The argument that Christianity is just a borrowed religion (that is, it is simply a re-mix of older religious beliefs, from Judaism and paganism) is as old as Christianity itself. We certainly weren’t the first generation to face that accusation, and we won’t be the last.
No hesitation, no pause from Justin. Straight forward, head held high, heart blazing with the Truth. Gotta’ love it!
What we hope to show you is that the words taught by Christ are true, and conform to prophesies given through the ages, confirming them and completing them. We hope you can acknowledge our right to have faith in Him, not just because there are similarities between His teachings and the stories of the gods, but because there is truth in His words.
We hope that you will come to see that Jesus is who He claimed to be, the one and only Son of God; that He descended from a heavenly realm and took on flesh in order to rescue the human race from the fallen state of this world. We are aware that before Jesus took on flesh and became a man, some poets and writers wrote stories that seemed to be the same story we tell of Jesus, only distorted. We believe those writers were influenced by demonic forces that had some knowledge about what Jesus would accomplish, prompting these stories that seem to be so similar to the truth we tell about Jesus. Some say it undermines our story, supposing we are simply telling a variant version of someone else’s religion. We insist, there is no proof that we’ve done such a thing, nor is there anyone who can corroborate such a theory of conspiracy. We hope to prove just the opposite, that what Jesus has taught is Truth.
Chapter XXIV.-Varieties of Heathen Worship.
First of all, we believe doctrines that are very similar to what the Greeks have believed all along, but because we follow the teachings of Christ and are Christians, you hate us. Even though we live law-abiding lives, you arrest us and put us to death like common criminals.
As we observe the Empire, we can see a huge variety of religions and a wide assortment of venerated gods. Some people worship trees, rivers, crocodiles, cats, mice, all kinds of dumb animals. Not everyone worships the same animals. To one person, the cat is a god. Another person bows down to the mouse. The cat guy thinks the mouse guy is nuts, and the mouse guy calls the cat guy a heretic, but Rome allows for these differences.
The only accusation you bring against us is that we don’t worship the same gods as you do. We don’t pour wine on the statues of our ancestors, burn candles at the altars of the gods, put wreath-crowns on the heads of the statues or kill animals to get the favor of the gods. So what if we don’t? What about all the other differences between all the religions that Rome tolerates? One man worships a mouse which another man kills in a trap. The Empire allows for those differences, why not ours?