Jesus: A Pagan God?

Excerpt from When God Speaks for Himself: The Words of God You’ll NEVER Hear in Church or Sunday School, by Mark Tier and George Forrai (Inverse Books, 2016). Reprinted with permission from Mark Tier.

From Chapter 9: “Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburger” — Mark Twain

Jesus: A Pagan God?

In The Jesus Mysteries: Was the Original Jesus a Pagan God?, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy demonstrate that Christian doctrines like the virgin birth were common in many of the religions that pre-dated the time of Jesus — and that the origins of Christianity are very different from what most people have been led to believe.

The Power Tactics of Jesus Christ by Jay Haley shows that, based on the New Testament, Jesus never himself “turned the other cheek” or otherwise practiced what he preached. The other essays in this collection are on the subject of therapy (Haley was a therapist), and include advice on how to succeed as a schizophrenic despite your therapist’s best efforts, how to fail as a therapist and “How To Have An Awful Marriage.” Lots of fun.

Everything You Know About God is Wrong, edited by Russ Kick, is a wonderful collection of articles on a wide range of topics. My personal favorite is “Irish Gulags for Women”: in Ireland the Catholic Church ran “Magdalene Asylums” for “fallen women.” They had another name: “Magdalene Laundries,” since the Church used the women as unpaid labor to run very profitable laundry businesses. But the “fallen women” — who also came to include orphans and others picked off the streets — weren’t just unpaid: they were effectively slaves, locked up “for their own good.” This practice — which died with the advent of the washing machine — only came to light in 1993 when a developer found a mass grave on the grounds of a Catholic nunnery: 155 female bodies, most of whom had been buried without the legally-required death certificate! (So much for idea that belief in God is a prerequisite for moral behavior!)

It’s also worth browsing the Catholic Encyclopedia (newadvent.com) to appreciate the torturous rationalizations necessary to accommodate a supposedly unchanging faith with the constantly expanding knowledge of reality (see, for example, the section on Infallibility which is almost incomprehensible). Similarly, check out the “word of God’s representative” in his Papal Encyclicals (papalencyclicals.net and vatican.va.)

Take, for example, Pope Pius XII’s 1 November, 1950 encyclical Munificentissimus Deus: Defining the Dogma of the Assumption where he “infallibly” establishes the doctrine of the Assumption — that the Virgin Mary ascended into heaven body and soul (as did her son).

Speaking with the authority of God, and imbued with the Holy Spirit, Pope Pius writes 47 paragraphs in support of his/God’s decision. However, 34 of those 47 paragraphs — 72% of the entire encyclical — refer to pleas and petitions received from bishops, other church officials and the laity, corroborating opinions of past theologians including Pope Pius IX’s 1854 declaration of Mary’s “Immaculate Conception,” the Catholics’ veneration of the Virgin Mary and the feast days and churches dedicated to her name.

It’s hard to read this encyclical without concluding — from the Pope’s own words — that he’s promulgating this doctrine as a result of pressure from below rather than inspiration from above.

Excerpted from When God Speaks for Himself by Mark Tier and George Forrai. Copyright © Mark Tier and Pronto Express, 2010. All rights reserved.

Mark TierMark Tier, an Australian based in Hong Kong, started writing when he was 14 – and hasn’t stopped since. His first work, Understanding Inflation, was a bestseller in his native Australia in 1974. That was followed by The Nature of Market Cycles, How To Get A Second Passport, and The Winning Investment Habits of Warren Buffett & George Soros, which has been published in 3 English (New York, London, & Hong Kong) and 11 other-language editions. Once labelled “the Eclectic Investor” for his wide range of interests, he co-edited two science fiction anthologies which won a Prometheus Award in 2005, an analysis of Christianity, When God Speaks for Himself, and a political thriller, Trust Your Enemies. His website is marktier.com.

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