Atheist Christmas Hypocrisy.

Ever wonder why many atheists celebrate Christmas, which is a holy holiday?  I mean, doesn’t celebrating Christmas imply a tacit subscription to the religion that you claim is a fraud?  How many Christians celebrate the Chinese New Year, or Hindu holidays?  Not many, I’ll bet.

I can respect non-Christians for not celebrating Christmas, as they are being consistent.  I can also respect some Christians who do not celebrate Christmas on Scriptural grounds (there is nothing in either the Old Testament or the New Testament that mandates a holiday for Christ’s birth or that it reside on December 25th).  The point in claiming a specific religious doctrine is to adhere one’s self to a specific set of principles and practices.  Atheists don’t believe in a divine creator, so they have no need to celebrate Christmas, right?

But, a lot of them do.  Of course, they’ll deny their seeming approval of a religion to the bitter end that they recognize either Jesus Christ or the existence of God.  Instead, they’ll ramble on about the “secularization” of Christmas.  Then, they’ll go on to claim that many of the symbols of Christmas do not have Christian roots.

This is, of course, complete bull.  Many of the recognizable symbols of Christmas have Christian origins going way back to the founding of the religion.

Myth #1: Jesus Christ was a fictional figure.

 This one is fairly easy to shut down.  First, there are the four Gospels.  The oldest known fragment of the Gospel of John dates back to 125 AD, which is less than 100 years after the death of Jesus.  Many scholars believe that the actual origin of the Gospels (when they were actually written) goes all the way back to only a decade or so after the Crucifixion.

However, there are non-Christian sources for the existence of Jesus.  Mentions of Jesus Christ show up in the writings of Josephus (though the extent of these comments as being originally recorded by Josephus is in dispute, there is little dispute that he mentions Jesus).  There are also mentions of Jesus in the works of other non-Christian scholars from Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius, Thallus, Lucian, Celsus, and even in the Jewish Talmud where Jesus is placed in a far less favorable light.

The fact is that there are a number of historical documents that either mention Jesus, reference documents that mentions a historical Jesus, or refer to the origin of Christianity well before 150 AD.  Given the evidence that exists, there is more than enough out there to support Jesus as a historical figure.  And I’m not even bothering to touch on the documentation for the historical Apostles like Paul, James, Peter, and so on.

 

Myth #2: Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th.

This is, in part, true.  No one really knows on what date the historical Jesus was born.  There is evidence in the Gospels that maybe it was in the spring or even fall.  But, there is no specific recording of what day Jesus was born.  So, in the absence of an actual date, one was picked from based on the information of the time.

In short, if you didn’t know what date you were born on (and this does happen to some people, even in this modern day and age), wouldn’t you pick a date to represent your birthday?  Well, that’s what Christian scholars did.

 

Myth #3: The date December 25th for Christmas was stolen from pagan religions.

First, our calendar is basically a Roman invention – the months of the year being taken from the names of Roman emperors (August for Augustus, October for Octavian, and so on).  What is known is that the Roman calendar designated that December 25th was the festival of the “Invincible Sun”, established by the Emperor Aurelian (around 222 AD).  However, there is no known documentation in existence that details how this festival was then preempted by Christians, or who started the practice of celebrating Christmas around 375 AD.  So, the relation between the old Roman celebration and the Christmas is implied.  Furthermore, the eastern Orthodox religions celebrate Christmas on or around January 7th, as their traditional accounting uses the Julian calendar (created during the reign of Julias Ceasar around 46 BC) and not the Gregorian calendar (started in the late 16th Century).  You see, there is a 13 day discrepancy between both calendars, which places January 7th (Gregorian) on December 25th (Julian).

Thus, the present December 25th is NOT the old Roman festival, which (allegedly) happened 13 days later.  Either way you look at it – December 25th Julian or December 25th Gregorian, you’ve got a math problem somewhere.

Attempts to place the date of Christmas on the Winter Solstice are also incorrect.  The Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st, not the 25th.  So, they’re about 3 to 4 days off.  The revisionist idea is, “well, ancient astronomers were not really all that accurate about when the Winter and Summer Solstice actually occurred, because they were looking at the sky with just their naked eyes.”

I mean, really – does anyone believe that crap? These are the same people praising the accuracies of a Stone Age Mayan calendar, and the technological marvels of the Greeks and the Romans.  Do they expect us to now believe that the same people who initially invented indoor plumbing (Romans), created the precursor to the modern calendar, and who aligned their towns along the axis of sunrise and sunset couldn’t figure out the exact day on which the Winter Solstice fell?

Sorry, I don’t buy it.

And, I’m not even bothering to mention all of the stuff where the Romans consulted scholars from other societies – namely Egypt, Babylon, and Persia – who all had (what were at the time) hyper-accurate charts of the heavens.  This is all just a load of bull.

In the end, there is no documentation, to my knowledge, that Christmas was set up to coincide with any astrological / heavenly event, or pagan holiday.

 

Myth #4: The figure of Santa Claus is a pagan god.

First, the name “Santa Claus” is derived from the title, “St. Nicholas”.  St. Nicholas is a well-known figure in the early Christian Church.  Eastern Orthodox icons of him show a slender man with a long, white beard and white hair.  The legends surrounding St. Nicholas also coincide with the giving of gifts (one legend, in particular, regards tossing three bags of gold through the window of a poor man so that his daughters would have a dowry).  He is also the patron saint of pawnbrokers, travelers, unwed people, sailors, and especially children.

While the claim exists that no direct documentation supports the existence of St. Nicholas (and none probably would exist outside of the Christian churches), there is no explanation as to how we know today that Nicholas was imprisoned by the Roman emperor Diocletian, and released under the rule of Constantine.  Furthermore, older Greek lists of the attendees of the Council of Nicaea place Nicholas at the event, as well as an account of his saving of three innocents.  At least three different accounts – one traditional, and two alternate sources – recall his election as Bishop of Myra.

So, again: bull.  He existed.

The name Kris Kringle evolved from the Germanic “Christ Kindl”, which means “Christ Child.”

The origin of Father Christmas – who is the precursor to the modern-day American notion of Santa Claus – starts around the mid-1400s (so named “Sir Christmas”) in a French carol, and was revised in the Victorian era WELL after Christianity was the dominant religion in Europe.

The colors red, white, and green being attributed to Santa are all modern creations, spawned from the early 1800s on, and were initiated in Christian-dominated America.  Things like his sleigh, the reindeer, elves, and whatnot are all modern attributes added by Christians to a whimsical caricature deeply rooted in historical and Christian traditions.

 

Myth #5: The Christmas Tree is a pagan symbol.

Evergreens are often used by numerous religions to symbolize long life or immortality (as they do not shed their leaves in the fall).  The Romans supposedly used evergreens in their Festival of Saturni (coinciding with the date December 25th).  So, there are lots of connections linking the use of a Christmas tree to ancient pagan rituals, right?

Wrong.  The problem is that the Christmas tree came out of Germany with the legend of St. Boniface, around 722 AD.  In order to prevent the sacrifice of a child by pagan worshippers at the base of an oak tree, St. Boniface cut down the venerated symbol, thus stopping the sacrifice.  A fir tree then grew either in place of the oak, or at the base of the fallen tree, which Boniface declared as a holy tree that symbolized the promise of everlasting life offered by the Christ child.

Furthermore, Martin Luther expanded on the Christian tradition of the Christmas tree by decorating it with lights (candles) and ornaments.  Martin Luther, as you probably may know, was once a devout Roman Catholic, and eventually founded the Christian protestant religion Lutheranism.  The Christmas tree came to England with the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  However, outside of the Germanic nations as well as Anglican cultures (England, Canada, Australian, the United States of America), the Christmas tree is a bit of a rarity. In France, for example, Christmas trees are not part of the tradition.

A Yule Log, the term “Yuletide”, and mistletoe are all pagan trappings, as are things like holly and ivy.  However, none of these are central to the Christmas festivities, nor are they universal across Christianized cultures.  These are little more than cultural window dressing.

So, in all of its forms, the Christmas tree is based deeply in Christian tradition.

 

Myth #6: The practice of giving of gifts is a pagan ritual.

Yes, there are some pagan rituals that practiced gift-giving.  The only problem with identifying gift-giving as a pagan ritual is the fact that, up until around the 19th Century, your average Christmas was celebrated with a feast – not with an exchange of presents.  By then, all of Europe, Russia, and the Americas (which is where the modern-day Christmas traditions are practiced in their fullest extent) were all dominated by Christians.

Feasting was a common practice even in the early Christian church.  St. Crispin has a feast, as does St. Nicholas.  The Feast of All Saints, and the Feast of All Souls are both celebrated by the Roman Catholic church.  In places like Greece, Bulgaria, and Malta gifts are still generally not exchanged on Christmas.

So, the practice of giving presents on Christmas was basically started by Christians LONG after Christmas was established, and not adopted from pagan practices.  So, if you hear that the Christian tradition of exchanging presents was adopted from the Roman Festival of Saturni, you’ll have to explain to them that they’re off on their facts by about…oh…1400 years.

 

Myth #7: The Christmas Star is a pagan astrological symbol.

Ummm…nope.  The Christmas star is actually mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew.  The meaning of the star is still in dispute, as no one is sure what astronomical event it is derived from.  Some claim it might have been the appearance of a comet, but most likely it was the three-part alignment of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation of Pisces.  According to ancient astrologers, Pisces was closely aligned to the Jewish people.  Jupiter was associated with kingship, and Saturn was identified with the land of Palestine (as it was called by the Romans).

It should be also noted that, by all accounts, the Three Kings or Magi noted in the Nativity tale were not Jews.  Instead, they were gentiles (non-Jews) with either authority and/or education.  Jewish law specifically forbids reading the portents of the heavens, which is the basis for ancient and modern-day astrology.  The Three Kings, being non-Jews, would not be subject to that restriction.  Which is the reason why it was three rich gentiles that visited Jesus in Bethlehem, and not Jewish scribes or rabbis.

Given that places like Persia, Rome, Egypt, and Greece all had Jewish populations at the time of Christ, referencing astrological movements with Hebrew Scripture would have been a relatively simple task for the Magi.

One needs to remember that early Christians were often linked to Jewish practices, and the prohibition on astrology – which exists, to an extent, to this very day within Christian circles – would have been profoundly enforced.  So, being ignorant of the various heavenly movements, the writer (or writers) of Matthew would have easily confused an astrological event with the appearance of an actual star.  This confusion would have been aided by the fact that when the two planets reached their alignments, the “star” in the sky would have been brighter then when they were not aligned.

The mentioning of stars or recording the movement of stars  and/or heavenly bodies is not expressly forbidden by jewish law – only using these things for prophecy.  The Jewish calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, and specific heavenly bodies are mentioned in the Bible, though rarely.  So, the mention of the Christmas star – in whatever form it may have occured – is also not a throwback to paganism.  The interpretation of the meaning of the star (which was done by the pagans, and NOT by the writers of Matthew) is against Jewish and Christian principles.

 

So, there you have it: seven rebuttals for the most common lies spread about Christmas.  Use them to annoy your know-it-all atheist friends who feel secure in the fact that that underpinnings to Christmas are a fraud.  I’d also hammer home the point that by celebrating Christmas, they’re turning their back on their principles by celebrating a religious holiday.

And when you do so, be real obnoxious about it…in a nice way, of course.

19 Responses to Atheist Christmas Hypocrisy.

  1. morsec0de says:

    You misspell ‘atheist’ in the title of your post.

    Oh, and your rebuttals don’t particularly matter to this atheist.

    I will be happy to give gifts, eat good food, and spend time with my loved ones this holiday season, Jesus-free.

    I hope you have a good Christmas yourself.

  2. unknownconservative says:

    Thank you for your response. I will correct the title ASAP.

    And thank you for contradicting your stated beliefs, and your tacit approval of Christianity.

    Mazel tov!

  3. morsec0de says:

    I do tacitly approve of Christianity.

    It’s when Christians try to intrude on the government, force their beliefs on others or harm people that I disapprove.

    Nothing in my personal beliefs object to making an excuse for a holiday. I don’t care if it’s Christmas, Hannukah or Saturnalia.

  4. unknownconservative says:

    Christians forcing their beliefs on everyone else? Hummmm…

    You mean, guys like John Locke who used the Bible as the basis for your civil rights?

    And people like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who were ardent followers of Locke?

    Or the Judeo-Christian prohibitions on things like incest, rape, murder, and theft?

    You mean, those kinds of beliefs?

  5. morsec0de says:

    If our laws or rights were based on Christianity, we wouldn’t have freedom of religion, freedom from religion, or freedom of speech. Or are you under the false belief that all of the ten commandments (let alone the hundreds of other laws) were American laws?

    There were prohibitions against incest, rape, murder and theft before Christianity as well. And one doesn’t need to believe in Christianity to have those prohibitions, so I don’t know what your argument is.

  6. unknownconservative says:

    Your basic human rights come directly from the Bible. The notion that you are made in the image of God, which is right there in Genesis, states without equivocation that you are equal to me in the eyes of God.

    Locke details this relationship between Man and God in his Two Treatises of Government – specifically by using Adam, and detailing Adam in his relationship with God, Nature, and others (Eve, etc.). He does so with the aim of undercutting the notions of the “divine right to rule.” In doing so, John Locke defined the natural state of liberty in which God creates Man. Want an example?

    —————————————————————————

    OF CIVIL-GOVERNMENT Book II, Chapter I:

    Sect. 1. It having been shewn in the foregoing discourse,

    1. That Adam had not, either by natural right of fatherhood, or by positive donation from God, any such authority over his children, or dominion over the world, as is pretended:

    2. That if he had, his heirs, yet, had no right to it:

    3. That if his heirs had, there being no law of nature nor positive law of God that determines which is the right heir in all cases that may arise, the right of succession, and consequently of bearing rule, could not have been certainly determined:

    4. That if even that had been determined, yet the knowledge of which is the eldest line of Adam’s posterity,being so long since utterly lost, that in the races of mankind and families of the world, there remains not to one above another, the least pretence to be the eldest house, and to have the right of inheritance

    5. All these premises having, as I think, been clearly made out, it is impossible that the rulers now on earth should make any benefit, or derive any the least shadow of authority from that, which is held to be the fountain of all power, Adam’s private dominion and paternal jurisdiction: so that he that will not give just occasion to think that all government in the world is the product only of force and violence, and that men live together by no other rules but that of beasts, where the strongest carries it, and so lay a foundation for perpetual disorder and mischief, tumult, sedition and rebellion, (things that the followers of that hypothesis so loudly cry out against) must of necessity find out another rise of government, another original of political power, and another way of designing and knowing the persons that have it, than what Sir Robert Filmer hath taught us.

    —————————————————————————

    OF CIVIL-GOVERNMENT Book II, Chapter V

    Sect. 25. Whether we consider natural reason, which tells us, that men, being once born, have a right to their preservation, and consequently to meat and drink, and such other things as nature affords for their subsistence: or revelation, which gives us an account of those grants God made of the world to Adam, and to Noah, and his sons, it is very clear, that God, as king David says, Psal. cxv. 16. has given the earth to the children of men; given it to mankind in common. But this being supposed, it seems to some a very great difficulty, how any one should ever come to have a property in any thing: I will not content myself to answer, that if it be difficult to make out property, upon a supposition that God gave the world to Adam, and his posterity in common, it is impossible that any man, but one universal monarch, should have any property upon a supposition, that God gave the world to Adam, and his heirs in succession, exclusive of all the rest of his posterity. But I shall endeavour to shew, how men might come to have a property in several parts of that which God gave to mankind in common, and that without any express compact of all the commoners.
    Sect. 26. God, who hath given the world to men in common, hath also given them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life, and convenience. The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being. And tho’ all the fruits it naturally produces, and beasts it feeds, belong to mankind in common, as they are produced by the spontaneous hand of nature; and no body has originally a private dominion, exclusive of the rest of mankind, in any of them, as they are thus in their natural state: yet being given for the use of men, there must of necessity be a means to appropriate them some way or other, before they can be of any use, or at all beneficial to any particular man. The fruit, or venison, which nourishes the wild Indian, who knows no enclosure, and is still a tenant in common, must be his, and so his, i.e. a part of him, that another can no longer have any right to it, before it can do him any good for the support of his life.
    Sect. 27. Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.

    —————————————————————————

    The people who subscribed themselves to the beliefs of Locke were guys like James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and George Mason. These guys also happened to not only forge this nation, but detail the freedoms that you claim would not exist if laws of this country, or your basic human rights, were based on Christianity.

    I would like to point out that most of the Founding Fathers were Christians. Those that could not be easily defined as a specific Christian denomination – Franklin and Jefferson to be specific – wrote on the virtues of Christianity, and of moral governance. That’s because they aligned themselves with Judeo-Christian thought.

    The fact is that one of the only reasons why you have inalienable human rights is because of religions like Christianity and Judaism.

    What these people regularly railed against was not religion, but the dominion of the clergy. It was not the religious principles themselves, but a fear of papal influence and/or the express desire to establish a national church, and a national religious doctrine ala The Church of England. This, they feared, would be replacing one monarchy (the throne of England) with another.

    This is also the reason why Madison – who wrote openly about his hostility to the “oppression of the clergy” – did not object to Congress establishing a congressional chaplain (an office which exists to this very day). Nor did Madison have any problems providing federal funding for a Bible distribution program in 1812.

    Thomas Jefferson also wrote (in true Locke-ian style):

    —————————————————————————

    For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever . . .

    —————————————————————————

    As for their being prohibitions against rape, murder, incest, and theft – that’s true to a point. The Ancient Egyptians practiced incest, as did the Hellenists (especially the Ptolemaic kings). In ancient days, women were considered property by most cultures. Christianity and Judaism, while not perfect when it came to women’s rights in the modern-day sense, were seen as radical departures from most ancient cultures.

    Prohibitions against slavery come directly from Mosaic law, further refined by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Without them, you wouldn’t have had any abolitionists in this country pre-Civil War (who were, buy modern standards, far right-wing religious zealot types), nor would you have had the long-standing debate (since the signing of the Declaration of Independence) over the issue of slavery in the US, and the eventual prohibition thereof.

    By and large, your modern notions of moral codes come directly from the Bible, pure and simple.

    What is quite clear is that you’ve gone off and spouted

  7. unknownconservative says:

    Sorry, the last line was not for you.

  8. morsec0de says:

    I just find it amusing because everything you and Locke claim is prohibited by the bible also has been promoted by the bible.

    Murder? Bad…unless you’re doing it because god told you to.
    Human sacrifice? Bad…unless you promise god to do it if he lets you win a battle.
    Slavery? Bad…but here’s a series of rules about how to keep slaves, mark them and trade them.

  9. unknownconservative says:

    “I just find it amusing because everything you and Locke claim is prohibited by the bible also has been promoted by the bible.”

    What I and Locke claim?

    The writings of John Locke are basically the foundation for your inalienable human rights. They provide the reasoning and justification for the very thing you claim you love.

    The Bible exists in two forms: historical, and spiritual. Often times Biblical stories – like that of King David – illustrate both history, and the consequences of men who violate God’s will (Saul ignored God’s dictates on how conquered nations should be handled, and David’s murder of Uriah because he knocked-up Bathsheba). What is clear is that those who know little to nothing about the Bible, Judaism, and Christianity confuse (or purposely obscure) historical accounts with Scriptural dictates. They also like to remove little things like context from historical accounts.

    But hey, if you don’t enjoy the rights and freedoms granted to you by an Almighty God, I’m cool with that too. Be careful of what you wish for, however.

    ”Murder? Bad…unless you’re doing it because god told you to.”

    There are a number of instances in the Bible that many, who are ignorant to Scripture, claim contradicts what is the stated goals of God.

    One specific instance was the conquest of the Holy Land both in ancient history, and during medieval times.

    However, what people like you choose to ignore about these instances is the other side of the coin when it comes to historical events, as well as context. Canaanite religions and beliefs – specifically the worship of gods like Baal, Ashtur, and so on – weren’t exactly for the peace on love crowd. They were often bloody, and included practices such as infanticide.

    The ancient world was often a brutal, nasty place, where crushing tyranny and blood sacrifice was often the norm. By contrast, the Children of Israel were peaceniks.

    During the conquest of places like Jerusalem and Jericho, the occupants of these cities were given the choice to surrender, and become part of the Israelite nation and religion, or be annihilated. In the case of Jericho, the occupants chose annihilation. Jerusalem chose to surrender peacefully, and was spared destruction. This precedent then became known as the “Jerusalem Principle”, which was used in “civilized” military conflicts up through the American Civil War period.

    Lots of people also point to the numerous Crusades waged between Christians and Muslims during the Middle Ages as more proof of Judeo-Christian hypocrisy. What often goes overlooked is Muslim militarist aggression with the conquest of places like Spain, Byzantium, and incursions into the Balkans that occurred throughout these times. And Muslims, despite the romanticism of that era, were not real friendly with Infidels such as you and I. Lots of Christians and Jews were killed, or thrown into slavery where Islam dominated. Much of the Crusades were a reaction to Muslim conquest and brutality.

    One need only look at the history of guys like Vlad Dracula to see how Muslims were intent on conquering Europe. His ability to repel Muslim invaders makes him a hero in Romania, even though his rule was often brutal. The implication here is that the Muslims weren’t any better, or were far worse.

    But hey, let’s talk about murder, and how it relates to atheism. Stalin created an atheist state within the Soviet Union, and the result was purges, tens of millions of people dying in the gulag system, and over a million people being starved to death in the Ukraine so as to force the farmers there to collectivize. Mao was an atheist, and he helped kill millions of people as well. Pol Pot was an atheist. The communist Vietnamese are atheists. The NVA killed some 50,000 through land “reforms” and nearly half-a-million in re-education camps when they overran the south.

    When it comes to subjects like murder, Bible-thumpers, and people who errantly use the Bible as justification for things like murder are virtual choir boys when compared to atheists. More slaughter has been done over the last 100 years in the name of atheism, than in the last 2000 years in the name of religion.

    The rule of the atheist Soviets was so bad, that the Nazi invaders were originally hailed as liberators.

    So, spare me the infantile arguments about justified murder and the Bible. I know better.

    “Human sacrifice? Bad…unless you promise god to do it if he lets you win a battle.”

    Name for me the book and/or passage in the Bible where humans were sacrificed for the favorable outcome of a battle.

    The atheist Soviets and the NVA, however, had no problem expending unimaginable numbers of their own slaves…er…”citizens” as machine gun fodder. Because of their disregard of the value for human life (which is what atheism leads to, in the end) such tactics employed by the Soviets racked up a casualty rate of something like 27 million. With the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, the death toll was well over a million.

    Compare this to the half-million dead that the US suffered during WWII (fighting a war on two fronts, when compared to the Soviet single-front war), and the fifty-thousand-plus dead during Vietnam.

    Even the pagan Celts – who actually performed human sacrifice as a religious ritual – ain’t got nothin’ on the atheists when it comes to human sacrifice.

    “Slavery? Bad…but here’s a series of rules about how to keep slaves, mark them and trade them.”

    Slavery and servitude was allowed under Mosaic Law. There were limitations, however. The slave owner did not have ownership to the life of the slave – a slave owner could not kill his slave if he wanted to. A slave owner could not purposely disfigure a slave (unless by consent of the slave – Exodus 21:5 – 7), or the slave would be freed by default (Exodus 21:26-27). This is in stark contrast to the standards of slavery at the time: a slave was property, pure and simple. To people like the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians slaves were meat-puppets.

    Which is the reason why I emphasize Christian principles, and not Jewish law, that founded this country? One core tenant of Christian philosophy is that Jesus was the final interpreter of Mosaic Law. And it was his interpretation of this law that often confounded the intellectuals and priests of the time. Christ’s main focus was not on the application of the laws as they were handed down by Moses, and written in the Torah, but the heart and spirit of these laws. At times, these two notions conflicted.

    A prime example of this was the allowance of divorce within Jewish law. When quizzed by the priests of the time about divorce, Jesus notes that while divorce is allowed under Mosaic Law, Genesis is clear that the intent of marriage is for man and woman to never be separated. Such allowances were allowed by God because of the “hardness of men’s hearts,” a phrase that has a multitude of meanings. What’s clear is that God’s intent for marriage is that it is a life-long bond, and divorce should be a seldom–used option. However, divorce was allowed because people were sometimes evil and weak, and such behavior would cause damage to the spouse should the fallen partner continue within the union.

    The point of this is that Jesus moved the Law back to its fundamentals. It is the recognition of this that caused Jefferson to comment:

    “am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other.”

    What is clear is that after about 2000 years of continual enlightenment, Judeo-Christian thought has continually elevated men from barbarism, to the freedoms and knowledge that we enjoy today.

    However, when atheists take over, the state of Man devolves in a matter of years.

    Which is probably the subliminal reasoning behind your willing embrace of a holy Christian holiday when you claim to not believe in God.

  10. Lucy says:

    I just used to like getting presents when I was a kid. I also like Valentine’s Day though I haven’t got a clue who St. Valentine was. When in Japan I celebrate the Shinto ceremonies, though I don’t believe. They’re all just a good chance to have gorgeous food.

    Happy Holidays to you!

    Lucy :)

  11. James says:

    Very well researched and extensively argued, if nothing else.

    For better or worse, the idea of Christmas no longer belongs to the Christians. It’s found its way into a sensitive mix with the other religious holidays (but god forbid there be a manger scene! at least not if there isnt a manora right next to it to be fair). This mix has formed a homogenous feeling termed “The Holidays” where people of all religions and types celebrate with presents, to the glee of stores nationwide.

    The Christmas tree has followed suit and gone a step further. It’s become an acceptable medium for expressing the “Happy Holidays” spirit without offending non-christians. Also, atheists/agnostics can use this to have a normal holiday season without having to explain to the kids why mommy and daddy dont believe in organized religion.

    I have no idea where you stand on all that I’ve just said, but I have a burning question: Why do you care?

    Yes its more than a bit hypocritical, but their celebrating christmas doesnt lessen the spiritual value of the holiday. If it really does bother you, think of it this way: It doesnt bother you that jews celebrate hannakah, or that african americans celebrate kwanza, and god knows what else other religions celebrate this time of year, so what does it matter what atheists do to celebrate?

  12. unknownconservative says:

    For better or worse, the idea of Christmas no longer belongs to the Christians. It’s found its way into a sensitive mix with the other religious holidays (but god forbid there be a manger scene! at least not if there isnt a manora right next to it to be fair). This mix has formed a homogenous feeling termed “The Holidays” where people of all religions and types celebrate with presents, to the glee of stores nationwide.

    If the idea of Christmas no longer belonged to Christians, then there would be no need to redefine the name to say “Happy Holidays”. So, your point kinda steps all over itself.

    The Christmas tree has followed suit and gone a step further. It’s become an acceptable medium for expressing the “Happy Holidays” spirit without offending non-christians. Also, atheists/agnostics can use this to have a normal holiday season without having to explain to the kids why mommy and daddy dont believe in organized religion.

    I have no idea where you stand on all that I’ve just said, but I have a burning question: Why do you care?

    You have inadvertently hit a nail on the head when you say:

    It’s become an acceptable medium for expressing the “Happy Holidays” spirit without offending non-christians.

    People who actually hold fast in their beliefs have no need to get offended because someone celebrates a different holiday. I don’t get particularly upset when Muslims celebrate Ramadan, nor do I get all that bent out of shape when Jews celebrate Yom Kippur. I take issue with Kwanzaa, but if someone wishes me a “Joyous Kwanzaa” (or wherever the greeting may be), I’m not apt to get all red-faced and offended.

    The fact is, Christians have had to “curtail” their celebrations – as you noted – so as not to offend people. Heaven forbid if people at a store go out of their way to mention “Merry Christmas” to someone, during the Christmas shopping season – doing so may cause an incident. Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion are fundemental to this nation’s core principles. Freedom from Offense isn’t.

    Yet these same easily-offended people try to secularize what is essentially a religious holiday. As if they can keep the holiday sacred while removing the entire context for the event. It’s folly.

    Which brings me to your question: why do I care? I really don’t. Atheists think that they can borrow specific concepts from religions – namely the basis for your inalienable human rights (as I’ve pointed out in a couple of my long-winded comments above) – strip away the religious component from these concepts, and think that they will work to fit their mindset. By removing the religious component, what they do it remove a little thing called “context”. It is the same concept as taking a one-line quote out of a ten page report, and using that quote to contradict the eternity of the report (which happens a lot in the major media).

    In short: they walk around being offended by religion, by religious expression, and yet celebrate the holiday anyways. Its hypocrisy. They criticize the religion, doctrine, or belief associsted with that religion and yet celebrate the holiday anyways. Does this not contradict what you claim to believe? Of course it does.

    Which points out that maybe atheists who celebrate Christmas actually hold some ember of belief that, indeed, Christianity is something that they subscribe to.

    So, why do I care? Because if this type of sanitation can be allowed for something as inconsequential as a religious holiday, imagine what can be done with something as fundamental as your right to free expression.

    This is how a holiday that was billed as a celebration of the beginning of the end of man’s bondage in sin, turns into people being trampled at Wal-Mart on Black Friday. The context it being removed from Christmas, slowly but surely. It’s being done with an eye on irreligious sentiment, and apathy to the cause of all mankind. And it needs to stop.

    Yes its more than a bit hypocritical, but their celebrating christmas doesnt lessen the spiritual value of the holiday. If it really does bother you, think of it this way: It doesnt bother you that jews celebrate hannakah, or that african americans celebrate kwanza, and god knows what else other religions celebrate this time of year, so what does it matter what atheists do to celebrate?

    If they were consistent, they wouldn’t celebrate Christmas at all. Which is cool by me. But they’re not. This goes to the underpinnings of the atheist mentality…meaning that they hold nothing sacred.

    And that includes your basic human rights.

    I hope that helps you understand the point of my post.

  13. Excellent content here and a nice writing style too – keep up the great work!

  14. Marc says:

    If you can even argue over Christmas that proves the pointlessness of Christmas to me. We’re doing well, we buy lots of presents to restart the economy, cos that is basically all we care about. Stuff our faces so we can get more obese and don’t think about the people on this planet who get f.. all to eat. Let’s get drunk and reproduce, have a 3 day hangover and produce lots of waste. What this planet needs is extinction of human kind as soon as possible, so it can soon start recovering from our presence. We are doing Mother Earth a big favor.
    Merry Christmas!!

  15. unknownconservative says:

    Thank you for your comments.

    Yes, the earth would be a wonderful place without humans. Although, if there were no humans to acknowledge the wonderfulness of the earth, then how would it therefore be considered wonderful?

    As for Chriatmas being “pointless,” indeed you are correct. That whole “peace on earth, goodwill towards men” is all hype. Just because, in the past, one day has been able to halt wars among Christian nations doesn’t mean it has any impact.

    None whatsoever.

    I bow to your insightfulness.

    Then again, for those of us who actually believe all this silly Jesus Christ nonsense, the day isn’t for stuffing one’s face or rampant consumerism. But please, don’t let that interfere with your unique celebration of the holiday season.

    Happy Hannakwanza.

  16. meh says:

    I’d just like to correct you on that Octavian –> October bit. The original (Roman?) calendar only had 10 months, so Julius Caesar, being as awesome as he was, stuck another two right in the middle, one of which is named after him July –> Julius. However, the other months are NOT named after any Roman emperors. Because before Julius came around, September was the seventh month, October the eighth, November, the ninth, December the tenth. Doesn’t that make more sense? I’m not quite sure about February, March, April, May, or June though. But I know, January was named after Janus, the Roman/Greek (forgot which) god of doors and beginnings.
    Also, I’d like to point out that Christmas has been so commercialized, that, to most Americans, it’s not about the religion anymore, or Jesus. To most Americans, Christmas is really only about the food, the gifts, and the “holiday cheer.”

  17. unknownconservative says:

    October / Octavian…fair enough. I had read somewhere a while back that Octavian had done some manipulation of the calendar.

    However, as far as Christmas being “commercialized” for most Americans, it should be noted that the two times of years that I specifically DON’T go to church are Christmas and Easter.

    That’s because I hate crowds, and can’t get a seat in the church, especially so if I arrive late.

    It is easy to make blanket statements with the moniker “most Americans.” I think it is easy for us to write-off our fellow man by saying that “most Americans” do this or that. Frankly, I think “most Americans” recognize the religious connotations of Christmas, and suffer the irreverence of a uncaring minority.

    But that’s just me.

    Thank you for reading my blog.

  18. Eílis says:

    If you celebrate Guy Fawkes Night even though you’re indifferent to the fact that King James I survived the attempt on his life and you don’t hate and/or dislike and/or mistrust Catholics even though the observance of Guy Fawkes Night was originally intended to be a celebration of King James’ survival and also proudly anti-Catholic even though it happened 408 years ago and its meaning has evolved since then, are you a hypocrite? Are you pretending to have values, beliefs, or virtues you don’t have? Are you being deliberately deceptive? If not, why are atheists who celebrate Christmas?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_Night
    https://www.google.co.uk/#safe=off&biw=1366&bih=673&sclient=psy-ab&q=hypocrisy&oq=hypocrisy&gs_l=hp.3..0l4.1097.3230.0.3496.9.8.0.1.1.0.484.1979.0j4j1j2j1.8.0…0.0…1c.1.15.psy-ab.aa5Adc4Z7oE&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.47244034,d.d2k&fp=c77cb70bbe9e7a8a

  19. unknownconservative says:

    Uhmmm…er…ah…uh…what?

    First, many of the idiots who celebrate Guy Fawkes Night a) have no idea who Guy Fawkes is, b) only wear that mask because it looks cool in some inane comic series, c) think it actually means some sort of anarchist rebellion. Finally, as far as I’m aware, Guy Fawkes neither founded a religion, nor is his day a religious holiday. If there is any religion associated with his specific act, it is about as incidental as one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence being Baptist, and therefore determining that the Fourth of July being a Calvinist holiday. Last time I checked, Christmas was and is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Even Santa Claus is derived from a Christian Bishop of the early Church, as well as the Christmas tree having solid foundations in Christian traditions (read: it is not a pagan symbol as is forwarded by many anti-Christmas types out there). So, not only is your question poorly framed (as well as being the most egregious example of a run-on sentence that I’ve seen yet), but way out of context.

    That all being said, indeed you are a hypocrite if you celebrate something whose origins conflict with your personal beliefs. If you believe in God, and are a good Christian, you cannot in good conscience go around celebrating communist May Day, as Marxist communism is a direct affront to your Christian sensibilities. You also should not be celebrating Hindu holidays, or even the birthday of Josef Stalin.

    Likewise, if you are an atheist, you shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas or Easter. The same goes for Passover. Period. Otherwise, you are a fraud.

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