A birthday party=bad


I realize the clips below are a bit long, and so I recommend watching the first 4-5 minutes of the first video. A former Jehovah's Witness is being phoned by an elder and accused of having a birthday party. The man posting the video does not want to be 'disfellowshipped'. The first 4-5 minutes of the video features:

1. Some insight into the Jehovah's Witnesses organization and an example of what it views as an important spiritual issue.

2. Funny sounds.

3. The man being confronted makes a good point, as he alludes to Matthew 18 where one is to approach and reprove an offending person in private, and if the offending person does not listen, one is to take two or more persons to talk to the offending person. The elder did not seem interested in following this Biblical example, although he acknowledged the concept as Biblical.


Rejection of Holidays

One of the more well-known practices of the Jehovah's Witnesses is their non-celebration of holidays. All holidays, including birthdays, are considered "pagan holidays" and may not be observed by Witnesses. The official website of the Jehovah's Witnesses explains:

Jesus never commanded Christians to celebrate his birth. Rather, he told his disciples to memorialize, or remember, his death. (Luke 22:19, 20) Christmas and its customs come from ancient false religions. The same is true of Easter customs, such as the use of eggs and rabbits. The early Christians did not celebrate Christmas or Easter, nor do true Christians today.

The only two birthday celebrations spoken of in the Bible were held by persons who did not worship Jehovah. (Genesis 40:20-22; Mark 6:21, 22, 24-27) The early Christians did not celebrate birthdays. The custom of celebrating birthdays comes from ancient false religions. True Christians give gifts and have good times together at other times during the year. {1}


Happy Birthday! The Origin of the Birthday Party

Birthdays are considered happy occasions when we celebrate a person’s special day with gifts, sweets, parties and good cheer. However, looking back into history, birthdays were not always seen as a festive day.

In Europe many thousands of years ago, a person’s birth-day was seen as a fearful experience. Common belief was that bad spirits could harm the person on the anniversary of his or her birth. A way to keep the evil spirits at bay was to surround oneself with family and friends, who often brought small gifts or food to share.

At these protective gatherings, people would use crude noisemakers to scare off the evil spirits lurking about. The custom of lighting candles and torches also began. In these days, most people believed that gods lived in the sky and a fire light that is later extinguished would send a sign to these gods.

Birthday celebrations began to take on a more positive tone during the Middle Ages, but they were still very rare and usually only celebrated by royalty or the very wealthy. During the Reformation, the recognition of one’s birthday began to be more common.

During this period, the English people began making cakes for the birthday person, often hiding coins, rings and thimbles inside.

The concept of children’s birthday celebrations was thought to have first started in Germany and the day was called Kinderfeste.

Over the centuries, birthdays have evolved from simple events with token presents and good wishes to a significant annual event in people’s lives. Most people now celebrate with a party of some type – especially for children. Sometimes birthday parties can be lavish events, these usually taking place for adults on what is considered a “milestone” birthday, reached at age 18, 21, 30, 40, 50 and the decades beyond.

Sure enough according to both my Jehovah's Witnesses and All About Baby® links, a birthday party has pagan roots, although this seems to be primarily from a historical European perspective. But I state, 'So what'; common sense is needed here. If a birthday party is thrown to 'keep the evil spirits at bay' then the motives behind the party are indeed wrong. If a birthday party is thrown by persons to celebrate, in love, a fellow human being, it can be a good thing. It can be a bad thing to throw a party that features heavy use of human vices, or it can be a good thing featuring love and fellowship. The fact that the birthday party or anything has pagan roots does not make it a bad thing in itself. It was the idea of keeping evil spirits at bay, rather than trusting in the Biblical God, that was wrong with the original birthday party concept. There is nothing wrong with the idea of a birthday party in itself. Mark 6: 21 mentions Herod's birthday banquet and so this was a custom in Jesus' culture. I am not an expert on birthdays and will not state that the concept of a birthday party in the ancient Near East equals the concept of a 21st century Western birthday party, but doubtless there would be similarities.

Since this article is already long enough, I am not going to discuss Jehovah's Witnesses doctrines here in detail, but this can be done in comments if needed via your always appreciated respectful comments.:)

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