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The God-Idea of the Ancients or Sex in Religion by Eliza Burt Gamble

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belief and the ceremonies connected with "sacred" worship, during
certain periods of the world's history, have assumed a
grotesqueness in design unsurpassed by the most fanciful fairy
tales which the imagination has ever been able to create, at the
same time that they have portrayed a depth of sensual degradation
capable of being reached only by that order of creation which
alone has been able to develop a religion.



In Egypt, the cross when unaccompanied by any other symbol
signified simply creative energy both female and male, but
whenever a distinctively female emblem was present it denoted the
male power alone. The Ibis, which is represented with human
hands and feet, bears the staff of Isis in one hand and the cross
in the other. There is scarcely an obelisk or monument in Egypt
upon which this figure does not appear. The symbol or monogram
of Venus was a circle and a cross, that of Saturn was a cross and
a ram's horn.

Plato declared that the son of God was expressed upon the
universe in the form of the letter X, and that the second power
of the supreme God was figured on the universe in the shape of a

There is little doubt that the early Christians understood full
well the true meaning of the cross, and that it was no new
device. In later ages, however, every monument of antiquity
marked with this symbol was claimed by the Church and by it
believed to be of Christian origin.

It is related that when the temple of Serapis at Alexandria was
overthrown by one of the Christian Emperors, beneath its
foundation was discovered the monogram of Christ. The Christians
made use of this circumstance to prove the divine origin of their
religion, "thereby making many converts." The Pagans, on the
contrary, were of the opinion that "it should forever silence the
claim put forward by the devotees of Christianity." It is
plain, however, that the Christians had the better of the
argument for "the cross being uneasy under the weight of the
temple overthrew it."

On the coins of Decius, the great persecutor of the Christians,
is to be observed the monogram of Christ which is also the
monogram of Osiris and Jupiter Ammon. On a medal proved to be
Phoenician appear the cross, the rosary, and the lamb. There is
another form of the same monogram which signifies DCVIII. These
devices although in use hundreds of years prior to the Christian
era are all said to be monograms of Christ. At the present time
they may be seen in almost every church in Italy.

In the cave of Elephanta, in India, appears the cross in
connection with the figure which represents male reproductive
power. Inman relates that a cross with a rosary attached has
been found in use among the religious emblems of the Japanese
Buddhists and the lamas of Thibet, and that in one of the
frescoes of Pompeii, published at Paris, 1840, is to be seen,
vol. v., plate 28, the representation of a phallic cross in
connection with two small figures of Hermes.[170]

[170] Inman, Ancient Faiths Embodied in Ancient Names, vol. i.,
p. 408.

The Rev. Mr. Maurice adds his testimony to that of other
investigators to show the universality of this emblem. He says
that the principal pagodas in India, viz., those of Bernares and
Mathura, are built in the form of a cross.

In the museum of the London University is a mummy upon whose
breast is a cross "exactly in the shape of a cross upon Calvary."

The true significance of this emblem, and the reason for its
adoration are not, at the present time, difficult to understand;
but whence comes the symbol of a dead man on a cross, and what is
its true meaning?

Perhaps there is no problem connected with ancient symbolism, or
with mythical religion, which is more difficult to solve, than is
the representation of a dying Savior on a cross. It is stated by
those who have investigated this subject, that although the sun,
or the fructifying power within it, was adored by all the
historic nations, no hint of a cross is to be found amongst the
most ancient Nature worshippers. We must then look for a
solution of this problem to those ages in which the higher truths
of an older race were partially forgotten, and to a time when
phallic worship had supplanted the adoration of Light or Wisdom.
The cross doubtless came into use as a religious emblem at a time
when the sexes in union began to stand for the god-idea, the
lower end of the upright shaft being transfixed to the horizontal

As soon as the male energy became god, the cross gradually grew
into the figure of a man with arms extended. It became the
original "life giver," it was Adam, the creator of the race.
Doubtless for ages Adam represented the god-man-phallus-Tree of
Life, or cross idea. He was the progenitor of the race. From
this same idea sprang ancestor worship, or the deification of the
past vital spark. The adoration paid to the Lares and Penates,
the household gods of the Romans, on the first of May, is an
example of this worship, as is also the homage paid by the
Chinese to their progenitors.

Of religious emblems R. P. Knight says that one of the most
remarkable among them is a cross in the form of the letter T
which was used as an emblem of creation and generation before the
church adopted it as a sign of salvation. To this representation
of male reproductive power "was sometimes added a human head,
which gives it the appearance of a crucifix, as it has on the
medal of Cyzicus."

Originally the figure of a dead man on a cross typified creation
and destruction or the operations of the creative forces in
Nature. Everything dies only to live again. Although man dies,
and although the individual man becomes but a dead branch on the
tree of life, still the tree lives. Through the cross- phallus
idea, or through man's power to create, existence on the earth
continues. Although the sun dies in winter, in spring it revives
again to quicken and enliven Nature and make all things new.

There is much evidence to show that a dying figure on a cross was
no new conception at the advent of Christianity. Crishna, whose
history as we have seen is almost identical with that of Christ,
and Ballaji, from whom the thorn-crowned figures of Jesus have
doubtless been copied, are illustrations of this mythical figure
of a crucified savior in India.

It seems altogether probable from the facts at hand that the
Romans worshipped a cross with a dying figure of a man upon it.
Minucius Felix, a Christian father, in defense of his religion,
has the following passage:

"You certainly, who worship wooden gods, are the most likely
people to adore wooden crosses, as being parts with the same
substance as your deities. For what else are your ensigns,
flags, and standards but crosses gilt and purified? Your
victorious trophies not only represent a simple cross, but a
cross with a man upon it. When a pure worshipper adores the true
God with hands extended, he makes the figure of a cross. Thus
you see that the sign of the cross has either some foundation in
Nature, or in your own religion, and therefore not to be objected
against Christians."

Higgins says that it is proved as completely as it is possible to
prove a fact of this kind that the Romans had a crucified object
of adoration, and that this could be no other than an incarnation
of the God Sol, represented in some way to have been crucified.

An ancient medal found in Cyprus has upon one of its sides the
figure of a crucified man with the chaplet or rosary, the same as
those now in use by Romanists. From the style of workmanship it
is thought that this medal must have been anterior to the
Macedonian conquest.

There is little doubt that the early fathers and the bishops in
the Christian church recognized in the cross the ancient emblem
of fertility, but as the idea of a spiritual life had begun to
take root, it was deemed proper to conceal its real significance;
hence from a symbol representing the continuity of existence on
the earth the cross now prefigured eternal life or existence
after death. Henceforward although man was dead in
transgressions, through the cross, or through the crucified
Christ, he received eternal life.

That the original signification of this symbol was understood by
early Christians is apparent from the fact that the Emperor
Theodosius, between the years 378 and 395, issued a decree
prohibiting the sign of the cross being sculptured or painted on
the pavements of churches. Tertullian also, after declaring that
the devil made the sign of the cross on the foreheads of the
followers of the Persian Mithra, accused the Christians of
adoring the same emblem.

In 280, A. C. Porphyry, referring to crosses, asked why
theologists give passions to the gods, erect Phalli and use
shameful language; to which the Christian Iamblichus in the year
336 replied: "Because Phalli and crosses are signs of productive
energy, and provocative to a continuance of the world."

It was not until the second century, or until after the days of
Justin Martyr, that the instrument upon which Jesus was executed
was called a cross. But whatever may have been its form, as soon
as the myths of former religious worship began to attach
themselves to his history, he became the symbolical dead man on a
cross, the original sacrifice to Mahadeva. He portrayed the same
idea as did Crishna, Ballaji, the dying Osiris, and all the other
sun-gods. He, like each of these, represented a new sun at the
beginning of a new cycle. He was a risen savior, and to him were
finally transferred all the festivals, seasons, symbols, and
monograms of former solar deities. That the figure of a dead man
on a cross was a familiar emblem throughout Asia and various
portions of Europe, and that numberless crucified
gods--incarnations of the sun--have been worshipped throughout
the East, is a fact which it has been the aim of the initiated
among the Christian clergy to conceal, but one which no one who
has examined the evidence with a mind free from prejudice
attempts to deny.

In Italy, on many of the earlier pictures of Christ, may be
observed the words Deo Soli, which inscription signifies either
"to the only God," or "to the God Sol."

Of the various so-called Christian antiquities which cover the
walls of the Vatican, we are assured by those who have acquainted
themselves with the signification of pagan symbolism that "they
have no more reference to Christianity than they have to the
Emperor of China." The same may be said with reference to the
representations on the walls of the Catacombs.

Crishna, who was the equinoctial sun in Aries, appeared 2160
years after the first Buddha, who was the equinoctial sun in
Taurus. According to Plutarch they were both modern gods when
compared with the deities which gave names to the planets.
Buddha, or the sun in Taurus, was worshipped in the form of a
bull. Crishna, or the sun in Aries, was adored under the figure
of a ram with a man's head. The true significance of these
figures was the fructifying sun or reproductive energy as
manifested in animal life, and this meaning to those who
worshipped them was identical with the carved figures on the
caves of India, the Lares and Penates of the Romans, and the
stone pillars or crosses in the market-places and at the
intersection of roads in Brittany.

Eusebius says that at Elephanta they adored a Deity in the figure
of a man in a sitting posture painted blue, having the head of a
ram with the horns of a goat encircling a disk. The Deity thus
described is said to be of astronomical origin, denoting the
power of the sun in Aries.

This figure, which was one of the representations of the sun-god
Crishna, was worshipped both in India and in Egypt. In various
of the manifestations of this Deity he appears in the act of
killing a serpent. He was the dead man on a cross and also the
sun, which although continually dying is constantly being revived
again. Various incarnations of this God have appeared as
crucified saviors.

Of the avatar of Crishna known as Ballaji or Baal-Jah little is
positively known. Indeed there seems to be some impenetrable
mystery surrounding this figure, which makes it impossible for
scholars to absolutely prove that which by means of the evidence
at hand amounts almost to a certainty.

A print by Moore of this god represents him in the shape of a
Romish crucifix, but although there is a nail hole in his foot he
is not transfixed to a wooden cross. Instead of a crown of
thorns a Parthian coronet encircles his head. As all the avatars
of Crishna are represented with coronets, this fact has caused
several writers to observe that the effigies of Ballaji have
furnished the copies for the thorn-crowned Jesus. Through the
ignorance of the early Christians who in the second century
adopted the religion of Crishna, the true significance of this
coronet was not understood, hence the thorns upon the head of
Christ. In referring to the effigy of a crucified savior found
in Ireland the author of The Round Towers says that it was not
intended for our Savior for the reason that it wore the Iranian
regal crown, instead of the Jewish crown of thorns.[171]

[171] The Round Towers of Ireland, p. 298.

Regarding this effigy, Higgins remarks that the crucified body
without the cross reminds one that "some of the ancient sects of
heretics held Jesus to have been crucified in the clouds."

Moore, who has produced several prints of Ballaji, says he is
unable to account for the pierced foot of a crucified figure in
India. He endeavors to prove, however, that this crucifix cannot
be Hindoo "because there are duplicates of it from the same
model." As the mould is made of clay, he contends that only one
cast may be made from it. This argument falls to the ground,
however, so soon as it is found that duplicates, or copies of
these brass idols which may not be distinguished from the
originals, are seen in the museum at the India House, and also in
that of the Asiatic Society.

The admission of Moore that "great influence was brought to bear
upon him to induce him not to publish the prints of Ballaji for
fear of giving offense," serves as a hint in determining the
cause for the lack of information respecting this god.

It is believed that, were the development of truth upon this
subject rather than its concealment the object of Christian
missionaries, the temples of Ballaji would have furnished more
important information to the Christian world than would those of
any other of the Hindoo gods; but while numberless pilgrimages
have been made to Juggernaut and other shrines devoid of interest
to the student, we have heard little concerning the shrines of
this deity, although at the time Moore wrote, Terputty was in the
possession of the English who made a profit of L15,000 a year
from the temple.

On the Brechin Tower in Ireland are two arches one within the
other in relief. At the top of the arch is a crucifix, and about
midway from top to bottom on either side are two figures which,
according to Romanist Christians, represent the Virgin Mary and
St. John. At the bottom of the outer arch are two couchant
beasts, the one an elephant and the other a bull. The figure on
the cross has a Parthian coronet. The appearance of a crucifix
on the towers of Britain and Ireland has in the past led many
writers to ascribe to these singular structures a Christian
origin. To the critical observer, however, the first question
which presents itself is whence comes the elephant--an animal not
found within these countries?--and again why should these beasts
have been placed here as Christian emblems? The facts in the case
as revealed by unprejudiced investigators are, that the towers in
Ireland are not Christian monuments, and that the crucifix found
on them is not that of Christ but of Ballaji, or of some one of
the avatars of Crishna.

The fact that the figure of Crishna as a crucified god was found
in the ruins of a temple at Thebes in Egypt, is sufficient to
prove his antiquity; still, as we have seen, he represents the
god-idea at a much later date than did Buddha. Regarding the
evidence furnished by the Rev. Mr. Maurice of the ten avatars of
the Indian sun-god, Higgins observes:

"The only fact worthy of notice here is, that Buddha was
universally allowed to be the first of the incarnations; that
Crishna was of later date; that, at the era of the birth of
Christ, eight of them had appeared on the earth, and that the
other two were expected to follow before the end of the Caliyug,
or of the present age."

With reference to the fact that the Hindoo God originally
represented Wisdom or the Logos, the same writer says:

"Then here is DIVINE WISDOM incarnate, of whom the Bull of the
Zodiac was the emblem. HERE he is the Protagonos, or first
begotten, the God or Goddess Mhtis of the Greeks, being, perhaps,
both male and female. Buddha, or the wise, if the word were not
merely the name of a doctrine, seems to have been an appellation
taken by several persons, or one person incarnate at several
periods, and from this circumstance much confusion has

[172] Anacalypsis, book v., p. 201.

Concerning the religion of an ancient race the following facts
have been ascertained, namely:

The first of the Buddhas or Incarnations of the Deity was
Minerva, and her mother, who was the sun, was the mother of all
the Buddhas. She was Mhtis, Mubt or Mai, "the universal genius
of Nature, who discriminated all things according to their
various kinds of species."

In the earliest ages she comprehended not only matter but the
moving force in the universe. She was the Deity which by a very
ancient race was represented by the mother idea--Perceptive
Wisdom. She was the sun and the first emanation from the sun.
She was the Divine Word, the Logos, the Holy Ghost which in the
time of Christ was again by various sects recognized as female.
The allegory of the Greeks concerning Jupiter taking Mhtis
(Wisdom) to wife and from this union with her producing Minerva
from his head, is seen to be closely connected with the doctrine
of Buddha (Wisdom) or of the Rasit of Genesis. According to
Faber, the import of the Greek word Nous and of the Sanscrit Menu
is precisely the same: each denotes mind or intelligence, and to
the latter of them the Latin Mens is nearly allied. "Mens, Menu,
and perhaps our English mind are fundamentally one and the same
word." All these terms in an earlier age meant Buddha, Wisdom,
or Minerva.

Later, with the worship of the sun in Aries, appeared a crucified
savior. During the earlier ages of Crishnaism, the ideas
typified by a dying savior were still those pertaining to the
processes of Nature. Matter was still believed to be
indestructible and seeming death but a preparation for renewed
life, or for birth into another state of existence Subsequently
this dying sun-god, which disappeared in winter only to return
again to re-animate Nature, became a veritable man--a man on a
cross who must be sacrificed to Mahadeva in order that humanity
might be saved. Here we have the origin of the doctrine of a
Vicarious Atonement. Later, under the system called
Christianity, woman, who had previously become identified with
the evil principle, became the Tempter. She was the cause of sin
in the world and wholly responsible for the evil results arising
from desire. Indeed, according to the doctrines annunciated by
the Christian Church, had woman, who was an after thought of the
Almighty, never been created, man would have lived forever in a
state of purity and bliss, free alike from the toils, pains, and
temptations of life, and from the crafts and assaults of the

Through the over-stimulation of the animal instincts man had
become wholly unable to overcome the evil in his constitution,
hence the adoption of the doctrine of Original Sin and the
necessity for an Atonement, or for a crucified savior, who would
take upon himself the sins of poor, weak human nature. By simply
believing on this crucified redeemer, man would be saved, not
from sin itself, but from the penalty of sin. To bolster up the
belief in original sin and the necessity for an atonement, the
allegory of the fruit tree and the serpent in Genesis was taken

The more the religion of the past is studied the more plainly
will the fact appear, that not only have the ceremonies, symbols,
festivals, and seasons adopted by Christianity been copied from
India and Persia, but also that all the leading doctrines of the
so-called Christian Church originated in those countries. The
belief in a Trinity, the Incarnation of the Deity, a Crucified
Savior, Original Sin and a Vicarious Atonement, the last three
having been elaborated after the ancient natural truths
underlying sun worship had been forgotten, are all to be found in
the East.

The doctrine of a Trinity is supposed to have been received
directly from the Platonists, who had learned it from the
Persians; while that of a Crucified Savior, and also that of the
seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head, belong, as we have
seen, to the religion of Crishna.

Concerning Original Sin, which is the foundation of the doctrine
of the "Atonement," it is plain that it was not known to the
earlier followers of Christ, but that it was subsequently copied
from the corrupted religion of the Hindoos.

The symbolical meaning of the serpent and the Tree of Life was
doubtless understood by the earliest adherents to the Christian
faith; it is not surprising, therefore, that by them there is no
mention of the doctrine of Original Sin. Their theory to account
for evil in the world was the same as that of an ancient and
almost forgotten race. The belief that the soul of man is a
spark from, or a part of the universal soul, that at the death of
the body it returns to its source, and in process of time appears
as the animating principle in other bodies, was believed by
Pythagoras, Aspasia, Socrates, and Plato and, in fact, for
thousands of years it was entertained by the best and wisest of
the human race. It was a part of the early Christian doctrine
and is still believed by the followers of Buddha and by the
Theosophists of Europe and America.

Doubtless the doctrines of Re-incarnation and Karma were set
forth by those very ancient philosophers who were the near
descendants of the inventors of the Neros and the Metonic
cycle--those who believed in the indestructibility of matter, and
that spirit proceeds from or is evolved through it. It was an
effort on their part to solve the problem of the existence of
evil, and was far more satisfactory to the reasoning mind than
was the literal translation of the story of the woman, the
forbidden apple, and the talking serpent in Genesis.

Original sin of which woman is said to be the cause, and the
necessity for a spiritual (male) savior to deliver man from the
wretchedness which she had produced, are doctrines which took
their rise in the grossest ignorance, and in an entire
misconception of the natural truths which had previously been set
forth by the figure of a dying sun-god. Original Sin and a
Vicarious Atonement--doctrines by means of which man has
attempted to evade moral responsibility and the legitimate
results of evil-doing--have, by weakening his moral sense, and by
shifting the responsibility of his deeds upon another, resulted
in greatly lowering the standard of human conduct.

Science teaches that the penalty for sin is inherent in it, and
that virtue is its own reward; the so-called Christian doctrines
assert that although a man's sins be as scarlet, they may, simply
through a certain belief, become white as wool. It has been
claimed that a belief in original sin caused all the human
sacrifices in ancient times and that it "converted the Jews into
a nation of cannibals."

That the system which has borne the name of Christianity is an
outgrowth of Sun, Serpent, and Phallic faiths is so plainly
proven by the facts brought out by later research as no longer to
be a matter of reasonable doubt to those who have given any
considerable degree of attention to this subject. The more
exalted ideas which from the time of Zoroaster to that of Jesus
had been struggling for existence, and which through various
means had been gradually gaining a foothold, were, by the influx
of Crishnaism, soon choked out, and mythical Christianity, which
was but a gathering in of the grosser forms of the prevailing
Hindoo faith, mounted the throne of the Roman Empire.

During the nineteen hundred years that have elapsed since the
inauguration of this system, little has been understood
concerning the real philosophy of Christ--a philosophy which is
seen to be simply a recognition of those higher scientific truths
enunciated by an ancient race.

The fact is observed in these later times that the altruistic
principles involved in these teachings contain the highest
wisdom--that they form the basis of a true social science, and
that a high stage of civilization will never be reached until
these principles are recognized as the foundation of human
conduct Unselfishness, purity of life, and the brotherhood of man
will never be realized so long as man shifts the responsibility
of his wrong-doing upon another.

Quite recently the fact has been proved that the progressive
principle originated in the female constitution; that in
sympathy, a character which has its root in maternal affection,
lies the key to human progress. Conscience and the moral sense
are outgrowths of sympathy; therefore, that which distinguishes
man from the lower orders of life originated in and has been
developed through the female organization.

When these plain scientific truths, which are so simple as
scarcely to need demonstration, become popularized, doubtless our
present god-idea will undergo a process of reconstruction, and
the later development will probably involve conceptions more in
keeping with science and human reason. Surely a scientific age
will tolerate no religious conception whose principles are not
founded on truth. The worship of a male god as the sole creator
and sustainer of the universe is as unphilosophical as it is
unreasonable and unscientific.

As in many ways at the present time, mankind seems inclined to
retrace its steps, and as upon its onward march humanity is
beginning to manifest a willingness to return to truer and more
primitive methods of thought and action, it is not impossible
that in the not distant future, Perceptive Wisdom and the
altruistic principles, together with the power to give life, may
again be divinely enthroned in the place so long usurped by
physical force and virile might.

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