May 9, 2011

Why God But Not Thor? (or, "Pagan gods are Marvel Superheroes")

I was once asked by someone, “What makes your religion more valid than any other one? And also, why [isn’t it] considered myth like the older religions that make the same claims?”

I'd had discussions with this person before, so I could guess a little bit about what was behind his question. He was wondering why Christians will say that the God of the Bible is real but the other gods and goddesses of pagan mythology are not. Since Christianity and pagan religions supposedly all make the same claims, shouldn't we all consider Christianity to be a myth just as easily as we consider the pagan gods to be myths?

Here is part of my reply:

First, this question contains an assumption that I reject. Your question implied Christianity has the same elements, teachings and details as pagan myths. I know that this is a common assertion from some atheists, especially on the internet. People point to supposed parallels between Jesus and other dying and rising gods and suggest Christianity is just borrowing the same themes and therefore isn’t true. If that is what the question meant, then I reject that part of the question because I don’t believe that Christianity actually does make the same claims as pagan mythology. The similarities are very superficial and often forced. Also some of these supposed sources for Christianity actually come after the time of the New Testament. (If there are specific myths and details that you are thinking of, let me know. There are a lot of obscure myths and I can’t guess them in advance to deal with them.) Also, I need to add that even if it were true that Christianity had the same specific details as many older pagan myths, it wouldn’t actually prove that Christianity was false.  If there were movies made in the 20th Century about skyscrapers being destroyed by terrorists, that wouldn’t mean that the destruction of the World Trade Center was false or invented based on these stories.

Now, let me give you one major reason why I believe the pagan gods fail as being valid. Simply, the pagan gods aren’t even “Gods.” Sure, they have power and abilities, but they are limited. They are closer to Marvel superheroes than to the God of the Bible.

The pagan gods don’t actually explain anything. They don’t provide a sufficient reason the explain why the world exists. This is because the pagan gods are not eternal. Apollo is the son of Zeus. Zeus was the son of Cronus, and so on. So, none of these gods ultimately explains anything because each of them needs something else to explain them. On the other hand, the God of the Bible is of an entirely different quality. He is not a Marvel superhero. The God of the Bible is not only omnipotent, and omniscient, but also eternal. Because He is omnipotent (all powerful) and omniscient (all knowing) He has the power and wisdom needed to design and create the world. But even more importantly, He is eternal. Since God did not have a beginning, He did not need anything or anyone to create Him. If you’ve always existed, you don’t need to be created. Because the God of the Bible is eternal, He is a “sufficient reason” for everything else. The pagan superhero gods are not.

If you needed someone else to make you, don’t even claim to be a real God. The real God is in an entirely different category.


  1. I went to Paganism because nothing in the bible made sense to me. I don not get how or why we are all damned and need saving. I don not get how allowing his son to be nailed to a cross fixes that and nobody can explain it to me. I believe all things even Gods need a begining, they had to have started someplace. I also do not get how you explain all the other planets out there. I don't get how you can be so vain as to believe that all that space up there is for nothing and we are the only planet with life. I also do not get how your biggest holidays, like Chrsitmas and Easter that celberate your your God's son are false. They are Pagan holidays, to celberate the sun. Saul's birthday is Dec 25th, not Jesus's. and Pagan Gods are superheroes. Some guy put them in a comic book, which I think takes major balls.

  2. Hi Anon, that's quite an assortment of comments, but here are a few replies that I hope you would fine helpful.

    We need saving because we're sinners. God the Son willingly went to the cross to pay sins as the substitute for all who would place their confidence in Him as the one to save them. The Bible teaches that the cross was necessary so that God could be both "just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). In other words, God cannot be a just judge if he lets sin slide without being paid for. Therefore God became a human being so that He could pay the price for other human beings as their representative and substitute.

    Why does everything need a beginning? If God has always existed, then He does not need a beginning nor does He need someone to create Him. Everything that has a beginning needs a cause, but anything that is eternal does not need a cause. In fact, I think it makes far more sense that there must be SOMETHING that is an eternal necessary being. The chain of cause and effect can not go back forever. There needs to be some eternal foundation for everything else.

    Even if we are the only life, I don't think that makes someone vain. It also does not mean that everything else is "up there" for no purpose.

    As far as the dates for Christmas and Easter are concerned, I know that they are not one the specific days when these things happened. The date for Easter changes from year to year, so obviously no one ever intended it to be the specific day when Christ rose from the dead. It's the date that Christians choose to celebrate that event, and it is close to the Jewish Passover when this occurred. But yes, earlier Christians choose to put the celebrations for these events on dates that used to be pagan festivals in order to replace them. Good or bad, that doesn't invalidate the actual event.

    Finally, I would like to add that if you have doubts about the God of the Bible, I think you should have many many more doubts about paganism.


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