It is rare that I encounter other bloggers sharing my perception of our Sun as a celestial being – a conscious entity. So it was great to be reading Michael Fenemore’s knowledgeable account of the Sun-worshipping foundations of Christianity. I got the impression of someone coming to similar conclusions as myself though from a very different route. But when I came to his final sentence I would have spluttered out anything in my mouth at the time. (“Yes, Christians enthusiastically sing, “Shine, Jesus, shine . . . Shine on me,” blissfully unaware they have been duped into worshipping the sun.”)
It began, encouragingly, like this:
Although Christians generally consider such veneration paganism, it’s evident even Christianity is rooted in pagan mythology and sun worship.
The sun takes preeminence over the apparently tiny stars of the Zodiac, a large region of the night sky ancient astronomers divided into 12 constellations or “signs.”
In Genesis, Jacob, the patriarch of Israel, plainly refers to himself and his 12 sons as the “sun” and “stars.” (See ch. 35:22b; 37:9-10, NRSV throughout.)
There is, in fact, a lot of paganism in Israel’s history. However, since most readers of this column are probably more familiar with the New Testament (NT), let us skip forward a few centuries. The sun sustains all life. In the NT, Jesus is a “great light” and the only “true light” able to provide the “light of life” (Matt. 4:16; John 1:6-9; 8:12). (See also, John 10:28; Acts 4:12.) The sun lights up the world, followed nightly by 12 star signs. In the NT, Jesus is the “light of the world” followed by twelve disciples (John 8:12).
Most modern Christians know virtually nothing about astrology. Consequently, they fail to recognize its symbols in scripture. In former times, however, Christians were aware of the Bible’s astrological connections and embraced them.
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This review from Paul Bazeley is not untypical:
“This is a wonderful book. Not new agey or flakey at all. It presents its arguments with real scientific and philosophical rigour. I have to say that I was so sceptical when I read the blurb that I felt it would be a tall order to convince me of its central premise. But by the end, I felt that a lot of things were possible in the Universe that I hadn’t considered before. I liked it’s subversive and lateral thinking and also it’s humorous cheekiness. It really makes you look at the world slightly differently, and I think that, whether you agree with his conclusions or not, that is always a good thing.”
I must have sent variations on this letter to the New Scientist five times or more since my book, Sun of gOd, was published. Sure, they might tag me as a nutcase but I saw that as a risk worth taking, and being tagged nutcase has never stopped me in the past.
An article in New Scientist on atheism as a faith, related only to the Abrahamic alternatives, moved me to write them once again. Whoop whoop – after major cutting, they published my letter last week as the Editor’s Pick! I earnestly hope it will plant the seed of stellar consciousness in a few scientific minds.
My long-winded original is underneath. New Scientist did a brilliant edit, but I like to think the redacted content is what finally cut through their built-in rejection reflex. Perseverance furthers.
The Original – Dear New Scientist,
Someone from another planet reading “Faith of the Faithless” (15th April) might easily think the three Abrahamic religions and atheism are the only belief systems on the planet. Buddhists and Taoists do well without any creator god while Hindus can attribute spirit to just about anything. Zoroastrians revere light and its emissaries, Sun and fire. Shinto worship a female Sun goddess.
The most worshiped deity in human history, and one that even atheists can recognise is entirely omitted from the article. Our local star actually IS the light of our life and it is NOT a delusion. The more that cosmologists study Sun and other stars the harder it becomes to explain their behaviour as random balls of plasma entirely directed by the laws of physics. How to explain Sun’s corona or the “magnetic portal” connecting it to Earth, discovered by NASA in 2008? How to explain the movement of stars in a galaxy?
As Carl Sagan put it, “Our ancestors worshiped the Sun, and they were far from foolish…. If we must worship a power greater than ourselves, does it not make sense to revere the Sun and stars?” It was not science that burned all thought of a living Sun from our culture but the Church, and scientists maintain this religious taboo out of habit, not the scientific method. When science lets go of that old Christian imprint perhaps we will, mercifully, be able to consign dark matter to the same dustbin as the luminiferous ether.
I was indulging in some late afternoon Sun-gazing a while ago and shot this two minute tribute on my iPhone. My friend James Light then did some stellar work with the imagery and it’s turned out very well.