When researching the supposed validity of any religion, it is always wise to embark on a journey of fact-finding to ascertain any possible trends in the area of inquiry to see if there are any correlating circumstances that could impact the formation of that specific religion. Is there anything of significance we find when we apply this method of research to Christianity? You betcha! By the end of this article, you should be convinced that Christianity looks the way it does because it evolved amongst the influences of its conquerors’ religious beliefs.
Originally, the religions of this area were simply agricultural salvation cults. God is the Sun, the rain and harvest are the blessings, winter is evil, etc. But later these were restructured into personal salvation cults with God now being a manlike deity in the sky (in typical patriarchal fashion), the blessing is eternal life after death for the chosen people, and evil is the Devil or Satan, etc.
Okay, let’s see if we can get a clearer picture of how all of this happened.
First, let’s take a look at the early Persian Empire during the height of their reign (539 -332 B.C. or B.C.E.) to see what area they conquered and what they brought with them strictly from a religious standpoint. Take a look at the map below.
The area east of the Mediterranean Sea (Phoenicia/Syria) is where to focus your attention. That is the area where the Hebrews lived and practiced their religious beliefs.
On a side note, the whole pork taboo thing and circumcision were not originally Hebrew in origin, but Egyptian. I mean, it’s not so hard to believe when you see how close in proximity these civilizations were.
“The most important animals were cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs (previously thought to have been taboo to eat because the priests of Egypt referred pig to the evil god Seth)”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egyptian_cuisine
Those are just two small examples of how cultures borrowed religious and spiritual ideas and then repackaged them for their own “new” religions.
Next, let’s see how the next war between the Greeks and Persians played out and exactly what the Alexandrian or Greek Empire looked like during its glory days. See the map below.
And lastly, let’s see how the Roman Empire looked after the conquest of the Greeks around 117 A.D. or C.E. See the map below.
One thing to note: it’s up to you how you chose to identify times in history. Christians, in particular, seem to prefer, for obvious reasons, B.C., “Before Christ”, and A.D., “After Death (of Christ)”. Me, personally, I prefer to use B.C.E, “Before Common Era”, and C.E. “Common Era”. But it’s really just a personal thing for some. In my mind, if I use B.C. and A.D., I’m acknowledging the existence of Jesus as a historical figure, which, if you’ve actually read the peer-reviewed, mainstream consensus of modern-day scholarship, you know the odds are actually quite slim for his existence at all. I’m sticking with my preference.
One additional thing to note: These specific trends only existed in the Mediterranean, not China, India or Africa. Once we understand that Cristianity just followed these trends, we can piece the puzzle together and see how this religion arose and looks the way it does.
Okay, back to the matter at hand.
One thing they all have in common is that what is known today as modern-day Israel was originally ruled by the Hebrews, and subsequently the Persians, Greeks, and then the Romans. With those different occupations came a multitude of religious beliefs and practices. Let’s start with the Persian influence.
Prior to the Hebrews being invaded by the Persians, they did not observe any kind of battle between good and evil forces (God/Devil or Satan), Armageddon, New Earth, or resurrection to be with God after one dies. Nor did they observe any kind of concepts of Heaven (Ouranos in Greek/Uranus in properly translated English) or Hell. Those specific aspects of Mediterannean religions were picked up from the Persians, who brought with them the religion known as Zoroastrianism, as well as a single universal creator deity (Ahura Mazda – “Lord of Wisdom”). The Hebrews adopted these beliefs, moved on, and waited for the next wave of conquerors.
The Greeks (332-110 B.C.E.) are next in the line of succession, and they brought with them the concept of mystery schools or mystery cults, which were secretive religious cults in the Greco-Roman Empire as well as Egypt that only revealed the mystery or secret wisdom of their religious texts to qualified initiates that had undergone specific rites of passage and proven worthy of such knowledge. They embraced well-known pre-Christian concepts such as communion and baptism to gain salvation in the afterlife. Through these practices, initiates became referred to as having a “fictive kinship” or “universal brotherhood”. What do Christian men call each other again? The people that did not gain access or membership to one of these schools or cults were labeled as “profane” and “outside of the mystery”.
Does the Bible speak of mysteries? Yes, it does. And the way it speaks of them is a dead giveaway as to the cultural nod to mystery schools. You have to play for your audience. See for yourself.
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables:
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.
And upon her forehead [was] a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
It’s always shocking to me when I see the above references with the knowledge I’ve gained by doing tons of research. The pieces do indeed come together for me a paint a fairly horrific picture of the Roman Catholic Church.
Alright, let’s see how the picture shifted when the Romans conquered the Greeks.
The Romans (63 B.C.E-636 C.E.) came in next and largely followed the same template as the Greeks albeit with some of their own modifications to accommodate their pantheon of gods.
One thing that the Greeks and Romans shared unequivocally were dying and rising savior or messiah figures. Here is a list of five that have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be pre-Christian and verified through the consensus of mainstream scholarship to be dying and rising messiah cults. There are many more but these are the ones with the best proof.
First is Romulus. Labeled as the founder and first king/emperor of Rome, but he really just appears to be a myth.
“According to Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus were the sons of Rhea Silvia by the god Mars. Their maternal grandfather was Numitor, the rightful king of Alba Longa, through whom the twins were descended from both the Trojan hero Aeneas, and Latinus, the king of Latium.
Before the twins’ birth, Numitor’s throne had been usurped by his brother, Amulius, who murdered Numitor’s son or sons and condemned Rhea Silvia to perpetual virginity by consecrating her a Vestal.[i] When Rhea became pregnant, she asserted that she had been visited by the god Mars. Amulius imprisoned her, and upon the twins’ birth, ordered that they be thrown into the Tiber. But as the river had been swollen by rain, the servants tasked with disposing of the infants could not reach its banks, and so exposed the twins beneath a fig tree at the foot of the Palatine Hill.
In the traditional account, a she-wolf happened upon the twins and suckled them until they were found by the king’s herdsman, Faustulus, and his wife, Acca Larentia.[ii] The brothers grew to manhood among the shepherds and hill-folk. After becoming involved in a conflict between the followers of Amulius and those of their grandfather Numitor, Faustulus told them of their origin. With the help of their friends, they lured Amulius into an ambush and killed him, restoring their grandfather to the throne. The princes then set out to establish a city of their own.
They returned to the hills overlooking the Tiber, the site where they had been exposed as infants. They could not agree on which hill should house the new city. When an omen to resolve the controversy failed to provide a clear indication, the conflict escalated and Romulus or one of his followers killed Remus. In a variant of the legend, the augurs favoured Romulus, who proceeded to plough a square furrow around the Palatine Hill to demarcate the walls of the future city. When Remus derisively leapt over the “walls” to show how inadequate they were against invaders, Romulus struck him down in anger. In another variant, Remus was killed during a melée, along with Faustulus.“ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus
Second is Osiris.
“Osiris is the mythological father of the god Horus, whose conception is described in the Osiris myth (a central myth in ancient Egyptian belief). The myth describes Osiris as having been killed by his brother Set, who wanted Osiris’ throne. His wife, Isis, finds the body of Osiris and hides it in the reeds where it is found and dismembered by Set. Isis retrieves and joins the fragmented pieces of Osiris, then briefly revives him by use of magic. This spell gives her time to become pregnant by Osiris. Isis later gives birth to Horus. Since Horus was born after Osiris’ resurrection, Horus became thought of as a representation of new beginnings and the vanquisher of the usurper Set.
Ptah-Seker (who resulted from the identification of the creator god Ptah with Seker) thus gradually became identified with Osiris, the two becoming Ptah-Seker-Osiris. As the sun was thought to spend the night in the underworld and was subsequently “reborn” every morning, Ptah-Seker-Osiris was identified as King of the underworld, god of the afterlife, life, death, and regeneration.“ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osiris
When his brother, Set killed and dismembered him, Osiris’ mother, Isis found his parts, wrapped them up, which enabled him to resurrect. Unfortunately, Isis did not find Osiris’ penis. To remedy the situation, she ordered all temples or places of worship to place a steeple in a prominent location to symbolize this lost part. Are you seeing the connection yet? That’s right, Osiris’ penis is why churches have steeples. I bet you’ll never look at a church steeple the same way again. But the current church steeple is Adam’s penis, not Osiris’. See my article here if you want to dive deeper (pun not intended) and see the evidence for yourself. “Isis recovered all the parts of Osiris’ body, except the phallus, and secretly buried them. She made replicas of them and distributed them to several locations, which then became centres of Osiris worship.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osiris
Third is Adonis.
One day, Adonis was gored by a wild boar during a hunting trip and died in Aphrodite’s arms as she wept. His blood mingled with her tears and became the anemone flower. Aphrodite declared the Adonia festival commemorating his tragic death, which was celebrated by women every year in midsummer. During this festival, Greek women would plant “gardens of Adonis”, small pots containing fast-growing plants, which they would set on top of their houses in the hot sun. The plants would sprout but soon wither and die. Then the women would mourn the death of Adonis, tearing their clothes and beating their breasts in a public display of grief.
The Greeks considered Adonis’s cult to be of Near Eastern origin. Adonis’s name comes from a Canaanite word meaning “lord” and most modern scholars consider the story of Aphrodite and Adonis to be derived from the earlier Mesopotamian myth of Inanna (Ishtar) and Dumuzid (Tammuz).
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century scholarship of religion, Adonis was widely seen as a prime example of the archetypal dying-and-rising god. His name is often applied in modern times to handsome youths, of whom he is the archetype.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adonis
Fourth is Zalmoxis.
Zalmoxis is a Christ-like figure who dies and is resurrected. This position was defended by Jean (Ioan) Coman, a professor of patristics and Orthodox priest, who was a friend of Mircea Eliade and published in Eliade’s journal Zalmoxis, which appeared in the 1930s.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zalmoxis
Last, but certainly not least is Innana.
Inanna/Ishtar’s most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the Ancient Mesopotamian underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld, but is instead deemed guilty by the seven judges of the underworld and struck dead. Three days later, Ninshubur pleads with all the gods to bring Inanna back, but all of them refuse her except Enki, who sends two sexless beings to rescue Inanna. They escort Inanna out of the underworld, but the galla, the guardians of the underworld, drag her husband Dumuzid down to the Underworld as her replacement. Dumuzid is eventually permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna remains in the underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons.
One thing the above quote did not mention is that Innana, when she was killed, was impaled on a hook on a wall. So essentially, she underwent a form of crucifixion, died, and then resurrected three days later. Sound familiar? Below is the officially translated text from the Sumerian Tablets.
"Then Ereshkigal fastened on Inanna the eye of death. She spoke against her the word of wrath. She uttered against her the cry of guilt. She struck her. Inanna was turned into a corpse, A piece of rotting meat, And was hung from a hook on the wall."
When, after three days and three nights, Inanna had not returned, Ninshubur set up a lament for her by the ruins. She beat the drum for her in the assembly places. She circled the houses of the gods.
The kurgarra sprinkled the food of life on the corpse. The galatur sprinkled the water of life on the corpse. Inanna arose. . . .
Okay, to recap, all of these influences were in place prior to the rise of Christianity. If we can’t see the connection at this point, we still have a long way to go as a species. Religion is false, that is the jagged pill that the world needs to swallow.
So, if a religion were to arise during this period two thousand years ago, it would indeed look just like Christianity.