Birthdays - For You Vientotz

by outsmartthesystem 22 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • outsmartthesystem


    I have always questioned the Witness belief that birthdays are not to be celebrated. From what I’ve read…..celebrating your own birthday is frowned upon because it is self-indulgent and neither Jesus nor any of Jehovah’s servants in the bible are reported as having celebrated their birthdays. Another reason is that various customs that tend to accompany birthday celebrations have pagan origins. But the biggest reason is that in the two birthday celebrations that are mentioned in the bible…..both of the men that were celebrating were "worldly" and in both cases, a murder took place. And everything that was put in the bible….was put there for a reason (2 Timothy 3:16) therefore we were meant to deduce that birthdays are bad.

    Yet such reasoning holds a bit of a "guilt by association tone" does it not? I think rather than read such texts (the ones referring to the 2 birthday murders) and assume that the situation is the culprit, shouldn’t we read them and ask ourselves. "what is the actual source of the evil in these accounts?" Is it really the birthday or the people involved (Pharaoh & Herod…or perhaps more so…Herodias) themselves? In its zeal to condemn an observance that the bible itself does not say to condemn…..the society loses sight of the real sin in these two accounts. Murder. The sin of murder would have been bad regardless of the day it occurred. In the past I’ve heard certain witnesses argue, "but in the case of John…..the only reason the murder took place was because there was a celebration going on. Herodias’ daughter would not have danced had there not been a celebration and Herod would not have promised her whatever she wished in appreciation for her dancing. Therefore she would never have asked for John’s head had there not been a birthday party." I used to agree with this reasoning…..until I actually let myself review its soundness with a critical heart.

    Now I can see how faulty it is. It is truly unwarranted guilt by association. Again….the birthday celebration is not the culprit. It is obvious that Herodias (who influenced her daughter to ask for John’s head) wanted John executed. And ANY celebration would have done the trick. Had this celebration been a celebration of say……appreciation for the Roman rulers at that time…..Herodias’s daughter still would have danced…..Herod still would have promised her anything she wanted, and Herodias still would have schemed to ask for John’s head. Is it really reasonable to believe that had this been ANY other type of celebration…..Herodias would have softened her heart and NOT wanted John dead? No. The REASON for the celebration had nothing at all to do with how wicked Herodias’ heart was and what her intentions were. She didn’t do what she did because it was a BIRTHDAY celebration. She did what she did because the opportunity was there….and that same opportunity would have been used regardless of the reason for the celebration. The society wrongly emphasizes the birthday in this account….when the real problem was the people involved and the sin of murder. Birthdays were a known practice back then. If the celebration of one were truly a sin, the bible would say so.

    In addition, Romans 14:5 & 6 advises us not to judge one another based which day(s) one person might hold as more important than the next. Is it a biblical law to avoid birthday celebrations? No. Then the stance taken that 2 Timothy 3:16 applies in regard to the two birthday murders seems to me to be speculative at best. Especially when you consider that at Job 1:4 the NW translation reads that Job’s sons celebrated, each one "on his day". (the word "day" was translated from the Hebrew word "yowm") Some translations render it "on his birthday". Which translation is ultimately correct? I don’t know for sure. But even if the NWT is, the context indicates that this is a special day for each of Job’s sons….quite possibly their birthdays. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word "yowm" was also used in Job 3:1-4 when he curses the "day of his birth". That alone indicates that the previous example (Job 1:4) may have been referring to the birthdays of Job’s sons.

    Furthermore, if we are to assume that all birthdays are to be condemned, then (I know this may sound crazy) but what about dogs? Dogs are mentioned over 40 times in the bible (Deut 23:18, 2 Kings 8:13, Psalm 22:16, Proverbs 26:11, Phil 3:2, Rev 22:15 to name a few). To the best of my knowledge, not once are they viewed favorably….yet we don’t avoid dogs like the plague. In the bible, dogs are vile creatures. They lick ulcers. They return to their vomit. So then….should we avoid dogs? The bible is clear in what it says about them. To the best of my knowledge….none of Jehovah’s servants in the past had a dog as a pet. Such guilt by association (the association being how dogs are depicted as loathsome creatures in the bible) would be ridiculous and I think anyone would agree to that. Yet to avoid birthdays because of those two bible citations would be akin to avoiding dogs due to the bible’s seeming disdain for them.

    Another argument against the celebration of birthdays is that they are "self-indulgent"…..promoting "creature worship" of the guest of honor. That argument should hold absolutely no water. Weddings and anniversary celebrations are acceptable, yet they are just as self-indulgent…..except…two people are involved as opposed to one. Graduation and retirement parties are self-indulgent. So is it ok to be self indulgent every once in a while (i.e. at a graduation party or a retirement party)……just not every year? What about baby showers? Why are baby showers acceptable? The purpose of the shower is to celebrate. And what are we celebrating? The birth of a new baby. Whether or not the baby has already been born is irrelevant as the purpose of the event remains the same. So is a baby shower not a celebration of the birth of a child? So if baby showers are ok, then can it be said that birthdays aren’t necessarily to be condemned, but rather…..just the anniversary of one’s birthday? If a wedding and each subsequent anniversary is to be celebrated because "marriage is God’s arrangement" then what are births? Births are a gift from God THROUGH the marriage arrangement. So are they really to be condemned? God commanded humans to become fruitful and to fill the earth….thus creating billions of birthdays…..that are somehow to be looked upon with disfavor? Seriously, does that make any sense?

    As mentioned before….another argument against birthdays is that the remnants of ancient pagan festivities are associated with birthday celebration. Can the blowing out of birthday candles be traced back to pagan Greek origins? Sure. Can the giving of a gift on one’s birthday be traced back to pagan origins? Yes. But so can the tradition of giving gifts at weddings. So can the tradition of wearing a wedding ring. So can the tradition of partaking of wedding cake and going on a honeymoon. But those pagan traditions are ignored because the significance of their original meanings have long been lost.

    Regarding the usage of piñatas during a celebration, the September 22, 1993 Awake says "we found that for many people in Mexico, the piñata has lost its religious significance and is considered by most to be just harmless fun……A main concern is, not what the practice meant hundreds of years ago, but how it is viewed today in your area". If this reasoning applies to piñatas, then why does it not apply to other festivities and practices that no longer have any religious or pagan ties? It would be a double standard to apply this kind or reasoning to one particular festivity that has ancient pagan ties but not another yet, the Society has done just that.

    Finally, if birthdays are to be avoided because of pagan ties…..then what about the example of Joseph? On another note, we have the example of Joseph at Genesis 49:29-50:3. This is the account where Jacob dies. Joseph orders to have him embalmed so that the body can be taken back to Jacob’s requested burial place. The point is, the Egyptians at that time were the only ones that performed embalming. And the reason for doing so was to preserve the body properly for their superstitious afterlife. Joseph was a faithful servant of Jehovah. Was he engrossed in Egyptian Pagan worship and traditions? Undoubtedly not. But although the practice of embalming was steeped in pagan beliefs and came from pagan origins, Joseph still saw the practicality of the actual embalming process. He did not let its previous and even current connections to paganism stop him from embalming his father. What does this have to do with modern day celebrations? I believe this is proof that it shouldn’t matter what a celebration or day meant in ancient days. It is what the day means now that matters. What bothers me is that the Society seems to pick and choose what is and it not acceptable. Throwing rice at a wedding? Not acceptable due to pagan ties. Feeding one another the wedding cake (as a pagan sign of fertility)? Somehow that is ok. For certain traditions and celebrations…it is ok to forget where they originated and what their history is. But for others it is not. How is such a view point not regarded as hypocritical?

  • garyneal

    Excellent reasoning, but unfortunately a diehard witness will not allow this reasoning to infiltrate his thinking.

    Bro Hero, who I have been having my weekly Bible study with, is a prime example. If they do manage to process thinking reasoning without inundating you with there own monterage design to deflect their own minds and the conversation, they ultimately come down to "Where else can we go?"

  • ScenicViewer

    @ Outsmartthesystem

    That is an excellent piece on birthdays, hitting all the key points in one essay. It may be true that close minded people, those who are already in the grip of a religion that relies on slanted thinking, will not listen to the sense of it, but open minded people will, and new people to the WTS, like Vientotz will take it in, and perhaps be positively influenced by it.

  • vientotz

    @outsmartthesystem -thank you so much! XD I will surely discussed this to them this coming saturday. At least I already know the reason why their not celebrating birthday.

    BUt, let say 'OK' their not celebrating birtday but why their not also allowed to celebrate other's birthday or i mean, eat birthday cakes? XDD Why do they avoid to join celebrating other's birthday example one of their family? I think they should respect other's belief too, since their very kind and understanding.

    I'm sharing all my doubts here because I don't want to offend them, coz' I respect their belief..

    Even if I heard all negative things from them, I still want to listen from them and understand!

    My main goal in joining JW's bible study is to be KIND XD especially to my mom! Knowing the Bible is the thing I haven't tried.

    JW's is an answered prayer for me =)

  • mrsjones5

    Vein, how old are you?

  • vientotz

    Running 23 XDD kinda childish -- I'm from Philippines!

  • mrsjones5

    Yeah I kinda figured you were young from the whiff of immaturity I just got. That's ok, just keep asking questions.

  • BroMac

    outsmartthesystem :

    very nicely done.

    it is not seen as 'going against jehovah' to accept traditions and customs in a wedding ceremony/celebration that have pagan origins but it is 'going against jehovah' to then accept other traditions and customs that also have origins in paganism that no longer are viewed or used 'locally' as pagan.

    if the FDS say i can bash a pinata in mexico then i can surely celebrate the day i was born - a miracle - without feeling i am 'displeasing god'.


  • outsmartthesystem

    "BUt, let say 'OK' their not celebrating birtday but why their not also allowed to celebrate other's birthday or i mean, eat birthday cakes? XDD Why do they avoid to join celebrating other's birthday example one of their family? I think they should respect other's belief too, since their very kind and understanding."

    Because they view this as comprimising your Christian beliefs. They believe that celebrating birthdays is allowing pagan rituals to take root in your life (yet they inexplicably say that pinatas were ok in Mexico because the paganism attached to them is no longer significant). Whether it is your birthday you are celebrating or that of another person.....the "pagan rituals" they believe are still there. Same with every other point I brought up. If you are not the guest of honor (i.e. YOUR birthday) but you are at the party of another person....then THAT person is the guest of honor. And too much personal importance (i.e. creature worship) is being placed on THAT person.

    If there is anythign you should have learned by now it is that JWs used twisted reasoning. Their reasoning is hypocritical and contradictory. They use man made ideas and attach their twisted reasoning to them. They use what the bible DOESN'T SAY as a method for teaching.

  • outsmartthesystem

    And.......I am officially worried about you.

    "Even if I heard all negative things from them, I still want to listen from them and understand!

    My main goal in joining JW's bible study is to be KIND XD especially to my mom! Knowing the Bible is the thing I haven't tried."

    Unfortnately JWs prey on people like you (notice I said PREY and not PRAY). The young and inexperienced that DON'T have a lot of access to the HISTORY of JWs are unfortunately targets. It sounds like you are starting a bible study session with them on Saturday. Make no mistake. When I was a Witness I used to CONDUCT these studies. They will attempt to begin an indoctrination session with you. Are you familiar with the definition of indoctrination? It is "to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view or principle". Out of kindness, they will allow you to ask a few random questions. But trust me.....they have a goal. Their goal is to get you to sit down and begin studying the "What does God Require of Us" brochure or the "What does the Bible Really Teach" book with them. They will want to take you from cover to cover of that book. The reason? It is an indoctrination session. Once they condition your mind to accept certain basic teachings.....they will move the indoctrination session up a notch. You will be exposed to more. And so on and so on. After a year of this session....your brain is now conditioned to accept EVERYTHING they teach including their inexplicable views of why certain blood products are acceptable and why certain ones are not. THEY WILL DIRECT THE STUDY. Because if they let YOU direct/ask too many questions......they will get into topics that they can't explain.

    Of all the things to watch out some point in time as you continue your will begin to accept that God chose the leaders of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society back in 1918/1919 as his "faithful and discreet slave". The materials you study will not make mention of WHY God chose will just say that Jesus inspected the world's religions and found the Watchtower society faithfully doing what he asked them to do. THEY NEVER BACK THIS UP. Make them. This is the problem with all new converts. They come to accept this teaching without having it PROVEN to them. If it progresses to this point....tell us. We will give you thought provoking questions to ask that they cannot answer.

    The point of all of this is.......JWs cover over their true history. If you compare what they teach about themselves to what their TRUE history is (all you have to do is find and read their OLD OLD OLD publications) is plain that they are NOT directed by God.

    Finally, it is up to you....but if I were you...I would NOT tell them that you come to this or any other website to learn about them. They will tell you that apostates and former members lurk on teh internet spreading lies about them. That is simply not true. Those of us that come to this website do so because we found out the real truth about "the truth". Go to You will find a host of good information. None of it is lies designed to misdirect you. All of it is sound reasoning.....that exposes the hypocritical teachings of the JWs.

    JWs like to tell you that former members are all mentally diseased.....evil....liars. It is simply not true. Sure....some may be. But the majority are not. What we offer to you is proof FROM THE JW'S OWN WRITTEN MATERIAL that they are not correct. They have made so many errors, cover-ups, contradictions and quoting people out of context to fit their own reasoning over the years that if you just look for'll find it. Somehow they reason that us exposing THEIR acts of dishonesty makes US the bad guys.

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