Chapter Five: Saviors, Christs, and Other Gods: “Caves, Crosses, and Sacrificial Deaths”
We saw earlier that the Old Testament patriarch Abraham was born in a cave. Eusebius wrote that Jesus was born in a cave and that Constantine erected a temple on the spot so Christians could worship there. Tertullian (200 CE) and Jerome (375 CE) stated the same and added that Adonis was believed by the pagans to have been born in the exact same cave. Chrishna, Bacchus, Apollo, Mithras, and Hermes were likewise born in caves. That element is, again, a part of the universal god mythos. Not only are the events surrounding the births of gods similar, but the same is true of their deaths.
We know about the darkness and earthquakes that occurred when Jesus died, but these bizarre occurrences were recorded at the deaths of others as well. Prometheus was “with chains nailed to the rocks on Mount Caucasus, ‘with arms extended,’ as a saviour; and the tragedy of the crucifixion was acted in Athens 500 years before the Christian era.” We read the following regarding this crucifixion:
“When Prometheus was crucified on Mount Caucasus, the whole frame of nature became convulsed. The earth did quake, thunder roared, lightning flashed, the wild winds rent the vexed air, the boisterous billows rose, and the dissolution of the universes seemed to be threatened.”
Prometheus, according to Seneca and Hesiod, and in the words of J. P. Dameron, was
“nailed to an upright beam of timber, to which were affixed extended arms of wood, and this cross was situated near the Caspian Straits. At the final exit of this god . . . the earth shook, the rocks were rent, the graves were opened. . . the solemn scene closed, and the savior gave up the ghost.”
Likewise, when Romulus, one of Rome’s founders, died, “the sun was darkened, and there was darkness over the face of the earth for the space of six hours.“ Romulus was received into heaven via a fiery chariot, just as was Elijah (2 Kings 2:11). (The story of Romulus even resembles the tale regarding the two disciples who ran into Jesus on the Road to Emmaus [Lk. 24:13-16]. Julius Proculus, under oath, stated that “as he was travelling on the road,” he saw Romulus “looking taller and comelier than ever, dressed in shining and flaming armour.” He asked Romulus why he had abandoned the “whole city to bereavement and endless sorrow.” Romulus responded that it “pleased the gods . . . that we, who came from them, should remain so long a time amongst men as we did; and, having built a city to be the greatest in the world for empire and glory, should again return to heaven.” Romulus told Proculus to tell the Romans farewell and that “by the exercise of temperance and fortitude, they shall attain the height of human power; we will be to you the propitious god Quirinus.” Plutarch wrote that the story “seemed credible to the Romans, upon the honesty and oath of the relater,” and that “indeed, too, there mingled with it a certain divine passion, some preternatural influence similar to possession by a divinity; nobody contradicted it, but, laying aside all . . . detractions, they prayed to Quirinus and saluted him as a god.”) When Julius Caesar died, again, the sun was eclipsed and darkness prevailed “for the space of six hours.” We read the same regarding Aesculapis and Hercules.
If the idea of a cross had not pre-existed the crucifixion of Christ, he would not have told his followers to take up their “cross” and follow him, as they wouldn’t have understood the reference (Mt. 16:24). Church father Tertullian admitted this when, trying to justify his own beliefs, he wrote that the heathens consecrated the cross and from it derived the origin of their gods. The Egyptian cross, the ankh, in fact, represented eternal life. Marcus Minucius Felix, who was a Christian apologist sometime between 150 and 270 CE, wrote of the Egyptians: “Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it.”
Felix, in Octavius, expressed indignation that the cross was considered strictly Christian, claiming that the pagan “trophies not only represent a simple cross but a cross with a man upon it.” Tertullian, writing to pagans, said: “The origin of your gods is derived from figures moulded on a cross. All those rows of images on your standards are the appendages of crosses; those hangings on your standards and banners are the robes of crosses.” Tertullian further wrote: “There is not an image you erect but resembles a cross in part; so that we who worship an entire cross, if we do worship it, methinks have much the better on it of you who worship but half a cross.” In an attempt to defend and make palatable their beliefs, early Christians depended upon the fact that the pagans already worshiped deities who were just like Jesus; today, with the same motivation, some Christians deny these facts, while others declare that Yahweh wrote the tale in the sky (because Gentiles also needed a “schoolmaster,” Gal. 3:24), which is why many such stories abound (although the one about Jesus is the true one).
Kersey Graves wrote:
“Nearly all the phenomena represented as occurring at the crucifixion of Christ are reported to have been witnessed also at the final exit of Senerus, an ancient pagan demigod, who figured in history at a still more remote period of time. And similar incidents are related likewise in the legendary histories of several other heathen demigods and great men partially promoted to the honor of Gods. In the time-honored records of the oldest religion in the world, it is declared, “A cloud surrounded the moon; and the sun was darkened at noonday, and the sky rained fire and ashes during the crucifixion of the Indian God Chrishna.” In the case of Osiris . . . Mr. Southwell says, “As his birth had been attended by an eclipse of the sun, so his death was attended by a still greater darkness of the solar orb” . . .
“And similar stories are furnished us by several writers of Caesar and Alexander the Great. With respect to the latter, Mr. Nimrod says, “Six hours of darkness formed his aphanasia, and his soul, like Polycarp’s, was seen to fly away in the form of a dove.” (Nimrod, vol. iii. p. 458.) “It is remarkable,” says a writer, “what a host of respectable authorities vouch for an acknowledged fable — the preternatural darkness which followed Caesar’s death.” Gibbon alludes to this event when he speaks of “the singular defect of light which followed the murder of Caesar.” He likewise says, “This season of darkness had already been celebrated by most of the poets and historians of that memorable age.” (Gibbon, p. 452.) It is very remarkable that Pliny speaks of a darkness attending Caesar’s death, but omits to mention such a scene as attending the crucifixion of Christ. Virgil also seeks to exalt this royal personage by relating this prodigy. (See his Georgius, p. 465.) Another writer says, “Similar prodigies were supposed or said to accompany the great men of former days.” . . .
“the same story was told of the graves opening, and the dead rising at the final mortal exit of several heathen Gods and several great men long before it was penned as a chapter in the history of Christ.”
These men were esteemed as gods after their sacrificial deaths. This is true also of Jesus. We can’t put him in a class of his own. If we wouldn’t believe incredible accounts of the heroics of Hercules, why should we believe them about Jesus? I know some will say the events above are not as stated. Maybe not. While it’s difficult to know how much of any version of the stories we read regarding these gods is actually the original belief, the same is true for Jesus. Different Gospels present quite different tales of the events in his life.
Tina Rae Collins
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 Doane, XVI.  William W. Hardwicke, The Evolution of Man: His Religious Systems, and Social Ethics (London: Watts & Co., 1899), 218.  Potter’s Aeschylus, “Prometheus Chained,” last stanza. See also: Doane, XXI.  Dameron, 56.  Higgins, Anacalypsis, I, 616, 617. See also: Doane, XXI.  Graham, 247.  Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, The Original Classic Edition, 21.  Higgins, Anacalypsis, I, 616, 617. See also: Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIV, Ch. XII, and Note; and Doane, XXI.  Aletheia, The Rationalist’s Manual, 65. See also: Cox, The Mythology of the Aryan Nations; and Doane, XX.  Tertullian, Ad Nationes, I, Ch. XII, tr. Q. Howe, tertullian.org, 2007, web, 25 Aug. 2014 <http://www.tertullian.org/articles/howe_adnationes1.htm>.  Murdock, Christ in Egypt, 339.  “Marcus Minucius Felix,” wikipedia.org, 30 June 2014, web, 25 Aug. 2014.  Marcus Minucius Felix, The Octavius of Minucius Felix, Ch. XXIX, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2005, web, 25 Aug. 2014 <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf04.iv.iii.xxix.html>.  Minucius Felix, Octavius, Ch. XXIX, newadvent.org, copyright 2009 by Kevin Knight, web, 12 Nov. 2014. See also: Doane, XX.  The Apology of Tertullian, tr. William Reeve, AM (London, 1709), Ch. XVI. See also: Tertullian, Ad Nationes, Ch. XII, tr. Q. Howe, 2007; and Doane, XX.  The Apology of Tertullian, Ch. XVI.  Kersey Graves, The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors: Or, Christianity Before Christ (Library of Alexandria), Ch. 17, The Secular Web: A Drop of Reason in a Pool of Confusion, infidels.org, 1995-2014, web, 12 Nov. 2014.  Doane, XII.