Discover more in these hand-picked books Tell me what you think;  read what others say.  
Stuff you need to know before the POCM makes sense. Ideas, rituals and myths Christianity boosted from the Pagans. Some of the Pagan's dying-resurrected godmen The Triumph of Christianity Discover mainstream scholarship about Christianity's Pagan origins What did the Christians borrow? So what?
the ideas, myths and rituals christianity borrowed from the pagans Jesus saves -- Pagan Gods saved first gods whose dad was a god and whose mom was a mortal woman Christianity has baptism -- Paganism had it first Christians share a sacred meal with their God -- Pagans did it first Christians believe in eternal life -- but Paganism believed in it first
Jesus did miracles -- Pagan Gods did them first Jesus fulfilled prophecy -- Pagan Gods fulfilled prophecy first God and the immortal soul -- Paganism had 'em first Christianity thinks it has monotheism -- Paganism had it first Jesus' God lives in Heaven on High -- Pagan Gods lived there first pagan dead went to the underworld Jesus made clever quips -- Pagan cynic philosophers made them first
Jesus had a mortal mother and a divine father -- Pagan Gods did that first

Was Christianity new?  Was Christianity unique? It's talk about virgin birth.

According to one story, the Roman Emperor Augustus's mother was worshipping in the temple of Apollo when she fell asleep and was impregnated by the god [Suetonius Lives of the Caesars: Augustus 94]

Other examples of virgin born Gods
Krishna was born of the virgin Devaki
Savior Dionysus was born of the virgin Semele.
Buddha too was born of a virgin,
The old Teutonic goddess Hertha was a virgin impregnated by the heavenly Spirit and bore a son.
Scandinavian Frigga was impregnated by the All-Father Odin and bore Balder, the healer and savior of mankind.

Pausanias describes the birth of the God Attis:


a daughter of the river Sangarius, they say, took of the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy was born, and exposed, but was tended by a he-goat. [Pausanias, Description of Greece 7.17.9-11]

Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

The second century Church Father Origen says of the Jesus' virgin birth,

He lists a number of Pagan Gods born of virgins: Danae, Melanippe, Auge and Antiope. The stories about these Gods are "ancient," says Origin, but unlike the story of Jesus' virgin birth, only fables. [Origin, Against Celsus 1, 37]

"We [Christians] are not the only persons who have recourse to miraculous narratives of this kind." [Origin, Against Celsus 1, 37]

Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

The second century Christian Justin Martyr says of Jesus,


"He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you believe of Perseus." [Justin Martyr, First Apology, 22]

Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

Why did these virgin born Gods come before Jesus? Justin knew the answer -- devils.

"The devils...craftily feigned that Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter not by sexual union." [Justin Martyr, First Apology, 64]

Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.

POCM is about history, not ethics. Jesus' miraculous conception was not new and unique -- that's important for the historical truth, or not, of gospel claims.

Other people take the point farther, and ask: "Can we morally say: "Ours is history, yours in a lie"?

Here's how Mrs. Crossan's little boy Johnny put's it:

Augustus came from a miraculous conception by the divine and human conjunction of [the God] Apollo and [his mother] Atia. How does the historian respond to that story? Are there any who take it literally?... That divergence raises an ethical problem for me. Either all such divine conceptions, from Alexander to Augusts and from the Christ to the Buddha, should be accepted literally and miraculously or all of them should be accepted metaphorically and theologically. It is not morally acceptable to say...our story is truth but yours is myth; ours is history but yours is a lie. It is even less morally acceptable to say that indirectly and covertly by manufacturing defensive or protective strategies that apply only to one's own story. [John Crosssan, The Birth of Christianity, 1998, pg 28 - 29.]

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