Nå er julematen fortært og nyttårsfyrverkeriet sendt opp, så det er ikke lenge før hverdagen anno 2010 setter i gang for de fleste av oss. I vår del av verden er julefeiringen er en tradisjon med dype røtter, men hva er det egentlig vi feirer? I barneskolen lærer vi at Jesus ble født i en stall i Betlehem, og at tre vise menn kom for å gi ham gaver. Det er imidlertid relativt bred enighet om at Jesus, om han i det hele tatt har eksistert, overhodet ikke ble født 25. desember i starten av vår tidsregning. Det som derimot er påfallende, er hvordan denne datoen havner like etter vintersolverv, akkurat når solen begynner å stige igjen etter å ha trukket seg tilbake i et halvt år sett fra vårt ståsted på den nordlige halvkule.

Nylig leste jeg en bok hvor moderne tradisjoner blir målt og veid opp mot religiøse tekster. Boken het “The Pagan-Christian connection exposed”, og er skrevet av den amerikanske predikanten Michael John Rood. Rood er kjent for sin direkte og hardtslående kritikk av de etablerte tolkninger og oppfatninger av hebraiske religiøse skrifter. Jeg gjengir her et utdrag:

We read in the scroll of Ruth that Elimelech and his family left Bethlehem during a drought and sojourned east of Israel in the land of Moab. The Moabites were worshippers of Chemosh, the pagan god of prosperity. It was the same cast-iron, pot-bellied god that their kindred, the Ammonites, worshipped by the name of Molech. Both gods wore the Phrygian cap – the official headwear of both Tammuz in Babylon, and later, Mithra in Rome.

At the time of the Winter Solstice, December 25th on the ancient calendar, they had a public child mass [mass meaning “sacrifice”]. The priests stoked the iron image of the enthroned Chemosh with wood and burning pitch, turning their pot-bellied god into a cherry red furnace. The people made long lists of their desires, and recited them to the god of prosperity just before they put their infant children into the red-hot lap of their god with his Phrygian cap. As the babies were incinerated in the December 25th child mass, the people were assured that their sacrifices would be rewarded in the coming year.

On the same day, south of Israel, the Egyptians worshipped their sun god, Ra. An Egyptian hieroglyph depicts Ra castrating himself – the same act that Greek mythology attributes to Attis. Worshippers of Ra would hang gold and silver balls on an upright palm tree, as the prophet Jeremiah reports, and place their decorated gifts to the sun god under the tree adorned with the gold and silver testicles of Ra (Jeremiah 10:1-5). This vain custom was performed on Ra’s birthday – December 25th. When Israel adopted this custom, they used the evergreen tree, which they cut out of the forest with an axe and erected in their homes with the help of a hammer and nails so that it would not topple over. Finally, they decked it with gold and silver balls. The Almighty calls this festival “an abomination.” In the 1600s it was illegal to have a Christmas tree, or even a Christmas service, in America. The pilgrims knew that it was pure pagan sun god worship. So, don’t be offended that I am telling you these things; be offended that these abominations have gone unchallenged by modern, paganized Christianity!

These occult practices have changed very little since being brought into America. A month before the birthday of Tammuz, we have our children make endless list to the cherry-red, pot-bellied god of prosperity, and then we place our terrified children in the lap of this god who wears his Phrygian cap and sits on his throne in the shopping mall. On Christmas Eve, he will come down the fireplace chimney and deliver gifts under the evergreen tree decorated with gold and silver balls. Our children will kneel before the evergreen phallic symbol as they receive the blessings from their god.

Så den julefeiringen vi kjenner er altså egentlig et tilbedelsesrituale for hedenske gudeskikkelser? Vel, hva så med påsken? Heller ikke den går fri fra Roods hardhendte behandling:

Worship of the sun and of Tammuz started in an ancient Babylon. Nimrod built a city as the epicenter of his world government. It was there in Babylon that Nimrod was worshipped as “god.” He bore totalitarian rule over the people, reducing them to slaves in his political, economical and religious systems. According to ancient Jewish tradition, it was Noah’s righteous, eldest son Shem who slew Nimrod and scattered his body parts throughout the land of Shinar.

Nimrod’s widow, Beltis (also known as Semiramus), would not willingly let the kingdom slip through her fingers when her husband was killed. She proclaimed that Nimrod did not die, but that he had ascended into the heavens and was now the sun god. He later impregnated her with the rays of the sun. (At least, that was his widow’s excuse.) She delivered that illegitimate child on the day of the rebirth of the sun, the Winter Solstice … which, on the ancient Babylonian calendar (before the procession of the equinoxes), fell on December 25th – the day that Nimrod, the sun god, was reborn as Tammuz.

The December 25th birthdate of Tammuz, the Babylonian sun god, comes as a shock to some in the West, but is common knowledge among Jewish scholars and historians. The Jews were taken captive into Babylon for their disobedience concerning sun worship, even though they staunchly maintained, “That’s not what ‘Tammuz’s birthday’ means to us.” They had also been captives in Egypt, where they took on the worship of Ra, the Egyptian sun god who was born on … December 25th.

In 168 BC, the Syrian/Greek General Antiochus Epiphanes occupied Jerusalem and set up a statue of Zeus in the Temple and proclaimed that Zeus was god .. on Zeus’ birthday, December 25th. When Rome conquered Persia, The Roman Army adopted the worship of Mithra, the Persian version of Babylonian Tammuz. The symbol of Mithra was the same as the symbol of Tammuz: the Babylonian Tau, or “cross.” When Rome conquered Jerusalem, they hung Jewish patriots on the cross of Mithra as sacrifices to the Roman sun god who was born on … you guessed it … December 25th.

The confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel scattered the heathens into the far corners of the Earth and confused the names of their gods, but the rituals of worship remained much the same wherever they went. Many significant historical events concerning pagan worship occurred on December 25th; but of this one thing I can absolutely assure you – Y’shua of Nazareth was not born on … December 25th.

Tammuz, so the story goes, was gored to death by a wild boar in a hunting accident when he was 40 years old. Hence, 40 days of weeping for Tammuz was instituted: one day for each year of his life. During that time, sun god worshippers would deny themselves a pleasure in this life, for the sake of Tammuz’s pleasure in the afterlife. Sounds familiar? It gets better. When Nimrod’s wife, Tammuz’s mother, died many years later, the exalted “Queen of Heaven” was sent back to earth by the gods on the first S-U-N day after the Vernal Equinox. She arrived in a giant egg, which landed in the Euphrates River and broke open to allow her to emerge, reincarnated as the bare breasted goddess of fertility and sexual desire. Her new name? Ishtar – Easter. To proclaim her divinity, Easter changed a bird into an egg-laying rabbit. On the western slope of the Hinnom valley in Jerusalem, in the dingy depths of the Canaanite caves designated for the worship of Easter and her son Tammuz, the priests of Easter would impregnate virgins on the altar of Easter at the Easter sunrise service. One year later the priests would sacrifice those three-month old infants on the same altar, and dye Easter eggs in the blood of those sacrificed babies. To this very day, one denomination allows their Easter eggs to be dyed only one color: blood red! When you ask them why, they have no idea how the tradition started or what it rehearses … but now you know!

Problemet med Michael Roods påstander er at han er svært sparsom med kildehenvisningene. Han er ofte blitt beskyldt for å blande sammen fakta og spekulasjoner, og profetiene han villig fremsetter har dessuten en lei tendens til ikke å gå i oppfyllelse. Et annet sted i boka går han i den klassiske fellen med å karakterisere evolusjonsteorien som en religion. Og som om det ikke var nok, serverer han en rekke andre kreasjonistløgner, deriblant at evolusjon mangler fnugg av bevis og at det strider mot bl.a. termodynamikkens andre lov. Heller ikke dette underbygges med kildehenvisninger eller argumentasjon, så vi skjønner fort hvor vi har ham hva gjelder troverdighet.

Like fullt er Rood helt klart inne på noe når han påpeker at vi ikke har den fjerneste anelse om hvor de tradisjoner vi tar for gitt egentlig har sitt opphav. Poenget han forsøker å få frem her, bortsett fra at julefeiringen ifølge hans tolkninger har en temmelig makaber opprinnelse, er at de kristnes “kapring” av en rekke hedenske høytider og feiringsritualer er direkte uærlig, og totalt i strid med den kristne lære. Mange kristne vil her selvsagt protestere og si at “dette er ikke hva jul og påske betyr for meg!” Men det spiller ikke så stor rolle hva ritualene betyr for hver enkelt av oss – i 5 Mos 12:30-31 står det klart og tydelig: “Du skal ikke spørre etter deres guder og si: «Hvordan dyrket disse folk sine guder? Slik vil jeg også gjøre det.» 31 Når du dyrker Herren din Gud, skal du ikke gjøre som de. Alt det som Herren avskyr og hater, gjør de for sine guder. De brenner til og med sine sønner og døtre for sine guder.” Paulus minner også om dette i Kol 2:8 – “Pass på at ingen får fanget dere med visdomslære og tomt bedrag som stammer fra menneskelige overleveringer og grunnkreftene i verden og ikke fra Kristus.

For oss som ikke bekjenner oss til den kristne lære, får dette ikke betydning som noe særlig mer enn en kuriositet. Vi kan ignorere høytidenes hedenske opprinnelse, skape våre egne tradisjoner med tilhørende personlig mening, og nyte de fridager som høytidene fører med seg. For så vidt er det ikke noe i veien for at kristne også kan gjøre dette, men da må koblingen mot Jesus oppheves. Julegudstjenester må avskaffes, barneskolens indoktrinering om Jesu fødsel i jula og korsfestelsen i påsken må forsvinne, og enhver annen assosiasjon til den kristne tro må fjernes fra julens og påskens tradisjoner. Først da kan man feire disse høytidene uten å stride mot Guds ord.