I recently asked our "Third Thursday" high-school apologetics fellowship to help me by writing a summary of Chapter 11: "Is Christianity a Copycat Religion?" from the book Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World by Josh and Sean McDowell.
Our students were asked to read a book chapter and write about the fact, truth, idea, or principle they learned from the chapter which had the most impact on their understanding and why it affected them.
Lauren Hale took up the challenge and submitted the post below:
Is Christianity a Copycat Religion? -by Lauren Hale
Some have wondered if Christianity drew inspiration from other religions. Historically, many pieces of evidence disprove this. However, generally speaking, one of the most important things to remember is that the differences are more important than the similarities.
A good example of this can be seen in the writings of Morgan Robertson. Robertson writes about a British ocean liner that was almost eight hundred feet long. Mid voyage it hit an iceberg and sank along with two thousand passengers. You might identify this as the Titanic. However, you would be mistaken. The boat described was the Titan and it was written fourteen years before the Titanic sank.
In the same way we can not undermine the historical reality of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection from the grave. Although fictional gods depict similar aspects to Christ they can not be used as evidence of religious plagiarism. It is in fact the opposite! Pagan religions were more likely to draw inspiration from Christianity than the other way around. We can see rituals involving the blood of bulls covering initiates. It is believed that this ritual was from Revelation 7:14 where it talks about being washed in the blood of the lamb. Christianity was a precursor to this religion so to imply that Christianity drew inspiration from it is chronologically impossible.
Another important note is that Christ’s death was unique in the fact that it was sacrificial. No other “God” laid down their life voluntarily like Christ did. Other religions weep and mourn their God when he or she is killed because they were met with tragic fates. Christ is unique and unprecedented in many ways and can’t be a copycat religion.
Supposed parallels between ancient mystery religions and Christianity can seem unsettling, but upon closer inspection these similarities are superficial and cannot bear scrutiny. Christianity is unique.