FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY
PAGAN FRAUDS-CHRISTIAN PRECEDENTS
SEGMENTS:R R EVERY RELIGION R R THE DAWN-MAN AND THE SHAMAN R R PAGANISM AT THE CROSS-ROADS WITH CHRISTIANITY
RR APOLLONIUS OF TYANA R R SIMON MAGUS R R SUPERSTITIONS AND REVELATIONS R R CHRISTIAN "REVELATION" DEFINED AND DISPROVED
RR MITHRAISM-AND CHRISTIAN MYTH R R "MITHRAISM"-PRE-CHRISTIAN CHRISTIANITY R R BUDDHISM IN CHRISTIANITY
RR ALL DEVILISH IMITATIONS! R R THE SIBYLLINE ORACLES R R ABBREVIATIONS FOR MOST OFTEN USED SOURCES
R RRETURN TO THE INDEX OF CHAPTERS
"Neither in the confusion of paganism, nor in the defilement of heresy, nor yet in the blindness of Judaism, is religion to be sought, but among those alone who are called Catholic Christians." (St. Augustine, De Vera Religions, v.)
EVERY RELIGION, PRIESTCRAFT, and Sacred Book, other than the Roman Catholic Christian, is thus branded as false in fact and fraudulent in practice. The Jews, however, excluded by those who have expropriated their ancient faith,make the same imputations of falsity and fraud against the Christian religion,based on their own ancient sacred Scriptures, and founded, as the Christians claim, by a Jewish Incarnation of the Hebrew God,-which, say the Jews,is a horrid blasphemy; and they brand the Sacred Books of Christian origin as false and forged.
The Christians, all their hundreds of warring Sects, in their turn impute to the Jews the blasphemous repudiation and monstrous murder of the Son of the ancient Hebrew God, Yahweh; and with ample usury of blood and torture have visited that fabulous iniquity upon the hapless sons and daughters of Jewry unto half a hundred generations of "God's Chosen People."
But, of the countless Sects of Christians, one alone, it avers, is of the True Faith; all the others are false and beyond the hope of heaven: "Whoever will be saved, it is necessary above all else that he hold to the Catholic Faith,"-so reads the venerable forged Athanasian Creed. (CE.ii, 33, 34.) The Protestant Sects, however, though they all admit the same origin and accept in full fatuity of faith most of the same forged sacred writings for their rule of faith as the One True Church, yet apply the scornful epithet "Antichrist" to their venerable Mother in Christ; freely dub a dozen of her canonical sacred Books of Jewish origin, and most of her thousands of canonized Saints, forgeries and frauds; and assert many of her most holy dogmas and sacraments to be blasphemous and degrading superstitions. The while their own scores of hostile factions mutually recriminate each the other as blind leaders of the blind and perverters of the sacred Truth.
It will serve a useful purpose to take a look behind all this dust-and-smokescreen of "Odium Theologicum" and make a brief survey of the origins of religious superstitions and priestcraft, and of the known and admitted falsities and frauds of Paganism, and some venerable other religious 'isms.' This will demonstrate that these same things are now part and parcel of Christianity.This induces the inquiry, Wherein the data of Christianity as a whole may haply differ from the admitted frauds of the false religions and priestcrafts of the Past. We shall learn whether and to what degree truth may be found in any of the confused and confusing Christian claims of Truth.
THE DAWN-MAN AND THE SHAMAN
"There is no origin for the idea of an after-life save the conclusion which the savage draws from the notion suggested by dreams."
Lo, the poor Indian, with his untutored mind, saw his god in clouds and heard him in the wind. Ages before him, the Dawn-man, the earliest Cave-man, saw his shadow in the sun, his reflection in the water, and crudely thought that he had a sort of shadowy double, which accompanied him and at times showed itself visible to him. At night, when the Dawn-man, gorged with raw and often putrid flesh, in a night-mare dream saw terrible monsters assailing him,or in more normal sleep wandered forth and visited distant scenes of his previous roamings, or saw, as in the flesh living and acting before his eyes,his dead father or friend, thus he got further immature notions of a double, "ka," or detachable spirit of man, dwelling within him, which could leave the body and return at will, or which survived the death of the body and lived on in spirit form, and could revisit the old habitation and hold converse with, do good or harm to, the frightened living. Thus came the belief in the existence and survival after death of this double or spirit-ghost, thus the notion of the immortality of the soul, it primitive belief held by every people of antiquity, and surviving yet by inheritance among the priest-taught of modern times.
These strange phantoms of the night naturally worked further upon the fear-filled mind of the early child-men, terrified by the frightful vicissitudes of life,the violent deaths by wild animals, the storms and floods that killed and maimed them, the lightnings and thunders that terrified them. All these things were to them clearly the manifestations of the anger and revenge of the departed spirits, especially of the Old Man of the clan who had bossed it in life and had grudges against all who had not been sufficiently obedient to him.Awaking from these dread visions of the night, the frightened Dawn-man would relate the uncanny visitations to his fellows, who would have like ghostly dream-stuff to exchange; together they would wonder whether something could be done to propitiate or pileate the wandering ghost-men and to win their favor for benefits to be had from their superior other-worldly status and powers.
It could not be long before some old and crafty member of the nomadic clan would hint that he had known the Old Man well during life, had been very friendly with him living and had a powerful influence with him;that he was wise to the ways and whims of ghosts or gods; and no doubt he could get in touch with his spirit and cajole him into reasonableness and favor. This suggestion meeting with awed acquiescence, it would quickly be followed by the forthright bold claim to super-ghostly powers, and by sundry weird mumblings and mystic rites and incantations the old faker would further awe the clan into credulous faith in the claim. The new spiritualist would pretend to get into communion with the Old Man's spirit, and to receive from him "revelations" of his will and commands for the obedience of the clan.Thus began spirit-worship or religion-the fancied relations between man and the spirits of the dead or gods. Here, too, we have the first shaman,medicine-man, magician, witch-doctor, or what-not; in a word, the first priest;and the priestly game was on. The pretended ghost-cajoler would naturally be held in dread awe and reverence by his credulous dupes, and would gain enormous respect and prestige: he could quit the drudgery of hunting and fishing for his precarious living, and let the awed and believing members of the clan keep him in food and idle ease; here the first social parasite.This is priestcraft-by whatever name and in whatever age and guise pursued.
A very modern instance comes to hand and is added for confirmation. Fortunately,or lamentably for Christian pretensions, there yet exist in the world races of very primitive descendants of Adam, who yet preserve their primeval forms of superstition and priestcraft, wherein may be seen their origins in yet active reality of operation. In no more remote a region of these our United States than the Diomede Islands of the Aleutian archipelago of Alaska, tribal superstition and primitive priestcraft may be seen in all their ridiculous crudity today. In the Report of the Stoll-McCracken Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History, 1928, primitive religious superstition and the power of the priest are graphically described; with simple change of form and ritual it is Religion through the Ages, the war-blessers and rain-makers in action to cajole and control the deity through his priests. As one reads the following extracts from the Report, let him see what differences he may discover, other than of technique, between the Diomeder and the Dupe of any other Cult. "For the Diomeder humbles himself before the imaginary forces of his spirit world, often disregarding the realities of life with typical primitive inconsistency. ... The only powers really worthy of his respect are the supernatural ones. This is why the Eskimo medicine man, or angutkok, as he is called, holds a position of such influence. He is the middleman between the natural and supernatural world. The Diomeders have no real chiefs or any system of government. Each family is able to manage its own affairs.The common events of life take care of themselves. But whatever is unusual,whatever cannot be readily understood, engages the attention of every Diomeder. Such things as sickness and weather, good or bad luck and the complicated workings of nature fascinate him because they are utterly beyond his comprehension. Indeed, superstition is the basis of the angutkok's hold over his people. It is chiefly for his supposed alliance with the forces of the supernatural that he is venerated. ... He is supposed to have marvelous powers over bodily ailments. ... The power of conversation with the ancestral spirits is one of the angutkok's strongest holds upon his public. For the ancestral spirits are said to exert a tremendous influence over the lives of the natives. The Diomeder's attitude toward them is more than one of wholesome respect. It is made up of a definite and deep-sated fear. This is because the spirits, if they choose, can send down either good luck or bad-and usually elect the latter. And clever must be the ruses whereby they may be tricked into benignity. For a departed soul, no matter how kindly has been its earthly owner, is a potential agent of misfortune and must be treated accordingly" (New York Times Magazine, Dec. 16, 1928, p. 9.) The methods of incantation, of placating the spirits and gods, the charms and amulets used for these conjurations, differ only in material from those in holy vogue today in some very Christian countries. Angutkok, shaman, medicine-man,exorciser, priest, Pennsylvania Witch-doctors, nature-fakers and superstition-mongers, parasites preying on ignorance and fear-the whole genealogy of dupe-craft, of priest-craft,-what difference in kind and craft is discernible between the one and the others of the god-placating,devil-chasing Genus Shamanensis? Bombarding the irate god with eggs, as with the Diomedes, or by the prayer of faith as with more up-to-date God-compellers,the cause is the same, and the effect is equally ineffective and desultory.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, describing the Doctors of Divinity as in vogue among sundry African tribes, well describes the entire confraternity in all religions: "Certain specialists, however, exist, known to us as sorcerers,witch-doctors, etc. who are familiar with the mysterious secrets of things,who make use of them on behalf of those interested, and hand them down to chosen disciples." (CE. i, 183.) One of the highest and most potent functions of all these primitive shamans and devil-doctors is the conjuring of the infinitude of devils which afflict the inner-works of the superstitious,and work havoc in weather, crops, herds, etc.; the practice and its ceremonial of incantation are very elaborate in some modern schemes: "This ceremony takes up over thirty pages of the Roman Ritual. It is, however, but rarely used-[in these more enlightened and skeptical days], and never without the express permission of the Bishop, for there is room for no end of deception and hallucination when it is a question of dealing with the unseen powers"! (CE. i, 142). Thus the System is yet in vogue; and its priestcraft has waxed very powerful and very wealthy. Artificial Fear and Credulity are its sole source and sustenance. As the Roman poet Lucretius said: "Fear was the first thing on earth to make gods."
Reinach, after a critique of many varied definitions of Religion, thus formulates his own-which a moment's reflection upon the infinite sacred "Thou Shalt Not's" of Faith will fully justify: "A sum of scruples (Taboos) which impede the, free exercise of our faculties." (Orpheus, 1930 ed. p. 3.)
As primitive society progressed towards organization, the Headman of the clan or tribe would find advantage in a close and not disinterested association with the Shaman, whose intimations of good from the spirits or dreadful evil would assist powerfully in the subordination and control of maybe otherwise ambitious or unruly subjects: thus began the cooperation of ruler and priest for the subjection of the ruled. Later yet, as government and priestcraft developed, the ruler was also priest or the priest ruler, as in early Egypt and Assyria, and as in ancient theocratic Israel before the Kings and after the return from Captivity. So too, later, in Greece and Rome.In Egypt and under the Empire in Rome the King was God, in Egypt by divine descent, in Rome by apotheosis. Even Alexander of Macedon was a god by divine generation, as declared by the Pagan Oracle of Jupiter Ammon, to the great scandal of Alexander's mother Olympias, who was wont to complain, "I wish that Alexander would cease from incessantly embroiling me with the wife of Jupiter!" Thus priestcraft thrived and gained immense dominion over the superstitious minds of men, to say nothing of powers and prestige unlimited,privileges, immunities, wealth and aggrandizement beyond rivalry-in ancient Pagan times.
The temples of the ancient gods throughout Pagandom were marvels of sumptuous wealth and beauty, thanks to the lavish munificence of rulers and the offerings of the votaries of the respective false gods. The Temple of Diana at Ephesus,the Parthenon or Temple of the Virgin-goddess at Athens, were wonders of the ancient world. The greatest ruins of antiquity yet standing in splendid ruin or unearthed by the excavations of the archaeologists, are the temples of the Pagan gods, testifying in their decayed grandeur to their pristine magnificence and wealth.
Through the priests and the fear of the gods the rulers ruled: "Thus saith our god" was the awful sanction of their commands and of their legal enactments.The Hebrews had no word for religion"; their nearest approximation to the idea is the oft-repeated Bible phrase, "The fear of Yahweh [the Lord]." The ancient Code of Hammurabi, graven on the stela discovered by De Morgan in the ruins of Susa at the beginning of this century and now preserved in the Louvre at Paris, represents the King humbly receiving the Code of Laws from the great god Bel through the Sun-god Shamash; this for its greater sanction to obedience by the superstitious people, who knew no better than to believe the pious fraud of the priests and King. A thousand years more or less later,the Hebrew God Yahweh, along with many divine laws, delivered to Moses his Code of Commandments neatly scratched with his own finger on two stone slabs;of these, like the grave of Moses, no man knoweth the whereabouts unto this day. It was plain but pious fraud for Hammurabi to issue his laws under the name of his god. Common sense and common honesty make us disbelieve and condemn the Hammurabi fraud, and no one chides us for disbelieving it. Perforce we must believe the Moses-tale of identical import, or be dubbed atheists, reviled and ostracized, and be damned in the Christian Hell forever, to boot. Both fables of Divine enactment were invented for and served the same purpose to dupe the credulous to believe and obey King and Priest. Is it honest?
This principle, involved in the pretense of divine Sanctions, and effective through the cooperation of King and Priest for dominion over the ruled, was frankly recognized by many ancient writers, and even by some lauded as salutary for the ignorant. Critics, friend of Socrates, saw the State "with false reason covering truth," which by this device "quenched lawlessness,; with laws." Diodorus Siculus admitted it to be the duty of the State "to establish effective gods to do the work of police," and laid it down, that "It is to the interest of States to be deceived in religion." Livy admires the wisdom of Numa, who "introduced the fear of the gods as a most efficacious means of controlling an ignorant and barbarous populace." Polybius, the celebrated Greet historian, gives his philosophic admiration to the religious system of the Romans as an effective means of government of the populace:
"In my opinion their object is to use it as a cheek upon the common people.If it were possible to form a State wholly of philosophers, such a custom would perhaps be unnecessary. But seeing that every multitude is fickle and full of lawless desires, unreasoning anger and violent passions, the only recourse is to keep them in check by mysterious terrors and scenic effects of this sort. Wherefore, to my mind the ancients were not acting without purpose or it random, when they brought in among the Vulgar those opinions about the gods and the belief in the punishments in Hades." (Historiae, quoted by Grover, The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire, pp. 3-4.)
This pious notion of God and religion as the Big Policeman of the common herd, is not yet extinct. the Attorney General of England, in a celebrated State trial for the sale of it copy of Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, urged to the jury the necessity "to prevent its circulation among the industrious poor"; for, he declaimed, "Of all human beings they stand most in need of the consolations of religion; ... because no man can be expected to be faithful to the authority of man who revolts against the government of God"! (Williams' Case, 26 Howard's State Trials, p. 719; 1798-99.) But times and creeds change; this is the Twentieth century. The professional religionists of today, however, forever dingdong the old "Morality Lie," that without the God-given Ten Commandments and like divine laws, ministered by them and reenacted and enforced by the State there can be no morality, no human virtues,no decent government. The "True Church" makes mighty boast of its "saving civilization" after the Fall of Rome by the industrious preachment-as we shall amply see-of pious lies and practice of most unholy frauds among the semi-pagan Christian peoples who rose-despite the Church-on the ruins of Rome,-
. . . Whilst human kind
Throughout the lands lay miserably crushed
Before all eyes beneath Religion-who
Would show her head along the region skies,
Glowering on mortals with her hideous face."
(Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, I.)
PAGANISM AT THE CROSS-ROADS WITH CHRISTIANITY
At the time of the advent of "that newer form of Paganism later called Christianity," the Greco-Roman world seethed with religions in a great state of flux and re-formation. Wonder-workers, miracle-mongers, impostors in the guise of gods and Christs abounded. Simon Magus, Apollonius of Tyana, Apuleius, Alexander, Porphyry, Iamblichus,-performed prodigies of divine power and were hailed as genuine gods,-just as were Paul and Barnabas (Acts xiv, 11-12), and, later, Jesus the Christ. Of these Pagan and Jewish "Christs" two will be briefly noted, for their very important Christian contacts and analogies. But first, some analogies of Pagan priestly fakeries.
The petty frauds of the Pagan priests to dupe their credulous votaries would fill a large book; the ancient poets and philosophers, and modern histories of Gentilic religions, abound in instances. Simply for examples of a few of the more common frauds of the Pagan priests, outdone a thousand-fold by the Christian priests and church, as-(out of the Catholic Encyclopedia)we shall see,-we may mention some well-known pious frauds of the Greeks and Romans prevalent around the beginning of the Christian era and forming the religious atmosphere of the times in which the new faith was born and propagated.
False prophecies and miracles and fraudulent relics were the chief reliance among the Pagans, as among the Christians, for stimulating the faith, or credulity, of the ignorant and superstitious masses. The images of the gods were believed to be endowed with supernatural power. Of some, the wounds could bleed; of others, the eyes could wink, of others, the heads could nod,the limbs could be raised; the statues of Minerva could brandish spears,those of Venus could weep; others could sweat; paintings there were which could blush. The Holy Crucifix of Boxley, in Kent, moved, lifted its head,moved its lips and eyes; it was broken up in London, and the springs exposed,and shown to the deriding public;, but this relation is out of place,-this was a pious Christian, not Pagan, fake. One of the marvels of many centuries was the vocal statue of Memnon, whose divine voice was heard at the first dawn of day, "the sweet voice of Memnon" which greeted the sun, as sung by poets and attested by inscriptions on the statue made by noted visitors,who credited the assertion of the priests that the voice was that of the god Ammon; the secret was discovered by Wilkinson: a cavity in which a priest was concealed, who struck a stone at sunrise when the worshippers were assembled,thus giving out a melodious ringing sound. Very famous was the Palladium or statute of Minerva, thrown down from heaven by Zeus into Troy, and guarded sacredly in the citadel as protection of the city, which was believed to be impregnable so long as the statue was in the city; Ulysses and Diomede entered the city in disguise and stole out the sacred statue to the Greek camp; thence Aeneas is said to have taken it to Italy, where it was preserved in the Temple of Vesta. Many cities of Greece and Rome claimed to have the genuine original. Another miraculous statue of like divine origin was that of "the great goddess, Diana" at Ephesus, which the Town-clerk (in Acts 3 xix, 35) declared that all men knew "fell down from Jupiter." Other holy relics galore were preserved and shown to the pious: The Aegis of Jove, forged by Vulcan and ornamented with the head of the Gorgon; the very tools with which the Trojan horse was made, at Metapontum; the scepter of Pelops, at Chaeronea; the spear of Achilles, at Pharselis; the sword of Memnon, at Nicomedia; the hide of the Chalcydonian boar, among the Tegeates; the stone bearing the authentic marks of the trident of Neptune, at Athens; the Cretans exhibited the tomb of Zeus, which earned for them their reputation as Liars.But Mohammedans show the tomb of Adam and Christians that of Peter! There were endless shrines and sanctuaries at which miracle-cures could be performed: oracular temples full of caverns, and secret passages,-that of the Cumaean Sibyl has recently been explored, and its fraudulent devices exposed. The gods themselves came down regularly and ate the fine feasts spread before their statues. In the apocryphal History of Bel and the Dragon, interpolated in the True Church's Book of Daniel (Chapter xiv), the Holy Ghost tells how this hero trapped the priests who stole at night through secret passages into the throne-room of the god and ate the good things furnished by the pious King and people. The gods came frequently to earth, too, and with the connivance of the priests kept amorous tryst in the temples with unsuspecting pious ladies, edifying instances of which are related by Herodotus and Josephus, among other chroniclers of the wiles of priestcraft.
Pagan prodigies of every conceivable kind were articles of popular credulity,affecting the commonalty as well as many of the highest category. The great Emperor Augustus, obedient to dreams, went begging money through the streets of Rome, and used to wear the skin of a sea-calf to protect himself against lightning. Tiberius placed greater faith in the efficacy of laurel leaves;both remedies are highly praised by Pliny. Caligula would crawl under the bed in thunder storms; the augurs had listed eleven kinds of lightning with different significations. Comets and dreams portended the gravest crises. Cicero and Valerius Alaximus cite numerous instances of dreams being verified by the event. Livy relates with perfect faith innumerable prodigies, though he acutely observed, that "the more prodigies are believed, the more they are announced." The Emperors made numerous enactments against sorcery, divination, and all kinds of magic; the "Christian" Emperor, Constantine, prohibited all forms of magic, but specially excepted and authorized "that which was intended to avert hail and lightning," one of the specialties of the Christian priests. Such puerilities of the prevalent superstitions might be multiplied to fill volumes. (See case, Experiences with the Supernatural,etc.)
APOLLONIUS OF TYANA
Apollonius of Tyana was one of the most notable of these wonder-working Christs. So extremely moral and pure were his doctrines and his conduct, and so mighty the works he wrought, that the Pagans insisted that Apollonius was the actual personage whom the Christians called Jesus Christ. By all reports, implicitly credited, Apollonius had raised the dead, healed the sick, cast out devils,freed a young man from a lamia or vampire with whom he was enamored, prophesied, seen in one country events which were occurring in another, as from Ephesus the assassination of Domitian at Rome, and had filled the world with the fame of his miracles and of his sanctity, just as did Jesus Christ. Apollonius was born about the same time as Jesus of Nazareth; the legends of their lives and deeds were very similar; the former, at least, has been justly described as "among that least obnoxious class of impostors, who pretend to be divinely gifted, with a view to secure attention and obedience to precepts, which,delivered in the usual way, would be generally neglected." (Anthon, Classical Dictionary, p. 165; see generally, Lecky, Hist. of European Morals, i, 372,passim; any good Encyclopedia.) Recall the current histories of Mohammed,the Mormon Joseph Smith, Mother Eddy-Jesus Christ-for instances of analogous pretensions.
This customary pretense of wonder-workers is confirmed by the great Church Fathers Lactantius, in his Divine Institutes, dedicated to the "Christian" Emperor Constantine, in which he combated the Pagan imputation that Jesus was a magician, like Apollonius and Apuleius, whose wonder-workings he admits. Like all the Fathers, as we shall see, Lactantius, an ex-Pagan,had firm faith in magic, and believed all the magical wonders of the Pagan magicians as veritable miracles wrought by the divine power of demons or devils. He says that the Pagans "endeavored to overthrow his [Jesus'] wonderful deeds [by showing] that Apollonius performed equal or even greater deeds. "But, "It is strange," he argues, "that he omitted to mention Apuleius, of whom many and wonderful things are accustomed to be related. ... If Christ is a magician because He performed wonderful deeds, it is plain that Apollonius,who, according to your description, when Domitian wished to punish him, suddenly disappeared on his trial, was more skilful than He who was both arrested and crucified. ... It was evident, therefore, that he [Apollonius] was both a man and a magician; and for this reason he affected divinity under the title of a name belonging to another [Hercules], for in his own name he was unable to attain it." (Lact. Div. Inst. Bk. V, ch. iii; ANP. vii, 138, 139,)
Most notorious and important, from the viewpoint of the rising Christianity,was the Samaritan impostor, Simon Magus, the "great power of God," vouched for by divine inspiration as having "used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria," he having "of a long time bewitched them with sorceries," as the Holy Ghost of God ridiculously assures us in Acts viii. Not content with his own "great power of God," Simon, heaving seen some of the apostles at work bestowing the holy Ghost on the peasants, offered money for the gift of like power to himself, but was curtly rebuked and refused by Peter. The especial importance of Simon Magus is his legendary Scriptural contact with the fisherman Peter, which developed, under the early Christian propensity for expansive mendacity, into a veritable literature of pious lies and prodigies associated with Simon and Peter, which was the chiefest if not sole basis,be it remembered for the false pretense, later developed, as we shall duly see, of the "sojourn" of Peter at Rome as Bishop and Pope. As legends of the Samaritan impostor are wholly Christian impostures, the Catholic Encyclopedia will be called upon for an account of the Patristic canards. "By his magic arts," says our exponent of "Catholic Truth," Simon was called Magus, or the Magician, the account just given from Acts is "the sole authoritative[?] report that we have about him": and it confesses the chronic mendacity of the Fathers by the remark, "The statements of the [clerical] writers of the second century concerning him are largely legendary, and it is difficult or rather impossible to extract from them any historical fact the details of which are established with certainty." Let us remember this characterization of these same Fatherly writers, who, lying about Simon and Peter together,in Rome, yet tell unvarnished truth about Peter alone, or Peter and Paul together, in Rome.
I may remark, that serious argument is made, that Paul himself is maliciously intended by some of the Fathers under the name of Simon, the constant conflict between Paul and Peter being disguised under the accounts of the inveterate struggles of Simon and Peter, (See Ency. Bib. vol. iv, Art, Simon Magus.) The childish and fabulous histories of the Fathers regarding Simon and Peter and Paul in Rome and their contests of magic powers, are thus related:
"St. Justin of Rome ('First Apolog.' xxvi, lvi; 'Dialog. c. Tryphonem, cxx), describes Simon as a man who, at the instigation of demons, claimed to be a god. Justin says further that Simon came to Rome during the reign of the Emperor Claudius and by his magic arts won many followers so that these erected on an island in the Tiber a statue to him as a divinity with the inscription 'Simon the Holy God.' The statue, however, that Justin took for one dedicated to Simon was undoubtedly one to the old Sabine divinity Semo Sancus (797)... The later anti-heretical writers who report Simon's residence at Rome, take Justin and the apocryphal Acts of Peter as their authority, so that their testimony is of no value. [p. 798.]
"Simon plays an important part in the 'Pseudo-Clementines.' He appears here as the chief antagonist of the Apostle Peter, by whom he is everywhere followed and opposed. The alleged magical arts of the magician and Peter's efforts against him are described in a way that is absolutely imaginary. The entire account lacks all historical basis [citing several WORKS] ... The apocryphal Acts of St. Peter give an entirely different account of Simon's condition at Rome and of his death. In this work also great stress is laid upon the straggle between Simon and the Apostles Peter and Paul at Rome. By his magic arts Simon had also sought to win the Emperor Nero for himself, an attempt in which he had been thwarted by the apostles. As proof of the truth of his doctrines Simon offered to ascend into the heavens before the eyes of Nero and the Roman populace; by magic did he rise in the air in the Roman Forum, but the prayers of the Apostles Peter and Paul caused him to fall, so that he was severely injured and shortly afterwards died miserably. ... This legend led later to the erection of a church dedicated to the apostles on the alleged spot of Simon's fall near the Via Sacra above the Forum. The stones of the pavement on which the apostles knelt in prayer and which are said to contain the impression of their knees, are now in the wall of the Church of Santa Francesca Romana."
(CE. xiii, 797, 798.)
With respect to that statue erected in the Tiber to "Simon the Holy God, "the account, above mentioned, does not do justice to Father Justin's invention;it is thus explicit: he says that Simon "performed feats of magic by demonic arts in Rome during the reign of Claudius, was held to be a god, and was honored by Senate and people with a statue in the middle of the Tiber, between the two bridges, bearing the inscription in Latin: 'Simoni, Deo sancto ... To Simon the holy God.' The base of the pillar referred to was dug up on the island in the Tiber, at the place indicated by Justin, in 1574; the inscription, which was deciphered, runs: 'Semoni Sanco deo fidio sacrum ... Sex. Pompeius ... donum dedit.' Thus the pillar was dedicated to the Sabine god Semo Sancus, and not by the Senate and people, but by the piety of a private individual." (EB. iv, 4538-9; cf. CE. xiii, 797-8.) The same authority, referring to the clerical fabrications above mentioned, says: "The Pseudo-Clementine Homilies and Recognitions contain yet another element of the very greatest importance. In them Simon displays features which are unquestionably derived from Paul, and plainly show him to be a caricature of that apostle drawn by an unfriendly hand." (EB. iv, 4540, with citations in proof.) Simon proclaimed as his doctrine-"asserting that none could possibly have salvation without being baptized in his name" (Tert., adv. Haereyes, c.i; ANF. iii, 649); which group plagiarized the sentiment from the other, Christians, or Simoneans, I cannot verify.
SUPERSTITIONS AND REVELATIONS
The Pagans would appear almost to have been good Christians: they had their gods, (whom they fondly called Savior and Messiah) the death and resurrections of gods; devils, angels, and spirits good, bad and indifferent; their heavens,hells and purgatories; they believed in immortality of the soul,-witness the Pyramids and the tombs of the Kings, as of Tut-ankh-Amen in Egypt, and of the Queen Shub-Ad, just unearthed in Ur of the Chaldees; their elaborate sacrifices, animal and human, even of their dear little children to appease their gods, as in Carthage and Canaan,-a chronic Hebrew practice.Virgin-births of demigods by the intervention of gods and human maids were common-places of Pagan faith, as were Virgin-mothers and god-child: the Christians imported theirs from Egypt-the Madonna statues of Isis and the Child Horus-of universal vogue at the beginning of this era of the Christ-may be seen in almost any first-class Museum, as the Metropolitan in New York and the University in Philadelphia. This popular Pagan device,the "Mother of God" and her God-baby-in-arms, was taken over as a Christian sop to the crowds of Pagans who were being enticed and forced into the Church;it was violently opposed by many of the more intelligent Churchmen: "Nestorius [Bishop of Constantinople about 404] had declared against the new and, as he asserted, idolatrous expression 'Mother of God' (Theotokos), thereby opposing the sentiments and wishes of the humbler people" (CE. iii, 101); and in protest Nestorius left the Catholic Church and founded one of the most wide-spread and powerful "heresies," which exists in the East to the present time. The Pagans had their holy mysteries and sacraments, baptisms of water and of blood, communions with the gods at their sacred altars, partaking of sacred meals to ingest the divine spirit and become godlike. they believed in the resurrection of the dead, and in final judgments meting rewards and punishments according to the deeds done in the flesh,-the Egyptian Book of the Dead, 3000 years B.C., giving priestly prescriptions for use before the judgment seat of Osiris, is found in almost every tomb of those able to pay for the hieroglyphic papyrus rolls. The Pagans had their holy days(from which the Christians plagiarized their Christmas, Easter, Rogation Days, etc.); their monks, nuns, religious processions carrying images of idols (like those of saints today); incense, holy water, holy oil, chants,hymns, liturgies, confessions of sins to priests, forgiveness of sins by priests, revelations by gods to priests, prophecies, sacred writings of "holy bibles," Pontiffs, Holy Fathers, holy crafty priesthood. All these sacrosanct things of Christian "Revealed Religion," were age-old pre-Christian Pagan myths and superstitions.
I puzzle myself to understand how there could be "divine revelations," to Jews and Christians, of things which for ages had been identically ancient Pagan delusions and the inventions and common holy stock in trade of all Pagan priestcrafts. Indeed and in truth, there can be no divine revelation of miraculous "facts" and "heavenly dogmas" which for centuries had been,and in the early Christian ages were, the current mythology of credulous Pagandom. this I shall make exceeding clear.
CHRISTIAN "REVELATION" DEFINED AND DISPROVED
This paragraph is one of the most important in this book, and to it I invite Specially serious attention and thought. It will disclose the substantial identity of Christianity with the most popular and wide-spread "Pagan" religion of the times, Mithraism, or the Persian Zoroastrian religion,the closest and all but successful rival of Christianity in the Roman world,and which might indeed have been successful, but that, soon after Constantine prostituted the Empire to the Church,-"with the triumph of Christianity Mithraism came to a sudden end. The laws of Theodosius signed its death warrant." (CE. x, 402.) That there may be no suspicion that the recital of these remarkable identities of Christian "revelation" with Pagan inventions is fanciful or exaggerated, the tale shall be told in the quoted words of the Catholic Encyclopedia, which naively makes so many extraordinary admissions without seeming to be aware of their fatal Implications.
"The essence of Revelation lies in the fact that it is the direct speech of God to man," says the Holy Ghost speaking through the Vatican Council(1870), thus confirming what I have above said, that "divine revelation" cannot be of Pagan myths already current and long known to everyone. The same Heavenly Instructor tells us what Revelation is: "Revelation may be defined as the communication of some truth by God to a rational creature through means which are beyond the ordinary course of nature. The truths thus revealed may be such as are otherwise inaccessible to the human mind-mysteries, which even when revealed, the intellect of man is incapable of fully penetrating. ... The Decree 'Lamentabili' (3 July, 1907) declares that the dogmas which the Church proposes as revealed are 'truths which have come down to us from heaven' and not 'an interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by its own strenuous efforts.'" (Vatican Decrees, 1870; CE. xiii, 1.) And, asserts CE.: "The existence of revelation is as reasonably established as any historical fact"! (CE. xiii, 607.) Isn't CE. funny!
Divine Revelation is thus of things not previously known and which the revelationless mind of man is incapable of acquiring or inventing by its own efforts. Divine Revelation rests thus upon the same principle as the Law of Patents and Copyright, A book published, that is made known and given to the world cannot be the subject of subsequent copyright even by its author.When an application for a patent is presented, the first act is to search the records to ascertain whether a similar art or article has ever previously been known and in use: if so, no patent can be obtained: the thing lacks novelty. So exactly with "revelation": if some impostor or deluded person (e.g. Mohammed or Joseph Smith) claims that he has received a personal-and therefore necessarily private-"revelation" from some god, the only way whereby he can get a valid patent of authenticity and credibility for his "revelation," is to prove that its subject-matter has never before been known and in credulous circulation, the moment that from the search of the records-of other, or comparative religions,-it is shown that the same proposition has been previously known and current,in use and practice among some other priestcraft and its votaries-the thing is no revelation: the claim is a fraud. Let us see how this indisputable rule works to the destruction and proof of fraudulence of the "divine revelations" of Christian credulity.
MITHRAISM-AND CHRISTIAN MYTH
The religion of Zoroaster, known as Mithraism, is confessed by CE. to be a divinely revealed Monotheism, or worship of a One God, and having a divinely revealed Moral Code comparable to the Christian,-a sacred system claimed by Christians to be a monopoly of the Hebrew-Christian religion to the exclusion of all heathen systems. This notable confession reads: "The Avesta system may be best defined as MONOTHEISM, modified by a physical and moral dualism,with an ethical system based on a Divinely revealed moral code and human free will." (CE. ii, 156.) Though it quotes a Jesuit as saying: "Mithraism is the highest religious result to which human reason unaided by Revelation,can attain." (Id.) Revealed or invented, it is virtually identical with Christianity; but as the mythic Mithraic god could not "reveal" anything,the human reason which devised Mithraism was quite equal to the Christian God so far as devising mythology and ethics is an attribute of godhead.
Mithraism is one of the oldest religious systems on earth, as it dates from the dawn of history before the primitive Iranian race divided into the sections which became Persian and Indian, as this same religion is contained both in the Persian Avesta and Indian Vedas. This its "revealed" or invented Monotheism by ages outdates the "revelation" of Yahweh to Moses; and it is yet a living faith to some thousands of surviving Parsees: "The religious cult is [yet] scrupulously maintained as of old. The ancient traditional and nationally characteristic national virtues of truth and open-handed generosity flourish exceedingly in the small, but highly intelligent community" of Parsees in India. (CE. ii, 156.)
The religion of Mithra anciently dominated Persia and the vast regions of the Orient; it entered Europe following the conquests of Alexander the Great.When in 65-63 B.C. the conquering armies of Pompey were largely converted by its high precepts, they brought it with them into the Roman Empire. Mithraism spread with great rapidity throughout the Empire, and was adopted patronized and protected by a number of the Emperors up to the time of Constantine;it was only overthrown by the prescriptive laws and sword of Constantine and Theodosius, who "signed its death warrant" at the behest of the triumphant and intolerant Christians, who absorbed virtually the entire system of Mithraism.But let CE, proceed with the story. The reader is asked to check mentally each of the uninspired details of Pagan invention with the "divinely revealed" identities of the Christian Faith.
"Mithraism is a pagan religion consisting mainly of the cult of the ancient Indo-Iranian Sun-God Mithra. It entered Europe from Asia Minor after Alexander's conquest, spread rapidly over the whole Roman Empire at the beginning of our era, reached its zenith during the third century, and vanished under the repressive regulations of Theodosius at the end of the fourth, [Of late it has been] brought into prominence mainly because of its supposed [?]similarity to Christianity.
"The origin of the cult of Mithra dates from the time that Hindus and Persians still formed one people, for the god Mithra occurs in the religion and sacred books of both races, i.e. in the Vedas and in the Avesta. ... After the conquest of Babylon (538 B.C.) this Persian cult came into contact with Chaldean astrology and with the national worship of Marduk. For a time the two priesthood of Mithra and Marduk coexisted in the capital and Mithraism borrowed much from this intercourse. ... This religion, in which the Iranian element remained predominant, came, after Alexander's conquest, in touch with the Western world. When finally the Romans took possession of the Kingdom of Pergamum (in 133 B.C.), occupied Asia Minor, and stationed two legions of soldiers on the Euphrates, the success of Mithraism was secured. It spread rapidly from the Bosphorus to the Atlantic, from Illyria to Britain. Its foremost apostles were the legionaries; hence it spread first to the frontier stations of the Roman army.
"Mithraism was emphatically a soldier religion; Mithra, its hero, was especially a divinity of fidelity, manliness, and bravery; the stress it laid on good-fellowship and brotherliness, its exclusion of women, and the secret bond among its members have suggested the idea that Mithraism was Masonry among the Roman soldiery." Several of the Roman Emperors, down to Licinius, colleague of Constantine, built temples to Mithra, and issued coins with his symbols. "But with the triumph of Christianity [after Constantine] Mithraism came to a sudden end. The laws of Theodosius [proscribing it under penalty of death, to please the Christians] signed its death warrant. Though he was still worshiped a thousand years later by the Manichees (p. 402). ...
"Ahura Mazda and Ahriman.-This incarnate evil (Ahriman) rose; with the army of darkness to attack and depose Oromasdes (Ahura Mazda) They were however thrown back into hell, whence they escape, wander over the face of the earth and afflict man. ... As evil spirits ever lie in wait for hapless man, he needs a friend and savior, who is Mithra. ... Mithra is the Mediator between God and Man. The Mithraists... battled on Mithra's side against all impurity,against all evil within and without. They believed in the immortality of the soul; sinners after death were dragged down to hell; the just passed through the seven spheres of the planets, leaving at each planet a part of their lower humanity until, as pure spirits, they stood before God. At the end of the world Mithra will descend to earth, ... and will make all drink the beverage of immortality. He will thus have proved himself Nabarses, 'the never conquered.' ...
"The fathers conducted the worship. The chief of the fathers, a sort of pope,who always lived at Rome, was called 'Pater Patratus' ... The members below the grade of pater called one another 'brother,' and social distinctions were forgotten in Mithraic unity. ... A sacred meal was celebrated of bread and haoma juice for which in the West wine was substituted. This meal was supposed to give the participants supernatural virtue. ...
"Three times a day prayer was offered the sun towards east, south, or west according to the hour. SUNDAY was kept holy in honor of Mithra, and the sixteenth of each month was sacred to him as Mediator. The 25 December was observed as his birthday, the Natalis Invictis, the rebirth of the winter-sun, unconquered by the rigors of the season." (pp. 403-104.) It may be noted that Sunday was made a Pagan holiday by edict of Constantine, In the fifth Tablet of the Babylonian (Chaldean) Epic of Creation, by the great God Marduk, we read,lines 17 and 18: "On the seventh day he appointed a holy day, And to cease from all work he commanded." (Records of the Past, vol. ix; quoted, Clarke,Ten Great Religions, ii, p. 383.)
To resume with CE.:
"No proof of immorality or obscene practices has ever been established against Mithraism; and as far as can be ascertained, or rather conjectured, it had an elevating and invigorating effect on its followers. [So different from Christianity!] ...
"Relation to Christianity.-A similarity between Mithra and Christ struck even early observers, such as Justin, Tertullian, and other Fathers, and in recent times has been urged to prove that Christianity is but an adaptation of Mithraism, or at least the outcome of the same religious ideas and aspirations. Some apparent [they are very apparent] similarities exist; but in a number of details-[it is substance that is identical]-it is quite as probable that Mithraism was the borrower from Christianity.-[But these essential identities are found in the Vedas and Avesta, of maybe two thousand years before Christianity; Zoroaster, who, gave final form to the creed, lived some 600 years before the Christ!]-It is not unnatural to suppose that a religion which swept the whole world, should have been copied at least in some details by another religion which was quite popular daring the third century-[and for nine, Or twenty centuries before!] Similarity in words and names means nothing; it is the sense that matters. [To be sure; we proceed to see more of the sense,-the essence-to be identical] ...
"Mithra is called a mediator; and so is Christ ... And so in similar instances. Mithraism had a Eucharist, but the idea of the sacred banquet is as old as the human race and existed at all ages and amongst all peoples.-[Not much "divine revelation" in this greatest of Christian mysteries!]. Mithra saved the world by sacrificing a bull-[just as the Jews saved themselves] Christ by sacrificing himself. ... Mithraism was all comprehensive and tolerant of every other cult; Christianity was essentially exclusive, condemning every other religion in the world, alone and unique in its majesty."
(CE. x, 402-404.)
But this "unique majesty" was hidden away in the catacombs of Rome for quite three centuries; coming out, it condemned and persecuted to death every other religion because rivals for the rich perquisites of priestcraft and dominion.
The above striking analogies, or identities, between the ages-old Mithraism and the "newer Paganism called Christianity," compelling as they are of the certainty of "borrowing" by Christianity, are dwarfed by the evidences now to be presented in the confessions of CE., that the Jews first, then the Christians, took over bodily from the Babylonians and the Persians, not only the entire celestial and infernal systems of those two closely related religions,but virtually that high ethic, or moral code-"the highest religious result to which human reason, unaided by revelation, can attain'"-which Christians so loudly pretend is, by "divine revelation" of their God-theirs alone, while all other peoples "sat in darkness and in the shadow of death" without its saving light. Christianity looks with disdain on the Mithraic religion because it is a "dualism"; that is,the Evil Spirit was separately created apart from the Good God; while it is a fundamental tenet of the Christian Faith, that its God himself created the Christian Devil and all evil-and is therefore morally responsible for all his deviltry,
Speaking particularly of Angiology,-though the admission will be found to apply to all the other features to be noticed,-CE. shows that all this is an importation into Judaism from the Persians and Babylonians: "That the Persian domination and the Babylonian Captivity exercised a large influence upon the Hebrew conception-[not, therefore, a revelation]-of the angels is acknowledge in the Talmud of Jerusalem (Rosh Haschanna, 56) where it is said that [even] the names of the angels were introduced from Babylon. ... Stress has been laid upon the similarity of the 'seven who stand before God' and the seven Amesha-Spentas of the Zend-Avesta. ... it is easy for the student to trace the influence of surrounding nations and of other religions in the Biblical account of angels" (CE. i, 481);-which seriously cripples the notion of divine revelation regarding these celestial messengers of God. Again it indicates the "connection between the angels of the Bible,and the great 'archangels' or 'Amesha-Spentas' of the Zend-Avesta"; also "we find an interesting parallel to the 'angel of the Lord' in Nebo, 'the minister of Merodach.' ... The Babylonian sukalli corresponded to the spirit-messengers of the Bible; they declared their Lord's will and executed his behests." ... "The belief in guardian angels ... was also the belief of the Babylonians and the origin of the Bible "cherubim" was the same, as also of guardian angels, "as their monuments testify, for a figure now in the British Museum might well serve for a modern representation." For detailed accounts, see the articles "Angels" and Guardian Angels." in CE. And so of Demons and Demonology, and Demoniac possession: "In many ways one of the most remarkable demonologies is that presented in the Avesta"; Ahriman being their chief devil, or Daeva; "the original meaning of the word is 'shining one,' and it comes from a primitive Aryan root 'div,' which is likewise the source of the Greek Zeus and the Latin Deus. But while these words, like the Sanskrit 'deva,' retain the good meaning, 'daeva' has come to mean 'an evil spirit.' There is at least a coincidence, if no deeper significance, in the fact that, while the word in its original sense was synonymous with 'Lucifer,' it has now come to mean much the same as devil" (CE iv, 714-15, passim; 764). Lucifer, in the Bible, having also been originally "a shining one" in Heaven, was cast out into Hell and is now the Devil.
With these preliminaries of identity between the invention of angels and devils of Mithraic Paganism and Hebrew-Christian "revelation," we will now let CE. confess further identities, both of "revelation" and of the "divinely revealed moral codes,"-summarized from the Mithraic Zend-Avesta. We seem to be reading the Catechism or a tract on "Christian Evidences."
"The name of the Supreme God of the Avestic system is Ahura Mazda, which probably signifies the All-Wise Lord. ... Ahura Mazda is a pure Spirit; his chief attributes are eternity, wisdom, truth, goodness, majesty, power. He is the creator of all good creatures-not, however, of Evil, of evil being,-[as is the Christian God]. He is the supreme Lawgiver, the Rewarder of moral good, and the Punisher of moral evil. He dwells in Eternal Light,... a kind of manifestation of His presence, like the Old Testament Shekinah.... We find frequent enumerations of the attributes of Ahura Mazda; thus these are said to be 'omniscience, all-sovereignty, all goodness.' Again He is styled 'Supreme Sovereign, Wise Creator, Supporter, Protector, Giver of good things, Virtuous in acts, Merciful, Pure Lawgiver, Lord of the Good Creations.' ...
"Opposed to Ahura Mazda, or Ormuzd, is His rival, Anro Mainyus, (later Ahriman),the Evil Spirit. He is conceived as existing quite independently of Ahura Mazda, apparently from eternity, but destined to destruction at the end of time. Evil by nature and in every detail the exact opposite of Ahura Mazda,he is the creator of all both moral and physical.-[But of the Christian God: "I Jehovah create evil"; Isa. xlv, 7]. ...
"The specific name of Ahura Mazda in opposition to the Evil Spirit is Spento Mainyus, THE HOLY SPIRIT: and Ahura Mazda and Spento Mainyus are synonymous throughout the Avesta. [p. 154] ...
"Around Ahura Mazda is a whole hierarchy of spirits, corresponding very closely to our 'angels.' ... Of the good spirits who surround Ahura, the most important are the Amesha Spentas ('Holy Immortals' or 'Holy Saints'), generally reckoned as six in number (but seven when Ahura Mazda is included). ... Most of all Vohu Manah rises to a position of unique importance. ... Vohu Manah is conceived as the 'SON OF THE CREATOR,' and identified with the Alexandrian LOGOS [of John i, 1]. Asha, also, is the Divine Law, Right, Sanctity (cf. Psalm 118),and occupies a most conspicuous place throughout the Avesta. ... With him are associated in a trio [TRINITY], Rashnu (Right, Justice), and MITHRA.-[These Aryan names sound unfamiliar; but as CE. has assured, "names mean nothing; it is the sense that matters";-and here we have the whole Jewish-Christian hierarchies of Heaven and Hell a thousand years before Jewish-Christian "revelation" identities!l ...
"Face to face with the hierarchy of celestial spirits is a diabolical one,that of the daevas (Pers. div or dev) and druj's of the Evil Spirit. They fill exactly the places of the devils in Christian and Jewish theology. ...perhaps the most frequently mentioned of all is Aesmma, the Demon of Wrath or Violence, whose name has come down to us in the Asmodeus (Aeshmo daeva) of the Book of Tobias [Tobit]...
"In the midst of the secular warfare that has gone on from the beginning between the two hosts of good and Evil stands Man. Man is the creature of the Good Spirit, but endowed with a free will and power of choice, able to place himself on the side of Ahura Mazda or on that of Anro Mainyus. The former has given him, through His Prophet Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) His Divine Revelation and law. According as man obeys or disobeys this Divine Law his future lot will be decided; by it he will be judged at his death. The whole ethical system is built upon this great principle, as in the Christian theology-["revelation"?]. Moral good, righteousness, sanctity (asha)is according to the Divine will and decrees; Man by his free will conforms to, or transgresses, these. The Evil Spirit and his innumerable hosts tempt Man to deny or transgress the Divine Law, as he tempted Zoroaster himself,promising him as a reward the sovereignty of the whole world.-[Exactly Jesus and the Devil.]-'No,' replied the Prophet, 'I will not renounce it, even if body and soul and life should be severed!' (Vendidad, xix, 25, 26).-["Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God, for it is written,"-way sound more Godlike but maybe little more heroic.] ...
"The moral teaching is closely akin to our own. Stress is constantly laid on the necessity of goodness in thought, word, and deed.-["Through the Three Steps, the good thought, the good word, and the good deed, I enter Paradise."]-Note the emphatic recognition of sin in thought. Virtues and vices are enumerated and estimated much as in Christian ethics. Special value is attributed to the virtues of religion, truthfulness, purity, and generosity to the poor (p. 155). Heresy, untruthfulness perjury, sexual sins,violence, tyranny, are especially reprobated. ...
"The soul of the just passes over the bridge into a happy eternity, into heaven, the abode of Ahura and His blessed angels. The wicked soul falls from the fatal bridge and is precipitated into hell. Of this abode of misery a lively description occurs in the later Pahlavi 'Vision of Arda Viraf,' whose visit to the Inferno, with realistic description of the torments, vividly recalls that of Dante. ...
"At the end of time, the approach of which is described in the Pahlavi literature in terms strikingly like those of our Apocalypse, will come Saoshyant (SAVIOR) under whom will occur the Resurrection of the dead, the General Judgment,the renewal of the whole world-["a new heaven and a new earth"]-by a general conflagration and terrible flood of burning matter["the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat"]. This terrible flood will purify all creatures; even the wicked will be purified from all stains, and even hell will be cleansed and added to the 'new heavens and new earth.' Meanwhile a mighty combat takes place between Soashyant [the "Savior"] and his followers and the demon hosts of the Evil Spirit, who are utterly routed and destroyed forever. ...
"The highest religious result to which human reason unaided by Revelation can attain"! (CE. ii, 154-156, passim.)
Thus "human reason unaided by revelation" had attained, ages before Moses,the Prophets, and Jesus Christ, a system of religious beliefs and a moral code in substantial identity with the "divine revelations" of God to Moses, the Prophets, and his Son Jesus Christ. At the time of the Advent of the Latter, and for three hundred years later, throughout the Roman Empire, that is, throughout the then known world, this wonderful Pagan invention, with its "Pope" and Seat in Imperial Rome, and patronized by the Emperors, lived alongside with and mightily rivalled the struggling Faith hid in the catacombs,-until its rival Christians got hold of the sword under Constantine, and "triumphed," its "death warrant was signed" in blood by the laws of the persecuting Christians. Did any God wondrously "reveal" to the Christians these holy Pagan dreams and myths? What a waste of while for a God to mysteriously "reveal" these "heathen deceits" thousands of years old, and that everybody in the world already knew!
BUDDHISM IN CHRISTIANITY
The account given by CE. of the Lord Buddha and of Buddhism, by the simple substitution of the names Christ-[the Savior of Buddhism is Crishna,the 'incarnation" of the supreme god Vishnu]-and Christianity, might well be mistaken for a homily on our own holy faith and its Founder-who would no more recognize present-day Christianity than would Buddha the crass superstition which is today tagged with his holy name. Says CE.:
"It is noteworthy that Buddha was a contemporary of two other famous religious philosophers, Pythagoras and Confucius. In the sacred books of later times Buddha is depicted as a character without a flaw, adorned with every grace of mind and heart. There may be some hesitation in taking the highly colored portrait of Buddhist tradition as an exact representation of the original, but Buddha may be credited with the qualities of a great and good man. ... In all pagan antiquity no character has been depicted as so noble and attractive. ...
"Buddha's order was composed only of those who renounced the world to live a life of contemplation as monks and nuns. ... [In the time of King Asoka, 3rd century B.C.) Buddhism was in a most flourishing condition; it had become a formidable rival of the older religion [Brahmanism), while a tolerant and kindly spirit-[unknown to Christianity]-was displayed towards other forms of religion. ... [By the seventh century A.D.-here it parallels Christianity again] an excessive devotion to statues and relies, the employment of magic arts to keep off evil spirits, and the observance of many gross superstitions, complete the picture of Buddhism, a sorry representation of what Buddha made known to men. ... The vast majority of the adherents of Buddhism cling to forms of creed and worship that Buddha, if alive, would reprobate-[as would Christ in the case of Christianity]. Northern Buddhism became the very opposite of what Buddha taught to men, and in spreading to foreign lands accommodated itself to the degrading superstition of the people it Sought to win-[precisely as we shall see that Christianity did to inveigle the Pagans). ...
"Between Buddhism and Christianity there are a number of resemblances, at first sight striking. The Buddhist order of monks and nuns offers points of similarity with Christian monastic systems, particularly the mendicant orders. There are moral aphorisms ascribed to Buddha that are not unlike some of the sayings of Christ. Most of all, in the legendary life of Buddha ... there are many parallelisms, some more, some less striking, to the Gospel stories of Christ. A few third rate scholars [contend that these are borrowings from Buddhism. Why not, as everything else is "borrowed" or filched?]. ...
"One of its most attractive features was its practice of benevolence towards the sick and needy. Between Buddhists and Brahmins there was a commendable rivalry in maintaining dispensaries of food and medicine"-long claimed as a holy monopoly of "Christian charity."
(CE. iii, 28-34, passim.)
As elsewhere recounted, the Holy Ghost made a curious mistake in inspiring the certification of sundry Saints, and the lord Buddha was himself canonized by Holy Church, as St. Josaphat, and the "Life" of this holy Saint was highly edifying to the Faithful as well as effective in spreading the Christian truth: "During the Middle Ages the 'life of Barlaam and Josaphat' had been translated into some twenty languages, English included, so that in reality the story of Buddha became the vehicle of Christian truth in many nations"' (CE. i, 713.)
It is now evident, and will further so appear, that there is no single novel feature nor "revealed truth" in all the Christian religion: our Holy Faith is all a hodgepodge or pot pourri of the credulities of every superstition from Afric Voodooism to the latest one anywhere in holy vogue among the credulous. Even our "idea" of God with its superlatives of "revealed" high attributes is very primitive: "The idea of a Being higher than man, invisible,inaccessible, master of life and death, orderer of all things, seems to exist everywhere, among the Negritos, the Hottentots, the Bantu, the Nigritians, the Hamites; for everywhere this Being has a name. He is the 'Great,' the 'Ancient One,' the 'Heavenly One,' the 'Bright one,' the 'Master,' sometimes the 'Author' or 'Creator'. ... Nowhere is He represented under any image,for He is incapable of representation." (CE. i, 183, 184.)
Cardinal Newman, commenting on Dean Milman's "History of the Jews," groups a number of these Paganisms in Christianity, and says that Milman arrays facts "admitted on all hands," to wit: "that the doctrine of the Logos is Platonic; that of the Incarnation Indian; that of a divine Kingdom Judaic; that of angels and demons (and a Mediator) Persian; that,the connection of sin with the body is Gnostic; the idea of a new birth Chinese and Eleusinian; that of sacramental virtue Pythagorian; that of Trinity common to East and West; and that of the rites of baptism and sacrifice equally ubiquitous"! (Newman, Essays, Critical and Historical,7th ed., p. 231; as summarized by the Rt. Hon. J. M. Robertson in A History of Freethought in the XIXth Century,p. 145-6. London, 1929.)
Such is our holy Christian "Faith which was once delivered unto the saints," which "superstition, drunk in with their mother's milk," yet persists with the ignorant and those who do not or will not know the truth.
That Christianity is indeed but a "new form of Paganism," and especially after it became the official or State religion, consciously and purposely,in furtherance of the Imperial policy of "One State, one Religion," perfected the amalgamation of the salient features of all the fluxing religions of the Empire so as to bring all Pagans within the one State-Church, is accredited by secular and Church history; and is quite ingenuously revealed by CE.,treating of the influence of Constantine on Christianity:
"Long before this, belief in the old polytheism had been shaken. The world was fully ripe for monotheism or its modified form, henotheism; but this monotheism offered itself in varied guises, under the forms of Oriental religions; in the worship of the Sun, in the veneration of Mithras, in Judaism, and in Christianity. Whoever wished to make a violent break with the past and his surroundings sought out some, Oriental form of worship which did not demand from him too great a sacrifice. Some ... believed that they could appropriate [the truth contained in Judaism and Christianity] without being obliged on that account to renounce the beauty of other worships. Such a man was the Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235); another so minded was Aurelian (270-275), whose opinions were confirmed by Christians like Paul of Samosata. Not only Gnostics and other heretics, but Christians who considered themselves faithful, held in a measure to the worship of the Sun. Leo the Great in his day (440-461) says that it was the custom of many Christians to stand on the steps of the Church of St. Peter and pay homage to the Sun by obeisance and prayers.
"When such conditions prevailed it is easy to understand that many of the emperors yielded to the delusion that they could unite all their subjects in the adoration of the one Sun-god who combined in himself the Father-God of the Christians and the much-worshipped Mithras; thus the empire could be founded anew on the unity of religion. It looks almost as though the last persecution of the Christians were directed more against all irreconcilable and extremists than against the great body of Christians. ...
"It was especially in the West that the veneration of Mithras predominated-[after centuries of Christianity!]. Would it not be possible to gather all the different nationalities around his altars? Could not Sol Deus Invictus, to whom even Constantine dedicated his coins for a long time, or Sol Mithras Deus Invictus, venerated by Diocletian and Galerius, become the supreme god of the empire? Constantine ... had not absolutely rejected the thought even after a miraculous event [!] had strongly influenced him in favor of the God of the Christians,-(who, however, worshipped the Sun!).
"For a time it seemed as if merely tolerance and equality were to prevail. Constantine showed equal favor to both religions. As pontifex maximus he watched over the heathen worship and protected its rights. ... In the dedication of Constantinople in 330 a ceremonial half pagan, half Christian was used, The chariot of the Sun-god was set in the market-place, and over its head was placed the Cross of Christ-[not the original, which his mother had not yet been reputed by the priests to have discovered-i.e. "invented,"-of which more anon], while the Kyrie Eleison was sung. Shortly before his death Constantine confirmed the privileges of the priests of the ancient gods. ...
"In the same way religious freedom and tolerance could not continue as a form of equality; the age was not ready for such a conception; [with more of the like, p. 299;-which is untrue, as Constantine himself had proclaimed religious freedom in the Edict of Milan of 313 and we have just seen it admitted in Buddhism, and it prevailed at all tunes in the Roman Empire, until the "Christian Emperors" gave the Church the sword, as in Chapter VII exemplified]. ... Without realizing the full import of his actions, Constantine granted the Church one privilege, after another. As early as 313 the Church obtained immunity for its ecclesiastics, including freedom from taxation. ... Constantine moreover placed Sunday under the protection of the State [as a Pagan holiday, as cited. post]. It is true that the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas. Consequently Constantine speaks not of the day of the lord, but of the everlasting day of the Sun. ...
"Of Constantine's sons the eldest, Constantine II, showed decided leanings to heathenism, and his coins bear many pagan emblems; the second and favorite son, Constantius, was a more pronounced Christian, but it was Arian-[anti-Divinity of Christ]-Christianity to which he adhered. Constantius was an unwavering opponent of paganism; he closed all the temples and forbade, sacrifices under pain of death. His maxim was: 'Cesset superstitio; sacrificiorum aboleatur insania'-('Let superstition cease; let the folly of sacrifices be abolished'). Their successors had recourse to persecution against heretics and pagans. Their laws (Cod. Theod. XVI v; [post, Chapter VII]) had an unfavorable influence on the Middle Ages and were the basis of the much-abused [!] Inquisition." (CE. iv, 297-301, passim.)
Thus was the ultimate merger and total identity of Paganism with "the new Paganism called Christianity" finally established by law and by Imperial policy of "One State and One Religion," to which conformity was enforced by laws of confiscation and death; all the other religions of the Empire were fused by fire and sword into a bastard Christianity; and the mental and moral benightedness known as the Dark Ages of Faith fell as a pall over Christendom for a thousand years until the renaissance of Pagan culture and freedom of thought darkly dawned over the world, and has fearfully struggled into a brightening day, whose motto of Hope is again "Cesset Superstitio"! when Constantine's firmest "League with Death and Covenant with Hell" of State and Church will soon in reality be a forgotten Scrap of Paper!
ALL DEVILISH IMITATIONS!
The pious Christian Fathers were themselves sorely puzzled and scandalized by these same things; their books are replete with naive attempts to explain the mystery of it,-which they attributed to the blasphemous wiles of the Devil,-that "the Devil had blasphemously imitated the Christian rites and doctrines";-"always seeing in pagan analogies the trickery of devils." (CE. 393.) "It having reached the Devil's ears,"says the devout Father Justin Martyr, "that the prophets had foretold the coming of Christ, the Son of God, he set the heathen Poets to bring forward a great many who should be called the sons of Jove. The Devil laying his scheme in this, to get men to imagine that, the true history of Christ was of the same character as the prodigious fables related of the sons of Jove." (I Apology, ch. 54; INF. i, 181-182.)
Not only the Fathers, but the Bible, Hebrew and Christian, recognized and affirmed the actuality and ever-living reality of the Pagan gods, though the late post-exilic writer of the 95th Psalm maliciously dubs them devils: "All the gods [Heb. elohim] of the nations are devils" (Heb. elilim-not much difference between them-in Hebrew; Ps. xcvi, 5);and this view the Christian forger of the Epistle under the name of Paul to the Corinthians confirms: "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils" (I Cor. x, 20). Though these malevolent flings at the venerable divinities of Pagandom are in direct violation of the Siniatic Law of God-"Thou shalt not revile the gods" (Ex. xxii, 28);-the Hebrew Yahveh being, according to divine revelation, simply one of many gods-"a God above all gods," even "God of gods and Lord of lords," who "judgeth among the [other] gods."
Father Justin, Tertullian, and many another, says the CE., could "see in all the gods, Moses"; the error and folly of which notions argues our authority,is demonstrated by reference to Middleton's letter from Rome, in which he,with Calvin, "saw an exact conformity between popery and paganism." (CE. xii, 393.) Whether Middleton and Calvin were so far in error and folly in this opinion, our researches will reveal. Collins, too, in his Discourse,supports with good authorities the opinions of Middleton and Calvin. He cites Father Origen as "so far from disowning an agreement between [Pagan] Platonism and Christianity, that a great part of his book Contra Celsum consists in showing the conformity between them." Likewise, he says, Amelius, a heathen Platonist, who flourished in the third century, upon reading the first verses of St. John the Evangelist, exclaimed: "Per Jovem, barbarous iste cum nostro Platone sentit-By Jove, this barbarian agrees with Plato"; and he quotes the celebrated saying of Cardinal Palavicino-"Senza Aristotele noi mancavamodi molti Articoli di Fede-Without, Aristotle we should be without many Articles of Faith" (Colins, Discourse of Free Thinking, p. 127.)
Not only did the Fathers and the Church admit with implicit faith the living reality of the gods of heathendom, their powers, oracles, miracles and other "analogies" to the Christian faith, they even made of such anthologies their strongest apologies, or arguments, in defense of the truth of the Christian tenets. In his Apologia addressed to the Emperor Hadrian, Father Justin reasons from analogy thus:
"By declaring the Logos, the first-begotten of God, our Master, Jesus Christ,to be born of a Virgin, without any human mixture, we [Christians] may no more in this than what you [Pagans] say of those whom you style the Sons of Jove. For you need not be told what a parcel of sons the writers most in vogue among you assign to Jove. ...
"As to the Son of God, called Jesus, should we allow him to be nothing more than man, yet the title of 'the Son of God' is very justifiable, upon the account of his wisdom, considering that you [Pagans] have your Mercury in worship under the title of The Word, a messenger of God. ...
"As to his [Jesus] being born of a Virgin, you have your Perseus to balance that." (Justin, Apologia, I. ch. xxii; ANF. i, 170.)
The good Fathers carried their argument by analogy into proof of all sorts of holy Christian mysteries; the Pagan Oracles and miracles were undeniably valid and true, why not therefore their new Christian counterparts? "Without a single exception," says the historian of European Mortals, "the Fathers maintained the reality of the Pagan miracles as fully as their own.The oracles had been ridiculed and rejected by numbers of the philosophers,but the Christians unanimously admitted their reality. They appealed to along series of Oracles as predictions of their faith; not until 1696 was there a denial of their supernatural character, when a Dutch Anabaptist minister,Van Dale, in a remarkable book, De Origine Progressu Idolatriae, asserted in opposition to the unanimous voice of ecclesiastical authority, that they were simple impostures." (Lecky, History of European Morals, i, 374-375, et seq.; see pp. 378-381, et seq.) The Christian Fathers and their followers made themselves so ridiculous by their fatuous faith in the Sibyls that they were derisively called "Sibyllists" by the Pagans.
THE SIBYLLINE ORACLES
The most curious in all respects, and for our purposes the most instructive of the ancient Pagan religious frauds, are the Sibylline Oracles, which,extensively reinforced by Jewish and Christian forgeries, were perhaps the most potent and popular "proofs" of the early Church for the divinity of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Christian religion; thus they derive special notice here. All will remember, from their school histories of ancient Rome,the well-known legend of one of the Sibyls who came to King Tarquin the Second with nine volumes of Oracles, which she offered to sell to him for a very high price; being refused, she went away and burned three of the books, and returning offered the remaining six at the same price; again the King refused to buy, and she departed, burned three more of the books,and returned with the last three for which she demanded the original price.Astonished at this conduct and greatly impressed, the King consulted his augurs and was advised to secure the remaining treasures of prophecy before it was too late; he did So, and immediately the Seeress disappeared and was never seen again. The precious tomes were deposited with great care and jealously guarded in the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus; a college of priests was instituted to have charge of them; and the divine Oracles were consulted with great solemnity only in times of the greatest crises of the State. The books were finally destroyed when the Capitol was burned during the wars of Sylla, but many others continued in existence.
The oracles were composed in Alexandrine verse, and claimed to be the work of inspired Pagan prophetesses called Sibyls; they enjoyed the greatest vogue and were believed with the most implicit faith by Pagans and Christians alike.There were a number of these Sibyls, and the number of the volumes of oracles is differently estimated as a dozen or more; those with which we are chiefly concerned are the Roman Cumaean and Greek Erythraean Sibyls and the Oracles going under their names. The inveterate bent of the priestly mind for forgery in furtherance of its holy mission of imposture, led to the prompt adoption and corruption of these Pagan frauds, for the propagation first of the Jewish,then of the Christian Faith. "Because of the vogue enjoyed by these heathen oracles," says the Catholic Encyclopedia, "and because of the influence they had in, shaping the religious views of the period, the Hellenistic Jews in Alexandria, during the second century b.c, composed [i.e. forged] verses in the same form, and circulated them among the Pagans as a means of diffusing Judaistic doctrines and teaching. This custom was continued down into Christian times, and was borrowed by some Christians, so that in the second or third century, a new class of Oracles emanating from Christian sources came into being. Hence the Sibylline Oracles can be classed as Pagan, Jewish, or Christian.In many cases, however, the Christians merely revised or interpolated the Jewish documents, and thus we have two classes of Christian oracles, those adopted from Jewish sources and those entirely written by Christians. ...It seems clear, however, that the Christian Oracles and those revised from Jewish sources all emanated from the same circle [or band of Christian forgers]and were intended to aid in the diffusion of Christianity.
"The Sibyls are quoted frequently by the early Fathers and Christian writers, Justin, Athenagoras, Theophilus, Clement of Alexandria, etc. ... They were known and used during the Middle Ages in both the East and the West. ... They all purport to be the work of the Sibyls."
(CE. v. xiii, p. 770.)
Most notable of these forged Christian addenda to the Pagan-Jewish forged Oracles, 'Is found in Book VIII, a lengthy composite of Jewish and Christian fraud, consisting of some 500 hexameter verses. The first 216 verses, says the CE., "are most likely the work of a second century Jew, while the latter part (verses 217-500), beginning with an acrostic on the symbolical Christian word Ichthus is undoubtedly Christian, and dates most probably from the third century." (CE. xiii, 770.) Ichthus is the Greek word for fish, and the fish was the fitting and universal symbol of the early Christians as typical of the "catch" of the Apostolic fishers of men. This cabalistic word Ichthus, worked into the professedly Pagan Oracle in the form of anacrostic, is composed of the initial letters of the popular name and title of the Son of the Christian God, in the Greek: "Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter-Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior" This fish anagram was an ancient Pagan symbol of fecundity, of great vogue and veneration throughout Pagandom,and was adopted by Christendom for the double reason that the initials acrostically formed the name and title of its new deity, and that in the ancient science fish were supposed to be generated in the water without carnal copulation, and were thus peculiarly symbolic of the Virgin-born Christ.Says Tertullian: "We, little fishes, after the example of our Ichthus, are born in water." (On Baptism, ch. i; ANF. iii, 669.)
The Church historian, Bishop Eusebius, preserves the Acrostic, taken from the Erythraean Sibyl, but says: "Many people, though they allowed the Erythrian Sibyl to have been a prophetess, yet reject this Acrostic, suspecting it to have been forged by the Christians"; which suspicion the good Bishop refutes by an appeal to Cicero, who, he assures, had read and translated it into Latin. (Eusebius, Oration on Const., chs. 18-19; I, 274-5.) Father St. Augustine quotes the verses and says: "The Erythraean Sibyl has indeed written some things clearly and manifestly relating to Christ. ... There are some, who suspected all these prophecies which relate to Christ and passed under the name of the Sibyl, to have been forged by the Christians." (Aug., De Civ. Dei, xviii, 23; N&PNF. ii, 3723.) Father Clement of Alexandria attributes to the Sibyls the same inspiration as the Old Testament, and cites Peter and Paul as appealing to them for a prediction of the life and character of Jesus Christ, Peter and Paul speaking thus: "Take the Greek books in your hand, and look into the Sibyl. How clearly she speaks of one God, and of the things to come; then take Hystaspes also and read, and you will find the Son of God much more clearly and evidently described." (Strom. I, 6,p. 761, Ed. Oxon.; also Lact., De ver. sap., I, 4, 15; Free Inquiry, p. 34.)
The importance of the Sibylline Oracles, speaking through countless "interpolations" forged by Christian pens, for not only the propagation of the faith among the Pagans, but as actual proofs of the truth of the fictitious "facts" of Christianity, cannot be overestimated; this justifies the following extracts from the Divine Institutes of Lactantius. The greater part, I daresay, of the seven Books of that notable work, addressed to the "mighty Emperor Constantine," is devoted to arguments and proofs of Jesus Christ and the principal events of his recorded life and acts, drawn copiously from the heathen gods and the forged Oracles of the Sibyls. These proofs, to the minds of Father Lactantius and of all the Fathers, as to the Pagans generally,were "more strong than proofs of Holy Writ"; for, he says, "perhaps the sacred writings [in the Old Testament] speak falsely when they teach [such and so about Jesus); ... the Sibyls before taught the same things in their verses." Citing scores of Sibylline "prophecies" forged by the Christians for the belief and persuasion of the Pagans, who were effectively "refuted by these testimonies" and thus "brought to Christ," some of them,says Lactantius, urge that these prophetic verses "were not by the Sibyls,but made up and composed by our own writers," as the fact is above confessed by CE.; but not so, argues the great Apologist; "do not Cicero and other Pagan authors, dead long before Jesus, testify to the Sibyls?"-Yes,to the Sibyls and their utterances then extant; not to the later Christian forgeries in their names. Moreover, these Christian "interpolations" imputed to the Sibyls, exactly as the muddled, ambiguous, meaningless "prophecies" of the Old Testament writings, meant nothing and were not understood to mean anything, until Jesus Christ came along, and these Jewish and Pagan mummeries were seized upon by the avid forging Christians to make up and pad out the pretended life and wondrous acts of the Christ. Even a cursory examination and the marginal cross-references will demonstrate, that virtually every act imputed in the New Testament Gospels to the Nazarene, was cut to fit of some scrap of mummery or pretended "prophecy" of Hebrew Scriptures and Sibylline Oracles. Of numberless instances of the latter quoted in the,Divine Institutes, a few typical ones only can be here cited, but they are illuminating of the Christ-tales.
In Book I, chapter vi is entitled, "Of Divine Testimonies, and of the Sibyls and their Predictions." Appealing for faith to Constantine, the chapter begins: "Now let us pass to divine testimonies?; and he cites and quotes, in numerous chapters, the Pagan gods Mercury, Hermes Trismegistus, Apollo, and other mystic deities and personages, all testifying to the One Christian God and to his Son Jesus. After infinite such appeals for proofs, we come to Book IV, a veritable arsenal of manufactured "divine testimonies"; and we pause to con with wonder chapter xv, "Of the life and Miracles of Jesus, and Testimonies concerning Him." Jesus, after his baptism, says Lactantius, "began to perform the greatest miracles, not by magical powers, but by heavenly strength and power. ... His powers were those which Apollo called wonderful.... And he performed all these things not by His hands, or the application of any remedy, but by His word and command, as the Sibyl had foretold: 'Doing all things by His word, and healing every disease.'"
Many chapters are replete with instances of the miracles of Jesus, alleged each of them to have been foretold by one or another of the Sibyls, and quoting the Christian-forged prophetic verses in proof. The Christ came to fulfill the Law; "and the Sibyl shows that it would come to pass that this law would be destroyed by the Son of God: 'But when all these things which I told you shall be accomplished, then all the law is fulfilled with respect to Him.'" (c. xvii.) Of a few others, and the arguments above sketched, I quote the text:
"What can be more wonderful, either in narration or in action? But the Sibyl had before foretold that it would take place, whose verses are related to this effect. "With five loaves at the same time, and with two fishes, He shall satisfy five thousand men in the wilderness; And Afterwards taking all the fragments that remain, He shall fill twelve baskets to the hope of many.'
perhaps the sacred writings speak falsely when they teach that there was such power in Him, that by His command He compelled the winds to obey Him,the seas to serve Him, disease to depart, the dead to be submissive. Why should I say that the Sibyls before had taught the same things in their one verses? One of whom, already mentioned, thus speaks:
But shall still the winds by His word, and calm the sea
As it rages, treading with feet of peace and in faith.'
"And again another which says:
'He shall walk on the waves, He shall release men from disease.
He shall raise the dead, and drive away many pains;
And from the bread of one wallet there shall be a satisfying [of men].'
"Some, refuted by these testimonies, are accustomed to have recourse to the assertion that these poems were not by the Sibyls, but made up and composed by our own writers. But he, will assuredly not think this who has read Cicero [De Natura Deorum, ii], and Varro, and other ancient writers, who make mention of the Erythraean and other Sibyls from whose books we bring forth these examples; And these authors died before the birth of Christ according to the flesh. But I do not doubt that these poems were in former times regarded as ravings, since no one understood them. For they announced some marvelous wonders, of which neither the manner, nor the time, nor the author was signified. Lastly the Erythraean Sibyl says that it would come to pass that she would be called mad and deceitful. But assuredly 'They will say that the Sibyl is mad, and deceitful: but when all things shall come to pass, Then ye will remember me; and no one will any longer say that I, the prophetess of the great God, am mad.'
"Therefore they were neglected for many ages; but they received attention after the nativity and passion of Christ had revealed secret things. Thus it was also with the utterances of the prophets, which were read by the people of the Jews for fifteen hundred [!] years and more, but yet were not understood until after Christ had explained them by His word and by His works. For the prophets spoke of Him; nor could the things which they said have been in any way understood, unless they had been altogether fulfilled."
(Lact., Div. Inst., Bk. IV, chap. xv; ANF. vii, 115, 116.)
In view of these "divine testimonies" of Pagan Oracles forged by pious Christians in proof of their Christ, need one wonder that the like testimonies in the Gospels themselves may be under suspicion of like forgery? We shall have the proofs in their due order. Father Justin Martyr treats these Pagan books of Christian evidences, as prophetic Scriptures and divine, and speaking of their prohibition by the Roman Emperors, says: "By the contrivance of Demons it was made a capital crime to read them, in order to deter men from coming to a knowledge of what is good." (Apologia, I, ch. 77; ANF. i, 178.)
That heathens and even devils may be specially endued with the gift of prophecy by God for his glory, and God may make use of the Devil-in-Chief for this purpose, is expressly asserted by Pope Benedict XIV" (Heroic Virtue, III, 144, 150). And "the Angelic Doctor," St. Thomas Aquinas, "in order to prove that the heathens were capable of prophecy, refers to the instance of the Sibyls, who make clear mention of the mysteries of the Trinity, of the Incarnation of the Word, of the Life, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ.It is true that the Sibylline poems now extant became in course of time interpolated; but as Benedict XIV (1740-1758) remarks, this does not hinder much of them, especially what the early Fathers referred to, from being genuine and in no wise apocryphal"! (CE. xii, 474.)
Thus the Holy Ghost of God, speaking through its official mouthpiece, its Vive-God on earth, infallibly guarded by the Spirit against the possibility of error, in the year 1742 of our Era of Christ, sings the Doxology of these admitted frauds of paganish and forging Christianity, and canonizes them as the God-inspired origin of the holiest mysteries of Christian revelation.The inference is inevitable, that Pagan Sibyls, Christian Church Fathers,and Vicars of God, are strongly characterized by Ignorance and Imposture.
A noted classical and critical authority, Anthon, contemplating the shifts of the new Christianity rising from the debacle of Paganism, falls into a philosophical reflection, pertinent alike to the old and the new systems of priestcraft:
"When a religion has fallen and been succeeded by another, the more zealous advocates of the new belief sometimes find themselves in a curious state of embarrassment. So it is with regard to the heathen system and the Christian code. Among the numerous oracles given to the world in former days, some have chanced to find a remarkable accomplishment; and the pious but ill-judging Christian, unable to ascribe them to deities in whom men no longer believes, is driven to create for them a different origin. 'God,' says Rollin, 'in order to punish the blindness of the heathen, sometimes permits evil spirits to give responses conformable to the truth.' (Rollin, Histoire Ancienne, I, 887.) The only evil spirit which had an agency in the oracular responses of antiquity was that spirit of craft imposture which finds so congenial a home among an artful and cunning priesthood."
(Anthon, Classical Dictionary, 4th ed., p. 929; Art. Orvalum.)
The historian of European Morals, in his amazing review of the infinite variety and number of superstitions, frauds, forgeries, false miracles and lying oracles of Pagandom, which were taken over almost 'in masse' by the Christians,and implicitly and with childlike credulity accepted and believed, taught and preached by every Christian Father of the Church, by the infallible popes,and the millions of their ignorant and superstitious ex-Pagan lay dupes, makes this very pertinent and just remark apropos the value of their pious opinions, testimonies and "traditions" of the origins of the Christian faith:
"To suppose that men who held these opinions were capable, in the second and third centuries, of ascertaining with any degree of just confidence whether miracles had taken place in Judaea in the first century, is grossly absurd; nor would the conviction of their reality have made any great impression on their minds at a time when miracles were supposed to be so abundantly diffused." (Lecky, Hist. Europ. Morals, i, 375.)
The confession that the vast mass of Christian miracles were Pagan frauds and lies taken 'en bloc' over into Christianity to make a good showing as against the Pagans and to dupe the superstitious new converts, is made by CE., with the notable further admission that the only alteration made was that the Pagan gods were made over into Christian saints: "This transference was promoted by the numerous cases in which Christian saints became the successors of local deities, and Christian worship supplanted the ancient local worship. This explains the great number of similarities between gods and saints. For the often maintained metamorphosis of gods into saints no proof is to be found." This immense confession of Christian fraudulence and imposture, in conjuring fictitious Pagan gods-which according to Christian faith were all actual devils-into canonized Saints of God and Holy Church,is several times reported by CE., of which this instance is before me: "It has indeed been said that the 'Saints are the successors to the Gods.' Instances have been cited ... of statues of pagan Gods baptized and transformed into Christian Saints"! (CE. xv. 710; cf. Is It God's Word? 5, 7-9.) This truly wonderful psycho-religious miracle is thereupon wrought: The idolatrous Pagan who just before the "baptism" actually worshipped these "statues of the Pagan gods," immediately afterwards simply venerated or adored the same gods "baptized and transformed into Christian saints"-fully comprehending the non-understandable hair-splitting theological distinction between pious "dulia" and idolatrous "latria," as defined by Holy Church and droned by CE. in its article on Idolatry. And vast hoards of utterly illiterate and stupid Faithful go into the True Churches every day, kneel before and pray to these same Pagan gods conjured into Christian saints-with countless other counterfeit near-divinities of their near-Idolatry-and appreciate the difference to a split-second of devotion and true faith. 'Tis passing strange.
A very remarkable confession of purposeful fraud, with the mechanics of the fraud, and the vast extent of it in faking Pagan miracle-lies into Christian truth of the most driveling nonsense, reads:
"Manifold as the varieties of [miracle] legends now seem to be, there are fundamentally not so very many different notions utilized. The legend considers the saint as a kind of lord of the elements, who commands the water, rain, fire, mountain, and rock; he changes, enlarges, or diminishes objects; flies through the air; delivers from dungeons-(examples, Peter, Paul)-and gallows; takes part in battles, and even in martyrdom is invulnerable; animals, the wildest and the most timid, serve him (e.g., the stories of the bear as a beast of burden; the ring in the fish; the frogs becoming silent, etc.); his birth is glorified by a miracle; a voice, or letters, from Heaven proclaim his identity-[all these score for Jesus the Christ]; bells ring of themselves; the heavenly ones enter into personal intercourse with him (betrothal of Mary); he speaks with the dead and beholds heaven, hell, and purgatory; forces the devil to release people from compacts; he is victorious over dragons; etc. Of all this the authentic [?] Christian narratives know nothing-[a confession that every saint-tale of Bible and Church is a lie].
"But whence does this world of fantastic concepts arise? A glance at the pre-christian religious narratives will dispel every doubt. All these stories are anticipated by the Greek chroniclers, writers of myths, collectors of strange tales, neo-Platonism, and neo-Pythagorism. One need only refer to the 'Ellados Periegesis' of Pausanius, or glance through the codices collected by Photius in his 'Bibliotheca,' to recognize what great importance was attached to the reports of miracles in antiquity by both the educated and uneducated." ...
Reversing only the order of the sentences, and CE. reversing the truth of the answer it gives to its own question, the confession of shame continues:
"But how was the transference of [these miracle] legends to Christianity consummated? ... Hellenism had already recognized this [fraudulent] characteristic of the religious fable, and would thus have been obliged to free itself from it in the coarse of time, had not the competition with Christianity forced the champions of the ancient polytheism to seek again in the ancient fables incidents to set against the miraculous power of Christ. [!] In this way popular illusions found their way from Hellenism to Christianity." (CE. ix, 129-30.)
And in 1900 years no priest, bishop, pope, depositaries and guardians of divine truth, has ever said a word to prevent or put end to this shameful prostitution of mind of their poor grovelling dupes, but to this day perpetuate them in it. Far from ending the shameful thing, many bishops and popes have won the title Mendax Maximus by peddling these Pagan lies as God's truth; as witness this one instance from the article we are quoting: "St. Augustine (De Cura, xii) and also [Pope] St. Gregory the Great (Dialogues, IV,xxxvi)-[the greatest book of Lies outside the Bible]-relate of a man, who died by an error of the Angel of Death and was again restored to life, the same story which is already given by Lucian in his 'Philopseudes.'" (Ib. p. 130.) Such, verily for shame, is "that new Paganism later called Christianity."
Mythology has well been called the Theology of dead religions. The world is a vast cemetery of deceased gods and teeming scrap-heap of decayed and discarded priest-imposed religious beliefs-superstitions. All the dead gods and religions of Paganism, all the yet surviving but fast moribund deities and faiths of the XXth Century world,all-(except-the Jews and Christians say, their own),-all were admittedly the fraudulent handiwork of priests and professional god-and-mythmakers. In a word, short and ugly, but true-every priest of every god and religion (saving, for the nonce, the Jewish-Christian ones)-was a conscious and unconscionable falsifier and impostor,-a common liar for his god. All plied their artful, unholy priestcraft in the name of gods; for power and pelf, those grafting Pagan priests. No Christian will, or truthfully can, deny their portentous fact, The verdict of lying guilt of Pagan Priestcraft is unanimous.
No one can now doubt that Lecky, after voluminous review of pre-Christian frauds and impostures, spoke the precise historical truth: "Christianity floated into the Roman Empire on the wave of credulity that brought with it this long train of Oriental superstitions and legends." (Hist. of European Morals, i, 373-4.)
The mainstream of Oriental superstition and priestly imposture will now be seen to swell with the turgid flood of Hebrew fables and forgery, before pouring the mingled flood of myth and fraud into the pure tide of Christian Truth;-where, Presto! change! it is beheld transformed-"baptized"-into the "revealed mysteries" and "Catholic Truth" of God!
ABBREVIATIONS FOR MOST OFTEN USED SOURCES:
The libraries of the Union Theological Seminary and of Columbia University, in New York City, were the places of the finds here recorded. Cited so often, space will be saved for more valuable uses by citing by their initials, -which will become very familiar-my chief ecclesiastical authorities, to wit:
ANF. = The Ante-Nicene Fathers, cited as ANF.; A Collection of the extant Writings of all the Founders of Christianity down to the Council of Nicaea, or Nice,in 325 A.D. American Reprint, eight volumes. The Christian Literature Publishing Co., Buffalo, N.Y., 1885. [xxx]
N &PNF. = The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, cited as N&PNF.; First and Second Series; many volumes; same publishers.
CE. = The Catholic Encyclopedia, cited as CE.; fifteen volumes and index, published under the Imprimatur of Archbishop Farley; New York, Robert Appleton Co., 1907-9.
EB. = The Encyclopedia Biblica, cited as EB., four volumes; Adam & Charles Black,London, 1899; American Reprint,The Macmillan Co., New York, 1914.
RETURN TO THE CHAPTER INDEX
Free Zip Copy: FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY
RETURN TO THE WRITINGS OF:
Revealing the Spiritual duality of the Bible, for it serves neither God nor truth to try and rationalize irrational things the Bible has said of God.