In 1898 Morgan Robertson wrote a novel titled Wreck of the Titan, or Futility.
This story shares many remarkable similarities to the real-life Titanic; from the ship’s design to its fateful maiden voyage.
The fascinating part is the story was written 14 years before the Titanic would set sail, before the Titanic had even been designed.
Some similarities between this fictional work and the actual facts surrounding the Titanic include:
Based on this, would it be reasonable for me to say that the Titanic wasn’t a real ship and that it’s fateful maiden voyage never happened?
Of course not, no one would take such a claim seriously (and rightfully so).
And yet, this is mirrors a popular attack against the New Testament’s teachings about Jesus.
One version of this argument states that Mithra (the god of Mithraism, which was a major religion in Rome) essentially mirrors many of the attributes we believe Jesus has – he was born of a virgin, had disciples, was crucified, rose from the dead on the third day, atoned for the sins of mankind and returned to heaven.
The argument goes on to assert that since such a deity was worshipped before Christ, that the disciples must have simply copied the Mithra stories and applied them to Jesus. This is then offered as evidence that the historical events and theological teachings recorded in the New Testament were fabricated.
While I believe there is good evidence that the similarities between Mithra and Jesus are overstated (if true at all), I don’t know that we really even need to deal with this argument to start with.
Even if we allow for the evidence of such similarities to stand unchallenged, what does that give us? I would suggest it doesn’t give us anything more than a Titan for our Titanic.
In the end, the veracity of the New Testament accounts must, and I argue do, stand on their own evidence; that someone told a similar story before the events occurred has no bearing one way or another on the question: is the New Testament true?