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Was Jesus A Copycat Savior?

No.  The first time I heard this theory, I was in a chat room and a person came in listing "comparisons" between Jesus and the Egyptian god Horus (such as that Horus was also born of a virgin, had 12 disciples, resurrected someone named El-Azarus, was crucified and resurrected, etc.).  Wanting to see if this was true, I hit a few websites about Egyptian mythology so I could read the Horus story for myself.  None of them gave any such details, and even said things which clearly contradicted this person's claims.  I also went to my local library, and even a bookstore, looking at books on Egyptian mythology, and found nothing in the way of comparisons to Jesus.  I then went to as many websites as I could find where similar lists were given, and asked the people running the websites to back up their claims.  Most didn't respond to me, but I did have a few conversations, the text of which are in the section further down (none were able to give significant backing to their claims). I then found a couple of Christian sites that had already discussed the supposed 'comparisons' between Jesus and Horus, as well as His supposed comparisons to other ancient godmen.  Their work was quite thorough, and what I'm posting on my site here is simply a summary of their work, plus my own research into these (and other) godmen stories, plus any other comparisons that people responding to this site have come up with.  A couple of other Christian pages dealing thoroughly with "Christ-Mythers" can be seen at Tektonics: Confronting The Copycat Thesis and Christian-Thinktank.com: Jesus A Copycat?.  More recently, I decided to offer $1000 to anyone who could provide me with any story in which the pre-Christian deities did the things which are claimed, or any convincing evidence supporting their claims.  I revisited the "Christ-Myther" sites to let them know of my challenge.  While I had several people tell me that they would find the evidence and collect the $1000, not one of them has thus far been able to find any, so the $1000 is still available if anyone out there thinks they can find such evidence.  See here.

Of course, as you'll see on my pages, there are a few (very few) valid similarities.  So what does this mean?  Honestly, not much.

Look at this list of comparisons between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy:

1.  Both Lincoln and Kennedy were elected to Congress in '46 (1846 in Lincoln's case, 1946 in Kennedy's).  Both became President in '60.
2.  Both had lazy eye muscles which would cause one eye to wander.
3.  Both had been skippers on boats (Lincoln on the Mississippi river boat 'Talisman' and Kennedy on the PT-109)
4.  Both were the second sons in their families.  Each lost a sister to death before becoming President.  Both married 24-year-old brunettes who had been previously engaged to other men, and who spoke French fluently.
5.  Both had a child die while living in the White House.
6.  Both were related to U.S. Senators, U.S. Attorney Generals who graduated from Harvard, and ambassadors to the Court of St. James.
7.   Both were acquaintances of a man named Adlai E. Stevenson who ran for either Vice-President or President, a doctor named Charles Taft and a man named William Graham.
8.  Both were advised not to go to the place where they died.
9.  Both Lincoln's theater box and Kennedy's car were altered for their benefit (Lincoln's theater box had a partition removed to accomodate his party, Kennedy's car had a raised rear seat)
10.  Both were slain on a Friday before a major Holiday (Lincoln on the Friday before Easter, Kennedy on the Friday before Thanksgiving).  Both were shot while sitting next to their wives and in the presence of another couple.  Of the other couple, the man was also wounded by the assassin, but neither wife was wounded.
11.  Both were shot from behind and in the head.  Both of their wives cradled their husband's heads after they were shot.
12.  John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln from inside a theater, and fled to a warehouse.  Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy from inside a warehouse and fled to a theater.
13.  Lincoln was shot while inside the Ford theater, in box 7.  Kennedy was shot while inside a Ford automobile, in car 7 in the motorcade.
14.  Both were pronounced dead in places with the initials P.H. (Lincoln in the Peterson House, and Kennedy in Parkland Hospital)
15.  Both of their assassins escaped, and were killed before going to trial.
16.  Both of their assassins were privates in the military.  Each was detained after the shooting by a policeman named Baker.  Both were eventually killed by a Colt revolver.
17.  Both Lincoln and Kennedy were succeeded by southern ex-senators named Johnson who were born in '08.  Both Johnsons were in their mid-fifties when they took the office and both suffered from urethral stones (the only presidents to have them).  Both Johnsons could have run for re-election in '68, but chose not to.

By the logic of the critics, this list is absolute, undeniable proof that John F. Kennedy is a fictional character based on Abraham Lincoln.  Of course, I haven't verified all of the items on this list, so it's possible that some are untrue.  But by the logic of the critics, that doesn't matter.  A list with untrue items will do just fine, right?  The reason that this list really doesn't mean much is that we're looking ONLY at what they have in common. For each thing they do have in common, there are dozens of differences between them.  It's the same with Jesus and the earlier deities. There are a few similarities in some cases (though not nearly as many as the Christ-Mythers would have you believe), but the differences far outweight them.  If you're open-minded, I challenge you to read any or all of the four New Testament gospels and then read the mythology of the other deities for yourself (there are many books and websites available).

So why are people who are so skeptical of the claims made by Christianity so gullable as to believe these supposed comparisons with pre-Christian religious figures without asking for evidence?  There's a definite lack of critical thinking on their part when it comes to these lists.  There are many who seem to want to believe that Christianity is a copycat religion and thus accept any evidence that they feel backs up their beliefs whether that evidence is truthful or not.  Being a relatively recent convert to Christianity myself, I am fully aware that not all non-Christians are as deceitful as those who create and spread these bogus lists.  Many non-Christians are honest and ethical people, and give valid, thoughtful arguments.  The few who spread obvious lies in pathetic attempts to keep people from Jesus give the rest of them a bad name.

Below are the pages where I respond to the claims of Jesus' comparisons to the various deities

Adad

Adonis

Aeneas

Aesculapius

Apollo

Apollonius

Artemes

Attis

Baal

Bacab

Balder

Bali

Beddru

Bel Merodach

Bremrillah

Buddha

Cadmus

Caesar

Chu Chulainn

Crite

Dahzdbog

Deva Tat

Dionysus

Divine Teacher Of Plato

Elvis

Fohi

Frey

Gentaut

Hercules

Hermes

Hesus

Hil And Feta

Holy One Of Xaca

Horus

Hyacinthus

Iasion

Ieo

Indra

Inanna

Ischy

Ixion

Jao

Jupiter 

Krishna

Leo-Kiun

Marsyas

Maximus Christos

Melkarth

Mikado

Mithra

Mohamud

Odin

Orion

Osiris

Perseus

Prometheus

Quetzalcoatl

Quirinus

Sakia

Salivahana

Samheim

Sammonocadam

Sandan Of Tarsus

Serapis

Shang-Ti

Sun/Zodiac

Sybillene Universal Monarch

Tammuz

Taut

Thor

Tien

Virishna

Wittoba

Zalmoxis Of Thrace

Zeus

Zoar Of The Bonzes

Zoroaster

Zulis


Related Articles:

The Toronto Maple Leafs Hockey Team Doesn’t exist!

How Napoleon Never Existed

Aren’t There 40+ Historians Who Should Have Mentioned Jesus, But Didn’t?

 

And here are some conversations I've had with mythicists:

Regarding The Copycat Challenge

On Zeitgeist And Other Issues

On The Christ Myth

Was Horus A Sun God?

On Horus

From A Guy Who Wants To Debate Me

The Letter That Began The Copycat Challenge

From Another Mythicist

Conversation With The English Atheist

Conversation With OneLove

Re: Jesus The Savior

Re: Diabolical Mimicry

Jesus, Serapis, Horus, Mithra

Re: The 'Copycat' Label

More Mythicist Stuff

Re: My Response To Jim Walker

A Letter I Sent To NoBeliefs.com

A Letter I Sent To ReligiousTolerance.org

Bias?

Horus Glyphs

Massey And The Christ Myth

Mithra's Influence On Christianity

Re: Isis, Seth and Mythicism

Sources and other anti-Copycat sites:

Tektonics: Confronting The Copycat Thesis
(This is from a Christian apologetics site which has separate pages for many of the 'godmen')

Christian-Thinktank.com: Jesus A Copycat?
(From another apologetics site, a long essay dealing with many of the issues)

Encyclopedia Mythica
(The biggest mythology site I've seen, listing thousands of gods from all parts of the world)

Assyrio-Babylonian Mythology

GreekMythology.com

Probert Encylopedia: Mythology

Hindu Mythology

Norse Mythology

Indian Mythology

Greek Mythology Link

Encyclopedia Of Greek Mythology

Online-Mythology.com

About Jesus: Paganism

Epologetics: Debunking the Jesus/Mithra Myth

Theoi Greek Mythology

Greek Myth Index

 

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no specific parallel doesn't mean no borrowing

There is no story of a monster with snakes for hair preceding the Greeks and their Medusa. But you probably wouldn't argue that this uniqueness proves her historicity. You'd probably argue that the Greeks knew of female gods, gods going bad, and snakes as a symbol for terror or deceit, and they simply blended a few known motifs to create something new (syncretism). You cannot deny that concepts of gods impregnating women or virgins, and god-men doing miracles, and people coming back from the dead, existed in pre-Christian religion. That being the case, I don't understand the apologists who insist that only nearly identical parallels will prove the later borrowed from the earlier. If the Greeks can be justly accused of borrowing from older slightly different concepts about female gods and snakes, to forge their new thing called Medusa, why is it so difficult for you to see that a first century story about a virgin-born miracle working savior god is more likely the result of syncretism of similar known conceptions in pre-Christian religion, than it is a sign of true historicity? For that matter, Jesus' uniqueness doesn't establish his historicity, so why the apologetic fervor in disproving the copycat thesis? Isn't it because, despite the logical fallacy involved, the notion that Jesus is just a composite of pagan notions implies that he is more fabrication than historical? Don't get me wrong, I believe the Jesus of the NT really existed. I just think that the supernatural stuff accorded to him by the gospel authors and others is mere embellishment, to make Jesus a good contender among the various gods of the first century. The only reason I can think of for why apologists and scholars require nearly identical parallels before they will admit the later borrowed from the earlier, is because they know there are no exact parallels to Christ in pre-Christian religion, so by raising the bar that high, they ensure that the standard will never be met...and they can then rejoice in their logically fallacious view that Jesus's uniqueness argues for his historicity...when in fact uniqueness argues for no such thing, given that people have active imaginations and have no trouble starting with an existing model and turning it into something new. It is only a fool who says the gospel authors paid no attention to their own culture, and so it is just sheer coincidence that their Jesus just happens to have had the same things pre-Christian gods had: divine-human conception, unique birth, ability to work miracles, and coming back from the dead. The general parallels are entirely sufficient to establish the copycat savior thesis. There is no law of the universe that prevents borrowing a concept unless you leave it completely unmodified. And any scholar will tell you that syncretist religion was in full swing in first century Greece. What would have been surprising is if the Jesus of the gospel did NOT have anything in common with the savior-god motifs known in pre-Christian religion. The copycat thesis doesn't 'prove' Jesus didn't exist, or that the gospel accounts are lying when they mentinon his supernatural traits. The responsible historian deals in degrees of probability. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck, we cannot just sit on the fence of indecision the rest of our lives just because Christian apologists fear the obvious, we need to call it like we see it: ITS A DUCK. The fact that Jesus' supernatural traits have no exact parallel in pre-Christian religion more likely testifies to the ability of the gospel authors to build upon the existing earlier virgin-born miracle-working god-man coming-back-from-the-dead model that we all agree existed before and during the first century...more than it testifies to a supernatural Jesus being a part of literal physical history. Uniqueness does not establish historicity, so how are Christians benefited by a rebuttal to the copycat savior myth? Yes, the Christians came up with something that had no exact prior parallel. So what?Posted by Dave on Jan 26, 2015

Perry, I was quite clear already that Lazarus was a Hellenization of El Azar. You should be aware that a concordance is not a lexicon and it only gives the root word - not the word as it appears in the text and hence ignores its cases, etc. It was not a strange coincidence to have him named Eleazar as that was a fairly common name. It is the name of Aaron's son, among others, in the Old Testament. It also is used as the name of a character in one of Jesus' parables. It really does not sound that much like Ausar as the consonantal sounds are quite distinct - not to mention that is has an actual meaning and legacy in Hebrew. There are only so many consonantal sounds and even fewer vowel sounds. Words in different languages will often sound alike but without any causal connection this is mere coincidence. This attempt at forcing one out of Lazarus is frankly a crackpot ploy. Posted by Albert on Dec 11, 2012

What about the copycat theory?
http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=4773#p4773

Albert,

"The Greek name “Lazarus” or “Lazaros” equals “Eleazar” in Hebrew and, per Strong’s [Concordance] (G2976), means “whom God helps.” It is a strange coincidence firstly that the person whom Jesus resurrects happens to be named “whom God helps,” and secondly that “Eleazar”—or, breaking down its original components in Hebrew, El-Azar—closely resembles a combination of the Semitic word for God, “El,” with the Egyptian name for Osiris, “Ausar.”

- Christ in Egypt 297-304
Posted by Perry on Jun 21, 2012

El-Azarus??

The reason you have not heard of "El-Azarus" is because it was made up. Lazarus is the Hellenization of the Aramaic "El Azar" (sometimes Anglicized to "Eleazar" and merely means "God is my help." It has absolutely no etymological connection to either the Egyptian "Ausar" or its Hellenized equivalent "Osiris." As far as I can tell, this piece of crackpot etymology was fabricated by Gerald Massey who inspired a long line of similar crackpots to our current day (hint: it's no accident that Massey was a large influence on Jordan Maxwell). Posted by Albert on Apr 12, 2012