how do pagans explain the pagan emperor constantine's conversion from paganism to christianity?

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As in, Constantine was a pagan. And as a pagan, you’re not supposed to believe in the Lord Jesus as Saviour of the World. But Constantine saw the cross in a vision and won a battle.
And assuming that constantine was a devout pagan, why would he convert from the god/goddesses or paganism to the God of the Christians?
instead of “slight agnostic Paganism” why not just Christianity again. ^_^

20 Comments

  1. There is no proof that Constantine ever became a Christian. Acording to legend he was converted on his deathbed but he continued to worship the Sun god until his death. He may have made the “new Judaism”, as it was known then, the state religion but he never practiced it. His vision was the Sun with a cross in it. and he used that sybol on all his warriors shields and won the battle. He accredited his win to both the Sun god and the cross.
    Cristians can thank that pagan for the spread of “Christianity” over the known world.

  2. Actually……
    A lot of civilazations had no issue intergrating Jesus into thier pantheon. It was the Christians who got pretty pissed about the whole thing. The one surpreme God and all that….
    I believe he still left offerings for the pagan gods, which got him critisized…but don’t qoute me on that. I’m tired and my history is off.

  3. Silly christians, you do not understand Paganism. We do not have the “My God is better than yours.” attitude or the “If you leave us, you will be damned forever” thoughts. And many Pagans believe in Jesus and follow him, they just don’t follow Christianity.
    Paganism is an individual path, and the seekers are free to change according to what calls them.
    If the message of Christ spoke to Constantine, as a Pagan, he was required to follow it. With no one questioning him. That is the Pagan way.

  4. Actually you made two huge fallacious assumption.
    One is that Pagans cannot worship Christ or that Christ is outside the Pantheon.
    Many ancient Pagans ( and modern Neoplatonist ) indeed worship and regard Christ as savior .. just not as the unique savior but rather one of the many savior.
    In the Neoplatonist concept ( which Constantine by the way was heavily influenced by ) the material realm is displaced out of the formless realm. Souls in the materal realm are trapped.
    The mysteries, the philosophies, the religio, the worship, the ritus, theurgy etc.. are all meant to help the soul elevate and move out from the realm of matter back to where all the souls rightfully belong to .. the Perfect State of the One and the Many.
    Christ like Attis and Rhea and Mithras and Demeter and Hecate and Persephone and Horus and Isis etc.. are Gods who actually manifest into the matter realm with the aim of providing conduits for the soul to return back to their true state amidst the Gods.
    I like many NP believe that Christ is the physical manifestation of the Divine Logos ( Zeus ) and Sophia, a common conception by the way of many early Christians.
    This means that Christ is not unique but rather like Dionysius etc.. represent a line of savior deities.
    Christ more negative perception came only later .. but beforehand he is definitely seen as the manifestation of Sophia and the Divine Logos.
    And Constantine was never really a Christian .. he only got forced to accept Christ on his death bed. He was till the end it seems very much a worshiper of Sol Invictus.
    The reason he accepted Christianity was wholly political.
    However that he accepted Christ does not devalidate him being Pagan .. there are many Pagans around who worships Christ who only see him as one of the long line of savior deities.

  5. Constantine converted to the kind of Christianity that became Catholicism and then made it the state-enforced religion. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t converting to actual biblical Christianity; if he did then he royally screwed up after doing so!

  6. When you mix chocolate syrup in milk, does the milk change the chocolate syrup or does the chocolate syrup change the milk?
    Constantine may have embraced Christianity, but he sure changed Christianity and brought it under Roman rule (as in the Holy Roman Catholic Church). Under this Cesar, Pagans and Christians both were forced to compromise.
    The Roman Pagans worshiped Mithras, the Sun God. They worshiped him on the Day of the Sun (Sunday) – They celebrated the birth of Mithras on 12/25 (he was born to a virgin in a cave).
    The early Christians, like the Jews, worshiped God on the Sabbath – which is Saturday – in keeping with the *** 10 Commandments ***
    Yeshua was the name of the Christ they followed.
    Now, Jesus was the new God. Yes, Constantine changed his name from Yeshua to Jesus so it would be more like Zeus and thus more readily absorbed by the Pagans. He also changed the official day of worship from the Sabbath to the Day of the Sun to make the Pagans happy. In return for bumping Mithras, he kept the holiday of 12/25 but now ascribed it to the birth of this new “Jesus”.
    So really Mithras is the reason for the season – har!

  7. um, I used to be a devout catholic… why did I become a devout pagan? It’s because I agree more with the pagan beliefs…

  8. First of all, you have to understand that that Pagan mentality is different than the Christian one of “my God is right yours is false” stuff. That just didn’t exist among the Pagans.
    Pagan is an umbrella term that covers many different religions. And Pagan tribes and societies, particularly Romans, did not generally believe there is only one correct religion, or that one single religion was Divinely mandated, so someone being of a different religion or changing religions wasn’t that big of a deal.
    They fully believed there were other Gods than those of their ancestors.
    What I believe happened was basically political: the Roman Pagans were going wild, and Constantine realized it would be self-defeating.
    He saw what the Jews had accomplished by believing in a strict father God who could be wrathful and such; but he didn’t want to be Jewish, of course, especially didn’t want to adhere to the many Jewish commandments. But he did want that powerful strict daddy-God to be in charge.
    So he adopted and imposed a new religion he heard of– a small one, a cult that splintered off Judaism a couple of centuries ago, with a small following and no real stable structure or agreement on doctrine as of yet. At the time, that’s what early Christianity was.
    But the religion was much more conservative (though not Jewish), stricter, that would mandate (by Divine command, of course, who can argue that?) that the Romans stop their debauchery and self-destructive behavior before it brought down the empire on themselves.
    Constantine had a huge influence in shaping Christianity and the Bible, and the way in which he did was very well calculated in order to keep people loyal, rein in their wild behavior and ensure their obedience and cooperation.

  9. Pre-christianity paganism could take many forms and involve the worship of many different types of deities, not all of which were congruent with the others. Constantine wanted to unite his empire. He also wanted something he could use to control his people with, and the threat of hellfire and brimstone seemed like a good idea at the time, I’m sure.
    Mind you, I wasn’t there. Neither were any modern pagans.

  10. By the law of the roman empire, Constantin was a God-Emperor himself.
    He just accepted one more god into his believe. Sort of as a colleague at eye level
    (and Christianity is a nice religion to keep slaves in their place. It worked in the US as well. ie “suffer now to enjoy heaven…”
    So I assume that solved a problem as well.)

  11. Coins issued at the time celebrating his victory showed only Sol Invictus: his triumphant arch, still standing, refers only to ?the gods?. In truth, Constantine was not a particularly pious man. Famously, he delayed his baptism until he was close to death for fear of further sinning ? with good reason: among his many murders was that of his first wife Fausta (boiled alive) and eldest son Crispus (strangled).
    The leading Churchman and propagandist Eusebius hailed the autocrat as a new Moses, a new Abraham. Constantine saw himself, more modestly, as the thirteenth apostle, a saint-in-waiting.
    As an eyewitness to the operation and as a personal friend to the emperor, Eusebius was able to describe the arrangement of Constantine’s tomb and the mystique behind it. “He built a martyrium in memory of the 12 Apostles in the city bearing his name.” It was a golden superdome, open to the sky and utterly dazzling. A ring of twelve columns with relics of an apostle deposited at the foot of each represented the holy chorus. Then Constantine had a happy afterthought: He had twelve reliquaries in honor and memory of the sacred chorus of the apostles placed in the circle of the rotunda, each at the foot of a column; and in the center of this he put his own casket . . . so that, as he explained it, by a clever calculation any honor shown to an apostle would be automatically focused?as if by a burning glass, on the object in the center?the remains of the emperor.

  12. That’s probably something that only Constantine could actually answer.
    From what I understand, he only converted on his deathbed. His wife was Christian, however, and perhaps it was her influence that caused him to make Christianity a state religion. Perhaps there were other social or political pressures on him to do so. As a pagan, Constantine would likely have realized that it didn’t make a darn bit of difference what the “official” religion was–people were going to believe what they they felt in their hearts was true, not what he told them to believe.

  13. Political expedience. His “vision” was about how promising a wonderful afterlife would take people’s minds off of how miserable their real lives were and help keep people from revolting.

  14. Actually, many Pagans do believe in Jesus thus way. There are lots of different ‘forms’ of Paganism.
    As for why he converted – how the heck would I know? Do you know why I converted from Christianity, to atheism, and then to slight agnostic Paganism? No.

  15. So you dont think he would have won without the vision of the cross, even though he had them outnumbered 10 to 1

  16. Or so Constantine said. You’ll notice he wasn’t actually baptized until he was near death.
    He made Christianity the official state religion because the institutional church taught obedience to authority.

  17. What, are we like his best friends?
    We didn’t hang out with him, guy. We don’t know what happened.
    ** Besides, you’re confusing pre-Christian Paganism with modern Paganism, and they are generally pretty different ideas.

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