This quote is taken from the later edition of Moor’s book (Simpson’s), in which the plate had been removed. Moor thus claimed the image was originally Christian, introduced into India. As noted, Higgins—whom Rev. Taylor calls a “sincere Christian”—does not concur with Moor’s conclusions that the crucifix image with the coronet is of “European origin.” He argues thus:
This God is represented by Moor with a hole on the top of one foot just above the toes, where the nail of a person crucified might be supposed to be placed. And, in another print, he is represented exactly in the form of a Romish crucifix, but not fixed to a piece of wood, though the legs and feet are put together in the usual way, with a nail-hole in the latter. There appears to be a glory [halo] over it coming from above. Generally the glory shines from the figure. It has a pointed Parthian coronet instead of a crown of thorns. I apprehend this is totally unusual in our crucifixes….
All the Avatars or incarnations of Vishnu are painted with Ethiopian or Parthian coronets. Now, in Moor’s Pantheon, the Avatar of Wittoba is thus painted; but Christ on the cross, though often described with a glory, I believe is never described with the Coronet. This proves that the figure described in Moor’s Pantheon is not a Portugues crucifix….
…Mr. Moor endeavours to prove that this crucifix cannot be Hindoo, because there are duplicates of it from the same mould, and he contends that Hindoos can only make one cast from one mould, the mould being made of clay. But he ought to have deposited the two specimens where they could have been examined, to ascertain that they were duplicates. Besides, how does he know that the Hindoos, who are so ingenious, had not the very simple art of making casts from the brass figure, as well as clay moulds from the one of wax? Nothing could be more easy. The crucified body without the cross of wood reminds me that some of the ancient sects of heretics held Jesus to have been crucified in the clouds….
I very much suspect that it is from some story unknown, or kept out of sight, relating to this Avatar [Wittoba], that the ancient heretics alluded to before obtained their tradition of Jesus having been crucified in the clouds…. I therefore think it must remain a Wittoba….
That nothing more is known respecting this Avatar, I cannot help suspecting may be attributed to the same kind of feeling which induced Mr. Moor’s friend to wish him to remove this print from his book. The innumerable pious frauds of which Christian priests stand convicted, and the principle of the expediency of fraud admitted to have existed by Mosheim, are perfect justification of my suspicions respecting the concealment of the history of this Avatar: especially as I can find no Wittobas in any of the collections. I repeat, I cannot help suspecting, that it is from this Avatar of Cristna that the sect of Christian heretics got their Christ crucified in the clouds.
As we have seen, Lundy also argued, no doubt reluctantly, that this same god Indian crucified in the clouds was pre-Christian, repeatedly demonstrating from “‘sculptures on the walls of ancient temples, from monuments, inscriptions, and other archaic relics’ that, among other things, Krishna was ‘crucified in space,’ as he calls it…” Regarding this Indian “crucified man in space,” Lundy remarks:
There is a most extraordinary plate, illustrative of the whole subject, which representation I believe to be anterior to Christianity. (See Fig. 72.) It is copied from Moor’s Hindu Pantheon, not as a curiosity, but as a most singular monument of the crucifixion. I do not venture to give it a name, other than that of a crucifixion in space. It looks like a Christian crucifix in many respects, and in some others it does not. The drawing, the attitude, and the nail-marks in hands and feet, indicate a Christian origin; while the Parthian coronet of seven points, the absence of wood and of the usual inscription, and the rays of glory above, would seem to point to some other than a Christian origin. Can it be the Victim-Man, or the Priest and Victim both in one, of the Hindu mythology, who offered himself a sacrifice before the worlds were? Can it be Plato’s Second God who impressed himself on the universe in the form of the cross? Or is it his divine man who would be scourged, tormented, fettered, have his eyes burnt out; and lastly, having suffered all manner of evils, would be crucified? Plato learned his theology in Egypt and the East, and must have known of the crucifixion of Krishna, Buddha, Mithra, etc. At any rate, the religion of India had its mythical crucified victim long anterior to Christianity, as a type of the real one, and I am inclined to think that we have it in this remarkable plate….
As regards Plato’s Second God, Lundy cites the Greek philosopher’s “Republic, c. II, p. 52. Spens’ Trans.” Lundy’s decisive assertions regarding the crucifixion of Indian gods, as well as the “mythical crucified victim long anterior to Christianity, as a type of the real one,” are more than noteworthy. Throughout his book, Lundy strains himself with this “type of” argumentation, because he simply cannot deny—and maintain his honesty and integrity—that there were numerous correspondences between pre-Christian Paganism and Christianity. Indeed, in his extensive defense of Christianity, Lundy, a more pious Christian could not be found, repeatedly acknowledges that virtually every salient point of Christianity is to be found in earlier “Pagan” religions:
The ancient Christian monuments, from which I have drawn my facts and illustrations, reveal so many obvious adaptations from the Pagan mythology and art, that it became necessary for me to investigate anew the Pagan symbolism: and this will account for the frequent comparisons instituted, and the parallels drawn between Christianity and Paganism. Many of the Pagan symbols, therefore, are necessarily used in this work—such, for instance, as seem to be types of Christian verities, like Agni, Krishna, Mithra, Horus, Apollo, and Orpheus. Hence I have drawn largely from the most ancient Pagan religions of India, Chaldea, Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and somewhat from the old Aztec religion of Mexico. These religions were all, indeed, systems of idolatry, perversions and corruptions of the one primeval truth as held by such patriarchs as Abraham and Job; and yet these religions contained germs of this truth which it became the province of Christianity to develop and embody in a purer system for the good of mankind.
It is a most singular and astonishing fact sought to be developed in this work, that the Christian faith, as embodied in the Apostles’ Creed, finds its parallel, or dimly foreshadowed counterpart, article by article, in the different systems of Paganism here brought under review. No one can be more astonished at this than the author himself. It reveals a unity of religion, and shows that the faith of mankind has been essentially one and the same in all ages. It furthermore points to but one Source and Author. Religion, therefore, is no cunningly devised fable of Priest-craft, but it is rather the abiding conviction of all mankind, as given by man’s Maker.
With this type of reasoning, Lundy tries to make a distinction between Paganism and Christianity, while admitting that Christianity “borrowed” from Paganism. Unlike modern apologists, who seem quite unaware of the erudite works of Lundy and so many other leading Christians of the past two to three centuries, Lundy does not dare deny that Christianity is founded upon Paganism; yet, he claims that the former is superior, because it represents “religion,” while the latter is “mythology.” In his sophistic argumentation, Lundy cites the cases of primitive peoples:
Two illustrations, in what is called savage life, may serve to express more clearly the difference between mythology and religion. Paul Macroy informs us in his book of Travels in South America, one of the most remarkable journeys of modern times for its curious information, that the Mesaya Indians of the river Japura, cannibals out of revenge, eating only their hereditary enemies, the Miranhas, but whose last cannibal war-feast was held in 1846, and who have only mathematical capacity enough to count as far as three, have yet a well-defined religion, consisting in the belief of a Supreme Being, the Creator and Moving Power of the universe, whom they fear to name, and whose attributes are power, intelligence and love. The visible manifestation of this God, curiously enough, is the bird bueque, a charming warbler, with a gold and green back and a bright red breast… The dove is still a survival of this visible symbol or manifestation of god as Spirit in our Christianity, and we may not therefore smile at this Mesaya notion of the bueque as God’s visible representative….
Lundy then goes on to compare unfavorably another primitive “savage” tribe, the Yuracares, who “neither adore nor respect any deity, and yet are more superstitious than all their neighbours.” Nevertheless, as Lundy explains, the Yuracares do possess a variety of gods. Now, as this learned Christian apologist is certainly not unintelligent, it cannot be suggested that he himself could not see the paradoxes in his various statements; yet, again, he exerts every effort in creating a difference between mythology and “true religion,” without much success. Also, it is somewhat ironic that Lundy is compelled to use as examples savages, including—as proof of his assertion of the superiority of “religion,” as he attempts to define it—a group notorious for the brutality and atrocity of cannibalism. After apparently considering himself successful in thus distinguishing between mythology and religion, Lundy triumphantly remarks:
Religion, then, differs from the myth in being the product of the reason and understanding rather than the imagination.
Evidently, Lundy considers the beliefs of these savage cannibals to be the “product of reason and understanding!” Furthermore, in page after page of comparison between Paganism and Christianity, the Reverend shows that the Christian imagination could not have been more overworked in its creation of myth, ritual and dogma.
In any case, concerning the Indian crucifix, Lundy continues:
The annexed plate (Fig. 72) is an exact facsimile of Moor’s. Wittoba is one of the incarnations of Vishnu, with holes in the feet, of which Moor gives several examples.
Lundy subsequently seconds his “enemy” Higgins’s opinion, contrary to that of Moor, reiterating that the plate is not of Christian origin:
Now this Wittoba or incarnation of Vishnu is Krishna… And so…the hole in the foot must refer to the fatal shot of the hunter’s arrow as Krishna was meditating in the forest, and whom he forgave; but the hands also have holes, and these must refer to the crucifixion of Krishna, as spoken of above.
…The Pundit’s Wittoba, then, given to Moor, would seem to be the crucified Krishna, the shepherd-god of Mathura, and kindred to Mithra in being a Saviour–the Lord of the covenant, as well as Lord of heaven and earth–pure and impure, light and dark, good and bad, peaceful and warlike, amiable and wrathful, mild and turbulent, forgiving and vindictive, God and a strange mixture of man, but not the Christ of the Gospels.