Catholic Apologetics

I’ve come across a few good articles on the Protestant myth that Catholicism has been “paganized”; I don’t have a lot to add myself:

http://www.catholic.com/library/Is_Catholicism_Pagan.asp

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0505fea4.asp

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11388a.htm

It turns out that by the same type of logic anti-Catholics use *all* of Christianity is "paganized", for it is an absolute fact that Christian beliefs, practices, and symbology have much in common with various pagan religions.  See these links:

http://www.pocm.info/getting_started_pocm.html

http://www.seiyaku.com/customs/pagan-symbols.html

http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa1.htm

Are these facts cause for concern - or for abandoning the faith (or its most basic truths), as Christians have certainly done when confronted by these things?  No, certainly not, as I think these articles make clear.  They all make it obvious that logical fallacies as well as untruths are necessary to make this "Christianity is pagan" myth stick.

Lessons:

- Symbols don't mean anything intrinsically: they have the meaning we assign to them.  It is no surprise some Christian symbols were used by pagans and there's nothing to apologize for.

- Similarities in things like shapes, styles of dress, habits (such as kneeling, praying, etc.) indicate nothing more than *coincidence* - obviously such things (circles, purple robes, beams of light, etc.) are simply *extremely common things* that pop up in all kinds of contexts.  To assert a close and intentional relationship between two belief systems because of such similarities is simply either stupidity or blind prejudice in action.

- If pagan religions resemble Christianity in any form (and they do!) it is either because the pagans borrowed from the true faith, because the True God planted a seed of the true faith in their culture, or because the Enemy did so for his own designs.

Thus, any Protestant (and, yes, self-styled "Bible Christians" are Protestants, since they reject the only Christian Church that existed for the first 15 centuries after Christ) who calls the Catholic Church "pagan" needs to look in mirror, for by any rational measure you and your religion are jus as "pagan".  But educated Christians know that the secularists' charge of "pagan origins" and "pagan corruption" holds no more water than that of the fundamentalists.  Similarities between ancient pagan religions and Catholicism do not mean Catholicism has been "paganized" any more than the similarities between paganism and even more basic Christian symbols, beliefs, and practices mean that *all* Christianity has been "paganized".  

The author of "Babylon Mystery Religion" - one of the main, original sources alleging the "paganizing" of Catholicism from which *many* fundamentalist authors have drawn - changed his mind after learning the facts, displaying his intellectual honesty - his honest search for truth.

If the Protestant finds *more* faux "paganism" in Catholicism that is only because *they are missing so much of Christianity*.  John notes in his gospel that Christ did and said many things that were not written down.  Paul commands his subjects to obey the oral Tradition he gave them.  Protestants, who reject oral Tradition, have no idea what these things are.  (In fact, as is clear from any holistic reading, the epistles are "occasional" in nature, specifically *not* covering the important things all Christians knew and did, but only there errors and the things they did *wrong*.  The facts from the documentation we have from the earliest Christian congregations is that they were Catholic in all respects - they celebrated Mass, they honored the mother of God, they prayed for their God; the seed at least of every Catholic doctrine and dogma was present since all originate with the apostles.  The honest seeker of truth who examines the material available will realize these things, as Cardinal Newman did.)

I'll repeat one long quote from Rev. Woodrow:

"My reason for pulling the original book out of print was quite basic: Citing similarities between Catholic practices and pagan practices proves nothing if there is no actual connection. One could take virtually anything—even McDonald’s golden arches—and do the same: The Encyclopedia Americana (article: "arch") says the use of arches was known in Babylon as early as 2020 B.C. As Babylon was called "the golden city" (Is. 14:4, KJV), can there be any doubt about the origin of the golden arches? As silly as this is, this is the type of proof that has been offered again and again about the supposed pagan origins of the Catholic Church.

It is the same method atheists use in seeking to discredit the Bible and Christianity altogether—not just the Catholic Church. By this method, one also could condemn Protestant and Evangelical denominations such as the Assemblies of God, Baptist, Church of Christ, Lutheran, Methodist and Nazarene: Basic things such as prayer and kneeling in prayer would have to be rejected, as pagans knelt and prayed to their gods. Water baptism would have to be rejected, for pagans had numerous rites involving water. The list could go on and on.

By this method, even the Bible would have to be rejected as pagan. All of the following practices or beliefs mentioned in the Bible were also known among pagans: raising hands in worship, taking off shoes on holy ground, a holy mountain, a holy place in a temple, offering sacrifices without blemish, a sacred ark, a city of refuge, bringing forth water from a rock, laws written on stone, fire appearing on a person’s head, horses of fire, the offering of first fruits, and tithes.

By this method, the Lord himself would be pagan. The woman called Mystery Babylon had a cup in her hand; the Lord has a cup in his hand (Ps. 75:8). Pagan kings sat on thrones and wore crowns; the Lord sits on a throne and wears a crown (Rev. 1:4; 14:14). Pagans worshiped the sun; the Lord is the "sun of righteousness" (Mal. 4:2). Pagan gods were likened to stars; the Lord is called "the bright morning star" (Rev. 22:16). Pagan gods had temples dedicated to them; the Lord has a temple (Rev. 7:15). Pagan gods were pictured with wings; the Lord is pictured with wings (Ps. 91:4)."

In contrast to Rev. Woodrow, anyone who *does* learn the facts of the matter and still insists that the Catholic Church has been "corrupted by paganism" is either incapable of intelligent reasoning (that is, mentally handicapped) or dishonest - period.