Christian Beliefs – The Saviour Motif

Here is a quick ‘Pop Quiz’ for you… What do the following fourteen historical figures have in common?

Vishnu of India
Osiris of Egypt
Mithras of Persia
Baal of Phoenicia
Alexander (the Great) of Greece
Indra of India
Tammuz of Syria
Attis of Phrygia
Caesar Augustus of Rome
Adonis of Greece
Hercules of Thebes
Thor of the Scandinavians
Fo of China
Jesus of Palestine

Rather than make you guess, let me tell you… They were all said to have been ‘born of a virgin.’ Not only they but also hundreds and hundreds of other Kings, leaders, warriors and rulers hold the same distinction. They were all said to have been ‘born of a virgin.’ Moreover, it has been written in documents through out the ancient world that most of them have been labeled with the entire ‘Savior Motif’, as I call it.

The ‘Savior Motif’ consists of eight specific points;
1. Born of a virgin,
2. Said to be the ‘Son of God’,
3. Said to have performed miracles,
4. Died a cruel death,
5. Said to have died to save humankind from sin,
6. Said to have arisen from the grave,
7. Said to have been seen by many after he arose,
8. Said to have been seen ascending into heaven.

As one can easily see, with the exception of number four, the elements of the motif violate natural laws in ways that make it impossible for a person of average intelligence to fathom. And yet millions do believe it to be literally true with regard to Jesus of Palestine.

My second question – directed to those who believe – would be… If it can be believed to be true for one ‘savior’, then why not the hundreds of others?

Truth is… most believers are probably not aware that there were hundreds of so-called ‘Saviors’ in ancient history. They do not realize that the eight elements of the motif were not intended to be taken literally. Historians explain that these things were said about a person (long after they had died) to indicate that they were important, extraordinary, exceptional, and special.

Unfortunately, believers, through the centuries, have insisted on literalizing these stories as they relate to Jesus and thus have destroyed the beautiful prose that it was intended to be.

Why is this so?

Could it be that the average believer is not a student of ancient history?

Could it be that the average believer is not inclined to question what the church has told him/her?

Could it be that the church has been negligent in explaining this truth to its adherents?

I am inclined to say that all three are true. And furthermore, the hierarchy of the church, from the pulpit to the highest levels of the institutional church, have known has know this truth for more than two hundred fifty years.

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Date: Saturday, 19. January 2013 20:50
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