Go read this list by Edwin Kagin of all the gods that predated Jesus that appear to have characteristics just like Jesus. And before you write it off as bunk, go read the earliest church leaders’ writings from Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian and even modern-day C.S. Lewis. They have come up with convoluted “apologies” that these stories were invented and placed into human history from the devil to confuse people. The term given to this phenomenon is “diabolical mimicry” or “plagiarism by anticipation.”
I’ve been studying this phenomenon since college. In History 101, I wrote a paper on Zoroastrianism. It was the first I had heard of stories that predated Jesus, but seemed to use much of the same ideas and terminology that I used at church. At the time, I was confused. I had never heard of such stories.
I remember approaching my professor, Dr. Forstchen after class. I said, “Hey Dr. Forstchen, can you recommend a topic for the paper due next week.”
He scratched his chin, and took a drag on his cigarette. “Have you ever heard of Zoroaster?”
“No,” I said.
“Write it on Zoroaster. Here’s how you spell it Z-O-R …”
It is what it is. Once I stopped believing in the “devil”, diabolical mimicry could be thought of as just another ploy to sell people the invisible. It’s weird. I stopped believing in the devil in high school. My then girlfriend’s mom and I were talking one day. She was cooking and I was standing there talking god talk, and she says to me, “I don’t believe in the devil.” I was completely dumbstruck. I never heard anyone — not one person — say they didn’t believe in the devil. After poking around in literature and the library, I discovered the devil wasn’t all that explicitly described in the bible. I mean, a character exists, but it’s vague and nonsensical. At least to my little mind back then. His reign of terror is all extra-biblical. We have an idea of “him” from oral tradition and from literature. He’s a figment of the bible’s imagination.
But I digress. Back to the demonic plagiarism.
Diabolical mimicry has oozed its ugly head into other forms of Christian thought too. People really think that the “devil” buried the bones of dinosaurs to confuse Christians with evil evolution.
By the way, in case you’ve never seen the usage of “B.C.E” or “C.E.”, it’s how academics refer to B.C. and A.D. It stands for “Before the Common Era” and “Christ Everlasting.”