Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dauermann is Dead Wrong About Christmas

So I just read Judah's post about Dauermann's post about Christmas... But before I give you my thoughts I think I should tell you that at this moment I'm sitting outside of a Starbucks and the speakers are playing Neil Diamond's cover of the Hallelujah Chorus--HA!

But back to the issue at hand...

Dauermann is dead wrong about Christmas.  

And why does it even matter?  It matters because Dauerman's brand of Liberal Messianic Judaism leads Jews (and non-Jews) away from Torah.  

But here's why he's wrong.  He writes:
“This whole preoccupation with avoiding “the pagan roots of Christmas” is based on what is termed the genetic fallacy–that something should and may be fairly evaluated on the basis of its origin.”
It's actually not based on the genetic fallacy at all (nice Straw Man there).  A Genetic Fallacy against Christmas would go like this:

(1) Christmas has pagan origins;
(2) Therefore we should avoid Christmas.

That's a logical non-sequittur because the conclusion does not follow the premise.  Italians, for example, have pagan origins but this doesn't mean you should avoid Italians.  And if you do avoid Italians then you'll miss out on some lovely food and music.  

Here's the real argument against Christmas:

(1) Christmas supplants Torah practice;
(2)  [Implicit Warrant] Anything that supplants orthopraxy should be avoided—even when it arguably produces some measure of good or contains some measure of truth
(3) Therefore, Christmas should be avoided

Now I'm not telling anyone to be a jerk to those who observe Christmas (can you "observe" Christmas?).  On the contrary, I have relatives who observe (?) Christmas and I'm very nice to them and say "Merry Christmas", etc.  Lastly, let me just say that Judah is quite right to encourage Messianics to focus on being charitable rather than attacking the merits of Christmas.

Now, on a more serious note...

Anyone interested in forming a Neil Diamond tribute band?  

Shalom and Blessings to the Israel of G-d,



  1. The argument that Dauermann puts forward regarding Solomon's temple is one that seems to be gaining in popularity lately -- the rationale seems to be that Solomon's temple has "pagan origins" in the same way that Christmas has "pagan origins" -- yet God chose to dwell in Solomn's temple, so doesn't it follow that God can use Christmas in the same way?

    This argument, I believe, misses some key differences between Solomon's temple and Christmas (and I think there are many). For starters, Solomon's temple was built from scratch -- it might have had certain structural qualities in common with other temples of the day (which we would expect), but Solomon did not take a pagan temple, kick out all the pagan priests, and then stick his flag in the ground declaring that temple to be God's temple. (Yet isn't this exactly the origin of Christmas, is it not?)

    And the same goes for when the Israelites entered the promised land -- God didn't tell them to commandeer the pagan temples, and instruct the priests to simply swap out the God who was being worshiped -- pagan Gods for the one true God. He commanded that the Israelites destroy them.

    If Dauermann's argument is right, and the original origin/purpose of something doesn't matter to God, why did the Israelites destroy the worship places of those who preceded them, and why didn't Solomon simply commandeer a pagan temple and use it for worshiping God?

  2. That's it precisely! I'm glad you said that. Christmas and Easter reinforce the idea that non-Jews are separate from Israel and have no use for Israel's Torah. Is this why Dauermann likes the idea of non-Jews continuing in Christmas and Easter? It seems very likely.

  3. Re: "But what would you say to someone who says they keep both Passover *and* Christmas?"

    It would depend on the individual I suppose...

  4. Zion,

    The Bilateralist will simply argue "well, it would be harmful for me as a Jew to keep Christmas but since you are an excluded non-Jew then it's not really harmful for you at all."

  5. I don't think it is the only reason, but I definitely think it plays into a general understanding. I try to keep up with the writings of those who hold this particular view point (BE) and it permeates all their writings concerning gentiles, not just holidays, but also many other laws that are considered only for Jews to keep or only for those part of the Mosaic Covenant...

  6. I don't think he has some scheme up his sleeve, however, I think he genuinely believes that gentiles in the Messiah are not responsible to the Torah, thus from his view, there is nothing wrong with Gentiles keeping things such as Christmas or various other laws in the Torah which participating in would be considered an abomination for Jews.