The Problem of Paganism

It never fails to amaze me how some Christians want to make issues over the most ridiculous things. For example, I can always count on a number of individuals to complain loudly about their refusal to observe certain holidays, because they are based on "pagan traditions." I'm sure most readers know at least one or two of these people themselves, perhaps you even are one. And even though I have no desire of being respectful to actual pagan traditions, fighting this holiday war is a misguided—despite being well-intentioned—waste of time, and misses the fact that God is at work, reconciling the world to Himself.

From its earliest beginnings, Christianity has always presented a problem for paganism. In fact, the confrontation between covenant-keepers and covenant-breakers has a long history, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden. We must keep in mind that paganism is always a perversion of the truth. Just as Satan is nothing more than a copycat of the One True God, so paganism is nothing more than a copycat religion of the One True Faith. God owns it all, nothing belonged to Satan in the first place. The dominion that he holds has been granted by God. Consider Jesus' response when Pilate claimed that he had the authority to have Him crucified. "Jesus answered, 'You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above'" (John 19:11). Just as Pilate's authority was given to him by God, so is Satan's. Although it comes in all shapes and sizes, paganism is nothing new or novel, it is simply a man-made corruption of God's revealed truth.

In Acts 17, we read of the apostle Paul sending word to Silas and Timothy to join him in Athens. As he waited for their arrival, Paul walked through the city and observed that it was full of idols. His response to the academics of the day at the Areopagus (an area for public discussion) is instructive for us in our own day:

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD ' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.' Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:22-31)

Rather than condemning and accusing the Athenians of blasphemy, Paul reveals to them that they are ignorant. After pointing out that they "worshiped in ignorance," Paul further informs them that God will no longer overlook such ignorance; God is now declaring to them—through Paul himself—that they should repent and believe on the One True God. Paul concludes by telling them that this very same God has fixed a day of divine judgment, the proof of this being the historical fact of Jesus' resurrection.

Paul could just as easily have spent his time in Athens knocking over statues or pretending like they didn't exist or praying quietly on a park bench. Paul didn't do any of these things. Instead, he spoke boldly about how the Sovereign God of creation is the True God. Paul wasn't bothered that the Athenians were "religious in all respects," in fact, he viewed their religious beliefs as a way to tell them about the One True God. Their paganism was no threat to the Sovereign God Who "made the world and all things in it." Paul conceded no ground to the pagans. Rather, he informed them that they were the ones who had the problem—they were worshiping the creature instead of the Creator.

Christianity, by its very nature, is a religion of redemption. Christ came "to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10), and through Christ, God is "reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them" (2 Corinthians 5:19). Remembering that God created everything, Christianity should not shrink from using everything to praise and honor God. If Christ can reconcile sinful people to Himself, surely He can redeem days of the year. Just because pagans worshiped the sun on Sunday should never preclude Christianity from worshiping the True Son on Sunday. Rather than simply handing over these days to the pagans, Christians need to be taking them back, for the glory of God. Easter and Christmas may very well have been pagan holidays that the medieval church co-opted for the worship of God, but what of it? How many people, other than a few disgruntled complainers in the church, even know what the pagan roots of these holidays are? We should be rejoicing that the majority of the world actually associates these holidays with Jesus, rather than pagan deities. The pagan origins of these holidays have been all but forgotten, and for that we should be grateful. God is actively reconciling the world to Himself, and if we miss this fact because we are more concerned with what days, months, or times of the year the church has decided to celebrate, we will have missed the entire point of redemption.


  • samtman

    I see no difference between paganism and all other religions because they are all based on superstition.

    • victorbarney

      From you, I'd like one example that i can replicate of "life" beginning with death? If you can't why not?

      • BigBob91311

        You can't do that because you are not God, and neither is anyone else currently living on this world. God's promises of resurrecting the dead, and establishing his Kingdom on Earth is the only hope of true justice the human race has. Hopefully for your sake, you may still be alive to see God establish something that the United Nations can not, even though it arrogantly believes otherwise, a world where men "shall beat their swords into plow shares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore"

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/II6P3D3ECY2TPSPQP235UGLXJM fiasco

      Quantum mechanics is superstition.

  • Bobseeks

    The pagan gods are always a reflections of the men and women who worship them. They are full of faults and weak. Those who worship pagan gods are trying to dumb god down to their own level. I am glad that my GOD is the perfect GOD of the Bible, He alone is worthy of worship.

  • http://www.mosquitonet.com/~prewett/ John Prewett

    Political Outcast, do you believe the pope is really the "vicar of Christ" ? Or not ?

  • victorbarney

    Can any Hebrew scholar out there show me "Jesus" spelled in Hebrew?

    • LeSellers

      Yes, one of them could. I am not that one, since not a "Hebrew scholar".

      Seriously, Jesus did not speak Hebrew as His maternal language. He spoke Aramaic. His name was not "Jesus" (an English transliteration — a sound-for-sound substitution of English letters for the originals found in the Greek New Testament), but "Joshua", the same as hundreds or thousands of His peers. In Hebrew, it would have been ישוע‎ (Yēšûă‘), an adaptation of the Hebrew יְהוֹשֻׁעַ‎ (Yĕhōšuă‘) which came through the Aramaic the Jews picked up in Babylon. It means "Jehovah saves" or "Jehovah is salvation".

      Mr. O'bama, will there ever be any Jobs?

      • victorbarney

        First, "If Before Abraham, I AM" I sure hope that HE KNEW HEBREW, because HEBREW is the ONLY SPIRITUALLY INSPIRED LANGUAGE(Zeph. 3:9, Acts 26:14 & 1 Cor, 4:6, the latter two being in the Greek NEW COVENANT & I'VE ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD THAT "JESUS" WAS A NAME GIVEN IN the 1300's by Petros Galatinus came up with that name to honer "Zeus" because it ALWAYS was the tradition of Rome to honor the Roman Empire? Second, "Iesous" the Greek word that became "Jesus" presents many linguistic and material difficulties and can't even be translated into Hebrew! REMEMBER: It should be our aim to restore the old Paths, wherein is the good way, (Jer. 6:16) and we must accurately call upon the Messiah's true, revealed, personal Name or we cannot be saved. Read Proverbs 30:4...What is his name, and what is his son's name, if you know? You must answer this question and if in Hebrew the Father's Name is Yahweh(Genesis 4:4, 4:5, 4:7, 4:8, 4:9 & on and on and on as written in the Hebrew Old Covenant, why shouldn't his son's name then be "Yahshua," meaning in Hebrew that "Yahweh means salvation?" I like that explanation over Rome's answer myself. WHAT SAY YOU?

        • LeSellers

          My assertion was that Hebrew was not His maternal language, not that He did not learn it later. Doubtless He did.

          "Jesus" may have arisen in the XII, but not in English: that didn't happen for another century, later if we want to go with the /dz/ sound of the "J".

          I'm not going to get into a theological war in linguistics. You, apparently, believe it's important. I do not. If we have to speak Hebrew to worship God, I'm sunk, as, I suppose, are most readers here.

          Mr. O'bama, will there ever be any Jobs?

        • victorbarney

          You carry as much nonsense around as your MENTOR OBAMA! EITHER IT IS OR IT ISN'T & I BELIEVE WHAT "PETRUS" HIMSELF WRITES ABOUT IT! It"S ABOUT ZEUS, NOT THE JEWISH HEBREW MESSIAH!~Apparently the DARK AGES WERE NOT QUITE OVER, THINK?

    • BigBob91311

      The name Jesus is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Yahshua. He was probably called Jesus because Greek was the common language of the Roman. Empire. The dialect spoken by the common people of the Roman Empire was called the "Koine"

      • victorbarney

        Let's NOT go into Petrus Galatinus in 1522AD who began the official worship of the Greek Deity "Zeus," when Pope Leo the 10th(SURE HOPE THAT YOUR EITHER CATHOLIC OR ONE(1) OF THE DAUGHTERS THAT CAME OUT OF HER) ASK HIS PHILOSOPHER PETRUS TO "CHANGE" THE HEBREW "JEWISH"(NOT GREEK) MESSIAH'S NAME INTO A NAME THAT HONORED "ZEUS," THE HIGHEST GREEK DEITY. THAT'S WHAT PETUS GALATINUS WRITES, SO HE SHOULD KNOW, THINK? HE CLEARLY STATES THAT HE DID SO TO HONOR ZEUS!~That's also WHY you can't use transliteration as an EXCUSE, because it doesn't apply! "ZEUS" IS " ZEUS" STATES PETRUS HIMSELF! P.S. ROMAN CATHOLICS GIVE HONOR TO ROME, NOT JERUSALEM! EVER BEEN TO VATICAN CITY, ON A GRAVEYARD JUST OUT OF ROME? Well, I HAVE! Again, just saying...

        • LeSellers

          I believe you are picking a needless fight.

          Moreover, if you believe that O'bama is my mentor, you are blind and foolish: I despise everything he stands for, as ought to be clear in my tag line, if not everything else I have written in these forums.

          Mr. O'bama, will there ever be any Jobs?

  • TheTexasCooke

    "My ways are not your ways, nor my thoughts your thoughts."- Jewish tradition. "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it." - Christian tradition. "A way that can be described is not the way." - Taoist tradition. "If you meet the Buda on the road, kill him." - Zen tradition. When the Mystery speaks, the same words are used...and they describe a mystery and not a fact. I'm always skeptical of any "truth" 'as told to'...whoever. The mystery speaks and it doesn't need a translator. Christian holidays correspond to pagan festivals because "The Church" wanted to show folks it was really the same thing as paganism.....until it didn't need to be anymore. The author needs to brush up on his/her history. Old things are NEVER copies of newer things....entropy alone should tell you that!

  • BigUgly666

    The author should remember that God holds a special punishment for the shepherd that leads God's flock astray. One CANNOT put God into something that He is not. Celebrating "Christmas", knowing that the Christ was born in the fall does NOTHING to honor God.
    All the LIES told about Easter (Ishtar) will never put God or the Christ in it.,

    • Clan Mom

      Just for the record, going to church on Sunday is not celebrating it as the Sabbath.

      Going to church on Saturday is not celebrating it as the Sabbath, either. The Sabbath observance in it's entirety is not observed by the so called Sabbatarians. They are not observing the Sabbath when they go to church on Saturday. They are simply attending church on Saturday.

      Some people think we shouldn't celebrate any day at all since we might risk it being once a pagan worship day. They do however go to great lengths and spare no expense celebrating their OWN birthday. Are they then worshiping SELF? Maybe.

      There is no Biblical authority for Christians adopting the Jewish religion nor Jewish traditions, either. So, what are we to do. Are we to just not have any celebrations at all out of fear that we may displease God with them? Some people seem to exactly do that. It's a shame they don't abstain from other things for fear of displeasing God.

      • Star-Dust

        The Bible tells you the Holy days and what they are and when to celebrate, it is far better then the man made holidays.
        You can find the true Sabbath and it is a most interesting book.The secret of the Bible will open up to you all, for ones who truely are repenting of sins. We need to turn back to God.

      • BigUgly666

        I beg to differ!
        IF you claim to be "Christian" you are claiming to be "Christ-like" .. to live your life as The Christ lived his ....... Jesus attended Temple (on Sabbath) as was his custom. Why don't you? It is too bad that you don't understand the meaning of the word Sabbath, it would truly further your understanding.
        Jesus WAS A JEW - out of the House of David. If you are "Christ-like" you are keeping the same "traditions" and "Laws" that the Christ kept. All of the Feasts and High Days are spelled out in the Bible - as is the Day that God said should be kept Holy.
        Ignore them if you choose to but, please, stop trying to shift the blame like Obama and just admit that it is your choice and your decision - just be prepared for the consequences of your choices.

      • BigBob91311

        Actually there are at least two passages in the New Testament that command observance of Old Testament (I don't use the word Jewish because:
        1) One of the two primary reasons why the Catholic Church substituted those holidays was, as the Nicean Council, "None shall follow in the errors of the Jews", and at the Council of Chalcedon it was decreed that anyone who was "Judaizing was to bee declared to be anathema to The Lord". In other words a heretic who must be condemned to death for his apostasy
        In so doing the Catholic Church fulfilled what was written in Daniel chapter 7 " He shall think to change the appointed Times and Laws"
        2) The scriptures where the Holy Days were instituted says that the are "Feasts of the LORD", and not Feasts of the Jews
        The two passages are 1Cor 5:7-8 where it says "Let us keep the Feast not with the leaven, nor with the leaven of malice or wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincreity and TRUTH (my emphasis)
        The other one is Heb 4:9 " There remains a Sabbath observance ( the correct translation of the Greek word sabbatismos) for the people of God.

  • Graham

    A very nice piece . . . well said.

  • GeorgiaJ

    If you're going to put yourself out there as some kind of scholar, then why are you associating paganism with Satanism? Satan is a Judeo-Christian concept not a pagan one. There is no Satan in any pagan religion.

    Thanks for playing.

    • edc

      That's because the pagan (idol) that they worship as god is a representation of satan. Satan never comes right out in his "red union suit" with horns on his head and says "I'm satan, worship me". He comes as an "angel of light" and says "why are you worshipping God, He's doesn't even exist". On earth, the more beautiful something (or someone) is, usually, the more dangreous it (he/she) is.

      • Mudpuppy

        Yep, Satan came as an "angel of light" to Mohammad. Now the world suffers the cancer known as Islam.

        That's true about the "beautiful" thing. When I was in the Philippines, they told us to stay away from the really beautiful "girls" as they weren't girls. They were guys.

      • GeorgiaJ

        Hollywood history is a dangerous thing.
        Pagan religions pre-date Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The concept of satan as an evil entity was created by the Catholic Church during the crusades after learning of the horned djin of Arab/Islamic culture, associating these with concepts of devils and evil spirits of Christianity and using these to help convert the farm folk of early Europe.
        My earlier point was that no big ole evil entity existed (or exists now) in pagan religions. Satanism imo is a reactionary oddity stemming from Christianity for the most part.

  • marineh2ominer

    I never argue religion , but I am a Christian , ( definitely not a saint ) , because I can't wait till the time I can say " I told you so " .

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PTIF6KGUK7QASUBRKKR5A6LM2Q Tod

    Some think the Idea of Syncretism is a good and is a means of showing that Christianity is not " exclusive" of others religions and their "paths to God", The idea of being"multi-cultrural"has invaded public thought in the last few decades.While God created all peoples His word is quite clear that there is only one path,excluding all others" ;Nor is there salvation in any other,for there is no other name under heaven given among man by which we must be saved"(Acts 4:12).God means it when He says,"You shall have No other Gods before Me"(Exodus 20:3).God Warned Israel about worshipping foreign Gods;Thus says the Lord:"Do Not Learn the Way of the Gentiles"(Jeremiah 10:2).God Forbids Religious Syncretism.

  • Clan Mom

    Well, they really came crawling out of the woodwork with this one. Did any of you actually read the article written by Eric or did you just read the headline and use it as an excuse to get on your "soapbox"?

  • mas1az

    Until all of mankind learns the God they pray to as their creator is Satan, who created us and this world, things will continue to deteriorate throughout this world he rules over. The Father, who Jesus praised is a higher deity, who is spiritual and above the creators as he is their creator and they left him to be their own Gods, which many follow today, throughout all the world that incorporates all religions from Muslims to Christians, they are the sisters and brothers of Satan.
    The Father only inhabits temples of flesh and sees not the religions of this world, as religions divide and separate mankind. They do not bring them together. Thus all who wish not to go to Hell, who worship this world, which is Hell, they shall return as their truth is shallow as is all the religions of mankind.
    Gods true people are at war with no one, while religions always are at war with a Satan they praise, yet are to ignornat and blind as they are filled with the pride of life, as they push their worldly beliefs on others, through fear, guilt and condemnation.
    A God who commands others to be annihilated for any reason whatsoever, is Satan, not the Father. God bless any who understand and are not offended.

    • BigBob91311

      Mankind's creator is not Satan, but the God that most people blindly worship is. In the Olivet prophecy (Matthew chapter 24) Jesus said that "many would be deceived". Elsewhere Jesus called. His church " a small flock". He also said in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13-14) " Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and few will find it." In both cases the word translated as "many" is polis, which is the source of the English prefix "poly". The Greek word translated as "small" and "few" is mikros, which is where the prefix " micro" came from. This is why the Church was founded on the Feast of the Firstfruits. The ones who are being called to understand are the small spring harvest, but there will be a much greater harvest during the Kingdom of God, and on the Last Great Day, when the people who have been blinded will get their first chane at understanding God's plan

  • Dodie1990

    Theproblem with Christianity is that unless you are another Christian who believes 100% of the doctrine, you are not tolerated. Look at the radical Christian right in the election. because they did not get their candidate(Santorum) whose only platform was complete denial of reproductive choices for women, they stayed home and didn't vote. The Republicans had a fine, moral candidate but the Radical religious wyld not back him becauer eliminating religious freedom was not his only platform.

    • BigBob91311

      1) As a member of the Religious Right, I am in no way in favor of religious freedom. You obviously have not looked at the Religious Right with an unbiased eye or ear. There is a huge difference between banning a practice outright and opposing Federal funding for it. I do not agree with the Catholic Church's position that using contraceptives is sinful, but I think it's an injustice to force someone to violate their religious beliefs by being forced by the government to supply it, especially if it is mandated to be at no cost. That is a clear violation of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment. But I have no problem with people who wish to distribute contraceptives voluntarily.
      2) The biggest reason many people on the right did not vote for Romney (most of whom did not vote at all) is because the Obama campaign did a very good job of convincing people to be unsure of what Romney actually stood for

      • BigBob91311

        I wish to correct my post I meant to say that I was in no way in favor of limiting religious freedom, which should be clear from the rest of the post.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Smith/100002359397419 Paul Smith

      That is false. Christians tolerate everyone. Their prime function is to preach the Word of God to those who haven't heard it. That Christians have a set of morals that prevent them from supporting immoral candidates does not make them intolerant. Rather the failure of the nation to maintain it's moral compass has resulted in our immoral state and immoral candidates.

  • Chosenone

    Whether Christians accept the pagan symbol of the so called "christmas tree," or ritual sacrifice or orgies, we will all be judged for not speaking out against it. As Paul told the Athenians, we must repent (WHICH MEANS TO TURN FROM, NOT ACCEPT!) for on our day of judgement, GOD ALMIGHTY, the maker of all things, will hold us accountable.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/II6P3D3ECY2TPSPQP235UGLXJM fiasco

    This article is a joke, right?

  • jvb1980808

    Christians are so far from Christ's teaching now it's barely visible. The only time they all come together is when Islam or atheism is attacking. Otherwise they are as intolerant and judgemental other Christian doctrines as they are of their very own congregation. I refuse to join another church in my lifetime. Christ is my savior...NOT MY RELIGION. Until Christians learn to stop burying their sinners alive...no thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Smith/100002359397419 Paul Smith

    Great message. Interesting that it is immediately followed by an advertisement for the Restored Church of God (David C. Pack) which is adamant about keeping the Sabbath (one of the Ten Commandments I might add)

    • Mudpuppy

      The browser I use blocks ads so I didn't know there were any. So I opened up this article in IE. I didn't see that ad but saw several others. I sure am glad I use the ad-blocking browsers. I'm so tired of "sign the petition Obama fears" and all the other falderal. Those polls and petitions never work anyway and are thinly disguised methods to get you onto a mailing list full of other "end of the world" nonsense. It's interesting that whenever a radical leftist Democrat (redundant, I know) gets elected, the "conservative" media starts pushing "buy gold!" and "The Coming Collapse" and all sorts of apocryphal books and articles telling us the end of the world is approaching and only by sending them gobs of money, can it be forestalled until the next radical leftist Democrat gets elected.

  • mccormackterrie

    Christianity helps me to recognize evil and stay away from it. There is so much confusion and deception as to what the truth is that, I have found that looking to the bible clears up any misconceptions I might have. The idea that everyone gets to God in "his own way" is a lie. There is only one way and that is through Jesus Christ. America went 5,000 years ahead in time in only 200 years because of the Constitution which was inspired by the bible. There never was any intention of removing God from public. The communists have been working for years to take apart America and they are succeeding.

  • Mudpuppy

    If memory serves, Christmas and Easter were chosen because they were major pagan holidays. The idea was to replace them with Christian observances. Since the days were familiar to the pagans, eventually their observances would be replaced with Christian ones and they wouldn't be tempted (so much) to go back to the pagan rituals because they would be observing the Christian ones instead. The exact dates of Christ's birth and death/Resurrection are of less importance. The fact that they are observed is. Of course, they have been perverted to some extent by secularists (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny), but the meaning still shines through.

  • Jack Tarr

    interesting line of thought. However God has Commanded us to follow His feasts and holidays and also that we are to worshp on the 7th day ....non negotiable. Those who dont follow his commandments, obedient to him have chosen another master and as such are 'ant-christ' against christ and subsequently 'lawless' full of 'iniqity and wont enter the Kingdomof Heaven....also many examples in His word, 2 sons come to mind, they mixed 'pagan' worship in wth the worship of the ONE true God and He killed them for doing so. God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow...unless you have a dfferent god now !

    • adamenochnoah

      Those of you who try to mix Law with Grace have made Jesus of no consequence & have departed from "The Faith" according to the apostle Paul. You are either saved by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ or by your perfect obedience to the Law of Moses, your choice, but you cannot combine the two. Good luck on satisfying God's standard of sinless perfection if you want to be saved by the Law.