NOBODY IS TRYING TO TAKE YOUR XMAS AWAY
Sure as shit as TNT will show the Christmas Story, and your local supermarket will stock tasty egg nog, a new holiday tradition has arrived, one in which Fox News pundits will complain about the (false) notion of a “war on Xmas.”
I really didn’t think it could get any better than last year when David Silverman made an appearance on the “O’Reily Factor,” and Bill O’Reily said Christianity is a “philosophy” not a religion. (Wouldn’t that contradict the Christian right’s narrative about the “war on Xmas” being an attack on religion?)
But this year, at least on an entertainment level, it has gotten better. As you might know, Silverman’s American Atheists organization put up an electronic billboard in Times Square with the message Who needs Christ during Christmas?… NOBODY. Of course with the whole free-speech and free-market economy thing, they paid for it and have a right to put it up. Other more traditional holiday tidings also flash on the electronic billboard, but the Who Needs Christ one is causing all the controversy.
New York State Senator Andrew Lanza compared the billboard to the Third Reich’s Holocaust. If that’s not slippery slope fallacious reasoning, I don’t know what is. Let’s see, putting an electronic billboard in Times Square with an Atheist/secular holiday greeting is somehow a precursor to a reenactment of the Final Solution and the ovens of Auschwitz being fired up again!? Yeah right!
In the face of perceived attacks, the brave Xian soldiers mount a resistance—the resistance is to tell people “Merry Christmas” and give the old heave–ho to “Happy Holidays.” I’m not offended by either greeting, nor do I even care which one is said.
So who is the type to make an issue over “Happy Holidays” becoming a new norm? It’s someone who desires cultural hegemony, which is the idea that one voice, one ideology, one people should dominate over a society, and all other voices are to be marginalized and relegated to a lesser status. The opposite of cultural hegemony is pluralism.
“Happy Holidays” is a pluralistic umbrella term, and Xmas is included under that heading, not excluded. So where is the problem? How is Xmas being attacked when it is a factor in the “Happy Holidays” equation?
The myth of the war on Xmas is part of a larger narrative, the myth of the modern persecuted Xian, which I find to be VERY bizarre. It doesn’t add up. Christians make up around 78% of the U.S. population, and Atheists make up around 6-7% of the U.S. population.
Which group has a greater probability of being ridiculed, ostracized, or discriminated against? Do the math and calculate the results.
Another resistance call you are likely to hear around this time of year is the call to “keep the Christ in Christmas.”
But, doesn’t Xmas have its origins in European polytheistic Paganism? Xmas is essentially a synthesis of Roman, Celtic, and Germanic Pagan traditions ( see Sol Invictus, Saturnalia, Yule, the Cult of Mithras, etc.) with the Christ narrative sprinkled on top.
Such historical knowledge deflates the whole “Christ is the reason for the season” narrative. The origins of Xmas pre-date Christianity.
What is the reaction from less-educated evangelicals when you bring this information to their attention?—I’ve found they usually ignore it or dismiss it and continue to cling on to the Christ birth narrative.
Telling Christians that their most holy of holidays has its roots in Paganism is going to create cognitive dissonance, and when cognitive dissonance gets too heavy, a stay on or jump off moment occurs.
I’ve seen how some Christians will disregard the origins of Xmas because it doesn’t sync up with their narrative. The former managing editor of the campus paper I write for in December of 2012 wrote an idiotic column entitled “The Corporate controversy of Christmas” that is an illustration of what I’m talking about.
The denial in the face of cognitive dissonance was present: “Apparently, Christmas trees, mistletoe, holly wreaths and yule logs have pre- Christian origins. But none of this changes the fact that I, as a Christian, believe that the origin of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible.”
Just by believing something doesn’t make it true. You can believe the origins of Xmas are the birth of Christ, but the origins are found somewhere else, and that actually has been documented.
An understanding of history as a linear timeline is a basic, rudimentary intellectual skill, an understanding of cause and effect and how preceding events effect that which follows. And with what she wrote, dumb ass Ellen Becker displayed she has trouble grasping such a concept.
The delusions of persecution were on display too–”I don’t discriminate against those who celebrate other holidays, yet I have been discriminated against for celebrating Christmas as a Biblical holiday.”
I saw that and thought yeah fucking right!
The kicker was the closer–”In a time when all things religious are being discouraged and swept away, I still hold strong to my convictions, and will forever keep Christ in Christmas.”
What in the fuck was that shit? It was a declaration of personal resistance in the face of imagined persecution.
It’s not that we are witnessing a concerted effort to “sweep away” or ban religion, like in Communist countries, but rather a social shift in which religiosity is declining in some segments of American society, particularly among educated Millennials.
A similar social shift happened in Western and Northern Europe after World War 2. Countries like France, Norway, and Sweden have high numbers of non-religious citizens, and that shift did not bring about the downfall of these nations. As a population becomes better educated and more stable, their level of religiosity tends to decrease. The social shift of this sort makes the evangelical who wants to maintain a cultural equilibrium feel uncomfortable.
So with all of that said, I will not tell anyone to keep the Christ in Christmas or to take it out. I don’t care how you celebrate Xmas. For me, it’s the time for egg nog and Kahlua and to watch that movie about Ralphie and his Red-Ryder B.B. Gun. Merry XXX-Mas, MOTHER COCKSUCKER!!