All of this nonsense about putting “Christ back into Christmas” is driving me absolutely bonkers. For Christians to say that having equal share over the winter holiday season is diminishing Christ is such a sleazy and conniving thing to do. Secularization does not remove anyone’s ability to celebrate whatever they want – be it Zombie Jesus or a bottle of Coca Cola. It just makes it possible so that you are indeed able to celebrate those things.
So, after my nerdrage settled down, I started to wonder why we celebrate the things we do during the month of December. And not only why, but where it started and for what reasons. What I’ve discovered aren’t the only supposed reasons people celebrate, but they happen to be the most popular in America – and most are supposedly Christian.
1. The birth of Christ was on December 25
I don’t happen to believe that the evidence is outstanding that Jesus even existed, but if he did it is highly unlikely that he would be born in the middle of winter. Biblical stories barely mention his birth, let alone when it was. So, for Christians to ever say that Christmas (on Dec 25) comes from the bible is… bullshit. So, let’s deconstruct the story a little bit so as to understand why a birth would be improbable considering the surrounding elements. Before Jesus was born, Mary lived in Nazareth but traveled to Bethlehem (about 70 miles). What woman that’s 9-months pregnant would (or could) want to travel days, if not weeks, in the middle of winter? Not only that, but for Jesus to have received visitors (which isn’t in the bible… sorry three wise men) during a frigid time in the desert would have been ridiculous. Shepherds, even today, don’t generally keep their flocks out in the cold of night. Biblical scholars even claim that the notion of a winter birth is highly unlikely and would make more sense (if it makes sense at all) happening in the spring.
2. But my church says he was born on December 25th – why would they say that?
Well, the most obvious reason is that the winter solstice happens just a few days before and was widely celebrated amongst non-Christians. The Roman Catholics picked this time of the year as the easiest, sneakiest way to convert everyone to Christianity by melding a holiday with one that the people had already been celebrating. So, the reason? Fucking evil, conniving greed. Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, Christians, your churches just pretended he did so they could brainwash more people. Celebrating anything on this day, insert idols here, is continuing a pagan tradition.
3. Christmas trees are ways to celebrate Christ! Duh!
Actually, no. The taking in of greenery was a widespread tradition. It can be traced back to Germanic traditions, but an Estonian friend of mine even says his ancestors did the same. Romans, Egyptians, and many Europeans all participated. Having plants around that remained green during the winter was especially important to these people. It makes sense, right? How else to survive the winter blues than by having some bright green reminders of spring/summer indoors? The solstice meant that the following days and months would provide more and more sunshine, so part of celebrating was by honoring those things that thrive on it. The actual decorating of trees with lights and baubles (as we do today) didn’t start until the 16th century, or so and wasn’t even popular until the 1800’s. Again, using/decorating green trees and boughs is continuing a pagan tradition. Sorry, Jesus, no tree for you! In fact, having a decorated tree in the home is specifically condemned in the bible. Yup, check out Jeremiah.
4. Gift-giving was because of the ‘Three Kings’ bringing gifts for baby Jesus!
No. Like I mentioned previously, the bible never mentions three wise men visiting Jesus in the manger. There is a mention of “wise men” but their visitation isn’t corroborated along with the traditional story – nor does it even say how many of them were around and it definitely doesn’t say that they were kings. There is a mention of the gifts that they supposedly brought, but again, for what reasons they were brought is unknown. If it was for Jesus’ birth, then it still doesn’t make sense because it never specifies that they even saw Jesus as baby. He might’ve been a toddler by that point for all we know.
So, most of the reasons that anyone celebrates Christmas are usually quite secular – whether they’d admit it or not. Shopping for gifts to give, decorating a tree, putting up lawn ornaments, and getting together with family are traditions that aren’t really Christian in origin at all. There is little-to-no mention in the bible about Jesus’ birth so it’s quite obvious that the stories surrounding this specific holiday are just bits of made up tales. The next time you hear someone whine about how the heathens are “taking Christ out of Christmas” you can tell them that he was never really there to begin with.
Never had I ever imagined I’d be using those two phrases together in a sentence, yet here we are. I have been following the progress of this ‘project’ for weeks now and I’m still up in the air about it. On one hand, this could be quite humorous as it seems Comfort thinks he’ll be converting atheists to Jesus. On the other, he’s being very secretive about it all and kids that haven’t made their minds up yet could possibly be swayed thinking that Comfort’s “special introduction” is actually meant to be taken as scientifically as the contents of Darwin’s book. I’d like to believe that most college-goers are smarter than that, but you never know in this day and age.
My main issue with it all is that Comfort (and his boy-toy Kirk Cameron) are claiming that atheist professors are “brainwashing” their students. If I’m not mistaken, students have the ability to major in whatever subject they like as well as take many classes as electives in whatever field they choose. I’m not sure how a biology professor, or any science professor for that matter, should be teaching anything less than what that subject entails. Creationism, in essence, refutes much of what biology is founded upon so why should they be taught in conjunction? Not to mention that the idea of an intelligent designer isn’t what everyone believes – religiously or not. Why should a Buddhist kid be forced to listen about what only Christians think and vice versa? This is a case of idiocy at it’s finest.
To understand the absolute nuttiness of these two, let’s quickly revisit one of their so-called arguments for intelligent design: the banana. Because the banana fits in our hand, fits in our mouth essentially means it’s a creation from a god. Comfort held to this claim for quite awhile even though it’s common knowledge that the banana as we know it today has been genetically-altered to be a much larger version than it’s wild relative. God exists because bananas exist! Right? Lots of things fit in your mouth… make an argument for those! Additionally, the banana can also fit in your bum – did this god intend for that, too?
Getting back to the issue at hand – according to Ray Comfort’s blog @ Living Waters he is now refusing to answer questions related to this book handout. Why? Well, he says..
“From now on I will refuse to answer questions about the book or its contents,” Comfort said, “because there is such a deep-rooted anger in the atheist world about this publication.
“They desperately want to stop us,” he said, “and I don’t want to give away any further details regarding the campaign.”
I understand his desire to keep this hidden.. who wouldn’t want this to be a big secret when those crazy, terrible atheists could come and counter it? However, he’s not doing a very good job. There are lists circulating as to what universities will be included in this public showing of nonsense and groups are forming to provide a counter-attack. What isn’t hidden is Comfort’s 50-page special introduction to the book. Available on his website, it is basically a bunch of bible-quoting with an undertone of attacks on Darwin’s character and supposed links. According to Comfort, Darwin was a womanizer, racist and has an “undeniable connection to Hitler.” Even if these were all true things, how does that change what his research showed? It doesn’t. What’s equally as disturbing as the claim of Darwin being a less-than-savory person, is that the same acts of villainy can be shown in the bible. No one could be such a hypocrite, right? The banana guy can!
If this circus happens to come to a city/university near you, feel free to take action. Get your local secular group involved and show up with scissors, recycling bins, and a smile! As controversial as this can get, let’s also try to keep it civil. It’s hard enough getting a good image of atheists out there…
Edit: This pretty much explains everything I’d love to say but in video form. Thank you, ZOMGitsCriss.
… whoever you are! I’m a twentysomething, single female atheist with a lot to say. I feel that atheists, in general, don’t really have as active a voice as our religious counterparts – let alone women atheists – and I hope to help remedy that here. I sort of feel like a mythical creature in a fantastical world of nonsense.
Lately I’ve been browsing the internet trying to find statistics on exactly how many female atheists are out there in comparison to their male counterparts. Various sites claim the ratio is, at best, 2:1 in favor of the men. I find this incredibly believable as in my own family I happen to be the one female to my father and brother. If only my mother (who is a non-practicing believer) would jump ship and help me out! I also have no trouble believing this claim because of how women, by in large, tend to be more emotional. Religious beliefs are very emotional because of how they make you feel. I often wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that women are so few in the scientific field. Science references things that you can see and test – not relative to how you feel… I’m not saying women should remove themselves from their emotional tendencies but merely learn how to identify them as irrational ways for making many decisions.
Now I know you’re thinking I must be some militant feminist who wants women to be free of all stereotypes and stigma, but that’s not entirely true. I appreciate women who take the more traditional roles of being mothers, caretakers, teachers, etc. I just find it disheartening that many people, even today, aren’t teaching their daughters that they could be so much more. They can use their brains, critical thinking, logic and intelligence just as well as anyone else – and should! We’re giving these girls the most terrible role models who epitomize every ill stereotype possible. I wonder if there will be time to make a difference while I’m still around…