Paganism In Christianity

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Paganism In Christianity

Religions across the globe have their own distinctive rites and rituals, idols, traditions, and values. Each have in common a desire to explain something unexplainable by common wisdom, or attributing some aspect of life to some higher power. Many religions have at their heart etiological stories, which explain some sort of natural phenomenon through the physical manifestation of their deity or deities. From high winds and thunderstorms to love, fertility, and the sun, such religions focus on the physical world in this life. Other religions try to explain the \"next\" life or the afterlife. These religions usually give a moral code to live by, with stricter adherence to this code offering a better afterlife.
So, aside from obvious differences in practice and ritual, not all religions even address the same issues. In the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, religion is officially defined as:
       1 :  the service and worship of God or the supernatural
 2 : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
       3 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and  
   practices.

Religions have in common three things, then: first, a supernatural being to worship; second, a commitment to this being; third, a set of rules to guide the follower through his or her devotion.
Throughout the ancient world, there were many different peoples worshipping in many different ways, as there still is today. Many of these religions were polytheistic in nature, and were of the etiological type. Greco-Roman religion in particular was the basis for a rich culture, giving rise to an extremely artistic and creative period of time.
Greece had philosophers and playwrights such as Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, and Aeschylus. These men eloquently told of their gods, and provided ideas to strengthen the moral character of their culture. You might almost say they were the real prophets of the time. The Buddha guided other nations, Jesus still others. They were pioneers in their own time, and are still revered today. These men looked deep into the heart of the human spirit, and asked what it was to be human. Their insights have given meaning to many people's lives, and have been the basis for many beliefs held today. These men and the cultures they came from have heavily influenced the fields of philosophy, art, theater, architecture, religionwar, and every individual practitioner of each.
In some ancient Asian cultures, the beauty of nature was revered over everything, and this view became the basis of the Eastern lifestyle, creating beautiful gardens around their homes to celebrate their harmony with life. They, too, had their heavens and hells, deities and demi-gods.
In short, each religion differs somewhat, but they all have similarities as well. Many stories in several classical religions share common themes or events. There are a great many similarities between stories of Babylonian, Greek, and Christian origin. An example of a shared event would be \"the flood\" story. Each of these religions tries to explain the reason of a severe flood, which historians have found actually occurred in their shared region.
Christianity eventually replaced the \"old\" religions, mostly by means of the spread of the Holy Roman Empire. There were many who opposed being converted, but after the remaining members of these religions realized that failure to convert meant you were a heretic, which meant death, the job of converting was much easier. Even then, some people did not want others telling them how to worship. They had their rituals and customs-they didn't want new ones. This sentiment was conveyed to the leaders of the Roman Churches, who \"bent\" their rules and procedures to fit these pagan rites and rituals. A good way to convert someone is to make him or her feel like it's the same religion. This is how Christianity has become riddled with elements of  \"Paganism.\"
The purpose of this paper is to highlight major aspects of Christianity that have been \"borrowed\" from other religions in order to show that Christianity is myth just like all of the other \"false\" religions.
     Perfect examples of this are the dates of Christian holidays, most notably Christmas--December 25th. This date is widely used as the birthday of some religious figure in many different cultures for many different