Open thread on AETV #842: In Which Russell and Martin Are Adorable »« Very happy to be of assistance, sir!

What Russell thinks about Christmas

Hello, everyone. I’m putting my name in the post title just so it is totally clear that this is my point of view and I am not speaking for anyone else.

On Sunday’s show, someone asked me what I thought about Christmas, and I answered off the cuff. Since then we’ve received a few emails both for and against celebrating Christmas, and in line with something I predicted, Beth isn’t happy to hear that I’m bad mouthing Christmas. As I’m in a position of disagreeing with a good friend, I’m going to clear up what I think now.

This is a cleaned up version of what I said on the show:

The holiday is right around the corner and I feel like it’s time for me to inject the minority point of view. Matt and Beth will say, “Christmas is great! We should all celebrate it, it is thoroughly secularized, we all love it.” I support their right to do that.

I don’t care for Christmas. Screw Christmas, that’s what I say. This is not the official point of view of the Atheist Experience, but I could take it or leave it. People who try to aggressively push “Merry Christmas” in your face annoy me.

People who want to celebrate Christmas should feel free to do that.

I did not and would not say — as one of the email subject lines said — that Christmas is “pathetic.” I do not have any fight to pick with atheists who love Christmas and celebrate it in their own way. I do not hate every aspect of the season. Case in point: Yesterday I couldn’t wait to get a gingerbread latte from Starbucks, which is available in direct acknowledgment of the season. Another case in point: Matt and Beth throw some kick ass Christmas parties. I love those parties. I do not gnash my teeth at getting a few paid days off of work. I do not stomp my feet about an excuse to hand out and receive a few presents.

As someone who frequently identifies as a secular Jew, I understand as well as anybody how much people have the reasonable impulse to identify with a cultural tradition. To repeat ceremonies and rituals that they experienced growing up and made them feel happy. To feel connected to a large group of people who have shared experiences. To pass on those traditions to future generations, so they can experience that happiness and that connection in their own lives. I’m okay with all that.

Here’s what I don’t care for. First of all, the hype for Christmas is absolutely ridiculous. Can we agree on that? This year, “Black Friday” — already a marketing tool that was cynically constructed by retail corporations to take advantage of the public’s love of Christmas — is starting on Thursday. Many retail stores are opening bright and early at 6 AM on Thanksgiving day. As Jon Stewart said last year, “Christmas is so big now, it’s eating other holidays.” Yesterday on Facebook, I posted a story about a Wal-Mart “social strategy director” who posed as a regular employee on Twitter to say (without sarcasm, but with heavy unintentional irony) how excited he is to be working all day on another holiday. IMHO, that is kinda messed up.

Atheists who like Christmas are quick to point out that Christmas is largely a secular holiday for them, and that is true… to an extent. There’s nothing distinctly religious about trees, or gifts, or celebrating winter. “Saint Nick” may have once been a religious figure, but the modern incarnation was invented by a political cartoonist and then finalized by the Coca Cola company. So that’s fine.

And yet…

For a solid month I am blasted with songs about Jesus on every radio station, in mainstream stores, and out on the street. Some Christmas songs (Jingle Bells, Carol of the Bells) are secular. Many others (Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing) most definitely are not. They’re all sort of thrown together in an audio stew, demanding that I listen to them for the next 30 days. The naked hostility that the Fox News crowd shows towards people who dare to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” is most definitely not about a specific category of religion-free exchanges of commercial goods. It is an open demand that everyone should use the word that recognizes their religion… or else.

Popular culture is full of rotten characters who hate Christmas. Ebenezer Scrooge. The Grinch. Narnia’s White Witch. Characters who are generally a foil to show that you can’t hate Christmas without hating peace on Earth, good will towards men, the spirit of giving, and deep down, probably your own whole life.

So I hear many atheists say that Christmas mostly comes from a patchwork of old pagan traditions, and we should “take back” the holiday and piss off the religious right by claiming ownership of it. Fine with me if they want to work towards that… but I don’t want to take back Christmas. I do not feel it is part of my cultural tradition. I didn’t grow up believing in Santa Claus, and I don’t feel cheated because of it. Other atheists can take back Christmas for themselves; I have no desire for it, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.

It’s true that many atheists continue to love Christmas as a tradition they grew up with, and that it’s possible to pick and choose the fun parts that can be separated from the Christian parts. It’s also true that, by and large, most Christmas-loving atheists come from a Christian background. I know very few atheist cultural Jews / ex-Jews who are excited to greet the holiday season. I doubt there are many ex-Muslims who care much for the holiday either.

What I’m saying is that atheists are a multi-cultural community, and we celebrate our differences every bit as much we celebrate as our shared experiences. In recent years I feel like there has been a lot more talk to the effect that atheists not only can, but should promote Atheist Christmas. That if we fail to do so, then we are setting the atheist cause back in some way. That if other atheists think they can’t celebrate Christmas, they’ll feel deprived and go back to Christianity. But to me, the idea that loudly proclaiming your love of Christmas is of such great importance that only Scrooges and Grinches can fail to participate, is a little off-putting, if not downright dehumanizing. Even if Christmas is not a religious ritual, it is — more than some atheists might care to admit — the ritual of a very specific cultural niche. Not all of us belong to that niche.

Here is my Christmas message to you: Those who love Christmas should continue to celebrate Christmas. Apparently the ACA is sponsoring a family for the holidays — by all means, if that is your thing, donate and feel good about it! Having compassion for those less fortunate than you is not an exclusive Christian value, and you should feel free to do this now or at any other time of the year.

Those who don’t love Christmas, but still find themselves inundated with Christmas messages, should feel free to dismiss the whole thing… or to participate selectively in those bits and pieces that they like. And they should be able to do this without being called hypocrites, because yes, you can hate most of the holiday hype without hating gingerbread lattes. Nobody should feel compelled to support a tradition that they don’t belong to, religious or otherwise.

And for my fellow Christmas haters (or for people who just say “meh”), I would like to share my very favorite Christmas carol, written and performed by Monty Python’s Eric Idle. For those who love Christmas… I still like all of you too! …But you may want to give this one a pass.

Comments

  1. pianoman, Heathen & Torontophile says

    i like christmas, my wife and I enjoy doing the fun parts. i think it’s a completely secular function for us.

    what i hate about christmas is some of what russell mentioned:
    - playing christmas music on the radio starting on nov 1st
    - the endless barrage of retail marketing
    - the insinuations in said ads that your loved ones’ christmas won’t be special unless you go into serious debt buying gift after gift
    - that families are blowing each other off for thanksgiving to go to wal-mart or target because it’s no longer reasonable to open at 5am on friday.
    - that some big box stores will put out christmas trees right after labor day.

    other than that, i like it.

    • says

      Here is another reason for hating the x-mas season would be all those people who have to advertise or pander x-mas with more lights and decorations then a Vegas casino or Broadway show. Talk about throwing something out of proportion. We’re going to celebrate the birthday of someone who was a heretic and was executed as one and accomplished nothing more then to be the founder of another superstitious religion. I sure as hell don’t give a rat’s ass.

  2. Nicolas says

    Here in France we’re lucky: Christmas is actually “Noël”. No reference to religion in the name. Way easier for everybody.

    So, yeah, there’s a few people who add Nativity scenes along with the Christmas Tree (Sapin de Noël here), but mostly for decoration and only for a few days. And never outside (that I can see, at least), and certainly never on public ground. But then, it’s all about Santa Claus anyways.

    (Although why you English-speaking people call him “Santa Claus” when Claus Day is actually the 6th, I don’t know.)

    I wouldn’t say that it’s a secular holiday though. To be perfectly honest, it’s been decades since it’s been anything but a straight commercial holiday…

    • Suido says

      I disagree that Noel doesn’t refer to religion.

      From wikipedia:

      The word Noel comes from the French word Noël meaning Christmas, from the Latin word natalis which translates as birthday.

      It’s not as blatant as having the word christ in it, but etymologically it is still a reference to Jesus’ birth and therefore religion. Claiming that Noel doesn’t refer to religion is a bit like saying that temple (derived from Latin templum) is just a name for a building, not a religious reference.

  3. haitied says

    I’ve already got tons of “Put the Christ back in Christmas” Memes on my FB news feed. I suggest to them “take it a step further and put Christ back on the cross”. . mixed reviews for that suggestion.

    • says

      Where else would a heretic and traitor of their own religion go but on a cross. Over turning benches and tables of merchants who were there for a religious reason and then to proclaim to be the son of god would be consider an act of treason according to Jewish law. Jesus was executed not sacrificed.

  4. senor says

    I have a similar dislike for the general holiday. All I really care about is taking some time off work and spending however many days I can tolerate with my relatives.

    I officially gave up on the gifts two years ago. Partly because everyone in my family is boring and has everything they need, but mainly due to the gross overcommercialization. I do still get gifts, but as charitable donations in their names.

  5. says

    Thank you for posting your thoughts on this. As an Atheist ex-Jew, my wife and brother-in-law (both Atheists raised as pretty much nothing (although in a Jewish/Christian household)) both try to convince me (always around this time of the year, of course) that Christmas is a secular holiday, and the fact that I don’t like it is irrational and stupid since it has nothing to do with religion. It’s nice to hear someone with a view on this subject similar to mine (yay internet!).

  6. Schlumbumbi says

    I remember my youth, when at christmas, you met with your family and you actually liked these people. And I remember a huge christmas tree with amazing decorations, which were passed through generations of the family as heritage items, beautifully reflecting the lights of countless burning candles. Something you could blithesomely observe for an entire evening without getting bored…

    These times are long gone.

  7. addiepray says

    As a fellow atheist Jew, I say right on! I’ll be lighting candles this week, celebrating my own reclaimed, secularized seasonal holiday. Trees, wreaths, Santa… the fact that we DON’T link to those cultural identifiers is a part of celebrating Hannukah. And I loathe Xmas carols- we hear the same twenty or thirty shitty songs on loop for five straight weeks, in every store and public place. It’s maddening.

    My favorite Jewish ritual from childhood, movie + chinese food on Xmas day, has been co-opted, too. It used to be that only Jews would be in the theater on that day. Now, they release major movie on that day, and theaters are packed. Is nothing sacred?!?

  8. says

    I’m kind of glad I’m Australian at this time of year, firstly because religion’s not generally as pervasive as in the US and secondly because we don’t have Thanksgiving, so we don’t have this extended dance-mix November-December holiday season which never seems to end.

    My family always do great Christmasses – it’s 100% about being together, eating a lot, ribbing the oldies (we call them “the silverbacks” in reference to the sea of white hair around every table) and buying gifts for the kids (my brothers and our respective partners are all mid-late 30s and decided gifts between ourselves was just a pain in the arse – we just drink these days). We’re not outspoken heathens but it’s never, ever been about Jesus and we don’t even sing the secular carols. Like I said, it’s just the once-a-year family nosh-up with (modest) gifts and our kids all running about like monsters (just as my brothers, cousins and I did in the 80s).

    Down here we do, however, get a proper barrage of Christmas advertising, exhorting us to spend ourselves into oblivion. Thankfully, though, we don’t really have a Fox news equivalent, radio’s irrelevant to my life and there’s no hysteria about putting the Christ back into Christmas. Generally in Oz, even mild bible-thumpers are looked at with a raised eyebrow – we’re not a militant atheist nation but faith isn’t as hot a topic of conversation as the US. It’s (thankfully) generally considered a private matter. In fact, in my own circle of friends and family I get the impression sometimes that the religious people I know are something of a minority – and even they’re mostly so moderate and liberal they might not even qualify as Christian by US standards.

  9. Narf says

    Right there with you, Russel. Personally, I’m not a fan of holidays, in general. I never need a reason to give presents to people I like, and I hate the seasonal obligation to do so. I’m not a fan of excessive consumerism, so Christmas is particularly problematic for me.

  10. Felipe says

    I’ve always liked Christmas quite a lot, and I remember distinctly feeling a little guilty about caring more about the secular aspects than about Jesus when I was religious. To me, that demonstrates the truth about it: Christmas is not only a secular holiday nowadays, but it has never been truly religious, at least the part that people actually care about.

    I do get a little annoyed by the attempt by big corporations to own Christmas and use it for their purposes, but the christian religions do the exact same thing, and we still enjoy the presents, the food and all that all same. Human beings just like to party.

  11. jacobfromlost says

    I read somewhere years ago that one theory as to why Rome fell was that they had too many holidays.

    Now Christmas is eating Thanksgiving and, to be honest, Halloween (I noticed this year that stores had Christmas decorations for sale next to the Halloween stuff before Halloween was even over!).

    Once Christmas starts eating into Independence Day, America is done for. That’s my theory.

  12. says

    LOL, Russell! Don’t hold back, but tell us how you really feel!

    Although I’m kind of “meh….” about Xmas overall (and don’t see the need for it to be atheism’s ‘last stand’), I found Russell’s visceral and spontaneous reaction to be one of the highlights of the show (well, it was either that, or the first caller who used plenty of circular-reasoning and reinforced every argument by saying, “it’s pretty simple”; that guy was fun, but in a faux-rationalist kind of way by not using a kind of coherent logic, but only an incredible life-like simulation of the real thing).

  13. melissaeder says

    Thanks Russell. While I don’t care who does like and enjoy christmas too,
    I hate the hype surrounding it, how its promoted from october at least. That it seems to be all about how much you spend and so on. We put up a tree in mid december and buy kids presents have a lunch on christmas day but that’s it. I hate the hype and don’t get excited about christmas. Hate all of the religious songs and the stuff they put around.

    • Russell Glasser says

      Uh, nope, I’m not wrong. Reading that link, it acknowledges the influence of Thomas Nast (the political cartoonist I mentioned), which predates the 1906, 1908, and 1925 illustrations by many years. Wikipedia says of Nast, “Among his notable works were the creation of the modern version of Santa Claus.”

      The Snopes page you linked cites as “false” the claim that “The modern image of Santa Claus was created by the Coca-Cola Company.” But I did not make that claim, I only said they finalized it. So thanks for the fact check… but Snopes confirms what I said.

  14. says

    Sometimes Christmas, even for those of us who celebrate it, can be just plain aggravating in the way it takes over American culture from the second Halloween ends (and sometimes even before). For example, the weekend after Halloween, I took my daughter to the mall because some books she’d ordered at the bookstore had arrived. There was already Christmas music playing over the loudspeakers.

    We’re bombarded with Christmas imagery and music for two straight months. Everywhere you go, unless it’s to some specialty shop catering to a specific non-Christian religious demographic, is decked in Christmas decorations exclusively. My wife, for some odd reason, has this weird addiction to Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies that she indulges as soon as they start running (which seems to be as soon as the first leaf turns red).

    And, of course, we’re already getting the aggressive declarations of “I’m going to say Merry Christmas and there’s not a damn thing you can do to stop me!” on every social media outlet. As if, in the midst of two whole months of constant bombardment with “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” it’s some horrible imposition to ask for a single scrap of acknowledgment that there are other midwinter holidays going on in the world.

    And seriously? Boycotting stores because their greeters say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas? Are people insane?!

    This stuff drives me around the bend, and I’m someone who likes and celebrates (secular) Christmas. I can only imagine what a pain it must be for someone who doesn’t.

    • Felipe says

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but complaining about having to deal with Christmas songs and decorations and people wishing you a Merry Christmas sounds really similar to that homophobic friend at work complaining about how he hates seeing gay couples showing affection near him. To me, it makes a pretty clear parallel when you say “I’m going to say Merry Christmas and there’s not a damn thing you can do to stop me!”, for example.

      In which I mean yeah, it’s really pervasive into the culture right now, but it’s just people doing stuff they like, and it doesn’t really affect you.

      • says

        You’re really comparing people who excessively celebrate Christmas to a minority that has been criminalized and persecuted for more than a lifetime? You don’t see how that’s a bad analogy?

      • says

        I think I made my point poorly. It’s not that I dislike Christmas, nor do I dislike that people celebrate it. I don’t mind being told “Merry Christmas,” (in fact, I say it myself).

        The point I was trying to make is twofold.

        First, that since I (as someone who grew up with and likes the holiday) hit a saturation point, I fully sympathize with how it could wear on someone who feels no particular connection to it.

        And second, given that Christmas all but takes over public culture in America for two months, it bothers me how aggressively some people react to any suggestion of acknowledging that other holidays for other people sharing the same space are also going on during that timeframe, and that maybe those people would appreciate not being completely drowned out.

        I’m also a bit annoyed that Christmas has reached the point where just preparing for it is not merely [I]overshadowing[/I] other holidays, but actually [I]overriding[/I] them. Like people having to work on Thanksgiving Day (a holiday actually established for all Americans, not merely a subset) in order to hold Christmas sales.

        • Felipe says

          Fair enough. I’m not american, so I can’t imagine anyone actually caring if people are celebrating something other than Christmas, so maybe you guys have to deal with more than I can account for, and probably this is why this “controversy” seems so inconsequential to my eyes.

          Regarding my previous post, I understand both things aren’t the same, and that’s kind of the point of using analogies in the first place, but it’s quite possible that both situations are so disconnected that it makes the analogy fail completely. I still think Narf is missing my point though, which is how absurd it seems to me to hear people complaining about things that really don’t affect them in any way that matters.

          Again, I don’t have to deal with right-wing nut-jobs demanding that I celebrate Christmas as you say you do, so maybe I just can’t relate.

      • says

        I think some people’s most cherished Christmas tradition is bitching about Christmas.

        Seriously, it’s not being “shoved down your throat.” About 93% of people in America celebrate Christmas, and that includes most atheists and nones and even about half of secular Jews. If you don’t like it, don’t celebrate it and suck it up when you go outside.

        • Narf says

          I think some people’s most cherished Christmas tradition is bitching about Christmas.

          Err, yeah, so what’s your point? :-P

        • mike says

          Ya I’m with Beth here, the bitching about xmas just seems like a hipster, or hipster atheist thing to do, as what is there to complain about that affect you directly? I don’t see how decorations and music are the same as ‘shoving down throat’, nobody goes to stores to listen to the music, I don’t pay attention to decorations and sale prices are a bonus!

          I used to try to boycott it due to the religious background but that just separated atheists further from the majority, and the truth was I liked 90% of xmas stuff so why stop celebrating? Like a lot of things it was started on myths and fables but now ppl do it as a fun tradition.

          When ppl ask how I’m an atheist who still does xmas my favourite reply is “I still celebrate Hallowe’en and I don’t believe in ghosts” I love the commercialisation and hope it gets bigger each year, because as the secular side grows the religious element shrinks and shrinks.

          The best is when you tell people the 25th is Santa’s birthday and when they correct you with Jesus, I always say “Who the fuck is Jesus?!”

        • Corwyn says

          If you don’t like people bitching about christmas…. suck it up.

          Tyranny of the majority is no better than any other kid of tyranny.

          • says

            Oh, celebrating Xmas is such tyranny!

            No one is actually oppressing you by going around and celebrating what they want. If you feel oppressed because you’re in the minority, it is self-inflicted.

          • Narf says

            Help! Help! I’m being repressed!

            I wouldn’t go so far as all of that, but the whole season annoys the hell out of me.

            I think Corwyn only went to such an extreme term because it’s a well-recognized idiom. Most of the time, when we speak of tyranny of the majority, we’re not speaking of actual tyranny. It’s just a phrase.

          • AhmNee says

            Suicide rates go up during the holidays. This could be prevented by eliminating the holiday. Therefore ipso facto celebrating Xmas is akin to committing murder.

            But then again, where else am I going to get a combo toaster / mustache trimmer?

          • Corwyn says

            You completely missed my point. You contention that people should just suck it up is the oppression.

            Put simply,You bitch about people bitching, which can’t help but be hypocritical.

          • Corwyn says

            No, people bitching about other people having fun is ridiculous.

            Of course it is. What gives you the idea that that is what is going on here? The very ridiculousness of it should tell you that something else must be the problem.

        • says

          What do you mean bethpresswood that it not being shoved down our throats? Even the United States Post Office has Christmas stamps. So even the goverment is endorsing a religious holiday, so how fucked up is that? It’s not just shoved down our throats, were being forced fed this shit. Go ahead bethpresswood and name one other religious holiday that has been as over-glorified as X-mas.

          • says

            It’s not strictly religious. There is a secular Xmas. 93% of Americans celebrate. 2/3 of NON-Christians celebrate it. A majority of atheists do. Everything has religious origins, things can become secularized.

          • Narf says

            Right there with you on those points, Beth. The holidays still annoy the hell out of me. I’m a buzzkill.

  15. Samuel Vimes says

    Owing to the fact that I’ve out-lived family whom I had absolutely no business out-living at all who loved Christmas, these past years I just prefer not to even think about it any more. One can train one’s self to “un-see” and “un-hear” all the Christmas going on around one.

  16. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Russell, you should have titled this “Why I fight: Thoughts of a soldier waging the War on Christmas”.

    Ok seriously, as an atheist who was raised a nominal christian and loved Christmas as a kid, I find nothing in this piece to disagree with. I fall into the ‘meh’ camp rather than the ‘hate’ camp, but I find myself moving closer and closer to the hate camp with each rising and falling of the annual yule tide, with each TV ad for Christmas gift ideas I see, and each rendition of “Jinglebell Rock” I hear.

  17. Liz says

    Samuel Vimes, sorry to hear that you lost loved ones. My aunt who lost her 29 y/o daughter in a freak accident several years back has also decided to completely ignore the whole Christmas season. She basically just avoids TV altogether and saves all her vacation time for a 2-3 week trip to somewhere far away around christmas. She’s been on an African Safari, to the Galapagos, etc.

  18. Kimpatsu says

    For a solid month I am blasted with songs about Jesus on every radio station
    Just to nitpick, Russell, I think it’s more like 2 months. My local supermarket put up their Xmas decorations and started with the music on Nov 1–The very day after Hallowe’en. Xmas comes earlier every year…

  19. Carol Lynn says

    But Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun” is still the best Christmas song ever. I wish they’d play that instead of the religious songs, which do indeed have dodgy lyrics. I never hear it on commercial radio and I wish I did.

  20. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    What pisses me off about Xmas is that crap is in the shops for it from around the end of July. Keep it to December and that’s fine for me, I filter it out.

    We seem to have done a fairly good job of excising the religion out of the holiday here in the UK. Personally I don’t decorate my apartment and only send a handful of cards, but it’s always good to visit the mother and brother, eat too much, maybe go to a pub by the sea at Christmas lunchtime, that sort of thing.

    I couldn’t care less about the rest but the family time is always nice!

  21. Peter J Knight says

    I hate Xmas, have done for years. I gave up buying presents and no longer send cards (though I have been contemplating sending “Happy Winter Solstice” cards, but really can’t be arsed…)

    The commercialisation is obscene, and gets worse and earlier every bleedin’ year! STOP! PLEASE!!

    However, I do like the excuse to drink and eat to excess…! (not that I need much of a reason to do either).

    The best Xmas’s have been when I’ve been away. I spent the period in Peru a few years ago, which was great, and a couple of years before that I spent it in Vegas, which was mighty surreal.

    Have you seen what Xmas in Japan is like though? I was shocked when I was there in the run-up to Xmas (before I went to Vegas). Ridiculous and over top! I didn’t find it anywhere near as offensive as I would have done back home though.

    Oh well, at least it will all be over by this time next month.

    • houndentenor says

      I worked in retail a couple of Christmases while I was in college. Nothing ruins Christmas for you more than watching Christians treat each other like crap scrounging for bargains. It was disgusting. I think I still have PTSD.

  22. grumpyoldfart says

    I used to work in a recycling plant and each year the Christmas cards start appearing in the garbage during the first week of December.

    Dear old “Auntie Marge” is sending all her love to the family – and the family chucks it in the bin as soon as it arrives!

  23. steele says

    Merry Christmas to all the atheists out there!!

    From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Charlie_Brown_Christmas

    They return to the school auditorium with the tree and everybody laughs at Charlie Brown. In desperation, Charlie Brown begins to wonder if he really knows what Christmas is all about. Linus states he can tell him, and recites from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verses 8 through 14 from the Authorized King James Version:

    “’8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.’”

    “…That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

    Realizing that he does not have to let commercialism ruin his Christmas, Charlie Brown quietly picks up the little tree and walks out of the auditorium, intending to take the tree home to decorate and show the others it will work in the play.

    God Bless!

    • mike says

      Do you mind paraphrasing that paragraph for me? I don’t get how it explains what Christmas is all about, it says; ‘something weird happened but don’t be afraid- here’s a baby. And now there is peace and goodwill on earth’ only we don’t have peace, people are fighting and dying all over, so WTF?

      You would think if there actually was a god-like thing it would appear and negotiate peace among the people fighting, ironically mostly fighting over which made up “god” is the real deal!

      But I have no clue what that paragraph of Linus’ explains.

      Zeus out!

      • steele says

        Mike I appreciate your question and your praise of your false god Zeus.

        Linus is expert in theological science, as such his authoritative statements in this area are beyond question. I wish I could paraphrase Linus for you but that is beyond my ability to do for you. I would suggest you watch the entire Charlie Brown Christmas in context and try to glean what you can from it, perhaps this will help you. You could try praying to Zeus for enlightenment as well but I doubt this will get you too far. Lastly though I would suggest you read the entire New Testament, I will send you a copy if you would like, just give me your name and address or check out this link for the Good News!!!

        http://www.biblegateway.com/

        LOL! Have a Merry CHRISTmas!

        • Narf says

          Not so sadly, I think those who push your false Messiah, in an attempt to take over Santa’s special day, are losing out.

          Oh, and I have four translations of the Bible in print and have read the whole thing, cover-to-cover. It’s why I’m an atheist. I make frequent use of BibleGateway.com, myself.

          • says

            I’m a big fan of http://www.biblehub.com myself, since it shows many more translations and Hebrew/Greek interlinear, with Strong’s concordance AND various commentaries. Makes it easier to debunk the Bible when you can show the believer the “original” Hebrew and Greek words (and note the quotes). A shockingly-large number of believers haven’t even bothered to research the book they profess to believe (which actually might help them “protect” their faith, since the Bible itself is the main tool I like to use to ‘preach’ atheism when I feel the person is deserving of such ‘salvation’ from a faith-based lifestyle; sometimes I decide just to condemn them to their “Living Hell”). :)

            Adam

        • Corwyn says

          I would suggest you read the entire New Testament

          How sad is that people who think that their book is the words of an inerrant unchanging divine being suggest that people only read half of it?

          If the rape of a betrothed girl was supposed to bring peace, it would seem to have failed pretty spectacularly.

          So here’s what I don’t understand about this story. The messiah was to be of the house of David, correct. This is way they go through all rigamarole of creating the story of this tax, to get a child of the house of David to be born in Bethlehem. But, if Mary was a virgin, Joseph is not the father, the child is NOT born of the house of David. Ergo, not the messiah.

          • Narf says

            Hell, the New Testament is nowhere near half, for that matter. Depending upon the translation and formatting, it’s something like 24% to 30% of the Bible, by page count.

        • says

          WTF do you mean false god Zeus? Zeus exist just as much as your superstitious god. Oh that’s right Steele I forgot your unreasonably biased and only believe in JUST YOUR god. How self centered and arrogant is that? Perhaps you could look up the word hypocrite in a dictionary the next time you use the word arrogant.

    • says

      On of the reasons for hating Christmas would be A Charlie Brown Christmas which has been on television for so long it’s gone beyond just being a re-run. It’s old, old, and OLD!!! Isn’t it bad enough the networks are showing shit on television I used to watch when I was a kid, but then to have Steele glorify it as if A Charlie Brown Christmas is the true meaning of Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas should be that the Christian’s stole the Winter Solstice from the pagans and are pretending that Je$u$ was born in December which isn’t even true and making it their holiday so that all the greedy cooperate excecutives can sell all their X-mas crap to narrow minded and ignorant hypocrites like Steele.

      So have a merry X-mas Steele.

      P.S. Je$u$ no more died for my sins then Ted Bundy died for my sins. They were both executed.

  24. David Munson says

    Except for the fact that I have two kids who absolutely love xmas I would stop celebrating immediately. My main complaint is about the hassle (I don’t mind the commercialization – I can ignore that). I also agree with Russell about the negative message sent in xmas stories (only someone “nasty” could dislike xmas). Another xmas story directed at children with a disgusting message is “Rudolph”. To summarize the story: A child is born with a physical abnormality so he is rejected by everyone (including his own father and Santa) until they figure out a way that his abnormality can be used to their advantage. How’s that for goodwill towards man?

  25. Zme says

    Sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells” by a bunch of non-unionized elves:-

    Ho! Ho! F**king Ho, what a crock of sh*t!
    We all work for Santa Claus;
    We’e had enough…we quit!
    We do all the f**king work,
    While he stars in the show;
    Stick your Christmas up your arse!
    Ho! Ho! F**king ho.

    (Just like Wal-mart)

  26. steele says

    Adam,

    How gracious of you to dispense salvation to those you deem worthy. I hope one day you will shine your face upon me, lol. “Atheist Arrogance”…priceless and “foolish”. (Note the quotes, lol)

    • says

      Steele said:

      How gracious of you to dispense salvation to those you deem worthy. I hope one day you will shine your face upon me, lol. “Atheist Arrogance”…priceless and “foolish”. (Note the quotes, lol)

      Ahh, come on now, Steele: I just know you must feel a burning urge inside of you to show us some of those “fruitages of the spirit” of Xian love by quoting Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 (you know, the scriptures that say “the fool says in their heart there is no God”)?

      Or do you really think those quote signs are going to protect you from the warning Jesus gave to his followers in Matthew 5:22 (“Whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.’”)

      So the only question is, which is burning hotter inside of you: the urge to call atheists fools, or your actual fear of going to Hell? Are you SURE you’re not an atheist, since it sure looks like it’s the former temptation, which means you apparently must not actually believe in Hell (hence you’re just like us atheists)!

      Adam

      • steele says

        Adam,

        I only use mockery when appropriate, in your case it applies. guess you haven’t read your Bible lately

        1st Kings 18:27-29

        27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

        Titus 1:10-16

        10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.[g] 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans,[h] a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”[i] 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

        The verse you quote Matthew 5:22 applies to a brother in the Lord, not some vain empty talker like you who raves to the nothingness. I don’t think you will be offering me any of your “salvation” (again note the quotes) now will you Adam?

        • AhmNee says

          Wait, I’m confused, Steele.

          Were you using Titus in a self referential way? Because the way I interpret it, you’re the false teacher, empty talker and deceiver. The shameful gain is your own ego. You turn away from the truth as we best know it through science. You profess to know God and yet are prideful and arrogant showing you don’t follow the teachings you claim to believe in. And this makes you unfit for any good work.

          Do you not see, brother? You must repent your gullible ways and embrace rationality and skepticism. Understand that there can be no grain of truth in that for which there is no evidence. Realize that this vast universe is complex and grand and wonderful and frightening enough without inventing invisible sky wizards and their homunculi to complicate it further.

          • steele says

            AhmNee,

            Wow, thanks I am so enlightened now. Skepticism huh, ok I am skeptical you exist, this is so liberating! LOL!

            Oh btw, What is truth there AhmNee since you claim to have it? Just curious

          • AhmNee says

            I can’t fault you for being skeptical I exist. I could be a chatbot or AhmNee may not be *gasp* my real name.

            (I assert the former us untrue but the latter is true. You can decide for yourself if you believe my claims based on the evidence you have.)

            How typical that you would claim I said something I didn’t. I didn’t claim to have any truth. Just that, “there can be no grain of truth in that for which there is no evidence”.

            I know how comforting it can be to believe you can know all there is to know about this existence and the “next” by reading a book. A really awful book about a jealous and deranged god if you believe it to be true cover to cover. But most likely you are, as were my parents and was I when I believed, a buffet christian. You believe the parts that appeal to you and discount the rest as imperfect writings of men. My mother considers herself christian but believes in reincarnation. But if you don’t believe the whole thing is real, then how do you determine which parts are real and which aren’t when there’s no proof of any of it? What about the parts that are explicitly false?

          • steele says

            AhmNee,

            I do find it comforting to know the Truth, it doesn’t mean I know everything or every answer but I know what is most important.

            you state:

            “A really awful book about a jealous and deranged god if you believe it to be true cover to cover.”

            I am so sorry God doesn’t live up to your high standards. He should deal with sin and evil in a nicer way for you, so you don’t get offended I mean.

            I am not a buffet Christian btw, I happen to believe the Bible is the written record of God’s interaction with humanity. What parts do you consider outright false? I am curious

          • says

            So Steele if you believe that the bible is the written record of god and his interaction with humanity then you’re probably not offended about a god who rapes someone else’s wife and doesn’t bother to pay any kind of tangible child support. Or a god who punishes someone like a friend of mine, whose daughter died when she was only 5 months old. ” For the wages of sin is death.” So I guess his daughter was a really bad sinner and deserved to die. And by the way seeing how you’re such an obedient x-tian as well, how many witches have you killed lately? “Thou shall suffer not a witch to live.”

            This sounds like a sane and reasonable god to me, unlike those other gods who are just a bunch of conteptuous and self center ass holes.

        • says

          Steele said (in italics):

          I only use mockery when appropriate, in your case it applies. guess you haven’t read your Bible lately 1st Kings 18:27-29 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”

          I always get those two confused: was Elijah the one who called upon Jehovah to murder 42 small children (death by she-bear!) for making fun of his baldness, or was Elijah the the one who incited a crowd to kill 450 priests of another religion?

          And maybe then you could explain what superior morality you see on display in both accounts.

          (Heck, I’ll just tell you: Elisha’s story is not to mock Godly men or they’ll curse you and God will call in the she-bears (basically an appeal to authority), and Elijah’s story is also an appeal to authority, where the rule is do what prophets of Jehovah say or else you’ll be killed).

          It’s hard to see any discernible difference in immorality between the actions of modern-day Islamic Jihadists shouting “Allah akbar!” as they blow themselves up as suicide bombers and the prophets of the Bible (except the guys in the Bible come out scot-free).

          Titus 1:10-16

          10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.[g]

          Uh, a ‘circumcision party’? Sounds FUN!

          A few more phrases like that, and one almost might get the idea the Bible was written for an ancient audience, living 2,000 yrs ago in the completely different cultural context, say like in the ancient Near East!

          BTW, you apparently didn’t actually read Titus 1:16, which kinda rules out the applicability of that particular passage:

          16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

          Uh, did you forget this is the forum for atheists, those who DON’T profess to know God?

          Rule #1 when quoting Bible scriptures to chastise and rebuke others: pay close attention to what the would-be-rebukees claim as their belief, and make sure the Bible passage actually applies to them. But nice try, though.

          Then you capped it off with this:

          The verse you quote Matthew 5:22 applies to a brother in the Lord, not some vain empty talker like you who raves to the nothingness.

          Yeah, that actually fits in quite nicely with Jesus’ referring to Gentiles and Samaritans as “dogs”, saying he only was preaching to the Chosen People as the Jewish Messiah; racial and religious bigotry (xenophobia) and hatred for others is rampant throughout both the OT and NT.

          It’s classic ‘in-group’ vs ‘out-group’ stuff, a way for people who are members of a certain group use it as an excuse to feel better than the unwashed (unbaptized?) hoi polloi. Heck, I was raised in it as a kid: been there, done it, and got the NOTW t-shirt.

          I don’t think you will be offering me any of your “salvation” (again note the quotes) now will you Adam?

          Well, that’s why I say there are no ‘hard and fast’ rules, and it’s on a case-by-case basis: if I don’t think the person has the intellectual capacity or emotional strength to be an atheist, I don’t try to waken them up, but just let them continue to believe in their comforting amygdala-driven fantasy (primarily out of my sense of compassion and grace for them…) :)

          Adam

          • says

            I would agree with Adam 100% and I’m wondering were that pompous ass hypocrite Steele’s rebuttal is on this one seeing how you exposed him or her for the liar he or she is. It would appear that once again how the not so mighty have fallen when faced with the truth.

            People like Steele are just too unreasonably biased and closed minded to understand that as an atheist I don’t hate them or their god, I just don’t believe that it’s possible for the existence of any being, being able to do the supernatural which would include any deity including theirs. I don’t exclude all gods except for one or a few, I exclude all which makes me impartial not biased.

            P.S. Steele,
            I don’t believe in Santa Claus either and I hope that if you do believe in Santa Claus you won’t find that
            offensive as well.

          • steele says

            Adam,

            Good Exegetical work on the Titus passage, I already understand the context in which it is meant but I was primarily using it to highlight your Cretan behavior and empty talk. I am aware you don’t believe in God but it doesn’t mean the verse doesn’t have any applicability to you especially detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work part. You are reading it too literally Adam, lol, read between the lines in this case!

            you state:

            “It’s classic ‘in-group’ vs ‘out-group’ stuff, a way for people who are members of a certain group use it as an excuse to feel better than the unwashed (unbaptized?) hoi polloi. Heck, I was raised in it as a kid: been there, done it, and got the NOTW t-shirt.”

            I realize you wish everybody was as tolerant as you are, it isn’t an “in-group”, “out- group” thing…it is a who is saved and who is lost kind of thing. Intolerance will not be tolerated in your world right?

            I know you think you are cute and funny with your “grace” and “compassion” as you state it, but you just confirm the truth with your ignorance

            2nd Peter 2:15-22

            15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

            17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves[g] of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

            Jude 1:10-13

            10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. 11 Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are hidden reefs[e] at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

            While I may not have the emotional strength and intellectual capacity as you imply, I wouldn’t want the snake oil you are selling even did bestow your benevolence upon me.

            You are nothing new Adam, funny the first Adam couldn’t figure it out either, trying to take the place of God and place yourself on the throne. Move along people nothing to see here, we have seen it all before!

          • says

            Steele said (in italics):

            Good Exegetical work on the Titus passage, I already understand the context in which it is meant but I was primarily using it to highlight your Cretan behavior and empty talk.

            “exegetical work”? Steele, it’s due to my having basic reading comprehension skills, and avoiding the Xian tendency of eisegesis (reading into the words, driven by what you WANT them to mean). Scripture-twisting comes quite easily to many Xians, and even when caught red-handed, they usually manage to come up with silly excuse to justify it.

            BTW, you apparently don’t realize that Crete is an actual location in Greece (it’s a lovely place with friendly people, and you should visit, if you ever get the chance to visit: I’ve been there twice). But if you DO visit, be forewarned that the people may not appreciate your usage of their name as a bigoted slur. That’s the problem with Xians: they are often insulting without even trying, due to assuming everyone else thinks like they do.

            I am aware you don’t believe in God but it doesn’t mean the verse doesn’t have any applicability to you especially detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work part. You are reading it too literally Adam, lol, read between the lines in this case!

            Good point: you’d think an omnipotent, omniscient being would’ve figured out a way to denote which scriptures were to be read literally and which required metaphorical symbolism. God didn’t dictate His Divine will be transcribed into languages which included niceties such as punctuation marks and vowels, so apparently Jehovah is content to be a God of confusion, letting humans sort it out (and God’s prescience is in question, since He obviously didn’t consider the ramifications on His Holy Word before proceeding with that whole Tower of Babel incident by scrambling languages).

            I realize you wish everybody was as tolerant as you are, it isn’t an “in-group”, “out- group” thing…it is a who is saved and who is lost kind of thing.

            Oh, I see, so who is IN the Kingdom of God (saved) and who is OUT of the Kingdom of God (doomed)?

            REALLY, Steele? You cannot be so dense as to deny Xian theology which you, I, and BILLIONS of other people know to be doctrines of Xianity.

            Intolerance will not be tolerated in your world right?

            Are you just trying to be ironic now, or is that unintentional irony?

            Oh, on this-

            2nd Peter 2:15-22

            You mean to tell me you are not aware of the overwhelming consensus opinion amongst NT scholars that 2nd Peter is ‘pseudepigraphical’ (a polite way of saying it’s a late 2nd century “forgery”), where the epistle wasn’t written by Apostle Peter since it uses anachronistic language for the time period Peter was alive and mentions controversies which occurred long AFTER his martyrdom (in the second-half of the 1st century)?

            Research the history of your own beliefs, and I’ve even written a few on my blog, discussing the ramifications of the epistle of 2nd Peter on Xianity, with articles comparing the Genesis accounts of Noah and Lot vs 2nd Peter.

            http://www.awgue.weebly.com

            Adam

          • says

            Darren said-

            I’m new here…and had assumed that Steele’s initial post was said tongue-in-cheek. Is that not the case?

            It’s hard to tell, since it’s extremely difficult to distinguish between a parody of someone only playing the role of a religious fundamentalist, and the genuine article.

            Adam

          • Steele says

            Adam,

            you state:

            “You mean to tell me you are not aware of the overwhelming consensus opinion amongst NT scholars that 2nd Peter is ‘pseudepigraphical’ (a polite way of saying it’s a late 2nd century “forgery”), where the epistle wasn’t written by Apostle Peter since it uses anachronistic language for the time period Peter was alive and mentions controversies which occurred long AFTER his martyrdom (in the second-half of the 1st century)?”

            I am quite aware of this information, are you aware of the consensus opinion of 1st Corinthians 15:3-11 is an authentic saying of Paul??

            3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

            Here is Paul citing Jesus appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, I suppose Paul was lying to contemporaries of his, who could go and verify his statements? Again the evidence against 2nd Peter is not that strong in my opinion despite what the “consensus” might say, even if I grant your argument so what? What do you do with the letters of Paul that are considered authentic.

            I see from your website your subscribe to redaction theory, JEPD, and all the typical arguments against the Bible. Adam do you realize how ad-hoc, fallacious and contrived this is and most scholars are now rejecting this theory as inadequate explanation of the Biblical narratives?? Have you ever heard of Ockhams Razor, explanatory power and scope, multiple attestations??? Do you subscribe to Richard Carrier’s view that Jesus never existed despite the overwhelming consensus that say he did?

            So Adam yes I have researched the history of my beliefs and I find them more reasonable and substantiated then the contrived theories you subscribe to. Take care

            1st Corinthians 2:14-16 (“authentic letter of Paul” note the quotes)

            14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

          • says

            Adam,

            Steele said-

            I am quite aware of this information, are you aware of the consensus opinion of 1st Corinthians 15:3-11 is an authentic saying of Paul??

            And what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? The issue is about your citing 2nd Peter.

            Here is Paul citing Jesus appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, I suppose Paul was lying to contemporaries of his, who could go and verify his statements? Again the evidence against 2nd Peter is not that strong in my opinion despite what the “consensus” might say, even if I grant your argument so what? What do you do with the letters of Paul that are considered authentic.

            What does that have to do with authenticity of the epistle of 2nd Peter?

            In case you missed MY point:

            Are you so morally-reprehensible that you quote from a book which is KNOWN to not be written by Apostle Peter, and hoping us ‘foolish’ atheists won’t know any better?

            Do you also try to pass bad checks, figuring that the recipients won’t figure it out until LONG AFTER you’re gone?

            More importantly, if you read my article on Lot’s depiction in Genesis vs 2nd Peter, how do YOU, Steele, rationalize the glaring contradiction in their assessment of Lot?

            Who’s correct: the author(s) of the Genesis account (who wrote the account and went out of his way to demonstrate Lot’s unrighteousness to warrant saving from the destruction, but to make the opposite point that Lot was delivered due to the righteousness of Abraham) OR the anonymous author of 2nd Peter who declared the incestuous drunken Lot (the one who offered his daughters up to a mob to be raped) as an example of a “righteous” person?

            That’s a MAJOR contradiction in OT vs NT which can’t be swept under a rug, just like the concept of Noah as a preacher of righteousness (2nd Peter) vs condemnation (Genesis AND NT) is a contradiction. 2nd Peter was a late “patch job”, used to fix contradictions in the Torah that needed to be harmonized with Xian theology (and was also handy to get some Gnostic bashing in, with it’s “false teachers” polemic that targeted the gnostic Xian cults).

            I see from your website your subscribe to redaction theory, JEPD, and all the typical arguments against the Bible. Adam do you realize how ad-hoc, fallacious and contrived this is and most scholars are now rejecting this theory as inadequate explanation of the Biblical narratives?? Have you ever heard of Ockhams Razor, explanatory power and scope, multiple attestations???

            Redaction theory is taught in the overwhelming majority of theological colleges: although there’s arguments over the exact details, the evidence to support it is simply overwhelming to anyone who’s willing to do the hard work required to examine the evidence. Whether YOUR pastor was trained at a divinity school is another matter….

            And YES, what about Occam’s razor?

            What’s more probable: an omniscient “perfect” being who inspired men to write a contradictory book over a millenia, or many mortal uninspired men who clearly weren’t aware of the efforts of the other authors and contributed to writings that needed to be ‘harmonized’ and canonized, YET despite the efforts to ‘harmonize’, the anthology contains a large number of contradictions that inevitably causes a “too many cooks spoil the broth” syndrome?

            Compare the Bible (OT/NT) to ‘Lord of the Rings’, a three-book collection of writings known to be written by a single source (Tolkien); LOTR contains ORDERS of magnitude far-fewer contradictions (and those that have been found are easily dismissed by claiming the characters who spoke the words were in fact, non-omniscient beings, i.e. their POV was different, and weren’t expected to know what the others knew).

            Do you subscribe to Richard Carrier’s view that Jesus never existed despite the overwhelming consensus that say he did?

            No, and exactly for the same reason as 2nd Peter’s authorship is accepted as pseudonymous: Carriers’ hypothesis conflicts with what IS accepted by NT scholars based on available evidence, which is the same reason WHY 2nd Peter’s authorship is known to be bogus- there’s TONS of supportive evidence, and accepting Carrier’s idea would require ignoring and suppressing OTHER evidence.

            Carrier is not a scholar or expert on the subject, but an author trying to sell a book to the public, running with a publicity stunt (which made a minor noise) in order to sell more copies of a book to the lay-person, and is not taken seriously like any other conspiracy theory nonsense targeted to the non-scholar market (eg Zeitgeist, etc).

            So Adam yes I have researched the history of my beliefs and I find them more reasonable and substantiated then the contrived theories you subscribe to.

            Care to explain HOW you reached that conclusion, i.e. what EVIDENCE you relied on? Otherwise you conclusion looks like an ‘appeal to personal opinion’, and has absolutely zero evidentiary value to anyone but you.

            Adam

          • Steele says

            Adam,

            I don’t want to tie up anymore on this blog then I already have, I appreciate the AXP moderators for allowing this forum and allow alternative views to be posted, but I do have to respond to your last post at least to clear a couple things up.

            First you state:

            “Are you so morally-reprehensible that you quote from a book which is KNOWN to not be written by Apostle Peter, and hoping us ‘foolish’ atheists won’t know any better? ”

            A) What difference would it matter what part of the Bible I quote since you think the entire thing is a redacted, interpolated, mishmash/hodgepodge bunch of BS anyway? I don’t see the real offense from your atheistic perspective I guess.

            B) I think 2nd Peter is written by the Apostle Peter, so my quoting it is consistent and again your moral indignation is misplaced. I did read your article on 2nd Peter and Noah and I don’t really get your obsession with it really but I didn’t find your article to be that overwhelmingly meaningful, I get you don’t think 2nd Peter was written by the Apostle and that Christians use eisegesis. I don’t find it a big deal that Peter called Noah a preacher of righteousness, do you have a problem with Jude talking about Enoch who prophesied as well?

            Here is a link that may be of interest to you http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj13d.pdf

            I love your little backhanded comments as well, lol, quite entertaining.

            “Whether YOUR pastor was trained at a divinity school is another matter….”

            Yes Adam again what was you said I lacked the emotional strength and intellectual capacity. You remind me of something from Job

            Job 12:2

            2 “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you.

            I appreciate you recognizing Carrier as a book huckster, it actually raises my opinion of you a little in that you seem to be an honest seeker of the truth.

            as you ask:

            “What’s more probable: an omniscient “perfect” being who inspired men to write a contradictory book over a millenia, or many mortal uninspired men who clearly weren’t aware of the efforts of the other authors and contributed to writings that needed to be ‘harmonized’ and canonized, YET despite the efforts to ‘harmonize’, the anthology contains a large number of contradictions that inevitably causes a “too many cooks spoil the broth” syndrome?”

            Well at least your question isn’t loaded, lol, but if I have to pick I pick option C, the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and inerrant in the originals, also infallible (the Bible won’t fail you). As I said I don’t buy the ad-hoc redaction theory you subscribe to. Why did it take until the 18th and 19th Century for this hypothesis to be so-called discovered? You think the old Rabbis didn’t notice Moses probably didn’t write about his own death? They logically ascribed it Joshua who wrote the next book. What do you do with the New Testament then, why did the disciples believe a dead guy had risen and then quote a contradictory anthology to substantiate their point? Adam why don’t you try the redaction theory in your American History class with like the Declaration of Independence, lets see what type of grade you will get.

            Lastly Adam I don’t have time to go into all the “reasons” for my faith. But lets just say that the weak arguments you try and peddle on your website aren’t going to change my belief.

            Its funny I just comment on how stupid it is that atheists get upset over Christmas and it turns into this, lol. I mean even when I was an atheist I had bigger things to worry about and all this whining over commercialism of the Holiday, its called capitalism people. What a bunch of liberal socialist crybabies. So anyway Adam Merry CHRISTmas, LOL!

          • says

            Steele said-

            A) What difference would it matter what part of the Bible I quote since you think the entire thing is a redacted, interpolated, mishmash/hodgepodge bunch of BS anyway? I don’t see the real offense from your atheistic perspective I guess.

            No, since it’s not MY atheist perspective that’s in question, but YOUR Xian morality and intellectual honesty.

            B) I think 2nd Peter is written by the Apostle Peter, so my quoting it is consistent and again your moral indignation is misplaced.

            You now have a far-more troublesome moral question to answer:

            You apparently believe a drunken and incestuous father who inseminated both of his daughters (the same ones he offered up earlier to an angry mob to be raped to protect his honor as a host!) is a “righteous” person?

            The overwhelming majority of atheists would NOT agree that such are the actions consistent with “righteousness”, and thus the secular morality which allows me to state that unequivocally is VASTLY superior to your “God-given” morality, which actually forces to look the other way, to avoid the cognitive dissonance.

            (If your nose could smell morality, you’d have to pinch it shut, in order to avoid the stench.)

            BTW, secular authorities would agree with me: if a father were to engage in Lot’s actions today, the daughters would be removed from the home for child endangerment by Child Protective Services, and after the incest incident, Lot would be sentenced to serve time in prison as a convicted pedophile, and the daughters would be sent to live in a foster home (hopefully the parents would be atheists, since Xian parents would be rather iffy, at least if they follow 2nd Peter’s assessment as their guide, which actually encourages that kind of onerous behavior by suggesting that Lot was forgiven by God and is in Heaven).

            I did read your article on 2nd Peter and Noah and I don’t really get your obsession with it really but I didn’t find your article to be that overwhelmingly meaningful, I get you don’t think 2nd Peter was written by the Apostle and that Christians use eisegesis. I don’t find it a big deal that Peter called Noah a preacher of righteousness, do you have a problem with Jude talking about Enoch who prophesied as well?

            Of course you don’t ‘get it’, since your Xian faith demands that you NOT see (or even ignore or actively suppress) contradictions, such as the TWO I discussed. Add those to the list of the OTHER reasons that NT scholars have use to conclude that 2nd Peter is a fraud, and the conclusion is inescapable: 2nd Peter is useful to support Xian theology by changing the Torah’s depiction(s), modifying it for use by Xianity.

            But if you cannot see the contradictions, I suspect you are cognitively-blinded by your FAITH: it’s a well-known principle of psychology that people engage in cognitive-suppression to avoid seeing uncomfortable truths; Xianity teaches that faith is a virtue, when outside of a religious context, it’s called dogmatism, AKA a stubborn refusal to see facts.

            BTW, the link to ISPA is nonsense: saying the apostles are ‘inspired’ simply shifts the moral blame and responsibility back to God, and does NOTHING to remove the contradictions existing between Genesis vs 2nd Peter. It’s classic excusiology.

            Yes Adam again what was you said I lacked the emotional strength and intellectual capacity. You remind me of something from Job

            I bet $ to donuts you don’t understand the ancient legal principle that the Book of Job is premised on and which drives the story: “Oath of Innocence”. If you don’t know what it is, then you don’t understand the parable of Job:

            http://www.bookofjob.org

            I appreciate you recognizing Carrier as a book huckster, it actually raises my opinion of you a little in that you seem to be an honest seeker of the truth.

            Unlike a typical believer, I let the evidence lead my conclusions where they end up, and not vice-versa. It’s called living an ‘evidence-based life’ AKA skepticism, and I highly recommend it.

            Here’s a video called, “Faith is pretending to know things you don’t know”

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp4WUFXvCFQ

            Well at least your question isn’t loaded, lol, but if I have to pick I pick option C, the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and inerrant in the originals, also infallible (the Bible won’t fail you).

            Such a pity that “the originals” for both the OT and NT don’t exist: most believers don’t know that, but the translations they’re reading are copies of copies of copies of copies, etc.

            As I said I don’t buy the ad-hoc redaction theory you subscribe to. Why did it take until the 18th and 19th Century for this hypothesis to be so-called discovered?

            You answered your own question when you said:

            You think the old Rabbis didn’t notice Moses probably didn’t write about his own death?

            To which I ask, do you think religious leaders (rabbi and bishop alike) MIGHT have a vested interest in NOT killing the goose that laid their golden eggs? You cannot be so naive, Steele, as to think those committed to telling the truth wouldn’t have been pushed out of the clergy long before, and even executed as heretics?

            Even in modern times (where they cannot kill heretics), the old saying goes, ‘the hardest truth to get a man to accept is one that threatens his career and the welfare of his family”. The Torah is written from the perspective of the Levites taking power, establishing a system of sacrifice that served it’s purposes of securing their monopoly as religious leaders, starting in Exodus.

            What do you do with the New Testament then, why did the disciples believe a dead guy had risen and then quote a contradictory anthology to substantiate their point?

            You really need to read some of Bart Ehrman’s stuff (eg Misquoting Jesus) since there’s a World of NT scholarship out there that you’re blissfully unaware of. Dr Ehrman went to theological college, but lost his faith the more he learned (a devastating occurrence for someone seeking a career as a minister).

            Lastly Adam I don’t have time to go into all the “reasons” for my faith. But lets just say that the weak arguments you try and peddle on your website aren’t going to change my belief.

            Care to offer one example of a “weak” argument, or should I just accept your conclusion on faith?

            Its funny I just comment on how stupid it is that atheists get upset over Christmas and it turns into this, lol. I mean even when I was an atheist I had bigger things to worry about and all this whining over commercialism of the Holiday, its called capitalism people. What a bunch of liberal socialist crybabies. So anyway Adam Merry CHRISTmas, LOL!

            Ahhh, look: how precious!

            Steele seems to think we’re being insulted by his childish use of capitals, rather than just displaying his childishness.

            BTW, I’m guessing you likely were the type of atheist who was ignorant of WHY you believed what you did (and you may have just not wanted God to exist so you can sin, the same lame projection believers assume for all atheists). I’m guessing you likely couldn’t explain the reason why you were an atheist any better than you can defend your current belief in God.

            Adam

          • EnlightenmentLiberal says

            @Steele
            What does god need with a starship? In Star Trek the motion picture #5, a creature purporting to be god asks for a starship. What does god need with a starship?

            In case you cannot read in between my lines, here it is: You do not care about why the creature asks Captain Kirk for his starship because you accept it as fiction. Similarly, I do not accept what your christian bible says because I accept it as fiction. This is known as the Star Trek rule.

            PS: What does god want with a starship?

  27. Colin says

    Thank you for this.

    I’m an ex-Christian who has actually hated (yes, hated) Christmas while I was still Christian. This came almost entirely from my discovery that Christmas has literally nothing to do with Jesus’s birth. It’s just a random day that was chosen to compete with secular celebrations.

    After I de-converted, I found it much less agonizing to disassociate myself from the holiday. (and really all holidays)

    I’ve never begrudged anyone (Christian or otherwise) for loving the season, but it’s something I simply do not wish to participate in.

  28. says

    I grew up in a family that celebrated Christmas as a secular holiday (for at least two generations), so I never had to remove any Christian elements from the celebration. I’m annoyed by the push by retailers to start the Christmas season right after back to school sales are done–wait until after Remembrance Day please, and maintain a bit of decorum and respect. This whole Black Friday thing can also go back south where it came from. Other than that, I’m a keen Christmas supporter.

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