With the slow but inevitable demise of the Christian faith more thinking people, in this enlightened age, start to question the shaky foundations upon which Christianity is based, more people are displaying an increasing interest in Paganism and other ancient cults as an alternative to the faith that has failed humankind.

As Vanessa Walker, Religious Affairs writer, observed in the Weekend Australian, “Christianity seems to be locked in a battle for dominance with the neopagan beliefs, in a contest that harks back to the establishment of the church 2000 years ago”.

Between 1996 and 2001, according to the Australian Census, Paganism grew by 144 percent and witchcraft, which the church wrongly condemned as devil worship, grew by a whopping 373 percent. Speaking personally, it was heartening to see the number of people who called themselves atheists grow by 256 percent during the same period.

And the church should be worried. There is now a steady ground swell of curiosity (call it a quiet revolution) about the origins of Christianity. More New-Age seekers are throwing off the yoke of superstition, for that’s what belief in heaven and hell is, and studying the pagan mysteries that preceded the Christian faith and which, incidentally, produced some of the greatest philosophers and intellectuals of the time.

Of course, there have always been the dissenters since the time of the Renaissance but in recent times, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient documents that have come to light, it has set in motion an irreversible quest for knowledge of ancient beliefs, the like of which has not been seen since the invention of Christianity in 325.

Recently, Time magazine published an article entitled THE LOST GOSPELS – Early texts that never made it into the bible. It contained a review of Bart Ehrman’s book, LOST CHRISTIANITIES – The battle for scriptures and the faiths we never knew. This provocative work gives prominence to the early church fathers who had the temerity to select scriptures acceptable to their own selfish agenda and deny future generations access to the many other texts they banned and burned – too numerous to mention here. Now, at the time of writing, SBS is screening a three part documentary: “Who wrote the New Testament?” Well, we can rest assured it is not the Word of God! Nor was it penned by any of the illiterate apostles, even though the church would have us believe otherwise. What we do know, from erudite scholarship, is that they were penned by unknown authors with the epithets, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, who wrote the Jesus story to accord with the political climate of the region in which they lived and many years after Jesus’ demise.

So these four conflicting gospels became the foundation for the faith bequeathed to us today and which, at long last, is under scrutiny. Perhaps more important than who wrote them is that the biggest secret has come to light – a secret with far-reaching consequences – that has been hushed up by the church since 325AD when Constantine changed the Sabbath day to the pagan Sun-Day and proclaimed Jesus the Son of God. And here lies the clue!

The Jesus myth is the culmination of a long line of ‘god men’ reaching back 1000 years or more. It was preceded by Attis in Asia Minor, Adonis in Syria, Anion in Alexandria, Dionysus in Greece, Osiris in Egypt and Mithras in Persia from whence the (pagan) Three Wise Men came, as well as Paul of Tarsus. It was he who was primarily responsible for amalgamating the pagan myths with the Jesus legend.

We can reach even further back in antiquity to India where the Christ myth had its beginnings. All were born of a virgin mother purportedly on 25 December, baptised, died and subsequently resurrected on the third day. The similarities are overwhelming.

The question that may now arise is: “Why are people in this day and age turning to the Pagan mysteries? After all, are they not just substituting one myth for another? In actual fact, there is no comparison. There is an enormous distinction between Christian and Pagan beliefs. Paganism was a philosophy, a virtuous way of life and its protagonists were purely mythological identities. In contrast, Jesus is presented in the church as an historical being who walked the earth, performing fairy tale miracles that the faithful fully believed and still believe.

Professor Ian Plimer of the University of Melbourne couldn’t have summed it up better when he stated: “There is such an overwhelming volume of verifiable information from history, archaeology and even geology to show that Christianity is just another superstition clinging onto myths stolen from other cultures.”

For those who would like to research the ‘Pagan Connection’ further, a growing number of books are available, not the least the Sunday Times top ten bestseller The Jesus Mysteries by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, The Truth Behind the Christ Myth by Mark Pinkham, The Christ Conspiracy by Acharya S, Pagan and Christian Creeds by Edward Carpenter, Pagan Christs by JM Robertson and finally, the highly readable booklet Myths of Modern Religion by Steve Cooper who states: “Personal maturity and integrity cannot be found in religion, mainly because faith in religion constitutes a permanent state of childish dependence on something or a person outside the self.”

By Tony Lee