How do you respond to the Mithraism objection?


Some suggest that Christianity borrowed some key doctrines from Mithraism, like the Eucharist. Below are some quotes from

The eucharist includes the “doctrine of transubstantiation,” which claims that the wine or water and bread of the sacred meal are mystically and magically transmuted into the blood and body of the god, which, it is believed, creates union with the god. At the Mithraic ceremony, the following was said:

“He who will not eat of my body, nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.” (Mithraic Communion, M.J. Vermaseren, Mithras, The Secret God)

Since the Persians who worshipped Mithra were originally of the same ethnicity as the Indians who revered Mitra, it would be logical to assert that this rite within Mithraism is likewise ancient, possibly dating to early or pre-Vedic times, 1500 years or more before the Christian era. Indeed, the eucharist or communion was part of the ancient Persian religion, apart from Mithraism

The ritual of theophagy, or the eating of gods/goddesses, Harwood further asserts, has been practiced by humans for some 30,000 years. Obviously, this practice is novel neither to Mithraism nor Christianity, and there was certainly no need for the former to take it from the latter.

How do we respond to this?


With the Passover. The Passover prefigured the Eucharist and it was a Hebrew idea through and through. The Israelites ate the Passover Lamb just as Christians do in the Eucharist.



pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-god Mithra. It entered Europe from Asia Minor after Alexander’s conquest, spread rapidly over the whole Roman Empire at the beginning of our era, reached its zenith during the third century, and vanished under the repressive regulations of Theodosius at the end of the fourth century. Of late the researches of Cumont have brought it into prominence mainly because of its supposed similarity to Christianity.



“Mithraic Eucharist”. Not a single word of Mithraic theology survives, so the quote is almost certianly spurious. Mithras worshippers did sacrifice a bull as part of their worship and drank some of the blood - other than the fact that humans eat, there is no real similarity. To see the origins of the eucharist we need look no further than the manna that the Children of Israel ate in the desert. Why go straining after tenuous influences when the real one is under your nose?

Roman Mithraism was Persian in the same way that transcendental meditation is Indian. That is to say, it had an exotic component to attract Romans bored with the conventional religions.

On theophagy, yes, as CS Lewis points out, when Jesus holds up a piece of bread and says “This is my body” it is almost as if He didn’t realise what He had said. The Early Chrisitians seem to have been unaware of just how close they were to the corn religions. Non-Christian religions are not necessarily entirely wrong in everything they say.

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