The following is part of a Series called Conversation with a Deconverter.
Question Number 9
About The Misinformation Effect: The Power of Suggestion
People’s perception of events, that is, their reliability as a witness, can be manipulated by superficial artifacts (appearances). The most common manipulation of appearance is language. By using certain verbs and adjectives, you can influence one’s testimony of fact. In addition, by introducing through our Socratic questions details that did not occur or are not true we can increase the likelihood of distorting (or shifting) one’s view of reality. Academics have operationally defined this as the Misinformation Effect. Studies have consistently shown that the memory of human beings is considerably influenced by the mere choice of words used by others to describe an event. In one study a video of vehicle test crash showed the impact of an SUV into another car at 25 mph. However, when persons observing the video were asked to estimate the speed of the vehicle they consistently overstated it, averaging a response of somewhere around 34 mph. This study, “Reconstruction of Automobile Destruction: An example of the Interaction Between Language and Memory” by Elizabeth F. Loftus and John C. Palmer, also included observations of how people were influenced by the mere description of the event before viewing. When the word “smashed” was substituted for “hit” the numbers changed to over 40 mph. In fact, several verbs were used and the more dramatic the verb, the greater the exaggeration of speed. The very nature of the question can produce peripheral, false memories. If one poses a question about the event and delays that question until some time after the event is observed, say, one week, essential facts of the story themselves can be altered by simple suggestion.
From Euripides’ The Bacchae, Dramatis Personae
DIONYSUS: divine son of Zeus and Semele, also called Bromius or Bacchus.
Turning water to wine
They rubbed refreshing sleep out of their eyes,
 and stood up straight there—a marvelous sight, to see such an orderly arrangement, women young and old and still unmarried girls. First, they let their hair loose down their shoulders, tied up the fawn skins (some had untied the knots to loosen up the chords). Then around those skins they looped some snakes, who licked the women’s cheeks. Some held young gazelles or wild wolf cubs and fed them on their own white milk, the ones
 who’d left behind at home a new-born child whose breasts were still swollen full of milk. They draped themselves with garlands from oak trees, ivy and flowering yew. Then one of them, taking a thyrsus, struck a rock with it, and water gushed out, fresh as dew. Another, using her thyrsus, scraped the ground. At once, the god [Dionysos] sent fountains of wine up from the spot. All those who craved white milk to drink just scratched the earth with their fingertips— it came out in streams. From their ivy wands
 thick sweet honey dripped. Oh, if you’d been there, if you’d seen this, you’d come with reverence to that god whom you criticize so much.
Death and resurrection of Dionysis
From Commodius XII.—Father Liber—Bacchus.
Ye yourselves say that Father Liber was assuredly twice begotten. First of all he was born in India of Proserpine and Jupiter, and waging war against the Titans, when his blood was shed, he expired even as one of mortal men. Again, restored from his death, in another womb Semele conceived him again of Jupiter, a second Maia, whose womb being divided, he is taken away near to birth from his dead mother, and as a nursling is given to be nourished to Nisus. From this being twice born he is called Dionysus; and his religion is falsely observed in vanity; and they celebrate his orgies such that now they themselves seem to be either foolhardy or burlesquers of Mimnermomerus. They conspire in evil; they practise beforehand with pretended heat, that they may deceive others into saying that a deity is present. Hence you manifestly see men living a life like his, violently excited with the wine which he himself had pressed out; they have given him divine honour in the midst of their drunken excess.
And another source relating the death and resurrection of Dionysis by Origen Book IV, XVI – XVII
For there are different appearances, as it were, of the Word, according as He shows Himself to each one of those who come to His doctrine; and this in a manner corresponding to the condition of him who is just becoming a disciple, or of him who has made a little progress, or of him who has advanced further, or of him who has already nearly attained to virtue, or who has even already attained it. And hence it is not the case, as Celsus and those like him would have it, that our God was transformed, and ascending the lofty mountain, showed that His real appearance was something different, and far more excellent than what those who remained below, and were unable to follow Him on high, beheld. For those below did not possess eyes capable of seeing the transformation of the Word into His glorious and more divine condition. But with difficulty were they able to receive Him as He was; so that it might be said of Him by those who were unable to behold His more excellent nature: “We saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness; but His form was mean, and inferior to that of the sons of men.” And let these remarks be an answer to the suppositions of Celsus, who does not understand the changes or transformations of Jesus, as related in the histories, nor His mortal and immortal nature.
But will not those narratives, especially when they are understood in their proper sense, appear far more worthy of respect than the story that Dionysus was deceived by the Titans, and expelled from the throne of Jupiter, and torn in pieces by them, and his remains being afterwards put together again, he returned as it were once more to life, and ascended to heaven? Or are the Greeks at liberty to refer such stories to the doctrine of the soul, and to interpret them figuratively, while the door of a consistent explanation, and one everywhere in accord and harmony with the writings of the Divine Spirit, who had His abode in pure souls, is closed against us? Celsus, then, is altogether ignorant of the purpose of our writings, and it is therefore upon his own acceptation of them that he casts discredit, and not upon their real meaning; whereas, if he had reflected on what is appropriate to a soul which is to enjoy an everlasting life, and on the opinion which we are to form of its essence and principles, he would not so have ridiculed the entrance of the immortal into a mortal body, which took place not according to the metempsychosis of Plato, but agreeably to another and higher view of things. And he would have observed one “descent,” distinguished by its great benevolence, undertaken to convert (as the Scripture mystically terms them) the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” which had strayed down from the mountains, and to which the Shepherd is said in certain parables to have gone down, leaving on the mountains those “which had not strayed.”
Born on December 25
In Macrobius’ Saturnalia Book 1 we see that Dionysis is not only born on December 25 but we have an explanation for that particular date:
Sed licet illo prius adserto, eundem esse Apollinem ac solem, edoctoque postea ipsum esse Liberum patrem qui Apollo est, nulla ex his dubitatio sit Solem ac Liberum patrem eiusdem numinis habendum: absolute tamen hoc argumentis liquidioribus astruetur. 8 In sacris enim haec religiosi archani observatio tenetur, ut sol, cum in supero, id est in diurno, hemisphaerio est, Apollo vocitetur: cum in infero, id est nocturno, Dionysus, qui est Liber pater, habeatur. 9 Item Liberi patris simulachra partim puerili aetate partim iuvenis fingunt: praeterea barbata p172specie, senili quoque, uti Graeci eius quem βασσαρέα, item quem Βρισέα appellant, et ut in Campania Neapolitani celebrant Ἥβωνα cognominantes. 10 Hae autem aetatum diversitates ad solem referuntur, ut parvulus videatur hiemali solstitio, qualem Aegyptii proferunt ex adyto die certa, quod tunc brevissimo die veluti parvus et infans videatur: exinde autem procedentibus augmentis aequinoctio vernali similiter atque adolescentis adipiscitur vires, figuraque iuvenis ornatur: postea statuitur eius aetas plenissima effigie barbae solstitio aestivo, quo tempore summum sui consequitur augmentum: exinde per diminutiones veluti senescenti quarta forma deus figuratur. 11 Item in Thracia eundem haberi p173solem atque Liberum accipimus, quem illi Sebadium nuncupantes magnifica religione celebrant, ut Alexander scribit: eique deo in colle Zilmisso aedes dicata est specie rotunda, cuius medium interpatet tectum. Rotunditas aedis monstrat huiusce sideris speciem: summoque tecto lumen admittitur, ut appareat solem cuncta vertice summo lustrare lucis inmissu, et quia oriente eo universa patefiunt. 12 Orpheus quoque solem volens intellegi ait inter cetera:
Translates crudely as:
But it is lawful freedom of that before, that he is the sun and that Apollo, Bacchus and edoctoque afterwards that he was the father of Apollo, who is, no doubt some of them of the same is the father of the gods, the sun, and his children were to be considered: liquid and molten in an absolute sense, however, this astruetur arguments. Of a religious is bound to the observance of the secrets of these 8 For in the sacred, as the sun, when he is in the upper, ie, in a day, he is the hemisphere, Apollo addresses: After the I infer that there the night that is to say, Dionysus, who is the father Liber, there is to be. 9 Also, some images of father Bacchus childhood partly mold young, besides bearded p172specie age too, as the Greeks of whom βασσαρέα likewise whom Βρισέα call, and to celebrate in Campania Naples Ἥβωνα cognominantes. 10 These differences in the periods referred to the sun, see the winter solstice as a child, such as the Egyptians, produce from the shrine on a fixed day, and the next day a little bit of a child is seen, then further increase the spring equinox, like the young man gains strength, shape young adorned: later determines its lifetime fullest portrait beard summer solstice, a time when most of their gains increase from the fourth form of the god symbolized by a decrease as getting old. 11 Also available in Thrace p173solem and receive Free, whom they call the Majestic Sebadium celebrate religion, as Alexander writes, and is dedicated specifically to the hill shrine Zilmisso round, whose mean interpatet roof. Rotundity of the room shows the star of this show: Chief roof light is allowed to appear on the top of the sun light, letting the survey, and for the whole east disclosed. 12 Orpheus, too, the sun, wishing to be understood that says among other things:
And in the Hymns of Orpheus (so-called Orphic Hymns) Number 29 we read that:
The Fumigation from Storax. Dionysos I call, loud-sounding and divine [my emphasis], fanatic God [my emphasis], a two-fold shape is thine: Thy various names and attributes I sing, O, first-born [my emphasis], thrice begotten [my emphasis], Bacchic king [my emphasis]: Rural, ineffable, two-form’d, obscure, two-horn’d, with ivy crown’d, euion, pure. Bull-fac’d, and martial, bearer of the vine [my emphasis], endu’d with counsel prudent [Eubouleos] and divine: Triennial, whom the leaves of vines adorn, of Jove [Zeus] and Proserpine [Persephoneia], occultly born (born of divine insemmination) [my emphasis] Immortal [my emphasis] dæmon, hear my suppliant voice, give me in blameless plenty to rejoice; And listen gracious to my mystic pray’r, surrounded with thy choir of nurses fair.
“And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter.”
Early Church Father and Saint Justin Martyr (c. 150 AD/CE)
Pyramid Texts (Inscriptions in stone)
After death, the king must first rise from his tomb. Utterance 373 describes.
Oho! Oho! Rise up, O Teti!
Take your head, collect your bones,
Gather your limbs, shake the earth from your flesh!
Take your bread that rots not, your beer that sours not,
Stand at the gates that bar the common people!
The gatekeeper comes out to you, he grasps your hand,
Takes you into heaven, to your father Geb.
He rejoices at your coming, gives you his hands,
Kisses you, caresses you,
Sets you before the spirits, the imperishable stars…
The hidden ones worship you,
The great ones surround you,
The watchers wait on you,
Barley is threshed for you,
Emmer is reaped for you,
Your monthly feasts are made with it,
Your half-month feasts are made with it,
As ordered done for you by Geb, your father,
Rise up, O Teti, you shall not die!
Is it more likely that belief in Dionysis as the Son of God was due to the Misinformation Effect or is it more likely that Dionysis is The One, True God?
Go to Question Number Ten