Yeah.. I get this. We hear this all the time, right? Seems kinda common knowledge, now-a-days. RIGHT?
Why didn't non-theists or even Pagans use these arguments for the last 1,500 or so years? RIGHT?
Why haven't Pagans and Neo-Pagans been more upset about this? Why didn't those groups totally squash Judaism and Christianity as total knock-offs thousands of years ago. RIGHT?
There's a slight problem with this line of reasoning.
Similarities unfortunately don't prove a connection....really don't prove a dang thing. I believe this would be a logical fallacy of some sort - Fallacy of Equivication? or something like that. UNLESS you can show a direct connection.
You can't simply claim that 1 came from the other or that 1 stole from the other simply because they have beliefs in common.
It's like this........
1) You like chocolate
2) I like chocolate
3) Therefore I got the idea of liking chocolate from YOU.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.
Even if you can show that you're older than I am and that you liked chocolate 1st. and that I lived in the same town as you, in the same neighborhood, and even hung out with you, as a kid and therefore MUST have gotten the idea of liking chocolate from you. That's STILL not enough to causally conclude that therefore I like chocolate because you do, or even got the idea from you.
It is STILL completely possible that I like chocolate on my own, for DIFFERENT reasons. Especially if you ask me and that's what I say.
In fact it would take MORE evidence to counter my claim that I arrived at it on my own.
This is basically what most of these "Christianity stole the idea of _____ from ______" have in common. They rely on mere similarities as causation. They don't take into account what each religions actually claims about HOW and WHY it came to a similar conclusion/belief. In fact, it seems that many almost take the fact that they claim their beliefs are different TO prove that there is some sorta hidden conspiracy.
It could SIMPLY be the fact that both arrived at the same or similar beliefs on their own through different means. And if we look more closely at History -- this is EXACTLY what we find.
A) the beliefs are 'similar' but not exactly the same.
B) came about in different ways, arrived at differently.
C) often create different outcomes or ramifications - i.e. lead to different conclusions.
When we really start to analyze the ACTUAL beliefs of the different religions -- they are actually different. They SEEM similar on the surface, but in actuality are just as different as they are the same.
So it is only from a distance when both beliefs are generalized that they seem the same.
ON THE SURFACE... Egyptian religion (which had a tendency to assimilate/incorporate different religions into it) believed in a virgin birth. Christianity believes in a virgin birth.
However, Reality is that in Egyptian belief, it is NOT a purely virgin birth but a demigod who took the fallace (penis) of a dead god's body and impregnated HERSELF using his cut off member. -- So really not at ALL like Christianity when you get down to it.
So on the surface, BOTH involve the pregnancy of someone without the father being physically present at the time of getting pregnant. But that's also where the similarities END.
One is a holy and non-physical pregnancy of the 1 true God being incarnated. The other is a completely physical pregnancy by a demi-god giving birth to another demi-god by taking matters into her OWN hands (literally).
It's actually hard to envision how they could be MORE different.
AND YET.. people cite this as Christianity stealing from an older pagan religion. When you really look at it, you have to question that person's motivations.
What does it matter if 1 religion is actually completely unique or not? What is it about being singular and unique that means it is true??
Wouldn't we judge something as MORE likely to be true if we find the same principle repeated over and over again, all over the place?
If only 1 religion upholds that things like "love" "goodness" "truth" and 'Charity" are important -- we would actually have MORE reasons to disregard it or find it weird.
BUT, by contrast if nearly ALL religions uphold the value of things like truth, justice, love, charity, kindness, etc. -- then we have MORE reason to believe that they are true.
So some commonality between religions actually POINTS to some central truths and gives us MORE reason to believe that we should believe in these things and follow them.