Hi , The other day someone told me that when Christianity started and they wanted to convert the pagans they made Mary out to be bigger than she was to make christiality more appealing to them and compared her to there pagan goddess and wells of the pagan god I can’t remember her name became a well of Mary and the pagan goddess and her child became Mary and baby Jesus and that’s why it is like it is today , how can I respond ?
How can I say or prove its not ture ?
Thanks chuck ps sorry if this is in the wrong place !
You may be thinking of the Greek god Athena. The Greeks did turn to Christianity but their temples were still standing. So perhaps they simply substituted Mary for Athena when they visited the temples. I’m guessing though. For me, when I was in Athens last year, it seemed like a likely translation.
In any event, the Greeks gave us the word Theotokos (God Bearer), which after all is what Mary is. And her role in Christianity was very important until Martin Luther broke away. Even Luther at that time still thought Mary was very important.
It wasn’t until the break-away Christians wanted to differentiate themselves from Catholics, that they took her statues out of the churches. And stopped giving her the honor she deserves. “All generations shall call me Blessed.”
They call devotions to Mary idolatry. I went into a church in the university in Glasgow Scotland and there were statues everywhere (of apostles etc.) but none of our Lady. Why is it OK to have those other statues there but not hers?
These people are guilty of a logical fallacy (actually several), but here is one major one:
The idea of 'after this, therefore because of this" (Latin post hoc, ergo propter hoc).
Even IF there had been a ‘goddess with a baby’ who was worshipped prior to the actual events of Mary and Jesus, and even IF the goddess was supposedly a virgin, etc. etc., this does NOT mean that Mary and Jesus thus, because they came ‘later’, were simple later ‘versions’ of the earlier ‘goddess’, just because the pagans ‘came first’.
These people absolutely cannot prove their claim because it is based on a logic FAIL.
The fact that something exists at one time (ideas for example like indoor plumbing, which existed in the Minoan civilization, disappeared, and then resurfaced about 300 years ago in the West), doesn’t mean that the second time around it ‘HAD TO COME from the pagans’ or was ‘Christianized’ etc. It means that an idea can come into existence IN SOME FORM (the Minoans did not have ‘flush toilets’ as we know them) at some time, can ‘disappear’, and then can come about at another time and have similarities but in fact can come from a completely different perspective. The people who came up with the flush toilet didn’t work FROM THE MINOAN ruins or ‘blueprints’. They came up with the idea which in some form or other had been ‘worked at’ by various civilizations in various ways, and the later plumbing actually turned into something that the Minoans would have appreciated but by no means would have claimed was taken from THEIR plumbing.
So, the fact that Mary and Jesus existed in AD 33 in Galillee has nothing to do with the idea that Egyptians in 1200 BC worshiped a goddess and son, or that somebody came up with the idea of a "Mithras’, or even the Greek myths of Dionysius.
in NONE of those ‘mother and child death and rebirth myths’ will you find the idea that the CHILD died and rose from the dead IN ORDER TO SAVE THE PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.
Zip, zilch, nada.
A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ‘take’ on the myths that goes far beyond the idea that Christians were SO HARD UP for converts that they ‘invented’ Christ on the pattern of ‘myths’. Sheesh. Because naturally pagans were just dying (literally) for a god that was just ‘like’ their own gods but whose worship would involve them being thrown to lions, tortured, mocked, insulted, imprisoned and killed. Yep, that’s it.
Similar claims have been against Christ and have been found false [that or the super ultra secret order of the Sisters of the Long Ruler have been the only organization in the history of the world that has been able to fully suppress something]. If such claims against the central figure in Christianity have been found false, are such claims against Mary even worth bothering with?
As for the renaming a well after Mary- Common practice, especially for something as central to life as a well.
Man 1- “Well we’re Christians now so we have to move.”
Man 2- “Why?”
Man 1- “The only source of water for 50 miles is dedicated to [insert pagan goddess here], so we can’t use it.”
Man 2- in deep thought
Man 2- “Can’t we just dedicated it to Mary?”
Man 1- “Well, that sounds like a good idea and is rather easy to do and makes sense, but what if 2000 years from now some guy on the internet decides that us dedicating it to Mary is proof that our Lord and Savior is really just another pagan god built on random selections from current pagan belief systems?”
Man 2- laughs, “No one can be that stupid.”
Man 1- “Remember my cousin Stupidous?”
Man 2- thinks, sighs, “Yeah, I guess we’ll have to move.”
Well, I usually say it’s not true with the words “you’re wrong,” although sometimes I like to shake it up a bit by saying “that’s ridiculous” instead.
In all seriousness though, it may be possible that there are some slight similarities between imagined roles of imagined goddesses and the real role of Mary (and they’d have to be slight, since no one has ever claimed that Mary is a goddess), but that’s more or less immaterial. That is, it doesn’t make one bit of difference, when it comes to the truth about Mary, whether or not pagans were helped in their conversion to Christianity by hearing it.
So, tell these people that if they want to debate Mary then they need to stay on task and talk about whether or not various Catholic teachings are true. Any claim that we “made up” doctrine about Mary to convert people only has the slightest chance of holding water if the doctrine we are claimed to have made up is in fact false.
If the doctrine is true, then even if they got their history right (and in my experience they usually don’t) then the worst that can be said is that Christians used what limited understanding of the Truth that pagans did have to bring them into the fold, or that when you’re trying to convert someone you start where they are and build up to the truth. But that’s not actually a bad thing. So: they’re arguing by misdirection. Ask them to stop.
So they made Mary bigger than she was ( so fundamentalists ie bigger than she was as seen in the bible … Right ?) to help the Romans adjust to christianity and convert and then afterwards build on the truth of Mary ? Right ?
No, hon, they did NOT make Mary ‘bigger than she was,’
NO, that was NOT to ‘help the Romans adjust’.
No, they are simply starting from a false premise and a logical fallacy.
What STARTED was that Mary and Jesus were born.
For some 1500 years, Christianity spread. NOT because Christians ‘paganized’ things or ‘twisted the truth’ or ‘built things up’.
Christians told the truth.
Then about 500 year ago other Christians became confused. Were misled, misguided, and flat out lied to.
The descendants of THOSE Christians are the ones who are trying to argue these lies, often because they’ve been told them by people they trust.
But even if they were told these lies by their saintly old grandmother, you simply can’t ignore the truth yourself and assume, "little old ladies don’t lie’. You don’t have to be rude about it, “Your grandma lied dude”. . .You can be truthful and say, "I don’t know where you got that story, but it’s not accurate. Early Christians never ‘built up’ Mary. In fact, I can point you to a place (Catholic Answers) where you can read some of the writings of early Christians of those times and you’ll see that they were treating Mary the same way Catholics do now. There was NEVER a time that Mary was ‘ignored’ and then ‘built up’ into something ‘bigger than she really is’.
Bottom line: THEY made the argument, THEY need to supply PROOF and proof is not “My grandma told me, or my pastor told me, or the website told me X”.
Do NOT proceed from the assumption that these people are RIGHT and try to find a ‘reason’ that the Catholics ‘acted as they did’.
Instead, point out the TRUTH of the Catholic teaching (please, just check out the library right here on this site if you aren’t sure yourself, it’s here), that the teaching contradicts THEIR assertions, and ask them to support THEIR claim.
In the first instance, the reality is most religions ‘borrow’ ideas from others. Christianity ‘borrowed’ ideas from Greek philosophy and Judaism. The Israelite’s ‘borrowed’ from religious cultures around them. Islam and Judaism have beliefs in common. Religions that emerged in the late 1800’s/early 21st century, such as Jehovah’s witnesses, Mormons etc. don’t really say anything new, but rather their beliefs are similar what was already around.
For example, Jehovah’s witnesses do not believe in the sacrament of reconciliation, yet they do believe only elders should deal with ‘serious’ sins (which Catholics would term ‘mortal’) and individuals should ‘inform’ elders if they have committed a ‘serious’ sin. Hindus have a Hindu ‘Trinity’, Baptism or water rituals are a common feature of most religions, ancient and modern, as is blood sacrifice. Religious rituals and weddings, funerals and Christmas have similarities.
The first way of looking at this phenomenon is none of it is, if we can trace beliefs to a pagan route they must be wrong. In reality, we can identify ‘paganism’ in just about every religion. The second way of looking at pagan beliefs is as a vein of truth. The fact so many faiths share common denominators, such as blood sacrifice and baptism, tells us certain beliefs have prevailed for centuries, and are present in some extent in all faiths. Therefore, this may suggest rather than being ‘wrong,’ they are true, and have been revealed to humankind by God from the dawn of time, but they where interpreted according to the understanding and culture of the time.
To sum up, Mary can be described as a ‘comparison,’ but I would argue this belief prevailed not to appease pagans, but it was true, and the fullness of this belief was revealed through Christ.
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