The Atheist Christmas

nochristmas
This article
 talks about a display put up by the Freedom From Religion Foundation at the Wisconsin Capital Building to celebrate the Winter Solstice. It was  obviously erected to counter the usual displays and messages so common during the Christmas season.

Personally, I have problems with this.

Not because of what atheists are trying to accomplish, but because of what is written. In my opinion such an “in-your-face” declaration accomplishes little to nothing. Sure, atheists will clap their hands in glee that the display was erected, but is this an effective way of getting through to believers during their “Holy Season?” I think not.

What say you? Do you agree this is an effective counter-measure? Or would a more “toned-down” message be more effective? If you were the one chosen to write an anti-Christmas message, what would you have said?

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77 thoughts on “The Atheist Christmas

  1. I think what they are trying to accomplish is to get the government to stop allowing religious displays in their buildings. To accomplish this, the displays the atheists put up need to be a little in-your-face. Enough so that the people in charge start rethinking allowing displays. If every time they let the christians put up a nativity, the atheists put up a sign like that, and it’s followed by a Festivus Pole, and an image of His Noodliness, and something obnoxious from the Satanists, hopefully the people who gave permission will throw up their hands and say “Enough! Let’s not have religious displays at all, just some lights and greenery instead!” And getting them to that point is the goal.

    Liked by 13 people

    • Your point is well-made. If the powers-that-be get enough complaints, then yes, perhaps it will cause them to ban all displays (which would be a very good thing).

      But I still feel there’s a better way to get the point across. JMO.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I personally prefer displays that are a little bit silly (or a lot silly) for the purpose. It still might get the authorities to call the whole thing off, but also give some people a smile when they see it.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I actually think Jeff’s message is a good one. By mentioning the fact it’s the Winter Solstice (rather than “Christmas,”) it gets the point across. One could even add some comments like Ken pointed out below related to good will and peace on earth.

          I just think by pointing out there are “no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell,” it simply reinforces the image the average Christian has of atheists. Thus, it accomplishes “no good thing.”

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, when I personally wish to make an anti-Christmas statement, I go to a nearby church, strip naked, and streak around the manger display yelling, “There ain’t no gods! There ain’t no gods!” Don’t know if it actually convinces anyone that there are no gods, but it certainly creates a distraction from Christmas for a while for those who witness it.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. “If you were the one chosen to write an anti-Christmas message, what would you have said?”

    I’m with you on this Nan. And to answer the above question, I would not write an anti-Christmas message. Instead I would emphasize some of the universal themes of Christmas.

    Peace on Earth, Good will to all men would be the first one. Who could disagree with this ?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Absolutely! And if the FFRF feels they need to get a more direct message across, they could point out these qualities don’t need a god to be enacted. They are simply good human attributes.

      Liked by 3 people

      • In Washington DC a few years ago some Atheist Group had signs put on the Metro Buses which read, “Be good for goodness sake” That certainly gets the message out and might cause some religious people to think . OK I’m dreaming but it sounded good. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I don’t think I would want to make an anti-christmas message. I mean so little of Christmas has anything to do with Christ, beyond the name. I mean the tree, the lights, the wreaths, mistletoe, gift giving all stem well before “Jesus was born.” I think I would prefer to stick with an anti-religion message

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I would prefer that atheists let Christians enjoy Christmas unmolested. When I was still a person of faith, what I saw as militant atheist attacks on Christmas just made annoyed me and made me more hostile to the atheist argument.

    The thing is that Christians feel they are under siege in their own countries. One can argue whether or not this perception is correct, but there is no doubt this is how many Christians feel.

    I say, let the Christians enjoy Christians unmolested. Perhaps if the atheist community was more understanding in this regard the hostility between the camps would be less. What especially annoyed me when still a Christian was a perceived double standard I saw where their seemed to be attacks on everything Christian whilst the saem folk seemed to say that Muslim festivals were sacred and needed to be acknowledged. To the Christian this is bizarre thinking as they would say if the Muslims get in control their approach to atheists would be far more severe than that experienced in the Christian era.

    Even though I am no longer a Christian I don’t have any problem with Christmas celebrations, I see it as part of our cultural heritage, why through out the baby with the bath water. I would give the winter solstice celebration a miss, for a start it will cause many Christians to conclude such atheists are really pagans like the English Druid’s.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Peter, there’s little chance that anything is going to change related to Christmas in this country so your wishes will undoubtedly be fulfilled — the Christians will continue to enjoy Christmas.

      However, I see nothing wrong with those who do not honor this as a sacred holiday to demonstrate/celebrate their personal beliefs as well. If it offends Christians, so be it. There are no laws (so far) that say we must all believe in the birth of their Jesus. (Besides, as you very well know, December 25th wasn’t his birthday anyway.)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Indeed Christmas was based on the winter solstice date in the Northern Hemisphere. It got a few days out of line as in those days the calendar did not have leap years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “However, I see nothing wrong with those who do not honor this as a sacred holiday to demonstrate/celebrate their personal beliefs as well.”

        Exactly ! This is how holidays evolve anyway . Right? Maybe this is the answer. Instead of trying to silence one particular group and their holiday, just add a few more , maybe with better themes. Let “holiday evolution” take place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • tildeb,

        Aren’t we supposed to be tolerant and understanding of world cultures?

        The Western Hemisphere was settled by Christians creating Christian cultures throughout the Americas.

        Consequently, there is absolutely nothing wrong with American governments both state and federal acknowledging Christian holidays.

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        • Freedom of religion is predicated on a neutral government. Take away that neutrality and you undermine freedom of religion. Why do you wish to undermine your freedom of religion, SoM? Why should you be allowed to undermine anyone’s?

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        • By supporting one and showing preference. This is not the business of government. It is not legal. That you have to even ask this question demonstrates a profound misunderstanding you possess that underlies your thinking.

          Now, why not answer my question, SoM: why do you wish to undermine your freedom of religion?

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        • Tildeb,

          Which law is government breaking by acknowledging our 2000 year old Christian heritage.

          And who is the government depriving of their religious freedom by acknowledging our 2000 year old Christian heritage?

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        • See how you change the criticism by reassigning your assumptions to be immune and then refuse to deal with it? That’s an error of method, SoM. It’s muddled thinking. All you’re doing is protecting your bias – what is being criticized – by avoidance.

          How about you answer my question like I did yours? It’s a ‘why’ question about your willingness to undermine your own right to a freedom you exercise here in an attempt to deny that same right to others in the name of ‘Christian heritage”, in case you’ve forgotten. That means you don;t present yet another question but an explanation why you think this reduction in your freedom – and an imposed reduction to mine – is warranted.

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    • I am sorry but as a pagan in a community of people that put signs on their lawns every christmas saying “put christ back in christmas” I feel something stronger and a wake up call is needed. I am sorry if it offends them or offended you when you were a christian. However they stole a holiday, corrupted its meanings and then demanded all others observe it their way. I won’t hold with that. However the anger and push back I get until I prove it to them is interesting. Most of them have no clue. Some do and don’t care, they want it to be theirs and they will fight to keep it. be well. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Along the lines of what Ubi said: I agree that it’s perhaps not the best message for PR, but on the other hand, I’ve always felt that no one handles this better than the Satanic Temple. I like the idea of giving them something so horrible that the only alternative is to drop the “all inclusive” facade and loose all the religious displays entirely. It may not help atheism specifically, but it will do wonders for separating church and state.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. With you as well Nan on this one. The FFRF can sometimes be just as aggitating as any radical religious group with their language and pamphlets. This one is too much and does not illicit civil discussion or examination. Hence, an emotional waste of time IMO.

    The same ineffective approach could be compared to weapons-wielding Christian protestors outside of Islamic mosques. Bringing a (loaded?) weapon with your trigger-finger on or near the trigger DOES NOT encourage civil discussion or negotiations. And tolerance and gaining understanding is not synonymous with weakness, treason, or ignorance, but somehow that message still persists. (shaking head in disappointment) 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with the 1st comment Jeff made as well as the following comment by Ubi.

    Here’s what happened at the courthouse in my area last year. The American Humanist Association brought to their attention that putting up a nativity scene on government property was unconstitutional, because it showed favoritism towards a particular religion. Initially the courthouse wouldn’t allow other faiths and non-faiths be be represented at the courthouse during the holiday season. Sadly, it took the threat of a lawsuit for them to be inclusive.

    http://www.sunherald.com/news/local/counties/harrison-county/article51089840.html

    Tim Holleman, attorney for the county Board of Supervisors, said his legal research indicates the county can keep the Nativity scene as long as it allows free expression of other views, hence permission for the Coast group to put up its sign.

    “They actually were very nice and said all they wanted was the equal opportunity to put up a sign of their own,” Holleman said.

    “As long as we permit an open forum for all faith and non-faith groups to have their freedom of speech and exercise their freedom of religion, the government is not endorsing one view over the other. As long as we allow others to participate equally, I believe that’s constitutional.”

    I do think the FFRF in Wisconsin went a wee bit overboard with their “There are no gods” sign. I think the sign (shown in the link) displayed at the local courthouse in my area was far less abrasive.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Celebrating the Winter and Spring solstices is a pagan practice.

    Why would any self-respecting atheist want to get near pagan religion?

    I think atheists should express themselves all they want.

    But they have to allow Christians to do the same thing.

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  10. One the one hand I have no problem at all personally with what is on the sign.

    On the other hand it just might feed into the already bullshit assumption all atheists are immoral bastards that need to burn in Hell.

    I do like the fact though that atheists are willing to demand their place in the world.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Sorry my comment reply did not go under the one I wanted to. So I will repost it here and add to it for more understanding.

    I am sorry but as a pagan in a community of people that put signs on their lawns every christmas saying “put christ back in christmas” I feel something stronger and a wake up call is needed. I am sorry if it offends them or offended you when you were a christian. However they stole a holiday, corrupted its meanings and then demanded all others observe it their way. I won’t hold with that. However the anger and push back I get until I prove it to them is interesting. Most of them have no clue. Some do and don’t care, they want it to be theirs and they will fight to keep it. be well. Hugs

    Now to the topic, I agree the sign was a bit out of line but I can understand it. Not how I would have done it. I like the signs that say winter solstice, and explain why it was a pagan holiday first. As we can see from its **** SoM***** above, tact makes no dent in delusion. Those who say it is a christian holiday because of the name only not only makes fun of the Christian faiths, but shows their ignorance.

    Oh for clarification I am indeed a Pagan and proud of it. I am also an Atheist and proud of that. There Is no contradiction between the two. Those who think there are don’t know much about either and they have never talked to the real members of each. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scottie,

      Indeed, you can’t be a pagan and an atheist at the same time.

      That is because atheists reject belief in all the gods that pagans believe in.

      You need to craw back into your hole and think about that until you get it figured out.

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      • Yes, SOM, you can be a pagan and an atheist because just as there are a myriad of beliefs within Christianity, the same holds true for paganism.

        While some pagans may use the terms “gods or goddesses” to define their beliefs, the terms are simply metaphors. In actuality, the emphasis of their belief is primarily on nature (the natural physical world including plants and animals and landscapes etc.). You may have heard some pagans refer to themselves as “spiritually conscious beings,” but again spiritual does not equal religious and spirit and god are not necessarily synonymous.

        So no. Scottie does not have to crawl back into his hole because he (and other people) can totally define themselves as atheist and pagan without contradiction.

        Liked by 5 people

        • I did look it up. And here are some things I found:

            Paganism describes a group of contemporary religions based on a reverence for nature.
            Most Pagans share an ecological vision that comes from the Pagan belief in the organic vitality and spirituality of the natural world.
            Paganism represents a wide variety of traditions that emphasize reverence for nature.
            Most pagans have an emphasis on archetypal psychology and a spiritual interest in nature.

          Besides Nature, many (not ALL) Pagans may worship a variety of gods and goddesses.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Hello Nan. I thank you for the wise words you’ve typed and the effort that went into them. I want you to know you are correct. Ron and I have a dear friend who thinks of the moon as a goddess and all that. However Ron and I do not believe in that. We do not believe in any kind of “god or goddess” being as defined by those words. We do not believe there are beings of advance powers with abilities attributed to the definitions of “gods”. What we do believe, had some people asked us, is in the natural ebb and flow of energy. This is a simplified version but we believe that there is energy to the world and the universe. There is energy to everything in the world and universe. We believe that life has a special more dynamic energy in the world and universe. We believe that there is an umbrella of energy in the universe that we all come from and all our energy returns to after we leave this mortal body. We think but do not quite understand that we somehow feed on and use this energy field in this life as it is part of us and we are part of it. That is why we ( speaking for Ron and I and pagans that believe as we do ) feel we can influence things if we try to use our energy for it as we are part of the energy of the planet locally and the universe as a whole. We feel there is no bad or no good energy. Ron tells me there is a positive and negative to energy that has nothing to do with good or bad. It has to do with drawing it to you , or sending it from you. That is a hard concept most can not understand as they want a good vr bad simplicity. The good or bad becomes what you a person does with the energy. You can send positive energy from you in either good or bad states. You can draw energy to you in an either bad or good state. It is intent that makes the difference. For us intent is the real issue. If you wish to do good, then the energies you use will respond to your attempts to do good. If your intent is to harm others or hurt something, then the energies will reflect that in you. It is said by our people that what you do comes back to you threefold. In this life there is no getting round your intent. IF you wish to do well by others, that is reflect in you, and your life. IF you wish harm to others, that also is reflected in you and your life. Ron and I believe in Karma. What we do in this life matters, and it affects who and what we are. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express what we do believe in. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your explanation, Scottie. I agree with most of it. Not all … but most. 🙂

      What I have found in my years on this planet is people often “make up their minds” about something and are either unable or refuse to consider other perspectives. We see this quite frequently among Christians, but it’s not limited just to them. We all have our biases.

      However, if we want to grow intellectually, we need to open our minds and become willing to look at all sides of an issue through research and reading. Unfortunately, few are willing to take this step.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Nan. I agree. There is no way I can show you any of what I described scientifically. In fact most of the best YouTube atheists I have followed such as Aron Ra or Matt Dillahunty say science can not measure any non natural ( supernatural ) claim by definition. In fact Aron says “if you can’t show it, you can’t know it”. Meaning if you can not scientifically show it to exist you, can not claim it does. I understand this. I love science and learning. If I can find a better explanation for what I feel then I would agree to that. Right now I have to deal with what I have. How ever as I can not show what I think to be real, I do not often mention it, I never insist on my way being the correct way for others, I never would want my belief taught in schools or laws for everyone made off them. These are simply the way Ron and I live our life. They really are not made for others, simply rules for us to organise our lives around, principles to help us deal with the world around us. I would say there is no magic in them but some people would say what I describe is the definition of magic. We simply live our lives feeling what we do towards others comes back on us, if we try to do well by others, help them, be kind , be generous in thought and in deed, then that will come back to us. We know not how, it may already have and we did not see it. We also feel the reverse is true. IF we try to hurt, harm, injure, take from others what is not our due, lie about or slander others, or basic be a jerk to others, that also will come back on us. No one is perfect and we have done things we later regret doing or saying. I have lashed out in angry and then wished I had not. Simply put we try to live our lives as the best people we can in a community of people. It is not religious in us, it is simply what we think of as being good people. One difference between us and people of faith is we would never think to approach people and start to tell them what we believe and think of the universe. We wouldn’t demand our community feel as we do or that we need to instruct others. It is for people to come to on their own. If they were to ask us we would answer honestly , but we wouldn’t go after people on it. The only reason I put our way into words on your blog was the miss information and accusations someone else made about me without ever asking, as a decent person would have. Thank you, be well, best wishes. Hugs. Scottie

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nan, did the second comment I made ( December 4, 2016 at 4:34 pm) , the one after your grand responce make sense? I was referring to SoM as the one who did not ask my beliefs but instead decided what I could or couldn’t beleive. I thank you greatly for defending me. I really wanted to try to make clear how Ron and I feel about being responsible humans who care for all the world and the people and things in it. We are not perfect but we do care. Thanks. Hugs

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  13. I must be honest, in the usual sweltering December heat I do not ever recall seeing Nativity Displays in any public/government place/ building.
    Chrimbo Trees, yes a few, and tinsel and decorations and wotnot,especially in the shops.

    However, as this usually starts around November, I for one am fed up to the back teeth with all the palaver by the time the frenetic last minute late night dash to the shops to buy those frakking batteries you forgot for the kids xmas toys!

    The whole religious aspect isn’t a big thing down here in South Africa. Thank god, right?
    Besides, everyone overseas knows that during the Christmas hols we all run around in lion skins and shoot elephants – or Natives. Up north, my Kenyan neighbour,Mak, shoots White Missionaries. Although an acquired taste, I am told they make a nice alternative to the Eurocentric turkey dinner. Especially if taken with a pinch of salt.
    😉

    I would try to inject humour into a non-Christian message.

    Something like …

    If the damn republicans gave Obamacare a fair crack,
    Jesus wouldn’t have had to be born in a bloody cowshed!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. As a christian I would have to agree with not allowing any particular religious decorations at government sites. As much as I would like to see everyone love like Jesus, it just is not going to happen. We all should respect and accept each other in our differences and not try to force our views on others. America is not a christian nation even though many of us want to think so. We need to maintain our individual beliefs and still respect all the other ways of thinking too.

    Liked by 2 people

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