The similarities between the stories and characters in the Bible and those from previous mythologies are both undeniable and well-documented. It is only due to extreme the extreme religious bias that pervades our world today that people rarely get exposed to this information.
The Book of Genesis’s Flood Story Mirrors The Epic Of Gilgamesh From Hundreds Of Years Earlier
Here are a number of elements that both Gilgamesh and the flood story in Genesis share:
- God decided to send a worldwide flood. This would drown men, women, children, babies and infants, as well as eliminate all of the land animals and birds.
- God knew of one righteous man, Ut-Napishtim or Noah.
- God ordered the hero to build a multi-story wooden ark (called a chest or box in the original Hebrew), and the hero initially complained about the assignment to build the boat.
- The arc would have many compartments, a single door, be sealed with pitch and would house one of every animal species.
- A great rain covered the land with water.
- The arc landed on a mountain in the Middle East.
- The first two birds returned to the ark. The third bird apparently found dry land because it did not return.
- The hero and his family left the ark, ritually killed an animal, offered it as a sacrifice.
- The Babylonian gods seemed genuinely sorry for the genocide that they had created. The God of Noah appears to have regretted his actions as well, because he promised never to do it again.
Keep in mind the level of detail in these similarities. It’s not a matter of just a flood, but specific details: three birds sent out, resisting the call to build the arc, and a single man being chosen by God to build the arc.
Then consider that the first story (Gilgamesh) came from Babylon — hundreds of years before the Bible was even written. Do you honestly think, based on the similarities above, that those who wrote the Genesis story had not heard the Gilgamesh story?
And if they had heard it, and they were simply rehashing an old, very popular tale, what does that say about the Bible?
Jesus’s Story Is An Obvious Rehashing Of Numerous Previous Characters
Perhaps even more compelling is the story of Christ himself. As it turns out it’s not even remotely original. It is instead nothing more than a collection of bits and pieces from dozens of other stories that came long before. Here are some examples.
- Asklepios healed the sick, raised the dead, and was known as the savior and redeemer.
- Hercules was born of a divine father and mortal mother and was known as the savior of the world. Prophets foretold his birth and claimed he would be a king, which started a search by a leader who wanted to kill him. He walked on water and told his mother, “Don’t cry, I’m going to heaven.” when he died. As he passed he said, “It is finished.“
- Dionysus was literally the “Son of God”, was born of a virgin mother, and was commonly depicted riding a donkey. He healed the sick and turned water to wine. He was killed but was resurrected and became immortal. His greatest accomplishment was his own death, which delivers humanity itself.
- Osiris did the same things. He was born of a virgin, was considered the first true king of the people, and when he died he rose from the grave and went to heaven.
- Osiris’s son, Horus, was known as the “light of the world”, “The good shepherd”, and “the lamb”. He was also referred to as, “The way, the truth, and the life.” His symbol was a cross.
- Mithra‘s birthday was celebrated on the 25th of December, his birth was witnessed by local shepherds who brought him gifts, had 12 disciples, and when he was done on earth he had a final meal before going up to heaven. On judgment day he’ll return to pass judgment on the living and the dead. The good will go to heaven, and the evil will die in a giant fire. His holiday is on Sunday (he’s the Sun God). His followers called themselves “brothers”, and their leaders “fathers”. They had baptism and a meal ritual where symbolic flesh and blood were eaten. Heaven was in the sky, and hell was below with demons and sinners.
- Krishna had a miraculous conception that wise men were able to come to because they were guided by a star. After he was born an area ruler tried to have him found and killed. His parents were warned by a divine messenger, however, and they escaped and was met by shepherds. The boy grew up to be the mediator between God and man.
- Buddha‘s mother was told by an angel that she’d give birth to a holy child destined to be a savior. As a child he teaches the priests in his temple about religion while his parents look for him. He starts his religious career at roughly 30 years of age and is said to have spoken to 12 disciples on his deathbed. One of the disciples is his favorite, and another is a traitor. He and his disciples abstain from wealth and travel around speaking in parables and metaphors. He called himself “the son of man” and was referred to as, “prophet”, “master”, and “Lord”. He healed the sick, cured the blind and deaf, and he walked on water. One of his disciples tried to walk on water as well but sunk because his faith wasn’t strong enough.
- Apollonius of Tyana (a contemporary of Jesus) performed countless miracles (healing sick and crippled, restored sight, casted out demons, etc.) His birth was of a virgin, foretold by an angel. He knew scripture really well as a child. He was crucified, rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples to prove his power before going to heaven to sit at the right hand of the father. He was known as, “The Son of God”.
The problem, of course, is that these previous narratives existed hundreds to thousands of years before Jesus did.
Logic Sets In
Many are familiar with Occam’s Razor, which states that, all things being equal, one should not seek complex explanations when more simple ones are available. No one disputes that these other stories predate the Judeo-Christian Bible, so we really only have two options:
- The religious explanation is that while the other stories were very much the same as those in the Bible, they are all false. But when they occur in the Bible (despite it being much the same content), this time the stories are true. One explanation of the resemblances to the earlier myths is that Satan created them to lead people astray from the true Messiah that would come much later. So essentially, an ultra-powerful and evil being (Created by God) influenced humanity to create deceptive stories — thousands of years before the real version — so that people wouldn’t believe the real thing when they saw it.
- The alternative explanation is that the nature of storytelling during the period was such that central themes propagated through time. This combined with the natural tendency to have certain repeating elements in human stories, and the fact that the Bible stories came after the other ones, explains the similarities to previous myths. And since the stories of worldwide floods, virgin births, and people rising from the dead that the Bible is based on were false to begin with (which everyone agrees on) — they are also false in the Bible. In short, the Bible is simply another iteration of the same themes that came long before it.
Which of these two explanations makes more sense to you?
References and Additional Reading
Jesus: Original or Fake? http://www.bandoli.no/nooriginaljesus.htm
Comparison of Babylonian and Noahic Flood Stories http://www.religioustolerance.org/noah_com.htm
An Easter Blessing http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/blessing.html
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