Posts Tagged ‘sol invictus’

Deeper Waters Podcast 12/21/2013

December 19, 2013

What’s coming up this Saturday on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

This will be the last show before Christmas comes, a time that I hope we’re all looking forward to. For my part, I look forward more to the time of getting to give the gifts more than getting. I have several gifts that are being given to me and my wife says “Do you wonder about what you got?” “No.” It seems shocking, but I can get curious at times, but really, there isn’t much I want for Christmas so most anything I get is a blessing. Maybe it’s an age milestone.

But yet, this is a joyous time of year still and my wife and I enjoy decorating the house (And yes, I did insist on hanging up mistletoe. Maybe I should keep that up perpetually…) and driving down the road looking for Christmas music on the radio. (And local radio stations, why is it a week before Christmas I have a hard time finding Christmas music?)

A lot of us also have Christmas traditions, but where did they come from? We tell our children about Santa Claus normally, but where did the idea of Santa Claus even come from? We have Christmas trees, but where did the tradition of Christmas trees start? Do some of these instead have roots in paganism? For this kind of question, you need someone with the scholarly authority to speak on the issue.

That’s why Anthony McRoy is my guest. Dr. McRoy is a visiting lecturer at the Wales University dealing with topics on Islam, but he has also dealt with questions about the nature of Christmas and other holidays. For those who don’t know, he was a guest on a special episode of Unbelievable? devoted to answering questions about Christmas. The link to that can be found here.

That’s why I plan to put to him the same kinds of questions that I am regularly asked about Christmas. There are several people out there who worry that the celebration of Christmas is in fact a celebration that Christians should not participate in and that the whole of it came from pagan traditions or at least a sizable part thereof. Are they right?

Some of you don’t have that concern and I think you are right in not having it, but still, like me, you like to know things and you want to know the history behind the traditions. Where did the big man in the red suit come from? Does this have any historical root in it at all? Why is it that we celebrate this on December 25th? Is there any evil in having a Christmas tree in one’s house?

I hope you’ll be listening in on the show as we discuss these questions and call in, especially for parents who might be wondering about questions involving Santa Claus, and I do plan on asking how parents should approach this subject. The show time is 3-5 PM EST. The call in number is 714-242-5180. The link to listen to it live and when it is archived, which is shortly after the show ends, can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: Christmas is Pagan and Other Myths

December 9, 2013

Are we honoring paganism when we celebrate Christmas? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Recently, my ministry partner, J.P. Holding of Tektonics, released a Kindle Ebook called “Christmas is Pagan and Other Myths.” One of the benefits of being the ministry partner is getting to get copies of a book like this so I can personally review them.

Holding does say up front he’s not much of a holiday person. I, on the other hand, happen to love the Christmas season, but I’m also a guy heavily into traditions. Still, my desires have changed over the years. Normally as children we look forward to all we’re getting. Now, I look forward to all that I’m giving. Frankly, I have no real idea of what I’m getting this year. My wife and I went to the mall and looked at several items and took pictures and of course, I have an Amazon wish list, but other than that, no idea. I’m fine with that.

What I’m not fine with is that there are several who wish to hold over the heads of others that Christmas is something pagan. Now I have a great resource that they can all use. That’s the book by Holding on this topic.

A benefit of this book for several of you is that it’s a short read. You might think that this is right before Christmas and you don’t have time to read something like this. You do. I started it one night and had it easily finished the next day and that was even with just reading a little bit here and there.

Holding easily dispenses with much of the hype and hysteria on this issue and one that needs to be addressed considering how many horrible sources I see being cited by the opponents of Christmas. (Alexander Hislop anyone?)

This includes dealing with passages like Jeremiah 10 supposedly being about Christmas trees, Santa being pagan, and when Jesus was born. (Would shepherds really not be in the fields if Jesus was born on December 25th? The answer might surprise you.) He also deals with supposed NT contradictions on the nativity. Now this last section is not exhaustive, but it does deal with important material.

There are a number of reasons why I think this is important for the church today.

First, if the church throws around ideas that are foolish based on a cursory examination even, we show ourselves to be making claims that indicate we have not done the historical homework that we’re supposed to. I’m not talking about something that’s just somewhat controversial as there are no doubt disagreements in history. I’m talking about something that has no historical basis whatsoever.

This includes our use of sources. If we consistently use sources that are not reliable, we show that we have no criteria whatsoever for choosing a source except to say that the source is one that agrees with us. (Personally, I enjoy going through books by non-Christian scholars about the historical Jesus and highlighting points of agreement. Nothing like enemy attestation!)

Second, when we do this, we leave ourselves wide open for the pagan copycat hypothesis. “So you think Christmas is stolen from pagans? It gets worse! The whole system is stolen from pagans? Haven’t you ever heard of Mithras?!” (Holding rightly points to his own work “Shattering the Christ Myth” here where these views get demolished.

Third, we keep having a fear of paganism over and over. Excuse me, but isn’t the church supposed to be spreading the Kingdom of God? Why are we afraid of the enemy? I have been told, as an example, that wedding rings are pagan. If I found out this was true, you know what I’d do? Absolutely nothing. Why? Because I don’t wear a ring to honor a pagan deity. I wear it to honor my wife and show my covenant with her to the world. The God who set about to redeem the world and redeem fallen sinners can just as much redeem pagan customs and such that we still use today. (Anyone stopped saying Wednesday because the days of the week come from paganism?)

Finally, enough Christians struggle with guilt trips from self-righteous types. Why take one of the most joyous times of the year and use it as an excuse to bring about another guilt trip? If someone does not want to celebrate Christmas, fine, but they need to give a good reason why I shouldn’t as well, and so far they haven’t.

I highly recommend this book then in preparation for the Christmas season in dealing with the “Christmas is pagan!” crowd.

In Christ,
Nick Peters