has its origins in myth
return to letter
Up until the
18th century the idea that Christianity might be based on myth had
not occurred to anyone. Even during the early days of Christianity,
when mythological-based religions were common, no one thought that
Christianity was related to pagan gods. In fact, both Judaism and
Christianity have always vehemently rejected mythical beliefs and
A new form of
analyzing the Bible got started in the late 18th and early 19th
centuries. It was called "Higher Criticism".
divided the verses in the Bible into different documents based on
various criteria. For example, any Bible verse using the Hebrew
word Elohim as the name of God would be attributed to one
writer. Any verse that used Jehovah as the name of God would
be attributed to another writer. Other factors, such as a change
in style, would also be used to further break up the text. The result
was that the Bible was fragmented into many pieces. As a result,
early proponents of Higher Criticism, such as Julus Wellhausen,
came to the conclusion that the history recorded in the Bible was
not actual history, but was a collection of traditions and myths.
is where the myth that Christianity is based on myths started.
with Higher Criticism is that the facts don't back its conclusions.
Archaeology has solidly confirmed many parts of the Old Testament
which Higher Criticism said had to be myth. There has not been one
archaeological find that has supported Higher Criticism or contradicted
the Bible. Today Higher Criticism has been exposed as just another
attack on the Bible and is no longer accepted as a valid form of
Why are there
some people who still hold to the view that the Bible is based on
myth. For the same reason Higher Criticism became popular 100 years
ago. An 19th century scholar explained it this way:
Criticism"the pressing problem of the history of the Old
Testament appeared to me to be at last solved in a manner consonant
to the principle of human evolution which I am compelled to apply
to the history of all religion."
In other words,
Higher Criticism gave the answer they wanted. Just like people today,
they had already decided what the answer was, they just needed a
way to justify the answer they wanted. At first Higher Criticism
seemed to be the way to that answer, but it did not stand up under
the reality of historical artifacts dug out of the ground.
looks at the historical record of scientific facts, the only conclusion
that can be reached is that the Bible accurately records history.
This is a fact that historical scholars (even secular scholars)
no longer dispute. Christianity is not based on myth.