Celebrating The Resurrection Of
By James Donahue
Christians around the world are this week celebrating the resurrection of a a god-figure
they call Jesus, whose story was copied from the story of the Persian sun-god Mithra dating back to about 1400 BC.
Theologians and historians who have studied the lives of both Jesus and Mithra have
been so alarmed by the similarities of their stories that at one time, early in the history of the Christian Church, there
was concern that the Mithraic religion, which already dominated the known world of the old Roman Empire, could not be overturned.
Thanks to Constantine, the Roman emperor who converted from Mithraism to Christianity
during his reign between 306 and 337, the Christian myth won out. Constantine ordered everybody in the empire, which spanned
most of the Middle East, Europe and North Africa, to worship Jesus.
To the die-hard Christians,
the similarities of the stories of both Jesus and Mithra are alarming. Both experienced virgin births in that they were conceived
without a sexual union between man and woman. Christ was allegedly born to a virgin, thus suggesting that his father had to
have been God. Mithras emerged as an adult from a boulder.
Both births are marked on
the winter solstice, or December 25 according to the old Julian calendar. The celebration of both religious events featured
the sharing of gifts, the decoration of evergreen trees with candles and nativity scenes that included shepherds attracted
by a sacred light.
Both Mithras and Christ
walked the earth as shepherds, both saving mankind by performing sacrificial deeds.
Mathras and Christ performed
acts of redemption followed by ascension into heaven. Jesus sacrificed himself and Mithra killed a sacred bull prior to his
Both myths feature resurrection
following sacrifice. Mithraism drew upon the spring equinox fertility stories. The myth depicted the tail of the sacrificial
bull turning into sheaves of wheat that were scattered all over the world. The blood of the animal formed the Milky Way, thus
allowing human souls to be born and then to return to the heavens after death.
The Christian story involved
the resurrection of Jesus, his hanging around for a few days so that enough people saw and recognized him to secure the story
that he indeed rose from the dead, and then his ascension as the disciples looked on.
Both the Christian and Mithraic
stories tell of a last supper linked with the blood sacrifice. Both meals included the eating of bread and drinking of wine as a symbolic recreation of the event. Mithra killed the bull in preparation
for the meal and the disciples feasted upon it before Mithra ascended to the heavens in a chariot. The Last Supper of Christ
preceded his death and resurrection from the dead. Then he too, ascended into the heavens.
Both Mithra and Jesus were
followed throughout their ministry by a band of 12 disciples. Both performed miracles that included healing of the sick. Both
taught purification through baptism. Both taught charity and love for our fellow humans.
The followers of both Jesus
and Mithra believed their savior-god would return at the end of time to raise the dead in a physical resurrection for a final
judgment. And yes, followers of Mithra were granted immortal life following baptism.
Happy Easter all you Mithra