A woman by the name of Acharya S. tries to support atheism by claiming
that Christianity took many ideas from other people that as she claims,
are very similar to Christ. In her website article,
http://www.truthbeknown.com/origins.htm, she gives specific similarities
between Jesus and different people like Mithra, Horus and Hare Krishna. So
far, I have not found any solid support for these people as much as I have
for Jesus. I just want to know the truth behind these people and
whether-or-not she is lying.

I have spent some time at this web site. It is interesting
reading. I would say that on the whole the author at this web site makes
some of the most outrageous and unfounded statements about Jesus Christ
that I have ever heard. Despite the fact that she is a pretty good writer
and does a fair amount of research, her lack of clear thinking is so
blatant as to be almost comical. I do not mean to come off mean-spirited,
but that is my honest response to what I read at this web site. Let me
cut and past a couple of statements at this web site and discuss them

In other words, it has been demonstrated continually for centuries
that this character, Jesus Christ, was invented and did not depict a real
person who was either the “son of God” or was “evemeristically” made into
a superhuman by enthusiastic followers.

I am sorry, but this statement is completely illogical, based on
the evidence. Even in her own statement, this author shows that she is
making an illogical conclusion. She mentions the “enthusiastic followers”
of Jesus. Who were these enthusiastic followers in the first century
following? Krishna never had followers, as he was not a real person. The
enemies of Jesus during his own lifetime did not struggle with the
question of whether he existed. Josephus (Flavius Josephus, Antiquities
of the Jews and The Jewish Wars), a Jewish historian, mentions Jesus,
where he lived and how he was crucified by the Romans. Why would Josephus
invent Jesus Christ? It is a historical fact that there were tens of
thousands of believers alive within one generation of the live of Jesus
Christ who would suffer to the point of death for their belief in Jesus
Christ. Is it possible that they were convinced to believe in a person
who did not even exist. Josephus was not the only non-Christian historian
to mention Jesus Christ. Cornelius Tacitus (Cornelius Tacitus, Annals,
XV,44), a Roman historian of around AD 100 mentions Jesus Christ and his
followers. The Jews, the greatest enemies of Jesus, never ever debated
the existence of Jesus Christ. Jesus is mentioned in Jewish writings of
the first and second centuries such as the Talmud. They certainly do not
claim Jesus was a myth. Far from it. They say he was a worker of
miracles by the power of Satan. Dozens of other examples could be listed
of those who lived at the time of Jesus or in the next few generations
were not even believers in Jesus but who accept as given that he was a
real person. It is impossible for a reasonable person to conclude that
Jesus Christ was a myth. It is possible to claim that certain things said
about him are mythical, but anyone who concludes that Jesus never lived is
either ignorant of the facts or has extremely convoluted thinking. Based
on the statement quoted above alone, I believe you can probably safely
ignore most or all of the conclusions of Ms. Acharya.

However, let me deal with some of the other claims at this web
site. These claims are equally ludicrous (believe me, I hesitate to use
the word ludicrous, as this is a fairly aggressive word, but I believe it
is appropriate in this case).

The gospels are all priestly forgeries over a century after their
pretended dates.

“Turning to the gospels themselves, which were composed between 170-180 C.E

No serious scholar would support this spurious claim. Even the
most vigorous enemies of Christianity who study out the facts would not
make so unfounded a claim. In fact, there are a number of fragments of
the New Testament which have been dated to the beginning of the second
century. For example, the Rylands Papyrus, a fragment of the gospel of
John, has been dated to AD 130. See my book, Reasons for Belief pp163,164
for a more complete list. In fact, passages from every book in the New
Testament were quoted from early Christian authors of the first and second
centuries. One can reconstruct nearly the entire New Testament from
quotes made before the 170-180 C. E. date mentioned above. What were
these authors quoting from if the New Testament was not even written as
this author claims. Ms Acharya loves to refute Christianity using Justin
Martyr, but she fails to notice that Justin was killed before the date she
mentions above, and Justin quoted freely from the books she claims were
not written until after he died. You can see why I say this person’s
thinking is convoluted.

The Krishna tale as told in the Hindu Vedas has been dated to at least as
far back as 1400 B.C.E. The same can be said of the well-woven Horus
mythos, which also is practically identical, in detail, to the Jesus
story, but which predates the Christian version by thousands of years.

Acharya mentions many supposed parallels between the “lives” of
Krishna or Horus or Buddha and Jesus. The first two are clearly
mythological characters. No one would dispute that these were real
people. They had no “lives” at all. There is no acceptable date or
location for their birth, as there is absolutely no evidence whatever that
they lived. These are not historical figures at all. Besides, you should
be extremely suspicious of the supposed claims that the parallels she
lists are real. If you went to primary sources, you would find that these
parallels are more a matter of imagination than reality. The case with
Buddha is different. Buddha was a real historical person. If one looks
behind the clearly mythological writings about Buddha (obviously
mythological simply by reading them, but also because we know these things
were written hundreds of years after Buddha died), one is left with a
teacher who taught an admirable philosophy, with no meaningful parallel to
the live of Jesus at all. The very earliest writings about Buddha do not
include the supposed miracle-working and the other supposed parallels
which were imposed on Buddha hundreds and thousands of years after his
life. The only parallel on the list which would hold up to scrutiny is
that Buddha was from royal descent.

I suggest you spend some time testing whether the claims I am
making here will hold up to scrutiny. I am confident that if you begin to
ask some obvious questions and compare the conclusions of Acharya with
what we know from history, you will find that her reasoning simply does
not hold up to the lens of fact.

John Oakes, PhD

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