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Did The Egyptian God Osiris Exist? A Debate - by John Prytz

There is oneatheist argument that no Christian theist can really refute, and every timeI’ve used it, no Christian theist has successfully tried to refute this. Itgoes like this: “Had you been born andraised in a different or past society / culture [like that of ancient Egypt] you’dbe singing the praises of a quite different deity (or deities) with equalfaith, belief or conviction [like Osiris] and you know this to be so. So whatdoes that say about the existence of your Christian God?”


So how would my all too frequent debating colleague knownas MG react to this? Well MG raised the issue of the existence of Osiris – agod within the pantheon of the ancient Egyptian deities.


MG - "Atheists actually do quite frequently say thatGod doesn't exist..."


JP - Some do, but those people are misrepresenting theaccepted atheist position. That is NOT the position I adopt. My position isthat you, as a theist, making a positive claim, have the burden of proof toback it up. Now let's see if you can. I seriously doubt it. 


[Even though there is no evidence for God’s existencethat doesn’t preclude the possibility that God exists just that the burden ofproof exists with the theist making the positive claim. Can that argument beapplied to the ancient Egyptian god Osiris?]


MG – “Likewise, no rational person says “I just haven’tseen evidence of Osiris”. No, Osiris does not exist, and we all know it.”


JP – The ancient Egyptians didn’t know that. Were theyall delusional? If so, doesn’t that suggest that all deities are delusionalsince there’s no evidence for any of them?


JP – And theancient Egyptians had evidence and sound reasons to believe Osiris did exist.


JP – The ancient Egyptians were intelligent and rationalpeople and believed in the existence of Osiris. So your argument is downrightsilly. No matter how you slice and dice things, a lot of people, as rationaland as intelligent as you, believed in the existence of Osiris. Who the heck doyou think you are to pass judgment on them!


MG – “We haveevidence and sound reasons to believe Osiris does not exist.”


JP – Who is “We”?Speak for yourself. Regarding theancient Egyptians and Osiris, so what makes you think that you’re better, moreintelligent, and more rational, than they were? A bit up yourself – yes? Butfurther to the point, you are an atheist when it comes to Osiris. You sayOsiris doesn’t exist, yet that’s just your opinion. How do you actually knowOsiris doesn’t exist? You can’t absolutely prove that Osiris doesn’t exist andyou know you can’t, but if you think that you can, do so here and now. Give thereaders here your “evidence”. 


MG – “Ok, I have solid reasons to believe that Osirisdoes not exist. If Osiris did exist, then there would be a spiritual plain ofexistence in which our own spirits are judged (our hearts weighed against afeather). Since we do not have spirits, there can be no such place, and Osiriscannot exist.”


JP – While I quite agree with you that there is no spiritworld, millions of other intelligent and rational people would willingly takeyou to task for your non-spiritual plain of existence worldview.


JP – Regarding Osiris: 1) Osiris may have been an actualhuman whose legend has over the centuries in ancient Egypt been blown out ofall proportion with the telling and retelling and re-retelling of his story. 2)If we’re simulated beings then Osiris had the same degree of virtual reality asyou now have. 3) Osiris may have been an ‘ancient astronaut’ – he is frequentlydepicted having green skin! 4) Osiris inhabited the underworld so he wouldnormally be out of sight except to the newly dead awaiting judgment andpossible resurrection into the Egyptian version of the afterlife. 


Now using this question of Osiris as an example, I havethe decided opinion that you’ve set yourself up as judge, jury and executionerover an entire ancient culture rubbishing them just because they held differentbelief systems than you do. So what makes you right and the entire ancientEgyptian Empire wrong? Finally, don’t knock another culture unless you’vewalked a mile in their shoes.


MG – “TheEgyptians (and other ancient groups) were rational people, but they didn’t haveenough information to realize their gods didn’t exist. We have enoughinformation to show these did not exist, as I did in the case of Osiris.”


JP - So again you’veset yourself up as judge, jury and executioner over an entire ancient culturerubbishing them just because they held different belief systems than you do bysuggesting they lacked sufficient information.


MG – “The point isthat the gods of ancient civilizations can be shown not to exist, but the Godof the Bible is even more plausible now (with more information accumulated)than He was back then.”


JP - Regarding evidence for God, well the ancient Greekswould give you evidence for Zeus (and the rest of the Olympians); the Norseevidence for Odin; the ancient Egyptians evidence for Osiris & Isis; theAztecs evidence for Quetzalcoatl; the Incas evidence for Viracocha; the Hindusevidence for Brahma; the American Indians evidence for a Great Spirit; the AustralianAborigines evidence for their Rainbow Serpent and on and on it goes. You notonly have to provide evidence for God, but refute all the evidence for Zeus,Horus, etc. You can probably come up with several other examples of deitiesthat are currently believed in in other modern monotheistic religions; deitiesthat you would also need to negate in order to prove God as the one true god.


JP – Akin to the Osiris argument, since nobody in thepast several thousand years has proven the actual existence of your preferreddeity (i.e. – God), what makes you think you can?


JP - So even after all of these posts of yours you'restill not one jot closer to providing any evidence for far less proving theexistence of your preferred deity than you were when you started. Going off ontangents about Osiris does nothing to bolster up your case for your preferreddeity.


JP - So let's stay with modern times and just forgetabout Osiris for the moment who after all is quite beyond our reach andtherefore his status can't actually be determined. So, let's say that when youfinally kick-the-bucket you go off to the Pearly Gates only to be greeted bythe Trinity of Shiva, Braham and Vishnu. Oops! Now you have a good billion orso rational and intelligent people, true believers living right now who acceptthe existence of the Trinity of Shiva, Braham and Vishnu. So why are they wrongand again, who are you to pass judgment? 


Note: There was no response to this challenge.


Conclusion: The purpose here was not to show that Osirisactually existed rather than in principle the Christian God and the Egyptiandeity Osiris are on equal theological footing since neither can be proven tohave had existence or non-existence. There’s as much or as little likelihoodfor the one as for the other. That’s in contrast to MG who asserts that theChristian God actually exists in actual fact and that the Egyptian deity Osirisdoesn’t exist and never has existed in actual fact.




Postscript: Now here’s one reason whyI think you should find the Simulation Hypothesis appealing. All theologiescould be ‘true’ – Osiris could have virtually ‘existed’.


Postscript: God is not a necessary being. Brahma, Shiva,Isis and Osiris perhaps, but not God. Actually in fact there is no such thingas a necessary being since beings or entities are in no manner, shape or formfundamental to existence.


Postscript: What about personal experiences? Personalexperiences are just that, personal. They convey no evidence relating to thatexperience to anyone else who hasn’t shared that experience, an unlikelyhappening since, by definition, the experience was personal. Further, spiritualexperiences are not confined to God, Jesus or the Virgin Mary. All manner ofother deities from Osiris to Shiva to Apollo and Odin have been personallyexperienced. That also applies to extraterrestrials as well as having visionsand communications with the deceased.


Postscript: The concept of a resurrection is not by anymeans restricted to Jesus. Resurrection, for example, was a common theme inAncient Greek mythology. Hercules, as noted above, got resurrected by his daddytoo! And in Ancient Egyptian mythology, Osiris was resurrected by Isis.Further, if you read the Gospels side-by-side instead on consecutively, you’llnote that the various accounts of the resurrection of Jesus are inconsistentand contradictory with numerous discrepancies with respect to who (thatdiffers) saw what; between what actually happened (that differs too) and when;and between when (timelines also differ) whatever happened actually happened.The personnel, events and timelines are not consistent.

Science librarian; retired.

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