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Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion
December 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Christmas exposes atheist divide on dealing with religion

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – The Christmas season is revealing a growing rift among American atheists when it comes to the question of how to deal with religion.

Some atheist activists are trying to seize the holidays as a time to build bridges with faith groups, while other active unbelievers increasingly see Christmas as a central front in the war on religious faith. With the dramatic growth of the nonreligious in the last few decades, more atheist leaders are emerging as spokespeople for atheism, but the Christmas rift speaks to growing disagreement over how atheists should treat religion.

On the religion-bashing side, there’s David Silverman, president of the group American Atheists, which raised one of its provocative trademark billboards in New York’s Times Square last week. “Keep the MERRY!” it says. “Dump the MYTH!”
The sign features a picture of a jolly Santa Clause and another of Jesus dying on the cross – a not-so-subtle attack on Christianity.

“Christianity stole Christmas in the first place and they don’t own the season, they don’t own the Christmas season,” Silverman said, pointing to pagan winter solstice celebrations that predated Jesus Christ. “When they say keep Christ in Christmas, they are actually saying put Christ back in Christmas.”

The New York billboard, which will be up until early January and is costing the group at least $25,000, is the latest in a long line of provocative American Atheists signs, which attacked then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s religion during this year’s presidential campaign.

It’s not the only way Silverman is using Christmas to attack Christianity. In a recent TV interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he said the American Atheist office be open on Christmas Day and called for an end to Christmas as a federal holiday.

O’Reilly, in turn, called Silverman a fascist.

Despite Silverman’s knack for making headlines, however, other prominent atheists are putting a softer face on the movement, including during Christmastime.

“I just think the whole war on Christmas story is bizarre” said Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, who has emerged as another spokesman for the burgeoning atheist movement. “I think that any atheist or humanist that is participating in that story needs to find better things to do with their time.”

From his point of view, atheism and religion can happily coexist, including at the holidays.

At the chaplaincy, Epstein has reached out to local religious groups, packaging holiday meals and breaking bread with believers to discuss their similarities and differences.

Sponsored by the Humanist Community at Harvard, evangelical Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Zoroastrians, along with a number of atheists, were among those represented at a recent meal packaging event for hungry kids in the Boston area. Around 250 people participated and over $10,000 was raised – including donations from local Lutheran and Methodist churches.
Epstein calls this sort of inter-religious dialogue “healthy.”

“We as a community need to be about the positive and we have so much positive to offer,” he said. “I think that we really can provide a positive alternative to religious holidays that are not meaningful because of their religious content.”
Silverman, for his part, is more than comfortable being negative when it comes to religion.

“We should look at the results - people are listening to us because we are shouting,” he said. “They don’t hear you unless you shout. … Sometimes you have to put political correctness aside. We need to get louder. I believe we are seeing the fruits of that volume.”

As proof, American Atheists points to the way their donations skyrocket after every billboard campaign. “We get donations and memberships because we are taking the stand that we do,” said Silverman, who would not give specific numbers on fundraising. “The donations are flowing in right now. People are loving it specifically because of the billboard.”

Epstein would rather see more emphasis on volunteerism, though he acknowledges that some atheists are drawn to Silverman’s vocal model. Both men said they appeal to different parts of the atheist movement.

“We are GOP and Dem, man and women, black and white – the only thing that holds us together is atheism,” Silverman said. “A movement like ours needs all sides. It needs people who are working to be conciliatory and it needs people who are willing to raise their voices.”

Religious “nones” – a combination of atheists, agnostics and the religiously unaffiliated, have been growing their ranks in recent years. According to a Pew Research study released this year, the fastest growing "religious" group in America is made up of people with no religion at all as one in five Americans is not affiliated with any religion.

The survey found that the unaffiliated are growing even faster among younger Americans. According to the poll, 34% of “younger millennials” - those born between 1990 and 1994 - are religiously unaffiliated.

Though not monolithic, younger atheists, according to Jesse Galef, communications director of the Secular Student Alliance, are more prone to celebrate a secular version of Christmas than to ignore the holiday.

“I am very much in favor of celebrating the secular Christmas,” Galef said. “It is a celebration of the spirit of giving and I think religious divisiveness goes against that effort.”

Other atheists celebrate Festivus, a December 23 holiday meant for atheists looking to celebrate during the winter without participating in a Christian holiday. The holiday, which entered into popular culture through the television show “Seinfeld” in 1997, has gained popularity in recent years.

At the Secular Student Alliance office in Columbus, Ohio, the staff will play Secret Sagan, a nod to the famed scientist, instead of Secret Santa. And instead of Christmas decorations, they put up a Winter Solstice Tree with ornaments from the movie “When the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“We celebrate the holiday season, just not the religious holiday,” Galef said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christmas

soundoff (4,367 Responses)
  1. lol??

    "Sorry! The word "transformation" doesn't occur in the KJV."

    December 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Terrestrial and celestial though are two words that do appear in the gospels.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Fire-Breathing Dragon of Doom

      Neither does transubstantiation, yet that does not stop the international criminal organization known as the RCC from pretending that it is a real thing.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      Not in the KJV? I appreciate your inability to think for yourself and rely on the KJV...lol!!

      And neither is "trinity" in the KJV or any other translation...

      But I'm glad you have employed yourself as a poster child for reasons to not believe....

      December 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  2. Brownie

    You simply can’t give a non-working, non-school-enrolled 20-year-old man free range of your home, much less your cache of weapons. You have to set boundaries. You have to say, “You can’t live here anymore — you’re an adult, and it’s time for you to be a man. We’ll give you all the support you need, but we won’t be enablers.” Unfortunately, the idea of being an “adult” and a “man” once one has reached physical maturity seems to have faded out of our coddling culture.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • lol??

      Uuummm, if there is blame try the medical govern-mental complex. The child was very ill. Whatever his chronological age was, he was still a child. He did not have "access" unless you consider locked doors fair game.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      This kid was seriously mentally ill. I'd recommened reading up on both the case and general psychology before making these kinds of statements. He could never have lived on his own, and it was the suggestion that he was going to be removed from the home that likely pushed him over the edge.

      December 22, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  3. lol??

    There's a Verse for that sayz
    "One strong proof for the non-existence of the Christian god is the daily lives of those who claim him as Lord and Savior....the lack of "transformation" of those lives, ..........".....You don't qualify as a judge, being a nonbeliever. Christians are a whole nuther story....."1Cr 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man."....Transformation is a commie socie doctrine.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      What credibility I gave you over the past few weeks, reading your responses has disappeared...

      Are you incapable of thinking that, perhaps, the folks on this blog have had a history in Christianity...

      My qualifications to comment on the lives of believers extends back 3 decades...

      But you have proven yourself a failure at the simplest act of thinking before pressing the keys on a keyboard...

      I am pleased, however, that my comments brought you to the "post" key....

      December 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • lol??

      I stand by my post.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      Again, you've been on here long enough to know that Christians use the "tranformation" their god provides as evidence for his existence....

      And yet, you can't even think past your own nose...

      Plus, the lives of Christians are, in fact, the only tangible evidence of their faith and are objects of "judgement" by those who don't believe...

      But, as you've displayed today, your comments are made without the courage of thought...as expected from a believer.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  4. lionlylamb

    Do Atheisms’ matters linger upon spiritual negatives and parlor about in banters of non-speculative scruples ever in denying others' faith issues?

    I am saying that deeply within all cellular life does live very intelligent forms of beings so tiny and very small! They are the husbandry of all megalithic life form structures. Christendom calls them as being Gods yet Star Wars calls them as being 'midi-chlorians', the force of all living megalithic monoliths of cellular structured life. I would rather call them very intelligent beings of unknown to us varieties of superiorly small intra-cellular life forms that dared to evolve within all monolithic megalith-celled creations of their own evolutional doing and thru time modified their ever evolving megalithic structures to finally create us!

    December 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Still haven't found a life a have you?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      hawaiiguest,

      My family members are my life. My livelihood is here and at activeworlds.com. I do childish things and write childish thoughts with my livelihood.

      Is your livelihood any better than mine? I see you here very often.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @lionly

      And by what measure would you use to determine my livelihood?
      At least you were finally able to admit what you write here is childish and useless. Now we just need to get you to admit it is pseudo-intellectual nonsense designed to make you feel smart.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Athy

      Why don't we just call it what it really is; meaningless babble.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  5. Brownie

    There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. In this school of 450 students, a sizeable number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K–6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female.

    December 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Brownie

      A feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Are you just a troll trying to get a rise out of people?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Brownie

      Yes. I guess I succeeded. What do you think of that quote – not my words.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I didn't get angry, because I thought it more likely you were trolling.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  6. Amy

    So this is the human experience, tears, arguing misunderstanding.

    I believe that if people believed in God as love, nothing more and nothing less than less atheists would mind the people who believed in God.

    Happy Festivus, Happy Christmas, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hannukkah and if I missed anyone Happy 12/25

    December 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Brownie

      Amy – I live in a 90% black apartment building in DC. I can assure you that almost NONE of the residents of my building (300+ units) celebrates Kwanzaa. Only white liberal like to say Happy Kwanzaa. To the extent that African Americans celebrate anything, they celebrate Christmas. Stop wishing them a Happy Kwanzaa. You might as well send out NBA Finals greeting cards. Just as stupid. Just as unintentionally racist.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Merry Christmas Amy.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • 24-XD

      We love you Amy! (((((Amy)))))))

      December 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  7. Christie

    I'm an atheist, and I celebrate Christmas in a non-religious way, in the same way Christians celebrate Halloween in the non-Pagan way. Christmas, and Easter were both originally Pagan. The Christmas tree, the Yule tide, and other things came from Pagan traditions on this day. They called it Saturnalia.

    As for Easter, where do you think the bunnies, and the eggs come from? It came from pagans celebrating the goddess Eostre, in other words Easter, who was a fertility goddess. It was about celebrating the time in nature when many animals had babies, which is where the bunnies and eggs come from.

    Those Pagan's make wild claims, but they know how to throw a party lol. Back in the day some Christians were jelly, so they made it into what they wanted it to be.

    Christianity is indistinguishable from other myths because it doesn't have any evidence. You never know if Zues is not out there somewhere just keeping himself hidden like Christians claim their god is doing. They say you just need to have faith. Well you just need to have faith in Zues for him to be just as real.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Kev

      Actually, if Zeus does exist I don't think he would have to get believers to have faith in him in order to exist. Someone or something either exists or doesn't exist regardless of whether there is available evidence at the time.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Christie

      Kev – I agree, something either does exist, or it doesn't regardless of evidence, but at the same time, humans still don't have a way to tell if something is real without evidence. With no verification involved, which means someone claiming an invisible magic cosmic hippo created the universe can claim things in the same way.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Kev

      @ Christie, It can be such a pain not being able to rationally explain everything. Of course that's what many believe is why religion came to be in the first place. However, if there is a supreme being out there who doesn't want to be made known to humanity scientifically speaking, but does want us to develop faith in said supreme being for some reason or another, and if such a supreme being is powerful enough so that there would be no way for that supreme being to be proven to exist otherwise. MAN, life can be frustrating.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  8. M. Lewinsky

    Hillary will be lapping up dinner at the Fulton Fish Market. She's good like that.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  9. M. Lewinsky

    I will be dining in Chapaqua this year. That Bill really knows how to fill a stocking.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  10. M. Lewinsky

    All you atheist computer addicts – make sure you care time away from your family's Christmas celebration to jump on here and spew you rage at everyone else. It just wouldn't be Christmas without maladjusted lunatics projecting hate everywhere.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you are here because?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TTTPS,

      you missed a remarkable display of Chadliness today.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      Cause it's like watching severely retarded people copulate with animals. Gross, I know.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oooh! Where is said display, nota?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      On just about every posting – except mine, of course

      December 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TTTPS,

      p24 – multiple threads. It was a continuation of p13 from yesterday. He tried to go after @moby.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are justifiably confused, Monica, dear. I was asking Not a GOPer.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      Yeah – I guess I missed the reference. But really, tell me. . . will you be on here on Christmas to try to ruin everyone's mood?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      he's not ruining my mood, he's enhancing it. But as a christian, I doubt you ever care about what makes other people happy.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • M. Lewinsky

      Wow – so provocative! Why that makes me want to engage you all night in an insult fest. This is going to be sooo meaningful.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • 24-XD

      How does one "spew" rage anyway? If you spit it out, you no longer have it. What gives?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @I'm not a GOPer: That was pretty hilarious! I love it when Chard comes all over himself thinking he's outwitted Moby.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      "But as a christian, I doubt you ever care about what makes other people happy."

      Rude much

      December 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @TTTPS,

      ... and the more he does it, the more a target of ridicule he becomes.

      The smarmy sarcastic little twerp doesn't even realize it.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  11. Robert Brown

    I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV,
    I wouldn’t put it exactly like that. I prefer to explain what little I know and encourage people to prove God for themselves, because that is really the only way a nonbeliever can become a believer.

    December 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      oops

      December 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Tried, and god failed spectacularly.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • 24-XD

      I could prove the existense of a god if there was one handy, but I don't see one or feel one anywhere. What gives?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  12. GOD

    You tell em kelly!!!!!!!!

    Buuuuurrrrrnnnnn.

    And oh yeah, your following the wrong brand too kelly.

    Buuuurnrrrrnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!

    December 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Kelly

      To fry or not to fry. That is the question.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  13. ideology question

    As an atheist, do you feel you have the right to own small articles of personal property because it is natural for this to occur or because man in his or her courtesy gave you that right?

    What about the right to personal safety? Is your right to be safe and respected because man is giving you that right or because it is natural for you to have that right?

    December 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ideology,

      what does 'natural' mean to you.

      All societies define their own morals – 'rights' are a part of that fabric.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "As an atheist, do you feel you have the right to own small articles of personal property because it is natural for this to occur or because man in his or her courtesy gave you that right?" – man created that right, by establishing laws.

      "What about the right to personal safety? Is your right to be safe and respected because man is giving you that right or because it is natural for you to have that right?" man created that right, by establishing laws. Before laws, there wasy anrachy.

      Where do you think you're going with this?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Kelly

      ReligionIsBS, finish the rest of your sentence. God fearing men from years gone by established those rights. God fearing meaning those willing to learn God's wisdom.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      "God fearing men from years gone by established those rights. God fearing meaning those willing to learn God's wisdom."

      No, non religious societies established laws waaaaaaaaay before jews and christians. Do actually beleive otherwise? Laws existed in china way before jews could even read or write. LOL. Nice try though.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  14. GOD

    You know what my favorite part of manking you humans is? Sending 95% of you to hell for eternity so I can watch you suffer FOREVER AND EVER!!!!!!!!!! Because I love you! LOL!

    2/3rds of you arent even christians.

    90% of the christians are following the wrong brand.

    And 50% of the people that follow the correct brand are just jerks that I dont like.

    BURN BABY BURN!

    December 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Kelly

      That's what one gets for staying lawless and refusing to abide in his commandments. Take responsibility for your actions. You and you alone, own them.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • GOD

      Oh yeah, and about 1% of you go on the internet and get your behinds handed to you by atheists? You cant even defend me in the slightest, making me look horrible and expect to get into heaven. SORRY!

      Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      December 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • The Life of 3.14

      My gosh..isn't it time for the children to go to bed?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Kelly

      God, I'm a gentile and the only thing I need to do is believe in you and follow your commandments.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • GOD

      WRONG!

      You beleive in the wrong sect, and im not going to tell you the right one until you die. Its up to you guess which one.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Two Dollar Blues

      Hey GOD, what will be the winning PowerBall numbers in the next drawing?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  15. rocketscientist

    "1.) Santa is a myth also."

    Actually, Santa Claus is based on Saint Nicholas, from wikipedia.com:

    Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas and simply "Santa", is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins who, in many western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children during the late evening and overnight hours of Christmas Eve, December 24.[1] The modern figure was derived from the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas,[2] which, in turn, was part of its basis in hagiographical tales concerning the historical figure of Christian bishop and gift giver Saint Nicholas."

    So its kind of ironic too, that they essentially used Santa Claus/Saint Nicholas, a Christian Saint, for the first part of their billboard.

    "2.) Elderly Christians who may have this as their last holiday may see that bill board"

    I'll make sure my grandma doesn't see it, but I think the elderly will be ok. I think they're well aware of the bigotry in the world.

    "3.) Even those of us who do not have a religion ourselves, still have grandparents, friends and neighbors who do."
    Yup. That's why I think we should all be tolerant and civil to one another regarding our various beliefs, esepcially this holiday season in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. We should be trying to pull together, to be kinder and better to each other instead of pointing accusatory fingers at each other because of each others preference of worship or not. Our president and other leaders have said as much. It's a shame that some people on both side of the religious divide can't set aside their bigotry.

    "4.) It looks like a prank by a 17yr old and the fact that it is done by grown adults is actually creepy."

    That's pretty much what I thought too. I just can't imagine these kinds of confronational and mean-spirited tactics helping AA's recruitment. They certainly won't persuade the religious or even most secular people. It seems to me that the only people this sort of thing would appeal to are those like Mr. Silverman himself, i..e. other mean-spirited bigots. It just doesn't seem like a very rational way of going about getting new members.

    December 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      DId it ever occur to you that many atheists in AA were pursueded in this type of manner? I was. Your proposition is invalid.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Kelly

      rocketscientist, I bet that you were the first to run to the Christmas tree to see what that imaginary Santa brought you as you tore open those wrappings and ribbons. Now, if you listened to God to stay child like, you wouldn't be the miserable mess you are today.

      Baaaaaaaaa humbug Mr. Scrooge.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      @ Kelly...

      Actually, your comments here and elsewhere confirm your inability to mature....perhaps 1 Cor. 13:11 might help

      December 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Kelly

      There's a Verse for that, do all you nonbelievers turn into stalkers on this blog?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • 24-XD

      Somebody need a stalker? I have references! I'm very affordable!

      December 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Kelly

      Just what i need, a professional stalker that works cheap so he can buy a pair of eyeglasses.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      @ Kelly....such creative responses...do you think you'll make it out of 9th grade in May, or does mom have to work a third job to pay the tuition at the Christian school for another freshman year?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • rocketscientist

      ReligionIBS:

      "DId it ever occur to you that many atheists in AA were pursueded in this type of manner? I was. Your proposition is invalid."

      I said it would appeal to those atheists who believed in the same confrontational tactics as Mr. Silverman himself, so, yeah, it did occur to me.

      I just think their approach is a limiting one. Nobody likes bullying.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @rocketscientist

      Why do you feel that a very popular delusion is less of a delusion than an unpopular one? (Believing in a personal god that talks to you name jesus versus a pink and polka dotted unicorn with the exact same properties as that personal god/jesus?)

      December 22, 2012 at 1:07 am |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Religion only continues to exist via bullying.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • rocketscientist

      Kelly: "rocketscientist, I bet that you were the first to run to the Christmas tree to see what that imaginary Santa brought you as you tore open those wrappings and ribbons."

      Guilty as charged! I have no regrets. I'm unapologetically foisting Santa on my 20 month old twins this Christmas too.
      They'll meet him Christmas Eve!

      "Now, if you listened to God to stay child like, you wouldn't be the miserable mess you are today."

      If I listened to God to stay child like? What?!?!? I'm Catholic, so I try to "listen" for God through prayer. Honestly, I could be better at it.

      And as for being child-like, I'm doing the best I can to play with my twins.

      As far as being a "miserable mess," how could you possibly know if I was or not? The truth is, I'm doing all-right. 6-figures, a beautiful wife, a nice red T-bird, a decent job, I've got my health. Yeah, things could definitely be better. The economy has hurt me too, but I feel like I have a lot to be thankful for. A lot of folks are doing a lot worse, especially those poor folks in Newtown, CN.

      Hope you're not "miserable," Kelly. I didn't mean to offend. I do hope you have a great Holiday.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • rocketscientist

      Actually, I thought AA's poster from last year, showing the nativity with something like "You know it's a myth," was a more provocative ad. If that's what they're going for, that one was better. The nativity is obviously the Christian image of Christmas, rather than the crucifixion.

      And, like others have said, Santa's a poor image for their add. First, he's a myth himself, second he's based on a Christian saint.

      And what's with the atomic energy symbol on the AA logo? Is that supposed to call to mind science? I'd lose that too. That's a symbol that can stir some fears.

      Moby, I'm sorry I didn't reply to your query. I didn't plan on making a one word answer. I can't do it now, though, my wife and sister want me to watch "A Christmas Story" with them. I'll get to it, though, since you seem to still want an answer from me. I'll have to hunt down your question, though.

      Best regards!

      December 22, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @rs

      I'd rather you seriously consider the reasoning, actually. But an answer would be nice since you seem to imply that a popular delusion is somehow less of a delusion than a rare delusion and that makes no sense whatsoever when it comes to the actual mechanics of the thing.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  16. mutual respect

    Sometimes atheist assert that there is no proof God exists. The only problem is that an atheist cannot logically make that claim.
    In order to state there is no proof for God's existence, the atheist would have to know all alleged proofs that exist in order to then state that there is no proof for God's existence. But, since he cannot know all things, he cannot logically state there is no proof for God's existence.
    At best, an atheist can only state that of all the alleged proofs he has seen thus far, none have worked. He could even say he believes there are no proofs for God's existence. But then, this means there is the possibility that there is a proof or proofs out there, and that he simply has not yet encountered one.
    Nevertheless, if there was a proof that truly did prove God's existence, would the atheist be able to accept it, given that his presuppositions are in opposition to the existence of God? In other words, given that the atheist has a presuppositional base that there is no God, in order for him to accept a proof for God's existence, he would have to change his presuppositional base. This is not easy to do, and would involve a major paradigm shift in the belief structure of the atheist. Therefore, an atheist is presuppositionally hostile to any proofs for God's existence, and is less likely to be objective about such attempted proofs.

    December 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Have you heard the term agnostic? This applies to knowledge (ie proof).

      I don't believe in God but can't prove he doesn't exist. = agnostic atheism.

      There is no 'proof' that God exists.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I don't claim no god exists but I am sufficiently certian yours doesn't.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      One strong proof for the non-existence of the Christian god is the daily lives of those who claim him as Lord and Savior....the lack of "transformation" of those lives, the spiritual violence they incite on others who exercise "free will," the cowardice in failing to follow the clearest teaching of Jesus while obsessing over the "sins" of others...and the clear failure to act on the "The Great Comission" in these "last days"....

      Christians live as if their god does not exist...

      December 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Bereav

      If we could live that way we wouldn't need Jesus.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • mutual respect

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      To say you haven't seen sufficient evidence for God's existence is a more intellectually honest position, but like you said it is really a form of agnosticism which maintains that God is not known or knowable, while admitting the possibility of God's existence.
      If you have not seen sufficient evidence for God, then it means you have not yet seen all evidence, and there might be sufficient evidence. This would mean that God may indeed exist, so are you really an agnostic concerning God, which makes your atheist position inconsistent with your statement.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @mutual respect

      Discover the difference between a position on knowledge, and a position on belief, then you will see the difference between agnosticism and atheism. After that you'll realize that they are not mutually exclusive.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      @hawaii...

      Having watched the Chads, the Deacons, etc., etc. "explain" or argue their beliefs and points, I'm not sure they can differentiate between the two...I don't see the literary development and study that would indicate that they can comprehend the various forms and types of speech...

      December 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Agnosticism/Gnosticism refer to "knowledge"

      Theism/Atheism refer to "belief"

      These terms are not mutually exlusive. It is possible to not claim "knowledge" but not "believe". Hence one can be an "agnostic-atheist" or an "agnostic-theist".

      December 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @mutual respect,

      "If you have not seen sufficient evidence for God, then it means you have not yet seen all evidence, and there might be sufficient evidence."

      Really? Living for the first 23 years of my life in the Christian denomination in which I was raised and baptized they somehow forgot to show me all the evidence?

      What am I missing? Please tell me.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you talk around and around, but at the end of the day - you're not giving any proof of god.
      by your same logic, you cannot prove my left nut isn't god - so my left nut must be god.
      stop being lame and use some real logic and reasoning skills.

      and the difference is, if you actually had proof, atheists would believe. real proof, not the fluff you christians call proof, but hard evidence. why wouldn't we believe? that's why we believe everything else we believe - because there is proof. that highlights the difference with religion. no matter how much proof you offer, christians will never change their minds. and you say atheists are close minded? lol.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      There's a Verse for that,
      “One strong proof for the non-existence of the Christian god is the daily lives of those who claim him as Lord and Savior....the lack of "transformation" of those lives, the spiritual violence they incite on others who exercise "free will," the cowardice in failing to follow the clearest teaching of Jesus while obsessing over the "sins" of others...and the clear failure to act on the "The Great Comission" in these "last days"....Christians live as if their god does not exist...”

      Sad but true, the behavior of some Christians is the only witness some will ever see. While your charges are true, they are not true of every Christian. There is no such thing as a perfect Christian, but there are many who do their best to live a holy life in this world. They do so by yielding to the holy spirit instead of the flesh. If it helps you any, I have seen amazing transformations, I know Christians who are consistently kind even to their enemys, judge not, and spend their lives spreading the good news.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Robert Brown.

      your thesis:

      "Some Christians are nice people so we should all believe or burn."

      Did I get that right?

      December 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I know atheists that are consistently kind....even to their enemies. The point is that if there was real truth in Christian theology we should not have the news filled with christian leaders going to prison for all kinds of crime. And please don't use the "we are all sinners" BS. If your religion was worth its salt it should have a better track record than non-christianity.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      @Robert Brown....I would like to visit the church that those you describe attend...

      However, there is no need for a "perfect" christian...just one who actually believes and follows the things your messiah said...and, if they actually believed that their god is in the transformation business, then they wouldn't need to maintain their obsession with their own sin...one need only attend any church service (non-catholic) and see the enormous amount of time spent on the sins of the believers....and yet, Jesus was supposed to have died for their sins....

      get over your sinfulness, believe what your messiah did for you on the cross, and start making a kind and caring difference in your neighborhood, your community and your world....

      I appreciate your comments, Robert, but you are among the stark minority of your group...

      December 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Kelly

      Bootyfunk, if anyone does the circular arguments on this blog it's the atheists. None of you have yet to disprove God, but, babble as if you did. Yes, God is great and he's got you talking about him 24/7.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      Once again, Kelly has no understanding of her own belief system...If god is the cause of atheists talking about him, then there where might the free will be?

      Your god has some serious "control" issues...

      December 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Bereav

      > There's a Verse for that

      You talk about Him more than we do in church.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV,
      I wouldn’t put it exactly like that. I prefer to explain what little I know and encourage people to prove God for themselves, because that is really the only way a nonbeliever can become a believer.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Robert Brown,

      disbelieving in God is not equivalent to believing that people who truly live their lives according to the teachings of Jesus are fools.

      Religion, like all human inventions, can be used for good purposes or bad purposes. Because it can be, and frequently is good for people doesn't mean everyone needs to accept the dogma as being 'the' truth.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      There's a Verse for that,
      I would be glad for you to come and visit, although I probably can’t go into details on here. There are Christians like those I described in churches all over the world. The one’s who destroy their witness are just more visible.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • fred

      Goper
      “Living for the first 23 years of my life in the Christian denomination in which I was raised and baptized they somehow forgot to show me all the evidence?”
      Acquiring knowledge about God does not translate into knowing God. You perhaps knew about God but you did not know God. If you read all the books on bicycling and sat around in a bike shop for 23 years but never got on a bike you would not know what it was to ride a bike. You would fall on your face a few times or require training wheels.
      Ask yourself why God did not reveal himself to you or why you continue to refuse His call.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      "Ask yourself why God did not reveal himself to you or why you continue to refuse His call."

      Ummm ... because he's imaginary?

      you're a delight fred. Merry Christmas to you.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      fred,
      sorry, but you do not possess any special powers that we do not. you are not able to communicate with a supreme being and you do not "know" him better than anyone else.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • fred

      Blessed are the Cheesemakers
      An atheist cannot claim to know God and not believe because if you truly know God you will fall to your knees in worship and adoration.
      An atheist can have knowledge about God and not believe.
      An atheist can have no knowledge (i.e. ignorant, lacking capacity or oblivious) and not believe.
      I don’t know in this day and age is a cop out. The resources are abundant to acquire the necessary knowledge. There is no such thing as an agnostic atheist on this web site that I have observed.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      And now your logic falls on it's face again. Supposedly Lucifer was very close to god, and indeed there was no way for him to not know god, his personality, or his power, yet still was able to rebel. So your assertion is completely false even within your own theology.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      One of three things are about to happen.

      1) So much spin I wouldn't be surprised if we all missed a whole day.
      2) fred will ignore it completely
      3) Prepare for irrelevant tangents galore from fred.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God!"

      John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!"

      Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

      1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!”

      Narrow is the doorway yet great is the doorway’s undertaking for God; in godliness ways takes in all strays.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      "There is no such thing as an agnostic atheist on this web site that I have observed."

      Time to go to QuikSpex and get your eyes checked. Perhaps you need new reading glasses.

      Your powers of observation are poor.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • fred

      Goper
      Merry Christmas!
      We both have sufficient knowledge of Christmas yet I rejoice in the Gift from God during this season and you rejoice because you have a good soul. I could give you that gift but you already received it….go ahead open the gift.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And #2 it is!

      December 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Lucifer is not an atheist or agnostic and believes in God perhaps more than I do. Perhaps you do not know Satan?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      LOL Do you not want to be seen as not being able to address your own logic? Sorry, but your completely non-sensical post doesn't do anything. Address the points, or just admit that your own theologys logic falls apart here.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • fred

      ReligionisBS
      Really? Do you praise God and give God thanks? Have you told God you want to spend more time with God and in service with God? Do you obey God and review your hopes and plans with God?
      If so we probably know God and I agree with you.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      If you are speaking to the assertions I made to Cheese then I did address them. Lucifer was and is not an atheist or an agnostic as Lucifer knows God and believes. We you suggesting otherwise as to Lucifers belief?
      Also, if you knew Satan you would know his deception is greater than your logic and reason capabilities.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      @ Fred...

      Lucifer "believes" in god? How can one who has been in the presence of god prior to the fall, lead the fall, and then actively engage god in various places in scripture "believe" in something he encounters?

      Do "believers" even understand the meaning of words they write or speak?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      fred,
      I used to, but then i realized I was talking to myself. Let me guess, i was doing it wrong.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      "because if you truly know God you will fall to your knees in worship and adoration."
      This is what you said. The story of Lucifer completely destroys that logic.
      You're being disingenuous, but I shouldn't be surprised by that.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • fred

      ReligionisBS
      Yes, many of what appeared to be unanswered prayer or empty conversation. I have difficulty with heartfelt communication with God and at those times I think I am talking to myself. Sometimes weeks go by until Gods presence again becomes self evident. I know what causes the break in communication but it happens. The interesting thing is that I notice the emptiness in contrast to when I am simply not talking to myself.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Kelly

      mutual, atheists just like using the word NO.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • fred

      There's a verse for that
      Two schools of thought one is that Satan is a being of some short or that Satan is the personification of Evil. I go with Satan is a being created by God originally as an angelic being. Satan knew God very well and to this day knows God very well. Being evil Satan is the opposite of God and seeks to bring as much into his kingdom as possible.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      @ Robert....sorry I missed your post....

      I would love to take you up on your offer...however, finding a Christian as you describe would be an exhaustive search without some focus...I visit a new church each month and stay to observe and find none as you describe....and I was a christian for 3 decades and can say that my experience was as i've described above...and I include my own behavior in that description...

      Perhaps someday we'll meet...I wish you well.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      "Being evil Satan is the opposite of God and seeks to bring as much into his kingdom as possible."

      So that's the same as God then – seeking to bring as much into his kingdom as possible?

      If the angels led by Michael defeated Satan, why is he still around?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Please accept my apologies as I never looked at you or the atheists on this site as angelic beings. Men and angels were not created the same, even Jesus was not an angelic being.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      @fred....

      You've provided smarter responses to others...I'm disappointed...I spoke of nothing you describe...I simply commented on your statement that Lucifer believes in god.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      LOL That's your big answer? Lucifer was an angel, so therefore he was able to know god and still reject him, but we as humans would have no choice but to worship? And exactly where in the bible does it say this?
      By the way, apparently god didn't mind "proving himself" to people back in the old testament.

      It's amazing how unwilling you are to just admit that your logic fails when it comes to this subject.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • fred

      GOPer
      “So that's the same as God then – seeking to bring as much into his kingdom as possible?”
      =>kinda, as Jesus said for I wish that none should perish but all find the glory of God. If I could gather you as hen under her wings I would.

      “If the angels led by Michael defeated Satan, why is he still around?”
      =>when Jesus said it is finished (on the cross) Satan was defeated in that sin could no longer bring death as all sin was atoned for. This is different than revelations where Satan and evil are separated from believers for eternity.
      =>From the beginning to the end of the Bible there is duality from light and darkness, two trees in the garden, two criminals on the cross with Jesus, Cain and Abel etc., In the OT we have the chosen ones that couldn’t get it right and were given the law. In the NT we have any that would believe and can’t get right given the Holy Spirit to sanctify them (mature them in the faith). As long as a soul can be brought to Christ time will continue (that all might be saved).
      Evil and Satan are part of the world man chose when rejecting the perfect union back in the beginning. It was the tree of knowledge of good and evil and that was the choice man made for himself not Gods choice. That is what we are being saved from and continues until we are separated from it.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • fred

      There's a verse for that
      Hawaiiguest
      Perhaps I am missing the point so I will put down the egg nog. Let me phrase it this way. Adam and Eve knew God and rejected God. Adam and Eve still believed in God and worshiped God. Adam and Eve knew God.
      Assumption: Adam and Eve were real people or symbolic of man.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      So because in the story they didn't stop worshipping, they were therefore forced to worship because of their knowledge, but Lucifer isn't forced to because he was an angel?
      Are you dizzy yet?

      December 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • There's a verse for that

      @fred...

      Thanks for trying...I really appreciate it...I was just trying to question your comment about belief...in my thinking, you can't believe in something you see, something you are physically present with...I don't believe in my parents, they are physically present and I have interacted with them in a manner not requiring a belief in them.

      I wish you well

      December 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      "Lucifer was an angel, so therefore he was able to know god and still reject him, but we as humans would have no choice but to worship? And exactly where in the bible does it say this?"

      =>
      Isaiah 14:12
      How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth,
      Philippians 2:10
      that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

      December 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Really? That's what you have? For one, it says should bow, not forced to bow and all will love and worship god.
      Also, even if it said what you want it to say, and Hell was always portrayed in the bible to be below the earth, then that would mean that everyone in hell would be forced to, including all the fallen angels, which would go against your Lucifer logic as well.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Another week, another failure of logic by fred. I'm out for the weekend.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm sure if there were actual proof of a god, some true believer would have hauled it out long ago. Since none has done so, and in fact what they try to use as evidence is fairly easy to debunk, there is no reason to believe that there is evidence to support the existence of any god.

      Should evidence surface, I would believe, just as I would believe in Bigfoot, unicorns and the Loch Ness monster, should evidence of their existence be discovered. But without proof, it is foolish to believe in mythological beings.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  17. lionlylamb

    Atheists need words from others whose atheisms dares berate and belittle all monotheisms for without other nationally ordained atheists wordage the peasantries of commoner atheists words are but parroted anthologies made into their own imaged agendas. Sadly though many religious folks do also parrot their idolatries of common theists. Narrow is the doorway yet great is the doorways undertaking for God in godliness ways takes in all strays.

    December 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Looks like someone just threw up their word salad again....

      CLEAN UP...PAGE 26

      December 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • ReligionIBS

      LL,
      every time you post something like that, EVERYBODY here immidiatly thinks of the sceen in Happy Gilmore when the quiz game guy tells him that not only was that wrong, but everybody in the room is now stupider for hearing that,

      December 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      When I receive responses to my posts they are mostly negatives. The least responses to my posts, the better I feel for my posts' meanings are well received and need not be responded to.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Way to set the bar high for yourself LL!!!

      "The less people prove my statements wrong, the more right I am."

      LOL

      December 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • tallulah13

      LL: Your maunderings to make little sense, therefore I don't read them.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  18. Common Sense

    Leave it to the atheist evangelist scrooges to try to mess with one of the coolest holidays on the calendar...

    December 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      How does someone's opinion mess up your holiday? Are your foundations of fun so shakeable?

      December 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Kelly

      GodFreeNow is another like Charlie Brown. He should get a rock and I'm not talking diamonds here.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      @kelly...

      "Charlie Brown"...really...does your mother know you're playing on her computer?

      December 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @ There's a Verse for that, I don't even understand the analogy enough to know if I'm supposed to be offended or take it as a compliment.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      @Godfree...

      I appreciate "child-like" behavior...but childish behavior is disturbing....and they should know better...their St. Paul declared that he put away "childish" things...

      But then, I've not encountered any believers who actually know their scripture, despite their claim that Jesus is the "word" and they are in a "personal relationship" with Jesus, not part of a religion....

      who needs reality TV when you have the Christian...

      December 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  19. Bill Deacon

    Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
    How we need to hear from God
    You've been promised, we've been waiting
    Welcome Holy Child
    Welcome Holy Child

    Hope that you don't mind our manger
    How I wish we would have known
    But long awaited Holy Stranger
    Make yourself at home
    Please make yourself at home

    Bring your peace into our violence
    Bid our hungry souls be filled
    World now breaking Heaven's silence
    Welcome to our world
    Welcome to our world

    Fragile finger sent to heal us
    Tender brow prepared for thorn
    Tiny heart whose blood will save us
    Unto us is born
    Unto us is born

    So wrap our injured flesh around You
    Breathe our air and walk our sod
    Rob our sin and make us holy
    Perfect Son of God
    Perfect Son of God
    Welcome to our world

    Merry Christmas Everyone!

    Christ is born!

    December 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      All that is gold does not glitter,
      Not all those who wander are lost;
      The old that is strong does not wither,
      Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

      From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
      A light from the shadows shall spring;
      Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
      The crownless again shall be king.

      Merry Christmas to you too Bill.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      ... the King has returned.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Reality

      A 21st century summary with ryhme:

      Christmas, the embellished story of the birth of a simple, preacher man named Jesus.

      As per most contemporary NT exegetes, his parents were Mary and Joseph although some say Jesus was a mamzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier.

      http:// http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing/talking from on high, no slaughter of the innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.

      "Mark's gospel, the most historical of the four gospels, does not even mention the event.

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 269-272, "The historical yield of the Lukan infancy narrative in respect to the birth of Jesus is virtually nil.

      Matt 1:18-25: , pp. 123-124, "The fathering of Jesus from the Holy Spirit and his birth from the virgin Mary are unhistorical". Ludemann gives a very detailed analysis to support his conclusions. One part being the lack of attestations to these events and the late time strata of said story.

      "Lüdemann [pp. 261-63) discounts Luke's account as a legend deriving from Jewish Hellenistic circles that were concerned to hold together the procreation of the Spirit, the authentic sonship of the Messiah and the virginal conception. "

      Then there are these additional conclusions:

      Professor Bruce Chilton

      "In [Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography] (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural pa-ternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-ident-ity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest.

      Professor John Dominic Crossan

      "In [Historical Jesus] (p. 371) Crossan treats this cluster, like 007 Of Davids Lineage, as an example of the interplay of prophecy and history in the development of the Jesus traditions.

      "In [Birth of Christianity] (pp. 26-29) Crossan uses Luke's account of Jesus' conception and birth to explore ethical issues concerning the public interpretation of the past. He notes the tendency of Christian scholars to disregard "pagan" birth legends while investing great effort in the defence of biblical birth narratives. He concludes:

      I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history, but I believe that God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant poverty of Jesus and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus. "

      "The following ancient parallels to Jesus' miraculous conception should be noted:

      Birth of Moses (Exod 2:1-10)
      Birth of Plato (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 3.45) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 507]
      Birth of Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, 2.1-3.5) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 502f]
      Birth of Apollonius (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, I.4) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 505]"

      And some final words from Thomas Jefferson, not a contemporary NT scholar, but indeed a very learned man:

      "And the day will come,
      when the mystical generation of Jesus,
      by the Supreme Being as His Father,
      in the womb of a virgin,
      will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva”

      Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

      Conclusion: Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Reality

      Oops make that "without rhyme".

      December 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • lol??

      Realitynessless, You are still quoting Lüdemann?....Does this ring a bell?..........." the legitimacy of radical historical criticism in the framework of academic theology"?.......... Beware of seekers of fame, controversy for the fun of it, and their 15 minutes of adoration. Athena and the educratists never rest. They don't have a Sabbath.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You would think the perfect sone of god could have written something down in his own hand writing and words. Wouldn't want him to put too much effort in the most important message to man now would we?

      December 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • lol??

      Actually He assigned that job to the prophets. They weren't too well liked either.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • lol??

      Dr bruce chilton from someone who knows him:.."Terrible class. He gives no syllabus and when i asked him for one by email, he ignored me. He loves the sound of his voice and will talk for hours without stopping. When his views are threatened, he gets super defensive. He is arrogant, does not teach and bases your grade on only one or two assignments. AVOID."......He sounds like he is a pal or brother of rickety warren.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Kelly

      This guy and the other nonbelievers he's impressed with are modern day Pharisees.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      Kelly provides another example of a believer's inability to comprehend their own scriptures...

      A modern analogy of the Pharisee would be the leaders of the body of Christ...and since your scripture declares that you are a "priest," that would include you as well...

      Now, back to your afternoon cartoons, Kelly and leave the "thinking" to Chad...

      December 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Kelly

      There's a verse, try reading this scripture about the Scribes and Pharisees that rose through the ranks and pushed the true Sribes and Pharisees to the side.

      Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

      Revelation 3:9

      December 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  20. Moby Schtick

    Chad asks: Why do you disbelieve X?
    Response: Because I do not find there are sufficient reasons to believe in X.
    Chad: Haha! You idiot, you need reasons to disbelieve!!
    Responder: Um... Yes, the reason is that I do not think that there are sufficient reasons to believe in X.
    Chad: LOL!! You have presuppositions and stuff and disbelieve because you haven't examined the evidence. That's foolish and funny.
    Responder: Um.. No, I simply don't find the reasons for belief to be convincing.

    And on and on and on with Chad offering nothing more than bullsh!t lies and silliness.

    December 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Hey Moby From earlier: I could accept what you say about Greeks drinking water except for three points

      1. The Greeks surely discovered that drinking more water did not tampen those inner fires and were forced on to other solutions. For some that solution, no doubt proved to be Christianity.
      2. Other people throughout history have found themselves convicted by their own sin and found redemption in Christ. Rather than indoctrination, what I have found is the testimony of those others who have gone before to be something I identify with and orient to of my own accord. Often this has been costly to myself as well as others, to the point of death by some.
      3. The acceptance of Christ's yoke has been, as he promised, not burdensome to me. Indeed, I have found blessings in my discipleship that surpass anything the world has offered (and I've sampled my share of those)

      So I am forced to conclude your comparison is faulty. It's sort of like saying "we found out that 2+2 doesn't equal 5 so therefore calculus must be faulty.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Safety of the North

      Chad said "You idiot?"....

      Well, Chad...you've just confirmed your lack of integrity and maturity...

      December 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Bill, don't be an idiot. You understood my point. You are using philosophical model X and its attending propositions to talk about philosophical model X and its attending propositions. So, it only means something to a person who also already agrees with philosophical poroposition X and those attending propositions. Don't be a dovchebag.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Actually I don't think Chad said "you idiot" but rather it was the overall message in his demeanor.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • lol??

      An atheist talking about bad demeanor on the CNN belief blog? hahahahaha That's rich.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yeah, overall message is important

      December 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bill Deacon

      Overall message doesn't seem to be that important to you.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      @lol?? and Deacon...

      Atheists with "bad demeanor" is not news...even Pat Robertson says they are miserable...but a "Christian" calling someone a name indicates the emptiness of their message and their faith...

      December 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Kelly

      How about quoting what Jesus says "they are lawless".

      December 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • There's a Verse for that

      Let's see, Kelly....how many "lawless" Christians fail to follow their own scriptures...and then, drive along side those that have the ichthus and other clever symbols and verbage of their belief placed upon their bumpers and back windows and watch as they can't even obey traffic laws...

      You, and other believers, Kelly, are as Jesus declared of the Pharisees and their ilk..."White washed tombs"

      December 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Kelly: Oh wow, another theist proving their ignorance once again. If anything it is the christian's who are lawless considering they make up 75% of the USA prison population and Atheist's only make up 1%.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Kelly

      Seems to me that 75% of the USA prison population hasn't come out of the closet and proclaim they are nonbelievers too. Either that or they're innocent. Isn't that the logic you atheists push?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • lol??

      TruthP, ........"Psychopaths make up 1% of the general population, but 25% of the prison population, according to Dr. Hare."....." http://www.lovefraud.com/01_whatsaSociopath/sociopaths_and_violence.html © 1993 by Robert D. Hare, PhD. Reprinted by permission of The Guilford Press. That's a lot of atheists blending into the crowd. BTW Islam is the growing americult religion in prisons.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Kelly

      There's a Verse for that, Jesus didn't say anything to me. I'm a gentile and he taught the Jews. It wasn't until he was crucified that his grace was offered to others.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • 24-XD

      Be gentile with me, Kelly. This is my first time doing it over the internet.......!

      December 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
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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.