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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Merry Christmas" and Religious Pluralism

There are a large number of people both in print and in the press speaking about the "War on Christmas." It seems as if every major town is having to decide whether to call their tree the "Holiday Tree" or "Christmas Tree." Kids in their elementary schools are no longer allowed to sing traditional Christmas songs like "Silent Night," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Now it is only songs like "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolf, the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Nativity scenes have been removed from parks and other public squares. Department stores are instructing their employees to say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." It is though the world and culture think that they would be better if Jesus Christ had never been born. This "war" is at the heart of religious pluralism. Pluralists argue that no religion can have a monopoly on holidays, no religion can be superior, no truth can be absolute, and no savior is unique. Foundational to the pluralist argument against Christianity is to discredit the historicity of the Christian faith by arguing that the New Testament documents are unreliable and fictional, and that the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is a "myth" and should be understood in a metaphorical sense. If the New Testament can be found as false and fictitious and the Incarnation of Jesus be reinterpreted as a myth, then Christianity is not "true" "absolute" "unique" and "superior." It is morally repulsive in our post-modern society that say that there is only one Savior, only one way to salvation, only truth to embrace. They would argue that religious tolerance is the only true path to peace with the integration of everyone's beliefs and values as one world theology united under the same God which every religion is oriented (a la John Hick and "theocentrism"). Yet it ironic to see that the only people who pluralists don't tolerate are Christians (the intolerant ones). If they are to be true to their virtues of tolerance, then why don't they tolerate Christians and whoever wants to say "Merry Christmas?" It is also doubly ironic to see that those leading the pluralist push to relativize religions are so-called Christians themselves. It is as though they are ashamed to profess Jesus as Lord, as "the way, the truth, and the life." They don't want to believe that Jesus was fully God and fully man, born of a virgin, and conceived by the Holy Spirit. To do so would to ground Christianity into history and make Christianity ontologically unique and epistemologically superior to all other religions. So next time you say "Merry Christmas," know that you are spreading more than holiday cheer. You are doing more than just fighting a "war" about trees, slogans, or school programs. You are declaring that Jesus Christ is Lord--that Jesus is the great I AM, the one who was, and is, and is to come. Truly, he is the "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace." Merry Christmas to all of you--especially the pluralists and pundits.

The Nicene Creed (AD 325)
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Some articles of interest: Neutering Santa by Kenneth L. Woodward (Newsweek) When Did 'Merry Christmas' Become An Insult? by Joe Bell (@ Opinion Editorials.com) Christmas Wars & Conspiracies: Conflicts over the Meaning of Christmas Season (@ atheism.about.com) And a 'Merry Pluralism' to All (@ Free Repulic) What Good Is Christmas? by Mal Fletcher (@ Australian Christian Channel) Christmas: Political Correctness and Truth by Anthony Urti (@ Center for Reclaiming America) Faith in Film: Why Not? by Michael Medved (@ USA Today) War On --Mas? by Matthew Hall


Blogger Spider in a Mason Jar said...

If you're anything like me, you'll be even more blunt and tell people "Happy Jesus Christ's Birthday." Great stuff-- you've addressed one of the big ways in which Christianity is being given the ol' double standard these days. I could say "Happy Eid" and get away with it, but "Merry Christmas" is too taboo? Disgusting.

God bless ya, brother, and Happy Jesus Christ's Birthday.


12/06/2005 09:01:00 PM

Blogger Spider in a Mason Jar said...

Oh, and the Council of Nicea was indeed in 325 AD, but what is known today as the Nicene Creed is probably better described as the Niceo- Constantinopolitan Creed, as it sort of developed from both of those ecumenical councils. I guess I'm just splitting hairs, but I'm a big nerd like that.

12/07/2005 11:56:00 AM


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