Evangelist Ralph Woodrow originally published “Babylon Mystery Religion: Ancient and Modern” in 1966 followed by a 1981 revision. This short book (161 pages, 1981) examines the pagan roots of various elements of Roman Catholicism including relics, indulgences, church architecture, celibacy, the mass, confession, the church hierarchy, various Catholic holy days, and the worship of Mary and the saints. Catholicism’s claim for the primacy of Peter followed by a short and decidedly sordid history of the popes is also presented.
One of Woodrow’s prime sources for this book was Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons,” the seminal work on Catholicism’s pagan roots. Hislop had argued that the pagan religions of antiquity – Roman, Greek, Egyptian, Canaanite – all had their roots in the post-diluvian, Babylonian worship of Nimrod and his mother/wife Semiramis and that modern pagan faiths – Hinduism and Buddhism – could also be traced back to Nimrod. Hislop claimed that Catholicism was a mixture of Babylonian paganism and Christianity.
In 1997 Woodrow published “The Babylon Connection” in which he flip-flopped on several of his “Babylon Mystery Religion” conclusions. Woodrow claimed that additional research revealed that many of Hislop’s extrapolations could not be substantiated. However, Woodrow did not entirely refute “Babylon Mystery Religion” as many Catholic apologists suggest. In fact, the Catholic Encyclopedia had been one of Woodrow’s primary resources for linking Catholicism to paganism.
Woodrow has made a career out of flip-flopping. Not only did he retract some of his “Babylon Mystery Religion” claims with “The Babylon Connection,” he also published books reversing his previous “hardcore” opposition to the celebration of Christmas and Easter because of their pagan roots. Needless to say Ralph probably has very few fans left among the hardcore independent fundamental Baptists. Jesuit-worldwide-conspiracy theorists probably assumed the “Black Pope” or agents of Opus Dei brought pressure on Woodrow and “suggested” he soften his positions.
Despite the controversy, I enjoyed reading “Babylon Mystery Religion” once again. It’s probably been thirty years since I read it last. There’s some very valuable information here that just can’t be found in today’s climate of ecumenical ultra-tolerance. Woodrow yanked “Babylon Mystery Religion” off the market in favor of “The Babylon Connection” but you can still find vintage copies available at Amazon starting at a very pricey $24. But do your wallet a favor and download a free pdf file via http://www.johnrothacker.org/Article.html