Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

brights
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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

According to their own bible they are not to celebrate festivities with cutting down the tree, trimmings, etc.

Do they read their bible?

Anyone else see this and or show this to a christian?

Jer 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

Jer 10:3 For the customs of the people [are] vain: for [one] cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

Jer 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.


Jer 10:5 They [are] upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also [is it] in them to do good.

This is from the website: www.blueletterbible.com


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Quite frankly, I don't

Quite frankly, I don't think that many xtians read the bible at all, they simply parrot their preachers who are parroting their fundy school "profs".  If they actually took the time to read the bible and pay attention to it they might develope enough intelligence to become athiests.

I doubt many of them are familiar with the reasons for any of the religious holidays and why they take place at the times they do. 

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Ummm...no.  The do not

Ummm...no.  The do not read their bible.  I had figured out by the age of 12 that the whole christmas tree thing was based on pagan rituals and never did get a straight answer as to why it was incorporated into celebrating the birth of christ.  If you call them on it, they call you a spoilsport.  Because they are so damn nice!

(FYI - when I first looked at this post it looked a bit funky so here are a few things to try:

copy the text from the original site into Word Pad and then copy and paste from there - this post had frames in it from blue bible that were screwing with the formatting

preview your post before hitting post just to make sure it looks okay

BGH fixed this one for me because I am hopeless when it comes to computers, so if you ever have questions you can contact one of us or another moderator for help.  It happens to the best of us!) 


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Jehovahs Witnesses--who are

Jehovahs Witnesses--who are technically Christian--don't celebrate the pagan religious holidays (Christmas, Easter, Halloween) for this reason.  Also Birthdays.

In many ways the JW's are more Bible-literate (with their particular reading) than the majority of mainstream Christians.

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


brights
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why do christians celebrate christmas with tree, trimmings

Bulldog wrote:

Quite frankly, I don't think that many xtians read the bible at all, they simply parrot their preachers who are parroting their fundy school "profs". If they actually took the time to read the bible and pay attention to it they might develope enough intelligence to become athiests.

I doubt many of them are familiar with the reasons for any of the religious holidays and why they take place at the times they do.

 

I thinkyou're right about that Bulldog.  When I was a christian I was never told why or how we came to have these holidays.  They only told me the why and that was for the birth or death of the jesus. I was even told the xmas tree represented the wood from the wood used for the cross for the crucifixion.  the santa, giving presents, gifts eventually gets replaced with the jesus.  The jesus gives the gift of a salvation.  That's about it that I remember for now.  Sometimes I think I should do what the trolls do, except post the truth on their websites in their forums, which is exactly what they don't do, post the truth.   I wonder what their answers would be to actually reading what it actually says.  How would they try to deny it. 


brights
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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

jce wrote:

Ummm...no. The do not read their bible. I had figured out by the age of 12 that the whole christmas tree thing was based on pagan rituals and never did get a straight answer as to why it was incorporated into celebrating the birth of christ. If you call them on it, they call you a spoilsport. Because they are so damn nice!

(FYI - when I first looked at this post it looked a bit funky so here are a few things to try:

copy the text from the original site into Word Pad and then copy and paste from there - this post had frames in it from blue bible that were screwing with the formatting

preview your post before hitting post just to make sure it looks okay

BGH fixed this one for me because I am hopeless when it comes to computers, so if you ever have questions you can contact one of us or another moderator for help. It happens to the best of us!)

 

I didn't figure that out or notice it in the bible until recently.  I didn't read the bible much while growing up, in fact not at all until my late teens.  When I was a xtian I was one of those buffet style xtians, I hate to admit that but it's the truth.  Until I started noticing all the murders, hate, discrimination oh the list could go on.  I also noticed prayers don't get answered unless the god says no.  I was told sometimes he grants our prayers and sometimes he know it's best when he doesn't for own good.  Yeah bullshit I said.  Fro every question I had there was a bullshit answer.  Hey thanks for the heads up on using the preview and word pad. I didn't know it looked funky, obviously if I had taken the time to preview it then I would have.   Sorry about that and thank you for helping me Smiling 


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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

Textom wrote:

Jehovahs Witnesses--who are technically Christian--don't celebrate the pagan religious holidays (Christmas, Easter, Halloween) for this reason. Also Birthdays.

In many ways the JW's are more Bible-literate (with their particular reading) than the majority of mainstream Christians.

 

Well at least they try to follow it more closely but they are still freaks to me LOL.   I don't get why not birthdays though.   


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brights wrote:   I didn't

brights wrote:
 

I didn't figure that out or notice it in the bible until recently. I didn't read the bible much while growing up, in fact not at all until my late teens. When I was a xtian I was one of those buffet style xtians, I hate to admit that but it's the truth.

Hey, don't hate admitting to that!  I think there are a lot of buffet style xians out there and hopefully this whole atheist movement will help them admit what they already suspect is true. 

brights wrote:
Until I started noticing all the murders, hate, discrimination oh the list could go on. I also noticed prayers don't get answered unless the god says no. I was told sometimes he grants our prayers and sometimes he know it's best when he doesn't for own good. Yeah bullshit I said. Fro every question I had there was a bullshit answer.

They are excellent bullshit artists, I'll give them that!

brights wrote:
Hey thanks for the heads up on using the preview and word pad. I didn't know it looked funky, obviously if I had taken the time to preview it then I would have. Sorry about that and thank you for helping me Smiling

No problem!  Usually when I have a format problem I try to solve it by cursing at the computer.  Never works.  I tried praying but that didn't work either.  LOL


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I do lots of shit that the

I do lots of shit that the bible forbids.  Christmas trees are the least of my worries.  (And yes, by the way, I have read the bible).  


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Does the bible come with a

Does the bible come with a primer that lets the reader know which passages should be taken seriously and obeyed or not? 


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Actually, there are several

Actually, there are several versions as to why the xmas tree was used in celebrating xmas, most of which originate in Germany more than 1k years ago.  Mostly, the church was incorporating xtian themes with pagan holidays and rituals and adopting them as xtian holidays.  To win over pagans some aspects of their rituals were often kept.  Pagans worshipped nature and trees figured fairly prominently in their rituals.  Xmas was adopted to counter the winter solstice.

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Quote: I don't get why not

Quote:
I don't get why not birthdays though.

From "Reasoning from the Bible," one of the JW's official internal prostelytizing guides:

"Everything that is in the Bible is there for a reason (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).  Jehova's Witnesses take note that God's Word reports unfavorably about birthday celebrations and so shun these."

The "unfavorable" representations of birthdays in the Bible are in Gen 40:20-2 and Matt 14:6-10.  Also "Reasoning" explains (correctly) that birthday celebrations were part of Greek & Roman pagan religious practice, and that the Jews of Jesus's time (i.e. Jesus) saw birthday celebrations as an idolatrous practice.  So the verdict: it's not a Biblical practice, therefore JW's can't do it.

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Not that this is a

Not that this is a particularly big issue, but wow, bad reading of the text. If we read on to 10:5 we see that the danged present in the cutting down of trees is that they are idols. Hence, "their idols ar elike scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk."

Anyhow, I believe that the tree is a Germanic addition, an adaption of their culture to the faith. Such things do have precedence, specifically in Romans 14 and Corinthians 7 I think where Jews are allowed to keep elements of the law. If it facilitates the faith and doesn't break the commands of Christ, then it's ok. As such, the command is would be breaking, even in the context of Jeremiah, is that of idol worship. So, if you know people who are worshiping their Christmas trees, please, do share this verse with them. 


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Tankalish wrote: Not that

Tankalish wrote:

Not that this is a particularly big issue, but wow, bad reading of the text. If we read on to 10:5 we see that the danged present in the cutting down of trees is that they are idols. Hence, "their idols ar elike scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk."

Anyhow, I believe that the tree is a Germanic addition, an adaption of their culture to the faith. Such things do have precedence, specifically in Romans 14 and Corinthians 7 I think where Jews are allowed to keep elements of the law. If it facilitates the faith and doesn't break the commands of Christ, then it's ok. As such, the command is would be breaking, even in the context of Jeremiah, is that of idol worship. So, if you know people who are worshiping their Christmas trees, please, do share this verse with them.

Funny how God had no problems telling people about idols by using the word "idols" or "gods" before Jeremiah. But when Jeremiah came along, he felt like he could get away with just talking about "trees" and have the followers make the leap.

That, or you're just widening the definition of "trees" - playing that time-honored theist game of "what God really meant to say was..." 

You also have it backwards on the Christmas tree tradition. It was an adaptation of the faith to the culture, not the reverse. Germanic peoples were putting up trees before the taint of Christianity came to them.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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jcgadfly wrote: Funny how

jcgadfly wrote:

Funny how God had no problems telling people about idols by using the word "idols" or "gods" before Jeremiah. But when Jeremiah came along, he felt like he could get away with just talking about "trees" and have the followers make the leap.

 

The problem as I see it isn’t with those who don’t read the Bible. It is with those who read and interpret the Bible with only the Bible as a reference. The Bible even tells you not to do it.  I have researched (I don’t consider myself an expert) Jeremiah was writing about the "heathen" practice of cutting down trees, carving or decorating them in the form of a god or goddess, and overlaying it with precious metals.  

jcgadfly wrote:

That, or you're just widening the definition of "trees" - playing that time-honored theist game of "what God really meant to say was..." 

Jeremiah was addressing a specific people and cultural practices. They knew what he was talking about, research is a wonderful thing for those who don't. Look into the culture of the times and you will find what is being said and why.

jcgadfly wrote:

You also have it backwards on the Christmas tree tradition. It was an adaptation of the faith to the culture, not the reverse. Germanic peoples were putting up trees before the taint of Christianity came to them.

This I do agree with. Customs of various cultures shows that greenery was often brought into homes at the time of the winter solstice. It symbolized life in the midst of death in many cultures. Incorperation of earlier customs into a new meaning is not a rare happening.

It is easier for people to give up or change gods than give up a Holiday. With that said, Do athiest practice a theist Holiday or do you return your Christmas gifts and refuse to take time off of work and stand on principal.

You can only condemn the Christmas tree if you practice the custom of cutting down a tree, erecting it in the home and decorating and worshipping it is a Pagan custom.

But then it wouldn’t be a Christmas tree would it?


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Mjolnin wrote:

Mjolnin wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Funny how God had no problems telling people about idols by using the word "idols" or "gods" before Jeremiah. But when Jeremiah came along, he felt like he could get away with just talking about "trees" and have the followers make the leap.

The problem as I see it isn’t with those who don’t read the Bible. It is with those who read and interpret the Bible with only the Bible as a reference. The Bible even tells you not to do it. I have researched (I don’t consider myself an expert) Jeremiah was writing about the "heathen" practice of cutting down trees, carving or decorating them in the form of a god or goddess, and overlaying it with precious metals.

jcgadfly wrote:

That, or you're just widening the definition of "trees" - playing that time-honored theist game of "what God really meant to say was..."

Jeremiah was addressing a specific people and cultural practices. They knew what he was talking about, research is a wonderful thing for those who don't. Look into the culture of the times and you will find what is being said and why.

jcgadfly wrote:

You also have it backwards on the Christmas tree tradition. It was an adaptation of the faith to the culture, not the reverse. Germanic peoples were putting up trees before the taint of Christianity came to them.

This I do agree with. Customs of various cultures shows that greenery was often brought into homes at the time of the winter solstice. It symbolized life in the midst of death in many cultures. Incorperation of earlier customs into a new meaning is not a rare happening.

It is easier for people to give up or change gods than give up a Holiday. With that said, Do athiest practice a theist Holiday or do you return your Christmas gifts and refuse to take time off of work and stand on principal.

You can only condemn the Christmas tree if you practice the custom of cutting down a tree, erecting it in the home and decorating and worshipping it is a Pagan custom.

But then it wouldn’t be a Christmas tree would it?

Again, god had no problems using the words "idols", "graven images" and "gods" in his earlier discussions about idolatry. Why use the word "trees" in this instance if he was referring to idols?

Hey, whatever you want to do with the Christian appropriation of the solstice, that's your business. Me, I take advantage of the practices of the solstice (the library where I work closes and I'm not going to break in to go to work) and let my wife do the Nativity scenes (sans Magi - they came later).

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote: Again, god

jcgadfly wrote:

Again, god had no problems using the words "idols", "graven images" and "gods" in his earlier discussions about idolatry. Why use the word "trees" in this instance if he was referring to idols?

The context plainly associates the action with idolaters who were alive at the time. Jeremiah is not foreseeing paganism 2000 years in the future (the first Christmas tree apparently was decorated in the 16th century AD), but denouncing rampant contemporary heathenism!

If you can not see that then you are not looking

jcgadfly wrote:

Hey, whatever you want to do with the Christian appropriation of the solstice, that's your business. Me, I take advantage of the practices of the solstice (the library where I work closes and I'm not going to break in to go to work) and let my wife do the Nativity scenes (sans Magi - they came later).

Christian appropriation of the solstice, how cute. I will repeat what I said earlier- It is easier to give up God than a Holiday. Call it what you want it is still a Christian Holiday now. And the Bible still doesn't condemn Christmas trees.

At least not without distortion.

 


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Because it's a tradition and

Because it's a tradition and companies make a lot of money off of it. Pretty simple. You probably already realize that you can manipulate the Bible to mean anything you want it to.


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Mjolnin wrote: jcgadfly

Mjolnin wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Again, god had no problems using the words "idols", "graven images" and "gods" in his earlier discussions about idolatry. Why use the word "trees" in this instance if he was referring to idols?

The context plainly associates the action with idolaters who were alive at the time. Jeremiah is not foreseeing paganism 2000 years in the future (the first Christmas tree apparently was decorated in the 16th century AD), but denouncing rampant contemporary heathenism!

If you can not see that then you are not looking

jcgadfly wrote:

Hey, whatever you want to do with the Christian appropriation of the solstice, that's your business. Me, I take advantage of the practices of the solstice (the library where I work closes and I'm not going to break in to go to work) and let my wife do the Nativity scenes (sans Magi - they came later).

Christian appropriation of the solstice, how cute. I will repeat what I said earlier- It is easier to give up God than a Holiday. Call it what you want it is still a Christian Holiday now. And the Bible still doesn't condemn Christmas trees.

At least not without distortion.

 

Once more, God's ghost writers knew the words for "idols", "graven image" and "gods" before Jeremiah was written. It's part of the commandments for pity's sake . But now you're saying that God meant "idols" when he supposedly told Jeremiah to speak about "trees". I'm not talking about 2000 years after the writing. All I'm saying is that the writers knew the Hebrew word for "idols" - why use the word for "trees"?

Or are you just joining in the"What God REALLY meant to say was <fill in preferred interpretation here>"

And Christianity (Catholicism particularly) appropriated the pagan festivals (Yul, Saturnalia, Germanic solstice festivals, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti) and attached them to the baby Jesus. It didn't even get called Christmas until 1038.

No amount of your preaching "Jesus is the reason for the season" can change that/  

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


brights
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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

Tankalish wrote:

Not that this is a particularly big issue, but wow, bad reading of the text. If we read on to 10:5 we see that the danged present in the cutting down of trees is that they are idols. Hence, "their idols ar elike scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk."

Anyhow, I believe that the tree is a Germanic addition, an adaption of their culture to the faith. Such things do have precedence, specifically in Romans 14 and Corinthians 7 I think where Jews are allowed to keep elements of the law. If it facilitates the faith and doesn't break the commands of Christ, then it's ok. As such, the command is would be breaking, even in the context of Jeremiah, is that of idol worship. So, if you know people who are worshiping their Christmas trees, please, do share this verse with them.

 

I think what is being said in 10:5 is the idol cannot harm them so don't be afraid of it.  It warns them that idol worshipping of the tree is heathen.  the dressing up of the tree is considered idol worshipping  according to this scripture and they are told don't do it.  I agree it is dressed up like a god or goddess that is idol worshipping.  They may not have bowed down to their trees but they are a form of idol worshipping.  It is not the wood that makes it an idol but the dressing up of it and adoring it as though it were some form of or some relation to godliness.  It just seems to me christians only follow the bible when it suits their needs and conveniences.


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It's cherry picking by most

It's cherry picking by most Christians. I've even seen TV preachers openly state that they know December 25th isn't their savior's birthday,but they do it anyway.

Nero(in response to a Youth pastor) wrote:

You are afraid and should be thus.  We look to eradicate your god from everything but history books.  We bring rationality and clear thought to those who choose lives of ignorance.  We are the blazing, incandescent brand that will leave an "A" so livid, so scarlet on your mind that you will not go an hour without reflecting on reality.


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Mjolnin wrote: Christian

Mjolnin wrote:

Christian appropriation of the solstice, how cute. I will repeat what I said earlier- It is easier to give up God than a Holiday. Call it what you want it is still a Christian Holiday now. And the Bible still doesn't condemn Christmas trees.

At least not without distortion.

 

 

The bible absolutely does condemn it.  If you have a pine tree outside, in its natural state, it is not being worshipped,  condemned, because it was not cut down by the workmen and fastened with nails and hammers, it is not dressed up with silver and gold in the form of idolizing a god/ repersenting a god/ suggests it has anything to do with a god or the god of abraham, Isaac and Joseph.  It doesn't have to be an exact image.  The connection to the god/ a god already makes it an idol with the above added to it make it obvious. 

 

As soon as you cut it down, fasten it, dress it up and connect it with the god or the birth of the jesus, claimed to be the god in the flesh then you are idolizing it.  I'm beginning to see why the christians use the tree, cutting of the tree, trimming as the christian holiday.  It is convenient to ignore their own scripture because it's fun so just ignore the scripture, deny the truth and blame it on people distorting what is clearly taught... don't do it. 

 


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The concept you are using

The concept you are using to iterpret the Bible is Sola scriptura (Latin ablative "by scripture alone&quotEye-wink. Bible as God's written word is self-authenticating and to the rational reader and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of doctrine. This is the right of private interpretation you are giving yourself and refusing any theist. The simple idea that two men think exactly alike on any subject should fly in the face of any atheist. But you still want to go against simple logic because using private judgment as a rule of faith enables you to dissolve all creeds. 

If you claim logic as you source, you should follow"prima scriptura" which holds that even though the Bible is the primary source of doctrine it is improved by reference to other sources. This is what is usually used on these forums against the authentisity of the Bible, the key word in the above sentence is "improved" . This is supported by the simple thought that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.

If you claim knowledge of the Bible you also know that most Bible documents are ad hoc; they are addressed to specific problems and none claim to present the whole of Christian revelation.

So back to the original question as to how Christians can put up a Christmas tree… We don’t worship the tree. If you see anyone worshipping the tree than I will stand beside you against them.

If a theist brings up a contrasting belief of an atheist it is cherry picking. What is the term for atheists who hold a contradicting belief to a theist?


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Bible literalists, who do

Bible literalists, who do believe that every word of the Bible is completely consistent with the whole of Christian revelation, have an argument against the "prima scriptura" view.

Literalists claim that if you can doubt or question or modify any part of the Bible away from a strict literal interpretation, then the whole Bible is called into question.  The young earth creationists are an example: if the Bible doesn't mean a literal "day" when it says so, then how do you know it literally means "saved" or "forgiven" or "heaven" when it says so? 

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Mjolnin wrote: The concept

Mjolnin wrote:

The concept you are using to iterpret the Bible is Sola scriptura (Latin ablative "by scripture alone&quotEye-wink. Bible as God's written word is self-authenticating and to the rational reader and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of doctrine. This is the right of private interpretation you are giving yourself and refusing any theist. The simple idea that two men think exactly alike on any subject should fly in the face of any atheist. But you still want to go against simple logic because using private judgment as a rule of faith enables you to dissolve all creeds.

If you claim logic as you source, you should follow"prima scriptura" which holds that even though the Bible is the primary source of doctrine it is improved by reference to other sources. This is what is usually used on these forums against the authentisity of the Bible, the key word in the above sentence is "improved" . This is supported by the simple thought that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.

If you claim knowledge of the Bible you also know that most Bible documents are ad hoc; they are addressed to specific problems and none claim to present the whole of Christian revelation.

So back to the original question as to how Christians can put up a Christmas tree… We don’t worship the tree. If you see anyone worshipping the tree than I will stand beside you against them.

If a theist brings up a contrasting belief of an atheist it is cherry picking. What is the term for atheists who hold a contradicting belief to a theist?

So  the book you claim as God's word is only God's word when it (or another source you follow) matches your opinions? If you don't agree it's ad hoc?

Or are you saying the entire word of your God is ad hoc? If so, why follow it at all? 

Since you like other sources (opinions of Popes or folks with St. attached to their names?) check this out -  http://www.zenit.org/article-11828?l=english

What you're doing is not so dissimilar to what the Gospel writers did. You have an opinion you'd like to persuade people into believing so you work backwards and find scriptures and other sources that fit your view (even if you have to stretch either one or both to do it).

 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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From my understanding the

From my understanding the Christmas tree isn't actually a pagan tradition but a mockery of a pagan tradition. Northern European pagans worshipped evergreen trees (the whole world tree idea) and made most of their alters or temples around or near large groupings of old trees. In an attempt to un-deify these trees, the Christians chopped them down, dressed them up in Christian symbology and put them in their homes.

 

Basically the Christmas tree is an excellent example of Christian bigotry. It's the equivalent of an up-side down cross... I think I just found my new Yule decoratian of choice.

Have no pity for those mired in the prophet delusion, content to be servile for a lifetime; tis better to be king for a day


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jcgadfly wrote: So  the

jcgadfly wrote:

So  the book you claim as God's word is only God's word when it (or another source you follow) matches your opinions? If you don't agree it's ad hoc?

Or are you saying the entire word of your God is ad hoc? If so, why follow it at all? 

Did you actually read what I wrote? If you had than this statement does not follow.

jcgadfly wrote:

Since you like other sources (opinions of Popes or folks with St. attached to their names?) check this out -  http://www.zenit.org/article-11828?l=english

What’s your point? We are not discussing symbolism here we are discussing idol worship. If you insist on pushing past the obvious and going to ridiculous then why not ask, how can Christians paint wooden house trim, floors or hang decorative picture frames… or how about we just include any sculpted piece of wood? It fits the same description. Why stop at Christmas trees? Many of these things hold some kind of symbolism both theist and secular based.

jcgadfly wrote:

What you're doing is not so dissimilar to what the Gospel writers did. You have an opinion you'd like to persuade people into believing so you work backwards and find scriptures and other sources that fit your view (even if you have to stretch either one or both to do it).

 

How does this differ from what you are doing? Your belief on this matter is supported with nothing more than I read it and I am right. At least I support my belief with the word and known pagan practices.

  The original question is not about what was the first thing to be practiced or where it came from. It is about an interpretation of Scripture. You have had two theists answer the question in the same manner, what else are you looking for?


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Adraedan wrote: From my

Adraedan wrote:

From my understanding the Christmas tree isn't actually a pagan tradition but a mockery of a pagan tradition. Northern European pagans worshipped evergreen trees (the whole world tree idea) and made most of their alters or temples around or near large groupings of old trees. In an attempt to un-deify these trees, the Christians chopped them down, dressed them up in Christian symbology and put them in their homes.

 

Basically the Christmas tree is an excellent example of Christian bigotry. It's the equivalent of an up-side down cross... I think I just found my new Yule decoratian of choice.

This is probably the closest reply in this thread as to what the Christmas tree is. It is a replacement for a previous tradition.


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Mjolnin wrote: jcgadfly

Mjolnin wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

So the book you claim as God's word is only God's word when it (or another source you follow) matches your opinions? If you don't agree it's ad hoc?

Or are you saying the entire word of your God is ad hoc? If so, why follow it at all?

Did you actually read what I wrote? If you had than this statement does not follow.

jcgadfly wrote:

Since you like other sources (opinions of Popes or folks with St. attached to their names?) check this out - http://www.zenit.org/article-11828?l=english

What’s your point? We are not discussing symbolism here we are discussing idol worship. If you insist on pushing past the obvious and going to ridiculous then why not ask, how can Christians paint wooden house trim, floors or hang decorative picture frames… or how about we just include any sculpted piece of wood? It fits the same description. Why stop at Christmas trees? Many of these things hold some kind of symbolism both theist and secular based.

jcgadfly wrote:

What you're doing is not so dissimilar to what the Gospel writers did. You have an opinion you'd like to persuade people into believing so you work backwards and find scriptures and other sources that fit your view (even if you have to stretch either one or both to do it).

 

How does this differ from what you are doing? Your belief on this matter is supported with nothing more than I read it and I am right. At least I support my belief with the word and known pagan practices.

The original question is not about what was the first thing to be practiced or where it came from. It is about an interpretation of Scripture. You have had two theists answer the question in the same manner, what else are you looking for?

Way to parse, guy. It's not an idol - it's a symbol that reminds me that I should pray to the god that the symbol is attached to. Kinda like the statues of the saints, right? 

You lay special symbolism to your house? I've had some good memories in my house but nothing I want to commemorate/venerate by painting a mural on it.  

And you have yet to answer my question - why did your God ask Jeremiah to use the word "trees" when he meant "idols".

For a god who has been describe as "not the author of confusion" he likes to mess with people by not using clear and precise language. 

I don't recall you using Scripture or pagan practices at all. I may have to read more closely but I seem to think that you are one of those who claim that Christmas is a celebration original to Christianity when, in fact, the only Christmas thing original to Christianity is the name.

It is indeed about interpreting Scripture. One side is interpreting Scripture based on its context, the other is making it fit their beliefs to justify their practices.

Which side are you on again?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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My bad on the reversal of

My bad on the reversal of order there, I meant as you said, thanks for the correction. And while you critique of the time honored tradition may be right, it says idols in Jer. 10:5 explicitely, and so doesn't seem to be much of a leap...


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jcgadfly wrote: Way to

jcgadfly wrote:

Way to parse, guy. It's not an idol - it's a symbol that reminds me that I should pray to the god that the symbol is attached to. Kinda like the statues of the saints, right? 

Very good, I think you are starting to understand the difference.

jcgadfly wrote:

You lay special symbolism to your house? I've had some good memories in my house but nothing I want to commemorate/venerate by painting a mural on it.

 

for the works of the hand of the workman hath cut a tree out of the forest with an axe.they deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Guess I am just a sentamental kinda guy.

I have painted murals in my childrens rooms.

 

jcgadfly wrote:

 And you have yet to answer my question - why did your God ask Jeremiah to use the word "trees" when he meant "idols".

The theme behind the text is the emptyness of the pagan worship. Read the whole thing or at least 1 more line and it will be clear to you.

jcgadfly wrote:
 

For a god who has been describe as "not the author of confusion" he likes to mess with people by not using clear and precise language. 

JER 10:14. Every man is become a fool for knowledge, every artist is confounded in his graven idol: for what he hath cast is false, and there is no spirit in them. 

I really hate to quote scripture
    

jcgadfly wrote:

I don't recall you using Scripture or pagan practices at all. I may have to read more closely but I seem to think that you are one of those who claim that Christmas is a celebration original to Christianity when, in fact, the only Christmas thing original to Christianity is the name.

jcgadfly my freind you have so missed the mark on this one.

jcgadfly wrote:

It is indeed about interpreting Scripture. One side is interpreting Scripture based on its context, the other is making it fit their beliefs to justify their practices.

Which side are you on again?

As written before I do not believe in re-interpreting scripture. As far as context...well 

 

10:5 They are framed after the likeness of a palm tree, and shall not speak: they must be carried to be removed, because they cannot go. Therefore, fear them not, for they can neither do evil nor good.

Don't make the Christmas tree look like a palm and you will be alright


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Mjolnin wrote: jcgadfly

Mjolnin wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Way to parse, guy. It's not an idol - it's a symbol that reminds me that I should pray to the god that the symbol is attached to. Kinda like the statues of the saints, right?

Very good, I think you are starting to understand the difference.

jcgadfly wrote:

You lay special symbolism to your house? I've had some good memories in my house but nothing I want to commemorate/venerate by painting a mural on it.

for the works of the hand of the workman hath cut a tree out of the forest with an axe.they deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Guess I am just a sentamental kinda guy.

I have painted murals in my childrens rooms.

jcgadfly wrote:

And you have yet to answer my question - why did your God ask Jeremiah to use the word "trees" when he meant "idols".

The theme behind the text is the emptyness of the pagan worship. Read the whole thing or at least 1 more line and it will be clear to you.

jcgadfly wrote:

For a god who has been describe as "not the author of confusion" he likes to mess with people by not using clear and precise language.

JER 10:14. Every man is become a fool for knowledge, every artist is confounded in his graven idol: for what he hath cast is false, and there is no spirit in them.

I really hate to quote scripture

jcgadfly wrote:

I don't recall you using Scripture or pagan practices at all. I may have to read more closely but I seem to think that you are one of those who claim that Christmas is a celebration original to Christianity when, in fact, the only Christmas thing original to Christianity is the name.

jcgadfly my freind you have so missed the mark on this one.

jcgadfly wrote:

It is indeed about interpreting Scripture. One side is interpreting Scripture based on its context, the other is making it fit their beliefs to justify their practices.

Which side are you on again?

As written before I do not believe in re-interpreting scripture. As far as context...well

 

10:5 They are framed after the likeness of a palm tree, and shall not speak: they must be carried to be removed, because they cannot go. Therefore, fear them not, for they can neither do evil nor good.

Don't make the Christmas tree look like a palm and you will be alright

First I apologize for mis-stating your position. You never said christmas was original to the Christians. You said it is a Christian holiday now. In other words, the statute of limitations has run out on the Christian theft/borrowing/merging of the Pagan holidays.

So you have no problem praying to the statue as long as you tell yourself that you're praying to the real saint? It's OK to genuflect before the cross/crucifix as long as you are focusing on Jesus? The guys who made the idols probably thought the same thing "It's just a symbol to help me focus on my god - I'm not worshiping it". Why were they wrong and you're not?  

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

stuntgibbon wrote:
Does the bible come with a primer that lets the reader know which passages should be taken seriously and obeyed or not?

 

Well personally I find it's all stupid baloney.  The scripture I posted does say not to do it.  According to christians it's all supposed to be taken seriously.  I say if all of it isn't taken seriously then none of it should be.  Christians being wanna be Jews except have their way don't want to follow the bible seriously when it's not fun.  They think by giving themselves the label christian makes it all better and that allows them to defy what their god tells them in their bible. 


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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

Textom wrote:

Quote:
I don't get why not birthdays though.

From "Reasoning from the Bible," one of the JW's official internal prostelytizing guides:

"Everything that is in the Bible is there for a reason (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). Jehova's Witnesses take note that God's Word reports unfavorably about birthday celebrations and so shun these."

The "unfavorable" representations of birthdays in the Bible are in Gen 40:20-2 and Matt 14:6-10. Also "Reasoning" explains (correctly) that birthday celebrations were part of Greek & Roman pagan religious practice, and that the Jews of Jesus's time (i.e. Jesus) saw birthday celebrations as an idolatrous practice. So the verdict: it's not a Biblical practice, therefore JW's can't do it.

 

It looks like the JW's follow the bible much better than the xtians and the xtians are just a extension of pagans or combination.  Sure seems that the laws of the bible are easily broken by xtians when it's more fun to do what they want.  Still it says what it says don't do it. 


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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

Bulldog wrote:

Quite frankly, I don't think that many xtians read the bible at all, they simply parrot their preachers who are parroting their fundy school "profs". If they actually took the time to read the bible and pay attention to it they might develope enough intelligence to become athiests.

I doubt many of them are familiar with the reasons for any of the religious holidays and why they take place at the times they do.

 

Ya know I noticed that too.  I think you are right they just parrot what their preachers say.  Ok I admit I have said that about more than a few xtians but it seems most of not all do this.  I see too that a lot of them think by calling themselves christian it makes it alright for them to ignore the laws and commands of the bible they claim to follow.  If it says don't do it they make up a bunch of nonsense to convice themselves it's ok to do it anyway because they are christian. 


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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

jmm wrote:

I do lots of shit that the bible forbids. Christmas trees are the least of my worries. (And yes, by the way, I have read the bible).

 

Oh well then since you have read the bible and you know your god said not to do it then you don't care enough since it's the last of your worries.  It's not a hard thing to stop doing.


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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

Mjolnin wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

Funny how God had no problems telling people about idols by using the word "idols" or "gods" before Jeremiah. But when Jeremiah came along, he felt like he could get away with just talking about "trees" and have the followers make the leap.

The problem as I see it isn’t with those who don’t read the Bible. It is with those who read and interpret the Bible with only the Bible as a reference. The Bible even tells you not to do it. I have researched (I don’t consider myself an expert) Jeremiah was writing about the "heathen" practice of cutting down trees, carving or decorating them in the form of a god or goddess, and overlaying it with precious metals.

jcgadfly wrote:

That, or you're just widening the definition of "trees" - playing that time-honored theist game of "what God really meant to say was..."

Jeremiah was addressing a specific people and cultural practices. They knew what he was talking about, research is a wonderful thing for those who don't. Look into the culture of the times and you will find what is being said and why.

jcgadfly wrote:

You also have it backwards on the Christmas tree tradition. It was an adaptation of the faith to the culture, not the reverse. Germanic peoples were putting up trees before the taint of Christianity came to them.

This I do agree with. Customs of various cultures shows that greenery was often brought into homes at the time of the winter solstice. It symbolized life in the midst of death in many cultures. Incorperation of earlier customs into a new meaning is not a rare happening.

It is easier for people to give up or change gods than give up a Holiday. With that said, Do athiest practice a theist Holiday or do you return your Christmas gifts and refuse to take time off of work and stand on principal.

You can only condemn the Christmas tree if you practice the custom of cutting down a tree, erecting it in the home and decorating and worshipping it is a Pagan custom.

But then it wouldn’t be a Christmas tree would it?

 

That's what the scripture posted says not to do and yet millions of xtians/theists do it anyway but then it wouldn't be fun if they didn't so defy the word of god written in the bible and do it anyway.  Since his word can be so easily dismissed then so can the rest of the bible.


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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

Adraedan wrote:

From my understanding the Christmas tree isn't actually a pagan tradition but a mockery of a pagan tradition. Northern European pagans worshipped evergreen trees (the whole world tree idea) and made most of their alters or temples around or near large groupings of old trees. In an attempt to un-deify these trees, the Christians chopped them down, dressed them up in Christian symbology and put them in their homes.

 

Basically the Christmas tree is an excellent example of Christian bigotry. It's the equivalent of an up-side down cross... I think I just found my new Yule decoratian of choice.

 

I had not read or heard that before that I remember. The thing that gets me is the christian bible writes do not do it. The christians believe it's the word of god written by god through man. That same bible tells them do not be like the pagans and do this to the trees and they still continue to do it. Just how seriously can anyone take them when they go deliberately ignore it. It's not interpretation to me it it says what not to do it. I like the idea of it being christian bigotry. But then to me the christians are just modern day pagans among other things.


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Textom wrote: Jehovahs

Textom wrote:
Jehovahs Witnesses--who are technically Christian--don't celebrate the pagan religious holidays (Christmas, Easter, Halloween) for this reason. Also Birthdays.

This is actually not correct because of several reasons that have been posted before.  JW's are NOT Christian because:

a. they do not believe in the trinity.

b. they do not believe that the authoritative source is God

c. the translation of the bible they use (new world translation) is not accurate from the original Greek.

d. salvation was NOT achieved by Jesus alone (meaning they require works)

Enough about that though.

The original question...Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

The answer is really simple - commercialization of the root purpose of the celebration makes you seem "out of sync" with society so, under peer pressure, you do it.

I suppose atheists would have the same answer, correct?  I mean if the root purpose is to celebrate the birth of Jesus (and please no one start the "he wasn't born in December" crap), then only those who believe and follow Jesus should really have reason to celebrate no?

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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razorphreak wrote: This is

razorphreak wrote:

This is actually not correct because of several reasons that have been posted before. JW's are NOT Christian because:

a. they do not believe in the trinity.

b. they do not believe that the authoritative source is God

c. the translation of the bible they use (new world translation) is not accurate from the original Greek.

d. salvation was NOT achieved by Jesus alone (meaning they require works)

I missed the earlier discussion, and I agree that this is a tomato-tomato question.  I mean, who cares really about who applies which labels to which group.  The JH's call themselves Christian.

But I want to point out that, according to the criteria above, many early Christians and the authors of most of the New Testament also count as non-Christians (especially if belief in the Trinity doctrine is required).  Aside from item (a), modern Roman Catholics count as non-Christian according to these criteria.

Also for the record, the term "original Greek" is meaningless, since the oldest known manuscripts are *many* generations of copies removed from the original.  Even where such documents are reliable, there's no basis (other than blind faith) for connecting any document either to words spoken by dead historical figures mostly in Aramaic, or to any divine source for the original information.  One made-up version of a particular religion is as unreliable as any other, and no sustainable claim to real authority can be made by any group.

And, finally, I want to point out that item (d) is factually incorrect.  According to the JH's, salvation isn't earned by works.  Here's an example from their official Web site where it says quite clearly "We do not earn salvation by doing these things, for no human could ever do enough to merit such an astounding blessing."

"After Jesus was born, the Old Testament basically became a way for Bible publishers to keep their word count up." -Stephen Colbert


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Tankalish wrote: Not that

Tankalish wrote:

Not that this is a particularly big issue, but wow, bad reading of the text. If we read on to 10:5 we see that the danged present in the cutting down of trees is that they are idols. Hence, "their idols ar elike scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk."

From where is this passage? Which bible?

I checked the referenced link and none of the bible versions have this wording.

Too bad stupidity isn't poisonous.


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Textom wrote:

Textom wrote:
But I want to point out that, according to the criteria above, many early Christians and the authors of most of the New Testament also count as non-Christians (especially if belief in the Trinity doctrine is required). Aside from item (a), modern Roman Catholics count as non-Christian according to these criteria.

RC's do believe in the first three points even though you have to get through many many MANY layers of their dogma to figure that one out. The Pope as well as all clergy are following God's will and the people are to do the same. This differs from JW's in that the "governing body", otherwise known as the Watchtower, are the ONLY ones who have direct guidance from God and cannot be questioned in their decisions.

The bible they most commonly use is either KJB or NIV, both of which do not deviate far from Greek/Latin-to-English translations unlike the NWT.

Textom wrote:
Also for the record, the term "original Greek" is meaningless, since the oldest known manuscripts are *many* generations of copies removed from the original. Even where such documents are reliable, there's no basis (other than blind faith) for connecting any document either to words spoken by dead historical figures mostly in Aramaic, or to any divine source for the original information. One made-up version of a particular religion is as unreliable as any other, and no sustainable claim to real authority can be made by any group.

Aramaic is a derivative of Greek. We know the oldest sources of the NT are in Greek/Aramaic. PotAto-potatO argument. OT stuff was in hebrew.

Textom wrote:
And, finally, I want to point out that item (d) is factually incorrect. According to the JH's, salvation isn't earned by works. Here's an example from their official Web site where it says quite clearly "We do not earn salvation by doing these things, for no human could ever do enough to merit such an astounding blessing."

I think I need to be more descriptive on what I mean on point D. JW's do believe that salvation is earned just by works. The big however here though is first, in order to be saved you must be baptized as a JW. Once you are baptized according to their dogma, you follow a program of works as laid out by their governing body. If you do not, you can be disfewlloshiped, which according to them, would exclude them from God's grace. They won't just advertise this on their websites however it is what occurs. Remember the mistranslations? According to the NWT, grace is typically written as "undeserved kindness", which may or may not be acceptable (and starts the question "how can anyone deserve God's undeserved kindness if it is undeserved?" ). What it definitely does however is give a great deal of latitude in their teachings which begs the question, are they preaching salvation to all people on Earth or just to the ones they deem deserving?

But back to the point of the thread...do you not agree with what I said on that? 

What is faith? Is it to believe that which is evident? No. It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, eternal, supreme, and intelligent being. This is no matter of faith, but of reason. - Voltaire


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Why do Christians celebrate Christmas with the tree, trimmings?

Omnibus wrote:
Tankalish wrote:

Not that this is a particularly big issue, but wow, bad reading of the text. If we read on to 10:5 we see that the danged present in the cutting down of trees is that they are idols. Hence, "their idols ar elike scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk."

From where is this passage? Which bible?

I checked the referenced link and none of the bible versions have this wording.

 

I would like to know that too.  I posted Jer 10:5 and that's not what it says.  


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solstice

I've read that the druids were the first to decorate trees, although not coniferous evergreens, for solstice.  It represented an offering to the gods that spring would bring rebirth.  The druid religion however seems quite far removed from Christianity as there was a long period of Roman paganism that esentially stamped out the nationalist druid religion. 

The German tradition is much stronger, although it may not be as ancient.  There is of course the obvious symbolism of the evergreen as an example of survival through harsh winter.  More interestingly Wodin, an important Germanic god was said to have had himself nailed or tied to a tree so that he could gain wisdom.  Wodin dies and goes to hell for a time and then comes back. 

As for it "becoming" a Christian symbol, one should not underestimate the importance of the Germans to the midievil church.  Germanic tribes controlled Frankish Gaul, Visogoth Spain, Saxon Britain, the remains of the Western Roman Empire, not to mention Germany itself, which was increasingly the dominant economic and cultural power of Europe.  This was a formative period for both the christian religion, and for Europe itself as it rebuilt itself out of what the Romans had left behind.

During this formative period the christians were competeing against pagan beliefs and many individuals simply chose to cover their bets.  Pagan rites were incorporated into Christian practices.  Certain areas of belief (war, harvests, seasons) were simply to important to leave up to an untested god.  There was some justification of tree decoration as a representation of the tree which provided the wood for the Cross.  BS

What is perhaps most surprising is new historical research that shows that Christianity wasn't nearly as established in midevil Europe as previously thought.  In many parts of Europe, Christianity remained a religion which the nobility followed or at least paid lip service to.  The clergy ensured that the nobility were properly Christian and pretended not to notice that the peasentry were solidly pagan.  This acceptence of a pre-Roman status quo seems to have survived the Crusades, Inquistors, the Reformation and even the religious wars, until the French Revolution turned the European ancien regeme on its head.

 

JDP

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Christmas trees - Forbidden

As an avid bible student I agree MOST christians do NOT know their scriptures! If they did Chritianity would NOT have the look that it has today. That is Christianity would look far more Jewish, than it does. Also true Christianity is not as palatable, and easy ride as the whitewash Christianity we see today.

  Yes the scripture DOES forbid decorating the trees in any form! There is a text I am trying to find I used to know this text and reference off by heart, but unfortunately recently it is alluding me! However the text itself says 'You shall not decorate the trees as the heathen do' This is NOT the text in Jeremiah 10, which if you actually look at the text actually is a VERY good description of a christmas tree, as well as the idols that were being creating at the time by the heathens. The tradition of decorating the trees in one way or another is very definitely a pagan practice, as is practically every single tradition to do with Christmas. This is the reason that I have made the choice to no longer observe Christmas. or Easter - despite the fact that I am a Christian. 

 The only safe way to read the scripture is to let scripture interpret scripture. Sola scriptura for the word of God is His LIVING word. 

 As for whether or not people actually worship their christmas trees, I would say yes they do. There is a very popular christmas carol that is sung not to the glory of God, but actually addressed to the Christmas tree. It is called O christmas tree, and the infact give the christmas tree the properties of God. The first verse says that the Christmas tree doesn't change, the second verse says that it's message is unchanging, and the third verse says that it's faith doesn't change - Hold on aren't these the VERY ways in which GOd describes himself??? Isaiah says I am the Lord I change not, Scripture is the unchanging word of God - infact we are warned in deuteronomy and Revelation not to add to or to take away from he words of scripture, and as for an unchanging faith? well the apostle Paul tells us to hold fast to our faith, also one of the churches of revelation is told that God has something against them because they have left their first love (or the faith that was imparted to them from the apostles. BEWARE the chirstmas tree is as much an IDOL as is santa claus, or any of the 'saints' you will find in a catholic church, or the 'gods' and 'goddesses' you will find littered around left over from the pagan religions whether they be from egypt, rome or any other country. 

Surely the definition of an IDOL is something that takes the place of God or claims the attributes of God, as I have just shown the Christmas tree does BOTH! 

By the way - the catholic 'saints' are just another form of thinly veiled paganism in a watered down christianity made palatable to the masses. This is NOT the Christianity of the bible.


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JCE wrote:Ummm...no. The do

JCE wrote:

Ummm...no. The do not read their bible. I had figured out by the age of 12 that the whole christmas trees thing was based on pagan rituals and never did get a straight answer as to why it was incorporated into celebrating the birth of christ. If you call them on it, they call you a spoilsport. Because they are so damn nice!

People are used to it now. Christmas isn't going to be perfect without Christmas Trees. I'm not against anyone, but for me nothing is wrong with it as long as people don't idolized those trees, right?


Rich Woods
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Probably for the same reason

Probably for the same reason I do... Because its fun...

 

Even atheists who were born into theist households retain some cultural aspects of their upbriniging... The wife & I attend about 15-20 Xmas parties every year... we are damn goofy for it...