Is Jesus a copy of Ancient “Hero” Deities?

naitivityOn December 23, 2016 a news headline read: “5,000 Nativity Scene found in Egypt.” It reports a reddish rock art found in 2005 by Marco Morelli, a geologist, in a small cave within the Sahara desert. It showed a mother and father standing over a newborn, with two animals present and what looked like the sun (?) on the right side. By terming this “a Nativity scene 3,000 before Christ” the liberal media was baiting the prejudice of the season. In the painting, a lion was painted at its top and a monkey below. How does this tally with Christ’s birth recorded in the Bible?

Marco said “when the baby is drawn above the parents, it usually resembles a birth or pregnancy in ancient Egyptian art.” Is this man an Egyptologist or why should his words be taken as authority? You see the inherent conclusion fits a ready made narrative: to portray Christ as a copy of pre-Christian mythical gods like Horus, Baal and Attis. That painting is more or else a coincidence; even if it is religious in nature, it fails to indicate ancient Egyptian religion was the prototype of Bible narratives.

A popular YouTube video Zeitgeist: The Movie, also attempts to parallel Jesus with ancient demi-gods worshipped prior to Jesus birth. Its narrator says:

“Broadly speaking, the story of Horus is as follows: Horus was born on December 25th of the virgin Isis-Meri. His birth was accompanied by a star in the east, which in turn, three kings followed to locate and adorn the new-born saviour. At the age of 12, he was a prodigal child teacher, and at the age of 30 he was baptized by a figure known as Anup and thus began his ministry. Horus has 12 disciples he travelled about with, performing miracles such as healing the sick and walking on water… After being betrayed by Tryphon, Horus was crucified, buried for 3 days, and thus, resurrected.”

There’s nothing new about these claims. They are old, disproved theories drawn from late 19th century agnostic works like T. W. Doane’s Bible Myths, George Frazer’s The Golden Bough and Arthur Weigall’s The Paganism in Our Christianity, which no scholar takes with any degree of seriousness in this century. They are urban legends and propaganda mush. Josh McDowell in A Ready Defense, listed 4 major fallacies of critics who make this “Jesus is a copy of ancient gods” claims.

a) Combinationism: they roll all ancient pagan religions into one box and assume they are monolithic, coherent and unified belief systems from 1500BC – 400 AD.

b) Colouring the evidence: they lace ancient myths with Christian terms to make them seem prototypes of Christian beliefs.

c) Oversimplification: they find something such as resurrection and claim that Christianity borrowed it from an ancient myth whereas there are startling conceptual differences.

d) Who influenced whom: critics assume that if there is an element in an Eastern religion as well as Christianity, the Christians must have borrowed from the Eastern religion, since the religion’s founder lived first. They fail to consider that the Eastern religion absorbed Biblical narratives into their own myths.

With these logical fallacies in mind, let’s examine the claims made in the Zeitgeist movie.

1. Ancient Egyptian religion wasn’t a coherent belief system that could be copied wholesale. As it evolved, so did its stories. The Oxford Guide: Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology says different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists. Ancient Egyptians viewed the multiple facets of reality, hence had different perceptions of the same multi-layered deity with various attributes.

2. The relayed myth of Horus is peppered with Christian and Jewish terms like “baptized,” “disciples” and “ministry” to further their agenda. There is no way ancient Egyptians would use such terms to refer to their religious rites. I cannot find the name “Anup” or “Asup” in any major ancient text. Only one reference to baptism is made and that refers to a ritual coronation for the pharaoh (and it varied in age, rarely 30). No reference work speaks of Horus and his baptism. These contrivances were deliberately made up by anti-Christians to mislead their viewers to assume similarities where there are none.

3. Where was it stated that Horus was born on December 25? In Plutarch’s account, Horus was born “about the time of the winter solstice … imperfect and premature” (Isis and Osiris, Loeb Classical Library, Vol. 5, 1936). This leaves a gap of weeks before or after December. In modern calendar, the winter solstice is Dec. 21/22, not the 25th. This even assumes that ancient Egypt used modern calendar, because ancient myths don’t specify any date at all for the birth of their deities. Notably, Jesus’ birth date is not known and celebrating Christmas on Dec. 25 has nothing to do with the winter solstice.

4. In Plutarch’s account, Isis used her magic powers to raise Osiris and fashion a golden phallus to conceive her son. It clearly wasn’t a virgin birth as that of Christ.

5. Horus wasn’t visited by 3 kings, didn’t teach in any temple, had no 12 disciples and didn’t heal the sick. Horus battled Set for 80 years and won, finally becoming a patron of Lower Egypt. Horus wasn’t crucified either. Egyptian texts spoke of Isis and “describes the death of Horus through the sting of a scorpion… Thoth now appeared to her and advised her to hide herself with her unborn child” (The History of Isis and Osiris, Summary: VIII, lxxiv).

This incident occurred long before Horus’ adulthood and Thoth purged the venom from his body. You see, once you consult the source of the myth, a vastly different picture is seen. This is why one good way to refute such arguments is to ask for the original sources of the myths. The critic will either become silent or sing another tune.

6. Horus did not resurrect from the dead. Egyptian myths claim Osiris came to life again in Horus, but this is even far off the bat from Christ’s resurrection. The critic is oversimplifying “resurrection” and trying to parallel it with that of ancient Egypt. This is at best, intellectual dishonesty.

Some other critics theorize that Christianity borrowed some ideas from Buddhism because Buddha was born before the time of Christ. Femi Aribisala, a self-acclaimed “scholar” who seems to be seeking relevance on social media, alleged that Phil. 2:12: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” was plagiarised from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta Buddhist scriptures. But here is the quote:

“And now, brethren, I take my leave of you. All the constituents of being are transitory. Work out your salvation with diligence” (Digha Nikaya ii. 155-56 Mahaparinibbana Sutta).

Buddhists don’t believe in sin and their use of the term “salvation” is attaining nirvana or nothingness – a concept utterly remote from the Bible. Comparing the dates of the written documents of Christianity and the religion from which the supposed plagiarism occurred quickly exposes the critic’s assertion. Manuscript evidence shows that the New Testament were written between 50-90 A.D.

But the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha), even though he lived about 5 centuries before Christ were passed down orally. They became so fragmented and had variant interpretations that a council was held in the third century BC – hundreds of years after Buddha’s death – to purify his teachings.

“This council refuted the offending viewpoints and expelled those who held them. In the process, the compilation of the Buddhist scriptures (Tipitaka) was supposedly completed, with the addition of a body of subtle philosophy (abhidarhma) to the doctrine (dharma) and monastic discipline (vinaya) that had been recited at the first council” (Quoted from “Buddhism” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, 1998).

The earliest manuscript evidence of Buddhist teachings are fragments written on tree barks in 60 A.D. The Diamond manuscript, an early Buddhist text is dated 868 A.D., that is over one thousand years after Gautama lived. During this time frame, however, the Bible had been completed and Christianity had spread extensively through the East and West, so if there was a borrowing or plagiarism, it must have been from Christianity into Buddhism.

Some critics have claimed Krishna, Attis and Baal were prototypes of Jesus, but when you compare the myths of these deities, you will be amazed to behold the critics’ feeble attempts to roll different idols of different ages, characteristics and natures into one and re-cast them in the mould of Jesus Christ.

A Muslim writer, A. S. K. Joomal says the Jesus of the Gospels was patterned after a Mexican idol, Quetzalcoatl who was also a saviour born of a virgin, tempted by Satan, fasted 40 days and was “crucified and that the Mexicans looked forward to his second coming” (The Bible: Word of God or Word of Man, 145).

Here, again, we see a cheap attempt to Christianize a pagan deity by employing loaded Christian words like “saviour,” “crucified” or “second coming.” The Larousse’s New Encyclopedia of Mythology says Quetzalcoatl was one of the Mexican deities represented as a snake-bird and a white haired human old man with red face mask. He wasn’t crucified, instead, he sailed away with a promise to return to his people. These speculative theories actually tell more about the ethics and character of those disseminating them.


Bible Characters in the Quran (1)

The Quran claims in several places to be a confirmation and a fuller explanation of the Bible.

“This Quran is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary, it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, And a fuller explanation of the Book (the Bible i.e the Scripture of the Jews and Christians) – wherein there is no doubt – from the Lord of the worlds” (10:37).

When one compares the Quran with the Bible, the falsehood of this verse quickly becomes evident. Muslim leaders desperately try to evade this dilemma of contradiction by claiming that the “original Bible” is lost or has been “corrupted.” Many Muslims, without any sense of demonstrable self-awareness, boldly assert that the Quran came to correct the errors of the Bible or even replace it. Yet the Quran appeals to the Bible as God’s inspired Word time and again.

To sustain their faith in Islam, Muslims jettison reason, history and truth and attack the Bible to uphold the Quran. But this is irrational. The principle of historical precedent states that an older theory tests and judges a newer one. If X predates Y in Z, the burden of proof is on Y to prove itself. Until then, Y is in error. Therefore, since the Bible existed before the Quran, it’s the standard by which the Quran is to judged and tested and if the Quran contradicts it at any place, every rational person must go with the Bible.

This principle will be applied here. In the Quran, Muhammad said “I am no bringer of new-fangled doctrine among the apostles … I follow but that which is revealed to me by inspiration” (46:9). To verify this claim, we must compare the Quran with the Bible and if we find evidence of “newly fangled” ideas in the Quran, the logical conclusion is that Muhammad was an uninspired false prophet. The following are examples of how the Quran confuses Bible stories and grossly depicts Bible characters.

Adam and Eve

The Quran presents us with a nuanced account of Adam and Eve’s sin. The first version says “But the devil whispered to him. Said he, ‘O Adam! Shall I guide thee to the tree of immortality, and a kingdom that shall not wane.” (20:120) The second says: “But Satan whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts. He said, Your Lord did not forbid you this tree except that you become angels or become immortal” (7:20)

On comparison with the Bible, both versions are false. Satan deceived Eve alone while Adam knowingly ate the fruit from Eve (Gen. 3:1-5). The Quran also says that Adam and Eve were thrown to earth when they sinned:

“Then did Satan make them slip from the (garden), and get them out of the state (of felicity) in which they had been. We said: ‘Get ye down, all (ye people), with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood – for a time” (Sura 2:36).

In the Biblical account, Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden of Eden on earth – where they were created – not heaven. Muhammad must have heard Jews and Christians talking about the Fall of Adam and Eve and naively thought they literally fell from heaven or a planet down to earth! He didn’t know the Fall meant a spiritual separation of man from God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). Our being on earth today is not a result of the Fall. Again, Sura 7:189-190 says:

“It is He Who has created you from a single person (Adam), and (then) He has created from him his wife (Eve), in order that he might enjoy the pleasure of living with her. When he had sexual relation with her, she became pregnant and she carried it about lightly. Then when it became heavy, they both invoked Allah, their Lord (saying): “If you give us a Salih (good in every aspect) child, we shall indeed be among the grateful. But when He gave them a Salih (good in every aspect) child, they ascribed partners to Him (Allah) in that which He has given to them…”

This is another version that is nowhere found in the Bible. Adam and Eve weren’t Arabians and didn’t start a pagan religion. Here, Muhammad was probably trying to redact their story to fit his agenda of making the Meccans worship Allah, their chief deity, excluding the other divinities in the Arabian pantheon.


The Quran indicates that Abraham had two children (37:100-11), but the Bible records eight (Gen. 25:1-6, 9). The Bible records Abraham’s partial lie about Sarah being his wife as his only sin, but the Quran depicts him as a brazen idolater and deceiver.

“When the night grew dark upon him he beheld a star. He said: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: I love not things that set. And when he saw the moon uprising, he exclaimed: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said, unless my Lord guide me, I surely shall become one of the folks who go astray. And when he saw the sun uprising, he cried: This is greater! And when he set he exclaimed: O my people Lo! I am free from all that ye associate (with Him)” (Q 6:76-78)

Muslims have trumped up some excuses to justify Ibraham’s flagrant idolatry, but they hold no water. No Godly person in the Bible ever worshipped the moon, star and sun (whether jocularly or otherwise). The patriarch Job called this practice “unfaithfulness to God” and “sins to be judged” (31:26-28). Conversely, sura 2:36 says that “Abraham… was never [one] of the idolaters.” I need to ask: Did Allah forgive him of the “unforgivable” sin of shirk?

Sura 2:125: “We covenanted with Abraham and Isma’il that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a retreat, or bow or prostrate themselves.”

Both the Bible and history show that Abraham was never in Arabia and he didn’t venerate a pagan stone. The Torah which predates the Quran by 2000 years is a more reliable record of Abraham than anything Muhammad concocted millennia later.

Sura 21:58-63 narrates Abraham destroying the idols of his people: “So he broke them into pieces, all except the chief of them, that they might return to it. They said, ‘Who has done this to our gods? Surely, he is a wrongdoer. Some others said, ‘We heard a young man speak ill of them; he is called Abraham.’… “He replied, ‘Well, someone has surely done this. Here is the chief of them. So ask them if they can speak.”

In the Bible, Abraham didn’t destroy any idol. This fiction came about because Muhammad confused the story of Gideon with Abraham (Judges 6:25-31). It’s an insult to attribute such astounding blunders to God.


Narrating his rescue from Sodom and Gomorrah, sura 27:57-58 says:
“So We saved him and his family, except his wife. We destined her to be of those who remained behind. And We rained down on them a rain (of stones). So evil was the rain of those who were warned.”

The Hilali-Khan version inserted “of stones” to specify the manner of rain. Yusuf Ali, perhaps aware of this blunder, slyly inserts “of brimestone” in parenthesis in his version. But Sura 54:34 says: “We sent against them violent storms of stones (which destroyed them all), except the family of Lout (Lot) whom We saved…” To evade this blot again, Yusuf Ali inserted “violent tornado” in the text.

But the Bible and modern archaeology prove that Sodom and Gomorrah was utterly destroyed by brimestone, not stones. There are also two conflicting versions of Lot’s rescue. In Sura 15:63, the angels made their identity known the moment Lot saw them: “They said ‘Yes, but we come to thee for a purpose about which thy people doubt.” But in Sura 11: 81, the angels didn’t make their identity known until when Lot was in trouble with the men of Sodom.

The second version is more in line with the Bible. Either Muhammad heard the story from Jews and Christians on two different occasions and had them written accordingly or they were written by different people with nuanced knowledge of the Torah.


“So the Ark floated with them on the waves (towering) like mountains, and Noah called out to his son, who had separated himself (from the rest): ‘O my son! Embark with us, and be not with the unbelievers. The son replied “I will betake myself to some mountain: it will save me from the water.’ Noah said ‘This day nothing can save, from the command of God, any, but those on whom He hath mercy!’ And the waves came between them, and the son was among those who overwhelmed in the Flood” (Q 11:42-43).

In the Bible, we see that Noah had three sons and none of them got drowned in the Flood. They all entered the Ark with their three wives (Genesis 6 and 7). The story of Noah is relayed again in Sura 71:1-28 but when one reads the passage carefully, it’s clear that Muhammad tailored Noah’s story to reflect his own experience and feeling when he was rejected by the Meccan pagans.

Verse 21 quotes Noah saying: “My Lord! surely they have disobeyed me and followed him whose wealth and children have added to him nothing but loss.”
How could Noah have said this? Did he have followers? Did he lose them to some wealthy individuals? These were Muhammad’s own words framed as Noah’s.

In verse 23, the cat is fully let out of the bag: “And they have said (to each other) ‘Abandon not your gods: Abandon neither Wadd nor Suwa’, neither Yaguth nor Ya’uq nor Nasr’.

History shows that the idols listed here were those of 7th century Arabians, not of the people of Noah millennia ago! Such outright forgeries!

Again, Sura 66:10 says “Allah sets forth an example for those who disbelieve, the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were two righteous servants of Ours, but they acted treacherous to them. So they availed them naught against Allah, and it was said to them, ‘Enter the Fire, ye twain, along with those who enter it’.”

Which fire? Noah’s wife and Lot’s wife didn’t even live in the same century! If Noah’s only son died in the Flood, and his wife perished in a fire, how then was the earth populated after the Flood?


In the Quran Jacob is quoted saying to Joseph’s brothers before going to graze their flocks: “Really it saddens me that ye should take him away; I fear lest the wolf should devour him while ye attend not to him” (12:13). This is a reflective narrative from someone who assumed Joseph was going grazing with them in a forest. In the real account Jacob had no premonition of Joseph’s death, he actually sent him to Shechem to check on his brothers and return home (Gen. 37:12-13).

Verse 20 says “And they sold him for a low price, a number of silver coins; and they attached no value to him.” This is a historical error. Coins weren’t used at the time of Joseph. In verse 24 the Quran suggests that Joseph lusted after Potiphar’s wife: “But she longed for him; and he had longed for her had he not seen a token from his lord…”

This is false. Joseph didn’t lust after her until he saw a “sign.” Whoever composed this book has an abysmal knowledge of the Torah. The legendary embellishments and outright lies attached to Biblical characters prove that