In the current context, the idea of a human beliefs is being used to suggest a mode of objective thinking, based wherever possible on empirical evidence, rather than the acceptance of some super-natural deity based on either unsupported scriptures, superstition or even simple falsehood. As such, this discussion will start by making reference to an earlier discussion of ‘theological belief’ that was part of a wider ‘worldview’ discussion for reasons that will be outlined below. However, before embarking on this discussion, it is possibly necessary to explain the premise of the ‘ human perspective’ .
If you reject the idea of miracles, unless supported by extraordinary empirical evidence, as yet absent, then almost all religious belief has to be questioned, at least, in terms of its many miraculous events. However, while this perspective might also question the ‘historical truth’ of almost all religious belief, it does not necessarily reject or attack the reasons as to why so many people believe in so many apparently different and contradictory religions. This said, from an agnostic position, all religious beliefs are open to critical questioning, which might then be rejected on the grounds of both scientific and historic evidence, while leaving the door open to the larger issue of whether there is purpose in the universe. However, this position does not pre-suppose that a purpose exists, simply that it cannot necessarily be proved or disproved at this stage.
Over the years since the first Mysearch review of theology, as cited above, many more people are publishing video material via YouTube, which may either support or challenge previous conclusions, although the proliferation of so many different views via this media has to be considered with care. For, today, we are possibly more conscious of the issue of ‘fake news’ and our susceptibility to simply accept information because it confirms an existing worldview - see confirmation bias . In this context, the return to this topic was triggered by a video entitled ‘Religion-The Shocking Truth’ that appear to suggest that many religions have a common history that might be linked to astrology and the mythology surrounding the constellations of the zodiac. At face-value, this video appears to forward a compelling story that the myths of the Egyptian sun-god ‘Horus’, as underpinned by the astrology of the zodiac constellations, has many parallels with later religions, e.g. Christianity. A subsequent search, then highlighted a similar video ‘Zeitgeist Part 1: The Greatest Story Ever Told’ that pretty much repeated the claims of the first video cited above, which might also be reviewed in textual form via the following linked website. Of course, the acceptance of these videos at face-value also raises a question:
Do they only appeal to a certain confirmation bias?
While this is entirely possible, the rest of this discussion is an attempt to conform to the basic principles adopted throughout the Mysearch website based on William Clifford’s essay entitled ‘The Ethics of Belief’, i.e. duty of inquiry, weight of authority and limits of inference. Therefore, in this spirit, it needs to be highlighted from the outset that many have questioned the accuracy of many of the claims in the previous videos, i.e. that religious beliefs can be traced back to astrological events linked to the zodiac, both in terms of mythology and as a foundation of astronomy. However, while also being open to the criticism of confirmation bias, the following four videos might provide another introduction of the scope of the discussion to follow for those who may be new to this debate.
- The Mythicist Position
- Osiris: Pagan Origins of Christianity
- Jesus is a myth
- Are the New Testament gospels history?
While the links above might appear particularly biased against Christianity, it is not the intent of this particular discussion as equal scepticism has previously been expressed about Judaism, Christianity and Islam on the grounds of miracles that cannot be supported by known science or events that cannot be empirically supported by history. However, the role of the astrological zodiac in earlier religious beliefs has not previously been considered and will therefore be the first issues reviewed in outline.