Is Jesus a Counterfeit? Is Jesus a Counterfeit? In the Till-Dobbs Debate, fundamentalist p

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Is Jesus a Counterfeit? Is Jesus a Counterfeit? In the Till-Dobbs Debate, fundamentalist preacher and editor Buster Dobbs asserted that the Book of Mormon is an obvious counterfeit and then proceeded to parrot the trite old argument that says the existence of a counterfeit proves the existence of the real thing. A counterfeit dollar, for example, can exist only because real or authentic dollars exist. To Dobbs, needless to say, the Bible is the "real" inspired book that the Book of Mormon counterfeited. The argument is absurd, of course, because entirely theoretical objects can be conceptualized and made without proving the existence of real or authentic specimens of whatever the objects are supposed to represent. One could make metal coins and claim that they are replicas of coins that are used on Mars, but the existence of these "counterfeits" would in no way prove that Martian coins really do exist. In the same way, the writing of a phony "bible," which a religious group tries to present as a book that was inspired of God, does not prove that a "real" divinely inspired book exists. It is far more probable that such a book is just one more example of a holy book for which sincere but mistaken claims of divine origin are made. For the sake of argument, however, let's just grant Mr. Dobbs his point: the existence of a counterfeit known as the Book of Mormon does prove that a "real" divinely inspired book exists. Even with this concession, his argument begs the question by assuming that the Bible is the genuine holy book that was divinely inspired. One could just as logically argue that the Book of Mormon counterfeited the Avesta, an allegedly inspired book that antedates the Bible by many centuries. Dobbs, however, would never agree that the Book of Mormon "counterfeited" the Avesta, because he doesn't believe that the Avesta was divinely inspired. He would ridicule the logic of anyone who would use such an argument to prove the divine origin of the Avesta, yet he apparently can't see that the argument has no more merit when applied to the Bible. Another consequence of the argument that Dobbs and his fundamentalist cohorts would never accept is that, carried to its logic end, the argument will prove that Jesus was a counterfeit. This conclusion necessarily follows from the fact that belief in virgin-born, miracle-working, crucified, and resurrected saviors flourished long before Jesus of Nazareth allegedly lived. So if such savior-gods were worshiped prior to the time Jesus of Nazareth came onto the religious scene, then Jesus must have been a counterfeit of those who had preceded him. If not, why not? Elsewhere in this issue, we are publishing "Hare Jesus: Christianity's Hindu Heritage" by Stephen Van Eck, who demonstrates similarities in Hinduism and Christianity that are too striking to attribute to coincidence. Since Hinduism was founded centuries before Christianity, the only rational conclusion to reach is that the latter borrowed many of its concepts from the former. This reality inflicts irreparable damage to the fundamentalist claim that Christianity is a unique religion that was divinely revealed in the first century. Van Eck rejects the premise (accepted by some scholars of Vedic literature) that Krishna, the Hindu savior-god, died by crucifixion in some accounts of his death. This is a rather inconsequential matter, however, for even if this particular similarity is not present in both religions, there are still enough striking parallels in the lives of the two saviors to discredit the claim that Jesus was the son of God. Since Krishna allegedly lived centuries before Jesus, this is sufficient reason to suspect that Jesus was merely a counterfeit of Krishna and the other savior-gods who were worshiped throughout the pagan world long before Jesus became the socially correct savior to believe in. Besides Krishna, there were many other virgin-born pagan saviors who were worshiped before the time of Jesus. In The Story of Christian Origins, Martin A. Larson traced the myth of the resurrected savior-god to Osiris, whom the Egyptians worshiped as far back as 3,000 B. C. (p. 3). Like the many successor saviors who followed him, Osiris was killed by enemies and then resurrected from the dead. To prevent his resurrection, the conspirators tore the body of Osiris into fourteen parts and buried them in various regions of Egypt (a tale reminiscent of the efforts that the enemies of Jesus took to guard his body). However, Isis, the consort of Osiris, succeeded in finding the parts and putting them together again in Frankenstein fashion, after which she breathed life into his nostrils (another familiar concept) and resurrected him to eternal life. After Osiris came many other virgin-born, resurrected savior gods: Dionysus (Grecian), Krishna (Hindu), Mithra (Persian), Tammuz (Sumerian-Babylonian), etc., etc., etc. Ezekiel the prophet referred to women whom he saw weeping for Tammuz at the gate of Jehovah's house ([ref001]Ez. 8:14), an obvious reference to the springtime ritual of mourning the death of this pagan savior who, according to the myth that had fostered the religion, had later risen to life again. So widespread was belief in virgin-born, resurrected saviors that Justin Martyr, an early Christian apologist, used the familiarity of the story as an argument designed to convince non-Christians that it was logical to believe Jesus was the virgin-born son of God: By declaring the Logos, the first-begotten of God, our Master, Jesus Christ, to be born of a virgin, without any human mixture, we (Christians) say no more in this than what you (pagans) say of those whom you style the sons of Jove. For you need not be told what a parcel of sons the writers most in vogue among you assign to Jove.... As to the son of God, called Jesus, should we allow him to be nothing more than man, yet the title of "the son of God" is very justifiable, upon the account of his wisdom, considering that you (pagans) have your Mercury in worship under the title of the word, a messenger of God.... As to his (Jesus Christ's) being born of a virgin, you have your Perseus to balance that (_First Apology_, vol. 1, chapter 22). Christians, of course, will dismiss the tales of these pagan saviors as mythology while adamantly insisting that it is rational to believe that the story of Jesus's virgin birth and resurrection is factual. They can offer no reasonable explanation for their inconsistency, but until they do, skeptics will have to insist that they are worshiping a counterfeit savior. [ref001]


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