Greetings Truth Searcher🙂 Keep UP Your Search!🙂
We learned this: Myths can contain kernels/morsels of Truth…e.g., The Flood…(more than a legend).
(May be? these kernels serve as Morse code? an S.O.S. of sorts?)
Thus far, we’ve also learned this: Myths don’t always have a basis in fact or “in the Bible.” E.g., illusion of Immortality of the Soul…(false belief/incorrect teaching).
Ready to read…some more? (my blue highlights)
Sun Worship and Human Sacrifices
31. (a) What did the Egyptians believe about the sun-god Ra? (b) How does that contrast with what the Bible says? (Psalm 19:4-6)
31 The mythology of Egypt embraces an extensive pantheon of gods and goddesses. As in so many other ancient societies, while the Egyptians searched for God, they gravitated toward worshiping that which sustained their daily life—the sun. Thus, under the name of Ra (Amon-Ra), they venerated the sovereign lord of the sky, who took a boat ride every day from east to west. When night fell, he followed a dangerous course through the underworld.
32. Describe one of the festivals to the fire-god Xiuhtecutli (Huehueteotl).
32 Human sacrifices were a common feature in the sun worship of the Aztec, Inca, and Maya religions. The Aztecs celebrated a constant cycle of religious festivals, with human sacrifices to their various gods, especially in the worship of the sun-god Tezcatlipoca. Also, in the festival of the fire-god Xiuhtecutli (Huehueteotl), “prisoners of war danced together with their captors and . . . were whirled about a dazzling fire and then dumped into the coals, fished out while still alive to have their still palpitating hearts cut out to be offered to the gods.”—The Ancient Sun Kingdoms of the Americas.
33 Farther south, the Inca religion had its own sacrifices and myths. In ancient Inca worship, children and animals were offered to the sun-god Inti and to Viracocha, the creator.
Various Gods & Goddesses…
Mythical Gods and Goddesses
34. Who made up the most prominent Egyptian triad, and what roles did they play?
34 The most prominent of the Egyptian triads is that made up of Isis, symbol of divine motherhood; Osiris, her brother and consort; and Horus, their son, usually represented by a falcon. Isis is sometimes portrayed in Egyptian statues offering her breast to her child in a pose very reminiscent of Christendom’s virgin-and-child statues and paintings, which came on the scene over two thousand years later. In time Isis’ husband, Osiris, achieved popularity as the god of the dead because he offered hope of an eternally happy life for the souls of the dead in the hereafter.
35. Who was Hathor, and what was her chief annual festival?
35 Egypt’s Hathor was the goddess of love and joy, music and dancing. She became the queen of the dead, helping them with a ladder to achieve heaven. As the New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology explains, she was celebrated with great festivals, “above all on New Year’s Day, which was the anniversary of her birth. Before dawn the priestesses would bring Hathor’s image out on to the terrace to expose it to the rays of the rising sun. The rejoicing which followed was a pretext for a veritable carnival, and the day ended in song and intoxication.” Have things changed all that much in New Year celebrations thousands of years later?
36. (a) What was the religious setting for Israel in the 16th century B.C.E.? (b) What special significance did the Ten Plagues have?
36 The Egyptians also had many animal gods and goddesses in their pantheon, such as Apis the bull, Banaded the ram, Heqt the frog, Hathor the cow, and Sebek the crocodile. (Romans 1:21-23) It was in this religious setting that the Israelites found themselves in captivity as slaves in the 16th century B.C.E. To release them from Pharaoh’s stubborn grip, Jehovah, the God of Israel, had to send ten different plagues against Egypt. (Exodus 7:14–12:36) Those plagues amounted to a calculated humiliation of the mythological gods of Egypt.
37. (a) What kind of characters were some of the Roman gods? (b) How did the conduct of the gods affect their followers? (c) What experience did Paul and Barnabas have in Lystra?
37 Now let us move on to the gods of ancient Greece and Rome. Rome borrowed many gods from ancient Greece, along with their virtues and vices. (See boxes, pages 43 and 66.) For example, Venus and Flora were brazen prostitutes; Bacchus was a drunkard and reveler; Mercury was a highway robber; and Apollo was a seducer of women. It is reported that Jupiter, the father of the gods, committed adultery or incest with about 59 women! (What a reminder of the rebel angels who cohabited with women before the Flood!) Since worshipers tend to reflect the conduct of their gods, is it any wonder that Roman emperors such as Tiberius, Nero, and Caligula led debauched lives as adulterers, fornicators, and murderers?
38. (a) Describe the kind of worship practiced in Rome. (b) How did religion influence the Roman soldier?
38 In their religion, the Romans incorporated gods from many traditions. For example, they took up with enthusiasm the worship of Mithras, the Persian god of light, who became their sun-god […], and the Syrian goddess Atargatis (Ishtar). They converted the Grecian Artemis the huntress into Diana and had their own variations of the Egyptian Isis. They also adopted the Celtic triple goddesses of fertility.—Acts 19:23-28.
39. (a) Who ruled the Roman priesthood? (b) Describe one of the Roman religious ceremonies.
39 For the practice of their public cults at hundreds of shrines and temples, they had a variety of priests, all of whom “came under the authority of the Pontifex Maximus [Supreme Pontiff], who was the head of the state religion.” (Atlas of the Roman World) The same atlas states that one of the Roman ceremonies was the taurobolium, in which “the worshiper stood in a pit and was bathed in the blood of a bull sacrificed over him. He emerged from this rite in a state of purified innocence.”
40. How do many scholars view the events of early Christianity?
40 According to some modern critics, Christianity also embraces myths and legends. Is that really so? Many scholars reject as myths the virgin birth of Jesus, his miracles, and his resurrection. Some even say he never existed but that his myth is a carryover from more ancient mythology and sun worship. As mythology expert Joseph Campbell wrote: “Several scholars have suggested, therefore, that there was never either John [the Baptizer] or Jesus, but only a water-god and a sun-god.” But we need to remember that many of these same scholars are atheists and thus reject totally any belief in God.
41, 42. What evidence is there to support the historicity of early Christianity?
41 However, this skeptical point of view flies in the face of historical evidence. For example, the Jewish historian Josephus (c.37-c.100 C.E.) wrote: “To some of the Jews the destruction of Herod’s army seemed to be divine vengeance, and certainly a just vengeance, for his treatment of John, surnamed the Baptist. For Herod had put him to death, though he was a good man.”—Mark 1:14; 6:14-29.
42 This same historian also testified to the historical existence of Jesus Christ, when he wrote that there arose “a certain Jesus, a wizard of a man, if indeed he may be called a man . . . whom his disciples call a son of God.” He continued by saying that “Pilate had sentenced him . . . And even now the race of those who are called ‘Messianists’ after him is not extinct.”*(According to the traditional text of Josephus, footnote, page 48 of the Harvard University Press edition, Volume IX.)—Mark 15:1-5, 22-26; Acts 11:26.
43. What basis did the apostle Peter have for believing in Christ?
43 Therefore, the Christian apostle Peter could write with total conviction as an eyewitness of Jesus’ transfiguration, saying: “No, it was not by following artfully contrived false stories [Greek, myʹthos] that we acquainted you with the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it was by having become eyewitnesses of his magnificence. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when words such as these were borne to him by the magnificent glory: ‘This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.’ Yes, these words we heard borne from heaven while we were with him in the holy mountain.”—2 Peter 1:16-18. * (According to the traditional text of Josephus, footnote, page 48 of the Harvard University Press edition, Volume IX.)
44. What Bible principle should prevail in any conflict between man’s opinions and the Word of God?
44 In this conflict between man’s “expert” opinion and God’s Word, we must apply the principle stated earlier: “What, then, is the case? If some did not express faith, will their lack of faith perhaps make the faithfulness of God without effect? Never may that happen! But let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, even as it is written: ‘That you might be proved righteous in your words and might win when you are being judged.’”—Romans 3:3, 4.
Let’s focus on threads now…
45. What are some of the common threads found in world mythology?
45 This brief review of some of the world’s mythologies has served to indicate some common features, many of which can be traced back to Babylon, the Mesopotamian cradle of most religions. There are common threads, whether in the facts of creation, or in accounts about a period when demigods and giants occupied the land and a deluge destroyed the wicked, or in the basic religious concepts of sun-worship and an immortal soul.
46, 47. (a) What Biblical explanation can we offer for the common origin and threads of mythology? (b) What further aspects of ancient worship will we cover?
46 From a Biblical viewpoint, we can explain these common threads when we recall that after the Flood, at God’s behest mankind spread out from Babel in Mesopotamia more than 4,200 years ago. Although they separated, forming families and tribes with different languages, they started off with the same basic understanding of prior history and religious concepts. (Genesis 11:1-9) Over the centuries, this understanding became distorted and adorned in each culture, resulting in many of the fictions, legends, and myths that have come down to us today. These myths, divorced from Bible truth, failed to bring mankind nearer to the true God.
47 However, mankind have also expressed their religious sentiments in various other ways—spiritism, shamanism, magic, ancestor worship, and so on. Do they tell us anything about mankind’s search for God?
[excerpted reading reference: Mankind’s Search For God, Chapter 3, Common Threads in Mythology, pp. 57-61]
9/28/18 @ 3:11 p.m.
p.s. Extensive lists (excerpted from book of various “fake” gods): (and including reference to: Potent, Almighty, True God of Bible, Yahweh/Jehovah.)
Greek and Roman Divinities
Many gods and goddesses of Greek mythology held similar positions in Roman mythology. The table below lists some of them.
Greek Roman Role
Aphrodite Venus Goddess of love
Apollo Apollo God of light, medicine, and poetry
Ares Mars God of war
Artemis Diana Goddess of hunting and childbirth
Asclepius Aesculapius God of healing
Athena Minerva Goddess of crafts, war, and wisdom
Cronus Saturn To the Greeks, ruler of the Titans and
father of Zeus. In Roman mythology,
also the god of agriculture
Demeter Ceres Goddess of growing things
Dionysus Bacchus God of wine, fertility, and wild
Eros Cupid God of love
Gaea Terra Symbol of the earth, and mother and
wife of Uranus
Hephaestus Vulcan Blacksmith for the gods and god of fire
Hera Juno Protector of marriage and women. To
the Greeks, sister and wife of Zeus;
to the Romans, wife of Jupiter
Hermes Mercury Messenger for the gods; god of
commerce and science; and protector of
travelers, thieves, and vagabonds
Hestia Vesta Goddess of the hearth
Hypnos Somnus God of sleep
Pluto, Hades Pluto God of the underworld
Poseidon Neptune God of the sea. In Greek mythology,
also god of earthquakes and horses
Rhea Ops Wife and sister of Cronus
Uranus Uranus Son and husband of Gaea and father of
Zeus Jupiter Ruler of the gods
Based on The World Book Encyclopedia, 1987, Volume 13.
[Box on page 45]
Assyro-Babylonian Gods and Goddesses
Anu—the supreme god, reigning over the heavens; father of Ishtar
Asshur—national warrior-god of the Assyrians; also god of fertility
Ea—god of water. Father of Marduk. Warned Utnapishtim of the flood
Enlil (Bel)—lord of the air; later paralleled in Greek mythology by Zeus. Assimilated by the Babylonians into Marduk (Bel)
Ishtar—divine personification of the planet Venus; sacred prostitution a part of her cult. She was Astarte in Phoenicia, Atargatis in Syria, Ashtoreth in the Bible (1 Kings 11:5, 33), Aphrodite in Greece, Venus in Rome
Marduk—first among the Babylonian gods; “absorbed all the other gods and took over all their various functions.” Called Merodach by the Israelites
Shamash—sun-god of light and justice. Forerunner of the Greek Apollo
Sin—moon-god, member of the triad that included Shamash (the sun) and Ishtar (the planet Venus)
Tammuz (Dumuzi)—the harvest-god. Ishtar’s lover
(Based on the New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology)
[Box/Pictures on page 60, 61]
Gods of the Roman Soldier
Rome was famous for its disciplined army. The cohesion of its empire depended on the morale and the effectiveness of the military legions. Was religion a factor to be reckoned with? Yes, and fortunately for us, the Romans left behind clear evidence of their occupation in the form of highways, fortresses, aqueducts, coliseums, and temples. For example, in Northumbria, in the north of England, there is the famous Hadrian’s Wall, built about 122 C.E. What have excavations revealed about Roman garrison activity and the role of religion?
In the Housesteads Museum, located near the excavated ruins of a Roman garrison on Hadrian’s Wall, an exhibit states: “The religious life of a Roman soldier was divided into three parts. Firstly . . . the cult of the Deified Emperors and the worship of the protecting gods of Rome such as Jupiter, Victory and Mars. An altar was dedicated to Jupiter every year on the parade ground of each fort. All soldiers were expected to participate in the festivals celebrating the birthdays, accession days and victories of the Deified Emperors.” How similar to the customs of armies of today, in which chaplains, altars, and flags are a regular part of army worship.
But what was the second feature of the Roman soldier’s religious life? It was the worship of the protecting gods and the guardian spirit of their particular unit “as well as the gods brought from their native lands.”
“Finally there were the cults followed by the individual. As long as a soldier fulfilled his obligations to the official cults he was free to worship any god he wished.” That sounds like a very liberal freedom-of-worship situation, but “exceptions were those religions, of which Druidism was one, whose practices were considered inhumane, and those whose loyalty to the State was suspect, for example Christianity.”—Compare Luke 20:21-25;23:1, 2; Acts 10:1, 2, 22.
Interestingly, in 1949 a temple to Mithras was discovered in a bog at Carrawburgh, quite close to Hadrian’s Wall. (See photo.) Archaeologists estimate that it was built about 205 C.E. It contains a sun-god image, altars, and a Latin inscription that states, in part, “To the invincible god Mithras.”
[Box on page 62]
Egypt’s Gods and the Ten Plagues
Jehovah executed judgment on Egypt’s impotent gods by means of the Ten Plagues.—Exodus 7:14–12:32.
1 Nile and other waters turned to blood. Nile-god Hapi
2 Frogs. Frog-goddess Heqt powerless to prevent it
3 Dust turned to gnats. Thoth, lord of magic, could not help
the Egyptian magicians
4 Gadflies on all Egypt except Goshen where Israel dwelt. No
god was able to prevent it—not even Ptah, creator of the
universe, or Thoth, lord of magic
5 Pestilence on livestock. Neither sacred cow-goddess Hathor
nor Apis the bull could prevent this plague
6 Boils. Healer deities Thoth, Isis, and Ptah unable to help
7 Thunder and hail. Exposed the impotence of Reshpu,
controller of lightning, and Thoth, god of rain and
8 Locusts. This was a blow to the fertility-god Min,
protector of crops
9 Three days of darkness. Ra, the preeminent sun-god, and
Horus, a solar god, disgraced
10 Death of the firstborn including Pharaoh’s, who was
considered to be a god incarnate. Ra (Amon-Ra), sun-god
and sometimes represented as a ram, was unable to impede
[Box on page 66]
Mythology and Christianity
Worship of the mythical gods of ancient Greece and Rome was in full sway when Christianity came on the scene nearly two thousand years ago. In Asia Minor the Greek names still prevailed, which explains why the people of Lystra (in present-day Turkey) called the Christian healers Paul and Barnabas “gods,” referring to them as Hermes and Zeus respectively, rather than as the Roman Mercury and Jupiter. The account says that “the priest of Zeus, whose temple was before the city, brought bulls and garlands to the gates and was desiring to offer sacrifices with the crowds.” (Acts 14:8-18) Only with difficulty did Paul and Barnabas convince the crowd not to make sacrifices to them. It illustrates how seriously those people took their mythology back then.
begs the questions:
To which God am i making sacrifices??
an impotent, fake god??
a Potent, Almighty, True God?!