I was listening to a radio station that showcased pop songs from the seventies. At that moment, an acoustic guitar was strumming a familiar chord progression followed by a melodic electric slide guitar solo. It was George Harrison’s monster hit, “My Sweet Lord.” Ahh, great song, I thought. Yes, it was a good song, even when it was first released eight years earlier.
George Harrison’s recording, “My Sweet Lord”, was one of the biggest hits of 1971 and of his career. However, as soon as it was released, the public and critics alike pointed out a striking resemblance to the song The Chiffons released in 1963, entitled, “He’s So Fine”. A lawsuit was soon filed by the publisher of “He’s So Fine” suing George Harrison for plagiarism. The lawsuit was settled in 1976 and the judge ruled that George Harrison had committed “subconscious plagiarism” claiming that since Harrison had admitted that he previously heard the song, even if he did not deliberately copy the original song, it was still the same song with different words, and this constituted plagiarism and copyright infringement.
It was a clever phrase with broad applications outside of music. In truth, there are very few original ideas, instead, what is often observed is an established idea or invention, applied in a novel situation. Same melody, different words. Same idea, different application.
What about Christianity? Some pundits and atheists claim the message of Jesus Christ is not unique. They point to the ancient Greek religion depicting stories of heroes such as Asclepius, Achilles, and Aristeas dying and then being resurrected by the gods. Even the concept of a god dying and resurrecting is found in Egyptian religion with the god Osiris and in the Canaanite religion of the god Baal. Is Christianity the same idea, different application? Is the Bible an example of subconscious plagiarism by its authors?
There are ideas and stories in the Bible that may superficially resemble other religions. Yet, if one critically analyzes these stories, all lack the coherent and complete message of the Bible. Jesus Christ died and was resurrected by God but this was prophesied by King David in one of his psalms, written a thousand years before the life of Jesus Christ
For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
Psalms 16:10-11 (NLT)
This is but one of dozens of passages written in the Old Testament that prophesy the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you take the time to truly investigate these and other passages, God will illuminate your search and point you in the direction of the Truth. There is no subconscious plagiarism in the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word.
Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
2 Peter 1:20-21 (NLT)
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.