Hi PD… Um, ok. I’ll play along.
You said this:
Atheists keep Christmas as a special day – it was theirs before Christians. It’s special to us too – just not the same as to Christians. Atheists and Deists keep it for the celebration of family, love and friends.
Merry Christmas to you!
Comment by PD December 27, 2008 @ 10:51 am
Christ Mass, as the birth of the Christ Child was set in A.D.354.
Christianity as a recognizable belief system only pre-dates that by approximately 300 +/- years while the earliest dates for atheism, the belief system which denies the existence of or need for a God or Super Intelligence are from ancient China, approx 2500 years ago. Theism, the belief that God created the universe and then abandoned it, which, if you’ll pardon me sounds like an adult tantrum at the great cosmic Deity in the sky, I think may have originated with Cain right after he killed his brother and ran off to wander about with a mark on his forehead.
But since we aren’t discussing the validity of belief systems but rather who gets dibs on Christmas?
Well, the Mid Winter celebration such as what came to be known as the Christ Mass, specifically 12/25, was originally known as the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, festival of Sol, the invincible sun god. A “religious” if decidedly <i>not</i> Christian observance. It is not the Winter Solstice which doesn’t fall on the 25th with any regularity, if ever. And, with fear and trembling, I just disagreed with Sir Isaac Newton. Very arrogant of me. I did, though agree with Paul Ernst Jablonski, a German protestant from 1750(and change).
The solstice, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, is 12/20-12/23, ish. And it’s history is from Celtic legend and story/myth. The religious significance of the re-birth of their sun-god on the longest night of the year can’t be separated from the observance of this ritual/event. Additional odd knowledge to bring more confusion to the subject at hand says:
Since 45 BCE, when the 25th was established in the Julian calendar as the winter solstice of Europe, the difference between the calendar year (365.2500 days) and the tropical year(365.2422 days) moved the day associated with the actual astronomical solstice forward approximately three days every four centuries until 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII changed the calendar bringing the northern winter solstice to around December 21.
So…. If we are going to be fair, then 12/25 belongs to the Celts or the Romans as they paid homage to their sun deity and secondarily to the Christians when they laid claim to the day for specific significant observances millenia ago. All of these religious belief systems are acknowledging a divine existence and don’t purpot that that divinity has abandoned his creation. A system of celebration which stands in stark contrast to the belief systems of both atheists or theists.
You claim that 12/25 belonged to atheists long before it belonged to whom? Christians? Well, when, exactly did athiests/theists decide to observe an historically religious day as specific for themselves? And I mean religious in regards to any sense of spirituality. You cannot have a religious/spiritual observance without the recognition or acknowledgment of some sort of deity.
Since there are 364 other days which would work just as well? Would it be all that hard to make one up? I mean, enough people believed and Kwanzaa happened. You could have a “believe nothing but what is tangible” day on July 25th instead? You could call it We See It, It’s Real Day or Happy Tangibles, or No Need for Faith Day. I don’t know. Calling it Christ Mass seems a bit disingenuous, even for me. Besides, in July the weather is better and the parties could be without the stigma of glorifying or acknowledging the spirituality of anything!
But I digress.
If Christ Mass is a day where you celebrate family, love and friends…. By all means! Do it! Just make sure it’s not the only day you do.