Monday, October 04, 2010

Jesus the Hero Saga Archetype

Theologically Christianity makes sense when you view it in the light of mythmaking. The problem for most Christians is they accept tradition as the faithful transmission of historical fact and in so doing miss the real value of their tradition. This has been the orthodoxy’s biggest failure. A failure to recognize the hero saga within the inner workings of their story they miss whatever truly transformative power their faith has. It is a religion of cheap grace, made cheaper by its politics. It is a cheap salvation by grace created by the spilling of another’s blood and offers none of the purgative powers that toiling in one’s own sweat and blood offer. The Catholics used to have this somewhat, but, at least here in the United States, are nothing much more than a liturgical and ritualized form of Protestantism

The Jesus of traditional post modern Christianity is a myth. He is another hero in the ancient tradition of the mystery schools or heroes saga. The Jesus of Christianity is an archetype of the god-man that we have seen countless times in other mythologies. This Jesus has nothing to do with the historical person or persons of whom the tradition supposedly hangs on. In fact history has a hard time placing the real Jesus in Palestine at all in the first 33 years of the Common Era.

The early Jewish Christians, for whom the term Judeo-Christian was coined, thought Jesus to have lived and died nearly 100 years prior to what we currently accept today. Their Jesus bears a striking resemblance to the so-called Teacher of Righteousness of the Essene cult. And even the existence of this teacher is questionable. Paul, who is largely responsible for what has become traditional Christianity’s theological backbone, had never met the Jesus of history. His is a story of the “Risen Christ” the archetype of the god-man who has conquered death and is fully realized of his divinity.

The heterodox schools of Christian thought that flourished in the first few centuries of the Common Era were a lot looser in this regard. They were, perhaps, among the world’s first depth psychologists long before the discipline was birthed. They deliberately created the myths with the intention of offering insight and a roadmap, as it were, into the psyche. They had liberation of the human soul in mind and it was their only real concern. The orthodoxy, or right minded thinkers, had more political concerns in mind. This also helps explain their eventual success and rise to power.

Institutional religions are always about politics and economics. The ecclesiastical minds that encode their worldview in a creed seek to influence the world at large. Salvation is always a byproduct of this endeavor. Today’s evangelical would adamantly disagree, to be certain, but nonetheless if one holds their collective politics up for scrutiny we can see that this is true. Post modern Christianity is a weird blend of libertarian political views (in respect to taxes and government) and traditional Judaic ethical codes, but without that thoughtful and philosophical approach to ethical living.

Similarly the Orthodox Christian movement of the 2nd century, that is the foundation of the post modern era, is a blend of pagan mysticism and mythmaking coupled with traditional Judaic moral concepts. This isn’t surprising given that its principal architect was Jewish. But, Christians left off the ethical thinking and the struggle to determine what is the right way in any given situation and replaced it with a fairly black and white list of do’s and don’ts. Modern Christianity has none of the philosophical powerhouse of Judaism nor does it understand the archetypes encoded in its various creeds. It is simply just an outer religion that looks upward rather than inward and in so doing impoverishes the world.

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