Practicing Christians should not be invited to participate in our traditional seasonal festivities
Debate Rounds (2)
Everybody else should celebrate Yule during the festive period - the traditional mid-winter festival of the sun that the Christians hijacked when they arrived in Northern Europe and tried to replace with Christmas.
That's right, during the twelve days surrounding 25th December, everybody should be having fun with laughter, eating, drinking, dancing, sex and exchanging gifts - all in joyful Yuletide abundance - everybody except the Christians that is: the Yule celebrations are not them; they shouldn't be celebrating non-Christian festivals; they should be in church quietly praying or at home solemnly reading the Bible.
But don't feel sorry for the Christians: their big day comes on 7th January; the day Jesus Christ was believed to be born on and the day still celebrated by Orthodox Christians. On this day the Christians can celebrate by gorging themselves on traditional Christian dishes such as: Lenten bread; vegetables; mushroom soup and slow-cooked kidney beans with potatoes, garlic and seasoning with nuts and dried fruits for dessert - a nutritious and healthy feast which is also suitable for vegans.
Yes, it's time to make it clear to Christians that they are no longer welcome to participate in our seasonal celebrations; they have nothing to do with them or their religion. And we shouldn't feel guilty about excluding them either because, just like the Jews and the Muslims, they have their own festivals which non-adherents of their faiths are not welcome to participate in.
So the next time some pious Christian tries to chastise you for not going to church on December 25th, tell them to come back at Christmas (7th January), and tell them where they are not wanted as well - at any of the celebrations that take place over the festive period.
Orthodox Chirstmas Day: http://www.timeanddate.com...
Winter Solstice: http://www.bbc.co.uk...
In addition, I will be working from these assumptions:
a. Christmas has two facets; a religious celebration, celebrating the birth of Christ, and a secular celebration, celebrating nothing in particular, but often resulting in family togetherness, the exchange of gifts, certain traditions (decorating houses with lights, putting up a Christmas tree, singing traditional songs, etc.), and general goodwill and high spirits.
b. You propose that the secular holiday separate from the religious holiday, with the secular holiday turning into the festival of Yule.
c. You propose that the religious holiday would be moved back to its original date, and believers would follow traditions that are solely Christian in nature.
d. You believe Christians should not celebrate non-Christian festivals, as they are "not for them."
e. Your argument for (d.) is justified because Christians "have their own festivals which non-adherents of their faiths are not welcome to participate in."
I posit that it is first of all, unnecessary to move Christmas back to its original date. Much of what is actually practiced and believed by all Christians is not written in the Bible. There is a huge amount of dogmatic nuances, from the Church calendar, to the vestments the priests wear, that are carried on solely through Church traditions. The date Christmas is celebrated on for Catholics, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox Churches is one of those traditions. There is no legitimate reason, other than to piss off Christians, to change the Church traditions. Religious festivals are allowed to fall on the same day. Every few years, one of the nights of Hanukkah will fall on the 25th. Every once in a while, Passover will fall on Easter. There's no issue.
Which brings me to my next point; The exclusion of Christians from Yuletide festivities. In America, and I can only assume it is the same way in the UK, a secularized society combined with a doctrine to spread the faith has resulted in Christians practically begging people of other faiths to come to their Church and celebrate the liturgy with them. It is like this for many religious events and festivals, for multiple religions. A Jewish child will invite their friends to their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. The (mostly Christian) group of children will sit patiently in the Temple as the child reads from the Torah in a language none of them understand. Weddings, holy events, one of the seven sacraments in Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and of great religious importance in most other religions, are attended by people of all faiths. Baptisms are usually limited to close friends and family, but if an atheist friend wanted to come, no one would deny him. Jews often open up their homes to Jews and Gentiles alike for Seders. Finally, of course, there's Christmas. It's the second most holy day of the year, and it's celebrated by most of the secular world. But I'll allow that the Christmas celebrated by the general populace is the secular holiday, not the religious one. You would have Yule be exclusive though? To whom? Adherents to the Pagan faiths who originally celebrated it? There is still considerable debate over what the religious meaning of Yule actually is. And in your argument, you stated that everybody but Christians should celebrate Yule, including devoted Jews, Muslims, and Hindus. Why the arbitrary line? Because you don't like Christians? If you truly want to separate the secular holiday from the religious holiday, you cannot exclude a religion. It's similar to saying that Christians must work on Labor Day (or any random day you get off of work over there).
Next, you believe that Christians should revert to traditional Christian traditions, while Yule retains the trappings of Yule. Again, you're saying that Christians are not allowed to appropriate other culture's traditions, as they did not develop them, and they mean nothing to them. What does Yule mean to you? What will it mean to every non-Christian across the world who celebrates it? Surely not what it meant to the Germanic tribes who celebrated it before Christianity came. If Christians must stick to their own traditions, there's no reason why you must not as well. That means no using the name "Yule" and none of the traditions you mentioned above, just some pure, secular, new ones.
Finally, and perhaps most distressing to me, was the food Christians would be forced to eat. Just traditional, bland sounding food? Awful! Except whose tradition is that food? Was it traditional because the food has special meaning, or mainly out of necessity? Those all look like foods that may have been eaten by British Christians, but what about Christians in Italy? Would they have to give up the Feast of the Seven Fishes, their traditional Christmas Eve meal? I would say not. Armenia was the first Christian nation, converted in 301 AD, and traditional Christmas dinner involves none of those things. Rather, a Mediterranean spread is prepared, mixing in Turkish, Greek, and Middle Eastern cuisine. I don't see why I would have to give that up because Englishmen didn't know how to cook in ancient times.
So the next time some pious Christian tries to chastise you for not going to church on December 25th, tell them that, even though that's the official day Christmas is celebrated in their religion, you can take responsibility for you own soul, but thank them for the concern.
Again, for the record, I'm a very liberal Oriental Orthodox Christian, who does celebrate the religious holiday on December 6th, the secular holiday on December 25th, and I go to Church every Christmas eve for Christmas carol singing. The Church may not officially believe it's Christmas eve, but it's still a very nice thing they do.
In response to my opponent's rebuttals, I should like to respond as follows:
The fact that are so many different Christian practices and beliefs and its many variances in religious holiday dates demonstrates what an unprincipled and duplicitous religion Christianity really is, and why it has so many factions: Roman Catholics; Baptists; Methodists; Lutherans; Quakers; Pentecostals; Presbyterians; Latter-day Saints; Seventh-day Adventists, Restorationists; followers of Eastern Orthodoxy; Jehovah's Witnesses and Anglicans and members of countless other denominations all call themselves Christians yet they all have wildly different rituals and customs.
That's because Christianity is a religion that gets blown about by the wind: rather than stand firmly by its doctrines and scriptures, it amends and adopts its teachings to accommodate the popular wants and beliefs of the general public at any given time and place.
And that's why the Catholic Church no longer persecutes people that have been educated and know that the Sun does not revolve around the Earth - even though that concept was once considered heretical; that's also why the Church of England permits divorce; contraception; abortion and women priests while other churches don't, and it's also why Easter Day falls on different dates every year but Christmas Day always falls on the same date every year, although that date varies from denomination to denomination as we already know.
Throughout its history, the Christian churches have always done whatever they had to in order to appease the masses: whether that be signing a pact with Hitler and abandoning the Jews to their fate in Nazi Germany; or whether that be the devout Roman Catholic prince Vlad the Impaler (the son of Vlad Dracul who was the inspiration for Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula) skewering 60,000 Ottomans on sharpened stakes in the name of Christianity in 15th Century Wallachia; or whether it be hijacking a pre-Christian mid-winter festival and passing its traditions and customs off as Christian. In short, the Christian churches have always done what ever it took to fill their collection boxes.
Moving on, my opponent talks about "Christmas" (Christ's mass) being celebrated as a secular holiday by some while being observed as a religious festival by others, but the reality is that the true meaning of Yuletide has largely been forgotten and everybody thinks of Christmas as a Christian holiday (holy day).
Few people now realise that iconic "Christmas" symbols such as holly, ivy, mistletoe, Yule logs, "Christmas" trees and "Christmas" lights all pre-date Christianity (and reindeers are not a native species of the Holy Land) and they have all just been appropriated by Christianity. Even Christmas carols were originally folk songs sung during Harvest-tide.
Of course, there is no reason why people of other faiths or Christian denominations should not join in the mid-winter celebrations but they tend not to: December 25th is just another working day in China, India, Japan and Russia as well as in most African, Middle-Eastern and South-East Asian countries, although December 25th is a national holiday in Pakistan, but that's to celebrate the birthday of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, not Jesus Christ.
However, it is not right that Christians in the West should muddy the waters by sending Christmas cards with nativity scenes and other religious images printed on them and by attending "Christmas" carol services at church while also decorating their homes with "Christmas" trees, "Christmas" lights, holly and ivy and thus spreading the myth that the mid-winter festivities have something to do with Christianity - they have their Christmas Day in January and they should stick to it.
I deliberately have not mentioned Santa Claus, by the way, not because he has anything to do with the birth of Christ, he doesn't, but because the character is based on Saint Nicholas who was, at least, a Christian - although he actually lived in Asia Minor, not the North Pole and Saint Nicholas Day is actually the 6th December, not the 25th December.
My opponent also claims there is nothing wrong with Christianity adopting other culture's traditions. Firstly, I would remark that it is odd that it has done so, as the other Abrahamic religions, Judaism and Islam have not and, secondly, I suspect that many Christians would complain if Islam or Judaism did adopt Christian practices and pass them off as their own in countries outside the Abrahamic religions' homelands in the Middle East.
To illustrate this point, let's consider the spread of Islam in the West.
In most of Europe Christianity is in decline and Islam is on the rise. For example, here in Britain, the 2011 Census showed that 59.3% of the population adhered to Christianity, down from 71.6% in 2001, while 4.8% of the population adhered to Islam, up from 2.7% in 2001.
Additionally, a report entitled "The Future of the Church" found that more people regularly attended a mosque in 2004 than regularly attended church, while a study issued by Christian Research found that the number of Muslims attending services at British mosques will double the number of Christians attending church services by 2040.
So, if Islam is becoming the dominant religion is what we think of as "Christian" countries then it will be completely appropriate, following my opponent's logic, for Islam to adopt Christmas, just as Christianity adopted Yuletide.
Would my opponent and his fellow Christians approve, I wonder, if, in the not-too-distant future, the 25th December was to be officially renamed "Milad un Nabi Day" - the celebration of birth of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon Him)? The Prophet (peace be upon Him) wasn't born on 25th December, by the way, but then again neither was Jesus Christ, so who cares?
Of course, not much would change at first as there would be too much public resistance, and the differences in the celebrations would be subtle and introduced gradually - just as Christianity overcame Yuletide in small increments. But after a while Father Christmas would become known as Father Milad un Nabi and it would be the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon Him) depicted in the manger, not Jesus Christ, and, of course, drinking alcohol and playing music would be frowned upon while praying to Mecca would be encouraged.
Finally, if my opponent thinks traditional Christian dishes are unappetising he may still prefer them to the traditional Islamic dishes that would be served on Milad un Nabi Day, delicacies such as tabbouleh (bulgur wheat salad); kale pasche (boiled sheep brains, eyes, tongue and hooves) and ful madammas (dried beans).
I suspect that my opponent, like most people in Europe and America, would resent the Islamification of Christmas, even though they might not be Christians, and they might complain about it in similar terms that I have about the Christianisation of Yule, even though I am not a Pagan.
That's why I reassert that practicing Christians should not be invited to participate in our traditional seasonal festivities.
Thank you for reading and Yuletide Greetings to you all!
Catholics in Nazi Germany: http://jesuswouldbefurious.org...
Vlad the Impaler: http://www.oldcuriosityshop.net...
Strictly Religious Christmas: http://www.wikihow.com...
Religious adherence in the UK: http://www.vexen.co.uk...
Decline in Christianity, Rise of Islam in the UK: http://www.christiantoday.co.uk....
po.osullivan forfeited this round.
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