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Zeitgeist: Pagan Myths and Jesus
Zeitgeist is a documentary that became popular several years ago, and despite being completely false, the ideas that it promoted are still fairly popular on the internet.
Yes. On the internet.
And that’s the only place that it is popular.
You will never find anyone in scholarly circles making these arguments.
Side note: if you are interacting with someone and they point to Zeitgeist as a solid refutation of Christianity, you are most likely dealing with an “Internet Atheist“.
The general idea of this video (part 1) is that the story of Jesus is remarkably similar to the stories of other ancient mythological stories (like Horus and Mithras), and from this we are to conclude that the story of Jesus is nothing but a myth (just like Horus and Mithras).
That is the claim. And if you haven’t seen this part of the internet “documentary”, Zeitgeist… click here.
First off, I’d like to point out what a silly claim that is.
Jesus bears similarities to Mithras and Horus, therefore the story of Jesus is also a myth. Unfortunately for us, Peter Joseph (the man responsible for Zeitgeist) never actually presents an argument. So we can’t dissect an argument. But if this was a formal, deductive argument, it might be something like this:
1. If story X is similar to a mythical story, then story X is mythical.
2. Jesus is similar to the stories of [insert pre-christian deity here, (ex: Mithras)].
3. The story of [pre-christian deity) is a myth.
4. Therefore, the story of Jesus is a myth.
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It seems obvious that this argument is false, because premise 1 is demonstrably false. As J. Warner Wallace points out in this article, there are many similarities between the Titanic and the pre-titanic story of the Titan. The similarities are actually quite remarkable. Much more remarkable than the claims made by Zeitgeist… but I digress. Check out that article. I really like Wallace’s perspective on this; he shows that we shouldn’t necessarily be surprised that Jesus is similar to other “pre-christian deities”.
Let’s take a look at premise 2; the idea that the story of Jesus is similar to the stories of other ancient myths. Is the story of Jesus really all that similar to the stories of ancient myths, like Mithras and Horus?
Short answer? No.
In the words of that LeVar Burton, “But you don’t have to take my word for it!”
But before you read on, you should watch it first, if you haven’t already…
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