take the story of Hercules for example: He was born of the union of God (Zeus) and a mortal woman. He was intended by his father to 'save' mankind. He spent time in the wilderness and was tempted by his adversary (the Hebrew word for adversary is Satan). He died with his mother and some of his followers present. At the moment of his death he cried out "It is done.". The man who was responsible for his death, by betrayal, went and hanged himself when the deed was done.
Sound familiar? It should.
You might also want to read about Attis and the Great Mother, Osiris and Isis, as well as Mithras. Christianity survived its fellow myths by absorbing them and because its greatest PR man (Paul) was a Hellenistic mystery cult expert (well versed in Gnostic beliefs as well as the specific myths of Mithras and Tammuz who was the main god-thing in Tarsus where Paul grew up) who gave it the same appeal as the other mystery cults that were so popular at the time. He added a pinch of Hercules, for good luck, and whammo... off to the Inquisition and then to shooting abortion doctors in the back. Amazing how stupid mankind can be, isn't it?