Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tis The Season

The holidays are here again. The stores are packed with shoppers, lights and decorations adore homes and buildings, I ritualistically listen to my Celtic Christmas CD, and atheists feel the need to let the ignorant masses know the “true” meaning of Christmas, wait, what?

It always surprises me the number of atheist posters, bloggers, organizations, and groups who feel an incessant urge to announce the true origins of Christmas to Christians. The exact reasons for wanting to do so seem to vary but there are three main ones I have seen.

First is an apparent hopefulness that some Christians will become “enlightened” and deconvert. This reason is nothing but wishful, and ideological, thinking that usually falls under the Assumption of Peculiarity. They think they have found some kind of damming evidence and are just dying to let others know about it thinking that we, Christians, will read it and go “Oh my, my entire faith must be a sham!”. The reality tends to be closer to “oh look, another atheist ‘exposing’ the origins of Christmas” followed by either a soft chuckle of amusement or sigh of annoyance.

Some claim they bring up the origins of Christmas as a response to the War on Christmas controversy. They are annoyed by people who clamor about the War on Christmas so they, in turn, bringing up the roots of Christmas as their way of retaliating. Basically it is two wrongs make a right. Not much explaining needed here.

Finally, a reason I have seen it brought up has to do with sayings such as “Jesus is the reason for the season”. They argue that Jesus cannot be the reason as the holiday had different origins.  So what? The meaning people had for a particular holiday centuries ago has no bearing upon what meaning people give to it today. This argument I find particularly hypocritical considering that many atheists celebrate Christmas as well despite not believing in either the God associated with it today, or the gods/pagan celebrations associated with it from long ago. If they can celebrate the holiday without adhering to its origins I see no reason other people can not as well.

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