As I expected, many readers reacted strongly to my column last week about the pagan origins of the Jesus story.
I posed the old controversial question of whether Jesus existed as a real historical person or was a mere copy of ancient pagan beliefs in a dying and resurrecting god.
On my Facebook account, most of the reactions were positive, while some confessed to being confused by the article.
But on the Inquirer website, readers’ reactions were quite mixed.
When I started writing this column in 1987, I did not really expect everybody to agree with me. I only wished that those who posted violent and sometimes ad hominem comments used their real names instead of pseudonyms.
Let me quote the usually intelligent and well thought-out comments of lawyer Rodolfo Publico, a closet intellectual, who was an officemate of mine:
“You hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, it will not be the last nail on the coffin. To what extent are you still a Christian? For me, the New Testament is only the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, also known as the Sermon in the Plain in Luke. Of course, most of these are just echoes of what earlier prophets or philosophers have said. Happy holidays!”
My reply: That question “to what extent are you still a Christian?” is very difficult to answer without being illogical, inconsistent and tautological. In the first place, I do not know what being a Christian means. If that means following the dogmas and rituals of the Christian Church, then “no,” but believing in the story of Jesus, “yes.” It’s a good story.
By the way, the Sermon on the Mount is not really original. I saw a very similar passage in an ancient work but can’t remember whether it was from one of the hymns to Osiris or from the Bhagavad Gita.
To which Rudy replied, “So the Jesus story is a myth you believe in???!!! Inconsistent and illogical, as you said. But not tautological, for this is the first time you’ve been illogical and inconsistent, as far as I can recall. The Sermons are, of course, far from original but borrowed echoes, as I said.”
You are right, I said. I have always tried to be logical and consistent in my thinking, but this is one question I have been struggling with for many years now, and to which I have not yet found a logical conclusion.
But it doesn’t matter. It’s a personal struggle which should not affect anybody else.
Now let’s take a look at some reactions of readers on the Inquirer website, Inquirer.net.
From Franklin Legada, John B. Lacson College Foundation:
“Mr J. Licauco, read the works of Lee Strobel, Ravi Zacarias, Josh Mcdowell, Charles Swindoll, and other trusted and contemporary writers and scholars and you will see that Jesus is real. Aside from the gospel writers, there are other historical writers like Josephus, Pliny the Younger and many more who attested that Jesus really exist (sic). Research and read your facts before writing. It will really come back to you that you are shallow and a piece of sh-t if the reader is truly aware of what you write.”
To which Nelson Chiong replied: “Franklin Legada, say what you want but don’t be rude.”
From Mang Dolphy: “Christmas is of pagan origin coinciding with the celebration of pagan god Sol Invictus.”
From Eagle Slick: “Jesus is not a myth. He is real. The lost years of Jesus are not in the Bible. But you will find Him in the Tibetan manuscripts. His name was Issa when He was in Tibet for at least 17 years. He studied there and became a monk.”
From W. Sooo 2015: “Stupid Filipinos –Stupid OP-ED – Stupid AuthorThe story of Jesus Christ were copied (sic) from past gods before him. There were 5 gods before Jesus Christ that was borned (sic) and raised from a virgin. Obviously copied. Duh!!! But you people just refuse to believe it…”
To which Vindo_Grajo replied: “Can’t you just write your stupid opinion without calling the Filipinos stupid, ha stupid W. Sooo 2015?”
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