Dan Barker – Scriptural Misinterpretations and Misapplications, part 13 of 14

Merry Paganism and Happy New Year?

Dan Barker wrote:

“What Christmas tradition is expressly forbidden in the bible?…Christmas trees. -Many other Christmas traditions have their roots in pagan practices, such as the holly wreath, a fertility symbol. Even the date of Christmas, near the winter solstice, is linked to sun worship. Modern Christians have stolen Christmas from the pagans.

Merry Paganism and Happy New Year?

Dan Barker wrote:

“What Christmas tradition is expressly forbidden in the bible?…Christmas trees. -Many other Christmas traditions have their roots in pagan practices, such as the holly wreath, a fertility symbol. Even the date of Christmas, near the winter solstice, is linked to sun worship. Modern Christians have stolen Christmas from the pagans.
‘Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not….They are altogether brutish and foolish.’ (Jeremiah 10:2-8)“[fn]FFRF Bible Quiz, “What Do You Really Know About The Bible?[/fn]

The claims to correlations between pagan practices and Christmas traditions are simply irrelevant. If we were to rid ourselves of all pagan influences we would have to do away with a variety of activities, words, architecture, sciences, etc., etc. The point is not necessarily one of influence but of utility-not what did this mean as far back as it can be traced but how is it viewed or practiced today.

Note that Dan Barker cites Jeremiah 10:2-8 but only quotes 10:2-4 and then skips to verse 8 separated by his insertion of ellipses points. Why did he choose to selectively quote? One again, I do not know the reason but do discern that actually quoting the entirety of verses 2-8 would have discredited his claim. Verses 5-7 state:

“They are like a rounded post, and they cannot speak. They must surely be lifted, because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them; for they cannot do evil nor good, for it is not in them. There is none like You, O Jehovah; You are great, and Your name is great in might. Who would not fear You, O King of nations? For fear belongs to You, because among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like You.”


This is very odd, assuming that Dan Barker’s claim is true and the text refers to Christmas trees: they cannot speak, cannot walk and cannot do evil nor good. But who ever thought that the nice little tree they just brought home from the sales lot would begin to walk around, talk and be either naughty or nice? Let me state that this text does not apply to me because my Christmas tree is not made of wood but of plastic.

Moreover, these people were not celebrating Christmas since the description in the text refers to a time circa 626-586 years before Jesus was born. Clearly, the reason that it is pointed out that “They are like a rounded post, and they cannot speak. They must surely be lifted, because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them; for they cannot do evil nor good, for it is not in them” is that the text is discussing the pagan practice of making idols that were to be worshiped as gods. God wants His people to understand the futility and irony of having to make a god for yourself. As verse 11 states “So you shall say to them, ‘The gods who have not made the heavens and the earth, they shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.'” This is why Christmas trees have nothing to do with this text since they are not brought into the house and adorned in order to be worshipped.

Further information about Dan Barker’s atheistic-neo-Paganism is found at these posts:

Dan Barker Intruded Upon the Solstice

Dan Barker and Neo-Pagan Atheism

Addendum to “Dan Barker and Neo-Pagan Atheism”