home
RSS
TRENDING: An atheist view of December
December 23rd, 2010
07:00 AM ET

TRENDING: An atheist view of December

By Katie Glaeser, CNN

“Christians don’t deserve a monopoly on holiday cheer," reads a simple yet loaded statement on the American Atheists’ website.

But how could Christians monopolize a holiday that is based on their beliefs?

It turns out that traditions associated with Christmas have morphed into social norms adopted even among nonbelievers.

Everywhere you turn there are decorations, cookies, and music. But for many of the 5% of Americans who say they don’t believe in God, December is not that different from what it’s like for those affiliated with a Christian religion. Those who don’t believe in the reason behind the holiday still celebrate the season’s concentration on values, family, and kindness.

Liz Turcotte from Kentucky grew up Catholic, but her views on religion changed during college. “I feel like a lot of people associate atheism with a lack of tradition and bitterness towards religious holidays when this is far from the truth, at least for me,” she tells CNN in an interview.

Atheism is a very broad term. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, says it can be the lack of belief in God, or never giving much thought to God, and can also include those unwilling to make any sort of decision about what they believe in.

Turcotte says the holiday festivities feel more secular than religious and she’ll be celebrating like many others on Christmas Day.

“We celebrate the end of a long year, whether it was difficult or fruitful, and the start of a new year to come,” Turcotte says. “For me, it is about being appreciative of the people in my life who have helped me through the past year.”

Silverman, with the American Atheists, says many nonbelievers celebrate December milestones like Christmas and the winter solstice.

“Me personally,” Silverman jokes, “I do nothing. I roll in a ball and hide in the corner until it’s over.” But his wife, who is a practicing Jew, puts up a menorah in their house and celebrates Hanukkah with the couple’s daughter.

Silverman says it’s a problem that Christmas is a religious holiday that’s also a U.S. federal holiday. “If you’re going to force Jews, atheists, Hindus to observe Christmas by shutting down the country, what we’re going to observe is the most secular parts of the holiday,” he explains.

Christmas has been a federal holiday since 1870. The explanation offered on the government website America.gov is that the holiday “began to honor universal values such as home, children and family life, and to incorporate secular customs like exchanging gifts and cards, and the decoration of evergreen trees.”

So, Silverman says, “A tree with tinsel and chestnuts roasting on an open fire … it’s perfectly acceptable for an atheist to celebrate these.”

Atlanta resident Adam Olansky says he doesn’t believe in the existence of God, but he and his family still have traditions around the Christmas holiday. They celebrate it by focusing on family and food. The tree was recently trimmed and on December 25 they’ll have brunch and exchange presents.

To Olansky, it’s not the customs that are the problem with Christmas. “I think the most overwhelming part of the holiday season is the way people behave, not the way the stores are dressed up or the music.” He says it comes down to the crazy holiday shoppers - “the person who has allowed a season that’s presumably about peace and joy to drive them off the deep end.”

Silverman says some atheists are upset with Christmas because “Christians do not own the season.” In fact, he accuses Christians of stealing the holiday. “Christianity is one of over a dozen religions that named the winter solstice as their god’s birthday. This is not original,” Silverman says. “It’s not about being out against Christmas, it’s about Christmas being a monopoly.”

Kyev Tatum, pastor of Friendship Rock Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, disputes Silverman’s assertion. “For him to make that kind of claim is just flat out untrue," he says. "It’s Christ-mas.”

“Christ was born during this time. While there is a debate about whether the 25th was the actual date, no one debates it was called Christ-mas to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” says Tatum, president of the Fort Worth chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

As for atheists celebrating Christmas, Tatum says that’s their right. “We want them to embrace it,” he says. “Christmas is about peace on Earth and goodwill towards men. Whether you believe it or not that’s the reason Jesus came.”

Liz Turcotte will be spreading goodwill this Christmas but says it will be on her own terms, “Exchanging gifts and donating to charity are not religious statements but more of a chance to stop and show people you care.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Charity • Christianity • Church and state • United States

soundoff (1,186 Responses)
  1. Colin in Florida

    Since 90%+ of current christmas traditions are secular Germanic or English in origin, it's barely a religious holiday anymore. I mean, yule logs, decorated trees, exchanging gifts, santa claus, feasts, reindeer, elves, plum pudding, egg nog, tinsel, etc. aren't mentioned much in the bible. One local catholic church even had santa claus come in for a christmas party for the kids-not much religion there, huh?

    December 23, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  2. mtrinidad

    God loves you unconditionally too! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that jazz!

    December 23, 2010 at 9:12 am |
    • richunix_2000

      Which GOD? Gods of the type writter, God's of the sea? What is his name? As the word GOD is 6th century word of germanic origins. However if you us the names of Old: Yahweh, Hasheim, Jehovah etc...then it would sound more like Zeus, Hera, RA or SET. This would change the omni-important meaning to just another name and most of us beleive that the Greek/Roman Gods were made up....or were they?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:25 am |
  3. BD70

    My problem with christmas is those feelings should be foremost all year round. Not just during the christmas season.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:12 am |
  4. JRM

    We have three athiests in the family and two Christians. Absolutely no difference in the way we celebrate and enjoy the holidays. Love the Tree, Lights, Food, Christmas Music and everything but the overselling of the holiday. We had Jewish friends over to help decorate the tree. Sorry Christians, we have all chosen to add this holiday to our list of times to enjoy our family being together and bring some joy into our year. Glad to leave alone some of the other holidays, just for your celebration. You can keep Ash Wednesday.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:11 am |
    • Jo

      The two Christians in your family are living exactly as God would want them to live. Love others no matter what & live by example. I'm glad you have this loving family!!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • nonbeliever

      yes, actually I have many jewish friends that still celebrate the non religious aspects of christmas. (gift giving, tree, etc.) even my best friend, whose family is muslim, celebrate a non religious form of christmas. not even "christians"are geared to the religious part of christmas. they simply put on the christian gameface during the christmas service, and then by the next day everything is back to normal. christians are nothing but hypocrites looking for ways to make themselves feel better about themselves.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:44 am |
    • Jim

      "We" have no issue of non-Christians celebrating the holiday, all we ask is that you try not to eliminate the reason for the holiday (at least for about 1700 years) – CHRIST. Once people started saying that one would be offended to hear, ""Merry Christmas" for the holiday known as Christmas and trying to make the holiday what it is not it became an issue. Celebrate how you wish my friend, that is between you and God ultimately but allow the other 84=% of us to celebrate the holiday as it is.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • Frogist

      @Jim: Just a question... could you specify what you mean by people being offended to hear "Merry Christmas"? I know of no one who has been offended by that. I might feel excluded if "Merry Christmas" is the only thing I hear esp from people in public office or out in the world, seeing as I might not celebrate Christmas but my holiday is around the same time of year.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  5. Katie

    Coming from Russia, where the religion was prohibited during my childhood everyone simply celebrated and gave gifts on New Year's day – worked out perfectly since you could open presents at midnight (no waiting till morning :)) I believe atheists could just go ahead and adopt that celebration, it's still in the spirit of all the holidays and family unity, etc. But to celebrate Christmas ifor them s just hypocritical. You don't see Jewish people giving up their beliefs just because Christians are celebrating theirs and vice versa.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:10 am |
    • Jo

      Well said, Katie!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:36 am |
    • Paulie

      No, I don't see them giving up their own beliefs. But I've seen several mixed religion married couples who they and their extended families respect their religious differences. The husband and in-laws of the wife sending her Hanukkah gifts while she and is in-laws send him Christmas gifts. Is it any less hypocritical for them given your statement?
      Simple fact is, for thousands of years across MANY relgions, this time of year has been a focal point for merriment, celebration, generosity and enjoying time with our families and those close to us. And I see nothing hypocritical about joining in with many of the traditions.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Actually, I know many Jews that have Christmas trees. Why be so uptight? A non-Christian celebrating Christmas in no way reduces your celebration does it? If any Christian feels offended at duel meaning celebrations they are free to move their celebration of the nativity of Jesus closer to a time more likely to be his actual birthday and not just a date that coincided with traditions far older and better established.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  6. Chris Stafford

    I don't believe in Atheists.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:10 am |
    • FunnyOne

      I don't believe in Pagans.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:12 am |
    • Citan

      I don't believe in Chris Stafford.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:15 am |
    • The Half Baked Lunatic

      Funny, because I can prove to you that atheists exist. Yet you can't prove to me that 'god' exists.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • Jo

      To Half Baked Lunatic: your argument makes no sense. It's comparing apples to oranges. "Funny, because I can prove to you that atheists exist. Yet you can't prove to me that 'god' exists." The correct argument should have been "Funny, because I can prove to you that atheists exist. Yet you can't prove to me that 'Christians' exist.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:35 am |
    • Jon

      The Half Baked Lunatic; please enlighten us with your proof that God doesn't exist, I would love to hear your arguments.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • Citan

      Jon please present me with your proof that god does exist, and "he exists cause you can't prove he doesn't exist!" does not count as a valid argument.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:59 am |
    • KMW

      Chris,

      I loved your reply and totally agree with you. Merry Christmas.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • Bill In STL

      And so here we have the classic battle .... Jon who demands that someone anyone provide proof that God does not exist... and Citan who, in a ti t for tat, demands proof that God does. Nothing more will ever be said. No debate will take place. These 2 will never join forces and work towards the goal of real touchable evidenct that Atheists need.... They will instead stare at each other can try to shout each other down .... A fine example of both parites.

      December 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      That's ok, they believe in you. Now go have a Merry Christmas anyway.

      December 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • Jon

      Citan, I'm looking for answers from an atheists point of view as to why they don't believe or seem to have no need to believe. Some food for thought, do you agree that every design has a designer? Wouldn't you also agree that the universe has a highly complex design? Therefore, wouldn't the universe have a designer?

      December 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Uncle Vic

      Replying to Jon:
      "Citan, I'm looking for answers from an atheists point of view as to why they don't believe or seem to have no need to believe."

      How can you be looking for an atheist's point of view when it seems you've already made up your mind about what an atheist is, what his point of view is, and that you hate it because it opposes yours? If you have questions about the origins of life, or the universe, try cracking a science book. No, the bible is not a science book. The key difference is *evidence*. Science provides it, religion does not. And that is why I don't require gods.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  7. The Rogue Scotsman

    I just shake my head and wonder if christians really know the truth about the holiday or do they just follow like sheep. According to their own scholars...Christ was supposed to be born in the spring (March or April). It was fixed on Dec. 25 to pull the Pagans away from their YULE celebrations. The tree, lights, gifts.... the whole enchilada is Pagan in origin. Yes, if you're wondering, I am Pagan and we believe in a Goddess and God. Atheists have just as much right to celebrate the seasons frivolity as anyone else. So to all Non-christians... Happy Holidays and a great prosperous New Year!!!

    December 23, 2010 at 9:09 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Thank you! I just sent a really nice "Yule" card to my dad even though I am not a Pagan. I do appreciate the positive aspects of the various religions and happen to feel free to partake in those bits. My grandfather always described himself as a "lapsed pagan", so I'll consider that enough to be connected to lighter side of paganism. 🙂 Merry Cristmas to all and to all a good Yuletide!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:36 am |
    • Jim

      Actually, only some scholars think it was Spring when Jesus was born. Using the biblical time-line of the birth of John the Baptizer (Luke 1 & 2 narrative), one would be more inclined to place Jesus birth in the Fall and not the Spring.

      Posts such as yours demonstrates that someone talking about how "others" don't know what they believe is correct or not is a dangerous position for people with even less knowledge and understanding. Be careful with that arrogance, it is a dangerous thing – especially when it is not justified. A little humility gos a long way – especially when one understands that they are not as knowledgeable as they would like to believe.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:58 am |
    • MARY

      And I have to shake my head at intolerant people like you who nothing better to do then come on here to demean other peoples faith and join they feel during this time of year, all because they celebrate the birth of their savior which you dislike, and that's your right, but its their right to chose what faith they have and how to celebrate it and when,

      It doesn't matter what day Jesus was born really, does it ? the point is to Christians Christ was born as sign of love and mercy to the world , His birth means salvation to all people of good will, if his birth was another day and month then you would complain none the less, because Christians would make that month Christmas and you would still have to deal with for a whole month, Merry Christmas to all my brothers and sister in Christ and peace to all people,

      December 23, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mary: Yes, it absolutely does matter. Or it should. Christians cannot claim absolute truth, and ignore that they celebrate the wrong day as Jesus' birth. It's hypocritical. The least Christians can do is acknowledge the history of the season. And then they might not be so arrogant to treat it as some exclusive Christian time. They might find themselves humbly thanking their pagan brothers and sisters for all their traditions. And meekly saying "Happy Holidays" instead of loudly declaring we all must "remember the reason for the season". At this time of year, Christians might recall that their story says Jesus was born in a manger. A humble birth. And take that humility and gentleness with them out into the world instead of attacking those who recognize some truths some Christians have chosen to ignore.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  8. WWRRD

    The exact date of Christ's birth is irrelevant. Simple arithmetic errors in the clalendar and record keeping make it impossible to determine a date for Christ's birth. The fact of the matter is that it is a Christian Holiday. As a Christian, I want secularists to respect Christmas for what it is to me as a Christian. A celebration of Chrst coming into the world. It is not about having a monoploy on the holiday or wanting to exclude people. I want everyone to celbrate peace, goodwill towrds men. What I don't like is when secularists attept to desrespect the holiday at the same time they are celebrating it. Removing Chirst's name from all public mention. Happy Holidays, Seasons Grreetings, send Holiday cards, etc. It is Christmas, please respect Christians rights to keep the integrity of the holiday in tact. If you don;t celebrate the meaning of Christmas that is fine, but please do not secularly celebrate and religiously denigrate a holiday at the same time.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:08 am |
    • Elizabeth

      So... you totally respect the pagans that celebrate the Solstice then, right? And as a true Christian, you don't put up and decorate a tree (which is advised against in your bible, might I remind you!), wrap gifts in bright paper, make merry with your friends, or go caroling, right? Because those are all pagan traditions that started long before your Christ was supposedly born. Where is the respect for stealing old traditions that had no part of your religion to begin with?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:24 am |
    • Jack

      WWRRD, you are exactly right. December 25 (Christmas) is a Christmas Holiday. Hanukkah (Dec 1-8) is a Jewish Holiday. Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1) is an African American holiday. Winter Solstice (Dec 21) is a non-religious holiday. When will atheists and religious leaning people learn to celebrate our differences instead of trying to drown out the opposition?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:27 am |
    • Zach

      You seem to have successfully ignored the repeated (true) postings that discuss Christians stealing the holiday from the Pagans in the first place. Even still, I will never understand what is so unacceptable with Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays. Is it that hard of a concept that there are OTHER HOLIDAYS going on during this time of year? Why do people get so offended about this? How many more NON-ISSUES can people make up to argue about???

      December 23, 2010 at 9:29 am |
    • MarkinFL

      My celebration of Christmas follows all of the non-Christian traditions of gift-giving, tree decorating and feasting. I also reserve the right to be kind to my fellow man as this is a universal right not tied to a religion. It is hardly my fault that a long time ago Christians decided to blend their religious holiday with everyone else's holiday. I am thoroughly happy to share this festive time with all people of any religion. Why aren't you?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:30 am |
    • Frogist

      @WWRD: As both Jack and Zach pointed out, there are other holidays going on at the same time. Wishing someone Happy Holidays or Season's Greetings is just being respectful of the fact that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Would you be ok with everyone having to say Happy Solstice? Or with people who are upset when you don't say Happy Solstice? No. In such a world you would probably be quite pleased by not being excluded when someone offers a simple Happy Holiday. It seems if we remember that this is a diverse country and world, saying Happy Holidays or another inclusive greeting in public is just a sign of kindness, humility and respect.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • slavicdiva

      @Jack: With all due respect, you are wrong about Solstice. It is far from a "non-religious" holiday.

      Solstice is, and has been, celebrated by people who follow various Pagan traditions – Wiccans, Druids and the like included. Some of them believe and practice their faith every bit as sincerely as some of you Christians. Of course, there are also some poseurs who get off on trying to freak out other people – but Christianity also has its share of poseurs, "Sunday Christians," "cafeteria Catholics" and the like, as well.

      But please don't demean someone else's religious holiday just because you don't celebrate it. Would you like it if I said that Dec. 25th is a non-religious holiday celebrated by heathens who don't believe in the Goddess?

      December 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  9. whatevernyc

    The Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, created "Christmas" to coincide with the pagan holidays already being celebrated "Io Saturnalia" being the major one in December (the Roman name of the month btw). "Easter" is the name of a pagan holiday believe it or not. All in all, the deification of Jesus of Nazareth is a construct of mankind to make him more like the other so called "gods" but really he was just a great philosopher like Buddha who was simply telling people to have mercy on each other and themselves.
    No God worth worshiping could exist with all of the cruelty there is in this world.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:08 am |
    • Jo

      "No God worth worshiping could exist with all of the cruelty there is in this world"
      God doesn't cause all of the cruelty in this world. The free will that he gives to humans does. So tell me, have you never done ANYTHING that has affected another person negatively? It's true that some "Christians" do bad things too. If one is living according to God's will then he shouldn't be doing these things, but he is still human. I'm not sure why people believe that a Christian should be perfect. Does a husband or wife become perfect as soon as they say the words "I do"? Of course not. Being a Christian is a lifelong learning process too – one on which God promises to be there with you. I, too, wish that there wasn't so much suffering and cruely in this world. Bad things do happen, even to good people. I have come to realize though, that I would live my life much differently if I knew that nothing bad would ever happen to me. I would drive faster, not worry about picking my children up on time (because nothing bad could happen to them either, right?) and I wouldn't be compassionate to someone in need (afterall, their plight won't ever affect me, right?) So, think about how you would live your life differently if nothing bad ever happened – if there were no consequences.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:30 am |
    • Jim

      Your "cruelty" claim is nonsensical. Unless there is a right and wrong that transcends human invention, there is no cruelty, there is just what there is and there is no basis for calling some things cruel and some things good. Basic logic dictates that.

      By the fact that we all believe in right and wrong (although we disagree on particulars and whom we may not extend the good to) is evidence for God.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:03 am |
    • Jimi

      Need to ask yourself a couple of questions. Why was Jesus crucified and Buddha or any other so called god not? Why was Jesus such a threat back then and still is today? The only correct answer is whether you want to beleive it or not, your choice, is that he was and still is the Truth, the Light and the Way and made the ultimate sacrafice for you and me. People didn't want to hear the truth then, and they don't want to hear it now, not much has changed in the heart of man. It's not God who is responsible for the trials and tribulations of this world, it is the evil, wicked heart of man. Your only hope in this temporal Life, and where you will spend eternity lies in the hands of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God will not be mocked. May you come to know him and love him, as He does you. Merry Christmas & God Bless.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • Frogist

      @Jo: Respectfully, if God created the world, he created everything in it including evil. There is no escaping that.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • justcurious1

      @frogist
      Actually, evil isn't a thing. It's a corruption/lack/privation of a thing like rot is to tree or rust is to a car. God only created the good thing (free will) of which evil is a corruption. Evil is real, but it is a real lack of a thing, like blindness is a real lack of sight.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:38 am |
    • Stevie7

      @Jim: "By the fact that we all believe in right and wrong (although we disagree on particulars and whom we may not extend the good to) is evidence for God."

      No, it isn't. Moral standards arise naturally when people organize into groups. Civilizations require moral standards – otherwise they wouldn't exist. It's nothing more than social evolution.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • Scott

      "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do
      all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)

      December 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Jim: Morality is no evidence for God. It is evidence of morality. You claim that right and wrong transcends human invention. But does it? I doubt you have evidence that it does. We only have evidence that morality exists because we have defined what is moral and what is not. But absolutely no evidence it came from a God. No one has scientifically provable evidence of a God.

      @justcurious1: Sorry but that's an elaborate excuse to make god into a kind being. The evidence of which is non-existent. Thing or not, if you believe that evil exists, and that god created all, then he must have created evil.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  10. 8.2.1776

    I consider myself Atheist my Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I enjoy the music, the decorations, and just the overall theme of what Christmas stands for. Do I believe in the reason people celebrate Christmas? No, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy it either.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • steve

      Thank you for that thought. I agree completely.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • WWRRD

      I am welcome to share Christmas with anyone. All I ask is that you don't insult me by forcing me say Happy Hoilday instead of Merry Christmas (just to be PC) while we enjoy ourselves. To me, Merry Christmas , and Happy Holiday are two entirely different things. I wish everyone out there a Happy Hannukah, Winter Solstice, or whatever specific holiday they hold dear.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:54 am |
    • Stevie7

      @WWRRD -who is FORCING you to say Happy Holidays? The "War on Christmas" is a fair tale created by Christians who have some warped need to feel persecuted.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  11. itsnewstome

    Because the Bible offers no date for Jesus' birth, the placement of the nativity is up for debate. However, the presence of shepherds "keeping watch over their flock by night" [Luke, 2:8] suggests the birth may have actually occurred in the spring during lambing–the only time of year shepherds watched their flocks both day and night.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:05 am |
    • Jim

      The time-line in Luke 1 & 2 suggest Fall as the time because of the 6 month inteval between Elisabeth and Mary's pregnancies. John was born in the Spring most likely and that would make Jesus birth in the Fall before the sheep were put in the interior for the winter.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  12. T-Bel

    Christians merely usurped existing yuletide celebrations (tree, feasing and all.....)- christianity is NOT the 'reason for the season', please do some research!

    December 23, 2010 at 9:05 am |
    • Jack

      T-Bel, Christ is the reason for Christmas. Celebration of the Winter Solstice is the reason for the Winter Solstice season. The rededication of the Holy Temple is the reason for the Festival of Lights (or Hannukkah) season.

      Too bad that many atheists are too intolerant to share the month of December with other points of view.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:21 am |
    • MarkinFL

      More than happy to share with others that wish to share.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:24 am |
    • SAese

      Yes, Jack, Christ is the reason for Christmas. As countless other commentators on this thread have correctly pointed out, however, gift-giving and most of the other trappings of the season (putting evergreen trees in your house, feasting, even allegedly holy insemination, for example) all have long, glorious traditions outside of Christianity (and predating it, for that matter). I find that it's these "there's a war on Christmas" conspiracy nuts who feel that everyone who's taking advantage of year-end sales at the mall (or buying their groceries, or pumping their gas, or minding their own business, or whatever) should be constantly assaulted with cries of "Merry Christmas" that are the ones who come off as intolerant and averse to sharing.

      The fact of the matter is that Christianity co-opted my people's mid-winter traditions, and Christians (as a group, not necessarily every single one of you) now seem to be trying to tell me that I can't exchange gifts and good wishes with my loved ones at this time of year without being a member of their book club.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • Steve

      @SAese
      LOL! "Assaulted with cries of Merry Christmas"??? What a ridiculous thing to say. If you don't like the fact that pagans brought some of their traditions with them when they converted to Christianity, go back in time and take it up with them. Crybaby.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  13. j-son

    If God exists, it's unquestionable that he is a failure, but that doesn't mean that we cant' foolishly spend a month or so thinking mankind can't be kind to itself. Of course we can't , but that doesn't mean we can't be 100% delusional for a re weeks.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:04 am |
    • Oh Really

      God is not a failure, he just gives you the free will to be a failure.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:10 am |
    • MAJOR MAKE BELIEVE

      Yes if there is a God , he is a failure. Why genetic diseases. If God gives us all free will then why are some of us born with a genetic disease that makes young kids skin to rot off? Why are kids born with cancer? Was this their "free will". A pator once told me that my cousin was born with Autism because his mom was a sinner. This is what you midevil barbarians believe in. It is too much alreadly. Why don't you take your sick culthish religion and all go live on some island somewhere and let everyone else live in peace. I am sick of you Christians. The reason you feed the need is not out of a sense of humanity like the rest of us, it is becaus you selfishly think you will be rewarded in the afterlife.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:26 am |
    • GodTookNoPart

      @Oh Really: Thank you for bringing this ( one of many ) issues that I have with Christian claims : You claim free will in one sentence, and in the next you claim that god has a " path " for us all. I was raised in a Christian home and for many years I myself was a Christian, until I began to actually think for myself. When you really think about it, it doesn't make any sense! According to Christians anyone that hasn't accepted Jesus Christ as their " lord and savior " will BURN ETERNALLY in hell. So I pose this question to you: What about the Hindu, the Buddhist, or the Muslim that is just as convinced about their religion and their god as any Christian is, who are you to tell them they are wrong and try to push your beliefs on them? If you had grown up in a tribe in the middle of nowhere worshipping a magical tree you would have the SAME conviction as you have for your Christ. Science shows that the human mind is programmed for religious feelings. The same part of the brain that reacts when one is in love. Fortunately, love actually exists. The world would truly be a better place without religion, and if people would take a step back for a second and concentrate a little bit more on this life instead of constantly living for the " afterlife" they would probably get a lot more out of it. Ok, enough said, I will get off my soap box now. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • Scott

      @o-reily: If this is your God, he’s not very impressive. He has so many psychological problems;
      he’s so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty
      humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He’s a pretty poor excuse for a Supreme
      Being.
      –Gene Roddenberry

      That's the kind of God you people talk about – a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling,
      conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a supreme being
      who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His system
      of creation?
      Joseph Heller (Catch-22)

      We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates
      faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes
      –Gene Roddenberry

      Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.
      –Chapman Cohen

      For God so loved the world that he drowned everyone in it.
      –Athwart Babbit

      He walks, He talks. He loves the smell of beef cooking. He hates Gay people and shellfish.
      He's a serial killer. And in the sequel He even knocks up a teen-age chick.
      –Robert Anton Wilson, talking about the Biblical God (Email to the Universe)

      The God of the Old Testament has got to be the most unpleasant character in all fiction.
      Jealous and proud of it, petty, vindictive, unjust, unforgiving, racist, an ethnic
      cleanser, urging his people on to acts of genocide.
      –Richard Dawkins (The Root Of All Evil?, Part 2)

      December 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
    • bspurloc

      which god?

      December 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • Ellen

      @ Scott–Since you are a Gene Roddenberry fan, maybe you will remember that his widow sent his ashes into outer space on one of the space flights. Why would she do that when he specifically spoke against God.? Just asking.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  14. MarkinFL

    I do not mind sharing this holiday season with Christians. There is plenty of room for everyone.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:03 am |
    • Jim

      Don't want your season M, we have one day for celebrating the birth of the Savior as a holiday. No one is taking your season.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • Frogist

      @Jim: Your response shows a lack of graciousness.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  15. chris

    Preacher Tatum just had an epic research fail. Even a basic study of history proves him wrong. The Catholic Church put Christmas on Dec 25 BECAUSE of the Winter Solstice and several Roman Pagan celebrations that happened at that time (the birth of the god MIthra, Sol Invictus, Saturnalia, etc). Considering that the Winter Solstice is the rebirth of the Sun, it was a symbolic date, not a factual one.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:02 am |
    • Chris

      Exactly that guy is a retard all sun gods are born during the winter solstice...Yes, all you Christians who know so much about religion Jesus is a sun god...

      December 23, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  16. CJ

    If those people who proclaim to be "Christians" are real believers, they would not buy gifts and stuff themselves with food. Instead they would be feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and helping the rest of the unfortunates. It is very hypocritical to say one thing and do another. Organized religion is for those insecure people who do not want to admit their own mortality and Christmas is nothing more than a commercial event meant to feed the cofers of the rich corporations

    December 23, 2010 at 9:02 am |
    • Adrian GMV

      Do you have any idea just how many efforts are taken by Christians during this time of year to do just that? Christians often get lumped together and accused of not caring for the poor but if you'll do your research, you will find that the vast majority of good will efforts to alleviate poverty, care for the sick, feed children etc, are led by what you call hypocrites. Franklin Graham's organization, "Samaritan's Purse" does a lot for children all over the world during the Christmas season and beyond and that is just one example. Indeed, it is a very materialistic time of year and Christians get caught up in that just like everyone else, but don't pretend that you have it all figured out when it comes to organized religion. The world would be much worse off without it.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:08 am |
    • Jack

      Christians have fed the hungry and clothed the needy during this time. Tell us CJ, what have the American Atheists done to alleviate the suffering of the masses?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:17 am |
    • Jo

      Most organizations that feed the hungry and house the poor (even most hospitals) have a Christian base. Some of them might have changed their names over time, but they were started by Christians. How many all volunteer Atheist organizations are out there doing the same?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • MarkinFL

      What an irrelevant argument. Atheism is not an organization. Many individual atheists donate their time and money to help others and even organize larger efforts. But there is not a label of "atheist organization" attached. Atheists are just individuals that do not happen to believe in a "god" and are otherwise people like anyone else. Good, bad and indifferent.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:23 am |
    • ric

      Why the assumption that if someone is volunteering time and or money, that they are neccessarily Christian..I know of jews, muslims and athesist who volunteer .

      December 23, 2010 at 9:23 am |
    • Jill

      All you people who think Christians are the only ones who volunteer or do volunteer work at all, go to Haiti. Most of those NGOs are NOT Christian. Also, when my home burned down in one of the major fires here in California, I had nothing, so I had to go to the Red Cross and there were booths of organizations that were there to help us. Not one was a Church, but there were buddhist groups and commercial establishments...but not one CHRISTIAN church. And no, the Red Cross is NOT a Christian Organization.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:25 am |
    • Jack

      MarkinFL......In other words, there are no organized atheistic organizations to help people. Just the one to criticize the Christian organizations that do. While you may feel that the argument is irrelevant (most christian criticizers end up with that statement), it was CJ who began the "organized religion" criticism. I just felt someone should show how "organized atheism" has helped the downtrodden, rather than spent all of their time criticizing the christian groups who have helped.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:36 am |
    • K-Dog

      Christians may do a lot of good for people, but it's like saying that a pedophile is a good person because he gives candy to kids before molesting them. The world would be a much better place without the belief in a personal deity.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • Tribble10

      @Jack

      Asking what atheists have done to alleviate suffering. I don't know, how about asking Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg? They may have given just a little bit of money to others, and I bet you donn't have to listen to how a dead Jewish guy is your only savior either.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:39 am |
    • ummm

      Adrian GMV...is this the same Rev. Franklin Graham that wants to send representatives of the charity he runs to Iraq as soon as possible. While the purpose is humanitarian aid, Graham also admits, "I believe as we work, God will always give us opportunities to tell others about his Son"....and the same Franklin Graham who refusing to participate in 1994 peace negotiations between the Lord's Resistance Army and the Sudanese and Ugandan governments...and the same Franklin Graham who referred to Islam as "a very evil and wicked religion."...he sounds dandy and by no way has an agenda except love and peace...

      December 23, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • Travis

      @CJ,
      Will you be out feeding the homeless on Saturday? If so, I commend you. If not, I'd think twice before calling others who take a day or two to celebrate with friends and families (and in fact, in some cases, the very poor you mention) hypocrites.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • marine1

      what an idiot you are

      December 23, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • TC

      It's interesting that you make this statement, CJ. My husband and I (who are believers in Christ) recently talked about wanting to help serve food in a homeless shelter on Christmas day. The only catch? We have a child too young to be involved in this sort of activity. So our tentative plan is to wait until our child is older and to make this activity a part of our Christmas tradition–both as a way to help others and as a teaching tool for our child. Till then, we'll just have to content ourselves with trying to provide a place in our home for those who have nowhere else to celebrate Christmas, as well as finding other ways to help people throughout the year.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:58 am |
    • Ellen

      @ CJ–Please stop bashing Christians, since you are not judge and jury. You do not know what charities we have supported throughout the year and not just at Christmas time. If it were not for the work of Christians this country would have turned into a third world country long ago. In other words, speak for yourself and how much charity work you have done in the past. As for your belief system, you are free to worship anything you please or nothing at all, but please allow others to do the same!

      December 23, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • CJ is Correct

      Yep, you are absolutely correct, CJ. It blows me away how many people defend the teachings of Christ with so much vigor, but do nothing to act more Christ-like. We've had 2,000 years of Christianity, and hunger and injustice still dominate our planet, including our "Christian" nation. Whether you believe or don't believe in the whole thing, you must admit that Christianity has been pretty ineffective as a means of positive social change.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • Scott

      Oh no, Christmas is also a commercial event meant to feed the cofers of the church

      December 23, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • bspurloc

      during the 300+ years of crusades where christians were spreading the ABILITY for non believers to have christmas cheer did they give the non believers a day off from being massacred?

      December 23, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  17. bethb

    As an atheist who grew up in a Catholic Family, I love many of the traditions of Christmas–the tree, carols, an overall sense of goodwill–more people smile and say 'good morning," hold doors for one another, allow others to merge into traffic–granted, things we should do everyday, but I belive the spirit of the season brings out the good in folks, and you don't have to belive in God to celebrate that!

    December 23, 2010 at 8:59 am |
    • Adrian GMV

      As a person who does believe, that is very refreshing to hear.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:02 am |
    • Ostifari

      Don't forget about the stress, the spending, and people getting trappled to death trying to save $40 on a TV.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • Totinsky

      In deed, same here, I am non believer yet I enjoy the tradition. People, on average, become nicer and think about others instead of themselves. I think is a great season!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • Jill

      the thing is, we should all try to feel this way and do things for people all year long. Christmas may be celebrating Christs birth (actual birth or made up birthdate) but Christ LIVED the values that you all point out Christmas represents. He didn't just do these niceties on the holiday. And he didn't focus on serving MORE food and MORE stuff to those who alreayd have it. Why not stop the commercialism and GIVE to those who NEED it.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:19 am |
    • Frogist

      @bethb: That is exactly why I love Christmas! As a non-believer I am celebrating this year for the same reasons I celebrated every year – the recognition that we can hope that people can be good and kind. It's something I try to carry with me as hard as it is. But during the holiday season, people seem to want to accept that need to be better much more. The problems I have with Christmas are about Christians who seem to think no one else should be celebrating their holiday. The "Put Christ back in Christmas" people who push their religion but forget that others don't worship like them. They ignore that we appreciate the holiday because it is so much more than just religious.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:21 am |
    • Katie

      I don't agree. I know people who are so ready to jump down my throat when they hear that I've accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and they're the same ones who run around shouting Merry Christmas to all once the season comes. I respect other religious views, but I will not celebrate Channukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Sabbath because those are not my beliefs. If you choose to celebrate Christmas it should be more about the meaning of Savior's birth (not necessarily the calendar birthday) and not because you are feeling left out of the joy that it brings to the believers.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • Frogist

      @Katie: I think that kind of exclusion is really hurting us as a country. I see no problem in celebrating Channukah or Kwanzaa either. I also celebrate Eid and Divali. But for it's secular enjoyments, and Christmas is chock full of those. Truth be told, if you do any of the things associated with Christmas, even so far as to celebrate it on Dec 25th, you are following pagan traditions. You too would be celebrating with a tree or presents or on the 25th because of someone "feeling left out" of another's festive time. There is a certain amount of hypocrisy in following another religion's traditions while telling others not to follow yours. The humble thing would be for you to enjoy the holiday with it's Christian trappings while recognizing that the same holiday is enjoyed by others without your belief.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • Kristen

      I also celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday. I think the traditions are beautiful. It is a time to be with loved ones and celebrate. Even as a Christian, I find it sick that Christians think the holiday belongs to them. If you knew a little bit of the history, most people would feel the same. It is not Christian to be so hateful and exclusive. That is why I generally dislike Christian churches.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • Camber

      Christmas may have started as a religious holiday. To some, it is celebrating Jesus and what not. Others just see it as a holiday where the appreciate their loved ones with gifts and happy tidings. For proof, there is a huge handful of people who only go to church on christmas because their conscience kicks in and makes them join the others who gather once a year to praise Jesus. Who cares who does what on Christmas. To each his own. Atheists made their decision and there is nothing anyone can really honestly do about it. Thank God for free will 😉

      December 23, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  18. conradshull

    Reduced to bare-bones essentials might a logical atheist's view of December go not too much beyond, "It's cold." Actually, Christmas is so many things that in this country pretty much everybody except certain ideological curmudgeons (religious and secular) can find something to enjoy about it.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:57 am |
    • risskia

      Axial tilt is the reason for the season.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • John

      "Axial tilt is the reason for the season."

      You win the internet.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  19. claybigsby

    "Christ was born during this time...says Tatum, president of the Fort Worth chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference."

    No, Christ was not born during this time of the year. He wasn't even born in December. Reread the Bible. There is plenty of evidence in the Bible that supports Jesus being born in August/September, not December. Only crazy people celebrate birthdays of important people 3 months after they were born. In fact, Christians did steal the holiday from Pagans. In ancient Babylon, the feast of the Son of Isis (Goddess of Nature) was celebrated on December 25. Raucous partying, gluttonous eating and drinking, and gift-giving were traditions of this feast, beginning 4000 years ago. hmmmmm sounds alot like Christmas today doesnt it? Then, In 350ad, Pope Julius I declared that Christ’s birth would be celebrated on December 25. There is little doubt that he was trying to make it as painless as possible for pagan Romans (who remained a majority at that time) to convert to Christianity. The new religion went down a bit easier, knowing that their feasts would not be taken away from them.

    December 23, 2010 at 8:52 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I had to smile when I read Kyev Tatum's comment in the above story. Calling the truth a lie has worked for him for so long that he may no longer be able to distinguish the difference.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:01 am |
    • Travis

      Actually, this is just another form of ill-conceived notions that people against Christianity have come up with to validate their arguments. In reality, the calendar as we know it was not the same format as it is today. When Christmas first became a tradition, it was on a completely different time cycle than it is now. December 25 did not exist when the pagans were celebrating on that day, nor did Christmas. The people coming up with this rumor are actually doing exactly what Christians did with the birth of Jesus, they are giving the best estimate of when the feast occurred every year and it happens to be about the same time Christians decided to celebrate Jesus' birth. Neither sect is absolutely right, but neither one can claim they owned the day since it didn't exist.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:04 am |
    • Ostifari

      Gotta love it when the Atheist knows more about Christianity than the Preacher!!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:04 am |
    • Oh Really

      There is plenty of evidence in the Bible that supports Jesus being born in August/September, not December. – please enlighten me with some references/verses/chapters anything, so I dont have to search my bible emphatically for what you say is plenty of evidence.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • Jill

      Atheist understand Christmas and Christianity better than Christians and that is the REASON they are atheists. I am not an atheist, but I relate to them on so many levels. I am NOT a Christian either cause I think they are all whacked! They wear fur to church, eat meat from factory farms amongst so many other ridiculousy self indulgent narcissistic behaviors and see absolutly nothing wrong with it and won't let you show them the torture the animals goes through. Like with their religion they want to keep their heads stuck in a hole.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:14 am |
    • Religious Sects

      Gotta love it when people take the "word" of a preacher just because they're a preacher and don't actually "study" the bible, facts and history for themselves.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:16 am |
    • Seth

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice for a list of all the various solstice holidays around the world.

      Isaac Newton argued that the date of Christmas was selected to correspond with the winter solstice, which the Romans called Brumalia and celebrated on December 25.

      Influenced by the Ancient Greek Lenaia festival, Brumalia was an ancient Roman solstice festival honoring Bacchus, generally held for a month and ending December 25. The festival included drinking and merriment. The name is derived from the Latin word bruma, meaning "shortest day" or "winter solstice". The festivities almost always occurred on the night of December 24.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:17 am |
    • Stanley

      Silly Christians...

      A) Christ was NOT born during this time of year. Period. Read your bible...

      B) Christmas and all it related trappings like Christmas trees, yule logs, presents, etc derive from PAGAN practices that occurred in Rome BEFORE Christianity...

      Get your facts straight. Christians co-opted Pagan rituals and now Atheists are co-opting Christian traditions.

      It's all co-opted nonsense anyways...

      December 23, 2010 at 9:17 am |
    • jimmynog

      MarkinFL, it's like George says on Seinfeld: "You have to believe your own lie for it to be effective"

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • Hannah

      Actually, Christ was born in March.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • The Half Baked Lunatic

      You are correct. But frankly, there is absolutely no evidence that "jesus" ever really existed at all. Most of the stories in the bible were fables and legends from well before jesus was said to have lived. It wasn't until 200 years later that these stories, which were handed down from generation to generation, were all collected together and attributed to this fictional character.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • Joe

      @Travis, December 25th didn't exist in name, but it did exist as the 4th day following the solstice. Just because a different calendar was used doesn't mean they didn't use the same stars. The political calendar didn't determine any holidays back then. It was all based on the sky. By your logic, if we stopped using a calendar at all, then days would cease to exist. Calendars are markers, not creators. They don't determine if a day exists or not. Just what the name of the day happens to be for us.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • AL

      As a Christian myself, I'm pretty taken aback by this article. Maybe I'm not like other Christians but I don't see anything wrong with atheists celebrating the holidays. However, I still believe Christmas was based on the birth of Jesus Christ. But I don't understand all this animosity from atheists.. If you want to celebrate the holidays for other reasons (the kindness of people, traditions, holiday music, etc.) then by all means, celebrate. I don't believe by celebrating you are being foolish (Like j-son claims) or delusional.
      Maybe it's time people stop being so cynical and/or defensive about EVERYTHING!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:32 am |
    • David Johnson

      Who cares? Jesus, if he existed was just a man. Not the Messiah and not the Son of God.

      I like Christmas because of family, food, spirits, and presents. Call it Saturnalia, if you like.

      Cheers!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:32 am |
    • sabs

      Christ was born during the Census. The Census was usually held in June/July because people needed time during the spring to travel to the place of their birth. (Weird Roman census rules, go figure)

      The Adaptation of the Winter Solstice for the Birth of Christ was done in order to help convert Pagan Romans, who loved their Bacchus rituals, and Northern Barbarian tribes who had Winter Solstice Traditions of their own.

      Christ was no more born on December 25, than I was.

      But I admit, I'm getting tired of not being able to say "Merry Christmas" to someone without someone getting offnded about how I didn't wish them a happy kwanzaa, or happy holidays or some other fool thing. I wish people Happy Hannukah during Hannukah, and Merry Christmas during Christmas, and I'm neither Jewish no Christian.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Jill

      Happy Holidays to you!

      To brighten your day – I had a vegetarian pizza and beer for dinner last night. No animals were killed to provide my nourishment.

      I also set the turkey my wife bought free. It is just sitting in the yard...

      May Jesus find it easy to slide down your chimney and give you lots of presents! Ho, Ho, Ho! That jolly old elf cracks me up!

      Cheers!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:44 am |
    • MacJack

      Actually Jesus was born in the Spring during the time of birthing. The only reason for shepherds to be out watching their flocks is when the ewes are ready for birth. It makes perfect sense for the Lamb of God to come into the world during the time of "lambing"

      And yes, the Pagan holiday for worshiping the sun was taken to celebrate the Son of God to help nations overtaken by Converted Kings (like Constantine) get with the new national religion. They added God to their already established pagan holidays. Not the best way to convert someone, but seeing how it lasted centuries and it seems very likely that these traditions are here to stay it worked at certain levels.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:45 am |
    • Liz

      Actually, the Pagan holiday co-opted for Christmas was Yule, the Winter Solstice. the birth of the Sun became the birth of the Son. and it's still referred to as Yuletide, we still burn a Yule log, which should be a remnant of your May pole. Jesus was most likely born in the spring, that's when the lambs are born. Many Christian holidays were co-opted from us. Ostara became Easter. the Pagan fertility symbols, the egg and rabbit, became the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs. Samhain, the Pagan new year, became Hallowe'en. Wonder how Christians would like it if someone came along and stole their holidays. All that to say, there's enough merry to go around at this time of year for everyone. Happy Festivus!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:48 am |
    • Blix666

      Christians did the same thing with Halloween.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:05 am |
    • Nothing

      @Oh Really,
      "And they, having heard the king, departed, and lo, the star, that they did see in the east, did go before them, till, having come, it stood over where the child was." Matthew 2:9

      This is a very specific major celestial event that can only occure once in history and it does so via retrogade motion on June 17th -0002.

      Also, the shepards would not be in the fields anytime within the bitter winter of the time, they and thier animals would have froze.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • geraldh

      First I don't think the evidence against a December birth is as strong as detractors think but people like you just like to argue. It doesn't matter what month Jesus was born. We celibrate him and his birth on that day. ALL the days of the year are his. We reflect on his life on that day and the wonder of his birth. It is amazing that 2000 years after he died he still has so much influence on history and people. Yet people want to deny him and squabble. Peace.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:20 am |
    • David Johnson

      @sabs

      Wikipedia:
      "In Christianity, the Gospel of Luke connects the birth of Jesus to a worldwide census in which individuals had to return to their ancestral cities. Jesus' parents, Joseph and Mary, travel from their home in Nazareth, Galilee, to Bethlehem, where Jesus is born. This census explains how Jesus, a Galilean, could have been born in Bethlehem, the city of King David.

      No other record of a such a census exists, and the idea of everyone in the Roman Empire returning to an ancestral city for a census is so infeasible as to be discounted.

      The Gospel of Matthew has a different birth narrative, with Jesus' birth taking place during the life of Herod the Great, who died c 4 BCE.

      Bible scholars have traditionally sought to reconcile these accounts; while most current scholars regard this as an error by the author of the Gospel of Luke, thus casting doubt on the Historical reliability of the Gospels." OOoopsie!

      The gospels were written to "prove" Jesus was the Messiah/Son of God and to establish the Christian Religion. They are a work of fiction.

      Cheers!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:26 am |
    • GodTookNoPart

      Well said!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:34 am |
    • SolarPowered

      @Ostifari
      "Gotta love it when the Atheist knows more about Christianity than the Preacher!!"

      That's because we atheists took the time to study it close enough to see what BS it is. If Christians did the same, they would start second guessing their precious religion.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • Mike T

      Oh jeeze – look Christians have no way of knowing when Jesus' birthday is because it is nowhere in the Bible. Christianity as it exists today is merely a compilation of Committees, edicts, proclamations and declarations made by Popes hundreds of years after Christ's death. Just like Jesus' divinity was declared by the Nicene Creed, the birth date of Jesus on Dec 25th was kept as being good enough. However, what IS known is that December 25th IS a Pagan holiday and has been long before there was a Jesus.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • New York

      The fact that Christmas is a pagan holiday is so true. The romans adapted pagan rituals to make the conversion to christianity a little easier & as you can see a major success. Christmas is only one of them. Research all of the christian holidays & you will see they all originated as pagan rituals.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • ChrisJ

      I am a Christian, but I also do not celebrate or believe Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day. I agree with many atheists' thoughts regarding the history of the time when Jesus was born and I sincerely believe the church lacks thorough knowledge and understanding of history to relate to the times of scripture. There is no correlation between the birth of Jesus on December 25th and there is no true correlation of Christianity and Christmas either. The Roman Catholic Church's Bishop Julius I did introduce Christmas into Christianity some 300 years after the first church to influence converts of Paganism (the majority at that time)...that is a fact! It is also a fact that Jesus existed and still exists today, but He wanted us to celebrate his resurrection, not his birth! His resurrection gave us the ability of salvation. If we were to celebrate his birth, why didn't the first church do so? Why didn't his apostles give instruction of this? But in contrast, he did give us Holy Days which He followed himself...Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. These days not only are the true HOLYdays but they give us understanding of our Lord and Saviour. Please read and STUDY your Bible for clear understanding. Look at our world history, look at the true Greek and Hebrew scripts to understand meanings of words, use Bible Atlases to see Geographical influences. God gave us the mind to find his truth, but we spend more time using our minds to find ways to diminish his truth. There are no contradictions in the Word...only lack of comprehension. Much love to all the posters and may God bless you with understanding.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • claybigsby

      actually i have studied the bible and i am not atheist....try again.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • J Ro

      @Tony
      Jews and Muslims are not as "in your face" about their holidays and beliefs as Xians are in this country. Based on the way most of you act, you'd think YOU were the "chosen" people. Sheesh!

      December 23, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • claybigsby

      and please understand, I could honestly care less what religion anyone partakes in....that is the beauty of this country, you can believe whatever you want. But when you push your beliefs on me, as many of you like to do, is when i have a problem. Im not here to hate christianity as some perceive, just relaying facts. In fact, some of the comments from Christians to my comment spew more hate than alot of the things i have read, and are so narrow minded to think that because i am questioning some things in your religion, that automatically makes me an atheist. Sorry but things are not as simple as that.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • CSmith

      According to the Bible, Jesus was born in September, though it takes to detective work to find it. You see, in one of the Gospels, we are given an account of Mary and Joseph taking baby Jesus to be inspected by the priests, as all new-born Jewish babes were, 7 days after they are born. In this account, we are told that there was a woman at the temple who had been there praying all night long. Normally, women weren't allowed on temple grounds after sundown, but there was an exception for the evening of the Day of Atonement. So, Jesus must have been inspected on the Day of Atonement (Jewish days start at sundown, so the evening before that day was the beginning of the day). That means He must have been born 7 days before that. The Day of Atonement, still kept on Jewish calendars today, is in September. The exact date depends on the exact year He was born, and there's some debate on that, but the most commonly accepted year is 6BC, which would put Jesus' birth at Sept. 13th.

      BTW, the 'shepherds' were priestly shepherds keeping the sacrificial flock for the Temple. They did that year round, though in the winter they would keep the sheep indoors.

      So much for atheists knowing more about the Bible than this Christian, at least. Though, if you don't believe the Bible is true, I don't guess it matters much to you.

      More on the point, how exactly do we Christians have a 'monopoly' on this season? Are other people not allowed to celebrate their own festivals? Will you get arrested if you try to celebrate Yule, instead? It's a day off from work (or the day before, this year). You can do whatever the hell you want on it as long as you aren't breaking any laws.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • bspurloc

      which bible am i to read? and why am I reading a bible to find out when someone was born in ancient history? I would go read a history book as history books have actual facts in them. whats next? find out when WW2 started in a dr seuss book?

      December 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • maine liberal

      natalis solis invicti (the Roman "birth of the unconquered sun"),

      December 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • John

      Kyev Tatum, pastor of Friendship Rock Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, disputes Silverman’s assertion. “For him to make that kind of claim is just flat out untrue," he says. "It’s Christ-mas.”

      If I change the name of it to Satan-mas, does that make it about Satan?

      “Christ was born during this time. While there is a debate about whether the 25th was the actual date, no one debates it was called Christ-mas to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” says Tatum, president of the Fort Worth chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference."

      You can call the tail of a lamb a leg, but that doesn't mean lambs have five legs.

      This guy fails religious history. The word Christmas originated as a compound meaning "Christ's Mass". It is derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038. About 1000 years after Jesus, in other words. False shepherds like Tatum probably think that "X-mas" is an attempt to take the Christ out of Christmas... ignoring that the greek letter X, for chi, has long been used as an abbreviation for Christ.

      As a pagan, this is the biggest problem I have with Christian fundamentalists; they display an almost unconscionable ignorance of the history of their own religion. Believe what you like, but don't make up ridiculous and easily disprovable lies about your religion's history. Isaac Newton, in his book of "Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St John", said

      The times of the Birth and Passion of Christ, with such like niceties, being not material to religion, were little regarded by the Christians of the first age. They who began first to celebrate them, placed them in the cardinal periods of the year; as the annunciation of the Virgin Mary, on the 25th of March, which when Julius Cæsar corrected the Calendar was the vernal Equinox; the feast of John Baptist on the 24th of June, which was the summer Solstice; the feast of St. Michael on Sept. 29, which was the autumnal Equinox; and the birth of Christ on the winter Solstice, Decemb. 25, with the feasts of St. Stephen, St. John and the Innocents, as near it as they could place them. And because the Solstice in time removed from the 25th of December to the 24th, the 23d, the 22d, and so on backwards, hence some in the following centuries placed the birth of Christ on Decemb. 23, and at length on Decemb. 20: and for the same reason they seem to have set the feast of St. Thomas on Decemb. 21, and that of St. Matthew on Sept. 21... All which shews that these days were fixed in the first Christian Calendars by Mathematicians at pleasure, without any ground in tradition; and that the Christians afterwards took up with what they found in the Calendars.

      But hey, he's just Isaac fricking Newton, what does he know?

      As a pagan, I have a pretty big holiday on 12/21, and I get the enjoyment of seeing good Christian folks putting up a Christmas tree and putting out the Christmas wreath and burning the Yule log, all of which are ancient pagan traditions. If having my ancient traditions kept alive into the present day means we use a different name for the holiday itself, so be it.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:04 pm |
    • T3chsupport

      When Jesus was born, the shepherds were out in the fields with their flocks. They would not have been out with their flocks in December or January, it would have been in warmer months if at all.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • Joe

      Actually, the ancient Christians adopted the date of the popular holiday celebrating the birth of Mithra, a Persian sun god, as the date for Christ's birth, since no one then had any idea when Jesus had been born. So Dec. 25th became the date for Christmas. It was also the date when everyone celebrated the Solstice (they had incorrectly calculated it) and it was much easier to get pagans to come and learn about Christianity when all the celebrations were taking place at the same time. Babylon had nothing to do with it, and Isis is an Egyptian goddess, not Babylonia.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
    • NaoOkami

      Christians didn't just steal the Christmas holiday. All Saints day is also a stolen holiday. As is Candlemas and Easter, but hey, who is keeping track. All that matters these days is trying to monopolize your religion. Because the beliefs of others are obviously wrong and yours are right. As a Pagan this time of year results in some close minded fool annoying me with their beliefs. They walk around saying, "Merry Christmas." If you say, "Happy Holidays," they look at you like you just set fire to a Bible.

      I don't get why they think it is so wrong to try and include the beliefs of others during this season. Not like Christmas is the only holiday going on. But don't try telling them that, we are all sinners bound for hell for not celebrating the true holiday. For a religion based on being kind to others regardless of who they are Christians are pretty bigoted. So a word to all those who take a Militant stance during the holidays, don't preach to me. You cant convert me, you cant sway me and you cant silence me.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Buster Bloodvessel

      Travis, the shepherds were watching their sheep by night. It's too cold over there right now to be herding sheep, look at the weather reports. This is when the medieval church held a Mass for Christ himself, and also when the Mithraists celebrated the birthday of the son of god, and after a while the two got munged up together. I don't see a problem – my son celebrated his birthday late this year, not that I'm a deity or anything.

      December 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
    • Margot707

      Ostifari – "Gotta love it when the Atheist knows more about Christianity than the Preacher'

      Ever think that someone may do some research into what it's supposed to be all about before deciding one is an atheist or agnostic?

      December 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • Dr RatstaR

      Saying that the Christians celebrate his birthday on Dec. 25 is as ambiguous as the phrase, "a man with a wooden leg named Smith".
      Given that the Christians are really celebrating their main man's UN-birthday, the whole X-Mas thing really begins to take on a Mad Hatter's Tea Party overtone.
      I celebrate the Solstice in a big way, and clean my house from top to bottom on Dec. 25th.

      December 24, 2010 at 2:46 am |
    • YBP

      The Bible does not provide "evidence" for anything historical whatsoever. The Bible is not an historical record. Even genuine historical records from antiquity are biased and tendentious. Not to mention that the greatest minds of the day thought the earth was flat and that the weather was based on the whims of the gods. Come on! You really need to do some homework as to the ancient literary styles of ancient religions and fringe cults. Seriously, follow your own saint's advice and "put away childish things" before someone loses an eye.

      December 24, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  20. David Johnson

    Christmas is the one time of the year, when I wish there really was a Santa Claus. *sigh*

    Cheers!

    December 23, 2010 at 7:36 am |
    • jeff

      I don't know, that "presents or coal based on whether you've been naughty or nice" sounds a little works-based to me 🙂

      grace and peace,

      -jeff

      December 23, 2010 at 8:02 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Great reply

      December 23, 2010 at 9:22 am |
    • American Jew

      As a Jew, I am not offended by Christmas. I appreciate the beauty of it and I am glad my gentile friends have something to celebrate. Do I personally celebrate Christmas? No, obviously not. But that does not mean that I will try to take away from others' joys.

      In Judaism we have our own joys all year round, from our holiest holiday of Shabbat which occurs every Friday at sundown through nightfall Saturday, to the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; Sukkot; Pesach (passover); Shavuot; to our minor holidays of Chanukkah (most gentiles don't know it is actually a very minor holiday for us), Tu B'Shevat, and Purim among other holidays and occasions.

      As a Jew, I would not want others to lesson my joy during my sacred times, so why would I do that to Christians on their holiday?

      May all of you Christians be blessed with a happy Christmas season!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:32 am |
    • Bill In STL

      There can be a Sanata David, it just depends on you! In our world Sanata is a well known and respected traddition even though our children are older (over 24) and they are providing that tradition for their children.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:44 am |
    • David Johnson

      @jesus

      Amen, brother!

      Cheers!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:00 am |
    • justcurious1

      @David Johnson
      Do you really think that there's no significant evidential difference between the existence of Jesus the miracle-worker and the existence of Santa Clause? Seems like a pretty stretched analogy. A wide body of evidence for the historicity of the New Testament accounts was dismissed by your Santa analogy. Are you really being serious?

      December 23, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • David Johnson

      @geraldh
      You said: "MERRY CHRISTMASS ALL! JESUS IS ALIVE!"

      No He isn't. He hasn't been alive for 2010 years and counting.

      Cheers!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:32 am |
    • Bill In STL

      David, you missed my point entirely. There is a Santa.... are you willing to take up the role? Sanata is not just a jolly fat man that comes once a year.... (although he does do that to). He is a person that gives, that strives to bring joy into otherwise dull lives. The nice thing is that this preception does not rely on being a christian ... you can have it no matter what. As a Christian I notice that you tend to put people into categories, including Santa....

      What have you done this year that is Santa like this season? My family provided an evening meal to a homeless shelter, we even served it... we adopted a 62 year old woman and did our best to make her life better this fall. We have deliverd Christmas food packages to many shut ins.... and this Sunday we are taking a van load of shut ins to church and back... after the reception (pot luck) is over.

      That, David, is Santa ... not the plastic person you have in mind

      December 23, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • noteabags

      Christmas has become a time for buying gifts. Shoppers push and shove to get the best deal for themselves. I don't celebrate Christmas as I believe in being NICE TO EVERYONE ALL YEAR. What a concept.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:00 am |
    • geraldh

      Yes he is ya big meanie. 🙂

      December 23, 2010 at 11:03 am |
    • Dave

      America was founded because of religious persecution "Under God". The religious aspect of Christmas has been lost, unfortunately and not celebrated in the way it should be. Many Holydays have been commercialized to the point where the true meaning is gone.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:06 am |
    • Mary

      Love xmas, albeit it is too commercial. But the festive lights and decorations and all the happiness and charity of the season. I find religion to do more harm than good and simply cant suscribe to a belief in a god or any organized religion. But I sure do love a good looking xmas tree!

      December 23, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • AZDavidPhx

      How arrogant and passive aggressive is that pastor for assuming that putting up a tree and leaving cookies for Santa is "embracing" Christ? Clever marketing may have the common man trained to refer to the holidays as "Christmas" but informed people see through it and realize that the Winter Solstice gimmick is not owned by any one religion; yet we see blowhards over and over again trying to make it true with their army of ignorant lemmings spreading the word and rallying under the threat of the "attack" on their "beliefs".

      Happy Winter Solstice everyone. Embrace it!

      December 23, 2010 at 11:10 am |
    • Jon Westgaard

      I am not a fan of putting a negative spin on any celebration, but too many of you are...well, misinformed. At the risk of seeming to lack any holiday spirit, I think you should understand that Christmas actually has NOTHING to do with Jesus...or his birth. Those of us who believe in what we know to exist by relying on empirical evidence logically turn to real history. In this case, the history of Christmas can be attributed to the Roman pagan's holiday of the Saturnalia – which, to make a long story short, was adopted by – rather "ripped off by" the Christians of Rome. Christ wasn't born in December, people. Based on the most accurate historical records, Jesus' birth occurred in mid September, in the year 3 BCE.

      Christmas has always been a holiday celebrated rather carelessly. For over 2000 years, pagans, Christians, and even Jews have been swept away in the season’s festivities, and very few people ever pause to consider the celebration’s TRUE intrinsic meaning, history, or origin. Christmas celebrates the birth of the Christian god who came to rescue mankind from the “curse of the Torah.” It is a 24-hour declaration that Judaism is no longer valid. Christmas is a lie. There is no Christian church with a tradition that Jesus was really born on December 25th. To be frank, December 25 is a day on which Jews have been shamed, tortured, and murdered. Many of the most popular Christmas customs – including Christmas trees, mistletoe, Christmas presents, and Santa Claus – are modern incarnations of the most depraved pagan rituals ever practiced on earth.

      In this day and age, I can only hope that however all of you view and celebrate the holiday season, it's done with love, kindness, understanding, and the appreciation for each other’s differences. Despite the history of the season, I have a tree up. I have bought my loved ones gifts. I will celebrate THEM this season and I will celebrate love, living, and being a member of the human family.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • Katie

      Any well-informed Christian is well aware the Jesus wasn't born in December, heck! Orthodox christmas is in january. This is when we CHOOSE to celebrate his birth. Personally I'm excited about it all year long, but I only put up lights for Christmas 🙂

      December 23, 2010 at 11:17 am |
    • Dave

      All this talk about decorations, if a real Christian, like myself, is trying to defend the Holyday, they would mention the Naitivity. I have not seen that, we have 2. Jesus is placed in at Midnight on Christmas. All Religions' beliefs are based on teachings of morals, right from wrong. The Torah, Quran and Bible are handbooks are how you should be living.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • MarylandBill

      Santa Claus was real. The modern Santa Claus can trace his lineage back to Saint Nicholas. His generosity was well known in his lifetime.

      When my son, and God willing, other children, start questioning Santa, I will be happy to explain that we as parents have taken up the custom of giving gifts to our children on Christmas in order to honor this holy man.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      As an Atheist who also celebrates this holiday, I don't see any problem sharing it with Christians who believe in a God. I put up Lights, a Tree, give presents to my boys and have some sort of lunch/dinner. Unfortunately for Christians who believe this holiday was started by the 'Birth of Christ,' I am sorry but you are incorrect. Before the birth of your Christ, there was a 7 day period in December usually celebrated somewhere between the 18th and 25th of December. This fesitival was called Saturnalia and was celebrated by the Pagans. If you don't believe me, look it up. Unfortunately, for those who have been COMPLETELY blinded by their faith; they won't believe it becuase they think this is another way the non-believers are trying to degrade their most sacred time of year. I have no problem with people celebrating 'Christmas' for whatever reason but you should know the holiday actually had nothing to do with the birth of Christ until the Christians in the year 4 CE converted many Pagans to the Christian Religion with promises they could still celebrate their Saturnalia festival. That my friends is the real Christmas and I am sorry if you believe otherwise. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all....

      December 23, 2010 at 11:27 am |
    • NonBeliever

      I'm an avowed atheist (otherwise known as a logically thinking being) who loves the holiday season. The lights, the glitter, the parties, the presents, the food, the fact that people are just nicer during the season....all reasons to enjoy and celebrate. I even display a manger scene because my christian mother made it for me many years ago. It doesn't mean that I believe any part of the crazy "virgin birth" story. It means that I honor my mom by displaying the gift she made for me. Those gullible folks who believe in virgin births, resurrections, and all the rest of the nonsense in that story book need to hush themselves about how the rest of us celebrate a season of peace and giving. It has nothing to do with your mythological savior, your storybook, or your ability to believe things that simply are not possible. That being said......HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! ENJOY!!

      December 23, 2010 at 11:33 am |
    • Jolly

      There really is a Saint NIcholas.
      His bones are buried in Turkey.
      So much for that.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:34 am |
    • Tina

      What amused me is when so called smart people saying they stopped believing in santa claus, well their really was a santa claus, called ST NICK, real person who cared about the poor and made sure to always share and give gifts to people in need.

      So yes there really was a santa claus.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • Ryan A - Florida

      Too wrap-up the whole Santa/Jesus debate...I would offer a different analogy. Take "The Davinci Code" novel, the main character does not exist, yet a great amount of the book is grounded in historical and geographical fact (i.e. the debated truthfulness of the Bible, in fact, the DC is far more grounded in what could actually happen. I mean even the Pope doesn't consider the Bible to be the literal truth). Add to that, a single sentence in a book review about said main character (i.e. the amount that Jesus is mentioned by the preeminent historian of his time, Josephus.) You now have the equivalent of the currently held and verifiable evidence for the existence of Jesus. I'm gonna have to call this one a draw. Now, I can't wait to hear what the other so-called "evidence" is that they (believers) claim to have. Oh....and MERRY CHRIST MAS...everyone.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:49 am |
    • Scott

      @mandi, @justcurious1: Please list your sources for “plently of historical things that prove Jesus and things in the bible” and “A wide body of evidence for the historicity of the New Testament accounts”. I keep hearing Christians saying this stuff; but, nobody seems to be able to identify the source material for these claims

      December 23, 2010 at 11:50 am |
    • rhymeskeema

      Atheists ought to spend the holiday season with each other in a bleak room with fluorescent lights, snickering to each other at how stupid all people of faith are. Then we can ignore their mule-ish commentary on the beautiful traditions of joy and life affirming universal love that we enjoy. If I were and smug, science worshiping Athiest, that's what I'd do. "I prematurely chose one side of an argument that isn't through being debated, so I better act like I was right all along and that any further discussion is a waste of everybody's time. Case closed. Also you're all stupid and less sciencey than me. And Zeitgeist."

      Also most science until the recent age has been uncovered by people of faith.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • Ryan A - Florida

      @Dave "The Torah, Quran and Bible are handbooks are how you should be living." Lol...yeah, that's how L Ron Hubbard started his own Religion (scam), by writing books which tell people how to live. Seems like a pretty easy thing to do actually...I need to get on that, because in the time it took me to write this there was another "one born".

      December 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jamie

      I think it is really funny how Atheists are so bent on bashing Christianity yet they want to participate in our Christmas holiday and justify it by saying that they put up trees and give gifts because it's a nice thing to do and there is no religious meaning behind it. That is totally wrong! The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas stems from when the Three Kings came to visit the infant Jesus bearing gifts. As they gave gifts to Jesus, so we give gifts to each other. And when it comes to the tradition of Santa Claus, again this is a Christian tradition based on the life of Saint Nicholas. The story of Santa Claus came from his life of giving and charity to the poor and children.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • Ryan A - Florida

      @rhymeskeema We do...lol. Goooooooo ATHEISM!!!

      December 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • Mark

      Atheists Love Christmas Too!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_s9NWchEo8

      December 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
    • Steve

      I'm always amused at those brilliant atheists who claim that Christians "stole" or "ripped off" various pagan observances and incorporated them into Christmas. Is that what you really think happened? That the Church first copied a holiday of gift-giving and tree-trimming and feasting and then invited the pagans to join them? Does that make any sense at all? No, of course not.

      What actually happened is the pagans who converted to Christianity brought some of their festival traditions with them to their new faith. I guess if you want to say these converts ripped themselves off, you can say that. Of course that would be stupid, but hey, atheists aren't exactly known for rational thinking when it comes to religion.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Tina and Jolly: Yes, there was St Nicholas, but he apparently was also a violent and intolerant being who desecrated the graves of pagans and killed non-believers... There was an article yesterday about him on this very blog. I greatly prefer the Santa of modern times... a nice, generous old man with whiskers...
      BTW is AZDavidPhx also David Johnson?! Hmmmm???

      December 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Joker

      Okay so at what age did you stop believing in the mythical Santa knowing all childrens thoughts and flying around?

      Now how old are you now and do you still believe in mythical beings who can read all of our minds and manage the world and deliver blessings at will?

      December 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
    • bspurloc

      cuz everyone wants to work the friday before xmas and xmas day...... it is like a free sick day.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @justcurious1

      You said: "Do you really think that there's no significant evidential difference between the existence of Jesus the miracle-worker and the existence of Santa Clause? Seems like a pretty stretched analogy. A wide body of evidence for the historicity of the New Testament accounts was dismissed by your Santa analogy."

      What evidence?

      Curious in Arizona

      December 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      @ rhymeskeema
      Now, now, now; let's be nice. I don't laugh at Christians for believing in a God as this is their choice. I however, after much thought, (I was raised with religion) have decided not to believe because most of the things you are taught in religion just don't make sense. Now, I could be mean and say I wish all Relgious Nutjubs (Seriously not my opinion) would be locked away in a room waiting for their lord and savior to appear but that wouldn't be nice to say around the holidays or anytime of year. Finally, to add on to your statement; yes most Scientists were religious at somepoint in their lives unless they grew up in a non-believer household. Upon further thought and research, this is what scientists do on a daily basis; they found the plausibility of there being an 'Invisible Man' in the sky to be completely impossible. This is usually how most atheists come to be as such. They really have to think outside the box. I have a quote that might get people to actually think outside the box: "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours"

      December 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
    • CRAIG

      Jesus is alive, he rose after 3 days in the grave, there were hundreds of witnesses. He sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven. We don't serve and worship a dead God.He came to seek and to save.He came to allow us to have a relationship with our Father in heaven.I will be forever grateful for what Jesus did on the cross.

      December 23, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
    • Fabiola Ribeiro

      “Christmas is about peace on Earth and goodwill towards men. Whether you believe it or not that’s the reason Jesus came.”

      Love that quote 🙂 Yeah I agree, even though December 25th is not really the day Jesus was born. But we celebrate it because he was born 2,000 years ago to bring salvation and peace on earth, Jesus is the reason for the season 🙂 Blessings to all

      December 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • CRAIG

      I am curious why you continue to come to the Religous section of Cnn online. you seem to take great pride in being an atheist, who continually putting down Christians.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
    • Carroll

      I would probably be considered an Atheist ... but with the belief in helping others, I love Christmas and the giving, the songs, the feelings in the air... and yes I understand what it represents, but I'm not a typical atheist.

      I however... do not believe in most of what is taught. I do not believe there was an actual virgin Marry, I do not believe anyone walked on water, unless of course it was Froze. I do not believe the world has only existed for 10000 years, I believe in science and almost everything that goes with it. I am not convinced that they need to be working on the Hydra-Collider in Europe, it could open a Pandora's Box of sorts... and Ka Boom!

      I love the commercials on tv that are from the Church of Latter day Saints and the ideas of helping Neighbours when ever the chance presents itself to lend a hand. I am totally for everyone getting along in the world... and just imagine if there was No Religion as one of the Beatles put it, how much better everyone would get along.

      Merry Christmas to you and a Very Happy New Year ;o)

      December 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
    • Shane

      What are you implying?

      December 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • FV

      Dec. 25th was never a christian holiday until 600 years after its inception.

      "Roman Pagan Religion: Attis was a son of the virgin Nana. His birth was celebrated on DEC-25. He was sacrificed as an adult in order to bring salvation to mankind. He died about MAR-25, after being crucified on a tree, and descended for three days into the underworld. On Sunday, he arose, as the solar deity for the new season. His followers tied an image of Attis to a tree on "Black Friday," and carried him in a procession to the temple. His body was symbolically eaten by his followers in the form of bread. Worship of Attis began in Rome circa 200 BCE."

      Neat story, I bet it sounds familiar to most. However, it was celebrated over 200 years before anyone was born in a stable in the mid-east...

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_sel.htm

      December 23, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      @ EVERYBODY who has started bashing Atheists...
      First off, you claim to be Christians but you are not acting very Christian like are you? For those that chose to believe in a higher power, I just hope you picked the 'correct' one. Did you know there are over 10,500 Religious Gods in our World today? This number is expected to grow to near 15,000 in the next Quarter Century. If Heaven does exist and I end up going to your 'hell' for not believing, I will feel very sorry for you if you get to the 'Pearly Gates' and a different God is standing there and says....oops, you picked the wrong god....to Hell you go. (Obviously this won't happen because there is no such thing as God, Allah or any Higher Power) "Two hands working are more useful that two clasped in prayer."

      December 23, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • AI

      An atheist is somebody who actively denies the beliefs of others, often looking down their nose at them and holding them in contempt. The irony is that the atheist stands equally without proof as those whose beliefs they deny.

      An agnostic at least admits their own fallibility, whereas the atheist will cling to fallacies purporting to disprove and show inconsistencies in the other peoples' beliefs. There is a real distinction here in those that simply passively don't embrace religious beliefs vs. those who actively assail and undermine those beliefs in others.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
    • Bob Costess

      Christmas is a national holiday in America, to be enjoyed by everyone.

      December 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      I'm an Atheist and my views about December are: it is cold, often rainy, and the traffic is just crazy with a bunch of people using credit cards trying to buy their pre-teen kids a $400 toy they don't need because it seems that a very poor child was (presumably) born 2010 years ago... meanwhile, poor kids all over the world go hungry...

      December 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
    • AthensGuy

      I'm an Atheist and my views about December are: it is cold, often rainy, and the traffic is just crazy with a bunch of people using credit cards trying to buy their pre-teen kids a $400 toy they don't need because it seems that a very poor child w as (presumably) born 2010 years ago... meanwhile, poor kids all over the world go hungry...

      December 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
    • justin

      As a practising muslims, we've our own holidays called eid (and 2 of 'em! yay! they are like mini christmas). But that doesn't stop me from enjoying christmas. Sure I don't put up a tree (i'm originaly from south east asia, they don't even have those trees in asia) but christmas is a time to enjoy, celebrate! Doesn't matter what religion you follow. Christmas is more than just religious, it's now more of a culture. Just like how I used to celebrate my hindu friends special day even though it's a different religion.

      Now If only there was a Santa....I'd Loooove to have PS3 or a Wii

      December 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • Human Ape

      "But for many of the 5% of Americans who say they don’t believe in God"

      Where did this 5% come from? It's more like 15%. In more civilized countries like Sweden 80% of the population is normal, also known as atheists.

      By the way "Christmas" is an offensive word because of the millions of people who have been murdered for Jeebus. It should be called "Santa Claus Day".

      darwinkilledgod dot blogspot dot com

      December 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • adrifter

      The relevant word in this story is five per cent of Americans "say" they don't believe in god. I'd bet many more don't believe in god, but keep their non-belief to themselves to avoid family and work troubles. I'm an atheist in Canada, where our most recent census showed over 16 per cent of the population has no religious affiliation. But, again, I know people who say they are Catholic or Protestant or whatever, but ridicule their religion. They are religious on paper. My point is no one really knows the percentage of atheists in American and Canadian society. But it's higher than you think.

      December 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Buffy

      I would like to see the data showing atheists make up 5% of our populace...

      December 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bill In STL

      WoW! You have proven the existence of people who do good works, not Santa, the jolly old elf, that brings toys to all the good girls and boys. Except the brings more and better toys to children with rich parents. Hmmm...

      Thanks for playing!

      Cheers!

      December 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
    • Random Poster

      Happy HannaRamaQwanzaSolstiMas to everyone!

      (Think I got them all in there)

      December 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • runswithbeer

      HoHoHo... Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus. And the magic lights up when family, friends and kiddies get together. You folks leave to leave all this heavy religious discussion alone and lighten up. Buddha and Jesus would have loved the Holidays with ALL their meanings. It's ALL about Peace, Love and Understanding. HoHoHo, trust me on this one, Santa Claus is coming. He's headed over to Wal-Mart right now.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • Hope

      American Jew,

      I love You! 🙂

      May the Spirit of my Yeshua fill you with peace and joy beyond all measure! ! !

      December 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • Lee

      You don't like the music, change the channel. I will continue to celebrate Christmas, for those who don't won't to participate in the celebration of Christ, that's fine, but stay out of my business while do it.

      December 23, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • Bill

      thank's Katie for observing that "It turns out that traditions associated with Christmas have morphed into social norms adopted even among nonbelievers." How ironic because as many know almost all of the holiday called christmas began as a pagan holiday in the first place!

      December 23, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
    • Cyrcee

      Athiests PLEASE.......Y'all are PAGENS, just like me..........embrace the Earth & all the energy of the Universe.......

      December 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
    • Kevin

      @Al

      In a rational world, an atheist wouldn't have to prove that something DOESN'T exist, because the burden of proof is on those that believe something DOES exist/occur. If there was evidence that there was a god, then we could certainly debate that, but unfortunately there is no proof whatsoever that a man in the cloud exists. It goes against everything we know about the world, so no, there is no reason for an atheist to have to prove that God does not exist.

      If I told you that I was God, wouldn't you want some proof before you believed it? Sure you would. But because something was written 2000 years ago, there is no reason to see proof?

      December 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
    • Alex

      Wait....you mean Santa isn't real???

      December 23, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • Anonymous

      So, why was December 25 chosen to remember Jesus Christ’s birth with a mass (or Communion supper)? Since no one knows the day of his birth, the Roman Catholic Church felt free to chose this date. The Church wished to replace the pagan festival with a Christian holy day (holiday). http://www.christiananswers.net/christmas/mythsaboutchristmas.html

      December 23, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • Dale

      Have a Merry Christmas!

      December 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • evoc

      Well, you gotta like the pretty colored lights...the sheer artistry of it is captivating.

      December 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
    • crzydoglady

      American Jew – Your comment was refreshing and so beautifully stated. Thank you so much for your post.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
    • kls817

      @justcurious1. Dont try to talk logic and evidence to Dave Johnson. He, like most of the athiests here, are motivated to say what they do by their hatred for religious zealots, not by a serious look at logic or evidence.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Alexandrine

      I'm not angry with anyone if they don't believe in Christ. Christ is very real. People that do worship him do it in spirt and truth. It says in Scripture that the Father looks for people. At one point in my life I wasn't interested in God or anything to do with him. But he changed my life when I asked him to help me. I wanted to die I was so depressed and miserable inside. I prayed for him to help me and he did. Jesus enters people's hearts when they WANT him too. People that don't believe reject him so they don't know him. Scriptures even says that people will hate him without cause. Jesus didn't do anything wrong. He never hurt anyone. He offers just the opposite. He forgives and shows mercy to those that ask him. Not all will believe. And that's ok. We're all given free will. We don't know when Jesus was born but I'm grateful that we do have a time of year to think about him and celebrate him. I do not brainwash my children. And I wasn't brainwashed either. There's no need to be ugly about our beliefs. I could say that you're brainwashed by the devil. Which is the truth. Merry Christmas!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
    • Lisa Kenney

      ATHEIST HERE..woke up 1 day and I got it.." no god "makes so much sense it explains everything,any god out there would not let 3 million jews die to allow 1 man have free choice, whats the purpose of all the stavation and aids in africa. Science continually shows that there is no god. It's the human condition to try to explain where they came from and where they will go and man find it hard to believe that life ends at death.. thus making the idea of afterlife so appealing they won't let it go even when science has shown evolution and big bang to be true.. so much data to support it. and what data exists for god... well folks.. there were schizophrenics in the ancient times too, and check out what chris angel can do... have you ever played telephone where you whisper a message and pass it on... what is beginning story and end story.... and new testament was written 300 years after christ and how distorted did that get...thje sad part is that so many people die in name of religion and its all a myth.. wishfull thinking... it does keep some social order and believers are happy... placebo effect... new at this atheist stuff.. thanks for listening

      December 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
    • lynn

      how ironic that we atheists have to defend ourselves against the take over of Solstice by organized religions and religious zealots. The reason Xmas is when it is (check out the history of the Catholic Church folks 5-6 AD) and Hanakkau is when it is (check that out too) is because ancient peoples who were lucky enough to live before mono-male-theism recognized the solstice and raged against the darkness. The church "stole" the Yule tree, the Yule wreath, and the lights. We atheists own this one. not the simple-minded fundamentalists.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
    • Commojoe

      Okay, so the early Christian church took a time of the year when there was a pagan festival to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; is that a bad thing, to maybe be able to celebrate to be able to do some extra witnessing and possibly evangelize others in a loving way? And let's remember, people ARE more caring, generous, and compassionate in their giving this time of year, even if they don't happen to share the Christian faith, so maybe even that simple giving spirit, shown by non-Christians, could be used to witness to them, speaking of the giving that took place in God giving us His Son.

      December 24, 2010 at 2:07 am |
    • jules

      considering all the traditions of christmas – yes even christmas trees – were stolen from pagans...
      and jesus wasnt even born in december...
      I dont think you have to be "christian" to celebrate....

      December 24, 2010 at 2:48 am |
    • david schexnayder

      First off, WAY more than 5% of americans dont believe in god.

      December 24, 2010 at 5:41 am |
    • nogod

      Funny how Christians think that its only 5% of the population is Atheist while other sources usually say as high as 20%.
      it would seem that Christians cant face the fact that some people choose not to believe the bible.

      December 24, 2010 at 7:04 am |
    • Evert van Vliet

      I'd rather call the absence of godly nonsense Realism than A-theism simply because that gives theists an excuse to call "it" a lack of believing.

      Not that individuals with a washed brain actually believe in what they claim to believe in...for that one has to observe then reason only to come to the conclusion it's all bs....if not "it" is called assuming.

      December 24, 2010 at 7:38 am |
    • Sandrine

      The Noel tree (let's use this term so that there is no more argument about the part Christ in Christmas) is originally a pagan tradition.
      In several language the word Christ does not even appear in the word used to label the celebrations tied to the end of the year and the decrease of light. Every culture has had through centuries traditions linked to the solstice and the source of these traditions has nothing to do with religion.
      It is quite sad to hear so many Christians judge others who do not share their beliefs, fight like greedy soldiers for the ownership of a day, and close their hearts to the majority of the inhabitants of this planet... and then then sing Peace on Earth. I feel sorry for them and hope that they will understand that this has become a celebration of family and humanity and that they can rejoice to be part of this without the need for ownership.
      Life is good! I am just glad that these vacation give my family and I the time to sit in front of the fire place and our tree, play some games, enjoy hot chocolate with marshmallows, open our gift carefully prepared by each of us, and slow down our lives. Joyeux Noel to all!

      December 24, 2010 at 7:40 am |
    • Jason

      To the Blogger: I am an American that celebrates Christmas, like the vast majority of Americans (and other Nations around the world). You are invited to join in my celebration, and I would love to have you take part in the Holiday festivities. If you do not celebrate, then I will see you on 12/26. Merry Christmas to all, because there is nothing wrong with a time of year that puts people in better spirits.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:28 am |
    • Mikel

      Jesus said to tell all of you, Merry Christmas.

      December 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • Very Disappointed

      Wow, I am very disappointed in the accuracy of this article. First, and foremost, would be the ridiculous claim that only 5% "of Americans who say they don’t believe in God". This is VERY misleading. The unaffiliated number (people that have not chosen to follow a religion, agnostics, atheists, ect) is 11%-15% in the US.

      But thats not even the tragic part, the worst part is that this article is about Christmas being a Christian holiday and therefore you can simply take the US population (307,000,000), deduct all the Christians that believe and celebrate Christmas (240,000,000), and you are left with 67,000,000 or almost 22% of the population that does not believe in the Christian god.

      I truly am saddened by how far down hill our public media has fallen over the last 100 years and do not have a great outlook for the future generations of reporters out there.

      December 25, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
    • Brane Damidge

      jingle bells
      jesus smells
      god is make believe
      christians, hindus and muslims,too
      all make me want to heave!

      (If I missed your faith please add it in as well!)

      December 25, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
    • JB

      "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door and deny Him with their lifestyle, that is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable" -CS Lewis.

      December 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • Know What

      @JB,

      "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door and deny Him with their lifestyle, that is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable" -CS Lewis.

      No... that is an ancillary cause - and simply annoying. The main cause for atheism is that the supernatural myths are not proven to be true.

      ancillary

      December 26, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • Ernest

      good replies all around but I think its funny how a lot of christians do try to take over the holidays when its been proven that christmas is a lie. None of Jesus' birth could ahve happened during christmas. Christians...the church made christmas the birth of christ and a holdiay on December 25 to bully the celebration of Winter Solistice out of the way. Much like most other religious absed holidays. So how can christians so are suppose to be honest and loving expect any respect when they celebrate a load of lies? Im personally not atheist....im not sure what to beleive...IE I beleive in a higher power but I think christianity has it twisted

      December 27, 2010 at 12:26 am |
    • explonentialdotcom

      I have no idea when he was born, but Jesus was an atheist who knew how to swim
      http://www.explonential.com/jesus-was-an-atheist-that-knew-how-to-swim/

      January 10, 2011 at 5:43 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.