Claims of Zeitgeist 1. Christianity Borrowed from Astrological Zodiac 2. Jesus Never Existed 3. Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions
Christianity Borrowed from Astrological Zodiac “December 25 Birth Date” -Zeitgeist claims that the New Testament writers place the birth date of Jesus at Dec. 25 because of the winter solstice -This makes one wonder if the producer of Zeitgeist even read the New Testament. Nowhere in the Bible do we read any date associated with the birth of Jesus. -The December 25 date being associated with the birth of Jesus originated long after the Gospels were written. It was not until about 336 AD that Dec. 25 became the official date to ‘celebrate’ Jesus’ birth. -Ben Witherington III, of Asbury Theological Seminary, states that, “most scholars think it was in the spring due to the description of the shepherds being in their fields with their sheep.
Christianity Borrowed from Astrological Zodiac “Three Kings” -Zeitgeist also claims that Christianity got the ideas of three kings for the nativity story from the three brightest stars of Orion’s Belt pointing the star of the East (Sirius) indicating the rising of the sun on Dec 25. -Again the creators of Zeitgeist are revealing their biblical ignorance. While the idea of three kings are found on some Christmas cards or a churches nativity portrayal then New Testament states in Mt 2:1 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem.” -Magi were known as wise men, not kings. During the Middle Ages legend did develop the idea that the magi were kings and 3 in number, but this is not found in scripture.
Christianity Borrowed from Astrological Zodiac “12 Disciples” -“Probably the most obvious of all the astrological symbolism around Jesus regards the 12 disciples which are the 12 constellations of the Zodiac.” – Zeitgeist, the Movie -What makes it obvious? -The producers of Zeitgeist again fail to do their research. The 12 disciples did represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Why? Because Jesus was trying to reform Israel the 12 disciples represented the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus was fulfilling the Old Covenant and was instituting a New Covenant. He was choosing the “New” twelve tribes. -The 12 tribes go back to Jacob and his 12 sons. This is not an astrological story but an explanation of a historical origins of a people. The number 12 of course!
Christianity Borrowed from Astrological Zodiac “Symbol of the Cross” -Zeitgeist claims that the cross was derived from the cross in the Zodiac imposed on the circle of the 12 signs of the Zodiac -Problem: the most basic Zodiac symbols we have from the ancient world has no cross in them. Zodiac symbol in floor at synagogue in Sepphoris From a book by Barocius, 1585. -The origin of the symbol of the cross derives from the Roman practice of crucifixion. Jesus died in 30 AD on a cross outside of Jerusalem, even as the Romans admitted.
Jesus Never Existed “Jesus was a Myth” -Zeitgeist claims that Jesus is an “astrotheological literary hybrid” and is not a historical figure. -Besides the 27 New Testament sources all written in the first century (the century Christ lived) that verify that Jesus existed, how many non-Christian sources are there that mention Jesus? -Ten. There are ten known non-Christian writers who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life. -By contrast, over the same 150 years, there are nine non- Christian sources who mention Tiberius Caesar, the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus. -Jesus is actually mentioned in non-Christian sources more than a Roman emperor. If you include the Christian sources, authors mentioning Jesus outnumber those mentioning Tiberius 43 to 10
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Pagan Religious Figures” -Zeitgeist claims that the events of Jesus life were stolen borrowed from earlier religious figures: -It goes on to claim that the lives of theses pagan religious figures provided the framework in which to construct the story of Jesus: virgin birth, born on Dec. 25, 12 disciples, performed miracles, dead for three days, and resurrected. Mithra HorusAttisKrishna
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Analysis and Critique” -Here the claim of Zeitgeist, as well as others such as Brain Flemming’s documentary The God Who Wasn’t There, Robert Price’s Deconstructing Jesus, T. Freke and P. Gandy’s The Jesus Mysteries, Tom Harpur The Pagan Christ, etc., is that Christianity’s Beliefs about Jesus were copied from pagan religions.
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Background” -In the academic world, these comparisons of Jesus to pagan religious figures were promoted by a group of scholars called the Religionsgeschichtliche schule or the so-called “History of Religions School.” -The “History of Religions School” flourished at the end of the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century. -It included scholars such as Richard Reitzenstein, Sir James Frazer, and Albert Schweitzer. -The “History of Religions School” claimed that primitive Christianity had been influenced by Platonism, Stoicism, the pagan mystery religions, and other Greco-Roman movements. -By the mid-20 th century this school of thought has been abandoned by the academic community.
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Background” -Today some current textbooks, as well as some of the more popular publications (previously mentioned) are recirculation this idea. Hence, the rise of Zeitgeist. -The “History of Religions School” flourished at the end of the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century. -Ronald Nash (Ph.D. Syraycuse), author of The Gospel and the Greeks, states, “efforts to undermine the uniqueness of the Christian revelation via claims of a pagan religious influence collapse quickly once a full account of the information is available.”
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Timing of Mithras and Christianity” -Why did the “History of Religions School” abandon the claim that Christianity borrowed from pagan religions? TIMING -For example, Mithras was a Persian god who was attested as early as the fourteenth century BC. -The problem is there is no evidence of Mithraism in the sense of a mystery religion in the West until very late. The vast majority of texts about Mithra date after AD 140, to late to influence Christianity. -Manfred Clauss, professor of ancient history at Free Univ. of Berlin claimed in The Roman Cult of Mithras that it doesn’t make sense to interpret the Mithraic mysteries “as a fore-runner of Christianity.” L. Patterson, in his book Mithraism and Christianity (Cambridge Univ. Press) concludes there is “no direct connection between the two religions either in origin or development.”
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Its All About Timing” The chronology is all wrong. While some of the mystery religions pre-dated Christianity, there is near universal agreement that there are no stories of dying and rising gods until after Christianity Since the supposed parallels between Christianity and the pagan religions arose only after the origin of the church, the pagan religions could not have influenced Christian beliefs. T. N. D. Mettinger – a senior Swedish scholar, professor at Lund Univeristy, and a member of the Royal Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities of Stockholm – wrote one of the most recent academic treatments of dying and rising gods in antiquity: The Riddle of the Resurrection “There is, as far as I am aware, no prima facie evidence that the death and resurrection of Jesus is a mythological construct, drawing on the myths and rites of the dying and rising gods of the surrounding world.” (Mettinger, 221)
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Supposed Parallels Between Mithras & Christianity” “Virgin Birth” -Mithras was born out of a rock “December 25 Birth Date” -we don’t know date Jesus was born “Sacrificed Himself” -Mithras didn’t kill himself, he killed a bull “Died for Three days and Resurrection” -we don’t know anything about the death of Mithras Richard Gordon in Image and Value in the Greco-Roman World declared that “there is no death of Mithras.” No death, no resurrection “12 Disciples and a Teacher” -Mithras was a god, not a teacher
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Other Parallels” “Krishna” -Krishna was not born of a virgin, but of mother who already had seven previous sons, as even his followers readily concede. “Buddha ” -Sources for the life of Buddha do not appear in written form until 500 years after his death, thus not reliable history. In addition, his mother dreamed that he (Buddha) entered her in the form of a white elephant – fully formed. She had been married for many years prior to so she wasn’t a virgin. “Horus” -The claim that Horus was born on 12/25, of a virgin, worshipped by kings and a teacher by 12 as early as 3000 BC is impossible. Why? Because we don’t have any Egyptian texts that go back that far on the matter. Zeitgeist doesn’t even get Egyptology right much less Christianity.
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Resurrection” Of all the alleged “borrowed” beliefs, the resurrection is the perennial belief of Christianity. It stands or falls with the truth of the resurrection. Did Christianity borrow its belief of the resurrection from the pagan religions? “Attis” -Zeitgeist claims that Attis (a Roman god) was crucified, dead for three days and resurrected. -Unfortunately, for Zeitgeist, Attis was unfaithful to his goddess lover and in a jealous rage she made him insane. Attis castrated himself and fled into the forest, bleeding to death. They myth contains no resurrection. All that Cybele, the mother of Attis, can do is preserve the dead body of Attis and that the hair should still grow and his little finger should move. -On top of this, this “resurrection” of Attis isn’t even mentioned until after 150 AD, long after the time of Jesus
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Resurrection” “Osiris” -Zeitgeist claims the Egyptian god Osiris was resurrected. -Truth is Osiris is cut into 14 pieces, scattered around Egypt, then the goddess Isis rescues all but one of his body parts, reassembles them, and brings him back to life. -However, Osiris does not actually come back to physical life but becomes ruler of a shadowy underworld and is it is not clear it is a resurrection account since Osiris was never fully reconstituted. -Not only that, but poor Osiris really wasn’t brought back to ‘life’ because his resuscitated ruler ship remains in the realm of the dead. This isn’t resurrection but zombification!
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Resurrection” -In short, the first real parallel of a dying and rising god does not appear until AD 150, more than a hundred years after the origin of Christianity. -If there is an influence it is the influence of the New Testament report of the resurrection of Jesus on mythology, not the reverse. -Even if there are myths about dying a rising gods prior to Christianity, that doesn’t mean the NT writers copied them. -For example, the fictional TV show Star Trek preceded the US Space Shuttle program, but that doesn’t mean that newspaper reports of space shuttle missions are influenced by Star Trek episodes.
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Resurrection” -If prior similarity means it is the source and is not historical then we cannot believe that JFK is historical. Look at the similarities between Lincoln and JFK: LincolnKennedy Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946 He was elected President in 1860He was elected President in 1960 His wife lost a child while living in the White House He was directly concerned with Civil Rights Lincoln was shot in the back of the head in the presence of his wife Kennedy was shot in the back of the head in the presence of his wife Lincoln shot in the Ford TheatreKennedy shot in a Lincoln, made by Ford He was shot on a Friday The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was known by three names, comprised of fifteen letters The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was known by three names, comprised of fifteen letters Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and fled to a warehouse Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and fled to a theater Booth was killed before being brought to trialOswald was killed before being brought to trial There were theories that Booth was part of a greater conspiracy There were theories that Oswald was part of a greater conspiracy Lincoln's successor was Andrew Johnson, born in 1808 Kennedy's successor was Lyndon Johnson, born in 1908
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions “Resurrection” -If prior similarity means it is not historical then we cannot believe that the Titanic was an actual ship that sank in the Atlantic by striking an iceberg: 1. British ocean liner Parallels prove nothing 2. Could carry 3,000 passengers 4. Top cruising speed of 24 knots 5. Had an inadequate number of lifeboats 6. Traveling between New York and England Sounds like the Titanic, but this this is actually describing the Titan, a fictional ship described in Morgan Robertson’s book The Wreck of the Titan. Written 14 years before the sinking of the Titanic. While the similarities are striking, they do not undermine the historical evidence of the Titanic 7. Hit an iceberg and sank in Atlantic Ocean on a late April night 3. Made of steel with 3 propellers and 2 masts
Life of Christ Borrowed from Pagan Religions - Ronald Nash in The Gospel and the Greeks: Did the New Testament Borrow from Pagan Thought? summarizes the eight weaknesses in the critics’ claim that Christianity was derived from the pagan religions: 1) Similarity does not prove dependence 2) The alleged similarities are greatly exaggerated or invented 3) The chronology is all wrong: Christianity was in existence in the first century, while the full development of the pagan mystery religions did not appear until the second century 4) Paul as a devout Jew wouldn’t borrow from pagan religions 5) As a monotheistic religion, Christianity could hardly borrow from a polytheistic religion 6) First century Christianity was an exclusivistic faith, not a syncretistic on, which it would have become if it was borrowing 7) Christianity is demonstrably grounded in actual events of history 8) If borrowing did occur, it was the other way around