I wanted to put this along with my other thread but it's really its own idea.
I've been investigating...stuff. For background, I'm not a Christian. I was born into a loosely Christian family, though. So my roots are European descent Christian. If that wraps things up.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway. There are some very real similarities among the gods/holy men listed above (please note that by "Mithra," I'm talking about the ancient Persian version of him, not necessarily the Mithras cult that popped up in Rome right around the time that Christianity was emerging).
And yes, there are differences. Though honestly, if someone were to start a new religion, would he or she copy the older ones *exactly*? One would have to be very dim to do that; people would immediately say, "WTH are you talking about? We already believe in/know all that stuff. You just changed the names of the characters. Go home."
So it would only make sense that the ideas were repeating ones, that they were basically archetypes, and that, sort of like Pyramus and Thisbe - > Romeo and Juliet - > West Side Story, they all seemed to be new and fresh at the time, but in retrospect were ripoffs of one another (who knows, P&T may be a ripoff of an earlier myth; it's as likely as not).
What do people think of this? For the religious, do you believe these people all lived (except Mithra...I'm on the fence about this one...was he supposed to be human?) and that they're reincarnations of one another? And/or do you believe God is just God so He sends himself down in different guises but teaches the same stuff and that explains all of these individuals being so similar?
For the non-religious, well...what do you think in general? I don't want to sound snide but I often find it's the non-religious who have SERIOUSLY researched this stuff and have archaeological, textual, etc. backup on their ideas.
So I'd like to hear from everybody. I myself am not sure. I do believe in God. I've always believed in God. I'm not sure I've ever truly believed in Jesus and it has always made me feel like a truly horrible person...but I just can't believe in the Bible...I...just can't do it. Sigh. Things would be a whole lot easier if I could. It would erase a lot of guilt and would make me feel like others around me were "like" me but, eh. This is the hand I've been dealt.
I'm just cynical...I just don't believe all the miracles, that there's just that one way to God, etc.
But I do believe there is a God and I do entertain the possibility of reincarnation. At the same time, I am aware that people are people and that everyone knows the better and more detailed the story, the more people are to believe it and pass it on (I know that's cynical)...and I do STRONGLY believe in the power of myth on people's psyches.