If You Buy Into Images Like This…

…then you need to do more research.  Because these images are misleading and mostly wrong.  By mostly, I mean like 80% wrong.  And anyone who argues with certainty that these beliefs impacted Christianity to a large degree need to reevaluate their critical thinking skills.  Because you’re wrong.

Click through to see full image.

This image represents precisely the sort of misinformation and false arguments commonly made within the mythicist community.  This is why serious scholars don’t take you seriously.  This is why you are like creationists–because you continue to fabricate data to support your flawed conclusions.

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7 Responses

  1. [...] He also offers a helpful assessment of the nature and usefulness of the criterion of embarrassment.Tom Verenna shared the following image, commenting that it is 80% wrong, adding:This image represents precisely the sort of misinformation [...]

  2. [...] of Gays and Lesbians Better Atheist Fact-CheckingJune 29, 2012 By James F. McGrath Leave a CommentTom Verenna shared a short image reflecting common mythicist misinformation, and (quite justifiably)…. It appears that someone also went through it and illustrated point by point how fact-checking [...]

  3. Has anyone done a full refutation of this stuff? It’d be good to have a summary of what comparisons are justified between Jesus and other religious figures, and what comparisons aren’t.

    Maybe something for your “debunking Zeitgeist” section?

  4. Oxymandias,

    There is something which is partially of use over at James McGrath’s blog.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/06/better-atheist-fact-checking.html

    I’m not a fan of a lot of the sources that the person who made the graphic used, so I plan to go through and show the same thing using primary sources and better information. I have a lot on my plate right now and the candle is lit at both ends but I’m trying to get to it before the fall starts. I’m sure I’ll blog it once I complete it.

  5. I posted the following on Dr. McGrath’s blog. I would like to think that it’s based on better information; while I don’t refer to primary sources and it’s by no means exhaustive, it is informed by my knowledge of primary sources and scholarly discussion of the sources.

    Yes, that original list is silly in conception and quite misinformed in execution. However, this particular debunking isn’t entirely correct either.

    On Horus, there are at least four dimensions to consider, whereas both the original list here and the debunker are really only considering two, his role in the Isis-Osiris myth and the Greco-Roman identification of the infant Horus as the deity Harpokrates. Also to consider are the ancient role of Horus as solar and creator deity, sky god, and idealized king, and the Greek identification of the adult Horus with Apollo. On three of the four, it might be allowed that Horus has some association with healing. And the Eye of Horus was worn as a protective amulet.

    On Mithra, the debunker makes several references to “Mithraic literature” “texts” and “stories” but no such texts survive. We have several vague and contradictory notices in the classical authors and a late treatment by Jerome (and possibly earlier patristic writers?), but nothing beyond inscriptions and graffiti that can be identified with adherents of the Roman mysteries of Mithra. Too much discussion of Mithraism, from all positions, goes on without acknowledging these facts. There is a great deal we do not know, that various scholars have inferred from sculpture and associated inscriptions, but that must remain hypothetical. However, Mithra was identified with the sun, and along with Sol Invictus the adherents of the mysteries probably did celebrate the solstice. That the Saturnalia and Sol Invictus and possibly Mithraism revered the date may well have influenced the eventual adoption of it for Christmas, but so what? It would seem to have little to do with the creation of the foundational Christian beliefs, and the nativity stories do not appear to partake of any of the later syncretism with solar deities.

    On Dionysus, he was “the twice born god.” This concept finds expression in the narrative myth, where as the debunker says, Zeus impregnated Semele, but he or she is wrong about the lightning bolt part. Semele was already pregnant with D. when Zeus’s jealous wife Hera tricked her into demanding a theophany, so Zeus manifested as lightning and killed Semele but was able to save the fetus and stitched the prenatal Dionysus into his thigh from which he was later also “born”. But the myth is not the origin of the idea of Dionysus as “twice born” but an etiological narrative incorporating it. Dionysus as the personification of wine, is “twice born” because grapes are harvested and newly fermented wine is produced at different times of the year.

    The Attic Greek festival of the grape harvest was the Oschophoria, celebrated in the month of Pyanepsion, roughly our October. The so-called Rural or Rustic Dionysia was held at various places in Attica on various dates and so cannot be difinitively tied to January 6, December 25, or any specific date. It celebrated Dionysius’s rebirth in the new wine; his second birth. The Urban Dionysia, the famous Athenian theater competition, was held later, in the Spring. Two other Dionysian festivals were also held in late Winter/early Spring, the Anthesteria and the Lenaea, and while these probably had local origins in parts of Attica, they were folded into the Urban Dionysia at Athens.

    tl;dr: The bullet list format is a lousy way to communicate complex and often obscure ancient religious concepts, whatever the motivation.

  6. [...] to anything I’ve published or written recently; I used to be very polemical, very aggressive, made lots of baseless, unverified claims (visit link for additional links); these were symptoms of my mythicism–my denialism. [...]

  7. [...] This is why I am wholly unimpressed by the (lack of) dialogue on both sides at the moment.    Everyone just seems content to mud-sling instead of engaging the important issues.   Instead of engaging mythicist arguments, certain historicists are content to just pretend as if they never made any and lump all mythicists into the same propagandist label categorically making any individually nuanced, credible arguments practically obsolete (as Ehrman does above).   And certain mythicists would rather use crappily-researched arguments about the cosmos (aka: astrotheology) or about some parallelism that is incredibly fictional. [...]

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