Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Know It's A Myth

The picture above is a billboard that has recently gone up in New Jersey just outside of New York City.   It seems innocuous enough to me.   It just states a fact -- a fact that anyone who sees the billboard can accept or reject as they see fit.   But that's not how some people see it.   This billboard has a lot of christians bent all out of shape.

Many view it as an attack on their religion or a part of the "war on christmas".   Evidently these christians believe their god is a very weak god, and their religion is could fall over something as small as a billboard placed where people can see it.   If they were really convinced that their religion was the "truth" would they be so offended at this?

Even sillier is that some people are afraid that children might see the billboard, and seeing it would destroy their belief in christmas.   Really?   The billboard doesn't say anything about Santa Claus -- the real christmas myth celebrated by children (and most children even survive finding out Santa isn't real, as long as the presents keep coming).

The sad part of this story is that many christians actually believe Jesus was born on December 25th.   If Jesus really lived (and there is doubt about that), the fact is that no one has the slightest ides what day he was born on.   The December date was chosen in Rome because the early church couldn't get the population to stop celebrating Saturnalia -- a celebration of the god Saturn with feasting and gift-giving.   Since the church couldn't stop the celebration, they co-opted it.

But whatever a person believes, this is nothing more than a billboard.   It doesn't stop anyone from celebrating christmas or the solstice season any way they want to.   Even a lot of us atheists enjoy participating in a little Santa mythology and some gift-giving.

The billboard was more of an outreach to other (in-the-closet) atheists.   No one expects the billboard to turn a christian into an atheist.   The organization that put up the evidently controversial billboard, American Atheists, said they had three goals in mind when they put it up.   There goals are:

1) To address those atheists who “go along to get along”, and to encourage them to come out of their closets

2) To attack the myth that Christianity owns the solstice season

3) To raise the awareness of the organization and the movement.

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