December 26, 2006


Christmas lives, thanks to atheism, Islam (James P. Pinkerton, December 26, 2006, Newsday)

First, and most obviously, there's the steadfast religiosity of the American people; polls routinely show that 90 percent of Americans believe in God. Secular progressives have done their best to knock the faith out of people, but it doesn't seem to be working.

Part of the problem is that those who are most inclined to accept "modernity" are oftentimes the least inclined to have children. So "converts" to atheism have a way of disappearing without heirs, while those who stick with their faith, including the injunction to go forth and multiply, are more likely to have kids who inherit at least some degree of devotion.

A second reason for the survival of Christmas is that people seek out rituals and traditions to help provide meaning and context for their lives. The self-declared forces of enlightenment and progress thought that they could demolish the structures of belief, and that after those structures had fallen, people would be free and liberated. Well, it didn't work out like that: People who were liberated from the old ways often found they had become slaves to some new ideology - made worse, as Winston Churchill said of the Nazis, "by the lights of perverted science."

In which case, Christianity starts to look pretty good to Christians. And so, to adapt a witticism from 18th-century writer Voltaire - himself an agnostic, at most - if Christmas didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent it.

Voltaire's purported agnosticism was barely more real than the war on Christmas.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 26, 2006 3:32 PM

"Voltaire's purported agnosticism was barely more real than the war on Christmas."

awww don't worry OJ. All the Catholic slave labor Bush's buddies import will save Christmas in America.

Posted by: Peter at December 26, 2006 4:29 PM

Yo Volti baby, we did invent Christmas.

Posted by: erp at December 26, 2006 4:32 PM

Amen, Peter, they just make the country redder.

Posted by: oj at December 26, 2006 8:05 PM

Voltaire was a derivative piker, in any event. Montaigne was da man.

Posted by: ghostcat at December 26, 2006 8:37 PM

The part of the article about the attempts to deny Voltaire Christian burial was troubling. Final repentance is still repentence, if we believe what we say we believe.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 26, 2006 9:38 PM

Well, heck, recall that Voltaire was only troubled about the Church because a priest had buggered him in his youth. Folks who are greatly upset by it being a human institution have missed the point to some significant degree.

Posted by: oj at December 26, 2006 10:32 PM