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How much did Christianity inherit from the Pagans?


The POCM web site introduces you to the mainstream modern scholarship about Christianity's origins in ancient Pagan religion.

You already know Christmas trees and Easter eggs were originally Pagan, and you probably know the traditional mid-winter and spring timing of the two holidays was Pagan too. Mildly interesting. Not what you'll find here.

What you'll discover here is that Christianity inherited everything from the Pagans. The core of Christianity -- the worship of a dying Godman who is resurrected, ascends into heaven and brings salvation to mankind -- was also the core of a number of ancient Pagan religions that began in the Near East two thousand years before Jesus.

Christian theology borrowed more than the archaic myth of the dying-resurrected Godman. Initiation by baptism, communion with the God through a holy meal that represented the flesh of the dead God, the Holy Spirit, monotheism, and immortality of the soul were all core beliefs of many ancient faiths. They were simply part of ancient Mediterranean culture.

Christianity also borrowed elements of Jesus' mythology: the virgin birth, the miracles (including turning water into wine, walking on water, and especially healing the sick) were all common elements of pre-Christian Pagan religions. Mithras had 'em. So did Dionysus, Attis, Osiris, and Orpheus. And more. And they had them centuries before Christianity was a twinkle in Saint Paul's eye.

Here's the kind of stuff you'll find at POCM

Salvation, Egypt, 1300 BC

This ancient papyrus shows a Dead Guy's judgment in the Egyptian Hall of Two Truths, on the left, the Dead Guy's soul is led to the scales of judgment by the jackal-headed God Anubis, who also, in the center, adjusts the Scales of Justice on which the Dead Guy's heart (the location of his "maat,' = goodness) is measured.

The monster Ammut crouches at the scales, hoping the Dead Guy fails the test, in which case Ammut with swallow his heart, and Dead Guy will suffer torment for a few eons, then die.

At the mid-right the Ibis-headed Thoth writes down the outcome of the judgment The Dead Guy did OK -- he was declared "maa-kheru" = "justified" -- so he's lead off by the God Horus to stand before Osiris, who grants him eternal life.
[Papyrus of Hunefer, c 1280 BC, from Thebes.]

Jesus brought salvation. Osiris brought salvation 1,400 years earlier.


Want to know more? Sure you do. Let's go look.

Yeah, but isn't all this just whacko junk history?  

Modern scholars don't think so.

And the early Christians didn't think so either. Listen to Christian apologist St. Justin Martyr, writing to a Pagan in the second century AD,

"When we say that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter." [Justin Martyr, First Apology, 21]

Don't believe me, believe the ancients themselves.


So, how much did Christianity inherit from the Pagans?

Christianity is an ancient Pagan religion