Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

~~~

~~~

President Obama

"The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day - and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day. Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal - prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen," President Obama said.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

FESTIVUS* FOR THE REST OF US



Why would Bill-O get angry over a display by Atheists? Doesn't he understand that this is America, and that the government is not supposed to favor one religion or no religion ?


If we nonbelievers go about our business every Christmas and are forced to see public displays of the Christmas story, then why shouldn't nonbelievers be allowed to display their ideas about the winter holiday?
Biblical scholars agree that Jesus wasn't born in December, and that the early Christians encouraged their followers to observe Christ's birth date during the Winter Solstice so that their celebrations would not attract notice during the pagans' celebrations at that time of year.


I have no problem with the celebration of Christmas. I enjoy the season and participate with my family in many aspects of it. It's a great distraction during a very dark and cold time of the year. But make no mistake, a lot of the traditions come directly from paganism. Christmas has always been a blending of Christianity and paganism. Google the traditions of the Christmas tree and mistletoe for example.


And Bill-O is an idiot for making a fuss over this harmless, legal sign. But of course, he needs faux controversy and faux indignation to keep people watching his show on FAUX News.
Estimates now are that 12 to 16% of the American population are nonbelievers. That's huge, and nonbelievers have just as much of a right to display their sentiments during the Winter Solstice as do the Christians who celebrate Christmas, and the Jewish community that displays a menorah--especially if public spaces are involved. This is a big country, and there's room for everyone's way of celebrating this time of year.
Bill-O is a bully; and as he bellows over this noncontroversy, we'll just go about our business and enjoy the season of the Winter Solstice. Evoe!


Atheist billboard in Capitol stirs a storm
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


OLYMPIA -- An anti-religion billboard in the Washington state Capitol has started a firestorm on national television.


Fox News' Bill O'Reilly had an eight-minute segment on his show Tuesday night decrying the inclusion of the atheistic billboard along with a holiday tree and a Christian nativity scene.
Conservative TV personality O'Reilly urged viewers to call Gov. Chris Gregoire's office.
Gregoire spokesman Pearse Edwards says the office has been getting about 200 calls an hour, as well as e-mails.


The Capitol has had a holiday tree, provided by the Association of Washington Business, for 19 years. In 2006, it was joined by a menorah sponsored by a Seattle Jewish group.
That prompted a lawmaker from Spokane to stage a protest at the Capitol, demanding the holiday tree be called a "Christmas tree." It also led a local real estate agent to sue the state to allow the nativity display depicting the birth of Jesus.



Gregoire, a Democrat, and Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna put out a joint statement Wednesday noting that the federal case led the state to create an inclusive policy:


"The U.S. Supreme Court has been consistent and clear that, under the Constitution's First Amendment, once government admits one religious display or viewpoint onto public property, it may not discriminate against the content of other displays, including the viewpoints of nonbelievers."
*Festivus is an annual holiday invented by writer Dan O'Keefe and introduced into popular culture by his son Daniel, a scriptwriter for the TV show Seinfeld.Although the original Festivus took place in February 1966 as a celebration of O'Keefe's first date with his wife, Deborah, most people now celebrate the holiday on December 23, as depicted on the December 18, 1997 Seinfeld episode "The Strike."According to O'Keefe, the name Festivus "just popped into his head." The holiday includes novel practices such as the "Airing of Grievances", in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed him or her over the past year. Also, after the Festivus meal, the "Feats of Strength" are performed, involving wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the holiday only ending if the head of the household is actually pinned. These conventions originated with the TV episode. The original holiday featured far more peculiar practices, as detailed in the younger Daniel O'Keefe's book The Real Festivus, which provides a first-person account of an early version of the Festivus holiday as celebrated by the O'Keefe family, and how O'Keefe amended or replaced details of his father's invention to create the Seinfeld episode.


Some people, influenced or inspired by Seinfeld, now celebrate the holiday in varying degrees of seriousness; some carefully follow rules from the TV show or books, while others humorously invent their own versions.

42 comments:

Patrick M said...

If the atheists wanted to throw up a Festivus pole (as I did last year), I have no objections. I'd even go with a wreath with "Reason's Greetings" on it (as it's a cute twist). But these aren't just atheists, they're the anti-religious fanatic bunch. Their brand of BS is the same kind of zealotry that the idiot judge in Georgia was trying to pull a few years ago with his 10 Commandments display that was bigger than my car.

Their goal is not to add to the joyous season and its many ways to celebrate. They're using the season to make a political statement. And it's this attempt to subtract from, not add to the various festivities that's torqued off Bill.

I may just reprint my post from last year, titled Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah!, if I get around to talking about this. Because it's about coming together, not arguing over differing viewpoints (except during the Airing of Grievances, of course).

Shaw Kenawe said...

Here's the news release from Freedom From Religion:

http://tinyurl.com/5zjnac

What's their political statement?

As far as I can determine, their exercising of their 1st Amendment rights has nothing to do with politics.

My take is that believers are p.o.'d because belief is being challenged.

What are they afraid of?

If their beliefs are strong, they should welcome any challenge, shouldn't they?

And tell me exactly what is wrong with being anti-religious? Some of our greatest Founding Fathers could be described as such.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being anti-religious. Nothing.

And those who are have 1st Amendment rights to promote their views, just as those who are religious do.

What the hell (oops) what in heaven's name are they complaining about:

We have "In God We Trust" on our money

We say "under God" in our pledge of allegience (added on in the 1950s, btw, not in the original

I can't surf cable without seeing some holy roller praising Jesus and asking little old ladies on pensions for money to enrich themselves

I can't drive through certain parts of this country without hearing station after station after station on the radio of preachers yelling brimstone and fire

Anyone in this country is allowed to pray anywhere, anytime, anyhow.*

In even the smallest of villages and towns there are dozens of churches or temples or mosques.

*But some believers want those private prayers between their Lord and themselves to become public and to force people who don't believe to listen to them--WRONG.

I can live quite nicely with believers. I have all my life. Some of my best friends and even family members are devout believers.

It's the loud mouth complainers, who think they're being persecuted, when all evidence refutes this, who are annoying and completely wrong.

They are just not used to an alternate take on religion and they don't like it.

Arthurstone said...

Makes me proud to live in the great state of Washington. Anything which vexes that blathering fool of an O'Reilly is a positive.

It's a free speech issue. Open the commons to one and by golly you might just have to open it to all.

And Patrick is right on.

It is indeed a political issue. 'Christian's' endlessly and tirelessly try and ram their beliefs down the throats of the rest of us. This is yet another example of that.

Patrick M said...

Shaw: "Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

[and on the back] "State/Church: Keep Them Separate."


Hello? If the front is provocative, the back is purely political and goes to intent.

If it said "Happy Winter Solstice" or bore some straight positive message, it would be a different story. Likewise, I'd argue against a big-assed "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" sign, not because it's necessarily political, but because it excludes the Solstice bunch.

Arthur: Glad you're recognizing I'm right, even if you take my explanations the wrong direction.

Christmas, and the entire holiday season should NOT be political. It should be inclusive, positive, and respectful of others. The sign ain't it. Next, the Christians that put in the Nativity are going to have reason to have Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and the Baby Jesus flipping off the damned sign.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I guess we'll just have to agree on interpreting the sign differently.

"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

I see absolutely nothing offensive with that statement. It's what the group BELIEVES. Just as groups of Protestant Christians believe that a person cannot be saved unless he/she accepts Jesus as his/her personal savior, or that Catholics believe that only they will be received into heaven because the Catholic faith is the one and only true faith, or for the Muslims there is no god but Allah, or that the Jews are God's chosen.

I've heard those statements all my life and accept them as what a particular group believes is the truth about its religion.

People will be upset with what the Freedom From Religion Foundation says because religious statements in the past have rarely or never been challenged by nonbelievers--at least they've never been allowed to be shown in public settings. I believe this is why you think their message is offensive, or takes away from the season.

I don't see it that way at all.

And the part about keeping church and state separate, I believe, is law--not politics.

But as I said, we see this in different aspects.

People need to relax. The Christians, especially, are in no danger of having their religious freedoms infringed upon.

It's the freedom of the nonbelievers that has been abrogated for years, and it will seem strange to have them have their say about their ideas that is what makes people feel threatened.

Patrick M said...

Shaw: My problem is with the intent of the people who put up the sign, which is not the reason the other stuff is up.

And the part about keeping church and state separate, I believe, is law--not politics.

No, it's politics. The law is thus:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Let me know when you figure out the difference.

dmarks said...

Although I do not share the faith of the Atheist, I am not offended by this billboard asserting the Atheist faith.

The Atheist are not crossing a line and bashing those who have other faiths. They are just asserting their own faith. What can be wrong with that?

(They are being religious themselves, not anti-religious)

The Griper said...

shaw,
"If we nonbelievers go about our business every Christmas and are forced to see public displays of the Christmas story, then why shouldn't nonbelievers be allowed to display their ideas about the winter holiday?"

this is a misleading statement. if you believe that force is used against you then i want to hear what your definition of force is.

and if you believe force is used against you then you are advocating that you should be allowed to use force against believers. is that what you are advocating?

also, if you do not believe in the existence of God then that Nativity scene is nothing but a display of three persons thus signifies nothing to you other than that. the fact that believers think it signifies something different would be irrelevant.

so, exactly what is the need of the atheist sign next to it? and if you actually believe as you do who is forcing you to believe differently?

Shaw Kenawe said...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Patrick, as I understand the issue, a Christmas tree, which is generally accepted as a representation of the Christian holiday (and a businessman is now suing to allow a Nativity scene on the public property), and a menorah, which represents the Jewish faith and the celebration of Hanukkah, is on public, i.e., government property in Seattle, Washington.

The display of these religious symbols are the free exercise thereof of these groups' religions.

If the display of ONLY the two religious symbols representing holidays in December is allowed, it would appear to be favoring, well, only two religions, no?

Where are the representations of the Hindu holiday in December? (there are, I believe two) or the African-American Kwanza holiday? Or a Wiccan symbol? And why not have a sign that promotes the idea that there is no god?

The Democratic Governor and the Republican Attorney General have stated that "...it [the government] may not discriminate against the content of other displays, including the viewpoints of nonbelievers."

The two representatives of the government are upholding the Constitution. They are bipartisan and they agree.

I gave you my reasons for believing this is not political, please give me yours, or I'll assume you're just be contrary for contray's sake.

Thanks.

Shaw Kenawe said...

dmark,

Saying that Atheism is a religion is like saying bald is a hairstyle.

The definition of religion:

"a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

Atheism (I prefer nontheism or nontheist) is no belief in a god or gods. Notice I didn't say THERE IS NO GOD OR GODS. Just simply no belief.

If Atheists or Nontheists have no belief in a god or gods, or any superhuman agencies, then there is a void--nothing. You imply that Atheists or Nontheists are religious? See the above definition.


And when one practices religion, one generally has a set of beliefs based on FAITH.

The definition of faith:

"belief that is not based on proof"

Most religious people believe in their gods based on faith; they believe without proof--a gamble.

See Pascal's Wager.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"this is a misleading statement. if you believe that force is used against you then i want to hear what your definition of force is."--Griper

The definition of force:

a. A body of persons or other resources organized or available for a certain purpose: a large labor force.

b. A person or group capable of influential action:

The second part of that definition illustrates my point. Because Christians are a majority in this country, they certainly do exert influential actions on cultural and moral issues concerning this country.

And because I said I am forced to listen to or see Christian displays of their religious beliefs every December, it does NOT follow that I want to force anyone to do anything.

I actually own a Nativity scene that I bought years ago in Italy. I love the craftsmanship and beauty of the collection--and I actually display it sometimes because that is the story that represents the holiday--just like Easter bunny and Easter eggs represent that holiday.

also, if you do not believe in the existence of God then that Nativity scene is nothing but a display of three persons thus signifies nothing to you other than that. the fact that believers think it signifies something different would be irrelevant.--Griper

I could say the same about the Atheists' sign. If it means nothing to you or other religious people, the fact that it means something to nonbelievers should not bother a believer

so, exactly what is the need of the atheist sign next to it? and if you actually believe as you do who is forcing you to believe differently? --Griper


Here's how I see it: The reason I support the nonbelievers' sign is because we live in this beautiful, wonderful country where IT IS ALLOWED. We live in a country where the majority must respect the rights of the minority--the nonbelievers. We live in this great country where people who have contrary beliefs and NO BELIEFS can express them without fear of punishment (people in Muslim countries would be killed for being apostates).

We live in a country that allows, under the law, free expression thereof, and where our government cannot prohibit that free expression.

That is all this is about.

No one wants to dissuade you or anyone of your religious beliefs or to impugn them.

If you truly believe in the beauty of the Constitution, you would welcome the nonbelievers in expressing themselves.

That's all they want to do.

dmarks said...

Agnosticism isn't a religion, since it claims to not know. Theism and strong atheism are religions, since they claim to know. That particular billboard is a religious display. They asserted their faith that there is no God, etc. As per "belief that is not based on proof"

It is their right. Religious freedom protects Atheists as well.

"Atheism (I prefer nontheism or nontheist) is no belief in a god or gods. Notice I didn't say THERE IS NO GOD OR GODS. Just simply no belief."

Perhaps it is that way to you, but for whomever wrote that billboard, it is a "THERE IS NO..." emphasis, not mere lack of belief.

"Saying that Atheism is a religion is like saying bald is a hairstyle."

We could look at famous bald men, like Patrick Stewart during "Star Trek". He had some hair, just as those atheists who boldly assert their faith have some religion.

dmarks said...

"If you truly believe in the beauty of the Constitution, you would welcome the nonbelievers in expressing themselves."

And yes, I welcome them expressing themselves. Even though they are asserting faith. Of course.

Patrick M said...

Shaw: It's the intent that bothers me.

Legally, they have a leg to stand on here, under the First Amendment's Freedom of Speech. And as for the content of the sign, I don't totally disagree with the message.

But essentially, their goal is to challenge the Christian displays. And that's why its a matter of appropriateness, not legal right.

I think any positive symbol (and the Nativity is one whether or not you believe) should be allowed. Their's ain't it.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Shaw: It's the intent that bothers me.--Patrick

Here's where a lawyer would challenge you. Tell me how you know their intent? You would have a difficult time proving that the "intent" was malicious. So I have to say that your statement that their intent bothers you is prejudicial and without merit.



But essentially, their goal is to challenge the Christian displays. And that's why its a matter of appropriateness, not legal right.

Again, how do you know this?
I believe their intent is freedom of expression. The fact that some religious groups my be offended by their statements is no reason to disallow their guaranteed First Amendment rights. And remember not all religious people or groups find this offensive.

The problem, really, is that this is fairly new and most people don't like to see old ways challenged--or old assumptions challenged.

I think any positive symbol (and the Nativity is one whether or not you believe) should be allowed. Their's ain't it.

If you believe only positive symbols should be allowed public displays, then every dipiction of the Cross should be struck from public view. That "symbol" is one of suffering and death.

Also, we should never have to look at displays of the Twin Towers. That's not positive either.

OKay, aside from those snarky remarks, I would add that you're overlooking the fact that just because YOU, and perhaps others, believe the Atheists' sign is not positive DOESN'T make it so.

I believe that where there are many points of view, there is healthy debate. I and many others DO NOT find this sign offensive.

Shaw Kenawe said...

dmarks,

We're going to get into semantics here.

No one can prove or disprove the existence of God. Just like you cannot prove or disprove Bertrand Russell's Celestial Teapot:

Russell's teapot, sometimes called the Celestial Teapot, was an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), intended to refute the idea that the burden of proof lies upon the sceptic to disprove unfalsifiable claims of religions.

In an article entitled "Is There a God?" commissioned (but never published) by Illustrated magazine in 1952, Russell wrote:

“ If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time. ”

Russell's teapot analogy is still used in the debate over religious belief.


http://tinyurl.com/yc7f5w

Patrick M said...

Shaw: If you believe only positive symbols should be allowed public displays, then every dipiction of the Cross should be struck from public view. That "symbol" is one of suffering and death.

I'm speaking specifically of Christmas/holiday displays (wait until V-day).

And that's why we're having this discussion.

dmarks said...

"No one can prove or disprove the existence of God"

Regardless, some, like these particular atheists with the sign (whether or not that is your sect of Atheism), along with theists, do make faith assertions about God.

These are all religious assertions and should be treated equally.
----------
I read somewhere that this particular sign has a line attacking other faiths. I'm not sure on this, though. Was part of the sign in your photo cut off?

Arthurstone said...

Patrick M typed:

'But essentially, their goal is to challenge the Christian displays. And that's why its a matter of appropriateness, not legal right.'

Oh woe is us.

The 'war' on Christians/Christmas goes unchecked.

Is your God so puny and your faith so feeble as to be threatened by this puny little sign?

Phil Gramm is on to something.

Shaw Kenawe said...

LOL! dmarks,

I don't belong to a "sect" of Atheists.

I am a-religious. I do not go to a place of "nonworship," I don't follow any nondogma, I don't pray to anything. I don't think about religion except as it impacts my life by others or as a matter of learning about what other cultures believe and why. Period.

I don't try to convert others to my philosophy. I don't practice Atheism.

As I've stated, I have very dear relatives and friends who are devout religionists, and we get on just fine.

And yes, Patrick pointed out that a line on that sign was left off of the photo I took off the 'net.

Here's what is left off:

"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

That may be offensive to religionists, but nonbelievers have heard time and time and time again that people who do not believe in Jesus will suffer eternal torment when they die.

That's pretty awful to tell someone, but since Christianity is the dominant religion here in this country, and that tenet is accepted, you wouldn't necessarily think it's offensive.

Try reading it from a nonbeliever's point of view.

And I'll try to understand how it would feel for a believer to read that his/her religion hardens the heart and enslaves the mind.

Arthurstone,

Patrick has said that he doesn't necessarily disagree with the sentiments on the sign, but he thinks it is inappropriate to have it displayed at this time of year when the Christian message is one of hope and positivity.

dmarks said...

The guys who wrote the sign disrespect faiths....except for their own. That makes the sign different, to me: one religion attacking another. No different from a Muslim sign ending with "Die Infidel" or a Christian sign with "Heathens will Go to Hell"

"but nonbelievers have heard time and time and time again that people who do not believe in Jesus will suffer eternal torment when they die."

But that is usually not part of a holiday display, is it? Christians and Jews tend to be more civically responsible about holiday displays. Unless they are Fred Phelps types, and these Atheists have more in common with them than they do with those who just put up nativity displays.

" I don't practice Atheism."

Oh. So you are not an Atheist anymore? I must have misread about that you were.

From the sign: "Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

This is as true of Atheism as it is of other faiths.

Those guys with the sign were not content to just assert their faith, they had to add a line to bash other faiths. Is it in appropriate and should not be allowed? I don't agree with that. Let the closed-minded bigots have their sign.

Arthurstone said...

But wait!

The plot thickens!

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/390844_sign06.html

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thanks Arthur.

I suggest those who've participated in this discussion go read the comments over a the Seattle p.i.:

http://tinyurl.com/58lbmk

The Griper said...

shaw,
there is a big difference. the sign, by your own admission was placed there for no other reason than the fact the nativity scene was placed there. if the nativity scene had not been placed there the sign would not have been placed there either.

you cannot say that about the nativity scene. the intent and purpose of the two displays are the difference.

as for your definition of force. that definition describes the word in terms of a noun not as a verb as you used the word.

even the minority can exert influence on the majority and they often do.

and the word influence as used here is in scientific terms of understanding not in in common terms of understanding as you used it.

in other words you are misleading people by your own terminology.

Shaw Kenawe said...

The Griper said:

"there is a big difference. the sign, by your own admission was placed there for no other reason than the fact the nativity scene was placed there. if the nativity scene had not been placed there the sign would not have been placed there either."

I did not say the Atheists' sign was placed on public property because "the nativity scene was placed there." The newspaper reported:

"The Capitol has had a holiday tree, provided by the Association of Washington Business, for 19 years. In 2006, it was joined by a menorah sponsored by a Seattle Jewish group.

That prompted a lawmaker from Spokane to stage a protest at the Capitol, demanding the holiday tree be called a "Christmas tree." It also led a local real estate agent to sue the state to allow the nativity display depicting the birth of Jesus.

Gregoire, a Democrat, and Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna put out a joint statement Wednesday noting that the federal case led the state to create an inclusive policy"

That's what the report was.

The Atheists' sign was placed on on public property for reasons of inclusiveness. Two other religions were using public property to advance their religious ideas, why shouldn't the Atheists have the same privilege?

As for your complaint over my understanding of the word force, I don't want to get into a semantic argument.

When I said nonbelievers are forced to see and hear Christmas symbols, I mean that I don't have a choice. When I go into stores and even the US Post Office, I'm overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of Christmas--I cannot escape them--THEY ARE FORCED ON ME, whether I want them or not. That's using force. I don't have a choice.

You and others will not see this as being forced--however, if you were to enter a store or the US Post Office and hear Atheistic songs and see Atheistic symbols wherever you went whether you wished to or not, what would you call that?

I understand that the majority religion in this country is Christian and that Christmas is a big holiday in the Christian religion--but the United States is not a religious state--we are a secular state. Because the Christians are a majority, we who are not Christians, have to just accept this system.

And we do.

One little sign shouldn't upset you guys.

No matter what you believe is its motive.

dmarks said...

@shaw: "if you were to enter a store or the US Post Office and hear Atheistic songs and see Atheistic symbols wherever you went whether you wished to or not, what would you call that?"

I call it freedom of expression. So some people say things you don't say yourself. Get over it. I go into the post office and see Jewish and Muslim symbols. Am I offended? Not in the least.

@shaw: " I'm overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of Christmas--I cannot escape them--THEY ARE FORCED ON ME, whether I want them or not. That's using force. I don't have a choice."

Expression of 1st Amendment rights is not "using force". Learn some tolerance. Get used to the idea that not everything thinks the way you do and says the things you want them to say.

@shaw: "One little sign shouldn't upset you guys."

It doesn't really upset me, or put in in a state of ire or start to get me to rant about being "forced" to see it. Just as one little sign should not upset anyone, all those Christmas displays should not upset anyone either. Be tolerant.

Griper: You have a good point. The Atheists sign is more a reaction and attempt to bash those who do not share their faith, than it is just an attempt at expression. The last sentence on the sign (left off the photo) makes them seem peevish and immature.

Shaw Kenawe said...

dmarks,

You missed my point. I'm NOT against Christmas, as I wrote in my comments, I participate in it.

What is annoying is the commercialization of it--starting the music and seeing signs of it in November, and in some instances, October!

Also, the majority religious group in this country is Christian, so, as I said, I expect to see signs of Christmas everywhere. But I also wonder if the majority religion would be as tolerant in seeing signs that refute religion.

Those signs are permitted under the 1st Amendment--but just look at the reaction to the sign in Seattle.

You and the Griper have determined that the sign is disrespectful and an attempt to "bash" religion.

But in fact, the sign reflects what Atheists believe.

Non-Born-Again-Christians have always had to listen to or read Born-Agains state that since they do not accept Jesus as their personal savior, they will suffer in the lake of fire, and be condemned to unspeakable torment in the afterlife.

If that ain't "bashing" nonbelievers, what the hell is?

It's a matter of this:

Christians are used to being in the majority and therefore used to hearing and seeing their belief system tolerated in the public arena. When some other system that differs or refutes what they believe and is given equal time, they consider it "bashing" their religion.

dmarks said...

"But I also wonder if the majority religion would be as tolerant in seeing signs that refute religion."

Or signs like the one in the post, that express one religion and refute others...

"You and the Griper have determined that the sign is disrespectful and an attempt to "bash" religion."

It does not bash religion per-se. Just other faiths. That last line crosses a line that makes them look peevish and immature. Just like if the Christian Christmas message included messages about how those who have other beliefs have "enslaved minds".

How is that sigh's last sentence anything other than one religion bashing others?

"If that ain't "bashing" nonbelievers, what the hell is?"

It is bsshing, of course. I always said it was. But typically, holiday displays from Christians are respectful enough of people to not include such bashing of other faiths. Same with Jewish displays.

"Christians are used to being in the majority ..."

Majority, minority has nothing to do with it. The question is, who is mature enough to have a holiday display that doesn't bash other beliefs?

"they consider it "bashing" their religion."

No reasonable person can interpret statements accusing people of having enslaved minds/etc as anything BUT bashing.

It is one group of believers insulting another group of believers. That is all it is.

Arthurstone said...

dmarks typed:

'It is one group of believers insulting another group of believers. That is all it is.'


Politics and the exercise of free speech. Sometimes messy but always interesting.

dmarks said...

Arthur: Yes, indeed!

Arthurstone said...

It keeps getting better:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008475714_atheist06m.html

Happy Holler Days!

Patrick M said...

The sad thing in all this is that we've taken a beautiful season full of beautiful holidays and started having pissing matches on the mistletoe.

And that's the greatest tragedy of all.

Arthurstone said...

Come on people.

What took place in Mumbai is a tragedy.

What happened in Olympia is a feather-weight farce. No one died. No one was injured. No one was even inconvenienced.

Sheesh.

Shaw Kenawe said...

What Arthur said.

Let's get some proportionality here.

The Griper said...

proportionality? the use of the word tragedy has the same proportion of meaning as your use of the word forced.

and shaw, the word atheist means a non-theist. the fact you prefer the use of one over the other doesn't change the fact that they are synonymous.

the fact that you prefer to leave intent out of the discussion does not change anything. the only person you are misleading is yourself.

that is my last words on this issue.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Griper:

An Atheist is someone who states there is no god.

A nontheist is someone who says he/she has no belief in a god.

There is a difference. I'm sorry you can't understand that.

dmarks said...

@arthurstone: "Come on people..."

Yes, Shaw. What Arthur said.

And I do agree with what you said about the difference between atheist and nontheist. Agnostic is also related, and has its own difference.

Patrick M said...

Arthur, Shaw: I think you know what I mean.

But since you want precision:

That we've politicized Christmas to such an insane degree is the most tragic part of this situation.

Pick my nit, will you....

Shaw Kenawe said...

Patrick, I agree. Christmas HAS been politicized. But who do you suppose started this absurd idea that there's a "War on Christmas?"

Hmmmmm?

HINT: It starts with F and ends with X News.

No one in their right mind believes there's a war on Christmas. This was a manufactured story to get people riled up, angry, and fighting with each other.

There is no war with the biggest commerical, money making holiday in the US.

JUst now I heard on the teevee that a gift certificate from Pizza Hut would make a great gift this holiday season! And just the other day I saw another advert that said a nose hair clipper would be a great stocking stuffer.

See what I mean?

Arthurstone said...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008479979_webcapitolrally07m.html

This has gotten the attention of one of our more colorful local characters:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002263363_hutcherson05m.html

Amen!

Patrick M said...

The War on Christmas idea has been gaining traction for years (although O'Reilly seems to have coined it). But actions to purge anything offensive from the Christmas season have been going on longer than that. Ant it's usually anti-religious fanatic (as opposed to atheists) and their lawyers leading the charge there.

Hell, they made a South Park episode about it. Of course, it was Kyle's mom that started it there. But then again, she started a war with Canada, too, so maybe she's just a troublemaker.

Nonetheless, it's people trying to take things out of the season that started this. Which brings us back to the sign that started the post.

Toad734 said...

Actually, almost all the Christmas traditions have been stolen from Pagan and mainly Pagan solstice traditions:

Christmas Ham (Germanic / Scandanavian)
Feasting (Babylonian, Scandanavian)
Caroling (Roman, Persian)
Decorating trees with Holly and other things (Scandanavia)
Putting lights / candles on trees (Scandanavia)
burning of Yule logs (Sandavania)
giving gifts
the closing of public offices and institutions (Roman)
Mistletoe (Norse, Druid)
Bearded man wearing hat and flying animals (Norse)


The Babylonians practiced a sort of a 12 day new year "Christmas" type holiday 4000 years ago to honor the God Marduk.

In fact, about the only thing about Christmas which is Christian is the manger scene and a few songs.

Atheists are not trying to steal Christmas, the Christians are the ones who stole Christmas from the Pagans.

Eventually, like All Hallows Eve (Now Halloween), Childermass and Candlemass (Now Groundhogs Day), Christmas will will morph into something else all together. It's inevitable that it will eventually become less religious in signifigance, I mean, do people even go to Church on Christmas anymore? If you want to celebrate Christmas, buy your kids an X-Box, If you want to be a Christian and worship Jesus, go to Church on Sunday. Bottom line is that Christmas is just as much secular as it is religious, and just as always, the Christian right is oblivious to this fact and want to force their ways on to everyone else and will call any free thinker who disagrees with them a heretic, witch, christ-hater, etc. and try to burn them at the stake.