The Stratton Myth



(Orthodox Fox)


June 13, 2017

How well do you know Tim Stratton, founder and president of FreeThinking Ministries? Let me list some facts about Tim:

  • Christian apologist who blogs at FreeThinking Ministries
  • Enrolled in the Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics program at Biola University from 2012 – 2014
  • Graduated with Highest Honors on December 19, 2014
  • Heavily influenced by the works of Dr. William Lane Craig
  • Has a passion for theology, philosophy, apologetics, and destroying Naturalism
  • Predestined to freely adhere to Molinism
  • Loves superheroes and Star Wars
  • Plays the bass guitar
  • Born in the United States in the last quarter of the 20th century
  • Married for nearly a decade and has a son
  • Is bald, white, bearded, and has blue eyes
  • Practiced mixed martial arts

Here’s the catch though: I wasn’t describing Tim Stratton. I was describing myself, Tim Fox. These are all facts that are true about me and are also allegedly true of Stratton. But what are the chances that all of these things are true of two people? There are two bald-headed, blue-eyed, bearded, white guys named Tim who attended Biola University from 2012 – 2014 and graduated on the same exact day with the exact same degree. They like the same stuff, have the same passions. Married with a son. I think there’s only one rational conclusion:

Tim Stratton is fake

Tim Stratton is a lie.

He does not exist. He is obviously a copycat version of me, Tim Fox. Stratton is a myth, a legend crafted to troll Naturalists and Calvinists.

Sound ridiculous? Of course it is. Especially to the people who have known him his entire life. But this is exactly what Jesus mythicists argue. There are allegedly other gods such as Horus and Mithras that were used as a template to fabricate Jesus of Nazareth, the central figure of Christianity. For example, they were miracle workers who were born of a virgin and were raised from the dead. There are so many parallels between Jesus and these other figures that Jesus is obviously a cheap knockoff.

But there are many problems with this theory:

1) Connect the dots. Just because two people may have a lot of things in common, it doesn’t mean that one is a ripoff of the other. Stratton and I do have a lot of similar loves and passions. That’s why we immediately clicked with each other during our studies at Biola! But no matter how much we have in common, that alone does not prove Stratton is a copy of me. Is there any evidence that Tim Stratton is my alter ego? Do I control his Facebook and Twitter accounts? A ton of similarities may make Stratton’s existence suspicious, but that is not enough.The same goes for Jesus and other supposed pagan deities.

Likewise, a list of similarities is not enough to prove Jesus is a copycat, no matter how many gods there are that share alleged similarities. Can you prove that Jesus was made up by the disciples? What is the evidence, beside supposed parallels? Prove the causal connection.

2) The differences matter. Sure, Stratton and I have a lot in common. But what about the differences? He and I both have a son, but his is 15 while mine is 4. Stratton has only one child but I also have a one-year-old daughter. He lives in Nebraska and I live in New York. Stratton likes Marvel superheroes and I prefer DC. The list of differences could probably vastly outnumber our similarities. Likewise, Jesus mythicists ignore the differences between Jesus and other pagan deities. They only focus on the supposed similarities. But the truth is…

3) Alternative facts. Many of the alleged parallels with Jesus simply aren’t true, or require a huuuge stretch to make them kinda sorta maybe almost match Jesus. After all, who had honestly ever heard of Attis and Mithras before discovering Jesus mythicism? People simply accept the claims of internet skeptics without checking to see if their alternate facts are even valid.

But you don’t have to believe me. I challenge you to seriously investigate the alleged parallels between Jesus and the other figures he is supposedly copied from. I want you to see for yourself how many of these facts simply unravel as you research them, the same way that I may or may not have stretched some of the facts between Stratton and me. (But not that much, I promise. It’s eerie how much we have in common.) And don’t rely on secondary sources and internet hearsay. What are the primary sources for the life of Mithras, Osiris, Horus, Dionysus, et al?

And if you really don’t want to do the research, here’s Lutheran Satire to help:

4) He’s real. No one would find Stratton mythicism sillier than Tim’s family and friends (and Tim too for that matter) who know for a fact he exists. Likewise, Jesus mythicists ignore any evidence that Jesus did exist as a real person of history. They’ve already illegitimately written off the New Testament as historical evidence for the life of Christ. But what about writers outside of the Bible such as Tacitus and Josephus?

Before you can ask where the legend of Jesus came from, you first have to prove that he was not a real historical person. Good luck with that. Bart Ehrman, the agnostic New Testament scholar, wrote a book on this very topic. And he has a great video slamming people who doubt Jesus’ existence:

“Once you get outside of your conclave….”
“If that’s what you’re gonna believe, you just look foolish.”

5) Who copied whom? Actually, Stratton was born a few years before me, got married earlier, and began at Biola a semester before I did. So if anything, I’m a ripoff of him. Likewise, Jesus of Nazareth actually predates many of the gods he is allegedly stolen from. But again, don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.

6) Logical fallacy. Stratton mythicism – as well as Jesus mythicism – commits the logical fallacy of “post hoc ergo propter hoc,” which basically means that just because A came before B it doesn’t follow that A caused B. It’s like a sports fan and his lucky socks. He wore a certain pair of socks and his team won; therefore those socks are lucky socks that caused his team to win. That’s obviously dumb. And you know what else is dumb? Jesus mythicism.

7) Motive. Why would I make up Tim Stratton? What do I have to gain from it? It seems like a lot of hard work to maintain phony social media accounts. And have you seen how much Stratton writes in his Facebook responses? If you argue with him, he’ll copy and paste your comment and respond line by line. And for each of your sentences, he writes a paragraph or more. No exaggeration. Sorry, but ain’t nobody got time for that. Except Stratton, somehow.

Now imagine concocting a fake person to begin an entire religion. For what reason would these disciples of the alleged Christ make him up? What do they gain? History shows us that Jesus’ followers suffered and many even died spreading the Gospel. Why would they do that for a complete lie? It makes no sense. Jesus mythers claim that religion exists to control the masses. Say what you want about today’s organized religion and celebrity pastors but the first Christians were poor, persecuted, and even martyred for their faith in the risen Christ. Jesus’ disciples had absolutely nothing to gain by concocting a fake Messiah.

This by no means a complete takedown of Jesus mythicism. I just want you to see how silly it is. Jesus mythicism is not scholarly. It is riddled by misinformation and poor methodology. But as I have been saying all along, don’t take my word for it. Do your own research. And I don’t mean Google and Wikipedia. Look for academic works on it. What do actual scholars – people with degrees in New Testament or ancient studies, not internet “scholars” – think about it? You’ll quickly learn that Jesus mythicism is nothing more than slick memes and videos backed by poor internet “scholarship.”

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About the Author



(Orthodox Fox)

Timothy Fox has a passion to equip the church to engage the culture. He is a part-time math teacher, full-time husband and father. He has an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University as well as an M.A. in Adolescent Education of Mathematics and a B.S. in Computer Science, both from Stony Brook University. He lives on Long Island, NY with his wife and two young children.

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