The God-Idea of the Ancients (or Sex in Religion)
By Eliza Burt Gamble
Public Domain Books
Chapter XIV. Christianity a Continuation of Paganism–(Continued)
From the facts recorded in the foregoing pages, we have seen that true Christianity was but a continuation of that great movement which was begun in Persia seven or eight centuries before, and whose gathering strength had been emphasized by the humane doctrines set forth in the various schools of Greek philosophy.
In the first century of the Christian era may be observed among various sects, notably the Gnostics, a desire to popularize the teachings of an ancient race, and to accentuate those principles which had been taught by Buddha, Pythagoras, the Stoic philosophers, the Roman jurisconsults and others. In other words the object of the new religion was to stimulate the altruistic characters which had been developed during the evolutionary processes, and to strengthen and encourage the almost forgotten principles of justice and personal liberty upon which early society was founded, but which through ages of sensuality and selfishness had been denied expression.
When we remember the tenacity with which the human mind clings to established beliefs and forms, it is not perhaps singular that in a comparatively short time these principles were lost sight of, and that the entire system of corrupt paganism, with Christ as the New Solar Deity, was reinstated; neither is it remarkable, when we reflect upon the length of time required to bring about any appreciable change in human thought and action, that the principles which this Great Teacher enunciated are at the present time only just beginning to be understood.
To one who carefully studies the history of Christianity by the light of recently developed truths, the fact will doubtless be discovered that the fundamental difference existing between Catholic and Protestant sects is grounded in the old feud arising out of the relative importance of the sex-principles. From the days of Zoroaster to the final establishment of Christianity by Paul, the tendency–although slight–had been toward the elevation of woman, and consequently toward a greater acknowledgment of the female element in the god-idea. Considerable impetus was given to the cause of woman’s advancement through the doctrines of the various schools of philosophy in Greece, and subsequently by the efforts put forth by the Roman lawyers to establish their equality with men before the law; hence, during the first hundred years of the Christian era the “new religion” seems to have contained much of the spirit of the ancient philosophy.
By several of the early Christian sects, the second person in the trinity was female, as was also the Holy Ghost.
In a “fragment of a gospel preserved by St. Jerome, and believed to have been from the original Aramaean Gospel of St. Matthew, with additions, the Holy Ghost (ruach), which in Hebrew is feminine, is called by the infant Savior, ’My Mother, the Holy Ghost.’ “
 Barlow, Essays on Symbolism, p. 135.
The mission of Christ was that of a Regenerator of mankind, an office which had been symbolized by the powers of the sun. He was to restore that which was lost. He attempted to teach to the masses of the people the long neglected principles of purity and peace. He did not condemn woman. He was baptized by John (Ion or Yon) in water, the original symbol for the female element, and while in the water; the Holy Ghost in form of a dove (female) descended upon him. To those who have given attention to the symbolism of the pagan worship these facts are not without signification.
Because of the peculiar tendency of Christ’s teachings women soon became active factors in their promulgation. If there were no other evidence to show that they publicly taught the new doctrines, the injunction of St. Paul, “I suffer not a woman to teach,” would seem to imply that they were not silent.
The doctrines of the Gnostics were particularly favorable to women. Marcellina, who belonged to this order, was the founder of a sect called Marcelliens. Of her works Waite observes: “It would scarcely be expected that the heretical writings of a woman would be preserved amid such wholesale slaughter of the obnoxious works of the opposite sex. The writings of Marcellina have perished." Not only did women teach publicly, and write, but according to Bunsen they claimed the privilege of baptizing their own sex. The reason for this is evident. Before baptism it was customary for the newly-made converts to strip and be anointed with oil. After the establishment of Paul’s doctrines, however, “the bishops and presbyters did not care to be relieved from the pleasant duty of baptizing the female converts."
 History of the Christian Religion, p. 405.
 Ibid., p. 23.
Although the utmost care has been exercised to conceal the fact that women equally with men, performed the offices connected with the early church, yet by those who have paid attention to the true history of this movement, there can be no doubt about the matter. Notwithstanding the early tendencies of the “new religion” toward the recognition of women, and toward the restoration of the female principle in the Deity, the policy to be pursued by the church was soon apparent, for Paul, the real founder of the system calling itself Christian, and a man imbued with Asiatic prejudices concerning women, arrogantly declared that “man is the head of woman as Christ is the head of the Church.” Women were commanded to be under obedience. Neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man; thus was re-established and emphasized the absurd doctrine of the Lingaites, that the male is an independent entity, that he is spirit and superior to the female which is matter. After this indication of the policy to be pursued under the new regime, it would scarcely be expected that theefforts put forth by the various sects among the Gnostics toreinstate the female element either on the earth or in heavenwould be successful, and as might be anticipated from the factsalready adduced, as early as the year 325, at the council of Nice, a male trinity was formally established, and soon thereafter, the Collylidians, a sect which rigorously persisted in the adoration of the female principle, were condemned. At the council of Laodicea, A.D. 365, the 11th canon forbade the ordination of women for the ministry and the 44th canon prohibited them from entering the altar.
The devotees of female worship, although for a time silenced, were evidently not convinced, and to force their understanding into conformity with the newly established order, the Nestorians, in the year 430 A. D., reopened the old dispute, and formally denied to Mary the title of Mother of God. Their efforts, however, were of little avail, for in the year 451, at the council of Ephesus, the third general council, the decision of the Nestorians was reversed and the Virgin Mother reinstated. Upon this subject Barlow remarks: “Well might those who made this symbolical doctrine what it now is, at length desire to do tardy justice to the female element, by promoting the mother to the place once occupied by the Egyptian Neith, and crowning her Queen of Heaven." The fact will doubtless be observed, however, that by the Romish Church the idea of the god-mother differs widely from the Queen of Heaven–the original God of the ancients. Mary the Mother of Jesus is not a Creator, but simply a mediator between her Son and His earthly devotees–a doctrine only a trifle less masculine in texture than that of an Almighty Father and his victimized son. The worship of Mary was adopted by the so-called Christians in response to a craving in the human heart for a recognition of those characters developed in mankind which may be said to contain the germ of the divine. The masculine god of the Jews was feared not loved, and his son had already been invested with his attributes. He was all powerful, hence a mediator, a mother, was necessary to intercede in behalf of fallen man, and this, too, notwithstanding the fact that woman had become the “cause of evil in the world.”
 Essays on Symbolism, p. 134.
The Great Goddess of the ancients, Perceptive Wisdom, the Deity of giving, she who represented the purely altruistic characters developed in mankind, and whose worship involved a scientific knowledge of the processes of Nature, when engrafted upon the so-called Christian system, although indicating an important step toward the recognition of the genuine creative principles, was not understood. Although her effigies were brought from the East and made to do duty as representations of Mary, the Mother of Christ, a knowledge of her true significance lay hurled beneath ages of sensuality and selfishness.
By those who have made it their business to investigate this subject, it is observed that there is scarcely an old church in Italy in which there is not to be found a remnant of a black virgin and child. In very many instances these black virgins have been replaced by white ones, the older figures having been retired to some secluded niche in the church where they are held especially sacred by the ignorant devotees who know absolutely nothing of their original significance. We are assured that many of these images have been painted over, ostensibly in imitation of bronze, but the whites of the eyes, the teeth, and colored lips reveal the fact that they are really not intended to represent bronze, but figures of a black virgin goddess and child whose worship has been imported into Europe from the East. I had been told that one of the oldest of these images extant was to be found in Augsburg; a thorough search, however, in all the churches and cathedrals of that city failed to reveal it, but in the museum at Munich such a figure is to be seen. It is in a state of decay, one arm of the mother and a portion of the child’s figure being worn away. Upon this subject Godfrey Higgins remarks:
“If the author had wished to invent a circumstance to corroborate the assertion that the Romish Christ of Europe is the Crishna of India, how could he have desired anything more striking than the fact of the black virgin and child being so common in the Romish countries of Europe? A black virgin and child among the white Germans, Swiss, French, and Italians!!!"
 Anacalypsis, book iv., ch. i., p. 175.
We have observed that during an earlier age in the history of religious worship, as the female was supposed to comprehend both the female and male elements in creation, a belief in the possible creative power of the female independently of the male was everywhere entertained, and that after the schismatic faction arose which endeavored to exalt the male, the production of a son by a woman unaided by man, was among the Yonigas to be the sign which would forever settle the question of the superior importance of the female functions in the processes of reproduction, and consequently, also, her claim to the greater importance in the deity.
The sacred books of India show that from a former belief in one or the other of the two creative principles throughout Nature as God, the people had come to accept both female and male as necessary elements in reproduction, the latter being the more important. In course of time this change seems to have been universal and to have extended to all the countries of the globe.
As the male could not create independently of the female, or, as spirit was dependent on matter for its manifestations, there arose a necessity for a Savior to redeem man from the evil effects arising from his relations with woman who was regarded as matter, and who in course of time became the cause of evil.
Concerning the doctrines which prevailed in the earlier ages of Christianity relative to the ancient dual principle in creation, and regarding the offices which were performed by the two elements, male and female, in the deity, we have the following from Justinus, who is said to have been contemporary with Peter and Paul:
“When Elohim had prepared and created the world as a result from joint pleasure, He wished to ascend up to the elevated parts of heaven, and to see that not anything of what pertained to the creation laboured under deficiency. And He took His Own angels with Him, for His nature was to mount aloft, leaving Edem below; for inasmuch as she was earth, she was not disposed to follow upward her spouse. Elohim, then, coming to the highest part of heaven above and beholding a light superior to that which He himself had created, exclaimed: ’Open me the gates, that entering in I may acknowledge the Lord.’ “
As he enters the Good One addresses him in the following manner: “Sit thou on my right hand.” Then the soaring male principle says to the Good One “permit me Lord to overturn the world which I have made, for my spirit is bound to men.” To which the Good One replies: “No evil canst thou do while thou art with me, for both thou and Edem made the world as a result of conjugal joy. Permit Edem then, to hold possession of the world as long as she wishes; but you remain with me.” While the father is drawn away from earth to Heaven, Edem, in the meantime is bringing woes innumerable upon man. Naas, who has received his evil nature from her, and who is a child of the Devil, has debauched Eve, “Henceforward vice and virtue are prevalent among men.” The Father seeing these things dispatches Baruch his third angel to Moses, and through him spake to the children of Israel, that they might be converted unto the Good One. But the third angel, Naas, by the soul of which came from Edem upon Moses, as also upon all men, observed the precepts of Baruch, and caused his own peculiar injunctions to be hearkened unto.
Again, after these occurrences Baruch, the angel of the Good One, was sent to the prophets to warn them against the wiles of Edem, but in the same manner Nass, the Devil, enticed them away, they being allured by him to their own destruction. Again Elohim selected Hercules, an uncircumcised prophet, and sent him to quell the disturbance caused by Naas or Edem and to release the Father from their power.
“These are the twelve conflicts of Hercules which He underwent, in order, from first to last, viz.: Lion, and Hydra, and Boar, and the others successively. For they say that these are the names of them among the Gentiles, and they have been derived, with altered denomination, from the energy of the maternal angels. When he seemed to have vanquished his antagonists, Omphale (now she is Venus) clings to him and entices away Hercules, and divests him of his power, viz.: the commands of Baruch which Elohim issued. And in place of this power Babel, or Venus, envelops him in her own peculiar robe, that is, in the power of Edem, who is the power below; and in this way the prophecy of Hercules remained unfulfilled and his work.”
As men were still bound by the power of Edem, or the Devil, in the days of Herod the king, Baruch was again dispatched by Elohim, and coming to Nazareth delivered his message to Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary. Nass, who, as we have seen, was the evil spirit in Edem, wished to entice away Jesus also. He was not, however, disposed to listen but remained faithful to Baruch. Naas, overcome by anger at not being able to seduce him, caused him to be crucified.
“He, leaving the body of Edem on the accursed tree, ascended to the Good One; saying to Edem, ’Woman, thou retainest thy Son,’ that is, the natural and the earthly man. But Jesus himself commending his spirit into the hands of the Father, ascended to the Good One. Now the Good One is Priapus, and he it is who antecedently caused the production of everything that exists. On this account he is styled Priapus, because he previously fashioned all things according to his design. For this reason, he says, in every temple is preserved his statue, which is revered by every creature; and there are images of him in the highways carrying over his head ripened fruits, that is, the produce of the creation, of which he is the cause, having in the first instance formed, according to his design, the creation, when as yet it had no existence."
 Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, book v., p. 188.
Thus the fact is observed not only that in the time of Paul, phallic worship still existed, but by the writings of Justinus and others is shown the manner in which the doctrine that woman is the cause of evil in the world became formulated and adopted as part and parcel of the Christian belief.
Staniland Wake, director of the anthropological society of London, when commenting on the obscene myths upon which the Christian religion rests, remarks:
“The fundamental basis of Christianity is more purely phallic than that of any other religion now existing, and its emotional nature . . . shows how intimately it was related to the older faiths which had a phallic basis.”
After stating that the myth of creation and that of the flood have their exact counterpart in India, the Rev. Mr. Faber remarks that “there is no rite or ceremony directed in the Pentateuch of which there is not an exact copy in the rites of the pagans.”
The Christian doctrines as established by Paul, and afterwards formulated into a system by the Romish Church, were adopted by the ignorant multitude who, being incapable of understanding the higher principles involved, accepted the allegories beneath which were veiled the ancient mysteries literally, and as the highest expression of divine wisdom. Hence the comparatively recent observation that the “new religion was eventually but the gathering in of the superstitions of paganism” is a matter of little surprise to those who have carefully examined the facts connected with the growth of religious faith.
Under the new regime Christ became the New Solar Deity and round him were finally ranged all the myths of Solo-phallic worship which had prevailed under the adoration of Crishna at a time when the higher truths underlying pure Nature-worship had been forgotten.