Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas is "a Christian-Created Holiday" (Silenced)

HWA and his imitators teach that Christmas is an adaptation of pagan festivals and are therefore forbidden by God. But, as Silenced has recently mentioned, often what really happened was far more complicated then HWA made it out to be.
Christmas, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day and even birthdays have been banned within the COG for their connections to similar-ish pagan holidays long ago. Silly books like Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons” have lined COG bookshelves for decades and many, many booklets have been published where Armstrongite authors stomp their feet that mainstream Christians and the rest of “the world” are in Satan’s thrall for trick-or-treating, hanging tinsel or drawing heart shapes.

Unfortunately for the COG, pagan connections to modern holidays often aren’t as strong as Armstrongites claim them to be and vastly more complex. Taking Easter for example, rather than being a direct descendant of Babylonian celebrations of the goddess Ishtar, it instead didn’t arise until the late 2nd Century CE and its etymology is in dispute, even while clearly-pagan symbolism gradually climbed its way onboard from the wellspring of traditional folklore among peasants (as opposed to church mandates).

When it comes to Christmas, the COG and other fundamentalists like to say it’s nothing more than a repackaged version of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the birthday of the unconquered sun), a supposedly-Roman solstice holiday that took place on December 25. The problem is, there’s no definitive proof that this celebration actually ever existed. Solstice celebrations were common during the era, but this isn’t likely to have been one of them.  Some paganism associated with Christmas can indeed be found in the Bible where it discusses fastening ornate trees as something heathens do. And it’s obvious when the Catholic Church instituted Christmas, they allowed people to craft a large amalgamation of traditional pagan solstice rites into their celebrations of Christ’s birthday, in the name of converting the unwashed masses to the new religion. However, rather than Christmas being a continuation of a specific pagan celebration — the holiday didn’t arise and spread until the 4th century CE — it’s a Christian-created holiday. In fact, before Christmas was established as the “official” birthday celebration for Jesus Christ, many Christians celebrated Epiphany on January 6 in its place, after the Winter Solstice and its pagan connotations would have already passed for the year. So basically, there’s no consistent continuation of December 25 celebrations between pagan tradition and early Christianity, and any pagan elements were added gradually over time.
As is so often the case it is once again shown that HWA was profoundly ignorant about what he preached about so confidently.

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