Please Stop Fighting About Christmas By J Grady (your thoughts on it?)

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Please Stop Fighting About Christmas By J Grady (your thoughts on it?)

 It’s bad enough that rabid secularists hate Christmas. It’s downright tragic that some Christian purists judge others for celebrating the holiday.

Two weeks ago when I wrote about how God worked in the lives of people in the biblical Christmas story, several readers jumped in to remind me that the modern celebration of Christmas is a pagan holiday that is luring unsuspecting, gift-giving revelers into hell itself. One person who identified himself as “Albert” wrote in our online forum that he “isn’t comfortable celebrating Christmas” because of its demonic origins.

You probably know there are many Christians who boycott Christmas for various reasons—some factual and some quite debatable. These people insist:

* The holiday has become too commercialized and promotes greed. (I would agree.)

*No one knows when Jesus was born. (True—and the Bible is silent about the date. However, “Albert” and other anti-Christmas purists insist Jesus was born on Sept. 11, in 3 B.C., during Rosh Hoshanna.)

“I unashamedly love Christmas. I love the trees, the ornaments, the lights, the smells, the foods, the music, the gifts and the family and friends who share the celebration with me.

* The Dec. 25 date was chosen to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Saturnalia, an ancient winter solstice festival. (Probably true—but is there anything wrong with Christianizing something? I’m glad a pagan celebration was replaced.)

* Christmas trees are a pagan tradition, since Druids believed evergreen boughs were magical and had the power to scare away demons. (“Thursday” is also named for the Norse god Thor, but that doesn’t mean I worship him when I use the word.

* Dec. 25 is the birthday of Nimrod, who later became known as the pagan god Baal, who later became known as Nicolas, who later became known as Santa Claus. For this reason, we can be sure that demons lurk behind all wreaths, candles, ornaments, fruitcakes, sleighs or anyone dressed in red and green. (I knew there was something weird about fruitcake!

In all fairness to these Christmas critics, I must admit I never led my children to believe in Santa Claus. This was not because I was afraid he was Baal, Nimrod or an ancient Turkish bishop in disguise, but because (1) I felt I would be lying to my kids if I told them Santa brought them gifts; (2) I hate standing in lines at department stores; and (3) the prospect of inviting a strange old man into my house so he can “check” on my sleeping daughters is downright creepy.

But I unashamedly love Christmas. I love the trees, the ornaments, the lights, the smells, the foods, the music, the gifts and the family and friends who share the celebration with me. All the decorations point me to Jesus—from the bells on the front porch to the angel on top of the tree to the plastic manger scene that shows some wear (mainly because our dog, Flapjack, chewed one of the shepherds in 1996.) For me, Christmas is a wondrous time of year when I ponder the miracle of Christ’s birth and, hopefully, get lots of chances to share his generous love with people who are less fortunate than I am.

People have been fighting about Christmas for a long, long time. Christmas gift-giving was condemned by the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages because of the pagan origins of the holiday. Then, anti-Catholic Puritans declared war on Christmas in England and banned it from 1647 to 1660, calling it “a popish festival with no justification.” In the United States, Puritans outlawed Christmas in Massachusetts from 1659 to 1681, and it was an unpopular holiday after the Revolutionary War because Americans associated it with England.

Christmas became a federal holiday in 1870, long before the American Civil Liberties Union was there to stop it. Yet today, in spite of the fact that Christmas, for many people, has morphed into a meaningless mush of secularized snowflakes, reindeer, penguins, gift cards and year-end sales, the Scrooges of our day want to suck all the remaining Christian spirituality out of it.

I expect atheists to hate Christmas. I know they will try to ban nativity scenes from public parks, or remove Christmas carols from classrooms. But it is downright tragic when Christians—who should welcome every opportunity to bring the miracle of Jesus’ incarnation into public life—start bah-humbugging (or even demonizing) the holiday.

Keep Christmas in your own way, by all means. If it is offensive to you to hang mistletoe from your mantle or to send a Christmas card to friends, then don’t. I won’t judge you for that. But please don’t judge other believers simply because they want to celebrate all that is pure and decent and meaningful in this special time of year.

P.S. -- Merry Christmas!- J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma


Alexicov
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Being an atheist, I have no

Being an atheist, I have no problem with celebrating Christmas, the same way I have no problem celebrating Easter. My family has a lot of traditions (eastern orthodox traditions mind you) on both these occasions, and I don't think one needs to believe in Christ, etc to celebrate the season.

In my opinion any time that family can gather is great, and the best thing to celebrate at those times isn't the birth/death of  a figure two millenia ago, but instead we should celebrate our friends and families and how much they mean to us. 

I respect Christmas, Hannukah and Ramadan equally as well as other celebrations such as Chinese New Year. In fact the animosity that atheists show this holiday makes me partly ashamed to be an atheist myself. I take pride in my intelligence and I hope the rest of the atheist community does as well. Counter-productive arguments and bashing will not contribute to the holiday mood, so why be the nay sayer?


BobSpence
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I respect the pagan origins

I respect the pagan origins of these festivities, marking real events of significance, namely the passing of another year as the Earth reaches a point where the apparent position of the Sun reaches one of its extremes, corresponding to mid-winter, in the case of the Solstice festival, and the arrival of spring, in the case of Easter, both with respect to the Northern Hemisphere.

The attachment of religious nonsense to these festivals I do not respect.

I don't admire everything about paganism, by any stretch, but it was closer to nature, more honest, than Christianity, and other later faiths.

So by all means piss off the Christian, Jewish, etc, BS. The old myths were much more interesting than the new ones, IMHO.

Doesn't mean hate, just Jeffersonian-style ridicule.

EDIT: If the Christians would be honest enough to admit Christ was NOT the original 'reason for the season', I would have less problem with them.

And Xmas trees certainly are not derived from any Christian traditions.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Atheistextremist
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One great tradition of Saturnalia

 

was that some fellow of the town would be selected for sacrifice at festival's end and for the whole week of the celebrations he would be sexed up and gotten drunk and filled with food until he could take no more. On the final day he'd be (ahem) garotted in the piazza. This year I nominate that towering wanker, Archbishop George Pell.

 

Ed: To respect modern morality we could dispense with the garotting and institute a public session with Madam Lash. Martin Place sounds about right...

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Brian37
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I hate Christmas mainly

I hate Christmas mainly because of traffic and crowds and the needless crap people buy.

But I do not hate that others do things I hate, that is part of life.

I DO like spending time with my mother and friends and for that reason, I don't hate it.

I do hate the superstitious magical crap about Jesus being born of a virgin. At least people accept that Santa isn't real. I like Santa as part of a holiday concept.

But this IS a war that is needed, not a war of violence, but a war of ideas through debate. The virgin birth myth needs to die just like the once held belief that the earth is flat has died.

I think you and even the politically correct left need to relax. No one is saying get rid of the holiday. No one is demanding it be outlawed. We merely want the myth to be put in it's place. If it were just about Santa and gifts without the virgin birth story, I'd be fine with it.

It takes TWO sets of DNA to manifest into a zygote thus blowing the virgin birth story out of the water. Facing that fact will not make people's private parts fall off.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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BobSpence
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And heavenly bodies DO NOT

And heavenly bodies DO NOT 'stand over' any fixed point on Earth, apart from the North Star, and that stands over the North Pole, so 'following a star" is crap.

It could only possibly have meaning as an Astrological interpretation involving some abstruse but rubbish calculation to point to some location, but that stuff is far my likely to have been an idea put in there way after the imagined time of the probably imaginary event.

I read Arthur C Clarke's SciFi short story of a Jesuit  scientist on a space-ship investigating a star-system which had gone super-nova, where there were traces that showed that the planets had contained an advanced civilization, obviously utterly destroyed when the star exploded.

Wikipedia wrote:

Their chief astrophysicist, a Jesuit priest, is suffering from a deep crisis of faith, triggered by some undisclosed event during the journey.

As the story unfolds, the reader learns that the destroyed planet's culture was very similar to Earth's. Recognizing several generations in advance that their sun would soon explode, and with no means of interstellar travel to save themselves, the doomed people spent their final years building a vault on the outermost planet in their solar system, whose Pluto-like orbit was distant enough to survive the supernova. In the vault, they placed a complete record of their history, culture, achievements, and philosophy, hoping that it would someday be found so that their existence would not have been in vain. The Earth explorers, particularly the astrophysicist-priest, were deeply moved by these artifacts, and they found themselves identifying closely with the dead race's peaceful, human-like culture and the profound grace they exhibited in the face of their cruel fate.

The final paragraph of "The Star" reveals the source of the priest's pain. Determining the exact year of the long-ago supernova and the star system's distance from Earth, he calculated the date the emitted light from the explosion reached Earth, proving that the cataclysm that destroyed the peaceful planet was the same star that heralded the birth of Jesus. The scientist's faith is shaken because of the apparent capriciousness of God:

    Oh God, there were so many stars you could have used. What was the need to give these people to the fire, that the symbol of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology