Thursday, December 24, 2009

So who’s taking the Christ out of Christmas this year?

By popular request, here’s the return of an old favourite …

I HEAR COMPLAINTS AGAIN that "Christ is being taken out of Christmas."  Every year everyone from the Vatican to Fox News has a whinge about the "War against Christmas" (TM) --  about the "widespread revolt" against "Christian values” and “Christian symbols” –about the prevalence of "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" greetings.

Here's what I say about those complaints.  Get a life.  Learn some history. And try a joke:

Q: "What's the difference between God and Santa Claus?"
A: "There is no God."

The harsh fact is, customers, there is no God, and Christ was never even in Christmas --except in fiction and by order of the Pope. 

In fact, Jesus wasn't even born in December, let alone at Christmas time: he was born in July* -- which makes him a cancer**.  Just like religion. 

And God doesn’t even like Christmas trees, for Chrissake!

Historians know the "reason for the season," and it's not because of anything that happened in a manger.  Even the Archbishop of Canterbury knows the truth, conceding a couple of Christmasses ago that the Christmas story and the Three Wise Men - the whole Nativity thing --  is all just "a legend." 

Fact is, 'Christmas' was originally not even a Christian festival at all.  The celebration we now all enjoy was originally the lusty pagan festival to celebrate the winter solstice, the festival that eventually became the Roman Saturnalia. This time of year in the northern hemisphere (from whence these traditions started) is when days stopped getting darker and darker, and started once again to lengthen.  This was a time of the year for optimism.  The end of the hardest part of the year was in sight (particularly important up in places like Lapland where all-day darkness was the winter rule), and food stocks would soon be replenished. 

All this was something worth celebrating with enthusiasm, with gusto and with plenty of food and drink and pleasures of the flesh -- and if those Norse sagas tell us anything, they tell us those pagans knew a thing or two about that sort of celebration!  They celebrated a truly Salacious Saturnalia.

One popular celebration involved having a chap put on the horns and skin of the dead animal being roasted in the fire (worn with the fur side inside), and giving out gifts of food to revellers.  This guy represented Satan, and the revellers celebrating beating him back for another year by making him a figure of fun (I swear, I'm not making this up).  Observant readers will spot that the gift-giving and the fur-lined red outfit (and even the name, almost) are still with us in the form of Santa.  So Happy Satanmas, Santa!

SUCH WERE THE celebrations of the past.  But the Dark Age do-gooders didn’t like the pagan revels.  These ghouls of the graveyard wanted to spread the misery of their religion; they thought everyone should be sitting at home mortifying their flesh instead of throwing themselves into such lewd and lusty revels – and  very soon they hit upon a solution: first they stole the festivals, and then they sanitised them.  Instead of lusty revels with Satan and mistletoe, we got insipid nonsense around a manger.  (Just think, the first 'Grinch' who stole Christmas was really a Pope!)  Given this history, it's churlish of today's sanitised saints of sobriety to be complaining now about history reasserting itself.

THE BEST OF Christmas is still very much pagan. The mistletoe, the trees, and the presents; the drinking and eating and all the red-blooded celebrations; the gift-giving, the trees and the decorations; the eating and the singing; the whole full-blooded, rip-roaring, free-wheeling, overwhelming, benevolent materialism of the holiday -- all of it all fun, and all of it fully, one-hundred percent pagan. Says Leonard Peikoff in 'Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial', the festival is "an exuberant display of human ingenuity, capitalist productivity, and the enjoyment of life." I'll drink to all that, and then I'll come back right back up again for seconds. Ayn Rand sums it up for mine, rather more benevolently than my brief introduction might have led you to expect:

    “The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any particular religion: it is good will toward men—a frame of mind which is not the exclusive property (though it is supposed to be part, but is a largely unobserved part) of the Christian religion.
The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: ‘Merry Christmas’—not ‘Weep and Repent.’ And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form—by giving presents to one’s friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance....
    “The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift-buying is good for business and good for the country’s economy; but, more importantly in this context, it stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decoration put up by department stores and other institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only ‘commercial greed’ could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle.

And so say all of us.  I wish you all, wherever you are a Merry Christmas, a Delicious Satanmas, and a Salacious Saturnalia!

                                                       ===============================
* Yes, this is simply a rhetorical flourish. Jesus' birth may have happened in March. Or in September -- or not at all -- but it certainly did not happen in December. More on that here.

** "A cancer. Like religion." Think that's harsh? You should try Landover Baptist's Bible Quizzes. Or Sam Harris's 'Atheist Manifesto.' Ouch! [Hat tip for both, good old Stephen Hicks]

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, and I bet you wonder why the Libz barely scrape 1000 votes come election time with this sort of invective filled horseshit.

Christmas is a time of year most people enjoy - regardless of whether the consider the religious aspect of it or not - and this sort of rubbish makes you look like a bilious nutcase.

In the meantime, let's read from a rational atheist: Theodore Dalrymple - What The New Atheists Don't See

http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_oh_to_be.html

12/24/2009 08:45:00 am  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Well, now that you have that out of your system, here's hoping you can sit back and practice that "good will to all men" part.

Merry Christmas Peter.

12/24/2009 09:05:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Christmas, means party time and most people understand that, so you don't need to debunk what God or what christmas is about as you've done on this post. It is about life, happiness, freedom and enjoyment, geez, I thought that's what libertarinz stands for.

Anyway Merry Xmas to all.

12/24/2009 11:53:00 am  
Anonymous James said...

The three posters above have missed the point.PC is just presenting a few historical facts regarding this time of the year that many people are ignorant about.

The God squad forced their traditions like rapists on other peoples celebrations and then have the temerity to whine when they get called on it.

Gee Christians can't handle the truth can they?

Anyway have a Merry Xmas however you choose and Im off now to NOT burn down a Church....because I repect the rights of others....unlike some.

12/25/2009 10:01:00 am  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

James, those points are extremely skewed. We'll no doubt debate this another time though because right now, I'm in the Christmas Vibe.

Christmas.

The world's biggest ever birthday party.

Enjoy.

12/25/2009 08:43:00 pm  
Blogger Sean said...

The Lord isn't down with this X-mas nonsense. Way too pagan...

Jeremiah 10:2-5 (King James Version)

2Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

5They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

12/25/2009 09:26:00 pm  

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