Thursday, November 13, 2008

The War on the War on Christmas

The title is not a mistake. I hereby declare war (limited to a war of words) on my fellow Christians who insist on ranting and raving about a so-called “war on Christmas.”

The bible doesn’t tell us to celebrate or commemorate Jesus’ birth. It tells us to celebrate and commemorate his death and resurrection. As far as I’m concerned, Christmas remains a secular, pagan holiday. Of course as Christians we are free to ignore the secular aspects of the holiday and instead use it as special time of worship honoring God (just because the bible doesn’t tell us to celebrate the birth of Christ, that doesn’t mean we can’t—unless you buy into that silly Calvinistic (alas) Regulative Principle.) But a religious observation should be viewed as a completely independent activity that happens, for historic reasons, to coincide with a pagan holiday bearing the unfortunate name Christmas. Religious observation or economy make-or-break lusty materialistic spend-fest? It’s one, or the other, or, if you can manage it, both simultaneously—but it’s not either-or.

And why the hell would you want some unbelieving WalMart greeter with a plastered-on smile to say “Merry Christmas?” How does that glorify God? By showing that his people can use political influence essentially to force people to say something we want to hear? Does that even begin to make sense?

Then again, I’d like to see the national prevarication “In God We Trust” removed from the coinage. And “Under-God” from the pledge. Saying it doesn’t make it so, and if it’s so, we don’t have to say it.

False, mandated, imposed, or peer-pressure induced false-piety is, in my opinion, more of an abomination than honest disbelief. That is why I welcome the so-called new atheists. Silly and anti-intellectual as they are, they are providing a public service. The more they help other atheists come out of the closet, the healthier we all are. Are you an atheist? The stop pretending you aren’t. It’s a lose-lose scenario when you pretend to be a believer. You are free, free!

Even if it becomes, say, a war on Easter, who cares? The important war is over. The final battle was 2000 years ago. The good side won. We are not in a war with atheists. That would be the epitome of asymmetric warfare. He who is in us is stronger than he who is in the world. We are not to fight to defend God, as if He were a damsel in distress. We are to glorify God. Far better to react to increasing secularism with dignity, grace, and God-glorifying witness than by acting like a two year old whose toy has been whisked away.

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