D.M. Murdock – The Christ Conspiracy

June 27, 2011

D.M. Murdock, who also goes by the pen name “Acharya S.,” is the author of The Christ Conspiracy, the most controversial of modern treatments of the Christ Myth theory. She has had to field flack from both apologists and atheists.

An independent scholar of comparative religion and mythology, Murdock was educated in Classics and Greek Civilization, at Franklin & Marshall College and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. She has traveled extensively around Greece, participating in the archaeological excavation at Corinth, in addition, probably, to eating loads of squid.

Her other books include Suns of God, Who Was Jesus? and Christ in Egypt. Her articles and books can be found at her websites TruthBeKnown.com, StellarHousePublishing.com and FreethoughtNation.com. Point of Inquiry is happy to feature an interview with Acharya by fellow Jesus Mythicist Robert M. Price (assuming, of course, that both of them exist!).

This is point of inquiry for Monday, June 27, 2011. 

Welcome to Point of Inquiry. I’m Robert Price. Point of Inquiry is the radio show and the podcast of the Center for Inquiry, a think tank advancing reasons, science and secular values in public affairs and at the grass roots. D.M. Murdoch also goes by the pen name a cha u. S. 

She is an independent scholar of comparative religion and mythology who studies the origins of the world’s religious traditions from modern times extending back thousands of years to the earliest evidence of human culture. The author of such controversial book says The Christ Conspiracy Sons of God. 

Who was Jesus and Christ in Egypt? Ms. Murdoch was educated in classics and Greek civilization at Franklin and Marshall College and the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece, having traveled extensively around Greece. She participated in the archeological excavation of Corinth, China, as her friends scholar does research in English, Greek, Latin, German, French, a town in Hebrew, Sanskrit, Egyptian and other ancient and modern languages. Her articles and books can be found at her Web sites. Truth be known. Dot com, stellar house publishing, dot com and Freethought Nacion dot com. Welcome to Point of Inquiry. 

D.M. Murdoch, also known as a char. Yes, hello. Hi there. 

You’re like me. Kind of well-known for advocating the Christ myth theory. How did you first become convinced that Jesus Christ never existed? This a historical individual, right? 

So I was raised is very mild Protestantism and I sort of rejected it. But then I went through some other processes and I became a born again Christian at one point. 

And I think it’s amusing because at that point, when I became born again, I asked to know the truth about whatever would come up. You let Jesus lead me to whatever is true. And I said I was led to some very interesting books that kind of debunked this whole notion of Christ as a historical figure. One of the earliest ones that I stumbled upon was the book by Joseph Wheelus, Forgery in Christianity. You know, just reading that book, it all made so much sense to me. It was really quite instantaneous, even though I had had experiences like a mystical, spiritual realm, because I did these sorts of investigations from as I kind of an anthropological perspective, I wanted to see what other people were experiencing. And I wanted to I looked into a lot of different groups. 

I was in Los Angeles, so there were all kinds of different groups, all different religions, mystical philosophies from the East as well as Christian mysticism, all these different things. 

And so it’s interesting that I ended up in fact, I found that book in the Bodey Tree in Los Angeles, which is a very famous esoteric bookstore, and it almost jumped off the shelf at me, that Joseph Wheelus book. So it’s funny how that one book debunks half of the rest of their stock. 

But from there, I just started following the trail of what realist’s was saying in there. 

Basically, he’s using the Catholic encyclopedia admissions of different texts being forged and falsified and that it’s amazing now that we find mainstream scholars. We’ll need to name names, but who are now coming out with books about how these various texts records. But even the Catholic Encyclopedia had been honest enough about that, admitting against interests that a lot of their old church fathers were writing Suda AP graphical texts all these years, decades, centuries ago. And these are what people have been counting on as far as early church history goes. 

Yeah, I’ve seen so many online arguments and debaters and books say Whelk, like Litefoot did start the ball rolling when he said We can tell F.C. Bower’s full of Bulgers shift because he ignores what Klement and and Ignatius say about this and that if they’re accurate. Well, you know, he’s got to be wrong. I got news for you about the same problems exist there. What if they’re forgeries? And finally, some people are beginning to wake up. 

Well, that’s kind of the basis of this whole debunking effort, if you will. Mathis’s case is the first thing you discover is all of these shenanigans. And you start to wonder, well, wait a second, some. Someone said nothing needs to be shored up by a forgery unless it’s forgery itself or it’s fake itself is bogus. 

So would you start seeing all that strangeness going on? And then there’s the whole all the destruction that has occurred and annihilation of libraries, burnings and artifacts and books, texts, everything being destroyed. And you have to wonder then, what are they trying to cover something up? And of course, one of the things we constantly face, you and I and others as myth assist, is this lack of concrete evidence, such as a text that has it says something like, well, I forged this or, you know, I mean, who’s going to say that, first of all? 

Or a comparative religion dictionary encyclopedia from 2000 years ago that said, look, look at the comparison we have that in a sense with Justin martyr Tertullian or admitting, oh, when you say that when we say that Jesus Christ, born of a virgin and died resurrected, we say that we prepare nothing different from what you say about the Sons of Jove. So that’s about as close as we’re going to get to an admission there. And that’s a pretty pithy one. That’s an important one. 

Yeah. There’s something in the nazeem him I think it is, which actually just says that Adam Jesus and the artists are all the same. Now, if that isn’t a smoking gun. But no, no, no. That’s just some kind of wacky syncretism, which must have happened a little later. But oh, no, it couldn’t have happened earlier in the first century. Oh, not a chance, brother. 

Right. Right. 

Then you start discovering, of course, that in addition to all this forgery and mischief going on, that there’s no historical record, contemporary with Christ at all of his existence of the drama that’s portrayed there of the various events such as saints rising out of their graves and walking through the town, the city of Jerusalem here. There’s not not a whisper from anyone of the day that any of this happened or that any of these characters existed. I just found that lack of a historical record to be completely shocking. And that’s how I got it. Wasn’t shocked to find out to really figure it all out because I’ve been raised. Well, I’d studied mythology as a child quite a lot and Greek mythology in particular. So I figured, well, of course, it makes sense. It’s mythological. It’s just another another variant of the same theme that priests had been creating for thousands of years. 

Yeah, I think the first time it really hit home with me was reading the introduction to Gilbert Murray’s five stages of Greek religion when he called attention to the dying and rising sons of God in such a context that it just seemed. Oh, yeah. Yeah, that that’s gotta be right. Oh, yeah. Can you explain what Astro theology is since it’s so important to the case you make? 

Yeah, sure. I mean, my first book, The Christ Conspiracy, I had raised up solid mythology and astro theology, these issues as being the hidden meanings behind much myth. And then in my book, Sons of God, which I used to follow up Christ conspiracy to address some of the criticisms of that book, which made a pretty big splash, actually. You know, I think back in that book, I go into much greater detail about the ancient religion being based on significantly on nature, worship, solar mythology and what we’re terming now, astro theology. It’s also been called astro mythology. And that refers mainly to the worship of reverence of the sun, the moon, the stars, the constellations planet. And I incorporate in that also the planetary forces, like the wind and water that would be nature worship. But when you say astro theology, it’s kind of understood that all of the nature worship being involved in ancient religions is incorporated into that. 

And the reason we come to that conclusion is because when we start looking at the elements of modern religion, in particular Christianity, the figure of Jesus Christ and other accouterments that are non biblical, such as the tradition of Christmas. Being a place that his birth being placed at the winter solstice. And that, by the way, is actually even though it’s not overtly mentioned in the New Testament. We can kind of extrapolate it from this business with John the Baptist being born six months before Jesus. And then he says he must increase. 

And I’m sorry. 

So you have a summer solstice. Oddly enough, of course, the church subsequently put the birth of John the Baptist Nativity on the summer solstice, June 24th, which is that whole period is not just a 21st point twenty SIBERRY. Third is the three day Trivium period. And so the 24th is really when the sun at this three day period is over and we have this rebirth. And so John the Baptist is placed on the summer solstice and then six months later, who shall increase but the winter solstice and the winter sun. And you have the same role in the Egyptian mythology between Cyrus and Anubis. And so a new base who just happens to be a decapitated baptize or a purifier. 

Oh, yeah. Become very suspicious, you know, and you have to start thinking, well, if these aren’t real people, what do they represent in the case of. We look at December 25th birthday and some of these other motifs and you see you see them in the myths of other characters, such as Mithra Hercules, Xamon, and you realize, well, these are solar deities. These are solar heroes largely. So then and now we’re looking at astro theology in the New Testament. So basically, that’s how this plank fits into the myth assist case, because what does it all mean? If you strip away the historicity of it, if you determine that these are actually mythical motives, and then, of course, part of this case also is the Jewish scripture, scriptural prove prophetic verses and so forth that are supposed to be prophesying the Messiah, which is something you do extremely well with going back and looking at the scriptural basis for Midrash to have led to the story as we have it to in the New Testament. So combination of that with this Astro theological mythology and voila, we have Christianity. 

Yeah. It’s important to show that it’s not just some sort of hoax, that if it didn’t arise because it was the record of a historical founder. Well, it arose for some reason. And and you’ve shown. Yeah. Here, here’s what it was. Why do you suppose that this this theory, this approach to the Bible, which was once very important? I like Max Mueller, I think pioneered did in general. And Ignat Gold Sciarra, the Hungarian Bible scholar, just made an amazing case for applying it to the Old Testament. Why do you suppose this just got thrown under the bus eventually, even by mainstream scholars? 

You mean they asked for theological or solar mythological origins of biblical ideas? Is that your thing? 

Yeah, I just seem to have stopped. Suddenly I the people just dropped that without refuting it any way that I can tell. 

Right. Well, that actually dates back, of course, to. It was very well expressed by Charles DePuy in the late 18th century. 

And interestingly enough, you may recall from an article of mine about the founding fathers who became involved with these people, the Charles de Puy and Count Volney in France and with Napoleon and all of them were questioning whether or not Jesus was a historical figure back, you know, around eighteen hundred seventy nine days. And so there there was in DePuy was a lot of disastrous theology. He wrote a multi volume book in French that had massive amounts of mythology from antiquity. So that train of thought was bombed onto them. We have Thomas Paine writing about Jesus as a son and in the place of the son. In these older mythologies, they’ve put Jesus Christ. He repeats this a couple of times. So Thomas Paine was on onto the solar mythology. Jesus as a solar hero. And then it progresses through the 19th century with extraordinary amount of information coming out in addition to discoveries in Egypt. And then so we have a large body of work about the myth assist case. And it’s hidden meaning. With the Astro theological and so the mythological basis. And that. 

Seemed to be very effective in a lot of people were actually disseminating it to the masses, because as you and I know, much of this information stays in academic circles. I keep digging it up and putting it out there, and you get people very angry about that. But and some of it’s edited out. A lot of these texts were worked over. 

I’m thinking of the media edition of Apophenia, for example. He cut out this whole discussion of the Egyptians bringing out a babe at the winter solstice who was born of the Virgin Koray. And that was missing from the MENA edition, and I had to go and dig that up and made some of this stuff has been made very difficult to find in certainly in English as well. I’ve taken texts that I’ve never been translated and I’ve incorporated them into my books and wasn’t wasn’t easy. So obviously, they’ve been throwing roadblocks all along the mainstream. Academics. And do we know very well that many of these universities from which the scholarship emanates were founded as Christian colleges? 

Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia. These are all Christian universities. And so they’re not going to be too keen on going down that path. So they actually actively worked to prevent this information from being known. Even as you say, it’s not necessarily refuted. It was ridiculed into submission, so to speak, which is a favorite apologist tactic from way back when. 

Yeah. It’s so ironic to me that apologists just swear up and down that the early Christians would never have engaged in deception like this. And when you look at their own words and their own tactics in debating and polemics, if they’re carryin on the old time religion, it’s exactly what you’d expect. They’re still doing the same thing. 

Yeah. A lot of the ridiculing is one of the favorite tactics, as if their belief system is less ridiculous. 

Yeah. I just that’s the default mode. They just can’t see anything improbable about a guy with two natures and he’s a member of an exclusive club in the Trinity and this and that. Oh sure. That’s true. 

Raised for the flew up into heaven. No problem. 

That’s not right. If somebody else says, yeah, I’m a UFO religion person, I believe I’m gonna be beamed up to the other ship or the mother ship. Oh, that’s ridiculous. So what really is going to happen is the rapture. 

Oh, yeah. I’m born of a virgin. 

Walking on water. Yeah. I mean, all these miracles, these are all perfectly plausible what it has to do with that one character, but not where it has to do with others. They couldn’t these ideas couldn’t possibly have existed in everyone else’s culture. And what would the gods have been doing if not rising from the dead? Healing on water, flying through the air. That’s what the gods always did. So this idea that none of these motifs existed in pre-Christian times is just ludicrous, that it’s a really a just kind of a handwaving to get you off the subject. Don’t look too closely. 

Or you might discover that this is not an original, divine, unique revelation. 

Yeah, we wouldn’t want that. 

In your book, The Christ Conspiracy started the ball rolling here. And now I gather you’re doing a new edition of it. Ken, I do want to let any cats out of bags, but can you tell us any ways in which the new additions might differ from the first? 

Well, sure. The first one, I use sources from my own library that incorporated a number of popular titles. And these were books that people in the you know, the seal that I was investigating, these were the things that people were studying and talking about. And it was I was trying to reach the masses. I wasn’t trying to reach the academics, per say. So I drew on sources that people would be more familiar with and they were not well received. So since that time, I have been backing up the main contentions using other sources big, pretty much proving the same stuff for the most part. But just making the sources more to the liking of other individuals outside of the masses. In other words, the school scholars and Akeda missions. 

So I’m just going to approach some of the topics that were really some of the book was neglected and other parts of it ripped to shreds and put under the microscope. And there’s some aspects of it that really got people upset. Characters Chapter where I have lists of gods and goddesses, mostly, mostly gods, with characteristics that paralleled the Christ figure. And those lists were copied and torn apart and plagiarized and passed around and and complained about and ridiculed and whatever. But they seemed to be really the most contentious part of the book. Everybody that seems to be like almost the Achilles heel, if you can show that Christianity is borrowed from more ancient doctrines. 

Ben, what you know, you’ve pretty much torn apart the historicity and the claims to divine revelation. And so what I’ve done is I’ve gone through. 

Those characters, lists and tweaks them for accuracy found other sources to cite. And that’s so that’s one section I’m doing that with then other parts of it. Where? I had been a little hasty about previous scholarship, having made a certain conclusion. Now I’m going to have to prove that a little better. And then there’ll be some parts of I’m just going to cut out altogether. Give me one example. There are some really interesting stuff towards the back, but it’s it’s written by. Well, one person’s. 

Descendent to two guys, descendant actually came one of his relatives. The relative came and started attacking me horrendously over this use of his word, of their work. And so I’m going to remove this is not worth it. 

Worth it. 

I could do better. I don’t. I didn’t need to include these people at all. They’re lucky that I gave them the publicity. But, you know, so this is the kind of stuff I’m doing. I’m going to remove problematic sources and some of the material will be tweaked and changed. There were so many inaccuracies. I’ve actually had Narada Page all along, so I have been acknowledging where some of the stuff was not quite right. And that’s, you know, just going to have the same kind of scrutiny I used for my book, Christ in Egypt, for example. 

Yeah. You know, every one of your subsequent books, it seems to me you’ve more than answered a lot of these questions and filled in a lot of things that people kept zero weighing in on things that sometimes, you know, you shouldn’t really even have to thoroughly document. But given the. The ax grinding character of people like an attorney in court. You sort of have to say, well, if you want everything, here it is. And I’ve been amazed at the depth of documentation in Christ in Egypt and Sons of God and so forth. One thing that I wondered about and have have been very intrigued with is your claim in the original book that cret about the same thing you mentioning of the similar parallels between the various saviors, the idea that Krishna and Mithras were crucified and resurrected. What could you summarize the evidence for that? I think I understand a bit of it, but it’s some of the most controversial stuff. And I’d be I’d love to hear you expand on that. 

Yeah, and Horace, to which. 

Oh, yeah, I read it pretty thoroughly and Christ in Egypt. Well, those that does come from Cursi Graves’s were 16 crucified saviors. That that information and the way it’s depicted is kind of misleading as you get into it, because you think that. What he’s saying is or what he must have thought, graves, that is, that they were. It was parallel to the Christian story that Christner was crucified to death. And then, you know, resurrected in a similar way. But then you discover that. 

What he’s basing that on are artifacts that are very intriguing and they probably do reflect an ancient tradition, but they’re not part of a myth that is written down in, say, an ancient encyclopedia in a nice format. 

The ancients didn’t really do that. They didn’t sit and write little nice little entries into encyclopedias like we have now. For example, the story of Horus is in awe as Cyrus in the bits and pieces. The myth is a little scattered about throughout. The text doesn’t have this one congealed myth until Plutarch comes along, you know. So that’s a similar thing that’s going on here. What we had was apparently some artifacts of Krishna or other gods were. Tobor know that in cross roads in Nepal, there is there are gods in cruciform, their arms outstretched and the sign of a cross as a protector. These things were found by missionaries and they were flummoxed by them. 

They had images of Krishna supposedly in a cruciform or were Tobor. And then they were asked about this, why are these gods and cross-shaped? And the negative response was the Indians response was they didn’t really know. But it seemed to be something that was easily hung up. I mean, this is what you would do if you’re gonna hang a guard over your door is put it in a cross shape. So basically, we’re saying that there were images of Krishna across shaper and cruciform, but not necessarily that his myth’s says he was thrown to the ground and pounded onto a cross and then hung up. That’s that’s that’s where it becomes very contentious and obviously isn’t doesn’t follow the Christ myth in that direction. But what we do find is all these guys and cruciform. So when you hang the Jewish dot on a cross, you’re not doing much. You’re not propounding anything different than the sons of Joe to Pig. 

So, yeah, that was the point of that information. Other as far as Mitro goes, there’s actually some textual gets the myth rehashed where Mitra’s saying something like, I am, I am. First of all, he’s got a light. So he’s he’s a cross of light. He’s got his arms extended as a cross of light. So, again, not saying Mitha was. Thrown to the ground. And we not saying these are real people, because the Indians thought that person was a real person, but I don’t I’m not saying these are real people who were thrown to the ground and crucified. As far as the resurrections go. Well. You know, it said Krishna dies and then he ascends into heaven alive. And so now he’s dead and he’s alive. I mean, this is a similar, similar concept, Mithra. There is a whole association of him with the bull that he kills me, sacrificing himself for rebirth of. And then we tie it into natural cycles where he’s bored in the spring. And then he also has this birthday that was celebrated in antiquity on the winter solstice as being a god of light. That’s a tremendous theme, obviously, where a lot of gods and goddesses are depicted as being born again or reborn or coming out of the cave of death like Amaterasu in Japan. So it’s not hard to understand where these rebirth myths come from. And they’ll be associated to with gods of light. And same thing with Horace, though. We do actually have an Theodore Singulars pre-Christian story of Horus dying and then being resurrected. And there’s word on a stasis to say that he’s been raised up is exactly the same term and Theodores as it is in the New Testament to describe Jesus’s resurrection so that, you know, that’s right before the 1st century BCE when that was written. And so these are important little little bitty thing here, like the same word being you done is, as you know. And the fact that this is unquestionably then in the story of Horus, a pre-Christian resurrection. Now, there’s a whole debate going on with that. Whether or not that can be pre-Christian motif. It is unquestionably is the virgin mother motif, the resurrection motif, the God on the cross or in cruciform. These are three major motifs unquestionably existed in pre-Christian times. 

Yeah. This business that you still here, I, I’m just amazed that all the pagans stole all of that stuff from Christianity. And as you say, there is really plenty of demonstrable evidence that these things pre-date Christianity, like in the case of Cyrus, Horace Bayle, et cetera, by hundreds of years at least. It’s just just amazing. Ax grinding as Richard Tierney, great fantasy writer and atheist, said, they’re grinding the acts of the apostles. It’s just amazing. This is why I despair of debating these people. It’s just slam your head against a wall. 

They’re grinding the ax so they can cut down the tree of mythology. 

Oh, yeah, that’s right. Yeah. The axis laid off the root of the trees. Do you think that Egyptian myth and religion are the main source of Christianity or is it just a source of parallels? It shows it’s the same kind of thing. 

Oh, I think unquestionably. A very significant amount of Christianity was taken directly from Egyptian religion and mythology, including the text. And I’ve shown in my book, Christ in Egypt, Side-By-Side parallels between Egyptian very prominent Egyptian mythological and religious themes. And the gospel of John, for example, it’s almost verbatim in some places. You have you have two women at a tomb waiting for the God to be are the the dead person to be called for. And one is Horace is calling for those Cyrus. And then you have Jesus calling for the Lazarus Elorza as L.O. Cyrus. Even the word can be broken down. 

I show the correspondence between those words and there’s the the two Marys that Lazarus is resurrection and the other two Martys at Sirius’s resurrection. And they’re calling forth on the fourth day. It’s just it’s so blatant, you know. And this same kind of thing. Throughout the New Testament, you can see all kinds of Egyptian influences in there. You can also see Indian influences, for example, the story of Herod. That doesn’t necessarily come from India because we have the story of Herod and the massacre of the infants. We have the story of Christmas birth. The King Council wants to massacre the infants to prevent Krishna from becoming an adult and and doing away with him. So that story looks like it’s coming from the Indian Buddhists and Hindu texts that Buddha is born to the side of his virgin mother. And there’s quite a lot of Buddhistic influence as well. And so many people don’t realize that in the first century before the common era, the Romans had really opened up the. Line the commerce line to India through the Red Sea and Overland. And there was quite a bit of contact by that time. So it isn’t saying that, well, that’s way too far away. Nobody could have been influenced by Buddhism and so forth. There’s a tremendous amount of exchange going on in the first couple of centuries before the common area between the Greeks and the Indians. And they’re bringing that into the Roman Empire. There must have been text at the Library of Alexandria from India as well. So I see them. I see some of the major influences on Christianity to be the Indian religions and Egyptian. But then, of course, Greek stories as well, and Roman mythology and mythology, even up into Great Britain, you have a zus, the woodcutter God up there. That’s a strange one. 

You know, there no king as Soka had sent Buddhist missionaries as at least as far as Syria. A couple of hundred years before Christianity started. So it’s not only that it could have penetrated. We kind of know that it did. That’s to deny this. The possibility of this influence is just so foolish. Eventually it dawns on you. 

You know, I’m not really dealing with somebody who’s interested in the facts when they just repeatedly rail line against this is speaking of the Egyptian thing, someone has told me, though, I was never able to trace down the source and I can’t remember whether you had this or not. So poor is my memory of late that one of these texts about the death and resurrection of Cyrus had ISIS saying at one point, they have taken away my lord and I know not where they have laid him. Does that ring a bell with you? I mean, of course it’s parallel, John. 

But I mean, in terms of the Egyptian source, yeah, that’s obviously almost verbatim from the New Testament, but. Well, yeah, I think I recall reading something to that effect, but I don’t know exactly what the language is and where it would be. Yeah, I do remember. I think that’s in my book. My book is so stuffed with information I can’t remember everything that’s in it. Oh my gosh. Do you remember everything in your books? I don’t think so. 

Especially when somebody points out something I wish I hadn’t said. 

So yeah, there seems to be quite a lot of correspondence there, including, like I said, you know, a new BIS who was a very popular God around the Mediterranean at the time. And he is a purifier who takes care of the dead of Cyprus. And he’s basically been decapitated. He’s got a. Carries his his Jackel body along. He’s got a Jacobite jeggle head. But his human body had been decapitated as as his Jaglom body. 

So we’ve got a headless baptize there who was very popular, you know, the graffiti o or whatever it is of it. Where’s this Alec Zarmina house worships his God. And it’s a crucified man with an assist. And is that, do you think, some sort of Egyptian survival? 

Well, it’s quite possible. We know that. Christ wasn’t depicted as crucified until centuries later. And so they claim this was a Christian icon. And so basically this person is ridiculing a Christian saying this is your God. And. So if but if you look into the Egyptian mythology, there’s some indication that. Well, Anubis wasn’t it was a jackal headed God, but a new base is depicted in Cruciform with his arms outstretched. And this is a kind of protector image. That you would put up. You know, for. That’s why their arms are widespread there to protect the people who are within their grasp, so to speak. And so, yeah, that could be a reworked. 

Pagan image and this as headed business. There’s. 

Some Jewish connection with that, that the Jews were accused of worshiping God with an ax head. And I’d have to look into that for more details, but I know discuss that and some of them, I think Sons of God discuss that whole subject even. 

You mentioned Graves is the world’s 16 crucified saviors on the whole. Do you think that book holds up so that, like, one could do a slightly revised edition, or is it just a good try but a false start? I have no opinion either way, sir. I’m curious what you think as you’ve you’ve done a service by elucidating some of the sources he used and what he made of them. What’s your general opinion of it at this late? Right. 

Well, that is an important text in the sense that it’s been attacked as much as it’s been read. But the thing is that it has been read and it’s been very influential and it continues to be influential in many different editions of it come out. So this is one of the few books that continues to go on and on and on. So it really needs to be looked at closely. And I don’t know anyone else who has looked at it as closely as I have because I did use his general character’s framework. I should say he had a list of different gods and goddesses who had had similar lives. And I didn’t use his work much more than that. But I did start with that. I made a list. That list needed to be updated. There were some errors having to do with typography. Like food became be. 

And do. Which is what they’ve been calling a Baidu. 

And then it became Baidu. And then there was a big brouhaha about that. Turns out that it’s probably Boota that was being discussed there. So that kind of stuff needs to be his spelling obviously is antiquated. And the thing the thing that my research did to absolve graves of these attacks on him was the shows that he didn’t really make this stuff up. He got it from others whom he did not cite very conscientiously. And that was one of the problems with his work. And the others may have gotten it wrong. But the fault does not rest with him. So he was not the big problem other than he needed to be more conscientious about citation. I know he did say something, something in there about having the sources right at his disposal. And I think he died before he ever got to do some of the work that he really needed to do to concretized his contentions. 

However, I traced them back to. Someone like largely Godfrey Higgins in his book and a collapse and collapses where he has it’s such a big jumble of material. It’s quite fascinating, but. It’s so jumbled together, it’s difficult to follow and it’s easy to make a mistake with his material. So Greeves kind of copied some of his stuff from there that is not exactly sustainable, such as I think, you know, top most notorious thing was the December 25th birthday of Krishna, which is not sustainable in. The way that we look at our calendar, but interestingly enough. It turns out they have a laundry calendar like the Egyptian calendar, so eventually, of course, his birthday would have landed on the sun, the winter solstice. But I have some information about that, too, that goes beyond just that sort of a coincidence. I did that in Sons of God. I talked about. The Chris Mooney. As a sun God. And so it would be logical that his birth might be at a the winter solstice. But in any event. As far as grades goes. 

I think at least it can be said that he did he’s not guilty of fabrication, then obviously there’s some problems with that text and yes, it would need to be rewritten, kind of like what I’m doing with the characters chapter. In the new edition of Price Conspiracy, the impression that he gave with some of this information and then the other clearly erroneous some of the impressions that he gave. But he also was an even more arrests. And he thought that, in other words, he believed that all these guys were real people and they all really walked the earth, whereas we’re saying they’re all mythological characters based on an archetype. 

And that’s a different scene, even more rhythm and mysticism. 

Something else that it just incredibly intrigues me that you touch on. Also in the Christ conspiracy as John Allegro and some of his claims. And I’m interested in to know what you think on the one hand of this incredible Caddick Kohm painting, he reproduces of Adam and Eve flanking with the tree of knowledge and with the serpent and everything. And it seems unmistakably to be an arminio muscaria hallucinogenic mushroom. But others say, oh, no, no, no, it’s that was just a conventional way of drawing pine trees or something. Where does that debate stand? What do you think of that? 

I did write about this subject briefly in Christ conspiracy subject being the use of what are called antigens, which means to generate God. They’re. Natural substances such as Mushroom, Soma and the ship in the Indian tax. How olma in the Sarastro and. And cannabis, of course. And then there is this whole school of thought and body literature that claims many ancient epiphanies were devised or designed, rather, through the use of these antigenic substances, what people call psychedelics. Air got possibly used in the at least Lucien mysteries. And all these different I think there’s quite a bit of merit to that concept. And that’s why I included it, that certain very lofty philosophical ideas, religious concept, spiritual notions have been. You know, perceived through people who are in these altered states. So I thought that was worth putting in there. 

Not of course, that would be part of the revision. The book is more extensive than I realized. Let’s take a guided tour. My gosh, look at all these different subjects. 

I covered America’s. It goes all over the place. So it’s gonna be a real challenge. 

So I think there’s certainly merit to that. As you pointed out, it has the Indian text’s Rigveda, for example, the great hero Indra is constantly doped up on Soma and talking about he’s got supernatural strength. Then he’s able to think like the gods and so on and so forth. This is. I see no reason why humans could not have evolved in that way over the centuries by utilizing these materials, which they do to this day in remote areas like in the Brazilian rainforest. There are entire ayahuasca cults down there. People are raised on it, children. It’s part of their spiritual practices. 

It plainly says that in the hymns to Soma, it talks about the priests using a mortar and pestle to beat the Soma into liquid and that this is how they’re getting visions of the triple world and the gods. So there’s no question they did it. What do you think of a lay gross contention that Christianity started out as as of. Well, a mushroom called to put it sensationally? It is. I mean, I’ve learned not to dismiss anything out of hand, especially when there are historical parallels. Do you think there’s anything to that or is that sort of a superfluous hypothesis? 

No, I think that we need to look at these other groups and say that some of this information, particularly the Gnostic effort, may well have come through those channels. I mean, look at look at Gnosticism. What is that? That is just kooky. That’s crazy stuff. Yeah. 

Mm hmm. Now, if we maybe raised mushrooms and we sat down and thought about it, they would all make total sense to us. Here the pyro mom. Absolutely. Arcon is. No. 

And if you look at if you think about the way that we mathis’s to have perceive the early Christian affer as really taking place in the second century and being built upon not just Gnosticism of that era, but concepts prior to that, you can trace Gnostic concepts back to Egypt again. And if you look at it this way, that there was the nossa sizing effort first and then that became historic sized and Judaize Christianity then. Yeah. The Gnostics seem like they they were certainly sitting around divining through use of Internet genic substances. So I think there’s merit in this idea. 

Yeah. Irenaeus ridicules the Gnostics for sort of playing a kind of game of can you top this? But maybe they did. No, sir. With the amethysts system having been around since at least the 18th century, you I believe you’ve created your own definition for Mitha CISM and call it the myth assist position. What is distinctive about that? Or are you highlighting a new aspect of it or something? 

Well, yes. Is Jesus mysticism where people believe that there is no historical basis to the gospel tale, that Jesus is a mythical figure based on other oduor pre-Christian motifs and figures and characters and sayings and so forth. That’s called Jesus mysticism. 

Mysticism was extended in the 19th century to the rest of the Bible, too. And as you know, several of the characters in the Old Testament are considered by even made some mainstream scholars today to be fictional, to be mythical, like Sampson, for example, Samson and Delilah. That story seems to be a sun, God and the moon. The moon goddess, you know, reflects his rays and she cuts them off and so forth, that the sun’s rays cuts his hair. That story let them know. 

And the No. The Ark story being a Babylonian tale, the flood, Samarian and so forth, that these are considered to be mythical figures. And that would be part of mysticism as well, that the Bible biblical figures are actually mythical and not historical. And so we had that whole body of literature in that movement of mysticism. But. There it seems to be there in the world at large. People seem to need something kind of concrete to define their perspective. I personally don’t need a label or a particular position or an ism of any sort, but it helps to transmit information to have it done in a very definitive manner. And so. A person pointed this out to me quite strongly that people aren’t getting. What what it’s all about, they’re thinking that I’m just running around saying Jesus didn’t exist. Which is not really the way I formulate the theory. It’s not that we’re proving he didn’t exist. Which everyone says you can’t prove a negative, but we’re showing that the story has mythical motifs taken from other other pre-Christian ideologies. 

Yeah, yeah. It’s there is a Jesus figure. And what you’re doing is not to just dump on one prevalent view that he really existed, but to create an alternative explanation. Yes, of course there is a Jesus as a character. Maybe this, however, is how it came about. 

Yeah, that’s pretty much it saying rather than disproving that Jesus existed. I’m proving that that’s a mythical figure. 

Mm hmm. Yeah. That that is a very different emphasis is sort of analogous to how people say, well, I don’t know if I want to call myself an atheist because I’m not all about denying there’s a God. I kind of take that is red and I’m trying to come up with an alternative. Yeah. 


I didn’t set out to just say, oh, well, I hate Christianity. It’s done horrible things to me. That’s certainly part of it. Not to me personally, but part of look, Christian history is atrocious, frankly. And so if this is all based on a myth, it’s it’s doubly atrocious. But I didn’t set out to hurt Christianity. 

I saw these parallels and I said, well, even though, again, one of the first earliest texts was that there was a lot of forgery in Christianity, that still was not my motive to talk about Christ as a mythical figure. It was. It was. Well, if all these parallels belong to other cultures, they’re being denigrated essentially by saying they’re not true. Just because something as myth is not necessarily saying it’s not true. We who love myths would disagree that some just because something is a myth, it should be dismissed. That word has become pejorative rather than descriptive in a scientific manner. But so it wasn’t that I set out for anything other than saying, look, the myths of other cultures have merit as well, and they’re not necessarily inferior to this one over here. This one is a different ethnicity. So if you’re going to say that this this this mythical, so blatantly mythical, certain aspects of it are at least for many people. You’re saying that that all happened, but that the Greek equivalent Greek story didn’t happen? And so I’m just saying. Well, neither of them happened in the third dimension. 

If they did, they’re reflecting scientific knowledge, such as the movements of the planets and the sun and so forth, which human beings have needed to have this information to function properly. 

So one of the reasons I emphasize this is because this information becomes lost in this historic association and Judeo Judaism, Judaization, that the all this information that really belongs to humanity as a whole has now been glommed on to by one culture and turned into its suppose at history, when in fact it’s a body of knowledge that is cumulative. From human beings all over the planet, and it belongs to all of us. The body of knowledge again, nature, worship, solar mythology, astro mythology, astro theology transmitting. Profound knowledge from antiquity. So that’s where my motivation comes from. Not just mindless destruction. It’s not me. 

Well, in line with that, I have sometimes gotten the impression, reading your books, that you think of it. You’re picturing Christianity beginning as like a committee effort by some group who wanted to construct a religion and borrowed various items to create it. And I now begin to think I was wrong about that. That is not quite what you think, right? It’s more of a natural confluence of these universal themes. Is that correct? 

Well, yes. 

I mean, what I’m really trying to do, I never try to pinpoint any given moment when the Christian effort took root or that any one particular person like Constantine. There are certain people I’ve quoted in the past who think that it was all Constantine, that the council, Nicaea. And but that’s obviously not sustainable. I don’t think anybody would really say that this created whole cloth at the Council of Nicaea because we have way too much evidence of material prior to that, especially in the second century. But what I see is if you had prior to the common era. 

I’m just trying to figure out how it all happened, so I’m not really stuck on any kind of one particular viewpoint, it goes. I see an organic coalescence, as you say, that took place over a period of several centuries and it starts before the common era. At this point, you do find, of course, concerted effort by a particular group of people to create a savior God. And I’m thinking of specifically Asclepius. I mean, I’m sorry. Therapists, therapists, who is very similar to Asclepius therapies, was a concerted effort to create a new God to unite the Egyptians and the Greeks in Alexandria. And the Jews as well. And so you do find priesthood is obviously sitting down and creating new gods from older gods therapies is a combination of Cyrus and his APIs bill manifestation for a specific purpose. So when I see that kind of and I know also that Hercules was created by people, I mean, granted the overall Hercules story that we get must have taken centuries to put together. And you can see older layers of these stories and there’s many different Hercules and so forth. But certainly priests have created in leagues with their political leaders and other moneyed people have created new gods, too, for various purposes, not just to appease necessarily supernatural forces, but also to unite various warring factions. And so knowing that, yes, there would be an element of concerted effort and not just, you know, an organic flow, but then we have to factor in people who were probably never conscious of what would come after their efforts, such as the therapists in Egypt and Alexandria who are discussed by five low, five low writing. All of these interesting philosophical notions that occur looked like they were wholesale lifted into Christianity. I’m sure he didn’t have a clue that his efforts were going to be used to create Christianity. So he’s not someone you would point to and say, aha. He’s part of a conspiracy. You know, the word conspiracy. In my title, The Crisis, Piercey implies that there are some people who sat down deliberately trying to do this. Certainly some of them did. We tried we have this effort from this Bayesian in Egypt as well with their previous phase in working with. Tiberius Alexander and Trend, it seems that they’re trying to create a new religion, or at least they were trying to build up the therapist’s religion for a similar process. And you do have these secret societies and brotherhood and they’re all over the Mediterranean. So just trying to put all these pieces together becomes very complicated. My thinking with the conspiracy aspect of the Christ conspiracy title is more of what happened afterwards with all the destruction and the burning of books and the Inquisition. Now, certainly there’s been a conspiracy and to keep it out of our minds to the right, what happened? The 20th century is part of the conspiracy that they fought back ridicules all the people who were bringing this information up, managed to drive it underground. You hardly heard from it. Again, we had Herb Cutner popping up. We have John Jackson popping up then and then. Not much until you, Earl, and I pop up. And so so certainly that’s the part, not necessarily that at the beginning there were people sitting around, you know, rubbing their hands together. But by this end of the second century, the Catholicism’s the Catholic Church who stepped in. 

And at that point. Now you’re talking concerted effort. 

Oh, yeah, definitely. I assure you, I started out asking what your religious background identity might have been. How would you describe yourself to. Are you an atheist human as secular as done as tag? 

Just I’m a college follower. I’m a thuggy. Well, I know I’m kind of like you. 

I like not to define myself in any given moment. I’d like to think atheistic fully where it’s appropriate. And I like to experience spiritual notions where where I’d like to as well, because I, I study this the religion of his ology so intensely that I like to get into the mind of the people who are believing in this way. So I don’t this I definition know I’ve done a lot of meditation and have background studying Eastern religions as well. And so. They talk about dissolving the ego in the eye and what not. I just don’t find myself defining myself in that regard where I say I am an atheist. And therefore, today I have to think atheistic. We all day long. Or tomorrow I am atheist and I have to think the theistic gle all day long. 

It’s what I feel appropriate in a given moment. I’m unquestionably secular in my own life because I don’t go anywhere, do any better, go to church, for example. And I and I would prefer to keep a secular governance government in charge of. So we don’t and we don’t get caught up in dark ages. But you know, I’ve had to wear a label. I’ll call myself a free thinker, which gives me the freedom to think whatever I want in any given moment. 

Yeah, I like that one, Atlanta. They sure shared a whole lot of free thought with us. I really appreciate it and I hope to have you on the show again on point of inquiry. Thank you so much for being with us. 

Oh, I would love to be on again. I really appreciate you taking the time. Great talking to you. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of Point of Inquiry to get involved with an online conversation about today’s show. Join me online discussion for a moot point of inquiry dot org. Views expressed on point of inquiry aren’t necessarily the views of the Center for Inquiry, nor its affiliated organizations. 

Questions and comments on today’s show can be sent to feedback at point of inquiry dot org. 

Point of inquiry is produced by Adam Isaac in Amherst, New York. And our music is composed forest by Emmy Award winner Michael Wailin. Today’s show also featured contributions from Debbie Goddard. I’m your host, Robert Price. 

Robert M. Price

Born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1954, Robert Price moved to New Jersey in 1965. At Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary he took an MTS degree in New Testament (1978), then, at Drew University, a PhD in Systematic Theology (1981) and a second PhD in New Testament (1993). He has served as Professor of Religion at Mount Olive College, North Carolina, pastor of First Baptist Church, Montclair, NJ, and Director of the Metro NY Center for Inquiry. He founded and edited the Journal of Higher Criticism and has authored scores of articles on the Bible and religion. His books include Beyond Born AgainThe Widow Traditions in Luke-ActsDeconstructing JesusThe Incredible Shrinking Son of ManThe Da Vinci FraudThe Reason-Driven LifeThe Pre-Nicene New TestamentJesus Is Dead, and The Paperback Apocalypse. Price is a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar. He served as Professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies at Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary and Professor of Biblical Criticism for the Center for Inquiry Institute in Amherst, NY. He and his wife Carol and daughters Victoria and Veronica live in Selma, NC.