Friday, March 13, 2015

Note on Mythicism: Goodbye to All That

(Maybe one day I will try to compile all of these entries on this topic into a coherent essay).

I am trying as hard as I can not to read anything more on Mythicism. The whole thing is indeed greatly troubling - and I admit as much - but at the bottom, I found that what is today called Mythicism is primarily backed by the idea that Paul wrote his letters about a "Celestial" Jesus who supposedly was born and killed by devils in a sort of "sublunar realm" between heaven and earth (and so he never appeared to anybody) which is supposedly from Platonism. It is the lowest of the heavens, but not quite Earth - apparently, Paul thought that the god acting out some sort of pageant in here was the salvation of us all. Now, for all I know, it may well be that Osiris and the like were indeed supposed to carry on such pageants. But the idea dying and rising gods being some kind of unique category is basically dismissed by most comparative religion scholars.

But that's not the clincher. The fact is, the entire argument is based on the idea that every single time Paul refers to Christ as coming in the flesh, shedding his blood, etc. it refers not to real flesh, but magic Osiris flesh. A man named Earl Doherty, who I don't care to link to, is the source of most of this, and if you look on his site, you can find his exegesis of all these passages in Paul - and in all of them, you can see nothing but a lot of what appear to me (though I only know Latin) to be a bunch of convoluted readings that he twists to fit into his paradigm. He claims that Paul is "silent" about the life and the Earthly existence of Jesus, but he has no trouble accepting his apparent silence about his sublunar existence - you never, for example, see Paul making any disclaimers that he isn't talking about real flesh and blood, but "mythical" flesh and and blood. And these interpretations passages are basically the crux around which Mythicism is built, since without them they have nothing to stand on for Paul quite obviously at least believed that Jesus was a man, and they are all bad bad bad. You can poke all the holes you want in the Gospels, but if this is your best explanation of where Christianity came from, then agnosticism about Jesus's existence is by far the more reasonable position, and I would even say that hisotricism is considerably more probable given the fact that this is the apparently the best alternative they can come up with, and it is terrible.

Like I said, I am trying to turn my back on it, let it go, but it is hard. I keep on wondering if there is something I have missed, something I am not admitting to myself. Maybe I on some subconsciousness level I feel Mythicism might confirm that old notion that Christianity is simply too good to be true and therefore everything that attacks it might be coming from someone with a clearer viewpoint than I, someone less afraid of death than I am. I am insecure I admit it.

But I think this is one of those cases where I might be able to somewhat securely say, no, this is just wrong. Or maybe I want to say that, but I do have this nasty feeling in the pit of my stomach. But then again, I almost always have that. So for now, I'm just going to go with the consensus of NT scholars and seems to be true, that Mythicism is (probably) just wrong.

Now I just have to be able to accept that and stop reading their stupid blogs.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I am from Australia.
    Please find a unique set of essays on religion, science & scientism, and culture altogether available via this reference;
    These essays on the various myths associated with Jesus are from the same book:
    As is this essay - the author was thoroughly familiar with all of the modern "mythicism" scholarship on the fabricated origins of the "New" Testament - pointing out that they were/are essentially correct, but because they had no understanding of the profundities associated with esoteric Spiritual religion their scholarship was also quite limited
    The Truth About Death