Was Christ a Copycat?
By Clayton Kraby
As Easter approaches, so does the annual surge of skepticism about the existence of Jesus. Is it true that Jesus is one of many gods who were born of a virgin, died, and resurrected?
Those who encounter this claim online or elsewhere often start to wonder about the truth of New Testament history. Is the account of Christ a retelling of “dying and rising” pagan gods? If Jesus’ life does parallel other gods, does that mean Jesus is also a myth?
This argument implies that if gods we consider false claim the same things that Christianity claims, Christianity must also be false. This ‘guilt by association’ mindset attempts to discredit the accounts of the Gospels by suggesting that life events attributed to Jesus are recycled bits of storytelling that are popular across different cultures and time periods.
So what is a believer to think in the face of such bold assertions? There are two important
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questions that a believer should ask when encountering themselves when tackling the “Jesus myth”: Are these parallels historically accurate? If they were, what difference would it make?
Are there really a number of gods who have biographies shockingly similar to that of Jesus of Nazareth? Names that are commonly included in this group of similar gods include Mithras, Dionysus, and Osiris, among others.
This image is one version of this attack on the deity of Christ that is continually circulating. Some claim that other gods share the attributes of being virgin-born, being born on December 25th (which is not in the Bible, by the way), performing the same kinds of miracles Jesus did, dying (in some cases being crucified), and miraculously resurrecting from the dead.
Let’s examine several of the pagan gods that Christianity is alleged to have plagiarized, as well as three of these ‘shared’ life events: a virgin birth, death, and resurrection…