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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas: The REAL Reason for the Season

Once again it's time to raise this great debate, as we hear from our pious Christian leaders that "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." Interestingly, over the past year and a half since the release of "ZEITGEIST," in objecting to the comparison of the sun gods with Jesus based on the winter-solstice birthday of December 25th, Christian fundamentalist critics have been very vocal that Jesus is NOT the reason for the season, proving our point in the first place.

Most of us in Christian lands who were raised Christian, as I was, were never told about the winter solstice, which begins at midnight on December 21st, i.e., the morning of the 22nd, and ends at midnight on December 24th or "Christmas Eve," which is essentially the same thing as the morning of December 25th. Without getting too complicated or technical, for three days during that period in the northern hemisphere the sun appears to "stand still" on a sundial, as its shadow moves neither north nor south. Hence, the word "solstice" means sun stands still. On the 25th of December, the sun appears to be moving north again, representing the birth of the sun!

Since very ancient times in many cultures around the globe, the sun's birth at the winter solstice has been celebrated with great festivities. This celebration of the sun's return after the darkest days of the year occurred especially in the regions farther away from the equator, such as Northern Europe, where Yuletide festivals are understandably quite pronounced.

"Christmas" as the birth of Jesus Christ was not officially adopted until the edict of Julius I in the fifth century, usurping this Pagan holiday so effectively that even in this day and age millions of people are unaware of the facts of the winter solstice and its celebration dating back thousands of years.

Moreover, despite the fracas from the fundamentalists over the comparison of Jesus with other sun gods based on the winter-solstice birth, sincere Christians such as Rev. Dr. Billy Graham remain completely oblivious to this debate.

For more information on this subject, check out my article:

The Christmas Hoax: Jesus is NOT the "Reason for the Season"

Be sure to watch my videos there too!

15 comments:

Steve Trueblue said...

The origin of religion is not human gullibilty but GNOSIS.

To the calmly curious- For physical evidence of a second intelligence within yourself-Vivid Dreams onset, plus repeatable handtingles- search YouTube on LAY GNOSIS 1 BEGIN HERE site truebluehealerDOTcom-Regardless of beliefs-Even atheist testimonials, including doctors from 4 countries. 10-12 mins gets you started. A growing list of triggered 12 month gnostic veterans contactable. And its FREE

Mark said...

Its about time that the truth be told. It made me sick to hear pastors go on and on in the pulpit about Jesus birthday and then when I mention it to them, they say, "Ah, ya we know it isn't really in December, but...!" My god! How can they intentionally teach that crap KNOWING that it is crap?!

I am so thankful for web sites like this one where people really WANT to know "The Way, the Truth, and the Life".

john76 said...

The relationship of the December 25th date to non-Christian sources is not as straightforward as it may seem.

Whether the 'Sol Invictus' festival has a "claim on the responsibility" for the date of Christmas (Catholic Encyclopedia (1908)) has been called into question by Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who challenged this theory by arguing that a December 25th date was determined simply by calculating nine months beyond March 25th, regarded as the day of Jesus’ conception (the Feast of the Annunciation).The March 25th date coincides with concepts of "new life" and "rebirth" and have been associated by Christianity with Jesus. Other recent Christian commentators also agree that the identification of Christ's birthday pre-dates the Sol Invictus festival, noting the earliest record of the celebration of Christ's birthday on December 25 dates to 243 A.D. December 25 is 4 days after the winter solstice (from latin solsticum , "the sun stays still"), and in this period the days start becoming longer and the nights start becoming shorter . So , December 25 could have been chosen as the day of the rebirth of the sun . Some Christians accept the idea that Sol Invictus may be behind the date of Christmas, with the idea that the early church "baptized" the holiday by imbuing it with a new, Christian meaning. In the 5th c., Pope Leo I (the Great) spoke of this in several sermons on the Feast of the Nativity. Here is an excerpt from his 26th sermon:

"But this Nativity which is to be adored in heaven and on earth is suggested to us by no day more than this when, with the early light still shedding its rays on nature, there is borne in upon our senses the brightness of this wondrous mystery."

But this sermon was not in any way related to Sol Invictus directly.

In his 22nd sermon, he directly addressed those who attributed the Nativity to Sol Invictus:

"Having therefore so confident a hope, dearly beloved, abide firm in the Faith in which you are built: lest that same tempter whose tyranny over you, Christ has already destroyed, win you back again with any of his wiles, and mar even the joys of the present festival by his deceitful art, misleading simpler souls with the pestilential notion of some to whom this our solemn feast day seems to derive its honour, not so much from the nativity of Christ as, according to them, from the rising of the new sun . Such men's hearts are wrapped in total darkness, and have no growing perception of the true Light: for they are still drawn away by the foolish errors of heathendom, and because they cannot lift the eyes of their mind above that which their carnal sight beholds, they pay divine honour to the luminaries that minister to the world."

In this sermon, Pope Leo I clearly establishes that the two feasts were held on the same day, but that they are also not related.

Solar symbolism was popular with early Christian writers. This is also apparent in the prayers and hymns of the Church, such as the Eastern Orthodox Troparion of the Nativity:

"Thy birth, O Christ our God,
rose upon the world as the light of knowledge;
for through it those who worshipped the stars
were taught by a star to adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know Thee, the Sunrise from on high.
O Lord, glory to Thee."

According to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, article on Constantine the Great:

"Besides, the Sol Invictus had been adopted by the Christians in a Christian sense, as demonstrated in the Christ as Apollo-Helios in a mausoleum (c. 250) discovered beneath St. Peter's in the Vatican."
Indeed "...from the beginning of the 3rd century "Sun of Justice" appears as a title of Christ". Some consider this to be in opposition to Sol Invictus. Some see an allusion to Malachi 4:2.

The date for Christmas may also bear a relation to the sun worship. According to the scholiast on the Syriac bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi, writing in the twelfth century:

"It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day." (cited in "Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries", Ramsay MacMullen. Yale:1997, p155) However, this statement directly conflicts with what we know of the early Christians, namely, that they were ridiculed, tortured and cast apart from operative society precisely because they would not participate in the pagan feasts and celebrations. The early Christians set themselves directly in opposition to the paganism which ruled the day. "Since Christians worshipped an invisible God, pagans often declared them to be atheists." (cited in "The Story of Christianity, volume 1, The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation", HarperCollins Publishers, 1984, p36)
This pagan feast is first documented only in the Chronography of 354, which also contains the earliest certain reference to 25 December as the feast of the birth of Christ.

john1976 said...

The best guess remains, I think the attemnpt to co-opt Brumalia, the last day of the Saturnalia, Mithras's birthday, the solstice according to the ancient calendar. The unspeakable Pope Ratfinker is just blowing apologetics out of his much kissed ass. Does Ratfinker think we have any actual knowledge of the date of the annunciation? Absurd.

The Leo quote protests too much. Since they had no idea when Jesus would have been born, and as of Nicea they had cause to celebrate it, they chose Brumalia, already an occasion for the celebration of renewal and divine (re)birth. This allowed Christians, still half-guiltily celebrating Brumalia, a legitimate reason to celebrate under a new excuse.

And the notion that Christians wouod die rather than accomodate to paganism is irrelevant. No one doubts that they assimilated much from paganism, then turned right around and denied it, preposterously claiming (like the Soviets) to have invented it first. Protestants readily recognize such Christo-pagan borrowing in the case of Mariology.

antichrist said...

I think given Robert M. Price's recent publication of the article "New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash" which, in part, links the Jesus narrative to Euripides' Bacchae, I think we can put forth the possibility that the Jesus story was an intentionally perpetrated fraud. In the Bacchae, we read that "For even if this man is not a god, as you say, still say that he is - be guilty of a splendid fraud, declaring him the son of Semele, so that she may be thought the mother of a god, and we and all our race will gain honour" - Cadmus, speaking of Dionysus, in Euripides' Bacchae.

This would fit in with the notion of responsible lying in the Bible, such as in the case of the book of Joshua: Joshua 2:4-6
"And the woman [Rahab] took the two men and hid them and said thus: There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were; and it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark that the men went out; whither the men went I wot not; pursue after them quickly, for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house and hid them with the stalks of flax.(Joshua, incidentally, is the Hebrew name of Jesus)"

This is recalled in the New Testament in James as an exemplary case: James 2:25
"Was not Rahab, the harlot, justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?."

It may all have been a deliberate fraud. The idea of the noble lie is also present in Plato's republic:

In the fictional account of Plato's republic, he talks of a stratified society, where it is proposed that God has composed the different kinds of people from different types of metal.

Rulers have gold, auxiliaries have silver, farmers have bronze. Most children of rulers have gold, but some will have silver or bronze and would be demoted to lower classes, whereas some farmers or auxiliaries would be born with gold and promoted.

Plato claimed that even though this would be false, if the people believed it, then an orderly society would result. This is his noble lie

Plato preferred this to the concept of democracy which he called mob rule.

The Republic also seemed to say that different lies should apply to the governors; for example:

The noble lie will inform them that they are better than those they serve and it is, therefore, their responsibility to guard and protect those lesser than themselves. We will instill in them a distaste for power or privilege, they will rule because they believe it right, not because they desire it. . . cf. Book 2, Sections 414-7

Joyce said...

It's excellent that the truth be told, but are Christians going to accept it? So sad, like lemmings going over the cliff. Easter is another stolen pagan celebration as well.

thefinaltruth said...

Pope Ratzinger knows about as much about Christian origins as a first year seminary student. He wouldn't dare debate someone like Robert M. Price on the issue because he would end up looking as ignorant as Greg Boyd does when he debates Price (and Boyd knows a great deal more than Ratzinger does). The Pope is the equivalent of the English Queen - merely a figurehead with no real ability who exists only as an effect of nostalgia. Religious belief is a kind of psychosis that the mind finds itself under due to a production of the imagination necessitated by a need the mind has which it can't find evidence for in the natural world and so creates for itself. This doesn't, of course, make it wrong. Jesus may have walked the earth as the son of God. There is just no reason to think so.

Goose said...

I just see Christmas as a fun, end-of-year holiday that was ripped by the Romans, who, in turn, ripped it from earlier cultures. I take no offense to the manger scene -- it is all astrological symbolism. In other words, Baby Jesus is just another piece of lore, like Santa Claus. I am embarrassed for those individuals who take this winter festival literally.

I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home, but even as a child I didn't buy into the Christmas story. The whole thing about three wise men following a star to some young couple in a barn, and then bringing them expensive gifts ... I mean, sorry, the whole thing is just nuts.

Every Christmas my dad made us read the story in Luke, and sometimes I had to read it. Really, it was hard to read the text without cracking up. Yeah, I guess I was a little turd.

Lautrec said...

Acharya,

Your work has proven to be quite a Christmas or Winter Solstice Present for me. I stumbled across your work yesterday and I have been reading almost non-stop now for almost 36 hours. I cannot believe that you and your work are not better known.

You somehow have made me feel more connected to the world and to people around me. I wouldn't have thought that would happen when someone really tested me on my whether or not I believed that Jesus actually existed.

If I can now see Jesus as a much more universal archetype representing man's quest for love, truth and safety then I am much more at peace with my place in the universe. All is well in my world.

My world is now much larger and much older and much richer than it was just 36 hours ago.

Bless You!

Anonymous said...

Lautrec, that was a very thoughtful comment that many who've studied Acharya's work can relate to. Just wait until you get ahold of her books - the online articles & excerpts are just the tip of the iceberg. The books are where all the details are.

I'm looking forward to the new book "Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection."

The solar myth and astrotheology in general are far more interesting and meaningful to me than any religion. It's sad that it is largely suppressed - you can't even learn much about it in college comparative religion courses in any worthwhile sense. Earl Doherty comes to mind:

"We sorely need a new History of Religions School for the 21st century, to apply modern techniques to this important ancient material. Perhaps this book will help bring that about."

- Earl Doherty, in a review of Acharya's "Christ Conspiracy"

Thanks to Acharya's work specifically, I can appreciate all the religious texts for their similarities as well as differences because I can recognize the astrotheological connections in all of its variety. At the end of the day, Acharya's work is very positive and the world needs to be made aware of her works - it's the real "good news."

Lautrec said...

Anonymous and Acharya,

I plan on getting the books after Christmas because they are just for me and I have others to buy gifts for right now. It is unfortunately too late to add these to my Christmas list.

I just have one question and I know it might prove to be an explosive one:

But what about the Anti-Christ?

Or do you see the Anti-Christ as a built-in failsafe mechanism in the "intelligent design of the religion"? It works in this way: With this free simple tool, your religion is now unasailable and everlasting because no one will dare question this high authority because to do so would be to question the authority of God himself and/or to go against Jesus.

Amos Keppler said...

Religion is opium for the people.

It still amazes me how little most people know about alternative explanations in general.

Anonymous said...

Quick correction... from a physics grad.
In the interview with Infidel guy, Acharya mentions that the spring & fall equinoxes also exhibit the 3-day span of no change in the sun's movement, and this is incorrect.
The change in the duration of daylight hours over the course of the year follows a sinusoidal curve, with the crest & trough of each wave of the curve being the points where the least change occurs in the daylight's duration from one day to the next (ie flattest part of the curve). These are the solstice points.
At the equinoxes, the sun is directly over the equator, & the duration of daylight is changing most rapidly.
To visualize, imagine the sun as a pendulum moving back & forth between the tropics with the equator in the middle. The pendulum is moving fastest as it passes the equator, and seems to pause at the extreme points when it reverses direction.
Following is a quick link to an image of the daylight hours graph...
http://www.fao.org/docrep/X0490E/x0490e68.gif
Hope this helps clarify the reason for the perceived 'pause' in the sun's movement at both solstices.

Acharya S said...

In the interview with Infidel guy, Acharya mentions that the spring & fall equinoxes also exhibit the 3-day span of no change in the sun's movement, and this is incorrect.

Thank you for the edification. I believe I usually say that the ancients perceived the sun to stand still at the solstices, not that it actually did. This fact is evident from the term they used to describe the event: "solstice," meaning "sun stands still."

As concerns the equinoxes, for some reason the ancients likewise evidently perceived this time of the year to represent a triduum, or three-day period.

Aristeo Canlas Fernando said...

When was Jesus really born?

Not December 25 but according to the Holy Spirit who we (plural) talk to, it was May 23. I first heard this date from old listeners in 1983, but only checked its veracity from 2004 to 2006. In my study during the period, I found the date to be true and correct. Did you know the year? It was 33 BC. When Jesus died, He was 32 solar years old which is equivalent to 33 lunar years. The results are at http://aristean.org/birthmay23.htm.

Did you know that had I found the dates that He revealed were amiss, I would have renounced my belief in Him? The other date that He revealed is the crucifixion and death of Jesus on August 17 which I found to be true and correct in my study from 1999 to 2003. The year was 1 BC. The results are at http://aristean.org/crucifyidx.htm.
Please scrutinize the results. If you have any questions, please raise them in this forum so that we may discuss them.