Pentecost meets all of the low-level, nuts and bolts requirements I've laid out above. Firstly, we know it is 50 days (counted Roman style) from Easter. Jesus is in heaven, so the only people involved are his followers. The day began with 120 followers of Christ, and ended with over 3000, so what happened definitely impacted the people of that day. And any Evangelism coordinator who has tried to get church members to hit the pavement and witness for Christ should appreciate the fact that something very significant had to happen to the 120 individuals who were out there witnessing to the Pentecost crowds.
It certainly is a "sleeper", having no organized celebration other than a nod from the occasional pulpit toward the fact that it happened before the subject is changed to evangelism. Everyone has definite ideas of how to celebrate Christmas and Easter, based on traditions that go back centuries and span multiple cultures. In contrast, when I asked my pastor what our church was going to do to celebrate Pentecost, he gave a few vague suggestions about decorating the sanctuary in red and gave a look toward his wife (the choir director) that said "I have no idea. Do YOU?" The look on her face testified that both of them were of the same mind. One would think that Pentecost would be celebrated in, well, Pentecostal and Charismatic oriented churches with some vigor, but I attended the Vidalia Church of God for many years and, other than that occasional mention from the pulpit that's made on the way to that sermon on evangelism, I never saw any productions celebrating Pentecost that equalled those thrown for Christmas or Easter.
To give credit where credit is due, my raising the question prompted my church's choir director to schedule an appropriate choral piece for Pentecost, and referred to it, during Sunday evening choir practice, as "the birthday of the Church". Initially, it sounded to me like a cop-out, but after some reflection, I have come to appreciate that insight: February 12 was selected as Darwin Day because it is Darwin's birthday, so there is an air of symmetry about selecting another Birthday (that of the Church) as a counterweight. As a bonus, it implies that the church should celebrate Pentecost after the manner that the local culture celebrates birthdays. ("LET'S PAR-TAY!")
So much for the "surface" qualifications. How does the day stack up with regard to the deep qualification of representing a significant, but hidden, doctrine that affects human behavior today?
And it is here, at the start, that we hit a serious roadblock. For Pentecost to be accepted by Christians as a viable candidate, they must buy into the same argument for it that will be made to the Darwinists. That means it has to be supported by the scriptures. In going about proving that, we immediately run into a very real and very inconvenient fact: There is no scriptural support for the assertion that Pentecost is the date of the birthday of the Church.
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