What Do You Do with a Chocolate Jesus?

Thomas Quinn: What Do You Do With a Chocolate Jesus?
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Worship, adore him, fall down before him! God who is born in the night. I can hear Donny and Marie singing it on the Christmas album. Osiris was known as He who giveth birth unto men and women a second time, and for centuries, January 6th the twelfth day of Christmas was called the Day of Osiris. Horus Like father like son. Horus was the offspring of Osiris and Isis. He was Egypts falcon-headed Sky God. Pharaohs, when they were feeling especially full of themselves, claimed to embody his spirit.

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Horus was called the light of the world and the way, the truth and the life. Kinda catchy, huh? He was emblemized by a great eyea symbol of salvation. And he claimed that Eternity has been assigned to me without end. He was the son of a virgin goddess, and was the only begotten son of a god.

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He was born in a humble cave and his birth was heralded by a star. His nativity scene included shepherds and a visit by three solar gods. Horus represented eternal life and was known as the Lamb, though he was also imagined as a Good Shepherd. He was identified with the Tat or cross. Theres even a gap in his biography between his childhood and age His deeds included walking on water, healing the sick, casting out demons, quieting the sea, and giving sight to the blind.

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His nicknames included the fisher, the bread of life, the son of man, and the Word. Back in ancient Greece, there was a whole category of cults called mystery religionsa generic term for rather shadowy groups that worshipped in secret and taught that godly myths were mere allegories created to reveal deeper truths. One of the most popular mystery cults was built around Dionysusthe Greek god of grain, bread, and the vine. Belonging to most religions is no picnic, but this sure sounded like one. Small wonder his following lasted over a thousand years. Being the god of wine, Dions moods ranged from light and fruity to mildly tart with a smooth finish.

But the lord of inebriants could also drive men out of their minds. He was the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and Semele, a mortal woman. Semele remained a virgin, however, because she was impregnated by a bolt of lightning. Must have been some honeymoon. This hieros gamossacred marriageproduced a divine child. To honor him, ritual unions were staged in a stable in the Athenian marketplace.

Not quite a manger, but were in the same ballpark. Euripides wrote that Dionysus shrouded his Godhead in a mortal shape in order to make it manifest to mortal men.

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As an adult, Dion turned water to wine at his own wedding. When Zeuss perpetually jealous wife, Hera, found out about Semele and her child, she made sure that Semele went up in flames and thatin a Greek version of the Osiris storyDionysus was torn to pieces. He, too, was reassembled and brought back to life. Long story short: Dionysus was a god-man who was persecuted, tormented, executed, and then rebornlike many deities celebrated in spring festivals. Once he was resurrected, he was hidden for a time in the woods with the nymphs.

Not a bad deal, especially with all that bread and wine. Each autumn, some 30, Athenians made a barefoot pilgrimage to the shrine of Eleusis, where they acted out a divine drama called The Passions of Dionysus. Plutarch wrote that Dions worshippers sought a rebirth. Others called it a voluntary death from which one is born again.

Pretty awesome idea. Attis Born to yet another virgin What is it with these gods and nookie? An effigy of Attis was tied to an evergreen, which was decorated with sacred flowers. His body was then placed in a sepulcher, from which he was said to rise on the third day. Under dark of night, new initiates were brought to the sepulcher and told, To you likewise there shall come salvation from your trouble. These rites were celebrated around March 25th. Once upon a time, Christian tradition said Jesus was crucified on that date.

Mithras Mithraism was a Roman religion that may have been an offshoot of Zoroastrianisman ancient Persian faith. Its thought that sailors brought Mithraism to Rome around 70 B. By the third century A. Top-flight orators like Cicero had this to say about the faith: These mysteries have brought us from rustic savagery to the cultivated and refined civilizationWe have gained the understanding not only to live happily, but also to die with. Nobody talks about him today, but Mithras was once a big deal.

He was the god of Goodness and Light pitted against the evil Lord of Darkness, which makes him sound like Luke Skywalker.

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He had a thousand eyes so no one could hide their sins, which makes him sound like the CIA. He was also the god of Truth and the Lord of Heavenly Light, and was later adopted by the Romans as a sun-god and a god of contractsthat is, he assured honest agreements among men. The handshake may have originated with his cult. Roman soldiers, his biggest fans, adopted it as a proof that they were unarmed, and they spread the practice across the ancient world.

Now for the routine part: Mithras was born in a humble cave to a virgin called the Mother of God. He was a messianic figure who stood for ethical brotherhood, self-control, and a rejection of worldly indulgences. He remained celibate throughout his life and fought for virtue and peace. He was worshipped on Sunday, his purification rites included baptism, when he died he ascended to heaven and yadda-yadda-yaddaheard it.

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His followers lived by his example to assure themselves of eternal life. Mithras worshippers reenacted his death and resurrection, in which he was carried aloft in a sunchariot. He was enthroned by the God of Light as ruler of the world. He was to remain in heaven until the day God destroyed the world, at which time hed return to resurrect and judge the dead. After the Damned were plunged into the depths of the earth, the Spirit of Darkness would be vanquished and the universe could go on happily ever after.

Some claim that Christianity became the official religion of Rome because it borrowed from Mithraism, while others insist Mithraism borrowed from Christianity. We cant be sure. But these two competitors told very similar stories, and Tarsus, the home town of Saint Paul, was a center of Mithraism. Even Vatican Hill, where the pope lives, was once a sacred location for Mithraic ceremonies. You can still visit such places in and around Rome.

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How to write a great review Do Say what you liked best and least Describe the author's style Explain the rating you gave Don't Use rude and profane language Include any personal information Mention spoilers or the book's price Recap the plot. Name required. Not much of an insight when you think about it, but it was a start. Jesus famously said, You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. On the other hand, if you're a skeptic, agnostic or plain and simple atheist, I dare you to try and put this book down once you started reading it. He focused on the heart of the law rather than the letter of the law. John Strubhart rated it it was amazing Jun 10,

Apollonius of Tyana Throughout Greece and Turkey 2, years ago, a penniless preacher named Apollonius became the central figure of a popular mystery religion. Some thought him the son of Zeus. He taught a philosophy of love and self-sacrifice.

Stories have him healing the sick, casting out demons, absolving the wicked of sins, and raising the dead. People called him the Son of God, he was worshipped as a savior, and temples lasting centuries were built in his honor. He confronted the religious establishment of his day with wise comebacks, and he even wrote his philosophy down.

He was later dubbed the Pagan Christ, and we dont have to rehash the rest. Point made. To this list of messianic biographies you can add similar life stories for Beddou a Chinese godman , Adonis from Syria , Zoroaster the Persian prophet , Bacchus the Roman retread of Dionysus , Pythagoras the real-life Greek mathematician , and even Socrates the philosopher who taught Plato. All of these are examples of the Messiah Motif; something Joseph Campbell called a monomyth an heroic story template every bit as routine as those triumph of the human spirit profiles they make about Olympic athletes who overcome some unheard-of disease to strive forward and win the gold.

It works. And Now for Something Completely Familiar All of this brings us back to the man of the millenniumJesus of Nazarethwhose biography includes many of the same story points as these pagan god-men. Its clear that certain plot elements are common to many messianic tales, suggesting that the Gospels of Jesus are as much myth as history.