Rachelle and I watched an interesting documentary this week called Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus. I also met the makers of this documentary when they were in Vegas a couple weeks ago, and we had a delightful conversation about a variety of subjects, including the film.
Caesar’s Messiah explores the character of Jesus and whether he actually existed as a real person or if he was an invented literary figure. Instead of drowning in Church dogma, the goal of this documentary was to search for facts and genuine historical evidence of who Jesus really was.
I found the documentary quite fascinating. It presented a strong case that Jesus was an invented literary figure and that no such person actually existed. I’ve heard that theory before, and I already knew that Jesus was likely a composite character largely derived from similar characters. But what I liked about this documentary is that they also identified Jesus’ inventors as well as the reasons for inventing Jesus and Christianity.
Who Invented Jesus?
According to Caesar’s Messiah, the character of Jesus was invented by the Flavian dynasty for the purposes of pacifying and controlling the ornery Jews of that time, who wouldn’t worship the Roman Emperor and who were frequently engaging in military conflicts with the Romans. The Romans dealt with this problem by gaining control over the Jewish teachings, essentially replacing them with pro-Roman teachings (i.e. Christianity), which urged the Jews to stop fighting and to behave more submissively towards the Romans.
As Caesar’s Messiah explains, Christianity was invented by the Flavian dynasty as an attempt to solve a serious military and political problem they were having with the Jews during that time. Since they couldn’t convert the Jews to worship the Roman Emperor directly, and since the Jews were frequently getting into conflicts with the Romans due to ideological differences, the Romans basically forced the Jewish belief system to pivot in a more pro-Roman direction.
If you’ve read the Bible as I have, it should be fairly obvious that Jesus was a very pro-Roman character. He went around telling the Jews to pay their taxes (“Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”) and to behave submissively towards their enemies. Jesus taught the Jews to put down their swords and be pacifists, so the Romans could more easily dominate them. This was by design. It’s exactly how the Romans wanted the Jews to behave.
Of course the Jews weren’t stupid. They weren’t likely to swallow this nonsense wholesale from the Romans. So the Romans forced it upon them. The Romans gathered up conflicting Jewish texts and destroyed them, replacing them with pro-Roman Christian texts. The Romans also made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.
The Romans may have known that the Jews would resist swallowing this new religion, but all they needed for it to succeed in the long run was to provide a sufficient marketing effort combined with coercive force to get this religion passed on to the next generation, so it would become self-perpetuating and subdue the Jews for generations to come. The Romans were already in power, and this was a great way to strengthen their already dominant position.
I knew that the Romans were outstanding conquerors, but this really impressed me. Yes, it’s extremely devious, but it also proved incredibly effective. Why engage in destructive wars when you could dominate and integrate a group by reshaping their belief system?
Who Is Jesus?
It’s already well established that Christianity’s beliefs, symbols, rituals, and teachings are largely borrowed and derived from other sources, including paganism, Judaism, and Roman teachings. The theory that Jesus is a fictional composite character isn’t new either. But I really loved how deeply this documentary dove into the facts of the situation and provided answers to why this character was created, how he was created, and by whom.
So who is Jesus then?
Jesus is a made-up figure — yes — but he’s actually a representation of the Roman Emperor Titus Flavius. Caesar’s Messiah explains in detail that the stories from Jesus’ life are modified versions of parallel events from Titus’ life, occurring in the exact same time sequence. They list 40 such parallels in the documentary. If you have time to watch it, I think you’ll find this part especially eye-opening. It’s rather amusing too when you realize that people have been worshipping Titus Flavius in disguise for so many centuries.
Caesar’s Messiah also points out that the second coming of Jesus already happened. That prediction was by design as well.
When the Flavians wrote up the stories about Jesus, they set his existence to be decades earlier during the previous Roman dynasty. Then they included prophecies about what that character would do when he returned. Of course it’s easy to prophesize about the future accurately when that supposed future is actually in your past. The prophecies were written to match up with previous military campaigns of Titus Flavius, including his successful siege of Jerusalem. So predictions about the second coming of Jesus were written such that Titus Flavius would be clearly identified as the second coming of Jesus, just a few decades later.
Additionally, it was a common practice at the time to deify Roman emperors. The Romans officially declared that Titus’ father was a god, which made Titus the Son of God.
So the Jesus character — and Christianity itself — became an effective pro-Roman propaganda vehicle, designed to pacify the Jews and make them easier to dominate.
This approach proved so effective that it survives to this day in much the same guise. People still read about the character of Jesus, not realizing they’re actually reading Roman propaganda intended to get them to worship Titus Flavius in disguise.
Is the Bible the inspired word of God? Well, yes… if you believe that a Roman emperor is akin to a god. The Christian God is actually the Emperor of Rome, by design. God the Father is a Roman Emperor. So is God the Son.
I’ll bet that Titus would be pretty impressed to discover how well his family’s pacification efforts worked. I also imagine he’d be pretty proud to know that he’s still being worshipped as the Son of God today. That is some marvelously effective propaganda. It makes you wonder what of today’s propaganda may still be around centuries from now, with people believing it as true.
How did it work so well?
In the beginning force and coercion were used to get people to practice the religion and to pass it on to their children until it became self-replicating. I think a really effective part of this ideavirus was to include propagation aspects as part of the belief system, such as encouraging people to convert others and building a priesthood (controlled by Rome) into the religion. This is much like how a modern computer worm operates, whereby one computer infects another. You could say that the Romans basically used Christianity to build a botnet across people’s brains, one that was controlled by Rome. This botnet still survives and thrives today.
When people would start growing too ornery, the controllers could clamp down and alter the religion and its associated propaganda as needed to make it more dangerous to dissent. Some religions use this kind of violence today. It seems a little silly to me that Christians object to seeing other religions use violent coercion to keep their members in line when Christianity has a long history of doing this as well. Christianity doesn’t necessarily need to be as violent today since it’s done a pretty good job of allying itself with media, government, and business, so it has effective alliances with powerful partners. But violent coercion remains an option to keep people in line.
Religion still remains a very effective tool for convincing people to behave submissively, which makes it easier to dominate and govern them. A belief system that teaches people to be passive, submissive, docile, and generous is also helpful in creating a large pool of slave-like workers.
Thinking for Yourself
If these ideas interest you, I think you’ll find Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus to be an eye-opening and thought-provoking film. It will get you thinking more deeply about how social conditioning may have sculpted your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. And it will encourage you to question your overall philosophy of life.
I happen to like some aspects of Christian teachings, but as it turns out, those aspects are just restatements of common wisdom from the Romans. As for the parts that tell me I should be submissive and obedient and worship the Emperor as my god, I’ll pass.
I feel very lucky to live in a time and place where I have some freedom to think for myself and to decline religion as a part of my life, without the immediate threat of lashings or crucifixion. Usually the worst I must deal with is the occasional email from a member of some religious botnet trying to convert me. Christianity and Islam are the main ones that target me. To such botnets I’m an especially juicy target since I could potentially help to infect many more brains. It’s a little creepy knowing that these botnets are targeting me, but when they do so, they also risk picking up the ideavirus of living consciously and thinking for themselves.
Give some thought to what you’ve been taught by others that may now be woven into your current philosophy of life. Where did those ideas and beliefs come from anyway? Is it possible that you’ve been living by a moral code that was actually rooted in ancient propaganda? Is this how you want to live?
I’ll be the first to admit that walking away from the herd can be a bit scary at first. There’s the tendency to feel like you’re stepping into a void and that you’ll be all alone if you go that route. Of course that’s what the old conditioning teaches you to believe. Any effective system of keeping people in line trains you to fear and avoid what may happen if you abandon that system.
But the reality is that once you leave, you’ll soon meet plenty of other people who’ve moved on from such submissiveness and powerlessness.
This may surprise you, but I actually think that being submissive is a wonderful thing — if you do it consciously and deliberately. There are wonderful growth lessons to be learned from exploring such a path, which can also be labeled the path of devotion. So if you feel like being submissive for a while, embrace that path and do it to the best of your ability. If you’re going to subscribe to a religion, then don’t do a half-assed job of it. Really go for it and be one of its best adherents. If you’re going to get a corporate job, then be the best employee you can. Be loyal and obedient, complete your tasks, and please your superiors.
If you’re going to join a botnet, such as in the form of a modern religion or corporation, then be the best bot you can be. Know that you’re a slave, and be an outstanding one. Obey and worship your Emperor. Don’t succumb to denial by pretending you’re free when you clearly aren’t.
When you’re finally ready to move on from enslavement, then move on. Create your reality. Be your own Emperor. Be free.