The War on Christmas

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by sandy, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. superluminal I am MalcomR Valued Senior Member

    Which is why we really, really, reeeeaaaalllllly, can't stand you as a group. And sometime as an individual, like, ummm... you.
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Why don't we get drunk and screw?

    I find that argument disingenuous. After all, as I noted (and you included in the quoted text):

    If they want to work in a Christian bookstore, fine. But selling music boxes or CDs or clothes? Why should mall employees have to hear religious songs all month?​

    So the question remains: if you worked in a Gap or San Francisco Music Box Company or Borders' bookstore, why should you have to put up with Muslim music? Why should anyone else have to put up with Christian beliefs six months out of the year just to have a job?

    Let's just call it what it is: Happy Commerce Day!

    Seriously, there are at least two problems I have with Christmas:

    (1) "It's the time of year when we're supposed to be good to one another." — Frankly, I don't see why this isn't every day. I'm aware people are imperfect, and that includes the Christians, but it's just a bit sad that people need to set aside a specific time of year in order to be ritually decent to one another.

    (2) "Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa Claus" — Fine. Let's get rid of all the commercial customs attached to it, and leave Christmas to the Christians. What? I'm being bigoted? I'm trying to oppress Christians? Oh, for Christ's sake ....​

    How about this: I dare any city council to establish Beltane celebrations. Fertility symbols, a bonfire outside city hall for the people to come and dance around. Drink specials at local bars. Frankly, I think it sounds great. Who doesn't want a big freakin' party to celebrate the beauty of life as it shows it comes to glory in mid-spring?

    Oh. Right. The Christians.

    So the city won't be passing out Blessed Beltane cards. How about, "Best Wishes As We Celebrate the Abundance of Life"?

    You know. Then it won't be religious.

    Or is it asking too much of people to be good to one another twice a year?

    Seriously. Not too many atheists would object:

    Atheist: Why do we have to celebrate your religion?

    Pagan: You don't. We just wanted to give everyone an excuse to get drunk and dance naked.

    Atheist: Oh. Well. Um, do I have to dance naked?

    Pagan: Nope. Strictly optional.

    Atheist: So ... I can celebrate by, what, getting drunk and f@cking?

    Pagan: Sure. Why not?

    Atheist: Okay. I'm in. Doesn't mean I'm joining your religion.

    Pagan: Fine with me. Why should you?

    Atheist: So, why bother with the religious part, then?

    Pagan: We needed an excuse. You didn't think the city council was going to approve "Let's Get Drunk and Dance Naked Day", did you?

    Atheist: Why not? We do Cinco de Mayo in this town.

    Pagan: Yeah, but we don't have a huge lobby. And we can't spoil elections. All we've got are a couple of lawyers who sell really good pot to half the council.​

    C'mon ... it would be great! Any holiday where you can go caroling and sing Jimmy Buffet songs° is worth at least considering, right?


    ° Jimmy Buffet songs — We can probably limit that to one Jimmy Buffet song, called "A Love Song (From a Different Point of View)". I think everyone knows the chorus.
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  5. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    pagans are probably some of the most tolerant and fun loving people in the world
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    That's why I love 'em. Of course, they can also be among the most annoying bastards in the world. While many of their critics miss the point with simplistic condemnations, pagans generally aren't helping themselves with simplistic counterpoints. I've made quite a few of those anemic counterarguments in my day, and it's funny to me how fast atheists will come to sound like Christians if they feel provoked by the big, scary pagan.

    The point is to remind people that the theology doesn't really matter. I just want people to be happy.

    I don't know, though, what to tell the people who get upset because their happiness depends on their ability to discriminate, inflict, and oppress. "Too freakin' bad," just doesn't seem to help the situation.
  8. TruthSeeker Fancy Virtual Reality Monkey Valued Senior Member

    It's called "disestablishmentarism".

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  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Winter Solstice celebrations - starting usually on the night of the 21st and lasting three days until the day of the 25th, in the modern Western calendar - probably go back to before Stonehenge.

    In the US some Christians celebrate Christmas - the gift giving - on January 5th.

    The traditional 12th Night is January 5th.

    If the details of the Bible are taken seriously and carefully, Jesus was probably born sometime in May, IIRC.

    It seems unfair of the Christians to completely usurp the Solstice, with its tree and wreath (the long thick rod decorated with spherical objects and a special ornament at the tip, and the welcoming hole surrounded by soft fronds of evergreen with a red bow at the center top ) and traditions of hospitality and giftgiving for all, with some kind of theological stuff not even involving the longest night and the rebirth of the sun. But it can't be helped now.
  10. Till Eulenspiegel Registered Member

    People complain about the all too long Christmas season, a season that used to start after Thanksgiving but now starts after Halloween. They complain about being bombarded with Christmas music in malls and shopping centers
    I am a devout Christian and I agree with them. I am sick of seeing commercials for everything from toys to power tools on the t.v. week after week. I am sick of hearing the same treacly, White Christmas, blaring from mall speakers. I am sick of the over commercialization of Christmas.

    Christmas, to me at least, is mainly a religious celebration. I know that IJesus wasn't born in the dead of winter. I know that Christians coopted the Winter Solstice celebration. That doesn't matter to me. I am celebrating the birth of the one I consider the Son of God. December 25th is simply an arbitrary day picked for that celebration The day could just as well be August 3rd.

    I would like to see Christmas return to what it once was, a religious celebration in which gift giving played a small part rather than an orgy of retail spending.

    Having said that I have to admit I am just as guilty as anyone else of going overboard with the gift giving. I spend lots of money buying gifts, usually over $5,000. Last year I bought my wife a grandfather clock, the year before a diamond ring. The kids and grandkids each get nice gifts, then there are the brothers and sisters, neices and nephews, the mailman, the trash collectors, my wife's hairdresser, my auto mechanic. When I was still working there was my secretary, the custodians, the guy who delivered my mail. It was, and still is a never-ending list of people to buy for. Then there are the cards. Even after my wife and I have retired we still mail out almost two hundred Christmas cards a year plus about thirty Channukah cards.

    The thing is, I enjoy it. I enjoy the hustle and bustle of shopping at crowded malls and stores, the cheery, Merry Christmas greetings, the endless round of house parties. It is a ime when most people are other directed, thinking of giving rather than simply getting.

    It might be overcommercialized but it is a happy time of year and refuse to allow a few crusty old curmudeons spoil it for me.

    I will go to church on Christmas Eve. I will sing the old, familiar Christmas hymns and kneel for Communion. Then I will go home to open gifts and reflect on the joy of the season.

  11. SnakeLord Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, happy holidays to all, (must take those that celebrate something other than christmas into account heh?)
  12. SkinWalker Archaeology / Anthropology Moderator

    If I were as gullible and lacked that kind of self-control, I might yearn for a simple religious cult celebration myself!

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  13. John99 Banned Banned


    I really dont know what your talking about.


    Personally, i like Muslim music and appreciate ALL beliefs as part of human culture. Radicals have always been a prblem, to themselves and society including radical Atheists.
  14. ylooshi Registered Senior Member

    I get irked by the idiots on the airwaves and in print that go on and on about how there’s a “war on Christmas” as if there exists some secret Cabal of atheists seeking to destroy Christianity. That’s just stupid. We’re not secret! Some of us have made the best seller list (Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Harris, Sagan, et al).

    Joking aside, they aren’t fighting the war on irrationalism through Christmas. I’ve yet to see a single one of the rationalists mentioned above come out against Christmas. I’m sure they don’t send out religious Christmas cards or put nativity scenes in their front yards, but I’d be willing to bet each of them enjoys the holidays for what they are: a time to reflect on family, friends, and community; a time for giving to others and planning for the new year to come.

    So what’s this so-called “war on Christmas” then? It’s a lie. Pure and simple. The religious are always very good at inventing out-right lies or finding themselves deluded into believing the lies of others (that’s why they’re called “religious”) and the “war on Christmas” is one of these lies.
    Their main argument is that secular society (whoever that is) is out to destroy their superstitions by not including the world “Christmas” in everything from adverts to greeting cards. They object to “secular” representations of Christmas by retailers, private citizens, employers, governments, etc., regardless of the fact that there are several holidays celebrated by several cultures during the same period of months.

    So, not only are these relatively few Christians liars, but they’re greedy and selfish as well. You see, they (like all extremists) perceive their own cult as the right one and all others as the wrong one. They believe that the United States was founded on Christian theology and not a nation with the purpose of providing religious freedom. Religious freedom to extremists is fine as long as you hold to their opinions on what religion is the right one.

    Some of the Christian extremists that claim there is a “war” on Christmas go on to claim that secular society (whoever that is) is taking the “Christ” out of Christmas. But they really have it wrong. These extremists seek to take the “mass” out of Christmas. It really is about mass after all. Indeed, there were a whole series of masses that begin at November 1 through the New Year. Which brings to mind another of their silly complaints: that secular society (whoever that is) has started celebrating the “Holiday season” at Halloween, marketing to consumers Christmas trees, ornaments, lights, gifts, music, etc. While retailers are all too happy to cash in on the willingness to buy that this “secular society” has established, it really isn’t the retail industry that set this date.

    November 1 was originally Hallowmas. Hallows translates to “saints” and it was All Saints Day, a feast that commemorated the deaths of Christian martyrs. There was even a Michaelmas, which celebrated St. Michael’s defeat over Satan, and it occurred on September 28. So, one could argue that we don’t celebrate the holiday season early enough. Please don’t tell my wife. It’s all I can do to keep her from putting the tree up before Thanksgiving. And there are a host of other masses and celebrations that roll on through the winter. Most of these replaced pagan celebrations that are of similar nature (what better way to convert followers of other superstitions than to demonstrate that your own superstitions include their beliefs?) such as Samhain, which coincided with the Christian Halloween (Hallowmas), but celebrated the end of the harvest season. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to see how the two celebrations have merged to create the modern Halloween: a Christian preoccupation with death and spirits and the pumpkins, corn stalks, hay rides, and apple treats. I am, of course, describing New World interpretations since pumpkins and corn didn’t exist on the British Isles until the settling of the New World.

    But what of the argument that Christmas was originally a religious celebration and that’s what it should be? To that I say balderdash. If this were true, it would be dominated by Christian iconography only. True, there are nativity scenes, angelic tree toppers, and other things that simply don’t come to my secular mind (Hey! Maybe I’m that secular society!), but the most iconic images of Christmas are the evergreen tree, the Yule log, snowflakes, holly, mistletoe, snowmen, icicles, children playing, elves, and Coca Cola. Sure, Santa Clause is derived from Saint Nicholas of Myra, who was renowned for his generosity and gift giving. But before the introduction of Christianity to the Germanic people, there existed Wodan and a tradition of placing straw-filled boots or shoes next to the hearth before bed on Yule. The straw was for Wodan’s (a.k.a. Odin) stead to eat. In exchange for their kindness, Wodan replaced the straw in the children’s footwear with small gifts or candy. Did I mention that Wodan’s horse, Sleipnir could fly? Again, there isn’t much imagination required to make the leap from Wodan and a flying horse filling footwear by the fireplace to Santa Clause and flying reindeer doing the same.

    Christian extremists that whine and cry about this so-called war on Christmas are nuts! There is no war on Christmas. There is a consumer society that enjoys the holiday season and happily calls it Christmas. I have no problem saying Merry Christmas to anyone. I have no religious superstitions and do not mean it in any way to carry a religious message. Christmas is no longer a religious holiday except in the minds of the superstitious. Perhaps the amount of superstition one has is proportional to the amount of religious significance Christmas carries. I have several friends that are only moderately religious and they only moderately decorate with religious decorations. I think I’ve noticed an angel on a tree topper.

    Christmas is a cultural holiday, not a religious one. If it’s important to you to celebrate a religious significance to the holidays, there is no one stopping you. You are free to imbibe in whatever superstitious rituals and beliefs you wish. Having said that, I think I’ve revealed the real reason that religious extremists are bitching so much about the non-existent “war on Christmas:” they want you to believe their nonsense as well. They aren’t satisfied being deluded by themselves, they don’t want others to abandon their delusions in favor of something that isn’t superstitious and silly.

    Incidentally, while shopping in Wal-mart recently (now there’s something to be embarrassed about), my daughter pointed to a nativity scene for sale and said, “look, a barn… that’s nasty.” You know what? She was right. Nativity scenes are ugly. Maybe that’s why people prefer the “secular” icons like snowflakes, holly, and mistletoe. And evergreens just smell better than an un-mucked stall.
  15. Till Eulenspiegel Registered Member

    Are you unable to post without being insulting? I guess you anwered the question in the thread asking if Sciforums posters are intelligent. Obviously not but some are quite nasty.
  16. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    What are so-called atheists doing? It seems to me Christmas is going strong.

    Most fans of the constitution, like the ACLU, simply want the Government not to chose to promote any particular religion.
  17. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

    I wonder though, is promoting Christmas the same as promoting a religion? After all, it has become more of a cultural commercial event rather than a religious one. I'm an atheist but I still celebrate Christmas and give gifts and have dinner with friends etc. I do every now and then check out the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

    I think if you're going to be putting up a "holiday tree" for your community, you might as well be honest about what it stands for. That tree signifies Christmas for our culture.
  18. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    It's a religious, not secular holiday, unlike Thanksgiving, or the Fourth of July.
  19. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

    Yes but Christmas as it's current incarnation and not in the traditional religious sense is celebrated by all sorts of different people, not just Christians.
  20. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I'm not Christian at all but I still love Christmas..
  21. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    It's origin is unmistakably religious, just like Intelligent Design.
  22. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Yes, but families end up celebrating it as a tradition. Even when no one in the family is religious anymore people remember it as a fun time from their childhood and keep celebrating it, thus keeping up the tradition.
  23. Orleander OH JOY!!!! Valued Senior Member

    I think Santa is a bigger part of xmas than Jesus is anymore.

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