James Murray

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Should people who are not Christian celebrate Christmas?

I tire of people who claim they are atheists and non Christians celebrating Christmas, it is hypocritical to the point you are not even permitted to mention the name of the Messiah without being told to stop "being a bore". The only reason Christmas exists is to celebrate the birth of Christ (yes I bloody know the date was changed) so why do people insist on changing the name of the festival to "Xmas" and try to remove religion from it?
These ignorant shallow people can find other festivals with which to explore their boring conformist ideals. Christmas is for the Christians, it brings non Christians together also and that is the beauty of it but stop trying to steal it to suit commercialism.

  • Dec 30 2012: I want to point out TED is not a place to vent your frustration about what other people choose to do with their own private lives. I'm sure the taliban and the westboro baptist church have internet forums where you can complain about other people not conforming to your religious views.
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    Dec 26 2012: Dear James,
    I assume, based on your statement above that you are a christian, who doesn't like non-christians celebrating christmas? You say that "ignorant shallow people can find other festivals with which to explore their boring conformists ideals"? "The only reason Christmas exists is to celebrate the birth of Christ"?

    As people have suggested on this thread, it appears that the holiday was established BEFORE the formation of christianity. So, who is stealing what from whom? Who are you calling ignorant and shallow?

    Well, I'll share with you what my devout christian mother taught me.....christmas is a feeling that we can carry with us all year....it embraces kindness, compassion, joy, acceptance and unconditional love.....try it....you might like it:>) Honestly James, "I tire of people" who do not walk their talk:>)
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    Dec 26 2012: Christianity is a pagan holiday and no aspect of the modern holiday besides the word 'christ' in Christmas is even Christian related. Every aspect of the holiday has been authentically stolen to support credibility of a mythical story that has none itself, yet you complain that other people are stealing the holiday for their own purposes?..

    Hilarity ensued.
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    Dec 26 2012: Before you call someone ignorant and shallow you should know that most European countries celebrated this day before they had ever heard of Jesus. Christianity adopted these festivals in order to make the religion more attractive to people.

    In Scandinavian countries it is still called "Jul" (Yule) which was a pagan festival from before Mary got impregnated by the holy ghost.

    So please stop mixing your Middle Eastern myths into our festivals and find your own date where you can receive presents on someone else's birthday.
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    Dec 29 2012: I think the question should be, should Christian's celebrate Christmas? Of course, we know that Jesus himself said, "it's better to give than receive" (Acts 20:35). 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "God loves a cheerful giver", one who gives, "just as he has  purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion." But Christmas is supposed to be beyond the gift giving, as you've stated. Many people believe that December 25th is supposed to involve the birth of our Lord of which we are to celebrate. But Jesus not once commanded his followers to do so. Instead, he instructed his followers at the last supper "Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: THIS do in remembrance of me." 1 Corinthians 11:24. 

    You asked 'why do people insist on changing the name of the festival to "Xmas" and try to remove religion from it?' Actually, James, it doesnt matter if theyre removing religion from the name because religion was never in its origin anyway. The date December 25th (from the Julian calendar), involved pagan Roman festivals at the time of the winter solstice that included other festivals such as Saturnalia, the festival of the Roman Sol and the festival of Persian Mithra. Those pagan festivals only became "Christianized" by Pope Julius l when he tied the date of December 25th to Christs unknown birthday. Which over time, gradually supplanted all other solstice rites and has now made its way into a common so-called Chrisitan tradition. (The Christmas Encyclopedia)

    Anyway, whats most important is if the celebration of Jesus' birth is, or was ever, supposed to be of any significance in Chrisitanity, I'm sure his actual birthdate would have been mentioned at least once in the scriptures. 
  • Dec 27 2012: I don't believe in exictence of God, becuse there is no scientific proof. but I do celebrate Christmas with Catholics.. to me it is beautiful and colourful event, and nothing else. By the way, I was baptised as Christian... and I found that in 21st centure no one lives as our beloved Jesus Christ taught us. I will find it dificult to believe that one does. Jesus Christ didn't collect material stuff and didn't enslaved himself to things.

    If it is a celebration of a spiritual leader, then I think every one has right to participate and be happy... Happiness is a feeling that we all share regardless nationality, religious belief, race or colour.

    Share it as much as you can regardless the day of the year
  • Dec 26 2012: Merry X-men!
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    Dec 26 2012: The only rule of life and faith for true followers of the LORD Jesus Christ is the Holy Bible. When religious denominations calling themselves Christians adopt human constructs and traditions and attempt to "sanctify" them by treating them as if they are based upon the Holy Bible, trouble ensues.
    What does the Holy Bible say about Christmas?. . . nothing. The word does not appear in any of the 66 books which constitute the Holy Bible. So, I believe your question, Mr. Murray, has to do with human tradition. It is not a matter of life or faith. No matter what Macys does, a true follower of the LORD Jesus Christ celebrates constantly the glorious historical fact the the only Redeemer of God's Elect became flesh and dwelt among us. The rest is sound and fury, signifying nothing. Peace on Earth toward men of good will. Thank you!
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    Dec 26 2012: People who are not Christians should share the joy of Christmas with the followers of Christ; but it is more important that we all remember the reason for the season.
    Jesus Christ is God's gift to the world; some people have recieved Him and such should celebrate. Some will recieve him soon; some will reject Him.
    Blessed are those who have recieved him and those who will; for that is what really makes his birth worth celebrating.
  • Dec 30 2012: A conformist calling a free thinker a conformist? You stand like this, say this, pray like this, go to this building to hear this...and you call others conformists?

    I believe the history of this celebration was a celebration other than religious belief but consumed for that purpose so why can't re;religion find their own holiday instead of taking over someone ele's is a better question.

    Now stating that, do you think Jesus cared about a manipulated moment in time which repeats itself? And since he only spoke with non-believers and atheists (as they were the only ones who agreed about his stance against organized religion...ie; argued with priests and had nothing to do with followers) I doubt he would tell them not to.

    In conclusion all you have is different people celebrating different holidays at the same time, so since the world says the holiday has lost its meaning, it can only remain personal...Merry Christmas...
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    Dec 29 2012: I'm agnostic and I celebrate Christmas. The majority of my family is Christian though. I use the holiday to spend quality time with family. I cherish the holidays. I will celebrate Christmas with my children someday. I grew up celebrating Christmas. To me Christmas is not about gift-giving, but it is about being with family.

    I will say though I respect Christmas as a religious holiday for Christians. I say "Marry Christmas" and don't think they every should have to say "Happy Holidays". I do not insist on changing the name to "Xmas". I don't want to take away this religious event for Christians. But I am not bothering anyone by also celebrating the holiday in the privacy of my home. I don't care how anyone else celebrates their holidays, so nobody should care how I celebrate any holidays.
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    Dec 28 2012: It's Easter that should be the one true event but death doesn't seem to be considered a celebrational event. Does Islam have a day where they wish all men on earth peace?
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      Dec 28 2012: What does the word Easter mean and how is it connected to the Bible?
      The name “Easter” originated with the names of an ancient Goddess and God.
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    Dec 27 2012: RE: The only reason Christmas exists is to celebrate the birth of Christ, so why do people insist on changing the name of the festival to "Xmas" and try to remove religion from it?

    What exactly do you mean by celebrate? How do you "celebrate" the day?
    It was originally only a "mass," "Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist goes by.

    The Roman Catholic Church distinguishes between the Mass in its understanding and what some Anglicans and Lutherans call the Mass, since it considers that they lack the sacrament of orders and therefore "have not preserved the genuine and total reality of the Eucharistic mystery." On the other hand, historically, the Lutheran Church has stated that the Lutheran Mass is "the only Mass founded in the Scriptures of God, in accordance with the plain and incontestable institution of the Saviour..

    "Christmas" is a compound word originating in the term "Christ's Mass". It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, which is from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038.

    "Xmas" is an abbreviation of Christmas found particularly in print, based on the initial letter chi (Χ) in Greek Khrīstos (Χριστός), "Christ", though numerous style guides discourage its use; it has precedent in Middle English Χρ̄es masse (where "Χρ̄" is an abbreviation for Χριστός).

    You might also read this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1100842/Why-I-celebrate-Christmas-worlds-famous-atheist.html

    You asked a question. It seems you are not please with the answer.
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      Dec 27 2012: Well at least you speak honestly mate.
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        Dec 27 2012: You are implying that other commentators aren't being honest. That is quite a bold statement. In a discussion you should be able to back this up with an argument.

        Just because people don't share your opinion does not mean they are dishonest.
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    Dec 26 2012: Well, I'm an atheist, but Jesus has still had a positive influence on my life. So I don't feel bad celebrating Christmas. Actually, my values are similar to what is celebrated at Christmas, which is love, togetherness, creativity in choosing gifts, so there I don't feel bad either.
  • Dec 26 2012: I do not consider myself a Christian, but I believe in the primary message of Jesus Christ, that we should love one another. For that reason, I celebrate Christmas, a celebration of love and the message of love.

    I agree that the commercialization of Christmas is deplorable, but I do buy gifts for a few people in my family. When she still could, my wife made most of our Christmas gifts, but she no longer can.

    The depth of hypocrisy is the practice of many stores, which play "Christmas music", choosing songs that never mention anything remotely related to the religious origins of Christmas. And it sounds tacky and tasteless.
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    Dec 26 2012: Merry Christmas everyone.
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    Dec 26 2012: I think it is perfectly fine to share other people's holidays with them, though the holiday means something quite different to those for whom it is a celebration of their religious beliefs than for those who participate as friends and neighbors.
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    Dec 29 2012: But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ...

    Isn't this how Christians are supposed to deal with all of those '... ignorant shallow people'?

    Yupp, so easy to say ... I know, I know, but wasn't it in the 'doing'? ;o)
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    Dec 27 2012: No, I do not believe people who are not Christians should celebrate Christmas. I am Catholic, and the significance of Christmas is not gift giving, bright lights, or Santa Claus, it is the Birth of Jesus Christ. I feel the same way Muslims would feel if non-Muslims were celebrating Ramadan, or how Jewish people would feel if non-Jewish people celebrated Rosh Hashanah or Hanukkah. Christmas is a Christian holiday, and I believe it should stay that way.
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      Dec 28 2012: So, what did you do to "celebrate," as you put it, Christmas?
      Celebrate seems to me a strange word to use in the context of a religious holy day.
      Another religions use the word observance, " the action or practice of fulfilling or respecting the requirements of law, morality, or ritual : strict observance of the rules | the decline in religious observance."
      I have been to the homes of others and observed their traditions with them. The problem with Christmas is that the rituals are gone. We are increasingly a society that declines the traditions of the church. Hence, we are left with commercialism and secular decorations.
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        Dec 28 2012: I celebrate Christmas by going to a church ceremony on Christmas Eve, and having a Dinner after followed by the opening of presents.
        The rituals may be gone for some, but in my culture specifically it is not, I am Brazilian, and Christmas is sacred to us. We observe it not as a day of gift giving and food/drink, but as a holiday of religious significance, the holy birth of Jesus Christ.
    • Dec 28 2012: Interesting point of view. I don't suppose it would help to point out that Jesus if he actually lived was not born on December 25. I have heard of dates in the fall and as early as June. The actual date was set sometime in the mid 4th century to be December 25 to correspond with existing solstice celebrations.
      So you are really a non-pagan co-opting my holiday of Yule with your new fangled holy talk.
      Our rituals are not gone, we celebrate them fully as in the old days.
      I won't take offence if you still want to use the day. We pagans are not ones to get our noses out of joint like some I could mention
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    Dec 27 2012: I have noticed that there are alot of people on here who just hang around and comment or more importantly antagonize every discussion or debate. Check the recent commenters square.
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      Dec 27 2012: James,

      The "recent commenters square" has been "stuck" in the same place for a month. You didn't notice that?
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      Dec 27 2012: I do not think you are in a position to criticise the tone of others. You seem to lack the basic skills of a conversation. I have yet to see you present a single argument.

      People can celebrate whatever they want - it's none of your business. If your purpose is to spread your idea of Christmas you are doing a very poor job.

      I really don't understand why you have posted this as a question - you are not interested in the answers you get. It seems obvious that you'll rather tell people how to act.

      Because of your behaviour I shall celebrate atheist christmas twice a year.
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    Dec 26 2012: What's going on with the Australian Muslims? A few clerics have issued a Fatwa against christmas.
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    Gail .

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    Dec 26 2012: If you remove the commercialism from Christmas, what you have left is your holy holiday.

    Christmas has only become so commercialized in very recent history. St. Nick began as a Dutch tradition. He came to your house on Dec 3 and gave good children some raisins, nuts, and perhaps a piece of candy. Not a stocking-full, mind you, though stockings were sometimes used to hold the small treasures, and in those days, a handful of nuts, raisins, and a piece of candy WERE a treasure.

    After WWII, when American economy grew exponentially, CHRISTIANS took Christmas to a whole new level. CHRISTIANS turned it into a festival that worships the holy dollar. Malls and department stores became the holy temples of the God of Money where sacrifices (spending money) was conducted to keep the god alive & healthy.

    Researchers have concluded from historical records and astronomical observations that would have occurred during the time around the birth of Jesus, that Jesus was probably born on April 17, 6BCE. The date of Dec. 25 was chosen to attract those who worshiped Mithra. Mithra, the only begotten son of God (the sun), was born on 12/25 in a virgin birth. He spent his life teaching and performing miracles - including raising people from the dead, walking on water, and feeding a crowd from nothing. A feast was held in his honor right before he was martyred - on Black Friday. He rose from the dead 3 days later (on EASTer SUNday) at sunrise, where he ascended to his father in heaven where to this day he intercedes with his father on his followers behalf.

    Perhaps next year (now that you are less ignorant than you were when you asked your question), you will choose differently. Perhaps you will choose to forgo the pagan winter festival (that existed in MANY pagan traditions). Perhaps you will not participate in the commercialism at ANY level. The choice is yours. The hypocrisy is yours.
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      Dec 27 2012: St Nick was invented in Greece brother.
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    Dec 26 2012: People that ARE Christian should stop celebrating Christmas, but as far as the commercialism of Christmas they have no one to blame but themselves.
    If I were a Christian I would be insulted that the secular capitalist have stolen the holiday. (read "Holy Day")
    The Orthodox Christian have the right idea: "For many Orthodox Christians, Christmas Day is not about presents, eggnog or Christmas characters that have become popular through commercialization. Christmas Day is a time to heal the soul. It is also a time of peace and unity."
    Orthodox Christians attend a special church liturgy on Christmas Day on January 7. Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas Day with various traditions.