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Merry Christmas from Samizdata

Merry Christmas. Strange to think that utterance might be seen as politically loaded these days, with some demanding the anodyne Happy Holidays instead, because Christmas is exclusionary.

I may not be a believer myself, but I am well aware that today is not some random day off work with no particular meaning, a context-free occasion when people inexplicably eat too much and have nightmarish encounters with family members who can be safely avoided for the rest of the year.

No, bollocks to that, it is a Christian holiday called… Christmas.

So as a staunch believer in the merits of appropriating whatever bits of someone else’s culture I wish to, have a Merry Christmas!

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69 comments to Merry Christmas from Samizdata

  • Alisa

    Merry Christmas, Perry and the rest of the SI bunch.

  • Simon Jester

    A shit-faced Yule to y’all!

  • Clovis Sangrail

    And a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the Samizdatistas.

  • Patrick Crozier

    People who use the term “Happy Holidays” can fuck right off. It’s “Christmas” and I say that as a proud atheist.

  • the other rob

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everybody.

    Has anyone got a good hangover cure?

  • llamas

    Bah.

    Humbug.

    😀

    Merry Christmas. Happy Hannukah. Joyful Kwanzaa. Doleful Festivus. Whatever makes you happy today, wish you plenty of it.

    We always used to get details of the fesatings at the Secret Headquarters – what happened? To start the ball rolling . . . . . .

    Beef Wellington with Yorkshire pudding, roast tatties, Brussel sprouts, Eton mess, cheese, port, pecans, pears, and finally, Christmas pudding flamed with straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey and with two hidden Barber dimes. The locals are confused . . . . .

    And then a nap.

    Merry Christmas, everybody.

    llater,

    llamas

  • RAB

    I’m not a believer either, but it’s Christmas goddamit! So Happy Christmas y’all.

  • Robert

    Happy End Of The Soviet Union day!
    If that isn’t worth celebrating I don’t know what is.

  • Stonyground

    I’m an atheist too and I call it Christmas because that is what it’s called. Most of the days of the week are named after Norse gods and our months are mostly named after Roman ones. We don’t feel the need to call them something else just because we don’t believe in those gods any more.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well said indeed, Perry!

    And a very Merry Christmas to all. :>))))

  • Merry Christmas to you. As an atheist myself, I think Ayn Rand had it right in her praise of this holiday. And why should anyone despise peace on earth and good will to men?

    I often notice that holidays in general tend to degrade. In the US, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Veterans’ Day mean nothing to many people except a three-day weekend, and Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays have been smushed together into a single all-purpose Presidents’ Day, as if the two of them counted for no more than Martin Luther King by himself (meaning no disrespect to King’s memory; the undue exaggeration isn’t his doing). I suppose this sort of cultural amnesia is inevitable, but it’s worthwhile keeping alive the memory of where the holidays came from. This morning C and I are listening to the Messiah (and I was struck by how much of it is prayers for and rejoicing in the hope of a good ruler and a just kingdom).

  • llamas,

    Okay, last night we had pot roast with carrots, sweet potato, and onion; green beans; and sugar free cherry pie for desert (I actually prefer the greater tartness of that version; I find a lot of American deserts oversugared).

  • I am struck by how many fellow atheists in these comments share my views on this 😎

  • the other rob

    If we’re talking food, I’ll mention that we just put a bone-in leg of lamb in the oven. With it, we shall have roast potatoes, roasted parsnips, sauteed brussels sprouts, Yorkshire pud and Paxo sage & onion stuffing. There’s a bottle of white Chateauneuf Du Pape chilling in the ‘fridge.

    While we wait for it to cook, I’m tiding myself over with a glass of Laphroaig. While openly carrying a Beretta 92A1, in a Fobus paddle holster that I purchased direct from Israel. I wonder how the politically correct would like them cookies? 😉

  • John Galt III

    I am a Christian and proud of it. Our sermon on Christmas Eve last night by our Lutheran Minister here in Montana was giving us the backbone to tell the Leftist, anti-Christian and pro-Muslim bureaucracy and politicians to get used to people saying Merry Christmas again and if the Obamas and Clintons don’t like it, too bad. Great sermon.

  • the other rob: We were going to have Yorkshire pudding, but as it worked out, I got a cut of beef suited to pot roasting rather than oven roasting. Maybe next year. Yorkshire pudding is a treat!

  • I actually prefer the greater tartness of that version; I find a lot of American deserts oversugared.

    When my inamorata finds an interesting desert recipe on-line, she typically reduces the sugar by 1/3rd unless it is an American recipe, in which case she usually halves it.

    Yorkshire pudding is a treat!

    It is the Food of the Gods 😀

  • Myno

    Mele Kalikimaka everyone! We don’t celebrate Xmas, having poured our best into American Thanksgiving (we host a feast for our friends in the Freethinkers group we help run), but we love us a Pagan Midwinter Festival Season, in all its guises. For all the goodness that Xmas borrowed from the PWF, we cherish and do our best to spread the notions of peace and goodwill. And yes, as an erstwhile Cold Warrior, the 25th of the Fall of the ol’ SovU had its share of the Macallan raised in remembrance.

  • The Jannie

    As one of Bernard Cornwell’s characters comments – “Christmas is just Yule without the fun”.

  • PeterT

    Food of the Gods

    I thought hippos ate grass

  • bobby b

    “In the US, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Veterans’ Day mean nothing to many people except a three-day weekend.”

    On the coasts, they’re simply days on which you can’t buy booze. In my part of the country, Memorial Day is a big thing, with everyone who has a uniform in uniform, flags at half-mast until the flag ceremony at noon, ceremonial rifles barking and bugles crying, followed by a long community picnic and many toasts of gratitude to those who have gone before us. Way bigger then the Fourth of July.

    As another atheist – one of many here, apparently, as Libertarians seemingly don’t like taking direction from anybody, corporeal or not – Christmas to me is basically a celebration of community and tradition, which can form around many things, from religion to geography to shared moral beliefs. You can celebrate God redeeming mankind, or celebrate mankind, or simply celebrate life and friends. It’s all good.

    Now to the range for the annual Christmas “rifles at 200 yards” contest, followed by too much food and drink. (Around here, that’s the definition of “politically correct.”)

  • I thought hippos ate grass

    Common misconception, man, we smoke it, not eat it.

  • Right On Myno !!!

    “Numba One Day of Christmas My Tutu Give To me

    One Myna Bird in One Papaya Tree.”

    You can take it from there .

    Aloha

  • Thailover

    Yeah, worship Christ-Mass, the day Catholics presume to eat their god and drink his blood, because as any cannibal worth is salt knows, you are what you eat. So eating Jesus is one hell of a way to get the spirit to “indwell” inside you.

    Before you Samizdatites positively orgasm over your “christian” holiday, let’s not lose sight that it was fake from the beginning. It was yet another example of the Catholic church trying to usurp other people’s holidays. Yule is Germanic and tied to the winter equinox. Hanukkah is Jewish and, yes, this year started on christmas eve. And bible Jesus was born in the spring because the shepherds’ sheep were grazing on new grass. And last but not least, the nativity scene as well as the idiotic “do you hear what I hear” christmas carol are completely F*tarded because they were apparently put together by people bible-illiterate. There is no bible scene with three wise-guys staring at a baby in a food trough with a star shining down on them.

    So it seems that some people commenting on this list has fallen under the spell of the “war on christmas” morons like Bill O’Reilly. That is, “happy holidays” isn’t to suck the meaning out of christmas, it’s to recognize that there are a fuck-load of holidays piled one atop the other during the months of late November, December + New Year’s Eve.
    Happy holidays is INCLUSIONARY. It’s not designed to rape your fake holiday, so cool your jets.

  • Sadly, at this merry time of the year, I am a bit piqued by Thailover’s comment immediately above. As one who knows that atheism is as much a belief of Faith as is any religion, I find he lacks rationality.

    As an alternative analysis (though running to over 2,800 words), I was rather taken by his first of 12 Christmas articles by Walter Russell Mead in The American Interest [Free viewing limitation]. Here are a few excerpts that particularly took my fancy.

    Every new Christmas season brings its harvest of lawsuits by groups trying to displace manger scenes in public places. […] In any case, the manger scene started out in the counter-culture; it was a protest movement against the materialism and complacency of mainstream Christianity. The first one seems to have been assembled by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 as part of his program to bring the truths of Christianity to the masses.

    In Anglo-American history, the Puritans gave up on trying to “put the Christ back in Christmas” and just tried to get rid of Christmas completely. They banned it outright in Massachusetts and did the same thing in the Old Country after the English Civil War. Many of the Founding Fathers had distinctly grinch-like attitudes toward a holiday they associated with papistry and superstition. Well into the nineteenth century, many New England Christians ignored Christmas; according to one report, no college in New England celebrated the Christmas holiday as late as 1847.

    Christmas never disappeared from the English-speaking world, but once the more zealous Protestants got back with the program, the winter festival exploded to become what it is today: The most widely celebrated and distinctive holiday we have. (Oddly, the most anti-Christmas Christians in former times are the most zealous celebrants of the holiday today. A 2013 poll showed that evangelical Christians are more likely than Catholics or mainline Protestants to celebrate Christmas as a “strongly religious” holiday. […] In a further wrinkle, many of America’s most beloved modern Christmas songs are written by Jews. “White Christmas” is by Irving Berlin, for example, and the author of “Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer” came from a secular Jewish home in New Rochelle.

    In some of the countries in the Arab speaking world, all public expression of Christian faith is banned by law, and putting up so much as a holiday wreath or a picture of Santa Claus where the public can see is strictly verboten. […] a reported 28 people were killed by Christmas bombings of churches in Nigeria on Christmas Eve in 2011. In Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, Christians continue to face violence, discrimination, and suspicion. ISIS has martyred dozens of Christians and sold many into slavery. Based on current trends, the 21st century could well be the century in which the long Christian presence in the Middle East comes to an end; […] Nevertheless, even as Christians and others suffer persecution in so much of the world today, we can take some satisfaction in seeing that in almost all of the historic lands of the Christian faith, religious minorities, Christian or not, are more free than ever to practice and proclaim their beliefs without fear of persecution.

    It is the commercial, consumerist side of Christmas that has won the most acceptance worldwide, while the faith that St. Francis hoped to promote can still get you in trouble. Santa Claus is welcome where the baby Jesus is not. Santa Clauses, reindeer, and elves prance freely through the streets of Tokyo where few have ever really thought about the Christian religion. American public schools with zero tolerance for manger scenes revel in an orgy of seasonal Santa kitsch.

    Why not try it all. And even the 11 to follow, which I assume will each have their thought-provoking points.

    Best regards, and Happy Christmas

  • Happy holidays is INCLUSIONARY

    Nah. In the UK we celebrate Christmas whilst being well aware what Yuletide is. We all know the pagan origins of the Christmas tree. And it takes a certain amount of wilful blindness not to see the kulturkampf behind loaded term “Happy Holidays”. So as Patrick Crozier said above “People who use the term “Happy Holidays” can fuck right off. It’s “Christmas” and I say that as a proud atheist.”

  • Derek Buxton

    And a Merry Christmas to all writers and readers of this great Blog, enjoy!

  • I add my good wishes and add myself to the Atheist Chorus. God may be imaginary, but Christmas is a definite fact, and I wish everyone a happy time at Christmas, whatever they merely believe, including the Afghans in my local shops. If they mind being wished this, they conceal it very well.

  • On Christmas Day, i.e. yesterday, I was walking around in London and was keeping a lookout for Merry Christmas signs. I spotted just the one very dim and reticent one. I really don’t know if this signifies anything, but I do seem to recall more such signs in the same places in years gone by.

  • Thailover

    Nigel, with all due respect, it’s you who, once again, lacks rationality.

    First off, nothing I wrote in the post you responded to is incorrect.

    Secondly, the “a” prefix means not, non-, or without. A-theism is non-theism. Non-belief is not a belief system in exactly the same way a non-ham sandwich isn’t a ham sandwich.

    Thirdly, the consequence of the Catholic attempt to usurp other people’s holiday, starting somewhere around the 4th or 5th century in the case of christmas, is that there is and has always been TWO christmasses. There’s the religious mythical christmas, and the secular mythical christmas. It was the secular, Brumalia-type christmas that the Puritans reacted to, as well as the true recognition that it was in fact an usurped Pagan holiday under the guise of something christian. It was the drinking and partying christmas that the fun-hating believer groups disliked so much. In the eyes of the puritans, this world is fallen and life is meant to be a chore.

    Fourthly, NO ONE is going to bring “the truths of christianity to the masses” by propagating what is a falsehood even according to the bible, i.e. the nativity scene. That is unless you subscribe to Paul of Tarsis’s claim that “For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?” But that’s another discussion.

    And that christians and christianity are targeted in Muslim nations…has nothing to do with the price of rice in china as we enigmatic Americans often say.

    “It is the commercial, consumerist side of Christmas that has won the most acceptance worldwide, while the faith that St. Francis hoped to promote can still get you in trouble.”

    An odd comment by Mead considering that his entire previous paragraph was about Christians being persecuted in Muslim nations, prompted even by the image of Santa (A Germanic fairy-elf who is obviously not a christian character, despite attempts to graft him to the catholic patron saint of whores, i.e. Saint Nicholas. That’s not a slam BTW, he’s actually the patron saint of whores).

    If you’re going to call someone irrational, it might help to show that what they wrote is in, I don’t know, somehow, someway, in ANY way, inaccurate perhaps. ‘Just a suggestion.

    Happy Flying Mule deer day.

  • Thailover

    Perry, with all due respect, I expected you to see in more depth than that.

    While “happy holidays” is happily used as a club by leftist fascists (I, as an Ayn Rand Objectivest, am among their biggest enemies BTW), the actual “Happy Hollidays” REASON, as I said before, is there are a boat-load of holidays that overlap one another. Many if not most range over a series of days rather than being one single day. The 25th, just as an example, was a day that the Yule, Hanukkah and Christmas, and no doubt others, are ongoing all on the same day. (And yes, I know Pagans and Jews.)

    And Christmas itself BTW isn’t what it used to be, as Yule goes 12 days, christmas in some traditions did also, ending on Jan 6th, Epiphany, said to be “Old Christmas”. A day, according to Appalachian tradition, elder bushes bloom in the moonlight, animals talk and the dead rise to right the wrongs of their death. One of my favorite poems is Old Christmas Morning by Roy Helton.

    Happy magick flying mule deer day.

  • Thailover

    Nigel, and just a friendly reminder and after-thought to Walter Russell Mead and anyone else who may need reminding, “Arab speaking world” is a poor substitute for ‘Muslim Nations”, since most Muslims in the world are not Arabic nor Arabic speaking in anyway or form. Indonesia being one example, and a great example of intolerance, as the penalty for a woman wearing a “too tight” dress is public flogging.

  • Laird

    Well, Thailover’s rants notwithstanding, I’d like to join the chorus of atheists here wishing all Samizdatistas a Merry Christmas. And to Thailover a happy Boxing Day (I think that one is specific enough!). And I hope everyone had a suitably festive Saturnalia (which ended on the 23rd).

    Incidentally, I second Perry’s stance as being “a staunch believer in the merits of appropriating whatever bits of someone else’s culture I wish to.”

    To the other rob: white Chateauneuf Du Pape with leg of lamb? You are truly an iconoclast. And to Nigel and others of a similar “understanding”, anyone who thinks that atheism is “a matter of faith” simply doesn’t understand atheism. That comment is merely projection.

    I’m looking forward to the photos of the annual bacchanalia at Casa Samizdata. Or is that on New Year’s?

  • DP

    Dear Mr de Havilland

    ” …with some demanding the anodyne Happy Holidays instead, because Christmas is exclusionary.”

    Christmas: celebrating the birth of Christ, peace on Earth and goodwill to all mankind.

    Can’t see the ‘exclusionary’ there.

    Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous 2017.

    DP
    Vaguely Christian

  • Thailover

    Bobby B wrote,

    “As another atheist – one of many here, apparently, as Libertarians seemingly don’t like taking direction from anybody, corporeal or not – Christmas to me is basically a celebration of community and tradition, which can form around many things, from religion to geography to shared moral beliefs. You can celebrate God redeeming mankind, or celebrate mankind, or simply celebrate life and friends. It’s all good.”

    Agreed. Ironically, I’m usually the one arguing that atheists, IMO, should celebrate Christmas instead of the dull-as-dishwater “Solstice day” PRECISELY because of the human tendency toward frivolity. We joyful people like celebration, not dolful recognition. People don’t celebrate St Pattrick being kicked out of England only to bring catholicism to those “ignorant” heathens in Ireland, rather people drink green beer, get pissed drunk and punch their buddies who are not wearing green. People don’t celebrate valentines day as an ancient fertility rite, but as a day to buy gifts for your lady in a formal attmept to get laid. And yes, “Jesus birthday”, even admitted as fake by most knowledgable christians, is being surplanted by the completely ridiculous frivolity of a magic fairy-elf who has a team of flying mule deer and delivers toys to billions of children in one night.

    However my tone in my above posts is due to the “Christmas, call it that or fuck you” attitude, which reminds me of the “Amer-ka, love it or fucking die” type nonsense bigotry.

    I know Marxist atheists. I know wiccan atheists. I know occultist atheists, I know atheists that believe in ghosts and deamons (and Jinn), and I even know atheists that believe in Atlantis, the ramblings of Nostradomas, and that old fraud Blavatski. The idea that “Happy Holidays” = SJW nonsense is merely a half truth. The rational truth behind happy holidays is that there is simply a lot of holidays within the same time period, and to defer to “christianity or fuck you, you’re a bigot” is something I don’t “cotton” to.

  • Thailover

    Laird, I’ll ironically mirror the sentiments of others here and say call it Merry Yule or fuck you! LOL. I have no doubt that the ones screaming fuck you to those of differing ideas will be ignored and/or not thought badly of, while those acknowledging Yule, Christmas and Hanukkah, etc will be viewed as intolerant monstrous ass-hats. Such is the way in the backwards-land we call modernity.

    Merry Yule. Love it or leave it, lol.

  • TJ

    Thailover
    Do you have any historical references to this Yule, oh and the years it was celebrated? I am always amazed by the nonsense written about Eostre, all from just one reference! Also I am very interested in what type of calendar these pagans used?

    It is worthwhile looking at how the date of the winter solstice has varied over the last 2000 years!

    I hope you realise that Christmas (25th) appears to have first been celebrated in Rome, so the date has little relevance to Northern Europe.

    The Nativity took place in what is now Palestine… Seasons? hmmm Roman warm period? don’t think it got very cold at that time of year.

    You do know that the so called star is mentioned in the Annals of the Celestial empire?

  • And a belated Merry Christmas to all in here.

    I would have posted something yesterday, except that I was too involved in preparing our Christmas Day tradition of a Full English Brekkie (the fullness of which means that we have to postpone Christmas Day dinner to Boxing Day). Yes, after Breakfast — some time around noon — we all assume positions of repose and lapse into a semi-comatose state until late in the evening.

    And now I must go and get involved with the preparation of Boxing Day Dinner (Roast Beast + Yorks Pud, duh.)

    Best wishes to all,

    Kim (& Connie)

  • Thailover

    “Happy Boxing Day”
    Wasn’t that the day St. Jerome and a boxing kangaroo fought back the Chinese in the Boxer rebellion?
    Yeah, ‘Thought so. 😀

  • the other rob

    To the other rob: white Chateauneuf Du Pape with leg of lamb? You are truly an iconoclast.

    Laird: I like them both, so why not? Here in the wilds of Texas there are no Frenchmen to micromanage our food and wine pairings.

    Like DP, above, I am mildly Christian. Although I’m now a US citizen, Her Majesty is still the head of my church and I’ve yet to find anything in either my faith or my libertarian politics that poses an insurmountable obstacle to my maintaining both.

  • lucklucky

    Merry Christmas

    “Christmas is exclusionary.”

    I love exclusionary, means they don’t force me to be part of it. Imagine if Socialism, Slavery, Marxism, National-Socialism was exclusionary… a billions of deaths wouldn’t have occured.

  • I love exclusionary

    Me too. Which is why I say “wish me merry Christmas or you can fuck right off” 😛

  • Thailover

    DP wrote, “Christmas: celebrating the birth of Christ, peace on Earth and goodwill to all mankind. Can’t see the ‘exclusionary’ there. Happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous 2017.”

    To paraphrase many on this board; ‘In this day of Yule, Christmas and Hanukkah, we wish you peace on Earth, good will to all mankind, and above all tolerance…and you better call it Christmas or go F yourself.’

    That message seems strangely inconsistent. 😛

  • Laird

    “The idea that “Happy Holidays” = SJW nonsense is merely a half truth. The rational truth behind happy holidays is that there is simply a lot of holidays within the same time period.”

    This is only superficially true. It may have been actually true (or at least actually “half true”) decades ago, but you have to be willfully obtuse not to understand that it has been usurped (and its use demanded) by the leftist, SJW types specifically to stick a finger in the eye of practicing Christians (and not merely evangelicals, who admittedly present a tempting target), or that it is used by such types for precisely that purpose. And you also have to be wholly insensitive to basic human psychology to be surprised (or offended) by the inevitable “call it Christmas or fuck you” response it has engendered.

    The only actual competing holiday which “happy hoidays” encompasses is Channukah (however you spell it!), and I don’t know any Jews who are offended by “Merry Christmas”. Kwanzaa is an entirely fictional pseudo-holiday, and no one living celebrates any of the other ancient pagan ones. This history lesson is irrelevant.

  • Thailover

    TJ, I don’t need to know in-depth knowlege of the Pagan Yule (nor to prove it’s ‘true’) to know what they were doing during the winter equanox, which no doubt moved around if one followed inacurate calendars instead of timing the celestial bodies. Second point. I’m not arguing that there was no “star” or comet, etc. (Though the Chinese are pretty sure there wasn’t during 1 BCE or 1 CE), but rather that the bible itself says that shephards followed an angel to the baby in the food trough, not a star. Wizards (Wise-ards, Magi, i.e. magicians/wise men) followed a “star” to Jesus, according to another gospel, when he returned from Egypt when he was two years old. There were three gifts, not three wise guys. The reason Joseph and Mary absconded to Egypt was because the “wise men”-so called, tipped off Herod that a magic baby will grow up and take over his royal line. (Not too wise after all). So the king, predictably, went on a baby hunt, ala the Moses story all over again. Mary and Joseph was said to return “when the coast was clear” so to speak.
    And as to christmas being a fake holiday, the Catholic’s attempt to usurp the pagan’s holiday, this is not a controversial point at all. This was a commonplace occurance.

  • Thailover

    Laird, I know Norse-style pagans as well as wiccans, and even though wiccans are, well, “confused” as I would put it and don’t actually know diddly-do about the occult, they are decidedly pagan.

  • And you also have to be wholly insensitive to basic human psychology to be surprised (or offended) by the inevitable “call it Christmas or fuck you” response it has engendered.

    Exactly. It has engendered that response even from me… and I am an atheist! Well that said, I have been known to praise Tawaret, Cthulhu, Eris (and her avatar who once walked upon this mortal plane, Margaret Thatcher) & The Flying Spaghetti Monster (PBUHNA) 😆

    Clearly I am far from the only one hissing and baring my fangs if the comments here are anything to go by 😡

    I am totally OK with a neo-pagan regarding this as Yuletide and saying thus. And I am totally OK with a Jew regarding this as Hanukkah and saying thus. I am not OK with being wished Happy Holidays, because that is typically not an attempt to make this time of the year inclusive, it is an attempt to denature it: hence “Merry Christmas or fuck right off” 😎

  • Paul Marks

    Merry Christmas everyone.

    And may you survive 2017 – and perhaps even 2018.

  • bobby b

    Used to be, I never made it a point to wish people a Merry Christmas. Not being religious, I lacked motivation.

    Then, it became an exclusionary movement for certain groups of people to demand that I NOT wish others a Merry Christmas.

    Didn’t they realize that, far from introducing a limitation on me that I conform to their demands, they were merely handing me a fun little tool with which I could annoy and ridicule them?

    Now, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Most people, religious or not, Christian or not, are happy to hear it. The others? The kinds of people who demand I NOT say it? Their reactions give me my own joy. They can call it what they wish, but the moment they tell me to follow their demands, scroom.

  • Alisa

    I don’t know any Jews who are offended by “Merry Christmas”

    I met one, once. It was at least 20 years ago, and she was rather old already then – a proto-SJW? She figured that because I’m Jewish, I’d sympathize with her bleating about how incentive Walmart checkout people were wishing everyone Merry Christmas, with no second thought given to the possibility that some customers may not be Christian. The horror! It took me years to understand what on earth she was going on about and why.

  • Alisa, as my my friend Selwyn Shandel once said to me on this topic, “The message is ‘Peace And Goodwill Towards all Men.’ You’d have to be an idiot — or an Arab — to object to that.”

  • Alisa

    LOL Kim 😀

    I once knew a couple – he was an American Jew, an atheist, who objected to celebrating any holiday whatsoever that had even tangential connection to religion (Chanukah BTW is not a religious holiday, but I certainly was not going to confuse him with facts). She was a secular Muslim, and she once said to me when he was not around: “I don’t care what it is – Christmas, Chanukah, you name it, I just wish we could celebrate something!” I really felt sorry for her and the kids.

  • the other rob

    Alisa: I corresponded with a Jewish friend in NYC, yesterday. We wished each other “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah” and all was well.

    I think it only becomes difficult when you’re interacting with somebody who wants to make it difficult.

  • Alisa

    I think it only becomes difficult when you’re interacting with somebody who wants to make it difficult.

    Indeed, and that is true with most things in life.

  • Stonyground

    Thailover, you keep saying equinox when you mean solstice. The summer and winter solstice happen six months apart and refer to the times when the nights are at their longest and the days are at their shortest (winter) and the time when it is the other way around (summer). The equinox is when the days and nights are exactly equal in length, this occurs in March and September.

  • Thailover writes:

    Nigel, with all due respect, it’s you who, once again, lacks rationality.

    Concerning atheism and (for reference using Wikipedia): “Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.” Given the strength of Thailover’s expression, IMHO he falls into either the second or third category. My point on atheism is that, together with theism, the issue of the existence of God (supreme being, Creator, whatever) is unknowable; this is by the normal applications of logic etc – as we apply it to explaining or predicting natural events. Thus it is not rational, in the normal meaning of the term, to claim/deny existence of God as none of us can know (except by Faith either way); nor will any of us ever know.

    On the same basis I dispute with Laird (and his “simply doesn’t understand atheism” at December 26, 2016 at 3:40 pm). His claim is strongly and firmly in excess of the first definition, though undoubtedly less aggressively stated than that of Thailover.

    Back to Thailover, I am also concerned about his “you who, once again, lacks rationality”. It would, I think, be polite (also useful to other readers) to at least reference (if not here actually argue why/how) the earlier alleged occurrence(s) so lacking.

    Thailover writes:

    If you’re going to call someone irrational, it might help to show that what they wrote is in, I don’t know, somehow, someway, in ANY way, inaccurate perhaps. ‘Just a suggestion.

    I agree: and thought well known the argument (of Faith in atheism being no more rational than Faith in all or any specific deism). Anyway, as I write above, I find Thailover’s failure to produce reference of my previous ‘sin’ to be worse than his not producing argument that it is/was ‘sin’ – which argument (if not agreement therewith) perhaps we would all be able to impute – if only we knew the accusation.

    Non-belief is not a belief system in exactly the same way a non-ham sandwich isn’t a ham sandwich.

    Well, a sandwich containing no ham is still a sandwich. In the same way in Wikepedia’s second and third interpretations, atheism is a system of belief: of non-deist belief – and this is so much more than a lack of belief. IMHO it is a substantive philosophical substitution. IMHO also, if and where it foments hate against all or specific religions, it is difficult to differentiate its damage from that of religions that also foment hate against non-believers.

    And please remember that what I am saying is that the belief of atheists is no better and no worse (on this one matter of top-level philosophy) than the belief of each (deist) religion.

    Best regards

  • Thailover

    Nigel, Wikipedia isn’t worth the paper it’s not printed on. So called “hard atheists” and “soft atheists” is nonsense. A-theism is about what one does not believe, not what DOES believe, hence the “a” prefix.

    A “hard atheist” can be defined more accurately IMO as an atheist with an irrational curmudgeon stick up his ass. LOL. There is simply no need to declare no gods anywhere, not even under hollow rocks in Alpha Centari. And the reason for that is that there is zero demonstrable evidence or merit supporting the existence for said gods or that they can even possibly exist.

    Theists exist and likewise atheists exist. There is no onus for anyone to prove that tree creating gods don’t exist. It’s up to the one asserting the existence of tree creating gods to even show that such a thing is POSSIBLE before it can be said to create trees. “How else do you explain trees” is not an argument that tree creating gods can even possibly exist.

    We can accurately say that an atheist is someone who does not possess any “god” beliefs, because this describes 100% of atheists. The so called hard atheist is simply unnecessary baggage, and we SHOULD NOT define atheists as hard atheists for exactly the same reason we shouldn’t define Christians as people who believe in purgatory. We should, rather, define people who believe in purgatory as atheists.
    (If you see a Tasmanian devil in the wild, you’re probably in Tasmania, however if you’re in Tasmania, you probably will not see a Tasmanian devil in the wild. If A then B does not mean if B then A).

    To define Christians as people who believe in purgatory, or atheists as people who believe…X is, IMO to not understand how the dictionary works.

  • Thailover

    Stonygrounds said, “Thailover, you keep saying equinox when you mean solstice.”

    Yup. Thanks for the correction.

  • Thailover

    “We should, rather, define people who believe in purgatory as atheists.”
    Whoops, make that ‘as christians’, obviously.

  • Laird

    Nigel, as Laplace famously said to Napoleon, “I have no need of that hypothesis.” Absence of belief is not (necessarily) belief of absence. The existence of some sort of god is not a falsifiable hypothesis, so I simply reject it as unnecessary. But that is not the same thing as “belief” in the sense in which you and your co-religionists use the term. As I said, you don’t understand atheism.

    I would also note that (to me, anyway) there is a vast difference between a “god” which created the universe and started the whole thing rolling (a Spinozan “first mover”, if you will) and the anthropomorphic god of the Abrahamic faiths. The former is the functional equivalent of the Big Bang, and frankly I don’t think it matters in the least which of those theories you subscribe to. The latter, however, is simply irrational, and is mere human projection.

  • bobby b

    Seems quite the kerfuffle over the sometimes indistinct differences that can be mapped out between the X-axis of theism/atheism and the Y=axis of gnostic/agnostic.

  • Bupo

    Yes … and thank you.

  • I am perfectly happy worshiping the Great Spider. As the hymn goes,

    “Now as a God, He is rather odd,
    but we could have done much worse.”

    I find myself ambivalent in my belief. A Spider is a much better metaphor for the Universe than a Clockmaker — everything is connected to everything else, though it does not always keep the best of time. I suspect there is no personified Spider — but it’s possible there is a God lurking out there, almost certainly with many spiderly characteristics. That probably puts me somewhere between theist and atheist.

    Whatever. Merry Christmas, everyone.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . the anthropomorphic god of the Abrahamic faiths . . . is simply irrational, and is mere human projection.”

    Unless, of course, humanity is merely God’s projection, making US the irrationality. 😆

    (I always end up looking at the list of people whose minds dwarf my own but who believe in God, and then I have to stifle my own immediate reaction that, of course it’s all silly. I have to settle for “I don’t have a clue.”)

  • ” . . . the anthropomorphic god of the Abrahamic faiths . . . is simply irrational, and is mere human projection.”

    Quite so. In reality, God is mostly hippopotamus with a bit of crocodile and cat thrown in for variety, and human boobies added just to make it menthol. So God is a Hippocrocopus. Or perhaps noodles.

  • DP

    Thailover @ December 26, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    “That’s not a slam BTW, he’s actually the patron saint of whores”

    It’s worse than that, Jim, he’s also patron saint of bankers.

    DP

  • It’s worse than that, Jim, he’s also patron saint of bankers.

    A distinction without a difference 😎

  • Laird

    Perry, I go with the noodles.

    Anyway, both whores and bankers provide a useful service. Which is more than can be said for saints.

  • Richard Thomas

    I don’t care what phrase you say as long as you don’t have a problem with what phrase *I* say.

    So, Happy Afflux.