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What the Bible says about Christmas trees

It’s that time of year again: there’s a chill in the air, malls are playing the same music over and over, and the whining about the alleged attempts to expunge Christmas has begun.

There are many symbols of the season, but the Christmas tree is the most iconic. Most skeptics know that the tradition of taking in a tree for the winter pre-dates Christianity’s arrival in Europe by many years, but that is not enough to dissuade those complainers who have been usurping pagan traditions since year one. For them we must take a more forward approach and confront them with their own words—the Bible itself.

When next you hear the inevitable grumbling about it being a Christmas tree, dammit, not a %$&#ing holiday tree, whip out this little biblical admonition:

Jeremiah 10:2-4 (King James Version):

2 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.

3 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.

4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

Hmm, seems as if there’s a wee bit of sinning going on in Christendom, because I’m sure that those hordes at the tree lots every year aren’t all worshipping Mother Earth.

My family? Yes, this happy band of atheists gets a tree. It’s traditional, a part of our culture. Like the Ikea commercial says, it’s a six-foot-tall, pine-scented air freshener!

Merry x-mas!

12 responses to “What the Bible says about Christmas trees”

  1. sonbeam says:

    us look at the main part of the text,
    Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen,
    cut down the tree and putting the stuff on the tree was what you are not to learn,
    Truth is we have learned the things we were told not to .
    if you need to let it go and have a renewwing of the mind then let the creator of all living help you out and be set free of the things He says have no part of

  2. Chris says:

    I believe it’s out of context, its just a tradition, its apart of being Human, its a decoration, not something we worship or idolise, i suppose most of you people dont have kids who have joy putting up the christmas tree with them, i still teach my kids the main reason for christmas, you can still have fun, that new lovly wood kitchen table you bought for the house, burn it its made from wood, you idolise it too much, as a matter of fact my christmas tree isnt even made from wood,

    • shadeydave says:

      Most of us who claim the article is IN context, don’t have faith or a concept of religion that we follow in our lives. We’re puzzled by the fact that a lot of christians claim the Bible is a source of absolute truth, but when it comes to the details that are clearly wacky/immoral/untrue those same christians gloss over those parts and claim the “out of context” argument.

      If you have a book in your life that says, ‘this is a guide to living and ultimate immortality, and without these words to guide you, you will burn forever in hell.’ And by being christian, you claim to adhere to the rules in this book; how does mention of one of the most flagrantly broken rules, remain out of context? Either it’s untrue, which means, there could be many other things in this book that are false, and downright wrong to practice. And if that’s the case, how is this book a good guide for a fulfilling life?

    • Dave Bailey says:

      Not even made of wood? Then it isn’t a tree! There have been a few studies done on the environmental impact of Christmas tree farms, and if I recall correctly they are considered beneficial. While they’re growing they provide habitat for many bird species, and since they are continually replanted that environment doesn’t disappear when they’re cut. They don’t take energy or raw materials to manufacture, they just, well, grow.

  3. Dave Bailey says:

    Beverly said “These verses are taken out of context. The point was not that you shouldn’t put up a Christmas tree. At that particular point in history, there was NO Christmas. Christ had not been born yet.”

    Or, perhaps, the passage was inserted by a later editor to combat what they saw as paganism. The bible has continually been translated and rewritten, and still is today.

  4. David Bailey says:

    The trouble with being accused of taking biblical phrases out of context is; who determines the context? Much of the bible is ambiguous, vague, and open to many interpretations, and much of it is metaphor. Five different people might interpret the same phrase five different ways, or might not even try because they can’t figure it out.

  5. Lara says:

    A lot of Christians use that passage in Jeremiah to condemn Christmas trees, but that Scripture, I believe, isn’t about taking a tree in the house & decorating it. It’s about making household idols, because, back in those days, they’d cut down a tree, & carve an idol out of it, overlaying it with gold, silver & fine jewels. The works of a man’s hand. So it’s taken totally out of context, as are many Bible verses. Regardless, I for one am not going to bow down & worship my tree, so this Christian will happily & without any condemnation, decorate my blingy tree & enjoy watching my 5 year old look at it with joy in his eyes.

    • Diamond says:

      Laura I just have 1 question for you…that being you said that you will enjoy watching your 5 yr old look at it with joy in his eyes, now this was what you said…but I want to know is how does your 5yr old see GOD? Jesus Christ? the True reason for this season! Does he even know GOD? Do you take and show him the things of GOD?

      • shadeydave says:

        For that matter, what does your child know about Mithra, the original reason for the season? And what of the other Gods? What does your child know about Baal, the original god of Abraham? How about Krishna, Vishnu, Bramah… etc…

        Christmas trees, or holiday bushes, or whatever, have a place in every household, regardless of religion or creed. It’s just a thing. A tradition, that can be as old as a few thousand years, or as young as a single generation. It’s an excuse to make your dwelling a little more festive as we celebrate each other. The idea of God (or gods) doesn’t need to come into it. Instead of praying and subjugating yourself to a deity that probably doesn’t exist, exercise a little good will and generosity this holiday season.

        I would argue, Santa is the reason for my season. After all, what did Jesus do? He was just born… Secular Santa (the one without ‘Black Peter’ or ‘Krampus’) shows the height of generosity in every mall and is in the heads of every child and parent, every year. What could be better than that? I don’t recall Santa ever telling me I was going to hell, or telling me to pray. He accepted me just as I was. I didn’t even have to believe. 😉

        • Diamond says:

          oh my!! Shadeydave well your name says it all shadey 🙂 now back to the matter at hand Jesus did do something for You as well and that was to die for all mankind not mine or yours now did santa clause die for you? does santa clause give you eternal life? does santa clause this entity that you have never ever seen or felt like that of our Heavenly Father has done for us. God sent Jesus (John 3:16) as our savior for man needed a savior also baal was not a God of Abraham the Canaanite people of that time choose to worship Baal instead of the God Abraham was telling them about but choose to not listen to the Truth. read and pray as for understanding for it is clear what God says about these things. God bless You & bring you insite and knowledge of this subject in the sweet name of Jesus!

  6. Beverly says:

    As much as I enjoy hearing this same junk repeated in various ways each year at this time, I’d just like to point out a few facts.

    These verses are taken out of context. The point was not that you shouldn’t put up a Christmas tree. At that particular point in history, there was NO Christmas. Christ had not been born yet. These verses refer to the fact that people were worshipping their own wealth. The tree was brought into the house and adorned with silver and gold so the people could brag and show off. If you read on, verse 5 says (NIV): “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm, nor can they do any good.”

    So, no, it not a sin to put up a Christmas tree, unless you make that your focus of the Christmas season. It’s not having a tree that’s a sin, but rather the sentiment attached to it by each individual. As atheists, it’s actually a sin (even though atheists don’t believe in sin)to be putting up a Christmas tree, making it the idol in the Christmas celebration.

    Christmas, as we know it, didn’t even begin with the birth of Christ. At that time, there was no celebration of His birth except by the angels of Heaven and a very small number of people who had been told of the virgin birth and the prophesy that this baby would be the Messiah.

    Please don’t assign sin. Enjoy your Christmas tree. And allow others to do the same.

    • David Stiger says:

      Out of context? I think you’re taking the ‘christmas’ tree out of context because the practice is pre-christian.

      You can’t just put up a tree and call it a scientology tree now and assume that you’ve started a whole new tradition. The general population at the time of the writing of the bible was already taking a tree down to decorate it in winter and to exchange gifts as a symbol of oneness and solidarity not just for a display of wealth.

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