Opinion

Trump: The grinch who stole ‘Merry Christmas’

President Donald Trump points at a sign that reads "Merry Christmas" as he arrives at a tax reform rally at the St. Charles Convention Center, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, in St. Charles, Mo. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(RNS) — For almost as long as he’s been wearing that red hat, President Trump has been promising his evangelical base that he would singlehandedly restore the words “Merry Christmas” to America.

His recent remarks during October’s Values Voter Summit in Washington sum up the talking point.

They don’t use the word “Christmas” because it’s not politically correct. You go to department stores, and they’ll say “Happy New Year” and they’ll say other things. And it will be red, they’ll have it painted, but they don’t say it. Well, guess what? We’re saying “Merry Christmas” again.

“They,” of course, refers to liberals who Trump’s evangelical supporters believe are imposing political correctness on everyone else.

Fast forward a few weeks to last night’s Christmas tree lighting at the White House, where Trump seized the occasion to remind everyone of his promise. I wasn’t at first sure what he was doing so I’m going to relay my thought process as my disgust unfolded.

Trump: Today is a day that I’ve been looking very much forward to …

(Me: OK, OK, this is fine …)

Trump: … all year long.

(Me: Same, Mr. President! I love Christmas trees! Light it UP!)

Trump: It is one that we have heard …

(Me: LIGHT IT! LIGHT IT! LIGHT IT!)

Trump: … and we speak about and we dream about.

(Me: …)

Trump: Now, as president of the United States …

(Me: wondering if this is about a Christmas tree)

Trump: … it’s my tremendous honor to finally

(Me: Time to change the channel)

When Trump tweeted out the video of his remarks from his personal account, he capitalized the words ALL YEAR LONG, as if to remind everyone that he’s been promising them this victory for a while.

Trump, according to Trump, is the reason for the season.

Trump’s rendition of “Merry Christmas” may possibly be one of the most un-merry sounding wishes you’ve ever heard. Probably because it doesn’t sound like he means “Merry Christmas” as much as he means “Make America Great Again, all you Jews and atheists and liberals, Make America Great Again! (Gays, you are fine for now: thanks for Melania’s decorations and fabulous shoes.)”

There’s an irony here that shouldn’t go overlooked. Trump has turned “Merry Christmas” into a political bludgeon to win a rhetorical war against the very people that he believes have been using the phrase “Happy Holidays” … as a political bludgeon. In other words, even though “Happy Holidays,” we were told, was supposed to be a calculated term intended to Make A Point, “Merry Christmas” now functions the exact same way.

Sad!

But that’s just the frame of our president’s Christmas message.

Now for the content.

The story of Christmas, Trump reminds us, begins 2,000 years ago with “the most extraordinary gift of all: the gift of God’s love for all of humanity.” He then echoed the admission that all humans possess an inherent dignity by claiming that “each one of us is a child of God.”

I’m on board with that, but is he? Does the president really believe God’s love extends to “total clowns,” journalists who are “dumb as rocks” and “uncomfortable looking,” “dopes,” “slobs,” women with “fat, ugly faces,” fat people in general, Crooked Hillary, “Pocahontas,” Rosie O’Donnell, the mainstream media, women whose genitals he feels entitled to grab, “bimbo” Megyn Kelly, people with disabilities, Little Rocket Man, the Broadway cast of “Hamilton,” NFL players, James Comey … (We need to move on but you can find a very detailed list of all the people our President has publicly mocked here.)

The point is that if Trump truly believes that each human is a child of God, then why all the insults? If he’s going to make a political career out of punching his opponents 10 times harder than they hit him, then he really needs to take a pass on discussing overtly Christian beliefs like God’s love and human dignity. Just stick to Rudolph and candy canes and Frosty and the Grinch.

Actually, nope, scratch the Grinch reference: The timing’s all wrong given his latest tax proposal, which mostly benefits the richest Americans by eliminating the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax. Not that I don’t get why Trump would want to cut those. In 2005, for example, the second tax cost him $31 million. Without that tax, he could’ve gotten off with paying just $7 million on his $153 million income.

That’s why his line “the real spirit of Christmas is not what we have” fell flat. Because he has so much. When he says things like that, average Americans hear, “We’re the same, you and I. Except for the billions of dollars.” I’m also not entirely sure that Trump thinks Christmas isn’t actually about money. Earlier this week, in St. Charles, Mo., while announcing victory in the War on Christmas, Trump told supporters, “We are going to be celebrating ‘Merry Christmas’ again, and it’s going to be done with a big, beautiful tax cut.”

It is possible the fake news misreported his real words, which might have been, “We are going to be celebrating ‘Merry Christmas’ again, and it’s going to be done with, actually, never mind, I’m just gonna leave it at that.”

It was also very weird to hear Trump say at the tree lighting, “Whatever our beliefs, we know that the birth of Jesus Christ and the story of this incredible life forever changed the course of human history.” Of course, he’s right to note the enormous influence Christianity has held and continues to hold throughout much of the world for the last two millennia. But given Trump’s weaponization of “Merry Christmas,” I couldn’t but hear a tinge of triumphalism in those words. New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo summed it up well on Twitter: “Whatever our beliefs, we believe in Jesus.”

I, for one, am very disheartened by all of this politicization of a really great holiday — which is, someone should explain to Trump, a very religious word (holiday = holy day = mind blown). Wishing America a Merry Christmas should have been an easy thing for our president to do. He literally just had to say, “Merry Christmas.” Like, that’s it. That is literally it. But Trump, again, never one to gracefully step onto the high road lying wide open at his feet, found a way to plunge down to the muddy path several stories below him where Krampus was waiting.

How I long for the days when the War on Christmas was a fiction.

(Brandon Ambrosino is a writer and dancer based in Delaware. The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service)

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Brandon Ambrosino

26 Comments

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  • God’s love extends to “the mainstream media”, but they need to stop acting three shades past crazy.
    Merry Christmas, WaPo !!

  • Trump’s an idiot. Retailers do not want to offend any potential customers and they are aware that Christianity isn’t the only game in town so they often trot out Happy Holidays. Individuals not sure of the religion of others may use the same greeting. Christian snowflakes turn this into a fake war on Christmas. The government has no input into this. Do you know what I say to Christian friends and acquaintances? Merry Christmas!

  • Again, the nitty-gritty of there is no “reason for the season”:

    Christmas, the embellished story of the birth of a simple, preacher man named Jesus.

    As per most contemporary NT exegetes, his parents were Mary and Joseph although some say Jesus was a mamzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier.

    http:// http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing from on high, no slaughter of the innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.

    “John P. Meier – Professor at Notre Dame

    Meier [Marginal Jew I,216-219] notes that the “affirmation of Jesus’ descent from David might easily be placed alongside his birth at Bethlehem as a theologoumenon (a theological insight narrated as a historical event) if it were not for the fact that numerous and diverse streams of NT tradition also affirm Jesus’ Davidic lineage.”

    “Meier suggests that the belief that Jesus was “son of David” may have been held by Jesus’ followers prior to his death, with his resurrection then being understood as a form of enthronement. However, he notes that such messianic views, whatever their provenance, cannot prove Jesus was “literally, biologically of Davidic stock.”

    Mark’s gospel, the most historical of the four gospels, does not even mention the event.

    And from Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 269-272, “The historical yield of the Lukan infancy narrative in respect to the birth of Jesus is virtually nil (ditto for Matt. 1: 18-25, Matt. 2. 1-23)”

    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=007_Of_Davids_Lineage

    Conclusion: the holyday of Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.

  • Thank you so much for your rendition of the “Gospel according to Meir and Ludemann”. Yawn.

  • If Trump attended my church, he wouldn’t (maybe) be allowed to take Communion as the preface includes the requirement to be in love and charity with your neighbour. Just to point out how far from a Christian ethos the man operates from and how little this ‘baby Christian’ has matured.

  • It’s up to individuals and each business to decide what greeting to use. To state that not saying “merry Christmas” is part of a war on Christmas is false. Some businesses recognize that Christianity is not the only game in town and instead use the more inclusive “Happy Holidays” to avoid offending some customers (and thus their profits). This is just a business decision. Individuals, not sure of the religion of other people, may also using this greeting. Yet many evangelical snowflakes melt over this. All Trump can do is use this greeting. I personally use the Merry Christmas to my Christian friends and acquaintances and don’t have a problem with them wishing me a Merry Christmas.

  • You guys are the ones getting your panties in a bunch because Obama and some businesses used Happy Holidays and equated it as an attack!

  • I love how you quote the scholarship of a Catholic writer to tell us there is no reason for the season. Seems like maybe you’re not thinking this through. You think maybe the fundamentalist approach is not the only one religious people take?

  • Other suggested references to peruse.
    1. Historical Jesus Theories,
    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html – the names of many of the contemporary
    historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the
    subject.

    Early Christian Writings,
    earlychristianwritings.com/

    – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

    30-60 CE Passion Narrative

    40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q

    50-60 1 Thessalonians

    50-60 Philippians

    50-60 Galatians

    50-60 1 Corinthians

    50-60 2 Corinthians

    50-60 Romans

    50-60 Philemon

    50-80 Colossians

    50-90 Signs Gospel

    50-95 Book of Hebrews

    50-120 Didache

    50-140 Gospel of Thomas

    50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel

    50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ

    65-80 Gospel of Mark

    70-100 Epistle of James

    70-120 Egerton Gospel

    70-160 Gospel of Peter

    70-160 Secret Mark

    70-200 Fayyum Fragment

    70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

    73-200 Mara Bar Serapion

    80-100 2 Thessalonians

    80-100 Ephesians

    80-100 Gospel of Matthew

    80-110 1 Peter

    80-120 Epistle of Barnabas

    80-130 Gospel of Luke

    80-130 Acts of the Apostles

    80-140 1 Clement

    80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians

    80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews

    80-250 Christian Sibyllines

    90-95 Apocalypse of John

    90-120 Gospel of John

    90-120 1 John

    90-120 2 John

    90-120 3 John

    90-120 Epistle of Jude

    93 Flavius Josephus

    100-150 1 Timothy

    100-150 2 Timothy

    100-150 Titus

    100-150 Apocalypse of Peter

    100-150 Secret Book of James

    100-150 Preaching of Peter

    100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites

    100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans

    100-160 Shepherd of Hermas

    100-160 2 Peter

    4. Jesus Database,
    http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html –”The JESUS DATABASE is an
    online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings
    of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era.
    It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to
    the traditions found within the Christian New Testament.”

    5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm

    6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar

    7.
    http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html
    – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT

    8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman,
    Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

    9.The Gnostic Jesus

    (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)

    by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.org/articles/gnosticism-and-the-gnostic-jesus/

    10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical
    Commission

    Presented on March 18, 1994

    ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2

    11. The Jesus Database- newer site:

    wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=Jesus_Database

    12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:

    faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/jdb016.html

    13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:

    mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm

    13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies

    14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/

    15. D-iseases in the Bible:

    http://books.google.com/books/about/The_d-iseases_of_the_Bible.html?id=C1YZAAAAYAAJ

    16. Religion on- Line (6000 a-rt-ic-les on the
    hi-story of religion, churches, theologies,

    theologians, eth-ics, etc. religion-online.org/

    17.
    The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT n-tgate-way.com/

    18
    Writing the New Testament- e-xi-sting copies, o–r–al tradition etc.

    n-tgat-eway.com/

    19. JD Crossan’s c-onclusions about the
    a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other
    NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:

    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=Crossan_Inventory

    20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books
    by title with the complete translated work in English
    :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html

    21. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?

    infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html

    22. NT and beyond time line:

    pbs.org/empires/pe-terandpaul/history/timeline/

    23. St. Paul’s Time line with discussion of
    important events:

    harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm

    24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD
    Crossan’s books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books
    are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be
    found on-line at Google Books.

    25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx’s words of wisdom
    as found in his books.

    27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd
    Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and
    Bishop NT Wright.

    28. Father Raymond Brown’s An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY,
    1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.

    29. Luke Timothy Johnson’s book The Real Jesus

    Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for
    Jesus of Nazareth [Hardcover]

    Bart D. Ehrman
    (Author)

    Large numbers of atheists, humanists, and conspiracy
    theorists are raising one of the most pressing questions in the history of
    religion: “Did Jesus exist at all?” Was he invented out of whole
    cloth for nefarious purposes by those seeking to control the masses? Or was
    Jesus such a shadowy figure—far removed from any credible historical
    evidence—that he bears no meaningful resemblance to the person described in the
    Bible?

    In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible
    expert Bart Ehrman confronts these questions, vigorously defends the
    historicity of Jesus, and provides a compelling portrait of the man from
    Nazareth. The Jesus you discover here may not be the Jesus you had hoped to
    meet—but he did exist, whether we like it or not.

  • Before you fall asleep in the brainwash of Christianity, peruse the references noted above. Might be a new day on the horizon for you. Happy Holidays.

  • Oh goodness, I have graduate degrees in theology and have been through just about all of them. Downright amused that anyone would consider Crossan and the “Jesus Seminar” authoritative anymore.

    But thank you for the suggestions. Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Christos Rozhdayetsa! Slavite Yevo!

  • And what schools did you get your graduate degrees in theology from? Written any books? Names of your professors?

    Professor Crossan’s rigorous historical testing methods have been published in his many books and other references if you want to review them: (let us know when you finish).

    Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts (Harper San Francisco 2001)

    The Birth of Christianity (Harper San Francisco 1999)

    The Jesus Controversy : Perspectives in Conflict (Trinity Pr Intl 1999)

    Who Is Jesus? (Westminster John Knox 1999)

    The Essential Jesus (Book Sales 1998)

    Who Killed Jesus? (Harper San Francisco 1996)

    Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography (Harper San Francisco 1995)

    In Parables : The Challenge of the Historical Jesus (Polebridge Press 1994)

    The Historical Jesus (Harper San Francisco 1993)

    An Inventory of the Jesus Tradition by Chronological Stratification (online)

    An Inventory of the Jesus Tradition by Independent Attestation (online)

    Common Sayings Tradition in Gospel of Thomas and Q Gospel (online)

    Seminar: HJ Materials & Methodology (online)

    A Closer Look at the Mustard Seed (online)

    Was Jesus Buried? (online)

    Alchemy and Accuracy (online)

    A Review of John Dominic Crossan’s The Birth of Christianity (Harvard Theological Review 2001, reproduced online)

    Danny Yee’s Book Reviews: The Historical Jesus (online)

    Simple Choices? A Response to John Dominic Crossan

    and by other contemporary historians and theologians to include:

    Robert Funk

    Burton Mack

    Stephen J. Patterson

    Marcus Borg

    Stevan Davies

    Geza Vermes

    Richard Horsley

    Hyam Maccoby

    Gerd Theissen

    Bart Ehrman

    Paula Fredriksen

    Gerd Lüdemann

    John P. Meier

    E. P. Sanders

    and an updated prayer to reiterate during your next sermon:

    The Apostles’ Creed 2017: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be
    proven and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an
    unproven, human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young
    Jewish girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple
    rabble-rouser by the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius
    Pilate, He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

  • Spent a whole semester studying Crossan’s “The Historical Jesus”, some years ago, and the professor was able to get him to do one classroom lecture in-person. An interesting gig.

    But, you’re talking about Crossan. That means talking about skeptizoid MESS, denying the supernatural claims and events of the Four Gospels. So here’s some refutations of Crossan:

    http://www.equip.org/PDF/DJ704.pdf
    http://sntjohnny.com/front/a-christian-review-and-response-to-john-dominic-crossans-the-historical-jesus/220.html

  • Re: “How I long for the days when the War on Christmas was a fiction.” 

    I expect this was facetious or sarcastic, because as we all know very well, the “war on Christmas” most assuredly is — and always was — “a fiction.” It’s woven from whole cloth by militant Christianists who can’t and won’t tolerate the notion that, maybe … just maybe! … not every American is Christian like them. 

  • Your two references are from Christian apologist groups. What else would they say being brainwashed in the NT all these years? And note that Professor Crossan’s conclusions are supported by many others as noted above in the list of references. I recommend perusing all the references before making any final conclusions. Professor Ludemann’s “Jesus After 2000 Years” is a good place to start. He fine tunes Professor Crossan’s conclusions with a list of passages of the NT that are authentic (10%), pp. 694-695.

  • Trump, the Awful Oaf in the Offal Office, is an unhinged narcissist fake Christian who has no respect whatever for rights of conscience, religious liberty, or our constitutional heritage of church-state separation. He just uses Christmas to promote himself with the rubes and dumbies. — Edd Doerr

  • You nailed it with the “evangelical snowflakes melting over this” line. If a Jew wishes me a Happy Hanukkah or a practitioner of any other religion wishes me a Happy Whatever, I’d have to be pretty narrow-minded, thin-skinned and/or over-reactionary to actually be offended by it or consider it an attack on my own religion (if I weren’t an atheist, that is). In fact, I wish more people would do that!

  • Not only is the “war on Christmas” fiction, Christmas itself is fiction! But y’all probably knew that already.

  • My educational background:

    BA in Classics, summa cum laude, Iona College
    Undergraduate courses in Classical Greek, NYU
    Graduate: MDiv, cum laude, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminay

    Languages studied: Classical Greek, Koine (New Testament} Greek, Old Testament Hebrew, Russian, Slavonic

    Professors I have studied under (Graduate level only):

    Georges Barrois

    John Breck

    Veselin Kesich

    Paul Nadim Tarazi

    John Meyendorff

    Alexander Schmemann

    Serge Verhovskoy

    Thomas Hopko

    John Boojamra

    Joseph Allen

    The closest I have ever come to writing a book would be my unpublished Thesis: “Charisma and Kingship in Ancient Israel”.

    And how about you? Any books? Graduate degrees? Names of professors you personally studied under?

    Thank you for copying out a bibliography, but I have already read much of your list (have you?), and, having found them unprofitable, have little incentive to read the remainder.

    We never use the Apostle’s Creed.

    Far preferable is the Nicene Creed:

    I believe in one God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

    And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence of the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.

    And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen,

    We have been confessing that creed for centuries, and will still be confessing it, long after your “updated” version has been forgotten.

  • christmas, is a christian holiday not a jewish, muslim, hindu, buddhist, shinto, pagan, agnostic, or atheist holiday. deny them their holiday, and they shall deny all of your’s.

    i am not a christian, but i am not offended by their merry christmas. they, have no idea when Yeshooah Adam was born. so they, made one up as a substitute for it they don’t know. which included the exchange, of giving gifts according to their scripture with a joyous attitude and goodwill.

    no one can offend me, that only my bad attitude toward them can do. which, would mean i have no understanding of them for my own selfish way. peace, does not ever come by promoting a bad attitude toward each other.

    i, do not agree with any religions, just because they claim, to be jewish, christian, buddhist, shinto, hindu, pagan, wicca, agnostic, pagan, muslim, secular, or atheist. none of these religions are perfect,or true with ELOHEEM. at best they, are barely competent at worst most are totally off the mark.

    not like i, can trust anyone writing their secular article and opinions to be right about any other non-secular religion. any more than i, can trust any sectarian writing an clerical article about others. when all religions from atheism to zoroastrians, are all just pretending to be true.

  • I have read all the references cited. And I don’t pretend to be a theologian. And if you have not written any books other than your thesis, you don’t qualify as a theologian. And Google will forever have the updated version of the Creed stored in their clouds.

    And to simplify the discussion: ( might want to post on your church’s doors)

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • So….

    Never studied under any professors…

    No graduate degrees…

    No degrees of any kind mentioned…

    No language skills, ancient or modern, mentioned…

    No theses presented or accepted…

    Just read the latest books du jour…

    Under the delusion that Google will exist forever preserving his “creed”…

    Believes that publishing some books makes one a theologian…

    But as Evagrius of Pontus said: “A theologian is one who prays, and one who prays is a theologian”. Guess you’re not a theologian by that metric either.

    Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! Atheism fails!

  • BS in Chemical Engineering, MS and PhD in Polymer Science,

    And no your illiterate rabbi did not rise from the dead but lies amouldering in the ground somewhere in Israel or he was eaten by wild dogs gorging on the bodies of the crucified. Might want to do some rigorous historic testing of your Easter stories.

  • Then there is rational thinking. For example:

    The physical resurrection aka Easter of anyone does not compute scientifically or theologically i.e. Heaven for one thing is a spirit state as concluded by Aquinas and JP2. Also, the scriptural reports don’t “jive” with respect to the required attestations.

    Paul erred about the second coming 2000 years ago. It “ain’t” going to happen now or in the future either again because there is no place for all those bodies to go. And Earth is going “bye-bye” with next asteroid collision and/or in few billion years when the Sun goes “boom”.

    And more on rigorous historic testing:

    From an analyses of the documents by many contemporary NT exegetes:
    The Resurrection is fiction i.e. it was added to make Jesus akin to the Caesars and Greek half gods/half men (1a) Mark 8:31-33 = Matt 16:2l-23 = Luke 9:22, (1b) Mark 9:9b = Matt 17:9b, (1c) Mark 9:12b = Matt 17:12b, (1d) Mark 9:30-32= Matt 17:22-23 = Luke 9:43b-45, (1e) Luke 17:25, (1f) Mark 10:32-34 = Matt 20:17-19 = Luke 18:31-34, (1g) Matt 26:1-2, (1h) Mark 14:21 = Matt 26:24 = Luke 22:22, (1i) Mark 14:41= Matt 26:45b,(1j) Luke 24:7

    Conclusion: Many references but only a single attestation and from the Second stratum (60-80 AD).

    http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/017_Resurrection_of_Jesus

    And from the course notes of a large Catholic university’s graduate theology class:

    “Heaven is a Spirit state (no physical bodies abide so where is the resurrected, ascended body????)

    Christ’s and Mary’s bodies are therefore not in Heaven. For one thing, Paul in 1 Cor 15 speaks of the body of the dead as transformed into a “spiritual body.” No one knows exactly what he meant by this term.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    The physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus’ crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary’s
    corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke’s Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus’ mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus’ followers The Assumption has
    multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary’s special role as “Christ bearer” (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus’ Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would
    be derived by worms upon her death. Mary’s assumption also shows God’s positive regard, not only for Christ’s male body, but also for female
    bodies.”

    Amazing how this agrees with Professor Crossan and many other contemporary NT exegetes’ conclusions based on attestations and stratums.

    Some added tidbits:

    According to Reimarus as referenced in R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    “Reimarus (1774-1779) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God’s hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus’ failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing.”

    And from: K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998. p.55

    “Stories circulated to the effect that Alexander of Macedonia was not only the son of Philip II, but also of the god Zeus-Ammon (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, “Alexander” 2.1-3.2); Plato was the son of Ariston and the god Apollo (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 3.1-2), and Augustus was the son of Octavius as well as the god Apollo (Suetonius, Lives o f the Caesars 2.4.1-7). The extraordinary character of these elites reputedly stemmed from both their divine origins and their kingroups. Their kin-groups provided one form of legitimation-political right to the throne and/or social status (thus the importance of Joseph in Matthew’s genealogy). Their divine procreation provided another: their honor was divinely ascribed, and their greatness as leaders derived from divine paternity.”

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