It's time to restore our traditional mid-winter festival to its former glory
Debate Rounds (2)
The fact is, the Christians of Northern Europe didn't adopt the 25th December to mark Jesus Christ's birthday until around three or four hundred years after he died (supposing he even existed at all) and this is generally accepted to have been the way they wrecked Yuletide which was, until then, widely celebrated. (1)
These early Christians coerced the population of Northern Europe into observing Christmas and, as a result of their bullying, the real meaning of Yuletide was largely forgotten and all we have to remember our original festival are Yuletide logs, holly, ivy and mistletoe – and the fact that the festive season lasts for twelve days rather than just one.
Of course, going forward, we should still keep the seasonal greetings cards; the gifts; the roast turkey with all the trimmings; the champagne, port and brandy and the decorated trees – they have no connection with Christianity at all - and I see no reason we should go and give Santa Claus the boot just because this kindly old Anatolian happened to be a Christian. (2)
No, we should still be able to enjoy ourselves at Yuletide – in fact, even more so without pious Christians pestering us to go to church on Christmas Eve. That's right, it's now time we told North European, American and Australasian Christians to go and celebrate Christmas with the orthodox Christians on 7th January - and to take their carols and nativity plays with them.
First, the whole issue begs the question as to what holidays are. Basically, they're celebrations of ideas society, or a particular culture, agrees with. Especially if you approach this from a secular point of view, where "truth" and "values" are impossible to establish, then everyone's opinions go. What matters is who is in the majority. The minority can yell all they want, but until they have some form of leverage, the opinion of the powerful is upheld .
Now, times have certainly shifted in the Western world. It may, in fact, be time for relativism and secularism and secularism to assert their gaining power, and overthrow some of the Christian traditions and strongholds. However, overthrowing Christian ideas is not what we're here to argue. The argument is that Yuletide, a pagan, spiritualistic celebration should be brought back into the mainstream. On what grounds would we discard one religious celebration for another, even more mystical one?
If the grounds for overthrowing one system was that it exerted it's power in society, replacing it with another system that makes proclamations would simply transfer said power, leaving us with the same problem . If the grounds for overthrowing the current system is because it is based on false premises, than on what grounds are we to bring back Yuletide, an arguably more superstitiously based notion?
But not only does Yuletide fail to reflect our current society's value for intellectualism, it significantly conflicts with our modern day value of work. While schools would be largely unaffected by a twelve day holiday, how fitting would such a holiday be within the context of Wall Street? While we could institute Yuletide and only allot one or two days for it's official, national celebration, what then would be the point of bringing back a twelve day holiday and calling it superior to a one day holiday? Yuletide just doesn't fit in with the way our modern world works .
As we clearly see the lack of Yuletide spirit that could be garnered in our modern society, one sees the real problem my opponent has with this time of year, as he states, "Of course, going forward, we should still keep the seasonal greetings cards; the gifts; the roast turkey with all the trimmings; the champagne, port and brandy and the decorated trees – they have no connection with Christianity at all." My opponent really isn't arguing for the legitimacy of Yuletide, but rather for the decommissioning of the Christian sector's power. Now, that would be a fine discussion to have, but it has no bearing as to whether Yuletide should be brought back to a culture that is significantly different, will bring in traditions that make original Yuletide relatively unrecognizable, etc.
I thank my opponent for thinking critically about why we celebrate the things that we do, although I remain firm in the opinion that his resolution is not a fitting one.
In practice, though, once the Christian elements of the mid-winter festival are stripped away, we will notice very little difference in the festivities, except that they will no longer be blighted by religious dogma and tiresome lectures from preachers. Furthermore, there will be little new to add simply because we know so little about pre-Christian Paganism. William Dalrymple, the presenter of The Long Search wrote: "Fathoming how our earliest ancestors understood the world is something we can only guess at very tentatively using the clues of archaeology. In Wiltshire, a unique collection of ceremonial monuments and burial mounds span several periods of pre-history. The earliest of them tell us that kinship and the support of a clan's ancestors seems to have lain at the centre of the conception of spirituality." (1)
Basically then, Yuletide would pretty much be business as usual except that we would be encouraged to celebrate with our friends and family and remember those who are no longer with us – which is what most people do at that time of year anyway – and in terms of religious duties, there will no longer be any: hooray!
That means Yuletide will be suitable for people of all faiths and those of no faith at all – ideal for the enlightened, multicultural societies we live in today.
Finally, my opponent questioned the advisability of a twelve day holiday but, just as there are currently ‘twelve days of Christmas', when my plan is adopted, there will be ‘twelve days of Yuletide' instead – but that doesn't mean twelve days off work, of course! Naturally, though, I wouldn't wish to deny Christians the right to celebrate Jesus Christ's birth, I merely maintain that they should do so on Christmas Day, the 7th January - although if they decide to take the day off work they should do so at their own expense rather than their employers'.
Pro is arguing that Yuletide should be re-instituted. His basic reasons for this notion are that Yuletide existed before Christianity and Christianity pushed Yuletide out of the spotlight. But let me provide a simple analogy that I think will cut down on my tendency to talk to much. Imagine I told you that we should re-institute slavery, misogyny, fighting wars with swords instead of guns, or any other idea, because those things preceded our current state, and were pushed out by modern practices.
I don't think the logic follows. Why reinstate something? Well, if you have some sort of objective standard, and that standard was lost (i.e. prohibition of alcohol impeded on rights, therefore it was good to get rights back). But Yuletide is just a personal preference to my secular friend, so there really isn't a reason we ought to bring it back . If one thinks that numbers confer oughtness, then Yuletide is certainly out, because there aren't many people who are for bringing it back . What should make me, or anyone else feel obligated to bring Yuletide back?
My opponent goes on to say that the festivities wouldn't really require taking off twelve days of work. The festivities wouldn't really require secularists to change anything, including continuing to not go to the church they already don't go to over Christmas. In fact, my opponent claims we don't even know much about what Yuletide was or the people who celebrated it. So what on earth are we changing? It seems as though the whole matter isn't about adding or re-instituting anything. It's about removing the structure of the religious domination of the holiday season. While this would be an interesting debate, we are here to debate establishing Yuletide. But how do we bring back something we can't define?
In the end, my opponent's desire is to secularize the holiday season. Let everyone do as they please, except those who want to do as I don't please. That's all well and good. Christianity by no means holds the power it once did, and it may not be as well represented anymore. And even if it were, other people should be respected as well. But to tell us that we should (which implies an obligation of some sort) re-instate a holiday we can't define, and is really old, doesn't go too far in my mind.
I would like to thank my opponent again for an interesting debate. I think he raises an issue we should all look in, which is a great reminder to the respect we are called to give others. However, I disagree that what he is asserting logically follows in the form he has argued.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by t-man 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument made more sense.
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