posted on Oct, 22 2004 @ 06:12 PM
You're quite right in thinking that "paganism" was around a lot longer than "Christianity" (whatever that is) a mystery cult ("Behold I tell you
a Mystery...." ..."to you is granted the Mystery of the Kingdom, but to those outside the circle, everything is in riddles....." ) which is a
comparative newcomer on the scene---religiously speaking.
The early "Church Fathers" (such as Iranaeus and Tertullian) had to face some very harsh accusations and pointed comments apparently from older and
more sophisticated Greco-Roman Philosophical schools in every major city where there were thinking people---as well as from within various Mithraic
and other varied Mystery School Religious groups when it was pointed out to them---time and time again---- that the "Christian Mysteries"
(especially as time went on and the latest rituals were added or grafted on to what they already had) had in fact actually stole, or more politely,
borrowed, entire symbolism, miracle-events, themes and many other details of diverse ritual elements from paganism in general, especially from their
own older Mysteries (i.e. the Mysteries of Eleusius, Attis, Osiris/Apis-Serapis, Isis and Orpheus among many others) which were in existence more than
600 years or more before "Jesus" :
The stock answers of the Christian Bishops to these lurid accusations (read "Contra Celsum" for example) seem to us abosultely ridiculous in the
extreme when read in the cold light of day----whose inane "circular logic " went sort of like this (which I have expresssed in modern
"conversational" American English, to catch the flavour of the original):
"oh that...well, you see...um...the reason..um.. why there were so many of those nasty heathen Virgin Birth stories...um....popular before the time
of our Lord [e.g. Hercules, Krsna, the "gods" Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar etal.] ...and the reason why there was all those pagan heathen
Bread and Wine Eucharist Ceremonies [Mithra etal. ] before the time of our Lord.....oh...and the reason why there were so many nasty pagan stories of
their false gods turning water into wine [Dionysius, etal. ] so long before the time of our Lord...oh...um...and all those dying and rising gods
(Attanuzzi/Adonis, Attis, Osiris, Orpheus etc.) was...er....the devil--yeah the DEVIL...made it APPEAR SEVERAL CENTURIES IN ADVANCE of our
Lord.....yeah... to denegrate our Lord....that the heathens had all these similar Christ miracles...and they...er.... pre-empted our
Lord...because...um.... SATAN after all has the power to deceive .........so it only appeared like real miracles and false virgin
births.....yeah....it must have been something like that...after all our god wouldn't have to copy anybody.....since our god is the only true
However it seems clear to me that the early Church felt the need to graft on to their own "saviour god" whatever various pagan elements they could
which would help :
l. ingratiate themselves with pagan Greeks and others in the Empire who were wide open to this kind of demi-god language----
2. make fresh use that very language and Weltanschauung to mask or cover up (like the Virgin Birth myths) certain "embarassing aspects" or base
suppositions about their hero-----
accusations, moreover, that were being daily cast into their faces by some very ardent and (comparatively speaking) more sophisticated critics, both
in Rabinnic and Greco-Roman spheres of influence after AD 70 when rabble rousing Rebbes were out of fashion (i.e. after the Jewish War)
Some close readers of the gospels have pointed out over the years how the 7 Miracles ("signs") in the 4th gospel are all seem to deliberately OUT-DO
miracles of Elisha' in the Old Testament--another northern "galilean" prophet from centuries before. You can see at a glance the similar 'gospel"
format of II Kings chapters 2 through 9 with little pericope stories with little beginnigs and little middles and little endings all concluding with a
kind of moral punch line (e.g. "and so it happened in accordance with the word of the man of god..")
In John's gospel, we see "iesous" out doing Elisha at every turn: he is seen walking on water (whereas Elisha merely raises a loose axe head to
float on water), and later we see "Iesous" performing the "raising" of Eleazar by a mere word ("Lazarus come forth!") whereas Elisha has to
"raise back to life" the Shunnamite woman's son by giving him mouth to mouth resuscitation), "Iesous" in John's gospel feeds 5,000 men with a
few fish and some bread, whereas Elisha only gets to feed 100 prophets with a bowl of porridge etc.
In other words, the Messiah had to "out-miracle all the miracle-men"---and this is the same kind of tendenz we begin to see in the Greek Gospels
with the miracles of so many pagan gods being out-miracled by the Nazir from Galilee...which included the Virgin Birth myths since after all, as every
one knows, all gods are born of Virgins....even the Pharaohs of Egypt and later Emperors like Alexander the Great got millions of people as early as
340 BC to believe they too were descended from the gods in such a peculiar fashion---even when their physical mothers were known to have shall we say
"lurid pasts" (as in the case of Alexander) ...
But tell that to a "Christian Fundamentalist" today, and he'll say right to your face that "it was clear that Satan had deceived the world with
all those fake miracles before our REAL Lord appeared..."