In this paper it will be shown that the mystery-religions helped to clear the pathway for the Christianization of the Greco-Roman world by men such as Paul the Apostle. Also, the Emperor Constantine during whose reign the mystery-religions declined and Christianity became the major religion of Europe and the near east will be mentioned.
The place and time in which Christianity developed was characterized by change and confusion in all areas of life. Philosophical and especially religious questions were not being answered by the traditional systems. Right from the conquest of Alexander the Great to the establishment of Christianity as the state religion by Constantine, the ancient world sought these answers in the mystery-religions, independent groups worshipping in new and experimental ways. Christianity grew into the midst of this world.
Christianity, normally thought of as having grown out of Judaism, grew also out of religious and philosophical beliefs that were popular in the world into which it was born. In fact, many of the most important characteristics of early Christianity were nearly identical to those of Greek and Roman mystery-religions. Also the ideas of trinity, forgiveness of sins, and the Eucharist of bread and wine were not original to Christianity but had been present in Greek and Roman religion for at least the first few centuries before Christ. This suggests that Christianity may have a much larger heritage than the one it has always claimed. Despite its Jewish origins, Christianity seems to have a hidden history filled with pagan influences.
Other resurrection stories abound in the mystery-religions. Albert Pike writes that the followers of Mithras believed that the god “had by means of his suffering secured their salvation” (406). The notion of resurrection expressed in these stories is not the one expressed in the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of...