December 25 means the Triumph of Christianity over Paganism

Yes, we’ve all heard the JW, Free Presbyterian, and Puritan arguments that the 25th of December was originally a pagan festival to celebrate the birth of the sun god Sol Invictus, Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, “the birthday of the unconquered sun,” therefore, Christians should not celebrate Christmas because it is a pagan holiday. There might be some truth to this. The 12th century  Syrian bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi wrote: “It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnised on that day.” Yet I would point out that historians actually question which came first, the Christian festival of Christmas, or the pagan festival to Invictus, both were celebrated on Dec 25, but who did it first is not clear.  The truth is that the selection of Dec 25 for Christmas could have been taken over from any number of winter solstice festivals.

But let’s grant a Christmas vs. Sol Invictus competition vying for people’s religious attention in the third and fourth centuries of the Roman Empire. What does it mean? Well, you might notice two things. First, some of the third century emperors like Aurelian and Decian who persecuted Christians were devoted to Sol Invictus. Decian wanted to unify the Empire around the worship of Sol Invictus, and thus sought to purify the Empire of Christians. Second, note also the forthright desire of some European intellectuals to return western civilization back to a pagan pluralism  as if paganism will lead to a more open minded and tolerant society (see Alain de Benoist’s On Being a Pagan). Bad news for Decian – his empire is gone and Jesus not Solus Invictus is celebrated on Dec 25. Bad news for neo-pagans like de Benoist, as long as “Hark the Herald Angels” and “O Holy Night” are songs people hear, sing, and enjoy at Christmas, they don’t stand a chance in hell.

Christmas means that the unconquerable god of the Romans just got conquered. A pagan Roman holiday just got stuffed with more Christianity than a December Turkey stuffed with spiced bread crumbs. Dawkins can issue a secular intifada against Christianity all he likes, but we got the best holiday, the best music, and the best message – joy to the world and peace on earth. So Christmas ain’t going away any time soon.

Tertullian wrote: “We [Christians] are but of yesterday, and yet we already fill your cities, islands, camps, your palace, senate, and forum. We have left you only your temples” (Apology 37). To that I would, add: “Oh, FYI, we just stole your holiday and crowned Jesus as King of kings on top of  a city with seven hills, sitting on a big bad ass throne using Jupiter, Sol Victus, and Caesar as a foot rest. Hope that’s okay, if not, too flipping bad.”

Christmas means that Jesus has defeated the powers, the pagan gods that military rulers used to bring their peoples into subjection, to oppress all dissent, and to bring misery upon the masses of men and women.  Christmas means that the tyranny of paganism – its pantheon, politics, and power – have been broken by a Jewish man who died on a Roman cross. Christmas means that the power for peace does not come from a Roman legion, but is heard in the anthem of a legion of angels singing praises to the infant Jesus. Christmas means that the pagan kings who, “To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace” have been robbed and plundered of the one thing which gave them power: fear. Christmas means freedom from the worship of the state so that we might enter into the state of worship of the one true God and his Son. Christmas means the greatest social reversal since Cinderella because, as Mary sang,  “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly (Luke 1:52 NRSV)” (shh, don’t tel the Tea Party, St. Mary might be launching a class war on the rich!). Christmas means God has entered into the lowliness of the human estate in order to raise humanity up to the ceiling of heaven. Christmas means that what stands between heaven and earth is not a plethora of gods with the sexual ethics of Charlie Sheen and the behavior of an  undisciplined toddler with superpowers, but the man Jesus Christ who came, lived, and died to reconcile humanity to God. Christmas means the victory of God over the inhumanity and irreligion of paganism. So I say, bake that ham, roast that turkey, pour forth the wine, sing and make merry, cause Jesus just kicked the Roman gods and all the evil that they stood for in the testiculus - why not celebrate it!

  • Leroy Huizenga

    I find William Tighe’s analysis here compelling, FWIW. Thesis: “Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals. Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son” instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the “pagan origins of Christmas” is a myth without historical substance.”

    • Eric Roberts

      Sorry…but The celebrations of the Solstice far predate Judaism let alone Christianity. People were decorating trees and dancing around the fire at Yule long before Jesus was a twinkle in YHVH’s eye…they were doing that back when YHVH still hung out with his brothers and sisters in Canaan. Get a clue already.

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        And while what you are saying is true, Eric, and solstice and near-to-solstice celebrations were going on for millennia before Christianity (like Saturnalia, from which most of the Christmas decor comes), Leroy is correct in pointing out that Sol Invictus’ dies natalis was not fixed to December 25th until the time of Aurelian in the 3rd c. CE. Whether Aurelian got it from Christians, however, is questionable…Tertullian mentions the festival of the Annunciation being on March 25th in the late 2nd century CE, which would then mean that the birth would be on or around December 25th, if it was celebrated–but, it’s odd that Tertullian doesn’t mention the birth celebration as well. But, I don’t think there is enough evidence to show Aurelian had any interest in Christianity or its practices whatsoever to suggest that he copied a Christian celebration–the Romans were pretty consistently not at all interested in Christianity through the end of the third century.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dsalisbury David Salisbury

    Actually, millions of Pagans all over the world still celebrate the solstice, the old gods, and the return of the sun. Possibly more than ever before. You can have your Christmas (almost entirely Pagan anyways), but why tear down our peaceful traditions in the process I ask?

  • True American

    “Christmas means that the tyranny of paganism – its pantheon, politics, and power – have been broken by a Jewish man who died on a Roman cross.”

    What a bunch of biased nonsense. Someone must have forgotten the tyranny of the Inquisition and the subjugation and genocide of the native peoples of America by devout Christians. Tyranny is independent of faith, don’t whitewash history to make your ‘team’ look better. Thanks.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LOUZQWMBEBYLHGZ7NYSCJUY5SY Anna

      Triple like. I can only press like once

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667636568 Rayma Smith

    Surely, you can’t be serious. “The tyranny of Paganism”? Really? With all due respect Mr. Bird, your extremely biased post is laughable at best. It shows the haughtiness & arrogance of so many Christians that makes your faith look and sound nothing like Jesus would have. If Christians are supposed to take on the spirit of Jesus in word & deed… to be “Christ-like”, you sir, are missing the mark by a long shot.

    Christmas is a mish-mash of the customs & traditions of many Pagan paths including the Romans, Celts & Norse people to name a few. Everything from the significance of decorating evergreen trees (a representation of Yggdrasil) & burning Yule logs to kissing under the mistletoe to prevent bad luck all originate with Pagan customs. To assert anything different is ignorance and nothing more. It is possible for you to celebrate Christmas without making disparaging remarks about Paganism, which is very much alive & thriving.

    This Wednesday, when my circle celebrates Yule in traditional Pagan fanfare, we’ll raise a toast to the Gods in your honor for you so that you might become acquainted with the true spirit of goodwill towards all men & tolerance.

    Blessed Yule!

  • Anon
  • http://www.tigerseyetemple.org Dan Miller

    What a silly article. Though it would be perfect for something published on April 1.

  • Aurorawillow

    This is precisely why Christianity has a bad name – you are not content to simply have your celebration, but you have a profound need to tear others down in order to do it.

    Where is the value of love, and goodness that Jesus taught? Or, will you ignore the spirit and words of his message, just to focus on what you want those words to mean?

    You have committed the grievous sin of pride, and God will judge you for it.

  • KB

    The archetypal and intrinsically human ritual of marking the season surrounding the Winter Solstice with celebrations centered on the theme of the returning Sun/Light, predate the Christian Church in cultures across the globe. As huge as its empire was, Rome was never the whole of human culture. Sites such as Newgrange, Stonehenge and Carnac attest to the ancient practice predating Roman occupation of those areas. In fact, trace the legend of Santa Claus back far enough and you find assorted Goddesses of the Winter Solstice in multiple ancient cultures predating St. Nicholas; Frau Holda/Holle, Kolyada, Tante Arie, etc. Lay the story of Jesus’ birth side-by-side with Horus’ (or other Pagan mythologies around the world) and you will find some fascinating similarities that predate Jesus. The web of pagan spiritual paths have been here for as long as humans have been here (and that’s longer than 6,000 years, for the record.) They will always be here.

    And with these sorts of attitudes presenting themselves as the face of American Christianity, it’s no wonder modern Paganism is on the rise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cosettefromjupiter Cosette Paneque

    If you want to truly explore tyranny, subjugation, oppression, and misery, you really need to turn the lens on your own religion, Mr. Bird.

    We can talk about the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, exploitation by missionaries, anti-Semitism, cultural appropriation, its role in stopping the prevention of AIDS, the exclusion and oppression of women, homophobia, the politial Christian movement seeking to create little more than a theocracy…the list goes on and on.

    • Joshua

      Seems irrelevant. What does any of that have to do with Bird’s post? What exactly are you responding to?

  • Anonymous

    Spreading that ‘love’ that Jesus preached, I see. Good grief, it’s Xtians like you that give the entire religion a bad name.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    About a year ago I posted something about how ironic it is that Christians complain about the secularization of Christmas, when ultimately the holiday is evidence that Christians waged and largely won a “war on solstice” – still today, people connect Christmas with Jesus.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2010/12/christmas-the-christian-war-on-solstice.html

  • Robhashell

    I think there is something to what you are saying, though subsequent historical problems (and perceived historical problems) make it difficult for most people to see it this way today. In the light of arguments like Rodney Stark’s about the Rise of Christianity, it is indeed credible to see the spread of Christianity as the triumph of compassion over cruelty. Christianity has so changed the world that people today don’t realize how much of it’s principles they take for granted.

    • Eric Roberts

      yes…principles like the Inquisition…

    • Soliwo

      I think many of the change and values ascribed to the rise and spread of Christianity actually have there source in pagan times. I have got the feeling that we Pagans do read up on history which includes most of Christianity, and Christians hardly no anything about the European history of the BC-period. Why is this theory so credible? you do not actually mention the arguments that support this theory. Just saying that there arguments is not really enough, you must actually name them as well.

    • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

      “… it is indeed credible to see the spread of Christianity as the triumph of compassion over cruelty.”

      Oh, yes, it’s certainly heart-warming to see the conservative Christians of Michigan introduce a secret amendment into the anti-bullying legislation that makes it okay to bully a child if it’s religiously based. So compassionate.

      Then there’s the compassion shown by those who strive to prevent couples who are in love from having the same rights as 72-day married Kim Kardashian… Yeah, that’s wonderfully compassionate.

      Oh and hey, it’s tremendously compassionate, the way that African pastors accuse children of being witches. It’s *totally* compassionate to burn the demons out.

      Protesting at military funerals is really compassionate, too.

      Neither you nor Mr. Bird are doing the interfaith movement any favours here. Heck, you’re not even doing *your* faith any favours.

  • Ty

    Well, I’m glad to see pagans reading a Christian blog

    • Marythewonderful

      I can’t speak for other pagans but I was raised Catholic and still have alot of regard for the teachings of Jesus and the symbolism in his story. Why does one religion need to conquer another religion? Why don’t we all just face and conquer our own inner demons whose names are our own?

    • Eric Roberts

      Unlike most Christians…Pagan actually seek out the truth and just don’t believe what they are told to believe…

    • Kris

      And quite a few Christians read the Pagan blogs on this site as well

  • Marythewonderful

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

  • Marythewonderful

    Christians, I love you but please get over yourselves. Here’s a conversation I had around Halloween. My Catholic friend “At the mass of all hallows, we say the name of everyone who died in the previous year.” Me “At Samhain we spoke the names of our beloved dead and also wrote them little messages to toss in the fire.” Catholic friend “Did you send your messages to Satan?” Me “No, Satan is a character in *Your* religion.”. Later on, this same person told me she was tired of being attacked for being Christian. After attacking me for worshipping Satan.

    “Jesus just kicked the Roman gods and all the evil that they stood for in the testiculus” Wow, that sounds just like something Sol Invictus would have done!

    There’s a term for this. It’s called shadow projection. Google it and reflect because we all need together to get over the divisions in our world and we aren’t going to do it by repeating the cycle of conquering each other and projecting our shadows onto each other.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FUBWFFFSCFMN7NS5VJGDTGVWUU C

    So glad the Living God comes to do this again and again, and that now the process is repeating itself — Now the Imperial Evils are institutional Christianity and Islam, both of which are politicized systems of deception, and the Holy Spirit is moving to destroy them all. I am so grateful that God-in-History exposes the evils of institutions and gives the evil over to mockery… the house Christ gave has become a den of rapists and bankers so that today one can be sure that any person calling themselves “Christian” is in fact, anti-Christ. Thank God the Divine One incarnates again and again and leaves no middle-men behind.

  • Mike Bird

    Folks, when I talk about “paganism,” I mean the religious wing of the Roman empire, not modern paganism. I have no problem with a few Berkley grads rolling around the forest naked, playing a home-made flute, riding a goat, sacrificing a pineapple to the moon, drinking some medicinal herbal tea, and french kissing an oak tree. (Note this is meant to be “humour”) ;-)

    • Anon

      But you greatly overstate how “bad” Roman paganism was. By like…a lot. Not to mention that there are more historically based types of paganism that draw their practices from history, not acting like hippies.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dsalisbury David Salisbury

      Its a good thing that’s humour and not offensive at all…
      I’ll have you know that there is a brilliant field of modern Pagan historians and theologians who are highly respected in their field. Many teach at universities in the US and UK and are well regarded as experts in the fields of cultural and religious history, both ancient and modern.

      If you meant to say conservative corrupt Roman government, then you should go back and edit that into your post. You reference Paganism as inhuman and practically evil which is inappropriate and and a disgrace to the religious pluralism work that Patheos stands for.

    • Marythewonderful

      That’s the most bigoted stereotype I’ve read all day. Not taking it as humor. Only the intolerant and ignorant would find that funny and I’m really sick of that sort of “humor” being encouraged. And from someone who is educated too! Shame on you!
      At our Yule celebration, we ate food, did crafts with the kids, wrote and read blessings at a bonfire outside as we welcomed the return of longer days. No goats, drugs and in WI you can bet no one was naked and if there was any french kissing going on I’m sure it was as discreet as it would have been at any other church function.
      Jesus said, “Love one another.” What part of that don’t you get?

      • Marythewonderful

        By the way, that kind of “humor” lives in our politics too. It’s just as ugly there as it is here.

        • Marythewonderful

          And you wonder why we have an epidemic of bullying in America?

    • Eric Roberts

      I know of a place where the sun doesn’t shine to stick your humor you bigoted asshole..

    • http://wp.wiccanweb.ca/ Makarios

      Wow, Mike. That comment actually outdoes your original post in terms of ignorance and bigotry. Would you post something that was “meant to be humour” about African Americans shuffle-dancing, eating watermelon, and saying “yowsah?” Didn’t think so.

      My understanding of the Patheos site is that its purpose is to promote interreligious dialogue and understanding. It is not to provide a platform for the denigration of other people’s religion, or for the denial of the divinity of other people’s Gods. Perhaps you could find another forum for venting your malice.

      Oh, by the way, in case anyone is wondering, I’m a Christian.

    • Donna

      “Folks, when I talk about “paganism,” I mean the religious wing of the Roman empire, not modern paganism.”

      Funny, I’m pretty sure I just copied this directly from your article: “Bad news for neo-pagans like de Benoist, as long as “Hark the Herald Angels” and “O Holy Night” are songs people hear, sing, and enjoy at Christmas, they don’t stand a chance in hell.” It seems to me that you were thinking of both ancient and modern Pagans when you were writing.

      “I have no problem with a few Berkley grads rolling around the forest naked, playing a home-made flute, riding a goat, sacrificing a pineapple to the moon, drinking some medicinal herbal tea, and french kissing an oak tree.”

      I’ve never been to the Berkley campus, so I don’t know what their Solstice celebrations are like. My family will burn a Yule log, reflect on the past year and what we would like to embrace as the new year dawns, and welcome back the reborn Sun after the darkness of the longest night of the year. We’ll sing carols with our friends and family, practice goodwill towards our fellow man, and seek to embrace Peace on Earth. Sound familiar? No stereotypes required, no “Other” to demonize (though I know that makes your job as a writer less interesting).

      “(Note this is meant to be “humour”) ;-)

      Don’t worry, lots of people find humor in bigotry, it’s relatively easy to spot – no back-pedaling necessary. Of course, if you don’t like to think of yourself as a bigot, perhaps it’s time to revisit your choice of comedic material.

    • http://www.tigerseyetemple.org Dan Miller

      Oh, I see your “humor” includes trashing other folks spirituality.

  • http://brianmaiers.wordpress.com Brianmaiers
  • Goatrider

    “I have no problem with a few Berkley grads rolling around the forest naked, playing a home-made flute, riding a goat, sacrificing a pineapple to the moon, drinking some medicinal herbal tea, and french kissing an oak tree.”

    Well okay, I guess I can accept a few southern inbred hicks rolling around in an excessively decorated building dedicated to the teachings of someone who taught people to give up their worldly possessions, screaming about some Jewish zombie, holding up signs declaring the end of the world and that god hates f*gs, brainwashing their children into following the same hateful path like a bunch of blind sheep all while trying to tell people how to live their lives, who they can and can’t marry, and pushing their beliefs on a society even if they disagree. (Note, Mr. Bird, this is meant to be “humour”) ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Ultimately, it matters little when, how, and why the current Christmas holiday came to be. Christmas STILL happened, and Christ is still Lord–the Victor over all pagan gods, whether Roman or modern. Much cause, then, for peace and goodwill to all people. :)

    And too, if the earlier comment about how “the political Christian movement” brought about the “Inquisition, anti-Semitism, etc.,” is supposed to be an argument against Christ and his victory, then it is a bad one. After all, as someone once said, “Never judge a philosophy by its abuse.” Any abuse of Christianity isn’t a reason to reject Christianity itself outright.

    • Anonymous

      ‘Peace and goodwill’ as long as they tow the line of Xtian doctrine, that is. Personally, I think it’s high time humanity parted with it’s savage need for superstition and ooga-booga nonsense. It speaks volumes that Xtians are going on their third millenium of waiting for Jesus to return. Must we really continue that kind of stupidity? Even after humans have walked on the moon and sent probes to every planet?

      Drake’s equation, anyone?

      Good grief… may we not always be a race of simpletons.

      • Tina

        Well-stated. I’ll have a Drake equation, thank you. :)

    • Cara Schulz

      To rephrase what you said. “Any abuse of Paganism isn’t a reason to reject Pagan religions itself outright.”

      • http://www.eisdoxantheou.wordpress.com/ Matthew Halsted

        Oh absolutely. It certainly goes both ways. If “paganism” per se has been abused (that is, has been misrepresented/misconstrued by someone or some group of people, thus deviating from some “established pagan norm” [is there even an "established pagan norm" from which one can deviate? I thought paganism was, by its very nature, pluralistic? Oh, but for the sake of argument...]), then it would be wrong to reject paganism per se simply because of the various misrepresentations by the few of THE “established pagan norm.”

        But, I’m not so sure there is a “basic norm” to paganism, is there? Even so, Christ has conquered all paganism, whether the established, normal, everyday sort or the guy’s down the street; whether Caesar’s paganism or mine, Jesus is Lord.

        • Silverbranch

          Hmmm. I’m Pagan, as are millions of others, and I’m not feeling very conquered, and Jesus is not my Lord. Perhaps you need to re-think your premise.

        • http://www.facebook.com/BreezeFire Angela Breezefire

          My Gods & Goddesses don’t feel conquered to me. I don’t feel conquered, either. In fact, with my Gods & Goddesses on my side, I feel empowered. But I also know that they expect me to take responsibility for my own actions and not believe that I can do whatever I want because someone else died for my sins. I’m responsible for my sins, no one else. They don’t judge me, condemn me, or expect sole worship and devotion. They guide us, love us, give us courage, strength, and Wisdom.

        • Cara

          My religion, Hellenismos, most certainly has established norms. Most other religions, under the Pagan umbrella, have established norms.

    • Eric Roberts

      If he was such a victor…why are they still around? Despite all of your religion’s genocidal efforts to crush paganism…it is alive and well while the number of Jesus’ followers dwindles…

  • Dave McLennan

    Dear Pagans,

    We love you. Jesus’ victory isn’t over you, but over your gods.

    It’s just that Jesus’ victory – via the pain and humiliation of the cross – was more than paganism has ever been able to cope with, emulate, or even understand. With every respect, the life and death of Jesus makes your whole framework seem a bit unimaginative, silly, and – which is Michael’s basic point – defeated.

    Still, have a great Christmas.

    • Marythewonderful

      Dave there have been pagan deities who have died horrible deaths and been resurrected. The story of death and resurrection was not new with Jesus.
      When you have a my god is better than your god attitude you create discord in the world. I really don’t believe that is what Jesus had in mind.

      • Scallopdragger

        “there have been pagan deities who have died horrible deaths and been resurrected”

        Please, more information. Name, story…

        • Sapphiresays

          Start with Osirus, killed by his brother and resurrected by Isis, and Inanna, who voluntarily descended into the Underworld, giving up everything that mattered to her in the process, including her life, to be reborn. Those are two excellent ones.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dsalisbury David Salisbury

            And the God of Grain in Celtic belief, who is laid down in self-sacrifice upon the Earth so that the people of the land can eat and survive through the winter. The list goes on and on. Dead and resurrection have meaning to both Christians and Pagans. Just because it has power to us, doesn’t mean it can’t have power for “you” and vice versa.

            Blessed Solstice and Christmas

          • Marythewonderful

            Yes! Ye old John Barleycorn and he’s whiskey in the cup. Or is that grail?

        • Sunweaver

          Don’t forget Dionysos, who was ripped apart by wild women and then born again (what a way to go, eh?). He’s called the twice-born because of this.

        • Cara

          Dionysos

          http://www.wildivine.org/dionysos_ivycross.htm
          Shows the many, many connections between the mythos of Jesus and Dionysos.

        • http://twitter.com/ouranophobe Áine

          As mentioned, Osiris, Inanna, and the Corn King are all good starts for looking at the sacrificed and resurrected God.

          Additionally, consider Dionysus: The Titans kidnapped and sacrificed Him, attracting the wrath of Zeus, who slew them and resurrected Dionysus. By some of the ancient tales, Man was born from the ashes of the Titans.

          Also consider Attis, Dumuzi, Eshmun, and Ra, for further variations on the theme of the dying and resurrected or reborn God.

        • Paul Worden

          Thanks for the details folks. I appreciate it…it’s a place for me to start looking at the commonalities in the accounts.

          Let’s keep Christ in Chrismahanukwanzakah.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

      So you people re-invent the wheel and act like nobody ever thought of a god who dies and is resurrected. You remind me of my kids: they act like they’re the first ones to ever think of something when they try to pull the wool over my eyes.

      However, you are right that the whole pain and humiliation thing isn’t our bag. We are more prone to actually celebrating our lives and our world, and nobody has to die and make us feel guilty in order for us to do the right thing.

    • Tina

      Geez Dave…passive-aggressive much? I have to agree with the others. The story of Jesus (and Noah, etc.) have been told before.

      This link should be useful to you:
      http://pocm.info

    • http://www.facebook.com/BreezeFire Angela Breezefire

      Our Gods and Goddesses are still very much alive and more popular than they have been in the past 2,000 years. You truly do not know the first thing about Paganism if you believe that we couldn’t possibly understand love, sacrifice, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, true love for mankind, or the desire to help others. All of the things that Jesus Christ taught. To say that we can’t cope with that or emulate that is pure nonsense. I see my fellow Pagans display those Christian values on a consistent daily basis more than the so-called Christians who only put on that display in front of others.

      Proverbs 4:6-7, “Do not forsake Wisdom, and She will protect you; love Her, and She will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get Wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

      May the Goddess Asherah (Wisdom, the Tree of Life) brighten your heart this holiday season.

    • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

      There is also Odin to consider, who hung on Yggdrasil for Nine Days and came to life, sacrificing Himself to Himself to gain the Runes. Odin not only was able to ‘cope with the pain’, He moved beyond it, made it His own and transformed the world with it.

      I would love to know where you get your notions of my Gods being ‘defeated’.

    • Betoquintas

      Dear christians,
      We have already see how much you love us. There is thousand of people killed in name of Jesus. We already have a lot of Sun Gods, Divine Kings whose sacrifice themselves to our goodness. We don’t see how or why pain and suffering of one being can be more pious, sacred or divine than the pain and suffering of other beings. With every respect, we don’t care about the life and death of Jesus. He is just a unshameful copy of many pagan myths so, to speak, it is you who seems very unimaginative, silly and clueless. He can be your god, but he is not ours. We honor our ancestors, our folk and origins.
      From our point of view, Jesus is an alien, strange and imported god.

  • Marythewonderful

    Some of the best Christians I know are Pagans!

  • Cara Schulz

    I’m impressed that so much ignorance of history could be combined with such an immature, bigoted outlook in one single blog post.

    Many religions that the author assumes are gone are in existence today. The rebirth of the Sun is still celebrated, the Gods are still honored. Our families gather together, eating a big turkey with all the trimmings in my family’s case, and we cherish our traditions. Why anyone would feel the need to write childish “Na na boo boo, we won!” things such as this I just don’t know. There is no “We won” or “we lost” when it comes to religion. What maters is the individual relationship one has with the Divine.

    To contrast this, take a look at the cartoon PNC-Minnesota (a Pagan news organization) is running. http://pncminnesota.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/pnc-sunday-cartoon-8/

    It shows a Christian wishing “Merry Christmas” to a Pagan. The Pagan thanks him and wishes him a “Happy Yule.” The Christian says “Thanks. That was ridiculously easy” and the Pagan agrees. That’s how people of faith show respect to one another. I suggest the author of this blog post tries that.

    • William

      That cartoon seems completely backwards to me…

  • Austin

    It seems the “pagans” who’ve responded haven’t learn some basic hermeneutical skills. Like context determines usage.

    Mike is not talking about modern pagans. He’s talking about Roman Imperial theology, the sort of paganism that depicts the goddess of peace seated on the crushed bodies of vanquished peoples, or pagans that celebrated the destruction of Jerusalem with taxing Jews throughout the empire to build a temple to Jupiter on the site of their own destroyed temple.

    His point simply is that Christians didn’t defeat this Roman paganism by force of arms, but by a martyrs who were butchered for not worshipping the emperor.

    Of course, he could’ve been a little less flippant.

    • Marythewonderful

      I’m sure the cross was also raised above the corpses of plenty of country people (who may or may not have been guilty of anything) who were burned at the stake in the public square.

      So what’s the point?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

      **Mike is not talking about modern pagans.**

      Austin, how’s this for like context and usage?

      **Bad news for neo-pagans like de Benoist, **

      Very convenient to ignore that bit. Is this what they teach “christians” to do when discussing with Pagans?

      • Austin

        Um…Yeah that was not a part of his post. And obviously I was talking about his post.

        • Tina

          Um..Yeah, it’s in the post. Second paragraph.

  • Sunweaver

    To quote from one of my favorite holiday songs, “The Rebel Jesus” by Jackson Browne:

    I’ve no wish to come between
    This day and your enjoyment
    In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
    There’s a need for anything that frees us
    So I bid you pleasure
    And I bid you cheer
    From a heathen and a pagan
    On the side of the rebel Jesus

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000888026081 Portable Weirdness

    This inaccuracy-riddled ego-trip is unworthy of your Christ. It’s a shame Yeshua has to put up with this sort of petty phallus-waving in his name. I think he deserves better; maybe we should just invite him to become an honorary Pagan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=548883612 Flame Bridesdottir

    Wow. Your Savior died for *this*? So that you could be just as rude and ugly as possible? *This* is what you do with His gift to you? He dies so that you may have eternal life and *this* is how you choose to spend it?

    Jesus wept.

  • Tina

    Mr. Bird, I hope you’ve had a chance to read Ms. Foster’s response to your post, here on Patheos:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/pantheon/2011/12/when-interfaith-gets-ugly/

    • http://www.facebook.com/BreezeFire Angela Breezefire

      That was a wonderful article and so beautifully written. Truly showing the spirit of Paganism and why so many people walk away from Christianity and into the arms of the Goddess. )O(

  • Simon

    Great discussion, in parts.

    To all my new pagan friends on this board – bless you and have a cool Yule tomorrow.

    To my dear brothers and sisters in Christ – Merry Christmas, and lighten up a little with the pagans at Christmas. It all right to have fun with people you don’t understand but please play nicely. You don’t have to always tell everyone that you’re right and they’re wrong and that your god is better than their god. Its not what Jesus did and it doesn’t increase the Kingdom.

    To everyone – peace, goodwill and perhaps a little too much egg-nog than is sensible.

    All we are saying … is give peace a chance.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BreezeFire Angela Breezefire

    I find this article amusing that you feel that you have somehow “won” by following Pagan customs and traditions. As a proud Pagan who celebrates the rebirth of the Sun God every Winter Solstice, I would like to thank you for this post. It has shown me the true Pagan spirit of my brothers and sisters who rise above such pettiness. They believe in harming none.

    I would like to add that I used to be Christian, as have most Pagans. We are proud of our heritage, traditions, customs, and cultures. So every time I see a “Christian” like yourself putting up a Yule tree, lighting candles, hanging the mistletoe, decorating with holly, wassailing, caroling, hanging a wreath upon your door, leaving cookies for Kris Kringle, or any of our other Pagan traditions, I smile. For I know the history behind these. It’s the same reason I have a “Jesus Fish” on my car. (Although, I face it the way it was originally intended.)

    Yule Blessings, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Blessed Bodhi Day, Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, & Happy Holydays to all!

    • Simon

      Bless you Angela,

      Tee hee – re the Ichthus fish. They’re mostly magnetic, so there might be quite a few pointing downwards in our church car park this weekend. Especially that one who drives a “volvo”…

      All pretty harmless fun – I wonder how many people will get it?

      • http://www.facebook.com/BreezeFire Angela Breezefire

        That one always seems to get under their craw. I can pretty much assure that no one will get it until they research it or someone tells them. The sheeple don’t believe in research…. ;)

  • Paul Worden

    The pagan and neo-pagan responders of this post seemingly forget an important factor as they demand for a recognition of the validity of their religious views. That factor, as best as I can tell, is that Christians do not recognize as valid any other religious views which:

    - deny the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ as actual events
    - the expression of God in a Trinitarian way; that is, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
    - the existence of one God alone in the universe, who is the Creator of all and who is supreme over all His creation
    - Jesus the Christ is the human incarnation of that same Creator God, who accepted our form, partly, in order to receive to Himself the penalty of death due us for our sin; our rejection of of God and acceptance of other gods (including ourselves)
    - Jesus was eternally, is, and will be eternally the only way to God, truth of God, and life with, from, to, and of God.

    Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of Christian beliefs. Jesus made exclusive claims and Christians are people who have accepted those claims. All other religious systems which teach in ways which lead away from Christ and His claims are devices of the spiritual forces which are enemies of God – and Christians reject their validity in the arena of salvation truth and history.

  • Paul Worden

    The pagan and neo-pagan responders of this post seemingly forget an important factor as they demand for a recognition of the validity of their religious views. That factor, as best as I can tell, is that Christians do not recognize as valid any other religious views which:

    - deny the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ as actual events
    - the expression of God in a Trinitarian way; that is, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
    - the existence of one God alone in the universe, who is the Creator of all and who is supreme over all His creation
    - Jesus the Christ is the human incarnation of that same Creator God, who accepted our form, partly, in order to receive to Himself the penalty of death due us for our sin; our rejection of of God and acceptance of other gods (including ourselves)
    - Jesus was eternally, is, and will be eternally the only way to God, truth of God, and life with, from, to, and of God.

    Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of Christian beliefs. Jesus made exclusive claims and Christians are people who have accepted those claims. All other religious systems which teach in ways which lead away from Christ and His claims are devices of the spiritual forces which are enemies of God – and Christians reject their validity in the arena of salvation truth and history.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BreezeFire Angela Breezefire

      You seem to be forgetting an even more important factor: Pagans don’t want or need Christians to recognize our faith. Ours is a more ancient Earth religion and our Gods and Goddesses do not condemn us. We’re happy to leave you to your Christian God. We just ask that you show us the same respect.

      Lord & Lady bless you~

      • Paul Worden

        Say – would you let a child touch a hot stove burner without trying to stop him/her? Would you intentionally run into another car without blowing your horn loud and hard? Would you watch a loved one standing on the ledge of a bridge without trying to compel them to come off?

        These are weak comparisons to the ultimate destruction that is prepared for those who refuse God’s grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. If Christians don’t leave alone those who have not yet accepted Christ, just know that we’re really just concerned and are trying to “honk our horn” in love.

        - May the God of hope give you all joy and peace in believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so that you will abound in hope by the power of His Holy Spirit.

    • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

      “Jesus made exclusive claims and Christians are people who have accepted those claims.”

      You are certainly right, and this would all matter to us if we were Christian. However, I am not. Therefore, your Bible has no authority in this matter. Appealing to Scripture only works if we both believe in the book.

      • Paul Worden

        Jesus’ exclusive claims are not the source of His authority. He is the Creator of all and is sovereign over His creation. In that is His authority.

        While living in mortal life, we can choose to accept or deny His authority. I accept the Bible as one of His expressions of His will, and so I hold its texts dear. That one would accept them as authoritative or not comes down to whether they recognize Christ’s authority (or not).

        One day, each and every one of us will recognize Christ’s authority – regardless of what we believe now.

        Your rights to religion are inherent. No one can suppress them, as hard as they might try. You either believe what you say, or you don’t.

  • Simon

    Paul, I don’t think the pagans here are “demanding recognition” from the Christians.

    I’m not sure I would characterise Christians in the half dozen bullet points you have chosen either. If pushed to offer six alternatives I would say that those Christians I know are those who…

    - express a love for Jesus
    - love their enemies, praying for and blessing any that offend them
    - seek reconciliation and forgiveness from those they have wronged
    - share a special meal of bread and wine in memory of Christ
    - undergo a ritual burial / washing in enactment of their death to the powers
    - give generously to the poor and needy with their time, talents and treasures

    I don’t demand that others “accept the validity” of these things, but I’m happy to share stories of how the Spirit of God has miraculously acheived these and many other wonderful things.

    I don’t think Jesus calls me to “reject the validity” of the way pagans have sought and found an expression of the life and goodness of the creation and seek to live in harmony with it. In fact I find some inspiration in some of the things pagans say and do, and find myself driven to a deeper appreciation of the creator, whom I find most coherently revealed in the life of Jesus.

    I think the religious people of the first century would have struggled with the scandal of God being born among the poor and dirty, but some of the pagan’s i know find that completely understandable, if your experience of god is a bit more grounded.

    Bless you this Christmas in the name of Jesus, and blessings to all others who read this, however they celebrate this time of year.

  • Paul Worden

    Hey Simon – I like your list. Whereas mine was more doctrinal, yours more practical. Isn’t amazing how vast God is, that His being and love can be expressed in so many ways?!

    I don’t demand or expect anyone to accept the validity of any Christian belief or structure. I just haven’t been able to get the plank in my eye out fully. But, to your other point – Christ does call those who would follow Him to reject the ways of this world and to receive Him fully. Yet I have no doubt that He would commend anyone (regardless of beliefs) for kindness, generosity, peaceful living, patience…

    In the end, it is any religion’s leading in directions which are not to Christ which will lead its adherents to ultimate destruction. In my mind, it is not Christian love to “play nice,” while our enemy is at work among our friends and neighbors.

    May you and your family be richly blessed this Christmas.

  • Probaton Mikron

    Even in the Bible God conquered and redeemed customs that were practiced by idolaters (circumcision predated Abrahamic religion, there are similarities between the temples of Baal and the Old Testament temple, etc.). More recent moves of a similar type don’t corrupt Christmas (or Halloween, or …). If I kill a cow and eat it for dinner, the cow doesn’t “win” when its protein molecules become incorporated into my muscles, and I don’t become bovine through the process. No one would look at me and say, “You can tell that guy eats cows. He totally looks like one. He’s such a hypocrite, corrupting humanity like that.” The same kind of thing is true about the holidays that Christianity “eats.” Just like anything else, they lose their original significance and take on new meaning in their new context.

    Regarding pagans who think they’re “harming none” (cf. the Wiccan Rede), Scripture says they’re foot soldiers on the wrong side of a cosmic war. Even if they don’t injure people in a way that they recognize, God counts them as committing treason against his kingdom. That’s the common state of all humanity without Christ — all Christians should sympathize with it because it used to be our state too, and we were helpless to change it ourselves (e.g., Rom. 5:10; 1 Cor. 2:6-16; Eph. 1:20-2:9).

    Lastly, genuine thanks for all the harsh comments from modern pagans. I love having my Christmas stocking full of blessings (Matt. 5:11-12).

    • True American

      “Even if they don’t injure people in a way that they recognize, God counts them as committing treason against his kingdom.”

      Is a being knowingly enforcing such abusive and egomaniacal nonsense worthy of worship in the first place? I think the Ophites and Sethians had it right when they affirmed that the biblical god was a mere Demi-Urge:

      ‘Now the archon (ruler) who is weak has three names. The first name is Yaltabaoth, the second is Saklas (“fool”), and the third is Samael. And he is impious in his arrogance which is in him. For he said, “I am God and there is no other God beside me,” for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come.’ –Apocryphon of John,” translation by Frederik Wisse

      • Probaton Mikron

        God is highly other-centered via his altruistic and benevolent treatment of his people, which makes him far from egocentric. His rule is logically consistent so it’s not nonsense. And it’s not abusive because it aligns perfectly with the highest objective standard of morality, namely his character.

        The fact that fallen creatures perceive morality differently from this objective standard merely proves their own fallenness. It’s not surprising that fallible, fallen, finite creatures that find sin pleasurable would object to the claims God makes on their lives. The mistake is in thinking that our own fallen experience, logic and intuition should be able to lead us to a love for the truth. Truth is recognizable, but in our fallen state we reject it because we hate it.

        It’s worth mentioning in this regard that no one would be a Christian if the standard of faith was being convinced by logic and reason. The Bible specifically says that our faith looks foolish to the world, and that it takes a miraculous intervention by God in order to change the way we think and perceive. It’s not that logic and reason are insufficient guides to the truth, but rather than human beings are so corrupted by sin that we’re incapable of pure logical consistence and reason. In our fallenness, we define the questions to our advantage rather than according to God’s perspective. We ignore or deny critical premises and properly basic beliefs. We prioritize wrongly, equivocate, and sometimes just reject what should be obvious simply because we don’t like it. Of course, God’s opponents say the same thing about us, which just confirms our belief that Scripture is right about them.

        Anyway, regardless of how God’s enemies might (mis)characterize him, he still deserves to be worshipped for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that he justly destroys those that oppose his reign. There are plenty of examples in Scripture of the praise and worship God receives because he has destroyed the enemies that oppose him and his people. Not surprisingly, really. Destroying evil is one way that God shows benevolence toward his people. It protects them, and makes their world more enjoyable.

        And thanks for the response. I get brownie points for defending the faith, too. ;-)

  • Morgan Guyton

    This blog post is an intra-Christian conversation. Christians fret about the way that December 25th is an arbitrary date for the birth of Jesus and that the Christmas tree is not really a Christian symbol, etc. There’s been a lot of hand-wringing within the Christian community about this. That’s what Michael is responding to, saying that it’s okay if our customs are all mixed together with other peoples’ customs since Jesus is still worshiped but Caesar is not.

    I can recognize how a modern pagan would receive this as a personal attack on them. But what Michael meant by the word “pagan” in the context of the original brutality of the Roman Empire’s official religion is different than what self-identifying pagans understand their religion to be today. Of course, the sad irony is that Christianity basically picked up the baton that Caesar dropped in our own Western European imperialism, which hasn’t been any less brutal than the wars that Rome fought for its gods. So I’m not sure that the baby in a manger really did knock off Caesar. Caesar came back. His name today is Wall Street. And until Christians stop worshiping Wall Street as the chief temple of our civilization, we don’t deserve the title of Christian.

    • WhiteBirch

      “Bad news for neo-pagans like de Benoist, as long as “Hark the Herald Angels” and “O Holy Night” are songs people hear, sing, and enjoy at Christmas, they don’t stand a chance in hell.”

      Oh yeah, he’s TOTALLY not talking about us. My bad. *rolls eyes*

      • Marythewonderful

        We aren’t interested in taking over the religious imagination of everyone in the world like some other group I know. By the way, we do sing those songs too we’ve just tweaked some of the wording.

    • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

      This blog post is on an interfaith site, and as such, I would think some modicum of balance of tone and some mind paid to the use of words would be in order. Given the nature of how he explains his points, I find it hard to believe that Michael is stating anything other than “Christianity and Christ broke paganism”. Nowhere in his post did I detect anything to the effect that he was okay with peoples’ customs mixing in the celebration of Jesus, but I did detect much boisterousness about ‘conquering the pagan gods’ and the destruction of Rome’s power. It seems he also takes this to tack onto modern-day Paganism by quotes which others have already mentioned.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Massey/100000134766625 Jason Massey

    Amen Bro! This forum is a fulfillment of Deut 32:17-21 (The Song of Moses sang by the victorious saints in Rev 15:3-4) Let me explain…

    17They (the people of God) sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

    18Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

    19And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. (This caused his sons and daughters to stumble)

    20And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.

    21They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

    That foolish nation is here today (see author) claiming the Lord’s victory over a holiday shrouded in darkness. This moves some to jealousy and others to anger wo ohave no faith. Even in ignorance the Lord is getting the glory and triumphing over the World and all their vain traditions and devilish practices.

    Paul spoke of in his epistles there being weak believers and strong believers. This article appeals to the Lordship of Christ in a believers heart when it comes to celebrating Jesus. However, Christmas is a Roman catholic invention, an amalgamation of Christianity and Paganism. Are idols anything? No, but to a weak believer when you celebrate Christmas You make it seem like it’s okay to practice paganism provoking them, what you are really doing is putting up a devilish stumbling block for the weaker (sometimes more knowledgable) believer.

    To the writer of this article “Good job!” “Jesus just kicked the Roman gods and all the evil that they stood for in the testiculus”, haha. It’s an awesome thing what God has done.

    And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
    4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.)

  • BarleyCreek

    Amen Bro! This forum is a fulfillment of Deut 32:17-21 (The Song of Moses sang by the victorious saints in Rev 15:3-4) Let me explain…

    17They (the people of God) sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

    18Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

    19And when the LORD saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons, and of his daughters. (This caused his sons and daughters to stumble)

    20And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.

    21They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.

    That foolish nation is here today (see author) claiming the Lord’s victory over a holiday shrouded in darkness. This moves some to jealousy and others to anger who have no faith. Even in ignorance the Lord is getting the glory and triumphing over the World and all their vain traditions and devilish practices.

    Paul spoke of in his epistles there being weak believers and strong believers. This article appeals to the Lordship of Christ in a believers heart when it comes to “celebrating Jesus”. However, Christmas is a Roman catholic invention, an amalgamation of Christianity and Paganism. Are idols anything? No, but to a weak believer when you celebrate Christmas You make it seem like it’s okay to practice paganism provoking them, what you are really doing is putting up a devilish stumbling block for the weaker (sometimes more knowledgable) believer.

    To the writer of this article “Good job!” “Jesus just kicked the Roman gods and all the evil that they stood for in the testiculus”, haha. It’s an awesome thing what God has done.

    “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
    4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”

  • eric devries

    We are not defeated. Blessings on you and yours.

  • JE

    I have worked with a number of different pagans over the years. My observation is that most have a sense of being burned by traditional Christianity. I’m sure this is a generalization but it is based on counseling many pagans. That is part of the reason for the strong reaction.

    • True American

      let’s not forget our brothers in the sisters in the past who were quite literally burned by traditional Christianity…..

    • Donna

      That could be part of it for some. For myself, I feel compelled to respond because this diatribe was written on Patheos.com, a website that supposedly offers “Balanced Views of Religion and Spirituality”, and this article offers neither. It wasn’t enough for Mr. Bird to write about ancient Christianity’s survival in the face of oppression, he chose to toss modern Paganism and the hope of a peaceful pluralistic society under the bus, too (See paragraph 2: “Second, note also the forthright desire of some European intellectuals to return western civilization back to a pagan pluralism as if paganism will lead to a more open minded and tolerant society (see Alain de Benoist’s On Being a Pagan). Bad news for Decian – his empire is gone and Jesus not Solus Invictus is celebrated on Dec 25. Bad news for neo-pagans like de Benoist, as long as “Hark the Herald Angels” and “O Holy Night” are songs people hear, sing, and enjoy at Christmas, they don’t stand a chance in hell.”).

      I personally don’t feel particularly burned by traditional Christianity. I do take exception to bigotry wherever it rears it’s ugly little head, and it does evoke a strong response from me.

    • kenneth

      I wouldn’t say most of us feel “burned” by Christianity. Just deeply…unimpressed. We pagans tend to be big believers in the notion that a person’s actions, not their words, reveal their true character.

      So too it is with ideas. We judge a tree by the fruit it bears. In Christianity, we see a tree that purports to grow and propagate the perfect love and humility of a god-man named Christ. And yet, it produces predominantly rotten and poisonous fruit and seeds. Absolutely staggering numbers of the most petty, vicious and angry people we tend to meet in our lives. We would expect to find some of those everywhere. We certainly have our own share.

      On the other hand, Christianity so many of them at such levels of depravity that most of us find no correlation whatsoever between Christian identity and Christ-like behavior. In fact, the opposite is usually true. We see an inverse relationship there. The decent Christians we know very often seem to be that way in spite of, not because, of their religion. The louder someone proclaims their Christian identity to me, the more I hitch up my sword belt and prepare for the worst. That instinct is usually spot-on.

      We are pagan not because we are cheesed off at Christianity but because our own gods speak to our hearts more truly than does yours. The behavior of your own people seems to indicate a fundamental flaw with the underlying idea, but it may simply be that your culture has deeply corrupted your own experience of the divine.

      Whatever the cause of that disconnect, the end result is a crop of people who embody values and behaviors we don’t wish to aspire to or emulate in any way. Whether they realize it or not, the angriest, most triumphalist Christians are the best possible missionaries for our side (and that of secular humanism), bar none. We don’t send out missionaries because it’s anathema to our understanding of the divine, but if we did, I could not raise a better force than you are providing us even if I had all of Bill Gate’s and Warren Buffet’s fortunes and ad agencies at my disposal.

  • Guest

    Wow Mike youve got quite a Pagan fanbase. Who would have thought. When all is said and done they know which blogs to go to for truth.

    I know what’s going on here. The movie Thor that just came out has got the Pagans all riled up. lol. Theres a reason though its in the same genre as Superman and Green Lantern et al.

  • kenneth

    Two facts reveal that Christianity has NOT triumphed over paganism. First, the raging insecurity of Christians like Mr. Bird are testament to the fact that they have conquered nothing. Like most Evangelicals these days, his words carry a tone of defensiveness. Of desperation. Of gratuitous mockery and bravado they hope we will mistake for true confidence.

    Real victors don’t need to constantly remind people of their status. It speaks for itself. You don’t see infectious disease doctors crowing in journals about the triumph of germ theory over “miasmas” as the cause of infection. They simply don’t need to. You don’t see molecular biologists beating the drum about how the discoverers of DNA as the genetic code stomped those who advocated proteins as the carrier of inheritance. You don’t hear any AIDS experts yelling “Boo-Ya!” at the crackpots who still insist HIV is not the cause. It wouldn’t be worth their time. The possessors of settled truth have a quiet confidence.

    Evangelicals and similar Christians are more akin to the communists of the mid 1980s. The more the world could see that their movement was a hollow crumbling stump, the louder they yelled they were winning and were history’s final and unchallengable product. All of us who have ever seen the Wizard of Oz remember this phenomenon. Even as the Wizard was exposed as a man with a special effects machine, his voice rose in anger and indignation. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” (aka the lie).

    It’s too late, Mr. Bird. The culture at large has seen the man behind the curtain in the charade of literalist Christianity. The assertion that Christianity has vanquished paganism, and that Christ was born on Dec. 25 is a bald-faced lie. We know it’s a lie, and you know that we know it’s a lie. Your own holy book lends no support to the idea of a mid-winter Nativity, and is more suggestive of early to mid September. You ought to just drop the charade. It may impress your own loyalist, but not anyone who can read and reason for themselves.

    Second, our continued existence as pagans gives the lie to your assertion of a complete and final Christian triumph. Your movement has spent 15 centuries of ceaseless effort trying to eradicate paganism. You have had at your disposal the full military and political might of every Western government and empire in that time. You have had, and taken, the latitude to use bribery, torture and genocide on a massive scale to achieve your ends.

    All that advantage, and you failed, utterly. Not only is paganism still here, it is growing and attaining a critical mass and a mainstream status that is has not had since the 5th Century, at least. More than that, your own religious leaders are clearly in a panic over this. The Pope and many other high profile Christian leaders openly speak of America and Europe as missionary grounds these days. That’s a curious disconnect. On the one hand, you insist that our movement is dead and that we are all just a tiny handful of deluded Ren-Faire rejects and goth kids. At the same time, you’re marshalling massive resources to try once again to eradicate us and our influence in the culture. You’ve got 1500 plus years of a perfect track record of failure staring you in the face, but we pagans and our gods DO admire persistence. You’ll get ‘em next year! Go Team X-Mas!

  • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

    Ah, I see what you’re doing here! Very clever indeed!

    You’ve embraced the spirit of Saturnalia so intensely and deeply that you’ve written this brilliant satire of Christian pseudo-intellectualism and this ridiculous comedy of reversals that has no bearing on reality at all for all of us to enjoy in the spirit of the season! Brilliant job, sir!

    Felix Saturnalia to you, then! As you’ll see, the sun still comes up on the 25th, newly-born, and while you may call it Jesus, “the sun of justice,” thank all the gods we live in a world in which pluralism is the tangible reality rather than this exclusivism you are affecting (so cleverly and so scathingly toward those who actually believe something so nonsensical) here.

  • Guest

    Mikes post isnt defensive at all. In fact its directed at fellow believers. The vitriol with which the pagans have responded to a Christian post to Christians smacks of a great deal of defensiveness and desperation.
    In response several posts here have attempted to marshall every conceivable conceptual weapon against Christianity as a whole as a result of one post. Sounds quite defensive to me.

    But whats all the fuss about. Did pagans really think that we didnt believe and rejoice in the fact that Jesus is Lord? Thats Christianity 101. Christians have always claimed Jesus to be Lord. Not one Lord among many but the Lord of all. When we say “Jesus is Lord” we’re not saying that Jesus is merely revered but rather that He alone is Lord of all and reigns supreme. This is central to the Christian message. Perhaps to those who have drunk deeply at the fountain of postmodernism this may seem extreme but Mike is merely reiterating an historic Christian belief. This doesnt imply a lack of love but is merely the proclaimation of who reigns.

    If a pagan wrote a piece on here extolling the virtues of Isis, Ceres, Gaia or Eywa very few Christians are going to feel threatened. Confused, amused or irritated perhaps but not threatened. In the NT Paul even encouraged Christians to eat whatever meat is set before them without worrying about whether it was previously sacrificed to an idol. Why? because the “god’s” they were offered to arnt god’s at all. Its no threat. This is central to our faith.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dsalisbury David Salisbury

      Guest- no one is decrying your right to believe that “Jesus is Lord.” What we decry is this language of “triumph over Paganism” which is both historically inaccurate and socially offensive. Pagans are more than happy to live in a world with multiple faiths, but all we ask is the ability to revere the Old Gods in peace without such slander being flown about. What is truly desperate is the insecurity of faith that drives people to write things like this article and what you have said above.

      christian churches are closing and pews and increasingly becoming empty. The way to fill them up is not to alienate people. I dont have a particular interest in seeing christianity succeed, but those who do might want to engage in interfaith dialog that serves to bridge the gap that contributes to disrespect and condemnation.

      • Probaton Mikron

        First, your post is self-contradictory. “Jesus is Lord” means “Jesus has triumphed over all others.” It means “Jesus is the highest king of all, ruling over every other so-called authority and power.” You really should object to “Jesus is Lord” if you want to be consistent.

        Second, Christianity has a much bigger share of the pie now than it did in the first century. Or the second century. Or the third century. And so on. Globally, it’s continuing to expand. Certainly Christianity has grown far more than paganism since the first century.

        Third, as far as church growth strategies go, the trend is that churches that have engaged in interfaith dialog are shrinking and closing, while exclusivist evangelical churches are growing. In the U.S. Evangelicals now outnumber mainline members by a substantial margin. Mainline church membership has dropped from 55% in 1973 to 18% currently.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dsalisbury David Salisbury

          Oh don’t get me wrong- I certainly do not believe Jesus is lord of anything. But I pointed out that it is ones right to believe that he is. Just as it is my right to believe that Goddess is the Great Creator of all things.

          The problem you people have is exactly what you displayed with those numbers. You become so focused on converting the masses that the quality of your faith practices becomes muddied and diluted with conversation tactics. It loses effectiveness. If someone were to ever convert me to Christianity (not going to happen), it would be through a kind Christian minister of probably a UU or other progressive church who welcomes interfaith dialog and free-thinking. So the evangelical would lose my “soul vote” in that case.

  • Robinquinn

    Oh for… On the behalf of the rest of Christianity, I apologise. I’m not going to go into detail on the many ways this article is childish, inaccurate, or just badly written, because that’s been done already. I just want to point out that all you have done is made all the other, proper Christians look bad. Y’know, love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek? All that stuff that guy Jesus said? I know he’s a little obscure, but try to keep up.

    • erapinator

      Robinquinn the mistake youve made here is to assume that love and the proclamation of truth are mutually exclusive. This is fallacious.
      Jesus taught love but also proclaimed His Lordship. Why do you think He called Himself the Son of Man? Turning the other cheek does not mean denial of ones beliefs. Where did you get that idea? In fact how loving would we be if we didnt proclaim the truth? Chiding Christians for this is like chiding Gaia worshippers for honouring the earth. The proclamation of Christ’s Lordship is in our DNA and central to our message. Thats partly why Christians were hated 2000 years ago when they eschewed the entire pantheon of Roman gods. “Come on Christians dont be small minded -worship some of our god’s too so we can all get along”, they said. Nevertheless we proclaimed Christ’s exclusive Lordship then and we continue to do so now. Pagan roman citizens probably responded verbally in a roughly similar manner to way people are responding on this blog.

      Also note that its not against paganism alone; we would (and do) declare Christ’s triumph over all. In this case it happened to be about paganism because of Christmas but we would readily affirm Christ’s triumph over every other deity, lord, god, garden fairy, phase of the sun or philosophical system.

      • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

        It’s funny you should mention this, because in your Gospel of Mark, Jesus berates Peter and says “Get thee behind me, Satan!” when Peter even suggests that Jesus might be the Messiah. And yet, you boast of the fact that followers of your religion call him “Lord Over All”…It’s certainly not a very consistent message.

        • erapinator

          P. Sufenus Virius Lupus in this instance Jesus was not berating Peter for calling Him Lord (which he did elsewhere without incident) but rather for trying to prevent Him from going to Jerusalem to suffer.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            My apologies–I stand corrected.

          • MQP

            And that’s it? You write such a blatant lie about the Bible, and all you say is “My apologies–I stand corrected.” Think before you write, not the other way around!

          • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

            Where is your sense of forgiveness? Recognizing one is at fault and is wrong is a sign of maturity.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            You people write blatant lies about other religions, history, and anything under the sun all the time, and never apologize. None of you ever seem to think before you write or say something. And yet you think you’re the great religion of forgiveness…Now, that most certainly is a mixed message.

          • Probaton Mikron

            LOL. A completely bigoted accusation of bigotry. Talk about “mixed messages.” Gotta love it. Thanks for tarring us all with the same brush. For the record, I think your original apology was fine. But now you owe the rest of us one. ;-)

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            I do make exceptions for the occasional virtuous Christian that I’ve met, once they’ve proven themselves to be virtuous. (And they’re becoming more rare, unfortunately, as time goes on.) You have not done so, and crowing about bigotry and that others owe you apologies is hardly very Christian behavior.

            The “you people” I was addressing in my previous comment were the exact Christians I’m speaking of who do lie, omit, distort, and exaggerate when it serves their purpose. Are you among those? Then no apology is necessary–it was an accusation, and one that fits the situation and the personality of those concerned. Are you not among those? Then I wasn’t talking to you, and you shouldn’t be offended.

          • Probaton Mikron

            Wow, touchy much? LOL. But thanks for increasing my heavenly rewards (Matt. 5:11-12). BTW, just for your future reference, the winking emoticon normally indicates that someone isn’t entirely series. “You people” sure are easy to set off.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            One thing I just love about people like you–and by that, I mean people who argue the way you specifically do, and not Christians or anyone else generally–is how you think pointing out the emotions of other people in an argument somehow invalidates the arguments concerned. “Ooh, you’re touchy,” “ooh, you get angry easily,” and so forth, is a really sly, but not always effective, way to avoid actually dealing with the issues raised. You must have been a champion debater at some point.

            What makes you think for a moment that you’ll be getting any heavenly rewards? What I am doing to you here is not remotely like what was done to the prophets before you–and rightly so, because those things are illegal now. If all it takes is for some person to disparage you for your religion in order for you to earn heavenly rewards, then no wonder so many Christians–and I must include you in that generalization in this case–are so eager for persecution and welcome it so readily. Thank you for proving my point in my earlier article. It’s wonderful,isnt’ it, when that kind of logic (if it can be called that) applies only to your own religion, and gives you carte blanche to disparage and persecute other religions to your heart’s content. I may be wrong in this, but Jesus only seemed to disparage people of his own religion when they were hypocrites,and didn’t really have too many words about people of other religions (other than when they believed in him–and even then, he said nothing of their religions).

            Incidentally, what sort of apology would please you? And if I were to offer one to you, would you do me the same courtesy? I’m honestly curious, and would be interested in hearing your honest answer.

          • Probaton Mikron

            These things are getting really skinny. Anyway, In case you missed it in my earlier posts, I don’t want an apology. I never wanted one. I just find your hypocrisy funny. I guess I also found it funny that you tried to justify your hypocrisy by pretending to say that you were criticising only people who write lies, etc., when the guy you were responding to hadn’t done that. I guess I also find it amusing that you get so riled up about what I think, since you clearly think I’m an evil idiot. You really take yourself too seriously. I’d recommend lightening up and practicing some of that tolerance your fellow pagans keep talking about. And while you’re at it, you might also stop pretending to be an expert on Christian doctrine — that part is funny too. No worries, though. I forgive you. :-)

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            Rather than “thinking thin,” I’ll just reply up-thread.

            Please point out in a specific manner how anything I’ve written in this thread is hypocritical. I made a mistake in remembering a passage from a text in your religion, that was pointed out, I apologized for my error, and then I was berated and told (by someone else) that an apology was not enough. I pointed out–correctly–that many people of your religion regularly lie and distort matters about other religions and never apologize. Then, you jumped in and asked for an apology, and after a bit of back-and-forth, in which you also told me I’m “touchy,” I asked what sort of apology you’d prefer, and you’ve said you never wanted one. Emoticon implications or not, that seems pretty childish.

            One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a discussion of any sort is to tell your interlocutor what they think, and you’ve just done that. I don’t think you’re an “evil idiot”; I do think you’re annoying, and that you have a very poor grasp of what is appropriate in a serious discussion, and you do evince many signs of ignorance on a number of matters; but I’d never say you’re evil or an idiot based on any of those things–it is possible to be annoying, inappropriate, and ignorant while still being a fundamentally good person and a non-idiot, and everyone has a lapse on occasion. If you knew anything about me, you’d know that I do not take myself seriously, except where it is important to do so; however, I take my work very seriously indeed, and discussions like this are part of my work.

            If there are any faults in my knowledge of Christian doctrine, you can blame the Jesuits who gave me my M.A. in religious studies, all of which was on Christianity, and in which I had a 4.0 GPA. I freely admit I’m no expert on things Christian, and I do get things wrong (as I did above), but I know much more about your religion than you do about mine.

            Also, in continuing to have this conversation with you, I’m being far more tolerant than is probably advisable. I try to make it a rule not to practice tolerance wherever it can be avoided–yes, you read that correctly–because to tolerate someone means I wish they would go away, but I can put up with them; I prefer to actually accept and embrace people where they are, insofar as I’m able. I don’t see you being able to do that at all, at least if the current conversation is anything to go by.

            If you actually do have anything useful to contribute to this discussion, outside of further ad hominem snipes and snide comments, I’d certainly be interested in reading it.

          • Probaton Mikron

            Well now, that was much better than your earlier posts. You reigned in your rhetoric, and wrote clearly and intelligently. Thank you.

            Please understand that I have never had any interest in debating your perspectives. Again, I just find you funny. That’s really the whole of it. But since you think my amusement is out of line, and since you would prefer a more serious exchange, I’ll try to explain it in more detail:

            Regarding your hypocrisy: MQP didn’t write any lies about anything (writing such lies would be an example of bigotry against the target religions). All he did was object to your apology. (As I mentioned in my first post, I thought he was wrong.) Further, no one had asked him for an apology that he had subsequently chosen not to render. Moreover, he said nothing about Christianity being a great religion of forgiveness. Since the person you were addressing hadn’t done any of the things you mentioned, and since your response was directed to him (not to some imaginary posters who had done the things in your accusation) — I pause here to note that the word “you” naturally includes the one being addressed — the only reasonable understanding of the term “you people” was “you Christians.” Your subsequent protestation that you weren’t talking about him was prima facie preposterous.

            You then went on to confirm my interpretation of your opinion by admitting, “I do make exceptions for the occasional virtuous Christian that I’ve met, once they’ve proven themselves to be virtuous.” Preliminarily judging Christians guilty because of their membership in that group is “prejudice” by simple definition, i.e., bigotry. (This particular line of argument was also funny in and of itself, since your primary defense against the charge of bigotry was to explain that, in fact, you are a bigot.)

            So, your primary objection against MQP was that he was part of a group that was biased against other religions (i.e., that he was a bigot), and your primary means of attack against him was itself bigotry. Ergo, you are a hypocrite. Not surprising that people might find that funny — many sitcoms rely on similar setups and punchlines.

            As to your opinion that emoticons and playful banter are childish, I’m afraid I have no comeback. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion. But they are pretty standard fare in discussion threads, and you should at least be familiar with them and the way they are normally used to convey and/or alter meaning.

            Finally, I’m guessing you don’t really want me to respond to the ad hominem bits at the end of your most recent post, since you already objected to ad hominem argumentation. I’ll spare you the natural joke here, though I do find it funny.

            I also won’t dwell long on your equivocation on the concept of “persecution,” which you say I have done to others via my words (again, the inclusive “you”) but that you haven’t done to me since real persecution is illegal. Again, natural joke bypassed.

            Finally, I’ll pass over the natural joke about your 4.0 GPA vis-a-vis the fact that the verses I referenced (which are quite well-known and easy to look up) specifically mention insults and false statements — both of which are entirely verbal and very legal, at least in our context.

            I’m pretty sure any further pursuit of my opinion that you are funny would merely annoy you further. And frankly, though the jokes just keep writing themselves, the riff is getting old.

            I’ll let you have the last word.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            Ave Angerona, Dea Silentia!

          • Lawrenceatacademia

            Don’t let him bother you boss, we all make those mistakes in biblical correction, what matters is you remained malleable.

          • Lawrenceatacademi

            Just saw this. Impressed that there are people who are willing to stand corrected. I stand corrected. :)

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            No worries–we all make misteaks. ;)

        • Lawrenceatacademia

          Ok, this is certainly mistaken. Jesus rebukes Peter after Peter takes him aside to rebuke him for qualifying his Messiahship by suffering and vindication. For Peter, at least his conception of Messiahship doesn’t entail a suffering Messiah. The “satan” reference must be considered in the light of Peter being used as a tool to take Jesus off the path to the cross. Jesus is quite consistent that his sonship/Messiahship entails suffering it’s Peter who tries to make him “not very consistent.” Good try though.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            As you’ll see below, I’ve acknowledged that I mis-remembered that particular quote, and apologized for having done so. That, however, doesn’t seem to be good enough for some of your co-religionists.

        • A Nobody

          You ought to get your facts straight. Jesus said, Get thee behind me Satan!” to Peter, not because he acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, in fact He blessed him for it: “For flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” but because Peter was trying to rebuke Jesus for prophecying His own upcoming persecution, suffering, death, and resurection in Jerusalem. Peter was seeing things in merely mortal terms and not by God’s standards.
          Your statement was pure ignorance. Niether in Mark’s version, nor in Matthew’s does your quote fit the context. In fact it is the Rock of Revelation from the Father that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, that Christ’s true Church is built upon: “… and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”, not Peter as Roman Catholics claim. Constantine could make “Christianity” the official religion of Rome, but he couldn’t legislate “faith in the heart”, a nescessary prerequisite for conversion. Obviously, many pagans infiltrated that church, just going through the motions of rituals, to keep their Roman standing.
          But as far as celebrating Dec 25th as Jesus’ birthday, most “Christians” could be rebuked for, like Peter, seeing things in merely human terms. And so many other ‘significant’ days are celebrated ignorantly. Like, if Jesus was raised from the dead on a Sunday morning, He certainly wasn’t crucified on a Friday evening. And naming, in many languages, the day they celebrate as Resurection Day after a variation of the name of a pagan godess of spring and fertility and the dawn, Ishtar. No wonder we have Ishtar bunnies and Ishtar eggs etc.
          But what if we just celebrate Today. Today is as good a day as any to repent and turn toward God. Like He said to Israel and He says to us: “If Today you hear His voice do not harden your hearts …” And what if today we receive the gift of Christ into our hearts:”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (Unto us this day is born a child in the City of David…) that whosoever would believe on Him, (for if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.) should not perish but have everlasting life.
          Today we can celebrate the Word of God coming into the world and becoming flesh, taking on a full share in our humanity. He knows how we feel for He was tempted in every way that we are. And through Him we have access to the Father who loves us, to the throne of grace for help in our time of need, where we can cast all our cares on Him for He cares for us. Today we can keep His commandments and “Love one another.” Today we can remember “The Bride got herself ready..”, and eagerly look forward to His Coming.
          Today there should be “peace on earth toward men of goodwill.” Today. Celebrate Today.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            It’s generally considered good practice to read the rest of a particular comment thread before responding. As you’ll see, I’ve acknowledged that my quotation was incorrect, and I’ve duly apologized.

            As for the rest of your theological assertions: if they work for you, wonderful; they do not work for me, nor for many of my co-religionists, and we ask that you respect that and do not attempt to impose your ways upon us.

          • A Nobody

            I, too, stand corrected, please forgive my poor practice of not following the thread any further to see that you had apologized, for what it was worth. If your ‘comment’ hadn’t seemed so trollish, like it was a deliberate twisting of the Scriptures, then I would have overlooked it, as I usually do the snide remarks of the ignorant. But other people come to these sites as well, and Christians are supposed to have a mindset for the defense of the Gospel. So if a Christian is encouraged, then I am encouraged. I am not ashamed of the Gospel; it is the power of God unto salvation to THOSE WHO BELIEVE.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            I also forgive your ignorance and arrogance in assuming that I’m a “troll,” rather than someone who writes a regular column for Patheos.com, which I am, and I have been contributing to this site since mid-2010. (It may be in a section of it that you don’t read or know about, for which you can also be forgiven.)

            I don’t think you should be ashamed of your religious beliefs; I, however, deal in things that are experienced and known, not in what is “believed.” That is the most basic difference between Christianity and many other religions, in my opinion.

          • A Nobody

            Well, I’m not asking for forgiveness in the matter of considering your ‘comment’ as trollish, and especially with your obviously superior credentials, such a blunder can hardly be written off as an honest mistake. Your Jesuit professors would be appalled. (The Jesuits being the Roman Catholic Elite.) And at your suggestion I did read the rest of the thread(s),[kind of a spiders web, except where those whose God is a consuming fire burns it away]. One serious error among the “pagans” is identifying the Roman Catholic Church with anything that even remotely resembles true Christianity, instead of recognizing her as the mother of harlots and all the worlds abominations. So I guess we can attribute your bias and unbelief to their influence. I could go on, but what’s the point. You and I are the only ones who have posted in days. Probation Micron said that he found your arguments as funny, and as I read his arguments I must admit I did grin some. (You might want to forgive me for that some.) But now I just pity you. And I know you don’t think you need or desire that, but you say that you deal in things that are experienced and known, and it’s just incredibly sad that you don’t know that you can know Him and experience the Father’s great love. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and He told His disciples, “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.”, and, “When the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” But He can only be “known” by faith, and it’s a knowing that surpasses all “knowledge”. How can I express the inexpressible joy you would experience if you were achieving faith’s goal- your salvation. And how can I describe the peace of God that passes all understanding? What separates Christians from other religions is joy, peace and righteousness from the Holy Spirit, whom the Father gives to those who obey Him. He gives every man freewill, and He gives every man the measure of faith, and He commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the Gospel because it is not His will that any should perish but that all should come to the Saving Knowledge of His Son. He gives you the faith, like an allowance (or inheritance), your choice, in the exercise of your freewill, is in what you spend it on. Will you spend it on faith in Christ in obedience, or squander it on harlots (the world)? Jesus before Pilate said that He came into the world to testify of (to) the Truth. Pilate, as the world’s representative, answered: “Truth, what is that?” The world’s view is that truth is all relative, no such thing as Absolute Truth. But to ignore God is absolute ignorance, and for any man, or all men put together for that matter to think that man can know better than the Creator of all things is absolute arrogance. But what do I know? I’m just a common man of no standing, a nobody. And with all due respect to your education and your credentials, it’s seriously sad that with your great knowledge and experience, you probably won’t know or experience Him. I do pity you.

          • P. Sufenas Virius Lupus

            And I pity your arrogance and your hubris in thinking you’ve got it all figured out, and that others do not.

            I tire of the “no true Scotsman” arguments of various types of Christians where Catholicism is concerned. If there had been no Catholicism, there would not be most other forms of Christianity (excepting several of the Orthodox churches), and the disdain you show for people who essentially believe all you do and share your faith, and in fact gave your daughter traditions the opportunity to have their faith in the first place, is truly pitiable.

            I said I deal in knowledge and experience, not faith nor belief. I have experience of your god, and your Jesus–or, should I say, Jesus, because the “Jesus” most of you believe in is not the one I have experienced–and these are not in any conflict with any of the other gods. When you can actually speak about knowledge and experience, rather than simply quoting the writings of the followers of Jesus’ disciples (who in most cases didn’t know the man himself), then perhaps we’ll have something to discuss. Your arguments meanwhile, which consist of quoting your own religion’s scriptures to prove your religion is correct, boil down to circular argumentation, and there is no arena of human endeavor where circular arguments have any standing whatsoever.

            Until then, you may not have asked for my forgiveness, but I grant it to you anyway. You may choose not to accept it, but that doesn’t stop me from granting it, and doing so sincerely.

          • A Nobody

            I hope I didn’t keep you gentlemen waiting too long, but a reported threat to my daughter’s security came to my ear. Confident that this fear should not alarm me, I nevertheless took time to inquire. Any fear I might have had is now relieved. My daughters guardians are capable, and our strong tower is mightily defended. I took some time time to counsel with Zenas, our attorney. At his advice, I shall keep this brief. By the way, did you miss me? Yes you did, I know you did. Missed me. Missed me now you gotta kiss me. Hee, hee, hee. And, Oh my! When in Rome, dress as the Romans do. How silly of me. As for growing weary, you should try the words of Jeremiah. My line of reasoning, which you equate with true Scotsman, I prefer to call the pickle test. It’s basic premise states: “All pickles are cucumbers, but not many cucumbers are pickles.” It seems that many have never heard, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Having never tasted, you seem to wish to lump cucumbers and pickles into the same category. Oh, dear me, look at the time! Oh well, if I must answer charges of arrogance and hubris, then it shall be before my Master, whose bondslave I am. I was bought, and at no small price. So it matters little to me whether you or countless other courts pass judgement on me. (Humans, mere mortals.) If I am guilty as charged, then I alone shall bear it. He is a just Lord and will not let the guilty go unpunished. But He is also wise and kind and knows my limitations. But oh those spankings… oops, did I slip? (blush) I mean scourgings, when I go through them, it doesn’t seem like I should be very happy:( (ouch!), but when its all over, and He dries my tears, I’m much more peaceable and thankful to be trained in His school;) It’s time to fly. Or is it flee? Fly? Flee? Oh, yes, flee. I must flee Rome at once. The lusty Roman stallions are threatening to defile my skirts, and I am so weak. I must flee immediately lest I incur opprobrium. Not that they would have much chance, but you know how men can lie. So as I take leave, (and may the god’s do such and so to me if I return without invitation and escort, like to the dances, where circular argumentaion is judged by grace and fluidity of motion and certainly not overruled:) Sometimes the shortest distance between two pionts isn’t a line… it’s a curve. I rest my case Your Honor. And no you big, bad troll you are not going to get my goat!:), to all the Friends: I hope you find an honest answer and consider it a fond kiss. Farewell. P.S. to P.S.V.L.: I forgive you too. maybe even love you a little bit, but really man : JESUS LOVES YOU– AMEN

      • Poli

        The idea of Christ being lord over all is just a device mentally lazy adherents use to go around feining certainty and privilege when neither exists. Tools of alpha framing and coercion.

        Everyone clap for the attempt made by Christians to hijack the celebration traditions of other cultures.

  • Marythewonderful

    Don’t you Christians see that this belief that Christianity must be the one and only official religion is nothing but destructive to life and culture? The unspoken rule is that you are allowed to condescend and consider invalid anyone who doesn’t believe as you do. (See MB’s “humor” comment.) All kinds of bullying mischief can happen because of a belief like that and as I said below we have an epidemic of bullying and hate crimes in this country. I believe alot of it is because that very chauvinistic Christian belief gives haters permission to bully others. To bully The Other. To kick them in the “testiculus”. To me it’s personal. A loved one of mine has accused me of Satan worship. Another friend has told me I’m going to hell. We all have stories like that. Stories of bullying. Is that what Jesus was all about… really?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000524352678 Ethan Ritter

    I am a Roman Pagan, who worships the Roman gods with love and reverence in my heart. As said by others of my faith, I proudly claim the legacy of Cicero, of Plutarch, of Plato, of Julian the Blessed, of Hypatia, and all the other luminaries of the ancient world as my own. My ancestors and my gods do not stand for evil; they stand for order, peace, prosperity and civilization. Your ignorant and zealous hatred cannot change those things.

  • Jim

    Well I thought the article was a pretty fun read. I read through a few comments, you definitely seem to have gotten the pagan crowd riled up. Good for you, and Merry Christmas!

    • Mark

      Maybe, rather, the response is more akin to what Paul writes to his fellow Jews: “The Gentiles blaspheme God because of you….” (Romans 2:24). After all, we Christians have stopped listening to Jesus for centuries.

  • mamiel

    “Christmas means that the unconquerable god of the Romans just got conquered.”

    If just one person is left who still recognizes that god on December 25th, you have not conquered. I say rather you have appropriated.

    My family will recognize Sol Invictus and celebrate Saturnalia again this year, just as my Roman ancestors did.

    Your bleating article is one of the countless reaffirmations I have encountered that leaving Christianity and raising my children to celebrate the gods was the right thing to do.

    Your article isn’t a testament to the power of righteousness but rather to the insidiousness of fanatical faiths that have always sought to homogenize the world at the point of a sword while gloating that they are the defenders of “peace”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christian-Kurt-Reyes/1526599891 Christian Kurt Reyes

    Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Colossains 2:15

    You know what? God does shout ‘scoreboard’!

  • http://profiles.google.com/razajac Ron Zajac

    I’m not a Christian, nor am I a Pagan (which is part of why I’m not a Christian!).

    But I _am_ a member of a Church which has as one of its central mottos: “F**k ‘Em If They Can’t Take a Joke”.

    And, for this august reason, I stand in solidarity with the Original Posters. You can rest assured that someone, somewhere fully understands your persecution.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kayt-Rivermoon/1475280080 Kayt Rivermoon

    Merry Christmas to all Christians, Happy Yule/Solstice to all you Pagans ! Y’know, guys n gals, all that Roman stuff happened about three hundred years after Joshua/Jesus died. How much of the “Your god is better than my god” stuff is really Jesus speaking, and how much is the Roman church’s need for social control and unification ? There are a number of accounts of Jesus’ acts which didn’t make it into the New Testament–The gnostic gospels to name one set.
    I think that comparing Pagan missteps and Christian missteps would come up as a tie.

    • Paul Worden

      The earliest of the Gnostic gospels is mid-second century, with no apostolic line. They are incredible and of no use in the study of the historic Jesus.

      On the other point, Jesus did point out the superiority of God over the gods of this world. On one occasion (among others) He was exorcizing demons when He was questioned about it. His response was a declaration of superiority: “…if by the finger of God I cast out demons, then the Kingdom f God has come among you.”

  • Anonymous

    It’s quite telling that Dr. Bird seems to have taken leave of any attempt at further discussion. Presumably he prefers to simply post provocative blog articles and sit back and watch the drama unfold. That’s kind of pathetic.

    • kenneth

      “Further discussion”? He never had anything of substance to say in the first place. It was an attempt to stir the pot for ratings, basically. If you look at virtually all of his other blog posts, you’ll see that they typically generate, at the very most, 2 comments, and probably a commensurate number of views. It worked, as manufactured controversy always does, in the short run, but when all the dust settles, it becomes apparent that he’s all trash talk and no game.

  • Betoquintas

    inhumanity? irreligious? history shows otherwise. what we call humanity was forget by pagan thinkers. pagan folks have much more religious awe from sunset to sundown than any christian in a mass. if we see history without the theology glass, we see that what christmas brings is exactly this robbering, murdering, slaghtering and plundering…in His name! your religion owns much to paganism, neoplatonism and folcklore, without speaking all aspects of divine king slaughted and ressurected mythos from where Christ unshameful copied. so, tell me again, how christianism won over paganism?

    • Betoquintas

      I mean, humanity was forged [not forget] by pagan thinkers. sorry, bad spelling.

  • Tsolo Moya

    According to my understanding,25th of December was not the on which Jesus was born,if you need more clarificatoin you can contact me on ‘tsolo.moya@gmail.com or on facebook ‘tsolo patrick moya’…..

    • Tsolo Moya

      That day it was the day when the Apostles get together celebrating the Christianity day,it didn’t started with Jesus but with Apostle Peter which was the custodian of Christ……….

  • Peterb37

    This is just pure unmitigated bullshit.

  • Anna Anunnaki

    So adopting the pagan practices, rituals and lying about the day Jesus was born is triumphing? If you say so…go team Christian.

    • A Nobody

      First of all Anna, you’re commenting on a pretty much dead post. Most of the comments are at least 2yrs. old. And second of all you shouldn’t let their ignorance insult you so much. It almost sounds as if you think “team Christian” and Roman Catholic deception is the same thing. Jesus said to His disciples, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” But I know the zeal. Beware of “casting your pearls before swine.”
      PS. this system must have forgotten me, so I’ll just post as a guest.


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