Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


Merry Mithramas

December 23, 2006 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life

I’m a big fan of the TV quiz show QI here in the UK, in which fiendishly brainy host Stephen Fry bandies about a variety of ‘Quite Interesting’ facts with a panel of comedians (points are awarded for being either interesting or funny), for the entertainment of all.

I have learned many quite interesting things from this show, including such esoterica as the driest place on earth being in Antarctica, that George Washington’s teeth originally belonged to a hippopotamus, that the Universe is a disappointing beige colour, that the Great Wall of China cannot be seen from the moon, that a blue whale can swallow nothing larger than a grapefruit, that a kangaroo has three vaginas (but only two wombs), that if you had enough custard you could walk on top of it, and that a koala’s fingerprints cannot be distinguished from a human’s. All of which, further research demonstrates, is utterly true.

Last night’s episode, which was Christmas themed in a very loose way, described a mythological figure with the following attributes.

He was born December 25th.
He was a travelling teacher, who had twelve disciples.
He was identified with the lion and the lamb, and known as the saviour, the Messiah, and the good shepherd.
His ceremonies include baptism, and a sacred meal of bread and water.
His followers held Sunday sacred.
He was born of a virgin mother.
His disciples went on to create an organised, hierarchical church organised around concepts such as a saviour both human and divine, atonement, life everlasting, and more.
His mortal body was buried in a tomb, from which he arose three days later. His resurrection was celebrated annually.
He was presented with gifts at his birth, by three Persian kings.

Not Jesus Christ, of course (curiously, there is no mention in the bible of three wise kings – it mentions three gifts, but not who brought them). The above describes Mithra, the deity whose centre of worship was built over to home the Vatican, and whose worship predates Christianity by about 600 years.

All probably entirely coincidental. Who would suggest that many of the best bits of the Christ story, and the religion that followed, might have been nicked directly from heathens? So, it’s either all true and God was demonstrating a marked lack of originality when putting Christ’s life together, or if it happened at all, it happened to somebody other than Jesus.

All of which, I contend, really is Quite Interesting.

The gathering of odd, useless knowledge aside, the last few days have seen all of the usual present wrapping, battery hoarding (for the present unveiling), drinking (including an epic event which involved colleagues apparently being rushed to hospital under my nose, which I have no memory of, but which I also find quite interesting), eating, and merrymaking. I hope you have been enjoying yourself too. It’s an inescapable circus, this time of year, so you might as well sit back and enjoy the clowns.

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  1. JackieDecember 23, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    I beg to differ. I am escaping the circus as we speak. The house is almost alarmingly quiet and I have no where to be and believe me, I ain’t goin’ out. 😉 😀

    I bought most of my Xmas presents online this year. It was one of the smartest things I think I’ve ever done. LOL.

    Stephen Fry has a show? I love his witty writing; I bet I’d love to see him on TV, as well. That show sounds TOTALLY up my alley, too. I love useless bits of trivia.

    Happy Mithramas, indeed. HAH!

  2. Richard WrightDecember 23, 2006 at 7:19 pmAuthor

    Oh, you’d love QI. Have a look around – I’d be surprised if you can’t get access from BBC America, or somesuch…

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