from: The Existence of Christ Disproved, by Irresistible Evidence, in a Series of Letters, From a German Jew, Addressed to Christians of All Denominations. London: Henry Hetherington, 14, Wine Office Court, Fleet Street. A. Heywood, Manchester. J. Taylor, Smallbrook Street, Birmingham. &c. &c., "1841". [first seen 12/16/98].
[reportedly: "J.C. Blumenfeld", "1841", "never reprinted" (see: A History of Freethought in the Nineteenth Century, J.M. Robertson, vol. 1, 76)].
'The Existence of Christ
As a Human Being,
By Irresistible Evidence, in a Series of Letters,
From a German Jew,
Addressed to Christians of All Denominations.
"I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel. Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides me there is no Saviour."—Isaiah XLIII. 3, 10, 11.
"For all the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the Heavens." —Psalm XCVI.' ["1"].
Sensible that any attempt to disprove the existence (whether as a god of flesh and blood—inspired prophet—or mere man) of Jesus Christ will be met by a most vigorous opposition from Christian clergymen of all denominations—we are not unprepared for the encounter; nor shall we object to opposition, however earnest or even fierce in its character, if adorned by a kindly and loving spirit, which ever commands respect for arguments, even when they fail to reach the understanding. We, however, candidly confess, that past experience does not warrant us in expecting so wise a course will be pursued by our Christian opponents—whose custom it is to answer an argument by torrents of invective, and overpower their opponents by eloquent abuse. Nevertheless, we shall not, by any mere personal considerations, be turned aside from the path duty has marked out and conscience has prescribed—nor do more than smile at any other species of opposition than th at supported by facts drawn from the records of ancient times—....'
"(Second Edition.)" ["1"].
'If it can be shown, by clear and indisputable evidence, that the history of Jesus Christ (as commonly received among Christians) is a forgery and a fiction—that he was not the son of a virgin called Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, who conceived through the power of the holy ghost, and ceased not to be a virgin even after she had become a mother—that he did not converse with the Jewish doctors in the temple—nor preach to the populace in Jerusalem and elsewhere—nor perform mirculous [miraculous] cures—nor hold communion with the devil—nor, in point of fact, do any one act that pious enthusiasts and ignorant devotees have ascribed to him; and further, that neither a god nor a man called Christ was crucified by Pontius Pilate, the Procurator, and therefore could not by possibility have arisen from the dead three days after an event which did not happen, and ascend into heaven, as is vulgarly supposed,—if, we repeat, it can be clearly proved that the foregoing assertions about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, are idle tales, having no foundation whatever in truth—mere fictions stolen from the mythological fables of ancient nations,—the very root of the Christian system will be as nought! "Therefore, as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust."' .
Those among you familiar with the old Jewish writings, as well as modern Jewish opinions, are aware that we reject the Christian histories, touching the divine character of Jesus Christ, and read as fable what is told of his resurrection from the dead—together with what is said of his second coming in power and glory, in order to judge the world,—in a word, all that is included under the head Christian Doctrine. We have heard the Bible justly called "The Compendium of Ancient Hebrew Literature,"—and it is not a little strange that the prophecies therein contained, so often triumphantly referred to by Christians as proofs of the soundness of their doctrines, are considered by the Jews as the very pillars of their heterodoxy—as to them it appears that a careful examination of the prophecies, so far from supporting, offer a complete refutation to the notion that the Messiah has fulfilled his mission upon earth according to the promises made by the GOD OF HOSTS through the mouths of his prophets. At the very time Christ is said to have appeared, the Jews, we are informed, rejected him as an impostor—except a few of the most credulous, who, like the credulous people of all other nations, are ever ready to swallow strange stories, and follow the first cunning man who sets about religion-making....' ["9"-10].
'In Plato [c. 428 - c. 348 B.C.E.] we read, that at periods very remote the Greeks worshipped the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars; but he did not seem to be aware, or have the slightest conception of what all now know, that Hercules, Apollo, Bacchus, Esculapius, &c., were but imaginary characters—like Christ—having no real existence—mere idols of the mind. We know that expressing ideas by symbols was universal throughout the ancient world. Thus—a harlot being despised by the Egyptians, was symbolized, by a creature like the Sphinx, with huge claws, the face of a woman, and the body of a beast. The famous Hercules and his twelve works will be shewn to be fictional, as Hercules was a mere personification of the power, force, and grandeur of the Sun and his supposed twelve works—the seeming motion of that luminary through the twelve signs of the Zodiac, or as they have been figuratively called, houses of the Sun. We have already called your attention to the fact that the Persian Divinity, Mithra, was but the Sun, as is shewn by ancient records. The philosopher Julian [331 - 363 (Emperor 361 - 363)] observes—"We celebrate some days before the first day of the year with magnificent sports, in honour of the invincible God, Mithra or the Sun. May we long have the happiness to celebrate thy appearance, O Sun, king of the universe!" This expression is after the manner of Plato, who calls the Sun, the "Son of God;" and we are informed that all the monuments raised by the Persians to their great Divinity, have these words inscribed on them "To the God Sun, the invincible Mithra." It is supposed even by many who have reputation for intelligence, that Hercules was a robust Greek prince, who conquered the Nemean lion, and did other wonderful things, in the same manner that many intelligent people as erroneously imagine that Christ and a cortęge of twelve apostles performed certain extraordinary things eighteen hundred years ago.' .
To prove by abstract reasoning that the worship of Christ is a borrowed worship—and, moreover, the worship of an idol, would be difficult, if not impossible. the majority of readers are, we fear, not yet prepared to deal with abstractions—but of historic evidence all may judge. Mere reasoning, however just, will not enable us to effect the object we have in view. Idleness, physical and mental, is the radical vice of the human constitution, and leads us to rest content with what we have, rather than exert our energies to obtain that we ought to have. To arouse, therefore, sluggish minds, much evidence is necessary—and this too, of a clear and simple character, so that its results may be perceived at a glance, and our readers stimulated to inquiry by the interesting thoughts such evidence suggests. We rely, therefore, principally upon historic testimony to bear us out in our assertion—that the Christian religion was borrowed from ancient religions, and was originally a mere solar fable." ["33"].
who support their opinion that Christ did not exist as a god, but
merely as a reformer, as did Zoroastre, Minos, Moses and others,
make great parade of historic proof, which, they contend, shews
that it is at all events probable that such a character actually
existed; but reject the idle tale about his birth, resurrection
from the dead, &c. Nor is it uncommon to hear them treating,
in their public discourses, what they are pleased to call the precepts,
doctrines, and life of Jesus Christ; and though we may be justified
in supposing that not a few of such Sceptics make a shield of the
name of Christ, with a view to back up their own weakness and ward
off public odium, and thus call the attention of simpletons from
their real designs and ultimate objects, yet we cannot doubt that
some few of these men are sincere, and really do suppose (being
very ill read in the matter) that what is said in the Testamental
books is something more than an old wife's fable, made up of the
rakings and scrapings of worn out philosophies.
Oh, say these oracles, to disbelieves in the existence of Jesus Christ, is to produce a moral earthquake, and throw into the air the very foundations of history—not to believe what the apostles have said, is to shake our belief in the sayings of Plato [c. 427 - c. 347 B.C.E.] and Aristotle [384 - 322 B.C.E.], or the doings of an Alexander [356 - 323 B.C.E.]. This is the same in substance as was formerly said by the brother of Cicero [106 - 43 B.C.E.], who declared that to deny the truth of the oracles of Delphi, would be to overthrow the foundations of all history; but there are few Christians who will admit, that by attacking these pretended oracles, they would not rather be strengthening the foundations of history; but so it is, each defends his own chimera, and leaves history and science to shift for themselves.
When we demonstrate to our readers that the incarnation of Christ is that of the Sun—that what is said of his death and resurrection relate entirely to that brilliant luminary, and that all calling themselves Christians are merely worshippers of the Sun, as the Peruvians that they so cruelly slaughtered, the great question, to wit—whether a man called Christ did or did not exist, shall be freely and fully discussed. If it be demanded whether we consider that the object of the Christian worship was a real being, or merely ideal?—we reply, that is was certainly real, inasmuch as nothing can be real, if the Sun is not so,—that brilliant star which enlightens every man coming into the world....
Nothing can be more clear that this—that the above-quoted historians [Tacitus [c. 56 - c. 120 C.E.]; Suetonius [c. 69 - c. 140 C.E.]] have spoken of Christ upon vague rumour, without attaching any importance to the tale, and therefore, their testimony by no means offers a safe satisfactory guarantee of the existence of Christ, whether as god, legislator, or impostor. If that existence had been an indubitable fact, it is hardly credible that from the times of Tertullian [c. 160 - 220], authors who had seriously discussed the question and examined the origin of Christianity, should have written that the worship of the Christians was that of the Sun, and by no means connected with a man who had formerly existed. Those persons who pretend to the character of the philosophers, and make of Christ a reformer, or an imposter, only display their ignorance of ancient history, and are brought to such an erroneous conclusion because they have not enough of faith to believe in Christ as a god; and on the other h and, not had an opportunity to compare his fabulous history with the solar legend; hence they do not see in his character what it really is—a sacerdotal fiction.'
[42 ["34"]-45 ["37"]].
"The god of day, or the god Sun, was the great god of the ancient world, and has been worshipped by every people on the globe; we shall find that it prevailed in both continents—the old as well as the new world, and was personified in all the sacred allegories, and poetically described as suffering the destiny of mortals; everywhere we read of the birth, death, and resurrection of the Sun; he had his cradle and his tomb, whether called Adonis, Osiris, Hercules, Bacchus, Atys, Chrishna, Mithra, or Chirst!" [53 ["45"]].
'A modern writer* ["*Mr. Godfrey Higgins [1773 - 1833].—See Anacalypsis v. 1, p. 138-9."] of great research, has the following curious observations relating to Chrishna: "On the colour of the gods of the ancients, and of the identity of them all with the god Sol, and with the Chrishna of India, nothing more need be said. The reader has already seen the striking marks of similarity in the history of Chrishna, and the stories related of Jesus in the Romish and Heretical books. He probably will not think that their effect is destroyed, as Mr. Maurice flatters himself, by the word Chrishna, in the Indian language signifying black, and the god being of that colour, when he is informed of what Mr. Maurice was probably ignorant, that in all the Romish countries of Europe, in France, Italy, Germany, &c., the god Christ, as well as his mother, are described in their old paintings and statues to be black. The infant god, in the arms of his black mother, his arms and drapery white, is himself perfectly black. If the reader doubts my word, he may go the Cathedral at Moulins, to the famous Chapel of the Virgin at Loretto, to the Church of the Annunciator, to the Church of St. Lazaro or the Church of St Stephen at Genoa, to St. Francisco at Pisa, to the Church at Brixen in the Tyrol, and to that at Padua, to the Church of St. Theodore at Munich, in the two last of which, the whiteness of the eyes and teeth, and the studied redness of the lips are very observable; to the Church and to the Cathedral of Augsburgh, where are a black virgin and child as large as life; to Rome, to the Borghese Chapel Maria Maggiore, to the Pantheon, to a small Chapel of St. Peter's, on the right-hand side on entering, near the door,—and in fact, to almost innumerable other churches in countries professing the Romish religion. There is scarcely an old church in Italy where some remains of the black virgin and black child are not to be met with." The same author observes that "the Romish Chrishna is black in India, black in Europe, and black he must remain, like the ancient gods of Greece, as we have just seen. But, after all, what was he but their Jupiter, the second person of their trinurti, or trinity, the Logos of Parmenides [fl. 5th century B.C.E.] and Plato [c. 428 - c. 348 B.C.E.], an incarnation or emanation of the Solar power!" So much for the black virgin and her black child, formerly worshiped by the dark races of India, and even now adored in our Catholic churches—the devotees little dreaming that the black god Chrishna was but a symbol of the Sun, and that the black virgin mother was nothing more than the virgin of the constellations, painted black, because, as before observed, that was the national colour; had the people been green, their gods, angels, and virgin mothers would have been the colour of grass.'
[53 ["45"]-54 ["46"]]. [See: 864-865 (Xenophanes)].
That singular people, the Chinese, worshipped the Sky, the Earth, and the elements, which they considered as parts of one grand whole, one intelligent being, that they called Tangki: the Chinese rendered up their offerings and prayers at the two solstices.
Of the Japanese the same may be said, as they believed that the stars were animated by intelligences or by Gods. They have even now a most splendid temple consecrated to the Sun, and they celebrate the fęte of the Moon on the 7th of September.
The Talapoins, or the priests of Siam, have the greatest veneration for all the elements and the parts they called sacred of nature; and that the ancient Indians worshipped like the Persians a sacred fire, is well known to all readers. This sacred fire was produced by drawing the Sun's rays into one focus upon the summit of a stupendous mountain, regarded by them as the central point of India; and so great was their veneration for the Sun—so heart-felt their admiration—that according to Lucian [c. 117 - c. 180], they never rendered homage to the morning star of day without turning themselves towards the East, and preserving the most profound silence; they also formed a kind of dance in imitation of the apparent motion of the brilliant luminary.
The superstitious respect paid by the Hindoos to the river Ganges, is matter of notoriety, and annually hundreds of miserable fanatics commit suicide by burying themselves beneath its waters—believing that river to be a powerful divinity; these victims of error and delusion thus dispose of their wretched lives....
Enough has been said to shew that the worship of the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and the elements, in short, of Nature, as a whole, and in its parts, was the basis of the religions of Asia. We might fill a volume with additional evidence, but however desirable this may be thought by a certain class of readers, such an extensive review would too far swell the bulk of this little work, and defeat the object we have in view—which is, to give an epitome of ancient superstitions as they existed in the different quarters of the globe, with a view to prepare the mind of our readers for the great truth—that the Christian religion was borrowed from the religions of the East! which were themselves based upon the worship of the Universe and its parts. Religious opinions have travelled from East to West—civilization has travelled with them, and materially modified them, but their grand features are still the same.
We have seen that the ancient Greeks, according to the divine Plato, had no other gods that those adored by the barbarians—as the Greeks used to call them—of other nations, and these gods, were the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and the Earth. The choir in the Oedipus of Sophocles [c. 496 - 405 B.C.E.] invoked the Sun as being the first of all the gods, and their chief. The Earth was adored in the island of Cos, and a temple was erected for its worship at Athens and Sparta, its altar and its oracle were at Olympia. The oracle of Delphi was originally consecrated to it. Pausanius [2nd century C.E.], an author of much reputation, has given a description of Greece, and its religious monuments, in every page of which may be seen traces of nature and its worship,—every where we read of altars, of temples, of statues, consecrated to the Sun, the Moon, the Pleiades, the Goat, the Bear, also to night, to the seas, lakes, rivers, &c.....' ["73"-75]. [See: 819].
Excursus: from: Xenophanes [6th century B.C.E.] of Colophon, Fragments, A Text and Translation with a Commentary by J.H. Lesher, University of Toronto Press, 1992, 24-25, 90, 227:
But mortals suppose that gods are born,
wear their own clothes and have a voice and body.
See chapter 2, pp. 85-89 and 114-19." ["Clement Miscellanies 5.109"].
But if horses or oxen or lions had hands
or could draw with their hands and accomplish such works as men,
horses would draw the figures of the gods as similar to horses, and the oxen as similar to oxen,
and they would make the bodies
of the sort which each of them had.
See chapter 2, pp. 89-94 and 114-119." ["Clement Miscellanies 5.110"].
Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black;
Thracians that theirs are blue-eyed and red-haired.
See chapter 2, pp. 90-94 and pp. 114-19." ["Clement Miscellanies 7.22"].
[The Greeks suppose that the gods have human shapes and feelings, and each paints their forms exactly like their own, as Xenophanes says:]
Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black;
Thracians that theirs are blue-eyed and red-haired. Clement 7.22"
[Clement of Alexandria c. 150 - c. 215 (St.)], second- and
third-century Christian philosopher whose Stromata, or Miscellanies,
and Protrepticus contain extensive quotations from earlier
poets and philosophers. The texts are contained in the series Die
griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte
(Leipzig 1905-09), the Stromateis (2nd ed., L. Fruchtel)
in vol. 52 (Berlin 1960)."
End of Excursus.
'We might...give an analysis of the poems which treat of Bacchus [Dionysus, etc.], and shew that the supposed son of Semele ["Virgin mother of Dionysus" (Encyc. Myths, Barbara Walker)] was, as Hercules and Christ, a personification of the Sun—that physical being, the most powerful, as the most beautiful, agent of nature; and if we attach so much importance to proving that Bacchus and Hercules were but symbols of the Sun, adored by all ancient people under various forms and different names, it is because the conclusion is inevitable, that in former times men wrote the history of nature and its phenomena, as the now write the history of men, and that the Sun was, above all, the great hero of all such marvellous romances; with regard to the true character of which, posterity has been so grossly deceived. If the reader is convinced of this truth, he will easily admit our explanation of the solar legend, known by the Christians under the name of the life of Christ, which, it cannot be too often repeated, is but one of a thousand names of the god Sun, whatever may be the opinion of his adorers as to his real existence as a living god, prophet, or mere man; for their opinion unsupported by evidence, no more proves that Christ really existed, than did the opinion of the Greeks, unsupported by evidence, prove the existence of Mercury, Bacchus, Jupiter, or Hercules. The Christian fathers, who were learned enough to know the character of the ancient religion, immediately saw the wonderful similarity between the religion of Christ and the religion of the ancient Bacchus, Adonis, Hercules, and a crowd of others, but above all that of Mithra in Persia; but then, they contended that the devil copied the Christian religion before it existed, in order to spite God and bring his worship into contempt. Oh, wonderful theologians!—ye have, indeed, a thread for every needle! Just the same was said by the Greeks, who contended that the Egyptians stole from them (the Greeks) their gods, although these same gods were worshipped in Egypt ages before the Greeks existed! Nothing, surely, but the introduction of the devil can render this clear and convincing. Alas! poor devil! you have much to answer for!'  [End of Letter].
'the god Sun is also the logos, the word or intelligence of the grand Being, or of the great universe God—that is to say, the god of Day has all the characters that the Christians give to their Redeemer, who was nothing more, as must appear from an analysis of their religion, than a personification or ideal embodiment of the Sun.' .
"The distinction of intellectual and corporeal Sun is beautifully set forth in the admirable and really superb discourse that the Emperor Julian [331 - 363 (Emperor 361 - 363)] addressed [see #13, 267] to the Sun, which contains the principles of the theology of that age, and furnishes the best explanation of the two natures of Christ and his incarnation, that foolish fanatics talk so much and know so little about,—which conception of the two natures originated the fable believed literally by imbecile and ignorant Christians, which relates that Christ took a body, was born of a virgin, died, and was resuscitated!" [133-134].
"It has been contended that neither a god nor man called Jesus Christ existed in Jerusalem; but, as stated in a former Letter, it is not contended that neither a man or men called Christ once existed in Jerusalem, any more than we should deny that a man named Brama, Vishnou, or Chrishnou, once did certain things in India; or that a man called Hercules once played a conspicuous part in Phenecia and Egypt; but it is denied that a man or god called Christ was born of a virgin, performed certain miracles, was crucified by the Jews, and after remaining three days, or nearly so, in the tomb, ascended into heaven,— it is denied that a man called Jesus Christ performed those wonders, and delivered those instructions which have been ascribed to him. All Christians will agree that the story told by ignorant and abused Indian enthusiasts about the god Brama coming down upon the earth in the form of a man, and eating of flesh like a Canibal, is absurd and unworthy of credit. What Christian would believe t hat Chrishnou, or Chrishna, or Vishnou, suffered all the metamorphoses which credulous Indians believed they did? Who, one degree above or below lunacy, would credit the idle tales (for idle and most mischievous they are when taken in relation of facts) about Hercules and his club, Balaam and his ass, Sampson with and without his hair, Jupiter and Juno, Ceres and Bacchus, Prosperine and Pluto, and a hundred other gods and goddesses, whose histories have been deemed veritable, sacred, and most holy [see #23, 482-483],—to disbelieve which, was deemed execrable, and a crime worthy of death. The poet says,
Would that God the gift would gie us
To see ourselves as others see us.
If Christians could see themselves as others see them, they would be far more humble—far less self-sufficient and arrogant than they now are—think less highly of themselves, and far better of others—have less of love for themselves, and more for their fellow-beings,—or rather, their self-love would be far more social in its consequences." [140-141].
'The German theologians, by their boldness, immense research, and critical acumen, have fairly carried away the Scriptures from the orthodox Christian theologians; to which course they were pioneered by the great writers of the Deistical school, the Bolingbrokes [Bolingbroke 1678 - 1751], Tolands [John Toland 1670 -1722], Voltaires [Voltaire 1694 - 1778], and others—who, by shaking the faith of millions in the literal reading of the New Testament—and, like Julian [331 - 363] Celsus [c. 178] and Porphery [Porphyry c. 232 - c. 300], before them rejecting as pure fable the shameful and truly disgusting recitals contained in the Holy History, made the path straight for the (perhaps in a certain sense) more elevated conceptions of the present German school; so that Strauss fails in due regard, for the parent which begat him, when he stigmatizes as "dry" "the revolutionary attempts of Deistical criticism directed against Biblical documents," as it is certain, but for so dry a root, no such leaf would have been put forth in our time, as "The Life of Jesus." [1835, by David Friedrich Strauss 1808 - 1874]....' [180-181].
"It will very soon appear most probable, that he ["Jesus Christ"] was not born at all; but, like Minerva from the head of Jupiter, the fiction sprung from the brains of the early Christian priests." [191-192].
'The translation of "Strauss' Life of Jesus," in weekly numbers, at a price within the reach of all our readers, renders it unnecessary that we should quote largely from his work in support of our position—....
He explains so minutely the doings of Jesus—he refines so admirably—that not even the ghost of the man or god called Jesus remains; he explains and refines him into nothingness—makes him no longer real but ideal—in short, his ideas of the existence of Christ may be summed up in the expressive monosyllable—FUDGE!' .
'Opposition makes some men cruel, and the determined eaters of the church's bread, who will live by the alter [sic] human folly has erected, and gasp there their last gasp, are driven by their misfortunes to desperation, and in their frenzy seem to lose at once all sense of decency and all self-control. They hate Germany—"it is the land of thought." Germans being thinkers, have earned their abhorrence; but this work of Strauss is a dose of infidelity for which they were by no means prepared—a moral bolus they will never swallow, unless forced to do so by the dread of losing their influence. Strauss, himself, scared by the din raised about his ears, had endeavored to give a new coloring and form to the harsher points of his doctrines, leaving one more to be added to the list of men who, like Galileo [1564 - 1642] and Lawrence, uttered great truths but dared not abide by them in the teeth of authority....
Strauss, like Erasmus ["1469" - 1536], had no disposition to become a martyr....' .
'The four gospels were, without doubt, the inventions of the early doctors of the Christian sect who, Mosheim [Johann Lorenz Mosheim 1694 - 1755] informs us, "had been educated in the schools of the rhetoriticians and in sophists, and rashly employed the arts and evasions of their subtle masters in the service of Christianity, and intent only upon defeating the enemy, they were too little attentive to the means of victory, indifferent whether they acquired it by artifice or plain dealing." Again, in the same passage, "Thus it happened through the pernicious influence of human passions, which too often mingle themselves with the execution of the best purposes and the most upright intentions, that they who were desirous of surpassing all others in piety looked upon it as lawful, and even laudable, to advance the cause of piety by artifice and fraud." Here we have a singularly important admission from an orthodox Christian historian, which proves the utter worthless ness of the writings of the early Christian writers in support of the belief in Christ—for how can any reasonable being repose in safety, or build up a belief with the materials furnished by men who "looked upon it as lawful, and even laudable, to advance the cause of piety by artifice and fraud." What guarantee can we have that the four gospels were not fraudulently concocted and imposed upon the world by such pious craftsmen as genuine? Whatever affects the character of those who determined which should be the divine gospels must affect our belief in the gospels themselves, unless those gospels carry with them internal evidence of their genuineness, which is so far from the fact, that the task of reconciling their discrepancies and contradictions has been long since given up as an interminable as well as a bad job.' [195-196].
'This work has shewn that Hercules, Mithra, and other gods, were but personifications of the Sun,—while, at the same time, it has incontestably proved that the religion and worship of Christ is but a copy of the religion and worship of Mithra, the god Sun of the Persians. Certainly, as noticed in the second number, Augustin [Augustine 354 - 430], Firmicus [Firmicus Maternus 4th century], Justin [Justin Martyr c. 100 - c. 165], Tertullian [c. 160 - 220], and others, having perceived the exact resemblance between the religion of Christ and the religion of Mithra, did, with an impertinence only to be equalled by its outrageous absurdity, insist that the devil, jealous and malignant induced the Persians to establish a religion the exact image of Christianity that was to be,—for these worthy saints and sinners of the church could not deny that the worship of Mithra preceded that of Christ,—so that, to get out of the ditch, they summoned the devil to their aid, and wi th most astonishing assurance, thus accounted for the striking similarity between the Persian and the Christian religion, the worship of Mithra and the worship of Christ; a mode of getting rid of a difficulty at once so stupid and absurd, that it would be almost equally stupid and absurd seriously to refute it. The worship of Christ, and the religion based upon it, is an exact copy, in all its essential features, of the worship of Mithra and the religion of the Magi; if so, is it not morally certain that the Persians did not copy the religion of the Christians, but that the Christians copied the religion of the Persians? The early fathers must have been very reluctant to admit the likeness was so complete; the admission was, however, wrung from them, by facts they were compelled to receive as such, and which could not be explained or argued away by any other than a devilish kind of sophistry. It is, therefore, incontestably proved that Mithra was the original personification of the god Sun—of w hich Christ is the copy—as it is certain the original must exist before the copy can be made; and Mosheim informs us that "Manes [(also: Mani) c. 216 - 276] (or Manchaeus, as he is sometimes called by his disciples), by birth a Persian, educated among the Magi, and instructed in all those arts and sciences which the Persians and the other neighbouring nations held in the highest esteem, who had penetrated into the depths of astronomy, in the midst of rural life studied the art of healing, and applied himself to painting and philosophy,—that this great genius (continues Mosheim) combined these two systems (that is, the Persian and the Christian system), and applied and accommodated to Jesus Christ the characters and actions which the Persians attributed to the god Mithra." The comparison instituted by us in our second number, between Mithra and Christ, renders it unnecessary to write another line in order to shew that those who worship Christ as a god, are idolators—bowers down to an idol formerly worshipped in Persia under the name of Mithra, and that Manes was right when he accommodated to Christ the character and actions which the Persians attributed to the God Mithra.' [202-203].
'There are few among you fully acquainted with the dishonest practices commonly resorted to by the early Christian writers. They were notorious forgers—rarely scrupling to spin evidence out of their own brains when none could be found in authentic documents suitable for their purpose. To ward off the blows aimed at them by the Pagans and Infidels, no weapons were considered unlawful: nor was this all, for the old saints seemed to glory in their infamous prowess—wearing their vileness—as a dancing-girl her plumes and jewels—for shew and ornament,—as though rascality, in aid of what they had themselves determined, was the true religion—was the measure of holiness! It was not uncommon for these pious fathers and teachers of Christ's word, to forge certain documents or paragraphs, and then charge the Jews, or others, with having erased them from the Bible. Thus, Justin Martyr [c. 100 - c. 165], a most zealous Christian writer, of great reputation for sanctity, charges the Je ws with having erased from the book of Ezra [reportedly: "5th - 4th century B.C."] the following words—"And Ezra said unto the people, This passover is our Saviour and our refuge; and if you will but persuade to be convinced in your hearts that we are to humble to him in a sign or figure, and afterwards to put our trust in him, this place shall not be made desolate to all ages, says the Lord of Hosts; but if you do not believe in him, nor attend to his preaching, you shall be as dirt to the nations:" which passage Justin did most scandalously charge the Jews, because of their enmity to Christ, with blotting out of the book, evidently with the two-fold object of aspersing the Jews, and by a lie, strengthening the belief in Christ; for, as the editor of Justin justly remarks, "This passage is not to be found in any copies of the apocryphal or canonical Ezra, nor in any other Christian writer, except Lactantius [c. 250 - c. 325],—and instead of being expunged by the Jew s, appears to have been forged by the Christians." Who, with any pretention to reasonableness, would build his faith upon the testimony of such men?
A more graceless band of sanctified sinners than the saints and apostolic fathers of the Christian church certainly never before nor since profaned literature. They were truly fishers of men—not forgetting to draw up all other good things; indeed, all was fish that came to their net. There was no fable, however extravagant, they would hesitate to trumpet forth as a divine truth!—no assertion they did not feel themselves warranted in making for the glory of the church of Christ, and the support of popular delusion! This may be considered as an overcharged picture of their viciousness,—but what shall we think of St. Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200], who tells us that "Lot's wife remains in the country of Sodom, not in corruptible flesh, but in a state of permanent salt, and shewing by her natural parts, all the ordinary effects!" or, of Tertullian [c. 160 - 220], a famed father of the church, in his poem on the same delicate subject, which is curious, and should be transla ted, but our readers would think it richly indecent, so we leave the lines as untranslatable:—
Di citur et vivens alio sub corpore sexus,
Mirifice solito dis pungere sanguine menses.' [206-207].
'The early portion of the work incontestably proved that the Sun was in ancient times the object of adoration, among all people—in the nations of Africa, Asia, Europe, and America—upon the soil of the new as well as the old world; it proved
that the name Christ is but one of many given by men to that apparent source of light, heat, and life. It was shewn by an appeal to facts, defying contradiction, that Christ no more had a real existence than the Chrishna of India, the Adonis of Phenecia, or the Hercules of Egypt and Greece. Chrishna, Adonis, Hercules, Mithra, and a score of others, were personifications of the Sun; and the character of Christ in all its essentials, is but a copy of these, thereby proving the gospel history an imposition; or, in the words of our first Letter, an idle tale, having no foundation whatever in truth,—a mere fiction—stolen from the mythological fables of ancient nations.
By reference to scripture texts it has been demonstrated that the history of Jesus Christ, as set forth in the gospels, and as commonly received, must be false; for the texts prove, either, that the gospel account is allegoric, that is, expresses one thing and means another, having no literal truth; or those who insist upon a literal interpretation, and are willing to abide by the naked meaning—who insist that Jesus Christ actually lived and was really crucified, will be forced to admit that he was crucified three times over, at three different places; which extraordinary scriptural evidence, as it involves a contradiction, and an absolute impossibility, must utterly destroy the belief that Jesus was actually crucified.
These Letters have also made manifest that when Jesus Christ was born, is now a mystery, and was equally a mystery among the first Christians, who knew literally nothing about so important a matter,—each sect, as Mosheim observes, holding contradictory opinions thereupon. As to where the infant Saviour first saw the light, it is a question involved in obscurity; for though Luke and Matthew agree that he was born in Bethlehem, and the orthodox, as in duty bound, echo the same, yet it is certain, as Dr. Strauss observes, and we have proved, that there is not a single guarantee that Bethlehem was the place of his birth. Christians! who dare think and reason for yourselves, we ask you, is it likely, is it credible, that if the Saviour had come upon earth to regenerate the world—had he been conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, and brought forth by a virgin—that even up to this very day none should know when he was born, or where he was brought forth? Is it credibly, nay, is it pos sible, if such an important personage had really lived, his apostles would have failed to make everything known respecting his earthly career? whereas, even now, none know where he was born, or when; Christians, ancient and modern, holding contradictory opinions thereupon; which is a strong collateral proof that he was not born at all; besides, the probability of Mosheim is annihilated by the impossibility of the circumstances,—for he thought it probable the infant Jesus was born about a year and six months before the death of Herod; but alas! the unlucky bungler, Luke, not being chronologically inspired, seemingly having the most profound contempt for mental, and every other species of arithmetic, has "by slight mistakes," blown-up the whole story; for, as though his brains had been made of bran, or some equally soft material, he makes Mary pregnant with Jesus when Cyrenius was governor of Syria, that is, ten years after the death of Herod; so, according to this probable inventio n, the virgin-mother was pregnant with the Saviour ten years after the said Saviour was born! This could not be believed, even though it had been written under the influence of inspiration, with a quill from the wing of the Angel Gabriel himself.' ["241"-243].
[See: #9, 224-225].
'It would have been easy to have swollen this little work into a ponderous tome, by piling proof upon proof against the existence of Jesus; but were we to write for an age, it would be impossible to do more than disprove his existence, which, it is presumed, is in this work effectually done. Those who will not read what is here written, it is obvious, will not be convinced by its arguments. Such as decide without examination, are bigots!—and wisdom is the price of bigotry. Those who have not the courage to examine it, are fettered by their fears—a mental condition beyond the reach of moral surgery; and as to those who cannot reason, they are the fools of society—the prescriptive property of knaves. All of the latter class have a kingdom not of this world, that is, the world of reason and reality, but one in regions somewhere beyond the moon; the willing dupes of such worthies as Tertullian
[c. 160 - 220], who, in the true spirit of the faithful, says, "Why am I not ashamed of maintaining that the Son of God was born? Why, because it is itself a shameful thing. I maintain that the Son of God died. Well; that is wholly credible, because it is monstrously [sic] absurd. I maintain that after having been buried he rose again; and that I take to be unquestionably true, because it is absolutely impossible." [see #12, 258-260] —Those who with Tertullian will maintain all this farrago of absurdities, and more, if necessary, will not be moved by this book, except to burn it, or or [sic] to see it burned by the common hangman.
In conclusion; though to the critical eye this work may appear disfigured by imperfections—by all who look for bold and wholesome truth, it will be hailed as one of the most useful that has ever issued from the press. A work which has forced its way to public notice, under circumstances the most discouraging and difficult,—not the least of these was the spiteful—frantic opposition of bigot theologians; those interpreters of celestial things, who, when the spark of truth is thrown among them, are explosive and dangerous as gunpowder; in short, it has furnished irresistible evidence in Disproof of the Existence of Jesus Christ, in spite of bigots, who will not reason; slaves who dare not reason; and fools, who cannot reason!
The End.' .