Search the name ‘Acharya S’ in Google and you’ll find more than 79,000 hits. Most of these links go to atheist, New Age, and other sites hostile to scripture. I decided to read this book since it was being quoted by so many atheists as proof against the Bible. A documentary called Zeitgeist claims to explore the pagan roots of the Bible, and it uses Acharya S. and several of her sources as proof against the Bible.
As a Christian, the reliability of scripture is important to me; therefore, I felt the need to search out this book’s claims. The book is poorly documented, stretches the truth beyond recognition, and blatantly deceives the reader. Even a cursory examination of her sources reveals a string of intentionally deceptive patterns. This book depends on the blind faith of her followers. Anyone who attempts to find the sources she quotes from will be sorely disappointed.
A humorous irony is that many atheists (including Dorothy Murdock / Acharya S.) rely heavily upon Gerald Massey, whom they claim to be a great Egyptologist. Massy is the first known to make the claim that Jesus is a copy of Horus (an Egyptian god). He also makes the connection between Jesus and 2000 other pagan gods—a so-called fact often repeated by Massy followers. The humor of this claim is that Gerald Massey was not a studied Egyptologist; he was a poet who died in 1913 and has no credentials with anyone but the atheists who cite him thinking that he was a researcher.
Gerald Massey claims to have gotten his ideas from ancient text; however, he does not cite the text he supposedly translated from. Since he appears to be the only one who found these secret texts and it cannot and has not been verified by any credible source, it does not stand as evidence but only speculation at best. Many have searched the ancient texts he studied, but none have found any evidence to support his writings. Since Massey never cited any original text, his writings show to be more of a fictional story than an attempt at translation. Yet his claims are the foundation the Christ Conspiracy stands upon.
Another source used as evidence is the works of James Frazer; however, he also states that his work does not represent a whole system of mythology. In other words, the characters came from mythology and much of what he wrote is incomplete and not intended to be an accurate representation. As with Massy, Frazer provides no sources for his writing, and none of the claims that the Bible borrowed from pagan religions can be found in actual ancient mythology.
Massey and Frazer both make radical claims that differ greatly from what is known and verified by actual evidence, yet Murdock quotes both as sources for her evidence. Many atheist sites quote all three as though they were independently verified sources while hiding from their audience that each quote the others and have created a circular quoting system. They quote each other but none use historical evidence or use credible research. Many researchers have examined the text these two supposedly studied, but independent research has not been able to turn up anything to verify the claims that the Bible matches ancient mythology.
In the ‘Christ Conspiracy’, Murdock presents a non-stop barrage against the Bible. When examining the claims, every so-called proof against the scriptures fell short. The evidence is either fabricated, paraphrased or is so vaguely referenced that the source cannot be located. Rarely does this book provide specific sources or direct quotes. Murdock provides only the first initial and the last name of those she supposedly quotes from, but does not provide any specific sources. It becomes very difficult and often impossible to verify her sources. Of the ones I researched, one hundred percent fell short and some were blatantly dishonest. At what point does the ranting become irrelevant? Let me provide an example of her disgraceful representation of the facts.
“The Arabian Issa purportedly lived around 400 BCE in the western Arabian region of Hijaz, where also existed places called Galilee, Bethsaida and Nazareth, a town that was not founded in Palestine until after “Jesus of Nazareth’s” alleged era. The similarities between the Arabian Issa and the Palestinian Jesus are many and profound.”
As is the pattern among the circle of quotations between Murdock, Massey, and Frazer, no legitimate historical citations were provided and there is no verification of these claims. Contrary to Murdock’s claim, Galilee, Bethsaida and Nazareth were cities in Israel long before the era of Jesus and long before 400 BC. In fact, Galilee is mentioned in Johsua, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, and Isaiah. According to archaeologists, Bethsaida was founded around the tenth century BC[i]. This is six hundred years earlier than Murdock’s claim. Galilee is mentioned as far back as the book of Joshua which far predates 400 BC. This and the other five books of the Bible where Galilee is mentioned were translated into Greek in the third century BC and the text used in this translation go well back into ancient times. This also nullifies Murdock’s claim that Galilee was not a city until the era of Christ.
Nazareth is mentioned in the New Testament, but not mentioned in other Jewish writings until after 300 AD. According to archaeology, there were probably fewer than 35 families living in Nazareth and it had very little significance. The absence of small towns should not be disturbing to the Christian for none of the other small towns would have made it into Jewish records without something noteworthy occurring. The Jews mocked the idea of the Messiah coming out of Nazareth in the scriptures. Nathaniel scoffed at the idea saying, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”[ii] So it shouldn’t be shocking that a small town that had no respect would not be noteworthy in historical records. It also is not mentioned in Arabian regions either. In Muslim writings it appears after the eighth or ninth century AD but these refer to the same city as is mentioned in scripture.
Another example of deception by Murdock is her claim about the locations of Galilee, Bethsaida, and Nazareth. She says that Muslim writings indicate these cities are in the western Hijaz region (in Arabia), and that the Bible borrowed from these writings. Both claims are false. First, Muslim writings do indeed refer to these three cities, but say they are west of the Hijaz region – not in the western Hijaz region of Arabia. Why is this significant? Because west of Hijaz is Israel. In other words, the Arabian writings and the Bible’s writing are pointing to the same cities in the same region. She has slightly altered her geography in order to fabricate evidence to cast doubt upon the scriptures.
She also claims that Isa (or Issa) is a Muslim religious figure that Christians borrowed for the Bible. Isa is the Muslim version of Jesus and Islam teaches that Isa was only a prophet and did not die on the cross. Islam teaches that the cross is an abomination for they consider it a disgrace. As Christians we agree that the cross is a disgrace—for the shame of the cross is part of our punishment that Jesus bore for our sins. An important message of our faith is that though He existed as God, Jesus humbled Himself, took on the role of a bondservant, and willingly suffered the shame of the cross to bear the judgment of our sins[iii]. Muslims do not believe this so we must not mistake the teachings of the Muslim Isa as being the same as the Jesus of Christianity. Though they point to the same period in history and the same person, what we believe about Jesus is vastly different.
Yet another intentional deception is the dating of the Muslim Isa. In the Christ Conspiracy, Murdock claims that Isa lived around 400 years before Christ and the Bible turned this into a new legend. However, most of the stories of Isa come from writings associated with Islam. Muhammad lived between 570 and 632 AD and the writings of the Qur’an are not believed to have been written down for more than 100 years after the death of Muhammad. The earliest manuscripts are from 800 AD. Murdock is quoting from writings written in the beginning of the ninth century as verifiable evidence for something that she states took place four hundred years before Christ. The 400 BCE date given by Murdock is misinformation, for the Muslims believe the Arabic Isa to be born of the virgin Mary (or Maryam in Aramaic). The dates of Isa is the same date as the Jesus of the Bible. In fact, a Muslim will tell you that Isa is Jesus of the Bible though they do not believe in His divinity, crucifixion, or resurrection. It is unknown where she pulled this date from. Her dating for the source of ancient text is more than 1000 years off target, but the contradiction should not be surprising at this point.
Christians are often intimidated by bold claims presented as fact, yet when we look behind the swelling words, there is little more than wind and no substance. The Christ Conspiracy presents a machinegun fire approach to Murdock’s arguments against Christianity. It seeks to overwhelm the reader with so much evidence that it appears to be indisputable. The goal is to send would-be critics into duck and cover. The truth is that these critics are shooting blanks.
After searching out claims through half the book, 100% proved to be false. There comes a point in time when we have to declare the whole argument to be fallacious. It isn’t necessary for the Christian to answer every single objection presented by books like this. Titus 3:9-11 says:
9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless.
10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,
11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
It isn’t possible to persuade someone who is bent on disbelieving, yet we should examine so-called evidence and encourage one another that we indeed stand upon the truth.
I give The Christ Conspiracy: the greatest story ever sold, the lowest ranking of 1 star. It is poorly researched, poorly documented, and intentionally misleading.
[ii] John 1:46
[iii] Philippians 2:6