Critics of Jesus as God the Son and 2nd Person of the Trinity often claim the narrative of Jesus was stolen from pagan myth. Drawing supposed parallels between the events in Jesus’ life and certain pagan gods they attempt to demonstrate that these earlier pagan stories predate Jesus and form the basis of what we know about the life of Christ.
But, is this true?
Well, in a word – no.
Bottom-line: Yes, there are SOME stories that predate Christianity, but in these cases, the story they tell are in no way parallel to the life of Jesus. And, the pagan mythologies that do bear resemblance to Jesus, came later.
Let’s examine the facts:
Of the resurrection story, are there ANY good parallels for 1st Century Christians to draw from when creating their account?
Osirus is a pagan god clearly predating Christianity – but can his story really be said to be a resurrection account? After all – he was relegated to running the “underworld.”
Attis was the pagan god of vegetation and plant life. Death and rebirth is a central figure of his narrative – but, number one, he’s referring to “plant life” and secondly, his story is from the 3rd Century A.D.
Then there’s Adonis. His is the first clear death and resurrection story parallel. Only one problem; it came about 100+ years AFTER Jesus’ death (and resurrection), around 150 A.D.
But the grand-daddy whopper of them all – the two big ones are the accounts of Horus and Mithras.
Ever seen the enormously popular conspiracy documentary, Zeitgeist? If so, then you probably had a hard time sitting through the first 20 minutes – I know I sure did. It was all I could do not to throw something heavy at the screen – except that the offending screen was my TV. I’m sure I made a lot of noise anyway.
In this film the documentarians go to great lengths to display the supposed parallels between the Egyptian god Horus and Jesus, claiming of Horus:
Born of a virgin, December 25th to Isis Mary …
Birth proclaimed by a star in the east …
Three kings visited the newborn savior …
He was a child prodigy, teaching at 12 …
By age 30 was baptized and began a ministry …
He had 12 disciples and was betrayed … crucified … buried for 3 days and resurrected.
At first glance, looks somewhat familiar, wouldn’t you agree?
But there is a HUGE problem.
Actual writings about Horus paint a completely different picture than what we are being presented here … for example:
Horus was the son of Isis, who, was never called Mary …
Isis, the widow of Osiris was not a virgin, conceiving Horus with Osiris …
While the Bible does not mention Jesus’ birthdate, Horus was actually born in the month of Khoiak (Oct/Nov) …
There’s no record of the three kings visiting Horus, and for that matter, the Bible doesn’t reveal the number of the visiting magi …
Horus was not baptized … did not have a ministry – or twelve disciples …
There are no accounts of betrayal … crucifixion or resurrection – in fact it may very well be that like the Osiris myth, Horus was brought to life by Isis and made the lord of the underworld!
There’s just no comparison.
As for Mithras:
He was born from “solid rock” … I think we can stop there.
The historical Jesus we learn about in our Bibles is unique. It’s safe to say that stories which do parallel the events of our Lord and Savior are much later and probably copies of Jesus rather than the other way around.
Also, the pagan mythologies legitimately predating Christianity bear NO resemblance to the life of Christ when examined critically.
You can find the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus elsewhere on my Blog, so be sure to check it out. For now, be assured that the Jesus we worship as God did NOT spring from pagan legend and in fact, HE INSPIRED THEM!
Keep the faith,
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