In Hinduism, Krishna is said to be an incarnation of the god Vishnu or the eighth avatar. The Encyclopedia Mythica says that he is also one of the most popular gods in Hindiusm. He is often depicted in art as a child with blue skin and playing a flute. And in depictions of him as an adult, he appears very feminine-like — at least at I see it. Historians believe that he was born at around the thirtieth century BC, about 5,000 years ago.
Like in the cases of the alleged “parallels” that Jesus has with several pagan deities (or non deities) like Horus and Buddha (which are refuted here and here), D.M. Murdock also then makes the exact same claims about Krishna, saying that “The similarities between the Christian character and the Indian messiah are many.” So, my purpose is to show if her listed claims claims hold water.
She begins her list by claiming that,
Krishna was born of the Virgin Devaki (“Divine One”)
The only truth in this is that Krishna’s mother’s name was Devaki, and that she is technically divine (Click here) But is is not true that she was a virgin when Krishna was born. Devaki had a total of eight children. It so happens that Krishna was the youngest which proves she had her fun at least eight times before he was born.
In her footnotes, Ms. Murdock tries to explain this fact away by saying that in Hinduism, Devaki “was considered to have had a miraculous conception.” The problem here is that, with exception of “Jesus-Myth” propaganda, I could find no references that substantiate that this is true. But even if Hinduism taught that Krishna’s birth was miraculous (which it does not), that still wouldn’t explain away the fact that Devaki was not a virgin because we know she had other children before Krishna.
Next, she claims,
His father was a carpenter.
Wrong! — His father Vasudeva was a nobleman, not a carpenter. (Text link) Besides, considering the fact that Devaki was a princess, if he was a carpenter, then he would never have been able to marry her.
His birth was attended by angels, wise men and shepherds, and he was presented with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
This is completely false, and I will bet any amount of money that nobody can find a single Hindu reference which back it up. In the story of Krishna’s birth, as far as I can tell, the only two that were present were his parents.
He was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants.
This is an attempt to tie Krishna to King Herod’s “slaughter of the innocence” from the Gospel of Matthew, and a similarity does appear to exist. — King Kasma was told in a vision that one of his sister’s sons would destroy him, so he locked her up and killed six of her eight children as soon as they were born. However, Kasma didn’t slaughter thousands of infants, only his nephews were a potential threat to him.
He was of royal descent.
True, but trivial.
He was baptized in the River Ganges.
I can’t find any reliable sources that confirm this.
He worked miracles and wonders.
Even if he did, this wouldn’t be evidence of causation because miracles are only an expectation in religious writings.
He raised the dead and healed lepers, the deaf and the blind.
Again, even if he did, so what? Miracles are only to be expected in religious writings.
Krishna used parables to teach the people about charity and love.
I could be wrong on this one, but I have to conclude that this claim is bogus. But even if it were true, it could be easily explained as a coincidence.
“He lived poor and he loved the poor.”
Considering the fact that Krishna became a king, this is not particularly true. — But even if true, it would be irrelevant because being poor 5,000 to 2,000 years ago was just a fact of life.
He was transfigured in front of his disciples.
Really? I can’t find any reference for this claim.
In some traditions he died on a tree or was crucified between two thieves.
This is absolutely false! There is no Hindu literature which back it up at all. — Krishna was accidentally shot in the heel by a hunter who thought he was a deer .(See “Mahabharata 16: 4“ ) Also, the claim that Krishna was crucified is suspicious because that particular form of capital punishment didn’t exist during his lifetime. Crucifixion first appeared in the 6th century BC, about 2,400 years after Krishna. (Click here)
He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.
He ascended into heaven, but he didn’t rise from the dead. The New World Encyclopedia says that it is commonly believed that he left his body behind. — In other words, the circumstances are completely different from those of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Krishna is called the “Shepherd God” and “Lord of lords,” and was considered “the Redeemer, Firstborn, Sin Bearer, Liberator, Universal Word.”
It is true that Krishna was known by several names. For example, he was called “lord of the whole world,” “all victorious god,” “speaker of truth,” as well as many other titles. ( Source)
But, I cannot find references that confirm that he was known by any of the titles that Ms. Murdock lists, and I would actually argue that there is negative evidence that he was known by some of them. — Krishna would not have been known as the “firstborn” because he was the youngest of eight children.
His disciples bestowed upon him the title “Jezeus,” meaning “pure essence.”
There is no Hindu source that backs this up. But even if such a name was given to Krishna, it wouldn’t indicate causation. — Jesus, who spoke Aramaic, would have answered to the name “Yeshua” which is the true pronunciation, and “Iesous” is the Greek pronunciation. — “Jesus” is only the English pronunciation and is, therefore, irrelevant. So it turns out that Ms. Murdock is playing meaningless word games.
Krishna is to return to do battle with the “Prince of Evil,” who will desolate the earth.
Yet another unsupported claim. But even if it were a true parallel, it would not make any difference because a fight between good are evil are very frequent in religion.
Before Ms. Murdock gives her list of alleged similarities between Jesus and Krishna, she says:
It should be noted that a common earlier English spelling of Krishna was “Christna,” which reveals its relation to ‘”Christ.” It should also be noted that, like the Jewish godman, many people have believed in a historical, carnalized Krishna.
So, now she’s claiming that English spelling can tie Jesus to Krishna. What a hoot!!! — For someone who claims to be a well versed scholar, this is a very unusual tactic to resort to.
There is absolutely no evidence that Jesus was copied from Krishna. The only sources that Ms. Murdock give in her footnotes are from fellow “Jesus-Mythers,” and not one Hindu source is listed. If she were an expert of religious mythology as she claims, then she should be able to back up her claims by using primary sources.
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.
In 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.
The film Zeitgeist begins with list of pagan gods such Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus and Mithra. It goes through the list of details associated with Jesus Christ and then applies them to these pagan gods in order to create the impression that Christianity is only a copycat religion of paganism. — So far, the claims made by Peter Joseph (the film producer) have turned out to be wrong. The claims of parallels with the god Horus turned out to be completely wrong, and the claims made about Attis are only marginally better, but without convincing evidence of causation of Christianity. However, it should be kept in mind that just because the claims made about these two former alleged parallel gods have turned out to be false, that doesn’t necessarily falsify the rest of the claims that are made in Zeitgeist, so it is necessary to continue checking the facts.
The next pagan god that Zeitgeist focuses on is Krishna, a Hindu god. The film quickly summarizes his life:
Krishna, of India, born of the virgin Devaki with a star in the east signaling his coming, performed miracles with his disciples, and upon his death was resurrected.
According to the story of Krishna’s birth, the princess Devaki married Vasudev. Soon after the wedding, Kansa Devaki’s brother, heard a voice warn him that one of her children would eventually kill him. When he heard that, he imprisioned both his sister and her husband. Every time the two of them had a child in prision, Kansa had the newborn killed.
When the eighth child, Krishna, was born, Devaki and Vasudev prayed to Vishnu who had appeared to them in prision and freed Vasudev and the newborn Krishna from the prision. Vishnu instructed Vasudev to take Krishna across the river, exchange him for a newborn girl, and then come back with her before anyone knew that he had gone. He did as he was told, and the guards then realized the eighth child was born and informed Kansa about it. Kansa went personally to kill the child. Devaki begged him not to kill her because she was only a little girl, but Kansa payed no heed to her hurling the child against a wall but failed to kill her. She then appeared as a goddess to him saying that the one who would kill him was elsewhere.
Knowing this story of Krishna’s birth, the most obvious error Zeitgeist makes is the claim that Devaki was a virgin when he was born. She had seven children before him indicating that she had her “fun” several times before he was born. Besides, there is nothing apparently miraculous about Krishna’s birth at all. — Also, I can find no Hindu or encyclopedic reference to a “star in the east” which announced his birth, and apparently, no Hindu scholar knows about it.
It is true that Krishna performed miracles and even went on heroic exploits, but so what? — Miracles are very generic and are only to be expected in legends and religious literature of deities. This shows no relevant relationship with Jesus.
Also, as for the death and resurrection of Krishna, it would be a massive streatch to say that it is similar to that of Jesus. . . Krishna died of different causes than Jesus. According to the Hindu writings in the Mahabharata, 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 earth in 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 and endued with many arms. Regarding himself an offender, and filled with fear, he touched the feet of Keshava. The high-souled one comforted him and then ascended upwards, filling the entire welkin with splendour. (Mahabharata 16: 4)
Krishna also was not resurrected in the sence that Jesus was, with a body of flesh and blood (Luke 24: 39). On the contrary, it is believed that Krishna left his body behind when he died and went to be with the gods.
A look at the facts shows that Krishna and Jesus are not similar enough to claim that one cause the other. The intentions of Peter Joseph, the maker of Zeitgeist, are now becoming clearer: “Academic correctness be damned! We have our agenda and we are going to advance it even if it means distorting the facts.”