Friday, 21 December 2007

UCG Warns the World!


Yes brethren, the United Church of God, an International Association is living (ahem) up to its "international" reputation, with priceless publicity in Taipei.

Check out the Xmas article that prominently features UCG's West Virginia pastor John Foster (shown in the picture prior to stopping off for fried rice on the way home from services in Roanoke.) Put this guy in a red suit with a stick-on beard and don't you think he'd make a perfect Santa!

John has obviously been a busy little bee with similar free publicity a tad closer to home - in North Dakota (you'll need to scroll down on the link.)

Will the Cincinnati/Denton church follow up with a baptizing tour of Asia? Will Home Office begin publishing The Good News in Mandarin? Does anyone know a good Chinese restaurant in Bismarck?

Meanwhile, over at the Living Church of God they're probably not too worried as Taiwan isn't counted among "our Israelitish peoples." That's a wise move as far as I'm concerned, but then I have my doubts about North Dakota as well...

WCG's Becky Deuel

While UCG holds the line on Christmas, WCG gets some free publicity of its own in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, with a feature on associate pastor Becky Deuel.

Among other things, Becky takes a healthy swipe at the "one chance now or fry" variety of Bible belt Christianity.

She believes Jesus is "the" not "a'" way to salvation "but I don't believe this is the only time for Jesus to be your way.

"I believe God offers second chances to say yes or no to having a relationship with Jesus," Deuel said. "Just because you've heard about Jesus doesn't mean you've had the opportunity to have that relationship.

"If I grow up in a Muslim area, it's very difficult to give up everything to live a Christian life, and, in many areas of the world, you will be persecuted if you are a Christian," she said. "God is a God of love and he wants everyone to be saved."

64 comments:

Lussenheide said...

It really is time for the UCG to get a new logo. (Pictured on the front of the lecturn in the original post).

The Earth, a multicolored beautiful, dynamic living gem of the universe when viewed from outerspace, is pictured as a brown, desolate, lifeless, sterile asteroid in the UCG logo.

Also interesting to note is that the center of the globe in the logo is none other than the VATICAN!

Any suggestions for a better UCG Logo??

Bill Lussenheide, Menifee, CA USA

Bamboo_bends said...

I wonder why none of the splits haven't adopted some variation of the Child, Lion and Lamb theme?

The WCG after all, abandoned it.

byker bob said...

Bamboo: If they wanted it to be true to the nature of Armstrongism, they'd have to change it so that the lion was portrayed as eating the lamb, as the little child fled in terror. This would be especially appropriate for RCG or PCG.

BB

VonHowitzer said...

Gavin:

I read the article several days ago, my local Las Vegas paper having picked it up off the Associated Press wire. I thought the article was well written, and the anecdotes about how little Christmas was observed in the past were interesting.

In my WCG days, we'd often have a good laugh when someone disappeared for a few days at the end of the year - we'd accuse him of "secretly keeping Christmas", no doubt the height of heinous heretical habits.

KMS

Robert said...

"In our detailed examination of the Bible, we did not find any scripture that forbids women from being recognized as spiritual leaders in the church," the Rev. Joseph Tkach wrote last December in a document titled, "Women in Church Leadership — Conclusion."

Holy Moses! Our Joseph is now a Reverend using unpaid [?] women as the shepherds of the flocks! Looks like all the men fled to the UCG! Or perhaps they weren't willing to work on poverty wages! One has got one's retirement to think of!

Anonymous said...

"I believe God offers second chances to say yes or no to having a relationship with Jesus," Deuel said."

Rule of thumb, when someone starts out a theological statement with "I believe" usually a pile of theological nonsense that they are unable to back up biblically follows.

Stingerski said...

Anon. said :

. . . usually a pile of theological nonsense that they are unable to back up biblically follows.

Since the Bible often contradicts itself (i.e., the writers of the various books contradict themselves) what is the difference between "I believe" and "Thus saith the Lord?"

If your opinion is based upon "biblical" mumbo jumbo, who cares whether it's just your belief or a direct quote? You end up with equal nonsense in either case.

DennisDiehl said...

"I wonder why none of the splits haven't adopted some variation of the Child, Lion and Lamb theme?"

I think it's pretty well understood that the Lion (WCG Administrators) ate the Lambs (sincere members) and spit them out all over the planet. The whole concept left a bad taste in their mouths.

The little child ran away and became the NEW WCG. He is found over at The Surprising God Blog blathering about " our heavenly daddy" and things that only he thinks he understands but mostly makes no senses whatsoever. The boy is damaged.

Christmas as solstice is harmless, enjoyable and fascinating in explaining the origins of the Suns of God thru history. As Jesus being the "reason for the season," it is still lame.

DennisDiehl said...

PS

The Vatican just pulled some lame "we're going with Matthew's account" and moved the official story to Jesus born in Joseph home in Nazareth and the Archbishop of Canterbury just declared the whole Nativity a legend that cannot be supported by the facts.

For the final nail being driven in one's belief in the Biblical historicity and inerrancy of the Birth stores, still go with Dr. Raymond Brown's Birth of the the Messiah.

If you wish the same bash for Easter events, read his Death of the Messiah tomes.

Libro66 said...

Bamboo_bends said:

/-- I wonder why none of the splits haven't adopted some variation of the Child, Lion and Lamb theme? --/

Ha! We in LCG have you beat! In fact, we even managed to squeeze an extra animal into our logo!

We've got a child holding a lamb, standing between a lion and a wolf under a tree. A banner quotes the appropriate verse.

My only complaint is that the artist depicts a pasty white kid with an 80's-style haircut and his head tilted in that cutesy look that makes ladies go "awww!" You'd think a kid born in Tomorrow's World who's been playing outside with his pet lion every day would have just a hint of a tan...

Okay, so that's being a bit picky. I'm sorry. It's just that -- (sniffle) -- I always wanted my very own pet lion when I was a kid in WCG! I'm jealous!

Libro

Bamboo_bends said...

Libro66 said...

Ha! We in LCG have you beat! In fact, we even managed to squeeze an extra animal into our logo!

We've got a child holding a lamb, standing between a lion and a wolf under a tree. A banner quotes the appropriate verse.

My only complaint is that the artist depicts a pasty white kid with an 80's-style haircut and his head tilted in that cutesy look that makes ladies go "awww!" You'd think a kid born in Tomorrow's World who's been playing outside with his pet lion every day would have just a hint of a tan...



An EXTRA predator? The Lion eats the Boy and Wolf devours the Lamb kind of theme?

I was completely unaware of the LCG symbology. Thanks for updating me!

BTW, a tan could be easily mistaken for a non-European race. Does the boy have curly hair? I didn't think so.

Corky said...

A clueless man preaching to a bunch of clueless men from a book written by other clueless men and they all expect to get a clue.

Thousands of years of this repetitious goings on and still not a clue.

But then, God hides himself, right? People just don't get the clue that nothing hides itself better than something that doesn't exist to start with.

It just could be that some men do have a clue and use that to bilk money out of those who don't.

byker Bob said...

There's a lot of revisionist history going on these days. Has anyone verified UCG's premise that Christmas was not widely celebrated by Christians in the USA up until the 1900s? I know that Christmas was pretty much universal during my childhood in the '50s, and Jesus was a huge part of it! I never heard anyone mention Thor, Saturnalia, or Sol Invictus associated with any kind of worship during the Christmas season.

The USA, if it is indeed the most blessed nation in the history of mankind, was actually founded on Protestant principles coming out of the Reformation. There were some deists, a handful of Jews, and some free thinkers, but for the most part the pilgrims were Protestant refugees who came to the new magic land for religious freedom.

The ACOGs seem not to recognize the blessings as being due to Protestantism, even though the God of the Bible always blessed or cursed in real time, so that whatever lesson He was trying to teach would be effective. Since there were, if anything, severely negligible numbers of pilgrims who did the sabbath, holyday, and unclean meat thing, the ACOGs have always pooh poohed the idea that God would have blessed people for being new covenant Protestants, and Armstrong morphed all of us Anglo-Saxon gentiles into Israelites so he could attribute the modern wealth to the promises made to Abraham 3-4,000 years previously.

Oh. And then we were supposed to be punished as no other people in all of creation for forgetting all of the done away old covenant laws that we never knew about in the first place.

None of that ever made any sense to a logically thinking person, because it muted the whole concept of blessing and cursing. It also demeaned God, because it makes him appear cruel, arbitrary and dim-witted, as opposed to intelligent and effective.

BB

Rob said...

Gavin, I'm confused about your references to Taipei, fried rice, and Asian baptizing tours. What does that have to do with an AP wire story about Christmas that happens to quote UCG sources? Is it just because a Taiwanese newspaper picked it up? Newspapers across America picked up that story.

BTW, there probably is at least one good Chinese place in Bismark. I find good Chinese food every where I go in America.

Rob said...

BB asks "Has anyone verified UCG's premise that Christmas was not widely celebrated by Christians in the USA up until the 1900s?"

I was taught that in public school American history courses, as well as college history, by people who whole-heartedly embraced Christmas.

minimalist said...

If Christianity had some solid historical basis , it wouldn't be vulnerable to the Christmas virus.

Byker Bob said...

Rob, that would have been very comforting to those of us who suffered the wonders of a WCG childhood. We were made to be very vocal about non-celebration of Christmas, being silent during the singing of Christmas carols, and sitting in the office during the Christmas pageant. It would have been very empowering if our history books had validated what my brother and I practiced in that high school.

I never heard anyone so much as raise a question about Christmas other than Herbert W. Armstrong until I was about 16 and was first exposed to some observant Jewish people.

BB

Anonymous said...

Wasn't John Foster the same guy who helped cover up for a UCG elder that molested a young girl in West Virginia?

Bamboo_bends said...

Byker Bob said...

Rob, that would have been very comforting to those of us who suffered the wonders of a WCG childhood. We were made to be very vocal about non-celebration of Christmas, being silent during the singing of Christmas carols, and sitting in the office during the Christmas pageant. It would have been very empowering if our history books had validated what my brother and I practiced in that high school.

BB



I'll never forget my third grade teacher, raised by an Protestant missionary to Africa, say in front of my entire class "Bamboo doesn't believe in Jesus so I don't want any of you to bring him a gift for our Christmas party!"

How not keeping Christmas made me a Jesus hater I don't know. But kids are vicious enough each other without their teacher painting a target on their backs.

She made us all write a story on what Christmas meant to us. As a good little Radio Church of God-er I wrote an essay about how pagan it was, citing various historical references. She gave me an "F" and wrote across the top - "Is this some kind of joke"?

My best friend, a little mexican boy, thought I was a Jew and started calling me "Christ-killer". Other less informed kids started calling me "Mormon" (which I believe do keep Christmas).

It was all a bit much for an 8 year old boy.

But I took comfort in January when one of the kids gave the teacher "the finger". Since she was missionary raised, she didn't know what the gesture was. When she asked the child what it meant, the kid said "it means I like you". It wasn't long until the entire class was given her the finger daily and quite enjoying it. And the teacher was content thinking she was very popular with the kids (she wasn't).

At the end of year party one of the parents explained to the teacher what "flipping the bird" meant and she just exploded with anger at the classroom. That woman's eyes were just livid with hatred for us.

By then the classroom had all their giggles and knew she couldn't touch them about the past.

I took some comfort in seeing her get a bit of her own medicine. I came to believe God works out his own forms of justice upon those that try to harm children for doing what they thought was right.

I think that teacher gave me my strong dislike of missionaries. I've never been too thrilled about them. I never thought about that before until now.

Anonymous said...

"Wasn't John Foster the same guy who helped cover up for a UCG elder that molested a young girl in West Virginia?"

Wow! Did not know that! That is a strong statement.

I am surprised that no discussion has taken place concerning the move to Texas. Five UCG council members have asked for the Texas move vote last year to be revoked. Their request will be placed on the GCE ballot in May to be voted on to revoke last years decision. Has anyone heard this? Is it true?

Interesting developments.

Does anyone have a copy of the reports on the recent meetings detailing this and if so that could be posted? I would love to read that. Just heard all of this through the grapevine and would like to know if this is true or not. Have friends in UCG. Wondering how this could impact the church as a whole with the council divided on this issue.

Anonymous said...

History of Christmas in America:
http://thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/in_america.htm

I remember having to sit in the school library while all of my friends and classmates had the class Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and Birthday celebrations...for a couple of years. Then I smartened up a little and stopped telling my folks when the parties were! :)

The teachers always felt sorry for me being excluded so they would send down cupcakes and so forth to the library for me.

Christmas, to me anyway, is without a doubt the greatest holiday of all time. I enjoy it more and more each year, as do my wife and children.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, where were you when the West Virginia debacle was going on? John Foster wasn't the only one who covered it up. Richard Pinelli passed off the many incidents of fondling young girls breasts as "just a grandfatherly hug". In the meantime, the victim and her mother were both thrown out of the church because they had the audacious cheek to actually speak up about it and complain. Of course, if you are a UCG member I could understand why this is all news to you. In the UCG no news is good news :-))

Anonymous said...

"Wow! Did not know that! That is a strong statement."

and a potentially libelous one

Robert said...

>>>>Christmas, to me anyway, is without a doubt the greatest holiday of all time. I enjoy it more and more each year, as do my wife and children.

Today even orthodox born again christians question the origins of the christmas season.

Some born again christians join hands with their armstrongite brothers and do not celebrate the season.

See the debate: http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071215044510AAbEliM

For most christians it all comes down to a matter of conscience. If it would violate your conscious then one mustn't do it(even if there is no actual biblical authority).

Also it is a lot harder if people have children not to participate in the festive with the usual peer pressure. Single people on this occasion have the advantage of not having all the pressures that a family would have.

I went to school with a JW who always had to stay behind on school trips. They weren't even allowed to join in. They were not allowed to sing the national anthem in school, could not sit in school assembly. It did seemed harsh for a young person but maybe it was character building for them. Being a JW in South Africa in the 1980s certainly had its challenges especially when the time came to participate in military service. Some were imprisoned, while others sought to work for the government for 5 years. They should have done what I did and leave the country!

We all face challenges so those who suffered at the hands of others are not alone. At the same time there were countless others going through tribulations with you! Thank God we can now look back with a smile!

Jared Olar said...

Christmas as solstice is harmless, enjoyable and fascinating in explaining the origins of the Suns of God thru history. As Jesus being the "reason for the season," it is still lame.

Christmas as solstice is harmless because it's pointless. So the sun appears to stand still in the heavens a few days before Dec. 25. Big whoop. Why go to the bother of de-Christianising Christmas? If it's not a celebration of the Incarnation by which God and Man are forever reconciled, why celebrate it at all? The pagan gods were long ago shown to be nonexistent, the religion of astrology has got nothing going for it. Christmas without Jesus is ultimately unsatisfying and empty.
The Vatican just pulled some lame "we're going with Matthew's account" and moved the official story to Jesus born in Joseph home in Nazareth

For those who may not know what this is referring to, for some reason the Vatican this year wants to do a Christmas creche showing the Holy Family at Nazareth instead of the traditional crib in Bethlehem. Most non-Catholics (heck, probably most Catholics) do not know that Christmas is actually an eight-day festival, and that the Feast of the Holy Family falls on the Sunday during the Octave of Christmas. Christmas is not just about the Virgin Birth, but commemorates all of the events surrounding the conception, birth, and infancy and early childhood of Jesus that are related in the Gospels -- and in the Gospels we find that the Holy Family settled in Nazareth after returning from Egypt. Inferring from the Vatican's Nazareth creche that the Vatican has "moved the official story to Jesus born in Joseph's home in Nazareth" is complete hogwash. If you believe that, prepare to be profoundly confused when you tune in and find that the Scripture lessons for Christmas Midnight Mass from the Vatican are the same as ever.

and the Archbishop of Canterbury just declared the whole Nativity a legend that cannot be supported by the facts.

This is news? Next thing you're going to tell us is that the Pope is Catholic and the Archbishop of Canterbury is Anglican. It seems that Dr. Williams even trotted out Bishop Lightfoot's old 19th-century hypothesis that it was too cold for Jesus to have been born in December. But what should one expect an Anglican archbishop to say?

For the final nail being driven in one's belief in the Biblical historicity and inerrancy of the Birth stories, still go with Dr. Raymond Brown's Birth of the Messiah.

Sure, if you like dated and inconclusive scholarly speculations from a gifted Catholic priest who confusedly continued to profess belief in the biblical historicity and inerrancy of the Nativity stories even while he systematically and subtly undermined their historical basis and redefined the word "inerrancy" in Orwellian fashion. But there are other and better works on the subject by Catholic scholar-priests, such as Dr. Manuel Miguens' "The Virgin Birth: An Evaluation of Scriptural Evidence" or Dr. Rene Laurentin's "The Truth of Christmas." Yes, believe it or not, Father Brown was not the last nor necessarily the best word on the Nativity stories.

Has anyone verified UCG's premise that Christmas was not widely celebrated by Christians in the USA up until the 1900s?

Well, it's not quite the case that Christmas was not widely celebrated by Christians in the U.S. until the 1900s. Catholics and Lutherans and Anglican/Episcopalians celebrated Christmas in the country from the 1600s on. But they were not the majority in the U.S., and in New England and other parts of the country the influence of the Christmas-loathing Puritans lingered on throughout the 1800s. As Lutherans and Catholics increased in number, and the Puritans/Congregationalists and Presbyterians and Baptists began to shrink as a proportion of the U.S. population, Christmas celebration became more widespread during the 19th century. An excellent book that touches on this and other related subjects is "The Battle for Christmas," by Stephen Nissenbaum.

Jared Olar said...

I'll never forget my third grade teacher, raised by an Protestant missionary to Africa, say in front of my entire class "Bamboo doesn't believe in Jesus so I don't want any of you to bring him a gift for our Christmas party!"

How not keeping Christmas made me a Jesus hater I don't know. But kids are vicious enough each other without their teacher painting a target on their backs.

She made us all write a story on what Christmas meant to us. As a good little Radio Church of God-er I wrote an essay about how pagan it was, citing various historical references. She gave me an "F" and wrote across the top - "Is this some kind of joke"?

My best friend, a little mexican boy, thought I was a Jew and started calling me "Christ-killer". Other less informed kids started calling me "Mormon" (which I believe do keep Christmas).


Your experience reminds me a little of what I went through at school as a child in the Worldwide Church of God. Thankfully, however, I never encountered any cruel or obnoxious teachers singling me out for harassment, but then if you and your brothers are practically the only children in the entire public school district who don't celebrate Christmas (except for one Jewish boy who lived in our town for a little while, and probably some Jehovah's Witnesses), you don't actually need a teacher to single you out. It was confusing to all the other kids to find children who didn't celebrate Christmas, never received presents at Christmas time, and never believed in Santa Claus. One of the common questions I'd get when a classmate found out I didn't celebrate Christmas was, "But why not? Don't you believe in Christ?" Others asked me if I was Jewish or a Jehovah's Witness. I had no idea what a Jehovah's Witness was, but I knew we weren't Jewish -- and I was puzzled why being Jewish seemed to be a bad thing. A few kids, not many (just the jerk misfit types), would taunt me with anti-Semitic slurs that their ostensibly Christian parents had taught them. It wasn't fun getting treated like an oddball or a pariah by some of the kids at school . . . but then there's no doubt that I and everyone else in the WCG were oddballs, and looking at things from the outside it's now perfectly understandable why Christians would respond to non-celebration of Christmas as an indication of lack of faith in Christ. After all, it's really only within the bubble of a fringe sect's worldview that the first images conjured up by the word "Christmas" would be "paganism, Baal, Mithras, Saturnalia, Nimrod, Semiramis, sun god, solstice." For most people -- or for Christians and post-Christians at any rate -- "Christmas" means "birth of Christ, incarnation, salvation, redemption" (and also, "presents, trees, candy, Santa"). The long-dead pagan or defunct ancient astrological referents are way, way, way, way down on the list, if they're on the list at all -- unless, as I said, you're a member, or former member, of fringe sects like Armstrongism or the Jehovah's Witnesses or Wicca or some neo-pagan revival.

Anonymous said...

Well said Jared!

To Robert: My conscience is clear.

Tom said...

>>>"I believe God offers second chances to say yes or no to having a relationship with Jesus," Deuel said.<<<

What nonsense! Salvation has nothing to do with first or second chances. Your name is written in heaven or it isn't.

>>>"Just because you've heard about Jesus doesn't mean you've had the opportunity to have that relationship.<<<

Those who sin with the law, will be judged by the law, and those who sin without the law, will perish without the law!

BTW, I note that you all have launched a blistering attack on UCG. Be careful, for Cracker might accuse you of "mud slinging." But then, anyone calling himself Cracker is bound to be crackers!

Don't you just love being clever?

Libro66 said...

Anonymous:
/-- Wow! Did not know that! That is a strong statement. --/

Also Anonymous:
/-- and a potentially libelous one --/

Sure -- if by "libel" you mean a statement that is defamatory, despite being true. After talking with some of the people who left Foster's congregation over the issue -- and considering the fact that said congregation's attendance dropped to about 10 people before UCG finally decided to give up and can the elder in question -- I can't really question the fact that it happened. And as somebody noted, Richard Pinelli came from Home Office to pay a visit -- specifically to support the elder and to tell everyone to get over it and move on.

Libro

PS, to all our Anonymous friends: Now that Blogger has updated its software, it's now really, really easy to click the "Nickname" circle and put in some sort of moniker. You don't have to sign in. You don't even have to put anything in the "URL" blank. And it really, really helps the rest of us who are having trouble figuring out which Anonymous is writing. And the best part is, you can still be (relatively) anonymous!

C'mon, make up a name -- it's fun! Dennis makes up two or three a year!

Anonymous said...

Come blow up a big balloon,
And join the Saturnalia.
Santa Claus is coming soon
All togged in red regalia.

Deck the hall with folly boughs
And other things symbollock.
Those disapproving, frowning brows
Forbid things alcoholic.

Sadsacks,sobersides are they,
Who rail against all pleasure.
With liquor cabinets hidden away
They consume beyond all measure.

Give your gifts to Rod this year,
He really needs the dough.
Violins play so very near,
An annual appeal you know.

And those who Christmas never keep
Appeal for funds each year.
It seems their God is ever asleep,
Forgetting the food and beer.

Their message maybe counterfeit
Which God has not approved.
Whine they will and ever bleat
As time has truly proved.

Keep your money to yourself
And never funds donate.
Never fund that hidden topshelf
That can inebriate.

Hi to those from COGs who secretly read this blog.

A Nonnie Mouse

minimalist said...

Hey Christians , you tout your Jesus as bigger than Julius Caesar but you can't even come up with a birthdate for your fictional godman. Julivs Caesar was born Jul 13, -100. So why can't you dummies come up with some evidence for your godman ?
More info: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/exist.html

Bamboo_bends said...


After all, it's really only within the bubble of a fringe sect's worldview that the first images conjured up by the word "Christmas" would be "paganism, Baal, Mithras, Saturnalia, Nimrod, Semiramis, sun god, solstice."



Yet strangely enough they never made the connection to Mithra in the Christian story of the Last Supper in John.

Plagiarism was not, its seems, just limited to HWA and BI pamphlets.

If its in the Bible its gotta be true you know!

In my opinion if a custom survives a change in religion, it speaks more to the value of the custom to the culture than it does of the dead religion it came from.

Only the French ban things because it originates in England or America. And the Japanese love Baseball and Santa Claus!

Byker Bob said...

Well, this is interesting. It appears that a blanket statement was made by these UCG folks, Foster and Kilough, when the truth is that Christmas was celebrated by certain religious and geographical groups, and not celebrated by others. There was simply no homogeniety.

I find this to be just as disingenuous as proof-texting. People who don't have the courage or strength of their convictions will often exaggerate, or lift things from proper context to support their beliefs or practices.

But, alas, this is not the first example of the Puritans being held up as a microcosm for early colonial life. William Penn founded his colony based on religious freedom, something that was not tolerated in Massachusetts Bay.

BB

Gavin said...

Sorry Rob, I only caught the story on a Taipei newspaper site, didn't find it on a US source (apart from the Wisconsin one), hence the "intertextual references". As far as I know no NZ newspaper has picked it up as a seasonal filler.

Questeruk said...

Byker Bob said...
“It appears that a blanket statement was made by these UCG folks, Foster and Kilough, when the truth is that Christmas was celebrated by certain religious and geographical groups, and not celebrated by others.”

Before implying statements to ‘these UCG folks’ try reading what the article actually is saying.

It is referring mainly to a book ‘Christmas: A Candid History’ by Bruce Forbes, a religious studies professor at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. And the article states ’In researching his book Christmas: A Candid History, Forbes discovered that major American denominations -- Presbyterians, Baptists, Quakers, Methodists and Congregationalists -- either ignored the holiday or actively discouraged it until the late 19th century’.

There are really only a couple of UCG quotes – Foster, near the beginning is quoted as saying "People don't think of it this way, but it's really a secular holiday." Then near the end there is a longer quote from Clyde Kilough -

"It's common knowledge that Christmas and its customs have nothing to do with the Bible," said Clyde Kilough, president of the United Church of God, which has branches all over the world.
"The theological question is quite simple: Is it acceptable to God for humans to choose to worship him by adopting paganism's most popular celebrations and calling them Christian?"

Best to read what is actually there, rather than what you would like to think is there. Professor Forbes may be making a ‘blanket statement’, but the UCG quotes are just, as it says, ‘common knowledge’.

Anonymous said...

This is the time of the Gentiles after all,is it not,so a work being done in Taiwan would be within COG parameters.

Nothing could be finer
Than UCG in China.

After all,Taiwan is considered part of mainland China.

From now on the river will be called the YANK-See-Kiang.


Jorgheinz

Anonymous said...

Vatican nativity does away with the manger
By Malcolm Moore in Rome
Last Updated: 2:53am GMT 17/12/2007



For 25 years, the Christmas Nativity scene in front of St Peter's Basilica has shown the infant Jesus in a manger in Bethlehem.

Telegraph Christmas guide
This year, however, the Vatican has decided to radically change the scene, shifting it to Nazareth, and placing Jesus in his father's carpentry shop.


The Pope at the Vatican scene last year
When Pope Benedict XVI inaugurates the life-size Nativity scene on Christmas eve, the sheep and hay will be gone.

In their place will be a model of three rooms.

Jesus will lie in Joseph's shop, complete with "the typical work tools of a carpenter".

On one side, the shop will be flanked with a "covered patio", while on the other there will be the "inside of a pub, with its hearth".

The news came in an official statement from the State Department of the Vatican, which organises and builds the giant presepe, or Nativity scene.

The new setting was inspired by two verses in St Matthew's gospel, Chapter 1:24 and 1:25, the Vatican said, which state: "When Joseph woke up, he did as the Angel of God ordered and took Mary into his house. Without them knowing each other, a child was born and he called his name Jesus".

The gospel goes on to mention Jesus' birthplace as Bethlehem, but a spokesman for the Vatican said a decision had been made to place the scene in Nazareth regardless.

"It was time for a change," said the spokesman "and a return to St Matthew's gospel".

The traditional depiction of Jesus in a manger comes from St Luke's gospel, which said there was "no room at the inn".

But it is Matthew's gospel which forms the basis for the Angelus prayer, and the view of Jesus in a carpenter's workshop matches the Franciscan tradition.

None of the three Vatican departments which organises the Nativity scene could comment on who had taken the decision to shift the location, or for what reason.

However, sources close to the Vatican said there was a desire to crack down on the various "fanciful Nativity scenes" that have sprung up in recent years.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, where were you when the West Virginia debacle was going on? John Foster wasn't the only one who covered it up. Richard Pinelli passed off the many incidents of fondling young girls breasts as "just a grandfatherly hug". In the meantime, the victim and her mother were both thrown out of the church because they had the audacious cheek to actually speak up about it and complain. Of course, if you are a UCG member I could understand why this is all news to you. In the UCG no news is good news :-)

To answer your question as to where I was when this happened, I was in the UCG. This incident, along with something else that happened about the same time, prompted me to finally get out of that cult.

I still remember reading the eloquent letter written by the brother of the victim. I wish I still had a copy of it. He was very specific about how UCG had threatened the victim's family with retaliation, how Richard Pinelli had blatantly lied about the incident, and how Foster had tried to excommunicate the victim's family (only to end up losing most of the congregation.)

I knew the victim. She was one of my campers, and it sickens me to think that the individual who committed the crime, and those who helped cover it up, were never brought to justice.

The whole episode is very reminiscent of the sex abuse stories coming out of the Catholic church.

Byker Bob said...

Querstruck, it's still lazy research at worst, or cherry picking, at best.

As Jared has pointed out, Christmas, in its original intent, was considered far more than a celebration of Jesus' birth. If Jesus was born in the Autumn, as the ACOGs have speculated, then He most certainly would have been conceived near the end of December, or early January. Even GTA conceded that point. Unless we are atheists, why would we not want to honor Jesus at every possible opportunity, and combat falsehoods by overwriting them to make them glorify Christ?

The fact is, Christian churches, including the ACOGs, all concede that Jesus transforms and purifies. He does this to the human heart, and everything else He touches. We ask His blessing on our food, and for him to purify and cleanse it prior to eating it. One super big problem with the ACOGs is that somehow they just don't believe He is powerful enough to purify and cleanse paganism. They get this strange hair, probably from the discredited works of Alexander Hislop, and imagine paganism everywhere. Do you even know any non ACOG relatives or fellow employees that thinks of Saturnalia, Sol Invictus, Thor, or paganism in general as they celebrate the important aspects surrounding Jesus Christ on December 25? They probably think more about Jesus, pray, show love for their families, and praise Him through carols more at this time of the year than at any other! You simply can't find a single aspect of modern life that doesn't have some commonality with paganism. How do you combat or rid yourself of paganism? Jesus Christ!

And, it's not only that. Good people, who are trying to develop a relationship with Christ often wear necklaces with gold crosses. It's as much a symbol as a wedding ring. The wearer is indicating that he belongs to Christ. Why can't the legalistic ACOGs simply acknowledge this, instead of using it as a point of judgement? Could it be because they either don't understand the epistle to the Galatians, or might it be that they deliberately misinterpret it to preserve the pet doctrines of their "Apostle"?

BB

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jared.


Merry Christmas!

DennisDiehl said...

The problem seems to be the conflict of the Matthew account of Joseph and Mary having a home in Bethlehem and Lukan construct of having to get the natives of Nazareth to Bethlehem for the Birth by way of the an imagined taxation. Both tales conflict with each other. The home spoken of in Matthew is in Bethlehem not Nazareth.

Had Luke known of this home in Bethlehem, he would not have had to do the "no room in the inn" story as it would not have been necessary and besides, Elizabeth(of Luke) lived in the environs of Jerusalem and they could have stayed with her. Why they didn't is unknown in Luke save for the Bethlehem "prophecy"

Matthew of course has the dramatic never before told idea that Herod was killing kids and Jesus fled immediately after birth to Egypt to fulfil Matthews imaginations while in Luke they simple did the purification after birth and wandered home to Nazareth again with no trip to Egypt. The family can't both flee in the dead of night to Egyptfor two years to fulfill Matthews non prophecy about "out of Egypt I will call my son" (a reference to the Exodus in reality,) and saunter harmlessly back to Nazareth after 40 days at the same time.

Both Birth narratives are later additions to the Gospels and the Gospels read nicely with them snipped out. Neither agree with each as Dr. Raymond Brown and MANY others so well point out.

Matthews account is made up Old Testament fulfilment sayings as whoever Matthew was, he had no real idea of Jesus birth circumstances to write a real account.

The Lukan accounts the Magnificant by Mary are taken from the story of Hannah and may have originally been meant to be spoken by Elizabeth whose birth circumstances (infertility) better matched Hannah's. Elizabeth praising God for noticing her low estate (barreness) fits the whole context of her baby (John) leaping for joy when Mary came in PG with Jesus. Of course, in later years, John the B seems never to have met his cousin Jesus or knew him before he showed up for baptism.

Knowledge of the contrivance of the Birth narratives in Matthew and Luke is more common now than ever. Raymond Brown did do a dance by his own admission to stay on the good side of the "magisterium" as he called them. You can see him pulling his punches in his works. But he is highly regarded none the less.

The bottom line is that those who need to believe the story as told will find those that support them and those that don't will find those that support them.

In the Bible holy men are born of barren women while gods are born of virgins, perpetual or otherwise. Even the Caesars, as godmen, were born of virgins. Of course, we should all realize where real babies come from. But sometimes we don't.

No one seems to wonder if God committed fornication by impregnating Mary without marrying her, or if doing so by means of the other person in the form of the Holy Spirit constitutes something weird. It's a mystery alright.

It's all a great wonderful story. It's just not the one most take time to think about or question.

DennisDiehl said...

This year the Vatican is evidently running together the idea that the home mentioned in Matthew, must be the one they owned in Nazareth. Not so. The Bethlehem home is depicted as Mary and Joseph's home with no connection to Nazareth. When forced to flee in Matthew's account to Egypt, they try to return to the home in Bethlehem but are warned away so they can end up finally as Jesus of Nazareth.

"This year's Nativity scene will be unlike any other. Instead of the traditional depiction of a stable in Bethlehem, on-lookers might soon find the Baby Jesus born in Joseph's Nazareth workshop.

The State Department of the Vatican announced the transformation in setting and location, citing the need for "a change" and a desire to crack down on the various "fanciful Nativity scenes" as their reasoning, the London Daily Telegraph reported."

There is some wash of the hog in all this as well. All Nativity scenes are fanciful

Anonymous said...

"If it's not a celebration of the Incarnation by which God and Man are forever reconciled, why celebrate it at all? The pagan gods were long ago shown to be nonexistent, the religion of astrology has got nothing going for it. Christmas without Jesus is ultimately unsatisfying and empty."

How do you know the "pagan gods" are nonexistent?

Do you believe everything the good Christian church fathers tell you?

Most ancient cultures had major winter festivals. There were many other then Saturnalia; that was what was celebrated in the Roman world.

"A winter festival was traditionally the most popular festival of the year in many cultures... In Roman times, the best-known winter festival was Saturnalia, which was popular throughout Italy."

Common folk throughout the ancient world celebrated various winter festivals.

Anonymous said...

How do you know the "pagan gods" are nonexistent?

On Thursday's WB Supernatural, the boys do find pagan gods who just want to be worshiped and give good weather if they have a blood sacrifice. Unfortunately, as pagan gods do, they want human sacrifice.

They had assimilated into the community and played pinochle with their elderly friends in the neighborhood.

They complained that they had a good thing going until Jesus showed up and ruined everything for them.

And, oh, by the way, one brother told the other that Jesus wasn't born in December -- he was born in the fall.

So there you have it: An absolute authority thoroughly researched and straight from the horse's mouth -- or some part of the horse's anatomy at least. Pagan gods exist and live among us... and if you want mild weather, they can accommodate you until the hunters show up and the brothers kill them as they do the other demons.

byker bob said...

Dennis,

I have to admit that it is a bit confusing that Matthew (or the author thereof) provides a geneology tracing Joseph's lineage back to King David. Why would this be important since Joseph is not Jesus' biological father?

Even a believer should be skeptical regarding scriptural inerrancy. The Bible can be very inspiring and instructive, but it was written by imperfect humans.

It's difficult sometimes to know where to draw the line, or perhaps how to read between the lines. Apparently, as an example, the Apostle Paul was just as inclined to comment about hair styles back then as is David Pack, today.

BB

Anonymous said...

"So there you have it: An absolute authority thoroughly researched and straight from the horse's mouth -- or some part of the horse's anatomy at least. Pagan gods exist and live among us... and if you want mild weather, they can accommodate you until the hunters show up and the brothers kill them as they do the other demons."

Ho Ho Ho a well indoctrinated Christian soul.... ;)

Many pre-christian communities understood much of the divine better then orthodox Christianity does today.

When Christians don't know something they ridicule and demonize.

They seem to always pull out the "demons" as weapons when they don't have any good answers.

A very closed minded lot.

"Demonization is the reinterpretation of polytheistic deities as demons by other religions, generally monotheistic ones. Rather than denying the existence of the other religion's pantheon entirely, the proselytizer says instead that they are not truly gods but demons trying to deceive their followers. Demonization is most closely associated with Christian missionaries to pagans during the spread of Christianity, though Judaism, Islam, and other religions have had similar practices; for instance, some strains of Hinduism considered the Buddha an incarnation of Vishnu sent to deceive people."

Anonymous said...

It is not always clear whether a response to obvious nonsensical satire is itself obvious nonsensical satire or it is a response laden with the baggage of gnostic misunderstanding from a person stuck in the Fifties missing the obvious rich ridicule of irony through the adherence to the obsessions of abject nuttiness.

Anonymous said...

"the baggage of gnostic misunderstanding"

I like that...

d said...

Somehow the truth manages to sneak past all the former wcg brain washed fanatics.
THE TRUTH OF CHRISTMAS
the "TRUTH," is that Jamestown,VA has continuously celebrtated Christmas since its beginning IN 1607. Only the wealthy and elite PURITANS who paid their own way to the "new world," in order to "BUILD A CITY ON A HILL," IN 1620, condemned the observance of Christmas. The Puritans also gave us the "witch hunts," and public stocks and flaylings.

The common people who settled in Jamestown, mostly indentured slaves brought from England and France to work off their debts sought solace in Christ's promise at Christmas time.

The "TRUTH," is that Christmas was celebrated in EGYPT since as early as the second century.(CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA)

The "TRUTH," is that in 385, ETHERIA of Bourdeax wrote of the Nativity feasts in Jerusalem.

The "TRUTH," is that at Capadocia, in 379 Gregory of Nyssa's sermons are proof positive that Christmas was already celebrated there.

The "TRUTH," is that at Antioch in 386 Chrysostom preached a sermon where he demonstarted that Zachery as High priest entered the temple on Day of Atonement and recieved announcement of John's conception in September, six months later Christ was concieved in march and born in December.

The "TRUTH," is that the Armenian Orthodox Church, which can actually trace its roots to the first century Christians, celebrates Christmas on January 6, just two weeks later than the 25th. Until the fourth century, all Christian churches celebrated Christmas on January 6th. Then, the Epiphany was celebrated on the 6th and Christmas on december 25th. In the fourth century the Armenians who never had pagan festivals, feared december 25 was to close to pagan festivals, so they kept the original date, and they have the records to prove it.

The "TRUTH," is that the Saturnalia ends on December 21st, not december 25th and only far reaching fanatics still attempt to attach it to Christmas festivities.

The "TRUTH," is that observance of Christmas has been celebrated in Christians Churches continuously since at least the 4th Century!

The "TRUTH," is that as far back as Justin Martyr and Tertullian, in has been known that the Vatican actually has the census records that Joseph and Mary traveled to register for, and this proves the time of year that jesus was born at.

The "TRUTH," is that the manger scene which armstrong and other cult leaders claim is nimrod, was "TRUTHFULLY," started by St. Francis of Assisi, in 1223. There was a misinterpretation of Isaiah 1:3 which accounts for the ox and ass.

The "TRUTH," is that Christmas carols and hymns are not as armstrong declared odes to Nimrod, but,"PRUDENTIUS," in the fourth century was the first to hymn the nativity.

The "TRUTH," is that 'yule logs,' which armstrong claimed to be satanic in nature to bring back the dead sun god, was actually only first lighted in England as a public ceremony in 1577.

The "TRUTH," is that the Christmas tree that garner ted swore was mentioned in Jerimiah 31:31, was actually first mentioned in Strasburg, Germany in 1605. it probably started from an arab geographer in the 10th century. The first Christmas trees were introduced to England and France by Princess Helena of Mecklenberg in 1840.

MYTHS that CULTS use to DISPROVE CHRISTMAS:
1. IT WAS TO COLD FOR SHEPHERDS TO BE IN THE FIELDS!
TRUTH: King David's men were in the fields protecting Nabl's sheep all winter and kept them safe until the spring shearing time. 1Sa. 2:25.
2. MANGER SCENE WAS ACTUALLY NIMROD!
TRUTH: MITHRA OR NIMROD WAS BORN IN THE MOUNTAINS, CHRIST IN THE GROTTO! MITHRA'S ADORING SHEPERDS WERE BORROWED FROM CHRIST RATHER THAN VICE VERSA!
3. GIFT GIVING IS NOT BIBLICAL!
TRUTH: CHRIST IS THE FIRST CHRISTMAS GIFT. JOHN 3:16 FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON!
LUKE 2:10"...FOR I BRING YOU GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY FOR ALL MANKIND!"
4. ARMSTRONG CLAIMED THE BIRTH OF CHRIST WAS HIDDEN BY GOD.
TRUTH: LUKE 2: 13"AND SUDDENLY THERE WAS A MULTITUDE IN THE HEAVENS PRAISING GOD!"
THE BIBLE CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THE NIGHT TIME SKIES WERE ILLUMINATED THROUGHOUT ALL JUDEA. THE LIGHTS WERE SO BRIGHT THAT THE SHEPERDS DECLRED, "LET US GO NOW," AND THEY WERE ABLE TO SEE THROUGH THE DARK NIGHT AND FIND THE HOLY FAMILY BY FOLLOWING THE BRILLIANTLY LIGHTED SKIES!
The "TRUTH," is that the birth of Christ was so well documented by nayural events that astronomers today are still attempting to solve the mystery of why the nighttime skies became as bright as day!

The above are only a few of real, provable truths about Christmas. Its time to put an end to armstrongism once and for all.

CHRIST IS ALL YOU NEED!
Armstrong, like other pharasical groups have never accepted the completeness of Christ.

ITS ALWAYS CHRIST PLUS SOMETHING ELSE! NO! STOP IT! ITS JUST CHRIST!

NO HOLY DAYS, NO THIRD TITHE, NO FASTING, NO SPOKESMAN CLUB! ITS JUST CHRIST! ACCEPT HIM NOW AND PUT AWAY THE IDEAS OF MEN!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

nb said...

"D", your points would have been better made without caps-lock.

Anonymous said...

Britain exported its cults to America and the criminals to Australia.

I think Australia got the better deal. America has been paying for that move ever since.

Who would have thought 231 years after Independence American's would give a fig about their Presidential Candidate's religion?

Anonymous said...

We're going to get figs from the presidential candidates in 2008?

How Millennial, what with the fig trees and all! The true dawning of the age of Aquarius!

Anonymous said...

Christ said He spoke only the words of the Father. A woman can speak, even in church, if she speaks only the words of the Father and doesn't speak as a woman.

Anonymous said...

'Somehow the truth manages to sneak past all the former wcg brain washed fanatics.
THE TRUTH OF CHRISTMAS
the "TRUTH,"'

Ho Ho Ho another well indoctrinated Christian soul...

I'm sorry, but you don't have a clue. Jesus was an observant Jew.

He kept Holy Days. He did not teach his disciples to celebrate his birthday as the Romans celebrated the birth of Mithra.

The mythical St. Paul may have done that. "Paul" brought the Eucharist into Christianity from Mithraism.

Whoever brought a celebration of the DEATH OF MITHRA into Christianity may have also brought the celebration of the BIRTH OF MITHRA into Christianity.

It happened early, and the good church fathers were involved.

You don't need to have Jesus in Christmas... nor do you need to have Mithra in Christmas.

Winter celebrations are not empty without Jesus. They are lovely all on their own.

Tom said...

D said:

>>>NO HOLY DAYS, NO THIRD TITHE, NO FASTING, NO SPOKESMAN CLUB! ITS JUST CHRIST! ACCEPT HIM NOW AND PUT AWAY THE IDEAS OF MEN!<<<

Those who have accepted Christ are never afraid to say who they are. On the other hand, those who are agents of the Satan, always hide behind some silly nick name.

>>>MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!<<<

You forget to add, everyone who is deceived!

Anonymous said...

"...agents of the Satan..."


I'm so glad you're not my neighbor.

DennisDiehl said...

Byker Bob said:

Dennis,

I have to admit that it is a bit confusing that Matthew (or the author thereof) provides a geneology tracing Joseph's lineage back to King David. Why would this be important since Joseph is not Jesus' biological father?

That's the problem. The birth narratives were added to show Jesus was God but the geneologies were added to show he was a descendent of David which was required to be the Messiah. They tended to not think ahead very much when it came to contradictions.

Some say one is the geneology of Joseph and the other of Mary, but this is just apologetic.

If God is Jesus literal father, the line ends with God and goes not back a bit to anyone....

Anonymous said...

"Why would this be important since Joseph is not Jesus' biological father?"

There is a tradition that Joseph WAS the biological father Jesus.

Sylvia Brown in the Mystical Life of Jesus claims Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph. A "normal" family in every way. Except Jesus was special.

So much we don't know. The NT has been edited to incorporate the traditions of the Rome's mystery religions. Much of this makes no sense and can not be believed.

The virgin birth is the case in point. It did not happen.

Richard said...

Elsewhere on the news wires this weekend: researchers think they've found the "wolf pagan shrine" where the first "December 25 Christmas" was marked.

http://www.att.net/s/editorial.dll?pnum=1&bfromind=7406&eeid=5598151&_sitecat=1505&dcatid=0&eetype=article&render=y&ac=1&ck=&ch=ne&rg=blsadstrgt&_lid=332&_lnm=tg+ne+topnews&ck=

Jared Olar said...

Minimalist said: Hey Christians, you tout your Jesus as bigger than Julius Caesar but you can't even come up with a birthdate for your fictional godman. Julivs Caesar was born Jul 13, -100. So why can't you dummies come up with some evidence for your godman ?

My grandmother never knew her own date of birth, and as a result nobody among her descendants knows her date of birth either. So far we haven't found any record of her birth despite all our attempts to find it. I guess that means neither she nor I nor any of her children and grandchildren and greatgrandchildren are real. We're just myths invented decades later by believers in Olarism in order to come up with an explanation for our nonexistence. And our nonexistence would also explain our inability to find our grandmother's birth record, I guess.

Also, Christians do not tout Jesus as "bigger" than Julius Caesar. On the contrary, we revel in His abysmally humble and obscure origins, His ordinariness, His working-class status, and His ignominious execution as a criminal, traitor, and blasphemer. He was not born in a palace, but in a stable, and His only crown was made of thorns and His only throne was a cross. He was not a priest or any prominent person, feted and praised for His greatness or His wealth. He commanded no armies, won no battles, conquered no nations. He was a nobody. If He were not God Incarnate, and was not risen from the dead, no one would have ever remembered Him or written more than a few pen scratchings about Him. In His lowliness, poverty, and utter commonness, Jesus is unlike any other religious figure of human history, not even those of whom myths of divine or miraculous origins were later written.

Really, I find it difficult to believe anyone would be so desperate to disbelieve in Christianity that they would seriously entertain the mushbrained argument you have presented.

Dennis said That's the problem. The birth narratives were added to show Jesus was God but the geneologies were added to show he was a descendent of David which was required to be the Messiah. They tended to not think ahead very much when it came to contradictions.

Yeah, it would never have occurred to the early Christians to slice out one or other of these allegedly contradictory genealogies to cover up such discrepancies. Instead they accepted and canonised both the Matthean and the Lucan genealogy of Christ as divinely-inspired and accurate. Christians would never think to rewrite the Gospels to get rid of all those contradictions -- they just weren't very bright, I guess.

But wait, I thought "the NT has been edited to incorporate the traditions of the Rome's mystery religions," as Anonymous claims. If the New Testament has been edited and rewritten, how come it never occurred to anybody to tweak or slice out all those bits that the Raymond Brownites claim to be contradictions?

Some say one is the geneology of Joseph and the other of Mary, but this is just apologetic.

No, they are obviously both the genealogies of Joseph, as they plainly say. Early Christian tradition claims Mary also was of the House of David, which if true would mean she would likely be descended from many of the same individuals named in the biblical genealogies of Jesus, but be that as it may, the scriptures explicitly say that they were Joseph's genealogies.

As for why it would matter that Jesus, who was not Joseph's biological son, should be presented as Joseph's son, I go into that and related matters here:

http://graceandknowledge.faithweb.com/jeconiah.html

and again here:

http://graceandknowledge.faithweb.com/jeconiah2.html

Oh, and by the way, did you notice that, as I predicted, the Catholic Church still read aloud the same Nativity narratives of Saints Matthew and Luke on Christmas, and acclaimed them as "the Word of the Lord" and "the Gospel of the Lord"? Perhaps the Nazareth creche in St. Peter's Square doesn't mean the Catholic Church is about to change the Gospel accounts.

Jared Olar said...

Tom said: >>>MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!<<<

You forget to add, everyone who is deceived!


No, those who aren't deceived should have a Merry Christmas too. Why should the deceived have all the fun?

Jared Olar said...

Anonymous said: He did not teach his disciples to celebrate his birthday as the Romans celebrated the birth of Mithra.

First of all, there is no contemporary evidence that the Romans celebrated the birth of Mithras in the time of Christ, so of course Jesus would not have told anyone to celebrate His birthday as the Romans celebrated the birth of Mithras. Also, there is no contemporary or near contemporary evidence that later in the 200s A.D., when the Roman Emperors established the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun on Dec. 25, the Romans were celebrating that festival as the birthday of Mithras. Anyway, Christians do not celebrate Christ's birth as the Romans, or whoever, celebrated the birth of Mithras -- the slight resemblances between Mithraic rites and Christian rites have been exaggerated. Similarity does not equal genealogy.

The mythical St. Paul may have done that. "Paul" brought the Eucharist into Christianity from Mithraism.

If "Paul" brought the Eucharist into Christianity from Mithraism, then who brought the Passover Seder and the Kiddish into Judaism from Mithraism? We know from the Book of Jubilees that even before the time of Christ, the Jews blessed and shared bread and wine during Passover. So, according to your hypothesis, Mithraism was a widespread and popular a cult even hundreds of years before Christ, and so popular that the Jews were influenced to borrow a Mithaic rite and insert it into their Passover festival.

Jared Olar said...

How do you know the "pagan gods" are nonexistent?

Because when we Christians came in and smashed their idols, outlawed their superstitions, and reconsecrated their sacred precincts as churches, the gods uttered not a peep of protest. Surely after all these centuries the gods would have done something if they really existed.

When Christians don't know something they ridicule and demonize.

So, you are contending that the WB network's "Supernatural" is a work of Christians out to demonise the defunct and forgotten pagan gods?

Many pre-christian communities understood much of the divine better then orthodox Christianity does today.

You mean the divine's need to be constantly appeased through the sacrifice of animals and humans, or the divine's penchant for cannibalism, incest, buggering boys, and abducting and impregnating maidens, or the divine's need for temple prostitution? Thanks anyway, but I'll take orthodox Christianity's poor understanding of the divine over the pagan understanding of the divine any day.

Do you believe everything the good Christian church fathers tell you?

No.

Jared Olar said...

How do you know the "pagan gods" are nonexistent?

Because when we Christians came in and smashed their idols, outlawed their superstitions, and reconsecrated their sacred precincts as churches, the gods uttered not a peep of protest. Surely after all these centuries the gods would have done something if they really existed.

When Christians don't know something they ridicule and demonize.

So, you are contending that the WB network's "Supernatural" is a work of Christians out to demonise the defunct and forgotten pagan gods?

Many pre-christian communities understood much of the divine better then orthodox Christianity does today.

You mean the divine's need to be constantly appeased through the sacrifice of animals and humans, or the divine's penchant for cannibalism, incest, buggering boys, and abducting and impregnating maidens, or the divine's need for temple prostitution? Thanks anyway, but I'll take orthodox Christianity's poor understanding of the divine over the pagan understanding of the divine any day.

Do you believe everything the good Christian church fathers tell you?

No.