Atheists: Nobody Needs Christ at Christmas

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American Atheists launched a major billboard display on Tuesday that declares Christmas is better without the Christ. The huge 40′x40′ digital billboard is located in Times Square in Midtown Manhattan. Using motion graphics, the billboard proclaims, “Who needs Christ during Christmas?” A hand crosses out the word “Christ” and the word “NOBODY” appears. The display then says “Celebrate the true meaning of Xmas” and offers a series of cheery words: family, friends, charity, food, snow, and more. The commercial ends with a jovial “Happy Holidays!” from American Atheists and displays the organization’s website, atheists.org.“This season is a great time of year for a hundred reasons—none of them having to do with religion,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “This year, start a new tradition: Don’t go to church. You hate it, it’s boring; you probably only go because you feel guilty or obligated. Instead, spend more time with your family and friends—or volunteer. There are better uses of your time and money.”

“Most people don’t care about any religious ties to the season because church and religion are not what Americans care about during this time of year—they care about family and friends and giving presents and food and having fun,” said Public Relations Director Dave Muscato. “Many so-called ‘Christmas’ traditions celebrated by Americans have nothing to do with Christianity. For example, the North Pole and Santa traditions come from Nordic and Germanic pagan traditions, and caroling, yule logs, mistletoe, holly wreaths all pre-date Christianity,”

“We all love this time of year,” Silverman added. “Christianity has been trying to claim ownership of the season for hundreds of years. But the winter solstice came first and so did its traditions. The season belongs to everybody.”

Written By: American Atheists
continue to source article at news.atheists.org

15 COMMENTS

  1. Jon Stewart had a great piece this week making fun of Bill O’Reily and Sarah Palin. Bill is ramping up his war on christmas thing again and asked the stupid question “what holiday is Santa celebrating? Jon’s answer is priceless saying he’s celebrating the winter solitice as in the Nordic tradition from hence he came. Sarah talks about not minding the “commercialization” of christmas opining it is “part of the fun” or something like that. Yeah, well, she can’t bite the hand that’s feeding her — the billionaires that are profiting off christmas — by saying she doesn’t like “this crass commercialism” now can she?

    • In reply to Headline:

      Atheists: Nobody Needs Christ at Christmas.

      I guess that’s pretty self-evident, seeing as it’s been nearly 2000 years since the birthday boy last showed up to make a wish and blow out the candles. It’s also been 148 years since Abraham Lincoln last attended his birthday party and 215 since Washington attended his, and yet here in the states, we don’t seem to have any problems breaking out the bubbly and making merriment every February in their absence.

      • In reply to #5 by IDLERACER:>
        >

        Atheists: Nobody Needs Christ at Christmas.

        I guess that’s pretty self-evident, seeing as it’s been nearly 2000 years since the birthday boy last showed up to make a wish and blow out the candles.

        At least when we have modern birthday parties the birthday boy/girl actually exists, and we usually manage to get the date right! – (Must be an absence of “faith-thinking”)

  2. @OP – But the winter solstice came first and so did its traditions. The season belongs to everybody.”

    The mid-winter celebration goes back to the Roman celebration of Saturnalia and beyond.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia

    Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in houner of the deity Saturn held on December 17 of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves.[1] The poet Catullus called it “the best of days.

    Slaves were treated to a banquet of the kind usually enjoyed by their masters. Ancient sources differ on the circumstances: some suggest that master and slave dined together,[20] while others indicate that the slaves feasted first, or that the masters actually served the food. The practice may have varied over time,[21] and in any case slaves would still have prepared the meal.

    Saturnalian license also permitted slaves to enjoy a pretense of disrespect for their masters, and exempted them from punishment. It was a time for free speech: the Augustan poet Horace calls it “December liberty.”[22] In two satires set during the Saturnalia, Horace has a slave offer sharp criticism to his master.[23] But everyone knew that the leveling of the social hierarchy was temporary and had limits; no social norms were ultimately threatened, because the holiday would end.

    Some of these traditions need to be revived!

    Silverman added. “Christianity has been trying to claim ownership of the season for hundreds of years.

    Perhaps Herb could instigate some revivals for mid winter! I quite like this one!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_Fools

    The central idea seems always to have been a brief social revolution, in which power, dignity and impunity is briefly conferred on those in a subordinate position. In the majority view, this makes the medieval festival a successor to the Roman Saturnalia.

    In the medieval version the young people, who played the chief parts, chose from among their own number a mock pope, archbishop, bishop, or abbot to reign as Lord of Misrule.

    Participants would then “consecrate” him with many ridiculous ceremonies in the chief church of the place, giving names such as Archbishop of Dolts, Abbot of Unreason, Boy Bishop, or Pope of Fools.

    The protagonist could be a boy bishop or subdeacon, while at the Abbey of St Gall in the tenth century, a student each December 13 enacted the part of the abbot.

    In any case the parody tipped dangerously towards the profane.

    The ceremonies often mocked the performance of the highest offices of the church, while other persons, dressed in different kinds of masks and disguises, engaged in songs and dances and practised all manner of revelry within the church building.

    It sounds like a really entertaining pantomime theme – In the strictly revivalist presentation of religious historical traditions!

    You don’t think Xtains would object to their own traditions ???

    Surely not!!? Historical re-enactment anyone????? A video perhaps???

    I am sure many people can think of pompous characters in theistic or political office who are worthy of caricature (if not near enough already) as part of the mid-winter celebrations.
    After all! Theists LOVE historical traditions!

  3. My goodness, what a brainless waste of money and time. With right-wingers in the US whipping themselves up into a yearly frenzy about the “war on Chsitmas”, AA steps up gives them ammunition to validate their paranoia. And in any case, Christmas is not a purely secular holiday for everyone — how could anyone claim with a straight face that it is? If you personally don’t have any religious ties to the season, that’s fine. But it serves no purpose to claim that no one should celebrate Christmas for religious reasons.

    Organized atheism in the US ought to be looking at ways of relaxing the death grip that the general public have on their religions, which would make life better for everyone. AA should be using this billboard to lobby for political change that makes people less trusting and less reliant on their churches. Basically, any political position taken by fundagelicals ought to be a signpost directing politically active atheists to take the opposite stance. Gay marriage is a good example. Universal health care is another. The best way to defeat politically-active religion is to make life better for everyone.

  4. The Soviets did something great: they removed Jesus, but kept the tree, the wise old man with the long white beard, and the gifts. All for a week later, for the New Year. Really smart.

  5. I’d be happy to see the name changed. I find it quite confronting, the “mass for Christ”, especially when for most people it’s not a religious time at all. It may be different in USA, a more Christian/religious country, but not here in Australia.

  6. A complete shot in the foot… and a waste of money. The only thing “they” will take from this is that “we” just do music, parties, fun, food (and probably drink and drugs) and have a feckless, useless lifestyle.

    Which idiot thought this was clever?

  7. I agree totally with Jim Royal and Stevehill. This is one of the most misjudged efforts I’ve ever come across. There is no true meaning of Christmas. It’s become a holiday break when many families tend to get together and enjoy being together in whatever ways that may happen to be. Its history is of little relevance to its current character. Trying to shove this kind of stick up believers’ backsides a seriously pointless exercise. Are similar billboards planned for Easter? Epiphany? Lent? Pentecost?

    Those of us who regard religions as mindless superstitions constantly face the problem that atheist organizations raise the reasonable counter-charge from believers that atheism is another form of belief. I know of no organized group of people who don’t collect stamps that sets up websites and societies to point out to stamp collectors the defecits of their hobby to collectors. The reason nonbelievers need to pool resources and forces is because of the political consequences of organized religious factions. Atheist organizations should therefore constrain themselves to confronting the political damage inflicted by religious belief. If people want to go to churches and sing hymns, for goodness’ sake let them!

    • I tend to agree too, although being in the UK perhaps means I can afford to be indulgent to Christians laying claim to Xmas since their voice is a small one. I can understand that those on the front-line in the US might feel differently.

      In reply to #8 by FrankMill:

      I agree totally with Jim Royal and Stevehill. This is one of the most misjudged efforts I’ve ever come across. There is no true meaning of Christmas. It’s become a holiday break when many families tend to get together and enjoy being together in whatever ways that may happen to be. Its history i…

  8. The original natural purpose of the communal celebrations of the winter solstice; the lengthening of the days and the approach of the vernal equinox, appropriated by the leaders of anothery religion two millennia ago as part of the fabrication of their human construct “Christianity”, needs nothing other than what exists in reality; nature!

    “There is grandeur in this view of life, …” All the rest is surplus to requirements thank you.

  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas

    While the birth year of Jesus is estimated among modern historians to have been between 7 and 2 BC, the exact month and day of his birth are unknown.[15][16] His birth is mentioned in two of the four canonical gospels. By the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25,[17] a date later adopted in the East.

    So the mid-winter date seems to have been decided (just like a load of other stuff!) after about 300 years hearsay and mythological story telling, at a time when the Roman empire was trying to put together some consistency from the diverse tales of the diverse sects!

  10. To Paulmcuk #14

    As a Christian in the US, my perception is that in this country, many (hopefully, if not most) realize that the Christmas season has pagan roots. So what? For us, any formal season associated “officially” with Christ shrinks to almost meaninglessness when compared to the reality of New Covenant message.

    And yes, the season has turned into meeting with friends, family and other customs associated with it in the various cultures, not to mention the commercialization aspect. It’s all good.

    As far as the billboard, “Who Needs Christ During Christmas?”, American Atheists need a new PR man. All they do is make themselves look silly and detract from main issues.

    Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to everybody!

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