SIX ITEMS APPEAR BELOW:

1 Brief History of Religion Part 2 De Kretser    126
2 Brief History of Religion Part 3 De Kretser    128
3 A Brief Delusion K Rogers       129
4 Christ and Mithra L Eddie          130
5 Christ and Mithra K Rogers       131
6 Jesus Versus Mythology Anonymous   129
  


BRIEF HISTORY OF RELIGION PART 2

(Investigator 126, 2009 May)


Of the major religions the most recent inventions are Christianity followed by Islam (Muhammad’s invention about 610 AD).

Christianity copied and embodied almost all from the Heathen/Pagan religions features and rituals, claiming at the same time ownership:-
1. The virgin birth.
2. Trinity.
3. Holy Ghost.
4. Miracles—like raising the dead, walking on water, etc.
5. Baptism.
6. Divine Word.
7. Atonement for sins.
8. Disciples.
9. Eucharist.
10. Commandments to followers.
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)
13. Juck-Shilluck – 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 god (Sumerian)
25. Ptar – creator god (Egypt)
26. Neteru – sky god (Egypt)
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
Institute for Research into Religions,
Darwin, Australia.  


 



A BRIEF HISTORY OF RELIGION

Part 3

(Investigator 128, 2009 September)


Christianity copied 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 saviors.

They are listed below with country and approximate dates:

1. Osiris (Egypt – 3000bc) 13. Iao (Nepal – 622bc)
2. Bel (Babylon – 1750bc) 14. Sakia (India – 600bc)
3. Atys (Phrygia, Turkey - 1700bc) 15. Alcestos-Female god (Pherae, Greece – 600bc)
4. Thulis (Egypt – 1700bc) 16. Mithra (Persia – 600bc)
5. Krishna (India – 1200bc) 17. Quexalcote (Mexico – 587bc)
6. Crite (Chaldea, Babylon – 1200bc) 18. Wittoba (Travancore, India 552bc)
7. Tammuz (Syria – 1160bc) 19. Prometheus (Greece – 547bc)
8. Dionysius (Greece – 1100bc) 20. Ixion (Rome – 400bc)
9. Hesus (Celtic Druid – 834bc) 21. Devatat (Siam - ?)
10. Quirinius (Rome – 753bc) 22. Apollonius (Tyana, Cappadocia - ?)
11. Indra (Tibet – 725bc) 23. Jesus Christ (Jewish – 33ad) —  The last recorded crucified savior
12. 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.

Several historians 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.

1.    The advent of each savior was miraculously foretold by prophets.
2.    Both came to save a sinful world.
3.    Both are considered divine saviors.
4.    Both taught that atoning for sins a necessity.
5.    In each case as a “son of god” is selected as sacrifice for atonement. (Second person of the Trinity)
6.    Both are sent down from heaven in the form of a man.
7.    Both are born of a holy virgin—Krishna of Maia, Jesus of Mary. Both born in obscure situations.
8.    Both had a miraculous conception.
9.    Both had adopted earthly fathers, both fathers carpenters.
10.    Both claimed that god was their real father, with conception by a holy ghost or spirit.
11.    Both claimed royal descent. Both born on 25th December.
12.    Both visited by wise men and shepherds led by a star.
13.    With both an incumbent ruler wants to kill him, but both saved by angel warnings.
14.    Parents flee to safety, Krishna’s to Mathura, Jesus’ to Egypt.
15.    Each had a forerunner, Krishna had Bali Rama, Jesus had John the Baptist.
16.    Both were very clever when young, teaching learned opponents.
17.    Both fasted and meditated in the wilderness.
18.    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.
19.    Both proclaim “I am the resurrection” “The way to the father” “Son of God”, etc.
20.    Both were regarded as the “Lord from Heaven” “Lord of Lords” and both claimed to be omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omni-everything.
21.    Both performed miracles, cure the sick, blind, lame, walk on water, raise the dead, cast out devils, etc.
22.    Both had disciples, apostles following them and spreading their master’s religion.
23.    Both opposed the priesthood and the established religion, and made enemies who plotted.
24.    Both had a memorable “Last Supper”.
25.    Both put to death by crucifixion with thieves on either side of them also crucified.
26.    Darkness and strange happenings accompanied each crucifixion.
27.    Each forgave their enemies before dying; both gave up the ghost and descended into hell.
28.    Both remained “dead” for 3 days (standard requirement).
29.    Both rose from the dead on the 3rd day and was seen by a selected few.
30.    Both ascend into Heaven, supposedly witnessed by many.
Brian de Kretser
Institute for Research into Religions,
Darwin, N.T.  Australia.






A Brief Delusion

Kevin Rogers

(Investigator 129, 2009 November)


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.
1)    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.

2)    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.

3)    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.

Most religions 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.

Abraham Lincoln John F Kennedy
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846 John F Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946
Abraham Lincoln won his presidential election in 1860 John F Kennedy’s won his presidential election in 1960
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on “Friday” & was shot in the head John F Kennedy’s was also assassinated on “Friday” & was shot in the head
Lincoln’s assassin was “John Wilkes Booth” and he had a 3 word name with 15 letters John F Kennedy’s alleged assassin was “Lee Harvey Oswald” with 3 words and 15 letters
John Wilkes Booth was shot and killed before being indicted or tried Lee Harvey Oswald was also shot and killed before he could be indicted or tried
Abraham Lincoln was shot in the “Ford’s Theatre” John F Kennedy’s was shot in a car made by “Ford Motors”
Abraham Lincoln’s wife was with him when he was shot John F Kennedy’s wife was also with him at the time he was shot
Abraham Lincoln successor was by Vice-President Johnson (Andrew Johnson) John F Kennedy’s successor was also named Vice-President Johnson (Lyndon B. Johnson)
Andrew Johnson was born on Thursday December 29 1808 Lyndon B Johnson was born on Thursday August 27 1908
Abraham Lincoln’s son (Edward Barker Lincoln 1850) died while he served in the White House John 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.

One post-modern 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.

Christianity is unique in a number of ways, such as:
1)    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.

2)    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 one member?






CHRIST and MITHRA

Laurie Eddie

(Investigator 130, 2010 January)



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 heal).

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, etc.

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 his death.

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.

Early Christian 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:

“The Mithraic 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. pp.  318-319).

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.

For those interested, some of the sources of the items mentioned in this list are as follows: -







Christ and Mithra

Kevin Rogers

(Investigator 131, 2010 March)


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 his claims.

Before addressing 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:

Mithraism occurred in two forms:

Persian Mithraism 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 Mithraism.

For the sake of space I will only consider the first 3 claims that Laurie made about Mithra:
1.    He was born of a virgin mother in an underground chamber or cave;
2.    At his birth shepherds came to him bringing simple gifts.
3.    He 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.

 
Figure 1: Birth of Mithra
[Here omitted]


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.

Shepherds were 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:

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.

Laurie suggested 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.

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.

Laurie suggested 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.

1. Proceedings 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.




 

JESUS Versus MYTHOLOGY

Anonymous

(Investigator 129, 2009 November)


“The demons mislead mankind by imitating the things of the true God.” (Justin Martyr 100-165)


THE CLAIM

There are critics who claim Jesus is myth fabricated by Christians who re-worked stories from Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, India, etc.

Mythological figures 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;
•    Birth announced by a heavenly display;
•    Visited by wise men;
•    Life threatened after birth by a tyrant;
•    Fasted 40 days;
•    A violent death;
•    Resurrected.
Virgin births are attributed (among others) to:
•    In Egypt, Horus from Isis*;
•    In Greece, Adonis from Myrrha; Hercules from Alcmene*;
•    In India, Buddah from Maya; Krishna from Devaki;
•    In Mexico Quetzalcoatl from Sochiquetzal; Huitzilopochtli from Coatlicue;
•    In Persia, the god Mithra*; and Zoroaster;
•    In Rome Dionysus/Bacchus from Semele*;
•    In Scandinavian, Balder from Frigga;  
•    In Tibet, Indra.
   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)


HISTORY

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 Religions;
•    Gerald Massey (1828-1907) — The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ (1886);

Graves often ignored chronology and geography in assessing what caused what, and fabricated much of his material. The Britannica says crucifixion was practiced “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? (1944);
•    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.”

Acharya parallels 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 originated independently.

All the above critics rarely quote alleged parallels directly from Pagan texts — they give their interpretations instead, or cite each other.


REFUTATION 1

Investigator 115 in “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 stops.

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 time.


REFUTATION 2

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 checked the DVD for Horus/Jesus parallels in The Egyptian Book of the Dead and Legends of the Gods (translated 1895 & 1912) but found very few, 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 as:
•    The name of Jesus was derived from the Egyptian “Iusa”;
•    Horus is an Egyptian Christ and his mother, Isis, the forerunner of Mary;
•    Horus had a virgin birth, was a fisher of men and had twelve disciples;
•    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) or I.B. Pratt’s bibliography on Ancient Egypt (1925/1942).

Ron Leprohan, 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”.

The Egyptologists 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.


REFUTATION 3

To establish NT reliance on Pagan myth, critics would need to demonstrate quotes from Pagan texts in the Bible but have failed.

Some copycat 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 why not 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.

The oldest 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!


REFUTATION 4

Scholars and critics often adopt biblical terminology to describe non-Christian myths and rituals. This establishes a conceptual link but is misleading:

Many religions 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 biblical “messiah”.

The mistake is like applying the term “President” to ancient kings — such mislabeling could generate misleading implications.


HORUS

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;
•    Exorcised demons;
•    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.

“Meri” (Egyptian word for "beloved") was not a name but a description unconnected to “Mary” in the Bible.

Some similarities 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.’”

Harpur writes: “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.”

Actually “Isaac” 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.


VIRGIN BIRTH

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:
“Semele [a king’s 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)


KRISHNA

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 DVD includes The Vishnu Purana (translated 1840 by H.H. Wilson) with 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 century.”

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) is on 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.”


OTHERS

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 postdate the NT and Cumont’s work has lost credibility.


SUPERNATURAL ORIGIN?

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 as humanity.

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; 104; 102.)


CONCLUSION

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 reasoning;
•    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 proven;
•    The NT does not quote Pagan literature but often quotes the OT;
•    Many Jesus-like parallels postdate the NT — indicating Pagans copied Christianity;
•    Two things existing side by side does not prove one caused the other — correlation and similarity do not prove causation or dependence.


REFERENCES:

De Kretser, B. Investigator 128, September 2009.

Eddie, L. Investigator 87, November 2002.

Plimmer, M. & King, B. 2005 Beyond Coincidence.

Sakes, L.A. 1883 Christ Versus Krishna A Brief Comparison.

The Sacred Texts DVD-ROM.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz-Cumont

http://hnn.us/articles/6641.html

www.acampbell.ukfsn.org/bookreviews/r/freke-gandy.html

www.amazon/gp/pdp/profile/A14IPV60DIYECH

www.americanvision.org/article/a-very-strikingcover/

www.bobkwebsite.com/belmythvjesusmyth/html

www.bringyou.to/apologetics/ParallelChristPaganSavior.htm

www.datehookup.com/Thread-318602.htm

www.messianiccart.com/chazak/yeshua/paganparallelsvirginbirth.htm

www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Tom-Harpur

www.tektonics.org/harpur01.html

www.thedevineevidence.com/pagan_copycat_krishna.html

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_myth_theory


http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/

http://ed5015.tripod.com/