Paganism Declawed

Yesterday was Valentine’s day, and amongst the hearts, flowers and chocolates adorning my Facebook wall was this post:

Valentine’s Day is pagan. Nimrod who you may know as Cupid was the first valentine. Nimrod had sexual relations with his mother. His mother would sleep with him and cause the other women around to do so also.

I believe that in Ancient Rome valentines day was a festival spread over 14 days called LUPERCALIA where the young girls would put their name in a box and the boys would pick a name and choose a random sexual partner each year for the festival.

Look it up for your self. Children of God we should not partake in these things. Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” NO TIME FOR COMPROMISE. #Pagan

I see similar posts at Easter (the festival of Eostre, the goddess of spring), and especially at Christmas (the Roman festival of Saturnus, the god of agriculture, is just one of many that were celebrated at midwinter). Some Christians see pagan symbolism in almost every aspect of daily life, but focus even more on what they see of it in festivals and celebrations. I find it very frustrating, and in the heat of that frustration I have to bite my tongue (or in this case restrain my fingers) so that I don’t come across as judgmental towards someone who I know has a heart for Jesus.

Why do I get frustrated? Because what I see is at best a distraction, and at worst Satan’s double-bluff mind games twisting Christians into doing his bidding.

I’m not particularly interested in Valentine’s Day, so I’m not here to defend it as an institution. I have mixed feelings about Christmas, as it becomes more secularised over the years. I grow more deeply fond of Easter as my appreciation of Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf also grows. So that is where I stand on these particular occasions. And here are my general thoughts on the subject raised in the Facebook post.

1 – A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies (Proverbs 14:25)

Myth, conjecture and hearsay are too often mixed up with grains of truth and presented as facts. In this case there is no firm evidence that Valentine’s Day has any connection to Lupercalia, and furthermore neither Valentine’s Day or Lupercalia have anything to do with Nimrod. As for Nimrod being Cupid, I don’t have any idea where this connection comes from. The myths about Cupid are just that – Roman myths, and although we’ve returned to Roman times in the chain, there is no link between Cupid and Lupercalia, so we are just left with a handful of unconnected characters and stories which have been spun into a narrative to suit the argument the writer wants to make. Anyone who researches these topics will see deceit, and this is not going to help bring people to Christ – it might even push them away.

2 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

Whether or not it is what the writer intends, I sense an undercurrent of fear-mongering in Christianity vs Paganism arguments. If the reader continues to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their loved one after reading the post above, they are celebrating false gods and by implication denying the one true God. By sending a Valentine’s card they are associating themselves with incest. Fear of this guilt by association should be enough to stop the reader from practising these heathen rituals. There are often implications that by embracing celebrations with “pagan roots” you will unleash demonic spirits into your life. I’m sorry but this argument isn’t going to persuade me. See my next point too, because ultimately whatever festivals I choose to observe or ignore, I will do it based on my love for God and for people, according to the leading of the Holy Spirit within me. I put my trust in Christ, and in His power over evil.

3 – He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord (Romans 14:5-6)

It is often argued – correctly – that there is no mandate from the Bible to observe Christmas, Easter, or any other special day or event. Is it impertinent of me to mention that the people arguing this will often drive cars, use deodorant, or even preach through microphones, none of which are mandated by the Bible? But the serious point is that there are good reasons why people might wish to celebrate any or all of the festivals mentioned, be it God’s gift to us in the form of His Son, or Christ’s gift to us in the form of His death and resurrection, or the gift of love that we are all at liberty to share with each other. If anyone, for their own reasons, wishes not to celebrate any or all of them, that is perfectly reasonable and acceptable too. This is the Biblical mandate – that whatever we do or not do, it should be to the Lord.

4 – Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another (Romans 14:19)

My advice is simple. Don’t confuse non-Christians or new Christians with talk of paganism, or even pique their curiosity and thereby direct them towards researching practices and beliefs that they are not yet equipped to deal with in the full strength of Christ. There is a place for discussions on these subjects where they can be given proper and prayerful consideration, but a Facebook status is not it. Also, however sincere you are in your belief on these matters, it is clearly not the prevailing belief within the wider body of Christ, and disagreements with fellow Christians are almost inevitable – public disagreements that display disunity in the family of God, rather than the edifying and peace-making discussions that we need.

It is my opinion that whatever our personal views are on the validity of any celebration, any public comment we make should be used in a positive way to proclaim and promote the Gospel of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice on our behalf.

Don’t Be Confused

Don’t confuse the evil men do in God’s name with the love God has for all His children.

Don’t confuse the rituals and laws of religion with the freedom of a loving relationship.

Christianity is a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

God loves you and He wants to make a direct connection with you.

The connection is Jesus, God with us, Immanuel.