Pagan poetry and the

spirit of Christmas

 

Maybe people, both believing Christians and not, make the claim that Christian traditions like Christmas and Easter are actually pagan in origin. In terms of historic proof there's none, still behind the accusation there's rhetoric, denunciations and raw anger against the holidays. Some people even present coins in an attempt to show that Constantine (an icon of conspiracy theorists everywhere) died as a pagan sun worshipper. About these two claims I'm going to provide a particularly effective answer for the Christian side of the debate.

 

The voices against Christmas and Easter tend to insist that if you celebrate Christmas, you're somehow a pagan doing pagan things, you have forfeited your right to be called a Christian. Still, that's not a biblical argument against the holidays, it's just an assertion, an assertion with no prophets backing behind it. On the other hand, we have Bible evidence that goes directly against their claims. Paul drew from Menander, Euripides, Epimenides and a Cilician poet named Aratus. The famous Bible quote saying in God "we live and move and have our being" was originally written for the idol Zeus. So if the apostle Paul can make use of poetry written to Zeus, then Christians can reinvent "pagan" holidays for the celebration of Jesus. Would the anti holiday crowd say Paul wasn't a true Christian for using pagan poetry, probably.

 

So far as I’ve read, the entire "it's all paganism" slur against Christmas and Easter is just baseless. There's no evidence that the holiday seasons are pagan, but if there were, we could easily look to the apostle Paul for an example of using the handiwork of pagans to help glorify the one true God. In my opinion lots of people want to be edgy and counter cultural, so they trash anything just to feel superior, Christmas and Easter are easy targets.

 

Onto the subject of ancient coins, coins which are displayed as proof of Constantine's religion. These coins (if authentic) don’t prove the religious convictions of a person throughout their life and upon their deathbed. I’ll give two examples of why that's true. In the ancient world Muslims invaded and occupied Christian countries, after which the occupiers had to use and even to mint Christian coins. This doesn’t mean the Muslims believed in our Lord and King Jesus Christ. One more example.

 

Here in the UK we just minted a fifty pence Brexit coin, but we couldn’t use that coin 2000 years from now to try and prove what Boris Johnson's political views were upon his deathbed. Coins just don’t provide that sort of insight. My take away from these kinds of conversation is that the pro holiday side write their own arguments, showing grace to the people who want to abstain from the Christmas celebration. They share material responsibly and have reasoned through their findings.

 

While the anti holiday group post what look like encyclopaedias of unsolicited, unfounded accusation against the holiday period. These views are usually copy and paste, which require zero critical thinking. They're not gracious but rather would like to slander believers as pagan, idolaters and under the wrath of God. They uncritically post anything so long as it’s against the holidays, regardless of the harm it may cause to an unseasoned believer in Jesus Christ, smashing the faith of some beyond repair. These same kind of arguments are used to argue Jesus was copied from pagan religions, so it's a slippery slope at the end of the day. Matthew 18 comes to mind, on the subject of harming people's faith.

 

The pictures and similarities I've been shown between famous holiday characters and ancient gods or goddesses are so far fetched, fanciful and absurd that the anti holiday group seem to expect every bearded man to see a picture of Santa Claus, pause for a moment, and ask himself "am I part of the Christmas conspiracy?" Their approach appeals to distrust, ignorance, arrogance to be above the community and hatred of their fellow man. It's a glorified conspiracy theory that appeals to everything bad in us.

 

― Tyrone Cormack