Pagan and Christian Creeds HTML version

11. Ritual Dancing
It is unnecessary to labor the conclusion of the last two or three chapters, namely
that Christianity grew out of the former Pagan Creeds and is in its general
outlook and origins continuous and of one piece with them. I have not attempted
to bring together ALL the evidence in favor of this contention, as such work would
be too vast, but more illustrations of its truth will doubtless occur to readers, or
will emerge as we proceed.
I think we may take it as proved (1) that from the earliest ages, and before
History, a great body of religious belief and ritual--first appearing among very
primitive and unformed folk, whom we should call 'savages'--has come slowly
down, broadening and differentiating itself on the way into a great variety of
forms, but embodying always certain main ideas which became in time the
accepted doctrines of the later Churches--the Indian, the Egyptian, the Mithraic,
the Christian, and so forth. What these ideas in their general outline have been
we can perhaps best judge from our "Apostles' Creed," as it is recited every
Sunday in our churches.
"I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus
Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the
Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He
descended into Hell; the third day he rose again from the dead, He ascended into
heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he
shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy
Catholic Church; the communion of Saints; the Forgiveness of sins; the
Resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen."
Here we have the All-Father and Creator, descending from the Sky in the form of
a spirit to impregnate the earthly Virgin-mother, who thus gives birth to a Saviour-
hero. The latter is slain by the powers of Evil, is buried and descends into the
lower world, but arises again as God into heaven and becomes the leader and
judge of mankind. We have the confirmation of the Church (or, in earlier times, of
the Tribe) by means of a Eucharist or Communion which binds together all the
members, living or dead, and restores errant individuals through the Sacrifice of
the hero and the Forgiveness of their sins; and we have the belief in a bodily
Resurrection and continued life of the members within the fold of the Church (or
Tribe), itself regarded as eternal.
One has only, instead of the word 'Jesus,' to read Dionysus or Krishna or
Hercules or Osiris or Attis, and instead of 'Mary' to insert Semele or Devaki or
Alcmene or Neith or Nana, and for Pontius Pilate to use the name of any
terrestrial tyrant who comes into the corresponding story, and lo! the creed fits in
all particulars into the rites and worship of a pagan god. I need not enlarge upon