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Horus Manure: Debunking the Jesus/Horus Connection

Jesus Horus

Many atheists, neo-pagans, and other disbelievers of Christianity claim the story of Jesus Christ was borrowed from earlier mythologies. In recent years, a claim has been making the rounds that Jesus is based on the Egyptian god, Horus.

Who was Horus?
Horus is one of the oldest recorded deities in the ancient Egyptian religion. Often depicted as a falcon or a man with a falcon head, Horus was believed to be the god of the sun and of war. Initially he appeared as a local god, but over time the ancient Egyptians came to believe the reigning pharaoh was a manifestation of Horus (cf. Encyclopedia Britannica, “Horus”).

What about Jesus?
The skeptical claims being made about Jesus are not always the same. In some versions he was a persuasive teacher whose followers later attempted to deify him by adopting aspects of earlier god-figures, while in others he is merely an amalgamation of myths and never really existed at all. Both versions attempt to provide evidence that the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ are rip-offs.

In the 2008 documentary film Religulous (whose name is a combination of religion andridiculous), erstwhile comedian and political commentator Bill Maher confronts an unprepared Christian with this claim. Here is part of their interaction.

Bill Maher: But the Jesus story wasn’t original.
Christian man: How so?
Maher: Written in 1280 B.C., the Book of the Dead describes a God, Horus. Horus is the son of the god Osiris, born to a virgin mother. He was baptized in a river by Anup the Baptizer who was later beheaded. Like Jesus, Horus was tempted while alone in the desert, healed the sick, the blind, cast out demons, and walked on water. He raised Asar from the dead. “Asar” translates to “Lazarus.” Oh, yeah, he also had twelve disciples. Yes, Horus was crucified first, and after three days, two women announced Horus, the savior of humanity, had been resurrected.

Bill MaherMaher is only repeating things that are and believed by many people today. Similar claims are made in movies such as Zeitgeist and Religulous and in pseudo-academic books such as Christ in Egypt: The Jesus-Horus Connection and Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth.

Often Christians are not prepared for this type of encounter, and some are even swayed by this line of argumentation.  Maher’s tirade provides a good summary of the claims, so let’s deconstruct it, one line at a time.

Written in 1280 BC, the Book of the Dead describes a God, Horus.
In fact, there are many “books of the dead.” But there is no single, official Book of the Dead. The books are collections of ancient Egyptian spells that were believed to help the deceased on their journey to the afterlife. The title Book of the Dead comes from an Arabic label referring to the fact that the books were mostly found with mummies (cf. The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology, “Funerary Literature”). Some of these texts contain vignettes depicting the god Horus, but they don’t tell us much about him.

Our information about Horus comes from a variety of archaeological sources. What we do know from the most recent scholarship on the subject is that there were many variations of the story, each of them popularized at different times and places throughout the 5,000-year span of ancient Egyptian history. Egyptologists recognize the possibility that these differences may have been understood as aspects or facets of the same divine persona, but they nevertheless refer to them as distinct Horus-gods (cf. The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology, “Horus”).

Part of the problem with the “Jesus is Horus” claim is that in order to find items that even partially fit the life story of Jesus, advocates of the view must cherry-pick bits of myth from different epochs of Egyptian history. This is possible today because modern archaeology has given us extensive knowledge of Egypt’s religious beliefs and how they changed over time, making it possible to cite one detail from this version of a story and another from that.

But the early Christians, even if they had wanted to base the Gospels on the Horus myths, would have had no way to do so. They might have known what was believed about Horus in the Egypt of their day, but they would have had no access to the endless variations of the stories that laid buried in the sands until archaeologists started digging them up in the 1800s.

Another part of the problem is that the claimed parallels between Jesus and Horus contain half-truths, distortions, and flat-out falsehoods. For example...

Horus is the son of the god Osiris, born to a virgin mother.
The mother of Horus was believed to be the goddess Isis. Her husband, the god Osiris, was killed by his enemy Seth, the god of the desert, and later dismembered. Isis managed to retrieve all of Osiris’s body parts except for his phallus, which was thrown into the Nile and eaten by catfish. (I’m not making this up). Isis used her goddess powers to temporarily resurrect Osiris and fashion a golden phallus. She was then impregnated, and Horus was conceived. However this story may be classified, it is not a virgin birth.

He was baptized in a river by Anup the Baptizer, who was later beheaded.
There is no character named Anup the Baptizer in ancient Egyptian mythology. This is the concoction of a 19th-century English poet and amateur Egyptologist by the name of Gerald Massey (see sidebar 2 below). Massey is the author of several books on the subject of Egyptology; however, professional Egyptologists have largely ignored his work. In fact, his writing is held in such low regard in archaeological circles that it is difficult to find references to him in reputable modern publications.

In the book Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection (Stellar House Publishing, 2009), author D. M. Murdoch, drawing heavily from Gerald Massey, identifies “Anup the Baptizer” as the Egyptian god Anubis. Murdoch then attempts to illustrate parallels between Anubis and John the Baptist.

Some evidence exists in Egyptian tomb paintings and sculptures to support the idea that a ritual washing was done during the coronation of Pharaohs, but it is always depicted as having been done by the gods. This indicates that it may have been understood as a spiritual event that likely never happened in reality (cf. Alan Gardiner, “The Baptism of Pharaoh,” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 36). This happened only to kings (if it happened to them at all), and one searches in vain to find depictions of Horus being ritually washed by Anubis.

Like Jesus, Horus was tempted while alone in the desert.
The companion guide to the film Zeitgeist outlines the basis for this claim by explaining, “As does Satan with Jesus, Set (aka Seth) attempts to kill Horus. Set is the ‘god of the desert’ who battles Horus, while Jesus is tempted in the desert by Satan” (p. 23).

Doing battle with the “god of the desert” is not the same as being tempted while alone in the desert; and according to the Gospel accounts, Satan did not attempt to kill Jesus there (cf. Matt. 4, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13).

The relationship between Horus and Seth in the ancient Egyptian religion was quite different than the relationship between Jesus and Satan. While Seth and Horus were often at odds with each other, it was believed that their reconciliation was what allowed the pharaohs to rule over a unified country. It was believed that the pharaoh was a “Horus reconciled to Seth, or a gentleman in whom the spirit of disorder had been integrated” (The Oxford Guide to Egyptian Mythology, “Seth”). In stark contrast, there is never any reconciliation between Jesus and Satan in Scripture.

Healed the sick, the blind, cast out demons, and walked on water.
The Metternich Stella, a monument from the 4th century B.C., tells a story in which Horus is poisoned by Seth and brought back to life by the god Thoth at the request of his mother, Isis. The ancient Egyptians used the spell described on this monument to cure people. It was believed that the spirit of Horus would dwell within the sick, and they would be cured the same way he was. This spiritual indwelling is a far cry from the physical healing ministry of Christ. Horus did not travel the countryside laying his hands on sick people and restoring them to health.

He raised Asar from the dead. “Asar” translates to “Lazarus.”
The name Osirus is a Greek transliteration of the Egyptian name Asar. As I mentioned earlier, Osirus is the father of Horus, and, according to the myth, he was killed by Seth and briefly brought back to life by Isis in order to conceive Horus.  It was not Horus who raised “Asar” from the dead. It was his mother.

The name Lazarus is actually derived from the Hebrew word Eleazar meaning “God has helped.” This name was common among the Jews of Jesus’ time. In fact, two figures in the New Testament bear this name (cf. John 11, Luke 16:19-31).

Oh, yeah, he also had twelve disciples.
Again, this claim finds its origin in the work of Gerald Massey (Ancient Egypt: The Light of the Worldbook 12), which points to a mural depicting “the twelve who reap the harvest.” But Horus does not appear in the mural.

In the various Horus myths, there are indications of the four “Sons of Horus,” or six semi-gods, who followed him, and at times there were various numbers of human followers, but they never add up to twelve. Only Massey arrives at this number, and he does so only by referencing the mural with no Horus on it.

Yes, Horus was crucified first.
In many of the books and on the websites that attempt to make this connection, it is often pointed out that there are several ancient depictions of Horus standing with his arms spread in cruciform.  One can only answer this with a heartfelt “So what?” A depiction of a person standing with his arms spread is not unusual, nor is it evidence that the story of a crucified savior predates that of Jesus Christ.

We do have extensive evidence from extra-biblical sources that the Romans around the time of Christ practiced crucifixion as a form of capital punishment. Not only that, but we have in the Bible actual eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion. On the other hand, there is no historical evidence at all to suggest that the ancient Egyptians made use of this type of punishment.

And after three days, two women announced Horus, the savior of humanity, had been resurrected.
As I explained before, the story of the child Horus dying and being brought back to life is described on the Metternich Stella, which in no way resembles the sacrificial death of Jesus. Christ did not die as a child, only to be brought back to life because his grieving mother went to the animal-headed god of magic.

The mythology surrounding Horus is closely tied with the pharaohs, because they were believed to be Horus in life and Osirus in death. With the succession of pharaohs over the centuries came new variations on the myth. Sometimes Horus was believed to be the god of the sky, and at other times he was believed to be the god of war, at other times both; but he was never described as a “savior of humanity.”

Combating the never-ending list of parallels
If you do an Internet search on this subject, you will come across lists of supposed parallels between Jesus and Horus that are much longer than Bill Maher’s filmic litany. What they all have in common is that they do not cite their sources.

Should you encounter people who try to challenge you with these claims, ask them to explain where it is they got their information. Many times you will find that they originate with Gerald Massey or one of his contemporaries. Sometimes they have been repeated and expanded on by others. But these claims have little or no connection to the facts.

You should challenge the person making the claim to produce a primary source or a statement from a scholarly secondary source that has a footnote that can be checked. Then make sure the sources being quoted come from scholars with a Ph.D. in a relevant field, such as a person who teaches Egyptology at the university level.

Due to the mass of misinformation on the Internet and in print on this subject, it is important to respond to these claims using credible sources. Fortunately, there are many good books on Egypt and Egyptology in print. But there are also bad ones, so make sure to verify the author’s credentials before purchasing them.

The study of ancient Egypt has come a long way since its beginning in the 1800s, and new discoveries are being made even today that improve upon our understanding of the subject. It’s safe to say they will do nothing to bolster the alleged Jesus-Horus connection.

The Horus mythology developed over a period of 5,000 years, and as a result it can be a complex subject to tackle. But you don’t have to be an Egyptologist to answer all of these claims. You just need to know where to look for the answers—and to be aware of the claims’ flawed sources.

Appendix 1:
A brief history of modern Egyptology

Rosetta StoneModern Egyptology really begins with the French campaign in Egypt and Syria initiated by Napoleon Bonaparte around 1798. Among other things, the French established a scientific exploration of the region.

In 1799, a soldier named Pierre-Francois Bouchard discovered the Rosetta Stone, which contained a bilingual text that eventually led to the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Prior to this, our knowledge of ancient Egypt’s 5,000-year history was limited to what was known through the writings of pre-Christian Greek historians such as Herodotus and Strabo.

The discovery of the Rosetta Stone led to a renewed interest by the Europeans in all things ancient Egypt, commonly referred to now as “Egyptomania.”  It was not until nearly a century later that Egyptology as an academic discipline began to come into its own. Since that time, we have a much better understanding of ancient Egyptian history and culture.

Appendix 2:
Massey scholarship

Gerald MasseyWhen researching the supposed Egyptian influences on Christianity, inevitably one comes across the name Gerald Massey. Massey was an English poet and amateur Egyptologist who lived from 1828 to 1907. He is the author of three books on the subject: The Book of the BeginningsThe Natural Genesis, and Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World. Because his books represent some of the earliest attempts to draw comparisons between the Christian and Egyptian religions, other writers attempting to draw these comparisons frequently cite them.

One recent example is the book Christ in Egypt; The Horus-Jesus Connection by D.M. Murdoch. In it the author states: “This present analysis of the claims regarding the correspondences between the Egyptian and Christian religions is not dependent on Massey’s work for the most part,” yet she devotes an entire chapter of the book to defending the authenticity of Massey’s scholarship (something she does not feel called to do for anyone else she quotes in her book) and thereafter adopting many of the same comparisons.

Critics of Massey’s work often point out that he had no formal education in the area of Egyptology. While this is a valid criticism, I think it is also important to point out that the study of ancient Egyptian religion has advanced far beyond what was known in the 19th century. Not only is much of Massey’s scholarship built on wild speculation, it is also the product of an academic discipline still in its infancy.
Originally published in the Nov-Dec 2012 issue of Catholic Answers Magazine. Used with author's permission.
(Image credit: Wikimedia)

Jon Sorensen

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Jon Sorensen is the Director of Marketing for Catholic Answers, the largest lay-run apostolate of Catholic apologetics and evangelization in the United States. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 3D Animation and Visual Communications in 2004 from Platt College, Ontario. Before coming to Catholic Answers, he worked in the automotive industry producing television commercials and corporate video. He has also produced motion graphics for several feature-length films. Follow Jon through his website, JonSorenson.net.

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  • stanz2reason

    While I agree that to say the Jesus myth was copied directly from other myths is an unfair statement to make, suggesting that there might have been influences along with way based on pre-existing myths common to that part of the world is still a fair point to make.

    • stanz, do similarities necessarily imply one influence the other?

      Also, as G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien have noted, if the Jesus accounts are true and a divine Storyteller pre-planned Jesus life, death, and Resurrection since the beginning of time, then wouldn't we expect him to foreshadow this climactic event throughout human history, just as we see human directors do throughout any well-designed film?

      • stanz2reason

        Necessarily, no they do not. It is up to the individual to decide if the similarities between the Horus myths (and Dionysus in the greek tradition) and the Jesus myths and a reasonable opportunity for this overlap to occur might be suspicious enough. For instance I'd have a tough time buying overlap amongst the Native American traditions... though I might want to check with the mormons first. For me it's suspicious but unclear, certainly moreso than Maher and others assert.

        I'd think that any story with Chekov's gun wouldn't be much of a story if it weren't fired. We'd have been disappointed if Harry Potter didn't face Voldemort in the climax, nor Ahab faced Moby Dick. None of this speaks to accuracy or removes a reasonable doubt that elements of the story were likely fabricated to fit a specific narrative that might not have been an accurate re-telling of things that actually happened.

        • cestusdei

          The individual decides? How about the objective truth decides? There is no evidence for a Horus and Jesus connection. That's a fact. Atheists need to come up with some new stuff.

          • stanz2reason

            Weakest... criticism... ever. Where's you're objective truth for anything at all related to Christs existence? In fact, insert any supernatural claim (or any claim really) you've ever heard here and tell me where your objective truth is.

            There is no objective truth for matters after they occur. These exists only varying levels of evidence in the form of physical evidence, eye-witness testimony, and in modern times various methods of recording events. Such evidence is used to make a case for a claim, and it is up to the judgement of those listening to determine how supported the claim is by evidence and ultimately how compelled they are to buy the claim.

            Were you to present the christ myth along-side other myths of the time, you might note enough commonalities between the two to raise suspicions. There is a reasonable case to be made in suggesting a bit of overlapping influence one way or the other.

            It's silly to say that it's a fact that there isn't evidence for a connection. You have 2 myths with more than superficial similarities which existed in the same part of the world around the same time. That is what we call 'evidence'. Whether you buy the claim that there's cross-over is a different matter. Personally I feel there is enough evidence to be suspicious, but not enough to say definitively. Of course I've already said this.

            Why would atheists need to come up with new stuff when so much of the old stuff works just fine?

          • cestusdei

            I assume you believe that Alexander the Great existed. Prove it. Did you ever see him? How about the US Civil War? It's all a conspiracy and never happened. All the evidence is manufactured. No one lives that way. All of us trust that there was an Alexander and a Civil War. No one seriously denies that there was a Jesus, regardless of what they believe about him. The whole point of the article is that objectively there is no truth that some early Jewish Christians decided to make up stories about Jesus so that he would be like Horus. That is simply ridiculous. It's like arguing that the Aztecs learned to make pyramids from the Egyptians. The only reason the "old stuff" appeals is because most don't do the homework necessary to debunk it. It is intellectual laziness. However, it doesn't work on the informed Christians.

          • stanz2reason

            You're making little sense and misusing the concept of objectivity. Having not met Alexander the Great I can not objectively say that he existed, which is of course different from saying I believe he existed. Having not witnessed the Civil War I can not objectively say that it happened, which of course is different from saying I believe it happened. In addition, even if I had witnessed such people and events, once the description of those events leaves my mouth, it's hearsay and is no longer objective, even if it's accurate. I could even go further and hold myself up to some impossible Humeian standard of knowledge, but that's counter-productive. What we have is evidence of existence and each make reasonable judgements to the reliability of the evidence. With the case of something like the Civil War, the evidence is overwhelming for it having occurred in the manner it's generally described. With biblical claims, the evidence is less clear, except of course with supernatural claims which can and should be dismissed immediately due to their hocus pocus magical nature.

            That a person or persons existed around the same time who shared some similarities with the character of the mythical jesus of the bible, the evidence seems acceptably strong enough to make that claim. That this mythical character was the son of god in some real way and performed supernatural acts in the real non-ficticious world is an entirely different matter. People of various levels of seriousness deny entirely any and all such supernatural acts occurred and with good reason. I believe that Alexander the Great was a real person in some sense. I don't believe that the real Alexander the Great could fly or had x-ray vision.

            That supernatural elements from other sources might have been incorporated is a reasonable possibility. It's possible due to the geography and the time period. When considering how people tell any stories and the near universal phenomena that elements of previous stories are incorporated, even subconsciously, into new ones it even seems likely. Some of the similarities are suspicious enough to warrant a closer look, though for the third and final time I've yet to see smoking gun evidence to support such claims in a definitive way.

            I'm curious and would be amused to hear which atheist claims have been debunked by informed christians.

          • cestusdei

            So now you can't believe anyone existed unless you personally saw him. Nor can you believe in any historical event. It is all subjective experience for you. A bit like the fundamentalists who claim that God created dinosaur bones to fool atheists and that the world is only 6000 years old. You are just like them. Yet because this "evidence" which the article debunks is congenial to your personal view you are willing to suspend your disbelief. Very convenient.

            How about, "I won't believe this stuff because I have not seen with my eyes the apostles meeting together and discussing ancient Egyptian gods from various dynasties and how to integrate that paganism into their view of Jesus." There is no evidence for that at all, as the article points out. How quickly atheists drop their pretense of objectivity when it suits them.

          • stanz2reason

            So now you can't believe anyone existed unless you personally saw him.

            Again... READ what I wrote. I can not OBJECTIVELY say such things, though this says nothing to what I BELIEVE . I consider the evidence, it's potential reliability, it's consistency with other observations and make a judgement to it's validity.

            Nothing else you had to say is worth responding to.

          • cestusdei

            In other words you can't respond as you are backed into a corner. Fundamentalists are the same including the atheist ones.

          • stanz2reason

            I'm afraid I couldn't have been more clear when I said nothing you said was worth replying to. I'm backed into indifference in explaining myself to someone who clearly hasn't done me the courtesy of reading what I've already said nor have I any interest in giving any more time addressing such poor arguments that they are self-refuting.

          • cestusdei

            In other words you can't respond so you are taking your ball and going home. That happens a lot when I defeat atheists in an argument. Cheers.

          • stanz2reason

            You're correct. We're allergic to poorly made incoherent arguments that are devoid of intellect and puerile in nature. Some people will insist the world is round and feel vindicated when reasonable people shrug their shoulders and refuse to further dignify such doltishness. Congrats, you're one of those sad few.

          • cestusdei

            No, you are not used to finding that logic and reason are not your natural allies. You think all religious people are stupid, which I guess includes Bach, Beethoven, Pasteur, and so many others. When you compose another 9th symphony let me know. Btw, the man who discovered the Big Bang theory was a Catholic priest.

          • marcus

            You clearly dont have a lot of horsepower between the ears. The people you mention did not have our resources. They did the best they could with the limited information and communication they had. Whats your excuse? Look up the word fallacy then get familiar with modus ponens, and modus tollens. Those are generalized math rules designed to be easy for less intelligible to understand and apply in their arguments.

          • PeterPan4

            Wow - so basically as a "critical thinker" you admit that you can be sure of nothing but only have some subjective feeling of what is more likely than something else? Who is to be the judge of that? You?

            If you do some academic research into textual analysis, rather than getting your facts from your circle of atheist friends, you would find the it hard to claim the events in the Bible didn't happen. Of course you could try and interpret them as you wish. Christian tradition is far more influenced by the Greek philosophy than some Egyptian myth. Such claim just weaken your position. No serious academic has come forward to support them.

            A common arrogance amongst "critical thinkers", besides misusing logic, these days is to reconcile the fact that important historical and present day people believe in God, is to claim they had limited information and knowledge. (Basically weren't as smart as us). Of course they would be on your side if they were alive today or just got a little bit of re-education right? Very scientific. Very "modens ponens" wouldn't you say?

            Go back to your critical-thinking 101 guide and try again please.

          • Patrick McCoy

            Thank you so much. That person was using so many logical fallacies and then evoking logic was just breaking my mind, but fortunately you very succinctly shut him down, saving me a lot of time and effort. Kudos.

          • PeterPan4

            According to this argument the only thing you can be sure of is "cogito ergo sum" and is itself based on an unprovable. according to your rules, assumption. I am sure you have heard this raised before. Can you observe your assumption that objective truth is only available via direct observation?

            According to your own rules, you cannot claim someone else's system to be inferior because there is no observable proof. Just your own, individual feeling, and maybe your group of friends.

            But lets grant you your wish and assume it true; beside the physical sciences, there is no much else that you can assert is true and that others should hold too. If this is so, how can you arrogantly claim your position to be more true? You have no facts, no direct observations for your statements. Just a feeling.

            Luckily for the rest of us, we don't hold to your ideology and so have no such problems and truths can be proved by the use of unobservable reason.

          • stanz2reason

            Two things...

            First, thanks for replying to a comment written 2 years ago.

            Second, please re-read my comments in the context of the conversation. Then re-read your own. If that's too much to ask, I'll save you the trouble. Nothing of what you said made a lick of sense and didn't really at all address what was being discussed.

            I've no interest in continuing this conversation and frankly thought this site long ago faded into some obscure corner of the web. I'm indifferent to the fact that it's still around. Good luck in Neverland.

      • Andrew G.

        That kind of argument fails the conservation-of-evidence test, unless you're seriously telling us that your belief would be reduced by the lack of any such foreshadowing.

        • I'm not sure my belief in Jesus as God would be reduced without foreshadowing among the great pagan myths, since my faith does not depend on them, but the fact they occur makes sense and, if nothing else, does not contradict Christianity.

          By the way, the best book on how pagan-myths foreshadowed Christianity is G.K. Chesterton's The Everlasting Man.

          • Longshanks

            But literally everything which is ever proven or eventually known will "not contradict Christianity" since it'll get ret-conned in.

            "Oh, there's an incredibly rich soil of human beliefs, of which many bear striking resemblances to what we believe and have similar amounts of credible evidence, long predating the germination of the one-true-belief that we have? Yeah, those were just foreshadowings. Like god was giving us a preview of the next episode while the credits roll on this one."

            "Oh, new scientific evidence contradicts things we forced you to believe before? Yeah, sure, we were protecting the spiritual lives of the faithful before your evidence was conclusive, but now we're totally in. We'll issue an apology in a couple hundred years."

          • Longshanks, this is not true and I don't think you really believe it. There are plenty of ways to disprove (or "contradict") Christianity. The simplest of which is to provide a natural explanation for the Resurrection which fits the available evidence and is more plausible than the supernatural alternative. If you can prove the Resurrection is a made-up claim, you've defeated Christianity. Catholicism is built on that foundation.

          • Of course, at this stage of the game, based on the available evidence, it is as impossible to prove the Resurrection is a "made-up claim" as it is impossible to prove it was an actual historical event. (I know many are convinced it is a proven fact, but of course it isn't.) And of course there are a number of interpretations of the Resurrection—e.g., Jesus lives on through the faith of his followers—which even a non-Christian or an atheist could acknowledge as true.

            I think that is reinforced by the idea of "nonoverlapping magisteria." If religion and science do not overlap, they cannot contradict each other. And history is part of the "magisteria" of science. It doesn't overlap the magisteria of religion, and therefore it cannot prove religion false.

            By the way, I doubt that most people who don't believe in the Resurrection consider it a "made-up claim."That's like the old "Lunatic, Liar, or Lord" trilemma. It could be, for example (just one of many possibilities), that the idea of the Resurrection really did begin as the idea that Jesus somehow lived on through the faith of his followers, and that concept "evolved" over time into a belief in a real, historical, physical resurrection.

            One thing does seem obvious to me, though, and that is that the "Jesus/Horus connection" is so much bunk that it doesn't need debunking. No one needed to borrow from Egyptian religion to write the story of Jesus. It is a very Jewish story based on Jewish ideas and events of the first century.

          • David I am almost entirely with you, and would add this: I have always found that the "magisteria" do overlap at some point. For example, the question of why people believe religious things is an issue of human psychology and neuroscience.

            No one needed to borrow from Egyptian religion to write the story of Jesus.

            I also agree with this, insofar as it refers to the story of the life and public ministry of Jesus. However, when you get to deification and subsequent theology, it is very much a break from Jewish ideas and shows clear signs of influence from the pagan Greek speaking community that supplied converts to keep Christianity going in the latter first century.

          • Randy Gritter

            The non-overlapping magisteria is not a Catholic idea. Truth about faith and morals does overlap with scientific truth. Not as much as people suppose but there is definitely some overlap and the church does not say there is not.

            The faith is very Jewish. The early church fathers dug into the Old Testament and the apostolic tradition for truth. Both sources were 100% Jewish. They did get their philosophical framework and language from the Greeks.

      • AshleyWB

        Absolutely not, because it makes no sense to arbitrarily assign human characteristics to a transcendent being that exists beyond our understanding. Of course this is a problem with many statements about gods. For example, religious believers of any faith have no reason to believe their god is being honest with them. If a universe-creating omnipotence wants to mislead you, it's going to do so and there is nothing you can do to detect that.

        • Randy Gritter

          Is He completely beyond our understanding? The argument is that ancient religions did understand God to some degree. They got some things wrong but they got many things right. They had the notion of gods who would lie and gods who were trustworthy. God revealed Himself in a special way through Abraham, Moses, and eventually Jesus still we all have some sense of Him even today.

          • Rationalist1

            Imagine in another 3000 years how are concept of God will have changed. I think we're even seeing the hint of it in changing societal trends now.

          • AshleyWB

            No matter what your religion, you have no way of judging the author of your faith's supposed revelations. Your god is not a person; it cannot be judged as one. A claim that it is trustworthy or that it is deceptive can never be substantiated, because you "know" only those aspects of its nature which it has chosen to reveal.

          • John Graney

            I think St. Thomas has a decent proof for why the Creator must be perfect. I'm not extremely familiar with it.

            In any case, we all know that the Devil is super-trustworthy.

          • I think St. Thomas has a decent proof for why the Creator must be perfect.

            I can picture what "the prefect" is in abstract thought, but what do you think that means in the real world?

      • Liz Litts

        I'll go with those three anytime--The 'Jesus myth" is a myth for those who deny the truth.

      • M. Solange O’Brien

        No. Why would we expect god to foreshadow this event?

  • Andre Boillot

    "Isis managed to retrieve all of Osiris’s body parts except for his phallus, which was thrown into the Nile and eaten by catfish. (I’m not making this up)."

    Ok, you'll have to admit that, in a piece that is going about debunking the parallels between the two stories - both filled with otherwise fantastic miracles - it's quite funny that the author would presume total disbelief from his audience on this one point. As if this were the one part that strained credibility :)

    • Rationalist1

      Many Catholic Churches, up to even this century, claim to have a relic of the Holy Prepuce.

      • Longshanks

        Oh jeez, if we want to go down the relic isle, we'll be here all day guys.

    • josh

      Guess he should have girded up his loins.

  • primenumbers

    Great article. The links between the character of Jesus and Horus are tenuous. However the most interesting part is here: "(I’m not making this up)" where the deeply held religious convictions of the ancient Egyptians are mocked, yet as religious beliefs the ancient Egyptians used the same epistemology of faith that modern day Christians use to come to their religious beliefs. This is yet more evidence that faith is a very poor epistemology.

    • primenumbers, your insinuation that modern Christians ground their faith on an "epistemology of faith" is untrue, as this very website attests. Even a few weeks in, we have 40+ articles, and none argue for God or any particular Christian doctrine through faith alone.

      • primenumbers

        I'm talking about faith as the means to which you come by your religious knowledge. And it doesn't have to be through "faith alone", but faith filling in the gap between minimal or equivocal evidence and a firm belief.

        We can agree that the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians are laughable though. What is so different about the beliefs of Mormons or Scientologists? With Christianity we don't have good enough evidence to believe, and the gap between that evidence and belief is filled by faith, and it's that filling the epistemological gap with faith that I'm talking about.

        • primenumbers, again your comment is full of curious assumptions about Christian epistemology. First, there are significant epistemological differences between Christians, Mormons, Egyptians, and Scientologists. For one, the latter two do not rely on historically falsifiable claims. The existence of Horus at a particular time and place is not claimed as it is with Jesus.

          Second, you argue "the gap between...evidence and belief [is] filled by faith."

          I somewhat agree. It's true that logic, reason, and empirical evidence can only take the Christian so far. Those things alone cannot reveal the fullness of Christian belief. However, they can take him a long. They can prove God exists; can affirm his eternal, omnipotent, and creative nature; can support the historical veracity of the Resurrection; and more. But beliefs like the Trinity and the divinity of the Church can only be discerned through Divine Revelation.

          That said, I take issue with the way you're using terms. You insinuate that on one side we have "evidence" and on the other side "belief." But the two are not of the same kind. Belief comes through analysis of the evidence--it's not the opposite pole of evidence.

          • primenumbers

            The Mormons do rely on historically falsifiable claims, and we can both agree that they are indeed false claims. What is different with Christianity is that those claims are nearly 2000yrs ago rather than 200 and we don't have good enough evidence to believe either are actually true. With Mormonism we do have good evidence to believe they are false, but with Christianity we don't actually have enough evidence to completely falsify, but we do have some good evidence pointing in that direction like the large-scale miraculous claims that are not evidenced in the contemporary historical record. I can well accept an answer for the historicity of Jesus that "we just don't know", whereas I can go even further with Mormonism (vastly helped by it being recent history).

            I'm not suggesting belief is opposite to evidence. We start with evidence and if there's enough evidence we can form a justified belief. If there's not enough evidence (or a balance of evidences leading neither one way or the other) we can say "I don't know", and if there's strong disconfirming evidence we can say "no, I don't believe". I do think it is faith that takes you from "I don't know" to "belief" when there's not enough evidence to justify that belief.

            "They can prove God exists; can affirm his eternal, omnipotent, and creative nature; can support the historical veracity of the Resurrection; and more" - no, here you're using faith to go to beliefs way beyond what the evidence can actually show. We really don't have enough historical evidence to show Jesus, or that there was a resurrection.

            "But beliefs like the Trinity and the divinity of the Church can only be discerned through Divine Revelation" - agreed that these are most entirely faith based.

          • primenumbers, your whole first paragraph is responding to something I never said. Reread my comment. I claimed the "latter two" (i.e. Egyptians and Scientologists) made historically unverifiable claims, not the Mormons. My aim was to show one difference that countered the idea that we can lump all four belief systems into the same epistemological group.

            However, though I didn't comment on it, the differences beteween Christianity and Mormonism are vast, though admittedly most of it concerns the veracity of Divine Revelation.

            Finally, you claim "We really don't have enough historical evidence to show Jesus, or that there was a resurrection."

            Correct me if I'm misunderstanding you, but if you're claiming that there is no historical evidence that Jesus existed, you're be on the extreme fringe of historical scholarship. Even most atheist and agnostic historians verify Jesus' existence, including Dr. Bert Ehrman.

            Regarding historical evidence for the Resurrection, let's table that topic for now because we'll be having a series of posts on that issue coming up here. I'll look forward to your comments on those posts!

          • primenumbers

            Brandon indeed you did mention that the Egyptians and Scientologists don't make historical claims, which is why I went to discuss the Mormons and Christians that do make historical claims. But historical claims is just one area where faith is used to find religious beliefs. You mention the concept of the Trinity for example, which is not a historically falsifiable belief and we've agreed it's faith based. All religions will use a mix of things, ranging from historical events to rather more pure faith based beliefs. In all the cases, the "faith" part, the part that takes you from what evidence for that belief there is (which could be ranging from "someone told me" to "I witnessed a miracle") to a full belief.

            "but if you're claiming that there is no historical evidence that Jesus existed, you're be on the extreme fringe of historical scholarship" - that's not what I'm claiming. I'm saying that there's not enough evidence to show such a character as Jesus existed. I'm not aware of enough evidence to show he didn't exist either. We really just don't have enough evidence either way to come to a firm conclusion. As for historical scholarship, they do tend to go with Jesus being (one of many) messianic Jewish preachers of the period, but they don't put the religious claims of Jesus in as part of history. The Jesus as myth discussions are rather fascinating, but it's also frustrating seeing the early history of Christianity almost entirely through the filter of early and later Christianity. I'd dearly like to read the lost works of the early critics of Christianity, but all we have left are the fragments preserved in the Christian responses to them, for instance.

            "Regarding historical evidence for the Resurrection" - good idea. It's a topic worthy of it's own thread.

            As for your mention earlier "It's true that logic, reason, and empirical evidence can... ...show God exists; affirm his eternal, omnipotent, and creative nature" - I also put that in the faith based category. I know you have a thread going on logical proofs for God, but it's rather unwieldy to have 20 proofs. I suggest you pick which you suggest is the strongest of them and present that for discussion. I think you'll get a better discussion going that way.

          • Thanks for the feedback regarding the last point. The goal of the "20 Proofs" article was not to provide an exhaustive defense of each of those proofs, but to show skeptics (and curious Catholics) that strong philosophical and scientific arguments exist for God's existence.

            We're planning to devote much more space and thought to each of the arguments in time, especially the cosmological arguments.

          • primenumbers

            Brandon, arguing for your side for the minute: a vast number of proofs don't bolster each other (psychologically speaking). What people do is look for the low-hanging-fruit, and attack the weakest proof and dismiss the rest accordingly. If you want to make a strong logical case for God, pick your best and don't include things like Pascal's Wager (for example).

          • Rationalist1

            Plus in a religion whose founder claims that truths that were hidden from the wise and available to all should have to resort to philosophical proofs accessible only to the educated seems contradictory. To me a demonstration of a simple pure faith that "could move mountains" and that when asked for a fish, doesn't give a serpent would suffice.

          • Rationalist1, if you read the verse in context which you quote, it's clear Jesus was referring not to the merely "wise" but to the intellectually proud.

            Regarding "moving mountains," this was a rhetorical device. Catholics don't read all of Jesus' words literalistically like many Fundamentalists.

          • Rationalist1

            The verses immediately prior to Matthew 11:25 refer to towns where Jesus' miracles were performed and they did not repent. That's not intellectually proud, that's being obstinate.

          • Rationalist, first I hope you realize the irony of an atheist trying to explain to a Catholic how Catholics should interpret the Bible. I don't say that as an argument, but as an observation.

            Second, if you read earlier in both Matthew 11 and Luke 10 you'll see Jesus referring to these townspeople as "wolves" and people who have ears but don't hear. The imagery is meant to suggest that even though miracles are performed in front of them, they choose not to believe due to pride and obstinance.

            It's not, however, as you were suggesting. That God "hid" himself from a large group of people and only revealed himself through special knowledge to the educated. This is a heresy the Church rejected in the first century known as Gnosticism.

          • Rationalist1

            And Brandon, just because I am an atheist, doesn't mean I don't know anything about Catholicism. As you will find, most atheists come from a religious background and tend to a great deal about the religion they left behind. And I also don't say that as an argument, but as an observation.

          • I never said you "don't know anything about Catholicism." Now you're just putting words into my mouth. I only observed the strangeness of an atheist trying to tell a Catholic how Catholics should understand the Bible.

          • Rationalist1

            You said it was ironic. In a sense it is, but not unexpected. I've corrected a Catholic once on this board and many others on points of Catholic teaching. I don't believe it but I do know it.

          • Rationalist1

            We'll it's just as well that "moving mountains" was a rhetorical advice as there in no evidence that prayer has enacted one physical change in this world. Although as my Christian Science friend says, it's the spiritual healing that's more important.

          • Anon knee mouse

            Christian apologetics do not have to resort to philosophical proofs to be effective. It is only necessary to help the "educated" unlearn what they think they know by asking tough questions and engaging in dialogue. In my experience I find that the "uneducated" often have an easier time with faith.

          • "What people do is look for the low-hanging-fruit, and attack the weakest proof and dismiss the rest accordingly."

            Which of course is intellectually dishonest and contrary to our aim here at Strange Notions which is the pursuit of what's true. I simply can't help that reaction. For the sake of argument, assume 19 of Dr. Kreeft' 20 "ways" were false. Would the intellectually honest person then assume the twentieth is necessarily false?

          • primenumbers

            Brandon, that's why I mentioned the psychology of it. Indeed it's wrong to assume that the rest of the arguments are false because you've found a problem with one of them. But that's not how people think, and if you're presenting a case, it's best not to allow people to even go that route - present your best case only.

            Now, on the other hand I was tech editing a book and I found the 1st chapter full of errors. It wasn't wrong of me to assume that similar errors would be made through the rest of the book and hence ask for a double-fee from the publishers up-front as I knew it would take an awful lot longer than normal to do a proper job the tech edit. (of course, for this to be analogous to your 20 arguments, they'd all have to come from the pen of the same person)

          • Michael Murray

            Which of course is intellectually dishonest and contrary to our aim here at Strange Notions which is the pursuit of what's true.

            Perhaps attacking on the basis of the weakest link is dishonest but there is also the question of optimizing the expenditure of time. There is an enormous amount of information available and an enormous number of claims going on the internet about all kinds of topic. Anyone who wants to stay sane has to do some filtering up front. If you've looked at a few arguments of this kind and found them wanting then it's quite sensible to reject the rest.

          • primenumbers

            Oh, and I just realize there's a rather BS pun in the title of this article "Horus Manure" which rather demeaning to the ancient Egyptian religious beliefs. It also fits into my argument above that what appears to be a laughable religious belief to a Catholic is still a belief that used faith. It doesn't make sense to get bogged down in the nuances of what people believe - what is vastly more interesting and important is why they believe them.

          • It has nothing to do with mocking the Egyptian religious beliefs and has everything to do with the Parallelomania with which people talk about this topic.

          • primenumbers

            So calling a god of the Egyptians horse manure - BS - is not mocking?

          • That's not what the joke is aimed at. It's a pun aimed, not at Horus or his followers, but at the people who think Horus = Jesus.

            Whether or not the pun was effective/ in good taste is not something I'll defend or attack. Simply saying that I'm sure if Sorenson knew any Horus devotees who were offended he would apologize for the misunderstanding.

            And please. All religions make fun of others, and atheists make fun of all religions. This is a silly point to get on a high horse about.

          • primenumbers

            Oh yes, I do make fun of religious beliefs - all of them without bias. I just see it as somewhat hypocritical when a religious person criticizes the whacky beliefs of another while holding equally whacky beliefs themselves.

          • But to say that two exclusionist religions can't make fun of each other? I don't know how you get to interpose yourself in the middle of that. If Horus had any followers, I'm sure they'd make priest-pedo jokes.

            Seriously: "You all have silly beliefs, so it's offensive when you make fun of each other." That's condescending, paternalistic, and so out of place. Again, you're being simultaneously faux-offended and superior. It's unbecoming.

          • primenumbers

            Of course, they can and do make fun of each other. This doesn't stop me perceiving it as hypocritical though.

            ""You all have silly beliefs, so it's offensive when you make fun of each other."" - but that's not what I said. I'm not taking offence, I'm perceiving hypocrisy.

            I'm not getting "faux-offended and superior." - and if you catch me expressing whacky beliefs, call me on it - I expect nothing less.

            My whole argument here is not about what you believe, but why you believe it. I think that the religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians (beliefs the author of the article finds humorous) had a strong component of faith, as do religious beliefs today, and that although we can see clearly how faith is an unreliable epistemology in the case of Egyptians (or Muslims, or Mormons or Scientologists etc.) we find it hard to see in the case of our own beliefs (and yes, I include myself there too) because of the basic cognitive biases that are common to us all.

          • And like I said, I'm not going to die on a hill defending the pun. But it's a pun. Aimed at the Jesus/Horus connection and not at Horus. Did it really have to be brought in at all to a discussion?

          • primenumbers

            As I mentioned, the laughable nature of other people's beliefs is part of the argument I'm making on how faith is unreliable epistemology.

          • It's a very weak part. Something is funny when it contradicts our expectations (there are other elements of humor, I suppose, but this seems to be the relevant one here). But just because it contradicts our expectations doesn't mean it's false.

            The fact that God became man, died for all men to redeem them, and rose from the dead is absurd, perhaps even laughable to the non-Christian. But that in no way addresses its veracity.

            The fact that Osiris' penis was eaten by a catfish if absurd, even laughable to the non-Ancient Egyptian. But that fact has no bearing on its veracity.

            I hope the other parts of your argument are better.

          • primenumbers

            No, religious beliefs are not false because they're funny. That is not my argument at all. Religious beliefs, like those of the ancient Egyptians are, I think we can agree, false. There was no such Horus, and the stories about Horus are untrue - yet they were the deeply held beliefs of the ancient Egyptians. They held them through means of faith. My argument is that if if we can clear see that faith leads to false beliefs, and has lead to false beliefs throughout history, why can't we see that faith is also unreliable when it comes to our own beliefs? It's not the nature of the beliefs that matters at all - be they serious or laughable, but the means by which people come to those beliefs - faith - that I'm arguing about, and I'm saying quite distinctly that faith is a very unreliable epistemology.

          • Rationalist1

            It also leads to false beliefs now. There are some extremely intelligent, sincere, educated, prayerful people now who believe, what all of us would agree, are totally false faiths. Julia Sweeney left her Catholic faith when she realized that how could she discount Mormonism as a made up religion yet not her Catholic religion.

          • primenumbers

            Absolutely. There's a vast number of false beliefs held today - from anti-vaxxers and young earth creationists, to UFO believers. Although the range of beliefs is vast and varied, they all stem from the same set of cognitive biases, of which faith is a manifestation.

          • Longshanks

            For my part, I don't mind letting the pun slide.

            Tweaking religious sensibilities of any kind never seems like all that bad of an idea to me.

          • Now, objectively, how cute is your baby, really?

          • primenumbers

            I can only tell you how subjectively cute he is, which is very. I'm sure you could come up with an objective cuteness metric based on ratios of head size to body size, and eye size to head size though.

          • I can only tell you how subjectively cute he is, which is very.

            I take that as a tautology brought to us by Natural Selection (else our species would not have survived and we would not be having this conversation), and direct evidence for Darwin. However it is also why it is no surprise to me that religions will ridicule each other all the while feeling it is unfair, when on the receiving side of such.

          • To be clear, the "manure" pun was in reference to the Horus/Jesus connection, as the subtitle makes clear, not to Horus himself.

          • Rationalist1

            Just us "notorius atheists" who practice "scientism" who are sensitive to main calling. Christians have been assured by their founder that being berated for his sake is akin to a badge of honour so perhaps they are less sensitive to it. Either way, I won't do it.

          • primenumbers

            R1, remember we're "strident militant atheists".

          • Rationalist1

            That's true. But i get "grumpy" when I hear that.

          • Rationalist, you are aware that when we mentioned "notorious atheist" in the Antony Flew post, we were quoting from the subtitle of his own book, right?

            And "scientism" isn't meant to be perjorative. It's just a word chosen to describe a particular ideology which overemphasizes science, just as "americanism" or "capitalism."

          • Rationalist1

            If it's okay to call an atheist notorious, is it okay for me to call the Pope Emeritus, a notorious Catholic. Just because he used it doesn't mean you should.

            And scientism, a constructed word that isn't in the dictionary, only a faithist would save it wasn't pejorative.

          • Jon Sorensen

            No, I was not mocking the Egyptians.

          • Jon Sorensen

            Exactly. I am actually fascinated by the ancient Egyptians.

          • Rationalist1

            Agreed. People lived, died and organized their lives around their belief in Horus. Just because like so many religions it's defunct it's no reason to disparage them.

          • primenumbers

            As humans, they were as susceptible to the very same cognitive biases that we are, and hence had the the same issues with using faith as an epistemology as we would. It's not their fault they believed thing which we now find humorous, just very human. I don't see the same excuse applying today though where we have a very good understanding of cognitive biases and how they will lead to us forming untrue beliefs.

          • Michael Murray

            cosmological arguments.

            Hopefully you will find a cosmologist somewhere to contribute to this. I'm not that keen on philosophers doing physics.

          • Brandon: Please do be sure to get in touch with me if you need cosmologists to address the question of how much of cosmology consists in philosophy :-)

          • marcus

            If you go back historically, and possible into the future, you will find that the statement:

            "...claiming that there is no historical evidence that Jesus existed, you're be on the extreme fringe of historical scholarship."

            Is not true. The great majority of humanity does not have one opinion or another about Jesus' existence because the character is not part of their faith. Most humans on this planet will say that they heard he is real but they dont know and even more will say they don't care because he is not important to them. The world is actually not all Christian nor do they speak English.

      • Guest

        How about "Modern Christians derive much of their theology from an epistemology of divine revelation?" Would that be inaccurate?
        Never mind, you answered this below. I'll remove this comment due to redundancy.

        ~Jesse Webster

    • I find value here in a process that is like two polishing stones rubbing against each other. The claims that just can't be supported from evidence are quickly ground down. I don't want skeptics falling for ad hoc dismissals that are as lacking in evidence as what is being dismissed. Hopefully what is left over are arguments that can stand general scrutiny.

      Stories about procreation between divine beings and humans (almost always female humans) are common in mythologies, so there is no surprise there. There is even one in Genesis 6:1-4. Different branches of early Christianity had different ideas about how to handle the concept of deification re Jesus, so it is not unreasonable to expect that the pagan traditions of the Greek speaking community providing the context, would be influential. However, a direct copying from Horus is not supportable, and I don't see as likely.

      As for Egyptians being mocked, well ... ah ... no I think I better not go there.

  • Meta-N

    Jon - The phenomena you discussing is known as Parallelomania. A trap that some atheists fall into.

    Additional Info on Horus vs. Jesus; Richard Carrier did an excellent write up on this topic, complete with many links. Here you go http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/294

    This is a must read item. Lots of supporting details.


    • Meta-N, great comment. Thanks! I'm glad you're aware that you can baptize people in emergency situations, even if you're an atheist. You only have to will to do what the Church does in baptism.

      However, I'm not so sure about the beer claim. Beer is certainly not valid in ordinary circumstances, and I don't think it's acceptable in emergency situations either. Did you hear this on the radio or read it somewhere?

      • Rationalist1

        Pope Gregory IX in the 13th century banned beer baptism.

        • Rationalist, I'm familiar with that. Which is why I'm skeptical beer could be used in emergency baptisms.

          • Rationalist1

            I was once told one could use sand.

          • It is difficult for me to imagine that if beer is the only available liquid, and an emergency baptism is warranted, God would not allow baptism by beer to "take." I think perhaps what is behind the confusion as to what is water and what is not is some very old notions about what makes a substance what it is. Beer is a mixture of a small amount of alcohol, a small number of flavoring agents, and 90+ percent water. It seems perfectly reasonable to me to look at beer as flavored water for the purposes of baptism.

            I suspect that many discussions of what may and may not be used for baptism use an outmoded concept of what makes a substance what it is. Muddy water is considered water by Aquinas, but fruit juice is not considered water. But of course everyone today now knows that fruit juice is mostly water. I suspect Aquinas didn't know that. Suppose I take two quarts of water and add a packet of Kool-Aid. Have I actually transformed water into Kool-Aid any more than putting mud into water transforms water into something other than water? I certainly don't think so.

            Aquinas basically seems to be saying that if you wouldn't call it water, it's not water. So you would call muddy water "water," but you would call orange juice "fruit juice." But of course who you are and what your circumstances are determine what you would call things. If I am in the desert and dehydrated, and a medical team comes along and says I've got to have water soon or I will die, they aren't going to say, "He's a goner. All we have is orange juice, and he needs water." Under those circumstances, orange juice is just as much water as muddy water is water. The only thing that turns water into not-water is something that causes the two atoms of hydrogen and the one of oxygen to be altered into some other combination of atoms.

      • I thought you could use any liquid that was primarily water?

        • Randy Gritter

          So Bud Lite would be OK?

          • Michael Murray

            Wikipedia says "Urine is principally water."

            I do recall from my early days at school being taught we could baptise people from puddles and the like. Pity that part of Australia was drought prone.

          • Wikipedia says "Urine is principally water."

            Michael, why pester them about the details?

          • Michael Murray

            Someone mentioned Bud Lite so I guess urine sprang to mine.

          • Someone mentioned Bud Lite so I guess urine sprang to mine.

            Your what? Oh dear.

          • Michael Murray

            Oops. Unfortunate typo.

          • ;-)

      • Meta-N

        Brandon - I think the show is called Catholic Answers Live. It's on AM radio 1060 in the Boston area. Yes, the very knowledgeable host went into great details (lots of prior work on these issues where discussed) on which liquids can be used in an emergency situation. Beer is not the first choice (emergency use only), preferably light beer if I remember correctly. I also seem to recall a bit of humor with the beer option. A serious issue none the less. Other liquids like wine are definitely not OK.

        Did you read the Richard Carrier blog article? Lots of additional material to support Jon's post.

        Thank you!

    • Victor

      Hey Meta-N, when I clicked on http://freethoughtblogs.com/ca... all me, myself and i found was http://freethoughtblogs.com/?s=ca...&search_404=1 so where did "I" go wrong NOW?

      I hear YA! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUllo9XM_oo

      Go Figure! :)



  • Octavo

    This is my favorite article on this site.
    Thank you!
    ~Jesse Webster

  • Victor

    Jon! "I'M" sorry that "I" can't spent too much time on this so called "Horus" but let me assure and just tell you that parallel speaking, we gods know this character as simply "H" and long story short, "IT" is all about the final "Harvest god race" and you either win "or" you simply remain an ordinary (us) commonly known as "Horus".

    We gods can't spend any more "TIME" on but this but if YA want to know more just check with my secretary who is running around with this guy claiming to be a Jester but don't be fooled by his godly engineering genius ways. http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/2013/05/pulp-catholicism/
    Got to go NOW! :)

  • Victor

    Great post!

    I only wish that the hackers would allow me to read all of the comments NOW!
    Go Figure! :)

    • Victor

      I hear YA sinner vic!

      That's "IT" Victor!

      Gall, "I" mean,,,, no, no .... Don't says "IT"...... Was just going to say Gull darn "IT".......
      Go Figure NOW! :)

  • Chris Steel

    Yeshua (Jesus) was foreshadowed throught the scriptures begining in Genesis 3 (the sacrificial lamb)- In Isaiah 53-7 God gives exact description of the Messiah that he is sending (due to the fall of man) and then John 1-11 tell us EXACTLY why they missed him - NOW here's how this ties into the article - Hasatan the devil was kicked out of heaven and he took a third of the angels with him! They came to earth and bred with women - read Genesis 6 and Job - and this is why God had to send the flood - God was resetting the Gene Pool through Noahs genetic line -Satan knows what Gods plan is for us, so what he did was present himself to humans back then (preflood, but still to this very day) as GOD!! Satan is a counterfit, he copied Gods plan for our salvation and had the acient people worshipping him (and still to this very day)! He knew that God was sending his son (to void out the Genectic connection) so he is the reason why there are multiple stories that mimic the true story of Yeshua's coming and that is why Judah missed the messiah - Satan walks this earth and has for milenia, the Isis Osiris story is meant to throw you off, BUT if people would just read the scriptures its not that hard to see - Please read, and remember, Hastan has been around eons - he's had ample time to get his story to confuse the truth and thats all he wants to do is confuse and its easy for him because people do not read, they only follow. Confusion turns people away from searching out the truth altogether. Now if this was all myths, ask yourself, why do the heads of our nations worship these dieties? How many of you know that ROME ran with the name Jesus only because they were already worshipping Zeus - it was for control - control of the people thru religion - they use the Catholic church which is why you always see those sun discs over their heads - and those big hats they wear, those are hats from acient babylon - the priests of Baal - they are sun worshippers - why? Because Satan tricked them into worshipping him - also the sun was a symbol of the dogstar Sirius - which also ties into Satan - its all in the scriptures, you just have to read and ask God to reveal some things to you! May you be blessed and please dont take my word, read for yourself!

  • I have posted this link to a lecture by historian, Richard Carrier, as part of another comment on another thread, but realized that it also belongs here because he also shoots down many of the bad claims to parallel mythology, as does Jon Sorensen, in the OP above.

  • Thumper’s Mom

    If people just blindly accept what Bill Mahr professes to be true, why should we be surprised that others have pulled off the same thing. Some people delight in thinking that they've cornered people

  • ksed11

    The NT writers were Jews (and Paul was a Jew and a Pharisee). And no Jew/Pharisee living between the Maccabean revolt and the destruction of the Temple in 70CE would have employed a pagan god for much of anything. The Jewish antipathy towards paganism was fierce.

    In addition, it’s important to focus on CRITICAL similarities, not incidental ones. Incidental and vague similarities can be seen between almost anyone. One can use incidental similarities to “prove” that JFK was actually based on Lincoln. The critical, central Christian message about Jesus was focused on his Lordship over all creation, his voluntary sacrificial death, and his physical resurrection. Incidental elements include such things as the number of disciples, his date of birth, etc.

    So most of the comparisons cited by Christ myth theorists are merely incidental.

  • newenglandsun

    Check out the alincolnism page on facebook.

  • sinner

    So, what if it is true? What if Jesus is a reincarnation of Horus? The only reason that people would have an issue with this is if they also; blindly believe what an institution tells them. It would only shatter the walls of the religious institutions and their brainwashing of the masses. People cannot think for themselves anymore. Now that the catholic church has come forward in the last year or so and totally changed its stance on ufo's and aliens.... they expect people to believe that they didn't know this all along and now they are making up some sort of "explanation" that even if aliens existed, they would still be "god's creation?"
    Jesus seemed to be a man that fought against the corrupt, legalistic rabbis and moneychangers. How can the church then justify it's rules and laws... money grubbing ways? Jesus is way beyond any institution or sect of Christianity.

  • marcus

    I find it endlessly amusing that one can criticize another for being nonobjective because their view cant be verified and then turn around and do the same thing in the opposite direction. This article is a failure.

    "Maher is only repeating things that are and believed by many people today."

    ...if that doesnt make you die from laughter then I dont know what will. Where do you suppose your own beliefs came from? Or are you going to direct me to direct evidence that Jesus actually lived? Do you have one shred of real evidence aside from belief.

    You do exactly what you claim Maher did because you also provide no supporting evidence aside from things you consider "logical." I will tell you now, that your knowledge is incomplete and thus inaccurate. You cannot defend a opinion with an opinion. This is the 21st century, not ancient Egypt. In the world today, we know that people lie, people forget, people are biased, and people were not better at any point in history. The only difference between today and back then, is today, we are more aware of what is happening due to better record keeping and communication. Thus, if you really want to extrapolate, then how about using real proven methods. What happens to a story when it is relayed verbally across 4 of 5 people? Answer, the story changes and the details become different. What happens over a few million people over thousands of years? Hmm. What happens if one of the story tellers has extreme bias towards one story or another? Hmm. What if one side had the power to destroy evidence? Rewrite their own history? You get the point.

    Good luck explaining to god that you are a good person when you yourself insult god by not using the greatest gift he gave you and no it is not the "soul." What separates us from animals is our ability to override our programming. We have a powerful brain. What you call a "soul" is just the byproduct of you character which is determined by your brain which dictates your action. In the case of modern humans, how can you claim to be moral and ethical if you dont use your greatest asset to find truth rather than simply "believe in your heart." Given the knowledge we have today compared to the past, you have no excuse but laziness. What will you tell god? "Hey dude, I dig you man! I believed in youuuu! Now where is my reward?" God asks, did you use your greatest gift to the best of your ability to do good things? How will you answer? "Well you see god, its really hard work to use my brain so instead, I just followed my heart. So thanks for the brain, but I really didnt need it." I wonder what any god might say to someone like this that lived in the 21st century. You still think he would want you anywhere near his paradise? Might as well let insects and trees into heaven. At least they used what they had to its full potential.

    You are the flip-side of the Maher coin! You are the same. And I guarantee you and any other religious person living today, that none of you will see a day in any sort of heaven given the time you live in today. You have no excuses. Learn our knowledge, and apply it.

  • Christopher todd

    Of course the Zealots will lie to cover their fake made up Jesus, There are MANY virgin birth stories that predate the klu klux Khristian story. Sorry? But You inbred folk are supposed to find what story is oldest? Then work your way up and know those that followed are a spin off. Sorry? But you people are arguing one fantasy over another. Its real easy to see that Christian fantasy inbred folklore has a lot of things from other peoples religion. *points to the age of the trinity* Track that back into time.. Just keep recycling lies acting like the "Atheists" Are the stupid ones while you people have imaginary friends. Get some logic and stop trying to dumb each other down to "Facts" Facts are UNDENIABLE! So if someone has the same stories as your god? Undeniable that its not ORIGINAL! "Don't argue with stupid people. They will drag you to their level and beat you with experience."

  • Christopher todd

    How about this one Zealots.. There has to be data to suggest something b4 data is needed to debunk something. If science worked with imaginary data? We would be stuck like the Christians in the dark ages. Using their numbers and lies to drown the truth. What is there for your god? Nothing.. Other world lifeforms have more data to suggest than your imaginary friends. Trillions upon trillions of worlds beyond ours? But no you nuts think that is crazy.. Google "Pentagon put Christ** top of extremist list" < Zealot Conspiracy nuts = Blames the govt for dumbing people down. Demands other believe in things without proof. *Facepalm* You people just need to shut up about Atheists. You out number them but consider them a threat? Gonna start a new Christian KKK, Nazi Army, or Aryan group for atheists? Lmao.. Terrorists..

  • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

    Define virgin birth in the actual context it was written in. Does not mean she did not have sex it meant she was a young woman.

    • David Nickol

      Does not mean she did not have sex it meant she was a young woman.

      No. While it is correct that one of the "prophecies" (Isaiah 7:14) in the original Hebrew uses the word almah meaning "young woman" (who could be either a virgin or not), and the Septuagint (the Greek translation of Hebrew Scripture used by Greek-speaking Jews, including the authors of the Gospels) used the word parthenos, which specifically means "virgin," the Gospels are quite specific that Mary was a virgin. For example, Luke 1:34-35:

      34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?”*
      35 And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

      And Matthew 1:18:

      18 Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,* but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit.

      I don't think it can be argued that Matthew or Luke believed Mary to be a virgin because of the "mistake" in the translation of the "prophecy" in Isaiah 7:14 in the Septuagint. The Old Testament "prophecies" were not a compiled list of passages used by people who were waiting for the Messiah and using these passages as signs. There is no Messiah predicted in the Old Testament. (The word Messiah cannot be found in the Old Testament.) The "prophecies" consist of verses seen in retrospect to have had something to do with who Jesus was. Prophets were not people who predicted the future, and prophecies were not predictions.

      Here is Isaiah 7:14

      Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign;* the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel.

      The person being given a sign is Ahaz, who ruled from 735 to 715 B.C. The events are in the 8th century B.C. and are not a prediction of something to happen in the1st century A.D.

      But, nevertheless, the Gospels of Matthew and Luke specifically say Mary was a virgin and Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

      • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

        Now i question the credibility of Luke and Matthew. (those aren't the only 2 books im questioning either). The name of those gospels have pure Greek origins. The stories were influenced from Egyptian Horus. Thats why Ethiopian Orthodox Christians don't deal with the New Testament.

        Immanuel was not suppose to be Jesus. Imen/Amen (just pointing that out.) But people do link Jesus with him which in that case prophecies did not get fulfilled. For example the land of milk and honey.

      • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

        I replied already but i dont see it.
        I question the credibility of Luke and Matthew. (those aren't the only ones). They are Egyptian influenced and the names have Greek origins. I know you know Jews don't deal with Jesus and Ethiopian Orthodox Christians don't either. Roman Catholics however do believe in the immaculate conception and coincidentally have a lot of traditions which have pagan origins.

        • David Nickol

          I question the credibility of Luke and Matthew.

          Why in the world would you question the credibility of two men writing—70 years after the alleged event—that a virgin conceived and gave birth?

          • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

            It already been proven thats Luke, Matthew, Mark and
            John were entirely created by the Greeks
            Thats why i questioned it.
            A story published atleast 70 yrs after the event! come on they were passing it down by oral tradition.

          • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

            They wrote the events 70 years after the event. If thats correct why wouldnt i question it they weren't eye witnesses. Matthew is a synopsis of another that got recorded from an oral tradition. Many stories passed by oral traditions are exaggerated and filled with myths.

            Questions: is Jesus the Head corner stone?

          • David Nickol

            I was being ironic. While I certainly believe Jesus was a real person, believing such things as the virginal conception of Jesus is a matter of religious faith, not of determining if the documentary evidence is sufficient. How can we possibly know about the conception of someone that took place over 2000 years ago? How could even those who knew Jesus personally know for sure who his father was, let alone if he had been conceived miraculously.

            To put it bluntly, there is no good reason, from a purely historical viewpoint, to believe Jesus did not have a human father. That doesn't mean there is no good religious reason.

            Questions: is Jesus the Head corner stone?

            Two thousand years after his death, over two billion people—31.5% of the world's population—consider themselves followers of Jesus, and that number is growing. Nobody else (except perhaps Muhammad at 1.6 billion, or 23.2%) even comes close.

          • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

            A virginal conecption in the human species is impossible. That's fairytale mumbo jumbo you can see the greeks (if not them who ever was in control of publishing the doctrines) stole the concept from the story of horus and isis.

          • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

            in fact you see the earlier symbolism in the Sumerian story of Tammuz.

          • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

            Two thousand years after his death, over two billion people—31.5% of the world's population—consider themselves followers of Jesus, and that number is growing. Nobody else (except perhaps Muhammad at 1.6 billion, or 23.2%) even comes close.

            i wonder how much people believed in saunta claus or that carrots made you see better.

          • M. Solange O’Brien

            Argumentum ad populum? Not particularly original. And if sheer numbers are considered, almost 3/4 of the world's population doesn't buy into Jesus.

          • David Nickol

            And if sheer numbers are considered, almost 3/4 of the world's population doesn't buy into Jesus.

            The question I was answering was, "Is Jesus the Head corner stone?" Do you know what it means? I don't! I am not quite sure what an argumentum ad populum argument that Jesus was the "head corner stone" would be like.

            As for your numbers, if 31.5% of the world population believes in Jesus, then the most you can say is 68.5% does not. I think calling 68.5% "almost 3/4" is trying to make it sound like more than it is. And of course, if I was making an argumentum ad populum argument by citing how many people believe in Jesus, your response is also an argumentum ad populum, isn't it? What kind of arguing is it when you counter one alleged fallacy with your own?

            I would also point out that Jesus has a place in Islam, so whatever it means to say Jesus was the "head corner stone," if people who believe in Jesus in some way count, then you have to add together Christians and Muslims, getting 54.7% of the world population.

            But I would like to hear your argument that Jesus is not the head corner stone. On what do you base it? :)

          • M. Solange O’Brien

            The question I was answering was, "Is Jesus the Head corner stone?" Do you know what it means? I don't! I am not quite sure what an argumentum ad populum argument that Jesus was the "head corner stone" would be like.

            My point about argumentum ad populum was not directed at the Head corner stone comment. I've no idea what that means, either. Most theology uses highly specialized vocabularies that fail to find meaningful referents in the real world.

            As for your numbers, if 31.5% of the world population believes in Jesus, then the most you can say is 68.5% does not. I think calling 68.5% "almost 3/4" is trying to make it sound like more than it is.

            Of course. I should probably have said 2/3.

            And of course, if I was making an argumentum ad populum argument by citing how many people believe in Jesus, your response is also an argumentum ad populum, isn't it? What kind of arguing is it when you counter one alleged fallacy with your own?

            I'm not sure I understand your point. The reason argumentum is a fallacy is simply the logic you just offered. I was pointing out it was a fallacy, not that 2/3 unbelievers make Jesus a fable.

            I would also point out that Jesus has a place in Islam, so whatever it means to say Jesus was the "head corner stone," if people who believe in Jesus in some way count, then you have to add together Christians and Muslims, getting 54.7% of the world population.

            Not unless the Muslims believe that Jesus was the head corner stone. We still don't know what that means.

            But I would like to hear your argument that Jesus is not the head corner stone. On what do you base it? :)

            On the point that the phrase seems to be semantically meaningless. :-)

          • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

            Thank you i didn't know when people did that it actually had a name. I'm part of the 3/4 of the world.

      • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

        Isiah 7:14

        Therefore the Lord himself will give you[a] a sign: The virgin[b] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[c] will call him Immanuel.[d]

        The original version of this text they use the word almah and this is young lady. you can use lexicon to translate the verse for you.


        • David Nickol

          My point was that the Gospels (Matthew and Luke) both say Mary was a virgin. Mary herself says she is a virgin. I understand what the Hebrew of Isaiah 7:14 does not use a word that presumes virginity, but the Greek translation does. You are free to assume the Gospels were written to make the Greek translation of Isaiah 7:14 "come true."

          By the way, saying a virgin will conceive and bear a son (as it does in the Greek translation of Isaiah) does not necessarily mean something miraculous will occur. A young woman who is a virgin could conceive (by having sex) and give birth. Even the Greek translation doesn't require a "virginal conception."

          • Fitzroy Wills Royalty

            Its not just the virgin birth that don't match up between Isiah and the gospels of Luke and Matthew. Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies. I can't stop anyone's belief, but thought this was the right place to point out certain information.

  • Eric

    Well done. Great job throwing light on a very popular modern myth of a myth.

  • Veronica Nowakowski

    You do a very good job of debunking this Zeitgeist bullshit, but, at the same time, as a follower of the Egyptian religion, I find it quite offensive how you depict Egyptian religion itself. The Egyptian priests did not believe in creatures which were half human, with animal heads - that's metaphorical, they're forces of nature. If you write something like this again, please try not to describe Djehuty as "the animal-headed god of magic."

  • Ralph Ellis

    Ralph Ellis

    Ralph released his first book in this genre in 1998; but his seminal work, King Jesus, was published in 2008. In this book, Ralph proposes that the gospel story is semi-mythical: it was based upon real events, but subsequently embellished and fictionalised by the gospel authors and editors. The proposed foundation for this semi-mythical gospel story is the history of King Izates of Adiabene, who Josephus Flavius claims was the leader the Jewish Revolt. Apparently, Josephus also calls this monarch, King Izas.

    This was followed in 2012 by a sequel, Jesus, King of Edessa. This work follows the same reasoning, but attempts to further explore and refine the historical evidence for Josephus' otherwise semi-mythical monarch, King Izas. The result is a claim that Adiabene is actually a reference to Edessa in Mesopotamia; and therefore King Izas must be King Manu VI of Edessa. So the Edessan king was called King Izas Manu, while Jesus was called King Jesus (Em) Manu-el.

    In addition, Ralph claims that the traditional crown** of the Edessan monarchs is a plaited crown of thorns, and therefore similar to the gospel description.


    ** Image of an Edessan king, wearing his plaited Crown of Thorns.


  • Q*

    Story Similarities aside what is more plausible
    1) A GOD that created trillions of galaxies, time and space wants humans to sing songs and pray in a magic house. In this magic house are magic candles that help your magical prayers reach this all knowing god .. ( they are led lights now )

    2) it was all made up to explain things at the time and to control people

  • Jamie Kabzinski

    This is the first skeptical article written by a religious person, the quality of which of which im am impressed. I disagree somewhat with the overall premise, but demanding that only historically verifiable peer reviewed publications by professional experts be referenced and probable fact is a sober and extremely important lesson that I wish more people understood.

    • Doug Shaver

      I don't dispute the importance of using peer-reviewed publications, but I cannot accept the bald credentialism of excluding all other sources of information.

  • ThompJ

    and yet there is archeological proof of Horus as a stone god but no archeological proof of Jesus...

  • Timothy Brock

    I just have to say you are full of crap. I have the head of Ishtar aka William Wallace and the Head of the Anunnaki Horus. I am the Timothy out of the bible and you are going to tell me your debunking the Horus and Jesus connection. You are full of crap buddy. I have Enoch you idiot and the bible profecy labels me by name and book of the bible. Timothy the one that resurrects Christ.

  • Diana Hitchens

    I find it ironic that you have a long list of requirements as to what makes a credible source.... and the Bible meets none of those requirements.