While studying the occult for about a decade prior to becoming an agnostic, I read H. P. Blavatsky, Manly P. Hall, and, most valuably, Gerald Massey. Blavatsky and Massey were sober critics of Christianity; the former became famous for saying "there is no religion higher than the truth," and the latter explored the death and resurrection myths that went into the making of the myth-in-chief: Jesus. Blavatsky pointed out the similarity of the name, Krishna, to the name Christ, and Massey showed how the myth of Osiris and Horus closely paralleled that of Jehovah and Jesus.
While studying these authors, I stumbled on the name Euhemerus and the theory he eponymously set forth, euhemerism. It made perfect sense to me then and it still does now. Briefly stated, it posits that man makes his gods from the legends of superior humans whose lives enriched and benefited others in various ways, thereby providing us not only with the notion that God is a creation of man but with a reason we tend to fabricate such myths in the first place.
Euhemerus was a Greek writer of the 4th century BCE who penned a tome titled A Voyage to Panchaea, which I've only read in paraphrase but believe I can safely characterize as a Verne-like adventure story -- well, Verne by way of Swift's Gulliver -- about a man who travels to an island called Panchaea only to learn, from figures like Zeus, that man created the gods based on the feats and fabulous talents of special people. I wrote an essay on euhemerism for an occult periodical I self-published, a "zine" called Abrasax (Aleister Crowley's preferred spelling and a reference to the God of the gnostics).
I remember illustrating the article with a photo of Elvis Presley coming to the aid of fainting women in his audiences. It should come as no surprise to anyone that there have been countless Elvis "sightings" since the Great Man took a combination of almost a dozen prescription meds and went out when his heart literally burst open. (Behind all deaths of Gods there is a scientific explanation. When Reb Yeshua came along, nobody even dreamed of something akin to the germ theory of diseases. I liked someone's explanation that as Jesus was in all likelihood a member of the Therapeuts, as was Joseph of Arimathea, he probably received in the "sop" the same sort of soporific taken by Juliet in Shakespeare's play, so the "resurrection" was nothing more than the wearing off of the death-like sleep.) Presley would regularly bring a gross of scarfs on which to wipe his sweat during his heated performances. Like the followers of Dionysus, his Bacchantes worked themselves into frenzies and regularly fainted away, giving in to energized enthusiasm (Greek: enthusiasmos).
Just as gods beget gods, we witness today the Bacchantes following such as Justin Bieber: I saw a news clip on TV showing two teenaged girls in ecstatic gushings to the effect that they wished to get closer to the young Canadian pop artists; as one put it, "just to walk where his feet have been." Euhemerism is ongoing. Once Bieber is gone, people will report sightings of him, too. Euhemeristic sightings explaIn the growth of the myth of the resurrection of Reb Yeshua himself. If one is caught up in such frenzied adoration of an idol, one cannot accept, deep down, their death. This leads to a longing, an overwhelming desire to see the idol alive, still walking among us.
Some Roman emperors could not wait until their deaths to become gods, and in Egypt the rulers were considered deities from birth. Moctezuma welcomed Cortez because, in a dream, he'd seen a red-haired man in a silver suit, permitting the conquistador to conquer Teotihuacan. Hadrian, already regarded as a god himself, so loved Antinous that when the youth drowned in an Egyptian canal he had the boy's image (below) stamped onto Roman coins and promptly announced that the youthful deity had left the living for Olympus. If it were that easy, I would nominate Jefferson, who really ought to be on the C-note instead of Franklin. The one was a thorough-going atheist; the other, merely a member of the Hell Fire Club.