home
RSS
April 17th, 2014
08:00 AM ET

Did Christians really 'steal' Easter?

Opinion by Candida Moss, special to CNN

[twitter-follow screen_name='CandidaMoss']

(CNN) - It’s that time of year again: the time when chocolate comes in pastels, cherry blossoms start to bloom and well-marketed religion exposés are released to the world.

In other words, it’s Easter.

Among the rash of sensationalist stories we can expect through the season, the annual “Easter was stolen from the pagans” refrain has sprouted again just in time for Holy Week.

Don’t believe the hype.

Perhaps most misinformed theory that rolls around the Internet this time of year is that Easter was originally a celebration of the ancient Near Eastern fertility goddess Ishtar.

This idea is grounded in the shared concept of new life and similar-sounding words Easter/Ishtar. There’s no linguistic connection, however. Ishtar is Akkadian and Easter is likely to be Anglo-Saxon.

Just because words in different languages sound the same doesn’t mean they are related. In Swedish, the word “kiss” means urine.

But the biggest issue for Christians is the claim that Jesus’ resurrection - the faith’s central tenet - might have pagan roots.

Even apart from whether or not Jesus actually rose from the dead, many Christians claim that the very idea is unique.

There are other biblical examples of people being raised from the dead – think of Jesus raising Lazarus. But those people went on to die again. Only Jesus was raised from the dead to live forever.

But there’s a problem: Pre-Christian religions are replete with dying and rising gods.

Dionysius, most commonly thought of as the Greek god of wine, is one such example. He was lured to his death by the Titans, who then boiled and ate him. He was revived by his grandmother, and from his ashes humanity was formed, the Greeks believed.

Farther afield, Osiris – an Egyptian god-king who became ruler of the realm of the dead – was slaughtered before being brought back to life by Isis.

A similar story is found in the case of the Greek goddess Persephone, the daughter of the harvest goddess Demeter. Persephone was carried off to the underworld by the love-struck Hades. Because she ate pomegranate seeds in the underworld, she was permitted to leave only for six months a year.

Her annual resurrection is a metaphor for the changing of the seasons, and many scholars think that stories about dying and rising deities are essentially explanations for the coming of winter.

Then there’s Mithras, an ancient Iranian deity popular among Roman soldiers.

Among the many claims made about Mithras are that he was born on December 25, that adherents to his cult practiced baptism, and that he died and was resurrected.

The connections between Christ and Mithras are further amplified by the fact that the church of St. Clement, near the Colosseum in Rome, is built on top of an ancient Mithraeum.

The list goes on, and I’ll admit it’s a bit unsettling.

That's why the accusations that Christians “stole” the Resurrection from the Pagans is so popular and rhetorically powerful.

If, as many Christians claim, Christianity’s against-the-odds success is in some way proof of its authenticity and truth, then what does it say that parts of its truth were stolen from religious movements that no longer exist?

Spiritual “Manifest Destiny” looks less persuasive when extinct religious traditions supplied the backbone for the modern-day Church.

But there are ways around some of these problems.

Lumping all of these stories of dying and rising gods into a single category obscures important differences between them. Some of those who rose as gods, for example, were mere human beings prior to their return. Jesus, in contrast, was divine before his death, according to Christian theology.

Also, some of the parallels between the traditions come from a later period (post-Christianity) or are completely unsubstantiated. The arguments about Mithras and Jesus, for example, have completely fallen apart in the past 50 years because there simply isn’t enough ancient evidence to support them.

We should also ask whether the fishermen who followed Jesus around Palestine would have known about (much less adopted) stories from ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.

Greek and Roman mythology circulated widely on coins, but would the followers of Jesus who first claimed that Jesus was resurrected have known these stories in great detail?

Perhaps, perhaps not.

On the other hand, many Christians claim that Jesus’ death and resurrection is subtly different from that of other ancient deities and, thus, that the resurrection of Jesus was a wholly new idea.

The problem is, these apologists are one archeological discovery away from disaster. In the meantime, they are trying to pry Christianity apart from other late antique religions in order to protect it.

Perhaps the real problem here is with the idea of uniqueness.

As the University of Chicago scholar Jonathan Z. Smith showed, there’s a huge ideological and religious investment in the idea that Jesus was unique.

But there doesn’t have to be. Just because one idea is influenced by another idea doesn’t mean that its meaning is determined by the chronologically prior idea.

The Founding Fathers may have been influenced by Greek classical tradition, but this doesn’t mean that we should interpret the Constitution in light of Aristotle. You can recognize both the importance and innovation of the Constitution and its roots in ancient European civics.

Rather than battening down the hatches and looking for other signs of uniqueness, Christians need to think about how meaning relates to tradition.

Christians didn’t steal Easter, but it probably wasn’t a wholly new idea, either.

Candida Moss is the author of the “Myth of Persecution” and “Ancient Christian Martyrdom” and professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. The views expressed in this column belong to Moss. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Easter • Easter • Holidays • Jesus • Opinion • Paganism • Traditions

soundoff (2,118 Responses)
  1. bostontola

    The parallels between Dionysus and Jesus go well beyond dying and resurrection. They both were sons of God and a human mother. Jesus turned water into wine, Dionysus was the chief Sommelier. And of course, Dionysus was resurrected and rose to Olympus with Zeus.

    The priority of Dionysus is unquestioned. The similarities in the stories from Egypt, Greece, Persia, Mesopotamia, etc. isn't surprising. There was much trade throughout that region. Stories were traded as much as products.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:29 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Brilliant post boston. Sorry it's falling on deaf ears though. Christian cognitive dissonance means the few who actually read it have already discounted it and recited themselves a few bible verses to ease that frightened feeling and make themselves feel better.

      La la la la la la ... I don't hear you ... la la la la la

      April 17, 2014 at 11:35 am |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Boston,

      What are the teachings of Zues, Dionysus? Same as God who sent Jesus. May be the same God, belief or teachings I believe in.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:55 pm |
  2. SeaVik

    "Only Jesus was raised from the dead to live forever."

    Uh, excuse me? Jesus is alive? If that were actually true, there would be no atheists.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • G to the T

      It's a point. Is there really a functional difference between dying and "living" forever in heaven vs. being resurrected and "living" forever in heaven?

      April 17, 2014 at 11:57 am |
      • SeaVik

        As far as I can tell, they're both equally impossible.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      Ah. Remember humans are not as smart as we think. When jesus was on earth as a human, he was ridiculed punished and crucified.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm |
  3. ilikestealingducks

    Yes, they stole it. Just like the story of the zombie son of the space ghost. Jeebus is an old story. Nothing more, just a story.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      quack!

      April 17, 2014 at 11:26 am |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      True. It is a story. Fact or fiction is debatable.

      For some the message is more important. For others will remain blind or lost.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
  4. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    We enjoy scrutinizing similar to our "father" Adam who experienced a fall. I don't refuse rational consideration to a certain degree. Yet, there is a point when rational consideration becomes a smokescreen for disbelief: Somebody not wanting to believe simply tries constantly to find new rational arguements against the faith. I have heard there are people refusing to go to work saying that there could be a lion outside (indeed, the mathematical probabiltiy that a lion is around is not zero). Would we call them rationalists? No, we would call them lazy.

    Christianity fits too good in our world. A few people doubt the reality of the sun and the moon. We should not doubt the reality of Christianity.

    It is too manifest that mankind is beset by evil. Turn on TV, and the first news will be that somewhere a Muslim idiot has blown himself up using an explosive belt killing many innocent people. Ain't that evil? Of course, that is evil though Muhammad, the worst of all idiots, has commanded Jihad. What about the US spree killers? What about former German Nazis? What about former Stalinists? What about former Catholic crusades? The list is without end. Endless bloodshed!

    Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

    What about our evil acts through which we harm our fellow human beings daily? What about our lack of worship?

    Even if there would be no Bible, we could not deny that evil is there. It befalls us daily.

    When people harm each other daily, it is odd to imply that man has got an evil germ inside which can take control of him under certain conditions?

    Wouldn't it be reasonable to welcome a religion which provides a solution for that issue of evil?

    The core of the solution is Jesus death and resurrection which we really should celebrate at Easter. Jesus laid the foundation for the destruction of evil: "He is the death of death and the destruction of the hell."

    Even (religious) people putting in every effort to improve (to sin less, and to love more) notice that they cannot overcome their intrinsic sinfulness (their evil germ) by natural strength. We are interwoven with evil.

    St. Paul says that when Jesus died also we have died, our evil germ. It is only that we have to believe that, and to get sacramentally baptized in order to participate in Jesus death and resurrection. All religions try to improve man by ridiculous means, but don't mind the evil germ within us. The man who smells of sweat should be washed, but not doused with perfume. All religions save Christianity do that. The only real solution is to humble the evil germ within us. No painkiller, but killing the cancer.

    If we believe in Jesus Christ, and get sacramentally baptized (or refer to our infant baptism) the evil germ within us gets disempowered, the sin gets dethroned. The evil germ is still there even after conversion and baptism, but through remembrance of our baptism and Jesus' sacrifice we can suppress it which is actually dead, declared dead.

    Through baptism we also resurrect together with Jesus who is love in himself. In Jesus we are able to love God and our neighbour. Love is the opposite of sin or breach of law, love is the fulfillment of the law of the Torah.

    Repent, convert, believe in Jesus, get sacramentally baptized, and you will experience a real Easter.

    Jesus waits for you. He loves you, and he can set you free.

    If you accept all this, Jesus sacrifice is also an atonement for your sins, for our sins. We are forgiven.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:20 am |
    • midwest rail

      " Wouldn't it be reasonable to welcome a religion which provides a solution for that issue of evil? "
      When is it going to work for you ?

      April 17, 2014 at 11:22 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      cult speak.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:24 am |
    • Larry

      urn on TV, and the first news will be that somewhere a Muslim idiot has blown himself up using an explosive belt killing many innocent people. Ain’t that evil? Of course, that is evil though Muhammad, the worst of all idiots, has commanded Jihad.

      Allah commands it, not Mohamned. You're a pathetic bigot. Go three or so stories back and read about the Christians murdering Christians in Rwanda.

      Stop your bigotry. You Prots have done your fair share of killing.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • Larry

        I forgot to put quotes on the first paragraph. That's all the nasty Prot.

        April 17, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        Do you really justify suicide bombing?

        That confirms my post that man is evil.

        Repent!

        Allah must be an ugly demon!

        April 17, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • Larry

          I don't. They do. You're still a bigot.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          I am not bigoted. You lie about me.

          Forever hold your peace!

          April 17, 2014 at 11:32 am |
        • Larry

          Do you justify the killing in Rwanda?
          Further showing that God. (which in Arabic is Allah, btw) must be a an ugly demon!

          Repent!

          (I'm not Muslim, but you're still an ugly bigot who manages to offend people in every one of your putrid posts.)

          April 17, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Muhammad was a mentally ill idiot who made-up a lot of ridiculous stories.

          Islam is the worst crap of all times.

          Though you support Islam, you could still convert, and become a Christian.

          If you repent, believe in Jesus, and get sacramentally baptized, we would welcome you.

          Jesus is the incarnated Son of God, a person of the Holy Trinity.

          Muhammad was a lousy Arabic criminal who has shed very much innocent blood.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:39 am |
        • eoyguy

          Why don't you ask Jews how they feel about the belief in Jesus? I would guess they would say he was either a blatant liar or mentally ill as well. Consider that in Orthodox Judaism, Jesus would be considered a blasphemer and false prophets. To quote Wikipedia:
          Judaism generally views Jesus as one of a number of false messiahs who have appeared throughout history.[1] Jesus is viewed as having been the most influential, and consequently the most damaging, of all false messiahs.
          So nothing more than a old school David Koresh or any number of others who have claimed to be a messiah. So please address that while you call out Islam.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          Jesus cured people. We all will agree that that was something very good.

          The leaders of Jewry accused Jesus becaused he cured sick people at Sabbath.

          I guess that a religion whose leaders accuse a very good man (Jesus) must be very bad.

          I don't hate Jews!, but sharply criticize Jewry.

          May all Jews realize that Jesus from Nazareth is their Messiah, and may they become loving people instead of desecrating the law of the Torah.

          If they would apply well the law of the Torah, they would realize their intrinsic sinfulness, and accept Jesus as redeemer.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • Doris

          Rainy: "Jesus cured people. "

          There's no evidence of that.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      That bad things happen does not equate to therefore christianity must be true. That argument can be made to make the claim for every religion.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        All religions save Christianity exacerbate the situation.

        If a Muslims keeps the 5 Pillars of Islam, he is yet a very good Muslim. He is not supposed to love people of different belief, rather to hate and kill them.

        Why do suicide bombers blow themselves up?

        Muhammad commands Jihad.

        Conclusion: Islam worsens man, instead of improving him or her.

        Also a Catholic is not required to exercise unbiased love towards everybody, but he or she is supposed to do good deeds: Praying a rosary, fasting, keeping certain feast days, pilgrimage to Rome, etc.). Moreover they sacrifice Jesus in form of the host every Sunday again so that they can sin again very week. Sin is the opposite of love of neighbour.

        Conclusion: Catholicism worsens man.

        Protestantism: They have reduced Jesus sacrifice to a mere atonement, neglecting the redemptive character of Jesus sacrifice. They sin without limit because Jesus has payed the bill in advance.

        Protestantism of the cheap grace worsens man.

        What do we need?

        True Christianity of the costly grace.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
        • mythless

          Baloney! Christianity does not get a free pass here and it has exacerbated the situation for centuries. Stop rationalizing your religion and look at it objectively. Oh, wait, that would be pretty much impossible for you since you already drink the Koolaid.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          You should distinguish between true Christianity, Catholicism and Protestantism of the cheap grace.

          True Christianity has always worked that which is good.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • johnbiggscr

          'True Christianity has always worked that which is good.'

          but you dont practice what you preach so what do you know of 'true christanity'?

          April 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
        • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

          You impute something.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
        • snuffleupagus

          asinine.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
    • theemptyone1

      Sounds like a long winded, convoluted journey to a way out of personal responsibility.

      Also, this guy sound like a OCD germaphobe.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        No, I am convinced that we will only come through at Judgement Day when we have kept the faith in Jesus through obedience.

        We are not allowed to sin wantonly pretending that Jesus had payed the bill in advance. That will not work.

        Jesus sacrifice was also an atonement, but only for those ones who also appreciate its releasing power. Released to practice love and righteousness in daily life.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • snuffleupagus

          still asinine.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
  5. robertholt

    “Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!" Matthew 20:17-19.

    “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17.

    “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25.

    A careful reading of the New Testament, especially the Book of Acts, will reveal that there were a great many eye witnesses to Jesus' resurrection.

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.

    April 17, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • johnbiggscr

      Oh please. What sort of argument is that?
      Here you go........A lot of people saw andy kaufman rise from the dead.
      It must now be true because I just wrote that a lot of people saw it.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:08 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      The Legend of King Arthur is not evidence for Merlin.
      The Greek Myths are not evidence for Heracles.
      The Epic of Beowulf is not evidence for Grendel.
      The American Folk Tradition is not evidence for Paul Bunyan.
      The New Testament is not evidence for Jesus.
      The Old Testament is not evidence for Yahweh.

      The miracles happened ... in the story.
      The prophesies were fulfilled ... in the story.
      The character was emotionally appealing and morally right ... in the story.

      Get out of your stories.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • Russ

        @ Dyslexic: as one life-long myth scholar put it...

        "I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage – though it may no doubt contain errors – pretty close up to the facts; nearly as close as Boswell. Or else, some unknown writer in the second century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn't see this has simply not learned to read. I would recommend him to read Auerbach."

        http://orthodox-web.tripod.com/papers/fern_seed.html

        April 17, 2014 at 11:25 am |
        • johnbiggscr

          All that argument boils down too is 'i don't believe it is a myth because i believe in god'.
          What about the Qu-ran? what about the Mahabharata? How are they different from his claim of not being like other myths and stories and thus must also be true?

          April 17, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • Russ

          @ johnbiggscr: on the contrary, read the link.
          as i said, this is a life-long myth scholar giving an essay to biblical scholars on the problem of genre.

          it's not a matter of "what i believe." he's giving them a crash-course on the problem of not understanding the history of literary genre. to dodge the miraculous claims of the Gospels by claiming the Gospels are myth is simply trading one set of miracles for another (namely, because of their realism, the fictional genre you are attempting to assign it didn't exist for another 1700 years). that's the point the quote is making.

          purely as a student of literature, that position is untenable – before one even delves further into the particular claims themselves. again, read the essay.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • johnbiggscr

          The very position of the essay is one of a believer justifying his belief.
          The OT is a collection of individual stories thrown together, each one on their own is no different than any other myth. That they are written to join them together to create a longer story is a design of the writing, nothing more.

          'namely, because of their realism, the fictional genre you are attempting to assign it didn't exist for another 1700 years' – what fictional genre? one of gods and demi-god heroes? come on.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • Russ

          @ johnbiggs:
          you clearly did not read the essay.

          1) here's a life-long myth scholar, with positions held at Oxford & Cambridge. he is certainly qualified to speak.

          2) he was – for a significant portion of his life – an atheist. but that shouldn't qualify or disqualify him any more than the fact that he became a believer.

          3) your reductionist view of the OT seems to be indebted to the Wellhausen scheme. note: it has largely been tossed aside in the last few decades of biblical scholarship. the JEDP model has too many passages that cannot be so readily

          4) the Gospels in particular are what the quote has in view. *IF* one wants to claim those accounts are 'myth' or any form of purposeful 'fiction', the "modern, novelistic, realistic narrative" found within those accounts is unlike ANY other such fiction (myth or otherwise) before or after for another 1700 years. that's the primary literary point he's making there. just from the discipline of literary scholarship, it's historically untenable to make such a claim.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
        • joey3467

          How is it any different than previous or future myths?

          April 17, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
        • Russ

          @ joey:
          instead of me simply re-pasting, read the quote above.
          better yet, read the linked essay.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm |
    • mythless

      Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah....How about using your own word instead of biblical quotes?

      April 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
  6. jonathanlk

    Two facts might help to clarify things here. The first being that in 310 when the Christian bishops met with the ruler Constantine in Nicea to discuss legalizing Christianity, they all had something to gain. Most of the bishops had scars or missing limbs from being punished for being involved in an illegal cult. If they really didn't like you, the maximum penalty gave you a choice of being burned at the stake (St. Justin was barbecued or grilled) or crucified. So the Bishops were eager to have the status of Christianity raised to that of a legalized cult. Constantine wanted their favor since the cult was rapidly growing in popularity and he wanted their broad support. He gave them token gifts, and required they all agree on something since all the bishops were preaching different versions of the story with some saying Jesus was a ghost and was not even a human being, and others saying he was in God flesh etc... so in order to be legitimate they at least had to agree on a defined creed. This was the origin of the Nicean creed familiar to all Catholics. Being a Pagan, Constantine also required they employ, to his satisfaction, a few of his favorite Pagan holidays into their cult and practice them. All this being a small price to pay for the freedom to practice their beliefs, it was settled. I believe this is why Christmas and the resurrection are aligned with the winter solstice and Ishtar. The second being that in the more ancient story of Mithra (or Mithras?), Mithra had 12 disciples, and was betrayed by one, and had a last supper where he passed around bread and wine, and was subsequently crucified and then after 3 days rose from the dead. In fact, it has been found that St. Peters Basilica was also built atop a Mithreum (was this accidental?) and part of it is still exposed, and coincidentally, it portrays the last supper of Mithra, with his disciples sitting with him at the table, with a quote translating closely to 'take this bread and wine to remember me by'. Mithrians practiced this Eucharist like ceremony for 400 years before Jesus was born. But to be clear, breaking bread and wine, in remembrance of sacrifice was also a practice among Jews since the time of the Exodus from Egypt. But what is wrong with borrowing or negotiating if it works? Why reinvent the wheel? – Happy Easter ( (BTW, Originally Easter was a fertility goddess of the Saxons, and the name was adopted by 2nd century missionaries as a name for the celebration the resurrection in order to help convert the Saxons)

    April 17, 2014 at 11:03 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Brilliant post. Sorry you just wasted your time though. Christian cognitive dissonance means the few who actually read it have already discounted it and recited themselves a few bible verses to ease that frightened feeling and make themselves feel better.

      La la la la la la ... I don't hear you ... la la la la la

      April 17, 2014 at 11:18 am |
      • jonathanlk

        True to a great extent. One interesting point I might have mentioned was that when Constantine was baptized upon his death, it was was as a Mithran. Constantine was responsible yet responsible for much of what we know as the New Testament. He commissioned an historian and scribe named Eusebius to organise a uniform collection of new writings, his instructions were: “Search ye these books, and whatever is good in them, that retain; but whatsoever is evil, that cast away. What is good in one book, unite ye with that which is good in another book. And whatsoever is thus brought together shall be called The Book of B o o k s. And it shall be the doctrine of my people, which I will recommend unto all nations, that there shall be no more war for religions’ sake.” He actually tried to meld all the gods and myths from around the world into one book that would please everybody. Elements included in this earliest form of the New Testament, were borrowed from the story of Krishna, Mithra, Egyptian Sun worsip, Greek mythology, Vedic Brahimism and the principle of the Culdees (Druidic influence). Some of Christ's (Christ is the precise Greek name for Krishna) sayings were direct quotes from a Greek poet Epimenides, some sections were taken word for word from the Mahabharata (in Matt: 1:25, 2:11, 8:1-4 and a few others). Several passages in the New Testament were copied form the Ode to Jupiter. So Constantine then had the new testament copied many times and distributed by scribes. So that is what we rely on today for our 'story of Jesus', the new Testament (now retranslated and edited several times). St. Justin further edited which books would be kept in the 'one book' we now read as the New Testament. Keep in mind Constantine was all about becoming powerful. There is a statue of him as Apollo on a very high monument column in Constantinople. But he figured, I suppose that being popular, and by publishing a book that make everybody happy, might at least prevent a few religious wars, and provide him some safety. Maybe it did, but it we know sadly it also seems to have inspired a few wars as well in the years that followed.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • tinkuboo

          Ok, your two posts are just simply marvellous. Where am I able to get more info. on this "historic" aspect of Christianity in general? Are you a teacher?

          April 17, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • jonathanlk

          Tinkuboo I should have cited my sources. I basically took some of this information from, in addition to some of the information came from a tour I took for at the Vatican in 2009, and things I learned in a Varieties of Religion course and also a History of Christianity course I tool in college at UP. The website that I was recently reading and borrowed some facts from was 'The Invention of Christianity' Cuthulan's blog. I think if you google that it will come up near the top. It is a scholarly work especially relative to other websites on the subject, as he does a lot of citing. I always pondered how there could be so many similarities between Mithra and Jesus, and this blog seems to bring to light that Constantine who basically sponsored writing the New Testament and legalized Christianity, was also a Mithran Pagan. I wonder if he did any personal editing over Eusebius to propagate the story of Mithra while tying in myths from all around the world to create his 'Universal' religion through his New Testament.

          April 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
        • tinkuboo

          Thank you for the source; I'm gonna spend hours on it! Have a good one.

          April 18, 2014 at 10:02 am |
  7. Russ

    This article doesn't really address the primary issue: did it happen?

    If it happened, then it IS utterly unique.
    If it didn't, Christians are fools (as Paul says in 1 Cor.15:19).

    April 17, 2014 at 10:58 am |
    • Rynomite

      Fools they are.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:00 am |
    • bostontola

      If belief in God made a person a fool, then the vast majority of humans are fools. No, we are predisposed to believe in parental figures, it's natural.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • Russ

        @ bostontola: that argument is self-defeating.
        if people believe in something simply "because they were programmed to do that", the argument holds for ALL beliefs (including yours) – making truth irrelevant (if not utterly inaccessible).

        note well the argument on that point that begins about the 1 min mark in the video:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK0mjVcmcIo

        April 17, 2014 at 11:16 am |
        • gregoryjwiens

          Brilliant video post friend.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          I'm not sure that predisposition equates to programing. The former maybe overcome, the later, not so much.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • Russ

          @ MidwestKen: i agree, but recognize that kills the force of bostontola's argument.
          along those lines, here's the classic "if i'd been born somewhere else..." argument addressed:

          “Suppose we concede that if I had been born of Muslim parents in Morocco rather than Christian parents in Michigan, my beliefs would be quite different. [But] the same goes for the pluralist...If the pluralist had been born in [Morocco] he probably wouldn't be a pluralist. Does it follow that...his pluralist beliefs are produced in him by an unreliable belief-producing process?”
          ― Alvin Plantinga

          April 17, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          Not at all,
          First, "belief-producing process" is misleading because one can argue whether or not the rejection of propositions is ba "belief".
          Second, if there were only one way to develop "beliefs" or understandings then you might have a point, but @bostontola's point entails the idea that "belief" (ie god(s) etc) is te default method, but not the only method of forming a understanding of the world around us.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:45 am |
        • Russ

          @ MidwestKen:
          1) you're dancing with semantics here. are you claiming its deterministic or not? that's the force of bostontola's argument.
          a) if it's not deterministic, the argument loses its force. if it's merely predilections, EVERYONE has those in a variety of forms – so the argument is too general.
          b) normally, the rejection of one proposition is due to the acceptance/embracing of another proposition – whether you want to call that a 'belief' or not.

          2) actually, the fact that there ARE other ways to develop belief is precisely what i am pressing against bostontola's suggestion. and yet – those other ways are *equally susceptible* to the critique he is offering ("it's just our natural inclination..."). note well (as the video addresses) that the response i am posing here is not unique to theists, but the New Republic & Thomas Nagel have both leveled this charge against such an argument.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          I'm dancing to the tune you set.

          I'm saying that it is not dterministic but is heavily biased in certain directions, such as what one is raised with, but if reasonis used then a more accurate understanding can be achieved.
          How is that "too general"?

          How is that equally susceptable?

          (Sorry for typos, phone is dying)

          April 17, 2014 at 12:37 pm |
        • Russ

          @ MidwestKen:
          1) deterministic vs. "heavily biased"... we're really splitting hairs here.
          but i think the problem arises in what you said next...

          2) "but if reason is used..."
          why do you presume reason WAS NOT used in the first place? how did the structure come to pass if not with reason? and – this really drives at the heart of it – if reason is equally a faculty of the mind, isn't it ALSO susceptible to the same critique ('logic-building faculties', if you will)?

          3) you are on your phone? i'm impressed at your dedication.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          If you are equating those two words then perhaps we do need some semantics. Deterministic is unavoidable, bias is not. I think that is a categorical difference.

          2) ... beacause boston was saying it was due to geography and not reason, that is the argument.

          The point is that most people's beliefs are not due to "logic building", or logical thinking, but simply a predilection to belief what our parents believe, ie not logical thinking.

          April 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • Russ

          @ midwestken:
          1) i'm NOT equating the two words. they are categorically different... but why are you stressing "heavily" biased unless you are attempting to approach the category of determining what one believes?

          that is the force of the original argument here. and that's why it is problematic.
          of course bias can be overcome – but why stress *heavy* bias unless you are attempting to make it sound ALMOST deterministic? precisely because bias *can* be overcome, the argument is virtually worthless if that's all that was intended. and that's why i said it loses its force.

          2) you said: "most people's beliefs are not due to logic building..."
          are you making that claim based on psychological studies or is it anecdotal?

          3) you said: "The point is that most people's beliefs are not due to "logic building", or logical thinking, but simply a predilection to belief what our parents believe, ie not logical thinking."

          this is a false dichotomy. again, believing what your parents teach *is* part of logic building – just as later questioning it, potentially rejecting it or embracing as your own. that was Plantinga's point: the same scenario plays out for the pluralist. this argument is ineffectual because it applies to everyone.

          April 17, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ, (repost)
          1. I was using “heavily biased” because that’s what the data, though I don’t have a strict scientific source, suggests, according to @bostontola. i.e. the vast majority of people’s beliefs do appear to correlate with the geography of their birth/childhood.

          2. sorry, what I meant was “The point [of the argument] is that most people's beliefs are not due to ….”. I was not making that claim, however, it does seem reasonable, in my limited experience, that most people’s beliefs do correlate to their birth/childhood geography.

          3. I’m not sure exactly what “logic building” is, but the tendency to believe one’s parent’s is part of most people’s thinking, yes, at least initially. Thing that I disagree with is the all-or-nothing thinking around human reasoning; either it is always right or always wrong.

          What I’d propose is that human thinking (“belief forming faculties” that I think Keller is talking about) is not always correct, but can be correct or partially correct. This is the difference that Keller glosses over with statements such as “If your belief forming faculties don’t tell you the truth but only what you need to survive, why believe them?” Because, while our faculties may be mistaken at times, complete error would not permit survival. In other words, if our faculties are completely wrong then we wouldn’t survive at all. So, our faculties cannot be trusted completely, but must contain some truth. The difficulty is determining what is truth and what is error and that is where logic and science come into play and excel.

          So, as it applies to @bostontola’s comment, as I understand it, the fact that the vast majority of people believe what their parent’s believe is ‘heavily’ suggestive of said beliefs being the result of geography, i.e. where and with whom one grew up, rather than some divine guidance to the “truth”, unless of course, different aspects of a supposed god are geographically expressed. (hmm, now there’s an interesting thought. God “expresses” himself as Allah in the middle east, Shiva in india, Yawah in Israel…)

          April 17, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
        • Russ

          @ MidwestKen:
          1) you keep stressing that "the vast majority of people’s beliefs do appear to correlate with the geography of their birth/childhood." but that fails to hear Plantinga's point.

          a) the only reason that argument has any force is that it strongly implies geography determines belief, and as a result that truth is relative to geography – not universal. ("heavily biased" here is meant to convey virtual determinism).

          b) Plantinga flips that argument on its head. the pluralist makes a plea for relativism based on geography, but that fails to understand that geography would *equally* affect the pluralists OWN claims. that's the problem. as i said before, it's too generic because it affects everyone.

          2) that was my point. it's anecdotal – and does not hold up under scrutiny.
          a) it doesn't account for historical shifts in belief in particular geographical regions
          b) it doesn't account for beliefs that have transcended geography.

          case in point, in the 20th c, according to Yale scholar Lamin Sanneh, Christianity went from being merely 10M in Africa to 380+M. that's 7-10x the population growth in that period and 4x the growth of Islam.
          similarly, when Mao kicked all of the Christian missionaries out of China in 1949, there were under 10M Christians in the entire country. Today, conservative estimates put it over 60M, while some claim 100s of millions.

          3) along those lines, your final comment that "different aspects of a supposed god are geographically expressed" fails to account for the fact that Christianity is almost equally spread across 5 continents (roughly 20% of Christians in each: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Australia) – and may be least represented where it began.

          your geographic argument falls apart here.

          4) belief vs. logic formation

          a) you seem to readily acknowledge we have "belief forming faculties" but not commensurate logic forming ones? don't you allow that our logic ALSO must be developed as we grow?

          b) along those lines, wouldn't parenting have a substantial influence? isn't that simply a part of psychological & logical development? if so, the same argument could be made for 'teenage rebellion' (undermining any argument that claims to have transcended such influences).

          in other words, if you say "hey, traditionalists are just infantile sociologically. they believe whatever mommy & daddy say." then others could say, "hey, pluralists are just sociological adolescents. they've succ.umbed to the most basic contrarian notions of adolescence." and so on. but in such arguing, no one has transcended the system (which is the goal of the original argument int his thread: to claim such high ground).

          c) you said you disagree with "all-or-nothing thinking around human reasoning."
          i never claimed that... but that IS the implication regarding parental influence. the supposed naiveté of traditionalists who simply believe what their parents believe.

          d) Keller's comment doesn't gloss over the distinction. notice: he said "mild paranoia," not complete paranoia. but consider that case: while you might have some diluted form of connection to objective reality, do you live in light of the truth or even in pursuit of the truth?

          that was his point. the goal of survival only is tangentially connected to reality – like animals. animals have an inborn instinct to flee danger... even when there's not danger. it serves their survival, but not necessarily any pursuit of the truth (much less the capital "T" variety).

          5) naturalism vs. science
          you said: "So, our faculties cannot be trusted completely, but must contain some truth. The difficulty is determining what is truth and what is error and that is where logic and science come into play and excel."

          a) science is a discipline of human observation. ultimately, it is *contingent* on our faculties, not transcendent of them.

          b) at no point does science claim to achieve objective Truth. it *presupposes* that there is an Objective reality. you cannot 'determine what is and is not error' on something you presuppose. you're taking it as a given.

          c) science operates with methodological naturalism (*as if* there was nothing other than material existence), not philosophical naturalism (which *claims* there is nothing else). do not conflate the two.

          naturalism explicitly makes metaphysical claims about the nature of Objective reality.
          science carefully avoids that declaration – but as such, cannot speak to ultimate questions.
          put another way: physics presupposes metaphysics, so it can't critique what it takes as given.

          as Nietzsche put it:
          "Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as science without presuppositions…a philosophy, a ‘faith’ must always be there first, so that science can acquire from it a direction, a meaning, a limit, a method, a right to exist…It is still a metaphysical faith that underlies our faith in science.”

          underlying FAITH, he says. that's the issue. it's not competing science. it's competing religions.
          we must carefully avoid conflating the two. otherwise, it's doing religion & calling it science.
          again, theists are not alone in this critique. google criticisms of Hawking's "Grand Design."

          SUM: i have no problem with your science. i have a problem with your metaphysics (which, in your case, appears to be naturalism).

          d) consider naturalism's primary litmus test: "only believe that which is empirically verifiable."
          that foundational litmus test FAILS its OWN criteria. that statement is NOT empirically verifiable.
          if the foundation is fatally flawed, it doesn't matter how sturdy the walls are. the house falls.

          logically speaking, naturalism is self-refuting.
          it requires a test for everything which – in its most basic form – naturalism itself fails.

          April 18, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          Oh crap are we back to beating on the Nietzche dead horse again.... I'll have to answer this later when I have more time.

          April 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
        • Russ

          @ MidwestKen:
          the horse may be dead, but the faith of naturalism is not.
          would you prefer to hear from Thomas Nagel?

          my point was not Nietzsche, but Nietzsche was making my point.

          April 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          @Russ,
          1) Do you disagree that there is a correlation between people's supernatural beliefs* and where/how they were born/raised? It is obviously not 100%, but is there not a correlation? Are not most from India Hindu or Muslim? Are not most from Europe Christian, the middle east Muslim, from the Orient Buddhist or Taoist?
          (http://www.worldreligions.psu.edu/maps-introduction.htm)

          a) Actually, my point, and I think @bostontola's, was that supernatural beliefs* are often just what one grew up with, "geography" is just a proxy for that. I'm not saying that there is any real geographical factor in belief other than the geography contains what people grew up with. (My comments about god being "geographically expressed" were somewhat satirical in nature.)

          b) I didn't think I was making a plea for relativism. My point is that a "geographical" correlation raises the question of whether any of those beliefs are accurate at all, not whether they are all correct.

          2) Again, "geography" is a proxy for what people grew up with which, until recently, was almost entirely determined by their geography. Do you disagree that people often remain with the beliefs that they were raised with, i.e. their "geography"?

          a) b) People and their beliefs migrate, now more than ever.

          Obviously, as with many cultural attributes, when people of different beliefs mix there is exchange, conversions, hybridization, etc. Do we need to get into the sociology?

          3) That specific comment and the parenthetical comment which followed were not meant as a serious argument, but an interesting thought. i.e. 'Hmmm, what if God expressed Himself differently based on geography?'

          My apologies for not being more clear.

          4) *
          a) Perhaps we are misunderstanding one another. In my thinking, logic may be a faculty, but not a thing to be formed. While it can be learned and used, it is a tool not an end result. A supernatural belief* is something that can be formed using faculties, such as logic, but also feelings, inspiration, creativity, guessing, etc., possibly even divine revelation if that could be determined.
          Basically, I don't think that we "form" logic, but can use it to think "logically", i.e. reason.

          Now, I'm guessing that you are using "logic" to mean "reasons", as in 'these are the reasons for what I believe' which might lead to "reasons forming faculties" but not "logic forming faculties". We can use our faculties to form 'logical' arguments, but not 'logic' itself. Although, I could be mistaken about what you mean by the phrase. Also, unless I'm mistaken, Keller did not use "logic forming faculties".

          b) Yes, parent's can and are a strong influence, but that doesn't undermine my point.
          First, I'm not arguing pluralism.
          Second, I am arguing for "transcending the system", as you put it, by way of reason, science, and logic.

          c) you said, "i never claimed that... but that IS the implication regarding parental influence."
          I disagree, hence the term "influence", i.e. it is not a matter of we 'all' only follow what our parents believe, nor is it that 'nothing' our parents say matters. That IS my point.

          Our childhood geography/parents are a strong influence on our beliefs, not logic and reason initially, however, with effort logic and reason can overcome the effects of childhood instilled beliefs. That, in and of itself, does not mean that said beliefs will be discarded, but it stands to reason that without such effort childhood instilled beliefs are less likely to be discarded.

          d) Keller said that Plantinga said "mild paranoia" in regards to survival, his own words were less compromising. Keller said, “If you have a theory of evolution that says, ‘you can’t trust what your brain tells you… including what they tell you you about evolution, then you can’t trust the theory of evolution ” (if I got that correct.)
          Mild paranoia, on the other hand, would seem to be right most of the time, but not all the time. Additionally, I would disagree with Plantinga’s statement, or at least Keller’s retelling of it as “mild paranoia” being better than an “accurate assessment of your environment.” Mild paranoia would be better than none, provided a less than accurate knowledge of one’s environment. The best for survival is, by far, having an accurate assessment, e.g. knowing whether or not the rustling bush is wind or a tiger.
          I've been overly impressed with Keller.

          You said, "do you live in light of the truth or even in pursuit of the truth?"

          What is "live in light of the truth"?

          You said, "the goal of survival only is tangentially connected to reality ... but not necessarily any pursuit of the truth..."

          Are you implying that reality is not, in fact, connected to truth? Please explain.

          If truth is related to reality and an understanding of reality benefits survival, which would seem logical, generally, if not in all/specific cases, then why wouldn't a goal of survival be connected with truth, at least in some way. Again, I would posit that a complete disconnect with reality would lead to death, if not immediately then at least in the long run.

          5) naturalism vs science

          Who's talking about naturalism?

          a) If by "faculties" you include logic, reason, etc. and not just observation or senses, then I'd agree. We can transcend simple observation, e.g. math, logic, technology, etc.

          b) What do you mean by "objective Truth"?
          I disagree with your characterization of "*presupposes*". Science measures by and with consistency what we perceive as objective reality and can determine what is inconsistent within that perceived reality, or for that matter, what is inconsistent *with* that perceived reality.

          c) I don't think I made any such claim or conflation.

          You said,
          "[a]naturalism explicitly makes metaphysical claims about the nature of Objective reality.
          [b] science carefully avoids that declaration – but as such, cannot speak to ultimate questions.
          put another way: [c] physics presupposes metaphysics, so it can't critique what it takes as given."

          It seems to me that you are conflating the two. If physics(c) is part of science(b) and science(b) is not naturalism(a) then how can physics(c) presuppose naturalism(a)?

          A != B
          B = C
          therefore
          A != C

          Science measures what we perceive to be objective reality and therefore can be used to detect inconsistencies with/within that reality. But it can speak to what I suspect you mean by "ultimate questions" in a limited way, if the proposed answers to those question are inconsistent with our perceived objective reality.
          For example, if one posits that our personalities are "ultimately" determined by the time of year in which we are born, science can measure those personalities and state that, statistically that premise is inconsistent with what we perceive as objective reality.
          Whether that finding is "ultimately" true or not *may* be unknowable, but the claim is not consistent with our shared experience and therefore should probably not be used as a basis for understanding or predicting the behavior of that perceived objective reality.

          Your Nietzsche quote said,
          "Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as science without presuppositions…a philosophy, a ‘faith’ must always be there first...."

          I disagree. It is the science that shows an *apparent* consistency in the natural world, regardless of any faith. There is no "Christian science" or "Hindu science", it exists regardless of any and all faith or philosophy. If nothing else, science's "right to exist" comes from its utility, i.e. *it works*.

          You said, "i have no problem with your science. i have a problem with your metaphysics (which, in your case, appears to be naturalism)."

          I'm not sure I know what my "metaphysics" are, how can you?

          You said, "consider naturalism's primary litmus test: 'only believe that which is empirically verifiable.'""

          Not that I'm arguing naturalism, but this seems incorrect. Even a Naturalismist(?) would need to believe things that are not necessarily empirically verifiable, I would think. However, they might be able to believe that "nothing exists beyond the natural world" (OED as quoted by wikipedia) without believing that everything must be empirically verifiable. For example, one cannot empirically verify a particle's position and momentum simultaneously and yet those particles fit within the Naturalismists world. One cannot currently empirically verify dark matter/energy, yet that would still fall within a natural world.

          April 18, 2014 at 7:18 pm |
      • johnbiggscr

        'If belief in God made a person a fool, then the vast majority of humans are fools.'

        Yes.......and?

        April 17, 2014 at 11:16 am |
      • MidwestKen

        @Russ,
        1. I was using “heavily biased” because that’s what the data, though I don’t have a strict scientific source, suggests, according to @bostontola. i.e. the vast majority of people’s beliefs do appear to correlate with the geography of their birth/childhood.

        2. sorry, what I meant was “The point [of the argument] is that most people's beliefs are not due to ….”. I was not making that claim, however, it does seem reasonable, in my limited experience, that most people’s beliefs do correlate to their birth/childhood geography.

        3. I’m not sure exactly what “logic building” is, but the tendency to believe one’s parent’s is part of most people’s thinking, yes, at least initially. Thing that I disagree with is the all-or-nothing thinking around human reasoning; either it is always right or always wrong.

        What I’d propose is that human thinking (“belief forming faculties” that I think Keller is talking about) is not always correct, but can be correct or partially correct. This is the difference that Keller glosses over with statements such as “If your belief forming faculties don’t tell you the truth but only what you need to survive, why believe them?” Because, while our faculties may be mistaken at times, complete error would not permit survival. In other words, if our faculties are completely wrong then we wouldn’t survive at all. So, our faculties cannot be trusted completely, but must contain some truth. The difficulty is determining what is truth and what is error and that is where logic and science come into play and excel.

        So, as it applies to @bostontola’s comment, as I understand it, the fact that the vast majority of people believe what their parent’s believe is ‘heavily’ suggestive of said beliefs being the result of geography, i.e. where and with whom one grew up, rather than some divine guidance to the “truth”, unless of course, different aspects of a supposed god are geographically expressed. (hmm, now there’s an interesting thought. God “expresses” himself as Allah in the middle east, Shiva in india, Yawah in Israel… divine GPS? interesting!)

        April 17, 2014 at 8:06 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          misposted

          April 17, 2014 at 8:07 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      yep. I vote for the "fools" option.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:19 am |
  8. thefinisher1

    Most holidays are pagan, but any holiday can mean different things to different typs of people. Atheists are like children that brag for stupid reasons. Christians can say Christmas is about Jesus, because it celebrates the birth of Jesus. Nobody knows when he was actually born but you atheists are like spoiled brats. Get over it!

    April 17, 2014 at 10:57 am |
    • TruthPrevails1

      You're doing a good job at showing WHY no-one should listen to people like you...thank you for your service in justifying disbelief, now run a long like a good mental health patient and get your meds!!

      April 17, 2014 at 11:01 am |
    • johnbiggscr

      'Get over it!'

      why dont you follow your own advice and stop moaning about atheists, that would be the christian thing to do.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:02 am |
    • mk

      Nevermind the christians that cry when someone says Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, claiming that this time of year is only supposed to represent their own holiday. Spoiled much?

      April 17, 2014 at 11:03 am |
      • johnbiggscr

        The really funny ones are the ones that moan about people saying xmas, claiming its taking christ out of christmas.

        April 17, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @thefinisher1: As an atheist who likes to free people from religion, I want to thank you for all your hard work. Your every post is a great tool for atheists everywhere.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:21 am |
    • mythless

      Your post appears to be here for only one reason. To call atheists names. How childish. Perhaps you should look in the mirror to see the real brat.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
  9. bostontola

    "But there are ways around some of these problems."

    And that wraps up religion in a nutshell.

    April 17, 2014 at 10:56 am |
    • Russ

      @ bostontola: yes, that was an exceptionally poor way of stating it.

      as someone who often disagrees with you, if that's what religion is (finding loopholes around the truth), then yes, we deserve the mockery we receive.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • bostontola

        Russ,
        Isn't that how you view all other religions?

        April 17, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • Russ

          @ bostontola: isn't that how you view anyone dodging the truth?

          April 17, 2014 at 11:10 am |
  10. johnbiggscr

    Oh please. The people that claim its from Ishtar may be getting it wrong but the claim that christians stole Easter most certainly is not an incorrect claim .
    Its from Eostre (sometime spelt Ostara), a European goddess. Its believed symbols of this goddess included the Hare and the egg......which kind of explains the easter eggs and bunny thing....unless christians have some other reason as to why they are associated with Easter (though i do love the ridiculous claim that the egg somehow represents the empty tomb for some reason).

    April 17, 2014 at 10:53 am |
  11. idiotusmaximus

    Did Christians really 'steal' Easter?

    DUH......The Christians stole all holidays....Christmas was the Roman god Saturn's day where they would exchange presents on Dec 25....they were also known when destroying other religious sites to build their churches on the same spot because they knew the ignorant peasants were trained to always go there...this was done on a large scale in the new world when destroying Indian sacred sites...that's how they got converts....funny in Mayan land the Mayans still practice their old religions in the jungle away from the prying eyes of the disgusting Catholic priest..

    April 17, 2014 at 10:38 am |
    • Alias

      Just because different cultures celebrate the spring that does not mean one 'stole' the holiday.
      Christmas is another story ....

      April 17, 2014 at 10:52 am |
      • G to the T

        I wouldn't say "stole", I think "assimulated" might be a better description. Pre-existing traditions were absorbed into the Christian festivities as religion and cultures meshed. Look at the "Day of the Dead" in Mexico as a non-US example.

        April 17, 2014 at 11:12 am |
  12. deliberatus

    Not Ishtar, OStara, an anchient European goddess of spring and firtility.
    Eggs are a symbol of firtility, new life, and are found in both anchient European cultures and midfle eastern. Rabbits are a symbol of firtility in Ostara's faith. Sorry, yet again the Chrtistians 'adopt' a set of Pagan ideas and symbols anbd make them their own.

    Pity how they ignore the words regarding coveting and stealing and all that when it suits their purposes.

    April 17, 2014 at 10:35 am |
  13. Rynomite

    "Just because one idea is influenced by another idea doesn't mean that its meaning is determined by the chronologically prior idea."

    True. It doesn't matter if one myth stole from another myth. It doesn't make either one less of a myth.

    April 17, 2014 at 10:34 am |
  14. lookatuniverse

    Quran says (Islamic Scripture)

    “Do you say that Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs were Jewish or Christian? Say, "Do you know better than God? Who is more evil than one who conceals a testimony he has learned from God? God is never unaware of anything you do." [2:140]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]

    “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]

    “We have honored the children of Adam, and provided them with rides on land and in the sea. We provided for them good provisions, and we gave them greater advantages than many of our creatures.” Quran [17:70]

    “O children of Adam, when messengers come to you from among you, and recite My revelations to you, those who take heed and lead a righteous life, will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.” Quran [7:35]

    “O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise, and the removal of their garments to expose their bodies. He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them. We appoint the devils as companions of those who do not believe.” Quran [7:27]

    “Losers indeed are those who disbelieve in meeting God, until the Hour comes to them suddenly, then say, "We deeply regret wasting our lives in this world." They will carry loads of their sins on their backs; what a miserable load! [6:31]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    April 17, 2014 at 10:31 am |
    • idiotusmaximus

      God is never unaware of anything you do." [2:140]...................

      Lolololololololollolololololololololololo.................with 7,450,000,000, people on this planet he's got to be really busy.....lololololollolol what crap!

      April 17, 2014 at 10:41 am |
    • Span.k Your Imam

      Universe, do not be spamming us thusly with your website and the Coo-ran-ran so verbosely and pastedly. Here it is now said. Hearken:

      For such overt and voluminous spamming, you must nakedly assume the to-be-spanked position, and so receive. Lean forward now, with hands grasped tightly on ankles. For you it will be quite cerebral as such.

      You must receive high frequency applications at significant vigorousness and amplitude to cause bright blushness. Imams present should receive such spanking thusly in triplicate. Sitting difficulties will proceed but temporarily if Allah is willing and healing of reddishness is granted.

      Do not be embarrassed as such with red post-spank posteriority. We have experienced vestal goats close quartered in Tehran if you need to be resanctified.

      Of this year, shall no imams be spanked without above goats. No more. The Coo-ran-ran. The Coo-ran-ran.

      Here it is written and must be so.
      Here it is written and must be so.
      Here it is written and must be so.
      The Coo-ran-ran. The Coo-ran-ran. The Coo-ran-ran.
      Said thricely. Hear well. You have been spanken.

      SYI
      Tehran there.

      April 17, 2014 at 10:44 am |
      • Alias

        Until now I thought the christians had a point baout how rude we were to THEM.

        This is a religious blog, but let's act like we have some morals, can we?

        April 17, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • Span.k Your Imam

          Alias tsk tsk tsk so do not be a tsk'er with such indignance and tskitude, Here it is now said. Hearken:

          For such overt and voluminous tsking, you must nakedly assume the to-be-spanked position, and so receive. Lean forward now, with hands grasped tightly on ankles. For you it will be quite cerebral as such.

          You must receive high frequency applications at significant vigorousness and amplitude to cause bright blushness. Imams present should receive such spanking thusly in triplicate. Sitting difficulties will proceed but temporarily if Allah is willing and healing of reddishness is granted.

          Do not be embarrassed as such with red post-spank posteriority. We have experienced vestal goats close quartered in Tehran if you need to be resanctified.

          Of this year, shall no imams be tsk'ed or spanked without above goats. No more.
          Here it is written and must be so.
          Here it is written and must be so.
          Here it is written and must be so.
          Said thricely. Hear well. You have been spanken.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • gregoryjwiens

          I agree with you. We can disagree without mocking and name calling. Let us reason together not call names and belittle.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:17 am |
  15. gregoryjwiens

    Easter is a fulfillment of Jewish holidays, not a retelling of Pagan ones. While it is true that the medieval church "borrowed" many pagan traditions such as Christmas trees and Easter eggs and Easter bunnies which we held onto. The real root of the celebration of Easter is not based on pagan religious but on the Jewish festivities of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and then later in a few weeks Pentecost.
    The Easter Celebration is about Jesus fulfilling these three of feasts.
    If you look into the Horus Myth and Mithra and those others mythologies their stories are radically different. For instance the Horus story is about how his mom brings his dad back from the dead after his uncle kills his father and takes the crown. The mom has to make a golden pen.is because it got eaten by a crocodile. After they do the deed dad dies again and then Horus is born full grown.
    Horus goes and does all sorts of great deeds, helping people and teaching them things like how to make iron tools.
    Wow does that ever sound like the story of Jesus doesn't it?

    April 17, 2014 at 10:29 am |
    • Alias

      Just remember that the article dismissed all of that because of a lack of evidence.
      I love double standards.

      April 17, 2014 at 10:55 am |
      • gregoryjwiens

        Sorry, but you don't make any sense, they dismissed all of what from lack of evidence?

        April 17, 2014 at 11:07 am |
    • johnbiggscr

      No, 'The real root of the celebration of Easter is not based on pagan religious but on the Jewish festivities of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and then later in a few weeks Pentecost' is the root of the christian tradition of Easter but you cant claim that there was not a pagan festival already in place that was usurped by christianity that became Easter.

      April 17, 2014 at 11:00 am |
      • gregoryjwiens

        The festival that it replaced in the Christian world is happened the same week, it was called Passover, then the Feast of Unleavened Bread and then on Sunday the Festival of First Fruits.
        Yes, there were festivals that happened at the same time, but those did not have anything to do with the Easter celebration that Christians celebrated.
        The Jews had been celebrating Passover for about 1350 years at this point. After Jesus, the Christian's with Jewish heritage (which were the majority at the beginning of the movement) stopped celebrating the Passover because it was fulfilled and they started celebrating the new holiday called Easter.
        It is true around 400 (that is 370 years AFTER Jesus) that under the Christian Emperor Theodosius that when the pagan festivals were banned that many of the practices of the Pagan became part of the state run church.
        But that was a wrong. Easter really has nothing to do with colored eggs and bunnies, that is just tradition from the culture around them.
        Again, Easter is based around the Jewish festival of Passover.

        April 17, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • johnbiggscr

          'Again, Easter is based around the Jewish festival of Passover.'
          NOW. Now it is.
          What I am saying is that Easter as a celebration already existed before christanity. When christanity took over it grabbed the name and some of the elements and said by the way, this is a christian festival.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • gregoryjwiens

          John
          'Again, Easter is based around the Jewish festival of Passover.'
          NOW. Now it is.
          What I am saying is that Easter as a celebration already existed before Christianity. When Christianity took over it grabbed the name and some of the elements and said by the way, this is a Christian festival.

          Christianity comes out of the Jewish religion not the pagan religions. All of the early church leaders were Jewish. All those who wrote the New Testament were wrote from a Jewish world view.
          Passover was a celebration that dates back to 1350 BC.
          The pagan traditions did not become part of Christian traditions until the church became state run under Emperor Theodosius when he (wrongly) banned all the pagan religions.
          Then new forced converts brought their traditions with them.
          This is when you started to have the veneration of Mary and statues of David started to look a lot like Zeus. Also this was a gradual creep. It took hundreds of years for the state run church to become so paganized.
          One of the reasons why there was a Reformation 500 years ago was exactly over some of these issues.
          The pagan traditions came in under medieval popes.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:49 am |
  16. danielatlanta

    Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection was unique in that it brought about universal atonement (at-one-ment with God) for all persons who choose to use it by exercising faith in its efficacy. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life. What other religion offers so much to so many so freely?

    April 17, 2014 at 10:08 am |
    • joey3467

      The fact that you like this particular story more than the others doesn't mean it is true.

      April 17, 2014 at 10:13 am |
      • skalamoosh

        Just because you don't believe it's true doesn't prove it's false either. There is plenty of proof that confirms the death and resurrection of Jesus. His body wasn't just stolen, he appeared to over 2 thousand people who separately could confirm seeing him. It was so real that those people who witnessed it were willing to give up their life, spread the news of it happening (this was pre-twitter) and many willing died for their faith in this "story".

        April 17, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • 4ormorechars

          There is no proof, otherwise we'd all be Christians. If I write a story that 10,000 people witnessed something, did 10,000 really witness something? The fact is that there is not a single record of information written during the time of Jesus's alleged existence that refers to him. The first writtings about Jesus appear at least 60 years after his death. Does this mean that Jesus was a complete myth? No, but it is certainly brings into question the accuracy of various claims.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:46 am |
        • ursusobesus

          There is absolutely NO PROOF that a man named Jesus rose from the dead. There are only writings that were written more than 200yrs after the supposed resurection happened.

          Sorry fairy tale writing is not PROOF!

          April 17, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • ausphor

          ska...
          It still goes on today. Some charismatic cult leader convinces people delusional people to give up their lives, men, women and children. Heaven's Gate, Branch Davidians, People's Temple, to name a few. People were just as crazy back in the day, not surprising. Faith can really screw with your mind.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:52 am |
        • joey3467

          Until you prove it actually happened I will continue to call it a story. Oh, and you can't use the bible to prove any thing about Jesus. The bible is the claim that Jesus rose from the dead in order to prove it you need to use something else.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:58 am |
        • Alias

          @skalamoosh
          Mohamad moved a mountainin front of hundreds of witnesses too.
          Why believe one and not the other?

          April 17, 2014 at 10:59 am |
        • mythless

          So says the "story". 'nuff said.

          April 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      It never happened daniel.....NEVER.....the laws of physics can never allow it....but you wouldn't know that because you're not educated.

      April 17, 2014 at 10:42 am |
  17. mk

    I'd just like to know why a bunny distributes chicken eggs.

    April 17, 2014 at 9:52 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      ...Because chickens don't have hands.

      April 17, 2014 at 9:57 am |
      • midwest rail

        While just everyone knows that all bunnies have opposable thumbs...

        April 17, 2014 at 10:11 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Yes they do! I saw a six foot tall rabbit walking in a parade one time that had thumbs, and he was holding an egg! At least I THINK it was an egg... It was round, and it was dark brown... Could have been something else... And it DID taste kinda funny...

          April 17, 2014 at 10:24 am |
        • ausphor

          Midwest
          Theo as always had a great deal of trouble telling fantasy from reality, humor him.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:28 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          ausphor,
          Smile. It could be good for you. I promise you that your face won't break.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:50 am |
        • Alias

          Could it be a way to teach children to look after their elders?
          A lot of people with massive amounts of life experiences leave things in odd places and can't find them later. Maybe they are just training the kids to find granny's glasses?

          April 17, 2014 at 11:02 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "Maybe they are just training the kids to find granny's glasses?"
          ---------------
          OK, now that's funny!
          "Where's my glasses dear? Hanging on your nose Grandpa..."

          April 17, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • mk

        Ah. But I wonder did they have them back when Jesus hunted eggs?

        April 17, 2014 at 10:25 am |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        But chickens have wings and feet. Task of distribution is not the issue. Besides, Chicken are birds and Big bird have hands.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm |
    • Peaceadvocate2014

      I dont quite understand the easter bunny and egg hunting as well. A tradition kids enjoy. Folks wh o celebrate easter should not forget what is being celebrated, Jesus' resurrection.

      Holy week is a remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice.

      April 17, 2014 at 10:24 am |
      • igaftr

        "Folks wh o celebrate easter should not forget what is being celebrated"
        To correct you, it is a celebration of fertility, the new life of spring. You god came along later.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • idiotusmaximus

      Because Bunny's don't lay easter eggs that's why....chickens do!

      April 17, 2014 at 10:44 am |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        Bunnys dont lay eggs. Chickens do. Lol

        April 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
  18. Brian

    Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ which is commonly referred to as Easter (also known as Resurrection Sunday).

    Easter has nothing to do with pagan cultures, if you studied the gospels it's clear as to why it is celebrated this time of the year to accurately reflect the history and the timing of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.

    Without Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection there is no hope for Salvation of mankind.

    April 17, 2014 at 9:04 am |
    • igaftr

      "Easter has nothing to do with pagan cultures,"

      Yeah, thats why all of the eggs, bunnies and chicks. Face reality. It is another stolen holday like Christmas.
      This time of year is a celebration of fertility and new life brought by spring.

      April 17, 2014 at 9:08 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        When God scattered all of the people from Babel by confusing all of their languages, (Genesis 11:1-9) they took this false worship with them (worship of the resurrection of Tammuz), which is why versions of it can be found all over the world. It stayed in Rome until Christianity finally reached there and the two systems were mixed.

        The form of religion there in Rome would eventually become a combination of pagan Babylonian cultism and the New Testament. In order to conciliate the pagans and to draw them into nominal Christianity, the Roman church amalgamated the festivals of Christianity with pagan festivals; and since the church celebrated the resurrection around April and May, and the pagan Lent was celebrated in May or June in Egypt, and in April in Britain, it fit well with the resurrection; and so they brought it together to marry the pagans with the church; and the Council of Orillia in 519 AD decreed that Lent should solemnly be attached to the resurrection and kept before its celebration.

        April 17, 2014 at 9:21 am |
        • igaftr

          Yes theo, the christians agreed what christianity was going to encompass. That doesn't mean any pagans agreed or went along with it. Christians have been dictating what others should be accepting for a long time, but they don't actually have the authority.
          The christians can decree all they want, it doesn't mean a thing to the rest of us.

          April 17, 2014 at 9:25 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          Well, it wasn't Christians who decided what Christianity was to encompass... It was the prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles who did that. John finished writing in 94-96AD, closing the Biblical Canon, after that it seems like it's been the goal of wicked men everywhere to pervert that to their own devices...

          April 17, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • igaftr

          You mean it was allegedly those guys. And it seems men have been perverting it long before it was written, unless you think there is some integrity to orally passed stories.

          As I have said before, you have as much showing what you believe to be true, as there is that satan made up the whole thing to corrupt men. You just may have fallen for Satan's greatest trick, the bible.

          April 17, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "unless you think there is some integrity to orally passed stories."
          ---------------
          No, there's some validity to oral tradition. But even if there wasn't, that's OK, because we don't get these stories from oral tradition. They came to Moses directly from God when He would meet with Moses in the tent of meeting in the desert, where Moses would compose the Pentateuch.

          Exodus 33:11 – Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.

          April 17, 2014 at 9:53 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "You just may have fallen for Satan's greatest trick, the bible."
          ------------
          Your is a very old, and invalid argument.
          Matthew 12:26 – If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?

          April 17, 2014 at 9:54 am |
        • igaftr

          You mean allegedly came to Moses.....

          April 17, 2014 at 9:56 am |
        • igaftr

          Your is a very old, and invalid argument.

          No , it is not, unless you have some evidence excluding Satan from influencing the bible. You quote FROM the bible that satan could have influenced, He WANTS you to think he had nothing to do with it so he had that put in there to throw you off.

          How exactly is quoting from the possibly satan inspired bible showinig satan had nothing to do with it? Satans a tricky one, and you seem to have taken the bait.

          April 17, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "You mean allegedly came to Moses....."
          -------------
          I do? No, that's not what I mean at all. Specific prophetic fulfillment alone is enough to convince me of the Bible's authority.

          April 17, 2014 at 9:59 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "How exactly is quoting from the possibly satan inspired bible showinig satan had nothing to do with it? Satans a tricky one, and you seem to have taken the bait."
          -------------------
          The whole Bible is anti-satan.... You're telling me that he would write a book about how his demise will eventually come about? A book that from it's first pages to the last are written to show his defeat? If that's the case, he must hate himself a lot. He also must love God...

          Haven't you read the Bible at all?

          April 17, 2014 at 10:03 am |
        • joey3467

          I always thought satan wrote at least the Old Testament to make god look like a murdering jerk.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:11 am |
        • chrisrapier

          "Well, it wasn't Christians who decided what Christianity was to encompass... It was the prophets,"

          Not really. In the first few centuries of Christianity there was a lot of disagreement, very heated disagreement, about what it meant to be Christian and the nature of Christ Himself. It wasn't until the Council of Nicea that the Trinitarian view of God was made dogma. Prior to that there were two major factions – one that viewed Christ as being 'of' the Father (the word made flesh and co-equal to God) and one that viewed Jesus as being 'like' the Father (created from the divine but not ever present since the beginning of time. In other words, semi-divine and less than God). That latter view was called Arianism and was a *major* challenge to the Trinitarian view that eventually became dominant. So the dogma regarding the nature of Christ came about from debate and, in the end, a vote. Why? Because the gospel tends be a wee bit contradictory on the subject. Only in John do we find words stating that Jesus is God. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke you have Jesus saying that God is greater than He is.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:23 am |
        • igaftr

          theo
          "the whole bible is anti-satan"

          That's what Satan wants you to think.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:37 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          "In the first few centuries of Christianity there was a lot of disagreement, very heated disagreement, about what it meant to be Christian and the nature of Christ Himself."
          ---------------
          Oh, I know. Just looking at church history and the amount of blood that was spilled over the idea of baptism alone is a sad commentary on what happens when men attempt to eisegete the simple text.

          "It wasn't until the Council of Nicea that the Trinitarian view of God was made dogma.... Arianism and was a *major* challenge to the Trinitarian view that eventually became dominant."
          --------------------
          It was a debate between men for sure. But Athenagoras of Athens, an early church father and Christian apologist wrote on the doctrine of the trinity in 170 AD. His strongly-reasoned argument for the unity of God in Christian literature is supplemented by an able exposition of the trinity. Furthermore, whether or not men want to accept the idea of the trinity, it is nontheless taught in scripture.

          God is:
          Father (Philippians 1:2, 4:20, Romans 1:7)
          Son (John 1:1, 14, Colossians 2:9, Hebrews 1:8, Psalm 45:6-7, Ti.tus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1)
          Spirit (Acts 5:3-4, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
          and many, many more.

          The idea of Arianism that gave way to the modern Modalism that is a plague on the modern church that is propogated by modern teachers like T.D. Jakes is put to rest in the picture of Jesus' baptism. Here, you've got Jesus being baptized, the Spirit descending, and the Father speaking from above – all three present, all three seperate, but all three are one.

          "Only in John do we find words stating that Jesus is God."
          -----------------
          Wrong. Jesus is God – 2 Peter 1:1, Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 8:10 (Immanuel), Isaiah 9:6, Jeremiah 23:6, Isaiah 45:24, Daniel 9:24, Isaiah 25:9, Colossians 1:19, 2:9-10, Revelation 1:17-18, Matthew 22:41-46, Genesis 1:1 (Revelation 3:14), Hebrews 1:1-2, Colossians 1:16 (Isaiah 42:5, 45:12, 18), Matthew 16:16-17.... OK, you get the idea. Jesus is God.

          "In Matthew, Mark, and Luke you have Jesus saying that God is greater than He is."
          -------------------
          The answer to this is found in the following verse:
          Philippians 2:5 – Have this atti.tude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

          In other words, Jesus humbled Himself to the level of a man, that He might take our place and be our stand-in for punishment from God. He was both God and man, and in His incarnation, He, although was still God, was also subservant to the Father.

          J.I. Paker summarizes the gospel in three words: Adoption through Propitiation. And that could never occur without the humbling servitude of the Son to the Father.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • ursusobesus

          Theo, you really have no clue about your own religion. Please read this page from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea

          April 17, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          ursusobesus,
          No, I am VERY well aquainted with the history of the church... Including the heresies begun in the Nicean Council of 325.
          And it took until 1517 with Luther's "95 Thesis," and Calvin's writings of the "Insti.tutes of the Christian Religion," in 1537, and later in 1646 with the writing of the "Westminster Confesion of Faith" and the "Westminster Catachism" to fully expose and undo the heretical papist doctrines.

          April 17, 2014 at 11:25 am |
      • chrisrapier

        The bunnies and Easter eggs and all of hat sort of thing aren't part of the theology. Sure, they're part of the secular celebration but they have nothing to do with Easter in and of itself. You have to differentiate between the theological foundation of a holy day and the secular celebration of a holiday.

        April 17, 2014 at 10:17 am |
        • mk

          It's hard to figure that out when there is so much about each story that doesn't jibe. For instance, can I really believe that a bunny hides easter eggs any more than I can believe that someone rose from the dead?

          April 17, 2014 at 10:49 am |
      • skalamoosh

        You have it exactly backwards! There are eggs and bunnies on Easter and Santa claus with reindeer on Christmas because of anti-Christians perverting the holiday to try to make it secular as their own. Christmas may be a different story because there is evidence Jesus would have been born in the Spring (they were in Bethlehem for a census which happens in the springtime)

        April 17, 2014 at 10:26 am |
        • igaftr

          skala
          You have that severly reversed. The druids and other christian defined pagans had been celebrating the winter solstice and the vernal equinox to welcome spring long before your Jesus was written.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • eoyguy

          Just look up Saturnalia and you will see you have it reversed

          April 17, 2014 at 12:53 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Wow, how can anyone is the 21st century still believe that this unproven deity was crucified for mistakes that were not his and that no-one could have possibly predicted would occur and then apparently came back from the dead 3 days (no other recorded case of this)? Are you silly believers truly that gullible? (rhetorical question of course...the answer is obvious)

      April 17, 2014 at 9:31 am |
    • idiotusmaximus

      Your not alone Brian.....millions of people live there whole live outside of reality.....in the fictional fantasy of the bible that most don't even know how it came to be......you sad people waste the gift of life and living.

      April 17, 2014 at 10:47 am |
    • mythless

      Christian "Salvation", yet another myth.

      April 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
  19. igaftr

    As if anyone on this blog is going to watch a 2 hour video.

    April 17, 2014 at 8:51 am |
    • Theo Phileo

      Are you kidding me? It's hard enough to get anyone from "Generation Text" to sit down at the table for a 10 minute meal!

      April 17, 2014 at 9:03 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        That was supposed to be a reply for igaftr... And I'm not of "Generation Text" by the way. I'm more of a "Generation Quill Pen."

        April 17, 2014 at 9:05 am |
  20. Theo Phileo

    (Excuse the legnth here, but I heard Dr. John MacArthur speak on this one time)

    No one ever said that resurrection stories were unique to Christianity. In fact, in Ezekiel 8:13-14, we see women "weeping for Tammuz." This is a classic resurrection story that began in Babel, and sadly, even continues to this day.

    All forms of false goddess worship began in Genesis 10:1-11:1-9 at the Tower of Babel… The city of Babylon was founded by Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah: (Noah>Ham>Cush>Nimrod, Genesis 10:1-8). There, he established false worship in the form of polytheism that corrupted his subjects’ original faith in the God in Genesis.

    Nimrod’s wife was named Semiramis, and because Nimrod founded all of these false religions, she was deified, and became the high priestess of them all. The Tower that they built there in Babel was the first idol ever formed, and it became the object of men's worship: the very point of their pride. From there spawned a complex system of weird, strange religions, many of which are still continually practiced in our world today. All of these false cults we now know collectively as the Babylonian Mystery Religions. (Revelation 17:5)

    The deified Semiramis became known in Assyria and Nineveh as Ishtar. In Phoenicia she was called Ashteroth, in Egypt, Isis, in Greece, Aphrodite and in Rome she was called Venus. (The different names due to God separating the languages there at Babel) According to their beliefs, Semiramis was born of a fish-goddess and raised by doves; she was therefore given the status of virgin birth. Later, Nimrod was killed and she being pregnant with his child at the time, later gave birth to a son and named him Tammuz, but since her husband was dead, she said that he had no human father and that he was instead implanted by a sunbeam – this was an effort to fulfill the “seed” prophecy in Genesis. (Genesis 3:15) Thus, Tammuz was virgin born, and Semiramis was a perpetual virgin.

    When Tammuz was grown, he was attacked and killed by a wild boar, and Semiramis went into deep mourning for 40 days; she prayed and wept and denied herself, and on the 40th day, Tammuz arose from the dead. This 40 day period of fasting and mourning for Tammuz later became known as Lent. (“Lent” comes from the Old English word “lencten,” and “lengten” which literally means to lengthen, referring to the spring season and the lengthening of the daylight hours) and was so named due to the season that the ritual mourning took place.

    When God scattered all of the people from Babel by confusing all of their languages, (Genesis 11:1-9) they took this false worship with them, which is why versions of it can be found all over the world. It stayed in Rome until Christianity finally reached there and the two systems were mixed.

    The form of religion there in Rome would eventually become a combination of pagan Babylonian cultism and the New Testament. In order to conciliate the pagans and to draw them into nominal Christianity, the Roman church amalgamated the festivals of Christianity with pagan festivals; and since the church celebrated the resurrection around April and May, and the pagan Lent was celebrated in May or June in Egypt, and in April in Britain, it fit well with the resurrection; and so they brought it together to marry the pagans with the church; and the Council of Orillia in 519 AD decreed that Lent should solemnly be attached to the resurrection and kept before its celebration.

    Because Lent originates from the pagan practice of the 40 days of weeping and self-denial for the resurrection of Tammuz, it has absolutely no connection with Jesus Christ or the New Testament whatsoever. In Ezekiel 8:13-14, we see this practice where women are weeping for Tammuz, and it is called an abomination to the LORD.

    In this story we have the basis of all false religions all over the world. Tammuz went by many names after all of the languages were introduced; in Samaria, he was known as Gilgamesh, in Phoenicia, his name was Baal, in Egypt, Osiris, in Greece, Eros, (also Adonis), in Rome, Cupid. It's all the same mother/child cult that's been going on through the systems of religion since Genesis 10. And, strangely enough, when God brought the reality of Mary and Jesus, the whole pagan system got tangled up in it and produced what we now know as Roman Catholicism.

    April 17, 2014 at 8:36 am |
    • ausphor

      Theo
      Did this particular apologist scholar provide a date line along with his Goddess myth; when was the Babel story supposed to have happened? Of course it is all nonsense but lets see what kind of fiction you can come up with as proof.
      BTW Noah (the movie) has not made its costs back at the American box office yet and probably will not. I hope this puts a stop to Hollywood biblical epics, although the Tower of Babel story would be a great animated comedy.

      April 17, 2014 at 9:35 am |
      • Theo Phileo

        I don't think MacArthur puts a date for Babel in his discourse, but if memory serves, I believe it took place around 2200 BC.

        And as for the Noah movie, if Hollywood continues to prosti.tute the Bible to make movies like THAT, then I sincerely hope they never make another movie "based on Biblical stories."

        Try watching "The Book of Daniel" (2013). That was a great movie! Lower budget, for sure, and they didn't get the WHOLE book into the movie (or it would be a 5 hour movie) but what they did show of the 4-Kings was word for word Scripture, with only a little poetic license to fill in that which is only implicit in scripture. But in this case, their poetic license was implicit in scripture, unlike the Noah movie, which has very little to do with the ACTUAL Biblical account.

        April 17, 2014 at 9:48 am |
        • ausphor

          Theo
          What I find incredible about Christian fundies is that they actually believe the biblical stories of Noah and The Tower of Babel. In order to believe in the Babel story you have to believe that the diversity of the different races with their different languages came about in 4300 years or so. How ridiculous can you get.

          April 17, 2014 at 10:25 am |
        • Theo Phileo

          No, not races. The Bible doesn't speak of races like I think you mean. The Bible speaks of languages and families, but not red, yellow, black, white.

          Acts 17:26 – He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation

          April 17, 2014 at 10:56 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.