Beliefnet
The Bible and Culture


Almost fifty years ago, in the early 1970s a French philosopher named Jean-Pierre Lyotard began what was callled post-modern thinking. Post-modern thinking in its rudimentary form involved the deconstruction of all the major meta-narratives of modernity, particularly western modernity. This included a deconstruction of the Christian meta-narrative in whatever form it took. The main thing to be understood about Lyotard is his oppositions to all meta-narratives, including the one being constructed in the nearly two hour movie (one hour and 56 minutes) which is available on the internet through Google video. It’s popularity is shown not only by the number of hits on the sight where you can access it, but by the fact that it is available with all sorts of language subtitles.

Various people have been referring to this as a post-modern post-Christian movie, and it certainly is the latter, one could just as easily call it an anti-Christian movie, calling Christianity a myth which has led to all sorts of wicked and destructive behavior, and explaining Christianity on the basis of a ‘religions geschichte’ sort of argument, which is to say a history of religions argument (this religion derived from that religion which derived from that religion, and it all is a bunch of myths and falsehoods). My point in mentioning post-modernism is that this movie is not post-modern in any sense, since the author is trying to construct a new meta-narrative to replace the older and Christian one. Post-Christian and anti-Christian yes, post-modern no.

Here is what the Zeitgeist movie (first released in June 2007), website presents the matter:
“Zeitgeist, produced by Peter Joseph, was created as a nonprofit filmiac expression to
inspire people to start looking at the world from a more critical perspective and to understand that very often things are not what the population at large think they are. The information in Zeitgeist was established over a year long period of research and the current Source page on
this site lists the basic sources used / referenced and the Interactive Transcript includes
exact source references and further information.”

In other words it attempts to claim to take the intellectual high ground of critical thinking, calling for more of it, and claims to be based in careful and solid historical research, providing a list of its sources. It also attempts to appear humble saying at the bottom of the first webpage of the site urging that people not take what is found in the movie as the truth, but as a prompt to seek out the truth for “truth is not told, it is realized”, whatever that might be supposed to mean. But lets be clear, despite this disclaimer, this film has a clear pejorative point of view and is attempting to replace one sort of truth claims with another.

Notice as well the word ‘inspire’ in the above quote from the website. Actually this ‘filmiac’ (as they call it– a non-word as far as I can tell) is all about the politics of fear and distortion. You can see this from the wordless introduction to the movie which provides not so subtle linking of Christian images with American images with war images with 911 images, and then the not so subtle interweaving of images of evolution. The idea is implanted— the evolutionary story of origins needs to supplant the Christian myth of origins, once and for all. One could call this Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens makes a movie.

It is always good to look at the sources of a particular claim whether made in this movie or somewhere else, and so here is the list of sources used in this particular film as provided by the author.

S1] – Singh, Madanjeet: ‘The Sun- Symbol of Power and Life, UNESCO Pub., 1993
[S2] – Krupp, Edwin: In Search of Ancient Astronomies, Mcgraw-Hill, 1979
[S3] – Carpenter, Edward: Pagan and Christian Creeds, DODO Press, Chaper III: “The Symbolism of the Zodiac
[S4] – Hall, Manly P.: The Secret Teachings of All Ages, 1928. Page 53-56 [Chapter: “The Zodiac and Its Signs]
[S5] – Carpenter, Edward: Pagan & Christian Creeds, 1920. Page 36-53 [Chaper III: “The Symbolism of the Zodiac]
[S6] – Acharya S.: Suns of God, Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004. Page 60-85 [Chaper III: “The Sun God”]
[S7] – Hazelrigg, John.: The Sun Book, Health Research, 1971. Page 43
[S8] – Acharya S.: Suns of God, Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004. Page 86-95
[S9] – Olcott, William Tyler : Suns Lore of All Ages, The Book Tree, 1914. Page 157
[S10] – Mackenzie, Donald: Egyption Myth and Legend, 1907 Page 163
[S11] – Churchward, Albert: The Origin & Evolution of Religion, Page 48, 51
[S12] – Acharya S.: Suns of God, Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004. Page 92, 113

[S13] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. Page 257-259
[S14] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Page 39-40
[S15] – Septehenses, Clerk De.: Religions. of the Ancient. Greeks, p. 214.
[S16] – Doane, Thomas.: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 327-328
[S17] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Page 40
[S18] – Hall, Manly P.: The Secret Teachings of All Ages, 1928. Page 53-56 [Chapter 7: “Isis, the Virgin of the World”]
[S19] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Page 12-13
[S20] – Jackson, John: Christianity before Christ, AAP, p111-113
[S21] -Walker, Barbara: Women’s Encyplodia of Myths and Secrets, p. 748-754
[S22] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Pages 56-61
[S23] – Massey, Gerald.: Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, Pages 613-620
[S24] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, Pages 614
[S25] – Massey, Gerald.: Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, Pages 600-607
[S26] – Doane, Thomas.: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 256, 273
[S27] – Massey, Gerald.: Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, Pages 623-661
[S28] – Massey, Gerald.: Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, Page 626
[S29] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Pages 74-75
[S30] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. Page 115
[S31] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Pages 43-47
[S32] – Acharya S.: Suns of God , Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004. Page 93
[S33] – Churchward, Albert: The Origin & Evolution of Religion, Page 135
[S34] – Bonswick, James: Egyption Belief and Modern Thought, p. 157
[S35] – Massey, Gerald.: Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, Page 628-629
[S36]
– Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 222- 223
[S37] – Bonswick, James: Egyption Belief and Modern Thought, p. 150-155, 178
[S38] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. Page 107-108
[S39] – Frazer, James.: The Golden Bough, Touchstone, 1963. Page 403-409
[S40] – Jackson, John: Christianity before Christ, AAP, p. 67
[S41] – Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 190-191
[S42] – Berry, Gerald: Religions of the World, B&N, p.20
[S43] – Weigall, Arthur: The Paganism in our Christianity, Thames & Hudson, 1999 p115-116
[S44] – Carpenter, Edward: Pagan and Christian Creeds, p 12
[S45] – Acharya S.: Suns of God , Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004. Chapter 7
[S46] – Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 113-115
[S47] – Wilkes, Charles (translator): Bhagavat-Geeta, 1785 p 52
[S48] – Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 278-288
[S49] – Freke & Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries, Three Rivers Press, p. 29, 33, 38, 48, 56
[S50] – Frazer, James.: The Golden Bough, Touchstone, 1963. Page 451-452, 543
[S51] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. Page 111-113
[S52] – Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 193
[S53] – Weigall, Arthur: The Paganism in our Christianity, Thames & Hudson, 1999 p220-224
[S54] – Carpenter, Edward: Pagan and Christian Creeds, DODO Press, p10
[S55] – Freke & Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries, Three Rivers Press, p. 33, 42
[S56] – Frazer, James.: The Golden Bough, Touchstone, 1963. Page 415-420
[S57] – Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 223
[S58] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. Page 118-120
[S59] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman
[S60] – Carpenter, Edward: Pagan and Christian Creeds, DODO Press, p16-17
[S61] – Charles F. Dupuis : Origine de Tous les Cultes, Paris, 1822
[S62] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Pages 12-13
[S63] – Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 140-146
[S64] – Irvin & Rutajit: Astrotheology and Shamanism, The Book Tree, Pages 25-26
[S65] – Carpenter, Edward: Pagan and Christian Creeds, DODO Press, p 17-18
[S66] – Frazer, James.: The Golden Bough, Touchstone, 1963. Page 391
[S67] – Moor, Edward, The Hindu Pantheon, Simpson, p154
[S68] – Maxwell, Tice, Snow: That Old-Time Religion,The Book Tree, p43
[S69] – Freke & Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries, Three Rivers Press, p. 33
[S70] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Pages 27
[S71] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. Pages 189-190
[S72] – Acharya S.: Suns of God , Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004. p199,220-221,352-353
[S73] – Frazer, James.: The Golden Bough, Touchstone, 1963. Page 415-417
[S74] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. Pages 154-155
[S75] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Pages 10, 98
[S76] – Maxwell, Tice, Snow: That Old-Time Religion,The Book Tree, p41
[S77] – Roy, S.B: Prehistoric Lunar Astronomy, Institute of Chronology, New Delhi, 1976 p.114
[S78] – Bonswick, James: Egyption Belief and Modern Thought, p. 174
[S79] – Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 495-508
[S80] – Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 483-492
[S81] – Olcott, William Tyler : Suns Lore of All Ages, The Book Tree, 1914. chapter IX
[S82] – Hall, Manly P.: The Secret Teachings of All Ages, 1928. Page 183
[S83] – Doane, Thomas: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 496
[S84] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. Pages 166-183
[S85] – Higgins, Godfrey: Anacalypsis, A&B Books. Pages 781-782
[S86] – Anderson, Karl: Astrology of the Old Testamate, Health Re. p18
[S87] – Jackson, John: Christianity before Christ, AAP, p. 185
[S88] – Campbell, Jospeh: Creative Mytholigy- The Masks of God, Penguin, p 24-25
[S89] – Churchward, Albert: The Origin & Evolution of Religion, p 363
[S90] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.218
[S91] – Maxwell, Tice, Snow: That Old-Time Religion,The Book Tree, p41
[S92] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, John 9:5
[S93] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Matthew 28:6
[S94] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman John 14:3
[S95] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, 2 Corinthians 4:6
[S96] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Romans 13:12
[S97] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, John 3:3
[S98] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Mark 13:26
[S99] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, John 3:13
[S100] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, John 19:5
[S101] – Hall, Manly P.: The Secret Teachings of All Ages, 1928. Page 53-54
[S102] – A.L. Berger; Obliquity & Precession for the last 5 million years; Astronomy & astrophysics (1976), p127
[S103] – Campion, Nicholas: The Great Year: Astrology, Millenarianism, and History in the Western Tradition, Penguin
[S104] – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession_of_the_equinoxes
[S105] – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Aquarius
[S106] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Exodus 32-34
[S107] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Exodus 32:27
[S108] – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_calf#The_Sin_of_Idolatry
[S109] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.146
[S110] -Wagner, Leopold: Manners, Customs, and Observances; Jewish Fasts and Festivals 1894 # 403
[S111] – Carpenter, Edward: Pagan and Christian Creeds, DODO Press, p16-17
[S112] – Acharya S.: Suns of God , Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004. p 127
[S113] – Hall, Manly P.: The Secret Teachings of All Ages, 1928. P 55
[S114] – Dowling, Eva S. A, Ph.D: Scribe to the Messenger, p 6
[S115] – Carpenter, Edward: Pagan
and Christian Creeds, DODO Press, p 30
[S116] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, John 6:9-11
[S117] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Matthew 4:19
[S118] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.146
[S119] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.146-147
[S120] – Leedom, Tim.: The Book your Church Doesnt Want You to Read, Truth Seeker,. p.25
[S121] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Matthew 28:20
[S122] – Maxwell, Tice, Snow: That Old-Time Religion,The Book Tree, p44
[S123] – Churchward, Albert: The Origin & Evolution of Religion, p 282, 366
[S124] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Pages 1-10
[S125] – Massey, Gerald.: Lectures, A & B, p 7-8
[S126] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.265-274
[S127] – Wells, G.A.: Who was Jesus?, Open Court 1991 p179
[S128] – Jackson, John: Christianity before Christ, AAP, p. 109-118
[S129] – Budge. Sir. E.A. Wallis: The Gods of the Egyptions Vol I, Methuen and Co. p566-599
[S130] – Churchward, Albert: The Origin & Evolution of Religion, p 394-403
[S131] – Doane, Thomas.: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 122,190,213,222,256,327,363,476,484
[S132] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.115-116
[S133] – Jackson, John: Christianity before Christ, AAP, p. 110-112
[S134] – Massey, Gerald.: The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ, The Book Tree, . Pages 32-35
[S135] – Massey, Gerald.: Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, Page 663-671
[S136] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.237-239
[S137]
Walker, Barbara: Women’s Encyplodia of Myths and Secrets, p. 315
[S138]
Thompson, R. Campbell (tr. by ): The Epic of Gilgamish, 1928
[S139]
Budge. Sir. E.A. Wallis: The Babylonian Story of the Deluge and the Epic of Gilgamish, 1929
[S140]
Teeple, Howard M.: The Noah’s Ark Nonsense, Religion and Ethics Institute, 1978
[S141] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Exodus 2:1-10
[S142] – Blavatsky, H. P.: The Secret Doctrine Vol 1, p 319-320
[S143] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.241-243
[S144] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Exodus 20:2-17
[S145] – Doane, Thomas.: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 55-61
[S146] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.241
[S147] – Doane, Thomas.: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 60
[S148] – Graham, Lloyd, Deceptions and Myths of the Bible, Citidel, 1991, p. 147
[S149] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, Pages 526-528
[S150] – Budge. Sir. E.A. Wallis: The Book of the Dead, Gramercy, Chapter CXXV
[S151] – Doane, Thomas.: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 319-321
[S152] – Budge. Sir. E.A. Wallis: The Book of the Dead, Gramercy, p66
[S153] – Budge. Sir. E.A. Wallis: The Book of the Dead, Gramercy, Chapter CXXV
[S154] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, p99-148
[S155] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, p84, 197-198,200, 202, 213, 215
[S155] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, p888-893
[S156] – Doane, Thomas.: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 181-205
[S157] – Maxwell, Tice, Snow: That Old-Time Religion,The Book Tree, p51-53
[S158] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, p942, 951-952
[S159] – Doane, Thomas.: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 85-87
[S160] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, Book 4, p149-196
[S161] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics , p92 180, 192, 26-266
[S162] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.237-239
[S163] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World , Cosimo, p130, 228, 274, 584-585, 859, 870, 880
[S164] – Olcott, William Tyler : Suns Lore of All Ages, The Book Tree, 1914. chapter IX
[S165] – Bonwick, James: Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought, C. Kegan, 1878, p.237
[S166] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, p888, 797 [* also see S163]
[S167] – Martyr, Justin: First Apology / The Apostolic Fathers: Martyr and Irenaeus by Philip Schaff. Eerdmans Pub.
[S168] – Martyr, Justin: I Apol., chs. xxi, xxii; ANF. i, 170; cf. Add. ad Grace. ch. lxix; Ib. 233.
[S169] – Freke & Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries, Three Rivers Press, Chapter 3 -“Diabolical Mimicry”
[S170] – Doane, Thomas.: Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, p. 466-507
[S171] – Churchward, Albert: The Origin & Evolution of Religion, p 404-409
[S172] – Carpenter, Edward: Pagan and Christian Creeds, DODO Press, Chaper II & III
[S173] – Massey, Gerald. :Ancient Egypt The Light of The World ,Cosimo Classics, p563-622
[S174] – Acharya S.: Suns of God , Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004. Chapters II, III, IV
[S175] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Gen. 30:22-24
[S176] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Matt. 1:18-23
[S177] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Gen. 42:13
[S178] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Matt. 10-1
[S179] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Gen. 37:28
[S180] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Matt. 26:15
[S181] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Gen. 37:26-27
[S182] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Matthew 26:14-15
[S183] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Gen. 37:28
[S184] – King James Version, The Holy Bible, Holman, Matthew 26:15
[S185] – Murdock, D.M. – Who was Jesus?, Steller House Publishing, Chapter “Extrabiblical Testimony”
[S186] – Remsburg, John E.: The Christ Myth, Nuvision Pub, p 17-30
[S187] – Freke & Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries, Three Rivers Press, p. 133-139
[S188] – Doherty, Earl: The Jesus Puzzle, A&R,p78

[S189] – Acharya S.: Suns of God , Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004. p381-388
[S190] – Doherty, Earl: The Jesus Puzzle, A&R, Chapter 2
[S191] – Freke & Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries, Three Rivers Press, Chapter 7
[S192] – Murdock, D.M. – Who was Jesus?, Steller House Publishing, 2005
[S193] – Remsburg, John E.: The Christ Myth, Nuvision Pub, Chapter 1
[S194] – Allegro, John – The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth, Prometheus Books, 190-203
[S195] – Massey, Gerald. : Lectures- Gnostic amd Historic Christianity,Cosimo Classics, p. 73-104
[S196] – Freke & Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries, Three Rivers Press, p 89-110, 253-256
[S197] – Acharya S.: The Christ Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999. p.340-342

What do we notice about this list of sources? Not a single one of these authors and sources are experts in the Bible, Biblical history, the Ancient Near East, Egyptology, or any of the cognate fields. Many of these sources are quite old, and the arguments they present have long since been shown to be weak. Frazer’s venerable work The Golden Bough will perhaps be the most familiar of all the sources cited, and some of you may have heard of poor John Allegro, who tried to argue that the Christian movement arose out of an early mushroom cult. His work was laughed out of the guild along time ago, and this is sad since he did do some interesting work on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which by the way, do not comment on, nor have anything to do with the origins of the Jesus movement itself,l except very tangentially if (and it is an if) John the Baptizer may have been connected with the Essenes.

The point of my listing these sources is that they are not reliable sources of information about the origins of Christianity, Judaism, or much of anything else of relevance to this discussion. The essential argument behind this sort of movie and polemic is an argument called ‘syncretism’. That is, that there is nothing new under the sun religiously, and so of course we must explain the origins of things like the resurrection of Jesus on the basis of Egyptian notions of the afterlife. Never mind that Egyptian thought was polytheistic and despised by early Jews, and never mind that in fact what is discussed in the Book of Dead and elsewhere in Egyptian literature is an afterlife in another world, not a coming back to this one in the same body, still, in a syncretistic argument one must posit the origins of the Jewish ideas on the basis of some other religion, which is equally mythological. And in such an argument it is important which is the chicken and which the egg.

Zoroastrianism also comes into play here in these sources, as the supposed origins of Judaism or Christianity. Of course the problem with this is, we have no ancient sources on Zoroaster that pre-date Christian sources, much less that pre-date Jewish sources like the Dead Sea Scrolls. None. It is an open question historically whether and what can be known at all about Zoroaster and the origins of the religion named after him. What we can say is, there is no hint of any direct influence of either that religion or Egyptian religion per se, in the Old Testament or New Testament. You will not be finding seminars at the national SBL meeting on how Zoroastrian religion and Egyptian religion explains all we need to know about the origins of Biblical religion.
Indeed, what you can find in the Bible is the deconstruction of other culture’s myths, or better said the demythologizing of such material, by Biblical writers doing polemics. George Earnest Wright, from whom I learned much at Harvard used to stress that Jews were not on the whole a myth-making people. He was right about this. They grounded their stories in history, particularly what has come to be called salvation history. And when they used mythological images (like e.g. the image of the great sea monster Leviathan) they used them in historical ways. A good example of this sort of practice is some of the material we find in the book of Revelation. Rev. 12 tells the tale about a woman, representing an historical group people, with a dragon on her tale, trying to destroy her son, and when that failed, then her. Mythological images are certainly being used here, from the old combat myths (see my Revelation commentary). But what is interesting about the usage is that the mythological images are used to serve historical purposes– the author believes not only there is a historical people of God, he believes there is a real spiritual being called Satan, and he uses the most gnarly mythological images he can find to describe him. This is called demythologizing mythological images and using them for other and historical purposes.

Finally, you will notice as well that Mr. Joseph has not bothered to consult any expert commentators on the Hebrew or Greek texts of the Bible. He simply cites the King James Version when he wants to talk about the Bible.

Of course Peter Joseph is that increasingly popular kind of writer and movie producer– the conspiracy theory specialist (think Dan Brown on steroids). His essential argument is that the truth about the mythological origins of all religions has been suppressed for oh so long. His argument is that all savior figures are anthropological projections, creating a religious myth. He also wants to see them all whether Mithra or Jesus or someone else as all fictional creations. He is especially angry about elitism– his view is that the myth of Judaism and Christianity was imposed on the world from the top down, and we are still suffering from this sort of elitist thinking. So, in his view Jesus did not exist and we have all been lied to about this matter.
So of course Peter Joseph is also regaling us with the theory that his theories have been suppressed, and his film black-listed. If you go on Youtube and look up comments on the Zeitgeist movie, including a radio interview with Joseph, and a brief comment by that true pundit, Keith Olbermann, you will see that not only is this movie about conspiracies, this movie is seen as the victim of a suppression ‘conspiracy’.

Never mind it is a bad movie based on shabby ‘research’ ( I use the term loosely) and actually no historical understanding about Jesus and the origins of Christianity. Never mind that Mr. Joseph can’t tell the difference between arguments about the myth of the Easter bunny and arguments about Jesus Christ. He’s got his knickers all in a knot because his ‘truth’ is being suppressed. It has not occurred to him that maybe, just maybe, thoughtful people who know far more than he does about this subject are very kindly letting his bad movie die a slow death, as it did not deserve worldwide attention and fame and fortune. The problem with syncretistic thinking like Joseph’s is that you put all sorts of disparate sources and information into your mental blender and blend them all together. Thus the Jesus myth and conspiracy is likened by him to the cover up of 911 conspiracy and so on. The sad part about this is that it is just emoting and anger masked as and pretending to be historical research and scientific evidence. The sad part he believes that he is the victim of the suppression of free speech.

But back to the movie itself. An unknown voice at the beginning of the film tells us that religious institutions of this world are at the bottom of the conspiracy to suppress humankind in order to support the rich elite establishment’. This at the heart of the argument of this film. Government is being accused of taking authority as the truth, rather than truth as their authority, and using religion as the tool to support repressive regimes and false ideologies and myths. Religion is seen as the ulti
mate source of b.s. in our world, and of course particularly the Christian religion.

About ten minutes into the film we get the ‘lowdown’ on ‘The Greatest Story (aka fib) ever told’. This is the part of the film I am concerned with, and the rest of the post will deal with it. The story begins by informing us that cultures have always personified and anthropomorphized the sun and stars, depicting them as people. This is partially true, but it certainly isn’t an explanation for the origins of Hebrew religion, which kept critiquing sun and moon god worship, denied there were multiple deities in the heavens, and ridiculed the notion that stars were gods who controlled one’s fate. If one reads the OT carefully, you will notice that the sun and moon are seen as controlled by Yahweh. And when the subject of sons of God, the one true God does come up the phrase in Gen. 5 refers to fallen angels who mate with human women, and later in the OT it refers to the king, and finally to the last great king– the messiah. There is nothing whatsoever in any of this that is remotely close to the idea of sun worship, or seeing the sun itself as a deity. And while we are at it– there is no reason to associate the word sun with the word son, and simply blend together all ideas about both in antiquity. But this sort of syncretistic thinking is at the heart of this film, and it leads to massive distortions of religious history.
The analysis of Egyptian mythology in the film has a very few things right, fortunately about Horus and Set, the sun god and his antithesis. Unfortunately it gets most of the story of Horus wrong. He claims the Horus myth says he was born on Dec. 25th, born of a virgin, star in the east, worshipped by kings, and was a teacher by 12. This he claims was the original form of the myth in 3000 B.C. It would be nice to know how Mr. Joseph learned this, since we don’t have any ancient Egyptians texts that go back that far on this matter. Furthermore this disinformation he gives in the film is refuted by numerous analysis of the proper sources. See for example the entry in Wikipedia, part of which I give you below. Notice in particular the section on the conception of Horus by Isis. There is no virginal conception, but again not only is Mr. Joseph guilty of falsely blending together various different religions which developed largely regionally and independently of each other, he is actually guilty of falsifying some of the claims made in the Egyptian myths (see below). What follows between the dash lines is the Wiki info and it is basically correct, Mr. Joseph’s polemic— not so much. Ironically he does a disservice to all the religions he discusses.

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Sky god

This is thought to be the original form of Horus.[3] His name meaning ‘high’ or ‘distant’ reflects his sky nature. He was seen as a great falcon with outstretched wings whose right eye was the sun and the left one was the moon. One of the sky-god forms of Horus was ‘Nekheny’ (meaning ‘he of Nekhen‘ or Hierakonopolis).

[edit] Sun god

?r.w “Horus”

in hieroglyphs

H Hr
r

Since Horus was said to be the sky, it was natural that he soon was considered also to contain the sun and moon. It became said that the sun was one of his eyes and the moon the other, and that they traversed the sky when he, a falcon, flew across it. Thus he became known as HarmertyHorus of two eyes.[4] and Heru-khuti (in Egyptian) seem to be none other than Horus Later, the reason that the moon was not so bright as the sun was explained by a new tale, known as the contestings of Horus and Set, originating as a metaphor for the conquest of Upper Egypt by Lower Egypt in about 3000 B.C. In this tale, it was said that Set, the patron of Upper Egypt, and Horus, the patron of Lower Egypt, had battled for Egypt brutally, with neither side victorious, until eventually the deities sided with Horus.

A painting of the god Ra-Horakhty wearing the symbol for Wadjet, the cobra sun deity, as a crown - typically the symbol remains, but the names of the deities performing the function change as new cults arise

A painting of the god Ra-Horakhty wearing the symbol for Wadjet, the cobra sun deity, as a crown – typically the symbol remains, but the names of the deities performing the function change as new cults arise

As Horus was the ultimate victor he became known as Harsiesis, Heru-ur or Har-Wer (?r.w wr ‘Horus the Great’), but more usually translated as Horus the Elder. In the struggle Set had lost a testicle, explaining why the desert, which Set represented, is infertile. Horus’ left eye also had been goug
ed out, which explained why the moon, which it represented, was so weak compared to the sun. It also was said that during a new-moon, Horus had become blinded and was titled Mekhenty-er-irty (m?nty r ?r.ty ‘He who has no eyes’), while when the moon became visible again, he was re-titled Khenty-er-irty (?nty r ?r.ty ‘He who has eyes’). While blind, it was considered that Horus was quite dangerous, sometimes attacking his friends after mistaking them for enemies.

r?-??r-3i?? “
Re-Harachte”

in hieroglyphs

G9

Ultimately, as another sun god, Horus became identified with Ra as Ra-Herakhty r?-??r-3i??, literally Ra, who is Horus of the two horizons. However, this identification proved to be awkward, for it made Ra the son of Hathor, and therefore a created being rather than the creator. And, even worse, it made Ra into Horus, who was the son of Ra, i.e. it made Ra his own son and father, in a standard sexually-reproductive manner, an idea that would not be considered comprehensible to the Egyptians until the Hellenic era. Consequently Ra and Horus never completely merged into a single falcon-headed sun god.

Nevertheless the idea of making the identification persisted as with most of the symbols used in ancient Egyptian religion, and Ra continued to be depicted as falcon-headed. Likewise, as Ra-Herakhty, in an allusion to the Ogdoad creation myth, Horus was occasionally shown in art as a naked boy with a finger in his mouth sitting on a lotus with his mother, Hathor. In the form of a youth, Horus was referred to as Neferhor. This is also spelled Nefer Hor, Nephoros or Nopheros (nfr ?r.w) meaning ‘The Good Horus’.

In an attempt to resolve the conflict in the myths, Ra-Herakhty was occasionally said to be married to Iusaaset, which was said to be his shadow, having previously been Atum‘s shadow, before Atum was identified as Ra, in the form Atum-Ra, and thus of Ra-Herakhty when Ra was also identified as a form of Horus. In much earlier myths Iusaaset, meaning: (the) great (one who) comes forth, was seen as the mother and grandmother of all of the deities. In the version of the Ogdoad creation myth used by the Thoth cult, Thoth created Ra-Herakhty, via an egg, and so was said to be the father of Neferhor.

[edit] Conception

Horus, (Louvre Museum), 'Shen rings' in his grasp

Horus, (Louvre Museum), ‘Shen rings‘ in his grasp

Isis had Osiris‘ body returned to Egypt after his death; Set had retrieved the body of Osiris and dismembered it into 14 pieces which he scattered all over Egypt. Thus Isis went out to search for each piece which she then buried. This is why there are many tombs to Osiris. The only part she did not find in her search was the genitals of Osiris which were thrown into a river by Set. She fashioned a substitute penis after seeing the condition it was in once she had found it and proceeded to have intercourse with the dead Osiris which resulted in the conception of Horus the child.[5]

[edit] Conflict between Horus and Set

By the Nineteenth dynasty, the previous brief enmity between Set and Horus, in which Horus had ripped off one of Set’s testicles, was revitalised as a separate tale. According to Papyrus Chester-Beatty I, Set was considered to have been homosexual and is depicted as trying to prove his dominance by seducing Horus and then having intercourse with him. However, Horus places his hand between his thighs and catches Set’s semen, then subsequently throws it in the river, so that he may not be said to have been inseminated by Set. Horus then deliberately spreads his own semen on some lettuce, which was Set’s favorite food (the Egyptians thought that lettuce was phallic). After Set has eaten the lettuce, they go to the deities to try to settle the argument over the rule of Egypt. The deities first listen to Set’s claim of dominance over Horus, and call his semen forth, but it answers from the river, invalidating his claim. Then, the deities listen to Horus’ claim of having dominated Set, and call his semen forth, and it answers from inside Set.[6] In consequence, Horus is declared the ruler of Egypt.

[edit] Brother of Isis

Horus

When Ra assimilated Atum into Atum-Ra, Horus became considered part of what had been the Ennead. Since in this version Atum had no wife and produced his children by masturbating de facto, Hathor was easily inserted as the mother of the previously “motherless” subsequent generation of children. However, Horus did not fit in so easily, since if he was identified as the son of Hathor and Atum-Ra in the Ennead, he would then be the brother of the primordial air and moisture, and the uncle of the sky and earth, between which there was initially nothing, which was not very consistent with his being the sun. Instead, he was made the brother of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys, as this was the only plausible level at which he could meaningfully rule over the sun and the pharaoh’s kingdom. It was in this form that he was worshipped at Behdet as Har-Behedti (also abbreviated Bebti).

Since Horus had become more and more identified with the sun since his identification as Ra, his identification as also being the moon suffered, so it was possible for the rise of other moon deities, without complicating the system of belief too much. Consequently, Chons became a new moon god. Thoth, who also had been a moon god, became much more associated with secondary mythological aspects of the moon, such as wisdom, healing, and peace making. When the cult of Thoth arose in power, Thoth was inserted into new versions of the earlier myths, making Thoth the one whose magic caused the semen of Set and Horus to respond–in the tale of the contestings of Set and Horus, for example.

Thoth’s priests went on to explain how it could be possible that in older myths there were five children of Geb and Nut. They said that Thoth had prophesied the birth of a great king of the gods and so Ra, afraid of being usurped, had cursed Nut with not being able to give birth on any day in the year. In order to remove this curse, Thoth proceeded to gamble with Chons, winning 1/72nd of moonlight from him. Prior to this time in Egyptian history, the calendar had 360 days. The Egyptian calendar was reformed around this time and gained five extra days, so a new version of the myth was used to explain the five children of Nut. 1/72 portion of moonlight for each day corresponded to five extra days, and so the new tale states that Nut was able to give birth to her five children again, one on each of these extra days.

[edit] Mystery religion

Since recognition of Horus as the son of Osiris was only in existence after Osiris’s death, and because Horus, in an earlier guise, was the husband of Isis, in later traditions, it came to be said that Horus was the resurrected form of Osiris.[citation needed] Likewise, as the form of Horus before his death and resurrection, Osiris, who had already become considered a form of creator when belief about Osiris assimilated that about Ptah-Seker, also became considered to be the only creator, since Horus had gained these aspects of Ra.

Eventually, in the Hellenic period, Horus was, in some locations, identified completely as Osiris, and became his own Father, since this concept was not so disturbing to Greek philosophy as it had been to that of ancient Egypt. In this form, Horus was sometimes known as Heru-sema-tawy (?r.w sm? t?.wy ‘Horus, Uniter of Two Lands’).

Part of a menat necklace said to depict Hariesis (Horus) extending a sistrum in front of the goddess Sekhmet

Part of a menat necklace said to depict Hariesis (Horus) extending a sistrum in front of the goddess Sekhmet

By assimilating Hathor—who had herself assimilated Bat, who was associated with music and in particular, the sistrum—Isis was likewise, thought of in some areas in the same manner. This particularly happened amongst the groups who thought of Horus as his own father, and so Horus, in the form of the son, amongst these groups often became known as Ihy (alternately: Ihi, Ehi, Ahi, Ihu), meaning “sistrum player”, which allowed the confusion between the father and son to be side-stepped. A supplicant depicted on an Egyptian menat necklace is said to depict Hariesis (Horus) extending a sistrum in front of the goddess Sekhmet, an earlier sun deity who also was seen as an aspect of Hathor.

The combination of this, now rather esoteric new mythology, with the philosophy of Plato, which was becoming popular on the Mediterranean shores, lead to the tale becoming the basis of a mystery religion. Many Greeks, and those of other nations, who encountered the faith, thought it so profound that they sought to create their own, modelled upon it, but using their own deities. This led to the creation of what was effectively one religion, which was, in many places, adjusted to reflect, albeit superficially, the local mythology although it substantially adjusted them. The new religion is known to modern scholars as that of Osiris-Dionysus.

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I could go on about the egregious errors in his presentation of Horus, who was not called the lamb of God, and was not crucified and resurrected, even in the myth. The story of Horus is of course the story of the rebirth of the sun in east, and it is based on the cycles of nature, not on any sort of historical claims at all, unlike the story of Jesus. But more to the point the story of Horus does not include many of the elements that Joseph claims it does— shame on him for not doing his homework properly even on Egyptology. I could go through Mithraism and Dionysius worship and Attis worship, and Krishan. but you can get to the bottom of these on your own time, even just by using Wikipedia and the sources it cites. Suffice it to say that it is not true that it was believed all these deities were born on Dec. 25th, and in any case the Bible never claims or suggests Jesus was born on such a date. This was a much later guess by church fathers, and is irrelvant to this discussion of Biblical origins. Nor is it true to say that all these stories have basically the same elements and pattern. One thing you can say about Mr. Joseph’s film– he is an equal opportunity distorter of world religions in general, its just that Christianity is the particular object of his ire.

HERE’S THE BIG POINT— JOSEPH READS THE STORY OF JESUS BACK INTO THESE OTHER MYTHOLOGICAL STORIES, AND THEN CLAIMS– SHAZAM– THE STORY OF JESUS COMES FROM THESE OTHER STORIES, WHICH HE HAS ANACHRONISTICALLY READ IN LIGHT OF THE JESUS STORY. THIS IS BOTH BAD HISTORY AND BAD RELIGIOUS ANALYSIS. TO MY KNOWLEDGE THERE IS NO STORY THAT DATES FROM BEFORE THE TIME OF JESUS THAT HAS MOST OF THE SPECIFIC ELEMENTS LISTED IN THE FILM AS DISTINGUISHING THE JESUS STORY— FOR EXAMPLE THE STORY OF A VIRGINAL CONCEPTION, CRUCIFIXION, OR BODILY RESURRECTION OF A DIVINE SON OF GOD. AND AGAIN, THE BIBLE SAYS NOTHING ABOUT THE SPECIFIC DATE OR TIME OF JESUS’ BIRTH. MOST SCHOLARS THINK IT WAS IN THE SPRING DUE TO THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SHEPHERDS BEING IN THE FIELDS WITH THEIR SHEEP. AND ONE MORE THING. BOTH JEWISH HISTORIANS LIKE JOSEPHUS, AND ROMAN ONES LIKE TACTITUS AND LATER SUETONIUS ARE PERFECTLY CLEAR JESUS ACTUALLY EXISTED, AND TACITUS TELLS US HE DIED ON A CROSS, BEING EXECUTED UNDER PILATE. APPARENTLY MR. JOSEPH COULDN’T EVEN GIVE THIS ONE FACT STRAIGHT. THERE IS MORE HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF JESUS THAN THERE IS FOR THE HISTORICAL EXISTENCE OF JULIUS CAESAR FOR EXAMPLE.

One of the things the Zeitgeist movie does not tell you is that the Hebrews already long since had a religion when they went to Egypt both in the time of Joseph and in the time of Moses. And those who are experts in ancient Hebrew religion will tell you that the differences between a monotheistic or henotheistic religion that grounded in historical persons and actions, and the Egyptian mythology which is grounded in the cycles of nature, the rising and setting of the sun, the motions of the stars, etc. are considerable. Consider for example the ancient poem in the Psalms– Ps. 8. The sun, the moon and the stars are all seen by the psalmist as but the works of God’s fingers, like a child molding things out of playdough. The Biblical God is a God of creation, one who has made all things that exist. In that same psalm we see that human beings are the crown of God’s creation, created in God’s image. Notice the anti-anthropomorphic theology here. God is not the sun, he does not have a son that is the sun, indeed creation is simply something that the one God has made. Now the important part about this is that it desacralizes nature. Nature is not a god or gods, it is not divine, and neither are human beings as human beings. What ‘Zeitgeist’ of course does not tell you is that this sort of Judaeo-Christian idea about the world and its creatures is the basis of modern science, which assumes that creation is not God, and therefore is not defiled by inquiry, scientific examination and the like. The attempt to portray Biblical religion as anti-science, knows neither the origins of Biblical religion nor the origins of modern science. Let me add to this that we must not make the mistake of assuming that just because some churches or Christians along the way have been anti-intellectual and indeed have suppressed truth about various matters, including scientific ones (a fact which cannot be denied, sadly), this has nothing whatsoever to do with the prior question of the origins of Biblical religion or for that matter the origins of modern science. Those questions need to be assessed on their own merits. Conspiracies and suppressions by Popes tell us nothing about the truth of Biblical religion or science. It’s just a case of Christian behaving badly.

A few more of the messes on aisle three of this film need to be cleared up. The scholarly work on the star in the east, if it is historical, and most scholars think it may be, centers on the conjunction of planets, specifically Jupiter and Venus (see e.g. the movie the Nativity which actually gets this bit right). It does not center on Sirius, the dog star. Bethlehem certainly does mean the house of bread. It has nothing to do with the constellation Virgo, which indeed is short for virgin. It has to do with this region being fertile enough to support both grass and wheat- hence shepherds and farmers. And while we are at it– Jesus’ mother’s name is Miryam– from the OT sister of Moses, Miriam. Maria or Mary is simply our anglicized way of referring to that name. The attempt to explain the origins of the story of the death and resurrrection of Jesus on the basis of the winter solstice and what happens on Dec. 22-25 would be laughable if Mr. Joseph wasn’t serious. First of all, the Gospels are clear that Jesus was not in the tomb for three whole days, only parts of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Were there an attempt by the Evangelists to conform this to some astrological phenomena or pattern, this is inexplicable.

Secondly, as I have said, there is no association in the NT of either the death or the resurrection of Jesus with the winter solstice or what happens then. The story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection are not told in light of such thinking about the winter solstice at all. Indeed the notion of resurrection had long existed in Judaism before the time of Jesus (see e.g. Dan. 12.1-2), and was not concocted in light of astrology or any other nature religion. This is a key point– nature religions are indeed grounded in the cycle of the seasons, and focus on fertility gods etc. This is very different from religions based on history and revelation or prophecy. But the syncretism of Mr. Joseph will not allow that there are different types of world religions, and differing origins for them as well.

What about the claim that the twelve disciples represent the 12 constellations of the Zodiac? Well once again, Mr. Joseph has not bothered to do his homework.
There was this little entity called the 12 tribes of Israel, going back to Jacob and his 12 sons. Those stories in Genesis are not astrological in character at all, but rather are explanations of a historical origins of a people. The 12 disciples are chosen by Jesus, not because he was a stargazer, but because he was attempting to reform, and indeed re-form Israel. The twelve disciples represent the 12 tribes of Israel, and you will remember that Jesus promised that at the eschaton they will be sitting on 12 thrones, judging those 12 tribes. Once more, this is a sort of historical and eschatological thinking, not a sort of astrological thinking, and the claim that the Bible has more to do with astrology than anything else, can only be called a category mistake. Clearly, Mr. Joseph has done no work whatsoever in the study of the various genre of Biblical literature which he could hjave gotten from any standard introduction to the Bible, even those written by agnostics and skeptics. The moral here is– don’t make a movie of this ilk, unless you have first carefully done fact check– he hasn’t!!

The origins of the symbol of the cross. Here again Mr. Joseph thinks it derives from the cross in the Zodiac imposed on the circle of the 12 astrological signs of the Zodiac. There are various problems with this theory. First of all consider the most basic ancient zodiac pattern we have– for example in the floor of the synagogue at Sepphoris. Jews, like ever other group of agrarian peoples were interested in the weather and the seasons. Do we find a cross pattern? No. See the picture of the Zodiac posted at the top of this blog entry. My point is symbol. Mr. Joseph has done no first hand historical work on ancient Zodiac symbols, he has simply believed the pablum he has imbibed from various of his out-dated, and inaccurate sources. The origin of the symbol of the cross of course derives from the Roman practice of crucifixion, not from some supposed astrological pattern. Jesus died in 30 A.D. on a cross outside of Jerusalem, a victim of Roman injustice as even the Romans admitted.

What about the date of the turn of the era? Much is made by Mr. Joseph about how in 1 A.D. a new ‘age’ or astrological cycle begins, after the age of the Ram. Unfortunately for Mr. Joseph, Jesus was born somewhere between 2-6 B.C. He was not born in 1 A.D. How do we know this? Because Jesus was born whilst Herod the Great was still king of the Holy land, and the records are clear that Herod died about 2 B.C. ergo Jesus had to be born before then (see my articles on these matters in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels). How then do we have our modern calendar? Well it was set by a gentleman named Dionysius the short, or as I like to call him Denny the dwarf, who had to much time on his hands, and estimated the turn of the era to be at the juncture we now have it, based on when he thought Jesus was born. he was off by four or so years. In any case, the birth of Jesus transpires before the supposed turn of the ages in the astrological schema touted by Mr. Joseph. Jesus’s birth certainly did not usher in the age of Pisces or the fish. The fish symbol comes into Christianity from the gematric value of the Greek word ICHTHUS– with each letter standing for a word, in this case Insous, Christos, theos, uios and soter– Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior. It would be nice as well if at least he could get the astrology and symbology part right– but alas, abandon hope, he hasn’t even properly done his homework on that subject either.

Does Moses represent the new age of Ares? Nope. Was the golden calf an attempt to worship Taurus the bull constellation? Probably not. Do Jews blow a ram’s horn because Moses threw his tablets down in disgust at the worship of Taurus and inaugurated the age of the Ram? I am sure Moses would be surprised to hear it. And one more thing. We really do not have ancient sources on Mithra, comparable to what we have on Moses and the Israelites. Most of what we know about Mithraism comes from the NT era and later. There is no good historical reason to think Mithraism is the origins of either Judaism or Christianity.

I could go on, and on, but this post is more than long enough. There is only one possible conclusion about the Zeitgeist movie. Mr. Joseph himself has drunk deeply from the increasingly pagan zeitgeist of our age, and unfortunately he has believed what he has consumed. He has believed and now propagated numerous historical, philosophical, and ideological falsehoods. I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he is not just a prankster, but one who is simply angry with religion in general. The fact is of course that many people agree with him, and so the popularity of his video.

My word to the viewers of such a film in a Jesus haunted culture which is Biblically illiterate is the advice of my grandmother long ago— “don’t be so open minded that your brains fall out.” Check everything carefully, especially outlandish historical claims, even if you can’t do more than read Wikipedia entries. You will discover that Mr. Joseph is like that ancient emperor— he may have thought he was wearing the latest fashion, and was intellectually well clothed in the robes of truth, but in fact, this imperialistic film maker has no clothes. His myths are easy to deconstruct.

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