Hating on the “War for Christmas”

I hate to even put that in the title, because I hate to help them get more exposure to that term, but I want to be clear on what I am talking about.

The latest spew of garbage from the fundamentalist christians is this “War to put Christ back in ”. The first telling point to me is that they hired a “record number of lawyers” to try and make people not use Holiday Tree and force them to use Tree. The is a pretty impressive feat for supposedly “Non Profit” organization. I guess they have to find something to spend all the cash they are fleecing from the masses. They can’t save it, that would be making a profit.

Anyway. The point that I really wanted to bring to light is that Christmas isn’t even a Christian holiday. From the Wikipedia article on Christmas:

The origins of Christmas

Historians are unsure exactly when Christians first began celebrating the Nativity of Christ. Some scholars maintain that December 25 was only adopted in the 4th century as a Christian holiday by the Roman Emperor Constantine, to encourage a common religious festival for both Christians and Pagans. The majority opinion is that Constantine did not have such authority. Perusal of historical records indicates that the first mention of such a feast in Constantinople (Constantine’s own city, after all) was not until 379 AD, under Gregory Nazienzen. In Rome, it can only be confirmed to mention in a document from approximately 350 AD, but without any mention of sanction by Emperor Constantine.

Early Christians celebrated more the subsequent Epiphany, when the baby Jesus was visited by the Magi (and this is still a primary time for celebration in Spain). Efforts to assign a date for his birth, though better known from writings from some centuries later, would have been important to all Christians then, no less than now.

The Romans honored Saturn, the ancient god of agriculture, each year beginning on December 17 in a festival called the Saturnalia. This festival lasted for seven days and included the winter solstice, which at that time fell on December 25 (today, following calendar reform, it falls on December 21). During Saturnalia the Romans feasted, postponed all business and warfare, exchanged gifts, and temporarily freed their slaves. With the lengthening of daylight, these and other winter festivities continued through January 1, the festival of Kalends, when Romans marked the day of the new moon and the first day of the month and religious year (the secular year began in March).

By the 4th century another factor was also at work. Many Romans also celebrated the solstice on December 25 with festivities in honor of the rebirth of Sol Invictus, the “Invincible Sun God,” or with rituals to glorify Mithra, the ancient Persian god of light (see Mithraism). Sol Invictus was a religion to which both Constantine himself before his confession of Christianity, and his predecessor Diocletian, who had rebuilt the Roman Empire, were especially devoted, and to whom the latter had attributed his military successes (though Constantine saw Christ as having delivered him from the former Roman order’s designs: Diocletian at one time had had Constantine living under his eye, against his will, separating him from his father). Constantine is therefore assumed to have found it convenient to find a common major festival for both Sol Invictus and Christianity. There is no actual evidence beyond this chain of assumptions that the holiday was actually instituted by the Emperor. Indeed, all extant evidence indicates that it was generally adopted decades after his death in most parts of the Empire.

So they just took another holiday and migrated it to theirs. So in the end no one really knows if that was when Jesus was born or not.

Another point is that forcing places to call it a Christmas tree is breaking the religous freedom that we are supposed to have in America. One of the fundies on TV actually acknowledged that when he said, “If these people don’t want to call it a Christmas tree then they should just leave the country, because we are Christian nation.” Wow. Way to try and stick to the principles that our country was found on. Of course Christmas is the only Federally mandated religous holiday in our nation, so I guess it is easy to get that kinda feeling.

Don’t we have more important things to be talking about here than if people call it a Holiday tree or a Christmas tree?

**EDIT**
Just found this information:

“Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of ; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. . . . They are altogether brutish and foolish.” (Jeremiah 10:2-8)

Many other Christmas traditions have their roots in pagan practices, such as the holly wreath, a fertility symbol. Even the date of Christmas, near the winter solstice, is linked to sun worship. Modern Christians have stolen Christmas from the pagans.

So the bible actually says that there shouldn’t be a tree for Christmas. Wow. I wonder how many of the fundamentalists actually know that.

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10 Responses to Hating on the “War for Christmas”

  1. noneofus says:

    “Don’t we have more important things to be talking about here than if people call it a Holiday tree or a Christmas tree?”

    Evidently not, after all, that is what you’re writing about!

  2. Brent says:

    Yeah I knew when I wrote that, one of you two would chime in. But doesn’t the media have something more worthwhile, or is it just one of their jobs to give these fundamentalists air time?

  3. Jeff says:

    This is America, right? I can call a tree whatever I want. If I celebrated Christmas instead of Festivus, I would probably call my tree a Satan Tree. If that makes Falwell mad, so be it. He can take his present from under the Satan Tree and leave.

    Seriously, people that get uptight about this aren’t worried about taking Christ out of their own Christmas. They would never allow that to happen. They want to put Christ into YOUR Christmas. How can someone dictate how someone else celebrates a holiday?

    However, this could be solved if secular types would “get their own holiday.” What’s so special about Christmas really? Celebrate Winter Solstace or Saturnalia, or join me in putting up an aluminum pole this year.

  4. noneofus says:

    Christians don’t celebrate Christmas anyway…
    they celebrate commercialism!

    When stores start putting up Christmas stuff before Halloween and sort of throw Thanksgiving away, then IMO, it is strictly commercialism.

    This year I’m going along with the plan and telling everyone to have a Merry Commercialmas!

  5. Brent says:

    Sell-ebrate Commercialmas!!!

  6. Pauline says:

    I don’t really have a set viewpoint on this one. I mean, for christians that believe that christ was born on christmas and that reason is the purpose of the holiday, I can see why they would be upset about people that do not believe in christ wanting to celebrate at that time so that they can participate in the time off and the gift giving and such. Since they want to participate, but they don’t want to say that they believe in christ they want to change around the way the holiday is set up.
    It is kinda like saying that you want to celebrate valentines day because you get flowers and candy etc, but the guy that gave you the flowers and the candy isn’t special to you. Well, that is kinda the point…
    I think the christian faith is all about sharing what you believe with others. I know that some christians can be overwhelming and that is wrong. Christians are suppose to only show the way and trust in Christ and the holy spirit to move the person in the right direction. In other words, christians are supposed to hold up a sign saying “hey the correct path is this way” not hold up a gun and say “walk this way or else”. I am sorry for anyone that has ever felt “forced”. To those of you, please just understand that it is difficult for a devote christian not to share their faith. Not only are you asked to do so, but it feels kinda like seeing a blind-folded guy headed for the edge of a cliff and not saying anything.

  7. imogthe says:

    Pauline, the funny thing is: If I don’t wish to celebrate christmas my employer will still force me to take time off. The office will be closed and so will the shops. I did not ask to be allowed to celebrate christmas but I’m forced to take time off because “everyone” does. The problem here is that the state has sanctioned the christian holidays over other religions. If I were a Jedi (the latest census of the UK indicates 20.000 Jedis reside there), where are my free holidays? Where do I sign up to have time off work for “Battle of Alderaan remembrance day” or “Han Solo Day”? And just as importantly: where do I sign up to work through the christian holidays? As you say, if I don’t believe in Christ then why should I get time off to celebrate his supposed birth?
    (Considering that christmas is a bastardised version of the winter solstice I wonder how you could possibly insert Christ into it anyway 🙂

    You speak about seeing blindfolded people walking towards the cliffs. My thoughts exactly. I just see religious people walking towards the cliff and as an atheist (no, not a Jedi. Don’t get your pants in a bunch over that one. I was using it as an example) I’m holding up the signs. Every religious person I know (and I know a few. Most are dear friends despite their ‘false religion’:) will politely listen to my arguments (holding up the sign) just as I will politely listen to them (holding up their own signs). In the end we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I know that if I push my own lack of religion too hard they will take offense as I’m not respecting their faith, just as I will be upset if they push their religion too hard.

    Remeber that the truth is in the eye of the beholder. We will all see other people as inferior to ourselves (if you feel that someone is doing something wrong and that you know of a better way it makes you superior in your own eyes. Denying this only makes you look foolish). Having read this you may think I am very anti-christian and anti-religion. I am not actually. Religion has done a fair few good things for humanity over the years, just as it has been the cause for more than a few bad things. My only quarrel with organised religion is how people are being indoctrinated at a young age. How are you supposed to make an educated decision about your future when you are a child? The way children are brainwashed into believing faith as fact is frightening. I say: Let all religions be represented equally during their childhood. At the age of 20 (or something) you will have absorbed enough life experience and knowledge to decide for yourself. After all, God/Allah/Yaweh/’that rock over there’ granted you free will. Go forth and use it!

    I’m done ranting now. It’s been a month since the last post in this thread but I only just read it. Facinating posts by all.

    Cheers.

  8. Brent says:

    First let me say, thanks for posting. Sometimes I feel like I am talking to myself out here in the great interweb.

    These are all extremely valid points and the one about children is HUGE. There is absolutely no way that a child can make their own opinion and people that think they can are only attempting to promote their view point.

    I grew up in a household where nothing was really made of religion, to the good or the bad, when I was a kid. It was just never talked about really. Now as I got older (say high school age) my dad told me more about how he thought about it, my mom also told me more about what her childhood was like and how she felt about it now. There was still no “You need to do this, you don’t need to do that” about it.

    I was also raised and developed a lot of curiousity about things and as a result developed, what I think are, good reasoning skills. As a result when I look at religion it just doesn’t add up.

    I know other people that were raised inside religion that have since given it up, but I think that they are truly special cases and not the norm. Most people that are raised inside religion (even if they don’t agree with it) still partake in religion. It might be force of habit or even fear (not of god, but of their other church patrons).

    The reason that you have to get them when they are young though is because when you are older the fables that they tell you in the bible seem fictional, where when you are young it is harder to understand fact from fiction. Your parents tell you that a big rabbit walks around and gives people painted chicken eggs. Your parents tell you that a magical being in the sky can see your every move and answer your request for help. Your parents read you a book about a kid who is a magician and his friends who go to magician school. Your parents read you a book about a man who healed people and was killed and rose from the dead. When you are a kid one is “real” and one is fiction, and your parents tell you which one is which. When you are an un”brainwashed” adult you look at them all and go… Fiction.

  9. imogthe says:

    Well, let _me_ say thank you for replying to my post:-) I’d not expected a month-old thread to be revived but hey presto!

    You make some very good points there yourself 🙂

    My parents never made a big fuss about religion (neither for nor against) but during my first five or six years of school christianity was taught as ‘fact’. Don’t get me wrong, there was no brainwashing involved but we were never given the other side of the coin. As you say, adults telling stories about splitting the sea and feeding thousands sound neither more nor less plausible than the easter bunny.At the time I didn’t even know other religions existed 🙂

    It was only a few years into school when a new kid, whose parents were stricly atheist, got out of the ‘cristianity’ class and took an alternative class where a more balanced curriculum was being taught I started asking questions.
    After a while you start to realise that the major religions have so much in common and that the fundamental values are pretty much the same (love,respect,be nice).

    What really gets me upset is how these fundamentally good ideas are being twisted into ‘kill all non-believers’ (not just Islam. Remember the crusades) and oppression of the individual (women should be seen not heard, all bow before the one allmighty, do this, do that, behave like this, talk like that).

    I think that most religious people really need to look at themselves and ask ‘what would Jesus/Mohammed/The Flying Spaghetti Monster do?’ and consider if their actions are truly representing the loving, caring and benign god they profess to believe in. Would Jesus really sanction the persecution of Muslims after 9/11? Would Mohammed/Allah really think that flying a plane into the World Trade Center was a brilliant idea? This cartoon illustrates my point perfectly.

    People just need to sit down and chill out. Take religion for what it is: A way of living your own life, not a mallet for the other guy’s head.

    Cheers!

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