In the Arena

‘Tis The Season

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Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Phil Robertson, oh boy!

Does anyone actually believe that Jesus was born on December 25? We’re not even sure which year He was born, let alone a date…or what a Semite male might have looked like 2000 or so years ago. For example: He may not have had the long chestnut hair and straight, noble nose and ivory skin reverently bequeathed upon him by Renaissance painters. He may have had dark curly hair and a major league shnozz. He may have looked like Omar Sharif or Mandy Patinkin.

We do know that the idea of Christmas wandered down the pike about 400 years after He died, a time when the recently converted Romans were trying to spread the Gospel to assorted heathens. One can imagine Teuton proselytes asking, “What does your God require for the winter solstice festival?” Just joy! That’s when he was born! “And the spring festival?” That’s when he died…and was Reborn, like the leaves on the trees!

So it’s hard for me to take this Fox News jihad against the phrase “Happy Holidays” too seriously. And it’s why we Kleins place a Solstice  Tree in the living room every year, to remind us that even in the dead of winter, some creatures–evergreens, humans–retain life and look forward to the time when the earth brings life again.

I do understand why Bill O’Reilly might be upset, on his better days,  that the celebration of this peaceful Saint’s birth has been corrupted by lunatic consumerism, including the clawing, pushing and shooting that annually attends Black Friday. I mean, how would Jesus shop? After all, He was the guy who allegedly said that it was easier for a “camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven.”

And it would be nice if, say, O’Reilly would say: This year, take half of what you would spend on trinkets, and give it to feed the hungry…because the poor may always be with us, but Someone once said, the meek will inherit the earth.

And it would be nice if the Duck Dinosaur acknowledged that after all the rewriting and culling that went into the honing of the New Testament during the first 200 years after Christ’s death, Jesus still didn’t have a single word to say against homosexuality.

I will have tolerance, occasionally even envy, for those, like Robertson, who believe that Jesus was born of a virgin birth and that he performed miracles–always remember that the very first was turning water into wine–and rose from the dead after He was crucified. It would be nice to think so.

But as the sun meekly nudges above the horizon this weekend and then crashes ponderously in mid-afternoon, as if the weight of winter was simply just too much for it, and we begin our circle toward greater and greater light, I will turn to chapter 25 of Matthew’s Good News and read:

 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink,

a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink/

When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you,

whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

And I will think about the incalculable Blessing that a Jewish carpenter may have uttered those words. Happy Holidays to all and a Merry New Year.

49 comments
gracie79
gracie79

I believe that Jesus is the Christ an Son of living God. But Jews don't/  They are still waiting for their OWN MESSIAH. But Christ came here for all not only for JEWS. They got the idea of Christ wrong. Christ means anointed one. Anointed ones are prophet, priest and King. Jesus came here as the Christ. He is the way to God, he died for our sins and curses and He crushed the satan's head. And as the evidence of He is God, He resurrected! 

He is the Christ so we call the day Christmas! 

I feel deeply sorry for them. They can't get over JESUS all the time. They have an issue calling Christmas Christmas. No matter how much you try to get rid of that term Christmas I don't think you can. SInce God is alive. I mean JESUS. 




gracie79
gracie79

I know your afflictions and your poverty -yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Rev 2:9 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Amusingly Jesus says nothing about Homosexuality and much about helping the poor. And yet guess what Fox News and the Right Wing Fake Christians focus on?

SilverSunStar
SilverSunStar

If you just look at the location of his birth place and where his family was from then you know he wasn't white, 2000 years ago people didn't even travel that much. Not that I believe such a myth. I would suggest you sane people watch some documentaries and reject medical treatment cause if god gives you a disease he wants you dead. Respect the Amish they are hardcore! You aren't and I don't believe.

TALK2DRBOB
TALK2DRBOB

FOR YOUR INFO, THE LEADING BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, RAYMOND BROWN, SS, WROTE THAT YESHUA (HIS REAL ARAMAIC  NAME) WAS INDEED BORN UNDER A STAR FORMATION THAT OCCURRED IN ABOUT 6-4 BCE.  IT APPEARS EVERY 806 YEARS.  THEREFORE HE DIED ABOUT 25 CE  AT APPROXIMATE 30 YEARS OF AGE.  READ BROWN'S BOOK, 'THE BIRTH OF THE MESSIAH'.  FOR MORE, <TALK2DRBOB@HOTMAIL.COM>

bobcn
bobcn

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink,..."

Sounds like something that marxist Pope would say.

Have a Happy Holiday!

SpikeLee
SpikeLee

Of course Joe Klein says nothing about Robertson's despicable whitewashing of American history before the civil rights movement:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/phil-robertsons-america/282555/

His shared attitude with the above people of their indifference to their fellow Americans is why he joined them in their support of minimizing the Voting Rights Act.

On the other hand, sometimes Joe Klein doesn't pander to his fellow racists!  A great miracle happened here, so a belated Happy Hanukkah to everyone.

jmac
jmac

"In a national study of adolescents, one in two hundred young women reported giving birth while also claiming to be virgins.  More than 30% of women with 'virgin' pregnancies had signed chastity pledges."   Imagine how many virgin births we'd have if we still stoned them to death.  

Hermione
Hermione

Granted, a lot of the Christmas decorations I see in the stores these days are...generic...at best, but what can I say about stuff made overseas?

If someone wants an item that says "Merry Christmas' on it, then make your own, or go online and buy it.  Simple, problem solved.

Okay, next controversy.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

"The War on Christmas"= What Fox does to create outrage in their dim wit audience.

abfalterpersonal
abfalterpersonal

Holiday phrases are not a problem.  Jerk reactions to them are. 


If someone wishes you a Happy Holiday say thanks and wish them one, too. 


If someone wishes you a Merry Christmas say thanks and wish them one, too. 


Being polite and receptive to the well-wishes of others far outweights any religious/politcal commentary one might wish to express.  


I'm an athiest.  I have zero belief in God.  But I celebrate Christmas as a time of gahtering families because I do believe in love and family.   If someone wishes me Merry Christmas, I say Merry Christmas right back at them. 


KevinSnyder
KevinSnyder

 "And it would be nice if the Duck Dinosaur acknowledged that after all the rewriting and culling that went into the honing of the New Testament during the first 200 years after Christ’s death, Jesus still didn’t have a single word to say against homosexuality."


God is one. The God of the OT is the God of the NT. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. In other words, EVERY word in the Bible is Jesus' word. Homosexuality did not stop being a sin in AD 30. Neither did fornication, or idolatry, or murder.

Hey - there's nothing in the NT that specifically says that a preemptive thermonuclear strike on a civilian population is wrong; therefore it must be right!  That is where that logic takes you.


LinaPakanPeters
LinaPakanPeters

What´s in a name? That  which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.  The Renaissance painters painted him blond, blue eyes, perfect nose - everything direction Caucasian man. Truly, I´m a follower of Jesus, and I dont give a damn how my God looks like, but back to feature - I more believe that he probably look more like Omar Sharif, or....

RonNapurano
RonNapurano

When you guys are done trashing Jesus and Santa I say you give Rudolph a long overdue blast for that nose of his. You guys are no doubt up for the intellectual task at hand. Merry, oh forget it.

john_rambo
john_rambo

According to Dimotwits he looked like Obama.

PhillyCannabis
PhillyCannabis

There is not any evidence that jesus existed. Not one piece of evidence. Nothing. Did you know that christianity was first a hallucinogenic mushroom fertility cult? Earliest christian artworks had tons of Amanita muscaria mushrooms in them.

mrxexon
mrxexon

The ancient definition of a virgin birth predates Jesus by quite a bit. It's a soul that incarnates by his will do to do. Not bound to return here because of karmic debt, but as an act of compassion. Often as a beacon of light in a spiritually dark world. A Christ. A Buddha.


I'm of the opinion that Jesus did not exist. But is rather a character of a passion play. An oral method of teaching before writing was born. These plays often impart moral lessons, like Aesop's Fables. This one was written down and turned into the equivalent‎ of War and Peace.


Still doesn't mean it's true. Just well crafted. Then somebody got the idea, "Hey, let's turn this into a religion"


The rest is history. Literally.


x

TenaciousJim
TenaciousJim

Yeah Joe and we light a holiday candelabra every year.

tcement
tcement

Okay. We do not KNOW what Jesus looked like or if he was "white". And since, technically, he does not exist, we do not KNOW what Santa Claus looks like or whether he is "white". We do, however, KNOW, what Kelly, O'Reilly, et al. look like and can presume, pending DNA test results, that they are "white". Just like Hitler. And Stalin. 'nuff said.

tom.litton
tom.litton

When ever i hear someone say Merry Christmas deliberately instead of Happy Holidays my first thought is:  "I hope your New Years is depressing and miserable too."

jmac
jmac

I'm not Jewish (or Christian or anything) and I live in Texas but I'm sending Al Franken another $25 bucks for saying Santa might be Jewish.


nix.nightbird
nix.nightbird

@TALK2DRBOB

There's no historical evidence of Jesus outside of the Bible, and the Bible is not a historical record; It's a book of fables and parables written long after the times which it refers to.

The Christians stole the whole holiday from pagans. Just deal with it. 

TVV
TVV

@abfalterpersonal 

I completely agree with you.  I am not an atheist, but believe that to respect people and recognize their well-intentions is more important than judging out of fear what these implications may have on my personal position.


Merry Christmas!



grape_crush
grape_crush

@KevinSnyder  > there's nothing in the NT that specifically says that a preemptive thermonuclear strike on a civilian population is wrong...

But the OT is pretty clear on the subject of murder.

> That is where that logic takes you.

Only if you lack common sense.

> In other words, EVERY word...

That's pretty much a fringe view of the Bible, relying on circular logic to be true.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@KevinSnyder Even St Paul knew he had to hedge on the Old Testamant. I can assure you, he knows better than you.


PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@KevinSnyder So tatooo's are an abomination, Adultery is a capital crime, and slavery is encouraged.


Perhaps you need to read that book a little more carefully, You've clearly been spoonfed only the hateful portions.


ianmac3737
ianmac3737

@PhillyCannabis There is one recent scholarly report that suggests Jesus and Christianity were both fiction, created by patrician Romans about 200 years after his supposed birth.  This was done for the usual reasons:  control of the plebeians and maintenance of power by the elite.  There are absolutely no confirmed records of Jesus' existence from anything written around the time we are told he was born and lived.  No Roman records and none from any other source, except, of course, the New Testament, which was written some 200 to 400 years after the supposed facts claimed therein.


Face it, folks; Jesus is a myth, just like Zeus, Odin, and Jupiter.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@tom.litton My, my,my. They really missed out on you when they were looking for a perfect Mr Scrooge. But there is always next year. In the meantime you could play the Grinch who stole Christmas. Merry Christmas.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@jmac Senator Franken giving this "controversy" the gravity it deserves. 

chucksaw812
chucksaw812

Yes, there is historical evidence outside the bible...please know your facts before claiming to know your facts..

chucksaw812
chucksaw812

St.paul never once hedged in the Old Testament...the Old Testament was a division out there by man...the bible is a whole book. Not two different books, one replacing the other.. Again, please know what you are talking about before posting..pauldirks

chucksaw812
chucksaw812

Pauldirks, you may want to understand the context of these verses before abolishing them as outdated....there were very specific instances for capital punishment and as far as slavery is concerned, people would often become slaves to pay a debt etc. ..we Americans tend to look at things through our American history and westernized mindset..

bobcn
bobcn

@PaulDirks @KevinSnyder  

The following  are some of the crimes listed in the  Old Testament that are to be punished with death.  Have you ever committed any of these crimes, Kevin?  For example, have you ever broken the Sabbath? Are you ready to round up all the men who are uncircumcised and execute them?  How about the women who falsely claim that they're virgins?

  • Adultery (Lev 20:10-12, (man and woman).
  • Lying about virginity. Applies to girls who are still in their fathers' homes, who lie about their virginity, and are presented to their husband as a virgin. The accused is guilty until proved innocent. (Deut 22:20-21).
  • The daughter of a priest practicing prostitution (death by fire) (Lev 21:9).
  • Rape of someone who is engaged. If she is not engaged you only have to marry her and give her father 50 shekels. No mention is made of the girl’s opinion. (Deut 22:25).
  • Having sex with your father’s wife, as distinct from "your mother", as it was common practice for men at the time to have several wives. (both die). (Lev 20:20).
  • Male homosexuality. The girls seem to get a free .. errrr ...ride on this one. (Lev 20:13).
  • Marrying a woman and her daughter. They are all burnt to death (Lev 20:14)
  • Worshiping idols (Ex 22:20, Lev 20:1-5, Deut 17:2-7).
  • Blasphemy (Lev 24:14-16,23).
  • Breaking the Sabbath (Ex 31:14, Numb 15:32-36).
  • Practicing magic (Ex 22:18).
  • Being a medium or spiritualist. (stoning) (Lev 20:27).
  • Trying to convert people to another religion. (stoning) (Deut 13:1-11, 18:20).
  • Apostasy - If most people in a town come to believe in a different god. (Kill everybody, including animals, and burn the town.) (Deut 13:12-15)
  • Non-priests going near the tabernacle when it is being moved. (Numb 1:51)
  • Being a false prophet. (Deut 132:5, Deut 18:20, Zech 13:2-3)
  • Striking your parents (Ex 21:15).
  • Cursing your parents (Ex 21:17, Lev 20:9).
  • Being a stubborn and rebellious son. And being a profligate and a drunkard. (stoning) (Quite a few of us might have a problem with this one)(Deut 21:18-21)
  • Murder. However if a slave is beaten to death the owner is “punished” — not necessarily killed. If the slave survives the beating then there is no punishment. (Gen 9:6, Ex 21:12, Numb 35:16-21). This is part of a wide range of slavery laws in the Old and New Testament.
  • Kidnapping and selling a man. This is really a law against making an Israelite a slave against his will. (Ex 21:16).
  • Perjury (in certain cases) (Deut 19:15 - 21). Deut 19:20 explicitly identifies that the purpose of this is deterrence. "The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing (malicious and false testimony by one man against another) be done among you." Presumably all the other death penalties are assumed to be for deterrence as well.
  • Ignoring the verdict of a judge – (or a priest!) (Deut 17:8-13).
  • Not penning up a known dangerous bull, if the bull subsequently kills a man or a woman. (Ex 21:29) 
  • Both the animal and the reckless owner of the dangerous bull are to be put to death.
  • Living in a city that failed to surrender to the Israelites. (Kill all the men, make the women and children slaves.) Deut 20:12-14.
  • A male who is not circumcised. Genesis 17:14
  • Eating leavened bread during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Exodus 12:15
  • Manufacturing anointing oil. Exodus 30:33
  • Engaging in ritual animal sacrifices other than at the temple. Leviticus 17:1-9
  • Sexual activity with a woman who is menstruating: Leviticus 20:18
  • Consuming blood: This would presumably include eating rare meat and black pudding. Also see above. Leviticus 17:10.
  • Eating peace offerings while ritually unclean: Leviticus 7:20
  • Waiting too long before consuming sacrifices: Leviticus 19:5-8
  • Going to the temple in an unclean state: Numbers 19:13

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

@ianmac3737@PhillyCannabis Flavius Josephus mentioned Jesus in his book, Antiquities of the Jews which was written some 70 years after his death, so the idea of Jesus being some type of myth created some 200 years later is simply erroneous.  Whether you believe Jesus is the Son of God or just a Jewish carpenter's son, the person of Jesus, the man, likely existed.

jlf1976
jlf1976

@vedhed21@PhillyCannabisWrong. The "enough" people you refer to in the linked article were two, and both born AFTER the purported death of Christ. They wrote about Christians, not Christ. The article even goes on to say " Questions of historicity arise where accounts of events are believed by some to be true, but cannot be verified, either due to the absence of historical records of sufficient accepted reliability or where historical accounts incorporate folklore, theological views or literature as fact." Without religious input, Historians would say Christians definitely existed, but have no proof of Christ. No one even got around to writing the gospels until 40 years later.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@ReneDemonteverdeWhat am i suppose to think when someone deliberately makes a point of _not_ wishing me a happy new year by only saying Merry Christmas?  That they don't know new years is only a week after that?

TryptanFelle
TryptanFelle

@TALK2DRBOB@chucksaw812  There is one mention outside the scriptures, in Josephus' writings when he mentions James the Just of Jerusalem, noting that he was the brother of Jesus whom some call the Messiah.  That's pretty much it.  


Nix is right that the Bible is not a historical record--it is a theological one--but that does not mean its historical value is zero.  It is reasonable to conclude that Jesus actually existed and Historical Jesus scholars spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out which aspects of the Biblical portrait can be embraced by the tests of historical research.  


As a Christian myself, I long assumed that the church had just Christianized the Saturnalia and the Yule (and they certainly made use of the links between the two), but recently became aware of scholarship that suggests that the dating of Christmas was made on the assumption that his conception and his crucifixion took place on the same date (March 25).  Nine months from March 25 is December 25.  Thus, the dating is yet another theological claim--not a historical one.  There's an excellent write up at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/new-testament/how-december-25-became-christmas/


chucksaw812
chucksaw812

For these crimes to be punished as written there must have been a Sanhedrin court to enforce these laws,..and a temple...please know what you are talking about before posting please..

KevinSnyder
KevinSnyder

@bobcn @PaulDirks @KevinSnyder Read Acts 15:6-21. Or, since the only Bible knowledge you have comes from haters and you likely don't have one of your own, I'll summarize. Acts 15:20 = "But that we write to them (Gentiles in the Church) to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality (well defined in Leviticus), from things strangled, and from blood."  


4 rules were given to Gentiles who wanted to seek God. 3 were instructions to avoid pagan idolatry, and one to avoid sexual immorality. 

Now, remember that these rules are given only to Christians! If a non-believer wishes to to perform any of these acts, they are welcome to. I'm not going to say that I don't care - I do, deeply. Sin separates us from God. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that I should physically stop you from sacrificing to idols or acting in a sexually immoral way. What the Bible says is that I am to preach Christ resurrected. At that point, my responsibility is ended, and it is up to you and the Holy Spirit whether you believe or not.


Yes, Leviticus promises death for the violation of any of 613 different mitzvahs. However, if you were to actually read that book, you'd see that for every sin except murder, an appropriate sacrifice is named.

The good news for you, me, and all of humanity is that Jesus became that sacrifice, once and for all. If you wish to be forgiven of all your sins and to live eternally with Him, please accept his sacrifice for you.


The other good news is that Christ knows I'm not perfect and on occasion WILL look upon a woman not my wife with lust in my heart (my personal "favorite" sin) and he forgives me anyway!


If you don't, hey, no skin off my nose. Or Phil Robertson's. Go do as you wish, when you wish. As long as you do not violate any of man's laws, you'll be just fine, I suppose. Christian rules are for Christians. If any Christian wishes to force them on any non-believer, I'll be happy to teach a study on the relevant passages explaining that Christians are to judge Christians only, not the World.