"Merry Christmas" - Say it. Say it! SAY IT!!!!!

Let's talk about various types of religion.
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Rob P
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Postby Rob P » Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:25 pm

I see . . . I get it now. The Witnesses consider holidays to be pagan or man-made celebrations of equally dubious origins, with no basis or mention at all in the Bible.

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Xenu
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Postby Xenu » Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:52 pm

I love quotes like this:

"I think it is part of a growing movement of people with more traditional values, which make up the majority of people in this country, saying enough is enough,"


The "there're more of us than you" is about as reliable a phenomenon in these articles as the creationists using the word "controversy" to describe something they created. Great, so there're a lot of you. Apparently, however, a lot of you don't care.
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Rspaight
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Postby Rspaight » Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:09 pm

"I think it is part of a growing movement of people with more traditional values, which make up the majority of people in this country, saying enough is enough."


Oh, goodie, now we can bring back Jim Crow.

Ryan
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Patrick M
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Postby Patrick M » Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:45 pm

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Dob
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Postby Dob » Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:34 pm

Rob P wrote:This illuminates the fact that early Christianity latched on to any kind of pagan ritual it could find to legitimize its beliefs to a skeptical audience.

According to the following, Christmas was scheduled to coincide with an established pagan holiday in order to bury that holiday:

"Jo Saturnalia!" was a fun and festive time for the Romans, but the Christians thought it an abomination to honor the pagan god....as Christianity spread they were alarmed by the continuing celebration of pagan customs and Saturnalia among their converts. At first the Church forbid this kind of celebration. But it was to no avail. Eventually it was decided that the celebration would be tamed and made into a celebration fit for the Christian Son of God.

The 25th was not only sacred to the Romans but also the Persians whose religion Mithraism was one of Christianity's main rivals at that time. The Church eventually was successful in taking the merriment, lights, and gifts from the Saturanilia festival and bringing them to the celebration of Christmas.


Christmas is also older than I thought:

In 137 AD the Bishop of Rome ordered the birthday of the Christ Child celebrated as a solemn feast. In 350 AD another Bishop of Rome, Julius I, choose December 25th as the observance of Christmas.
The Witnesses consider holidays to be pagan or man-made celebrations of equally dubious origins, with no basis or mention at all in the Bible.

I believe the Jewish holy days are spelled out in Deuteronomy. If the Jehovah's Witnesses don't observe them (?), perhaps it is because they consider them strictly Jewish. But I don't know how they can possibly ignore Passover, due to the connection with Jesus.
Dob
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Rob P
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Postby Rob P » Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:07 am

From jw-media.org:

"We commemorate the Memorial of Christ's death, the most important religious event of the year for Jehovah's Witnesses. Throughout the year, Jehovah's Witnesses enjoy parties, picnics, and other events without feeling bound to obligations or to a fixed date. We may also celebrate special events such as weddings and anniversaries. However, we do not celebrate holidays that have non-Christian religious origins or those that promote nationalism. We are not opposed to celebrations in general or to the giving of gifts."

This is another good source of general information about the Witnesses. The only holiday they celebrate is the "Memorial of Christ's Death", which takes place during the Jewish Passover.

http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia. ... tness.html

Dob, thanks for the information on December 25th. I didn't know that the Roman rulers had problems with the pagan rituals such as Saturnalia. I thought they were always an accepted tradition within the Roman Empire.

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Postby lukpac » Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:41 am

Rob P wrote:From jw-media.org:

"We are not opposed to celebrations in general or to the giving of gifts[/i]."


Interesting. I knew somebody in school who was a JW, and he couldn't come to birthday parties. I don't recall if it was because of the party itself or the presents, but I just remember he could never come...
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Postby Dob » Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:03 pm

lukpac wrote:I knew somebody in school who was a JW, and he couldn't come to birthday parties.

I have similar recollections. Perhaps they've loosened up a little since then.
Dob

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Rspaight
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Postby Rspaight » Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:14 am

I had no idea Christmas wasn't even an official holiday until after the Civil War.

From http://www.benbest.com/history/xmas.html#forbid :

Celebration of birthdays -- even including that of Christ -- was rejected as a pagan tradition by most Christians during the first three hundred years of Christianity, but the matter became increasingly controversial. The third century Christian writer Tertullian supported observance of Christ's birthday, but condemned the inclusion of Saturnalia customs such as exchanging of gifts and decorating homes with evergreens. Chapter 10 of the Book of Jeremiah begins by condemning the heathen practice of cutting a tree from the forest to "deck it with silver and gold".

Christmas as celebrated by Catholics and early Protestants a few hundred years ago was not the secular holiday we recognize today. It was a "Christes Maesee" (Old English for Christ's Mass) or Nativity service plus a large family dinner.

The English Puritans felt that there was "no biblical sanction" for Christmas -- regarding the holiday as Pope-ish and bacchanalian. Oliver Cromwell campaigned against the heathen practices of feasting, decorating and singing, which he felt desecrated the spirit of Christ. Cromwell's government abolished English Christmas celebration by an act of Parliament in 1647, and the ban was not lifted until Cromwell lost power in 1660.

A similar law forbidding Christmas celebration in New England was passed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans ("Pilgrams") in 1659 (repealed in 1681). Wassailing (a door-to-door visiting of neighbors, drinking at each stop) was condemned as a source of public disorder. (Wassail is a hot spiced wine punch with tiny roasted apples or clove-studded oranges floating on top. "Wes hal" is Saxon/Old English for "be hale" or "be of good health". The fact that toast sometimes floated in wassail bowls has been given as an explanation for "toasting to health".) Thanksgiving was the most important festivity for the Puritans.

Although Christmas was not widely celebrated in New England until 1852, it was popular in the American South beginning with the Anglican settlement of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. The Virginian colonists were the first to establish eggnog as a holiday beverage. ("Nog" comes from the word grog, meaning any drink made with rum.) Dutch influence in the settlement of New York City (New Amsterdam) helped make New York a mostly pro-Christmas state, although there was still an anti-Christmas New England influence. Christmas was not declared an American federal holiday until 1870.

In 1583 the Presbyterian church suppressed the observation of Christmas in Scotland because there are no biblical references to Christmas celebrations nor any biblical commandments to celebrate the birthday of Christ. The Church of Scotland continued to discourage the celebration of Christmas, which remained a normal working day in Scotland until the 1960s.

Modern Jehovah's Witnesses and other fundamentalists still regard Christmas to be a pagan holiday, which they do not celebrate.

Christmas was discouraged in the officially atheist Soviet Union, but a Festival of Winter was celebrated, and "Father Frost" would bring gifts to children at the New Year. Fidel Catro declared Cuba to be atheist in 1962, but did not prohibit the celebration of Christmas until 1969. Castro restored the holiday in 1997 when Pope John Paul II was permitted to visit the country.
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Postby BillyBuerger » Wed Jan 19, 2005 12:56 pm

Wow, lots of good info. Thanks!