|With God on our side|
Likewise, when John Dear wrote Christmas 'Peace on Earth' Means 'No More War' on that same blog, it also caught the eye of many readers.
Very clearly, those two pieces at Huffington Post draw a very bright line distinction between the religion that military evangelists teach and practice at West Point, and the one that John Dear says is the actual teaching of Jesus the Christ.
"What does that have to do with the origin of 'The Bully Religion'?" you may be asking.
You may also be asking "just what is this bully religion you are talking about Dredd?"
Fair enough, today's post is for you, so keep reading.
Regular readers know that there have been a series of Dredd Blog posts concerning this notion of bully worship (see e.g. Bully Worship: The Universal Religion through Bully Worship: The Universal Religion - 4 , Doing the Right Thing - Mithraism, and The Dogma of The High Priest In Chief).
One quote from one of those listed posts will set the stage:
Not everyone has heard of Eric Arthur Blair, who wrote under the pen name George Orwell, but many have heard of his book "1984."(Bully Worship: The Universal Religion). Yes, the one and only George Orwell was quite observant of authoritarianism and despotic movements in the nations of the world.
He evidently coined the phrase "bully worship" which he called a "universal religion."
Originally it was directed at a philosophy of imperialistic militarism that was affecting the thinking of various leaders just prior to the outbreak of WW II.
Regular readers who have read those posts know that Dredd Blog equates the religions of any military empire with Mithraism, which to most observers, including young cadets, is indistinguishable from what the military calls Christianity.
"Mithraism was quite often noted by many historians for its many astonishing similarities to Christianity" (Mithraism - Univ. of Chicago).
But so that we don't put the nuts and bolts of today's post off any longer, the contrast in the two Huffington Post pieces mentioned above can be drawn into full strength with the following information that compares historical Mithraism with historical Christianity:
1) Mithras was “the Light of the World“ (Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12).(see Mithraism - Univ. of Chicago, Mithraic Mysteries - Wikipedia, Journal of Mithraic Studies, and Prof. David Ulansey's work). The first reaction a lot of people have is "well, what is the difference then?"
2) Mithras was a member of a Holy Trinity (“Christians are baptized ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ … ‘The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity.’ St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermo 9, Exp. symb.: CCL 103, 47″; see also Mt 28:19).
3) Mithras was born of a virgin (Jesus was born of a virgin. see Matthew 1:18-25).
4) Worshippers of Mithras held strong beliefs in a celestial heaven and an infernal hell (“The Bible speaks clearly of the existence of Heaven … Hell is also spoken of in the Bible, but its nature is even more sketchy. When Jesus described the destiny of sinners who refused to change their ways, he compared it to Gehenna, which was a rubbish dump outside Jerusalem. People in wretched poverty picked their way through it to find scraps, and fires burned”).
5) Worshippers of Mithras believed they would be given endless life (“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” I Cor 15:53).
6) Worshippers of Mithras believed in a final day of judgement in which the dead would resurrect (“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” I Cor 15:12).
7) Worshippers of Mithras believed in a final conflict that would destroy the existing order of all things (“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army” Rev 19:19; “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon” Rev 16:16).
8) Mithras worshippers believed that a ritualistic baptism was required of the faithful (“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …’” Matthew 28:18-20).
9) Mithras worshippers took part in a ceremony in which they drank wine and ate bread to symbolize the body and blood of Mithras (“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body’” Matthew 26:26; “And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many” Matthew 26:26-28).
10) Mithras worshippers believed that Sundays were held sacred (“the majority observance of Christian Sabbath is as Sunday rest” - Wikipedia).
11) The birth of Mithras was celebrated annually on December the 25th (“Christmas … is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed holiday, celebrated generally on December 25 by billions of people around the world” - Wikipedia).
12) Mithras took part in a Last Supper with his companions before ascending to heaven (“The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion.” Wikipedia; “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11)
According to John Dear, in his post mentioned above, this is what the fundamental difference is:
When the nonviolent Jesus was born two thousand years ago into abject poverty to homeless refugees on the outskirts of a brutal empire, the story goes that angels appeared in the sky to impoverished shepherds singing, "Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth!"(Christmas 'Peace on Earth' Means 'No More War'). Did you notice the last sentence containing "he was brutally executed by the Roman Empire", and did you read up-thread that Mithraism was the religion of the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus?
Peace was coming to the world! They were so excited, they couldn't contain themselves.
That's what Christmas is about -- the coming of "peace on earth."
That child grew up to become, in Gandhi's words, "the greatest nonviolent resister in the history of the world." Jesus taught peace, lived peace and blessed peacemakers. "My peace is my gift to you," he said. When we refused to learn "the things that make for peace," he broke down and wept. He took action to end systemic injustice, and he did it in a nonviolent way and, for his civil disobedience, he was brutally executed by the Roman Empire and died forgiving his killers.
The differences between the two essences are as stark as the 12 similarities listed above, according to a quote that describes the habits of those Roman soldiers:
“Polybius claimed that the Romans deliberately caused as much destruction as possible, slaughtering and dismembering animals as well as people, to deter other communities from resisting Roman demands to surrender; mercy. Male inhabitants were usually slaughtered, women raped, though only in exceptional circumstances killed in the initial orgy of destruction. After that, as tempers cooled and the desire for profit took over, prisoners would be taken for sale as slaves, though at times any considered to have a low market value, such as the very old, were still massacred.”(Complete Roman Army, Goldsworthy, 197, see also 172-73). The bully religion is Mithraism, it is not the religion of Jesus, the one Mahatma Gandhi is quoted up-thread describing as "the greatest nonviolent resister in the history of the world."
The next post in this series is here.