Originally posted by closettrekkie
So could we call Christmas a great conspiracy?
Well, actually, yes, you could say that it was, in fact, a conspiracy.
See, the deal is, countries
converted to Christianity, not the actual people in them. Most of the people in Europe were still pagans in
practice. It was only the Kings and Queens that converted, generally for political reasons. If all the countries surrounding you are Christian, and
you're not, then conversion is a good way to ensure they won't attack you first
. It's a lot like a cannibal tribe. As long as there's
non-tribe members to eat, you're still safe, so it's a good barrier.
But the people still did pagan worship because most people didn't give a lick about politics or the aristocracy. They were a lot more concerned with
surviving till the next day if they were poor, or business matters if they weren't. Most people would go their whole lives without ever seeing the
King, even from a distance.
But then the Church realized they couldn't get enough money from the Kings alone, and that there was a lot of untapped wealth sitting around with the
nobles. So the nobles had to convert, but their tithing money had to come from somewhere, so the populace were encouraged to convert.
At first, they tried erecting new churches/cathedrals/etc... but no one bothered attending. I mean, you spend your whole life worshiping a certain
way, you're not going to change your religion overnight just because there's a new temple in town, right? So the clergy opted instead to try
"Yeah, you know that god you've been worshiping this whole time? We worship him too, only we call him Jesus. Since we're already brothers in faith,
I tell you what. You start using our names for the dieties instead of yours, and we'll chip in to buy some new digs for this place and provide you
protection as well."
That was the nice way to convert. The not so nice way generally involved surrounding villages with rings of soldiers, setting the houses ablaze, and
killing anyone who tried to flee, with the rather cavalier attitude of "kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out."
Anyway, during this conversion process, Candlemas (et al) becomes Christmas, Ostara (Ishtar) becomes Easter, Samhain becomes All Saint's Day, and so
on and so forth.... The names are even kept similar, so as not to confuse those of an illiterate or simple life (which were most of everyone).
Since most people couldn't read, they learn their traditions based off of whatever everyone is doing, and in less than 2 generations, it was as if
there'd never been anything but the Christian Church.
Yeah, Christmas has a bit of a murky past.
But that's beside the point! Christmas isn't about religion, it's about X-Box 360 games, candy, Santas, Elves, Reindeer, and Ham. Sweet, sweet ham.
And seeing an attack upon that gets my ire up. I love ham.
[edit on 7/25/2007 by thelibra]