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작성일 : 17-04-02 17:32
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 글쓴이 : GFM
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Is it true that ancient Egyptian religions had a virgin birth for their god, and if yes, who borrowed from whom?

The Egyptian story you're referring to is probably the virgin birth of Horus. "Who borrowed from whom" is a trickier question; the first thing to realize is that stories of virgin births are quite common in world religions and mythologies, and many of these stories pre-date the birth of Jesus by many centuries. The same thing can be said of most other miracle stories in the Bible. There are many books about this stuff, especially by skeptics; one relatively unbiased source of information is _The_Book_of_Miracles_ by Kenneth L. Woodward.
Of course, none of this proves that there was "borrowing." To "borrow," the writer has to be aware of the earlier story, and it is generally a very difficult task to establish that a writer in one religious tradition was explicitly aware of the traditions of other religions. Furthermore, the word "borrow" seems to imply that the "borrower" is adding fabricated elements to his story, and I'm guessing that most people on this list would reject a priori the notion that the virgin birth of Christ was a parable and not a historical event.

One approach to this question, which I think C.S. Lewis has proposed, is to say that the Christian account is the ultimately true one, and the accounts found elsewhere are echos or shadows of this truth that reside deep inside the minds and souls of even unregenerate people. This view has the advantage that miracle stories in other religions don't have to be seen as satanic or as threats to the validity of the Bible.
As for miracles, well, the virgin birth has always been a major stumbling block for people, and I've never seen why. What all these miracle stories, such as the Egyptian one, and the several Greco-Roman ones I know (the conception of Romulus and Remus, or the birth of Athena), really point to is that this concept really isn't difficult to accept if you believe in gods. It should be a piece of cake for any deity even half-worthy of the title to create life without the need for sexual intercourse. Hey, with modern technology, even we can do it. This is what I consider an "obvious" miracle, something that you'd just assume a god could and would do when there was a need for it.

"Obvious" miracles in other religions don't bother me. What I find interesting are fanciful miracles, and the relative lack of them in the Judeo-Christian faith. Very few miracles in the Old or New Testament are showy, and generally only occur when God is making a point (the parting of the Red Sea, the column of fire and smoke, fire from heaven, the Transfiguration and Pentecost). Most miracles we wouldn't even recognize as miracles except that we are told--the flood, most of the plagues, the three-year drought, most healings, the calming of the storm, etc. Rationalists today spend a lot of time trying to explain these things mainly because God didn't make them look like miracles. They were very utilitarian in nature. Transformations, so important in Greco-Roman mythology, are almost totally lacking in the Bible. (The examples I can think of: formation of Adam and Eve, the curse of the snake, Lot's wife, and Moses' rod-snake (which, interestingly, seemed to have been selected because it could be imitated by Pharoah's magicians). None of these remotely resembles Greco-Roman transformation stories.) Fanciful creatures are only found in visions and poetry, and then in a sense which doesn't sound too literal. There are only two instances of talking animals: the snake and Balaam's donkey. In short, I see the distinction from other religions' miracle stories more in what the Bible doesn't contain than what it does.
I suppose most of these are impressions rather than hard figures and numbers, but I would challenge anyone to read a selection of Greco-Roman miracle stories and claim they had the same _character_ as Biblical miracle stories.
One theme that is common is that the miracles of the Bible are not terribly repugnant to neither the ancient nor modern mind. In his book "Miracles", C.S. Lewis asserts that what we observe small and tiny everyday is what God performs in broad, sweeping strokes which we call miracles. For example, water (in the form of rain) is taken up by a vine, delivered to a grape, pressed from it in the form of juice, and by the vehicle of a series of chemical reactions is transformed into wine. There is no mystery in this. In Canaan, Jesus performed in one step what we usually observe over the course of many months or even years. The fact that the usual "laws" of nature were temporarily suspended undoubtedly signaled to witnesses that nothing extraordinary occurred not merely because water turned to wine, but because Someone wielded the power to effect that temporary suspension.

Would it not be such a stretch to suggest that the miracles embraced by some other religions and those of the Bible are similar to each other not because of any copying or borrowing, but because the "small and tiny" common to everyone's lives are in each case manifested in fantastic proportions (i.e., miracles)? Stated somewhat differently, perhaps the common man's experiences with his physical world are the means through which a miracle is most effectively manifested. Joseph was surprised that something (great) was amiss at the news of Mary's pregnancy, but at least the mere principle of a woman being pregnant was not foreign to him. But what are we to make of talking trees, gargoyles, and centaurs we read about in various mythologies? Perhaps, as Lewis has stated in another work, other religions look at the facts of the universe through "dusty goggles". They get some, but not all, of the facts in, but Christianity gets them all.

 
   
 

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