Merry Nothing

santa dawkins


For the life of me I can’t understand why some Atheists would celebrate Christmas…if they were trying to be intellectually consistent.  Christmas is the most significant religious holiday second possibly only to Easter.  Not only is it religious, it is the cultural recognition of a reported miracle: The virgin birth of the incarnate Son of God.

Of course I realize that many people celebrate Christmas in secular terms.  But why celebrate it at all?  Atheists often criticize Christianity claiming that its origins and holy-days, like Christmas, are borrowed from earlier pagan myths.  Well, an Atheist celebrating Christmas, even in a secular context, is merely borrowing a holiday from an earlier religious “myth”: Christianity.  If they believe this to be a valid criticism of Christianity, you’d think they would avoid it all together and create a new holiday altogether.  If a racist who kidnapped and tortured two women by whipping them with electrical cords and burning them with soldering irons can start a holiday (Kwanzaa) that’s commemorated on U.S. postage stamps and gain public recognition by major political heads of state, then surely Atheists could do it too.

I know I’m making light of the issue, but even in this, I hope even my Atheist readers do have a Merry Christmas.


  1. John I have marveled at this for a very long time. For people that claim the intellectual high ground, they take a very unprincipled approach to things like this.

  2. The same reason you look at the Bible as God’s Word but still wear mixed fabrics and get tattoos and eat shellfish and consider slavery abhorrent instead of sometimes permissible.
    The New Covenant started with the promise of Jesus, and the New Christmas started with materialistic Christians turning it into a secular capitalist holiday to celebrate family. It’s not wrong for you to still “keep the Christ in Christmas”, as long as you acknowledge that He hasn’t been the central figure of it for more than a century.

    • Why would you cite explicit laws for Jews exclusively to make a point?

      But I agree that Christians have allowed Christmas to become secularized. They allow all kinds of things that shouldn’t have been.

      Im asking why atheists will on one hand act as though borrowing from paganism somehow discredits an entire religious movement but on the other joyfully do the same?

      Jesus has only held an “other” role in celebrating Christmas for 80-100 years and that’s another thing you can blame on Christians too.

      • Do you think atheists consider the holidays pagan roots as discrediting the whole holiday or just discrediting the Christian insistance that they “own” Christmas? I feel that is the point of the Saturnalia and Yule ans solstice arguments- that the holiday really belongs to everyone.
        Santa is the embodiment of Christmas being a secular and materialist holiday. I prefer to celebrate Christmas as a celebration of family and the ending of a year.
        I just don’t think your argument stands up in this case.

        • Atheists suggest that if, say, a mythical god predating Jesus was born on Dec 25, a reasonable conclusikn is that Jesus doesnt exist.

          • I have not claimed that. I would.say that argument is a stretch.

            • Oh its a big stretch especially since most of those claims are false. But to those who would criticize Christianity for “stealing” Dec 25 as the birth of Christ, how cam they celebrate Christmas and be consistent.

              • They aren’t celebrating the birth of Jesus. They are celebrating Santa Clause and family gatherings and seasonal rebirth and a solstice. They are celebrating all those things without the need for a saviors birthday to add to the mix.
                The reality is that you have difficulty seeing what the difference is between secular Christmas and Christian Christmas- and who should be blamed for that?

          • It is pretty much agreed among biblical scholars that the birth of Jesus could not have been in December. This is not to say that he did not exist, but I think it is fair to point out that the date has more to do with natural phenomena and pagan tradition than with the birth of a Abrahamic saviour. The date is highly unlikely the actual birthdate of Jesus if he existed, but it is far from arbitrary.

            • I think you might me misunderstanding me.

              • In what sense? You are asking how an atheist can celebrate Christmas and remain internally consistent, and I’m suggesting that Christmas is essentially a secular holiday even for many Christians.
                What more am I missing?

              • Because many atheists consider it a liability somehow for Christianity to use Dec 25 as a holy day. They then use the Christian version of the celebrated day, not the original pagan version. I day thats inconsistent.

              • But when they try to say “Happy Holidays” or the like they are disrespectful and waging a war on Christmas?
                Are you arguing an all out assault on Christmas is the only consistent tack?

              • I’m saying to be consistent, invent an atheist holiday.

              • We tried that.
                I wonder if back in the fourth century people were having this same conversation- or if in a few hundred years we will be talking about the checkered past of Festivus and how religious people need their own holiday.
                Since Christmas is pretty much a secular holiday, why don’t YOU invent a new holiday.

              • Because I dont find a problem with hijacking a pagan holiday.

              • Why? Pagan holidays are religious. What makes them different from Christmas or Rosh Hashanah or Eid?

              • But Some Atheists have a problem with Christianity hijacking a pagan holiday. Therefore those Atheists should pick some non-religious day had have their gift giving holiday then…to be consistent.

              • Atheists don’t have a problem with Christians “hijacking” a pagan holiday. They have a problem with Christian insistance that they own a trademark on December 25th.
                Perhaps you are missing the point of their argument.

              • Ive never heard that

              • Perhaps you are misinterpreting the motives behind the argument. Atheists just want to be a part of the holiday season. They Don’t want you to stop celebrating the birth of Christ, they want to partake in the secular spirit of the season- something that Christians seemed to acknowledge until the “culture wars” started.

              • You right, they dont want us to stop. They just think Christianity is false because we have the same day

              • Yes John, the best argument atheists have againt Christianity is the date of Christmas.
                I hear that argument at our secret meetings all the time. You figured us out….

              • Dont be an ass. I never said that thats their best argument. But there are many who claim that Christianity’s similarities to pagan myths such as dates like dec 25 (even though they arent similar) is evidence that its false.

  3. Atheists admire Nietzsche but are not as honest as he was. As the 19th century philosophers killed off God, Nietzsche said the 20th century would be the bloodiest in human history. Guess what? The godless Nazis and Communists killed more people in one century than all of religions have over the course of history.

    Atheists cannot bear the consequences of their morally bankrupt philosophy, so they must borrow from a superior one: Christianity. Atheism gives no reason for me not to punch Dawkins in the nose, but Christianity does. Atheism gives me no reason to love and feed my children, but Christianity does. Atheism gives me no reason to help the poor and needy, but Christianity does. Atheists will not be honest about the morally bankruptcy of their faith, so it is pointless arguing with them.

    Interestingly, American Thinker published my article today about there being only one true meaning of Christmas.

    • Great article by the Thinker. Its good to see you again DT! Hope youre here a while!

      Atheists confuse what might help a group survive, but never explain why the individual should be more concerned with others than for himself and his family.

  4. “If God does not exist, anything is permissible.”

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “Brothers Karamazov”

  5. As regards hijacking pagan holidays, I offer this. Take it for what its worth.

    “The same reason you look at the Bible as God’s Word but still wear mixed fabrics and get tattoos and eat shellfish and consider slavery abhorrent instead of sometimes permissible.”

    Sipping that eggnog already? We look at the Bible as God’s Word and understand that rules covering the mixing fabrics and getting tattoos and eating shellfish no longer apply and that slavery was never so much permissible as tolerated by God.

  6. paynehollow says:

    Tolerated and commanded, Marshall. God commanded people to enslave other people, as you read the Bible.

    This whole idea of “tolerated” sins is an interesting think you keep falling back on (aren’t all sins “tolerated” in some sense, as you read the Bible? I mean, God doesn’t come down and kill us for each sin we commit, does God? Also, the Bible never mentions God as “tolerating” slavery, polygamy, forced marriages, etc… it’s something you’re assigning God and not found in the Bible…).

    Some day, it might be interesting to have a conversation on that topic. Not here, though, as it’s off topic. Sorry for the intrusion, just making the note. Carry on.


    • Trabue,
      The type of slavery God commanded was not a sinful slavery like what has transpired throughout history on the African continent and western Asia, let alone like what was practiced by various European nations and the USA when they used blacks as they would use animals.

      God even gave specific rules as to how to treat slaves. And since God commanded it, it couldn’t be evil or sin. I don’t have time to give you a lesson on the topic, but perhaps you should study exactly what slavery was as practiced it the theocracy of Israel instead sounding stupid.

      By the way, God DOES tolerate sin. If He didn’t, we’d all be dead. Just because the word is not in Scripture, that doesn’t mean it isn’t implied. Yes, God tolerated polygamy, and forced marriages (which actually happened throughout the world throughout history).

  7. paynehollow says:

    The type of slavery (one type of slavery) found in the Bible is God commanding (as you all read it) to go in and capture an enemy and keep them against their will as slaves. Or sometimes, kidnapping a woman and forcing her to be your wife. IF she keeps not liking it, she can request a divorce and God is okay with that divorce of a forced marriage.

    Is THAT what you’re saying is moral? It’s moral to go in and kill a bunch of the enemy and then take the rest to be slaves against their will (and admittedly, with some rules on how to treat them better, but still enslaved against their will)? You find THAT moral?

    And it’s moral to kill a bunch of the enemy, but sparing the virgin young women/girls and forcing them into a marriage? And you think THAT is a moral good?

    How exactly is the forced slavery of more modern times different than this ancient forced slavery?


    • Trabue, you act as if none of this has ever been discussed before, and you always take the “moral high ground” as if the God we worship is a immoral ogre of some sort and all the stories in the O.T. are just myths, analogies, spiritualizations, etc. You just continue to demonstrate your dishonesty, as well as abject ignorance of history as well as the Bible.

      That is all that you are worth in a response.

  8. paynehollow says:

    I’m simply pointing out facts, Glenn. You JUST SAID that the slavery in the OT is different than “our” modern slavery.

    I POINT TO Biblical texts that show God commanding people to go in and conquer a people, capturing something against their will.

    I reasonably ask, “HOW is it different?” I’m not saying it isn’t different, I’m asking how and what is it about the ancient keeping of people against their will to do forced labor or to enter a forced marriage that makes it NOT immoral?

    These are reasonable questions to ask, given your rather extraordinary claim that this sort of slavery is not immoral, because to most of us rational, moral people of good faith, it is obviously immoral to force people to work against their will or to force women into marriages against their will.

    If you can’t answer reasonable questions, then perhaps that should raise a red flag that your position isn’t really all that moral or logical.


  9. paynehollow says:

    And just to be clear, where you say…

    you always take the “moral high ground” as if the God we worship is a immoral ogre

    …I don’t think God is an immoral ogre. But the “god” you describe and the “morals” you describe seem immoral. That is, I’m not questioning God, but your opinions about God. The thing is, I don’t confuse your opinions with God’s. Something we should all strive to keep in mind.


    • Trabue,
      There is nothing reasonable or rational about your questions or your claims.

      You call it “opinions” because you don’t like what the Bible factually says, and what everyone has understood it to say for thousands of years. EVERYONE but Trabue and his ilk just have “opinions” while Trabue and his ilk have the facts that no one in 4000 years discovered.

  10. paynehollow says:

    Sorry for the off topic straying.

    Glenn, sometime, it would be interesting to see how you define the morality of enslaving people against their will or forced marriages, but it’s not the topic here today and, besides (as normal), you appear wholly unable to make a defense of your position, so it’s probably a moot point with you, anyway.

    Carry on with the on topic discussion.

  11. vincedeporter says:

    If I may just put in my two cents?
    Atheists celebrate Christmas because it’s a time for Family, where time off is a practicality.

    I can’t talk for others — but I enjoy Christmas because quite frankly, I don’t care what the origin is. It’s the last thing on my mind. It’s only about family.

    Now, if we are going to talk consistency — one of my favorite goals — let’s talk about what Jesus would do if he came down on Christmas and saw the “Merchants of the Temple” making an obscene amount of money using his birth as an excuse.
    Maybe that would be a better subject on consistency, no?

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