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Kirk Cameron is Saving Christmas from Atheists on November 14

more from Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Thursday, August, 28th, 2014, 8:14 am

War on ChristmasDon’t panic! Kirk Cameron has saved Christmas. Or, at least he will save Christmas in his new film, Saving Christmas, arriving in theaters November 14.

The film’s tagline is “Put Christ back in Christmas” and that’s exactly what Cameron does while “hammering political correctness and frustrated atheist activists” oh my!

Saving_Christmas_Poster

Check out the trailer:

Sounds like Kevin Sorbo may have to change his shorts after seeing this!

The Blaze reveals that,

In “Saving Christmas,” Cameron plans to tackle some of the most controversial and disputed issues surrounding the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday – claims that he says have had a profound impact on the way believers and nonbelievers alike view the Christmas celebration.

“I assume they’re going to get frustrated to see some of their best arguments deflated by this movie, because we take on some of the most commonly parroted myths about the origins of Christmas,” Cameron told The Blaze.

Hmmm, like maybe the fact that Jesus wasn’t really born on December 25 and that Christians only started celebrating it then in order to compete with popular Pagan celebrations on that day?

I wouldn’t hold my breath, were I you. According to The Blaze:

Cameron said some of the claims that will be addressed in the film include: the notion that Christmas is really a church co-opting of winter solstice celebrations, that Jesus was not born on December 25, that Christmas trees are pagan and that consumerism is overshadowing the true reason for the season.

So wait, Kirk, you’re saying Jesus was born on December 25 and that using that day is not simply with co-opting winter solstice celebrations?

Cameron told The Blaze that “Saving Christmas” will push back against those who wish to “snuff out [the holiday’s] holy root.” Unfortunately for Cameron, that holy root is unequivocally Pagan.

* EPIC FAIL WARNING * PROCEED WITH CAUTION *

Unfortunately for apologists like Kirk Cameron, January 6th was the date on Christmas was originally celebrated.

We have the testimony of Dionysius Bar-Salibi, twelfth century bishop of Amida, that this is true, and he tells us why it was moved to December 25:

The reason, then, why the fathers of the church moved the January 6th celebration [of Epiphany] to December 25th was this, they say: it was the custom of the pagans to celebrate on this same December 25th the birthday of the Sun, and they lit lights then to exalt the day, and invited and admitted the Christian to these rites. When, therefore, the teachers of the church saw that Christians inclined to this custom, figuring out a strategy, they set the celebration of the true Sunrise on this day, and ordered Epiphany to be celebrated on January 6th; and this usage they maintain to the present day along with the lighting of the lights.[1]

Oh dear.

And we don’t have to rely on a 12th century bishop for this fact. We can go back further, to Epiphanius (ca 310-403), who also tells that Christmas was on January 6 (Pan. LI.22.3-7 and 29.4-7). And around 428 CE John Cassianus (Collationes X.2) reported that Epiphany in Egypt is ‘by ancient tradition’ believed to be the time for both the baptism and the birth of Jesus.”[2]

As it happens, January 6th is still Christmas Day in the Orthodox Church.

A funny thing about the insistence that Jesus was born on December 25:

One noted Christian author, Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis 1.21; 145.6; 1146.4), even went so far as to say curiosity about the date of Jesus’ birth was “gratuitous curiosity.” When possible dates were mentioned, they most certainly did not include December 25th. Instead, we find mention of March 28, April 2 or 20. [3]

Once arrived at, December 25th received only grudging and scattered acceptance, mostly in the West, with the East resisting (December 25 is still meaningless in Armenia). In 350, Pope Julius I ordered Christmas to be celebrated on December 25. Christmas arrived on December 25th in Constantinople in 380 and it’s not until 386 that we find John Chrysostom, in Antioch, ordering Christmas to be celebrated by the Christian community there on December 25. December 25 did not come to Alexandria until 432. The Church of Jerusalem stubbornly refused to celebrate that date until the seventh century!

Not only was December 25th not originally Jesus’ birthday, but when it was declared so, nobody wanted it.

Yet to listen to Kirk Cameron you would think early Christians had access to Jesus’ birth certificate.

This theft of December 25 is all part of a process called normative inversion. You can see this played out in history, for example, in the deeds of Martin, Bishop of Tours, as related by his disciple, Sulpicius Severus, who tells us that, “He [Martin] immediately built a church or monastery at every place where he destroyed a Pagan shrine.”[4]

Martin of Braga, author of De Correctione Rusticorum (literally, On the Castigation of Country-dwellers – the title says it all) rants about people celebrating Pagan holidays as Pagans. His solution? He makes a call for the “replacement of…pagan practices with Christian ones.” The bishop of Javols in about the year 500 also made use of this tactic, “the transference of ritual from one religious loyalty to another” in the words of one scholar.[5]

In fact, Pope Gregory the Great endorsed this policy of normative inversion in his famous letter to Abbot Mellitus (Epistola ad Mellitum), in July 601, in which he ordered that Saxon religious festivals be converted into Christian festivals, a play on the old policy of “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

Go ahead, he was saying, sacrifice your cattle, but you will be sacrificing them to the one rather than to the many. He also ordered that Pagan shrines be converted into Christian shrines:

[T]he temples of the idols…ought not to be destroyed at all…Let holy water be sprinkled in the same temples, and let altars be erected and relics placed there.

All this evidence rather neatly disposes of Cameron’s insistence that Christmas is Christian in its origins.

And you say Christmas trees are not Pagan, Kirk? Oh dear…

“Tree worship” is an old sin. The Bible says, “Don’t do that!” It’s no surprise that Asherah, divorced (and banished from historical memory) wife of YHWH, was represented by trees. She must be laughing somewhere.

What would the author of the medieval English Canones Edgari say about Christmas trees? Nothing good, I’m afraid:

[T]ree worship and stone worship and that devil’s art in which children are drawn through the earth” he lamented, the last being a reference to the Pagan practice of drawing a sick child through an opening in a “healing tree.”[6]

What’s also odd is that while today’s fundamentalists bray about returning to America’s “Christian origins” they forget to point out that Puritan America didn’t like Pagan trappings, and the tree was one of those.

What’s monumentally funny about this is that the catastrophically under-informed Kirk Cameron has made a huge deal about America needing to return to Pilgrim values. The problem is that Cameron has no idea what Pilgrim values were. How on earth did he miss the fact that the Pilgrims detested Christmas trees as a manifestation of Paganism?

Maybe he should have done some research. I found this at religioustolerance.org:

In 1851, Pastor Henry Schwan of Cleveland OH appears to have been the person responsible for decorating the first Christmas tree in an American church. His parishioners condemned the idea as a Pagan practice; some even threatened the pastor with harm.

Wow. A tradition dating all the way back to Jesus! Well…not quite. Yeah, Christmas trees were not really part of the early American Christmas.

So basically what Cameron has done in this film is take everything we liberals say about Christmas, every fact that can be unearthed, plug his ears in response and repeat, “No, no, no!” all the while insisting he was right all along just “because.”

And boy does he show us! He as much as admits this as his motivation:

It’s obvious that there is a deliberate attempt to snuff out the holy root that has produced all this wonderful Christmas-time fruit. I think it’s about time someone spoke out and made a movie about this.

All he had to do was to close his eyes to the multitude of facts available to him about the true origins of Christmas.

Nothing sells like a holiday lie on the Religious Right.

War on Christmas image by Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Notes:

[1] Ramsay MacMullen, Christianity & Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries (Yale University Press, 1997), 155, quoting from the Latin of G.S. Assemani, Bibliotheca orientalis Clementino-Vaticanae 2 (Rome 1721), 164.
[2] Glen Bowersock, Hellenism in Late Antiquity (University of Michigan Press, 1996).
[3] Friedrich Solmsen, “George A. Wells on Christmas in Early New Testament Criticism,” Journal of the History of Ideas 31 (1970), 278.
[4] Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion: From Paganism to Christianity (University of California Press, 1999), 47.
[5] Fletcher, 49
[6] Thomas A. DuBois, Nordic Religions in the Viking Age (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 105-6.




Kirk Cameron is Saving Christmas from Atheists on November 14 was written by Hrafnkell Haraldsson for PoliticusUSA.
© PoliticusUSA, Thu, Aug 28th, 2014 — All Rights Reserved

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