Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

The War on Christmas Pt. 1

It’s that time of year again; cold weather (icky), pretty lights and the inevitable questions about the hypocrisy of nontheists celebrating Christmas.

Why don’t we play a little game of Putting Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes? (This is also known as “empathy” to the rest of the world.)

Let’s imagine that it’s somewhere around the third century A.D.  Christmas as a feast is just beginning to be popularized (give or take, let’s not get caught up in details here.)  Lots of other celebrations happening around that time and let’s imagine you’re a Christian.  Not exactly the popular kids on the block, ya dig?

Now, let’s imagine that your Pagan neighbors see you preparing for your celebration and being the know-it-all majority members that they are, one of them takes it upon himself to holler across the way,

“Hey, don’t you think you’re just acknowledging your true belief in <insert random Pagan Roman god here> by plunking your little ‘feast’ right smack in the middle of Saturnalia?”  Damn dirty heathens.

“No.  This is about Christ.  <Insert genuine reasons for separate celebration here.>”

“Huh.  Seems hypocritical to me.  Why don’t you pick a different day/time/season to celebrate your made up completely invalidated ‘religious’ stuff if you really don’t believe in our religious stuff?”

I bet it sucked to be the minority then just like it sucks to be in the minority now.   But, there’s a reason we get peppered by questions like these as non-believers, just like I’ll venture new Christians got peppered by annoying neighbors 1700 years ago.

Hegemony:  The desire to keep the status quo.  It is the goal of instilling the belief that the interests of the majority are automatically the interests of everyone.  However you can convince those with the least power (read: small, powerless minority groups) that this is true keeps power right where it sits.

Every group in power has the core interest of staying in power.  What better way to do that (besides killing off dissenters) than to convince those who are not in power that it’s in their best interest to keep the powerful right where they are?  There is none.

So, if a powerful minority can create a large base majority and then convince them that questioning belief makes them not only ungodly but also un-American, you can bet that’s the road most travelled.  That the trail blazed from day one in Capitalist Christian America.

This base majority has power as well, though, not the kind that movers and shakers are interested in having.  I’m not talking about a powerful majority politically.  I’m talking power where it counts to everyday individuals.  At home.  In communities.  Amongst friends, neighbors and co-workers.  The type of power that fuels peer pressure and bullying.  That type of power in a majority base can get you whatever you want.

I have to believe that all the crap given to non-theists has a spark created somewhere far away from individuals who are mostly good in their everyday lives.  I always look for the sociological factors at work.

Are people questioning the way I live my life because they genuinely just love to give me a hard time?  Maybe.  There are plenty of folks on the interwebz who love to do things like that.  But, surely the people who are close to me, who love me and want what is good for me have little or no interest in just being jerks.

No, the reason that those people feel justified in telling me I’m a hypocrite for celebrating a secular version of a religious season (cause holidays means more than one) is because in questioning me, they reinforce themselves.  Sucks.  But, it is also a pretty basic human trait. You have to keep instilling the idea that the majority knows what’s best for everyone and you have to strengthen that idea in the majority as well.  A good way to do that is to pick apart the idea that other concepts of best interest might also be valid.

Just because something is in the best interest of those holding the reigns (heh, or Black Friday sale prices) doesn’t mean it’s in the best interest of all of us.  I know. It’s a fearful prospect to think that the breakaway population might be on to something and so, the name calling or assumption making comes and we are peppered like the third century Christian just wanting to live her life how she wants without being forced into some Pagan default.

And as I’m writing this and wondering if I’m even making sense, PZ Myers comes through for me once again by posting a quote from Archbishop George Pell (Sydney) that just rolls this up pretty nicely.

“A minority of people, usually people without religion, are frightened by the future,” he says. “It’s almost as though they’ve … nothing but fear to distract themselves from the fact that without God the universe has no objective purpose or meaning. Nothing beyond the constructs they confect to cover the abyss.”

The minority isn’t frightened, Archbishop.  I think we might be the thing to be fearful of.  Freedom of thought can be a real bitch.



Let the War Begin! [C’mon, y’all will laugh, I swear.]

Written by thelittlepecan

November 29, 2010 at 12:00 am

Posted in atheism, faith

4 Responses

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  1. […] The War on Christmas Pt. 1 November 2010 3 comments […]

  2. Nice. I plan on touching this topic in a couple of weeks. It’s good to see people speaking their minds. Without honesty, we’re nowhere.

    Adam Jones

    November 29, 2010 at 11:47 am

    • Oh. I have more. The more is more personal and less sociological.


      November 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

  3. Fantastico!!!

    Xepher Borchaf

    November 29, 2010 at 9:08 am

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