Posts Tagged Theology

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
– ministry
at thirty
had twelve disciples
  referred to as the “lamb of God” and “the light”

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.

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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Definitions And Arguments For The Soul

The soul is a pretty weird thing if you think about it. Then again, if you are like me, you haven’t really thought about it at all. A couple of days ago, however, I came across some articles written by J.P. Moreland on the existence and nature of the soul. So, I decided to write about them; I’ll even throw in some of my own thoughts.

The Method of Definition
The best way to define human consciousness is through an ostensive definition (i.e. defining something by pointing to an example of it). We define consciousness this way because it is very difficult to verbally describe mental states.

The Nature of Consciousness
There are five characteristics of human consciousness that can be easily identified:
1. Sensation: a felt/experienced awareness of something. There are two types of sensations: external and internal. External sensations are like seeing the color blue and internal sensations are like feeling pain.

2. Thought: a meaning that is either true or false and can be expressed in a sentence. This doesn’t mean that a thought must always be verbally spoken; it can also be a sentence formed within your consciousness.

3. Belief: a meaning that I take to be true from 51-100%. Beliefs are not necessarily always thoughts. For example, I have plenty of beliefs on the natural sciences, but this doesn’t always mean that they are in thought form within my mind.

4. Desire: a felt inclination toward or away from something. This isn’t the same thing as a sensation. For example, I have a desire to go to Mars, however, I have never had a sensation of Mars.  

5. Volition/ Freely willed action/ choice: I have the choice to move my arm; even if my arm is paralyzed. I still can will to move is even though I won’t get a response.

Some Arguments for the Existence of the Soul

Through the law of Identity ( x are identical y, if  quality A of x is the same as quality A of y). For example, George Washington is the same as the first president of the United States. Therefore if I ask who was born on February 22, 1732, it will be applicable to both George Washington and the first president of the United States.

First Argument: Mental States Differ from Physical States
Mental/ conscious states do not have the same features as physical states. Therefore, mental events are not physical. For example, sensations, desires, beliefs,  and thoughts do not have any physical features (like weight, mass, and spatial features); they are truly immaterial and non-physical.  However, the physical episode that occurs within our brains when we have thoughts, sensations, desires, and beliefs do have physical features. 

Second Argument: Mental states are self-presenting; Physical states don’t
When you feel an experience of pain or happiness, this sensation is completely personal to your mental state and you know them incorrigible (i.e. you can never be wrong about you feeling pain). Physical things, like the  Statue of Liberty or an apple, are in the physical or public domain.

Third Argument: Intentionality
Intentionality is merely the “ofness” or “aboutness” of objects. A physical object can have many physical relationships to another physical object. It can be larger or smaller, taller or shorter, right of left, etc., but it’s nonsense to say that a physical thing like the relationship between weight and gravity has a purpose or intention to something. Intentionality could only exist if there is something outside the physical realm.

The Conclusion
Through the law of identity the logical conclusion is that we are not the same thing as our brains  (Our mental states are not the same thing as our physical states, etc. ). We can easily conclude that there is a non-physical, immaterial, and eternal part of us that is closely connected with our physical bodies. Which is basically just another way of saying that the human soul exists.

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Is God Really Free?

Free will and the nature of God can be pretty confusing stuff. A lot of people have a bunch of different opinions about it. I’m just gonna’ give you some of my thoughts on the subject:

How Free Is God?
About the only time this question arises is when we start asking, “Can God do everything?”. Some people start to say, “Yeah, He’s God. Duh!”. But after a little thinking, they then realize He cannot (1) be illogical and (2) be immoral. A logical God, I think, is a given, but what about the God and immorality? Does God have the ability to be immoral? If not, is God really free?

My Take:
God by definition doesn’t have the ability to be immoral. When the Bible says “God is good”, it’s basically saying “God’s nature is that of perfection”. God is the supremely perfect moral being of the universe. But the question arises, “Doesn’t this infringe on God’s free will?”. I’ll use an analogy by Harry Frankfurt:

‘Imagine a man with electrodes secretly implanted in his brain who is presented with a choice of doing either A or B [for our purposes, we’ll let A stand for good and B stand for evil]. The electrodes are inactive so long as the man chooses A; but if he were going to choose B, then the electrodes would switch on and force him to choose A. If the electrodes fire, causing him to choose A, his choice of A is clearly not a free choice. But supposed that the man really wants to do A and chooses it of his own volition. In that case his choosing A is entirely free, even though the man is literally unable to choose B, since the electrodes do not function at all and have no effect on his choice of A. What makes his choice free is the absence of any causally determining factors of his choosing A. This conception of libertarian freedom has the advantage of explaining how it is that God’s choosing to do good is free, even though it is impossible for God to choose sin, namely, His choosing is undetermined by causal constraints. Thus, libertarian freedom of the will does not require the ability to choose other than as one chooses.’

Since God’s nature is that of moral perfection, God will necessarily choose (A) freely and thus will never be forced to choose (A). Although it’s an impossibility for God to choose (B), God still has free will.  Think about it. A limitation in the range of possible choices is not the same as having no choice at all. If God is faced with a choice of either doing a particular set of good actions, (a), (b), and (c),  or a particular set of bad actions, (x), (z), and (y), His inability of choosing (x), (z), and (y) does not negate the fact that He freely chose (a), (b), and (c). In light of this, we can say with ease that God is actually free.

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