1. Religion & Spirituality

Discuss in my forum

During the holiday season there are a lot of conservative evangelical Christians who aruge for putting 'Christ back in Christmas' and insist that 'Jesus is the Reason for the Season.' These slogans are designed to remind people that Christmas is a Christian holiday and that without Christ, there would be no Christmas in the first place. These Christians are offended that so many people enjoy the Christmas holidays without any reference to Jesus or Christianity and want it to stop. Unfortunately, they don't have much of a case.

Read Article: Is Jesus the Reason for the Season? Godless Christmas without Christ

Comments
November 21, 2006 at 6:37 pm
(1) Gus says:

“Jesus is the reason” is just a reaction against commercialization and the banishement of the nativity from Christmas. So Menoras and Quanza are OK; but my nativity is not?

November 21, 2006 at 7:58 pm
(2) Austin Cline says:

1. Christians are responsible for the commercialization. Why do Christians go to Wal-Mart to defend “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays”?

2. I don’t have a problem with religious symbols on private property, including nativity scenes. Put ten on your property, if you want, just so long as it doesn’t create a nuisance for neighbors. Barring a real nuisance, I’d support you against anyone who tried to stop you. The point of the article is to explain why Jesus is *not* necessarily the reason for everyone. Christmas isn’t very Christian in nature and most of what people do in the context of Christmas today isn’t very Christian. There is far, far more to the “season” than Christianity or Jesus. Jesus may be the reason for *you*, but not for other people.

November 22, 2006 at 9:01 am
(3) J. Alan Brown says:

C. S. Lewis told a story about a woman overheard on a bus as they passed a church with a nativity display out front. “Lor’,” the woman groaned, “they drag religion into everything. Now they want in Christmas!”

December 10, 2007 at 5:07 pm
(4) Jane Holt says:

How DARE you try to change the meaning of Christmas to fit your atheistic agenda!

Most people believe in Jesus Christ, our lord and savior. Just because YOU choose a life of sin DOES NOT give you the right to force your non-beliefs on us.

This is just another example of Christian persecution in the United States (yes, a majority of people CAN be persecuted). I do hope you see the light one day. The Lord forgives all.

December 10, 2007 at 5:47 pm
(5) Austin Cline says:

How DARE you try to change the meaning of Christmas to fit your atheistic agenda!

1. I wasn’t aware that there was a “the meaning of Christmas” which could be changed and which everyone was obligated to accept. I was under the impression that Christmas meant different things to different people. Please, explain where “the meaning of Christmas” comes from and how we acquired an obligation to adhere to it.

2. What “atheistic agenda”?

Most people believe in Jesus Christ, our lord and savior.

Most people? Not most people in the world. Most people in America? I suppose so, but that’s hardly relevant — unless you wish to argue that whatever “most people” believe is suddenly something that everyone has to accept.

Just because YOU choose a life of sin DOES NOT give you the right to force your non-beliefs on us.

1. I don’t believe in “sin”. That’s no more relevant to my life than “karma” is to yours.

2. Please, do demonstrate where I have tried to force any “non-beliefs” on you.

This is just another example of Christian persecution in the United States (yes, a majority of people CAN be persecuted).

Please, do explain how you can be “persecuted” for being exposed to disagreement from other people. What sort of life do you live that in order to not be persecuted, you need to be sheltered from criticism, debate, and disagreement?

I do hope you see the light one day. The Lord forgives all.

Perhaps. I don’t get the impression from your attitude, though, that you are the least bit forgiving. You certainly make no attempt to be understanding, considerate, or humble.

December 10, 2007 at 6:14 pm
(6) Child of Thorns says:

“Most people believe in Jesus Christ, our lord and savior. Just because YOU choose a life of sin DOES NOT give you the right to force your non-beliefs on us.”

I humor your belief that the state being neutral on the meaning of christmas is somehow persecution and endorsement of views other than your own.

December 10, 2007 at 7:44 pm
(7) JonJ says:

I never fail to be amused by these people who think they can carry on a sensible argument by ranting about their religious beliefs.

We who do not share your beliefs plain just don’t share them. Why can’t you get that through your heads?

December 10, 2007 at 10:35 pm
(8) randomguy says:

OMG YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!!! i hate it when my Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish and atheist friends say merry christmas to me it drives me up the wall. don’t they understand they should be offended by me trying to force my beliefs. you are right there is only a secret agenda when Christians try to force their beliefs on others. Atheist do not wish to force their beliefs on others they are just watching out for the offended person. like my aforementioned friends.

December 11, 2007 at 3:07 pm
(9) 411314 says:

“This is just another example of Christian persecution in the United States”

The mere existance of this one random article is persecution of Christians? That’s funny! I actually snickered when I read this!

By the way, Austin, the “read more” under “Atheists Celebrating Christmas” isn’t a link.

December 11, 2007 at 7:36 pm
(10) crypticlife says:

I’m not sure whether Jane Holt’s parodying or not. Jane, could you put something like, “I’m really serious” on the end?

December 11, 2007 at 9:40 pm
(11) merrychristmas says:

Merry Christmas. =)

December 11, 2007 at 9:58 pm
(12) Harri says:
December 12, 2007 at 5:32 pm
(13) tracieh says:

Uh Oh. Someone said “Merry Christmas.” Now we’re all going to explode or something, right?

Oh no! I just typed “Merry Christmas”–will my keyboard melt since I’m an atheist?

There is a huge difference between being offensive and being offended. I get Christmas cards from relatives. I think they’re examples of how narrow-minded a person can be. But I still display them on my wall with my other, less offensive cards.

I know the people sending them to me aren’t trying to be clods–they are good-meaning people who simply don’t know any better. Some people really just aren’t open-minded enough to conceive of “other people”–that other people might not celebrate the holiday for the same reasons.

To me it’s like seeing a three-year-old’s crayon drawing of a–wait, what exactly IS THAT? Oh, a tree…and a doggie? What a nice tree and doggie (I can’t really tell this mess is a tree and doggie)–tree and a doggie and saying it’s “so pretty”–even though it’s really horrible…so horrible it’s actually sort of cute.

The people who send me such cards are like that. They’re so horribly ignorant, and yet, it’s forgivable when I consider their mental shortcoming–that they don’t understand that every human they know isn’t a Christian. They’re not malicious–just ignorant beyond belief.

But how can I get offended by that? Besides, the cards are so pretty–even the religious ones.

December 12, 2007 at 10:59 pm
(14) Ron says:

Tracie: And besides, if people don’t send Xmas cards, the familys Of the people who make their living in the greeting card business will suffer economicly. Their kids will go hungry and ultimately not be properly clothed. You wouldn’t want that on your conscience, would you?

December 13, 2007 at 5:21 pm
(15) tracieh says:

There you go, another good reason. Thanks Ron!

December 28, 2007 at 4:18 pm
(16) John Hanks says:

Atheism is a set of beliefs and it is also a test. If you pour atheism on top of a bogus anthropomorphic religion, it acts like a solvent that exposes the hokum, and con, and the delusions. If you pour atheism on a transcendental or imminent religion it doesn’t really matter how the test comes out, because both forms of religion are based on direct experience and not a bunch of make believe fairy stories. The direct experiences may be based on a disordered thyroid, but the origin doesn’t matter much either. A rose is a rose is a rose.

December 13, 2008 at 4:31 pm
(17) Bachalon says:

I’ve been searching for a bumper sticker that says “Axial tilt is the reason for the season.”

December 13, 2008 at 10:39 pm
(18) Jason says:

That’s hilarious, Bachalon. I like the bumper sticker that I heard about. It aid something like: “God, save me from your followers…”. I personally have a Flying Spaghetti Monster emblem on my car.

December 13, 2008 at 11:06 pm
(19) Jesse says:

Excellent article Austin. Frankly, although I’m an Atheist, even if I were Christian I wouldn’t understand people’s shock—shock!—at mere historical facts. You can still be Christian and celebrate the holiday in a Christian(-ized) fashion while acknowledging such facts. But at the same time, the primary reason I am a non-Christian is because of the inherent mobility of Christianity in abducting and otherwise colonizing the traditions of others. There are many holidays besides Christmas which pre-dated their Christian celebration. Another good example is Easter, probably the secondmost important Christian holiday, which originally was a spring fertility festival (an orgy, to be specific). And look at what the depth of Christian commercial culture has done for Easter—a rabbit lays eggs and your supposed to mow-down on chocolate while you look for them. Seriously, what the heck. But like I said, in fairness to (some) Christians, mere facts shouldn’t cause so much cognitive dissonance unless you haven’t done anything to examine your worldview.

December 14, 2008 at 10:04 am
(20) Jim says:

Bachalon, check out the bottom of
http://www.cafepress.com/axialtilt

December 14, 2008 at 10:13 am
(21) Carolyn says:

I was very appreciative of your Article. My Husband and I are both Atheists. We are trying to decide how we plan on approaching the holiday with our future children. Both of us come from Christian families and it is difficult to figure out what elements of the holidays to remove from our lives while staying to true to ourselves. Even more difficult is trying to figure out how to raise children in this environment. I believe some more research is in order especially some in line with your article. We like the idea of celebrating the original meaning behind some of the pagan ideas but because so much has been bastardized over time it takes sometime research.

December 14, 2008 at 1:24 pm
(22) Ol'Froth says:

Until the late 19th century, Congress was in session on Christmas day. Just pointing out how trivial the holiday was in the US during the Founders’ time.

December 14, 2008 at 11:10 pm
(23) Victoria Warren says:

I have been round and round with the many varieties of the Christian faith. All of the Christians that I have known have all been big on Christmas. Sure, they may have had a nativity scene on their mantle. They were also big on stuff that I think is so not Christ-like. They would have big gaudy trees, house lights, lots of that fake tinsly garland, Christmas decorated clothes, rugs, matts, bathroom and kitchen decore, and other crap that is so not Christ-like. Christ, first of all, never celebrated Christmas and I am sure Christ in heaven (if he is there at all) doesn’t appreciate his faithful followers buying all this decorative crap. Then there is the gift giving. I like to buy gifts for people. I am really good at it. I think very carefully about the person and buy a gift. The average person (including Christians) just buy any old thing as if the giving is all there is. No, thought must be put into it. Then there are the people who regift there crap at Christmas as if that is a symbol of giving. ok, i suppose if you have really ‘good’ crap, but most average people don’t.

As someone said, Christmas is pagen anyway. I don’t understand how after all these years Christians still don’t admit that it is based on paganism.

December 22, 2009 at 5:33 pm
(24) Liz says:

Austin – I am really enjoying the re-posting of Xmas blogs and find it interesting to see these comments going back a few years. It is interesting to me how the issues don’t seem to change….

I’ve heard variations on Gus (1) – that somehow Christianity is being suppressed; political correctness means that “minor” religions are being given center stage. Now, I don’t see this anywhere, and I believe the Supreme Court ruled on religious displays a while back… but Gus feels that somehow people are stifling Christianity.

Jane Holt (4) is even scarier – if it’s not something satirical! I have heard her brand of ranting this year too. I don’t understand how a calm statement like the blog in question can elicit such raw emotion. She clearly does not understand atheism and she doesn’t understand the article! Why does she feel persecuted by this information? If she thinks it’s wrong, she should go do some research and come back with facts…

Anyway, I just got back from helping my stepson buy Christmas presents. Yeah, that’s what we call them, and we say “merry Xmas” in this house – but there is no crèche or manger; no allusion to the baby Jesus; no midnight mass. There are lots of fun decorations like nutcrackers, wreaths, ornaments in various shapes and colors. It’s a great holiday and has brought us joy without any need to think about some god or his son or anything of that nature.

December 22, 2009 at 5:39 pm
(25) Liz says:

I would like to add another comment – that if the Gusses and Jane Holt’s of the world want this to be a religious holiday, then they should make it one for them and their families. No one is stopping them from attending services, decorating their homes with mangers and crucifixes – and even those Virgin Mary statues we call Mary on the Half Shell. Go for it! That’s what religious freedom means; that’s how you can express your first amendment rights.

Why do you want your religion privileged though? Is your faith so weak that you need mangers in the town square?

I can tell you that religious displays don’t sway me… and on the flip-side, I really don’t need any kind of atheist display around to bolster my life philosophy. I enjoy coming on this site because I think it’s intelligently written and I like to see what commenters say – but I really don’t need it to believe what I do (granted, I found some good arguments here!).

December 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm
(26) TonyC says:

I agree with Liz. As well, xmas has become a non-religious holiday about sharing, giving and reflection on the past year for me. This year I decorated a bar stool with xmas lights! There are presents for my kids next to it too. So, I am starting a new xmas tradition, the Xmas Stool. Feel free to share the idea with your friends! Think of the savings on fake/real trees this could lead to!

December 24, 2009 at 12:33 am
(27) Naumadd says:

But of course, the individual called “Jesus the Christ” IS the reason for Christmas, i.e. “Christ’s Mass” … if you’re a christian. As for celebrations around this period of time each year, whether it be on the 21st or the 25th or perhaps some time in January, christian reasons are not and never have been the only set of reasons for celebration and likely never will be. No one culture, even if in the majority, is sole owner of a particular time of year and certainly doesn’t have the only claim to celebrations at that same time. Certainly, for centuries, human cultures have noted the shortest day/longest night combination and formed traditions to coincide with the significance of that time to their daily lives. For those who hate the cold and love warmer days, it could seem as cause to celebrate the time when days begin to grow longer and warmer days start returning thus signaling living nature on Earth to again wake and “spring”.

The point is this: no matter your reasons for celebration, you have no arguable right to dictate to another their reasons to celebrate, when to celebrate or how. No matter the size of one’s culture, you have no arguable right to dominate and dictate to another if that other allows your traditions to continue in peace. If you become the aggressor, it is right that other cultures push back until you again resume a respectful and peaceful posture toward cultures not your own. No matter who you are, you have a right to exist but NEVER a right to dominate.

Sadly, Christianity, Judaism and Islam have very poor records in that regard.

April 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm
(28) Christian says:

You all may not agree with me, but for some people who claim to be religious and call themselves Christians, you all DON’T read your bibles! None of you can prove that anywhere in the bible it was quoted the day Christ was born. I am not atheist or a member of a regular religious belief (catholic, pentecostal, baptist, muslim etc.) I am a Christian full stop. I am sure you don’t understand it. I am not here to bash anyone or any religion, I just want to show you from the bible that the word of God stands no matter what one may think or feel.

I know that you will yet again disagree with me, the bible also says that there is just but one church. Are you in that church the bible speaks of?

Come on and be real, are you a Christian?
What did you do to become one?
Why did you become one?
Are you willing to believe what the bible says and follow it?

Come on, there are many more questions that can be asked, but think on these. You can comment and I will reply and help via the word of God.

December 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm
(29) Victoria says:

I am 55 years old. In all my life I don’t see that Christmas has been much of a Christian holiday for all my life. If Christians want this to be a religious holiday, I think they need to speak to their churches and not the masses outside of the church. I have known lots and lots of Christians who had no problem of making Christmas all about how much crap they could buy to decorate their house or crap they could buy their kids. There wasn’t any conversation about making it more about Jesus unitl ‘maybe’ Christmas Eve. A little late if you ask me.

December 27, 2010 at 8:32 pm
(30) big ed says:

This just in: The pagans want christmas back. They’re tired and angry at what various christian groups have done to the festive holiday holiday that christians stole stole from them. Its a simple time of rejoicing over the days having stopped getting shorter, and starting to get longer again! “It’s just a time to drink and carry on.” Said the chief pagan priest. “No need for all the blather about some god’s son, or something. And then, they gotta fight and argue about it. The christians have ruined the day. Just give it back!”

In case you wondered about what the actual developers of “the season” might think about what christians have done to their stolen booty.

December 31, 2010 at 7:54 pm
(31) James says:

First of all, @John Hanks: I disagree. Atheism is the LACK of a set of beliefs. People who don’t understand this keep trying to make atheism conform to their way of thinking. In other words, people who don’t understand atheism keep trying to turn atheism into some sort of religion. Atheism is the ABSENCE of religion. I don’t even like the term “atheism”, because the “-ism” part smacks of a set of rules or some sort of belief system, where there very simply is none. Many people just cannot grasp the concept of no religious beliefs whatsoever.

@Jane Holt:

1) Atheists have no agenda. Agendas belong to the political arena, and like it or not, Christians in today’s USA are definitely politicians—WITH an agenda.
2) Even if “most people” believed in Jesus Christ, it DOES NOT change the Constitution of the United States of America. The USA is in NO WAY founded upon the Christian religion. Please do your homework. It is you Christians (with your political agenda) that are trying to force YOUR beliefs upon the entire world. I’m so glad that you’ll never be able to do that—not in THIS country, anyway. You may fool some of the people some of the time…
3) You haven’t SEEN persecution yet. As more and more people become aware of the law, their rights and constitutionality through the advanced communications we have today, atheism is growing exponentially. Western Europe is now considered to be in a “Post Christian” era. It is only because of the social engineering perpetrated by the Bush administration that Christianity is as strong as it is in the USA today. I promise you that will change. Christianity in the USA today has become militant, political and extremely vile. This WILL NOT STAND in the United States of America.
4) There’s no light to be seen. There’d have to actually be a “Lord” before he could forgive anyone. There isn’t, though, but I appreciate the sentiment, misguided as it is.

November 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm
(32) Liz says:

It is fun to re-read the blogs and see all the comments again – including my own from two years ago!

I am really struck by some people’s desire to see their beliefs reflected in the culture around them. I imagine some people think that all Christians celebrate Christmas the same way and invest the same acts with the same meaning and take comfort from this idea and feel validated by it. I bet a lot of people would be surprised to learn that different Christians treat this holiday differently. I remember being surprised to learn that some people didn’t have advent calendars and advent wreaths. My family also celebrated Saint Nicholas Day – it’s German tradition that was not shared by my Catholic friends of Irish descent.

I am sure some Christians would be surprised to learn that some Christians do not celebrate Christmas at all. Some think the tree is sinful. There is a lot of variation among Christians.

I still have to wonder why what I do is invalidated by someone doing something different?

November 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm
(33) Ron says:

Hi, liz. I see you are still here. Happy Holidays.

November 28, 2011 at 8:50 am
(34) Liz says:

Hi Ron! Happy Holidays to you to! Yes, I’m still around (there is another liz that posted years ago, I notice, who does not capitalize her name…I’m not that liz); I’ve been coming since ’09, I think. I don’t always post a comment! I only do it when I have a chance to articulate my argument thoughtfully… ;) Love reading your comments!

November 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm
(35) Karen says:

@Liz: I am really struck by some people’s desire to see their beliefs reflected in the culture around them.

I think this comment very nicely sums up what’s fueling the Christmas Wars. (Well, that idea and the very determined media effort to fan the flames each year). My mother was very sensitive to the Christmas culture around her, even to the minutest details; she would report in negative tones that so-and-so had done such-and-such that was different from the way our family celebrated the holiday. I doubt she ever met an atheist in her entire life (that she knew about; Husband and I were in the closet to her), and she was only distantly acquainted with a few people who were not Christians. She wanted the culture around her to reflect her beliefs at all levels.

There are lots of people like my mother out there, and we’re not gonna change ‘em; the best we can do is keep insisting on our right to celebrate or not celebrate any and all holidays as we see fit.

December 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm
(36) ChuckA says:

Here’s my favorite, albeit always controversial, version of the…
“Reason for the Season?”
[An older (2007), Acharya S (D.M. Murdock) video, no longer on YouTube. I just like the musical sequence; especially for its tongue-in-cheek opening salvo.]
:shock:
http://www.livevideo.com/video/6AF4A44333974652A1E5F88B62578F7E/reason-for-the-season-.aspx

November 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm
(37) Stephen says:

Happy Saturnalia everyone!!

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.