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Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?

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posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 08:57 PM
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I have seen multiple comments from unbelievers about this very subject so I did a little digging and came up with a really good article, its a long read but very informing nonetheless.



Summary

Many Christian college students have encountered criticisms of Christianity based on claims that early Christianity and the New Testament borrowed important beliefs and practices from a number of pagan mystery religions. Since these claims undermine such central Christian doctrines as Christ's death and resurrection, the charges are serious. But the evidence for such claims, when it even exists, often lies in sources several centuries older than the New Testament. Moreover, the alleged parallels often result from liberal scholars uncritically describing pagan beliefs and practices in Christian language and then marveling at the striking parallels they think they've discovered.

During the first half of the twentieth century, a number of liberal authors and professors claimed that the New Testament teaching about Jesus' death and resurrection, the New Birth, and the Christian practices of baptism and the Lord's Supper were derived from the pagan mystery religions. Of major concern in all this is the charge that the New Testament doctrine of salvation parallels themes commonly found in the mystery religions: a savior-god dies violently for those he will eventually deliver, after which that god is restored to life.

Was the New Testament influenced by the pagan religions of the first century A.D.? Even though I surveyed this matter in a 1992 book,[1] the issues are so important – especially for Christian college students who often do not know where to look for answers – that there is considerable merit in addressing this question in a popular, nontechnical format.



Examples:

The Death of the Mystery Gods and the Death of Jesus

The best way to evaluate the alleged dependence of early Christian beliefs about Christ's death and resurrection on the pagan myths of a dying and rising savior-god is to examine carefully the supposed parallels. The death of Jesus differs from the deaths of the pagan gods in at least six ways:

None of the so-called savior-gods died for someone else. The notion of the Son of God dying in place of His creatures is unique to Christianity.

Only Jesus died for sin. As Gunter Wagner observes, to none of the pagan gods "has the intention of helping men been attributed. The sort of death that they died is quite different (hunting accident, self-emasculation, etc.)."

Jesus died once and for all (Heb. 7:27; 9:25-28; 10:10-14). In contrast, the mystery gods were vegetation deities whose repeated deaths and resuscitations depict the annual cycle of nature.

Jesus' death was an actual event in history. The death of the mystery god appears in a mythical drama with no historical ties; its continued rehearsal celebrates the recurring death and rebirth of nature. The incontestable fact that the early church believed that its proclamation of Jesus' death and resurrection was grounded in an actual historical event makes absurd any attempt to derive this belief from the mythical, nonhistorical stories of the pagan cults.

Unlike the mystery gods, Jesus died voluntarily. Nothing like this appears even implicitly in the mysteries.

And finally, Jesus' death was not a defeat but a triumph. Christianity stands entirely apart from the pagan mysteries in that its report of Jesus' death is a message of triumph. Even as Jesus was experiencing the pain and humiliation of the cross, He was the victor. The New Testament's mood of exultation contrasts sharply with that of the mystery religions, whose followers wept and mourned for the terrible fate that overtook their gods.



The Risen Christ and the "Risen Savior-Gods"

Which mystery gods actually experienced a resurrection from the dead? Certainly no early texts refer to any resurrection of Attis. Nor is the case for a resurrection of Osiris any stronger. One can speak of a "resurrection" in the stories of Osiris, Attis, and Adonis only in the most extended of senses. For example, after Isis gathered together the pieces of Osiris's dismembered body, Osiris became "Lord of the Underworld." This is a poor substitute for a resurrection like that of Jesus Christ. And, no claim can be made that Mithras was a dying and rising god. The tide of scholarly opinion has turned dramatically against attempts to make early Christianity dependent on the so-called dying and rising gods of Hellenistic paganism. Any unbiased examination of the evidence shows that such claims must be rejected.



The LINK


Now some things I understand that I was ignorant of before, I knew the Christ was not born in December as do most Christians, but that doesnt mean that the Savior was not born at all...unless you choose to believe that it's all George Bush and Cheney's fault anyway....







[edit on 11-8-2005 by edsinger]




posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 08:27 AM
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I knew that the Old Testament has links with paganism, but not the New Testament! That is new to me!

What does this mean to Christians? Will tyhey think that they are following the wrong religion and convert to paganism?



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 09:21 AM
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I knew that the Old Testament has links with paganism, but not the New Testament! That is new to me!


In the Old Testament there were people that did worship idols that was forbidden by God .....But this is not what the Old Testament was/is about....In the Old Testament God promised He would send a Saviour and He did.......but as many know, many did not believe....and still dont believe

The New Testament carried over from the Old Testament becomes the New Covenant that Jesus Christ established, by fullfiling the Old Testament prophecies.......Old Testament prophets prophesied the coming of the Messiah ......actually, from Genesis we know that God said....




"The seed of the woman shall crush thy head, and thou shalt strike at his heel" (Cf. Gen 3:15), that is, from woman there will come forth an offspring — the Saviour of the world, Who will be born of a virgin, will conquer the Devil and save man, but for this, He Himself must suffer.

6. The Results of the Fall into Sin

IX
helen



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 10:00 AM
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Was the NT influenced by Pagan Religions? Does the Pope wear a funny hat?!

All religions are influenced by the ones that came before them and therefore it just follows that all religious writings, legends, stories, etc. are influenced and borrow elements from the others.

Seriously, do you know how many leaders of nations, states, cults, religions, etc. were said to be of virgin birth, sired by a god, long before Christianity? Do you know how many of them were executed by a method similar to crucifixion? How may rose from the dead? How many could heal and perform other miracles? How many ascended to some form of heaven?

There's practically nothing new in Christianity and a lot of the OT prophecies were based on these much older legends.

Get thee to a library or, at the very least, do a little Googling to get yourself started.



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 12:50 PM
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For the most part the message of the New Testament/Bible is not, what could be considered, pagan based; however, there are certain pagan structures that exist within Christianity.

A while ago I wrote about some of these in a thread which earned me an ATS applause. I would suggest checking it out.

ATS thread114186



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 07:43 PM
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The first thing I must say is that Chrisianity, not Wicca, believes in the devil/satan, therefore, Wicca cannot possibly be a devil/satan worshipping religion.


I got as far as that and could not go on.
I dont believe in misquitos, gnats, temps over 90 degrees, message boards, or people who have things that they dont believe in and therefore those things do not exist.

With logic like that...there is nothing I can offer.
You can warn me about misquitos but I wont believe you until I get West Nile,
You can warn me about gnats but I wont believe you until one dive bombs into my eye
You can warn me about the temps but until I go outside my house, you are a wacko
I can try to prove that message boards exist, but I know how the matrix really works


I can warn you that God is real, and so is satan...but its up to you to believe the truth before the truth confronts you face to face. That will happen when you die, at the latest. But then...we dont have to believe that until we die.



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 08:56 PM
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Just becasue something is infulanced by pagan's doesn't mean it is pagen too.

If you read the old testement they talk about the pagen worshipping, but only someone who wants to put Judeo-christian religion into doubt with assume a guilt by association



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 09:18 PM
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Some folks can not accept that a Creator would actually send his Word to us, they rather look to the stars for answers and not comprehending that something had to create the stars, and therefore by default they reach a point of disbelief.

I think that EVERYONE knows there is a Creator and that knowledge is implanted in the soul, and since we have the free will to deny, some choose that path as a rebellion against the Ancient One.....

For I think HE wants us to come to HIM freely and therefore it means more to HIM.

I have always wondered why HE just doesn't do something that leaves no doubt in anyones mind, and then I realize it defeats the purpose of Faith.



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 10:35 PM
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the question posed was that of influence - was the NT influenced? It most certainly was.

if you asked a different questions, such as "is the NT pagan in nature?" you would get a different answer.

Also, kindly refrain from confusing or equating your Jesus with God - they are not the same.



posted on Aug, 12 2005 @ 10:44 PM
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Originally posted by Al DavisonAlso, kindly refrain from confusing or equating your Jesus with God - they are not the same.



Well not according to him,

Is Jesus God? The Only Alternatives

Is Jesus God? Many people have dealt with this "spiritual" dispute by intellectually accepting Jesus as a great man, great teacher, or great prophet. However, Jesus and His inspired followers didn't mince words when they declared Him to be God (John 10:30-38, Matthew 16:13-17, Mark 14:61-64, John 14:6, Hebrews 1:8, Colossians 1:16, John 12:40-41 [quoting Isaiah 6:1-10]). Therefore, any type of intellectual compromise calling Jesus a "good man" is logically inconsistent. Why? Because there are really only three legitimate alternatives for the identity of Jesus Christ. He is either a liar, a lunatic or our Lord and God. Since Jesus claimed to be God, His claims are either true or false. If false, He must have been a liar, deliberately misleading the multitudes. Or, He was a lunatic, sincerely believing Himself to be God, when in reality He was just a man. However, if Jesus was a "good man," as most people now agree, how then could He be both good and crazy, or good and a liar? There is only one logically consistent alternative - He must have been telling the truth. In addition to the logical inconsistency, the remarkable historical, archaeological and manuscript evidence shows that Jesus was neither a liar nor a lunatic. Again, the only position left is that His claim is true. Jesus is Lord and God.


John 10:30 I and the Father are one."
John 10:31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him,
John 10:32 but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?"
John 10:33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'?
John 10:35 If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of God came--and the Scripture cannot be broken--
John 10:36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?
John 10:37 Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does.
John 10:38 But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father."


Mat 16:13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
Mat 16:14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
Mat 16:15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
Mat 16:16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Mat 16:17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.


Mark 14:61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"
Mark 14:62 "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Mark 14:63 The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked.
Mark 14:64 "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as worthy of death.



John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.



Heb 1:8 But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.



Col 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.



John 12:40 "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn--and I would heal them."
John 12:41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him.

((Isa 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Isa 6:2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
Isa 6:3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
Isa 6:4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
Isa 6:5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
Isa 6:6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
Isa 6:7 With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
Isa 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
Isa 6:9 He said, "Go and tell this people: "'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'
Isa 6:10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed."))



Seems to me to be pretty straight forward....




LINK



posted on Aug, 15 2005 @ 11:30 PM
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Now for something completely different: What if Adam and Eve were real? What if after they were forced from the Garden of Eden, they told the story of their creation to their children and this story was handed down from generation to generation until Noah? After the flood, let us say the generations of Noah continued telling this story, along with the flood story. By Abram’s time, he would have heard the story many times. Now Abraham could have passed these stories down throughout the generations, all the way to Moses. By the time Moses came along, many other cultures had their own stories of creation and their own gods. Since the original story had been an oral history, the Hebrews decided it was time to set the record straight. What if the Hebrews have the original story and all other belief systems were copies. What if the pagan religions were influenced by the original word of mouth story spoken by God’s people for generations.



posted on Aug, 15 2005 @ 11:34 PM
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Originally posted by darkelf Since the original story had been an oral history, the Hebrews decided it was time to set the record straight. What if the Hebrews have the original story and all other belief systems were copies. What if the pagan religions were influenced by the original word of mouth story spoken by God’s people for generations.


Man thats deep but not out of the range of possibilities. I mean you are correct it was all verbal until Sanskrit right?

The stories are all to similar to dismiss imho.



posted on Aug, 15 2005 @ 11:48 PM
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Originally posted by darkelf
... By the time Moses came along, many other cultures had their own stories of creation and their own gods...


Many other cultures? wait a minute - just where did these other cultures come from?

I've been wondering about that and in the writings of Josephus on the history of the Jews, he's telling about the original man and woman and their children and all the lineage is carefully accounted for and then WHAMMO! there's this line that goes something like "and they met up with the other people in the other lands". What?! What other people?! This was supposed to be a full accounting of all the people who had ever been on earth - descended from Adam and Eve!

Something ain't right with this story...



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 12:04 AM
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Originally posted by Al Davison What?! What other people?! This was supposed to be a full accounting of all the people who had ever been on earth - descended from Adam and Eve!.


It was the lineage of the chosen ones, so that Christ birth line would be preserved.


I guess Gen 6 "and also afterward" comes to mind.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 12:23 AM
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yeah, yeah we all know about inconsistencies in the Bible. So what!


Sarcasm, not just for Christians anymore.


My take on the Bible is that It was devinely inspired but all the translations had some sort of political motivation by the guys paying for the translation. Mistakes and distortions were bound to have been made by the lowly underpaid scribes ifnot outright fabrications just to see if the boss was paying attention.

Can't you just see a bunch of scribes yukin it up at vespers. People being people and all.

Did I just hear someone yell "heretic"?

[edit on 16-8-2005 by whaaa]



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 12:27 AM
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That reminds me of a trip I took a few weeks ago.
I went to Georgia (republic) and took a little trip to Gori.
Anyways in Gori there were these like 2500 hundred year old
Pagan temples and caves.

Anyways...some parts of the temple looked very Pagany (I made that word up) and other parts looked Christian, while others looked like a combination of the two. And at the top of the caves and mountain, literally directly on top of the temples, there is a Chrisitian Church.....cross and all.

Maybe nothing, maybe it means something...I dunno. But it pertains to the topic and I found it a bit odd. I could see the influence...as someone else said, but that doesnt mean it's the same.

sporty

Note: The link is not mine or my pics...just something I found on Google...Ill try to post some pictures later on.

www.galenfrysinger.com...



[edit on 16/8/2005 by SportyMB]



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:03 AM
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The problem with inspirationally based answers to theological questions, Ed, is that they get a lot of the facts wrong.


Originally posted by edsinger
The Death of the Mystery Gods and the Death of Jesus
The death of Jesus differs from the deaths of the pagan gods in at least six ways:
None of the so-called savior-gods died for someone else. The notion of the Son of God dying in place of His creatures is unique to Christianity.


The author's been terribly lazy.

Nanauatzin sacrificed himself because the world was dying and the gods needed another god to die in the fire so that the sun would be born. Nanauatzin is one of two gods who sacrificed themselves to save the world.
en.wikipedia.org...


Only Jesus died for sin. As Gunter Wagner observes, to none of the pagan gods "has the intention of helping men been attributed. The sort of death that they died is quite different (hunting accident, self-emasculation, etc.)."


Straw man, Ed. Only Jesus/God cursed humans in the first place, which is why he then had to sacrifice himself to "save" them.


Jesus died once and for all

Uhm, no. He died and was resurrected, remember? Like a lot of other gods. Nanahuatzin, Osiris (who didn't die yearly... he stayed dead and who has a lot of parallels with Jesus). And there's others that I'm too tired to look up, but they would include Polynesian and Oriental traditions. In non-Middle Eastern based religions, a number of gods were sacrificed (sometimes willingly) by other gods to make the world/humans/etc.


Jesus' death was an actual event in history.

Please point to one eyewitness (other than the gospels) report that dates to 30 AD or so.


And finally, Jesus' death was not a defeat but a triumph. Christianity stands entirely apart from the pagan mysteries in that its report of Jesus' death is a message of triumph. Even as Jesus was experiencing the pain and humiliation of the cross, He was the victor. The New Testament's mood of exultation contrasts sharply with that of the mystery religions, whose followers wept and mourned for the terrible fate that overtook their gods.

Allow me to point out the hysteria and tears of people viewing "The Passion" or any Easter passion play. I don't see Christians leaping up and screaming for joy as Jesus dies.

Same with the mystery religions. Yes, just as Christians weep at seeing the movies on the topic, the pagans wept at the ceremonies. But afterwards they had joy and comfort from knowing their god was still alive.

...and actually, all of them believed they went to heaven.

Anyway, the rest of this is carefully set up straw men that the author can knock down.

There's some excellent Christian articles out there on dying and risen gods in Apologetics.

This wasn't one of them.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:07 AM
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Please point to one eyewitness (other than the gospels) report that dates to 30 AD or so.

What about Mary Magdelan?(SP?), are we sure she was not there to see and witness the crucifiction?

Dallas



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:10 AM
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The only thing original about the bible is.... NOTHING!

Not one thing in it is original, everything is stolen from someone. Not one thing is new, original, or theirs. They stole from Jews, Greeks, Romans, Norse, even the Witches and Druids. Not one thing is original, hell most of the stories are the exact same damn thing but with "God" instead of Zues/Odin/Hurn/whatever.



posted on Aug, 16 2005 @ 01:12 AM
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What about Mary Magdelan?(SP?), are we sure she was not there to see and witness the crucifiction?

I think Byrd is talking about an actual RECORDED eye witness in history.......MM would not fall into that category. That's just speculation.




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