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Monday, December 14, 2009

Should WEDDING RINGS and the use of days and months of the GREGORIAN CALENDAR be avoided by true Christians?

There simply is no honest comparison between using necessary information such as the universal use of pagan names for days, months, cities, personal names, etc. with the personal CHOICE to celebrate completely nonessential pagan celebrations.

The early Christians didn't see the need to use their own alternate names for (nor to avoid going to) cities and places which had pagan-related names, nor using the paganistic personal names of individuals. (See Luke and Paul's examples below.) There is a place for reasonable avoidance of actual customs and celebrations devoted to pagan gods and the everyday use of common words.

It is the use of pagan things associated with pagan worship that is at the heart of the issue. It would be wrong to incorporate anything used for pagan worship, into our worship or related activities. Holidays, for example, are "Holy Days" and are a part of "worship", by their very name. The use of wedding rings and the mere reference to a day or month on a calendar are not.

Wedding Rings

Some have made the objection that wedding rings have a pagan origin. Yet, not only is there no historical evidence that provides any definite conclusion on whether pagans originally used wedding rings as part of false religious practices or whether they even would still retain such religious significance, but there is no precise evidence that pagans first used wedding rings at all.

Yes, some rings are associated with some customs, but not all customs are disapproved by God.

The Bible shows that some of God's servants in the past wore rings, even ones that had special meaning attached to them. Wearing a signet ring could indicate that one had received authority to act in behalf of the ruler who owned it. (Gen. 41:42; Num. 31:50; Esther 8:2, 8; Job 42:11, 12; Luke 15:22) So while the Bible does not mention wedding rings, these true worshipers clearly did not have a problem using rings for more than mere adornment.

Gregorian Calendar:

The mere reference to a day or month on a calendar cannot possibly be equated to the making of unusual efforts to participate in customs with known pagan origins (like celebrating holidays).

For biblical examples, when Luke wrote in Acts mentioning the Areopagus ('Ares Hill' - Ares is the Greek god of war; 'Mars' is the Latin god of war), he didn't feel the need to change its already established name to something no one would recognize. Furthermore, Paul actually went to this place devoted to a pagan god and preached.

And Paul accepted the Areopagite, Dionysius (Greek name for 'god of wine') and had him join him - Acts 17:19-34. Luke and Paul certainly did not become participants in something associated with pagan origins.

The following article is taken from the 5/15/67 Watchtower, Questions from Readers:

"Why did the Jews use the name of the pagan god Tammuz as the name for one of their months?

"Tammuz was the name of a Babylonian deity. (Ezek. 8:14) And though the Bible does not apply the name in this way, postexilic works, such as the Jewish Talmud, use the name for the fourth Jewish lunar month of the sacred calendar, the tenth of the secular calendar. (Ezek. 1:1) So it would correspond to the latter part of June and the first part of July.

"The use of the pagan name Tammuz as applying to the fourth month of the sacred calendar may have been only a matter of convenience among the Jews. We should remember that they were then a subjugated people, obliged to deal with and report to the foreign powers dominating them. So it is understandable that they might utilize the names of the months employed by these foreign powers. Similarly, the Gregorian calendar used today has months named after the gods Janus, Mars and Juno, as well as for Julius and Augustus Caesar. Yet it continues to be used by Christians who are subject to the "superior authorities." -Rom. 13:1."