33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Give the Idea a Chance,
This review is from: Jesus Potter Harry Christ: The Fascinating Parallels Between Two of the World's Most Popular Literary Characters (Paperback)
After reading Murphy's book but before writing this review, I wanted to check out Holy Blasphemy Press. I accept atheism as a valid philosophy for anyone making an intelligent decision and I wrote about this in my own work, rejecting the old, dictator god that many of us grew up with and replacing that image with a kindler, gentler, forgiving energy that accepts and loves all. Writing about spirituality, though, makes me curious about those who claim to be atheists.
I read the description of Holy Blasphemy Press, and find that I agree with much of what they said. I, too, want a better God than the "tyrannical and violent" one often portrayed. I agree with their statement, "...we also respect each individual's right to seek their own spiritual meaning - as long as they don't impose it on everyone else or demand special privileges or policies." I checked out the author, Derek Murphy, too. He seems to be an open, philosophical individual with whom one might have a rational, intelligent spiritual conversation. With that understanding, I could continue my review.
The research in this book is very impressive. Murphy covers so much material. He spends more time promoting the facts of Jesus as a literary figure than discussing Harry Potter, but he clearly makes his point of the similarities of the two figures. Both Jesus Christ and Harry Potter had miraculous births, childhood miracles, and miraculous powers; battled with evil; were sacrificed in death with a rebirth or resurrection; and dealt with the symbolism of seven, Jesus in the Seven Seals of the Book of Revelation and Harry with his seven magical tasks in Books 6 and 7.
Why the comparison to Harry Potter? Many other literary figures, such as Moby Dick, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, also endured suffering ending in a sacrificial death with a perceived rebirth and resurrection. I like Murphy's choice, however, since Harry Potter, has become popular with a major influence on our youth. Murphy's premise presents a new twist on an old story. J.K. Rowling used the same myths that preceded Jesus in creating her characters. A fresh look at the story of Jesus Christ is timely. A comparison to Mr. Potter is a unique way to do that. Murphy's implied sense of humor and perspective add to a much-needed discussion that often becomes too austere and heavy.
He establishes that there is no historical proof that Jesus Christ existed. He acknowledges that there is no proof that Jesus Christ didn't exist. Individuals are left to believe or not. Murphy states that he just wants to establish some historical record. The main stories of the Old and New Testament are restated pagan myths, referring to such figures as Osiris, Gilgamesh, Orpheus, Mithras and many others, some of which existed over a thousand years before Christ. The birth date, the death time, the suffering and the resurrection are not unique to Jesus.
I read much of this research years ago and came to the conclusion that Jesus may have lived, although that evidence is sketchy, but that he was not a divine being born on December 25 and resurrected on the date we celebrate as Easter. I am amazed at the amount of historical facts gathered by Murphy and reminded that so little of this information is widely known today. How could people ignore all of this evidence? And the myth continues with such a blind side to the facts. I like Murphy's response that all he is doing is presenting the information; it is up to the readers to make a decision. I agree.
I especially enjoyed his section on the history of Christianity with the political overtones of its rise to prominence. This is reminiscent of choices in our world today that are political rather than the right thing to do or an intelligent decision, although sometimes they are all three. In 325 CE, Emperor Constantine took power in the Roman Empire. He protected Christianity and wanted unity in the religions. He tailored Christianity to the pre-existing pagan customs. By 380 CE, Christianity was made the official religion and by 435 pagan temples were destroyed. The rise of Christianity was a political, not a religious or spiritual, decision. That part of history needs to be remembered, along with many other facts.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 25, 2011 10:35:01 PM PDT
Desert Dweller says:
How about getting the sequence of years correct? BCE = before the common era so the numbers should decrease not increase in the otherwise scholarly commentary!
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2011 6:07:45 AM PDT
Cheryl A. Chatfield says:
Thank you for pointing out an obvious error. I appreciate your comment and will correct the dates.
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