Keep Christ in Christmas?

Introduction

Hello my fellow hubbers that magical time of year is upon us, the time of year when we celebrate the end of the harvest season and the onset of Winter with all sorts of different traditions. One of the most fascinating and fun parts of human culture is cultural diffusion, when customs and traditions bleed through one culture into another. Most of the holidays we celebrate here in the United States were born this way, by grafting the traditions of differing belief systems together to create an amalgamated mess of a celebration.

In this hub I want to poke fun at the so-called War on Christmas trumped up by the media each and every holiday season and talk a bit about how much of our culture and language is handed down to us not just by Christianity but by countless other traditions.

The Eight Planets

It's something we learn within our first few years of education, the names of the planets. There were nine recognized when I was a kid but currently there are eight celestial bodies classed as full-blooded planets in our solar system. These planets were discovered and studied over the course of centuries, millenia really and they generally bear the names not of Christian figures or even Abrahamic prophets, but of Roman deities.

The religious far-right seem to get offended when their particular deity is left out of the public square in any field or forum. The War on Christmas is a great example. Christmas is, as a holiday, an all-consuming commercialized juggernaut that has come to dominate the entire post-Halloween season. It is not the oldest religious tradition surrounding the Solstice, far from it, and yet any departure from its religious themes seems to outrage the religious right who insist that this is one nation under God founded on Christian principles and beliefs.

But the planets are not named after Christianity and yet they don't become angry at this. Imagine the outrage that their God must feel at having the planets he created to share the sky with Earth named after the deities of some filthy polytheists. The Bible states that those who worship other Gods are deserving of death, that they will be cast into the Lake of Fire on judgment day for serving false gods. So how do these same folks feel about the planets being named after Roman Gods?

Generally the Christian right doesn't give a shit about the planets being named for pagan gods, which is odd because they seem to want every other aspect of their lives to revolve around and acknowledge Christianity. I can see some people protesting my point by saying, “Well they don't care because the planets were discovered by people from all over the world, and whoever discovers it gets to name it first, we can't just change the name at a later date and steal it right out from under the people who found it!”

But wait, isn't that exactly what Christmas is? A mish-mash of stolen holiday parts sewn into a slip-shod Frankenstein's holiday? Yep.

Keep Thor in Thursday

Another area of blatant laughable hypocrisy is in the names of the days of the week. Thor, as most everyone knows, is the Norse God of Thunder, famously wielding the hammer Mjolnir. The son of Odin lends his name to a day of the week, namely Thursday (duh). Wednesday, the day that comes before, is actually named after Odin, though its a different spelling of the name. So we have Moonday, that's Monday. Tuesday, named after the Norse deity Tyr, alternatively spelled Tiw. Then Odin, Thor, Frigg, the Roman God Saturn and finally the Sun itself.

So where is the outrage over this? Why isn't a single Christian on the planet petitioning to turn Friday into Christday? After all it would bring religious meaning to TGIF if it were TGIC, Thank God It's Christday! We should see Christian protestors complaining that we are paying homage to pagan gods and that our children are being indoctrinated by calendar companies and school lunch menus. Surely we can summon some faux outrage out of the media machine about something like this! I mean Fox News hosts like Bill O'Reilly lambast the usage of the phrase Happy Holidays as an assault on their religious liberty by grumpy atheists so surely a term used every single WEEK, like Thursday, and not just once a year should raise some Christian complaints.

The Xmas Marks the Spot

Many Christians don't know this but the letter X can be symbolic of the name of Christ, this comes from the Greek letter X. For those who believe using the term Xmas was actually a secular attack on the mention of Christ in public I have news for you, using the X to abbreviate Christmas began in the 16th century and is attested as far back as the 1550s. This isn't some insidious twentieth century attempt to remove your precious savior from the public square, it's a Christian abbreviation that later became ubiquitous.

The very phrase “Keep the Christ in Christmas” is mislead at its core as a knee-jerk reaction to an attack that never actually took place and still isn't happening anywhere in the Western world. There are countries where people are put to death or imprisoned for espousing Christian beliefs and things like the “War on Christmas” belittle the real persecution and suffering of real people.


O Pagan Tree O Pagan Tree

Ever wonder what exactly the evergreen tree has to do with the birth of the baby Jesus? The answer, of course, is absolutely nothing. The adoration and adornment of evergreen trees, in whole or in part, actually stretches back to pagan traditions. Because they don't lose their leaves like deciduous varieties of tree the evergreen was seen as a symbol of eternal life or longevity. It was at a much later date that Christians began bringing them into their homes to create the quintessential holiday fire hazard.

From my old blog
From my old blog | Source

Much like the pagan background of Easter Eggs and the Easter Bunny Christians ignorant of the history of their own holiday don't realize that there is no association between the Christmas tree and any of the stories surrounding Jesus' birth. Anger has actually ensued when political figures dare to label their decorative Winter pine as a “Holiday Tree” instead of a “Christmas Tree”. Yet no one ever seems to complain that the song O Christmas Tree literally appears to be worshiping the tree as an idol of everlasting vitality.

I'm Dreaming of a White Jesus?

There is one area of Christmas that has always pissed me off even back when I was a Christian and that is the white-washing of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. If you're a Christian and you put out a Nativity with Caucasian characters you should probably be ashamed of yourself. For folks who claim to care about truth and claim to love their savior with all their hearts you'd think the least these people could do is get the color of his skin right.

It's bad enough that you've embraced a myth about God impregnating a young teen virgin with his son just so that he can one day be brutally murdered for sins that you're too selfish to take responsibility for yourself. At least have the wherewithal to take your own mythology seriously and have a racially correct Nativity. And if the complaint is that racially correct nativity scenes are hard to find than simply don't have one. Who exactly said that Jesus WANTED his birth to be celebrated? Did Jesus ever once tell his disciples that he wanted his birth celebrated either during his lifetime or in the future?

I'm not saying that Christians shouldn't celebrate the birth of Jesus but if you're going to do it at least attempt to do it right. Keep in mind that this is the same deity who gets pissed if you use his name in vain, imagine how disrespected he feels when you distort his ethnicity and race to make him white instead of a Middle-Eastern Jew. I mean come on, the Jews are his chosen people remember!? He didn't appear before a group of pasty white folks at Stonehenge to spread his message, no, he appeared in the Middle-East. And yet you put out a white Mary, Joseph and Jesus and still go to church with a clear conscience?

Conclusions

Celebrating the time of the Winter Solstice is common to a great many religious and cultural traditions. This time of year and the celebrations surrounding it do not belong to Christianity as some in the religious right would like us to believe. Instead we must share this time of year and make it about unity instead of division. It is true that here in America some secular groups would like to prevent the melding of religion and government by making holiday displays friendly to all faiths. This does absolutely nothing to “persecute” Christians but instead stops the alienation of non-Christians. We Americans live in a nation that is predominantly Christian but we do not live in a Christian nation and cannot allow our government to support one religious tradition over another.

The hypocrisy of those who claim there is a War on Christmas is as amusing as it is frustrating. Whatever you're celebrating and whoever you're celebrating along with I wish you the best and always remember that the Earth's axial tilt is the REAL reason for the Winter season.


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Comments 37 comments

Lybrah 3 years ago

I liked your hub. Very interesting that the X in Xmas does in fact stand for Christ. I always thought that non-religious people purposefully omitted His name so that they wouldn't offend anyone. This is a great and fun time of year for believers. The birth of Jesus is definitely something to celebrate, because of what He did for us. For you, though, I guess it's not that exciting, because you have nothing to celebrate. Do you partake in giving and receiving of presents and decorating your house (many non-religious people do)? I say if you don't believe in Christ, you have no reason to celebrate this glorious holiday.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again Author

I do celebrate this time of year mostly because its part of the culture I live in and doesn't actually require you to believe any of the supernatural traditions. What REASONS do non-Christians have to celebrate you ask? Family. Friends. Loved-ones. The end of another year and the ushering in of a new one. One of my favorite stories of all time is Dicken's Christmas Carol because it emphasizes what the actual 'Christmas spirit' is, charity, togetherness, family, kindness and all the best traits of humanity, no god required.


Lybrah 3 years ago

But the whole point is to celebrate Jesus! If you celebrate family, friends, and the end of the year (that's what New Year's is for), then you're taking a special religious day and making it all about yourself. Remember, it is CHRISTmas, not "Celebrate Yourself."


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Whoa! Titen-Sxull, you have a certifiable stalker! Merry Christmas!


Lybrah 3 years ago

Well, Austinstar...long time no see ...I see you too often on here as well...


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 3 years ago from New Mexico

Lybrah, the whole point to celebrating Christmas for Christians is Jesus, however, what about everyone else, like Jews (don't celebrate Christmas they have Hanukkah which is over now) , Hindus, Atheists, Pagans, etc? And why do you think this day was celebrated before Jesus supposedly existed? Christmas, the one with Santa, is more a mixture of many different religious holidays, Saturnalia being one of them. It is where the world celebrates the winter solstice because let's face it, that has been around since before man observed it and celebrated since man noticed. Jesus only came round maybe 2000 years ago. and if you are an exChristian who studied the life of Jesus you know that he is a fictional person. In fact, even if you believe Jesus was real, this holiday was only created after Christianity became an official religion around 300 ACE. Jesus wasn't written about until 30 years after his death by people who never could have met him and there is nothing written about Jesus ANYWHERE before the Bible was written 30-50 years after Jesus died by the people who never met him. But then why was this holiday celebrated before the supposed birth of Jesus? Because it's not about Jesus.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again Author

How exactly is celebrating family and friends celebrating myself? That makes no sense whatsoever. At any rate you know how I feel about the story of Jesus, not only is there no single shred of evidence for any of it BUT its also a horrible story about a brutal human sacrifice and an underage virgin impregnated by a God who set up a massive astrological display in the sky, including angelic appearances to shepherds, but didn't even have the common decency to arrange for there to be a room at the inn for her.

There's a wonderful heartwarming part in Dicken's Christmas Carol where Scrooge promises to always keep Christmas in his heart, all year round, and he's not talking about bowing before the baby Jesus like a sycophant, he's talking about the sense of kindness, empathy, and warmth that make up the best of humanity.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Hey Lybrah, I've been writing on a little site called Bubblews. You should go read my Christmas post! http://www.bubblews.com/news/1779569-the-bible-say...


Lybrah 3 years ago

I'll check on it Austinstar, but I've written a few new hubs of my own...so check them out. That goes for everyone here.


Lybrah 3 years ago

Titen-Sxull, what other holidays do you celebrate then? Do you celebrate Hannukah, even though you are not Jewish? How about Ramadan? Or Kwanzaa--is that not a holiday that celebrates togetherness?

When you say you celebrate Christmas because it is part of our culture, does that mean that you do it simply because everyone else does?

As for Mary's impregnation, Jesus is Gods son directly (as you know), so it only makes sense that the Holy Spirit impregnated her. As there being no room at the Inn for her, well, the fact that the King of Kings was born in a measly manger means something, like that fact that Jesus came humbly, not to scold, but to heal. When he returns at the second coming, that's when he will really bring it...which makes me wonder, if you the rapture were to happen today and the tribulation started, would you believe again, as that might be proof it's all real?


Lybrah 3 years ago

Austinstar---pretty obnoxious article. I'm commenting here because it won't let me do it on the actual site, but really, so what if the bible tells us to pray in the closet? That's only to make a point--that when praying you should let nothing distract you. And no, I'm not really that Christlike, though I strive to be. No one is like Christ, which is why we desperately need Him. Without Him, I am no better than you are--we'd both be damned. But my belief saves me from the horrendous doom you'll have to face if you don't get yourself straight with God.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

There is no god to 'get straight' with, Lybrah. I believe in life BEFORE death, and since I came from stardust, I will return to stardust. And so will you.

I can't believe you said, "so what if the bible tells us to pray in the closet?" You really have been brainwashed to death and I feel sorry for you. Just take from the bible what you want to believe and be done with it.

I am done with you.


Lybrah 3 years ago

Stardust, huh? Keep it up with that Carl Sagan bullcrap then. And you're done with me? You're breaking my heart!


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again Author

"does that mean that you do it simply because everyone else does?"

Why exactly do you think most people go through the motions of religion Lybrah? Why do you think there are so many Christians who show up to church a few times a year, or even every Sunday, even though they've never read the Bible and don't really believe wholeheartedly, its because of social and cultural pressures.

I celebrate at this time of year because my family does and it'd be cold-hearted of me not to reciprocate their gift giving and bonding. It would be strange indeed if upon receiving gifts from my family members and loved ones I decided not to give them anything in return and turn the whole thing into a bitter argument over what exactly we're celebrating. Those who want to celebrate Jesus' birth, or whatever else, this time of year, can do so, but like I said for me its about love, togetherness, giving, and all the best of humanity. We're all free to believe in what we want and for me that doesn't involve the supernatural but it can still involve celebration.

I wouldn't convert if the rapture took place. The Bible depicts God's return as a bloodbath the ultimate result of which is the vast majority of humanity being tormented for eternity without end, without cause, and without mercy. This would include a lot of generally good people who lived decent lives but either were non-Christians or simply had too much unrepentant sin in their lives, so every human being going to Heaven would have at least one person they loved, at least one family member or good friend, being burned in a Lake of Fire for eternity. To bow before or worship such a monster would be cowardly and to spend an eternity its presence would be just as bad as any Hell, especially as the same monster upon his throne sent members of your own family to burn in Hell. Such a God that the Bible, if taken literally, depicts would be evil in the truest form such an abstract concept can take.

So no, if your God turned out to be real I wouldn't become a Christian, anymore than I'd be in the Cthulhu cult if Cthulhu turned out to be real. Why would anyone serve a God who endorses slavery, murders children and whose best plans to redeem humanity involve either the sacrifice and mutilation of animals or, in his most advanced plan yet, vicarious redemption through brutal human sacrifice?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Where exactly do you think the heavier elements came from Lybrah, if not from stars? Did God just force those into existence out of nothing using verbal commands to? It still wouldn't change the fact that stars produce the heavier elements that form planets. Whether God poofed the Earth out of nothing or not we're still made of the stuff that cooks in Stars and then explodes out of them causing eventual accretion into planets. Human beings are carbon based. Carbon occurs naturally without the supernatural. So yeah, stardust, more plausible than magic and, ironically, the truth turns out to be more magical than magic when you consider it.


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 3 years ago from New Mexico

The whole story of god and jesus is more unbelievable bullshit than most other stories. What blows my mind is that people are stupid enough to believe such nonsense in the face of the evidence science has produced and the multiple unbelievable religions that came before the Christian religions that are still practiced today. The fact is that science has not just produced evidence to back up what we are telling you but it has put it into practical applications that we use in our everyday lives, good or bad. Christianity has done nothing to produce any of its claims made by jesus or god. People who claim to be christian, especially you lybrah, don't even practice what jesus desired of his followers. I have yet to see any christian put his money where his mouth is. I have yet to see anything I would call miraculous, I have yet to see any "creation" become so unexplainable that onky god could have done it. I have yet to see any evidence that god or anything from the bible isn't a fictional scam that morons such as yourself don't fall for because they need this false sense of hope in tgeir lives because their complete ignorance makes them feel powerless in the face of irrational fear of the unknown. If anything the bible said had any truth to it I might still be a believer, but 20+ years of research has shown me its a scam created by the authors to full idiots into believing in such nonsense. Unless you can prodice evindence then you are wasting your breath with you fear mongering bullshit.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 3 years ago from back in the lab again Author

The problem is a mix of things, one of the largest among them being cultural and social pressures. For many children they are born into religious household, with religious parents and taught to obey religious authority figures as if they were entirely trustworthy. When you're programmed from a young age you can believe just about anything.

The amazing thing is that even adults fall for the emotional manipulation that typifies a conversion. You can see their stories on the 700 club every damn day, some alcoholic woman who turned to prostitution to keep up her drinking and drugs and one day saw a televangelist on TV and decided to turn her life around. Evangelism tends to prey on the emotionally weak and downtrodden, telling them that even though they are sinners they are loved and can be saved. It's a mentality that keeps them coming back to the altar for dose after dose of Jesus in the same way that they once did for alcohol.

I saw it in my own Father, who after years of alcohol abuse turned to abusing religion as his drug. He never became a kinder gentler man, he was still the same stubborn deadbeat asshole, but now had dreams of starting his own ministry and wasted countless family dollars on making thousands of copies of tracts at the local copy shop to hand out to people. His behavior really wasn't all that different. Instead of mumbling and grumbling in a drunken stupor he spent hours and hours each day mumbling in "tongues", repeating the same gibberish syllables that did nothing to change his life.

Swapping delusion for addiction is common.

It's important that we don't consider the believers stupid. Any one of us could have been tricked into believing something similar. Of course we have the advantage of all that research you mentioned and that's part of the reason I do what I do, because I made it out of fundamentalist Christianity by reading and studying the Bible and its history, by really thinking critically and wanting to know what was REALLY ACTUALLY true about the world around me. Education is an important part of getting people away from these potentially harmful superstitions, because it means they find their own way out and thats a journey that is richly rewarding.


Lybrah 3 years ago

Your father is not swapping delusion for addiction. He may have had a problem with drinking but turned to Jesus. Turning to Jesus doesn't automatically make you a better person, but it does guarantee your salvation. Your father will be rewarded in Heaven.

You may feel "rewarded" now that you are "free from the Christianity cult," but really, you have NOTHING.


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Nothing, the same amount of evidence you have that any of your supernatural beliefs amount to ANYTHING more than fiction.


Mark Knoles 2 years ago

Titen-Sxull

The story of your father explains your hatred of religion. For some, it is the sight of war, for others it is finding out they are of the homosexual persuasion which they were taught was a sin. For you, it is your nature to rebel against your dad and be the opposite of what he is, which made you an atheist. That is free, no charge! Next!!! LAWL.


Lybrah 2 years ago

So sad...


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

I don't hate my father. I do happen to hate his religion.

Psychoanalysis failed. LOL.


Mark Knoles 2 years ago

It never fails. The patient never can see the truth. It is easier to watch the whole game from the stands than it is on the field. LAWL...Majik!


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

Hey Mark, why don't you go Fawkes yourself. LOL.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

And the patient never sees themself as the 'ball' either. So funny.


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 2 years ago from New Mexico

Where does my hatred of religion come from, Dr Mark? Ha ha. Do you qualify to psychoanalyse?


Lybrah 2 years ago

Artblack was just talking about Titen-Sxull, specifically. He was not talking about you.


Mark Knoles 2 years ago

Titan,

I see I hit a nerve! We are getting somewhere now.

Art,

I have no way of knowing by just one post. But usually, the more an atheist talks, the more likely the truth will eventually come out.

And yes, I am qualified.


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 2 years ago from New Mexico

Well, I have many posts all over this place and I always answer questions without reservations so ask me any thing.


Mark Knoles 2 years ago

I will do some research and get back with you


Mark Knoles 2 years ago

I actually do have a couple of questions.

Have you ever belonged to an organized religion?

Are you straight or gay?

Have you lost an immediate family member in a way that was traumatic? (parents in their and your youth, brother/sister, child, etc...grandparents, older aunts/uncles. Death from old age doesn't count)

Been in a war?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

User no longer exists eh? I guess the nerve we hit was exposing a troll who must be off somewhere haunting another bridge.


Lybrah 2 years ago

So...does that mean you're not going to answer the questions...for me? I know how you were brought up and all that, but what of the other questions?


Titen-Sxull profile image

Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again Author

I'm not sure if his questions were meant for me or for ArtBlack.

To answer them:

I'm straight. I do, however, support gay rights.

I did recently lose a relative, though age and chronic health problems was a factor and of course it has no bearing on my atheism since I was an atheist before their death and still am.

I've never been in a war.

Really I find it sad that people like Mark and Beth on the other hub continue to read into my hubs with attempts at psychoanalysis that do nothing to address my actual arguments. It really doesn't say much for their beliefs if they cannot produce anything of substance. It's whats known as an ad hominem fallacy.


Lybrah 2 years ago

Thank you. Maybe they think they are trying to help somehow. Sorry for your loss.


artblack01 profile image

artblack01 2 years ago from New Mexico

I was raised Catholic, because my mother was Dominican, but she converted to Methodist, never had any sort of impression on the Churches I went to and several girl friends who had taken me to church, but at that time I was already questioning the validity of Church and the religion in general.

I think that answers both the first questions, I am straight.

And No to the last two as well. Never lost anyone traumatically, and never been to war. All though I have been shot at. I have more of a maker philosophy than one where I would need to fight anyone for any reason... also I don't particularly hold any loyalties to any nations.


Lybrah 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing, Artblack. Oh, yeah, I have some new hubs up if anyone wants to read them...

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