Paganism is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christianity for populations of the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, either because they were increasingly rural and provincial relative to the Christian population or because they were not soldiers of Christ. Alternate terms in Christian texts for the same group were hellene and gentile.
Gentile or in the Greek is the word ethnos which means those from another nation or people. Christianity was a way of life. It was a way to come together in free assemblies, where those who ministered to the daily ministration of the people did not exercise authority one over the other. Their national welfare was provided by charity through a network of these free assemblies and the servant ministers they chose to contribute to.
Religion in those days was not just what you thought about God or a supreme being. Most "pagan" religions in the Roman empire at the time of the rise of Christianity were heavily dependent upon government support which came through taxation. This was all a part of the Imperial Cult of Rome. Christians practiced Pure Religion and were often persecuted because they would not participate in the Corban type systems of social welfare which Christ condemned as making the word of God to none effect.
Rome chose over time to care for their needy through governments that exercised authority one over the other. The election of rulers and their popularity often depended on the amount of benefits they could bestow on the people. Men like Polybius, who might be called a pagan, predicted before the birth of Jesus Christ and John the Baptist that as long as "The masses continue with an appetite for benefits and the habit of receiving them by way of a rule of force and violence [and] ... having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others ...[would] massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch." 
“I'll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.” ― Herman Melville
Many suggest the modern Christian practices and holidays like Christmas and Easter are derived from a number of the ancient holidays, rituals and customs of ancient religions. This is often labeled as paganism. Likewise, the Sunday vs Sabbath debate which has been a great controversy in the separation of people by denominations. But what are the essential differences between the ways of Christ and the early Church vs the rejected ideologies of paganism and its religions?
What was the Christian conflict in the days when paganism reigned?
- Christ complained about their Corban and the burdens they and their lawyers put on the people.
- He did not want the people praying to the Fathers of the earth.
- He did not want them to be like the men who called themselves Benefactors but exercised authority one over the other.
- He wanted the people to actively love one another by being doers of the word while seeking the righteousness of God, attending to the weightier matters and pursuing the kingdom of God.
Modern Paganism—also known as Contemporary Paganism or Neopaganism—is a term for movements claiming to be derived from the various historical pagan beliefs. They are certainly diverse with no single set of beliefs, practices or texts.
As an example, groups like The Pagan Federation International are open to a wide variety of pagan denominations claiming "Pagans may be trained in particular traditions or they may follow their own inspiration. Paganism is not dogmatic. Pagans pursue their own vision of the Divine as a direct and personal experience."
Even the pagans saw that it was "essential to create a network of like-minded people who shared common aims. The second major focus ... was to put Pagans in touch with each other, so that they could share views and meet and talk. A nationwide network, now run by over 40 Regional Coordinators and numerous local organisers, has been put in place so that members can meet and work together for the benefit of Paganism in general."
Their three principles of membership include "Love for and Kinship with Nature", "A positive morality, in which the individual is responsible... [which] is often expressed as 'Do what you will, as long as it harms none'" and the "Recognition of the Divine... both the female and male aspect of Deity."
"The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food." Dean Ornish
People often like to feel they belong to something or some group. But what kind of community fellowship are you seeking?
The personal Philosophy "Do what you will" can be a very popular approach to religion or life, especially with the personal right to determine what "no harm" means. Doing no harm requires a moral judgement of what can be labeled good and evil.
Societies are not bound just by the idea that we should do "no harm" but by care when it is the goal of every-man to do right by one another. It is the pursuit of the righteous care for others that produces a strong, healthy and free society.
"Individuals can resist injustice, but only a community can do justice." James J. Corbett
There were numerous prohibitions in Christianity if you were to be considered a true followers of Christ. The religion of Christians was not just what you think about God nor just claiming particular set of beliefs in God and Christ. God hates the deeds of the Nicolaitan and Christ made it clear that you had to be a Doer of the word and not just a hearer. Peter, Paul, James and Johnall warned the New Covenant Church that what they were doing and not doing would reveal the truth of their claim to faith. Paul warned people to test their faith to make sure they were not deceived.
Even John warns that we need to walk according to what Jesus showed us and confess our sins if we are to be cleansed of unrighteousness. John even gives the keeping of the commandments as the rod by which we measure the truth of our faith. And those who do not keep the commandments are a liar and Christ is not in them. Over and over John repeats that he that "doeth not righteousness" is not born again of Christ and the Father. And John warns us that we may not only be deceived but may deceive ourselves  warning us of the many false teachers who are "out in the world".
The Bible from the beginning warns and continues those warnings throughout the New Testament that many will be decieved thinking they are believers while in truth they are workers of iniquity. Because these warnings are ignored by the modern Church, the welfare of a foolish society has become a snare.
- “It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.”
What makes paganism bad is not the rituals of their holidays or the metaphors in their allegories which they glean from nature but it is their sloth in the pursuit of the weightier matters, their covetous practices instead of a practice of pure religion, their persistent taking a bite out of one another and, of course, their general unforgiveness which divides people into denominations of judgement and self-righteousness.
If we do not forgive them their holidays and superstitions how will we ever teach them about the way of Christ who never talked about those things but did talk about striving for righteousness in our giving and forgiving.
Piso and the Flavian Myth
Caesar's Messiah is a 2006 book of speculative non-fiction by Joseph Atwill, which argues that the New Testament Gospels were written as wartime propaganda by scholars connected to the Roman imperial court of the Flavian emperors: Vespasian, Titus and Domitian.
The Joseph Atwill's Piso/Flavian theory falls apart as soon as you find out what the character and mission of men like Moses and Jesus really was. They agreed with each other but the Pharisees did not agree with Jesus because they did not know him.
Most of the early Church were actually Jews. Like the Church in the wilderness they were actually performing services for the people cast out of the Corban of Judea which Jesus had strongly objected to.
Or why would they write that James said "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation." James 5:12
These prohibitions against oaths and swearing would not be a part of the Flavian policies since an "Oath of Fidelity" was required by Vespasian, Titus and Domitian.
During the Second Persecution, under Domitian, A.D. 81, persecutions among the Christians would bring death by order of their magistrates who commonly were addressed as gods required a "test oath" to prove innocents. Modern Christians do not know why they called these men gods. Likewise, modern Christians don't understand who their actual gods are today.
It is only a lack of understanding of Jesus and The Way that allows anyone to accept Atwill's premise of a Flavian authorship. If Modern Christians would fully repent and seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness with their whole heart, mind and soul they could not be seduced by the falsehoods and misdirection of Atwill and others.
Joseph Atwill also claims that there are dozens of parallels between the Gospels and the history of Titus and his military. This requires a huge stretch of imagination. They prove nothing but the desperate hope of selling more books.
Atwill and his followers mix facts and ignore others. They fail to explain the well-documented activities of early Christians who were well known Historical characters and what they were doing. They mislead people about the persecutions of Christians and seem ignorant of the court issue that got peaceful people executed by the tens of thousands.
The makers of the film Zeitgeist try to make comparisons with many other characters of ancient history to prove Jesus was a fictional character but the sources and information they present as fact are more often incorrect or entirely fictional.
Many people are quick to jump on board their thesis for a variety of reasons but the whole truth reveals they are confused and dependent upon speculation and leaps of logic.
“Sometimes the best way to learn a lesson isn't just hearing the words, but putting it into practice by experimenting with it and finding its truth for yourself instead of taking someone else’s word for it.” ― A.J. Darkholme, Rise of the Morningstar
They are right that pagan ideas crept into what began posing as Christianity after Flavius Salerus Constantinus's First Council of Nicaea that attracted only a small number of Bishops who convened in Nicaea in Bithynia.
The people advocating that the Flavians created Christianity are mixing the creation of the Church of Flavius Salerus Constantinus with real Christians.
A thousand years later during centuries of inquisitions the Church created by Constantinus would murder millions of real Christians who were a living Church practicing Pure Religion. If people had been taught the truth about the Gospel of the Kingdom and the reason for the Christian conflict Atwill's suggestion that rebellious and violent Christians were persecuted would be seen as patently false.
Early Christians were practicing Private welfare instead of Public religion. It was the Public religion which involves the Covetous Practices that made men Merchandise and curses their children with debt.
"Fortunately for serious minds, a bias recognized is a bias sterilized." Benjamin Haydon
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)
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- Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets [were] until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
- Polybius: The Histories (composed at Rome around 130 BC)
- “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:10, 11
- 2 Peter 2:14 "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; curse children:"
- 2 Peter 2:3 "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not."
- 2 Timothy 3:1 ¶ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. 10 ¶ But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
- Ephesians 5:1 ¶ Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 ¶ But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
- "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1 Galatians 5:15 "But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."
- 1 Corinthians 6:9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
- James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
- James 5:12 ¶ But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and [your] nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
- 1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
- 1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
- 1 John 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
- 2 John 1:4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
- 2 John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
- 3 John 1:3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth... 11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
- 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?(The word reprobate is from adokimos meaning not standing the test, not approved) But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
- 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- 1 John 2:3 ¶ And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
- 1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
- 1 John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
- 1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
- 1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
- 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
- 1 John 4:1 ¶ Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
- Exodus 23:32, 34:12-15, 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 13:8, 17:16, Judges 2:2, 1 Samuel 8; 13:13, Proverbs 1:10-19, Proverbs 23, Psalms 69:22. See also Ezekiel 11:3-11, Micah 3:3; Exodus 16:3.
- Matthew 6:9, 23:9, 5:34... 20:25, Mark 10:42, Luke 4:18, 22:25, 1 Corinthians 7:21, 2 Corinthians 6:16, James 5:12, 1 Peter 2:16, Romans 7:7, 13:9, 11:9, Colossians 3:5, Hebrews 13:5, 2 Peter 2:3-14, 2 Peter 2:19, 2 Timothy 2:26,1:1, 9
- 1 Samuel 13:13
- Frederic Bastiat, 1801 – 1850, French theorist, political economist.
- Matthew 5:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: city of the great King. 36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.