Is Jesus A Copy Of Pagan Religions? Part 1: Horus


“Why should we consider the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Attis, Mithras, and the other pagan mystery saviors as fables, and yet come across essentially the same story told in a Jewish context believe it to be the biography of a carpenter from Bethlehem?”

— Timothy Freke / Peter Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries

This idea has been popularized by authors like Dan Brown and an internet movie called Zeitgeist; all of which claim essentially the same thing: the Christian concept of Christ was a mere copy of  other pagan gods.  In light of this, let’s examine some of their so-called “facts”.

Horus According to Zeitgeist:
– born on December 25th

– born of a virgin called Mary
star in the east rose when born
three kings adorned him
– teacher at twelve
baptized
– ministry
at thirty
had twelve disciples
  referred to as the “lamb of God” and “the light”
crucified

dead for three days
– was then resurrected

The Actual Facts of Horus:
1a. Horus was born to Isis; there’s no mention of Isis ever being called “Mary”.
1b. Mary is an anglicized version of ‘Miryam’; so it wouldn’t make sense for an ancient Egyptian goddess to be called  an anglicized name. 

2. There is no reason to think that Isis was a virgin. There is no textual indication that while she was married to Osiris  she  remained abstinent. Therefore, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim that she was a virgin; not the other way around.  

3.  Of the three different birth dates Horus was arbitrarily assigned one does land on December 25th, but who cares? The tradition that December 25th is the date of Christ’s birth did not occur until the 4th century A.D. and was linked to the celebration of the Winter Solstice. The Bible never even assigns a date of birth for Christ!

4a. There are no texts that talk about three kings visiting Horus at his birth.
4b. There is no mention of the number of magi visiting Jesus in the New Testament.
4c. They weren’t called kings; they were actually magi (lit. “king-makers”) in the New Testament.
4d. The magi didn’t even visit at Jesus’ birth. Jesus was most likely around one or two at the time of magi’s visit.

5. There is no document that states that a star rose in the east that lead the undocumented three “kings” to Horus’ non-virgin birth.

6. No account of Horus being a teacher at the age of twelve.

7a. Horus was definitely not “baptized”.
7b. First of all, the term is misused; baptism refers to the ritual washing that the Jewish people started performing during the second Temple period; long after the legends of Horus.
7c. The only Horus and water incident was when Horus was torn to pieces and Isis asked for the crocodile god to retrieve his remains.

8. Horus certainly did not have a ministry of teaching on earth. Even if he did, he certainly would not have preached the same thing as Jesus did. The Egyptians didn’t have any doctrines of salvation, nor did they have a comprehensive understanding of the nature of their own gods.

9.  He did not have twelve disciples, but instead had four minor gods that were followers. There is also some textual indication that he had sixteen human followers and a group of blacksmith’s that followed him into battle.

10a. Horus could not have been crucified because crucifixion originated in around 600 B.C; long after the Horus legends were written.
10b. Horus’ death is described as him being dismembered and his body parts were scattered throughout the earth. Another story states that Horus’ torn pieces of flesh were put into a river.

11. Horus obviously did not die a death for spiritual atonement of the sins of the world.

12.  Horus was not buried for three days. Instead, he was dismembered and did not rise for a long period of time.

13.  There are no accounts of a bodily resurrection. There are texts that state that he was miraculously healed from a poisonous scorpion sting, but nothing that comes even remotely close to what Christ went through.

14.  “Great God”, “Chief of the Powers”, “Master of Heaven”, and “Avenger of His Father” are the only titles ever given to Horus. Titles like “Lamb of God” and “the light” are completely unique to Jesus.

Conclusion:
Horus is obviously a legend from a different culture and a different time. There is absolutely no relation to the historical figure of Christ at all. There’s simply no comparison; they contradict on every main characteristic.

Want to learn more about Horus and the other Egyptian gods and goddesses? Here’s the Egyptian Book of the Dead from which much of my data stems from.

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  1. #1 by Matt on November 10, 2011 - 9:17 pm

    Nice job. I’m still amazed at how many friends and acquaintances of mine continue to buy into the Zeitgeist conspiracy theories.

  2. #2 by billover70 on November 10, 2011 - 11:04 pm

    Praise God for young ambassadors of Christ such as you in times such as these.

    Two sources (which may not be new to you):
    The works of Professor Rodney Stark, Baylor University (some twenty odd books)
    Notably, “Discovering God”…….bos has no clue as how one might underscore
    on this machine.

    C. S. Lewis’ (whom you have referenced) essay on the “Startling Alternative” which is
    interestingly expounded by Dr. Eugene Scott (God rest his soul)….. This approach to
    Christian belief through logic has met with some favor on a nearby university campus.

  3. #3 by NotAScientist on November 11, 2011 - 7:40 am

    A copy? Certainly not. Could some parts of the story be somewhat borrowed from earlier traditions? It seems somewhat likely.

  4. #4 by studentsforchristianity on November 11, 2011 - 8:10 am

    Matt,
    Thanks for reading!

    Billover70,
    Thanks for the suggesting Rodney Stark’s book, haven’t heard of him.

    NotAScientist,
    Zeitgeist suggests that every main theme and event in the New Testament was plagiarized. There is a huge following that still believe this (they are sometimes referred to as “Mythers”). You, however, believe that there are some plagiarized elements — just in less quantity.

    Got proof?

    • #5 by NotAScientist on November 11, 2011 - 8:17 am

      First of all, I find Zeitgeist to be a pile of excrement. Just to get that out of the way.

      That being said, I don’t ‘believe that there are some plagiarized elements’. I merely think it possible that some aspects of the Jesus story could have been taken from earlier stories, because there are some similarities. If anything is my ‘proof’, it would be those similarities. Not exact, but similar.

      I could, of course, be wrong about that. It doesn’t particularly matter to me either way, beyond being an interesting topic to speculate about. The Jesus story could be 100% original. But that wouldn’t make it true.

  5. #6 by wlindsaywheeler on December 17, 2011 - 12:29 pm

    In this case, there are many, many stories that do echo the divine birth of Jesus. Just as the Septuagint laid the groundwork for Christianity to move throughout the Hellenistic World, so all these pagan myths laid the concept down for the Gentiles to accept Christ, the true God-made-man.

    Socrates taught, “Concept precedes Knowledge”. Concepts must precede.

    Ask your self this, “Why did the Jews reject Christ, but the Greeks accepted Him”? Because in the Jewish mentality there is a Gulf between God and Man and there is NO crossover. In the Pagan myths, especially in the Greek, there is a whole repotoire of stories of halfman-halfgod persons such as Hercules, Achilles and such! The Greeks were prepared for this. They had tons of concepts that broached the fundamentals of Christianity so that they could pick it up. The ground must be prepared. Concept precedes Knowledge. The Greeks had the concept of a God/Man person. The Jews did not! The Greeks accepted Christ while the Jews rejected Christ. Yes, a minority of Jews did accept Christ but the Majority did not.

    Christianity is a Greek/European religion. It is noway Semitic.

  6. #7 by Emerson Oliveira on April 25, 2012 - 6:51 am

    Congratulations to this excellent site. Greetings from Brazil.

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