Christmas Myths That Try and Ruin Christmas

Birth of Christ.  Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

Birth of Christ. Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

It is almost Christmas which means that cable TV channels everywhere are gearing up programs to tell us why everything Christians believe about Christmas is a big fat lie. However, much of what they present is not grounded in fact but conjecture. But first, a movie!

Now, this is a big topic to tackle and I just do not have the time to cover every angle. Suffice it to say, there was actually a movement in Western Europe in the 1800's whose whole point was to undermine Christianity. Back then it was hard to check claims against scholarly research and works. Unfortunately, in today's world where it would be easy to do what we get is just a regurgitation of these ideas even though they have been debunked over and over again. Case in point, a common picture floating around on the internet right now is this:

Common myths claiming Jesus was based on a previous religion or pagan god.

Common myths claiming Jesus was based on a previous religion or pagan god.

At the heart of all this is the Christ Myth Theory. Wikipedia has a pretty good primer on this.

[The Christ Myth Theory] is the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth never existed, or if he did, he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity and the accounts in the gospels. The Christ myth theory contradicts the mainstream historical view, which is that while the gospels include many mythical or legendary elements, these are religious elaborations added to the biography of a historical figure.

Bruno Bauer (1809–1882), is credited as the first scholar to deny the existence of Jesus. However, his work had negligible influence on mainstream scholarship. Today, most Christ Mythicists agree that the evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus Christ is weak at best...In modern scholarship, the Christ Myth Theory is a fringe theory, but is accepted by a small number of academics.

From the Criticisms section:
Christ Myth theories find virtually no support from scholars. According to New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman, most people who study the historical period of Jesus believe that he did exist, and do not write in support of the Christ myth theory. Ehrman states that the existence of Jesus and his crucifixion by the Romans is attested to by a wide range of sources including Josephus and Tacitus.

Ehrman also notes that “mythicist” views would prevent one from getting employment in a religious studies department:

”These views are so extreme and so unconvincing to 99.99 percent of the real experts that anyone holding them is as likely to get a teaching job in an established department of religion as a six-day creationist is likely to land on in a bona fide department of biology.”

Additionally, Ehrman levies stronger criticism against the first “universally” agreed upon claim put forth by Price that there is no mention of a miracle working Jesus in secular sources. Ehrman points out that we don’t have archaeological or textual evidence for the existence of most people in the ancient world; even famous people like Pontius Pilate, whom the Myth Theorists agree was involved. “And what records from that decade do we have from his reign,” Ehrman asks, “what Roman records of his major accomplishments, his daily itinerary, the decrees he passed, the laws he issued, the prisoners he put on trial, the death warrants he signed, his scandals, interviews, his judicial proceedings? We have none. Nothing at all.”

It should be noted that Bart Ehrman is one of the biggest critics of Christianity. And even he is calling cow manure on this. YouTube has some pretty decent videos that are well sourced, so I will let them do the talking on this.

First, Horace:

And, Mithra:



I think you are getting the point by now. The same above is also true for Attis. Many of the so called "parallels" came after Christianity had been established.

And, finally, because humor is important, one final Lutheran Satire video. I hope you have a very merry and joyous Christmas!