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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Isn't Jesus just a myth that is based on the Egyptian god Horus?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, 
         and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

Short answer: 

Long answer:   many of us will have college kids coming home with the above question about the connection between Jesus and Horus. Most reputable scholars are dismissive of this idea, (in fact, almost all atheists who deny the existence of God will acknowledge that a man, the historical Jesus, existed. Only some fanatical, rabid atheists who are not not well-read or educated will question whether there actually was a man named Jesus who lived 2000 years ago.)  The question of the Jesus/Horus connection seems to have take a life of its own in the internet and many college students are entertaining this notion that Jesus never really existed.  They believe that there was an ancient Egyptian deity named Horus who existed prior to Christianity, and that the "Christians" of the ancient near east simply enveloped and embraced some of the mythical aspects of Horus and created/copied/made up their own deity named Jesus Christ.

Horus is one of ancient Egypt's best known gods, as well as one of its oldest. His name is attested to from at least the beginning of the Dynastic Period and depictions of falcon deities on earlier artifacts, such as the Narmer Palette, probably represent this same god. The Turin Canon, which provides some of our most important information on Egypt's early history, specifically describes the Predynastic rulers of Egypt as "Followers of Horus".
The use of his name was also widespread in personal names throughout Egyptian history, and Hor, as a personal name, survives into our modern era in a number of different forms.
Read more:
The claim is that stories of Jesus are "ripped-off" pre-existing myths of Horus.  They claim that Horus was a god-man, born of a virgin mother who died and was resurrected.  He had 12 friends.  He walked on water, was baptized by Anup the Baptizer who was later beheaded.  Horus was tempted in the desert, cured the sick and healed the blind....all of these "coincidentally" match with the stories of Jesus, who came later.  The "coincidence" these people say, are explained by the fact that the Gospel writers simply plagiarized the stories from Egyptian mythology.

How to refute these claims?  

Firstly, there is no single source that we can use to trace the legend of the Egyptian god, Horus.  The mythology existed and developed over a 5000 year time-span, with multiple sources,  many authors, and a myriad of legends/story-lines.  In order to find a similarity with the Gospel stories, one needs to cherry-pick all the stories from all the epochs of Egyptian history to find connections and parallels.  

It would be like, millenia later, people saying that President Obama was a myth borrowed from stories of Abraham Lincoln.  Both of them were from Illinois.  Both were lawyers.  Both used a Bible at their inauguration...therefore, Obama didn't really exist. He was just created by some people based on stories of a previous character in history.

Ridiculous, right?

The Jesus/Horus connection is similar.  

From the article:  Horus Manure:  Debunking the Jesus/Horus Connection by Jon Sorensen
Horus is the son of the god Osiris, born to a virgin mother.
The mother of Horus was believed to be the goddess Isis. Her husband, the god Osiris, was killed by his enemy Seth, the god of the desert, and later dismembered. Isis managed to retrieve all of Osiris’s body parts except for his phallus, which was thrown into the Nile and eaten by catfish. (I’m not making this up).  Isis used her goddess powers to temporarily resurrect Osiris and fashion a golden phallus. She was then impregnated, and Horus was conceived. However this story may be classified, it is not a virgin birth.
He was baptized in a river by Anup the Baptizer, who was later beheaded.
There is no character named Anup the Baptizer in ancient Egyptian mythology. This is the concoction of a 19th-century English poet and amateur Egyptologist by the name of Gerald Massey. Massey is the author of several books on the subject of Egyptology; however, professional Egyptologists have largely ignored his work. In fact, his writing is held in such low regard in archaeological circles that it is difficult to find references to him in reputable modern publications.
Yes, Horus was crucified first.
In many of the books and on the websites that attempt to make this connection, it is often pointed out that there are several ancient depictions of Horus standing with his arms spread in cruciform.  One can only answer this with a heartfelt “So what?”  A depiction of a person standing with his arms spread is not unusual, nor is it evidence that the story of a crucified savior predates that of Jesus Christ.
I won't bore you with the rest of the refutations.  Suffice it to say that there is no evidence that Egyptian god Horus walked on water, was tempted in the desert, had 12 disciples, etc etc etc.  The accusation that Jesus is Horus revisited is simply senseless applications of a hodgepodge of mythological lore.

For more in-depth study visit these websites:

Was Jesus Copied from the Egyptian God Horus?

Catholics Come Home

Catholic Bible online

Catechism of the Catholic Church online

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I don't think it matters so much what you believe--isn't it more important that you love your neighbor, feed the poor, clothe the naked?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, 
         and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

Short answer:  both are important--believing in truth (that is, right doctrine or orthodoxy) AND living it out (right practice, or orthopraxy).  Orthodoxy AND orthopraxy.  To dismiss one for the other is a man-made judgement--something that is never espoused by the Word of God.

Longer answer:  Over the past few days I've heard several remarks in different venues that have rejected the importance of doctrine in favor of "just helping others out".    

I can see where this paradigm springs from--it comes from a valid criticism of people who appear to be pious, church-going folks who are, well, mean and spiteful.  They know their bible verses, and have their rosaries at the ready, but don't appear to be very kind and loving. 

As St. Teresa of Avila said, "God save us from sour-faced saints!"  

However, Truth matters.   What you believe ought to be as supremely important as how you serve the poor and love your fellow man.  In fact, there are some vile and sinister beliefs that will greatly affect how you love your fellow man.  

I think that the picture below is a graphic representation of how what you believe can be very, very dangerous.  

(Warning:  offensive picture)

One cannot embrace a contemptible doctrine, and still say, "Hey! It doesn't matter what I believe because I help out at homeless shelters!"

Because Truth matters.

Of course, this is an extreme example.  But it illustrates how what we believe is indeed important.  

In response to the above example, some folks may say, "I think that as long as you love God and love your fellow man it still doesn't matter what you believe.  And the people at the Westboro Baptist Church clearly don't love God, therefore, our premise is still correct.  As long as you love God and whatever you believe makes you good and happy, it's fine!"

I would answer:  but which God are we loving?  The God who has revealed that the pope is the vicar of Christ?  Or the God that says that the pope is the anti-Christ?  The God who says that Jesus is really, truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Blessed Sacrament?  Or the God who says that worship of a wafer is an abomination?  The God who has revealed that Jesus is God Incarnate, or the God that says that Jesus was just a holy man who came to preach the Golden Rule?

Contradictory beliefs cannot both be true at the same time.  Either Jesus is God or he is not God. Either the pope is the vicar of Christ or he is not.   Both cannot be true at the same time.  It can't be, "Well, it's true for you.  You can believe whatever you want, as long as it makes you happy!" 

Another example is this hypothetical:  let's say there was an adult who believed in Santa Claus.  This belief made her happy. And it made her try to be a kind and good person.

Naturally, we would not encourage this false belief, even if it made this woman happy, kind and good to believe in Santa.  No one would tell this poor, hapless woman, "Hey, knock yourself out!  Believe whatever you want, as long as it makes you happy!"

Because Truth matters.  Not just whether we're happy and good, persisting in a false belief.

It's like the story of the Emperor's New Clothes.  He was parading around in "finery", happy in his delusion, yet the reality was that he was completely naked.  His belief made him happy.  

But I don't think any person would encourage this type of delusion....because Truth matters.

It's also important to point out the corollary:   If one embraces all the doctrines yet never lifts a finger to serve others, then, this, too, is incompatible with the Gospel.   

As GK Chesterton said, "Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair".

The proverbial Catholic both/and applies to all of us! Both orthodoxy (truth) and orthopraxis (practice) are part of the Good News of salvation!

For more in-depth study visit these websites:


"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15