In response to James Becker’s Jan. 15 letter, “He let Jesus slip away”:
Those, like James, that go no farther than the Bible for their knowledge of mankind’s worldly beliefs need to know where they all came from, and their mythic pagan nature.
The Son of God, the Immaculate Conception, the virgin birth, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the atonement, the Eucharist, baptism, the Trinity: Every single one of these doctrinal beliefs existed long before James’ personal religion.
And, as for morality, The Golden Rule antedates Jesus by untold millennia, and even in Jesus’ time and place, Hillel the Elder and his school taught the same fine precepts: “Judge not thy neighbor until thou hast been in his place” or “Do not do unto others what thou wouldst not they should do unto thee.” And so taught Socrates and Plato, Buddha and Confucius before. And let’s add that no modern theology has taught higher and purer moral notions than those of the Greek Aeschylus and his school.
Given all that, the Christ writers had lots of material for their own God book and savior.