The Invisible Things

Articles in Apologetics

Jesus is Not a Mithras Redux

with 127 comments

Mithraism, as it is germane to Christian historical discussion, was a mystery religion adopted by the Romans in the 1st century A.D. (I am careful with my words here, as Mithraism has a previous historical incantation in ancient Persia, though its relationship to the Roman tradition, in practice and philosophy, is unclear at this point.) Some critics claim that Christianity borrowed from the traditions of Mithraism as a means of attracting followers, though these allegedly adopted Mithraic traditions were not actually authentic to Jesus. I believe it is safe to say that, on the basis of historical scholarship done by secular, Christian and Mithraic-oriented scholars, this claim is thoroughly without serious basis.

History
According to Mithraic scholar Franz Cumont, the first mention of Mithra was made in a treaty from 1400 B.C. (Other, more recent, scholars place this date at around 700 B.C.) At this time and after, Mithraic tradition indicated Mithra as a deity who gave orders and guidance to the military, as well as dispensed justice to those who broke political treaties. As the religion developed, the Mithraic story grew richer. Mithra became known as the provider of rain, bringing vegetation and health to the people. However, to the Persians who held to this tradition, Mithra was not the supreme deity, but subservient to another god, Varuna, who was specifically associated with the culture’s rice harvest. Some descriptions of Mithra have been translated, “Lord of the Contract,” “Upholder of Truth,” “Peaceful, benevolent protector,” and “Not easily provoked.” Even later mentions of Mithra characterize him again as a warrior, though at some point they seem to have reverted again to depicting him as a pacifist deity. When Zoroastrian religion developed in Persia (estimated at around 440 B.C., according to Herodotus’ The Histories), Mithra’s previous association with treaties developed into his role as a “mediator” between the gods of good and evil, Ohrmazd and Ahriman, respectively. He was considered part of a larger pantheon of seven deities that served the gods of the upper spiritual echelon. In this Mithraic-Zoroastrian incantation, Mithra’s role in the cosmos also included delivering the condemned to hell and the saved to heaven. By the first century B.C., Mithra was still associated with these themes, in addition to having some sort of relationship with the gods Apollos and Hermes.

The Roman Mithraic tradition seems to only be linked to the Persian Mithra by name, though in the Hellenistic and Roman traditions, he is referred to as Mithras (the Greek masculine form of Mithra). The Roman Mithraic story involves the heroic slaying of a sacred bull by Mithras, perhaps an astrological allegory, though the Persian details, treaty enforcement, agriculture, and escorting of souls, seem to no longer apply. According to Roman tradition, Mithras’ heroic slaying of the bull gained him the favor of the sun god. Other than tracking the evolution of the name of Mithras across the two traditions, scholars in the 20th century have failed to establish a substantial link between the two Mithraic traditions in terms of their actual beliefs. Rather, the latest scholarship in regard to Mithras suggests that the Romans founded their version of Mithraism in response to the astrological discovery of the movement of the heavens (now referred to as the precession of the equinoxes). Scholars who advocate the astrological thesis suggest that the Persian name of Mithras was given to the god who they believed orchestrated this movement (Perseus in the Roman tradition) due to an alliance at the time with a leader from Asia Minor named Mithridates and the influence of Mithraic Cilician pirates.

Despite what seems to be an obvious lack of related details between the Mithraic tradition and the origins of Christianity, critics nonetheless allege that certain details of the Christian tradition were adapted, if not outright “stolen” from Mithraism. I will examine some of the more inflammatory claims below:

Like Jesus, Mithras was born of a virgin on December 25th in a cave. His birth was also attended by shepherds.
Many Christians are well aware that there is no Biblical basis for setting the date of the birth of Jesus on December 25th. History shows that this date was introduced as significant to Christ later by the post-apostolic church, no doubt influenced by the multiplicity of sacred festivals occurring at this time. According to Mithraic tradition, Mithras was not born of a virgin in a cave. In fact, Mithras was said to have been born, fully grown, from solid rock; the event leaving a cavity behind. There was no mention of a virgin. Interestingly, the story continues to describe Mithras being helped out of the rock by shepherds, who offer him a pick from their flock. Yet according to Mithraic tradition, Mithras was created prior to the creation of mankind. Consequently, the Mithraic “shepherds” cannot be legitimately compared to those of the Christian tradition. Lastly, the earliest existing record of this narrative is from around 100 years after the manuscripts of the New Testament, leaving no room for claims that the Christian tradition copied the story and attributed it to Jesus. (Note also that the later Persian Mithraic traditions recount his conception through the incestual copulation of the god Ahura-Mazda and his mother. The Christian virgin birth story is principally concerned with the humanity of Mary and God’s role in the creation of Jesus through her. There is no parallel between this and the Mithraic story.)

Mithras was also considered a great traveling teacher and master.
This particular attribute is probably one of the most common identifiers of just about every spiritual leader in history. However, there is no mention in Mithraic tradition of Mithras being an itinerant teacher like Jesus. If this claim is to be taken seriously as evidence that Christian tradition appropriated from Mithraic tradition, one must also take into account the travels and teachings of other spiritual figures like Buddha, Krishna, Muhammed, etc.

Mithras had 12 disciples.
The Persian Mithra was often associated with the god Varuna, such that one might infer that they were considered a pair. However, in this tradition Mithra is short 10 companions. In the Roman tradition, Mithras was accompanied by two entities, created after his own image, named Cautes and Catopatres. They have been said to represent day and night or spring and fall or life and death. Mithras was also associated with the snake, the dog, the lion, and the scorpion, likely due to the astrological origin of the Roman tradition. Still, Mithras’ companions only add up to 6 at most, taking all into account. Some claim that a Mithraic stone carving, which depicts the famous bull scene with one vertical row of six images on each side, proves the “12 disciples” connection. However, most current Mithraic scholarship attributes these to zodiac representations. In addition to acknowledging that since the carving itself dates to well after the time of Jesus, any connections to the Christian tradition of 12 disciples would have to implicate Mithraism as the copycat, not Christianity. In the other direction, one would have to claim that Christianity stole the number twelve from astrology- likely a much more difficult case to make.

Mithras offered eternal life to his followers.
Like the “traveling teacher” connection, this claim no more implicates Christianity as it does just about every religious tradition that posits life after death. Incidentally, the only specific mention of a Mithraic offer of eternal life to his followers exists in a piece of writing dated to 200 A.D., which has been translated, “and us, too, you saved by spilling the eternal blood.” In Mithraic tradition, the blood is not the blood of Mithras, but that of the bull he slaughtered, and “saved” referred to being approved to ascend through other levels toward immortality. It was clearly not the same type of salvation that is taught in Christian theology.

Mithras performed miracles.
While both the Iranian Mithra and the Roman Mithras traditions recount acts of great power done by Mithra(s), this is hardly an incriminating fact. Like the teaching and offering of immortality, this is another common attribute of any religious figure. To make this claim worthwhile, one would have to show similarities in type of miracle (i.e. Mithras walked on water, healed the blind, or raised the dead).

Mithras sacrificed himself for mankind.
Some Mithraic scholars have tried to depict Mithras and the bull he had slain as one and the same, construing the story to represent that Mithras gave his own life. However, the narrative in no way suggests this. At best, Mithras could be considered heroic for his victory over the bull, though more likely is the modern interpretation that the bull slaying story corresponded to astrological themes. However, this has no comparison to the Christian claim that Jesus died as atonement for the sins of mankind.

Mithras was buried in a tomb, and after three days, He rose again.
In Prescription Against Heretics, Tertullian writes, “if my memory still serves me, Mithra there, (in the kingdom of Satan), sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers; celebrates also the oblation of bread, and introduces an image of a resurrection, and before a sword wreathes a crow.” This is the only reference from which some Mithraic scholars claim a correlation between Mithraic and Christian traditions. Unfortunately, having been written after the New Testament, there is no evidence that what it describes predates Christianity. Nor is there really any compelling aspect to Tertullian’s description that would indicate that these practices were authentic to Mithraism or even appropriately compared to Christian tradition.

Mithras said, “He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.”
There is no evidence for this saying being attributed to Mithras. Scholars have, however, found this saying attributed to Zarathustra, though in a medieval document (remember that Zarathustra, the founding prophet of Zoroastrianism, is thought to have lived some time around 2000 B.C.). Though followers of Mithras were known to have fellowship meals, at which was eaten bread, water, wine and meat, such circumstances were common to meals shared by many people in many different contexts.

Conclusions
It should be emphasized that none of the alleged similarities between Mithras and Jesus can be shown to apply to the Persian Mithra, but only to the Roman Mithraic tradition, which did not really flourish until after the time of the New Testament. That said, the alleged connections are quite dubious, as I explained above. In fact, no archeological evidence for this tradition can be argued to exist from any earlier than A.D. 90. This seems to suggest that the re-emergence of Mithras in the Roman context preserved the name of the Persian deity, yet adopted a new set of traditions more closely linked to the many mystery religions of the time. In any case, the overall Mithraic tradition should actually be thought of as two distinct movements, having little to do with one another beyond having a god of the same name.

The driving force of these comparisons appears to be a deliberate application of language resembling that used in Christian tradition to traditions that never actually used that language in the first place. For example, referring to the “birth” of Mithras to a “virgin” is absurd given that, according to Mithraic tradition, he was not “born” in the human sense at all, but came into being out of lifeless solid rock. Perhaps one might claim that the lifeless solid rock, having never before had an entity emerge from it, was “virgin-like,” but that would be an extreme stretch in language and meaning, and more akin to an intentional characterization of Mithraic tradition in Christian terms. Similarly, if Mithraic tradition could be shown to teach that Mithras instructed his followers to gather together in a fellowship meal, it would be misleading to refer to this as a Mithraic “last supper.” Even if Roman Mithraism did hold to traditions similar to Christianity, it would be false to assume that simply because the two traditions existed similarly and contemporaneously one must have preceded or caused the other. Like liberal Biblical scholars that give priority to Gnostic sources on Jesus, though they date long after the canonical Gospels, those that desire to establish a link between Mithras and Jesus must contend with the fact that the existing sources for Roman Mithraism are all post-Christian and cannot be said to have influenced Christian doctrine.

I do find it strange that these allegations persist despite the overwhelming fact that the historicity of the character of Mithras is incomparable to that of Jesus of Nazareth. Given that Mithras is obviously a mythical character, and that no evidence exists to show that a man name Mithras actually lived at some point in history and had followers in the same sense as the Christian disciples, the notion of Mithras actually participating in historical events and teaching actual people is significantly questionable. On the other hand, there is overwhelming evidence, attested to by multiple independent sources, that Jesus was a historical figure that actually lived in first century Palestine, assembled a group of followers, the teachings of whom were recorded by multiple sources, and was actually put to death by Roman authorities. Given the amount of historical knowledge that exists about Jesus of Nazareth, the suggestion that the Christian tradition “re-branded” Jesus with Mithraic characteristics implies an unfathomably large conspiracy without a bit of evidence to back it up.

Some sources on Mithraism

Mysteries of Mithra by Franz Cumont

The Mysteries of Mithras: The Pagan Belief that Shaped the Christian World by Caitlin Matthews and Payam Nabarz

The Roman Cult of Mithras: The God and His Mysteries by Manfred Clauss

The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries: Cosmology and Salvation in the Ancient World, by David Ulansey

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Written by Christopher Butler

October 7, 2006 at 1:35 am

127 Responses

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  1. Here are two somewhat relevant quotes from C.S. Lewis’ book, God In The Dock.

    From the chapter, “Religion Without Dogma?”

    If my religion is erroneous then occurrences of similar motifs in pagan stories are, of course, instances of the same, or a similar error. But if my religion is true, then these stories may well be a preparatio evangelica, a divine hinting in poetic and ritual form at the same central truth which was later focused and (so to speak) historicised in the Incarnation. To me, who first approached Christianity from a delighted interest in, and reverence for, the best pagan imagination, who loved Balder before Christ and Plato before St. Augustine, the anthropological argument against Christianity has never been formidable. On the contrary, I could not believe Christianity if I were forced to say that there were a thousand religions in the world of which 999 were pure nonsense and the thousandth (fortunately) true. My conversion, very largely, depended on recognizing Christianity as the completion, the actualization, the entelechy, of something that had never been wholly absent from the mind of man.

    From the chapter, “Myth Became Fact”

    The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens—at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical Person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle. . . . God is more than god, not less: Christ is more than Balder, not less. We must not be ashamed of the mythical radiance resting on our theology. We must not be nervous about “parallels” and “pagan Christs”: they ought to be there—it would be a stumbling block if they weren’t. We must not, in false spirituality, withhold our imaginative welcome. If God chooses to be mythopoeic—and is not the sky itself a myth—shall we refuse to be mythopathic? For this is the marriage of heaven and earth: Perfect Myth and Perfect Fact: claiming not only our love and our obedience, but also our wonder and delight, addressed to the savage, the child, and the poet in each one of us no less than the moralist, the scholar, and the philosopher.

    Scott Pruett

    October 11, 2006 at 2:32 am

  2. Scott,

    Thanks for the quotes. Lewis does provide an interesting approach to dealing with the many “pagan influences” theories. Rather than claiming that they are all nonsense, he suggests that the similarities or recurring themes point to a truth so embedded in humanity as to be impossible to not find in other traditions. An interesting idea, no doubt. However, one distinction that still stands, and in which I am primarily interested, is the historical nature of the accounts of Jesus compared to the mythical nature of the accounts of what some claim are proto-Christs. This distinction is the most powerful of all, despite the fact that the larger narrative of the Judeo-Christian tradition is consistent and resolved in Christ more powerfully and transculturally than any of the pagan narratives to which it is compared.

    CB

    CB

    October 11, 2006 at 2:49 am

  3. Justin Martyr seems bothered by the “wicked devils” in the Mithras cults imitating Christianity’s sacred ritual (as he claimed). Sort of a ‘he said/she said’ controversy.

    Apologia, LXVI.

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-firstapology.html

    CHAPTER LXVI — OF THE EUCHARIST.

    And this food is called among us Eukaristia [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh. For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.

    SkipChurch

    October 12, 2006 at 10:14 pm

  4. Here’s a passage, from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, recounting Ocyrrhoe’s prophecy for Asclepius. I think the Asclepius parallels to the Jesus story are more striking, because of the emphasis on healing, the rising from the dead and of course ultimate deification.

    The cult of Asclepius came to Rome in the 3rd century BC, and remained popular until well into the Christian era, due to the efficacy of the healings at various sites.

    http://classics.mit.edu/Ovid/metam.2.second.html

    Once, as the sacred infant she survey’d,
    The God was kindled in the raving maid,
    And thus she utter’d her prophetick tale:
    “Hail, great physician of the world, all-hail;
    Hail, mighty infant, who in years to come
    Shalt heal the nations, and defraud the tomb;
    Swift be thy growth! thy triumphs unconfin’d!
    Make kingdoms thicker, and increase mankind.
    Thy daring art shall animate the dead,
    And draw the thunder on thy guilty head:
    Then shalt thou dye, but from the dark abode
    Rise up victorious, and be twice a God.
    And thou, my sire, not destin’d by thy birth
    To turn to dust, and mix with common earth,
    How wilt thou toss, and rave, and long to dye,
    And quit thy claim to immortality;
    When thou shalt feel, enrag’d with inward pains,
    The Hydra’s venom rankling in thy veins?
    The Gods, in pity, shall contract thy date,
    And give thee over to the pow’r of Fate.”

    SkipChurch

    October 12, 2006 at 10:59 pm

  5. SkipChurch,

    Thanks for the quotes! There are some interesting parallels, no doubt. However, the interesting point to consider is the process of translation- specifically the word choices for certain concepts (such as ‘great physician,’ ‘heal the nations,’ ‘immortality,’ etc.) and how the original words correspond to theological concepts in other religions.

    Interestingly, the translation you quote by Sir Samuel Garth and John Dryden was published in 1717, whereas a later translation by A. S. Kline in 2000 reads a bit differently (and much more consistently with a polytheistic worldview than anything resembling a Judeo-Christian monotheistic worldview):

    “So when she felt the prophetic frenzy in her mind, and was on fire with the god enclosed in her breast, she looked at the infant boy and cried out ‘Grow and thrive, child, healer of all the world! Human beings will often be in your debt, and you will have the right to restore the dead. But if ever it is done regardless of the god’s displeasure you will be stopped, by the flame of your grandfather’s lightning bolt, from doing so again. From a god you will turn to a bloodless corpse, and then to a god who was a corpse, and so twice renew your fate (http://www.tkline.freeserve.co.uk/Metamorph2.htm#_Toc64106127).”

    Notice that though ‘human beings will often be in [his] debt,’ if he exerts his power to raise the dead in opposition to the gods, he will be stopped. This ‘resurrection power’ is not at all comparable to that of Jesus, who, being one with the Father, could not act outside of His will (the will being of one God, rather than of the ‘gods’).

    CB

    CB

    October 17, 2006 at 1:30 am

  6. Check this out:

    The Gospel and the Greeks: Did the New Testament Borrow from Pagan Thought? Dr. Ronald H. Nash

    BishopBooyah

    November 30, 2006 at 2:21 am

  7. So what you have indeed proven is that Christianity may have not borrowed from Mithraism (although you quote no sources, except silly Justin Martry, have you noted his hatred of Jews? Do you follow his advicse in regards to them as well? nor do you address numerous scholars who have compared the two, nor do you note that the beliefs of Mithraism are almost completely unknown and therefore interpretation of archeological evidence can suggest nearly anything), even if you are right, you have only proven that there is NOTHING actually new about Jesus, he traveled, he performed miracles, he had disciples, yada, yada…. silly Christians, you and your literalisms *snickers*

    Matt

    December 21, 2006 at 12:06 pm

    • Yeah,that performing miracles thing is just so…….last week. Really,that’s one of the things that sets Jesus apart.

      tnmusicman

      July 12, 2012 at 5:50 am

      • Apart from what? From the other thousands of Gods and deities that were attributed the same ability to perform “miracles”? Yeah, your comment really made a point…not!

        Sonia

        July 16, 2013 at 2:32 am

      • Sonia. If you think the true God (of Christianity and Judaism) is just another mythic deity, then why are you so afraid of him? BTW, “Mithra” sounds an awful lot like “Myth” to me.

        MikeA

        November 25, 2013 at 11:49 am

      • wow….someone’s ignorance is showing.

        Amber Brandenburg

        March 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      • Uhhh-huh……

        tnmusicman

        March 31, 2014 at 10:44 am

      • (Sigh) do tell…..

        tnmusicman

        March 31, 2014 at 11:54 am

    • Thanks for your very unbiased point of view. Obviously, you are traveling down the river of denial and wouldn’t accept the truth if it bit you in the bottom. This article clearly and distinctly blows the atheist propoganda of Christianity being borrowed from Mithraism out of the water. You offer no facts to rebut, other than name calling, which we all know is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

      MikeA

      November 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

  8. “Dating from around the 15th century BC, Mithraism emerged in ancient Persia. ‘Mihr’ (the Persian form of Mithras) was the word not only for the Sun but also for a friend; and that seems to be how this pagan god was originally worshipped – as both supreme sun god and god of love.”
    – Quest for the Past

    “It is probable…that the western Mithras had its roots in a daevic cult of the god as practiced in Mesopotamia and Anatolia, and not in the cult of the Zoroastrianized Mithra in Iran. The western Mithras is a savior god in an era of savior gods.”
    – Richard N. Frye, The Heritage of Persia

    “The only dated Mithraic inscriptions from the pre-Christian period are the texts of Antiochus I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) in eastern Asia Minor. After that there is one text possibly from the first century A.D., from Cappadocia, one from Phrygia dated to A.D. 77-78, and one from Rome dated to Trajan’s reign (A.D. 98-117). All other dated Mithraic inscriptions and monuments belong to the second century (after A.D. 140), the third, and the fourth century A.D. (M. J. Vermaseren, Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae, 1956).”
    – Edwin M. Yamauchid, “Easter: Myth, Hallucination, or History?”

    The Taurobolium
    “A central feature of the ceremonial associated with Mithras was the taurobolium, the ritual slaughter of a bull which commemorated and repeated Mithras’ primeval act. The initiate was baptized in its blood, partaking of its life-giving properties. It may be noted that this part of the ceremonial closely resembled the ritual of the cult of Cybele, the Great Mother of Asia Minor, which had been brought to Rome three centuries before Christ..”
    – Ninian Smart, The Religious Experience of Mankind

    Born Again
    “The liturgy of the Eucharist that John prescribes to the converted in being ‘born again’ is necessary ‘so that the speaker might gaze upon the immortal beginning (Jesus) with the immortal (Holy) spirit … and be born again in thought.’ [Grese].”
    “Some modern Christian believers are familar with this concept of being born again through a spirit and regard it as unique to Christianity. The just-quoted text however is from the pagan Mithras Liturgy, a guidebook of sorts that assists in the Eucharist and prepares the sojourner for his heavenly journey. It advises the seeker of the Sun-god (father of Mithras) to pray saying:”
    – James Still, “The Gospel of John and the Hellenization of Jesus”

    “[F]irst beginning of my beginning, …spirit of spirit, the first spirit in me, …now if it be your will, …give me over to immortal birth and, following that, to my underlying nature, so that, after the present need which is pressing me exceedingly, I may gaze upon the immortal beginning with the immortal spirit, that I may be born again in thought.”
    – Mithras Liturgy

    “A usual feature of the ancient mystery religions was the partaking of food and drink, and this communion celebration often reenacted a holy meal established by the gods and goddesses. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter the Mother drinks the kykeon instead of read wine, and her devotees likewise drank the ceremonial kykeon instead of red wine, and her devotees likewise drank the ceremonial kykeon in their mystic repast. Mithraic monuments show Mithras and Sol (the Sun) sharing a meal on the body or the hide of a bull, and this sacred feast functioned as the prototype for a holy meal eaten by the Mithraic mystai….One symbolon from the mysteries of Attis claims that a mystes ate from a tambourine and drank from a cymbal in the initiatory rites.”
    – Marvin W.Meyer (Editor), The Ancient Mysteries – A Sourcebook

    Both Mithraism and early Christianity “included a baptism and a sacrament of bread and wine, and both guarded their central rites from nonbelievers.”
    – Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects

    “He who will not eat of my body, nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.”
    – Mithraic Communion (M. J. Vermaseren, Mithras, The Secret God)

    “And as they were eating, Jesus, having taken bread, when he had blessed, broke [it], and gave [it] to them, and said, Take [this]: this is my body. And having taken [the] cup, when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them, and they all drank out of it. And he said to them, This is my blood, that of the [new] covenant, that shed for many.”
    – Mark 14:22-26

    “The Mithraic Holy Father wore a red cap and garment and a ring, and carried a shepherd’s staff. The Head Christian adopted the same title and outfitted himself in the same manner. Christian priests, like Mithraic priests, became ‘Father’, despite Jesus’ specific proscription of the acceptance of such a title (Matthew 23:9). That Jesus had been repudiating, not the Mithraists with whom he was unfamiliar, but the Sanhedrin, whose President was styled Father, is hardly relevant.
    “Mithra’s bishops wore a mithra, or miter, as their badge of office. Christian bishops also adopted miters. Mithraists commemorated the sun-god’s ascension by eating a mizd, a sun-shaped bun embossed with the sword (cross) of Mithra. The hot cross bun and the mass were likewise adapted to Christianity. The Roman Catholic mizd/mass wafer continues to retain its sun-shape, although its Episcopal counterpart does not.
    “All Roman Emperors from Julius Caesar to Gratian had been pontifex maximus, high priest of the Roman gods. When Theodosius refused the title as incompatible with his status as a Christian, the Christian bishop of Rome picked it up. Magi, priests of Zarathustra, wore robes that featured the sword of Mithra. Identical robes are worn by Christian priests to this day.”
    – William Harwood, Mythologies Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus

    I stole this, but all are direct quotes with Authors and Books– unlike our friend the orginal poster who wrote alot, with no scholarly citations to back himself up.

    Matt

    December 21, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    • Matt: Good job Googling those citations, yeah, you’re special because you can type words into a search engine. BTW, anyone can Google citations to make their story fit. After you graduate the third grade, try reading a real book sometime and learning something for yourself.

      MikeA

      November 25, 2013 at 11:54 am

  9. [...] But isn’t December 25 associated with the birth of Mithras? No, it is not. At least, Mithraic scholars seem not to be aware of this fact. The earliest existing record of the story of Mithras’ birth dates from the second century, perhaps a hundred years after the Gospel accounts were written. Christopher Butler has catalogued the supposed parallels between Jesus and Mithras and finds them all wanting. (In a similar vein, see here.) Nowhere in these myths is there explicit reference to December 25 as the birthday of Mithras. The assertion that December 25 was Mithras’ birthday relies on an identification of Mithras with the “unconquered sun” of Aurelian—which may or may not be a valid identification to make! [...]

  10. really interesting post. i had stumbled on an atheists page where he claimed many of these things to mithra. i couldnt really find too much info online. so i am glad to be informed and see some citation.

    question: the same person in question also said that horis the egyptian god had an identical story to JC as well. do you know anything about that? i tried researching it, but couldnt find anything.

    may His face shine upon you
    peter

    PB and J

    February 23, 2007 at 8:37 am

  11. It is amazing the lengths people will go to to deny God. For to deny God to to attempt to escape admitting that their is a moral law, an ultimate arbiter, and a final judgment. If one can deny God they believe they can live a life unaccountable to a higher power.

    As Paul writes:

    “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

    -J. Kaiser

    totaltransformation

    February 24, 2007 at 12:43 am

    • Well, J. Kaiser. Quoting the bible to prove the bible is true. Hum. Reminds me of a great truth-sayer, Ron White. “You can’t fix stupid.”

      brad morris

      November 27, 2010 at 6:30 am

      • He wasn’t quoting the bible to prove the bible was true!! He quoted the bible to show that eventually a percentage of the population would act like fools and turn away from God. At most it’s the bible making a prediction. Its not the same as saying “God created the universe”. Why do I know?” Because the bible says so.” *That* would be using the bible to prove the bible is true. However,Christians tend to look at the bible as a book of historical events recorded by men, but inspired by God. I recall being in school and reading books that were accepted as true and I’m sure you have done the same thing. I see no reason to disbelieve the Bible .

        tnmusicman

        July 12, 2012 at 6:04 am

      • Brad, after your sorry comment, how can you imply anyone other than yourself is stupid. You would be so amusing if you weren’t so pathetic.

        MikeA

        November 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

    • You are right on that. I have dealt with a number of atheists that proclaim ” if there WAS evidence of God I still wouldn’t believe in Him” which leads me to believe that,as you stated,some will go to great lengths to make God a “fairy tale”.

      tnmusicman

      February 27, 2012 at 4:49 am

      • Some will go great lengths to make a fairy tale into god.

        juan bautista

        April 13, 2012 at 3:25 am

  12. i have read a few things recently about mithras and i must say this particular myth has some very appealing aspects. i would speculate that early christianity benefited from some of the more attractive elements by adopting them. its called marketing. if your possible converts like some things about mithras, hey, we have that too. that doesnt take away from jesus, who from what little i know, was a decent, caring teacher.

    to my way of thinking, both religions are myths. wonderful stories and imagery, but merely metaphors. jesus’s central teachings are what is important, and the world, and specifically the united states power elite, seem to have forgotten most of them.

    follow the tenets of christianity, not the letter of a book that has been re-written many times by political human beings and has much wisdom, but nothing is gospel except the breath of life.

    just a thought.

    tycho brahe

    April 9, 2007 at 8:07 am

  13. You people DO realize that (In 90% of your cases)the sole reason for your current religion is the happenstance of your birth to parents of same, right? Had you been born in Indonesia, you’d probably be muslim. India, Hindu. A communist country, Nothing. If you truly need religion to maintain morals, then I pity your complete lack of self control and contentment.

    Lars

    September 12, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    • You DO realize that you are committing a fallacy known as genetic fallocy,right?

      tnmusicman

      April 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      • actually…not its not inherently true…but generally it is far more likely to be true. Let’s be honest. Also….you are wrong when you said that communist leaders and atheistic organizations have killed more people…history shows that more blood has been shed in the name of faith than for any other cause…and Christianity is at the top of the list for those killed. There’s the crusades….the witch trials….thousands died who probably didn’t need to in the name of Jesus who would have most likely berated them all for killing in his name.

        Amber Brandenburg

        March 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    • Lars: Regardless of origin, all men are born with the inherent knowledge of right and wrong. I believe our God is a fair God and will judge all men of all religions based on their deeds and what is in their heart. As a Christian, I also believe the only way to heaven is through Jesus the Christ. However, that doesn’t mean that non-Christians won’t be given the opportunity to accept Jesus upon their death. It simply means that Christians are expected to know better before they die.

      MikeA

      November 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

  14. Actually Lars it is you who should be pitied for your pride in what you believe to be your inherent goodness and moral righteousness. For a man who cannot see his inner wickedness and blackened heart is like a man with terminal cancel who refuses to acknowledge the doctor’s sober assessment. To you, Jesus replies:

    “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    ShaunT

    November 28, 2007 at 11:55 am

    • FACT.CHRISTIANS HAVE MURDERED MORE JEWS THAN NAZIS.POGRAMS WERE AROUND WAY BEFORE 1929 YOU SELF RIGHTIOUS PRAT.SELF RIGHTIOUSNESS HAS NO RIGHTIOUSNESS IN ITSELF.I BACK UP LARS.ORGANISED RELIGION HAS ALWAYS SERVED ITSELF 1ST AND THE WORLD SECOND @ BEST.WHEN IT COMES TO A CREATOR IT IS IDOLATROUS @ BEST!!!!!!!!!!

      michael

      October 6, 2009 at 8:32 am

      • Get. Out.

        Highly offensive claim that is based on nothing.

        As for the serving itself part, I will not deny that christianity has been through horrible times. In my defense, I can state that people who have committed such hideous crimes are, in fact, NOT christians. (Anymore)

        Firellius

        April 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      • LOLOL!!!! You mad??

        tnmusicman

        July 12, 2012 at 6:17 am

      • Actually,communist leaders with atheistic societies in mind are responsible for more murders than ANY Christian group/leader/movement. The facts are there if you WANT to see them but if you have made up your mind you will remain ignorant of the FACTS. Communist regimes with atheist leaders FORCING all religions to be silenced in favor of a state type church. In other words you must worship the state and nothing else or risk torture and eventual death. Instead of typing “deaths by religion” i urge you to try “deaths by atheist/communists” and you will see I’m telling you fact. Another fact: atheists are responsible for more than 150 million deaths. I pray that Jesus will knock at the door to your heart every day and show you His agape love for you.

        tnmusicman

        July 12, 2012 at 6:28 am

      • How about citing a source for your claim?

        tnmusicman

        April 10, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      • michael: You are proof that watching television and playing video games makes people brain-dead. There is absolutely not evidence that Christians have murdered more Jews that the Nazis, or that Christianity ever had an agenda to murder Jews. Let me educate you, since the public school system had obviously failed miserably at that task. 1) The only people saying Christianity committed this heinous acts are those that have a self-serving hatred for Christianity (a.k.a. self righteous jerks like you and Lars). 2) Christianity is not an organized religion. You are confusing Christians with the Catholic Church (but that’s ok, because your post reeks of ignorance anyway).

        MikeA

        November 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    • It’s interesting that you chose a perfect quote, but have it entirely out of context.

      If Lars is, as he claims, a kind and good soul, and has no need of a moral leader to guide him to be and do good, then he in fact is the man spoken of that is not sick and needs no physician.

      Either way, it is not for you or I to judge, and certainly not ours to insist that he inherently is wicked or has a “blackened heart.” I pity your ignorance and complete misunderstanding of everything that Christ stands for.

      Jason

      January 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

  15. I happen to agree with what Lars says there; I have trouble respecting a person in religious debate unless they have changed their religion from what their parents believe or at least seriously considered it (I have changed my religion at least 3 times, more if you consider changes between different types of Christianity or similar Paganisms to be actual changes). No one can truly claim to have faith or enlightenment without having seriously looked into other beliefs. Most people’s definition of ‘faith’ is just ‘believing the first thing I ever hear and then never questioning it’. The bottom line is when Christians understand why they don’t buy into Mithras or any other deity, they show they are capable of understanding why people don’t buy into their deity.

    In the end I buy into the concept that I read in the Dalai Lama’s work, that it doesn’t matter if there is a God(s) or who he/she/they/it is. Your morality shouldn’t be dependent on if you think some mystical figure is looking over your shoulder, fear of hell, or some ‘carrot on a stick’ like heaven. If you would not be ‘moral’ if those conditions were not met, then you aren’t really a good person to begin with.

    Secondly, I think that what is truly right and wrong would have to be something a person can know without being told. If a religion teaches that I have to call out to a deity by name, make a specific request, and follow certain rituals in order to be saved, I have to question the validity of that religion. I have reached the point of being unable to consider a religion that requires exacting rituals or for me to push their belief on other people, as those things should not be needed for what is really the truth.

    Also, [Citation Needed]: “On the other hand, there is overwhelming evidence, attested to by multiple independent sources, that Jesus was a historical figure that actually lived in first century Palestine”

    Blayze Kohime

    March 24, 2008 at 8:11 pm

  16. Hi Blayze,

    Thanks for your comment. I do agree that when a person’s religious identification differs from the tradition in which they were raised, he/she has a unique opportunity to view it with a comparative perspective. This doesn’t really mean objectivity, though.

    In regard to my comment about evidence, take a look at some of these posts:

    http://christopherbutler.wordpress.com/2006/03/10/the-historical-resurrection-of-jesus-part-1-the-post-mortem-appearances/

    http://christopherbutler.wordpress.com/2006/03/11/the-historical-resurrection-of-jesus-part-2-the-empty-tomb/

    http://christopherbutler.wordpress.com/2006/03/13/the-historical-resurrection-of-jesus-part-3-the-origin-and-perseverance-of-the-church/

    http://christopherbutler.wordpress.com/2006/03/14/the-historical-resurrection-of-jesus-part-4-addressing-alternative-explanations/

    CB

    CB

    March 24, 2008 at 8:21 pm

  17. Well, I don’t have any big words to say but I do have this:

    Though there may be many stories and many religions, and though some elements may resemble those found in others… it’s really understandable considering the limits of reality and what all we would consider miraculous and part of what would be only managable by the divine…

    Yet the most amazng characteristic I find about Jesus’ story is that it is by the standards of what an act of love would be, one in no way possible could imagine a greater story, or act of love; you truly hit the end of the road. There is no one who could give up more than God Himself since He actually rules Heaven, and He gave even what we call in our own sense, the “ultimate” sacrafice. Yet, in His sense, in the truly ultimate sense, in relativity (because of His sacrificing his rightful Heavenly rule), it’s even more so the case and one is unable to add upon it.

    While one could say that it’s not the ultimate sacrifice since He didn’t remain dead, by doing so they would miss the point; Life is from God. How could He? Death couldn’t keep ahold of Him. It’s absolute nature.

    So the focus should remain on, like I said; it’s impossible to imagine a bigger story of Love. No bigger player, nothing more to sacrafice, and no bigger sacrifice.

    No other stories, similarities or not, even come close. None are able to mimic this state of being so absolute and complete.

    I once heard a Pastor put it this way:

    The carpenter, who once held the wood and nails in his hands, was now held by them… God, now being held by his own Creation.

    Just magnificently absolute. Too absolute to be chalked up to man’s invention. Too much of a masterpiece, too much of a symphony hitting all the highest known notes.

    Jonathan

    June 11, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    • I will agree to disagree with you. The story of Jesus is compelling yes. It is an ultimate sacrifice…but the story of Mithras is just as intense. Your faith only makes the story of Jesus more powerful to you. This is not to say that you are wrong because for you it is right and works. However, for me, while I love the faith I grew up in, I still see the power in the myths of all faiths regardless of my own.

      Amber Brandenburg

      March 30, 2014 at 1:46 pm

  18. It does not matter how we try to cover up the fact, Mithra religion was 4000years older than Christianity, all the stories and events that relate to Jesus are copied from the Mithra religion. All Sylvester and Constantine did was to change the name of their god Mithra to Jesus and kept all the traditions that went with it.

    The facts speak for them selves.

    Dont let your intellegence insult you.

    Dr Mohd Omar

    June 14, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    • The four thousand year old deity of which you speak was a representation of “daylight” in the ancient Indo-European beliefs, a demi-god at best under Ahura or Arumen, and not evcen one of the 7 main virtues worshipped by these ancients. This deity was not worshipped sepearately and none of the similarities with Christianity exist back that far. The far more recent Roman Mystery cult of Mithras predated Pxianity by a century perhaps. There are few writtens texts about it, only one pre-dates Pxianity. Sacred meals, resurrection, immortality these concepts date back to the dawn of man. The Mithraic mystery cult was based on astrology drevided from Chaldea and Phrygia and the mythology of salvation is Platonic and Chaldean and has very little to do with the Pxian teaching of salvation. Further, Mitras was a purely mythicial character created before man on earth. Jesus is attested in 3rd party non-Christian sources and existed among men. You are pretty ignorant for someone with a Dr. before his name, but then, ingnorance often hides behind titles and office.

      Kenneth McCallick

      May 23, 2012 at 2:30 am

      • you have no more fact to back your beliefs than he does. Jesus may have been a real person….that does not mean that everything written about him was true….even the bible has been tainted by man.

        Amber Brandenburg

        March 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    • Mohd: Did you bother to even read the article? There are tons of myths that predate Christianity. If I were to take one and modify the myth to be more similar to your religion after the facts, then it would not mean it was true.

      You should at least have read and tried to comprehend the article before making a fool of yourself with your comment. Obviously, your lack of intelligence does insult you.

      MikeA

      November 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm

  19. I was raised a catholic and practiced my faith, but recently reading about Mithra and Horus and Hercules and others, its becoming obvious this whole christianity thing is a big HOAX! Christianity is a recycling of old religions that came before it. The so called gospels were written decades after the supposed jesus was resurrected. Not one shred of archealogical, forensic, or one line ever written about this mythical man named jesus during his life. Even the gospels contradict themselves. I am mad at myself for not learning this sooner. Come on educated people its time not to FEAR what your parents drilled into you, but to learn the truth! Organized religions are just myths and copycats of ones that came before.

    richard

    October 16, 2008 at 4:51 am

    • Now you can eat, drink andd be merry for your life is worthless and tomorrow you die!

      Bill

      February 23, 2012 at 4:09 am

    • Jesus was attested to by 3rd parties, neutral parties. There is little forensic evidence for many, more famous historical figures, but we believe they exiisted. It was usually only famous and powerful people who were noted in historcial documents. Jesus was a nobody in his society except for the three years of his ministry.

      It is unlikely anyone non-famous or powerful would have been documented until they made an impact. The figures of Mithras, Horus and Hercules are purely mythical figures that even the believers thought existed in another realm, They never lived among mortals, and nbo one ever claimed to have lived among them.

      It is inevitable that as human beings, some aspects of religions might be similar. Sacred meals go back to the earliest man, the desire for immorttality, etc. this does not invalidate Jesus mission here on earth.

      Have you ever thought that if the Gospels were exact copies of each other, wouldn’t that seem suspicious to you? Like criminals corroborating every aspect of a story to tell the police? Too bad your faith is so easily challenged, i feel sorry for you. Faith though, is not aboutt forensics.

      Kenneth McCallick

      May 23, 2012 at 2:45 am

    • Sounds like you have only listened to some of the Internet wanna be’s and decided that the nonsense of this claim to be absolute truth. I urge you to REALLY study the myth.

      tnmusicman

      April 10, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      • Which one? The christianity myth? Nah, I wouldn’t waste my time reading nonsense. I like reading facts, not fiction.

        Helen

        July 16, 2013 at 2:40 am

      • so one would could be in denial tells another that he is wrong because he fears he is wrong….I don’t think your comment solves anything.

        Amber Brandenburg

        March 30, 2014 at 1:41 pm

      • I don’t think there is any need to address this issue further. This issue of Jesus/Mithras has been debunked long ago.

        tnmusicman

        March 31, 2014 at 10:45 am

  20. It’s so sad how when one is not rooted in a relationship with God, they can be deceived and easily talked out of their faith. When you have a intimacy with the Father, through Jesus, no one can talk you out of that. When you’ve been rooted in religion, it’s easy to be talked out of that.

    farabuvrubies

    November 9, 2008 at 12:09 am

    • What the person above really meant :

      ” Is so sad that when youre not brainwashed enough into believing that old this man with white beard created the universe, you can be deceived and easily talked out of your faith”.

      juan bautista

      April 13, 2012 at 2:45 am

    • Thats true. Who cares about religion? The relationship with God is what matters. You wont get into heaven by sitting front row center every Sunday or singing in the choir but so many people are going down this road.

      tnmusicman

      April 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      • Jesus evidently cared enough about it to establish a Church to preserve His beliefs:
        Mt 16:16-20, and to establish the Eucharistic sacrament: Mt 26: 26-30, and other sacraments: Mt 4 13-17, Nothing wrong with relationship to God, but you are fallible and alone you can be led astray, and that is why there are 36,000 Pxian sects today, as opposed to one in 1500 AD, because anyone can claim authority now

        Defender of The True Church

        July 11, 2012 at 9:01 am

      • The problem is that that “relationship” is going on in your head. Nothing else. How you can have a relationship with something/someone that doesn’t exist is beyond me, but hey, who is to say you are delusional? I also had imaginary friends when I was growing up, but they have “moved away” since… Now I am an adult and I like living in reality. I don’t need a fantasy world anymore. Thankfully.

        Helen

        July 16, 2013 at 2:47 am

      • Helen: It sounds to me that you are living in a fantasy world right now.

        MikeA

        November 25, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    • I wasn’t talked out of Christianity. My mind grew and life proved that it was only one among many valid paths….and just like many other obsessions those rooted in religion….as you coined it….do not realize the validity of other religions…among other trivial pursuits….because they are missing a part of their connection to the divine.

      Amber Brandenburg

      March 30, 2014 at 1:40 pm

  21. I agree that the article is wanting in terms of citations from reliable sources.Lots of denials, no source material or bibliography. I have recently left Christianity because it does not even square with its own Bible, let alone history. One need go no further than comparing the resurrection stories in Matthew and John to know that the New Testament is a fraud at worst,or an uninspired account at best.
    And if one research the use of the various icons and images in Christianity, it is obvious that they are rooted in pagan religions.
    As I can tell, Christianity flourished and grew by deception, syncretism and lies, while Islam grew by force and the sword. IN my mind, neither is a legitimate way to grow a religion.
    In 130 CE, many Jews thought Bar Kochbah was the messiah. When he died, they said, “I guess we were wrong”. BUt Christianity was not this honest. They thought Jesus was the Messiah, but when he died, instead of admitting they were wrong, they invented an entire religion centered on false claims of “fulfilled messianic predictions” (Jesus did not fulfill a single messianic prediction, except for riding a donkey, which he set up to “fulfill the prophecy” by having his disciples steal a donkey, or two donkeys accoprding to Matthew), and new theologies regarding the nature of man, of sin and of atonement; none of which was based on the Bible of their day, the Tanakh, but instead on the adopted aspects of pagan mystery religions and Paul’s imagination.

    Fred

    December 10, 2008 at 1:40 am

    • Just an FYI, I suspect that you are writing as a Jew; so I would expect you to know your own history.

      The Jews of Early Pxian era did not even agree among themselves about what was sacred scrpiture except for the Torah, Several different sects competed for power, respectablitiy, authority; the Pharisees never even wrote their beliefs down until about 100 years after PX died and resurrected. The Essenes, Saducees all argued about which books were sacred. This debate carried on for several hundred years even after the school of Jamnia declared their official Tanakh.
      The Tanakh of which you speak came together after the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, and long after PX. The only version of the Holy Writings of the jews that would have been available to anyone but scribes and priests would have been the Greek version LXX, Which is far more ancient than the modern Hebrew Canon. This version contained the current OT of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches along with the Deutero Canon books which contained many prophecies fulfilled by Jesus and were removed by the Pharisee Aquila in his re-translation as “wall against the minim” the Christians!
      Pax Christi

      Defender of The True Church

      July 11, 2012 at 9:28 am

      • My comment is “awaiting moderation” but essentially I say I apologize if I offended you but my opinion of “religion” has nothing to do with church or my relationship with God. I’m saved and proudly admit it to anyone but I know that a lot of people are just “religious” people and. don’t have a relationship with the Almighty God they sing about on Sunday. I hope my comment is eventually “approved” so you can get a better idea of what I meant.

        tnmusicman

        July 12, 2012 at 6:52 am

  22. farabuvrubies,

    You are right that “rooted” Christians cannot be convinced of their error no matter the evidence. Tell me, which version of the resurrection is true, Matthew’s or John’s? They are not compatible, nor is it even possible that these are two versions of the same incident.

    As a former Christian, I can safely agree with atheists (though I am not an atheist) who say that in order to be a Christian one must “check his brain in at the door”. That is really all your post is saying; no amount of truth will be allowed to change your closed mind.

    Fred

    December 10, 2008 at 1:44 am

    • like you i am a former Christian. i found it to hard to “check his brain in at the door”. and when you ask the questions that they cant answer they just start quoting the bible “have faith” and getting louder.

      Nathanael

      September 10, 2009 at 12:04 am

  23. Happy Easter

    joe55a

    April 12, 2009 at 4:47 am

  24. Can somebody please fix this error: “historical incantation” appears in the first sentence, within a parenthesis, and should read historical incarnation, which I am certain the author intended.

    A historical INCANTATION would be an old chant of some kind. The sentence makes no sense with the word incantation and would at least make sense with INCARNATION. In fact, as I scroll quickly through I see that incantation is used throughout wherever the author needed to use the word incarnation.

    And, I should mention that the error distracts from the credibility of the subject.

    N.R Dupre

    September 14, 2009 at 11:58 pm

  25. You could say the same for Jesus. It was the attestation of St Paul and paullian early Christianity that Christianity is descended from to this day. There is just as much evidence for Christ as there is for Mithras. If you want to go far back Mithras comes from Mitra in Sanskrit and Christ comes from Krishna.

    jas

    December 6, 2009 at 10:15 am

  26. Interesting reading; odd that many of the arguments against the Mithraic connections might also be used against the biblical stories as well!

    electicjay

    January 23, 2010 at 10:10 am

  27. farabuvrubies says- “It’s so sad how when one is not rooted in a relationship with God, they can be deceived and easily talked out of their faith. When you have a intimacy with the Father, through Jesus, no one can talk you out of that. When you’ve been rooted in religion, it’s easy to be talked out of that.”

    What’s sad is that one cannot examine the available books, histories, and discussions to see what is eveident; that Christianity is the evolved form of all that came before it. For a start, try reading ‘The History of God’, by Karen Armstrong. A former nun, she shows how the polytheistic gods of pre-christian times morphed into the culturally accepted ‘God” of today.

    God(s), at a time not too far removed from ours, were a source of unity- linking man, God and nature and working ftoward a harmony in the world.

    What the major relgions seem to have achieved today is a separation and division that cause terrorists to want to kill “infidels” and for Christians to think their God is the only God.

    Christianity’s longevity is at least partially due to the fact that the early church fathers put in place a hierarchy that allowed the church to control the relgion, not the people as was previously the case.

    We are all atheists; some just went one God further…..

    electicjay

    January 23, 2010 at 10:29 am

    • I totally agree.

      Au

      August 1, 2011 at 3:41 am

    • Im a Christian. Therefore I believe in God. Definition of atheist is “one who does not believe the existence of God/gods.”
      Now the hard part-—–•I can’t be an atheist cause I believe in God.

      tnmusicman

      July 12, 2012 at 7:05 am

    • That is not an accurate way to look at the situation becsuse by definition a theist CAN’T BE AN ATHEIST.

      tnmusicman

      April 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    • I have to admit your point is valid. There may have been a good reason for this to occur initially…but good intentions…and I think everyone knows the saying from there.

      Amber Brandenburg

      March 30, 2014 at 1:35 pm

  28. What I don’t understand is how people can claim to have an “intimate relationship with God”, while there are countless people suffering around the globe at the same time.

    Why does God help you with your trivial problems, and comfort you whenever you need him, but not answer the prayers of a pious family whose infant is dying of fever, or who is starving to death?

    What have you done to deserve God’s favour? Do you truly believe you deserve everything that you have, and equally those who are suffering deserve that fate too? That, in God’s eyes, you are superior?

    Emerald

    April 12, 2010 at 2:50 am

  29. after scrolling through some of these replies I have to laugh. The Christians are damning all of you to hell for not seeing things the way they see them. The non christains are saying youre stupid for believeing in Christ. The point of all this is if whatever you believe in makes you a better person and gives your life some sort of meaning then thats awesome. Of course the writer of this is going to try and disprove pagan religions thats what all other religions do. Follow my God your God is fake blah blah just jesus freaks seem to do it a lot more. I wonder if a man name Jesus ever existed. From the looks of it he didnt. But how many books have been written about us. More so in a time where the majority of the people didnt even know how to read write or anything. In the end all I want is to be good and help those around me who need it. Isnt that what life is about?

    mike

    April 20, 2010 at 7:13 am

    • There is an enormous amount of evidence that Jesus existed. Not just the bible,either. It sounds as if you don’t WANT Jesus to exist.

      tnmusicman

      February 27, 2012 at 5:14 am

      • Well until we get evidence he didnt!

        juan bautista

        April 13, 2012 at 3:17 am

      • I can only say that is you are living like there is no God, you better hope you’re right.

        L Flynn

        July 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    • well I neither say to not believe in him or to believe in the Christian faith….I think people just need to be more religiously tolerant. All paths lead to the same place…further enlightenment…just live your life to be the best person that you can be…that is all you can do.

      Amber Brandenburg

      March 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm

  30. First, I will state that I was raised in a rather secular household, and became a Christian at 42 years of age. I hope that makes me qualified to express an opinion in the eyes of some commenters here.

    I came upon this page because my 14-year-old daughter heard these Mithras-Jesus ideas in school and asked me about them. It seems the right time to talk with her about questioning the reasons that people say things, especially about important matters.

    For example, some people believe in Global Warming caused by human activities, and others do not. Those who do not take a critical approach hear that cow farts are a major cause of methane, a greenhouse gas, and so they ridicule the idea of global warming without actually investigating the science behind it.

    In the same way, I find that most people that object loudly to Christianity have never read the Bible. They latch onto any myths they hear, and use those as arguements. They are the same as Christians that say, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”

    I hope to teach my children to look critically at evidence before reaching conclusions.

    Davids

    April 24, 2010 at 6:07 am

    • good tell that to your kids, specially regarding your religion

      juan bautista

      April 13, 2012 at 3:18 am

      • What the above person is trying to say is teach your kids that the Bible states to “test all things and to hold fast to what is true” and ESPECIALLY teach them about God not about “religion”.

        tnmusicman

        April 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      • There IS evidence you just have to look at it. For Pete’s sake even ATHEIST scholers accept that Jesus existed. Read Bart Ehrman,who is an atheist, and his book “Did Jesus Exist?” Seriously, the only way you could hold the position that Jesus didn’t exist is if you WANT Jesus to be a myth, which seems to be the case with you.

        tnmusicman

        April 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    • If you believe in global warming, then you obviously have not looked at the science either.

      MikeA

      November 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm

  31. Okay, these comments have gotten so far off track that what is now being said is almost unrelated to the matter at hand. This discussion should be much more closely related anthropological matters not theology. Rather than sitting around and bashing Christians in the all new fad way, the concentration of the discussion should be if the relation between the vast array of Mithral cults that have existed over the years and Christianity. As a student of Religion I have heard this theory on many occasions, however it has to be mentioned that never when I have heard the theory that Mithralism and Christianity are related has there ever been real anthropological evidence used to support it. Quoting small sections of a scholarly work and stating heres proof doesnt do it for me unless the author of the book is able to prove what he or she is claiming. To be honest I’ve noticed that all the evidence for this theory is circular one scholar quotes another and he quotes the other and eventually the third party quotes the first party who quotes the third. Now most people who are promoting this theory throw out the same circular quotes and recently various web sites are quoting nothing but other websites quotations. Most people who want to believe in the theory will take the most poorly contrived evidence and say “well that proves it” When those who want to promote the idea that Mithral and Christ are the supposed same entity can give an actual scrap of real evidence, to support their claims I will consider it, but its messed up to just quote poor sources that dont have any supporting evidence themselves. I mean I could run around saying that a gaint solid gold statue of Smackums is worshiped by Mayor Adam West in real life by quoting his family guy character, however I wont because its insane! Just like Dr. Omar’s statement, oh yeah no matter how we try to cover it up blah blah blah, wheres your proof huh? can you support that arguement? no you cant. Dont insult anyone’s intelligence by making unsupported over arching comments that are so generalized as to be stupid.

    Levi

    April 25, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    • HERE HERE! ditto on Omar’s ridiculous platitude, see my response

      Kenneth McCallick

      May 23, 2012 at 3:23 am

    • when you are blind to the possibility you are blind to the potential evidence.

      Amber Brandenburg

      March 30, 2014 at 1:31 pm

  32. In addition your personal background is not relevant to the discussion its not a pick and choose what you want to believe world either something is related to something else historically or it isnt.

    Levi

    April 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

  33. OK so why celebrate Jesus’ birth on the day when Mithris as well as Tamuz and most of the other sun type gods of the ancients were born. Because the pope says to.
    A little research will show that Yashua, his real name, was born on the first day of Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles. Mary laid him in a sukah which is the dwelling Israel used during the feast. The Jews when they translated the scriptures from the Hebrew to Greek in the Septuagent used the word later translated into English as manger because it was that was the tradition.
    This is because Constantine ordered all of The Creators feasts illegal for believers to participate in in the 4th Cenury.
    Women who were pregnant would not normally have been expected to sleep in a sukah and that is why Yoseph inquired at the inn. They certainly would have never allowed a child to be born in a stable which is unclean. The innkeepers sukah, which every family would have, was offered as the only possible solution.

    ephraiyim

    December 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    • Ephraiyim – were the men not required to go up to Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles /Booths? You mentioned something to the effect that a little study would show Jesus was born the first week of that celebration. Can you tell us what your sources are for that intriguing comment? Thanks

      Scott

      March 2, 2013 at 11:21 am

  34. BTW Christianity and Yashua are mutually exclusive. He was a Jew, not a Christian. None of his first century followers would have anything to do with Christians today.
    They knew that God told anyone who followed Him that they were not to worship Him the way the other nations worshiped their gods including using their holidays.
    Archeologically, more evidence is being found all of the time of the historical accuracy of the scriptures.
    Evidence of the historical Yashua is found in the writings of Josephus who was a contemporary of Yeshua’s and is sighted by unbelieving researchers as well as those who believe as a reliable 1st Century witness of his time particularly when it comes to an understanding of the relationship between Rome and the Jews. He stated that Yeshua was The Messiah, though this is conveniently overlooked by most scholars.

    ephraiyim

    December 25, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    • Jesus, (if he ever existed) was a jew but stoped being one in the moment he rebelled himself against religious hierarchy.

      juan bautista

      April 13, 2012 at 3:20 am

      • Once again,plenty of evidence that Jesus did exist. Do some research instead of “blindly following the crowd”.

        tnmusicman

        April 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    • Ephraiyim: I’m really impressed. You obviously know your stuff! I agree, that Jesus was a Jew as were his first century followers. In fact, first century Christian-Jews worshiped at the Jewish Temples and early Christianity was simply a sect of Judaism. However, the Jewish elders were concerned when these Christians starting bringing gentiles into the temple. As a result, the religions split and the Catholic Church was born.

      MikeA

      November 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      • um…Catholicism was not the first christian denomination. It was just the surviving spin off of many different views in Christianity….so you could say that its just like any other denomination. No better and no worse….well depending on who you speak to.

        Amber Brandenburg

        March 30, 2014 at 1:29 pm

  35. [...] more about the connections between Jesus and Mithras, click here. Merry [...]

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    April 17, 2011 at 5:02 am

  37. [...] I'm sorry but these "similarities" have been debunked so often. Here's one article: Jesus is Not a Mithras Redux [...]

  38. [...] that Jesus = Horus or Jesus = Mithras are just zany and entirely worthless. Check out the article: Jesus is Not a Mithras Redux Reply With [...]

  39. MITHRA

    ARTHUR RIGHT

    December 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm

  40. [...] The Origins of Our Christmas Traditions – Koinonia House • Jesus is Not a Mithras Redux – The Invisible Things • Mithraism – [...]

  41. [...] The Origins of Our Christmas Traditions – Koinonia House • Jesus is Not a Mithras Redux – The Invisible Things • Mithraism – NewAdvent.org No Comments » Subscribe to the comments for this [...]

    • hey ppl stop smoking crack is bad for your brains.

      juan bautista

      April 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm

  42. Jesus said “HIM”….Modern Church said “Son”…….Church says “Three”…..Christ said “one”. Nowhere is it written that Christ said to worship him…… Christ said “follow me”……. I think there will be some surprises when people were asked to Worship God and worshiped something else. I think Christ would not be happy to see people worshiping him or statues of him. This is not what Christ taught. Again….just to show a point that the bible is one of the most mis-quoted books out there. (sad)

    dominic

    July 9, 2012 at 1:22 am

    • Dominic: I agree in a way. Worshiping those other than God is idolatry. However, you obviously don’t understand the role of Jesus. Jesus didn’t come to be on the day he was born here on Earth. He always existed, in fact, he is God. Let me put it another way: God says to his people to be good. The people say that’s easy for you, after all you are God. God comes to earth in human form (Jesus) to show that he can live by his own rules as a human. Let’s also remember that Jesus brought the new covenant, which consists of two commandments. These are, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love one another. As I have loved you.” So the ten commandments (and the hundreds of others listed in Leviticus) of the old convenient don’t necessarily apply.

      MikeA

      November 25, 2013 at 12:33 pm

  43. I think the world needs to practice more religious tolerance.

    dominic

    July 9, 2012 at 1:28 am

  44. something to think about….Our God is all great…..God gave us brains and logic. But wanted us to them except for everything but this topic? Are you believing in just faith and not reason? Are we not supposed to worship God and not the creation? God created the universe….There is still so much yet to explore. Jesus used to pray….if he was God…..his prayer would have been of no use right? Or maybe he prayed when “I myself can do nothiong”…but you take it as “there is nothing I can’t do”….. Jesus said GOD….Church said SON……stop thinking with your emotions. Jesus proclaimed it as sin to worship idols, let along idols of him. The worshiping of Jesus is a man made sin. He came to fulfill….but to worship the creation voids what he came to teach…….remember the prayer…..”OUR FATHER”….food for thought. ;) God Bless!

    dominic

    July 9, 2012 at 1:42 am

    • Mithras was exactly that, A MYTH! Jesus existence is attested by 3rd party, neutral sources, both jewish and Roman. Mithras did not create a world-wide religion that has endured for 2000 years despite every form of persecution and oppression.

      Dear Dominic, just curious, are you a Jehovah’s Witness by any chance? You seem to espouse the same heresies they believe in, Or are you a modern-day Docetist or Ebionite? You deny the divinity of Jesus?

      Hebrews 1 from the Psalms, “in those last days he spoke to us through a son, WHOM HE MADE HEIR OF ALL THINGS AND THROUGH WHOM HE CREATED THE UNIVERSE.

      WHO IS THE REFULGENCE OF HIS GLORY AND THE VERY IMPRINT OF HIS BEING” from WISDOM
      and
      “let all the angels of God worship Him” Psalms and Wisdom

      Revelations: “I am the first and the last, The one who lives, I was once dead, but now am alive forever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld.

      Revelations: ” To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be blessing, honor, glory and might, forever” Equal worship given to both

      We are forbidden to worship anything but God himself, so Jesus must be one in the same, according to this reading.

      Yes God gave us brains to think and reason; an I am sure you can understand that Christians, (and I suppose you are specifically alluding to those of us who are Catholics or Orthoodox), (a group of about 1.5 billion believers or 1/4th of humanity) don’t worship anything physical.

      If you were a soldier in Iraq, and you had a picture of your family, and you kissed the picture; no one would would believe you loved the picture, we would deduce with the reasoning God gave us that you love what the picture represents; so enough with the disengenuous arguments. Christians worship the Holy Trinity, with Jesus as the Redeemer aspect of that Trinity.

      Pax Christi

      Defender of The True Church

      July 11, 2012 at 4:15 am

      • Wonderful post. You make many good points .

        tnmusicman

        July 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

      • Well said!

        MikeA

        November 25, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      • Jesus existed as a man yes…but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that he was nothing more than a great teacher who has been mythologized just as many other historical individuals before him. This does not lessen his importance upon the world. Gods are just archetypes of things we need in our lives. I am sure that there are many things that are not as pure as they should be due to mistranslations or purposeful mistranslations committed by the church over centuries. This is why we must seek with an open mind…not one that only sees in black and white.

        Amber Brandenburg

        March 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm

  45. Defender – No way Jose… No JW. I’m a born-again Christian and attend a Four Square Gospel Church. I’m just not brainwashed. I question everything and seek out the answers. God gave us reason and I use it. I am not questioning Christ’s divinity….I’m simply stating a fact that we are suppose to worship GOD! Is that not what the bible teaches?

    dominic

    July 11, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    • You are right. We are to “question everything and hold fast to what is true”. 1Thes.5:21

      tnmusicman

      July 12, 2012 at 7:44 am

  46. 1. Exactly which God did Jesus worship? See Mt 4:10
    2. Exactly which God did Jesus return to? See Jn 20:17

    We live in the era of mythology that Apostle Paul predicted. If you want more complete answers, go to http://www.bookofedward.org for Apostle Edward’s blog and the full text of the Book of Edward.

    The exegesis above on Jn 3:16 is right on. And everyone should read Jn 3:36 a full twenty verses further on. It is obedience to the teachings of Jesus that will eliminate God’s wrath. Those teachings taught us to worship the God that Jesus served, whom he called the Father.

    Paul explains in 2 Thess 1:8 why you should do this. When Christ returns, he takes vengeance on two groups of people. The first group identified are those who do NOT KNOW GOD, if you do not know the God Jesus worshipped and called us to serve, you never got the message of Christ. You got the message of the church.

    If you think Jesus is God, you never got the message God sent Jesus down with. You got the message of the church.

    dominic

    July 11, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    • What does it say 3 lines before, in Mt 7? Jesus is speaking about himself!

      Defender of the True Church

      July 13, 2012 at 5:45 am

    • Dominic: For someone that claims to seek answers, you aren’t getting it are you? Let me simplify it: Jesus prayed to God, God is Jesus. Just because it is a paradox that my small human mind can’t understand doesn’t mean that I’m brainwashed.

      MikeA

      November 25, 2013 at 12:37 pm

  47. Dear Brother,

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    Waseem Yousaf

    October 6, 2012 at 10:25 pm

  48. [...] di Mitra risalgono al II secolo, certamente sono posteriori ai Vangeli. Christopher Butler ha catalogato i presunti paralleli tra Gesù e Mitra, trovando una enorme discordanza e nessun riferimento al 25 [...]

    Natale | infinitamentepiccolo

    December 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm

  49. “Jesus is Not a Mithras Redux The Invisible Things”
    was in fact a fantastic post. If solely there was more weblogs like this particular one on the web.
    Anyway, thanks a lot for your personal precious time, Rowena

    • it would be a wonderful post if there were any references to substantiate his post and not just his opinion…just saying…there is far more evidence to make the connection between this borrowing of another culture…as well as many others among the Christian faith.

      Amber Brandenburg

      March 30, 2014 at 1:21 pm

  50. I believe this is a proper uppercase article place.Thanks Again. Truly Enthusiastic.

    best hgh

    April 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm

  51. Silly garbage that any decent scholar can easily refute. The same junk rehashed that has been debunked over and over and over again.

    mbabbitt

    July 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

    • Glad to see this refutation but amazing how it lives on. People just want to believe this stuff. Thanks.

      mbabbitt

      July 3, 2013 at 9:48 am

  52. […] Connection Mithraic mysteries – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Mithraism Jesus is Not a Mithras Redux | The Invisible Things […]

  53. […] Originally Posted by Loki Not horus but mithras. He was a roman god for the Roman army . No. Jesus is Not a Mithras Redux […]

  54. Sounds like someone is in denial of the interconnections of all religions and all deities…being so cloistered in one thought….when most of your facts are confused at best and entirely wrong at worst…well…let’s just say this is one of the many problems with our world today. There are no absolutes. There is no one true path. The only truth is that all paths lead to the same destination and it is the journey and your experiences that matter….the fact that you tried to be the best person you possibly could be. Blessed be and may the God and Goddess open your mind.

    Amber Brandenburg

    March 30, 2014 at 1:19 pm


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