If you search the web for similarities between Jesus and pagan deities, you will be met with countless results presenting the same erroneous
material which provide no original religious sources to validate their claims. However, if you search the religious texts of the figures in question
you will be presented with straightforward information that reveals the claim that the story of Jesus was stolen from pagan myths to be utterly
false. For the reader's convenience, I supply links throughout this discussion to the original religious texts so you can see for yourself that the
"Pagan Copycat Theory" has been completely fabricated.
Skeptic Interjection: But these figures existed before the alleged life of Jesus. Chronology alone makes this entire discussion pointless.
Answer: An important fact to keep in mind while reading this section is the approximate 300 detailed Messianic prophecies regarding the life,
death, and ministry of Jesus in the Old Testament. The prophecies span approximately 450 to 1,500 years before His birth. The accusation of
Christians plagiarizing the accounts of other figures in the first century ignores the fact that concepts such as the virgin birth, the resurrection,
and a Father-Son, relationship precede most figures in this article.
Also, many of the religious texts containing the figures and the alleged similarities claimed by critics postdate the completion of the Christian
Bible. Most religious texts concerning these figures were added to over the centuries, with aspects of their lives becoming more spectacular
and suspiciously similar to Christianity. An important difference between Jesus and the other figures in this article is the existence of verifiable
facts surrounding Jesus' life: we know the approximate year of His birth and death, numerous records exist which verify His existence,
accurate historical events that occurred around His lifetime are mentioned in the Christian texts, and we can trace the origins of the
Judeo-Christian beliefs. Most other figures in question have no documented point of origin and mention no dates or approximate dates as to
when the alleged events occurred.
Regardless, since we will show the copycat claims to be false, the argument of who came first shows itself to be irrelevant.
Skeptic Interjection: How does the mention of historical events prove the accuracy of the Bible? Many authors of fiction incorporate real
people or places into their works to give the plot a feeling of reality. How is the Bible different?
Answer: Historical accuracy alone is not proof of the Bible's inerrancy but it does attest to it's reliability. If the Bible only mentioned
spurious locations and people like many of the pagan texts do, it would certainly detract from it's authenticity.
I want you to keep the following things in mind the next time you are presented with the pagan copycat theory. Ask yourself the following
logic-based questions and you will see that most claims instantly crumble.
TERMINOLOGY One thing to look out for when presented with copycat claims is the use of Judeo-Christian terminology. There have been
many religions throughout history whose members participated in ritual baths but it was not baptism. Political and religious groups may have
celebrated a communal meal but it was not a Eucharist. Followers may consider their god a savior of some sort but they are not called
Messiah. Religions may speak of an afterlife but they do not consist of places known as Heaven and Hell. Critics may use such terms to make
their connections seem stronger but this is a misuse of terminology as these words are usually of Judeo-Christian origins.
TIMING When presented with comparative evidence, ask yourself:
1) Did the figure precede the Old Testament Messianic Prophecies? (most do not)
2) Does the timing of the evidence precede Christianity? (many religious texts and reliefs post-date Christianity)
3) Does the figure precede the life of Jesus? (figures like Apollonius of Tyana do not)
LOCATION If critics claim a figure from South America, for example, (like Quetzalcoatl) influenced Christianity, this is an obvious false claim if
we can believe the Americas had not yet been discovered.
SYMBOLISM Ask yourself what the symbolism is behind such parallels. Like most religious and political groups of antiquity, a sect might have
celebrated a communal meal but it did not hold the same significance of the Christian Eucharist. Members might consider their deity a savior
but they did not consider the figure a savior from sin and damnation, etc.
SOURCES See whether or not the claims actually come from the sacred texts of the religion in question (most hardly ever do). Most
references simply quote secondary sources by authors of the same ilk. When they do cite a religious source, most critics will not the specify
the book, volume, or verse number yet they readily quote exactly where the "copy" can be found in the Christian Bible. Ask for specific
references as to where the evidence can be found in the actual religious texts. Lastly, as we will see throughout this discussion, most
religious texts do not have an official cannon like the Christian Bible. Their texts have been admittedly altered and added to over the centuries.
When critics cite a source from another text, ask yourself whether or not this evidence is found in a text that predates Christianity (most do
In Hinduism, Krishna is believed to be the eighth avatar of Vishnu, the second aspect of the Hindu trinity. Almost every correlation between
Krishna and Jesus can be traced to Kersey Graves, a 19th century author who believed Christianity was created from pagan myths. Though his
works have been proven by scholars to be false and poorly researched (Source), many still ignorantly refer to his arguments not knowing they
are easily disproved by simply comparing the Bible to the Hindu texts.
THE DEFINITION OF KRISHNA Although many critics allege Krishna means Christ, Krishna in Sanskrit actually translates as Black (One) as
Krishna was believed to have blackish-blue skin. The word Christ literally translates as Anointed One. When skeptics, in turn, spell Krishna as
Chrishna or Christna, this is a blatant attempt to spread more misinformation and reinforce their erroneous theories.
A VIRGIN BIRTH A virgin birth is never attributed to Krishna as his parents bore seven previous children. Furthermore, the virgin birth was
not a new concept invented by Christians. The book of Isaiah (written about 700 B.C.) spoke of a Messiah who would be born of a virgin. This
prophecy was in circulation 700 years before Jesus and at least 100 years before Krishna. (Isaiah 7:14) Critics claim Krishna was born to the
virgin Maia but according to Hindu texts, he was the eighth son of Princess Devaki and her husband Vasudeva: "You have been born of the
divine Devaki and Vasudeva for the protection of Brahma on earth." Mahabharata Bk 12, XLVIII
INFANT MASSACRE Critics claim a tyrannical ruler issued a decree to kill all infant males prior to Krishna's birth but the Hindu legend states
Devaki's six previous children were murdered by her cousin, King Kamsa, due to a prophecy foretelling his death at the hands of one of her
children. Unlike Herod who issued a decree to slaughter all the males under two years old, the Hindu version tells us Kamsa only targeted
Devaki's sons. He never issued a decree to indiscriminately kill male infants: "Thus the six sons were born to Devaki and Kamsa, too, killed
those six sons consecutively as they were born." Bhagavata, Bk 4, XXII:7
PARENTS FLEE Critics claim while Krishna's parents fled to Mathura to avoid Kamsa, Jesus' parents fled to Muturea to avoid Herod. But the
Bible tells us Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt- not to some unknown place called Muturea. Furthermore, the Hindu texts tell us Krishna's parents
never had a chance to flee- they were imprisoned by Kamsa so he could kill Krishna once he was born: What faults had [Vasudeva] and his
wife Devaki committed? Why did Kamsa kill the six infant sons of Devaki? And for what reason did [Vishnu] incarnate Himself as the son of
Vasudeva in the prison house of Kamsa? Bhagavata, Bk 4, I:4-5 and Source
SHEPHERDS, WISEMEN, A STAR, AND A MANGER No mention of shepherds or wisemen appear at Krishna's birth. Krishna was born in a
prison (not a stable as critics suggest) where his parents bore him in secret. It is unlikely such visitors would arrive only to alert Kamsa to
CARPENTER FATHERS Like Jesus' earthly father, Krishna's father was also said to be a carpenter. Yet nowhere in the Hindu texts does it say
Vasudeva was a carpenter. In fact, we are told he was a nobleman in the courts of Mathura as he was married to Princess Devaki. When
Krishna fled the wrath of Kamsa with his foster parents, we are told his foster-father Nanda was a cow-herd: "Thou art the most beloved of
Nanda, the Cow-herd" Bhagavata, Bk 8, I, pg 743
THE CRUCIFIXION Though critics claim Krishna was crucified, this is mentioned nowhere within the Hindu texts. Instead, we are told exactly
how he dies: Krishna is mediating in the woods when he is accidentally shot in the foot by a hunter's arrow. Skeptics really try to streeetch
this one by claiming the arrow that shot Krishna impaled him to a tree, thus crucifying him. They also point out the similarity between his
wound being in the foot and Jesus' pierced hands and feet. However, if I was carving my initials into a tree and accidentally impaled my wrist,
the idea of saying I was crucified would be absurd. This story relates more to the death of Greek mythology's Achilles than anything else: "A
fierce hunter of the name of Jara then came there, desirous of deer. The hunter, mistaking [Krishna], who was stretched on the earth in high
Yoga, for a deer, pierced him at the heel with a shaft and quickly came to that spot for capturing his prey." Mahabharata, Book 16, 4
THE RESURRECTION Although critics claim Krishna descended into the grave for three days and appeared to many witnesses, no evidence of
this exists whatsoever. Instead, the actual account says Krishna immediately returns to life and speaks only to the hunter by forgiving him of
his actions: "He [the hunter] touched the feet of [Krishna]. The high-souled one comforted him and then ascended upwards, filling the entire
welkin with splendour... [Krishna] reached his own inconceivable region." Mahabharata, Book 16, 4 Some obvious differences between the
resurrections of Jesus and Krishna are as follows:
- Jesus' resurrection defeated the power of sin and death. Krishna's resurrection had no real affect on mankind.
- Jesus appeared to approximately 500 eye witnesses in the New Testament. Krishna appeared only to the hunter.
- Jesus rose from the dead three days later. Krishna immediately returned to life.
- Jesus did not ascend into Heaven until after the Great Commission. Krishna immediately "ascended" into the afterlife.
- Jesus was aware of what was to take place. Krishna had no foreknowledge concerning his death.
- Jesus ascended into a physical realm (Heaven). Krishna transcended into a mental state (or inconceivable region). The concepts
between Heaven (Christianity) and Nirvana (Hinduism) differ greatly.
THE LAST SUPPER Krishna is said to have celebrated a last supper but two reasons offer evidence this event never occurred:
- There is no mention of Krishna having a last supper celebration in any of the Hindu texts.
- Because Krishna had no foreknowledge of his death, there is no reason he would have celebrated such an event!
DEPICTED AS BRUISING THE SERPENT'S HEAD Genesis 3:15 is a metaphorical Messianic prophecy which refers to Jesus' spiritual
battle with Satan. Though critics claim Krishna was also referred to as the seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head, this phrase is never
used as a reference to Krishna. The only thing that occurs is a literal battle Krishna encounters with actual serpents. Mahabharata, Bk 7,
LXXXI and Mahabharata Book 8, XC
MISCELLANEOUS POSSIBLE REFERENCES
- Krishna was the human incarnation of Vishnu. This appears to be somewhat accurate but the actual Hindu triad consists of Vishnu,
Shiva, and Brahma. Not Vishnu, Krishna, and a spirit deity.
- Krishna was of royal birth. (While Krishna was directly born into the noble court of Mathura, Jesus was from the royal Davidian line
but born into poverty under the parentage of Mary and Joseph.)
- Krishna was seen as a Savior. (While Jesus was an eternal-spiritual savior who saved His people from damnation, Krishna was an
earthly-warrior savior who freed his people from the tyrannical reign of Kamsa).
- Krishna often fasted in the wilderness. The only possible reference I could find to any such thing was that he often retreated into the
forest to meditate.
MISCELLANEOUS ERRONEOUS REFERENCES
- Krishna was born in a cave. Actually, neither Jesus nor Krishna were born in caves. Krishna was born in a prison cell and the only
reference to Jesus being born in a cave is in noncanonical writings.
- Krishna lived a sinless life. Whereas the Bible makes it clear Jesus committed no sin during His lifetime, The Hindu texts admit to
Krishna's promiscuity and numerous sexual affairs.
- Krishna was born on December 25th. Actually, Krishna's birthday celebration, known as the Krishna Janmaashtami, is celebrated in the
Hindu month of Bhadrapadha which corresponds to the month of August. Furthermore, it is unlikely Jesus was born on this date.
Christmas is only celebrated on this date due to tradition.
- Krishna moved a small mountain to protect a village from disaster. Jesus states if you had faith as a mustard seed you would say to the
mountain uproot yourself and be cast into the ocean. Other than the concept of moving mountains, anyone can see that these two
statements have nothing essential in common. One describes a physical feat while the other uses moving a mountain as a metaphor
to the power of faith.
CONCLUSION The Hindu texts have admittedly been altered and added to over the centuries. Many comparisons of the newer and older texts
regarding the story of Krishna reveal many tales being added in later texts known as the Puranas (400-1000 A.D.), Bhagavata (400-1000 A.
D.), and the Harivamsa, (100-1000 A.D.). These texts have been proven by scholars to have been written after the life of Jesus.
Skeptical Interjection: According to Hindu tradition, the Bhagavata Purana is believed to have been written by Vyasa in about 3100 BC. It
mentions the Vedic Sarasvati River about 30 times which was believed to be dried up around 2000 B.C.
Answer: This is often cited as an argument for an earlier date of the Bhagavata. However it does not hold up for many reasons. The fact that
the Bhagavata Purana mentions the non-extant Vedic Sarasvati River is no more proof of an early date of authorship than it would prove an
ancient date of authorship if I were to write a novel centering around the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The mention of the ancient river proves
nothing more than the knowledge of its historical existence. There is also no record of any of these texts existing prior to the first century A.D.
Even when the older Hindu texts were in circulation, the books regarding many details about Krishna's life were not included. Finally, the
language and grammar of the Bhagavata Purana is not consistent with the more ancient languages of India.
Gautama is believed to have lived between 563 - 483 B.C. Gautama was born into the warrior class under the caste system of India and later
achieved enlightenment to become the Buddha (or enlightened one) and founder of Buddhism. Like Zoroaster (below), very little was written
about him during his lifetime, with the accounts becoming more incredible over time.
VIRGIN BIRTH Gautama was born to Suddhodana and his wife of twenty years, Maya. Though critics claim Maya was a virgin, we must
assume she was not as she was the king's favorite wife. Also, The Acts of the Buddha acknowledges Maya and Suddhodana as having sexual
relations (the two tasted of love's delight...), though I feel it is fair to point out most English translations do not contain this statement. A
detailed account of Gautama's birth may be found here. Though Maya is portrayed as being virtuous and pure-minded, a virgin conception is
never mentioned regarding the birth of the Buddha. At the very most, it was a womb transference as in the story of Krishna:
The most Excellent of all Bodhisattvas fell directly from his place among the residents of Tushita heaven, and streaking through the three
worlds, suddenly took the form of a huge six-tusked elephant as white as Himalaya, and entered Maya's womb. Buddha Karita 1:18
Skeptic Interjection: Does the resemblance between the names Maya and Mary hold any significance?
Answer: Though similar in their English translations, their original forms and translations are completely different. Maya, from Sanskrit, means
Illusion whereas Mary (Maryam) translates from Hebrew as Bitter.
WISEMEN I could find no mention of wisemen in any Buddhist text but I did find the following in Post-Chrisitan writings:
Version 1: An ascetic (not wisemen) visits the king to relay the information he received from the gods that his child will become a great
religious leader. After hearing this, Brahmans (not wisemen) decide to dedicate their sons depending on the outcome of the prophecy.
"A son has been born in the family of Suddhodana the king. Thirty-five years from now he will become a Buddha...Whether the young prince
become a Buddha or a king, we will each one give a son: so that if he become a Buddha, he shall be followed and surrounded by monks of the
warrior caste; and if he become a king, by nobles of the warrior caste." Jataka I:55,57
Version 2: At Gautama's birth, a seer (not wisemen) tells Suddhodana that Gautama will become a great religious leader:
"The great seer came to the palace of the king. 'Thy son has been born for the sake of supreme knowledge. Having forsaken his kingdom,
indifferent to all worldly objects, he will shine forth as a sun of knowledge to destroy the darkness in the world.'" Buddha-Karita 1:54,62,74
PRESENTED WITH GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MYRRH Again, I find no mention of such an occurrence except for a far-fetched
correlation in a Post-Christian writing. We are told the gods (not wisemen) presented Gautama with sandalwood, rain, water lilies, and lotus
flowers (Buddhist symbols). This should come as no surprise as royal births are often celebrated with festivals and gifts!
"As soon as he was born the thousand-eyed one took him gently, bright like a golden pillar. Two pure streams of water fell from heaven upon
his head with piles of Mandara flowers. The yaksha-lords stood round guarding him with golden lotuses in their hands. The great dragons
gazed with eyes of intent devotion, and fanned him and strewed Mandara flowers over him. And from a cloudless sky there fell a shower full of
lotuses and water-lilies, and perfumed with sandalwood." Buddha Karita 1:27,36,38,40
GUIDED BY A STAR There is no mention of a celestial sign but I did find far-fetched similarities in Post-Christian texts:
Version 1: The Brahmans look for signs of the Buddha on Gautama to determine if he will be a king or religious leader. The signs do not imply
celestial omens but physical markings a Buddha would have:
"They asked [the Brahmans] to observe the marks and characteristics of the Future Buddha's person, and to prophesy his fortune. If a man
possessing such marks and characteristics continue in the household life, he becomes a Universal Monarch. If he retire from the world, he
becomes a Buddha." Jataka 1:56
Version 2: Though the gods sent miraculous signs through nature, the appearance of a star is never said to have guided the prophet.
However, we are told precisely what the signs are:
"Two streams of water bursting from heaven, bright as the moon's rays, having the power of heat and cold, fell down upon that peerless one's
benign head to give refreshment to his body... The gods held up a white umbrella in the sky and muttered the highest blessings on his
supreme wisdom... Then having learned by signs and through the power of his penances this birth of him who was to destroy all birth, the
great seer Asita came to the palace of the king. Thus the great seer beheld the king's son with wonder, his foot marked with a wheel, his
fingers and toes webbed, with a circle of hair between his eyebrows, and signs of vigour like an elephant." Buddha Karita 1:35,37,5465
DECEMBER 25TH Gautama's birth is actually celebrated in the spring month of Vesak by his followers (though we have already shown this
date to be insignificant for Jesus).
ATTEMPT ON HIS LIFE BY AN EVIL KING There is no mention of an attempt on Gautama's life. The only thing we are told is his kingly father
tries to persuade him away from a life of religious servitude by attempting to entice him with royal privileges. When the prophet tells the king
his son will see four signs leading to his religious calling, the king orders guards to surround the child to prevent such an event. Source