Thursday, April 1, 2010

Religion

Who?
- Born December 25th.
- Represented as a mediator.
- Considered a great travelling teacher and master.
- Had twelve companions.
- Performed miracles,
- Was called "the good shepherd, "the way, the truth and the light, redeemer, saviour, Messiah."
- Was identified with both the lion and the lamb.
- From The International Encyclopedia:
"… seems to have owed his prominence to the belief that he was the source of life, and could also redeem the souls of the dead into the better world ... The ceremonies included a sort of baptism to remove sins, anointing, and a sacred meal of bread and water, while a consecrated wine, believed to possess wonderful power, played a prominent part."
- From Chambers Encyclopedia:
"The most important of his many festivals was his birthday, celebrated on the 25th of December,… The worship … early found its way into Rome, …. Baptism and the partaking of a mystical liquid, consisting of flour and water, to be drunk with the utterance of sacred formulas, were among the inauguration acts."
- Followers believed in:
    Heaven and Hell;
    the immortality of the soul;
    the last judgment; and
    the resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.
- The disciples formed an organised church which believed in a Saviour who is both human and divine.
- Relics of worship have been found in the catacombs in Rome, including a picture of the infant Saviour seated in the lap of his virgin mother. In front of him are Magi, both adoring him and offering gifts.
- He was buried in a tomb and after three days he rose again. His resurrection was celebrated every year.
- Principal festival was at what was later to become Easter, at which time he was resurrected.

Give up?

If you said Jesus Christ, you are wrong. The above describes a religion, Mithraism, founded on devotion to Mithras (sometimes also called Mithra), which was popular among the military in the Roman Empire, from the 1st to 4th centuries AD. The above description of the similarities with Christ and Christianity is from:

Although it was originally thought to have developed in the Middle East approximately 3,500 years ago, current thinking is that it only borrowed the name from the Middle Eastern god and that it was developed separately in Rome at the same time as Christianity.

The many similarities with Christianity has resulted in claims that Christianity borrowed and adopted Mithrastian symbols, facts and icons; others assert that that it was the other way round and that the followers of Mithras borrowed from Christianity.

An interesting look at Mithraism is at:

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