Do you Believe in Christmas?

For the discussion of spirituality -- from LDS and non-LDS sources
Roy
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by Roy » 04 Dec 2014, 13:41

Found this quote from Pope Benedict XVI in his book "Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives": Talking about probable later additions into the Noel story and how the animals and magi's insertion into the story served important purposes for the early church (i.e. even the animals and the great kings of the east recognized Jesus as divine) he says, "The aim of the evangelists was not to produce an exhaustive account, but a record of what seemed important for the nascent faith community in the light of the word."

I was also reading an MSNBC article about the Bible Project and wanted to share a portion here:
But the ongoing work of the academic detectives of the Bible Project, as their undertaking is known, shows that this text at the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was somewhat fluid for long periods of its history, and that its transmission through the ages was messier and more human than most of us imagine.... "A believing Jew claims that the source of the Bible is prophecy," said the project's bearded academic secretary, Rafael Zer. "But as soon as the words are given to human beings — with God's agreement, and at his initiative — the holiness of the biblical text remains, even if mistakes are made when the text is passed on."
For those that are interested in the full article it can be found here: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44117239/ns/w ... ?gt1=43001

We also had a good thread about a similar topic back in 2011: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2310&hilit=+pope

I personally like Christmas - though I try to minimize the Santa part. (kids get 1 santa gift and it is not to be the main one)
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SamBee
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by SamBee » 05 Dec 2014, 06:51

I don't like Christmas because of capitalism - the Christian and Pagan aspects don't bother me.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SilentDawning
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Dec 2014, 09:35

I'm agnostic about the story as well. But as a possible myth, I like the idea of a powerful leader born in a stable, the humility Christ's birth depicts, how Joseph supported Mary in her pregnancy. And those you who know my background, know that my daughter has a lot in common with the concept of a virgin birth. Given how good and kind she is (controlling for teenagerism), every time I hear of the story of Mary's conception, I think of my daughter's pure heart.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

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Ann
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by Ann » 08 Dec 2014, 21:02

Heber13 wrote: - Have you been comfortable with the story of Christmas (or parts of it) not being literal, but you have struggles with Joseph Smith's experiences, or the Book of Abraham, or the multiple First Vision accounts when you found out they didn't seem to happen as you thought?
If the scriptures recounted the many times that Christ spoke emphatically about his virgin birth, the manger, shepherds, magi, etc., I would have more "cog diss" to work through.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Gerald
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by Gerald » 09 Dec 2014, 08:25

Accurate or not, the Christmas story is a great story about humility and sacrifice and it adds a sense of wonder to the season. Perhaps it can be thought of akin to the story of Santa Claus. It may not be true but it sure makes Christmas fun when you're a kid. I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. And I wouldn't trade my memories of the more holy Christmases I have spent. A holiday dedicated to thinking of others and giving to others (even if it gets a tad overblown by merchandising) is to me a good thing. So I am comfortable celebrating Christmas and would continue to even if I came across incontrovertible evidence that the whole story was made up.
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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Heber13
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by Heber13 » 09 Dec 2014, 11:38

Gerald, well said.

Would you feel the same about the Joseph Smith story (First Vision and Golden Plates, for example) if it was a good story, leading to a good organization to serve others, but totally made up story? Or would you not be able to have faith in the church unless those things really happened?


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Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

nibbler
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by nibbler » 09 Dec 2014, 11:58

I'm certainly not answering for Gerald but:
Heber13 wrote:Would you feel the same about the Joseph Smith story (First Vision and Golden Plates, for example) if it was a good story, leading to a good organization to serve others, but totally made up story?
It all hinges on what the organization spent more time doing, serving others or watch dogging its members to ensure they believed in the literal interpretation of the good story.

Sometimes it's like the "global consciousness" of the church suffers from issues with insecurity. How about shifting focus away from establishing truth claims and just be good. Oh, and there's plenty of room for good stories that come from external sources.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Dec 2014, 12:24

Christianity as a whole has had over 2,000 years to move past the absolute need for a literal interpretation of its origin stories - and it still hasn't done do for most of its adherents, especially the actively involved and deeply committed ones. The same is true of all other major world religions.

Those who are willing and able to see religious foundation stories in any way other than literal and continue to participate always will be the minority. The other two options are much, much easier - and, imo, much less growth-producing for those who are not prone to literalism.

Just saying.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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nibbler
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by nibbler » 09 Dec 2014, 12:35

Good point.

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LookingHard
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Re: Do you Believe in Christmas?

Post by LookingHard » 09 Dec 2014, 13:00

Ray DeGraw wrote:Christianity as a whole has had over 2,000 years to move past the absolute need for a literal interpretation of its origin stories - and it still hasn't done do for most of its adherents
Because they somewhat keep starting over every generation. Even if a few generations "progress" in this area, all it takes is one or two to start back over.

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