Why do so many American skeptics focus on the winter solstice & pagan origins of Christmas traditions?

This is another American eccentricity I’ve noticed since coming to the USA for my post-doc. Many atheists especially seem to “campaign” on Internet forums for the purpose of enlightening Christians to pagan origins for Christmas observance and traditions. (One gets the impression that they’ve recently learned some “fun facts” and are determined to share them with everyone they encounter.) But why is there any assumption that the pagan origins are some sort of “smoking gun”? Why do they assume that anyone would much care?

15 thoughts on “Why do so many American skeptics focus on the winter solstice & pagan origins of Christmas traditions?

  1. The Christian Fundies that vehemently deny the pagan origins of Christmas seem to care…

  2. maybe we should start going door to door!!!
    was it really necessaryto put in “for my post-doc” I am impressed

  3. Because they have nothing to celebrate!

    It’s so ironic; their goal is to rid the world of all religion, and they feel the best way to do it, is to revert to old customs and religions…

    But, then you realize that they only want to get Christians angry… It makes me wonder how a minority can have so much power.

  4. You would be surprised at how many people claim that Christmas is a purely Christian tradition and that Christians own it.

    Welcome to the good old U. S. of A., my foreign friend. That sort of thing is to be expected here.

  5. Funny how to the first poster and other atheists, anyone who believes is a fundie and preachy.
    Yet they claim what they do is “logic” and “telling the truth”.

    Semantics. If you want to find out what online atheists *different from real world atheists*, think, look at their so called “logic” on these forums.
    enjoy the laugh you get from their “intelligence”.

  6. It’s ironic, you standerd fundamentalist christian is some uneducated southern hypocrit. The idea of Christmas having pagan roots scares them greatly. So to exploit this they mention it more.

  7. It’s because some believers here question our right to take time off and celebrate on a day that they erroniously claim to be theirs by divine right, and which they did in fact create on this date in order to attempt to destroy earlier belief systems. What’s a better way to try to eradicate someone else’s creed, than by colonizing the very dates of the year that are their holy days?

  8. No, actually atheists are only responding to ignorant fundies who think they are so superior that they can question why any non-Christians would celebrate Christmas.

  9. because they get sick of the “jesus is the reason for the season”, “put christ back in christmas”, etc… that they are subjected to

  10. No Christian denies christmas was meant to take over the pagan celebrations of that time.

    It’s when they say we are observing a pagan holiday or christmas is a pagan hoiday.

  11. Many US christians have a very nasty habit of using Leviticus and the whole “gay is an abomination” thing to deprive those who may or may not follow their faith of the ability to marry when that activity does not impact them in the least. They say the bible is very clear about forbidding such things. The bible is also clear that christians are NOT to do pagan things. This is also very much against their deity’s will and its rules/laws. When they changed the name and moved Jesus’ birthday from its most likely time of year to coincide with those pagan and Heathen holy times for the express purpose of being able to keep those pagan practices alive and engage in them themselves despite their “conversion” or professed “christianity,” they did not make it a “christian festival” or holiday. Changing something’s name does NOT make it ok with the christian deity. If it did the aforementioned gay people who want to marry would merely change what they identify themselves as to something “Christ-y” and it would theoretically be OK with the “gay is an abomination” christians, wouldn’t it? I can assure you it most certainly would not. This type hypocrisy is kind of hard NOT to notice. It’s as if they feel it is ok to break their deity’s laws, but only if it’s something THEY want to do.

    I’m not an atheist, btw. I’m actually a Nordic Heathen and I don’t mind sharing our holy festivals with others. I simply get a little peeved when people are hypocritical about things while attempting to hide behind their warped interpretation of what is actually a very clear biblical law for no reason other than their own benefit and enjoyment with no thought to the detrimental effect their random interpretations may have on others.

  12. It’s self-defense. Live here a while longer, and you, too will get to experience being told you “hate God” for not taking part in some stupid ritual. Listen to Fox News, and you’ll be told that there is a “war on Christmas,” allegedly waged by people who simply want to enjoy a secular family holiday. The fundies have ruined Halloween for many kids, claiming that witches have cursed their candy and filling their heads with terrifying superstitious nonsense, so they richly deserve to have their holiday de-mythologized.

  13. So many people spend their whole lives following a book, that is basically just a plagiarised copy of a much older religion, and yet those same people who follow that book blindly and unquestioningly condemn others to hell.

    Oh the hypocrisy of it all.

  14. Heh, obviously the fundies who rant about people “stealing Christmas” and going on about how “Jesus is the reason for the season” care. Which is why it is pointed out to them when they whine that they don’t have a leg to stand on.

  15. There are many preachy, evangical, intolerant Christians who go around putting down Paganism & other people’s beliefs, telling people they need to follow the Bible literally, etc., who then are more than content to celebrate Pagan-rooted holidays like Christmas and Easter, carrying along a lot of Pagan traditions, which have no Biblical reference at all. They do this because they are accustomed to their holiday and don’t really want to give it up.

    This “campaign” (as you call it) is simply an attempt to point out the hypocrisy.

    There are also some Christians who really believe that the Winter holiday season belongs to them because of Christmas. This campaign is also an attempt to educate them that there have always been holidays around this time of year, and still are other holidays at this time of year.

    Why does anyone who posts anything here assume anyone would much care?

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