Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christ and the "Dying Gods"

Happy Easter, everyone!

I am using a new search engine, I typed in "C. S. Lewis dying god" and this popped up in the "red box" instant results at the top.

Christian mythology: Comparative mythology: Christ and the "Dying Gods"
The more recent writer C. S. Lewis regarded the pagan "dying gods" as premonitions in the human mind of the Christ story that was to come. Pope Benedict XVI expressed a similar opinion in his 2006 homily for Corpus Christi: "The Lord mentioned [wheat's] deepest mystery on Palm Sunday, when some Greeks asked to see him. In his answer to this question is the phrase: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit' (Jn 12: 24). [...] Mediterranean culture, in the centuries before Christ, had a profound intuition of this mystery. Based on the experience of this death and rising they created myths of divinity which, dying and rising, gave new life. To them, the cycle of nature seemed like a divine promise in the midst of the darkness of suffering and death that we are faced with. In these myths, the soul of the human person, in a certain way, reached out toward that God made man, who, humiliated unto death on a cross, in this way opened the door of life to all of us." There have been some modern attempts to discredit the notion of a general "dying god" category of which Christ is a member. More at Wikipedia
I did the search because I remembered how C. S. Lewis, when he was an atheist, believed that Christianity was just another "dying god" myth. However, he came to wonder why there were so many dying god myths in human cultures, and came to believe that they were all premonitions of an actual event that was so cosmic in its scope, reaching across space and time, that it made a deep impression in the human psyche, even before it played out in human history.

The first link brought me this quote:
“In the New Testament, the thing really happens. The Dying God really appears—as a historical Person, living in a definite place and time. . . . The old myth of the Dying God . . . comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens— at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We must not be nervous about ‘parallels’ [in other religions] . . . : they ought to be there—it would be a stumbling block if they weren’t.”
By the way, I think DuckDuckGo (DDG) is the first serious alternative to Google. One of their biggest selling points is that they don't track you like Google does. They also make a bigger effort to keep out spam, which I like. I also like their nice user interface. Give it a try!

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