Our “Quick Shot” series offers brief answers to common objections to the Christian worldview. Each response is limited to one paragraph. These responses are designed to (1) answer the objection as concisely as possible, (2) challenge the objector to think more deeply about his or her claim, and (3) facilitate a “gospel” conversation. In this article, we’re offering “Quick Shot” responses to the objection, Quick Shot: “Jesus is a ‘copycat’ savior; copied from prior mythologies that are strikingly similar to the Jesus story”
“Have you actually examined the mythologies that are typically compared to Jesus? Whether it’s Mithras, Osiris, Horus, or any other ancient myth, none of them resemble Jesus as much as skeptics claim. In most cases, the alleged similarities are simply false. The mythological characters were not born of a virgin as Jesus was born to Mary, they did not live a life that was similar to Jesus, they did not hold the titles attributed to Jesus, and they were not resurrected in a manner that is remotely similar to the resurrection of Christ. Can you, for example, name some of the specific, confirmed similarities between these ancient myths and the person of Jesus?”
“Why would you be surprised that ancient people, when thinking about the existence and nature of God, would think of Him in ways that are similar to the true God? It’s reasonable to think of God as an incredibly powerful, wise, supernatural Being. It’s also reasonable to think God would be powerful enough to work miracles. It’s reasonable to expect His earthly appearance to draw attention and gather disciples. It’s also reasonable to think God would be powerful enough to defeat death, rescue His creation and provide us with a way to join Him. These are the kinds of general conclusions ancient (and modern) humans make when thinking about the nature of God. Generally speaking, these are the only true similarities between Jesus and ancient mythical gods. Why wouldn’t we expect these kinds of broad similarities, and why would they negate the reality of Jesus’ existence?”
“Skeptics who claim the story of Jesus is similar to ancient mythological gods are exaggerating and ‘cherry-picking’. If you’re careful, you can make someone sound like just about anyone else. For example, there was an American president who was assassinated many years ago. He was in his thirties when he was elected President in ’60; his wife was a socially prominent twenty-four-year-old girl at the time of their marriage. He had three children. As president, he was deeply involved in civil rights for African Americans. He was assassinated and shot in the back of the head, while seated beside his wife (she was not injured). His assassin was murdered before he could be brought to trial, and after the assassination, he was succeeded by a vice-president who was a southern democrat (and former senator) named Johnson. You might think I am talking about President John F. Kennedy, but I am not. I’m talking about Abraham Lincoln. Can you see how these cherry-picked details make one president sound like the other? Can you also see how these truth about Lincoln don’t negate the existence of Kennedy (any more than similarities between ancient myths would negate the existence of Jesus)?”
Our “Quick Shot” series was written specifically for the Cold-Case Christianity App (you can download it on Apple and Android platforms – be sure to register once you download the App). When confronted with an objection in casual conversation, App users can quickly find an answer without having to scroll beyond the first screen in the category. Use the App “Quick Shots” along with the “Rapid Responses” and Case Making “Cheat Sheets” to become a better Christian Case Maker.
For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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