Here’s a movie for you that might have a bias, Christmas with a Capital C, starring former Married with Children and Revenge of the Nerdsstar Ted McGinley and Vampires star Daniel Baldwin. It’s the war on Christmas in the small town of Trapper Falls because the big bad unbeliever comes to town to bring down the public Christmas displays. He’s obviously a bitter man who needs to know the reason for the season. We all know the reason for the season is Christ, right?
Is there a more misunderstood holiday than Christmas and its history by Christians? Let me be clear, Christmas is whatever you want it to be. It started as a pagan winter holiday and the Christian church overtook it. Christians to this day still use paganism and don’t even know it. That’s because religion evolves and absorbs traditions until they are no longer recognizable as pagan. Take the Christmas Tree for instance. It was used to honor a variety of gods before going Christian. I’m not judging Christians for claiming this tradition as their own–Christmas trees put you in a festive mood, it’s fun. My point is that Christmas is adaptable to your beliefs and unbeliefs. I don’t even care if you want to call it Christmas or the Holiday Season, it’s all the same to me.
Now in relation to this movie premise, well I want tread carefully since I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s pretty obvious that it is inspired by atheist Grinches who want to take away all the fun of public displays of Christ. Usually these same Christians who will whine about atheist persecution are not consistent and would object to other public displays of religous holidays–like Halloween or Pagan Winter Solstice themes. I’m not one of those atheists who really gives a damn if there’s a public display of the nativity as long as our tax dollars aren’t paying for it and as long as we’re careful to recognize that other religions may want a say in the public forum too. Often, the only way to be fair is to stick with simple holiday themes. In public schools, I would have to say Christmas does violate Separation of Church and State and could be viewed by minority religions or belief systems as indoctrination. Christians need to put themselves in the shoes of other religions to even understand how this might feel. If you’re an Orthodox Jewish family who doesn’t believe in the resurrection then a display of the virgin birth is probably blasphemous–the equivalent of a false god. If you’re a Jehovah’s Witness family then you would definitely object to your kid being exposed to such imagery that has the approval of teachers and school leadership.
ChristianCinema.com says the movie Christmas with a Capital C was inspired by a song of the same name by the band Go Fish. I found their site and their tagline is “Great music for kids that won’t drive parents bonkers.” Basically we’re talking about 3 guys who would be called posers back in the day (do kids still use that term?).
YouTube, on the song for “Christmas with a Capital C,” contains the ignorance of the holiday I’m referring to. Per one comment: “Great song! I have never understood how people who do not believe in Christ can celebrate Christmas. Christmas is all about Christ, thus the origin Christ Mass. If you believe something other than the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the of course you are free to celebrate your own special day, but if you are going to celebrate Christmas, then you must acknowledge Christ. Merry Christmas to all.”
Of course you don’t understand, people aren’t celebrating your “special holiday.” They’re taking your “special holiday” and making it their own. This is what you did in the first place as Christians. Also, if we want to get picky–when is the last time you went to “mass.” That would make it a Catholic holiday and not a Protestant or mainstream nondenominational holiday. You can still celebrate a holiday without being a literalist. Christians hide eggs for their kids and they don’t believe the Easter Rabbit is real. Someone who is not Christian can certainly do the same thing with the virgin birth or just dispense with the title “Christ’s Mass” altogether and term it “Winter Festivities.”
Unbelievers and atheists should not shy away from the holiday season if they like the festivities, for the same reason you wouldn’t shy away from a Star Wars convention. You don’t have to believe Star Wars is real to partake in the fun. Maybe that’s a ludicrous example, but so is literally believing in a virgin birth and raising from the dead. It is either ancient mythology or modern mythology. Just because Christians don’t have a clue, why should you let them ruin it for you. Besides, there’s more emphasis on the Santa mythology half the time anyways. And I’ve always wondered, if you abstain from Christmas as an atheist, aren’t you giving legitimacy to literalness of Christ? (Ooh, I’m going to hear it on that one.) Wouldn’t it be better to adapt the traditions to humanism and be creative?
I’ll be interested to see Christmas with a Capital C. It’s too bad we couldn’t bring in Ted McGinley’s old buddies The Bundys for a little clarity on the all too sweetness of innocent religion and family values. Small towns are notorious for bigotry as well as religion–and girls getting knocked up by the local boys.
BTW: Need more? How about that we have no record of the date of Jesus’ birth? Why December? Could it be that Christians were competing with Winter Solstice which came before Christmas? Isaac Newton, which Christians like to pull out of history as a great Christian scientist (and who was most likely gay), argued that December 25th was chosen because it fell on the same day as Brumalia, a festival honoring Bacchus. The festivities played out on December 24th or the Eve of the holiday. Sound familiar? (And it was before Christmas!)
People throughout history love their celebrations. Time off from work, good food and drink, colorful displays and an all around cheery mood. Whether it was Winter Solstice or Christmas, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s the winter season and if you want to be an atheist and celebrate mythology–go for it! If Christians want to judge then they need to look around them and see what their celebration includes such as Santa, animated TV specials, yule logs, Christmas trees, mistletoe, shopping and more shopping–what does this have to do with the virgin birth? You celebrate Christmas because it’s fun–take away all these things and you have a boring “Christ” mass.