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Author Topic: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior  (Read 1673 times)

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Offline CaponeTopic starter

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I didn't want to put this thread in with controversies as I'm not looking to start a debate or argument, but I figured it may be the safest bet.

Christmas is around the corner, and I got to thinking about the nature of how our savior was born. I felt like it was an idea worth discussing, and so I blogged about it. I shall put my thoughts here, as I wish for all of us to remember the full purpose of why Christ was born on this Earth. It was for more than salvation, after all.

I do not want to prohibit non-Christians from taking part in a discussion, but as I said, I'm not opening up a debate or argument. This is a reminder that Christmas should be a true reminder of what the Christian lifestyle ought to be. Please no trolling or using this thread to push anti-religious views (and on that note, please no pushing religious views, either).

Here is what I had written on my blog, and my thoughts on Christ being born in a manger:

Quote
So I was listening to my Christmas playlist the other day driving home from work, and one of my regular songs came on. A rendition of What Child is This by former Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford. For years Iíve heard random Christmas songs on the radio and sang them in Church, but never really listened to their lyrics. Iíve found my feelings towards certain songs changing, becoming a fan of Let it Snow rather than Baby itís cold outside simply because the lyrics arenít in any way creepy.

What Child is This, however, brought the nature of Christís birth into a new light. Yes, everyone knows Jesus was born in a manger. Itís iconic imagery. Yet hearing the lyrics, that the Son of the Lord would be born in the same place where ox and ass would be feeding, suddenly brought the significance of such a birth to the front and center of my mind.

For any unfamiliar readers, despite my foul language and sometimes crude verbal imagery, I am a Christian and I take my faith seriously. I try to understand the Bible and its context, such as who wrote certain books, what was going on in that time period, their potential motivations, and taking note of consistencies between books and any inconsistencies. I believe my God to be rational, intelligent and to have purpose behind every thing he does.

With that said, I do not doubt that Jesus being born in a manger was by chance. It must have been intentional, as Christís entire life (as outlined within the New Testament) had broken typical expectations. Men of the world had ideas of what a King was, what a savior was, that were often decorated in ideas like gold, wealth, power and potentially conquering oneís foes. This is what a lot of people expected from Christís birth. Itís why Herod sent the Three Wise Men to go find this Messiah and kill him. He was afraid of a Jewish King leading an uprising and taking his throne. As Christ grew up, this is what many of his followers had expected. They imagined Jesus would lead them against their enemies, delivering them the World. It was also what the Pharisees and Sadducees feared, and that theyíd be on the losing side and their peaceful life style would be over.

Yet repeatedly Jesus had to tell those around him that his purpose was different, and in truth his birth should have been the first indication. The son of the most powerful being in the universe was not born in a palace, a house or even an inn. He was born where the animals were kept, like an animal himself. Everyone gets so wrapped up in the miracle of a virgin birth that they forget about the humble nature of where he was born. From the very get-go, God was communicating to the world that the things we think are valuable, the things we think matter and are indicative of status and importance, these things are meaningless. Even someone as great as the son of God can be born alongside the animals.

While Christmas is meant to celebrate the birth of our savior, it should be important to keep more than our salvation in mind. We should be thankful for a merciful God that has granted us eternal life, but we should remember that our values should be the same as his own. That a large and wealthy estate, fancy cars, expensive designer clothing and piles of material goods are not happiness. These things arenít even contentment. They are man-made ideas of what success is, what will make life fulfilling. Only these things are never actually fulfilling. They can help create fulfilling experiences with others, such as hours of playing, say, video games with a brother, the girl you are affectionate for reaching out and holding your hand during a movie, or even a fun time wandering the mall with a friend, complaining about how all these youngsters need to learn how to pull their pants up.

But these experiences are nothing without people, and that is what is always at the center of Christís philosophy. People matter, and you should love every one you come across as if they are a brother, father, mother or sister. Even the assholes and bitches.

So to my fellow Christian brethren, keep in mind the significance of Christís birth, the reminder of what our lifestyle should be, in addition to our salvation. To those of you that arenít Christians, please keep in mind that many of those that wear the title of a believer may not act the part, but their actions do not represent our faith or the holiday.

Love those around you as if they were family, even if they cut you off and flip you the finger on the way home from the mall.

Offline VillainousMuse

Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2011, 12:48:01 AM »
Not to... poop all over the thread or anything because I have no problem with christianity as long as it stays out of my life but... You do know that the birth of Christ was like in August or something, the church just moved the day of worship to December to take Yule away from the Pagans. Hence the term "Yule log", the holiday is actually a pagan holiday.

Not to say that makes the season any less frivolous and cheerful. Personally I don't care for how much it's been bastardized to make money by corporate entities, christmas and yule should be a time of spending with your family and enjoying their company, not material gain.

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2011, 01:35:50 AM »
VM - the original poster specifically said that the purpose of his posting was not to start a debate or argument.  If you wish to start a thread about the Pagan traditions of the season, you are more than welcome to, but please respect Capone's intent for this one.

Offline CaponeTopic starter

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2011, 06:30:18 AM »
Not to... poop all over the thread or anything because I have no problem with christianity as long as it stays out of my life but... You do know that the birth of Christ was like in August or something, the church just moved the day of worship to December to take Yule away from the Pagans. Hence the term "Yule log", the holiday is actually a pagan holiday.

Not to say that makes the season any less frivolous and cheerful. Personally I don't care for how much it's been bastardized to make money by corporate entities, christmas and yule should be a time of spending with your family and enjoying their company, not material gain.

I originally thought about writing something like that in the post, but it seemed out of place. I mean, by now, it's pretty common knowledge that Christmas and Easter were timed on their respective solstices, trying to use common Pagan traditions in order to spread Christianity to more people.

While many of the traditions are founded in the Pagan celebrations, that is not why I celebrate Christmas. To me, the traditions have been tied to a new meaning. If non-Christians want to refer to it by its Pagan names and traditions, then by all means do so. It would feel more honest to me that non-Christians do so (though I can already see a huge back-lash). But just as Michael Bay's vision of the Transformers has become the popular view of the franchise to mainstream audiences, so too has Christmas become about Jesus rather than its original purpose to the "mainstream audience" of America and other sections of the world.

It doesn't matter that I celebrate on the wrong time of the year. What matters to me is that I celebrate my Savior's birth at some point, and December 25th is as good a time as any.

Offline Sophronius

Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2011, 07:44:59 AM »
I feel like the purpose of Christmas is to meditate on the Incarnation through its relation to the Crucifixion and Resurrection, not to spend time with family or remember how to love others.

Also, just want to remind you that the Christ is not the son of God, but the Son of God.  By that, I mean that the Son is not the son in the sense that I am the son of my father - the Son is co-eternal with the Father and the same/united in essence.  Please don't fall into Arianism and/or Adoptionism.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2011, 07:47:52 AM »
I don't mind Christmas per se save its to commercialized, its not so much about the spirit of the season which everyone can get and it ignores other faiths that have celebrations during this time who have as much of a right to have their faiths and beliefs represented. Hannaka for example is also a wonderful time of reflection on life and so to is Kawanza and Ramadan. Why just Christmas as the ideal?

It should be a time to reflect on good things and to do good things and to be for a time a better human being, money should not be the big driver.

And Christ was a fine man I'm sure and taught good things but also taught bad things, many of which in his name led to his followers doing bad things to. As a Rabbi he was a man of faith. If one takes the view of him as a religious teacher stripped of all divinity and divine acts.

Offline ReijiTabibito

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2011, 08:45:34 AM »
Feel I've gotta speak up here, after the 'Jesus was a good man, but not God' bit.  I do not understand where people get this idea that Jesus could be just a good man.  C.S. Lewis had this to say about the subject.

Quote
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunaticóon a level with the man who says he is a poached eggóor else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Normal, moral men do not make the claim that they are God.  Which Jesus did, repeatedly.  If a man were to start speaking over the Internet to the world today, calling himself a god and such, then most people would ignore him as someone who belongs in the crazy house.  And if he started attracting followers, we'd call him the leader of a cult, and a dangerous, charismatic egomaniac.  We - and by we I mean most people - would not start calling him a great teacher who has some nice things to say about life.  That's all.


We now return you to your regularly scheduled Christmas discussion.

Offline CaponeTopic starter

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 09:10:57 PM »
Wow, really? I just...wow. I expected, y'know, better of E.

Thanks. Really.

Offline Starlequin

Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2011, 12:51:11 AM »
>.>'
'<.<
Um...I thought yours was a very good post, Capone. I myself am also not particularly religious, but I believe I've grown up enough that I feel no need to condemn the faith of others to support my own lack of same, and your thoughts seemed to capture certain elements or concepts that I've embraced (or tried to, at least) for a while now. Appreciation and contentment rather than mindless greed and insatiable desire, granting others the benefit of the doubt, compassion and forgiveness rather than blame and spite, and being willing and open enough to seek deeper value and meaning in all experiences. And although I grew up in an infrequently ultra-religious household and thus had much Christian history drilled into me (especially through Baptist viewpoints), I never actually considered your point about the ramifications of Jesus' humble birth. Everyone I've ever known has always focused as you mentioned on the virgin birth, no room at the inn, and all the other aspects, but I never really consciously  considered the simpler meaning of greatness springing from humility, even with it staring me in the face. Thank you for providing an interesting new perspective, and I hope you enjoy your holiday.

Online Serephino

Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2011, 01:09:03 AM »
I liked your post, and found it very insightful.  I myself am more Pagan, but I do follow the teachings of Jesus.  I may not believe he was put here for the reasons Christians think, but he was still a wonderful and very wise man. 

I do think Christmas has become way too commercialized.  All people care about any more are presents.  It disgusts me. 

That being said, I believe that the spirit of love and giving isn't something that should just be a Christmas thing.  We should remember these things always.  Jesus did come from very humble beginnings.  He probably could have lived a lavish lifestyle, but never wanted to.  He hated everything the Pharisees and Sadducees stood for. 

The part before he was arrested where he basically threw a fit in the market; I believe if it did happen, it was genuine rage.  Those people were buying an animal to sacrifice, then patting themselves on the back for having done their religious duty.  He did wage a war, it just wasn't a violent one.  His message was opposition to those in power. 

Offline CaponeTopic starter

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2011, 06:27:37 AM »
Thank you, guys (and thanks to Sophronius and Reiji as well. In response to Sophronius: I ended up correcting myself each time I wrote Son, because I worried it would be grammatically incorrect. I shall get in the habit of capitalizing it, just as I do God and Hell and Heaven).

In response to Christmas being too commercialized, I have to confess I may be part of the problem myself. I spent so much money on gifts for friends and family, but I do it because I just love seeing the look on people's faces when they open something that's typically a genuine surprise. I tend to remember earlier conversations in the year or just small details that allow me to go out and find something cool. I even went out on Thanskgiving Night for Black Friday sales.

But I never felt myself suckered into the hysteria. I never thought "If I can't have this, no one will!" In which case, I have to wonder WHY people are out buying gifts? Are they doing it because it's an expected duty? Do they think whoever they buy a gift for will think less of them because it's not the "perfect" gift? The way I see it, the perfect gift is the gift they will enjoy.

Though maybe it's easier because I'm a geek that is friends with geeks, so I can buy stuff like Star Wars posters, Star Wars ABC books for unborn babies, Portal 2 cookie cutters and Game of Thrones shot glasses and beer steins and know my friends will be excited.

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2011, 08:53:49 AM »
I do not want to prohibit non-Christians from taking part in a discussion, but as I said, I'm not opening up a debate or argument. This is a reminder that Christmas should be a true reminder of what the Christian lifestyle ought to be. Please no trolling or using this thread to push anti-religious views (and on that note, please no pushing religious views, either).

The original poster specifically said that the purpose of his posting was not to start a debate or argument.  If you wish to start a thread about the Pagan traditions of the season, you are more than welcome to, but please respect Capone's intent for this one.

Just popping in to post a reminder to please respect both Capone wishes and Oniya's warning to not use this thread for bashing or debate, as that is not what Capone intended for this thread. 

Online Serephino

Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2011, 07:57:01 PM »
There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to buy a gift you're sure someone you care about will love.  I do that too, and not just for Christmas.  Like, for instance, my boyfriend was feeling a little down, and while out shopping I saw this hand held Sudoku thing. I know he likes those puzzles, so I bought it for him to cheer him up.

The problem comes when you do it out of duty, or compete to get the best gift so the person will like you better.  The best gift is a thoughtful one, not some expensive piece of crap that will break in a week anyway.  Black Friday is part of the problem.  Stores take advantage of the compulsory gift giving, and even those who just want some neat gadgets for themselves.

Anyone remember Tickle me Elmo?  People were doing insane things to get a hold of these stupid toys! No toy is worth that in my opinion. 

Nobody is getting anything from me this year because I do not have the money.  If I can't scrounge up the rent this month I may end up homeless.  So far my friends and family seem to be understanding, which is good.   

Offline CaponeTopic starter

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2011, 08:17:19 PM »
The problem comes when you do it out of duty, or compete to get the best gift so the person will like you better.  The best gift is a thoughtful one, not some expensive piece of crap that will break in a week anyway.  Black Friday is part of the problem.  Stores take advantage of the compulsory gift giving, and even those who just want some neat gadgets for themselves.


I very much agree with you in terms of people's perceptions of gift-purchasing.

However, oddly enough, my Black Friday experiences were actually quite positive. I was already on an emotional high after an incredible Thanksgiving with family I haven't seen in a decade, so that definitely lent itself to it. However, I got to actually talk with people while waiting in line at places like Wal-Mart and Best Buy, though perhaps the best was standing in line for two hours waiting for GameStop's midnight sale. I got to talk with people for two hours, and in the end it felt like we all made friends. We joked about same time same place the next year.

This was the first time I ever did such a thing for Black Friday, and I found it so ironic that the one day that gets so much press for people getting trampled was perhaps the one day of the year I was able to talk with complete strangers in line to shop. Any other time of the year and it probably wouldn't be the same.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2011, 11:40:45 AM »
I'm glad to a fellow christian thinking about god this christmas and talking about his message. kinda wish I'd been on sooner, but holidays eh  ;D

Still this year was about god and family for me, and going to chruch this year was enlightening.
it's amazing when you think about it, the omnipotant creator of the universe so loved mankind that he came down as a little baby, born in a stable with the animals, grew up the son of a carpenter living a life without sin, he taught peace, compassion towards others, and that all men are equal before god regardless of how much they own, or where they sit on our social ladder. He did this without shedding a single drop of blood.
The authorities of both religion and state feared him so much for doing so that they had him whipped, humilated, and nailed to a cross for it.
in his death, the sins of every person were persionally forgiven
in the fact he did not stay dead, is a message of redemption, and what is promised to all mankind in the next life.

I used to be afraid of offending people by talking about my faith, and I realized if everybody talked about their faith as matter of factly, debated, and discussed it instead of hiding it for fear of offending people. it would be a more enlightened and educated world.

Offline CaponeTopic starter

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2011, 01:03:18 PM »
I used to be afraid of offending people by talking about my faith, and I realized if everybody talked about their faith as matter of factly, debated, and discussed it instead of hiding it for fear of offending people. it would be a more enlightened and educated world.

I'm still afraid of talking about it, truth told. While I love my Bible Study, saying that you don't believe in pre-destination and other such ideas gets everyone speaking as if you don't know what you're talking about. So I can't speak as myself even amongst other Christians. Meanwhile, I've spent so much time around Atheists that I already know that, for a good lot of them, the default perspective of religious people is "stupid and intolerant", a view itself that is stupid and intolerant.

I try to share my faith when I can, but whenever I bring it up I always have this fear that others are going to think "Oh God, one of those..."

Offline Lilias

Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2011, 02:09:08 PM »
Meanwhile, I've spent so much time around Atheists that I already know that, for a good lot of them, the default perspective of religious people is "stupid and intolerant", a view itself that is stupid and intolerant.

Fundamentalism is an attitude trait, so there are may be about as many atheist fundies out there as religious ones. The only thing that changes is going from 'holier than thou' to 'smarter than thou'. ;)

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2011, 03:35:18 PM »
Fundamentalism is an attitude trait, so there are may be about as many atheist fundies out there as religious ones. The only thing that changes is going from 'holier than thou' to 'smarter than thou'. ;)

I like this quote...
andthat's kind of what I mean, instead of just running up to someone and saying "I'mma wanna tellay bout jesus" I ust decided not to be afraid to tell someone about my faith, and help them understand.
to be honest there are those who give the faith a bad name (westbrough) but the core is true.

I actually love to learn about people's faith, it's best to ask them about theirs politely before telling them about yours, I've heard some crazy things. let me list a few
"god is an alien from Rotta 8"
"the government invented religion in the late 70's"
"cuthulu is coming back in 2012, I bought a slutty black dress for the occasion"
I calmly explained to people where there is a error in their logic, then professed my own belief. more rational people seem to understand better.

I am a student of history, and I never understood some of "The Old Ways" not modern neo-pagans who are a totally diffrent pot, met a person who claimed to worship loki once. I pointed out that according to norse legend Loki turned into a female donkey and slept with a construction mule to prevent an ogre's castle from being finished. Odin slammed him underground in torment for taking it up the ass...
the man had no idea... did research, and stopped worshipping norse gods.
I think much of the world's suffering is due to ignorance or learned ignorance, and I want to aleviate that as best I can with good discussion.

Offline MercyfulFate

Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2011, 05:45:03 PM »
I am no longer a practicing Catholic, but to me family is the focus of Christmas, and that's how it should be even if you're religious or not.

The problem with Christmas is it's commercialization, and I think Christians and non-Christians can see that part of it.

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2011, 07:28:47 PM »
This year seemed to be better than before somehow.  I can't explain it.  Black Friday didn't go as badly as it usually does, which may be in part of precautions many stores took.  Also, it was on the local news that someone was going around to major department stores and paying off the layaway accounts of other people anonymously.  It might have been several someones, no one really knows.

Maybe this is a good sign.  There seems to be a lot of whakos out there, but there are more reasonable and generous people too.  Maybe human kind isn't a total loss...

I wouldn't take well to being called ignorant either.  Some Atheists just don't get it.  Faith is a personal thing, and attacking it isn't going to get someone to see things your way. 

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2011, 07:46:57 PM »
I am a student of history, and I never understood some of "The Old Ways" not modern neo-pagans who are a totally diffrent pot, met a person who claimed to worship loki once. I pointed out that according to norse legend Loki turned into a female donkey and slept with a construction mule to prevent an ogre's castle from being finished. Odin slammed him underground in torment for taking it up the ass...

Not exactly correct. I know of at least a couple of Asatruar on here who could probably explain things better. I'd also add, if you want people to respect your beliefs, showing a little more respect for others wouldn't go amiss on your part.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2011, 01:34:01 AM »
I must say that I am disappointed to see someone with no knowledge of another religion disparaging it the way it has been here, especially when I have not seen others stepping up to disparage christianity. So, I offer you Ironwolf the opportunity to pm me so that you and I can discuss what the beliefs of the Asatru are.

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2011, 08:31:37 AM »
There should be no "stepping up" to disparage Christianity, the Old Ways, or anything else. I can't believe people are having to be asked a third time not to bash on religion - of any flavor. I'm starting to wonder if we can have a respectful discussion about religion on Elliquiy. I dare you to prove me wrong.

Offline Ironwolf85

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Re: Come, fellow Christians of E. Let us contemplate the birth of our savior
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2012, 09:13:36 PM »
nah I didn't mean anything by it, the guy was seriously macho and was worshiping the loki because he thought "Norse god of chaos is badass, I'mma worship him" he didn't do any research and wouldn't listen to any historic or theological points I'd make.
I had to shock him instead to get him researching that's all.