Pagan Origins of Christianity?

There are many Muslims who claim that there are many pagan influences which shaped the Christian faith and corrupted it. Here some answers how serious these speculations should be taken.

  • Did the church father Justin Martyr confirm the pagan roots of Christianity?
  • Mithraism and general assessment by Abdul Saleeb
  • Origins and developments of Mithraism
  • Mithras (soc.religion.christian FAQ)
  • Muslim/Christian Mithras and Osiris discussion
  • Is the Trinity pagan?
  • Savior Myths
  • Who is El?
  • Shattering the Christ-Myth
  • Easter: Myth, Hallucination or History?
  • Was Easter Borrowed from a Pagan Holiday?
  • Christmas: Pagan Festival or Christian Celebration?
  • How December 25 Became Christmas
  • Krishna and the claims in Doane's book.
  • Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Philosophy?
  • Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?
  • Pagan Mythology and the Bible
  • Most of these pagan origin theories were very popular around 1900 but have been discarded by NT scholarship long ago. Only some atheist groups and Muslims seem to be stuck on it but none of the experts of early Christianity find this acceptable anymore (including those who are not Christians themselves).

    "Christmas trees are pagan idolatery" and answers to that rather regular charge: [*, *, *]

    What about

    Pagan Origins of Islam?

    There exist quite a number of works on the pagan origins of Islam. Some of them can be found on the web. We are no experts on this issue, and cannot judge the scholarly merit of the following material, but it might at least help to see the issue in a new perspective given that similar arguments are made for Islam. Therefore Muslims need to be more careful when they want to use these ideas as it can easily be turned on Islam in the same way.

  • The Influence of Animism on Islam
  • The Lunar Passion and the Daughters of Allah
  • Islam and Goddess Worship
  • Allah's Existence in Pre-Islamic Arabia
  • Hindu Customs in Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism

  • Book recommendations:
    Ronald Nash, The Gospel and the Greeks (Dallas: Word Publishing 1992)
    Arland Hultgren, The Rise of Normative Christianity (Fortress Press 1994)
    Leon McKenzie, Pagan Resurrection Myths and the Resurrection of Jesus

    Ancient paganism and The Paganism that is Modern Day Christianity are two representatives of the Muslim sites claiming that some superficial similarities are the same as "origins" even when the Christian doctrine is older than these pagen beliefs. But in general, the Muslims might think a bit harder on the question whether similar beliefs before Christianity or Islam respectively mean that it is borrowed and therefore false.

    Even Muslims found themselves the necessity to write on Religious Borrowing since a large part of the Qur'an is very closely or nearly verbatim taken from various non-Islamic sources. You may consult in particular Tisdall's book "The original Sources of the Qur'an" on this topic. More about this topic in the section on the Sources of the Qur'an.

    Do we have again two standards of measuring? One for Christianity and one for Islam?

    Most material on the following pages is pretty laughable, but in order to raise awareness of some who actually believe this:

    Zoroastrian Influences on Judaism and Christianity and Monotheism
    The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus

    Muslims, don't rejoice to much in this: If Jesus never existed as claimed for example in the second of the above articles, then the Qur'an is as wrong as the Bible. The same holds for the following which some Muslims have jumped to a bit prematurely:

    Allegedly, the Roman Piso Family invented Jesus and all of Christianity (1, 2). Responses from a Christian newsgroup. Here is a much more detailed response to the Pisomania by J.P. Holding. Interestingly, the same group also included the Qur'an into their theories (here).

    Answering Islam Home Page