Albert Mohler never disappoints. If you want a peek at the smug, ignorant heart of modern American Christianity, the weekly columns of the president of the Souther Baptist Theological Seminary are good places to start. In his latest effort, he expresses surprise that atheists might enjoy the Christmas holidays. He’s positively baffled that Richard Dawkins admits sharing in the traditions of his culture.
The thought of Richard Dawkins singing any carols with explicit Christian content is difficult to hold — unless the Oxford professor intends to sing of a faith he does not profess.
Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionist, atheist Jew, and Marxist sympathizer, used to join a choir to sing Handel’s Messiah at Christmas time. Note to Albert: Jesus didn’t write it, the music wasn’t brought to earth by a covey of angels, and it doesn’t require supernatural intervention to either sing it or hear it. Enjoying great music, or for that matter, eating Christmas cookies, gathering with friends and family for a meal, or giving a child a toy, does not require one speck of faith of any kind. These are human acts; the only way you can have difficulty holding the thought that an atheist might do them is if you have difficulty considering atheists as human.
Although I suppose an alternative and more charitable explanation is that Albert Mohler merely holds an extraordinarily withered imagination that is pretty much incapable of doing much of anything.
The sight of an avowed atheist joining in the Christmas chorus is a bit hard to imagine. At the same time, there is something comforting about the idea that even the world’s most famous atheist will move his lips to the songs that celebrate Christ’s birth. Perhaps those words will move from his lips to his head and his heart. We should pray that it might be so.
Yep. Nonexistent imagination. It’s a sad sight. Learn something, Albert.
Richard Dawkins celebrates Christmas. Greg Laden celebrates Christmas. PZ Myers celebrates Christmas. We aren’t celebrating the Christian faith (we actually deplore that), but we do like parties and music and good food and a seasonal tradition and having fun with our kids.
I have no problem saying “Merry Christmas!” to people, or putting on a red santa hat, or seeing houses draped with Christmas lights. I’m joining in. It’s my way of subverting the tradition — it’s also a secular holiday, you know, and I aim to appropriate it. I’m following another tradition there, since Christians initially stole the pagan midwinter festival for themselves, so I’m planning to take over Christmas as an atheist celebration.
One thing, though: I won’t ever be baffled by the fact that Christians have a good time on Christmas, too. They’re only human, after all. They’re welcome to join in our good cheer.