To wonder why people who appear to dislike religion enjoy Christian celebrations

(509 Posts)
Cupcake1985 Sun 03-Nov-13 11:08:57

I know that most people enjoy Christmas, Easter etc with no regard for the actual Christian basis and meaning of the celebration, but aibu to think that those people should then not get all offended by the religious aspects and sometimes be downright rude about it?? The nativity play, spreading the word of god through carol singing etc..... Dare I mention operation Christmas child?! If you enjoy Christmas then at least try to accept it is actually about the birth of Christ or at least respect that others will celebrate this fact and may try to share that with those around them with the best intentions.

Basically cheer up, be accepting, be kind.

isitsnowingyet Sun 03-Nov-13 11:10:05

Right then - will do

gordyslovesheep Sun 03-Nov-13 11:10:43

oh a thread about a thread - how nice

you totally failed to grasp that people objecting to OCC where not actually objecting to Christianity though

so YABU smile

Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:11:15

I am Christian but I don't agree with the tactics used by operation Christmas child.

But beyond that I hear a lot in newspapers about Christmas offending people but actually don't know anyone who is offended by it. Some people may choose to withdraw their child from activities focusing on the religious aspects but that doesn't mean they are offended just that they don't want to partake - massive difference.

DropYourSword Sun 03-Nov-13 11:11:57

I think there's sometimes a difference between sharing and forcing!

gordyslovesheep Sun 03-Nov-13 11:12:08

Basically cheer up, be accepting, be kind unless you are gay or Muslim then OCC and those behind it will condemn you

I enjoy Christmas, I go to church - I wont support OCC

Onesleeptillwembley Sun 03-Nov-13 11:14:02

The Christians based their festivities on pre existing ones.

solveproblem Sun 03-Nov-13 11:14:21

The origin of Christmas is not Christian.

curlew Sun 03-Nov-13 11:14:25

Happy to be.

When the organization behind Operation Christmas Child start accepting others, in particular non Christians and homosexuals. Deal?

Cupcake1985 Sun 03-Nov-13 11:14:50

I understand people feel occ might not shout about the religious part, fair enough, but Christmas is a Christian celebration so surely they go hand in hand? It shouldn't be a shock. It's only commercialism that makes us feel otherwise. Just my opinion - but this thread was meant to be more general than occ.

MuffCakes Sun 03-Nov-13 11:15:13

What Christian traditions are there? Christmas and Easter are not Christian really they have been around forever and not as Christian holidays.

curlew Sun 03-Nov-13 11:15:57

And all Operation Christmas Child has to do is be upfront about it evangelical mission so that people know what they are getting involved with without having to do major research.........

Beccagain Sun 03-Nov-13 11:15:59

I have never ever ever ever come across non-religious people celebrating Christmas who have objected to the inclusion of the Nativity. On the whole they seem pretty damn sanguine and accepting that it goes with the territory.

You have slipped in a reference to far as I recall the OP who brought that up was not objecting to the Christmas bit so much as the stealth evangelising that s/he perceived to go along with it which is a slightly different issue as I see it.

By the way, the Christmas celebration was originally a pagan festival hijacked by Christians, so somewhat disingenuous, you might even say inaccurate, to say it is 'actually about the birth of Christ'.

51 shopping days to go grin

Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:16:10

Christmas is what it is to each person. Who are you (or anyone else) to dictate how someone else should celebrate?

Beccagain Sun 03-Nov-13 11:18:24

Don't you just hate it when you make startlingly original, eloquent and perceptive points, press 'post' and find dozens of people have got in ahead of you! grin

notthefirstagainstthewall Sun 03-Nov-13 11:19:35

Mostly complaints appear to be from the religious complaining about non believers or other religions festivals actually. Everyone else just has a good time.

The fact that Christians nicked festivals that were well established in Britain and supplanted their own means non Christians are perfectly entitled to celebrate the 25th as they see fit.

gordyslovesheep Sun 03-Nov-13 11:19:53

Yes the Romans trying to convert people tied Christian celebrations into existing festival and borrowed many of the traditions (Eggs and Lights etc) That is a fact

but Christ mas IS about the birth of Christ - the clue is in the name grin

curlew Sun 03-Nov-13 11:20:10

Cupcake- show me where people are "downright rude" about the Christian elements of Christmas?

YouTheCat Sun 03-Nov-13 11:21:25

I'll celebrate Christmas how I damn well please.

As far as I'm concerned everyone else can get on with it how they like too.

I have no gripe with all the religious stuff (though I celebrate in a non-religious way - my own way). OCC is a crock of shite - not because of the Christian aspect but because of the omitting of facts and the way they spread the word.

I have yet to see anyone of any religion (or no religion) getting offended by the Christian aspects of celebration - you're being goady.

I call it Mithrasday. Just to wind some of my family up. Being a good old 'lapsed' catholic and all. smile

LtEveDallas Sun 03-Nov-13 11:31:14

I'm afraid Christmas to me is simply about being with family, giving presents, eating too much food and a liberal sprinkling of Father Christmas. It's not a religious festival for me.

Easter is about the Easter bunny bringing chocolate eggs to DD and the rest of us gorging on a lovely spring lamb. It's not a religious festival for me.

I don't have an issue with anyone who treats it as a religious festival, as long as I know about it beforehand, so I don't insult or annoy them.

That's my problem with OCC (well amongst the racist and homophobic views of its founder), that they aren't up front about it.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 11:32:54

Oh, so you didn't actually bother going back to read the responses from your mini-rant on that thread?


Well, here's what I said:

This attitude drives me fecking crackers.

There was a Pagan festival celebrating Saturn & Mithras on this date long before anyone called Jesus was supposedly born (which wouldn't have been in December anyway). They decorated their homes with greenery, gave gifts & shared feasts. Sound familiar?

That powerful Christians took over the festival and renamed it does NOT give Christians the right to claim it as their own.

It is a mid-winter festival accessible to everyone. If you personally want to play up the mythical bits, go for it, but don't behave like you're doing the rest of us an almighty favour by sharing it.

Read up on a bit of basic history before you start telling the rest of us off, eh?

And the argument that "Well it's called Christmas, innit - so it must be Christian" is daft. That does nothing whatsoever to change the origins of the festival, which is actually what makes it "Christian" or not.

80sMum Sun 03-Nov-13 11:34:04

Sorry OP but Christmas as it is currently celebrated in the UK is largely a secular festival.
Most of the celebratory traditions are pagan in origin, such as the concept of a a midwinter feast, a family gathering, a time to decorate the house with holly, yule logs, mistletoe etc.
The early Christians knew it would be impossible for new converts to give up their traditional feast days and celebrations, so they amalgamated them, choosing Yule as the time to celebrate Christ's birth and Easter toremember his crucifixion. Yule was renamed Christmas, but Easter still retains its pagan name (after the goddess of fertility) . Anyone who buys Easter eggs is participating in the pagan fertility celebrations, not the Christian festival, for example.
So you see, it's impossible to separate the Christian aspect from the non-christian. Both are equally valid (but the non-christians were there first!)

gordyslovesheep Sun 03-Nov-13 11:37:31

but Pagans celebrate Solstice , Mythras etc etc

I am not sure why you would celebrate the birth of Christ

The point is Christmas is Christian - it doesn't change that fact that anyone can celebrate it anyway they want to - it's not up to the OP or anyone else to dictate to others

I do think Christians have the right to claim Christmas as theirs though grin

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 11:42:49

I am not sure why you would celebrate the birth of Christ

I don't.

I take part in a very traditional mid-winter festival whose origins are pagan.

ringaringarosy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:42:58

because all of the "christian" festivals are basically festivals which everyone celebrated anyway and then the christians just decided to take over and make up that someone was born/died on that day,theres always been celebrations at winter and spring.

gordyslovesheep Sun 03-Nov-13 11:44:34

exactly Hettie - I'm not disagreeing - but I am wondering if you call that CHRISTmas or something else

I am not denying that Christianity stole other religions festivals - just that the name is Christian

I am a humanist so a faithless wonder but I do think the name is Christian

Heartbrokenmum73 Sun 03-Nov-13 11:44:54

then the christians just decided to take over and make up that someone was born/died on that day

Wowzers ringa grin.

All these threads are making me feel proper Christmassy!

<spectacularly misses the point>

Branleuse Sun 03-Nov-13 11:45:48

christmas was never about jesus, it was the saturnalia pagan festival and the solstice combined in an attempt to win people over to christianity.

Now its just part of western culture, whether youre christian or not. Id be quite happy to never celebrate, but the kids like it. I will not make it about religion

ringaringarosy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:46:48

in america dont they call it "the holidays" so as not to offend anyone?

PatoBanton Sun 03-Nov-13 11:47:43

I imagine they enjoy them for the same reasons as Christians.

Whenever someone posts on MN asking if it's ok to go along to church just for the social life, biscuits and singing, hundreds of Christians pile in to say 'yes come on in! We want everyone, it doesn't matter if you believe'.

Yet we still get threads like this.

Bonkers in the nut.

curlew Sun 03-Nov-13 11:48:12

No. They call them "holidays" so as to include everyone.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sun 03-Nov-13 11:48:33

Actually, OP, it would more correct to start a thread saying something along the lines of "Hey, Christians, when you enjoy the traditional UK trappings of Christmas, you need to accept you are taking part in Pagan traditions and secular Victorian trends that have zero to do with Jesus or Christianity". Decorations, feasting, gifts, group singing of traditional celebratory songs (albeit not carols, of course): Pagan. Xmas tree, cards: Victorian fashions.

But you don't get threads started like that because no-one wants to stop Christmas having a very special meaning to Christians. So why do you think you have the right to try to tell others how they should and must enjoy Christmas in return?! People being non-Christian or Atheist or Agnostic doesn't mean Christians can't enjoy whatever things are meaningful to them. If other people not believing the same things as you, or enjoying something for the same reasons as you, upsets you or shakes your faith or enjoyment, OP, then that means you either have a very shaky faith or need to work on incredibly low self-esteem. Either reason means that you need to take responsibility for your reactions, not others.

What on earth does it matter to you if other people don't enjoy the same aspects of a thing as you, or celebrate it for the same reasons? Your attitude is an appalling advertisement for Christianity, you know.

ringaringarosy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:48:39

i do plan on telling the kids the "story" of baby jesus though,it is just a story to us (a lovely one in some ways" they get told about it all at school too but we make sure we balance it out with some non brainwashing stuff (they go to a CofE and from what they have told me they get told things as fact)

ringaringarosy Sun 03-Nov-13 11:49:38

curlew thats the same thing to me really.i didnt mean it in a bad way i think its a good idea.

Morgause Sun 03-Nov-13 11:49:41

We pagans really enjoy our solstice celebrations and we don't mind if Christians join in.

80sMum Sun 03-Nov-13 11:49:54

Yes, of course, Christmas is when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus and it has great significance for them. But the thing is that the majority of the traditions and celebrations are not Christian and have nothing to do with the Christian side of Christmas.
All the feasting, decorations, trees etc are pagan in origin.
I've often thought it would be nicer for Christians if they could have a different date for their celebrations and feast days, to separate them from the secular festivals.

Beccagain Sun 03-Nov-13 11:50:41

Terrific post Anybags

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 11:52:52

exactly Hettie - I'm not disagreeing - but I am wondering if you call that CHRISTmas or something else

Well, I would call it something else, but no one would know what I was on about!

I wasn't being flippant about Saturday - that really was named after Saturn, and none of us has a problem with that. Or Thursday after Thor. Or Wednesday after.....Wotan?

You don't to believe in any of those gods to us those words. Hence it's of no consequence to me to use "Christmas". It's just a word.

If it means more to Christians, fine. But the rest of us shouldn't be made to feel like we're being hypocrites or encroaching on something that's none of our business.

WooWooOwl Sun 03-Nov-13 11:52:58

Christmas is as much cultural as it is Christian nowadays, which is exactly what the early Christians in this country were aiming for.

People celebrate it because it is human nature to want to be involved in community stuff, we are social creatures and there's no getting away from it when Christmas comes. You may as well celebrate when the entire country is geared up to celebrate at that them of year with bank holidays and the like.

I'm happy to celebrate the birth of Christ, but I'd rather celebrate the good will that often comes along with Christmas and the message of kindness and love. I think that's more worthy of celebration tbh.

PatoBanton Sun 03-Nov-13 11:53:22

Anyway do Christian folk really go around saying 'Oh I am so happy today, because Jesus was born on this day 200000 years ago' or do they jazz it up with a nice lunch and presents like everyone else?

That's what makes it fun, not the fact it's an anniversary or whatever.

Bubbles1066 Sun 03-Nov-13 11:54:23

Christmas is just the Pagan festival of Yule with a different story. Before Yule, there was probably something else. I like what the Americans do and call it 'holidays' as that includes all of the winter time festivals - Hanukah, Yule, Christmas and others. People have celebrated that time of year for Thousands of years.
As an atheist I see 'Christmas' as a time of reflection, to give thanks for what we have and spend time with family and friends. I don't like it when a small number of Christians (not all by any means) think it's their festival.

PatoBanton Sun 03-Nov-13 11:54:36

Anyway people would still want to partay around the darkest bit of the year because it's franky a shit time in other ways, so really, if Christmas wasn't already there, we'd have invented it anyway.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 11:55:07

You don't have to believe in any of those gods to us those words. I meant.

edam Sun 03-Nov-13 11:56:13

Top post, Anybags.

OP, I don't want anyone to stop you, or other Christians, celebrating your Christmas, but please understand the midwinter feast existed long before the Christians co-opted it.

Operation Christmas Child is a whole other issue. You can celebrate Christmas as a Christian without getting involved in what is, IMO, a deceitful and exploitative scam. And profoundly unChristian. Lying is a sin. Lying to and expoiting children, both in this country and the receiving countries, is a very serious sin. Particularly outrageous when done in the name of a man who said 'suffer [[allow] the little children to come unto me' and warned that if you harmed a child, your punishment would be worse than being cast into the sea with a millstone round your neck. IIRC.

fatlazymummy Sun 03-Nov-13 12:03:20

I only celebrate christmas because my children want to. If I was on my own I would just treat it as another day. I totally ignore any religious aspects, but if others want to sing carols, go to church etc. then I'm happy for them.
I do like seeing christmas trees, lights, decorations though. They do break up the drabness of winter. I guess that's more the pagan side of things, though I'm not one of those either.
The other aspect of christmas I really don't like is the overeating and drinking, roast turkey and tins of roses and so on, so again I don't do it. If other people want to that's up to them.
Luckily we live in quite a free society and we can pick and choose what we want to celebrate.

Cupcake this started because you said Christmas is about the birth of Christ. Don't like Christmas Christian charities? Don't celebrate Christmas at all problem solved

You should not be surprised at being picked up on it, but it's not just you so it's not personal. Something of this sort gets said every few weeks - actually about 3 times this week.

If we've learned anything from the feminists, it's that casual/unthinking remarks must be challenged. Every time someone says "oh but women can't do that" someone will post "of course they can" and everytime someone says that Dec 25th belongs to Christians someone is going to say "no it doesn't'.

fatlazymummy Sun 03-Nov-13 12:07:39

And I totally agree with edam re . OCC.
I don't agree with evangelising, full stop, and I'm not going to do anything that supports that. However I will make a donation to charity, something that will actually improve someone's life in some small way.

AuntieStella Sun 03-Nov-13 12:12:35

There's a whole separate thread running about OCC (hope this doesn't turn into a TAAT!). And as there seems to be one every year, that in itself is becoming a MN seasonal tradition grin

Christmas is Christian, and widely celebrated, and I agree with OP that it's a bit off to be curmudgeonly towards that celebration.

Yule however isn't. Nor is Father Christmas. Nor is the tradition of a mid-winter festival. nor is all the greenery, the wassailing and the carolling.

There's plenty of space for all sorts of celebration.

DoctorRobert Sun 03-Nov-13 12:14:04

If you enjoy Christmas then at least try to accept it is actually about the birth of Christ

Is it? Actually, the Christian church stamped it on top of a very ancient pagan festival.

As an aethiest, nothing I celebrate at Christmas has anything to do with Christianity.


HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 12:18:42

My Christmas isn't remotely Christian. Not remotely.

But I would feel a right twat if I walked around asking people if they were looking forward to "Yule".

AuntieStella Sun 03-Nov-13 12:25:03

But no-one would be incapable of understanding say a card that referred to Yuletide Greetings, or a Yule Log, or abreast to "Seasons Greetings"

The name Christmas is a contraction of "Christ's Mass" which is inherently Christian. But there's no need to use the Christian elements for whatever mid-winter celebration you uphold.

*If you enjoy Christmas then at least try to accept it is actually about the birth of Christ

Is it? Actually, the Christian church stamped it on top of a very ancient pagan festival.

As an aethiest, nothing I celebrate at Christmas has anything to do with Christianity.



Darn. Bolding fail.

HairyGrotter Sun 03-Nov-13 12:30:55

It's only a story, so chill out!

I'm atheist, I love Christmas because it means family, food, TV and presents.

Nativity is a panto.


HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 12:32:14

So, what are you saying, AuntieStella?

If we use the word "Christmas" then we're basically celebrating a Christian festival whether we like it or not?

The word has Christian origins, obviously. But it is describing a festival that was not originally Christian.

Seriously, are you celebrating Saturn every time you say Saturday?

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 03-Nov-13 12:35:32

ringaringarosy For many - particularly companies, Happy Holidays is to be as neutral as possible, but actually it's became standard for public places as well because there are dozens of holidays at this time of year and it's nice to remember that even with the Christmas overload.

I don't particularly enjoy Christmas celebrations nor do I celebrate it (or anything) on the 25th of December and haven't since I left home (years and years ago). Even in my bah-humbug circles, I haven't met people offended by the religious aspects of it unless people are actively trying to convert (like OCC), the only thing I've ever seen is wanting to be included in a way alongside. The whole "War on religious Christmas" seems more to be about some Christians wanting exclusive rights to decide on how to deal with this time of year than anyone being offended or even seeking inclusion alongside. Personally, I ignore it as much as possible, and enjoy a great New Year's.

ChippingInLovesAGoodBang Sun 03-Nov-13 12:40:20

So, once again, the OP pulled the pin out of the grenade and ran - what a surprise.

Trills Sun 03-Nov-13 12:42:59

This is a bit like the child-free wedding threads where someone pops up and says a wedding is about the joining of two families.

Not necessarily.

jamdonut Sun 03-Nov-13 12:43:14

We celebrate "Christmas" as an ancient tradition, using bits of all the different traditions that have grown around it. When my children were little,they heard the "Christmas Story" but it was just that - a story.

We (DH and myself),were brought up in a vaguely Christian culture,and christmas and easter are part of that, but I prefer to think of them as even older than that,being in touch with the seasons etc.

If you want to accept it as a Christian Festival ,that is up to you.

I am an atheist.
I also replied on the other thread.
I am in agreement with HettiePetal.

I guess I am a little bit rude about religious people and their imaginary god, and they probably are a little bit rude about me. I think it is hilariously funny when otherwise inteligent educated people then bring in this fantasy god person into their lives.

Generally though I think I am pretty tolerant, if you want to believe in fairies you go ahead. Some of my best friends of many years are devout Christians and (perhaps surprisingly) they really aren't bad people, ust a little misguided!

Now - though some Christians may be offended by the way I have written this they often do expect their beliefs to be respected by society as if they were facts. And the rest of us with different views are merely tolerated.

I strongly object to the way religion is thrust upon us in our daily lives and am very pleased to see the rapid decline in religion in the UK in my life time.

As for celebrating Christmas - the only time of year when our whole extended family is off work and school. Of course we are going to make the most of it. Though a mid winter holiday goes back way further than when the Christians adopted it - when was that exactly - perhaps some Christian here could remind us.
I know it was around the 3rd or the 4th century? It was all to do with the Roman Empire.
It also coincides with the end of the original Olympic games - those games that were an annual summer tribute to ancient Greek Gods (esp Zeus).
More than just a coincidence I think. Read ancient Greek mythology dating more than 3,000 years old and you will find a whole lot of it just copied straight into Christian stories.

Feel free to enjoy your fairy stories if they give you comfort as a Christian but they are no more valid than believing in the same stories when they were pagan myths.

lifesgreatquestions Sun 03-Nov-13 12:55:55

To answer your question, I do not enjoy Christian celebrations. I do like putting up a tree and giving presents, I like eating chocolate, but I don't enjoy Christian goings on at those times. It's not like I sit in church and smirk! As some others have said, there's a cultural and historical theme to Christmas that sits outside of religion.

MadAsFish Sun 03-Nov-13 12:56:07

Aand she's gone again (the OP, I mean).

Christmas is a Christian celebration - no, actually, it's a grafting over of an older tradition, so people would stop celebrating things the Church didn't like.
We all say Christmas because it communicates what we mean - the end of december festivités.

MadAsFish Sun 03-Nov-13 12:56:41

Well we don't all say it, but many of us do, anyway.

mrsravelstein Sun 03-Nov-13 12:57:05

i dislike religion intensely.

i am racially jewish and religiously atheist.

i do however like giving presents and eating a meal with my family in the middle of december which are both traditional jewish things to do, and in fact atheist things to do as well. nothing to do with jesus, and i'll happily call it celebrating 'winterval' instead of calling it christmas if that makes christians feel better.

i cannnot stand the bloody nativity nonsense that my kids have to participate in at their non faith state schools, as the schools seem to be unable to to preface the story with "some people believe that....", just like at easter i had to explain to my very sad 5 year old that no, jesus did not come back to life after he was dead, and that our sorely missed grandad and hamster will therefore not be coming back to life either.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sashh Sun 03-Nov-13 13:03:54

Personally I'd like to ignore Xmas the way I'm able to ignore Muslim, SSikh, Hindu, Jewish, etc festivals.

I don't celebrate any of them.

no regard for the actual Christian basis and meaning of the celebration

Non Christian things that happen at Christian celebrations

Holly and Ivy
tree decorations
bunnies and chicks
drinking to excess

As for OCC - how can you be accepting and support Samaritan's purse?

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 13:04:46

Do you guys only speak English? It's not called Christmas in other languages, is it?

German- Weihnacht means night of incense, or holy night. Religion not specified, actually.

French-Noel. Does come from birthday, dies natales.

Swedish- jul, same as Yule.

Danish- as Swedish.

This all reminds me of that US senator who didn't want to learn Spanish, and when asked why not, said "if English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me".

What we call it in English does not have some cosmic meaning, it's just what we call it in English.....

hettienne Sun 03-Nov-13 13:05:01

I celebrate Christmas in a non-religious way. I also don't mind the Nativity, it's a harmless enough story, entirely mythical and is a part of out tradition/culture. In the same way I have no problem with DS learning the Rama and Sita story or making little divas at school for Diwali.

The Christian Easter story is a bit grim and unnecessary for young children, but I'm quite happy to celebrate Spring with all the traditional fertility stuff - rabbits, eggs, flowers etc.

TrinSnowPastaMelonity Sun 03-Nov-13 13:07:44

I wasn't on the thread that some people are saying this is about but christmas was originally a pagan festival <sticks tongue out>

hermioneweasley Sun 03-Nov-13 13:09:42

I am immensely grateful for this thread and the OCC one. So I can see who are the decent people and who are cunts.

It's very helpful.

Cuntwatch, if you like.

hackmum Sun 03-Nov-13 13:13:28

Almost everyone I know - Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, Sikhs - celebrates Christmas. The only exception is a friend who is a Jehovah's Witness. The JWs don't seem to have a lot of fun...

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 13:14:30

What we call it in English does not have some cosmic meaning, it's just what we call it in English.....

Really good point.

But I have to say I'm curious about this idea of a traditional Xmas. Most of what we do seems to be pagan or Victorian in origin. Is there anything we do as part of a traditional Xmas that's neither other than going to church?

I can't think of anything either.

There's not really much about Christmas that's actually Christian, is there?

Some people go to church. Most don't. Some Christmas cards & advent calendars have the three kings on it, or something (most don't) and some primary schools put on a nativity.

All the other stuff - presents, crackers, turkey, Santa, the who's-gonna-die--Eastenders episode (might just be me that looks forward to that) - has bugger all to do with Christmas. And never has had.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 13:15:02

has bugger all to do with Christmas


Bugger all to do with Christianity.

fatlazymummy Sun 03-Nov-13 13:15:37

Please enlighten us Hermoine . Who, in your opinion, are the decent people and who are the cunts?

TrinSnowPastaMelonity Sun 03-Nov-13 13:16:20

hermione....which am I? <wibble>

sashh Sun 03-Nov-13 13:17:17

but Pagans celebrate Solstice , Mythras etc etc

Mythras isn't a celebration

Mythras predates Christianity. Mythras was a son of a god whose mother was a virgin, he had 12 followers and died for others.

Some pagans do, indeed, celebrate solstices and yo are welcome to join in with the festivities if you want.

MadAsFish Sun 03-Nov-13 13:18:06

Good points beastofburden!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 13:22:34

Oh, I know, Lunatic. I meant the images on them might be Christian. Although not many of them are these days.

friday16 Sun 03-Nov-13 13:28:48

I love Christians banging on about late-December solstice celebrations being about "the birth of baby Jesus".

I mean, the bit about shepherds being out tending flocks in the fields, with new lambs and stuff, in late December is just so plausible.

MadAsFish Sun 03-Nov-13 13:30:42

And the sock know, while shepherds washed their socks by night, all seated on the ground...

Too cheesy?

Geckos48 Sun 03-Nov-13 13:31:31

Because Yule is a cultural tradition. The Christian overtones are really just a plagiarised add-on.

1919 Sun 03-Nov-13 13:33:36

The first Christmas card (Victorian) had no religious imagery.

hermioneweasley Sun 03-Nov-13 13:35:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 13:35:39

And has any Christian ever stopped to wonder how on earth you "follow a star"?

And if such a star hovered over the stable, Jesus would be toast.

MadAsFish Sun 03-Nov-13 13:36:37

w00t, I am not a cunt (I think).

edam Sun 03-Nov-13 13:36:48

There were Christmas celebrations long before the Victorians - Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas (inc. going to church) so there must have been something for him to ban.

I've got vague memories that Queen Elizabeth 1's court used to feast and give presents, and presumably go to church. Don't know what else.

The Christmas tree and Christmas cards are Victorian, but the tree must go back a long way in Germany (or whichever parts of it were represented by Saxe-Coburg-Gotha - Saxony, obv, but don't know what or where Coburg/Gotha are).

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 13:38:20

Ah. Interesting. Thanks 1919.

So, as Lunatic says, there's really precious little about Christmas that didn't originate with either pre-Christianity pagan festivals or the Victorians.

Makes the OP's objection even more pointless.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 13:41:26

The point is not that the Victorian's invented Christmas, Edam, but that most of the trappings & trimmings originated with them. And others from pagan festivals.

The Elizabethan's certainly celebrated Christmas. Was all about the food, for them. Unsurprisingly.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 03-Nov-13 13:41:37

Why not do what we do and follow the Church of Noddy Holder at Christmas?

It just wouldn't be a special time without his "War Cry"....

fatlazymummy Sun 03-Nov-13 13:41:48

hermoine definitely agree on your 2nd point (though probably wouldn't use the c-word).

ninah Sun 03-Nov-13 13:43:31

I don't enjoy Christian celebrations
I mildly enjoy putting a bit of greenery round the house, eating and drinking too much and having some time off with the dc

MrsBucketxx Sun 03-Nov-13 13:45:30

Hettie you have said everything I wanted too snd more.

Funny how op has buggered off isnt it.

ubik Sun 03-Nov-13 13:48:14

it's all about this

this is why I love christmas

hermioneweasley Sun 03-Nov-13 13:48:43

Fatlazymummy, I apologise if my use of the C word offended you. For me, sometimes it's the only expression that sums up my level of contempt.

SunshineMMum Sun 03-Nov-13 13:51:05

Hermion would you call all people of other faiths 'Cunts' or is that title reserved for us Christians??

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 13:58:39

Plus, if we are playing rain on the parade here..

The nativity is not undisputedly Christian either, if you mean the stable, shepherds, angels etc. There are two accounts- Matthew and Luke- and they are differ in timing, location and setting. Only Matthew has all the traditional stuff. Luke has the baby being laid in a manger. No stable, no shepherds, no angels, star or magi. No census either, which is not surprising given that Herod died in 4BC. And neither of them has any donkeys and that.

Pope benedict wrote a book about the nativity and infancy narratives of Christ last year, and he said quite a few things that fans of traditional Christmases would find uncomfortable. And many other scholars go further than he did.

Which is just to point out that Christmas as we celebrate it is definitely not a festival for the purist, or someone who is sincere about having to mean everything they sing at Christmas.

SkullyAndBones Sun 03-Nov-13 14:02:20

i send christmas cards because i am wishing other people a merry christmas.

i'm not enough of an arse to tell people i dont celebrate Christmas therefore they must send me 'yuletide' or 'seasons' greetings cards.. despite it being Yule that i'm celebrating.

You keep the Christ in Christmas.. and i will keep my tree, my 5 pointed star, my feast, my singing and my gift giving.

Have a boring CHRISTmas won't you!

edam Sun 03-Nov-13 14:04:46

YYY Hettie, I know about the pagan roots, just people seemed to be implying it was pagan + Victorian and nothing else in between.

Personally I veer between paganism, agnosticism (CofE agnosticism) and atheism. But I do love Christmas carols - 13 years of CofE education left its mark on me. grin

In the bleak midwinter...

AllBoxedUp Sun 03-Nov-13 14:08:41

My very strict Christian parents don't like Christmas as they view it as a Pagan festival with no basis in the Bible. We still had turkey and presents but no way was it anything to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus. They believe you are only instructed to mark his death and resurrection (but definitely not at that other Pagan festival Easter.....). YABU.

SkullyAndBones Sun 03-Nov-13 14:09:12

the tree thing goes right back to ancient times when pagans used to decorate their doors with evergreen boughs during the midwinter festival to ward off evil spirits. Also the Celts and druids used them as symbols of everlasting life to remind them of what would regrow in the spring.

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 14:09:52

I don't care about the word either- as I say, if we were born further north we'd all be calling it Jul anyway. And if we were born further south we'd be calling it Birthday (variants of Natale).

Nt to depress you, but not only did the historical man Christ not speak English- English didn't exist for him to speak. We in blighty spoke Norse, old English and Celtic then, I think. Recognisable English was a good 1,000 years away, after the Norman conquest.

I have a lovely time at Christmas and I even do a fair bit of singing in carol services and midnight mass where they need to get a choir together. It's fun. I don't believe a single word of it- and my point is, most of it isn't Christian anyway, so those who do are not being Christian either.

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 14:11:03

all boxed I can respect your parents as they are showing sincere faith and good scholarship, though its a shame they didn't feel able to join in the fun... But they are perfectly right.

BoundandRebound Sun 03-Nov-13 14:15:29

Christmas is an invention to counteract the pagan festivals of midwinter that are found in most cultures

I love a good feast, festival of light, celebration of the rebirth that spring brings in the heart of midwinter and will continue to celebrate it allowing for those of the Christian faith to name it and proclaim it theirs

I hate evangelism - it is nasty and insidious particularly when wrapped up in charity and should be banned as immoral

AllBoxedUp Sun 03-Nov-13 14:17:43

They kind of did but it was a bit hush, hush so the rest of the family didn't know. It was just a day of lots of food and presents which I think are the pared down elements of most people's Christmases. They would threaten each year to make us wait until New Year for our presents like our cousins but I think they enjoyed it as well even though they thought it was a bit wrong.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 14:18:36

I love the fact that Cupcake hasn't come back. I think she was expecting a lot of people to agree with her self-righteous indignation.

I bet something appears on the Religion boards before long wink "Why are atheists so intolerant?" or some such twaddle.

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 14:19:59

They would probably not like the idea, but I expect we celebrate Christmas in much the same way, ie definitely not as a Christian festival! But they sound good and sincere people.

On evangelism, I find it offensive 365 days a year, not only at Christmas.

Quoteunquote Sun 03-Nov-13 14:20:06

For tens of thousands of years humans have celebrated the solstices and equinoxes,

Anyone creating a new religion, has always had to tie in their celebration dates, as people don't give up auspicious occasion, they will change them, but not ignore them.

and the winter solstice has always been marked with the celebrating the coming of a new year, bring light to the darkest day.

Meerkatwhiskers Sun 03-Nov-13 14:20:21

Wasn't Jesus actually born in February?

I am atheist but was bought up catholic. I celebrate christmas with a small c lol. But really the old traditional pagan festival of the celebratory meal with family and giving gifts. It's all about family for me. No religion invited.

Geckos48 Sun 03-Nov-13 14:21:30

If it makes you feel any better I would enjoy Christmas just a much without the Roman story smile

Hettie I love your work on this thread grin

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 14:22:55

A a musician, I am used to this. Almost everything you sing in a concert will have religious words. That's just how music used to be written. I have spent so long taking no notice of the words I sing that I had forgotten this grin

Anyway, I was always brought up being told that Christmas was about the "Christian values of sharing and goodwill to all"? Or is that only to other Christians?

What's wrong with a whole load of people simultaneously enjoying a day of goodwill and celebration, even if their beliefs are different?

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 14:29:41

murder, that I do agree with. Christmas forces me to remember to give to charity, and in my childhood I had to share a room with my great aunt Florrie (there is no greater sacrifice, she had a moustache and she snored) as my (atheist) mother would pack the house with deservedly neglected relations and neighbours.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 14:29:54

grin Thanks, Murder.

ninah Sun 03-Nov-13 14:32:07

and let's face it, even Christians don't agree among themselves re beliefs

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 14:39:53

I understand that Christmas and Easter have pagan origins and were adopted by Christians.

What I don't understand is, if you aren't a Pagan or a Christian then why would you want to celebrate them? Many (most?) members of other religions don't, they celebrate their own festivals.

If I didn't believe that I was celebrating the birth of Christ (not on the right day or even in the right month but just symbolic) or whatever it was that the original pagans were celebrating on that date then I would heave a huge sigh of relief and stay the hell away from anything remotely Christmas related! grin.

As I do believe, then I find the decorated churches, carols, lights and prayers very meaningful. A Christmas carol service is one of the highlights of the year for me. The more family based stuff helps to add a sense of occasion but isn't really the point. And the commercial stress and overeating really isn't anything to enjoy!

There was a radio advert a couple of years ago which said (in an appopriately annoying drum roll style voice) "and we all know what the real meaning of Christmas is .... Shopping!" I found that incredibly sad. I don't actually think it's true for anyone but that retailers would even try to make it so tries to take everything away from a day that means something to Christians and, presumably (I've never met one so wouldn't want to speak for them!), Pagans.

manic The Pagan meaning behind Yule/Xmas/midwinter is pretty much just to break up the winter and make it less unbearably dark and grim. Can see why that would appeal to non-Pagans as well!

friday16 Sun 03-Nov-13 14:47:12

even Christians don't agree among themselves re beliefs

Hating gays and regarding women as second-class citizens is, however, something most of them can get behind. The Church of England may not believe in much, but excluding homosexuals and women from senior roles is something they can always find time to vote in favour of.

manicinsomniac I think the origin would have been as Murder describes it.

I'm no farmer, but I imagine in the old days there'd be nothing more you could do in the fields at this time of year. The days would be short and cold and you might have food that wasn't going to last that was better eaten now.

In any case most of us are not celebrating either pagan or xmas versions really. The decorations are just to make it look cheerful and it's not like you can buy non-pagan trees or fairy lights. It's just a time to get together with family at a time when most (not all) people get time off from work.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 03-Nov-13 14:54:36

I don''t celebrate it but the only other people I know who don't are my friends who are Hasidic Jews and my partner's grandmother who is a Jehovah's Witness. It's pretty all consuming in the UK and it's quite awkward trying to explain if you don't even if you are of another faith group.

The Celtic/Germanic/Roman pagan roots (though the Romans co-opted so many other groups) and traditions certainly help break up a bleak winter, though obviously many other pagans in other regions have nothing of the sort - not everywhere has bleak winters - but do have other types of festivals (As Metis/Mestizo, we just had Dias de los muertos which is rooted in Aztec paganism, spread throughout the region and was co-opted and reduced by Christian colonizers, but has no real equivalent in Celtic paganism or neopaganism).

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 14:57:57

I "enjoy" Christmas rather than actively "celebrate" it, Manic.

It is ridiculously commercial & it's a real worry that people get themselves into debt buying presents. But it can also be a lot of fun & there is a sense of community that bubbles up around it.

And, as someone else said upthread, if Christmas didn't already exist, we'd probably invent something similar to liven up a boring, cold time of the year.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 14:58:05

friday16 - totally untrue! I don't know any Christians at all (among 200+ Christians from all denominations and walks of life) who think women are second class citizens. Nor do I know any who hate gay people. Admittedly, some (maybe 10-15%) believe that the man has ultimate responsibility for his family and more (40-50%?) believe that it is wrong to practise homosexuality but a) those things are not the same as what you suggested and b) huge numbers of Christians, including myself, don't believe either of them anyway.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 15:00:06

murder - oh ok, thanks for that, that's really helpful. I thought it was a celebration linked to a God or Goddess. It does make more sense as a festival for all now.

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 15:00:14

manic if you are not religious then you don't have a religious reason for celebrating it, so the pagan/Christian option is too simplistic.

I celebrate having ten days off work, getting the family together, remembering to give to charity, traditional food which brings back memories of when the children were young and when I was young, the fun of finding a nice present for someone, and being given traditional things that I always like.

Giving to charity is the only Christian element in this.

MadAsFish Sun 03-Nov-13 15:02:48

What I don't understand is, if you aren't a Pagan or a Christian then why would you want to celebrate them? Many (most?) members of other religions don't, they celebrate their own festivals.

Because aspects of it are fun? Because standing outside of all the traditions of your culture/s can be isolating? Because there's a tradition pretty much as old as humanity of some kind of festival at that time of year? Because it's important even when you're an atheist, to develop certain cyclical calndar events? (that one's a personal belief - I think there's a need for most if not all of us to have traditions of something).

MadAsFish Sun 03-Nov-13 15:03:18


AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sun 03-Nov-13 15:07:16

I think I'm in love with MrsTaraPlumbing grin

The thing is about the Christmas story, is that it is exactly that - a story. Not even a very plausible or decent one at that. To believe in it, you have to accept that it's okay for a pre-pubescent girl to get married to an adult man (Mary was meant to be about 12), that someone can get pregnant by a fictional supernatural being, without any sexual contact, furthermore, that said pregnancy can result in a male child, seeing as female bodies contain 0% XY chromosomes, and therefore, if self-fertilisation was magically possible, the baby would always be female, then you have to believe the crap about the star. I mean, it's the stuff of serious psychosis or a terrifying lack of basic intelligence and understanding about life and nature. It's no more plausible than Lord of The Rings, for example. The Christian Church really dropped a clanger coming up with the Virgin Birth concept a few centuries ago (because it wasn't part of the original story), because we can now prove it is totally impossible. I know people say it's all allegory, or whatever, but grown adults genuinely believe these things happened!

It's being expected to believe stuff like that that really insults Atheists. Anyone is free to believe whatever they want, but don't ask others to.

Anyway, we shouldn't talk about things like sharing food with our loved ones, having a good time, showing our love, showing we are thinking of others, enjoying a knees-up and making our homes look special, etc., as Pagan or Christian or whatever - they are HUMAN things that every culture, from time immemorial, have enjoyed, do enjoy, and will enjoy.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Sun 03-Nov-13 15:09:23

beastofburden, charity is not a specifically Christian thing - but it is a thing that Christianity has appropriated. Plenty of non-Christian, and non-religious people have been charitable before, and since, the Bible was formulated.

friday16 Sun 03-Nov-13 15:10:22

I don't know any Christians at all (among 200+ Christians from all denominations and walks of life) who think women are second class citizens.

Well, until they want to become bishops. Or priests. Then they're second class.

Nor do I know any who hate gay people.

Well, you should listen to more bishops speaking, then.

"Same sex marriage, apart from being ungodly, is unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, un-cultural, un-African and un-Nigerian. It is a perversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this country. It is also capable of existincting [sic] mankind and as such should never be allowed to take root in Nigeria. Outlawing it is to ensure the continued existence of this nation. The need for doing this is urgent, compelling, and imperative."

edam Sun 03-Nov-13 15:10:43

beast didn't say it was exclusively Christian, she merely said Christmas is a reminder for her.

Stravy Sun 03-Nov-13 15:12:14

Even the Pope has condemned Operation Christmas Child

(not the new one, I actually think it was JPII, but whichever one it was he was a Christian)

soverylucky Sun 03-Nov-13 15:15:37

I don't have a problem with non Christians participating in festivals when they are not Christians. The exchanging of gifts in winter being a nice thing that anyone can participate in. What I do find very, very strange is parents who are very anti - religion in schools getting in a right huff about what part their kid gets in the nativity.

soverylucky if they must take part in a play at xmas would you expect the children of atheists and muslims to be treated differently?

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 15:22:45

friday - I don't know any bishops, nor do I know any Christians from Nigeria. You said most Christians hold those views; views that at least half the Christians I know would be disgusted by (and that's a lot of Christians, I don't just know a handful).

I'm not saying some Christians don't think like this. But so do some atheists and adherents of other religions. I have non Christian relatives who wouldn't allow a gay person into their home and (so they claim) would throw out any child of theirs who came out as gay .

Bigoted views are held by people of all religions, and none. You were generalising unfairly, I was just pointing that out.

AmberLeaf Sun 03-Nov-13 15:22:57

so OP you didnt hear what you wantex pn the other thread?

AmberLeaf Sun 03-Nov-13 15:24:00

wanted on*

Dawndonnaagain Sun 03-Nov-13 15:26:54

Just because you didn't like what was on the other thread doesn't mean you'll get a different opinion on this thread! hmm

Mind you, I can think of many poor and starving souls who would be extremely happy and cheerful on the kind of money Franklin Graham is taking home each year. Around 500,000 dollars per annum from Samaritan's Purse alone. Add that to all his other works and he makes a pretty penny from peddling his anti women, anti muslim, homophobic agenda.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 15:27:06

Totally agree, AnyBags.

I struggle, I truly do, to understand how anybody can be a Christian in this day and age. It's so plainly a load of old baloney.

Stravy Sun 03-Nov-13 15:27:39

friday16 You are confusing the hierarchy with the laity. I don't know how the CofE works but in the Catholic church the Bishops are appointed by Rome to lead the church but they do not in any way represent it. Priests, Bishops and even some Cardinals have spoken out in favour of marriage equality and LGBT rights, most lay Catholics are in favour of marriage equality (broadly in line with the gen pop) and most Catholic MPs voted for it. It is also perfectly possible to be a misogynous, homophobic bastard whilst not belonging to any faith. Thats not to say that there isn't miles to go but there has been a seismic shift within the last 20-30 years and the change is accelerating at a fantastic rate.

I do know Christians who hate gay people but it is not something 'most of them get behind' by a long shot. At the moment it feels easier to come out as LGBT in church than it does to come out as Catholic in my queer community.

Greydog Sun 03-Nov-13 15:42:35

beast - you get 10 days off work? How does that happen? I've never (since leaving school) had that sort of time off work! Last year was the first year in all the time we've been married that DH got boxing day off! He's working this year alas

Trills Sun 03-Nov-13 15:51:05

Some places of work shut down between Christmas and New Year.

I once worked in a place where people were contracted for 35 hours a week but actually worked 37.5, with the extra going towards getting those days off.

So this year it would go:
work 24th Dec
25th Bank Holiday
26th Bank holiday
27th - "free" day off
28th - Saturday
29th - Sunday
30th - "free" day off
31st - "free" day off
1st Jan - Bank holiday
2nd Jan - back at work

So that's 8 days off. If the weekends fell at a different time it could be 10 days.

soverylucky Sun 03-Nov-13 15:55:18

Parents have the right to remove their children from any sort of religious instruction. I understand why that is important. Why then want your child to participate in the nativity? There was a thread on here when a mother was outraged that her dd was left out of the nativity when she had specifically requested that her dd not be introduced/exposed to any sort of religious teaching. I could not understand her logic at all.

madhairday Sun 03-Nov-13 15:57:29

friday you'll also find that the majority (2/3) of Synod voted in favour of women bishops. The whole set up and voting system is another story, but you are misrepresenting both the CofE and Christians in general. Personally I would not belong to a faith that hated or marginalised any sector of society at all; I am aware that some representatives of this faith do, as some representatives of any societal group from time immemorial do. I do not stand with such people, but the person my faith is founded on is a far cry from such attitudes, thankfully.

I'm not fussed that Christmas is piggybacked on Yule. I think a midwinter festival does us all good and we all need a break and celebration and fun and family togetherness. I don't pretend to have a monopoly on such things being a Christian; simply because I believe all humanity are made to celebrate in such ways. I celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas because this is what has been traditional; I'd be happy to celebrate it in February or September, but I do rather enjoy doing it alongside all the...well, Christmassy stuff.

Plenty of the stuff we do has Christian roots - Santa based on a fourth century bishop who was helping the poor, tree decorating adopted by St Boniface from Germany, presents based upon the presents from the wise men etc etc. Even if not though, it's still a jolly good knees up, no? And we are made for celebration. It's fully in line with my Christian faith, and I don't have any problem with anyone of any faith or none celebrating it in whichever way they please.

Hettie you say you cannot understand how anyone can possibly have this faith. It's not reserved for those with spectacularly low intelligence or those who never question, you know. You can be Christian and maintain that position from an intellectually rigorous standpoint as well as an experiential one. Ultimately, though, the experiential is what gives it the edge, the reality that transforms lives and brings hope, and keeps on doing.

With OCC, I keep hearing different sides of the story, but I'm not sure I approve of shipping plastic tat possibly made by the same children who will receive it, and am certainly not in agreement with Mr Graham's rhetoric. There are some great schemes out there like Link Romania which seem to have more integrity. OCC does maintain it doesn't give leaflets unless culturally acceptable. Of course as a Christian I would say that the message could be just as life changing as receiving some presents, but then I'd be coming into the delightful Cunt territory mentioned above because I Agree With Evangelism. Oh Dear.


RedToothBrush Sun 03-Nov-13 16:06:34

Operation Christmas Child. A charitable act by a fundamentalist christian group that not only advocates, but encourages commercialism in order to buy their way into the lives of potential new followers.


Operation Christmas Child run by an organisation called the Samaritan's Purse.

Again... Hmmmm....

Now if you had bothered to READ that thread there is a link to a Guardian Story, which in the course of the article explains the parable of the good Samaritan.

A man is mugged in the Wadi Qelt between Jerusalem and Jericho. Whereas the religious pass by and do nothing, it is the Samaritan who offers care. Those listening to the story would have despised Samaritans. The words "good" and "Samaritan" just didn't go together. Indeed, theirs would have been the General Boykin reaction: that Samaritans worshipped the idol of a false god. Therefore, in casting the Samaritan as the only passer-by with compassion, Jesus is making an all-out assault on the prejudices of his listeners.

If the story was just about helping the needy, whoever they are, it would have been sufficient to cast the Samaritan as the victim and a Jewish layperson as the person who helped. Crucially, however, the hated Samaritan is held up as the moral exemplar. Conclusion: we must overcome religious bigotry.

The story of the good Samaritan, in the hands of Franklin Graham, is conscripted as propaganda for the superiority of Christian compassion to the brutal indifference of other religions - almost the opposite of the purpose of the story.

So to me this means, you can have your version of Christmas and it can mean something in particular to you, but actually you don't have full claim to it, even if it has the word Christ in the title. If you do, you are displaying religious bigotry and being intolerant of the beliefs of others.

And when there are people like Graham using the story in its twisted form, is it any wonder that many people notice and see through the hypocrisy and cynical manipulation of the good and well meant intentions of other and use it for their own agendas that are completely at odds with the teachings that Jesus is supposed to have given.

This is why people can be scathing of Christianity, sometimes very unfairly, because they are in the mistaken belief that these twisted views and intolerance is shared by everyone who follows the faith.

And this is why Christians should challenge other Christians who display views like this. To show that it is a religion that doesn't look down its nose at others who don't believe the same as them.

Christmas is not just a religious festival in the uk now. It is so ingrained into our way of life it is a cultural festival with goes far beyond the religious story in its ideals of morality. It is a time for sharing and giving and thinking of others and that holds universal appeal.

Christmas itself is something that can be shared.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 16:09:32

You can be Christian and maintain that position from an intellectually rigorous standpoint

I've never, ever seen or heard anyone achieve this. Not once. Sorry.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 16:12:37

Great post madhairday

And yes, that's one thing that makes me very unsure of what I think about OCC. While I think evangelism has to be done with cultural, situational and individual sensitivity I cannot disagree with it being done at all. I can totally understand why it puts people's backs up and comes across as arrogant. But if an individual truly believes the Christian message of grace then how can they not want to at least try to share it with others? If the person is very vulnerable then, in the eyes of most atheists, it would be even more unacceptable to evangelise. But in the eyes of many Christians, coming to know Jesus will help them far more than any material gift. I can absolutely understand why they put the two together, though I don't really know if I think it's ok or not. I wish I had a stronger faith and a stronger desire to evangelise.

exexpat Sun 03-Nov-13 16:32:03

manicinsomniac - the kind of Christianity you want to spread might be OK (I don't know your precise views, but your posts sound like a thoughtful, reasonable person), but some of the ideas that American fundamentalist missionaries are spreading in places like Uganda are horrific.

God loves Uganda

Which is why I think anyone supporting evangelism in the developing world needs to be very, very sure of exactly what is being done in their name.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 16:47:26

But in the eyes of many Christians, coming to know Jesus will help them far more than any material gift

See, I take issue with this. A lot.

The value of a material gift (if we're talking toys etc) is debatable, I agree. But if anyone is heading out to Africa or wherever on the basis that "coming to know Jesus will help them" then I'd rather they didn't go at all.

The people of the third world need many, many things - mosquito nets, clean water, inoculations, food & the means of producing it and so on. IF, in the process of helping provide those things, someone talks about their personal beliefs, fair enough.

But to head out there because "knowing Jesus will help them" is entirely the wrong motivation in my view. Because, in case you haven't noticed, Jesus doesn't appear to do a lot when it comes to alleviating hunger & preventing starvation.

hermioneweasley Sun 03-Nov-13 16:53:12

SunshineMMum, let me be very clear, I did not describe all
Christians as cunts. Please read my definition, and yes I would apply this to people of any faith (or none) who are so in denial about the history and origins of their religion, and people who support organisations which use the good will of others to spread messages of hate.

Theodorous Sun 03-Nov-13 16:58:29

I had an appraisal today (manager in ME) with a completely covered female employee and we discussed her goals for the next meeting. she asked " can we wait till after Christmas because my family are coming" and I said fine. I didn't mention Christianity, she did, as a kind of marker. If she hadn't been so behind, she may have asked to wait until after Eid.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 03-Nov-13 17:03:13

Agree with HettiePetal, Christianity has been used as much for social control of the poor and perpetuate the cycles of poverty as it has done to alleviate their problems. I would not want to back an organization that ignored this.

madhair - Dressing up trees is mentioned specifically in the Torah and Bible (as a local pagan tradition). And gift giving has been part of Jewish holidays, traditions, and education for thousands of years, as it has been in many other older cultures. Neither of those are rooted in Christianity any more than skeletons as decorations originated in Halloween rather than their Aztec pagan roots.

Midwinter festivals are as old as humanity has marked time in these regions, in many other regions, humanity obviously has marked it's seasonal changes and important parts of the cycle different (as different regions experience different seasons). Many celebrations at this time of year are sombre or have nothing to do with seasonal changes. Humanity does not celebrate in a universal way nor 'made' to celebrate in a specific fashion.

Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 17:03:20

It does amaze me how people can judge people based solely on their religion, it also amazes me that those who are so anti religion are often a lot more narrow minded than those who do have a faith.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 17:06:50

Hettie - yes, I totally get why you would take issue with it because you are coming at it from a fundamentally different perspective. There's no way either side can agree with the other really. Yes, many people in the third world need all the practical things you mention but, in a Christian's eyes, they need to know about Jesus more because, to us, this life only represents a small part of eternity and we want everyone to spend that eternity with God. But to most atheists that will sound ridiculous and arrogant.

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 17:11:32

I don't think only Christians give to charity, I was just trying t be nice and recognise that some elements of what i do are also part of traditional Christian practice. Or Islamic practice, or Jewish practice. Whatever, I'm an atheist myself.

Evangelism- that's the problem. For a certain type of believer, you "know" you are right, so obviously there are no good reasons to hold back. To them it's like evangelising about not jumping off a cliff.

I find it specially scary when I meet people who have only had a limited education and experience of the world who have been brought up to evangelise. Whether they are all-American teens or people from poor parts of the world, it feels uncomfortably like abuse to me, when I realise how very little they actually understand about the theology behind their faith. Their understanding of the bible, for instance, can be terrifyingly superficial, with no understanding that they are dealing with a set of mistranslated documents, some of them centuries after the event, collated by people a thousand years later.

Isn't it safer for the child not to tell them Jesus even exists?

If a child dies in Africa having never heard of Jesus does he not go to heaven? Surely God wouldn't be so cruel?

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 17:14:43


You strike me as a thoughtful and well meaning person. But yes, that does sound ridiculous and arrogant.

You are entitled, if you wish, to consider your eternal life more important than this one - but please do not make that decision for other people.

ubik Sun 03-Nov-13 17:16:24

God moves in --pretty fucking--mysterious ways

<nods sagely>

ubik Sun 03-Nov-13 17:17:01

why do strike-throughs never work for me?

<shakes fist at God>

Caitlin17 Sun 03-Nov-13 17:17:28

Sirzy, is any one doing that? The judging is how that religion is applied
If someone claims for example their religion tells them homosexuals are evil I will judge that person just as much as someone who says, for example " proofs are perverts" just because that is the way that person thinks.
manicinsomniac I don't want to spend eternity with your god. I want a happy life here and now and to be remembered fondly for a short while. And yes it is arrogant to want to rope me in.

friday16 Sun 03-Nov-13 17:19:07

that they are dealing with a set of mistranslated documents

Well, you have to admire how clever stupid people can be to get around that problem.

See, for an example of the intellectual rigour we're told Christianity can exhibit, this piece of completely unhinged craziness.

Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 17:19:09

I would say claiming "christians are cuts" is very much judging people based on their faith wouldn't you?

cathers Sun 03-Nov-13 17:19:42

But please remember that for most Christians there is far more to christmas than than feasting, dec, present giving etc, which as pointed out are pagan in origin. To a Christian there is the advent, the preparing the crib, Christmas Day itself, the journey of the maji and finally, epiphany.

As atheists wouldnot be exposed to these events, it would be easy to assume a christain christmas maybe based purely on pagan origin.

BlingBang Sun 03-Nov-13 17:20:35

Well thanks folks, have been feeling a little bit hipocritical about celebrating Christmas as we are non religious and don't belive in God. Now happy to celebrate as a mid winter celebration.

Like churches though and quite lime attending Christmas Eve servise just for the tradition, festive feeling, good will to all men, the carols etc and sense of occasion. Bit of a festival junkie anyway and always happy to celebrate others festivals whether it be Eid, Easte, Dewali, a nice Ramadan eveing meal, Chinese New Year, Hannukah, Purim etc. it's just fun and interesting to celebrate your friends special days.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 17:23:22

I would say claiming "christians are cuts" is very much judging people based on their faith wouldn't you?

You've put that in quotation marks, so presumably you are quoting directly?

Please c/p the part where ANYONE on this thread said that.


Sirzy Sun 03-Nov-13 17:25:07

Sorry, just re-read and the poster who put that had edited the paragraph badly and misunderstood. BUT it doesn't change my inital point that a lot of people who are anti-religion are the ones who are quickest to judge people who have faith.

gordyslovesheep Sun 03-Nov-13 17:27:10

Not all Christians are bad - my mum holds the firm belief that you can not be a Christian and vote Troy grin she see's the New Testaments message as strongly socialist

Her mate tried to become a vicar a few years back but was blocked due to be in favour of gay vicars (our vicar at the time being gay)

Some Christians are good people with good hearts trying to help

Our local food bank are brilliant and they are church run

gordyslovesheep Sun 03-Nov-13 17:27:27

Tory even grin !

Flicktheswitch Sun 03-Nov-13 17:27:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 17:28:45

It's quite possible, Sirzy to judge the religion and the faith without laying into the person. I see no personal judgement on this thread at all.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 17:29:05

Hettie, I don't think it's about wanting to make that decision for other people, it's about finding out if they want to make that decision too. If they don't then, fair play, I wouldn't then support aggressive harassment or anything.

Caitlin, that's fine but people can't know how you feel unless you are asked or tell them.

Caitlin17 Sun 03-Nov-13 17:30:59

Sirzy that is not what Hermione said. NTH, I'd never use that expression for anyone. What she meant was there are people with loathsome views she despises. See my example.

I live in Edinburgh where the utterly wonderful Bishop Richard Holloway was the bishop of the Episcopalian diocese . I'm confident whilst Richard Holloway would never use that language he'd be equally as opposed to the likes of OCC and SP.

As for non Christians not celebrating Christmas, what do you suggest we do? Should it stop being a public holiday? Do we ignore it?

It is interesting that, before the thread veered back to its sub agenda of Operation Christmas Child, the OP skulked off, and hasn't been seen again, after so many people pointed out that Christmas and the other popularly celebrated "Christian" festivals aren't originally Christian at all, but pre-existing festivals adopted by the church. Not to mention the post that pointed out that the nativity has only the sketchiest Christian routes, and its all really just a response to the human need to break up the year, bring some cheer to winter, and mark the changing seasons - all of which existed before Christianity did and will continue to do so should Christianity lose its dominance and be replaced by something else, in the parts of the world where it currently remains the respectable choice for those religiously inclined...

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 17:34:49

But Manic, you said that you considered them knowing Jesus "more important" than the things I mentioned, like clean water & mosquito nets. More important!

So, really, you're less concerned with their earthly sufferings than you are with their immortal soul.

I honestly don't know how you can justify that to yourself without feeling ashamed. Sorry, but really.

BlingBang Sun 03-Nov-13 17:36:47

Think it depends how people practice their faith. IMO there can be a big difference on how we practice and view Christianity in the UK compared to how many practice it say in the US. TBh, the way Christianity Is often pushed and practised in the US disturbs and makes me very uneasy. Even many politicians there seem to push religion as a big part of their election campaign. They are running with god's backing etc. it is really strange to me.

I went to see a school run by American missionaries/evangelists. They showed me their mission statement and all the comments from the children all about what God meant to them. When I asked about how other religions were taught about, I was told that no other religions were taught of in the school but the mums had a shed where they got together for prayer meetings and blanket making. Sadly it wasn't for us but was a very strange experience.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 17:37:07

And I think that if Jesus really existed & was anything like the portrayal of him in the NT, he'd be pretty shocked by that attitude too, Manic.

Caitlin17 Sun 03-Nov-13 17:37:25

manic you've completely lost me. Are you suggesting that unless you are told someone doesn't want to be included in your god's eternity I'm fair game?
Please don't ever say " you're in my prayers, or you'll pray for me"

exexpat Sun 03-Nov-13 17:39:06

Sirzy - I am an atheist. I don't mind what anyone else believes, and I don't mind them telling other people what they believe and trying to get others to join them, as long as they do it considerately, openly and will take no for an answer.

What I do object to is people who try to use their religion to affect other people's lives, eg campaigning to ban same-sex marriage or contraception for everyone, not just for those who share their beliefs.

As far as I can see, it is people like Franklin Graham (head of Samaritan's Purse/Operation Christmas Child, and campaigner against same-sex marriage, Obama's health-care initiatives, the provision of condoms to prevent HIV in Africa etc etc) who are the judgemental ones.

redshifter Sun 03-Nov-13 17:39:56

You see OP, I believe religion is a bad thing for humanity, so I actually quite strongly object to spreading the word of god through carol singing etc. Although I try to never express my objections to delusional religious believers as they get quite upset about it.
Whoops! I guess I'm doing that right now.
Oh well. Now that I've started...

I do not respect any persons religious beliefs but I will tolerate them although sometimes it is hard to do ( my tolerance has limits). Some religious people get dangerously upset if I voice my opinions, as though their omnipotent sky fairy will cry if I hurt it's feelings.
I wish they would respect my opinions sometimes, which at least have evidence to back them up.
And I get really annoyed when christians tell me that I am celebrating my midwinter festival in the wrong way. I used to laugh about it but feel things are going to far now.

I also am sick of being told to feel respect for other peoples religious beliefs. Why? It's like thought crime.
There beliefs are riduculous.
I don't respect the racist, sexist beliefs that some people have. Why should I? Why should I even tolerate them? I wouldn't tolerate or respect the beliefs of a modern day Nazi Party, so I defintely will not respect the disgusting philosophy and ideology of the major religions.
At the moment I am able to put up with (tolerate) it, but only because you make me laugh with your silly little beliefs in pixies in the sky who watch my every movement and thought.
But don't push me. Please.

Sorry, rant over. grin

maddy68 Sun 03-Nov-13 17:42:01

I am an atheist but love Christmas. For me it's a tradition, obviously it's based on faith but it's not that way for me although I love a good nativity etc I love Christmas carols. It's just all based on a story as far as I am concerned.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 17:49:59

More important from an eternal perspective yes. Life one earth is short. I think Jesus not agrees with that but teaches it 'I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me' and 'Go forth and teach all nations ... I have commanded you.' I'm not saying don't help people practically where it's needed, of course people should do that, both out of human decency and because it's another thing Jesus tells Christians to do. And they do. And the majority of people who need the practical help probably won't want anything else. But it doesn't hurt to offer what someone feels is the most valuable thing they have to offer.

Caitlin - I'm suggesting that if a Christian is told that a person they are telling about God doesn't want to be included in God's eternity then that Christian should stop pushing it.

sashh Sun 03-Nov-13 17:50:20

and let's face it, even Christians don't agree among themselves re beliefs

Or the date of Xmas day. A good number of people celebrated Xmas 2013 last January.

exexpat Sun 03-Nov-13 17:53:27

Actually, I have to admit I am judgemental about some religious people. I have no respect whatsoever for people whose religious views cause the death of not one but two of their children, four years apart: US faith healers charged over second death

(I would be equally judgemental if they were not Christians but homeopaths etc)

Caitlin17 Sun 03-Nov-13 17:53:50

redshift what should be respected is the right to hold a religious belief, same as the right to be a member of a political party. As long as you're not forcing any one else to share your views and your beliefs are not incompatible with the fact , certainly in Europe, we live in secular democracies. And I happen to believe secular democracies are the way to go.

The belief itself should not be above criticism . Personally I find the SNP's campaign for an independent Scotland and the Catholic church's views on contraception and homosexuality are equally bonkers and equally fair game.

Theodorous Sun 03-Nov-13 17:59:55

I have lived in Islamic countries for the last 12 years. I love Eid and Ramadan but I am not a Muslim. Should I be made to work over those public holidays even though I don't have to? When I worked offshore I did used to swap Eid and Christmas with my colleagues.

friday16 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:00:07
HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 18:00:48

But it doesn't hurt to offer what someone feels is the most valuable thing they have to offer

But that's not what you said. You said "knowing Jesus" was more important than practical help. And that attitude does hurt. It's this kind of thinking that can eventually lead to people being prayed over rather than given medication. (Not accusing you of that, btw, but it does happen).

But, like I said - if someone goes out there wanting to get stuck in and help, and along the way talks about their beliefs, OK.

But to get on the plane thinking "I know just what those guys introduction to Jesus". Sorry but no.

Theodorous Sun 03-Nov-13 18:04:04

I don't have any strong beliefs either way. The fairy story post is really nasty. I don't care if atheists are the clever people but that hit gives Dawkins a bad name.

MrsDeVere Sun 03-Nov-13 18:08:03

I am not a Christian anymore.
I cannot be part of the Anglican church in the light of the latest of a long line of things that disturbed me.
Basically their stance on gay marriage was the last straw.

When I was the only thing that irked me [relevant to this thread] was non believers turning up at our child friendly church for Carols service and proceeding to moan all the way through that the children were spoiling it.
And complaining about the 'God Stuff' the vicar insisted on reading in between the singing.

Apart from that.....Christmas is supposed to be fun as well as being a religious holiday for SOME people so let people get on with it.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 18:14:45

hettie - did I? If I did that's not how I meant it. Maybe you're taking it out of context, maybe I expressed it badly. I can't find it anyway so I'm not sure how it cam across.

MrsDeVere - you're not a Christian any more because you don't agree with the Anglican church? Have they actually taken away your belief in God? I don't think you have to agree with all churches, or even go to any church, to be a Christian.

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 18:15:44

Oh, it hurts me. If someone offers to pray for me or whatever. They think, I guess, that I could only be neutral about it, so if I am not interested, no harm done.

Actually, every person who is prepared to believe in god is a slap in the face to me, because of our family history which involves a good deal of suffering of the innocent. Evangelising is telling me that a system where god permits this is just fine.

Don't imagine for one second that those of us who hate to be evangelised are just arrogant. Some of us feel that you can only believe this stuff by ignoring the fate of our loved ones. And we are not impressed.

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 18:24:06


You said:

Yes, many people in the third world need all the practical things you mention but, in a Christian's eyes, they need to know about Jesus more because, to us, this life only represents a small part of eternity

I don't think I took you out of context at all - but if you didn't mean it like that, then fair enough.

sashh Sun 03-Nov-13 18:28:58

And that attitude does hurt. It's this kind of thinking that can eventually lead to people being prayed over rather than given medication. (Not accusing you of that, btw, but it does happen).

Totally agree.

I've posted many times about Mother Theresa. In her Nobel acceptance speech she talks about teaching lepers about 'natural contraception' and taking them the word of God.

Leprosy these days is curable, and medication is free via the WHO.

At my most charitable I consider her misguided. Who would leave another human being with a horrible disease when they knew it could be cured? Why would you expose their family to contracting that disease?

I know there are people who do good things and they will say it is because they are Christian, such as the food banks. But I actually believe these people would be doing good things whatever religion they have or no religion.

Food banks may appear in churches but Mosques, Gurdawaras and temples all give meals.

It's a real shame when someone who would do good things is prevented from or has their good deeds tainted because of religion.

Look at all the OCC / Samaritan's purse freds. People of all faiths and none have no objection to presents being given out, but most object to the literature and the forced message that goes with it.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 03-Nov-13 18:30:13

Is there actually a choice about celebrating Christmas in the UK regardless of religious affiliation?

- 2 public holidays devoted to it.
- Many businesses close down completely over the period
- From October onwards the cultural and commercial bombardment of Christmas begins and it's inescapable

Also it makes me laugh that a Christian is COMPLAINING about atheists celebrating Christmas - they are the exact same people who get their bosoms hoiked when someone suggests when the festive period might be called Holidays or Winterval - to be more inclusive.

Anyway, despite the above, I love Christmas/Yule/Saturnalia/Winterval - it makes me feel connected to my Pagan ancestors thousands of years ago on this tiny island, gathering together what little they could to keep warm, light the dark and hold their families close to them while they attempted to survive the long, dark journey through winter. The mistletoe, the decorated logs, holly, ivy, berries, the 'feast' of turkey - I love that such simple things still are part of our celebrations. And the way it marks a year's end and a new year beginning, the cyclical nature of life and the seasons.... (stops there before becoming a total hippy cliche)


SomethingOnce Sun 03-Nov-13 18:31:50

I'm of a CofE-influenced pagan tendency.

Since Christians overlaid their stuff

clarinetV2 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:35:49

OP, we live in a mostly secular society, and people interpret holidays in their own way. For me, the real meaning of Christmas is the very human need for warmth, light, good food and company at the darkest and coldest time of the year. As others have said, this is the original meaning of the festival celebrated at midwinter. I'm not offended by anyone choosing to go to church or any other place of worship, each to their own so long as they don't ask me to do the same. I am troubled by supposedly secular schools peddling the view that Christianity and specifically the Nativity story is a universally-accepted truth through compulsory carol-singing where those carols require the singer to profess Christian faith - and I would be similarly troubled by schools requiring children to profess a belief in any other faith. Supporting OCC is another question altogether. I think it's insulting to equate Christianity with the support of a 'charity' that is Islamaphobic and homophobic, and most Christians of my acquaintance would be very quick to disassociate themselves from this outfit and its aims. As a non-Christian I respect that others will see Christmas as first and foremost Christian and celebrate it as such, but I don't respect the actions of anyone who makes an informed decision to support OCC or similar.

SomethingOnce Sun 03-Nov-13 18:37:05

Sorry, finger slipped.

Since Christians overlaid their stuff on older traditions, I don't feel too bad using the word Christmas where I might otherwise use Yule. Nor does it bother me to retain a fondness for the Nativity story, as a story, because it has become part of Western culture and tradition.

friday16 Sun 03-Nov-13 18:39:55

Who would leave another human being with a horrible disease when they knew it could be cured?

Something who might say, "I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people." perhaps?

HettiePetal Sun 03-Nov-13 18:43:48

Yes - the truth about how Mother Theresa "cared" for people is incredibly shocking.

Well said, sashh.

TheFabulousIdiot Sun 03-Nov-13 18:46:05

I love Christmas, not bothered about Easter. I still think the whoe Christ/Jesus/god thing s a made up load of rubbish.

MadAsFish Sun 03-Nov-13 18:47:04

When I was the only thing that irked me [relevant to this thread] was non believers turning up at our child friendly church for Carols service and proceeding to moan all the way through that the children were spoiling it.

I'd say this was less about them being atheist and more about being arseholes. It's just their arsehole-ry (arseholehood?) manifested like that.

MostWicked Sun 03-Nov-13 19:06:08

I like Easter and Christmas because I like chocolate and presents and indulgent food and mulled wine and family time pretty lights and time off work.
If other people want to use these holidays to celebrate the birth and death of their imaginary friend, that's fine, as long as it doesn't affect my holiday.

MrsDeVere Sun 03-Nov-13 20:01:02

No manic it was probably watching my little girl spend two years suffering and endure agony whilst my prayers came to shit that did that.

Never prayed for anything for myself (apart from to be a better person blah blah).

But if my prayers for my perfect innocent child were ignored what is the point in prayer at all?

Then there are the Christians who tell me God wanted her an that she is In a Better Place etc etc ecfuckingcetera.

Call me fickle but it all rings somewhat hollow these days.

I don't begrudge others their faith. Good for them

Not for me.

Never try and persuade a bereaved mother that there is A God. Not if you want to keep your front teeth.

MrsDeVere Sun 03-Nov-13 20:03:12

mad I didn't say they were atheists.
I doubt an atheist would be going to Church for a carol service.

redshifter Sun 03-Nov-13 20:23:42

MrsDeVere - you said non-believers , an atheist is a non-believer, but not necessarily an anti-theist (like me grin). But doesn't matter, I know what you meant, they were arseholes anyway.
Despite being an anti-theist, I do go to carol services. I guess I'm a hypocrite too. But I would never behave in an arsehole manner like that. I respect some of the lovely people their just not their beliefs.

Geckos48 Sun 03-Nov-13 20:25:51

I go to midnight mass though I am certainly not Christian, I go at the Cathedral and the singing and gathering of people is immense. Its possible to go to events without buying into the religion. When I was travelling i celebrated and went to various religious services but i didnt subscribe to them.

Its a cultural thing as much as anything.

ithaka Sun 03-Nov-13 20:30:20

Ahh, the traditional winter solstice, christmas is for christians, thread. Makes me feel a warm seasonal glow.

Caitlin17 Sun 03-Nov-13 20:34:11

Very good post Tondelay

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 20:36:51

Agree with mrs de vere. Hurt me, if you must, destroy my child and I will hate you forever. That includes god, if he exists.

I would rather be an atheist than hate that much.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 20:49:11

MrsDeVere, Beast - I can understand that. I'm sincerely sorry for what you've gone through and I would never presume to give you reasons or platitudes. I don't have an answer for why these things happen, or not one that helps anyway. It's just shit. My Dad died when I was young (I am not comparing that to losing a child, I can't begin to imagine that) and I did question my faith for a long time. In the end I decided that if I believed in God while tragedies happened to other people then I still believed in him when it happened to me. But that's a very personal decision. Faith helps some people through bereavement and eradicates faith in others. I don't believe either is the right or wrong reaction, we can only think what we think.

MrsDeVere Sun 03-Nov-13 20:50:26

red I suppose I shouldn't have used the term non believers. They were the sort that would rock up at church when they felt it was all part of the 'thing'. Get married, Christened, Carols and Christmas, maybe Easter but lets not make it too gory for the kiddies etc.

Moan about not having the hymns they sang at school, didn't like the new Lords Prayer (even though they only knew it because they had to say it at school) wanted it to all be a certain way but didnt really want to have to deal with the religion side of things.
I don't think they would call themselves atheists but they would be embarrassed to call themselves Christians too (bit like women being embarrassed to call themselves feminists)

I don't think you are a hypocrite for going to Carol services. They are open to all and are a nice thing to do. You can belt out a carol without believing in the words smile

Kundry Sun 03-Nov-13 20:55:30

*When I was the only thing that irked me [relevant to this thread] was non believers turning up at our child friendly church for Carols service and proceeding to moan all the way through that the children were spoiling it.
And complaining about the 'God Stuff' the vicar insisted on reading in between the singing.*

To fair, when I was a Christian, a lot of the Christians I knew would moan about the minister wanting to put God stuff in the carol service! They just wanted a good sing song.

The minister who didn't realise that Christmas day service was supposed to have 5 minute sermon only, as people had to get home as they had turkey in the oven was also in big trouble.

So if the Christians think Christmas is about singing, eating and presents why can't the non-Christians join in?

MrsDeVere Sun 03-Nov-13 20:56:11

Like I said manic I do not begrudge other their faith. I am not anti faith at all.
I know first hand the comfort and fellowship it brings and I am happy for people who believe.

I am sad that I have lost that part of my life. I don't think there is anyway back for me.

I had lots of things happen before my DD died. Deaths, disability, misfortunes and hardships. I could work them through and keep my faith. I was never a fair weather Christian.

But you can only take so much. Add to that the way the CofE has conducted itself in recent years and I just cannot describe myself as Christain anymore.

I do not like evangelical atheism anymore than the God type. I have seen some very very nasty stuff on MN directed at the mildest of Christians. Horrible

MrsDeVere Sun 03-Nov-13 20:59:10

kundry our Christmas day service was half an hour.
The Carol Service is not on Christmas day.

Why would you go to a carol service in a church and not expect a bit of God? confused

A Carol concert by the WI or local charity is a different matter.

Geckos48 Sun 03-Nov-13 21:01:24

I would expect to hear a bit of 'god stuff' in even the tamest of WI carol services.

Carols are religious after all!

I totally agree about atheists too, one of my biggest issues with getting older and feeling that, logically there probably isn't a god, is that I might have to call myself one of them.

RedToothBrush Sun 03-Nov-13 21:02:05

Hmm isn't it possible that the minister was just a bit rubbish too? You can complain about the 'God stuff' because of the manner in which its done, not because of what its about.

Its about the ability to interest and engage with your audience too.

There are plenty of ministers who could easily bore you to death, but some who would really get you thinking and interest you.

To me there is an element here of how the church needs to understand the people who it caters for and how to connect to them. People made the effort to go to Church in the first place - The question is then, 'Why?' They obviously want something from the church... So what is it that the Church is failing to deliver?

Geckos48 Sun 03-Nov-13 21:06:31

I think the sense of community, familiarity and companionship is a big part of church life.

MadAsFish Sun 03-Nov-13 21:07:17

I doubt an atheist would be going to Church for a carol service.

Some do - a lot of church music is amazing.

MrsDeVere Sun 03-Nov-13 21:11:59

not usually at non nondescript local churches though.
Its singing and some scripture in between with a cup of tea afterwards.
Not St.Pauls.

manicinsomniac Sun 03-Nov-13 21:14:40

MrsDV - sounds awful, I wish I could say something less trite that 'I'm sorry'. And you're right, none of us know where our breaking point is.

Yes to atheists going to Carol services. I went to university in Durham and the Christian Union carol service was held in Durham Cathedral - people started queueing more than an hour early and some years I don't think they could squash everybody in.

RedToothBrush Sun 03-Nov-13 21:19:34

Of course it is, but there are still other ways and places to get that. I still think its because people WANT that faith, they are looking for that something else. I think there is a desire to find that 'something' else. Particularly at Christmas. People want meaning in their lives that they maybe can't find anywhere else.

When the Church is failing to meet that desire thats where the issue is. Its not involving people in a way that they find accessible and perhaps gives them that instant gratification that we have become used to in other parts of our lives.

I dunno, I just don't think that people go to Church and complain just because they dislike religion. Its because they dislike the structure and institutionalised ways of their Church.

VikingLady Sun 03-Nov-13 21:45:44

I would expect to hear a bit of 'god stuff' in even the tamest of WI carol services.

Carols are religious after all!

A lot of the older ones are adaptations of earlier pagan carols. Pretty much anything about holly/ivy, for instance, which are one of the sets of symbols for male/female. In fact, if you look at the lyrics for some of them you can really see that the Christian part had to be shoehorned in and the words really don't fit!

Oh, the holly bears a berry
As white as the milk
And Mary bore Jesus
Who's wrapped up in silk

Isn't a large part of the point of Jesus as the Christ that he was born humble? So not silk? Clearly the only thing the writers could think of to rhyme with milk.

I did read a paper on this somewhere (I think AJPA but am no longer sure)

pinkballetflats Sun 03-Nov-13 21:47:59

TAaT then...and you massively missed the point. YABVU.

Stravy Sun 03-Nov-13 21:53:29

That silk line has never been in any version of The Holly and the Ivy that I've sang <irrelevant>

elQuintoConyo Sun 03-Nov-13 21:59:37

If you could kindly keep your nose out of how I'd like to celebrate 25th December, that'd be lovely.

There's nothing religious about it, but neither is it all about the presents.

Op, you toddle off and celebrate how you'd like, I'll toddle off on my way and we can keep our opinions to ourselves especially yours that are wrong

edam Sun 03-Nov-13 22:14:09

The WI is a secular organisation. People mistakenly think it has some allegiance to the CofE because of the association with singing 'Jerusalem'. But Jerusalem was the hymn of the suffragette movement, and some of the founders of the WI in this country were suffragettes (I believe Parry left the rights to the music to the WI, as the suffragettes had disbanded).

bebanjo Sun 03-Nov-13 23:13:43

Mythras isn't a celebration

Mythras predates Christianity. Mythras was a son of a god whose mother was a virgin, he had 12 followers and died for others.

I did not know this, will go and look it up.
The one good thing that comes out of these threads is the education of it all.

Op I've tried to find out the birthdate of Christ but can't seem to find it anywhere.

sashh Mon 04-Nov-13 06:51:34


Try Mishram as well - same person different spelling/translation

HettiePetal Mon 04-Nov-13 07:19:15

Osiris is another god with startling similarities to Jesus.

daisychain01 Mon 04-Nov-13 07:28:17

I've often wondered whether God knows if I'm 'hedging my bets' by going along to the Christmas carol service (well, it's what you do at Christmas, and the music is lovely and it feels good etc). Will St Peter stop me at the Pearly Gates and tell me I was cheating? It's all too vexing for words really...

Mimishimi Mon 04-Nov-13 07:39:44

People can enjoy the festive elements without necessarily wanting to listen to others droning on about the religious significance, much of which is dubious anyway as they were obviously syncretised with former pagan festivals/worship eg Ishtar . That said, I do think you can be polite about not wanting to participate in religious activities.

Mimishimi Mon 04-Nov-13 07:42:11

Look up Kalki in the Hindu tradition for similarities with the returning Messiah depiction of Jesus in Revelations. It's quite interesting.

Cupcake1985 Mon 04-Nov-13 07:52:40

Well thank you everyone for your opinions there was certainly a lot! I left the computer last night but I have read some replies this morning.

I think a lot of people deviated from my meaning originally. With this aibu thread I meant that to me Christmas IS about the birth of Christ and it is really important to me to celebrate that there is such a great god who loves me. Therefore I think its mean when people goad me (or others like me) with 'its a stupid story' etc. if you enjoy the celebration why not just respect it and just not say anything at all? I would never say things like this to those celebrating festivals in other faiths.

I see from this thread that some people feel Christmas is something different and so are celebrating something different. I agree other things may have been around the same time of year, I don't believe they were 'Christmas' though but everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Thank you again for replying I am now off to work! I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

monkeymamma Mon 04-Nov-13 08:21:35

Cupcake my darling, it isn't a case of 'some people think' and 'may have been around the same time', it is historical fact that the early Christians used preexisting festivals as part if their conversion campaign. It may not be entirely palatable to you but this is history, not opinion! The end result is a rather beautiful mish-mash, why not just enjoy it without trying to lay the law down about what it is that is being celebrated?

monkeymamma Mon 04-Nov-13 08:24:14

Hope you have a lovely Christmas too!
Though its a bit early yet for that surely :-)

MrsBucketxx Mon 04-Nov-13 08:30:24

Cupcake, you carry on being delusional, and brainwashed by a book.

You are unable to see fact, not fiction. Its not an opinion its reality.

HettiePetal Mon 04-Nov-13 08:31:28

So, really, Cupcake - this isn't so much about Christmas as "My beliefs matter to me and it's mean when people aren't as deeply respectful about them as I think they should be, 'cos that's just mean. The haterz".

Oh well. That's life, eh?

But at least you came back. I didn't think you would to be honest.

Geckos48 Mon 04-Nov-13 08:34:03

I think the birth of Christ is quite a lovely story.

Problem is that you then have to bring up the death of Christ which is a massive death glorifying/do what you like and then say sorry/don't be responsible for yourselves' shit fest.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Mon 04-Nov-13 08:35:44

Monkeymama is right, OP - the fact that Xmas was tacked onto an earlier festival, and its traditions used is a well-documented, indisputable fact. If you really do believe in Jesus, I don't see how knowing this fact can change celebrating his birth; after all, surely if you think he existed (which can't actually be proven, but that's a whooooole other thread), then celebrating his birth should be good enough, regardless of other factors?

The Bible we have now is not the same Bible as the original parts. It is radically altered. Bits were taken out, bits were added, such as the Virgin Birth, which only came about a few centuries ago, and the language and meaning in the English version was radically altered when it was finally translated from Latin in English.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Mon 04-Nov-13 08:37:35

PS Your above comment makes Christians look bad yet again! You want your totally inprovable belief in religion to betotslly respected and you see it as a fact, yet you call genuine facts opinions! Bit weird to accept supernatural nonsense over proven things!

Beastofburden Mon 04-Nov-13 08:57:33

Agree with any but would just add pedantic point that even the Latin version was several translations (and centuries) away from the original texts.... The bible was written in Hebrew and Greek.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 09:35:54

I feel a bit sorry for cupcake, tbh.

She tried to hijack one thread, then when that didn't work, she started her own, and still the haters won't be swayed! wink

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 09:37:04

Sorry, iPad obviously didn't like "haterz".

I think my iPad must be Christian grin

"I don't believe they were 'Christmas' though but everyone is entitled to an opinion. "

If it's ok with you, some of us will stick to facts.

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 09:51:15

Cupcake - I read the other thread and this one and I have to say I did not see any goading about Christmas being a stupid story. What I did see were people objecting to Christians who use poverty and despair as a method to evangelise others - especially the kind of Christians (and I use that term loosely) that back OCC.

I say this as a long time practising Christian: if you feel so threatened and so upset about the fine print, if you do not like others critically examining history and scripture and respectfully pointing out these things, if you are so willing to be to wilfully ignorant of the facts because you feel threatened and you feel your faith is threatened then you have no faith at all....because no matter what anyone says, no matter what is actually documented in history the MESSAGE of Christ remains the same: love and tolerance. Whether he actually did exist or not, that message doesn't to get upset about the particulars of a belief is pointless. How does it change the message?

friday16 Mon 04-Nov-13 09:52:30

It's funny how Christians have no problem with evangelising their fairy story to anyone within reach, without the slightest concern as to whether people are interested, offended or whatever, but have the thinnest of skins when their fairy story is called a fairy story.

Christianity as it really is.

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 09:58:36

Not all Christians, Friday...please don't lump us all in with the Holier than Thous..

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 10:01:35

Also, the article you's a despicable story, those people were completely wrong with the discriminatory policy, but they do not represent the whole of Christianity - not by a long shot. There are a lot of Christians out there who look on with horror at what some Christian factions are doing.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 10:06:35

frustrated, I agree that not all Christians are the same and it must be very - well, frustrating! - for you to be lumped in with those who have extreme and offensive views.

But spare a thought for non-believers, who have to put up with being lumped together under the offensive term "militant atheists" and have that term repeated by such luminaries as David Cameron, just because we dare to, for example, question why Christian prayers should be said at local council meetings.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 10:10:46

Interesting article, friday.

I like the way they say "Now the Bulls are asking the Supreme Court for a more balanced application of rights rather than sexual orientation trumping religion "(my emphasis).

Surely it's more a case of adherence to the law of the land trumping religious prejudice.

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 10:17:18

Rhonda - but not all Christians label atheists as "militant atheists" - personally, when it comes to public prayer at a council meeting I'd much rather something along the line of "We're all here to try to achieve something so lets respect each other's strengths and weakness and find a way forwards" etc etc etc than a prayer that may at best be meaningless to some and at worst offensive.

Stereotyping helps no-one at all. Also, I'm married to an agnostic we get along wonderfully, my father is an atheist and I have a Wiccan friend - there's plenty of room for everyone as far as I'm concerned.

VikingLady Mon 04-Nov-13 10:20:37

Stravy It's actually in The Holly Bears a Berry

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 10:34:03

frustrated and neither do all atheists label Christians as all the same.

I like your idea for what to say before a council meeting, but I don't think Eric Pickles would. As he says, this is a Christian country and so we should say Christian prayers, even councillors of other religions or none. And if someone doesn't like it, they can't wait outside until the prayers are over. That's right, elected councillors being made to wait outside their own meeting because people don't have the sense to say the prayers quietly beforehand.

Talk about arrogant shock

gordyslovesheep Mon 04-Nov-13 10:36:49

Friday you are in danger of sounding abut like the anti Islamic brigade . You simply can not label all Christians the same. My mum is a right on lefty socialist and a Christian. She has been on gay pride marches ...she is so far removed from what you feel is Christianity its in true.

People ate entitled to have faith without that being belittled

friday16 Mon 04-Nov-13 10:39:20

People ate entitled to have faith without that being belittled

No they aren't. They're entitled to that faith. But they are not entitled to have others remain quiet about it. The Bulls are homophobic bigots. That they claim that are homophobic bigots as a consequence of their faith doesn't give them a shield from being called bigots.

caruthers Mon 04-Nov-13 10:43:07

I'm a hypocrite because I celebrate Xmas and i'm a dyed in the wool atheist...i'd celebrate Diwali if there was booze involved and was given time off etc..

Long may these archaic traditions continue if only for the way they are catalysts for an excuse to have a knees up and family reunions.

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 10:48:23

Friday, I think was Gordy meant was that you using the article about the Bulls and naming it "what Christianity is" is vastly unfair and belittling to people who are practising Christians who ALSO think the Bulls re homophobic bigots. By using the label "Christianity as it really is" you are in danger of merely being on the opposite side of the coin you so rightfully dislike. You're saying all Christians are homophobic bigots, just as those asshats in the article are saying Gays and/or unmarried couples are wrong and undeserving of equal treatment...surely you can see that?

Rhonda - Mr Pickles does indeed appear to be an arrogant twit.

I'm not sure exactly what gets celebrated on 25 December, but it doesn't look much like Christmas any more. It doesn't strike me as particularly Christian, in the traditional sense.

Now, doubtlessly someone will come out with some guff about how Christianity "hijacked" Christmas, as if back in 500 AD cross bearded druids had to write cross letters to the editor, and now it is being reclaimed by the people. The better view is that Christmas is just an excuse to splurge money and have a drink: nice enough in itself, but hardly anything of any significance.

Easter is even worse.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 10:53:32

My eye was caught by all the links at the side of the article about the B&B owners. Several were about Christianity supposedly being "under attack" or "marginalised". And yet the publication seemed to have no qualms about placing these articles next to ones about people actually being killed or hurt because of their religious beliefs.

Is is really appropriate to equate being killed for your faith with not being allowed to discriminate against gay people?

Have some perspective, please!

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 10:55:21

frustrated, no, he actually is an arrogant twit. No "appears to be" about it grin

freyasnow Mon 04-Nov-13 10:55:36

Even if Christmas had no connection to pagan traditions whatsoever and had developed entirely out of Christianity, it wouldn't make it a religious festival for most British people now. As Christianity has been in this country for at least 1000 years, Christmas is part of the culture of Britain. As most British people are not Christian believers, they have turned it into a secular cultural tradition. Even if everybody stopped being a Christian, we would probably still call it Christmas because that is the tradition we have. Christian believers don't have any more right to Christian traditions than anyone else brought up in Britain has.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 10:57:14

Toad the "guff" you speak about, also knows as "facts", has been extensively discussed on this thread as well as the other thread the OP tried to derail.

HettiePetal Mon 04-Nov-13 11:03:23

No one's ever been able to adequately explain to me what a "militant atheist" is even supposed to be.

How can you be "militant" about something you don't believe in? I don't believe in flying teapots orbiting Mars, but I don't feel particularly "militant" about it.

No, what David Cameron is talking about is secularism. I suppose you could, at a push, be militant about that, since it's a belief, not just the absence of one - but I don't know anyone who is.

I think what people really mean when they use that term is: "Those atheists who keep embarrassing us with their annoying logic & facts. It's just not faiiiiiiiiiirr. Make them stop!"

(That wasn't aimed at you, frustrated but those many, many people who do prattle on about militant atheism).

gordyslovesheep Mon 04-Nov-13 11:07:59

Then they will be pulled up for being homophobic bigots ...but you wouldn't label all nylons terrorists Friday - I know you wouldn't . So please don't label the bulls as representative of all Christians

You may feel people with faith believe fairy stories but they still should be allowed their faith and I think calling it a fairy tale IS belittling

By being so anti faith some atheists become in danger of being equally bigoted

gordyslovesheep Mon 04-Nov-13 11:09:11

Muslims not decking nylons !!

gordyslovesheep Mon 04-Nov-13 11:09:55

I hate my phone

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 11:25:22

I happen to think all nylons are terrorists, gordy, especially the cheap ones from Tesco grin

Beastofburden Mon 04-Nov-13 11:28:07

Be fair to gordy. We must accept that Christianity is a broad church and that there are many very decent Christians who do not share homophobic beliefs, not the aggressive pro-life agenda we see in parts of the US, to take another example.

Gordy, what non-believers like me would wish to see, is the church being clearer about this. It is frustrating, for example, to see the CofE pandering to homophobic agendas- so far as I can see, out of a wish to keep the commonwealth communion intact by not offending the African churches. It was also frustrating to see the lay synod being allowed to hijack the issue of women bishops. The only reason I worry, of course, is because of the position of the establilshed church in our legal and constitutional system. If there were no bishops in the House of Lords reviewing new legislation and demanding changes to fit this agenda- or at most, one Christian faith leader, one Muslim, one Jewish , etc- then it would be an entirely private matter between memebers of that faith. but it's not. So the CofE does have a responisbility not to treat its agenda as an entirely private matter.

Beastofburden Mon 04-Nov-13 11:35:18

And on the fairy stories thing- I think that is also a red herring.

I do feel it is fair to ask those who try to convert me how they can explain the suffering of profoundly disabled children. I have never heard a decent explanation. So it's not the fantasy element of faith that disturbs me in people, it's the ability to get past this particular issue. I think it is fair enough to have an opinion on whether people can do this.

friday16 Mon 04-Nov-13 11:58:18

You may feel people with faith believe fairy stories but they still should be allowed their faith and I think calling it a fairy tale IS belittling

People can believe what they want. It's still perfectly reasonable to laugh at it when they present it as fact. For example, there are rather a lot of Christians who believe that the Earth is only 6000 years old and that dinosaurs co-existed with man up until the great flood. They sometimes, unsurprisingly, turn out to often be liars and perjurers when they promote this idea. "The inescapable truth is that both [Alan] Bonsell and [William] Buckingham lied at their January 3, 2005 depositions. ... Bonsell repeatedly failed to testify in a truthful manner. ... Defendants have unceasingly attempted in vain to distance themselves from their own actions and statements, which culminated in repetitious, untruthful testimony." I think people who believe that the earth is only 6000 years old and then dishonestly attempt to force that idea into schools as scientific fact merit laughter, scorn and mockery. What do you think should be my response? Which part of Genesis isn't a fairy tale?

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 12:09:03

You're right Friday - some of the stuff some Christians believe is unbelievable....still doesn't mean it's okay for you to say that Christianity are a bunch of people with hateful homophobic beliefs...Christianity is far broader than that. You have your New Earth Creationists who believe what you have highlighted (which I agree is utterly ridiculous) and then you have way over on the other end of the spectrum where Christians do not prance about claiming to have all the answers and smug self-assuredness and attempt at every turn to convert you into some sort of robot...and then everything else in between.

friday16 Mon 04-Nov-13 12:26:44

still doesn't mean it's okay for you to say that Christianity are a bunch of people with hateful homophobic beliefs

Could you name the denomination which was not violently opposed to same-sex marriage, and didn't attempt to block it not just for their own buildings, but for everyone else? Before you do, I can: the Quakers (and indeed, if you're calibrating your moral compass, "what would the Quakers do?" is a pretty good first approximation). But I think you'd agree they are hardly mainstream, and indeed there are Quakers who wouldn't identify as Christians and Christians who wouldn't accept Quakers as being members of the same religion, so they're about as marginal as you can get without being a Unitarian or a Mormon.

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 12:58:48

There are a lot of us out there that do not belong to a denomination. I tend to ignore denominations because in general I do not like being part of an organised church - for the very reasons you probably seem to think all Christians are haters.

But ok, you feel it is fine to lump each and every Christian into the "bigoted holier than thous" unfortunately by doing so you are labelling yourself too.

calling it a fairy tale IS belittling Nothing wrong with fairies. Just as many of them as there are angels. People see them all the time.

On the subject of Nylons I'm on the fence.

Toadinthehole you think it's guff that Christianity "hijacked" Christmas? Where have you been that you didn't know that? Read some books on history. Ask your priest about pre-christian festivals and ask him when jesus was born. It's not a new idea that someone just came up with, but part of our history.

Cupcake you were the one claiming ownership of christmas and still are in this thread. It's not yours - get over it.

Oh and if Jesus cares he can come and say so. He knows where I live. smile

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Mon 04-Nov-13 13:22:21

The term 'evangelical atheist' has become a shame-term used much in the way that people will also use words like shrill, hysterical, shrieking, etc., to describe any woman who isn't a twee, mimsy, fainting Victorian debutante and actually speaks her mind, however politely, rationally, reasonably and factually. These words are deliberately used to undermine what the person is saying, to make them feel ashamed of themselves, to try to censor them, and above all, to put off others from speaking out in a similar matter about similar things.

Shame-terms are used most when the person shamed is making a good point, or stating facts, that make the person doing the shaming feel uncomfortable. ie Talking about the abuse of women in porn, say, or pointing out that it is offensive and wrong to presumptively claim morality is linked with religion (which is a very common mistake people make).
So when someone uses a shame-term, it does, at least, serve a decent purpose in letting you know you're hitting the nail on the head.

frustratedandfailing, you are right about not lumping all Christian together, I agree, but unfortunately, you've highlighted an error that Christians always make when appealing to others not to judge them as one generic faith group: describing certain Christian beliefs as 'bonkers' or whatever, and others as more reasonable. To an Atheist, believing in God, full stop, is just as bonkers as believing in creationism. There's no hierarchy of how 'bonkers' a belief is to Atheists, when it involves the supernatural. Believing in God, to me, is as bonkers as being a Scientologist, believing in the Tooth Fairy, believing in alien abduction, believing that a tiny chocolate pig called Henry made the Earth by farting wellies out of his ears. This is why religion doesn't appeal to non-believers. It all seems so ludicrous.

And then certain things like love, peace and tolerance are claimed as specifically Christian messages - as though anyone of any other belief, or lack of belief, doesn't manage to feel, embody and support those beliefs perfectly well without an ounce of Christian input! It's so offensive, never mind so ridiculous to say these are Christian things. Especially when Christianity has been the basis for more hatred, intolerance, violence and war than any other belief/non-belief system in the history of mankind!

friday16 Mon 04-Nov-13 13:27:51

Believing in God, to me, is as bonkers as being a Scientologist, believing in the Tooth Fairy, believing in alien abduction, believing that a tiny chocolate pig called Henry made the Earth by farting wellies out of his ears.

Alien Abductions would be the most plausible, and the least inconsistent with what we know about the universe, of course.

Beastofburden Mon 04-Nov-13 13:29:53

but, frustrated what you all have in common is the ability to accept that god created and still permits the suffering of innocent people. The level of homophobia or batshit ideas about creationism doesn't help me at all to distinguish between your beliefs on the thing I actually care about. Which is how an all-powerful and loving god can co-exist with what has been created.

curlew Mon 04-Nov-13 13:42:55

Militant atheist and radical feminist is what people who want to silence call atheists and feminists.

ladyantigone Mon 04-Nov-13 13:45:16

Someone once told me that strong Christians love feeling that their beliefs are being challenged as getting into the issue with non-believers really strengthened their faith.
I fail to understand that really, but I've given up having this sort of argument since I found out that I might be helping them get off shock (intellectually, of course)

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Mon 04-Nov-13 13:48:23

friday, I do agree. I always make the point in discussions about religious plausibility, that aliens and fairies are actually far more likely than a deity.

And by 'far more likely', I mean 'still a load of old twaddle'.

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 13:48:55

I'm afraid I don't accept that at all, beast. I don't believe that God, for want of a better word, creates anyone...nature does that. I guess you could say I dont' believe in God in the biblical sense. In fact, I hardly ever look at the bible because it's a very old book and much of it doesn't apply to our world today. I just stick to the basics...see below

Oxford - hi there, I haven't' seen you for a while - I've name changed.

I agree that Christians claiming peace, love, tolerance as theirs is ridiculous. I remember having a talk with someone who I used to know about people who weren't Christians. She believes that non-Christians can't be good people - I think that's completely insane and offensive.

Buddhists also have peace love and tolerance, as do a lot of Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Jews......and so on. And many of those people can quite happily accept that others have different beliefs and faiths without labelling them as anything in particular. Having a faith doesn't make you a good person, choosing to be a good person makes you a good person, I'm in completely agree with that.

Anyway, that's that, I'm certainly not on here to try to convert anyone, I just came on because I'd seen the title and who had written it and immediately linked it to the OCC thread and wanted to see what the OP was saying exactly...and I still think she is BVU.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 13:51:07

lady, I think there are some believers who like a good argument - and fair enough if that's what does it for them - and others who see any challenge to their beliefs as proof that Christians are being "persecuted".

Both good reasons not to bother, as you say.

HettiePetal Mon 04-Nov-13 13:51:42

Well said, Oxford. REALLY well said.

The idea that a human being ever got up and walked out of his own tomb three days after his death is every bit as ridiculous to me as the idea of a 5,000 year old Earth.

Nonsense is nonsense. There aren't degrees of it.

Also, how much of the Bible does a non-homophobic, non-racist Christian have to completely ignore in order to be neither of these things? Masses.

Where do you think these child-torturing, gay-murdering Christians in other parts of the world get their ideas from?

The Good Book. That's where.

"Oh, but Jesus never taught those things, and I just follow his teaching of peace and love". Well, firstly, most Christians ignore most of Jesus' teachings - particularly his financial "advice" - and he was a pretty big fan of the OT and was fairly clear that people should be following it's teachings.

So, that would be: stone homosexuals & cheeky children to death & if you must beat your slaves, try not to kill them.

And no, I haven't misunderstood the Bible. No I haven't taken anything out of context. You just don't like it. And I don't blame you.

HettiePetal Mon 04-Nov-13 13:54:55

So, Frustrated - out of interest, what makes you call yourself a Christian?

That's not a challenge, I'm intrigued.

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 13:59:19

Also, thank you for the Henry and his welly-farting ears - I now have tea up my nose. I don't' have an answer for that paragraph, you, as always, make a very concise and well constructed point..all I can say is that I don't necessarily believe in a God per se. I don't 'believe I'll live forever in some kind of afterlife, or that I'm somehow superior to others, or that I have to be a good person because there's a God watching me...but I do believe in the basics of Jesus and his teachings...who he was or what his exact origins were don't matter to me because to argue over that is missing the basic point of not being a douche. Using faith to make others feel like shit is utterly despicable, and I'll have no part in it.

Hm, I guess when I read that back to myself it's pretty obvious why I simply didn't get on in the Southern Baptist Church I attended for a few months....

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 14:05:45

Lady and Rhonda - I can promise you that you don't need to lump me into the Christians who like a good argument. See above.

Hettie - I've asked myself the same question and whether or not I've come up with the correct answer yet I don't know. I would probably fit into a UU church better than any other church I have ever attended and subsequently walked out of in disgust - I do seem to rub along pretty well with the Methodists but again, I've struggled in the past with some of the divisor stuff that has gone on an have distanced myself. I know I'm not alone in how I feel. Perhaps I'm more spiritual than anything else - when I used to have a daily practise there were elements of Buddhism and Wicca in there because I have no aversion to other faiths at all, sometimes I wonder if it's possibly all part of the same pie, but Christianity, or rather Jesus in particular, is what I always seem to gravitate towards in the end. I don't know if I've answered your question really....

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Mon 04-Nov-13 14:09:31

HettiePetal, yes, yes! The picking and choosing, and turning a blind eye to so much frankly horrific and totally immoral stuff in the Bible, drives me mad. When Christians who are homophobic go on about 'man shall not lie with man' being in the Bible, I think 3 things:

1) It's a fucking book! I don't believe that Hobbits exist just because LOTR says so!

And then, much more seriously:

2) The same section of the Bible that says that ALSO states that the wearing of mixed fibres and the eating shellfish are equal, if not worse, crimes. So how come you don't get Christians up in arms abour prawn cocktails being on menus, or people wearing shellsuits? Oh, wait, it couldn't be because... wait... because your personal inadequacies and immaturity make you require a group of people to hate, could it?

And let's face it, shellsuits are far more heinous than a bit of bumming ever could be.

3) If people would actually put 1% of research, perception and thought into putting it into context, they would understand that these were rules that made sense thousands of years ago. You didn't eat shellfish cos it goes off easily and can make you ill or kill you. And men back then used to shag everyone and everything; it was just trying to tell men to cool it with the man-love and focus on your wife. Many scholars link it to the ancient Greek tradition of love between older men and younger lads.

Oh, and I also think a 4th thing: FUCK OFF, YOU THICK, VILE, SHITTY HOMOPHOBIC CUNTS.

YouTheCat Mon 04-Nov-13 14:13:51

I couldn't agree more.

I do believe in Hobbits though. I am short and have hairy toes. All I need now is a nice shiny ring. grin

DuckToWater Mon 04-Nov-13 14:16:20

I'm an agnostic and will pick and choose which parts of religious festivals I choose to take part in as part of cultural celebrations, thank you very much.

Celebrating Christmas is part of my culture, but if school or individual teachers preach/teach the existence of God as fact to my DDs then I reserve the right to contradict them and let DDs make up their own minds.

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Mon 04-Nov-13 14:16:34

frustrated, the teachings of Jesus were, and aren't, exclusive to Jesus, although I think you know that. I personally find goodness and morality are far stronger, far worthier, and far more genuine, when they come from an innate place within the person, not done because they want to follow the example of another, or because they fear the retribution of a father figure, or wish to please said father figure, etc. I actually think it belittles a person to say they are doing things because X deity or figure said so. Because that goodness is in them anyway, regardless of, and even despite, spiritual belief of any sort. Am not trying to harass you and your ideas, you just sound like a non-believer with a great sense of wonder about the world (and most of us have that, many religious people don't understand or believe that), but you need, or prefer, the framework of Jesus to express and actualise all that. And I guess what I am trying to say is, you don't need it. Although it's no skin of my nose if you do.

PS Hello! Am intirgued as to who you used to be, IYKWIM. I have my suspicions smile

AnyBagsofOxfordFuckers Mon 04-Nov-13 14:16:46

Intrigued, even!

DuckToWater Mon 04-Nov-13 14:17:25

I worship at the feet of Thorin Oakenshield myself.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 04-Nov-13 14:18:33

But Anybags, what about the mixed fibres?

I really thought you were going to unravel that mystery for me! smile

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 14:29:30

I also want to know about the mixed fibers...does this mean I'm going to have to throw out my favourite poly-cotton shirt?!

Oxford, you may get me better than I do. There have been times in the past I have thrown out Jesus completely, mainly because of some sort of incident involving a Fundamentalist or similar derivative that has left me frothing with indignation at their nasty and superior judgment...but I still go back to him: I have no idea why. I think, that technically that makes me a Christian (and also, Jesus supposedly turned up in a Buddhist monastery somewhere and I've not yet gotten around to researching that yet and want to)

HettiePetal Mon 04-Nov-13 15:41:06

I've been wandering around Google trying to find out the explanation for the mixed fibres thing (apparently it's God "protecting consumers" because mixing them cheapens the fabric - although it's the wearer that's the sinner?) - and in my wanders I discovered the Landover Baptist Church!

Check it out, fellow unsaved scum. (Although, you probably already have - I am very slow off the mark).

HettiePetal Mon 04-Nov-13 15:41:58
frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 15:50:59

Ah, funny that Hettie...I was looking at it today used to be one of my favourite sites when I was in frothing mode - it's a parody site and not far off the mark of what you may come across in America....

HettiePetal Mon 04-Nov-13 16:41:55

It's brilliant, isn't it? For a moment, I thought it was real..."Show Jesus you love him on Facebook" grin

Greydog Mon 04-Nov-13 16:42:50

Most of what these so called Christian churches preach are actually from the Old Testament, so the Jewish book. I have a feeling - and I'm probably wrong - that on the New Testament Jesus says that he came to bring a new way? I used to love using those OT quotes on my ex MIL, who was a "born again" She used to moan at my ex for having long hair. When I quoted the Leviticus bit to her and told her that Jesus would have had longg hair, she was appalled, but swiftly rallied "Ah, but he had a nice face"

frustratedandfailing Mon 04-Nov-13 16:51:16

It's fabulous took be about 5 minutes to realise it wasn't real the first time....and I was already in a frothing mode! My H at the time almost had to stage an intervention! But yes, I do enjoy it still when I feel disgruntled and hopeless at the state of things.

Beastofburden Mon 04-Nov-13 18:46:59

Waves at frustrated I think you are an atheist like me, in that case, if you believe that god didn't create anything, nature did.

There is a kind of Christian who manages to believe that god created all the nice things (sunrise, musicality, talent, kindness, beauty, baby animals) and, er, nachure created all the nasty things (disability, cancer, suffering of the innocent not caused by human agency). Sorry. Either god created all of creation, or none. Looks as if we both think the answer is "none". The difference is I recognise that I am an atheist.

I can see it would be nice to let god off the hook for all the unforgivable stuff he has clearly done, and just have the fun bits. In my experience, people can only manage this bit of doublethink when they don't, personally, have a child who has died or been severely disabled. Once that happens, it becomes rather difficult to ignore.

Sorry, I think it is offensive not to face up to the consequences of what you say you believe. I understand you don't mean it that way. But you need to understand that this would be a fairly common and not unfair reaction from people in my situation.

lillibet1 Tue 05-Nov-13 21:55:23

Christmas is not a Christian festival but was a celebration of midwinter hijacked by the catholic church to make Christianity more acceptable
is is a Roman festival and may well have been celebrated before the Roman era as a celebration of the shortest day (northern hemisphere)

edam Tue 05-Nov-13 22:45:29

Hettie, that parody site is fab. 'Show Jesus how much you love him by liking us on Facebook'. grin

frustratedandfailing Wed 06-Nov-13 06:51:19

Beast - I'm not sure where I said that your reaction is not uncommon or unreasonable because I dont' think it is either of those things. I also don't believe or accept that there is a God out there that has the power to do whatever he/she/they like and supposedly loves us and then creates the terrible suffering of people through no fault of their own. I don't accept the whole God has a plan/God is in control thing: |I cannot abide the hollow, insensitive, pious platitudes that some Christians dole out to those who are grieving. Nor can I abide those that sit back and say God has a plan for me, instead of taking responsibility for their own lives and actions nor those who go around saying in basic terms that "the Devil" made them do it when they've messed up.

I've re-read my posts, and I'm not sure what it is exactly I've said that you have found offensive.

The only reason I said anything about being a Christian on this thread was because someone decided to stereotype and claim that all Christians are homophobic bigots - when in truth that is incorrect, just as the ridiculous catchphrase that I keep seeing pop up on the internet that "All Muslims aren't terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims" is, well, ridiculous.

I do accept though that we don't know everything, we can only use logic because it's the best thing we've got, in my humble opinion. To me that means that logically faith can't be a logical thing, and that people either have one or they don't and that people can't be 'logiced' into or out of it and it is fruitless for people to try either way. I find it far more productive personally to see that we're all different and complex and we all have something valuable to bring to the world and to fall out over something that can't be scientifically proved or disproved is a shame.

Perhaps Oxford is right about me (though I'd lean more towards that of my husband's take on things which is agnostic rather than my father's which is atheist) - I've just decided I prefer to have a "framework": I've not given it a lot of thought probably because I'm comfortable and have no plans to try to evangelise anyone (because that's an extremely offensive thing to try to do IMHO). I generally don't go around telling people what I do and don't believe, I see no need, I think diversity in belief/non-belief is a good thing.

HettiePetal Wed 06-Nov-13 07:43:38

I do find your posts interesting, frustrated & I think I broadly agree with everything you say.

I'm just struggling to understand exactly it is why you call yourself a Christian. Tone is everything online, I know, so in case I'm wording this badly - this is not a criticism, implied or otherwise, but a genuine puzzle to me.

I do realise that many (maybe even most) Christians in this country can see beyond the obvious mythical aspects of their religion. Even Rowan Williams, when he debated Richard Dawkins, admitted that most of the nativity (including whether Mary was a virgin) is probably myth..."it's the essence of the story that matters..." etc (paraphrased).

And I expect that you would agree that the evidence that this man Jesus ever existed at all, let alone was God in human form, is tenuous to say the least.

So what is it about this particular religion/philosophy that appeals to you at all?

Even a truly existent Jesus who more-or-less said the things attributed to him in the NT, didn't actually say anything that interesting or profound. In fact, you could argue that some of his teachings are unworkable, unrealistic & bordering on immoral. Which is why most Christians ignore them.

I can appreciate that some of what he said is inspiring & empowering - but others have said the same things in much better ways (often long before Jesus was even thought of) without pretending that they were anything other than perfectly normal human beings.

The thing with Christianity is that, in spite of all the "love your neighbour" stuff, the basic tenets, what it really stands for is, to me, disgusting. Nothing less.

We are all sinners from birth (my tiny, newborn son was a sinner) & the only way to be forgiven for these imaginary sins, is to not only believe in, but be grateful for, the horrific, bloody & painful death of a Palestinian man 2000 years ago.

If you can't get on board with this idea, then the creator of the universe is sufficiently displeased with you that (depending on what brand of Christianity is adhered to) you are either cast in to hell, annihilated instead of lifted into heaven or, at best, required to explain yourself at the pearly gates.

How can anyone, anyone at all, consider this a great moral example? It's an awful and appalling idea. And yet it's one that so many otherwise rational people buy into seemingly without question.

If this god existed, or even a close approximation, the last thing s/he would get from me is loving devotion.

Very interested in your thoughts smile (and hoping you won't be offended).

HettiePetal Wed 06-Nov-13 07:44:38

Excuse all the wonky, poorly constructed sentences. Hurrying to get to work blush

SuburbanRhonda and BackOnlyBriefly

I suspect I have forgotten more about the origins of Christmas than you've ever known, and I expect I am a good deal more selective about my reading matter than you are. To describe Christmas as "hijacked" from pagans is to say that "real" humans are Homo Rhodesiensis. Cultures and their practices evolve, and Christmas is no exception. Unfortunately, it is now evolving into something both pastuerised and bland.


My previous post is for you too.

AnyFuckerWillDo Wed 06-Nov-13 07:57:21

I'm an atheist I celebrate Easter, new year and of course Xmas. I do so cos of tradition, a good reason for family time, giving presents, and generally a fun loving time.

I also celebrate Halloween n go trick or treating doesn't mean I believe in that either!

lol @ Toadinthehole

I expect I am a good deal more selective about my reading matter than you are

Yes I expect that is the problem.

Beastofburden Wed 06-Nov-13 11:45:10

frustrated I didnt mean that you had been personally offensive on purpose. You have been very nice to everyone, including me.

What I was trying to say is that Christians often wonder why people like me find Christianity offensive. Why would I object to be prayed for? surely if I dont believe, it can't hurt me? and so forth.

The idea of a single, good, all-powerful god as creator of the world is central to Christianity. There are lots of ways in which people try to square this with the many examples of suffering which are not caused by humans. I think I have heard all of them in my time.

There's the "god doesn't really exist- it's all nature and chance" argument- which I agree with, as I also think god doesn't exist. But it offends me to hear people not holding god to account for the whole of creation, but somehow managing to thank him for the nice things in life.

There's the "god suffers with us" argument, which I think is not good enough- if I were to cripple a child but give it a nice hug afterwards, I wouldn't expect to be worshipped as a result- jailed, more likely.

There's the "blessing in disguise" argument, which says that it is fine to destroy my child for someone else's edification.

There's the "we are all special" argument which tries to argue that it's not so terrible anyway- but people often would not want to pick out one of their own children for this privileged life.

There's the "do not test god" argument- but people still pray for success in grade 6 clarinet and credit god when they do well- so god has some odd priorities here.

There's the "we are not meant to understand" argument which is pretty much "I have no more answers, but as it isn't my child I am thankfully going to put yours to the back of my mind".

And I have literally lost count of the number of people who have said to me, "in your shoes I would be an atheist"- including one friend who believes in god because her daughter survived cancer, although the child in the next bed died. That is probably the most straightforward version of the "it's only real when it happens to me" argument.

In the end, not of them is acceptable when it is your child in question. So the willingness of others to drop the issue and decide not to think about it seriously any more, is upsetting. It says, to me at any rate, that my child is not worth being angry about.

So that's why some atheists can get cross. But not with you as a person- you were perfectly nice and polite.

Pennyacrossthehall Wed 06-Nov-13 13:00:51

I CBA to read all three hundred replies.

In response to the OP:

I enjoy "Christian" celebrations (time off work, lazy lunches with friends and family etc) for the same reason I observe "Christian" values (don't kill people, don't steal, don't commit adultery . . . ) BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT EXCLUSIVELY CHRISTIAN!

They are just obviously enjoyable things / common sense. hmm

sashh Wed 06-Nov-13 17:02:40

I would never say things like this to those celebrating festivals in other faiths.

Excuse me, what exactly did you say about Halloween?


Can't you give a better comeback than that, or even (perhaps) an argument?

Ericaequites Thu 07-Nov-13 03:21:25

My mother is an atheist, but adores Christmas. She always does a big tree, lots of presents, the whole bit. I pointed out the hypocrisy of this as a teenager, but she liked it.

HettiePetal Thu 07-Nov-13 05:47:09


I'm not quite sure what you've been reading, but you seem to have wildly missed the point of what most people on here are saying.

Of course modern Christmas is something that's evolved - it's a mismash of all kinds of traditions, some very ancient & some more recent, like the Victorian trappings.

I'm sure, with all your academic reading, you are aware of Saturnalia, yes? It was a week long Roman festival which concluded on Dec 25th. In the 4th century, Christianity promised new adherents that they could continue to celebrate Saturnalia, but since the festival had absolutely nothing to do with Christianity, they named the last day of it Jesus' birthday - December 25th.

The knowledge that the holiday had pagan origins is what has caused certain Christian groups through history, like the Puritans, to refuse to celebrate it. Jehovah's Witnesses still don't, for the same reason.

So, I'm sorry, but whether you personally like it or not, Christmas DOES have a pagan origin and it is entirely wrong for modern Christians to whine about those of us who don't believe celebrating it too.

Your Homo Rhodesiensis comment is ridiculous. It would be wrong to say that Homo Rhodesienis is modern man, of course - and it would be equally wrong to say that Christmas is pagan. Man has evolved, and so has Christmas.

I fear you have missed precisely what I am objecting to.

I am entirely aware of course that Christmas was not something that fell out of the sky at some point after AD 30. I am not arguing that it does not have a pagan origin, "pagan" meaning, I suppose any European religion existing prior and up to the advent of Christianity.

What I do not like is the increasingly popular misreading of history that advocates that Christmas "is" pagan, and that Christianity, like the Grinch, "stole" Christmas and veneered it. As you say, the truth is that the meaning of the festival traditionally celebrated at Christmas evolved - substantially - over time. There was no "hijack", nor was there ever an "authentic Christmas" at any point in time. I was born and raised in England, but you would quite rightly laugh if I said I was Anglo-Saxon or Brythonic, and my Homo Rhodesiensis remark was designed to make the same point.

There are a lot of very old traditions all over Europe. Some of them date back hundreds of years, some thousands. Most of them vanished after the Industrial Revolution, and most of what remained has vanished since WW2. It is nice that some of them are revived, but when it is done so along with claims that they are pagan, and therefore authentically indigenous, implies that Christianity is some nasty impost from the Middle East - a rather pointed subtext given the politics of recent years. There is pretty much no pagan heritage left in western European society now - and no I'm afraid I don't count latter-day tree-hugging and sun worship.

Heck, in recent days, I have even read claims that Guy Fawkes Night is pagan, or has pagan origins.

HettiePetal Thu 07-Nov-13 06:37:00

Well, I agree with you. And I think virtually everyone else on here would too.

I think the term "hijack" is shorthand, because we're all busy people and don't have time for longer, more involved explanations.

Heck, in recent days, I have even read claims that Guy Fawkes Night is pagan, or has pagan origins grin

friday16 Thu 07-Nov-13 07:37:39

It is nice that some of them are revived, but when it is done so along with claims that they are pagan, and therefore authentically indigenous,

It's a rather Victorian idea of a mythic mediaeval past, in which people danced around the maypole and did some morris dancing, after a light working day doing some farming in the manner of Marie Antoinette leading sheep around on ribbons. One of the effects of the industrial revolution, and later the Arts and Crafts movement, was the rise of an entirely bogus nostalgia for a sanitised vision of country living pre-technology. In reality, pre-industrial rural life was for most people nasty, brutish and short, but spurious Victorian inventions like morris dancing (almost entirely invented out of whole cloth by Cecil Sharpe et al in the late 19th century) and folk music (ditto) give the impression of a communal culture which basically didn't exist.

My local "village" council (in the suburbs of a large industrial city) organises a maypole event for children every spring: the overall effect is the sort of communal fresh air gathering of healthy young people that would have pleased the Reichskulturkammer had Britain lost the war.

frustratedandfailing Thu 07-Nov-13 09:03:09

Ericaequites - why do you think celebrating Christmas is a hypocritical thing for an atheist to do?

Hettie - I will get back to your questions/thoughts and no I am not offended at all - but I will say straight off the bat that (and bear in mind that I have said I hardly ever read the bible) we are NOT born sinners (I hate that word) and yes, I do struggle with the crucifixion.

Beast - wow, you really have been handed all the best platitudes haven't you? I'm very sorry. Reading between the lines it's likely I would be an atheist if I were you. I have had some pretty bad stuff happen in my life, but not the severe disablement, illness or death of a child - there but for luck go I. I hope you do tell people who dole out that crap to you to kindly go away (not what I would say actually, what I would say would be far more colourful).

Coupon Thu 07-Nov-13 09:52:42

So there are also pagan winter festivals. And the church decided to put its Christmas celebrations at the same time.

But what exactly do pagans expect Christians to do about that now? Are we meant to feel responsible for something others did centuries ago, or cancel our Christmas apologetically?

I've never cancelled a pagan festival or told any pagans they can't or shouldn't do something, and the "hijacking" doesn't represent my faith any more than a group of fundamentalist TV evangelists represent me and my faith today.

Christmas isn't meaningless just because one group of Christians a long time ago decided to do that. Christians these days are still celebrating the birth of Christ, and that's not invalid just because of the actions of a few church leaders in the past.

And yes we've borrowed some pagan things like trees. I rather like these connections and influences. So I'd like it if we could move on.

Coupon Bearing in mind the thread is someone moaning about non-Christians daring to celebrate without celebrating the birth of Christ and people are responding to that I think we can safely say that the Pagans and non-Pagans on here would mostly like to be allowed to celebrate in their own way without being whinged at. Especially given that Christians don't have sole rights to a winter festival - nor to the symbols used in it.

HettiePetal Thu 07-Nov-13 10:04:59


You are entitled to view & celebrate Christmas in any way you wish.

So are non-believers. Nobody "owns" Christmas, it's a melding together of lots of different traditions - that is the point.

Have you ever, once, seen an atheist or pagan start a thread asking how dare Christians celebrate a festival that's none of their business and had nothing to do with their religion in the first place?

No. And you never will. Such a thread would be wrong, and the poster would be told so by the same people telling this Christian OP that's she's wrong.

I used to live nest door to a Muslim family who had their own Christmas every year. They said that they considered it part of their British heritage while Eid and so on was part of their Muslim heritage.

We can each take what we like from Christmas, that's the beauty of it, yes?

Coupon Thu 07-Nov-13 10:08:42

The word Christ-mas originated in the phrase "Christ's Mass". So I just wonder why a non-Christian would choose to call their own particular winter celebrations "Christmas"? Personally I don't think I'd choose a religious word I didn't believe in to describe a celebration.

friday16 Thu 07-Nov-13 10:12:18

The word Christ-mas originated in the phrase "Christ's Mass". So I just wonder why a non-Christian would choose to call their own particular winter celebrations "Christmas"? Personally I don't think I'd choose a religious word I didn't believe in to describe a celebration.

The word Easter originated in the old English word Ēastre or Ēostre, referring to a pagan godess. So I just wonder why a Christian would choose to call their own particular spring celebrations "Easter"? Personally I don't think I'd choose a religious word I didn't believe in to describe a celebration.

Coupon Thu 07-Nov-13 10:16:03

Fair enough friday16. Now to convince the church grin

So, if we're all influenced by each other, why is it a problem that Christians have adopted pagan symbols at Christmas? Perhaps paganism has also taken on board aspects of other ancient traditions over time.

Coupon Thu 07-Nov-13 10:16:54

Would still love answers to this BTW

> But what exactly do pagans expect Christians to do about that now? Are we meant to feel responsible for something others did centuries ago?

HettiePetal Thu 07-Nov-13 10:17:59

We call it Christmas because everyone else does. Y'know - so everyone knows what we're on about? hmm

Do you worship Thor? No. Then stop using the word Thursday because it's named after him - Thor's Day.

We've been through this. Haven't you read the read?

HettiePetal Thu 07-Nov-13 10:20:02

Not a Pagan but:

But what exactly do pagans expect Christians to do about that now?

Nothing - except stop pretending that Christmas is exclusively Christian.

Are we meant to feel responsible for something others did centuries ago? No. But see above.

"But what exactly do pagans expect Christians to do about that now? Are we meant to feel responsible for something others did centuries ago?"

Fuck all honestly. Aside from not go on like Christians own the midwinter celebration and all it's associated symbols.

Just letting everyone get on with enjoying what little brightness we get in the winter would be nice really.

Coupon Thu 07-Nov-13 10:24:12

The word Easter can be derived from Oster, the old Teutonic form of auferstehen/erstehen meaning resurrection.

Coupon Thu 07-Nov-13 10:40:42

I don't think anyone's suggesting Christians "own" any of the symbols or the principle of a midwinter festival.

However there are several posters who have claimed that the origins of Christmas aren't Christian. I think that depends how you define Christmas. If you're thinking of the tree/decoration/time of year etc. then yes.

But to a Christian, the only thing which makes it Christ-mas is remembering Christ's birth. Anything else is secondary, ultimately unnecessary, and definitely not an "origin" of what we celebrate.

WallyBantersJunkBox Thu 07-Nov-13 10:46:43

Can I also add that you don't have to be Christian to believe in Christ, and his existence, and believing in Christ doesn't automatically make you a Christian.

A lot of other faiths respect the birth of Christ, and his existence on the planet.

It's not an exclusivity club for Christians. Isn't that what the man spent half his life trying to point out!?

No wonder we're in so much of a mess.

HettiePetal Thu 07-Nov-13 10:51:38

You didn't read the OP? Or her mini-rant on the OCC thread which prompted her to post it?

There are rather a lot of people who think that Christmas is Christian and the rest of us are hypocrites for celebrating it.

If, for you, it has a Christian significance, then great. Enjoy it on that basis. And, of course, there's nothing wrong with you including trees, mince pies & crackers - that doesn't make you a hypocrite either. Just someone enjoying the traditions alongside the religious meaning.

We enjoy the traditions without the religious overtones, and that's fine too.

Beastofburden Thu 07-Nov-13 12:26:43

The word Easter can be derived from Oster, the old Teutonic form of auferstehen/erstehen meaning resurrection.

Easter isn't called Easter in German, it's called Oster. Oster and Osterland in German mean "eastern" and are associated with the East, land of the rising sun, spring, all that renewal of life stuff.

I've never heard of it being associated with auferstehen, and I am a bit surprised that the old Teutonic form of auferstehen is relevant, given that the Bible only got translated into German by Luther, somewhat after people stopped speaking Old Teutonic. I do think the other derivation from Ēastre or Ēostre in English is much more widely accepted as true.

I am very happy to recognise that for many Christians, the festivities are about the birth of Christ. But the name is not a good argument to support this. It's only "called Christmas" if you speak English.

If you were born further South (in Europe) you'd be calling it "birthday", ie, variants on Noel, Natale, Navidad. So yes, that's a Christian reference, widely shared across Catholic countries. And Germans say Weihnacht(en) which is "holy night".

But further North- Denmark, Sweden, Norway- and you'd be saying Yule (Jul). We called it Geol before we called it Christmas. It's pretty accepted that Yule and variants reflect the old, pre-Christian festivals in the Nordic countries. So if we were having this exact discussion on Nordic Mumsnet, you'd have to concede that the name of Yule reflected the previous faith associated with the holiday, and not the current one.

Coupon: So what do you call the days of the week and the months of the year? What with them being named after Norse and Roman deities that you (presumably) don't believe in...

friday16 Thu 07-Nov-13 12:51:40

So, if we're all influenced by each other, why is it a problem that Christians have adopted pagan symbols at Christmas?

I don't think anyone's said it is a problem, have they? In general, the only people who would get worked up about pagan symbolism in Christianity are quasi-Christians who already have a down on Christmas anyway. There's that old joke in which a JW comes to your door and says "do you know that the Christmas tree is a pagan symbol?" and you reply "yes, that's why I've got one".

But the entire Bible is full of "anything your pagan Gods can do, I can do better" --- virgin births, resurrection, babies floating in wicker baskets are all the sort of things that older, particularly Egyptian gods got up to. Krishna and Sargon were put in baskets and floated down rivers. You can't get a fag paper between Isis and the Virgin Mary giving birth to Horus and Jesus respectively. The whole resurrection of Jesus is lifted from the story of Osiris. And so on. You can imagine that from a marketing point of view in 100CE, it was a bit of a problem that the old Gods were all just so much cooler, so Christianity borrowed super-powers, rather in the manner of Marvel and DC trying to outdo each other in cool super-hero comics, to make the story have more excitement.

Beastofburden Thu 07-Nov-13 13:00:22

and if you want to know, "what would Jesus do?" then Happy Christmas in Hebrew is Chag Molad Sameach v'Shanah Tovah or ajmil at-tihānī bimunāsabah al-mīlād wa ḥilūl as-sanah al-jadīdah in Arabic.

Just reminding people- Jesus didn't speak English. The Bible isn't in English either. English is not the language of Christianity.

It's all been translated, people. Christmas is just what we call it.

manicinsomniac Thu 07-Nov-13 13:11:18

In my experience, people can only manage this bit of doublethink when they don't, personally, have a child who has died or been severely disabled. Once that happens, it becomes rather difficult to ignore.

In your experience maybe. But this is completely false. I do not know what it is like to have a child die and I can have no certainty as to what would happen to my personal faith if I did experience it. However, I can say with certainty that not everybody who has experienced it loses their faith. I know a few Christians whose children have died, am aware of several more and, statistically, realise that there must be thousands more spread throughout the world.

The closest thing I know to this level of pain (which I am not saying compares) is that my dad died when I was young. I have a friend whose mum died at around the same age. My friend lost her faith as she couldn't reconcile a loving God with someone who allowed her Mum to die. I didn't lose mine, partly because I actually found it comforting and partly because I found that if I could believe in God in a world where other people's loved ones die then I couldn't logically just not believe now that it had happened to me.

That doesn't make me a better person, a worse person, a less logical person or a stronger or weaker person than my friend, it just makes me different. In the same way I think Christian parents who lose children are different - it breaks the faith of some but others find they still believe. I don't think it's a choice, you just realise that your beliefs have or have not changed.

I do think people who say to you 'I'd be an atheist in your shoes' are very 'off' though. It's an awful thing to say to anyone, let alone a bereaved parent. And doesn't say much about the integrity of their own beliefs.

friday16 Thu 07-Nov-13 13:15:51

Jesus didn't speak English.

Ah, but God might have done, apparently. I love the "King James Only" movement(s). Whatever resources we may be running out of, stupidity isn't one of them.

Beastofburden Thu 07-Nov-13 13:23:41

I think having a parent die is different, because it is more natural. We all go through this, unless we die first. My father died young and so did my brother. In my case, my child has not died but has been profoundly disabled, so I am faced with his situation every single day of my remaining life. The unfairness of it is therefore brought home to yuo very directly.

I think one reason we have a different experience is that I have a different sample from you. You know people who are Christian enough to come to church, some of whom have suffered loss. I see all the parents in the clinic, the hospital, the special school, the social club. It's probably a fuller selection of parents in my situation. I have only met one mother who is a Christian in 17 years. I don't suppose that you are as aware of all these parents as I am- because why would you need to go to these places? But I have friends who are doctors treating similar children, and they are not believers either. Not any more.

You are right that it's illogical to believe in god only if bad things don't happen to you... in your case you went in direction A- I will believe even when it happens to me. I suppose I am saying that I went in direction B- why do any of you believe it?

It's hard for me to see the logic in saying: I had a faith which didn't cover the problem of suffering, because I didn't need to think it through. Now I am suffering, it would be illogical to change my mind. To me, it's when you are faced with the reality of the issue, that changing your mind seems right.

It would be far from me to wish more acute suffering on anyone just so I can do the experiment- so I don't. I hope you never have to go through anything awful relating to your child. If you did, though, you might see a bit more clearly what I mean.

Beastofburden Thu 07-Nov-13 13:43:12

and -apologies for drip post- some forms of suffering can be reconciled with faith. Losing a child in an accident, or by some form of human agency, is appalling and terrible, but need not undermine your faith in a god. It's when a child is created already destroyed, from conception, by the direct agency of god, no human intervention whatsoever, that you have to ask these questions.

manicinsomniac Thu 07-Nov-13 13:45:40

I totally agree with you that a parent dying is not the same as a child, I definitely wasn't trying to say the two were the same. And I would never presume to state that my faith would hold up to that. I can hope and even it think it would. But I do not know and I don't think less of or judge anyone who loses or changes their faith for any reason.

And yes, you also make a very good point about the different samples. I wouldn't necessarily say that Christians who attend church have a stronger faith than those who don't (there's probably a positive correlation between faith and church attendance but there will be many exceptions) but I have found that, when a child from a church dies or is very ill, the church tends to completely surround the family with love and support before, during and after. People coming from another viewpoint may well say that is suffocating and not allowing them to feel what they truly feel though.

And I don't have any answers or platitudes for what your son and your family go through every day. I think it would inappropriate and insensitive to suggest that I do.

Beastofburden Thu 07-Nov-13 14:03:57

I understand, manic. Thank you for the discussion. I still don't quite understand how people manage to believe, but I do understand that it isn't always something they choose to do.

Have a nice rest of your day smile

SunshineMMum Thu 07-Nov-13 14:56:16

I hope that I am allowed to say, really interesting and thought provoking thread. I do think people should celebrate their holidays as they wish. I am interested that BOB has said that most of the people she knows who have a severely disabled child are non believers, here it seems to be different.

I can't honestly compare our situation with BOB, nor any of the parents of parents I know, in a similar situation, but as an atheist who became a Christian after my child was diagnosed with autism, I have realised that the opposite can happen with faith. Faith for me has helped to make some sense of things. It is too painful to share the whys and wherefores, of the challenges, but just that really.

Beastofburden Thu 07-Nov-13 15:58:55

Hello sunshine nice to see you, and hope all goes well at home.

Interesting that it's been different at your end. Are you posting from the UK?

SunshineMMum Thu 07-Nov-13 16:00:28

Yes I am from the uk.

The only people who I've ever heard complain about Christmas go on about how "commercial" it has become and how people "forget" that it is apparently solely to celebrate the birth of Christ. Apart from that, I hear Jahova's Witnesses complain about how it is not real and refuse to celebrate it.

Non-religous people just take part in a winter celebration that's about family, forgiveness and love and stuff. I do not actually belive in anything religious, but I the whole nativity thing is fine by me if you want to celebrate that.

Personally, I'd be quite pleased if in 2k years people are celbrating my birthday (even if it was the wrong day of the year) by lavishing gifts upon their loved ones and bringing extended their families together for a big joyfull meal.

I can't picture someone who preached about peace and love having much of a problem with this either.

SunshineMMum Thu 07-Nov-13 16:24:49

and obviously not much else to add to that, other than I respect your point of view and that it is interesting in the way that people differ spiritually at the point of personal crisis. I obviously also know parents that are atheist too.

Beastofburden Thu 07-Nov-13 16:54:00

I think maybe where we differ most is that faith helps you to make sense of it. I havent found that, myself.

I suppose because I would hold god responsible, if he existed, so starting from there, it's very hard to make progress.

The mother I knew didn't hold god responsible at all. So her focus was on how her faith helped her feel supported and not alone. I didn't like to ask her come she didn't hold him responsible. She had a lot to cope with, and I didn't want to upset her. Also, I don't think she knew. She had a very strong traditional catholic upbringing in a country far away, and she was in any case not someone who spent a lot of time thinking about things from a theoretical point of view.

SunshineMMum Thu 07-Nov-13 17:16:33

I can really see that, I spent a lot of time on the brink, waiving an angry fist and God before I was confirmed and I still question constantly so many of the same issues, during the darker times. I couldn't pretend to have an answer for you on suffering, nor would I want to dole put some of the platitudes that I have also heard, around our situation or the greater picture.

But for me it has been prayer and support has been invaluable to me and that what I feel personally as God's grace. It is tangible but not fathomable if that makes any sense, so I struggle to answer without referring to what I have learned/am learning through scripture. It goes directly against what my parents believe, so our faith is constantly challenged and so I am aware that sometimes I am just too fervent I the way I express my views.