There is a documentary called the "Zeitgeist film" circulating around that attempts to prove that Jesus didn't exist by drawing similarities between the details of his gospel and the legends of numerous pagan "messiahs" throughout the milleniums. The danger is that it's convincing. If your knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ is only at the ho-hum, "Christmas and Easter Christian" level, you just might be convinced that the film's claim is legitimate. This article is going to show you not only that the film's claims are erroneous, but that the authors were quite conscious of this.
So, without further adieu, let's take a quick look at the the clip:
Just in case this video gets taken down from Youtube one day, let's review some of the pagan messiahs that the gospel of Jesus supposedly stole from. According to the film:
Horus was the son of the virgin Isis and was born on Dec. 25th. He was hailed by a star in the east and followed by three kings. Someone named Herut (Herod) ordered that all baby boys be killed in an attempt to kill Horus. He was a teacher at 12, disappeared at age 13, and was baptized by a figure known as Annep when he was 30. He had 12 disciples and was also called "the light" and "The Lamb of God." He was crucified, buried for three days and resurrected.
Attis of Frigia, Greece, 1200 B.C., was born of a virgin on Dec. 25th, crucified, buried in a tomb for 3 days and resurrected, as well.
Krishna of India, 900 B.C., was born of a virgin with a star in the east, performed miracles, buried for three days and was resurrected.
Dionysus of Greece, 500 B.C., was born of a virgin on Dec. 25th, turned water into wine, was referred to as the "King of kings," "God's only begotten son," and "Alpha and Omega," and was resurrected.
Mithra of Persia, supposedly alive around 1200 B.C., was born of a virgin on Dec. 25th, he had 12 disciples, performed miracles, and was buried for three days before being resurrected. He even had "Sun Day" worship.
And you probably saw the big, long list of other pagan messiahs that supposedly share these same details:
Osiris of Egypt
Buddha Sakia of India
Zulis or Zhule of India
Salivahana of Bermuda
Odin of Scandinavia
Crite of Chaldea
Zoroaster and Mithra of Persia
Baal and Taut "The only begotten son" of Phoenicia
Indra of Tibet
Bali of Afghanistan
Jao of Nepal
Wittoba of the Bilingonese
Thammuz (Tammuz) of Syria
Atys (Attis) of Phrygia
Xamolxis of Thrace
Zoar of the Bonzes
Adad of Assyria
Deva Tat, and Sammonocadam of Siam
Alcides of Thebes
Mikado of the Sintoos
Beddru of Japan
Hesus, or Eros, and Bremrillah of the Druids
Thor, son of Odin, of the Gauls
Cadmus of Greece
Hil and Feta of the Mandates
Gentaut and Quexilcoate of Mexico
Universal Monarch of the Sibyls
Ichys of Formosa Island
Divine Teacher of Plato
Holy one of Xaca
Fohi and Tien of China
Adonis, son if the virgin Io of Greece
Ixion and Quirinus of Rome
Prometheus of Caucasus
I'm glad the Zeitgeist authors included SO many names on their list of pagan messiahs that the gospel of Jesus supposedly borrowed from. A counterfeit coin does not invalidate the authentic coin. In fact, it confirms it. And the more counterfeit coins there are, the more confirmed the authentic coin is. It's the same with deities. When every god in the huge list above was supposedly born of a virgin, hailed by a bright star in the east, followed by three kings, crucified on a cross, buried and resurrected on the third day, you can bet that those circumstances describe the authentic God among them. I'm tempted to go through every single one of these "messiahs" and show how almost NONE of these supposed similarities exist, but there are a LOT of websites that have already done great work to that extent (and I will provide a link to one of the better ones at the end of this article).
Also, better than going through the list of gods above and disproving the similarities, is debunking the other details that seem to validate this fraudulent polemic.
Let's start with the details we can dismiss the quickest:
(1) Sun Worship
The film says that the gospel of Jesus was derived from sun worship, just like the mythologies of the pagan messiahs. If the New Testament authors had "fabricated" the gospel of Jesus, they wouldn't have borrowed from a pagan ritual that God expressly condemned in the Old Testament:
15. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations then these.
16. And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they WORSHIPPED THE SUN toward the east.
The God of the Bible does not approve of sun worship, thus, this is a bogus connection.
(2) "God's Sun" and "God's Son"
The film implies that the term "God's Son" is merely a small shift from "God's Sun," and thus, demonstrates an astronomical parallel. The problem is that using a homophone in the English language to draw this parallel is "spin" at best. Here is a comparison of the phonetic pronunciations of these two words.
English Son Sun
Hebrew Ben Shemesh, or Hammah
Greek Gios Ilios
Egyptian Sa Ra
See what I mean? The original languages of the Bible pronounce the words "Son" and "Sun" quite differently, so any implications based on the English language are spurious.
(3) The Gap from Age 13 to 30
I'm glad the Zeitgeist film-makers claimed that so many pagan messiahs "started preaching at age 30." This little detail is one of the biggest tip offs to the mere fabrication of these similarities between Jesus and the pagan messiahs.
A lot of people -- even some Christian teachers -- say that because the Bible is silent about the life of Jesus from his 13th birthday (bar-mitzvah Luke 2:27) to the beginning of his public ministry at age 30 (Luke 3:23), we know nothing about the life of Jesus during the years in-between. But the Bible isn't completely silent about these years. We see from the Bible that Jesus had been brought up in Nazareth and had been reading and teaching in the synagogues of the surrounding areas his whole life:
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
And look at the people's reactions to his words of wisdom a few verses later:
And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?
In other words, they knew him because he had been raised up there in Nazareth, and in another place in the Bible, we see that the crowd knew him so well that they knew his natural siblings by name:
54. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55. Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
56. And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
57. And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
In other words, Jesus had spent his whole life in Nazareth and the surrounding cities, studying and teaching in the synagogues.
Do you see the mistake the Zeitgeist authors made here? Because they couldn't discern that the Bible subtly gave the whereabouts of Jesus during the years between ages 13 and 30, they assumed this was another detail they could duplicate for the pagan messiahs. But, as it turned out, the proof that he had been in the area of Nazareth the whole time was in the Bible all along.
(4) The Three Kings and the Star in the East
As you saw in the video, the story of the three wise men seeking the baby Jesus supposedly originated with "The Three Kings," which are the three stars of Orion's belt, lining up with "The Star in the East," which is Sirius, and creating an imaginary line that points to the sunrise most accurately on the morning of December 25th.
First and foremost, we simply must point out, yet again, that sun worship was called an abomination by God (Ezekiel 8:15-16), so the gospel of Jesus wouldn't have been based on it.
Now, let's go over the astronomical errors. On December 25th of any year, Orion and Sirius do not rise above the horizon until after sunset, and that includes the perspective from Jerusalem. I am not saying that perhaps Sirius and Orion are actually there in the morning during the sunrise and simply invisible to the human eye, either. I am saying that these stars simply do NOT come above the eastern horizon until after sunset. Also, the sun travels a line known as the Ecliptic, a line from which the sun never deviates, and if you draw a line through Orion's Belt and through Sirius (particularly as shown in this segment of the movie), you will find that your line will never intercept the Ecliptic. In other words, the imaginary line through Orion's Belt and Sirius NEVER points to the sun's path of travel. The green line in the picture below is the Ecliptic:
And then there is the claim that during the night sky on December 24th, the imaginary line through Orion's Belt and Sirius points to the location of the sunrise the next day on December 25th. This claim is only technically true because the line sweeps over the ENTIRE eastern horizon during the night of December 24th. When Orion and Sirius first appear in the sky at around 6 PM, the line through them falls almost exactly on the East-Southeast mark - roughly 112 degrees on the compass - which is not where the sun will rise on December 25th. As the night continues, this line sweeps all across the eastern and southern horizon. By 9:30 PM on December 24th (only a few hours after sunset), the line has already swept across the compass from 112 degrees to somewhere around 135 degrees. The night then waxes on, and Sirius and Orion disappear under the western horizon, not to appear in the sky again until after the sunset of the 25th. (You might be wondering how the imaginary line can never intersect the Ecliptic but somehow sweep over the point of the sunrise during the night. This happens only if you hypothetically freeze the Ecliptic in place and let the imaginary line sweep over it. Moving together, the imaginary line never intersects the Ecliptic).
Even if Sirius and Orion WERE visible in the morning and the imaginary line through them DID point to the sunrise, it'd be kind of hard for the three stars to follow Sirius to the sunrise, seeing as how they would move AWAY from the sunrise as the day waxed on. Also, it's of no significance that Sirius aligns with the three stars of Orion's belt. Sirius ALWAYS aligns with the three stars of Orion's belt. If it only aligned with them on December 24th-25th, THEN this detail would have more credibility.
Sorry, but this whole Sirius and Orion contrivance is just astronomically meaningless. Even if it DID pan out for the Zeitgeist authors, it would all be derailed by the fact that Jesus wasn't born on December 25th. Go read the article, 'Jesus was not born on December 25th' to see proof of that. December 25th was simply a pagan holiday (Saturnalia) as shown in (Jeremiah 10:3-4), and given a Christian name by the Roman Emperor Constantine, who wanted to keep both his new found "Christianity" and his pagan beliefs, which is why he named his version of Christianity 'Catholicism,' which means 'universal,' as in all thing included. The authors of the New Testament wouldn't have used a holiday of such despised lawlessness to base the gospel of Jesus on. This knocks out even more of those pagan messiahs on the big list above, seeing as how so many of them were supposedly born on December 25th.
As far as the stars themselves go, pagans may have named the three stars in Orion's belt "The Three Kings," but you won't find a legitimate reference to that name in any literature pre-dating the 17th century, which suggests that these stars were so named more than one thousand years after the writing of the Greek Testament in hostile deference to this well-known story. Besides, nowhere does the Bible say that there were only THREE wise men in the party searching for Jesus, nor does it refer to them as KINGS (although, I'm not sure what might be said in later versions like the NIV, which holds many errors). Some people argue that the Bible implicitly suggests there were three wise men because they presented Jesus with three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. People, reality doesn't play out like a Christmas postcard. They didn't walk through the desert carrying their own, separate gift in their hands, singing "The Little Drummer Boy" the whole way. Gold, frankincense and myrrh were simply the three most valuable commodities back then. In fact, frankincense and myrrh (two very expensive oils) were worth much more per volume than gold, itself. What use would a modest Mary and Joseph have had for these rare oils? To SELL them, of course. Why didn't the wise men just sell them and give them the money? Because they would have sold for a haul of gold or silver that was too cumbersome to carry around. Why was this important? Because the wise men knew Herod wanted to kill this newborn Messiah and they knew that the family would have to flee to another land (Matthew 2:13). These rare oils made for a tremendous exchange rate that equated to lots of gold without having to lug all that gold around. See, the wise men were FINANCING this family for YEARS, and, in fact, we see in (Matthew 2:19) that the family didn't return to Nazareth until Herod was dead, years later.
(5) The Sun "hung" on the Southern Cross constellation
According to the film, the sunrise (which determines the sun's path through the sky) is constantly moving either north or south along the horizon throughout the year because of the tilt of the earth's axis, and at its southern most extent on December 22nd it supposedly halts at a point that makes the sun's path pass over the Southern Cross for three days in a row before it starts rising north again on December 25th. Supposedly, this is where we get the idea that "God's Sun" died on the cross and rose again after three days.
The first problem here is that the Zeitgeist authors can't seem to make up their mind as to whether Jesus was BORN or CRUCIFIED on December 25th, not that it really matters. As we've already pointed out, December 25th has nothing to do with Jesus. He was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, which occurs during the month of Tishrei (September/October), and he was crucified in the middle of the month of Nisan (March/April), on the day of Passover (John 13:1).
The next problem is that the earth does not follow our calendar. The winter solstice can occur anywhere from December 20th to December 23rd, depending on your location. By way of example, the winter solstice for the year 2008 in was on December 21st at 12:04 PM GMT, but was on December 22nd at 6:08 AM GMT in 2007. Nor is the time that the sun returns north constant.
The next, and biggest, problem here is that only part of this claim is astronomically true. The sun does indeed travel up and down the eastern horizon throughout the year because of the tilt in the earth's axis in relation to the earth's revolution around the sun. When the earth's axis is pointed towards the sun the sunrise will appear very northward. Six months later, when the earth's axis is pointing away from the sun, the sunrise will have moved very far south. Six months after that it will have moved north again. That part is true. The part about the sun passing over the Southern Cross constellation is completely UNTRUE, however.
Earlier we identified the Ecliptic as a line of travel that the sun never deviates from. If we examine the pictures below, which show a view of the position of the ecliptic on December 22nd in both 2008 BC and 2008 AD from Jerusalem, we can see that the sun never even comes CLOSE to the Southern Cross:
As you can see, the sun is NEVER in the vicinity of the Southern Cross. In fact, all through December of 2008 BC the sun is in the vicinity of the constellation Capricorn. Four thousand years later, the sun is in the vicinity of Saggitarius. Essentially our planet would have to either turn nearly on its side or fall more than 40 degrees out of orbit in order for the sun to ever reside in the vicinity of the Southern Cross.
It's also worth mentioning that a couple centuries before the Egyptians gave the Southern Cross constellation its name, King David had already graphically described the cross and the crucifixion in Psalms 22:
14. I am poured out like water (dehydration), and all my bones are out of joint (dislocation): my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws (exhaustion); and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
16. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet (nailed to the cross).
17. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
18. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture (Roman soldiers gambling for his clothes, Matthew 27:35).
(6) The Zodiac, the 12 disciples and the virgin, Mary
The Zeitgeist authors claim that the virgin, Mary, was simply fashioned after the Zodiac constellation Virgo, and then they claim that the 12 disciples that followed Jesus were fashioned after the 12 constellations of the Zodiac. The problem here is that both of these can't be true, since Mary was NOT one of the 12 disciples (Luke 6:13-16). The Zeitgeist authors would have been better served claiming only one of these fabrications to be true.
(7) Wrapping it all up
I promised you a good link that debunks the similarities between the gospel of Jesus and specific pagan messiahs, and here it is:
Really good link debunking pagan messiahs
Folks, what we have here is two different types of lying going on. We've got pagan mythologies that never shared any similarities with the gospel of Jesus to begin with being warped and changed by the Zeitgeist authors to have similarities, and then we've got pagan mythologies that DO share similarities with Jesus but only because they came out AFTER Christianity and were simply given PRE-Christianity dates by their creators, some examples of the latter being Apollonius, Mithra and Buddha, all of whom weren't heard of until the 2nd Century A.D., despite their injected, Pre-Christian timelines. It's easy to see who copied who, and if we read our Bibles, it's easy to see why all this copying is going on in the first place:
"I will be like the Most High." - Lucifer before his epic fall.
This is why the Anti-Christ is going to imitate Jesus in so many ways. His reign as Satan incarnate will last for 3 and 1/2 years (Revelation 13:5), the same length of time that Jesus' ministry lasted. He rides in on a white horse (Revelation 6:2), just like Jesus does in (Revelation 19:11). He will never marry (Daniel 11:37), just as Jesus never married on Earth. He will be the Son of Perdition (2nd Thessalonians 2:3), and one third of an unholy trinity (Revelation 16:13), just as Jesus is the Son of God, and one third of the Holy Trinity. He even imitates Jesus' resurrection by appearing to be brought back to life from a mortal wound (Revelation 13:3 & 12).
Thanks for reading this. Please copy and paste all of this info and give it to your friends so they can be armed against this kind of stuff when they run into it in the future. May Jesus bless you and your loved ones!