If you’ve ever dabbled in online discussions regarding comparative mythology, you no doubt have observed antagonists reusing several go-to, cue-card responses that many of them tend to parrot from each other. The first of these I usually encounter is to outright deny that any parallels exist at all between their own religious mythology and those of cultures they deem “pagan” or “heathen.” If you can make it past that contention, they tend to move the goal post and claim they meant no significant parallels exist, i.e. none which parallel their most coveted doctrines. Once over that hurdle, I find that they assert that no such significant parallels exist in any primary sources pre-dating the Common Era. This tactic of antagonists reeks of what is known as kettle logic, that being “a rhetorical device wherein one uses multiple arguments to defend a point, but the arguments are inconsistent with each other.”
Well, when these discussions progress to the point where significant parallels most certainly have been proven to have existed in primary sources pre-dating the Common Era, the next retort they throw into their kettle is to claim that these significant pre-Common Era parallels should still be disregarded anyway because these motifs exist within larger stories in which there are other motifs that do not parallel each other. They often phrase it as “counting all the hits, and none of the misses,” or my personal favorite- “the differences outweigh the similarities, so the similarities mean nothing!” Lol, that seems like quite the non-sequitur there, so let’s explore that contention for a while, shall we?
When we come into this world, how do we navigate our way through it? Do we just assume that all objects we encounter are the same thing until we observe differences? Do we assume mommy is daddy and daddy is mommy and daddy is the doctor and the doctor is the nurse, etc. until we can observe and tally up the differences between them all? Of course not, we are born instantly recognizing and distinguishing different objects one from another. We are innately wired assuming objects have differences with each other. That trait seems built into our 1st law of thought in formal logic- the law of identity. It is how we navigate our way through the world. We don’t walk into a wall assuming it is a door until we observe that it is different from a door. We already intuit that from the outset. We don’t come into this world assuming all is one until we observe differences by which we can distinguish objects, rather it is the opposite- we assume objects are distinct until we observe more and more similarities between them by which we can categorize and classify them. And the greater number of similarities we observe between two distinct objects, a closer relationship we begin to suspect they have with each other. No one ever assumes I am my father. Quite the opposite, when people meet us they immediately (and correctly) assume we are two different humans from the outset and only after observing the correlating similarities I share with my father do they begin to suspect a causal link between us. While it is true that correlation does not guarantee causation, causation does always produce a correlation (ergo cause & effect), hence experience in life teaches us that correlation is still a pretty damn good indicator of causation, even if it isn’t always 100% the case. Sure, where there is smoke there is not always going to be a fire, but smoke has still proven to be a fairly reliable reason to check for a possible fire and proceed with caution. We are pattern-seeking creatures by our very nature, because it has proven a useful rule of thumb for the survival of our species up to this point.
So in spite of antagonists trying to convince us that “parallelomania” is a cardinal sin, there is no end to the amount of examples in which observing parallels between things has actually revealed that there was indeed a causal link between them, and that the similarities were not the product of mere coincidence.
When I was a kid, the favorite show we loved to watch in our household was The Simpsons. A decade later FOX introduced Family Guy, and immediately Simpson fans across the nation called it out as being a copycat of The Simpsons. Even the writers of The Simpsons themselves acknowledged this via passing references on their show.
But why though? The differences between the two shows far outweigh the similarities if you tally them up on a bullet point list. Peter Griffin wears glasses whereas Homer Simpson does not. Homer is bald, but Peter is not. Marge has tall blue hair whereas Lois does not. Maggie is a mute female infant whereas Stewie is a talking male infant, etc., etc., etc. a complete list would be seemingly endless. So with the existence of so many differences compared to only a handful of similarities, those parallelomaniac Simpson fans were unfounded in their suspicions of influence upon Family Guy, right? Well, as it turns out, eventually Seth MacFarlane admitted to modeling Family Guy after The Simpsons.
The same year Family Guy debuted, 1999, was also the year the highly popular and influential film The Matrix was released in theaters. Fans of that franchise immediately noticed motifs in the films which parallel older myths, especially those of a certain “Good Shepherd” of the Levant.
But what about all the differences though? Neo was not born of a virgin, he was not Semitic, he was not a king, he was not referred to as a lamb, he never walked on water or turned water into wine, etc., etc., etc. So all those Matrix fans were only counting the hits and none of the misses. Were these fans grasping at straws when they hypothesized that The Matrix was directly influenced by these older myths? As per the Wachowskis themselves- no, those fans were actually correct, and all the parallels were deliberate.
This same thing happened with O Brother, Where Art Thou? by the Cohen brothers. Many an article has been written illustrating the parallels between that film and Homer’s Odyssey. And in spite of the differences far outweighing the similarities there, the similarities were enough, because the Cohen’s admitted in the opening credits they did indeed model their film after The Odyssey.
Yet another example is seen in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, who happened to be a worshiper of the aforementioned Good Shepherd. Fans noticed conspicuous similarities between the Narnia stories and the Good Shepherd’s mythos.
How ridiculous. You can’t get to Heaven through a closet. The devil is not a white witch. Sin does not turn you into literal stone. The Good Shepherd’s story was not set during World War 2, or in the UK. Aslan was not born of a virgin, etc. and so on. Nevertheless, C.S. Lewis himself admitted that he created the parallels deliberately, even though (as the author of these stories) the differences were deliberately created by him as well. The differences do not matter in this context. The parallels did indeed have a causal link.
Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia and that the Son of God, as He became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.
Clive S. Lewis, in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy 1950-1963 
Even the film Robocop, which a “parallelomaniac” such as myself never even noticed was analogous to the Good Shepherd, was in fact deliberately modeled after the Good Shepherd, as the director Paul Verhoeven has explicitly stated. @ 25:07-
We could do this all day, from Star Wars
to Lord of the Rings, to even episodes of South Park or Squidbillies. It works. Not 100% of the time, but observing conspicuous parallels between mythologies does indeed work in this context, regardless of whatever differences there might be. It has a good track record. So good of a track record, in fact, that even when certain antagonists have tried to mock comparative mythology by constructing satirical parallels between what they mistakenly assumed were two disparate things- much to my amusement (but never to my surprise), whenever I have followed through on that line of thought and researched the history between the two things being satirically compared, it has turned out that the two things did indeed have a causal link after all.
For instance, I’ve read of antagonists mockingly comparing John. F. Kennedy to one of his predecessors Abraham Lincoln to try and prove that parallels between things must be regarded as random coincidence and of no significance. Yet it did not take long to find documentation that JFK idolized Abe and aspired to be like him,  a decision which doubtless caused his life to significantly parallel Lincoln’s (when the parallels can actually be verified with documention). And JFK himself even noted some of the organic chronological synchonicities he shared with Lincoln,  which no doubt further influenced his deliberate emulation.
Elsewhere I’ve read of a skeptic ally who, bless his heart, tried to downplay the significance of certain parallels in comparative mythology and their possibility of causal links to each other by appealing to photographs of himself in a pose parallel to that seen in photographs of other humans. As he did not photograph this parallel pose in deliberate emulation of those other photographs which preceded his own, he contrasted this against a series of parallel “boy & girl” photos in which he does suspect a causal link since the details of the similarities in those photos are more numerous and specific as compared to his photos & those of his peers.
But this does not refute a causal link in his own photo. What it establishes is a greater relationship in the ‘boy & girl’ photos, a closer and more recent causal link between them as opposed to that between his own photo and those of his peers he compared himself to. As I stated earlier in this article, the more numerous the similarities we observe between things, the more and more specific categorization we tend to classify them in. My dogs, and my chickens, and the bugs they eat, and myself are all animals- hence we share the same classification with each other that we do not share with the cacti and shrubs surrounding us. The reason we are all classified together as animals does have a causal link, ultimately we all share a common ancestor which we do not share with the plants, hence we are all animals. My dogs and my chickens and myself are all vertebrate animals, hence we share an even more specific categorization with each other which does not include the bugs in the area, for we have a more recent ancestor in common with each other that the bugs do not have in common with us. My dogs and I are all mammals, therefore we have an even more recent ancestor in common with each other than we have in common with the chickens, therefore we all have the parallel classification of mammalia which does not include the chickens. So forth and so on. The parallels I share with my dogs which I do not share with my chickens are not happenstance, they do have a causal link- an ancestor we share with each other which we do not share with the chickens.
So with that in mind, ask yourself why our skeptic ally here chose to compare his photo with those of his peers rather than photos of a horse, or a dog, or a dolphin, etc.? Because those animals cannot even make that same pose. And why can he and his peers make a parallel pose in photographs yet these animals cannot parallel that pose? Is it just happenstance? Nope, as it turns out the reason is in fact “causal or derivative,” for he and his peers share a common ancestor, a more recent ancestor than they have in common with horses, dogs, or dolphins, etc. The fact that his photo has a parallel in common with photos of his peers yet has no such parallel with any photos of Mr. Ed, or Lassie, or Flipper, does indeed have a causal link after all. That causal link is simply not as recent or as specific as the causal link between all the ‘boy & girl’ photos he shared.
Just as greater numbers of parallels result in more specific categories of classification shared between organisms as they evolve, in a metaphorical sense perhaps it may be said that the ‘boy & girl’ photos are all in the narrow category of “hominidae” mammals while our skeptic friend’s photo and his peers are all in the broader category of “cercopithecidae” mammals. But at every level of classification, no matter how narrow or broad, the categories are all still grouped together by whatever causal links they share, and I do not think it fair to regard only the most narrow of categories as “real parallels.” They are simply more specific parallels with an even greater/more recent causal relationship. When it comes to charting the course of evolution, whether it’s organisms or mythologies, their family trees have multiple branches, not merely a single trunk. Our skeptic ally’s comparison there is not the case of a deliberate artistic parallel being contrasted against a coincidental artistic parallel, it is more a case of an artistic parallel being contrasted against a biological parallel. It is not a matter of “real parallels” vs. contrived parallels, but rather it is a matter of very strong parallels over semi-strong parallels over moderate parallels over weak parallels, or direct parallels over more distant parallels, etc., and all the various shades in between.
I encountered another example of this kind of tactic during a text conversation I once had with a friend who told me of a similar argument which he read about on his Kindle. He told me that this book said that if we applied the same sort of mindset comparative mythology uses then we could also argue that New York City did not arise organically but was instead merely copying earlier cities such as Rome or Babylon. Well, first of all given that no city, not even New York, arises in a vacuum, it would be pretty hard to imagine a city that gets constructed entirely withOUT any influence from cities that already existed. But regardless, I read patiently as he texted me a few of the examples the author of this book listed as “proof” of his satire. The book pointed out parallels between the Statue of Liberty and the ancient Colossus of Rhodes, and in such a tone as to make the reader think that it would be ridiculous to actually take such a parallel seriously. I had never noticed such a parallel myself, and yet, as a pattern-seeking species, this comparison triggered my instincts and I began to research it. And wouldn’t you know it, it turns out the designer of the Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, admitted in no ambiguous terms that he was in fact influenced by, and even deliberately trying to rival, the Colossus of Rhodes.
Bartholdi compared his project to the building of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the great wonders of the ancient world.
Dr. Richard Kurin, The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects 
Bartholdi acknowledged the Colossus of Rhodes as his main inspiration.
Nancy Jo Fox, Liberties with Liberty 
Auguste Bartholdi studies the colossal statuary of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians with avidity. The celebrated statue of the sun god, Helios (known popularly as the “Colossus of Rhodes”), influenced Bartholdi’s bold plans for the statue of Libertas.
Barry Moreno, The Statue of Liberty 
When the Suez Canal was under construction, Bartholdi had suggested building a huge statue of a woman to serve as a lighthouse at the entrance, based on the mythical Colossus of Rhodes, which certain archaeologists at the time were attempting to recreate. The project was dropped, but would inspire Bartholdi’s first ideas for the statue of Liberty.
Musée d’Orsay, Liberté 
So even though the aforementioned book was trying to mock comparative mythology and considered this parallel ridiculous and ultimately erroneous to make, the author was unwittingly correct to make such a parallel for it did have a causal link. Liberty was influenced by the Colossus.
Central Park was also compared to the Hanging Gardens of ancient Babylon, but as it turns out, its design team was well studied in the history of metropolitan gardens, including that of Nebuchadnezzar’s hanging gardens, which they bore in mind & referenced during the process. 
Another such parallel the book made in its satire was between Yankee Stadium and the Roman Coliseum. But alas…
And I got the same results after my friend told me the book mockingly compared the Roman Aqueducts to those of New York.
The soaring granite arches of the 1,450-foot-long bridge were modeled after ancient Roman aqueducts, such as the Pont du Gard in southern France. The aqueduct on the bridge carried the water via two 36-inch mains.
Dr. Andrew S. Dolkart, Dr. Matthew A. Postal, Guide to New York City Landmarks 
In 1832 a committee of the Common Council, a city agency, asked an engineer to investigate new water sources. He suggested a system of dams and pipes, modeled on the Roman aqueducts, to transport water from the Croton River to Manhattan.
Nina Siegal, in The New York Times 
Not shown is High Bridge, crossing the Harlem just below the Washington. It is a stone arch bridge, modeled after a Roman aqueduct, and was built to carry the Croton aqueduct.
Charles B. Driscoll, in The Washington Reporter 
High Bridge is designed after the ancient Roman aqueducts in the South of France.
A. Peter Bailey and Edith J. Slade, Harlem Today: A Cultural and Visitors Guide 
So the apologist who authored that antagonistic book was trying to deliberately conjure parallels which he presumed to be baseless. Yet the very reason he sought out these particular pairs of items to satirically compare them was because they had enough similarities to catch his attention. And as it turns out, that instinct of his which first observed these parallels so that he could utilize them for his book was an instinct that served us rather well just as it did our ancestors- for these parallels he observed were not at all baseless, but turned out to have causal links all along. So thank you Mr. Apologist, whoever you are, for verifying our position all the more. 😉
New York is so thoroughly saturated in influence from bygone eras that it is the subject of a text book recently published by Fordham University.
New York was neither created nor evolved in a vacuum sheltered from previous sources of inspiration. And that brings me back to a point I touched upon earlier, wherein the apologist author commented that “as far as anyone knows the city of New York rose organically on its own and there was no master plan to base it upon ancient pagan designs.” First of all, those two propositions in that sentence are not in contradiction with each other, it does not have to be the case that if one is true then the other is false. But second of all, and more to my point here- this is not analogous to comparative mythology or the “pagan parallel” thesis as I’ve ever encountered it among my peers. I’ve yet to observe anyone argue that there was a “master plan to base” the Good Shepherd’s religion “upon ancient pagan designs.” None of us have argued that the Good Shepherd’s religion was taken whole cloth out of some previous religion with simply the names and places changed to protect the innocent. But antagonists seem to be under the impression that we are claiming something to the effect that their holy book was simply a verbatim copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead in which the names Osiris or Horus have been crossed out and the names of the Good Shepherd and his father have been written in but all else is the same. That’s not at all the case. By and large my peers & I all tend to agree that this religion “rose organically,” however, that does not mean it rose in a vacuum entirely unto itself. Their holy book is replete with references to pop culture and gentile mythology that existed in those times. The most overt examples that immediately come to my mind are when a certain apostle from Tarsus quoted snippets from multiple poems (i.e. Epimenides’ Cretica, Aratus’ Phenomena) that explicitly name the pagan god Zeus in context but he applied the snippets to his own god. This same apostle claimed the miscellaneous god of the polytheistic pagan sanctuary on Mars’ Hill was actually his own god. This apostle himself was believed to be the pagan god Hermes and his disciple was believed to be Zeus. Apocryphal scriptures admit that the date of one of their most famous holidays, an eight day “festival of lights,” was chosen because it was the exact same date which pagans had used to celebrate their own heathen customs in their local temple. Let that sink in- they explicitly admit in their own history that they chose a date for their holiday because pagans did it first. They confess that they literally copied something from a pagan religion, a deliberate pagan parallel in the truest sense, no ambiguity about it. These scriptures admit that their ancestors repeatedly engaged in paganism themselves, sometimes even practicing it right there in their most holy temple. They were not isolated from gentile influence, far from it in fact. Not only did the Good Shepherd’s religion not arise in a cultural vacuum, but in fact some of their adherents do preach that their religion was taken whole cloth from a much older religion from the Levant, but was simply immune to any influence from gentile religions (even though their holy scriptures admit that this Levantine religion was founded while they were citizens of Egypt and that their founder was an Egyptian prince, while their historians claim he was also a priest of Osiris).
This is where I find it amusing to observe that antagonists such as this are so resistant to drawing parallels to the mythology of their own religion, given that their own scriptures do so, and even portray their beloved savior the Good Shepherd as drawing many parallels between himself and Levantine mythologies which far predate him. And he does so in spite of the differences being far more numerous than the similarities which he highlights. E.g.:
Other scriptural parallels not directly credited to the Good Shepherd include:
So for followers of the Good Shepherd to be so antagonistic to comparative mythology and “parallelomania” is for them to be engaging in a bit of cognitive dissonance. This practice of deliberately drawing parallels between the Good Shepherd with his “new” covenant scriptures and older mythologies was encouraged by the early church fathers of this religion. And yet again, these fathers did so in spite of any differences, just “counting the hits and none of the misses,” if you will.
Seek you also every sign in the old scriptures as indicative of some passage in the new scripture.
Origen Adamantius, Commentary on The Publican, Book XII.III
E.g., did you know a sheep tangled in a bush is a parallel to the Good Shepherd’s Roman crucifixion?
In place of “Laughter” the just, a ram appeared for slaughter, in order that “Laughter” might be liberated from his bonds. The slaughter of this animal redeemed “Laughter” from death. In like manner, the Lord, being slain, saved us; being bound, He loosed us; being sacrificed, He redeemed us… For the Lord was a lamb, like the ram which “High Father” saw caught in the bush of Sabec. But this bush represented the cross.
Melito of Sardis, Catena on Genesis
And on this account “Laughter” also himself carried to the place of sacrifice the wood on which he was to be offered up, just as the Lord Himself carried His own cross. Finally, since “Laughter” was not to be slain, after his father was forbidden to smite him, who was that ram by the offering of which that sacrifice was completed with typical blood? For when “High Father” saw him, he was caught by the horns in a thicket. What, then, did he represent but “God Saves,” who, before He was offered up, was crowned with thorns.
Augustine of Hippo, City of God, Book XVI, ch. XXXII
Did you know abuse & slaughter of goats is likewise of sufficient similarity to Roman crucifixion, apparently?
“Take two goats of goodly aspect, and similar to each other, and offer them. And let the priest take one as a burnt-offering for sins.” And what should they do with the other? “Accursed,” says He, “is the one.” Mark how the type of “God Saves” now comes out. “And all of you spit upon it, and pierce it, and encircle its head with scarlet wool, and thus let it be driven into the wilderness.” And when all this has been done, he who bears the goat brings it into the desert, and takes the wool off from it, and places that upon a shrub which is called Rachia, of which also we are accustomed to eat the fruits when we find them in the field. Of this kind of shrub alone the fruits are sweet. Why then, again, is this? Give good heed. [You see] “one upon the altar, and the other accursed;” and why [do you behold] the one that is accursed crowned? Because they shall see Him then in that day having a scarlet robe about his body down to his feet; and they shall say, Is not this He whom we once despised, and pierced, and mocked, and crucified? Truly this is He who then declared Himself to be the Son of God. For how like is He to Him! With a view to this, [He required] the goats to be of goodly aspect, and similar, that, when they see Him then coming, they may be amazed by the likeness of the goat. Behold, then, the type of “God Saves” who was to suffer. But why is it that they place the wool in the midst of thorns? It is a type of “God Saves” set before the view of the Church. [They place the wool among thorns], that any one who wishes to bear it away may find it necessary to suffer much, because the thorn is formidable, and thus obtain it only as the result of suffering. Thus also, says He, “Those who wish to behold Me, and lay hold of My kingdom, must through tribulation and suffering obtain Me.”
Now what do you suppose this to be a type of, that a command was given to “God-Wrestler,” that men of the greatest wickedness should offer a heifer, and slay and burn it, and, that then boys should take the ashes, and put these into vessels, and bind round a stick purple wool along with hyssop, and that thus the boys should sprinkle the people, one by one, in order that they might be purified from their sins? Consider how He speaks to you with simplicity. The calf is “God Saves”: the sinful men offering it are those who led Him to the slaughter.
Epistle of Barnabas, ch. VIII
🐄 + 🔥 = ✞? 😲
“His glory (is that) of a bull; his horns, the horns of an unicorn; on them shall he toss nations alike unto the very extremity of the earth.” Of course no one-horned rhinoceros was there pointed to, nor any two-horned minotaur. But “Anointed” was therein signified: “bull,” by reason of each of His two characters,—to some fierce, as Judge; to others gentle, as Saviour; whose “horns” were to be the extremities of the cross.
Tertullian of Carthage, Apologetic, Book VII, ch. X
🐮 & 🦄 = ✞ ? 😱
For “Annointed,” being the first-born of every creature, became again the chief of another race regenerated by Himself through water, and faith, and wood, containing the mystery of the cross; even as “Rest” was saved by wood when he rode over the waters with his household.
Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, ch. CXXXVIII
🚢= ✞ ? 🤔
The ark continued sailing five whole months, and moved to and fro upon the waters, and in a period of fifty-one days neared the land. Nor thereafter did it float about any longer. But it only moved successively toward the four cardinal points of the earth, and again finally stood toward the east. We say, moreover, that that was a sign of the cross. And the ark was a symbol of the “Anointed” who was expected. For that ark was the means of the salvation of “Rest” and his sons, and also of the cattle, the wild beasts, and the birds. And “Anointed,” too, when He suffered on the cross, delivered us from accusations and sins, and washed us in His own blood most pure. And just as the ark returned to the east, and neared Mount Kardu, so also “Anointed,” when the work was accomplished and finished which He had proposed to Himself, returned to heaven to the bosom of His Father, and sat down upon the throne of His glory at the Father’s right hand.
Hippolytus of Rome, On Genesis VIII.I
Be propitiated by the gift upon my altar, and stay from me the deadly flood. So shall both Thy signs bring deliverance, to me Thy cross and to “Rest” Thy bow! Thy cross shall cleave the sea of waters; Thy bow shall stay the flood of rain.
Ephrem of Nisibus, Nisibene Hymns I.II
Check this out:
🐑🍖 +🔥 = ✞ ?
That lamb which was commanded to be wholly roasted was a symbol of the suffering of the cross which “Anointed” would undergo. For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb. And the two goats which were ordered to be offered during the fast, of which one was sent away as the scape, and the other sacrificed, were similarly declarative of the two appearances of “Anointed”.
Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, ch. XL
For even in a ship’s yard—which is part of a cross—this is the name by which the extremities are called; while the central pole of the mast is a “unicorn.” By this power, in fact, of the cross, and in this manner horned, He does now, on the one hand, “toss” universal nations through faith, wafting them away from earth to heaven; and will one day, on the other, “toss” them through judgment, casting them down from heaven to earth.
Tertullian of Carthage, Apologetic, Book VII, ch. X
The (poets) report that Ulysses, on ascertaining this, smeared with wax the ears of his companions, and, lashing himself to the mast, sailed, free of danger, past the Sirens, hearing their chant distinctly. And my advice to my readers is to adopt a similar expedient, viz., either on account of their infirmity to smear their ears with wax, and sail (straight on) through the tenets of the heretics, not even listening to (doctrines) that are easily capable of enticing them into pleasure, like the luscious lay of the Sirens, or, by binding one’s self to the Cross of “Annointed,” (and) hearkening with fidelity (to His words), not to be distracted, inasmuch as he has reposed his trust in Him to whom ere this he has been firmly knit, and (I admonish that man) to continue stedfastly (in this faith).
Hippolytus of Rome, The Refutation of all Heresies, Book VII, ch. I
For the sea is not traversed except that trophy which is called a sail abide safe in the ship … this shows no other form than that of the cross.
Justin Martyr, First Apology, ch. LV
If you wish to behold a still more marvelous sight, taking place to provide proof of resurrection not only from matters on earth but also from those in heaven, consider the monthly resurrection of the moon, how it wanes, dies, and rises again.
Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum I.XIII
Readorned also are the mirrors of the moon, which her monthly course had worn away. … The whole, therefore, of this revolving order of things bears witness to the resurrection of the dead.
Tertullian of Carthage, De Resurrectione Carnis XII
Take further a manifest proof of the resurrection of the dead, witnessed month by month in the sky and its luminaries. The body of the moon vanishes completely, so that no part of it is any more seen, yet it fills again, and is restored to its former state; and for the perfect demonstration of the matter, the moon at certain revolutions of years suffering eclipse and becoming manifestly changed into blood, yet recovers its luminous body: God having provided this, that thou also, the man who art formed of blood, mightest not refuse credence to the resurrection of the dead, but mightest believe concerning thyself also what thou seest in respect of the moon.
St. Cyril, Lecture XVIII.X
Let us consider, beloved, the kind of resurrection that occurs at regular intervals. Day and night give us examples of resurrection. The night sleeps, the day rises; the day departs, the night comes on. Let us take the crops. The sowing—how and in what manner does it take place? The sower goes out and puts each of the seeds into the soil: when they fall on the soil, they are dry and bare, and decay. But once they have decayed, the Master’s wondrous Providence makes them rise, and each one increases and brings forth multiple fruit.
Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians, XXIV.III
Suppose I should show you a dead man raised and alive, even this you would disbelieve. God indeed exhibits to you many proofs that you may believe Him. For consider, if you please, the dying of seasons, and days, and nights, how these also die and rise again. And what? Is there not a resurrection going on of seeds and fruits, and this, too, for the use of men? A seed of wheat, for example, or of the other grains, when it is cast into the earth, first dies and rots away, then is raised, and becomes a stalk of corn. And the nature of trees and fruit-trees,—is it not according to the appointment of God they produce their fruits in their seasons out of what has been unseen and invisible? Moreover, sometimes also a sparrow or some of the other birds, when in drinking it has swallowed a seed of apple or fig, or something else, has come to some rocky hillock or tomb, and has left the seed in its droppings, and the seed, which was once swallowed, and has passed through so great a heat, now striking root, a tree has grown up. And all these things does the wisdom of God effect, in order to manifest even by these things, that God is able to effect the general resurrection of all men. And if you would witness a more wonderful sight, which may prove a resurrection not only of earthly but of heavenly bodies, consider the resurrection of the moon, which occurs monthly; how it wanes, dies, and rises again.
Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum, I.XIII
We therefore have formed the belief that [our] bodies also do rise again. For although they go to corruption, yet they do not perish; for the earth, receiving the remains, preserves them, even like fertile seed mixed with more fertile ground. Again, as a bare grain is sown, and, germinating by the command of God its Creator, rises again, clothed upon and glorious, but not before it has died and suffered decomposition, and become mingled with the earth; so [it is seen from this, that] we have not entertained a vain belief in the resurrection of the body.
Pseudo-Irenaeus, Fr. XII
Consider now those very analogies of the divine power (to which we have just alluded). Day dies into night, and is buried everywhere in darkness. The glory of the world is obscured in the shadow of death; its entire substance is tarnished with blackness; all things become sordid, silent, stupid; everywhere business ceases, and occupations rest. And so over the loss of the light there is mourning. But yet it again revives, with its own beauty, its own dowry, its own sun, the same as ever, whole and entire, over all the world, slaying its own death, night—opening its own sepulchre, the darkness—coming forth the heir to itself, until the night also revives—it, too, accompanied with a retinue of its own. For the stellar rays are rekindled, which had been quenched in the morning glow; the distant groups of the constellations are again brought back to view, which the day’s temporary interval had removed out of sight. Readorned also are the mirrors of the moon, which her monthly course had worn away. Winters and summers return, as do the spring-tide and autumn, with their resources, their routines, their fruits. Forasmuch as earth receives its instruction from heaven to clothe the trees which had been stripped, to colour the flowers afresh, to spread the grass again, to reproduce the seed which had been consumed, and not to reproduce them until consumed. … All things return to their former state, after having gone out of sight; all things begin after they have ended; they come to an end for the very purpose of coming into existence again. Nothing perishes but with a view to salvation. The whole, therefore, of this revolving order of things bears witness to the resurrection of the dead. In His works did God write it, before He wrote it in the Scriptures; He proclaimed it in His mighty deeds earlier than in His inspired words. He first sent Nature to you as a teacher, meaning to send Prophecy also as a supplemental instructor, that, being Nature’s disciple, you may more easily believe Prophecy, and without hesitation accept (its testimony) when you come to hear what you have seen already on every side; nor doubt that God, whom you have discovered to be the restorer of all things, is likewise the reviver of the flesh. And surely, as all things rise again for man, for whose use they have been provided—but not for man except for his flesh also—how happens it that (the flesh) itself can perish utterly, because of which and for the service of which nothing comes to nought?
Tertullian of Carthage, De Resurrectione Carnis, XII
“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain; but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body.” Now, observe how in these words he says that there is sown, “not that body that shall be;” but that of the body which is sown and cast naked into the earth (God giving to each seed its own body), there takes place as it were a resurrection: from the seed that was cast into the ground there arising a stalk, e.g., among such plants as the following, viz., the mustard plant, or of a larger tree, as in the olive, or one of the fruit trees. God, then, gives to each thing its own body as He pleases: as in the case of plants that are sown, so also in the case of those beings who are, as it were, sown in dying, and who in due time receive, out of what has been “sown,” the body assigned by God to each one according to his deserts.
Origen Adamantius, Contra Celsum, V.XVIII-XIX
Notice how the whole of nature brings us comfort by rehearsing our future resurrection. The sun sinks down and is reborn, the stars slip away and return, flowers fall and come to life again, shrubs decay and then burst into leaf, seeds must rot in order to sprout into new growth. As trees are in winter, so are our bodies in this world; they keep their verdure concealed beneath deceptive barrenness. Why be impatient for the body to come to life again and to return when it is still the depths of winter? We, too, must await the springtime—the springtime of the body.
Minucius Felix, The Octavius, XXXIV
In winter a plant is rooted in the soil but no fruit appears on it; as you look at trees in winter time they seem to have dried up. Anyone who does not know how to look will think a vine has shriveled, and perhaps there is another alongside this one that really is shriveled and dead. Throughout the winter the two can scarcely be distinguished, yet one is alive and the other is dead. The life of the one and the death of the other are still concealed, but when summer comes both life and death manifested. The glory of leaves and the abundance of fruit adorn the living vine. What was present all the time in its root now clothes it visibly. It is the same with us, brothers and sisters. For the time being we are just like everybody else. As other people are born, eat, drink, wear clothes, and lead their lives, so too do the saints.
Augustine of Hippo, Expositions of the Psalms, CXLVIII.XVI
Does a tree after it has been cut down blossom again, and shall man after being cut down blossom no more? And does the corn sown and reaped remain for the threshing floor, and shall man when reaped from this world not remain for the threshing? And do shoots of vine or other trees, when clean cut off and transplanted, come to life and bear fruit; and shall man, for whose sake all these exist, fall into the earth and not rise again? Comparing efforts, which is greater, to mould from the beginning a statue which did not exist, or to recast in the same shape that which had fallen? Is God then, who created us out of nothing, unable to raise again those who exist and are fallen? But thou believest not what is written of the resurrection, being a Greek: then from the analogy of nature consider these matters, and understand them from what is seen to this day. Wheat, it may be, or some other kind of grain, is sown; and when the seed has fallen, it dies and rots, and is henceforth useless for food. But that which has rotted, springs up in verdure; and though small when sown, springs up most beautiful. Now wheat was made for us; for wheat and all seeds were created not for themselves, but for our use; are then the things which were made for us quickened when they die, and do we for whom they were made, not rise again after our death?
The season is winter, as thou seest; the trees now stand as if they were dead: for where are the leaves of the fig-tree? Where are the clusters of the vine? These in winter time are dead, but green in spring; and when the season is come, there is restored to them a quickening as it were from a state of death. For God knowing thine unbelief, works a resurrection year by year in these visible things; that, beholding what happens to things inanimate, thou mayest believe concerning things animate and rational. Further, flies and bees are often drowned in water, yet after a while revive, and species of dormice, after remaining motionless during winter, are restored in the summer (for to thy slight thoughts like examples are offered); and shall He who to irrational and despised creatures grants life supernaturally, not bestow it upon us, for whose sake He made them?
St. Cyril, Catechetical Lectures XVIII.VI-VII
Let us consider the marvelous sign which is seen in the regions of the east, that is, in the parts about Arabia. There is a bird, which is named the phoenix. This, being the only one of its kind, liveth for five hundred years; and when it hath now reached the time of its dissolution that it should die, it maketh for itself a coffin of frankincense and myrrh and the other spices, into the which in the fullness of time it entereth, and so it dieth. But, as the flesh rotteth, a certain worm is engendered, which is nurtured from the moisture of the dead creature and putteth forth wings. Then, when it is grown lusty, it taketh up that coffin where are the bones of its parent, and carrying them journeyeth from the country of Arabia even unto Egypt, to the place called the City of the Sun; and in the daytime in the sight of all, flying to the altar of the Sun, it layeth them thereupon; and this done, it setteth forth to return. So the priests examine the registers of the times, and they find that it hath come when the five hundredth year is completed. Do we then think it to be a great and marvelous thing, if the Creator of the universe shall bring about the resurrection of them that have served Him with holiness in the assurance of a good faith, seeing that He showeth to us even by a bird the magnificence of His promise?
Clement of Rome, Epistle to the Corinthians, ch. 25
If, therefore, this prophetess confesses the resurrection, and does not deny the restoration of all things, and distinguishes the godly from the ungodly, it is in vain for them to deny our doctrine. Nay, indeed, they say they can show a resemblance of the resurrection, while they do not themselves believe the things they declare: for they say that there is a bird single in its kind which affords a copious demonstration of the resurrection, which they say is without a mate, and the only one in the creation. They call it a phœnix, and relate that every five hundred years it comes into Egypt, to that which is called the altar of the sun, and brings with it a great quantity of cinnamon, and cassia, and balsam-wood, and standing towards the east, as they say, and praying to the sun, of its own accord is burnt, and becomes dust; but that a worm arises again out of those ashes, and that when the same is warmed it is formed into a new-born phoenix; and when it is able to fly, it goes to Arabia, which is beyond the Egyptian countries. If, therefore, as even themselves say, a resurrection is exhibited by the means of an irrational bird, wherefore do they vainly disparage our accounts, when we profess that He who by His power brings that into being which was not in being before, is able to restore this body, and raise it up again after its dissolution? For on account of this full assurance of hope we undergo stripes, and persecutions, and deaths. Otherwise we should to no purpose undergo such things if we had not a full assurance of these promises, whereof we profess ourselves to be the preachers.
Constitution of the Holy Apostles, Book V, ch. I.VII
But the Greeks ask for a resurrection of the dead still manifest; and say that, even if these creatures are raised, yet they had not utterly mouldered away; and they require to see distinctly some creature rise again after complete decay. God knew men’s unbelief, and provided for this purpose a bird, called a Phoenix. This bird, as Clement writes, and as many more relate, being the only one of its kind, arrives in the land of the Egyptians at periods of five hundred years, shewing forth the resurrection, not in desert places, lest the occurrence of the mystery should remain unknown, but appearing in a notable city, that men might even handle what would otherwise be disbelieved. For it makes itself a coffin of frankincense and myrrh and other spices, and entering into this when its years are fulfilled, it evidently dies and moulders away. Then from the decayed flesh of the dead bird a worm is engendered, and this worm when grown large is transformed into a bird;—and do not disbelieve this, for thou seest the offspring of bees also fashioned thus out of worms, and from eggs which are quite fluid thou hast seen wings and bones and sinews of birds issue. Afterwards the aforesaid Phoenix, becoming fledged and a full-grown Phoenix, like the former one, soars up into the air such as it had died, shewing forth to men a most evident resurrection of the dead. The Phoenix indeed is a wondrous bird, yet it is irrational, nor ever sang praise to God; it flies abroad through the sky, but it knows not who is the Only-begotten Son of God. Has then a resurrection from the dead been given to this irrational creature which knows not its Maker, and to us who ascribe glory to God and keep His commandments, shall there no resurrection be granted?
St. Cyril, Catechetical Lectures, Lec. XVIII.VIII
The phoenix burned itself on the pinnacle of the temple in “City of Peace.” On the eighth day after the holy Virgin had brought forth our saviour, she took him with [her husband] to the temple in order to make a sacrifice for him as firstborn, and he was named “God Saves”. From that moment now no one has ever seen that bird up to this day. Our fathers have born witness.
Coptic Sermon on the Phoenix XL-XLVI
They say that there is a bird single in its kind which affords a copious demonstration of the resurrection, which they say is without a mate, and the only one in the creation. They call it a phœnix, and relate that every five hundred years it comes into Egypt, to that which is called the altar of the sun, and brings with it a great quantity of cinnamon, and cassia, and balsam-wood, and standing towards the east, as they say, and praying to the sun, of its own accord is burnt, and becomes dust; but that a worm arises again out of those ashes, and that when the same is warmed it is formed into a new-born phoenix; and when it is able to fly, it goes to Arabia, which is beyond the Egyptian countries. If, therefore, as even themselves say, a resurrection is exhibited by the means of an irrational bird, wherefore do they vainly disparage our accounts, when we profess that He who by His power brings that into being which was not in being before, is able to restore this body, and raise it up again after its dissolution? … For He that framed for Himself a body out of a virgin, is also the Former of other men. And He that raised Himself from the dead, will also raise again all that are laid down.
Constitutions of the Apostles I.VII
Virginity is fit to be compared to bees, so laborious is it, so modest, so continent. The bee feeds on dew, knows nothing of copulation, and makes honey.
Ambrose of Milan, Concerning Virginity, Book I, ch.VIII
Who was able to form the Flesh of “Anointed” in a virgin womb, and (to speak even to unbelievers themselves) Who was able to bestow on bees a progeny without sexual intercourse.
Augustine of Hippo, On the Good of Marriage ch. II
The bees are the stamp of virginity.
Eucherius of Lyons, Formulae IV: On the Animals
And if we even affirm that He was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you accept of Perseus. … Perseus was begotten of a virgin.
Justin Martyr, First Apology, ch. XXI, Dialogue with Trypho, ch. LXX
For it was most suitable that the oldest of the Æons and the first of the Archangels, when about to hold communion with men, should dwell in the oldest and the first of men, even “Red.” And thus, when renovating those things which were from the beginning, and forming them again of the Virgin by the Spirit, He frames the same just as at the beginning. When the earth was still virgin and untilled, God, taking mould, formed the reasonable creature from it without seed.
Methodius of Olympus, Banquet of the Ten Virgins: Concerning Chastity, Discourse III, ch. IV
But we, made confident by God the Word that was made flesh of the Virgin, answer that virginity was implanted in man’s nature from above and in the beginning. For man was formed of virgin soil.
John of Damascus, Exposition on the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, ch. XXIV
So is the earth, or bees, or phoenix birds more like a female virgin mother than another female virgin mother (i.e. Gaia, Neith, Athena, etc. [read more])? Are cyclical “rebirths” of the phoenix, or the moon, or vegetation more like a bodily resurrection after three days than another bodily resurrection also after three days (i.e. Osiris)? As just seen, followers of the Good Shepherd have historically had very low standards for what constitutes a parallel, especially when it comes to their doctrine of so-called “prophetic typology.” And this low standard of theirs carries on to this day, even among some of the very antagonists who harp on “mythicism” and comparative mythology. One such apologist featured earlier in this article has drawn parallels which even we alleged “parallelomaniacs” hadn’t picked up on because there was so little resemblance. For example, he has tried to claim a sacred chest containing stone tablets was a prophetic foreshadowing of the Good Shepherd’s virgin birth. ¯\_(°_o)_/¯ I’m sorry, but however comparable that may be, it still bears far less resemblance to a virgin birth than does the aforementioned virgin births by bees, or birds, or Gaia, or Neith, all of which predate any stories about this sacred chest, let alone any stories about Good Shepherd’s mother.
Notice that it was not an explicit statement from scripture to the effect- “this is the fulfillment of.” Instead, the apologist admitted that the only thing which “indicates” that this fulfilled the prophecy was the series of parallels. Well if that’s the standard, why assume it was the Good Shepherd who fulfilled the prophecy? Far prior to the Good Shepherd’s story, the aforementioned narrative of Perseus likewise had him being born of a virgin mother (yes, explicitly called that in pre-Common Era sources) and yet was also locked inside of a chest! If anything that seems like even more of a parallel to the sacred chest of the Levant than the Good Shepherd’s nativity, for he was not locked inside any chest at all. Moreover, the hiding away of the virgin Danae in a locked chamber where no man could access it, only a god could, sure sounds like the innermost tabernacle containing the sacred Levantine chest which only their god could access. That’s yet another detail which seems to be lacking a parallel in Good Shepherd’s nativity.
And again, this story of Perseus’ virgin birth already existed prior to the Good Shepherd, so appealing to his own nativity story as a typological fulfillment would’ve been entirely unnecessary by the time he came along. As Justin Martyr said: “And when they heard it said by the other prophet, that He should be born of a virgin, and by His own means ascend into heaven, they pretended that Perseus was spoken of.” This also raises the question- if a “typological prophecy” can be fulfilled through mere analogous parallel rather than verbatim literal fulfillment, then why did the Good Shepherd parallel them in this way? He could’ve paralleled those old covenant scriptures through any manner he (or his God) could imagine (including a literal verbatim fulfillment), yet of all the ways in the universe that he could’ve paralleled the sacred chest bearing the stone tablets, he (and/or his God) decided to do so in a way that more closely resembles Perseus and other famous mythology of the pop culture of the time than it resembles the sacred chest. If we didn’t know any better, it would almost seem as though the Good Shepherd (or at least the authors of the stories about him) was trying to set himself up to be compared to Perseus and others. They could’ve easily nipped that in the bud from the outset by having the prophetic typology fulfilled another way, any way, other than virgin birth, but alas, they all chose not to. To think this virgin birth looks more like stone tablets in an opulent chest than it looks like other virgin births is just pure obstinacy. This apologist has certainly heeded the instruction of his predecessor Origen Adamantius when he wrote to deliberately engage in “parallelomania,” and with even lower standards than myself or my peers.
At the same time also we learn the general principle that, if the sign signifies something, each of the signs which are recorded, whether as in actual history, or by way of precept, is indicative of something afterwards fulfilled; as for example, the sign of “Dove” going out after three days from the whale’s belly was indicative of the resurrection of our Saviour, rising after three days and three nights from the dead; and that which is called circumcision is the sign of that which is indicated by “Little” in the words: “We are the circumcision.”
Commentary on The Publican, Book XII.III
Again, does resurrection from a tomb after three days resemble being swallowed and vomited by a sea creature after three days any more than it resembles yet another resurrection from a tomb after three days? But even concurring that being swallowed and regurgitated by a sea creature is sufficient enough of a similarity to justify the parallel, we still find that motif in pagan mythology as well, some of which even predates the story of the prophet “Dove”(4th century BCE). As early as the 6th century BCE, there was the story of Hercules being swallowed and regurgitated by the sea monster Cetus, and this was said to have happened for a duration of three nights. And to refer again to Perseus, he too was swallowed and regurgitated by Cetus in a story going as far back as the 6th century BCE. Wow, Perseus just keeps racking up the parallels, and again, in such a way that more closely resembles the “sign of Dove” than does the parallel in Good Shepherd’s bio. By the standards of Origen and the aforementioned apologist, this should de facto make Perseus a contender for the title of prophesied savior alongside the Good Shepherd, given all this prophetic typology Perseus parallels with old covenant scriptures. Some folks may retort that Perseus still doesn’t fill enough typologies even if he does fill them with greater resemblance, but that just means you aren’t “seeking” the signs hard enough as Origen instructed. For example, Perseus’ chest being buried in the sea can be likened to the Levantine chest crossing the waters of Yardén, which in turn is definitely a parallel to Good Shepherd’s baptism in those same waters (and so we come full circle, yay!), but alas- his water parallel yet again lacks a chest of his own, unlike his predecessors or Perseus. Anyway, around that same era, in the 5th century BCE, the epic hero Jason was swallowed and regurgitated by the Colchian dragon, while a sheep hangs on a tree in the background (now that sure sounds familiar as well 😉, not to mention Jason was also dismembered yet bodily resurrected in pre-Common Era sources). But far prior to all of these stories, in the 13th-12th century BCE, the god Baal (who we know for a fact Good Shepherd’s people repeatedly worshiped, and long before the prophet “Dove” came along.) was swallowed and regurgitated by the monster Mot/Mavet, during which he too died and came back to life.  And even older than that text is the Egyptian Book of Amduat, as seen in the tomb of Thutmose III (KV34, 15th century BCE), in which can be seen the god Re & his entourage being regurgitated by the sea serpent called “Life-of-the-Gods,” having been reborn into eternal youth through the process.  None of these stories are any more or less different from the Good Shepherd’s death & resurrection than the story of the prophet “Dove.” To prop any one of these up over the others as a “more valid” parallel is to succumb to the special pleading fallacy.
Now it’s time to have a little bit of fun with this.🙂
Okay, cool. So then how about-
Really? Alright, then how about-
*Sigh* Very well then, let’s try-
Seriously? Fine, surely this is apt then-
So those are all too different from each other, but the fish is still similar enough to a grave somehow?
Strange. And what of this one-
Excellent! Then surely this is a fitting parallel as well-
Hmmm, so a snake on a pole is more like a dude with a wooden cross on his back than another dude with a wooden cross on his back? That seems a bit inconsistent, but whatever. How about this-
Perfect! By that standard, this should be very comparable as well-
Unbelievable. And this one-
Okay, I see. And what say ye of this-
I think you all get the point. This tactic is a perfect example of the aforementioned special pleading fallacy.
Another point I think should be made here is that these satirical parody “parallels” such as Lincoln-Kennedy, or Genghis Khan-Alexander III of Macedon, or Rome-New York, are not analogous to the parallels demonstrated by mythicism and comparative mythology, and I’ll explain why. Those faux parallels start from a false premise, because they start with two things affirmatively proven to both be non-fictional, rather than comparing two fictional things or at the very least one thing certainly fictional compared to another thing quasi-fictional/historical. Mythicism is not like comparing real people to real people, such as comparing Barack Obama to Martin Luther King. It’s more like comparing Superman to Brandon Breyer, or at the very least like comparing Odin or Father Frost or Kris Kringle to Santa Claus, whose connection to Nicholas of Myra makes him only quasi-fictional/historical. Same with the New York thing covered earlier- the difference there is that New York and Rome actually exist, right now, today, whereas mythicism is more like comparing Metropolis or Birnin Zana to Shambala, or at the very least to Atlantis, which always manages to retain some quasi-historical element.
These antagonists often complain that we are “ignoring all the differences” and other such irrelevant details when comparing similarities, and one antagonist quoted earlier pointed out that he deliberately ignored such things himself in his Rome-New York parody. But what was actually ignored that was truly relevant here is that such parodies themselves were in fact deliberately copied from us pagan mythicists and were thus not constructed organically or by happenstance as they try to assert of real parallels. These parodies are deliberately constructed parallels made in blatant imitation of something that came prior to it- that something being the parallels highlighted by we mythicists and company. And it doesn’t matter what their purpose was for engaging in such copycatting, the fact remains (which they admit to) that they did indeed copycat us. This undermines their whole premise, for this means that yet again followers of the Good Shepherd have intentionally created pagan parallels. They just can’t help themselves from being copycats, no matter their agenda in the moment of doing so. And this is a thing that happens- parallels can in fact be constructed using two mutually exclusive things that already exist and are of disparate origins, and those things can indeed be re-purposed by an artist or storyteller to communicate their analogy. For example:
While power poles were not designed in emulation of Roman execution crosses, these artists nonetheless took the liberty of using it as an analogy to a famous Roman cross. People do it today, stands no reason to think they didn’t do it back at the turn of the Common Era. In fact, we know they did, as highlighted by many of the quotes on parallels made by the church fathers cited above (e.g. boat masts being made analogous to Roman crosses in spite of these two tools being disparate in their origins), or as I covered in a previous article, their re-purposing of the ancient image of a grapevine upon a cross trellis (known as a “canterius“) as a metaphor for the Good Shepherd upon a Roman cross. Vine trellises and boat masts and Roman crosses all evolved in separate ways from different origins (as far as I’m aware), but nevertheless were all used as parallels for each other by the Good Shepherd and his followers. Yet his followers seem to take umbrage with us when we occasionally do the same in some of our comparisons. Go figure.
But getting back to the point, the most important thing ignored in their parodies is that none of these things used in those mock comparisons were ever conflated with each other back in ancient times. To my knowledge, no one ever confused Genghis as Alexander, or Kennedy as Lincoln, or New York as Rome etc. They never treated these things as interchangeable due to their similarities. But Osiris was explicitly identified with and used interchangeably with Dionysus, and Attis, and Adonis, and Mithras, etc. And the ancient people did this in spite of the numerous obvious differences that existed between all these gods, they were all nonetheless explicitly identified with each other. Likewise Horus was conflated with Apollo, and Helios, etc. in spite of the many differences that existed. The people back then only cared about the similarities.
Nor were the motifs being compared arbitrarily selected because they just happened to already parallel the Good Shepherd’s mythos coincidentally or were the best comparisons that could be fudged into something vaguely representing a parallel. Instead, these motifs were highlighted for comparison because they are recurring archetypes of Western mythology with significant symbolism that generally carries the same or similar meaning throughout each of these cults and mythologies in which we find them. E.g. we read of drinking wine symbolizing the blood of Horus, drinking wine symbolizing the blood of Osiris, drinking wine symbolizing the blood of Dionysus, etc., so when we also later read of the Good Shepherd serving wine as a symbol of his blood, we have good reason to suspect a pattern. We didn’t go searching for these parallels after the fact and tried to comb over the Good Shepherd’s mythos for any minutia vaguely resembling something like drinking blood as wine to force a square peg into a round hole. Rather, these parallels jumped out at us and refused to be ignored. And for some of us this happened while we still believed in the Good Shepherd and desperately tried to debunk the implications of such patterns.
Now more to the point, Osiris, Horus, Dionysus, Adonis, etc., were all explicitly identified with the god of the Good Shepherd’s religion. And this was done long before the Good Shepherd came along, and was done in spite of whatever differences existed- they made no difference, the people still made the conflation based on the similarities. And eventually Osiris & Horus were even conflated with the Good Shepherd himself. So the Good Shepherd was not arbitrarily selected by us to be picked on and propped up against this list of syncretic pagan gods to try and “seek” out parallels just for the sake of “debunking” his religion. It was not us who decided to start comparing the Good Shepherd to pagan myths such as Perseus or the Phoenix, etc.- his own church fathers were already doing that millennia ago. No, the Good Shepherd was chosen to be compared with this group of gods because both his own religion and his predecessor religion were significantly intermingled in syncretism with this group of deities for centuries prior to the Common Era and consistently down through the first centuries of the Common Era.
But that shall be addressed more in depth (with citations, of course) in the next article:
 Clive S. Lewis, in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge and Joy 1950-1963 (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007), 480.
 Bill Moyers and George Lucas, “Of Myth and Men: A conversation between Bill Moyers and George Lucas on the meaning of the Force and the true theology of Star Wars,” Time 153, no. 16 (1999): 88-96.
John C. McDowell, The Gospel According to Star Wars: Faith, Hope, and the Force (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007).
Ray Comfort, “The TRUE Force—compared to the fiction of ‘Star Wars’,” ATN, accessed January 26, 2014, https://web.archive.org/web/20140327090245/http://www.allthingsnow.com/day/religion/shared/5285135/The-TRUE-Forcecompared-to-the-fiction-of-Star-Wars.
 Ralph C. Wood, The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-Earth (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003).
 John F. Kennedy, “The Presidency in 1960,” National Press Club, Washington D.C., 14 January 1960.
—”Remarks at New York Central Democratic Committee Dinner,” New York, 13 February 1960.
—”Remarks at New York Coliseum,” New York, 5 November 1960.
—”Remarks at Capitol Steps,” Columbus, Ohio, 17 October, 1960.
—”Cleveland Press Book and Author Luncheon,” Cleveland, Ohio, 16 April 1959.
 John F. Kennedy, “Remarks at Democratic Luncheon,” East Chicago, Indiana, 5 February 1960.
—”Lincoln Monument Rally,” Spokane, Washington, 6 September 1960.
 Richard Kurin, The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects (New York: The Penguin Press, 2013), 297.
 Nancy Jo Fox, Liberties with Liberty: The Fascinating History of America’s Proudest Symbol (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1986), 1.
 Barry Moreno, The Statue of Liberty (Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2004), 16.
 Musée d’Orsay, Liberté, 2006. https://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/collections/works-in-focus/sculpture/commentaire_id/liberty-23154.html.
 “If expense were no object they could be made very ornamental, by having hanging gardens, such as in old times were at Ninevah or Babylon, by terracing around them; having fountains, you may have anything you desire.”- Report of the Select Committee on the Bill Relative to a Public Park in New York, New York State Senate, 21 June, 1853.
Frederick L. Olmsted, “Park,” in The New American Cyclopedia: Volume XII, eds. G. Ripley, C.A. Dana (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1861), 778.
 Andrew S. Dolkart, Matthew A. Postal, Guide to New York City Landmarks (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009), 213.
 Nina Siegal, “CITY LORE; Plugging a Hole in the Reservoir of Memory,” in The New York Times, 7 May, 2000.
 Charles B. Driscoll, “NEW YORK DAY BY DAY,” in The Washington Reporter, 20 January, 1947: 4.
 A. Peter Bailey and Edith J. Slade, Harlem Today: A Cultural and Visitors Guide (New York: Gumbs & Thomas Publishers, Inc., 1994), 14.
 Ovid, Amores, Book III.IV (1st centuty BCE): “In thalamum Danae ferro saxoque perennem quae fuerat virgo tradita, mater erat.”
 Shhmuel Safrai, in Encyclopedia Judaica, eds. F. Skolnik, M. Berenbaum (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007), 387.
Michael Fishbane, in Encyclopedia of Religion: 2nd Edition, Volume 7, ed. L. Jones (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005), 4947.
John Day, God’s Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea: Echoes of a Canaanite Myth in the Old Testament (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 111.
Jongsoo Park, in Inspired Speech: Prophecy in the Ancient Near East, eds. J. Kaltner and L. Stulman (London: T & T Clark International, 2004), 278.
Daniel Ogden, Perseus (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008), 93.
Magdalene B. Stoevesandt, “Laomedon,” Brill’s New Pauly Encyclopedia of the Ancient World: Antiquity, K-Lyc, eds. H. Cancik and H. Schneider (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV, 2005), 31.
Aristoula Georgiadou and David H.J. Larmour, Lucian’s Science Fiction Novel, True Histories (Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV, 1998), 156.
Wilmon Brewer, Ovid’s Metamorphoses in European Culture: Books XI-XV (Francestown: Marshall Jones Company, 1957), 21.
Daniel Ogden, Drakōn: Dragon Myth and Serpent Cult in the Greek and Roman Worlds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 129.
William F. Hansen, Ariadne’s Thread: A Guide to International Tales Found in Classical Literature (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002), 122.
Joseph E. Fontenrose, Python: A Study of Delphic Myth and Its Origins (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959-80), 298.
Ogden (2013), 58-59.
Elizabeth Vandiver, Classical Mythology (Chantilly: The Teaching Company LLC, 2000), Lecture 1.
Karim Arafat, “Argonauts,” in The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 4th ed., eds. S. Hornblower, A. Spawforth, and E. Eidinow (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 149.
 Lycophron, Alexandria § 1310-20- “He came to Libyan Cytaea and put to sleep with simples that four-nostrilled snake, and handled the curved plough of the fire-breathing bulls, and had his own body cut to pieces in a caldron and, not joyfully, seized the hide of the ram.” (Emph. added.)
Pherecydes of Syros and Simonides of Ceos, in Lyra Graeca: Vol. II, trans. J.M. Edmonds (London: William Heinemann, 1924), 277- “Medea made Jason young again by boiling him.” (Emph. added.)
 Erik Hornung and Theodor Abt, The Egyptian Amduat: The Book of the Hidden Chamber, trans. D. Warburton (Zurich: Living Human Heritage Publications, 2007), 368.
 Center image: Ionian carnelian scarabaeoid, 6th century BCE, currently at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
See also notes 21 & 22.
Description de L’Égypte: Antiquités 5, 2nd édition, ed. M. Edme-François Jomard (Paris: Imprimerie de C.L.F. Panckoucke, 1823), Pl. 82.44, 46.
Headless statue of Amenhotep III as Osiris with the djed cross affixed to his back, 14th century BCE, currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
 “The one who is upon his sycamore, O brightness of the banks, the one who is upon his imA tree, O Lord of green fields.”- Pyramid Texts, Utterance 403 § 699.
“I have embraced the sycamore, and the sycamore has sheltered me.”- Book of the Dead, Spell 64 S 17.
“I am the tousled one who came forth from his iAt–tree … (I am) Osiris.”- Book of the Dead, Spell 179 a S, b S 2.
“On Khoiak 24th is the [day] when Osiris is buried in the embalming workshop … As for the [last day] of Khoiak, erection of the djed pillar at Busiris, the day of the funeral of Osiris … From Khoiak 24th until the last day (of the month), the god is lain on the branches of a sycamore at the door of the High Busiris.”- The Dendera Chapel of Osiris, Col. 94-96, in Sylvie Cauville, Le Temple de Dendera: Les chapelles osiriennes, Bibliothèque d’Étude 118 (Cairo: French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, 1997), 223. (Emph. added.)
“Hail to you tree which encloses the god … Your top is beside you for Osiris when the Djed–pillar of the Great One is loosed.”- Pyramid Texts, Utterance 574 § 1485-86.
Eva Von Dassow, “A Glossary of Common Terms and Concepts,” in The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day, Being the Papyrus of Ani, ed. E. Von Dassow (San Francisco: Chronicle Books LLC, 1994-2008), 173.
Carol L. Meyers, The Tabernacle Menorah: A Synthetic Study of a Symbol from the Biblical Cult (Piscataway: Gorgia Press LLC, 2003), 109-10.
Carol Andrews, Egyptian Mummies (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984-2004), 41.
Ivan Engnell, Studies in Divine Kingship in the Ancient Near East (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1943-67), 10-11.
John G. Griffiths, “The Symbolism of Red in Egyptian Religion,” in Ex Orbe Religionum: Studia Geo Widengren Oblata I, ed. B. Layton (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1972), 86.
 “They wear the most hideous wooden
Masks, and address the Wine-god in jovial ditties, and hang
Wee images of the god to sway from windy pine–boughs.
Thus will every vine advance to full fruition
And valleys will teem and dells and dingles and combes deep-wooded—
Yes, wherever the Wine-god has turned his handsome head.
So let us duly pay to that god the homage we owe him
In anthems our fathers sang, in offerings of fruit and cake.”- Virgil, Georgics, 2.387-94 (1st cen. BCE).
Attic red-figure stamnos, 5th cen. BCE, currently at the Museo Archeologico in Florence.
 Erik Hornung, Valley of the Kings: Horizon of Eternity, trans. D. Warburton (New York: Timken Publishers, Inc., 1982-90), 138, 145.
Theodor Abt, Erik Hornung, Knowledge for the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat – A Quest for Immortality (Zurich: Living Human Heritage Publications, 2003), 122.
Andreas Schweizer, The Sungod’s Journey through the Netherworld: Reading the Ancient Egyptian Amduat (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994-2010), 168-69.
John G. Griffiths, The Origins of Osiris and His Cult (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1980), 9, 22.
Robert K. Ritner, “Egypt under Roman rule: the legacy of Ancient Egypt,” in The Cambridge History of Egypt: Volume One, ed. C.F. Petry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998-2008), 15.
Patricia Remler, Egyptian Mythology: A to Z (New York: Chelsea House, 2000-10), 49-50.
Robert A. Wild, Water in the Cultic Worship of Isis and Sarapis (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1981), 97-98.
Ian S. Moyer, “The Initiation of the Magician: Transition and Power in Graeco-Egyptian Ritual,” in Initiation in Ancient Greek Rituals and Narratives: New Critical Perspectives, eds. D.B. Dodd and C.A. Faraone (London: Routledge, 2003), 221, 232 n.12.
 Hornung (2007), 319. (Emph. added.)
 “For Egyptians do not all worship the same gods in the same way. Only the gods Isis and Osiris (the latter of whom they say is Dionysos) are worshiped in the same manner by all Egyptians. … The Egyptians say that Demeter and Dionysos reign over those in the underworld. …
The last of these to reign over Egypt was Horus son of Osiris, whom the Hellenes name Apollo. It was he who had subdued Typhon and became the last of these divine kings of Egypt. His father Osiris is called Dionysos by the Hellenes. … They say Apollo and Artemis are the children of Dionysos and Isis, and that Leto became their nurse and savior. Apollo in Egyptian is Horus, Demeter is Isis, and Artemis is Boubastis.”- Herodotus, Histories 2.42, 123, 144, 156, in The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories, ed. R.B. Strassler, trans. A.L. Purvis (New York: Anchor Books, 2009), 136, 172, 185, 192. (Emph. added.)
“We have a host of gods called Dionysus. The first is the son of Jupiter and Proserpina, the second the son of the Nile.“- Cicero, The Nature of the Gods 3.23/58, trans. P.G. Walsh (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 128. (Emph. added.)
“And of the ancient Greek writers of mythology some give to Osiris the name Dionysus. … Osiris, they say, was also interested in agriculture and was reared in Nysa, a city of Arabia Felix near Egypt, being a son of Zeus; and the name which he bears among the Greeks is derived both from his father and from the birthplace, since he is called Dionysus. …
The discovery of ivy is also attributed to Osiris by the Egyptians and made sacred to this god, just as the Greeks also do in the case of Dionysus. … For the rite of Osiris is the same as that of Dionysus and that of Isis very similar to that of Demeter, the names alone having been interchanged.”- Diodorus of Sicily, Library of History 1.11.3, 15.6, 17.4, 96.5, in Diodorus Siculus: Library of History, Books 1-2.34, trans. C.H. Oldfather (London: William Heinemann Ltd., and Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1933-67), 39, 51, 57, 327.
“One of the first acts related of Osiris in his reign was to deliver the Egyptians from their destitute and brutish manner of living. This he did by showing them the fruits of cultivation, by giving them laws, and by teaching them to honour the gods. Later he travelled over the whole earth civilizing it without the slightest need of arms, but most of the peoples he won over to his way by the charm of his persuasive discourse combined with song and all manner of music. Hence the Greeks came to identify him with Dionysus. … It is better to identify Osiris with Dionysus. … Dionysus also they call Hyes since he is lord of the nature of moisture; and he is no other than Osiris. … That Osiris is identical with Dionysus who could more fittingly know than yourself, Clea? For you are at the head of the inspired maidens of Delphi, and have been consecrated by your father and mother in the holy rites of Osiris.”- Plutarch, Moralia 356A-B, 362B, 364D, 364E, in Plutarch’s Moralia: Volume V, trans. F.C. Babbitt, (London: William Heinemann Ltd., and Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1936-62), 35, 69, 83, 85.
“It is not surprising that Osiris is often identified with Adonis, first that we know of in the time of the second Ptolemy, when poets attach to the state-sponsored Adonia an Osirian procession down to the sea with an effigy of the god. Most germane to our inquiry is Parthenius’ reference to “Adonis of Canopus,” which locates Adonis at the site of the most famous Ptolemaic cult of Osiris-Serapis. Parthenius, of course, was an influence on Virgil and his contemporaries.”- Joseph D. Reed, “The Death of Osiris in ‘Aeneis’,” The American Journal of Philology 119, no. 3 (1998): 411.
“Assyrians call you thrice-lamented Adonis; all Egypt- Osiris.”- Phrygian Hymn to Attis (1st cen. CE), in The Gnostic Bible, eds. W. Barnstone and M. Meyer (Boston: New Seeds Books, 2003), 483-84.
“I saw in Byblos a large temple of Byblian Aphrodite, in which they perform the rituals to Adonis. I also learnt the rites. … And they shave their heads like the Egyptians when the Apis-bull dies. Of the women, those who do not wish to shave their heads pay the following fine. They put their beauty on sale for a single day; the market is open to strangers alone, and their fee becomes forfeit to Aphrodite. Some of the Byblians assert that it is amongst them that Egyptian Osiris is buried, and that the mourning rites are all directed, not to Adonis, but to Osiris.“- Lucian of Samosata, On the Syrian Goddess § 6-7, trans. J.L. Lightfoot (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 251-53.
“People hold Adonis to be none other than Dionysus, a belief supported by many of the rites at the festivals of both. … ‘Is there actually some tradition that demonstrates identity between him and Adonis?’ Moeragenes interposed, ‘Never mind him. I as an Athenian can answer you and say that the god is no other. Most of the relevant proofs can lawfully be pronounced or divulged only to those of us who have been initiated into the Perfect Mysteries celebrated every other year.’ “- Lamprias, Symmachus, and Moeragenes, Moralia 671B-D, in Plutarch’s Moralia: Volume VIII, trans. P.A. Clement and H.B. Hoffleit (London: William Heinemann Ltd., and Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1969), 359-61. (Emph. added.)
“Hail to you Attis, at whose name Rhea looks down.
Assyrians call you thrice-lamented Adonis;
all Egypt- Osiris. …
All hail, all hail—as Pan, as Bacchus,
As shepherd of the shining stars.”- Phrygian Hymns to Attis (1st cen. CE), in Barnstone and Meyer (2003), 483-84. (Emph. added.) See also p.677, n.1967.
“There were two celebrated persons called Attis, one a Syrian, the other an Arcadian, and that both were killed by a wild boar.“- Plutarch, Lives: Sertorius 1.2, in Plutarch’s Lives: Volume VIII, trans. B. Perrin (London: William Heinemann Ltd., and Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1919-59), 3. (Emph. added.)
“Terracotta figurine (H. 0.192), found in a grave during excavations for the electricity station near the actual Stadium in Callatis. Constanţa Archaeological Museum, Inv. No 5343 (Coll. V. Canarache). … Attis–Dionysus seated on a base in a short shoulder-cape and Phrygian cap. He seems to be hermaphroditic. He holds in his left hand a cock, a bunch of grapes in his other hand. In the back an air hole. Date: Hellenistic period.“- Maarten J. Vermaseren, Corpus Cultus Cybelae Attidisque (CCCA) VI. Germania, Raetia, Noricum, Pannonia, Dalmatia, Macedonia, Thracia, Moesia, Dacia, Regnum Bospori, Colchis, Scythia et Sarmatia (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1989), 121. (Emph. added.)
“For this reason Dionysus was called Attis, because he was mutilated.”- Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen Ch. 2, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Volume II, eds. A. Roberts and J. Donaldson, trans. A. Roberts (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1885-1994), 176.
“Whether ‘tis best to call you rosy Titan in the fashion of the Achaemenian race, or Osiris the grain-bringer, or Mithras twisting the horns wroth to follow in the rocks of Peres’ cavern.”- Statius, Thebaid 1.715-20 (1st cen. CE), in Statius: Thebaid, Books 1-7, trans. D.R.S. Bailey (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2003), 93. (Emph. added.)
“The Thebans call me Bacchus,
Egyptians think me Osiris,
Mysians name me Phanaces,
Indians regard me as Dionysus,
Roman rites make me Liber,
The Arab race thinks me Adonis,
To Lucaniacus- the Universal God.”- Ausonius of Burdigala, Epigram XLVIII, in Ausionius: Volume II, trans. H.G. Evelyn White (London: William Heinemann, 1921), 187.