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Navin Kariyawasam. Oct.

19 2012

What Effect Does the Relationship to Astrology Have on Christianity?


When I first learned about this assignment, I didnt really like it. I thought the copious time spent recording responses to everything was a waste which simply decreased efficiency. Now however, I see the value in keeping notes in this way. When I choose a topic for a research project, I like to take a long time to do so. I think its very important to be really interested in ones topic, and have a genuine desire to know more. Because of this, I switched topics a lot at the beginning. I started out with religion in Canadas legislature, but this proved to be a bit too hard to research for my tastes, so I began to search again. Looking over my web, I realized that I really wanted to do a religious topic. I flitted around a couple of topics, but none really stuck with me. Then I remembered a video I watched which was trying to disprove the Christian faith. It talked about ancient myths that were very similar to Christian stories, and how they had astrological backgrounds. I decided to go with this topic as I wanted to know if this information was true, and also if it really disproved Christianity. The things I already knew about my topic were just the basic facts I remembered from the video, so I needed to learn a lot more. These facts were what Ive already explained; that Christ is similar to other ancient gods, and that some believe this is because of astrological influence. However, the main thing I wanted to understand about this topic was not actually the factual evidence provided by other people, but rather the logical conclusions we can make

from this evidence. In other words, I was more interested in what this meant for Christianity, as opposed to precisely what this is. As I began my research, I noted two challenges in this topic. One was that it is fairly sensitive, because we have a religiously diverse class; this meant that I would be somewhat restricted in my writing, so as to not offend anyone. The second challenge would be finding a reputable source of information. I found that 90% of the sources on my topic were by either angry Christian people reacting to videos like the one I watched, or illogical atheists trying to definitively disprove Christianity. To solve this problem I decided to record the information from these illegitimate sources, and then verify those single facts with more reputable sources. This proved to be useful and efficient. The first source I looked at was the video that first got me interested in the topic. It actually turned out to be quite a famous one with numerous responses from both sides (atheists and Christians). I also discovered that they were small snippets taken from a large documentary titled Zeitgeist by Peter Joseph. I searched for the full documentary but could not find it anywhere. The Zeitgeist Youtube video proved to be very informative, providing heaps of information on precisely my topic. It introduced the claim that Christianity is astrologically based by explaining that many previous Gods in cultures around the world were strongly related to Christ (2012). After looking at numerous other resources about this I had gathered a fair amount of information on five ancient gods. Here is a table I have prepared summarizing the information I collected:

Horus
Egypt 3000 BC
Born Dec. 25 Born of virgin Star in East Adorned by three Kings Teacher at 12 Baptized at 30 and started ministry 12 disciples Performed miracles Crucified Dead for 3 days Resurrected
Grey Having this trait

Attis
Greece 1200 BC

Krishna
India 900 BC

Dionysus
Greece 500 BC

Mithra
Persia 1200 BC

Christ

White Not having this trait

All of this information was very shocking, as I was not expecting so many similarities between so many gods. I realized that not only did this not disprove Christianity, which I will expand on later, but it also may be largely false. This was a collection of illegitimate resources which were the only ones I could find on my topic.
Then, of course, I researched why these connections exist, and whether they have astrological backgrounds. I found that numerous sources supported this idea. For example, on Dec. 22, the sun will often stop moving for three days, residing under the southern crux constellation, but then rises again on Dec. 25, at which point a bright star in the East aligns with three stars in Orions belt. This, of course, is the suggested reason for a many gods deaths and resurrection after 3 days. People also suggested

that Easter is celebrated near vernal equinox because that is when the day overcomes the night. Also, that the twelve disciples were the twelve signs of the Zodiac, supporting this claim was the commonly known fact that the Christian cross actually originated from the pagan zodiac cross (Zeitgeist 2012). However, there were also many illogical reasons for connections as well, like the common explanation for virgin births. It is claimed that Mary is Virgo, whose symbol is an M, hence many virgin mothers of gods having names starting with M (Mary, Maya, etc.). I immediately noticed the flaw in this argument, as the symbol for Virgo was Roman, whereas Maya, the mother of Buddha, was from India. It also spoke of how Virgo means House of Bread, which is also the precise Hebrew translation of Bethlehem, the fictional birthplace of Jesus. This also didnt make sense as it doesnt really explain why people would have chosen Virgo to be the mother of Christ in the first place. Another very foolish claim I found was the idea that the 10 Commandments are based off of the Book of the Dead from Egypt. This was ridiculous because the similarities drawn were simply laws against murder and stealing, which just makes sense, and does not prove anything. But the connections didnt stop at Christ. Many also drew connections between Noahs Ark and the Gilgamesh Flood from Egyptian mythology. Both speak of a purifying flood, in which one human and his wife survived and restarted the human race (Murdock, 2010). Moses is also compared to numerous mythological figures, namely Sargon, also from Egyptian mythology, who was also placed in a basket and sent down a river to escape infanticide, at which point he was found by a princess and raised into becoming a law giver (The Mahabharata, 2012). Upon watching this video I was over all very surprised by the sheer mass of information there was on my topic. I felt quite overwhelmed with how much I would have to verify and study, and then interpret. I had many questions about the logic behind the conclusions the video made, but I decided I would first verify the information I had collected.

I then researched the individual facts I found so as to verify them. A surprisingly large amount of them were false. Here is a revised version of the table of Gods with the incorrect boxes in black:

Horus
Egypt 3000 BC
Born Dec. 25 Born of virgin Star in East Adorned by three Kings Teacher at 12 Baptized at 30 and started ministry 12 disciples Performed miracles Crucified Dead for 3 days Resurrected

Attis
Greece 1200 BC

Krishna
India 900 BC

Dionysus
Greece 500 BC

Mithra
Persia 1200 BC

Christ

All of the astrological movements I researched were true; however the story of the Gilgamesh Flood is actually quite different from the story of Noahs Ark. The only real similarity being that there was a large flood in which everyone died except for one man who had built a large boat, or ark. The parallel stories of Moses also all proved to be untrue, as while Moses freed Egyptian slaves, and walked the Promiseland, his so-called parallels were simply law givers, figures one would expect in any religion anyways. After I learned that so much of the information I had collected was false, I was obviously quite annoyed. But more than that, I became even more interested in this topic. I realized that there were certain flaws in the explanations most antitheist advocates had, which actually disproved certain conclusions they themselves made. For example, they claimed that many religions recorded throughout

history were actually one religion, hence all the similarities between them. However, upon researching the constellation of the southern crux I found that Greece actually was not in the geographical region that could see the crux in winter. This proves that these were not all one religion, but rather different religions clearly influenced not only by astrology, but also by each other.

So, I had found a lot of information on Christianitys relation to other religions, and astrology. I had understood that there was no real evidence that Christianity, or any other religion for that matter, was actually influenced by astrology, but there were strong connections between the two. But what did all of this mean for the religion of Christianity? Did it disprove or discredit it? How? I researched this equally as extensively and came upon many answers from many people. Older philosophers who lived in a militantly Catholic world claimed that these connections were formed by the devil to trick human beings. Some believe that this is mere coincidence caused by human nature and what we want in a God. This idea was best described by Sir James Frazer when he wrote We need not, with some
enquirers in ancient and modern times, suppose that these Western peoples borrowed from the older civilisation of the Orient the conception of the Dying and Reviving God, together with the solemn ritual, in which that conception was dramatically set forth before the eyes of the worshippers. More probably the resemblance which may be traced in this respect between the religions of the East and West is no more than what we commonly, though incorrectly, call a fortuitous coincidence, the effect of similar causes acting alike on the similar constitution of the human mind in different countries and under different skies. (The Hero with A Thousand Faces, 2008).

A similar but slightly different model suggests that while many of the similarities may be astrologically related, or spread by word of mouth and then slowly merged into religions over the course of hundreds of years, but some of them simply make sense. For example, the idea of a resurrecting God; this simply makes sense as any culture or race fears death, thus they would clearly want their God to be able to defeat it. Another angle I studied was the idea that Christ is very different from his parallels as well. Other than maybe Krishna, who of course is also commonly praised today, he is very different from other ancient gods. He was the only human, the only one to claim strong love for humans, the only one to claim he was the only God in the universe, and much more. This idea quite clearly proves that Christianity does differ from ancient religions, definitely holds a lot of ground. Overall I think that while there are definitely some legitimate connections between Christianity and astrology, there are an equal amount of differences. This coupled with the models I explained above, I think clearly proves that the astrological background Christianity has does not at all discredit or disprove it, but rather simply sheds light on yet another dimension of religion and mythology.

References
Ancients texts. (n.d.). Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet XI. Retrieved from http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab11.htm Attis. (n.d.). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/42255/Attis Campbell, J. (2008). The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Retrieved from
http://books.google.ca/books?id=I1uFuXlvFgMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=joseph+campbell&source=bl&ots=oEfu

6uQAMh&sig=0G76iGvwUMGTAwMWtLhSfmz9V5I&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aoZrUP3LNMXXqgHht4HABQ&ved=0CDEQ6A EwAA

Dionysus. (2012). Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysus Dionysus. (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/Dionysus/dionysus.html eklypised. (2007, September, 25). Re: Was Horus resurrected? [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://www.egyptsearch.com/forums/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=8;t=005603 Heron, J., Vallon, J. (1991). World Religions: Past and Present. Great Britain: Moonlight Publishing. History world. (n.d.). The Akkadians. Retrieved from http://history-world.org/sargon_the_great.htm Is there any validity to the Zeitgeist movie? (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://www.gotquestions.org/zeitgeist-movie.html Jimmy Snyder. (2007, July 4). Re: Correct me on something about the sun's movement in the sky [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://www.physicsforums.com/archive/index.php/t-175972.html

Littleton, C. (2002). Mythology. London, England: Duncan Baird Publishers. Meredith, S., Hickman, C. (2005). World Religions. London, England: Usborne Publishing Ltd. Minos. (2000). Retrieved October 3, 2012 from http://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Figures/Minos/minos.html Mithra. (2006). In Encyclopedia Iranica. Retrieved from http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/mithra-i Murdock, D., & Acharya, S. stellarhousepublishing. Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/krishna-december-25th.html#.UGuBSk1G_nh

Murdock, D., & Acharya, S. truthbeknown. Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://www.truthbeknown.com/attis.html#.UGt-qk1G_ng Murdock. (2010). Another 'smoking gun' proving the Bible a myth? Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/another-smoking-gun-proving-the-bible-a-myth Orion (constellation). (2012). Retrieved October 3, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orion_(constellation)#cite_note-2 Sacred-texts. (n.d.). The Mahabharata. Retrieved from http://www.sacredtexts.com/hin/m16/m16004.htm