Saturday, 6 December 2008

The Atheists Were Here First

Before the Winter Solstice was taken over by Christians and rebranded a celebration of Christ’s birth, it was a purely secular affair.

Actually, even more than that: it was an atheistic celebration of nature for nature’s sake. A joyful recognition of the abundance of our world and the importance of looking after it.

A lot of the symbols of the original festival have survived its Christianisation, most notably the Christmas tree, which for some reason few Christians even attempt to try to fit into their story.

Given the atheistic origins of the season, it’s endlessly amusing when Christians (particularly in the US) concoct arguments against a mythical “War on Christmas” supposedly being waged by those who would have religion turfed out of public life. Most probably don’t even know that they are the invaders here.

To illustrate the point, a plaque was erected in Olympia, Washington  reading:

“At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no heaven or hell.  There is only our natural world.  Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

Of course it was torn down after an hour after it was erected.

Freedom of religious expression is a decidedly one-sided affair in the Land of the Free.


Rob said...

As Jen from Cake Wrecks says: a "season of love, joy, peace, goodwill towards those who think the same way you do"

Matt said...

Amen to that.

Cath said...

Sorry to nitpick but Winter Solstice was also one of the biggest celebrations on the Pagan calender. When the Great Godess was celebrated along with a host of minor gods and sprites. This was well before Christianity but also was a religious holiday. There is a vast difference between Pagan and Athiest.

Matt said...

Interesting point, Cath.
Although from the point of view of the average US Christian(particularly the ones with a "War on Christmas" persecution complex), Pagans were very much Atheists.
I guess the distinction is that Pagans didn't believe in any external Gods, rather that the Earth itself was all there was and hence a God(dess) to be worshipped.
Certainly atheist in intent, if not in language.

ZAROVE said...

Actually it wasnt pagan and atheist. The winter soplctice was never an Atheist Holiday.

Worse, its not even the basis for Christianity.

As this seems the usual "I hate CHristianity but will pretend this is all about all religion" sort of baord, Ill eb breif.

CHristmas wasnt stolen form anyone. In ANcient ROme, the CHristains where largley slaves or women, and CHristianity was seen as a Religion for Slaves and women.

But once a year, at Saternalia, the slaves where released to help honour this god. (Not goddess.)

Saternalia was the feast to honour Saturn, the TItain, Father of Zeus, who is said ot have brought civilisation and cultivaiton to earth.

(THe rubbush about the Goddess is modern Wicca false hisotry, not reality.)

SInce the Christians refused to honour Saturn, but had the itme off, they created CHristmas as an alternative celebration.

SO not only was the Ahtiests where here firts arugment make no sence, the Neo Pagan Goddess worship makes no sence.

But I do note how little Neo Paganism is attacke dby the supposeldy Anti-Religius types.

ZAROVE said...

Also, Atheist in intent if not in language?

Actually, if you bother to read tjings by the real Greco-Roman Pagans, you will realise they never worhsipped the Goddess, and didnt see their gods as striclty internal.

How can you read the Iliad, or Hesiods Work and Days, or the writtings of VIrgil, and asusme that the Pagans where Ahtiest in intent if not in Language?

Of thats rioght, because you want to include them so as to make an excuse for why you dont attakc them liek you do Christians.

Face relity, your just an Anti-Christian, not Anti-Religious, and your willign to lie to make these cases.

ZAROVE said...

Also, the FFrF sign was an attack on other peopels Religioous beelifs. Had it been a sign that attacked Atheism, you'd no doubt applaud it beign torn down.

This is why Hypocracy lies a the heart of these sorts of blogs and the Ndw Atheism.