The Witnesses don’t celebrate Easter either for the same reasons - they are rather obsessed at the “pagan” origins of celebrations and holidays, although they seem to pick and choose what they condemn and what they don’t - for instance they exchange rings when they marry which has very clear pagan origins and is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible.
No wedding rings in the Bible? Good one Matty :). Yeah, religion is totally arbitrary when you get down to the details. No-one really adheres to the Bible, that’s impossible to do:
1) The Bible is big and complex, filled with conflicting ideas, starting with the obvious conflict between a vengeful vicious racist sexist homophobe war-mongering egotistical tyrant god on-high (Yahweh), versus the mostly loving amiable benevolent inclusive profane god (Yeshua, Jesus). Which one you choose is arbitrary, the Jewish god or the Christian one. The complex layers of arbitrary choices would be impossible to unweave, if anyone ever tries to.
2) The trinity unites the main gods of Christianity into one, a clear violation of the laws of mathematics, along with all the other “miracles” that violate the rest of the laws of physics. Then they ignore all the other gods, the angels and the demons would have been called gods at any other time in history, except in these Christian days. And so the monotheism is arbitrary too. How can anyone adhere to the math errors, the physical conflicts, all those gods and the conflicts between each of their ideas?
3) The early Christians had disagreements about the religion. It started as an oral tradition and largely remains so today, most people learn about the religion by hearing the mass or lectures in school, not by reading the text. The oral tradition is in flux, that flux is the same today as it has always been in the past, a long unbroken history of change. Now who could possibly adhere to that changing system of laws with so many sources of change (Vatican, Anglican, Methodist, Quaker, Church of Latter Day Saints, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, Heaven’s Gate, etc.), so many conflicts, so many translation errors, honest mistakes, and intentional manipulations. The early Christians had lots of ideas, polytheistic Christianity was popular, monotheism wasn’t the favorite among the people in ancient times, but monotheism was Emperor Constantine’s favorite, you know how that choice turned out. The orthodoxy was an arbitrary choice. The conflicts between oral and written Christian tradition continue, the oral is used to revise the text, and the text is used to revise the oral. That feedback loop can amplify and promote any idea from the Bible to become the big idea of Christianity. The conflict between monotheism and polytheism continues: are Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Yahweh, angels, demons, Mary (and her magical mother fertilized by an angel to birth the messiah), Methuselah (magically long lived), Archangel Michael, Archangel Lucifer, all the other Archangels, Pope John Paul II (did he really have divine powers of healing), the rest of the Saints, are they all the gods of Christianity, or just one of them? There’s no way to tell which is right, mono or polytheism, the choice is arbitrary. How can anyone adhere to all the muddy ideas about the variety of gods?
4) The only distinction I see between Pagan and Christian at the Christian roots is the math error of the holy Trinity, there’s nothing else. Pagan examples older than Christianity for all the big Christian tenets exist: there were messiah myths, there were creator gods, there were gods that make natural processes work, there was animal sacrifice, there was human sacrifice (Jesus is said to have been human, Abraham tried to sacrifice Issac), there were ceremonies, holy structures for ceremony, there were leaders and power struggles, it was all there before Christianity existed. Then one tribe among many tribes in Arabia, each tribe had their own unique ideas and characteristics, one Israeli tribe look to Abraham and his god and said they were monotheist, this minor tribe was not popular then and still isn’t today. Christianity and Islam are much more popular than the Jews, today. The choice of tribes was arbitrary, there were lots of Pagan ideas to choose from in Arabia and in Rome. Why not adhere to an African tribe, an American tribe, an Australian tribe, or an Asian culture?
It’s not just the little arbitrary ideas that are problematic, it’s the big ideas too, arbitrary is the rule in religion, not the exception. The Witnesses are just being arbitrary when the take digs at the Pagans, the Witness have close Pagan ties too.
I hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving. A fun holiday is a good thing. :)