SIX ITEMS APPEAR
Brief History of Religion Part 2
Brief History of Religion Part 3
Christ and Mithra
Christ and Mithra
Jesus Versus Mythology
BRIEF HISTORY OF RELIGION PART 2
126, 2009 May)
Of the major
religions the most recent inventions are Christianity followed by Islam
(Muhammad’s invention about 610 AD).
and embodied almost all from the Heathen/Pagan religions features and
rituals, claiming at the same time ownership:-
1. The virgin
3. Holy Ghost.
raising the dead, walking on water, etc.
6. Divine Word.
7. Atonement for
11. Saving a
sinful world by the god-man’s death, going down into hell after dying
for three days (The standard requirement was three days for all saviors
to be dead.) Then rising from the dead and going up into heaven.
The myth of world creators / world saviors goes back to the Heathen/
Pagan religions, thousands of years before Christianity. Listed below
are some of these supreme gods, with country.
1. Akditi –
mother of Gods (India)
2. Ahriman – son
of Zuruam – all powerful (Persia)
3. Aibit and
Alom-Bhol – creator of humans (Mayan)
4. Amon Re – king
of Gods (Egypt)
5. Aten – God of
sun – (Egypt)
6. Bochica –
supreme creator and law giver (Chibcha, India)
7. Brahma –
creator and absolute god (India)
8. Coyote –god of
creation (Crow Indian)
9. Dohit – god who
created the first mortal from clay (Mosetene)
10. Gamid –
supreme god living in heaven (Damarus, Africa)
11. Inti – supreme
god / god of the sun (Inca, pre Columbian)
12. Jar-Sub – god
of universe (Turkey)
– creator of the world (Africa)
14. Kumani –
virgin goddess (India)
15. Mahaskti –
divine mother / supreme creator of the universe (India)
16. Num – supreme
1st. god, creator, lives in 7th heaven (Samoyed, Siberia)
17. Manibozho –
god who created earth and mortals from clay (Algonquin Indians)
18. Marduk –
supreme god / sun god (Babylon)
19. Maui – son of
the sun (Polynesian)
20. Pachacamac –
supreme god, creator of all (Yuncas, Lima, Peru)
21. Parica – god
who flooded the earth (before Noah) (Peru)
22. Rado Gast –
god of sun (Slav)
23. Tengri – god
of sky (Mongol)
24. Anunnaki – sky
25. Ptar – creator
26. Neteru – sky
26. Hurakan –
creator god (Mexico / Central America)
27. Yahweh – god
invented by the Jews in the 6th century BC; also known as Elohim,
Baalim, Adonai, Yhwh, Ieue, Jehovah (Jewish)
28. Allah –
invented by Muhammed in the 5th century AD (Islam)
“…And that inverted bowl we call the sky, where under crawling coop’t
we live and die, lift not thy hands to it for help, for it rolls
impotently on as thou and I.” Omar Khayyam
Brian de Kretser
Research into Religions,
A BRIEF HISTORY OF RELIGION
everything from Heathen/Pagan myths recycled down the ages.
Christianity falsely claims that Jesus Christ was the one and only
crucified savior of the world. But historical records show that there
were many crucified saviors from thousands of years before the
Christian era. Jesus Christ was the last of about 23 earlier crucified
They are listed
below with country and approximate dates:
Osiris (Egypt – 3000bc)
Iao (Nepal – 622bc)
Bel (Babylon – 1750bc)
Sakia (India – 600bc)
Atys (Phrygia, Turkey - 1700bc)
Alcestos-Female god (Pherae, Greece – 600bc)
Thulis (Egypt – 1700bc)
Mithra (Persia – 600bc)
Krishna (India – 1200bc)
Quexalcote (Mexico – 587bc)
Crite (Chaldea, Babylon – 1200bc)
Wittoba (Travancore, India 552bc)
Tammuz (Syria – 1160bc)
Prometheus (Greece – 547bc)
Dionysius (Greece – 1100bc)
Ixion (Rome – 400bc)
Hesus (Celtic Druid – 834bc)
Devatat (Siam - ?)
Quirinius (Rome – 753bc)
Apollonius (Tyana, Cappadocia - ?)
Indra (Tibet – 725bc)
Jesus Christ (Jewish – 33ad) — The last recorded crucified savior
Bali (Orissa, India – 725bc)
It was a case of “My
God is better than yours.” There seems to have been boundless
competition between the disciples of the various religions, including
Jews, Pagans, Christians, etc. as to which god-man could do whatever
better or whose god could out perform all others in achieving
astonishing prodigies that could set the laws of nature at defiance.
Religions in each era added attributes to their deities so that they
could claim that their god was far greater than any previous god.
Krishna (Hindu god
1200bc) compared to Jesus (Christian god 33ad) were both the 2nd part
of their respective trinity.
have found 346 points of comparison between these two although 1200
years apart. It’s not hard to see that the Krishna myth was grafted
almost in total to the Jesus myth.
It must also be
pointed out that the Krishna myth was also recycled from earlier god
myths, Osris – 3000bc, Bel – 1750bc, Atys – 1700 bc, Thulis –
1700bc. And so it goes on.
The advent of each savior was miraculously foretold by prophets.
came to save a sinful world.
are considered divine saviors.
taught that atoning for sins a necessity.
each case as a “son of god” is selected as sacrifice for atonement.
(Second person of the Trinity)
are sent down from heaven in the form of a man.
are born of a holy virgin—Krishna of Maia, Jesus of Mary. Both born in
had a miraculous conception.
had adopted earthly fathers, both fathers carpenters.
Both claimed that god was their real father, with conception by a
holy ghost or spirit.
Both claimed royal descent. Both born on 25th December.
Both visited by wise men and shepherds led by a star.
With both an incumbent ruler wants to kill him, but both saved by
Parents flee to safety, Krishna’s to Mathura, Jesus’ to Egypt.
Each had a forerunner, Krishna had Bali Rama, Jesus had John the
Both were very clever when young, teaching learned opponents.
Both fasted and meditated in the wilderness.
Both deliver sermons and moral lessons. Both claimed to be
without sin. Both forgave sins and had a mission to deliver the world
from sin, by destroying the devil and all his works.
Both proclaim “I am the resurrection” “The way to the father”
“Son of God”, etc.
Both were regarded as the “Lord from Heaven” “Lord of Lords” and
both claimed to be omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omni-everything.
Both performed miracles, cure the sick, blind, lame, walk on
water, raise the dead, cast out devils, etc.
Both had disciples, apostles following them and spreading their
Both opposed the priesthood and the established religion, and
made enemies who plotted.
Both had a memorable “Last Supper”.
Both put to death by crucifixion with thieves on either side of
them also crucified.
Darkness and strange happenings accompanied each crucifixion.
Each forgave their enemies before dying; both gave up the ghost
and descended into hell.
Both remained “dead” for 3 days (standard requirement).
Both rose from the dead on the 3rd day and was seen by a selected
Both ascend into Heaven, supposedly witnessed by many.
Brian de Kretser
Research into Religions,
A Brief Delusion
(Investigator 129, 2009
In Investigator #128
Brian De Krester provided his 3rd part on the Brief History of
Religion. In that article he repeated his assertion that Christianity
copied pagan religions. He listed 22 “crucified saviours” who preceded
Christ. As usual, Brian does not provide any evidence or references to
support his claim, so should we believe him?
His list dates from
3,000 BC (Osiris). Crucifixion probably originated with the Persians
during the reign of Darius (550 to 485 BC). He is recorded to have
crucified 3,000 Babylonian captives in 519 BC (Encyclopaedia
Britannica, 1993, Vol.3, p.762). Brian’s list includes at least 17
crucified saviours that preceded the origin of crucifixion. So most of
his list is complete hogwash.
I am not going to
critique all of his claims. The onus is on Brian to provide the
evidence. However, I will cite some examples.
Number 1 was Osiris. Osiris was not crucified. Osiris’ brother
Seth envied his power and popularity and killed him by luring him into
a coffin, which he sealed with lead.
Number 17 was Quexalcote from Mexico. Give us a break, Brian. How
could the NT writers copy something from Mexico? Columbus sailed the
ocean blue in 1492. The NT writers wouldn’t have known that Mexico
existed. Surely in this case Brian has shot himself in the foot. This
example merely demonstrates that a similarity does not necessarily mean
that any copying has occurred.
Number 22 was Appolonius. Brian didn’t give a date. It is likely
that Appolonius was born after Jesus. Most biographical information
about Appolonius is derived from Philostratus who wrote his biography
about 150 years after the 1st NT writings, so who copied who? Anyway,
Appolonius was not crucified. He disappeared from the courtroom.
I believe I have
given enough examples to show that it would be an understatement to say
that Brian’s assertions are unreliable.
address the basic problems of our existence, which are evil, suffering
and death. Thus it is not surprising that religions have some common
elements. The solution to evil must entail some form of judgement.
Death must be overcome by some form of afterlife. This, combined with
the fact that there is an enormous volume of ancient religious
literature, means that it is quite easy to find similarities without
there being any causal connection.
The copycat thesis
was popular among sceptical theologians during the 1920s. During this
period Rudolph Bultmann and C.H. Dodd each compiled lists of 300
parallels between pagan religions and the Christ story. The problem was
that they only had 8% overlap. What this demonstrated was that the
selection of parallels is highly subjective. It is more the product of
a vivid imagination.
The huge number of
claimed “dead ringer” parallels is in itself a cause for suspicion. For
example, Brian claimed Jesus is a copy of Krishna, but Laurie Eddie
claimed Jesus is a copy of Mithra (Issue #87, also without any
evidence). Mithra and Krishna are different. Who is right, if either?
“Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not
agree” (Mark 14:56).
It is very easy to
construct historical parallels that look convincing on the surface, but
in fact have no causal link. For example, the following table lists
similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
||John F Kennedy
Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846
F Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946
Lincoln won his presidential election in 1860
F Kennedy’s won his presidential election in 1960
Lincoln was assassinated on “Friday” & was shot in the head
F Kennedy’s was also assassinated on “Friday” & was shot in the head
assassin was “John Wilkes Booth” and he had a 3 word name with 15
F Kennedy’s alleged assassin was “Lee Harvey Oswald” with 3 words and
Wilkes Booth was shot and killed before being indicted or tried
Harvey Oswald was also shot and killed before he could be indicted or
Lincoln was shot in the “Ford’s Theatre”
F Kennedy’s was shot in a car made by “Ford Motors”
Lincoln’s wife was with him when he was shot
F Kennedy’s wife was also with him at the time he was shot
Lincoln successor was by Vice-President Johnson (Andrew Johnson)
F Kennedy’s successor was also named Vice-President Johnson (Lyndon B.
Johnson was born on Thursday December 29 1808
||Lyndon B Johnson was born on
Thursday August 27 1908
Lincoln’s son (Edward Barker Lincoln 1850) died while he served in the
F Kennedy’s newborn son (Patrick Bouvier Kennedy 1963) died while he
served in the White House
If you believe there
is a causal link between Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy, then I
feel sorry for you. Rather, this example illustrates how easy it is to
construct dodgy parallels.
The notion that the
New Testament writers copied pagan religions to construct the story of
Jesus Christ is psychologically implausible. Apart from Luke, the New
Testament writers were pious Jews (and Luke was probably a “God
fearer”). The Jews despised the idolatry of pagan religions and opposed
any form of syncretism.
In addition, the New
Testament writers were too preoccupied with integrating the Christ
story with the Old Testament to be bothered with copying pagan
religions. In fact sceptical theologians no longer pursue the pagan
copycat theory and have gone in a different direction. While
conservative theologians assert that Jesus is the fulfilment of the OT,
sceptical theologians, such as Bishop “Jack” Spong, assert that the
Christ story was contrived to fit the OT prophecies.
critique of Christianity is against its uniqueness. After all, “Don’t
most religions teach the same sort of things?” However, the
similarities are peripheral and break down on closer examination, just
as, “All Asians look the same”, unless of course you are an Asian.
unique in a number of ways, such as:
The Jewish faith, on which Christianity is based, was the first
major instance of monotheism. All of the examples that Brian provided
were from polytheistic religions.
Christianity is based on falsifiable claims about historical
events surrounding Jesus of Nazareth. If Jesus was not crucified,
killed and then raised to life, then Christianity is stripped of all
meaning. By contrast, all other major religions propose a system of
beliefs or way of life that is not dependent on historical claims.
I encourage readers
to read the original source material for other religions and compare
them with the New Testament. There is actually no comparison. Most of
these alternate religions have died out because they are actually quite
bizarre, whereas the story of Jesus of Nazareth is still coherent in
our modern world.
By the way, I am
still fascinated by Brian’s “Institute for Research into Religions”. I
can’t find anything about it on the web. Brian, does it have more than
CHRIST and MITHRA
(Investigator 130, 2010
I refer to the
article, “A Brief Delusion”, by Kevin Rogers in the November 2009 issue
of the Investigator magazine. At page 30, he states “… Laurie Eddie
claimed Jesus is a copy of Mithra (issue #87)…” — in fact I did
not make such a claim, I merely gave a list of attributes that were
commonly credited to both Mithra and Jesus. What I actually said was,
“… most of the claims made about Mithra were assimilated into the
Christian Church and identified as attributes of Jesus. “
It is likely that
the gospel stories which depict the extraordinary powers of Jesus were
fictional attributes that originated with the Gentile Christians. It is
unlikely they would have come from his Jewish followers. As Jews
they would have accepted that, as the messiah, Jesus would be a
descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13; Jeremiah 23:5), obedient to the
Judaic laws (Isaiah 11:2-5), a righteous judge (Jeremiah 33:15), and a
great military leader; however, he would not have been considered to be
divine, or to have exceptional powers, (other than perhaps the power to
The concept of
demi-beings possessed of extraordinary powers was completely alien to
the Jews, however, it was widely accepted by the Gentiles. Thus, it
seems likely that, over a period of time, most of his extraordinary
“powers” attributed to Jesus came from his Gentile followers who
appropriated them from various pagan sources as they transformed Jesus
from the Jewish messiah into the Gentile Christian Messiah.
To better understand
how this might have occurred one must examine the cultural mind-sets
that would have influenced the interactions between the Gentile
Christians and their pagan neighbours. It seems likely that,
amongst the pantheistic populace of the Roman World, a favourite topic
of conversation would have been the merits of their particular deities.
No doubt, from time-to-time, these discussions would have degenerated
into heated arguments about whose god was the best, the most powerful,
One can imagine how,
in the decades after the death of Jesus, whatever powers the pagans
claimed for their deities, the Christians would retaliate. They would
have argued that Jesus was far greater than the pagan deities, in every
way; each example of the powers of the pagan deities being countered by
claims that Jesus was far greater and more powerful. Like every solar
deity Jesus could turn water into wine, he could control storms and
earthquakes, and could even provide a harvest of food greater that
Ceres or Persephone. In this way, a rich lore of mythical stories
entered the mainstream of Christian historical belief. These
pseudo-tales would cover every aspect of Jesus’ life, from his birth to
Many of these
fantastic tales were to find their way into the various gospels. The
Gospel writers did not deliberately steal the attributes of the pagan
deities and assign them to Jesus; there was no need, for the
various oral traditions concerning the nature of Jesus had become so
intertwined, it was impossible to distinguish what was fact and
what was myth.
In the tolerant
religious environment of the pagan world, assimilating new deities into
the existing pantheons was not a problem. Christianity however, was
different. Despite there being numerous saviour figures at the time,
the Christians claimed that Jesus was the only true saviour and that
their religion alone was the only true faith. Insecure and with little
power, Christianity could not afford any comparisons that might cast
doubt on its “true origins”; so, when comparisons began to be drawn
between Christianity and Mithraism the new faith reacted defensively.
scholars claimed Mithraism was due to the machinations of satanic and
demonic powers. Justin Martyr claimed that these evil powers, having
anticipated the Christian mysteries, had prepared parodies of them,
ahead of time, to confuse “good Christians”. Another claim was that
Mithraism was merely a copy of Christian teachings. The general modern
opinion now is that Mithraism did predate Christianity:
mysteries, then, of the burial and resurrection of the Lord, the
Mediator and Saviour; burial in a rock tomb and resurrection from that
tomb; the sacrament of bread and water, the marking on the forehead
with a mystic mark — all these were in practice…before the publication
of the Christian Gospel of a Lord who was buried in a rock tomb, and
rose from that tomb on the day of the sun, or of the Christian mystery
of Divine communion, with bread and water or bread and wine,..”.
(Robertson, J.M. (1911). Pagan Christs. London: Watts & Co.
I apologize for the
fact that there were no references provided in the outline of Mithra’s
attributes. This was due to the fact that this was only intended as a
simple list of comparisons.
interested, some of the sources of the items mentioned in this list are
as follows: -
- His solar attributes,
(pages 48; 58; 59); his Last Supper (p. 59); the “Logos” (p. 58); his
“rock birth” (p. 59); Barnes, E.W. (1948). The Rise Of Christianity,
London, Longmans, Green & Co.
- Said to have
been born of light striking a rock on December 25th, an event
said to have been witnessed by shepherds, “He
was the first to teach that gentleness is
strength.” Wilson, c. (1971). The Occult, London: Hodder and
Stoughton, p. 84.
- The “guardian of
justice and truth”, saviour and deliverer of the righteous, (p.
310-311); his Last Supper, ascent into heaven, Judge of the dead,
presided over the final judgment when he would return to earth, raise
the dead and bring the forces of evil to an end; (p. 313); Case,
S.J. (1960). The Evolution of Early Christianity. University of Chicago
Press, pp. 310-311.
- Born of a virgin, in
a cave on 25th December, (p. 21 and 203); he was a teacher with twelve
disciples, (p. 21), buried in a tomb from which he resurrected, (p.
21); he was known as Saviour, often depicted as a lamb, and his
followers underwent baptism and held a sacramental feast in his honour,
(p. 21); Carpenter, E. (1920). Pagan And Christian Creeds: Their
Origins And Meaning, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1920.
- Visited by three Magi
and presented with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, (p. 152).
Doane, T.W., (1882). Bible Myths And Their Parallels In Other
Religions, New York, Charles P. Somerby.
- Protector of the
needy, the one who assisted souls on their journey to Paradise (p.
753); leaders called pater (Father), (756); Mithra a solar deity (p.
759). "Mithraism", in Encyclopaedia Of Religion And Ethics, Editor
James Hastings, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, 1971.
Christ and Mithra
(Investigator 131, 2010
In Investigator #87
Laurie listed 13 parallels between Mithra and Jesus and asserted that
“most of the claims made about Mithra were assimilated into the
Christian Church and identified as attributes of Jesus.” In
Investigator #130 Laurie provided a list of books from which he derived
some of the supposed parallels, I will provide some background on the
nature of Mithraism.
Mithraism was a
mystery religion. This means that its practices and secrets were only
revealed to its members. Consequently, the followers of Mithra provided
very little by way of a written record. Thus most of our information
about Mithraism has been derived from:
- The writings of their
opponents, such as the early church fathers, and
investigations of their temple sites.
in two forms:
- Persian or Iranian
Mithraism who worshipped “Mithra”, and
- Roman Mithraism, who
originated in about 1400 BC and had largely died out prior to the 1st
century. It thus pre-dated Christianity. There are brief references to
Mithra in the Hindu Vedas and the Persian Avesta. Mithra is one of the
many Indo-Iranian gods. He is the symbol of fidelity and punishes those
who break treaties.
Roman Mithraism was
popular in the Roman army. It started in the late first century and
reached its peak in the third century and thus post-dated the NT. The
earliest archaeological evidence for Roman Mithraism dates from 98-99
AD in Rome.
The first major
investigator into Mithraism was Franz Cumont. In 1900 he published
“Texts and Illustrated Monuments Relating to the Mysteries of Mithra”.
Cumont assumed there was continuity between Persian Mithrasim and Roman
Mithraism. However, later scholarship has confirmed that they were
largely independent. For example, the Roman Mithra was famous for
slaying a cosmic bull, but there is no record of this in Persian
For the sake of
space I will only consider the first 3 claims that Laurie made about
He was born of a virgin mother in an underground chamber or cave;
his birth shepherds came to him bringing simple gifts.
was said to have been born at the Winter Solstice, the 25th December.
Mithra was not born
of a virgin. The Iranian Mithra was born via an incestuous relationship
between Ahura-Mazda and his mother. The Roman Mithra was born out of
solid rock. Here is how one Mithraic scholar describes the scene on
Mithraic depictions: Mithra "wearing his Phrygian cap, issues forth
from the rocky mass. As yet only his bare torso is visible. In each
hand he raises aloft a lighted torch and, as an unusual detail, red
flames shoot out all around him from the petra genetrix (born out of a
rock)."1 Mithra was born a grown-up, rather than as an
infant. The following picture shows a statue of the birth of Mithra
from the time of the emperor Commodus (180-192 AD) from the area of S.
Stefano Rotondo, Rome.
1: Birth of Mithra
The New Testament (NT) claims that Jesus was born in a stable rather
than a cave. Thus the claim that Mithra was born in a cave is not a
parallel at all.
The NT does not
state what time of the year Jesus was born. The 25th December was a
popular date for pagan festivals as it supposedly corresponded to the
winter solstice. The adoption of the 25th of December to celebrate
Christmas Day was probably introduced in the 3rd century to counter
pagan customs. However, it has no basis in the NT. In addition, there
is no evidence that Mithra was born on 25th December. This mistaken
claim was caused by confusing Mithra with Aurelian’s sun god, who was
also called “Sol Invictus”. So on this point there is a similarity
between Jesus and Mithra. Neither of them were born on 25th December.
present at the birth of Mithra. They helped pull him out of the rock
and offered him the first-fruits of their flock. However, the first
evidence of there being shepherds at Mithra’s birth is about one
century after the New Testament was written2.
Thus the first three
of Laurie’s claims of Christian assimilation are plainly wrong.
The fact that Laurie
got his argument from some books is not sufficient evidence. There are
a large number of books and websites on Mithraism. However, the various
sources quite often contradict each other. Those websites that claim a
dependence of Christianity on Mithraism almost universally consist of
assertions unsupported by evidence.
For a claim to be
valid, the following factors should be considered:
- What is the raw
evidence that is the basis for the claim?
- What is the date of
the raw evidence?
- Is the parallel
- If there was copying,
then who copied who?
Laurie claims that
Jesus’ powers were alien to Jews but familiar to gentiles. This is
highly dubious. Jesus’ miracles are replete with Old Testament imagery.
The feeding of the 5,000 parallels the manna in the wilderness. The
calming of the storm is reminiscent of the parting of the red sea, etc.
Jesus is depicted as the prophet, priest and king who supersedes
Elijah, Moses and David and he is presented as performing miracles
similar to Moses and Elijah.
that Jesus’ miraculous powers were attributed to him by gentiles rather
than Jews. However, seven of the eight NT authors were Jews. The
exception was Luke, who was probably a gentile “God Fearer” and who was
also well acquainted with the Jewish scriptures.
In Luke’s prologue
(Luke 1:1-4), Luke makes the following claims:
So that the reader may know
what actually happened.
- He accessed prior
- He spoke with
- He conducted a
careful investigation, and
- He wrote an orderly
Luke is a sceptic
par excellence. If Luke was not fibbing then it is unlikely that he
embellished Jesus with pagan attributes. Besides this, his portrayal of
Jesus is consistent with the other (Jewish) gospel authors.
that the story of Jesus was a growing myth. However, readers should
remember that the NT is a collection of 27 letters or books written by
multiple authors from/to different locations and for community needs at
different times over a period of 30 to 40 years. The writers probably
had no idea that their writings would later be incorporated into a
canon of scripture. If there was a growing myth then this would surely
be detectable within the NT itself. However, this is not the case.
Paul’s letters are amongst the earliest documents and yet contain a
fully developed presentation of both the human and divine aspects of
Christ. He also quotes creeds from even earlier times that also reflect
the same view of Christ.
I know Laurie, and I
don’t believe he would deliberately deceive. However, I believe he has
got it wrong in this case and has placed too much trust in those
populist texts that tickle his ears.
of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies. Manchester U.
Press, 1975, page 173.
2. Cumont, Franz. The
Mysteries of Mithra. New York: Dover, 1950.
“The demons mislead
mankind by imitating the things of the true God.” (Justin Martyr
There are critics
who claim Jesus is myth fabricated by Christians who re-worked stories
from Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, India, etc.
such as Hercules, Osiris, Mithra, Perseus, Horus and others supposedly
share such features with Jesus as:
Had a god for a father and a virgin mother;
Virgin births are
attributed (among others) to:
Birth announced by a heavenly display;
Visited by wise men;
Life threatened after birth by a tyrant;
Fasted 40 days;
A violent death;
In Egypt, Horus from Isis*;
The * indicates
birth near December 25th. But December 25 as Jesus’ birthday was made
official by the Church and is not in the Bible — the Star of Bethlehem
probably appeared mid-year. (Investigator 81)
In Greece, Adonis from Myrrha; Hercules from Alcmene*;
In India, Buddah from Maya; Krishna from Devaki;
In Mexico Quetzalcoatl from Sochiquetzal; Huitzilopochtli from
In Persia, the god Mithra*; and Zoroaster;
In Rome Dionysus/Bacchus from Semele*;
In Scandinavian, Balder from Frigga;
In Tibet, Indra.
A series of 19th
century writers publicized Biblical/Pagan parallels and claimed
Christianity fabricated Jesus from Pagan mythology. For example:
Godfrey Higgins (1771-1834);
Mitchell Logan (1842) The Christian Mythology Unveiled;
Kelsey Graves (1875) The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviours;
Doane, T.E. (1882) Bible Myths and their Parallels in Other
Gerald Massey (1828-1907) — The Historical Jesus and the
Graves often ignored
chronology and geography in assessing what caused what, and fabricated
much of his material. The Britannica says crucifixion was
“from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD.” Documentation
for Graves’ “sixteen crucified saviours” remains elusive. Most just
lived on; several died by arrow, burning, or bleeding. Some have cycles
of death and rebirth instead of one resurrection.
20th century critics
expanded the 19th-century framework. For example:
Robertson, J.M. (1903) Pagan Christs;
Drews, A. (1865-1935) The Christ Myth (1910);
Dujardin, E. (1938) Ancient History of the God Jesus;
Jackson, J.J. (1938) Christianity Before Christ;
Kuhn, A.B. (1880-1963) — Who is this King of Glory?
Freke, T. & Gandy, P. (1999) The Jesus Mysteries;
Harpur, T. (2004) The Pagan Christ.
D.M. Murdock writing
as Acharya S. authored:
The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold (1999);
Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled (2004);
Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (2007)
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection (2009).
Thomas Harpur —
Canadian theologian and journalist — claims the essential ideas of
Christianity came from Egyptian mythology. Harpur does not cite
contemporary Egyptologists or primary sources but depends on Higgins,
Kuhn and Massey. He calls Kuhn a “genius” whereas Kuhn was a high
school teacher who advocated Theosophy and mostly self-published.
Harpur writes: “The
180 similarities which the scholar Gerald Massey found between the
Egyptian Christ, Horus, and the Jesus of the Gospels, are there for all
to read in Massey's two-volume shocker, Ancient Egypt: The Light of the
World and in his The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ.”
the life of Christ with Krishna, Buddha, Mithra, Horus, Adonis,
Quetzalcoatl, etc and claims the similarities reflect a common source,
the myth of the sun-god.
However, since Rome
had no contact with America, any Christ/Quetzalcoatl parallels were
either copied from Christianity after the Spaniards arrived, or
All the above
critics rarely quote alleged parallels directly from Pagan texts — they
give their interpretations instead, or cite each other.
“History Lesson” listed “weird” similarities between presidents Lincoln
and Kennedy. The Internet lists scores more — search for
“Lincoln+Kennedy+Parallels” in Google.
In #74 I listed
correlations between Horus and Hitler. My correlations were “off the
cuff” yet sufficient to be surprising.
Clearly, to declare
established history myth on the basis of parallels is false reasoning.
To argue “Kennedy is recycled myth based on Lincoln”, or “Hitler is
myth based on Horus”, is stupid.
Compare any two
people: Probably they “Went to school”. Check whether the schools were
in the same city or have any other similarity. If no further parallels
are noticed we still have “Went to school”. Investigate also the two
persons’ travels, friends, interests, experiences, medical history,
accomplishments, families, beliefs, environments, etc. Did both write?
If yes then list “Writer”. If both wrote for Investigator —
good the odds
are millions to one! If not, we still have “Writer”. See the trick?
Just stop the comparison at that level of detail where the similarity
The concepts of
“similarity” and “parallel lives” are subjective. The rules of logic
don’t tell us when “similarities” are relevant and constitute evidence
for fabrication. Comparison of any two people would generate thousands
of similarities — the number is limited only by one’s imagination and
The “copycat” thesis
is absent in standard modern works such as:
The Religions of Ancient Egypt (1949);
The Religion of the Ancient East (1959);
New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology (1968);
Egyptian Mythology 1968;
Mythology An Illustrated Encyclopedia (1980);
Egypt The World of the Pharoahs (1998).
The Sacred Texts
Archives DVD-ROM has the text of thousands of ancient myths. I
the DVD for Horus/Jesus parallels in The Egyptian Book of the Dead
and Legends of the Gods (translated 1895 & 1912) but found
and therefore suspect many have been made up.
Ward Gasque (British
theologian) asked 20 Egyptologists about contributions of Kuhn, Higgins
and Massey to Egyptology and whether Harpur’s key ideas had merit such
The name of Jesus was derived from the Egyptian “Iusa”;
Horus is an Egyptian Christ and his mother, Isis, the forerunner
Horus had a virgin birth, was a fisher of men and had twelve
The letters KRST appear on Egyptian coffins and signify Christ.
Professor Kenneth A.
Kitchen of Liverpool pointed out that Kuhn, Higgins and Massey are not
mentioned in M. L. Bierbrier’s Who Was Who in Egyptology (1995)
Pratt’s bibliography on Ancient Egypt (1925/1942).
Professor of Egyptology at Toronto, pointed out that “sa” means “son”
in ancient Egyptian and “iu” means “to come” but the name “Iusa” did
not exist. “KRST” is the Egyptian word for “burial” and is unconnected
to the Greek “Christos”.
regarded the attempt to source the story of Christ’s birth in Egyptian
religion as bogus.
Most 19th century
copycat theorists were likewise fringe writers ignored by learned
societies that dealt with antiquity.
To establish NT
reliance on Pagan myth, critics would need to demonstrate quotes from
Pagan texts in the Bible but have failed.
ideologues therefore surmise that Christians acquired pagan myths not
from texts but by social interaction, and reworked the myths to make
them palatable to Jews. The idea of resurrection, however, occurs a
dozen times in the Old Testament (OT) and Christ’s death and
resurrection was foretold therein — see Investigator 120. So
leave out the supposed social connection and conclude that Christians
interpreted the OT?
Judaism accepted one
God and would have notice any incorporation of Paganism into
Christianity — but Jewish criticism didn’t take this approach.
The Bible teaches an
exclusivist faith, warns against syncretism (Colossians 2:8), and
insists on one God, one Saviour. Roman Empire mystery cults, in
contrast, were non-exclusive and members could join many cults.
still-existing NT documents are 2nd-century. But the oldest available
documents of Pagan religions are often much later. The beliefs of a
Pagan cult described in, for example, a 10th century document may
therefore differ to its 1st-century beliefs since sectarian doctrine
sometimes changes quickly. This raises the probability that it’s the
Pagans who did the plagiarizing!
Scholars and critics
often adopt biblical terminology to describe non-Christian myths and
rituals. This establishes a conceptual link but is misleading:
practiced ritual bathing but it’s not baptism, or communal meals but
it’s not “the Lord’s supper”, or had a “saviour” but different to the
The mistake is like
applying the term “President” to ancient kings — such mislabeling could
generate misleading implications.
Horus in Egyptian
mythology was the son of the gods Isis and Osiris. Acharya, relying on
Massey, claims 200 parallels with Jesus. Egyptian texts on the Sacred
Texts DVD lack many of them including:
Born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th;
Birth announced by a star, angels and three wise men;
Taught in the Temple at age 12;
Was baptized, the baptizer later beheaded;
Had 12 disciples;
Walked on water;
Was called "Iusa," the "ever-becoming son" and "Holy Child”;
Called "the KRST," or "Anointed One;"
Raised “El-Azar-us”from the dead;
Transfigured on the Mount;
Crucified between two thieves, buried three days, and resurrected;
Called "Son of Man," "Lamb of God," "Word made flesh”;
Would reign for 1000 years.
word for "beloved") was not a name but a description unconnected to
“Mary” in the Bible.
rely on word games:
“Horus raised Osirus
from the dead. He was referred to as ‘the Asar,’... Translated into
Hebrew, this is ‘El-Asar.’ The Romans added the prefix ‘us’ to indicate
a male name, producing ‘Elasarus.’ Over time, the ‘E’ was dropped and
‘s’ became ‘z,’ producing ‘Lazarus.’”
“Herodotus, the ‘father of history’…says that the priests at Thebes
told him…that the great gods of Egypt existed over 17,000 years earlier
in the oral history. These deities included Iu-em-hetep, the coming
bringer of peace. The name Iu is basic to the later name Yeshua/Jesus,
as well as to Isaac, Isaiah, and many others.”
means “laughter”, and “Jesus” corresponds to the Hebrew “Yehoshua” and
means “Jehovah is salvation” as does “Isaiah”. Drawing connections with
supposed oral history going back 17,000 years is nonsensical. The Bible
on Christ’s resurrection gives definite times, places, names and other
details that are still checkable and was accepted doctrine before 100CE.
Isis was wife to
Osiris without any claim she was a virgin. Osiris was killed and
dismembered but magically reassembled by Isis who then had intercourse
with the body and produced Horus. A story of miraculous conception, but
not of a virgin birth!
Virgin births are
attributed to Buddha and Krishna. But Buddha’s mother was married,
therefore unlikely a virgin; and Krishna was 8th-born!
Most “virgin births”
in Pagan stories were stories of gods impregnating women by sexual
intercourse. For example, Dionysius in Greece:
daughter] begged Zeus to show himself to her in his Olympian splendour.
She was unable to endure the dazzling brilliance of her divine lover…
Zeus gathered up the infant and, as it was not yet ready to be born,
enclosed it in his own thigh. When the time was come he drew it forth…”
(New Larousse Encyclopedia, p. 157)
The nearest to
“virgin birth” might be the Greek deity Adonis — “Born of a tree into
which his mother had transformed herself...” (Ibid p. 81)
The most numerous
parallels are between Jesus and the Hindu god Krishna. De Kretser
(2009) refers to “historians” — actually Graves got the ball rolling —
who “found 346 points of comparison”. I found a website which claims
“346 Striking Analogies” but lists only 133.
The Sacred Texts
includes The Vishnu Purana (translated 1840 by H.H. Wilson)
Krishna’s birth described in Book IV. Wilson says: “It is highly
probable, that of the present popular forms of the Hindu religion, none
assumed their actual state earlier than…in the eighth or ninth
There’s more about
Krishna in the Bhagavadgita which date from the 2nd century AD.
According to the NT,
the first Christian converts included Jewish visitors from Mesopotamia
and Persia. These would have spread the Christian message in the East
when they returned home. Within 30 years Jesus was known “in the whole
world”. (Colossians 1:6) The Apostle Thomas, according to tradition,
preached in India. The Council of Nicea (325CE) included a bishop who
represented the churches of Persia and India. Persia banned
Christianity c.325CE which suggests Christians were numerous enough to
be considered a threat.
The late completion
of Hindu texts and Christianity’s expansion eastwards, suggest Hinduism
copied from Christianity. The book Christ Versus Krishna (1883)
the Internet and argues: “The Brahmins…tampered the sacred records
[and] introduced a character whom they name Krishna, who was presented
to have…performed deeds similar to those which Jesus Christ performed.”
Textual evidence for
other alleged Christ-like forerunners is even more tenuous than the
above. One-time scholarly support for Baal (Canaanite deity) as
paralleling the death and resurrection of Jesus has evaporated.
Mithra was an
Iranian deity whose worship spread west and rivaled Christianity in the
3rd and 4th century Roman Empire. The originator here of parallels with
Christ was Franz Cumont (1868-1947) Professor at Ghent who authored The
Mysteries of Mithra (1902). However, texts of Roman Mithraism
the NT and Cumont’s work has lost credibility.
The Bible presents
the “Serpent” or “Satan” as the “deceiver of the whole world”, the
first and greatest liar. (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9) Genesis 3
foretells a “seed” or descendant who would eventually crush the
“Serpent”. Since no human could accomplish such a thing the prophecy
implies a combined human/god origin of that “seed” — hence a virgin
birth. This doctrine, this expectation is, according to Genesis, as old
We have then a
scenario whereby a deceitful, supernatural entity inspires numerous
miracle-birth stories even in places unconnected by trade such as
America, SE Asia and Europe, to distract people from the truth. (For
evidence of the supernatural based on anomalies in gravity, “Flatland”,
other dimensions, and unexplained psychology see Investigator 126; 125;
The copycat claim is
a conspiracy theory. It’s ignored by mainstream scholars because:
Copycat theorists rarely quote the ancient texts — they give
their interpretations or quote one another;
To overturn history with lists of subjective “parallels” is false
Many parallels have no basis — they were made up;
Applying Christian terminology to Pagan myths establishes
misleading conceptual links — in effect it assumes what has to be
The NT does not quote Pagan literature but often quotes the OT;
Many Jesus-like parallels postdate the NT — indicating Pagans
Two things existing side by side does not prove one caused the
other — correlation and similarity do not prove causation or dependence.
De Kretser, B.
Investigator 128, September 2009.
Investigator 87, November 2002.
Plimmer, M. &
King, B. 2005 Beyond Coincidence.
Sakes, L.A. 1883 Christ Versus
Krishna A Brief Comparison.
The Sacred Texts