Has Christianity really "borrowed" most of it's beliefs from other ancient religions?
I need real proof, because this question has been nagging on in my head for quite some time.
Yes (And why)
Side Score: 91
No (And why)
Side Score: 56
lol, oh jeez
Well I'll start with the very things Christians believe absolutely to be true about their own religion and its origins then move on to Pagans once I establish a point. Think about it as if Christianity hasn't been ingrained into every aspect of our society, and you're just hearing this for the first time...
There was a group of enslaved people, the Jews, in Egypt and they would tell each other stories how some god was going to save them. Okay. Fast forward and they're still getting fucked over in the Middle East, stories continue. Apparently Jesus was born... but wait. What about the Jews? Apparently walking on water and turning it into wine wasn't their idea of salvation. "Nope, not the savior." They continued.
Fast forward a couple thousand years and like 80% of non-Jewish white people are their old religion.
So at the very least, sometime later gentiles "stole" the Jewish religion and made it their own... with some sweet pagan additions (I'm not even including Christmas).
Now, let's get on to the story about Jesus. Let's play "NAME THAT MESSIAH!"
For 1000 points...
Who was considered the son of God, was a savior, he was born of a virgin, had twelve disciples, was crucified, rose from the grave the third day, atoned for the sins of humankind, then returned to his father in heaven? TICK TOCK TICK TOCK TICK TOCK
Ding. Ding. Ding. Time.
Did you say Jesus? I'm sorry, that's wrong. The first Messiah to do all of that, fucking exactly that, was Mithra, a pagan god and the center of Mithriasm in ancient Greek. Mithriasm is actually an adoption of Zoroastrianism, a much older religion. Mithra did all of this around 1500 BCE according to legend and the religion survived until well into the Roman Empire's dominance meaning... Uh, oh. Stories of Mithra would have abounded about the time Jews were slaves and all through the first years of the AD's, when Jesus was out and about.
So... is it possible two Messiahs visited earth 1500 years apart and did the exact thing but for different religions and different people?
Is it a coincidence a pagan religion just happened to have predicted exactly what the all powerful Christian god was going to do 1500 years later?
Or is it all some mix up where different people adopt different religious stories over time? Who would do that... ooh, oops. We already established Christians did that at least once to the Jews.
The argument against Christianity stealing this goes like this:
No, no, no, that was a pagan religion, they don't worship like Christians and have all kinds of different beliefs that are strange to us."
What they cannot dispute though, is that Mithra's story was written exactly as described 1500 or so years before, no matter what rituals surrounded this phenomenon. Jesus is Mithra reinvented for a new religion.
Maybe in 1500 years the Flying Spaghetti Monster will have been born from a virgin, crucified, risen, etc, etc, etc.
Side: Yes (And why)
I agree with your position but I feel compelled to dispute your claims about Mithras. It’s true that the Romans believed in such a deity, and that Mithras was mentioned frequently in Zoroastrianism, but the correlations you’ve mentioned between Mithras and Jesus go against what I’ve researched when I was trying to test the truth of an old internet film I watched years ago called Zeitgeist: the Movie (it seemed to good to be true, and apparently it was as far as I’ve seen). I won’t say that no evidence exists to support your claim just that I was unable to find any after many days of digging. If it wasn’t as hard for you to find a good source to support those claims, I would absolutely love to see it.
There were a few similarities that I found, but not enough for me personally to consider them substantial, for instance, Mithras was referred to as a type of savior and ‘messenger’ (prophet?) in Zoroastrian literature, as well as the ‘sun’ of God, being a deity of light he was also commonly referred to as ‘the Truth,’ or ‘the Light,’ and his birth was celebrated on December 25th (something that has already been accepted by many scholars in theology to not have its origins in Christianity but in sun worship as being the death and birth of the sun).The reason I don’t believe there to be any serious parallel with Jesus is because Mithras wasn’t born from a virgin (unless you consider being born straight from stone a virgin birth), wasn’t a son of God, wasn’t crucified, wasn’t resurrected as well as other dissimilarities incongruent with the claims made by the Zeitgeist movie.
It’s never to the extent claimed as far as I have seen with the supposed parallels between Jesus and other prophets or gods, but considering that there are in fact many similarities to Jesus spread out among several predating deities, it is possible that the creation of him was an attempt to unify the people in the roman empire by combining aspects of different people’s prophets, but this is merely conjecture on my part.
Like I said, I personally agree with your position, but for other reasons. I am willing to believe that there is a truth to the matter of Christianity borrowing (more like outright blaspheming or unknowingly being influenced by) beliefs from other religions, and that there is people out there who would be perfectly willing to burn, smash, and destroy any evidence of this instead of displaying it to free the minds of millions of spoon fed Christians, but that is not me, it’s just that what you said about Mithras is probably not the best example, and I think you could make a stronger and more supportable argument.
One could simply point out the fact that Christianity claims to be a Judeo/Abrahamic religion, but misinterprets and adds contradictory elements to the original Hebrew canon. They qualify it all by claiming that Jesus changed the religion in his “new covenant,” while the bible specifically points out that this Jesus said “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” – Mat 5:17
Side: Yes (And why)
it is possible that the creation of him was an attempt to unify the people in the roman empire by combining aspects of different people’s prophets, but this is merely conjecture on my part.
Funny, that was sort of my guess, considering the timing of the rise of Christianity in Rome and that Mithriasm was primarily the religion of the military. I have nothing to base that on but my imagination though, it would be interesting if historians had some record indicating that was the case.
As for the exaggeration to the number of similarities, unfortunately the only conflicting reports about the description of Mithra I was able to find was put forth by very, very Christian sites... I mean the kind that might say the earth is flat any second. If you can find an unbiased source that conflicts with the records of the story of Mithra I'd be happy to read it.
Side: Yes (And why)
Chances are if you did research online you found Christian mis-information sites, the same way Christians have an online media campaign lying about things like abortion, religions other than christianity, evolution and "relics" of things like Noah's ark and different Jesus artifacts, they pretty much try to bury anything about the eerie resemblance between Mithra (or Mithras, they've been called both) or to disseminate contradicting information.
The virgin birth is from an older artistic depiction, from BCE. The images of him emerging from a rock were later, sometime early A.D. Also, I forgot to mention, there was a Persian Magi present in the depiction, similar to wise men.
But even ignoring the early depictions for Mithra, Horus is still before Jesus, and even Christian's dangerously overwhelming influence of what facts are available they have not been yet able to bury that Isis was a virghin. So, okay, that part was a copy of Horus, also an Egyptian god from the same time.
And D.M. Murdock's research is actually pretty comprehensive, as is Graves.
Side: Yes (And why)
Of course Christianity is a fabricated religion, based on myths borrowed from other religions and beliefs. There is no human culture in the world that does not have a set of beliefs they have adopted from old stories or things they view or witness around them. Travel to the deepest darkest parts of the world, and if you can find a people that no one has ever influenced, they will have a God or Gods they believe in, along with a set of myths. Every people, including the Israelite tribes have borrowed and also invented myths to make themselves immortal as well as to be better than other tribes or other people. There may be a God, but he would not be so shallow as to be connected to any man made religion, and they are ALL man made. That is why scripture sanctions murder, rape and slavery... because the myths they borrowed from also believed in murder, rape and slavery. If God were invented all over today, with a new Son of God, these figures would have much higher moral standards than the bible has.
Side: Yes (And why)
Well think about this, Jesus was not born on the twenty-fifth of December. The date known as "Christmas" was once the beginning of a Pagan holiday to celebrate a harvest that usually came around that time. To my knowledge his birth date was not actually recorded in any holy book.
Though I already knew it: http://www.essortment.com/
Side: Yes (And why)
I'm not going to get too in-depth with this argument, as a lot has been said; but Christmas is always something I like to share with my friends and family. The Christmas celebration, omitting the celebration of Jesus Christ's "birthday." First of all, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th, a common time to celebrate Yule which is one of three holy nights during Yuletide (the other two being Mother Night which precedes Yule and Twelfth Night which takes place on the last night of Yuletide). The "twelve days of Christmas" also has its origins in the twelve days of Yuletide that pagans celebrated. Most importantly, the whole legend of Santa Claus was borrowed from Heathens by Christians who also added their story of Saint Nicolas. Heathens believed that Odin led a huge Yule hunting party through the sky while riding his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. Children would place baskets of carrots and such for Sleipnir to eat by their chimney and then Odin would reward the kindness of the children with sweets and gifts.
Side: Yes (And why)
It is true that Christianity is based in several different religions, just read the DiVinci code. Still, the only reason for this is because the Roman Government wanted to change to Christianity and to do so they had to adopt some traditions from already existing religions.
Side: Yes (And why)
Yes. I will give you best evidence ( which i have read). Even the name "christ (KRISt)" was derived from "Krishna" from hinduism. Krishna was the most famous and well-known personality all over world. He is also depicted in many greek sculptures and writings.
Side: Yes (And why)
Here is some evidence on this website that proves that Christianity didn't borrow most of it's beliefs from other ancient religions. I encourage all of you to read this because it is factual information to me. I have read it over and over and I think it is true.
Supporting Evidence: Is Christianity borrowed from other Religions? (www.fredsbibletalk.com)
Side: No (And why)
Personally I would like to see a non-Christian academic source with peer review. I’m not surprised that a Christian blog would try to disprove any correlation between its holy figure and other pre-dated deities, but I will humor you and read the article later and come back with a proper retort.
Side: Yes (And why)
Ok, so I took the time to read the article you presented.
My first question, which you may or may not be able to answer, is who the fuck is “Chaz?”
From the blog:
Christianity is a faith grounded in history.
“Which history” is what is currently up for debate here.
In other words, the second person of the real Triune God, became a real man named Jesus, who lived in a real period of human history, walked a real geographic area, and performed real signs and wonders to demonstrate His claims of deity.
That's a lot of “in other words,” and it’s hard to discern how the Blogger interpreted all this from the simple claim that “Christianity is a faith grounded in history.” Sounds like he has a lot of practice in misinterpreting things and outright adding things that were not in any way implied, maybe he’s a preacher.
This real, historical person Jesus, then gave Himself up to be falsely executed so as to die on a real cross so as to ransom a people from the penalty of their sin.
The historicity of Jesus is debatable considering the New Testament is the only historical ‘proof’ of his actual existence. And he didn’t ‘give himself up’ according to the bible, he was betrayed by one of his followers, inevitably so it would seem, considering that also according to the bible Jesus was a sacrifice from God meaning that Jesus had little to no choice in the matter.
He really resurrected from the dead 3 days after His execution, and will really return to judge the world at His historical second coming. There is nothing "mythical" about the person and work of Jesus Christ.
If there was undisputable evidence for this, there would be nothing to debate. The Blogger offers none whatsoever.
The idea that Christianity is a religion based upon composite myths and stories borrowed, or stolen, from other ancient religions is rather new in literary studies. The first critics who speculated about the "Jesus myths" began to write in the mid-1800s.
That’s pretty vague. And it was actually the mid-1700s, but who’s counting?
Many of them were the product of the atheistic enlightenment which attempted to displace the influence of the Christian church in western society.
Yes, and this is something they struggle with to this day unfortunately, along with some theists I might add. But we are gaining ground. The more people look into the history of their own religion, the more eyes are opened. "and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." I know nothing more liberating than denouncing an oppressive religion.
First of all, it is true mystery religions flourished throughout the ancient world around the 1st century. Yet, the one place where they were not only uncommon, but also rejected, was Israel. The practice of pagan mystery religions were non-existent in ancient Palestine.
Simply untrue, the area of Israel was controlled by the Romans during the time that Jesus is speculated to have existed. The Romans weren’t Christian or Jewish, they primarily followed an adapted version of Zoroastrianism adding Greek concepts, it was called Roman Mithraism.
Not only that, but during the time of Jesus, Greece was a very prominent culture due to foreign trade and it would be foolish to think that their religious beliefs didn't spread accordingly. The trade language during the time Jesus is said to live was Greek and there are some historians who predict that if there were an orator such as Jesus, it would be understandable to assume he spoke Greek considering the amount of different people with different languages he would have spoken to. http://www.ntgreek.org/answers/
Christianity is Jewish in origin
Very questionable . If this is true, then why is it that both religions teach different meanings on the same religious concepts? The concepts of angels, hell, heaven, afterlife in general, Satan, the messiah, and even the concept of God are completely different in Judaism as they appear in Christianity. Some of the concepts I mentioned aren’t even contained in Jewish teaching which would lead me to believe the doctrines were invented by Christians or borrowed from another religion predominant at the time, not Judaism.
It is absurd to think that in the incubator of OT monotheism where Christianity was born and firmly rooted, that the main components of the faith were myths and symbols borrowed from a variety of pagan mystery religions that didn't even exist in the same country.
That is not the claim being proposed. It is not the ‘incubator of OT monotheism’ that is being challenged, it is Christianity.
I don’t even feel like its beneficial in pointing these things out, I get the feeling that they will fall on deaf ears, so I’m just not even going to continue unless you want to point something out of the article specifically.
There are so many unsupported ridiculous claims in that blog that even an apologist would scoff at it. The person who wrote it is damn lucky that he didn’t give the option for publicly viewed comments below, otherwise there may be a lot less ignorant people believing the garbage he wrote.
Side: Yes (And why)
Actually, there is very little evidence in the blog post. There are a few slight arguments, and proof that a small number of those speaking against Christianity were wrong, but it does not prove the question in hand.
I agree with what's written there, mostly, Jesus was a real person and he did walk the earth, certain things like that are definitely historical accurate, but that's not the question. It's not about the validity of the bible (which was scantily argued at best), it's about the origin of the ideas within it.
And the source is also hugely ridiculous, in other parts of his blog he claims that Christianity isn't homophobic (it just thinks its wrong), that Noah's ark is absolutely possible (many Christians accept it as a fable not fact, and science has proven that that much water can't just appear, and especially not in 40 days).
Side: Yes (And why)
I agree with what's written there, mostly, Jesus was a real person and he did walk the earth, certain things like that are definitely historical accurate
Are you sure? There is a dispute between Christian and Secular groups, not about the divinity of Jesus, but of the historicity of Jesus.
Considering the ‘historical’ evidence we have to go off of is the bible, and many historians don’t consider it to be reliable, I can see why there would be a debate on this.
I think the best bet we would have of having a non Christian historical source would be through the administrative records of Pontius Pilate, but they are nonexistent for the most part.
Side: No (And why)
Dude, religions borrow off of each other, that's just how it goes. The tree of life is a good example of a myth that has been passed between traditions... Or the virgin birth, that is all over the place. Moses being sent down a river in a basket, that's a copy as well. Jesus even says that he is related to the morning star (The Bible actually says that Lucifer is the son of the morning star). The morning star is the planet Venus, which is a Roman goddess.
It's okay to be a Christian, but you should at least acknowledge that the Bible isn't 100% accurate.
Side: Yes (And why)
This theory has been around since the mid 1800s and has been brought up, quashed, and brought up again despite the fact that scholars have been able to prove it false again and again. This begs the question as to why, why do certain individuals/groups continuously try to push this nonsense out into public eye? I think the answer is simply that this is a desperate ploy to attempt to discredit the source of Christianity. The most Christianity's opponents have been able to speak against it is by simple ridicule but as long as they would continue to admit the existence of Jesus of Nazareth the harder it is for them to dispute his claim to divinity...so they tried to take a short cut and make it appear that he never existed.
The downfall of these Christ mythers is that they have to have a really good poker face and hope, or dare I say pray, that nobody tries to check their information sources and simply accepts their word as truth regardless of how far fetched it seems.
Side: No (And why)
I read something recently which made me laugh...an "established and respected" religious scholar made her argument against the considered possibility that Mary Magdalene did actually give birth to Jesus' child and, with her entourage (given that she was of nobility) fled to Europe by saying "I find this notion to be very far fetched". Ha ha, amazing that she expects me, an everyday person to believe that a man was born of a virgin, his father is an entity who lives in the sky, he walked on water, healed the half-dead, turned a couple of fishes into a feast by magic and then when all were convinced that he had died, came back to life and went to live in the sky with his Dad. All this was done to "save" people? Yeah, right.
I do actually believe that Jesus existed, as did Mary Magdelene and all the diciples, but I believe there was no spirituality involved, he was a man who stood for the people under their opression from the Romans. Christianity was invented by Emperor Constantine as a way of controlling/uniting the common man in Rome's empire.
Catholicism has controlled, terrified and robbed the simple, common man.
Side: No (And why)
How come almost everybody on the "yes" side point to Mithris. Those who make the Mithris comparison commit a common fallacy. They see something in the Mithris myth, then using Christian terms, say "see" Christianity is just like the Mithris myth. An example with help. Those in the yes side say, "Mithris had 12 disciples." This appears to be based on a painting (not a writing) that shows Mithris surrounded by 12 signs of the Zodiac. Ok, how in the heck does that translate to 12 disciples? It only does in the minds of people who are really stretching things to make their argument work. If you would like a reputable source, check out the Encyclopedia of World Religions. Furthermore, for the few myths that were actually written down, go ahead and read them, then compare them with the Bible. Almost no historical facts are given. Contrast that with the New Testament. People are identified, places given, leaders named. The Bible reads as a history, and has external facts that can, and have often been verified. Finally, scholars are finding the reverse is often true: other religions have often borrowed or adapted their beliefs to Christianity.
Side: No (And why)
If atheists would actually do their homework before they repeat supposed 'facts' just because the person who spoke it was an atheist, this 'argument' would not exist.
Was Jesus just a copy of Horus? Horus was born from Isis and Osiris, using Biblical terms, "knowing" each other. Horus merged with Ra, which makes it impossible for Horus to die or be resurrected.
What about Mithras? He was born out of a rock, not of a virgin. There is no record of him having 12 disciples or dying.
If anyone out there can provide me with a scholarly link that claims that Jesus was a copy, I would really like to see it. Until then, I will stick with the scholars on this one.
Side: No (And why)
There was actually a movie called Zeitgeist and in one half of the movie it made the exact claim as the assertion as the title of this debate. D.M. Murdock was cited 31 times during this movie. Murdock's works were called into question by numerous people, heck a website was even brought up asking for accurate sources to support her claims and offering a reward to anyone who could.
The aforementioned website is linked to this post and the reward is still available.
Supporting Evidence: Zeitgeist challenge (zeitgeistchallenge.com)
Side: No (And why)
Let's explore the alleged parallels between Jesus and Attis:
1. Attis was born on December 25th of the Virgin Nana.
While many gods have their birth dates celebrated on December 25th (including Jesus, though this date is not ascribed to his birth in any biblical writing), Attis’ birthday has never been celebrated on December 25th. While Attis was conceived non-sexually, no texts make the claim that Nana was a virgin.
2. He was considered the savior who was slain for the salvation of mankind.
Attis was not a savior and was never recognized as one. There are various versions of how he died. In most of them, he commits suicide by emasculating himself under a tree. Even in the ones in which he is slain (in one version Zeus sends a boar to kill him, in another a king rapes and murders Attis), it's not for the salvation of mankind in any sense.
3. His body as bread was eaten by his worshippers.
His followers had a ceremony in which they ate bread and drank either wine or milk, but neither was recognized as being symbolic in any way of Attis’ body.
4. His priests were "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven."
They were eunichs, but nowhere does it state that they emasculated themselves “for the kingdom of heaven”.
5. He was both the Divine Son and the Father.
Actually, in the most common version of the story, Attis was the grandson of Zeus. His father was an androgynous creature named Agdistis who was disliked by the gods, including his father Zeus. In other versions, Attis had human parents. Attis’ name appears to mean ‘father’ and he was a consort of Cybele, the mother goddess. But Attis had no children and was never recognized as any sort of symbolic father figure. So other than his name meaning father (which is of no parallel to Jesus), there's nothing to this claim other than his being a descendent of a god.
6. On "Black Friday," he was crucified on a tree, from which his holy blood ran down to redeem the earth.
Attis died under a tree, and shed blood which made flowers. Of course, the 'tree' Jesus died on was a crucifix, not an actual tree. There is no reference anywhere to Attis dying on a Friday (of any color), being crucified, or redeeming the Earth.
7. He descended into the underworld.
That he did. But again, this was almost certainly influenced by Christian writings.
8. After three days, Attis was resurrected on March 25th (as tradition held of Jesus) as the "Most High God."
There is no reference to Attis being resurrected. In one version, Agdistis (Attis’ father) asks Zeus to resurrect Attis, but Zeus merely makes it so that Attis’ finger moves continuously and his body remains uncorrupted. Attis does not come back to life in this, or any, version of the story. Also, this story dates to 150 A.D. at the earliest.
9. Doane is recorded as saying that Attis was represented as a "a man tied to a tree, at the foot of which was a lamb, and, without doubt also as a man nailed to a tree..."
Doane said no such thing. He did record a story in which an unnamed Phrygian flute player is tied to a tree after losing a fluting contest and is flayed alive. But the flute player was not Attis, there was no lamb in the story, and he wasn’t nailed to the tree. Note that the story of the flute player resembles the story of Marsyas, another figure falsely compared to Jesus.
10. Jackson is reported as saying that on March 22nd, a pine tree was felled and "an effigy of the god was affixed to it, thus being slain and hung on a tree..." Later the priests are supposed to have found Attis' grave empty.
First of all, Jackson reported this as happening in 354 A.D., over 3 centuries after Jesus’ death. And this was representative of Attis’ death under the tree (they affixed it only so that they could carry the tree without the effigy being left behind). And Jackson reported nothing about finding Attis’ grave empty
Courtesy of the OVID, METAMORPHOSES (written well before Christianity)
Supporting Evidence: OVID, METAMORPHOSES 10 (www.theoi.com)
Side: No (And why)
What about the supposed parallels between Jesus and Dionysus?
1. Dionysus was born of a virgin on December 25th and, as the Holy Child, was placed in a manger.
Actually, his birth was always celebrated on January 6th. Also, his mother, Semele, was impregnanted sexually by Zeus. He was never referred to as the "Holy Child" or placed in a manger in any version of the story. See Diodorus Siculus: Library Of History: Zeus And Semele
2. His birth was announced with a heavenly display and celestial music.
I can find no reference to either, and there is no "celestial music" in the Jesus story.
3. He was a traveling teacher who performed miracles.
This is true. However, this phrase loses any similarities with Jesus when we deal with the specifics of what Dionysus did. Jesus traveled in a limited area, while Dionysus supposedly traveled to most of the known world (including Greece, Persia and Arabia). Jesus' miracles were healings and such - all positive miracles. Dionysus' miracles were judgments against those who defied him.
4. He "rode in a triumphal procession on an ass" and "is often pictured astride a donkey, which carries him to meet his passion" a scene re-enacted with crowds "shout[ing] the praises of Dionysus and wav[ing] bundles of branches."
This claim mixes two things, one semi-valid, one invalid. Dionysus was dipicted riding a donkey while a crowd waved ivy branches - the typical homecoming for any royal figure. The crowd welcoming Jesus to Jerusalem were imitating this sort of homecoming, though using the traditional palm branches of Israel. So while this could be called a sort of imitation, it's an imitation committed by the people in the story itself, not by any writer, and had nothing to do with Dionysus in particular. The latter quotes come from the book "The Jesus Mysteries" by Freke and Gandy. Their only reference is to a depiction of a scene from Orphic eschatology which, oddly, has nothing to do with Dionysus.
5. He was a sacred king killed and eaten in a eucharistic ritual for fecundity and purification.
There exists an unofficial story (that is, not part of the general understanding of the Dionysus story) in which he is, as an infant, attacked by Titans who eat everything but his heart. Zeus destroys the Titans, and restores Dionysus from the remaining heart. Who would call the Jesus story a 'copycat' of that story? Taking this 'similarity' apart, yes, Dionysus was killed. His actual body was eaten, but since Jesus' body was not (the eating of Jesus' body is a metaphorical thing), this is not a comparison. Also, Dionysus wasn't eaten in any sort of ritual for fecundity or purification. In fact, the eating of Dionysus is clearly a bad thing (unlike the eating of Jesus' body) and is punished by death. Also, he wasn't a sacred king. The king was Zeus, not Dionysus.
6. Dionysus rose from the dead on March 25th.
Nowhere is the date of March 25th given in any Dionysus story. The date of his "resurrection" after his murder by the Titans is given as November 8th (and as shown in the above answer, this story is hardly similar to the story of Jesus' resurrection and is an unofficial story anyways). There is an ancient reference to Dionysus being "a god who renews himself and returns every year rejuvenated", but this doesn't involve death. Besides that, Jesus didn't rise from the dead on March 25th either. While an exact date is not given, most scholars believe that His crucifixion happened no earlier than March 28th, making His resurrection no earlier than March 30th.
7. He was the God of the Vine, and turned water into wine.
Dionysus was indeed "the God of the Vine". However, Jesus wasn't.
The earliest possible reference to Dionysus turning water into wine was by Achilles Tatius in the Greek Romance, "The Adventures of Leucippe and Clitophon" which was written in the 2nd century A.D. It mentions a Tyranian myth about Dionysus introducing wine to the world, with Dionysus calling it "the water of summer" and saying "This is the water, this is the spring". It's not clear whether this a real Tyranian myth being mentioned here (in which case it may be pre-Christian) or just something Tatius was inventing for the purposes of this story. Either way, Dionysus is not actually turning water into wine, but simply calling the wine a type of water. And we cannot reliably date this myth to any earlier than the second century A.D.
8. He was called "King of Kings" and "God of Gods."
Nope. These would be odd titles to give Dionysus, his being the son of Zeus, who is the main God in the Greek religion. The titles would only fit Zeus himself, and even he was never referred to by either of these titles.
9. He was considered the "only Begotten Son," "Savior," "Redeemer," "Sin Bearer," "Anointed One," and the "Alpha and Omega", and "Lord God of God born"
Of these, Dionysus is only referred to as 'savior'. And in the context in which he is referred to 'savior', he is saving people from the wrath of Pentheus, not from sin or eternal damnation. So even this is hardly a comparison to Jesus.
10. He was identified with the Ram or Lamb.
In one version, he is born with horns on his head like that of a ram. That's the only mention of a ram in any Dionysus literature, and doesn't compare to Jesus' story at all.
11. His sacrificial title of "Dendrites" or "Young Man of the Tree" intimates he was hung on a tree or crucified.
This was no a 'sacrificial' title in any sense. He was simply called 'Young Man of the Tree'. How does that suggest he was hung on a tree or crucified?
12. At his trial, Dionysus is described by Freke and Gandy as "a quiet stranger with long hair and a beard who brings a new religion."
Dionysus was hardly quiet before King Pentheus, but engaged in quite a bit of dialogue with him. As for "long hair and a beard", most men wore both in those days. In fact, the Bible says nothing about Jesus having long hair or a beard. We only assume He did because they were common for middle-eastern Jews in those days.
13. He offers his followers the chance to be born again through the rites of baptism.
Nope. The followers of Dionysus never claimed to be 'born again' and their 'baptism' had to do with waving a fan above their heads, not submersing them in water.
14. His followers await his return as the judge during the Last Days.
This is not true of any version of the Dionysus story.
I had to go to a few resources for this all of which are pre-Christian dating anywhere from 2nd to 7th century BCE.
Side: No (And why)
Lastly we have Krishna, I thought finding a copy of the Vedas might be hard but it turns out that it was quite simple:
1. Born of a Virgin on December 25
Since, according to legend, Krishna had seven older siblings, it's unlikely his mother, Devaki, was a virgin (and there's no tradition saying she was). According to Krisna World, Krishna was born on the "8th day of the dark half of the month of Sravana. This corresponds to July 19th 3228 BC." I've seen other sites say he was born in August. Skeptic Acharya S makes the claim that Krishna was born of a virgin in the book "The Christ Conspiracy", but her footnotes for this merely say that "The orthodox legend of Krishna is that he was born of a married woman, Devaki; but like Maya, Buddha's mother, she was considered to have had a miraculous conception." How does having a miraculous conception equate to her being a virgin?
Manali says "The reason this gets mentioned as a point of similarity, I guess, is not to point that mothers in both cases were a virgin. And its not said anywhere that Devaki the mother of Krishna was a virgin. I think the point of similarity is that like Jesus, Krishna was not Devaki's child, but son of god, whom she conceived miraculously."
I agree that their both being conceived miraculously is a point of similarity, but the Christ-myther claim of Krishna being "born of a virgin on December 25" is still not true on either point.
2. His human father was a carpenter
No, his human father (his only father, for that matter) was a man named Vasuveda. I have found no sources suggesting that he was a carpenter. I even did internet searches on the combination of "Vasuveda" and "Carpenter" in Google, Yahoo and Infoseek, and got no hits except for articles written about Krishna by people whose last names were 'Carpenter'. In fact, he was most likely a dairy farmer.
3. Father was off paying taxes when Krishna was born
No, his father, Vasuveda, was in prison with his mother when Krishna was born.
4. Birth was signaled by a star in the East
I've found no mention of this in any Krishna story.
5. Birth was attended by angels and shepherds, was presented with spices
I found this site, written by a follower of Krishna, which gives the story of the birth of Krishna, and even makes some general comparisons between Krishna and Jesus (that they were both born of a woman, born in this world and were 'God-on-Earth'), yet it mentions nothing about angels, shepherds, or spices. I haven't found such comparisons anywhere else, either. Manali points out that Krishna was visited by cowherds after his birth, since his family was in the dairy business.
6. A ruling tyrant ordered the slaughtering of thousands of infants upon hearing of Krishna's birth
While there is a parallel here, it's not the one the critics claim. Devaki's brother, Kansa, was told by a voice from Heaven that Devaki's 8th child would kill him. So he put Devaki and Vasuveda in a cell, so that he would be able to kill their children as they were born. Krishna is freed from prison through divine intervention, and Devaki tries to track him down. According to Manali, "after Kansa failed to kill Krishna, and came to know that the baby has been born and is living somewhere, he called upon his army to search the entire city of Mathura and its suburbs, to find and kill all the infants born in the same period as Krishna. Thus he ended up killing several infants, and there are several stories of how miraculously Krishna as a baby escaped the killings." So it was "several" infants, not thousands. Also, the number of infants killed by Herod when he found out about Jesus couldn't have been much more than about twenty according to most scholars, so it wasn't "thousands" there, either. So replace "thousands of" with "several" in the claim, and there is a parallel. However, the earliest version of this story in the Krishna tradition probably dates from the 4th to 6th century A.D., well after the Jesus story had been in circulation. Some date the Krishna story as early as 2nd century A.D., but even this is after the Gospel accounts were written.
7. Was anointed with oil on the head by a woman he healed
I can't find any such incident in any version of the Krishna story.
8. Was depicted as having his foot on the head of a snake
Again, this cannot be found in any version of the story.
9. Worked miracles: raised the dead, healed lepers, healed the deaf, healed the blind
He worked miracles, but I have yet to find any references to his raising the dead, or healing lepers, the deaf or the blind. Acharya S has no footnotes for this claim, so apparently she can't find the references, either.
10. Taught in parables
One of the Hindu followers who responded says he knows the Krishna story very well, and he says that Krishna did not use parables.
11. Krishna lived poor and loved the poor
The two Hindu followers who responded to this page disagree slightly on this. The first one said that "Krishna never lived as a poor person. The Yadav Caste (of which Krishna was a member) are dairy farmers, and, since milk is an important commodity, they have always been quite wealthy by Indian standards". The second responder, Manali, says that "Krishna did live poor during parts of his childhood, when he was under the care of foster parents. When Kansa's reign ended and he was welcomed back into the royal family, he never lived poor again."
But when we say that Jesus "lived poor", we're talking about his entire life, childhood and adulthood, so this isn't a comparison. Besides that, many people throughout history have lived poor and loved the poor, it's not hard to believe that Krishna and/or Jesus may have been among them.
12. Castigated the clergy and charged them with hypocrisy and ambition.
Again, not found in any version.
13. Was transfigured in front of his disciples
Again, not found in any version
14. Gave his disciples the ability to work miracles
15. Krishna's path was "strewn with branches"
16. Some traditions held that he was crucified between two thieves
Critics claim this, but never back it up. The only method of demise that I can find is his being shot in the foot by a hunter's arrow, and then either died or disappeared. If anyone out there can give me an example of a tradition in which he is crucified, please let me know. Acharya S's footnote on this one makes claims about other mythological figures being crucified, but makes no mention of Krishna being crucified.
The forementioned Jacolliot does make the claim of Krishna being affixed to a tree with arrows after he was killed, but doesn't mention anything about two thieves, and since Krishna was already dead and no crucifix was involved, this was hardly a crucifixion. And no one has ever been able to back up Jacolliot's claim, anyway, making it likely fraudulent. And even if not fraudulent, this story postdates Christianity by over 1800 years and was thus certainly influenced by Christianity.
17. Was killed around 30 yrs old and the sun darkened at his death
According to tradition, Krishna was 125 when he died. Only off by 95 years! And there's nothing about the sun darkening at his death.
18. Rose from the dead and ascended to heaven
The closest parallel comes in some later versions in which Krishna's body turned into a log-like image which floated around the East coast of India, finally ending up in a temple in the town of Puri. But he neither rose from the dead or ascended to Heaven.
19. Was depicted on a cross with nail-holes in his feet.
Only in post-Christian times.
20. Was called: Shepherd of God, Redeemer, Firstborn, Sin-Bearer, Liberator, and Universal Word
He was called the "Shepherd God" (though not "Shepherd OF God"), only because, unlike Jesus, he actually WAS a shepherd. Jesus was a shepherd only metaphorically. I cannot find any record of the other names.
21. Was deemed: Our Lord and Savior and Son of God, who came to earth to die for the salvation of man
He was never referred to by these titles.
22. Was the second person of a trinity
Sort of. The first Hindu follower who responded to this site states, "That Krishna is an avtar of Vishnu would make him the second god of the Hindu threesome". However, he also acknowledges that the form of the threesome has changed over the years, and besides that, "The Hindu threesome cannot be equated even remotely with the Christian trinity." The Hindu trinity is three separate beings, not the three-in-one of the Christian trinity.
23. Was called: Jezeus/Jeseus by his disciples
The source for this appears to be the forementioned Jacolliot, and thus postdates Christianity. Besides that, remember that Jesus' Hebrew name was Yeshua. Jesus is only the English pronunciation. So even if true, this one is essentially meaningless.
24. Krishna will return to judge the dead and will do battle with the "Prince of Evil." The Earth will be desolated.
This is another claim originating with Jacolliot and cannot be dated to earlier than the 19th century. Nor is it backed up by any evidence besides Jacolliot's claim.
Manali pointed me to these two passages in the "Bhagvad Gita":
"whenever there is a fall of sustenance; when it goes down, the righteousness falls off, to kill, to destroy these horrible negative forces: to save and sustain the saints, I come in every age in human form."
"To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium."
Manali says that Krishna is born into a new body in order to return (reincarnation), so this does not compare to Jesus, who is said to be returning in the same body He had in the 1st century.
Supporting Evidence: Vedas (www.holybooks.com)
Side: No (And why)
Born of a virgin:
Born out of stone which left a cave in its place
Mithra was worshipped in Mithraea, artificially constructed caves that represented his birth-cave. The ceiling looked like the starry sky and at the sides benches where placed for the ritual meals. In the center of the Mithraea was a niche which held a relief of the god, dressed in Phrygian clothing (short tunic and cloak, long trousers and a hat with a curled tip), who kills a bull. The Mithraea were spread all over the Roman empire and some 50 of these caves still exist in Rome today.
On December 25th:
This was a date later added by the Vatican in 3rd century AD, nowhere in the Bible does it mention the birth date of Jesus so this date is irrelevant.
He had 12 disciples:
Nowhere in the ancient texts does it say anything to this effect.
And performed miracles:
None of which are close to what Jesus had done. Just because Stalin and Obama had both lead countries doesn’t mean Obama was based on Stalin.
And upon his death was buried for 3 days
And thus resurrected
Never buried or resurrected, nowhere in the old texts is anything even relative to this claim found.
He was considered the "Way, the Truth and the Light," and the "Logos," "Redeemer," "Savior" and "Messiah." Acharya now adds in her latest work the titles creator of the world, God of gods, the mediator, mighty ruler, king of gods, lord of heaven and earth, Sun of Righteousness.
We have several titles here, and yes, though I searched through the works of Mithraic scholars, I found none of these applied to Mithra, other than the role of mediator (not, though, in the sense of a mediator between God and man because of sin, but as a mediator between Zoroaster's good and evil gods; we have seen the "sun" identification, but never that title) -- not even the new ones were ever listed by the Mithraic scholars.
There is a reference to a "Logos" that was taught to the Mithraic initiates MS.206, but let it be remembered that "logos" means "word" and goes back earlier in Judaism to Philo -- Christians borrowed the idea from Philo, perhaps, or from the general background of the word, but not from Mithraism.
His sacred day was Sunday, the "Lord's Day," hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
Mithra had his principal festival of what was later to become Easter.
We'll consider these two together. The Iranian Mithra had a few special celebrations: a festival on October 8; another on September 12-16, and a "cattle-pairing" festival on October 12-16 [MS.59]. But as for an Easter festival, I have seen only that there was a festival at the spring equinox -- and it was one of just four, one for each season.
In terms of Sunday being a sacred day, this is correct [Cum.MM, 190-1], but it only appears in Roman Mithraism, and the argument here is apparently assuming, like Cumont, that what held true for Roman Mithraism also held true for the Iranian version -- but there is no evidence for this. If any borrowing occurred (it probably didn't), it was the other way around.
Side: No (And why)
1) Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
Okay first; 12/25 is irrelevant.(See above)
Second: Horus was born in a swamp, not a cave/manger
Third: Horus' birth was not announced by a star in the East. Some Christ-mythers claim that the "star in the East" is Sirius, but Sirius is not "in the East" in any sense. No stars can reside exclusively in the East or West, due to the rotation of the Earth.
Fourth:"Meri" (technically "Mr-ee") is the Egyptian word for "beloved" and was apparently applied to Isis prior to Jesus' time, as a title, not as part of her name. But since there were probably thousands of women between Horus' time and Jesus' with a name or title that was a variation on "Mary", there's no real reason to suppose that Jesus' mother was named after Isis in particular. Even if, hypothetically, the Gospel authors themselves fabricated Jesus' mother and decided to name her "Mary", it's far more likely that they named her after other women from around their time than it is that they named her after "Isis-Meri".
Fifth: There were no "three wise men" at Horus' birth, or at Jesus' for that matter. You see the Bible never gives the number of wise men (magi) and they showed up at Jesus' home, not at the manger, probably when Jesus was a year or two old.
...and finally Isis was no virgin when Horus was concieved: Set killed and dismembered Osiris, Isis retrieved all his parts and reassembled them. The only part she couldn't find was his phallus which she crafted herself, reattached, and proceeded to have sex with. This is the most common story for Horus' conception...the other simply said that Isis took her husbands seed into her, not as elaborate but still pretty straight forward.
2) His earthly father was named "Seb" ("Joseph").
First of all, there is no parallel between the Egyptian name “Seb” and the Hebrew name “Joseph”, other than the fact that they’re common names. Also, Seb was Osiris’ father, not Horus’.
3) He was of royal descent.
This one’s true! But it's not really a comparison to Jesus. When followers speak of Jesus being of 'royal descent', they usually mean His being a descendent of King David, an earthly king. Horus was, according to the myth, descended from heavenly royalty (as Jesus was), being the son of the main god.
4) At age 12, he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized, having disappeared for 18 years.
He never taught in any temple and was never baptized. Also, Jesus didn't 'disappear' in the years between His teaching in the temple and baptism. He worked humbly as a carpenter.
5) Horus was baptized in the river Eridanus or Iarutana (Jordan) by "Anup the Baptizer" ("John the Baptist"), who was decapitated.
Again, Horus was never baptized. There is no “Anup the Baptizer” in the story. Anup however is also known as Anubis who is the god of embalming and is associated with insence and perfumes, no baptism.
6) He had 12 disciples, two of whom were his "witnesses" and were named "Anup" and "Aan" (the two "Johns").
Horus had four disciples (called ‘Heru-Shemsu’). There’s another reference to sixteen followers, and a group of followers called ‘mesnui’ (blacksmiths) who join Horus in battle, but are never numbered. But there’s no reference to twelve followers or any of them being named “Anup” or “Aan”
7) He performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised El-Azarus ("El-Osiris"), from the dead.
He did perform miracles, but he never exorcised demons or raised his father from the dead. There is a version of the story in which Osiris is resurrected, but it happens prior to Horus' birth. Also, Osiris is never referred to as ‘El-Azarus’ or ‘El-Osiris’ (clearly an attempt to make his name more closely resemble the Bible’s “Lazarus”).
8) Horus walked on water.
No, he did not.
9) His personal epithet was "Iusa," the "ever-becoming son" of "Ptah," the "Father." He was thus called "Holy Child."
Horus was never referred to as “Iusa” (nor was anyone in Egyptian history - the word does not exist) or “Holy Child”.
10) He delivered a "Sermon on the Mount" and his followers recounted the "Sayings of Iusa."
Horus never delivered such a sermon, and, as pointed out above, he was never referred to as “Iusa”.
11) Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
No, he was not.
12) He was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected.
Horus was never crucified (crucifixion didn't exist until around 600 BC, long after the stories of Horus). There’s an unofficial story in which he dies and is cast in pieces into the water, then later fished out by a crocodile at Isis’ request. This unofficial story is the only one in which he dies at all.
As for resurrected, this one is at best a "maybe". The source for this claim is the Metternich Stela (aka the Magical Stela), which dates to the 4th century B.C. It describes Horus, while hiding in a marsh with his mother, Isis, being bitten by a poisonous scorpion. Isis cries out for help. In the Budge translation of the stela, it says "In answer to these words Thoth, turning to Isis and Nephthys, bade them to fear not, and to have no anxiety about Horus, "For," said he, "I have come from heaven to heal the child for his mother." He then pointed out that Horus was under protection as the Dweller in his Disk (Aten), the Great Dwarf, the Mighty Ram, the Great Hawk, the Holy Beetle, the Hidden Body, the Divine Bennu, etc., and proceeded to utter the great spell which restored Horus to life." While this translation suggests a resurrection, the problem is that other sources disagree with it, saying that the stela claims that Horus was merely sickened, then cured. Even Budge's translation says that Thoth came to "heal the child", and you don't heal a corpse. The website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org), which is the museum where the stela is currently located, says the following about the inscription: "Isis speaks and recounts that while she and Horus were still hiding in the marshes, the child became ill. In her despair, she cried for help to the "Boat of Eternity" (the sun boat in which the god travels over the sky), and the sun disk stopped opposite her and did not move from his place. Thoth was sent from the sun boat to help Isis and cured Horus by reciting a catalogue of spells." (source). Other sources also agree that the Stela says "sickened, then cured" rather than "killed, then resurrected", such as this one.
13) He was also the "Way, the Truth, the Light," "Messiah," "God’s Anointed Son," the "Son of Man," the "Good Shepherd," the "Lamb of God," the "Word made flesh," the "Word of Truth," etc.
The only titles Horus is given are “Great God”, “Chief of the Powers”, “Master of Heaven”, and “Avenger of His Father”. None of the above titles are in any Egyptian mythology.
14) He was "the Fisher" and was associated with the Fish ("Ichthys"), Lamb and Lion.
He was never referred to as “the fisher”, and there are no lamb or lion in any of the stories. Acharya S.'s footnotes on this claim only show an association with fish (which is that Horus WAS a fish, unlike Jesus), with no evidence of his being called 'the fisher' or having any association with a lamb or lion.
15) He came to fulfill the Law.
There was no “law” he was supposed to fulfill.
16) Horus was called "the KRST," or "Anointed One."
He was never referred to by either of these titles. "Krst", in Egyptian, means "burial", by the way. It wasn't a title.
17) Like Jesus, "Horus was supposed to reign one thousand years."
No mention of this in Egyptian mythology.
You can find this in the Egyptian Book of the Dead (link provided below)
Supporting Evidence: Egyptian Book of the Dead (www.thenazareneway.com)
Side: No (And why)
And here's the link to the homepage of your "source" http://www.thenazareneway.com/index.htm
I assume you joined the "Holy Communion Mailing List"? I know I did Mr. "Blah Blah, Wikipedia might be biased" while ignoring the long, long list of sources at the bottom of the page I cited.
Side: Yes (And why)
There were ancient religions before Christianity ever existed, and some of the ideas and ideology that accompanied those religions seems to suspiciously be identical to Christianity's, which was back then when Christianity was the new religion on the block.
Side: Yes (And why)