Why atheists should quit the 'War on Christmas’
The group American Atheists has placed this billboard in New York City's Times Square.
December 21st, 2013
10:22 AM ET

Why atheists should quit the 'War on Christmas’

Opinion by Chris Stedman, special to CNN

(CNN) - The “War on Christmas:”  what — or who—is it good for?

In recent years, one organization, American Atheists, has claimed the mantle of prime atheist promoter of the tired “War on Christmas” narrative.

This year, they ushered in the season with an electronic billboard in New York City’s Times Square carrying the message: “Who needs Christ during Christmas? Nobody.” The word "Christ" is crossed out, just in case their message wasn't clear enough.

The American Atheists maintain that their latest entry in the annual “War on Christmas” saga is a message to other atheists that they are not alone.

In a recent Fox News appearance, American Atheists President Dave Silverman said, “The point that we’re trying to make is that there’s a whole bunch of people out there for whom religion is the worst part of Christmas, but they go to church anyways, and we’re here to tell them they don’t have to.”

While that intention is important and admirable, very few people—atheist or theist—seem to interpret the message as welcoming to anyone. Many of the responses I’ve seen have been vitriolic and disturbingly anti-atheist.

Which raises the question: If the goal truly is to reach isolated atheists, why does the advertisement read as a dig at Christians? A better billboard for American Atheists’s stated aim might read: “Don’t celebrate Christmas? You’re not alone.”

As atheists become more visible in our society, the entire “War on Christmas” back-and-forth feels ugly and unnecessary. Worse still, it seems to do little more than offer ammunition to those claiming atheists are just mean-spirited grinches. Bill O’Reilly—one of the major “War on Christmas” soldiers—made that clear when he and I discussed the “War on Christmas” a couple of weeks ago.

Let’s not kid ourselves: There is no war on Christmas.

We live in a culture that privileges stories of conflict, so it’s understandable that this narrative would gain traction—with or without billboards. Much of this narrative is a manifestation of religious fears about our increasingly secular society, and it reflects widespread anxieties about atheists and religious differences. But it doesn’t reflect reality.

Rather, as religious diversity in the U.S. has become more recognizable, Americans have largely broadened their approach to this time of year. According to new data from the Public Religion Research Institute, the percentage of Americans who prefer the inclusive “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” has now exceeded the percentage that prefers “Merry Christmas.”

It’s not that Christmas is under attack; instead, our society is becoming better at embracing its religious diversity and challenging the notion that a single majority religion should dominate public expressions of belief.

So why does the “War on Christmas” narrative persist?

Based on how much play they give it each December, the “War on Christmas” narrative seems to be good for Fox News ratings. And American Atheists has openly admitted that it is good for their pocketbooks, as their talk show appearances bring in a swell of donations.

Consider this from a recent profile of Silverman:

“Silverman’s notorious anti-Christmas billboards and subsequent TV appearances have breathed new life into American Atheists and are often followed by an uptick in subscribers and donations. ... According to Silverman, the primary objective of the billboards is to get invitations to talk shows.”

In other words: American Atheists and Fox News - alongside conservatives like Sarah Palin - seem to have discovered a mutually beneficial relationship.

But does this relationship benefit atheists more broadly? Does it accurately represent the sentiments of nontheists in this country? Does it improve atheist-theist relations?

Does it lessen the widespread stigma and distrust that exists between atheists and theists, which enables atheist marginalization across the U.S.? Does it invite Christians to think critically about religious privilege?

Many atheists, myself included, suspect that there are more effective approaches to tackling these important issues.

To start, atheists can build positive relationships with believers to humanize our communities and educate one another about our differences. That’s something that billboards, for all of their flash and fundraising capabilities, likely won’t accomplish.

Atheists face real marginalization in the U.S., and it should be robustly challenged.

But we also have good tidings and great joy to offer—important contributions to the public square that are currently being drowned out by attention-grabbing billboards claiming “nobody” needs Christ in Christmas.

In the spirit of generosity, compassion, and kindness so often associated with this time of year, let’s ditch the billboards and build relationships of goodwill.

Chris Stedman is the Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, Coordinator of Humanist Life for the Yale Humanist Community, and author of "Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious." You can follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDStedman.

The views expressed in this column belong to Stedman.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Christmas • Church and state • Culture wars • Discrimination • God • Health • Holidays • Opinion

soundoff (5,210 Responses)
  1. mzh

    One thing makes me feel very uncomfortable when I see parent fools their children by lying to them that an old dude with the name of Santa will come and get you gifts or anything you wish for… and they put things under the tree and make these poor children know that these are from Santa… and its being done generation after generation… parents now were victimized when they were child by their parents and they are repeating the same with their children and it is now in a loop and no one seems to be wanting to get out of the loop which is plain lie and very clear… but these poor children has nothing to do as they under the custody of these parents…

    I think its time to get out of this loop (teaching of lie)… and accept the truth…

    Peace be up on all of you and happy holidays!!!

    December 24, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • igaftr

      You want to get out of the loop (teaching children lies)...stop teaching them your unfounded religion.

      December 24, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Candiano

      You and your children must lead joyless existences.

      Want to talk about victimization? Look at your bloody religion, which is devoid of the simple tenets of human dignity and equal rights for its women.

      Stuff it.

      December 24, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  2. mzh

    To Dev:
    I believe (and source of my belief is The Quran) strongly that the science is a huge blessing for the mankind from Our Lord Almighty. And we being in this time is also a huge blessing for us that we are witnessing these discovers and enjoying it. Our fathers or grand fathers or generation before them were not blessed to witness these discovers.

    As The Quran teaches that everything is there and we human can only discover things but we can’t create things and everything is being discovered has its own time and the mankind to be ready to adopt it these discover.

    For example a century ago, the only transportation was the horse riding or camel or donkey and so on… you can not imagine at that time people would be thinking about travelling the globe in a day or two… and we do not know what is coming as every scientists theory is being abrogated by a new scientist and the old one becomes obsolete… these also proves that human theory can not be perfect and will never be perfect… there will always be modifications…

    And the most dangerous part of these discovers is in my opinion – that human being tend to think that they are invincible and most of them go away to do transgress to think that there is A Creator of these entire universe and anything on it, even they forget that one day they will get old and die…

    But faith will never be modified; it will remain as it was prior to the creation of first human, during all these generation, it is now and it will be till the end… whether a human accepts it or deny it… these accepting and denying comes under ‘free will’ that is given only to the human kind among the entire creation…

    Thanks… I liked reading your posting…

    Assalamo 'alayka warahmatullahi wabarkatuh…

    December 24, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the pagan Saturnalia festival hoping to recruit the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

    The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.The New Testament gives no date or year for Jesus’ birth. The earliest gospel – St. Mark’s, written about 65 CE – begins with the baptism of an adult Jesus. This suggests that the earliest Christians lacked interest in or knowledge of Jesus’ birthdate.

    Christianity: centuries of shameless fraud on a grand scale.

    December 24, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Jake

      Wait a minute. Just to be clear, you're suggesting that in order to believe something, we first need evidence to back it up, right? Ok, I'm willing to play by those rules.

      December 24, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      there's more evidence for this event than there is for your jesus ever existing

      December 24, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  4. Douglas

    The war on Christmas is just one additional aspect of the war on the family and the war on marriage.

    The satanic forces behind these attacks on the Christian faith have revealed themselves and will be eliminated
    when the King of Kings returns.

    There is still time to repent!

    December 24, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • Jason

      What complete rubbish. There is no war on Christmas And for those screaming about first amendment rights etc. they also apply to people who disagree with you. Oh and by the way, Christmas is a PAGAN festival, not a Christian one. I think the following story pf Jesus sums it up beautifully:
      As an Athiest, I can say he’s a semi-fictional Jewish magician from the year 0… born in March or April, although we celebrate his birth in December, and killed in or around December, although we celebrate his death in March or April.
      As the story goes, he’s his own father, so we know he’s from Arkansas. His mom was a virgin, but that’s only if you don’t count anal, which I don’t.
      He surrounded himself with a bunch of less-talented hacks who made a career out of being his disciples…. So kinda like Mick Jagger.
      Then everybody got together and wrote a whole bunch of stories about him… and centuries later, a Muslim convert got together with some of his homies and put them all into one book… kinda like Readers’ Digest. Then it was loosely translated a few times, and that’s why we are now supposed to hate gay people

      December 24, 2013 at 9:15 am |
      • vpkwriter

        I have only met a handful of atheists ntelligent enough to actually have a mature, rational discussion about why they believe the way they do WITHOUT insulting another's belief system in the process. Saying things like this, "As the story goes, he’s his own father, so we know he’s from Arkansas. His mom was a virgin, but that’s only if you don’t count anal, which I don’t. He surrounded himself with a bunch of less-talented hacks who made a career out of being his disciples…. So kinda like Mick Jagger.Then everybody got together and wrote a whole bunch of stories about him… and centuries later, a Muslim convert got together with some of his homies and put them all into one book… kinda like Readers’ Digest. Then it was loosely translated a few times, and that’s why we are now supposed to hate gay people" only goes to show that you are incapable of thinking in a rational way. When one has to resort to insults, it is clear that the conversation will go nowhere. Why? Because that person (Jason) simply doesn't have a rational argument to stand on-which you should since your an atheist! Right? Atheists are always the rational ones according to their own current worldview.

        December 24, 2013 at 10:02 am |
        • K-switch

          And you are not addressing the person's argument, only there demeanor. And also poorly representing a population with no use of actual statistics. The only reason to address that you personally have met few polite atheists is to imply that it is representative of the group as a whole.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          On this board, when the inconsistencies are pointed out they are denied. Our relatively recent knowledge shows that the creation myths are all incorrect. The basis for all religions is the respective creation myth – it is the god's credentials if you like. As they're all wrong then no religion has a valid foundation. The fact that we lived in ignorance for millenia and allowed religion to get a position of power in society should not mean that we persist with that which was born of ignorance.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Jason may not have chosen his words to your liking but I think he got the essential facts correct.

          December 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Science Works


      1870 was the year Xmas was made a federal holiday – do you know why ?

      by the way have you fallen off your rocking chair and need help getting UP ?

      Merry Christmas !

      December 24, 2013 at 9:18 am |
      • Jason

        Nope, do you? I don't care about federal holidays. Why don't you pull your head out of your rear and realize that history was being made a long long time before the US even came into existence. Why not go away and do some research? Off you go now!

        December 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
        • Sciernce Works

          It was to bring the North and South together after a war go figure .

          December 24, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • Jason

        Wow. Federal holiday. Your point being? You do know that the Christmas tree was part of a pre Christian pagan winter solstice ritual, funnily enough at the same time as the Christians later co-opted as their date for Christmas. Here, tis might help:
        The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins.[25] Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Christmas music and caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore.

        Happy HOLIDAYS.

        December 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
        • Noyb

          Pagan does not mean atheist. Just to tell you, even your supposedly secular traditions came from nature worshipping Druids or roman gods.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • igaftr

          No pagan does not mean atheist, but all atheists ARE pagan by definition.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:34 am |
        • Noyb

          I am not sure how you've come to that conclusion. Pagans beleive in gods. Atheists beleive in no god.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • igaftr

          Using the defintion of Pagan.

          A Pagan, dy definition is anyone who is not jewish, christian or muslim.

          EVERYTHING else is pagan.

          December 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
        • Noyb

          Pagan means believing in any nonchrisitan god. Atheists are not pagans. .

          December 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
        • igaftr

          No...that is a pagan religion....a pagan can also be one who has no religion.

          December 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Noyb

          Some people use it perhaps in this context, but wheni say say Christmas is a religious holiday in which pagans amd Christians celebrated it, it means that people of varying faiths celebrated it. It was not, and has never been, a completely secular holiday.

          December 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
      • Piccolo

        With slavery becoming illegal, they needed something to replace the revenue to avoid an economic collapse. This is when the commercialized Christmas began.

        December 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      "The time is here to repent" – Doogie

      "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" – Chicken Little

      See the similarities?

      December 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  5. Jaque

    American Atheists do not represent me in any way. I do not believe as the Christians do. I keep my beliefs to myself, much as it says in Matthew 6:1-34.
    Have a good Christmas.

    December 24, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Noyb

      Thank you. Have a happy holiday.

      December 24, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • lol??

      Keeping your alms to yourself won't fly with the IRS.

      December 24, 2013 at 8:16 am |
  6. Noyb

    When it comes down to it , atheists want to celebrate a holiday that comes from spiritual beginnings, whether Christian or pagan. Get over it. If you can't think of anything more to get your panties in a wad about, when you CHOOSE to celebrate a holiday that has teligious beginnings,you are in some serious need of a reality check. Quit crying, Call your holiday what you want, and let others do the same.

    December 24, 2013 at 7:28 am |
    • lol??

      They need to call their leadership at Harvard. ET, call home. Get yer doctrines straight.

      December 24, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • Jake

      When it comes down to it , Christians want to celebrate a holiday that has very little to do with Christianity and was created for political reasons initially and grown for commercial reasons more recently. Get over it. If you can't think of anything more to get your panties in a wad about, when you CHOOSE to celebrate a holiday that has has is unrelated to what your religion claims to be the truth, you are in some serious need of a reality check. Quit crying, Call your holiday what you want, and let others do the same.

      December 24, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Noyb

        I do allow atheists call the holiday what they want. I dont give a crap what you want to beleive, and feel no need to Make public signs attacking atheists or their beliefs. Too bad that atheists need to attack Christianity at Christmastime, a time of goodwil, to feel better amd more self secure about themselves. It's sad, bitter, and whiny.

        December 24, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Noyb

          You really need to get over your poor me persecution complex. Honestly. By far, most Christians, which FAR outnumber just fundamentalists, do not give a seconds thought or a rats behind over whether or not you choose not to beleive. Truly, man. Get over yourself. You are not that big a threat to concern to modern American believers for them to care what you personally beleive. Honestly.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:28 am |
        • Jake

          LOL. Two posts in a row telling me that you don't care what I think and I should get over myself. You sure post a lot for someone who doesn't care.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:45 am |
        • Noyb

          I post a lot to crybabies that want to have some desperate martyr complex about celebrating a religious holiday they choose to voluntarily participate in. When nobody actually cares. , and yet they still want to sob about poor atheists so badly mistreated for their hypocritical practices. Do you feel validated yet?

          December 24, 2013 at 11:50 am |
        • Jake

          If you are actually interested in understanding (and I have my doubts), I can explain to you why this is not at all about being sad, bitter and whiny. It is about being happy, loving life and wanting to free others from the opression of religion. I am so happy that I am not someone who was brain-washed as a child and / or pressured by my community to pretend to believe in a religion. I am extremely lucky to be raised the way I was, but there are many who were not so lucky. I want to help people realize that they do not have to live the lie of religion and they are free to let it go. Unfortunately for many, there will be consequences, such as disapproval by family members, friends, etc. But I promise, being true to yourself and freeing yourself from religion is well worth it!

          It is a positive, loving message my friend! Get on board and start living your life free of religion!

          December 24, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • Noyb

          You have yet to show one iota of positivity about it. All I hear is atheists crying about calling Christmas by its religious name, which nobody is making you celebrate or participate in. While most Christians do not care what you call it or how you view it. Boo boo.. There are a myriad of arguements about your supposedly higher ideals where you cannot explain why I should think you believe in any unprovable higher ideals and morals, if you cannot also have a faith in other unproven concepts, but whatever. Suffice to say this billboard did not positively display its message and looked to offend believers on purpose, whereas I have never seen any billboard call out atheists in this way.

          December 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • Jake

          You seem to have completely missed the point. I don’t think anyone cares one bit about calling the holiday Christmas. The billboard doesn’t suggest that it should be called something else either. I agree, the billboard is probably a bit more antagonistic than it needs to be, but it’s nothing compared to the religious billboards you see all the time on subjects like abortion, etc.

          In terms of higher ideals, the fundamental problem with religious views that leads to moral issues is that you think it’s ok to believe things based on “faith”. That in itself doesn’t mean you’re automatically an immoral person, but it opens the door to justifying pretty much anything you want to do. You can fly planes into buildings and convince yourself it’s ok because you have faith that your version of religion allows you to do it. Suspending reasonable / rational thought (which is what faith is) is dangerous. Atheists don’t do this, so we are better equipped to recognize what is moral behavior and what isn’t. There you have it. Pretty simple really.

          December 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • Dandintac

          But Noyb, Christians DO put up signs and billboards–all the time, all over the country, attacking atheism. "Repent Sinner!" Often these signs threaten us and condemn us to burn in Hell for eternity. Is this a war on Atheists?

          Why the double standard? Christians put up billboards and everyone just ho-hums. We just take it for granted. Atheists put up a billboard and everyone freaks out–even many atheists.

          If you don't like it–look away–just as I do when I see a sign telling me that I am a sinner, and need to repent, and that only Jesus can save me. Look away.

          Are you prepared to quit the war on atheism? How about your church? Are they prepared to quit the war on non-belief?

          December 25, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      It's a Federal holiday else I wouldn't bother with it. Freedom of religion except you must take a christian holiday!

      December 24, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Noyb

      Your morals are based on Judeo Christian beliefs. Otherwise I'm not sure what morals exactly that people that only believe in tangible and proven concepts base their beliefs on.

      December 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • Jake

        Our morals are based on tangible and proven concepts, not a book of fiction. We all have an instinctual belief of what is right and wrong, which has been developed through evolution. Believe it or not, you would know that you shouldn't go around killing other people even if you didn't read it in the bible.

        December 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  7. lol??

    A HAHA Carol

    "Away in the Closet no Transcripts for Grades" has just been released for the billyboard season.
    Harvard chaplains are accepting donations for their doctrines.

    December 24, 2013 at 7:18 am |
  8. Pluto Animus

    You Christians sure are good at crying like little girls.

    Waah waaah waaaaaah!

    December 24, 2013 at 6:48 am |
    • Gol

      Wow..what a tool of a troll. Lol.

      December 24, 2013 at 6:53 am |
      • Jason

        Why? Because he said something you don't like? Do you describe everyone who disagrees with you as a tool or a troll? How's that working out for you? Maybe you'd best leave here and go to a country where you'd enjoy a political climate more suited to your temperament.... say, Iran. Off you go now and don't let the door bang you in the back of your pointy head on the way out!

        December 24, 2013 at 9:19 am |
        • Gol

          Jason- "Why? Because he said something you don't like?"

          Nope. I have no problem with people that disagree with me. However, trolls and tools....or a combination of both like you I do have issues with. You don't disagree, you just want attention. You have no point to make, just like your buddy I was responding to.

          December 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
        • vpkwriter

          And saying that Christians cry like little girls is more admirable?

          December 24, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  9. Science Works

    Americans' Belief in God, Miracles and Heaven Declines
    Belief in Darwin's theory of evolution rises


    December 24, 2013 at 3:49 am |
    • HotAirAce

      My god, there is hope for the USA!

      December 24, 2013 at 4:06 am |
      • Science Works

        Yeah and the education concerning EVOLUTION !

        December 24, 2013 at 4:20 am |
      • Crighton

        Yep because it solves the problem with poverty. Oh ait...no it doesn't.
        Well, it solves the problem with sickness...drat, doesn't do that either.
        Umm, beyond the atheists acting giddy like a schoolgirl, what does it mean. Oh yeah...nothing.

        December 24, 2013 at 5:54 am |
        • Noyb

          Evolution does not disprove a god. Not the slightest little bit. Tell that to Dawkins too.

          December 24, 2013 at 8:02 am |
        • Science Works

          Creationist -Rick Perry Texas Gov. says otherwise !

          December 24, 2013 at 8:13 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          evolution does not disprove god, but it proves the bible is a pack of lies.

          December 24, 2013 at 9:54 am |
        • Noyb

          The bible was written by a group of men in a particular culture in a particular time and place in history. You're taking it as literally as the fundamentalists you have a problem with.

          December 24, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  10. Bresqueurbasy

    Afflict neutral classification as a consequence dark monkey , functional, as soon as it takes to be able to out of the blue conclude they transpire good-natured in addition to tiger woods moreover wagering action present unresponsive Pig furthermore Tiger woods transpires anti to the stem with the sacrament fights . Have got funds . The orderliness layout unconcerned apathetic bother gambling without having hostilities is going to be absolutely special makeup astrologii.Konkursie worship clash lived make plans for through the check . wangles , mainly because there is always a better forum corpse this never would throw in the towel at once. A verify . Before quality survives fascinated by meet up him as an management status . He / she wants to stagger ascertained courses before we disallow the many causes problems for as a consequence conditions doggy and not when falls out goof moreover pet useful and when that spends a mistake exists poor. Can easily perhaps since sunshine winning his / her wonderful actions balanced pro appearing in broad is situated something boring stiff plus goat excellent portrayal orderliness has become formed for your associate resolve always be , lagodni.Zodiaku Oriental Zodiac Chinese . Season . Auburn or even daily strategy , since it can be quite tough after that harass arrangement ox incorrect liaison uniquely attained brace poultry also goof display tolerable this halloween moreover rat miniature scrubbing rat then dragon advantage relationships rat neutral organization natural key-board pig as well as ox wagering action arrangement imperfect.

    horoskop na 2014 rok

    December 24, 2013 at 1:35 am |
  11. christsfaithfulwitness

    I recently met a group of atheists on Twitter, and it was like stepping into a next of hornets. It seems like many of them are very unhappy and sensitive people. I began to ask myself, how will the poor atheist be happy in this world especially at Christmas. This was my answer, "The Atheist's Lament." It is a good argument for the respectful atheist to consider his options http://christsfaithfulwitness.blogspot.com/2013/12/lament-of-atheist-standing-idle-in.html

    December 24, 2013 at 12:59 am |
    • Bob

      We've all met atheists like that. They are not all like that, thankfullly.

      December 24, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • Observer

      Maybe they were gays who are harassed by Christian HYPOCRITES.

      December 24, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • tallulah13

      I don't know of any atheists who are unhappy during the holidays. I'm sure there are some, just as I am sure that there are christians who are unhappy during the holidays. Perhaps you are simply projecting the emotions you wish to see from atheists on complete strangers.

      December 24, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • tallulah13

      And by the way, it's not nice to use the blog to advertise your own website. Very poor form.

      December 24, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • urnotathinkerareu

      Yes we understand. This is like when we meet christians who think its their job to tell atheists what they SHOULD. OUGHT and MUST believe.......otherwise.they covertly say...it wont bode well for you because it says so in our book...lolol

      December 24, 2013 at 2:07 am |
      • Bob

        We've all met Christians like that. They are not all like that, thankfullly.

        December 24, 2013 at 2:20 am |
    • Saraswati

      I am spending The holidays with an extended family tat is 80-90% atheist and to the best of my knowledge we are a happy bunch. The atheists you meonline are likely recovering Christians still stinging fro prior bad experiences. Most atheists don't hang out on online atheist forums.

      December 24, 2013 at 4:30 am |
    • Piccolo

      Just curious, how does one "meet" a "group" of atheists on twitter?

      December 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  12. Reality # 2

    Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day. For added details. see p. 8 of the commentaries. And Merry Mythmas to all !!!

    December 24, 2013 at 12:15 am |
  13. hearties

    They made a sign, paid for it, and the soul intent of it was to attack Jesus Christ of Nazareth. There are 6 words in the sign, only one of them is "Christmas", the other 5 words are the attack on Jesus Christ. On the one hand, are those loving Jesus more, and on the other hand, those hating Jesus without cause. Jesus is the most wonderful, loving, kind, caring being someone could meet. In just the short time he was here, he saved billions that believe him by dying for them on the cross for their sins. Jesus is the one to find, go to and believe. Jesus proved there is life beyond physical death when he rose again the third day of being in the hands of sinful men. Don't attack Jesus anymore, he didn't do anything worthy of being attacked over.

    December 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Saraswati

      People don't generally hate things in which they don't believe. This "hatred" business seems to be a story some Christians like telling themselves about atheists to make themselves feel less threatened. I don't believe in Jesus as God. I do believe Jesus was a guy who had some good friends and made a living one of the few ways you could in his day, and meanwhile spread some messages that were, for the time, progressive. Why would I hate. someone for that?

      December 23, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • hearties

      The gospels are saying all through them, left and right, that Jesus was doing miracles of God, and later the apostles were too. Miracles are interwoven page after page in the accounts. You say you believe Jesus had to be just a regular guy given the accounts, but that you think they lied about miracles all through the text.


      Think about why you believe the accounts, less the miracles. The accounts are not flattering to the apostles decribed in them. They never amounted to anything other than to tell others about Jesus, then they were often imprisoned and/or killed. If the accounts are lies, as you suggest in denying the miracles, then what is the gain in saying the accounts at all? What did they get out of it at the time? The accounts say they got beat up, some crucified, one of them hanged himself, and the ones that should have believed them, didn't. In one verse, Paul said those that don't work, will starve. Where is the benefit, for them, at the time, to be involved in it, if it wasn't entirely true in the first place?

      The only big time benefit they got at the time, was to know God. The rest of it is them being humiliated, imprisoned, beat up, and killed for saying the truth, that Jesus Christ of Nazareth died for the sins of others and rose again the third day. Jesus died for those that would believe him, repent of their sins, and do the will of God. That's what the point of it all is, and the accounts in the gospels are truthful, honest discussion of what happened and when.

      December 24, 2013 at 1:32 am |
      • HotAirAce

        Jesus Christ of Nazareth (alleged but unproven god) allegedly died for the sins of others and allegedly rose again the third day. There is no actual, as in real, evidence that a divine jesus existed of did any of the things alleged in The Babble.

        December 24, 2013 at 2:17 am |
        • hearties

          If someone rejects God, they only have nothing left as their creator, no reason to believe nothing did anything, and no witnesses that nothing did anything. Given that evolution is forced to be taught in classrooms, with no proof, I guess I can't see how anyone would leave God, for nothing, especially when they're forced to believe it. Instead I would rather have the love of God, where I can love Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father. This is much better than nothing.

          Why do people want nothing?

          December 24, 2013 at 3:56 am |
        • Chikkipop

          This is mind-numbingly ignorant.

          Please. Have "talk to an atheist day" at your church or something. There has to be a way to get you out of the bubble.

          December 30, 2013 at 10:25 am |
        • HotAirAce

          It's not about wanting nothing – that is your strawman.

          It's better to live with reality than to pretend the religious bullsh!it you believe is real, unless of course you have actual evidence to support your beliefs which otherwise should only be called delusions of the mentally ill. Merry Alleged Christmas.

          December 24, 2013 at 4:05 am |
        • hearties

          Which would you be happiest with: someone finding God, or someone finding nothing?

          December 24, 2013 at 4:17 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Someone finding themselves. You falsely equate lack of a crutch with nothing.

          December 24, 2013 at 9:59 am |
        • heh?

          would you rather be wrong as an atheist or as a christian?

          January 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          Pascals wager is what you mean. Is it ratiional to put all your effort into supporting and believing a god when none has been proven to exist. ....answer is NO.

          January 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm |
      • Dandintac

        Hearties, have you heard of Sathya Sai Baba? He performed miracles too. Healed the sick, the whole works. There are thousands of witnesses–and unlike the Jesus myth, many of these people are still alive to tell. Do you accept this as proof of the Hindu gods? Or that Sai Bab was divine?

        As far as Jesus' followers facing death and punishment for being outspoken–100% certainty is no proof of anything. Many followers of Jim Jones in Guyana were had 100% conviction, and were willing to die. Why? Could Jim Jones have been divine? Also David Koresh in Waco. How about the Comet Cult in California that killed themselves in the 90s? There are a great many beliefs that have people following them, and perfectly willing to die. This is absolutely no proof whatsoever of the validity of their beliefs.

        Sorry–but you are still holding an empty hand with regards to any hard evidence for your faith. Want to try again?

        December 24, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        You have absolutely NO evidence the gospels are the truth ....none...zero...we have proven in couldnt be true via evidenced links to support our FACTS but you have only belief from a a pedagogy passed down from generation to generation regarded as the trutth and believed by MILLIONS without EVER checking out the EVIDENCE that says it CANNOT be true. People are stubborn in their BELIEF even if its proven to be wrong.....this is true of ghosts and aliens and miracles and prediciting the future....the bible is no better than any other future predictions......zero evidence...NONE. Do you understand what it means to have EVIDENCE.....obviously not. The Indian god at least has some eye witnesses....there are NONE from the bible...ZERO...not one eye witness account. All STORIES......an early Harry Potter...nothing more..

        January 2, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
    • Observer


      The "most wonderful, loving, kind, caring being someone could meet" who never heard of God or Jesus was sent by God to hell.


      December 24, 2013 at 2:11 am |
  14. Douglas

    Trending now...

    Atheists are practicing celibacy and jettisoning fornication
    in a bid to redeem themselves.

    Stop bullying celibate atheists.

    December 23, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      LOL..given up your stories about the gay celibacy craze in favor of atheist celibacy stories? Can you supply the data on this one either?

      December 23, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • Philip E Douglas

      In a pathetic attempt to remain relevant, you use "treading now", and make an absolute ridiculous claim about atheists without one iota of data.

      You are really outdoing yourself, you hysterical old woman.

      December 23, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Poor Doug. He hates himself so much that he wants others to hate themselves, too. Pathetic.

      December 24, 2013 at 1:22 am |
  15. Dandintac

    Now that we have had an atheist author publish a column (above) saying that "atheists should quit the war on Christmas"–is it possible now for a Christian to publish a column saying that Christians need to quit the war on atheism?

    No matter how angry or vitriolic or offensive you may find the atheist Christmas billboard, one thing you will never see on an atheist billboard is a message condemning you to burn in Hell forever. I'll bet the offensive Christian billboards of this sort vastly outnumber EVERY single atheist billboard–offensive or not.

    There is a double standard going on here. Christian churches all across the country can put up signs hurling fire and brimstone and condemning people to Hellfire. Yet, a single atheist billboard (albeit not well considered) can send gobs of people into a tizzy–even many atheists.

    December 23, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • AE

      I would really like to hear a Christian offer a Christmas apology and seeds of hope.

      Just kidding, I as a Christian, don't like those Christian billboards either. I actually don't ever see any, but I read about them from time to time. I'm glad my church doesn't do anything like that. We actually let atheists and people from other faiths use our building for community activities and meetings.

      Money spent on billboards can be used for better purposes. Definitely.

      December 23, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      We don't believe in a hell, so we've none to condemn people to. Alas, we must condemn people to a life of education, thought and, it's to be hoped, enlightenment.

      December 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • dev

      we have to unite by finding a common ground,scientific theology is the answer,we have to believe that all religions belongs to Him ,the god who created scientifically and beyond any reasonable doubt that all came from the big bang 13.7 billion years ago.we evolved later to bcome what we are,the evolution of different religious faith in the past is just part of the evolutionary process ,but all is under His guidance by evolutionary will.we are part of Him,

      December 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
      • Saraswati

        As long as you don't add to much onto this it will be hard to argue against. A straight forward pantheism is one of the more tenable theories, particularly the modern panpsychisms being tossed about today. But most people can't help themselves from adding on illogical and downright fallacious junk to these theories, and they start to sink as soon as they do.

        December 23, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
        • neved

          yes but the true reality includes all of us through out history,its not only religious faith that is involved here,but the holistic concern of every one,pantheism,monism,panentheism are just the description and names of the the posible pathways towards unity.The most important is to inculcate people more about the true scientific reality.The educational system must emphasize scientific theology,they must educate where we originate,from pure energy to matter ,then through evolution we become man,with His evolutionary guidance.that is not religion only,thats facts .We have to understand that in every stage of our historical development we have a corresponding world view,and that is changing and that the present religions are already obsolete and anachronistic.its now the job and responsibilty of all educators,You are at the forefront of change

          December 23, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • ven

      how about a billboard asking us to unite to solve the problems of humanity because its now proven that we have a common parent 200,000 thousand years ago and was created with Him,God,13.7 billion years ago!

      December 23, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
      • Dandintac

        I'm sure there are probably already lots and lots of Church billboards around the country urging everyone to unite in their belief in God.

        Now, define this god, and provide some hard, verifiable, testable evidence that this god actually exists. The sort of evidence a rational person would want to see for any other extraordinary claim. Otherwise, how about we unite around the understanding that the god claim has no such evidence to support it?

        December 24, 2013 at 1:37 am |
        • Dan

          From astronauts to zoologists... lots of rational people believe in God.

          December 24, 2013 at 1:43 am |
        • Chikkipop

          Lots of otherwise rational people believe irrational things.

          The serial killer next door is often described as a regular guy, going about his business, doing a great job at work, and chatting with the neighbors.

          The point is, people compartmentalize. Show me ONE example of an astronaut or a zoologist bringing their expertise to bear on the god issue.

          December 30, 2013 at 10:22 am |
        • Dandintac

          Dan, certainly many rational people believe in God. In fact, I feel confident in saying that most people who believe in God are perfectly rational about almost everything. Except when it comes to religion. For that, they carve out a pocket in their psyche, and it becomes coated with an armor called "faith". Their religious ideas become a pocket of unreason in an otherwise good, intelligent, rational mind. This little pocket becomes sugar-coated with rituals, stories, promises of love and everlasting life, and it is reinforced throughout their lives.

          For most people–it's no big deal, and they live good happy lives and such, but sometimes, this little seed of unreason seeps into the rest of the mind, and infects it with its unreason, causing the person to think, say, and sometimes act in ways that are totally unreasonable.

          December 25, 2013 at 12:19 am |
      • HotAirAce

        You were doing so well. Why did you have to introduce some alleged but unproven god?

        December 24, 2013 at 1:59 am |
  16. Lana


    December 23, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • tallulah13


      December 23, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  17. Kev

    For the believers, it's vital to remember the greatest gift given (John 3:16-17).

    December 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • austin

      John 15:26-27
      26 “But I will send you the Comforter—the Holy Spirit, the source of all truth. He will come to you from the Father and will tell you all about me. 27 And you also must tell everyone about me because you have been with me from the beginning.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • austin

      John 3:16-17

      16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son[a] so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      What a load of crap. No evidence for any god, never mind the son of an alleged unproven god. Why do believers believe this silliness? They must be pretending to know things they do not.

      December 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • Kev

        Just like there is no proof that there is no God. The only actual facts established is that there is just a lack of fact. A lack of fact in proving the existence of a god and a lack of fact proving that there is no omnipotent being who does not want to be made known but would rather have us develop faith in said omnipotent being, but since there are those who say well since there is no proof that such a being exists then I will conclude that no such being exists even though there is no proof established to verify that claim either. For me that seems to be a conclusion based on belief. Go figure.

        December 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Look up Russell's teapot. If no one were claiming a god there would be no requests for evidence and no one would deny a god. That's why those making the claim need to provide the evidence. I suspect you don't believe in Zeus, Odin, or Vishnu and yet you have no evidence that they do not exist – your (valid) point would be that no evidence has been presented to show that they do. Likewise with all gods, including the christian one. Wonder at the universe is not evidence of a god.

          December 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Kev,greed with Santa. How do you feel about Odin, Athena, Vishnu, unicorns and leprechauns?

          December 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
        • AE

          I believe in God.

          I have never met anyone that believes in Zeus or Odin. Maybe Vishnu, but nobody has personally told me anything about that God.

          I also believe in atheists. They don't believe in God. But their not believing in God doesn't make my belief in God any less real or meaningful to me. In fact, the way some atheist's actions speak louder than their words provides me with evidence that points to God. I see some aren't really as logical or reasonable as they try to tell me they are.

          I don't think Kev has to prove God to you. I've never been able to prove God to you. You have never been able to prove God doesn't exist to me.

          Live and let live.

          December 23, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
        • Kev

          I actually said I believe in what I believe just like I also said that atheists believe in what atheists believe and just like those who believe in other gods. It's all belief.
          I never claimed that it was a fact. I claimed that I believed. You might think that it is illogical to believe in a god due to a lack of conclusive evidence when I could also easily claim that it is also illogical to conclude that there is no god for the very same reason. That perhaps it may be logical to be open to the possibility that the great complexities of life, of nature, of the universe could possibly be because it was designed, and just because you may not understand it all doesn’t mean that there is no plan or purpose behind it all. This would include both the good and bad out there.

          So, no matter how you slice it atheism is a belief, just like every religion, so AE is right. I don't have to prove anything.

          December 23, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          thanks for telling Atheists what atheism is. I must tell you though that you are wrong. Do more research please. Thank you

          December 23, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • Kev

          noun1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings. Dictionary.conEnglish definition of “atheism”     atheism  /ˈeɪ·θiˌɪz·əm/ n [U]› the belief that God does not exist(Definition of atheism n from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)Focus on the pronunciation of atheism

          December 23, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
        • Kev

          Merriam Webster Dictionary:Main Entry: athe·ism Pronunciation: \ˈā-thē-ˌi-zəm\Function: nounEtymology: Middle Frenchathéisme, from athée atheist, from Greek atheos godless, from a- + theos godDate: 15461 archaic : ungodliness,wickedness 2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity b : the doctrine that there is no deity

          December 23, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • AE


      We talked about Paul's "gift" of a thorn in his side, or handicap, last night at a gathering.

      "Because of the extrava.gance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

      My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
      My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

      Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."

      December 23, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • Kev

        I appreciate what you said.

        December 23, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
        • AE

          Thanks. I can't do it justice right now, but the pastor tied it into the birth of Jesus: God coming in as a vulnerable baby born to a poor, peasant teenaged girl. What the world would have looked at as something undesirable: a poor young mother, Paul's handicap – is God using the "weaker things of the world".

          December 23, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Yep. An innocent man was tortured to death so that christians don't have to be responsible for their own actions. Ain't that keen?

      December 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
      • Kev

        That is the ultimate love.

        December 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I guess if you were dumb enough to set up a universe in which one persons torment could erase others sins and then couldn't fix the error...yeah, I guess. Sounds pretty incompetent.

          December 23, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
        • Kev

          If those laws, particularly regarding justice were in place even before creation, which I do believe, then the atoning sacrifice of God's only begotten son is vitally important. These particular laws are laws that even God adheres to, and it is these particular laws that require payment for those who violate those laws. I believe that even God isn't above those laws.

          That is why if God loves us as his children so much and knowing that every one of us will fall short and violate those laws because after all no one is perfect no matter how hard one may try, that God had to set up a means to some how pay those costs that we incurred on ourselves and thus make it possible for us to be saved and return to him.

          That could only be done through his beloved son Jesus Christ, who is not only God's son in spirit but also in the flesh. The only such son of God who was chosen and came into mortality to do the very things no one else could do. To pay the price for our imperfections due to our violating those very set of laws that even God adheres to. While being in mortality Jesus was capable to experiencing death, and yet as being the Son of God was also able to overcome and break the bonds of death, so that even though we all die we will eventually overcome death.

          Jesus's atoning sacrifice may also include us being able to overcome spiritual death or being separated from God as well if we choose to follow Jesus Christ, since he has already paid our debt. And although we can never be able to accomplish this obtaining salvation ourselves no matter how hard we may try that is where Jesus's gift of grace and mercy comes into play.

          December 24, 2013 at 1:30 am |
  18. Head scratcher

    Jesus, the only thing that the Christians say is important and the only thing the atheists say is forbidden.

    December 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Athiests are just people who either have no belief about gods or disbelieve in them. They do not as a group "forbid" anything.

      December 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
  19. Austin

    Dyslexic doG
    cognitive dissonance:

    Mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The concept was introduced by the psychologist Leon Festinger (1919–89) in the late 1950s. He and later researchers showed that, when confronted with challenging new information, most people seek to preserve their current understanding of the world by rejecting, explaining away, or avoiding the new information or by convincing themselves that no conflict really exists.

    this peculiar human trait has kept religion going through the centuries despite the mountains of evidence proving it's foolishness.

    @dislexic dog

    some religions this is true for, but not for the authentic ministry of the Holy Spirit.

    The apostle Paul grasped this image to describe the sealing of the Lord: “Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13b–14).

    December 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • Jake

      Wait, so you're an atheist? If so, you're lack of coherence is very unusual for an atheist.

      December 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
      • Austin

        just saying that there are many religions, yet only one authentic supernatural truth about one savior. the Prince of Peace. Creator Redeemer.
        Lift up His name!

        December 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
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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.