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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Trinity And Pagan Influence

1. "The trinity was a major preoccupation of Egyptian theologians .... Three gods are combined and treated as a single being, addressed in the singular. In this way the spiritual force of Egyptian religion shows a direct link with Christian theology." Egyptian Religion.

2. "The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus, along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as representing the sun-God under different forms." - Trinitarian scholar Dr. M.G. Easton; Easton's Bible Dictionary, Thomas Nelson Publ.

3. "This triad of Abydos [Horus, Isis, and Osiris] is apparently much older than even the earliest records .... These 3 main gods were skillfully incorporated into the Great Ennead or State religion of Egypt .... particularly during the first 5 [3110-2342 B.C.] or 6 dynasties when the worship of this triad was prominent." The Ancient Myths, A Mentor Book, Goodrich, p. 25, 1960.

4. Alexandria, Egypt, had even developed a trinity doctrine of its very own long before Christian times. It appears to have been a blend (not surprisingly) of Egyptian, Hindu, and Greek philosophy/mystery religions. 

"This fusing of one god with another is called theocrasia, and nowhere was it more vigorously going on than in Alexandria. Only two peoples resisted it in this period: The Jews, who already had their faith in the one God of heaven and earth, Jehovahand the Persians, who had a monotheistic sun worship [Mithras]. It was Ptolemy I [who died in 283 B. C.] who set up not only the Museum in Alexandria, but the Serapeum, devoted to the worship of a trinity of gods which represented the result of a process of theocrasia applied more particularly to the gods of Greece and Egypt [with a distinct Hindu flavor].

"This trinity consisted of the god Serapis (= Osiris + Apis), the goddess Isis (= Hathor, the cow-moon goddess), and the child-god Horus. In one way or another almost every god was identified with one or other of these three aspects of the one god, even the sun god Mithras of the Persians. and they were each otherTHEY WERE THREE, BUT THEY WERE ALSO ONE." - The Outline of History, Wells, vol. 1, p. 307, 1956 ed.

5. The book The Symbolism of Hindu Gods and Rituals admits, regarding the ancient Hindu trinity that was taught centuries before the first Christians:
"Siva is one of the gods of the Trinity. He is said to be the god of destruction. The other two gods are Brahma, the god of creation and Vishnu, the god of maintenance.... To indicate that these three processes are one and the same the three gods are combined in one form." - Published by A. Parthasarathy, Bombay. (As quoted in ti-E, p. 12.)

6. The Encyclopedia Americana tells of the fully developed "Hindu Trinity" existing "from about 300 B. C.," p. 197, v. 14, 1957. Brahmana writings, probably from 800 B. C. or before, frequently include the Vedic triad concept. Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th ed., v. 3, pp. 1014-1016, and 34, also see The Portable World Bible, The Viking Press, pp. 23, 25.

7. "Vishnu, Brahma, and Siva together form the trinity of the Hindu Religion. At one time these were distinct Hindu deities. Their rival claims for recognition were finally met by making them three forms of the one supreme god. This was, however, a creation of the priests and ecclesiastical students." Encyclopedia Americana, 1957 ed., v. 28, p. 134.
8. "There is a tendency in [pagan] religious history for the gods to be grouped in threes .... Even in Christianity, the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost reflects the underlying tendency. In India, the great Triad included Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer. These represent the cycle of existence, just as the Babylonian triad of Anu, Enlil and Ea represent the materials of existence: air, water, earth." An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm, p. 794, 1945.

9. Not only did the ancient Babylonians have the major trinity of Anu, Enlil, and Ea, but they worshiped more than one trinity of gods. - Babylonian Life and History, Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, 1925 ed., pp. 146, 147.

10. "On the basis of  Pythagorean and gnostic theories, each number [in the Medieval Number Method] was assigned a root meaning and diversified representations.  Some root meanings were: 1 = UNITY OF GOD, ... 3 = TRINITY, extension of Godhead, ... 10 = extension of Unity, Perfect Completeness." - An Encyclopedia of Religion, Ferm, 1945, p. 755.

11. "... the doctrine of the Trinity was of gradual and comparatively late formation; that it had its origin in a source entirely foreign from that of the Jewish and Christian scriptures; that it grew up, and was ingrafted on Christianity, through the hands of the Platonizing Fathers."– p. 34, The Church of the First Three Centuries, Alvan Lamson, D.D. (see WT 15 Oct. 1978, p. 32.)

"All things are three, and thrice is all:  and let us use this number in the worship of the gods. For as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bound by threes, for the end, the middle, and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the trinity." - Aristotle, as quoted in Paganism in our Christianity, Arthur Weigall, p. 198, Putnam, NY.  (Weigall is quoting from On the Heavens, Bk I, ch. i., by Aristotle who died  322 B.C.)

So it appears that this "holy" number three used to "worship the gods" in unity came down from the extremely influential Pythagoras to the ancient Greek philosophy/mystery religions and even to Plato himself.

"NEO-PYTHAGOREANISM...appeared during the first century B. C. [the faithful Jews were still clinging to their faith in a single one-person God, Jehovah the Father] in Rome, whence it traveled to Alexandria (the sect's chief center) where it flourished until Neo-Platonism absorbed it in the 3rd century A. D."  - Encyclopedia Americana, p. 98, v. 20, 1982 ed.

12. Weigall relates many instances of the trinity concept in pre-Christian pagan religions and then states: "The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith." And, "Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament does the word `trinity' appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan." - The Paganism in our Christianity, pp. 197,198, Arthur Weigall.
13. "If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by paganism. The pure Deism of the first Christians (who differed from their fellow Jews only in the belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah) was changed by the Church at Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the trinity. Many of the pagan tenets, invented by the Egyptians and idealized by Plato, were retained as being worthy of belief." The History of Christianity, (Preface by Eckler).

14. "Christianity did not destroy Paganism; it adopted it .... From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity, …. the adoration of the Mother and Child…." – p. 595, The Story of Civilization: vol. 3, Simon & Schuster Inc., by noted author and historian Will Durant.

15. The Trinity "is a corruption borrowed from the heathen religions, and ingrafted on the Christian faith." - A Dictionary of Religious Knowledge

16. "When Newton was made a fellow of the College, along with an agreement to embrace the Anglican faith, the Trinity fellowship also required ordination within 8 years. During his studies Newton had come to believe that the central doctrine of the church, the Holy and Undivided Trinity was a pagan corruption imposed on Christianity in the fourth century by Athanasius." -Sir Isaac Newton And The Ocean of Truth; "Theology and the word of God"