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Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

#98: Aug. - Sept. 2011 (Non-Fiction)
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Robert Tulip

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Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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Horus, Sun of God

The opening section of the chapter Horus, Sun of God presents key ideas in astrotheology. It is essential to examine these ideas carefully in order to understand the overall thesis of Christ in Egypt.

It is well known that a central critique of paganism on the part of Christianity was the rejection of nature worship. So Murdock observes that Deuteronomy, one of the most influential Biblical documents, warns in verse 4.19 against worship of the sun, moon and stars, clearly indicating that such worship was widespread at the time. This Biblical injunction (which is actually highly fraudulent in its origins) is why Christians don’t like the claim that their doctrines are allegories for nature worship and find it impossible to discuss this topic without getting highly emotional.

Instead, the Abrahamic faiths contend that God is beyond the universe, and that the pantheist identification of God and nature, as advocated by leading modern scientists such as Einstein, Davies and Hawking, is heretical and wrong. The Abrahamic religions propound a transcendental metaphysics, with God as a mysterious personal entity who intervenes on our planet through supernatural miracles. Surprisingly, these ‘miracles’ never leave any verifiable trace. Of course, there is no evidence for this weird belief in miracles, for all its popularity, and it stands in flat opposition to science. In fact, miracles are purely imaginary and do not really occur. This is why atheists hold religion in contempt for promoting error.

So how did the ancient Egyptians view these questions? Murdock says they “developed a sophisticated system of worship and governance” over thousands of years that incorporated their perceptions of nature. She opens this chapter with a comment from ancient Greek writer Diodorus that the Egyptians regarded the sun and moon as gods and called the sun Osiris and the moon Isis. Egyptian “religious devotion revolved around celestial bodies and natural forces.” (p28)

The founder of archaeoastronomy, Sir Norman Lockyer (who as I have noted before founded and edited the journal Nature and discovered helium) is quoted as observing that natural cycles, especially of the sun and stars, determined ancient festivals. Murdock says this astronomical observation led to the astrotheology of the ancients, “as found abundantly in the Egyptian religion.” (p29)

It is worth reflecting on the relation of this material to logic and evidence. Moderns often see this language as implying some animist spirit in natural entities, imagining that the sun is alive, as an embarrassing primitive delusion. But such anthropomorphism reflects error in modern interpretation, assuming a simplistic psychology that insists any real divinity must have conscious intentions. It is worth considering the nature of the sun to explore if this ascription of intentionality to the sun is essential to Egyptian religion.

Why would people revere the sun? The fact is that the sun is the source of life. It contains 99.8% of the mass in the solar system, and our earth is the tiniest piece of cosmic flotsam by comparison. Jupiter is more than 300 times the mass of the earth, while the sun weighs as much as about 350,000 earths. Furthermore, if the solar system out to the orbit of Neptune was the size of a coin, the next star would be 100 yards away. The sun is very isolated in the galaxy. Our star is far and away the big palooka in our cosmic neighborhood. But this does not mean the sun has conscious intentions.

From the ancient geocentric perspective, the sun was observed to cause the seasons, which provide the cycle of life. So, as Lockyer observes, the solstices, where the movement of the rising point of the sun changes direction, were celebrated as major biannual festivals in Egypt. This chapter looks at how this observation of the sun influenced Egyptian ideas about Horus, and how these ideas became a precedent and model for Christian myths about Jesus as a symbol of the sun.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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This is one of those things that it still amazes people deny. "Horus was not a sun god, he was a sky god. The sun god was Amon-Ra".

No shit, of course Amon-Ra was A sun god, there were many Egyptian sun gods(Aten, Atum, Khepri, etc.), one of whom was Horus. Hell, James P. Allen even states that explicitly in the introduction to his translation of The Pyramid Texts. Or in the Book of the Earth, on one of the panels, it shows Horus as the sun itself, a sun disk with his head sticking out of the top. I could go on and on, but it's all laid out in this chapter of CIE as well, so I won't be redundant.
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Robert Tulip

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Re: Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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A theme in the discussion of Horus as the sun is the interpenetration of divine concepts, as gods swap their qualities. Our modern linear thought processes insist that a thing is what it is and is not something else. Such linear thought is conventionally applied to God and Jesus, with the argument that both are actual entities, despite the complete absence of evidence for this belief. Entering Egyptian thought, where gods are symbols for natural processes, produces a far more fluid way of thinking. Murdock calls it a complex “polytheistic monotheism.” (p57) She endorses Egyptologist James Allen’s suggestion that gods are “different aspects of a single divine force,” while maintaining the cosmos to be one.

Mythical thought, especially as considered across thousands of years in ancient Egypt, does not allow simple logic. The sun is variously matched to numerous Egyptian Gods. One of the Pyramid Texts states “I am Khepri in the morning, Re in the afternoon, Atum in the evening” (p53), identifying the sun with three different but interrelated Gods.

Budge comments that the sun has countless names, with some referring to after it has set, such as Osiris, “or in mythological language, has died and been buried. …Osiris might be said to be slain by his brother Set, the personification of Night, who, in his turn, was overthrown by Horus (the rising sun), the heir of Osiris.” (p53)

An Egyptian Coffin Text puts this beautifully: :”I will appear as Horus who ascends in gold from upon the lips of the horizon.” So Murdock comments “Horus at the dawn is so important as to make ‘all life possible’, much like Jesus, who is the source of eternal life.” James Allen says “the sun can be seen not only as the physical source of heat and light (Re) but also as the governing force of nature (Horus) whose appearance at dawn makes all life possible.” (p47)

It appears this law-giving regularity of the dawn gave rise to the idea of Horus as the power of kingship, representing rulership, while his father Osiris represented eternity. We see here the seed of the trinity, although the maternal virgin Isis who completed the Egyptian holy family was displaced by the Christian holy spirit, of rather uncertain gender.

These Egyptian concepts of God “were not set in stone but changed and mutated,” (p60) just as Christianity has over its long history. What seems the most plausible conclusion arising from this material is that Christianity itself was a mutation of Egyptian religion.

“This very same confounding was done by the creators of Christianity when they took over elements of the Egyptian religion and rolled them into one encompassing myth called the gospel story…. picking out various aspects of pre-Christian religions to ombine with Jewish scriptures in their creation of a cohesive Christian mythical tale that was set fallaciously into history and presented as a ‘true story’.” (p63)
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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I have never understood this, most claim that Horus mother was not a virgin what proof do we have that she was and what proof do we have the Horus was crucified? Just asking.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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^Wrong thread I think, Robert already started a thread on the virginity of Isis. I'll respond to your post there.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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Who are you?
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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Me.
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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These aspects of the sun at morning, noon, dusk, and night are certainly something to pay attention to and keep in mind as the book continues. Many apologists have sought to deny Horus as the sun, or even Horus as being born on the winter solistice. But in the upcoming chapters addressed to these ill-conceived apologetics everything starts becoming clearer and clearer...
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Re: Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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Thanks, Robert, for the great introduction to this important and fascinating subject.

The chapter in CIE on Horus as a sun god is some 35 pages long (pp. 28-63). In it, I provide commentary from a number of respected Egyptologists, as well as citations from primary sources. I also include several images demonstrating the general astrotheology of the Egyptians and the solar nature of Horus.

I have created a separate blog post specifically for this issue of Horus as a sun god:

http://freethoughtnation.com/contributi ... he-sun-god

There you will find numerous quotes that prove the point, with the pertinent parts highlighted in bold, since there seems to be so much confusion about this issue. In a nutshell, Horus is a sun god or an aspect/epithet of the sun god. Horus the Child is the morning sun, having been born of the "virginal" dawn. He is born every day of the year, including the winter solstice. At noon, he becomes Ra, who at sunset becomes Atum, who becomes Osiris at night and then Horus at dawn. It is said that Ra is "fused" with these gods as he journeys through the day and night. This "fusion" or syncretism is also quite common within Egyptian mythology, I point I make several times in CIE.

Here's a list of the sections in this chapter, "Horus, Sun of God":

The Loving, Immortal Father-Mother Sun
The Deceased as Osiris
Of Mysteries and Myths
Who is Horus?
The Many Horuses
The Horus-King: "Son of the Sun"
Priest as Horus
"Amen-Ra-Osiris-Horus"
Polytheistic Monotheism/Monism
A Fluid Faith
The Moon and Morning Star
Horus is Osiris Reborn

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Re: Christ in Egypt: Horus, Sun of God

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DM Murdock wrote:In a nutshell, Horus is a sun god or an aspect/epithet of the sun god. Horus the Child is the morning sun, having been born of the "virginal" dawn. He is born every day of the year, including the winter solstice. At noon, he becomes Ra, who at sunset becomes Atum, who becomes Osiris at night and then Horus at dawn. It is said that Ra is "fused" with these gods as he journeys through the day and night.
Good points. We have the sun, as Horus, and the virgin dawn as Isis. She is "The Great Virgin" only in the sense that what she is meant to represent is the virgin dawn which gives birth to the sun each morning, perpetually, and yet retains the title of "virgin." The most important morning when the virgin dawn gives rise to the sun, directly following a procession of constellations the following evening with "Virgo" rising after midnight, is the morning after the three day solstice when the sun appears one degree to the north marking the way towards organic growth and warmer weather ahead. We have a primitive virgin born sun-god "born about the winter solstice." To argue that Horus was not the morning sun, or that Isis was not regarded as "The Great Virgin" who gives birth to the sun without surrendering her title as "Virgin", is a dead end path. This has nothing to do with sexual conception and everything to do with an allegory about the astronomer priests observing the annual solar cycle.
Last edited by tat tvam asi on Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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