Someone pointed out to me that, back in April of 2010, the website Freethough Nation did a "critique" of my website in its forums. I was, at first, surprised that they didn't inform me of the critique, since it would seem the only fair thing to do. But after having read it, I can see why they didn't want me to know about it. The moderator who wrote it, Freethinkaluva22 (henceforth, "Luva" on this page), completely misrepresents myself and my website in his critique, claiming (among other things) that the majority of my website is centered around criticism of Acharya S's works, which anyone who has been to my site would know is not the case.
I have roughly 675 pages at my site. Only one page deals specifically with Acharya S, and only about thirty of my pages (less than 5%) even mention her at all.
Where I'm quoting Luva, I'll put it in italics. Where I'm quoting from where he quotes me from my website, I'll put it in italics and bold.
"The website kingdavid8.com - which basically attacks Zeitgeist Part 1 and Acharya S"
Again, out of my 675 or so pages, I have only one page dealing with Acharya (here), and only two pages dealing with Zeitgeist (here and here). How that equals my site basically attacking those two subjects, I have no idea. I created most of my website before I even knew about Acharya S or Zeitgeist.
"is by a Christian apologist who has no credentials but who is presenting himself as an expert on works he has not studied and on subjects he obviously has little knowledge about."
Which works and subjects do I present myself as an expert on? And how am I presenting myself as an expert on them? Luva clearly has no problem misrepresenting me and my website in an effort to dismiss it.
He thinks he's accusing me of pretending to be something I am not, but he is actually accusing me of pretending to be something I am not pretending to be.
"First of all, the website is created by a guy who calls himself "King David." What's with that bogus name? People criticize Acharya for using a pseudonym, but they apparently have no problem with people masquerading as biblical figures."
I agree that criticizing people for using a pseudonym online is ridiculous, and I've never done so with Acharya or anyone else. But for the record, the KingDavid handle isn't a reference to the Biblical King David, but is a reference to a children's story I wrote many years ago, which can be read here, if you are interested.
"King David" has absolutely no relevant credentials whatsoever. kingdavid8 is no linguist, as he does not read, write or speak any other languages beyond English."
That's correct, and I don't pretend otherwise.
"Again, he is another Christian apologist with the intent of shoring up his Christian faith however he can. The utter fear of being wrong on these issues is simply unconscionable to many Christians."
Yet I have no problem debating issues with non-Christians. I'm also offering $1000 for evidence backing up the Christ-myther claims. How is that something I would do if I was afraid of being wrong?
"Thus, they engage in calumny and libel against people whose works they hardly know. And they pretend to be experts at subjects they know little about, except for scanning online encyclopedias."
Again, when I have ever pretended to be an expert at subjects I know little about?
"They tweak their talking points to convince others that their religious beliefs are correct and that all other religions are false."
My website never claims that all other religions are false, and, obviously, I'm open to receiving evidence against my beliefs (and am even offering money for such evidence).
"Another factoid concerning KingDavid8.com is, "Christ-Mythers" are immediately dismissed as non-credible. So, if one substantiates the list of parallels with sources coming from those dirty, no-good "Christ-Mythers," that person is instantly dismissed"
All I'm saying is that I don't want people backing up a claim by simply saying "such-and-such Christ-myth scholar says it's true, therefore it's true". I want the actual sources, if they exist. Show me the evidence that the Christ-myther is talking about, instead of just quoting the Christ-myther. It's quite common for one Christ-myther to just quote another Christ-myther as "evidence".
"So, according to KD8, if he detects a "Christ-Myther agenda," he won't accept it.”
No, what I'm saying is that I don't want evidence that originates with Christ-mythers. If Christ-mythers are saying that there is pre-Christian evidence for the claims, then I don't care that the evidence is coming to me through a Christ-myther source, as long as the evidence itself is good. I just want the hard evidence. The only thing I won't take is some self-described "scholar" saying "yup, Horus was crucified, all right!"
"However, what kingdavid8 will never tell you is that he has *NEVER* read a single book by Acharya S."
Big question here - if I've never told anyone that I've never read any of Acharya's books, then how does Luva know that I've never read any of Acharya's books? Is he just guessing, or does he know this because I've told this to people on several occasions? He's either one of the people I've told this to, or he heard it from someone that I told it to. Either way, the claim that I "will never tell you" this is incorrect on his part. If I didn't tell people this, he wouldn't know it.
"kingdavid8 never admits on his website (anywhere I've seen) that he has read a single book by Acharya. Yet, a majority of his website is centered around criticism of her works. Works kingdavid8 has never read. Critiquing an author's work one has never read is known as intellectual dishonesty."
So he's making false claims about my website, in order to accuse ME of intellectual dishonesty? Again, less than 5% of the pages on my website even mention her, and only one deals specifically with her. Yet, to Luva, this somehow equals a "majority of my website" being "centered around criticism of her works". Why does he think he can get away with such false accusations? In fact, I don't critique Acharya's books at all, but, at best, respond to a few of the claims that she makes on her website.
"This is a blatant inadvertent and unspoken admission of kingdavid8's own severe lack of objectivity, honesty and sincerity."
So someone who falsely claims that my website is centered around criticism of Acharya's works is accusing me of a lack of objectivity, honesty and sincerity? Wow!
"After careful examination of his website,"
So Luva carefully examined it, huh? That's interesting, since I was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that his complete misrepresentation of my website was due to him having seen only bits and pieces of it and maybe applying a few bad assumptions. But if he carefully examined it, then he would obviously know that my site has little to do with Acharya at all. He's either being completely dishonest in saying that my website is centered around Acharya S, or he's being completely dishonest in saying he's carefully examined it. I wonder which one it is.
"it quickly becomes clear that kingdavid8 is biased and prejudiced in favor of his own religious faith, and that he has absolutely no intention of properly representing arguments, evidence or works put forth by Acharya S &/or other "Christ-Mythers."
Actually, when I post my discussions with non-believers or Christ-mythers, I quote their arguments and evidence exactly, doing nothing more than fixing minor spelling or grammatical errors. How that equals me improperly representing them, I'm not sure. I've never had one of the many non-believers with whom I've had discussions come back to me later and accuse me of improperly representing their arguments when I've posted them on my website.
"Nor does kingdavid8 have any intention of paying $1,000 for his Christ-Myther Challenge."
Of course I do. But if he's convinced that I don't, then why not expose me as a fraud by sending me the evidence? If he sends me the evidence, and I refuse to pay out, then I'm clearly the dishonest person that he claims I am. As long as they keep offering excuses rather than evidence, it just bolsters my argument that most of the CM'er claims are bogus.
"kingdavid8's plan there is to deflect any evidence and facts with the typical Xian apologist hand-waving dismissal, finding any way he can to dismiss all that he can"
And how does he know this unless me sends me the evidence? If he sends it to me, and I do this, then he will have exposed me as the fraud he claims I am.
"kingdavid8 does everything he possibly can to avoid acknowledging that Acharya S, Christ-Mythers or for that matter, Zeitgeist part 1 may be correct about anything at all."
Incorrect. On the rare occasion where their claims are backed up by evidence, I say so. Of the 36 claims Zeitgeist makes regarding pre-Christian deities, I agree that 5 of them are supported by evidence, and say so at my Zeitgeist page.
"kingdavid8 has been working his website for several years now. He could save the $1,000 by actually reading the books he believes are his sworn enemy."
If those books had the evidence, then the people who have read them would have no problem finding it, and someone would have made an attempt to win my challenge. As it is, no one has done so. Yeah, they make excuse after excuse - that they don't believe I'll pay out, that it would take too long to compile the list, that they don't want to "spoon-feed" me the evidence - but any time they just make excuses, it only makes it look like they don't have the evidence. If they have it, why not submit it and prove me a fraud?
"For those interested in the facts and evidence, try actually reading the books, excerpts & articles...keeping in mind that the excerpts and articles DO NOT contain all of the details - THAT IS WHAT THE BOOKS ARE FOR."
So those who have read the books have the evidence? Then why can't they seem to find it? Seriously, if the evidence existed, then Christ-mythers would be parading it for the world to see, offering it to anyone who asks for it, and even to those who don't. Instead, they can't seem to present the evidence, even when offered $1000 for it.
Keep in mind that this $1000 offer was made only after years and years of asking Christ-mythers for their evidence. I asked first, and none of them could find it, even those who claim to have personally read the stories that back up these claims. Even without the offer of money, why would they refuse to present the evidence to someone who is asking for it? Don't they want people to see it? What do they have to hide?
Keep in mind that all I'm asking for is the evidence to back up ONE of the Christ-myther lists, and if someone can back up at least half of a list, I'll give them an equal percentage of the $1000, at least $500. How much trouble would that be, if the evidence existed?
"Acharya S/Murdock currently has five books to date with over 2,100 pages of text, including over 5,700 footnotes/citations to primary sources and the works of highly credentialed and respected authorities in relevant fields of study from a wide variety of backgrounds, including many Christian scholars, adding up to over 1,600 bibliographical sources. Her books also contain over 300 illustrations."
Then those who claim her book has the evidence to back up the CM'er lists should have no problem finding it, right?
"If kingdavid8 and his followers had actually read all of Acharya's works, they'd realize that his "challenge" was met long ago."
Really? Then why can't the people who have read her books find the evidence when someone asks for it?
(from my site):"For a quick and unbiased debunking of this story, go to any search engine and find a site on Egyptian mythology and read the Horus story for yourself (I've provided some links at the bottom of the page), or check the mythology section at your local library (go ahead, I dare you!)."
Luva responds, “And by "quick and unbiased debunking of this story" he means anything will do so, long as it upholds his Christian faith"
No, it just means anything will do. Read any version of the story, and I guarantee you it won't be one that backs up the Christ-myther claims. If such a version existed, someone would be able to find it. If you have it, go ahead and send it to me, and I'll pay you the $1000. Or if, as Luva claims, I refuse to do so, then you will have proven me a fraud. What have you got to lose?
"And with a majority of nearly 80% Christians in America, it shouldn't be any problem finding loads of websites claiming to have debunked any comparisons to other pre-xian Pagan religions."
And if these claims were valid, then it wouldn't be any problem finding loads of Christ-myther websites which quote the stories where Horus and the other deities do the things that CM'ers claim, would it?
"Academia refuses to even acknowledge the case for mythicism let alone investigate it."
Maybe because they're already familiar with pre-Christian mythology, and thus already know that the claims about Horus and the others are bogus.
I said "Acharya S's book "The Christ Conspiracy" is the apparent source of this list, but the author provides evidentiary footnotes for only five of the claims, and those footnotes frequently disagree with her own claims!"
Luva responded: “Err, actually, she provides NINE footnotes on page 115 of Christ Conspiracy, 53 through 61.”
So she does. I've fixed that on my site.
I'd said "Horus’ mother was not a virgin. She was married to Osiris, and there is no reason to suppose she was abstinent after marriage."
Luva responded, "The Pyramid Texts speak of “the great virgin” (Hwn.t wr.t) three times (682c, 728a, 2002a, cf. 809c)"
“Hwn.t” can mean "virgin", but it can also mean simply "young woman" or "maiden". So which does it mean when applied to Isis? Well, since in all versions of the story on which she gives birth to Horus, Osiris is considered to be the father, then obviously it doesn't mean "virgin".
In debating this issue in the FreeThought forum, the point was made that "young woman" and "maiden" are synonyms for "virgin", which they seemed to think means that "young women" and "maidens" are ALWAYS virgins (which, obviously, they're not). I had to point out that "synonym" doesn't mean "exactly the same as", but rather that the terms are frequently (though not always) interchangable. For example, the words "gossip" and "repeat" are synonyms, but that doesn't mean that all gossiping is repeating, and that all repeating is gossiping. "Hwn.t" is a word that is used to describe young woman, who tend to be virgins, and thus it's sometimes (though not always) translated as "virgin". That doesn't mean that all young women are virgins, or that all virgins are young women.
Of course, Luva and I could debate this all day. The interesting thing is that even if, hypothetically, I gave him this one, and even gave him every other claim he tries to present some kind of evidence for in his critique, it would still leave the majority of the Christ-myther claims about Horus without evidence. I have yet to see anyone even try to present the evidence for at least half of the CM'er claims about Horus.
"One thing non-expert, non-mythologist, shallow net-surfers like our Christian friend kingdavid8.com doesn't know is that in many pre-xian Pagan religions a female could regain her virginity via sacred union with God."
Okay, but that's nothing like what happened to Mary, making this point irrelevant. The Gospels make it clear that Mary had never known a man until after Jesus was born. When it calls her a "virgin", this is what it's talking about. It's not claiming that she had gone from non-virgin status to virgin status. Neither is there any evidence that Isis herself was "re-virgined" in this matter, making this point even more irrelevant.
"Horus was given three different birthdates in mythology, one of which does correspond to December 25th. But since Jesus wasn't, per the evidence, born on 12/25, this isn't a parallel."
"So, here kingdavid8.com concedes Horus was born on Dec 25th."
No. I said it was one of three different birthdates assigned, not that he was, per mythology, born on that date. And even if he was, there's no evidence that this date was assigned to Horus' birth prior to Jesus' time.
"Still, KD will have to research to find out why the early Christians chose to celebrate Jesus' birthday on a popular ancient celebration for the sun god, established a few thousand years before Jesus was invented."
I already have. The most likely theory (the only one really supported by ancient evidence) is that there was a 3rd-century tradition that Jesus' conception and crucifixion happened on the same date, just different years. That date was believed, at the time, to be March 25th (though stronger evidence says the crucifixion actually happened in early April). Nine months after March 25 is December 25. That this corresponded, roughly, to some ancient solstice celebrations (which probably took place a few days before the 25th, since the solstice is usually on the 22nd or 23rd) is likely coincidence.
Of course, there's also the argument that Christians chose to celebrate Jesus' birthday around this time in order to give people a "Christian alternative" to the other festivals, the same way many modern churches that don't celebrate Halloween frequently throw parties that night in order to keep kids from trick-or-treating. While a common theory, the evidence for this theory is actually quite weak, based mostly on assumptions. But even if true, it still doesn't suggest that Jesus' actual date of birth was 12/25. In fact, the Gospels themselves suggest warmer weather around this time, since shepherds were out in their fields that night, which they're less likely to do on cold December nights.
"Also, the fact remains that BILLIONS of Christians have celebrated Jesus' birth on Dec 25th. Does kingdavid8.com celebrate Christmas and Easter? Those are certainly the most popular Christian holidays and the both originate from Pagan religions. kingdavid8.com better run to tell all the Christians to stop celebrating those Pagan holidays."
If "Event A" is celebrated on the same day as "Event B", that doesn't mean a celebration of "Event A" is secretly a celebration of "Event B". My birthday happens to be on the same day as blues singer Robert Johnson's birthday and "VE (Victory in Europe) Day". That doesn't make my birthday a celebration of the other events. Since there are only 365 days in a year, it hardly matters what day we celebrate Jesus' birthday on - it's going to correspond to something else.
"However, there is no evidence that these three stars were called the "Three Kings" prior to Jesus' time, nor even prior to the 19th century, for that matter.”
Luva responds, “This is a pretty bold claim for one who has no relevant qualifications, formal training or credentials. What languages did you research that led you to those conclusions?
As he is in the other instances noted above, KD is wrong here again. Orion was called the Three Kings in French - Les Trois Rois - by at least as early as the 18th century. And it was called the same in Latin by at least as early as the 17th century.
Love the response. He's basically saying that instead of the "Three Kings" name being nineteen centuries too late be relevant, it's only seventeen centuries too late to be relevant. But I'll fix that on my site.
Luva says, "The fact is that the parallels aren't a carbon-copy, some are closer than others."
And most of them, for each deity, are altogether false. I'm not asking for the parallels to be a case of "carbon copy". If, hypothetically, Horus was crucified, I wouldn't be saying "it doesn't count, since it wasn't between two thieves!". All I'm asking for is evidence to back up the claims that they make. If they're saying Horus was crucified, then show me the story where Horus was crucified. That's all. I'm not going to quibble over minor differences, as long as the basic facts stand up.
And regarding my correspondence with Acharya, Luva says, "First of all, you'll notice that KD8 was not honest with Acharya and did not mention that he had never read her book."
What's dishonest about me not mentioning that I never read her book? If I claimed I had, when I hadn't, then that would be dishonest. If I claimed I hadn't, when I had, that would be dishonest. But I neither claimed nor implied that I hadn't read her book, since I hadn't. I guess I'm not sure how Luva considers that to be "not honest".
Basically, Luva has no problem making up claims about myself and my website in order to make me look dishonest. I have many different sections to my website, but when it comes to my Christ-myther section, the main thing that I'm looking for is the evidence to back up the claims. That's all. On the occasions that I've found it or had a Christ-myther present it to me, I've had no problem posting it on my website. But the fact remains that the majority of Christ-myther claims about Horus and the other deities have no evidence to back them up. If there was evidence, you would think that Christ-mythers would be only too happy to share it with me. They tell me that the evidence is in this source or that source, but, if it was, then wouldn't it be available to them to share with me? Wouldn't they be able to give me something other than excuses?
I have since (in March of 2012) re-joined the forum after a member posted a negative review of my book "Myth?" on Amazon despite clearly never having read it in the first place. Soon after joining, Luva pointed out that he'd responded to my response in a post from late 2010.
In my response, I'd responded to his claim that "the majority of my website is centered around her work" by showing that less than 5% of my pages even mention her.
To this, he says: "I made no mention of KD8's website page numbers or percentages of this or that - because it's completely irrelevant."
Actually, the word "majority" does indeed reference a percentage. 5% can never be a majority. Even if he's taking any page about mythicism in general, whether it mentioned Acharya or not, as being "centered around her work", it's still a minority.
He then says "According to the Wayback Machine, King David 8 has mentioned: "Acharya S, the author of "The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold," from the beginning.'D8's oldest archives mention Acharya S and her book Christ Conspiracy. Her response to KD8's very own e-mail to Acharya is dated "(9/1/02)" - that was over 8 years ago, and KD8 still hasn't read a single book of hers."
So now he's claiming that a page from 2002 is one of my "oldest" pages. Actually, that's one of my newest pages. My website actually dates back to 1996 when I had it as hometown.aol.com/KingDavid10/Home.html (don't bother putting that link in, since it's down now - but you can find it using the "Wayback Machine" he linked above). Most of the material on my site was part of the AOL site, the only things I've added since being the "mythicism" section, most of the letters, and a few other pages.
Now, I understand if he was unaware of my previous website. I can't imagine how he would have known about it. Assuming a page from 2002 was one of my earliest was an understandable mistake, but it was still a mistake on his part. All I'm saying is, for the record, the majority of my website WAS created before I'd even heard of Acharya and Zeitgeist.
As for his repeated insistence that I haven't read her books, he's correct, and I've never claimed I have. But I've also never criticized her books, as he keeps claiming I have. When I question or comment on the mythicist claims, he needs to remember that the claims didn't begin or end with her. Neither their first nor last appearance were in Acharya's books.
He then quotes where my Copycat Challenge page says "I have a website that is trying to debunk the claim of the Jesus story being influenced by pre-Christian deities ... Below, I give seven common lists that I see Christ-mythers give."
And responds: "Of course those "seven common lists" all came from Acharya's work."
Actually, they don't. The lists aren't the same ones Acharya uses in her work. For example, in her Horus list, item #1 says "1) Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men." The list I used (which I got off the internet) breaks each "parallel" down to individual parts, separating the "virgin birth", "cave/manger", "star in the east", etc.
He then points out that most of my site's "recent additions" have to do with mythicism, pretending this is some kind of proof that the majority of my website is centered around mythicism. Sorry, but majority of recent additions doesn't equal majority of my website. He's trying to justify his false claim that the majority of my website is centered around her work, when he should just be admitting he was wrong about the claim, which he would have known had he carefully examined it as he'd claimed.
Luva then says "My comment: 'a majority of his website is centered around criticism of her works,' seems to be spot on (especially since I was never talking about web pages or % anyway; nice attempt at another distraction though)"
If Luva is saying "a majority" then he's talking about web pages or percentages. There's no way around that. If I said "a majority of people voted for Ross Perot in the 1992 Presidential Election", I'd be just as wrong about Perot as he is about my website.
Luva says, "KD8 has set up his "Christ-Myther Challenge" in such a way that KD8 and KD8 alone gets to decide what is or what isn't credible evidence. So even if the most highly respected and highly credentialed top Egyptologist in the world sent an e-mail to KD8 he could still do his typical hand-waving dismissal."
Actually, no, since I'm sure the might highly respected and highly credentialed Egyptologist in the world is one who is university-level, and I accept any and all university-level scholars as sources, which Luva would have known if he'd read my Copycat Challenge, which he would have done if he's carefully examined my site as he says. In general, the criteria for my challenge is very objective, so that it doesn't come down to my subjective opinion. If someone offers the story where these things happen, I'll accept it. If they offer pre-Christian images clearly showing these things, I'll accept it. If they offer university-level scholars, I'll accept it. If they offer peer-reviewed journals, I'll accept it. If they offer general mythology websites, I'll accept it. Too bad they don't have this stuff, isn't it?
I've also made FreeThought Nation the offer (though after this critique, to be fair) to let the members of a general skepticism forum, who are presumably neither Christians nor mythicists, be the judge of whether the evidence meets my challenge, so that he's not left to my judgment. They've refused (though they may still change their minds, as that offer is not off the table yet). Luva's response to this offer seems to be that no one but mythicists are capable of making judgments on mythicism. In other words, you can't criticize it unless you believe in it!
Luva says, "The fact is that KD8 knows nothing about comparative religion, mythology, archeoastronomy, archaeology, astrotheology, Pagan religion and their origins, history and evolution. In short, KD8 is not any sort of go-to guy for anything related to religion."
I admit I'm not an expert on these issues. But my lack of expertise would only be a problem if mythicists were presenting the evidence for most of the claims, and I was dismissing it. As it is, they haven't even managed to present evidence for most of the claims. They say they will do so in a debate we'll soon have (which I will link on my site, if it happens), but, if so, this will be the first time mythicists agreed to present the evidence to me, despite promises from many of them over the years to do so. I even had This guy who told me that unless I paid him $550 up front, he would present the evidence for all of the Mithra claims and take me for the full $1000. When I told him to go ahead and present the evidence, he didn't.
Luva says, “The fact is that KD8 knows nothing about comparative religion, mythology, archeoastronomy, archaeology, astrotheology, Pagan religion and their origins, history and evolution.”
I wouldn't say I 'know nothing”, but I'm certainly not an expert. Of course, my lack of expertise would only be a problem if mythicists were sending me the evidence and I was simply failing to understand it. Since they can't seem to find it to begin with, my own lack of expertise isn't the issue.
Luva then quotes me where I said "Acharya S's book "The Christ Conspiracy" is the apparent source of this list, but the author provides evidentiary footnotes for only five of the claims, and those footnotes frequently disagree with her own claims!" He responds, "Notice how KD8 didn't mention a single footnote or provide the evidence to substantiate his claim?”
Actually, I brought up those footnotes in my Jesus/Horus article. I'll clarify it further here, though. Her footnote for the “fisher” claim says “Massey: "Horus in Egypt had been a fish from time immemorial, and when the equinox entered the sign of Pisces, Horus, was portrayed as Ichthys with the fish sign of over his head." Dujardin: "The patriarch Joshua, who was plainly an ancient god of Palestine and bore the same name as the god of Christianity, is called the son of Nun, which signifies 'son of the fish.'" Walker: "The fish symbol of the yonic Goddess was so revered throughout the Roman empire that Christian authorities insisted on taking it over, with extensive revision of myths to deny its earlier female-genital meanings." Wheless: "The fish anagram was an ancient Pagan symbol of fecundity . . ." Notice that none of these sources say anything about Horus being a fisher, but just about him being a fish (exactly as I say on my site). So they don't agree with the comparison that Acharya claims.
Luva says, “This is very significant because: 1) KD8 has never actually read her book; and 2) I suspect that this comment originally came from elsewhere (if so, KD8 provides no source) by others who also have no idea what they're talking about, and KD8 decided to reproduce it without even checking. Thus, here we have a prime example of severe dishonesty and misrepresentation, i.e., KD8 showing his true colors.” (emphasis his).
Actually, my source for the list was this article, written by Acharya S. I may have falsely assumed it was from her book “Christ Conspiracy”, though it seems to be an exact match to the information in that book. The only exception seems to be fewer footnotes, the reason I didn't acknowledge that there were 9 and not 5 (though this article shows 6 – so either I did initially miscount, or the version of the article I saw at the time was missing one).
Anyway, as of this month (March of 2012), I am back participating in the forum I'd linked at the top of the article, having rejoined back on page 11. They're promising to finally present the evidence for at least half of the claims for Zeitgeist, so we'll see what happens.