According to Greek mythology, Dionysus was the offspring of the Greek god Zeus and a mortal female virgin Semele. Accounts claims he could turn water into wine and had died and been resurrected. The parallels to the Christ narrative of Scripture are unmistakable, but he had a cultic following that predates Christ’s advent by 1,500 years.
Likewise the Egyptian god Osiris repeatedly died and was resurrected and fathered a son named Horus that presages the life of Jesus by 3,000 years. There are those who claim these narratives along with bits and pieces from other mythological stories were borrowed from and complied to create the story of Jesus. The skeptic would have us believe the Christ of the Bible was just a little more modern myth founded on a hodgepodge of those that preceded it.
But to the discerning eye there are obvious differences. Each of these pagan myths once had a dedicated following of cultic adherents, but not anymore. It is hard to sustain a robust faith predicated on nothing more than a fable, a fabricated story with no basis in history. A fictional story cannot maintain a genuine faith.
In contradistinction Christianity appears to have been founded on the simple eyewitness accounts of those early followers who claimed to have witnessed the reality of the resurrection and spent the rest of their lives preaching the resurrection despite the sure condemnation of their countrymen, the persecution of the Roman Empire, and the skepticism of those who they were sent to, while suffering some of the most grievous tortures known to flesh and blood up to and including sealing their testimony with their martyrdom.
This is how we can distinguish Christianity from ancient myths, but the historicity of Christianity can also be used to distinguish it from modern myths that may have a strong following today. But I wish to share something that was a defining moment in my life and faith.
I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was eight years old. On that summer Sunday evening when I decided to trust Christ as my Savior something happened in my heart that is difficult if not impossible to explain. It must have been similar to what Paul experienced on the road to Damascus, the household of Cornelius at Caesarea, or the jailer at Philippi, because it changed my life and has continued to do since then.
This ongoing transformation within is an abiding witness that “He who has the Son has the life,” First John 5:12.
These are just a few of the reasons I take the words of Paul seriously when he writes, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths,” Second Timothy 4:3-4.