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Pagan Influence In Christainity

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by MMurphy, Aug 10, 2014.

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  1. I was reading some literature by Jehovah's Witnesses. Anyone who knows them knows they're very anti-happiness, refusing to celebrate Christmas, Birthdays, Easter, and most other Christian holidays. They also reject much of early Christian history as being apostate, the cross and the Trinity for apparently having pagan influence.

    I've met even some moderate Christians who also follow the same line of thinking up to a certain point, usually rejecting Christmas trees, Easter bunnies, Halloween, and what not, for their pagan roots.

    IMO these things are all acceptable because God has the power to transform things (even evil things) to support His Will. Afterall, that's what He has done with every Christian ever. One only need to look at St. Paul to know that an evil beginning does not bar someone, or something, from serving God.
  2. I certainly agree with you. Their logic on the matter doesn't make much sense to me. And I have discussed the matter with several of them - the answers I got were so strikingly identical to one another that I have to assume they come directly from the Watchtower itself. It wasn't hard to look up on Google either, the analogy goes like this: "You are walking and see a piece of candy laying in gutter. The candy is sweet and tastes good, but you just don't know its origins, whats touched it, or why it was thrown there." The idea being, I guess, that unknown origins = bad. Or something.

    They don't celebrate ANY birthdays, not even their own, and again the logic is hard to follow. Apparently there were a couple of instances in the Bible where bad stuff happened on a birthday - one of them was Salome asking for the head of John the Baptist, but I forget the other one. Anyway, I said to them, "Yes, but that's just a matter of something bad happening ON a birthday, not BECAUSE of the birthday." They say no, and say that the message is very strongly implied that birthdays are bad. Very strongly implied?

    They will tell another Christian with a straight face that they are not actually celebrating Christmas as they think they are, but Saturnalia, a pagan holiday from the same time of year. To which I usually respond, that's interesting, all these years I thought I was celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, I've never even HEARD of Saturnalia. Can you unknowingly celebrate a pagan holiday?

    Of course you can't, but this is how they see things and argue them.
  3. I guess the only Holiday that would be in question is Halloween. The entire holiday is filled with pagan beliefs. How do you guys feel about this one?
    Major, God is Love, Where is the Messiah and 1 other person say Amen and like this.
  4. Halloween - it is what you make of it. When I was a kid it was a time to dress up in a costume (and it didn't have to be a scary one - when I was 5 I went dressed as a clown). We went around the neighbourhood and collected candy. I had no issue with it and neither did my Christian parents.
  5. I don't celebrate Halloween. To me it is the devils' holiday.
    I did when I was a kid but not since I was saved in 19992
    TezriLi, Ravindran, God is Love and 2 others say Amen and like this.
  6. I agree with you. My wife doesn't see it like I do so she takes my son. This year I am going with but as a monk and I'm going to witness to people and hand out bibles :)
    God is Love and Where is the Messiah say Amen and like this.
  7. #7 aha, Aug 10, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
    Interesting to read the politics (influence/methods) involved in the history of Halloween (Wikipedia)

    As I read it: it is the other way around: it is more of Christians move to influence/change Pagan holidays : )

    People are afraid of changes…or slow to leave customs/ traditions behind... imo...

    I can just imagine the difficulty of missionaries of discouraging people to practice pagan customs and traditions...
  8. Halloween comes from the pre-holiday hallows eve. Hallow of course means holy, as in 'hallowed be thy name'. I think it was a holiday to honor the dead which gave it the creepy allure.

    Puritanical Christians tended to avoid any associated with death, but the days was celebrated in Catholic communities. In Mexico they have the day of the dead which is similar.

    My family refrained from decorating on Halloween, but whatever the case I think it comes down to intentions.

    And Peace, those analogies absolutely come from the watchtower. I read the exact same one about the lollipop in the pamphlet. The watchtower is like JW papacy and even more authoritarian. Your not suppose to read anti-jw literature and I've heard the same thing about the LDS.
  9. Oh ... Lord ... don't take Halloween. Take my Miley Cyrus tickets .... Take my picture of Justin Bieber …. Take my dangly earrings, but, have mercy Lord; don’t take Halloween. I will like follow you Lord totally, if you let me keep Halloween.

    I go to school with students representing at least the eight major religions, and I think that they all have different goals, but they all share similar structure. A poster on another thread defined Christianity as having Good Faith, works, intentions, heart, Doctrine, worship and Fellowship. If I understand properly, all modern religions have those seven things.

    In my family we make jokes about how my birth mother must have been a pagan. I have even read a book, The Autobiographies of Three Pagans by Roy Franklin Barton, which is about Ifugao culture, and if I understand Ifugao culture, then Works, Intention, Heart, and Worship may be missing from Ifugao culture.

    That leaves three areas that Ifugao people share with Christians. They have Faith, not in Jesus, but in their own cosmology and gods. They have Doctrine, again not in Jesus, but they know what their gods do. They have Fellowship, not for faith, but because they are biologically related. For example, if a neighboring tribe kills a cousin and takes his head, then they must take a head from the other tribe.

    Of the four other areas, the Ifugaos have Works for their own benefit. They are the perfect capitalist society. Their Intentions are also for their own benefit. I doubt that they ever do anything for a god’s benefit. They interact with spirits when they need something. For example, if they want to know if a girl is pregnant by which boy. They lack Heart in that they may grieve for relatives, but not for suffering in general. I’m not aware that they Worship, except when they want a spirit’s help.

    I know all this sounds horrific from a Christian point of view. However, it makes perfect sense to Ifugaos. Barton’s book was published seventy years ago, so things might have changed.
    PeaceLikeaRiver likes this.
  10. It is about the dead, but pagans believe the dead come back. Custom would actually set an extra dinner plate for a dead relative. Trick or treat is not knowing if the person at the door was real or not. So it is full of pagan customs.
  11. Let's run this down here.

    Halloween has NO place in Christianity as it celebrates the heretical ideal that the boundaries of the worlds of the living and dead become thin so the dead can interact with the living again.

    NOT scripturally correct. It is a false teaching.

    The secular version of the holiday is a worshipping of Mammon. Again BAD.

    Christmas has no place in Christianity as this is NOT the day that Jesus was actually born, so it is a false teaching. It is again a celebration of Mammon. And finally the date was chosen simply to bring heretics into the fold by placating their desire to have a holy day on that date. That is NOT how we gain converts by placation and bating.

    Easter has no place in Christianity for the same seasons as Christmas. Jesus was slain on PASSOVER, which the Catholic church made sure of not celebrating on the same day as passover so they would not share anything with the Jews, it is anti-semite. The secular version is also a play to Mammon.

    There is NO justification for us to yoke the holy with the unholy. To do so is to be blind. And we will fall into THE DITCH.
  12. Yes, well your post sounds a little bit universalist, but let me explain what I meant by those seven things. Take for instance good faith, from my perspective it means a genuine faith in Christ our Lord, that He saved us from sin. Now, one can have good faith in Allah, or Brahman, or what have you, but it would be off the mark. This is where doctrine comes in. Essentially religions have looked at the Gospel and come to one of two conclusions, that Christ is Lord, which is good doctrine, or that Christ is not Lord which is bad doctrine.

    Whether or not people who have bad doctrine but manage to meet the other six have salvation is not my place or your's to judge, and we can certainly entrust them to the mercy and justice of the Lord, but a tender heart for those who live in ignorance is not a good reason to compromise our spiritual truths. That is one thing I've learned as I've grown as a Christian.
    Ghid likes this.
  13. Oh how easy it would have been for God to say YOU have no place in Christianity because YOU once served sin.

    Do you doubt the redeeming power of God?

    Also, for the record, JW also hold that the cross itself is a pagan symbol as is the Trinity.
  14. But IS it a celebration of Mammon if you've never heard of Mammon? See what I'm getting at? Everyone I know celebrates it as the birth of Christ, even though Christ wasn't born on that date - is the date so important? But celebrating the birth of the savior is the reason people do it.
  15. Another point, even though there's a theory that some of the Christian holidays were invented to convert pagans to Christianity, I think it's entirely possible to have Christmas completely free of the pagan traditions if one chooses to do so. You can still have Christmas without mistletoe, a tree, etc.
  16. You are right about pagan holidays were changed over to christian to entice pagans to Christianity. I also agree holidays can be entirely Christian even though they were Pagan in origin. I don't believe this to be true with Halloween
  17. I suspect everything that can be said about most Christian holidays and paganism has already been said -- the origins of Easter, Christmas celebrations, wedding ceremonies, etc. etc.

    However, I'm seeing concern for Halloween, which I think is understandable since it is overwhelmingly associated with devils and ghosts and so forth. Though there are misconceptions about Halloween -- for instance, that it began as a pagan holiday. The interesting thing about it is that it began as a Christian holiday. All Hallow's Eve is not the first name for it. Before that, it was better known as All Saints Day ("Hallow," as a noun, is an Olde English word for saint. As a verb, it means to make something holy or to honor it as holy).

    So this one is a strange one is you compare it to a holiday like Easter. Easter, which originated as a pagan holiday going by the same name (though spelled Oester I believe) became anew in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. It went from pagan to Christian. With Halloween, it was known overwhelmingly as a Christian holiday which was then re-adapted by paganism (I think within Celtic groups) and is now known for that...though Catholic and Orthodoxy still recognize Halloween in the Christian sense in honoring those devoted their lives to Christ.

    It's both interesting and strange.
  18. I've thought it strange that Christmas does not also mark the new year, since the new year is marked apparently by the birth of our Lord.
  19. In the church I am involved with, advent marks the start of the year, and it's nice because it happens in early December and leads up to Christmas.
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