Inhumanity to Man
Interview with Acharya S
an unusual interview, archaeologist, historian and mythologist
Acharya S, author of the controversial books The Christ
Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold and Suns
of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled,
offers a rare glimpse into her childhood and Christian background,
sharing what led her to her life's work and providing a
provocative commentary on the past and present, as well
as a hope for the future. Storm Fox of Edinboro University
of Pennsylvania asks pertinent and refreshing questions
of this irreverent and forward-thinking woman of the 21st
Fox: Were you brought up in a religious/spiritual
family, or was your early life more skeptical?
S: I was raised in a religiously liberal family.
My mother was an active member of her Congregational church.
However, Northeastern Congregationalists are very classy
and don't go around preaching. There was no talk about God,
the Bible, Jesus; no biblical quotes, no threats or chastisement
based on "God's Word," etc. Nothing. We celebrated
Christmas and Easter, but these holidays were about community,
family, love. I don't know if anyone in the family really
believed the biblical malarkey. My only interest in Sunday
school was the story in Luke of the short man who climbs
a tree to see Jesus over the crowd. As a little kid, I could
relate, as I was always standing on tip-toe to see. Otherwise,
Sunday school was torture, but church was even worse. What
a bore! But, I went, every week, until I was 12, when I
declared myself autonomous in the matter of religion. My
siblings did basically the same thing. Now, imagine such
a rebellion from something so mild! If we'd been fundamentalists,
I would have run away from home! I did go back to church
a few more times, sang a duet with my choir-director mother,
which was her dream. Over the years, as an archaeologist
and simply out of curiosity, I went into many churches,
as well as a few synagogues and, of course, the ruins of
countless pagan temples.
There is some information on your website that hints to
you being "born again" at some point in your life.
What were the circumstances surrounding that conversion?
In retrospect, the story is pretty funny. I actually went
through a brief period where I tried on that born-again
Christian hair shirt. It was horrible! Worse than what I'd
been experiencing just before, which was a sort of "post-college"
depression. I was living in Manhattan, somewhat rudderless,
after spending a year of post-graduate studies in Greece.
Trying to make it in NYC is very difficult for most people,
and I wasn't having the easiest time of it. Through a modeling
agency there I met a woman - Jimmy Swaggart's cousin - who
was leading a "Bible-study" group. I joined mostly
because I wanted to know more biblical passages for crossword
puzzles. As it turned out, I seemed to know more about the
Bible than she did, but she was great at weeping over Jesus.
So great, in fact, that she would put on shows, just like
Swaggart. Anyway, we went to a tent revival with a Greek
minister in the Bronx, and at the high point, with her prodding
me, I stood up and declared myself born again. I liked the
minister but I wasn't about to get dunked in their little
pool. A couple of weeks later, it was clear that the born-again
business was something no sane person could possibly uphold
for any length of time without becoming cuckoo. As the great
freethinker Robert Ingersoll said, "If a man would
follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would
be a criminal. If he would strictly follow the teachings
of the New, he would be insane."
What symbolic significance did Jesus and Christianity have
to you then?
Oh, there were a few goofy moments where I became emotional
- such as accepting Jesus "into my heart" - but
nothing much to write home about. Since I had been raised
a Christian, and had rejected Christianity as being no more
true or important than the rest of the world's religions
and mythologies, I can't say that the faith ever had any
profound meaning to me. I remember being utterly repulsed
by Christianity in college and post-graduate school, when
I spent a great deal of time in Greek Orthodox Churches,
where just about every neurosis and psychosis is manifested.
By "psychosis" I refer to the monasteries, where
everyone is seriously repressed and there are images of
horrible tortures painted on the walls. What kind of "spiritual"
environment is that?
What did being a Christian mean to you?
As a youth it simply meant that we went to church. In college,
I wondered aloud to a roommate if I were a Christian, at
which point he asked, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?"
I responded that I guessed I did, so he stated, "Then
you're a Christian." Seemed pretty simple, but I never
really bought it. I had studied so many religions and mythologies
even by then, because of my interest in history and antiquity,
that I considered Christianity just one of the many. In
truth, even as a child I didn't believe most of the Jesus
stories, as they were no more convincing than the tales
of the Greek or Roman gods, which were universally pronounced
What led you to conclude that Jesus Christ was a purely
For some time I was an "evemerist," which means
that I believed there was a historical Jesus but that the
supernatural tales associated with him were just fairytales
added to his biography by enthusiastic followers. Or, perhaps,
he was a yogi in the Eastern tradition who could do some
sort of "magic" or siddhis, as these "tricks"
are called in India. Because I had been studying Eastern
religions intensely at the time, in my late 20's, the yogi
perspective was the last I held before I came to the conclusion
that Jesus Christ, as depicted in the biblical, gospel tale,
was a myth through and through. I began to get an inkling
of the "Mythicist School," as it is called, about
that time. My recollection is that a book virtually jumped
off the shelf and set me on the path: It was Forgery
in Christianity by Joseph Wheless. From there, as they
say, the rest is history - or mythology, as the case may
be. I followed Wheless's clues and sources, and discovered
a whole school of thought - a very intelligent and profound
school of thought that essentially verified nagging doubts
I'd had since I first heard about Jesus Christ. With my
background in mythology, it was not very difficult to see
through the historical pretense associated with Christianity.
If one set of beliefs with incredible supernatural events
is easily regarded as mythology, why not another?
The arguments you give for mythicism in your books and articles
are very powerful, and I find the astrotheological aspects
of your books and articles to be especially fascinating.
I'm curious as to when and under what circumstances you
became aware of these patterns in myths and how ubiquitous
Naturally, the more time one spends on a subject the more
one learns. I suppose that as I came to understand the awe
with which the ancients viewed the cosmos, the natural world,
the earth in general, I had "aha!" moments or
epiphanies in connecting the gods with the planetary bodies
and constellations, etc. In reality, it didn't take much,
because I have always been awed by nature and spent most
of my childhood romping and splashing through the woods,
fields, streams and lakes. I imagine that the night sky
appears a most amazing sight to anyone sitting under it
away from an urban environment. The sun, of course, is a
major reason we exist. Knowing these facts, it becomes quite
comprehensible why the ancients - as well as a significant
portion of the world to this day - would revere these natural
objects and forces, attributing divine qualities to them.
These aspects of the natural world are found globally, which
is why they are ubiquitous in human mythologies. In the
end, it all makes sense.
There has been little written from the mythicist perspective
in the past few decades, but at various periods in the past,
there was a wealth of mythicist writing and research. To
what social forces do you attribute this?
At the end of the 18th century in Europe there
seemed to be a shift in consciousness, away from the repressive
mind-control of the Church, whether Protestant or Catholic.
Some of this change appears to have come from the expansion
of the British into India. I suppose people were utterly
sick of the atrocities committed by Christian authorities,
and no doubt the insidious mind-control and censorship had
taken its toll on the erudite and intelligentsia. The 19th
century experienced an explosion in brilliant thinking in
countless subjects, not just religion and philosophy. The
writing of the era - again, in numerous subjects - was superb,
especially compared to that of today. In fact, one thing
that has not improved with time and technology is the quality
of writing. In the English language, little compares to
what was produced during the 19th century.
century, on the other hand, experienced a profound dumbing-down,
especially in the areas of freethought, philosophy and religion.
There are many social forces I would attribute to this frightening
and depressing dumbing-down of the masses. For sure, much
of it has been deliberate, in order that the political and
religious status quo could be maintained. After all, we
can't have people thinking for themselves, can we? Religion
and politics have been the main tools used to control the
masses for the benefit of the elite. What we saw during
the 18th and 19th centuries were members
of the elite themselves coming forward and forcefully speaking
the truth. I will say that, because of the Internet, many
people are becoming more politically savvy - possibly more
than before. And, perhaps, we will see an increase in people
thinking for themselves about the important matters of religion
and philosophy. They simply must, or the mass, herd mentality
will destroy this planet.
How do you think history will remember Christianity?
I can only say that I think I see what will happen - and
hope that it is true. For many years now, since I was a
teenager, I figured that Christianity and the other monolithic
religions would fizzle into nothingness, would lose their
hold over the human mind, and be replaced by true enlightenment
that needs no organization of the sort that has been so
destructive in the past. I do believe that Christianity
will be viewed in the future - if a future there be - as
a destructive interloper that disconnected humanity from
its natural world and caused tremendous turmoil. As prejudiced
as the Christian ideology has been against the so-called
Pagan world, that's at least as badly as the future populace
will view Christianity. In other words, Christianity is
the Paganism of the future, or vice versa. In any event,
it will be realized that the "faith" is a terrible
hoax played upon the masses in order to make them believe
that the Almighty power behind the cosmos was a particular
person of a particular ethnicity during a particular period,
to the exclusion of all other cultures, eras and individuals.
You seem to rail against evemerism about as strongly as
you do against literalist interpretations of the Bible.
What trouble do you think evemerism causes?
Again, evemerism is the perspective that, behind all the
fabulous fairytales, there was a "real person"
named Jesus who lived about the same time as depicted in
the gospel tale. But, according to evemerism, he didn't
do much, because if you take away all the fairytales there
isn't much left - at least nothing impressive. Some shaggy
guy wearing a robe wandering around spouting platitudes
and, maybe, doing a few parlor tricks. Gee, like that's
never happened before - or since! Does anyone honestly believe
that the Romans would overthrow their entire culture, with
all its gods, including the Caesar himself, in order to
worship a ragamuffin magician from the reviled backwaters
of the Roman Empire? It's just incredible! No self-respecting,
elitist Roman would consider the thought for a second. He
would have laughed his head off at the very notion. There
had to be some highly powerful motivation for the Romans
to acquiesce to this fable that the God of the cosmos
had appeared - completely unbeknownst to them - decades
before in the outback, as a member of one of the most despised
races of the empire.
of fairytales would hardly have been enough to impress the
Romans, even if there really had been "some guy there,"
as is believed within evemerism. Evemerism simply doesn't
go far enough in an honest investigation. It's a cop-out
by people who want to appear somewhat intelligent - in other
words, not entirely gullible - but who haven't really studied
the issue to know that there is no evidence of this wandering
Jewish guru who stood out not because of any magic tricks
but because of profound or revolutionary ideas and statements.
None of these "profound statements" is original
- much more wisdom can be found in the more ancient Egyptian
and Indian texts. I find this concept irritating as well
because, while this purported "groovy guru" gets
all the attention - and much sympathy because of his supposed
suffering - countless real people the world over have demonstrated breathtaking brilliance
and suffered much more, yet have received no attention whatsoever.
I devoured The Christ Conspiracy, loved it, and found
it to be very liberating. Unfortunately, it was attacked
a great deal online, and for some rather strange reasons.
Suns of God seems in part to be an answer to those
criticisms. Was this your intent with Suns of God?
Thanks! Christ Con was also hailed online, as well as elsewhere. There are more
than a few professors, theologians, priests and ministers
who are closet fans. I don't really care about what the
few harpies have cackled online. As Abraham Lincoln said
about his opponents, "But I also remember that though
they blazed like tallow candles…, at last they flickered
in the socket, died out, stank in the dark for a brief season,
and were remembered no more, even by the smell..."
Perhaps that's harsh, but, truly, these people have accomplished
nothing. I am certain that, in the same manner that Osiris,
Thor and Hercules have been relegated to the heap of mythology,
so too will Christ. Yes, Suns of God is an
answer to the criticisms of Christ Conspiracy. These
criticisms were so shallow and petulant that it was easy
to produce hundreds upon hundreds of pages showing where
they were wrong - the evidence disproving them was abundant.
I had to shorten my book, of course, but there is much more
material to demonstrate that in general the major concepts
I have presented are accurate and correct. I also worked
extremely hard in getting Suns of God done - through
unbelievable adversity that is material for another book
- so that those who were impressed and convinced by The
Christ Conspiracy would not be left hanging with
these shallow and ignorant criticisms.
Some have criticized your use of sources such as Blavatsky.
What do you think such controversial sources add to your
A completely asinine criticism that shows the level of the
rest of their harping. I used and/or quote Blavatsky a total,
I believe, of three times out of over 1,000 citations. And
what miniscule amount I utilized of hers was factual
and accurate, having nothing to do with her mysticism.
I used a wide variety of sources in The Christ Conspiracy
in order to show that I have covered the topic, because,
before the book was completed, I was always getting questions
regarding this author and that - "What about Sitchin?",
for example. I included one or two mentions of Sitchin in
order to show that I had indeed read his works and had factored
them into my research, although not in the manner that Sitchinites
wish. Believe it or not, I've had fanatic "spiritualists"
chastise me for dismissing Blavatsky's perspective of Christ!
Speaking of controversy, Kersey Graves seems to have been
a big influence on your work. Unfortunately, Graves seems
to be maligned above other past mythicists. Why is this?
If you look at the citations in The Christ Conspiracy and Suns of God, you'll see I used relatively little of Kersey
Graves's writing, and he did not have all that much of an
influence on my work. In reality, I didn't need his work,
because what he was conveying could be found all over the
place. That being said, I will comment that the brouhaha
over Graves's work has led to some very interesting parts
of Suns of God, IMHO. Also, I was inspired
enough by Graves's courage and insight that I wrote the
foreword to AUP's edition of his book The World's Sixteen
Crucified Saviors. I don't know if anyone else has taken
the time to really explore why Graves wrote what he did.
Without having done such in-depth investigation - as I have
done, engaging in what I believe to be fascinating detective
work that absolves Graves of hasty and ignorant criticism
- his critics are not particularly impressive. I would pronounce
the fracas so much blowing of smoke. Graves is a favorite
target because his book appeals to the mainstream and has
endured for well over a century. Yet, I certainly don't
concur with Graves's conclusions that all these "16
crucified saviors" were "real people" who
bizarrely kept saying and doing the same things and getting
themselves crucified in different places and eras, over
and over again! Ridiculous. These are myths. As concerns
influences on my writing, Barbara Walker and Gerald Massey
are two scholars whose work I sincerely esteem. Because
I used their work so abundantly in The Christ Conspiracy,
I turned to numerous other sources for Suns of God, nevertheless showing the same salient motifs in mythologies from
around the world. So, you see, it matters not what the source
is: The truth is out there.
I work with Evangelicals, and they can be very difficult,
not to mention irrational. Is there any argument that will
work with them, or should I just smile, point to the Sun,
and walk away?
By Jove, I think you've got it! There is little point in
having any discussion with them on this subject. You can
give them all the evidence in the world, and they will simply
allow it to go over their heads. Their behavior becomes
robotic - and sometimes quite hostile and unpleasant. In
fact, when they can't "sweet talk" you into their
brainwashing, they start in with the insults and threats.
Very nice faith, that! When I have such discussions, I'm
often asked how I know Jesus Christ is a myth. How do I
know? I'm a mythologist, an expert on myths. If I'm an expert
on grass and point out a patch of grass, do you question
how I know it's grass? I wonder why such expertise is valued
so little - is it because everyone is taught that he or
she knows "the truth," simply by believing what
someone else has told him or her? How is that possible?
Regurgitated fables are "the truth?"
Have you spent
hours upon hours contemplating the nature of the cosmos?
Have you studied the world's religions and mythologies in
depth? Is it even conceivable that you could wrap your noggin
around many of the profound philosophical concepts? No,
just because you have a head with brain matter in it does
not make you an expert on religion, belief, spirituality
or mythology. As in everything else, expertise in religion
and philosophy must be earned. Then again, someone can be
spiritual without having studied a thing - a simple old woman living in a
cabin in the woods, for example. Or a small child. Spirituality
is a whole different issue. But I find little to be spiritual
about organized religion. And, certainly, believing what
others have told you about Jesus Christ or some other "savior"
is not a spiritual experience. Nor is having
a "vision" of what you believe to be Christ. Millions
of people in the past have had visions of countless other
gods - none of these experiences has made those gods "real
people." If they did, then the Egyptian Osiris and
Isis would have to be considered the God/Goddess
of the cosmos, because it is of them, arguably, that the
majority of human beings who have ever lived had had the
most visions. Moreover, "feeling" a god or goddess
"in your heart" may constitute a "spiritual"
experience, but it provides absolutely no evidence that
the god or goddess ever walked upon the face of this earth.
What do you think will be the future of the mythicist argument?
I certainly hope it will go beyond the idiotic nitpicking
and ad hominem foolishness occurring now. Professional jealousy
and egotism are unfortunately blinding and stupefying what
could be decent minds working on this subject, which is
surely one of the most important that face humanity. So
much of the rest of life hinges upon the reality that religion
does not produce truthfulness in human beings. Au
contraire! The fact that a large percentage of human beings
have been made powerless and have been enslaved to false
dogmas is a major reason why, in this day and age, with
so much wealth and technology, and so many generations working
on the problems, we still have such appalling poverty and
violence on this planet. In the end, I hope, mankind will
realize that superhuman saviors and godmen such as Jesus
Christ are fictional characters, period. The picayune points
of how such a fact came to be believed otherwise will ultimately
be irrelevant; hence, to argue endlessly about whether or
not this detail or date is correct is just plain silly and
an utter waste of time.
Finally, if I forgot anything, please feel free to add final
comments of any nature, and thanks again for the interview.
You're welcome! Thanks for the intelligent and relevant
questions. It may be obvious to some that I am on a "mission"
of a sort, and I would like to explain that there certainly
was something percolating in me since childhood that has
led me to study these subjects and write these works. One
of my prime reasons for doing what I do is that when I was
a child I was absolutely sickened by man's inhumanity to
man and other creatures, and I continue to be sickened by
it today. Although it is not the only reason for such inhumanity,
religion has been the single largest factor in causing entire
cultures to commit atrocious crimes, such as wholesale theft,
torture, genocide, etc., ad nauseam. So long as humankind
divides itself into "isms" there will never be
peace on Earth and people will never progress to becoming
true human beings.
S is an archaeologist, classicist, historian, mythologist,
linguist and member of the American School of Classical
Studies at Athens, Greece. She has served as a trench master
on archaeological excavations in Corinth, Greece, and in
Connecticut, USA. Acharya has traveled extensively around
Europe, and she speaks, reads and/or writes Greek, French,
Spanish, Italian, German, and Portuguese to varying degrees.
She has also cross-referenced the Bible in the original
Hebrew and ancient Greek. Acharya is the author of the best-selling
and controversial The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest
Story Ever Sold and the follow-up tour de force
Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled.
Articles by and about Acharya S have been published in several
magazines and books, and Acharya has appeared on dozens
of radio programs over the past decade. Her website is truthbeknown.com,
and she may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fox is a Sociology major at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
This is his first published interview. He may be reached