Counter Arguments Against Diabolical Mimicry?


#1

How do you counter the anti-Catholic propaganda of “Diabolical Mimicry”? Essentially, this is the argument that there are so many parallels between Christ and other pagan deities, that Jesus could not have been who He said He is, and to cover it up, the Church “invented” the concept of diabolical mimicry, meaning that the Devil, who knew what Christ was going to do beforehand, invented these pagan religions with stories similar to Christianity, so as to discredit the gospel story.

Does anyone know if this is true, that this is what the Church taught about all the similarities between Christianity and other religions?

They say that:

Christ Mythers often include the following, based on comparisons between Attis, Adonis, Dionysus, Mithras, Osiris, Tammuz, Baal, Krishna and Buddha:

[LIST]
*]First-born Son of God Miracle worker (walked on water, raised the dead)
*]Had 12 disciples Born of a virgin, in a manger, on December 25th
*]Shepherds and wise men followed a star to worship him
*]Taught people to love each other, turn the other cheek
*]Offers eternal life to those who believe
*]Was crucified for our sins
*]Buried for three days, descended to Hell for three days
*]Came back to life, ascended into heaven
*]Will come again to judge the living and the dead
*]Seated at the right hand of the Father
*]Followers have a baptism and a ritual meal involving his body and blood
[/LIST].

Anybody have anything they can point me to?


#2

C.S. Lewis had a theory that the pagan - or non-Jewish/Christian cultures had an innate idea of the truth, that God has instilled in every people some light of truth, but that it was distorted through time and became ‘paganized’ so to speak. Only the Jews retained the Sacred Tradition and preserved it throughout history, until Christ appeared and fulfilled all prophesies concerning his Incarnation.

So, when Jesus Christ entered into human history, every culture already had an idea of Him, although distorted. And that many of the parables, where Christ is comparing himself to various things, such as the vine, or the light, or the bread, other cultures would recognize these ideas through their own ‘gods’ and know He was who they were looking for as well.

It was an interesting idea, he had me hooked. :wink: I wish I could remember which of his books I found this in. If I can find it I’ll come back and post it. :slight_smile:


#3

THIS AGAIN??? :doh2:

My massive article on Pagan Parallel “Saviors” Examined

Covers in some detail: Adonis | Attis | Baal | Bacchus | Balder | Beddru | Devatat | Dionysos | Hermes | Horus | Krishna | Mithras | Orpheus | Osiris | Tammuz | Thor | Zoroaster

Buddha I didn’t write anything on, but see this and Part 2 from J.P. Holding. Also a This Rock article and the Sidebar (May/June 2005) from Carl Olson on Buddha vs. Christ.

As for what St. Justin Martyr meant, the relevant passages are from First Apology and Dialogue with Trypho:

“And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter [or Zeus].” (First Apology, chapter 21 “Analogies to the history of Christ”)

Here he refers to the sons of Jupiter or Zeus, that would include gods such as Dionysos. Basically, Justin Martyr is trying to attract the pagans to Christianity. But Justin does indeed know the mythology of Dionysos/Bacchus, Hercules, and others he mentions were very different from the historical claims of Christ, and the prophecies of the (Old Testament) Scriptures.

“Be well assured, then, Trypho,” I continued, "that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the [Old Testament] Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah’s days. For when they tell that Bacchus [or Dionysos], son of Jupiter [or Zeus], was begotten by [Jupiter’s] intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that [the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses?

"And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and travelled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, ‘strong as a giant to run his race,’ has been in like manner imitated? And when he [the devil] brings forward Aesculapius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ?

“But since I have not quoted to you such Scripture as tells that Christ will do these things, I must necessarily remind you of one such: from which you can understand, how that to those destitute of a knowledge of God, I mean the Gentiles, who, ‘having eyes, saw not, and having a heart, understood not,’ worshipping the images of wood, [how even to them] Scripture prophesied that they would renounce these [vanities], and hope in this Christ.” (Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 69)

I need to complete my responses to these, but they have been replied to by GDon’s article on “The God Who Wasn’t There” DVD. In short: “According to Justin, Greek myths were inspired by the devil from the prophecies of the Hebrew prophets. Justin was playing up two themes here: (1) the Hebrews actually had beliefs that were older than the Romans (via Greek poets); and (2) the devil inspired some of the Greek myths.”

See also Mike Licona’s reply to that DVD on my site.

Phil P


#4

Thanks for the terrific information. It’ll be very useful.

Sorry if I caused any problems, but I just don’t visit these forums often enough to know what topics have been covered and those that haven’t. So how am I supposed to know? :ehh:

What ever happened to a little charity before tearing into someone? :mad: Not everyone knows what goes on in here.

I’m not being oversensitive, I’m just tired of people flying off the handle all the time…


#5

Every lie has a nugget of truth.

I would ask the person making this statement to explain why every religion and culture has such things as monsters, demons, spirits, deities, evil & good, authority, priests/monks/rabbis etc.

Did not Catholicism spread to the Gentiles and the pagans? Didn’t the Catholic church seek to bring these people into Christ’s Church, yet help them preserve traditions and cultures by bringing new meaning to them?


#6

A couple more things I want to mention. Although I haven’t finished my response, I quote all the relevant sections of St. Justin Martyr referring to Dionysos and Mithras, among others.

“And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter [or Zeus].” (First Apology, chapter 21 “Analogies to the history of Christ”)

Commentary: Justin appeals to the pagans, and is saying hey, you guys already believe much of this stuff. While he includes virgin birth, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension among these, Justin realizes neither Dionysos nor Mithras (nor any Greek/Roman god) was crucified; he also recognizes Mithras was “born from a rock” not virgin born (see below).

“And what kind of deeds are recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter [Zeus], it is needless to tell to those who already know. This only shall be said, that they are written for the advantage and encouragement of youthful scholars; for all reckon it an honourable thing to imitate the gods.” (First Apology, chapter 21)

Commentary: Justin notes the stories of the gods were written to encourage the youth, for everyone knows it is honorable to imitate the gods. As St. Paul said, “imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Cor 11:1; cf. 1 Cor 4:16; 1 Thess 1:6; 2:14; 2 Thess 3:7ff; Phil 3:17).

First Apology, chapter 22 covers “Analogies to the sonship of Christ”; chapter 23 presents “The argument”; chapter 24 “The varieties of heathen worship”; chapter 25 “False gods abandoned by Christians”; chapters 31-53 many predictions/prophecies; chapter 54 “Origin of heathen mythology.”

“But those who hand down the myths which the poets have made, adduce no proof to the youths who learn them; and we proceed to demonstrate that they have been uttered by the influence of the wicked demons, to deceive and lead astray the human race. For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, they put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter *, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvellous tales, like the things which were said by the poets. And these things were said both among the Greeks and among all nations where they [the demons] heard the prophets foretelling that Christ would specially be believed in; but that in hearing what was said by the prophets they did not accurately understand it, but imitated what was said of our Christ, like men who are in error, we will make plain.” (First Apology, chapter 54)

Commentary: Again, Justin is claiming the Hebrew prophets were first with their prophecies on Christ, the Greeks copied from them, inspired by the devil/demons. Justin also notes no “proof” is offered for the Greek gods, because they were not historical but myth. By contrast, Christianity is a historical religion with a historical Christ and Hebrew prophecies.

“But in no instance, not even in any of those called sons of Jupiter [Zeus], did they imitate the being crucified; for it was not understood by them, all the things said of it having been put symbolically. And this, as the prophet foretold, is the greatest symbol of His power and role; as is also proved by the things which fall under our observation.” (First Apology, chapter 55)

Commentary: Here Justin notes none of the sons of Zeus (which includes Dionysos/Bacchus) were crucified. Dionysos was ripped apart by the Titans, not crucified:

“For when they tell that Bacchus [or Dionysos], son of Jupiter [or Zeus], was begotten by [Jupiter’s] intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that [the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses?” (Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 69)

Commentary: Justin notes Dionysos was not virgin born (Zeus had intercourse with Semele, etc) and was “torn to pieces” (by the Titans), not crucified. He also notes it was the O.T. prophecies recorded by Moses that the Greeks were “imitating.” BTW, the quote above is found in Flemming’s “God Who Wasn’t There” DVD but he leaves out (without ellipses) the phrases in bold above. I wonder why? :rolleyes:

As for whether Dionysos was “resurrected” he was basically put back together from his “heart” and/or re-born from the “thigh” of Zeus. See my section on Dionysos and the meaning of his “dismemberment.”

Justin notes that Mithras (Persian, then Roman god) was not virgin born: “And when those who record the mysteries of Mithras say that he was begotten of a rock, and call the place where those who believe in him are initiated a cave, do I not perceive here that the utterance of Daniel, that a stone without hands was cut out of a great mountain, has been imitated by them, and that they have attempted likewise to imitate the whole of Isaiah’s words?” (Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 70)

Commentary: Mithras was begotten of a rock, and his myth imitates the stories found in Daniel and Isaiah. Again, Justin is saying these Old Testament prophecies came first, and were then copied by the Greeks/Romans. That’s how “the devil imitated the prophecy.”

Phil P*


#7

Building on what “PhilVaz” already points about the “parallels” being exaggerated. I would also point out that Christ as the “Logos” means that it was actually God building an understanding of the Messiah into our very consciences that would be to blame for any “parallels” not the Evil One. This phenomenon is actually one of the major factors in the success of the global spread and evangelization of the Gospel. I don’t think the Evil One would have wanted that to happen. This is, in so many words, what “Jeanette L” was pointing out that C.S. Lewis wrote about. Pope Benedict talks a lot about Christ as the “Logos”, something that apologists would do well to look into.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE - The Tao, Logos, and Christ


#8

Oh, Joseph Campbell again.

Point out the wedding ring on their finger and ask them if they are a pagan in disguise for using that ancient pagan symbol.

If they are a protestant, let them know that protestantism is founded on paganism since reformation day falls on the feast of Samhaim. That is celebrated by Wiccans and Neo-Pagans.

Two crossed sticks is a pagan symbol, that’s why Catholics use a crucifix.

So many things have an ancient meaning that has nothing to do with the current meaning.


#9

this again?? yes pleeese remember some of us are not blest with big efficient brains but as I must ask what some might think are stupid and redundant questions so we can be more clear on something. I would suggest reading Augustine’s City of God as he addresses the question quite well in the year 400 and cites ancient evidence.


#10

Nicely put. Add me to the group that search for knowledge, that do not know all. And keep in mind how brave many are behind a keyboard, would anyone make such a response face to face? Say this to someone like I was in my young adulthood who drifted away from the church and lived by my own violent and lustful natural law that would have taken pleasure from an insult in the form of broken bodies and blood.

I don’t live like that now, and Now I would accept the most violent
beating even death to protect my brother’s and sister’s in Christ.

But not all like me have returned. Keep that in mind. GF


#11

This Again, Again? :smiley: :whacky:

Yeah I said This Again but notice I didn’t put a period and stop my post at that point. I then linked to my

18,000 word article

:smiley:

So yeah I am actually delighted (but surprised) when the subject comes up again and again since I get to link to my article. Instead of people having to rely on Tektonics.org response to the “copycat thesis” they can now rely on me. Although Tektonics.org is still another good source. :thumbsup:

One more time:

Parallel Pagan “Saviors” :doh2: :doh2:

Can’t link it enough! :smiley:

Phil P


#12

PhilVaz Thank you for your effort but please bear in mind some of us may be bruised reeds and smoking flax which will take rough handling but our thirst for knowledge may destroyed in the processes of what might seem to be a harsh education.


#13

Give PhilVaz a break. I don’t visit this sight very often. But when I do and have a question, generally I try to research to see if has been asked before I type it up. He may have been dramatic but I don’t think he was trying to give a harsh education.

You read your textbooks before going to class.


#14

It comes down to a simple question: What is the origin of things?

Either:
a) The origin of things is the human mind itself, which receives sense data and gives it a pattern (idealism)
b) The origin of things is the material world, and the physical things therein (materialism)
c) The origin of things is God, the creator of all, who made the world with a purpose (Theism).

According to (a), human beings made all gods, all faith positions, Christian, pagan or scientific, are merely human inventions, all equal to eachother. Any appeal to anything outside of human ideas is meaningless.

According to (b), all of the dying/rising gods of human mythology are representations of the cycle of birth and death, summer and winter, that is observed in the physical world. (b) contains (a), because the human brain is part of that material creation.

According to ©, both the human predisposition to see a dying/rising God, and the cyclical seasonal variation that reflects this dying/rising pattern in the material world, are the reflection of the One who created both humanity and the universe for His purposes, and who showed us the fullness of the Truth hidden behind these forms when He sent His Son. © contains both (a) and (b) because the human mind and the material world are part of God’s creation.

All are valid faith positions, but which is the more complete and coherent?

Other answers, such as that Jesus’ disciples ‘borrowed’ their historical Jesus from these myth traditions, don’t hold water, as the disciples were fishermen, not religious scholars. Besides the lack of a motive for creating such a hybrid religion, the study of comparative religion was almost unheard of in Jewish culture, and many of the cultures referred to in these accounts (Japan, Norway, and I have heard other accounts of parallel deities in Polynesia and South America), were unknown even to scholars in early Roman times.


#15

I have read through the first section and listened to a linked audio. This article is fascinating. I wish I understood the connection to Diabolical Mimicry. The DVD and it’s proponents seem to say Jesus is not special and not true God but just a manifestation of myth in a world where there is no god If that is so then there is nothing diabolical except in the imagination. Is that correct or am I just unable to comprehend or dealing with something beyond my abilities?


#16

gerald << The DVD and it’s proponents seem to say Jesus is not special and not true God but just a manifestation of myth in a world where there is no god. If that is so then there is nothing diabolical except in the imagination. Is that correct or am I just unable to comprehend or dealing with something beyond my abilities? >>

If you mean the “God Who Wasn’t There” DVD (2005) yeah you have it mostly correct. Although to put it simply, the DVD says:

(1) Jesus is a myth like Dionysos (Greek god), Mithras (Persian/Roman god), Osiris/Horus (Egyptian god).

(2) And we supposedly “know” this since Dionysos, Mithras, and Osiris/Horus have many things allegedly in common with Jesus. Hint: they really don’t, that’s where the DVD falls down.

(3) According to some of the Church Fathers, it was the devil who “imitated the prophecy” i.e. the DVD implies this means “the life and teachings of Christ” and inspired the Greeks, Persians, Romans, Egyptians to come up with their “parallel pagan” gods.

The “diabolical mimicry” part comes from statements of the Church Fathers (primarily St. Justin Martyr, but other Fathers also allude to Dionysos and Mithras, who were indeed the “rival” Greek/Roman gods during the time of Jesus) that the “devil imitated the prophecies” about Christ. However, what Justin is actually referring to (see context above) are the Old Testament prophecies about Christ, and Justin mentions Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, etc. These came BEFORE their imitators. The imitators (Greek/Romans) came LATER or AFTER the prophecies. The DVD wrongly implies the reverse. Of course Dionysos and Mithras at least in their older forms, do date before Jesus, but the question is what did Justin mean by “devil imitated the prophecy…?”

This is actually only a smaller part of that DVD (about 10 or 15 minutes or so of the 1 hour+ main DVD). The rest of the DVD is taken care of by Mike Licona’s scholarly review/critique article which I’ve linked.

And to show you the kind of work I’ve put into “studying” this and trying to “understand” where these anti-Christian critics are coming from, I have recently purchased and now own the following books which all teach this “parallel pagan” and “diabolical mimcry” idea implicitly or explicitly:

The Pagan Christ (2004) by Tom Harpur
The Christ Conspiracy (1999) by Acharya S
The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You To Read (1993 edition) edited by Tim Leedom
World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors by Kersey Graves (BOTH the 1960 6th edition, AND the Adventures Unlimited Press edition, 2001)
Christianity Before Christ (1985) by John Jackson
The Jesus Mysteries: Was the ‘Original Jesus’ a Pagan God? (1999) by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

These books are utter trash, based on extremely poor scholarship, and I always suspected that, but I now know that based on my own solid research.

Phil P


#17

I am half way through the Mike Licona article. I think I am beginning to understand this stuff Augustine spoke of this Diabolic Mimicry in the City of God. The Romans of Augustine’s time claimed the Church grew because Peter used magic. To me it seems obvious flemming and his ilk are passing off real whoppers as truth. It’s sad to know that people like my oldest brother and others will not investigate but instead cling to worthless fables like Jack Chick prints. I love to study history and read biography but these myths and gods stories are hard to get my mind around. Probably because I have rarely read or never learned to enjoyed fiction. I’m happy to know that the Lord Jesus warned us of these falsifiers. keep up the good work PhilVaz


#18

Hi Sean, this in nothing more than the copycat thesis which historians have rejected long ago,

tektonics.org/copycat/copycathub.html

christian-thinktank.com/copycatwho1.html


#19

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