One idea I keep hearing about is the idea that the story of Jesus is a carbon copy of a number of pagan, pre-Christian stories, and that Jesus himself is based on a number of supposed “messianic deities”, including Horus, Dionysus, Mithras, and even Krishna. It’s an idea that’s been circulating around the Internet for a while now, and you’d think that I would subscribe to that idea, except that there’s no evidence for it. I don’t think I ever bought the idea.
For starters, Horus.
Since when was Isis a virgin mother for Satan’s sake? Anyone who remembers anything about Egyptian mythology knows that she was the wife of the god Osiris, and before Horus was born. It should also be noted that virginity as a concept was not even considered in ancient Egypt as chastity had little importance, yet they considered marriage a sacred bond and were encouraged to marry young for the purpose of having children. There’s also no evidence for him being born on December 25th, and even if he was, Jesus wasn’t born on that day at all. It’s nowhere in the Bible. Also, how is Horus the same as Jesus if he wasn’t executed for our “sins”. For that to be possible, there would have to be originial sin, which is nowhere in Egyptian mythology. And while we’re on the subject of Jesus’ grisly death, Horus was never resurrected either, since he was never crucified for that to happen. Also, there’s no evidence for the claims that Horus had twelve disciples, raised someone named Asar from the dead (who is said to be related to Lazarus, but in reality has no relation to him at all), or that someone called Anup the Baptizer existed (or that he is related to John the Baptist). Anup isn’t related to Anubis either.
Then, we have Mithras.
Just for the record, there are few deities called Mithras, Mithra, and Mitra respectively, and they’re considered related to each other. So just to clear up any confusion, we’re referring to the Roman mystery cult deity, Mithras, not the Vedic Mitra, or the Zoroastrian Mithra, though that should be obvious from the above image. Mithras wasn’t born from a virgin woman. He was born out of a rock. A freaking rock, people! Mithras was also never resurrected, and was never crucified, and didn’t have twelve disciples. Also, was Jesus said to create the world by slaying a cosmic bull? Because that’s what Mithras apparently did, and I certainly don’t remember Jesus doing that in the Bible. Also, Mithras may have been born in a cave, but how the hell is that similar to being born in a stable? There’s also no evidence for his supposed birth on December 25th. And by the way, Mithras’ birth is said to precede the creation of the world, while Jesus was born long afterwards. That alone said rule out the prospect of Mithras being Jesus.
Next up, Dionysus.
Dionysus was not born of a virgin. He was the result of one of Zeus’ sexual adventures on earth. He’s the son of a mortal woman who was raped by Zeus, which is kinda different from how Jesus was supposedly born (unless God really did have supernatural sex with Mary this whole time). He wasn’t crucified and resurrected, though he was slashed by Zeus with a sword in order to prove to Hera that he had no love for the woman he impregnated with him (which is, again, very different), and he certainly didn’t die in the name of the collective “salvation” of mankind. He did however, go to Olympus to be among the heavenly deities, and did return to earth briefly to enchant a few women, this after he gained immortality after Zeus healed his wounds. There’s also the turning water into wine thing. Despite what you might think, given he’s a god of wine and intoxication, he never turned water into wine. The allegory of Jesus turning water into wine was intended to show him as being more powerful than Dionysus (yeah right).
And lastly, Krishna.
This is by far the strangest of all the major claims, because Krishna is from India, and has nothing to do with the other deities claimed to be associated with Jesus, most of which were all from Europe, or anywhere near Rome (you could still sail to Egypt from Rome). But that’s besides the point. There is no mythological source that says Krishna was born of a virgin mother. In fact, he had a father, who is named Vasudeva. And he wasn’t the first child his mother had. His mother had six children before him, none of them were immaculate conceptions. There is also no evidence for him being born on December 25th. And last time I checked, he didn’t die to “save” mankind, or have 12 disciples.
There’s more non-Christian or pagan gods alleged to be the source of the Jesus myth, such as Osiris or Attis, but none of them have anything to do with the Jesus story. Even if any of them died and got resurrected, none of them crucified and none of them died in the name of any collective salvation of mankind. None of them are born from virgins. Even if any of them were born on December 25th, it wouldn’t matter because Jesus wasn’t even said in the Bible to have been born of that day to begin with.
Also, it’s really sad that they try to say that Jesus was a knock off of Buddha, especially considering that Buddha was never a deity, nor a son of a deity (or God), nor asked to be worshiped in the first place.
The idea that Jesus was just a carbon copy of other pagan gods and Christianity stolen from pagan religions started out in the 19th century by people who believed that Christianity and Judaism got their ideas from the Egyptian religion (which is debatable), gained popularity on the Internet, and got airtime via the Zeitgeist movie (which isn’t a credible source of information) and Bill Maher’s Religulous, but it’s rarely espoused by anyone outside the Internet, is rejected by actual scholars (including actual Egyptologists), and, as far I’ve heard, most atheists or irreligious people do not use the idea anymore. It’s only ever advocated by those who think Christianity is stolen from paganism, or by those whose who want to think all religions are the same, or by some who claim an ancient “Masonic” religion is the source of all religions.
Now, to be fair, the idea of Christianity coincidentally resembling pagan ideas or stories in some way or another isn’t too far-fetched. Sometimes religions do have things that were from previous religions, often meaning something slightly different from their earlier meaning, and the Christian church did incorporate pagan holidays and celebrations in the past in order try and convert people without violence. But really, I don’t buy the idea that Christianity is a rip-off of pagan stories and ideas (or at least not completely), and I don’t see what’s so pagan about Jesus anyway, or Christianity for that matter.