Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An Atheist Wishes Everyone "Merry Christmas!"

In the last post, I asserted that this "war on Christmas" is a fabrication; the next logical question is what end does the fabrication serve? I think atheist Richard Dawkins provides the answer. If you are not familiar with Dr. Dawkins, he is an evolutionary biologist, rational apologist, and atheist evangelist from Oxford University. His recent book, The God Delusion, has caused quite a stir in the evangelical community.

If there was a war on Christmas, evangelicals lost the battle before it even started. It is my conjecture that the war is a fabrication because essentially evangelical Christianity is wholly missing the point regarding the Christmas season. In order to reclaim some kind of spiritual relevance back to the holiday, the war was invented to perpetuate the claim that somehow evangelicals are being robbed of the holiday's significance. If Christmas has been divested of its meaning, it is not because the secularists and non-believers jerked the rug out from under the evangelical conception of the holiday; it is the greedy materialism, lavish programs, and consumer mentality driving it, which Christians shamelessly promote.

Richard Dawkins, in a statement about his own Christmas philosophy, made the implicit, provocative claim that Christians are at fault for the American misunderstanding regarding the holiday.
“But of course [Christmas] has long since ceased to be a religious festival. I participate for family reasons, with a reluctance that owes more to aesthetics than atheistics. I detest Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and the obscene spending bonanza that nowadays seems to occupy not just December, but November and much of October, too.”

He added: “So divorced has Christmas become from religion that I find no necessity to bother with euphemisms such as happy holiday season. In the same way as many of my friends call themselves Jewish atheists, I acknowledge that I come from Christian cultural roots. I am a post-Christian atheist. So, understanding full well that the phrase retains zero religious significance, I unhesitatingly wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”
There is truth in the atheist's words. I share the article's author, Randy Kennedy's sentiment regarding Dr. Dawkins statement and the "war":
Such obliging feelings toward Christmas will undoubtedly serve as another piece of evidence for those like Mr. O’Reilly and conservative Christians who feel that the holiday has been hijacked — so much so that even atheists are now comfortable getting into the spirit. But to listen to Mr. [Sam] Harris and other nonbelieving Christmas celebrators, you sometimes get the feeling that their accommodation stems from the fact that Christmas — no matter how religious it still is or is not — has become such a juggernaut that it is simply impossible to ignore entirely. So why not grin, bear it and have yourself a double eggnog?
Unfortunately that is the way most conservatives will interpret Dr. Dawkins correct prophetic pronouncement and will regrettably fail to see the handwriting on the wall. Christmas is certainly a juggernaut; Americans typically spend $6 billion dollars a year on the season's greetings. Is Jesus the reason for the season? I am beginning to question the legitimacy of the holiday myself.

Frankly, the evangelical community gives too much fodder to its critics. The total lack of sincerity is what motivates men like Dr. Dawkins to strongly criticize Christianity. I respect Dr. Dawkins, and though I do not agree with his position, at least he is sincere in his beliefs.

The irony of the war on Christmas is that we are fighting ourselves.

(HT: Nephos)

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