By Prayson Daniel
Is Christianity A Copy-Cat of Attis Myth?
“Attis was born of a virgin on December 25.¹ … was Crucified. ² … was resurrected after three days.³”
The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Acharya S(Ms. Murdock) is a book to which the youtube popular movie Zeigeist based, which argues that Christ Jesus story is just another myth of dying and rising gods. Is that true?
Some Atheist and Ex-Christian endorsed Achary S work of Christianity being the greatest mythical story ever sold. Is there truth in it?
“Ms. Murdock is one of only a tiny number of scholars with the richly diverse academic background (and the necessary courage) to adequately address the question of whether Jesus Christ truly existed as a walking-talking figure in first-century Palestine.” —David Mills, Atheist Universe
“The Christ Conspiracy – very, very scholarly and wholly researched – is a book for today…” —Rev. B. Strauss, ex-Catholic Priest, Chicago, IL
Is Acharya S correct? Is Christ Jesus another Attis? Let us examine…
Checking Truthfulness of Attis
In Refuting Mithra Myth Parallelism To Christianity article I pointed out that Christ Jesus been born on 25th December and Three Kings visiting story are not Biblical or Historical supported and it was not until over 300 years later after the rise of Christianity, was the birth of Jesus pinned to 25th December. To the Three kings, historical document record of no three Kings visiting at the birth but magi(wise men from the East) to which there number is unknown.
Is Attis born of a Virgin?
Attis’ Mother, Nana; Naiad Nymph
Nana was a Naiad Nymph of the Phrgyian River Saggarios. She was accidentally impregnated by an almond which fell into her lap from a tree which had from the genitals of Agdistis.(Source: Pausanias, Guide to Greece – Greek Geography C2nd AD)
“The gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ. There grew up from it an almond-tree with its fruit ripe, and a daughter of the river Sangarios, they say, took the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy [Attis] was born, and exposed, but was tended by a he-goat.” – Pausanias, Guide to Greece 7.17.8
Attis born by Nana impregnated by an almond fallen from a tree that was germinated from the severed genitals of Agdistis (Pausanias 7.17.8)
Attis’ Father; Agdistis A Hermaphroditic Creature
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. C19th Classics Encyclopedia
AGDISTIS was a hermaphroditic creature born of Gaia (Earth) when she was accidentally impregnated by the sleeping sky-god Zeus. The gods feared the strange twy-gendered creature and castrated it. It was then Kybele, the great Phrygian goddess.
AGDISTIS (Agdistis), a mythical being connected with the Phrygian. worship of Attes or Atys. Pausanias (vii. 17. § 5) relates the following story about Agdistis. On one occasion Zeus unwittingly begot by the Earth a superhuman being which was at once man and woman, and was called Agdistis. The gods dreaded it and unmanned it, and from its severed aidoia there grew up an almond-tree. Once when the daughter of the river-god Sangarius was gathering the fruit of this tree, she put some almonds into her bosom ; but here the almonds disappeared, and she became the mother of Attes, who was of such extraordinary beauty, that when he had grown up Agdistis fell in love with him. His relatives, however, destined him to become the husband of the daughter of the king of Pessinus, whither he went accordingly. But at the moment when the hymeneal song had commenced, Agdistis appeared, and Attes was seized by a fit of madness, in which he unmanned himself; the king who had given him his daughter did the same. Agdistis now repented her deed, and obtained from Zeus the promise that the body of Attes should not become decomposed or disappear. This is, says Pausanias, the most popular account of an otherwise mysterious affair, which is probably part of a symbolical worship of the creative powers of nature. A hill of the name of Agdistis in Phrygia, at the foot of which Attes was believed to be buried, is mentioned by Pausanias. (i. 4. § 5.) According to Hesychius (s. v.) and Strabo (xii. p. 567; comp. x. p. 469), Agdistis is the same as Cybele, who was worshipped at Pessinus under that name. A story somewhat different is given by Arnobius. (Adv. Gent. ix. 5. § 4 ; comp. Minuc. Felix, 21.)
“The local [Phrygian] legend about him [Attis] being this. Zeus [equated here with the Phrygian sky-god], it is said, let fall in his sleep seed upon the ground, which in course of time sent up a Daimon, with two sexual organs, male and female. They call the daimon Agdistis. But the gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ. There grew up from it an almond-tree with its fruit ripe, and a daughter of the river Sangarios, they say, took the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy was born, and exposed, but wastended by a he-goat. As he grew up his beauty was more than human, and Agdistis fell in love with him. When he had grown up, Attis was sent by his relatives to Pessinos, that he might wed the king’s daughter. The marriage-song was being sung, when Agdistis appeared, and Attis went mad and cut off his genitals, as also did he who was giving him his daughter in marriage. But Agdistis repented of what she had done to Attis, and persuaded Zeus to grant the body of Attis should neither rot at all nor decay. These are the most popular forms of the legend of Attis.” – Pausanias, Guide to Greece 7.17.8
Summary of Attis Conception
A god Agdistis male organ cut off, which becomes a seed of almond-tree that grew and gave fruits which Nana picks and get impregnated by them, then comes Nana give birth to Attis. If Nana was a virgin, then we could say its a kind of a virgin birth but unlike that of Christ Jesus, since Jesus is said to be out of a seed of a woman(Genesis 3:15) namely without a biological Father. Was Nana a virgin? I am still searching for a Historical record that will affirm.
Getting to know Attis’ life, and death:
ATTIS was a Phrygian vegetation god, the consort of the great Mother Kybele. He was forced by the goddess to castrate himself in a mad frenzy as punishment for his infidelity. Initiates into the eunuch priesthood of Kybele, called the Gallai, re-enacted the myth with their self-castration.
Attis was closely identified by the Greeks with Iasion, consort of the Great Mother in the Mysteries of Samothrake. His story was also the likely source for the Greek tale of Aphrodite’s love for the youth Ankhises on Mount Ida in the Troad.
Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. C19th Classics Encyclopedia.
ATYS, ATTYS, ATTES, ATTIS, or ATTIN (Atus, Attus, Attês, Attis or Attin). A son of Nana, and a beautiful shepherd of the Phrygian town, Celaenae. (Theocr. xx. 40; Philostr. Epist. 39; Tertul. de Nat. 1.) His story is related in different ways. According to Ovid (Fast. iv. 221), Cybele loved the beautiful shepherd, and made him her own priest on condition that he should preserve his chastity inviolate. Atys broke the covenant with a nymph, the daughter of the river-god Sangarius, and was thrown by the goddess into a state of madness, in which he unmanned himself. When in consequence he wanted to put an end to his life, Cybele changed him into a firtree, which henceforth became sacred to her, and she commanded that, in future, her priests should be eunuchs. (Compare Arnob. adv. Gent. v. 4, and AGDISTIS.)
Attis changed into a firtree. This is not death by crucifixion and resurrection as the Zeitgeist youtube movie want us to believe , or is it!
Another story relates, that Atys, the priest of Cybele, fled into a forest to escape the voluptuous embraces of a Phrygian king, but that he was overtaken, and in the ensuing struggle unmanned his pursuer. The dying king avenged himself by inflicting the same calamity upon Atys. Atys was found by the priests of Cybele under a fir-tree, at the moment he was expiring. They carried him into the temple of the goddess, and endeavoured to restore him to life, but in vain. Cybele ordained that the death of Atys should be bewailed every year in solemn lamentations, and that henceforth her priests should be eunuchs. (Galloi, Galli, Serv. ad Aen. ix. 116; comp. Lobeck, ad Phrynich. p. 273.)
Attis found expiring, tried to be restored by the priests but that went in vain. Death, with no resurrection.
A third account says, that Cybele, when exposed by her father, the Phrygian king Maeon, was fed by panthers and brought up by shepherdesses, and that she afterwards secretly married Atys, who was subsequently called Papas. At this moment, Cybele was recognised and kindly received by her parents; but when her connexion with Atys became known to them, Maeon ordered Attis, and the shepherdesses among whom she had lived, to be put to death. Cybele, maddened with grief at this act of her father, traversed the country amid loud lamentations and the sound of cymbals. Phrygia was now visited by an epidemic and scarcity. The oracle commanded that Attis should be buried, and divine honours paid to Cybele; but as the body of the youth was already in a state of decomposition, the funeral honours were paid to an image of him, which was made as a substitute. (Diod. iii. 58, &c.)
Attis is put to death, dies, and start to decaying. No death by crucifixion and resurrection in 3 days.
According to a fourth story related by Pausanias (vii. 17. § 5), Atys was a son of the Phrygian king Calaus, and by nature incapable of propagating his race. When he had grown up, he went to Lydia, where he introduced the worship of Cybele. The grateful goddess conceived such an attachment for him, that Zeus in his anger at it, sent a wild boar into Lydia, which killed many of the inhabitants, and among them Atys also. Atys was believed to be buried in Pessinus under mount Agdistis. (Paus. i. 4. § 5.)
Attis is killed by a wild boar and buried in Pessinus, No crucifixion, and no resurrection.
“The people of Dyme [in Akhaia] … have as well a sanctuary built for the Dindymenian mother [Rhea-Kybele] and Attis. As to Attis, I could learn no secret about him, but Hermesianax, the elegiac poet, says in a poem that he was the son of Galaos the Phrygian, and that he was a eunuch from birth. The account of Hermesianax goes on to say that, on growing up, Attis migrated to Lydia and celebrated for the Lydians the orgies of the Mother; that he rose to such honor with her that Zeus, being wroth at it, sent a boar to destroy the tillage of the Lydians. Then certain Lydians, with Attis himself, were killed by the boar, and it is consistent with this that the Gauls who inhabit Pessinos abstain from pork. But the current view about Attis is different, the local legend about him being this. Zeus, it is said, let fall in his sleep seed upon the ground, which in course of time sent up a demon, with two sexual organs, male and female. They call the daimon Agdistis [Kybele]. But the gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ. There grew up from it an almond-tree with its fruit ripe, and a daughter of the river Sangarios, they say, took of the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy was born, and exposed, but was tended by a he-goat. As he grew up his beauty was more than human, and Agdistis [Kybele] fell in love with him. When he had grown up, Attis was sent by his relatives to Pessinos, that he might wed the king’s daughter. The marriage-song was being sung, when Agdistis appeared, and Attis went mad and cut off his genitals, as also did he who was giving him his daughter in marriage. But Agdistis repented of what he had done to Attis, and persuaded Zeus to grant that the body of Attis should neither rot at all nor decay. These are the most popular forms of the legend of Attis.” – Pausanias, Guide to Greece 7.19.9-12
“The Pergameni took Ankyra and Pessinos which lies under Mount Agdistis, where they say that Attis lies buried.” – Pausanias, Guide to Greece 1.4.5
Zeus in his cruelty sent a boar that killed Attis.
On a current legend of Attis , Zeus seed(masturbated sperm) fall unto ground and the ground give birth to demon with both male and female sexual organs Agdistis(Attis’ Father) whom the gods feared and cut off Agdistis’ male organ.
From Agdistis male organ was cut off grew almond-tree, and when its fruits were ripe, a daughter of the river Sangarios(Nana) took up a fruit and laid it in her bosom where at once disappeared and she was with a child(Attis)
Attis grew up tended by a he-goat and turn out to be so beautiful that Agdistis’(Attis’ Father and daughter of Zeus) whom now only have a woman sex organ, fell in love Attis.
Attis sent by his relative to wed the king’s daughter, when the marriage-song was being sung, Agdistis appeared, and this drove Attis mad, as he cut off his own genitals which he bled to death.
Agdistis persuade Zeus to allow that Attis body should neither rot nor decay.
It a kind of a virgin birth if and only if Nana was a virgin, which we can not tell. No crucifixion and no resurrection.
“What causes the impulse [of the devotees of Kybele] to self-castrate?’ I was silent. The Pierid [Mousa] began: ‘A woodland Phrygian boy, the gorgeous Attis, conquered the towered goddess with pure love. She wanted to keep him as her shrine’s guardian, and said, ‘Desire to be a boy always.’ He promised what was asked and declared, ‘If I lie, let the Venus [Aphrodite] I cheat with be my last.’ He cheats, and in the Nympha Sagaritis stops being what he was: the goddess’ wrath punished him. She slashes the tree and cuts the Naiad down. The Naiad dies: her fate was the tree’s. He goes mad, and imagines that the bedroom roof is falling and bolts to Dindymus’ heights. He cries, ‘Away torches!’, ‘Away whips!’, and often swears the Palestine goddesses have him. He even hacked his body with a jagged stone, and dragged his long hair in squalid dirt, shouting, ‘I deserved it; my blood is the penalty. Ah, death to the parts which have ruined me!’ ‘Ah, death to them!’ he said, and cropped his groin’s weight. Suddenly no signs of manhood remained. His madness became a model: soft-skinned acolytes toss their hair and cut their worthless organs.” – Ovid, Fasti 4.222
Attis goes mad, hacked his own body with a jagged stone and dragged his long hair in squalid dirt and cropped his groin’s weight. Cut of(put to death) the parts which have ruined him(His male sex organs) Suddenly no signs of manhood remained.
Attis was not crucified. Some accounts Attis is being driven insane by his lover(Agdistis/Cybele, whom is practically Attis’ own dad) who found Attis in the arms of a nymph. The insanity lead Attis to castrates himself and he bleeds to death in the forest and remain dead and other accounts killed by a boar.
“The Pergameni took Ankyra and Pessinos which lies under Mount Agdistis, where they say that Attis lies buried.” – Pausanias, Guide to Greece 1.4.5
Attis did not resurrect. The great mother goddess Cybele asked Zeus to preserve Attis and he does with the only signs being that Attis’ hair continues and his little finger continuously moves. The supposed resurrection stories of Attis comes A.D 150, to late for Christian to copy.
Is Christ Jesus another Attis? Nope, not at all.
These claims are not new objection to Christianity, as 2 Peter 1 :16-18 answers almost the same kind of objection:
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.(2 Peter 1:16-18 ESV)
To A Christian:
One of the greatest command is to love God with all your mind, and that we are called to be ready to give defense to the hope that we hold with love and gentleness. Thus I plea that you live a life of a Biblical Christians, be ready to give defense of the faith that you hold in Christ Jesus, by sharpen your thinking, taking Logic class, Historical, Theological and Philosophical foundation of Christianity.
Know what you believe and why you believe with reasons and evidences thus when your faith is shaken, the facts hold you on solid ground.
To Jesus-Myth/Copycat Theory Advocate.
The Burden of Proof is on your side, the responsibility of proving a disputed allegation is place on the affirming side. Copycat Theory advocate affirms that Christianity is a copycat of other myth, to which Christians deny.
I will conclude with the late great evangelical philosopher and apologist Ronald Nash’ Seven Arguments Agaist Christian Dependence of The Mysteries in the Article “Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions”
I conclude by noting seven points that undermine liberal efforts to show that first-century Christianity borrowed essential beliefs and practices from the pagan mystery religions.
- (1) Arguments offered to “prove” a Christian dependence on the mysteries illustrate the logical fallacy of false cause. This fallacy is committed whenever someone reasons that just because two things exist side by side, one of them must have caused the other. As we all should know, mere coincidence does not prove causal connection. Nor does similarity prove dependence.
- (2) Many alleged similarities between Christianity and the mysteries are either greatly exaggerated or fabricated. Scholars often describe pagan rituals in language they borrow from Christianity. The careless use of language could lead one to speak of a “Last Supper” in Mithraism or a “baptism” in the cult of Isis. It is inexcusable nonsense to take the word “savior” with all of its New Testament connotations and apply it to Osiris or Attis as though they were savior-gods in any similar sense.
- (3) The chronology is all wrong. Almost all of our sources of information about the pagan religions alleged to have influenced early Christianity are dated very late. We frequently find writers quoting from documents written 300 years later than Paul in efforts to produce ideas that allegedly influenced Paul. We must reject the assumption that just because a cult had a certain belief or practice in the third or fourth century after Christ, it therefore had the same belief or practice in the first century.
(5) Early Christianity was an exclusivistic faith. As J. Machen explains, the mystery cults were nonexclusive. “A man could become initiated into the mysteries of Isis or Mithras without at all giving up his former beliefs; but if he were to be received into the Church, according to the preaching of Paul, he must forsake all other Saviors for the Lord Jesus Christ….Amid the prevailing syncretism of the Greco-Roman world, the religion of Paul, with the religion of Israel, stands absolutely alone.” This Christian exclusivism should be a starting point for all reflection about the possible relations between Christianity and its pagan competitors. Any hint of syncretism in the New Testament would have caused immediate controversy.
(6) Unlike the mysteries, the religion of Paul was grounded on events that actually happened in history. The mysticism of the mystery cults was essentially nonhistorical. Their myths were dramas, or pictures, of what the initiate went through, not real historical events, as Paul regarded Christ’s death and resurrection to be. The Christian affirmation that the death and resurrection of Christ happened to a historical person at a particular time and place has absolutely no parallel in any pagan mystery religion.
(7) What few parallels may still remain may reflect a Christian influence on the pagan systems. As Bruce Metzger has argued, “It must not be uncritically assumed that the Mysteries always influenced Christianity, for it is not only possible but probable that in certain cases, the influence moved in the opposite direction.” It should not be surprising that leaders of cults that were being successfully challenged by Christianity should do something to counter the challenge. What better way to do this than by offering a pagan substitute? Pagan attempts to counter the growing influence of Christianity by imitating it are clearly apparent in measures instituted by Julian the Apostate, who was the Roman emperor from A.D. 361 to 363.
To that I will end this article by concluding that, Christian’s story been borrowed or influenced by Attis Myth because of parallelism is indeed another “Myth”.
1. Acharya S, The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited, 1999), 107.
Pausanias, Guide to Greece – Greek Geography C2nd AD
Ovid, Metamorphoses – Latin Epic C1st BC – C1st AD
Ovid, Fasti – Latin Epic C1st BC – C1st AD
Statius, Silvae – Latin Epic C1st AD
Nonnos, Dionysiaca – Greek Epic C5th AD
Primary Source Theoi Greek Mythology (a site that explores Greece mythology, a source that Encyclopedia Britannica based its research on Greek Mythology)