JESUS, MUHAMMAD, BUDDHA - WHAT WERE THEY REALLY LIKE?



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Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha - what were they really like?

There is always a suspicion that the 'official story' is not entirely true.

There is a suspicion that the 'biography' has had untrue bits added, and that there is a lot of 'spin'.

"Late in the third century B.C. Cleomenes, king of Sparta, embarked on a revolutionary policy of cancellation of debts, redistribution of land and emancipation of the helots (slaves). 

"He was driven out of Sparta... 

"In the story preserved by Plutarch, Cleomenes and twelve friends have a last supper together on the night before his death. 

"He is betrayed to his enemies... 

"His dead body is crucified

"A prodigy occurs after the crucifixion; and the people of Alexandria call him a 'hero and son of the gods'." 

The Legend Of Jesus Christ.

So, the 'real Jesus', who taught that one should tune in to the Holy Spirit, may not have been crucified?

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Professor Robert M. Price has investigated Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha and gives his thoughts in Of Myth and Men.

The following is a brief summary.

Jesus

Price asks: was Jesus a holy man especially close to God, or a wise man filled with divine wisdom, or a mythic hero? 

With the typical mythic hero from ancient times:

1. The hero's mother is a virgin

2. He is reputed to be a son of a god

3. Evil forces attempt to kill the infant or boy hero

4. He is spirited away to safety. 

David Friedrich Strauss in The Life of Jesus Critically Examined suggests that Luke invented his story of the nativity.

Herod the Great died in 4 B.C.

Luke wrote that Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem for a census in 6 A.D.

New Testament accounts of the death of Jesus appear to be rewrites of various earlier stories.

The anointing of Jesus at Bethany is similar to Isis anointing the corpse of her husband Osiris to resurrect him, part of the mummy-resurrection mythos of Egypt. 

Luke has one of Jesus' crucified colleagues bid him, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom," a phrase borrowed directly from Diodorus Siculus.

The divine portents attending Jesus' death on the cross reflect those at the crucifixion of rebel king Cleomenes of Sparta at Alexandria according to Plutarch. 

These omens cause visitors to the cross in each case to declare the crucified one to be son of god. 

As the Gospels have Mary Magdalene and her companions seek the body of Jesus only to find it gone, so do Isis, her sister Nephthys, and their maidens seek the slain Osiris.

The appearance of the risen Jesus to two disciples on the road to Emmaus is similar to the story of  Asclepius appearing unrecognized to a woman.

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Buddha

Buddha taught that by not grasping for things, life goes better.

He did not see himself as being any kind of God.

However, bits seem to have been added to the story:

Some Buddhists are taught that:

Young Buddha was miraculously conceived and announced before birth as the saviour of the world. 

One by one four deities appeared to him in human disguises...

The story of Buddha abandoning affluence is similar to that of the Jaina saint Vardhamana (usually called Mahavira), who supposedly lived a single generation earlier than Buddha. 

When Buddha sits beneath the Bodhi Tree, he is protected from the demon's assaults by the hood canopy of the mythical Naga King, a hydralike cobra deity. 

And so was the Jain hero Parsva, the predecessor of Mahavira. 

Some Western scholars of Buddhism, including R. Otto Franke, think that Buddha is simply a collective name for earlier generations of unnamed Buddhist teachers.

Buddhist texts appear to disagree about whether or not there is an individual soul.

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Muhammad

According to a reconstruction of Islamic origins entitled Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook (1977):

Some Jews saw Umar, the second caliph of the Arab Empire, as the messiah.

These Jews saw Muhammad as the prophetic herald of 'Umar'.  

The term "Muslim" appears first on the Dome of the Rock in 691 AD and nowhere else till the late eighth century. 

The early Muslims were known as Hagarenes because they were engaged in a Hegira/Hijra, an Exodus from Arabia to Palestine, the Promised Land where the messiah must manifest himself. 

The Hagarenes built the Dome of the Rock.

The Hagarenes then broke with Judaism and turned to Christianity. 

'Umar's messianic status was forgotten.

Jesus was accepted as messiah.

The first Arabic "king" of Jerusalem made a show of praying at Christian sites.

The Hagarenes come to adopt the name "Islam" seeing Muhammad as the person who has revived the Abrahamic faith.

The scholar Günter Lüling reckons that as much as a third of the text of the Koran derives from pre-Islamic Christian texts.

The direction of prayer was switched from Jerusalem to Mecca.

The caliphs and imams were originally a priesthood and were called kahins (originally Cohens).

The rabbinical character of Sunni Islam came from the influence of Babylonian Judaism. 

Robert M. Price is Professor of Biblical Criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute and a member of the Free Inquiry Editorial Board. He is a member of the Jesus Seminar and is Regional Director of New York and North New Jersey for the Council for Secular Humanism. His book,Deconstructing Jesus is from Prometheus Books.


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