Christianity Has Pagan DNA
If you examine South American Christianity, Celtic Christianity or African Christianity, you will find traces of each ethnic group's pagan pre-Christian religion.
Articles on this Page:
•• Pagan Roots in Earliest Christianity ••The Pagan Foundation of Christianity
••  Church Celibacy has pagan roots
Marriage is a sin, Celibacy is the way to go
according to Church authorities.  But their celibate priests and nuns were actually following a pagan tradition!
••An Unlikely Savior Saves The Church, A Pagan Emperor ••Isis with Horus is Madonna & Child

Pagan Roots in Earliest Christianity
article originally titled: A Short History of Gnosticism
by J H Jensen  
(J H, if you're out there, please contact us so we can properly credit you!)

The roots of Gnosticism reach far into antiquity and, during much of its history, Gnosticism has faced such persecution as to destroy most records about it.

Gnosticism transcends the boundaries of secular religion. Elements of it can be found among Quakers and Old Catholics, the Hebrew Kabbalah, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism, Baha'i', in Greek philosophy, and even Polynesian Huna. Kabbalistic Gnosticism (or a predecessor thereof) was probably brought to Palestine from Ur of the Chaldees by Abraham.

Gnosticism even transcends the long-standing war between science and religion. In fact, it was Gnostic philosophers like Pythagoras who were primarily responsible for developing the scientific method. At the other extreme, we can see Hebrew messianic movements (a constant process in Judaism) growing consistently out of Kabbalistic Gnosticism. There is no clear evidence indicating Christianity to be an exception to this rule.

In fact, the earliest recorded schism in Christianity was between the Gnostics and Pistics. Several of the Gospels are clearly Gnostic in orientation, including the Gospels of John, Thomas, Philip, and Mary. Then, it was the Pistics who were the heretics, and they were often hated at that, because it was (and still is) Pistics who would burn Gnostic writings wherever they could find them.

In AD 38, the Church of Antioch was founded by James, Peter and Thomas in Antioch, Asia Minor. In AD 64, Pistic Christianity began growing by leaps and bounds when Nero began throwing Christians to the lions in the arena. Roman courts offered Christians an out: they could denounce their religion and go free. The Pistics refused and died for it. The Gnostics were horrified. They were faced with a veritable Jonestown horror in their midst. Their friends and neighbors were committing suicide by walking willingly into the mouths of lions. While Gnostics respected honesty, they respected life more, and they knew that the man who would brandish a sword at them was not interested in honesty, but only in their obedience. They became hated and scorned by Pistics for refusing to die with them.

Better advertising could not have been bought. No faith, no commitment, could have been more impressive to the spectators. The arena made converts by the droves, and it was Pistic Christians that they sought out to learn more about this powerful religion.

Council of Nicea showing Emperor Constantine supposedly presidingIn Ad 325, the Roman Catholic Church was created by a pagan emperor named Constantine. It was only superficially a Christian Church. The First Nicean Council was assembled to work out the details. While it was supposed to have been made up of Christian elders from five major Christian centers (Rome, Athens, Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch), it also included elders of all the major Pagan religions of Rome. Bishops from the cults of Mithras, Tammuz, Oannes (Dagon), Ceres, Janus, Bacchus, Apollo, Osiris, Jupiter, and Constantine's own religion: Sol Invictus, were invited. It was Constantine's wish that all of the Pagan religions, then at odds with each other, creating unnecessary conflicts, be unified into one "Catholic" church. "Catholic" means universal. The proceedings of that council were conducted by Constantine with an iron hand, and one of the positions which he insisted upon, and got, was to make Pistis a doctrine of the new church. Gnosticism could not be tolerated, because it encouraged its members to question authority. Pistis was thus politically expedient, because it forbade questioning.

The institution of the papacy was built on the doctrine of being the successors of St. Peter as Bishop of Rome, and the first bishop. History, however, does not show Peter to have been in Rome, or to have ever been a bishop, anywhere. The first bishop of Rome was listed as Linus. "Peter of Rome" took the place of the Pet-Roma, the "Book of Stone" which played a major part in initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries. The statue of Jupiter (Jo-Peter) in Rome came to be worshipped as the image of Peter, with the claim that it always had been the image of Peter.

An effective unification of all of Rome's religions had to not only include the major deities of those religions, but it also had to place them in a position subordinate to the over-god, who was to pull them all together, and to grant him the higher authority. The names of the disciples, then, corresponded to the names of those deities. Matthew was Mithras, Thomas - Tammuz, Mark - Mars, John - Oannes, Peter - Jupiter, Paul - Apollo. Even the Virgin Mary was a variation on older myths. The name "Jesus Christ" was actually a contraction on "Hesus" and "Christos". The use of crosses, as symbols, was almost non-existent before. This was generally regarded as a violation of the second commandment, and the reminder of Christ's suffering was usually deemed inappropriate.

A vote was cast to decide whether women had souls. The women won by one vote. Among early Christians, however, it was the women, as much as the men, who had visions and were accepted for that ability.

The Church of Antioch left the council in disgust. As a consequence, it was persecuted as far away as Malabar, India. The new church was virtually Christian in name only. Early Christians, and not Gnostics alone, were committed pacifists and anarchists. They refused to enter the military, or any kind of government work. After the Nicean Council, this changed, such that within 60 years almost every soldier and civil servant was a Catholic. The traditional Christian virtues of love, tolerance and forgiveness were quickly swept under the proverbial carpet.

Constantine never converted. On his deathbed, when he was too delirious to protest, "Saint Eusebius" entered his chambers, sprinkled holy water on him, and declared him baptized. Constantine, ruthless as he was, had put a stop to the persecution of Christians, but his successors began the persecution of Gnostics in earnest. Emperors Valens and Valentinian were such ruthless butchers as to make even Caligula look like a sweetheart. They were barely the beginning.

· In AD 366, Damasus became pope by the violent removal of his rivals. He hired gangs of thugs to ambush Bishop Ursinus's party in the Basilica. 137 men were left dead, not counting those killed in the previous street fighting.

· In AD 375, Valens had untold thousands slaughtered on basis of name alone, because a magician obtained a prophecy giving the first letters of the name of Valen's successor: Theta-Epsilon-Omega.  Anyone whose name began with those letters, whether named Theodore, Theodosius, Theodatus, Theophilus, or Theodora, were sought out and killed. Untold thousands more were also killed on mere suspicion of occult practice. The heads of those executed were piled high in the town squares. Despite his efforts, Valens could not stop the fulfillment of the prophecy. After his death, an official named Theodosius, from an obscure province of Gaul, took power. Theodosius, a Catholic, ordered the continued slaughter of occult practitioners.

· In AD 1209, the entire population of the Albigens was slaughtered at the order of Pope Innocent III. The Albigens, in the south of France, was then the most populous, the most technically, socially, and economically advanced part of Europe. Its population was largely Gnostics and Arian Christians, and were a sanctuary for Jews who were persecuted most every place else in Europe. All of these groups had a high percentage of literacy and read the Bible, which was prohibited by the Vatican. Innocent III was seeking to put a stop to the "Gnostic heresy", but found it to be entrenched throughout Europe. Innocent also reinstated a prohibition against the owning or reading of Bibles by anyone other than clergy, under penalty of death.

· Following the U.S. Civil War, the papacy continued to defend the institution of slavery, even when it had fallen into disfavor most everywhere else.

· The papacy also continued the practice of creating castratos (boys castrated before puberty to keep their singing voices high-pitched) for their own entertainment, long after it had fallen in disfavor throughout Italy.

Neither is Catholicism alone in being responsible for such atrocity. It has, in fact, been endemic to almost every Pistic religion:

· The Aztecs, Mayans and Incas practiced human sacrifice. In the 1300s, the Aztecs alone killed about 20,000 yearly.

· India's Thugee sect, before it was wiped out with the help of the British, claimed the murder of about 20,000 per year.

· Islamic Jihads, mandated by the Koran, resulted in the deaths of millions over a period of 1,200 years, and they are at it again in the modern era.

· Baha'i's have been a peaceful people since the religion was founded in Persia in 1844. Baha'u'lla'h, their leader, taught against too rigid dogma. The Islamics disagreed, and killed thousands of Baha'i's. In 1852, 200,000 Baha'i's were massacred in the streets of Tehran.

· In the early 1900s, Muslim Turks committed genocide against the Armenians.

· Noteworthy is the fact that neither Hitler nor Stalin was tolerant of dissent or disagreement. Hitler believed himself on a mission from God. Stalin enforced atheist communism as a Pistic dogma.

· In 1947, when India won its independence from Great Britain, the Hindus and Muslims began killing each other with religious zeal. A million died, including Ghandi, before it stopped. It is still going on in Kashmir, actually.

Neither can the word of Pistic leaders be trusted. The Vatican, in particular, has a long-standing tradition of fabricating its own history as it went along.

· Constantine burned, along with Christian writings that did not fit his ideas for the new religion, the records of 300 years of Greek philosophy.

Neither would he be the last emperor to burn historical documents to cover his tracks. A controversy was raised by a man named Heirocles, who accused the Council of plagiarizing the library of Apollonius of Tyana to produce the New Testament. Heirocles' own arguments were destroyed, but Eusebius' rebuttal, consisting mostly of ridicule, survived.

· Circa AD 366, It was Damasus who invented the name "pope", derived from a Greek word for father: "pappas", in violation of Christ's commandments. He also invented the doctrine of the pope being the successor to St. Peter, never mind Peter was never a bishop in Rome, nor anywhere else, and it is doubtful he was ever in Rome. Meanwhile, Peter was one of the founders of the Church of Antioch, which had ceceeded from the Catholic Church.

· In AD 378, Emperor Theodosius ordered large numbers of historical documents burned.

· Circa AD 390, Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, incited a mob to burn the Library of Alexandria and brutally murder Hypatia, its female curator and librarian. For these crimes he was sainted. The Library of Alexandria had been the largest, most comprehensive library of the ancient world. Part of it survived to be burned by Pistic Arab Muslims about two centuries later.

· In AD 750, a document surfaced entitled: "The Donation of Constantine" claiming to have been written by Emperor Constantine giving deed of the entire Roman Empire to the Church. Such a greed for power grew out of the acceptance of this story as fact, that there would be as many as four popes take power in a day, each after having his predecessor murdered. It was exposed as a forgery on both linguistic and historical grounds independently by Nicholas of Cues in 1433, and Lorenzo Valla in 1440.

· In AD 1030, Pope Gregory the Great took power, declared himself a saint, and created a staff of forgers to create documents supporting any new policy as already existing. Gregory was later excommunicated by a group of Italian Bishops for "preferring licentiousness to honorable marriage". Many "celibate" popes were actually shameless philanderers and womanizers, but Gregory, in reinstating the doctrine of priestly celibacy, had exiled the wives and children of Roman priests, leaving them helpless, while doing nothing about the prostitutes and concubines kept by the clergy. Many wives committed suicide.

Christian history has, by no means, been all bad. Of special note is the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers. The Society of Friends, founded in England in the early 1600s, has as its central teaching that everyone has an "Inner Light": "He was the true light which lighted every man who came into the world." John 1:9. As such, they went a long way toward rediscovering the teachings of ancient Gnosticism, even regarding the "Inner Light" as a higher authority than scripture. They have also been one of the most egalitarian forms of Christianity, subjecting major decisions, concerning the group, whether in business or church management, to a consensus. As Saturn Corp. has discovered, this approach is a very effective quality control device, and many a Quaker business has prospered by employing that approach.

So what of the followers, the true believers of Catholicism, Islam, Communism or any other Pistic religion? It is not they who are the evil. They are merely ignorant pawns in someone else's game. To attack them is to miss the point and create an unnecessary enemy. Even the bad apples are merely the symptom of a bad system. If we merely attack bad apples, we condemn ourselves to keep on doing so, like attacking criminals without addressing the causes of crime. To do so is to be short-sighted and ineffectual. It is the Pistic commitment to BELIEF, to the exclusion of evidence, that is at the root of the evil in our world. To believe to the exclusion of evidence is to create a schism between your understanding and your senses. This is nothing less than a breach of integration, and therefore a breach of integrity. Having done so, you leave yourself open to be used as a tool of whatever evil your leaders wish to commit.

Jesus once said that we should beware of false prophets, that we shall know them by their fruits. The fruits of Gnosticism have benefited many. Gnostic teaching has brought us science, prosperity, wisdom and a foundation for peace. The fruits of Pistis have been oppression, deception, book-burning, torture, the falsification of history, mass murder, and even suicide in the name of God.   --J H Jensen


An Unlikely Savior Saves The Church -- And Spawns The Greatest Revision Yet
Part of a large essay by Scott Bidstrup

313 C.E. to appx. 430 C.E.

In 313, Emperor Constantine and his co-emperor Lucinius sent a series of rather flowery letters to their governors, in which they said it was "salutory and most proper" that "complete toleration" be given to anyone who has "given up his mind to the cult of the Christians" or any other cult which "he personally feels best for himself." The Edict of Milan, as this decree was called, had the effect of legalizing Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. The question history has never adequately answered is why the Edict of Milan was issued in the first place.

Emperor Constantine was a deeply superstitious man. He was a practitioner of several religions, trying to keep his bases covered, even after his 'conversion.' He was arbitrary and capricious. He sent prisoners of war to the lions, committed wholesale acts of genocide in his campaigns in North Africa, and was known for his overbearing, egotistical, ruthless and self-righteous behavior. His nephew Julian said that his appearance was strange, with stiff garments of Eastern fashion, jewelry on his arms and it was all set off by a tiara perched on a dyed wig. Constantine apparently viewed Christianity as just one of the many cults of his realm, and he seemed to practice them all, apparently with the same depth of commitment. He wasn't actually baptized, apparently, until he was on his death bed.

Emperor Constantine for all his strangeness was nothing if not a good politician. He understood well the fact that the Christians were becoming so numerous as to represent a possible political threat should they get their act together and become organized. So to co-opt the threat they represented, he conveniently had a 'miracle' which led to his 'conversion' so he could become their ally. In 312, a year before the Edict of Milan, he fought the battle of Milvan Bridge, against a rival claimant to the emperor's throne. Among his soldiers were many Christians and they were already carrying on their swords and shields the Christian Chi-Rho sign. Well, to hear the stories, the heavens opened up, and the Emperor had a vision. And he was granted victory in his battle. At least this is the story the Christian apologists tell.

Unfortunately, we don't know what exactly happened at Milvan Bridge, because the dear Emperor kept changing his story and telling different versions of the events to different people. At least six different versions have survived from different people who claimed to have heard it from the emperor himself.

As he kept telling these conflicting stories, he remained personally converted to the Mithraic sun-cult common in the Empire at the time. As a monument to his victory at Milvan, some years later, he raised a triumphal arch, which survives to this day. It bears on it a testimony to the "Unconquered Sun" and referred to Jesus Christ "driving his [the sun's] chariot across the sky." He commanded the Christians to hold their services on Sun-day, and the Nativity Feast of Mithra, held on the 25th of December because it was the winter solstice and the rebirth-day of the winter sun, became the Christian nativity feast, Christmas. Constantine became the sole Roman emperor in 324 and convened the First Council of Nicea the following year. His commandment to the bishops: Get your act together and quit squabbling. Come up with a consistent doctrine that would be universal,, and could be understood and practiced by all.

Of course, the bishops complied. Rather than risk Imperial disfavor, they all met at Nicea, squabbled, squabbled some more, hammered out a few common doctrines (mostly with regard to the creation and the nature of the universe, and the first version of the Apostolic Creed), declared themselves in agreement on it, and departed totally unconverted to each other's views. The emperor who was totally ignorant of the issues, hearing that his bishops had finally agreed on a common doctrine, was pleased. The bishops were certainly pleased to hear he was pleased. And then they went about preaching the same old doctrines as before.

Argument and dissension continued for the next six decades with various factions finding themselves in and then out of Imperial favor. Athanasius, the actual author of the original version of the Apostolic Creed, found himself exiled and 'rehabilitated' on no fewer than six occasions. It was eventually Imperial politics and the wealth of the Roman church, which it shared with the smaller congregations along with instructions for its use, more than theology, that finally governed the form that Christian doctrine would take, as various bishops found themselves in and out of imperial favor at various times. By 430, the council of Nicea had become an ongoing affair, designed to stamp out "heresies" (read: dissent from the Imperial view), and create a formal, universal, i.e. catholic church organization, organized in a manner similar to the political structure of the Roman Empire itself.

The Council of Nicea became, in essence, the enforcer of the Imperial view of how things ought to be. This is why the Catholic Church today resembles in its government the government of the Roman Empire of the period. The headquarters of the church was eventually established at Rome, and the head of the church became known as the pope. New basilicas dotted the landscape, all built with the blessing of the Emperor, and all aligned to the new, imperially blessed, church headquarters in Rome. Constantine sent expeditions off to Palestine to "find" and build basilicas over the sacred sites of the church's early history, and return with faith-promoting "relics" which of course they were happy to acquire or more often, produce. In order to popularize the church with the masses, the doctrinal emphasis was changed significantly. These changes were reflected in the art of the Christian church. When early Roman Christians met secretly in Rome, the art they produced reflected the pastoral nature of Jesus' teachings. Scenes of Jesus feeding the multitudes, blessing the children, and healing the sick were the themes in the art of that period.

After the conversion of Constantine, the character of the art suddenly and dramatically changed to reflect the change in doctrinal emphasis. Gone are the sweet, pastoral scenes of a meek Jesus patiently ministering to his followers. Instead, images of the crucifixion and the scourging of Jesus in the court of Pilate become common. This was to help the suffering masses identify with Jesus who was said to have suffered on their behalf. The church had became a political instrument -- be patient with your suffering under Roman rule, the masses were told, and a better life for you is prepared for you if you believe in Jesus the Savior. The emperor may not provide good living in this life, but Jesus would in the next.

It is at this time that the Chi Rho and the symbol of the fish, representing the miraculous nature of Jesus' message (at least as formulated by the gospel writers), is replaced by the cross, a symbol of death and the defeat of suffering, as the principal emblem of Christianity.  --by Scott Bidstrup [see Scott's website for his bibliography and also a list of books related to this topic]


The "Pagan" Foundation of Christianity
Hermes, The Good Shepherd Yeshua fulfilled a powerful role as Son-of-God.  He seemed to fit the archetype of several existing pagan gods and demi-gods who were personifications of the dying resurrecting god, or the well known solar myth, as reflected by such popular deities as Mithra, Heracles/Hercules, Tammuz, and Dionysus. [Hercules with Cross]

Isis With Horus is Madonna & Child
Isis with Osiris is the Pieta (holding the slain God)
Isis holding baby Horus, origin of Madonna and Child in christian artWHO is ISIS?  At the apex of her influence, this Mother Goddess of Rebirth was worshiped throughout the Greco-Roman world. Her temples were finally closed in the 4th century AD, but her role as Mother of God, as well as many other Christian borrowings from her mythos, were assumed by the Virgin Mary.

She and the baby Horus are the icons that were converted into the Madonna and Child by the early Christians. It is said that the worship and love for Isis, the goddess of the home and hearth, was so great she was literally absorbed into Christian iconography. She was loved and adored for her compassion, loyalty, and healing ability.

Isis is pictured in ancient art holding the slain body of her beloved Osiris across her lap, just as Christianity portrayed Mary holding the slain Jesus across her lap, -- called the Pieta.

Isis is also the first winged female to appear in earth's ancient artwork.  Middle Eastern / Mediterranean goddesses Astarte and Anat as well as Lilith and Athena Nike were shown as winged women, too.  Christianity is full of winged women images these days, they call them angels.  We have to remind those artists that most biblical angels were male warrior types with no mention of wings!

"In the beginning there was Isis, Oldest of the Old, the Goddess from whom all becoming arose." -- Egyptian scriptures

"The mother of the stars, the parent of seasons, and the mistress of all the world." -- Lucius Apuleius

Isis origins:  Originally Isis was known as Au Set, a predynastic Egyptian Goddess dating from 3000 BCE. She laid upon the dead body of her husband-brother, Osiris (whose annual death symbolized the fertilizing of fields by Nile floodwaters), and conceived Horus, the falcon-headed deity who is the original "son of God(ess)." The name Isis means "throne woman," and she was venerated as the inventor of agriculture, law and medicine, and as the Mother who placed the Sun God Ra in the sky.  Isis was called "She of Ten Thousand Names," and in Europe one of her names was Zisa, the wife of Zio who was also the sky god Tiu, Tiw or Tyr -- the god to whom our Teutonic ancestors dedicated the third day of the week: "Tuesday."

Book suggestion: The Mysteries of Isis by DeTraci Regula


Church Celibacy has very pagan roots
Marriage is a sin, Celibacy is the way to go
according to Church authorities.  But their celibate priests and nuns were actually following a pagan tradition!
Below is an interesting exchange from regarding the real reasons behind celibacy and the official Catholic Church viewing sex -- even marital sex -- as negative and sinful. The argument leads to an example of yet another bit of Pagan DNA allowed into Christianity. Too bad they let the celibacy part of paganism in.

On 4/13/04 Lore wrote:
Roman Catholic Church heroes say the following about marriage:

Marriage is a sin. (St. Augustine)
Matrimony is impure and unholy, a means of sexual passion. (Origen)
Marriage is a moral crime, more dreadful than any punishment or any death...spurcitiae, obscenity, filth. (Tertullian)
Marriage is corruption, a polluted and foul way of life. (Tatian)
Marriage is a crime against God. Marriage is prostitution of the members of Christ. Married people ought to blush at the state in which they are living. (St. Ambrose)
The primary purpose of a man of God is to cut down the wood of marriage with the axe of virginity. (St. Jerome)

On 4/13/04 chris@goth... responded:
I read that a large part of the reason for celibacy in the church was due to the fact that far too much land was being lost to heirs.

On 4/14/2004 deigngerdoll expanded on the thought:

According to the research I've done, that was the pragmatic reason for celibacy. I've read in several places that another reason the church priests became celibate after first being allowed to marry, was due to pagan Roman tradition. There were many pagan Roman priests/priestesses who venerated their gods, such a Vesta/Hestia (vestal virgins) by remaining chaste. They were put to death if they were found to have lost their virginity. Many widowed women also became Vestal priestesses, which influenced the tradition of Catholic widows becoming nuns if widowed. I believe some of the priests/esses of some male gods were chaste, as well.  Rome took what it liked from pagan practices (and others) and applied them to their modern church structure.

What a great combo - retain the land and make people wrong for natural sexual urges, wrong for the desire to marry and procreate - the paring of the pragmatic with the traditional.

Back to Christo-Pagan Info  |  Top


Home | Site Map | Religious Doctorate Degrees | Become An Ordained Minister | Practitioners Directory |
Products & Services
| Bookshop | Esoteric Mystery School | Homestudy Courses | Esoteric Marketplace
Mary Magdalene | Knights Templar | Divine Feminine | Contact Us | Esoteric Christianity Blog

All material on this Website is Copyrighted © 1999 - PRESENT by the Esoteric Interfaith Church, Inc..
All rights reserved. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited.