A review of "Is Christmas Pagan? Christian fundamentalists say so. What does the evidence say?"
This is a short, confused and inconclusive e-article written around the theme “is Christmas really pagan”, apparently a contentious claim in some circles. The author, a Christian, seems to agree that at least some Christian traditions really are pagan, but has decided to celebrate Christmas anyway. It's not clear why, except that his rejection of “works-righteousness” has something to do with it. (Is it work-righteousness to expect salvation if you *don't* celebrate the damn thing?) However, there could be another reason for it, namely a lurking fear of atheism!
Says the author: “Christians, fundamentalist or otherwise, should proceed with care when assuming that things are borrowed from paganism, as this can lead us down a road that we might not care to follow. Many atheist historians, for example, see parallels between the New Testament gospels' accounts of the birth, life, death, and resurrection or Jesus and pagan myths that predate the New Testament. In these darkened, atheistic minds, Jesus never existed at all, and the writers of the New Testament simply copied other religions. The doctrines that we Christians hold most dear thus come under attack. Of course, we Christians do not care to entertain such foolishness. We best not, then, indulge in similar foolishness. By saying ourselves that `this predates that therefore this is the basis for that,' we may find that we are conceding to the atheist a logical process that we need not, and must not, concede.” (Kindle Locations 262-269)
Had I been one of those angry old atheists, this quotation would be a priceless find! Well, Mr Author, I hate to disappoint you but, ahem, there *really are* similarities between Christianity and paganism. There are probably similarities between Judaism and paganism, too. I mean, a temple with two cherubs and a harvest festival, sheesh, what's up with that? If you think that's necessarily a bad thing, please read C S Lewis on the matter…
Oh, and Merry Christmas!