Sunday, May 2, 2010


Exegesis. For those of you who do not know what this means, it is the analysis of a text, in this case sacred texts, in an effort to understand or to offer commentary on the meaning of a passage. Exegesis involves examining many questions regarding the text, such as its historical and literary context; the lexical or correct understanding of the words, its grammar, structure and form or genre; its audience; and so on.

This is a critical tool when looking into the meaning of ANY scripture. In the numerous debates about God and lack thereof, I have come to realize that Christians as well as other theist groups tend to ignore this critical tool when explaining the message of their scriptural text. They tend to take what is written as, directly relating to their life today, 2000 years after the text was originally written.

For example Saul of Tarsus, Who to date was one of the most important writers in the Bible for Christianity. Saul of Tarsus was one of the most feared persecutors of Christians until around the age of 30, at which time he was blinded by a light to which he states he heard the voice of Christ calling out his name, and asking him not to persecute his people anymore. From this point on Saul changed his name to Paul, and became the St. Paul who writes letters in bible that we read today.

After his conversion Paul tried to preach the "good news" in Damascus and then later in Jerusalem, both times being driven out by the followers of Jesus because they did not trust his sincerity, and feared that it was a trick to draw out the followers of Christ so that he could persecute them. Upon being rejected by both cities he left for his hometown of Tarsus, where he began to preach the good news to people that practiced Mithraism.

For those of you who have never heard of Mithras (And I would not be surprised if it was all of you)he was born in a manger on the winter solstice (December 25)in the presence of shepherds . Mithraism would sacrifice a bull during their community worship, at which point they would eat the flesh of the bull as well as drink its blood. This was believed that in eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the bull would give the one who consumes it the strength of bull. The god Mithras also died and rose from the dead.

This doesn't seem anything like Christianity, or does it? It is believed that Paul used this idea to create a gathering of followers. If the consumption of a bulls flesh and blood give you human spiritual strength how much greater would it be to consume the flesh and blood of a God? This brought many followers of Mithraism to convert to Christianity, and was one of the contributing factors to the fall of Mithraism.

How much of the Mithraism was absorbed into Christianity? That is impossible to tell. You might be saying "Mithraism stole those ideas from Christianity". This cannot be so because Mithraism was formed almost 100 years before Christ was born.

If you did not use the tool of exegesis, you would never have known of these events that lead to the present day Jesus story that we know today. It seems to me that theists need to take another look at their so-called emphatic scriptures before you try to use them as something historically accurate.

Remember that a text is influenced by the author, audience, time period, word usage, structure and its grammar. All of these must be looked at when reading ANY text when trying to discover the literary or historical context of that particular text.

On a final note I want to state that I did not once say that the Bible or any other text is incorrect (even if i did imply it). I wrote this post not to prove that your particular text is inaccurate, but to hopefully open your eyes to what the church does not let you know when they are trying to interpret the bible to fit the present day.


Mithraic Mysteries

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