I listened to The Skeptic's Testament yesterday and they talked about the Jesus/Horus link and myths borrowing from each other in general. I transcribed that part of the podcast for you (the whole episode is great, so if you can, give it a listen):
The Jesus Horus Link is complete rubbish made up by the movie Zeitgeist. Brian Dunning explains in Skeptoid Episode 196 why it's just fabricated conspiracy mongering.
The following is from The Skeptic's Testament, episode 24:
3:27: With the work of people like Robert Price, which many skeptics have read, they
unjustly make the case that all of the Jesus traditions were borrowed from previous sources. Price doesn't even argue that.
It is incorrect to say that one borrowed from the other. Christianity borrowed from Hinduism or Mithraism or vice versa, simply because the nature of history as a forensic science cannot say anything other than that one came after the other.
To establish sharing like that, or borrowing, and taking, would require something very astounding, something that doesn't fossilize. It would require something that history has never dished up to us before.
This is one example of what we're up against.
Firstly, you would have to establish a trade route between the two factions. Then one would have to show that they swapped stories about their holy men, and furthermore, one party or both went home, conflated the information he just learned about the other faction's holy man or men, and then spread that in the community, only about their own holy men.
And it's just far too difficult to prove no matter which way you cut it, because after then they would have had to written it down, and that would be passed on to our day.
So it is far better in my opinion to argue that these common motifs or what we know as hero archetypes that were commonly attributed to holy men, it's far better to argue, why should we believe one faction and not the other about the claims that they make about their holy men?
To me I don't see any reason to go any further than that. That's an extremely powerful argument as it stands.
The similarities are much more likely to be just because of common psychology that those sort of things resonate with humans.
It would be the common motifs and how people explained and portrayed their holy men. This is very common amongst human psychology. In fact you can even Google "hero archetypes" and it will give you a whole list of commonalities between heroes in the past.
From there you can make the argument stronger, but there really is no point in saying that one borrowed from the other. Especially the Jesus/Horus link because there simply isn't one. That is complete nonsense made up by Joseph the writer of Zeitgeist.
So this would be an opportunity where as skeptics we can show our affinity toward evidence and facts simply by doing the research that is required. Actually read the Horus story and see if you can find any links in there yourself.
On the hero archetype, I would recommend The Hero: A Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama by Lord Raglan.
So what are your thoughts on the origins and borrowings of myths? Personally I think that the Skeptic's Testament guys have a point. I think that basic human psychology explains a lot of it right off the bat, which would be a good use of Occam's Razor. It still makes sense that myths can be spread and adapt to new cultures, with the help of common psychology, superstition and confabulation. I'm not sure if that is a reality though. What do you think?
I think the most important thing I got out of this, and it's really just a side thought, is that it makes no difference how the story of Jesus developed. Most biblical scholars agree that someone fitting the sandals of Jesus (probably named Yeshua or Joshua) was most likely wandering around Judea around the right time. I would say there were probably lots of apocalyptic rabbis at the time. Even if he existed, it really means nothing. It's just history. It doesn't mean that the bible is suddenly inerrant, or that any gods exist. It's not a relevant issue.
One reason given for Jesus' existence is how hard the gospel writers actually had to work to fit their character and his story to the prophecies. If Jesus didn't exist, they could have made him fit perfectly.
Of course, I should point out, that doesn't mean that Jesus actually performed miracles or rose from the dead. Those extraordinary claims would require extraordinary evidence to prove. And the bible does not prove them at all. They are just a bunch of anecdotal stories that are second hand at best. Certainly not something over which people should change their lives.
And Nicholas from the podcast also brought up another point. Many holy men of their time allegedly performed miracles. Why assume that only Jesus' miracles are genuine and everyone else were just charlatans? There are holy men in India right now performing these gimmicks daily. Of course, they are just magic tricks meant to dupe their flock, which is the most plausible explanation for such dubious occurrences.
So what are your thoughts on this touchy christmas topic? Does it matter to you if Jesus was born? Do you think he was? Or do you think he's completely mythical?