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December 16, 2013

It’s that time of year again when many Christians encounter claims that pagan deities predating Jesus Christ were born on December 25. In popular films, Internet videos, and other media you can find long lists of gods who were supposedly born on the same day.

This idea is not limited to unbelievers. I have heard many Christians claim that the date of Christmas was intended to provide an alternative to pagan celebrations. In some ways it has become a pious legend. On the other hand,...

December 16, 2013

Years ago, I read an interview with Marcus Grodi of the Coming Home Network. I searched through Google in vain for that interview. I will have to give you the highlights to the best of my recollection. If something strikes you as wrong, blame me and not Mr. Grodi.

In the interview, Mr. Grodi spoke of the difficulty of converts in acclimating...

December 12, 2013

The short answer: Of course they should.

Now, let me define what I mean by “discriminate.” In one sense, to discriminate means to note a difference between two things. When a Catholic school doesn’t hire an incompetent applicant, they discriminate between that applicant and a more qualified one (just as your taste buds discriminate between chocolate and sulfur). However, when most people think of discrimination, they think of unfair discrimination, or using an irrelevant...

December 10, 2013

Adherents of the New Age movement often claim that early Christians believed in reincarnation.

Shirley MacLaine, for example, recalls being taught as a New Ager:

“The theory of reincarnation is recorded in the Bible. But the proper interpretations were struck from it during an ecumenical council meeting of the Catholic Church in Constantinople sometime around A.D. 553, called the First Council of Nicaea” (Out on a Limb, 234–35).

There...

December 6, 2013

You’re probably wondering if the title of this post contains a typo. It doesn’t. I’ll explain why in a moment. As many of you know, today is the feast of St. Nicholas, the fourth-century Greek Bishop of Myra in Lycia (part of modern-day Turkey) who in the United States and other parts of the world has become identified with Santa Claus.

In the last few days, in anticipation of his feast as well as of Christmas, a number of bloggers have commented on the many fantastical legends...