Is christmas of pagan origin?


#1

Hi i am in Ghana (West Africa), during this yuletide some peole that i percieve to be sda’s or jw’s have sought to teach the Ghanaian public(most of whom are gullible) that christmas is pagan of pagan origin and also propose a new date which they think was the birthday of christ. Can anyone help me with explanations.


#2

No Christmas is not of pagan origin. The name itself should help to explain the celebration.

Christmas means “Christ Mass” . Now Mass has been celebrated since its institution at the Last Supper on the night before Christ died. And it has continued to be celebrated at least once weekly but more often daily in Catholic churches throughout the world. So all important feasts are celebrated with a Mass.

As to the date of December 25th, the Church picked that date to celebrate the birth of the Savior. It doesn’t mean necessarily that He was not born on the 25th. But it really doesn’t matter if we celebrate on the actual birthdate or not. What matters is that we do celebrate the birth of Jesus our Savior.

Some will say that the date was picked to coincide with a pagan celebration called “Sol Invictus (spelling?)” This celebration was to the “invincible sun”. The only thing that mars this is that the celebration was started by the Emperor Julian (the Apostate from Christianity) in the 3rd century. So we could ask, did the Church steal the date from the pagans, or did Julian try to steal the date from a Church that he no longer wished to belong?

But the real question is: does it matter if the Church took some pagan rituals and transformed them into glorifying the Second Person of God? Even Paul writes that pagan religions know something about God from what they can see from the natural world, so why shouldn’t the Church have taken (if it actually did) anything that was already in the religion that would help it teach people about the one True God. Again Paul did just that in Athens!


#3

newadvent.org/cathen/03724b.htm

A detailed history of the development of the Catholic celebration of Christmas

Considering that the language in which and letters with which I am writing this (and which large numbers of Bibles use), the numbers we use to indicate the 25, the name of the month in which it is celebrated, and many, many more things are “of pagan origin”, does it really matter?


#4

Even if the date of it was, the theology behind it is not.

But on the date, William J. Tighe, a history professor at Muhlenberg College, gives a different account in his article “Calculating Christmas,” published in the December 2003 Touchstone Magazine: the pagan Romans copied the Christians in an attempt to revive the dying paganism. touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v


#5

Read this:

Is Catholicism Pagan?

And this:

Refuting the myth that Jesus never existed

The second one is pretty funny as well as informative.


#6

I am just wondering why the person who posted this thread is named quansah?

Isn’t kwanzaa an anti Christmas, african american holiday?

just wondering.


#7

**It wasn’t figured to be the “birthday” of Christ persay but a day in which to celebrate the incarnation (as a human) of Christ. The Catholic Church was having trouble with pagan’s continuing to celebrate a solstace celebration that was held on the 25 of December, and used that day in order to turn them away from their pagan rituals. **


#8

The SDAs & JWs are both fond of claiming that Christmas is in origin a Babylonian feast.

There is no basis whatever for that suggestion - despite its great popularity. There is no evidence for the idea - so it is not possible to consider the evidence: one cannot consider evidence which does not exist.

Does that help :slight_smile: ?


#9

Kwanzaa is not an “anti-Christmas”.:rolleyes: There are other groups that are fully capable of celebrating holidays during December without having any evil intentions toward Christmas. Many African American Christians celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas. The Archdiocese of Chicago doesn’t seem to have a problem with it
catechesis-chicago.org/blackcatholic/kwanzaa.htm
nor the Diocese of Providence
dioceseofprovidence.org/?id=11
or the National Black Catholic Congress
nbccongress.org/black-catholic-sprituality/what_is_kwanzaa.asp

As for the name, all languages are a collection of sounds and use arrangements of various letters to represent those sounds. Just because there is a similarity between the letters (and therefore presumably the sounds, though that is not a given) that form a word in one language does not mean that the same collection of letters must, therefore, mean the same thing in another language. Just because a French restaurant has “poisson” on the menu (fish) does not mean that the French are engaged in a conspiracy to poison all restaurant patrons.

Take five seconds to google “quansah” and you will discover that it s a not unknown name in Ghana, shared by, according to the first hits, a serial killer, a bishop, winner of an enviromental award, a musician, etc.


#10

The Christmas celebration was purposefully set during the Winter Solstice and commemoration of Sol Invictus (the “Invincible Sun”), as the early Christians saw a very beautiful connection between the Sun and Christ: the Sun is the physical “light of the world,” whereas Christ is the spiritual light, it “dies” each night but it “rises again” the next day victoriously. These parallels are poetic–very good ones, really, and we could benefit from this kind of reflection on our world.

But just as the dualism of the Babylonian religion influenced Judaism to adopt a belief in dark spirits and demons, etc., and just as Alexandrian culture prompted the Jews (and later Christians) to adopt a belief in an immortal soul, so certain other aspects of paganism (praying to ancestors and saints) later integrated with the Christian faith. But few Christians, if any, reject the reality of demons, the eternal soul, etc., so why reject these others?

The fact is, we always do well to LEARN from other cultures and religious traditions, because even if they are corrupt, there will always be truth from which we can benefit:

For instance, I love Buddhism’s emphasis on love and truth and the search for these intertwined with the search for peace, and I think Christians could benefit from this without “corrupting” religious values. I think it’s a nice emphasis, that’s all.

Likewise, pagan symbols and practices were adopted in such a way so as to glorify Christ, because these symbols held meaning to the people that early Christians saw as compatible with Christianity’s overall message.

Finally, I think the subjective part of this shouldn’t be neglected. Who cares if a Christmas tree is “pagan,” because no one uses it as such… We use it, and the festive lights, to celebrate the Light of the World. These things all become a part of our celebrating Christ’s Mass, and that’s what they mean to most of us. They are symbols of faith and of religious belief in Christ as Savior and Lord…

Pax!


#11

Not technically correct to say that “no one uses it as such”. I know a great many Neopagans in the US who do indeed use a tree as a part of their winter holiday celebrations with specific intent that it symbolizes elements of their religion. I am one such who has a Solstice tree, decorated with lights, nature symbols particularly solar ones, ornaments that have particular meaning to our family, etc. It is representative of the beliefs of my family.

More accurate to say that Christians do not use it as such, regardless of how anyone else uses it. Symbols only mean what those using them intend them to mean, they are not inherently one thing or the other.


#12

Talking about kwanzaa, I didn’t hear a thing about it at all. I told kwanzaa was dead or something.


#13

Dear Quansah,

I presume that you are Christian, if not a Catholic. But, it does not matter. As you have read throughout this thread, I believe you can make conclusion yourself. For me, Jesus is God, and will supersede whatever days any huma being celebrate. No body knows the exact date of the birth of Jesus. Thousands of scholars within and outside the Catholic Church, and by at least 2.000 years can not provide a convincing date of the birth of Jesus. Why do that somebody came from 1890’s could come to an exact date? The Catholic Church will not blame anybody to celebrate the birth of Jesus in other date other than Dec 25th. They are welcome to do so. The question is why that other date is better than Dec 25th? I think the answer does not mater on the exact date in a year. One that matter is, do we as Jesus’ followers accept the birth of Christ in our heart and our life? Or, are we going to be just like Herod the king tried to kill the Child of Jesus already present in our heart?


#14

Much of what surrounds Christmas is pagan in origin, yule logs, the date, Christmas trees, wreaths etc… This isn’t really even debatable unless you want to simply ignore Northen Europe’s pagan past and the festivals they celebrated that were very similar to all the hubub that sourrounds Christmas. To me that seems foolis to do, especially since it shouldn’t be a worry at all.

This wasn’t done to corrupt Christianity, Christianity is about the spirit and a celebration of Christ’s birth. Not gifts and trees and yule logs. The Christian missionaries basically adopted a lot of the superficial festival dates and customs of the local pagans in order to make evangelization easier, it proved a very useful tool.


#15

Not technically correct to say that “no one uses it as such”. I know a great many Neopagans in the US who do indeed use a tree as a part of their winter holiday celebrations with specific intent that it symbolizes elements of their religion. I am one such who has a Solstice tree, decorated with lights, nature symbols particularly solar ones, ornaments that have particular meaning to our family, etc. It is representative of the beliefs of my family.

More accurate to say that Christians do not use it as such, regardless of how anyone else uses it. Symbols only mean what those using them intend them to mean, they are not inherently one thing or the other.

I thought about this point when writing that, but I decided to leave it as is because I assumed people would understand the validity of the statement in general.


#16

Thanks folks for your generous contributions to my search on this topic. I have also found that the church chose the 25th Dec also because it is the date when the day becomes longer.The church also placed the birth of john the baptist on 24th June which is when we begin to have shorter days. This reflects the confession of John the baptist that I must decrese and he must increase.


#17

Actually we call Christmas “Jul” here, but I would never consider it pagan.
It’s all about Jesus.


#18

**
MERRY CHRISTMAS**
aLTTLE LATE and Happy New Year
and Happy Nativity


#19

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