Ever heard the claim that Jesus Christ is really just the re-packaging of former pagan mythologies? It’s a common atheist myth, popularized by Bill Maher and Zeitgeist. Bill Maher put it thus:
Bill Maher: But the Jesus story wasn’t original.
Christian man: How so?
Maher: Written in 1280 B.C., the Book of the Dead describes a God, Horus. Horus is the son of the god Osiris, born to a virgin mother. He was baptized in a river by Anup the Baptizer who was later beheaded. Like Jesus, Horus was tempted while alone in the desert, healed the sick, the blind, cast out demons, and walked on water. He raised Asar from the dead. “Asar” translates to “Lazarus.” Oh, yeah, he also had twelve disciples. Yes, Horus was crucified first, and after three days, two women announced Horus, the savior of humanity, had been resurrected.
This theory has been repeatedly proven false, and here’s an article that debunks this atheist myth.
“Repackaging of former pagan mythologies”; yet you only addressed one. There are definite connections between Christ and pagan myths. Robert M. Price gives us a nice summary. Popularized by Bill Maher and Zeitgeist? Unfortunately, that seems to be the case. However, the so called popular case and the actual case are quite different. There are historians who advocate mythicism—either partially or in full. The connections that are made aren’t completely unwarranted. I simply ask that you look into them before dismissing them due to the exaggerations of Zeitgeist and the like. No, all of these myths weren’t born of virgins. No, they weren’t all born on Christmas day. They didn’t all perform miracles or have disciples, but some of the parallels are striking. Romulus is the most interesting in my opinion simply because the myth was famous during the accepted time of Christ; he was born of a virgin who claimed that she was impregnated by the divine. He was dubbed the son of god and made postmortem appearances. That implies that the writers of the Gospels knew about the myth. Thus, any parallels that Christ has with Romulus cannot be dismissed as coincidence. Again, look into the works of actual academicians like Robert Price, Richard Carrier, Thomas Thompson, Earl Doherty, etc. In closing, I would like to consult Dr.Carrier on this:
Let me now move to the history of Christianity, I always find it interesting that some life events of Jesus and the Egyptian god ‘Horus’ resemble each other. Do you think that followers of Jesus might have integrated into his biography the legends of Horus?
No. And I suspect you may be a victim of that awful pseudodocumentary Zeitgeist (or what I suspect may be its source, Tom Harpur’s book The Pagan Christ). If so, then almost everything you’ve heard is false or undemonstrated.
First, the whole notion confuses Horus with Osiris. There are no ancient texts about Horus that parallel Jesus at all, except perhaps in some aspects of their nativities, but even then only in the most distant and indirect and thus wholly uninteresting ways. We have more parallels between Osiris and Jesus, and I’ve discussed some of them. But they are not very important overall and hard to interpret. For example: Osiris parallel.
Second, there are far more direct and interesting parallels between Jesus and Romulus, for example, that are far more relevant as Romulus was the founder of the Roman empire that Christianity was contrasting itself to, and Romulus’ story was annually celebrated with ceremonies and plays, so it’s immediately obvious why Christians would transvalue the Romulus story and where they would be getting their information. It’s wholly inexplicable why they would use Horus for this, or where they would be getting their information about him. Osiris at least makes some sense, as the key resurrected savior in one of Christianity’s strongest competitors: the mysteries of Isis. But even then, it’s hard to explain why they would pick that savior, rather than, say, Hercules, or Castor, or Asclepius, or what have you. Parallelomania is a fallacy one must avoid. You have to be very careful about how you interpret apparent parallels, and how you intend to explain them. Your theory must make sense of the whole body of evidence, and in context. There has to be a reason for those parallels to be there (if they are), and why those and not others (just as there has to be a reason for the differences, of which there are many).
Enki. “Interview with Dr.Richard Carrier”. Tabee3i.com, 2009. Web. 28 Oct 2012. http://www.tabee3i.com/page/interviews/en/Richard-Carrier/index.html.
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