The life of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as told through the New Testament, is a fabrication
Debate Rounds (4)
-inductive AND deductive reasoning
-personal testimonies of the divinity of Jesus Christ (example: "Jesus spoke to me")
-Wikipedia citations (however, you may cite references from a Wikipedia article)
-inductive attacks on authors cited
*This is not a debate on whether or not Jesus existed*
Note: This is my first debate and attempt at adequately using recently attained knowledge of the Socratic Method. I invite any debater of any skill level.
I look forward to debating this interesting topic with you.
I will allow you to make your points and I will respond to them.
It is no secret, that figures of Christianity within the first centuries of its conception mercilessly defeated many aspects of Egyptian literature and culture. During the fourth century, Christian mobs began to violently overthrow much of the Egyptian religion, especially. This included the outlawing of Egyptian faith, and also the hieroglyphics used to express it. In 356 C.E., Constantius the second closed all Egyptian temples of Isis and Osiris (The parents of Horus), and forbade hieroglyphics as a religious language. In 380 C.E., the emperor Theodosius proclaimed Christianity to be the official Roman state religion, thus forbidding all existing pagan cults from worshiping, some of which still included the deities Isis, Osiris, and Horus. The similarities between Jesus and Horus could very well be why Egyptian religion was a convenient target to destroy, but that is neither here nor there. It is enough for it to be obvious, that the spread of Christianity is its own main practice, from its conception to its modern day role in the world. This paragraph was meant to be a precursor to the contrasts between Jesus and Horus. It was to show that there was something especially threatening to Christianity right from the beginning.
It should be noted that the similarities between Jesus and Horus are a subject of controversy within the realm of history. So this is not to be misunderstood, the history of Christianity is very much the focus of not just secular theologians, but theologians of certain Christian denominations as well, thus leaving room for bias and intentional distortions. It is not a coincidence that these similarities are almost always brushed aside by the religious theologians, not secular theologians or even historians.
Of the many interpretations of the Deity Horus, historians and theologians for the most part acknowledge one which is blatant in its contrast to many aspects of Jesus Christ. Here is a list of the similarities:
-Born on December 25 in a manger
-Born of the virgin Isis-Mery (debatable, for it was through a makeshift phallus engineered by Isis to be the lost phallus of Osiris)
-His birth was announced by a star in the East
-His birth was attended by 3 "Wise Men"
-He was a teacher at age 12
-At age 30 he was baptized by "Anup the Baptizer", who was decapitated
-He had 12 companions
-He performed miracles, as well as raising Osiris from the dead
-He walked on water
-He was crucified between 2 thieves
-Being dead, he was now that of Osiris, his father
-He was buried in a tomb, and resurrected after 3 days
-The new found Horus/Osiris divinity was called many terms, such as: "Way, The Truth, The Light", "Messiah", and "Lamb of God"
These are not even the similarities in their entirety, but should be sufficient.
Murdock, D.M. Christ In Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. 2011.
He focuses his objection on the assertion that there are parallels between the account of Jesus as told in the Gospels, and the myth of Horus.
This is otherwise known as the 'Pagan copy-cat' movement, which states that the story of Jesus is a copy of earlier pagan religions. It orginiated in the late 1700's in Germany, by a basic university school called the 'religionsgeschichte schule' (History of Religion school) who proposed this idea.
The objection was especially common in Nazi Germany, but soon died out - because critical scholars looked at the evidence - and found none.
However it has seen a revival in recent times, mainly due to the 'zeitgeist' movie, which has been spread around by the Internet.
But why is any of this not true? Well, for many reasons. I will show why my opponent does not succeed in showing Jesus was a fabrication.
The first reason why these parallels do not work is because there is no evidence whatsoever of any sort of pagan religions present in first century Palestine. Both early Judaism and Christianity were highly exclusive religions - whereas pagan religions were highly syncretic. The Jewish people would have NEVER allowed pagan religions in their country, let alone their beliefs! To think that pagan religions could have any influence of Jewish and Christian beliefs is entirely contrary to where the evidence lies.
The second reason why you can't use these parallels is because it is a 'post hoc ergo propter hoc' fallacy.
The fallacy goes like this:
1) Event A occurred before event B
2) Therefore A caused B
As you can see, this just does not follow. Just because these similar pagan beliefs pre-dated Christianity, does not mean that there was a causal effect between the two. And to assert so (as pro has done) would be committing This Post Hoc fallacy.
In order to show an effective argument, you have to SHOW evidence for the Causal effect - not just state them.
Another similar fallacy my opponent is commiting is the Genetic Fallacy - that is, attempting to discredit a belief system by stating it's origins.
The third reason why these parallels fail is because it's entire argument rests on the idea that Jesus never even existed, and that nothing Jesus has been told to do or say ever happened. Because if any of these things did happen, the parallels would be redundant.
The problem however, is that the vast majority of all serious scholars agree that Jesus did indeed exist - secular AND religious - and the events presented in the gospels are accurate accounts of what happened. To assert that Jesus never even existed is completely unscholarly and unhistorical. For example, John Dominic Crossen, a very liberal Irish scholar, said that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the most verifiable fact in the ancient world.
Now, I will show that the main parallels are redundant. I won't respond to all of them as to do so would take up too many characters. So I will explain why the main points are false, then explain why the rest of the points are false.
So the first point that my opponent makes is that Horus was born on December 25th. Now that would be a parallel to Jesus if it were true. But it simply isn't! The date of Jesus's birth is not at all mentioned in the Gospels and the date was formulated by the Christian Church in the 4th and 5th centuries, not at the origins of Christianity in the 1st Century.
He also says that Horus' birth was attended by 3 wise men. This is a non-point, as there is no record in either the Horus or Jesus stories of anything of the sort. In the Bible, men came bearing three gifts. Nothing is said of the number, or the year - it is likely that Jesus was 3 years old at this time. In the Horus myth, nothing is said of three wise men coming to his birth, so I do not know where pro has got this from.
The next point he makes is that Horus was born of a virgin. When taking this into account, we must realize that the story of Horus was formulated over 3000 years, taken from many texts - many of which contradict themselves. The general consensus of these texts concerning Horus' birth is that he was born of two Gods - Isis and Osiris. Note that Isis is noted as the WIFE of Osiris - so we can assume that she is not a virgin. And as he quite rightly pointed out, this is not similar at all similar to th Virgin Birth as Isis had sexual relations with a make-shift phallus, which is so far removed to the Biblical account you can't even draw comparison.
My opponent also states that Horus was crucified. Again, this is not true. Out of the many versions of the story of Horus - some say that he never died, some say he was killed after being stung by a scorpion, and many mix his death with Osiris'. None of the myths state that Horus was nailed to a cross the Roman way. And therefore none say that he was crucified.
Another point he makes is that Horus was resurrected. But when Horus died, he became Ruler of the Underworld. This is in no way a resurrection as he never came back to this world after he died. In other words, he died, but did not return. So by the very definition of what is said, Horus did was not resurrected in any definition of the word.
As for many other of my opponent's points, they committ one of two fallacies: the Generalization fallacy and the Terminology fallacy.
The Generalization fallacy means that out of all the texts that mention Horus - which differ greatly and contradict themselves constantly - pro has cherry-picked qualities that are mentioned to form a morphed version of Horus that is not reperesentive of the actual depiction shown in the primary texts. This means that out of the thousands of texts, at least 1 is going to mention that, for example, Horus has 12 companions. And pro has taken this quality - which would have only been mentioned a few times in the thousands of texts - and states it as an over-riding quality which it just isn't.
The second fallacy pro makes is the Terminology fallacy. This is where events in the lives of the mythical God are expressed in Christian terms - however far removed they are. Pro makes this fallacy many times, mentioning 'baptized' (a Christian ritual of spiritual cleansing using water which didn't exist before the 1st century), 'messiah' (a Greek word - meshiac) and 'lamb of God' (Christian terminology only found in the Bible). Horus would never have done anything of the sort and to say that what he did and what he was called is anything in relation to what the Gospel mentions is entirely fallacious.
I apologise for the length of my argument, but there is so much to say and I could say much more on this matter!
I thank my opponent for his detailed response, and would also like to assure them no apology is need for a lengthy response. They are following my rules for this debate.
I must first say that my opponent must have misunderstood something within my last post. I have made no assertion that a man named Jesus, who represents the framework for Christianity never existed. I am only concerned with the validity of the "Story of Jesus" as told through a theological perspective. It is irrelevant to my argument as to whether or not the man himself existed. I could make an argument stating that the theological story of Joseph Smith is a fabrication, and it would not at all rely on whether or not he actually existed.
"This is otherwise known as the 'Pagan copy-cat' movement, which states that the story of Jesus is a copy of earlier pagan religions. It originated in the late 1700's in Germany, by a basic university school called the 'religionsgeschichte schule' (History of Religion school) who proposed this idea."
I am not referring to this movement whatsoever as a basis for my argument. I will even admit that I am unaware of this movement. My knowledge on the subject stems from the Egyptologist Gerald Massey, who was born in 1828. First, a little history on the man:
Massey was born in England. Completely self taught (as someone born into poverty would most likely be at the time), he was still revered as an authority and lecturer on Egyptology. He could read in English, French, Latin, Greek, and to a certain degree Hebrew and Egyptian. The time period in which he lived was a heyday for Egyptology, being soon after the discovery of the famous Rosetta Stone and beginning of the decipherment of Egyptian Hieroglyphics. To lend him a hand of credibility in light of his financial background and manner in which he attained his knowledge, I will list just a few prominent Egyptologists and Assyriologists of the time who either provided positive peer reviews of his work, arguments supporting his work or cited his work in a positive light with respect and reverence:
Dr. Samuel Birch (peer reviewed and aided Massey throughout his life)
Dr.Theophilus Goldridge Pinches
Lawyer and Egyptologist William R. Cooper
Rev Dr. Robert Taylor (Who was imprisoned twice in violation of the blasphemy laws of Britain, for revealing correlations between Christianity and previous religions/mythologies)**These revealings were published before Massey's, but still within the 1800's**
If my opponent does still plan to attack my sources credibility, I must remind them of other poor or self taught intellectuals that were of the utmost importance in Egyptology:
Michael Ventrice - Having no credentials in the relevant field, he still succeeded where all others had failed, in deciphering the ancient Cretan script of linear B.
Dr. Thomas Young (physician) - He helped decipher hieroglyphics and the Egyptian language using the Rosetta Stone. Many Egyptologists place him ahead of the famous Champollion in regards as to who contributed most to the field of the day.
All of my listed contrasts were not pulled from the "Zeitgeist" movie (which I have not seen), nor from the "Pagan Copy Cat Movement" (of which I am unfamiliar), but from Gassey and the writings of his peers, whom I mentioned above. That being said, my opponents attacks on my list of contrasts are not quite as valid as they seem to think.
I will now discuss my opponents attacks on my contrasts, but due to the size of my resources, cannot follow the same order as they did in their initial attacks. I will provide one example for each attack on the contrasts to show that they do indeed exist.
The manner in which Jesus was executed isn't always told as a crucifixion. In Mt 27:40, he is impaled on a stauros, and in Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29, he is said to have been hung on a tree. In fact, according to admissions from the church Fathers Tertullian and Minucius Felix, it was "Other Gods" who were shown on the cross, or in cruciform, while Jesus was not shown to be on the cross in Christian art until the late fifth century. In the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo, an Egypto-Christian artifact was known to be the crucified Jesus along with Horus. Horus was in fact identified with the crucified Jesus. It should also be noted, that it is not because of Jesus that the cross is a significant symbol in Christianity. This came from depictions of Moses making the sign of the cross.
Buried in a tomb, resurrected after 3 days:
My opponent cites one single interpretation as a successful attack on this contrast. Yes it is true, there are interpretations where this did not happen with Horus. But there also are interpretations where it did. This came from actually a few different interpretations (Do not forget that the death of Horus signified his form to that of being born again as Osiris) I will list a few according to their sources:
"Osiris was 3 days and 3 nights in the waters before he was restored again" -The American Journal of Theology
"The solemn mourning for the god Osiris, 'Lord of the Tombs', lasted for three days, and began at sunset" -Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
“Isis also discovered the elixir of immortality, and when her son Horus fell victim to the plots of the Titans and was found dead beneath the waves, she not only raised him from the dead and restored his soul, but also gave him eternal life” - The Antiquities of Egypt
“The Book of the Dead promised resurrection to all mankind, as a reward for righteous living, long before Judaism and Christianity embraced that concept" -The Egyptian Book of the Dead by Dr. Ogden Goelet
I must also add, that there are depictions of Christ descending into the underworld during his 3 day death, referenced in Matthew 12:40.
The Virgin Birth:
My opponent states that since Isis created a makeshift phallus to impregnate herself with Horus, shows that she was not a virgin during the conception. I can say with conviction, that this does not make Isis any less a virgin, and it should be obvious why. In one interpretation, Isis is actually mentioned as the "Virgin Wife" of Osiris.
The 12 companions:
If I had only stated this single contrast, then surely I would have been stating it as an over-riding quality of the similarities between Jesus and Horus. But when it is included among the many others, it becomes supporting evidence. My opponents attack on this contrast was self defeating.
Born on December 25:
My opponent admits here that the birth date of Jesus was in fact a fabrication. This is in agreement with my case that the Story of Jesus is a fabrication. In this case, if my opponent is right, then he is wrong. Therefore, I will not spend any time on this contrast, although I very well could. I will also apply this response to "The 3 wise men".
Pro says that he is not trying to prove or disprove the existence of the historical Jesus - rather try to prove that he was a fabrication. And I completely agree with what he is saying - he never tries to say that Jesus never existed.
However my point is that if the events as told in the Gospels are shown to be true, then the parallels that pro is attempting to assert are redundant. The reasoning behind this is that the whole point of the parallels is to try to get the point across that the life and events of Jesus are completely and utterly fabricated. But if those events - the crucifixion, his followers, his birth etc. are proven to be true then it shows that they were not, as my opponent has suggested, a fabrication of Horus, but rather historical events.
As for the 'Pagan Copy-Cat' movement, I think pro will find that the authors he mentioned were actually part of the movement, which lasted from around 1770 to the end of National Socialism. But it isn't an important point in terms of the debate.
My opponent then goes on to respond to the individual parallels, and I will respond to them in order.
Firstly, Pro states that Jesus' death isn't always depicted as a crucifixion. But this is simply not true. 'Stauros' translates literally as 'Cross'; and to be 'hung on a tree' would translate as 'hung on wood' - i.e what a cross was made of. In both the KJV and NIV versions of the Bible, the verses pro mentions translate to 'cross'. The Roman method of Crucifixion was that criminals were nailed to two pieces of wood that made the shape of a cross. If this is not crucifixion, I don't know what is! In fact, we have evidence to suggest with some certainty that Jesus was indeed crucified as shown in the following source;
'And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross' - Flavius Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3
Bearing in mind this is from an unbiased primary source, (Josephus was a Jew and therefore had no ulterior motive) historians can establish that Jesus was indeed crucified.
So I think that it is firmly established that actually Jesus' crucifixion was indeed a historical event - and so any theory of 'fabrication' based on earlier events is redundant.
Now I know that one of the rules my opponent stated at the beginning of the debate was that I could not attack his sources. But that is what I am going to do. You can ignore this for the integrity of the debate, but I feel like it is a very important point to make.
Notice that none of the sources that pro cites are PRIMARY sources. They are all secondary sources. This causes all kinds of problems in terms of reliability - and so to make any valid point becomes very problematic without quoting from the primary source.
Pro also mentions Matthew 12:40 which is fair enough - but the difference is that Jesus does not stay in the 'underworld', he only remains there for 'three days and three nights' and then was resurrected, different to Horus who remained there for the rest of time (in some interpretations).
Nevertheless, pro has still failed to counter any of my points; merely using quotes from these secondary sources does nothing to prove the causal effect between the two - nor do they suggest why their interpretation is the correct one from the thousands of primary texts on Horus. All pro is doing is re-stating the similarities and does not respond at all to my objections.
As for the Virgin Birth (or immaculate conception), I think I should give the definition - It would mean that (in this case Mary) was impregnated without the act of sexual intercourse. (I am not going to argue the possibility of this though). But with Isis, I think it is very obvious that she had sex with the make-shift phallus. And so it is nothing like the Virgin Birth as described in Christoan Theology, and so the parallel is redundant.
I think my opponent is getting confused here. When I used the 12 companions as an example in the Generalization fallacy, I cited it as a minor point, asserting that there will have been only a few texts out of over 3000 That mention that Horus had 12 companions. There will have been many texts that also state other, contradictory qualities. But even though there are these texts that each contradict the statement 'Horus had 12 companions', pro still used the statement despite the contradictory nature of the primary sources.
With the December 25 date, the simple fact is that according to the Bible, the date of Jesus' birth was not mentioned. When the Church decided on this date, they were acting completely unbiblically, unhistorically and contrary to the life of Jesus. So if we are looking at the origins of Christianity, there isn't even a mention of December the 25 and so you can not draw the parallel.
As I have enough characters left, I will outline other fallacies that arise when you try to draw parallels to Jesus of Nazareth like my opponent has done.
The Chronological fallacy
This fallacy states that in order for my opponent's arguments to succeed, he must provide evidence that the parallels he mentioned preceded the writing of the Gospels and the New Testament epistles; which were all written in the First Century AD. Because if they didn't, there would be no causal effect between Christianity and Egyptian Mythology and they would therefore be redundant. As a matter of fact, we have good evidence to think that because these pagan religions were at their peak in the 3rd Century AD, most of their writings are dated then. So pro needs to show that the primary sources predated Christianity for his parallels to succeed.
This states that the similarities mentioned by Pro are over-emphasized and he does not mention the countless differences between these two religions.
One example would be that in Christianity there is an obvious, reccuring Moral Code; whereas in the Egyptian Mythology there are none. Rather they are typically tales of the Gods and their adventures, where they act in their own selfish interests.
Another example is the nature of Christ's death - he died for the sake of mankind, whereas there is no example of Horus or any other Egyptian God doing anything of the sort.
Pro needs to address these differences in order to make an effective argument.
So in Conclusion, In order for pro's argument to be effective, he has to do 2 things. For each of his parallels, he has to quote the primary sources that mentions them, and he has to show the causal relation between the two beliefs. Otherwise, there is no reason to believe that the life of Jesus was fabricated. And I think that pro has failed to do this.
Wolfhart Pannenberg - Jesus: God and Man (scm classics)
Mark Foreman - Come Let us Reason
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