Christmas is almost here, and children across the country are celebrating the spirit this season represents: a naked, shameless desire for more Pokémon products. Of course, there is more than that to Christmas. It is also a memorial to the birth of the season's central figure. That figure, of course, is Santa Claus.
Most children are unaware that Christmas has anything to do with Christ. To some adults, the emphasis on Santa over Jesus during the holiday season borders upon blasphemy. To others, it is a good thing, since Xmas is merely a Christian bastardization of pagan festivals that celebrated the winter solstice. In either case, it's clear that the "Santa vs. Jesus" battle represents a victory of fantasy over real history.
There is a delicious irony here. After all, Santa Claus (or Saint Nicholas) was a real life person from the fourth century. Though little is known about him, it is doubtful he was a tubby, white-haired, red-suited man who gave gifts. More likely, according to many scholars, he was a petty bureaucrat who played a central role in establishing the dogmatic Roman Catholic structure, and was rewarded with an elaborate PR campaign. Still, though Santa's image-making sales machine rivals that of George W. Bush, at least there was some man behind the swindle.
The same thing can not be said about Jesus. Or so claims Acharya S, an archaeologist, historian, mythologist, and linguist. She reveals why on her Web site The Truth Be Known and her startling new book The Christ Conspiracy (an ideal stocking stuffer for the last-minute holiday shoppers out there).
According to Acharya, the entire Jesus story is a bogus tale, created and manufactured to update the ancient mythic traditions. The Jesus tale was a tool used to centralize and concentrate power in an inhuman and repressive authoritarian structure which has plagued humanity ever since.
The JFK assassination is chump change compared to what The Christ Conspiracy targets: the Mr. Big of Western Civilization, Jesus himself. Billions of people have slavishly devoted lives to him the last two millennia. If what we are told about him is false, this would be the greatest fraud of all. Acharya takes the task of Christ-debunking to its logical extreme.
"The Christ of the gospels is in no sense an historical personage or a supreme model of humanity, a hero who strove, and suffered, and failed to save the world by his death," she boldly declares. "It is impossible to establish the existence of an historical character even as an impostor."
For her stunning allegations, Acharya has gathered a mountain of evidence that would shake even the most devoted Jesus-lovers. Most impressive is her comparison of the Jesus tale to that of earlier savior-gods Krishna and Horus (as well as Mithras, Hercules and Dionysus, among others.) Here's a list of some facts on Horus alone:
He was born of a virgin on December 25th. His birth was announced by an eastern star and visited by three wise men. He was a child teacher at 12 and was baptized at 30 after disappearing for 18 years (with the priest who baptized him later decapitated). He had 12 disciples. He performed miracles, walked on water, exorcised demons and raised El-Azarus from the dead. He was crucified between two thieves, buried three days in a tomb, and then resurrected. He was given the titles "Messiah," "Son of Man," the "Good Shepherd," and "Lamb of God." Oh yeah, he was also called the "Anointed One," spelled out as "KRST."
Neither Horus nor any other Christ-like mythical icons are taken by modern scholars to be anything more than elaborate fairy tales. So why is the story of Christ given any validity at all?
Good question. The truth is, any "evidence" to back up the claim Jesus existed is meager at best and could easily have been forged. Obviously, Acharya can't prove 100 percent that he never existed, but she does show that if he did, some incredible explanations are certainly necessary.
For her attack on the central belief of Christian theology -- or, more precisely, the central belief system of Western civilization -- she has earned many fans. (Being a foxy babe certainly hasn't hurt, either.) No less than underground press hero Adam Parfrey, author of Apocalypse Culture and Cult Rapture (and publisher of numerous subversive books via Feral House) has declared that The Christ Conspiracy may well be the most dangerous and important book of our time.
Of course, when you buck the conventional wisdom, you become a lightning rod. As popular as Acharya is in the conspiracy subculture, she is also hated for her work. The attack is twofold: from Christian conspiracists who are obviously not thrilled with her central thesis; and from conspiracists who embrace the alternative para-history Jesus theory which declares that Jesus faked his death and created a secret royal bloodline.
The merits of her theories can be debated. Her critics, however, rarely focus on how Acharya is wrong intellectually, but instead detail how she is morally suspect. Certainly Acharya is not an objective source on the subject, since she has a disgust for the Christian religion that may slightly cloud her perspective. What seems to be beyond debate is that she has made a strong case that hopefully will not be ignored. The Christ Conspiracy is not the first book in history to proclaim that Jesus was a made-up character, but it is the most persuasive, in terms of evidence, passion, and literary style. Acharya is to the Christ-myth what Erich Von Däniken was to the ancient astronaut, and don't be surprised if Christ Conspiracy Fever starts sweeping the nation like Chariots of the Gods? did 30 years ago
Robert Sterling is the editor of The Konformist (www.konformist.com), the Internet magazine dedicated to rebellion, konspiracy, & subversion. He is expecting coal in his stocking.