12/22/2006                                                                                       View Comments

Peace on Earth, good will to men

By Rob Swindell
Amherst News-Times

Traveling down Route 2 upon our first snow of the season, and our first taste of the holiday season, I trailed a car that had a bumper sticker that read, “Merry Christmas: How is THAT offensive?” Not long after I learned that Wal-Mart had decided to greet their customers with “Merry Christmas,” rather than the politically correct, “Happy Holidays.” I found these two incidents oddly related, and contemplated the issue a bit further.

My question was, is wishing someone a “Merry Christmas” offensive? I am among the staunchest civil libertarians and an outspoken non-theist, yet I do not ever remember being offended when wished a Merry Christmas. However, according to the media, there seems to be a “War on Christmas.” And, for many, the war is real- as evidenced by those that rejoiced in Wal-Mart’s decision and the amount of Christmas Cards sent to the ACLU.

My curiosity was aroused, and I decided to find out if there was indeed a “War on Christmas,” and if so, who was responsible and what exactly people were fighting about. I conjured up a small, very unscientific, survey and e-mailed it to both my religious and non-religious (agnostic and atheist) friends. In addition to the “War on Christmas,” I wanted to know if people, specifically my non-religious friends, were offended by the “Merry Christmas” greeting. I also wondered if my religious friends were upset at the political correctness implied in wishing folks a “Happy Holiday.”

I received dozens of responses, and the results were a little surprising. Most of the non-theists did not acknowledge a “War on Christmas,” while nearly all the religious responses felt that there was. As for a greeting of “Merry Christmas,” only 2 of 26 non-theists said that they were offended. It seems, almost conclusively, that the war for political correctness is not being fought by non-theists. Conversely, the religious response was that they were, often very, upset about being asked to be politically correct. Many of the arguments focused on the theme that this is a “Christian nation.” Non-theists blamed the media and the conservative base for making an issue out of nothing, while religious responses primarily blamed the ACLU and atheists. Finally, in a show of solidarity, both non-theists and theists felt that Wal-Mart changed their policy for financial gain and publicity. I would agree, I think it is a great strategic move by Wal-Mart- attempting to mobilize the conservative base- at a time when they are facing increased resistance from communities.

It seems then, unexpectedly, that Christians were more offended at the political correctness of “Happy Holidays,” than non-theists were over “Merry Christmas.” In other words, being politically correct is more offensive to Christians than not being politically correct is to non-theists. Christians seem to be rallying behind the premise that their “right” to say “Merry Christmas” has been taken away. However, it might only be a self-inflicted skirmish.

One atheist made this comment, “As a former member of a cultic fundamentalist group, I know it is valuable as a method to maintain cohesiveness in a group to make the members feel embattled, that the world is against you.” Whether it is the ACLU, atheists or the media that is responsible for the “War on Christmas,” there is certainly a measure of embattlement. My survey was retuned by the ACLU which noted that they are inundated with Christmas cards, empty donation envelopes, and large donations on closed bank accounts. Furthermore, some of the Christmas cards are filled with expletives and the ACLU voice mail is often filled by after-hour callers. Promoted by Christian groups to their members, and through e-mail campaigns, the endeavor does not seem very kind or Christian-like.

For the record, the ACLU’s involvement in Christmas is limited to the separation of church and state insomuch as it related to the government endorsement of a particular religion. While it may occasionally represent religious discrimination, it does not have any influence over corporate or individual decisions regarding how the holidays are celebrated. Much of this misinformation is propagandized by the media and people like Bill O’Reilly. In truth, governments are permitted to exhibit some religious displays so long as secular displays are also represented.

While I favor diversity, respect and consideration as a measure of inclusiveness, I am not always in favor of political correctness. What I am in favor of is discourse, and believe that with understanding- ignorance and prejudice would be eradicated. The unwritten rule forbidding the discussion of religion and politics in many arenas only amplifies the misinterpretations. People need to be willing to have a civilized debate, and to occasionally change their minds. It is this level of discussion that might eventually lead to real political correctness. Because, like saying you are “sorry,” political correctness only means something if it is sincere.

Non-Christians have the same guaranteed rights as Christians, but must also accept that that the majority of this country is Christian, complete with their holidays and traditions. On the other hand, Christians must acknowledge and embrace the premise that just because they represent the majority, they cannot trample the rights, culture and traditions of the minority. While not personally offensive, wishing someone a “Merry Christmas” is exclusive and presumptive.

Minorities have the same right to celebrate the holiday season as Christians. Other religions celebrate traditional December holidays, such as Hanukkah, and the non-religious celebrate other events such as Kwanzaa and the Winter Solstice. In fact, for those unacquainted with the “real” story of Christmas, it actually began as a celebration of the winter solstice, as noted here by the History Channel:
"The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.

The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking."

Moreover, it is unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25. The history and tradition of this holiday is as muddled as religion itself. In fact, it was the Roman god Mithra that was said to have been born on December 25- which, incidentally, is also the date of the pagan Saturnalia festival. The History Channel continues:

"In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention date for his birth. Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?), Pope Julius I chose December 25."

The winter holiday season is my favorite time of the year, narrowly winning favor over the comfortable autumn tone. There seems to be a kindness in the air, save the indomitable holiday shopper and the perplexing, as debated here, choice of seasonal greeting. Many of the responses from my survey spoke of about the meaning of the holiday season and Christmas- an affection that my family and I share. Nearly all responders, theists and non-theists, share the holiday tradition with family and friends, and engage in the exchange of gifts.

Perhaps my favorite plea was for the traditional “peace on Earth and goodwill to men.” There are so many important issues in the world, such as war, disease and poverty, it almost seems ridiculous to waste time analyzing what is most often a sincere and warm holiday greeting. In the end, the decision is a personal one, and with that, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season — and not just because it is politically correct.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Political Correctness is a term used by the majority who can't determine its meaning. While the author makes excellent points in terms of our seasonal agnst & fustrations of greetings, I back the ACLU 100 percent. Without the ACLU, ours would be a nation of fanatics!

As one in the deep south, I've had "Merry Christmas" said to me from southern baptist relatives as a means of COY & INTIMIDATION---thus, it's offensive. So, in turn, I return with the same coy & Intimidating tone "Happy fictional Jesus Birthday to you too!"

It seems the "War on Christmas" is only here in the deep south with all these fanatics! One could write a book on the complexity of Christians use of the holidays. So many tell me, "But Christians do wonderful charity during the holidays." I've yet to see the results of their charity which haven't excluded someone due to religious predujice or dogma! Also, why only one day out of the year for Peace and Good will?

Sarge said...

I am an atheist, and yet again am performing in churches on christmas day and christmas eve. Last minute calls. and again, when it was known that I am an unbeliever some are shocked that I've been asked to play. Yet again, they're told, "who else would be available on such short notice?" And, as my wife (a practicing methodist, I twit her that after all these years she should have finally caught on)somewhat ascerbicly told one questioner, "who else wouldn't care who you are, just that you're in need?" Great gal, my wife. The only people who seem really upset about this is the folks who have an agenda they want to cram down someone els's throat.

Paul said...

That atheists who do not want to hear 'Happy Christmas' should rethink how fair their demand is that Christmas should be banned from public life. This is a country where majority of people have Christian sympathies and would like to say merrily 'Happy Christmas'. If ACLU and atheists have any problem with Christmas they might better think of establishing their own colony on the northpole while leaving the United States to Christians.

Thackerie said...

Thanks, Paul, that was spoken like a True Christian™. I could just feel the love oozing from you. NOT.

However, I do wish you a MERRY Christmas, if that will make you feel better.

But, more important, I wish you a contemplative Christmas; perhaps you can use this time to actually think about what this season is supposed to mean - Peace on Earth and Goodwill to ALL mankind, not just those who share your fundie faith. You CAN do it; make Jesus proud!

Warnepiece said...

Paul has a very, very limited understanding of the history of the United States. Just because a “majority of people have christian sympathies” doesn’t mean the rest of us MUST have all the Christians beliefs and holidays shoved down our throats. We don't govern by mod rule here.

Frankly Paul, I don’t mind Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Yuletide, Happy Hanukkah, Ja Saturnalia, or any other festive greeting. They are just greetings, like saying “How do you do?”

Paul, maybe you should check out WHY so many people of different backgrounds came to this country. It wasn’t so they could practice Christianity and force everyone else into their belief system. Granted, to a great degree that is what has happened, but the founding fathers made it clear, citizens could practice whatever they wanted but it would not be government sanctioned and it could not be forced on others. Unfortunately, christian groups with an agenda have slipped more and more “christianity only” into everyday American lives through the power of the government.

You wrote we should “leave the United States to christians.” Hmmmm, so do we use the UN to enforce a ruling, (by military power if necessary) that whatever the majority religion is in any country around the world, that religion has to be forced on everyone within that country? And, there can be no changes made to the country’s majority religion, ever? Have you ever read about the Inquisition Paul, and would you like to see it re-instituted, say, here in the United States?

CyborgX said...

Stevie P wrote:

"I back the ACLU 100 percent. Without the ACLU, ours would be a nation of fanatics!"

They backed the WBC. So I disagree there.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/22/AR2006072200643.html

http://www.365gay.com/Newscon06/05/050206phelps.htm

While I can say the ACLU has done some good, when I read this, all my respect for them went right out the window. I can't trust someone that would support THIS type of talk. There's a difference between "free speach" and "inciting hate". Just like there's a law against "inciting a riot", there should be a law against "inciting hate". But then that would leave various religious dogma illegal.

Ah well, you can't win them all.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, he he ha ha ho ho, what does Merry Christmas mean?

Does saying Merry Christmas mean that the recipient of the well-wishing will in fact have a Merry Christmas?

What if that very person gets killed in a car wreck on Christmas day? What if they get murdered on Christmas day? Does by saying Merry Christmas mean that those people that got killed on Christmas day, still had a merry christmas?

Well wishing, it's all about perception, it's all about how we want to be perceived by our fellow man (peers). We've all been indoctrinated to think and believe that it is better to be perceived as kind, nice, considerate, sweet and giving for some reason it is also considered to be honorable to be perceived as being a Christian.

It's all about perception isn't it? How we want to be perceived by others.

Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards men!

It's how we want to be pereceived as a Christian Nation, let us go to war and conquer other lands and spread our self-righteous holier-than-thou religious bullshit democracy no matter what the cost, whether it be in soldiers lives or innocent civilian lives.

The spenditure of lives becomes negligible and quickly over shadowed as compared to the amount of worthy perception of goodwill that we impose on other countries and other lands, isn't it?

After 12:01 a.m. Dec. 26, it all gets swept under the rug doesn't it?

The songs, the false gaiety, the goodwill, the false holy religious perceptions, all quickly fades away until next year and then the cycle starts to repeat itself all over again around July and August and onwards there out.

Merry Bullshit to you all, until next year and we start the same bullshit all over again!

Rick said...

Paul, you are a twit and a perfect representative of christian intelligence and attitude. Merry fake Jesus fake birthday to you.

Next time read the article and get a clue about what you think you know before exposing to everyone what you don't.

infidel666 said...

Paul said, "leaving the United States to Christians" LOL (shaking my head)
It's hard to believe someone could be so ignorant to not even know the historical facts of this country. Not to even mention those really important people who brought change. Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Michael Faraday, Nikola Tesla, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Clemens, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Sigmund Freud. And that is just a start. Imagine this country today without those men. It would be like the middle east. Get a freakin education paul or get your head out of your ass.

preston said...

Christians can be so stupid sometimes.

happy Holidays!

Cuntoleezza Rice said...

Saying "Merry Christmas" is not offensive. Saying it with your chin out by tagging it with "How is that offensive" is offensive.

AtheistMommy said...

I think I've taken this fight to a different level. At first I wasn't aware that anyone was fighting over xmas. But, like the first poster said, it's the worse here in the south. These people are horrible when it comes to diversity (religious or not). If you're not like them in every way, you're against them in every way and you need to be eliminated. Like Paul said, leave. That's the on going attitude they seem to be taught.

My personal war on xmas is created my own holiday. We celebrate solstice. We've created our own traditions, our own tree (made out of xmas balls), and we include and educate all those who know us.

Xmas has been losing it's religiosity for years. Jesus is losing. Giving gifts to each other? That's not celebrating someone else's birthday.

There isn't any shame in wishing someone a happy holiday if you don't know them. Because you also don't know what holiday they celebrate. It shows that you care about people in general. Holidays are about being with family and close friends. Or at least they are suppose to be.

Look around you, what do you see?
Right now, every time I got to the store I see grumpy people shopping, overspending, to get the most expensive gift for whomever and trampling who ever (including children) to get it. It seems this is the time of year the majority loses their respect for others.

So go to church, praise god, pretend that the US being a "christian nation" (simply because christianity is the majority belief) is a good excuse to say "Marry Christmas," or shout "UNDER GOD!," and demand "God Bless You!" if it all makes you feel better about yourself.

But know in reality you're nothing more than a hypocrite. Because if the shoe was on the other foot and everyone refused to say "Marry Christmas," you'd be yelling from the top of your lungs.

If our money said "In no god we trust" you'd yell about it.

If our moto said "under no gods" you'd cry about it.

So don't sit here and mock us for asking for something more nurtal.

Lets not be too quick to forget how christians became the majority.

Sending the ACLU xmas cards in spite is not a good way to express how you feel. It's a childish ploy to get your way.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas everybody!

Anonymous said...

Peace on Earth and goodwill to men
__________________________________
This is an "incorrect quote" of the Bible.
__________________________________

It is,
"Peace on earth toward men of Good will

I may not be political correct but, Do Try to be Scripturally correct...
I myself am neither for or against the Holiday of Christmas..
Actually The Holy-Day of Christs-Mass. Christmas is not recognized by a true followers understanding of Scriptures, as a christian Holiday. It is a Pagan Holiday introduced into the early Church which was in Apostasy, and still is in Apostasy, (Error). Easter is not a true holiday of christians, it is also a pagan holiday also introduced at the time of the Constantine who also wanted to be political correct at the time... And So-It-goes!

Comet said...

A sound article... would like to add that they didn't touch on the "meaning" of the word Happy Holiday, as I understand the literal term though - which would assert that someone only sees this term in correlation to Christmas only. Why can't Happy Holidays be used during St. Patrick's Day, or Valentine's Day, etc., etc?

From an analytic point of view, the reason there is a lot of dissent on the use of the term Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas is because Happy Holidays, seems to be the "replacement" for the tradition of Christ,mas.

If Happy Holidays were used as a general greeting during a varied number of celebrations, then the polarity between Happy Holiday/Seasons Greetings, and Merry Christmas would become blurred, and people would become "indifferent" to the general or specific term used for the same celebratory time. An approach that would likely create a little discomfort to the more religious, and media outlets.

I personally don't care what someone tells me about their celebrations. When someone greets me, they are telling me what they are celebrating, and I reply to what I am celebrating, a "season" or "holiday", not an idol for worship. Albeit, I don't care for someone to proselytize, as they hide behind a holiday greeting either. And, in a public school, that is exactly what the use of the term would amount to, in my opinion.

I agree wholeheartedly, when the article mentions embattlement, a cause without a focus becomes disorganized and typically fades away.

Last year, and the year before, it was all about the "Harry Potter" conspiracy, where the writers of a fantasy novel were trying to place "evil" or "magic" into a good light through the adventures of a young magician. The wife still has to ask parents, if their child can read Harry Potter before she teaches a public class.

The religious are scared of the blurring that comes along with providing alternative options or viewpoints. However, that is exactly what an education is supposed to provide a child - an alternative view.

The religious don't want "evil" in their bible, blurred with a good and noble "wizard" in a different fantasy book. They feel there is only "one" true Fantasy book - the Bible, and there should be no challenge to their fantasy.

The religious don't want, Happy Holidays, or Seasons Greetings used because it blurs the meaning of their tradition, and there should only be "one" True reason for the Season, and that's the god they find in their fantasy book.

Religion is based on strict adherence to a set of "words", their entire belief system is built on words. They are afraid that words can really hurt their cause, and they are correct. Religion for the most part is nothing but the art of word peddling.

And, magic is magic, until someone learns how the magic trick works. To expose the magic of rhetoric and word play, it just takes other forms of word play to show the same trick, and a little rationality and a child/person can make the connection eventually - not something a preacher/parent wants to have to answer to.

This article hits some valid points, but it's a little broader than a bunch of Christians lining up to boycott Christmas on Wal-Mart because they feel they are being shafted. Nope, the Christian is right in this case. The more educated truly realize that their religious belief is nothing but a bunch of words, and if their words become blurred, so does their religion and its meaning.

While the non-religious is able to discern the difference between fantasy, and reality. The Christian lives in fantasy, especially during Christmas season.

Thus, Christians don't only boycott during Solstice, they boycott anything to include "education" if it challenges their fantasy/fantastic belief system.

The only reason the media didn't carry the Harry Potter polarity, is because there were many religious people who bought and read Harry Potter as parents/adults. And thus, the media couldn't find to hard demographic groups to polarize. However, media done right, there should just be the exposing that occurs, not the taking of one side over another, and that is typically what happens in many media circles.

Oh, one final thought, Christmas was created for a reason in history, it was to remove the previous Pagan celebration, and to be used as a reminder to keep loyalty to the Christian Faith.

Many Christians only go to church a few times a year, Easter & Christmas. If Christmas and Easter were forgotten, then religions would be hard pressed to fill its pews on these two seasons, which give them the biggest tithes than at any other time throughout the year. If people weren't reminded constantly to fear hell, and to give thanks for being saved from hell, they'd naturally forget. Traditions require continued repetition to keep alive.

Religion requires repetition, that's training. Using a "general explicative" requires a person to choose from multiple meanings/options - that requires an education.

Religions would thus, prefer to keep the options for the feeble minded at a minimum, by continuing to train their followers, it just makes life so much easier for the preacher/parent. Any type of open ended education tends to hurt their cause.

As for me, I will continue to provide an "alternative" view to the greeting, and I will use it so generally during the year as to be able to slip out of any controversy - kind of like how the Christian slips out of explaining what "god" really means when they are asked. Perhaps, if questioned, I can be a smart ace, and provide the common Christian oath; "I dunno", and salute; hands outstretched, palms upward, and shrugging shoulders.

Happy Holidays All.

Anonymous said...

The God of the Universe says,

(Isa. 45:6, 7) YHVH,(God) says, I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace and create evil, I the Lord do all these things...

freedy said...

Happy Holidays means "Happy Holy-days". Right?

The word "holy-days" should be just as offensive to humanists and atheists as Merry Christmas.

Personally I don't give a rats ass!

p.s. Didn't Jesus say he came to pit brother against brother ,fathers against sons,and sheep against goats?

I guess peace and goodwill only applies to the blind followers of Jeezus.

Dasher said...

Oh, I somehow missed Paul...

Paul: That atheists who do not want to hear 'Happy Christmas' should rethink how fair their demand is that Christmas should be banned from public life."

Nah, solstice is a great holiday, don't need to ban it from public life, just need to teach all the Christian children who come up to me, exactly what Solstice is... Now that you mention it, I think I will create Solstice flyers, and place them on car windshields parked at Wal-Mart. Perhaps, when I go to a hotel, I will just take the Gideon out of the desk drawer, and replace it with the true history of Christianity.

Paul: "This is a country where majority of people have Christian sympathies and would like to say merrily 'Happy Christmas'."

Paul, this was a country where a majority believed in slavery not so many years ago... it didn't make it right - or... did it? So hard to tell how a Christian will answer that question. Seems they need to continually find a way to enslave people, one way or another.

Paul: "If ACLU and atheists have any problem with Christmas they might better think of establishing their own colony on the northpole while leaving the United States to Christians."

Ah, the true Christian spirit. Hey Paul, why don't you go find another country, this one was established as a religious "free" republic. The only reason you get to say anything is because of "freedom of speech", not because what comes out of your mouth, is actually true/correct.

Your freedom of speech is an "opinion", if I have a Christian greet me with Merry Christmas, I'll kindly reply back with the Happy Holidays... Wal-Mart is a private organization, I have no problem with their freedom of speech. However, I get to choose "not" to go to Wal-Mart if I feel some frothing at the mouth Christians can't find that line between a merry greeting, and proselytizing.

Now that I think about it, hopefully Wal-Mart doesn't become another monopoly, or I'll have no other option than to listen to the stupidity. Sorry Paul, jumped into something more intelligent, hope I didn't lose you. Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

As a Athiest, i find it interesting that Christian's can just conviently move there holiday's over Pagan ones, and then they say we created them, what aload of Bullshit, in New Zealand here The Christian Church is going after the young as in Teenagers, a church which i used to go to called Christian City Church Auckland, is slowly establishing Primals, which are youth Church's, for Teens aged between 14-24.

I once began to question the Bible myself, when it came to the Isralites being in Egypt, i was shut down by the Youth Pastor for causing Trouble, on our church forum, called Primalyouth.com.

I reckon Christianty itself is one big Lie, and very Hypocritical of itself, and as Christmas Wish i hope it gets wiped of the face of the Earth.

Comet said...

Freedy: "Happy Holidays means "Happy Holy-days". Right?"

Good point. Christians don't want to confuse which "holy" belief is being worshipped ritualistically, though. The Jews don't say Happy Hanukah, etc. Merry xmas is a statement only for xtians, and that is exactly the statement they wish to make "Merry Christmas". Everyone else can go fly a kite.

However, now that you mention it, I suppose I will have to find a better greeting, since I don't believe in any "holy" days :-)

Twincats said...

What happened to the days when "Happy Holidays" was nothing more than shorthand for Merry Christmas AND Happy New Year?

I'm not about to assume every person I greet is going to be Christian, so I use "Happy Holidays" to be inclusive, which has somehow become inappropriate to the Christians. I thought "Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men" WAS an inclusive sentiment. Seems I was wrong.

For another perspective, check out Dispatches from the Culture Wars

.:webmaster:. said...

Peace on Earth and goodwill to men -- This is an "incorrect quote" of the Bible.

Oh brother. A fundie so stupid he or she doesn't even know that there are all kinds of versions of this verse. Pick your favorite:

Luke 2:14 (King James Version) -- Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:14 (New American Standard Bible) -- Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

Luke 2:14 (The Message) -- Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

Luke 2:14 (New International Version)--"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Luke 2:14 (Contemporary English Version) -- "Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God."

The lyrics of "I heard the bells on Christmas Day." say "Peace on Earth, good will to men."

Silverseale said...

The writer notes the bumpersticker, "merry christmas... how is that offensive"

My question is, how is "happy holidays" offensive?

Warnepiece said...

Anonymous poster from 12/22/06 at 4:10 PM (who is actually Celestials1938) says “I may not be political correct but, Do Try to be Scripturally correct...”

Isn’t that the same basic line the Phelps cretins at the Westboro Baptist Church maintain?

Of all the people (and I use the term “people” loosely when writing about the Phelps) to pattern your scriptural life after….

And so it goes, huh Celeste?

Leonard said...

I suspend my judgment. Thank my Christian upbringing. I can´t help but love the season. But, here´s a little something...

-----

"What are your Christmas wishes this year?"
"The same as always... more undeserved wealth, power and happiness for me at the cost of other people. How about you?"
"Um... I wish for peace on Earth and happiness for all."
"Even for offensive, viciously cynical people?"
"...um..."
"And people who make fun of you for being an idealistic fool?"
"....................yes."
"Merry Christmas."

---------------------

That´s from Scott Adams.

I wish I could hug you all. Sorry about that.

Merry Yule. ;)

Astreja said...

Gleðileg Jól, everybody! (hands out mass quantities of cake, cookies and mead to everyone reading this thread)

imaginary sky daddy said...

My god is money, without it you can't celebrate the holidays of gift giving. It just urks me to high "heaven" when I hear a christian or anyone for that matter say money isn't everything, what bullshit that is. Without it you can do nothing, it's plain and simply your total means of survival in this United States or any other developed country, nobody can deny that. As far as happiness, how can the poor be? They're constantly dwelling on where their next meal is coming from, and not only that the people who are homeless are constantly faced with where they're going to lay their heads each night. Now as far as having nice things, that is out of the question. Just think about it, how can a person be happy without money, it's practically impossible. So, the next time you say happy holidays, merry christmas, happy hanakuh, happy kwanzaa, whatever it may be to a person, that person isn't going to be happy if they don't have much money.

Unknowing1 said...

Paul wrote:

"If ACLU and atheists have any problem with Christmas they might better think of establishing their own colony on the northpole while leaving the United States to Christians."

Unknowing 1 is writing:

Hey Paul are you referring to the northpole in Alaska? I am the product of the public school system (including a state supported school of higher education) and wasn't homeschooled by fundamentalist parents who haven't a clue that global warming, evolution and other such things exist and truly are real so maybe I am wrong and Alaska really isn't part of the US.

Anyway, if Christians want to say Merry Christmas, go for it. Doesn't bother me, if I reply Happy Holidays or same to you it isn't meant as a slight.

Happy Holidays to me means all holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kawanza, New Years, Winter Solstice, whatever you want it to be.

People need to learn to just blow things off, there are more important things than someone wishing someone Happy Holidays instead of Christmas. For example, kids who won't have a meal to eat on Christmas Day or elderly individuals who use their whole income on the medications they so desperately need to keep them alive. Those same elderly folks may be having a feast of cat food on Christmas day.

Go ahead Paul you work on getting everyone in the US, northpole included to say Merry Christmas. Meanwhile I'll be spending my time trying to feed hungry children and get our elderly population decent food. Oh and by the way that's a year round job not just a Christmas job!

Pull The Other One! said...

I myself don't mind the word 'Christmas' being used, because this time of year has great significance for me as an ex-christian.

And why? Well, because this particular element of 'Matthew' and 'Luke' is among the most ridiculous and most transparently false parts of the gospels, and it helped me to realise that I had been tricked!

At Christmas I'm reminded of Matthew's dreadfully clumsy attempts to match the story up with Old Testament prophecies.

I also think about the gap of at least ten years between the dating of Jesus's birth in the two gospels. (Matthew - 6-4 B.C./Luke - 6 A.D).

And let's not forget the absurdities! My favourite one is the claim that Herod, who is said to have been greatly alarmed by the news brought by the Magi, obviously decided not to do what any ruthless ruler like him would have done, i.e., have some of his many spies simply follow his guests right to the manger's edge!:

'And when you find him, KILL him! I want that child dead TONIGHT!'

But no!, Herod chose to sit tight in his palace instead and trust the Magi to come back.

He must have been kicking himself! Then of course he came up with an even more ruthless plan than the one that didn't occur to him in the first place!

So, call it what you like! The most important thing is that it isn't true!

Paul said...

To all my atheist friends,
first of all happy Christmas to every one of you! This country is founded by people who came here with Geneva Bible in their hands on the orders issued by King James who wanted to establish a Christian colony in the new world. Every ex-Christian, think of your grandma or grandpa who were Christians. This country was powerful at their time, now it is selling itself to countries like China and India because people like yourself stopped practicising Christian values like marriage and family and played into abortion and gay marriage which are reducing the population of this country.
You better convert back to Christianity on this Christmas Eve and experience the love of Christ in your life. That is my wish for you. Try being an atheist in Iran or Iraq or Saudi Arabia. Try ridiculing Mohammed in Libya. You got freedom in this country to ridicule our blessed Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. You know how you got it? Because we Christians, unlike Muslims, love even our critics. The freedom of speech in this country is a gift of Christians. Atheists never achieved any good thing in this world. They are only hurting the good things done by CHristian folks. I love you all anyway, as my Savior commanded me to do. happy Christmas

John Milton said...

Very good. Spoken like the true American mujhadeen. Distorting history and rallying for oppression. It's people like you who are ruining America, Paul. The sad thing is you have absolutely no concept of our country even is.

"The freedom of speech in this country is a gift of Christians."

More like masons and deists. And it's quite disturbing you refer to our right of free speech as a "gift," as if it were handed down by some elect. I'm so sick and tired of morons like who who rape our nation's history and spread this all-out false revisionism about our founding.

But what do I know. Dinosaurs were on the ark along with south American jaguars and American midwestern bison, and Thomas Jefferson was a born-again literalist christian.

.:webmaster:. said...

Paul, you are either ignorant, or a liar.

When Christianity ruled western governments, there was no toleration for anyone outside the approved, government sanctioned version of Christianity.

The United States' founding fathers ensured that religion would be forever separated from politics and founded a completely secular government.

And your suggestion that atheists have never done any good is patently untrue, offensive, and reflects an ignorant hatred on your part for those who differ from you that is frighteningly reminiscent of the antisemitism in pre-Hitler Germany and milder forms of Islam.

The fact is Paul, you can believe whatever you want, but your Jesus is imaginary. You can run along now, like a good fundie pastor, and have an affair with another underage boy or girl in your congregation.

Where do these self righteously rude fanatics come from? And why is this website so popular with them?

Ugh...

Comet said...

Paul: "Every ex-Christian, think of your grandma or grandpa who were Christians."

Grandma was a deist, grandpa wasn't religious. Oops, shall we go back further, during slavery - when the Christians were really strong. Right about the time, they were slaughtering American Indians.

Paul: "They are only hurting the good things done by CHristian folks. I love you all anyway, as my Savior commanded me to do. happy Christmas"

Ah, the true trademark of the Christian, as learned by their god. Conditional Love.

YuleGoat2Hell said...

Oooohhh! Paul says. "I love you all anyway, as my Savior commanded me to do." Now isn't that special.

Some person typing on a computer keyboard somewhere told a bunch of people who don't know him and whom he doesn't know that he loves them ... because his "Savior" COMMANDED him to. (Would this be the same savior who commands us to love him or else get our butts toasted eternally?) Doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

Well, Paul, I can't speak for everyone here, but I can assure you that your profession of love for me, a complete stranger, means just as much to me as jayzuss's demand to love him or else. I thank you from the heart of my bottom.

Alan said...

Paul wrote:

If ACLU and atheists have any problem with Christmas they might better think of establishing their own colony on the northpole...

Paul, if there is a problem in this country you work to change it, you don't have to go off and establish your own "colony." Its called democracy, perhaps you should look into it. The ACLU and atheists don't have any "problem" with Christmas, but there is a problem with government establishing any particular religion. If you weren't blinded by hate speech you might realize that the ACLU does a lot to defend freedom of religion:

The ACLU of Louisiana (2006) filed a lawsuit defending the free speech rights of a Christian who was protesting based on his religious beliefs.

The ACLU of Rhode Island (2006) filed an appeal in federal court on behalf of an inmate who was barred from preaching during Christian religious services...

The ACLU of Rhode Island (2003) interceded on behalf of an interdenominational group of carolers who were denied the opportunity to sing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve to inmates at the women's prison in Cranston, Rhode Island.


ACLU Defense of Freedom of Religion and Religious Expression

Whether the US was founded by Christians or not is irrelevant, what we are supposed to have is freedom of religion, which includes freedom FROM religion. We have this freedom because the founding fathers wisely decided to separate church and state. What you apparently would like to see is the establishment of a state religion, which would put us on the path to becoming just as intolerant as the Islamic states you don't like. Without separation of church and state the government can criminalize those with unapproved beliefs. Get it?


CyborgX;

The ACLU wasn't defending Phelps's views, although freedom of speech means idiots like Phelps have a right to express their beliefs. What they were against is the law itself, which would have made it a crime for someone on public property to sing, yell, congregate with others, or display any image that someone in a private funeral service might find offensive. In fact the law appears to say just walking on the street within 300 feet of a funeral could be a misdemeanor:

(1) A person is guilty of interference with a funeral when he or she at
any time on any day: . . .
(b) Congregates, pickets, patrols, demonstrates, or enters on
that portion of a public right-of-way or private property that
is within three hundred (300) feet of an event specified in
paragraph (a) of this subsection; or
(c) Without authorization from the family of the deceased or
person conducting the service, during a funeral, wake,
memorial service, or burial:
1. Sings, chants, whistles, shouts, yells, or uses a
bullhorn, auto horn, sound amplification equipment,
or other sounds or images observable to or within
earshot of participants in the funeral, wake,
memorial service, or burial; or
2. Distributes literature or any other item.
(2) Interference with a funeral is a Class B misdemeanor.


ACLU complaint

Warnepiece said...

Webmaster,

Anonymous who posted on a different thread on 12/21/06 at 11:16 PM with a letter begging Tinkster to come back revealed a possible reason we are being inundated with self righteous, rude fanatics. She wrote:

“…you are speaking to those who need you most! People need a place like this that they can be real, be heard, and be answered…. A Christian persepective (sic) is needed!..... I'm sure it would be a thankless job most of the time, since this is an ex christian web site with a lot of hostility being passed around... But you have no idea how your responses have helped me. Maybe this Ex Christian website will be used for God's will after all.”

So anonymous sees this website as a tool of god’s…his will is to be done here by having all these intelligent christian postings that show us how we’re missing the love of jesus, mostly because she thinks we’re all ignorant, angry and hostile. In her post, she assumes we all need a christian’s answers and guidance. The site disclaimer means absolutely nothing.

So it is certain that if Tinkster doesn’t come back, per her desperate request, some sanctimonious, narrow-minded fundamentalist nincompoop far to the right of Tinkster will probably stop by to threaten us with hell for the 14 millionth time.

AtheistMommy said...

Dear Paul,

Just wanted to wish you a happy solstice. May your winter be spent with loving friends and family (no matter what religious beliefs they hold). I hope your new year brings happieness, love, and knowledge.

AtheistMommy said...

Maybe, in light of all this, we should be sending solstice cards the 700 club or something. I've got some good ones on my shop (http://www.cafepress.com/ftlshop) although most of mine are for all celebrations not just solstice. I don't know about you guys but if I don't buy cards that include all beliefs (because I have friends who hold all kinds of beliefs) then I make sure to send the right card to the right person. And I don't do this out of spite but instead, out of respect. Most of them do the same for me.

Even my xian neighbor asked me if it was ok for him to put xmas lights up because he didn't want to offend me. Which of course, I thought was a bit silly but the point is most people have no idea what Atheists like or are offended by. I was honored that he thought of us though. I told him, "Please, put the lights up, I think xmas lights are beautiful." So he did, and every night he turns them on until he goes to bed.

However, I do think that the RR needs a taste of what they've been dishing out for some time now. Some people just need to learn the hard way. And its been my personal experience that if you don't stand up to bullies they just gain more power over you.

myqel said...

Merry Giftmas!