Christians Deny that Christianity has Pagan Origins. They are Wrong.

The Pagan World: Ancient Religions before Christianity | The Great Courses  Plus

Christian apologists scoff when critics accuse Christianity of having pagan origins. These apologists insist that Christianity is purely of Jewish origin. They are wrong.

No where in the Jewish Scriptures is a human being considered a god. No where in Jewish Scriptures is there any unambiguous statement that the messiah is a god and most definitely there is no unambiguous statement in the Hebrew Scriptures that a human being can be the creator god, Yahweh. Any Christian claims that such prophecies exist in the Jewish Scriptures are blatant ad hoc re-interpretations of the text, desperate attempts to shoe-horn a pagan concept into Judaism.

The idea that a first century peasant can be a god, and in particular, the creator god, Yahweh, is pagan. Period.

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End of post.

25 thoughts on “Christians Deny that Christianity has Pagan Origins. They are Wrong.

  1. I knew it. And, yet this ,”high Christology” found in Paul’s letters is very early, many think reflecting an earlier Christian creed. I mean these were devout Jewish men who in the natural would have rejected pagan influences in this direction. It would have been unthinkable. Do you think they all became delusional in someway, went kind of crazy and then committed blasphemy?

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    1. Nut cases have been present in all religions.

      You don’t have to be mentally ill to believe really nutty things. (Just look at the millions of Trump supporters to prove this point!)

      BTW: I do not doubt that Paul believed that Jesus was divine in some sense, but I don’t think you can find any statement by Paul in any of his authentic epistles where he states or indicates that Jesus is Yahweh himself. Why don’t Christians find that really, really odd? If Yahweh himself appeared to Paul in all of his heavenly glory, why didn’t the Jewish pharisee, Paul, mention this astounding fact???

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      1. I think Phil. 2:5-11 speaks of the incarnation. Gary, if there is a creator who brought the universe into existence from nothing, and you do allow for this possibility, why does it seem so far fetched that He might choose to reveal Himself and reconcile the world in Christ? It’s certainly not something any of us can wrap our finite human minds completely around, but what is impossible for God? This truly does not feel like delusional thinking to me if I allow for the possibility of God to begin with. And, I do think you’re right. Either the apostles were nutcases and liars or they were communicating truth to their time and culture. We all have to decide what we think of Jesus Christ and what part, if any, He plays in our lives.

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        1. Philippians 2:5-11

          Let the same mind be in you that was[a] in Christ Jesus,

          6 who, though he was in the form of God,
          did not regard equality with God
          as something to be exploited,
          7 but emptied himself,
          taking the form of a slave,
          being born in human likeness.
          And being found in human form,
          8 he humbled himself
          and became obedient to the point of death—
          even death on a cross.

          9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
          and gave him the name
          that is above every name,
          10 so that at the name of Jesus
          every knee should bend,
          in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
          11 and every tongue should confess
          that Jesus Christ is Lord,
          to the glory of God the Father.

          Gary: Notice that “God” and Jesus the Christ (the messiah) are never inferred to be one and the same person in this passage. Yes, Paul believed that Jesus was divine in some sense, maybe even equal in power to Yahweh. But Paul never, ever states that Jesus is Yahweh.

          That is a BIG problem for Trinitarian Christians.

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          1. I admit that we are getting into deep waters here around the whole concept and depth of the trinity. How deep was Paul’s understanding?? I don’t think He was worshipping Jesus as God the Father, (Yahweh) either. But, he was acknowledging and worshipping Christ as divine. This speaks to the deity of Jesus Christ. I don’t get why this is a problem for trinitarian Christians. To me, it actually begins to imply what we call the trinity, and illustrates the reality of the incarnation.

            Here is the thing, Gary..You know that my undergraduate major was cultural anthropology. If there’s anything these professors attempt to drill into students is understanding “world view.” Commenting across these blogs, I feel this is at the root of at least part of our difficulty in the discussion. If someone is open to the possibility of God, they will also eventually find themselves at least open to the possibility of the incarnation. But, if there are wholly conditioned to a naturalistic view of the world, they will not.. It would be pretty much impossible for their minds to even go in this direction.

            And, it’s understandable to me, that if someone immersed in this worldview can’t step outside of it or understand their bias, they may naturally feel that all the Christians are “delusional, ” or “fools.” In some cases actually mentally ill.

            But, let’s face it, here. People are human. Many Christian people labeled as delusional and idiots will naturally feel personally disrespected and attacked. They will then retaliate in kind. This is doubly true if they are insecure in their faith at all. And, viola, the conversation is bound to break totally down culminating in folks being banned from the discussion.

            Of course, from my perspective, it’s not about what the other people are doing. I want to intention my own response rather than to be conditioned by someone else’s.. Hopefully, it will reflect the love of Christ. But, I’m sure at times I’ve fallen short, myself. This all goes both ways.

            . But, I’ll tell you what, Gary, if anything has further strengthened my conviction of the “sin nature,” it has to be viewing and participating in discussion on these blogs through the years. Of course, living with my own husband has also strengthened my conviction, although I love the old “sinner” to pieces. 🙂

            God have mercy!!! Every good thing, Gary.

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            1. I admit that we are getting into deep waters here around the whole concept and depth of the trinity. How deep was Paul’s understanding?? I don’t think He was worshipping Jesus as God the Father, (Yahweh) either.

              You would like to believe that God withheld the full doctrine of the Trinity from James, the Twelve, and Paul and only revealed it to later generations of Christians. Why not accept the more probable cause: Christian theology evolved! It was an invention of human beings. A god had nothing to do with it.

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  2. Interesting to think about how the idea of Jesus being God was coming into being around the same time that the Roman Emperors were starting to claim divinity. Bart Ehrman has said it was probably a case of trying to match Jesus to Caesar divinity wise in the early years. Of course over centuries Jesus got levelled up to full on always existing absolute capital “G” God.

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    1. I find it very interesting that even in the Book of Acts, Christian Jews were still worshipping Yahweh in the Temple. Why? If Jesus was Yahweh who had done away with the need for sacrifices, why were James and the Twelve still offering sacrifices in the Temple!

      Hint: They did NOT believe that Jesus was Yahweh!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gary, show where the Gospel writers or the writers of any of the epistles, the writer of Revelation make any reference to pagan literature to validate their belief in the divinity of Jesus.

    Paul only talks to a pagan audiende using their idea of a creator God to show that the Jewish God is the true God.

    The pagans had zero idea of a physical resurrection – they scoff at Paul for this very reason at Mars Hill. Physical resurrection is completely a Jewish idea.

    Pagans only had the idea of gods appearing as humans or geese, usually to have sex with humans. They had the idea of demigods.

    The idea of God in the unique Jewish sense incarnating as a human to love and live and serve His creatures is alien to anything pagan. It just doesn’t exist.

    Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear of Israel, the LORD (YHWH) our God, the Lord is One.

    1 Corinthians – a universally recognised authentic letter of Paul – 8:6

    Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is one Lord (YHWH), Jesus Christ, through whom all things came through whom we live.

    Galatians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord (YHWH) Jesus Christ.

    Romans 1:4 Jesus Christ our Lord (YHWH).

    2 Corinthians 13:14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

    Placing Jesus in front of the Father is as clear a declaration of His divinity as there can be.

    1 Thessalonians 1:1 God the Father and the Lord (YHWH) Jesus Christ.

    Placing Jesus on equal terms with God constantly is also a clear indication of His divinity.

    Philemon 1:1 too.

    Also – Psalm 110:1 is applied to Jesus, sitting at God’s right hand. Only God sits on God’s throne. Jesus is sitting on God’s throne – He is God. Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 15:25.

    The earliest Christology is the highest Christology – Jesus was seen as God incarnate ny Paul.

    Gary is wrong about this too. Period.

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    1. Pagans only had the idea of gods appearing as humans or geese, usually to have sex with humans. They had the idea of demigods. The idea of God in the unique Jewish sense incarnating as a human to love and live and serve His creatures is alien to anything pagan.

      In the Christian myth, a god takes the form of a ghost to copulate with a human virgin. The end result of that copulation between god and human is a god/man with magical powers. Sounds pretty pagan to me.

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    2. Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is one Lord (YHWH), Jesus Christ, through whom all things came through whom we live.

      Notice that Paul differentiates between God and Jesus. Paul never refers to Jesus as Yahweh.

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    3. Galatians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord (YHWH) Jesus Christ.

      Yep. Yahweh is God, Jesus is simply “Lord”. “Lord” in Jewish theology does not always refer to God.

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    4. Placing Jesus in front of the Father is as clear a declaration of His divinity as there can be.

      I never claimed that Paul did not see Jesus as divine. But remember, angels are divine in Jewish and Christian theology. My assertion is that Paul NEVER refers to Jesus as Yahweh.

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        1. But neither were they offering worship to Jesus as God himself, at least not in the Synoptics and the writings of Paul. The last Gospel, written 60-70 years after Jesus’ death, is the first Christian text to talk about worshipping Jesus as God.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sure you guys (Liam and Becky) know better than anyone else. Like Justin Martyr acknowledging circa AD155 how Jesus is just like pagan gods: ‘And when we say also 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’ (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/919150-and-when-we-say-also-that-the-word-who-is. My emphasis).
    Or Richard Carrier noting how ancient Jews ‘stole almost everything… that defined them from the pagans: circumcision, pagan; pork taboo, pagan; resurrection, pagan; monotheism, pagan; the apocalypse, pagan; hellfire, pagan…’.
    Then there’s Paul’s use of terminology from pagan mystery cults – the word ‘mystery’ itself, ‘initiation’, ‘gnosis’ (secret knowledge), ‘the Lord’s Supper’ (a pagan ritual) and more
    And then there’s ‘the Logos’ as used by the fourth gospel: a distinctly pagan notion.
    But no, you’re right, Becky and Liam, it would be unthinkable for 1st century Jews and early converts to Christianity to lift ideas from paganism. The very idea!

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    1. Neil, I think it would have been unthinkable for the 1st. century Jews to worship Jesus as divine unless something pretty earth-shaking happened to change their views. It would have been seen as a form of blasphemous idolatry.

      But, I can definitely agree with you, that there was commonality in other areas. I mean, after all, they shared a common culture. But, of course, then we could also get into the debate about who borrowed from who. What about Mithra?

      However, it seems to me there are also real differences. For instance, just to give one example, I don’t think the resurrection of Christ is arbitrarily borrowed from the pagan mystery cults which used stories of continually dying and rising gods as a way to explain the cycle of the seasons. It’s something else.

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      1. Becky, “the 1st century Jews” did not worship Yeshua as divine. Yes, a few of them were taken in by Paul’s “preaching,” but you know as well as I do that “the Jews” do NOT recognize Yeshua as the Messiah and obviously, do not see him as “divine.”

        You mention the pagan mystery cults. Chances are you’ve never read my book, but I address Paul and his association with these mystery cults in considerable detail in my chapter on Paul. It’s been said before but bears repeating … “Christianity” is not derived from the Jews; it’s derived from Paul.

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        1. Nan, I was thinking about the apostles and the earliest Christians who were Jewish. I totally agree with you that Jesus was not the kind of Messiah that the Jewish nation expected.

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          1. According to testimony recorded in the book of Acts, Paul was regarded by the authorities as out of his mind, his “great learning driving him mad.” If the testimony is to be believed, he soberly claimed to be perfectly sane and truthful.

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