THIS IS NOT NORMAL.
I’ll grant you that. But here’s what’s going on.
After Monday’s post “Christians, chill out about Christmas,” I got to chat a bit with some atheists about their view of Christmas.
Most folks who read this blog are Christians, or at least curious about the Bible and Christianity. I thought some of you might find it interesting to read what one atheist had to say about Christmas.
We chatted on a social site called reddit. He goes by the username “moralnihilist.”
You can Google “moral nihilism,” if you like. It’s a philosophical doctrine.
We’ve already had a short and kind-hearted discussion. So I’ll not add any comments here.
But you’re certainly welcome to add your comments. Please keep them kind and gracious, though. He did. And Jesus would certainly expect that much of us.
The only people Jesus ripped into were other religious folks. So if you feel the need to tear into someone, I’m afraid that would have to be me.
I’m an atheist. It’s not that I don’t like Christmas. I LOVE Christmas. The weird thing is I never celebrated Christmas as a Christian and only started celebrating it as an atheist.
Christmas predates Christianity. It may have been called different things, but 99% of the aspects of the holiday come from pre-Christian civilizations. Decorated trees, mistletoe in the foyer, the Yule log, Santa and his reindeer, caroling, even celebrating it on December 25th are all completely, 100% pagan.
The Bible doesn’t give the date or even the time of year for Jesus’ birth. It does mention that shepherds were sleeping outside with their flocks. Since the highlands of northern Palestine are too cold for such activities that time of year, that rules out the winter setting for the Nativity.
To all the Christians reading this: Christmas isn’t just about you. Christmas transcends you. It’s merely the modern version of the ancient solstice festivals of northern hemisphere civilizations.
The tradition exists, not because Jesus died for our sins (the Bible doesn’t even mention a special birth celebration for Jesus, let alone prescribe one), but because it gets awfully depressing facing 6 months of horrible, cold, dark weather without a nice, bright, joyful celebration in the middle of it to look forward to.
I celebrate Christmas (and yes, I have no problem calling it Christmas. That doesn’t mean I worship Jesus any more than using the words for the days of the week means I worship the Sun [Sunday], the Moon [Monday], Tyr [Tuesday], Woden [Wednesday], Thor [Thursday], Friga [Friday], or Saturn [Saturday]) because it’s fun, I get the day off, I get time to spend with my family, and I get gifts. That’s enough for me.
I realize that Christians have attached a lot of religious significance to the holiday, and I have no problem with that. I have no problem that they even changed the name. But Christmas means something to me and it means something slightly different to you, and that’s okay. It’s just that when I see people crying about “putting Christ back in Christmas” or “Jesus is the reason for the season!” I shake my head. Celebrate how you want, but it’s not your holiday.
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Yeow! Hate to say it, but I agree with the atheist!
I’m a believer who’s given his life to Jesus. But, like it or not, we Christians co-opted this holiday from (dare I say it) pagan cultures.
I mean, when I see Christians fighting for the right to have a Christmas tree on public land or resisting it being called “holiday tree” rather than a “Christmas tree”…
That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with celebrating it as a time of giving, family and even the birth of God’s son.
But let’s keep it in perspective. No matter how we dress it up, it’s still just a mid-winter festival celebrating the return of longer days.
Moralnihilist: I second your post! I am a hybrid Buddhist/Catholic and I love Christmas for many reasons…Jesus…spending time with my family…getting and receiving prizes…good food…the week off at my job…Christmas carols…you name it! I think that anyone who makes a stink about how it is spelled or “the true reason for the season” is just sucking all the joy out of it for everyone else.
I don’t know what to say.. I can’t form my thoughts yet
Christmas may not have been created for or by Christians, however, it is a wonderful opportunity to spread the love and generosity of Christ. I assume that the majority of pilgrims didn’t really throw a feast for the Native Americans, but Thanksgiving is a time that everyone remembers what they’re thankful for, and as Christians we remember all of the ways that God has blessed us. So maybe we are hijacking “pagan holidays” and trying to make them more “Christian”… but shouldn’t we be doing that every day? Teaching the love and generosity of Christ? No, we shouldn’t become outraged if someone suggests Christmas isn’t about Jesus, but we should definitely share love, hope, understanding and generosity, not just on Christmas, but every day of the year.
One thing i will say at least he didnt throw the Christians to the wolves like some atheist do. Interesting synopsis of how he feels I would dare to say he would be a great one to recruit for the kingdom and get saved. I get the impression he may be open to receiving Jesus.