Horus Manure: Debunking the Jesus/Horus Connection
Many atheists, neo-pagans, and other disbelievers of Christianity claim the story of Jesus Christ was borrowed from earlier mythologies. In recent years, a claim has been making the rounds that Jesus is based on the Egyptian god, Horus.
Who was Horus?
Horus is one of the oldest recorded deities in the ancient Egyptian religion. Often depicted as a falcon or a man with a falcon head, Horus was believed to be the god of the sun and of war. Initially he appeared as a local god, but over time the ancient Egyptians came to believe the reigning pharaoh was a manifestation of Horus (cf. Encyclopedia Britannica, “Horus”).
What about Jesus?
The skeptical claims being made about Jesus are not always the same. In some versions he was a persuasive teacher whose followers later attempted to deify him by adopting aspects of earlier god-figures, while in others he is merely an amalgamation of myths and never really existed at all. Both versions attempt to provide evidence that the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ are rip-offs.
In the 2008 documentary film Religulous (whose name is a combination of religion andridiculous), erstwhile comedian and political commentator Bill Maher confronts an unprepared Christian with this claim. Here is part of their interaction.
The Image of God Gives All Human Life Value
Lethal acts of terrorism, controversial police shootings, and attacks upon law enforcement officers have left many unsettled in America. These horrific public killings cause many to wonder whose lives really matter in life.
So do all human lives have value? And, if so, on what basis do they carry worth? Without debating the controversial social and political issues involved, I will briefly explore the biblical answer to these two critical questions.
A World-Changing Biblical Truth: Imago Dei
The Bible states that of all God’s creatures, only human beings were created in the express image of God. While the Judeo-Christian Scriptures specifically mention the imago Dei (Latin for divine image) only a half-dozen times (Genesis 1:26–27; 5:1; 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7; Colossians 3:10; James 3:9), it seems all of Scripture is written with the imago Dei in mind.
Genesis 1:26–27 is the most important text that describes this vital doctrinal truth:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
The Best One-Sentence Answer to Show Why God Is True
I would like to offer you, in a nutshell, what I think is the simplest, most powerful way, strategically, to make your case as a Christian. I have been using it a long time in a variety of ways, though it really came together for me quite by accident recently when my eldest daughter, then about eight years old, asked me an important question.
“Papa,” Annabeth asked, “How do we know God is true?” She was already a Christian, baptized at six, but was now trying to connect the dots, not regarding the “What?” but regarding the “Why?”
What do you say to a youngster who already believes in God, but is not sure why belief in God is defensible? That was my challenge. And nothing technical would do, not at her age.
I thought for a moment how I could say something meaningful in a simple way. Then a thought crystalized in my mind. “Annabeth,” I said, “the reason we believe God is true is that God is the best explanation for the way things are.” The minute I said it I realized I had summed up in a single sentence a major thrust of how for decades I have approached defending Christianity.
“Don’t you know that the New Testament is full of errors?
Over the years, scribes made copy after copy, and introduced so many alterations, errors, and variations that today we can’t even be sure what the original texts said! In fact, scholars have shown that the surviving manuscripts have around 400,000 variations. That’s a horrible number, especially considering that the entire New Testament only has about 138,000 words!”
The argument above is made repeatedly by those who want to tear down the New Testament. Recently, New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman boosted the argument in his book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. It continues to be repeated, ad infinitum, by anti-Christian bloggers, professors, and others. So, what’s the truth about it?
Three Intractable Problems for Atheism
Is science doing real work while people who posit a creator are being intellectually lazy? That's what atheists like Richard Dawkins would have you believe. In an interview with the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Connecticut, Dawkins claimed pointing to an intelligent designer is "a cowardly evasion, it's lazy. What we should be doing as scientists is rolling up our sleeves and saying, right, Darwin solved the big problem. Now let's take that as encouragement to solve the other big problems, like the origin of life and the origin of the cosmos."1
Is Dawkins right? In fact, he has the whole thing backwards. Darwin had the easier time constructing his evolutionary model because he didn't have the details to worry about. Scientists in Darwin's day didn't know about the complex structures of DNA or how the telltale evidence of the Big Bang proves the universe must've come into existence at a specific point in the past. Darwin could sluff over the biology. However atheists today don't have that luxury.