Martin Luther King, Jr. and his writings on Mithraism


Today is observed in the USA as Martin Luther King, Jr. day.  And although I do not take this day off (nor presidents’ days), I thought it might be appropriate to quote some writings from the late Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister who became best known as a civil rights activist.   Decades ago, he wrote about many things, including Mithraism.  Mithraism was a religion that observed Sunday and had followers such as the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century.

Here is some of what Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about it in a paper dated November 23, 1949:

In Avesta, Mithra was the genius of celestial light…The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was another view which was very prominent in Mithraism…

Women were compelled to seek salvation in some other cult, for Mithraism excluded them entirely…

When Mithraism is compared to Christianity, there are surprisingly many points of similarity. Of all the mystery cults, Mithraism was the greatest competitor of Christianity…

That Christians did copy and borrow from Mithraism cannot be denied (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 213-214, 217, 222, 224).

Here are some of his writings dated February 15, 1950:

Mithraism…was suppressed by the Christians sometime in the latter part of the fourth century A.D.: but its collapse seems to have been due to the fact that by that time many of its doctrines had been adopted by the church, so that it was practically absorbed by its rival.

…the Church made a sacred day out of Sunday partially because…of the resurrection. But when we observe a little further we find that as a solar festival, Sunday was the sacred day of Mithra: it is also interesting to notice that since Mithra was addressed as Lord, Sunday must have been “the Lord’s Day” long before Christian use. It is also to be noticed that our Christmas, December 25th, was the birthday of Mithra, and was only taken over in the Fourth Century as the date, actually unknown, of the birth of Jesus.

To make the picture a little more clear, we may list a few of the similarities between these two religions: (1) Both regard Sunday as a Holy Day. (2) December 25 came to be considered as the anniversary of the birth of Mithra and Christ also. (3) Baptism and a ritual meal were important parts of both groups…

In summary we may say that the belief in immortality, a mediator between god and man, the observance of certain sacramental rites…were common to Mithraism and Christianity. (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 307, 309.)

Notice that Martin Luther King, Jr. clearly understood that the Sunday churches dropped the Sabbath, that “the Lord’s Day” essentially first meant the day of Mithra, and that the worlds’ churches did adopt many practices from Mithraism. Much of what now is called “Christianity” is a compromise with the religion of Mithraism.

I wish that Martin Luther King, Jr. and others would have emphasized this aspect of his writings more. I would also add that Christians faithful to the original teachings of Christ, the apostles, and the New Testament did not adopt the practices of Mithraism.

While Dr. King was most known for his civil rights protests, he figured out that much of what passed for Christianity in his day was really a form that adopted Mithratic practices. Does that include your version? Are you sure?

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord? Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church?
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? Who clearly endorsed Sunday?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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