NOTE: All claims made by Zeitgeist, as well as detailed rebuttals to those claims, can be conveniently located here: http://conspiracies.skepticproject.com/articles/zeitgeist/part-one/
We’ve all heard various claims about Jesus resembling other gods from the distant past. Problem is, a lot of those claims are bogus, especially the ones peddled by conspiracy films like Zeitgeist–a steaming pile of bull excrement that’s so big and bullshitty, it dwarfs the Matterhorn. (Not the one in Disneyland, but the actual goddamn Matterhorn.) Unfortunately, some of this nonsense is repeated in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Bill Maher’s Religulous, bringing it to the forefront of pop culture awareness. (As if the ubiquitous media lords weren’t already pumping us full of stupid.)
But, fear not. I’m gonna deliver the goods on several Jesusy myths that are actually backed by ancient sources. And that other stuff? Apparently, some conspiracy theorist birthed it from his ass after a night of bad baloney and 100-proof absinthe. So, I’m just gonna put it back.
This might come as a bit of a “shocker.”
#5. BORN OF A VIRGIN
According to Zeitgeist, Horus, Mithra, and Krishna were all born to virgins. This is abundantly attested in such sources as NONE. EVER. Krishna was the eighth child born to Devaki. Sort of like the Octomom of antiquity, but with her childbirths spread out over time. And her legs spread out all the time. Mithra emerged fully grown from a rock. I know… Rock. Virgin. Same diff. After Osiris had been shredded to pieces by his evil brother Set, Isis recovered all the parts but his penis. So, she magically crafted a new one out of gold, by which she conceived Horus. Isis, therefore, was not a virgin. Though, an argument could be made that Osiris’ shiny new dick was.
Buy that goddamn dick! The Apocalypse is upon us!
Technically, there were no gods born to virgin mothers. However, several of them were the offspring of a High God and a mortal woman. In some cases, the women had previously been virgins. In others, they produced the child in the absence of sexual intercourse. To wit:
Alexander the Great was conceived when Zeus struck Olympias with a hot wad of Zeus Juice. What, you thought Alexander was special just because he conquered nations and buggered butts? That ain’t the half of it; his dad was the fucking King of Gods. On “Bring Your Dad to School Day,” Alex won, hands down. Little Ipoopsoles’ daddy might’ve been the best plumber in Athens, but nobody gave a clog-worthy shit that day. Not until Zeus came along.
Release the Crappin’!
Zeus also fathered Perseus upon the virgin Danae in a shower of gold. No, Zeus wasn’t emulating R. Kelly; it was a literal shower of gold, you perv. Perictione birthed Plato after a wet-dream interlude with Apollo. What, you thought he was famous just because he waxed philosophical and buggered butts? That ain’t the half of it; his dad was the fucking God of the Sun. Pythagoras, too, was the offspring of Apollo, after he shagged sweet Pythais’ petunia.
I got the moves like Jagger!
Semele bore Dionysus as a result of–wouldn’t you know it–more Zeus Juice. Rhea Silvia was a Vestal Virgin until Ares popped her cherry, hence the birth of Romulus. Queen Maya produced Gautama the Buddha without even dropping her pants. Similarly, Nana conceived Attis sans coitus. Last but not least, there’s Jesus, who came spilling out of Mary without a hint of spooge from Yahweh. And his dad could blow shit up.
OMG, we are flaming!
According to Dr. Richard Carrier, the similarities with Christianity are no coincidence:
…since the idea of [supernaturally conceived] gods was already in the cultural atmosphere, and was self-evidently miraculous and thus ‘proof’ of God’s intervention in history in a way that would confirm the divinity of Jesus, there was ample motive to develop and promote the idea.
In all of this, I suspect that the theme of miraculous conception is intended to set a precedent. The ruler, master, or godling came into the world in an exceptional manner, so their legacy will likewise be exceptional. But, that’s secondary to the more obvious theme: Zeus. Was horny. As fuck.
I will find you. And I will fuck you.
#4. PERFORMED MIRACLES
According to Zeitgeist, Horus performed such miracles as walking on water. Because, you see, Horus represented the sun, and sunshine is reflected on water, thus Horus walked on water. QED. Even if this silly argument were granted, magically walking on shit isn’t really that big o’ deal. Pretty much anyone who’s ever tried whippets has done it.
Pythagoras and Empedocles are a much better match. They were able to soothe raging winds and seas, just as Jesus did in Mark 4:35-41. Raging hemorrhoids, however? Not so much.
I’ll take “Things You Can Shove Up Your Ass” for $800, Alex.
Pythagoras was also associated with a miraculous catch of fish, just as Jesus was in John 21:1-19. The miracle in the Gospel is that Jesus supernaturally aids in catching all the fish, whereas the miracle in the Pythagoras tale is that he magically guesses the precise number of fish caught. Pythagoras demanded that the fish be set free after being counted; and, as he stood there, none of them died while out of the water. How fucking badass is that? As far as PETA is concerned, Pythagoras is Lord.
Suck it, Jesus.
It’s clear that the Gospel story was a retelling of the other, as John 21:11 specifies that 153 fish were caught in all–a telltale vestige of Pythagorean numerology. However, Pythagoras never copyrighted this miracle; so, like a total Jew, Jesus reproduced it and took all the credit.
Suck it, Pythagoras.
#3. HEALED THE SICK
Zeitgeist is partially correct in claiming that Horus healed the sick, but only in a very roundabout way. As Thoth had cured Horus from the sting of a scorpion, the ancient Egyptians believed they could be mystically identified with Horus in order to overcome poisonous infections.
You’d think with all the venomous critters that were frolicking about and poking everyone in the ass, the Egyptians would up and move camp. But, this was not possible, as the ancient alien warlords who created them demanded that they stay and ogle their technicolor rocket ships.
I do about “this much” heroine between takes.
Much closer to home is Asclepius, who miraculously healed the paralytic, the lame, and the blind. Pretty much a dead ringer for Jesus, as he healed precisely the same ailments (Mk. 2:1-12, Jn. 5:1-15 & 9:1-12). In responding to early critics of Christianity, church father Justin Martyr had this to say:
When we say that [Jesus] healed the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, and raised the dead, we seem to be talking about things like those said to have been done by Asclepius.
Translation: Our bullshit’s no different than your bullshit, so let us preach this bullshit or I’m calling bullshit.
Ah. So, this is a tiny chip o’ shit by comparison.
Swedish scholar Roger Viklund goes as far as to say this:
[Jesus’] miracles were imitations of what pagan gods in the vicinity had accomplished. The faith healings, for instance, were borrowed from Asclepius.
So? Look! I just pulled a bird outta Marvin’s ass!
#2. RAISED THE DEAD
The Christ Conspiracy, the book upon which Zeitgeist is based, claims that Horus raised his father Osiris from the dead, just as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (Jn. 11:1-46). Aside from questionable attempts to link “Lazarus” with “Osiris,” this claim is generally true: Horus did raise Osiris from the dead. Holy shit. I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Fuck an A-Right, it’s 10:17!
Asclepius also had quite a knack for raising the dead. In fact, he was too good.
Asclepius’ raising of the dead aroused the wrath of Zeus. Not only was Zeus angered to see many of his old enemies, whom he had struck dead with his thunderbolts, returning to life, but his brother Hades, king of the underworld, was complaining about the dearth of new arrivals (greekmedicine.net).
Look at this, Hellhound. Even my nails are going to shit.
Just how completely Jesusy was Asclepius?
Jesus’ achievements when healing the lame and the paralytic and when resurrecting the dead were similar to those of Asclepius, even identical with them [emphasis added] … to the heathens Christ naturally seemed but another Asclepius (Ludwig Edelstien, “Asclepius: Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies,” p. 134).
Okay, but, as early church father Firmicus Maternus once quipped, “The Devil has his Christs.” So, everyone just chill right the fuck out. This is only the work of the evil incarnate Prince of Darkness, who desperately wants to eat your soul.
I wonder if those leftovers of Gandhi are still good…
#1. RESURRECTED AFTER 3 DAYS
Zeitgeist claims that Horus, Mithra, and Attis were raised from the dead after three days, just as Jesus was according to Matthew 12:40. Brace yourselves for this: the film haphazardly manages to get something right in the case of Attis.
I had the same reaction.
Attis initiates would castrate themselves in the course of an induced frenzy [symbolizing what the god himself had done]. Then, three days later, they would retrieve a ritually entombed effigy of Attis and rejoice in his resurrection, a token of their own (Robert M. Price, “The Reason Driven Life,” p. 155).
The whole emasculation thing may seem a bit overzealous; but, when “happy forever after” is being dangled over your head, what’s a lil’ sack o’ nuts?
You mean, Deez… ?
Oh, but it gets better. Participants in the cult of Attis may have approached a statue of Cybele, his consort, and cast their severed bits ‘n’ pieces right into her lap. Sort of like basketball. Except that the backboard was a goddess, and “double-dribbling” was pretty much inevitable.
Just don’t get any in my hair.
Mithra, however, was never killed, much less resurrected. There is a story involving the death and resuscitation of the child Horus, as mentioned above, but a three day motif is completely absent.
Why all the fuss about Horus to begin with? His father, Osiris, is practically Jesus 1.0. His fucking father. Screw Horus.
No, it’s cool. He’s right. I suck.
Osiris was not only resurrected after three days; his resurrection paved the way for all ancient Egyptians to conquer death and live eternally. Same thing Jesus’ resurrection accomplishes for Christians (1 Cor. 15:21-23, Ro. 6:5).
Scholar of comparative religion S.G.F. Brandon said it best:
…the image was that of a divine hero who had suffered and died, and then rose from the dead. Thus Osiris was not some remote transcendent deity such as Re, the sun god, but one who had endured the grim ordeal that awaited all men. In his image, moreover, the Egyptian devotees saw also the promise of their own resurrection from death and eternal life in the realm of Osiris. Phenomenologically, if not historically, Osiris was thus a prototype of Christ (S.G.F. Brandon, “Man, Myth & Magic,” pp. 1939-40).
I did, I said that.
So, here’s the long and short of it: If you take 1 gal Egyptian religion, add 2 Tbsp Greek mythology and 1 oz Judaism, shake, stir, do the Ickey Shuffle, place in oven, bake at 420 degrees for 15 minutes, remove contents, let settle and cool, shuffle a bit more, then serve, you get this:
I am just beside myself.
Forget Zeitgeist. History tells a far more compelling story.
For more details concerning the resurrections of Attis and Osiris, see Addendum to Article over at Atheologica.