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Is Jesus Similar to Other Myths?

Question:

My friend told me that there were other gods before Jesus that died and rose again from the dead (though he didn't say who). How should I respond to this?

Answer:

Someone would have to mention which ancient myth they were referring to before any serious refutation could take place.  Usually when someone makes mention of resurrection stories in mythology they don’t have all the facts.  There are sometimes superficial similarities but that’s about it, the myth is almost always different in essential aspects.  Other times it is simply a modern urban legend that has nothing to do with the ancient myth itself.

The most common claim is that the ancient myth of Horus is similar to the story of Jesus.  It is often claimed that Horus was killed (sometimes its claimed he was crucified), rose from the dead, and was called the savior of humanity.

However, there problem are problems with this claim:

  • There is no singular myth of Horus.  The myth of Horus was told in different ways over the 5,000 years of ancient Egypt.  Some of the periods directly contradict each other and some are more detailed than others.  Picking and choosing from the various periods of myths might be fun but its hardly proof of much of anything.
  • The claim that Horus was crucified comes from many images of him standing with his arms outstretched.  However that proves nothing about how he died.  That gesture can mean any number of things.  On top of that, there is zero evidence the Egyptians had any concept of crucifixion at the time of the art work in question.
  • One of the myths says that Horus was poisoned as a child by a scorpion and a god brought him back to life at the request of his mother.  Here we have a superficial similarity and nothing more.  Nothing about this is remotely close to the story of Jesus being innocently being condemned, as an adult, to be crucified and accepting it voluntarily to save people from their sins and being resurrected to conquer death for all humanity.
  • Some claim that one of Horus’ titles was “savior of humanity.”  While evidence exists that he was referred to at various times as the god of different things (god of the sky, god of war, etc.) there exists no evidence Horus was ever called the savior of humanity.  It is simply an often repeated urban legend without evidence.

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