22nd August 2019
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Christianity stole it (Alan Crowe)

Does William J H Peterson seriously think that the giving and receiving of gifts in the last week of December originated with the Victorians? (Last week’s Readers’ Views)

What about the gifts from the Magi?

I’m pleased you’re not going down that road.

Babylonian Pagans carried on the custom centuries before Christianity usurped the idea in the sixth century CE.

Is William J H Peterson suggesting that myself, my family and (most) of my friends, shouldn’t exchange gifts during the celebration of Saturnalia?

Ra (The Sun god 24 BCE) may rightly get offended and refuse to switch the lights back on come 21st December.

Christianity stole the Winter Solstice from the rest of us. We just want it back.

Alan Crowe


  1. i tinkler

    Do not forget our homegrown Druids (well UK anyway, not Shetland as far as I know). Ritually sacrificed meat placed under and around the base of a pine/ fir tree. Many of our religious customs predate modern religions. Just be grateful ritual human sacrifice has mostly been lost along the way. Remember not that long ago us civilised folk?? burnt witches and heretics at the stake. Islamophobia is still sadly in our psyche, maybe we are not as civilised as we pretend.

  2. Andy Holt

    As a Christian I find myself in total agreement with Alan Crowe. We plastered the story of the birth of Christ onto paganism and incrementally, year by year, it leaks out. I would like the church to withdraw from Christmas completely and celebrate the birth of the Messiah say in September. Leave the shopping hell to the secular humanists and the pagans. Simple.

  3. David Spence

    Christmas, as presented by the Catholic Church is nothing more than plagiarising previous religions from the past.

    Egypt : 3000 BC : Horus (light) – Born on the 25th December, Born of a virgin, had 12 disciples, Crucified, Resurrected after 3 days

    Greece 1200 BC : Attis – Born of a virgin on December 25th, Crucified, Resurrected 3 days later.

    India : Krishna – Born of a virgin, Star in the East signalling his coming, performed miracles with his disciples, after his death, was resurrected.

    Greece : 500 BC : Dionysus – Born of a virgin on December the 25th, performed miracles, known as King of Kings, after his death, was resurrected.

    Persia 1200 BC : Mithra – Born of a virgin on December 25th, 12 Disciples, performed miracles, resurrected 3 days after his death, known as the Light.

    There are many more religions around the world which follow a similar path in terms of their god or prophet.

    The new god of today is money, as Christmas (for the Banks) very much demonstrates………screw the religion, commercial needs are more important.

  4. Shyrleen Pottinger

    I thought that William J H Petersons letter was spot on. Do we buy spring, summer or autumn presents- no!! So why buy winter presents? We buy presents at this time of year because it’s Christmas, whether we are Christian’s or not, simple as that.
    So why do away with the word Christmas and replace it with Winter Festival? Living Lerwick will be doing away with good old Saint Nick next – oh I forgot he’s the one with the material gifts- they won’t do away with him!!
    So let’s not do away with Christ, the best gift and the reason for the season.

    • David Spence

      It would be interesting Shyrleen, to conduct a survey and ask people ‘ What is the meaning of Christmas ? ‘ and whether or not people will say ‘ to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ ‘.

      However, I would be more inclined to think some people may say ‘ It brings families together, buy presents for loved ones and friends, good excuse to go out and party, great time to anticipate what people may have bought you etc etc.

      However, realistically speaking, I would anticipate many people find such a time stressful, highlights the pressure of, literally, being forced to spend money you cannot afford to do, brings to the fore the divisions within society of an event purely based on commercialism and not religion. Do the banks have the Christmas Spirit??? NO!!!!! only to themselves and nobody else. A selfish act of exploitation, a forced doctrine to benefit only the few at the cost of the many.

      On the religious theme, it says in the Bible ‘ For the Love of Money is the root to all Evils ‘…….never more so demonstrated by Christmas and the financial institutions to which Christmas truly is a gift to them.

  5. Andy Holt

    A few corrections to David’s post. Horus was the son of Isis, a goddess. Attis’s mum was Cybele also a goddess similar to Isis. Incidentally the Attis cult encouraged self emasculation, so it never really caught on! Dionysus’s mum was Semele a priestess of Zeus, who latterly becomes a goddess. Later texts, however have Dionysus as the offspring of Proserpina and Jupiter, Roman gods. Krishna’s antecedents were so complex that I must confess I gave up before I could experience Krishna consciousness. Finally Mithras. Most experts think his cult was post the the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus and deliberately set out to copy its claims.


Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.