Questions from a Christian friend #3
This week, a Christian friend of mine wrote me questioning why her religion observed certain holidays. Below is a peek into my inbox to see how I responded.
“I have knowledge of the paganistic beliefs that were infused into the Christian religion that are false and coincide with the pagan gods and goddesses and I reject them. For instance Easter.,it coincides with Ishtar the Sun Goddess and Bunnies represent fertility and eggs represent fertility and I also know that before Roman Catholic Church came I to exsistanace when the Romans were pagan and the only way they could get the Romans to practice Catholicism was to have them still celebrate their pagan holidays. So they blended Catholicism with paganism and called it Christianity. Because I am aware of all these things I reject all the so called Christian holidays and because I’m a bible believing Christian I feel more comfortable with celebrating the same holidays of Christ’s time. but here in lyes the problem.
I’m not a Jew. Many of the holidays celebrate the struggle or overcoming of the Jewish people. I feel connected to the Jewish people because Christ was a Jew and I feel that maybe those holidays should be sacred for only the Jews. I also feel kindship with the Jews because they are my brothers and sisters through Christ. As a Bible believing Christian i would be more comfortable being wrong in celebrating Jewish holidays as Christ did than celebrate Christian holidays where I know those are absolutely wrong.” — Friend
I think this person is asking why her religion has certain holidays even though the message around said holiday is different than the historical meaning. Let’s dive into this…
Concerning your third question, I sing in harmony with you in rejecting pagan beliefs and lifestyles. Besides tradition and a feeling of emotional comfort, I can’t say I understand why the West and Christianity engage in holidays such as Easter, Christmas, and the like.
From my experience as a proud American, I feel July 4th and Thanksgiving are much more aligned with the values America expresses. These days focus on freedom from tyranny and gratitude. Both have much more meaning and testify in a positive way to the American/Western/Christian value system.
Should you desire to “celebrate the same holidays” as the Jewish people, this would need more discussion. We have many holidays and not all will resonate with you. I would encourage you to find the core reason why you want to celebrate a holiday. Inserting another festivity into a calendar date may not fill the void you’ve experienced in your past.
You mentioned being a “bible believing Christian [feeling] more comfortable celebrating the same holidays as [Jesus’]” but this seems to present you with many problems. In your second paragraph, you talked about the conflict between Jewish holidays and your Christian religion. I can certainly attest that there is a conflict here. We are not the same religion.
Concerning the second paragraph of your question, I would again encourage the exploration of self to find the core reason and desire to celebrate a holiday. This work will yield the most fruit. The work on one's self is hard, time-consuming, and forces us to accept reality and choose to grow from our current state.
Being that you have grown up Christian, I believe you are seeing the holes in the religion that many before you have long seen. Many things are done out of routine and not questioned by participants. The internet has nearly broken Christianity as it is a religion that discourages questioning and lacks an academic approach to prove its theology.
You mentioned feeling a “kinship with the Jews” and to this, I am very flattered. It is with empathy that I admire your connection with us and thank you for the support and love. I think we can relate as “kin” in that we all have the same Father (not only Jews and Christians all the worlds population). On the other hand, “kin” might not be the right word as the relationship is more one-sided with you calling yourself a part of the Jewish people but not necessarily the Jewish people agreeing with your statements. (details in the post here)
Last, you mentioned being a “Bible-believing Christian and celebrating Jewish holidays”. While this might sound romantic in theory, I’m not sure it’s something you really want to take on. Should you actually seek to change your lifestyle and celebrate Jewish holidays, this will require work.
We don’t believe that all non-jews should convert to Judaism. As a righteous non-jew, you can reach the pinnacle of spiritual accomplishment by fulfilling your own mission and potential in life. Our Sages compare a righteous non-jew to the high priest on Yom Kippur. We are not a people group or religion that encourages conversion. We believe that everyone can live a life that abides by the laws of our Creator regardless if they are Jewish or non-jewish.
Just like different people in Judaism have different roles, so to non-jews have a role and we celebrate that difference. An example of this is:
- Men are not obligated by the laws of childbirth as women are
- Women are not obligated by the roles of the Levities in the Temple as Levites are
- Children are not obligated in earning a livelihood for their family in the same way parents are.
We all have our roles to play in the world and there is a very big role for righteous non-jews that an ethnically Jewish person can not accomplish.
In summary, please keep writing. I enjoy learning and exploring these things with you. We are all in this together!
I think what I mean by this is that what I mentioned in the previous comment that I ment anything that was part of Christ’s life should be emulated by Christians … Christ celebrated the Passover Christians should celebrate the passover. They shouldn’t be making up holidays or things to celebrate. That is what I’m talking about. Jewish life was Christ’s life. I know that Jews have other traditions that have to do with the.rememberence of jewish struggles etc…that Christians can not identify with unless it was described in the Bible but all I am referring to is bible based old and new testament only.
Exactly those are the two holidays July 4th and Thanksgiving that make any sense at all!
Like I said it’s more of a kinship with Christ and going back to the written word of God which would be the reason so anything not written in the Bible is just a bunch of fluff that’s absolutely unneeded…. I definitely don’t want to just add holidays for no reason.
I definitely would agree if you were talking about a Catholic the Catholics are on a completely different level and we as Bible believing Christians do not consider Catholicism Christianity it is absolutely the opposite of Christianity and I’m quite confused how it ever became called Christianity well I do know it’s because of the Romans. The Christianity that I follow is Bible based only we believe in the first part of the Bible which is your Torah and we believe in the second part of the Bible which is after Christ and during Christ and after his death. Please do not think that I’m Catholic there is absolutely no way that I’m Catholic. So by following the Bible I do not think that there are any holes in my religion at all.
I think you’re talking about Catholicism again because the Christianity that I follow does not discourage questioning however the Catholics do discourage questioning so I do agree with you if you’re talking about Catholicism.
I actually have no feeling to become Jewish at all I know I can never be Jewish because of my belief in Christ so converting is not even an issue with me.
I think I’m trying to weed through the nonsense and figure out what real Christianity should look like, I do believe it should be a combination of the laws that are in the New testament and the ones that are in the Old testament as well so far Messianic Judaism is the only religion that blends the two together which in my opinion it should be there’s no reason why we should be throwing away the Old testament at all.
I will have to unpack the above and reply in another post.
…Till next time!