Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December 25th Isn't Owned By Christians

One of the favorite myths that the Christianist like to promote is that there's a war on Christmas or that Christians are under attack. Related to this myth is the assault by registered hate groups such as the American Family Association ("AFA") against retailers and businesses that recognize that America is a nation of diverse faiths and, therefore reasonably opt for "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings." And the holiday season this year is no exception. As the Washington Post recently reported, AFA has targeted Barnes & Noble for false accusations of being anti-Chistian and anti-Christmas. It's all hog wash, of course, but its par for the course with these unsavory folks. The truth is that for many citizens, December 25th is just another day in the year. Moreover, it's not even really the date of Christ's birth. Rather, it's a date that was cynically commandeered by the Roman Catholic Church from other groups to further the Church's own agenda. Civil Commotion takes a great look at the REAL history of December 25th and, if one is historically accurate, the date originally was deemed to be the birth date of the Eastern god Mithras (pictured above) - who bore some uncanny parallels to the Christ image promoted by the Church. Here are some highlights:

Only an ignoramus believes that December 25th is, in fact, Jesus’ birthday.

Pagan Rome had a policy of allowing conquered peoples to keep their gods and observe their holidays. Virtually all faith traditions observed the Winter Solstice, however, albeit on slightly different days thanks to custom and calendar differences. Eventually, the holidays and observances became disruptive of public order, and it was decreed that everybody would party-down on December 25th.

Eventually, when Constantine declared Rome Christian, they took over. The actual birthday of Jesus was forgotten by the early Christian movement. in those days, various groups celebrated his birth on JAN-6, APR-21 and MAY-1. By the 4th century, the church selected the approximate time of the winter solstice as the date to recognize Jesus’ birth. They picked up this date from Pagan sources.

But believers in other parts of the world refused for centuries to honor the Christmas holiday, for the reason of its pagan origins.
**Eastern churches began to celebrate Christmas after 375 CE.
**The church in Jerusalem started in the 7th century.
**Ireland started in the 5th century.
**Austria, England and Switzerland in the 8th century.
**Slavic lands in the 9th and 10th centuries.

But the real killer is this:

Mithra was a Persian savior. Worship of Mithra became common throughout the Roman Empire, particularly among the Roman civil service and military. Mithraism was a competitor of Christianity until the 4th century. Their god was believed to have been born on DEC-25, circa 500 BCE. His birth was witnessed by shepherds and by gift-carrying Magi. This was celebrated as the “Dies Natalis Solic Invite,” The “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” Some followers believed that he was born of a virgin. During his life, he performed many miracles, cured many illnesses, and cast out devils. He celebrated a Last Supper with his 12 disciples. He ascended to heaven at the time of the spring equinox, about March 21.

Ignoramus? Yep, that's a most apt description of the folks at AFA. And to that term, I'd add "hate-filled," "bigoted," "false Christian," "religious extremists," and "modern day Pharisees." This kind of Christianist batshitery underscores the need for high school students to learn detailed ACCURATE history. It is one of the best tools to defeat Christianist lies.


Jack Scott said...

Michael, been a while since I wrote to you. Didn't want you to think I'm no longer paying attention, so I thought I'd comment on this one.

As usual I agree with you on the broad picture. I couldn't disagree more on the details.

In spite of President Obama's words to the contrary, The United States of America is still a Christian country, and it is likely to remain so for quite some time, at least in tradition if not reality.

You know that I am far from what you call a Christianist, but like everyone else in this country, Christians have the right to their faith, their traditions and their speech.

I have many Christian friends. I also have Jewish and muslim friends. I even have family members who are Jewish. None of these people are offended by Christmas or Christmas greeting. I am not offended by Chanukah greetings or Ramadan holidays. Neither am I offended when I am in Tokyo during Christmas time and Japanese who don't even know what Christianity is are celebrating Christmas as just a fun time of the year.

True, Christmas began as a pagan holiday, so did Easter. True, no one knows the date of Christ's birth, but then again, since Congress declared Monday holidays a lot of holidays are not celebrated on the proper days.

Christians don't own December 25th but they damn well have a right to celebrate their traditions on that date and to do so with the respect of others.

THAT is the American way. The kind of complaining you get into sometimes would be more appropriate in some country like Saudi Arabia where anything that is not representative of the muslim faith is banned and a breech of the ban is sometimes punishable by death.

All things in moderation. That includes your dislike for Christianists. Ease up on the criticism just a little. You'll be a better man for it. You're much too stressed out over them. I don't like anything about them either but the don't worry me near as much as they seem to worry you.

Jack Scott

Michael-in-Norfolk said...


I agree that Christians have the right to celebrate their holidays. They do not, however, hae right to demand that others - including businesses - have to participate. Yet, AFA want EVERYONE to participate whether they like it or not.

As for my fixation if you will on Christianists, perhaps it stems from living in Virginia where LGBT citizens just got screwed over again by the Christianist controlled state government. Oh, and listening the batshit crazy religiosity of the GOP cnadidates doesn't help matters either.