Does the Story of Horus Disprove the Reality of Christ?

I recently had a former student send me this video to seek my opinion. I am no expert on World Myths, I have read some of C.S. Lewis’ comments about the relationship between Myths and Christ. I was hoping to tap into the American Catholic readers’ collective genius.

22 Responses to Does the Story of Horus Disprove the Reality of Christ?

  • For every Truth God has, satan has a dozen counterfeits.

    I look at Wikipedia’s description of Horus, and its separate entry on a comparison of Jesus Christ with pagan myths, and it is obvious from even from such a secular resource as that, that the You Tube video series entitled, “Trutrh about Religion”, Parts 1 through 3 takes a lot of liberty with what apparenty passes for truth.

    But the video was well done.

  • The previous-Myths similarities argument against the historical “Case for Christ” was never one that jeopardized my own Faith because I view the Paganism before Christ as oftentimes noble attempts by men of sentient motives to discern the mysteries of existence and the universe. Natural means of detecting spiritual movements and truths. I see Jesus Christ as coming to fulfill the best of the best of Man’s spiritual desires- Way, Truth, Life. The fact that Jesus has historical grounding while Horus et al do not, only makes me marvel at God’s gift of Christ- to make real our heart’s deepest longings- and not just predisposed “Christian hearts” because most people deep down want a Saviour, a SuperMan, a Justice to prevail over history and mercy to be granted to our loved ones and the innocent others- the rising out of the ashes, the cinderella story, the love that lasts forever. The Beauty is that it is all True- and Jesus Christ has come to deliver the captives- bogged down in our sins and graves. I would think it odd if Jesus Christ would arrive with no similarities to previously conceived dieties, with the exception that He is the Real Deal, without the errors of the human imagination putting on sinful baggage to our Christ.

    Having said all this- I want to address any particular intellectual difficulties my former student, or anyone else, may have with the similarities criticism of Christian belief. So I open this portal to more of a Catholic collective of intellectuals to assist in overcoming this particular challenge which is probably a staple for young intellects in the college scene who may have dark suspicions that their religious education up to this point has been some kind of a ruse to control them, rather than the means to liberate them from sin and death. So, please continue to weigh in on this subject and thank you for contributing to this discussion!

  • I think the video is pretty liberal with the truth. As far as I am aware, crucifixion was not used as a method of punishement and death 3000 BC. The fact that the previous ‘personages’ are accepted as mythical by the author of the video speaks volumes. The historical evidence for the human existence of Jesus is overwhelming and indisputable.
    There is no doubt that some of the early writings of the Jewish scriptures were taken from some of the mythology of say, Egypt. e.g the Egyptian hymn to the sun god Aten bares such a close resemblance to Psalm 104 in the bible, that the author probably borrowed from the pagan hymn to express his praise of the True God. There is no problem with that.
    Likewise, a poem from the Ugaritic civilisation in the land of Canaan around 1500 BC. gives us a poem where the principal god El guessing that the god of storms and rain, Baal, will be re-born, and uses the phrase …” the heavens rain down fat, the torrents flow with honey”. , arguably giving the phrase, “ a land flowing with milk and honey” in the Old Testament describing the “Promised Land”.
    So there is no issue with Christianity borrowing from previous cultures and their pagan religions to honour the One True God. But what has survived? If we hear the council of the good pharisee Gamaleil, “if it is not of God, it will not last; but if it is of God, there is nothing that can stop it.” or words to that effect.

    So all the myths of the ancient world are interesting, some arguably with an element of truth, but exagerated thus deifying human events. Even the Romans claimed for a while that their emperors were gods; one of the prime reasons for the bloody persecutions in the early centuries of the Church.

    So no, those stories do not hinder my Faith – if anything, they help strengthen it, because they point to an enduring Truth.

  • I don’t know all of these, but I’m familiar with Mithra. We know very little about his worship, because it was a secret cult. The three most common depictions of him are: being born as an adult out of rock (just like Jesus!), killing a bull (just like Jesus!), and ascending into the heavens (ok, that one does match).

    The “born of a virgin” thing comes from the idea that the rock symbolized unplowable soil; in other words, virgin soil. It’s also sometimes said that the solid rock represents a cave, just like the manger was. In other words, it’s a reeeeeeal stretch. Likewise, the killing of the bull is sometimes treated as synonymous with Jesus’s defeat of evil or His destruction of the Roman Empire.

    If you come to the study of mythology looking to see everything as identical, you’ll find a lot of similarities between cultural myths, and a lot of things you can stretch to make them look similar. There are also a lot of things that don’t match. It’s been a while since I looked at the Horus one, but it’s the same kind of thing. It looks just like Jesus if you drop 80% of both of their stories.

    I haven’t watched more than the first few minutes of the video yet. I’ll get to it more seriously later, if someone else hasn’t already. But you should be able to find a lot of Christian/evangelical websites that debunk this in detail.

  • Oh, and I just have to say – the fact that Virgo’s symbol in Latin looks like an M is the explanation for why the Buddha’s mother Maya’s name also starts with an “M”? This is Lincoln/Kennedy level stuff.

  • No. Nor does it disprove His Divinity.

    It’s not as if I know anything about Theology.

    This is like all the “sasquatch” specials on cable TV and whatever. Here they start with their conclusion: Christianity is a fraud. They know what they think; it’s just they don’t know how to think. Then they throw about to come to prove what they think. And, they trump up “evidence”: conjecture, wrong analysis, incorrect comparison, coincidence, distortion, fabrication, etc. and voila – QED.

    Myths, euphemisms, and paganism are stuff dreamt up by man maybe with Satan’s covert help. Christianity is revealed truth. Myth is all magic. Horus, isis and Osiris were human and became gods: not eternal, not omnipotent, not omniscient, limted. Our God is eternal and omnipotent. That is not something that the human mind can fathom.

    Here the Horus, Isis, Osiris fables were concocted as a national religion and then used by the pharaohs. Where is there any incarnation and/or reincarnation stuff in Christianity?

    Here’s a major difference between Christianty and most pagan religions. Most mythic religions have to do with fertility and are cyclical like the seasons and/or the annual floods of the Nile and Tigrus an Euphrates. Christianity is linear to an end: The Second Coming.

    And, how many times and by whom was the Wiki Horus entry edited, revised, etc.?

    They say there are sasquatches in the Adirondacks where we hunt deer. I never saw one.

    I told my brother if I saw a sasquatch I’d shoot him and prove, once and for, all there are sasquatches. He said, “You can’t do that. That will enrage the aliens!”

  • OK, this is like some Rocky Horror thing for me now. I’m shouting the errors at my computer screen. The sun doesn’t stop moving for three days, and its movements aren’t imperceptible. All ancient civilizations knew how to gauge the sun’s movements with better precision than that. And why wasn’t the mythological Jesus crucified on December 22nd? That’s the only way he would fit the “dies on the cross and rises after three days” story that the narrator is trying to say. And actually, if the important thing is the constellation Virgo the virgin, he should have been born in August. Otherwise, there’s no reason to mention the Virgo virgin, because it doesn’t have anything to do with the narrative.

    But sure, it makes sense to celebrate the August constellations and the western cross in April. Kind of obvious, really, once you pound your head against your desk like I’m doing right now.

    I’ve got to stop watching this. It’s not even a good presentation of the “all myths are the same” proposition.

  • What a crock of congealed rubbish. It reminds me of conversations I have had with an in-law who devours old Rosicrucian books. The attempt to draw a connection between Christ and Egyptian mythology was one of their stock beliefs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosicrucianism

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and this has one part knowledge to nine parts tripe.

  • “Then I read Chesterton’s Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole outline of Christian history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense. Somehow I contrived not to be too badly shaken. You will remember I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive “apart from his Christianity.” Now, I veritably believe, I thought-I didn’t of course say; words that would have revealed the nonsense-that Christianity itself was very sensible “apart from its Christianity.” But I hardly remember, for I had not long finished The Everlasting Man when something far more alarming happened to me. Early in 1926 the hardest boiled of all the atheists I ever knew sat in my room on the other side of the fire and remarked that the evidence for the historicity of the Gospels was really surprisingly good. “Rum thing,” he went on. “All that stuff of Frazer’s about the Dying God. Rum thing. It almost looks as if it really happened once. “…

    CS Lewis, Surprised by Joy

  • This site has a pretty good description of Horus. Not really any Christian parallels.

  • Thanks for the comments- I’ve alerted my former student to check out this article and enter into the discussion if additional questions come up for him- hopefully he’ll check it out and maybe get some friends at college to look into this as well before any damage is done to their perception of the Christian faith. May God help and bless all searchers and bring all wanderers of good will back home to the Church.

  • I suspect Pinky’s light on several inaccuracies would be manifold if one did research on each name but the author knows the majority will not check. Augustine on the other hand agrees also with the first post by Paul. In the City of God, Augustine notes that the demons would have an interest in inspiring similarities to the Christ account in mythologies of peoples so as to discredit the Christ accounts when they did happen…..
    thus Hercules is born of the union of a god and a woman…Zeus and the earthly woman Alcmene. As later Hercules dies, Zeus turns him into a god.

  • Bill – That’s a valid point, but I don’t think it’s one that is necessarily persuasive. You know how environmentalists sometimes say that warmer temperatures are a sign of global warming, and colder temperatures are a sign of global warming? I think that the argument you’re making can come off the same way to a non-believer or someone in serious doubt.

    Again, I go back to the original stories. Zeus had sex with everything: humans, animals, whatever. He had multiple children, none of whom were virgin births. I think that lists like the one made in this video are very deceptive. You can say that the names on the list all have aspects in common with Jesus’s story, but really only one or two were virgin births, maybe one had Sunday worship, a few others had rays of the sun behind them that sort of look like crowns of thorns but look more like rays of the sun, et cetera.

    And yes, if anyone’s curious, that last paragraph was so derivative of Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man” that I should probably send his estate $.15 reprint fee.

    Again, more Chesterton – the two basic truths that myths tried to convey were the sense that God is bigger than we can imagine, and God is closer than we can imagine. The specifics of the myth changed over time and distance because they weren’t as important as the need to set up an altar to something that everyone intuitively knows is worth worshiping. If God isn’t big, he isn’t God, and if God isn’t close, there’s no point in trying to have a relationship with him. But Christianity never treated Jesus as a changing myth. Paul said that if what he says happened didn’t happen, then they’re all idiots. Eleven friends didn’t get tortured to death defending a story they made up about a constellation.

  • Pinky
    I’d just say to be careful that religion and science are not parallel in terms of persuading people. Augustine’s point persuaded me when young because I was being guarded by God.
    Christ (Jn10:5) said of his flock….”a stranger’s voice they will not follow.” Christ did not persuade all hearers into belief and actually had to leave one town where He could do little because of their unbelief…Mt.13:58. Christ produced as persuaded converts simply a small group of Jews (the predicted “tents of Shem”) …. whereas empirical science has persuaded the entire world that airplanes are possible and things fall downward. After 2000 years, the majority of the
    world is unpersuaded about Christ but all are persuaded that things drop downward… not up.

  • My venomously agnostic English teacher– it wasn’t anything personal, he was venomous about most everything that wasn’t thought out and presented to his satisfaction– brought up this sort of claim as a way to introduce Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces.

    If you simplify things down enough, there’s going to be a lot of overlap– for example, Goldilocks is the same as the Star Wars movies. Going into the unknown, a search for the plot coupon (can’t remember the real term– knowledge of father, knowing the best porridge/bed), and final discovery before return to the known world, changed.

    I can’t watch the video, but I do remember there wasn’t a virgin birth for Horus, although people being delicate about it might excuse the notion– his father’s….er… man-bits were thrown into the waters, and that’s where his mother conceived.

    I don’t know the specific video, but I know the type– a good way to counter it is to apply the “reasoning” to things that are known to be true, like that the sun is “reborn” each day and at the solstice, or claiming that a stool is clearly a symbol of the Trinity because there are three legs. This site has a “Napolion as myth” essay, it looks like. ^.^ (also some debunking of similar videos, looks like)

  • The thing about the alignment of the stars reminded me of Romans 1:19-20

    ” 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. ”

    The idea that God put in His creation signs for us to see reminds me of a parable, a physical parable, if you will.

    Remember all nations are God’s children and He desires all to come to Him yet He chose Israel to be the “First-born” that would lead the other nations to Him. How would they recognize the Savior when He came?

    As far as the Horus/Christ parallels mentioned they are not accurate. For one thing there is no mention of the date of Christ’s birth in the gospels. The Dec 25th date was an adoption of the Catholic Church in the first half of the 4th century AD specifically used to overcome a large pagan cult.

    Check this link and page down to “zeitgeist on horus” for more.

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/HORUS.htm#ZEITGEIST

    I think the video uses false history/facts to encourage doubt. They depend on the deceptions and think no one will actually fact check their premise.

  • The Dec 25th date was an adoption of the Catholic Church in the first half of the 4th century AD specifically used to overcome a large pagan cult.

    No, the date seems to come from Jewish reasoning about great men leaving the world on the same date they enter it, and some counting from Mary agreeing to be His mother. The 25th was mentioned as Christ’s birthday not too long after 200AD… a lot of the confusion seems to come from it not being THAT big of a deal, compared to the whole rising-from-the-dead thing.

  • Another comment: Orion’s belt (or the “three kings” as the video calls it) does not at all align with Sirius.

  • And, some think Ron Paul is crazy.

    These people believe in aliens and Sasquatch.

    They’ve been brainwashed with what to think.

    If they knew how to think, the labors of tens of thousands of NEA members would be for naught.

  • Donald, I am certainly not an intellectual but a simple widow – 73-year old Cradle Catholic. So here goes my humble comment about these myths of pagan gods : Man was created by a Loving God for God and has always been drawn to Him without his comprehending what was drawing him or what he was looking for. Man has always been aware there is a higher power far beyond what he knows or what he sees in the world. Hence, the pull is from His Creator. Whether it is pagan religions, or like the religion of my African forefathers who believed, worshiped, prayed and sacrificed to the “Unknowable Creator” the Giver of all that is good and noble, man is always experiencing the pull of God. And as the Holy Holy Spirit speaks to us in the Holy Book : In the fullness of Time God sent His Only Begotten Son – the full Revelation of Himself. And that, Donald humbles me when I contemplate that this Loving God decreed I would be born in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which His Divine Son founded and within which He Subsists and shall remain “Emmanuel” until the End of Time. Happy Epiphany. May you all have a Blessings-filled Year 2012

  • The Dec 25th date was an adoption of the Catholic Church in the first half of the 4th century AD specifically used to overcome a large pagan cult.

    Evidence?

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