Someone who is not a Christian brought to my attention Bill Maher’s film Religulous. This is a rehashing of a story we have all heard before, that the story of Jesus is a fake, based on Egyptian god Horus. Having heard those claims before (and written a paper on the subject during my university days,) I was ready with my answer.
As a background, Horus is one of the oldest recorded deities in the ancient Egyptian religion. He is most often depicted as a falcon or a man with a falcon head. The ancient Egyptians believed that the reigning pharaoh was a manifestation of Horus.
You’ve probably heard the parallel stories:
- conceived by a virgin named Meri and had a stepfather named Seb (Joseph)
- born in a cave on December 25 and his birth was announced by an angel, heralded by a star and shepherds
- attended a special rite of passage at the age of twelve
- at 30 years of age, was baptized in a river (his baptizer was later beheaded)
- had 12 disciples, performed miracles, exorcized demons, raised someone from the dead, and even walked on water
- called “Iusa” and delivered a “Sermon on the Mount”, was transfigured on a mount, crucified between two thieves, buried for three days and rose from the dead
- called The Way the Truth the Light, Son of Man, Lamb of God, Good Shepherd, Word made Flesh, Messiah, The KRST
- symbolized by a Lamb and Lion
- came to fulfill the Law and reign one thousand years
Let’s examine the claims, one by one:
Horus was conceived by a virgin mother named Meri, and had a stepfather named Seb (Joseph)
According to Egyptian mythology, Isis — not Meri– was the name given to the mother of Horus. Further to the story, Isis lost her virginity when Horus was conceived. Seb was the “earth god”, not Horus’ earthly father. Furthermore, Seb doesn’t translate to Joseph.
Horus was born in a cave on December 25, his birth announced by an angel, heralded by a star and shepherds
According to mythology, Horus was born in a swamp. His birth was not heralded by an angel, star nor shepherds. Like Jesus, his birthday is disputable, with some Egyptologists saying it was around the winter solstice while others claim it was in late November.
Horus attended a special rite of passage at the age of 12
Obviously an insinuation that he taught in a temple? There is no narrative to support this claim.
Horus was baptized in a river at the age of 30 by Anup the Baptizer, and his baptizer was later beheaded
Horus was never baptized, although the reference might be to a ritual cleansing by a Parorah. There is no such person as Anup the Baptizer in Horus’ story.
Horus had 12 disciples
Horus had only four followers, although there is also reference to sixteen followers and a group of unnumbered followers who join Horus in battle.
Horus performed miracles, exorcized demons, raised from the dead, and walked on water
Egyptian mythology is full of stories of gods who performed miracles and Horus was no exception. None of these stories Horus mention exorcizing demons, raising people from the dead or walking on water.
Horus was called “Iusa”
The word “Iusa” does not exist.
Horus delivered a “Sermon on the Mount”, and his followers recounted his sayings. He was transfigured on the mount
Both missing from all narratives and mythologies.
Horus was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and was resurrected
According to the majority of Egyptian narratives, Horus did not die at all. Instead, Horus is usually described as eventually merging with Re (the Sun god) after which he “dies” and is “reborn” every day as the sun rises. He did however, die as a child and was brought back to life because his grieving mother went to the animal-headed god of magic.
Crucifixion was a Roman form of capital punishment and the first historical record of crucifixion was about 519 BC, thousands of years after Horus was established in Egyptian mythological accounts. Perhaps those who developed this theory got the idea from how he was often depicted with his arms outstretched.
Horus was called The Way the Truth the Light, Son of Man, Lamb of God, Good Shepherd, Word made Flesh, Messiah, The KRST
None of these titles are in Egyptian history, but Horus is called Great God, and Avenger of His Father, and Son of Isis. The reference to “the Krst” was an attempt to create a parallel between Horus and Christ. However, this word in Egyptian means “burial.”
Horus was symbolized by a Lamb and Lion
There is no evidence of this association in any ancient history.
Horus came to fulfill the Law, and was supposed to reign one thousand years
There was no Egyptian “law” for Horus to fulfill, and there is no mention of a thousand year reign in any of the ancient Egyptian mythologies.