Recent letter writer Robert Rock seems convinced that biblical accounts of Jesus’ life were based on ancient myths and pagan rituals. Such claims are hotly contested and hardly conclusive. For Rock’s sake, let me be as plain as I can be. Attempts to link Bible passages to ancient mythical characters such as Horus (Egypt), Mithras (Roman) or Enki (Sumerian) are so dismal that they are laughable.
Pagan attempts to counter the growing influence of Christianity by imitating it are clearly apparent in measures instituted by Julian the Apostate, Roman emperor from A.D. 361 to 363.
Further claims that Judaic and Christian beliefs came about as a plagiarism of other belief systems sprang up again in 19th century Germany, as part of the German “Religionsgechichtliche schule” or the History of Religions school of thought. As a result of real research and scholarly review, these claims were dismissed.
Add to that the popular YouTube video “zeitgeist” and Dan Brown’s DaVinci’s Code, and you have a meal made for rabid anti-Christian conspiracy theorists.
The Bible, if nothing else, is the history of human nature — at times selfish, violent and horrifying, like many other historical accounts. The difference lies in its attempt to break this cycle with lessons that focus on an unselfish path, reflected in a transcendent being whose goal for humanity is unconditional love. Getting to this point is an evolution to say the least, or more accurately, a maturation. This is why context is everything. We cannot compare Leviticus to Luke or Judges to James as proof of contradictions.
Whether or not you believe Jesus was more than just a flesh and blood man depends on whether or not you believe his message and his example made him extraordinary, heavenly even.
Prophets were sent; prophets were rejected. So a Son was sent, and although his body was killed, his message lives on and became the cornerstone of our civilization. To this day the Bible continues to both inspire and infuriate, and we are better for it.