Spoiler alert: Don’t Read This if You Believe in Santa Claus (AKA if you are a member of American Atheists, turn around now)
I wasn’t home last night, and even when I am I rarely turn on Fox News for anything other than The Five or Red Eye, but when I got in it was to hear from my dad that Hannity had been talking to the President of American Atheists on his show, about a billboard they have put in in Times Square.
Apparently atheists are operating under the idea that Santa is a real person or something.
Technically I suppose they were trying to be witty and reference how the secular trappings of Christmas are a-okay with them, but cut out the religion right this very minute because they can’t stand one myth being talked about…but the other myth of the jolly fat man in a red suit is perfectly fine.
Can we just take a moment to recognize how utterly ridiculous this is?
No really, does American Atheist understand how stupid they are for implying that only one of those images is a myth?
Santa and Rudolph and the sleigh with all the toys are a myth. They know that right?
Last year I wrote a post about Nativity scenes on public property and this was part of it.
So why is it that a holiday that is based on some fictional account of a baby being born in a barn, is so offensive to an Athiest or Liberal’s sensibilities?
I know that Star Wars is just a story, completely fictional. However there is an entire religion based on The Force. There are huge groups of a devoted fan base that worship The Force and even those that don’t follow the religion still collect relics, dress in odd clothing, and attend huge gatherings to, essentially, worship the films. Do I ask that Star Wars conventions be shut down? No, absolutely not, because while I’m not a Star Wars fan (I’m a Trekkie okay) I know that it’s just a story, that some people enjoy and maybe put a little too much of their lives into.
So if I don’t demand that Star Wars conventions be shut down (which are both more physically and olfactory offensive than Christmas and probably much less healthy for the convention attendees) why is it that a bunch of plaster fictional characters on a lawn can invoke such irrationality?
Atheists reject one myth, because it’s more popular or believed by more people, but completely accept another myth as socially and politically acceptable in the public forum, simply because they believe it’s secular.
I have news for you. Nothing about Christmas, from it’s name right down to the elements of the celebration, is based on secular ideas.
Okay, possibly Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph are purely secular and capitalistic creations, but the core traditions are religious, whether they are Christian or not.
Let’s break this down shall we. What are some of the key ‘secular’ parts of Christmas.
Christmas Trees: Extreme pagan and Christian religious symbolism.
The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime.
The modern Christmas tree, though, originated in western Germany. The main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was a “paradise tree,” a fir tree hung with apples, that represented the Garden of Eden. The Germans set up a paradise tree in their homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers on it (symbolizing the host, the Christian sign of redemption); in a later tradition the wafers were replaced by cookies of various shapes.
Lights: Lights on the tree and elsewhere came from a Christian practice, as well as pagan practices.
Candles, symbolic of Christ, were often added [to the Christmas tree].
The Celtic fire festival of Yule was a time of renewal and rebirth, celebrated by lighting fires to welcome back the lengthening days. The remnants of this practice may be found in the charming tradition of the Yule log, still enjoyed by many people at Christmas even today.
The lighting of candles and modern Christmas lights is also a relic of this ancient need to bring light to the darkest time of the year, and even in this era of electric lights that dispel the gloom all year round, many people still enjoy the warming feeling of seeing a beautifully lit tree or an array of lighted candles.
The circle of the Yule or Christmas wreath represents the pagan “Wheel of the Year” or “Circle of Life” that marks the annual changes in the seasons at the Festivals celebrated at the solstices and equinoxes.The Germans set up a paradise tree in their homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers on it (symbolizing the host, the Christian sign of redemption); in a later tradition the wafers were replaced by cookies of various shapes.
Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick: Literally a Catholic saint and the basis for the modern Santa Claus that was so wittily placed on a billboard mocking Christianity. Brilliant move American Atheists!
Santa Claus, legendary figure who is the traditional patron of Christmas in the United States and other countries, bringing gifts to children. His popular image is based on traditions associated with Saint Nicholas, a 4th-century Christian saint. Father Christmas fills the role in many European countries.
“The giving of presents at the midwinter feast almost certainly began as a magical more than as merely a social custom. Saturnalia presents included wax dolls, given to children. A charming custom, no doubt, by times of record, but with a macabre past: even contemporaries thought this probably a vestige of human sacrifice, of children, to aid the sowing.”
- History Today
We have many recorded events in history that show the giving and receiving of gifts dates back at least to the 4th century. St. Nicholas, a Christian Bishop, was known for his generosity in giving to those less fortunate than he, as well as giving to children of all backgrounds simply because he felt they needed to savor their childrood, and have joyous times to remember.
These really aren’t that secular after all then. So I guess what your real problem is, is that Christianity is involved (in which case, no Santa for you either, he’s a Catholic Saint).
If you have a problem with religion in general, then keep in mind that those lights you are hanging, that tree you are decorating while singing secular x-mas carols, and those gifts you are giving out, all have religious connotations.
So you should probably ask your job if you can come in on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, to let other non-Scrooges enjoy a day with their family, since you can’t stand any religions at all. Since you totally reject all religions that believe in “magical sky daddy’s” or whatever mocking phrase atheists are referring to god by these days.