Alleged similarities between Jesus and pagan deities
By Robert Rowe
But these figures existed before the alleged life of Jesus. Chronology alone makes this entire discussion pointless.
An important fact to keep in mind are the detailed Messianic prophecies regarding the life, death, and ministry of Jesus in the Old
Testament. The prophecies span ~1,500 years before his birth. The accusation of Christians plagiarizing the accounts of other
figures in the 1st century ignores the fact that concepts such as the virgin birth, the resurrection, and a Father-Son relationship
precede the figures in this article. Also, many of the religious texts containing the figures and the alleged similarities claimed by
critics postdate the completion of the bible.
I want you to keep the following things in mind the next time you are presented with the pagan copycat theory. Ask yourself the
following logic-based questions and you will see that most claims instantly crumble.
When presented with comparative evidence, ask yourself:
- Did the figure precede the Old Testament Messianic Prophecies? (most do not)
- Does the timing of the evidence precede Christianity? (many religious texts and reliefs post-date Christianity)
- Does the figure precede the life of Jesus? (figures like Apollonius of Tyana do not)
If critics claim a figure from South America (like Quetzalcoatl) influenced Christianity, this is an obvious false since the Americas
had not yet been discovered.
Ask yourself what the symbolism is behind such parallels. Like most religious and political groups of antiquity, a sect might have
celebrated a communal meal but it did not hold the same significance of the Christian Eucharist. Members might consider their deity
a savior but they did not consider the figure a savior from sin and damnation, etc.
See whether or not the claims actually come from the sacred texts of the religion in question (most hardly ever do). Most references
simply quote secondary sources by authors of the same ilk. When they do cite a religious source, most critics will not specify the
book, volume, or verse number, yet they readily quote exactly where the copy can be found in the bible. Ask for specific references
as to where the evidence can be found in the actual religious texts. Lastly, as we will see throughout this discussion, most religious
texts do not have an official cannon like the bible. Their texts have been admittedly altered over the centuries. When critics cite a
source from another text, ask yourself whether or not this evidence is found in a text that predates Christianity (most do not).
In Hinduism, Krishna is believed to be the 8th avatar of Vishnu, the second aspect of the Hindu trinity. Almost every correlation
between Krishna and Jesus can be traced to Kersey Graves, a 19th century author who believed Christianity was created from pagan
myths. Though his works have been proven by scholars to be false and poorly researched, many still ignorantly refer to his
arguments not knowing they are easily disproved by simply comparing the Bible to the Hindu texts.
THE DEFINITION OF KRISHNA
Although many critics allege Krishna means Christ, Krishna in Sanskrit actually translates as Black (One) as Krishna was believed to
have blackish-blue skin. The word Christ literally translates as Anointed One. When skeptics, in turn, spell Krishna as Chrishna or
Christna, this is a blatant attempt to spread more misinformation and reinforce their erroneous theories.
A VIRGIN BIRTH
A virgin birth is never attributed to Krishna as his parents bore seven previous children. Furthermore, the virgin birth was not a new
concept invented by Christians. The book of Isaiah (700 b.c.) spoke of a Messiah who would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). This
prophecy was in circulation 700 years before Jesus and at least 100 years before Krishna. Critics claim Krishna was born to the
virgin Maia but according to Hindu texts, he was the eighth son of Princess Devaki and her husband Vasudeva: “You have been
born of the divine Devaki and Vasudeva for the protection of Brahma on earth.” Mahabharata Bk 12, XLVIII
Critics claim a tyrannical ruler issued a decree to kill all infant males prior to Krishna’s birth but the Hindu legend states Devaki's six
previous children were murdered by her cousin King Kamsa, due to a prophecy foretelling his death at the hands of one of her
children. Unlike Herod who issued a decree to slaughter all the males under two years old, the Hindu version tells us Kamsa only
targeted Devaki's sons. He never issued a decree to indiscriminately kill male infants: “Thus the six sons were born to Devaki and
Kamsa, too, killed those six sons consecutively as they were born.” Bhagavata, Bk 4, XXII:7
Critics claim while Krishna’s parents fled to Mathura to avoid Kamsa, Jesus' parents fled to Muturea to avoid Herod. But the bible
tells us Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt, not to some unknown place called Muturea. Furthermore, the Hindu texts tell us Krishna’s
parents never had a chance to flee, they were imprisoned by Kamsa so he could kill Krishna once he was born.
“What faults had [Vasudeva] and his wife Devaki committed? Why did Kamsa kill the six infant sons of Devaki? And for what
reason did [Vishnu] incarnate himself as the son of Vasudeva in the prison house of Kamsa?” Bhagavata, Bk 4, I:4-5
SHEPHERDS, WISEMEN, A STAR, AND A MANGER
No mention of shepherds or wisemen appear at Krishna's birth. Krishna was born in a prison (not a stable as critics suggest) where
his parents bore him in secret. It is unlikely such visitors would arrive only to alert Kamsa to Krishna’s presence!
Like Jesus’ earthly father, Krishna’s father was also said to be a carpenter. Yet nowhere in the Hindu texts does it say Vasudeva was
a carpenter. In fact, we are told he was a nobleman in the courts of Mathura as he was married to Princess Devaki. When Krishna
fled the wrath of Kamsa with his foster parents, we are told his foster-father Nanda was a cow-herd:
“Thou art the most beloved of Nanda, the Cow-herd” Bhagavata, Bk 8, I, pg 743
Though critics claim Krishna was crucified, this is mentioned nowhere within the Hindu texts. Instead, we are told exactly how he
dies. Krishna is mediating in the woods when he is accidentally shot in the foot by a hunter’s arrow. Skeptics really try to stretch
this one by claiming the arrow that shot Krishna impaled him to a tree, thus crucifying him. They also point out the similarity
between his wound being in the foot and Jesus’ pierced hands and feet. This story relates more to the death of Greek mythology's
Achilles than anything else:
“A fierce hunter of the name of Jara then came there, desirous of deer. The hunter, mistaking [Krishna], who was stretched on the
earth in high Yoga, for a deer, pierced him at the heel with a shaft and quickly came to that spot for capturing his prey.”
Mahabharata, Book 16, 4
Although critics claim Krishna descended into the grave for three days and appeared to many witnesses, no evidence of this exists
whatsoever. Instead, the actual account says Krishna immediately returns to life and speaks only to the hunter by forgiving him of
“He [the hunter] touched the feet of [Krishna]. The high-souled one comforted him and then ascended upwards, filling the entire
welkin with splendour... [Krishna] reached his own inconceivable region.” Mahabharata, Book 16, 4
Some obvious differences between the resurrections of Jesus and Krishna are as follows:
1. Jesus’ resurrection defeated the power of sin and death. Krishna’s resurrection had no real affect on mankind.
2. Jesus appeared to approximately 500 witnesses in the New Testament. Krishna appeared only to the hunter.
3. Jesus rose from the dead three days later. Krishna immediately returned to life.
4. Jesus did not ascend into Heaven until after the Great Commission. Krishna immediately ascended into the afterlife.
5. Jesus was aware of what was to take place. Krishna had no foreknowledge concerning his death.
6. Jesus ascended into a physical realm (Heaven). Krishna transcended into a mental state (or inconceivable region).
7. The concepts between Heaven (Christianity) and Nirvana (Hinduism) differ greatly.
THE LAST SUPPER
Krishna is said to have celebrated a last supper but two reasons offer evidence this event never occurred:
1. There is no mention of Krishna having a last supper celebration in any of the Hindu texts.
2. Because Krishna had no foreknowledge of his death, there is no reason he would have celebrated such an event!
DEPICTED AS BRUISING THE SERPENT'S HEAD
Genesis 3:15 is a metaphorical Messianic prophecy which refers to Jesus’ spiritual battle with Satan. Though critics claim Krishna
was also referred to as the seed of the woman bruising the serpent’s head, this phrase is never used as a reference to Krishna. The
only thing that occurs is a literal battle Krishna encounters with actual serpents.
Mahabharata, Bk 7, LXXXI and Mahabharata Book 8, XC
MISCELLANEOUS POSSIBLE REFERENCES
1. Krishna was the human incarnation of Vishnu.
This appears to be somewhat accurate but the actual Hindu triad consists of Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma. Not Vishnu, Krishna,
and a spirit deity.
2. Krishna was of royal birth.
While Krishna was directly born into the noble court of Mathura, Jesus was from the royal Davidic line but born into poverty
under the parentage of Mary and Joseph.
3. Krishna was seen as a Savior.
While Jesus was an eternal-spiritual savior who saved his people from damnation, Krishna was an earthly-warrior savior
who freed his people from the tyrannical reign of Kamsa.
4. Krishna often fasted in the wilderness.
The only possible reference I could find to any such thing was that he often retreated into the forest to meditate.
MISCELLANEOUS ERRONEOUS REFERENCES
1. Krishna was born in a cave.
Actually, neither Jesus nor Krishna were born in caves. Krishna was born in a prison cell and the only reference to Jesus being
born in a cave is in noncanonical writings.
2. Krishna lived a sinless life.
Whereas the bible makes it clear Jesus committed no sin during his lifetime, the Hindu texts admit to Krishna's promiscuity and
numerous sexual affairs.
3. Krishna was born on December 25th.
Actually, Krishna's birthday celebration, known as the Krishna Janmaashtami, is celebrated in the Hindu month of Bhadrapadha
which corresponds to the month of August. Furthermore, Jesus was born on the 11th of September 3 b.c. (coinciding with the
birthday of Noah on Tishri 1 in the Jewish Calendar).
The Hindu texts have admittedly been altered over the centuries. Many comparisons of the newer and older texts regarding the story
of Krishna reveal many tales being added in later texts known as the Puranas (400-1000 a.d.), Bhagavata (400-1000 a.d.), and the
Harivamsa (100-1000 a.d.). These texts have been proven by scholars to have been written after the life of Jesus.
Gautama is believed to have lived between 563 - 483 b.c. Gautama was born into the warrior class under the caste system of India
and later achieved enlightenment to become the Buddha (or enlightened one) and founder of Buddhism. Like Zoroaster, very little
was written about him during his lifetime, with the accounts becoming more incredible over time.
Gautama was born to Suddhodana and his wife of 20 years, Maya. Though critics claim Maya was a virgin, we must assume she
was not as she was the king’s favorite wife. Also, The Acts of the Buddha acknowledges Maya and Suddhodana as having sexual
relations (the two tasted of love’s delight), though it is fair to point out that most English translations do not contain this statement.
Though Maya is portrayed as being virtuous and pure-minded, a virgin conception is never mentioned regarding the birth of the
Buddha. At the very most, it was a womb transference as in the story of Krishna: “The most Excellent of all Bodhisattvas fell
directly from his place among the residents of Tushita heaven, and streaking through the three worlds, suddenly took the form of a
huge six-tusked elephant as white as Himalaya, and entered Maya's womb.” Buddha Karita 1:18
Skeptic Interjection: Does the resemblance between the names Maya and Mary hold any significance?
Answer: Though similar in their English translations, their original forms and translations are completely different. Maya, from
Sanskrit, means Illusion whereas Mary (Maryam) translates from Hebrew as Bitter.
There is no mention of wisemen in any Buddhist text, however in this post-Christian text we read:
Version 1: An ascetic (not wisemen) visits the king to relay the information he received from the gods that his child will become a
great religious leader. After hearing this, Brahmans (not wisemen) decide to dedicate their sons depending on the outcome of the
“A son has been born in the family of Suddhodana the king. Thirty-five years from now he will become a Buddha. Whether the
young prince become a Buddha or a king, we will each one give a son: so that if he become a Buddha, he shall be followed and
surrounded by monks of the warrior caste; and if he become a king, by nobles of the warrior caste.” Jataka I:55,57
Version 2: At Gautama's birth, a seer (not wisemen) tells Suddhodana that Gautama will become a great religious leader:
“The great seer came to the palace of the king. Thy son has been born for the sake of supreme knowledge. Having forsaken his
kingdom, indifferent to all worldly objects, he will shine forth as a sun of knowledge to destroy the darkness in the world.” Buddha-
PRESENTED WITH GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MYRRH
Again, I find no mention of such an occurrence except for a far-fetched correlation in a Post-Christian writing. We are told the gods
(not wisemen) presented Gautama with sandalwood, rain, water lilies, and lotus flowers (Buddhist symbols). This should come as
no surprise as royal births are often celebrated with festivals and gifts!
“As soon as he was born the thousand-eyed one took him gently, bright like a golden pillar. Two pure streams of water fell from
heaven upon his head with piles of Mandara flowers. The yaksha-lords stood round guarding him with golden lotuses in their
hands. The great dragons gazed with eyes of intent devotion, and fanned him and strewed Mandara flowers over him. And from a
cloudless sky there fell a shower full of lotuses and water-lilies, and perfumed with sandalwood.” Buddha Karita 1:27,36,38,40
GUIDED BY A STAR
There is no mention of a celestial sign but I did find far-fetched similarities in Post-Christian texts:
Version 1: The Brahmans look for signs of the Buddha on Gautama to determine if he will be a king or religious leader. The signs
do not imply celestial omens but physical markings a Buddha would have:
“They asked [the Brahmans] to observe the marks and characteristics of the Future Buddha's person, and to prophesy his fortune.
If a man possessing such marks and characteristics continue in the household life, he becomes a Universal Monarch. If he retire
from the world, he becomes a Buddha.” Jataka 1:56
Version 2: Though the gods sent miraculous signs through nature, the appearance of a star is never said to have guided the prophet.
However, we are told precisely what the signs are:
“Two streams of water bursting from heaven, bright as the moon's rays, having the power of heat and cold, fell down upon that
peerless one's benign head to give refreshment to his body... The gods held up a white umbrella in the sky and muttered the highest
blessings on his supreme wisdom... Then having learned by signs and through the power of his penances this birth of him who was
to destroy all birth, the great seer Asita came to the palace of the king. Thus the great seer beheld the king's son with wonder, his
foot marked with a wheel, his fingers and toes webbed, with a circle of hair between his eyebrows, and signs of vigour like an
elephant.” Buddha Karita 1:35,37,5465
Gautama's birth is actually celebrated in the spring month Vesak by his followers (this date is insignificant for Jesus).
ATTEMPT ON HIS LIFE BY AN EVIL KING
There is no mention of an attempt on Gautama's life. The only thing we are told is his kingly father tries to persuade him away from
a life of religious servitude by attempting to entice him with royal privileges. When the prophet tells the king his son will see four
signs leading to his religious calling, the king orders guards to surround the child to prevent such an event.
“Then said the king, 'What shall my son see to make him retire from the world?' 'The four signs.' 'What four?' 'A decrepit old man, a
diseased man, a dead man, and a monk.' 'From this time forth,' said the king, 'let no such persons be allowed to come near my son.
It will never do for my son to become a Buddha. What I would wish to see is my son exercising sovereign rule and authority...' And
when he had so spoken he placed guards for a distance of a quarter of a league in each of the four directions, in order that none of
these four kinds of men might come within sight of his son.” Jataka 1:57
Like Krishna, Gautama was an immediate royal descendant born into privilege. Jesus was a distant descendant of King David born
Contrary to Jesus who taught in the temple at the age of 12, began his ministry at 30, and died at 33, Gautama's milestone ages differ
from what the critics claim. He finished his education at 15, married at 16, became a monk at 29, reached enlightenment at 35, and
died at 80.
Though critics claim some vague accounts mention Gautama being crucified, I can find no mention of this in any Buddhist source.
In fact, we are told Gautama dies of natural causes at the age of 80. His followers accompany him to a river and provide him with a
“Be so good as to spread me a couch... I am weary and wish to lie down...' Then the [Buddha] fell into a deep meditation, and
having passed through the four jhanas, entered Nirvana.”
RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION
After his death, Gautama's body was cremated.
“And they burned the remains of the Blessed One as they would do to the body of a king of kings.”
Gautama was said to transcend all meditation levels upon his deathbed before reaching Nirvana. But according to Buddhism,
Nirvana is not a physical place, but a mental state. Like mentioned with Krishna, the concept of Buddha transcending into
Nirvana differs greatly from the Christian Heaven.
ERRONEOUS SIMILARITIES CLAIMED BY CRITICS:
1. He fed a multitude with a basket of cakes.
There is no mention of this in any Buddhist text.
2. Transfiguration on a Mount.
Though Gautama reached spiritual enlightenment, he did not experience a physical transfiguration. Nor did this occur on a
mount. Buddha obtained his enlightenment beneath the Bodhi Tree.
3. Crushing the Serpent's Head.
Like Krishna, Buddha is never referred to by this title but a tale does surface in a later text which mentions him literally
slaying a serpent. But as stated, this was a metaphorical title of Jesus.
4. Poverty Vows.
Though some Christians may take vows of poverty, this was never taught by Jesus. He only warned how the love of earthly
possession could turn our focus away from eternal things.
5. Similar titles: Good Shepherd, Carpenter, Alpha and Omega, Sin Bearer, God of Gods, Master, Light of the World, Redeemer,
Everlasting to Everlasting.
Gautama never claimed to be a deity, rendering these titles obviously false. The only titles he shared with Jesus that I could find
mentioned in Buddhist texts were Lord, Teacher and Holy One.
Because Buddhism shares many concepts with Hinduism (and originated in the approximate vicinity), there are actually more
similarities between the stories of Buddha and Krishna than Buddha and Jesus.
According to Egyptian mythology, Horus was originally believed to be the son of Ra and Hathor and the husband/brother of Isis.
Later he was seen as the son of Osiris and Isis once Hathor and Isis were merged into one being. Horus was considered the sky, sun,
and moon god represented by a man with the head of falcon.
There are two separate birth accounts in regards to Horus (neither depict a virgin birth):
Version 1: Hathor, the motherly personification of the milky way, is said to have conceived Horus but we are told her husband, Ra,
was an Egyptian sun god. Hathor (a sky goddess) was represented by the cow whose milk brought forth the milky way. By the will
of her husband Ra, she gave birth to Horus:
“I, Hathor of Thebes, mistress of the goddesses, to grant to him a coming forth into the presence [of the god]... Hathor of Thebes, who was incarnate in the form of a cow and a woman.”
Version 2: When we examine Isis as Horus' mother, we are told Isis was not a virgin, but the widow of Osiris. Isis practices magic to raise Osiris from the dead so she can bear a son that would avenge his death. Isis then becomes pregnant from the sperm of her deceased husband. Again, no virgin birth occurs:
“[Isis] made to rise up the helpless members [penis] of him whose heart was at rest, she drew from him his essence [sperm], and she made there from an heir [Horus].”
THE FATHER AND SON UNITY
Critics suggest the Trinity was adapted from the notion of Osiris, Ra, and Horus being one god in essence. Because Horus was born after the death of Osiris, it came to be believed he was the resurrection, or reincarnation, of Osiris:
“He avengeth thee in his name of Horus, the son who avenged his father.”
Throughout the centuries, the Egyptians eventually considered Osiris and Horus as one and the same. However, this son-as-the-father comparison more closely resembles the metamorphosis of Hathor into Isis than it does the Trinity. We see Horus first as the son of Ra, then being the equivalent of Ra, then Ra finally becoming just as aspect of Horus.
Similar to Hathor and Isis, we simply see a merger of one being into another. In Egyptian mythology, each god had a distinct beginning by being conceived from other gods. In Christian theology, God and Jesus always existed as one and the same, neither having a beginning or an end. Jesus' birth did not represent his creation. Only his advent in human from. Furthermore, the father-son concept was not created by 1st century Christians. Prophecies in the Old Testament referred to the future Messiah as the Son of God up to 1,000 years before the birth of Christ (1 Chronicles 17:13-14).
CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION
Horus is never said to have been crucified, nevertheless to have died. The only connection we can make to Horus being resurrected is if we consider the eventual merger of Horus and Osiris. But such a theory results in a catch 22, apparently noticed by the Egyptians as they later altered their beliefs to fix the contradictions. In the Egyptian tale, Osiris is either dismembered by Set in battle or sealed in a chest and drowned in the Nile. Isis then pieces Osiris' body back together and resurrects Osiris to conceive an heir that will avenge Osiris' death (although technically Osiris is never actually resurrected as he is forbidden to return to the world of the living).
“[Set] brought a shapely and decorated chest, which he had caused to be made according to the measurements of the king's body... Set proclaimed that he would gift the chest unto him whose body fitted its proportions with exactness... Then Osiris came forward. He lay down within the chest, and he filled it in every part. But dearly was his triumph won in that dark hour which was his doom. Ere he could raise his body, the evil followers of Set sprang suddenly forward and shut down the lid, which they nailed fast and soldered with lead. So the richly decorated chest became the coffin of the good king Osiris, from whom departed the breath of life.”
BORN ON THE 25TH OF DECEMBER
Horus' birth was actually celebrated during the month of Khoiak (October/November). Though some critics claim Horus was born during the winter solstice, this shows more of a relationship to other pagan religions which considered the solstices sacred.
Superficially this similarity seems accurate until we see Horus' disciples were not disciples at all, they were the twelve signs of the zodiac which became associated with Horus, a sky god. However Jesus' disciples were actual men who lived and died, whose writings exist to this day, and whose lives are recorded by historians. Because Horus' disciples were merely signs of the zodiac, they never taught his philosophy or spread his teachings.
Critics point out the similarity of both Jesus and Horus having an encounter on a mountaintop with their enemies. Instead of dissecting this piece by piece, I will simply give each version of events and let the reader observe the (obvious) differences:
Jesus: After Jesus completes his fast in the wilderness, Satan tries to tempt Jesus by offering him all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus agrees to worship him, but Jesus refuses (Matthew 4:1-11).
Horus: During battle, Horus rips off one of Set's testicles while Set (sometimes called Seth) gorges out Horus' eye. Set later tries to
prove his dominance by initiating intercourse with Horus. Horus catches Set's semen in his hand and throws it into a nearby river.
Horus later masturbates and spreads his semen over lettuce which Set consumes. Both Set and Horus stand before the gods to
proclaim their right to rule Egypt. When Set claims dominance over Horus, his semen is found in the river. When Horus' dominance is considered, his semen is found within Set so Horus is granted rule over Egypt:
“O that castrated one! O this man! O he who hurries him who hurries, among you two! These, this first corporation of the company of the justified... Was born before the eye of Horus was plucked out, before the testicles of Set were torn away. It is the day on which Horus fought with Set, who cast filth in the face of Horus, and when Horus destroyed the powers of Set. Then [Set] appeared before the divine council and claimed the throne. But the gods gave judgment that Horus was the rightful king, and he established his power in the land of Egypt, and became a wise and strong ruler like to his father Osiris.”
Skeptic Interjection: Does the similarity between the names Set and Satan hold any significance?
Answer: Set's variant names include Seth, Sutekh, Setesh, and Seteh. The root Set is usually considered to translate into dazzler or stable pillar. The different suffixes of his name add the meanings majestic, supreme, and desert. The name Satan comes from the Semitic root Stn which represents opposition. Though both names consist of an S and a T, their meanings have nothing in common.
Critics allege Horus held similar titles used to identify Jesus such as Messiah, Savior, Son of Man, Good Shepherd, Lamb of God, The Way, the Truth, the Light, and Living Word. However I can find no evidence of any of these names ever being used in reference to Horus. I am especially suspicious of the word Messiah since it is Hebrew in origin.
We can see the differences between Jesus and Horus far outweigh any superficial correlations.
Zoroaster was an Iranian prophet and founder of Zoroastrianism. Though the dating of his life is heatedly debated, he is believed to be a contemporary of King Hystaspes, making a 6th century b.c. dating most likely. Evidence is shown throughout the Avesta which mentions personal conversations between the two. One example is as follows:
“I am a pious man, who speaks words of blessing,' thus said Zarathushtra to the young king Vishtaspa 'O young king Vishtaspa! [I bless thee].” Vishtasp Yasht, 1
There is no mention of a virgin birth in any Zoroastrian text nor do the events of Zoroaster's birth seem to have any relation to Jesus. The actual accounts regarding his birth are given below:
Version 1: Zoroaster's parents (Dukdaub and Pourushasp) were a normal married couple who conceive a son through natural means. Zoroaster is described as laughing when he is born as well as having a visible, glowing aura about him:
“[Zoroaster] had come into the posterity...who are Pourushasp, his father, and Dukdaub who is his mother. And also while he is being born and for the duration of life, he produced a radiance, glow, and brilliance from the place of his own abode.” Denkard, Bk 5 2:1-2
Version 2: In a later text, an embellishment is added by Zoroastrian followers. We are told Ahura Mazda (the main deity of Zoroastrianism) implants the soul of Zoroaster into the sacred Haoma plant and through the plant's milk Zoroaster is born.
TEMPTED IN THE WILDERNESS
Zoroaster is also said to have been tempted by an evil spirit to renounce his faith with the promise of receiving power over the nations. However, this story is found in the Vendidad, the Zoroastrian text which lists the laws regarding demons, penned sometime between 250 - 650 a.d.
“Again to him said the Maker of the evil world, Angra Mainyu: 'Do not destroy my creatures, O holy Zarathushtra... Renounce the good Religion of the worshippers of Mazda, and thou shalt gain such a boon as...the ruler of the nations.” Vendidad Fargad 19:6
SEED OF A WOMAN
The Old Testament refers to the savior of mankind being born of a woman. Critics claim this concept was stolen from Zoroaster whose name means seed of the woman. Apparently no one investigated this claim because the name is an ancient Iranian compound of zareta (old, feeble) and ustra (camel). His original Persian name Zarathushtra (Zoroaster is the Greek/English translation) literally translates as owner of old feeble camels.
MINISTRY BEGAN AT 30
Like Jesus, Zoroaster was believed to begin his teachings at the age of 30. Though Zoroaster technically came out of seclusion at the
age of 30 to begin his teachings, he was shunned and ignored for 12 years until his religion was accepted by King Vishtaspa. Jesus,
on the other hand, attracted followers instantly. Zoroaster was believed to be killed around the age of 77 while Jesus was killed at the
age of 33. Furthermore this fact about Zoroaster is not mentioned until later texts dated around 225 a.d., almost 200 years after
Christianity had already been in circulation.
Though critics claim the concept of a bread-wine communion originated with Zoroaster, no such celebration exists. Though priests
accepted sacrifices of meat, flowers, milk, bread, fruit, and sacred water, there was no symbolic communion performed by
Zoroastrian followers other than drinking the juice from the sacred Haoma plant (but this did not hold the body-blood significance
of the Christian Eucharist).
Critics point out the similarities between the basic belief structure of Zoroastrianism and Christianity. Superficially, there are many
correlations between the two until they are further examined:
1. Both teach a spiritual battle between good and evil.
True, but this is true for almost all religions. The chief god of Zoroastrianism is Ahura Mazda while the chief God of the
Judeo-Christian belief is Yahweh. The arch enemy of Zoroastrianism is Angra Mainyu whereas in Christianity he is known as
Satan. Zoroastrianism also teaches the dualism of both figures whereas Christianity teaches the subordination of Satan to God.
Zoroastrianism teaches all men will be judged according to their works at the final judgment. Christianity teaches men are
judged according to their acceptance of Christ.
Zoroastrianism teaches all men are eventually saved. Christianity teaches the fate of the sinful is eternal.
Zoroaster originally taught the concept of one god but Zoroastrian priests, in order to make the religion more enticing, later
added several other deities.
5. Resurrection of all men.
Zoroastrian teaches the eventual resurrection of all humans at the end of the age. Christianity also teaches this, but this for the
judgment of souls and the reign of the righteous in the millennial kingdom.
HE WAS SLAIN FOR MANKIND'S SINS
It is believed Zoroaster was killed at the age of 77 after being slaughtered on one of his temple altars by Turanian invaders (although
this is debated). Regardless, his death was never believed to atone for sin or to hold any other spiritual purpose.
Most Zoroastrian texts were written centuries after the Christian texts. The accounts of Zoroaster's life that existed before the time
of Jesus (the Gathas) consist mainly of vague poetic writings which say very little about his life. The incredible acts later associated
with him were added by Zoroastrian priests wishing to make the religion more appealing.
Mithras, not to be confused with Mitra (the warrior angel of ancient Persia), was the head deity of Mithraism.
Trying to piece together the actual legends relating to Mithras is difficult as the earliest evidence relating to him is only found in
artistic reliefs, the original texts regarding Mithraism have long since been lost, leaving behind only fragments. For this discussion,
we will focus on Roman Mithraism as this is the Mithras the critics claim as being the inspiration for Jesus (although this allegation
could easily be dismissed by showing most texts containing the alleged connections postdate the Christian texts). Furthermore,
Roman Mithraism surfaced centuries after the existence of the Hebrew.
Note: The original authority on Mithraism was Franz Cumont who believed the Mitra of ancient Persian and the Mithras of Mithraism were one and the same. Most of his research was compiled in the 1800s, and because he was the first known scholar to explore the dead religion of Mithraism, his research went undisputed. If you look through early 20th century publications, one can see Cumont's findings were accepted without debate. It was only upon later investigation by differing historians and archaeologists that many of Cumont's theories were disproved.
CAVE BIRTH As stated previously, there is no mention of Jesus being born in a cave anywhere in the canonical Scriptures. As for Mithras, he also was not born in a cave but from solid rock.
Many religious festivals were consolidated into one holiday to coincide with the winter solstice. Christmas is only celebrated on December 25th due to this tradition. This argument already proves to be insignificant.
ATTENDED BY SHEPHERDS
The earliest existing account of Mithras' birth is found in a relief depicting him emerging from a rock with the assistance of men who certainly appear to be shepherds, which is interesting considering his birth was supposed to have preceded the creation of humans! But this little tidbit was added later, apparently by those who didn't notice the contradiction. Furthermore, this relief dates to 4th century a.d.
There is no mention of a virgin birth in Mithraism. The earliest reliefs depict a fully-mature Mithras emerging from a rock.
Mithras did not have twelve disciples, but I can relate a far-fetched similarity to this allegation. In two of the reliefs to the left, Mithras is surrounded by the twelve signs of the zodiac. Claiming Mithras had twelve disciples because there are twelve signs of the zodiac is the connection critics try to make. The critics simply see twelve beings and claim the figures are disciples. Some go as far to defend their position by mimicking Franz Cumont's theory, claiming the figures were actually Mithras' twelve disciples dressed up in zodiac costumes! How they can make this connection is unknown as no inscriptions accompany the original reliefs.
I can find no mention in any text or relief showing Mithras to be a traveling teacher. Regardless, it would hardly seem significant as many legends speak of mankind receiving wisdom from their gods.
ATONEMENT OF SIN
The claim regarding Mithras atoning for sin leads me to as the question, how? There is no mention of this in any record. Mithras does sacrifice a sacred bull to create life but I see no reference to the atoning of sin, the atoning of sin through blood, or Mithras atoning for sin. Some try to merge the bull and Mithras into one being but this concept is unanimously rejected by Mithras scholars.
There are two reliefs which show Mithras celebrating a banquet. The first relief shows Mithras and Helios dining together after the sacrifice of the bull. The other depicts Mithras dining with the sun before ascending into paradise with the other gods. But for some reason the tale becomes distorted with Mithras saying to his (imaginary) disciples, “He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.” Yet this quote was added centuries later during the middle ages and is not even attributed to Mithras!
Though critics claim Mithras was crucified, there is no mention of this in the reliefs or texts. In fact no death is associated with
Mithras, nevertheless crucifixion. We are told he completes his earthly mission then is taken to paradise in a chariot.
SUNDAY AS A HOLY DAY
This appears to be correct, at least for Roman Mithraism. But considering almost every religion used Saturday or Sunday as a holy
day, Christians selected Sunday as their holy day only because it was the day of Christ's resurrection.
I did find some similarities but the claims critics make seem to be manipulated from their original form, there were no exact matches
to the names critics list. I also listed other titles that are often cited but prove to be incorrect:
1. Savior, Redeemer, Messiah.
Mithras is never referred to any of these. Why would he be since he never served such a purpose? Messiah is also a Hebrew
word which makes one wonder what the source is for this allegation.
2. Lamb of God, Good Shepherd.
Skeptics try to use the depiction of Mithras holding the sacrificed bull over his shoulders as evidence but this is absurd as the
bull is slaughtered! Furthermore, the Old Testament references lambs and shepherds long before Mithraism ever surfaced.
3. Son of God.
I didn't technically find this but I'll give it as a freebie if you consider Mithras as the son of Ahura Mazda.
4. The Way Truth and Light, Light of the World.
Though the names are not an exact match I did find warrior angel of light but this is associated with the Iranian Mithras, not
the Roman Mithras of Mithraism.
Again, not an exact match but I did find an association to sky/celestial lion, referring to the sign of Leo. But like the reference to
lambs, the Old Testament mentions the Lion of Judah long before Mithraism ever originated.
6. The Living Word.
Mithras is sometimes called logos which means word but never as the living word.
Mithras was the mediator between good and evil whereas Jesus is the mediator between God and man.
I consolidated the similarities that come standard in most religions into one section:
1. Mithraism had a strong sense of community among its members (only men were allowed to be members, by the way)
2. Mithraism taught the immortality of the human soul (so did Judaism which preceded Mithraism)
3. Mithraism placed emphasis on living an ethical and moral life (so did Judaism which preceded Mithraism)
4. Mithraism believed in the concept of good verses evil (so did Judaism which preceded Mithraism)
5. Mithraism taught all life sprouted from god(s) (so did Judaism which preceded Mithraism)
6. Mithras performed miraculous deeds
7. Mithraism taught the eventual destruction of the earth
The following miscellaneous similarities exist neither in the ancient reliefs of Mithras or in any version of the surviving texts:
1. Mithras began his ministry at the age of 30 (no reference to any age is mentioned).
2. Mithras was buried in a tomb (alive?). The only reference I could find to this was every year during the winter solstice, he was
supposedly reborn out of a rock (but this tale was added later).
3. A Holy Trinity (Even with all sorts of new gods becoming associated with Mithraism over time, I can find no mention of any gods
forming a specific trinity).
Once again, the alleged similarities are either superficial, completely fabricated, or stretched to make a match.
Attis was worshipped as a deity in what is known today as modern Turkey, with his cult later spreading throughout the Roman
Empire. Most of the alleged similarities between Attis and Jesus appear to either be manipulated or completely fabricated. After
reading this section, I am sure you will agree that the Jesus-Attis allegations are the most absurd of all.
We've already shown the insignificance of this argument as it relates to Christianity. Furthermore, there is no mention of this date
having any relation to Attis, since he is associated with the annual return of spring.
According to the legend, Agdistis, a hermaphroditic monster, arises from the earth as a descendant of Zeus. Agdistis gives birth to
the Sangarius river which brings forth the nymph, Nana, who either holds an almond to her breast and becomes impregnated by the
almond or sits beneath a tree where an almond falls into her lap and impregnates her. Nana later abandons the child who is raised by
a goat. We are left to assume Attis was conceived from an almond seed which fell from a tree as a result of Zeus' spilled semen.
This similarity is completely false. Attis castrates himself beneath a pine tree after he is made to go insane before his wedding by
Agdistis when the hermaphrodite becomes enamoured with him. His blood flows onto the ground from his severed organ and brings
forth a patch of violets. Critics try to associate Attis' death beneath a tree with Jesus' death on a tree. They also try to connect Jesus'
blood pouring from his wounds with Attis' blood flow caused by his auto-castration.
In one version, Agdistis is overcome with remorse for her actions and requests Zeus to preserve the beautiful corpse of Attis so it
never decomposes. No resurrection occurs for Attis. In another account, Agdistis and The Great Mother (or Cybele) carry the pine
tree back to a cave where they both mourn the death of Attis. Again, no resurrection. The resurrection story doesn't surface until
much later when Attis is transformed into a pine tree.
ATONING FOR SIN
Critics claim Attis was slain for the salvation of mankind but there is no evidence of this. We are told Attis was originally a tree
spirit representing a god of vegetation. His death and transformation into a pine tree represented plant life which dies in the winter
only to bloom again in the spring. The first mention of Attis in relation to being a savior doesn't appear until the 6th century a.d.,
much too late to be considered an inspiration to Christianity.
The only reference regarding a tomb burial is when Attis (as a pine tree) is carried to the cave of The Great Mother. But the cave is
her home, not a burial tomb.
Again, no such relationship exists. The only far-fetched connection we can make is the belief Attis was the grandson of Zeus. We
can conclude from what we already know about Attis that this is a stretch. Never was it believed that Zeus and Attis were believed to
be one and the same, nevertheless on an equal level.
Critics claim the followers of Attis celebrated the god with a wine-bread communion. The only mention of such an activity is when
they would eat a sanctified meal out of sacred tambourines and cymbals, though it is never mentioned what they eat. Critics
speculate it was bread and wine but this is unlikely considering wine was restricted during the Attis festivals.
The only things we really see going on with poor Attis is a whole lot of genitalia-mutilation, pine tree resurrections, and river
descendants bearing children from nuts.
Dionysus is mostly known as the patron god of wine, though he was considered the Greek and Roman patron of many titles. This
allows critics to make the illogical connection between Dionysus being the god of wine and Jesus drinking wine.
DECEMBER 25 BIRTH
There is no record of this date being significant for Dionysus. Like Attis, Dionysus is associated with the annual return of spring.
There are two birth accounts concerning Dionysus (neither implies a virgin birth):
1. Zeus impregnates a mortal woman, Semele, much to the jealously of Hera.
Hera convinces Semele to ask Zeus to reveal his glory to her but because no mortal can look upon the gods and live, Semele is
instantly incinerated. Zeus then takes the fetal Dionysus and sews him into his own thigh until his birth.
2. Dionysus is the product of Zeus and Persephone.
Hera becomes insanely jealous and tries to destroy the infant by sending the Titans to kill him. Zeus comes to the rescue but it's
too late, the Titans had eaten everything but Dionysus' heart. Zeus then takes the heart and implants it into the womb of Semele.
As we can see, no virgin birth takes place, but Dionysus is said to have become a rebirth deity as he is twice born in the womb.
Dionysus was said to have traveled far and wide (whereas Jesus concentrated his ministry in Judea) to teach men “the secrets of the
vine” and to spread his religious rites. He was never believed to be a spiritual teacher like Jesus.
To celebrate Dionysus' rebirth after being devoured by the Titans, cult members would take either a live human or animal, tear the
victim apart limb by limb, and eat the flesh raw. The sacrifice would be eaten in a cannibalistic manner so the followers could pay
homage to their god. However this story relates more to the myths surrounding Tantalus than the Christian communion.
Critics claim Dionysus is often pictured as riding a donkey amid crowds waving branches of ivy. However, this is only a description
of his regular entourage who traveled with him (not a specific pre-passion entry). These individuals were maenads and satyrs who
would follow Dionysus with branches entwined with ivy and grapes, cult symbols representative of the wine god. Jesus on the other
hand had a specific triumphant entry upon entering Jerusalem while human crowds waved palm branches (Jewish symbols). A
messianic prophecy in Genesis 49:11 (much before Dionysus) foretells Jesus (literally) tethering his donkey with a vine and
(symbolically) washing his robes in wine (a reference to his death).
WATER INTO WINE
Dionysus was the god of mythology who gave King Midas the power to turn whatever he touched into gold. Likewise, he gave the
daughters of King Anius the power to turn whatever they touched into wine, corn, or oil. Considering Dionysus was the god of wine,
this should come as no surprise. Regardless, though there are tales where Dionysus supernaturally fills empty vessels with wine, the
act of turning water into wine does not occur.
The resurrection account of Dionysus stems from the tale of him being reborn after his attack by the Titans. As we can see, this has
nothing to do with the resurrection story of Jesus. Furthermore, we are told after Dionysus completes teaching his followers his
religious rites, he ascends to Mount Olympus to be with the other deities. His infant rebirth, like Attis, is symbolic of the vegetation
cycle, not the atoning of sin.
The following is a list of alleged titles Dionysus is claimed to share with Jesus. Though in the past we have been able to show some
obscure similarities, this list is an obvious fabrication:
1. King of Kings: Dionysus was only a semi-deity. Zeus was the head god according to the mythology.
2. Only Begotten Son: Zeus had many relationships with women where he fathered several other children.
3. Alpha and Omega: Dionysus had a distinct beginning to his existence.
4. Lamb of God: Dionysus is associated with a bull, serpent, wine, and ivy, but never as a lamb.
The titles I did find for Dionysus are The Bull, The Goat Shooter, The Torch, Dionysus of the Knoll, Meat-Eater, Dionysus of the
Vine, and Savior (though the term savior was attributed later to Dionysus for promising carnal pleasure in the afterlife. The only
person he saved from Hades was his mother, Semele).
It is absurd to consider Dionysus as an inspiration for Jesus. Even if the Jews were aware of the fables surrounding Dionysus, it is
unlikely they used this lore to create the character for their Messiah.
We will now examine a list of alleged deities which skeptics claim were also crucified. Again, these accusations come to us from
Kersey Graves in his proven-erroneous work, The World's Sixteen Crucified Saviors.
As we explain above, Osiris was said to have died after being tricked by Set. He was sealed into a chest then dumped into the Nile.
Also, by everything I can find, the Osiris legend existed long before crucifixion was even invented!
This allegation is somewhat humorous to me as Quetzalcoatl was an ancient god of South America. How on earth critics claim him
as being an inspiration for Christ is beyond me as the Americas had not yet been discovered! Nevertheless, Quetzalcoatl is never
said to have been crucified. One legend states he burned himself alive out of remorse for sleeping with a celibate priestess while
another tells us he was consumed by fire sent by the gods.
Again, we have already shown how Krishna was said to have died: He was killed after accidentally being struck by a hunter's
arrow while meditating.
Tammuz was supposedly killed by demons sent by Ishtar after she found him on her throne. Again, the myths surrounding Tammuz
seem to exist before the practice of crucifixion.
According to the legend, Alcestis agrees to die for her husband after he strikes a deal with the gods. When the time comes, Alcestis
is described as being in bed. The gods are touched by her devotion, take pity on her, and reunite her with her husband.
As we have already shown, Attis was said to have bled to death after emasculating himself.
The only thing I could find regarding Esus (Not to be confused with the English translation Jesus) was that his followers would
participate in human sacrifices by hanging a victim from a tree (not crucifixion) after disembowelment. I could find no mention of
Esus (sometimes associated with the gods Mercury and Mars) suffering death.
The death account we have already discussed concerning Dionysus shows him being eaten alive by the Titans during his infancy.
In one account, Indra is swallowed alive by the serpent, Vritra, who later spits him out at the command of the other gods. Because
he is eventually saved, there really is no death account concerning Indra (nevertheless by crucifixion).
Prometheus was punished by Zeus by being chained to a mountain where an eagle would come and eat his liver on a daily basis.
Later, Prometheus would be freed from his torment by Hercules.
As already stated in this article, Mithras was never said to have experienced death but to have been carried to heaven in a chariot,
alive and well.
I can find no mention of Quirinus experiencing death. Even when associated with Romulus there is no death account as Romulus is
said to have been taken up into the heavens while still alive. To explain his disappearance, many accused the senate of his death.
Regardless, no crucifixion is said to have occurred.
Often associated with Zeus, I could find no mention of the Babylonian Bel experiencing death.
Bali is said to have been forced down (bodily) into the underworld after being deceived by Vamana, an avatar of Vishnu. In some
accounts, Bali is said to have been released and granted kingship. Either way, no crucifixion occurs.
Orpheus is said to have been killed by Dionysus' frenzied maenads after refusing to worship any god but Apollo.