Are Birthday’s Evil, like the Jehovah Witnesses say that they are?

Jehovah’s Witnesses in good standing do not celebrate birthdays. They will not even let their children eat birthday cake when someone brings it to their child’s school.  They believe that Birthdays are evil. Mostly because of two passages in the Bible.

The first one is in the Jewish Testament

Genesis 40:20-22 NIV

20 Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand— 22 but he impaled the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.
While this is most certainly horrific to think of  what happened to the baker, ask the Jehovah’s Witness is it the birthday or the Pharaoh that is to blame here?  If they say it is his birthday that is to blame ask them if the Pharaoh was a good man for the rest of the year.
Then remind them that the cup bearer was forgiven and restored to his position on the Pharaoh’s Birthday, so the Pharaoh also did a good deed on his birthday.  If an evil event makes the entire day evil, then would not a good event make the day good?

The other passage that they use is in the New Testament

Matthew 14:3-11 (NIV)

 3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.  6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.

Once again something bad happens on a birthday, but it did not begin then. Herod wanted to murder John ever since he was arrested.
He didn’t do it right away, not because he a man who was sleeping with his brother’s wife suddenly got a conscience.  He was afraid of the people. He knew the Jews hated him, but loved John, and he was worried that John’s death would cause a riot, which would get him into trouble with Rome.  Birthday or not he would have eventually have killed him. This isn’t a prohibition of Birthdays it is the description of an historical event.  If it is a prohibition against anything it is against making open ended promises like he did with his niece.

The birth of someone you love should be a special event, and birthdays are a way to make a person feel special in a way that would be impossible if you had to do it all year around.  EXP. Most people can’t afford to buy their child an expensive gift every day of the year, nor should they, but they can afford to buy them a bike for their birthday.

Birthdays are not an essential part of our faith, so please don’t get into a big fight over this with them. Try not to fight at all, but if things get more heated then they should, it should be over bigger issues then birthdays.

       Suggested Reading

Kingdom of the Cults, The

Walter Martin , Ravi Zacharias (Editor)