I came across an old Christmas post by atheists.org that had the attached banner up.
Along with this banner was the following post:
Christianity stole Christmas.
“Christians don’t own this holiday, and never did. Christianity is neither the first, nor the 5th, nor the 10th mythology to adopt the Winter Solstice as their major day. Mythra, Bel, Krishna, Horus, and even the Mayan Qetzalcoatl were all born on the Winter Solstice. Jesus, if you believe the Bible, was actually born in the Spring, but early Christians changed it to mesh with other mythos (look it up). Learn more
Indeed, none of the trappings of Christmas are Christian. All of it predates Christianity. Yuletide, and Yule logs come from the Pagan holiday of Yule (the pagans also took the Solstice for their own). Santa Claus is Nordic, Germanic, or Celtic, depending on who you ask, and there were no tinsel-covered evergreens in Bethlehem — that’s Pagan too.
Christians don’t deserve a monopoly on holiday cheer. We all own a piece of the Solstice (whatever you call it). ”
So if this is the “season of reason,” then let us take a look at history and draw some reasonable conclusions. Yes December 25th has long been recognized as Winter Solstice, but the fact that Christians mark that day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, does not in any way discount the authenticity of the story of Christ. Jesus’ birth was established as December 25th by Hippolytus (165 to 235 A.D.). Although today this is not regarded as the exact day of Jesus’ birth by scholars and Christians, it remains the holiday of Christmas in which we celebrate Christ’s birth.
In 274 A.D. Emperor Aurelian declared December 25th a celebration of the “Unconquerable Sun” being that the 25th was the first day in winter of which the sun showed an increase in light. It was also designated the birthday of Sol Invictus, the sun God. Then when Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity he then replaced this holiday with the Nativity of Christ. The conspiracy theory is that Constantine chose the date out of his respect for Sol Invictus and latched the Nativity date to the pre-established pagan holiday. This facilitates a claim that the story of Jesus was conjured up and derived from the holiday of Sol Invictus. In other words, December 25th was stolen from Sol Invictus to be used Christ’s birthday.
The first problem with this theory is that the story of Jesus and Sol Invictus have nothing in common, other than sharing the same holiday calendar date in which they were celebrated. There is no way the story of Christ was derived from the birthday of Sol Invictus. Second, December 25th was prescribed to Christ’s birth by Hippolytus well before Emperor Aurelian declared it to be the birthday of Sol Invictus. Third, it only makes sense that Constantine, now a Christian, would replace the pagan holiday, with the birthday of his new found Savior. Fourth, there is no way anyone in Rome would confuse the birthday of the sun God with the birthday of Jesus Christ. Let us not forget how persecuted the Christians were in the years up to Emperor Constantine’s rule. Clearly the birthday of Christ was established before Sol Invitus, and then later made official over Sol Invictus, but not stolen or copied from Sol Invictus.
We should also consider that in 2 B.C. there is astrological evidence that Jupiter (the brightest star in the sky at that particular time and place) stopped and paused over the town of Bethlehem on December 25th, coinciding with the biblical story of when the wise men (magi) visited Christ and worshipped him, which is where the name Christmas is derived from, “Christ-mass.” Though the bible does not give an exact date, it is something to consider. To read more about the astrological story to the Nativity story, see my earlier post in December called “Nativity Scenes.”
Lastly, the atheist posting above somehow tries to tie in other Christmas related traditions like Santa Clause, to try and prove that there is some sort of theft involved, as Christians stole all these traditions to incorporate them into their beliefs. They even state that Christians have “monopolized” holiday cheer. Clearly the agenda is to make Christians appear to be thieves that steal the traditions of others religions and claim them as their own. But let us be reasonable, the association or adoption of secular traditions with Christmas does not in any way invalidate the story of Jesus. Regardless of what we as Christians do today, or how we celebrate the birth of Christ today, none of it in any way takes validates an atheist’s belief that the nativity story is a myth. Because let’s be reasonable, since this is the season of reason, even if Christmas was instead celebrated on December 20th, or June 15th… would that make the story of Christ’s birth any more or less authentic?
Think of it this way, if Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated in September, and advocates of MLK Jr. adopted traditions from other reformists such as Malcom X or Frederick Douglas, would these things in any way prove MLK jr. was a myth, and that everything he did in this world was made up? Any reasonable person would have to say no.