Similarities to Other Stories
The similarities between the stories and characters in the Bible and those from previous mythologies are both undeniable and well-documented. This would be obvious if it weren’t for early indoctrination of these beliefs into children, which usually makes them unassailable as adults.
In this short piece I’ll attempt to show extraordinary similarities with regard to two of the most important Biblical narratives: the Genesis story and the character of Jesus Christ.
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 ark would have many compartments, a single door, be sealed with pitch and would house two of every animal species.
- A great rain covered the land with water.
- The ark 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 ark, and a single man being chosen by God to build the ark. 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.
- Dionysus was literally the “Son of God”, was born of a woman who had not had sex with a man, and was depicted riding a donkey. He was a traveling teacher who performed miracles, and was killed and resurrected, after which time he became immortal.
- 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-like symbol.
- 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.
Not only was the Bible taken largely and blatantly from previous stories, but there are contradictions so massive that they defy belief. Here are just a few of them.
Noah’s Ark: The story of the Ark is that a pair of every animal on earth was put on the ship. Forgetting for a second the fact that the story came directly from the Epic of Gilgamesh, keep in mind we’re being asked to believe that two 500-year-old people are caring for tens of thousands of animals. And where did they keep the food? How did they keep the poisonous snakes from biting the other animals? And where did they get the polar bears, alligators, and thousands of other animals that that don’t live in the Middle East?
The Angel’s Message: In Matthew 1:20 it says the Angel spoke to Joseph. In Luke 1:28 he spoke to Mary. Which was it?
Mary’s Virginity: The Hebrew word ‘Almah’, which people took to mean virgin, actually means ‘young woman of marriage age’. And there are plenty of indications that Jesus had brothers and sisters.
The Census: The authors of the Bible are trying so hard to get Jesus born in Bethlehem that they craft a story about a census. They say that Joseph had to travel back to his father’s homeland in order to register for it. Can you seriously imagine—in any period let alone then—asking the entire country to travel back their father’s hometown to register for a census? It’s completely impossible. The author of the story put it in there because they needed Jesus born in that city. Plus, historians note that the Romans kept extraordinary records, and there wasn’t even a census at that time. It’s completely fabricated, and for obvious reasons.
Jesus and the Family: The Bible says honor your father and mother, yet Jesus says you must hate your father, mother, wife, children, and even your own life to be a disciple, and says to call no man on earth your father. (MT 10:35-37, LK 12:51-53, 14:26, MT 23:9)
God and Murder: God says killing is wrong, yet he advocates genocide. (EX 34:11-14, LV 26:7-9)
God and Slavery: We all know slavery to be wrong, yet God openly advocates it. (GN 17:12, EX 12:43, EX: 21:1, EX 21:20, EX 21:32, LV 22:10, LV 25:44, LK 7:2, CL 3:22)
Jesus’s Heritage: There are two different genealogies for Jesus given in the Bible, and they don’t match. One is curiously given through Joseph, which is strange since he’s not Jesus’s father. Why give a genealogy through someone who isn’t related to you?
The Passover: It’s widely understood that God is supposed to be all-seeing and all-knowing. If that’s true, then why did he need people to mark their houses with blood in order to keep from killing their babies inside?
Kill Your Son to Prove You Love Me: God told Abraham to kill his son to prove that he loved God. Abraham raised the knife to him, about to do it, and God called it off—pleased that he would have done it. Does that sound like a moral God to you?
This is just a tiny sample of the inconsistencies and moral problems with the Bible. There are far more linked in the notes. But don’t take my word for any of this. Go to the passages. Read the material. It’s all there.
- How is Jesus’s crucifixion the ultimate sacrifice if he isn’t dead? He has been immortal since the beginning of time, and he’s still alive and immortal today, so where’s the sacrifice?
- If Jesus removed our sins with his (see above) “sacrifice”, then how come we still have to avoid sin and accept him as our savior to avoid an eternity in hell? What did it accomplish?
- Why does the Bible talk constantly about how to manage slaves, how to kill one’s enemies, and how to avoid making God angry, but there’s not much focus at all on seemingly obvious things like, “Thou Shalt Not Harm a Child”?
- I know the Ark was supposed to be large, but the world currently has an estimated 8,700,000 species of life form. And you needed two of each
- Forgetting just the numbers problem, how did the species that only exist (and still exist) in South America, and Antartica, and Australia, etc., all make it to the Ark?
- What’s the direct, non-hand-waving explanation for the suffering and death of roughly 9 million children per year in a world supposedly ruled by a kind and loving God?
- When Wikipedia can be updated by a random human, for billions of people in mere seconds, why has God left his book filled with stories of slavery, rape, and genocide from thousands of years ago?
The logical conclusion
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. Few dispute that these other stories predate the Judeo-Christian Bible, or that the Bible is full of massive contradictions, so we really have two main explanations:
- God created all these stories and characters thousands of years before the Bible in order to trick people, and then created new stories and characters that were almost exactly the same. But the version that went into the Bible—even with all the contradictions and immoral teachings—is the actual word of God. …OR…
- The Bible was created during a time where stories were orally passed down over thousands of years. Stories constantly morphed and changed over time, and the Bible is a collection of these. This is why it has the nearly identical flood story from Gilgamesh, and why Jesus has the same characteristics as Dionysus, Osiris, Horus, Mithra, and Krishna. The contradictions and immorality in the stories are not evidence that God is flawed or evil, but rather that humans invented him, just like the thousands of other gods that we used to but no longer believe in.
If you hadn’t been taught Christianity since you were a young child, which of these two explanations would make the most sense to you?
- The goal of this page is not to say God is evil or bad. The point is to show that he is imaginary, created by humans, and to use the blatant reproductions, inconsistencies, and immoral teachings of the Bible to show that the Bible is false, and was written by man. God is not at fault here; there is no reason to believe anything like God exists at all. We simply made it all up because 1) we are afraid of death and, 2) we can use such beliefs to control people.
- Jesus: Original or Fake? http://www.bandoli.no/nooriginaljesus.htm
- Here is a list of far more contradictions and problems with the Bible
- Comparison of Babylonian and Noahic Flood Stories: http://www.religioustolerance.org/noah_com.htm
- This website is a phenomenal resource for showing how immoral the teachings of the Bible truly are
- An Easter Blessing: http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/blessing.html
- [ November 2015 ] A number of the facts listed above about mythical beings that pre-dated Jesus are up for debate. Back when I wrote this I took the content to be factual (I was less careful then), but the truth is that there is much discussion around these details. The important thing to capture from that section is that there were popular concepts that predated Jesus by hundreds of years that ended up in his stories as well. You can research the details more deeply if you want; I have removed a couple of points already, and will be cleaning it up more as I have time. I’d currently give that section an 85% accuracy rating.