Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning
Page: 287The worship of the constellation of Aries was the worship of the Sun in his passage through that sign. "This constellation was ; and, in short, what was there that was Heathenish that they have not applied to him?
The preserving god Vishnu, the Sun, was represented as a fish, and so was the Syrian Sun-god Dagon, who was also a Preserver or Saviour. The Fish was sacred among many nations of antiquity, [Pg 505]and is to be seen on their monuments. Thus we see that everything at last centres in the Sun.
Constantine, the first Christian emperor, had on his coins the figure of the Sun, with the legend: "To the Invincible Sun, my companion and guardian," as being a representation, says Mr. King, "either of the ancient Phœbus, or the new Sun of Righteousness, equally acceptable to both Christian and Gentile, from the double interpretation of which the type was susceptible."
Christ Jesus is represented with a halo of glory surrounding his head, a florid complexion, long golden locks of hair, and a flowing robe. Now, all Sun-gods, from Crishna of India (Fig. No. 41) to Baldur of Scandinavia, are represented with a halo of glory surrounding their heads, and the flowing locks of golden hair, and the flowing robe, are not wanting.[505:3] By a process of metaphor, the rays [Pg 506]of the Sun were changed into golden hair, into spears and lances, and robes of light. From the shoulders of Phoibus Lykêgenes, the light-born, flow the sacred locks over which no razor might pass. On the head of Nisos, as on that of Samson, they became a palladium invested with a mysterious power. From Helios, the Sun, who can scorch as well as warm, comes the robe of Medeia, which appears in the poisoned garments of Deianeira.[506:1]
We see, then, that Christ Jesus, like Christ Buddha,[506:2] Crishna, Mithra, Osiris, Horus, Apollo, Hercules and others, is none other than a personification of the Sun, and that the Christians, like their predecessors the Pagans, are really Sun worshipers. It must not be inferred, however, that we advocate the theory that no such person as Jesus of Nazareth ever lived in the flesh. The man Jesus is evidently an historical personage, just as the Sakaya prince Buddha, Cyrus, King of Persia, and Alexander, King of Macedonia, are historical personages; but the Christ Jesus, the Christ Buddha, the mythical Cyrus, and the mythical Alexander, never lived in the flesh. The Sun-myth has been added to the histories of these personages, in a greater or less degree, just as it has been added to the history of many other real personages. If it be urged that the attribution to Christ Jesus of qualities or powers belonging to the Pagan deities would hardly seem reasonable, the answer must be that nothing is done in his case which has not been done in the case of almost every other member of the great company of the gods. The tendency of myths to reproduce themselves, with differences only of names and local coloring, becomes especially manifest after perusing the legendary histories of the gods of antiquity. It is a fact demonstrated by history, that when one nation of antiquity came in contact with another, they adopted each other's myths without hesitation. After the Jews had been taken captives to Babylon, around the history of their King Solomon accumulated the fables which were related of Persian heroes. When the fame of Cyrus and Alexander became known over the then known world, the popular Sun-myth was interwoven with their true history. The mythical history of Perseus is, in all its essential features, the history of the Attic hero Theseus, and of the Theban Œdipus, and they all reappear with heightened colors in the myths of Hercules. We have the same thing again in the mythical and religious history of Crishna; it is, in nearly all its essential features, the history of [Pg 507]Buddha, and reappears again, with heightened colors, in the history of Christ Jesus. The myths of Buddha and Jesus differ from the legends of the other virgin-born Saviours only in the fact that in their cases it has gathered round unquestionably historical personages. In other words, an old myth has been added to names undoubtedly historical. But it cannot be too often repeated that from the myth we learn nothing of their history. How much we really know of the man Jesus will be considered in our next, and last, chapter.[507:1] That his biography, as recorded in the books of the New Testament, contains some few grains of actual history, is all that the historian or philosopher can rationally venture to urge. But the very process which has stripped these legends of all value as a chronicle of actual events has invested them with a new interest. Less than ever are they worthless fictions which the historian or philosopher may afford to despise. These legends of the birth, life, and death of the Sun, present to us a form of society and a condition of thought through which all mankind had to pass before the dawn of history. Yet that state of things was as real as the time in which we live. They who spoke the language of these early tales were men and women with joys and sorrows not unlike our own. In the following verses of Martianus Capella, the universal veneration for the Sun is clearly shown: