Modern Myths about Myths

zeitgeist-dIt has been nearly a hundred years since New Testament historians took seriously the idea that Jesus was essentially a copy of earlier pagan myths, and, still, massive disinformation to that effect circles around an internet that didn’t exist until long after these ideas were refuted.

Take, for example, the claim that the gospels are simply a re-telling of the tale of Horus. This is the sort of idea that can only be taken seriously among people ignorant of the actual story of Horus. Many sites point out ‘similarities’ between Christ and Horus, such as being born of a virgin (though Horus’ mother was, expressly, not a virgin), having been crucified (though Horus does not die in his myth, and crucifixion was not practiced in Egypt), and having twelve disciples (though Horus had four followers).

There are many equally false claims, but I don’t think these suggestions credible enough to refute here. Simply reading the story of Horus should be enough for that.

And this is the point. Groups of people who insist that we not accept anything without clear evidence, and often present themselves as skeptical, are promoting such demonstrably false information as true. This is not remotely to say that all atheists are this glib. But, still, it seems that there are many for whom “evidence” is strictly something for the theist to provide.

So, different as the arguments seem to be on the surface, it seems that the “Horus” argument and the “lack of evidence” argument, in one respect, come from the same place: that a materialistic, anti-theistic view doesn’t need to bother supporting its claims.

It is no wonder, then, that much of our culture finds it so easy to doubt the historical validity of the New Testament. It places an immense burden on the writings themselves, while insisting that opposing views need not support themselves at all.

Were I to argue for my position in this way… well, I can imagine the reaction. Easy as it is to assume a view unquestioningly, we should a more open-minded approach to discussing the New Testament.

13 responses to “Modern Myths about Myths

  • indytony

    The similarities in “myths” from other cultures and the story of Christ could be understood as God’s way of preparing people all over the world to receive the Truth. Hebrews 1:1-2, while addressing Jewish heritage, could apply more broadly –

    “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. “

  • Arkenaten

    I take little interest in comparing gods with gods. The New Testament alone is an indictment in itself of its own errancy, being replete with errors on almost every page with not a shred of credible evidence to back it up.

    The Prophecies,the Nativity, Nazareth, The census , ..all of it utter nonsense.

    • Debilis

      You are free to throw out accusations of nonsense if you’d like, but I don’t see any support for that claim here.

      You don’t put forth any errors for discussion, for instance. Nor do you define what you mean by “credible evidence” (usually, this boils down to “evidence which contradicts my position”).

      As such, there really isn’t any content here to respond to.

      • Arkenaten

        Because you are a fundamentalist you are unable to approach the bible in any other way than varying degrees of abject awe.
        Inculcation has succeeded brilliantly.

        Any rational explanation for the crap found within its covers your apologetic standpoint has carefully groomed you to fend every challenge. Those that you can’t defend, and I am sure each Christian has a couple that stumps them, (How many donkeys did Jesus ride on? LOL) merely shrugs and says something along the lines of , ”You cannot judge the whole bible on this point. And who knows what god meant, it is not up to us to judge.”

        I recommend you pop over and read this….

        Put yourself in the place of the character Paul and you will understand why this piece perfectly illustrates the level of stupidity normal people are faced with when dealing with religious twits such as yourself.

        Enjoy the crazy. You deserve it.:)

    • Debilis

      What on Earth gave you the impression that I’m a fundamentalist?
      I don’t believe in inerrancy, I do believe in evolution, and can’t seem to think of any idea particular to fundamentalism that I actually believe.

      So, yes, I can approach the Bible in many ways. We haven’t spoken much at all about my understanding of it (and you seem to ignore me when I point out that I don’t take it literally, anyway).

      All this is to say that you’ve spent a lot of time telling me things about myself that are completely wrong. And you simply can’t disprove my position if you are this wrong about what it actually is.

      Other than that, your only argument is that I am wrong because I take the position that Christianity is correct. This is called circular reasoning. It assumes what it should be trying to prove.

      I did visit the link. This is a decent piece of satire, but if you really think that this accurately portrays my position, then you’ve simply misunderstood. Again, you have yet to realize that I’m not a fundamentalist or a young earth creationist.

      As such, this seems simply a playground-style insult. It doesn’t actually address anything I’ve ever said.

    • Debilis

      I have studied Stephen Law. Though he’s an intelligent man, I disagree with him (for starters, he doesn’t understand the concept of necessary properties and often tends toward red herring fallacies).

      But simply saying that a person’s arguments need not be weighed because of what that person believes (i.e. “you’re a Christian”) is a kind of prejudice. It is extremely close-minded and, therefore, is the direct admission that one isn’t actually thinking about the reasons I’ve given.

      That last is a dogmatic approach. It is to say “I know I’m right, so I don’t need to think about what other people have said”. This is wrong whether it is Christians, atheists, or anyone else that’s doing it.

      • Arkenaten

        You’re a Christian.
        Thus, your reasons are biased, your motives are suspect, your reasoning is illogical,unscientific, unattested, and utilization of the bible as an historical record is laughable in that christian biblical scholars do not regard it as any other historical text believing it deserves some sort of special treatment.

        Of course Christian is a kind of prejudice. You poison the minds of children with lies.

        Christians have murdered people throughout the ages because they were NOT christian.

        How does it feel now?

        The real issue here of course is how you all really need to prove this to yourselves to justify your own life.
        This is why you are almost fanatical in your approach.
        That would scare the crap out of me if I had to work that hard to prove my raison d’etre.
        It must drive you mad!

    • Debilis

      If we’ve gotten to the point where your best and only argument is “you must be wrong, because you’re a Christian”, then I’m feeling very comfortable with my position.

      I don’t seem to need to do anything fanatical at all to “justify” my position. A few blog posts outlining the troubles with materialism seems to have left most without any real response.

      Now, I’m completely open to the idea that there are materialists out there with thoughtful responses–who don’t have to resort to mockery. I’ve men them, actually. But, so far, no one has managed to come up with a good refutation of any of my arguments.

      “Christians must be wrong in everything they say, because I can accuse them of being biased” is simply dogmatism. It doesn’t remotely deal with the logic of what’s been said.

      • Arkenaten

        ”If we’ve gotten to the point where your best and only argument is “you must be wrong, because you’re a Christian”, then I’m feeling very comfortable with my position.”
        Of course you are! Don;t you get it? This is what inculcation is ALL about.

        Now, I’m not really interested in continuing this conversation you …any conversation…with you any longer, as you have yet to offer even a crumb of evidence to verify the veracity of your faith, and all you are continuing to do is prattle, a sort of pseudo intellectual masturbation.
        You might get your rocks off on it but I don’t.
        You’ve had your chance.

        You have only proved that you are the perfect example of an inculcated Christian. In other words…an idiot.

        If you have any evidence to offer, you know where my blog is.
        Click click.


    • Debilis

      You are certainly free to go. But, if you remain, please offer me a reason why Christianity is false. So far, all I’ve received is “You’re wrong because Christians are inculcated”.

      Never mind that I wasn’t always a Christian, or that this does nothing at all to show that my reasons are incorrect.

      But I’ve offered all kinds of evidence that my beliefs are correct. They are all over this blog. You may not agree with them, but they’re there–and you’ve never offered any reason why they might be wrong.

      Instead, all I’ve received is “this must be wrong because Christians are wrong”. This kind of thinking assumes the thing it should be trying to prove.

      So, setting aside all the insults, and surprisingly angry attacks, I don’t see any actual challenges to my reasons here–let alone a reason to become a materialist. Really, I’ve been trying to get that out of you, and all you seem to be interested in is armchair psychology about me.

      I’d hoped that we’d finally get around to discussing the issues, and am still open to that if you decide you actually want to talk about the reasons and evidence I’ve presented.

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