Merry Christmas! Think of me when you’re eating cake!

I think I’ll have a nice quiet day by myself. For something completely different!

If anyone’s interested in a semi-relevant, vaguely Christmas-like read, the following article appeared in the Washington Post this morning.

As well as being of its own interest, I find this topic interesting since it mirrors so many of the kinds of arguments we find in skeptical scholars of Buddhism. But what makes the article stand out is the rebuttal, by no less an authority than the author’s teacher.



The latter is really interesting, Bhante. Thanks for that.

Merry Christmas!

Along mythical and historical Christmas lines… don’t forget Belsnickel!

nor Krampus!


Right! They really knew how to bring up children, before all this politically correct nonsense!


Jesus, that does not look kosher.



Epic burrrrrrn!!

Merry, merry Christmas Bhante! :christmas_tree: And spare a thought for us too while we endure arguments over who packed the dishwasher wrong and 4 hours of non-stop Christmas carols! :laughing:

Peace and joy to all! :buddha: :tada:


A quiet day is a gift we should all give ourselves from time to time, methinks. My yours be enlightening, Bhante!

It is, perhaps, worth noting that (at least early on) there were more than a single take on the Jesus phenomenon.

One wonders what the result would have been if “authority” had become vested in an ‘interior’ source rather than a politically powerful hierarchy.

I am not and never have been a Christian. Still . . . as an “Xmas” gift for the curious, here’s something I put together over a decade ago: Gospel of Thomas Commentary.

Wishing all here unreasonable Peace and Joy…

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Happy Holiday, @Sujato and @Vimala and @Brahmali, and all here on Sutta Central! Thanks for helping make 2016 a learned, interesting, and enjoyable year, and I wish all a peaceful and enjoyable Xmas day.

If I eat any cake, it’ll be a Honey-Cake this year. :slight_smile:


And just for Cara… (might surprise you).

What I’ll be listening to tomorrow morn…

Be well, dear ones…


Merry Christmas everyone!

Here’s a brilliant poem about Xmas by John W. Leys

Winter Solstice Wild Hunt

Langbarðr Óðinn jólfaðr,
Long-bearded Odin Yule-father,
Leading the winter solstice Wild Hunt,
One-eyed Wodan’s Wild Gift Giving Ride,
Riding Sleipnir alongside stallions, goat-carts,
And sleighs pulled by reindeer,
With Grecian Niklaus wonder-worker,
Children’s saint, Christmas-father,
Shoulder to shoulder with Dutch-brother
Sinterklaas, his twin Kris Kringle Christkind,
And Amerikanisch Santa Claus.

Celebrating a savior’s birth,
The Horned God’s rebirth,
Or just happy the Sun wasn’t swallowed by a wolf,
Ghostly riders in the sky
Travel across the inside of Ymir’s skull.

Near the end of the parade,
Beyond the gift-givers and ghosts,
Behind the gray rider with the elvish staff,
Comes the justice-bringers,
Led by Krampus Hel-son,
Goat-horned grandson of Loki,
Faithful Æsir-servant, law-protector,

Bells on his cloak ring a warning
As he beats misbehaving children
With birch branches; bundling
The truly wicked into wicker baskets,
Or into friend Zwarte Piet’s sack,
To be taken to his mother’s realm,
Be drowned or be dinner for the hoard.

Frau Perchta, snow white maiden or
Hideous shriveled crone,
Krampus’ alpine queen,
Handing out shiny silver coins
To all who’ve been good;
Disemboweling and stuffing guts with straw
To all who have not.

He knows when you’re sleeping,
He sees all you do when you’re awake,
He’ll know if you’ve been bad or not,
So be good, if just for your own sake.


And please think of all the people who feel lonely today, just because they have nobody to fight over the dishwasher with, and send them some Metta. :revolving_hearts:


A very controversial issue at the moment in Holland with lengthy debates as to whether or not it is racist. (nobody cares if it is friendly to children)

Oh wow, a Dutch friend of mine was telling me about this earlier in the year - the pictures make her account all the more… intriguing. Hoorah for cross-cultural learning. I think. :confused:


Thanks for this. I very much enjoyed the treatment of this topic by Bart Ehrman in his recent book Did Jesus Exist?

Ehrman is an eminent scholar of early Christianity, as well as a very good writer and popularizer of such scholarship. (Perhaps he has already been mentioned on these pages. If so, apologies for the redundancy).

As you say, many of the same arguments can be ported over to Buddhism to treat ‘Buddhist mythicism’.


Here’s part of one of Dickson’s concluding paragraphs, which, I think, is so relevant to Buddhism.

Taken together, though, Raphael Lataster’s arguments amount to an unfortunate disregard toward mainstream scholarship and highlight a worrying trend in new atheist literature generally: the tendency to pontificate on topics well outside one’s area of expertise. And when challenged by those who belong to the relevant field, these evangelists of unbelief, just like the anti-vaccinationists, cry foul.

At most, it’s offensive…at best…it’s getting annoying.

@Vann was quoting @sujato elsewhere and I think it’s worth repeating here:

Dickson also states:

“Mythicists” are the historical equivalent of the anti-vaccination crowd in medical science. They are controversial enough to get media attention. They have just enough doctors, or doctors in training, among them to establish a kind of “plausible deniability.” But anyone who dips into the thousands of secular monographs and journal articles on the historical Jesus will quickly discover that mythicists are regarded by 99.9% of the scholarly community as complete “outliers,” the fringe of the fringe. And when mainstream scholars attempt to call their bluff, the mythicists, just like the anti-vaccinationists, cry “Conspiracy!” This is precisely what Raphael does when with a wave of his hand he dismisses the apparently “atrocious methods” of historians of Jesus. It is as if he thinks he wins the game by declaring all its rules stupid and inventing his own path. No, that is how you get yourself disqualified.

And he also writes:

Secondly, no student - let alone an aspiring scholar - could get away with suggesting that Christians “ought not to get involved” in the study of the historical Jesus. This is intellectual bigotry and has no place in academia, or journalism. I would likewise fail any Christian [his emphasis] student who suggested that atheists should not research Jesus because they have an agenda. Nobody in the vast field of historical Jesus scholarship operates with such an us-and-them [his emphasis] mentality. This is why the methods of history are so important. They are how we assess each other’s work. We don’t fret about other scholars’ private beliefs and doubts. We judge their handling of the acknowledged evidence according to the rules of historical inquiry. Anything else would be zealotry. [my emphasis]

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