Atheists aren’t really concerned about celebrating superstition
By: Robert E. Meyer
The Thanksgiving holiday has passed and now we move into the celebration of the Christmas holiday season.
With it will come the usual litany of criticisms against the Christian connections associated with this time of year. They will be repeated like the repertoire of a pull-string talking doll.
I am well aware of the pagan traditions behind numerous aspects of Christmas, such as, the Christmas tree, the significance of the date December 25th, and numerous other objections that contentious folks may want to throw out there, thinking they are providing arcane information.
But my argument heads in a different direction.
Three renown leaders of the neo-skeptical/atheist movement, have written tomes in the past year or so, reviving old canards about belief in The Almighty being tantamount to belief in Zeus, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny or The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are the new triumvirate representing the Village Atheist nation, in their contemporary battle against the “superstitious” throes of Christianity.
Since Christmas is less than a month away, let’s look at the comparison with Santa Claus and the Almighty. Without getting into a lengthy analysis, we might quickly observe one obvious distinction: Most people quit believing in Santa Claus in their childhood, while some people profess a belief in God for the first time in adulthood.
I am sure they will say that there is no need to offer such a rebuttal because nobody actually believes in Santa. But we should keep in mind the following:
Santa Claus appears in our festivities, in our national television specials, in our retail outlets, in our Christmas traditions, and most of us tell our children he exists. Society exhibits at least a superficial belief and mental assent toward the legend of Santa Claus.
Still, I can’t help wondering why no atheist writes a critique refuting the existence of Santa Claus, since they claim its all the same belief anyway? If both beliefs were that similar in principle, we should also expect to find a cadre of folks that believe in flying reindeer, along with an omniscient human being that visits every residence on the globe, who all need to be mercifully relieved of their superstitious ignorance.
So why arenâ€™t some skeptical social critics, like the ones referenced above, ranting about the “destructive consequences” of inculcating this hoary fable into the consciences of our youth? If any are, they certainly aren’t writing current best-sellers to promote the idea.
Yet, they certainly never miss the opportunity to condemn the detriment of teaching children the Ten Commandments of a “genocidal god.” Seldom do they turn down the opportunity to ridicule the ethic found in the scriptures. They are never afraid to display their theological ineptitude, revealed by the nature of the rhetorical questions they ignorantly spiel in order to stump believers.
Why aren’t the usual commentators, who glorify the virtue of naked reason, presenting editorial commentaries critical of parents telling children that Santa Claus won’t bring them anything but a lump of coal for Christmas, if they behave badly?
Isn’t this just appealing to morality at the lowest common denominator, telling children to be good or they will be punished? Is this not a spin off of the religious idea of eternal reward and punishment that atheists loath?
These are not stupid or silly assertions, but are necessary considerations in reply to claims of the atheist. We would be justified in calling the atheist on his inconsistencies. Contemporary skeptics aren’t actually railing against perceived superstitions of any stripe, they show that they instead merely despise the Judeo-Christian traditions.
And thatâ€™s the name on that tune.