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Yes Virginia, Christians did Steal Christmas

Even though it has become pretty much common knowledge and has been accepted by just about every scholar including most Biblical scholars (if they even count), I still get e-mails from people telling me that Christmas was not stolen from the pagans and that Jesus is the reason for the season.

One need look no further then one’s own Bible to see that God is not a fan of Christmas. Jeremiah 10:2-4 talks about how these are heathen customs. As for the Christmas Wreath, it was a pagan symbol of fertility and any fundamentalist Christian will tell you that God wants guys to keep it in their pants and women ought to be chase until marriage with no birth-control. God is no fan of fertility either (just ask his brother the fertility god Ba’al Zabul).

The fact is that people from very different religious backgrounds celebrate the start of the winter season. The world gets cold and the days get shorter. During this time of year, people have a tendency to get depressed and as a result the need arose to lift people’s spirits and celebrate. The evergreen tree was seen as a symbol of life since it was one of the few trees which stayed green in the winter (hence the name evergreen).

People of varying religions created myths surrounding this time of year. Most of which had to deal with the birth of a deity. Some pagans celebrated the winter solstice at this time of year while others celebrated the festival of Yule. The Romans celebrated their god Saturn with a holiday called Saturnalia. This feast started on the 17th and grew longer as time went on.

As the Romans conquered the lands of other people, they soon realized that other cultures also had festivals celebrating the birth of their gods at this time of year. So the Romans decided to merge all these holidays in one and called it Sol Invictus which means “unconquered sun.”

During the 4th century when Constantine decided to Christianize the Roman Empire, attempts were made to get rid of pagan holidays. But as the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” the Catholic Church decided to create a holiday to celebrate during this time so that they could win converts who were reluctant to stop celebrating winter festivals.

And Christmas was born!

In other words, Christians stole Christmas just like they stole almost all of their other holidays from other religious traditions before their own.

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  • 1225truth

    Pope Julius I declared the feast day of Christ’s Nativity on December 25 in 345CE. Doubtless many Christians had been doing so for generations at this point.

    This does concur with the birth of many savior god men, of which Sol Invictus was a composite. (The Emperor Aurelian had declared his Nativity day as one of many festivals connected to him in 275.) But the question is why this day? December 25 is after the 3 days from the winter solstice, when the sun first begins to climb higher in the south sky at mid day since the summer solstice. (In reality, this varies 48 hours, year-to-year on the calendar.) The sun is born a new, as it were. This is just one of countless pieces of evidence that Christ held mythological deific solar aspects, as did so many other religious avatars at this time.

  • http://myspace.com/scott888 Scott

    I thought the Grinch stole Christmas.

    Perhaps that story has merit because Christmas will happen despite what kind of tricks one might play to stop the holiday. This is why Christmas was stolen by Christians, they couldn’t stop Christmas from coming.

  • Jon

    This was the arguement of the week in my family as i got mass emails about “this is a christmas Tree Not a Holiday tree” so i responded back to all and gave them similar information as you have here. This ended up starting an arguement not becuase my facts were wrong but becuase i mass emailed it back to all my Dads Christ Zombie worshipper freinds and the family thought that was desrespectful, where i think it is disrespectful to deny the Holiday have exsisted for many coltures and celebrated the same way and even more so for longer then when xian ” borrowed” these traditions. Either way thanks for another article i can link to so everyone can read about christian theivery again.

  • Jon

    One question that many should wonder is why Christian moved away from the traditions of their Gods people? Jewish Holidays and Calender are Lunar and like wise with Muslims? is it Christianities movement into Solar based religious areas the only reason for this or is there a reason they distanced themselves from Lunar religion? Or do they still celebrate Lunar Holidays? If so do they move around based on lunar Calender ?

    • 1225truth

      Yes, but Christians were generally (although not entirely) absorbed into the Greco-Roman world, where diverse cultures assimilated their solar calendar and the significance of changes in the solar plexus such as the solstices, equinoxes, and quarter-days.

      Even cultures that measured their days on a lunar calendar gave cultural and religious significance to annual change in the solar spectrum.

      In paleolithic times where there was more matriarchal authority, lunar cycles were considered important to hunter/gathering pursuits. In more settled times, in hotter desert climates where people were still relatively nomadic and traveled often at night, societies developed their calendars around more pertinent lunar cycles. This would explain a preference for following a lunar calendar in ecclesiastical Israelite/Judaism and Islam.

  • http://obnoxiousbitch.com Rox1SMF

    Easter’s celebrated depending upon the Lunar cycle. First Sunday after the Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. Rebirth and all that :)

    • 1225truth

      This is because the death and resurrection narrative occur at the Passover festival, long associated with the Jewish lunar calendar.

      Placing Easter on the calendar was a long-term dispute. One party of Christians wanted Easter scheduled at the vernal equinox. As late as the 7th century, the council of “the Paschal Chronicle” recommended that the resurrection event be acknowledged on March 24, midnight, 3 says after the vernal equinox.

      • http://www.myspace.com/DD_NU4EVER Diana

        Could you tell me why Christians called Easter Easter?

        I’ve read that Easter is actually a goddess of futility from either Babylon or northern European, which explains the eggs and bunny stuff.

        You would think they would come up with a different name for the celebration of their god’s resurrection…

        • http://www.dangeroustalk.net Staks

          I wrote a blog on that at Easter time. You can check it out using the category drop-down menu on the sidebar under “Easter.”

  • http://iamchristianiamanatheist.blogspot.kr/ Christian Kemp

    This is a good interview. I think Hemant did a great job explaining the atheist position. That more churches are doing this (ask and atheist day) is good but also worrying, its as if they want to learn how to defeat the enemy. I suppose that is what we are to religion really so we cant blame them.

  • http://www.atheistrev.com/ vjack

    It is an extremely common question, but I still find it somewhat interesting. Yes, there are a couple of things that would tempt me. The problem is that even if I wanted to believe, I couldn’t. Belief isn’t like a light switch that can be turned on or off at will. I mean, if some Christian offered me an obscene amount of money to believe, I’d certainly try. But that would be about as far as I’d get.





    • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

      Please explain what the fuck you are talking about.

    • Manny


  • GentlyUsed

    I would be really suspicious if a theist comes up with a new line of evidence or
    reasoning that we haven’t heard before. If it’s more convincing than the failed apologetics we’ve been hearing for 1600 years (not 2000 years; I’m counting from Nicea), then why have the sales people been hiding their most convincing argument all this time. If the argument is truly convincing, they should lead with it. On the other hand, if the logic and evidence are truly “new” I’d suspect somebody just dug up another gold tablet in their backyard.

  • Dax

    Let’s see…if I knew of an argument that would convince me that a particular religion is true, then I would already have heard the argument, and would already be a believer.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Note that preacher man did not specify an “argument.” I can think of plenty of things that would convince me – things that have not happened. Suppose God himself spoke to me and a group of thousands of other nonbelievers, and pulled off some really great magic tricks; excuse me I meant miracles; healed a few amputees, made the Cubs win the World Series, etc.

      • Dax

        Exactly. If a deity had ever done any of those things, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  • Joy Nichols