"The Christian God may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other;"

- Bertrand Russell

"These stories are retreads from before. But, tell a Christian that - No, No! What makes it doubly sad is that they hardly know the book, much less its origins."

- Isaac Asimov

"Nearly all religions include ceremonial procedures during which the followers of a particular deity can indulge in complex group activities. This is essential as a demonstration of the power of the gods..."

- Desmond Morris



Was Christianity cut-and-pasted from other religions?
1) similarities and differences


"From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity, the Last Judgment ...from Thrace, perhaps the cult of Dionysus, the dying and saving god. From Persia... the dualism of Satan and God,..."

- Will and Ariel Durant

"For myself, I must say, that having for many years made the evidences of Christianity the subject of close study, the result has been a firm and increasing conviction of the authenticity and plenary inspiration of the Bible. It is indeed the Word of God."

- Simon Greenleaf

5.1 How does it appear?

Imagine forcing together pieces from different jigsaw puzzles and then coloring-in the gaps. The result would be an incoherent mess. Some critics theorize the Bible to have been put together in just that way: a cut-and-paste menagerie of borrowed philosophies and folklore (Friedrich Delitzsch's pan-Babylonian theory is an example). But what adherents of these ideas downplay, or fail to recognize, is the astonishing completeness of the Bible as a whole.

Cut-and-paste theorists cannot reasonably account for the unity of theme, purpose, and consistency of each of the Bible's sixty-six books and letters: multiple works produced by different authors, from different social, professional, and cultural backgrounds, and across many different centuries. These works collectively read so much like a singular composition that it is easy to see why the Bible is so often mistaken to be one book (it isn't!).

One of the best evidences of the harmony between the Bible's many compositions is to study the relationship between the Old Testament and New Testament writings. For those who will put in the time, the ties between the two collections become obvious. They are so numerous that to find each one might could be a lifelong task. (A big claim that I will try to write further on or provide links to corroborate.) Given this incredible quality and depth of harmony, an origin by cut-and-paste methodology is an irrational theory that does not fit the facts.

5.2 Similarities to ancient Near-East religions?

Looking at the ancient biblical writings, can any similarities be found between its events, themes, or persons, and those of other ancient cultures or religions?

While some critics have theorized that major elements of Scripture evolved from Hammurabi's Code or Near-Eastern religions, it is sufficient for this discussion to concede that certain similarities, whether actual or perceived, have already been drawn. Therefore, the issue to concern ourselves with is the nature, extent, and significance of those alleged similarities.

It is a principle within the Treasury Department that counterfeit copies of currency are rejected for their differences, not accepted for their similarities. On this basis, perceived similarities alone are insufficient to equate or link the Bible's origins to its contemporaries. One must look at not only at the similarities, but also the differences, and then understand how the comparisons were drawn.

Perhaps the easiest and most common method of comparison adopted by cut-and-paste theorists is that of guilt-by-association. Incapable or too lazy to directly disprove the Bible, certain critics have refuted lesser foes (religions riddled with polytheistic contradictions and factual errors) and then inferred that Christianity, "just another religion", is equally wrong.

Here is an example of how Christianity can be misrepresented by false linkage to other religions. The terms baptism, resurrection, and sacrifice have specific meanings and unique significance within Christian thinking. These words are also used to describe practices in other religions. Each term expresses a different meaning and significance within the context of each system of thought. So when these terms are used loosely in comparing religions, the casual observer can easily mistake a correlation where, in reality, there is none.

5.3 Similarities to ancient Babylonian religion?

One such erroneous correlation is the belief that the creation of the world was appended to Israel's religion from the Babylonian Enuma Elish. Here is how the Enuma Elish presents creation:

It tells of the revolt of Tiamat against the gods, of their choice of Marduk to be their champion in the fight against this monster, ...of its successful outcome, of Marduk's ordering of the heavens and the earth...1

The only real similarity to the Bible here is the general idea that supernatural power was involved in the initiation of the heavens and the earth (the biblical creation account will be explored in great detail here and here, and the amount of time it took here and here). The presence of a creation story in the Enuma Elish is wholly insufficient to either accuse or convict the biblical authors of theological plagiarism.

5.4 Similarities to other neighboring cultures?

An additional claim by some skeptics is that the Bible's resurrection of Jesus Christ was an idea inspired by neighboring cultures. Tablets discovered in Syria at Ras Shamra, for instance, tell the story of the Canaanite or Ugartic gods Baal (son of El) and Anath (Baal's sister and consort). In the story, Baal battles with Mot, god of the dry season, and is killed. Anath gathers up the pieces of Baal's body and buries them. She then goes out and cuts Mot into pieces; sometime after which Baal returns to life. 2

In other cultures, this same story of a sliced-up God returning to life is similarly reflected: the Sumerian and Mesopotamian accounts of Adonis and Tammuz and Ishtar, of Orpheus and Proserpina, of Telepinus, 3 and of Osiris and Isis from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Are any or all of these the source for a mythical Jesus?

The Book of the Dead does not claim any witnesses to its events, nor does Egyptology reveal any evidence. The other accounts fare no better. In fact, the majority of these non-biblical accounts were featured explanations of either fertility cycles or the change in seasons. None of these stories are similar to the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in either symbolism or detail.

Jesus was not hacked to pieces in mortal combat, nor reassembled by a female counterpart goddess, nor used for the purpose of symbolizing the cycles of fertility or nature. Jesus, by significant contrast, is a proven historical figure for whom a great deal of written material exists; including written material by ancient non-Christian sources...



(top of page)

NEXT: Was Christianity cut-and-pasted? - part two

See also:

Where did the earth come from?

What do we know about Jesus from non-biblical sources?

Printing Tips, Contact, Search,
Links & Bibles,
The Gospel







Too often the Bible is dismissed by skeptics because of the generalization that all religions are the same. They are not.

Or the Bible is dismissed on the charge that Christianity stole all its beliefs ancient religions x, y and z. It did not.

It did not, but let's say it did. Let's say atheists are right and Mosaic superscholars stole everything in the Old Testament (they had to be superscholars to know all the "cool" parts of the ancient world's religions ever to exist before them or around them).

Every 30 or 40 years for a millenia the same repeat offense was committed by yet another plagiarizing superscholar because the Hebrews never had original ideas (and the O.T. books were written over many centuries by many authors).

Each time, plagiarizing super-scholars stole false prophecies from random religions with imaginary characters in impossible tales of things that never happened and blurred them together poorly because any atheist can see that.

Oh, and every time these were passed down to the next generation, the next gen got them all screwed up.

They did ALL THIS . . . and then Jesus is born coincidentally fulfilling random false prophecies in time, place, purpose and manner who then reveals to his disciples how those screwed up, disconnected, imaginary puzzle pieces together form a singular perfect portrait of him and why he came. His explanation is the New Testament, check it out. Maybe even more impressive that way.


1. How does it appear?
2. From Near East religions?
3. From Babylonian religion?
4. From other ancient cultures?