A friend told me his conclusion that all the religions have different ideas of God, and different priorities; hence they are all religions are talking past each other, and have nothing in common.
The theme of this blog is to discover what every religion has in common. I am a gnostic, and I argue the saints of every religion, are the common link between the religions.
I have been recently directed to the Greek origin of the myth of the immortality of the soul. I would point my friend to this, even as the common doctrine and origin of all religion. (Post-Jewish religion, to be precise, Judaism does not discuss the afterlife much at all).
the Eleusinian Mysteries — the doctrine of immortality — the cult of isis, orisis, and horus — christian theology — and islamic monotheism
— I learned from Wikipedia that the site of Eleusis, on one of the many thousands of islands of Greece, was the site of the most important rite of the Greek world.
The central myth of these mysteries was centered around the myth of Demeter, Persephone, and Hades.
This was how the Greeks explained the seasons: Hades kidnaps Persephone, and her mother Demeter, goddess of fertility, laments and causes the world to be barren during the winter months. When her daughter returns, Demeter restores the earth to spring.
The story explains not only the cycle of seasons, but return from the depths of the underworld (hence, immortality) for the individual. Initiation rites at the Mysteries, involving nine days of partying, baptism, ingesting seeds of ergot wheat, and other agricultural symbols caused life-changing visions for many initiates, and the Greeks believed initiation into the Mysteries granted entry into heaven. Socrates (عليه السلام) credited his initiation with sparking his worldview (c.f. Joseph Campbell lecture, Mythos video series, episode 4, The Mystical Life)– which later encouraged the oracle at Delphi to pronounce him “the wisest, happiest, and most intelligent of men”. (See Entheogenic theories on the Eluesinian Mysteries at Wikipedia.)
Indeed, the entire record of Socrates’ (عليه السلام) trial and execution shows him to be a devotee of the Mysteries. Among his last words are, “‘Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius,” the caretaker of souls in the afterlife who is meditated upon in the fourth day of the rite. Socrates (عليه السلام) even elevated one of the demigods of the Mysteries to judge of the Underworld, (from the Stanford Archaeography Photoblog).
“If on arrival in the other world, beyond the reach of these so-called judges [in Athens], one will find there the true judges who are said to sit in judgment in those courts, Minos and Rhadamanthys and Aeacus and Triptolemos, and all those other demigods who were upright in their earthly life, would that be an unrewarding place to settle?”
Socrates (عليه السلام) thus adds a fourth judge, Triptolemos, who is not normally cited as one of the judges who determine the fate of the deceased, the other three being most commonly cited as those who judge between which souls will go to the fields of Elysium and who will not be so blessed.
Socrates (عليه السلام) peppered his argument with references to the Mysteries. It was essential to his philosophy. My point is this. if modern religion claims to exists without grave worship & initiation ceremonies, — it is completely detached from everything that was considered holy and true by the ancients.
What was taught at these initiation ceremonies?
Along with the interplay of light and dark, upon entering a cavernous chamber, initiates were shown seeds of wheat.
I’m going to jump my thesis here, but Christianity and Jesus’ doctrines are simply a plagiarism of the Eleusinian mysteries, or their public unveiling.
Modern scholarship knows only of the Acts of the Eluesinian Rite, the meaning has supposedly been through through the ages. I propose it’s all in the New Testament. Jesus spoke constantly in metaphors about farming, seeds, and other agricultural religious symbols. The Eleusinian mysteries are supposed to be descended from proto-Greek agricultural rites, no doubt at the beginning of the time man began the agricultural revolution. His religion naturally shifted towards his new agricultural socio-economic condition.
(Mark 4:3-9 for example discusses the seed that falls on stony ground and does not grow; and compares it with seeds that fall among the weeds and do not grow; and finally the seeds that fall on fertile soil and bear much fruit. This is a metaphor for those who accept God and become righteous afterwards. Seeds were displayed to initiates in the Eleusinian rites, being the germ of life , they must awaken the consciousness too.)
Good seeds fall on good soil; bad seeds do not bear fruit. Such were the secrets offered by the Eleusinian initiation ceremony. Again, Christianity is the public revelation of the Eleusinian doctrines.
There is one more secret doctrine previously hinted at: Anyone initiated into the mysteries would have their souls judged among the righteous and be admitted to Paradise. Socrates (peace be upon him) said:
“Only those who have lived an evil life hope that death is the end of everything for them. This is perfectly reasonable, for it is in their interests that it should be so. However, I am convinced that the souls of the wicked wander desolately through the lower world of Tartarus. Only those who have lived good lives will be admitted to the Real World.”
I love his reference to Heaven. Instead of calling it “the garden” or something a child can understand, he says only the righteous may enter the Real World. Whew.
Another secret doctrine: The coming of God in human form. This is a running subject of study on this blog, and commonly associated with the Christian Trinity. However, this doctrine is much older and should be called Avatar Theory. Although this is blasphemy in strict monotheism, it is found nonetheless in the strictest of monotheistic traditions.
— Let us find a more primitive understanding of this idea. We can understand a proto-religious concept of avatar theory through the Mongol religion. Genghis Khan was such a nomad, living under walls of felt and animal skins his entire life, when he conquered the majestic city of Bukhara, he marched to the largest building in the city, and asks, “Is this the house of your sultan?”.
He is informed, “No, it is the house of God.” The building was a mosque, in probably the grandest city of the Muslim world at the time. This event is described as the only time Genghis Khan entered a building in his entire life. Recognizing it as a house of worship, Genghis Khan goes to the priests, orders them to feed his horses — an act of submission, as the mongols symbolized all relationships through food — and orders protection for all houses of worship in the city. (The Mongols had no interest in converting others.)
But then the Great Khan says he could not understand how God could be in a building — the Mongols believed God was the Eternal Blue Sky. He said he also disagreed with the city people, that God could be in a book or a priestly tradition.
The main Mongol deity was the Eternal Blue Sky. The other deity was the Eternal Rays of the Sun. The Mongols also believed every rock and tree and mountain possessed a spirit. This is very primitive stuff, proto-religion. There is no heaven or hell cosmology here, or prophecy of resurrection and judgement; only the Sky and the Sun, the two biggest things in your daily life if you lived outdoors on the Central Asian steppes.
The sky clearly becomes God the Father figure later (the immanent and transcendent God), but notice, the Mongols did not worship the sun — they worshiped the Golden Rays of the Sun. The golden rays are the offshoot, the manifestation and deliverance of solar energy — Apollo descending to earth — god in human form.
These three are central to the Christian religion today — the immortality of man, the divinity of Jesus, and a pleasurable afterlife for the initiated. Jesus merely publicized the Eleusinian mysteries.
Islam is connected to the corresponding agricultural myth of ancient Egypt. The cult of Isis, Osiris, and Horus was represented by the star Sirius, and the Qur’an claims for the Allah the role of Sirius.
In closing, I’ve demonstrated that Christianity is the co-opting of proto-Greek agricultural rites, and Islam adopts a parallel doctrine from ancient Egypt.