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- The Truth About Jesus Is He a Myth? - 1/30 -


THE TRUTH ABOUT JESUS IS HE A MYTH?

ILLUSTRATED

_M. M. Mangasarian_

[Illustration: Woman Crucified. In the Church of St. Etienne, France. For a Long Time This Bearded Woman Was Supposed to be the Christ]

_If it is not historically true that such and such things happened in Palestine eighteen centuries ago, what becomes of Christianity? --Thomas Huxley._

CONTENTS

PART I

A PARABLE IN CONFIDENCE IS JESUS A MYTH? THE PROBLEM STATED THE CHRISTIAN DOCUMENTS VIRGIN BIRTHS THE ORIGIN OF THE CROSS SILENCE OF CONTEMPORARY WRITERS THE STORY OF JESUS A RELIGIOUS DRAMA THE JESUS OF PAUL NOT THE JESUS OF THE GOSPELS IS CHRISTIANITY REAL?

PART II

IS THE WORLD INDEBTED TO CHRISTIANITY?

PAGANISM AND CHRISTIANITY, OR CHRISTIANITY NOT SUITED TO WESTERN RACES

PART III

SOME MODERN OPINIONS OF JESUS A RHETORICAL JESUS "WE OWE EVERYTHING TO JESUS" A LIBERAL JEW PRAISES JESUS

APPENDIX--REPLIES TO CLERICAL CRITICS

_By education most have been misled, So they believe because they were so bred; The priest continues what the nurse began, And thus the child imposes on the man_. DRYDEN.

PREFACE

The following work offers in book form the series of studies on the question of the historicity of Jesus, presented from time to time before the Independent Religious Society in Orchestra Hall. No effort has been made to change the manner of the spoken, into the more regular form of the written, word.

M. M. MANGASARIAN.

ORCHESTRA HALL CHICAGO

[Illustration: Picture in Herculaneum, of the Days of Pompeii, Showing Cupid Crowned with a Cross.]

PART I.

A PARABLE

I am today twenty-five hundred years old. I have been dead for nearly as many years. My place of birth was Athens; my grave was not far from those of Xenophon and Plato, within view of the white glory of Athens and the shimmering waters of the Aegean sea.

After sleeping in my grave for many centuries I awoke suddenly--I cannot tell how nor why--and was transported by a force beyond my control to this new day and this new city. I arrived here at daybreak, when the sky was still dull and drowsy. As I approached the city I heard bells ringing, and a little later I found the streets astir with throngs of well dressed people in family groups wending their way hither and thither. Evidently they were not going to work, for they were accompanied by their children in their best clothes, and a pleasant expression was upon their faces.

"This must be a day of festival and worship, devoted to one of their gods," I murmured to myself.

Looking about me I saw a gentleman in a neat black dress, smiling, and his hand extended to me with great cordiality. He must have realized I was a stranger and wished to tender his hospitality to me. I accepted it gratefully. I clasped his hand. He pressed mine. We gazed for a moment silently into each other's eyes. He understood my bewilderment amid my novel surroundings, and offered to enlighten me. He explained to me the ringing of the bells and the meaning of the holiday crowds moving in the streets. It was Sunday--Sunday before Christmas, and the people were going to "the House of God."

"Of course you are going there, too," I said to my friendly guide.

"Yes," he answered, "I conduct the worship. I am a priest."

"A priest of Apollo?" I interrogated.

"No, no," he replied, raising his hand to command silence, "Apollo is not a god; he was only an idol."

"An idol?" I whispered, taken by surprise.

"I perceive you are a Greek," he said to me, "and the Greeks," he continued, "notwithstanding their distinguished accomplishments, were an idolatrous people. They worshipped gods that did not exist. They built temples to divinities which were merely empty names--empty names," he repeated. "Apollo and Athene--and the entire Olympian lot were no more than inventions of the fancy."

"But the Greeks loved their gods," I protested, my heart clamoring in my breast.

"They were not gods, they were idols, and the difference between a god and an idol is this: an idol is a thing; God is a living being. When you cannot prove the existence of your god, when you have never seen him, nor heard his voice, nor touched him--when you have nothing provable about him, he is an idol. Have you seen Apollo? Have you heard him? Have you touched him?"

"No," I said, in a low voice.

"Do you know of any one who has?"

I had to admit that I did not.

"He was an idol, then, and not a god."

"But many of us Greeks," I said, "have felt Apollo in our hearts and have been inspired by him."

"You imagine you have," returned my guide. "If he were really divine he would be living to this day."

"Is he, then, dead?" I asked.

"He never lived; and for the last two thousand years or more his temple has been a heap of ruins."

I wept to hear that Apollo, the god of light and music, was no more--that his fair temple had fallen into ruins and the fire upon his altar had been extinguished; then, wiping a tear from my eyes, I said, "Oh, but our gods were fair and beautiful; our religion was rich and picturesque. It made the Greeks a nation of poets, orators, artists, warriors, thinkers. It made Athens a city of light; it created the beautiful, the true, the good--yes, our religion was divine."

"It had only one fault," interrupted my guide.

"What was that?" I inquired, without knowing what his answer would be.

"It was not true."

"But I still believe in Apollo," I exclaimed; "he is not dead, I know he is alive."

"Prove it," he said to me; then, pausing for a moment, "if you produce him," he said, "we shall all fall down and worship him. Produce Apollo and he shall be our god."

"Produce him!" I whispered to myself. "What blasphemy!" Then, taking heart, I told my guide how more than once I had felt Apollo's radiant presence in my heart, and told him of the immortal lines of Homer


The Truth About Jesus Is He a Myth? - 1/30

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