Here is one example of pagan myth and Babylonian star lore in the New Testament from my book. This excerpt describes the action in Mark chapter 5:


“As Jesus continued his trip in this quadrant of the zodiac, he drove a herd of demon possessed swine into the sea. Jesus and his apostles crossed the sea from Pisces and headed for Gadara (or Gerasa,) deep in the lower left quadrant of the sky chart. They found a man possessed with demons in a graveyard. Jesus casts his legion of demons into a herd of swine and drives them into the sea. This story is very clearly illustrated in the stars. In the lower left quadrant of the sky, stands Mad Dog (Figure 1.) Directly in front of Mad Dog is the Wild Boar, representing the demon filled swine. The Wild Boar is headed for the Abyss constellation, the sea where the demon swine drown. This same pig in the Wild Boar constellation did not kill Joshua, on his adventure with the twelve spies. Caleb, the eunuch faithful dog of Joshua, also takes part in Jesus story, as the Mad Dog constellation. He was the man in the graveyard possessed by the legion of demons. The Mad Dog illustrated the crazed Galli priests, who performed frenzied rituals during festivals. The story of Jesus healing the demon-possessed man reflects precisely the rituals of the Galli. The eunuch priests used loud music to treat psychological disorders (Roscoe 1996). They were equated with the Cabeiri type dancers who performed the same rituals. The growing public dislike for the Galli is also noted in Mark. After healing the crazy man, the locals tell Jesus to leave their region. The Mad Dog whom Jesus cured asked to follow Jesus. But, Jesus tells him to go home to his friends and tell how Jesus cured him. The Mad Dog became a Galli priest and his home was the Mad Dog constellation, just like Caleb. The Galli priests were the traveling preachers of savior theology, like the apostle Paul.

Some New Testament scholars have scratched their heads about the swine story, because the geography makes the swine running all the way from Gadara to the sea seem far-fetched. (Apparently, a legion of demon possessed swine does not defeat logic.) Probably the real reason for this tale happening in Gadara was because of Dionysus’ popularity in the Decapolis region. In a couple myths, Dionysus drives men mad and they fall into the ocean and turn into dolphins. The story matched star lore and popular myth, not the geography of Gadara.”

The star map below is borrowed from:
http://solaria-publications.com/map_2_full_reconstruction_of_the_babylonian_star-map

Note Mad Dog standing behind the Wild Boar, running towards the Abyss, in the lower left quadrant of the map:

You can read reviews of my book by copying and pasting the title in the Amazon search box, located on the right column of the Atheist Nexus: Sex Rites: The Origins of Christianity

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Tags: atheist, christian, pagan

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Comment by Diana Agorio on October 2, 2010 at 1:28am
Jo,
Sorry, I am in the mood to ramble on about mythology. I remember in my younger days, wondering why Bible stories were told in certain ways. The sequence of events didn't seem like a natural flow for a story. Perhaps that is why Bible stories have so often been interpreted as true, because they were stranger than fiction. But, once you start following the stories through the constellations, all the extraenous stuff in the stories makes sense. Those seemingly meaningless events occured in the story because the author was including as many of the constellations as possible.

Oddly, growing up in Alaska was an advantage for figuring out Biblical astrology. I read some of the Native Alaskan mythology when I was a kid, which were mostly star stories. We had such beautiful long winter nights and no light pollution where I lived. So, I really loved looking at the stars.
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 2, 2010 at 1:07am
Jo,
The New Testament mythology is not really obvious because it was really local to Palestine. You can sense it when you read Mark. But, you really need to get a handle some obscure Old Testament mythology and Phoenician mythology before the story pops out. And, without the astrology, it is difficult to make the connections with other myths and the rituals that went with the myths. But, once you figure a couple of the stories out, others start to make sense. One guy who read my book has gotten into trying to figure out other stories that I didn't cover in detail in the book. I only touched on Noah a bit in the book. But, he and I worked on Noah together and figured the complete path out. The Exodus story of Moses follows the same path as Jesus; but, I haven't written it all out in anything fit for others to read. Gilgamesh and other West Asian myths follow the same format of the storyline illustrated by constellations. Fortunately, some Greek myths were based on Phoenician originals; so, those stories were helpful too.
Comment by Jo Jerome on October 1, 2010 at 11:31pm
What's weird is that if asked today to directly relate a BCE myth to a New Testament one, I doubt I could find one off the top of my head that passes the test other than the usual Divine conception.

But at 9-ish, it was like the game, "Which of these things is not like the other." I would read Norse mythology, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, even a bit of Asian. Then go to Sunday School.

Answer: None of the above. All of these things are very like the other.
Comment by Diana Agorio on October 1, 2010 at 10:24pm
Jo,
It is obvious to you because you know mythology other than Christian mythology. For the average Christian, my description of Jesus in the stars is very weird. It was really fun getting down to the nitty gritty and following the whole book of Mark in the stars. It led to the book I am working on now (or should be working on), The Mark of Simon Magus. Beyond just being a star story, the gospel of Mark illustrates Simonian theology. There is also a 4th century really strange burial from Beth Shean that I suspect had something to do with the Simonians. The burial was of a 14 year old girl who apparently died in child birth. The archaeologists discovered that marijuana was burned on her belly, either when she was dying or when she was dead.
Comment by Jo Jerome on October 1, 2010 at 9:54pm
One "Gee, haven't we heard that before in some other religion?" down. Oh so many more to go.

As a kid growing up, just listening to other myths and even stories of the Greek Gods, I couldn't help but see a huge resemblance to many elements of the bible. One of the paradoxes that always gnawed at me was, "If the bible stories are real, wouldn't God have gone out of his way to make them unique and original?"

Seriously. 9 year old me wondered why God, being all-powerful, didn't intentionally plan out Jesus' life to look really, radically different from other god-hero myths, just so it wouldn't look so much like plagiarism.

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