Question about the arguments against Christianity


#1

I am not sure if this topic is in the right forum but my question is there are some good arguments against Christianity but are they valid. For instance, there are pretty convincing arguments that Christianity just borrowed from pagan religions that already existed. Also, the similarities from Buddhism and mythology.
I have heard the arguments against Islam because it looks pretty obvious that Mohammad lifted ideas from Judaism and Christianity and just made another religion and thus you can tell Islam is false but the same can be said about Christianity from the similarities from the religions and myths that i listed above. I am not going to list the actual similarities but you can look them up on websites or find them in books against Christianity in which people make the claim that it was just made up from myths and stole from other religions. It just makes me wonder. I mean there is so much wisdom in other religions and those other religions work for other people.

So , what are some arguments against the claims that I listed??? That’s basically what I am asking here. It just seems like if i lived in another country where Christianity was the minority I wouldn’t believe in it and i would believe some of the arguments against Christianity which are very convincing to me now that i have looked at them.


#2

I just wanted to say that i am not trying to start an argument by my post. I am a Catholic and i am serious about the questions. There are some things i have looked into and have rattled my faith a little.
I went back and re read my post and i saw that it may come off as someone trying to start a debate but that is not the case. I just want another perspective on the things i read that are against Christianity and made some pretty good claims against it. I am just trying to look at both sides to see if there are any answers. Thanks!


#3

Do a search on this site for a more in-depth answer, since I seriously can’t debunk every claim I’ve never seen, however, here’s a little bit.

The onus is on the claimant to prove several things.

  1. The pagan idea predates the Christian one
  2. The pagan idea caused the Christian one
    2a. Ideas physically close
    2b. Ideas actually known by Christians
  3. This is a negative thing.

A lot of current “pagan” stuff is less than a century old, and itself is modelled on Christianity, and that’s why it looks similar. Most charges can be disposed of by point 2. But even if something like Christmas trees makes it to point 3, so what? What harm do Christmas trees do? (besides being a fire hazard :s )


#4

I am talking about ancient paganism and myths. For instance, Vespatian’s spittle healed a blind man, When Dionysus turned water into wine, Romulus is described as the Son of God, born of a virgin, etc.

Another example is is the god Mithras. This myth teaches that Mithras was born of a virgin in a cave, that he was a traveling teacher with twelve disciples, promised his disciples eternal life, and sacrificed himself for the world.

These are some of the things i am talking about. Also, not just myths but other religions. How Buddhism seems to come from Hinduism, and then Christianity(Catholicism) seems to come from and build on Judaism and has similarities from Buddhism and eastern religion. Then Islam seems to come from and build on Judaism and Christianity. Then Protestantism comes from Catholicism. It seems like they all come from one another that is why there are some similarities and things that cross over from the major religions and like i said before all of these religions seem to “work” for the people that belong to them and they all contain vast wisdom. I understand they all can’t be right because there are vast differences also between them all. But it could be possible that they are all wrong and they are all myths??? I just don’t know what to think.


#5

When we consider that we are all derived from the society in which we grow up and thus carry all the traditions and customs with us, some of those customs and beliefs will graft onto any new beliefs we may form.
Having said this we must also stand back and observe the foundation s for our catholic belief, and they lie in revelation and resurrection and all the miracles that occurred to cause the greatest conversion in the history of mankind. We also hold to the truth of continuing and ongoing revelation ie. the sanctification of saints and other inexplicable occurrences in our everyday world.
It is our personal responsibility that if we wish to maintain a world view that we do not loose the essence of our core beliefs, that is continue to follow the teaching of the bible and magisterium of the church.
Gerry


#6

My article covers a lot of these pagan gods:

Pagan Parallel Gods

( covers Adonis, Attis, Baal, Bacchus/Dionysos, Horus/Osiris, Krishna, Mithras, Orpheus, and more )

On my detailed “All About Horus” article, a Christian philosophy professor with a Ph.D. from a secular university (chairman of the philos dept) wrote me:

“Just ran across your site on Horus/Zeitgeist as I was just starting to put
together a similar site myself – and laid that project aside, since you had
done such a thorough job. (I can give you a few more details re: Massey’s
’argument’ for the Dec 25 birthdate of Horus and Acharya S’s amusing
misreading of The Book of the Dead, ch. 66, but that’s just gilding lilies
at this point.)”

Dr. Timothy McGrew
Chairman
Department of Philosophy
Western Michigan University

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

This guy is contributing a large chapter to a new William Lane Craig / J.P. Moreland edited book called The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (Blackwell Publishing, 2009). Hooray I’m doing the job of the big boys now.

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Phil P


#7

Hmm, well, I don’t know who Vespatian is (isn’t he a Roman emperor?). But well, Dionysus is the god of wine, wouldn’t it be weird if he cannot change any liquid to wine?

And Romulus is the son of Mars, the son of A god, not THE God, just like Hercules is the son of Zeus.

Another example is the god Mithras. This myth teaches that Mithras was born of a virgin in a cave, that he was a traveling teacher with twelve disciples, promised his disciples eternal life, and sacrificed himself for the world.

The thing about Roman Mithraism and Christianity is that they appeared almost at the same time in the Roman Empire. So one can speculate on who copied who.

These are some of the things i am talking about. Also, not just myths but other religions. How Buddhism seems to come from Hinduism, and then Christianity(Catholicism) seems to come from and build on Judaism and has similarities from Buddhism and eastern religion.

First of all, Christianity COMES from and builds on Judaism; in fact, Christianity claims that Jesus Christ IS the fulfillment of Jewish Law. Nothing wrong with that, isn’t it?

Argh, I don’t have much time to expound on the others, but can I suggest something? Read The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton, which answers almost everything that you’re asking here.

I’m really sorry :frowning:

Then Islam seems to come from and build on Judaism and Christianity. Then Protestantism comes from Catholicism. It seems like they all come from one another that is why there are some similarities and things that cross over from the major religions and like i said before all of these religions seem to “work” for the people that belong to them and they all contain vast wisdom. I understand they all can’t be right because there are vast differences also between them all. But it could be possible that they are all wrong and they are all myths??? I just don’t know what to think.


#8

[quote=Joey1976;4143514Romulus is described as the Son of God, born of a virgin, etc.
[/quote]

“Son of God” in Greco-Roman mythology meant something very different from what it means to a Christian. Thousands of people, all mortal, imperfect and often helpless to get their own lives in order, were described as half-god, half-human.
The early Christians were very aware of this and detailed the differences in their writings. Jesus Christ is FULLY God and FULLY human, perfect and immortal, and is God (not just “a god”) Himself.
Even the meaning of “a god” in Olympianism had little in common with the Judeo-Christian God. The Olympic gods were fallible, contentious, petty, lustful in many cases and very prolific – and they could be destroyed. None took much interest in helping humanity. Spirituality was low on their list of priorities. Far from appearing and performing miracles before thousands of people, they “existed” in a world apart and were never seen. Few places, no dates, and definitely no meticulously preserved genealogies, confirmed their existence, for they never existed at all. They routinely split, merged, changed in their natures completely and disappeared. For every version of a pagan myth you’ve heard there are ten or twenty you haven’t heard, within the same myth. One version of Dionysius changes water into wine, others never perform any miracle but to help the grapes grow and the wine ferment. Here the copycat pushers are using, among other fallacies, one called “cherry-picking”.
Pagan gods rarely were described as performing actual miracles; instead they were known for exchanging favors such as allowing grain to ripen (a natural process) for sacrifices of food etc. The Jews and early Christians had even more horror of syncretism than Christians have today and would rather have died in the most outlandish ways the Romans could dream up than take religious ideas from the Romans or any other pagans. They proved that by doing so all the time.

Another example is

[/FONT] is the god Mithras. This myth teaches that Mithras was born of a virgin in a cave, that he was a traveling teacher with twelve disciples, promised his disciples eternal life, and sacrificed himself for the world.That is actually a very new distortion of the Mithraic mystery religion, far from anything an ancient Mithraist would recognize.
The Persian Mithra story came about after the Jews were enslaved to the Persians and had great cultural influence on Persia. The Persian Mithra was born full-grown from an inanimate, ordinary rock in the sky. Perhaps his emerging from the rock shattered it and made a kind of cave but he was not born of a virgin and not born in a cave. He wasn’t a traveling teacher at all and had no disciples whatever. He was a boatman rowing the sun from setting to rising at night so it could rise int he morning. Only one artwork shows him with anyone else and he has two companions there. The work gives us no reason to suppose they are his disciples. A boatman in a small rowboat couldn’t take twelve people or even two with him and get the sun in there too, even if the sun were as small as it looks.
The Romans in the later Second Century AD borrowed the scant awareness of the cult of Mithra, and turned him into one of many military secret heroes. It was only the Roman soldiers who met in secret hideaways to worship Mithras. Christians had just one kind of contact with Roman soldiers, and it didn’t include picking their brains for ideas for a new religion. The beginning of the Roman Mithraic cult POSTDATES a major body of writing within the Christian Church showing that the Gospel story we now have in the Biblical Canon is the exact Gospel Christians believed as early as the end of the First Century AD.

How Buddhism seems to come from Hinduism, and then Christianity(Catholicism) seems to come from and build on Judaism and has similarities from Buddhism and eastern religion.

It’s a given that Christianity comes from Judaism – it is the fulfillment of Judaism. Buddhism was a reform movement within Hinuism but as it spread from India through Asia it lost some of its Hindu premises. The similarities between Buddhism and Christianity are very thin and the similarities between Hinuism and Christianity are so slight they really aren’t worth breaking down.

But it could be possible that they are all wrong and they are all myths??? I just don’t know what to think.

It’s extremely unlikely. We go into a lot of the reasons why in this forum all the time. Stick around.:thumbsup:


#9

I want to add that any stories you hear about pagan gods/heroes “sacrificing themselves for mankind/world peace/anything at all” are probably nonsensical wishful thinking. I have heard this canard about Dionysus, Mithra and Osiris among others, but the actual myths about those characters contain no such episode – indeed it’s out of character or impossible for them. Though Prometheus was tortured for giving fire to humankind, he didn’t submit voluntarily to it, didn’t give people fire to benefit them spritually or give them eternal life, and never died nor escaped his bonds. Not only that, he wasn’t a god.
Be aware that the people who pour their entire careers into casting doubt on Christianity have quite ana xe to grind and will say anything, however simple to disprove, just to shake you for a moment. As soon as we get them to admit they made up one fish tale they start another, hoping to wear the faith away by exhaustion. What they don’t understand is that God gives us renewed vigor again and again – and the truth will always be stronger than a lie, because the truth is real and a lie is only a notion.


#10

Thank you, strngrnrth, you post is very helpful and edifying :smiley:

As strngrnrth said, the connection between Christianity and Buddhism is tenuous. Buddhism is atheist. No god, just “enlightenment”. Christianity is theist, and redemptionary; Heaven. I guess you could see a connection btwn Heaven and nirvana if you don’t look too hard. So, the teachings. Buddhism teaches detachment from everything, even from wanting to be detached. Christianity teaches detachment from harmful things, not those things from God.

Honestly, most religions have some truth in them, but don’t make too much out of it.


#11

These are the similarities that people claim between Jesus and Buddha:

      *  Born as an incarnate god. 
      *  Born from a virgin mother. 
      *  Birth claimed as a divine event and prophesied as the same. 
      *  Birth attended by singing angels. 
      *  Birth attended by wise men bearing gifts. 
      *  Prodigious childhood. 
      *  As a child astounded teachers with knowledge. 
      * Fasted  in the wilderness for forty days. 
      *  Tempted while alone by the devil. 
      *  Resisted the devil successfully. 
      *  After the devil left, supernatural events occurred. 
      *  Were vegetarians (fish excepted). 
      *  Began ministry at thirty years of age. 
      *  Attract large following mostly from lower classes. 
      *  Attracted disciples who traveled with him. 
      *  Attracted one disciple who was treacherous. 
      *  Changed disciples' names. 
      *  Encouraged celibacy for their disciples. 
      *  Consecrated in a holy river. 
      *  Itinerant ministry instead of at a fixed place. 
      *  Performed miracles such as curing blindness. 
      *  Renounced worldly riches and required the same of their disciples. 
      *  Ministered to outcasts. 
      *  Advocated universal love and peace. 
      *  Taught mostly through use of parables. 
      *  Triumphal entries (in Jerusalem and Rajagripa). 
      *  Gave major sermon from a mound. 
      *  Disregarded by the dominant religious elite (Pharisees and Brahmans). 
      *  Just before death dispatched disciples to preach in other areas. 
      *  Death accompanied by supernatural event. 

Both Jesus and Buddha issued moral commandments that prohibited killing, stealing, adultery, false witness, and coveting. Both emphasized the same moral themes: advocate peace, not war; avoid the corruption of wealth; help the poor; abolish slavery and caste systems; abandon self and selfishness; and love your neighbor, even your enemy. Many statements by Jesus resembled those by Buddha, as presented below.

      JESUS:  "A foolish man, which built his house on sand." 
      BUDDHA:  "Perishable is a city built on sand." (30) 
      JESUS:  "Therefore confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another,  that you may be healed." 
      BUDDHA:  "Confess before the world the sins you have committed." (31) 
      JESUS:  "In him we have redemption through his blood, the foregiveness of  sins." 
      BUDDHA:  "Let all sins that were committed in this world fall on me, that the world  may be delivered." (32) 
      JESUS:  "Do to others as you would have them do to you." 
      BUDDHA:  "Consider others as yourself." (33) 
      JESUS:  "If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also." 

BUDDHA: “If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon all desires and utter no evil words.” (34)
JESUS: "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."
BUDDHA: “Hatreds do not cease in this world by hating, but by love: this is an eternal truth. Overcome anger by love, overcome evil by good.” (35)
JESUS: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
BUDDHA: “Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world.” (36)
JESUS: "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her."
BUDDHA: “Do not look at the faults of others or what others have done or not done; observe what you yourself have done and have not done.” (37)
JESUS: "You father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous."
BUDDHA: “The light of the sun and the moon illuminates the whole world, both him who does well and him who does ill, both him who stands high and him who stands low.” (38)
JESUS: "If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven."
BUDDHA: “The avaricious do not go to heaven, the foolish do not extol charity. The wise one, however, rejoicing in charity, becomes thereby happy in the beyond.” (39)


#12

I actually just found a site that disputes the other things i found and listed.
thedevineevidence.com/jesus_similarities.html

So, now i can look at both sides of the argument. That’s all i wanted to do. I believe you have to look at both sides of everything.

Also, thanks for the recommendation of the book by Chesterton!!!I I will check it out!


#13

You pose an interesting question. Depending on the country where you grow up lends a lot to what religion you will adhere to. This is obvious. I could give examples galore on the subject but we are familiar with them.

In Los Angeles there is a talk show host who I heard say that people should branch out and examine the religions that you weren’t brought up in and then make a decision on which one you will follow. At the time it sounded like a rational thing to do.

In my case I spent the majority of my life following no faith. I came to Catholicism by being married to one which ended in divorce. The closest I have come to Buddhism is I dated one and have read the books by Hermann Hesse. On balance I am pretty much a Western oriented type person whether it’s religion, philosophy, political science, what have you. I did experiment briefly with a couple of Protestant churches but didn’t care for them. In the third act of my life I have no desire in seeking a different faith and will remain a Catholic.

John


#14

There was a short This Rock article on Jesus and Buddha

Are Jesus and Buddha Brothers? (May/June 2005)

Also Christ versus Buddha (sidebar, same issue)

Phil P


#15

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.