Today’s Q&A involves something which no doubt all of you have seen in memes on Facebook: The Copycat Jesus Theory. An astute reader says:
How about mythological deities that seems similar to Jesus? If we were to say that Jesus was born at around the BC/AD time switch, than Horus was made around 3100 BC, Buddha at 563 BC, Mithra at 2000 BC, Krishna at 3000 BC, and Osirus at 2500 BC and all of these deities had similarities to Jesus such as being born of virgins, having disciples, casting out demons, performing miracles, etc. etc. etc.
Oh, my dear, dear friend. You make me sad. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it maybe another four or fives times: Just because you read it on the internet, doesn’t mean it is true. People make stuff up. Some people are just liars. And…All liars have a web site.
None of the above have any account of being virgin born. None of them had disciples in the same manner as a Jewish Rabi. None of them were crucified and resurrected three days later, or called the only son of God, etc etc etc. I know you have heard all of these things, because this stuff gets passes around on Facebook every Christmas. I guarantee you will find someone claiming that ALL of these figures were born on December 25th and laid in a manger, to be visited by wise men baring gifts. But it is a lie. None of these comparisons to Jesus are based on any ancient text or historical account or religious traditions, or predate Facebook. Also, Mithra only goes back to like 300BC. Not 3000 BC.
The Copy Cat Jesus theory is silly for a dozen reasons, but let me sum it up: 1. Most if not all of these comparisons are literally fabrications with no basis in any ancient text or tradition. These things don’t come from historians, they come from internet memes.
- Sometimes similarities don’t mean anything. What if ALL of these guys were born on December 25th? What does that prove? There are only so many days to be born on, so its fairly unlikely that Jesus would be born on a day which NO ONE had ever been born on before in all human history. Also, the Bible doesn’t say Jesus was born on December 25th. The Church decided on that date (for a couple of reasons) a generation or two later.
Just as another example- Joseph Smith (founder of Mormonism) had 12 disciples. But wait! Jesus had 12 disciples! Does this prove that Joseph Smith never existed? Doesn’t this prove that the stories about him are just copies of stories about Jesus with some names changed? Of course not. That’s dumb. Joseph Smith did exist, and we have lots of reasons to think so, just as we have lots of historical evidence for the life of Jesus, regardless of how many friends and followers he had.
- Some similarities are from AFTER the beginning of the Christian Church. The cult of Mithras, for instance, existed before Jesus by several hundred years, but from what little evidence we have (almost all of it artwork, as there was no sacred text we know of) the similarities are all later additions from several hundred years AFTER Christ’s earthly ministry. As Christianity began to grow, some cults borrowed elements hoping to cash in on what they saw as a success. Plagerism is nothing new.
Instead of rehashing all of the facts, just watch these two videos. You will learn much. And then, remember that memes are meant to be entertainment, not educational.
Ian Juby discussed the Mithras/Horace Christmas stuff: https://youtu.be/a0JBOqgmnlw?t=17m42s
And you really need to watch this because it is a cartoon and you will thank me: Horus Ruins Christmas: https://youtu.be/s0-EgjUhRqA
Merry Christmas and remember: #JesusLovesYou