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  #1  
Old Feb 11, '12, 2:59 pm
WJL WJL is offline
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Default "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

I've heard this claim several times before, but recently I seen someone who says they're a Christian on Facebook make these claims:
Quote:
The early Christians assimilated pagan rituals, now you can't tell where the pagan ritual ends and the Christian ritual begins ... look at Imbolc, and Candlemas... the presentation at the temple, the purification of Mary ... both use fire and water as means of purification. Samhain, All Souls/Saint's Day and St. Brigid's Day (Brigid) ... yea us Christians stole those holy days too. And isn't it odd that EASTER has a very similar name to Ostara which is a British pagan moon godess, having associations with eggs and hares/rabbits? And I find it very interesting that the Catholic Church has holidays that cooincides with every celestial quarter and eighth.
I've heard others claim that all major Catholic holidays such as Easter and Christmas are supposedly "stolen" from pagan life-death-rebirth fertility religions which supposedly occur on the summer and winter solstices and spring and autumn equinoxes. For example, some have alleged that Christians "stole" Christmas from a winter 'death' festival and Easter from a sping 'rebirth' festival, thus implying, at the most, the "Christ-myth" hypothesis or, at the least, that Christ's Death and Resurrection didn't really occur in the Spring / around Passover, like the Gospels record.

What is the proper response / answer to the allegations?
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  #2  
Old Feb 11, '12, 4:22 pm
Arizona Mike Arizona Mike is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

Quote:
Originally Posted by WJL View Post
I've heard this claim several times before, but recently I seen someone who says they're a Christian on Facebook make these claims:

I've heard others claim that all major Catholic holidays such as Easter and Christmas are supposedly "stolen" from pagan life-death-rebirth fertility religions which supposedly occur on the summer and winter solstices and spring and autumn equinoxes. For example, some have alleged that Christians "stole" Christmas from a winter 'death' festival and Easter from a sping 'rebirth' festival, thus implying, at the most, the "Christ-myth" hypothesis or, at the least, that Christ's Death and Resurrection didn't really occur in the Spring / around Passover, like the Gospels record.

What is the proper response / answer to the allegations?
All the claims are nonsense, and have been dealt with at length on this forum. Most of the claims derive from 3 or 4 Victorian-era anti-Catholic crank books. You can spend an enormous amount of time trying to refute each claim, all to little purpose, as even when positively refuted, the people making the claims just pop up on another site and make the claim elsewhere. They are unable to cite any scholarship on the issue, they usually just claim "well, everyone knows that..." Seeing a picture of a sun on a monstrance, they decide the Catholics must be sun worshippers. They see a fish in the catacomb, and decide the Catholics worship Dagon. They see a photo of the pope caught in mid-shot as he lowers his hands from a blessing, and decide he is secretly (?) giving a satanic hand-sign, or is a Texas A&M graduate. That kind of nonsense.

Perhaps the best all-purpose retort is this: the early Catholic Church despised the pagan culture that oppressed them and murdered their fellow churchgoers, and wanted no part of it. They considered the pagan idols they worshipped not to be merely fictitious, non-existent gods, but actual demons who fooled their believers into believing they were divine.

Given all this, doesn't it seem completely unreasonable that such stiff-necked men and women, who would suffer martyrdom for their true faith, would willingly adulterate the worship of Christ with the practices of the worship of demons?
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  #3  
Old Feb 11, '12, 4:33 pm
TraditonRules TraditonRules is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

But what of the fact that December 25 was the date of a pagan festival? Does this not prove that Christmas is pagan? No, it does not. Instead, it proves that Christmas was established asa rivalcelebration to thepagan festival. That is, what Christians did was to say, "Rather than celebrate in immorality the birth of Mithra, a false god who was never really born and who cannot save you, let us celebrate in joyful righteousness the birth of Jesus, the true God incarnate who is the Savior of the world."

.....
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  #4  
Old Feb 11, '12, 5:03 pm
Ancient1 Ancient1 is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

Gee, I don't know if this is a "proper" response, but mine would be:

"Candles and rabbits and trees and such are all external trappings or at most symbols. How many stories, myths and religions involved the moon? Countless! Certain things lend themselves due to their potent imagery or beauty to spiritual realities. If we 'stole' your symbols, it does not diminish the truth of our religion, they really are not dependent upon one another. Pagans lost their holidays and we got 'em! Sour grapes. We won! Too bad for you."
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  #5  
Old Feb 11, '12, 6:30 pm
latin_rite latin_rite is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

Christians stealing holidays again? Must be near Christmas or Easter.
Look. There are thousands of pagan religions out there. And only so many days in a year No matter what day Christmas or Easter fell on. There would be claims of us stealing the day. Claims of Christians "adapting" pagan rituals. Is just silly. You have to remember. The Christians who went into these pagan strongholds weren't some little pimple faced kid, ready to run at the first cuss word. They were hardcore Christians. Who would rather die than corrupt the teachings of Jesus. People say decorating a tree was stolen from the pagans. Was it stolen or was it just when pagans converted they just celibrated the birth of Christ ways they were used to. Humans decorate things. Its what we do. every culture since the days of the caveman either decorated themselves or their dwellings.
Bit like saying that when Americans use fireworks on the fourth of july, they aren't really celebrating independance day. But chinese new years.
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  #6  
Old Feb 11, '12, 6:48 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

One could easly claim that these holidays and rituals were attempts by some cultures to find the truth.

They could be viewed as early attempts at finding out the realities about our word, how the universe came to exist and why we are here.

To celebrate a bountiful harvest isn't wrong. In some cultures the bountiful harvest was just attributed to the wrong god and as such became pagan worship.

So maybe Christianity just perfected these pagan holidays and rituals. Maybe Christianity just found the truth that these people were grasping at.


-Tim-
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  #7  
Old Feb 11, '12, 9:40 pm
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DavidFilmer DavidFilmer is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

We didn't steal anything. We conquered. We obliterated. We demolished.

So what if Dec 25 was a day to worship a pagan god that NOBODY worships today (and few people have even heard of). Instead, billions worship Our Lord on that day.

Is THIS supposed to be a triumph of paganism over Catholicism? HA!

We won. Pagans lost. Onward, Christian soldiers!
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  #8  
Old Feb 12, '12, 4:01 am
Sean O L Sean O L is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

Dr Leslie Rumble, MSC answered this and many similar questions in "Radio Replies" - see "Pagan Derivations", Nos. 1289-1307 at

http://jloughnan.tripod.com/radrepvol3.htm#1125
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  #9  
Old Feb 12, '12, 11:46 am
drafdog drafdog is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

When Augustine (later St. Augustine of Canterbury) was sent to preach to the people of Great Britain, the pope told him, "Do not forbid them their festivals, but explain to them their meaning in the light of the Gospel."
Yes, we did certainly appropriate the festivals of the people to whom we brought the gospel. We showed how each celebration points in some fashion to the truth of Christianity. Every agrarian culture has a festival which commemorates the god who came to a starving people and told them that he would feed them. When he died they were to bury him and return in four months and they would have food so that they might never be hungry again. When he died and was buried, the people mourned but came back at the appointed time. Wheat was growing from the grave of the slain god.
We killed Christ and buried him and through his resurrection we have the Bread of Eternal Life. Same story, new interpretation. We do it all the time because it is a sound method of turning people in a new direction. A way of repentance for them.

Reb Levi
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  #10  
Old Feb 12, '12, 12:32 pm
Mintaka Mintaka is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

Well, not every culture had a "corn god" that was slain, etc. That's Frazer and his Golden Bough book talking. Lots did, lots didn't. You're more likely to hit the spot with "Many, but not all cultures, had a god or goddess who taught them useful stuff that helped them survive or be civilized, and some of those things are associated with agriculture. Most cultures have legends associated with sex and/or crop fertility, some of which involve homicide and some of which don't, and some of which are just stories."

The problem with the Frazer approach (well, beyond the fact that he lied and misinterpreted stuff on purpose) is that it implicitly believed that any story that was like any other story in any way couldn't possibly be a true story. The true meaning had to be some kind of allegory or magic spell, and only folklorists like himself could teach the stupid masses what the stories really meant.

So you see, the whole historical story of Squanto's kidnapping and enslavement, his trip to England, his return to New England to find all heck had broken loose, the arrival of the Pilgrims in New England, and his teaching of the Pilgrims how to grow corn and survive, would obviously be a total lie and myth about a tutelary deity worshipped by pagan English dissenter Protestants. Burying fish in the seeding mound to fertilize the soil is obviously just a magical ritual marrying the earth and the sea, and thus calling down rain. Can't be a true story about soil minerals, crazy stuff that happens in life, and a guy who knew how to farm, oh no.
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  #11  
Old Feb 12, '12, 12:57 pm
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ESMDHokie77 ESMDHokie77 is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

Huh, that's funny, I didn't know Pagans used stoles.
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  #12  
Old Feb 12, '12, 1:01 pm
Keith_W_OR_USA Keith_W_OR_USA is offline
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Lightbulb Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TraditonRules View Post
But what of the fact that December 25 was the date of a pagan festival? Does this not prove that Christmas is pagan? No, it does not. Instead, it proves that Christmas was established asa rivalcelebration to thepagan festival. That is, what Christians did was to say, "Rather than celebrate in immorality the birth of Mithra, a false god who was never really born and who cannot save you, let us celebrate in joyful righteousness the birth of Jesus, the true God incarnate who is the Savior of the world."

.....
No they used a different calendar. The date was originally January 6th, they still celebrate Christmas on Jan 6th in the East.
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  #13  
Old Feb 12, '12, 8:16 pm
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Callin Callin is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

Christianity took the pagan capital of the world - Rome - and made it her own.

Why not do the same to holidays too?
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  #14  
Old Feb 14, '12, 5:48 pm
Petrus127 Petrus127 is offline
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Default Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

As tempting as it is to associate Christmas with the festivities of Sol Invictus or other pagan winter solstice festivals, in fact, the date is derived from March 25, the Annunciation, and not the other way around. March 25 was traditionally held to be the date of the Crucifixion, and a tradition grew up that our Lord was conceived and died on the same date. From this date, then, December 25 was set as His birth date. As another comment has indicated, this was a later tradition than using January 6 or 7, which has been retained in the East.

I'm really not aware of any Christian feasts being derived from pagan festivals; if anything, the opposite has tended to happen: pagan vestiges become attached in some way to the day before the Christian feast, as is the case with Halloween and with Walpurgisnacht in Germany, not to mention Mardi Gras and the carnival traditions that sprouted up in the days before Lent. Easter, of course, is closely tied to Passover, which _may_ have, in very ancient days, been connected to a pre-Israelite spring festival of some kind, but that is a major stretch.
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  #15  
Old Feb 14, '12, 7:40 pm
kevdlandrig kevdlandrig is offline
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Lightbulb Re: "Christians Stole Pagan Holidays and Rituals"

I took classical Latin for five years, so I'm pretty good at my roman mythology.

I'm only gonna list a few here.
Christmas took place on or very near the Roman's Saturnalia, and also the celebration of their god of wine and Sun god.
Solemnity of Mary"................................... ......" Kalends Ianuarius(basically New Years)
Valentine's day "....................................... ......" Lupercalia (all about love)

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is this: The early Christians may have scheduled their holidays on or near the pagan holidays in order to protect themselves from being attacked by the late Romans. They could celebrate their own holidays the same time with no one else the wiser.

I hope I made sense.

HOLY GHOST(it doesn't make sense w/ spirit)
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