My dear friend, I think you are missing my point and perhaps misunderstanding some of the things I said. There are some facts you must consider:
1. The world is very black and white. You either follow God or Satan; there is no gray area.
"Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3)
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18)
“for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
2. Satan’s deceptions are very subtle.
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1)
The serpent, which was Satan, was described as being subtil (old English spelling for subtle). He caused the fall of man. He was able to tempt a sinless creature into sinning. How much easier is it for him to tempt us who can’t go a day without messing up?!
But that is not my main point. My point is this: Do you think Eve knew she was being tempted or tricked into disobeying God? I doubt it, otherwise she wouldn’t have done it. Rather, Satan twisted God’s words slightly and used them against Eve. The best lie is truth with a lie mixed in it. But it’s still a lie, even it contains elements of truth.
Just because we can’t spot an obvious a lie, doesn’t mean it’s true.
3. Anything we watch will change how we think.
We are unable to view anything without the memory of it, or the enjoyment we have from watching it, affecting us in some way.
Now, I’m about to quote quite a lengthy amount from Romans 1:21-32. I think these verses speak the best about the dangers of watching television.
“21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
Right from the start, verse 21 says “vain in their imaginations”. Are not television shows and movies just the imaginations of men?
The next verses describe the wicked people who twist God’s truths into lies.
Then their many sins are listed. Sins which I feel should be labeled with “As seen on TV”.
And the last verse, which always makes me want to cry, pounds it home: “they which commit such things are worthy of death”. And not just them who do these things (“not only do the same”), but those who enjoy watching it (“but have pleasure in them that do them”).
Even if we don’t do these things and we know they are wrong, finding them entertaining is as bad as doing them.
I will pause for a moment to explain my struggle:
I do not say these things to judge you or to say you are wicked for watching television. I am saying these things as much for myself as for you.
I am telling you now: I watch TV. It is my main weakness. I am currently struggling to overcome this problem. That’s why Romans 1:32 makes me want to cry. I know that watching such sinful acts will inevitably result in my own sinfulness. And “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)
Anyways, I am not trying to say that someone will watch the Avengers movie and believe that it is true. I am just saying that parallels can be seen between these fictional characters and Jesus and Satan, and when the time comes, consciously or not, anyone who has enjoyed watching this movie or shows like it, will react on this lie. They will view Jesus coming as a bad thing that must be stopped.
Okay, lastly I wanted to address the fact that Thor and Loki are based off the gods of mythology. Just because they had never heard of Jesus, doesn’t mean the men who came up with them couldn’t be influenced by Satan to depict false representations. Both Jesus and Satan have always been around. Like you said, these ideas are so ingrained in us as individuals and a culture that it tends to come out in the things we do or create.
Now, you are mistaken that I assume all fictional character are based off religious ideas. I am a rational enough person to realize that of course not all fictional characters are representations of either Christ or Satan. But the problem is that we are finding enjoyment in their problems, conflicts, and sins, and we are bothering to waste thought on them.
For instance, Barney may not represent either Christ or Satan, but he can still serve as a replacement. That is, children spend more time watching Barney than they do learning about the Bible and Jesus. Barney in and of himself is not Satanic, but watching him on TV is simply a waste of time.
I hope I am being clear enough, I have a tendency to start ranting and lose track of my main point.
If you see any problems or what like me to clear something up, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Your thoughts and opinions are welcomed. I am happy to discuss with you.
God bless. <3
So are you saying all fiction is evil? (Since it's a problem that we waste thought on fictional characters or find enjoyment in their stories...)
Well, as a writer I guess I'm in trouble then. :)
OK, that entire world view is fu.cked up. Your essentially setting the entire world as your enemy, and locking yourself away for protection, most likely into the hands of some preacher, who will help you fight satan. So long as you keep putting money in the donation plate, and give him power.
Okay, I guess I can see how you'd think that, but no, I don't believe all fictional characters are evil.
I am a writer too, and I believe that fiction serves a purpose. It can relate a perspective or a message that the writer believes is important. And just like art, fiction can be a form of expression.
All I am saying is that our time here on Earth is coming to a close, and we have to be preparing ourselves for eternity. We just don't have the time to waste. It’s something I struggle with and perhaps something to think about.
I don't think you can fully understand me or my world view by only reading a few of my posts.
I am actually a very balanced person.
Despite what you may think, I don't lock myself in my room reading my Bible and praying that God will ward off evil spirits.
I go to school. I have friends. I take music and horse-back riding lessons. I have responsibilities.
I love music (especially the Beatles, as well as playing the piano and ukulele). I adore my family. I think there's nothing better than going barefoot on grass. I laugh a lot. :)
And I realize how easy it is to read a jumble of words on a screen and disconnect them from the person writing those words. But I assure you, I am a real person with a real life and opinions.
Like any person, I go through experiences and come to conclusions. Just because I have different conclusions than you that seem very strange and strict, does not mean I am an ignorant robot being controlled by my religion.
I struggle and fall and rise again, the same as anyone. I do not depend on any religious figures to feed me spiritually. I do my very best to form a personal relationship with God.
What I am explaining about my views on watching television are something I have learned and experienced and am only wishing to share.
Anyways, I hold no grudge that you shared your opinion. I actually really appreciate it.
I apologize for ranting at you.
But I will not apologize for who I am or the beliefs I hold.
Well, thank you for reading. I felt that this matter should be cleared up.
I don’t mean to judge or disrespect you in anyway, and I don’t take anything you said personally. I just thought a response was necessary.
I hope there are no hard feelings or further misunderstandings.
All the best. :)
Half: wow, thats true, the internet does sepperate people from ideas. I have that problem.
I think we all have that problem at some time or another.
I'm just glad we could work it out.
Sorry if I was a little harsh or rude. I really don't know you that well either, so I wasn't sure how you'd take it.
Anyways, thanks again.
God bless. <3
My opinion on the original topic: I don't think Santa Claus presents a real threat to people celebrating the birth of Christ; rather, it is the people themselves and the culture at large. Really, today's world is so against religion that the mainstream will do whatever it can to take the focus off of God at any time. You can see that not only in replacing Jesus with Santa as the image of Christmas, but also in the general taboo of discussing your faith seriously with people in "inappropriate" setting and other examples of the downplaying of the influence of God. Really, Santa Claus can be a fun tradition when done right and done in the right perspective; it's just the secular influences everywhere in our society that choose to ignore the true reason we celebrate every year- the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.
Sorry I haven't been on in awhile, been busy :P
In regards to why I agree with Santa not being a healthy influence, I think I need to clear some things up.
I believe that fiction is an amazing and healthy venture as long as you don't mistake it for reality. If I actually believed that timelords existed and that Doctor Who was real and could affect my life directly as a God like figure, that would be a problem.
Let's compare popular fiction characters with Santa:
Ask a child who comes to mind when they say Christmas, there's a pretty good chance they might say "Santa". There's not a very good chance they'll say "Doctor Who", or "Harry Potter", or "Barney the Friendly Dinosaur", because those characters aren't specifically related to Christmas.
The fact of the matter is that, and keep in mind we're going under the basic assumption that Christianity is correct, Christmas is about Christ. Santa has blurred that, he has made Christmas about him instead. In fact if you look on facebook many people will post statuses saying "Happy Birthday Santa!".
Also think about this, instead of "I do believe in Jesus I do", Christmas is all about "I do believe in Santa Claus I do".
Yet, what happens when those children grow up and realize Santa isn't real? They get acclamated to the thought of someone they poured so much devotion and belief into being a simple childhood fairytale that's only a symbol. After becoming acclamated to that idea and feeling, think how easy it would be to do the same with God.
"Oh, God's just like Santa Claus, he's a nice concept that has a lot of great morals, but we know he's not really real. After all it's just as silly to think that some Jewish guy walked on water 2000 years ago as it is to believe a fat red man flies on a sled carried by reindeers and slides down chimneys at night."
Literally the entire concept of Santa Claus not only replaces the idea of Christ, but also is a passed down tradition of belief and then "maturing and realizing that he's not real". What kind of message does that give children?
I don't think fiction is unhealthy, I think Santa Claus is a figure that does almost everything humanly possibe to turn Christmas as far against Christ as possible.
I agree that it can get carried way too far. The focus should be on the Savior, not on Santa. But if done right, I still think Santa is a fun and harmless tradition. It even has religious roots. (Saint Nicholas, remember?)
Is giving presents at Christmas wrong? It can definetely distract from the meaning of Christmas if we focus way too much on materialism and trying to outdo each other. Presents themselves aren't inherently bad. They just become a distraction if we place too much emphasis on them. Same with Santa.
To me, it sounds like one of your biggest problems is with parents lying to their children. And to me, this is one of strongest arguments against Santa- although admittedly parents lie to kids all the time. "Don't make that face, or it'll stick that way."
"Babies come from storks."
"Put your tooth under your pillow and a fairy will leave some money for you." (Out of curiosity, how do you feel about the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny?)
I just don't think that disbelief in Santa automatically leads to disbelief in God. I know my parents lied to me when I was little. That doesn't mean that they always lie to me. I don't believe in Santa, but I do believe in God.
I think people have a decent ability to avoid thinking in absoloutes- I read a book and turned out that what it said wasn't true. That doesn't mean that no book I'll ever read is true. I learned a 'fact' that turned out later not to be true. That doesn't mean everything I learn is a lie. Maybe Santa is similar to God (and we need to work on fixing that) but they're still different enough that people can tell them apart. Somewhere around eighty percent of people believe in God and quite a few are trying to fight for him having a bigger role in public life. Nobody does that with Santa.
Of course, Christians did the same thing to December 25th a long time ago...
December 25th was a major pagan holiday focusing on the sun, and Christians were undermined during that time of the year. So they decided to create a holiday to celebrate on that day, and eventually get rid of the pagan's influence. They said that Jesus was born on that day (despite the fact that he was most likely not...), and stole that day up from under the pagans.
And an interesting fact- we've also adapted our preconception of god (guy, white beard, etc) based on Zeus, whose image Christians stole to make it seem less important. Then they also took images like the worship of a goddess of nature, and turned it into a symbol of the devil. They also made it so the hats female teachers wore became a symbol of witchery...
Not trying to insuly my own religion, I'm just providing some random examples... :P
Yes, I agree that the secular society we live in loves using Santa to distract away from the true meaning of Christmas.
Does that mean we take Santa and use him for our own purposes?
Santa will still be part of the materialistic and hedonistic side of Christmas, we can't change that. I think it's best just to ignore Santa. If you want to make Christmas about Jesus, then make the focus to be Jesus.
Talking about Santa at Christmas only serves to confuse children.
Breece and Imagine:
I agree with Breece.
Santa Clause dulls the children and prepares them to believe Jesus is fake.
Satan doesn't want the world to believe in God, and the best way to change how a society thinks is to start with the children.
Imagine, as a child, my parents never told me that Santa, the Easter Bunny, or even the Tooth Fairy were real. In fact, I don't think I even heard of any of them until grade 3 or so when I stopped being homeschooled and started going to school and my friends mentioned them.
I can't give you definitive proof that this affected me in a positive way, but I do know that I have a stronger relationship with my parents than most of the people I know, and I grew up hearing about Jesus who I still have a strong faith in.
How are parents supposed to tell their kids about Santa and Jesus, and expect them to discern which one is real and which one is just a story?
To a child, Santa would seem much more tangible. Rather than the man in the old book they sometimes read, they see Santa Clause at every mall and street corner. Also, a child might reason, "What has Jesus ever done for me?" After all, every year they receive wonderful toys and presents from Santa, but they are unable to see the gift of life that Jesus purchased for them.
It just doesn't seem like a good idea to be teaching our children this, even if you do try to teach them about Jesus, too.
Any teenager or adult can easily say that, "Oh, of course Christmas is about Jesus, we don't really believe in Santa." But do you think that young kids can rationalize this? Isn't it better just to drop Santa altogether and focus on Jesus?
Agreed, Christianity has adopted pagan holidays and traditions.
Catholicism, at least, is just paganism in a Christian garb. (No offence to any Catholics. Feel free to disagree; this is just my opinion.)
As for the different Greek and Roman gods, I believe those are counterfeits created by Satan.
Zeus is considered “the father of the other gods", just as the God if the Bible is considered “our Father in heaven.”
Does this mean that the Bible writers stole their idea of God from the concept of Zeus?
Hardly. Satan knows what God is like, and he probably influenced the Greeks and Romans into coming up with a god that was similar.
Jesus and Santa represent the two opposites of what God is like:
Jesus is the Son of God, who came from richly glory to be a beaten and persecuted and eventually killed. All of this was done for us. It is a display of the wondrous love of God.
Santa is a mystical man who comes around once a year to give us presents. He judges us merely on whether we are “naughty or nice” and then rewards us with materialistic items if we’re good.
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus states:
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Mammon is translated from the Hebrew word “mammōnas” which means: “confidence, that is, figuratively wealth, personified; avarice (extreme greed for wealth or material gain).”
When you think of Santa, do you think of a humble servant, quietly working to help us in the lowliest of circumstances? No, you probably think of a jolly fat man with an enormous workshop full of toys.
Santa isn’t just a harmless tradition. He represents the ideologies of man; our greed and focus on materials.
And we cannot serve both that and Jesus.
Okay, don't blame Santa for being evil. Blame the people who twisted his image. He in fact originates from a Greek Christian who would give people gifts, and leave a gold coin in the shoe's of people who left them out for him (obviously the origin of the christmas stocking).
He was not focused on greed or personal items, but on helping his fellow men. If anyone is evil, then it would be the people who changed his image from a man who showed humanity that kindness will always exist, into a hallmark symbol of profit.
Don't call Santa evil, he was a man who didn't even wish to be praised. All he did was give people gifts when the were suffering hardships.
I think it would be more appropriate to say "Don't blame Saint Nicholas for Santa". We're not referring to the actual person here, just the concept and symbol Santa has become in our society.
I agree that as long as it's moderated enough it can be okay, however that is often not the case. I think our modern concept of how Christmas should work and how Santa should be involved in it is far, far off from how it should be.
We would need drastic changes before I considered Santa an okay thing.
you ever wacthed "truth or traditon" by Jim Staley?
I'm not sure who your question is adressed to, so I'll assume it is for me, the thread creator.
So... no, I have never watched that video.
I'll be sure to look it up though. :)
God bless. ❤