Update: For the first time, a mythicist has made an attempt to present the evidence to win the Christ-myther challenge, posting "evidence" for 11 of the 21 claims for Horus. Unfortunately, he only meets the challenge on one of his 11 items, the rest either not supporting the claim at all, or simply quoting mythicists who say the parallel is true.
I have posted his evidence, and responded to it, at this page:
I have a website that is trying to debunk the claim of the Jesus story being influenced by pre-Christian deities. I've asked several of the websites that are promoting the "Christ-myth" to provide evidence for their claims, and so far none have given me such evidence. You would think that if they had any evidence to support their claims, they'd be parading it for all of the world to see instead of keeping it to themselves. I thought I'd try something a little more radical, and pay them to provide me their evidence, if it exists.
Below, I give seven common lists that I see Christ-mythers give. They say that these are things that pre-Christian deities were credited with doing that influenced the Jesus story. I will give $1000 to the first person who can provide evidence of any one of these lists being valid. Yes, just one. It must be evidence which shows that the deity was believed, prior to the writing of the Gospels, to have done these things. Please contact me (through the link above) if you have the evidence.
"What will you accept as evidence?"
I'll take anything which strongly suggests that the "parallel" claim truly existed sometime prior to the writing of the Gospels. For example:
1) Versions of their stories in which we can read about them actually doing these things, provided that the stories are generally agreed-upon by scholars to be pre-Christian. This is the one I'd most like to see. If the deities are truly believed to have done these things, you would think there would be stories somewhere in which they do it.
2) Any information coming from scholarly sources: For example:
a) General mythology books and websites, provided they have no Christ-myther agenda (sorry, I won't accept Wikipedia or similar forums, since there's no way to determine whether the individual doing the posting is a Christ-myther or not). If it's a book, I must be able to acquire it from my local library, or you can mail me the book or e-mail me copies of the pages in question. I won't spend my own money on it (this is to prevent someone from naming some impossible-to-find book and then calling foul on me for not going on a wild and expensive goose chase to get it - remember, I am asking YOU to provide the evidence.)
b) Scholars (Christian or not) who work for a university who agree that the parallels are valid.
c) Anything coming from a mainstream peer-reviewed journal.
3) Photographs of heiroglyphs showing them clearly doing these things (I've seen Christ-mythers claim such hieroglyphs exist for Horus, but every time I ask them to send them to me, I never hear from them again).
Overall, I expect any evidence you provide me with to be something that a reasonable, skeptical and unbiased person (say, someone who is neither a Christian nor a Christ-myther) would accept as convincing evidence that the deity in question was believed, in pre-Christian times, to have done those things. Simply quoting a Christ-myther, or quoting one Christ-myther who quotes another Christ-myther (and so on) obviously will not count. I am expecting evidence that clearly existed prior to and separate from Christ-mythers.
"What if I can prove more than one list? Will I get more than $1000?"
No. This is a one-time offer, which will only go one person for proving one list. $1000 is the maximum that I'm willing to risk.
"What if I manage to prove one of the lists, and you suddenly change the rules or claim that my evidence isn't good enough for you?"
I will gladly put the entire text of our conversation, including your evidence, on my website upon request. This means that if I cheat you, I'll be doing it quite publicly. In fact, I intend to put any responses I get from this page on my website, though I will refrain from doing so if you ask me not to.
"What if I can prove most of a list, but not the entire thing?"
Then I'll give you a corresponding percentage of the money. If you can prove 70%, for example, then I'll make it $700 instead of $1000. But you must prove at least half of the list in order for this to take effect.
"Will anything happen if I can prove a few items, but not quite half of the list?"
Yes. I will adjust my website accordingly. But you won't get any money.
"Hey, wait! I've seen some of these lists and they include the comparison of the deity being born on December 25th, but you've taken that one off. Why?"
Because Jesus was almost certainly not born on December 25th, so this "comparison" isn't a comparison at all. If anyone can show that Jesus was believed , during the 1st century A.D., to have been born on December 25th, then I'll gladly re-add it to the list.
"What if I can prove a bunch of comparisons for a pre-Christian deity, but it's not for one of the deities you listed below?"
Here is a "generic" list. If you can give evidence of any pre-Christian deity, other than the ones listed below, who was believed to have done all of these things (or at least half, per what I said above), I'll accept it. The list is:
1) Born of a virgin
2) A tyrant tried to kill him when he was a baby
3) Was baptized with water
4) Had 12 disciples
5) Turned water into wine, or walked on water (either is fine)
6) Miraculously healed the blind, deaf or leperous
7) Resurrected others bodily
8) Was crucified.
9) Was dead for three days.
10) Was bodily resurrected.
You may not use the above list to prove the claims about the deities listed below (though if you can prove some, I will adjust my site accordingly). Since Christ-mythers are frequently promoting the lists below, I expect them to back up those lists.
"What if I can show that a pre-Christian deity did something kind of close to what it says on the list, but not exactly?"
It doesn't count. The lists claim that they did it, and I expect you to show that they did it. If they did something like it, but not quite, then the lists should clarify this. Though if it's close enough to suggest some sort of parallel, I will adjust my site accordingly.
"You said you will accept information coming from sources that don't have a Christ-myther agenda. But if they confirm a parallel, doesn't that mean you'll reject them as having a Christ-myther agenda?"
No. If you find, for example, a mythology book or website which tells the Horus story, confirming some of the parallels, and this site makes no attempt to relate these parallels to the Jesus story, then it pretty clearly does not have a Christ-myther agenda. I will never assume a Christ-myther agenda unless such an agenda is explicit.
"Are you saying that there are no valid parallels at all between Jesus and earlier deities?"
Nope. I've seen a few valid parallels, and have included them on the website. But you can find a few valid parallels between any two stories, real or fictional, if you try hard enough. A few parallels are clearly not convincing. If they were, then why have Christ-mythers felt the need to make up so many fake ones? Why stack a deck that's already in your favor? The list of similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, though of course not enough to convince anyone that Kennedy was a fictional character, is far more striking than any valid parallels I've seen between Jesus and earlier deities.
"You're totally ignorant and here are some insults I'll hurl at you..."
If I'm ignorant of the evidence you claim to have, it's not my fault. I've asked for the evidence from Christ-mythers repeatedly, and none have provided it. If I'm ignorant of the evidence, it's their fault, not mine. Instead of insulting me (which, frankly, makes you look bad, not me), why not just provide the evidence? Besides, I'm rubber and you're glue, so neener-neener-neener!
"If someone earns the $1000, will you let everyone know?"
Yes. I'll post it here, including the parallels that person provided, and let everyone know that the challenge is over. Though if there is another list that you can provide the evidence for, I would appreciate you providing it, and will adjust my website accordingly.
"Christ-mythers claim that Jesus is an amalgomation of different deities, so why is your challenge to provide evidence for the lists for a single deity?"
What's the problem with my doing so? Look, if Christ-mythers can't even provide evidence for 50% of the claims for any one of the deities, then they're pretty much admitting that the majority of the Christ-myther claims are false. I could, hypothetically, change the challenge to say that if someone can prove, say, 30% of the claims on more than one list, I'd consider it fulfilled. But, frankly, if Christ-mythers are calling foul on me for simply asking them to prove half of the claims for any one deity, then they're admitting that the majority of the claims are false, and I consider my point to have been made.
"You seem to be looking for literal examples of the deities doing these things. Aren't you then ignoring that they may have done these things in symbolic, indirect ways?"
If the deities didn't actually do what Christ-mythers are claiming, but did something similar to it, then it's the Christ-mythers who are being misleading. I'm simply asking them to provide evidence for the claims they make.
And some clarification:
I take the phrase "born of a virgin" to mean that the deity was born of a woman (human or humanoid, such as a goddess) who had yet to engage in sexual intercourse at the time of his birth.
I take the phrase "resurrected" to mean being brought back to life in the body in which he died (as opposed to being reincarnated or made into a complete spirit), and for it to have happened in this world (as opposed to the underworld or world of the gods). The same body, yet transformed, is acceptable, of course.
I take the phrase "baptized" to mean cleansed by water or blood in a purification ritual with spiritual ramifications (cleansing of sins, making holy, accepting as a follower and/or promising eternal life).
I take the phrase "crucified" to mean being affixed (by nails, rope, crazy glue, etc.) to a tree or cross, and dying on that tree or cross. Being hung by the neck from a tree, or dying in the vicinity of a tree that they are not affixed to, does not equal crucifixion. Neither does being tied to a rock (sorry, Prometheus fans!)
1. Born of a virgin
2. Born in a cave/manger
3. Birth announced by a star in the East
4. Birth attended by three wise men
5. Was a child teacher in the temple at age 12
6. Baptized by "Anup the Baptizer"
7. Baptizer was decapitated
8. Had 12 disciples
9. Performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised the dead
10. Walked on water
11. His personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of “Ptah,” the “Father.” He was thus called “Holy Child.”
12. Delivered a “Sermon on the Mount” and his followers recounted the “Sayings of Iusa.”
13. Was transfigured on the Mount.
14. Was crucified
15. Was buried for three days in a tomb
16. Was resurrected
17. He was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light,” “Messiah,” “God’s Anointed Son,” “the “Son of Man,” the “Good Shepherd,” the “Lamb of God,” the “Word made flesh,” the “Word of Truth.” (Note: If you can prove any four of these titles, I'll consider this one fulfilled)
18. Was “the Fisher”, was associated with the Fish, Lamb and Lion.
19. Came to fulfill the law
20. Called "The KRST" or "anointed one"
21. Was supposed to reign a thousand years.
1. Born of a virgin
2. Earthly father was a carpenter
3. Earthly father was off paying taxes when he was born.
4. Birth was signalled by a star in the east
5. Birth attended by angels and shepherds, who brought gifts
6. Was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants
7. Anointed on head with oil by a woman who he healed.
8. Depicted as having his foot on the head of a serpent
9. Worked miracles, raised the dead, healed lepers, the deaf and the blind
10. Used parables to teach people about charity and love
11. "Lived poor and loved the poor"
12. Castigated the clergy, charging them with "ambition and hypocrisy"
13. his "beloved disciple" was Arjuina or Ar-jouan (Jouhn).
14. Was transfigured in front of his disciples
15. Gave his disciples the ability to work miracles
16. his path was "strewn with branches"
17. Died on a tree or was crucified between two thieves
18. Killed around the age of 30
19. Sun darkened at his death
20. Rose from the dead
21. Ascended to heaven "in the sight of all men"
22. Depicted on a cross with nail-holes in his feet
23. Called "Shepherd of God", "Redeemer", "First-born", "Sin-bearer", "Liberator", "Universal Word", "Son of God", "Our Lord and Savior" (Note: If you can prove four of these titles, I'll accept this one as fulfilled)
24. Was second person a three-in-one trinity
25. Disciples bestowed upon him the title "Jezeus" or "Jeseus", meaning "pure essence"
26. Will return to judge the dead, riding on a white horse, to do battle with the "prince of evil" who will desolate the earth
1. Born of a virgin
2. Crushed a serpent's head
3. Had 12 disciples
4. Performed miracles and wonders, healed the sick, fed 500 men from a "small basket of cakes" and walked on water
5. Abolished idolatry
6. Was a "sower of the word"
7. Preached "the establishment of a kingdom of righteousness"
8. Taught chastity, temperance, tolerance, compassion, love, and the equality of all
9. Transfigured on a mount
10. Crucified in a sin-atonement
11. Suffered for three days in hell
12. Was bodily resurrected.
13. Was considered the "Good Shepherd", "Carpenter", "Infinite and Everlasting", "Savior of the World", and "Light of the World" (Note: if you can prove three of these titles, I'll accept this one as fulfilled)
14. Ascended to Nirvana or "heaven".
1. Born of a virgin
2. Born in a cave
3. Birth attended by shepherds bearing gifts
4. Was considered a great traveling teacher and master
5. Had 12 companions or disciples
6. Followers were promised immortality
7. Performed miracles
8. As the "great bull of the Sun", sacrificed himself for world peace
9. Buried in a tomb
10. After three days, was resurrected
11. Resurrection was celebrated every year
12. Called "the Good Shepherd", "Way, the Truth and the Light", "Logos", "Redeemer", "Savior" and "Messiah". (Note: If you can prove three of these titles, I'll accept this one as fulfilled).
13. Identified with both the lamb and the lion
14. Sacred day was Sunday, the "Lord's Day", hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
15. Had his principal festival on what was later to become Easter.
16. His religion had a eucharist or "Lord's Supper" at which Mithra said, "He who shall not eat of my body nor drink my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved."
17. His annual sacrifice is the Passover of the Magi, a symbolic atonement of pledge of moral and physical regeneration.
1. Born of a virgin
2. Placed in a manger
3. Was a traveling teacher who performed miracles
4. Rode in a triumphal procession on an ass
5. was a sacred king killed and eaten in an eucharistic ritual for fecundity and purification.
6. Rose from the dead
7. Was God of the vine, and turned water into wine
8. Was called "King of Kings" and "God of Gods"
9. was considered the “Only Begotten Son,” "Savior,” “Redeemer,” “Sin Bearer,” Anointed One,” and the “Alpha and Omega.” (Note: If you can prove any three of these titles, I'll consider this one fulfilled)
10. Identified with ram or lamb
11. Was crucified
1. Born of a virgin and "immaculate conception by a ray of divine reason."
2. Baptized in a river
3. In his youth, astounded wise men with his wisdom
4. Was tempted in the wilderness by the devil
5. Began his ministry at age 30.
6. Baptized with water, fire and "holy wind"
7. Cast out demons and restored sight to a blind man.
8. Taught about heaven and hell and revealed mysteries, including resurrection, judgment, salvation and apocolypse.
9. Had a sacred cup or grail
10. Was slain
11. Religion had a eucharist
12. was "word made flesh"
13. Followers expected a "second coming" in a virgin-born savior, who will begin his ministry at age 30, ushering in a golden age.
1. Attis was born on December 25th of the Virgin Nana.
2. He was considered the savior who was slain for the salvation of mankind.
3. His body as bread was eaten by his worshippers.
4. His priests were "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven."
5. He was both the Divine Son and the Father.
6. On "Black Friday," he was crucified on a tree, from which his holy blood ran down to redeem the earth.
7. He descended into the underworld.
8. After three days, Attis was resurrected on March 25th (as tradition held of Jesus) as the "Most High God."
9. It is recorded that Attis was represented as a "a man tied to a tree, at the foot of which was a lamb, and, without doubt also as a man nailed to a tree..."
10. Itis reported that on March 22nd, a pine tree was felled and "an effigy of the god was affixed to it, thus being slain and hung on a tree..." Later the priests are supposed to have found Attis' grave empty.
Here is a list of "Christ-myther" websites that I've E-mailed, with their responses.
Unfortunately, many of these types of sites (probably more than half) don't provide E-mail addresses, so I had no way of contacting them.
If anyone knows of any other sites promoting these lists that they'd like me to send an E-mail to, please send me the website address, as long as the site includes an E-mail address for its host. Or feel free to E-mail them yourself letting them know of my challenge (though please contact me and let me know you've done so). Also feel free to let people know about my challenge on message boards where the issue is discussed.
Wilson's Almanac – Sent 8/1/08. No response yet.
Comparison Of The Lives Of Jesus And Horus – Sent 8/2/08. Mail was returned, address invalid.
Jesus And Horus Comparisons – Sent 8/2/08. No response yet.
Truth Be Known (Acharya S's site) – Sent 8/2/08. No response yet.
Pagan Origins – Sent 8/2/08. No response yet.
The Pagan Files – Sent 8/2/08. No response yet.
Without God – Sent 8/2/08. No response yet.
Creating God – Sent 8/2/08. Mail returned, address invalid.
Ancient Paganism – Sent 8/2/08. Mail returned, address invalid.
The Christ Conspiracy – Sent 8/2/08. No response yet.
Basic Hindu Concepts: Mithra – Sent 8/3/08. No response yet.
Not For Dogma Christians – Sent 8/3/08. No response yet.
Far Shore (James Donahue) Sent 12/8/08. Mail returned, address invalid.
The conversation that started this page: Jesus, Dionysus and Horus