Submitted by Marcel Gagne on Thu, 03/28/2013 - 11:33
Let me see if I get this straight . . . a long time ago, this guy was born of a virgin, performed miracles, collected disciples, then was eventually crucified, died, was buried, and rose again to redeem mankind? Does that sound about right?
I thought so, except I'm not talking about Jesus. In this case, the guy's name was Attis and he was a fairly popular Phrygian man-god some 400 years before Jesus Christ came on the scene (though the origins of the story go back as far as 1200 B.C.). Attis was born of the virgin, Nana, became the consort of the mother Goddess Cybele. Attis is sometimes depicted as a shepherd, his priests are celibate (they are in fact, castrated), is crucified to a tree (accounts vary somewhat on this point), dies, is buried, and rises again to bring life to the world. The Attis myth reaches its peak sometime around 200 BC.
Attis isn't special though. In point of fact, guys who were born of virgins, performed miracles, died, then rose from the dead are common to many religions. Christianity adopted a lot of these old stories to make their new religion more palatable to the dominant religions of the day. As for all those miraculous things . . . well, your god wasn't much of a god if he couldn't perform miracles or had some kind of miraculous birth. Born of a virgin sounds pretty miraculous so it makes sense to start there. Water into wine? That's an old one too.
In 405 B.C., Euripedes' "The Bacchae" was released. It features Dyonisus who, among other things, is born of a virgin, turns water into wine, and has someone crucified to a tree. Dyonisus was called "King of Kings", "Redeemer", "Savior", and other familiar titles we associate with that Johnny come lately, Jesus.
The parable of the "the Good Samaritan" was always one of those stories that stuck out as being 'wrong', precisely because it sounded like a racist slur or stereotyping a country and its people. You know what I'm talking about. The cheap Jew. The drunk Irishman. Here in Canada, we used to have stupid Newfie jokes.
In that way, the parable of the Good Samaritan is much like telling the story of the Sober Irishman, which is worth mentioning only because, well . . . can you really imagine a sober Irishman? How about the story of the rich Jew who gives a lot to charity?
Meanwhile, near Peterborough, Ontario, a battle rages for the hearts and minds of drivers making their way down the roadways.
One man, deeply devoted to Jesus, decides to make it clear by using his own house as a billboard.
In case you can't read the words on the roof, let't take a look at a close-up (you could also just click on the image).
His next door neighbour might be just as passionate about another man made god, the King of rock and roll himself, the immortalElvis Presley. Of course, he may just be annoyed at his neighbour's billboard and chose to respond with a billboard of his own. Check it out.
If you're having trouble reading the rooftop on that one, look at the closeup below or, once again, just click on the image for a full sized view.
So? King of rock and roll or King of kings? Are either really alive and living in Spokane where they work at a local greasy spoon serving up burgers and fries?
Myself, I take a more pragmatic view of the whole debate. It seems to be that Elvis is just as alive as Jesus. Maybe just a little more so but only because he hasn't been dead quite as long as Jesus.
Many of us live for the weekend. Time to kick back and slack off a little. You've worked hard all week and you deserve a break. But the day after Saturday is Sunday, and for many Christians, it means a mandatory trip to the local church to do a little praying and worshipping.
As an non-believer, Sunday is just another day off, like Saturday. But on Sunday, many Christians believe they should be going down to the house of God for a little shot of the Almighty. The only catch is that Jesus was totally against this idea. That's right. By going to church and praying with friends and family, you are disobeying the very man around whom the whole church is built.
Harken to the Word . . . Matthew 6:5-7
New King James Version (NKJV)
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[a] 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
So you see, Jesus doesn't go for that whole getting together in Church and praising God thing. If you're going to pray, Jesus wants you to do it quietly, at home, in your own room. He also doesn't think you should recite prayers. God likes original content and that stuff in the Bible or the other holy books . . . He's heard it all before.
And so, when the next weekend rolls around, take a pass on the whole church thing. Not going is what Jesus would want you to do.
I don't go for wrestling, mixed martial arts, or any of these so-called sports. However, I'd pay good money to see Ayn Rand and Jesus in a cage match.
In this corner, we have Jesus, with his opening salvo.
Jesus says, "If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven." -- Matthew 19:21
That's gotta hurt! Go ahead, my conservative Christian friends. I dare you! I double-dare you. I triple-dog-dare you. House, car, property, television, major and minor appliances . . . what do you need that for?
While you're busy selling all your possessions and giving the money to the poor, let me direct your attention to the speaker in the opposite corner, Ms. Ayn Rand. Let's give it up for Ayn Rand as she tries to pin Jesus to the mat.
"Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot co-exist in the same man or in the same society. Today, the conflict has reached its ultimate climax; the choice is clear-cut: either a new morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man’s happiness on earth—or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces."
Ooooh! A real smackdown for Jesus! Not quite a knock-out, but it looks like we're in for an exciting match tonight. Pull up a chair, my friends, and enjoy the fight.
June 30, 2012 is the date. Mark your calendars. Jesus said so.
This has been a busy couple of years for apocalypses. Last year, we had at least two that I wrote about and so far this year, I've written about another two. As I mentioned above, there's one coming up in another week or so and, if that doesn't work out, there's that old Mayan calendar end of the world to look forward to. Joss Whedon, in writing the Buffy and Angel series, probably thought he was packing a fair number of them into the two series, but these last couple of years have got him beat.
As you all know, the End Of The World (tm) has been coming on and off for, oh, at least a couple of thousand years. Jesus himself said that some of his apostles would live to see the end of the world. "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (Matthew 24:34) But what did Jesus know? It's not like the guy had the Bible to refer to. So let's cut old JC some slack, shall we?
Having the Bible to refer to does not guarantee success though. Harold Camping famously said that the world would end on May 21, 2011 and then, when it didn't happen, he updated his message and said that May 21 was just the beginning of the end of the world and that the real deal would take place around Halloween.
Fast forward a few months and we've got Ronald Weinland who said the End of the World would take place May 27, 2012. That didn't happen either.
If you were pining for an Apocalypse, maybe June 30th will be your day. The Man Christ Jesus has said that it will happen. That man is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, the charismatic leader of "Growing in Grace International", a Christian sect that believes that divine power will execute all of us who aren't part of the group and, by extension, have not been saved.
Now I do have to say that this particular Apocalypse will be different than all the others. Not in the sense that anything will happen mind you, but the big thing about this particular Apocalypse is that the world won't be destroyed. That's right. The planet gets a pass and while most of us will be axed by God, members of Growing in Grace will get a special prize. Jose Luis, the Man God Jesus -- yes, Jose is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ -- says that members will be transformed. And they'll get superpowers! They'll be able to fly, walk through walls, and they'll be immortal. How cool is that?
Like Harold Camping, this guy has a respectable following with members in 130 countries. He also has radio stations pumping out his message of transformation 24 hours a day and a TV network. And they have billboards in major cities across the US and Canada. There's even one in Toronto on Bloor Street West. The group's members can be identified, in many cases, by the number '666' tatooed on their bodies. While most people think of 666 as the number of the beast, the group suggests it is the number of wisdom, a symbol of the coming transformation. It's a complicated explanation of the Apostle Paul's depiction of Jesus Christ.
You see, according to Luis (sorry, I mean, Jesus Christ), Antichrist, as explained by Paul, means "no longer following Jesus of Nazareth as he lived in the days of his flesh" so it's more like an Uber-Christ, or a Super-Christ. You see? So branding yourself with a '666' tattoo means you're following the evolution of Christ, so to speak. And so, on June 30, the group will take over the entire world. IN the words of Jesus, "A government where we will govern everything with a perfect order. This is my last farewell for you. The time is finished. We will see each other soon in Armageddon."
Before you run off to make your final preparations, again, check out the video below. Enjoy. The end is nigh. Again.