Jesus knowingly and deliberately emulated mythical heroes to bolster his credentials and spread his new religion!
The thing is there is a human narrative, i.e we are born, we live and we die and we are surrounded by a natural world that does the same. We do not need the Bible to tell us our greatest enemy is death; it is the enemy of the ego and love as both ego and love desire immortality for different reasons. Therefore any religion based on this narrative (and they are not going to be many based on another narrative) are therefore likely to have this central theme in common. Furthermore, ask yourself, what is that theme most likely to involve? Well obviously it is going to involve a hero overcoming death! Furthermore, as the observation of the natural world just reminds us of this life/death cycle then if you are going to draw parallels and use metaphors to explain such things, then those metaphors and symbols are obviously going to be metaphors of the natural world.
As soon as anyone spends 5 minutes of their life pondering this they will realize how stupid it is to claim an intended comparison with pagan ideas based on a dying and resurrecting man is anything other than coincidence - a coincidence virtually unavoidable
. I mean just try and imagine creating a religion with another narrative if you can (that does not use what is natural as metaphors) and that avoids dealing with the greatest enemy of the ego, which is death - you will find it is virtually impossible. So anyone claiming Jesus hijacked pagan ideas intentionally in the context of a man overcoming death is an idiot. The intentional comparisons with paganism are the ideas that God requires appeasing with a human sacrifice, animal sacrifice and possibly demons/Satan, all of which God intentionally mimics in order to subvert.
Let me explain, how I end is very important...
The differences between Christ and mythical pagan heroes is about as random as you would expect by chance after accepting the central narrative has to have some basic common similarities, i.e death is our enemy so can it be beaten etc? obviously to claim it can a man has to die and be resurrected in some form. Both ego and love desire immortality for different motives. The Emperors and kings are immortal because their ego is so massive no one can imagine anything else, while the meek and humble desire immortality if they experience love, as love wants to last forever. Without love we will not become immortal.
So really, Justin Martyr or this guy above claiming intentional similarities based on dying and resurrecting heroes are really missing the obvious, as I try and explain above.
It only becomes interesting from my point of view when the same motifs and symbols are used, but even then it is likely to be just coincidence.
For example, if you want to make the point about an important spiritual teaching being like spiritual food, then you are obviously going to use the most common source of natural food to make this point and the most common form is bread. So it is no good pagan scholars quoting me lost lists of the same motifs used in pagan mystery religions involving a dying and resurrecting god man unless they can prove to me the motifs used have the same symbolic meaning, which they cant.
It is for all these reasons I said Justin Martyrs idea that paganism mimicked the Divine narrative intentionally (albeit paganism came first) were not convincing examples (he lists many examples of the sons of Jupiter etc etc). He cites all the sons of the gods who became immortal (usually due to ego not love), but if he stopped for a moment and realised much of the above he would not have reached that conclusion.
Justin, it is almost too easy to just say Satan did it! Unless by satan you mean adversarial man, because when you ponder the chances of similarities based on what I have said above, it is almost a surprise the similarities are not stronger!
Now if Justin had said, as Freke and Gandy (pagan scholars) said that the similarities include a whole list of the same motifs/symbols as well as the idea of a dying and resurrecting man (not the idea of a dying and resurrecting man on its own), then it becomes slightly more interesting, but as already observed these motifs, like bread, are commonly understood by observation of the world and therefore likely to also be commonly applied, so it is still not reason enough to say Satan did it! In fact, for this to be nothing more than slight coincidence the common motifs used, bread, wheat, night, day, sun, moon, sword, shield etc etc would not just have be used in pagan mystery religions, but have the same spiritual meaning as their use in the Bible. Only then could it be said that Christianity was based on pagan ideas and when you grasp that fact you suddenly realise that God therefore accuses us in in the book of Revelation of paganism, not because of the similarities of a dying and resurrecting man, not even by the similarities of motifs used (but by the appropriation of those motifs only). In other words reading the Bible literally, or misunderstanding the metaphors and motifs is how we make the Christian narrative like paganism.
Did you get that? It is ALL down to how we apply those common motifs. To claim as Justin Martyr does that sons of gods who die and become immortal is intentionally mimicking the Divine plan ignores all I say above about unavoidable coincidence in the human narrative, but then to go one step further and claim not only this, but that the pagan mystery religions used many of the same common motifs as proof of this, is still missing the point as it is ONLY the appropriation of those motifs (what we call Bible symbolism) that if identical also would prove their point and this is where the real Word of God stands alone.
For example, the Egyptians would bury their kings with honey as honey symbolises purity to the Egyptians (according to what pagan scholars tell me), which is perhaps why God chose not to use honey as a primary symbol in the Bible in this regard? (Although far more likely that honey was just found in Tutankhamen’s tomb, not because it had this symbolic meaning as some claim, but just because the Pharaoh liked honey) and this pagan scholars we reinterpreting Egyptian beliefs in the light of his own knowledge of the Christian narrative in order to draw a spiritual comparison and sell lots of books.
Ok, so let me be perfectly clear here...
1. What makes Christianity a form of paganism in Gods eyes (is the misappropriation of Bible motifs/symbolism) or not recognising it exists at all (i.e literalism).
The most obvious example of this is the Catholic mass and the story in the Bible it is based on, read literally it is intentionally mimicking the worst aspects of monstrous beastly paganism
, i.e Jesus must be our human sacrifice to appease God and we must eat his body and drink his blood. Can you not see this is a lesson in the exact context I explain it? That is why Jesus then says "does this offend you". What Jesus is saying here is, 'come on guys, wakey wakey I am intentionally mimicking pagan ideas in order then transfer the meaning by metaphor to make it mean what God wants to say - and I am doing this to teach you this is how God wrote the Bible', it is why, for example, God continues with the pagan idea of blood appeasement and animal sacrifice but intentionally hijacks these pagan ideas in order to subvert them by means of metaphor and allegory, in which the meaning is completely transferred.
2. God hijacks paganism in order to subvert it, can you imagine how stupid we must look to God that we cannot grasp this simple but blindingly obvious fact? and then cannot simply understand that this therefore means reading the Bible literally or misappropriating the metaphors used is how we manifest paganism in our beliefs. It is because the RCC think God wants us to literally eat Christs body their Mass is pagan, I am sometimes surprised they are not still literally sacrificing animals. So remember this, the next time a Christadelphian says (as I have seen many times) that "God requires the shedding of blood", that unless they immediately explain the metaphoric meaning, i.e God requires we make a life sacrifice, our life and sacrifice our own animal nature then they are just spouting paganism. Do you know my Christadelphian teacher said to me, God requires the shedding of blood. He may as well have said God requires cannibalism. Nothing is more pagan or more of an abomination to God than reading the Bible literally when the whole point is God is hijacking pagan concepts in the literal sense to subvert them in the metaphoric. No one should even be allowed to read a Bible, never mind teach what is in it until they fully grasp that.
Now someone needs to take what I have said above and run with it, fatten it out with dozens of Bible examples, because it is not wrong.
In a recent exhortation I got this right: I said that Mark, specifically, borrowed elements of a "heroic" narrative style for his gospel, but then (purposely) "betrayed" the readers by having the hero die a criminal's death, and then denying the readers any triumphal climax by ending on an ambiguous note with confused women at an empty tomb.
In other words, exactly what I am saying...
God [sometimes] hijacks paganism in order to subvert it, can you imagine how stupid we must look to God that we cannot grasp this simple but blindingly obvious fact?