The Origin of Saint Worship

Knowing the origin of Catholic saint worship explains why the practice lacks any Biblical support and why those truly saved must renounce it. In an attempt to hoodwink Catholics from seeing how abominable this practice is, the Council of Trent says:

“And though the church has been accustomed to celebrate at times certain masses in honor and memory of the saint, she does not teach that sacrifice is offered to them but to God alone who crowned them; whence the priest … implores their favor that they may vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven whose memory we celebrate on earth” (Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, 146).

If the saints are being sought for protection and blessings then what is being accorded to them is worship. Besides why seek out the spirits of the dead for what God can give?

Catholics object to the term “saint worship,” they argue that what they offer to God is latria (worship) in Greek and what they offer to saints is dulia (veneration). These are the same word games cults like to play – redefining words to hide a heresy.

Even if you address someone as “your worship” you can’t really be said to worship that person as a deity, but when you pray to him, build him a shrine, light him a candle or kiss his bones to receive a supernatural assistance or favour, then you are worshipping him.

In Scripture, the gestures – bowing, kneeling and honour – directed to God in worship are also displayed by Catholics towards their “saints”:

But the LORD … is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices” (2Kings 17:36)

But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple” (Psalm 5:7)

Come let us bow in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker” (Psalm 95:6)

…These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men” (Mark 7:6-7)

Note that the words “worship” and “honour” were used interchangeably, and in the Old Testament, there were altars and a temple built to the Lord just like Catholics build altars and shrines for their saints. Pagan religions express the same devotion to their many deities.

Ancient Babylon for example, worshipped up to 5,000 deities. Like Catholicism, they also believed their gods were once living heroes on earth but were now on a higher plane. They believed “every month and every day of the month was under the protection of a particular deity” (The Historians’ History of the World 1:518).

From the Bible, we can see that Syrian pagans also believed in different deities limited to certain geographical locations. When they lost a war against Israel, they said “their gods are gods of the hills; therefore they were stronger than we; but let us fight them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they” (1Kings 20:23).

Eastern religions generally had their worship of various deities, as the goddess of sailors, the god of war, gods of fertility, gods of special neighbourhood or occupation. The same for ancient Rome: “There were gods who presided over every moment of a man’s life, gods of house and garden, of food and drink, of health and sickness” (Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Simon and Schuster, 1950, III:61).

They had various “patron gods” for every aspect of life just like Catholics have their “saints” today.

Ceres was the goddess of corn, wheat and vegetation. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, music and crafts. Venus was the goddess of sexual love and birth. Vesta was the goddess of bakers and sacred fires. Ops was the goddess of wealth. Castor and Pollux were regarded as the protectors of Rome and of travellers at sea. Janus was the god of doors and gates and so on.

Since this concept was in existence before Christianity and was known outside the church, its presence in Catholicism today points to its assimilation at some point. This pagan influx majorly started from the 4th century. The pagans flocking into the church ostensibly wanted to continue their devotions to their pantheon of gods, so step by step, the apostate church allowed them to continue it in the church under a new toga – as “saints.” Here’s a break down:

1. Saints for different occupations

Just like the pagan Romans had different deities for different profession with different days of devotion, Catholicism too developed different “saints” for different aspects of life with different “feast days.”

St. Thomas (Dec. 21) for architects.
St. Matthew (Sept. 21) for bankers.
St. Luke (Oct. 18) for doctors.
St. John Bosco (Jan. 31) for editors.
St. Andrew (Nov. 30) for fishermen.
St. Francis of Assisi (Oct. 4) for merchants.
St. Anne (Jul. 26) for housekeepers.
St. Thomas Aquinas (Mar. 7) for students.

Whatever may be your occupation, mama Rome has a ‘saint’ for you.

2. Saints for various problems

Like the old pagans gods, saints were also believed to be endowed with powers to solve specific problems: St. Anthony of Padua was for barren women; St. Nicholas for alcoholics; St. Lawrence for the poor; St. Joseph for spinsters seeking husbands; St. Dominic for children; St. Columban for floods; St. Eustachius for family troubles and St. George for fevers etc.

With this list of “friends on the other side” to help people get whatever they want, God was reduced to a mere spectator.

3. Changing of the gods

According to a historian “Paganism survived … in the form of ancient rites and customs condoned, or accepted and transformed by an often indulgent Church. An intimate and trustful worship of saints replaced the cult of pagan gods” (The Story of Civilization, IV: 75).

Sometimes, as the old pagan gods were being renamed, the names of the old deity were slightly modified, but the rites and external features were left intact.

The goddess Victoria of the Basses-Alpes (France) was renamed as “St.” Victoire. Cheron became “St.” Ceranos. Artemis became “St.” Artemidos. Demeter, a Greek goddess became “St.” Demetrios – a masculine warrior saint. Mars, the Roman god of war was conveniently renamed as “St.” Martin the warlike saint, and Lares became “St.” Lawrence.

4. Pagan legends became saints’ stories.

The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that saint “legends repeat conceptions found in the pre-Christian religious tales … The legend is not Christian, only Christianized … In many cases, it has obviously the same origin as the myth” Why is this so? It continues, “This transference was promoted by the numerous cases in which Christian saints became the successors of local deities, and Christian worship supplanted local worship” (Vol IX: 130, 131 art. “Legends”)

5. Pagan emblems adopted

Ancient arts show that the pagans represented their deities with a drawing of halo around their heads, the same was adopted for Catholic saints.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia (XII, 963) says: “The most common attribute, applied to all saints, is the nimbus (cloud), a luminous defined shape surrounding the head of the saint. Its origins are pre-Christian, and example are found in Hellenistic art of pagan inspiration; the halo was used as evidence in mosaics and coins, for demigods and divinities such a Neptune, Jupiter, Bacchus and in particular Apollo (god of the sun).”

The New Encyclopedia Britannica (IV:864) states: “In Hellenistic and Roman art, the sun-god Helios and Roman emperors often appear with a crown of rays … It was not until the 6th century that the halo became customary for the Virgin Mary and other saints.”

Fredrick Goodman writes that “the circle is the most important unit in magic symbolism and in almost every case where it is used … it is intended to denote spirit or spiritual forces … and it has survived in Christian art forms as the halo – a circle of gold…” (Magic and Symbols, Brian Trodd, 1989, 17).

In essence, those who invoke or pray to “saints” whether in Catholicism, Santeria or Voodoo are really communing with demonic entities pretending to be “saints.”

6. Pagan temples became shrines

The Pantheon Temple still remaining in Rome is a good example. In pagan Rome, this temple was dedicated to “Jove and all the gods” as seen on the inscription over the portico. Pope Boniface IV ‘re-consecrated’ it to “the Virgin Mary and all the saints.” Such restoration of pagan temples was common in other places.

The Celtic goddess Brigit (renamed as “St.” Bridget) had her main pagan temple at Kildare, Ireland, served by vestal virgins who tended the sacred fires. The temple was taken over and made a Catholic convent and nuns continue to tend the sacred fire which they now call “St. Bridget’s fire” (Ethel Urlin, Festivals, Holy Days and Saints’ Days, 1915, 26).

“Churches or ruins of churches have been frequently found on the sites where pagan shrines or temples originally stood … It is also to some extent true that sometimes the saint whose aid was to be invoked at the Christian shrine bore some outward analogy to the deity previously hallowed in that place” (Cath. Ency. 2:44)

In other words, paganism died in a way, only to live again within Catholicism. The very spirits the pagan world bowed to only changed their names, they are still being bowed to by Catholics today in the same temples for the same ‘favours’. God calls His people out of this abominable worship.


Bible vs Quran: A Dialogue (Part 2)

Abbas: The first compilation [of the Quran] was in done in the time of the Khalifa Abubakar. Of this compiled copies, one was kept in the house of the Prophet with one of his wives (Hafsat). Then the Muslim Ummah never had any disagreement about the Qur’an. Under the reign of Uthman Ibn Affan there arouse disagreement over the dialect to be used for the Qur’an.

So a lot of people were having variant Qur’an in dialects. So Huzaifah Ibn Yaman advised Uthman as the Khalifa, to wade in to restore unity among the Ummah. In response, Uthman Ibn Affan invited Zaid Ibn Thabit, Abdullahi Ibn Zubair, Said Ibn Alasy and Ibn Hisham to use the copy gotten from Hafsat to write copies of the Qur’an.

Uthman told the Qureishite among them to give preference to the Qureish dialect whenever they disagreed with Zaid Ibn Thabit. This they did and the copies in the hands of people were collected and burnt. ( See Usulun Fittafsir by Uthaimeen, @ page 93-95.)

As for the assertion that because the Bible conflicts with the Qur’an, the Bible ( being first in Time ) is to be given preference, this argument may be dangerous to the christian faith. The persistent denial by you and your co-religionists that the Bible is in versions can be adequately confuted.

It will equally interest you to know that the Bible has got several books whose authors are unknown to this day. Have you ever asked yourself the question : ‘ how reliable is the testimony of an anonymous witness? Read this link [Victor: the link was blank]

You will see…that the assumed authors of the Gospel never contemplated it to be the word of God but mere letters ( Epistles ) sent to churches to serve didactic purposes. It was only later that some thought it right to collate these letters, lump them up together and christen them the word of God. Indeed the Bible can’t claim to be the word of God.

Victor: First let me address the issue of the Bible. From all you have spouted so far, it is evident that you know absolutely nothing about its history or transmission, but rather than parroting your “apologists”, you should have given yourself the respect of not saying what you don’t know about. Repeating patently false claims is close-mindedness. It shows that you are not willing to learn. When an issue has been factually settled, be humble enough to accept it.

You said the Bible contains “several books whose authors are unknown.” You have no specific examples, so how am I supposed to address such vague balderdash? You think repeating a myth over and over will make it true?

The NT calls itself the “Scriptures” (2Pet. 3:16, 1Tim. 5:18) and these Scriptures were to be “read to all the holy brethren” (1Cor. 1:2), “read to all the churches” (1Thess. 5:27). The apostles commended the Thessalonians for accepting what they brought as the “word of God” (1Thess 2:13). The Lord Jesus told John “what thou seeth write in a book, and send it to the seven churches”, and it is “The revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:1, 11).

The NT also calls the Old Testament “the Scriptures” (Mt 22:29, Acts 18:28), “the holy Scriptures” (Rom 1:2) “the holy writings” (2Tim 3:15), “the Law” (John 10:34). Since both the OT and NT are called the word of God/Scriptures, you can’t dismiss either as anything less. Your Quran calls the New Testament “the Gospel” (3:3) which “is guidance and light confirming what was before it of the Torah [OT]” (5:46). It calls Christians “the People of the Gospel” who are to “judge [the Quran] by what Allah hath revealed therein” (5:50). So there are 3 things here:

1. Since your Quran appeals to the authenticity of the New Testament, you have no justification to reject it.

2. Since the Gospel was existing and authentic long before the Quran and during its time, you can’t tell us that the Gospel is now lost or “forged.”

3. Since Allah says we Christians must judge the Quran by the Gospel, it means, every time the Quran contradicts the Bible, we must go with the Bible as the older authority.

From early church writings, it has been proved that from the first century the Gospel has been accepted as the Word of God, long before your Muhammad and his Allah arose from Arabia. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1979, vol. 1, 603):

“[N]ear the close of the first century; Clement bishop of Rome was acquainted with Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth. After him, the letters of both Ignatius bishop of Antioch and Polycarp bishop of Smyrna attest the dissemination of Pauline letters by the second decade of the 2nd century”

Tatian’s work Diatessaron (160-175), was based on the 4 books of the gospel we have today. Justin Martyr (100-180) makes references to the 4 gospels and quotes from the epistles and Revelation. Origen names all the books of the Bible. Athanasius of Alexandria in 326 also lists all the NT books. How many writings from the 7th-10th century mentions the Quran?

Concerning the Quran, majority of it were memorized, not written down. According to the Shorter Encyclopedia of Islam:

“One thing that is openly recognized by tradition, namely, that there was not in existence any collection of revelation in final form, because as long as he [Muhammad] was alive, new revelations were being added to the earlier ones” (p. 271).

Arthur Jeffery also stated: “Nothing is more certain than that when the Prophet died there was no collected, arranged, collated body of revelation. The earliest strata of tradition…make it quite certain that there was no Quran left ready as a heritage for the community. The Prophet had proclaimed his messages orally, and, except in the later period of his ministry, whether they were recorded or not was often a matter of chance” (Materials for the History of the Text of the Quran, 1952, 5-6).

Majority of the Quran was memorized by the early Muslims and most of them died at the battle of Yemama. This was what prompted the caliph to collate the Quran into a book. The writer you copy-pasted said “The Muslim Ummah NEVER had any disagreement about the Qur’an” Oh dear, such ignorance is prevailing among Muslims. He even contradicted himself after a sentence: “there arose discrepancies.” So why did say there was never any disagreement?

In fact, when Zaid ibn Thabit was writing down the Quran into a book, the conflicting versions being recited by Muslims were so many that “He shunned recording any verse unless two witnesses attested to it. Umar came with the verse of the stoning but it was not recorded since he was the only witnesses to it” (Al-Suyuti, The Itqan, Part 1, p. 168).

Now , tell me, why would Umar ibn Khattab (“the rightly guided caliph”) want to introduce a lie into Allah’s book? The fact that his version was rejected showed the level of fraud and politics in the recording of the Quran. Little wonder Uthman was assassinated. He really messed up the Quran.

Let me give you another example:
“The companions of Abdullah (bin Masud) came to Abu Darda … Then he asked Alqama ‘how did you hear’ Abdullah bin Masud reciting Surat al-Lail (the Night). ‘Alqama recited ‘by the male and female’. Abu Darda said ‘I testify that I heard the Prophet reciting it likewise but these people want me to recite it ‘And by him who created male and female. But by Allah, I will not follow them” (Bukhari 6:60:468)

This was how your so-called “heavenly preserved” book was collated – based on hearsay and vain speculations! Even the people reciting what they thought their prophet said were being pressured by some people to say what they believe he must have said. Why all these confusion if there was a standard text by which the Quran could be ascertained?

It’s so amusing to me that you guys who have such a slippery history of your book of lies will then turn around to make unfounded accusations against the Bible recorded by godly men who did “not followed cunningly devised fables…but were eye witnesses of His Majesty” (2Pet 1:16) and “which from the beginning were eyewitnesses” (Lk 1:2). Was the author of the Quran an eyewitness to anything he said?

Your hadiths also admit that the Quran is missing certain verses and that other verses have been abrogated (see Bukhari 4:57, 62, 69, 299, Vol 6, nos 510, 511). The conflicting versions of the Quran was a subject of many books in the early days of Islam. Abi Yaquab al-Nadem, a librarian made a catalogue of books in 987 AD listing out the discrepancies in the Quran in Basra, Iraq and Hijaz such as:

1. Variations between the numbers of suras between 110 and 114.

2. The different orderings of the suras

3. Different verses with different numbers and even different words (Al-Nadim, The Fihrist of al-Nadem, A 10th Century Survey of Muslim Culture, 79).

I think it suits the purpose of Islam when your leaders divert you by keeping you busy with the alleged “revisions” of the Bible because they too are aware that you live in a world of myths.

Abbas: I have gone through all you have written but I can show you your lies as open as anything. The Qur’an was written at first instance on crude writing materials e. g Stones, animal skins e. t. c and it was equally memorised by the Companions. This was done to grantee it safety. And to a day like this, Muslims all around the world do same. First of all Umar was not a scholar among the companions who should be conversant with the verses abrogated and taken out of the reading of the Qur’an and those which were not.

We Muslims have the rule of Abrogation in the science of the Qur’an. This Abrogation was either for the verse to be abrogated in its effect but retained in the Reading of the Qur’an ; or the verse is abrogated from the reading of the Qur’an but retained in effect e . g the verse on stoning ; or it’s abrogated in both situations. This was why the verse brought by Umar couldn’t be accepted by the Zaid’s team when it was brought. But this verse has its effect subsisting to this day.

Victor: You said you “can show [me my] lies as open as anything.” Such nice words coming from someone who repeatedly dodges my questions, repeats the ones I have already refuted, avoids the links sent and dismisses documented evidence.

Yes the Quran was written on crude materials which were not gathered until after the death of the prophet. Most of the Quran was “preserved” by being memorized (that’s why its called Quran – recitation – it wasn’t meant to be a written document initially). And many of these materials were lost even before they could be gathered. For example, Aisha admitted that:

“The verse of stoning and of suckling an adult ten times were revealed and they were (written) on a paper and kept under my bed. When the Messenger of Allah expired and we were preoccupied with his death, a goat entered and ate away the paper” (Musnad Ahmad bin Itan bal 6:209).

Methinks God sent the goat to eat the Quran to let the people know that the book was false. If the Quran of that time is the same as the one you carry about today, why don’t you present the original materials on which the Quran was written? Where are these crude materials hiding?

At least we have thousands of Bible manuscripts in different languages at different eras showing the harmony of the Bible. Where are the early manuscripts of your Quran? The ones presented so far date to the 9th-10th centuries. Why are you guys not applying the hard rules you apply on the Bible on your Quran?

All your claims about Umar ibn Khattab as not been a scholar or that the verse of stoning was abrogated are based on your own private authority. They aren’t tenable. You are saying your second caliph who fought wars so much for Islam that he was still crying that he didn’t do enough is not competent enough to relate what Muhammad taught? Why not take a pair or scissors and cut out all the parts of the hadiths narrated by Umar since he wasn’t a scholar?

Umar himself boasted that Allah agreed with him on three occasions where he would make a suggestion and the smart Muhammad would quickly recite them as if coming from Allah. Abdullah ibn Masud who was named as one of the best reciters of the Quran by Muhammad himself was ignored during the compilation by Zaid. It’s all there in your hadiths and I shouldn’t be quoting all these for you.

The nasikh wa mansookh (the abrogator and the abrogated) was a pathetic “science” made up to hide the inconsistencies that mares the Quran. Allah kept on abrogating and amending the Quran till Muhammad died. Who knows, if the prophet had lived longer, the Quran would probably have been a bigger book with a different content. Why should I take the words of a changing Allah as the eternal Word of God? You guys falsely accuse the Bible of being changed by men, yet your Quran was so much changed by your Allah that it took volumes of hadiths – written by men – to even make sense of it. Seems like blind spot to me.