Why are there so many similarities between Jesus Christ and the Egyptian god Horus?
Well, let’s take a look at that more closely. Since you did not give examples of these similarities in your question, I’ll have to guess as to what similarities you’re talking about.
- Perhaps you meant how Jesus was born in a manger and Horus was born in a swamp? Well, no. Those don’t seem similar at all. There was no angel, no shepherds, no star at Horus’ birth.
- Perhaps you meant how Jesus was the result of a virgin birth from Mary and Joseph while Horus was born to Isis (a queen goddess) and Osiris (The most powerful God in the Egyptian pantheon). Wait, that doesn’t sound similar at all.
- Were you told that Horus taught wise men in a temple at the age of 12? There is no ancient document depicting such an event in the life of Horus.
What is happening there is that you’ve become the victim of the “repeated lie” phenomenon. This is similar to the urban legends of pop culture. Atheists have tried to weaken the credibility of Christianity by pointing to earlier “myths” and comparing them to Christianity and stating that Jesus was no different from such myths. Well, there are not only problems with that line of thinking (even if such similarities actually existed) but there are severe problems with these particular myths you’ve been hearing about. They appear to be made up of whole cloth. They make these claims of similarities. But if you actually read the ancient works of the Egyptians, these things are nowhere to be found. In fact, for most of them, a completely different story is there.
Some other false similarities with the truth:
- Jesus had 12 disciples. Horus had four. And at a special battle he had 16. About the only thing these numbers have in common is their mathematical factors.
- Jesus walked on water and cast out demons. Horus performed other “miracles” as any “god” story will state. Horus was considered a god. But he never walked on water or cast out demons.
- Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Supposedly Horus was baptized in a river by “Anup the Baptizer”. Unfortunately for proponents of this myth, there is no character named Anup the Baptizer in Egyptian mythos.
- Jesus was transfigured on a mount, and he taught the sermon on the mount. Regardless of what you may have heard about Horus doing the same, the ancient texts say otherwise.
- Jesus was crucified between two thieves and was resurrected in three days. No ancient text says anything about Horus dying at all in the mainline stories. There was, however, a story in later centuries that would be considered “non-canon” in Egyptian mythos that Horus was cut up into pieces and scattered, only to be gathered by Isis. But it is pretty clear that this was an adaptation of the Osiris story for those who wanted to promote Horus over Osiris.
- Jesus fulfilled the “law”. Egyptians had no parallel to the Jewish Law of Moses. In fact, the very idea of a code of laws had a dual origin with Moses and Hammurabi. Prior to that time, the concept of a law was merely the declaration of the despots at the time.
These and many other so called “similarities” have been widely debunked. If you spend time listening to people like Bill Maher, John G. Jackson, and D.M. Murdock, you’ll probably want to pay close attention to the actual proofs they offer. They don’t offer any. Maher mentions the Book of the Dead which is cited incorrectly. His usage in his so called “documentary” bears no resemblance to the actual Book of the Dead of ancient Egypt. There is no mention of any of the above or any other claims that these three and many others make. Most works which describe such similarities are simply pseudo-academic works which lack original sourcing for these claims.
Even if there were such stories that were extant at the time of Christ, there is no evidence that the four evangelists would have even had access to such myths to borrow from to make up such a story. No evidence suggests that they had more than a tourist’s knowledge of Egyptian culture.
Another thing to remember is that the gospel was taught to Adam. He knew of the Savior and His mission. Even from the sin of Cain, false religions and false priesthoods have sprung up to copy the worship of the One True God. So, who was copying whom?
There are many things about Horus and other Egyptian gods that could kinda-sorta be considered similar to the story of Jesus. But it’s difficult to verify since many of the gods of the Egyptian pantheon were altered over the centruries. Some had parallel storylines. Some gods were merged with other gods. Some were claimed lesser gods that were subject to elder gods. Then a century later they switched ranks.
Such changes also occurred after the Messiah’s mortal ministry that made Egyptian idolatrous worship seem similar to the “New Religion” of Christianity. So, some things that you may come across in research actually POST-date Jesus Christ. So, it is apparent that the Egyptians co-opted Christianity rather than the other way around.
I believe that if you were to make comparisons with Egyptian gods, that it would have been much better to compare Jesus to Osiris. At least Osiris died and was later resurrected. But when you read the details, you find that the overall story does not bear much resemblance at all.
And that is just the problem with claims such as this. Even when you look at actual similarities between the stories found in the four gospels, vs other myths throughout the world, the similarities are very superficial. Of course miracles (or “magic”) is going to be part of a story of a deity. That’s what makes them gods. But what was the message? What were the details of the story?
The actual meaning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was a completely revolutionary philosophy. When you consider the Sermon on the Mount, we have no earlier works that talk about concepts that Jesus spoke of.
- Love your enemy. Return love to those who hate you. Pray for your enemies.
- Walk the extra mile.
- To look upon a woman to lust after her is the beginnings of committing adultery already in your heart.
- The least among you shall be the greatest in the Kingdom.
- Use judgment, mercy, and faith in obedience to the commandments of God.
- Take my yoke upon you. For my yoke is easy. And my burden is light.
- If ye shall have faith as the grain of mustard seed, you can move mountains.
- The most important of all: For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him would have Everlasting Life.
No God in any other myth that I’m aware of says that a god died to take away the sins of men. And that central doctrine of all Christianity — which most certainly includes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — is what separates Jesus and all followers since His Resurrection from any other story or myth in history.