In an attempt to catch the seasonal spirit today, I watched a video on the history and pagan origins of Christmas (linked here http://youtu.be/gkGfcwY5yKI), that began like fairly normal documentary but went a bit bat shit Christian at the end.

Most of the history in the film I had learned in school, so it wasn't new information to me. But it really made me think, considering almost every aspect of what we now know as Christmas was stolen from other cultures, where do these Christians get off saying that Christmas is being stolen by atheism, or secularism, or commercialism? It's like saying, "You can't steel that, we stole it first!"

Do these people honestly think that two thousand years ago the people of Bethlehem, or Jerusalem, or Israel, even knew what a pine tree was, let alone decided to cut one down, bring it in the house and decorate it once a year. We're talking about the Middle East here.

I don't deny that Christmas, as we know it today, is as much about Baby Jesus as it is about Mithra, or Odin, or the winter solstice, if not more, and Christians have as much right to celebrate it as everyone else. But that doesn't mean that Christians own it now. You can't play "finders keepers" with a holiday! This constant insistence that all winter celebrations should be all about them is asking for too much.

Europe, and by extension the US, have a Christian idea of Christmas. But that doesn't stop us having Yule logs, or hanging holy, or kissing under the mistletoe, or putting up wreaths on the door, or leaving gifts for Santa, all pagan traditions that have nothing to do with the Bible or the nativity. We still do these things because we always have, our parents and grandparents and all our ascendants all the way back to a time before Christianity hijacked our dearly held beliefs for their own gain, all did these things at what we now call Christmas time. It's our culture.

So I say, "Merry Christmas Atheists!" because that's what people from my corner of the world say at this time of year. As an atheist I will continue my festive traditions because they're mine, they don't belong to Christianity.

Don't even get me started on Easter!


As a post script I'd just like to add that, in my opinion, this "War On Christmas" argument that rears it's ugly head every December is little more then a scare tactic used by Christian politicians to drum up support from people who think that anyone other then a Christian enjoying the festive season their own way is somehow a direct and calculated attack on them, because their Mammy never taught them to share.

Views: 175

Tags: Atheists, Christian, Christmas, Easter, Merry, Pagan

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Comment by Michael Penn on December 20, 2013 at 7:47pm

I think it's an American issue, Stuart. Christians bitch and complain here all the time thinking most recently that they are persecuted. Maybe that's because they secretly wanna be.

Americans misunderstand a lot of things. I know some that would be very interested if in the UK and they found a nice young woman in London saying "you'll have to come around and knock me up sometime." Not many here would know that she simply wanted to talk with you a bit more.

Comment by Stuart M Rees on December 20, 2013 at 7:11pm
P.S. Merry Christmas
Comment by Stuart M Rees on December 20, 2013 at 7:11pm
@ Dennis. I wasn't even aware that people disliked the shortened version Xmas, I can only assume this is an American issue. I'm Welsh, and here in Britain we use Xmas as a shorthand for Christmas all the time, but nobody minds. It seems like one more tradition that certain Christians have decided is now offensive, like saying Happy Holidays. It means the exact same thing, but they're upset that everyone doesn't say it the way they do. I learned about the meaning of X instead of Christ in Christmas back in school, it seems a lack of education lies at the heart of these issues. How anyone can not be curious about the history and origins of their own culture and traditions is beyond me, because without proper knowledge about such things how can you truly appreciate them? How can you truly know yourself?
Comment by Michael Penn on December 18, 2013 at 4:38pm

Merry Xmas to you as well. Some idiots don't want Christ taken out of their mass, and they are not even Catholic. They don't have mass at all. They could look at the X as a form of cross, but they do not. In fact "X" is Chi and the first letter of the Greek word Xpiotos which comes into English as Christ, so what is the problem? Ignorance is the problem. Our "learned" preachers of every level imaginable bawl and squal about the use of Xmas. They know nothing except how to make noise. I might also ask what is wrong with saying "Happy Holidays" when almost everyone today knows that December 25th is NOT the birthday of Christ? Why do they want it to be so? This is almost as bad as the pious religionist bemoaning the fact that more than 500,000 Mexicans are named "Jesus" and this is so disrespectful of "our Lord."  WTF?

I leave you with an Xmas card from 1910.

Comment by Sky God on December 12, 2013 at 10:52am

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show recently weighed in this issue (World War C). In addition, such intellectual heavyweights as Bill O'Reilly and Sarah Palin aired their views on the subject. Jon explains what happened to real holiday of St. Nick!

DailyShow_WorldWarC

Comment by jay H on December 11, 2013 at 6:05pm

My wife has a t-shirt from Dave Silverman"Christmas is a Christian holiday but the season belongs to eveyone"

Comment by Mika Mikaela on December 11, 2013 at 10:59am

I am an atheist but still I am going to celebrate Christmas with my friends in Israel, visit Chruch of the Nativity in Betlehem,listen to Frank Sinatra's white christmas, give gifts to my nephews and party with family & friends.We've been doing that for years and I agree with you. We should celebrate.

Comment by Stuart M Rees on December 11, 2013 at 6:01am
@ k.hughes Haha, good for you. It's strange though, for as long as I can remember saying "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" was just another way of saying "Merry Christmas," they always meant the same thing when I was a kid. They all basically mean, "I hope you find some joy at this cold, dark, rainy time of year, which is a nice thing to say no matter how you say it. Now it's a war on Christianity to say these things. More bullshit from Christian politicians trying to scare Christians into hating everyone else, especially Atheists.
Comment by k.h. ky on December 10, 2013 at 8:43pm

I refuse to say Merry X-Mas just to piss off the christians around here.  And It does.  They get very defensive when I reply "Happy Holidays".

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