The faux war on Christmas is back and O’Reilly is leading the charge

Bill O’Reilly, silly pundit and man of poor reasoning skills, is back at attacking atheists. This time it’s especially fun because all he does is set up strawmen and make other dumb arguments.

Once again we are in the Christmas season, and the coal-in-your-stocking crowd is back at it.

This sounds like a negative, militant bunch! I have to imagine they have just an awful, awful message. Right?

This year, the American Humanist Association is putting up bus ads in selected cities that say: “No God? No Problem! Be Good for Goodness’ Sake.”

Hang on. This sounds like a positive, upbeat message. (It’s also a minor change to a previous bus ad.) How does this constitute wanting to put coal in anyone’s stockings? It sounds like this atheist group is promoting a positive message imploring people to be upstanding, good individuals. And isn’t it interesting how virtually all atheist groups seem to do this? It’s like reason and rationality lead to better people in general.

The picture accompanying the text shows a group of young people wearing Santa hats. Ho, ho, ho. The virulently anti-God group “Freedom from Religion” has launched a second front. It is celebrating Christmas in Las Vegas with ads that say: “Yes, Virginia, there is no God.” Nice.

Oh, excuse me. It appears Billo has utilized his thesaurus. These atheists are virulent, not militant. Maybe we can start calling all those negroes haughty instead of uppity, too.

The question is: Why bother? Why spend money at Christmastime (sic) to spread dubious will among men? The reason, I believe, is that atheists are jealous of the Yuletide season.

Wow, this one should be fun.

1) Atheists bother because they want to get their message out there. Religion is a stain on society and needs to be put back in its box so that we can all enjoy more liberty.

2) Atheist groups have spent money on these sort of ads all year long. Christmas time, however, is a period when religion’s profile is raised more so than during other times of the year. It makes sense to counter this by intentionally raising atheism’s profile, too.

3) Billo believes we are jealous of this season. Once again, we see a non-rational religious individual going on faith alone; he has no evidence for his silly little belief. See #1 and #2 for real reason why atheist groups are putting out ads.

While Christians have Jesus and Jews have the prophets, nonbelievers have Bill Maher. There are no Christmas carols for atheists, no pagan displays of largesse like Santa Claus. In fact, for the nonbeliever, Christmas is just a day off, a time to consider that Mardi Gras is less than two months away.

Unlike Billo, I make no arrogant claim to be able to speak for all atheists. However, I do know that most still celebrate Christmas. They obviously have little to no interest in the whole Jesus part, but the holiday has come to mean far more than that. Christmas is when family from all over tends to get and come together to enjoy each others’ company. It’s a festive time that does not require any god for it to mean something.

And is Billo suggesting that Mardi Gras is an atheist event? Last time I checked it had its root in religious tradition, since being co-opted by dozens of cultures as a secular celebration – sort of like how Christmas can be and is secular for many. But maybe Billo wants to start claiming the fourth of July or St. Patrick’s Day as atheist holidays next.

But there is a serious side to this, and the American “Humanists” should listen up. Christmas is a joyous time for children, the big upside of celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Spectacular. First Billo spends his time arguing that Christmas is not to be done without God, then he sets up this contrast. First Christmas is a lot of fun for children, however and in addition, it is also a time when people can celebrate the birth of Jesus. Does he not get it? He just admitted that Christmas tends to be celebrated without regard to Jesus. It’s almost like there’s a secular component to the season – one that “is a joyous time”, and not just for children.

Of course, Billo is playing fast and loose with implications here. He’s trying to say that atheists don’t want children (or anyone else) to enjoy Christmas. This is a complete strawman, and an ugly one at that. This guy is just another mudslinger who has no interest in hearing the rational messages of atheists.

Why, then, do people who want to “be good” spend money denigrating a beautiful day?

Again, the denigration is directed at this myth that one needs God to be good, not the idea of Christmas. And again, most atheists celebrate the Christmas season – they just do it by staying connected with reality (i.e., spending time with family, not magic sky fairies).

Could it be that the humanists are not really interested in good at all?

No.

The head Humanist, Roy Speckhardt, says the anti-God signs are worthy because they send a message that atheists shouldn’t be vilified as immoral.

Billo’s slimy article as People’s Evidence 1.

Well, old Roy needs to wise up. The signs actually create resentment and hostility toward atheists. Here’s a bulletin: Many parents don’t want their children to see bus signs proclaiming that God is a big hoax.

Haha. Really? It’s the signs that have created resentment and hostility toward atheists? It has nothing to do with the smear pieces that get published?

As for what parents do and do not want their children to see, it is antithetical to rationality to try and block a child from a harmless message. In fact, parents should be encouraging a dialogue with their children about these ads. They present an important point of view, one which actually seeks to alleviate children of the burden of being told they may burn in hell for eternity for minor transgressions over a roughly 80 year period.

That message may be constitutionally protected, but it is not going to engender much good will among believers.

The broader point here is to start people talking. That has happened as we see here in People’s Evidence 1. As for encouraging good will among believers, I would hope it would do that. It obviously isn’t going to get Billo to do any good because that isn’t in his nature, but rational individuals may be invigorated to do something positive.

Of course, Speckhardt knows that and is being disingenuous with the “just looking out for atheists” posture his group takes.

Speckhardt’s point is that atheists are not inherently immoral. We want to see good things done just as much as the next guy. This is the bulk of what he has said. I don’t see where Billo has any grounds for calling him a liar.

What many nonbelievers enjoy doing is mocking those who embrace theology. I guess that makes some atheists feel better because there is no other reason to run down Christmas. It is a happy day for most human beings.

Non-sequitur alert! Non-sequitur alert!

Why the sudden new charge about mockery? How does that have anything to do with the ad? And “no other reason to run down Christmas”? Didn’t Billo just spend his entire article talking about how jealousy was the reason for these ads?

The latest Rasmussen poll on the season says that 72 percent of Americans like saying, “Merry Christmas,” while just 22 percent prefer the greeting “Happy Holidays.”

So the evidence suggests that despite the American Civil Liberties Union, atheist groups and a politically correct media, Christmas is actually gaining in relevance and, perhaps, reverence.

Here’s another good example of why Billo is not a rational person. He cited a single poll and then claimed it was evidence for a trend. I don’t think I need to go any further on that point.

Most folks know a good thing when they see it, and the converse is true, as well. They know these anti-God signs at Christmastime are dumb and unnecessary.

See People’s Evidence 1 again.

About these ads

2 Responses

  1. The ads are mere propaganda that answers to an argument that no one has made. The claim is not that atheists lack of morals but lack of moral premise, lack of ethos.

    It is also a reprinting of their ads from last year:
    http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com/2008/11/another-atheist-charity-huge-success.html

    Yet again, during a time of the year when people are generally more inclined towards charity—peace on earth and good will towards non-gender specific personages—atheists are busily collecting hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars during a time of recession not in order to help anyone in real material need but in order to purchase bill boards and bus ads whereby they seek to demonstrate, to themselves, just how clever they are—need any more be said?

  2. In the pure sense of the word “propaganda”, yes, that is part of these ads. But then we see about 8 minutes of propaganda for every 30 minutes of television we watch.

    The claim is not that atheists lack of morals but lack of moral premise, lack of ethos.

    Billo isn’t nearly smart enough to engage on that level. He says (through the traditional FOX Noise method of using a question mark to make an outright statement) that humanists are not interested in good at all. This isn’t true.

    As for lacking a premise, that is far from true. Reason, rationality, empathy, love, experience, facts, and simply humanity offer a robust premise – one which is much more worthwhile than a premise which turns on the idea of eternal suffering.

    It is also a reprinting of their ads from last year:

    This has been noted. What’s more, it was noted accurately, unlike in your post. This is a slight variation on previous ads.

    Yet again, during a time of the year when people are generally more inclined towards charity—peace on earth and good will towards non-gender specific personages—atheists are busily collecting hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars during a time of recession not in order to help anyone in real material need but in order to purchase bill boards and bus ads whereby they seek to demonstrate, to themselves, just how clever they are—need any more be said?

    …y-yes. Yes, much more needs to be said.

    This argument is just awful. Because atheists are spending money, they are thus bad? Well, then everyone who buys a non-practical, unnecessary Christmas gift is just an awful human being, huh?

    Let’s be real. The message itself encourages kind acts, and that is always needed. Furthermore, it creates a dialogue (which is ruined by people like you and Billo who aren’t interested in rationality) which ultimately seeks to better society; imagine a U.S. which does not (unconstitutionally) subsidize religion through tax breaks. The money which would be freed up would be enormous: not only would religious organizations be paying their fair share, but they might very well shrink in size, thus resulting in fewer people wasting their money to support clergy and extravagant buildings.

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