| by D. Amarasiri Weeraratne
( November 25, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The celebration of Christmas on December 25th reminds us once more of the legend of the Sun-God and how Christianity is deeply rooted in Pagan religious history, which prevailed for thousands of years before the time of Christ in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
The birthdate of Christ is not known to Historians or Archeologists for lack of evidence - even after sifting almost every grain of sand in Bethlehem. No-one, not even the early Christians, knew the birthdate of Christ. So, the early church settled on the same day that the Pagans celebrated the birthdate of their Sun God - the change to lengthening of daylight – around December 25th each year. This was the day of the popular festival of the Sun God in the Mystery Religions that prevailed in the lands of the Roman empire. In these lands the Sun-God was worshipped under different names: Morals in Egypt, Mithra in Persia, Attis and Adonis in Greece and Syria were some of the names used.
He arose three days later on the Sunday, and ascended in to heaven. By believing that his death was an atonement for the sins of mankind, Pagans were supposed to gain salvation and eternal life in heaven.
These events are also to be found in the Gospels attributed to the life of Christ.
Moreover, the dates fixed for celebrating Christian events coincide with the dates on which similar festivals were celebrated in the Pagan Religions.
How did Pagan religious celebrations get incorporated into Christianity? Who was responsible for it? These questions have baffled scholars for a long time. A book published by Robert Furneau (Cassell and Co, London) unravels the mystery in the light of recent research findings. He develops several arguments and finally reaches the conclusion that St. Paul was responsible.
There had been a conflict between Christ’s disciples and St Paul – it was on the issue of adulterating Christianity in order to make it more acceptable to the Gentiles. Jesus had said “Go not unto the gentiles.” but perversely, St Paul insisted that the Gospels should be carried to the Gentiles.
Jesus had said: “I have not come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it.” “Heaven and earth may pass but not one jot of the Law can be altered.” Paul taught that Christ emancipated us from the Law, and that the Law is a curse! The disciples and the Apostolic party insisted on circumcision of the Gentiles who convert to Christianity. Paul did not agree to this.
In this way he watered down Christianity to make it acceptable to the Christians. He went ahead and established Christian communities among the Gentiles in the lands nearby. One such community at Galatia was reconverted to the Apostolic party by men sent by the disciples from Jerusalem. Paul admits this in one of his letters to the Galatians.
However, Paul became completely free only after Jerusalem was reconquered in 70 C.E. by Vespatian, who led the Roman army. The rebellion had lasted fourteen years.
Jerusalem was taken and its temple was destroyed, and many thousands of Jews were killed. (Others fled to countries nearby.) The Apostolic party that opposed Paul, was decimated, if not completely wiped out in this confrontation with Rome.
As a result there was no-one to oppose Paul and his controversial ideas. Thereupon Paul’s sect had a free hand to teach as they liked. That is why we find in the Gospels, which were all written after 70. C.E., a version of Christianity according to Paul’s ideas, i.e., the teachings of Jesus which were modified and tailored to make them more acceptable to the Gentiles – i.e. a religion of Christ not Jesus.
The ideas borrowed from the Pagan religion were always repugnant to Jews. They rejected Christianity once the adulterations had been incorporated into it. Ever since then, Christianity has been an anathema (poison) to Jews the world over, as it is to the Muslims who also abhor the Pagan religious borrowings.
The original Christian Sabbath had been a Saturday conforming to the Jewish tradition. It was altered to Sunday to conform to the popular day of worship of the Sun God in the Mystery Religions. There are carvings at Luxur, in ancient Egyptian temples, dating back to 6,000 B.C.E., which depict the nativity of the Sun God. There, an angel is seen announcing to the Egyptian shepherds the birth of the Sun God. An Egyptian virgin is seen being told by an Angel that she would be the mother of the Sun God born in the flesh. There are three wise men (sages) shown worshipping the newly-born infant. Then, the Sun-God is depicted as raising a man from the dead, in the presence of two female disciples. This corresponds the to the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Christ.
The use of images as an aid for worship in Christian Churches, in violation of the Ten Commandments, is also an adaptation taken from the Pagan religions.
These examples, and similar borrowings e.g., the Doctrine of the Trinity, worship of Saints, Mariolatory etc., show us the influence that the Sun God Religion had in shaping Paul’s brand of Christianity and its subsequent developments.
The first church fathers such as Augustine, were aware of these similarities. They attributed it to the cunning schemes of the Devil in order to deceive Christians and thereby caricature Christianity. In historical fact, a howling Christian mob, led by Bishop Theophillus, in 391 C.E., had set fire to the priceless collection of books in the Great Library at Alexandria - the collection of Alexander the Great (- and also destroyed the Pagan Serapeum – the most sacred of Egyptian Pagan shrines, for good measure!). Thereafter all traces of Pagan Religious literature was lost and we are not in a position to pinpoint what are the exact borrowings adopted by Christianity. It is only after the hieroglyphics deciphered by Champolian and the Cuneform Script was read and understood by Rawlinson, that European Scholars began to understand the belief and practices of the ancient Mystery Religions.
Scholars like Robertson in his ‘History of the Christian Church’ and Dr. S. Radhachrisnan in his ‘Eastern Religions and Western Thought’ have commented that in converting Pagans to Christianity, it was necessary for the Church to adoptS many of their beliefs and practices. Authors like Edward Carpenter in his ‘Pagan Sources of Christianity’ and Kamal Ud Deen, of the London Mosque, in his ‘Sources of Christianity’ both confirm this view.
So, this Christmas celebration, once more, spotlights these associations of Christianity with the legends of the Sun God. “Christianity is the religion founded by Paul which replaced Jesus’ gospel with a gospel about Christ the Messiah! and clothed him with Pagan beliefs – a religion that would be more accurately named ‘Paulinism’. This Paulinism is a misinterpretation and falsification of Jesus’s real teachings.
This is a fact that has been recognised by modern theological research and examination of the known facts from history and archeology. All the beautiful aspects are linked to Jesus, all the unbeautiful with Paul.
(Acknowledgements are made to sources such as ‘The Original Jesus’ by Elmar E. Gruber and H. Kerston)
Christmas has undergone three drastic changes: firstly, for thousands of years, it was the celebration by Pagan Religionists of the birth of the Sun God made into flesh; secondly, it became the Christian feast of the birth of Christ and finally, it has become an all-faith commercial exercise in Europe and America, bereft of religious significance, marketing a winter’s holiday for eating and over indulging in all things men can imagine by way of business.