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The Forum > Article Comments > Reasonís Greetings > Comments

Reasonís Greetings : Comments

By Chrys Stevenson, published 17/12/2010

Despite its name, Christians donít own Christmas and itís high time we non-theists contested them.

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Agreed. However, even if we eliminate the Christianity from 'Christmas' we're left with a Northern European/Roman pagan, mid-winter festival, which is also rather ridiculous in Australia.
Posted by mac, Friday, 17 December 2010 7:30:36 AM
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Once read there were two occasions constituting civil religion in Oz: Anzac Day & Carols by Candlelight. Understand your disappointment re co-opting of CbyC. Some Christians feel excluded when Christmas Carols are overtaken by secular Xmas songs .

Some of us take seriously the reason for the season. We share your sentiments about gratitude & sharing. But how did you come to associate these very Christian sentiments with the season? You didn't derive them from Roman Saturnalia.

Christmas has been overtaken by commercialism. Dwarf Pointsettias on sale:in the USA they are seasonal for Christmas. Grown naturally, seasonally in Oz - instead of forced by plant nursery people - Pointsettias are large shrubs with red-flamed flowers. They bloom in late autumn/early winter,around Pentecost. Apt. They look like tongues of fire. Then there are Christmas Carols & Songs in October & Hot Cross Buns before Epiphany (Jan or Feb).

If you,an atheist, feel a bit discombobulated by Christians, take a minute to think of what commercialism & consumerism has done. I imagine it has done it to you too. Why did Council opt out of CbyC - commercial,$ reasons? Did they think the world had become populated by atheists & agnostics who didn't care? Because what we don't value & express value in tends to disappear.

I'm happy to admit to Christian shortcomings. While you are doing the accounting, though, you will find some good things. A problem in Australia is that there has been, since the mid 19th century, a determined secularism. Sometimes good,sometimes not good. Secularists can be bigots too - but, in my experience, they don't like to admit it. Universities kept the once called Queen of Sciences, Theology, out - but it has crept in recently. I point these out to highlight the fact there is a dearth of knowledgable religious (as opposed to theological, branded) discourse in Oz. The understanding of religious ideas is in decline. Such discourse should include religious & non-religious voices but be predicated upon a knowledge of religious ideas and impacts. An Australian immaturity, methinks. I, for one, long for a broader discourse.
Posted by MissEagle, Friday, 17 December 2010 8:45:53 AM
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MissEagle

Secularism is inclusive of all religions or lack of religion. It is what gives us the freedom to believe whatever religion we like, or not.

Atheism is simply not believing in deities - there is no doctrine. However, there is, for example Buddhism which could be described as an atheist religion because it does not claim a singular deity, yet maintains a doctrine.

Most atheists in Australia are similar to the author, Chrys Stevenson, who enjoy a good get-together with friends and family and the occasion of Christmas provides the time (holiday) in which to do so.

Not a big deal. Just get over the fact that Christians do not own every event, including Xmas. Chill.
Posted by Johnny Rotten, Friday, 17 December 2010 9:06:47 AM
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This is a case of never letting a chance go by to launch an attack on Christianity (as opposed to all organised religions including Judaism, Christianity and Islam). It is obsessional and unnecessary, displaying a intolerance that is quite out of place in multicultural Australia and with the Christmas season.

It is carping and petty, very much like criticising a young student for wearing a fine chain with a crucifix to school, or getting into a huff about prayers opening parliament. The same critics would probably assert individual rights elsewhere in life when it suits their interests.

There are much bigger issues in life to worry about than getting into a tizz about nativity plays. There are others who want to ban Santa entirely, which is just as intolerant and foolish. There is no religious fundamentalism in an Australian Xmas, unlike other religious observances, edicts and law that some would like to introduce to Australia. This is a secular state and Xmas does not detract from that.
Posted by Cornflower, Friday, 17 December 2010 9:17:56 AM
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Chyrs writes

'I will pause to give thanks, not to any deity, but simply to remember that as an Anglo-Celtic, middle-class Australian Iíve won lifeís lottery.'

Yea the religion of chance. Makes a lot of sense. Chyrs will give thanks to nobody for being lucky. Typical of those who refuse to give thanks to the One who made her 'lucky'. Another illogical conclusion that helps to deny the logical.
Posted by runner, Friday, 17 December 2010 9:56:27 AM
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I am always tempted to "Bah" and "Humbug" at this time of the year: the more tawdry decorations; the commercial appropriation of the festivities; the bad-taste, "jingle bells" muzak; the false snow in a country that is likely to have temperatures of 30 odd degrees on the day [this might change with the climate, or get worse]; the additional deadlines the festivity creates; and televised religious services. But, stripped of its commercial dross, the best of Christmas is its celebration of family: the joy of giving and receiving; the joy of a full table with everyone sitting around together.

Turkey and pudding is a privileged scenario, though, and because many families are doing it tough such luxury is only a mouth-watering dream, despite the age of plastic cards. I can remember in my own family, when things were tough and turkey was never part of the scene in any of the households in our neighbourhood, chicken was not even on the menu unless you had a chook yard out the back. One year our Christmas dinner was rabbit that my father had gone out in the countryside and shot. But that Christmas doesn't stand out as being particularly tough for the children. There were toys - cheap to be sure - and it was a happy time. I had to be told years later that over a couple of Christmases things were so tight that we ate rabbit for Christmas dinner. Thank goodness my father was a good shot!

It is a shame on our social progress that in the twenty-first century families will still feel the pinch. Family budgets will be strained and the household debt increased, egged on by TV advertisements and the urgent retail Christmas message, Christmas comedies, keeping up with next door, and almost a desire to prove the dire prognostications of the retail lobby and conservative economists wrong. CONTINUED
Posted by Seamus, Friday, 17 December 2010 10:01:05 AM
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