Defending the Theistic View


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was of royal descent.

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

He crushed a serpent’s head.

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

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

Sakyamuni Buddha had 12 disciples.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

He was transfigured on a mount.

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

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

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

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

He ascended to Nirvana or “heaven.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Josephus and Jesus “who was called Christ” — Refuting Acharya S

Joseph ben Matthias, better known as Flavius Josephus, was the son of a priest born in the year 37 AD. — During the first part of the  Jewish revolt he was a reluctant military commander that fought the Romans. Later in 67 AD, when many of his allies had committed suicide rather than surrender he surrendered to the Romans for uncertain reasons and provided them with information and then was released two years later in  69 AD. As a result, he has been called a traitor and a pro-Roman propagandist, though he tried to fix the Jewish image in Rome’s point of view.

The works of Flavius Josephus are an important compilation of history that, in many cases, would be otherwise unknown to us had he not written it. He is the basic source from which we learn about many important historical figures and events. He wrote extensively about King Herod the Great, the Jewish revolt of 66 AD which lead to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and about the census of Quirinius of 6 AD which caused the rebellion of Judas of Galilee. — These are all mentioned in the New Testament, but not to the great detail that Josephus had described them.

Many Christians have appealed to this Jewish historian for confirmation of several biblical events and personalities such as  the existence of the historical Jesus.  One of the most secular historical references is known as the Testimonium Flavianum which is attributed to him. The other is usually called “the James Passage” which only mentions Jesus in passing.

This passage known as the Testimonium Flavianum occurs when Josephus is giving a historical account of the Roman Prefect of Judea Pontius Pilate,

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. (Antiquities 18: 63-64)

flavius-josephus2The passage not only acknowledges that Jesus had indeed existed, it also affirms that “he was the Christ” and was resurrected after the third day of his death, there in lies the problem. Josephus was a devout Jew, not a Christian. It is practically impossible that Josephus had acknowledged Jesus as the true Messiah (or Christ). Therefore he would not have believed that Jesus was resurrected after being crucified.

Not surprisingly the “Jesus Myth” crowd calls the authenticity of the Josephus passages into question calling the passage into question, Acharya S (a.k.a. Dorthy M. Murdock), being very prominent among them.

Ms. Murdock, in her statements about the Testimonium, in an attempt to prove that it is a forgery  mentions that early Christians such as Justin Martyr and Theophilus don’t cite it and therefore this silence indicates that they did not know anything about it. The problem with her argument is that her logic only leads her to a conclusion that was already presupposed.

— She is assuming that early Christian apologists, to defend their faith, would have cited theTestimonium to show that  Jesus existed if indeed they knew about it. The fact is that citing the Testimonium would have been practically pointless because it only would have only served to confirm Jesus’ existence which was actually never questioned by early skeptics of Christianity.

Another argument that Ms. Murdock uses is that if Josephus truly knew about Jesus he would have written more about him,

Josephus goes into long detail about the lives of numerous personages of relatively little import, including several Jesuses. It is inconceivable that he would devote only a few sentences to someone even remotely resembling the character found in the New Testament. If the gospel tale constituted “history.” [ . . . ] Moreover, the TF refers to Jesus as a “wise man”–this phrase is used by Josephus in regard to only two other people, out of hundreds, i.e., the patriarchs Joseph and Solomon. If Josephus had thought so highly of an historical Jesus, he surely would have written more extensively about him. Yet, he does not.

This argument proves nothing except that Acharya S has likely not read a lot of Josephus’ works. Josephus mentions others that were well-known in first century Judea and yet wrote little about them. His mention of John the Baptist is only a paragraph long. Josephus calls him “a good man” who taught righteousness (Antiquities 18: 116) — Also, there was another holy man which he mentions (again in only a single paragraph) called Zacharias, son of Baruch who was murdered without just cause. (Wars of the Jews 4: 334-344)

These two men were well known at the time of Josephus and yet he only dedicates a single paragraph to each. So in my opinion this refutes the assumption that just because Josephus didn’t write more extensively about Jesus that therefore he wasn’t known to him.

Also, as mentioned, Josephus speaks in high regard about John the Baptist and Zacharias but does not go into greater detail about them. — This in itself can be used to show that Ms. Murdock’s argument that if Josephus thought highly of Jesus then he would necessarily have written a longer history about Jesus is incorrect. As a matter of fact, her two arguments here can be turned around to argue for the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum because it follows the pattern of the one paragraph accounts of well-known good (or holy) men that Josephus both wrote about and respected.

Ms. Murdock complains that the Testimonium “interrupts the flow of the primary material” meaning that it is out of context. Even if it was out of context this wouldn’t indicate it is an interpolation because such digressions were much more common in Greek and Roman writings than in modern literature. Today, we would place such breaks in footnotes which wasn’t done 2,000 years ago. (Greek and Roman Historians, page 53)

She makes the claim that the consensus among scholars is that the passage is a complete forgery. To back her up she quotes several writters from the 19th century. — Interestingly enough, one of her experts that she cites is Gordon Stein who she quotes as saying that most scholars since the late 1800’s  believe the Testimonium to be  a forgery. However, on his paper (which is found here) which she cites there is a disclaimer inserted by an editor before the text which says that things have changed since Stein wrote his essay in 1982,

While there is no doubt among the majority of scholars that the Testimonium has been tampered with (and thus the entire passage cannot be authentic), a decent number of scholars believe the Testimonium is based upon an authentic core. In other words, on their view, Josephus really did write a passage referring to Jesus. (Italics mine)

I do not know if this disclaimer was already added to Gordon Stein’s paper by by the time Acharya S decided to use it as a source, but it certainly is enough to refute her claim that the Testimonium is seen as a fake by the scholarly community.

The indication (from the disclaimer) is that even though it is true that at one point (at least until 1982) the Testimonium was seen as a forgery, this is no longer the case. — The vast majority of Acharya S’ sources come from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries. These facts mean that she is using outdated sources to prove her case because the scholarly opinion has shifted.

The late David Flusser, Professor of early Christianity and Judaism and Orthodox Jew, while commenting on the Testimonium says,

Although it is generally recognized that the passage concerning Jesus in the extant Greek manuscripts of his Jewish Antiquities (18:63-64) was distorted by later Christian hands “the most probable view seems to be that our text represents substantially what Josephus wrote,but that some alterations have been made by a Christian interpolator.” (The Sage from Galilee – Rediscovering Jesus Genius, page 12)

So basically, Ms. Murdock’s claims that the vast majority of scholars believe the Testimonium is a Christian forgery is not only out dated. It is completely wrong. It is true that there are certain statements in it that more than likely were not written by Josephus such as “if it be lawful to call him a man” and “he was the Christ,” but that doesn’t necessarily lead to the conclusion that it is a complete forgery “in toto” as Murdock puts it.

The second Josephus passage that mentions Jesus is not quite as lengthy as the Testimonium. As a matter of fact, it isn’t even about Jesus,

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

The basic objection that the “Jesus Myth” crowd brings up is that Josephus uses the term “was called Christ” in association with Jesus. — Ms. Murdock on her page only mentions this passage in passing and doesn’t go into detail about it. One of her listed sources on her page is the 19th century Christ-Myther John E. Remsberg who claims,

This passage is probably genuine with the exception of the clause, “who was called Christ,” which is undoubtedly an interpolation, and is generally regarded as such.

He goes on to claim that believing that the James mentioned in the passage is in fact Jesus Christ’s brother “accepted history of the primitive church” which says he was killed in 69 AD, not in 62 AD. To this point all I can say is that one should not confuse folklorewith true history.

As for his claim that the entire passage except for the clause “was called Christ” is authentic — Considering that the names Jesus and James were very common in the first century AD, if the means of identification were to be erased, as Remsberg apparently believed should be done, then the passage would become pretty unclear and ambiguous. It would simply be a mention of a “Jesus, brother of James.” Anyone reading the passage in the first century would likely have thought “Ok. Which ones? I know a million of them.”

Also, near the end of the paragraph, Josephus mentions another Jesus called the son of Damneus who became the high priest. (Antiquities 20: 203) This is all the more reason for Josephus to identify Jesus Christ in order to distinguish the two to avoid confusion.

Also, it is not true that the clause “was called Christ” is “generally regarded” as an interpolation. — Leading Josephus Scholar Louis Feldman says,

That, indeed, Josephus did say something about Jesus is indicated, above all, by the passage — the authenticity of which has been almost universally acknowledged — about James, who is termed (A XX, 200) the brother of the “aforementioned Christ.” (Josephus, Judaism and Christianity, page 56)

Feldman on the same page goes on to answer a charge that the passage was interpolated because of an apparent contradiction between this passage and another mention of the priest Ananus in Wars of the Jews,

As to the recent suggestion Tessa Rajak that the passage about James is a Christian interpolation because it has a derogatory view of Ananus the high priest (Josephus elsewhere praises him), we may remark that there are a number of instances in the Antiquities where Josephus contradicts what he says in the War. In any case, it would seem more likely that a forger would have been more careful than to contradict outright what Josephus says elsewhere.

Other scholars point out that the “James Passage” fits the context and that a Christian interpolator would have used “laudatory language” different than what Josephus used to describe James and especially Jesus. -A Christian would have called James “the brother of the Lord” much like the Apostle Paul does.

They also point out that the term  “λεγόμενος” (pronounced as “legomenos”) used by Josephus for the clause “was called Christ” is way too neutral for any Christian interpolator to have inserted. A Christian would have used the term in a more absolute way leaving no room for doubt that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Josephus’ language, however, neither denies or affirms Jesus’ Messiaship. (Jesus Outside the New Testament, pages 83, 84)

Finally, Ms. Murdock claims that,

Even if the Josephus passage were authentic [ . . . ], it nevertheless would represent not an eyewitness account but rather a tradition passed along for at least six decades, long after the purported events. Hence, the TF would possess little if any value in establishing an “historical” Jesus.

She claims, basically, that even if the Testimonium were indeed authentic it would not prove anything because it is not a first hand account due to the fact that Josephus was born a few short years after the death of Jesus. — This is a popular argument among the “Jesus-Myth” crowd, but it is one that makes absolutely no sense.

Josephus wrote about many people decades and even centuries after they existed. — He wrote extensively on the life of King Herod the Great, the Deposition of Archelaus from Judea, and even on the Census of 6 AD. He even wrote about the invasion of of Jerusalem by the Roman General Pompey over a century after the fact. The fact is that Josephus’ life was much further removed from these historical accounts he wrote about then he was from the life of Jesus. So if these “Jesus-Mythers” were to hold these historical accounts to the same standard that they do with the Testimonium then we would end up throwing out most of Josephus’ valuable works. But no prominent scholar or historian would ever even consider such a thing.

The same goes for several other historians such as Tacitus, Herodotus, Xenophon, Plutarch, and others who wrote several decades or centuries after the events the report on and are still believed useful by modern historians and scholars. So the fact is that a historian writing about an event decades after the fact does not invalidate the historicity of what he reports. It does not have to be a first hand eyewitness account to be historically relevant.

Another fact is that though Josephus was born in 37 AD, about six years after the death of Jesus, he was alive when the event he covers in his “James passage” was happening. He was writing about the stoning of James which historians believe happened in 62 AD, when Josephus would have been twenty-five years of age. (After Jesus: The Triumph of Christianity, page 53) There is therefore no reason why Josephus wouldn’t have had good first hand information about this event about a man known as the brother of Jesus. – If the name and family of the man was known, then almost certainly so was the man himself.

Before I conclude, a word should be said about Ms. Murdock’s sources. — As mentioned before, most of her sources which she uses to back up the claim that the Testimonium Flavianum is a complete forgery come from the late 19th century and considering that the scholarly opinion has completely shifted since then they are therefore outdated and irrelevant.

Also, several of her listed sources who she doesn’t necessarily quote outright are early “Jesus-Mythers” such as Hayyim ben Yehoshua and John Remsburg. Neither of these 19th century “Jesus-Mythers” even had the qualifications of a scholar in the necessary field. Ms. Murdock also lists a paper among her sources from contributed by Scott Orser. But a quick look at his bio once again shows that he is not an expert in this particular field either.

It really strikes me as odd that someone who claims to be an expert in the fields of history, religion and archaeology like Ms. Murdock would resort to citing non-experts in order to prove her point. If I may say so, many amateurs have been known to use much better tactics than her in their own personal research. — I’m not trying to demean her, but honestly —

In conclusion, the arguments that D.M. Murdock uses to prove her case for the Testimonium Flavianum being a complete forgery are mostly al moot. Many scholars, despite her claims to the contrary, do in fact believe that the Testimonium is partially authentic, though not entirely. Her claims that Josephus would have written much more of Jesus if he in fact knew about him are also irrelevant because there are other well-known men that he writes about and yet only gives them a paragraph each. Also the claim that the Testimonium is out of context is irrelevant because, even if true, it was common practice to insert such digressions 2,000 years ago. — It does not help matters for Ms. Murdock that her many of her authorities are outdated and, in many cases, not even authorities at all.

The James Passage is almost universally considered authentic so even if it were true the Testimonium was thought by experts to be a complete forgery, it would still be believed that Josephus indeed gives secular first century proof of Jesus’ existence. — Also, as for claims that he didn’t have firsthand knowledge of Jesus and therefore his short mentions of him are not relevant, this is to undermine Josephus’ known accuracy as a capable historian because it is unlikely that Josephus would have been fooled into writing about a man that was said to have lived so close to his time that did not exist.

Zeitgeist Challenge Exposes Acharya S and Zeitgeist

Recently I wrote a short refutation of AcharyaS’ defence of Zeitgeist. For anyone who would like a better refutation, I am posting a video refutation which was produced by the webmasters of Zeitgeist Challenge which goes into better detail that I do.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

A Refutation of Acharya S’ defence of Zeitgeist


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

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

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

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

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

Attis and Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Krishna born of a virgin?

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

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

Is December 25th relevant?

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

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

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

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

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

The Three Kings

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Is Jesus a Fraud? — Counter Arguments

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

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

Is Jesus a Composite?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is Jesus the Sun God

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

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

Guttormson then says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He then continues,

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

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

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

No evidence of Jesus’ Existence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Myth of Jesus: A Refutation of the Zeitgeist — The Conclusion

After making its list of unsubstantiated claims that Christianity was copied from other Pagan religions it Zeitgeist then accuses it of fraud and of demanding blind obedience,

Christianity, along with all other theistic belief systems, is the fraud of the age. It served to detach the species from the natural world, and likewise, each other. It supports blind submission to authority. It reduces human responsibility to the effect that “God” controls everything, and in turn awful crimes can be justified in the name of Divine Pursuit. And most importantly, it empowers those who know the truth but use the myth to manipulate and control societies.

These are very popular anti-Christian claims which are also completely false. — The claim that Christianity is “the fraud of the age” is a very daring statement, but one that Zeitgeist has been unable to prove. I cannot prove that Christianity is the one true religion, but since I have been able to refute virtually all of the claims made in Zeitgeist against the origins of Christianity here, there is a much stronger case against Zeitgeist as the real fraud.

The claim that Christianity “blind authority to authority” is a popular (but false) stereotype among Atheists and “Christ-Mythers.” — It is true that Jesus Christs want obedience, but it is by no means “blind submission.” In John 14: 15, Jesus himself says “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Since he told us why then by definition, submission to Christ is not “blind.” He wants obedience out of our love for him, not out of blindness. Zeitgeist is completely misrepresenting the definition of Christian submission.

Its claim that Christianity justifies crimes in the name of the name of “Divine Persuit” is disproven by the very obvious fact that Jesus and Paul taught love and not violence. There is no truly Christian justification for any crime against humanity.

Contrary to what it claims, the crucifixion of Jesus is unique to Christianity alone. Hardly any other gods that Zeitgeist mentions, with the exception of Attis, were born of virgins. Attis’ case, yet, is so different from Jesus’ that it is naive to claim a connection. Research in neutral sources is enough to disprove most (if not all) of Zeitgeist’s claims.

My final conclusion of Zeitgeist, the Movie, in its representation (or rather misrepresentation) of the origins of Christianity and of other religions makes it guilty of fraud and deliberate distortion of the facts in order to advance its anti-Religion agenda.

The Myth of Jesus: A Refutation of the Zeitgeist — Part 14

After making the unsubtantiated as well as refutable claim that Jesus never existed (refuted here), Zeitgeist then repeats a very popular claim in the “Jesus Myth” crowd about the so-called Council of Nicea (or Nicaea),

It was the political establishment that sought to historize the Jesus figure for social control. By 325 a.d. in Rome, emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicea. It was during this meeting that the politically motivated Christian Doctrines were established and thus began a long history of Christian bloodshed and spiritual fraud. And for the next 1600 years, the Vatican maintained a political stranglehold on all of Europe, leading to such joyous periods as the Dark Ages, along with enlightening events such as the Crusades, and the Inquisition.

nicaeaZeitgeist claims that the Council of Nicea was was convened for two reasons: 1) for social control and 2) to establish the Christian doctrines. The problem with the first claim is that there is little or no evidence to support the charge that the council was for social control. — And as for the second claim, there were no doctrines established at the council of Nicea.

The Encyclopedia of the Orient says that the main purpose for the Council was the concern caused by the Heretic Arius who questioned the already Christian belief that Jesus was equal to God the father. He believed that Jesus was more than a man, but that he was created by God therefore making him inferior to the Father God, not quite human or divine.

The Catholic Encyclopedia points out that the vast majority of Bishops present at the council were believers in the equality of Jesus to the father so this particular doctrine was not “established” at the council as Zeitgeist would have us believe. More accurately, it was affirmed.

Other than dealing with the deity of Jesus Christ, there were other less important issues that were dealt with such as the establishment of Easter and the prohibition of self castration. — None of these are “doctrines,” but rather side-issues. So it turns out that the assertions that Zeitgeist makes are just more examples of “garbage in, garbage out.”

Next, Zeitgeist blames the Vatican for the “Dark Ages” and dates the start of that period from the year of the council  of Nicea (325 AD) and claims it lasted for 1,600 years. — This claim shows how uninformed the film makers are. First of all, if the Dark Ages lasted for that long from 325 AD, then they would have ended in about 1925. Obviously this is not true.

The truth is the Dark Ages (or the Early Middle Ages) are actually dated from the 5th century to the late eleventh century, around 600 years . Zeitgeist is not even close. Also, contrary to the film’s claims, the Vatican cannot be blamed for the Dark Ages. — The History Channel  points out that,

No one definitive event marks the end of antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Neither the sack of Rome by the Goths under Alaric I in 410 nor the deposition in 476 of Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman emperor in the West, impressed their contemporaries as epoch-making catastrophes.

It goes on to describe other causes such as the invasion of Rome by Germanic tribes, severe economic problems, and the 300 years of primitive culture in the European society. Christianity and the Vatican cannot be fully blamed for the Dark Ages, much less the Council of Nicea.

As for blaming Christianity itself for the Crusades, it should be emphasized that what happened then actually goes against Christian ethics. But a major and little known fact is that Christians do not deserve all (or even most) of the blame for the Crusades. — Thomas F. Madden, Associate Professor of History at Saint Louis University in his essay about the Crusades points out that there are a lot of misconceptions about what happened in the Crusades,

For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands. Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them.

Why doesn’t Zeitgeist mention this? Because it doesn’t fit with the film maker’s agenda to prove Christianity is evil. The fact is that neither Christianity or Catholicism can be completely blamed for the “Holy Crusades.” They certainly were innocent of the provocation, in the first place any way.

As for the Inquisition, it goes completely against Christian teaching. Jesus himself would never have condoned such a thing. There is no justification (or anything that can be construed as a justification) in the New Testament for the persecution of non-Christians and heretics. There is no question that the images of Jesus and the Cross have been abused in history, but that is no reason to judge Christianity in such a negative way.