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. Lionly Lamb

    Somber homages of good will toward others should not just be for occasional seasoned regularities but rather should it be that good will towards others ought be daily affairs of one's heart...

    December 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  2. Joe

    I'm not religious. In fact, the thought of people believing in religion is about as absurd as people believing in the Lords of the Rings story. Still, I celebrate Christmas because its FUN. I even buy a real Christmas tree and decorate it. I even go to church with my religious family. Do I believe any of it? Nope, but I sure am having fun. So, atheists, lighten up and quit trying to be so rebellious. Life is short – atheists know that more than anyone – so enjoy it as much as possible instead of trying to spread an unimportant message.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Skarphace

      As an atheist, I completely agree with you and also participate in religious celebrations. I even go to church on occassion, wish people "Merry Christmas", and pray (although to me it is more of a meditation). If you did not know me you would think I was a Christian by how I behave. I don't care. It doesn't change who I am. Like you, I see Christmas as a time to get together with family and friends and have a good time. If other people want to think the reason for the season is Jesus, then I do not have a problem with that in the least.

      December 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  3. Phil

    Armchair atheists militant are up in arms about christmas and just about everything else. I do have a great admiration for atheists who also give at least the benefit of doubt about the possibility that God do exist. Those atheists should separate themselves from the militant ones. They should also call themselves something other than atheist. But those armchair atheist militants give atheism a bad reputation. The good atheists are not really atheists and are not a danger to society. But the militant one are a real threat to our society.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Ford Prefect

      I prefer the term Ultra-Orthodox Agnostic.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Chris m

      "But the militant one are a real threat to our society."

      No, militant theists are a theists are a threat to our society!

      December 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Skarphace

      You have absolutely no idea what atheism is, do you?

      December 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • RonFromNM

      How in the world are militant atheists a threat to our society? Religion (or the lack thereof) seems to bring out zealotry in general. Luckily we have a 1st amendment that lets people peaceably air their views (even if you don't like said views) and which prohibits federal recognition of any particular religion, so everyone can believe as they want.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Phil

      The real and good atheist ones have morals and are highly educated, but the militant ones have no morals and are under educated. the militant ones are in fact just atheist wannabes. You are giving atheism a bad reputation, and because of your uneducated manners, you are keeping atheism being a minority. That's why i say the good atheists should separate themselves from the militant ones and should also call themselves something else than atheist.

      December 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Your solution isn't one, Phil.

        You're saying that atheists are giving "atheism" a bad name, and that's bad, so "good atheists" should change their label. By your own admission, that would make "atheism" an even worse "name," it wouldn't give it a better name. You seem confused on what you really want, Phil.

        December 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  4. Ruth

    To those of you that do not want Christ in Christmas do not celebrate it,but leave the people who do alone....you are acting worse than children...you do not want to be where christmas carols are ,do not go,do not go to church but leave Americans who do ALONE and quit ramming your beliefs down peoples throats....or better yet go to another country where you will be dealt with...I hear North Korea is great this time of year....they do not believe in Christ...you might like it there

    December 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Skarphace

      I am an atheist. I do not disparage your faith. I have never told you do "go to Korea" because you do not believe like me. Why should I "go to Korea" because I do not believe as you do? Such a thought process is unAmerican to the core.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • innersixx

      You should leave the people who don't want Christmas alone too then. Don't hang public decorations or wish strangers Marry Christmas. Stop forcing your religion down people's throat.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • MR

      The US is secular. Want a theocracy? Move to Iran. You might like it there.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  5. RonFromNM

    As an atheist, I wholeheartedly agree with the author. Billboards like that in Times Square serve no purpose other than to create an adversarial situation Believe in christ? Good for you, Merry Christmas. I won't tell you how to live as long as you don't tell me how to live.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Skarphace

      Exactly. As an atheist, I don't really care what you choose to believe. Believe in big foot and worship it for all I care. This group, "American Atheists", is making it seem as if all atheists are intollerant. Maybe that is their true aganda? Makes you wonder.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  6. sailor

    Christmas is what it is to each person. If you believe in the truedistional way then so be it. If you are of a different faith then celebrate in your way, but it is wrong to say mine or his way is wrong. Each religion is different and should celebrate according to their believes . These people coming here from other countrys and wanting to change our believes should shut–up ,do it the American way or go home.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Ruth

      I AGREE

      December 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  7. janetmermaid

    Holy cr@p - who in their right mind thinks Atheists are waging a war on Christmas. How about CHRISTIANS who are waging a war on everyone else. Pagans aren't allowed to say Blessed Solstice. Atheists aren't allowed to express their views. Here's a fact, Christians... this time of year was celebrated by thousands of people LONG before Christianity came along. Yet Christians want to claim 100% of this holiday for themselves and refuse to "share" with any other beliefs. A group of Christians just torched a billboard erected by Atheists. Imagine if the reverse had happened. Christians don't want others to erect symbols of how they celebrate the season - no pentagrams, no solstice symbols, no Green Man figures, etc. So who is waging war against whom?

    December 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  8. Francisco Decastro

    How about Christians celebrate Christmas loving Christ, and Atheists celebrate Christmas without Christ? Problem solved!

    December 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Perry the Post-Theist

      So you think that isn't what's been happening all along?

      December 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • Francisco Decastro

        It obviously isn't since it is bothering Atheists what Christians do. If each were doing their thing SEPERATELY, there should be no reason for atheists to want Christians to stop.

        So they should celebrate their Christmas SEPERATELY, and problem solved.

        December 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  9. Jeb

    Christians live there lives by a book of fairytales.

    Now they've made up another story about an imaginary "war on Christmas".

    December 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Bah Humbug

      Atheists don't need to try to ruin Christmas - the retailers are doing that all by themselves, starting holiday decorations and sales in September. By the time Dec 24 comes around people are so sick of the holiday that it's lost all meaning. Christmas has turned into Commercialmas and shame on the parents who don't spend Thanksgiving in line at the stores trying to buy the latest and greatest toy instead of at home with their families celebrating togetherness.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  10. IanTagan

    Sources for the signs or bill boards must be investigated. I am an atheist. But weakening christianity opens the door for baser religions, such as Islam. Also, many gays say they are atheists because religious idiots oppose their "rights." The crossing of 'Christ" in the signs seems very gay. Exaggerated, and may even undermine the intent.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      And now for full disclosure for the new members of this blog:

      Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

      ADDED DETAILs available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      December 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
      • IanTagan

        have some eggnog. please

        December 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • StinkyCheez

        You're not going to be able to disprove any philosophy, religious or otherwise, quite so easily, I'm afraid. Nor are many of the historical "facts" you presented anywhere near actual, settled fact. Absence of evidence is NOT, in fact, definitive proof that something does/did not exist.

        Of course, there is no way to prove OR disprove religion; that's why it lives in the realm of philosophy, where ideas that cannot be proven can still be discussed fruitfully, rather than the realm of science.

        An inverse Thomas Aquinas, you are not – lol...

        December 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

          New Torah For Modern Minds

          “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
          Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

          The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

          Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

          The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

          The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

          December 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi----–

          The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:

          ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

          Are you ready?

          Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

          The First Five of the 77 Branches:

          "1. Belief in Allah"

          aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.

          "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

          Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

          "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

          A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

          "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

          Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

          Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

          Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

          "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings
          be upon him) alone."

          Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

          Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

          Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.

          Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..

          December 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

          From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

          Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

          To wit;

          From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

          "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
          Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

          Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

          Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

          The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

          Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

          The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

          "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

          The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

          With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

          An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


          "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

          p.168. by Ted Peters:

          Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

          So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

          December 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
        • Reality # 2

          Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

          The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

          Current problems:

          The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

          Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

          "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

          Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

          Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

          December 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  11. Baal

    As an atheist, I have never started a war on Christmas.

    Im trying to stop the war on atheists.....Chrisitans have NO idea what discrimination is.....

    December 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • kyzaadrao

      Historically speaking, that's funny. Both have had their share of persecution. Thanks for making the point about one side arguments.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  12. bill

    read the last chapter-WE WIN--if the bible wasn't true- this group of unhappy people wouldn't bother with it--and if they don't believe why bother????

    December 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • StinkyCheez

      Sorry, that's not going to be enough to turn the Bible into "Truth" ^^' .

      December 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
      • Francisco Decastro

        Then why care about believers of something you think is fantasy?

        December 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Because left on their own delusional believers would turn democracies into theocracies.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
        • G to the T

          Partly because they are allowed to vote and (in my experience) don't get the difference between wanting a secular government that protect everyone's religious liberty and wanting to "destroy" christianity.

          December 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Meruem

      Maybe you should read the rest of the chapters in order to understand the absurdity of the whole thing.

      December 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  13. third

    What's hilarious about atheists during christmas is that the whole foundation of the holiday is based on a religious tradition. If you're so against the religion, why celebrate the holiday at all?

    Speaking of "happy holidays!" versus "Merry Christmas", the term "holiday" is derived from the words HOLY and DAY. So despite their great efforts to dismantle religion, they are unknowingly lovingly supporting it.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Jim Jimson

      It is actually based on a pagan tradition. Now, if you want to equate Christianity with Paganism feel free.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Mike

      For most Christians Christmas isn't religious, it's about consumerism. So who's to say that for me Christmas can't be about being with Family and loved ones, about spreading joy and caring for your fellow human beings, about giving and being happy. I don't need Jesus in my Christmas, but I certainly don't need him out of yours. Just be happy. Merry Christmas!

      December 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • wilf

      but chistmass is not a Christian holiday . It is a holiday from pagan times that the Christians just hoped on. I was happy holidays long before Jesus was born

      December 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Baal

      It was the Winter Solstice celebration, LONG beofre it was every a Christmas Holiday. Christians co-opted the holiday for their own religion. Christmas tree is PAGAN, Christmas Wreath is PAGAN, & on and on and on!!!

      December 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Perry the Post-Theist

      Christmas is a usurpation of pagan holidays. Jesus never said anything about his birthday, much less that it should be celebrated. And in fact, it generally was not celebrated until about 200 years ago. The first religious groups who came to America refused to celebrate it in any way as it was not Biblical at all.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  14. J R Brown

    As an atheist, I find the billboard insulting to both myself and Christians.
    Christmas is exclusively about the celebration of the birth of Christ. That is and has been the reason for the holiday since its inception. To put out there that "nobody needs Christ in Christmas" is just so ludicrously asinine that it seems it could only be the slogan of morOns.

    If you're an atheist, don't celebrate Christmas. It's rather simple. Don't go manic simply because you don't want to be "left out of the party" at religious holiday. Respect yourself AND others and simply abstain. It's just good form.

    Backhanding insults over holidays is most definitely bad form.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Baal

      as an atheist, I am susprised that you are so ignorant of where Christmas came from.

      It was a PAGAN Holiday long before it was ever Christmas. Crack a book and start reading...

      December 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • wilf

      obviously Christmas was celebrated long before Christians where around. It is a traditional celebration in northern hemisphere cultures. Perhaps atheists should instead of attacking Christians version of the holiday. Give it a new name and purpose to celebrate the idea of goodness and charity and the greatness of all mankind.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
      • G to the T

        I don't think we need to give it a new name – Yuletide, Solstice, festival of lights, "Christmas" is just one of the most recent incarnations (next to "Festivus" I suppose).

        December 22, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • BradW

      Please go read some history!

      December 21, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  15. hearties

    Every day is better with Jesus, I'm going with it, Christmax it is.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • wilf

      yes its Christmas for Christians an that's fair. but its a holiday for all mankind so happy holidays is fine to

      December 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  16. Observer

    I am an old man and have met plenty of atheists and believers in God in my time.

    One thing I have observed is that believers in God tend to be more pleasant and kind people. Atheists on the other tend to be more uptight about petty things and are bitter about the world.

    Peace to you all.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I can see that chain of events occurring as you describe, but that has not been my experience. Maybe it has to do with geographical location.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Perry the Post-Theist

      Funny, I have had not run across those petty and bitter atheists much. And I have heard that same line so much that I think people like you just look at atheists with extreme judgementalism, while you look upon Christians with extreme favoritism. You are just alterring reality to fit your bias.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Baal

      Then you havent met very many people, Observer.. Im old as well, and MY experience is the EXACT opposite of yours.

      I have found a lot of Christians to be smug, arrogant, condescending and have a lil air of superiority about them....

      December 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I am almost an old man and have met plenty of atheists and believers in in my time.

      One thing I have observed is that believers tend to be self-righteous cu.nts. Atheists on the other tend to be more logical, better educated and realistic about the world, especially about mythology.

      Peace to you all.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • Phil

        You shouldn't be lying like this, you are in fact an atheist. You give atheism a bad reputation with your hypocrisy.

        December 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • StinkyCheez

          Say what? Where does he say he's NOT an atheist, silly?

          December 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Why is HotAirAce's post worthy of your ire but the original post isn't? Aren't they both doing the same thing, essentially? So why is HAA's post so bad if the OP's isn't?

          December 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Thanks for playing Phil. And thanks to the Captain for explaining the point.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • wilf

      Wow you must live in a small world. I have seem very many bitter Christians. like the ones who are bitter at people and companies that choose to use happy holidays

      December 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  17. Tim

    Happy Saturnalia...it starts today. Winter solstice. Yay.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • wilf


      December 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  18. Iamnotresposnsible

    In the end, it's all about money and greed, Silverman, Palin, Linbaugh et al realize their actions are detrimental to their cause but they really don't mind as long as it brings in the $$$

    December 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  19. erik schrader

    I don't think the author gets it. Atheists dont want christmas to stop being celebrated. They want religion removed from christmas. Atheists still celebrate christmas...

    December 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Not true for this atheist. I don't want any religion celebrated on my dime – I want strict separation of church and state. Delusional believers can think whatever they like, and do whatever they like in their homes and cult clubhouses. But nothing, zip, nada, zero on public property, and they must follow all non-discrimination laws if in business.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • third

      Why do they support a holiday that is founded to its deepest core on religion? It is literally the most-religous holiday.

      It's like going to a baseball game and complaining it's not football.

      December 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
      • StinkyCheez

        Excuse me? EASTER is the most religious holiday of the Christian year, fella. Time for you to go back to the books.

        December 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • wilf

          Also replacing pagan celebrations of spring.

          December 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • wilf

        because the holiday was not a Christian holiday to start with although It was generally celebrated as a feast to who ever the in gods where at the time . which just happened to be the Christian gods in the west. for the last 1000 yrs or so.

        December 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  20. Mike

    Atheists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, people of all faiths (or none), check out Bo Burnham's song "From God's perspective." A great message, and funny too.

    December 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55
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.