Christianity is easily the most dominant religion in the world, comfortably outnumbering Islam in its number of global adherents. Due to the nature of religion, which demands taking things on faith, most Christians would attest to the irrefutability of the tenets making up the religion.
The Bible, the holy book, is gospel. Everything in it is fact, and nothing one might say can change that to a Christian. This is despite the fact that as a work of literature, the bible’s authenticity cannot be proven. This is also despite the fact that it is a collection of books, which were carefully handpicked to make up the document, whilst others were carefully left out.
To the Christian thus, the bible is the word of God and undeniable. To the interested outsider, it is a work of literature whose authenticity is at best doubtful.
The story of Christ, told by four different authors in the books collectively dubbed the ‘gospel’, tells the story of perhaps history’s most famous figure. Christ is the founder of the modern religion, his whole life a series of remarkable events that point to his destiny as the child of God, and the saviour of the world.
What all Christians would see as the unique and divine occurrences in the Christ story, are actually a collection of tropes from the collection of religious literature predating his birth. Every story, no matter how remarkable, follows the basic tropes of storytelling. Every writer borrows from the literature that predates him, and either follows tropes, or breaks them entirely.
Every story has a hero and a villain; there are the stories with the princess in need who would be rescued by the gallant prince. Most heroes have a sidekick; there are some elements that run across every story ever written; that is what a trope is.
So when you discover, that no single element in the Christ story is as unique as you’d been led to believe, and that they are mostly recurring tropes in the religious leader origin story, you see Christ might not be so special.
Thousands of years before Christ was born man had religion, and our explanations for the origins of these mysterious beings have often followed one trajectory; Christ’s is no different- which means he is either as true or as fraudulent as the founders of several religions that came before him.
This article goes into more detail, but mine would just skip the surface of similarities in the Christ story and that of other religious leaders predating his birth. The obvious conclusion here is; Jesus Christ might not be all that we believe he is.
Common elements include the virgin birth, death and resurrection after three days, temptation by the devil, and divine warnings to save the infant saviour from an enemy attempting to avert prophecy.
For instance, six of these deities were born via virgins, a few others on December 25 itself. A couple others also died and resurrected after three days.
These are all common in the story of religious leaders, and the fact that Christ’s isn’t any significantly different show the framers tapped into history, and just followed the tropes of the genre.
These are the similarities between Christ, founder of Christianity; and other religious leaders predating his birth.
Both Christ and Buddha went into their temples at 12 years, where they astounded scholars far learned with their wisdom. Both fasted for a lengthy period, 40 days for Jesus and 47 for Buddha. Both received strong temptation from the devil, yet prevailed.
Buddha started his public ministry at 29, Jesus at 30.
One of the six believed to have been born via a virgin; he was also sent from heaven to earth in human form. His adopted human dad was a carpenter, and he was visited at birth by three wise men guided by a star. Immediately following his birth, a local dictator was planning to have him killed, so an angel delivered a warning for his parents to flee.
He started his ministry, performed numerous miracles, and was crucified and resurrected. Bear in mind I’m not talking about Jesus Christ here.
Dionysus is also of the virgin birth brood, and was born on 25 December. He was a travelling teacher who performed miracles, such as turning water into wine.
Born of a virgin and “immaculate conception by way of divine reason”. Baptised in a river, tempted in the wilderness by the devil, cast out demons and restored sight to the blind. He was slain by his enemies, and was described as the ‘word made flesh’
Attis of Phyrgia
Born on the December 25th to the Virgin Nana- saviour to mankind, he died for our salvation. After death, he descended into the underworld, where he rose after three days.
Horus was one of the ancient Egyptian gods Hollywood has made so popular in movies like ‘The Mummy’ franchise. He was born to the virgin Isis, and was the only begotten son of the god Osiris. There was also an attempt to kill him at birth, thwarted by a divine warning.
He was baptised at 30, he walked on water cast out demons, healed the sick and made the blind see. He was crucified, descended into hell and resurrected after three days.
What makes Jesus’ story any truer than that of those above who actually lived before him? Is the Bible the word of God, or just the most plagiarised document in history?
Penny for your thoughts…