Random Quote #23 topic: atheism, Wayne Aiken's atheism cookie file
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"Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. The Greek mind
dying, came to a tranmigrated life in the theology and liturgy of the
Church; the Greek language, having reigned for centuries over philosophy,
became the vehicle of Christian literature and ritual; the Greek mysteries
passed down into the impressive mystery of the Mass. Other pagan cultures
contributed to the syncretist result. From Egypt came the ideas of a divine
trinity, the Last Judgement, and a personal immortality of reward and
punishment; from Egypt the adoration of the Mother and Child, and the mystic
theosophy that made Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, and obscured the Christian
creed; there, too, Christian moanasticism would find itsw exemplars and its
source. From Phrygia came the worship of the Great Mother; from Syria the
resurrection drama of Adonis; from Thrace, perhaps the cult of Dionysus, the
dying and saving god. From Persia came millennarianism, the "ages of the
world," the "final conflagration," the dualism of Satan and God, of Darkness
and Light; already in the Forth Gospel Christ is the "Light shining in the
darkness, and the darkness has never put it out." The Mithraic ritual so
closely resemled the eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass that Christian fathers
charged the Devil with inventing these similarities to mislead frail minds.
Christianity was the last great creation of the ancient pagan world."
[Will and Ariel Durant, _The Story of Civilization_]



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