Let’s Give “Christmas” Back To Its Original Owners

It has  started already, the complaints that stores are advertising “holiday sales” instead of “Christmas sales”.  Or, people saying “Happy Holiday” instead of “Merry Christmas”.

These complaints ignore a few basic facts.  First, there is no reliable information the Jesus of the Bible was born on December 25.  So, if someone does not wish to recognize that date as the birth date, it seems OK.

Second, Christians stole this date, or time of the year, from previous peoples.  The time of the winter solstice was celebrated long before the Christian era. So, the correct greeting would be, “Merry Pagan Solstice”.

But, that wouldn’t be entirely honest either.  The Pagan’s stole the solstice from earlier groups.

In graduate school, I wrote a few papers on the Incas of South America.  Groups in the region, including the Mayans, had societies so organized they could afford to have full time theologians.

These were priests who studied the stars and location of the sun, thinking it reflected some deity.  They are another thread of civilizations who had mastered the solstice, or Christmas date.

I am willing to forgive Christians for pretending the Jesus birth occurred very near the solstice date.  It was good management to use a celebration already in place rather than adding yet another day off from work.

I do think, however, they go a little overboard in their complaints about greetings used during the solstice season.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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55 Responses to Let’s Give “Christmas” Back To Its Original Owners

  1. Santa says:

    Is the problem just with people being offended by NOT hearing “Merry Christmas”?…..or is it also when people DO hear someone wish them Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, etc….and they become offended because they happen to be either of another religion, or agnostic? either way, to those so easily offended i say, lighten up!!! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. :-)

  2. Brad Mills says:

    I actually like to refer to Christmas as the “Corporate Sales Frenzy”. It’s the only phrase that truly captures this holiday. Personally, I don’t get caught up in either the religious or capitalist hysteria of the season (and capitalism itself is also a religion to the right wing crowd). I simply enjoy life, enjoy the season, enjoy family, and try to do something for those in need. I think my way of celebrating comes closer to what Jesus would approve than any of these ritual-based religions or corporate greed mongers.

  3. I say Merry Christmas but I’m sure not offended by Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings. I believe the way we celebrate Christmas makes it the most pagan time of the year. Pure commercialism and greed is what it has come to. We have all seen the images of frenzied Black Friday shoppers trampling and fighting each other for “bargain” items. If it were starving people fighting over food would be one thing but it is mostly over electronic toys. Years ago Christmas was Family, friends, and church. If you were fortunate enough to have had a prosperous year you would find a needy family, a mission, a charity, or someone that was doing some good and give to them. This would honor the Christ that said “If you have done it unto the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto Me”. We now go hopelessly into debt, spending money we don’t have, buying people things they don’t need and teaching our children that “its all about me”. I agree with Jon, give this “Christmas” back to the pagans.

  4. Henry says:

    “First, there is no reliable information the Jesus of the Bible was born on December 25.”

    Only partially true, my atheist friend. In the world of reality, the Bible references the “Course of Abia” and it relates to when John the Baptist could have been conceived. This is important as it points to the time of the year when Jesus was conceived, December 25 and His birth on September 29, the Feast of Tabernacles (Trumpets). Interesting that Jesus arrived on this green earth to trumpets. How fitting.

    What do I do on Christmas day? I celebrate Jesus’ birth. Make hay while the sun shines. Like a son whose real birthday is close to a holiday. We celebrated his birth very near the holiday for the convenience of the rellies.

    I find it interesting that pagans find the need to exclusively stake the date December 25 out for themselves.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      It is also interesting to note that the Christians didn’t “celebrate” acknowledge the birth of Christ / include it in the church calander until 350 yr AD. The resurection however, was an early season celebrated. These were all placed in order related closely (although not exactly) to Jewish holidays. The church calender is/was designed to commerate most of the important events of the OT and NT events, recognised by the daily/weekly readings, all related.

    • entech says:

      The Bible is of course positive evidence in favour of the truth of the Bible.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        entech 3:55 “The Bible is of course positive evidence in favour of the truth of the Bible.”

        It seems like our respective nations are missing commercial opportunities by not using this logic. Companies that sell medicines, for example, should do their own in- house research of their products, instead of having ndependent testing. Who knows better than the company that makes the pill what benefits it porvides?

        Then, in law enforcement work, it could be used. Say someone was found stabbed to death and only one other person was in the room at the same time. The suspect said, “I didn’t do it. I’m the most qualfiied person to know I didn’t do it because I’m the only person who was there at the time.” Yes, that makes sense. Suspect released.

        But, because I have not had any “spiritual growth” I’m handicapped in understanding why we would use the Bible to establish to the truth of the Bible.

        • Henry says:

          “But, because I have not had any “spiritual growth” I’m handicapped in understanding why we would use the Bible to establish to the truth of the Bible.”

          If that were true, few higher critics would be around trying to elevate themselves by finding what seems to be inconsistencies. The case would be closed, and they would be wasting their time. However, they apparently do not feel that is the case.

          Jon, you treat the Bible as one source. From my feeble layman’s eyes, I see it as multiple books. Four gospels from four perspectives and inspired by God.

          • entech says:

            There were even more written but many of them were banned or simply not included. Why the ones included are perfect and the rest not, who knows?

  5. entech says:

    This time of year (well about a month from now) is regarded as special in some way or another by all civilisations in the northern hemisphere. It is the time the days get visibly longer, when the sun starts to appear earlier and stay longer. In a lot of places New Year (on our calendar) is celebrated more enthusiastically, Christian Scotland with Hogmanay, for example. In New Guinea, close to the equator and not much difference in length of daylight, they have been Christianised and celebrate Christmas; but for some reason New Year has a more special importance.
    English speaking places say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, interestingly in Italy and France (don’t know about other places where Catholicism is strong but I would guess the same) they say have “Good Christmas”.

    It has taken off commercially in many parts of the world that are not Christian but celebrate the same New Year, roll the whole thing together and include Santa. In Japan they have extended it to include Easter as a special time, that the understanding is limited is shown by the fact that I have seen a shop window at Easter displaying a nativity scene.

    Although I am not a Christian I don’t agree with the downplaying in case it might offend residents who are of a different religion. Some schools are ignoring the PC aspects, my wife taught at, a poor primary school with many immigrant pupils. I thought it was lovely to see an end of year (southern hemisphere, the long summer vacation starts at Christmas) school play with Turkish, Asian and Black kids all joining in a kind of mix and match Christmas story. The Christmas message is traditionally one of hope and I think that there is hope if all these kids with different ethnic and religious backgrounds can join together and happily do a school community thing. If they can play together as kids let’s hope they grow up so that they won’t fight each other as adults.

  6. Wanna B Sure says:

    “Lets give Christmas back to the original owners”. That is a crock of crap. Let the pagans celebrate their equinox, solstices, etc. They are free to do that. The Christians celebrate CHRIST- MASS. Although many have diluted the meaning of the season, the centrality of it is still there. We will keep Christmas, let them keep Saturnalia. If they coincide, so be it. If a Ford car dealership has a sale, and on the other side of the street a Chev dealership has a sale, so be it.

  7. opinionated says:

    More of the queer week founder’s desperate attempt at gaining attention. Sad….

  8. entech says:

    Christmas hasn’t always been so popular in England or America.
    The Puritans in England banned all celebrations and Holidays except the Sabbath for some years in the 1600s. In Scotland it was banned for 400 years up to sometime in mid 1950s

    In Boston it was banned for some years:
    “For preventing disorders, arising in several places within this jurisdiction by reason of some still observing such festivals as were superstitiously kept in other communities, to the great dishonor of God and offense of others: it is therefore ordered by this court and the authority thereof that whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way, upon any such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for every such offence five shilling as a fine to the county.”
    From the records of the General Court,
    Massachusetts Bay Colony
    May 11, 1659

    Samuel Sewell,a diarist of life in Massachusetts Bay Colony published in 1685, wrote “Carts came to town and Shops open as is usual. Some, somehow, observe the day; but are vexed, I believe, that the Body of the People profane it, – and, blessed be God! no Authority yet to compell them to keep it,” emphasis mine.

  9. Bob says:

    A CHRISTMAS SERMON. 1891

    The good part of Christmas is not always Christian — it is generally Pagan; that is to say, human, natural.

    Christianity did not come with tidings of great joy, but with a message of eternal grief. It came with the threat of everlasting torture on its lips. It meant war on earth and perdition hereafter.

    It taught some good things — the beauty of love and kindness in man. But as a torch-bearer, as a bringer of joy, it has been a failure. It has given infinite consequences to the acts of finite beings, crushing the soul with a responsibility too great for mortals to bear. It has filled the future with fear and flame, and made God the keeper of an eternal penitentiary, destined to be the home of nearly all the sons of men. Not satisfied with that, it has deprived God of the pardoning power.

    And yet it may have done some good by borrowing from the Pagan world the old festival called Christmas.

    Long before Christ was born the Sun-God triumphed over the powers of Darkness. About the time that we call Christmas the days begin perceptibly to lengthen. Our barbarian ancestors were worshipers of the sun, and they celebrated his victory over the hosts of night. Such a festival was natural and beautiful. The most natural of all religions is the worship of the sun. Christianity adopted this festival. It borrowed from the Pagans the best it has.

    I believe in Christmas and in every day that has been set apart for joy. We in America have too much work and not enough play. We are too much like the English.

    I think it was Heinrich Heine who said that he thought a blaspheming Frenchman was a more pleasing object to God than a praying Englishman. We take our joys too sadly. I am in favor of all the good free days — the more the better.

    Christmas is a good day to forgive and forget — a good day to throw away prejudices and hatreds — a good day to fill your heart and your house, and the hearts and houses of others, with sunshine.

    Robert G. Ingersoll

  10. Bob says:

    Okay all you scrooges, I’ll buy all the damn presents I want for my loved ones, as guilt free as if I was an atheist.
    I’ll just try buy made in America.

  11. Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

    An excellent variety of views on Christmas. I celebrated last year by buying a few colored lights and hanging them in my shop. Our house is alway decked out by my wife who has a talent at artful projects.

    The Freethinkers always have a solstice potluck. Attendance has not been all that great–I think people enjoy the Christian things more.

  12. Bob says:

    And I’ve bought tickets for Christmas concerts and dinners for my family for this Holiday season. I love Christmas: the presents, jul trees, beautiful lights decorating the town, streets and houses, the music, feast gatherings, concerts, message of family, freinds and love and giving to those less fortunate. Its a great winter holiday to brighten up the long dark. You don’t have to believe in the supernatural part to enjoy it immensely.

  13. The birth celebration of Jesus is ignored by Jesus Himself. All the “Christ-Mass” hysteria is man-made. (as is the commercialized version of the marketplace)
    The Scriptures tell us to remember His death…..and what it meant for all mankind from that day forward.

    • Henry says:

      “The birth celebration of Jesus is ignored by Jesus Himself.”

      Yes and no. Logos or scripture talks in depth about the observance of Christ’s birth in Luke and Matthew. However, I would agree that His birth is eclipsed by His resurrection.

  14. Bob says:

    Kay 3:25 You have not thought this through Kay. What sacrifice did he really give? You mean the one where Jesus won the god lottery? The one where Jesus only suffered for three days then gets all the power of the universe for all time and does nothing to lift a finger the past two thousand years to even help one kid in a poor place in the world who has suffered from starvation and worse for years their whole young life, and still your Jesus does nothing to help that kid? You mean that one? No thanks, your Jesus with all the power of the universe yet refuses to help none of us, your Jesus is evil.
    I think you are more moral than your Jesus Kay. I think if you had Jesus’s power, you probably would help EVERYONE. Except maybe an atheist, ironically.

    • Henry says:

      Bob:“and does nothing to lift a finger the past two thousand years to even help one kid in a poor place in the world who has suffered from starvation and worse for years their whole young life”

      It amazes me how a person so openly reliant on the seen, blindly accepts the supposed unseen of Christ not lifting a finger to help those in need. In that, Bob relies completely on the unseen in his faith and treats it as fact.

  15. Bob says:

    Henry 6:18 Oh yeah? Show me just one instance of Jesus coming down and helping just one kid, anywhere. And I want real proof, documented that even a CSI investigator would believe it.

    • Henry says:

      Good evening, Bob. I’ll be very direct, especially for you.

      Mark 5:21–43, Matthew 9:18–26, Luke 8:40–56

      • Bob says:

        Henry, 11:37 Not good enough dude. If you’re going to say you’re god, the least you could do is give evidence of it. Real, hard core CSI forensics evidence. If a CSI investigated if your Jesus ever came down even once in the last 2000 years to save even just one kid, the least your god could do is leave evidence. DNA, fingerprints, some kind of proof of his good will.
        But he’s left nothing, not even a black and white photo of him helping a kid somewhere. Your god is selfish, dude.
        With all that power, you’d think he’d be smart enough to do something, leave some evidence for humanity. He’s not real, Henry, get over it.

        • Henry says:

          Three witnesses would more than suffice in a court of law, Bob. All the csi evidence in the world doesn’t do a bit of good without testimony.

          You do know that this subthread began with you making the claim, “The one where Jesus only suffered for three days then gets all the power of the universe for all time and does nothing to lift a finger the past two thousand years to even help one kid in a poor place in the world who has suffered from starvation and worse for years their whole young life, and still your Jesus does nothing to help that kid?”

          Where is your “csi” evidence for this claim? I have not seen you provide anything. I even went a step further and provided you evidence counter to your claim when so asked. Let’s see you man up and back your initial claim of Jesus not lifting a finger.

          • entech says:

            Just an innocent bystander here but didn’t your example happen before the crucifixion?

          • Henry says:

            It ocurred and was recorded within the last 2000 years.

          • Henry says:

            Bob, proof please.

          • entech says:

            Guess we will have to agree to differ on that point. “The one where Jesus only suffered for three days then gets all the power of the universe for all time and does nothing to lift a finger …” seems to give the crucifixion as a definite starting point, “… the past two thousand years” a more general ball park figure. Three witnesses? Could be interpreted as three accomplices, especially as the parents were told not to tell anyone.

            Of course, the killer rebuttal comes from your creationist allies, “Were you there?”.

          • Henry says:

            Entech, I am concerned about you. You seem to be falling apart lately. Bob set a criteria for me to meet. I met it. Now, you are without his permission moving his goalpost. Apparently, his goalpost position didn’t bring forth the desired result. Do you apply this level of objectivity to science as well?

          • Henry says:

            Bob, proof please .

          • entech says:

            Just querying your interpretation. bob said he got a good deal 3 days in someplace unpleasant followed by an eternity of all power, he then goes on to say does nothing for the past 2000 years. I am suggesting that this figure is a bit like the 7 days of creation, literal or figurative. so my interpretation is since the crucifixion but as always I will bow to your word.

          • Henry says:

            You are repeating yourself.

    • entech says:

      entech 3:55 am

  16. Avatar of stormchaser stormchaser says:

    I’m still all for the solstice party at Hopper Danley. ;)

  17. big ed 59 says:

    Yeah, Christians quoting scripture to prove a point to folks whose main opinion is that they don’t believe scripture. Faith is beyond logic, and both sides scream “evidence”, as if any of them had a clue what exactly he/she would accept as evidence of something supernatural. For one side, the right words, in the right book, is all it takes. For the other side, the sum total of everything in the universe, taken together, would not be enough. There is NO answer, and no middle ground, either.

    Been reading this stuff for decades. Still looking for the first original thought (on either side). Merry Christmas to all, and…. . Nah, “and, keep your religion out of science class.”

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      big ed 4:49 Thanks for stopping by to comment. Welcome any time.

      “For the other side, the sum total of everything in the universe, taken together, would not be enough.”

      I can’t speak for anyone but myself But, if we had “..the sum total of everything in the universe, taken together…” and it included a lot of evidence there was a creator, I would concede there was a creator. So, would famous author, Richard Dawkins. We just don’t have that much information. But, we may some day.

    • Henry says:

      “and, keep your religion out of science class.”

      Big Eddy, would that include keeping cosmology out of science class too? Cosmoslogy requires much faith due to being based on the unseen and unmeasured.

      • entech says:

        I have just watched a very interesting program called “Origin of Life in the Universe”, fascinating stuff. The speaker told us about the big Bang while objecting to the term; he thought that the words indicated something a bit more explosive than the actual event. He went on to discuss the evolution of stars and the heavy elements from the very light elements which were all there were at the beginning. It seems a least 3 “generations” (birth of a star from dust to supernovae back to dust) of stars are required to produce enough of the heavy elements to create human beings , we are made from the same stuff as stars. There was much more interesting science and the question and answer session was long and interesting. The speaker is assistant director of the observatory at the University of Arizona and lectures there for some months each years, this video is not by some proponent of atheistic scientism the full title of the lecture is “Reflections from a religious tradition on the origin of intelligent life in the universe by Father George Coyne SJ director of the Vatican Observatory”. Interesting that someone who would be better qualified in theology and science than you or I, or anyone else posting here, should espouse views totally in opposition to yours.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          I believe I saw the same show about a month ago. interesting. I don’t see anything terribly contradictory if one doesn’t make timelines dogmatic, which we shouldn’t or need not.

          • entech says:

            Yes, thank something for Utube, as I rarely go out at night and television is so awful a lot of good educational stuff is available on the machine. It is noticeable that the Vatican is trying hard to make up for its foolishness of a few hundred years ago with a lot of excellent research and support for science. Father Coyne explained very well how his view of cosmology went a long way from the 7 days of creation mythology but in no way interfered with his faith, in fact reinforced it. I particularly like it when he was prepared to say (as any good scientist would) that the answer to a particular question was “I don’t know” and I found it especially so when he would say the same about theological questions – he said that his students would know very well that when he said “now that is a good question” it was code for I don’t the answer or at least I am not totally confident about the answer.
            Science and religion should not need to fight and they should not try to dominate each other. A dogmatic approach to anything can exclude possible insights (guilty of this myself sometimes).

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            exactly.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech; When I say exactly , I agree with your overview, and I place some of the burden of dogmatic excesses on myself sometimes too. Time for an around the world beer toast?

          • entech says:

            I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed you meant the entire thing not just my little ‘mea culpa’

          • entech says:

            Beer toast, wouldn’t that be a bit soggy? think I’ll stick to peanut butter (jelly in America?)

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Oh sure. Would you rather do a Calvadose, and a filbert? Or a Youkon Jack and a snit?

        • Henry says:

          “we are made from the same stuff as stars”

          Yep. We are all made up of hydrogen and helium. At least we can’t be accused of being full of hot air….or if we are made up of star stuff, maybe we are.

  18. Bob says:

    Thanks Entech, I agree with you, good job, and again, thanks for picking up the ball when I couldn’t be here.

    According to the story Henry, Jesus only suffers for 3 days, then does win the God lottery, the one where he gets all the power of the universe, and there is no forensics evidence that god lottery winner Jesus has helped even one person here in the natural world. Pathetic.
    My youngest child could do a better job of being God than your Jesus. Jesus sucks!

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