Welcome to Apologists for Christ
Article: Mystery Religions

Home | Debates | Classic Quotes | Rodney's Reflections | Controversial Issues | Cults | insights | Movie and Game Reviews | Music Reviews | Articles | Why Greasy Theologian? | Links | Yo Nick!

Nick P.

Hello all. Last night online, a skeptic friend told me that maybe I should start reading the skeptical side of Christianity some. I figured I'd be up to the challenge and another friend and I had discussed such a thing earlier and thought of critiquing the Jesus Mysteries which many skeptics refer to. The premise of that book is that Jesus never existed but his life was based on pagan myths like Mithras and Horus and Osiris. Last night I thought about that and thought, "Do I have any general indications this isn't so?" and I came up with several.

Point 1:Only Jesus was prophesied

When have we ever heard the pagan mythers tell about a prophecy of the pagan gods? Only Jesus Christ was prophesied and this repeatedly from Genesis to Revelation.

Point Two: Virgin Birth

Yes. I know the others had "Virgin births" supposedly. (Like Mithra's great virgin birth of being born out of a rock with a knife in his hand) However, why would someone knowing about such myths and wanting to tell about a savior risk putting that in his story? UNLESS! Unless it was something true.

Point Three: Oddities

There are some things that if I was writing a myth I would not put in Scripture. I call it oddities because things would be odd for one not telling facts as probably best observed by Simon Greenleaf. If you're making something up, you don't give details. Here are some things I would not put in.

Herod's slaughter of infants: This is something anyone could easily check up on. Why put in such an event unless you knew it had happened? Why also if you were wanting to make a great story would you not have something happen to Herod miraculous of some nature? This shows a full reliance on human parents.

The voice of John's baptism: How many people could have jumped at the baptism story and said, "Ah ha! We all were there! God didn't speak!" They couldn't deny it though.

Any miracle: Miracles would be really easy to check on but the gospel writers don't just say, "A miracle happened here." They say, this is where it happened, when it happened, how it happened, who it happened to, and sometimes why." Why would you give such specific details if you were making this up and why would four different writers often times agree on minute details.

The cost of following Jesus: If you're trying to get followers, you don't paint it as hard and something that costs you. These people were being blunt honest about how hard it would be to follow Jesus.

The calling of Matthew:Someone wanting to earn favor with the Jews would NOT list a tax collector on the good guy's side.

Sending of the twelve:I would rather have Jesus go around myself and do all the wonders rather than have to rely on men if I were making this up.

John the Baptist's doubt:Why include this if you're wanting to show the heroes as wondrous people? Jesus's answer shows a reflection of Qumran community thought because it was believed as the Dead Sea Scrolls show that when Messiah came he would heal the lame, the lepers, the deaf, and most of all, raise the dead.

Refusal to do a sign: Why not if you're wanting to show a story about a great god-man with power would you avoid having him use that from time to time?

The Canaanite woman: A Jew would not take kindly to the Gentiles being blessed by Jesus and Matthew knowing Gentiles would read this would not risk calling them "dogs" if he wanted to win them over to a pagan-god unless that's really what was said.

The Triumphant entry: This would really be too easy to disprove. Any Jew could come and say, "Jesus wasn't at Jerusalem at that time. No one greeted him with palm branches, said Hosanna, and called him the Son of David." It was irrefutable though.

The blasting of the Pharisees: If you're wanting to make someone all will respect, you don't have him go after the respected religious authorities. Matthew makes some remarks in his gospels that all would find offensive in that area. Not what you want to do if you're trying to attract followers.

Unknown hour: Why would you have Jesus not know the hour? This would be something wondrous for the church. They didn't even list a secret ritual or something like the mystery religions would. In fact, it's just barely mentioned and then the story moves on.

Women at the tomb: The first witnesses at the tomb would not be women. Women's testimonies meant nothing in those days. Why have them be women then? Probably because they were women.

Joseph of Arimathea:Why introduce an unknown out of the blue at this hour? (I believe history records his existence even.) Why have him be from the same group that sentenced Jesus and why have it be in his tomb open for verification? Probably because it really happened.

John the Baptist born before Jesus:It was generally thought that the elder should be over the younger but Jesus is greater than John. This was common in Jewish history but not the norm. In the common mainstream, the elder would be over the younger.

The Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan: Both of these stories go entirely against Jewish culture. Luke was writing to Gentiles but why include something the Jews could easily show Luke never said? Probably because Luke is the great historian and accurate in minute details and Jesus really told these stories. No other Jew would make them up.

Jesus before Herod: This would be a really easy point to refute if it could be done. It couldn't be though and if they were making this up, this would have been a great time for a miracle. It didn't happen.

Water to wine:This is great but is this what you'd really expect as a first miracle? It's what John records. I'd probably put in some great healing or natural miracle like calming a storm or even making one. Not turning water to wine.

Teaching started in Jerusalem: History even shows it started in Jerusalem. Why have it start right next door to the empty tomb? Probably because they all knew it was empty. Tacitus says the "mischievous superstition" broke out in Judea. This isn't just our claim then. This is history's claim.

There are probably many others you could find but if I was making a myth, I wouldn't include these.

Point 4: Details-See in point 3

Point 5:Miracles with details-see again in point 3

Point 6:Why crucified?

Has anyone ever heard someone mention why Mithras was crucified? Never? I've never heard it either.

Point 7: No "Horus, Osiris, or Mithras" mysteries.

If these were such great gods in their time, then why don't we have people doing deep research on them? Why did it only just in the past century even be something one would use to show Jesus wasn't real?

Point 8:Lack of pagan followers.

If these religions were so real, how come historians don't record them. Even Plutarch said the stories being told were myths. Why do we not have churches of Mithras and such today?

Point 9: No Scripture.

If anyone were to find a Mithras Scripture today, please turn it in to the proper museum. We have none.

Point 10:Christianity thrives.

Was it a message of love that kept Christianity going? No. Other religions have taught that? What was it? It was the empty tomb. That alone had the power to change the world and outlast Rome.

Point 11:Changed lives.

Finally, we lead changed lives. Why? Because we've known the savior. In itsself, this wouldn't be proof. Combined with the evidence though, it's deadly proof.

Why aren't these other religions teeming with followers today but Christianity is? Again, probably because they weren't built on a foundation of the truth. Christianity was and is.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Questions? (Insults were due yesterday)

God bless

Email the author