My Conversion Story

To read my conversion story, I have posted it in .pdf format available for download.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Debunking Christmas Myths

I received an email from Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers today. In it he debunks 7 common myths that circulate around every year. I am only highlighting two of them. For the rest go to his secretinfoclub and subscribe!

This first one is one that especially irks me. I hear this still today form almost every Evangelical, Baptist and Fundamentalist (and a lot of Catholics too!) I meet. It is another case where instead of doing historical research, they just quote each other assuming that the guy at the top of the pyramid did his homework.

#6 Christmas Is Based on a Pagan Holiday

Sometimes Fundamentalists, secularists, and pagans argue that Christmas is just a pagan holiday that has been "baptized" by the Church. Accounts differ as to which one. Sometimes it is claimed that Christmas is based on Saturnalia or the birth of Sol Invictus ("the unconquerable sun").

But Saturnalia wasn't celebrated on December 25th. It ran from December 17th to the 23rd. It was over and done with before the 25th.

We do have records that suggest some pagans celebrated the birth of Sol Invictus on December 25th, but the first such record dates from the year A.D. 354 (on what is known as the Calendar of Filocalus or the Chronology of 354). The trouble is, even this source isn't fully explicit. It just says that December 25 was celebrated as the Natalis Invicti or the "Birthday of the Unconquerable One," without saying who that is.

We also know that some Christians had been identifying December 25th as Jesus' birthday at least a century and a half before this time. Around A.D. 206, St. Hippolytus of Rome wrote in his Commentary on Daniel that:

"The first coming of our Lord, that in the flesh, in which he was born at Bethlehem, took place eight days before the kalends of January."

In ancient Roman time reckoning, the kalends was the first day of the month, and if you count back eight days from January 1, you arrive at December 25.

It's true that we don't know for sure when Jesus was born, and early Christian writers proposed a variety of dates for his birth, including December 25th.  But what is remarkable, in light of modern claims, is that when they write about Christ's birth they never say things like, "Let's schedule his birthday here so that we can convert a bunch of pagans" or "Let's put it here so that we can subvert this pagan holiday."

When they propose dates for his birth, they use arguments to support their view, and they honestly believe that he was born on the dates they propose.

#7 It Would Matter If Christmas Were Connected with a Pagan Holiday
Even if early Christians had scheduled the commemoration of Christ's birth to subvert a pagan holiday, so what?

How does that taint the celebration of Christmas today--by people who have never even heard of these pagan holidays? Aren't they honestly celebrating Christ's birth, regardless of the precise day on which it happened?

Further, isn't subverting a pagan holiday a good thing? Don't many Protestant groups celebrate October 31 not as Halloween (which they wrongly perceive as pagan) but as "Reformation Day" or "Harvest Festival"?

Helping people wean themselves off of pagan practices by providing a wholesome, alternative celebration would seem to be a good thing rather than a bad thing.

Still, there's no evidence that this is what early Christians were doing with Christmas, and in fact the evidence is against it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How to win converts by insulting them to their faces

I had an interesting conversation a little while ago. I was at work and a truck pulled in with a bunch of computer equipment. The truck driver and I right away knew that we knew each other, but we couldn’t remember where from. He asked me what church I go to and I said “St. John Vianney”.

“Nope,” he said. “I’ve never set foot in there. I go to Grandville Baptist.”

That’s where I remembered him from. I used to go to Grandville. I was a member there for 25 years. He told me his name. It sounded familiar, but we didn’t know each other well. I think he started to go there about the time I left, but he remembered my boys.

He asked how long it had been since I left, and I said about five years now. And right way, the next thing out of his mouth is, “I don’t want to get in a discussion about how my religion is better than yours…”

Not a way to win a convert.

Anyway—anytime—except at work. I know my faith and why it is biblically-based, instead of looking for individual Bible verses to justify my presuppositions as most Baptists do.

Creative Minority Report: Blob Of Tissue Gets Honors At College


Creative Minority Report: Blob Of Tissue Gets Honors At College

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Immaculate Conception of Mary!

This is one of the happiest days in the Church calendar. The day our Spiritual Mother was conceived, protected from all stain of sin by God to prepare her, a fitting vessel to contain the Word of God. Immaculate, and unstained. This allowed her later to say "yes" to the Holy Spirit, receive God, and start us us all on the road to salvation.

Praise Him!!!

When I was in my youth, I did not understand why Catholics teach that Mary had to be sinless in order to bear God's son. After all, a goodly number Protestants do not believe it. But I did not have a proper understanding of the relationship between the Old Testament Ark of the Covenant and the Mary, the New Testament Ark of the Covenant.

Please see this post from my former blog site.