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The Pagan Origins of the Cross

By Abdullah Kareem
 

In reading the New Testament we must cease to think of the man Jesus, and even of the “Son of God”, and think of him rather of the sun of god, for this is a solar myth, and its dying hero, a dying sun. [1]


The cross is a pagan symbol that was adored in Egypt thousands of years before Jesus was born. The Roman Catholic Church adopted the cross symbol at least 600 years after Jesus was supposedly crucified. Even the early Christians of North Africa rejected the wooden cross after Tertullian condemned it.  

Tertullian confessed that pagans worshipped crucified saviors hanging on a cross.

"Crosses, moreover, we Christians neither venerate nor wish for. You indeed who consecrate gods of wood venerate wooden crosses, perhaps as parts of your gods. For your very standards, as well as your banners, and flags of your camps, what are they but crosses gilded and adorned? Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it." [1]

The pagan roots of Christianity are clearly indicated by this confession. Tertullian was a Christian who later became a Gnostic. He implies that Christians borrowed the sun-god myth.




(Wilkinson's Egyptians, Sir John Gardner Wilkinson 1837-41)

The Pagan philosopher and satirist Celsus criticized Christians for trying to pass off the Jesus story as a new revelation when it was actually an inferior imitation of pagan myths. He asks:

 

Are these distinctive happenings unique to the Christians-and if so, how are they unique? Or are ours to be accounted myths and theirs believed? What reasons do the Christians give for the distinctiveness of their beliefs? In truth there is nothing at all unusual about what the Christians believe, except that they believe it to the exclusion of more comprehensive truths about God.

 

The early Christians were painfully aware of such criticisms. How could Pagan myths which predated Christianity by hundreds of years have so much in common with the biography of the one and only savior Jesus? Desperate to come up with an explanation, the Church fathers resorted to one of the most absurd theories ever advanced. From the time of Justin Martyr in the second century onward, they declared that the Devil had plagiarized Christianity by anticipation in order to lead people astray! Knowing that the true Son of God was literally to come and walk the Earth, the Devil had copied the story of his life in advance of it happening and created the myths of Osiris-Dionysus.

The Church father Tertullian writes of the Devil's diabolical mimicry in creating the Mysteries of Mithras:

 

The devil, whose business is to pervert the truth, mimics the exact circumstances of the Divine Sacraments. He baptizes his believers and promises forgiveness of sins from the Sacred Fount, and thereby initiates them into the religion of Mithras. Thus he celebrates the oblation of bread, and brings in the symbol of the resurrection. Let us therefore acknowledge the craftiness of the devil, who copies certain things of those that be Divine.

 

Studying the myths of the Mysteries it becomes obvious why these early Christians resorted to such a desperate explanation. (The Jesus Mysteries, pp. 26-27)
 
The scholar Timothy Freke says:

 

The Vatican was constructed upon the site of an ancient Pagan sanctuary because the new is always built upon the old. In the same way Christianity itself has as its foundations the Pagan spirituality that preceded it. (ibid, p. 12)

Amazingly, the bishop Tertullian believed Jesus was crucified, but he rejected the cross as pagan. This probably means the Church of Carthage also believed what Tertullian believed: The wooden cross is pagan.

Tertullian used to mark the forehead with a cross:


"In all our travels and movements", says Tertullian (De cor. Mil., iii), "in all our coming in and going out, in putting of our shoes, at the bath, at the table, in lighting our candles, in lying down, in sitting down, whatever employment occupieth us, we mark our foreheads with the sign of the cross" [2]

It seems Tertullian acknowledged Jesus died on a cross, but rejected wooden crosses. Nevertheless, he unambiguously said that Christianity borrowed the cross and the concept of “dying for the sins of mankind”. Therefore, Christianity is rehashed paganism and the New Testament is recycled pagan myth!

The followers of Tammuz also marked the forehead with a cross!


A pagan sign of the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and the Egyptians, this cross was a symbol of the Roman god Mithras and the Greek Attis, and their forerunner Tammuz, the Sumerian solar god, consort of the goddess Ishtar. Conveniently, the original form of the letter 'T' was the initial letter of the god of Tammuz. During baptism ceremonies, this cross was marked on the foreheads by the pagan priest. [3]

 

The cross symbol (T) was the original cross of Jesus:


The cross of Christ, as experts seem to agree, was actually a bar placed across the top of an upright, so it was not a cross at all. It was a “Tee” (T), called “Taw” in Hebrew and “Tau” in Greek. So the cross that the victim was suspended from was actually a crossbar, and perhaps in those days this was called the cross. The “Taw” sign was the symbol of the dying and rising god, Tammuz, and “Taw” was the sign that was made on the heads of those marked for salvation by the god. So, crucifixion images might not be as conventional as the ones based on the Catholic crucifix. [1]

After the Egyptian/Greek/Roman pagans converted to Christianity, “these different signs of the cross were united in one large sign such as we now make. In the Western Church the hand was carried from the left to the right shoulder; in the Eastern Church, on the contrary, it was brought from the right shoulder to the left, the sign being made with three fingers. This apparently slight difference was one of the (remote) causes of the fatal Eastern Schism. [2]

 

The early Christians of Egypt were accused of sun-worship:


A letter ascribed in the Augustan History to the Emperor Hadrian refers to the worship of Serapis by residents of Egypt who described themselves as Christians, and Christian worship by those claiming to worship Serapis:

The land of Egypt, the praises of which you have been recounting to me, my dear Servianus, I have found to be wholly light-minded, unstable, and blown about by every breath of rumour. There those who worship Serapis are, in fact, Christians, and those who call themselves bishops of Christ are, in fact, devotees of Serapis. (Augustan History, Firmus et al. 8) [1]

 

The cross was adopted six hundred years after Jesus’ departure.


It will come as a surprise to many that the first known figure of a god on a cross is a likeness of the sun god Orpheus from some three centuries B.C.E. The crucifix on the amulet on the cover of The Jesus Mysteries, by Freke and Gandy, clearly depicts this image. (Tom Harper, The Pagan Christ, pp. 45-46)

 

"That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians -- the true original form of the letter T -- the initial of the name of Tammuz [...] That mystic Tau was marked in baptism on the foreheads of those initiated in the Mysteries, and was used in every variety of way as a most sacred symbol. [...] The Vestal virgins of Pagan Rome wore it suspended from their necklaces, as the nuns do now. The Egyptians did the same [...] There is hardly a Pagan tribe where the cross has not been found. The cross was worshipped by the Pagan Celts long before the incarnation and death of Christ."

"The ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of life -- the ankh, a tau cross surmounted by a loop and known as crux ansata -- was adopted and extensively used on Coptic Christian monuments." (The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition, 1995, volume 3, page 753)

"A still more curious fact may be mentioned respecting this hieroglyphical character [the Tau], that the early Christians of Egypt adopted it [...] numerous inscriptions, headed by the Tau, are preserved to the present day on early Christian monuments." (Wilkinson's Egyptians, by Sir J. G. Wilkinson, volume 5, page 283-284)

The use of the cross as a religious symbol in pre-Christian times, and among non-Christian peoples, may probably be regarded as almost universal, and in very many cases it was connected with some form of nature worship."
(The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, 1910, volume 7, page 506)

Here is an excerpt from Misha'al ibn `Abdullah Al-Kadhi


The ancient Egyptians also adopted the cross as a religious symbol of their pagan gods. Countless Egyptian drawings depict themselves holding crosses in their hands. Among them, the Egyptian savior Horus is depicted holding a cross in his hand. He is also depicted as an infant sitting on his mother's knee with a cross on the seat they occupy. The most common of the crosses used by these pagan Egyptians, the CRUX ANSATA, was later adopted by the Christians.

The Egyptian savior, Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead and the underworld, is sometimes represented holding out this cross to mortals signifying that this person has discarded mortality for the life to come.

Another cross has been unearthed in Ireland. It belongs to the cult of the Persian god of the sun "Mithra" and bears a crucified effigy. The Greeks and Romans too adopted the cross as their religious symbol many centuries before Christianity did the same. An ancient inscription in Tessaly is accompanied by a Calvary cross. More crosses can be found to adorn the tomb of king Midas in Phrygia. The above references may be referred to for many more examples. [1]



 
(Orpheus crucified)


The legendary stories of ‘man-god’ saviors dying for the sins of their people (and rising three days later) were very common. Christianity is based on the sun-god myth. In fact the whole religion was fabricated after the departure of Jesus. None of these saviors are historical, but only personifications of the sun. 

Here is an excerpt from Mather Walker’s essays:

Orpheus (from whom the Orphics received their name) and Dionysus went to Hades and returned. The Christians created the tradition that during the three days while Jesus was dead before his resurrection He went to hell and preached to the souls in prison.

Significantly, Plato, who follows the Orphic and mystery teachings throughout his dialogues, has the following to say, in the Republic II (362e), referring to the just man:

"What they will say is this, that such being his
disposition the just man will have to endure the lash,
the rack, chains, the branding iron in his eyes, and
finally, after every extremity of suffering, he will
be crucified."

The Orphics had a number of books which contained the details of their theology.These books have been lost, but I have no doubt this little jewel from Plato came straight from one of these. Dionysus was known by the name "Pentheus", i.e. "man of suffering." [1]

The Babylonian god Tammuz also died and resurrected.

Tammuz was a god of Assyria, Babylonia and Sumeria where he was known as Dumuzi. He is commemorated in the name of the month of June, Du’uzu, the fourth month of a year which begins at the spring equinox. The fullest history extant of this saviour is probably that of Ctesias (400 BC), author of Persika. The poet has perpetuated his memory in rhyme.

Trust, ye saints, your Lord restored,
Trust ye in your risen Lord;
For the pains which Tammuz endured
Our salvation have procured.

Tammuz was crucified as an atonement offering: “Trust ye in God, for out of his loins salvation has come unto us.” Julius Firmicus speaks of this God rising from the dead for the salvation of the world. This saviour which long preceded the advent of Christ, filled the same role in sacred history. (Warning: atheist website [2]

Christianity is based on the sun-god myth.





                                              

 



Source: [1] [2]

The doctrine of salvation by crucifixion had, like many of the ancient forms of religious faith, an astronomical origin. The sun is hung on a cross or crucified when it passes through the equinoxes. People in northern climates were saved by the sun’s crucifixion when it crossed over the equatorial line into the season of spring, at the vernal equinox at Easter, and thereby gave out a saving heat and light to the world and stimulated the generative organs of animal and vegetable life. (*)

This pagan festival is actually a combination of both Astoria (from which the word Easter is derived from), the female goddess of fertility of the northern European Saxons and the Isis-Osiris cult. The lover of Astoria, Attis, dies and is reborn annually, in conjunction with the summer solactice (spring time), the time of the year of the Easter celebrations. The theology of Attis was incorporated into the events of Prophet Jesus (as), according to the Christian church that is. The symbol of Astoria is the EGG, which is part of the Easter celebration (Easter Egg). In the Isis-Osiris cult of ancient Egypt, crucifixion was often a required means of sacrificing the King as the INCARNATION OF GOD for the SALVATION of man. Such bloody sacrifices were accompanied by the belief that the saviour’s flesh and blood had to be eaten and drank in a cannibalistic sacrament. This is currently practiced by the Catholic church, metaphorically, in all their masses. Yet, one cannot ignore the pagan roots of this act. The Catholic church actually believes in the transubstantiation of this ceremony, instituted by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 12th century, meaning, the Catholics believe that the bread and wine used turns into the actual flesh and blood of Prophet Jesus(as), exactly in line with the ceremony of the Isis-Osiris cult, which dates back to 1700 BC. The notion that Prophet Jesus(as) had to be sacrificed for the salvation of all mankind traces back to this older barbarism. [1]

The scholar Tom Harper states:


“The divine teacher is called, is tested by the “adversary”, gathers disciples, heals the sick, preaches the Good News about God’s kingdom, finally runs afoul of his bitter enemies, suffers, dies, and is resurrected after three days. This is the total pattern of the sun god in all the ancient dramas”. (The Pagan Christ, p. 145)



When the Council of Nicea took place, the Emperor Constantine

 -       Declared the Roman Sun-day to be the Christian Sabbath.

-       Adopted the traditional birthday of the Sun-god, and the twenty-fifth of December, as the birthday of Jesus;

-       Borrowed the emblem of the Sun-god, the cross of light, to be the emblem of Christianity;

-       And, although the statue of Jesus replaced the idol of the Sun-god, decided to incorporate all the ceremonies which were performed at the Sub-gods birthday celebrations into their own ceremonies.

Christianity betrays the True Jesus as portrayed in the Quran, and there is no other alternative but to accept the True Jesus. The only Revelation of God that does not degrade Jesus is the Quran. All other Scriptures must be abrogated in favor of the Quran alone.

Here is the evidence for my assertions.

The fertilizing winter sun having been crucified, and the summer sun risen into the heavens in resurrection, the blood of the grape, ripened by its the heat, was symbolically “the blood of the cross,” or “the blood of the Lamb.” Jesus is not the true vine for no reason.

Because of our Christian culture and its imagery, the cross is necessarily the instrument of the saviour god’s torture. However, because the celestial origin of crucifixion in solar myths is that the sun crosses over the celestial equator, the heavenly sign of the equinoxes, the image of a crossover in the sky would be a cross like the Greek letter Chi (X) not a Plus (+). (Warning: Atheist website [1])

The evidence that Christianity was in its beginnings firmly rooted in an Egyptian-style, equinoctial mode of thinking still abounds today. The birthday of Jesus Christ was first celebrated by the earliest Church in the spring of the year. But in 345, Pope Julius decreed that the birthday (nobody knew any precise date for it, suggesting again that the entire thing was pure myth) should thenceforth be held on December 25, three days after the “death” of the winter solstice and the same day on which the births of Mithras, Dionysus, the Sol Invictus (unconquerable sun), and several other gods were traditionally celebrated. (Tom Harper, The Pagan Christ, p. 82).

The sun is born on the 25th of December, the birthday of Jesus Christ. The first and greatest of the labors of Jesus Christ is his victory over the serpent, the evil principle, or the devil. In his first labor Hercules strangled the serpent, as did Krishna, Bacchus, etc. his is the sun triumphing over the powers of hell and darkness; and, as he increases, he prevails, till he is crucified in the heavens, or is decussated in the form of a cross (according to Justin Martyr) when he passes the equator at the vernal equinox. (Lloyd Graham, Myths and Deceptions of the Bible, p. 208) 

"Although surprising to us now, to writers of the first few centuries CE these similarities between the new Christian religion and the ancient Mysteries were extremely obvious. Pagan critics of Christianity, such as the satirist Celsus, complained that this recent religion was nothing more than a pale reflection of their own ancient teachings. Early 'Church Fathers,' such as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Irenaeus, were understandably disturbed and resorted to the desperate claim that these similarities were the result of diabolical mimicry. Using one of the most absurd arguments ever advanced, they accused the Devil of "plagiarism by anticipation," of deviously copying the true story of Jesus before it had actually happened in an attempt to mislead the gullible!" Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy (1999).

Julius Firmicus was a Christian author of the fourth century. He wrote a book called "The Errors of the Profane Religions." He found that many of these pagan religions of the Roman world had Saviors or Redeemers. He learned that every year the birth of these gods was celebrated, often in mid-winter, and every year, often about the time of our Easter, the death and resurrection of the gods were celebrated. He discovered that in some of these religions bread and wine were used at the altar, and candles and incense and sacred water were part of the ritual. (Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) The Story of Religious Controversy. Chapter 2)

“The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.” Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

The desperate response by Christians to solve these parallels is weak because the Gospel story doesn’t have to be
100% plagiarized! For example, Osiris was ripped to pieces and restored to life, but Jesus was never “ripped to pieces and restored to life”.

The cult of Osiris had a particularly strong interest towards the concept of immortality. According to the myth surrounding the cult, Set (Osiris's evil brother) fooled Osiris into getting into a coffin, which he then shut and threw into the Nile. Osiris's wife searched for his remains until she finally found them and brought them back to Egypt. Once Osiris's evil brother found out, he cut the body into pieces, and again threw them into the Nile. The faithful companion of Osiris, Isis, gathered up all the parts of the body and bandaged them together for a proper burial. The Gods were impressed by the devotion of Isis and thus restored Osiris to life in the form of a different kind of existence as the god of the underworld. [1]

Okay, we know Osiris died and resurrected differently from Jesus, but the story is the same: A “man-god” who dies and resurrects. The idea was borrowed by the Church, not the story itself. (*)

The website Tektonics confesses that Tammuz ‘resurrected’, but it has “no parallel to the Christian religion” which is nonsense. The early Church borrowed the idea.


The death and "raising" of Tammuz occurs every year and corresponds with the natural cycle of vegetation. This provides no parallel at all for the Christian religion, expect by redefining terms into meaninglessness (i.e., "resurrection" meaning not just a specific Jewish concept, but any dead-alive transition!) and ignoring vast differences in meaning. [2]

Nobody worships Tammuz today, but millions of Christians worship Jesus as the “crucified savior who rose again”. The writer desperately says “this provides no parallel at all to the Christian religion”. But the parallels are very striking and evident. The Greeks and Romans converted to Christianity because it resembled their previous beliefs!


A true Jew would have immediately recognized the teaching of Jesus as a reaffirmation of what Moses had taught. But to many a pagan, it must have seemed new and strange and perhaps a little complicated. Most of the pagans still believed in a multitude of gods who, it was thought, mixed freely with human beings, mated with them, and took part in every sphere of human life. To the common people of Greece, any description of Jesus must have seemed like a description of one of their gods, and they were probably quite ready to accept Jesus in this capacity. There was always room for one more god. However, the actual teaching of Jesus negated all their gods, since it affirmed the Divine Unity”. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, p. 62)

Whatever else one may believe about Jesus, it is clear both from the New Testament documents and from the creeds of the early Church that he was a fully human being. He knew hunger, thirst, weariness; he endured pain, grief, and the agony of doubt; he experienced birth and death. His appearance must have been ordinary, for on several occasions when trouble was brewing he was able to simply lose himself in the crowds. The Church of the first few centuries had little trouble selling the idea of God-in-human form to a non-Jewish audience: this kind of myth was commonplace at this time. (Tom Harper, For Christ’s Sake, p. 32)

Paul produced a religion which encompassed different contradictory elements. He took the Unitarianism of the Jews and added to it the philosophy of the pagans”. (Jesus Prophet of Islam, p. 71)

This shift of emphasis from Jesus as a man to the new image of Christ, who was divine, enabled the intellectuals in Greece and Rome to assimilate into their own philosophy what Paul and those who followed him were preaching. (ibid, p. 70)

“…By using material familiar to these congregations, even while reshaping it for his own purposes, Paul was performing as an accomplished rhetor. That would not have been unusual for the times. (Mack Burton, Who Wrote the New Testament? p. 77)

Paul abolished the Law, which was followed and preached by Jesus (pbuh), and corrupted the whole religion, giving it a new form. The main ambition behind all this was, in his own words, “to win a larger number” of followers; the followers of a new religion “the Pauline Christianity”. (Roshen Enam, Follow Jesus or Follow Paul p. 69)

 


The following is a list of dying-rising gods.


The above crucified saviors are personifications of the sun, or symbolizing the birth and death of vegetation. The Gospel story of Jesus is plagiarized from the pagan myths.

According to the Bible, Jesus died on a tree

 

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. (Acts 5:30, 10:39)


Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: (Galatians 3:13)

 

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

 

The scholar Arthur Weigall describes that Osiris was crucified upon a tree, like many previous ‘man-gods’, the cross was not unique, its pagan symbol. The Jehovah Witnesses believe that Jesus was crucified upon a ‘stake’.

The ‘tree story’ was indeed plagiarized from the story of Osiris and Isis.

 

The Popular and widespread religion of Osiris and Isis exercised considerable influence upon early Christianity, for these two great Egyptian deities, whose worship had passed into Europe were revered in Rome and in several other centres, where Christian communities were growing up. Osiris and Isis, so runs the legend, were brother and sister and also husband and wife; but Osiris was murdered, his coffined body being thrown into the Nile, and shortly afterwards the widowed and exiled Isis gave birth to a son, Horus. The coffin, meanwhile, was washed up on the Syrian coast, and became miraculously lodged in the trunk of a tree, so that Osiris, like other sacrificed gods, could be described as having been.' slain and hanged on a tree.'  (The Paganism in Our Christianity, Arthur Weigall, 1928, p118)



Islam has destroyed the false charges against Jesus.

 

Christ the son of Mary was no more than an apostle; many were the apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah doth make His signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth!  (Al-Quran 5:75)

O people of the Book! There hath come to you our Messenger, revealing to you much that ye used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary). There hath come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous Book, Wherewith Allah guideth all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leadeth them out of darkness, by His will, unto the light,- guideth them to a path that is straight. (Al-Quran 5:15-16)

 

 

[1] (Lloyd Graham, Deceptions and Myths of the Bible, p. 361)

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Back to Contradictions and Errors in the Bible.

The Disciples' original writings declare that Jesus never got crucified.

Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) section.

Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in Islam.

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