Did Jesus come from Sun worship

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Xelasnave.1947, Dec 24, 2017.

  1. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I have been looking into Jesus a bit lately and the various folk in history who seem to have very similar qualities.
    Further if I could make a generalising statement to kick things off...It would seem that these various other various folk, all presenting as being Gods seem to not only have similar qualities but also those qualities seem to relate to astonomy or astrology.
    The Sun dies at the end of winter appears "Dead" sitting for three days before it starts to rise...the death and resurrection of Jesus and many of these other Gods amy suggest they were trying to copy the Sun.
    Twelve followers which could be seen as the Sun traveling around the constalations.
    Anyways you may know something more about this and so I thought a post about the personification of the Sun and the others who seems most similar to Jesus.
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  3. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    It seems that "Christian holidays" are by and large co-opted pagan holidays.
    It was well over 300 years after Christ that Dec 25th was chosen as a day to celebrate the birth of Christ.

    The story that I read was that the church could not stop the "converted" pagans from celebrating their old holidays, so the church claimed these holidays as to be related to christian events.
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  5. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    Since Christianity is an offshoot of Judaisim I do not think that the sun is involved. In Genesis they were very specific in pointing out that God was completely separate from the sun and other celestial bodies. They did not even give a name to the sun and moon. They were called the greater and lesser light and they were specifically pointed out as being made by Yahweh.

    I think that it is clear that Christianity coopted the solstice celebration and made that a Christian celebration.
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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Judaism itself grew up around a patriarchal nomadic tribe of herders who had traveled all through the kingdoms of the near east, from the fringes of Persia to Egypt, where they stayed for a while, then absconded (or were expelled), wrested land away from another tribe, turned agrarian/militaristic. They had plenty of opportunity to pick up tales and beliefs from all of those places. It wouldn't be surprising to find a mish-mash of mythological symbols in their late-consolidated religion.
    Every small nation under foreign occupation dreams of a saviour - a Hercules, Prince Csaba, Siegfried or King Arthur - to return from magical hibernation and lead them back to a (perhaps imaginary) former glory....

    But I think the Jesus figure is, more than anything, just another incarnation of the archetypal fertility god that dies and is reborn every cycle of seasons.
  8. Neddy Bate Valued Senior Member

    A while ago, there were some interesting posts here from someone (I think their handle was Medicine Woman) who believed that Jesus being the "son" could literally be interpreted as him being the "sun". That kind of logic is pretty far-fetched considering the original Hebrew/Aramaic/Whatever words were probably neither 'son' nor 'sun'. There are also lots of other places where the logic falls apart, such as this:

    Where on earth does the sun ever disappear for three days? I have heard of the sun disappearing for long stretches of time when viewed from locations near the arctic and antarctic circles, near the poles. But that was probably not where the bible stories originated, surely?

    EDIT: Sorry, I think I understand now. At the solstices, the sun is at its most extreme location, (north or south) and then repeats the cycle. Okay, but then there shouldn't there be two resurrections?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  9. Neddy Bate Valued Senior Member

    I meant to say, "Okay, but then, shouldn't there be two resurrections?"
  10. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    No, because one is a long sleep with a short daytime and the other is a long day with a short night - extreme points in the cycle. And while that may be the central focus of some religious rites, I think the agricultural year (sowing to harvest) is equally, if not more, significant for the fertility-based religions. Remember, too, that the phases of the moon play into both kinds in some complicated ways.
    Christianity took off from the platform of a gibbet: it's predominantly guilt and death-centric, but the origins were probably more focused on fecundity and life. The later Christians, even to the present, have not quite managed to take all the joy and optimism out of it.
  11. Neddy Bate Valued Senior Member

    Sounds very nice. But would you go so far as to say that serious people studying the duration of days and nights would gradually allow this to become a religion based on resurrection? Maybe they had no choice, but really?
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    No, that's the wrong way around. Religion doesn't start from studying anything; it's only after the belief is established that its special holiday observances become fixed as ritual, or built into the sacred places. The lenghtening and shortening of daylight affects the growth of plants.
    To agrarian peoples, everything is about crops, which flourish is summer and go dormant in winter.
    To herding people, seasons are all about migration, fertility and birthing (You can't move the herd while the calves or lambs are too small to keep up, so you need a safe pasture to over-winter.)
    To trading people, seasons matter for the passability of roads and the relative prosperity of their customers. (No point bringing goods to an agrarian village at the end of winter, when they're skint; you go there after harvest, when they're flush. But you might do the fishing villages along the coast when they've finished salting and drying their fall catch.) Obviously, this is a less compelling motivator than matters of life and death; also, they'll have been exposed to several different belief systems and seen that no gods really protect their believers from natural phenomena: I'd expect traders to be less religious than farmers.
    To urban people, seasons matter far less - and that's when religion branches off into prophecy, punitive laws, the deification of kings, the building and decorating of temples; that's when religion begins to merge with court protocol and public proceedings, and becomes a showcase of wealth and power.
    Gradually, the fertility symbol (usually a young man, or bull or stallion or ram, at the peak of his reproductive capability, but sometimes a female equivalent) turns into a sacrifice of penance, of appeasement to multiple gods - or one multi-tasking god.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  13. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    That may or may not be so and I cant imagine how one day one tribe member came up with an idea told another that an abstract entity was responsible for this or that.
    I do think that folk would have looked at the Sun, Moon and stars and gave them attributes they could understand such as birth and death.
    It seems Sun worship arose at some point and stars grouped to represent animals and humans.
    In relation to Jesus there seems to be links to the stars...the star of Bethlehem (Sirius) and the three stars in Orion called the three kings and how they line up on the 25 th December.
    There are twelve constalations who are companions to the Sun just as Jesus had twelve companions and the death and resurrection of the Sun and similar with the story of Jesus.
    And prior to Jesus it seems there were other "gods" with simlar mo s as Jesus with similar parrallels to the Sun and the stars.

    Certainly the Old Testament shows no relationship with the Sun but it seems Jesus like others before him relied upon this astrology and personification approach.

  14. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    No, it doesn't happen like that, suddenly.
    It didn't take much abstraction for early peoples to identify forces of nature as living entities: wind, water and clouds move and change and affect other things all the time. People living in the midst of nature experience those effects quite differently from the way urban people behind stone walls do. It's not a big stretch to anthropomorphize the elements. They are also far more familiar with the habits of other animals and see how similar we all are: easy to identify the same characteristics we observe in ourselves; relatively easy to attribute magical properties to the ones that are significant to the people.
    Then, people are attached to their parents, miss them when they die (especially short-lived people who often lose their parents at an early age) and keep their memory alive through dreams and stories and to imagine that they continue guiding us.
    Sure, but that's a much later, more sophisticated, notion. That requires symbolism.
    Absolutely. The sun was always important to people; moon and star mythology is secondary.
    When was that date identified? Or, more properly, designated? Not until 336 AD. And then, it's more like January 7th by the Julian calendar and more like December 25 by the Gregorian. Neither has anything to do with Jeruselam, or any of the places from which those kings would have been looking at the sky.
    Why wouldn't there be? In a world of ebbing and flowing imperial conquest, all kinds of mythologies are carried around. Winners impose their own legends on occupied peoples; exiles and refugees keep their own traditions alive through story-telling; itinerant traders and astrologers, balladeers and monastics, carry stories from place to another; priesthoods attempting to keep their subjects from revolting incorporate the local superstition in their own.
    Religion is part of culture; cultures are alive - they grow and change and evolve.
  15. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I said I could not imagine it happening that way...suddenly with one tribe member having the concept of an entity being responsible for something.

    We can not know but I would agree things could unfold as you suggest.

    I was not talking about three kings being human.

    The reference to the three kings is to stars in Orion that may seem to follow Sirius and so claimed by mythology.

    The story of the birth of Jesus seems to parrallel the stars, or as some would suggest the myth was constructed to link it with the stars.

    In otherwords the star of Bethlehem (Sirius the brightest start in the night sky) led the three kings (three stars in Orion) to the birth place.

    I made a point of looking at all the stars on xmas eve, the only clear night I have had for a long time, and the line up is not exact but I have not used a planetarium program to check the star positions around the supposed date of the birth of Jesus to determine the then line up ...maybe back then it may have been a perfect line up..I dont know yet...but stars really dont move very much even over life times.

    The importance of Sirius can be traced back to Egyptian times and they could predict when the Nile would flood from observing it so I expect its importance may have been established in other cultures such that it may be included in mythology.

    Why should this matter?
    It hints that the story was constructed to fit the stars.
    Well if you can accept that then the suggestion is that the Jesus story is a rerun of various stories before it...
    That is my point I suppose which from there one could ask was the Jesus story made up by drawing upon earlier stories all of which have content suggesting attempts to parrallel each "God" with the stars, given the ancients probably saw the Sun Moon and stars as revealing the gods.
    Yes and the implication for christians that they may be following a rerun of earlier myths I find interesting.

    Thank you for your input.
  16. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Then, an astronomer would have had to be looking at them. Where was that astronomer? Not in Bethlehem, obviously - which, in any case, is an improbable center for a major religion.
    All mythology is - except perhaps those that chronicle an isolated people's own embellished notion of itself. I wouldn't expect to find many of those still surviving, certainly none in urban civilizations with a history of turbulent international relations - like Rome.
    Granted, the Nicean council was liberal with its interpretations, exclusions and inclusions, so we really don't know what-all was mixed into the final version as written. Still, you can see a dozen different influences in the OT.
    My reservation concerns the quantity and relative importance of the astronomy-related content. Celestial bodies do figure largely in all mythologies, as they play important roles in the lives of people - for agriculture, navigation, time-keeping, weather forecasting and augury.
    What I doubt is that this aspect of religion is central to christianity in particular. Whatever its deep origins, Christianity is a very late innovation among religions and has what i think are several unique features. I see its central issue as spiritual score-keeping and priestly power.
  17. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I certainly can not answer that one.
    I found the following in Wiki which indicates the subject has occupied many folk over the years.
    Although "only" a wiki thing it serves to illustrate some folk have devoted their life to study around the subject we discuss.
    Like most things it would take more time than I will invest.


    Again thanks for participating in the thread.
  18. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Yeah - so has the number of angels on the head of a pin. Not just "folks", either - intelligent and learned greybeards.
    But what the hay - as long as they're doing this, they're not inventing things that blow up.
  19. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    A new thread perhaps?
    Absolutely agree.
    If made ruler of the world I certainly would not take religion away because the prospect of these folk turning their attention elsewhere would be a worry.
  20. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    It is, at best, a highly surface-level and circumstantial analysis. It's basically a retread of James Frazer and his theory of the dying-and-rising god. While certainly dominant in the early 20th century, Frazerian anthropology has been largely dismissed academically. It was all fluff and speculation, with little evidence. It's a massive cultural influence, is ubiquitous in pop-sci anthropology, and forms the basis of several Neopagan religions. But as real scholarship? It's nonsense.

    On top of that, most of the "connections" touted between Jesus and certain solar deities, like Mithras and Horus, are entirely made up. If you're getting your opinions from the movie Zeitgeist, you're probably headed in the wrong direction.
    It's more likely that solar-esque elements were grafted onto the Jesus narrative later, rather than the narrative deriving from previous solar worship. Jesus is compared to or connected to the sun in Biblical passages, and in Christian iconography early on, but it seems to be an original development.

    As a Pagan, I can say that that particular talking point is a bit exaggerated. At least, it's not as literal and direct as it's commonly stated. It's more that people converted, but continued their own cultural customs, and the Church was either too powerless or too indifferent to prevent that. This is not to say that a lot of Christian festivals absorbed elements from pre-Christian culture. It's obvious that it did. However, it was much less of a deliberate co-opting, and more of just cultural continuum. Especially as things we often think of as "pagan" elements in Christian festivals are pretty regional-specific. It's not something that would have arose from a top-down program.

    Adding to that, several major Christian festivals don't align at all with any known pre-Christian polytheistic celebrations. A couple align with Jewish holy days, but a lot of other ones are completely original.

    Not even close. December 25th was used as the Christian nativity as early as the early 200s, and had become entrenched by the middle of that century. The placement of Christmas and Dies Natalis Solis Invicti on the same date was largely coincidental. The meaning of "birthday of Sol Invictus" is a bit misunderstood-- the Romans celebrated certain deities' "birthdays" as a commemoration of the date on which that god's temple was dedicated. In this case, Aurelian dedicated a temple to Sol Invictus on 25 December, 274 CE.
  21. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    But it fits...that is not easy to side step.
    If you are a christian you wont believe it but if you look at how religion grew from a focus upon the thing regarded as powerful and important in the day and how con men capitalised upon name dropping it is rather clear what has happened.
    The most outstanding parrallel between Jesus and the Sun comes from the observation that the Sun, on some interpretations dies and is resurrected after three days...if you understand my point great but if not perhaps try and figure out what I see that you may not.
    Thats not to be unexpected as the very nature of what we deal with when we talk about religion is so wishy washy really any notion is addmissable.
    I can say anything made up to counter anything that is made up.
    And irrespective of anything that I say those who believe the opposite will hang onto their belief.

    Thats ok.

    With religion being exposed as a con folk will throw anything available to defend their belief in the made up stories upon which our current religions are based.
    Well full respect for calling it so but really what does one need when offering an alternative to the fluff and speculation that we call religion?
    You know the burden remains for those assurting there is a God to offer evidence to support that claim and as their is none theists leave themselves open to calls that their entire belief is without foundation..and sadly for them all they can counter is claims that they are right because it makes sence to them...all I say is that if one studies the evolution of superstition it is easy to understand how there is still folk who forget that evolution and claim their position is somehow inspired by God.
    The Sun was God and it still is for christianity but they will never admit the history.
    So I expect that to you scholarship is being able to understand all that is written in the bible...fair enough..but there is the context which is more important...think of primative folk trying to explain stuff so they had answers..add superstition and a pre existing world of Sun worship and it all falls into place.
    However if you see the bible as the start of humans on this planet you will avoid the reality that humans existed long before any notion of one God appeared ...in fact if you agree humans were around for say 100,000 years pre God the claim that God arrived so late must cause concern...unless of course you refuse to apply reasoning to assessing history.
    My opinions come from studying history...and history goes way back and well past 6000 years or so covered in the bible a d is not limited to one small section of the world.

    Who knows.
    Was the Jesus story just one of many cons running around in those times..it seems possible...and think of astrology ...12 followers parrallels 12 constalations..the fish is a marker in astrology...I could go on but all I do is provide a list you must defend against ... if you value truth you shall seek it if your mind is closed sit back and wait for the next life...I really dont care. .. but really if God is the main ingredient of out being dont you think relevation may be less obscure and not limited to a period thousands of years ago and privy to an unusually small section of humanity in an obscure part of the world...
    Believe what you wish but dont pretend belief is the same as thinking.
  22. Hapsburg Hellenistic polytheist Valued Senior Member

    It really isn't. Anthropology is an academic discipline, and it uses the scientific method. If you are studying religion and its origins in human history, you have to apply the right methods. You can't just look at the surface-level things and draw a bunch of sweeping generalizations and conclusions from that. That's unscientific, and that's exactly what James George Frazer did. It's exactly why his theories are mostly dismissed today.

    What are you talking about? I'm a Pagan, something I have spoken about on this board quite often. Including in the post you quoted.
    Most of your post assumes that I'm Christian, and them rambles a lot. You're not making very much sense here.
  23. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I agree.
    Study of religion is one thing involvement is another. .my wishy washy condemnation is not for the study.
    I guess you are right but the study gives the material undue credibility...or something like that.
    The study does not elevate it to being worthy of study.
    I am one sided but its a waste of time really.
    Well forgive me ...my thoughts are rational so I blame my ability to convey my rational thoughts...
    Well good on you for being a Pagan as you are probably closer to the truth than most...becareful thise christians will rob you of all you hold sacred.

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