If there’s one thing the internet is good for, it’s crazy rumors about Jesus. This series is my humble attempt at dispelling the weirdest internet rumors about Jesus as they come my way.
Weird Rumor #2
Jesus is simply a copy-cat myth of the much older Egyptian god Horus.
According to this weird rumor the Egyptian god Horus* was born of a virgin, had twelve disciples, and was crucified and resurrected three days later. Sound familiar?
It should, because this rumor argues that Jesus is actually Horus 2.0, rebranded and revamped. Jesus is simply the iHorus 4s – nothing really changed.
Consequently, we shouldn’t believe in Jesus because he’s just a redone Egyptian myth that you wouldn’t believe anyway.
WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
This rumor became popular on the internet with the documentary Zeitgeist, written and directed by some folks with a clear axe to grin against Jesus. It became even more popular thanks to Bill Maher’s “excellent” journalistic integrity of fact-checking the myth prior to its inclusion in the popular 2008 documentary Religulous.
As far as anyone can tell, the rumor comes from a self-proclaimed Egyptologist named Gerald Massey who wrote a work called Ancient Egypt, The Light of the World. In it Massey argues that Christians borrowed heavily from the Horus myth to create the Jesus myth. He lists over two-hundred alleged parallels between Jesus and Horus, three of which are the virgin birth, twelve disciples, and resurrection three days after his crucifixion.
So, is it true? Is Jesus simply Horus Round Two? Let’s look at these three claims one at a time.
1. HORUS WAS BORN OF A VIRGIN
Massey claims that Horus, like Jesus, was born of a virgin.
“The story of Jesus in the canonical Gospels follows the totemic and mythical representation. Horus [is] the child of a virgin mother.” 
However, according to actual Egyptian mythology, Horus is the son of both the goddess Isis and deceased god Osiris. Isis was not a virgin when she conceived Horus.
According to some accounts Isis turned into the form of a bird and had relations with her dead husband’s body after Osiris was murdered. Other accounts have Isis collecting Orisis’ body parts, creating a golden…umm…male part, and then resurrecting Osiris to have relations with him in order to become pregnant.
At any rate, the rumor claims that Horus was born of a virgin because Osiris was dead when Isis became pregnant even though she still had relations with Osiris.
But, as we have seen, Horus was not born from a miraculous virgin birth, but was rather the result of necrophilia. Not quite the same as Mary’s conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
Actually, not even close.
2. HORUS HAD TWELVE DISCIPLES
Massey claims that Horus, like Jesus, had twelve disciples.
“We claim, then, to show that the typical Twelve, who are called apostles or disciples in later language, originated in twelve characters which had represented twelve stellar powers in the astronomical mythology.” 
“The Kamite twelve, as reapers in the harvest-field with Horus in Amenta…Jesus brought the primary soul to the twelve who are his associates in the life on earth.” 
To be fair, Horus did indeed have followers, called the heru-shemsu. However, the heru-shemsu had no specific number associated with them. There could have been twelve, there could have been twelve-hundred. We simply don’t know.
Additionally, the heru-shemsu go wholly unnoticed in Massey’s work. He doesn’t even acknowledge them, which only betrays his ignorance of Egyptian mythology.
In the end, Horus didn’t have twelve disciples, but he did have an unspecified amount of followers. Again, as with the virgin birth, there is hardly a correlation to be made.
3. HORUS WAS RESURRECTED THREE DAYS AFTER HIS DEATH
Massey claims that Horus, like Jesus, resurrected three days after his death.
“These were followed in the eschatology by the god who rose again from Amenta as Horus in spirit; as the Bennu-Osiris, or as Ra the holy spirit. Jesus is likewise portrayed as the Lord of resurrections. He is said to have risen on the third day…” 
There’s only one problem with this – Horus never died according to actual Egyptian mythology. And, as is obvious, it’s a little difficult to be resurrected if you were never dead to begin with.
At this point the rumor, based on Massey’s work, seems to confuse Horus for his father Osiris when it comes to the resurrection link to Jesus.
According to the myth, Osiris ruled over Egypt with his wife Isis. Set, the brother of Osiris, murdered the king of Egypt and took the throne for himself. Isis then sought out her revenge on Set by reassembling Osiris’s body, having relations with him, and giving birth to Horus who eventually defeated Set. (Even then, some variations of the myth have Osiris returning in the form of a dangerous animal to kill Set himself ).
Thus, according to the myth, Horus is the “resurrected” Osiris.
It should be obvious that any link between the physical resurrection of Jesus to the “resurrection” of Horus or Osiris (or reincarnation into an animal) is severely wanting. There simply isn’t a link to be made.
Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected in the same body as the same person and being. Osiris was murdered, became the object of necrophilia from his wife, and Horus was born as a result. There is a huge difference between the two.
So, to sum it up, here’s a quick reference chart of why the Horus-Jesus rumor just doesn’t make the cut.
Was born of a literal virgin
Was born of necrophilia
|Had 12 disciples
Had followers, number unknown
|Was literally resurrected from death
Was the “resurrection” of Osiris
HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND?
So, how should we respond when we hear this rumor? Colossians 2:8 gives us great advice in matters like this (emphasis added).
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
When it’s all said and done, the Horus-Jesus rumor is a great example of the empty deceit that Paul is talking about in this verse. It’s both empty, since it doesn’t have a logical leg to stand on, and deceitful, because it’s designed to rob people from God’s loving call to Jesus.
Personally, I remember reading about this rumor many years ago and rejoicing because it gave me an excuse not to believe. But it’s just that – an excuse, not the truth.
If we come across someone who believes this rumor, we should present evidence to the contrary in gentleness and respect. Then, we should pray that they would meet the real Jesus who really lived, died, and resurrected to defeat the enemy, sin, and death in order to restore our broken relationship with our loving God.
For more information on the subject check out some of these other great articles and posts from Please Convince Me.com, Got Questions.com, and CARM.com
Have you heard a weird internet rumor about Jesus?
Want it answered?
Drop me a line!
Also, check out more weird rumors about Jesus:
Part I: JESUS VS. YEHOSUA
* There are variations of this rumor that substitute Osiris (or other gods) for Horus. For the sake of this post the author assumes the rumor is based on Gerald Massey’s work Ancient Egypt, The Light of the World.
 Gerald Massey, Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World (London: T.Fisher Unwin, 1907), 600.
 E. A. Wallis Budge, Legends of the Egyptian Gods, (New York: Dover, 1994), 105.
 Ian Shaw, The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 616-617.
 Gerald Massey, Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World (London: T.Fisher Unwin, 1907), 598.
 Ibid., 495, 598.
 Margaret Bunson, Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, 3rd ed. (New York: Infobase Publishing, 2012), 139.
 Gerald Massey, Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World (London: T.Fisher Unwin, 1907), 645.
 Geraldine Pinch, Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 78.