“Nothing in Christianity is original.” That’s the claim of Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code.
But is it true? Is Jesus just a mythological figure with parts and pieces borrowed from ancient myths and foisted on an unsuspecting, gullible public? Many skeptics think so, but serious flaws infect their logic.
First, the ancient myths that the Jesus story supposedly imitates and the life of Jesus don’t match. Despite the misinformation circulated by skeptics on their websites, there aren’t any significant similarities between Jesus and the mythical gods of ancient lore.
One of the most common fake links between Jesus and ancient myths is the case of Horus, an ancient Egyptian deity. Supposedly, Horus was born on December 25th (Jesus probably wasn’t born in December; the Bible never dates his birth), born of a virgin, heralded by a star in the east, was visited as a child by three kings (again, the Bible never numbers the wise men and never calls them kings), had 12 disciples, was betrayed and crucified, resurrected from the dead, etc.
But when one actually studies the myth of Horus first-hand (and other ancient myths that are supposed to be the wellspring of the “Jesus myth”), they don’t even resemble the life of Jesus. As for Horus, the supposed connections are easily debunked – see this LINK for more.
These comparisons between Horus (along with other mythological figures) and Jesus arose in the 1800’s with theological schools of thought such as Form Criticism and the move to “de-mythologize” the Bible. Such theological thinking has been resurrected recently in pop culture as a way of diminishing the influence of Christ and the church in modern thought, while most serious scholarship has moved on.
If one goes back to the original, scholarly material on the ancient myths that are supposed to be the source of the gospel story, it’s easy to show that they have no resemblance to the Biblical account of Jesus’ life and work. For an excellent analysis of these false connections between Jesus and the myths, see this LINK.
Dr. William Lane Craig, a research professor of philosophy, also weighs in on the subject at this excellent LINK.
Second, Jesus was an actual historical figure while the mythological characters he’s often compared to didn’t exist. They were myths. Jesus was not. He is mentioned in several historical records outside the New Testament. You can find him discussed as an actual person by Josephus, the Jewish historian of the first century, as well as by Lucian, Mara bar-Serapion, Pliny, Seutonius and Tacitus. Even the Jewish Talmud mentions Jesus and admits to his historicity. See more details at this LINK.
For the skeptic who wishes to debunk Christianity by casting it as a myth, this road is a dead end. Nice try, but the facts don’t support it.
Why do you think this concept of Jesus as a myth appeals to so many people?