Krishna is a Myth; Jesus is a Myth

A lot of times religious people get very upset at the suggestion that figures and stories about their religion might be more mythical than literally and historically true. I’m not sure why this is.

I guess people feel like it legitimizes their religion. For those who need their religion to be seen as the best one or the only “real” one in the world, being able to say that their saint or prophet actually lived while others did not must help them bolster their belief that it is real.

I don’t think it matters at all whether Jesus really lived or whether he really said what he said. I don’t care if it was Lau-tzu who said the things attributed to Lau-tzu. Someone said them and they have wisdom. It’s the message itself, the wisdom itself that matters to me, not what name you stick on it.

I don’t know if Krishna was a real person. I don’t know if he was more than one person whose lives got glomed together over the years. I don’t know if the stories are literally true but I do know that they are metaphorically true and that is far more important to me personally.

What if it is myth? Does myth mean it’s not important or not valuable? Absolutely not. People associate “myth” with meaning an older belief system that no one holds anymore, that has been proved wrong (I guess). I don’t think that’s what it means at all.

We have an obsession in the modern day with fact. Things have to have literally happened or they aren’t valuable to us. People in earlier times did not feel that way and I personally don’t feel that way. Maybe that’s the reason I’m a fiction writer in my profession. I value story telling and the truth that stories impart metaphorically rather than literally.

Maybe Krishna really lived. Maybe he didn’t. I don’t need to examine historical records and work at proving that he really lived in order to get the life-changing benefits of the Bhagavad-Gita.

There is huge value in stories, parables, myths, and fables. Human beings have passed the most important information we have in these ways. We’ve saved the lessons we find most important in stories of magic, dragons, princesses, and genies. Art, stories, and creative expression find new ways to expand our minds to see the fullness of God.

Of course Krishna is real. Whether or not he ever had a physical body and walked this earth, he exists within the practice of thousands of worshipers.

 

Wish I knew the original source of this image. Does anyone know?

About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.

  • Jeramy Hansen

    It’s Lao Tzu, not Lau Tzu (and, really, it should be Laozi, but most Americans don’t understand how to pronounce Pinyin) :-P

    I totally agree with the substance of your post, though. It’s the philosophy espoused by the various religions that matters. Focusing on the existence of the various iconic figures, in my atheistic opinion, misses the point.

  • Agni Ashwin

    Some say that only myths are real.

    • Ambaa

      I think I’m one of those people! ;)

  • HARRY

    @ Ambaa

    I like the argument that you have put forward, but without sun, there is no light, and if you look at these as a fact, then the sun really doesn’t matter day to day, but in reality they go in hand in hand, and I think this is vital when it comes to faith, otherwise you will never take it seriously, and when you don’t, it can’t become part of you. I like Harry Potter but it’s not part of my life.

    Myths are myths, and that is why they are not real, or they may have been real, it’s because of this word maybe, they are called myths, and when we have the word maybe involved, then there is no faith, and without faith I would be an atheist. It’s not bad thing, but I would rather believe in something then nothing. Therefore what ever you believe in, then it matters whether anything is real or not and without that there is no point in the system.

    By sitting in a fake aeroplane pretending you are going nowhere. And what is a point in that. Period.

    • Ambaa

      I disagree that I don’t take it seriously. In fact, most of the time I get accused of taking it too seriously! I have lots of faith. Faith in the philosophy, faith in the teaching, faith in the God within me. Since being born is an illusion and part of maya anyway, I still don’t feel that it matters whether Krishna existed in the form that we have in the stories. None of this is real. The only thing that is real is God’s consciousness. I believe in that and so I am no atheist.

      • mack

        I question the claim that being born is part of maya and is not real in
        the light of God consciousness. But creation and its history is as
        relevant and real as God consciousness; otherwise God would not have
        bothered with it. We have a responsibility to creation as well as to
        the creator. To live in maya means to live in neglect of this responsibility.

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          The idea of a god is a human concept. The very human concept you grew up with and/or accept is not the human concept that many Hindus grew up with and/or accept. Of course, not everyone has a concept of a deity and cannot believe in one or more of the deities given to them at birth.

          Here in lies the problem- you have a concept of a deity that Ambaa does not share (and vise versa). The fact that you both believe in a deity is one thing, but to say she is wrong or is neglecting some responsibility in regard to that deity is a bit problematic in my view, despite my own lack of belief. How can you say her concept is wrong or neglectful? What if yours is neglectful? What if you misunderstood what her god’s consciousness is or even the meaning of maya? What if by chance, you two have a different concept of deity?

          Both of you are making claims about a deity, that may or may not be the same religion wise, but conceptually, they are obviously different. You both have a god concept, this much is obvious, but the question is remains, who, with a god concept, is to say that her view of her god concept is neglectful or vise versa? It’s sort of like saying there is no Brahma, but a heaven or vise versa or apples and oranges. I could, despite lack of a god concept, even ask, “Are you really describing it, whatever it is, at all?” and take the Tao position, “to describe the Tao is not to describe it all.” because you two just describe two different human concepts, which each of you truly believe. Maybe neither one of you are describing at all or maybe both concepts are two different views- you claim one concept and she claims another.

          What I’m saying is, you are both making (except for maybe caring for nature (or creation, as you put it) extraordinary claims that neither one of you is going to convince the other of, much less prove to the other, despite the fact you both have a god concept.

          • Ambaa

            Very true!

          • Kevin Osborne

            God exists as the story of this place, but not necessarily as the story of All.

        • Ambaa

          That’s a good point. I guess I am still working out exactly what I owe to maya, what responsibility that is. I will think about that some more and try to come up with a post about it!

          • mack

            These are less beliefs and more questions to explore.

            Some see maya as synonymous with the physical world: matter is false and spirit is true. Others see maya as wrong perception: if we see matter as unrelated to spirit, we live in maya. If we see the two connected, we overcome maya. I’m sure there are other understandings.

            We can lose the world in our love of god, or we can lose god in our love of the world – how to reconcile our love of the world with our love of god?

            The social aspect of the physical world is the result of our labors, which has a spirit foundation and who se effects are related to karma, a spirit phenomena. Can we really separate the two?

            The blog article privileges the creation (the words of wisdom) over the creator (the person who spoke these words). It suggests that creation matters more than the creator. But the comment mentioned that God (the creator) matters more than its creation (the world, called maya). Kudos!

      • HARRY

        There are few things I am going to say to you and they are nothing to do with what you believe in or not or weather you have faith or not.

        First thing first, there would not be any Newton’s theories, if there was no Newton.

        Second, Hinduism is not a book base religion like of Abrahamic religions are. Hinduism is based on Dharmic principal, which in- compases alot of other factors then just the books. If you look at Christianity all the text ( gospels, Bibles, New Test.) are written after Christ was gone or either they were borrowed from the other sections of Abrahamic faiths ( Old Test.).

        Vaishnava philosophy are born from Bhagavad Gita ( Krishna ), and without that, we would not have understood the other parts of Hinduism that you believe in about self realisation, which is supported by Advaita. It was Krishna who pointed out the concept of Maya and principal of self realisation, and therefore without that non of the other parts would have existed. By saying what you said in the title that krishna is a myth, you and I might as well not believe in anything, because our whole structure relies on the foundation of Vaishnava teachings, and they all are from the Krishna. This is same as you having a cheque with many numbers of zeros but no number in the front.

        In conclusion, you don’t have to believe in Krishna, many don’t, but foundation of Hinduism is based on that, and you can’t change that, and same can be said about Newton’s theories, if he didn’t discover them, then someone else would have, but because he did, therefore we can’t discard him. And because of this reason he wasn’t a myth and same can be said for Krishna.

        • Ambaa

          I didn’t say I didn’t believe in Krishna.

          I believe that someone said those things, that someone wrote the Gita (obviously! It does exist). It may very well have been Krishna. I don’t care whether it was or not. I believe in the teachings of those texts regardless of who it was who said them.

          I don’t know where you get this idea that all of Hinduism is based on Vaishnava teachings. That is not true at all. Vaishnava is one branch and it is not the foundation of the entire religion.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            I think, because the Gita is the most known of all the Hindu texts, he’s under the assumption that all branches follow Krishna, as seen in the Gita. I don’t think he knows or realizes, for example, that Hanuman (one of my favourites of many of the stories) is a Hindu god or if he does, he doesn’t realize or knows much about it and those who believe in the god. I don’t even know if he knows Vishnu had many incarnations and not just Krishna. I don’t know if he even knows about the god Shiva (which one of my cats is named after, because she destroyed a lot as a kitten lol). If he knew these things, then he might realize that one doesn’t have to acknowledge, follow, or believe in Krishna to be a Hindu. Some Hindus even worship Shiva and not Krishna, from my understanding and then there is that 1/2 man 1/2 elephant deity, Ganesha, son of Shiva and of the Brahma(something) branch- very interesting character though. The pantheon of deities in the Hindu religion goes on an on (of course, I’m preaching to the choir), so he is showing his ignorance of Hinduism if he thinks one must believe in and follow Krishna to be a Hindu.

          • Ambaa

            Well, Harry is actually a native Hindu, so I am sure he knows all of these things. But yes, a lot of Hindu texts predate Krishna.

            When Krishna references himself as being in all the previous things, I see that as him saying that we are all part of everything that has gone before. Since I’m a Vedantist, I see Krishna and myself as manifestations of the same God.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            And rightly so from what I read and learned about Hinduism. Very admirable religion, concerning the humanistic aspects, but I can’t bring myself to actually believe in the gods, except in imagination, in which I have fun with them, like any other story.

          • HARRY

            Hey Mriana Thanks for the that, Let me introduce my self, I follow refine version of Vaishnava teaching, the kind that follows vedanta philosophy. This is a one part of Hinduism. Hinduism is made out of four major parts. My eldest sister follows Shivism. My mums mum and dad ( grandparents) used to follow Sakti path and that is also another path of Hinduism. I also have a family member who is married into Shikism. I also have a best friend who is Jain and a Budhist.

            I have read varieties of texts and commentaries that are written by variety of greatest of Gurus. I have also read few purans ( thick books in Hinduisms ). There are total 18 purans ( thick book ) and 4 Vedds ( even thicker book ) and Gita is not one of them. I only know a bit about Hanuman and Ganesh but not everything, but I do have them in my home Altar. I know that Vishnu had nine incarnation and one is pendinding ( this part is debatable if you are native born Hindu ). I only know very little about Shiva because I have not read full Shiv puran yet because my Sanskrit is letting me down due to poor practise. You don’t have to believe in Krishna to be a Hindu, this part is true. The hindu pantheon is made out of three entities Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, and no, it doesn’t go on and on.

            Yes, I am full of ignorance, but working on that one. I call it work in progress. :) Do pardon my behaviour, my Mrs seems to think I ‘m suffering from mid life crisis.

            And last but least, you don’t have to believe in Krishna to be a Hindu, but without him, there is no Hinduism, and I am one of them who doesn’t follow him either, but I still have to believe in him because I’m born Hindu. On that note have a good day.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            You’re welcome and while I don’t nail it down perfectly, I do try, but there just isn’t enough space to actually nail all the pantheon of deities and under which of the three they belong, but Ganesh, as I mentioned is son of Shiva. I’m just not sure where Hanuman goes without taking the time to look the monkey up.

            Krishna was quite the little devil in the Puranas, esp as a teenager.

            Have you read the Upanisads? They are interesting.

          • HARRY

            Don’t worry nobody can nail it down perfectly, unless you were Shastree or Pundit and many of us are not. I will give you credit for trying. I do know that Ganesh is son of Shiva and I will tell you a good story about how he ended up with elephant head, but for meanwhile lets leave Hanuman on side for good and if you want to know more about him then you should read this blog in full and you will find something interesting.

            I do know that Krishna was little playful, and he like playing around with Gopis, and there is a word for that and it’s called Lila. His Lila is only in one puran and that is Bhagavatam and it’s in sections called scundh’s. The best commentaries is in fifth and tenth.

            The Upanisads are part of vedanta text. The word vedanta means end of Vedds. Because it’s end of vedds,that is the reason Upnisads are considered best sets of text on the original vedds.

            Ambaa knows a lot more then she tells, read the complete blog and you will know what I am talking about.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            Well, as I said, Hanuman is one of my favourite characters. :) I look forward to reading more of her blog and some of the things you are saying are bring back some of what I learned in the Hindu class I took years ago and yes, I was referring to his being playful with the Gopis as a teen when I said he was a little devil. :)

          • HARRY

            Where do I get my ideas that all of Hinduism is based on Vaishnava teaching, certainly not from wikipedia or other blogs. It’s from histories of Hindustan ( India ) , where do I start,…….

            If you look at chronicle order of all the vedds and purans they all are about Vishnu. If you look at all the Avatars, it’s all Vishnu avatar that goes back the longest. If you look at all the old temples, they are all Vishnu temple. Lets look at the vedds, all the text refers to as a Vishnu main deity and to my knowledge and what I have been told by a shastree ( the one who is a graduate in old purans and vedds.) Maybe he was wrong along with his seven for fathers who were also Pundit in their family.

            If you look at Hindu pantheon Bramha is only known because of the creation and Bramhasutra. Shiv existed on this planet according to purans and he was the first enlighten soul and a Lord in his own right ( a living god because of being enlighten and a god in his own right, if I am not wrong this is part of or very similar to Advaita teachings ( red the shiv puran ) who also pointed to Vishnu.

            Why Krishna is a supreme deity? We only know this from Bhagavad Gita because Arjuna needed reassurance that what Krishna was saying was true and just before killing all his relation, and at this point, it’s only Krishna who is seen in true Vishnu’s Avatar and no others are seen but they are assumed that they are, and it was at this point word Maya appears in the written text and no where and it was Him who said that this is all Maya. That is why I said in what I said above.

    • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

      Which is the sun and which is the light? Is the historical person that the myth is hanging on the sun or the light? Is the myth the sun or the light?

      Myths are most definitely real because there is no “reality” without a myth of what is “real.” Believing in something or believing in nothing are both the expressions of myth. “Faith” is a wide spectrum including hopeful supposition, belief, expectation, trust, confidence, and certainty. If we take something “seriously” then that is the evidence that myth is at work in our mind. It is our personal myth of reality that sorts things out as “this is really important.”

      • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

        Much like Shankara’s “snake” in the dark. Once the light of day illuminated it, turned out it was actually a rope.

        • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

          I wonder why you call it “Shankara’s snake?” The only Shankara I know is Adi Shankara of the 9th century and the story is much older than that in the Buddhist literature. Of course the story is not about once being deluded by the illusion of a snake and now seeing the truth of the rope, but about seeing the illusion of the snake is replaced by the illusion of the rope.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            Shankara (788-820) a Hindu philosopher in India (Ten Theories of Human Nature, by Leslie Stevenson and David L. Haberman 4th ed. 2004). This text was used in my philosophy class and the Hindu philosopher Shankara discussed the “snake in the dark”, but when light was shed on it, it was really a snake. The text was talking about maya, brahman, and avidya (ignorance). It is on p 37 and 38 of that book including that he was a Hindu philosopher in India and Upanishadic Hinduism.

          • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

            I’m just saying that Shankara got that story from Buddhists so calling it “Shankara’s snake” is a bit of a misnomer.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            Interesting. That wasn’t stated in the textbook or told to us in the class. In fact, the story was never connected to Buddhism, not even in the Buddhism class I took. If this is true, I wonder what neither class connected it to Buddhism.

          • Ambaa

            Personally I have heard this story from several sources, both Hindu and Buddhist and others! It’s a wonderful story, who ever came up with it first :)

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            I think so too and it’s one reason I often use when such topics come up, in part because things aren’t always as they seem, even in mythical stories. There is the surface level of the story, which everyone sees, but sometimes a story has a deeper unspoken/unwritten meaning than what is seen.

  • Bibhuti Nanda

    sis u r grt,

  • Bibhuti Nanda

    u r philosophy is akin to vedanta

    • Ambaa

      Well, I am a Vedantist, so I guess that makes sense. lol.

  • http://thinkinggrounds.blogspot.com/ Christian H

    “For those who need their religion to be seen as the best one or the only “real” one in the world, being able to say that their saint or prophet actually lived while others did not must help them bolster their belief that it is real.”

    I think you’re maybe being a little unfair; at least, I think that you’re generalizing more than is accurate. Speaking as a Christian who believes Jesus for-real lived, I don’t think that religious supremacy or exclusivity would primarily motivate most Christians who believe Jesus is a historical figure, though it might motivate most to greater or lesser degrees. Based on the conversations I’ve had, it seems most Christians are concerned that losing the historical Jesus would render the logic of salvation invalid…and most Christians are pretty serious about salvation. I assume the concern with salvation, or some similar mechanism which seems to depend on a particular event actually happening, would hold true for other historical religions (Judaism, Islam, etc.). That being said, historical religions tend to be monotheistic, so your suggested motivation probably is a real motivation, just not the only one. But I do know lots of Christians (or some, anyway) who aren’t especially hung up on exclusivity (I hope I can include myself) and simultaneously affirm that Buddhism etc. has mythic wisdom and that Christianity has historical truth. And I also know Christians (a lot this time) who would largely agree with you regarding Genesis and other early Biblical books, that Adam and Eve or Abraham are mythical, not historical. That being said, for those who are triumphalistic in their religions, I think you are right that historical truth helps them feel superior. And I also agree with the general point of you post, that the wisdom winds up being more important, practically, than the history.

    • Ambaa

      Thank you for sharing your point of view!

      I have talked about this before with a close friend of mine who is Jewish and she also felt like the importance of the Bible and its stories were not diminished by concerns about whether they are literally true.

    • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

      Christian H, do you, or can you, see the distinction between Jesus the man and Christ the myth? Between Siddhartha Gotama the man and Buddha the myth? Between Arthur the man and the Once and Future King as the myth?
      To me, the point of contact between the man (or woman) and the myth is our own point of contact betweeen life and death. The historical person (man or woman) had their own life and death, and it is the myth that informs us about our own life and death.

      In one sense, unless there is a person in history or historical legend upon whom the myth can be draped as a mantle, then the myth has no home within the world of life and death. So in this sense, there must be an incarnation of the myth to make it real. So yes, there can be no salvation or enlightenment unless there was a person who embodied that salvation or enlightenment. The myth would be just fiction without the embodiment of the incarnation. But given the necessity of the myth to be embodied, it is still the core of misinterpretation to confuse the historicity of the person embodying the ahistorical myth with the myth itself.

      The incarnation makes the myth historical, but the myth itself is ahistorical and outside the strictures of the contextualizing myth of time and space. Otherwise the myth would be trapped in history and we ourselves would not be able to embody it on our own with our own realization.

      • http://thinkinggrounds.blogspot.com/ Christian H

        I’m sorry; maybe I made myself unclear. I wasn’t trying to comment on whether historicity actually is important, just that the motivation to value historicity isn’t necessarily one of supremacy, which I thought Ambaa might have been implying, but that most Christians think that if Jesus wasn’t actually real, then Christianity’s logic of salvation won’t work. I’m not commenting on whether or not they’re right in that assessment for the simple reason that I haven’t given it sufficient thought. My comment was (intended to be) about people’s motivation, not about mythic reality.

        • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

          In my woroldview, ignorance is the primary motivation for conflict and supremacy of one’s own historicity is one of the primary forms that ignorance assumes in conflicts between worldviews. Its a bit of a circular argument. “Our historical narrative is more real than yours so our religous story is better than yours.” I took Ambaa’s comment about supremacy not about the motibation to have a religious outlook but abou the motivation to say “My religion is better than yours.” I would say that the more one values historicity as an absolute imperitive, then the more one is allied with fundamentalism. Of course, historicity used merely as a hook to anchor the myth in the world is not one implying a necessary supremacy.

        • Ambaa

          You’re right, I think it is more important for many branches of Christianity that Jesus be a real historic figure than for some other religions. I’ve never understood that brand of Christianity that requires Jesus to be slaughtered in order for any of it to matter. I am able to understand a lot more my Christian friends who don’t fixate on this salvation model.

      • Ambaa

        I love that image of the myth being anchored/resting on a human figure.

  • joannemcportland

    The Greek origin of “myth” means simply word or story (often in the sense of a teaching story, a parable); only in the 19th century did it take on the connotation of falsehood or primitive ignorance. As a Catholic I believe Jesus existed historically, and that the Bible is inspired writing, but I have no problem with the characterization of religious traditions as mythos in the true sense. A third grader gave me the best witness to this long ago when I was teaching religious education. The kids got to arguing about whether the story of Noah’s Ark was “true.” Some kids said, “Yes, we saw on TV where they found ruins of the Ark, so it happened!” Others, even at the age of 8 or 9, were skeptical: “No way a flood wiped out the whole world except for one family and a boat of animals! Couldn’t happen.” Then one boy said, “It doesn’t matter. The story is true whether or not it happened.” Out of the mouths of babes!

  • flankus7

    It does matter to Christians if Jesus was historical or not. If Jesus did not live at all, then the Christian religion is a falsehood. Also, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad insists that Krishna lila is real / historical. You are showing gross ignorance of your own professed faith.

    • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

      Flankus7, I don’t want to attack you as showing gross inorance, but……if the shoe fits. SOME Christians and SOME Hindus would assert that the historicity of their founding figure is absolutely required. But by definition those people would be the fundamentalists of the repsective religions. As this is a blog by someone who is not a fundamentalist, this blog shows insight and intelligence, not ignorance.

      • Katherine Harms

        The fundamentals of faith, or politics or mathematics do not equate with ignorance. They equate with foundational reality.

        • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

          Interesting comment, if only I could figure out what it means. Being in touch with the “fundamentals” doesn’t make a person a “fundamentalist.” It is more often the other way around with the fundamentalist deserving the “ist” suffix precisely because they are not clear on the fundamentals. Example: a mathematician knowing the formula 2+2=4 knows the conventional meaning of this and also knows that in the fundamentals of mathematics the equation “2+2=4″ is not always so. But the fundamentalist believer in mathematics will say that 2+2=4 always and forever and if you don’t accept it then you deserve to be whipped with number strings. See? The same goes with fundamentalist Christians or any “true believer” who when examined is not really espousing the fundamentals of the gospel of the founder but is propagating their own angry and perverted version of it.

          • Katherine Harms

            You are choosing the meaning of the word “fundamental” to coordinate with your perception of people who disagree with you. This is a particularly vicious way of avoiding the subject.

          • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

            LOL! I’m not talking about the word “fundamental” but the word “fundamentalist.” Apparently we use diffeernt dictionaries and use different meanings to the grammatical use of the suffix “ist.” Adding the “ist” makes all the difference and you seem to want to overlook that with your own unique interpretation. The Merium-Webster Dictionary says a fundamentalist is a member of “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles (Islamic fundamentalism) (political fundamentalism).” It is the strictness and literalness that I am referring to and apparently the shoe fits a little too well.

          • Katherine Harms

            Strictness and literalness do not equate with your statement of ” the fundamentalist deserving the “ist” suffix precisely because they are not clear on the fundamentals.” It appears to me that fundamentalists are the only people who are clear on the fundamentals. If a fundamentalist stresses strict and literal adheherence to fundamentals, that is not equivalent to having a personal agenda. It is precisely the opposite of a personal agenda. It requires that the person abandon any personal version and stick to the realities. Words have meanings. They have very specific meanings when used by a person at a specific time. The meaning that person intended does not change just because the times change. To insist on the meaning used by that person at that time is to insist on the fundamentals.

    • Ambaa

      One guru says he is real (and not at all my guru), so therefore I’m ignorant? That doesn’t follow at all.

      The point here is not that I’m saying Krishna didn’t live. I’m saying I don’t care. My love for Krishna and for Hinduism is not dependent on searching out evidence that he had a physical body at some point in history.

  • HermitTalker

    I understand and accept the classical definition o Myth, Jesus’ story is recorded independently in Jewish and Roman sources. The fact that flawed humans were wiling to give up everything and died for Him and His Message and it survives to the present speaks to His enduring existence.

    • Msironen

      “Jesus’ story is recorded independently in Jewish and Roman sources.”

      I’ve got a bridge to sell you…

      • HermitTalker

        Only someone as naïve as someone who thinks every citizen could fall for that old line would post such an idiotic comment. There are independent scholars testifying to the existence of Jesus in pagan and Jewish sources. Not to mention archaeological evidence that verifies it in part, Peter’s tomb for example, testified to the story he died in Rome under Nero. More importantly 21 centuries of a consistent record in writing and witness to the message. Gamaliel told the Sanhedrin if this movement is fake, it will disappear. Paul one of his brightest students joined it and we still read his letters. Your bridge is buried in a riverbed full of mud, slime, false attacks, part truths but HIS MESSAGE endures.

        • Msironen

          Well if by “Jesus’ story” you mean “a jewish man called Jesus existed and was executed by Pontius Pilate”, fine. As long as we’re also clear that none of those records are contemporary, but were written decades if not centuries after.

          “More importantly 21 centuries of a consistent record in writing and witness to the message. Gamaliel told the Sanhedrin if this movement is fake, it will disappear. ”

          This is inane. Even more so when considering that you’re making this argument on a blog that represents a still enduring religion that predates yours by a long shot.

  • billwald

    “Myth” means “story of beginnings” and there is no implication of history or fiction. The word has been bastardized same as many American words, “discrimination” being a prime example.

    • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

      That “definition” of myth is itself characterized by its own myth. Myth is not just the story of beginnings, but the story of what is primary in our own living worldview, which must also mean now, and not just in some beginning to be found in the past. When myth comes in the packaging of time and space, then it often does wear the clothing of historicity in the “once upon a time” or “in the beginning” variety. People who believe the myth of objectivity of materialist science view myth as a synonym of “fiction.” Peple who are fundamentalists believe in their myths as absolute history.

  • Ron Troxel

    The reason this matters to many (a group in which I no longer hold membership) is the engrained effects of the enlightenment. As much as that movement released us from the grip of overbearing religious institutions (where would we be politically and socially without Spinoza?), it instilled a profound and pervasive positivism: only what is rationally verifiable is real. A side-effect of this was a diminution of the very humanism promoted by the renaissance. Shaking that demon in religion through an appreciation of myth as truth is a blessing of post-modernism.

  • http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/ Gregory Wonderwheel

    I like this blog. What is a myth anyway? Today, many people think the word “myth” means “false.” This is the materialistic bias of people misinformed by junk science, not real science. As the real scientist of psychology Carl Jung has taught us, myth is a psychological orienting principal or matrix of the mind, i.e, psyche. Myth is good because we can’t live as humans without myth. Without a myth, there can be no consciousness, because the consciousness would be too chaotic and disorganized for awareness to cohere into a coherent worldview. Jesus the man is totally cloaked within Christ the myth. To have our own best-estimate opinion about

    Jesus the man and his historicity says absolutely nothing about Christ the myth. Personally, I follow the myth of Buddha and that works well. It can be a lot of fun comparing our myths and how they orient and organize our psyches, but it can also be dangerous when someone doesn’t understand that their myth is just a myth. That is, they don’t understand their very own worldview and sense of self within that worldview is based on myth not on something outside the realm of myth.

    Why is that? Because there is no conscousness outside of the matrix of the mind and therefore there is no worldview outside the matrix of a myth. There is no objective perspective outside of the psyche. The myth of objective science is not wrong because it is a myth; it is just that objectivity is also a myth within the mind’s view of the world.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      While the Buddhists stories are OK, I personally like the Taoist stories and sayings (not just the Tao Te Ching, but other Tao stories and sayings), despite considering myself a humanist. There is a naturalistic view in Taoism, that I can appreciate.

      • Ambaa

        I’ve been hearing more of those stories since my husband is a Taoist!

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          I like the one. among others, about the man running from a tiger, goes over a cliff to hold onto a vine because of a tiger below, only to find a berry within reach. He grabs it and eats, savouring it. Moral is that we can’t do anything about the past or the future, but we can enjoy the here and now.

          I also like a couple of sayings from the Tao- To describe the Tao is to not describe it at all. Another is, “Those who speak don’t know and those who know, don’t speak.” They have personal meaning for me.

          There are others I like from Taoism, but not as short or easily summarized, yet they have personal meaning to me, if not a humanistic context to them even.

          • Ambaa

            Sometimes I think the story is the same but the moral changes depending on who is telling it. I’ve heard that story used to show how tragic it is that we are never free from desire!

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            I learned the story from Derek Lin, a Taoist, who owns taoism.net and has written a few books, as well as has Taoism webinars. I think the story is in his Tao of Success book. It’s in one of his books, which I don’t own yet, but have read parts of them in the Amazon excerpts and that was one of them. If one is going to learn about Taoism, I recommend him as a source.

    • Ambaa

      Thank you! I can see that, like me, you enjoy pondering the meanings behind things. I really enjoy questioning and wondering in all the corners of my faith!

  • Katherine Harms

    I can’t speak for Krishna, but if Jesus were not a real person, then the entire basis for Christianity is meaningless. The fact that Jesus was 100% human while being 100% God simultaneously is the mystery that is the power of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. In order to be 100% human, Jesus must have lived in time and space and his death on the cross must have happened in time and space. I don’t know much about Krishna and would not, therefore, presume to address the question on his behalf. I do know about Jesus. Jesus, the fully human being, was simultaneously fully God, a mystery addressable only by faith, which is not wishful thinking or imagination at work but rather the ability to live in the realm of time and space while seeing truth in the eternal and infinite realm.

    • Ron Troxel

      While this might be good Nicean-Constantanopolitan credalism, it actually does not square well with the documents of the NT, which do not base notions of atonement on divinity. John’s gospel comes closest to the 4th century creeds, but makes no link between Jesus’ divinity and benefits of his death. Hebrews makes much of Jesus’ status as “higher than angels” and superiority to Moses, as well as a sacrificial view of his death, but does not make the latter dependent on the former. Paul’s view of Jesus’ death as the defeat of the power of sin has no relationship to any notions of his “nature” or “origins.”

      • Katherine Harms

        Christ’s authority rests in his divinity. The efficacy of his sacrifice rests in his sinless humanity.

        • Ron Troxel

          Again, this is a valid read of Nicean-Constantanopolitan Christology, but reasserting it proves nothing. Neither, of course, for that matter, does my report of what the NT literature(s) says about the matter. My argument is that you need to realize the very historical conditioning of your belief system. Failing to do that, the only fallback is to decry myth and loudly reassert your beliefs.

          • Katherine Harms

            I prefer reality to myth. My beliefs grow out of a relationship with the living Christ in real time at its intersection with eternity. I don’t even know what “historical conditioning” is. Christ lives, and he loves you. That’s it

          • Ron Troxel

            Then this is probably not a site you will enjoy.

          • Katherine Harms

            :)

          • Ambaa

            Next time you see him, could you tell him to get off my lawn? Thanks!

          • Katherine Harms

            What is it about the reality of Christ that makes you feel this way?

          • Ambaa

            I just can’t help but find it hilarious when people talk as though Christ lives next door to them and they sit down to tea every day.

            I have a long and difficult history with Christianity. I try to be open to interfaith dialog (afterall, I am at Patheos), but it is very challenging for me. I do not appreciate Christians coming here to tell me that their way is the only truth. This is a blog about Hinduism, not a place for you to claim that Jesus is the only “reality.”

          • Katherine Harms

            I appreciate that your blog is about Hinduism, but do you think comments must only be about Hinduism? If so, why did you write a blog that makes a statement about Jesus which flies in the face of orthodox Christian teaching? Seriously, do you mean to say that Christians ought not to speak about the reasons we dispute your allegation that Jesus is a myth? I must respectfully ask: if you did not want conversation on this subject, why did you publish this post?

          • Ambaa

            Of course I knew I was inviting conversation on this subject.

            Personally I’ve known plenty of Christians who feel the same way I do that Jesus’s teaching is more important than his slaughter.

            I also know plenty of Hindus who disagree with me and find historical evidence of Krishna’s life very important.

            So I’m giving my point of view and I’m enjoying the discussion about it.

            You’ve made your point, but you’ve also continued to insert this idea that Jesus is the only truth, that he loves us, that he is the path to peace. Those ideas are unrelated to this post. It looks suspiciously like Jesus-mongering to me.

            You’re welcome to speak from your own perspective, but to blithely speak about Jesus loving those of us who don’t believe in him and don’t care to is pretty patronizing.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            I’ve met many Xians like her and am even related to some like her. They don’t seem to know how to do differently when it come to talking about “their faith” and everything that relates to it. It’s almost like a program stuck on one thought.

          • Katherine Harms

            I don’t understand how I have been patronizing. To speak truth is not ordinarily viewed as patronizing behavior. I am baffled by the term “Jesus-mongering.” I have no idea what that could even be. My original reason for speaking was to refute the allegation that Jesus is a myth. I did that. The remainder of my comments have been responses to comments. I have made my point, and you disagree, which is your privilege. I think the subject is covered. Thanks.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            So-called religious truths are not necessarily truths and no, you didn’t refute that Jesus was a myth. You only stated your beliefs. There is a vast difference, esp when one just says “Jesus Christ is not a myth” and “Christ loves you”, pushing them on others. Those are belief statements. Truth would be scientific and historical evidence for which there is none for Jesus, as shown in the Bible. Josephous’ remarks, which many Xians try to use, have been shown to be not factual by scholars. There are no historical sources outside the Bible that shows that the character named Jesus Christ ever lived. There have been many Jesuses in history, but none of them were Jesus Christ.

    • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

      Actually, it makes it no more meaningless than the story of Krishna in the Gita (which BTW, has many “I AM” verses and before it’s over, from what I learned in a Hindu class I took, Krishna was the incarnation of Vishnu) in the Gita or even Krishna’s miraculous birth story (and there is one, but it’s not in the Gita) or the Buddha’s time in the wilderness and his eventual death and BTW, he was given a miraculous birth story too, which many Buddhists will admit has no factual basis to it. The story of Osiris/Horus, with Osiris dying and rising (yes, his wife found his bones and all, but still he died and rose again, just like the sun) the meaning is not lost in the modern day mythology of the Bible. At the same time, even if Jesus did not exist, which I don’t believe he did, at least not as portrayed in the Bible, it does not mean people cannot find some gold nugget in the fables. Do you really believe that 1 Corinthians 13 would have no meaning if Jesus never existed?

      BTW, by some accounts, JC’s death did happen in time and space, as the sun, during the Winter Solstice sits on the Southern Cross (Crux) for three days and then rises again anew- the rebirth of the sun. Not only that, In the days of Ra, he (as the sun) went down into the underworld every night, rose as a child, at noon he was grown (Horus) and at his strongest, and in the evening, he was Osiris, dying and going into the underworld to eventually rise again. There was allegedly even a similar ceremony as Xians have with Sunrise services. Many Pagan ceremonies are around the time of the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, and as you watch the rising Sun on Easter morning and worship, keep in mind, the day of Easter Sunday is set by the moon, not an actual crucifixion. I can pull it out of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer and quote the Xian dating of Easter by the moon word for word. Easter and Xmas were derived from Pagan holidays, not from the BIble. Original Xians did not celebrate Xmas or Easter. That came about later in Xian history.

      In fact, many of the stories in the Bible are not new. Every culture has a creation story, flood story, etc etc, even God/man stories- from the Egyptians to the Greeks (which BTW, the NT was original in Greek), to the Babylonians to the Jews (think flood story for an example) and even to the American Indians. The Bible stories are not original or new, just a different culture, but just because they are Fable, Folklore, Legend (which are forms of mythology) does not mean they have no meaning any more than Aesop’s Fables have no meaning, unless you truly believe they have no meaning. These stories cannot be taken literally, historically, or even factual, because they are not.

      • Katherine Harms

        You are free to believe what you like. There are all kinds of stories floating around. The humanity of Jesus is different, because for two thousand years, people have been meeting the risen Christ and relating to him. The humanity of Christ made it possible for him to die a death that redeems sinful humanity, and his bodily resurrection is the evidence of his power over life and death. We aren’t having spiritual visions when we meet Christ; we meet a person who is alive forever, a person who also lived in the flesh for a time and died in the flesh and is now resurrected. His humanity is an essential truth in the story, because if he is alive forever, we can believe his promise that we will live forever with him. In the meantime, Christ’s actual living personhood sustains the believer’s life in time and space in relationship with him. Christ’s knowledge of the human condition because of having lived in human flesh is part of the power of his grace toward our sinful nature. It is very important to know that Jesus was truly human.

        • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

          You are free to believe what you want too, but it seems to me there are so many dying and rising god/man stories that really aren’t that much different from what you are saying too. Osiris/Horus had a reign as long as the Jesus myth, if not longer and really don’t see a whole lot of difference in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Jesus myth. Horus was the way, the truth and the light, so is Jesus. The list goes on and on, but that is just one of many similar statements found in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Bible concerning the description of the two. Horus’ authority also rested on his divinity too.

          • Katherine Harms

            Christ understands the human condition, because he lived it. Christ acted to fix the human condition because of his love for people. As God, he knew what people are intended to be, and as a human, he knew how they became what they are. He died on the cross to fix what is broken in humanity. Christ loves us in a way that is incomprehensible because it is completely selfless. Jesus loves you, too, without reservation. He isn’t one of many “gods.” He is God, and he is human. He isn’t anything like Horus if you read the details. Horus didn’t love anyone that I know of, but Christ loves you so much that he would have died for you alone if you were the only person on earth. It’s worth thinking about. When I figured out that truth, when I finally understood that truth, my life changed. Christ would do the same for you. Would Horus do that for you?

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            And there you go. You just described a story like the WIzard of Oz. The point is, it is literature that cannot be taken literally. To take Christ as a literal being that loves a person is incomprehensible. As Joseph Campbell said, “Now in the Gnostic tradition, we all Christ crucified.” The story of Christ can be taken metaphorically for the human condition, but to take it literally means that the God/man committed murder and suicide, which is not something anyone wants. I don’t want anyone to commit suicide for me, much less allow anyone to be murdered, at least no normal person. Jesus willingly allowed himself to be killed, which is suicide and as God, he murdered his only begotten son, even the way you tell it. To take the story literally ruins it, but to take the story symbolically and as metaphor, puts new meaning and new life to it, but say the character loves a real human being is stretching the story, taking away any meaning to it. It’s like saying Capt. Kirk loves me and I know this because he sacrificed himself for others many times and resurrected many times to do it all over again. He evens loves whales because he went back in time to save them too. Horus is the the way, the truth, and the light, so depending on the interpretation the ancient Egyptians had, he probably did, because he conquered death many times over.

            The story of Horus and Jesus has a common literary template, where light/sun is metaphorically personified, by tribal people and set to that culture for that time period. One can find this in any cultural story, including religious texts. The truth is not in the character, but the fable concerning the human condition. The character never actually existed or IF he did, the actual person is too buried in myth to find. At best, it’s like the story of the Cherry tree, where the president as a child could not tell a lie. Problem with that, despite the fact we know Washington lived, the story never really happened. It’s a myth/legend. As I said before legends, fables, and folklore are all forms of mythology. All these stories have various literary techniques in which to draw the listener or reader into the story and they often have their meaning within the story, much like Aesop’s Fables do.

          • Katherine Harms

            Your version of reality frees you from any obligation to respond to the love of Christ. That is okay. He expected rejection. But he loves you anyway. Christ’s death was not suicide, any more than the deaths of those who orchestrated the upraising in the Polish ghetto during the Nazi regime were suicides. Christ’s death was foreknown to him but not sought by him.
            What he did seek, and seeks still today, is that people should recognize what their lives are and what they could be. Christ died in order that people might become what they were created to be. Humanity was created noble, and sin, evil, self-worship — you can state it any number of ways — destroyed the beauty and freedom of humankind, dragged humans into slavery to self-gratification. Christ died to lift people out of that degradation and free them for eternal fulfillment in God’s plan. None of the other “gods” about which so many myths have been created ever truly called people to be elevated above the degradation of groveling to manipulate some mystic power. Christ’s gift to humanity is freedom and fulfillment that is much richer than self-gratification. All the other “gods” simply provide some path that supposedly compels them to serve people. Christ calls people to serve him, and that is the ultimate freedom, the complete and eternal freedom. The burden of guilt and fear that results from the pursuit of self-gratification is huge, and Christ’s death is the means by which God is able to cleanse people of all that guilt and set them free. I don’t see Horus doing anything of the kind.
            You choose to reject Christ, and Christ permits you the freedom to do so. Nevertheless, he loves you. Does Horus love you?

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            Lao Tzu and other Taoist authors also recognized what people’s lives could be too.

            Rejecting Christ’s love? I’ll remember that the next time I watch Kirk in action. BTW, Kirk means “church” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirk ) which was a great literary tool for Gene Roddenberry to use. Secondly, there really isn’t a whole lot of different from Krishna, Kristo, Cristo, Christus (Latin), Christos or Χριστός (Greek) and Christ, esp concerning origin. On top of that, Jesus Christ just means “anointed saviour” The XP is or Chi Rho (☧) is part of Xian history and the first two letters of the Greek spelling of Christ. The idea of an “anointed saviour” is not new to religious mythology past or present and also makes for a good literary tool for such stories. Constantine used it as a symbol to conquer others. He is credit with having a dream that involved the In Hoc Signo Vinces or “with this sign, you will conquer” and with the Chi Rho, he used the saying as he “conquered” other groups of people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_hoc_signo_vinces

            Quite a history Christianity and Christians have of showing the “love of Christ”. But the question remains, why should be obligated to respond to an invisible lover? That makes no sense, but makes for a great fantasy, esp with Kirk.

          • Katherine Harms

            The peace of Christ be with you. You need it, and he wants you to have it.

          • JasonMankey

            If Jesus was God, how could his death not be a suicide? Obviously, if he was God, he would have realized that he was going to his death when he entered Jerusalem (in the synoptic gospels at least, in John he visits Jerusalem at least once before the events that led to his death), or possibly from the moment he incarnated on this Earth. If he didn’t realize his impending death, then he’s not God. Christianity is a theological mess when you look at it that way.

            Mriana, may I suggest you read “Did Jesus Exist?” by Bart Ehrman. The Jesus/Ra stuff is more from the realm of fantasy than historical reality.

          • Ambaa

            I’ve really enjoyed Bart Ehrman’s work. I read him in college!

            It’s interesting to me that the Christians posting here have the view that their religion is meaningless if Jesus didn’t really live and resurrect. That is not actually the only way to take Christianity and be Christian. The “salvation story” is one slant on Christianity and not the only valid one as far as I’m concerned.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            Retired Bishop John Shelby Spong, of the Episcopal Church, has an interesting spin on Xianity, which is different from many, as well as the retired Canadian Anglican priest Tom Harpur, who said, “Religion is mythology misunderstood” in a lecture shown on YouTube.

            I’ve Bart Ehrman and IMHO he seems to be avoiding some things in order to keep the peace and not ruffle any feathers. Personally, I’m not a fan of his works and if I do read anything on Xianity, it’s by Spong, Harpur, Murdock, Robert Price, Karen Armstrong, Robert Funk, Elaine Pagels, Barbara Walker, and Victor Matthews, to name a few.

            Victor Matthews taught (still teaches) a Parallels of the Bible course at the college I went to, which compared the mythical stories in the Bible with mythical stories from Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, etc. One of the many stories was of course the Flood story with Gilgamesh (which has a flood story). It drew on various texts from such sources, including Egyptian stories. It was a very fascinating course and many of his books can be found on Amazon. I ended up taking many religion, literature, and mythology courses because of him, Price, and Spong, while working on a degree in psychology.

            To say any relationship between the Bible stories and Egyptian mythology is a fantasy is a bit dodgy, IMO, esp in light of the religion courses I’ve taken at the university I attended, as well as my correspondence with Spong and Price. Either that or a Xian trying to keep the faith or for some reason cannot step out of the box.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            What I’d like to know is how you think I don’t have peace or that anyone else who doesn’t believe and follow your Jesus doesn’t have peace? I have peace with what I do believe and I am sure many Taoists, Hindus, and Buddhists have peace too, maybe even more so, because I’ve seen it and they aren’t out evangelizing and telling people they will have peace if they worship Buddha, follow the Tao, or worship Krishna, even though they believe such beliefs bring about peace. To say one doesn’t have peace if they aren’t following your Jesus is to say the Dahlia Lama, who I have great respect, doesn’t have peace because he follows Buddha and not your Jesus. That does not make sense, esp because he is very much at peace, maybe more so than you, because he’s not telling people they need the Buddha to have peace. Then there is another man in history I admire, who was Hindu- Gandhi, who’s lessons of non-violent resistance Martin Luther King Jr, another man I admire (besides Gene Roddenberry), took to heart. Gandhi had peace too and he didn’t follow Jesus either. So your Christ isn’t the end all and be all of peace, esp since many alleged follow of Jesus have this dire need to convert others, sometimes destroying whole cultures (ie the American Indians). Maybe, given that the Dahlia Lama is at peace and Gandhi was at peace, it something else, esp since neither feel/felt the dire need to evangelize and convert people. Personally, I have respect for many Eastern religions and many of those who practice Eastern religions, for various reasons. Could it be that those who have different world views make you uneasy because they rattle the views you have? Maybe you need “namaste”, for example, because maybe, just maybe it’s a case of “neti neti” (not this, not that). Something for you to ponder and maybe even research, if you so wish, because you might learn something from other views. It can’t hurt to think about why you seem to have a dire need to tell people they need Jesus, besides your book and preacher telling you so, instead believing what they do, in order to have peace.

          • Ambaa

            I had a post about this too. I find it really insulting when Christians pray for me as though they have this relationship with God and I do not. I certainly feel a close relationship with God and a deep peace and conviction in my spiritual life!

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            I’ll have to look that one up and I also feel insulted. I have my own personal philosophy which is a mix of humanism, Taoism, and pantheism, with vegetarianism involved, while my older son ascribes to Buddhism and Taoism. We both feel very spiritual in our own ways and very much at peace. While I practice non-violence, my son appreciates the martial arts, and we both have our own meditation practices that bring about a mental peace, but all too often we too find Xians insulting when they spout off with their beliefs that we need their Jesus and all that other like stuff. I also have found it insulting for Xians to say, “So you worship animals/the earth.” It shows they don’t get what I’m saying or just asked so they could figure out best to attack with their views in an effort to evangelize, which often makes me wonder why they even asked to begin with. Jains are vegetarians and are very careful about avoiding harm, some down to the tiniest bug, from what I’ve heard, but they don’t worship animals or bugs. Xians don’t even try to learn and end up very insulting in the end, more often than not.

          • Katherine Harms

            I share Christ and his peace, because it is the most precious thing in the world. Everybody shares the things that excite them and energize them and bless them and exhilarate them. The whole of social media would collapse if people didn’t do that. I am not doing anything that hurts anyone when I share Christ. However, my personal conviction is that I am being selfish and uncaring if I fail to share what has so richly blessed my life. Knowing Christ transcends everything else.
            You wouldn’t think I was awful if I told you that my new car was the finest thing since sliced bread. You wouldn’t accuse me of hatefulness if I told you that I just discovered an easy way to lose five pounds in two days. When I share Christ, I am sharing the best thing in my life. I can’t not do it.

          • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

            For you, your Christ is the most precious thing in the world, but for others family and all living things are most precious, gives them joy and meaning in life. If I were to share with you what is most “exciting” to me, “exhilarates” me, and all, you would not understand it. Sharing is one thing, but evangelizing is another. Ambaa is sharing, but you are evangelizing. Maybe knowing the Tao transcends everything else or reaching Brahma transcends everything else. Thing is, people who practice Taoism or Hinduism do not going around saying “You need the Tao” or “You need Krishna/Shiva/Brahma”. Maybe Hanuman doesn’t need to take the mountain to Mohammed.

            Talking about your car as the best thing next to sliced bread is different from telling people they need your Jesus and not at all the same thing. You’re not wanting people to worship your car.

          • Katherine Harms

            I don’t apologize for offering you peace. I apologize for anything that seemed unloving. I know without a doubt that Christ loves you. I’ll leave it at that.

          • cmac

            Only because Fr Robert Barron says it so much better than I could ever, I offer you this short video to explain how the Christ story does not mimic or parallel other “myths.” If you are interested, I can point you to some other videos that explain Katherine’s very important point: Christianity falls flat on it’s face if Jesus did not exist and was/is not the Son of God. There is no half way with Christianity, Christ himself demands we make a choice.

            http://www.mycatholicvoice.com/media/LgNY32

  • Ron Troxel

    Myth operates similarly to metaphor. No one questions the reality of someone who says they are “floating on air,” even though it’s clear that they are not. Myth grasps what empiricism cannot, in the same way that metaphor makes it possible to intuit the abstract.

  • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

    I like what you said, Ambaa, about mythology and I am glad someone who is religious finally said it and not just various non-theists. The stories are valuable, even if they are myth, just as Aesop’s Fables have value, but to take them literally and historical, cause them to lose their meaning and for some people, even the value. These stories weren’t meant to be taken literally anymore than Star Trek is to be taken literally and even Star Trek, IMO, has value, meaning, and even a few lessons, even though it is also entertainment. However, we know Kirk never actually lived, but he had more resurrections than Jesus Christ. Then there is Sisko, as we wait for his (hopeful) return sometime (either in a book or a movie). Anyway, I’m sure, as a writer, you get my point and where I’m going with this “resurrection” and other mythological stories.

    • Ambaa

      Yes. I like the comparison to Star Trek. Those are some wonderful modern myths!

      • http://www.houseofbetazed.com Mriana

        Yes, Gene et al were really good writers. One of my favourite TOS episodes is “Who Mourns for Apollo” and as for TNG “Who Watches the Watchers” is another one of my favoourite episodes.

  • Kent Kersey

    Very interesting post. C. S. Lewis made the point that Christianity is “real myth.” You can’t get around the fact that the biblical narrative presents itself in myth type language. Lewis became a Christian because he started believing that there was historical backing to this story. I think Christianity is different from other world religions because traditionally (Borg and Ehrman would disagree . . .) its whole basis is an historical event — the resurrection of Jesus.

  • Chris

    Interesting post but:

    I cannot comment on Krishna in Hinduism but in Christianity the fact
    that Jesus existed is central, vital to the faith. If he didn’t exist,
    then the words recorded in the New Testament are some nice moralizing at
    best and insane at worst. The Christian faith is built on the
    foundation that God became man, was crucified for our sins and then rose
    from the dead. If Jesus never lived then it makes no sense for us to
    worship him.

    In short, what Jesus said is important, what he did is vital.

    • Ambaa

      For some branches of Christianity. Most of my Christian friends don’t fixate on the death part. The moralizing was the critical part for many branches of Christianity and the only part of Christianity that I can stomach!

      • Chris

        If only the moralizing is valuable, then what distinguishes Christianity from any other philosophy? It’s the fact that God came down to earth and died for our sins out of love for us that distinguishes Christianity from other fates.

        I could get moralizing from Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius or Socrates with the similar themes. Only Jesus died for our sins.

        In your article you emphasize the importance of wisdom being passed down through stories (with many of them ascribed to Krishna). I agree that stories are valuable for passing on wisdom and for teaching and the Old Testament is full of such stories like the flood or the fall of man..

        And I have a question for you, do you worship Krishan? I’m curious as to what role he plays in your faith if whether he physically existed or not is a moot point.

    • HARRY

      @ Chris
      Which part of New Testament are you talking about where it says that God became a man because I’ve not read it, maybe it’s implied in certain sections, but it’s not written as you are saying.

      And if he was a man, then he couldn’t have risen from death, and if he was God then he wouldn’t have died. If you say that he was a Avatar of a God then the theory stands, otherwise no, and if you say yes to the theory, then it becomes a Hindu theory, because the concept of Avatar are only in Hinduism and not in any others.

      • Chris

        You’re correct that the New Testament does not explicitly say, “Jesus is God”. But 2000 years of Christians have believed and taught that Jesus is both God and man. And the New Testament does have Jesus performing acts that could only be performed by God, in particular forgiving the sins of others and promising others a place in Heaven. So, while I concede that the Bible does not say explicitly that Jesus is God, if he wasn’t God then he was awfully presumptuous with his claims.

        To your second point, Jesus was not only a man and he was not only God. He was fully God and fully man. And becoming man was vital to his mission because as a man he was subject to the same sufferings, weaknesses and limitations as we are but allowed himself to be sacrificed for our sins and for our forgiveness.

        Unless I am mistaken about the concept of an avatar, I don’t think it applies here. I believe that an Avatar is a manifestation of an aspect of a god but is neither human nor the entirety of the god (I may be mistaken though). Whereas Jesus was both 100% man and 100% God so a different concept than an avatar. I admit the concepts are similar but they are not the same.

  • Kevin Osborne

    Everything is real, but everything is not real in the same way to everyone. Viva la difference!

  • HARRY

    @ Ambaa something for you to read. To make it easier convert all the names into english in terms of dates and times and planets.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/drishtikone/2013/01/did-krishna-really-exist/

    Did Krishna really exist?

    Was Krishna real or not. Did he walk this earth? Well some people are doing some research and here is an interesting video based on research on one guy – Prof Achar.

    ALso read through the detailed research articles by another person, Mr. Ramesh Panchwagh, which differ slightly from Prof. Achar’s work, but in many dates they are same.

    Astronomical Proof of the Mahabharata War and Shri Krishna: Part I

    Astronomical Proof of the Mahabharata War and Shri Krishna: Part II

    I look at the things in the same way as this research is done as well. :)

    • Ambaa

      I read this article before.

      It doesn’t change for me that I really don’t care what evidence there is, what research is done. It’s a waste of resources, if you ask me. Whether Krishna really lived or not does not at all change my faith and belief in his teachings.

      • HARRY

        LOL, I agree with you first time, But do you not think this is ironic. By definition we are called Satsangees not followers as it is assumed, when we follow Hinduism and the meaning of that is companion of truth, and if that is true, then doesn’t it make it our dharma to know what we are seeking. I’m still laughing at the answer you gave. You are like my sister who says I’m only interested in mango not the tree. :)

        • Ambaa

          Whether Krishna was part of Maya has nothing to do with whether Krishna is part of Truth. This world is not truth, it’s a game.

          • HARRY

            You are a one tough woman :)

          • Ambaa

            And that’s what you love about me, right? ;)

          • HARRY

            :)

  • Kevin Osborne

    I suspect people used parables to explain concepts because of the lack of formal education and reading in the general populace.
    There is also a vast store of scientific information available to nearly anyone in the present day, and using that to illustrate the system seems a reasonable approach to me.
    The better one puts together the gamut the more one sees,


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