99 Problems
with pagan parallels

 

xPraetorius: I did answer it. Zande’s obviously very emotionally invested in the question, and in what he imagines to be the answer to it. There is nothing I could say that he wouldn’t greet with some attempt at a dodge.

As I mentioned above, since Jesus was the only incarnate Son of God, quite literally everything He said was perfectly original. Refer to my “sky is blue” reply to cat.

 

Zande didn’t like that, and it seems obvious that he will continue to insist that I haven’t answered his question until I answer it as he wants me to answer it. That’s just wacky.

So, I have replied. Over and over and over again. Zande didn’t like the answer, so he’s been pretending that I didn’t answer it.

 

John Zande: But would you like me to list all the other Gods who sent sons to earth?

 

xPraetorius: Go ahead. There weren’t any. Just God. Or are you going to go all Zlork on me again? Moron. Best,

 

John Zande: Your level of ignorance is astounding. But here, to help you along your way to advancing to a third grade level of education lets just name the one’s you’ve probably heard of: Vishnu, Horus, Dionysus, Baal., Alexander the Great, Hercules…. the list is quite long.

 

But hey, even your own god, Yhwh, was originally just one of the seventy sons of El, the Supreme Father. You do know, don’t you, that Israel derives its name from El (Mamlekhet Yisra’el), not Yhwh.

 

equippedcat: Alexander the Great was a god? Hercules was merely the son of a god.

 

John Zande: And Jesus was the “son of god,” too, right? And yes, Alexander was considered the son of God. Of course, these are merely claims, and are, in all honesty, outside the spirit of my question.

 

Theological claims are of no interest to this exercise. I wish to only discuss those things that were said or done, the things that can be measured. So, we have Jesus purported words, and we have his purported actions. Somewhere in there was there anything, anything at all, that was genuinely new or original?

 

equippedcat: Has anyone else predicted they would return after their death, and then actually shown up? And does it really matter if there was nothing genuinely new or original? Truth need not be.

 

“The sun rises in the East” is neither new or original, but it is still true today and probably will be true tomorrow.

 

John Zande: Has anyone else predicted they would return after their death, and then actually shown up? Who showed up? Jesus? Really? Got evidence of that? And does it really matter if there was nothing genuinely new or original?

 

Well, one would imagine a god to have said or done something new, wouldn’t you agree? You would expect a god to actually broaden the human condition by introducing new information… If not, why bother with the whole earthly sojourn thing?

 

If dying was all that the character, Jesus, was going to do that was important then he should have just been killed at birth. Why bother saying anything?

 

equippedcat: Um, consistency may be appropriate…

You state that “Alexander the Great was the son of a god” with no documentation to support it, which was fine in the context of our discussion.

 

Then, when I proposed a potentially “unique” action of Jesus, you did not provide any other such claim from an earlier time; you just questioned Jesus resurrection. Which gives the impression that you don’t have an earlier similar claim and are trying to camouflage that lack.

 

John Zande: Apologies if it came across like that. It is, though, just a claim (Muslims don’t even believe Jesus died on the cross), and it’s not even present in the first/oldest gospel written, Mark. That part was only added decades later.

 

Also, are you referring to Jesus “saying” there would be a second coming, or Jesus doing the 40 day walkabout? These are two completely different things. As for promising a 2nd coming, I can’t think of any other sage who promised this, although the role Jesus says he’s going to fulfill pre-dates him by millennia.

 

In Zoroastrianism Zoroaster spoke in detail about the Saoshyant, the Saviour, who is described as the “World Renovator” [Astavat-ereta] and “Victorious Benefactor” who will defeat “the evil of the progeny of the biped”, bring “retribution for offenses,” and establish “the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness).”

 

The concept of a great balancing (the Judgment) is ancient.

As to claiming to rise again in three days, Simon of Paraea did that in 4.BCE, as recorded on the Jeselsohn Stone.

As to the 40 day walkabout, the Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma, was resurrected and was seen by the Chinese Ambassador, Sòngyún, three years later. They spoke.

 

In Zoroastrianism, Peshotanu (an earthly prince) is resurrected and returns to earth as an immortal and assistant/go-between to the Saoshyant; the future Messiah. Persephone returns to earth every year. Osiris is resurrected and stands between earth and the underworld.

 

Ganesha was killed but then reanimated, living on earth and in heaven. Lemminkainen drowns but his mother stiches him back together. Krishna is resurrected, but I’m not sure if he wonders the earth after his that. In the Mahabharata Yudhishthira crosses back and forth between earth and heaven in his mortal body.

 

Closer to home, in the Canaanite pantheon, Baal, of course, dies, is reanimated, and returns to his earthly throne.

It’s not exactly the same, but every Dalai Lama is, of course, the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara. So this is a person who has died but returns to walk the earth, as promised.

There’s probably many, many, many more such examples, but I think/hope these make the point.

 

Still, to keep this within the realm of the rational, it would help if we try to stick to things Jesus actually said or did while alive.

 

xPraetorius: Oops. Of Vishnu, Horus, Dionysus, Baal., Alexander the Great, Hercules only Alexander the Great existed, and he was just a human. The list of those gods who didn’t, and don’t, exist is, indeed, quite long.

 

You’ll note that I made that point a long time ago. Seriously…are you illiterate? Or, are you like Ark, and simply don’t read posts that are carefully and lovingly crafted for your perusal?

 

You wouldn’t do that, would you. That would be rude.

Ah, the origins of the name “Israel!” What you said sure disproves the existence of God! Wow! Why didn’t I see that?!? What vast wisdom! What towering erudition! What expansive and comprehensive learning… to be able to draw conclusions about the maker of the Universe! from the origin of the name Israel!

 

Let’s see if we can research the meaning of the name “New York” next. Maybe it’ll clue us all in on what’s the deal with those dang blasted elusive neutrinos!

 

You do know, don’t you, that Zande derives from the ancient Sanskrit word for One With Rocks In Head Who Spouts Ever Greater And More Voluminous, Vainglorious hogwash?

 

Best,

— x

John Zande: Vishnu wasn’t real? Really? 1.3 billion Hindus disagree. But if you like, do please try and prove to me he doesn’t exist.

 

xPraetorius: Oh, well. They’re wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time someone was wrong.😉

Best,

— x

John Zande: Stunningly strong argument there, tremendously persuasive. Well done.

xPraetorius: John Zande: the yipping chihuahua around Allallt’s heels. Perfect!

 

Best,

— x

 

Allallt: I’m still an observer here.

 

Fun times: Zande said: “It is, though, just a claim” Point of order. Everything is “just a claim.” Even the most documented thing. Even a VIDEOTAPED thing is all, just a claim. Nothing is NOT just a claim.

 

I can document anything at all up the wazoo and it’s STILL just a claim. As well as the documentation. All just a claim. All of history is just a claim. All the evening’s news is all just a claim. Go ahead prove the evening news. Prove that it happened. Not to me, but to yourself.

 

Claims can and are faked all the time. Documentation can be and is faked all the time. Anything anyone EVER says is all just a claim. If you want to have any debates at all, someone somewhere has to take a leap of faith and accept the other’s BASIC claims. “Jut a claim” is a dodge. It’s the argument of someone who is out of arguments.

 

OSC: John, I’m curious about several of the figures you’re naming in the claim to having found characters who cast doubt upon the originality of Jesus’ life and ministry, as you’re including Vishnu, Horus, Dionysus, Baal etc.

 

You’re listing an assortment of figures also cited in the notorious, false and widely debunked Zeitgeist movie, the famous anti-capitalist, anti-Christian film which repopularized a movement originally based out of Germany, one which explicitly aimed to find parallels with Jesus and the vast collection of pagan myths throughout absolutely every culture.

 

The reason the movement originally collapsed however was due to many of the supposed parallels being spurious, with which the scholars behind the entire enterprise had no leg to stand upon. Of course later scholars realized the blindingly obvious, that if they were going to search for what inspired the New Testament biographers they would be wiser to read a Torah than anything out of the Greek or Hindu world.

 

I’m wondering if you’re not repeating the same sort of faulty claims people have already bucked many decades ago. For example, you are claiming “Apollonius of Tyana ascend to heaven alive.” however, “The life of Apollonius of Tyana” was written no earlier than AD 217, meaning their book, which isn’t of the genre of biography at all, couldn’t possibly cast doubt upon the claims of Christ’s widely circulating miracles.

 

How is the originality of Jesus damaged by material released long after the Gospel accounts, as opposed to the sophist who wrote the massive 82,000 word book (namely Philostratus) being brought under greater scrutiny?

Craig S. Keener in his Miracles book explains:

 

it is clear that miracle stories circulated about Jesus before Apollonious flourished, and Mark wrote about Jesus’ miracles well over a century before Philostratus wrote about Apollonious’.

 

Explaining furthermore:

 

Philostratus’ portrait suits a late second or third-century setting (i.e., the author’s own time) much better than a mostly late first-century setting (i.e., Apollonius’); his accounts of Apollonius even resemble reports from Christian gospels, though especially of the “apocryphal” variety. This is very possibly deliberate; by the fourth century, pagan writers explicitly used Apollonius as an alternative to Jesus, claiming that the pagan world offered its own healers.

 

Similarly you’ve claimed “Lemminkainen drowns but his mother stiches him back together.” as if to work as a parallel to the Resurrection event, that’s grossly inaccurate, wouldn’t you agree? Paul describes something totally unlike a stitched together person when writing on the resurrection body:

 

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

 

Similarly Lazarus being revived or Isaiah’s acts of revivification aren’t resurrections, Bodhidharma (who lived over 400 to 500 years after Jesus) likewise wouldn’t be Resurrected given how resurrection is understood in Jewish culture.

 

Insofar as your messages go, you’re appearing to cast doubt upon Christ based upon A. Fiction which clearly borrowed from the life of Jesus. B. Totally unrelated events which share the slimmest of parallels with the Jewish resurrection of the dead.

 

So, by combining your methods, I’m able to write Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein shows the resurrection of Jesus to be unoriginal. Or how about the Bride of Chucky, might be a bit of a stretch, although if we’re shoehorning Lemminkainen stitched back together by his mother into a parallel between the resurrection, let’s make Chucky swing too [An actual video of how John learnt to argue so good]:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIPqHfnFTpU

“Zeus has two eyes, Jesus also has two eyes, therefore Christianity is false!” Christianity = false confirmed.

 

John Zande: I’ve never seen the Zeitgeist movie.

 

OSC: Could you possibly address the remainder of my post, John?

 

John Zande: The examples given were simply of people who’d conquered death. I was not drawing similarities to the Jesus story, merely pointing out the plot line was far older than the Christian narrative. Indeed, there are at least three accounts of resurrection in the OT, and Baal, of course, died and then returned to his earthly throne.

 

Being of the Ugarit/Canaanite pantheon, this story was clearly well known to the Hebrews. Indeed, Baal is in the bible. If you can think of something genuinely new or original which Jesus said or did then I’d be happy to review it.

 

OSC: Didn’t Equipped cat already win that game when you explained: “As for promising a 2nd coming, I can’t think of any other sage who promised this, although the role Jesus says he’s going to fulfill pre-dates him by millennia.”?

 

In addition, considering how tenuous (like cracker thin) and misguided many of these parallels are, isn’t the entire thing rather silly? There are no resurrections in the Old Testament, merely revivals and revivification, they’re classed as entirely different things in the Jewish culture, John.

John Zande: Well, it’s a promise. Not sure if that actually counts while the promise remains unfulfilled, but as I pointed out to Cat, the role Jesus says he’s going to play on this promised 2nd coming is far from being original.

 

The same plot (Judgment Day) is described in great detail in Zoroastrianism, where the Saoshyant, the Saviour, is called the “World Renovator” [Astavat-ereta] and “Victorious Benefactor” who will defeat “the evil of the progeny of the biped”, bring “retribution for offenses,” and establish “the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness).”

 

What would have been original if Jesus had actually done that. He didn’t. Would you be happy to say Jesus making a promise was the only genuinely new or original thing he said or did in his entire time on earth?

 

In addition, considering how tenuous (like cracker thin) and misguided many of these parallels are, isn’t the entire thing rather silly? There are no resurrections in the Old Testament, merely revivals and revivification, they’re classed as entirely different things in the Jewish culture, John.


Nonsense. Resurrection is resurrection, but let’s not limited ourselves to the OT. Dying and rising gods is an old, old, old plot line. I have named many such older cases already, not least among them Baal, the son of the Supreme God (El) who dies, is resurrected, and returns to earth to sit on his throne.

 

I’m asking you, or anyone, to name one genuinely new or original thing Jesus said or did.

Can you?

John Zande: And just to clarify, why I’m asking this is because we’re trying to establish if there is any legitimate reason to believe the claim that Christianity has a unique ethical/moral standard.

 

As Jesus, it seems, didn’t say or do anything even vaguely revolutionary, then it appears the Christian claim is thoroughly baseless. Would you agree?

 

OSC: You’re unsure whether or not what you’ve named an original saying is in fact an original saying because the saying itself hasn’t come true? You’re moving the goalposts on me now, as in reply you’ve tried hard to explain:

 

What would have been original if Jesus had actually done that. He didn’t.

 

Adding moreover “Well, it’s a promise. Not sure if that actually counts while the promise remains unfulfilled,” now, you’re switching up your challenge because the answers have already came, as you’d originally demanded something original Jesus either said or did, “said” being the noteworthy portion in your messages.

 

1. “For years i have asked apologists to name one thing new or original which Jesus said or did,”

 

2. “Great… give me one example of something genuine new or original Jesus said or did.”

 

3. “Okay, so you can’t name anything new or original Jesus said or did.”

 

4. “Be sure to let me know the moment you think you have something new or original which Jesus said or did.”

 

5. “So, we have Jesus purported words, and we have his purported actions. Somewhere in there was there anything, anything at all, that was genuinely new or original?”

 

So, what’s clearly another more revised question, hopefully one you won’t be asking for years, would be “Show me to my satisfaction something original Jesus did in terms of non-verbal actions!” At present you’re denying your long standing said / did criteria for simple “did.”

 

You then proceeded to ask if I myself would be satisfied to have Jesus’ very same promise being the one genuinely new or original teaching they had brought. Of course, who wouldn’t be satisfied with having their life made right with God, in fact, to bemoan the entire thing because you believe it’s unoriginal based upon your strange criteria, isn’t that remarkably jejune?

 

To flip the superficial challenge upon its head, when presumably something original comes along, you’re going to join that particular group based upon the argument from originality? . . .My question to you is are you satisfied to admit Jesus’ promise was genuinely original, because you’re struggling against conceding the point.

 

My rebuttal to the charge of “nonsense” would be to see your nonsense, and raise you a poppycock, balderdash and codswallop! Your reply was, in truth, tautology. Yes, resurrection would be resurrection, and revival revival, and revivification would again be revivification. You’re failing to discern, then even dismissing, the nuances in how the Jewish culture understood these miraculous acts.

 

Christ is named “the first” fruit from the dead precisely because His return wasn’t of the order of revival or revivification, rather Resurrection. For example, when Lazarus is raised again to life, he later dies, just as everybody who was raised would do, yet when writing in their letter to the Corinthians Paul states Jesus, by the resurrection body, is raised imperishable!

 

The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

 

To briefly summarize: Apollonius of Tyana, due to being based upon Jesus, can’t discomfort the originality of the Gospel biographies, similarly Bodhidharma, who flourished over 400 years after Jesus couldn’t draw into question originality with regards to the gospel. To pretend they could again would be as bad as saying the Biblical epic Ben-Hur somehow made Jesus’ life unoriginal. Baal hereafter, let’s discuss Baal.

 

70 Plus different stories circulated about the Baal character, only 1 of which has provided unbelievers the parallels they so fervently desire (though insofar as I’ve read it’s not particularly impressive). The tablets which do supposedly serve as an objection don’t actually contain either Baal’s death or their being brought again to new life, as the portion which could or couldn’t contain the supposed event hasn’t survived so to reach the scholars, as is common.

 

Rather “the resurrection” of Baal is inferred by the remainder of the tablets. Not particularly sophisticated, in fact, let’s do the very same right now, merely let someone sit through the majority of “The Empire Strikes Back” (Star wars), imagine allowing the person to watch until the portion below.

 

[You’ve had 30+ years to watch the movie, seriously guys, don’t comment to me about spoilers. I’ll reply by spoiling modern movies and books. 😡]


Luke arrives at Cloud City and falls into Vader’s trap. The two engage in a lightsaber duel that leads them over the city’s central air shaft where, as his mentors warned, Luke proves to be no match for Vader who severs Luke’s right hand, causing him to lose his weapon. After Luke refuses to join Vader against the Emperor, Vader reveals that he is Luke’s father. Horrified, Luke falls through the air shaft.

 

Stopping the movie as of now would be near enough an accurate description of how the tablets of Baal are often preserved, after which outmoded forms of scholarship ordinarily coloured into the blank portion in whatever ways they found appropriate. Nevertheless, in order to finish our Star Wars story in the now, rather than watching The Empire Strikes Back in total, let’s instead start by watching Return of The Jedi:


Luke Skywalker initiates a plan to rescue Han Solo from the crime lord Jabba the Hutt with the help of Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Leia infiltrates Jabba’s palace on Tatooine, disguised as a bounty hunter with Chewbacca as her prisoner.
 

Wow! Luke was plummeting into an air shaft, and suddenly they are alive, just extraordinary, Luke Skywalker was resurrected! . . . right? Well, no, no they weren’t resurrected, people have just coloured in the blanks and used the resurrection crayon as opposed to others.

 

Mark S. Smith, Chair of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, in their “Origins of Biblical Monotheism” explains moreover “…any attempt to render a reconstruction of Baal’s death and return to life should make no assumption about the nature of the latter.”

 

Meaning not only do the tablets actually contain no revival event, but also that people can’t even suppose the nature of the return event given our surviving materials. Do zombie movies discredit Jesus’ originality, how about ghosts, Event Horizon? Are these seriously the best parallels people can invent?

 

Smith appears to have concluded by something very similar to your own assertion, though there’s a twist, they explain the entire message of Baal is centred upon the succession of the Ugaritic kingship, meaning Baal’s demise and “return” would be best understood as both the end of one king and their successor assuming rule and reign.

 

To claim the above as anything like the imperishable, glorious resurrection as understood in Jewish culture is flippant in the extreme. Similarly you misunderstand Osiris, as if they served as a parallel, yet Osiris isn’t “resurrected”, they are actually a seasonal symbol for the crop cycle, totally unrelated to the Gospel narratives, let alone endangering their originality.

 

Or, as you appear to already know, Osiris doesn’t return to life, rather they continue to exist in the world of the departed. Furthermore, by way of a question, you asked:

 

As Jesus, it seems, didn’t say or do anything even vaguely revolutionary, then it appears the Christian claim is thoroughly baseless. Would you agree?

 

Would I agree? No, I’m unable to agree with the above. Your opinion in the above wouldn’t follow even if the believing person agreed with the premise, which I already don’t agree with, the entire claim that without being “revolutionary” something is then “baseless” is the most obvious non-sequitur. Making the leap to your conclusion doesn’t make sense just in terms of basic reasoning power, for which it’s your conclusion which would be baseless.

 

You’ve got 99 problems JZ, but considering how you’re styling these errors out I imagine a lady friend isn’t 1.🙂 Although supposed parallels are amidst those aforementioned problems.

Osiris (Crops don’t cast doubt upon the originality of the Gospels).

 

Old testament revivals (Dismissing nuances in the Jewish sources doesn’t discomfort the originality of the Gospels).

 

Horus (Being dismembered into fourteen pieces and reanimated doesn’t involve Jesus’ life and ministry).

 

Angels (Not understanding the word “Son” has specialised meanings doesn’t harm the Gospels).

 

Apollonius of Tyana (Copying Jesus doesn’t reflect badly upon Jesus).

 

Bodhidharma (Weak similarities which are recorded hundreds upon hundreds of years after Jesus don’t reflect badly upon the Gospels).

 

Baal (Non-existent events inferred by the faintest evidence don’t cast doubt upon the originality of the Gospels).

 

Alexander The Great (The same problems which hampered Apollonius of Tyana discomfort Alexander).

 

Simon of Paraea (Ditto Baal. Non-existent events inferred by the faintest evidence don’t cast doubt upon the originality of the Gospels).

 

Nonetheless, doing my best to be a good sport, I’d very much enjoy taking you up on your originality challenge, although I’m competing for a silver medal, considering Cat’s contribution.

 

1. Jesus taught “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

How many sages taught their true believers would have to eat their flesh and drink their blood or no life was in them?

 

2. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

How many sages imagined themselves as the ladder dreamt by Jacob in Genesis 28:10-19?

3. “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

How many sages claimed to be co-equal in authority with the God of Israel before the world began?

 

Lastly, my own game for you, can you offer a single parallel from the ancient world which stands up to my scrutiny?
 

― Ty