The Question, “Did Christianity Steal the Resurrection Story from Pagan Mystery Religions?”

  • A popular claim by skeptics of Christianity is that the early church fabricated the story of Jesus’ resurrection by borrowing the concept of a dying and resurrecting god-man from pagan mystery religions originating in Egypt, Greece, and Persia. However, there are serious problems with this claim.
  • First, there is no archaeological evidence of these mystery religions being present in the area of Israel/Palestine in the 1st century AD when the early church began proclaiming the resurrection of Christ.
  • Second, nearly all of the pagan mystery religions’ accounts of a resurrection first appear in the late 2nd century AD, roughly 100 years after the early church first testified to the resurrection of Jesus.
  • Third, the resurrection accounts of the pagan mystery religions are vastly different and a far cry from the historical Christian testimony of Jesus’ physical resurrection from the grave.
  • For example, one popularly referenced account of a pagan resurrection story is from the Egyptian cult god, Osiris. In this story Osiris was killed and then cut up into 14 pieces and scattered throughout Egypt. Later, the god Isis reassembled him and brought him back to life in the Egyptian underworld. This is hardly an equivalent to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • Thus, it appears that the more likely scenario is not that the early church borrowed the resurrection story from pagan religions, but it was these mystery religions that stole the concept from the early Christian church following the true, historical resurrection of Jesus in the early 1st century AD.
  • Isn’t it interesting how the tactics of the cults haven’t changed in over 2,000 years?  All cults take pieces of true Christianity, but then twist them to fit their own man-made religious views seeking to lead people astray.

For more information on the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, The Resurrection: Fiction or Fact? available in CD or MP3 in our online store.