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Should Christians Give Christmas Back To the Pagans?

11 weeks left, it's time to pick a side.

by
Rhonda Robinson

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October 12, 2013 - 3:00 pm
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Christmas

The only thing that could make this scene more ridiculous is adding Wilber the pig.

While you’re contemplating Christmas, you might want to consider which side you’re on.

No doubt you’ve heard all about the war on Christmas. Every year there’s a new battle over “holiday trees” and Christmas carols. The latest skirmish is school board meeting in Wausau, WI over new rules on “religious songs”.

While Bill O’Reilly may consider this a real attack on Christianity, I don’t think it compares to the Christian-on-Christian attacks Christmas has endured over recent years.

Do you put up a Christmas tree? Do you hang a wreath on your front door, or kiss your beloved under the mistletoe?

Christians in-the-know will tell you that December 25th is NOT Jesus’ birthday, and your Christmas tree is an idol.

The fir tree was worshiped in Rome as the same new-born god, named Baal-Berith, who was restored to life by the same serpent. A feast was held in honor of him on December 25th, observed as the day on which the god reappeared on earth — he had been killed, and was “reborn” on that day, victorious over death! It was called the “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” Thus, the annual custom of erecting and decorating evergreen trees was brought down to us through the centuries by the pagan Roman Catholic Church — the paganism of Tammuz and Baal, or the worship of the sun, mingled with the worship of Aesculapius the serpent. Whether erected in private homes or in churches, decorated or not, the evergreen tree is a glaring symbol of this false god.

– “Should a Christian Celebrate Christmas?

According to this same website, Christmas wreaths are also a direct descendant of the unholy marriage of paganism and the Christian church. The wreath stands for the eternal sun, also the sign of female. A stolen kiss under the mistletoe, dates back to the ancient Druids, and represents a false messiah.

The mistletoe symbolized the reconciliation between God and man. And since a kiss is the well known symbol of reconciliation, that is how “kissing under the mistletoe” became a custom — both were tokens of reconciliation. The mistletoe, being a sacred plant and a symbol of fertility, was also believed to contain certain magical powers, having been brought to earth from heaven by a mistle thrush carrying it in its toes (hence the name). It was once known as the “plant of peace,” and in ancient Scandinavia, enemies were reconciled under it (yet another reason why people came to “kiss under the mistletoe”). It was supposed to bring “good luck” and fertility, and even to protect from witchcraft the house in which it hung.

I’ve heard others go so far as to say that by bringing a tree into your home, kneeling down to put presents under it is a form of worship.

Seriously?

This kind of drivel is as close to reality as the ridiculous cartoon manger scene above.

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All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
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PS/ Riprake:

One more important point: I was somewhat remiss in not also mentioning the solar connection; the early church rather explicitly identified Jesus with the Sun, like many other pagan sun gods who were regarded as being born on the winter solstice; and the cross has also long been a solar symbol, due to the phenomenon of the solstices and the equinoxes which have been known since prehistoric times. This is more explicit in the Catholic church, which still maintains more pagan themes; the protestant reformation removed many - but not all - pagan themes from its conception of Christianity. The traditional monstrance used in the Catholic church to display the eucharist is solar themed, typically showing both a sunburst and the cross. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monstrance

Here's a quick video introduction to the parallels of solar pagan sun gods with Christian conceptions of Jesus. (For more information, documentation, citation of references, etc. - try Google. It's not my job to do your homework for you; I'm just providing a few tips on where to look and what to look for. By all means take the videos with a grain of salt. But if you look up the topics covered, you'll find that there is a well-established connection between solar sun god myths and Christian themes and symbols.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD9f0XU_S78

Finally, your attempts to compare all this with Dan Brown's books are not apt; he was writing fiction, and the parallels of Christian theology with earlier pagan mythology is a fact. Dan Brown did make use of history in his works, but he tweaked the historical facts in order to suit the plot of his novel. If you're looking for a popular book on this topic, as opposed to the more academic sites like Doherty's, then you might try 'The Jesus Mysteries' by Freke and Gandy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0609807986
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"the early church rather explicitly identified Jesus with the Sun"

They most certainly did not.

The early imposters did.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Given this and your other comments, I take it that you're one of those anti-Catholic bashers of the 'Roman church' who considers Catholic Christianity - but not other sects of Christianity - to be pagan. But there are very similar motifs, symbols and themes in the Eastern Orthodox church, the Russian Orthodox church. That's what was early and original and 'orthodox' in the church. That's where Christianity started out - not in the Protestant reformation, but in a church steeped in the pagan rites and myths and spiritual themes of the ancient Roman empire. The Protestant reformation, by attempting to do away with all the 'pagan' stuff in Christianity, only gutted the religion of its very roots and its essence.

And even then, the paganism in Christianity could not be entirely gutted, in any case. Because, as shown on the POCM website and elsewhere, the whole theological theme of a savior god who is divine but born into a human body -- and who dies and is later resurrected and promises salvation and eternal life -- is thoroughly Pagan at its core. (It's not the only religious theme in Pagan religions, of course; it's just one of many; but it's a theme that was shared, in many different variations, by a number of well-known pagan religions in the ancient world.)

Since it appears to be impossible to 'purge' Christianity of all its pagan influences, perhaps a good question to ask yourself is why you feel so obsessed and compelled to do that. The fear and suspicion and paranoia that so many monotheists seem to feel regarding pagan religions - which, after all, includes almost all of the hundreds of religions in the world's history - does not seem to be a healthy or tolerant mindset. Embracing religious diversity can be a very liberating spiritual experience - relieving you of the need to go charging into battle against all those other religions and people who simply have a different perspective on spiritual reality from yours. It's not the kind of thing that can be proven, in any case; so why this all-consuming urgency to fight against what you don't even understand?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I was referring to the early Church, not the Roman Catholic Church, which is a very different thing.

If you consider 6th Century to be "early", I guess your statements may be true. Quite a lot of paganism had been imbibed by that time, and more was to come.

But what the early church believed is found in the Scriptures. Conflating the Sun with Christ is NOT.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Riprake: That was a pretty sorry attempt at a rebuttal that you made, in your reply to my comment. What, exactly, are you trying to dispute? The fact that these exact same religious themes were present in pagan religions long before Christianity came along? That's a well-established fact of history, despite your apparent unawareness of it.

The POCM website provides extensive documentation, but you need to actually READ the material on the website, and click on the links they provide to citations. As they explain on the website, clicking on the thumbnails on the sidebars of their 'Getting Started' page will bring up all the references, documents and citations that your heart could possibly hope for. Go ahead, click on some thumbnails:
http://pocm.info/getting_started_pocm.html

So all of this is well-known history. Your unawareness of it - and your failure to click on the citations provided - does not constitute any kind of rebuttal. Even the early church fathers were well aware of it, and addressed in their writings the issue that certain theological features in Christianity had been present long before Jesus, in pagan religions. Or are you denying that these pagan religious themes had any influence on the creation of Christianity - despite being present in the same place and the same time, and well known to Paul and other early Christians?

I suppose you could always try offering the same excuse that the early church fathers came up with. Namely: The Devil made them do it. Yes, that's right; their theory was that Satan himself had the foresight to know what Christian theology would look like, a thousand years before it happened; and he cleverly and diabolically influenced the ancient pagan priesthood to devise the very same myths and themes that Jesus would embody once he was born, a thousand years in the future. Such a clever fellow, eh?

And it's not "my" website; it's not even "my" issue. I just happened to come across this essay and noticed something major was missing, in that there was no mention of the pagan origins of the dying-and-resurrected godman savior, son of a male god and born to a human mother, working miracles, promising eternal life, etc. I'm well aware of all that, because I majored in both religious studies and classics in college. (Including a class in ancient Greek religion, which covered the ancient mystery cults that were prevalent all over the ancient Greco-Roman world.) And really, these basic facts should be common knowledge; but our public educational system is lacking in so many ways.

There are plenty of other resources out there on this topic: books, websitess, videos, etc. If you're looking for a website that's even more extensive and thorough - including lots of back-and-forth debate - then you might try Earl Doherty's site The Jesus Puzzle, which addresses the question of whether Christianity began with Jesus as a historical figure or as a mythical savior god similar to those of the pagan mystery religions: http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/jhcjp.htm

Doherty's site is broader and less focused on the parallels with pagan themes; but there are a few articles there on that specific topic, under section 13 on their 'main articles' page. http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/supp13D.htm
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, this is a better introduction to the pagan parallels, at Doherty's "Jesus Puzzle" website:
http://www.jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/supp13A.htm
It's a very brief survey of some pagan cults and deities whose characteristic features later showed up in the Christian mythos; such as Dionysus, Osiris, Attis, Mithras, etc. And there is a handy bibliography at the end, for further research.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another possibility? We could all just relax. If the Bible doesn't give an exact date for Christ's birthday, can it really be all that important whether we celebrate it or not, and how? From where I'm sitting, Christmas seems a lot like other birthday celebrations: more fun when you're a kid because a year feels like it lasts forever and you get a free party just for showing up, and less fun when you're an adult because a year between parties doesn't seem to last very long at all and you usually have to pick up some of the tab for the party. The most sensible approach, I'd contend, is to celebrate Christmas the same way and with the same degree of passion as one celebrates anyone's birthday.

As to pagan influences, I don't doubt there have been some, but their importance seems rather overblown. As Robinson points out, most of us are descended from heathen stock and, as I might add, most of that stock is the barbarians who sacked Rome and plundered its culture and civilization for everything of value. If some of the finer bits of cultural loot could have such a transforming effect as it did on the barbarians that so many of them became better Christians than the sophisticated Romans had been before them, why not celebrate the subtlety and craft by which Christianity was able to insinuate itself into the traditions of even their savage cultures? If we suddenly are looking to purge ourselves of all pagan influence, it isn't just the holidays we'd have to eliminate, but also a great many wedding customs (such as wedding rings, which ancient occultists believed helped increase the flow of romantic energy because they go on a finger thought to have a nerve running straight to the heart) and funeral rites and even common names and words. (Sorry, August: off the calendar you go, since you were named after the "divine" Emperor Augustus and are therefore an EEE-vil pagan influence!) Or we could try heeding the Apostle Paul's more sensible advice to the Corinthians concerning certain more substantial pagan influences in their time:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+8&version=NIV

For Christmas, we could also try putting aside mere myths and fables (though there might even have been an actual Saint Nicholas who rescued three young ladies from being sold into sexual slavery, and it's possible a Christian missionary really did chop down an oak sacred to Thor in order to halt a child sacrifice and replace it with the first Christmas Tree) and reminding ourselves that this is, in fact, a commemoration of historical events. As ever, one of my favorite sources of information and background on this is Paul L. Maier, who has written a rather informative book on the subject for all ages:

http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Christmas-Unfamiliar-Story/dp/0825439159/

In any event, stressing out about possible pagan mythological influences on Christmas is no more pleasing or serviceable to God than indulging in mad materialistic excess and drunken gluttonous revelry. The moderate course of a quiet get-together with one's family and exchange of modest gifts in commemoration of the Magi's gifts to Jesus (which were probably actually given about a year and a half after his birth) is preferable in every way to either extreme.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"As to pagan influences, I don't doubt there have been some, but their importance seems rather overblown."

They are not "influences". They are direct SOURCES. All of the so-called "Christian" holidays are directly imported from the pagans, deliberately, with the stated intent to make Christianity palatable to the pagans, by not taking away their favorite festivals, with their integral drunkenness and promiscuity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The pagan influence in Christianity is considerable, substantial, and essential to Christian theology. But it does not seem to be something to get stressed or upset about. Like I said, religions have always borrowed stuff from other religions - gods, myths, symbols, rituals, etc. - and then reframed them into a new religious context, with changed meanings. Besides which, removing all the pagan elements in Christianity would be an impossibly hopeless task; much like trying to remove all the Jewish influences from Christianity. The religion started as a fusion of Jewish and pagan traditions, and neither of those could be 'removed' without the entire foundation of the religion crumbling.

And there was also some later borrowing in the other direction; as some Hindus, when told the Jesus story, promptly placed statues of Jesus on their Hindu altars, right next to Hindu deities like Shiva, Krishna, Kali and Ganesha. What goes around comes around, and with hundreds of religions in the world and thousands of gods, no religion ever remains totally isolated from the others. The resurgence of pagan religions in the west these days - in Britain, America, Canada, Australia and elsewhere - is bringing new awareness of just how much religious diversity there truly is in our world. Just as with cultural diversity, one can regard religious diversity either as an opportunity for enrichment or as a threat to one's own entrenched worldview. It's all in the perspective one chooses.


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Of course the origins of Christmas are thoroughly pagan. Much the same is true of Easter and its customs, with the symbols of eggs and rabbits. The very word 'easter' is related to root words connected to 'east' ('ost') and 'dawn' (Greek 'eos'). The spring equinox was connected with Ostara, a Teutonic fertility goddess. But religions have always borrowed myths and symbols from other religions and then changed their meaning to fit the new theological context.

What's more significant than the holidays is that most of the Christian theology was also 'borrowed' from pagan mystery religions in the ancient Greco-Roman world: the idea of a child born of a father god and a mortal woman, who grows up human but later reveals his divinity, who does miracles like turning water to wine, who dies or is killed and then is later resurrected or reborn, and who promises his followers eternal life. Almost all of that is connected with earlier pagan gods such as Dionysus, Osiris, Attis, Tammuz, etc.

Christianity began as a fusion of Jewish tradition with pagan mythology. (Perhaps motivated by Paul's desire to break down the barriers between Jews and gentiles, and create a religion where both could feel at home.) This is all pretty well documented by now, and easy to find online. This might be a good place to start: http://pocm.info


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The very word 'easter' is related to root words connected to 'east' ('ost') and 'dawn' (Greek 'eos')"

Actually, it's not that complicated. It's just the name of the female deity, shared by many of the pagan religions. She's Astarte, or Ishtar, or any of a number of similar names.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
She is also connected historically with the 'Morning Star' - the planet Venus when it is seen in the East, rising before the sun, at dawn. That appears to be why there's an etymological connection between some of the goddess names, and the direction of east, and the dawn. And, of course, Easter/Ostara.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your "documents" are all thoroughly baseless anti-Christian propaganda. The only thing that's "astonishing" is that anyone doesn't recognize the myths you and that propaganda site of yours are pushing as being even older and moldier and more thoroughly discredited than Dan Brown's garbage.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not a big fan of uncomfortable truth, are you Riprake?

I was very interested to hear the owner of a Christian bookstore tell me that "The Two Babylons" (Alexander Hislop, 1858) had been his best seller for years. This was a very large Christian bookstore in Orange County, California. (Can't remember if it was in Anaheim or Santa Ana...)

Hislop is not the only one to point out the origins of most "Christian" traditions, but I think his book is probably the most thorough treatment of it from a Christian perspective that I have seen. He cites his sources most thoroughly, and gathers a LOT of information in one place.


Here, you can read it online:

http://www.biblebelievers.com/babylon/

Or buy it on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Babylons-papal-worship-proved-Nimrod/dp/1177051443
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Riprake: The POCM website is chock full of reliable historical references. Apparently you neglected to actually read the material on the POCM website before bashing it; including the part where it tells you to click on the thumbnails for citations. Such as this example: http://pocm.info/pagan_ideas_god.html#osiris

Next time you prepare to post a comment dismissing a website as "baseless", I suggest that you actually take the time to read it first.

For my full-length reply, see above.




1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It gives one pause to think that the above information will come as an utter astonishment to many...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, to many Christians. Most pagans I've encountered are well aware of it, and laugh about it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Christianity (Catholic & non-Catholic) has done pretty well with Christmas & Easter. It's marxists who have sought to make Christians doubt their religion. And getting rid of these holidays is a great way to do that.

How you choose to celebrate Jesus' birth and Resurrection are up to you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yeah, it's those damn Catholics again, screwing everything up, right? I think most people would prefer to give up Christmas and Easter and go back to "holy birth" day and "resurrection day" in place of those awful pagan papist rituals. Because that's what the Puritans wanted and they were so tolerant of other cultures (sarc).
The Restoration Movement folks have their heart in the right place but painting Catholics as the root cause of the problems with Christianity because of "pagan rituals" ignores the expanding (and more dangerous) influence of secular humanist's and aethism in today's society.
Ironically, those same Puritan's who despised Catholics for their "pagan" practices, were great believers in education, ostensibly to ensure everyone could read and understand the Bible, and those literate educated folks likely began to interpret the Bible in own unique way undermining their control of the flock. (Pretty sure that wasn't what they intended)

I have no issue with those who don't want to celebrate or commemorate Christmas or Easter. It's already been hijacked by the secular marketplace. No need to be a killjoy about it by condemning those that do.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"...Why should we celebrate the birth of Jesus? Because all of heaven did:...."

Why don't we celebrate the Holy Birth on the Feast of Tabernacles in late September, which would correspond more closely to the accounts of the Nativity given in the Holy Book and make them coherent? Christians following scripture and honouring the Word as given - what a concept.......

I know, I know....... tradition and the Catholic Church and all that. I vote for change it and make it right. It's a thing to do to reinstate Christian Faith in the world and to shake stuff up a bit.....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Why don't we celebrate the Holy Birth on the Feast of Tabernacles in late September, which would correspond more closely to the accounts of the Nativity given in the Holy Book and make them coherent? Christians following scripture and honouring the Word as given - what a concept......."

I think more and more Christians are coming to that very same conclusion,
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The origins of Christmas are about as open to debate as who signed the Declaration of Independence. It's as solidly established history as that.

It IS a pagan holiday, brought into the Church, along with all the other pagan holidays (Valentine's Day, etc.) and traditions (Lent, worshiping wafers, etc.) to pacify the pagans and make "Christianity" acceptable to them, without bothering with that little detail known as "conversion". The ancient writers BRAG about doing so, as if they had done some good thing.

But it's a tradition with strong emotional ties for us, so a little thing like participating in paganism can't be allowed to get in the way of our warm fuzzies, now, can it?

So we ignore it or deny it or make up strange new doctrines about how God has "redeemed" these pagan practices, despite the plain testimony of Scripture against them. And if any dare to point out the truth, we ridicule them and call them names.

Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.

Rev 2:20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
hrmn...... the few Teutons and Franks I know who would be outraged at having their cherished feast days challenged and dismissed are in nursing homes, and I'd doubt they'd be able to lift a battle axe against it and to hang on to their zimmer frames without falling over.....'>.......
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Gee, Rhonda....so little space....if Jesus wanted us to know His birthdate, it would have been passed down from the apostles, no? After all, He was human and if you would resent your sept birthday being celebrated in Dec, don't you think He would, too?...The word said the feasts are everlasting...do you know them? Celebrate them? When God makes clear the days of the week are not alike, and gives you the 7th day as a Sabbath, once you have that knowledge, what choice do you make? Follow some man's decree, and tradition, or obey God?...Since we know (you do know?) that Christianity now is 180 degrees from that of the Apostles, that the Constantinian hybrid, man made changes, incorporating pagan practices into Christianity, the Passover, Halloween, we know the nominal (normal) Christian is going to have his faith chipped away little by little by this, and wonder why true Believers get irritated when you say 'do Christmas'. Please read 'The Kingdom that Turned the World Upside Down' by David Bercot,.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They DID record Jesus' birth date; "when shepherds watch their flocks by night". The hills of Judea get darned cold at night, and the only time the shepherds stayed up all night was in the spring, when the ewes are birthing the lambs. Call it mid-March to mid-April.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Lived in Israel, the fall nights are better because it stays a bit warmer, plus the high holy days are in Sept/oct, plus the Jubilee year, adds up to a likely Sept/oct birth, internet sources will help you there
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yep. Any time from spring to fall works. Winter does NOT.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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