Choose a topic from Vol 3:


Reason proves God's existence
Primitive monotheism
Mystery of God's inner nature
Personality of God
Providence of God and the problem of evil


Immortal destiny of man
Can earth give true happiness?
Do human souls evolve?
Is transmigration possible?
Animal souls
Freedom of will
Free will and faith


Religion and God
The duty of prayer
The mysteries of religion
Can we believe in miracles?

The Religion of the Bible

Historical character of the Gospels
Canonical Books of the Bible
Original Manuscripts
Copyists' errors
Truth of the Bible
New Testament "contradictions"

The Christian Religion

Christianity alone true
Not the product of religious experience
Compared with Buddhism, Confucianism, Mahometanism, Bahaism, etc.,
Rejected by modern Jews
The demand for miracles
The necessity of faith
Difficulties not doubts
Proofs available
Dispositions of unbelievers

A Definite Christian Faith

One religion not as good as another
Changing one's religion
Catholic convictions and zeal
Religious controversy
The curse of bigotry
Towards a solution

The Problem of Reunion

Efforts at the reunion of the Churches
The Church of England as a "Bridge-Church"
Anglicans and the Greek Orthodox Church
The "Old Catholics" of Holland
Reunion Conferences
Catholic Unity
The Papacy as reunion center
Protestant hostility to Catholicism
The demands of charity

The Truth of Catholicism

Necessity of the Church
The true Church
Catholic claim absolute
A clerical hierarchy
Papal Supremacy
Temporal Power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Catholic attitude to converts
Indefectible Apostolicity
Necessity of becoming a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic belief in the Bible
Bible-reading and private interpretation
Value of Tradition and the "Fathers"
Guidance of the Church necessary

The Dogmas of the Catholic Church

Dogmatic certainty
Credal statements
Faith and reason
The voice of science
Fate of rationalists
The dogma of the Trinity
Creation and evolution
The existence of angels
Evil spirits or devils
Man's eternal destiny
The fact of sin
Nature and work of Christ
Mary, the mother of God
Grace and salvation
The sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
Man's death and judgment
Resurrection of the body
End of the World

Moral Teachings of the Catholic Church

Catholic intolerance
The Spanish Inquisition
Prohibition of Books
Liberty of worship
Forbidden Socieities
Church attendance
The New Psychology
Deterministic philosophy
Marriage Legislation
Birth Prevention
Monastic Life
Convent Life
Legal defense of murderers
Laywers and divorce proceedings
Judges in Divorce
Professional secrecy

The Church in Her Worship

Why build churches?
Glamor of ritual
The "Lord's Prayer"
Pagan derivations
Liturgical symbolism
Use of Latin
Intercession of Mary and the Saints

The Church and Social Welfare

The Church and Education
The Social Problem
Social Duty of the Church
Catholicism and Capitalism

Pagan derivations

1289. Catholics stand for all that is false and hypocritical, borrowing the dregs of all that is superstitious in heathen ritual and ceremony, and putting them to the basest uses.

Your judgment is so erroneous that you are not only inadequately informed, you are quite wrongly informed. Moreover, I must call your attention to one point. When you say that others stand for what is false and drawn from heathen ritual, it is possible that you accuse them only of being mistaken. And that is not necessarily a violation of charity, whatever the worth of your verdict. But when you accuse them of being hypocrites, and of putting their religion to the basest uses, you accuse them of malice and deliberate wickedness. Such charges are unpardonable, and indicate evil dispositions on your part towards your fellow men. Not honest mistakes, but such evil dispositions are the cause of war and discord in this world. And the greatest contribution to peace is to put aside such ill will, and to learn a polite, charitable, and tolerant attitude towards those from whom you happen to differ in outlook.

1290. How do you explain the fact that all your ceremonies are pagan in nature and origin?

That is not a fact, and therefore I have not to explain it as if it were a fact.

1291. The proof is clear. Catholics use a Rosary for repeating prayers. So do the people of India.

The devotion of the Rosary is Christian in nature and origin, and is unknown to pagans, Indian or otherwise. Pagans may use beads and repeat prayers, but this has no more connection with the Rosary than the fact that they wear sandals has a connection with the fact that you wear boots. A practice which is naturally helpful religiously will naturally suggest itself quite independently both to men who have the wrong religion and to those who have the right religion. And to this diversity of origin, the diversity of the religions will give an entirely different nature and significance.

1292. Catholics worship Mary and her Child; Hindoos worship Lankhria, Queen of Heaven, and her Son, Devi, King of Heaven.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. You understand neither the Catholic religion nor the Hindu religion. And you are not, therefore, in a position to compare them. It is true that we Catholics worship Jesus as God. We do not worship Mary as a goddess.Your statement of the Hindu teaching is equally astray. The ancient Hindu or Vedic religion taught straight-out pantheism. In reality one alone exists-Brahman. The thought that anything else exists is illusion.Five centuries after the birth of Christ a new Hindu sect arose called the Tautrikas or Saktas. They taught a subordinate god named Siva, gave him a wife named Durga, and declared that she was identical with him and in no way different from him. She was worshipped as a goddess, though identical with Siva the god! The Hindu sect made her supreme, because they said she was the "power" of Siva, the active side of his nature. This Durga was called Devi, which means "the" goddess. How can you make Devi the King of Heaven, when the very word means "the" goddess? Any ordinary encyclopedia would tell you that, in Hindu mythology, Devi was regarded as a goddess, and not King of Heaven or of anywhere else. Nor have these Indian mythological characters any historical reality such as all the world acknowledges in the case of Christ and His mother, Mary.

1293. Concerning the origin of "Easter Day." Ancient secular history records the origin of the vernal or spring equinox feast as being in existence for centuries before the Christian era.

The existence of a spring equinox feast centuries before the Christian era has nothing whatever to do with the origin of "Easter Day." The argument from superficial similarities to causal connection teems with fallacies. One might as well say, "As regards the origin of swimming in the Domain baths, history shows that people used to swim in the river Ganges centuries before Australia was discovered." Did we therefore Build the Domain baths because people used to swim in the Ganges some centuries ago? The celebration of festivals is as natural to man as to wash. Again, where religion is concerned, it is not the act which counts, but the motive and intention. A feast in honor of springtime is not the same thing as a feast which is in honor of something else, and which merely happens to occur during the spring season. Ancient celebrations of spring equinox feasts contained no trace of the significance of the Christian Easter.

1294. In the Babylonian Mythology we read that a large egg fell from heaven into the river Euphrates, and out came the goddess "Ishtar" or "Easter," and hence the egg became the symbol of Astarte, or Ishtar.

In the first place, the word "Easter" has no connection with the name of "Ishtar" the goddess of the Babylonians. The word "Easter" is an Anglo-Saxon word from the Teutonic "Eostre," an ancient German goddess of light. To think that "Easter" and "Ishtar" are synonyms because they have a remote resemblance in sound is simply a barbarism. From an etymological point of view one would have a better case in trying to trace the origin of the Christian Easter to ancient German mythology than to that of the ancient Babylonians. But even that would not work. Not only because the significance of the Christian Easter is not to be found in German mythology, but because the feast designated by the word Easter existed long before that term was applied to it. "Easter" is but an Anglo-Saxon designation of a feast observed by Christians from the very beginning, and by Christians who had never heard the word, and who would not have recognized the Anglo-Saxon method of alluding to it. The early Christians knew "Easter" as "Paschal" time. And the Greek word "Pascha" was derived from the Hebrew word, "Pesach," meaning "passover." The Christian liturgy adopted the feast from the Jewish religion, because the Paschal feast in that religion was prophetic of Christianity. The Paschal lamb slain by the Jews was typical of Christ, and as Christ died on the Jewish Paschal day, or as we say in English "Easter" day, that day has been retained. And it happens to fall in the spring season. Babylonian mythology had nothing to do with this, and Christians had no idea of honoring spring, any more than they thought of dishonoring summer, autumn, or winter.

1295. So from Babylon of old the egg has always been associated with the festival of Easter. Buns also figured in the Babylonian rites, as they do now.

Eggs and buns were certainly usual symbols in use at springtime long before Christianity came on the scene. The egg was a symbol of germinating life, and buns symbolized the fruits of the earth. Since Easter happened to occur in the springtime, those symbols were in use amongst the pagans of early ages precisely when Christians were celebrating Easter. And as those symbols were as harmless as the lifting of one's hat to symbolize reverence towards a lady friend, the Church allowed converted pagans to retain the custom of eggs and buns. But the essential significance of Easter as representing the fulfillment of Jewish Paschal predictions in Christ was absolutely foreign to their paganism. And an entirely new symbolism was given to their simple habits of feasting on eggs and buns. No longer did these things symbolize any religious devotion to "Ishtar" the goddess of spring, but they now symbolized the new life won for humanity by the resurrection of Christ, and the fact that He is the bread of our true, supernatural, and eternal life.

1296. The observance of the Easter festival was introduced into the Roman Church in order to conciliate the pagans to nominal Christianity.

That is sheer nonsense. The Easter festival originated with the Church herself and was a legitimate continuation of the Jewish Paschal season. It would be interesting were people, fond of glib assertions, to give the date when their supposed additions to Christianity were made. Eusebius quotes a controversy in the time of Pope St. Victor in the year 190 as to the right day for the celebration of Easter. St. Irenaeus shows a diversity of practice in the time of Pope Sixtus, about the year 120. The feast was in existence then, or there could not have grown up diversity of usages in different places. St. Irenaeus also mentions that St. Polycarp kept Easter on the 14th of Nisan, clinging rigidly to the Jewish date, and claiming that he was following the custom of St. John the Apostle, whose disciple he had been. The idea that the feast was introduced in order to conciliate pagans to nominal Christianity is just wild extravagance. The feast was not introduced to conciliate pagans; its Christian significance and utter repudiation of all pagan Ishtar-worship could not have conciliated them in any case; and such pagans as were converted were not invited to become nominal Christians. The early ages of the Church were not the times for nominal Christians. The invitation to become a Christian was practically an invitation to martyrdom.

1297. The Church, pursuing its usual methods, took measures to get the Christian and pagan festivals amalgamated.

No Christian and pagan festivals were amalgamated. The Church followed her usual methods in tolerating harmless practices to which pagans were attached provided they renounced and repudiated all pagan significance. If I converted a pagan today who attached a religious significance to the growing of a beard, I would demand that he renounce his religious idea, but I would not order him to shave. Things pagan of their very nature the Church forbade absolutely.

1298. By a complicated and skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter in general to get paganism and Christianity - now far sunk in idolatry - to shake hands.

That is sheer nonsense. No adjustment of the calendar was made in order to get paganism and Christianity to shake hands. Paganism and Christianity could no more mix than oil and water. The Jewish calendar and the Roman calendar were based on different calculations and the exigencies of daily life demanded an adjustment. But this had nothing to do with the conciliation of pagans. The assertion that Christianity was "now far sunk in idolatry" is outrageous. Easter was there from the beginning, and Christians were dying by thousands because they would not sacrifice to the gods of Rome, and hated idolatry in all its forms. Professor Harnack, the great German Protestant scholar, says that "the unreasonable method of collecting from the mythology of all peoples parallels for original Church traditions whether historical reports or legends, is valueless."

1299. The Lenten fast of 40 days was also observed by these pagans before the Christian Church was polluted by the introduction of pagan idolatry.

The Christian Church was not polluted by the introduction of idolatry. No pagans ever observed any fast similar to the Lenten fast in preparation for Christ's death. The idea of fasting in expiation of sin is, of course, as old as sin itself; and therefore as old as humanity. If men get on to the wrong track in their religious ideas, they will offer propitiation to wrong deities. But that does not prove anything wrong with the basic idea of expiating sin by mortification and fasting.

1300. As Hislop says in "The Two Babylons," p. 104: "The forty days' abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess."

That is pure imagination, Christ Himself predicted that when He was gone, His disciples and followers would fast. St. Paul advised Christians to work out their salvation in prayer and patience, in watchings and fastings. At first fasting was left to the discretion of individual Christians. Regular fasting imposed by the discipline of the Church began first in Gaul in the second century, not in the East at all; and it had no connection with any Babylonian mythology. Diversity of practices sprang up, and the Church finally decreed the forty days' fast of Lent for the sake of uniformity. And she chose "forty" days in honor of the forty days' fast endured by Christ prior to His public life and in remembrance of the forty years spent by the Jews in the desert before they entered the promised land. As they endured suffering before attaining to the joy of possession, so Lent is a period of suffering in preparation for the joy of the resurrection of Christ. There is nothing like this in any mythology.

1301. Is it true that the first Catholic missionaries to Mexico were astonished to find there among the pagan Aztecs all the ceremonial elements of their own religion?

It is true that they were astonished by many of the external similarities which the naturally evolved religion of the Aztecs had in common with their own true Catholic religion. But this merely shows that the Catholic religion is adapted to human needs, as it should be. Meantime, the dissimilarities were far more striking than the similarities; and the similarities were almost entirely external, the Aztec rites having a significance quite different from that of Christianity.

1302. There was the same story of the flood and the same symbol of the Cross.

That is not true. The superficial judgment of rationalists is not borne out by a scientific study of the comparative religions. The tradition of a flood amongst the Aztecs was not the same story as that of the Bible; and although a cross figured in their religious ritual, it had nothing like the symbolism of mankind's redemption by Christ. The idea of the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and of our redemption by the sufferings of Christ, was quite unknown to the Aztecs.

1303. They had the same consecration and ritual eating of the flesh of God, but made of maize instead of wheat.

That also is untrue. The Aztecs worshipped the sun as a god, and believed that the sun lived on human hearts. They offered human sacrifices to their solar god, the priest cutting out the heart of a living human victim, and holding it up towards the sun. Then the flesh of the human victim was eaten under the fancy that, since it had been offered to the sun-god, it had become part of him; and that by eating it the participants would be identified with their god also. When living human victims were scarce, the Aztecs used to make models of victims of dough, and eat the models instead. The resemblance to the Christian consecration of the Holy Eucharist, and its reception in Holy Communion, is vague in the extreme.

1304. The Aztecs had baptism in which the head and lips were touched with water so that the recipient might be cleansed and born again to a new life.

Such terms are due to efforts to read a Christian significance into pagan rites. The Aztecs had purification rites in which water was used, as so many other religions prompted by natural human instincts. There is nothing surprising in that. But in no sense was this cleansing ritual anything like Baptism in the Christian sense of the word. The Aztecs knew nothing of the supernatural and spiritual life of grace such as that given by Christ.

1305. The good priests were astonished, because they believed their own Christian religion to be unique and entirely new.

They were not astonished from that point of view. They were astonished, as I have said, by many of the external rites of the Aztecs. But they had to convert the Aztecs from the worship of many pagan deities, abolish their murderous human sacrifices to the sun, wean them from innumerable superstitions, and win them to faith in doctrines entirely new to the Aztecs, and undoubtedly unique. Not for a moment were the good missionaries astounded by any thought that the Aztecs might have the same religion as that which they themselves had brought to American shores.

1306. But they need not have been astonished for, like that of the Aztecs, their religion took shape in the archaic civilization.

That is an entirely gratuitous assumption, for which there is not a trace of evidence. This effort to reduce the pagan Aztec religion and Christianity to a common source is born of the rationalist desire to reduce Christianity to the level of merely natural religions. But there is a complete lack of evidence as to whence the primitive Aztec religion was drawn; and there is positive evidence that the religion taught by Christ was certainly not an eclectic religion built up from other more primitive religions. His teaching was quite different in kind from any other religious teaching hitherto existent; and the mass of historical facts guaranteeing the claims of Christ, and the divine origin of His doctrine are not so easily dismissed as rationalists with their sweeping generalizations imagine.

1307. Not only our religious rites, but the whole foundation of our daily life we owe to the people of Egypt, Sumera, and the Indus Valley.

The value of that assertion is completely dependent on the value of the proof that can be advanced in favor of it. And no proof of any kind is given for it, or can be given. On the other hand definite proof is available to demonstrate that the doctrine of Christ was directly the revelation of God as He Himself claimed. It was no new synthesis of ancient teachings derived from Jewish, Greek, Latin, Egyptian, Indian, and other sources. Similarities between Christianity and other religions have been invented or hopelessly exaggerated. That there have been some real similarities is undoubtedly true. It would be astonishing if they did not exist, since all religions have some idea of communicating with an invisible world, and symbolic expression is as natural to man as language itself. But similarity does not prove connection or derivation.



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