Response to "Christmas Wars"

Steve Hays has a post called “Christmas Wars,” about objections to Christmas (link to post). As a non-celebrant of the day, I thought it would be interesting to review his identified objections and his responses to the objections.

1. Constitutional Objection

As far as I know, Steve’s right about this.

2. Genetic Objection

Steve has two responses here. The first isn’t really argued, so I’ll pass over it. The second is that the meaning of the holiday is properly defined other ways than by its origins. That’s certainly true, at least to a degree.

Yet I think that the response misses the objection. The objection is, in essence, that Christmas is tainted by its pagan roots. Thus, partaking in the celebration is partaking in paganism. The reasoning would be from the issue of meat offered to idols. We are not to partake in the ceremonies of the heathen. If pagan origin of the holiday means that those participating in it are participating to some degree in a pagan religious celebration, they should not.

Incidentally, I think the weakness of the objection lies in the argument that the co-opting taints the holiday. Isn’t that rather like saying that Reformation Day is tainted by Halloween? I don’t really buy that.

3. Calendrical Objection

I don’t buy Steve’s first response here, which is that it is “dubious” that Jesus was not born on December 25. We really have no good reason for thinking that December 25 is the day of Jesus’ birth. The best Steve can do here is to say that there is not iron-clad proof that December 25 was not the actual day. Based solely on the fact that the Bible does not tell us the date, there’s about a 99.7% chance that it was not December 25. That’s hardly “dubious.”

Steve’s second response is that the objection is irrelevant. In other words, who cares if it is really Jesus’ birthday? This is a stronger objection, but of course the holiday is sold (by ditties like “God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen”) as being important because it is Jesus’ birthday.

4. The So-Called Puritan Objection

I don’t think Steve accurately represents the Puritans’ views here. The objection he identifies is the objection that it is “wrong to observe any (religious) holiday that isn’t commanded in Scripture.” I’m not sure he could find any Puritan actually saying that.

Steve’s first response is to allege that this is a false dichotomy. Perhaps it is, at least as stated – but I don’t think the Puritans would state it that way.

Steve’s second response is to allege that the observation of the Lord’s Day would also fall prey to this objection. A full response would require a lot of detail, but suffice that the Puritans did believe that the Lord’s Day is a religious holy day commanded by Scripture.

5. The “Baptist” Objection

I agree with Steve’s responses.

6. The Commercialization Objection

I agree with Steve’s responses.

7. The Politically Correct Objection

I agree with Steve’s responses.

8. The Ethical Objection

I agree with Steve’s first response, to wit that Christians can adopt less than the full package of “Christmas” customs. As to his second and third responses, I disagree. You shouldn’t lie to your kids – and while kids may be upset that they were not lied to, one should not lie in order to avoid alienating one’s kids, since a good end cannot justify an evil means.

– TurretinFan

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