When Did Paganism Begin to Influence Christianity?

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  1. Rhonda D Johnson profile image59
    Rhonda D Johnsonposted 10 years ago

    I've written a hub describing the effect Constantine and the pagans in the ecumenical counsels had on Christianity.  I also read the writings of Justin Martyr where he tried to explain away the embarrassing extent to which Christianity copied Roman paganism by claiming that demons led the ancient poets to copy the scriptures to deceive people about which came first.  Although Christian commentators deny that Martyr said this, I've read his writings and know that he did.

    The thing is Justin Martyr lived in the second century, so the influence of paganism on Christianity began long before Constantine.  There is some question then about when Christianity began to go astray.  For instance, the virgin birth motif was a common theme in solar deities long before the first century.  Since the Bible was created by pagans, who is to say how much of it was originally in the manuscripts the early Christians deemed sacred and how much was added by the Roman Church?  The destructuion of  the original manuscripts was kind of convenient.

    So the focus of this discussion is when did Christianity begin to adopt pagan beliefs?  From the beginning?  After the original disciples died off?  After it moved from Jerusalem to the gentile world?

    1. ro-jo-yo profile image82
      ro-jo-yoposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      John 15:21 KJV
      But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
      Luke 21:12 KJV
      But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
      Matthew 24:9 KJV
      Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

      The true name of the Messiah is Yehowshuwa[\b], and the true name of the Almighty is[b] Yehowah
      All the disciples had the true name of the Messiah, they were persecuted until they  were all gone. That is why all the bibles were hunted down so they can change the name of the Messiah Yehowshuwa to an incorrect Pagan name Jesus. And with the added trinity doctrine brought in by Constantine, he made Jesus God. Therefore everyone is worshiping a false God. Wasn't that Satan's plan? For everyone to worship him as God? And everyone that doesn't love the truth will believe a lie.
      I truly hope that people will earnestly search the truth.
      1 John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
      For those that are sincerely seeking the truth please read

  2. psycheskinner profile image80
    psycheskinnerposted 10 years ago

    Probably from before Christianity even formally existed.  Paganism was imbued into the culture.

    1. profile image0
      Kathryn LJposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree.  all the major themes of the new testament exist in older 'pagan' religions - the trinity, sacrifice of the god on earth, miraculous transformations, to name but a few.  The old pagan calender - the cycle of the seasons and it's various festivals were then co-opted by the church.  These festivals include Christmas, Easter, Day of the Dead, May Day, Harvest festival to name but a few.  Whatever holy day it is, you can bet that it's been superimposed over an older one.  You may have guessed that I've done a little reading around the 'Great Goddess' theories feminists are so fond of. big_smile

    2. ptosis profile image69
      ptosisposted 10 years agoin reply to this


  3. JMcFarland profile image69
    JMcFarlandposted 10 years ago

    as I've discussed with many members of my highly-religious family, ALL of christianity is rooted in ancient paganism.  There is not a single aspect of the christian faith that cannot be traced back to an earlier pagan religion.  period.

  4. knolyourself profile image61
    knolyourselfposted 10 years ago

    It did no adopt pagan beliefs. It may have added pagan ritual as a means of conversion. Christianity is a sky god. Paganism is an earth god.

    1. MelissaBarrett profile image59
      MelissaBarrettposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Paganism is an all element religion.

      The trinity (tri-aspect goddess/god) predates Christianity.  She was a sky Goddess in many cultures...but became masculinized as Celtic paganism/druidism began to associate air with a masculine energy.

  5. aware profile image66
    awareposted 10 years ago

    the sun  isn't the son.  it all started there.

  6. secularist10 profile image61
    secularist10posted 10 years ago

    I certainly think pagan influences were present right from the beginning in Christianity. Each major foundational doctrine--the virgin birth, the resurrection, miracles, the end of the world, sin, salvation, the idea of a god or divine entity mating with a human--is seen in other belief systems before Jesus.

    What made Christianity unique was that it brought together all of these elements in a very specific and novel way.

    1. yruymi profile image60
      yruymiposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Christianity as practiced by the organizational church does not follow the teachings of the New Testament in too many particulars. One thing not replicated in paganism is the great number of Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled when He came, prophecies existing in manuscripts which do predate his coming. Also, that God is a sentient creature that loves all people - if this is found in paganism, then that element of paganism's teachings is correct. Not every article found in "Christendom" is correct; there are many "flavors" of Christendom. The same is true of paganism. Both terms are umbrella terms covering a great diversity of teachings, each. Generalizations leading to a comparison don't work because so many things are being compared, that to get to the bottom of the comparison leads to indeterminate answers. This is one reason why many times proponents of both can't even begin a discussion.

      1. JMcFarland profile image69
        JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I would continue to maintain that jesus did not fulfill any "prophecies".  At least not in the sense that christians like to point to.  There are several fundamental problems in asserting that he did.

        1) the Jews (who owned the old testament until it was taken over by christianity) list very different prophecies concerning the messiah than the christians do.  The christians maintain that the prophecies the jews still cling to (and therefore reject jesus and many many more contenders) were in relation to jesus' supposed "second coming" which is a new idea that originated a few centuries after christ supposedly lived - to deal with prophecies that remained unfulfilled.  The christians select prophecies that the can squeeze into the accounts of christ's life - things that are not traditionally considered prophetic at all.

        2) If I tell my friends that I think I will have a steak, then walk into a restaurant and order a steak, then the waiter  brings me a steak, I have not just fulfilled a prophecy.  A true prophecy is specific (and none of the prophecies in the old testament are) and can only be fulfilled in a very specific circumstance that cannot be duplicated.  The writers of the new testament (particularly matthew, as his focus was on the jews) KNEW the old testament.  Their accounts of the hearsay of jesus' life were doctored to correspond to these known prophetic statements.  Matthew even gets things WRONG which are later corrected by the following gospels - for example, matthew continually says "in accordance with the prophecy" throughout his gospel, he even goes out of his way to state that jesus entered Jerusalem on two donkeys.  TWO.  This was due to a prophecy that he claimed was in Zechariah, but was really in Jeremiah, and was mistranslated.  This was corrected in later gospels.  the traditional prophecies touted by the majority of christians are simply not prophecies in the first place - or they're deliberately manipulated in the story to make them seem like they've been fulfilled.  Jesus himself issued a prophecy about himself - he told some of his followers that some of them would not taste death before he returned.  2000+ years later (if, in fact, he ever existed) and we're still waiting - and I'm pretty sure all of those followers are long dead.  Prophecy failed.

      2. Rhonda D Johnson profile image59
        Rhonda D Johnsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        The reason the Jews rejected Jesus was because they did NOT recognize him in the prophesies of the OT.  The NT did not predate Jesus.  Although Christians tried to shoehorn him into the OT, it was all very convoluted and ex post facto.  The fact that the Bible as a whole was put together by the same ecumenical counsels makes it even more suspect.  A book cannot fulfill its own prophesies.

      3. Rhonda D Johnson profile image59
        Rhonda D Johnsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Addendum:  The creation story in the Bible bears no resemblance to the physical universe.  Therefore the god of the Bible is NOT the Creator.

      4. secularist10 profile image61
        secularist10posted 10 years agoin reply to this


        The only one you may have a point on is in God's all-loving quality. Although the notion of a sentient God is certainly not unique to Christianity.

        Prophecies also existed in practically every religion, pagan or otherwise, to that time. And Jesus did not fulfill any "prophecies" anyway, as the others have mentioned.

    2. Rhonda D Johnson profile image59
      Rhonda D Johnsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, and it was also unique because they killed everyone who disagreed with them.

  7. knolyourself profile image61
    knolyourselfposted 10 years ago

    I am the body and mind god - paganism. I am not nor can I ever be the body or mind of God, it is outside myself - that is Christianity.

    1. pennyofheaven profile image60
      pennyofheavenposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      So that is the difference. I learn something new every day. Thanks

    2. yruymi profile image60
      yruymiposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      If anyone would like to discuss specifics with me, I would be willing to debate the 200 or so prophecies that Jesus did fulfill. Other than going over them individually and specifically, looking into the details of every instance, this debate really will accomplish nothing. So, I am willing to do this, but you will have to find me, because I do not want to upset anyone. Many thousands of Christians did not kill anyone, and those who did, did so directly in contradiction to Jesus' words, and in disobedience to His revealed will, to love all people.

      1. JMcFarland profile image69
        JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        that's the "no true scotsman" fallacy at it's best. No matter how many debates I've had, i'm still astounded every time that one comes up.  "they're not TRUE christians, because they disagree with my particular dogma/belief/actions".  Yeah, yeah, those "untrue" christians would say the same of you.  Ironic how a book that is supposedly the "word of god" is SO difficult to understand that over 3000+ denominations exist due to it, and NONE OF THEM actually agree on what the book says.

        Again, prophecy is not prophecy if you either a) purposely try to fulfill it b) twist it around to make it sound fulfilled or c) change it to suit a story the way you see fit.  Did some of the "prophecies" in the old testament happen to come true?  Sure, I'll grant that one - but that is an act of chance, not a deliberate fulfillment.  I could predict right now that 20 years from now I'll eat a banana for breakfast, but the fact of the matter is I eat a banana for breakfast almost daily, so there's a high probability that it will come true.  The "prophecies" that the christians like to point to are not actually prophecies at all.  They're twisted, cherry-picked little specs from an old testament that shove the mythical jesus into the narrow box they created for him.  The jews disagree, despite the amount of effort the gospel writers put in to trying to make it a reasonable fit.  christians don't seem to have a lot to say about the numerous "prophecies" in the old testament about a messiah that -oops- didn't come true at all, the prophecies that jesus made that were blatantly false or the contradictions between what the jews consider messianic prophecy and what they consider messianic prophecy. 

        If you want a good argument about it, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GCwCuVcKec

      2. Rhonda D Johnson profile image59
        Rhonda D Johnsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        There are many instances where Jesus explained that he was doing something "that the prophecy may be fulfilled."  There's nothing divine about that.  That's a deliberate act by an individual exercising his free will.  If god wanted to show that he could see the future he would have said something like "in those days a man shall sit in his house and talk to his friend in another city and they shall speak together and hear one another as if they were in the same room but they shall be in far cities, and men in those days shall build a great bird and shall  sit in the bird and shall fly from city to city at great speeds."  But the god of the Bible knew nothing of telephones and airplanes. Neither did Jesus "fulfill" any prophecy without prior knowledge of that prophecy and the deliberate intention to fulfill it.

        1. secularist10 profile image61
          secularist10posted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Absolutely. A Jew fulfilling Jewish prophecies in front of Jews, is not impressive. Now, a Viking fulfilling Indian prophecies in front of Aztecs--that would be interesting.

  8. Renee Abbott profile image81
    Renee Abbottposted 10 years ago

    I am too tired to answer this in depth. It was at the Council of Nice, when Constantine made Christianity the 'true religion'. To appease the pagans, they had to keep some of their traditions and blend them in with their religion. Their holidays were around the time of pagan holidays, the churches kept gargoyles (sp), and other old customs where kept at first. Easier to convince people that their God was the 'true' one, by doing so. There really isnt anything new in Christianity, except the hell concept.

    1. Rhonda D Johnson profile image59
      Rhonda D Johnsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The hell concept with the idea that humans go their for what they believe rather than what they do in life.  But that's not Christianity.  That's Paulianity.

      1. MizBejabbers profile image88
        MizBejabbersposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        So true, I hear certain denominations calling themselves "Pauline Christians". At least they're being honest with themselves.

    2. A Thousand Words profile image69
      A Thousand Wordsposted 10 years agoin reply to this


  9. Renee Abbott profile image81
    Renee Abbottposted 10 years ago

    In the Jewish religion the messiah is suppose to bring ever lasting peace the first time, not later on. The old testment is written in such a way, that is loaded with mysticism, which also was taken from other pagan religions before.

    1. Rhonda D Johnson profile image59
      Rhonda D Johnsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That's true.  Nothing new under the sun.

  10. yruymi profile image60
    yruymiposted 10 years ago

    If Jesus said (which He is recorded as saying), "love your enemies, bless those who curse you, if anyone strikes you, turn the other cheek," and I say, as a Christian I should be a pacifist, and love all people, I am acting in line with what Jesus said. You can call me any name you want, I don't mind. But if someone calling themself a Christian kills someone else, then, they are not acting as Jesus said a follower of Him should act. You can label my statement here as the "no true scotsman" fallacy, or anything else you want, but, it is a pure and simple fact that a person who wants to follow the teachings of Jesus will not be a murderer, or a killer "in His name"; therefore, the accusations against "Christians" for killing, are against people who were NOT following what Jesus said, no matter what they called themselves.

    1. Rhonda D Johnson profile image59
      Rhonda D Johnsonposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The sad part is, the same Jesus who said love your enemies also instructed his disciples to take their swords on their second missionary journey, and he said if they didn't have a sword to sell their clothes and buy one.(Luke 22:35-36). So much for goody two shoes Jesus the pacifist. (pass a fist maybe?)   You got to love a book that says whatever you want it to say so that no matter what you do, you can point to some scripture that supports it.

    2. MizBejabbers profile image88
      MizBejabbersposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Zola Levitt, the late Jew-turned-Christian evangelist explained that "turn the other cheek" means to Jews that if you are hit on one sideof the face, turn the other cheek and if the attacker hits you again, you are justified in beating the Hell out of him. He said it was not telling you to be pacifist, but to defend yourself.

      1. Disappearinghead profile image59
        Disappearingheadposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        That's very interesting.

        It is rather sad that 1600 years of Church leaders made every attempt to eradicate all Jewishness from Christianity based on notions that the Church had superseded the Jews as the new chosen people. Is it any wonder that all understanding of Jewish culture has been lost and thus the Church is oblivious to what Jesus was talking about half the time.

        1. A Thousand Words profile image69
          A Thousand Wordsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Indeed. I spent the past couple of days at my father and step-mother's house for Thanksgiving, and they're basically almost full-blown conservatives, but democratic on a few issues and will probably always vote for a black president for his being black, unless he has the same financial views as Republicans... Anyway, my father and my uncle got the discussion of Jews and Muslims and why they didn't believe in Jesus and i'm just like... I'm not even a Christian anymore and I know way more about that than they did, but my father was acting like everything he said was the cold hard truth, and I usually just keep my mouth shut around them because I just don't want to be lectured, so I typically but out but I had to speak up when they were saying Muslims worship Mohammed and how they see Jesus.

          Thankfully the conversation changed... but so many people, especially most Christians, are ignorant about this kind of stuff...

  11. paradigmsearch profile image61
    paradigmsearchposted 10 years ago

    I had a friend was a big baseball player,
    back in high school....

  12. paradigmsearch profile image61
    paradigmsearchposted 10 years ago

    He could throw that speedball by you,
    Make you look like a fool boy.

  13. Chris Neal profile image79
    Chris Nealposted 10 years ago

    The "Destruction of the Early Manuscripts" is a certainly convenient...as a  trope for "proving" that the Bible is somehow incomplete or incorrectly copied or or influenced/wholly corrupted by paganism. The fact is that since there are so many copies of the Scriptures available to study, it is possible to figure out what the original authors actually said and meant, including that virgin birth, which was hardly as widespread as some seem to believe among pagan cultures, was embedded in the Jewish conception of Messiah based on ancient prophecy, not intermarriage with paganism.


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