Cognitive Dissonance: The non-existent war on Xmas.... ;-)

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: a discomfort caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs and actions. Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming and denying.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The non-existent war on Xmas.... ;-)

Many, many people suffer from the misconception that Christmas is a Christian holiday. In truth (actual, factual truth, based in reality, using recorded and corroborated historical accounts) Christmas stems from Pagan fertility rites and practices which predate Christianity and the supposed birth of Christ by many centuries. So you see, Christmas, in truth has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. Many of the things we associate with Christmas, such as decorating trees, singing carols, and giving gifts are rooted in the traditions of non-Christian religions (Paganism predominately). Furthermore, the date of December 25th has nothing to do with Jesus' birth, even the biblical stories of Jesus' birth indicate he was not born during the winter months. The reason we celebrate Christmas on December 25th is because it is the date that the winter solstice was traditionally celebrated on in ancient Europe. Romans historically celebrated the winter solstice. This celebration was about "Dies Natalis Solis Invicti", the day of the birth of the unconquerable sun, which took place on December 22nd. The winter solstice held the promise of the return of springtime and earthly renewal. In Roman history, this was the time of Saturnalia, honoring the God of Agriculture, for the week before the solstice, and Juvenilia a feast in honor of the children of Rome, around the same time. On the 25th of the month they celebrated the birth of the sun-god Mithra. Masters and servants traded places temporarily, and everybody had a rocking good time. It was during Saturnalia that the tradition of exchanging gifts was established. They gave one another gifts which were intended to bring good luck. The Romans placed an enormous amount of pressure on the early Christians to rejoice along with them, and around the time of the fourth century, they began to celebrate Christmas around the same time. It was inevitable that Christians should make a connection between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son. In a side note, if you compare the Pagan god Mithra with Jesus, you will find they have a great deal in common. A virgin birth on Dec 25th, they both performed similar miracles, both died and came back to life 3 days later and the list goes on. The fact that Mithra predates Jesus certainly lends credibility to the assertion that Jesus was nothing more than Mithra co-opted by Christians.

In the Middle Ages, Christmas was a raucous, drunken celebration which resembled a carnival. Poor people would go on a Christmas"trick or treat" around the richer neighborhoods, causing them misery if they didn't get what they wanted. Many other pagan traditions have been incorporated into Christmas. Yule was celebrated by the Norse in Scandinavia around the time of the winter solstice by bringing in large logs for the fire, in recognition of the eventual return of the sun. It could take as much as twelve days for the log to burn down. Meanwhile, the Norse would feast. The holiday usually lasted through January. The Germans did not so much celebrate as honor the winter solstice. They believed that their god, Oden, flew through the sky at night passing judgment on his people. Generally, they would stay indoors during this season. When the Germanic people were converted to Christianity, their winter festival was naturally adopted as a celebration of the birth of Christ. To the pagans, evergreens served as a symbol of winter's inability to stop the cycle of renewal. They were important fertility symbols which were highly revered by many cultures, including the Germans and the Celts. They helped to soothe the pagans' fears that the sun would never return, and that winter would reign eternal. The Druids tied fruit to the branches of live trees, and baked cakes in the shape of fish, birds and other animals, to offer to their god, Woden. We also inherited the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe from the Druids. All of these practices, many of which are still incorporated in the modern celebration of Christmas had their origins in Pagan traditions that pre-date the purported birth of Christ by centuries. Anyone willing to take the time to study the history of Christmas can see how Christianity took over the celebration as it marched westward and, if they're willing to be honest, must admit that Christendom has no original claims to anything having to do with Christmas, other than the name of course.

Many people mistakenly state that "Jesus is the reason for the season." They do so, because they believe people have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas. It simply isn't true. Christmas can be celebrated as completely secular because ultimately it is not a Christian holiday. Christmas goes beyond religious and cultural differences, and addresses something universal in all of us. For this reason it has become popular in non-Christian countries such as Japan. The truth is that Christian and pagan traditions have a great deal in common. The real need behind all of these traditions was to find a source of joy, happiness, hope, goodwill and generosity. There was a need to find ways to cope with our fears about the darkness and cold of wintertime, and to celebrate the return of the sun and the longer days of spring. In fact, Christianity and pre-Christian pagan religion have a great deal in common. Various pagan religions shared the Christian practice of worshiping a god-man who could offer salvation in the form of heaven or condemnation in the form of hell. The concept that a son of God could be born of a mortal woman is seen in many different religions spanning the globe. These concepts are universal, except to those who are extremely divisive and have a tendency to pick nits, such as fundamentalist evangelical Christians.

The ACTUAL war on Christmas was waged over the last 2,000 years by Christians, and, as you can see they won. Now every year we have to listen to people complain endlessly about this imaginary "war on Christmas", and how we've forgotten the reason for the season. While it's true we have as a society forgotten the actual origins of Christmas, it has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. The ire expressed by the religious regarding things like nativity scenes and other religious displays on public/government property is also misplaced. I find it ironic that they (Christians) claim that they're victims of religious oppression yet have no problem whatsoever forcing their religion down our throats. The separation of church and state guarantees not only the right to practice whatever faith one chooses, it also guarantees the freedom FROM religion as well. Which is the right to choose not to practice any religion whatsoever, and to be free from being forced to observe or participate in the practice/observation of those faiths. Not being able to force everyone to observe and celebrate the way you think Christmas, or Easter or whatever should be celebrated does not amount to religious intolerance. And lastly, now that you know that Christmas has NOTHING to do with Christ whatsoever, please stop bitching about it, and apologize to any Pagans you happen to run across for stealing and destroying their holiday, and for murdering hundreds of thousands of them throughout the last 2,000 years when they wouldn't pretend that their holiday involved a magical Jewish baby that fathered himself with a virgin in a town that didn't even exist at that time (Nazareth).

And for those of you that will undoubtedly bury your head even deeper in the sand after reading this, here are my sources, which you can confirm for yourself if you like. We have limitless information at our hands in this day and age, put it to good use, please!

Dennis Bratcher, "The Christmas Season." The Voice. URL: (http://www.crivoice.org/cyxmas.html)

"Saturnalia." History.com. URL: (http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&content_type_id=1253&display_order=1&sub_display_order=2&mini_id=1290)

"Christmas - An Ancient Holiday." History.com. URL: (http://www.history.com/minisites/christmas/viewPage?pageId=1252)
"Christmas." Encyclopedia Brittannica. URL: (http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9082431/Christmas)

Ruth Reichmann, "Christmas." URL: (http://www.serve.com/shea/germusa/xmasintr.htm)

Alan Williams, "The History of Christmas," URL: (http://www.christmas-time.com/cp-hist.html)

"ALL ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS TREE." URL: (http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_tree.htm)

"An Outlaw Christmas." URL: (http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&content_type_id=1254&display_order=1&sub_display_order=3&mini_id=1290)

Mary Dawson, "Stories Behind the Christmas Carols." URL: (http://www.musesmuse.com/00001238.html)

Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts, "Christmas Carol Surprises." URL: (http://www.markdroberts.com/htmfiles/resources/christmascarol.htm)

Diane Relf, "Christmas Tree Traditions." URL: (http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/envirohort/factsheets2/landsnurs/dec90pr3.html)

Greg Kane, "Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth." URL: (http://www.pocm.info/getting_started_pocm.html)

Ted Olson, "The Real St. Nicholas." URL: (http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/newsletter/christmas/nick.html)

Royce Carlson, "The Pagan Origins of Christmas." URL: (http://www.zenzibar.com/articles/christmas.asp)

"Who is St. Nicholas?" URL: (http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=38)

Jennifer Claerr, "The History of Christmas and Its Pagan Origins" URL: (http://voices.yahoo.com/the-history-christmas-its-pagan-origins-646539.html?cat=74)

And last but not least! Wikipedia, "Christmas" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas)

27 comments :

  1. Really liked reading this. Bookmarked.

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  2. This was an interesting article. I find it odd, though, that out of all the sources you used, the Bible wasn't among them. That seems a little unprofessional, and that flaw is made glaring when the obvious bias in the cited articles is observed. To strengthen this blog, I would advise citing Christian text and comparing it to Roman paganism. Otherwise, this was written fairly well!

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    1. Could you help the author and post a few relevant passages from the bible where it talks about how the holiday should be observed? Maybe some of the other texts you mentioned would be helpful as well.

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    2. The fact that most of the bible has been rewritten enough times that its accuracy is limited and the fact that no one is allowed to see the original documents and the Vatican has refused to make them public even if it is pictures leaves me highly suspect of trusting any bible.

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    3. I fail to see how would citing the bible have improved upon this article. What specific points or claims would be reinforced by citing the bible?

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    4. In this instance the Bible need not be sourced, considering that the article aims to debunk the myths and misconceptions regarding 'Christmas', and that using the Bible as a source itself is controversial in the fact that its written history is debatable.

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    5. You cannot use the bible as proof of the truth of the bible. Circular logic. If you claim the bible is the truth, you, the claim-maker, must provide the proof of your claim.

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  3. Excellent blog post. Most excellent. Thank you.

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  4. Very well written and researched. Great work.

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  5. Very insightful piece! I completely agree with your position and I, too, am sick of having to hear the same old christian "claims" every christmas, and in general. Keep up the great writing! :)

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  6. Only SOME Christians 'shove religion down your throat' and these people often mean no harm and simply want you to have a happy life with God. I accept your opinions because we all have freedom of speech but as a teenage Christian myself I will talk to my friends at school about it but I never force anything upon them. The article is very interesting and I do agree with most of it but please don't stereotype!

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  7. I couldn't love this post more if I tried. Well done you.

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  8. Glad see someone finally wrote a nice blog about what's been swirling around in my head for 40 years. Kudos!

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  9. Beautifully written. Great post, great subject. Thank you.

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  10. Good points, but the writing is a bit stream-of-concious and jumpy. Far be it for me to defend Christians, but I believe the others are right to point out that the sources are a trite weak. Not to mention it's a little over sarcastic.This post could be stellar if it were more well organized and tactful. I'm with you though.

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  11. Great article, thanks much.

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  12. @Anonymous November 29, 2012 8:27 AM

    You can't use the bible as a source, it doesn't meet the criteria to be considered a valid one.

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  13. Funny; I was just reading the opposite:

    http://www.thethirstygargoyle.blogspot.it/2012/11/christmas-trees-and-belgian-waffle.html

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  14. "I would advise citing Christian text"

    One of the sources cited is christianitytoday.com, a Christian web site.

    "I find it odd, though, that out of all the sources you used, the Bible wasn't among them."

    Where in the Bible does it say how and when we should celebrate Christmas?

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  15. Your point about confusing "sun" with "Son" doesn't really make any sense when you consider that they were most likely speaking Latin which the two words sound nothing alike.

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  16. Hello, thank you for the article. Just one short notice: I think it should be Odin, not Oden.

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  17. I love this!! Thank you Jay, you are insightful and this was incredibly well written. I think the lack of sarcasm, and the list of factual citations, (unlike the translated and re-translated biblical none sense) (sorry to the offended) .. adds incredible accuracy to your view points. I enjoy that you are both educated on the bible, and that you clearly choose to educate yourself beyond that which the masses so easily believe, and choose not to question. Kudos to you!! Happy New year.... I think that one is still celebrated for the right reasons!

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  18. Any Christian who has read the bible will agree that burning thousands of people to make them conform to your version of a festival is not a Christian at all. I will not be misrepresented or tarnished by cave man like behaviour which has no relation to the Christian belief but just another man made manipulation of facts to suit their own agenda. A well thought out Christian will be tolerant of how any individual would like to celebrate this time of year and I also aware that Jesus was not born on 25th of December(LOL). However seeing as we're now a hundred or so years in to putting up our nativity scenes and being quite sentimental about remembering this date on our calendar as a ground breaking event please forgive our confusion to your offence of any reference to Jesus at all and please ignore those who call you a sinner for not agreeing. We all are free to put up nativity scenes without feeling like we're shoving a knitted wise man down a passers bys throat. I would say the only WAR I have on Xmas is the increasing idea that making your child happy at Christmas involves racking up a huge credit card debt to give him the latest games console.

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  19. Yeah, that's nice, but you're wrong. Pick up a history book and review the atrocities committed by Christians, and the millions or tens of millions they have killed in the name of god. Furthermore, if you read the bible, you would see that it is no only permissible, but the bible commands Christians to slaughter non-believers, heretics, homosexuals, disobedient children and people that eat shellfish. You've bought into the propaganda... read a book, don't be a sheep.

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  20. Excellent article, as always you are articulate, funny and provocative.

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  21. I love this!! Thank you Jay, you are insightful and this was incredibly well written. I think the lack of sarcasm, and the list of factual citations, (unlike the translated and re-translated biblical none sense) (sorry to the offended) .. adds incredible accuracy to your view points.

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