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Merry Mithras

One from the archives

A big thanks to Rick B. for this clip from the BBC TWO show 'QI' hosted by Stephen Fry. Take a myth about the Roman God Mithras and change the name to Jesus and voila one could start their own religion. Here is some additional information on the myth's similarities to the Christian myth.

Quicktime Video 3.2 MB 2'44
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This file is available for download here.
Ctrl-Click and 'Download Linked File' (Mac)
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Although this is very funny, they're wrong about Mithras. It's not the first time I hear about this, Bill Maher once siad almost the same things. From what I know, but I'll be glad to see other infos, almost everything that is said, presented as facts , is false. And anyway, Mithraism is not a well known religion, many "facts" are suppositions from historians.

One true thing: they did eat bread and drink wine during their religious celebrations. They also sacrified animals, among other things. But many cults did the same thing I believe. Some think they celebrated the birth of Mithras on the 25th of december and the 16th of each month. But others say that's wrong: the celebration of the 25th of december was created by another religion, sol invictus, which was a mix between Mithraism and certain solar cults....

Anyway, all I wanna say is this: if you're an atheist (and I am) , and you want, in a way or another, to try to convince people that god desn't exist (which is not my case), then don't repeat strange stuff just because it sounds convenient. If you're wrong, then you're just like religious people, having imaginary facts in your head... And using them in a bad way...

Here I go dieing again.

don't repeat strange stuff just because it sounds convenient

The idea that the christian faith is an amalgom of other belief systems is neither strange nor wrong and only convenient because of its truth.

Like that german goddes oestra that turned a bird that laid colored eggs into a bunny.

The christ myth clearly has a variety of sources. The idea that the vatican is built on the temple of one of those sources seems pretty reasonable.

I don't know that this is really a case of trying to convince Believers to abandon their faith. We are often confronted with those that claim that holy books are the word of God and must be treated with the appropriate level of respect. Those that want a fair and reasonable debate, must be prepared to refute such absurd claims.


Love the video. The Wikipedia entry, however, seems to be at pains to debunk any similarity of Mithras to Christianity.

Yay, a direct download link! What a wonderful Christmas gift, Norm!

Also, it looks like that Mithras Wikipedia article has been heavily edited (there is no longer a "Similarities to Christianity" section) ... it probably isn't the best source to link to.

Norm, You soulless bastard -not that there's anything wrong with that.

It would seem that the Wiki article does not support the claim that Christianity was cobbled together upon the template of Mithraism.

It makes sense that I sun(son) god would be born directly after the winter solstice.

Religion is so very human. Plagiarism really is the primary source of all human writings. Some tricks you learn in highschool really do have real life applications. Even when creating a religion.

Great clip, but after some research, I had a hard time pinning down the virgin birth of Mithras. The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature indicates that Mithras was born from a rock in a cave, as does Cotterell's Encyclopedia of Mythology. Joseph Cambell mentions the cycle in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, but doesn't go into any detail. I think this may be one of those instances where not everything matches. But we don't need everything to fit in order to say that Christianity is derivative. Any reading of Campbell will indicate that it's obviously borrowing from other myths, thus, weakening Christianity's (or any religions) claims.

However, in the interest of honesty, we should probably refrain from citing a connection of Mithra to the virgin birth myth.


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