The Problem with Christian Holidays

The Problem with Christian Holidays

25 years before my deeper study of the scriptures prompted me to leave the church, I had already developed strong convictions against Christian holidays. There is virtually no-one, not even among conservative Christian scholars and apologists, who denies the pagan origins of Christian holidays. The question is: what, if anything, is wrong with co-opting pagan practices?

We won’t go into detail about how the holidays were blended into Christianity by the Roman Catholic Church. That information is easily found online with a simple google search. One of my favorite summaries regarding the biggest Christian holiday, Christmas, can be found here, for anyone interested:

The History of Christmas

In Israel, the earliest of Jesus’ followers knew nothing of these holidays. They continued to meet on the Sabbath in the synagogue. They continued observing YHVH’s feasts, which are summarized in Leviticus 23. They did not participate in any of these pagan observances. They wouldn’t have even considered it, for YHVH specifically forbade it!

The introduction of pagan holidays into Christianity began in the fourth century. They are completely absent from the New Testament writings. (Please don’t mistake the mistranslation of the Greek word for Passover–Pascha–as Easter in Acts 12:4 in the King James Version as anything other than what it is: a purposeful mistranslation of Passover, attempting to replace this particular post-crucifixion Passover with a holiday which wasn’t celebrated by Christianity until hundreds of years after the book of Acts was written.)

Since we have elsewhere demonstrated that the Sinai Covenant still stands, and that there is no such thing as freedom from the law, let us look to the original revelation of YHVH to mankind, the Torah, for a statement directly from YHVH about how he feels about this:

When YHVH your God eliminates the nations from the place where you are headed and you dispossess them, you will settle down in their land.

After they have been destroyed from your presence, be careful not to be ensnared like they are; do not pursue their gods and say, “How do these nations serve their gods? I will do the same.”

You must not worship YHVH your God the way they do! For everything that is abhorrent to him, everything he hates, they have done when worshiping their gods. They even burn up their sons and daughters before their gods!

You must be careful to do everything I am commanding you. Do not add to it or subtract from it! (Deut 12:29-32)

Not only has Christianity specifically taken the religious practices of pagan cultures and made them their own, they have abandoned the holidays that YHVH himself established!

It doesn’t matter that today you aren’t celebrating these pagan rituals to worship false gods. Neither your intent, nor what is in your heart justifies this blatant violation of YHVH’s command to his people.

It is our position that there isĀ NO EXCUSE for this!

When I first studied holiday origins in 1988, while serving in the USAF on Okinawa, Japan, I confronted my fundamentalist, independent Baptist pastor Ed Gibson with this information. I expected him to make an attempt to convince me I was wrong. Instead he said “You’re right, but there is no way you’re going to change over 1,600 years of Christian tradition.”

That was the day I abandoned my plans to become a Christian pastor, and dropped out of the Liberty University correspondence coursework I was doing. Unfortunately, it took me another 25 years to get around to seriously studying the Bible and trying to reconcile my faith with what it says.

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