The way to counter both arguments is to admit that the ancient pagan religions influenced the development of Christianity, but to show why this is natural and harmless and why it means neither that Catholicism is devil worship nor that it is simply primitive superstition.
The Missing Link
The first thing to say to a Protestant who blames Catholicism for ‘being pagan’ is to admit that elements of the ancient pagan culture did influence the development of Christianity.
However, he should do his homework and find out for sure. Just because two things happened at the same time does not demand a link between them, and it certainly does not demand a causal link. So, for example, the decline of the number of Catholic priests and nuns in the United States co-incided with the popularity of Elvis Presley and the decline in popularity of Bing Crosby. This does not mean that the two phenomena were linked (even though Bing Crosby played the part of a Catholic priest) and it certainly doesn’t mean that the the popularity of Elvis Presley caused the decline in the number of priests.
Likewise, to see the similarity between two things and their co -incidence does not require that they be linked in any way, and it certainly does not prove a causal link between the two. Even if a cultural link can be proved it must also be proved which was the causal link flows. Does the existence of a Winter solstice celebration in both Christianity and Roman paganism demand that one caused the other? If so which one influenced the other? It used to be a commonplace that the Christians borrowed the pagan Winter Saturnalia for Christmas. It now seems that the reverse is true. The pagans instituted the Saturnalia as competition for the increasingly popular feast of the Nativity of Christ. Continue Reading