Are Atheists Hypocritical in Celebrating Christmas?

by Sea Breeze 68 Replies latest jw friends

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    Richard Dawkins revealed that he celebrates Christmas on Radio Four's Today programme.

    Here is is quoted as saying:

    'I am perfectly happy on Christmas day to say Merry Christmas to everybody,' Dawkins said. 'I might sing Christmas carols - once I was privileged to be invited to Kings College, Cambridge, for their Christmas carols and loved it. I actually love most of the genuine Christmas carols".

    Is Richard Dawkins and others like him hypocritical in denying the Creator's existence while celebrating his birthday?

  • road to nowhere
    road to nowhere

    No. He celebrates a season where the short daylight, cold, loneliness are mitigated by food, camaraderie, and song. (Aside, what of long warm days in southern hemisphere)?(taken from northern traditions?)

    Witnesses are hypocritical in demonizing fun despite protestations otherwise. Their sole celebration is partly correct save the going out for snacks afterward.

    Being honest, decorations, a drink, feasting, time tested hymns are pleasant for us all.

    It is noteworthy that media refuses to play traditional songs like silent night now (woke). Other snobs dislike grandma got run over.

    I like my eggnog, can hear the songs without believing there were 3 kings, or in a godhead.

  • TonusOH
    Christmas? That's the least of it: I don't work on Labor Day!
  • StephaneLaliberte

    Considering that the celebration itself is a mix of cultures and religions, I don't see a problem at all. Case in point, I can decorate my house, give gifts, invite people for a feast, and everyone sees it as Christmas.

    If you switch things around, would Christmas be fun if you removed non-Christian elements from it? Such as the tree, Santa Claus, and the elves?

    In the end, why do people celebrate it? Some believe that, at least, in its origin, it really was to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But if that was the case, there wouldn't have been a need to add all the other elements from existing "pagan" celebrations such as: yule logs, evergreen trees and winter solstice celebration. We may also consider St Nicolas, who what added centuries later! Sure he was a generous Christian father, but that was not enough. They had to give him non-Christian magical powers, elfs, and flying reindeers!

    Still, all these additions were accepted by the majority until the celebration itself became something else.

    In the end, what people really care about is not really the event that they are supposed to commemorate, but the reason why the celebration existed even before Jesus came along: It is to spend time together, to celebrate at a time where there is less light than any other time in the year, to have a reason to travel and see friends, family and perhaps, spend several days together.

    And this is exactly how atheists see it: It's a holiday for fun, family, and friends.

  • nicolaou

    My wife and I went to our granddaughters nativity play yesterday (she's a few weeks from her 5th birthday). It was joyous to see her and all her little classmates singing and performing.

    What does it matter that the story is mostly myth and fable? It was an end of year opportunity for the children to shine and the parents/grandparents to get a little dust in their eyes.

    Christmas is the same. The fiction doesn't matter, the people you love do.

  • enoughisenough

    From where I sit, they can celebrate whatever they want. They aren't anymore hypocritical for celebrating xmas than Christians ( maybe less ), because the whole thing is lie upon lie: not really Christ's birthday, not Santa and his tiny reindeer going down chimneys, no elves at north pole, so Santa going to answer the letters children send to him. The Bible story of Jesus birth is distorted in nativity scenes and church plays.( Jesus said the Father wanted to be worshipped in spirit and in truth )

  • Ron.W.

    The initial question reminded me of when I worked for a really nice family of Jewish Tailors and retailers with about six shops a long time ago.

    They went a bundle on Christmas trees, lights and decorations in all their shops.

    They knew I was a JW back then but didn't seem to mind.

    I asked them how they felt about Christmas as Jews (as obviously JW shop owners couldn't decorate their businesses with Xmas stuff without an instant visit from the elders)-


    They were nice people. Very honest, hardworking and good to their staff.

  • PioneerSchmioneer

    While Jehovah's Witnesses obsess over Christmas decor and customs such as trees and mistletoe and giftgiving, etc., none of these things are actually part of "Christmas" itself. Those are mainly secular traditions that differ depending on where you live in the world (and greatly on the hemisphere).

    The most startling fact about Christmas is that it is a worship-driven observance which lasts on 16 to 22 days on the Christian calendar (known as the "liturgical calendar") and not 1 day. It is filled with special prayers in the Church marked from the Book of the prophet Isaiah and lasts from the evening of December 24 through Feast of Baptism of Christ, which lands in January either on a Sunday or a weekday, depending on a formula that changes with when Christmas lands.

    The only universal custom is Epiphany, marked 12 days from Christmas, the holy day in the church which marks the visit of the magi and lands on January 6th on which homes are usually blessed. This is where the so-called "Twelve Days of Christmas" comes from.

    The Christmas tree became popular from Queen Victoria who fell in love with the German custom and introduced it to the public via a Christmas party. She hung the trees upside from the ceiling as decorations.

    The introduction of Christmas as a "family" celebration came about through the novella A Christmas Carol written by Charles Dickens who rode on the coatails of the Victorian revival of Christmas in England. Before this the Puritans had banished it due to a hatred for all things they considered Catholic, so when they did pick it back up they instead adopted the Germanic Lutheran customs because they felt "safer" with these.

    The Roman Catholic customs were at that time not so much built around Christmas trees as to build a small crèche, a custom introduced by Francis of Assisi to Catholics in 1233. These had become quite ornate by the time the "Victorian Christmas" had been introduced into American society. There were celebrations, but these had moved mostly to Epiphany onward and would become the "Carnival" period leading up to Lent (the "Mardi Gras" once this would become introduced to America).

    It is this type of Christmas (the "Victorian") that has become most associated with the 25th of December, commercialized and practiced. It is really not what is religiously celebrated by the Christians in the actual Church. In Spanish countries, fireworks and pinatas are used as Christmas trappings. In Guatamala, they burn a wooden devil in a bonfire on Christmas Eve. And in Italy, instead of Santa delivering presents on Christmas Eve, they have a witch, Befana, who delivers presents on Epiphany Eve, January 5th.

    The local customs have nothing to do with the religious observance. They are localized and differ according to place and situation and the comprehension of the people who use the symbols. They are secular trappings and have little or nothing to do with the Nativity of Christ. Anyone can engage in their people's local customs whether they go to a church or mass or not. The religious observances in honor of the Nativity have totally different practices, none of which include Christmas trees, gift giving, parties, etc.

  • enoughisenough

    pioneerschmioneer wrote The religious observances in honor of the Natiivity have totally different practices, none of which include Christmas tress, gift giving, parties, etc. That is odd to me because when I went to church as a kid, the church had their xmas program complete with a Santa giving gift filled stockings and candy and there was a decorated trees.

  • PioneerSchmioneer


    That is odd to me because when I went to church as a kid, the church had their xmas program complete with a Santa giving gift filled stockings and candy and there was a decorated trees.

    It sounds as if you may have been attending a non-liturgical church or non-liturgical church service. Fundamentalists, for instance, don't observe the "Nativity of the Lord." The only observe the 25th of December as "Christmas" and some call it "Jesus' birthday." Then they drop everything on the 26th.

    With these groups it is common for them to absorb the trappings common to whatever is secular around them. "Santa" for instance is telling to where in the world you were. There in no "Santa Claus" outside of America for the most part, as that is not a universal Christian symbol. Where "St. Nicholaus" or Father Christmas is concerned, he often visits on his feast day, and children in some parts of the world get visits from him (or leave their shoes out for him to fill) on the 6th of December when this famous bishop is remembered on the Church calendar, not on Christmas.

    Boxing Day, when presents are opened, is most often done "the day after" Christmas, the 26th, since Christians are meant to spent the 25th at Mass or in worship, not receiving or exchanging gifts. The 26th is also the Feast of St. Stephen, when this is most often allowed.

    All these types of things are different from what happens in worship at a church, which is called "liturgical." Fundamentalist groups and groups like the Witnesses don't use liturgy.

    Liturgy often escapes the minds of JWs and exJWs because they have never heard of it. So they tend to mesh the two together. But Santa Claus and Christmas trees are not a universal phenomenon to Christmas. Not even gift exchanges are done on the same day of Christmas or done at all as Jehovah's Witnesses believe.

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