Is Jesus a knockoff of the Egyptian god Horus?

by Jimmy Akin

in +Religion, Apologetics, Bible, Other Religions

Horus, Bill Maher, and Gerald Massey

My buddy Jon Sorensen is out visiting this weekend, so he’s not around to stop me from posting the beginning of his awesome article on how Jesus is not a knockoff of the Egyptian god Horus. (Take that, Bill Maher!)

Here goes . . .


Horus Manure: Debunking the Jesus/Horus Connection

This article was published in the Nov-Dec 2012 issue of Catholic Answers Magazine.

Many atheists, neo-pagans, and other disbelievers of Christianity claim the story of Jesus Christ was borrowed from earlier mythologies. In recent years, a claim has been making the rounds that Jesus is based on the Egyptian god, Horus.

Who was Horus?
Horus is one of the oldest recorded deities in the ancient Egyptian religion. Often depicted as a falcon or a man with a falcon head, Horus was believed to be the god of the sun and of war. Initially he appeared as a local god, but over time the ancient Egyptians came to believe the reigning pharaoh was a manifestation of Horus (cf. Encyclopedia Britannica, “Horus”).

What about Jesus?
The skeptical claims being made about Jesus are not always the same. In some versions he was a persuasive teacher whose followers later attempted to deify him by adopting aspects of earlier god-figures, while in others he is merely an amalgamation of myths and never really existed at all. Both versions attempt to provide evidence that the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ are rip-offs.

In the 2008 documentary film Religulous (whose name is a combination of religion andridiculous), erstwhile comedian and political commentator Bill Maher confronts an unprepared Christian with this claim. Here is part of their interaction.

Bill Maher: But the Jesus story wasn’t original.
Christian man: How so?
Maher: Written in 1280 B.C., the Book of the Dead describes a God, Horus. Horus is the son of the god Osiris, born to a virgin mother. He was baptized in a river by Anup the Baptizer who was later beheaded. Like Jesus, Horus was tempted while alone in the desert, healed the sick, the blind, cast out demons, and walked on water. He raised Asar from the dead. “Asar” translates to “Lazarus.” Oh, yeah, he also had twelve disciples. Yes, Horus was crucified first, and after three days, two women announced Horus, the savior of humanity, had been resurrected.

Maher is only repeating things that are and believed by many people today. Similar claims are made in movies such as Zeitgeist and Religulous and in pseudo-academic books such as Christ in Egypt: The Jesus-Horus Connection and Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth.

Often Christians are not prepared for this type of encounter, and some are even swayed by this line of argumentation.  Maher’s tirade provides a good summary of the claims, so let’s deconstruct it, one line at a time.


P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to Jon’s awesome blog and to Catholic Answers’ awesome Magazine.


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Tim Jones October 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I recently had a young Facebook friend claim that Jesus was just warmed-over Zoroastrianism. Have you any handy ripostes?

GABRIEL October 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

Jimmy; I`m throwing the towel now.
Your postings are getting a little too blasphemous for my taste so I am cancelling my subscription to your newsletter.
If Bill Maher or whoever blasphemes, you are not supposed to answer them.
You are not supposed to repeat the claims of blasphemers either.
Just smack them in the mouth. Hard.

Tim Jones October 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

I must have missed that in the catechism.

The Sarge October 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

We’re supposed to correct errors, like Maher’s.  And Gabriel’s.

DoveLoverTrinity October 31, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Gabriel you cannot run away from the talk of blasphemers. You are supposed to stand strong and defend the faith. Prove what they say is wrong and help bring your brothers and sisters closer to God. If everyone just ran away like you did we all would be doomed. I am hoping you will take more courage like Jimmy Akin and others like him. I am a 20 year old woman and am not so quick to run away from this like you are. I stand and defend my faith. I defend God. Which is what you are supposed to do. Take courage my brother in Christ. God himself goes up against and sees blasphemy everyday. And he wants you to as well. This is the cross we bear as being his children. The only reason we repeat blasphemy is so we can correct it and put it to SHAME. To bring our brothers and sisters in Christ closer to our Father. As God wants us too. There is nothing wrong with what Jimmy and others like him are doing. They are doing what God WANTS. Please do not persecute your brothers and sisters in Christ who put their names on the line for God’s truth and glory.

EJohnE October 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Interesting. During this period of “Egyptomania” is also when Joseph Smith acquired some Egyptian papyrus scrolls which he claimed were the writings of Abraham, but which later were shown to have no resemblance to his interpretation.

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