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