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The Bible and women

Let’s talk about one of the most famous and used attacks made towards the bible, so repeating that many people really thought of bible as a misogynist book…

One reason commonly given by the skeptical community for its rejection of the Bible and Christianity is the way that women are purportedly viewed in the Scriptures. According to these secular apologists, the Bible writers viewed women as inferior creatures who are less valuable than men and do not deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

 

Evangelist-turned-skeptic, Charles Templeton, summarized this view well when he wrote, “The Bible is a book by and for men. The women in it are secondary creatures and usually inferior” (1996, p. 177). In addition, the God of the Bible and various Bible writers are accused of hating women. In his book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins stated that the God of the Bible is “misogynistic” (2006, p. 31). Dan Barker made a similar assertion when he wrote: “Although the bible is neither antiabortion nor pro-family, it does provide modern antiabortionists with a biblical basis for the real motivation behind their views: the bible is not pro-life, but it is anti-woman. A patriarchal system cannot stand women who are free” (1992, p. 212, italics in orig.). Famed skeptic Christopher Hitchens wrote:

A consistent proof that religion is man-made and anthropomorphic can also be found in the fact that it is usually “man” made, in the sense of masculine, as well…. The Old Testament, as Christians condescendingly call it, has woman cloned from man for his use and comfort. The New Testament has Saint Paul expressing both fear and contempt for the female (2007, p. 54).

Is it true that the biblical treatment of women presents an immoral code of ethics and falsifies the idea that the Bible was inspired by a perfectly moral Creator? Certainly not. In fact, just the opposite is the case. The Bible’s treatment of women is in perfect accord with truth and legitimate moral teaching. The accusations leveled against the Bible in this regard are vacuous and cannot be used in any legitimate way to militate against either the morality of God or the inspiration of the Bible. On the contrary, it is the teachings and logical implications of atheistic evolution that cannot hold up under the scrutiny of reason.

The Darwinian View of Women

Atheistic Darwinism is plagued by a host of problems regarding morality. In fact, it has been conclusively demonstrated that without a belief in God, concepts such as good and evil, moral and immoral, have no meaning (see Butt, 2008). Only a supernatural, moral Creator can explain the very existence of morality in man. Therefore, any attempt to question the morality of the God of the Bible based on atheistic ideas is fraught with error and self-contradiction from its inception.

Furthermore, the logical implications of Darwinism lead the honest thinker to the conclusion that equality for all humans is illusory. Not only did Charles Darwin admit that Darwinian evolution implies that certain races of people are inferior to others, with equal candor he concluded that women are inferior to men as well (see Lyons and Butt, 2009). In his monumental work, The Descent of Man, Darwin wrote:

The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two sexes is shown by man’s attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman—whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands…. [T]he average of mental power in man must be above that of woman…. [M]an has ultimately become superior to woman (1871, pp. 873-874, emp. added).

According to Darwin, males had evolved to a higher level than females. As evidence of his conclusion, he simply stated that males “attain to a higher eminence” in everything that they take up when compared to females. Using this line of reasoning, it would be impossible to condemn men for treating women as inferior, because, if men have the mental or physical ability to treat women as inferior, it must mean that men are stronger or more fit to survive and rule. It is ironic that the atheistic community, which is so enamored with Darwin, is suggesting that the Bible’s view of women is immoral. In reality, if their view of atheistic evolution is true, then all male-dominated societies are such because males are more able to dominate. And since survival of the fittest is desired, one must conclude that a male dominated society, in which women are viewed as inferior to men (as Darwin put it), must be at least one very prevalent natural order of things.  Even if the skeptical community is right concerning its accusations about the Bible’s “mistreatment” of women (which it is not), how could the Bible be accused of maintaining an immoral stance, when that stance coincides perfectly with the Darwinian view of the “natural order of things?” In truth, those who propound atheism and Darwinian ideals have a much more thorny problem with the logical implications of their ideas as they relate to women, than those who teach that the Bible is the inspired Word of a perfectly moral God.

The Value of Women According to the Bible

When they use the treatment of women in their attack on the integrity of the Bible, most skeptics make blanket statements about the Bible’s position, without presenting anything resembling a balanced handling of the topic. For instance, Templeton wrote: “Women were associated with evil and weakness. Indeed, Israelite males sometimes thanked God in the synagogue that they had not been born women” (1996, p. 184).

Such generalized statements are designed to appeal to the emotions of a 21st-century audience, but they simply do not accurately represent the true sentiments behind the biblical texts. For instance, using the type of reasoning in which we cherry-pick verses without adequate explanation, we could say that men are treated unfairly in the Bible because husbands are told that they must be willing to give their lives for their wives, while the wives are never commanded to make such a sacrifice (Ephesians 5:25). In addition, we could accuse the Bible of mistreating males, because, throughout its pages, men are told they must work to provide food for their entire households, while women are not held to such a standard (Genesis 3:17-19; 1 Timothy 5:8). Such indiscriminate statements should be viewed by the honest observer as suspect, and a more complete and accurate picture of the biblical view of women should be sought.

Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that both the Old and New Testaments present a picture of woman that appraises her worth as equal to that of the man. While it is the case that the Bible presents different roles for men and women, it is not the case that men are valued more than women. A look at various biblical passages confirms this truth.

Wisdom as the Portrait of a Woman

The book of Proverbs, written primarily by King Solomon, is a literary genre known as Wisdom literature. The main theme of the book is the concept of wisdom. The writer stated: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” (4:7). To further stress the importance and value of wisdom, he penned: “For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her” (8:11). Building on the idea of the immeasurable value of wisdom, the writer of the book of Job stated: “But where can wisdom be found? It cannot be purchased for gold, nor can silver be weighed for its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire…for the price of wisdom is above rubies…. Nor can it be valued in pure gold” (28:12-19). It is clear that the Bible writers viewed wisdom as a personality trait of inestimable value.

What picture, then, was used to personify this trait of such value? Throughout the book of Proverbs, the idea of wisdom is personified by a woman. The text reads: “Wisdom has built her house” (9:1); “Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? She takes her stand on the top of the high hill” (8:1-2). The most illustrative picture of the virtue of wisdom that the Proverbs writer could conjure was that of a woman (Willis, 1993, p. 37). How then can the Bible writers be so misrepresented as to suggest that they did not value women, when wisdom, which is “the principle thing” according to Proverbs, is portrayed as a woman? Additionally, the Proverbs writer stated, “A gracious woman retains honor” (11:16). The inspired writer also included a lengthy section (31:10-31) in which he extolled the worth of a virtuous woman who is clothed in “strength and honor,” who “opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. She watches over the ways of her household.” Needless to say, you do not hear these passages about wisdom personified as a woman and the value of virtuous women in the jaded rants of the modern skeptic.

God’s Attitude Toward His People as Illustrated with Traits of a Woman

While it is true that God does not have a specific gender as humans do (see Thompson, 2000), it is the case that God sometimes illustrates some of His personality traits by comparing them to personality traits possessed by certain categories of people. For instance, it is a well-known fact that the God of the Bible often compares the love that He has for His created humans with the love that a father has for his biological children (1 John 3:1-2). If the God of the Bible were truly sexist, it would be obvious that comparisons between God and any human being would be confined to the masculine gender. A truly sexist god would never compare Himself to a woman.

Yet the Bible records instances in whichthe God of Heaven compares traits that He possesses to similar traits found in women. For instance, John Willis noted: “A most compelling piece of evidence that OT writers had a high regard for women is that they describe God as a mother” (1993, pp. 37-39). Willis then mentioned at least three passages as examples, including Isaiah 66:12—“For thus says the Lord…. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Furthermore, if it truly were the case that the apostle Paul was a misogynist, was afraid of women, and had contempt for them, it would be unreasonable to imagine him comparing himself to a woman. Yet in 1 Thessalonians 2:7 he wrote: “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So affectionately longing for you.” Surely a misogynistic man who is “afraid” of women would never describe himself in such feminine terms. Such examples as these bring to light the fallacious idea that the Bible writers hated women or viewed them as inferior to men.

Women Made in the Image of God

Many skeptics insinuate that the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib to be a helper for man manifests a view that woman is less valuable or inferior to man. Recall the claim of Hitchens when he wrote: “The Old Testament, as Christians condescendingly call it, has woman cloned from man for his use and comfort” (2007, p. 54). Supposedly, the fact that Eve was Adam’s helper somehow “proves” inferiority.

The problem with this line of reasoning is at least two-fold. First, it completely ignores the stress that the Bible places on women being made in God’s image exactly like man. Genesis 1:27 states: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female he created them.” Contrary to many religious groups and male chauvinist thinkers, from the very first chapter, the Bible insists that both male and female were made in God’s image, and both deserve to be treated with the dignity that is inherent in that composition.

So what of the word “helper”? Is it true that a “helper” implies that the person he or she is helping is viewed as superior or of greater worth? Such an incorrect position is impossible to maintain in light of the clear biblical teaching regarding those who help others. For example, in John 15:26, Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit was going to visit the apostles after His resurrection. He stated: “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” Using the skeptic’s reasoning, we would be forced to conclude that the Holy Spirit is inferior to the apostles, since He is referred to as “the Helper.” Such a conclusion is obviously absurd. [NOTE: It is understood that the skeptic will not concur that there even is a Holy Spirit. This example, however, is used only to show that the Bible consistently maintains a picture of “helpers” and “helping” that in no way insinuates inferiority or less value.]

In Philippians 4:3, Paul urged the receiver of his epistle to “help these women who labored with me in the gospel.” Did that mean Paul viewed the one who received his letter as inferior to those women with whom he had labored? Not in any way. Furthermore, Jesus Christ Himself stated that He came into this world not “to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Would that imply that since He was “serving” or “helping” mankind, He was inferior in some way to humans? Certainly not. The concept of “helping” or “serving” carries with it no inherent meaning of inferiority.

Many Examples of Worthy Women in the Bible

In an attempt to bolster their misrepresentation of the biblical view of women, skeptics often “count noses” and insist that far too much biblical “press” is given to narratives whose central figures are men, while not enough time is given to women. In addition, many in the skeptical community insist that if God truly viewed women as equal, they would have been granted equal positions of leadership in both Old Testament times and in the ministry of Jesus. Dan Barker stated: “Jesus upheld the Old Testament view of women. Not a single woman was chosen to be among the 12 disciples or to sit at the Last Supper” (2008, p. 179).

Such statements are plagued with dishonest selectivity. When the entire biblical picture is viewed objectively, it is easily seen that women in both the Old and New Testaments played vital, powerful roles in God’s plans for the national rule of Israel, and for the spiritual Kingdom established by Jesus Christ. And, while space is lacking in this article to adequately list and describe each of these women, a few of the most notable will be addressed.

Deborah

The fact that women attained prominent, powerful positions in Israel militates strongly against the skeptic’s accusation that the biblical view of women is sexist. For instance, the book of Judges relates the story of Deborah, a prophetess and the recognized judge and ruler of the Israelite nation during her lifetime (Judges 4:4). A close look at the narrative shows that Deborah was the woman who commissioned Barak, a man, to lead the Israelites in battle against the foreign forces. When the time came for action to be taken, it was Deborah who said to Barak: “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” (Judges 4:14). After the battle was won, and Sisera, the opposing general, was killed by a woman named Jael, Deborah and Barak composed and sang a victory hymn. Throughout the hymn, Deborah is mentioned as the leader of Israel who, with Barak’s help, defeated Sisera and Jabin. The text says: “Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). “And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah” (5:15).

Using the skeptic’s logic, should we conclude that the Bible views all men as inferior to women since Deborah was a female leader of Israel at the time? Should we conclude that since Deborah’s story is recorded in a book that claims inspiration, such a claim is negated because, based on the Deborah narrative, whoever wrote the Bible hates men, shows contempt for them, and treats them as less valuable than women? Such reasoning is obviously flawed.

Once it is shown that the story of Deborah exalts women to an equal position with men, however, the skeptic is forced to back peddle and attempt another tactic. While it cannot be denied that the story of Deborah manifests an exalted view of women, the skeptic contends that such stories are few and far between. If God and the Bible really viewed women as equal in worth to men, then the Bible would have just as many stories about women rulers and leaders as it has about men.

This faulty assertion can be answered in two ways. First, how many examples would the Bible need to provide of the Gospel being preached to Ethiopians to prove that the Bible writers considered them just as valuable as Jews, and just as viable candidates to hear the Gospel? Would anyone contend that in order for the God of the Bible to be vindicated of bigotry against Ethiopians, the text must contain just as many conversion stories about Ethiopians as it does about Jews? Certainly not. When the book of Acts records that Phillip the evangelist delivered the Gospel to Candace’s Ethiopian treasurer (8:26-40), that one example is sufficient to provide evidence that all Ethiopians are just as valuable to God as all Jews, Arabians, or Egyptians.

Furthermore, let us apply the skeptic’s reasoning to a brief history of the United States of America. Were we to attempt to relate the history of our country, spending our time dealing with the Presidency, how many stories about women would we be able to include who have ascended to the presidency? To date, our nation has inaugurated 44 presidents, and not a single one of them has been a woman. Using the skeptic’s accusations as a springboard, should we insist that the ancient nation of Israel had a more “enlightened” and elevated view of women than does the United States in the 21st century? Moreover, would we despise and accuse of sexism those history writers who spent the majority of their texts focusing on the men who held the office of President? Such thinking flies in the face of common sense and could only be concocted by those who refuse to deal honestly with actual history and the biblical text.

Huldah, the Prophetess

Second Kings 22 records the life and reign of Josiah, the righteous king of Judah. In the course of his attempts to eradicate idolatry from Judah, he made a focused effort to repair the temple of God that had fallen into a state of disrepair. He commissioned Hilkiah, the high priest, to collect money to be used to clean out and repair the temple. During Hilkiah’s labors to revamp the temple, he stumbled across a copy of the book of the Law of Moses. Having read it, he sent it to Josiah, who listened to the words of the Law and was heartsick because the nation of Israel had wandered so far from God’s commands. Josiah commanded Hilkiah and several of the other religious leaders to “go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found” (2 Kings 22:13). The text then states: “So Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. (She dwelt in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter.) And they spoke with her” (22:14). After speaking with her, Huldah delivered a message from God to Josiah through these officials.

Not only did these leaders in Israel seek out a woman prophetess, though she was married, there is no indication that the advice or counsel of her husband was sought. The envoy journeyed to a woman’s house to hear a message that the Lord related to a woman. Also notice that Josiah was recognized as one of the greatest rulers that Judah ever had, yet this  passage shows that he sought the counsel of a woman of God. Here again, the narrative about Huldah undermines the skeptics’ assertion that the Bible views women as inferior.

Various Women in the Bible

Much could be said concerning women of prominence in the Bible, such as Esther, about whom an entire book is written. She ascended to the queenly throne of Persia and heroically saved her people. A lengthy section relating the selfless sacrifice of Ruth for her mother-in-law (Naomi) would further undercut the skeptics’ argument, especially in light of the fact that Ruth is listed in the genealogy of Christ as the great grandmother of Jesus. Moreover, the faith of Hannah and her prayer for, and subsequent birth of, Samuel, one of the greatest prophets to ever live in Israel, would go far to put to silence the skeptics’ assertion that women are viewed as inferior by the Bible writers. Attention could be directed to Lydia, the seller of purple whom Paul and his companions found praying by the riverside, or Priscilla, who helped her husband Aquila teach the eloquent Apollos the Gospel of Christ  (Acts 18:26). Additional information refuting the skeptics’ claim could include the faith of Jochebed, or the leadership skills and prophesying of Miriam, or the courage of Rahab, or the faithfulness of Jesus’ mother Mary, or the good deeds of Dorcas. One wonders how many examples of women in exalted positions the skeptical community would need in order to be satisfied that the biblical treatment of women is not sexist. Unfortunately, no matter how many examples are given, the skeptical answer about this and so many other things is, “Just a few more than we have.” In reality, the biblical examples of how the God of the Bible views women are more than sufficient to refute the tenuous complaints of the naysayers.

Numbering, Genealogies, and Traveling Groups

Certain practical matters must be properly considered in order to achieve an accurate picture of the biblical view of women. Some people who read the biblical text are struck by the fact that some of the genealogies only include the names of the men in the family. As Templeton wrote: “In the long list of Adam’s descendants over the hundreds of years that intervened before the Great Flood, not one female is so much as named” (1996, p. 178, italics in orig.). Furthermore, it is often the case that, when counting or listing the numbers of people involved, the Bible generally only counts the males. These instances have been viewed as sexist and discriminatory against women.

Upon further inspection, it becomes apparent that such accusations fail to take into account certain practical aspects and the cultural context. For example, Templeton mentioned the genealogy in Genesis five as an example of a “sexist” view, but he failed to mention the genealogy of Jesus Christ that is listed in Matthew 1:1-17 in which the women Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary are mentioned. Additionally, the text states: “And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ” (1:16, emp. added). The prepositional phrase “of whom” relates back to Mary, thus indicating that Jesus was the biological son of Mary. Would it be proper to use this genealogy to insist that God has a lower view of men, since the text specifically mentions that the Christ descended biologically from a woman? No. And neither can the “male genealogy” idea be used to sustain the false accusation that the Bible views women as inferior. Add to that the fact that even today in 21st century America, the majority of wives assume their husbands’ last names and daughters assume their fathers’ last names, and are thus recorded in modern genealogical records [such as Annaka Harris, the wife of Sam Harris, or Juliet Emma Dawkins, daughter of Richard Dawkins (Periera, n.d.)], and the skeptics’ charge becomes manifestly erroneous.

In a similar vein, biblical numbers often only included the men. For instance, Numbers 1:2 states: “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually” (emp. added). Is this numbering an example of biblical sexism, or evidence that the Bible writers thought women of so little value they did not need to number them? Not in any way. The simple, practical aspect of this numbering system had only to do with able-bodied men who went out to war. As the text explains: “according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war”(1:20, emp. added). In the same way that we could not use such numbering systems to insist that the God of the Bible, or the Bible writers, devalued children under 20, or old men past the age of battle strength, we could not use this method of numbering to disparage the biblical writers’ view of women. And, while the skeptic might attempt to argue that it was sexist for women to be excluded from military service in Bible times, a simple response could be that it was unfair to men to force them to be numbered for military service, while women were exempt from such. Would it be fair to state that since men were “serving” their women by providing military protection, their “service” shows they were inferior? To ask is to answer.

Other practical matters, including such simple concepts as travel and sleeping arrangements, must be factored into this discussion. For example, Dan Barker was quoted earlier in this article as saying: “Jesus upheld the Old Testament view of women. Not a single woman was chosen to be among the 12 disciples or to sit at the Last Supper” (2008, p. 179). While this statement is true, the skeptic Charles Templeton offers an extremely plausible reason for this:

The New Testament frequently reveals Jesus’ concern for women…. There were no women in Jesus’ band of apostles, but there would have been compelling reasons for this. Jesus and the disciples travelled frequently, often daily, invariably on foot. Often they slept out in the open. In the circumstances it would have been impossible—and potentially scandalous—for a woman to be a part of that male group (1996, pp. 184-185, emp. added).

Even a cursory consideration of certain practical matters that relate to numbering, genealogies, and travel arrangements serves to defeat the skeptics’ claim that the Bible devalues women.

Was Jesus Rude to Women?

Those who are antagonistic to the Bible sometimes accuse Jesus of being rude to others, especially his own mother. Christopher Hitchens quipped: “Jesus makes large claims for his heavenly father but never mentions that his mother is or was a virgin, and is repeatedly very rude and coarse to her when she makes an appearance, as Jewish mothers will, to ask to see how he is getting on” (2007, p. 116, emp. added). Richard Dawkins commented in a similar vein: “Jesus’ family values, it has to be admitted, were not such as one might wish to focus on. He was short, to the point of brusqueness, with his own mother” (2006, p. 250, emp. added).

A more thorough analysis, however, reveals that what these writers are attempting to label as rudeness was nothing of the sort. In his article, “How Rude!?”, Eric Lyons effectively demonstrated that the way Jesus addressed His mother was neither rude, nor disrespectful (2004). Jesus’ statements in response to His mother are in perfect accord with the biblical injunction to honor one’s parents. Only a misunderstanding of the original languages and phrases used, and a cynical approach to the text, could lead a person to accuse Jesus of rudeness in these instances. His statements to His mother coincide completely with the fact that the Bible’s overall treatment of women presents them as neither inferior nor superior to men, but as equals.

Galatians 3:28—The Golden Text of Equality

The apostle Paul is often demonized as a woman-hater who feared the opposite sex and held them in contempt. The skeptical attitude toward Paul is summed up well in Templeton’s statement: “To judge by his epistles, the apostle Paul was a confirmed misogynist” (1996, p. 185). Such statements conveniently overlook one of the boldest statements of gender and race equality in all religious literature. In Galatians 3:28, Paul wrote: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (emp. added). About this verse, Jan Faver Hailey wrote: “Common exegesis understands Paul here to be advocating that access to God is open to all through faith in Christ, without regard to race, social standing, or gender” (1993, p. 132, emp. added). To insist that Paul was a misogynist in light of his statement in Galatians 3:28 runs counter to evidence-based reasoning.

So why do some aver that Paul hated women, even with Galatians 3:28 in view? The main reason for this assertion is that Paul consistently maintained that, while men and women are equal in God’s sight, they have been given different duties and roles. The skeptical community mistakenly equates the concept of different roles, with the idea of different status. As Templeton wrote: “In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul states unequivocally that men and women have a different status before God” (1996, p. 186, emp. added). Allegedly, since Paul instructs men to be elders (Titus 1:5-9), and to lead publically in worship (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:8-15), and husbands to be the “head” of their homes (Ephesians 5:22-24), then he must view women as less able, less valuable, or inferior to men. [NOTE: See Jackson, 2010 and Miller, 2005 for biblical expositions of these verses.]

Is it true that since the Bible assigns different roles to the different sexes, their status or worth must be unequal? Certainly not. In Titus 3:1, Paul explained to Titus that Christians were supposed to be subject to rulers and authorities and to obey the government (see also Romans 13). From that statement, is it correct to conclude that Paul views all those in governmental positions to be of more value than Christians? Does this passage imply that, because Christians are to obey other humans who are in governmental positions, Paul sees those in governmental positions as mentally, physically, or spiritually superior to Christians? Not in any way. The mere fact that Christians are to obey those in the government says nothing about the spiritual status or value of either party. It only addresses different roles that each party plays.

Again, in 1 Timothy 6:2, Paul instructs Christian servants to be obedient to their own masters. Does this imply that Paul believed masters to be superior, or to be of more inherent worth than servants? No. It simply shows a difference in roles, not of status. Logically speaking, different roles can never be used to support an accusation that such roles necessitate different value or status.

Furthermore, while the skeptic is quick to seize on Paul’s ordination of men as elders and leaders in their homes, those skeptics neglect to include the responsibilities involved in such roles. Husbands are called upon to give their lives for their wives (Ephesians 5:25), physically provide food, shelter, and clothing for their families (1 Timothy 5:8), and to love their wives as much as they love themselves (Ephesians 5:25). While much is said about the “unfairness” of Paul’s instructions, it is productive to ask who would get the last spot on a life boat if a Christian husband and wife were on a sinking ship? The Christian husband gives himself for his wife in such instances. Is that fair that he is called upon to accept the sacrificial role of giving himself for his wife? Is she more valuable than he because God calls upon him to protect and cherish her and die for her if necessary? No. It is simply a difference in assigned roles, not in status or worth.

References

Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith In Faith—From Preacher to Atheist (Madison, WI: Freedom from Religion Foundation).

Barker, Dan (2008), godless (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press).

Butt, Kyle (2008), “The Bitter Fruits of Atheism: Parts 1 & 2,” Reason & Revelation, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3740 and http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3762.

Darwin, Charles (1871), The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (New York: The Modern Library, reprint).

Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin).

Hailey, Jan Faver (1993), “‘Neither Male and Female’ (Gal. 3:28),” Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity Volume 1, ed. Carroll Osburn (Joplin, MO: College Press).

Hitchens, Christopher (2007), god Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (New York: The Twelve).

Jackson, Wayne (2010), “Women’s Role in the Church,” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/169-womans-role-in-the-church.

Lyons, Eric (2004), “How Rude!?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/593.

Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2009), “Darwin, Evolution, and Racism,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/240063.

Miller, Dave (2005), “Female Leadership in the Church,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2694 .

Pereira, Oliver (no date), “Descent of Richard Dawkins from Edward III,” http://humph rysfamilytree.com/Royal/Notes/dawkins.txt.

Templeton, Charles (1996), Farewell to God (Ontario, Canada: McClelland and Stewart).

Thompson, Bert (2000), “Is God Male?” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/162.

Willis, John T (1993), “Women in the Old Testament,” Essays on Women in Earliest Christianity Volume 1, ed. Carroll Osburn (Joplin, MO: College Press).

by Apologetics Press staff writer Kyle Butt, M.A.

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Atheism and its two measures

As the secularism and the rejection of the Christian tradition  increases day after day, we can notice a “boom” in the atheist activism during the last decades. The examples are numberless, but let’s look some of them:

Atheist group seeks to tear down World Trade Center cross

The two steel girders in the shape of a cross discovered in the rubble of the World Trade Center have since been moved to a museum dedicated to 9/11.

ALBANY, N.Y., July 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) — When two steel girders were found intact, in the shape of a cross, in the middle of the wreckage of the World Trade Center after 9/11, it was hailed by many as a mini “miracle” and a sign of hope for a country beleaguered by a devastating terrorist attack.

Now, however, an atheist group has filed a lawsuit that seeks to tear down that cross, which was moved recently to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.

American Atheists filed its lawsuit, American Atheists v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, in New York state court Monday.

“What we’re looking for is a remedy that honours everyone equally, with a religion-neutral display, or display of equal size and prominence,” said Dave Silverman, the group’s head. (read more)

Atheist Activist Group Demands That City Remove Cross From Vietnam War Monument

Coos Bay, Oregon – A nationally-known atheist activist organization is demanding that a city in Oregon immediately remove a cross from a publicly-displayed  monument that honors those who died in the Vietnam War.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) recently sent a letter to officials in Coos Bay, Oregon, stating that the monument displayed in Mingus Park violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. The organization advised that it received complaints about the display, and was therefore responding on behalf of the unhappy citizens.

“Our complainants inform us that a white cross sits in the park near a playground,” the letter stated. “Our complainants further inform us that this display has been in the park for several decades. There have also been recent efforts to restore the cross.” (read more)

‘Blessed Are the Peacemakers’ Painting Removed From Idaho Air Force Base Following Complaint

Air Force Base PaintingMOUNTAIN HOME, Id.– An Air Force base in southwestern Idaho has removed a Scripture-based painting from one of its dining halls after a complaint was submitted by an activist group that seeks to keep religion out to the U.S. military.

Last Friday, the Pentagon received a letter of complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), which urged Air Force officials to remove a particular painting from the Mountain Home Air Force Base. MRFF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enforcing the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It believes that the nation’s Armed Forces should be strictly nonreligious in nature.

“No religion or religious philosophy may be advanced by the United States Armed Forces over any other religion or religious philosophy,” the MRFF’s mission statement reads. Furthermore, “No member of the United States Armed Forces may be compelled in any way to witness or engage in any religious exercise.” (read more)

Kentucky School District Caves to Atheist Demands to Remove Ten Commandments From Public Schools

Jackson, Kentucky – A school district in Kentucky has caved to demands from a prominent atheist activist organization surrounding the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools.

Schools within the Breathitt County School District have displayed the Ten Commandments on the walls of their classrooms for many years — that is, until now. Recently, an individual contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to complain about the displays and noted that they can be seen in elementary, middle and high schools alike. In response, FFRF contacted the district to demand that the Biblically-based laws be removed.

“These Ten Commandment displays are a flagrant violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution,” the letter, penned by FFRF attorney Patrick Elliott, stated. (read more)

Atheist Group Plans to Protest Homeschooling Convention in Texas

A small band of outspoken atheists is planning to stage a protest at a yearly Christian homeschool convention this summer. “The Nones,” a group of atheist activists based out of Dallas, recently posted a two hour-long Google+ chat video on YouTube, in which four members of the organization are seen expressing their consternation with Christian homeschooling. The video, entitled “Home School Abuse by Creationists,” was posted on Sunday, and has since generated hundreds of comments.

While the participants in the video claim that they do not want to suppress religious freedom, they repeatedly state that something must be done to monitor what is taught to homeschool students, especially in regard to science curricula. One of the chat participants, simply identified as “Sister Lilandra,” comments at one point, “There has to be some way to regulate [homeschooling].” (read more)

 

The list could go further and further, by the way. Of course it’s a right condoned by State, which must be separated from any form of religiousness (they could as well be separated from atheistic, materialistic creeds also!), however I’d like to pay attention to their total indifference over certain monuments, events and symbols clearly linked to religions, but not Judeo-Christian ones…

Many people, mainly these fond of scientific matters, are aware of the CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research) whose purpose is to study physical events at subatomic level, and, interestingly,  is the birthplace of the Internet!

No problem here (despite the fear that it can supposedly cause a doomsday black hole capable of swallowing the entire Earth… Just kidding!). But, if you get to visit the lab, you’ll surely face an interesting, far from scientific monument:

 

Oh yes, Shiva, an Hindu DEITY! Based on the well known behavior of the atheists against Christian symbols, and they alleged commitment against religiousness, we should expect a passionate wave of protests in front of the CERN building… Or, at least a handful of secularist persons demanding the hasty removal of the statue (as they would quick do if it was instead a banner with the 10 commandments or a (Catholic) image of Jesus). But, we see none of them saying a iota against it! Another case:

Wiccan Academy Teaches Pagan Witchcraft in Downtown New York City

 

crystal ball pd

NEW YORK – A small academy in Manhattan is teaching students as young as five years old how to practice witchcraft and become full-fledged Wiccan sorcerers.

The Wiccan Family Temple Academy of Pagan Studies (WFTAPS), founded six years ago, is the first school of its kind in the New York City area, and offers a three-year witchcraft program. Topics covered in the academy’s biweekly classes include “Moon Magick,” “Pagan Parenting,” “Psychic Self-Defense,” and “Becoming a Wealthy Witch.”

Even though most courses are designed for adults, the school also offers a “Dragon Academy” for elementary and middle school-aged students who are interested in witchcraft. (read more)

Hey, where’s Dawkins getting mad and blaming the academy for child abuse now? Ops, he’s certainly too busy preaching the evolution somewhere!

Do you like to game? What about this gruesome event stunted by Sony, in 2007?

 

Slaughter: Horror at Sony’s depraved promotion stunt with decapitated goat

Electronics giant Sony has sparked a major row over animal cruelty and the ethics of the computer industry by using a freshly slaughtered goat to promote a violent video game.
The corpse of the decapitated animal was the centrepiece of a party to celebrate the launch of the God Of War II game for the company’s PlayStation 2 console. 

goat

GRUESOME: One of the party hosts stands over the goat’s carcass

Guests at the event were even invited to reach inside the goat’s still-warm carcass to eat offal from its stomach.

Sickening images of the party have appeared in the company’s official PlayStation magazine – but after being contacted by The Mail on Sunday, Sony issued an apology for the gruesome stunt and promised to recall the entire print run.

Critics condemned the entertainment giant, which produces scores of Hollywood blockbusters each year, for its “blood lust” and said the grotesque “sacrifice” highlighted increasing concerns over the content of video games and the lengths to which the industry will go to exploit youngsters.

At the event, guests competed to see who could eat the most offal procured elsewhere and intended to resemble the goat’s intestines  from its stomach.

They also threw knives at targets and pulled live snakes from a pit with their bare hands.

Topless girls added to the louche atmosphere by dipping grapes into guests’ mouths, while a male model portraying Kratos, the game’s warrior hero, handed out garlands. (read more)

We can also notice the silence of these groups in regard to many other things, much more offensive, dangerous and wrong than mere Christians symbols and verses, such as the increasing erotization, vulgarity on TV and internet; pornography; too much violence, gore, bloodiness on movies, consumerism; selling of alcohol & tobacco, aborts, legalization of cannabis, hedonism, and so on… Worse than that, many of them can actually condone some of these stuffs.

It’s not a surprise that unbelievers act like this, using two measures: one against God, Jesus Christ et al., and other for everything else! This is well explained by God’s Scriptures:

John 7:7  “The world can’t hate you, but it hates Me, because I testify about it, that its works are evil.”

Also:

Psalms 2: 

“1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

It’s a global phenomena, wherever the Christianity goes, it faces opposition, rebuking, harshness in many different ways and spheres. So, don’t be dismayed if you are facing any trouble because of your commitment to The Lord, He warned us:

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

God bless you!

Is Jesus a fraud?

From: DebunkingAtheism

Introduction

Most probably, if you are familiar with the “Christ-Myth” hypothesis then you probably have heard of anti-Christian author Acharya S (whose real name is Dorthy M. Murdock.) She was one of the main sources for the first part of Zeitgeist, the Movie as can be seen by the sources in the film’s transcript. She is the author of many books entitles The Christ Conspiracy and Sons of God. Much of her arguments can be accessed on her website Truth Be Known.

zeitgeistIn a YouTube Video she takes it upon herself to “respond” to the debunking of Zeitgeist.  She then says that despite claims that Zeitgeist, Part one has been debunked “the facts continue to to demonstrate otherwise.” The then complains that many of the refutations of the film have been directed largely at her. I cannot speak for all the other debunkers of Zeitgeist, but my fourteen part refutation of Zeitgeistdoesn’t mention her even once. Also, my personal investigation of the facts has lead me to the conclusion that Zeitgeist is rooted in false claims.

Next Ms. Murdock makes the claim that the “detractors” whether theist or atheist didn’t study her work. — This claim is false. — R. G. Price, an Atheist who read her book Suns of God is very critical of her works calling it ”bogus.” (See Critical Reviewof Acharya S’ The Suns of God). Also, Christian Apologist Mike Licona, who read her other book entitled The Christ Conspiracyeffectively shows many flaws in her works. (Click here and here)

Ms. Murdock then makes the claim that her claims presented in Zeitgeist are not available to us because of the dangers in the past of losing their lives. She also claims that there is “deliberate censorship” of the facts by many encyclopedias. This is a quite an excuse she uses to inoculate herself against any independent research that refutes her. She is basically saying “Any investigation you do will not matter because I know more than you. So uncrittically take my word for it.” — If what she says were true, then at the very least there shouldn’t be any information in the sources that contradict her. But my investigation of Zeitgeist shows there are tons of contradictory evidences so her point is completely false.

To help make her point, she shows pictures of the inquisition while claiming that is why a lot of evidence has been silenced. The problem is that even if the inquisition silenced information about Pagan European gods, in her books she includes Oriental gods such as Krishna and Buddha on her list of Christ-like gods. — The truth is the inquisition didn’t reach all the way to India, China and Japan so according to her logic there should be an abundant amount of information which backs her up in this case, but there isn’t any.

Attis and Jesus

She then goes into certain paralels between Pagan gods and Jesus. As an example she mentions the god Attis. — To prove her point of a parallel she cites Professor A.T. Fear who contributed a chapter to the book entitled Attis and Related CultsShe claims that in the chapter entitled “Cybele and Christ“ Professor Fear claims that Attis was killed and resurrected after three days during a celebration that depicts his resurrection out of a tomb.

As far as her claim claim goes, it is true (page 39) however the problem here is that Professor A.T. Fear, in the long run, does not support what Ms. Murdock is claiming. The ceremony that Dr. Fear describes is from a major festival of the metroac cult. But later he points out that this very cult had gone through changes which could have been “a deliberate attempt to rival Christianity” to ensure the cult’s survival in the market. (Page 44)

As a matter of fact, about the resurrection of Attis he says,

Attis too with his strong emphasis on resurrection seems to be a late-comer to the cult, the stress on the Halaria as celebrating the resurrection of Attis also appears to increase at the beginning of the Fourth century AD. : the same time as in the tauroboliumtowards the rite of personal redemption.

While these changes could simply be a mutation of religion over time, and it is important to remember that here we are discussing a period of centuries not merely years, they do seem to have been provoked by a need to respond to the challenge of Christianity. (Attis and Related Cults, pages 41, 42)

Dr. Fear does question whether the process of changing the Attis cult was conscious, but he never even implies that Jesus was influenced by Attis. He says that the Attis cult either mutated or that it responded to Christianity. — This completely contradicts what Ms. Murdock claims that he wrote. She misrepresented his views. Dr. Fear is implying that Christianity may have influenced Attis, not the other way around, if indeed one influenced the other. — Why didn’t she mention this? Obviously because it would have demolished her point.

The Day of Halaria, the Day of Joy of the festival (on March 25th) mentioned by Ms. Murdock in relationship to Attis’ “resurrection” was actually a post-Christian addition which was added to the festival either during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius or even later. This means the earliest the  “resurrection” day was added is the year 138 AD.  Also, the “three days of mourning” of Attis’ death were added by the Emperor Claudius between who reigned between 41 and 54 AD. (Text linkAll of these days of the festival being post-Christian, this fact refutes Ms. Murdock’s insinuation that the festival of Attis’ “resurrection” influenced Christianity.

Krishna born of a virgin?

Next, she mentions Krishna and repeats the claim that his mother, Devaki, was a virgin. She defends the claim saying that it is only not widely known and on that ground alone is considered to therefore be wrong. She then quotes Philo of Alexandria (a Jewish historian) to prove her point.  Assuming that the reference attributed does exist (I cannot find it) I still do not buy into the idea that we should depend on him so heavily on a subject that, chances are, he would not have known so mush about.

Unlike Ms. Murdock’s claims, the idea of Devaki’s virginity at Krishna’s birth is not assumed false because it is mostly unknown. I call the claim false because it contradicts basic Hindu tradition! Krishna was the youngest of a total of eight children that his mother had. (click here) So the fact is that there is no chance his mother was a virgin.

Is December 25th relevant?

Ms. Murdock goes on to mention that Christian apologists (like me) dismiss December 25th as being irrelevant to Christianity. But then she argues,

However, since the fourth century when this winter solstice celebration was designated as Christ’s birthday hundreds of millions of people have been taught that December 25th is the date of Christ’s birth. And hundreds of millions continue to celebrate that date every year. Indeed, Christian preachers today still insist that Jesus Christ is “the reason for the season.”  Furthermore, in 2007, the United States House of Representatives passed house resolution 847 officially declaring December 25thto be the Birthday of Jesus Christ. Raising up this issue about the birthday of the Sun (S-U-N) is therefore entirely legitimate.

This argument is one that no intellectually honest person would ever give. Ms. Murdock apparently thinks that because Christians started to celebrate Christmas on December 25th in the 4th century AD and because the U.S. Congress officially declared it in 2007 that this makes the date relevant to the origins of Christianity. — The problem with her logic is obvious: If the practices indeed date so long after Christ, then they are irrelevant to Christ and Christianity, period!

The date of December 25thas Christ’s birthday is also completely contradictory of the Biblical account of Jesus’ birth. Luke 2: 8 says that during the night of Jesus’ birth shepherds were out in the fields. This would not be so if Jesus were born in the winter. This is proof beyond the shaddow of a doubt that the date hase no relevancy and later practices  which Ms. Murdock appeals to cannot change this fact.

After this she says that when Christians say that this date is not Christ’s birthday that we prove her point that Jesus is not the reason for the season. — This shows that Murdock has no understanding of why Christians celebrate Christmas at all. It’s not the date that’s important, but the event.

The Three Kings

Ms. Murdock brings up the subject of the “three kings” in the Gospel of Matthew. In arguing against claims that they are not numbered as three she points out the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. She argues that since there are three kinds of gifts that therefore there must be “three kings.”

Just because there were three kinds of gifts, that doesn’t necessarily mean that there were only three gifts and therefore only three magi. — There could have been five magi which gave the same three gifts. Or there could have been six. There are many ways that this can work out. Three so therefore three is just an irrelevant oversimplification.

She then tries to connect the three  stars in the belt of Orion with the “three” wise men. She says that “Christian tradition” calls the three stars “the magi.” — Notice she says that it is “Christian tradition.” In other words, later tradition which has no bearing on the origins of Christianity.

The truth is they are not called “kings” in Matthew, but rather “wise men” or “magi.” However, she misleadingly uses all three terms interchangeably to insinuate her point even though they cannot be used as such. (For a good discussion, click here)

Conclusion

Basically, her defence of Zeitgeist is just a rehashing of refuted claims and, in many ways, is a defence of herself (which I do not see the point in answering.) Even though she claims that the facts have not refuted Zeitgeist, there is no reason to accept her claim. The fact is that most of the claimed parallels between Jesus and other gods are superficial or false.

Her claims that many of her critics have not studies her writtings are also wrong, as earlier I have linked crituiques of skeptics of her books, both a theist and and atheist.

Her further claims that the information that backs her up is hidden and censured seems like an attempt to neutralize any research by both real experts and laymen which falsifies her far-fetched claims. When I hear her say that, what I really hear is “Don’t ask questions or worry about the facts. Just believe me.” And unfortunately, that’s what her gullible disciples do.

____________________________________________________

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If you’ve been keeping up with my Apologetics, you most probably have read my posts that refute Zeitgeist, part 1 which can be accessed by clicking here here. Currently, I am in a debate with another “Jesus-Myther” about the historicity of Jesus. He (Joel Guttormson) is in the process of writing a book which calls Christianity into question and posted part of it in a blog post entitled “The Jesus fraud-3 arguments.”

Even though I am debating with him in the comments I think I can do a better job in a blog post. And since he says in his post that he wants feedback I think this could give him a better idea of Christian arguments against the idea that Jesus is a mythical character that never existed.

Is Jesus a Composite?

Joel Guttormson begins his arguments by calling Jesus a “composite.” — He lists Pagan gods which he compares to Jesus. I have already refuted the parallels between the very same gods and Jesus in my refutation of Zeitgeist. It so happens that he uses Zeitgeist as a source in his bibliography! But I have no problem with going into some detail about this.

He lists Horus by saying he is a dying and rising god. — It is true that I found only one reference to Horus dying and rising in an ancient inscription called  The Cippi of Horus.” In this inscription he is stung by a scorpion and then dies. Isis then, with the help of Thoth, recites a chant and Horus revives. Even though he dies and rises, it is hardly comparable with Jesus because the forms of death and resurrection are completely different.

He wasn’t dead for three days Also, the claim that Horus was born of a virgin named “Isis-Meri” is wrong. His mother was simply named “Isis.” Also, Isis was not a “virgin” when he was born. Isis actually impregnated herself on her husband Osiris andthen she gave birth to Horus. (Click here) This is not a virgin birth. — The claim that Horus was born on December 25th is also wrong. In reality he was born on the second day of the Epagomenal Days which corresponds with July 30 to August 24. (Text link)

  • Before I go on, it should be mentioned that Jesus wasn’t even born on December 25. As a matter of fact, the Bible contradicts this by saying there were shepherds out in the fields the same night of his birth. (Luke 2: 8 ) If this were in December, they would have been sheltered. So the date of December 25 is irrelevant to Christianity.

The next god he mentions that Jesus supposedly mimics is Mithra. — I notice he associates the Roman Mithra with the Persian Mithras. But not several researchers question whether or not the two are really the same god, but in name only. This is because Mithras of Persia and Mithra of Rome are are different in nature. (Text link)

He then claims that Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25. — It is apparently true that Mithra was born on December 25th. But as mentioned, this date is irrelevant to Christian origins and therefore does not matter. It is false that Mithra was born of a virgin. He was, in fact, born from a rock which I suppose could be called a “virgin,” but that is quite an incredible stretch. (click here) There is no evidence that Mithra had twelve diciples. Such a statement comes from a misunderstanding of an inscription of the Zodiac.

It doesn’ matter to me if a Mithraic “holy day” was Sunday. I was raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist andtaught that the Sabbathwas on Saturday. — Also, Jesus being Jewish would have kept Saturday as Sabbath, not Sunday.

Joel Guttormson is wrong to advance the claim that Mithra died, was in the tomb for three days andthen resurrected. The truth is there is no story of Mithra dying at all. All we know is that he acended to heaven in a chariot. (Text Link)

Also, before claiming Mithra could have had influenced Christianity, it has to be mentioned that the earliest trace of Mithraism in the Roman empire is actually post-Christian. The Encyclopedia Britannicaalso confirms this fact pointing out,

There is little notice of the Persian god in the Roman world until the beginning of the 2nd century, but, from the year ad 136 onward, there are hundreds of dedicatory inscriptions to Mithra. This renewal of interest is not easily explained. The most plausible hypothesis seems to be that Roman Mithraism was practically a new creation, wrought by a religious genius who may have lived as late as c. ad 100 and who gave the old traditional Persian ceremonies a new Platonic interpretation that enabled Mithraism to become acceptable to the Roman world.

Since Roman Mithraism indeed appears to be Post-Christian, as described by the Encyclopedia Britannica, then that reduces the chances of it influencing Christianity. More lilkely, Christianity would have influenced Mithraism.

Next, he lists Dionysus, claiming again that he was born on (the irrelevant date of) December 25th of a virgin. — Again, this is not true. Dionysus was the son of Zeus who “slept with Semele secretly“  and then his birth followed. (Source) Contrary to claims, Dionysus didn’t turn water to wine. He was known as the god of wine and showed moral man how to make wine. (Text link)

Dionysus was not known at “God’s only begottenson.” He was the son of Zeus who had lots of sons such as Minos and Perseus. Anyone who has studied, or at least investigated, Greek Mythology can easily disprove this claim. — Joel Guttormson then repeats Zeitgeist’s claims that Dionysus was called “King of Kings” and the “Alpha and Omega. The title of “King of Kings”  is a pretty strange title for Dionysus to have considering the fact that Zeus (not Dionysus) was the King of the Gods. (Text Link)

It is true that there was a death of Dionysus. When he was a newborn he was torn to pieces by Titan assassins andthen boiled. He was then found by his grandmother who revived him. He was then placed under protection. (Click here) This hardly  resembles the story of Jesus .

Guttormson then repeats the alleged ties between Krishna and Jesus. — He repeats that Krishna was born to the virgin Devaki. — Devaki was not a virgin when Krishna was born. Hindu Tradition says he was the last of eight children indicating his mother had children in the usual way. (Source) There is no indication that Krishna’s birth was any more miracolous than the others. There are no three kings (which isn’t even in the Bible) or even a star in the east.

Now what about his death and resurrection? — The fact of the matter is that Krishna was not crucified. According to sacred Hindu writings (See Mahabharata 16: 4 ) he was accidentally shot and killed by a hunter that mistook him for a deer.

The hunter, mistaking  Keshava [or Krishna], who was stretched on the earthin high Yoga, for a deer, pierced him at the heel with a shaft and quickly came to that spot for capturing his prey. Coming up, Jara beheld a man dressed in yellow robes, rapt in Yoga andendued with many arms. Regarding himself an offender, andfilled with fear, he touched the feet of Keshava. The high-souled one comforted him andthen ascended upwards, filling the entire welkin with splendour.

There is no resurrection. Krishna simply ascends to heaven to be with the gods. This doesn’t look anything like the passion and resurrection of Jesus in the slightest.

Next, Joel Guttormson cites a web page which is supposed to tie Jesus to King Oedipus (Clickhere andhere). Looking over the list of parallels, I cannot help but wonder if the originator of the list exagerated the parallels.

It says that the birth of Oedipus was “unusual,” apparently trying to show similarity to Jesus. But when I lookedinto Primary Greek Sources, there was nothing special other than his birth being predicted by an oracle which said he would kill his father and marry his own mother. (Seneca Oedipus) — There are certain parallels between the two given like they “prescribed” ways of behavior. But this kind of parallel is only to be expected (and therefore irrelevant) because one was a king and the other was a prophet.

Also the parallel that neither Jesus and Oepidus had children to succeed is also not relevant because this was not so unusual. Jesus didn’t need (or have) children in the first place. Oepidus, on the other hand, did andthey were killed before his death. — As for them both dying on a mountain (which I do not think is a big deal), it is true that his parents tied Oepidus up and left him to die on mountain, but he was saved. When he died, it was actually in a Shrine at Colonus near Athens. (Source)

Several of the parallels given, though not necessarily all false,  are either exagerated or oversimplified, such as Jesus “reaching manhood he begins to enter his future kingdom.” This particular parallel, I would argue is boardering on “false” because it implies his kingdom is earthly. It was not. — It also calls Oepidusthe son of god. The problem is that every reference I find, other than Guttormson’s, simply calls him the son of Laïus, king of Thebes.  Also, for some reason, it lists Oepidus’ losing favor with the gods as a parallel with Jesus being persecuted. Personally,  I don’t know how this “parallel” works and I would call it false.

Joel Guttormson source gives a number of similarities between Oepius and other figures. He then says,

Jesus gets 18/22 or 81%. Here it is sufficient to suspect this section by adding only that it is obvious that character of Jesus was not unique but may have originated independently, even by first century standards and thus, it is more likely that these characteristics were not inspired by a figure named Jesus.

I beg to differe. With the “similarities” between the two examined, as I have just done, it is actually clear that many of the parallels are 1) trivial, 2) oversimplified, 3) exagerated or 4) down right false. — One of the “similarities” is that we know nothing about their childhood” to which I call “TRIVIAL!”

Is Jesus the Sun God

Again, citing Zeitgeist, Joel Guttormson repeats the claim that 12 disciples of Jesus has to be the same as the 12 Zodiac constellations. But other than the number 12, there is no parallel and therefore can be seen as a coincidence.

He then repeats a claim that is fully dependent of Jesus being born on December 25th. Quoting Zeitgeist, he says that the sun reaches its lowest point on December 22 and stops moving for three days. The claim then is that after three days the sun begins to move back up in the sky.

Guttormson then says,

Here I would like to comment about the Southern Cross constellation. During this time the sun was cruxified, thus giving us, crucified. After which the sun dies, and rises after 3 days.Furthermore, it can be shown that the birth sequence is entirely due to astrology.

Nice. But the problem is it isn’t true. The sun NEVER stops moving! The orbit of the Earth around the sun is a constant ellipse and therefore the movement continues. All one has to do to kow that this claim is false is take an astronomy class. The movement stopping would be a violation of Kepler’s laws of planetary motion and therefore cannot be true.

Also, about the “Southern Cross” — It is impossible for this to have anything to do with Jesus’ birth on the grounds that it was unknown in the ancient world. — It is a Modern Day constellation  discovered in the 16th century AD. There are no Greek or Roman legends about it and it isn’t visible in the most northern latitudes. (Text link) — I would suggest to Joe Guttorsmson to take an astronomy class before he swallows such scientifically and historically inaccurate none-sense, hook line and sinker. — Even if this were true, the argument would fail anyway because Jesus was not born on December 25th.

Next he repeats the claim that Mary is represented by Virgo because it means virgin. –  It is true that Virgo means virgin, but it also means a maiden or a young girl. (Source) Also, it is far more likely that Virgo stands for Astraea, Zeus’ young virgin daughter who was chased away by the what she was offended by in the Bronze Age (Source) According to Greek Mythology, Zeus placed her among the stars and she became Virgo and, except for being a young virgin, has absolutely nothing in common with Mary.

He then tries to tie Virgo to Bethlehem where Jesus was born saying that they both indicate “house of bread.” It is true that Bethlehem, in fact, does mean “house of bread,” (Bible Dictionary Vol. 8 Commentary Reference Series page 136) however there is no evidence that “Virgo” has any such meaning.

Next, in the next attempt to tie Jesus’ birth to astrology, he repeats the claim that the three stars in Orion’s belt are the “three kings” and that the star Sirius is the “star in the east.” — It is true that Sirius is called the “star in the east” and that three stars in Orion’s belt are the “Three kings.” However it is not true that that’s what they were known as in ancient times. The earliest information available in which they are called the “Three Kings” is from the 17th century AD and is therefore about 1,700 years to late to be of any relevance. (Click here) — Even if they were known as such in ancient times it would still be irrelevant for two reasons: 1) They are called “magi,” not kings. And 2) Matthew (the Gospel that tells the story) never specifies their number. Also, it is untrue that Orion’s Belt and Sirius point to the sun’s travel route (Click here).

Next, Joe Guttormson only continues to recycle Zeitgeist’s claims of Jesus alluding to ages of the Zodiac,

For instance, when Jesus is said to feed the multitudes in Matt 14:17, he supposedly does so using two fish. The symbolism of the two fish is taken directly from the Zodiac. Pisces, or Pisces the Two Fish, is the age in which Jesus was supposed to have been born.

For the record, Jesus was born between 7 and 2 BC, technically in the Age of Aries, but considering that it is as that age is closing I guess it is no big deal. — The attempt that Guttormson makes to tie the feeding of the multitude(in Matthew 14: 17) is pretty weak. He doesn’t mention the five loaves of bread that would throw of the alleged astrological symbology.

Other than the mention of two fish, what indication in the context ties this passage to the Age of Pieces? Nothing! He took the Bible out of context.

He then continues,

To show this, we need only look to the New Testament again. Luke 22:8-10 “Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’ ‘ Where do you want us to prepare for it?’ they asked. He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you”. Jesus, supposedly, is referring to the Age of Aquarius, represented as “The Water Bearer”, and as it happens, the Age of Aquarius immediately follows the Age of Pisces, starting around the year 2150AD.

Again, this is completely out of context. The only basis for equating the Age of Aquarius to the water bearer is the fact that he is a water bearer. — Other than this there is no basis for equating the two. This is just another example of the Bible being taken out of context because Jesus gives no reason to assume that he is talking about anything else other than where they will celebrate the Passover. — His tying the water bearer to Aquarius overlooks the fact that water bearers were very common back then because the Jews didn’t have indoor plumbing. Are we to consider every single water bearer from 2,000 years ago as representing Aquarius? The obvious answer is no.

Basically, there is no real basis for tying the Bible to the Zodiac. Apparently Joel Guttormson automatically attributes any mention of fish to Pieces, and any mention of a water bearer to Aquarius, no matter how insane the parallels are.

No evidence of Jesus’ Existence?

Finally, Joe Guttorsmson attempts an attack on the New Testament,

The final argument I shall present herein deals with the yet undeniable fact that there is not a shred of convincing documented evidence outside of the New Testament of the existence of Jesus Christ. Specifically, I am speaking of the Romans, who recorded nearly everything during their time in power. They were systematic and meticulous. Among the things that the Bible mentions that the Roman historians do not, is the slaughter of the innocence also known as the flight to Egypt. It should also be noted about that particular tale, this it is taken directly from the book of Exodus.

He argues that since no Roman Historian mentions the “Slaughter of the Innocence” then therefore it didn’t happen. He then claims it had to have been taken from Exodus. This is a very naive way to look at history. Such a deed was absolutely consistent with how King Herod the Great dealt with affairs. Historians show that Herod became even more murderous near the end of his life — Hint: The Right time for Jesus’ birth! (Text link) There is therefore no reason to believe that it didn’t happen.

As for his claim that no historian mentions Jesus, that is not true. — I am not going to appeal to theTestimonium Flavianum to attempt to prove my point because I realize that will be of no use. However, there is a second passage of Josephus’ writings that mentions Jesus in passing,

Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still upon the road. So Ananus assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of that Jesus who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some of his companions. And when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned.  (Antiquities 20, 200)

This passage mentions the murder of James, brother of Jesus “who is called Christ.” — Unlike for theTestimonium Flavianum the wast majority of scholars believe that this passage is completely authentic.

Robert E. Van Voorst, Professor of New Testament Studies, in his book Jesus Outside the New Testament on pages 83 and 84 affirms that,

The overwhelming majority of scholars holds that the words “the brother of Jesus called Christ” are authentic, as is the entire passage in which it is found. [ . . . ] A Christian interpolator would have used laudatory language to describe Jame and especially Jesus, calling him “the Lord” or something similar. At least, [ . . . ] he would have used the term “Christ” in an absolute way. Josephus’s words “called Christ” are neutral and descriptive, intended neither to confess nor deny Jesus as the “Christ.”

This passage is considered authentic because the language used by Josephus is not what a Christian interpolator would use. Josephus uses neitral language to describe Jesus, while a Christian would not hesitate to slant the language.

Louis H. Feldman, a Josephus Scholar also agrees affirming that the vast majority of scholars accept this passage as authentic. (Josephus, the Bible, and History page 434) This means that secular non-Christian evidence of Jesus does exist from the first century itself. To say otherwise is to fly in the face of the most current and up-to-date scholarship.

Conclusion

Basically, what Joel Guttormson is presenting is a bunch of recycled claims that are easily refuted. Research shows that the gods he cites as similar to Jesus are actually much more different than be apparently knows. The ties to the zodiac are not even convincing to anyone that has actually read the Bible passages that he attempts to connect to the Ages of the Zodiac and they are completely taken out of context. Likewise, there is no evidence that Jesus was ever seen as a Sun god, and considering that Jesus and the first Christians were Jews, it is impossible that that is what he was considered as because such a thing went agaisnt their religion.

Also, it is completely false that no non-Christian doesn’t mention Jesus Christ. Josephus, in his passage about James, gives enough proof that Jesus and his family were known. And even though any ”Christ-Myther” would try to argue that that mention of Jesus is a forgery, the vast majority of scholars believe it to be authentic and therefore first century proof of Jesus’ existence.

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The Parallels Between Jesus and Krishna — A Refutation of Acharya S

In Hinduism, Krishna is said to be an incarnation of the god Vishnu or the eighth avatar. TheEncyclopedia Mythica says that he is also one of the most popular gods in Hindiusm. He is often depicted in art as a child  with blue skin and playing a flute. And in depictions of him as an adult, he appears very feminine-like – at least at I see it.  Historians believe that he was born at around the thirtieth century BC, about 5,000 years ago.

Like in the cases of the alleged “parallels” that Jesus has with several pagan deities (or non deities) like Horus and Buddha (which are refuted  here and here),  D.M. Murdock also then makes the exact same claims about Krishna, saying that “The similarities between the Christian character and the Indian messiah are many.” So, my purpose is to show if her listed claims claims hold water.

She begins her list by claiming that,

Krishna was born of the Virgin Devaki (“Divine One”)

krishna!The only truth in this is that Krishna’s mother’s name was Devaki, and that she is technically divine (Click hereBut is is not true that she was a virgin when Krishna was born. Devaki had a total of eight children. It so happens that Krishna was the youngest which proves she had her fun at least eight times before he was born.

In her footnotes, Ms. Murdock tries to explain this fact away by saying that in Hinduism, Devaki “was considered to have had a miraculous conception.” The problem here is that, with exception of “Jesus-Myth” propaganda, I could find no references that substantiate that this is true. But even if Hinduism taught that Krishna’s birth was miraculous (which it does not), that still wouldn’t explain away the fact that Devaki was not a virgin because we know she had other children before Krishna.

Next, she claims,

His father was a carpenter.

Wrong! — His father Vasudeva was a nobleman, not a carpenter. (Text link) Besides, considering the fact that Devaki was a princess, if he was a carpenter, then he would never have been able to marry her.

His birth was attended by angels, wise men and shepherds, and he was presented with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

This is completely false, and I will bet any amount of money that nobody can find a single Hindu reference which back it up. In the   story of Krishna’s birth, as far as I can tell, the only two that were present were his parents.

He was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants.

This is an attempt to tie Krishna to King Herod’s “slaughter of the innocence” from the Gospel of Matthew, and a similarity does appear to exist. — King Kasma was told in a vision that one of his sister’s sons would destroy him, so he locked her up and killed six of her eight children as soon as they were born. However, Kasma didn’t slaughter thousands of infants, only his nephews were a potential threat to him.

He was of royal descent.

True, but trivial.

He was baptized in the River Ganges.

I can’t find any reliable sources that confirm this.

He worked miracles and wonders.

Even if he did, this wouldn’t be evidence of causation because miracles are only an expectation in religious writings.

He raised the dead and healed lepers, the deaf and the blind.

Again, even if he did, so what? Miracles are only to be expected in religious writings.

Krishna used parables to teach the people about charity and love.

I could be wrong on this one, but I have to conclude that this claim is bogus. But even if it were true, it could be easily explained as a coincidence.

“He lived poor and he loved the poor.”

Considering the fact that Krishna became a king, this is not particularly true.  — But even if true, it would be irrelevant because being poor 5,000 to 2,000 years ago was just a fact of life.

He was transfigured in front of his disciples.

Really? I can’t find any reference for this claim.

In some traditions he died on a tree or was crucified between two thieves.

This is absolutely false! There is no Hindu literature which back it up at all. — Krishna was accidentally shot in the heel by a hunter who thought he was a deer .(See Mahabharata 16: 4 ) Also, the claim that Krishna was crucified is suspicious  because that particular form of capital punishment didn’t exist during his lifetime. Crucifixion first appeared in the 6th century BC, about 2,400 years after Krishna. (Click here)

He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.

He ascended into heaven, but he didn’t rise from the dead. The New World Encyclopedia says that it is commonly believed that he left his body behind. — In other words, the circumstances are completely different from those of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Krishna is called the “Shepherd God” and “Lord of lords,” and was considered “the Redeemer, Firstborn, Sin Bearer, Liberator, Universal Word.”

It is true that Krishna was known by several names. For example, he was called “lord of the whole world,” “all victorious god,” “speaker of truth,” as well as many other titles. ( Source)

But, I cannot find references that confirm that he was known by any of the titles that Ms. Murdock lists, and I would actually argue that there is negative evidence that he was known by some of them. — Krishna would not have been known as the “firstborn” because he was the youngest of eight children.

His disciples bestowed upon him the title “Jezeus,” meaning “pure essence.”

There is no Hindu source that backs this up. But even if such a name was given to Krishna, it wouldn’t indicate causation. — Jesus, who spoke Aramaic, would have answered to the name “Yeshua” which is the true pronunciation, and “Iesous” is the Greek pronunciation. — “Jesus” is only the English pronunciation and is, therefore, irrelevant. So it turns out that Ms. Murdock is playing meaningless word games.

Krishna is to return to do battle with the “Prince of Evil,” who will desolate the earth.

Yet another unsupported claim. But even if it were a true parallel, it would not make any difference because a fight between good are evil are very frequent in religion.

Before Ms. Murdock gives her list of alleged similarities between Jesus and Krishna, she says:

It should be noted that a common earlier English spelling of Krishna was “Christna,” which reveals its relation to ‘”Christ.” It should also be noted that, like the Jewish godman, many people have believed in a historical, carnalized Krishna.

So, now she’s claiming that English spelling can tie Jesus to Krishna. What a hoot!!! — For someone who claims to be a well versed scholar, this is a very unusual tactic to resort to.

There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus was copied from Krishna. The only sources that Ms. Murdock give in her footnotes are from fellow “Jesus-Mythers,” and not one Hindu source is listed. If she were an expert of religious mythology as she claims, then she should be able to back up her claims by using primary sources.

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The Parallels Between Jesus and Horus — A Refutation of Acharya S

The Egyptian god Horus was the sky god and the son of Isis and Osiris. Accorging to Egyptian mythology, his father was murdered by Seth who was his “perpetual antagonist” and was cut into 14 pieces which were scattered all over Egypt. Later Horus, who was raised by his mother in the swamps of the Nile Delta, when he grew to manhood took it upon himself to take revenge on Seth for the murder of his father and after killing him he bacame the king of the unified Egypt.

In ancient Egypt he was was often represented as a falcon and considered the prince of the gods, the patron of young men as well as the protector of the Pharaoh who was believed to be his avatar on earth while alive. Horus is also said to continue his battle with Seth on a daily basis to ensure the world’s safety.

After making claims that Buddha is basically a prototype of Jesus (which are refuted here) D.M. Murdock goes on to claim that there are similar parallels between Jesus and Horus which have been widely repeated by many “Jesus-Mythers” such as the filmakers of Zeitgeist as well as others. — Ms. Murdock’s claims are in bold while my answers are in regular font.

horus13The first claim she makes is that,

Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger, with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.

The idea that Horus’ mother was a virgin at the time of his birth is not found in Egyptian mythology. — What happened was that after Osiris was murdered an cut into pieces by Seth, the goddess Isis traveled though Egypt and was able to find his pieces she then impregnated herself with her husbands phallus (or penis) after which she conceived her son Horus.

The fact that she was Osiris’ wife argues against the idea that Isis was a virgin and undoubtedly their marriage would have been consummated. Also, even if that were not the case, the description of Horus’ conception is miraculous, but it is definitely sexual and therefore does not qualify as a virgin birth.

As for the claim of Horus being born in a manger or a cave, the Encyclopedia Mythica points out that after Isis impregnated herself on her husband’s dead body and conceived her son, she then “gave birth to Horus in the swamps of Khemnis in the Nile Delta,” showing that Ms. Murdock’s claim is completely false.

Not only is the date of December 25th of no importance to Christianity, it so happens that Horus was not even born on that date. His birth was on the second of the five ”Epagomenal Days which actuallycorresponds from July 31st to August 24th.

There is no Egyptian reference confirming that Horus’ mother “Isis-Meri.” She is simply called Isis. — Also, there is no evidence that Horus’ birth was “announced by a star” or that three wise-men attended his birth. Besides in the gospel of Matthew the wise men are not numbered, so even if this were true about Horus it certainly would be irrelevant about Jesus.

He was a child teacher in the Temple and was baptized when he was 30 years old.

I cannot find any confirmation that Horus ever was depicted as a child teacher or that he was even baptized. For this claim in her footnotes Ms. Murdock does not cite any primary or credible source. She qoutes Massey and Mead who have no credibility.

Horus was also baptized by “Anup the Baptizer,” who becomes “John the Baptist.”

I have just mentioned that there is no evidence that Horus was ever baptized. — Besides this fact, “Anup” was just another name for god Anubis who was an embalmer, not a Baptizer like John the Baptist.

He had 12 disciples.

No he didn’t, at least, not as far as any evidence from Egyptian sources indicate. The Egyptologists apparantly have no knowledge of Horus having twelve disciples, so if anyone knows of any evidence that he did then they should contact them right away. — Ms. Murdock just simply throws out this allegation without giving any reference to support this claim in her footnotes.

He performed miracles and raised one man, El-Azar-us, from the dead.

Miracles are an expectation from most gods so even if Horus did perform any miraculous deeds this would not indicate any causation of Christian theology. Besides, I cannot find any reference to any figure named Al-Azar-us in Egyptian mythology.

He walked on water.

Again, there is no evidence of this from any Egyptian or Encyclopedic sources.

Horus was transfigured on the Mount.

No supporting evidence for this claim. Ms. Murdock cites no sources in her footnotes for this supposed claim, whether it be reliable or unreliable.

He was killed, buried in a tomb and resurrected.

The one reference that I could find that describes his death is seeminly unrelated to the Passion of Jesus. Horus was stung him to death by a scorpion. When Isis found him dead she is said to have become “distraught and frantic with grief, and was inconsolable.” – Thoth, who had helped her to revive her husband Osiris, heard her and came down to answer her. Isis was then supplied with incantations and then was able to revive her son. (See: The Cippi of Horus)

In short, even in  this account, Horus’ death way to different from Jesus’ to insist that one account influenced the other. Besides Horus was not said to have been buried in a tomb.

He was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light, the Messiah, God’s Anointed Son, the Son of Man, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, the Word” etc.

Besides the fact that Ms. Murdock does not cite any sources for this claim the term “Messiah” as one of Horus’ titles is suspicious because it is rooted in Hebrew, not the Egyptian language. The title “God’s Anointed Son” is basically a translation of the Hebrew “Messiah” which means “The Annointed” so Ms. Murdock is using two titles for the price of one. — The title “Son of Man” is also suspect because Horus, unlike Jesus, didn’t have an earthly father.

He was “the Fisher,” and was associated with the Lamb, Lion and Fish (“Ichthys”).

Murdock’s source for this claim is Massey cited in a footnote. Massey himself does not even show his own sources and I have not been able to confirm these titles. There is also no Biblical passage with Jesus ever being called ”the fisher” or “Lion and fish” so even if these titles were associated with Horus (which they are not) it would still be irrelevant to Christianity. – Besides, “Ichtys” is Greek, not Egyptian.

Horus’s personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of “Ptah,” the “Father.”

There is no evidence of these claims either. — Besides the fact that Jesus Christ is never spoken about as having a “personal epithet,” the term “Iusa” isn’t even a real word. Perhaps it is a mispronunciation of the Greek “Iesous” which is the Greek transliteration for Jesus’ own name. Considering that it is Greek, not Egyptian, this only makes this claim all the more suspect.

Horus (or Osiris) was called “the KRST,” long before the Christians duplicated the story.

Not only it “KRST” not an Egyptian title, the attempt to compare it to Jesus’ title as “the Christ” is only based on word games because “Christ” (or Kristos) is Greek which is not closely related (if at all) to the Egyptian language. Anyone who has studied a foreign language realizes that from time to time one finds words that are similar to those of their native languages which have completely different meanings. — In Greek, “the Christ” means “the anointed” while “KRST” is the Egyptian word for “burial.” (Text Link)

Before listing her main claims, Ms. Murdock claims that Osiris and Horus (father and son) were ever seen as interchangeable and then implies that Christians see Jesus and his Father in the same way. —Not only have I been unable to confirm that Egyptian mythology taught this, but also Ms. Murdock, by implying that this would be a relevant parallel to Jesus the Son and God the father, shows her ignorance and misunderstanding of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity which is that the one God is made up by three separate persons who are not interchangeable.

The bottom line is that the claims that Ms. Murdock advances to show parallels between Jesus and Horus are only rehashings of unreliable and easily refuted Bull-crap. So until any reliable evidence comes to light that can confirm these alleged parallels between Horus and Jesus, it has to be assumed that they do not exist.

A look at  her footnotes shows that she does not cite one reliable  reputable source. Her only sources are fellow “Jesus-Mythers” whose claims she uncritically repeats. — As I have pointed out in a previous post, it is unusual for someone like Murdock who claims to be a well trained expert of comparative religion and mythology to resort to such tactics to prove her point.

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The Parallels Between Jesus and Buddha — A Refutation of Acharya S

Between the years 563 to 483 BC, there was a man in India named Siddhārtha Gautama better known as the Buddha. He was a man who taught principles for peace, harmony as well as love. He was raised in luxury by his father Shuddodana who was determined to not allow his son to see anything unpleasant. This was to keep the fact that there was ugliness and suffering in the world away from him.

One day when Siddhārtha was twenty-nine, he asked his father if he could visit a neighboring city. His father decided to allow him, but also attempted to have the entire city cleaned before his son should arrive. This tactic worked at first, but Siddhārtha strayed away from the rout that his father was counting on him taking and then he saw four different men on which the “four signs” were based: One was old, one was ill, one was dead and the fourth was a beggar. And frm this he came to the realization that even he would grow old and die and he began wondering what was the point of life if one was going to die. From then on he renounced his life of ease to begin a life of begging on the streets.

– By the age of 35, he had supposedly gained great insight of the causes of pain and suffering and how to eliminate it and later he ban to teach. Among his teachings, he taught the “four noble truths” which claim that 1) all life is suffering, 2) that desire causes suffering, 3) one can overcome suffering, and 4) that is would be overcome by following the Eight Fold Path.

buddhaSeveral in the “Jesus Myth” crowd have attempted to tie the Buddha to Jesus Christ by mentioning several apparent similarities between the two. — D.M. Murdock, otherwise known as Acharya S, has been one of many of the mythers that do this. Following, her claims are placed in bold while my responses are in regular font.

Buddha was born of the virgin Maya, who was considered the “Queen of Heaven.”

It is certainly true that the birth of Siddhārtha Gautama was miraculous in itself, however the claim that his mother Maya was a virgin is unsubstantiated and isn’t found in Buddhist writings. The fact is that Buddhist tradition points out that Maya and her husband King Suddhodhana were already married for twenty years before their son was born which argues all out against Queen Maya’s virginity. Most certainly, their marraige would have been consumated long before Siddhārtha Gautama’s birth. (Text link)

If Ms. Murdock’s mention of Maya being the “Queen of Heaven” is an attempt to link her to the virgin Mary, then it should also be mentioned that the idea of such a title for Mary is purely Roman Catholic and has no Biblical basis. Protestant Christianity, which is more based on the Bible than Catholicismdoes not recognize Mary in any such way.

He was of royal descent.

This is true for both Jesus and Buddha, however it is also incidental with absolutely no relevance at all. Arguing that this is a relevant parallel is like saying that since Queen Elizabeth I of England and Nero, the Roman Emperor were both of royal descent that they are therefore connected. Such reasoning just doesn’t work.

He crushed a serpent’s head.

I cannot find any evidence that this was said about Buddha. Even if it was, it certainly is not said about Jesus in any of the four Gospels or (as far as I know) in the New Testament at all.  — The crushing of the serpent’s head (which is considered a Messianic prophesy) actually comes from Genesis 3: 15 which was written is at least 1397 BC over 800 before the Buddha was born. This pretty much means that even if such a thing was ever said about Buddha the Hebrew Bible had the saying many centuries before Buddhism ever had existed and therefore Jesus being a Jew would not have had to imitate Buddhism for this one detail.

The fact of the matter is that “crushing a serpent’s head” is actually out of the Buddha’s character because he had resolved not to harm a single creature. As a matter of fact there is a story of himprotecting a serpent. (The Story of Buddha, page 7)

Sakyamuni Buddha had 12 disciples.

This is most definitely not true. — At first the Buddha, after his renunciation, had five companions (The Story of Buddha, Pages 40 & 41). Later on, not counting the Buddha’s immediate family or royal patrons, he had a total of eleven male disciples, nine female disciples, and five lay disciples making a total of twenty-five, more than double. (Click here)

In her footnotes Ms. Murdock cites a  Travel Guide page as proof  of  “the motif of Buddha and the 12.” The page she refers to mentions a large statue of Buddha accompanied by twelve smaller Buddhas. — The problem here is that this imagery comes from the Chinese Yuan Dynasty which is dated from the 13th and 14th centuries AD. So even if this was a reflection of Jesus’ twelve disciples, it’s from a period way too late to have affected Christianity. Buddhist tradition shows, however, that the Buddha had more than twelve followers.

Besides, her source suggests that this particular scene is the “Nirvana.” If this interpretation is correct then I must point out that Buddhist tradition says that the Buddha at the time was surrounded by 500 arachants who committed to memory his teachings. (The Story of Buddha, Page 93) If this is the case then the only reason that the Buddhist relief she refers to shows twelve men is because it is much easier than depicting 500.

He performed miracles and wonders, healed the sick, fed 500 men from a “small basket of cakes,” and walked on water.

It is true that the Buddha is associated with miracles. But this hardly proves anything because it goes without saying that miracle-workers are an expectation in any religion and therefore this alone does not imply any imitation on Jesus’ part.

Even though it is true that the Buddha did care for the sick, he used a much different method than Jesus who healed with a touch and even over long distances. Buddha would treat his patients with hot water and would bathe them. There were various patients that Buddha treated that didn’t regain their health and even died, which is not the case with Jesus. (Text Link)

I can’t find any Buddhist or Encyclopedic sources that show that Buddha fed 500 people with a “small basket of cakes.” Besides, it should be mentioned that Jesus didn’t use cakes, but rather five loaves of bread and two fish. — And as for the last claim of walking on water, this one is true. But it is also true that this parallel has its differences because the Buddha is said to have accomplished this by “levitating over a stream” to convert a non-believer to Buddhism. Jesus didn’t levitate, he just walked. And he didn’t do it to convert anyone. (Text Link)

 

He abolished idolatry, was a “sower of the word,” and preached “the establishment of a kingdom of righteousness.”

It would be a true statement to say that Buddha “asked his followers not to create images of him when he died,” though this doesn’t seem to be an actual command. But this really is not an issue because Buddhism is a “Non-Theistic” religion. (Click here)  Buddhist do bow to Buddha which, at least from a Christian perspective, is defined as Idolatry. — It should be mentioned that Jesus did not “abolish Idolatry,” nor did he need to because it was already legally prohibited by Jewish law. (Exodus 20: 4)

As for the last two claims that Buddha was a “sower of the word” and preached “the establishment of the kingdom of righteousness” — I can find absolutely no reference to them.

He taught chastity, temperance, tolerance, compassion, love, and the equality of all.

Okay, and so did Gandhi, Seneca and many others. These are very common ideas,  way too common to just assume that Jesus copied them from Buddha. Though these ideas are held in common between both Christianity and Buddhism, the truth is that there are differences between the two. The philosophical foundations of the two religions are actually quite different. (Text Link)

He was transfigured on a mount.

This is not true. He was transformed into the Buddha while he sat under a tree in a region in Northern India known as Bodhgaya. (Text Link) — I have been informed in an E-Mail correspondance by Eyal Aviv of George Washington University that this area is not even a mountain region.

Sakya Buddha was crucified in a sin-atonement, suffered for three days in hell, and was resurrected.

Again, this is completely false. Buddha did not die of crucifixion or even as a “sin-atonement.” He became ill and died at age eighty after eating a large meal of  “soft pork” which, according to a diagnosis of his sickness, was too large for his digestive system. (Click here) Also, he was not raised from the dead, rather his body was cremated after death. (Source)

As for suffering in hell for three days in hell, this is not true of either Buddha or Jesus.

He ascended to Nirvana or “heaven.”

Here, Ms. Murdock is showing blatant ignorance of the concept of “Nirvana.” — Nirvana is not a place, and it certainly isn’t “heaven.” It is to live on earth in a state of enlightenment which ends the cursed cycle of reincarnation for a Buddhist. (Click here)

Buddha was considered the “Good Shepherd”, the “Carpenter”, the “Infinite and Everlasting.”

There is no evidence that Buddha was ever called the “good Shepherd or even the “Carpenter.” — It is true that one sect of Buddhism (Mahayana) contains the idea of an everlasting Buddha.” But this is virtually a meaningless parallel between Jesus and Buddha considering the number of debunked parallel claims between the two made by Ms. Murdock.

He was called the “Savior of the World” and the “Light of the World.”

For once, there is truth to this. After Siddhārtha was born, a sage names Asita told his parents that if he renounced a life of luxury at the court he would indeed become the “savior of the world.” (Text Link) I cannot find a mention of Buddha being “the light of the world.” But even if it exists, it would not prove anyone did any copying.

After making these debunked claims, Ms. Murdock cites  Dr. Christian Lindtner to further prove her point that Jesus was copied from Buddhism. — Even though Dr. Lindtner is recognized in the field, he is also a noted “Jesus-Myther.” Many of the claims Ms. Murdock quotes him as saying have already been debunked such as the alleged “crucifixion” of Buddha and the “twelve disciples,” so I’m not going into too much detail. The fact that he is willing to make such easily refuted claims shows blatant dishonesty on his part.

Interestingly, he lists the “last supper” as a parallel between Jesus and Buddha. Though it is true that they had a “last supper,” the details of the two are completely different. Buddha simply ate his meal, got sick and died. — In Jesus’ case, the event was used to declare that he would be betrayed, killed and resurrected. This is way too different to assume that one account influenced the other.

He then repeats the claim that Buddha was resurrected but he leaves out the fact that if this were true then that would mean he never attained “Nirvana,” the  point of which was to prevent resurrection or reincarnation. But no dedicated Buddhist would accept this because this would mean that Buddha was not actually a Buddha. – Considering that he is recognized in this field and that his claims are so easily disproved, I unfortunately have to question his honesty.

As I was researching for this blog post, I e-mailed Ms. Murdock’s claims of Jesus-Buddha parallels to several professors of Buddhism and I received a response from Eyal Aviv, Assistant Professor of the Department of Religion at George Washington University who said,

Generally, the claims made in the website you read are historically so problematic that I can simply say that they are not true [ . . . ] I would recommend you to be cautious with Web sources and rely on authoritative scholars or  religious writers from within the respective traditions you are interested in.

The truth is that even though there is what could be construed as evidence of Buddhist influence on Christianity, it is basically inconclusive. And just because there are certain similarities, this does not indicate beyond doubt that the similarities between them are a result of Buddhist influence on Christianity. (Text Link)

– So in conclusion, the claims that are made by Ms. Murdock (a.k.a., Acharya S) about parallels between Jesus and Buddha are mostly untrue. The claims that are true are so few in number and therefore can be assumed to be coincidence. Not to mention, in her list of parallels, she jumps to certain conclusions that lead her to misunderstand basic teachings of Buddhism. Considering the fact that Ms. Murdock claims to be an expert in comparative religion, this is pretty odd.

 

Solving slavery in the bible

Surely this above picture is quite disgusting, slavery is one of the most cruel, inhuman crimes by far… The slavery during the Colonialist era stand as one of the saddest pages of human history, thankfully it has been finally abolished (at least in the paper, because in reality, it still occurs all over the world…), and, due to this disgusting barbarity, many people look down on the bible, disdaining and condemning it as an evil book, and thus, accusing God of condoning it.. But what was the reality behind slavery/servitude (note: ebed (עֶ֫בֶד) is a Hebraic word used in bible and refers to both equally)? Was “biblical” slavery equal to that made on black people?

In OT times, there was no social welfare paid by government, retirement, pension, like we have today in countries like USA, Sweden, Finland, etc.. People lived on plantation, livestock, things totally dependent on abundant water, favorable climate, etc.. It would occurs that a drought took place, devastating crops, killing cattle, and/or thieves, bands could come and steal family’s yield.. Thus, family’s livelihood would be totally lost, and they obviously would starving to death.

The only, radical solution was therefore sell themselves and/or any relative as servants (Exodus 21:7; Leviticus 25:39, 2 Kings 4.1 for example) to richer families or slave traders. So, obviously, God hasn’t started, rectified slavery, He only implemented laws for the benefit of those servants/slaves! He has solely regulated what the humankind used to practice in those eras.

In Jesus’ time, during Roman Empire of course, the servitude was even easier, softer, and occurred mostly for the same reasons like that of OT times, and also by Roman and other nations joining battles, whence the conquered people were taken as spoil, and sold as slaves.

Let’s read  this piece of an article write on Bible.org website:

“1. Slavery in the first century was quite different from slavery in early American history. For one thing, Roman slaves were either taken as the spoils of war or were such because they sold themselves into slavery (known as “bond-servant”). They were often well-educated (cf. Gal 3:24 in which the “tutor” or better “disciplinarian” or “guide” of the children was usually a slave). The normal word for “slave” in the New Testament is the term dou’lo”, a term that in earlier centuries usually referred to one who sold himself into slavery; later on, it was used especially of those who became slaves as the spoils of war.

2. Although the masters had absolute rights over their slaves, they generally showed them respect, very unlike the South in the days of Lincoln. They often treated them with human dignity and, although they could beat them, such does not seem to be as regular a practice as it was in America. Slaves could marry, accumulate wealth, purchase their own freedom, run a business, etc. Cicero noted that a slave could usually be set free within seven years; in any case, under Roman law a slave would normally be set free by age 30. All this can be overstated, however. The revolt led by Spartacus in 73 BC caused Rome to treat slaves from the western regions more harshly (very similar to how black slaves were treated). Eastern slaves, however, enjoyed much greater freedom.

3. As much as two thirds of the Roman empire were slaves (before the first century it was as high as 90%). By the first century AD an increasingly large number of slaves were being freed?so much so that Caesar had to write up laws that governed the procedure! Quite different from the Old South where only South Carolina had more slaves than freemen (so far as I know).”

Surely this explains why have Jesus and the apostles seemed mostly silent in regard of this delicate subject, and even looked like they were demanding submission from the slaves to their owners!

The Lord in fact worried much more about the worst slavery of all: slavery of sin:

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (John 8:34)

Else, take a look in this verse:

And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 21.16)

See? With only this verse we can obliterate any accusation of bible condoning of slavery. But, there are some other intriguing verses, such as:

Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.

And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor.” (Leviticus 25.44-46)

Is God xenophobic? No way! Even in OT period He held a esteem for non-Israelite people:

“You shall not wrong an alien, neither shall you oppress him, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 22.21)

“‘If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.” (Leviticus 19.33)

“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap into the corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest: you shall leave them for the poor, and for the foreigner. I am Yahweh your God.'” (Lev 23.22)

“One law and one ordinance shall be for you, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner with you.'” (Numbers 15.16)

“I commanded your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the foreigner who is living with him.” (Deuteronomy 1.16)

“He (The LORD) does execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the foreigner, in giving him food and clothing.” (Deut 10.18)

“You shall not wrest the justice due to the foreigner, or to the fatherless, nor take the widow’s clothing to pledge;” (Deut. 24.17)

“Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deut. 27.19)

“Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.” (2 Chronicles 6:33)

“(the foreigner has not lodged in the street, but I have opened my doors to the traveler);” (Job 31.32)

“3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” (Isaiah 56)
God loves each human equally, and demands justice equally, whether Jew or Gentile… So, what was the purpose of allowing His people to buy foreigner slaves?

Well, we must remind that those foreigner were captured, and sold by other foreigner people (which did not knew God’s commandment against slave-trading), and were to be sold to another stranger nations, and being at risk of maltreating, abusing,  and worse, knowing local paganism and lost their salvation.

Being bought by Israelite persons, they at least could live in a society endowed with laws dealing with servant/slave rights, as we’ll see later, and also, know the only God, and get salvation.

And don’t get worried with the expression “and they shall be your possession.”, surely the servants were meant to live forever with their owners, almost like relatives, domestic, 

however if they suffered any trouble, offense, violence, abuse, they could easily flee, leave, and different to the situation that of black slaves (which should, by law, be catched and reclaimed, returned to his/her owner):

 

15 You shall not deliver to his master a servant who is escaped from his master to you:

 

16 he shall dwell with you, in the midst of you, in the place which he shall choose within one of your gates, where it pleases him best: you shall not oppress him.(Deuteronomy 23)

 

 

 

Another verses commonly pointed by critics of bible is the following:

 

 

 

“If a man strikes his servant or his maid with a rod, and he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished.

 

 

Notwithstanding, if he gets up after a day or two, he shall not be punished, for he is his property.(Exodus 21.20,21)

 

 

They claim that God is allowing wantom violence towards slaves, but, is that the case?

 

Surely it isn’t true, when we look back to the 21th chapter of Exodus, from the beginning, we notice that the chapter is listing ordinances concerning many subjects, and, from the 12th verse on it’s describing different crimes and also penalties, punishments, which includes the 20 and 21 verses. If God condoned violence against slaves, He would not declare the following words, in the same chapter :

 

“If a man strikes his servant’s eye, or his maid’s eye, and blinds it, he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake.

 

If he strikes out his male servant’s tooth, or his female servant’s tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake. (Exodus 21.26,27)

 

 

Automatic, unconditionalmanumission in the case of injury…

 

Well, let’s see a summary of other benefits and rights that the servant/slave had according to OT:

 

 

 

but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your MALE SERVANT, nor your FEMALE SERVANT, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates;(Exodus 20.10 and other verses)

 

Every 7th day of the week was a full day of rest even for servants/slaves.

 

 

3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruits;

 

4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to Yahweh. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.

 

5 What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap, and the grapes of your undressed vine you shall not gather. It shall be a year of solemn rest for the land.

 

6 The Sabbath of the land shall be for food for you; for yourself, for your SERVANT, for your maid, for your hired SERVANT, and for your stranger, who lives as a foreigner with you. (Leviticus 25)

 

 

 

Each 7th year was a Sabbatic year, an entire one without sowing, cropping, seeding, work on fields!

 

11 then it shall happen that to the place which Yahweh your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the wave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which you vow to Yahweh.

 

12 You shall rejoice before Yahweh your God, you, and your sons, and your daughters, and your MALE SERVANTS, and your FEMALE SERVANTS, and the Levite who is within your gates, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you.(Deuteronomy 12)

 

 

 

The servants had the right to join the offerings, sacrifices, and REJOICE with their owners, like any blood relative did!

 

 

 

Abram said, “Lord Yahweh, what will you give me, since I go childless, and he who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” (Genesis 15:2 )

 

Look, a servant (Eliezer) could even inherit their owners, in certain cases.

 

13 “If I have despised the cause of my male SERVANT or of my female SERVANT, when they contended with me;

 

14 What then shall I do when God rises up? When he visits, what shall I answer him?

 

15 Didn’t he who made me in the womb make him? Didn’t one fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31)

 

 

 

The bible never considered servants/slaves, women and foreigners like a lower category, even servants were/are equally qualified to be heard, cared by God, Who created everyone according to His own image. (meanwhile, even renowned persons like Lincoln, Arthur Jensen, Francis Galton, Carl Linnaeus, Georges Cuvier, Christoph Meiners, Voltaire, Benjamin Rush, Charles White and others held an unequal vision, even racist ideas)

 

 

 

At the New Testament:

 

 

 

You masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with him.(Ephesians 6:9)

 

Here, Paul is ordaining the Christian owners of slaves as to how they should treat them (of course he has not directed the order to non-Christian slave owners, for they obviously did not obey the bible)

 

Masters, give to your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” (Colossians 4.1)

 

Paul reasserts here the commandment concerning Christian slave owners.

 

Paul wrote to Philemon the following:

 

 

8 Therefore, though I have all boldness in Christ TO COMMAND YOU THAT WHICH IS APPROPRIATE,

 

9 yet for love’s sake I rather beg, being such a one as Paul, the aged, but also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

 

10 I BEG FOR MY CHILD, whom I have become the father of in my chains, Onesimus,

 

11 who once WAS USELESS TO YOU, but now is useful to you and to me.

 

12 I am sending him back. Therefore receive him, that is, my own heart,

 

13 whom I desired to keep with me, that on your behalf he might serve me in my chains for the Good News.

 

14 But I was willing to do nothing without your consent, that your goodness would not be as of necessity, but of free will.

 

15 For perhaps he was therefore separated from you for a while, that you would have him forever,

 

16 NO LONGER AS A SLAVE, but more than a SLAVE a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much rather to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

 

 

 

Plain simple: Paul was subtly, keenly (unwilling to make use of his apostolic authority over Philemon) advising Philemon that he should free Onesimus, his slave, and receive him as a brother!

 

 

 

Well, I think this small article is enough to solve this complicated subject in the bible, don’t notice my grammar, linguistic errors, and may God bless you and your family!

 

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