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?

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12 Comments

  1. Hrvatski Noahid

    I agree that christianity violates the Torah Law prohibition of creating a new religion and that christmas is an idolatrous festival. I think that the christian man-god is a continuation of the pagan Greek god dionysos. Dionysos was a son of god (zeus) born of a mortal woman. He suffered a violent death. He rose from the dead as a savior. And his worship included the drinking of wine. This may well symbolize the drinking of his blood.

    • Thanks for the comment. Personally, I leave such guesses alone. I know people have their different theories about where christian ideas came from. But making such theories … I’ve grown tired of them.

  2. Hrvatski Noahid

    No problem bro. I find that knowing such theories helps me argue against false religions.

    • So here’s my question for you. Why use theories to argue against false religions as opposed to clearer principles and facts? It is a question, not a judgement. I’m curious.

  3. Hrvatski Noahid

    I am sleepy right now. I will write an answer tomorrow.

  4. Hrvatski Noahid

    The formal Torah Law argument is that any religion which arose after Sinai violates the prohibition of creating a new religion (the Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, Ask Noah International, 2011, p 194-195). You know how people react when their deepest beliefs are challenged. Many deny the clear and factual Torah argument. Knowing the theories and theologies of false religions means that you can argue against them using their own inconsistencies and contradictions. This is why Torah Law permits reading books of idol worship if the purpose is to learn, understand and teach in order to keep away from idolatry (the same, p 146, topic 4).

    • I’m glad we come from the same place where it comes to the prohibition of creating new religion.

      Your point was that people have different ideas and theories about where different religions come from. And you brought up the idea that some god has a seeming similarity to some of the new testament’s depiction of the life of the Nazarene. You didn’t talk about using the internal contradictions of the new testamanet, but rather the similarity part of it had with idolatrous religions. It is those theories I was questioning, that I said I didn’t see as useful. The internal issues with the new testament to me are much more powerful and factual.

      Now I imagine myself as a christian, I remember myself as a christian. If someone had brought up an argument like that, the Dionysius argument, I already know that similarity doesn’t necessarily tell a person one thing is the source of another. And I’ve seen too many people using that principle of similarity to not only leave the new testament but also to leave the Torah because of its supposed similarities with idolatrous religions. Since I already know that similarity doesn’t necessitate origin, then for me similarity doesn’t tell me anything factual about the origin of the Torah or the new testament. (Plus too much of these similarities come from the plausible stories of historians rather than actual written evidence that one came from another.)

      So that’s why I ask, why use theories, such as the Dionysius argument, rather than actual facts and logical/rational principles, such as, for example, the internal inconsistencies?

  5. Hrvatski Noahid

    I believe I answered your question. Actual facts are not enough for some people. Why not use everything we can to argue against false religions?

    I disagree that one can use the principle of similarity to argue against the Torah. The public revelation of God at Mount Sinai is a unique historical event. It has no parallel in any other religion or tradition. Christian theology has many similarities with pagan religions which are hundreds if not thousands of years older. You do not see this argument as useful. Yet these similarities helped me question and leave christianity. I do think that pointing them out can help others do the same.

    • Our experiences are different. That’s fine. I may not see your approach as meaningful to me, but you see it is effective. Again, that’s fine.

      Just to say, I speak from my experience of having seen former christians turn deist or atheist use the similarity about the Torah. I’ve seen the similarity argument used in other areas the application of which seems highly suspect. But that’s just my experience. If it can be used to pull a person from idolatry and atheism, then great!

  6. Hrvatski Noahid

    I agree! Whatever works is great!

  7. Great post.

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