What Influenced It?

Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! We’ve been looking lately at the booklet of the Watchtower called “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” We’re right not discussing the doctrine of the Trinity and how the Watchtower says it came to be. Let’s go to what they say now.

The Watchtower goes with scholarship of a past era asserting that Christianity copied the Trinity from pagan religions. (Not letting their readers know that the same theory holds that the entire Christian story was copied from pagan religions, including beliefs that the Watchtower holds to like the virgin birth.) Let’s look at some of their claims.

For instance, consider what they say Will Durant says.

“Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. . . . From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity.”

This is one of the worst deceptions in the whole book. Fortunately, this was also one of the books I managed to find at my local library. What is horrible about this is that the Watchtower puts a period after “trinity” in this quote. There is no period. There is a comma and Durant lists beliefs of “The Last Judgment” and “reward and punishment.” That the Watchtower did not use an ellipsis here is shameful and if you can get your hands on this book, show it to your Witness friends.

The next quote is from Morenz. I urge the reader to look up in Google Books the book “Egyptian Religion” and see what else he says is of Egyptian origin. The story of the rich man and Lazarus is one. Also, the association between a ship rudder and the tongue. Also, a Pauline formula on the supremacy of the creator. These can be found on page 254.

The next source is Gibbon and again, the Watchtower does not mention that Gibbon thinks other beliefs are pagan, like the virgin birth. Once again, the Watchtower is willing to embrace the opinions of scholars and show them, but they selectively show them. If they say the Trinity is pagan, well the Trinity is pagan. If they say the virgin birth is, well we need to step back some.

The reality is that this kind of idea while popular on the internet today is not seriously discussed in academic circles. Scholars of Mithraism today for instance know that Christ is not meant to be seen as a copycat of Mithras. If anything, the reverse is true. The believers of Mithraism copied from Christianity.

There are several sources one can go to to verify these points. The chief one I’d point to is that of my ministry partner, J.P. Holding, at tektonics.org. There, he has a page with copycat Messiah figures demonstrating that these are not valid copies. There’s also Ronald Nash’s book “The Gospel and the Greeks.” Finally, Lee Strobel’s book “The Case for the Real Jesus” has a short interview with Mike Licona on this topic as well as a longer one with Edwin Yamauchi. The interested reader is encouraged to go there for more information.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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