Several of the critics of Christianity would have us believe that the New Testament plagiarized the myth of the Dionysus cult. Nevertheless, the only similarities between Dionysus and Jesus are in the imagination of the purveyor of this myth. Why would they do such a thing, if it weren’t so? Well, I couldn’t claim that all simply wish to make their fortunes on the name of Jesus without submitting to him as their Lord, but when I consider some of the outright lies I’ve investigated in this series concerning supposed pagan similarities, it is difficult to imagine the almighty dollar isn’t behind most of it.
Dionysus similarities to Jesus include:
- He was born of a virgin on December 25th
- He was a travelling teacher
- He changed water into wine
- He had a triumphant entry riding upon a donkey
- His followers worship him by eating bread and drinking wine (his flesh and blood)
- He was crucified
- He rose from the dead
In the myth Dionysus was the son of Zeus and a human priestess, Semele. Zeus was taken by her beauty and became her lover. She became pregnant but Zeus’ wife, became jealous and convinced Semele to ask to see Zeus’ glory. Well, she was consumed by the thunderbolts and Zeus rescued the fetal Dionysus from the ashes and inserted him into his thigh until he was full term. Now, if you are waiting for some similarity to Jesus birth, don’t hold your breath. There is none. In case anyone missed it, Semele could not have been a virgin, if she was a temple priestess. One of her many duties, as a priestess, was to engage in sexual relations with the temple priests etc. to act out the particular version of pagan worship.
Dionysus was the god of wine. He traveled teaching people how to make wine. This is as close as it gets to being a traveling teacher like Jesus. Did he turn water into wine? If he did, I couldn’t verify it in the myth. He turned corn and oil into wine—but he was the god of wine. Would it be true to say that one could get most anything that grew to ferment and turn to wine? Is there a miracle here or anything that would bring Jesus to mind—without the suggestion of the critic?
As far as Dionysus’ supposed triumphant entry is concerned, his mode of travel was often depicted upon a donkey. There was nothing special about his entry into any city. Jesus’ entry depicted the entry of other Jewish kings who returned to Jerusalem after being victorious. The people came out to meet their king, holding and waving palm branches (1Maccabees 13:51; 2Maccabees 10:7), which was founded upon what we find in Leviticus 23:40.
The followers of Dionysus never celebrated him by eating bread and drinking wine. What they did was tore a human or animal sacrifice limb from limb and ate the raw body parts. Yet, this did not depict Dionysus himself, but the king of Thebes who outlawed worship of Dionysus. The incident is depicted in a symbolic play, The Bacchae, by Euripides. There is absolutely nothing here that would even vaguely call the Christian Eucharist to mind. Yet, biased critics would use Christian terminology or outright lies to say we derived our celebration of Jesus from this pagan rite.
There is no story of Dionysus being crucified that I’ve been able to find, and the only “resurrection” he is said to have experienced is that Zeus saved the fetal Dionysus from the ashes of his priestess mother, Semele, and inserted the fetal Dionysus into his thigh until his birth. What this has to do with the bodily resurrection of Jesus is anyone’s guess, but this is what the critics of Christianity call it.
How can anyone simply “say” something is similar to another matter when no similarity exists? The only thing I can come up with is that it is “their truth,” and “their truth” isn’t someone else’s “truth”. In other words, there are no absolutes. The philosophy stems from things like political correctness when everything is treated the same. Contradictory “truths” can exist, because no one is permitted to contradict anyone’s so-called “truth.” In a couple of future blogs I hope to discuss this very contradictory philosophy in an effort to show why it is logically impossible to categorize Jesus as myth. The polytheistic philosophy is diametrically opposed to monotheism. They represent two totally different worldviews. The one is not derived from the other. Both represent two entirely different origins, and this is what the critics cannot accept, because, if they did, they would have to account for how monotheism arose on its own when the whole world was polytheistic. The critics don’t wish to think about such an occurrence, but the evidence seems to point to exactly that—two entirely different worldview origins.