Carl Sagan launched a 13-part television series in 1980 called Cosmos, a show that explores the universe and Earth’s place in it.
That series has been modernized and revived on Fox Television to both rave reviews and Christian criticism. Since the first episode online debate has raged between creationists and scientists about a variety of religiously-themed concepts. But recently the show decided to launch a shot at their Christian critics by taking on the celebration of Christmas.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, in episode #7 of the new series, says that almost all Christian holidays are stolen from pagan or other holidays from the past, and they directly focus on Christmas, one of the most sacred of Christian holidays.
Why would Tyson attack Christmas on a show about science?
He was trying to point out that creationists are blind to the true age of the earth when they lean solely on the Bible as their source material. By pointing out the absurdity of so-called sacred observances of Christmas and that it has no Biblical standing Tyson was implying that Christians have a problem with their own history, let alone the history of the universe.
What Tyson fails in his logic is that he doesn’t know much about Christian doctrine — or history.
As we have pointed out many times before, Christian celebration of the birth of Christ is about far more than the outward symbols that mark it. Everything from Christmas trees to Santa Claus may indeed have pagan parallels because pagan beliefs were based on…early Christianity.
It is typical of historians and the science community in particular to think that Christian history begins in Bethlehem.
Christ was anticipated and Christmas was celebrated centuries before the birth of Christ.
“Christmas”, or the observance of Christ coming into the world, predates everything thought of or associated with the modern Christmas.
Well, almost everything.
Consider the words of Isaiah, written some 500 years before Christ: “For unto us a Child is born, for unto us a Son is given…”
Those words, so common during the Christian celebrations of what is called Christmas and Easter, tell a far longer story than is acknowledged by science and history. They are just a sampling of ancient “Christian” thought relative to the coming of Christ into the world, an event that was anticipated and celebrated.
Yes, pagans had things such as evergreens and other iconic elements we now associate with the modern celebration of Christmas. But where did they get those beliefs?
Cosmos may or may not be a great show. The fact that it stirs up conversation and debate amongst the science-minded and the religious-minded is a good thing.
But let’s stick to the facts — and not spread the bogus, lazy history of common Christmas past.
Just as the cosmos is a tale as old as time, so too is the story of Christ.