Monday, December 12, 2011

Xmas and beyond

This new video from The Thinking Atheist takes a look at Christmas, how the traditions modern Christians think are theirs are pretty much exclusively pagan in origin, how there are major holes in the Christian story of the birth of the person they call Jesus, as well as several contradictions within the Christian Gospels themselves. The point is, Christmas isn’t what most Christians think it is.

Does any of that matter? Clearly not to believers. As a sceptic, I was already aware of all this, but I don’t think it should matter to us, either. The holiday our culture calls “Christmas” is great for enjoying good, relaxing times with friends and family, regardless of whether one is Christian—or any other form of religionist—or not. In New Zealand, Christmas is a largely secular holiday, anyway, even among professed Christians, so this isn’t a unique viewpoint.

As for the word “Xmas” in the title, this video points out how one could argue that, despite what some think, it’s not disrespectful of Christianity at all, but instead entirely respectful. The reason I disliked the word wasn’t because of any alleged disrespect, but because I just think the word looks ugly (of course I do—typography is part of my profession, after all).

The bottom line for me is that we’re all free to have a Merry (or Happy) Christmas (or Xmas). Or not. Freedom of belief is a wonderful thing.

Update 3 December 2012: The original video was updated in late November 2012, and the original was deleted. I've updated the link to the new video.


d said...

Yeah, I knew almost all of this as well. And since I identify more with the pagan celebrations, I don't put a tree up in December here because it isn't winter. :)

Arthur Schenck said...

We sometimes put up a tree, sometimes we don't. But a BBQ on Christmas is now a requirement!