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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 magical ascension.

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 followers!