Friday, November 14, 2008

The war on Christmas, courtesy of PZMyers

"Oy," says PZMyers, "it's War on Christmas time again.

"Fresh off the British Humanist Association's successful bus campaign, the American Humanist Association has fired up its own set of big signs on buses in the Washington DC area. Their message is 'Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake'.

"Of course, CNN considers this another salvo in the War on Christmas. Silly news organization. Didn't you get the word? The war on Christmas is over. We won. It's a secular holiday, atheists can celebrate it any way they want, Christians can continue to pretend it's baby Jesus' birthday, and everyone has the freedom to interpret the meaning of the day in whatever way they choose. The freethinkers of America are victorious.

"The only people left fighting it are desperate holdouts who look sad and comical when the[y] emerge from the jungles of their own making. Like the American Patriarchy Association.

"In mid-October, the American Family Association started selling buttons that say 'It's OK to say Merry Christmas.' The humanists' entry into the marketplace of ideas did not impress AFA president Tim Wildmon.

"'It's a stupid ad,' he said. 'How do we define "good" if we don't believe in God? God is in his word, the Bible, tells us what's good and bad and right and wrong. If we are each ourselves defining what's good, it's going to be a crazy world.'

"Guess what, Tim? It is OK to say 'Merry Christmas'. Even I have been known to say it. Go ahead, have a good time with the greeting, although it does rather rip the spirit out of it if you say it through clenched teeth with furrowed brow, looking like you're daring everyone to object so you can punch them in the throat. It's also OK to say 'Happy Soltice,' 'Season's Greetings,' 'Happy Holidays,' and 'Merry Cephalopodmas,' whatever feels right to you.

"But I'm sorry, this Biblical god fellow is not a very good source for goodness. If we went by that definition, Christmas would be a time when we'd slaughter Amelekites, get drunk and have sex with daughters, stone gay people, and treat molluscs as abominations. None of those things sound very merry to me. Wouldn't there be a better source for goodness that doesn't rely on archaic xenophobia and delusion from bad old books? How about empathy and the general principle that we should do to others what we would like them to do for us? Atheists can follow that one, and they don't believe in god at all."

The original article, with links, is here.

PZMyers, pictured above, is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He blogs at Pharyngula.

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