To my understanding, Jehovah's Witnesses try to exclude pagan influences from their practice. Whether or not they do, what is their reason for doing this?
14Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? 15Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Be´li·al? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? 16And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I shall reside among them and walk among [them], and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.” 17“‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take YOU in.’”
Q. "Why do Jehovah's Witnesses exclude pagan influences from their doctrine?"
A. Because the doctrine we who are members of the unified worldwide Christian congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses strive to the very best of our imperfect ability to obey is the doctrine found in God's word the Holy Bible... and I quote:
"Therefore do not become partakers with them; 8 for YOU were once darkness, but YOU are now light in connection with [the] Lord. Go on walking as children of light, 9 for the fruitage of the light consists of every sort of goodness and righteousness and truth. 10 Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord; 11 and quit sharing with [them] in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness, but, rather, even be reproving [them]" ~ Ephesians 4:7-11
"Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? 15 Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Be′li·al? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? For we are a temple of a living God; just as God said: “I shall reside among them and walk among [them], and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah, ‘and quit touching the unclean thing’”; “‘and I will take YOU in.’” 18 “‘And I shall be a father to YOU, and YOU will be sons and daughters to me,’ says Jehovah the Almighty.”" ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
"I solemnly charge you *before God and Christ Jesus*, who is destined to judge the living and the dead, and by his manifestation and his kingdom, 2 preach the word, be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season, reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all long-suffering and [art of] teaching. 3 For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories." ~ 2 Timothy 4:1-4
"Now this is the basis for judgment, that the light has come into the world BUT MEN HAVE LOVED THE DARKNESS RATHER THAN THE LIGHT, FOR THEIR WORKS WERE WICKED. 20 For he that PRACTICES vile things hates the light and does not come to the light, IN ORDER THAT HIS WORKS MAY NOT BE REPROVED. 21 But he that does what is true comes to the light, in order that his works MAY BE MADE MANIFEST AS HAVING BEEN WORKED IN HARMONY WITH GOD.”" ~ John 3:19-21
~ NOTE: I am a dedicated and baptized member of the worldwide unified Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.
As a Jehovah's Witness in doing research on these Holidays I found that they are celebrations founded when Rome in the years 100-300ad tried to unite all the different beliefs practiced at that time they took the names of the pagan holidays and gave them Christian names . They are still Pagan and created back in the days of Nimrod . He built the tower of Babel. The Extended Babel is found in Rev 17-18, called Babylon the Great. In Rev 18:4 God warns us to get free from her and her practices. We therefore have nothing to do with those holidays which were and stil are founded by Satan through Nimrod. this is a condensed version but I hope it helps
When I was learning I asked a question similar to this. I asked why we don't celebrate the holidays or celebrate holidays that seem harmless like Thanksgiving.
My Bible study teacher put it like this. You are walking and see a piece of candy lying in the gutter. The candy is sweet and tastes good, but you just don't know its origins, whats touched it, or why it was thrown there.
Holidays are like that candy. They are appealing and fun, but we don't know their origins. Most of the holidays we do know their origins and they are pagan. The first-century Christians didn't observe these celebrations and we should follow their example.
If there is even a small chance that these would anger god I wouldn't risk it. Every time the Jews strayed from true worship and worshiped other gods and idols god punished them for it. My love for God keeps me from doing things that may displease him.
I looked through the Teach book and found the section that my answer is based on. It's from What does the Bible Really Teach? Free to download. It explains everything we believe.
We do celebrate some things, such as weddings, anniversaries, and a few others. I know why on most and very little on some. If we have questions on why then we ask an elder and they usually have a good answer with a bunch of scriptures.
Jehovah's witnesses reject any incorporation of ancient religious practices/beliefs into MATTERS OF WORSHIP.
For example, globally the name January is used to identify the 1st month of the year, which is named after the Roman God Janus. But because saying "January" has nothing to do with our worship or way of life, We don't refrain from using the word "January".
But trying to "merge" false religious practices with the "pure" worship of Jehovah God has been a no-no from the very beginning as recorded in the scriptures. For example:
REMEMBER THE GOLDEN CALF Exodus 32:1-35
When God organized his people into a nation, while Moses delayed they decided to take matters of worship into their own hands. They formed a golden calf (the Egyptians gods were fashioned after animals, a little ditty they picked up from being slaves in Egypt) to use in worship. It is noteworthy to read in Exodus 32:5 that "Aaron built an altar before it and called out: “There is a festival to Jehovah tomorrow. So they got up early on the next day and began offering up burnt offerings and presenting communion sacrifices".
The Israelites didn't want to leave the God who rescued them, but THEY WERE trying to merge aspects of the worship they saw in Egypt with their worship of the true God. We all know how that turned out. 3,000 lost their lives that day. God set the standard that day.
As we read thru the Hebrew Scriptures we see over and over, throughout the centuries the Israelites kept getting in trouble with dabbling in aspects of the same type of sin. Baal worship, calf worship, etc. No doubt because it was fun, and was common practice among those around them. (Jer 7:18)
HOW DOES THAT APPLY TO US TODAY?
The scriptures say in 1 Cor 10:11 "these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the ends of the systems of things have come".
The command to refrain from idolatry is binding upon Christians today. (1 Cor 10:14)
Christians are commanded not to "merge" any aspect of false worship with how they worship Jehovah God. Respecting God in that way leads to promised blessings. (2 Cor 6:14-18)
The scriptures even say sharing in such practices is like becoming "sharers with demons". (1 Cor 10:20-21)
So in summary, Jehovah's Witnesses take These scriptural injunctions very seriously. What seems like harmless fun to others very likely has its roots in ancient worship. I.E. What does an Easter bunny have to do with Jesus sacrifice?
For further information please access the following links:
JW's pick and choose which pagan practices are O.K. or not. Sorry, not the individual JW's (they get no say in anything, nor are they supposed to investigate anything that isn't JW literature). Why do JW's go on a honeymoon after they marry? This is a definate pagan practice from Babylon no less!: Honey moon. In ancient Babylon, the father of the bride supplied the groom with a months supply of honey-mead as a present. Some Eastern european cultures suggest that the bride be taken and hidden for a month, in case the brides family didn't approve of the marriage..Wedding rings? JW's wear wedding rings. :An ancient Roman custom. It signified a financial arrangement between the betrothed families. All in all, I learnt a lot of Biblical stuff I didn't know from the local JW elder. A lot of Bible 'knowledge' most people, including myself, had was/is wrong. The JW's, I believe, are correct in a lot of their Bible interpretations, wrong in others. When my research leads me to believe what the JW's also believe,(the trinity, the torture stake, satan etc) the local elder says that is Jehovah imparting His knowledge to you. When my research brings me answers that the JW's don't believe in, this elder says this 'independent thinking' is actually satan. When I am commanded to 'Make sure of all things', what it really means is: Get all your facts and answers from JW publications only!. If only the JW publications provided a list of references and scholars for their claims. Anything else is urinating on my back and telling me it's raining.