St. Louis, MO—
A brand new poll released by a consortium of universities found that an impressive 83% of self-identifying Christians in America wish the Christian monotheism had more in common with historical religions, such as in ancient Greek and Egyptian spiritualities.
“Don’t get me wrong here, fellas, because I love Christ and follow him everyday,” explained local evangelical Todd Harms of South City, “But if I’m being totally honest, I kind of wish Jesus had more of a Thor-style going on. Jesus is amazing cause of his eternal message of love and peace and forgiveness and turning the other cheek, but it would be so much more gratifying if Jesus had a solid metal hammer with which he bludgeoned the enemies of his father to mutilated, bone-shattered deaths, right? And, again, don’t misunderstand me because, like I said, I’m 100% behind Christ, but he only had like 12 disciples and an assorted group of lepers and what we would probably today call hoodlums from the outskirts of society. Thor was a king to millions, you know? Little more compelling. Like, if Jesus was going around today with a band of ragtag lepers, I probably wouldn’t want to get involved? You know? But, again, Jesus is 100% my homeboy.”
Other polled Christians noted the influence that ancient Egyptian traditions obviously had on Christian iconography.
“The Egyptians had a badass symbol called the ankh, which is, for all intents and purposes, a cross,” said Kara Windsley, a Lutheran from the St. Louis Hills neighborhood. “Instead of a rectangular top like on a cross, the ankh has a loop, which signifies life…which is kind of more inspiring and poetic than the Christian symbolism of being tortured to death on a cross, you feel me? And in many ways, the Egyptians basically got the monotheism ball rolling after Pharaoh Akhenaten ordered Egypt to forget its plethora of Gods and instead worship alone the sun, which was not conceptualized as having human form. Because ancient Egypt’s society predated the Israelites by quite some time, it is very likely that Egyptian culture influenced semitic culture and inspired the future Israelites to give up their polytheistic worship for the monotheistic beliefs that would eventually become Judaism. Don’t forget, the semitic peoples were slaves in Egypt before Moses led them to Israel. In fact, because the later Christian faith shared so many symbolic similarities and parallels with the ancient Egyptian beliefs, Christians did not have a difficult time converting Egyptians to Christianity in the late Roman era before the expansion of Islam into North Africa. Go figure. I’ve always felt guilty about finding ancient Egypt so much more interesting than ancient Israel, and I cannot cease worrying that I am merely Christian because I was born in the predominantly Christian United States, and not because it is in any measurable way the one true faith. I suspect had I been born in Egypt rather than Missouri I would today be devoutly Muslim.”
Another religion of interest for contemporary Christians is the ancient Roman pantheon.
“I’ve always respected Julian the Apostate, even though he was an apostate of my beloved Christianity,” said Ethan Wammerling of Bridgeton, a Presbyterian. “Gotta respect his philosophical nature in turning back the clock on the Christianization of the Roman Empire when he pretty much singlehandedly forced Rome to readopt traditional Roman paganism. He thought that if the Roman Empire kept turning Christian it would fall apart, and he was kind of right about that ultimately, wasn’t he? And despite working to remove Christians from bureaucratic leadership roles in society, he issued several decrees promoting religious tolerance, oftentimes to the benefit of the Roman Empire’s Jewish population, interestingly. In fact, his relatively tolerant initiatives actually had the ironic effect of demotivating Roman citizens from caring about returning to the Roman pantheon, but that’s a little deep into the weeds. All in all, from a historical standpoint, there are many flukes of history that promoted Christianity to the largest religion on Earth, and one of them may very well have been the early death of Julian in a distant battle against Persia. Golly, I love history. It’s unfortunate that so much of the Old Testament is biased, unreliable self-congratulation of the ancient Jewish people who memorized the word-of-mouth history of their people before they really had writing because a lot of peoples in history are so interesting despite the fact that western culture is largely cornerstoned with the messianic interpretation of the Jewish faith we call Christianity. Even today, particularly with evangelicals, many Christians’ insular perspective on global religious history is stifling on an educational level.”
Greek mythology has its fans as well.
“The ancient Greeks were all about orgies,” exclaimed Meredith Flake, a Baptist living in Chesterfield. “My biggest bone to chew with Christianity is how Puritan it is with chastity and monogamy. If it wasn’t so sacrilegious against Jesus, I believe I’d start doing a little more worshipping of Dionysus if you catch my drift. Waterfalls of intoxicating grape juice fueling epic frolics of insatiable sexual thirst sounds like my kind of prayer, hubba hubba!”