The face of apologetics is changing (I should know, I’ve watched Dr. White’s beard grow with my own two eyes). As a generation that is being taught it is impossible to know anything for certain, one of the most recent attacks upon Christianity has been launched, packaged, and peddled to my peers brilliantly.If you are unaware of the movie Zeitgeist, you need to become aware; it is spreading like the plague on the internet, YouTube, and across college campuses, and it will challenge your beliefs in an entirely new way. Although its attack is weak, and very few accredited scholars in the area of mythology or history would vouch for its credibility in any way,its simplicity and eagerness to destroy the God of the Bible has begun to romance far too many of my acquaintances.
The premise is simple, and far from new: the Bible is a conglomeration of plagiarized myths that pagans had already come up with ages before Christ.I would beg Christians to not dismiss this absurd assertion. It isgoing to be a field in which Christians are going to be forced to be knowledgeable of within the next few years because it is the grounds upon which colleges and “academics” today will turn a blind ear to a good witness. We must understand that the arguments found in Zeitgeist, to the unschooled and the unbelieving, are extremely convincing.
For example, the movie asserts that:
Mithra, of Persia, born of a virgin on December 25th, he had 12 disciples and performed miracles, and upon his death was buried for 3 days and thus resurrected, he was also referred to as “The Truth,” “The Light,” and many others. Interestingly, the sacred day of worship of Mithra was Sunday.
This is a very shiny assertion, and, for the ignorant, probably a very convincing one. However, unless one believes that rocks can be virgins, this is an outright lie. In the story of Mithras, he is born from a rock, fully grown, naked, and holding a dagger, torch, or globe, depending on which version of the story you read.
Secondly, despite how often it is asserted that the pagan celebration of December 25th preceded the Christian use of the date, the historical evidence is not so clear. What we know about Mithraism comes from after the time of Christ, and there is good reason to believe it was the Mithra story that was borrowing from Christianity, not the other way around. Who is more likely to be willing to borrow from someone else: a mystery religion lacking any kind of bedrock theology, or the Christian faith with its very historical, dogmatic, and Jewish roots?
Thirdly, the myth of Mithras does not say that he was a teacher with disciples, but that he was a god. He would have had more than 12 followers, and “miracles” or supernatural acts are implied when referring to gods, so that being a parallel, or even an act of “plagiarism” on the Bible’s part is quite a stretch…and a little shady.
As for Mithras’s supposed death and resurrection, no textual evidence exists. Zeitgeist forgets that Mithraism was a secret religion that gained popularity largely in the second and third century AD. Their secret meetings were held mostly in caves and are rarely discussed without being labeled as “demonic.” Richard Gordon, who received his PHD on the topic of Mithraism in the Roman Empire points out in Image and Value in the Greco-Roman Worldthat there is no record of Mithras ever dying, thus negating the possibility of resurrection.
Many scholars suggest that Mithras being referred to as “the Truth” or the “Light” would be a serious act of borrowing fromthe Christian scriptures, not the other way around.
Zeitgeist takes a great deal of time to twist the myth of Horus, the god of the sun, into the story of Jesus, pointing out that Horus exemplifies goodness and light, and his enemy, the god of the night named Set, represents darkness. The assertion is that Christianity stole this idea and created Jesus versus Satan. One may kindly suggest in response to this ridiculous idea that maybe the ancient Egyptians were pagans and had to come up with some way to explain why bad things happened, and why the sun rose and set every night. Nowhere in the story of Horus is there redemption of a special people or atonement through the sacrifice of the Son of God. If anything, the story ofHorus is a sad commentary on pagan religions and their need to create their own gods, as close to the true Creator as possible, minus the acknowledgment of His singularity and holiness.
Zeitgeist goes on to mention Attis and Dionysus:
Attis, of Phyrigia, born of the virgin Nana on December 25th, crucified, placed in a tomb and after 3 days, was resurrected.
Dionysus of Greece, born of a virgin on December 25th, was a traveling teacher who performed miracles such as turning water into wine, he was referred to as the ‘King of Kings,’ ‘God’s Only Begotten Son,’ ‘The Alpha and Omega,’ and many others, and upon his death, he was resurrected.
Once again, the story of Jesus is being read into these stories. In the myth of Attis, he got love-sick and castrated himself and died. The part of the story where he is resurrected does not occur in the literature until AD 150. As for the “resurrection” of Dionysus, none has ever been found—unless you want to try to connect his being birthed out of the thigh of Zeus a “resurrection.” The alleged stories of gods dying and rising again have nothing to do with the salvation of the world, or bringing peace; they are stories of the cycles of vegetation, used to teach young children whose entire lives would depend on whether or not their family could raise and sell crops. What a monument to our day and age when we have more information available to us than anyone in the history of the world and yet we can be so ignorant of simple history. And need we point out again that the insertion of the date of December 25th is a-historical and just a bit of an over-kill?
Wherever these people are getting their information, it’s not from scholars, history, or historical texts. To quote the movie directly:
You would think that a guy who rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven for all eyes to see and performed the wealth of miracles acclaimed to him would have made it into the historical record. It didn’t because once the evidence is weighed, there are very high odds that the figure known as Jesus, did not even exist.
Zeitgeist is truly an offensive work of fiction, if not a complete joke on a scholarly level. Ironic, then, that it will be your college campuses and your professor’s classrooms that these inane, baseless assertions will be force-fed to you. Be prepared as possible. God has given you the tools. Know your enemy. Light up the darkness.
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