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 Evidence for Zeitgeist’s claims?
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KingDavid8
Skeptic Friend

USA
212 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  08:41:26  Show Profile  Visit KingDavid8's Homepage Send KingDavid8 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi, there. I'm new to this forum, and I hope you'll indulge me. I'm a Christian who runs an apologitics website (kingdavid8.com), and part of my website is about the movie "Zeitgeist", a movie which claims (among other things) that the Jesus story is based on the stories of earlier deities like Horus, Attis, Mithra and others. At my website, I'm offering $1000 to anyone who can provide evidence for at least half of Zietgeist's claims about earlier deities.
I met a woman on a message board who calls herself "ChangingMyself", and she claims to have the evidence and wants me to see it. But she had two conditions. One is that I not be the one to judge whether her evidence is valid. I felt that was reasonable, and that's why we're here. I'm asking the forum members at SFN to be the ones to judge whether she's met the burden of proof.
Her other condition is that I not be able to respond to her evidence before you decide. I did feel that was a tad unreasonable, but agreed to this condition as long as the $1000 is off the table. She agreed.
So she will be posting her evidence in this forum, and I'll leave it to you to decide. If the majority of you agree that she's met the challenge as I describe it (which I will, below), then we'll call her the winner.
My challenge is posted on my website here:
http://kingdavid8.com/Zeitgeist/Challenge.html
But I'll post the text of the page here, just so that the rules are clear.
I am convinced that the majority of the claims made about pre-Christian deities in Zeitgeist are false. I am offering $1000 to anyone who can provide evidence backing up the claims that Zeitgeist makes. Contact me if you think you have the evidence. I list the 36 claims that Zeitgeist makes about Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus and Mithra. You only have to provide evidence for 18 of them.

Here is what I'll accept as evidence.

1) Versions of their stories in which we can read about them actually doing these things, provided that the stories are generally agreed-upon by scholars to be pre-Christian. This is the one I'd most like to see. If the deities are truly believed to have done these things, you would think there would be stories somewhere in which they do it.

2) Any information coming from scholarly sources who are not specifically trying to prove parallels to Jesus, for example:
a) General mythology books and websites, provided they have no Christ-myther agenda (sorry, I won't accept Wikipedia or similar forums, since there's no way to determine whether the individual doing the posting is a Christ-myther or not). If it's a book, I must be able to acquire it from my local library, or you can mail me the book or e-mail me copies of the pages in question. I won't spend my own money on it (this is to prevent someone from naming some impossible-to-find book and then calling foul on me for not going on a wild and expensive goose chase to get it - remember, I am asking YOU to provide the evidence.)
b) Scholars (Christian or not) who work for a university who agree that the parallels are valid.
c) Anything coming from a mainstream peer-reviewed journal.

3) Photographs of pre-Christian heiroglyphs showing them clearly doing these things (I've seen Christ-mythers claim such hieroglyphs exist for Horus, but every time I ask them to send them to me, I never hear from them again).

Overall, I expect any evidence you provide me with to be something that a reasonable, skeptical and unbiased person (say, someone who is neither a Christian nor a Christ-myther) would accept as convincing evidence that the deity in question was believed, in pre-Christian times, to have done those things. Simply quoting a Christ-myther, or quoting one Christ-myther who quotes another Christ-myther (and so on) obviously will not count. I am expecting evidence that clearly existed prior to and separate from Christ-mythers.

Here are the lists:

Horus
1. Born on Dec 25th
2. Born of a virgin
3. Star in the East
4. Adored by 3 kings
5. Teacher at 12
6. Baptized/ministry at 30
7. 12 disciples
8. Performed miracles
9. "Lamb of God"/"The Light"
10. Crucified
11. Dead for 3 days
12. Resurrected"

Attis:
13. Born of a virgin
14. Born on Dec 25th
15. Crucified
16. Dead for 3 days
17. Resurrected

Krishna:
18. Born of a virgin
19. Star in the East
20. Performed miracles
21. Resurrected

Dionysus:
22. Born of a virgin
23. Born on Dec 25th
24. Performed miracles
25. Turned water into wine (not visible on the list, but the voice-over says it)
26. "King of Kings"
27. "Alpha and Omega"
28. "God's only begotten son" (not visible on the list, but the voice-over says it)
29. Resurrected

Mithra:
30. Born of a virgin
31. Born on Dec 25th
32. 12 disciples
33. Dead for 3 days
34. Resurrected
35. "The Truth"/"The Light" (not visible on the list, but the voice-over says it)
36. Sunday worship"

And some clarification:
I take the phrase "born of a virgin" to mean that the deity was born of a woman (human or humanoid, such as a goddess) who had yet to engage in sexual intercourse at the time of his birth.
I take the phrase "resurrected" to mean being brought back to life in the body in which he died (as opposed to being reincarnated or made into a complete spirit), and for it to have happened in this world (as opposed to the underworld or world of the gods). The same body, yet transformed, is acceptable, of course.
I take the phrase "baptized" to mean cleansed by water in a purification ritual with spiritual ramifications (cleansing of sins, making holy, accepting as a follower and/or promising eternal life).
I take the phrase "crucified" to mean being affixed (by nails, rope, crazy glue, etc.) to a tree or cross, and dying on that tree or cross. Being hung by the neck from a tree, or dying in the vicinity of a tree that they are not affixed to, does not equal crucifixion. Neither does being tied to a rock (sorry, Prometheus fans!)


ChangingMyself should be posting her evidence soon.

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  09:44:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting. Welcome to the Skeptic Friends Network.
Originally posted by KingDavid8

Her other condition is that I not be able to respond to her evidence before you decide. I did feel that was a tad unreasonable...
So long as this condition doesn't preclude you from clarifying the challenge, it seems reasonable. At first glance, it would appear to be aimed at preventing you from debating the evidence with the judges (us), and that'd be a good thing.

Speaking of clarification: The "born on Dec 25th" items are odd, since there's no evidence of which I am aware that Jesus was born on Dec 25th.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  09:50:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dear Mr. Kingda vid8,
I find your challenge fascinating. I have seen Zeitgeist. Before seeing it I always took for granted that Jesus was most likely a real person. The movie definitely changed my train of thought. What you are asking for as evidence seems reasonable to me. I'm just glad that it is not me going through all of that extensive research.
I look forward to the discussion.

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
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KingDavid8
Skeptic Friend

USA
212 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  09:58:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit KingDavid8's Homepage Send KingDavid8 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Oh, yeah. There was one other condition we agreed upon that I forgot to mention, which is that only SFN members who were members prior to this challenge may vote. This is to prevent me or ChangingMyself's friends showing up to offer their support by voting for their side.

Thanks for the welcome, everyone! I do plan on participating in other forums eventually.
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changingmyself
Skeptic Friend

USA
122 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  10:10:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send changingmyself a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello everyone, my name is Changingmyself aka Tina IRL. I accepted this challenge not to get the money but to prove that there are primary sources for these claims which kingdavid has dismissed and that scholars on a whole do agree with the Zeitgeist claim. I am in no way, shape or form saying that I "believe" that this information is any more REAL than that of Jesus, but that these were the beliefs of the followers of these religions. All of this information can be seen on either google books or webpages written by scholars...but on the most part the primary sources as in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Book of the Dead, Book of Gates, Funeral Stele's or those that have read the hieroglyphs and translated them. I am going to attempt to list the claims as david listed them on each page while I might have to go back and add to the page because my notes are in shambles right now. This was decided only two days ago so I have been gathering as much as I can with the assistance of one other person.


All that I ask you to do is copy David's main page and then vote Yes or NO after each of the claims if I have proven them or not proven them like this:

Horus
1. Born on Dec 25th Yes
2. Born of a virgin No
3. Star in the East Yes
4. Adored by 3 kings Yes
5. Teacher at 12 Yes

and so on through all of the list.

We appreciate your assistance very much. I ask that only skeptics/atheists vote on this for the vote needs to be impartial.

I have also asked David to link his webpage to this so that the people that see it can decide for themselves.

If david agrees, I would like to only leave this vote up for a two week time span. That means that on Friday June 3rd, the votes will be tallied.

Also, I ask that only those that sign up before 5/19/11 be allowed to vote so as no "padding" of the votes will be allowed from either side.


Thank you very much for your assistance by voting on this!

"The gospels are not eyewitness accounts"

-Allen D. Callahan, Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School

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changingmyself
Skeptic Friend

USA
122 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  10:12:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send changingmyself a Private Message  Reply with Quote
At first glance, it would appear to be aimed at preventing you from debating the evidence with the judges (us), and that'd be a good thing..



This is exactly why I said this.

"The gospels are not eyewitness accounts"

-Allen D. Callahan, Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School

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teched246
Skeptic Friend

123 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  10:22:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send teched246 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
@kingdavid [Your own words] "I take the phrase "resurrected" to mean being brought back to life in the body in which he died"

Excuse me kingdavid8, but it has already been explained to you that rebirth and resurrection are interchangeable in the case of osiris/horus. Osiris, according to the Ikhernofret Stela (2000 BC translated by Richard H. Wilkinson http://www.philae.nu/akhet/ApassionPlays.html )is entombed for 3 days and is reborn/resurrected immediatley at Dawn the day after as the rising sun, horus (osiris was the dying -- setting -- sun)in a ritual known as the
"Raising of the Djed Pillar". horus the son, was also considered as being the father, osiris, and this is evident in the title "Horakty" which means Horus of the two Horizons (rising sun in the east, setting sun in the West). Further proof can be seen in Chapter 1 of the Book of the Dead: "I am he of the Djed Pillar (Osiris,)
I am the son of he of the Djed Pillar (Horus)
I was concieveth in Djedu, I was born in Djedu"

...and yet further evidence remains to be brought forth until we get underway in this debate. Just a preliminary clarification.

"For all things have been baptized in the well of eternity and are beyond good
and evil; and good and evil themselves are but intervening shadows and damp
depressions and drifting clouds.Verily, it is a blessing and not a blasphemy
when I teach: ‘Over all things stand the heaven Accident, the heaven
Innocence, the heaven Chance, the heaven Prankishness." -Nietzsche
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teched246
Skeptic Friend

123 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  10:25:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send teched246 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By the way Im not going to be voting, as I'll be one of debaters assisting Changingmyself.

"For all things have been baptized in the well of eternity and are beyond good
and evil; and good and evil themselves are but intervening shadows and damp
depressions and drifting clouds.Verily, it is a blessing and not a blasphemy
when I teach: ‘Over all things stand the heaven Accident, the heaven
Innocence, the heaven Chance, the heaven Prankishness." -Nietzsche
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leoofno
Skeptic Friend

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  10:27:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send leoofno a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by KingDavid8

Oh, yeah. There was one other condition we agreed upon that I forgot to mention, which is that only SFN members who were members prior to this challenge may vote. This is to prevent me or ChangingMyself's friends showing up to offer their support by voting for their side.

Thanks for the welcome, everyone! I do plan on participating in other forums eventually.
I'm a little concerned about some of your conditions. Parallels should not, by definition, have to be exact. Baptism by the blood of a bull, as with initiates to Mithra, should not be rejected as a parallel to Christian baptism because it is blood and not water. The blood symbolically washed away sin. The parallel is clear despite the difference. Likewise, a resurrection need not be exactly as experienced by Jesus (full restoration of his original body) to be a parallel. Another problem I see is that differect christian churches can have different interpretations of the events and traditions surrounding Jesus's life. Take baptism as an example. Some see it as a symbolic washing away of sin, others as a symbolic "burial" that represents the death of our old life and rebirth into a new one. The Mithra parallel is clearer with the former than the latter.

This could be interesting.

"If you're not terrified, you're not paying attention." Eric Alterman
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leoofno
Skeptic Friend

USA
346 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  10:43:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send leoofno a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by teched246

@kingdavid [Your own words] "I take the phrase "resurrected" to mean being brought back to life in the body in which he died"

Excuse me kingdavid8, but it has already been explained to you that rebirth and resurrection are interchangeable in the case of osiris/horus. Osiris, according to the Ikhernofret Stela (2000 BC translated by Richard H. Wilkinson http://www.philae.nu/akhet/ApassionPlays.html )is entombed for 3 days and is reborn/resurrected immediatley at Dawn the day after as the rising sun, horus (osiris was the dying -- setting -- sun)in a ritual known as the
"Raising of the Djed Pillar". horus the son, was also considered as being the father, osiris, and this is evident in the title "Horakty" which means Horus of the two Horizons (rising sun in the east, setting sun in the West). Further proof can be seen in Chapter 1 of the Book of the Dead: "I am he of the Djed Pillar (Osiris,)
I am the son of he of the Djed Pillar (Horus)
I was concieveth in Djedu, I was born in Djedu"

...and yet further evidence remains to be brought forth until we get underway in this debate. Just a preliminary clarification.
Yeah, this is the kind of thing I was worried about. Apologists often reject a parallel if it is not exactly what Jesus experienced. If its just a little bit different they tend to reject the whole thing.

"If you're not terrified, you're not paying attention." Eric Alterman
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KingDavid8
Skeptic Friend

USA
212 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  11:14:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit KingDavid8's Homepage Send KingDavid8 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by changingmyself
If david agrees, I would like to only leave this vote up for a two week time span. That means that on Friday June 3rd, the votes will be tallied.


I agree.
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KingDavid8
Skeptic Friend

USA
212 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  11:19:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit KingDavid8's Homepage Send KingDavid8 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by teched246
Excuse me kingdavid8, but it has already been explained to you that rebirth and resurrection are interchangeable in the case of osiris/horus.


Sorry, but I disagree that rebirth and resurrection are interchangable. But I'll leave the decision to the SFN members here. If you can convince them that they are, and they choose to vote in CM's favor, I won't argue with that choice.

Someone else brought up a similar problem for "baptism". Same goes. If an SFN member wants to vote that they're one and the same, I'll leave that to them.
Edited by - KingDavid8 on 05/20/2011 11:59:57
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KingDavid8
Skeptic Friend

USA
212 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  11:22:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit KingDavid8's Homepage Send KingDavid8 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by leoofnoYeah, this is the kind of thing I was worried about. Apologists often reject a parallel if it is not exactly what Jesus experienced. If its just a little bit different they tend to reject the whole thing.


As far as I'm concerned, it doesn't have to be EXACTLY what Jesus experienced, but the claim itself has to be true. For example, if you can show that Horus was crucified, but it wasn't between two thieves, then I would consider the parallel to be valid. But if you can't show that Horus was crucified (that is, affixed to a cross and left to die) at all, then I would not consider the parallel to be valid.
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KingDavid8
Skeptic Friend

USA
212 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  11:42:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit KingDavid8's Homepage Send KingDavid8 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Do keep in mind though, that I AM insisting on the standards of evidence I lay out in the OP. It must be the story itself (as long as it's generally believed to be pre-Christian), confirmation from a general mythology website or book (one without a bias on this issue, for example mythology.com, pantheon.org, mythweb.com), a university-level scholar or peer-reviewed journal, or the pre-Christian heiroglyphs CLEARLY showing these things. The SFN members can decide for themselves is what the source shows is "close enough", but the source still MUST be one of these things. I will not accept someone simply repeating the claims, unless that person is on staff at a university or is publishing it in a peer-reviewed journal.
Edited by - KingDavid8 on 05/20/2011 11:45:04
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KingDavid8
Skeptic Friend

USA
212 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  12:06:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit KingDavid8's Homepage Send KingDavid8 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And yet another thing. I've agreed not to respond to ChangingMyself's evidence, and I won't. I also have no problem with her friends like Teched joining on the conversation. But I do reserve the right to respond to anything Teched says. If he posts evidence, I can respond to HIS evidence. If he defends CM's evidence, I can respond to his defense of it. So if he wants evidence to come forward, I'd recommend he give it to CM and let her post it for herself, which is what I'd prefer he do anyways.
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teched246
Skeptic Friend

123 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  12:21:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send teched246 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by KingDavid8

And yet another thing. I've agreed not to respond to ChangingMyself's evidence, and I won't. I also have no problem with her friends like Teched joining on the conversation. But I do reserve the right to respond to anything Teched says. If he posts evidence, I can respond to HIS evidence. If he defends CM's evidence, I can respond to his defense of it. So if he wants evidence to come forward, I'd recommend he give it to CM and let her post it for herself, which is what I'd prefer he do anyways.


My evidence is her evidence as we are both collaborating on this. If you're confident enough in your stance to not respond to her, there ought to be no problems with my responses as well. The reason you want to make this soley between you and change, is because in the past I've highlighted the parallels in a manner to which you could only respond with fallacies. This could go alot smoother and quicker with two people providing the information, as it is quite a lot of information.

"For all things have been baptized in the well of eternity and are beyond good
and evil; and good and evil themselves are but intervening shadows and damp
depressions and drifting clouds.Verily, it is a blessing and not a blasphemy
when I teach: ‘Over all things stand the heaven Accident, the heaven
Innocence, the heaven Chance, the heaven Prankishness." -Nietzsche
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