Don't forget that St. Nicholas also famously slapped heretics!

I don't get the negative connotation around cultural reappropriation of rituals. To take the most obvious Christian example, the cross - the crucifix - was a pagan torture device. Looked at from a deliberately obtuse historical perspective, you could write an explainer saying that the cross has no Christian roots whatsoever, it was invented years and years before Jesus ever lived, by people who had never heard of Him. Christians "appropriated" it for their religion. Christians would reply, well, duh. What man intended for evil, God used for good, so that today this ancient Roman torture device has been appropriated into a symbol of our eternal salvation. Pretty cool use of some random pagan device, no?

It goes both ways, too. One of the most ancient symbols of the Christian and Jewish faith, going all the way back to the book of Genesis, is the rainbow. But let me assure you, when you see the rainbow symbol at your local corporation these days, its meaning is as far removed from Genesis as it is possible to be. America's new religion, a religion in which pride is something to be celebrated, has quite thoroughly replaced America's old religion, in which pride was considered sinful. We still have remnants of the old faith, like the existence of rights:


Yet for the most part the old faith is gone, and soon the rights will be too. You can only culturally appropriate so much, I suppose.

So it goes. Perhaps in a hundred years, an enterprising young reporter will write an expose for her peers revealing the true origins of the beloved trans flag, and detail how some historians controversially believe it was culturally appropriated from ancient Jewish tribesmen.

On that optimistic note, Merry Christmas!

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Interesting Thanks for that.

But....if you were driving along on this frigid Christmas Eve and you saw descending from the sky, a sleigh drawn by eight reindeer and a jolly man in red suit and white beard would you really be that shocked? Would you?

The message and wonder of Christmas is all that really matters in the end. I wish the love and joy of this beautiful season to all my friends here.

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Whose the first person to try reindeer pee? Was it a bet? Humans are funny

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Most of the Christian holidays are layered over existing pagan ones. Christmas, according to many, cooped the Roman Saturnalia.

In my view, all the precepts of all the religions are scientific questions. Do we survive death? Is there any value in prayer? Is ESP a thing?

Most people are clumsy thinkers. They think in either/or terms. A good example would be people like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. Both think both that if neurophysiology has validity, then materialist explanations of consciousness must be valid. They also believe that if Christianity or Judaism or Islam or any other religion makes no sense theologically, then religion as a whole must be false.

Well over a hundred years ago William James pointed out that, then as now, the problems in locating consciousness itself in the physical brain were substantial, and in my view in his time as well as our own, insuperable. That Consciousness does not reside in the brain is a formally scientific hypothesis.

In this view, the brain is a sort of radio which receives frequencies from a variety of sources, and if the radio breaks, the transmission diminishes. Thus, for example, neurotraumatic speech aphasia is both easy to explain, and also not in the least incompatible with the existence of a soul.

And quantum physics, according to most interpretations of the actual theory as validated by countless practical uses of it, posits that THERE IS NO REALITY prior to consciousness. This is the conclusion that John von Neuman reached, and the underpinning of the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation.

So, to me, our current most interesting task is evaluating all religions based on two criteria: their emotional and social usefulness; and secondly, the actual truth value of their claims as seen through the lens of science.

This is a tad off topic, but at the end of the day our metaphysics informs everything we say, do, and believe.

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‘The Scared Mushroom and the Cross,’ by John Allegro is about the Amanita muscaria mushroom 🍄 being the real representative to early Christianity. I do not think that is so, however an interesting read nonetheless.

Ironically, Jesus’ alleged birthdate wasn’t made December 25th until 350 AD by Pope Julius I, and it was to shore up pagan solstice with Christianity.

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Dec 24, 2022·edited Dec 24, 2022

These aren’t really two competing theories about Santa’s origins, because almost nobody has heard of the one about psychedelic mushrooms and reindeer urine. I’ll put this down as satire, but it’s become more common that something outlandish is being taken seriously. Next, we’ll hear that Santa’s at the North Pole giving birth to elves.

Ho, ho, ho!

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Interesting article, but maybe not optimally timed.

I'd have enjoyed it more a week or so ago.

Short shrift given to the holiday ethos of generosity, versus psychidelically-induced wisdom, on Christmas Eve, made me a little sad. Pass the reindeer pee!

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Seriously? This is your feature article on Christmas Eve? May God have mercy on you all.

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I prefer to concentrate not on St Nick but on the spirit of generosity and celebration. For that we can thank Charles Dickens. His Christmas Carol got the Brits to begin traditions we continue today. We always watch the Alister SIMM version of Scrooge and the Man Who Invented Christmas ( the book is good too). You can grow out of Santa but generosity is something we all need to practice.

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🤣🤣🤣🤣 I’m married to a Finn, 35 years now! It explains everything lolololololol but what the Sauna? Does SC take it before he leaves for work or after?

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A minor correction. Woodhouse writes, "St. Nick was immortalized in the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas”—and, in 1931, Coca-Cola turned him into a fat, bearded man who has been firmly lodged in the popular consciousness ever since." That's dead wrong! "'Twas the Night Before" was written by Clement Clarke Moore (although there was a rival claimant) and published in 1823. Moore saw St. Nick as big-bellied, white-bearded, and jolly--the same Santa Claus I grew up with in the forties. My Santa was not created by Coca Cola (Horror and the Great Mother Forbid). Coke may have given us both watered down Cola (no more coca leaf extract) and an image of Santa--but Coke's only addition was a red suit. Moore had him dressed all in fur and covered in ashes from his descent down the chimney. Jessie Wilcox Smith in 1912 gave us illustrations to fit the quote below (see https://americanliterature.com/childrens-stories/twas-the-night-before-christmas ):

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

illustration for Twas The Night Before Christmas

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

illustration for Twas The Night Before Christmas

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

illustration for Twas The Night Before Christmas

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

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That's what I love about the over educated synical young... They take magical ancient traditions with deep histories and symbolic patterns that bring joy to Millions an bind us all together...strip them of mystery and offer simplistic, materialistic explanations that de-enchant them and toss them into a cardboard box that we all then get to live in ...under a bridge of course...but not like trolls because those are the product of wine fungus common to the middle ages or something...

Can't wait to see what you guys have in store for the next 50 years once you run out of the past to deconsruct... Merry Christmas!

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Trivia, the home of useless information:

Do you know how the Laplanders castrate reindeer?

The women bite their nuts off. I'm not making this up. Now when you die you can do so knowing you are fully enlightened and your education is complete.

I am a wealth of useless information.

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Not gonna lie, I was not looking forward to reading about Santa…but the reindeer pee bit really made it worth it. Few questions though…

1) who was the one who said, “let’s get high off the reindeer pee”

2) how did they collect the reindeer urine?

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Dec 24, 2022·edited Dec 24, 2022

I believe that the roots of Christmas and all things Christmas, are in ancient Persia. The Magi (wise men) traveled from Persia and brought gifts to Mary for the baby Jesus, and had predicted his birth. In Persia, the Magi was a person who brought gifts for children and hope at the beginning of the Nowruz celebration. In Iran, he is called Father Nowruz, Uncle Nowruz, or Baba Nowruz. It is believed that this concept spread west to the Christian world, and the Baba Nowruz or Magi concept was converted to Santa Claus. Santa wears the same cape and robe that Baba Nowruz wears.

There are many links from the ancient Zoroastrians to Christmas that we celebrate today. Beginning with the Yuletide or Yalda, (night of December 20th), December 21 is the beginning of the Yalda season in Persia ending with Nowruz (end of the winter solstice), which is still celebrated today. The ancient Persians decorated a Yalda tree, an evergreen cypress tree to represent the solar system. On the top of the tree was the sun, and around the tree were decorations of the stars and planets. Persians also put two silver/gold ribbons around the tree, representing galactic dust. While the Yalda tree was a part of Yalda celebration in Iran, the Christmas tree became a tradition in Germany during the reformation. In ancient Persia, in both Yalda and Nowruz celebrations, family gathered together and gave gifts, especially to children. December 25th, the birthday of Mehr/Mithra/Messiah was celebrated by Iranians going back as early as 5,000 bc. Even the word Sunday, goes back to Yalda birth of the Sun, with Day. Yule, Yalda, Juldag also means birth of the Day and light.

It is believed that the three 'wise men' in Persia who were priests (Magi) from the Zoroastrian religion predicted the birth of Jesus and according to their belief, he would be the messiah, or the Mithra of the time, and will become the King of the Jews and the Son of God.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Blessings to All.

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Dec 24, 2022·edited Dec 24, 2022

I can't wait for Kevin Durant to weigh in on this. Will be priceless.......................

(And of course, Comprof will use it as evidence of the insanity of......ta dum..... White "folks").

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