Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Friendly Fire in The War on Christmas

I tend to be high-strung and on-edge during the holidays for a number of reasons, but I'm actually quite fond of American Christmas - aka the modern holiday of commercial consumption (presided over by neo-pagan deity figures like Santa, Rudolph and Frosty) that has about as much in common with the Christian holiday it grew out of as that holiday itself had in common with the pagan seasonal celebrations it originally co-opted. Hence, stuff like this tickles me.

Loathe as I am to link to batshit-insane, racist, homophobic birther "news" site WorldNetDaily, this video (and th unfuriated comments it inspired) is kind of delightful: Richard Rives - a controversial "Christian Archeaologist" (he runs Wyatt Archaeological Research, which promotes dubious expeditions seeking out scientific evidence for Biblical lore) who has also dedicated a series of books and scholarly articles to "exposing" the (otherwise well-documented) pagan origins of modern Christian traditions with an eye towards getting back to some "pure" original form - here argues matter-of-factly that present day Christians oughtn't celebrate Christmas because the holiday itself has almost zero Biblical basis, instead being a Pagan festival "adapted" to Christianity later.

What's fun for me in this is that, while Rives is almost certainly a nut, he's not "wrong" in his data. This is why - much as I loathe the Rich White People Faux-Victimhood Pageant that is "The War on Christmas" - I'm also increasingly annoyed with the snarky "holiday takedown" campaigns waged by activist-Atheism this time of year. I mean, guys (meaning Atheism) ...I'm on YOUR SIDE vis-a-vi "fuck the fundies;" but going all Anti-Xmas is a meaningless and kind of mean-spirited "cause" to take up - whether they admit it to themselves or not, MOST Americans are celebrating a secular holiday whose "gods" are acknowledged fictions created by pop-culture folklore of the 20th Century. Chill out.