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Acharya S' book The Christ Conspiracy: Jesus as Ordinary-State Symbol

Contents

Book: Acharya S: The Christ Conspiracy. 1

Acharya S on the Radio. 6

Acharya S in Paranoia Magazine. 6

Christ Conspiracy study guide, compare scope/emphasis & key omissions. 8

Detailed table of contents for Christ Conspiracy. 10

Ask Coast to Coast big radio show to have Acharya S on. 10

Book: The Christ Conspiracy. 11

Whether include Christ Conspiracy in Historical Jesus Theories page. 12

Christ Conspiracy Christian Bashing?. 14

Traditionalist review of Christ Conspiracy book. 14

Rationally refuting literalist Christianity vs. rationally understanding it 16

 

Book: Acharya S: The Christ Conspiracy

This is a draft of the review I'm about to post at Amazon.

The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold

Acharya S

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932813747

1999

Rank: 7K (very popular)

5 stars

Replaces historical Jesus by materialist astrology

Michael Hoffman of Egodeath site

Acharya's long book has several parts and aspects that need to be judged as distinct components. Similar to Freke & Gandy's book The Jesus Mysteries and its companion Jesus and the Goddess, and unlike Doherty's book The Jesus Puzzle, Acharya not only makes a case for the nonhistoricity of Jesus and absence of a single individual as the kernel for the Jesus figure, she also proposes an interpretation of what, positively, the original Jesus figure meant to the earliest Christians and proto-Christians.

Her presentation of the case for the negative half of the project, debunking the historicity of Jesus, is good, is standard, and strengthens the case made by the other mythic-only Jesus scholars.

By providing a positive scenario of the real, original, esoteric meaning of Jesus, in addition to debunking the received history, Acharya is more ambitious than Doherty. However, her proposed explanation of the Jesus figure as a matter of initiation, myth, and esotericism is a 1-dimensional, literalist, materialist, and debased version of astrology.

She conceives of astrology as a study of physical bodies rather than as being also an allegorical system of psyche development grounded in the mystic state of consciousness. She thus misreads the nature and spirit of that which she proposes as a replacement for Jesus' historicity, astrology. Freke & Gandy have a better feel for the psychological and mystic-state emphasis in esoteric mystery initiations and myth.

Her lack of recognition of the mystic-state psychology emphasis in astrology is all the more remarkable because it contrasts with her own short section about visionary plants. In that section she again uses the term 'initiation', but doesn't describe what initiation is about.

Thus her book contains the necessary elements to portray astrology as a series of psychological, mystic-state initiation experiences integrated with external materialist, cosmological teachings, but she doesn't put the pieces together. Instead, the bulk of the book consistently portrays literal cosmological bodies as the only concern of astrology -- against all scholars of Western esotericism, who are unanimous that astrology is at least as concerned with nonordinary experiencing and divine development of the psyche, as with physical cosmological bodies.

This is an ambitious and at times overambitious book in that Acharya is unable to put forth a coherent and compelling positive explanation of what the Jesus figure originally meant in its cultural context. She fumbles the ball of esotericism, reducing it to a materialist, that is, non-psychological and non-mystical, conception.

She also misportrays the character of mythic and mystic thinking in ancient wisdom traditions in that she portrays astrology as an isolated esoteric sacred science. Fideler's book Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism provides a more accurate, multifaceted view of how astrotheology functioned as one esoteric thematic school among many.

I especially applaud her revealing that the Paul figure is not historical. More research is needed here, following the lead of the 19th-Century Dutch Radical Critics.

In the last chapters of the book, Acharya commits the common fallacy of postulating an ancient and materialist origin of religious ideas, rather than recognizing that religious ideas spring from the ever-available mystic altered state of consciousness. Because the origin of the ideas in psychological experiences during the mystic state isn't recognized, such nonmystical scholars as Acharya only have recourse to one type of explanation: a literalist, materialist, non-psychological historical origin of religious ideas. She relies too heavily on a single type of scholar, such as Doane in the 19th century, before Jung; she seems unaware of the Jungian or mystic-state theories of the origin of mythic thinking.

The only way she could succeed at convincing skeptics of Jesus' nonhistoricity is by providing a fully compelling positive alternative of what the mystic Jesus figure originally meant. In proffering a materialist version of astrology, she needs to state her position on the Jungian subconscious or mystic state psychological phenomena as an explanation for the origin of the mythic Jesus figure.

This is a highly readable book for a popular audience. Those wanting a more scholarly convincing argument should also read Doherty's book The Jesus Puzzle. Those wanting a more insightful characterization of ancient astrology as psyche-centered should also read Fideler's book Jesus Christ, Sun of God, and those wanting a more experiential characterization of mystery-religion initiation should also read Freke & Gandy's books The Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the Goddess.

The section on visionary plants is also oddly not integrated into the rest of the book, because it states that the Jesus figure was merely one aspect of the Jesus myth and Christ conspiracy, which incorporated virtually everything at hand. If this isolated, insightful statement of Acharya is correct, it contradicts, as too limited and too literalist, her own proposed positive explanation of the real original meaning of Jesus in the rest of the book, which she consistently portrays as strictly meaning the literal, physical sun within a conception of astrology that knows nothing of the divine experience of the bright mystic sun in the psyche during initiation.

The goal of the book is to establish was Jesus wasn't (a historical individual serving as the kernel for the eventual Jesus figure) and what Jesus was. It is stronger on the first project than the second, because what Jesus was was -- as she states in one isolated spot but otherwise neglects -- a composite figure formed from many themes, not just from a physicalist type of astrology. The goal of such understanding is to change popular and scholarly understanding of the original meaning of the Jesus figure, which will then help prevent further destructiveness supported by literalist Christianity. Acharya only partially achieves this goal of providing an accurate understanding of the original meaning of the Jesus figure, and thus this book is of limited efficacy in switching the world away from a literalist to a truly esoteric comprehension of the Jesus figure.

_____________________

Here is my final review posted at Amazon.

The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold

Acharya S

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932813747

1999

Rank: 7K (very popular)

5 stars

Replaces historical Jesus by materialist astrology

Michael Hoffman of Egodeath site

Acharya's long book has several parts and aspects that need to be judged as distinct components. Similar to Freke & Gandy's book The Jesus Mysteries and its companion Jesus and the Goddess, and unlike Doherty's book The Jesus Puzzle, Acharya not only makes a case for the nonhistoricity of Jesus and absence of a single individual as the kernel for the Jesus figure, she also proposes an interpretation of what, positively, the original Jesus figure meant to the earliest Christians and proto-Christians.

Her presentation of the case for the negative half of the project, debunking the historicity of Jesus, is good, is standard, and strengthens the case made by the other mythic-only Jesus scholars. By providing a positive scenario of the real, original, esoteric meaning of Jesus, in addition to debunking the received history, Acharya is more ambitious than Doherty. However, her proposed explanation of the Jesus figure as a matter of initiation, myth, and esotericism is a 1-dimensional, literalist, materialist, and debased version of astrology.

She conceives of astrology as a study of physical bodies rather than as being also an allegorical system of psyche development grounded in the mystic state of consciousness. She thus misreads the nature and spirit of that which she proposes as a replacement for Jesus' historicity, astrology. Freke & Gandy have a better feel for the psychological and mystic-state emphasis in esoteric mystery initiations and myth.

Her lack of recognition of the mystic-state psychology emphasis in astrology is all the more remarkable because it contrasts with her own short section about visionary plants. In that section she again uses the term 'initiation', but doesn't describe what initiation is about.

That section on visionary plants is also oddly not integrated into the rest of the book, because it states that the Jesus figure was merely one aspect of the Jesus myth and Christ conspiracy, which incorporated virtually everything at hand. If this isolated, insightful statement of Acharya is correct, it contradicts, as too limited and too literalist, her own proposed positive explanation of the real original meaning of Jesus in the rest of the book, which she consistently portrays as strictly meaning the literal, physical sun within a conception of astrology that knows nothing of the divine experience of the bright mystic sun in the psyche during initiation.

Thus her book contains the necessary elements to portray astrology as a series of psychological, mystic-state initiation experiences integrated with external materialist, cosmological teachings, but she doesn't put the pieces together. Instead, the bulk of the book consistently portrays literal cosmological bodies as the only concern of astrology -- against all scholars of Western esotericism, who are unanimous that astrology is at least as concerned with nonordinary experiencing and divine development of the psyche, as with physical cosmological bodies.

This is an ambitious and at times overambitious book in that Acharya is unable to put forth a coherent and compelling positive explanation of what the Jesus figure originally meant in its cultural context. She fumbles the ball of esotericism, reducing it to a materialist, that is, non-psychological and non-mystical, conception.

She also misportrays the character of mythic and mystic thinking in ancient wisdom traditions in that she portrays astrology as an isolated esoteric sacred science. Fideler's book Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism provides a more accurate, multifaceted view of how astrotheology functioned as one esoteric thematic school among many.

I especially applaud her revealing that the Paul figure is not historical. More research is needed here, following the lead of the 19th-Century Dutch Radical Critics.

In the last chapters of the book, Acharya commits the common fallacy of postulating an ancient and materialist origin of religious ideas, rather than recognizing that religious ideas spring from the ever-available mystic altered state of consciousness. Because the origin of the ideas in psychological experiences during the mystic state isn't recognized, such nonmystical scholars as Acharya only have recourse to one type of explanation: a literalist, materialist, non-psychological historical origin of religious ideas. She relies too heavily on a single type of scholar, such as Doane in the 19th century, before Jung; she seems unaware of the Jungian or mystic-state theories of the origin of mythic thinking.

The only way she could succeed at convincing skeptics of Jesus' nonhistoricity is by providing a fully compelling positive alternative of what the mystic Jesus figure originally meant. In proffering a materialist version of astrology, she needs to state her position on the Jungian subconscious or mystic state psychological phenomena as an explanation for the origin of the mythic Jesus figure.

This is a highly readable book for a popular audience. Those wanting a more scholarly convincing argument should also read Doherty's book The Jesus Puzzle. Those wanting a more insightful characterization of ancient astrology as psyche-centered should also read Fideler's book Jesus Christ, Sun of God, and those wanting a more experiential characterization of mystery-religion initiation should also read Freke & Gandy's books The Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the Goddess.

The goal of the book is to establish was Jesus wasn't (a historical individual serving as the kernel for the eventual Jesus figure) and what Jesus was. It is stronger on the first project than the second, because what Jesus was was -- as she states in one isolated spot but otherwise neglects -- a composite figure formed from many themes, not just from a physicalist type of astrology.

The goal of such a revised and corrected understanding is to change popular and scholarly understanding of the original meaning of the Jesus figure, which will then help prevent a continuation of the destructiveness that is supported by a literalist misconception of Christianity. Acharya only partially achieves this goal of providing an accurate understanding of the original Hellenistic meaning of the Jesus figure, and thus this book is of limited efficacy in switching the world away from a literalist to a truly esoteric comprehension of Jesus and Christianity.

_____________________

Aspects I left out of the review:

Astrotheology as concerned with the problem of experiencing and transcending cosmic determinism.

The fact that she discusses the Jesus figure as specifically a personification of the Amanita cap, as one thematic source.

Ruler Cult as a major thematic source for the Jesus figure and for the Christian version of the standard Hellenistic mystery-religion initiation cult.

>>There is a similar theory in the book Magi

Magi: The Quest for a Secret Tradition

Adrian Gilbert

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0747531005

1999

>>He does not conclude Jesus mythical, but takes the gospel version as pure Western myth, the Nativity setting and 3-Magi story being purely Western.

A similar theory to which of the following?

A. The general theory that the Christian myth-religion includes astrology allusions and themes

B. Acharya's school's theory (the "materialist symbolic redirection" theory of myth) that the Christian myth-religion includes astrology allusions and themes, and that the nature of that astrology is materialist.

C. My school's theory (the mystic theory of myth) that the Christian myth-religion includes astrology allusions and themes, and that the nature of that astrology is preeminently allusion to mystic-state experiential phenomena.

Acharya occasionally mentions the terms 'initiation', 'mystery', 'secret', 'reveal', and 'esoteric', but that is deceptive, because she treats these terms as all pointing to literal materialist planetary bodies, rather than toward the intriguing phenomena of the mystic altered state of cognition.

http://www.egodeath.com/acharyaschristconspiracyreview.htm - Added notes:

Theorizing about and analyzing the idea of "astrotheology" -- what does "theology" mean in "astrotheology"; if it's all really about physical planets, pointing ultimately to physical planets, how is that "theology" in any usual sense, rather than being plain old "modern materialist cosmology"? Discuss idea of "reductionism" in modern thinking, reductionism as defined by Ken Wilber and scholars of Western esotericism.

In some ways, this book was perfect for helping me develop my views on scholarship about mysticism and origin of religions.

The review may startle and jolt readers out of the usual ruts of thinking. In some ways the review affirms the book by criticizing it as not going far enough. The review affirms the book's no-Jesus theory by not even bothering to mention the quality of that coverage beyond a sentence or two -- from my point of view, the *least* controversial and debatable thing about the book is its position against historicity, and quality of coverage of the ahistoricist position.

The review also strongly enforces the view that Acharya is not a lone scholar in arguing for ahistoricism; in fact she's merely "typical", "standard" -- that downplaying helps establish and normalize "her" ahistoricist position as being simply *the* ahistoricist, anti-euhemerist position. It is common to marginalize and avoid engaging with a scholarly theory by conceiving of the theory as a position held only by one isolated scholar.

I could have emphasized more explicitly that Acharya is merely one of a large crowd that has drawn the same conclusion, as implied in Acharya's review of a certain book which covers the history of the ahistoricist position -- but my write-up may have more impact by treating this more implicitly, with just a few words such as "standard", implying that there's no need to belabor this clear point, that Acharya is to be counted among a large number, a major established school.

Acharya is probably more concerned with, or driven by, what I call the negative project (disproving historical Jesus) than the positive project (proving what the Jesus figure actually meant in its early context), and I expressed and have no critique or criticism at all about that main concern, her disproof of the historical Jesus -- that half of the book, the half which most reviewers are solely aware of, is entirely beyond reproach, to the extent that it only warrants two sentences in a 1000-word review.

>Is Acharya S a relative newcomer to the world of this kind of research?

She has only one book published; less than most other authors listed on Peter Kirby's page "Historical Jesus Theories": http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

>>Is she considered a good scholar? I've seen her website and for a little while was on the mailing list for her discussion group (which is of many and far ranging topics & sends a million emails a day) She's definitely a strong skeptic, but I don't know much about her except from her site, her fans, and herself, from exchanging a couple of emails with her. Certainly she's a radical critic of ancient history and mythicist who rejects the historicity of the rabbi Jesus.

She also rejects the historicity of the rest of the New Testament figures, including Saint Paul the Apostle.

She may draw upon too few and too unreliable sources as her main pillars. She's a representative of one particular atheist school of thought -- she is a time-traveller from the turn of the century.

Peter Kirby has not responded to my request for a statement of why her book, the most popular on the subject of no-Jesus, is omitted from his list while the similar books Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the Goddess are included.

Here is my review of her book.

http://www.egodeath.com/acharyaschristconspiracyreview.htm

Acharya S on the Radio

-----Original Message-----

From: Acharya S [mailto:acharya_s~at~yahoo.com]

Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2003 3:19 PM

Subject: Acharya S on the Radio!

Hi folks!

After a long hiatus, I have been making media appearances again. My show in South Africa was a tremendous success, to the point where someone had to appear on the same program two weeks later in order to "debunk" me!

On Thursday, December 4, 2003, at 1-3 PM PST, I will appear on the show

"Eye on the Future" hosted by internationally renowned prophet, messenger, healer and humanitarian Hehpsehboah, on the Paltak Radio Network, which claims to have 22 million users worldwide. The show is accessible through the net at

http://www.paltalkradio.com/radioguide.html#5 ,

http://radio.paltalk.com/audio/3960932/ and

http://www.thecosmicenergyexperience.com

I will also appear on Hehpsehboah's show on December 29th at 7-9 PM PST, as well as in January on two dates. Updates are posted to

http://www.truthbeknown.com/radio.htm

In addition, my new book, "Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled," is scheduled for release in June 2004, and we have received the ISBN: 1-931882-31-2

http://www.truthbeknown.com/sunsofgod.htm

Anyone who would like to start a buzz about "Suns of God" might wish to provide the ISBN to his/her local bookstore and ask them to order it.

The publisher is Adventures Unlimited Press,

http://www.adventuresunlimitedpress.com

Also, to help finalize this process, we are asking for financial assistance from anyone who is able to provide it. This is difficult, grueling work that I am dedicated to continuing for as long as I can. However, I am but one person, and I am unable to do it alone. There are a number of things that I am in serious need of, just to keep functioning. Those who wish to donate to the cause may do so by going to http://www.truthbeknown.com/help.htm Your help is extremely appreciated!

In the meantime, for those who are able to, please tune in to the shows and enjoy!

Happy Holidays!

Acharya S

http://www.truthbeknown.com/

Acharya S in Paranoia Magazine

Acharya,

You should consider points of contact between:

o Astrotheology (including mythic-only Christ)

o Entheogens (sacred meals, Seder, symposium, agape, love feast)

o Determinism (necessity, heimarmene, fate, fatedness, the fates, rising above cosmic determinism).

I'm sure the religion of around 200 A.D. was centrally concerned about all of these. There are probably strong overlaps among these domains.

You could explicitly present your area of specialty while subtlely including what I call "hooks" to permit immediate connection with entheogen theory of the origin of religions, and with the ancient concern about determinism, per Luther Martin's Hellenistic Religions ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/019504391X ). Entheogens and grappling with determinism meet in the mystery religions.

Examples of mapping allegory domains: the sun is like Amanita, the sun is like determinism or transcendence of it (control over the stars), Amanita (and suchlike) is like Christ. Those are just minimalist examples to show generally what I mean by mapping allegory domains; more must be said about determinism and entheogens. Also the phrase "mythic-only Christ" needs clarification as well and can't really stand on its own (there were a hundred real historical Jesuses).

I hope you cover Ulansey's theory of Mithraism as transcendence of cosmic determinism. ( http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0195067886 ) Also Mithraism had as strong an emphasis on the sacred meal as original Christianity did.

>-----Original Message-----

>From: Acharya S

>Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2002 9:49 PM

>Subject: Acharya S in Paranoia Magazine!

>Please feel free to distribute this item widely!

>Paranoia magazine's Fall 2002 issue (#30), available now, contains an excerpt from "The Mysterious Brotherhood" chapter of my book "Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled." This excerpt/article is scholarly yet accessible; those with an interest in Christian origins will not be disappointed. The article in Paranoia, which can be obtained at http://www.paranoiamagazine.com , is entitled, "The Pagan Origins of the Christian Mysteries," and runs from pp. 56 through 62.

>Amusingly, Paranoia editors highlighted the following paragraphs from my article:

>

>"The Christ myth began when Jews and Israelites were initiated into the Pagan mysteries. Having no consideration for keeping the secrets of the Gentiles, they then ran about divulging them."

>"Higher initiates continue to hold close the knowledge of Christ as the Sun as well as the knowledge that Christianity is simply Paganism synthesized with Judaism."

>The article's subtitles include, "Secret Societies and Mystery Cults," "Loose Lips and False Origins," and "Soul=Sol, Son=Sun." The latter will no doubt rankle those who cannot see it as a clever play on words.

>"The Pagan Origins of the Christian Mysteries" begins by demonstrating that there are indeed "Christian mysteries," despite this concept not being clearly spelled out to the masses. The Greek word specially used to designate "mystery" and "mysteries" in reference to the Pagan mysteries is utilized in 27 New Testament passages: the language in several Pauline epistles is virtually identical to that which would be used by an initiate into the Pagan mysteries.

>The Paranoia article ends by explaining what these mysteries truly symbolized: To wit, the central object of worship is the literal sun, not a "historical" Jesus.

>The lovely Paranoia folks did an excellent job reproducing this excerpt. There is one place where a footnote was lost - the paragraph referring to the "Agapae" and ending with a reference to Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," originally appears in the anonymous book "Christian Mythology Unveiled," on p. 153.

>The book from which this excerpt is taken, "Suns of God," will not be available for some time, so anyone wishing to read this "juicy" information may want to obtain the Paranoia issue. Other excerpts are available online at http://www.truthbeknown.com/sunsofgod.htm

>Thanks, Joan and Al!

>Acharya S

>http://www.truthbeknown.com

>Paranoia: http://www.paranoiamagazine.com

Acharya wrote:

>Now and again, I do mention entheogen use. I have chosen to specialize in astrotheology; I think Jim [James Arthur] has the mushroom angle covered pretty well!

Christ Conspiracy study guide, compare scope/emphasis & key omissions

The next step is to add summary descriptions of each chapter. I'll be able to review this thick book after I characterize each chapter -- though I might have to write two sentences for many of the individual sections even in order to summarize some of the chapters. I can't get any further on grasping this book without such a study guide.

I have to get a feel for the flow of the book. Even the detailed table of contents doesn't clearly characterize each chapter, because the section headings are terse; for example:

The Holy Forgery Mill 24

J'accuse! 24

Biblical Sources 31

The Epistles 32

The Gospels 34

The Gospel of the Lord 36

The Gospel of Luke (170 CE) 36

The Gospel of Mark (175 CE) 37

...

Non-Biblical Sources 49

Flavius Josephus, Jewish Historian, (37-~at~95 CE) 50

Pliny the Younger (~at~62-113 CE) 51

...

Further Evidence of a Fraud 55

The Gnostics 58

What *about* the Gnostics? The heading itself isn't enough. One shortcut could be to simply expand each heading so that the resulting outline conveys the gist of the book.

It seems like the first 2/3 focuses on Christianity as astrology, then there's the chapter on sex and drugs (p 275), and then the historical development of the scriptures, followed by the theory of a single ancient world religion.

It would be good to compare such a study guide of Jesus Mysteries against Christ Conspiracy and JC: Sun of God, to examine the different balance of emphasis. What is the difference in perspective and emphasis between Jesus Mysteries/Lost Goddess, JC: Sun of God, and ChristCon? Do these perspectives agree; are they essentially the same?

Do they treat initiation the same way? Do they treat initiation and esoteric knowledge as a matter of extraordinary experiencing? Do they treat initiation as a matter of the intense esoteric state of consciousness, rather than -- or integrated with -- the ordinary state of consciousness? On this point, all these books become weak and vague -- in that, they agree and match.

Evaluate whether each book balances multiple meaning-domains or symbol/allegory domains, whether they integrate the concern with transcending determinism, and whether they integrate visionary plant use.

I suspect all of them commit the same error, of mentioning as an aside, but not quite integrating, the altered state. The way it needs to be portrayed is as a series of some 7 altered-state sessions alternating with instruction in the normal state of consciousness.

The emphasis of Godel Escher Bach didn't come out until I wrote a detailed table of contents -- only then did it become clear that the book emphasizes mathematics as a pattern system, and ego or self as a strange loop.

Perhaps if you really vigorously study ChristCon, you can put the clues and puzzle pieces together to grasp how a series of visionary plant sessions ignited and activated the esoteric teachings. Then the greatest omission is the complete lack of treatment of experiencing and transcending determinism.

I evaluated all available books about using electric guitar equipment, looking for the key techniques that I gathered and developed over many years. It turns out that even if you know these techniques and search deliberately for them in the books, the books just *barely* reflect them, and only if you study all of the books.

The same is true of the current books about ancient esoteric mysteries -- even if you know the key points to search out, the books *barely* reflect these key points; such as an isolated passage defending no-free-will in Timothy Freke's books Lost Goddess and Ency. of Spirituality, Acharya's isolated chapter on entheogens, and Freke's defense of entheogens in Ency. Spirituality, and Freke's covert between-the-lines equation of the Mithraic entheogen with psychoactive wine and the Christian eucharist.

See here Dan Merkur's explanation of how the clues (references to "manna" entheogens in religious writings) are hidden by scattering them and by vagueness. Today's books about esoterism don't merely lack integrated treatment of entheogens as a series of sessions alternating with ordinary-state instruction.

Because they don't integrate and highlight visionary plant experiencing, they also fail to treat and recognize the key issue of experiencing and transcending cosmic determinism -- these two topics are directly linked. We need to bring together anti-euhemerism (no historical Jesus/Paul/Buddha), esoteric studies, no-free-will as an experiential insight, and integrated use of visionary plants; these fit together resoundingly.

References:

The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold

Acharya S

http://www.egodeath.com/ChristConspiracyTableOfContents.htm

The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God?: How the Pagan Mysteries of Osiris-Dionysus Were Rewritten as the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy

http://www.egodeath.com/jesusmysterieschapsumm.htm

Hints that Mithraic 'wine' is entheogenic and so is eucharist

Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism

David Fideler

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0835606961

Jesus and the Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians

Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007145454

Section defending no-free-will

Jesus and the Lost Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians

Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400045940

Hellenistic Religions: An Introduction

Luther H. Martin

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/019504391X

Portrays goal as transcending cosmic determinism.

The Mystery of Manna: The Psychedelic Sacrament of the Bible

Dan Merkur

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0892817720

The Psychedelic Sacrament: Manna, Meditation, and Mystical Experience

Dan Merkur

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/089281862X

Encyclopedia of Spirituality: Essential Teachings to Transform Your Life

Timothy Freke

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0806999055

[hardcover]

Section defending no-free-will, section defending entheogens

Encyclopedia of Spirituality: Information and Inspiration to Transform Your Life

Timothy Freke

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bookSearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=0641506791

[says hc but probably pbk]

Detailed table of contents for Christ Conspiracy

Michael wrote:

>The following format is helpful and I would love to see such a study guide for the Christ Con book. I read the book cover to cover, but have only a foggy idea of its content.

>http://www.egodeath.com/jesusmysterieschapsumm.htm

>The strategy is to list the major headings of the book, and then write two sentences saying what each section is about. Does such a systematic summary exist, perhaps a per-chapter book review?

http://www.egodeath.com/ChristConspiracyTableOfContents.htm

Ask Coast to Coast big radio show to have Acharya S on

-----Original Message-----

From: Acharya S

Sent: Friday, December 12, 2003 6:59 PM

Subject: Acharya S on Coast to Coast??

Since my friend James Arthur mentioned me last night on Coast to Coast, I figured to strike while the iron is hot, so I'm asking everybody to write to the Coast to Coast producer, per their website, to suggest having me on!

Here's the email and website addy:

coastproducer at aol com

http://www.coasttocoastam.com/info/guestrequest.html

Your assistance is greatly appreciated!

Acharya S

http://www.truthbeknown.com

_______________________

Coast to Coast is an excellent way to get the word out to a mass audience about the true entheogenic nature and wellspring of religion per James Arthur, as last night, and that religion, Christianity, and Jesus is actually entirely and strictly allegorical, not literal; no literal Jesus, and no literal Paul and the Apostles -- per Acharya S, who goes well beyond Earl Doherty, in her quest for a specific purely allegorical meaning of Jesus, and for her ditching the historicity of Paul as well.

Christianity is really *all metaphorical* -- not at all literal. If Acharya is on the show, many people will hear her present these semi-suppressed ideas. I encourage you to email Coast to Coast, thank them for having James Arthur on, and ask to hear from Acharya S, as I have done.

http://www.egodeath.com/ChristConspiracyTableOfContents.htm

http://www.egodeath.com/acharyaschristconspiracyreview.htm

Book: The Christ Conspiracy

>What are your thoughts on "The Christ Conspiracy," by Acharya S.?

I don't have the book here, and don't recall it in detail, so for now, I will make some very general statements about Christ-myth books. It is a perfectly fine, decently documented book, rich with plausible and mostly supported conjectures, hypotheses, interpretations, and theorizing.

I recommend buying it, for anyone who values The Jesus Mysteries. If your goal is to determine whether Jesus existed, if that is the main thing you care about, definitely start with Doherty's book The Jesus Puzzle.

If I recall, Acharya's book lacks entheogen references and lacks any mention of cosmic determinism, and I expect her Jesus Sun book to show no awareness of David Ulansey's discoveries about the transcendence of cosmic determinism in Mithraism.

Entheogens, determinism, and religious experiencing: these are the key 3 ideas to cracking the mystery of the Mysteries. (This set of keys is my unique theory.)

A book on religious experiencing and the meaning of Jesus that doesn't cover the problem of determinism and doesn't leave hooks for the use of entheogens as an experiential amplifier, omits centrally essential elements and can't provide the final word.

Thus I largely measure Christ-myth books, such as Christ Conspiracy, in terms of whether they cover the three areas:

o Does it portray the Jesus story as a characterization of what the initiate experiences first-hand, so that one experiences the allegorically described experiences that Jesus experienced?

o Does it discuss the central, sacred meal, sacred food, sacred eating and sacred drinking that precedes the epiphany?

o Does it discuss the experience of determinism as a severe, immediately urgent, soul-killing problem that calls out for some miraculous transcendent solution?

If not, then it's just another New Age, uncomprehending, superficial spirituality book -- we have a plague of placebo spirituality that obstructs real, intense, throw-you-to-the-ground religious revelation.

Gnosis is not just understanding, not just ritual and symbol, but something that throws you to the floor and raises you miraculously, transcendently back up again; you know what it's like to be killed and brought back to life.

Anything else is just cargo-cult spirituality, imitation superficial going through the motions, uttering the theoretical formula and going through the mechanical ritual.

Gnosis is not perfected unless you have the theoretical knowledge *and* the full experience, so that understanding and experience build each other up into an infinite peak.

Authors should make the distinction I have introduced between passages that argue for Jesus' nonexistence, and passages that propose an interpretation of the meaning of Jesus. I wonder how much I could identify these separate aspects of Acharya's book.

A great way to classify Christ-myth books is in terms of the ratio of negative and positive passages: how much does this book focus on demonstrating that Jesus didn't exist, and how much does it focus on determining the mystic meaning of Jesus?

Jesus Puzzle: 95% disproof, 5% mystic explanation

The Jesus Mysteries: 60% disproof, 40% mystic explanation

Christ Conspiracy: 50% disproof, 50% mystic explanation

Jesus & Lost Goddess: 0% disproof, 100% mystic explanation

My table of the most well-known Christ-myth books

http://www.egodeath.com/christmyth.htm

shows percent completion of my reading of each book. You can interpret this as how impressed I was by the various books.

I read 60% of Christ Conspiracy, selectively, whereas I read all of The Jesus Mysteries, and only 50% of The Jesus Puzzle (selectively).

Doherty's dry and conservative negative scholarship about whether Jesus existed is absolutely necessary for the community of researchers, but I am much more interested in accepting the nonexistence of Jesus and moving forward to ask what, then, is the mystic meaning of Jesus?

I prefer the books that focus on the mystic meaning. This means that there may be some Historical Jesus-assuming books that are more relevant for explaining the mystic meaning of Jesus, than Doherty's book, which sidesteps the question of the mystic meaning.

The Jesus Mysteries discussion group is a dead-end. They'll go on arguing till kingdom come about whether, or not, Jesus existed -- but they'll miss the main show, of the mystic meaning. If people aren't persuaded by now, after reading the ten leading mythic Jesus books, then they will never be convinced.

The Jesus Mysteries led me to read Pagels' essential books The Gnostic Paul and The Gnostic Gospels.

Whether include Christ Conspiracy in Historical Jesus Theories page

Acharya S' book Christ Conspiracy has not been included in the fairly comprehensive web page Historical Jesus Theories (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html), although the comparable books The Jesus Mysteries and The Jesus Puzzle are included.

The main flaw of Christ Conspiracy is that it needs more emphasis on the intense mystic altered state as the perennial wellspring of religion, which certainly provided astrotheology with much of its character and inspiration even throughout later Western esotericism -- see my Amazon review at my website with additional comments.

http://www.egodeath.com/acharyaschristconspiracyreview.htm

I especially applaud pages 173 through 177, which propose the ahistoricity of Paul, like Max Rieser did in 1979:

The True Founder of Christianity and the Hellenistic Philosophy

Max Rieser

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/9062960812

and as some of the Dutch Radical Critics did in the 19th Century, as discussed at http://www.radikalkritik.de.

Many people are reading Christ Conspiracy; it has been around 3000-1000 in popularity at Amazon, and it might be justifiable to include it in the list of "Historical Jesus Theories". If Christ Conspiracy doesn't fit the scope of the webpage, then it's not very clear why the pair of books The Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the Goddess belong in the webpage.

Like Christ Conspiracy, the latter books have a popular tone, remove Jesus' historicity, and replace it by astrology -- albeit an experiential astral ascent rather than the materialist, physical characterization of astrology presented in Christ Conspiracy.

Even if some people think Christ Conspiracy is not as high-quality scholarship as Jesus Mysteries (popularity 8000), Jesus and the Goddess (12000), or The Jesus Puzzle (30000), they must still consider that Christ Conspiracy is popularizing the no-Jesus theory and is leading many to go on to read other, more highly respected books. I have found Acharya's book on the shelves of most bookstores, at least as often as the books The Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and the Goddess.

From: Bill Gieskieng

Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 1:04 AM

To: superconsciousness~at~topica.com

Cc: Alan Bentley; mhoffman; GERI THOMPSON

Subject: Michael Hoffman and Christ Conspiracy.

>>I'm certainly pleased that Michael Hoffman is championing the Acharya's Christ Conspiracy as outlined below. Mr. Hoffman is obviously an intelligent man and certainly well versed in the subject.

>>However I don't know how seriously to take his criticism of Acharya's concentration on the physical aspects of Astro-theology in contrast to the metaphysical consequences. Let's be practical about this. As I understand it Acharya had to cut huge amounts of material simply to bring it down to publishable size. The central idea was to get across to the average inquirer that the physical presence and workings of the visible cosmos probably seeded the human thought process and triggered off a following cascade of religious mythological systems... forget for a moment about the high-falutin' metaphysical pondering deep down in the psyche that (properly) fascinates Mr. Hoffman. .... The point is this: can you imagine a blank, starless monochromatic sky sparking some eyeless-in-Gaza nomad to start spinning together ideas of sky gods or whatever? Hell no!

>>This question is much more simple than the classic riddle of which came first...the chicken or the egg. Yes, Virginia, The star-filled cosmos preceded the theological aspirations. It should be kept in mind that the physical aspect of Astro-theology was pretty darn esoteric. The mathematical relationships developed in consequence of study of the astral bodies became foundational principles of mystery schools. The real mystery is how they could have managed to disclose such infinitesimal arcane properties! These guys were genius-level code breakers! Anyway, the idea of "altered state" complexities being involved is not necessarily denied...it is just considered phenomena consequent to the main issue at hand.

>>Now I [feel] like I've rushed in to defend Acharya's virginity or something and she calmly turns around wondering just who the hell is making a fuss by rocking her boat and disturbing her slumber.

__________________

Peter Kirby,

Have you ever stated why your Historical Jesus Theories page

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

omits the most popular no-Jesus scholar, Acharya S, but includes the largely similar authors Freke & Gandy?

__________________

Peter posts advertisements of his informational website in Acharya's Christ Con discussion group, but omits to mention her book -- the most popular no-Jesus book -- at his website.

At

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Christ_Conspiracy/message/1290

Peter Kirby wrote:

> Please look at this new site that I have launched today:

> http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/

> See especially this project, with the help of Richard Sumner and other volunteers:

> http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/openscrolls.html

> If you would like to see further updates regarding the work and reading of yours truly, please register yourself here:

> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kirbynews/

> Thank you and have a great weekend.

> Peter Kirby

In my honor he signs as Peter "Michael" Kirby, but it is actually Peter "Chicken" Kirby.

Why are scholars afraid of Acharya S, shunning her and telling people not to bother looking at her unworthy work? It would reveal the quality of their own work and particularly the quality of their own insight to be called into question.

She is a paradigm breaker, while they only claim to be, while publishing their minor revisions. They reveal Jesus fading into diffuse historical multiplicity, while she bounds ahead to reveal no historical Paul, long before Kirby's belated site http://www.didpaulexist.com.

3 words explains Kirby's informational blackout regarding Acharya's work:

bok, bok, bok

Christ Conspiracy Christian Bashing?

Full and detailed discussion of the reasons for the entrenchment of Literalism is needed. Most Literalists haven't heard of mysticism, Gnosticism, esotericism, allegorism, and what little they've heard has been what other Literalists have written.

Critical analysis can be on-topic if it's not just motivated by the desire to venting, but is instead constructive toward the goal of understanding the Literalist framework of thinking. Part of this framework is bound to be a certain, sometimes shocking, level of ignorance.

Some venting is natural, as we throw up arms exclaiming, how did we get in this wretched situation? Literalist history of Christianity is entirely wrong, down to the core, and Christian history needs to be entirely scrapped and entirely rewritten. How can people have been so completely, profoundly misguided in their way of understanding Christianity and its history? That question is inherent in investigating the Christ Conspiracy.

I had an interesting, unclear discussion with a retirement-age Epicopalian and Catholic couple, who did alot of time in church. The Catholic was rejecting the official religion, asserting that Christianity is really a simple ethical system. I responded that that ethics is no religion at all, and asserted that religion cannot be reduced to ethics or the socio-political realm.

The Episcopalian didn't reduce Christianity to ethics, but she is a supernaturalist, who considers the essence of Christianity to be going to heaven after bodily death, as a reward for faith in Jesus and for good works. I asked if they knew anything about the Essenes, the Gnostics, and the Christian mystics. They said no, they didn't, and wanted to learn.

How can people be so involved in a religion and yet so ignorant of that religion? This question is as on-topic as they come, for the Christ Conspiracy discussion group. We have to understand it in order to study the relation of Literalist Christianity and esoteric Christianity, and how to move people -- including scholars -- from Literalism to an understanding of esotericism and pure allegorization of mystic experiencing, or at least to a dim awareness that such an alternative exists, as an alternative to conservative Literalist supernaturalism, liberal Christian ethicism (Jesus as mundane moral example), and blockheaded atheism that is as pristinely naive and uninformed as Literalism.

Some amount of frank analysis that could be characterized as Christian-bashing may be necessary to analyze where we went wrong and how to dig ourselves out of this Literalist mess.

Traditionalist review of Christ Conspiracy book

The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold

Acharya S

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932813747

Zosimos wrote:

>>From the Mouth of the Prince of Lies., January 14, 2004

> Reviewer: zosimos/Prometheus -- hammerofwitchesx~at~aol.com

>_The Christ Conspiracy_ basically consists of a concocted pseudo-history which attempts to paint Christians as the universal enemy, always choosing to portray their deeds in the most cynical and insane light. The book contains hundreds of remarks which are utterly laughable and rarely quotes original sources, choosing instead to quote from various obscure works by eccentric and rogue scholars of the nineteenth century. ...

Acharya wrote:

>So, now I've been elected to the highest office in the land! Following is a highly intelligent review of "The Christ Conspiracy" that I thought you might enjoy. Amazon ... posted it twice. Be sure to go to the bottom one and cast your vote as to how much it has helped you understand reality. ... this brilliant and unbiased critic has posted reviews of 155 books on Amazon ...

Zosimos represents a certain strange mode of thought: the Traditionalist school, or far right-wing mystic literalist Traditionalism. Traditionalism (Schuon, Nasr, Huston Smith, Evola) is as much a strange mixture as other religious stances. Gnosis magazine has covered the strange case of the Traditionalist theory and its variations; later books on Traditionalism often focus on explaining what the early right-wing Traditionalists were about.

Look at Zosimos' book lists

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/cm/member-fil/-/A3SU3TXON36T0X

to quickly get a picture of the range of his thought-world: mystic religion put through a strong, right-leaning Traditionalist filter.

http://www.google.com/search?q=evola+traditionalism

http://www.google.com/search?q=nasr+traditionalist

Zosimos has done researchers a kind of favor by summarizing and exemplifying the Traditionalist thought-world, which is distinct from the Christian thought-world. Traditionalism leans heavily toward Islamic literalist mysticism.

It would be difficult to accurately understand what Zosimos' has in mind in his review of Christ Con without understanding the strange history of the Traditionalist school, paradigm, and thought-world. It would be a fundamental misreading to assume that Zosimos is a typical advocate of junk Christianity. His set of flaws is distinct from the set of flaws in junk Christianity such as pop evangelicalism. He is not a Christian, but rather, a Traditionalist.

The best characterization of Traditionalism is "cross-religion orthodox literalist mysticism", and that literalism leads quickly to the bad habit of authoritarianism.

From Zosimos' bio:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/cm/member-glance/-/A3SU3TXON36T0X?see-more-desc=1 -- Paraphrased: "Interests: Anarcho-monarchism, Conservative Revolution, Reactionary Modernism, Heideggerianism, Traditionalist Roman Catholicism, Neo-Romanticism, Jesuitism, Joseph de Maistre, Christian Tsarism, Baron Julius Evola, speculative philosophy, German idealism, Christianity, mysticism, the existence of God, madness, Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Nazism and Fascism, Julius Evola, the Illuminati, visionaries, madmen, wild-eyed prophets, cranks, and fringe researchers. Religion is an abyss, and I find myself drawn to the precipice and frequently taking a look down. Science, religion, and pseudo-science, the Holy Trinity. Each keeps man sane in a way, or each drives him to madness. I graduated from Caltech (B.S. Mathematics) in 1999. After that experience, I've learned to loathe academia and all that it stands for. For the most part, the world appears to be held up by a series of men who aren't even known. A various group of 'frontmen', for example Newton, Einstein, et al have been able to capitalize on the ideas of a hidden elite (the true elite). I don't know who these men are, no one does, but one day they may decide to reveal themselves. And, when this happens, history is made. These are the turning points that decide the course of action in the world."

_____________

On his wish list is The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors by Kersey Graves, preface by Paul Tice

He should get this edition:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/093281395X

with a forward by Acharya S.

Rationally refuting literalist Christianity vs. rationally understanding it

Some say that if transcendent knowledge were rationally explainable, it would not be transcendent. But the term 'transcend' has multiple meanings, as the dictionary shows. There is some transcendent knowledge that fits some of the dictionary definitions: transcendent -- exceeding usual limits, surpassing, extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience, transcending the universe or material existence.

Some say it can't be a failure of rationality to refute Christianity, because logic is employed in the refutation process. However: in Christ Conspiracy, Acharya S uses logic to refute *literalist* Christianity while using logic to explain *metaphorical* Christianity. It would be a failure of logic to refute the misinterpretation of Christianity without bothering to spell out the correct interpretation of Christianity. Does anyone hold that there is no correct interpretation of Christianity, that there is no real or legitimate meaning of Christianity -- that it conveys no true meaning at all?

Some say I assert a priori the existence of mystical realities relative to Christianity, and they object that mysticism deals with purely subjective experiential issues. However: All knowledge has an "a priori" aspect and a "purely subjective experiential" aspect. There is no sure foundation for belief and knowledge. Mysticism deals with a certain common set of experiences. Physics and science deals with a certain common set of experiences. Mysticism could be considered more subjective than physical science, but only somewhat more subjective, and the subjectivity of knowledge is a matter for philosophical debate.

I generally side with Ken Wilber, that there are scientific observation strategies and injunctions that apply to mystic experiencing as well as to physics measurements. Many people experience the phenomena of the mystic state and the perspectives it offers, and they report their experiences and insights and perspectives using philosophical ideas and mythical metaphors.

The reports are equivalent across various mystic traditions, so we have good reason to systematize those reports and study how the reports map to the Christian mythic system. To refrain from this activity and ignore the reports and isomorphism across mythic and philosophical systems is to fall short of reasonably using the full potential of logic. To dismiss Christianity without trying to comprehend the transcendent truth encoded in it is not to be rational, but to be lazy and non-rational, to fail to utilize reason.

I have considered the possibility that there ultimately is no truth to the Christian mythic system, and have firmly dismissed it. Christianity certainly has profound truth, slightly distorted in esoteric Christianity and heavily distorted in literalist Christianity.

Is it logical and rational and reasonable to wave aside the puzzle of the Christian mythic system as meaningless, having learned the validity and soundness of refutations provided by Acharya S., Dan Barker, Freke & Gandy, Busenbark, Schweitzer, Price, etc.?

Acharya and Freke & Gandy don't assert that Christianity is meaningless. Acharya says that the meaning of the Christian mythic system is astrotheology, and Freke & Gandy say the meaning is experiential insight and metaphor for mystic-state phenomena and realizations, incorporating some astrotheology. Earl Doherty doesn't hold that Christianity is meaningless -- just that it was assembled from existing meaning-components and that any truth in Christianity could be far better expressed by science.

Freke & Gandy assert that the puzzle of Christian, Gnostic, and Hellenistic religion has profound spiritual meaning, and a somewhat different meaning than Acharya S proclaims. Not all debunkers of literalist Christianity hold the same ideas about the worth and existence of transcendent or spiritual knowledge.

Doherty is the opposite of Freke & Gandy on this point. The *refutations* in these books agree, but some books replace literalist Christian error with nothing, others with minor truths such as ordinary astrology, and others with profound truths (mystic-state insight and intense mystic experiencing, including about the illusory nature of freewill moral agency).

This is what is so odd to me about some readers of Christ Conspiracy: they want to eliminate Christianity by proving it false by proving it meaningful, where the meaning is astrotheology -- the logic of that strategy is unclear to me. People worship literalist Christianity, so we reveal Christianity to actually be about astrotheology, so this amounts to dismissing Christianity? What is so satisfying about switching from assuming a literalist reading of Christianity to revealing a viable astrotheology reading?

Is it that these readers like astrotheology, or that they hate literalist Christianity? Are they merely *utilizing* astrotheology to provide some alternative -- not caring in the least what that alternative happens to be -- to give literalists an opportunity, and then expecting the very existence of that opportunity to, for some reason, cause literalist Christians to abandon Christianity altogether? Why will revealing a viable astrotheology reading make literalist Christians abandon Christianity altogether?

Why will revealing a viable astrotheology reading expose and render powerless literalist Christianity as "bloodthirsty threats and vitriol", "completing the job", so that life will go on, improved, without any form of Christianity? Why can Christ Conspiracy be considered effective at exposing and rendering powerless Christianity? Why will it make literalist Christians abandon Christianity altogether? The strategy won't work; the hoped-for strategy isn't actually viable.

The astrotheology reading combined with disproof of historicity makes the scorched-earth debunkers feel good, feel like they have toppled literalist Christianity by toppling Christianity altogether, but what is going to happen instead, if knowledge and truth progresses, is a move toward the understanding, if not the practice, of the esoteric meaning of all the religions, per Freke & Gandy.

My position is almost identical with that of Timothy Freke with respect to what I consider the four key differentiating points about authentic religion or transcendent knowledge: entheogen-positive, no-free-will, non-historicity of religious founder figures, and the rational comprehensibility of transcendent knowledge or mystic insight. We agree on these points, but I strongly and centrally emphasize them.

 


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