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John Passant

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December 2009



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Jesus Christ – rebel without a Claus

There is no historical evidence Jesus existed.

Certainly he wasn’t born on Christmas Day.

By the early 300 ADs the Church  – now totally hierarchical to control its adherents and expand its influence – was becoming the state power.

It adopted 25 December to continue the pagan celebration of the Invincible Sun and help further extend its control over the oppressed and convince the elite it was fit to rule for them, that it was of them.

The virgin birth, reflecting the strong current of sexual repression within the Church,  (other than radical sections of the gnostics who may have practised free love) existed in other cultures and may be a continuation of the cult of Osiris. Certainly Mary and another Egyptian goddess, Isis, share great similarities.

The Gospels were written in the period 70 to 90 AD by people who had no connection with Jesus.

At the time various Jewish sects opposed the rule of the Roman Empire and were fighting amongst themselves to win support from various sections of society (including the local ruling elite) for a base. Christian dogma was part of that competition.

Of course, the veracity or otherwise of the existence of Jesus is not to deny the power of Christianity from 300 AD to the present in the allocation of resources and development of class societies.

The Church was not just an adjunct to power. For over a millennium it was the power in much of Europe. 


Such a position could only arise in relatively backward class societies, like the Roman Empire (built on its own ongoing expansion and slavery) or feudalism, where an understanding of the material world was not necessary for the low level of production and thus did not mandate challenging the mysticism of religion.

The development of capitalism challenged the political dictatorship of the Church.  The need of the system to understand the world around it for its very survival and expansion undermined the rule of the bishops and their mysticism. 

The historic task of the bourgeoisie became to overthrow the old feudal order and with it the power of Christianity over productive relations.

The defeat of the Church as state power did not destroy Christianity. 

In part this was and is because it became a useful tool in the ideological battle for control of the working class, in particular the development of the family under capitalism as a source of a cheap labour and the regeneration of labour for the continuation of the profit system.

The industrial revolution and the expansion of capitalism worldwide commodified all human relations, including Christmas.

Thus the traditions of the past became objects of profitability. The gift giving associated in some societies with Christmas or its lead up and historical figures, such as the Dutch Sinterklaas, merged into a Santa Claus figure who spread across the globe.

The gift to help the receiver became the gift to profit the profiteer.

Apart from the profit making purpose, this lie of Santa Claus prepares children for the lies of capitalism – love in a heartless world, poverty amid plenty, war for peace, freedom in economic slavery.

In this the lie is just one of many lies, all performing the same function – to help in some way justify and reinforce the exploitative relationship between capital and labour.

And so the aspiration of the radical sects in the early years for peace on earth and goodwill to all (itself a reaction to the brutality of the Roman Empire) becomes trapped and perverted again, this time through the prism of capitalist relations of production, through wage slavery and the drive for profit and constant reinvestment.

Thus the particular form of the lie of Jesus Christ under capitalism sees him move from being a rebel without a Claus to a figure who supports the present system, a person without revolutionary meaning, an anodyne and harmless fat jolly man dispensing gifts to children. Santa Claus Christ is the perfect epithet for capitalism and the adaptive abilities of the Christian religion.



Pingback from En Passant » Jesus Christ – rebel without a Claus OQ China
Time December 25, 2009 at 9:50 pm

[…] from:  En Passant » Jesus Christ – rebel without a Claus By admin | category: jesus | tags: claus, jesus, liturgical, not-worth, present, […]

Comment from Ben Courtice
Time December 26, 2009 at 12:53 am

Have you read Archibald Robertson’s “origins of Christianity”? On the early church not later things like poXmas but it’s pretty interesting (to me who hasn’t studied the topic in depth, anyway). Available online at

Comment from Ben Courtice
Time December 26, 2009 at 12:53 am

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Time December 26, 2009 at 1:44 am

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Abraham Varghese, John Passant. John Passant said: Jesus Christ – rebel without a claus. […]

Trackback from uberVU – social comments
Time December 26, 2009 at 6:36 am

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Reddit by Passy: The industrial revolution and the expansion of capitalism worldwide commodified all human relations, including Christmas.

Thus the traditions of the past became objects of profitability.

Comment from moshe
Time December 30, 2009 at 3:44 am

See there is something we can agree on.

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