Have yourself a merry atheist Christmas!

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I wrote a book called “Every Day is an Atheist Holiday.” Recently I got up at the non-Vegas magical hour of 6 a.m. to do radio interviews all over the country to let people know about it. I did some interviews with atheist and skeptic podcasts, but the 6 a.m. talks were usually morning radio. And morning radio has a lot of theists.


My book had just come out that day so even jocks who wanted to read it hadn’t had the time to do more than skim. Many of the DJs saw the words “holiday” and “atheist” and asked me how I felt about “The War on Christmas.”

Fox News is usually credited with spreading the panic about this war on Christmas. Bill O’Reilly talks about atheists and left-wing loons ruining Christmas for children.

He also says that Christianity is a philosophy, which might have seemed like a sleek move on live TV, but … I’m thinking he’s noticed by now Jon Stewart is biting him in the butt.

O’Reilly finds evidence for the war in atheist groups opposing Nativity scenes on government property and their discomfort with public school students having to opt out when their classes go to a church to see a Charlie Brown Christmas play. Bill is also ticked off by businesses urging their employees to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” He doesn’t want the holidays turned secular. He wants his Christmas pure. Pure as the Christian philosophy. But he could learn strategy to win the war on Christmas from the Monkees and their ’60s TV show. They’re on a reunion tour (sadly without Davy Jones, but miraculously with Mike Nesmith.)

Written By: Penn Jillette
continue to source article at cnn.com

22 COMMENTS

  1. If any of my religious relatives ask me why I celebrate Christmas I always tell them that i am celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. The winter solstice.

    Its something real which deeply effects all of us ( certainly in my neck of the woods where its dark till nearly nine now) and the fact we have turned that corner is something we can all celebrate together. After all this was celebrated thousands of years before Christians muscled in on the scene and took the holiday for themselves. So I’ll keep my feasting, decorating and making merry thanks without the need for a single ‘Jesus’s birthday’ moment.
    Oh, and I call it Christmas for cultural reasons but that doesn’t mean I believe the biblical account of a Jesus character any more than I believe Santa Claus is the historical truth of a Byzantine saint. 
    oh and do we really need a religious reason to be nice to one another?

  2. “Bill O’Reilly talks about atheists and left-wing loons ruining Christmas for children.”

    i can’t speak for today’s chidren but for my own childhood i can positively state the only thing that ruined christmas for me was being dragged to church. the things that matterred were presents (i loved them ok? refuse to feel guilty about that and i loved wrapping them and giving them as much as getting), days off school (and the days leading up to holidays being full of making paper chains and singing carols), food (and sneaky drop of beer) and movies on TV. maybe back then if someone told me lefty loons wanted to remove the emphesis on a frankly, utterly unbelievable and meaningless story, i’d have stopped to think about it for a second but i’d soon get over it

  3. O’Reilly reminds me of the low-brow politician’s advice on public speaking – to a recently elected candidate:-

    ” Just keep talking until you can think of something to say!”

  4. >>If any of my religious relatives ask me why I celebrate Christmas I always tell them that i >>am celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. The winter solstice.
    Just curious, is there any particular reason you prefer the ancient pagan “dressing” from the christian “dressing”? Because, be it Saturnalia or Christmas, I don’t think in any case the winter solstice holiday was ever a secular celebration of an astronomical event, so if you decide to celebrate it at such, cool, but really you’re trying to invent a new holiday for yourself or at least attach a new meaning to an existing one. Paganist religions were religions too, no?

  5. “…and the wind – cries – (virgin) Mary…”

    “Frank Zappa and the Mothers…”
    I remember asking for a Deep Purple album when I was a kid one christmas; loved it.

    “Don’t you eat that yellow snow!”

  6. JoxerTheMighty – Because, be it Saturnalia or Christmas, I don’t think in any case the winter solstice holiday was ever a secular celebration of an astronomical event, so if you decide to celebrate it at such, cool, but really you’re trying to invent a new holiday for yourself or at least attach a new meaning to an existing one. Paganist religions were religions too, no?

    I think you need to remember that the ancients lives were very much tied to the day-length, crops, sowing dates, harvests and the seasons.

    They also needed “astrologer priests” to work out the calendars and timetables for work on the land.  I am not certain about the Saturnalia and Viking Yule, but it is likely these were tagged on to the solstice as  mid-winter festivals.  Xtian Xmas was definitely taken in December to high-jack the earlier pagan festivals.

    Anyway!  A holiday is a holiday and a party is a party!

  7. It’s always been “Christmas” to me and I see no reason to change it. Over the years I see many different people celebrating the “time of year.” My Hindu neighbours do Diwali but also have Christmas parties and deliver me a bottle of something. I see lots of asian mums lining to take their children to see Santa. We drink, we feast, we kiss under mistletoe, we scoff yule logs and Christmas pudding and generally have a bit of merryment if possible. Somewhere else, people celebrate the Nativity. They can do that, because the time of year is all-encompassing, but I’ll leave that to them in general, but I am a bit partial to a carol service.
     
    What does annoy me though, is when the church bang on about “the real meaning of Christmas.” They are half right, but seem to ignore the fact the festival was there before Christianity and things we all love, like Santa, Reindeers, elves, decorations, the tree, and food, come from down the ages and numerous countries.. So what is the real meaning? To have fun for me, to do the nativity for them.

    In fact, if the religious do not partake in the general fun and feasting as well, I’d be very suprised…

  8. I was raised in an atheist household, but we still had a Christmas tree and Santa and all that stuff.
    Christmas is about being together with loved ones, at least for me. You don’t have to be religious to want to celebrate that.

  9. I agree with the consensus above. Winter can be a dreary and depressing time, and I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that many cultures celebrate a festival to lift peoples’ spirits around this time. Being with my family and watching some movies while we eat leftovers from the spectacular feast the night before is what counts for me, and I call it Christmas out of tradition, but I really wouldn’t care what the festival was called or what trappings were tied to it.

  10. I never do (I know, I count them), but thanks! 

    And merry Christmas to you to. Let’s all gain a few pounds, and spoil the familly with presents :D 

    I’m still pondering if I’m gonna dress as Santa again, but I think my brother has dibs on that already.

  11. Here in Toronto I’ll be pondering life, the universe & everything on our Dec 21 winter solstice, shortest day of the year – but not as dark as those nutty Mayan Calendar Doomsdayers believe…. 

    I do Xmas dinner with 40 year pals & family, with a bit of xtian god before a lovely dinner, with their (never-discussed) faith mostly hidden.

    I’ll be sipping single malts with non-theist pals for New Year, and with my relatives all elsewhere I’ll pass the season without ‘doing’ Xmas either mentally or financially, except for bits of red & green on my real indoor bushes.

    I dislike the massive piles of money, time & electricity wasted during the christmas (& halloween) madness, especially considering the state of world economies, and humanity could really celebrate if those resources were diverted to solving problems & helping those less fortunate.

    Whatever way you brighten your break, I wish you all here on RDFRS a Cool Yule, and a Grrreeaatt New Year …. 8-)

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