if and how people actually literally believed those stories to
We see how downright funny their worldview was, and I fall victim to the temptation to mock them as foolish I must admit. Their beliefs and superstitions were so entwined with their lives, and made so many things more difficult for themselves. As much as we hope no one thinks we are a fools though for our worldview, (when looking back on us in another 1000 years,) we should try to be respectful while speaking of the ancient people and their practices and beliefs.
then, are very much like
we are now, and we are all so much alike!
We still fear what we don’t understand, and have a good imagination to both passify our fears, and exaggerate them. . .
As cultures, we identify ourselves through the collective dreams we call creation myths. … Creation myths explain in metaphorical terms our sense of who we are in the context of the world, and in so doing they reveal our real priorities, as well as our real prejudices. While the popular usage of the term “myth” is often thought to refer to false or fanciful stories, creation myths are by definition those stories which a culture accepts as both a true and are foundational accounts of their human identity. Many folklorists reserve the label “myth” for stories about creation. Traditional stories that do not focus on origins fall into the categories of “legend” and “folk tale“, which folklorists distinguish from myth. For many traditional cultures, nearly every sacred story qualifies as an origin myth. Traditional humans tend to model their behavior after sacred events. Because of this, nearly every sacred story describes events that established a new paradigm for human behavior, and thus nearly every sacred story is a story about a creation.
- Creation ex nihilo in which the creation is through the thought, word, dream or bodily secretions of a divine being
- Earth diver creation in which a diver, usually a bird or amphibian sent by a creator, plunges to the seabed through a primordial ocean to bring up sand or mud which develops into a terrestrial world
- Emergence myths in which progenitors pass through a series of worlds and metamorphoses until reaching the present world
- Creation by the dismemberment of a primordial being
- Creation by the splitting or ordering of a primordial unity such as the cracking of a cosmic egg or a bringing order from chaos
- a primeval abyss, an infinite expanse of waters or space
- an originator deity which is awakened or an eternal entity within the abyss
- an originator deity poised above the abyss
- a cosmic egg or embryo
- life generating from the corpse or dismembered parts of an originator deity
- an originator deity creating life through sound or word
Of just the one type of Creation myth, Ex nihilo (out of nothing), we now have some of the world’s largest religions. . .and a lot of others too.
Ex nihilo (out of nothing)
- Debate between sheep and grain
- Barton cylinder
- Ancient Egyptian creation myths
- Genesis creation narrative (Christianity and Judaism)
- Māori myths
- Popol Vuh
- Rangi and Papa
An origin or creation myth often functions to give the current order of doing things an aura of sacredness. Myths reveal that the stories and heroes in the myths (their role models), should be imitated and their deeds and customs they established should be upheld.
We also have founding myths which explain the origins of a ritual or the founding of a city or a group, presented as a genealogy with a founding father and thus the beginning of a nation. It’s also a narrative recounting the spiritual origins of a belief, philosophy, discipline, or idea.
In the past, historians of religion and other students of myth thought of them as forms of primitive or early-stage science or religion and analyzed them in a literal or logical sense. However considering our advances in knowledge of the sciences, they are seen today (by most scholars and historians, as well as scientists and Archaeologists) as merely symbolic narratives which must be understood in terms of their own cultural context.
Stories of Greek mythology for instance are typically regarded as nothing more than fictional, fantasy stories. The idea that Ancient Greeks viewed these stories to be their religion seems insane to most educated people now. This idea seems to cast a stigma of irrationality, almost ignorance, upon the Ancient Greeks.
The fact is that Greek myths contain unrealistic and unbelievable characters, events, and other elements, but upon comparison of Greek mythology stories with different Biblical accounts, it is apparent that some parallels between the two do exist. This may seem to be unimportant, but it is very important as this represents the history that helps us gain understanding into the Bible days. . .which will thus lead us into a greater understanding of the Bible.
First, creation begins with Chaos, nothingness or a void. The same term has also been extended to parallel concepts in the religions of the Ancient Near East. Out of the void emerged Gaia (the Earth) and some other primary divine beings. Gaia or the Earth gave birth to Uranus (the Sky) who then fertilized her and they had a bunch more kids. Cronus, the wily, youngest and most terrible of Gaia’s children was convinced by Gaia to castrate his father. He did this, and became the ruler and a sister Rhea became his wife. Having done this to his own Father, he had a mistrust of any of his own children turning on him, and decided to EAT any of his children coming from Rhea. Naturally she wasn’t thrilled about this and tricked him by hiding the newborn Zeus and wrapping a stone in a baby’s blanket, which Cronus ate. When Zeus was full grown, he fed Cronus a drugged drink which caused him to vomit, throwing up Rhea’s other children and the stone, which had been sitting in Cronus’s stomach all along. Zeus then challenged Cronus to war for the kingship of the gods. At last, Zeus and his siblings were victorious, while Cronus. . . was hurled down to imprisonment in Tartarus.
Picture depicting Athena being “reborn”
Zeus was plagued by the same concern Cronus had and after a prophecy that the offspring of his first wife, Metis, would give birth to a god, Zeus swallowed Metis. She was already pregnant with Athena, however, and she burst forth from his head—fully-grown and dressed for war!
Now, there are not a lot of similarities here to the Christian beliefs, but a few words to ponder here are “nothingness”, and “void”.
Also, there seems to be a thing with mutilating the genitals in that time. . .as we also see with Abraham’s covenent with God through circumcision. Sadly, that practice is still legal to be forced upon defenseless baby boys today in our country, but for some reason it’s illegal now for girls. It’s the same thing people!
“Chaos” was often looked upon as bad and in the shape of a serpent. . .like Satan in the garden of Eden.
And although the original women in the two creation stories play different conniving roles, both usurp authority from their husbands and bring curses upon mankind for it. Inevitably playing a large role in the inequality of the woman in their lack of rights of that time, the belief in submission, and the belief that only through childbirth they will be saved. (1st Tim. 2:15) More about that from the Bible here.
Comparison of some life events of Horus and Jesus:
|Event||Horus||Yeshua of Nazareth, a.k.a. Jesus|
|Conception:||By a virgin. There is some doubt about this matter||By a virgin.|
|Father:||Only begotten son of the God Osiris.||Only begotten son of Yehovah (in the form of the Holy Spirit).|
|Mother:||Isis-Meri.||Miriam (now often referred to as Mary).|
|Foster father:||Seb, (a.k.a. Jo-Seph).||Joseph.|
|Foster father’s ancestry:||Of royal descent.||Of royal descent.|
|Birth location:||In a cave, and placed in a manger.||In a cave (the stables of the day) and placed in a manger.|
|Annunciation:||By an angel to Isis, his mother.||By an angel to Miriam, his mother.|
|Birth heralded by:||The star Sirius, the morning star.||An unidentified “star in the East.“|
|Birth date:||Ancient Egyptians paraded a manger and child representing Horus through the streets at the time of the winter solstice (about DEC-21). In reality, he had no birth date; he was not a human.||Born during the fall. However, his birth date is now celebrated on DEC-25. The date was chosen to occur on the same date as the birth of Mithra, Dionysus and the Sol Invictus (unconquerable Sun), etc.|
|Birth announcement:||By angels.||By angels.|
|Later witnesses to birth:||Three solar deities.||An unknown number of wise men who studied the heavens. They are said to have brought three gifts; thus the legend grew that there were three wise men.|
|Death threat during infancy:||Herut tried to have Horus murdered. He was not successful.||Herod tried to have Jesus murdered. He was not successful.|
|Handling the threat:||The God That tells Horus’ mother “Come, thou goddess Isis, hide thyself with thy child.“||An angel tells Jesus’ father to: “Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt.“|
|Rite of passage ritual:||Horus came of age with a special ritual, when his eye was restored.||Taken by parents to the temple for what is today called a bar mitzvah ritual.|
|Age at the ritual:||12||12|
|Break in life history:||No data between ages of 12 & 30.||No data between ages of 12 & 30.|
|Baptism location:||In the river Eridanus.||In the river Jordan.|
|Age at baptism:||30.||30.|
|Baptized by:||Anup the Baptiser.||John the Baptist.|
|Subsequent fate of the baptiser:||Beheaded.||Beheaded.|
|Event||Horus||Yeshua of Nazareth, a.k.a. Jesus|
|Temptation:||Taken from the desert of Amenta up a high mountain by his arch-rival Sut. Sut was a precursor for the Hebrew word Satan.||Taken from the desert in Palestine up a high mountain by his arch-rival Satan.|
|Result of temptation:||Horus resists temptation.||Jesus resists temptation.|
|Close followers:||Twelve disciples. There is some doubt about this matter as well.||Twelve disciples.|
|Activities:||Walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He “stilled the sea by his power.”||Walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. He ordered the sea with a “Peace, be still” command.|
|Raising of the dead:||Horus raised Osirus, his dead father, from the grave. 1||Jesus raised Lazarus, his close friend, from the grave.|
|Location where the resurrection miracle occurred:||Anu, an Egyptian city where the rites of the death, burial and resurrection of Horus were enacted annually. 1||Hebrews added their prefix for house (‘beth“) to “Anu” to produce “Beth-Anu” or the “House of Anu.” Since “u” and “y” were interchangeable in antiquity, “Bethanu” became “Bethany,” the location mentioned in John 11.|
|Linkage between the name of Osirus in Egyptian religion and Lazarus in the Gospel of John:||Asar was an alternative name for Osirus, Horus’ father. Horus raised Asar from the dead. He was referred to as “the Asar,” as a sign of respect.||Translated into Hebrew, Asr is “El-Asar.” The Romans added the sufffix “us” to indicate a male name, producing “Elasarus.” Over time, the “E” was dropped and “s” became “z,” producing “Lazarus.” Jesus is said to have raised his friend Lazarus from the dead.|
|Transfigured:||On a mountain.||On a high mountain.|
|Key address(es):||Sermon on the Mount.||Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 to 7)|
|Method of death||By crucifixion or by the sting of a scorpion; sources differ.||By crucifixion.|
|Accompanied by:||Two thieves.||Two thieves.|
|Burial||In a tomb.||In a tomb.|
|Fate after death:||Descended into Hell; resurrected after three days.||Descended into Hell; resurrected after about 30 to 38 hours (Friday PM to presumably some time in Sunday AM) covering parts of three days.|
|Resurrection announced by:||Women.||Women.|
|Future:||To reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium.||To reign for 1,000 years in the Millennium.|
|Characteristics||Horus||Yeshua of Nazareth, a.k.a. Jesus|
|Nature:||Regarded as a mythical character.||Regarded as a 1st century CE human prophet by Jewish Christians. Viewed as a man-god in the Gospel of John, and by Christians in the 2nd century CE and later.|
|Main role:||Savior of humanity.||Savior of humanity.|
|Common portrayal:||Virgin Isis holding the infant Horus.||Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus.|
|Title:||KRST, the anointed one.||Christ, the anointed one.|
|Other names:||The good shepherd, the lamb of God, the bread of life, the son of man, the Word, the fisher, the winnower.||The good shepherd, the lamb of God, the bread of life, the son of man, the Word, the fisher, the winnower.|
|Zodiac sign:||Associated with Pisces, the fish.||Associated with Pisces, the fish.|
|Main symbols:||Fish, beetle, the vine, shepherd’s crook.||Fish, beetle, the vine, the shepherd’s crook.|
If this comparison chart isn’t enough, there is much much more here about other almost identical gods to Jesus, and the reason why they were all alike. . .
Prophecies of the overthrowing of rulers were frequent events in both Greek and Egyptian mythology as in Biblical stories. There is an example in the Bible of this same type of prophecy as in the story of Cronus and Zeus, when in relation to Herod the king (Matthew 2). When the “wise” men tell Herod that the King of the Jews was born, Herod demands that his servants find where the baby was born and report back to him. When they tell him that it is Bethlehem, and he informs the wise men, they are excited. He wants to let them do the searching for him though and then report back to him when they find him, so he can kill this “king”. But after telling the wise men to report back to him, the wise men are supposedly warned (of God) not to obey the king in a dream. (Consequently foiling his plan.) So, he orders that all baby boys in Bethlehem be killed. However, Jesus escaped this fate. . .just as Zeus escapes being eaten by Cronus.
In the Bible’s version of the flood, God becomes frustrated with the wickedness of the world and decides to destroy the earth with a flood, although it saddens him to do so of course. However, Noah found favor with God, because he was a good and a just man. God then told Noah to build an ark that would float upon the waters. On the ark, Noah was to take his wife, three sons, their wives, and two (or seven of the “clean” ones) of every living creature. In this way God could be sure that the world would be repopulated.
This is a pretty classic myth likely having it’s origin in truth, (As there was an ancient local flood we now believe in that area) but seen from many different angles, from many different cultures orally passing on their myths.
If a nation won, their gods were believed to be stronger, and if they lost, they likely needed to appease their gods with a sacrifice because of a sin. (Think about the story of Achan in Joshua 7)
The similarities are so parallel that one must wonder as to the actual origin of these stories. . .reality, or myth? If the Bible holds so many similarities to Greek and Egyptian mythology, it causes one to question the actual relevance of the Bible as a book of history and truth. Although Christians refuse to accept that these stories are not historical accounts written by God through man, in most cases of the accounts, we cannot find any archaeology to back up the stories as historical events. Even if we did find some Archaeology to prove a historical origin for the stories, one cannot discount the likeness of both the stories of the Ancient Gods and that of the Bible. . .leading one to believe the stories might have came from an origin much before the claims of the Bible. A true historian cannot look past the facts just to suit their theory. (More at the source: here)
Patternism is a term used to describe the similarities we see from religions of the past to another right after it, believing them to be related. We can see that pattern in Luwian pantheon in it’s strong influence on the ancient Greek religion, while the Ancient Greek religion, the Assyro-Babylonian religion, (Also called the Mesopotamian myths which have a similar Creation Myth, the Garden of Eden, The Great Flood,Tower of Babel, a story of Moses‘ origin- that shares a similarity with that of Sargon of Akkad– and the Ten Commandments myth, which mirror Assyrian-Babylonian legal codes to some degree.) as well as the Egyptian religion influenced Abrahamic religions ( Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
One may easily presume, based on all this, and much more, that the stories in the Bible are just stories of past mythology, changed to suit the belief system of a new time and a new religion. If you, (like me in the past,) can no longer fight for the Bible’s accuracy and inherent nature, after this education and are feeling deflated, don’t despair! Just because you may no longer believe in fairy tales, you are still the same person deep down. You may even find yourself to be a lot more free to live by your conscience now, and have some more humility and tolerance for others. . . considering how you were brainwashed by religion and didn’t even know it. Just because all the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians and now Christians believed something, that didn’t make it any less foolish then it looks now. I hope you feel you are educated now, and not traumatized like I was for a while. . .
Peace and enlightenment to all.