Friday, December 21, 2007

The Bible and Commonalities to Mythological "Stories"

Reading this thread over on the PuritanBoard:

What would you say to a person who claims that many stories in the bible are just particular versions of "generic myths" that turn up in mythology or legend all over the Mediterranean?


There are other examples from Roman lore, such as the story of the false king of Latium who tried to kill Romulus and Remus, the true heirs to the throne (Herod and Jesus). They were put in a basket and sent down the river Tiber to die but eventually found in the reeds (Moses) by a shepherd.

How should I respond to someone who uses such stories to discredit the bible?

Which elicited this excellent response from the Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan:

You could start by asking the person positing the "objection" to formulate his objection precisely, so that it can be analyzed.

For instance, is the objector willing to say, "Ancient Lit. is full of similar sounding stories; stories that are similar (in one respect? two?) are obviously fictitious; ergo, Christianity is false." Is this real argumentation?

Clearly, this is fallacious argumentation. It is admittedly simplistic, however, I do not think it is too far from the level of reasoning of most people who are positing this "objection." Demand that they demonstrate the level of sophistication of their argument, because just trotting out "similarities" is no argument.

Virtually any event of modern history can find an analogue in contemporary (or even older) fiction.

So, by your opponent's logic, are these modern events fiction? The same could be said of events accepted as historically accurate reports from ancient history...Just because there are similar statements, etc., found in mythology, does that necessitate that the specific event under consideration (the biblical one) is also fiction?

Furthermore, the 19th and early 20th century's chronological arrogance is today being questioned by linguists, anthropologists, and other scientists. Secular scientists are studying "mythologies", and especially common threads in those stories, as potential stores of real-world information. I don't say this simply as 'validation' of mythology, but to point out that it is extraordinarily naive to dismiss as "fiction" even a single extant tale--garbled, or cobbled together from other ancient sources--without any evidence of having delved into the whole subject of ancient literature.

It was C.S. Lewis who, as a recognizable expert in antiquarian literature, mocked the average biblical critic of his day for being evidently unable to tell the difference between forms of ancient literature, but nonetheless proudly taking it upon themselves to compare biblical literature to other material which also they had not studied.

Or how about this: Abe Linclon was POTUS, and shot by a lone gunman, and fled from a theater. JFK was POTUS, and shot by a lone gunman (please, its just the story guys), who was spotted later in a theater from which he fled. Both assassins died before they were brought to trial! Obviously this is all just American mythology, made up to create veneration for our slain presidents, right? Because as EVERYONE KNOWS, Americans love a good DRAMA!


  1. "What would you say to a person who claims that many stories in the bible are just particular versions of "generic myths" that turn up in mythology or legend all over the Mediterranean?"

    I would begin by asking "By what authority do you make such a claim?"


  2. Interestingly, Calvin argued that these types of stories, and even other gods, was proof for the existence of God, not against it. Since every person has a certain innate knowledge of God, having been created in His image, he has a natural desire to serve something bigger than himself, be it a false god or materialistic secularism. The false gods (and their stories) are a result of human pride and stubbornness to acknowledge and serve the only true God.

    Also, for me, the counter-example is whether parallel accounts of biological development (Lamarckian, for example) falsify the theory of evolution. It is similar logic.

  3. Another thing to consider is that many of even the most outlandish myths usually have some basis in fact. To the secularist, it is always the Bible writers who are guilty of copying from other myths. It never occurs to them that perhaps the Bible record contains the actual historical event, and that these other similar myths are simply humanistic variations on that event? The fact that these other records pre-date Moses is irrelevant.

    The secularist is already precommitted to the idea that the Bible is just like any other book. No proof is necessary, just assertion.

  4. 55What are we supposed to believe about the Holy Bible? Is it still the same? Do we believe everything in it? What does Quran say about the Bible?

  5. Q: What are we supposed to believe about the Holy Bible?

    A: That it is the infallible rule of faith and practice.

    Q:Is it still the same?

    A: Still the same as what?

    Q: Do we believe everything in it?

    A: Certainly - as it is accurately exegeted

    Q: What does Quran say about the Bible?

    A: Why should one consider the Quran as authoritative in any matter?