Sorry that I haven’t had a post in a while, I’ve been doing research for a paper on theodicy (problem of evil) as well as outlining and preparing a new curriculum for a possible study at my church. Prayers for intentionality and wisdom will be appreciated. But this is not the reason for this post.
I have, in conversations over the past few weeks, found a common assertion being made by many of the critics of the Christian faith that I interact with. Namely a charge of plagiarism on the part of all the biblical authors. These accusations include the assertion that the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, are lifted from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and of course the common assertion that the Gospel narratives are lifted from Greek mythology.
Now, anyone who has done any serious research into these assertions, and interacted with the original sources, knows that these accusations are simply ludicrous. But what about someone who is just hearing these assertions, what are they to make of them?
In this post over at ThinkApologetics, is a simple discussion of the the accusation of plagiarism. It begins,
Anyone that has tried to discuss the historicity of the story of Jesus will generally encounter the religious plagiarism charge. Sadly, the internet is full of allegations that the historical records of the life of Jesus are ripped off from mythological constructs such as Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, or someone else.
Many of these assertions can be dismissed with a cursory glance at a Wikipedia article, but it’s like people turn off their brains.
The article continues,
Generally speaking, those that hold to this position start with the notion that the New Testament witness to the resurrection of Jesus is false. They then turn around and try to punt to the pagan myths/mystery religions to explain the problems of the New Testament story of Jesus.
That’s true. They assume falsity and if an assertion appeals to that assumption, they don’t take any of the meaningful steps to verify it, they just accept it.
This post over at Ligonier, deals with the exclusive claims of Christianity that definitively differentiate the truth of the faith from the myths. It contains an excerpt from a presentation by Alistair Begg, and in the transcript he makes this point,
If the early Christians had been prepared to have Jesus simply included in the Roman pantheon of the time, then they would have managed to avoid persecution. But they didn’t, and they couldn’t. The common greetings of the Roman world which affirmed the essential deity of Caesar as their leader and sovereign meant that as they walked in the thoroughfares with each other they would affirm on a daily basis that Caesar is Lord. And as Christians they took the opportunity to say, ‘No,’ that actually ‘Jesus is Lord.’
And therein lies the rub. It is that exclusive claim. No other religion, outside of Judaism and it’s fulfillment in Christianity, makes such exclusive claims. None.
As to claims about the supposed mythological roots of Jesus, see this debate between James White and Dan Barker.