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How Christianity Became Pagan

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by godnotgod, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    Early superstitious man believed a god was responsible for delivering calamity, in the form of locusts, disease, floods, famine, etc. to him or his family as punishment for his misbehavior. He thought the only way for the punishment to cease was to make offerings of appeasement, either in the form of grain or animal sacrifice.

    At the core of Christian doctrine is the theme of blood sacrifice as a device to wash sin and guilt away. This idea involves a scapegoat, which has its roots in pagan practice, and as a means of appeasement of the angry God Yaweh over the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, in order to re-open the Gates of Paradise which their sin closed to humankind:


    A concept superficially similar to the biblical scapegoat is attested in two ritual texts in archives at Ebla of the 24th century BC. They were connected with ritual purification on the occasion of the king's wedding. In them, a she-goat with a silver bracelet hung from her neck was driven forth into the wasteland of "Alini"; "we" in the report of the ritual involves the whole community. Such "elimination rites", in which an animal, without confession of sins, is the vehicle of evils (not sins) that are chased from the community are widely attested in the Ancient Near East.

    Scapegoat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Later, animals were sacrificed by the score as a means of sin atonement. It was thought that the guilt or sin could be transferred to the animal acting as scapegoat, thereby relieving the participant of his burden:

    Throughout the year, the sins of the ancient Israelites were daily transferred to the regular sin offerings as outlined in the Torah in Leviticus Ch 16. Once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month in the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement, the High Priest of Israel sacrificed a bull for a sin offering for his own sins. Subsequently he took two goats and presented them at the door of the tabernacle with a view to dealing with the corporate sins of God's people — the nation of Israel. Two goats were chosen by lot: one to be "The Lord's Goat", which was offered as a blood sacrifice, and the other to be the "Azazel" scapegoat to be sent away into the wilderness. The blood of the slain goat was taken into the Holy of Holies behind the sacred veil and sprinkled on the mercy seat, the lid of the ark of the covenant. Later in the ceremonies of the day, the High Priest confessed the sins of the Israelites to Jehovah placing them figuratively on the head of the other goat, the Azazel scapegoat, who "took them away" never to be seen again. The sin of the nation was thus "atoned for" (paid for) by the "The Lord's Goat" and "The Azazel Goat".


    In Christian thought this process prefigures the sacrifice of Christ on the cross through which God has been propitiated and sins can be expiated. Jesus Christ is seen to have fulfilled both of the Biblical "types" - the Lord's goat that deals with the pollution of sin and the scapegoat that removes the "burden of sin". Christians believe that sinners who own their guilt and confess their sins, exercising faith and trust in the person and sacrifice of Jesus, are forgiven of their sins.
    Since the second goat was sent away to perish,[14] the word "scapegoat" has developed to indicate a person who is blamed and punished for the sins of others.


    Scapegoat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    But early Christians, who were actually Nazarene Essenes under the leadership of Yeshu, did not believe in blood sacrifice, nor in bodily resurrection. They did not hold that the life-force was in the blood, but in the breath, as much of their teachings came from Eastern wisdom. What occurred is that the teachings of Yeshu were overwritten by the Romans with those of pagan Mithraism, whose doctrines of blood sacrifice for sin redemption and bodily resurrection provided the basis for the promise of eternal life. This was done as a means of attracting and converting tens of thousands of Mithraic pagans into the new religion of Christianity, its author being that infamous charlatan, one St. Paul of Tarsus, whose birthplace is said to have been a center of Mithraic belief.

    Essentially, the washing away of sin via blood sacrifice of a divine sacrificial host would be a form of magic.

    I submit that modern Christians have, as one of their cherished doctrinal beliefs, a superstitious pagan practice at its core, and that it actually took a step backwards from the original pure teachings of Yeshu, the Jewish mystical Essene who would have abhorred such practice, as he was a vegetarian, for one thing. Yeshu had no idea that he was to be crucified by the Romans:

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]"Paul, not Jesus, was the founder of Christianity as a new religion which developed away from both normal Judaism and the Nazarene variety of Judaism. In this new religion, the Torah was abrogated as having had only temporary validity. The central myth of the new religion was that of an atoning death of a divine being. Belief in this sacrifice, and a mystical sharing of the death of the deity, formed the only path to salvation. Paul derived this religion from Hellenistic sources, chiefly by a fusion of concepts taken from Gnosticism and concepts taken from the mystery religions, particularly from that of Attis. The combination of these elements with features derived from Judaism, particularly the incorporation of the Jewish scriptures, reinterpreted to provide a background of sacred history for the new myth, was unique; and Paul alone was the creator of this amalgam. Jesus himself had no idea of it, and would have been amazed and shocked at the role assigned to him by Paul as a suffering deity. Nor did Paul have any predecessors among the Nazarenes though later mythography tried to assign this role to Stephen, and modern scholars have discovered equally mythical predecessors for Paul in a group called the 'Hellenists'. Paul, as the personal begetter of the Christian myth, has never been given sufficient credit for his originality. The reverence paid through the centuries to the great Saint Paul has quite obscured the more colourful features of his personality. Like many evangelical leaders, he was a compound of sincerity and charlatanry. Evangelical leaders of his kind were common at this time in the Greco-Roman world."[/FONT]

    http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/maccoby2.htm

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]To begin to understand exactly how the church replaced Yeshua's teachings with a mythology involving blood sacrifice that was current in the religions that appealed to the gentiles during his time, see here:

    [/FONT]http://30ce.com/mithras.htm
     
    #1 godnotgod, Oct 12, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  2. Storm

    Storm ThrUU the Looking Glass

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    Was there something you wanted to debate, or are you just preaching?
     
  3. Pegg

    Pegg Jehovah our God is One

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    perhaps you have not considered the 'scapegoat' is a universal truth. People from earliest times have appeased God in many ways in the hope they way escape the punishment for sin. The first sacrifices offered were by Cain and Able...they were seeking a means of redemption.

    its only natural that we would find such an idea to be universally accepted in all those ancient religions inlcuding the worshipers of Yahweh and even the worshipers of pagan religions which came much later. They knew that they had to pay for their sins with their own blood....they wanted a way out of that, so they began sacrificing animals and other things in the hope God would spare them from death. It doesnt make it a pagan practice though...all the servants of Yahweh were doing the same thing
     
  4. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    So all it takes to understand the origins of the religious/sectarian movement behind the NT is studying Hellenistic cultic practices which began after pretty much the entirety of the NT had already been written? And, of course, a few wikipedia entries on the etymology? I'd never have guessed that situating texts, movements, social norms, etc., are best understood by examining trends and practices which either developed seperately (and alongside of) them, or after.

    Next up: Understanding Shakespeare through some of his major influences: West Side Story and 10 Things I Hate About You.
     
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  5. idav

    idav Being
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    Thats funny, I always thought that the blood sacrifice thing had jewish roots.
     
  6. 1137

    1137 Beloved of Set | O.S. Co-founder
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    Many would argue that Judaism has its roots in Paganism though.
     
  7. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    Jews were the ones involved in the practice of infanticide to the pagan god Moloch.
     
  8. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    If I were preaching, you would have noted a doctrine that I was trying to preach about. Do you see any such doctrine I am attempting to foist on anyone?

    The issue for debate is the validity of blood sacrifice as a mechanism for sin redemption. I contend that it is a practice based on superstition, fear, and ignorance.
     
  9. 1137

    1137 Beloved of Set | O.S. Co-founder
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    I don't think so... When did the Jews ever practice infanticide or worship pagan Gods?
     
  10. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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  11. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    There was a name for such Jews, which escapes me at the moment, but I will retrieve it for you.


    "Sir James Fraser goes so far as to trace the origin of the Hebrew Passover directly to the sacrifice of first-born infants which he considers to have been an article of the ancient Semitic religion, and bases his argument on Exodus xiii, 2, 15; Micah vi, 7; and Numbers xviii, 15. It is evident from these passages that anciently these child sacrifices may have been made to Yahweh before they were, under Phoenician influence, made to Moloch.


    The earliest instances on record of this barbarous practice, is the ancient sacrifice to Moloch, in which children were caused to pass through the fire to this sanguinary deity. Attempts have sometimes been made to explain away the expression which describes this inhuman rite as indicating something less than the sacrifice of children; but all doubt as to the real existence of such a practice among the Jews is removed by the plain statement of the prophet Jeremiah vii. 31, "And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart."


    And again, in regard to the service of another false god, whose worship had been adopted by the Jews, the same prophet mentions, xix. 5, "They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I commanded them not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind." Both these quotations establish beyond a doubt that the Jews were chargeable, at least in the degenerate days of Manasseh, with offering human beings in sacrifice to the heathen idols. In all probability, however, this cruel rite had been learned from the Canaanites, as indeed appears very plainly from Ps. cvi. 37, 38, "Yea, they sacrificed their sons and daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood." The practice of this horrid ceremony is expressly forbidden under pain of death in the law of Moses, Lev. xx. 2, "Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Moloch, he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones."


    Juvinile rites
     
  12. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    That's entirely ridiculous! The scapegoat is a function of the interplay between the Persona and the Shadow:


    [​IMG]

    excerpted from: Freud and Jung, by Storr and Stevens
     
    #12 godnotgod, Oct 12, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  13. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    Excuse me, but Mithras, a military god, is a Roman/Grecian outgrowth of Mitra, a 4000 year old Indo-Iranian god. The Church Fathers, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and others even went so far as to claim that Mithraism, which preceded Christianity, was a concoction of Satan designed purely to throw Christians off track.

    Did you suppose that the doctrines of the Eucharist via the eating and drinking of flesh and blood, bodily resurrection, a virgin birth, and sin redemption via the shedding of divine blood came on the scene full-blown, out of the clear blue sky, and in a vacuum, no less?

    It was St. Paul who brilliantly synthesized three key elements to launch what is now modern Christianity: the theme of the descending Gnosis to mankind, taken from his exposure to Gnostic teachings, the theme of a dying and resurrected godhead, taken from his exposure to the mystery religions, such as Mithraism and others prevalent at the time, and Jewish history as a backdrop, to lend credibility to the myth.
     
    #13 godnotgod, Oct 13, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  14. LegionOnomaMoi

    LegionOnomaMoi Veteran Member
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    Are you familiar with any primary sources (i.e., sources like the writings of the church fathers, or recovered papyri which contain information concerning cultic/religions practices in and around the first century) which concern Mithras? How about secondary sources on religion in and around the 1st Century?

    I didn't have to read much in the way of Christian literature for my classical languages (i.e., ancient Greek and Latin) major when I was an undergrad. However, thanks to various research projects, my access to databases like the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG) or Project Muse, and my interest in history and religion, I read a great deal more than required. Despite my familiarity with these sources, as well as the modern scholarship Greco-Roman religion, I've yet to come across any reference to any text, inscription, etc,. which refers to the hellenistic version of Mithra and which predates at least most of the NT texts. I've come across a great deal of literature on the way various religious traditions were not only incorporated into Roman practicies, but also reshaped in order to fit the sociological, political, and cultural framework of the Roman empire.

    This includes the ways in which cultic practices during the Roman empire were altered or refashioned to compete with Christianity. Of course, I'm not an expert in Christian origins. But I am familiar enough with the field, the primary texts, and the languages in which the primary texts were written to know that most claims about the relationship between pagan and early Christian tradition are inaccurate. If you can point to scholarship which indicates otherwise, please do.



    As the nexus for the Jesus sect (and therefore Christianity) was 1st century Judaism, obviously we aren't dealing with a vacuum. That said, despite works lik The Jesus Mysteries or Holy Blood, Holy Grail (or even some actual "scholarship", like Pagels' work), the vast majority of percieved similarities between early Christian practices, beliefs, and traditions either existed before some non-Christian counterpart, or independently of pagan practices.



    This dying and resurrecting god paradigm as a framework for interpreting Christian origins was criticized even when Frazer first constructed the most influential analysis of this type. It hasn't gained any greater following since then, accept via general audiences and the media intended for them. As for gnosticism, the fact that specialists on early christianity differ as to what gnosticism actually is (or should be conceptualized as), let alone the utter lack of any indication of "gnosticism" in Paul's letters and the fact that the Roman version of Mithras traditions (the one which shares similar themes to Christianity) didn't exist until around the beginning of the 2nd century, using sensationalist books or online websites to understand Christian origins will pretty much ensure you are misinformed. As exciting as it is to read about how early Christianity is nothing more than a mystery cult (rather than a Jewish cult which became more hellenized as more educated "gentiles" converted), this simply isn't supported by evidence.
     
    #14 LegionOnomaMoi, Oct 13, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  15. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    I doubt if you will like my sources, which I admit are internet-based, but maybe we can start here:

    Mithra in the Roman Empire

    Subsequent to the military campaign of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE, Mithra became the "favorite deity" of Asia Minor. Christian writers Dr. Samuel Jackson and George W. Gilmore, editors of The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (VII, 420), remark:

    "It was probably at this period, 250-100 b.c., that the Mithraic system of ritual and doctrine took the form which it afterward retained. Here it came into contact with the mysteries, of which there were many varieties, among which the most notable were those of Cybele."

    Priority: Mithraism or Christianity?

    It is obvious from the remarks of the Church fathers and from the literary and archaeological record that Mithraism in some form preceded Christianity by centuries. The fact is that there is no Christian archaeological evidence earlier than the earliest Roman Mithraic archaeological evidence and that the preponderance of evidence points to Christianity being formulated during the second century, not based on a "historical" personage of the early first century. As one important example, the canonical gospels as we have them do not show up clearly in the literary record until the end of the second century.


    Mithra's pre-Christian roots are attested in the Vedic and Avestan texts, as well as by historians such as Herodotus (1.131) and Xenophon (Cyrop. viii. 5, 53 and c. iv. 24), among others. Nor is it likely that the Roman Mithras is not essentially the same as the Indian sun god Mitra and the Persian, Armenian and Phrygian Mithra in his major attributes, as well as some of his most pertinent rites.


    Moreover, it is erroneously asserted that because Mithraism was a "mystery cult" it did not leave any written record. In reality, much evidence of Mithra worship has been destroyed, including not only monuments, iconography and other artifacts, but also numerous books by ancient authors. The existence of written evidence is indicated by the Egyptian cloth "manuscript" from the first century BCE called, "Mummy Funerary Inscription of the Priest of Mithras, Ornouphios, Son fo Artemis" or MS 247.


    [​IMG]


    As previously noted, two of the ancient writers on Mithraism are Pallas, and Eubulus, the latter of whom, according to Jerome (Against Jovinianus, 2.14; Schaff 397), "wrote the history of Mithras in many volumes." Discussing Eubulus and Pallas, Porphyry too related that there were "several elaborate treatises setting forth the religion of Mithra." The writings of the early Church fathers themselves provide much evidence as to what Mithraism was all about, as do the archaeological artifacts stretching from India to Scotland.


    These many written volumes doubtlessly contained much interesting information that was damaging to Christianity, such as the important correspondences between the "lives" of Mithra and Jesus, as well as identical symbols such as the cross, and rites such as baptism and the eucharist. In fact, Mithraism was so similar to Christianity that it gave fits to the early Church fathers, as it does to this day to apologists, who attempt both to deny the similarities and yet to claim that these (non-existent) correspondences were plagiarized by Mithraism from Christianity.

    "Regardless of attempts to make Mithraism the plagiarist of Christianity, the fact will remain that Mithraism was first."

    Nevertheless, the god Mithra was revered for centuries prior to the Christian era, and the germane elements of Mithraism are known to have preceded Christianity by hundreds to thousands of years. Thus, regardless of attempts to make Mithraism the plagiarist of Christianity, the fact will remain that Mithraism was first, well established in the West decades before Christianity had any significant influence.

    "Mithraic remains on Vatican Hill are found underneath the later Christian edifices, which proves the Mithra cult was there first."

    By the time the Christian hierarchy prevailed in Rome, Mithra had already been a popular cult, with pope, bishops, etc., and its doctrines were well established and widespread, reflecting a certain antiquity. Mithraic remains on Vatican Hill are found underneath the later Christian edifices, a fact that proves the Mithra cult was there first. In fact, while Mithraic ruins are abundant throughout the Roman Empire, beginning in the late first century AD/CE, "The earliest church remains, found in Dura-Europos, date only from around 230 CE."


    Mithra the Pagan Christ | Mithraism and Christianity | Mithras the Sun God

    I think we need to see the Roman Mithraic development as a continuum of the Indo-Iranian Mitras which preceded it, and that means we need to go back at least 3500 years.

    (more on the Church Fathers later)
     
    #15 godnotgod, Oct 13, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  16. dawny0826

    dawny0826 Mother Heathen

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    I think it's common knowledge that Christianity has borrowed from pagan customs and tradition, even if unknowingly. And the Abrahamic God doesn't differ from pagan many of the pagan deities in that blood sacrifice was required for atonement of sin.

    However, Christ became the ultimate atonement for sin.
     
  17. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    The core of Christian doctrine is NOT blood sacrifice. When has any Christian sacrificed an animal to God? The core of Chrisian doctrine is that Jesus Christ is our savior.

    If your argument is that Christianity is somehow tainted by it's primitive beginnings then that applies to every modern idea including science.
     
  18. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    Well, it is not so common knowledge, as many Christian apologists insist that the borrowing was the other way around.

    Are you stating that Christ became the ultimate atonement for sin as a matter of fact, or simply as a fact of Christian doctrine?
     
  19. godnotgod

    godnotgod Thou art That

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    Worse! Christian doctrine has it's God sacrificing his only begotten Son via crucifixion as a means of sin redemption. Not just human sacrifice, but sacrifice of a divine being as the only acceptable host in the eyes of God.

    Right, and blood sacrifice of a god-man named Jesus Christ (actually Yeshu) is how your 'salvation' was allegedly acquired, as spoken from his very lips:

    Matthew 26:28 NKJV


    "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."


    Except that science is generally a dynamic process, while Christian doctrine, while originally dynamic, has become static dogma, for the most part. The early Christianity of Yeshu and his Nazarene Essenes did NOT include blood sacrifice, bodily resurrection, nor a virgin birth. Yeshu's original teachings were largely destroyed by Rome and overwritten with these Mithraic (and other) pagan doctrines. Tainted? More like 'modified for pallatability'. St. Paul had the task of converting tens of thousands of pagans to his new religion, pagans who had already had the promise of eternal life in Mithraism.

    [SIZE=+2]"Mithraism, the soldier's cult, the official religion of Rome in Justin's time, celebrated a ritual meal, and archaeological evidence indicates this sacrificial community meal occupied a central position in Mithraic worship. In this "divine" meal, worshipers ate the flesh of a sacrificed bull and drank its blood. When no bull was available, bread or fish were used as substitutes for the meat and wine took the place of blood. Mithraic initiates believed that, by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the bull, they would be born again and would have eternal life."
    He who will not eat of my body, nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.--M. J. Vermaseren, Mithraic Communion, Mithras, "The Secret God"

    [/SIZE]
     
    #19 godnotgod, Oct 13, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2012
  20. Pegg

    Pegg Jehovah our God is One

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    there is one small difference in the sacrifices offered by pagans and that of the God of Abraham.

    Pagan gods wanted human sacrifice. Jehovah condemned human sacrifice and forbid it among the Israelites.
     
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