>the most controversial chapter >of The Apples of Apollo is Chapter Five, Jesus, the Drug Man, in essence >the pivotal point of the entire work. In this chapter the reader will be >confronted with a Christ linked to the use of entheogens, a Christ who is >the dispenser of "enlightenment" through the mushroom, a Christ, in short, >who commits an assault upon the essence of the Christianity that comes >after him.
Who is this assumed "Christ" fellow?
John Allegro was less half-baked than the authors of Apples of Apollo. One of my peeves is seeing people switch halfway from Literalist thinking and then stop, instead of going all the way. They go from one self-consistent system of thinking (Literalist thinking) to an inconsistent system (a monstrous Literalist/Gnostic mixture replete with dissonance), instead of switching to a different self-consistent system of thinking (purely esoteric/Gnostic thinking).
Mythic-only Christ researchers all welcome the entheogen theory of the origin of religion. But researchers of the entheogen theory of the origin of religion almost all make the mistake of Literalist thinking in religion: they take the Old Testament mystic allegories literally, and assume that Jesus, Paul, and the Apostles existed, and uncritically assume there was a man "Buddha" and another man "Mohammed".
They fail to grasp mystic allegorical thinking, even though they are involved in ferretting out entheogen allusions in Greek myth. They are no longer completely naive however; they know my views, which are like Allegro's views. People want to dismiss Allegro's assertions about the mythic-only nature of Christianity. Entheogenists reject the mythic-only Christ assertion because Allegro expressed it, not because they've seriously considered it.
James Arthur is the only researcher I can think of who is mainly an entheogen researcher and has seriously considered the mythic-only Christ research.
Timothy Freke wrote mystical books demonstrating the ahistoricity of Jesus, the Gnostic mystic meaning of Jesus.
The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?
Jesus and the Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians
He also wrote a book on spirituality including modular sections on no-free-will and visionary plants.
Spiritual Traditions/Encyclopedia of Spirituality: Essential Teachings to Transform Your Life
Sample pages showing his writing about entheogens and no-free-will:
The section on no-free-will discusses 'submission' in the mystic sense. The section on sacred plants has two more pages than I'm showing.
He and I agree on several key points in the theory of religion: the ahistoricity of Jesus, the important role played by visionary plants, and the illusory nature of freewill.
Michael Sharp wrote:
>that's funny. of course we have a free will. so Michael, what's your next choice. Are you gonna respond or not.
I can only decide what the deterministic cosmos has made me decide from before time began. To discuss freewill with respect to Hellenistic thought, one should read the two pages by Tim Freke repudiating metaphysical freewill: http://www.egodeath.com/frekeenthnofreewill.htm. See also the section "Free Will and Fate" in Freke & Gandy's book _Jesus and the Goddess_, pages 164-166.
The character of these three no-Jesus books is similar:
Freke and Gandy's book The Jesus Mysteries: How the Pagan Mysteries of Osiris-Dionysus Were Rewritten as the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Freke and Gandy's book Jesus and the Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians
Acharya S' book The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold
We have practical freewill; no thinker has ever denied that. The entire issue is whether we have metaphysical freewill; whether our practically free decisions are also metaphysically free. The determinist view is that we have practical freewill but not metaphysical freewill. Most self-described "compatibilists" believe the same thing. The freewillist view is that we have practical freewill *and* metaphysical freewill.
It's unclear how to confirm what most mystics think, but I venture that in general, mystics take the determinist position in the philosophical debate about freewill; mystics typically are like Gnostics, who hold that the universe or cosmos is ruled by determinism -- but they emphasize timeless determinism rather than in-time causal-chain determinism.
As far as I know, Acharya S (like Ken Wilber) has never written a single word of commentary on the freewill vs. determinism issue, which is essential to premodern, Hermetic, experiential astrology.
As Acharya conceives of Christianity and Astrotheology, the issue of freewill and determinism is of no interest and is off-topic. That view or assumption is her greatest oversight if the goal is to comprehend the essential concerns of Hellenistic religious, philosophical, and mythic thinking.
If the goal of the book is simply to smash Christianity -- where 'Christianity' is assumed to mean that modern impoverished worldview calling itself by that name, and all supporting metaphorical esoteric ideas that could enable that modern deformed beast to spring back to life -- then there is no great reason to drag in the old issue of free will and determinism.
Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy are the authors of various books, they co-authored The Jesus Mysteries (1999 UK, 2000 U.S.) and Jesus and the Lost Goddess (released this week).
I asked them about the entheogen theory of the origin of religions including Gnosticism, transcending cosmic determinism, and the need to combine various new perspectives on the creation of Christianity. Such a combination must account for multiplicity of symbol-systems. The existing theories have potential hooks that can be used to integrate them. The distinct symbol-systems that might be somewhat connectable include astrotheology, Attic tragedy, mystery religions, Sophia and Jesus myth-cycles, and entheogenic sacraments including the shape-shifting Amanita lifecycle.
Jesus Mysteries has one page that is essentially about entheogens -- it is an opening or hook to which an entheogen theory can be connected. _Lost Goddess_ has one page about the illusory aspect of free will.
We spoke about Ramesh Balsekar, who is unusual because instead of burying his determinism in his books as most mystics do, he explicitly elevates it as his main principle.
I also met the woman who runs http://www.magdalene.org, which is listed in _Lost Goddess_.
The publicity for _Lost Goddess_ is being overshadowed, like everything else, by the September 11th events. I recommend the book for positively defining what the allegorical Jesus figure meant to the early Christians, who were Gnostics. Practically, the two books go together. They are both highly readable. A per-chapter summary of _Jesus Mysteries_ is at my site and at the Jesus Mysteries Free Discussion Yahoo Group.
_Jesus Mysteries_ establishes that Jesus was a mystic/mythic allegory figure rather than an influential man, and _Lost Goddess_ details the original mystic/mythic system that includes the Jesus figure. It's a general system with the usual many variations. Freke and Gandy aim to present the most sophisticated version of the Jesus and Sophia myth-cycle, and they portray it as experiential philosophy that includes sacred eating and drinking as the communion of the final stage, the mystic marriage.
I insist that the real nature of this ultimate sacrament is entheogenic, but I don't expect Freke and Gandy to do any more than provide the same hook-in point that every Christian study provides when they show that the eucharistic sacrament is central, and may provide a regeneration that is experiential. Dan Merkur (_Mystery of Manna_, _The Psychedelic Sacrament_) draws the connection plainly: after they eat the manna, they see the glory of God, therefore it is clear enough that they saw the glory of God because they ate the manna; that is, eating manna gives a vision of the glory of God.
I am grateful to _Lost Goddess_ for providing a detailed religio- philosophy Gnostic Christianity to which I can simply connect the cybernetic theory of ego transcendence.
I am also grateful to the entheogen scholars, who aren't really philosophically minded, for establishing the entheogenic theory of the origin of religions.
And the latest determinism books help as well. Richard Double's _Metaphilosophy and Free Will_ connects so readily to the contrast between Catholic salvation through moralism and Protestant antinomian salvation through faith (or Gnostic salvation through experiential Knowledge). Quentin Smith provides a theory of tenseless time that connects fully to metaphysics of the agent, and self-control.
All I have to do then is focus on meaning and connection of these new theories. There are three main clouds or groupings of books that I simply am showing can be profitably connected: Christ-myth books, determinism books, and entheogen books.
Next, I hope to portray the specific thoughts and feelings constituting the ego-death experience and discovery.
Indulgences: profit-driven religion that is hostile to true religious experiencing and insight. A rich man would purchase a priestly office for a high price, and then sell increments of salvation on a sliding price scale, the goal being to increase his own financial return-on-investments.
It is essential that these new books about the real origins of Christianity in astrotheology, entheogens, transcendence of determinism, and Gnostic experiential religio-philosophy be fully integrated with the history of Christianity both official and unofficial. Only in understanding original and later Christianity can clear understanding of the Christian mystery be comprehended *and* made relevant today.
The typical Christ-myth book author is open to the entheogenic theory of the origin of Christianity, because entheogens provide a plausible alternative to the great stature of Historical Jesus as an explanation for the rise of Christianity.
But the typical entheogen book author tends to uncritically assume the Historical Jesus view.
In this aspect, Christ-myth'ers are ahead of entheogenists.
The worst problem with the Christ-myth'ers now is that it is not sufficiently defined what is meant by "the Christ Myth theory". In particular, if the Jesus figure is in some way "based on" multiple actual noteworthy people, does that mean that the Historical Jesus theory is true?
In short, the best theory lies in between the HJ and CM views. The Jesus figure is only *loosely* "based on" particular actual people, and is not essentially dependent on any one actual person.
And there are multiple underlying actual people, not just one -- unlike the assumption of the conventional Historical Jesus view, which assumes there was a single person who was the basis for the mythic Jesus figure.
So better than the vague and unclear "Christ myth" theory and the narrow HJ theory, when I say "Christ Myth" I really mean the theory that the Jesus figure is essentially an open-ended almalgamation constructed from many kinds of characters and gods and actual people.
I could call this the Independent Almalgamation Jesus Figure view. That figure drew from multiple entheogenic mystery-savior figures and multiple actual persons. Christ Myth'ers are closer to this realization than Entheogenists or Historical Jesus scholars.
In practice, the Christ Myth'ers basically hold my Independent Almalgamation Jesus Figure view -- the Christ Myth'ers agree that there were various noteworthy Jesus-like actual persons, but *the* point that differentiates CM and HJ the most is whether there was a single remarkable man that gave rise to the Jesus figure, or whether instead the Jesus figure is a radical composite based on "multiple sources".
And this "multiple sources" insight is the door through which multiple *kinds* of characters can enter, including entheogenically encountered mystery-religion saviors.
The above provides a clear definition of the Historical Jesus versus Christ Myth views:
o The Historical Jesus view: The Jesus figure is based on a single remarkable man.
o The Christ Myth view: The Jesus figure is a radical composite loosely based on multiple sources but dependent on no one source.
>And just how many Angels do dance on the little pin head? Apples and Oranges.
That is, "Entheogenists don't need to be bothered with whether or not Jesus existed. These are separate areas of concern."
It is immediately obvious to Christ Myth scholars that the entheogen theory of the origin of Christianity supports the Christ Myth view they put forth.
It is only partly obvious to entheogenists that the Christ Myth theory, more than the Historical Jesus assumption, supports the use of entheogens. Entheogenists should be interested in the Christ Myth theory, because it refutes the kind of Christianity that is against entheogens and puts forth instead a kind of Christianity that is strongly suggestive of entheogen use.
I tried an impersonal flat boring posting style for many years. There must be more to life, more to communication than that - witness Luther's writing style.
>If I may help allay some of your frustration over those unreasonable responses: just do a posting history check on the source and you likely see a clear pattern of similar malice shown to others, upon disagreement.
Interesting idea... if I still want to think about the tangential subject of communication style (I can hardly help it).
>a lot of entheogenists have a weird dilemma going on inside. On the one hand, they radically criticize Christianity; on the other hand, they radically defend some type of historocity of the man-god Jesus Christ, as a once-existing Human-like individual.
Jesus is a magic figurine that nearly everyone finds useful and wants to control, to get his magic power on their side.
>Most become obviously agitated at the mention of Jesus as only a symbolic personification/deification of an entheogen. Many will claim to subscribe to the Allegro et al theories, but upon questioning will illustrate that they stop short of accepting THE WHOLE POINT of the theories: that Jesus was no more human than Zeus or Santa Claus, and actually represent(ed) the same thing(s).
I've been there myself. I was completely alienated from the Mythic Jesus aspect of the book The Sacred Mushroom & The Cross, back when I considered Jesus as an entheogen-using ally for drug-policy reformers. I consider the entheogen-using Historical Jesus to be a halfway point toward maturity for an entheogenist philosopher.
Such half-awakened minds open Allegro's book expecting to find that Jesus used entheogens, but instead, they find that Jesus *was* entheogens (together with being a framework for any and all mythic elements of that era).
Allegro's goal was not to show that entheogens are allright because Jesus used them; his goal was to show that Jesus was fictional and entheogens happen to have utility toward demonstrating the fictional status of the Jesus construct. Allegro takes a jarringly different approach to the entheogen/Jesus connection than expected by the entheogenist coming from this Historical Jesus-assuming culture.
>This, I believe, is the source of a lot of flack you received (and will receive). Never underestimate the amount some have invested in the Christ Myth, and the lengths (depths) at which they will go to defend it.
Reducing Jesus to a pure myth doesn't seem to the entheogenists to help their cause as much as making a moral ally out of the alleged Historical Jesus, including revealing that Jesus is pro-entheogen. But Jesus-Myth scholars, who aim to show Jesus didn't exist, find entheogens useful to support their argument, to provide an alternative explanation of the power at the beginning of Christianity.
So Jesus-Myth scholars are fond of entheogenists, but entheogenists are coy and don't want to join up with the Jesus-Myth scholars. I'm not an entheogenist, but a philosopher of loose-cognitive experiencing (originally motivated by the quest for complete self-control or self-government).
>There are many of us who know you are on the right track. Those who are in the know understand the importance of your research.
How did anyone else find out about the Christ Myth (for example, Acharya's book) and also entheogens? Too few people have heard of both subjects. You are pretty hard core if you have Allegro too. Allegro has problems, but he showed my foolish, uncritical gullibility.
How deeply I used to love making Historical Jesus an ally of the entheogen movement. But the angel HBWR showed me finally that it wasn't Jesus the man that I used as a substitute will-violator to save me from Dionysian destructive will-chaos -- rather, I was forced to realize that I was saved by the *idea* of another sacrifice obviating my tangible destruction of my will.
Ultimately, the kind of sacrifice in-my-stead that made a difference and enabled me to justifying keeping my self-control, was a sacrifice-of-Jesus *in my mind*. Thus the important Christ, the effective salvific Christ in the depth of entheogenic/Dionysian transcendent loss of control, the kind of Christ that enabled me to live again and retain my practical controllership-life after dying ego death, was the ideational Christ in my thoughts -- not a literal bodily blood sacrifice, and not even a faked death of a bodily man.
Only the *idea* of a substitute killer-of-one's-will saved me and enabled me to justify maintaining control even when fully comprehending that control is largely a lie, an illusion. Jesus *is* the lamb of God provided as a willing sacrifice in my place -- it could or should just as well be me who violates my will in order to manifest the truth of lacking genuine personal controllership.
But that Jesus that has this substitutive saving power has no need of existing bodily or as a self-real entity. Jesus' saving action is as my own idea, an idea the Ground inserts into my mind, just as the angel (in the allegory) told Abraham "Ok, it is adequately convincing and sufficient that you acknowledge the metaphysical Truth of God's control-sovereignty over your thoughts. It is fully justified and sufficient to sacrifice this lamb in place of your son."
Mind you, I still rely on pure grace that may or may not be given to me -- the grace to remember I don't need to physically show my understanding of the illusory nature of personal control. Finally I agree that the strange loop of the problem of control, and controlling control, transcends the mind. There is no way to secure control, when control (as in "changing/authoring my future thoughts") is an incoherent concept.
Moral support from people online means a lot to me. It is hard to publish publically due to today's political conditions. But the badly educated, illiterate underground retards who can't even form an intelligible sentence or position statement give me the blues sometimes and I wonder how I could ever put up with directly interacting with them. People should at least *try* to write in an intelligible way, should *try* to form actual sentences.
I am willing to publish anything at a site covering Christian entheogenic mystery-religion. I can work together with a webmaster to start bringing some ideas together. How I can I shape up my material? What ideas should be presented? I could make a list of ideas to emphasize.
My strength is high levels of abstraction and intellectual strategizing, like the potentials for entheogen research to crash academia into prohibition. The key to knowledge as I see it lies in abstract intellectual *principles*. What is the abstract intellectual principle behind the symbol of the Cross, informed by entheogens and modern metaphysics models? Why are Time and Self-Control Cybernetics the crucial missing ingredients from popular spiritual metaphysics?
I read Erik Davis' (TechGnosis author) keynote speech in Trip magazine. His main message: "Where's the structure? Where's the meaning, content, framework? We need a framework for entheogenic spirituality."
It is wonderful that anyone appreciates and basically understands what I've been working on, such as entheogenic analysis of Christian symbology -- not the platitude that some symbols stand for Amanita (that's only standing in the entryway), but rather, symbology about the intellectual and experiential *content* of the entheogen experience. How is Christian mystery-religion symbology and allegory an embodiment of the insights the entheogen enables the mind to encounter?
I am looking into the "death of false usurper King Ego self-controller" now. Hammering on the meaning of the symbol of the upstart arrested and killed false-king is the most essential part of the Christian *complex* of myths.
There are so many meanings, but certainly, the center of the canonical scriptures' Christianity is the willing stepping-down of the upstart usurper of the throne and scepter -- the false king ego, who is put on trial by the mind when rational analysis of self-control concepts is conducted during the entheogenic state.
My dogma: the mysteries *have* to have an entheogenic origin. Despite lack of proof, I have to make that axiomatic -- this move has been vindicated by the way ideas are all falling into place and are increasingly confirmed as I continue reading.
Expedient axiomatic principles I adhere to, whether evidence is certain or not:
The highest, philosophically purest, and most relevant meaning of the Cross is the willing self-surrendering of the false king ego. The mind acknowledges the illusory aspect of sovereign egoic self-control.
Axiom: non-entheogenic mystery religion is a degenerate form. Mystery religions are essentially entheogenic. Non-entheogenic mystery religions are a degraded form (the reverse of what Eliade said of the shamanistic use of Amanita as "a degenerate form").
Axiom: drug-free meditation is a way of avoiding mystic insight and experience. Exceptions are so rare as to prove the rule.
Axiom: revelation and truth are rationally comprehensible and basically simple. Not paradoxical, not ineffable, not mind-confounding. Circular, strange-loop of control, but not incomprehensible.
Axiom: religions have entheogenic origin. Exceptions are so rare as to prove the rule, and are not terribly important.
Axiom: Non-entheogenic religion is philosophically unimportant and inconsequential, as far as revelation, transformation, and higher insight about our nature.
Axiom: religious experience's highest, most intense, most ultimate experience and insight is the loss of the sense of personal controllerhood, combined with logically seeing the way in which self-control is illusory (and understanding the way in which self-control is *not* illusory).
Axiom: Truth in Christianity means *the* truth, which specifically means the truth about our illusory nature as sovereign self-control agents.
Axiom: The most important mystic secret is the secret that we are not genuine sovereign self-control agents (such agency is in some metaphysically central ways, illusory). King Ego is a false usurper of the Ground's throne, or of the throne of the controller of time.
We can *identify with* the "true controller of time", but we as individual controllers cannot control time or change the future. I cannot be the controller of time; I can merely identify with, or be a part of, the true higher controller of time. The Father is the real controller, and the son can be a part of the Father/controller of time, but the son cannot be the controller of time.
Axiom: All the important parts of newage and the mysteries are best explained by this simple rational theory of entheogenic enlightenment. The most profound parts of New Age metaphysics are better and more efficiently and directly covered by this Theory. The most profound parts of the mystery-religions are better and more efficiently explained by this Theory.
Axiom: This theory is something discovered rather than invented. Intellectually advanced minds are bound to understand this Theory.
Axiom: You can't *prove* this theory. You can only understand it and experience it as a coherent interpretation. (Same as knowledge in general.)
Axiom: Overall, the canonical scriptures of the Bible are allegorical and should be considered as mystic allegory. Any historical truth in them is coincidental and of the same order as the truth that happens to make its way into whimsical historical novels. This approach leads to all the most important aspects of the scriptures.
Axiom: Entheogenic mysticism is the higher, true, spiritually mature way to read the scriptures. Historical and/or supernatural literalism is the low, false, spiritually immature way to read the scriptures.
Axiom: At this point in history, we naturally should be able to put together a better Theory of mystic experiencing and ego-death than ever before. This is what I'm working on. In technology, I expect to invent new and better things than ever has been done. The same attitude is the enlightened, progressive attitude. Given today's scholarly technology, one should expect me to invent a new and better expression of mystic insights than has ever been done before. That's just how knowledge and technology works.
I am against the move of entheogenists who want to preserve historical Jesus just because this figure is an ally. Entheogens are a way of finding Truth -- distortions should be a last resort requiring strenuous justification.
I didn't know there were any sites that were seriously working on entheogens and Christianity, the subject I've been working on since 1988.
Jesus the Entheogen, versus Jesus the sun god. Does the sun god really just simply point to Jesus the entheogen?
Jesus the sun god -- is that really just Jesus the entheogen? The threads are a little more independent than that. Astrological worship took on an independent life of its own, but was informed by entheogenic experience and centers on the idea of how time rules over the ego's control-power, and is concerned with the problem of transcending astrological determinism.
Sure, there may have been a lot of irrelevancies and supernaturalism mixed in, but the philosophically most *important* part of astrology (related perhaps to Jesus the sun god) is astrological determinism and its stoic implications. Gnosticism is concerned about transcending the jail cell or trap of cosmological determinism. Entheogens often reveal a direct experience of cosmic determinism -- it goes logically hand in hand with loss of egoic sense of control, or sense of sovereign kingship.
I only think Acharya S. is mistaken if she poses the sun god theory as the whole of the Christian mystic allegory. I didn't see her mention Ulansey's theory I love, of the hypercosmic sun and the problem of transcending cosmic determinism and transcending the fixity of time.
We can't magically control time, which actually controls us. But we can in some sense "transcend" this problem, just as we can die ego death and yet retain life and regain practical control. I have in some sense transcended the death of the controller-ego, that false upstart usurper to the sovereign throne of self-authorship.
>it doesn't change anything that went before.
What do you mean? That learning whether Jesus was a real man who founded Christianity, or was largely an entheogenic visionary mythic entity, cannot change the past? Of course knowledge about the past can't change the past. Why point out what everyone agrees upon?
>You cannot unmake the last 2000 years of brutality and persecution of those who used plants.
Of course. Who ever claimed we could change the past?
The last couple replies in the discussion groups are a contest in patheticness. Why do I waste my time with people who lack the most basic communication skills and breadth of perspective?
I have read many histories and exposes of Christianity, and histories of drug use. I assume the others in this discussion group have read histories of drug use, and are at least aware of the sordid history of Christianity.
Are you guys going to make me spell out the obvious in gory, excruciating detail?
You have to know these subjects and also have read about the entheogenic theories of the origin of Christianity. Only then can you follow my elementary, obvious, and uncontroversial point that *if* early Christianity was entheogenic rather than based on a supernatural or looming Historical Jesus figure, then *of course* studying the real roots of Christianity would theoretically overthrow *today's* Christianity and replace it by the original, real, entheogenic Christianity.
I suppose I should just try to post clear essays and ignore the garbled responses that ensue, and not even attempt a point-by-point reply. The reply from someone in the Christ Myth discussion group was equally garbled and dismal, so the score is 0-0, for comprehension, communication, and intelligence in the entheogen and Christ Myth discussion groups.
The entheogenists are so hopelessly and angrily *against* Christianity, they can't even recognize the potential to destroy it by studying it. They assume any investigation of Christianity is a move against entheogens.
I *must* be making a deep mistake in my assumptions about what people have read. Haven't you all read Dan Merkur's book The Mystery of Manna, about the ergot basis of the Jewish religion -- don't you even know about it?
Why are entheogenists so uninterested in these things -- are they so filled with blind screaming emotional rejection of Christianity that they can't even see the disruptive potential to conventional Christianity of the central sacrament being entheogenic? Haven't you even heard of Clark Heinrich's book Strange Fruit, or John Allegro's book that asserts there is no Jesus but the Amanita, or Chris Bennett's book about the cannabis foundation of the Jewish and Christian religions?
It is painful for me to make some corrections and remember to expect *nothing* from the audience of my postings. I have to spell out every single painful little detail and state my position over and over...
In particular, I think people make instant assumptions about my position just on the basis of the subjects I touch, so complete miscommunications ensue. This is why I am so much happier with my own discussion group than with the public discussion areas, where people are constantly grossly erring in their assumptions about my points.
I don't have time to explain the same basic points again and again, such as the importance for entheogenists of studying the Christ Myth theory rather than simply assuming the Historical Jesus view which is the standard view of mainstream prohibitionist society.
I will try to write clear, positive, straightforward ideas about the importance of the Christ Myth theory to entheogenists.
>It doesn't matter for entheogen theory whether Jesus existed. It's easy to picture a charismatic leader bringing back the old, forgotten drugs and blowing people's minds--both one by one, as at Gethsemene, and en masse, as with the wedding and mass feedings.
Entheogenic hierophants were as common as dirt, and so were Jesus-like men. It's easy to show the plausbility that there were many Jesus-like men who used entheogens. What is impossibly difficult and improbable that there was only a single such man. The scenario you depict depends on two assumptions: that entheogens were rare and forgotten, and that there was only one Jesus-like man.
There is ample evidence that entheogens were standard, not rare in Hellenistic-era religion (Jewish and Christian included), and that there were many Jesus-like men, such that the world's most Jesus-like man is hardly distinguishable from his competitors in Jesus-likeness. My whole mood of thinking about the character of the age is very different than yours which is the common view.
I bring a different mode of thinking about it, against the liberal literalist mode. The framework of assumptions I hold can contribute to a better understanding of the mode of the Hellenistic era. I have a nose for worldviews. The Hellenistic era had a very different worldview than the common one you express. Theirs was heavily influenced by the entheogenic mystic altered state.
There are different ways of understanding, different scenarios, for understanding the assertion that Jesus didn't exist. My way of understanding it is different than the common picture of what such a scenario would be. When I first read SF, my thinking had the same character as your passage above, but now I think that whole mode of thinking about the possibilities is very far from the Hellenistic way of thinking.
The goal is not just to know if Jesus existed: more usefully, the goal is to understand how Hellenistic thinking worked. Hellenistic thinking was centered around entheogenic initiation experiences, which were used as a framework for thinking about politics and philosophy, as well as myth-religion.
I tried on many scenarios in the spirit of yours above, and finally discovered that the bell rang true by tossing them all out in favor of new assumptions: that Hellenistic myth-religion was all entirely about allegorization of the entheogenic mystic state. Looking back on that way of thinking, it looks gullible, childish, and uninformed -- comically cartoonish in its necessary surrounding assumptions to hold up such a scenario.
There were many entheogenic hierophants; the moment we assume anything like the historical Jesus, we deny that. For me, it's by definition that there was no historical Jesus; the historical Jesus postulate is inherently involved with an incoherent model of Hellenistic myth-religion and entheogen use. In this sense, I know there was no Jesus -- because the term 'Jesus' when uttered by those looking for a historical Jesus is always wrapped up with an incoherent model of the era.
I know there were a hundred Jesuses, by definition, and not a single towering Jesus who was vastly different than his peers. You're essentially saying that *only* Jesus was an entheogenic leader, but that goes against all my assumptions about Hellenistic-era religion. 2000 years ago, there was little distance between gods and men, and they could cross the boundary easily.
Ruck should shake his head at such a literalist, un-Hellenistic way of thinking above. Crank up the volume on the use of entheogens in Hellenistic era, and consider all their religion as essentially allegory for the intense mystic altered state, and I think you'd hasten to cast off the complicating and restricting burden of assuming there was a single towering Jesus who was very different than his social matrix.
The hardest work for me was defining what exactly I mean by "no historical Jesus". The world's most Jesus-like man was surrounded by many close competitors, and the Jesus figure is not dependently based on any one single individual, but is designed instead to sweep up all heroes, all rebel leaders against empire, all emperors of the Ruler Cult, and all godmen such as Dionysus who is psychoactive mixed wine and who is torn and eaten and who gives psychoactive mixed wine.
If we eliminate the world's most Jesus-like man, there are lots more like him, and the Jesus character is unaffected. What is the Jesus figure for, how does it work, what were the motives for constructing it, what men and figures was it based on? It is based on myth-religion of the Hellenistic era, which included much entheogenic initiation, and which provably drew upon *many* historical individuals, *not* a single individual as is implicit in the notion of "historical Jesus".
Understanding these aspects of "no historical Jesus" might be crucial for entheogenists, in order to comprehend the Hellenistic use of entheogens. This area acts as a powerful key to formulate a very different way of conceiving of Christianity and religion and Greco-Roman culture and history. There are exciting developments in revisionist scholarship.
It's influential for entheogens when a new view of the ancient writings is revealed and we find that there was no Paul, no Jesus, no Ignatius... it changes the framework for thinking about the Eucharist, Seder, symbosium, and mixed wine, in addition to the more familiar hypothesis of entheogenic mystery-religion initiation.
If there was no Paul and no Jesus, suddenly Gnostic practice of the sacrament of apolytrosis (redemption) looms large and the whole of Christian history unravels; the conventional view tears like the heavens, revealing a very different possibility: that it all was originally entheogenic.
Clinging to scenarios of Jesus the entheogenic hierophant may block more sound and more entheogenic scenarios affecting early Church history, and holding in place a way of thinking about the era that blocks access to its fundamentally entheogenic worldview. By getting rid of the restricting hypothesis of a single towering Jesus -- or at least totally suspending and doubting it -- we gain a whole world based on entheogens. It also makes for a much simpler theory.
The worst-case, most complicating hypothesis one could possibly add to a theory of the origin of Christianity, is the postulate of a historical Jesus. In contrast, the best-case, most simplifying hypothesis is that Jesus was none other than the entheogen allegorized. Scenarios about historicity of Jesus do affect the entheogen theory of religion and history.
>the mythic-only [Jesus] hypothesis ... See page 107 of Magic Mushrooms ... it is not necessary to decide (what is at present unknowable anyway) one way or the other.
>One shouldn't operate on faith, which is nothing more than belief ... the evidence warrants ambivalence on the matter of Jesus' historicity. Your certainty of non-corporeality doesn't make it so any more than a Christian's belief makes J's existence so. You are free to make assumptions and marshal evidence in support of your belief, but belief it remains.
I have no problem with belief or faith. Per Kuhn, belief, faith, frameworks of interpretation, evidence, and facts all shift together. I have a framework of interpreting the evidence, and so does the scientist and the literalist Christian.
I'm glad to see a published agnostic view about the historicity of Jesus and have mentioned the completely weak foundation of the historical Jesus assumption.
By my definition, there cannot be a historical Jesus: there cannot be exactly 1 Jesus, because there is likely ample evidence that there were many, such as 100. My position is that there is no Jesus, in the same sense as there were 100 entheogenic hierophantic Jesuses -- but not just one. If we assume just one entheogenic hierophantic Jesuses, entheogen scholars sell themselves short.
There was not a single Jesus cult/group; there were many, and the evidence makes this scenario highly plausible.
>>abandon the heavy weight of trying to double-explain Jesus as being *both*
>>[A] an allegorical personification of entheogenic experiential insight [*including* the entheogen plant itself] and...
>>[B] a historical individual.
>>...it is hard to go back to that old life of having to double-explain everything.
>It's actually triple ... you left out his being the entheogen itself, as with Soma.
I actually define option A to include the plant, amounting to two, not three explanations. I worded it this way elsewhere: all myth-religion is allegorical metaphorical description of entheogens *and* the experiences and insights they produce. The alternative realm is that of literalism -- a *single* historical Jesus with a *single* group of followers. The hardest position to defend is that the Christian mythic system is explained as *both* of the following:
o Allegorical metaphorical description of entheogens *and* the experiences and insights they produce
o A literal historical report about a single group who followed a single man who uniquely can be called "the" historical Jesus
>Nobody knows for certain either way whether there was a historical Jesus [where that man was an entheogenic group leader who was crucified].
Knows what? What is meant by "either way" -- what exactly are the alternatives? What does it *mean* to ask whether Jesus existed? That's a matter of definition. By picking a certain definition of his existence or nonexistence, we can say with greater certainty whether "he existed". He is defined as a *single* person who uniquely administered plants, and/or was uniquely crucified, and/or was uniquely born of a virgin.
But we know or can safely assume that there were *multiple* Jesus-type people crucified, multiple plant-cult leaders, multiple rebel leaders. There is good evidence for many historical Jesuses, which is equivalent to none -- but not evidence for there *only* being a *single* historical Jesus. The most defensible position and the most useful for entheogen scholarship is that there were many Jesus-type entheogen group leaders and followers.
The single-Jesus scenario implies a more rare, abnormal usage of entheogens.
There were certainly multiple crucified Jews and multiple Jewish sacred-meal leaders -- therefore, in that sense, there was certainly not a "the" historical Jesus, only 100 of them, which is equivalent to 0 of them. That there was *only* 1 runs against the evidence.
I agree with all the arguments for the strong possibility of the existence of a Jesus-type group leader who administered entheogens. My point of disagreement is that most scholars assume there was either 0 or 1 Jesus, while it's more to the point to consider whether there were 100 or 1 Jesuses, where 100 of them is equivalent to 0 of them.
If we can establish that the authentic Passover seder meal and the Hellenistic sacred meals are entheogenic, the evidence best supports the existence of 100 entheogen-administering Jesuses, equivalent to 0, but *not* 1 Jesus.
Jesus-utilizing entheogen scholars spill ink defending the possibility of a Jesus existing, but that's not at issue -- sure, an entheogenic Jesus-like leader could have existed. I already agree with the possibility of entheogenic leaders in the Jewish tradition, tied in with the entheogenic Passover seder meal. The point I don't agree with is that there was *only* 1 Jesus-type entheogenic Passover hierophant, who stood apart somehow from the others and was uniquely crucified.
The world's most Jesus-like man was closely surrounded with many other highly Jesus-like men, so that it is nonsensical to talk of "the" historical Jesus. By this definition, "the" historical Jesus is a nonsensical idea, if we accept that there were multiple entheogenic leaders and multiple entheogenic leaders were crucified. The evidence supports a plurality of Jesuses better than a single one; this is my "proof by more-coherent definition" that there was no Jesus -- no *single*, standing-apart Jesus.
If one historical entheogen-administering Jesus helps the entheogenic cause, 100 of them helps even more.
>an account of the [why only 1?] dude's pithy sayings to a small group [why only 1?] of hangers-on
>This group [why only 1?] could easily have been real
>there is no way of telling whether or not an [why only 1?] actual person ... was there at the beginning--but who can say with certainty that there wasn't?
Anyone who can prove that there was no *1* historical Jesus if they can support the scenario that there were *multiple* entheogen-administering Jesus-like men. A proof that there were 100 Jesuses would also be a proof that there was no Jesus.