In the previous articles I challenged the Copy-Cat-Theorist, who claim that Christianity is a copy-cat of other pagan dying-rising sun gods, to present a copy or a copy of copies of original document before A.D. 150 that support their assertions. None thus far has succeeded to do so. Quite the contrary, the copies of original documents that I found tells a totally different story: See Busting The Dying And Rising Gods Myths (cf Horus, Mithra, and Krishna ).
One of my favorite blog follower, Jay Osborne, a copy-cat-theorist apologist who admitted that its impossible to produce that kind of earlier evidences “at least right now but it may be found later on”, presented the First Apology of Justin Martyr as an evidence that Christianity copied from other pagan dying and rising gods.
Justin Martyr wrote around 150 A.D.He admits that the Mithra Eucharist was first before christianity,that means he knew that Mithra belief was before christianity,and then shows through other pagan sun gods that the wine (vine Jn.15:5 and elsewhere in the N.T.)were first,that a crucifixtion,resurrection,babtism,ascending to heaven,born of a virgin,riding on an ass,healing,raising people from the dead were all before christianity.The Devil got there first was his only lame excuse.Don’t try to twist what Justin said leave it plain like Justin wrote it.( Jay Osborne | December 11, 2011 at 23:22)
Did Justin Martyr wrote that? Let take a look at the passages that Jay pointed that are “claimed” to give support to the assertion that Christianity is a copy-cat of other pagan dying and rising sun gods.
Critical Thinking And Zeitgeist’s Case
But first I would like to show that even if its true (for argument sake) that there are mythical record of dying and rising sun gods prior to Christ Jesus, that by itself does not entail that one copied from the other.
Example: If you have read Morgan Robertson’s fictional work viz. The Wreck of the Titan or Futility (Buccaneer Books, Cutchogue, New York, 1898) 14 years before the RSM Titanic disaster and W. T. Stead, an English journalist, who wrote a fictional account of sinking passenger-liner in mid- Atlantic caused by an iceberg in 1882, should we then conclude that RSM Titanic struck of iceberg and sank on 15 April 1912 claiming 1517 people lives was a myth? It does look like RSM is a copy-cat of these fictional works.
What this example shows is that even if event p happens/recorded prior to event/record q it is logically fallacious to reason as Copy-Cat Myth apologist wish as too, namely q copied p. Zeitgeist apologists assertion commits post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.
FallacyFiles gives a good example and exposition of this wrong reasoning:
Roosters crow just before the sun rises.
Therefore, roosters crowing cause the sun to rise.
The Post Hoc Fallacy is committed whenever one reasons to a causal conclusion based solely on the supposed cause preceding its “effect”. Of course, it is a necessary condition of causation that the cause precede the effect, but it is not a sufficient condition. Thus, post hoc evidence may suggest the hypothesis of a causal relationship, which then requires further testing, but it is never sufficient evidence on its own.
Thus even if true that there are documents prior to Christianity that records of dying and rising sun gods, Copy-Cat theorist errs in their reasoning.
Let Look At Justin Martyr’s Work: Does It Give Proof To Copy-Cat Theory?
The First Apology by Justin Martyr was addressed to Emperor Titus Aelius Adrianus Antoninus Pius Augustus Caesar and his sons written c.150-160 A.D. In his letter Justin presented the Emperor with reasons to why Christian ought to be treated justly.
I would like to quote the entire chapter to show how scholarly dishonest the work of copy-cat-theorist’s are. I presented the whole chapter so that you can see how out of context the passages the cherry-pick are: I used Roberts-Donaldson English Translation of Justin’s work.
Zeitgeist’s Apologist’s claim:“[In Chapter 8] Justin Martyr states that the judgment of Rhadamanthus and Minos, as stated by Plato, would in fact happen by Jesus. In addition, he states that it would happen for the same time period that Plato named.”
Chapter VIII: CHRISTIANS CONFESS THEIR FAITH IN GOD.
And reckon ye that it is for your sakes we have been saying these things; for it is in our power, when we are examined, to deny that we are Christians; but we would not live by telling a lie. For, impelled by the desire of the eternal and pure life, we seek the abode that is with God, the Father and Creator of all, and hasten to confess our faith, persuaded and convinced as we are that they who have proved to God by their works that they followed Him, and loved to abide with Him where there is no sin to cause disturbance, can obtain these things. This, then, to speak shortly, is what we expect and have learned from Christ, and teach. And Plato, in like manner, used to say that Rhadamanthus and Minos would punish the wicked who came before them; and we say that the same thing will be done, but at the hand of Christ, and upon the wicked in the same bodies united again to their spirits which are now to undergo everlasting punishment; and not only, as Plato said, for a period of a thousand years. And if any one say that this is incredible or impossible, this error of ours is one which concerns ourselves only, and no other person, so long as you cannot convict us of doing any harm.
Answer: Justin pointed out that the wicked would be punish at the hand of Christ who is the eternal judge. Plato believed that in Dualism, and that our souls are immortal, thus Justin is showing that the wicked would go through everlasting punishment.
Zeitgeist’s Apologist’s claim: “In chapter 18, titled “Proof of Immortality and the Resurrection”, Justin Martyr simply cites the beliefs of pagans as evidence that an immortal soul and the resurrection of Jesus was possible and did in fact happen.”
CHAPTER XVIII — PROOF OF IMMORTALITY AND THE RESURRECTION.
For reflect upon the end of each of the preceding kings, how they died the death common to all, which, if it issued in insensibility, would be a godsend to all the wicked. But since sensation remains to all who have ever lived, and eternal punishment is laid up (i.e., for the wicked), see that ye neglect not to be convinced, and to hold as your belief, that these things are true. For let even necromancy, and the divinations you practise by immaculate children, and the evoking of departed human souls, and those who are called among the magi, Dream-senders and Assistant-spirits (Familiars), and all that is done by those who are skilled in such matters–let these persuade you that even after death souls are in a state of sensation; and those who are seized and cast about by the spirits of the dead, whom all call daemoniacs or madmen; and what you repute as oracles, both of Amphilochus, Dodana, Pytho, and as many other such as exist; and the opinions of your authors, Empedocles and Pythagoras, Plato and Socrates, and the pit of Homer, and the descent of Ulysses to inspect these things, and all that has been uttered of a like kind. Such favour as you grant to these, grant also to us, who not less but more firmly than they believe in God; since we expect to receive again our own bodies, though they be dead and cast into the earth, for we maintain that with God nothing is impossible.
Answer: Justin wanted the same favor grant to the belief of other (viz.the state of the soul or immortality soul and “all of the like”) to also be granted to Christians.
Zeitgeist’s Apologist’s claim: “Justin Martyr compares the beliefs and teachings of Christianity with the poets (those who created the Greek myths), the philosophers, Plato, the Stoics, Meander, and other similar writers.”
CHAPTER XX — HEATHEN ANALOGIES TO CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.
And the Sibyl and Hystaspes said that there should be a dissolution by God of things corruptible. And the philosophers called Stoics teach that even God Himself shall be resolved into fire, and they say that the world is to be formed anew by this revolution; but we understand that God, the Creator of all things, is superior to the things that are to be changed. If, therefore, on some points we teach the same things as the poets and philosophers whom you honour, and on other points are fuller and more divine in our teaching, and if we alone afford proof of what we assert, why are we unjustly hated more than all others? For while we say that all things have been produced and arranged into a world by God, we shall seem to utter the doctrine of Plato; and while we say that there will be a burning up of all, we shall seem to utter the doctrine of the Stoics: and while we affirm that the souls of the wicked, being endowed with sensation even after death, are punished, and that those of the good being delivered from punishment spend a blessed existence, we shall seem to say the same things as the poets and philosophers; and while we maintain that men ought not to worship the works of their hands, we say the very things which have been said by the comic poet Menander, and other similar writers, for they have declared that the workman is greater than the work.
Answer: I would bold the following of what Justin wrote: “If, therefore, on some points we teach the same things as the poets and philosophers whom you honour, and on other points are fuller and more divine in our teaching, and if we alone afford proof of what we assert, why are we unjustly hated more than all others?” 1. Christian alone afford proof of what they asserted and 2. the passage is about new creation and the soul the state of the soul in that period: the Stoics believed that even God will resolved into fire, while Christian believed that God is superior and transcend creation thus an affected by new creation.
Zeitgeist’s Apologist’s claim: [Chapter 21] is rather self-explanatory. Justin Martyr simply states that the virgin birth of Jesus, without sexual union, as well as his crucifixion, death, and resurrection were nothing different from the mythology surrounding Jupiter (In Greece, Zeus).
CHAPTER XXI — ANALOGIES TO THE HISTORY OF CHRIST.
And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all; AEsculapius, who, though he was a great physician, was struck by a thunderbolt, and so ascended to heaven; and Bacchus too, after he had been torn limb from limb; and Hercules, when he had committed himself to the flames to escape his toils; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus. For what shall I say of Ariadne, and those who, like her, have been declared to be set among the stars? And what of the emperors who die among yourselves, whom you deem worthy of deification, and in whose behalf you produce some one who swears he has seen the burning Caesar rise to heaven from the funeral pyre? And what kind of deeds are recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter, it is needless to tell to those who already know. This only shall be said, that they are written for the advantage and encouragement of youthful scholars; for all reckon it an honourable thing to imitate the gods. But far be such a thought concerning the gods from every well-conditioned soul, as to believe that Jupiter himself, the governor and creator of all things, was both a parricide and the son of a parricide, and that being overcome by the love of base and shameful pleasures, he came in to Ganymede and those many women whom he had violated and that his sons did like actions. But, as we said above, wicked devils perpetrated these things. And we have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue; and we believe that those who live wickedly and do not repent are punished in everlasting fire.
Answer: Justin pointed out the things pagans believe about their gods are not alien to those which Christians were claiming about Christ Jesus. He did name what those things here. He did not leave us wondering and I believe virgin birth(listed in connection with Ferseus), crucifixion and resurrection on the 3rd day are not listed here.
Zeitgeist’s Apologist’s claim: “Similar to above, Justin Martyr compares the birth of Jesus and his status as the “Word of God’ to that of Mercury, who was also born in a similar way and who was also the “Word of God.” He goes on to compare the crucifixion with the lives of the sons of Jupiter, which were on par according to him. Finally concluding by comparing the birth of Jesus with Perseus, and his miracles with that of Aesculapius.”
CHAPTER XXII — ANALOGIES TO THE SONSHIP OF CHRIST.
Moreover, the Son of God called Jesus, even if only a man by ordinary generation, yet, on account of His wisdom, is worthy to be called the Son of God; for all writers call God the Father of men and gods. And if we assert that the Word of God was born of God in a peculiar manner, different from ordinary generation, let this, as said above, be no extraordinary thing to you, who say that Mercury is the angelic word of God. But if any one objects that He was crucified, in this also He is on a par with those reputed sons of Jupiter of yours, who suffered as we have now enumerated. For their sufferings at death are recorded to have been not all alike, but diverse; so that not even by the peculiarity of His sufferings does He seem to be inferior to them; but, on the contrary, as we promised in the preceding part of this discourse, we will now prove Him superior–or rather have already proved Him to be so–for the superior is revealed by His actions. And if we even affirm that He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Ferseus. And in that we say that He made whole the lame, the paralytic, and those born blind, we seem to say what is very similar to the deeds said to have been done by AEsculapius.
Answer: Justin pointed out that Jupiter suffered, thus it ought not be alien to pagan to accept Christian asserting that Jesus, son of God suffered. Perseus was commonly accept to be born of a virgin(records says a different story) and miracle works of Æsculapius.
Perseus born of a virgin?
It is complicate. Perseus was the son of Danae . He was born when Danae was impregnated by Zeus in the form of a golden shower. (Homer Iliad 14.319, Pindar Pythian 12. 16, Apollodorus 2.34, Strabo 10.5.10, Herodotus 6.53 & 7.61, Diodorus Siculus 4.9.1, Hyginus Fabulae 63 & 155, Ovid Metamorphoses 4.607, Nonnus Dionysiaca 2.286, et al). Keep in mind that his records are recorded in 2nd century.
In Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 26 & 34 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.)
In fear Akrisios constructed a bronze chamber beneath the earth, where he kept Danae under guard. Now some say that Proitos seduced her, which led to the hard feelings between the brothers, but others say that Zeus had sex with her by changing himself into gold that streamed in through the ceiling and down into her womb. When Akrisios later learned that she had given birth to Perseus, not believing that Zeus seduced her, he cast his daughter out to sea with her son on an ark. The ark drifted ashore at Seriphos, where Diktys recovered the child and brought him up.
Also in Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 63 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
“Danae was the daughter of Acrisius and Aganippe. A prophecy about her said that the child she bore would kill Acrisius, and Acrisius, fearing this, shut her in a stone-walled prison. But Jove [Zeus], changing into a shower of gold, lay with Danae, and from this embrace Perseus was born. Because of her sin her father shut her up in a chest with Perseus and cast it into the sea. By Jove’s [Zeus’] will it was borne to the island of Seriphus, and when the fisherman Dictys found it and broke it open, he discovered the mother and child. He took them to King Polydectes, who married Danae and brought up Perseus in the temple of Minerva [Athena].”
Sources that show that records Perseus and show that he was not born of a virgin:
• Homer, The Iliad – Greek Epic C8th B.C.
• Hesiod, Theogony – Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
• Hesiod, Shield of Heracles – Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
• Pindar, Odes – Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
• Aeschylus, Fragments – Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
• Euripides, Alcestis – Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
• Apollodorus, The Library – Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
• Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica – Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
• Lycophron, Alexandra – Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
• Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History – Greek History C1st B.C.
• Strabo, Geography – Greek Geography C1st B.C. – C1st A.D.
• Pausanias, Description Greece – Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
• Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy – Greek Epic C4th A.D.
• Hyginus, Fabulae – Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
• Hyginus, Astronomica – Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
• Ovid, Metamorphoses – Latin Epic C1st B.C. – C1st A.D.
• Propertius, Elegies – Latin Elegy C1st B.C.
• Valerius Flaccus, The Argonautica – Latin Epic C1st A.D.
• Statius, Thebaid – Latin Epic C1st A.D.
• Nonnos, Dionysiaca – Greek Epic C5th A.D.
• Suidas – Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.
We could go on and go into Justin’s First apology. In short the Copy-Cat Theory are doing eisegesis (reading into the text) and not exegesis (reading out of the text)
As I end, a quote from Justin which showed that Christians are not offering just another mythical account but “… [they] alone afford proof of what [they] assert …”
I would recommend: Skeptic Project- Zeitgeist Movement , a group of non-Christians who aim to refuting myths.
So the challenge is on, the burden of proof on the shoulders of a Copy-Cat-Theorist, who claim that Christianity is a copy of other pagan dying-rising sun gods, to present copy or a copy of copies of original document before A.D. 150 and a valid case.