When is a Christmas Tree no longer a Christmas Tree?

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Postby Ghlade » Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:01 pm

Self hating secularist George W. Bush joins the War on Christmas (TM)... ON THE WRONG SIDE!!!!!!!

'Holiday' Cards Ring Hollow for Some on Bushes' List

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 7, 2005; Page A01

What's missing from the White House Christmas card? Christmas.

This month, as in every December since he took office, President Bush sent out cards with a generic end-of-the-year message, wishing 1.4 million of his close friends and supporters a happy "holiday season."

Many people are thrilled to get a White House Christmas card, no matter what the greeting inside. But some conservative Christians are reacting as if Bush stuck coal in their stockings.

"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Bush "claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one," said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily.com. "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."

Religious conservatives are miffed because they have been pressuring stores to advertise Christmas sales rather than "holiday specials" and urging schools to let students out for Christmas vacation rather than for "winter break." They celebrated when House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) insisted that the sparkling spectacle on the Capitol lawn should be called the Capitol Christmas Tree, not a holiday spruce.

Then along comes a generic season's greeting from the White House, paid for by the Republican National Committee. The cover art is also secular, if not humanist: It shows the presidential pets -- two dogs and a cat -- frolicking on a snowy White House lawn.

"Certainly President and Mrs. Bush, because of their faith, celebrate Christmas," said Susan Whitson, Laura Bush's press secretary. "Their cards in recent years have included best wishes for a holiday season, rather than Christmas wishes, because they are sent to people of all faiths."

That is the same rationale offered by major retailers for generic holiday catalogues, and it is accepted by groups such as the National Council of Churches. "I think it's more important to put Christ back into our war planning than into our Christmas cards," said the council's general secretary, the Rev. Bob Edgar, a former Democratic congressman.

But the White House's explanation does not satisfy the groups -- which have grown in number in recent years -- that believe there is, in the words of the Heritage Foundation, a "war on Christmas" involving an "ever-stronger push toward a neutered 'holiday' season so that non-Christians won't be even the slightest bit offended."

One of the generals on the pro-Christmas side is Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss. "Sometimes it's hard to tell whether this is sinister -- it's the purging of Christ from Christmas -- or whether it's just political correctness run amok," he said. "I think in the case of the White House, it's just political correctness."

Wildmon does not give retailers the same benefit of the doubt. This year, he has called for a consumer boycott of Target stores because the chain issued a holiday advertising circular that did not mention Christmas. Last year, he aimed a similar boycott at Macy's Inc., which averted a repeat this December by proclaiming "Merry Christmas" in its advertising and in-store displays.

"It bothers me that the White House card leaves off any reference to Jesus, while we've got Ramadan celebrations in the White House," Wildmon said. "What's going on there?"

At the Catholic League, Donohue had just announced a boycott of the Lands' End catalogue when he received his White House holiday card. True, he said, the Bushes included a verse from Psalm 28, but Psalms are in the Old Testament and do not mention Jesus' birth.

"They'd better address this, because they're no better than the retailers who have lost the will to say 'Merry Christmas,' " he said.

Donohue said that Wal-Mart, facing a threatened boycott, added a Christmas page to its Web site and fired a customer relations employee who wrote a letter linking Christmas to "Siberian shamanism." He was not mollified by a letter from Lands' End saying it "adopted the 'holiday' terminology as a way to comply with one of the basic freedoms granted to all Americans: freedom of religion."

"Ninety-six percent of Americans celebrate Christmas," Donohue said. "Spare me the diversity lecture."

Diversity has been a hallmark of White House greeting cards for some time, according to Mary Evans Seeley of Tampa, Fla., author of "Season's Greetings From the White House." The last presidential Christmas card that mentioned Christmas was in 1992. It was sent by George H.W. and Barbara Bush, parents of the current president.

Seeley said the first president to send out true Christmas cards, as opposed to signed photographs or handwritten letters, was Franklin D. Roosevelt. "Merry Christmas From the President and Mrs. Roosevelt," said his first annual card, in 1933.

Like many modern touches, the generic New Year's card was introduced to the White House by John and Jacqueline Kennedy. In 1962, they had Hallmark print 2,000 cards, of which 1,800 cards said "The President and Mrs. Kennedy Wish You a Blessed Christmas" and 200 said "With Best Wishes for a Happy New Year."

Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson continued that tradition for a couple of years, but it required keeping track of Christian and non-Christian recipients. Beginning in 1966, they wished everyone a "Joyous Christmas," and no president has attempted the two-card trick since.

Seeley dates the politicization of the White House Christmas card to Richard M. Nixon, who increased the number of recipients tenfold, to 40,000, in his first year. The numbers since have snowballed, hitting 125,000 under Jimmy Carter, topping 400,000 under Bill Clinton and rising to more than a million under the current Bushes, with each president's political party paying the bill.

The wording, meanwhile, has often flip-flopped. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter put "Merry Christmas" in their 1977 card and then switched to "Holiday Season" for the next three years. Ronald and Nancy Reagan, similarly, began with a "Joyous Christmas" in 1981 and 1982 but doled out generic holiday wishes from 1983 to 1988. The elder President Bush stayed in the "Merry Christmas" spirit all four years, and the Clintons opted for inclusive greetings for all of their eight years.

The current Bush has straddled the divide, offering generic greetings along with an Old Testament verse. To some religious conservatives, that makes all the difference.

"There's a verse from Scripture in it. I don't mind that at all, as long as we don't try to pretend we're not a nation under God," said the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
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Postby Minardil » Wed Dec 07, 2005 2:20 pm

So, does it hurt Christmas or something to look into the aspects of it which are non-christian in origin?


Oh, absolutely not. I'm just disagreeing with the idea that Christmas is an entirely pagan holiday with no basis in Christianity itself.
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Postby wntrmute » Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:37 pm

Minardil wrote:But Christmas, which is to say the Christ Mass, the celebration of the birth of Christ, IS a Christian holiday, unless you are going to argue that Jesus himself was a pagan figure adopted by Christians, and yes I know all about Mithras.

...and Appolonius, Dionysius, Osiris, etc. However, generally I would agree with this broadly. The Christ Mass is the uniquely Christian component. So, too, are the various nativity scenes and most of the now traditional carols.
But that's not the bits I or my family have ever observed, anyhow. (Though some of the songs are nice, as songs.)
Minardil wrote:There is no argument that the timing was chosen to coincide with midwinter observances,

ummmmm....
Minardil wrote:and the extraneous traditions like trees and mistletoe are certainly not derived from the Nativity story, but then they had to put Christmas somewhere on the Calendar, and since the precise timing of Christ's birth was (and is) unknown, Midwinter was as good a time as any. And the giving of gifts, one of the central traditions of Christmas IS derived from the biblical account, though we have long since expanded our gift giving options beyond the original Gold, Frankinsense, and Myrrh.

Gifts were traditionally exchanged in pre-Christian societies, too. It isn't like the whole gift-giving thing only came with Christianity. It was another one of those, "Ummmmmm, we're doing this .... ummmm ... out of rememberance for the gifts of the Magi! Yeah, that's the ticket." The same way that there are Christianized meanings now for the holly and mistletoe and the tree and all of the other obviously pagan influences.
Minardil wrote:And even though Easter takes it's English name from the Anglo-Saxon dawn goddes Eostre (according to Bede, anyway)

This is true.
Minardil wrote:the celebration of the Crucifixion and Resurrection is the most important holiday - or holy day if you will - of the Christian year and marks the central defining event in Christianity.

This is also true.
Minardil wrote:And the timing was not chosen to coincide with pagan spring festivals, but is based on the actual anniversary of the event, at least as closely as the old Hebrew lunar calendar and schedule of feasts can establish.

More or less true. The anniversary would be Passover, but the early Church (as it adopted the Julian Calendar) pretty quickly decided on a different way to figure the date that was not in accord with the traditional Jewish calculations. There was actually a long-lasting scism of sorts over this between Ireland and Rome.
However, the bunny, colored eggs, and the egg hunt are related to the Passion in what ways, exactly?
Well, the easy and correct answer is that they aren't.

Minardil wrote:I totally agree that many of the traditions associated with Christmas and Easter are adopted from pre-christian practices, but the claim seems to be that Christmas and Easter are entirely pagan in origan and adopted or hijacked wholly into Christianity, and THAT is not true at all.

We're not saying the pagans celebrated Easter to mark the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. Nor was Yule to celebrate the birth of a savior God (though Mithrasday, or whatever they called it, was -- again, outside of a discussion regarding Yule) That's not the point at all. The point is that most of the external and more secular non-explicity-religious elements are fundamentally pagan in origin. And, by my reckoning, completely insulated from the 1st Amendment in any case since they ARE secularly derived pre-Christian forms of ethnic celebration.

The word Christmas itself....eh. I'm ambivilent.
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:46 pm

Minardil wrote:Oh, absolutely not. I'm just disagreeing with the idea that Christmas is an entirely pagan holiday with no basis in Christianity itself.


Good. I didn't see too many people here putting forth that idea. wntrmute said it best in his comment to you. Many of the external practices (lights on a tree, putting up a tree, yule logs, etc) are pagan in origin, while the celebration of the birth of the savior is christian in origin.

Now that we're all in agreement... who wants some egg nog?
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Postby ILvEowyn » Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:52 pm

"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.


Well I don't usually defend the White House, but I will here. Donohue is far too spiteful and intolerant to be in the position he is in. I've seen him on tv before and he's almost invariably on some crazy rant.

Now that we're all in agreement... who wants some egg nog?


me :D
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Postby DrStrangelove » Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:54 pm

Minardil wrote:Are you saying you don't understand why Christians would feel compelled to celebrate the birth of Jesus? You honestly can't think of a single reason?


No I am not saying that - I am saying that I can't see why it was necessarily a given that the celebration of the birth of Jesus would become associated with a single day and become a festival, especially if the day was not known nor observed by the early church.

This would not preclude a celebration of Jesus' birth all the year round, as part of general Christian worship - with any focus being on the Easter story.

But your position, as I understand it and please correct me if I am wrong, is that Christmas is an entirely pagan holiday that was absorbed by the Church as a way of easing pagan peoples into the fold by allowing to keep their pre-christian traditions and that Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Jesus has no religious signficance whatsoever


That last bit doesn't bear ANY relation to anything I've said on this thread. I have absolutely no idea why you think that is my position.

and wouldn't be observed at all if the Church hadn't felt the need to steal the pagan holiday as they did with Halloween.


I think it IS arguable that the event would be observed as it is now had the existing pagan celebration not been co-opted. I have never said that it would not be observed at all - just that, like so many religious observances on the calender, it might not be anything like the event it is today, even if it actually was given a specific day.
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Postby wntrmute » Wed Dec 07, 2005 5:38 pm

As for the need to celebrate the birth of Jesus, apparently the earliest Christians did not feel the lack.

Anyways, I am a bit behind today, and just noticed this in the previously quoted Wiki article:
Thus, rather than the date of Christmas being appropriated from pagans by Christians, the opposite is held to have occurred.

Those sneaky pagans, managing to co-opt an event before it had ever occured!
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Postby ILvEowyn » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:03 pm

About the date of Christmas-I seem to remember hearing on some history channel (you know I love it :wink:) program that the Jesus' birthday was apparently celebrated at first in May or around that time. Can anyone confirm if this is true or not? If it is, I would think that indicates that it was later changed to December for some other reason and then it would follow that the most likely reason for picking late December would have been the winer solstice. That is, unless later Christians were privy to some new knowledge that Jesus' birthday actually did occur in December, which I doubt they could have been.
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Postby Minardil » Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:59 am

Minardil wrote:
Oh, absolutely not. I'm just disagreeing with the idea that Christmas is an entirely pagan holiday with no basis in Christianity itself.


Good. I didn't see too many people here putting forth that idea.



Well, Tuor said he didn't consider Christmas to be a Christian holiday at all, but was a pagan holiday adapted by the Catholics. DrStrangelove agreed that there was no question that this was the case, and has gone on to question why Christians feel a need to celebrate the birth of Jesus at all.


Good. I didn't see too many people here putting forth that idea. wntrmute said it best in his comment to you. Many of the external practices (lights on a tree, putting up a tree, yule logs, etc) are pagan in origin
.


Yes, but these are really just things that people DO when they are celebrating. Parties and Feasts and lights and gifts and silly hats aren't Christian, but they aren't Pagan either, they are just Human. I mean, when you talk about these Christmas traditions being of "pagan" origin and adopted by Christianity, I think many of them are really everyday customs that were adopted by pre-christian religions and then RE-adopted by Christianity in turn. Does that make these customs and traditions more "pagan" than they are Christian?

Let's look at the custom of slaughtering a pig (or maybe lamb) for Christmas. One of the articles posted above described this as being an adaptation of a pagan ritual sacrifice. Fair enough. But isn't the pagan ritual sacrifice ITSELF an adaption of the everyday practice of killing food before you eat it? Have you ever tried to eat a live pig? I imagine it would be very inconvenient. And messy. And loud. Much better kill them first and roast them for a while. And while we're doing that, we can all get together around the fire and talk about how much we like to eat pig. And since we're so happy to have a pig to eat, we'll celebrate a little bit. And as long as we're celebrating, we might as well offer some of the pig to our local god, you know, so he doesn't feel left out. Better yet, let's kill the pig in the god's honor and give it all to him, metaphorically of course, we'll still be the ones who eat it. So we'll have a ritual sacrificing of the pig to the god, then we'll have a big party and we'll call that part of our religion. Now where did we leave that pineapple glaze (or mint jelly for those of you sacrificing lambs) . .

Anyway, you get the idea. Pagans followed many traditions which were adopted by Christians and carried on now by people who are entirely non-religious. But do those traditions BEGIN with the Pagans, or are they based on even earlier traditions that have nothing to do with religion or gods whatsoever?
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Postby Tookish_Traveler » Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:46 am

ILvEowyn wrote:About the date of Christmas-I seem to remember hearing on some history channel (you know I love it :wink:) program that the Jesus' birthday was apparently celebrated at first in May or around that time. Can anyone confirm if this is true or not? If it is, I would think that indicates that it was later changed to December for some other reason and then it would follow that the most likely reason for picking late December would have been the winer solstice. That is, unless later Christians were privy to some new knowledge that Jesus' birthday actually did occur in December, which I doubt they could have been.


Actually, the date is in September.

The following 2 links discuss the date, the 2nd one in a lot more detail.

http://www.bytheword.com/birth

http://www.versebyverse.org/doctrine/birthofchrist.html
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Postby Ghlade » Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:57 am

And for those who doubt the anti-semetic undercurrent referenced in the Salon article, here's a heart-warming essay from the conservative Townhall.com. :)

http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns ... 78211.html

I never thought I’d live to see the day that Christmas would become a dirty word. You think it hasn’t? Then why is it that people are being prevented from saying it in polite society for fear that it will offend?

Schools are being forced to replace “Christmas vacation” with “winter break” in their printed schedules. At Macy’s, the word is verboten even though they’ve made untold millions of dollars from their sympathetic portrayal in the Christmas classic, “Miracle on 34th Street.” Carols, even instrumental versions, are banned in certain places. A major postal delivery service has not only made their drivers doff their Santa caps, but ordered them not to decorate their trucks with Christmas wreaths.

How is it, one well might ask, that in a Christian nation this is happening? And in case you find that designation objectionable, would you deny that India is a Hindu country, that Pakistan is Muslim, that Poland is Catholic? That doesn’t mean those nations are theocracies. But when the overwhelming majority of a country’s population is of one religion, and roughly 90% of Americans happen to be one sort of Christian or another, only a damn fool would deny the obvious.

Although it seems a long time ago, it really wasn’t, that people who came here from other places made every attempt to fit in. Assimilation wasn’t a threat to anyone; it was what the Statue of Liberty represented. E pluribus unum, one out of many, was our motto. The world’s melting pot was our nickname. It didn’t mean that any group of people had to check their customs, culture or cuisine, at the door. It did mean that they, and especially their children, learned English, and that they learned to live and let live.

That has changed, you may have noticed. And I blame my fellow Jews. When it comes to pushing the multicultural, anti-Christian, agenda, you find Jewish judges, Jewish journalists, and the ACLU, at the forefront.

Being Jewish, I should report, Christmas was never celebrated by my family. But what was there not to like about the holiday? To begin with, it provided a welcome two week break from school. The decorated trees were nice, the lights were beautiful, “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a great movie, and some of the best Christmas songs were even written by Jews.

But the dirty little secret in America is that anti-Semitism is no longer a problem in society; it’s been replaced by a rampant anti-Christianity. For example, the hatred spewed towards George W. Bush has far less to do with his policies than it does with his religion. The Jews voice no concern when a Bill Clinton or a John Kerry makes a big production out of showing up at black Baptist churches or posing with Rev. Jesse Jackson because they understand that’s just politics. They only object to politicians attending church for religious reasons.

My fellow Jews, who often have the survival of Israel heading the list of their concerns when it comes to electing a president, only gave 26% of their vote to Bush, even though he is clearly the most pro-Israel president we’ve ever had in the Oval Office.

It is the ACLU, which is overwhelmingly Jewish in terms of membership and funding, that is leading the attack against Christianity in America. It is they who have conned far too many people into believing that the phrase “separation of church and state” actually exists somewhere in the Constitution.

You may have noticed, though, that the ACLU is highly selective when it comes to religious intolerance. The same group of self-righteous shysters who, at the drop of a “Merry Christmas” will slap you with an injunction, will fight for the right of an American Indian to ingest peyote and a devout Islamic woman to be veiled on her driver’s license.

I happen to despise bullies and bigots. I hate them when they represent the majority, but no less when, like Jews in America, they represent an infinitesimal minority.

I am getting the idea that too many Jews won’t be happy until they pull off their own version of the Spanish Inquisition, forcing Christians to either deny their faith and convert to agnosticism or suffer the consequences.

I should point out that many of these people abhor Judaism every bit as much as they do Christianity. They’re the ones who behave as if atheism were a calling. They’re the nutcakes who go berserk if anyone even says, “In God we trust” or mentions that the Declaration of Independence refers to a Creator with a capital “C.” By this time, I’m only surprised that they haven’t begun a campaign to do away with Sunday as a day of rest. After all, it’s only for religious reasons – Christian reasons – that Sunday, and not Tuesday or Wednesday, is so designated.

This is a Christian nation, my friends. And all of us are fortunate it is one, and that so many Americans have seen fit to live up to the highest precepts of their religion. Speaking as a member of a minority group – and one of the smaller ones at that – I say it behooves those of us who don’t accept Jesus Christ as our savior to show some gratitude to those who do, and to start respecting the values and traditions of the overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens, just as we keep insisting that they respect ours.

Merry Christmas.
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Postby GlassHouse » Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:59 am

ok that article is nuts.

but I'll post the real meaning of Christmas for you

CLICK
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Postby Minardil » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:15 am

But the dirty little secret in America is that anti-Semitism is no longer a problem in society; it’s been replaced by a rampant anti-Christianity. For example, the hatred spewed towards George W. Bush has far less to do with his policies than it does with his religion. The Jews voice no concern when a Bill Clinton or a John Kerry makes a big production out of showing up at black Baptist churches or posing with Rev. Jesse Jackson because they understand that’s just politics. They only object to politicians attending church for religious reasons.


Going to church for political reasons, ey?

I feel I should point out that Mr. Bush found religion at about the same time he decided to go into the family business of politics, that he does not belong to a specific congregation, rarely attends services, yet somehow manages to gush about his "faith" everytime he's on camera.

Mr. Kerry on the other hand, is a lifelong member of his church, and attends services regularly, dare I say "religiously", yet is hesitant to discuss his religion in public at all.


You can decide for yourselves who is being religious for "political reasons."


And I still don't understand why allegedly devout Christians are so insistent that the word Christmas be associated with the more crass commerical aspects of the holiday anyway. I would think that if they were REALLY interested in the promoting the spiritual component of Christmas, the "true meaning" if you will, group's like Mr. Falwell's would be demanding that department stores STOP using the word Christmas. Makes me wonder what hacks like Falwell are really selling.
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Postby vison » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:53 am

The article quoted above is very interesting, like some of the life forms you see when you turn over a rock, or break open a rotten log. I have been following a debate on this very subject, elsewhere, and have been alternately puzzled and appalled.

It seems pretty obvious to me that there is some agenda at work here, beyond some ill-tempered whining about "Happy Holidays". I agree with Minardil: it would seem more appropriate for "Christians" to object to the commercialization of their sacred day. But when did this sort of thing make sense, or exist in some logical framework?

There is a kind of ....... movement ..... in certain "Christian" circles to claim "persecution" of Christianity in the USA. Christians in many OTHER nations are REALLY persecuted: jailed, tortured, exiled, even killed. What is there of persecution in America? This: Nothing.


Read this quote from that article:
"I am getting the idea that too many Jews won’t be happy until they pull off their own version of the Spanish Inquisition, forcing Christians to either deny their faith and convert to agnosticism or suffer the consequences."

What can you say? Does this brute get a free pass on this vile remark simply because he is a Jew himself? I don't even know if he IS, actually. If he is, he ought to be ashamed. Anti-Semitism is Anti-Semitism no matter who spews it, and that I do know for sure.
These remarks twist reality, make a mockery of reason, and expose some really nasty ideas.

The exposure of ideas is a good thing, though. Put this crap into the cold light of day and watch it shrivel up like the monstrous dark-dwelling filth that it is.
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Postby Minardil » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:08 pm

What is there of persecution in America? This: Nothing.


As near as I can tell, in the rather twisted logic of the extreme fundamentalists and socially conservative "Christians", resistance to their attempts to force their own religious beliefs on everyone else are seen as oppression and persecution of them.
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Postby Tuor, » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:41 pm

Minardil wrote:
What is there of persecution in America? This: Nothing.


As near as I can tell, in the rather twisted logic of the extreme fundamentalists and socially conservative "Christians", resistance to their attempts to force their own religious beliefs on everyone else are seen as oppression and persecution of them.


Force their own religious beliefs or fight for traditional societal beliefs, depending on how you want to view it.

They are fighting a useless battle lost long ago.
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:00 pm

Minardil wrote:Anyway, you get the idea. Pagans followed many traditions which were adopted by Christians and carried on now by people who are entirely non-religious. But do those traditions BEGIN with the Pagans, or are they based on even earlier traditions that have nothing to do with religion or gods whatsoever?


This is a chicken and the egg discussion. I'm not sure we can honestly debate this without discussing our speculations. Perhaps the reason we attribute some of the rituals as pagan in origin is because pagans were the first to bring the particular aspects together in a significant way, rather than just "hey, I've got a pig, get some friends and some wine, let's celebrate". The pagans who celebrated Yuletide gave Yuletide its meaning as a celebration of the winter solistice, not just a cold day in Germany where we had a pig.
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Postby TheFiend79 » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:23 pm

TheEllipticalDisillusion wrote:...rather than just "hey, I've got a pig, get some friends and some wine, let's celebrate". The pagans who celebrated Yuletide gave Yuletide its meaning as a celebration of the winter solistice, not just a cold day in Germany where we had a pig.


Somehow I think almost all festivals started in that fashion. I know my college roommates and I started more than a few unofficial celebrations on cold days in Minnesota where we had a bottle of Jack Daniels and a few cases of Busch Light.


Btw, the fellow that wrote that article bills himself as a 'humor columnist.' It's so insane I almost wonder if it was a dark attempt at humor...
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Postby vison » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:27 pm

Tuor, wrote:
Minardil wrote:
What is there of persecution in America? This: Nothing.


As near as I can tell, in the rather twisted logic of the extreme fundamentalists and socially conservative "Christians", resistance to their attempts to force their own religious beliefs on everyone else are seen as oppression and persecution of them.


Force their own religious beliefs or fight for traditional societal beliefs, depending on how you want to view it.

They are fighting a useless battle lost long ago.


And what "traditional societal beliefs" have been lost? Are not our beliefs still that loving our neighbour, truth, kindness, compassion, and honour are desirable? Do we not seek those?

The "traditional societal beliefs" of hatred for "the other", intolerance, racism, ignorance, on the other hand are not mourned by me, at least.

The battle was not useless, nor is it over, judging by the article quoted in this thread. I simply cannot express in ordinary language how disgusting and vile I think that article is, what a debasement of thought, what a manifesto of hatred! Let that creature spill his venom, decent people everywhere will be appalled and horrified and speak out. I hope.
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Postby Minardil » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:39 pm

Force their own religious beliefs or fight for traditional societal beliefs, depending on how you want to view it.


Well I'm sure telling themselves that might provide some salve for their collective conscience, but if they were really interested in preserving traditional values, the best way would be to live their lives according to those values and set a good example for others to follow. What they are really trying to do is use the law to force everyone else to live by those values whether they want to or not, and understand that by values we're not just talking modes of behavior here but also systems of belief, and I think this is completely wrong in our society, whose FOUNDING and CENTRAL and DEFINING "value" is respect for freedom of belief and personal liberty, something that those people you describe as allegedly fighting for "traditional values" don't give a hoot about.
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Postby Tuor, » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:47 pm

vison wrote:And what "traditional societal beliefs" have been lost? Are not our beliefs still that loving our neighbour, truth, kindness, compassion, and honour are desirable? Do we not seek those?


I guess that all depends on how one defines 'beliefs'. The US used to be a 'Christian' society. Christianity was forced on others and it was the societal belief that it should be. That is the societal beliefs certain people are fighting for. You can come up with your own more inclusive definition of what Christianity is about, but that does not change the fact that it is not good enough for some.

The "traditional societal beliefs" of hatred for "the other", intolerance, racism, ignorance, on the other hand are not mourned by me, at least.


That's fine. You can look at it any way you choose.

The battle was not useless, nor is it over, judging by the article quoted in this thread. I simply cannot express in ordinary language how disgusting and vile I think that article is, what a debasement of thought, what a manifesto of hatred! Let that creature spill his venom, decent people everywhere will be appalled and horrified and speak out. I hope.


The battle is over and the battle is useless because even back in the 1940's when all of this stuff would be laughable, it wasn't a Christian Society. They are fighting for something that they can't achieve. The battle is not their's and they are trying to fight it in the wrong field.

***I just want to be clear that this is not the actual subject of the thread, but it is a natural tangent that I do not believe can be avoided***
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Postby Tuor, » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:53 pm

Minardil wrote:What they are really trying to do is use the law to force everyone else to live by those values whether they want to or not, and understand that by values we're not just talking modes of behavior here but also systems of belief,


I think they would argue that this is already happening and that they are trying to resist it.

and I think this is completely wrong in our society, whose FOUNDING and CENTRAL and DEFINING "value" is respect for freedom of belief and personal liberty, something that those people you describe as allegedly fighting for "traditional values" don't give a hoot about.


I think the proof is in the pudding or in this case, the laws and customs of the society they created. It seems to me that their customs and laws would be described by you as "forcing Christian views on everyone else".
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:01 pm

TheFiend wrote:Somehow I think almost all festivals started in that fashion. I know my college roommates and I started more than a few unofficial celebrations on cold days in Minnesota where we had a bottle of Jack Daniels and a few cases of Busch Light.


I agree with you. The pagans made it an official celebration. The christians incorporated it. So, officially certain aspects originated with the pagans.

I certainly did have my fair share of unofficial celebrations in college. One or two became actual official ones that we (we being my friends and I) celebrated yearly.
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Postby Ghlade » Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:46 pm

War on Christmas.. the rap! http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/grogan/051206

Christmas is under attack and we must fight back.

Without Christ there wouldn't be a world adorned with lights.

Without Christ there wouldn't be Christmas days or nights.

Who are you to tell us that we can't say Merry Christmas or display the Nativity scene?

And banning children from singing Christmas Carols in school is downright mean.

No matter how you try you can't destroy the Christmas spirit from within.

And as we begin to unite against you — we will eventually win.

You might want Holiday trees, but we will continue to decorate our CHRISTMAS trees.

And no longer are we going to stand idly by, while the minority who hate Christmas are appeased.

You might convince retailers to replace Christ with a big X

But we'll be ready to fight for our Christmas traditions no matter how much you might object.

So MERRY CHRISTMAS to all . . . and to all a good night.
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:44 pm

I'm going to start a war on awful rap beats. Clearly this person does not know how to write a rap.
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Postby Lord_Morningstar » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:01 am

awful rap


Tautology of the day :twisted:

Admittedly though, there's some awful lyrics there - as if 'Christ' rhymes with 'lights'.
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Postby DrStrangelove » Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:09 am

Minardil wrote:DrStrangelove agreed that there was no question that this was the case, and has gone on to question why Christians feel a need to celebrate the birth of Jesus at all.


Don't talk absolute nonsense. :roll:

I don't know why you think its relevant to try and argue
against a completelt fabricated argument. Possibly to
reflect an inability to actually argue the point being made
at all.
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Postby Minardil » Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:50 am

Don't talk absolute nonsense.

I don't know why you think its relevant to try and argue
against a completelt fabricated argument. Possibly to
reflect an inability to actually argue the point being made
at all.


But DrS, you DID agree with Tuor that Christmas was a pagan holiday adapted by the Church, and note that Tuor was specifically talking about the religious element, NOT the extraneous traditions. He considers Christmas to be an entirely non-Christian holiday, and you agreed with him. You also said that the early church adapted, or hijacked, the holiday specifically to allow Pagans to continue the traditions of their pre-christian gods. You went on to question why anyone would need to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the first place, something Tuor had also done citing a lack of scriptural directive to do so. Go back and read your exchanges with Iorlas and me. Iorlas says a date had to be chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and you say "Why?" Iorlas responds with the rhetorical question "don't you think the birth of a savior should be celebrated?" and you again say "I don't see why", and go on to say that a specific annual festival for Christmas is not necessary and that Christians could remember the nativity every day of the year, whatever that means.


I may be misreading your arguments, but then, maybe you're miswriting them. I am certainly not making them up.
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Postby DrStrangelove » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:10 am

Minardil wrote:But DrS, you DID agree with Tuor that Christmas was a pagan holiday adapted by the Church, and note that Tuor was specifically talking about the religious element, NOT the extraneous traditions. He considers Christmas to be an entirely non-Christian holiday, and you agreed with him.


If you actually read back on the posts, I took issue with a lot of what Tuor actually said, and especially the link to site detailing the origins of Christmas which I stated was wrong.

I then specifically agreed with one quoted aspect of his post - which was the fact that Christmas was an adoption by the Church of a pagan festival.

I then subsequently said that saying this does not denigrate the actual Christian traditions that evolved around that date, after its adoption by the church.

You also said that the early church adapted, or hijacked, the holiday specifically to allow Pagans to continue the traditions of their pre-christian gods.


No, I actually said that church adopted it to allow the pagans to keep their festival but to tell them it was about Jesus and God rather than pagan deities.

You went on to question why anyone would need to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the first place


I have not in ANY post I have made on this thread. I have simply questioned the statement that, without the pagan traditions of the Winter solstice, there is no reason to think that the nativity story would either become associated with one specific day and that day would become as pre-eminent in the calender as Christmas is today, with similar feasting and gift-giving celebrations.

Go back and read your exchanges with Iorlas and me. Iorlas says a date had to be chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and you say "Why?"


Which is a valid point, I think. Christians celebrate Gods creation of the whole universe but they don't make a big issue of picking a "Creation Day" to celebrate it. (unless there's big shindig on the evening before October 23rd that I'm not invited to :) )

Iorlas responds with the rhetorical question "don't you think the birth of a savior should be celebrated?" and you again say "I don't see why",


Oooh, selective quoting. Nice. :roll:

What I actually said what that I don't see why celebrating the nativity would have inevitably have become a single day festival with celebrations that mirror those that take place now on Christmas.
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Postby Minardil » Fri Dec 09, 2005 10:20 am

Well then why should anything be a one day festival? Why celebrate our own birthdays only one day every year? I mean, I know I'm damn happy I'm alive pretty much every day of the year, so how come I only get presents on January 11th?

And here's another question: With the demise of the pre-Christian religions in Europe, would the midwinter celebrations have survived at all if it hadn't been for Christmas? I mean, if Christmas hadn't come along, would the Winter Solstice celebrations have died out?

If Americans didn't celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, would we need to invent another midsummer celebration?
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