Christian holidays

There are some that believe that the dates of some Christian holidays (primarily Christmas and Easter) were actually taken from Pagan holidays/celebrations. I can’t remember the “logic” behind the argument but is anyone familiar with this and what to say in response to someone who believes this?

Another question regarding this same issue. Even if it were true why do some believe that it nullifies the fact that Jesus was born, killed and resurrected? I can appreciate the resurrection being up for debate but isn’t there enough historical evidence to prove that he did in fact exist?

Hi.

This older (but wiser) thread about this very issue should have plenty of nuggets for you.

See Post #7, specifically. The apologists on CAL often note that this book noted in that post (which was later retracted by its own author) was a major cause of many of these myths.

Christmas is often confused with taking the place of a pagan holiday. It’s actually not the case though. Which pagan holiday would it have replaced? There are 3 theories.
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Winter solstice**: Let the record show that the soltice, Dec 22nd, is NOT Dec 25th. The ancients were very well versed in astrology/astronomy and would not have made such a silly mistake as to celebrate the soltice 3 days late.

Saturnalia: Another theory is that the Christmas replaced the pagan celebration of “Saturnalia”…but this was celebrated on Dec 17th. Even when it was eventually celebrated for 5 straight days, it ended before Christmas. Not a valid candidate.

Sol Invictus: The third and last theory is that Christmas replaced the celebration of “Sol Invictus” or, the unconquered sun, which was in fact celebrated on Dec 25th. The cult that celebrated this holiday, however, didn’t start until 273 AD. Christmas was being celebrated on Dec 25th in many places long before that. But why did they choose Dec 25th for Christs birth? That reason is related to easter.

Easter does not replace a pagan holiday. We don’t know exactly when Christ was born…but we do know when he died. After passover. He rose 3 days after that. So, in effect, we know when during the year that Christ was raised. In ancient times, people believed that important people (kings, prophets, ect) would die on the same day they were conceived. Therefore, in some people’s mind, Christ must have been conceived on what we know as Good Friday. What is approximately 9 months from then? Christmas!

Anyways, all of the above info was relayed to me by a scholar priest on relevant radio. This guy knows his history, and it makes a whole lot of sense to me. Go ahead and research the facts yourself! Hope this helps! :smiley:

Lots of cultures (past and present) celebrate different holidays around this time, but Christmas, you can trust, is purely Christian.

This is a good/useful read:

TRACKING THE FIRST PAGANS
By James Akin
catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9911chap.asp

Also much shorter. :slight_smile:

It is a specious contention often put forth out of ignorance of the following facts. Every single day of the year was dedicated to at least one, and often multiple, pagan celebrations. There is no day that you could pick that would not have a history of being used by the pagans. Saturday, the Hebrew Sabath, was the day of the pagan god Saturn. Sunday used to belong to the pagan god of the sun, now it belongs to The Son of God.

Is this clear?

That is a pretty good perspective! There were religions before Christianity, and there were religions before those religions…and different ones for different cultures all over the world. Add that to the fact that there are only so many days in the year…and how can you NOT pick a day that was or is a pagan holiday at one point? :slight_smile:

Thanks all! Definitely much clearer now. :slight_smile:

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