Forget the War on Christmas, What About the Theft of Paganism?

I was taught that Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD) was converted to Christianity and was so enamored with this new religion, he made it the State Religion of Rome. This is only partially true. He did make it the state religion, but he never really converted himself. The situation he found himself in was an empire with many different facets. The Pagans were the majority with a multitude of different religious practices, some polytheistic, others tending toward monotheism and then the Christians and Jews.

The Christians and Jews were well organized and therefore wielded some power in their respective districts. The Romans tried desperately over the years to control them within the empire, but that proved very problematic. What Constantine needed was a state religion that organized and mollified as many people as possible.

What he found in Christianity was a zealousness and fervor one might find in a new religion, but it did nothing for the pagans who were inclined to have huge festive parties celebrating such things as the New Sun, acknowledging that in late December, the days started to grow longer. Some pagan sects celebrated the Solstice on or around the date of December 25, and worshiped and venerated idols of carved statues. To completely list these idols is really quite impossible as there were many sects worshiping many idols.

Through both cunning and force, Constantine befriended the Christians and inspired them to grow a religion that even the pagans would like. What evolved is the Holy Roman Catholic Church, accepted and promoted by the Emperor Himself. The day we now celebrate as Christmas was originally a pagan feast celebrating the coming of the sun, meaning longer, warmer days and a new growing season. This emerging Christian religion adopted the veneration of idols and called them saints, creating inspiring stories of how these saints lived virtuous lives and interceded with God to bring miracles into the lives of common people. Walk into any Catholic church, especially St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and count the statues to understand how deeply rooted this practice is.

I am not so worried about the war on Christmas. It is for the most part a secular holiday and has almost completely lost the original intent of drawing Pagans to Christianity. I am more worried about Christianity in many cases trying to deny their real roots in Paganism.  I will examine more of these instances in upcoming posts.

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