Paganism and Christianity
by S.M. Fossil
The Light (Pakistan), 15th May 1922 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 11, p. 2)
I propose in what follows to briefly indicate that Christianity, which very often holds paganism to ridicule and derision, is itself paganism pure and simple. Though Christianity hid its cradle in the East, yet it somehow turned towards the West and came into close contact with Greek Paganism, with the result that though to all outward appearance it has replaced paganism and triumphed in Greece and Rome, it was, in reality, the triumph of the latter.
Rationalists assert that religion, no matter what its name, is the invention of priests, in order to maintain the dominance of the sacerdotal class. As a matter of fact, in all the religions extant on the sublunary sphere, barring Islam, the position of priests is so important that one is driven to the absolute necessity of admitting the contention of the rationalists.
Christianity has not dispensed with priesthood; priests in Christianity maintain their position as firmly and are deemed as indispensable as their prototypes in paganism, who asserted, as do the Christian prelates even in this enlightened age, that they represented man to God.
The idea of incarnation was the keynote of paganism. Pagan conception of God was anthropomorphic; gods came into this mundane material world, lived with men, ate with them, and always helped their favourites in distress and affliction and saved them. In paganism, heroes were deified. Christianity has improved on it, and the deification of heroes has been supplanted by the canonisation of saints.
The idea of a sacrificial person who is offered up to God as an atonement for sin — as also the phrase “washed in the blood” of Christ — is distinctly Mithraic. Mithraic shrines contained a figure of Mithras killing a bull which bled copiously, and it was believed that vitta nova [new life] sprang from the blood in which the votary bathed and was “born again”. Baptism has taken the place of bathing in blood, standing under the scaffolding on which the bull was sacrificed.
The observance of Sabbath has been transferred to Mithraic Sunday.
The cult of Isis, as “Shakti” or power, has given place to the worship of Mary, the mother of Christ, as the Queen of Heaven.
Pagans ate the flesh and especially the heart of their most valiant hero in the belief that by partaking of his flesh and blood they will be imbued with the same virtues and powers which distinguished their hero. The holy sacrament, with its queer theory of transubstantiation, is nothing but continuing or observing a pagan practice in quite a different guise.
Last but not [the] least is the doctrine of Trinity which has been borrowed from the philosophic paganism of Plato who promulgated the theory that the first cause, the final cause, and the logos constituted the supreme deity.
From what I have said above, it is transparently clear that Christianity is a second edition, revised and improved, of paganism, with a different name.
2/38 Kasa Asunakari Street,
7th April 1922