For those who celebrate Christmas

December 25, 2012 49 Comments
By

For those who are not offended by our nation’s traditions, for those who are tolerant enough to allow ceremonies celebrating all persuasions, then Merry Christmas to you all from Orphans.

49 Responses to For those who celebrate Christmas

  1. December 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Catherine in Athens
    December 25, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Season’s Greetings from sunny Athens. All the best to all OoL and readers for 2013!

  3. nisakiman
    December 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Same to you James. Keep it coming. Since its inception, OoL has become a daily must-read.

    • December 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks very much to the fellow admins and techie by the way.

  4. The Jannie
    December 25, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    To those who are offended by our nation’s traditions – get used to it.
    They’ll be around a long time yet.

  5. bilbaoboy
    December 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    A very Merry Christmas to OoL from a wet but not too cold Bilbao. The turkey’s on the go and the roast potatoes too. Presents have been exchanged, as they will for many years to come. Carols going on the stereo in a minute.

    Hang on in there in 2013

  6. December 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Merry Christmas to all from southern Spain, where it’s cold and wet, but today it doesn’t matter. I am in excellent company and have just eaten a beautifully cooked suckling pig.

  7. Greg Tingey
    December 25, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    If you are a REALLY GOOD CHRISTIAN, like Oliver Cromwell, you will either ignore or try to ban “christmas” since we have no idea at all at what time of year Yeshua bar Joseph was born, or even which year it was, though probably -4BCE is as good as it is going to get …..

    • johnnyrvf
      December 25, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      @Greg, some of the Orthodox Christian Churches of Eastern Europe and certainly Russian O.C. celebrate Christmas day on the 7th january as that is the day that theological and history scholars consider the most accurate date they have established from the documents that have been studied over the years. Merry Christmas to you all!

    • December 26, 2012 at 1:49 am

      By Joseph Pearce, Writer-in-Residence and Visiting Fellow at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire, in Faith and Freedom: Why Liberty Requires Christianity:

      In an age that seems to believe that Christianity is an obstacle to liberty it will prove provocative to insist, contrary to such belief, that Christian faith is essential to liberty’s very existence. Yet, as counter-intuitive as it may seem to disciples of the progressivist zeitgeist, it must be insisted that faith enshrines freedom.

      Without the shrine that faith erects to freedom, the liberties that we take for granted will be eroded and ultimately destroyed. Faith preserves freedom. It protects it. It insists upon it. Where there is faith there is freedom. Where faith falters, so does freedom …

      One of the truths of Christendom which lays the very foundations of freedom is the Christian insistence on the mystical equality of all people in the eyes of God and the insistence on the dignity of the human person that follows logically, inexorably and inescapably from such an insistence.

      Apart from the connection between freedom and equality, the other aspect of freedom enshrined by Christianity is the freedom of the will and the consequences attached to it. If we are free to act and are not merely slaves to instinct as the materialists claim, we have to accept that we are responsible for our choices and for their consequences.

      It’s no accident that the lands in which we are even able to have this debate are those which had a Christian underpinning – Christianity really does respect freedom as it is based on it.

      The theme is not new. In Democracy in America [1835], Chapter 17, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:

      “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other…

      They brought with them into the New World a form of Christianity which I cannot better describe than by styling it a democratic and republican religion.”

      My three learned friends are free to believe their error-strewn misrepresentation of Christianity by confusing the message with the advocate and with the unscrupulous who use that misrepresentation to help suppress and marginalize – Christianity has actually given them the freedom to do that. However, the curious behaviour of suggesting to people that refusing to read something on the speculative grounds that it might not say anything new is a different matter and one I commented on. I didn’t bother [in the thread until this comment] with the theology itself but did jump in on the issue of suppression.

      The essential problem is that we don’t live in a free society now and by putting to people that they shouldn’t read about the very thing which protects them – DQS was quite specific in his examples and LR and GT have been in past comments – the writer is aiding and abetting the State in its suppression of the last bastion of freedom.

      Or in other words – it is supporting censorship.

      Were it not the last bastion of freedom, the State would hardly bother with it. This came out, for example, in Cameron’s fixation with gay “church” weddings. For a supposedly long-dead superstition, it seems to be causing a great deal of apoplexy in certain quarters.

      There was a man named Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller who had something to say about standing by whilst something is suppressed, until what they themselves say is also ultimately suppressed.

      Thin edge of the wedge. Divide and rule.

      • December 26, 2012 at 9:05 am

        The essential problem is that we don’t live in a free society now and by putting to people that they shouldn’t read about the very thing which protects them – DQS was quite specific in his examples and LR and GT have been in past comments – the writer is aiding and abetting the State in its suppression of the last bastion of freedom.

        Or in other words – it is supporting censorship

        Bollocks.

      • Greg Tingey
        December 26, 2012 at 9:15 am

        Christianity is a RELIGION.
        By definition, it is the opponent of liberty, founded as it is (& so are all the others) on lies & blackmail.
        Stop talking cock.

      • December 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm

        Reading that,I must presume that James Higham is a man who reads every word ever written about everything and never exercises his judgement about what to read and what not to, nor ever recommends to anybody that reading certain things might be time poorly spent.

        And he surely cannot be the same James Higham who told people to discount everything they read at a certain website. Oh, unless he has already read everything ever posted at that website that he told us to discount?

        All very silly, but quite entertaining, I confess.

  8. Greg Tingey
    December 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    As it is, I’m celebrating Yule & Mid-Winter with goose, smoked eel, scnnapps, champagne, vino, beer, homegrown vegetables etc ….

    • December 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      Happy Winter Solstice Times to you Greg. It’s good to hear that you know the real and ancient reason for festivities at this time of year, festivities shamelessly hijacked by Christianity and Consumerism and claimed as their own. A shocking perversion of the old traditions and our ancient interconnections with the cycle of Nature. Good cheer to you (and to all).

      • Harry
        December 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm

        “Happy Winter Solstice Times to you Greg”

        Ah, sun god worship. I think you’ll find it was ‘merged’ with Christianity by the Roman catholic church. God made it quite clear in the Bible he viewed such a thing quite dimly, to say the least.

        It may not be Jesus Christ’s real birthday but I’ll wish you all at OOL a Happy Christmas anyway.

        Cheers,

        Harry.

        • December 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm

          “God made it quite clear in the Bible”

          I find that hilarious. That a grown adult can actually think something or someone called God (whatever they mean by that) wrote or somehow delivered the words in Bible? That is more ridiculous than belief in Santa.

          And when you say “‘merged’ with Christianity by the Roman catholic church.” you make my point precisely, thank you very much. The church blatantly built Christmas around the pre-existing real reason for celebrations at this time, which, whether worshipful or not (and I certainly don’t worship the sun), was because the Winter Solstice occurred and the sun began to stay longer and pass higher in the sky.

          • Harry
            December 26, 2012 at 1:44 am

            Don, it’s sun god worship whether you realise it or not. Pagan Rome called it ‘Sol Invictus’, birth of the conquering sun. That this was merged with Christianity by Rome tells you a lot about catholicism but nothing at all about true Christianity.

            Scoff all you like about the Bible Don but I think you’d be surprised with the company you keep. There is real evil at work in this world today and you might be surprised to find that they worship the sun as well. Worship, celebrate, there’s no real difference.

            • Greg Tingey
              December 26, 2012 at 9:16 am

              Ah … that old lying chestnut…
              “true christianity”
              Shallwe define a true christian, probably in the same way as one describes “No true Scotsman”.
              More bollocks.

              • Harry
                December 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

                Whatever Greg. There is such a thing as true Christianity. Read the Bible and find out. The point that was being made was that it isn’t the pagan hybrid created by Rome.

            • AlexB
              December 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm

              Not fully convinced “hoorah, it’s getting light again!” is necessarily sun god worship. Yes, historically, and there are people who still do.

              But being happy that the days are getting long again is cause to celebrate, and you don’t have to worship a deity to do so. Greg and Don don’t.

              That said, I believe that today Greg has been busy with a folk tradition that wouldn’t be around (at least in its current myriad forms) if not for Christianity.

              • Greg Tingey
                December 27, 2012 at 8:34 am

                Harry

                I have read almost all of the bible & most of the koran.
                Now get stuffed.
                You forget I’m an ESCAPED christian.
                I know almost all the lies & blackmail.

            • December 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm

              “Worship, celebrate. There’s no real difference”?

              What language do you use Harry my man? Clearly not English. Must remind people I am using specifically the English meanings when I celebrate a goal at football, the arrival of spring or the birth of a child. Wouldn’t want to be accused of worshipping Heart of Midlothian FC, a mere season on planet Earth, or even my cousin’s new baby – I do like the child, but worshipping him is a bit much.

              What incredible nonsense, but thanks for another chuckle.

              • Harry
                December 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm

                What I meant by no real difference is that by ‘celebrating’ you still give assent to the system that is operated by those who do the actual worshipping. In the middle of St Peter’s square in the Vatican is an Egyptian obelisk. This was ‘worshipped’ as sacred to the sun god Ra. The obelisk sits in the middle of a large sun dial aligned to the various solstices and equinoxes. During the sacrament the Pope holds a monstrance above his head. Monstrances are symbolic of the sun. The Olympic games are an occult ritual from start to finish. From the ‘vestal virgins’ lighting the torch (of illumination) by the rays of the sun in the Temple of Hera in honour of Zeus (satan), to the (masonic) phoenix rising from the flames at the end of the closing ceremony at London 2012. Just two examples, the point being, whilst you may not take sun god worship seriously, those in positions of power and influence in this world most certainly do. Christianity is and always has been in direct opposition to this system. Laugh all you like but I’m afraid there’s more going on in this world than perhaps you realise.

              • December 27, 2012 at 12:08 am

                So Harry… I say to myself, ‘Oh that’s nice that the daylight hours are getting longer now, let’s have a beer to celebrate that,’ and I am suddenly part of a dark and occult world of all that stuff you talk of. My goodness Harry. What nonsense Harry. Cheers Harry. Goodnight Harry.

              • December 27, 2012 at 12:16 am

                Oh. My last comment is “awaiting moderation”, the first time I have ever seen that on this site. Now some of your contributors would suspect censorship or suppression at work, but I am confident there is an innocent explanation, so I look forward to seeing both this and that one in the morning. Interesting though. Has the comments policy and system changed? (Added in Edit mode – this one appeared instantly but the previous one is still “awaiting moderation” Odd).

              • Harry
                December 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm

                “So Harry… I say to myself, ‘Oh that’s nice that the daylight hours are getting longer now, let’s have a beer to celebrate that…’”

                Well, that’s not quite what you said Don.

                “Happy Winter Solstice Times to you Greg. It’s good to hear that you know the real and ancient reason for festivities at this time of year, festivities shamelessly hijacked by Christianity and Consumerism and claimed as their own. A shocking perversion of the old traditions and our ancient interconnections with the cycle of Nature.”

                The ‘real and ancient reason’ that was ‘shamelessly hijacked by Christianity’ was Pagan Rome’s sun god worship. Aka, Sol Invictus. Just one of many of the sun god cults. That’s what I was referring to. It hasn’t disappeared you know.

      • December 25, 2012 at 10:08 pm

        Agreed, Harry. Just listen to the emotive language in some of those other comments – astounding.

        Look at the language of those arguing against suppression of Christianity on the other hand and they warn about Niemoeller and the failure to defend freedom.

        Those arguing for suppression like Greg resort to ad hominem and highly emotive language each and every time. How “rational” is that? Pure Dawkins.

        Go for it, boys, let it sit here in black and white for all to read.

        • December 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm

          Where did Greg “argue for suppression” James?

          All I can see is that he pointed out that some who called themselves Christians argued for suppression, and he suggested “If you are a really good Christian” you should perhaps argue for suppression. As he would surely make no claim to be a Christian I don’t follow how you think he himself is arguing for suppression, but of course he can clarify that if he is.

        • Greg Tingey
          December 26, 2012 at 9:18 am

          LIAR Mr Higham

          Where have I called for the suppression of Bronze-Age goatherders’ myths?
          I have called for its’ lies, blackmail, torture & history to be well & publicly exposed.
          Same as all the other religions’ similar faults.

          NOT quite the same thing as “suppression” is it?

        • December 26, 2012 at 9:29 am

          No one has argued for suppression of Christianity. Pointing out the absurdities inherent in religion is not “arguing for suppression”.

          • December 26, 2012 at 10:00 am

            Now are you arguing against the absurdities of “religion” or against “Christianity”, two entirely different things. For in the latter are no absurdities – only your own inability to encompass it. It’s much bigger than either you or me.

            • December 26, 2012 at 10:11 am

              Sigh…

              This is the point where I give up and walk away. My patience can’t take any more of this nonsense.

            • December 26, 2012 at 7:10 pm

              It is indeed a challenge to attempt sensible conversation with someone who sees “no absurdities” in a religion that believes a man was crucified to definite death, then came alive again some time after burial and supposed definite death, and walked around for a while with holes in his hands, then “ascended” to someplace else, by the way having originally been born from the womb of a virgin, with all this being believed on the basis of a collection of tales handed down through many generations of editing from thousands of years ago, at a time when such resurrection myths were extremely commonplace, as they are in other religions, religions that the believers in the above religion reject as nonsense, indeed evil nonsense; with almost all believers in all religions just happening to believe in the specific religion that they happened to be born into… but nonetheless, one tries.

              • December 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm

                It is indeed a challenge to attempt sensible conversation with someone who sees “no absurdities” in a religion that believes a man was crucified to definite death, then came alive again some time after burial and supposed definite death

                An otherwise intelligent man who claims he follows the scientific method and has accepted there is a thing called evidence without absolute proof here loses his reason and descends into emotionalism and highly coloured language.

                And it is based on zero evidence to the contrary. But there is considerable evidence that it did.

                Start with John AT Robertson perhaps and then some CS Lewis. Then consider William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (Wheaton, Illionis: Moody Press, 1984):

                Studies by New Testament scholars such as Martin Hengel of Tubingen University, C. F. D. Moule of Cambridge, and others have proved that within twenty years of the crucifixion a full-blown Christology proclaiming Jesus as God incarnate existed.

                Like a bone here, a bone there of a skeleton, a tooth perhaps, a scientist can reconstruct a dinosaur. A criminal investigator can reconstruct a case according to rigorous methods using fragmented evidence.

                The issue isn’t that there is no evidence – there is, nor that it is fragmented but how it sits as a whole and leads to the early church history it did.

                Are you a biblical scholar, DQS? No? Are you a particle physicist? Would you make such wild generalizations in those fields? Well why do you do it here, particularly as you’re meant to be steeped in the scientific method?

                It really starts to sound like the bollox Greg spouts and one knows how seriously he’s taken.

              • December 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm

                You confirm James… It is indeed a challenge.

                By the way, which of my words were like “bollox”? I thought I was merely summarising what you believed in, so will be interested to hear what part of it you consider “bollox”. The only actual statement of my own that I offered was that I found attempting sensible conversation with someone holding such beliefs to be a challenge, which I do.

              • December 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

                Perhaps I can come at this from a different angle. “Challenge” does not mean “difficult to overcome” in the case of Christology, for example – it is difficult only in the context of assembling the evidence.

                Early High Christology is one of the fragments and even as a mere fragment, it is hotly debated.

                Comments threads here do not allow pdf upload so I’ll turn this into a post at my place [reasoning that the rationalists here have probably had enough for now and those interested will follow it over there.

                One is by Tony Costa in response to Ehrmann and the Adoptionists, one is by Howard Marshall on EHC, there is a link to Hengel [whom you would obviously be familir with if you are an expert in this field - only an expert would have the authority to make sweeping generalizations], one is by Ben Witherington whom you would also know and one by Rev Larry Hurtado.

                The latter is the most interesting because it has someone coming in, offering “evidence against the Pauline authenticity of Philippians 2:6-11″ and quoting to support his argument. In the rebuttal, it was shown that the man – a revisionist biblical historian – had actually quoted incorrectly.

                Now if this is the state of play between the revisionists and the new-old scholars, what chance a non-scholar would be able to take in the enormity of the available history of that time, along with original material, translations – of which there are good and bad versions and so on and so on.

                If there was ever a question requiring sound historicity, this is it. Now that supports your contention that it is “a challenge” but it does not support wild statements of assertion. If I came into your scientific area and just through unsupported assertion at you, you’d first ask me my credentials for stating that, ask me to point to the works supporting my contention and when I couldn’t, politely ask me to get on my bike.

                And yet that is what has been done on this blog, particularly by one G Tingey. I would suggest to him that a non-hostile, genuine attempt at scholarship on the question would restore his reputation something wonderful.

              • December 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm

                It is me who finds conversing with someone who believes in what you believe to be “challenging”. Are you attempting to convince me that I don’t find it challenging, or that I shouldn’t find it challenging, or are you attempting to convince me that it is all true? Some focus would be good. Plus answering my question, of course, that would be good too. Not a different question, but the one I asked. Like the one I asked you about gun-related crime rates in different countries. You see that is one of the things that I find makes attempting conversation with some people challenging, when they never actually answer the questions asked of them. And there is no point in posting anything for my eyes at “your place” because I won’t see it as I have given up on that place, as of today. I prefer it here, because the challenges and points of view are all different.

  9. Mark in Mayenne
    December 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

    And a merry Christmas to all (if belatedly) from overcast Mayenne.

    P.S. I don’t have to worship the sun to celebrate the fact that days are now getting longer.

  10. December 27, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Actually (and some of you can perhaps get ready to cheer) while I have commented a lot here recently (too much for many of you perhaps) I have decided this will be my last comment, as part of a clear-out of my blog commenting list. It was an interesting idea for a website but there is too much repetitive ranting and wittering on inanely about the same things again and again (in my humble opinion). And so with this, I shut the f*** up. Good wishes and goodbye, and keep the flame of liberty burning, even if it does mean we have to scan through reams of nonsense in search of some sense.

  11. Greg Tingey
    December 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I note JH does not mention the extreme pressures put on christianity, turning it into an organ of [Byuzantine] state control & suppression (look up couincil of Nicea as a starting point) and the deliberate suppression of other strands, such as Gnosticism & the apparent equality (or near-equality) of women before that date – see also “Gospel of Magadalene”, for instance)

    If you are really interested, may I suggest you carefully read the host’s opening remarks then ALL the comments over HERE:
    link to antipope.org

    I really, really think some of you & eapecially one JH, should take a look.

    • Harry
      December 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      I followed your link Greg and the writer is hopelessly ill-informed, as are you it seems. You really need to cast your net a little wider. Reading and attempting to understand what the Bible really says would be a start.

      • December 28, 2012 at 12:35 am

        Of course he is hopelessly ill-informed, Harry, as are many who pontificate with wild assertions. I have five texts in waiting on the matter [referred to in my last comment] but you know, there’s no point, there really isn’t.

        None so blind …

  12. Greg Tingey
    December 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Given that the writer is a world-known Science Fiction Author, from an ex-jewish background, who knows a lot about christianity (as do I, from another perspective) your claims of ignorance are entirely false.

    How many times do I have to tell you, that apart from Numnbers & parts of Deuteronomy, I have read the whole bible.
    I still have my childhood copy & at leat two others in the house.
    It’s STILL a clooection of Bronze-AGe goatherders’ myths.
    Filtered through the narrow funnel that is epitomoised by the council of Nicea & the very careful “Purging” of (then) politically-unwanted statements.

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS, short version:
    BigSkyFairy is in charge
    Do what BigSkyFairy says – and what his self-selected and self-appointed priests say, or it’ll be the worse for you!
    Practical & scientific evidence to back any or all of these claims: ZERO.

    • Harry
      December 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      Reading AND understanding Greg. It seems you really haven’t understood it. I dismissed the Bible and Christianity when I was in my early teens. It was a long time until I came back to it. It felt like a different book. I also read it very slowly, pausing at any questions that arose and researching the answers. It’s an approach that’s reaped rewards and it’s an ongoing process. What I thought was Christianity was anything but.

      Of course the Council of Nicea was where it started to go astray. All prophesied I might add.

      • Simon
        December 29, 2012 at 4:05 am

        Harry- at the Council of Nicea it started to go astray: ok so what is your theological difference with the Council of Nicea? Do you believe that Christ was both man and god- a position settled at that council? Do you believe in the Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Ghost?

        In terms of the bible- have you read it in the Greek rather than the English yourself? Have you read the Aramaic and the Hebrew texts that lie alongside it?

        I presume that you have which allows you to take the authority to say that you understand the bible whereas someone else does not: otherwise I presume you do not understand what you are talking about like most of the rest of us and should seek to learn rather than debate through insult and condescension.

        • Harry
          December 30, 2012 at 12:25 am

          Simon, I mentioned the Council of Nicea only because of Greg’s assertion that the Bible was ‘filtered through the narrow funnel that is epitomoised (sic) by the council of Nicea & the very careful “Purging” of (then) politically-unwanted statements.’ Greg seems to hold to the common misconception that the Bible was compiled at the council and books such as the Gnostic gospels were purposefully omitted. It was not. The Council of Nicea was instigated by the Roman Emperor Constantine, at least partly in an attempt to ‘unify’ the Church. It began a process of trying to create a central authority that did not then exist. A process that eventually culminated in the Roman catholic church. The very church that merged Christianity with pagan sun god worship.

          Whilst I haven’t read the Bible in the Greek I have become acutely aware of the need to check the accuracy of translation of both the Greek and Hebrew. Something which it seems, at the very least, hasn’t always been done as well as it could have been.

          I can see how my encouragement of Greg to read and understand may have made it seem that I claimed some sort of authority. That wasn’t what I meant. Reading the Bible is one thing. Reading with an honest attempt to truly understand what is being written another. The point I was trying to make is that a degree of effort is required if misunderstandings, such as those Greg and the author he linked to appear to have made, are to be avoided. I hardly think that saying this means I’ve insulted anybody. Besides, Greg seems only too happy to dish out the insults so I’m sure he can take it. I continue to read the Bible and continue to try and understand it. I’m more than happy to debate with anyone, which is what I thought I was actually doing. As for condescension, I think that’s more than a little unfair. I could easily accuse both yourself and Greg of the same thing.

  13. Greg Tingey
    December 29, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Harry
    WHY specifically xtianity?
    Why not islam, or Bhuddism, or Hindu, or Tao?
    ( And yes, I’ve read their texts too)?
    Why the peculiarity that religions “APPEAR” to be “universal truths” but only in certain areas, and not elsewhere, where a competing version prevails?
    As opposed to the findings printed in the “Rubber Bible” which are true all the time, everywhere ……

    WHich bots of the bible do you especially like?
    The murder, torture & terrorism in Kings & Judges?
    The murderous swine, Gideon?
    The arbitrary & cruel punishments dished out by BigSkyFairy?
    The drug-craze ravings of Revelation (probably ergot)?
    The ghastly condemnation of the female half of the human race by Saul of Tarsus?

    And WHY, if BSF exists is he/she/it/they NOT DETECTABLE, either directly or indirectly, by any means?

    • Harry
      December 30, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      Why specifically Christianity? If you don’t know the answer to that question yourself Greg there’s absolutely nothing I can say that can help you to answer it.

      All of the Biblical references you make troubled me as well and each one has its answers if you care to search for them.

      Why is God not detectable? Look around you. What you see isn’t the result of blind chance evolution.

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