Parallels in Religion?

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Anacry

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This has always been a thing of interest to me, and since there seem to be so many different religions on the boards, I thought I'd ask.

Are there any parallels? I mean, in the Christian faith, it has this great big flood which kills every human except Noah and his family. Is there something akin to the great big flood in other religions? Or something like David and Goliath, where David goes against a giant man? Or something like Daniel, being thrown into the lions den? Or Shadrak, Meshak and Abendigo surviving being put in a furnace to burn?
 

whacko

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Don't know if it's related to a specific religion, but the Epic of Gilgamesh has many parallels with the Bible.
 

Medievalist

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Religions all contain stories or myths (let's ignore issues of veracity).

Many of these myths are international, that is they occur in multiple unrelated religions and languages. The great flood is one; a miraculous child (with assorted motifs) is another. There are a few hundred others.

See: Jaan Puhvel Comparative Mythology.

N.B. Comparative mythology is an academic field.
 

Mara

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Self-sacrificing god is another one that comes up every so often. A god making a journey to the underworld is a common thing, too.
 

Her Dark Star

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If you're looking for parallels to the Christian faith then Mithras has a number of points. Judaism obviously has a lot of similar stories but also some parallels/alternative versions. Ancient egyptian mythology has a number of similar stories as well, a lot of Christian symbolism would seem to have parallels in ancient greek mythology. To be honest almost every culture has stories where you can draw parallels or similarities. You specifically mention Noahs Ark and Gilgamesh but I think there's a whole host of flood stories, the Koran has a version that is related to the Noah story, I think Hinduism has one too, can't remember what it's called though. Try google and wikipedia and I think you'll find a lot of related stories.
 

Tania Dakka

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Islam, Judaism, and Christianity have many parallels as they are all rooted from the same source. Islam and Judaism are based on a monotheistic belief that there is only one God. In the Qur'an there is the mention of the Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus and that he spoke at birth. These three main religions are called the Ibrahimic Religions as they all stem from Abraham and have many of the same beliefs and prophets.
Here is a link that compares the three major religions of the world side by side:
http://www.religionfacts.com/islam/comparison_charts/islam_judaism_christianity.htm

It seems like you might be searching for particular events, but this could be a starting point for you. Hope this helps.

Tania
 

Fulk

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There are many, many parallels throughout the various religious mythologies. As Medievalist (and others) pointed out, virgin births, great floods, journeys to the underworld, and end-times figure into many religious stories. Religions adapt and evolve according to their surroundings and culture.


Study of comparative religion and biblical authorship has brought forth some evidence that Judaism, for instance, was initially a polytheistic religion similar to those of Greece and Rome, or Babylonian, Cannanite, and other Mesopotamian religions. There were multiple gods and various cults that paid tribute to one god in particular. (Cult here has a different meaning than the pop-culture understanding of the word) One of these gods was Yahweh, a war god. Over time, the Yahwist cult grew in popularity and condemned worship of other gods, including the Canaanite gods. This is monolatrist polytheism: acknowledgement of many gods, but worship of one. Monotheism was the eventual result.

Then when the Roman Empire expanded and adopted Christianity, tinges of polytheism from Roman religions crept back in. The idea of the trinity, pantheons of saints, a hierarchy of angels, etc, all have polytheistic origins.

David versus Goliath stories: Homer's Odyssey probably counts.

Journeys to the underworld: Osiris, Dionysus, Hercules, etc. Jesus has the "harrowing of hell" which is a medieval invention (as far as I remember, there's a little scriptural basis for it). Likewise, there's the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus is allowed to take his wife back from the underworld, on the condition he doesn't look back before they both reach the surface. But he does and so he loses his wife. This is rather similar to the story of Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt.

Death and resurrection: Osiris, Tammuz, Dionysus, etc.

Most ancient religions have stories about, or require, blood sacrifice.

There's also a common feature in religion where its adherents try to connect particular historical figures to divinity, or deem themselves the "chosen people." In Christianity, you have the lineage of Jesus to King David. If I recall correctly, Shinto claims that the line of emperors in Japan all descend from Ameterasu.

(Feel free to correct me if I mixed any of this up)
 
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aspier

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Tha answer is yes but the way these 'general' figures of parallel's are used in the storytelling of the Bibel is specific and exceptional. Its used as a 'your story' thing and not in historic perspective as other faiths deal with it. Plus the concepts are 'loaded' with deep cultural & mythological symbolism. Ref the name 'Mozes' ... there were other Mozes' too, I think the King Sargon of Syria also floated downstream. And the Egyptian Pharo Tutmozes - mozes mearly means 'son of'. Other faiths has this as historic, the historical Tut + his son. Christianity (or rather the Old Testament) loads 'meaning in a more general context to it - just the idea of 'being a son' ... Christ = Son of God ... etc. But back to Mozes ... there is also an idea of water attached to the concept son & water = death. Christ walks not on water but on death. Death cannot 'suck' Him into the deep - that's about what that wants to say. And that is also a 'your story', you too longs to be son to something that's really ok, a 'strong trustworthy' father and wants to live and not being suck into death. So? Mozes (the son of ... man?) was the first to floats on water and Christ (the son of God) the last ... there's a line, a structure to the whole story. These deep architypical symbols are not exploited in say the Koran for instance.

Christ is real but He is also a Word. One can speak it and grow with it, grow with the parallels. What is your take on this? Am I far off?
 
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Diana_Rajchel

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That flood you mention is a cultural universal. According to high school and college university professors (admittedly back in the 1990s) every culture has a "great flood" story.

Are you looking for parallel events, or a different type of parallel?
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

The newer faiths, like Sikhism (500 years old), don't much go in for mythology, except as metaphors. I believe the Baha'is are similar.

What we all have is a deity or a spiritual leader who suffers. That's universal.

All religions have prayers, though the manner of praying varies widely.

All faiths have a belief in an afterlife (even Buddhists, who believe in reincarnation, though they don't believe in the soul...I've never figured that one out...and I like Buddhists). Though again, the beliefs themselves vary widely.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

Rufus Coppertop

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All faiths have a belief in an afterlife (even Buddhists, who believe in reincarnation, though they don't believe in the soul...

The only arguments against belief in a soul in Mahayana Buddhism that I'm aware of, are against belief in a soul defined as a static, unchanging entity.

We're much more likely to speak in terms of a mind-stream.

I've never figured that one out...
You're not alone.
 

Siri Kirpal

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The only arguments against belief in a soul in Mahayana Buddhism that I'm aware of, are against belief in a soul defined as a static, unchanging entity.

We're much more likely to speak in terms of a mind-stream.

You're not alone.

Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Ah! Now that makes sense! Soul as moving mind-stream. Thanks!

I once heard a truly atheistic Buddhist explain the concept of reincarnation as compost: what dies is reused as something else. Which makes sense logically, but not experientially (for me).

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

BunnyMaz

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The Christ-like figure is something repeated in a lot of religions.

Attis was born of a virgin, considered a saviour slain for mankind, was both the Divine Son and the Divine Father, was crucified on a tree and resurrected after three days. His followers consumed his body as bread.

Dionysus was born of a virgin, and was placed in a manger. He was a travelling teacher who performed miracles. He turned water into wine, was called "King of Kings", "Alpha and Omega" and was identified with the lamb. He was also sacrificed - either by being crucified or hung on a tree - and resurrected after three days.

Horus was born of a virgin, had 12 disciples, walked on water, performed miracles, was crucified and resurrected after three days.

Krishna was born of a virgin. His father was a carpenter and his birth was signalled by a star in the East and attended by angels and shepherds. He worked miracles, and was either crucified or died on a tree and resurrected.

Mithra was born of a virgin, attended by shepherds, had 12 disciples and performed miracles. He sacrificed himself for world peace and was resurrected after three days.

That said, general sacrifice-for-greater-good and resurrection is something of a repeating theme in a lot of religions. Odin hung himself from Ygddrasil for nine days with a spear in his side as a sacrifice of-himself-to-himself in order to gain knowledge of the runes, for example.
 

Lhipenwhe

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Asceticism is somewhat prominent in Eastern religions. In (some) strains of Buddhism, asceticism allows one to divorce oneself from the impure world and achieve a higher level of understanding. Taoism/Daoism is somewhat similar; by rejecting the 'extraneous' facets of life, one can achieve the Dao... or something like that. It's hard to explain. Characters in Indian mythology have mystical powers from their asceticism/meditation.

One can find references to an evil, impure world in some branches of Gnosticism, such as the Cathars. They took vows of poverty, celibacy, chastity, and veganism so that they could avoid the false world and be closer to God.
 

Rufus Coppertop

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I once heard a truly atheistic Buddhist explain the concept of reincarnation as compost:

He's mixing two entirely different concepts. It's a bit like someone claiming to be both a Christian and an Atheist, stating that Jesus resurrected as an apple tree and a sack of carrots.
 
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Lhipenwhe

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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

The one it's definitely not true of is Sikhism. We have rules against it. Including not fasting while bereaved.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Ack, my apologies for applying the label so loosely; I don't have nearly as much knowledge of the Indian family of religions then I'd like to have.
 

Siri Kirpal

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He's mixing two entirely different concepts. It's a bit like someone claiming to be both a Christian and an Atheist, stating that Jesus resurrected as an apple tree and a sack of carrots.

Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

[Insert laughing smiley!]

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

Opty

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I mean, in the Christian faith, it has this great big flood which kills every human except Noah and his family. Is there something akin to the great big flood in other religions?

Many cultures/religions have flood myths (Mesopotamian religions, Judeo-Christian religion, Ancient China's Yellow River flood myth, etc.). As to the Biblical flood myth of Noah, it seems to be a rip off of Tablet XI of the Epic of Gilgamesh which itself seems to be borrowed from the Epic of Atra-Hasis.

The book of Genesis is now widely thought, among scholars (such as William Dever), to have been written around the 6th century BCE, while the Epic of Gilgamesh predates it by about 1000 years.*





*Not surprisingly, many evangelicals now claim that Genesis was written closer to the time of Gilgamesh, though that is hotly disputed among more serious Biblical/Rabbinical scholars. In my personal studies, I've noticed a correlation between the degree of Christian fundamentalism/traditionalism and the believed age of Genesis' authorship. The more conservative the source, the older they claim Genesis to be.
 
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Guffy

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The similarities in various religions are interesting as are some of the differences. Like the stories of creations. Some creation stories have a the world (and the universe) created in chaos, violent acts that include the deaths of some of the heroes of old, while other creation stories tell of a world created in harmony and order.
 

StephanieFox

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Here's where you can see many, many dying and reborn Gods. These stories in their core, are usually about food sources going away during the dry/cold season and returning with the rain/spring.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying_god

Also, Odin from Norse mythology had a similar story to the Jesus story.

'Havamal' - the epic poem where Odin was hung from Yggdrasil the tree of life:

' Wounded I hung on a wind-swept gallows
For nine long nights,
Pierced by a spear, pledged to Odhinn,
Offered, myself to myself
The wisest know not from whence spring
The roots of that ancient rood '

They gave me no bread,
They gave me no mead,
I looked down;
with a loud cry
I took up runes;
from that tree I fell.

There are a lot very much like this story.
 
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