Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bryan Fischer and the misconceptions about Christmas

Dave Oliveria manages to front page Bryan Fischer ever so often because the deeply religious gent manages to do one thing very well, stir up a lot of controversy. The latest, Fischer's argument that the public square should host only that which pertains to the majority belief, especially when it comes to the Christmas holiday. He bluntly makes it plain that he would not allow other religious views to share the public space with his own.

I commented on Fischer's position.
[This link being updated since this was initially posted. The Spokesman-Review website is now Spokesman.com and the link features Bryan Fischer carrying his war against merchants if they don't cowtow to his precise Xmas wishes. You would think that in the spirit of the season, Fischer would learn a little love, charity or generosity.]

And as Oliveria also links to "Community Comment" regarding the origins of the Christmas tree, the decorated tree long in use before Christians decided to co-opt it for themselves; if Fischer is going to be hostile to any and all symbols that don't pertain to his own belief, then the decorated tree that has been in use for thousands of years, to which God (in some bibles) was utterly hostile to the idea of his chosen people making use of them, then Fischer would have to be true to his bible and true to his own argument that any symbol that doesn't reflect his religion should simply be abolished. That would have to include the Christmas tree.

Here are some more examples:
  1. Community comment: Gift giving was in vogue during Pagan Rome's Saturnalia. Gift giving during the Winter Solstice can't therefore be an acceptable act. Unless we give charitably—at all times of the year, and give gifts only on one's birthday.
  2. The wreath may symbolize a halo. But it also may symbolize a crown of thorns. But one can find "halos" adorning the heads of Druids too. Those made of Holly incidentally.
  3. And decking the halls with bows of holly (Community comment) and in accordance with Germanic tradition of some hundreds of years, of putting a tree in or near a house to wait for spring to come; is in accordance with its preceding earth religion of Druid/Wicca and was never in accordance with Christianity. You won't find it in the bible.
  4. Community comment: Martin Luther put candles on the tree to represent the starry night that shone over Bethlehem. The candle, according to historians, is representative of the pagan torch much used during their holy celebrations, and was therefore banned, along with incense, by the church. To put a once banned because it was pagan candles on a tree that had ancient non Christian traditions in honor of Christ is a real hoot. We won't chastise Martin Luther for being a fairly ignorant fellow. But when Fischer has as much access to reading material as I do; one can certainly chastise him for pushing a symbol that at one time his own church was very hostile to.
  5. How about the supposed date of Christ's birth? Politics was behind the church wanting a mass for Christ celebrated near the pagan celebrated Winter Solstice. Only with time did people begin associating the mass for Christ with Christ's birthday. But, in accordance with pagan tradition, other "man-gods" could also claim a winter birth under "special circumstances" much as the church would ultimately claim for Christ, Mithras was among them. Given the fact that many pagans flocked to the Christian calling, the popular man on the cross also predated Christ, that this was also how a man god would be sacrificed for the good of the people. What would it take for pagans turned Christian to attribute to their new-found beliefs their own traditions? Especially when the church itself supported the whole idea?
In short, poor Bryan Fischer would not have much to base a purely Christmas display on that did not have elements of older beliefs and traditions. It had all been borrowed or plagiarized.

1 comment:

Dogwalkmusings said...

There is nothing about the trappings of Christmas that bear any resemblance to the reality of Christianity as it is taught today. As you stated, everything has evolved from what had begun as variations of pagan beliefs in celebration of the winter solstice. Pure and simple.