Question: A problem about the Persian Mithra...


[Date: Dec/2005]


I recently had an exchange with an ex-Muslim, over some objection about Mithas. The exchange was a sweet and helpful one, and had several interchanges--

Hello, I just got done reading through some of your site and I really need your help.

Long story short, I was born a Christian, converted to Islam at 21 and practiced it devoutly for seven years. One year ago, I was saved by Jesus Christ and have never been happier or more at peace. I don't even remember feeling this peaceful and secure as a child in my parent's home.

Anyways, ever since I left Islam I feel as if things have been put in my path as stumbling blocks. The newest one is Mithraism. I just happened to run across it while searching online. Of course, I believe that the Roman Mithra borrowed many of its ideas from Christianity, because it was post-Christian. As far as the Persian Mithra, I am trying to figure it out. I was just on a web page, vetssweatshop.net, and it talked about Mithra in 2800 B.C. How this Mithra was the embodiment of Ahura-Mazda, and then goes on to say he was the mediator between heaven, earth, and a Holy Trinity.

As a former Muslim I already have enough questions thrown at me from my Muslim friends, so this thing about Mithra is driving me crazy. I am thinking that either, the devil put this in place in 2800 b.c. or that what was written about Mithra in 2800 b.c. was in cuneiform and so today's scholars are just assuming things. I would really, really, appreciate your help. Pleaseemail me back when you can.

In any case, please please put my mind at ease.


I replied:


I call Him the "Prince of Peace" for good reason too, my friend...

I just checked several of my scholarly references/textbooks on the Persian Mithra(s) and I don't see anything other than another polytheistic deity. The scholars don't raise any 'suggestive' issues like this. He was partner with another pre-Zoroaster deity, and when Zorro exalted Ahura Mazda to supreme being, the two of them got demoted. Mithras got assimilated to the sun god, and lost position in India to Indra, but NONE of the scholars mention ANYTHING 'flammable' like 'trinity', 'incarnation' etc-- So, without specific references from those troubling websites, you have no reason/warrant to believe their 'interpretation' of whatever data they assert that they have.

[Granted, a web search shows up a look of wild-ideas about this dude, but nothing in the technical references on that god seem to suggest anything 'juicy' like those web sites--!]

[btw, polytheism with 3 main gods is not a 'trinity'. Mithras MIGHT have gotten demoted further than the other two, which would have made him a mediator/intercessor--LIKE ALMOST ALL polytheistic gods are at one time or another...

So, be at peace, friend--and/but, if they get a SPECIFIC PASSAGE from source documents, somehow seemingly teaching something that REALLY bothers you and which you cannot answer YOURSELF, let me know... But general statements without specific data-texts are not worth taking seriously---you can ASK THE PERSON for the detailed data (with love in your heart), but do not 'jump to conclusions' WITHOUT strong textual data--- you are called to honesty and truth, and are not 'allowed' to accept their positions uncritically and without careful scrutiny ("examine all things--hold on to the good")

Does this make sense?

Warmly,

glenn


They replied back again:


Thank-you so much for putting my mind at ease. You are correct, this website didn't have any references for it's statements concerning Mithra. I don't know why I even gave this a thought, because my life has been so wonderful, almost like a miracle, ever since I returned to Christ. It is kind-of funny how these things keep happening. Just days after I left Islam, Mormon's and Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door. Thanks so much for having your website and even more so for responding so quickly! I wrote you and then went to pick up my son from school. I was so excited to see that you had responded. Thanks again. God bless,



I offered a final remark:


I have walked with this precious Lord for 35 years, friend, and have known His gentleness, constant acceptance and ever-needful forgiveness (smile),and yet, I STILL 'expect something to go wrong'--I still somehow expect this beautiful Heart and this liberating grace and this Delightful Father to not be real... It just CANNOT be true, surely--it is too good, too transforming,too amazing, too comforting, too supernatural-- and, then I realize that it is the world/my history/my own twistedness which has taught me to run from Him in fear, to doubt His open-hearted and clean-slated forgiveness... It has taught me that nothing is really 'free', like Jesus' free gift of His forgiving hugs and life-sharing smiles seem to be... It has taught me to distrust such goodness--that there is treachery or arrogance behind it somewhere--and that it is foolish to place my little hand in the Hand of such a shepherd.

Get used to such nonsense--the world, your 'old person', your history will argue that this brilliant explosion of love and peace 'just cannot be'...But, we BOTH know, that even in our wildest Polly-anna dreams and our most powerful 'wishful thinking', we could NEVER manufacture a peace like we NOW experience!

You will encounter a billion such groundless attacks, and they may grow more sophisticated and more 'scary' over the years, but the Peace-Maker whose'truth shall make you free' will be there to gently encourage you to 'relax, and trust the God of Truth' and to give HIM the benefit of the doubt "at least until the actual DATA comes in" (smile)

Dancing wildly in His freedom, acceptance, delight-in-truth, glenn



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