In regards to famous “Zeitgeist” video that has been used to debunk Christianity…and, in turn, Christians have been able to use some of these falsehoods to try and disprove “all paganism” Zeitgeist getting a few things wrong doesn’t take away from other similarities or the similarities that are true. In this post, I will address two of the many Gods that Zeitgeist mentions and compares to Christ.
1. Dionysus was born of a virgin on December 25th
2. He was a traveling teacher who performs miracles
3. He was called “holy child” and placed in a manger
4. He turned water into wine
5.Was known as God of the Vine
6. He rode in the triumphant procession on a donkey
7. He was a king that was ritually killed and eaten in a Eucharistic ritual
8. He rose from the dead on March 25th
9. He was depicted as being hung on a tree crucified
10. He was called King of Kings, God of Gods, God’s begotten son, savior, redeemer, anointed one, and the Alpha and Omega
11.Has the same trial is Jesus
1. Born on the 25th is irrelevant as even Jesus wasn’t born then. It was an established date to synch a lot of different religious practices around the solstices at that time. He also wasn’t born of a virgin, but it was a divine birth. His father was Zeus and his mother was Semele. The “virgin” thing is primarily a Christian concept to make it seem like their God didn’t have relations with Mary. God (Sky father figure) having relations with a human/mortal is very common in Indo-European Faiths. Hera targeting Dionysus and Zeus saving him (by sewing his body / remains to his leg until he was reborn….kind of like being rejoined to God…which is similar to Christ) is similar in many aspects to Heracles. Both are heroic savior figures (literally rescuing and aiding people) that predate Jesus. The divine savior being sacrificed and reborn or coming again is an Indo-European concept not particularly a Christian one. Virgin births aren’t uncommon for leaders of Rome when you take for example that Romulus and Remus were virgin births.
2. Him being a wondering teacher is a universal truth primarily for Indo-European and Aryan faiths. Many of which were well established before Christianity and could have been seen as competing faiths during the rise of the Christian cult.
3. Facts regarding his being born in a manger are indeed false. But the manger concept in Christianity is just a political ploy to cuck Zoroastrianism and Mithraism by making Magi bow to another god. This is another way to have control by merging other similar concepts under your new concept. Any miraculously born Child or Demi-God could be called a “Holy Chile”. This applies to the Buddha as well as many Indo-European figures. Therefore Irrelevant.
4~5. Yes, Dionysus is considered the God of the vine and the God of wine. Turning water into wine is referenced here. https://tinyurl.com/y88p8pmy. He and his Roman equivalent Bacchus are worshiped as Gods of the winery and wine.
6. Yes, riding a horse is a way to symbolize a king or general returning victoriously to the people. If the bible is taken a myth then it follows this concept primarily as a device to meet that motif. I personally couldn’t find any references myself to Dionysus riding a horse. Though riding a Panther in various paintings. Paintings of Bacchus have depicted being drawn in on a horse. Both with a hero’s victorious return style procession. Technically these Gods are the same. This is known often as The Triumph of Bacchus.
7~8. He did rise from the dead. Most of his ascension into heaven is something focused on by Orphism and Mystery religions. No, the crucifixion on a tree appears to be a fabrication. Though he is obviously sacrificial as being sacrificed by Hera in this aspect. Though being the God of wine, an offering of wine to him, similar to the Eucharistic and many other offering rituals, wouldn’t be uncommon.
9. “His rebirth is the primary reason for the worship of Dionysus in several mystery religions. Variants of the narrative are found in Callimachus and Nonnus, who refer to this Dionysus with the title Zagreus, and also in several fragmentary poems attributed to Orpheus.” –Wikipedia. The Title of Zagreus is one that denotes the highest God or the Most high. Dates on these are after Christ at around 200-300 CE. But also around the time of the council of Nicaea 325. Meaning both could have been competing conceptually and doesn’t give any credence to Christianity either. The other titles are not apparent in reference.
10. Truth Dionysus trial is something more akin to Heracles trials in proving himself as divine per The Bacchae. A better argument would be the comparison to Jesus’ trial and the Buddha’s which is almost identical.
Zeitgeist claims regarding Mithras
1. Mithras was born of a virgin on December 25th
2. Mithras was a traveling teacher and performed miracles
3. He had 12 disciples
4. He sacrificed himself for World Peace
5.Was buried in a tomb and resurrected three days later on Easter morning
6. His followers were promised immortality
7. He was called me Good Shepherd, Savior, Redeemer, The Way, The Truth, and The Light
8. His holy day was Sunday and his followers partook in the Lord’s supper every week
Mithras is an Indo Aryan / Vedic deity. Studies have shown that Mithra, Mithras, Mitra, are all referenced from the same deity and predate Christianity, as does the cult established in the west. Mithras / Mitra being a solar deity is also more akin to how Christianity took to the Sol Invictus concept which ended up lumping a lot of various faiths together, all of the Solar deities of various faiths in the area.
1. Mithras was born of a rock. Can this be seen a virgin birth as per the Christian definition? No that is a stretch. But it is obviously a divine birth. Being born from a rock is more akin to the primordial egg or cosmic egg idea. Mithra being worship on the 25th during the solstice is a common concept even in Zoroastrians who worship Mithra. Being a Solar deity this can be inferred as the birth of the sun as is paralleled in many solar faiths. In truth this allies with Sol Invictus. Celebrated on Natalis Invicti which is the 25th of December.
2. Mithraeum paintings do depict Mithras traveling, teaching and blessing people. This includes farming and livestock.
3. Mithras having 12 disciples is the 12 signs of the Zodiac. If Mithras is the sun then the 12 signs of the Zodiac would move with him. However, 12 primary Gods in a pantheon is a very common motif in many religions. So, in this, the myth of Jesus would be considered just following suit/par for the course.
4. As far as I can see there is no evidence of Mithras dying. Except that he represents the sun. The sun dying during winter and being reborn as spring approaches a pan Indo-European / Solar cultural concept. Mithras slaying the bull some may consider savior like. However, it is more akin to the creation of the world in many beliefs (Slaying of Ymir, Cronus, etc). Though it is an act of blood sacrifice which is exactly what Jesus represents. Also slaying the bull has been theorized to be the slaying of the Era of Taurus which would represent the coming of a new Zodiac (for the time) which would be similar to what many theologians have said regarding Christ and fish imagery.
5. Mithras wasn’t buried in a tomb. This may be a reference to his worshippers gathering in a tomb-like cave. A resurrection of the Sun after the Solstice is, as stated previously, a common motif. Nothing particularly in this address Mithras himself.
6. Not exactly. Enlightenment is what all Indo-European Solar deities, teachers and sky figures promise. If you apply these to a better rebirth (reincarnation) or an improved standing with the Gods (better afterlife) then technically this is no different than Christianity of which claims of immortality don’t really apply as one still dies and transverse to another state of being.
7. Most of these don’t apply but are basically concepts regarding the sun. However, he was called the Savior in the recital of a catechism found in Egypt. The depictions in the Mithraeum will also make it easy to infer that he was a savior figure bringing aid to the people. Primarily being worshiped by the military it could be inferred that he would be looked to for guidance and protection.
8. Yes according to this book, Antonía Tripolitis (2002). Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman age. He was worshiped on Sunday and was prayed to three times a day. While I cannot vouch for this validity, worshiping a solar deity on the day of the sun makes sense. Worshiping the Hebrew Gods or his incarnation (Jesus) on any other day than the Sabbath (Saturday) seems off. Which points to this being a possible influence for Christians. Studies have shown that those who gathered in the Shrines to Mithras did have a ritual meal together. However, having a meal at a gathering, even a religious one, was common during that time in Rome.
Regardless no myth or spirituality will match up exactly.
However, this does go to show that there are a lot of mythic motifs that were in religions of the time, especially Indo-European ones, of which predate Christianity or were being practiced during the official creation of Christianity.
In my personal belief, Christ isn’t original. Instead, whatever might have been associable with a historical figure is dwarfed by Romanized religion. The church that was established mixed many elements from European Paganism and, as it spread, folk religions. I will present the question to any Pagans reading. Are there not some representations of perennial truth and paganism that is found within the Christianity that can be respected or reclaimed? I challenge you to find what is hidden Paganism within Christianity and reclaim it. That doesn’t mean converting, or expecting them to not still consider you to be in cahoots with “Satan” but to understand where their faith came from and that yours never truly “died” as they say it did. For any Christians that may be reading, I challenge you to analyze the concepts within your own religion and realize how much of it is actually Indo-European Paganism and folk religion.
Hammer and Vajra!