Regarding Maris Sanner's comments on faith and Christmas in her letter, “Jesus' birthday” (Dec. 15): Even segments of the New Testament disavow that faith in Jesus is the only way to heaven. Consider, “Faith without works is nothing” (James 2:14). Two of the New Testament's final judgment accounts say nothing of faith. Works are the only criteria on which Jesus takes people into heaven, both say.
Pre-Christian gods/heroes had many of the same traits as Jesus — virgin birth, saviors who die and are resurrected, etc. These include Adonis, Attis, Dionysius and Mithra.
If your faith works for you, fine. Just get over the notion that only those of your faith will be “saved.”
This “Christmas” celebration is not a unique event. It's the continuation of similar, pre-Christ winter solstice events when the light of the world, the sun, is reborn, gaining about a minute of daylight from December 20-21 until June 21, when we start losing daylight again.
In a sense, Jesus is the personification of that solar rebirth.
So, we light the darkness of winter with our candles and our tree and building lights, share gifts, etc. — just as pre-Christian religions did.
The followers of Mithra, who dates five centuries before Christ, celebrated his birth on Dec. 25. This caused the church, long after the time of Jesus, to establish Dec. 25 as Christ's birthday too, making it easier to absorb Mithra's followers into Christianity.
The writer is a Mt. Pleasant native.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.