Frank....You conflate two separate issues: the claim of a pagan origin of the "cross" symbol in Christendom and the seeming "uncouth" use of displaying the cross in Christianity. Unless you are arguing that the use of the cross must have a pagan origin apart from the crucifixion of Jesus because early Christians would have been horrified at the notion of the cross (just as a person today would feel disgust at the electric chair used to kill a loved one -- an analogy that the Society often makes, cf. 5/1/1989 Watchtower, p. 26; 4/22/1996 Awake!, p. 29), I see no connection between the two. But if that connection is what you are presuming, I should mention that the early Christian attitude towards the cross (at least in the NT) was not at all analogous to how a person today would feel about a hangman's noose or electric chair. The cross was central to Pauline and sub-Pauline theology, as the very vehicle through which salvation and reconciliation occurred for mankind. Thus, Jesus "reconciled them to God through the cross" and even humiliated the evil powers by "triumphing over them by the cross" (Colossians 2:15, Ephesians 2:16). The cross was viewed as a means of triumph and victory, not defeat and sorrow. Paul referred to the cross of Christ as continually defining the Christian gospel and the community of Christians. Those persecuting Christians were "enemies of the cross of Christ" (Philippians 3:18), and Christians were "being persecuted for the cross of Christ" (Galatians 6:12). Far from being disgusted by it, Paul said that "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (v. 14). Clearly, the cross still lived in the heart of Paul, defining his own relationship with the world. Of course, the world at large was disgusted at the cross, the vile and hated instrument of torture and execution. Paul even explicitly mentions this attitude as a key thing seperating the Christians from the rest of the world.
"For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel -- not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God....Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles" (1 Corinthians 1:17-21).
This is the "scandal of the cross"...it was ridiculous to the Greeks that Christians would think so highly of such a vile thing as a cross. Paul here even calls the message of the cross "the power of God", the power of the "cross of Christ". So the attitude of disgust towards the cross is something the Greeks and non-Christian Jews would have had -- the "enemies of the cross" for Paul -- but definitely not Paul himself...he wanted to even boast in the cross.
The centrality of the cross for Paul, who already was turning the literal instrument of execution into a symbol of salvation, more than accounts for the early Christian attention to the cross and its depiction as a symbol in later centuries. As Christianity spread in the subsequent centuries, already existing symbolic uses of the same geometric shape likely contributed to the style and symbiology of the cross, but that does not make it the cross itself a "pagan borrowing" -- as it already was in place, as a symbol as early as Paul and the shape of the cross getting symbolic attention as early as the epistle of Barnabas. And here is the important point, already mentioned a few times already in the thread: the geometric shape of two intersecting lines is a VERY BASIC shape, so it is no surprise at all that it is used in iconography in religions all over the world -- the same is true with circles, triangles, and any other basic geometric shape. This use does not preclude the possibility of Christians also finding symbolic value in an execution instrument that also shares the same basic shape. And although this point isn't addressing anything in the post, it bears repeating that the execution instrument is not the same thing as a symbol -- the Romans did not execute Jesus on a symbol.
The webpage linked in the post also has a lot of bad information, as well, such as the claim that the cross symbol was "associated with the Babylonian Goddess Tammuz". First of all, Tammuz was not a goddess, second, there is no evidence whatsoever that the symbol had anything to do with this deity. The claim comes from W. E. Vine (in a very poorly researched entry on "STAUROS"), who in turn depends on Alexander Hislop (both men were members of the Plymouth Brethren, and Bullinger was influenced by the Brethren as well), and the claim is based not on any real evidence but on one of Hislop's many imaginative identifications that rests on no real factual basis. Yet this claim is uncritically repeated ad nauseum by the Society and on the web. I will post more information on this later in this thread.