Pharyngula

Our War on Christmas

We atheists have been caught in our ongoing devious strategem for destroying Christmas. The NY Times first expresses some surprise that fervent atheists celebrate Christmas, but then the writer begins to catch on.

“Presumably your reason for asking me is that “The God Delusion” is an atheistic book, and you still think of Christmas as a religious festival,” Mr. Dawkins wrote, in a reply printed here in its entirety. “But of course it has long since ceased to be a religious festival. I participate for family reasons, with a reluctance that owes more to aesthetics than atheistics. I detest Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and the obscene spending bonanza that nowadays seems to occupy not just December, but November and much of October, too.”

He added: “So divorced has Christmas become from religion that I find no necessity to bother with euphemisms such as happy holiday season. In the same way as many of my friends call themselves Jewish atheists, I acknowledge that I come from Christian cultural roots. I am a post-Christian atheist. So, understanding full well that the phrase retains zero religious significance, I unhesitatingly wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”

Why, yes. My personal war on Christmas is fought in a way the Bill O’Reillys of the world don’t even recognize: I blithely wish people a Merry Christmas without so much as a germ of religious reverence anywhere in my body. I take this holiday and turn it into a purely secular event, with family and friends and food and presents. I celebrate the season without thought of Jesus or any of the other myths so precious to the pious idiots who get upset when a Walmart gives them a cheery “Happy Holidays!”.

For now, they have to pretend that this myth of the dour atheist, the sour old Scrooge sitting home alone because he refuses to bend his knee to Jesus, is actually true. Someday, though, they might just notice that there are an awful lot of secular folk having a good time in late December and early January. Maybe we need to get a children’s book or a Christmas television special made…

And the Priest, with his priest-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?
It came without Jesus! It came without gods!
“It came without reverends, ministers or frauds!”
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Priest thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a church.
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…needs a bit more research!
And what happened then…?
Well…in Doubt-ville they say
That the Priest’s small brain
Grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his brain didn’t feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the books! And the logic and reason!
And he…
…HE HIMSELF…!
The Priest skipped church for the season!

(crossposted to The American Street)