A student of mine recently asked me my opinion on a movie making the circuits online called “Zeitgeist, The Movie”. He was smart enough to recognize that most of it is conspiracy theory (the movie mostly focuses on 9/11 conspiracies, which are crap, and banking conspiracies, which are also crap), but was interested in the religion components. I watched just the religion segment so I could give him some feedback. Here are my thoughts on that segment of the video:

I just watched the movie you suggested. It is accurate in some ways and speculative in others. I recognize a lot of the connections between Jesus and the other historical deities from a book I read by Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth), who documented many of these similarities. Thus, I’m fairly certain based on his work that the similarities between ancient deities are accurate.

I’m less familiar, however, with the idea of the cross (crux) and three kings (orion’s belt). A cursory examination seems to indicate that this interpretation is probably not accurate. The Crux was, until the 16th Century, considered part of Centaurus. No one prior to that would have called that constellation “the cross.” Whether or not you accept the historicity of Jesus, the stories claiming he was crucified on a cross pre-date the naming of the Crux constellation by well over 1,000 years (beginning somewhere around 100 to 150 CE). In short, even though the sun may be in the area of the Crux during that time of year, ancient writers didn’t consider the crux a separate constellation and would not have made this connection.

Also, there is book among the list of references that I have read that I know is complete bullshit (by an author named Acharya S; Joseph Campbell is also referenced). The motives and accuracy of anyone referencing that author are always going to be suspect to me given how horrendously inaccurate that book was (my review is available upon request). The author was not and is not a reputable scholar but a conspiracy theorist.

In short, I’d say what you have is a mixture of accurate statements, half-truths, speculation, and contortions. Maybe 50% of that video on religion is accurate; the balance is speculative, conspiracy-theory driven drivel. It’s entertaining and seems compelling, but it’s not accurate.

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