My current stance on Christmas
The season has passed, but I thought I’d share my current position on it, or at least think about it in writing.
I don’t celebrate it, obviously. But not only that, I detest it. There are a few things in life that irritates me enough for me to wish it were physical so that I could choke the life from it until it be dead. One is atheism. Another is the naturalistic belief held by atheists, Torah adherents and so many others about the development of the universe and the diversity of life. And another is Christmas. As this little expression is about Christmas, I’ll focus on that.
First, let me get a few things out of the way.
I used to reject Christmas because I was taught it came from idolatrous festivals, from Saturnalia, from Mithra, from so on and so forth. I was taught that the Christmas tree was idolatrous, referred to in Jeremiah 10 and the date was the birth date of other god. I held these views while I was a Christian and was raised with such views.
It’s strange. It’s only after years of having left Christianity that I hear the arguments from the other side, those christians who kept Christmas and I see that most of my views about Christmas were not based on fact, but rather circumstantial historical evidence that are more plausible reconstructions than actual overt admissions. I personally hate it when people put words in my mouth when I never said them. I don’t want to do it to the church, even if I don’t agree with them. I had not realised how weak the link between Saturnalia, Mithra and Christmas was before I took another look. I didn’t see that Jeremiah, in chapter 10, was talking about an idol, not just a tree. [I know a certain rabbi who I very much respect refers to Jeremiah 10 when giving his teaching against Christmas, but I’ve seen enough from a good amount of other sources to feel okay having a different opinion. Oh, the horrible crime of disagreeing with one rabbi, even if it’s because of the teachings of another!]
Anyway, leaving aside those arguments, why don’t I celebrate Christmas, even as a secular holiday?
Christmas is a christian festival and it was started mainly by a church that believes in worshipping Jesus as God, worshipping the Holy Spirit as God. It celebrates the birth of Jesus with the claim that he was the promised Davidic king, that he, an innocent person, died for the sins of the guilty.
That’s the basic position I’m using.
I’m am ardent follower of the seven laws for the children of Noah, meaning all of humanity. For me the question is, how do the obligations given by God to me, and the principles within that tradition apply to Christmas?
The seven laws prohibit idolatry, the worship of anyone other than the God who revealed himself to Israel and brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of slavery. That God at that time did not reveal himself to be a trinity, or as a man.
The seven law tradition forbids the creation of new religions, religious festivals or commandments.
Based on these two principles, I conclude Christianity is a innovated religion and creating such a religion is forbidden.
The doctrines and practices of the Christianity that created Christmas was idolatrous, worshipping a man and worshipping a God not revealed to Israel.
Even if Christianity was not idolatrous, and especially because the main part of it is, Christmas is an innovated religious festival. It is not a festival made by and for atheists, Muslims, Hindus or any other form of religion. It is a christian religious festival, despite the fact that people from other worldviews take part in some of the customs. Such a festival is forbidden.
When it just comes to the human, rational principle (“the image of God” or tzelem elokim), the idea of Jesus being messiah is false. The notion of him, an innocent man, dying for the guilty is a false and deceptive perversion of justice, an affront to justice. It’s not as the conman from Tarsus, Paul, proclaims, that it doesn’t make sense. It’s that it does make sense and it is wrong, sending many wrong and misleading messages, twisting the hearts of so many.
Honestly, how could I take part in something that is built on injustice, idolatry and what violates tradition? I detested the festival for so many years for the wrong reasons. Now I detest it for better reasons, not just based on the patchwork story and interpretations of history from “scholars.” I feel my reasoning now is based on moral principles of what I know as opposed to think things I have no real evidence for.
So this is just my current stance on Christmas. I wonder if there’s any point in writing more about how I deal with presents and cards and the common Xmas greeting that people give.
Anyway, if anyone reads this, thanks. David (yes, I’m talking to my future self), if you read this …. Errr … Thanks?