by Alex Tabarrok
on December 25, 2016 at 7:15 am
in Current Affairs, Religion, Travel
Too little, too late. It’s almost 11:00 AM in Brazil.
Christ’s Flight into Egypt. Well done.
Yes if only all refugees could be responding to so coherent and direct a threat and then return home after awhile.
Evidently, no threat in Syria.
This guy still believes most of the refugees are from Syria. Talk about fake news.
There are more than enough Syrian refugees if Western powers wanted to make a, what’s the word, yeah, Christixn gesture. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_refugee_camps
You mean the EU governments that explicitly stripped all mentions of Christian Heritage out of the EU constitution. T
It is funny how some “Christians” lately seem to care more about power than about their neighbours. I don’t Christ waited Caesar’s assent to cure the ill or feed the 4,000.
Also instead of “DRAWING INSPIRATION from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law”, do you want a single reference to Christianity or you wanted a reference to all the churches that kept killing one another’s members and their reasons for this pious behavior until they were told to cut it out? You want a reference to
St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, too?
This is the U.S., Thomas. Almost no one knows anything about history., or even current events in places that are not the U.S., like Syria. Fake news says that nothing bad is happening in Syria, so that’s what people believe.
Also, religion is not always about belief or spirituality or following certain principles. Sometimes it is, but more often it is about tribal identity and tribal inclusion. Sometimes religion is not different at all from tribal politics.
It is sad if it is true, another reason to be proud to be Brazilian, where at least I know I’m free.
Well, at least this time, the posted picture is suitable.
Though the title ‘Peace and Good Will To All’ seems a bit odd, when the picture actually represents refugees fleeing a mass murderer – ‘The Massacre of the Innocents is the biblical account of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of the Jews. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi. In typical Matthean style, it is understood as the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy: “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.'” The number of infants killed is not stated. The Holy Innocents, although Jewish, have been claimed as martyrs for Christianity.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_the_Innocents
Happily it never happened. See Luke.
Still, Merry Christmas; peace and goodwill to all men.
Religious myths are believed to have happened by those who are members of the religion. So, for them, it’s just as if it did happen.
Peace on earth and good will to all humans are good by me, though.
So I’ll take that part, even though I don’t do dogma myself. For people who do try to do dogma, for most of them, their karma keeps running over their dogma. Since I don’t have dogma, I don’t have to deal with that problem.
“…I don’t do dogma…”
Not even economics?
On earth peace to people of good will! Merry Christmas!
glædelig jul, cousin
My cousins in Uggelose concur!
Peace on earth and good will towards all indeed!
TC and AT and fellow lurkers/commentariat, you’re all a lot of fun. Yes, even you!
Feliz Navidad … And rock on!
Merry Christmas, and an ambiguous raised fist, to all.
It must be the harbinger of the fascism to come, right anon? Looking forward to being enlightened some more in the coming year…
No, that’s the halfhearted black power gesture.
Whatever it is, it was not in the formerly Top Ten Christmas Card Poses.
It is, indeed, rather ambiguous. My thought is that he ran on a rather religious platform of strength through the Almighty Dollar. So he is continuing to portray that strength, but trying to be a bit less obnoxious about it and less threatening to people who do not deserve to be threatened– trying that, for the moment. No telling how this will all end up. It’s the First Church of Strength through the Almighty Dollar– the church led by Billionaires, Celebrity Reality TV Stars, and Alpha Male Imitators Who Could Not Actually Survive in the Wilderness for 24 Hours.
Merry Christmas, to Anon, and to all here.
Merry Christmas! Thanks for this blog.
+1. and to Sam the Sham’s as well.
Super glad for the blog and all you commenters.
Really? You must lurk, as I don’t recall your moniker. Then again if indeed tens of thousands (or at least several hundred) people read this blog, as Alexa.com claims, I suppose there’s a lot of lurkers.
How Did Christmas Come to Be Celebrated on December 25?
A. Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the weeklong celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.
B. The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival’s observance in his time. In addition to human sacrifice, he mentions these customs: widespread intoxication; going from house to house while singing naked; rape and other sexual license; and consuming human-shaped biscuits (still produced in some English and most German bakeries during the Christmas season).
C. In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.
D. The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.
E. Christians had little success, however, refining the practices of Saturnalia. As Stephen Nissenbaum, professor history at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst, writes, “In return for ensuring massive observance of the anniversary of the Savior’s birth by assigning it to this resonant date, the Church for its part tacitly agreed to allow the holiday to be celebrated more or less the way it had always been.” The earliest Christmas holidays were celebrated by drinking, sexual indulgence, singing naked in the streets (a precursor of modern caroling), etc.
F. The Reverend Increase Mather of Boston observed in 1687 that “the early Christians who first observed the Nativity on December 25 did not do so thinking that Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens’ Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian ones.” Because of its known pagan origin, Christmas was banned by the Puritans and its observance was illegal in Massachusetts between 1659 and 1681. However, Christmas was and still is celebrated by most Christians.
G. Some of the most depraved customs of the Saturnalia carnival were intentionally revived by the Catholic Church in 1466 when Pope Paul II, for the amusement of his Roman citizens, forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city. An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators. They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.”
H. As part of the Saturnalia carnival throughout the 18th and 19th centuries CE, rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were forced to wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles. When the Jewish community of Rome sent a petition in1836 to Pope Gregory XVI begging him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish community, he responded, “It is not opportune to make any innovation.” On December 25, 1881, Christian leaders whipped the Polish masses into Antisemitic frenzies that led to riots across the country. In Warsaw 12 Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed, and many Jewish women were raped. Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed.
Why is this view so common in-spite of the fact there is zero evidence for this whatsoever….
1.) Saturnalia was originally celebrated on December 17 (circa 220 BC). Eventually the feast was extended to last an entire week, ending on December 23 but never had anything to do with the 25th.
2.) The selection of the 25th as a replacement for the pagan feast isnt mentioned at all in any writing of any early christian author. There is mention of the proximity of the solstice and Jesus’ birth (see for example Ambrose in the 4th centure) where he described Christ as the true sun, who outshone the fallen gods of the old order. Note however, there is is not even a hint of any calendrical engineering… in fact the early christians didnt indicate at all that the date was chosen by the church. Rather they see the coincidence as a providential sign, as natural proof that jesus had a special role.
3.) It’s not until the 12th century that there is any documented suggestion that Jesus’ birth celebration was deliberately set at the time of pagan feasts. See the note in the margins of the writings of the Syriac biblical commentator Dionysius bar-Salibi, which states that in ancient times the Christmas holiday was actually shifted from January 6 to December 25 so that it fell on the same date as the pagan Sol Invictus holiday (which wasnt even established until Aurelian did so in A.D. 274).
4.) If the christians were dating christmas day so as to replace the pagan holiday, the selection of jan 6th by the eastern church makes no sense… why the rival date of jan 6th?
5.) In approx. 200 AD there is evidence that Tertullian of Carthage believed that the calculation that the conception of jesus being on the 14th of Nisan was that it was the same day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John. Thus, there is evidence that Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year and that Dec 25th as assinged to be the birthday because it is exactly nine months later.
This idea also appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes, which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. The treatise states: “Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March (March 25), which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on and on that day he suffered.
Augustine also held this view. In On the Trinity (c. 399–419) he writes: “For he is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.”
Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus’ birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6). Never was anything about a pagan holiday even mentioned.
6.) There is biblical and historical evidence consistent with the Dec 25th date.
For example, from Luke’s account we see that Elizabeth was “in her sixth month” of pregnancy when the angel Gabriel came to Mary. From this account we also read that the timing of John’s conception is tied to the annunciation to Zechariah while he was serving at the temple (he was a temple priest of the course of Abijah, see Luke 1). So if there was a historical way to date when Zechariah was in the temple, we can use that and the gospel narrative to identify jesus birth date.
We know from Josephus that the first course, the course of Jehoiarib, was on duty when Jerusalem was besieged during the first week of April, AD 70 (Nisan 1-8). If the courses served in the same weeks of every year (there is no evidence arguing this was not the case), this would have the Abijah division being on duty during the thirty-fourth week of the year or end of Sept beginning of Oct.
Thus, John would have been conceived in late September or early October. 9 months later would be end of June (note this is consistent with the feast of the birth of John the Baptist was has traditionally been celebrated on June 24th. Given that Luke’s account also states that Elizabeth was in her 6th month at the time of Jesus’s conception, we can count three months back from june 24th and arrive very close to the traditional date of the feast of the annunciation (March 25). 9 months after that is christmas.
All in all, the evidence is much more on the side that the Dec 25th date has nothing whatsoever to do with paganism.
Merry Christmas to all…
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