Posted by: NotAScientist | November 13, 2008

Is it still okay to say “Merry Christmas”?


YES! Yes! Of COURSE it’s okay to wish someone Merry Christmas!

This is the question I’ve started hearing from countless bloggers and news sources in the last week. Apparently, with the end to the campaign season, the American media has decided to bypass Thanksgiving and jump directly into Santa’s lap. (No, not in the naughty way, get your mind out of the gutter!)

A more important question is, “Who’s stopping you?”

If you’re a Christian, and statistically many of you are, please answer that question for me. Is anyone preventing you from saying Merry Christmas? Is anyone yelling at you or getting angry at you for wishing them Merry Christmas? I’m not.

Not only will I be completely fine if you were to wish me a Merry Christmas, I might even wish you one back. I might also say Happy Holidays, or Happy New Year, or perhaps even an occasional “Joyous Festivus!” just to be funny. But you can keep on saying Merry Christmas to your heart’s content.

Because the issue, at least as it seems to me, is not that people are being prevented from saying Merry Christmas. It’s the fact that some people, some businesses and some organizations aren’t saying it of their own volition that get people angry. Which strikes me as the key to many issues when dealing with religious people.

It isn’t that your rights, even your right to say two simple words, are being taken away. It’s that you want to force everyone else to do what you’ve chosen.

I’m sorry, but in America that just isn’t going to cut it.

Happy Holidays.



  1. Around Christmas time, sure I’ll throw around a few “Merry Christmas’s” but among the atheist parts of my family we joke and go back to the good old pagan roots!

    Happy Winter Solstice!

    It feels a little less dirty bringing any Christian origin out of the equation.

  2. It’s a day where you drop any and all grudges and arguments and just be good to everyone.
    Good for everyone, regardless of belief system.

  3. here here!

  4. *lifts tankard of ale*

  5. Is there actually any atheist group or organisation opposed to the celebration of Christmas? I’ve never come across any, but a lot of Christians seem awfully convinced that there’s some sort of atheistic crusade against the holiday…

  6. The great majority of people in our family are atheist. And we still wish each other Merry Xmas. We don’t examine the religious significance of this day in depth, although some people would of course, and we have no problem with either. In my head I won’t want to over-analyse the reasons why we choose to mark the occasion with some gifts and a Xmas tree – knowing my family it’s just a chance to party a little, stuff their faces, drink a wee bit 🙂 etc… really to just enjoy life and socialise… and also maybe to not stand out from the crowd by ignoring this day for no good reason. Agree with Matt and Rickroll, a good day to just be good to everyone.

    Happy Xmas.

    And to the politically correct / obsessed, “Happy winterval”!

  7. Atheists celebrating Christmas!! Ok I have an idea.

    Christians for Gay Abortion Doctors that commit genocide against Jewish midgets in 2012!!!

    Go ahead and celebrate it, Christmas has become such a stunt anyway. It’s more about stuff than substance. Besides Christ wasn’t born in December anyway…

  8. Such anger and condescension. How very Christian of you, Jacob.

    I don’t know about anyone committing genocide, especially since the last person to commit genocide on the Jewish people was a Christian (gott mit unst)…

    But other than that, I’m all for gay abortion doctors (or as normal people call them, ‘doctors’) and midgets of Jewish or any other ethnicity or religion.

  9. For me, it’s just another example of where the minority group has created havoc for the majority. Of course, that doesn’t mean the majority is right, but it gets annoying when most everyone admits to having no problem with saying or hearing Merry Christmas, but one person decides to “be offended” and all hell breaks loose. Of course, there are many Christians, people groups and those of other religions (namely Muslim’s and any reference to Mohammad etc) who get offended for various reasons. What I have seen is that companies force people to NOT say Merry Christmas, thus taking away their freedom of speech or in some cases freedom of religion. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t get it. Obviously, it’s both a touchy subject as well as one people could care less about. Hmmmmm, that’s a good closing statement.
    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukah, New Year and Winter Solstice!

    P.S. I’m sure I missed one, so no one sue me, PLEASE!!!!!!!!

  10. joyus festivus is by far my fave. no one can be offended by it either lol

  11. Interesting post. Happy festivus!

  12. Joyous festivas, you disgusting Pagan!

    lol, i kid the pagans. Merry whatsmas to all, and to all a good….Drink!

  13. Ha ha, cute monkey.

    I’m sticking to a traditional Christmas greeting: Bah! Humbug.

    Not for any religious or non-religious reason, just that I enjoy saying it. I agree with Jacob above in that Christmas has become a stunt but that’s really the origin of the whole thing. The early church tried to hijack the popular Roman Feast of Saturnalia (or the later Sol Invictus) for their own purposes. Popular culture has just built on that idea, adding elements as we see fit.

    As for Christ not being born in December I have to ask: how do you know? Assuming he was a real person, rather than some sort of mythical conglomeration of various prophets of the time, then where is the evidence of his place or date of birth? There are no pertinent written records that survived and nothing that indicates that this Jesus geezer actually existed let alone when he was born. If you take the bible as a good source of historical data (it isn’t but you’re free to set your own standards) then where is Christ’s birthday recorded?

  14. He’s an ape, Hoverfrog. How dare you!!!! 😉

  15. Wait, didn’t he evolve from a monkey?

    No, that’s not how it works.

    OK, cute ape…sorry, I burn with shame.

  16. I know this has nothing to do with Christmas…nonetheless, the holiday concept made me think of it.

    How was it being a fundie for Halloween? 😉

  17. december 25 was the birth of one of the Roman god’s right (well i would have to assume Saturn lol)? Yep, it was actually, if you can believe it, a GAY holiday lol. men gave each other gifts and had sex lol; the Catholics only wished to blend in.

  18. not catholics, early christians wanted to blend in. the Catholics made the grim error of not letting go of thier pagan origins.

  19. I’m such a dunce, I just now noticed my blog was not linked to my name. Problem solved!

  20. Funny. I added you to my blogroll… Also sorry I doubly-damned you… lol.

    I also have to say, I LOVE christmas, and I don’t care what any atheists think. I don’t wage a war on it at all, it’s right up there with Halloween. Oh, did I capitalize one and not the other? Yeah, well, that’s how I rank things in my world…

  21. You’ve been blogrolled in return, Sunny. Thanks!

    I love ANY excuse to give and receive presents. I find as I get older I enjoy giving them far more than receiving them.

    Gonna have to do something to fix that…

  22. Yes, I love giving presents as well. I LOVE the sharing tree in town, where you can give gifts anonymously. So fun. I cried last year, I got a toy boat and a winter jacket for an 8 year old boy. It feels so cool to give.

    Thanks for blogrollin’ me. I’m on the lookout for more rational blogs! 🙂

  23. Christmas is a shortened version of Christ mass. If wal-mart of thier own accord decides it does’nt want to offend anyone by saying Merry Christmas, I’m ok with that . The cost of their political correctness is I will decide to not spend a dime there. Year before last several of the big chains decided to go politically correctly, and they got the mesage loud and clear. That’s, the american way. I could say that you could just crawl back under the rock you think you crawled out from under, but that is not the Christian way when you stop to think , that I believe that jesus died to save you also.Yes that’s the spirit of Christmas. Merry Christmas, Morse!!!

  24. Did you not get the idea of my post at all, Dave?

    I DON’T CARE. Call it Christmas, Mithras, Saturnalia, the Winter Solstice, Festivus, or any other thing.

    It’s been adopted as a secular holiday that involved giving and receiving presents. Tons of fun for every one.

  25. YES! Yes! Of COURSE it’s okay to wish someone Merry Christmas!

    This is the question I’ve started hearing from countless bloggers and news sources in the last week. Apparently, with the end to the campaign season, the American media has decided to bypass Thanksgiving and jump directly into Santa’s lap. (No, not in the naughty way, get your mind out of the gutter!)

    A more important question is, “Who’s stopping you?”

    If you’re a Christian, and statistically many of you are, please answer that question for me. Is anyone preventing you from saying Merry Christmas? Is anyone yelling at you or getting angry at you for wishing them Merry Christmas? I’m not.

    Morse, you seem like a fairly bright fellow. For decades stores plastered Merry Christmas on the front of their businesses. Then as political correctness creep in it changed to Merry Xmas. Then Happy Holidays. That would be like telling you God bless you. Christians got the mesage loud and clear. Then the Christmas industry decided it wasn’t a good idea to snub people who actually celebrate Christmas. They got the mesage loud and clear. God bless you!!

  26. Christians really don’t like the idea of Christmas being over secularized and over materialized. The whole concept , that i don’ think you fully appreciate or can, is it is a time when those of us who do believe in God, celebrate the event that will prove to be gods greatest gift to all man-kind. Jesus!!!!

  27. Again Dave, is anyone preventing those stores from saying Merry Christmas?

    No. They chose not to.

  28. Why don’t they celebrate Jesus at a realistic time period then, as opposed to the Dead of Winter?
    They love the secularism, because without it, there would be no reason to even have Christmas in the first place.
    I love how you say Jesus was a gift, like he’s some sort of virgin donated to a caliphate’s harem! it really underscores that even Christians can’t get away from the fact that they only want a Fall guy, a peice of holy meat to feed to the hounds of hell. Saying Jesus was a “gift” is a sick, sick innuendo, even by my athiest standards.

  29. Can you check up on the Godless Bible study Morse? There are a few very interesting links there that i think you would love to take a look at!

  30. It is obvious that your standards can only be estrapulated to the lowest common denominator. The things people chose to believe are contained and deliniated by only those beliefs. Its like some people complain that the Christians try to say what angels can or can’t do. If you chose to believe that angels for instance are a figament of our imagination. Ok. It’s our imagination. The whole premise of the bible, is that man fell into sin and had to be redeemed. Jesus is that redeemer. I happen to believe that my redeemer lives, and that to take away my sins. If you chose to disbelieve that, ( to your harm) what is it to you, that I do. I can not prove to you the existance of God and Jesus, but by the same measure you can not prove that they don’t. You would like to believe that the heart of most humans is as pure as the driven snow, when quite the contray is true. The very basis for civilization comes from the belief that there is a higher power that all are subject to.In the absence of Christian influance in our laws there would be choas. Why is it wrong to murder. Don’t say it’s imoral because that like the angels are a creation of the Bible.

  31. Morse when a store feels like someone might be offended if an employee says Merry Christmas And the management of that store gives the employees a directive that says they must not say Merry Christmas, at that point someone is in fact being told to not say Merry Christmas, and that to the dettrement of the store, in lost sales. The fear of retrebution is causeing them to take those actions. The employees are in fear of being fired.

  32. I couldn’t care less what the stores choose to say or not say in their promotions. Everyday, regardless of the marketing behind the season, is an oportunity to worship the Lord and give praise back to him. I don’t need a commercial driven holiday and a capitalist economy to validate that for me.

  33. Nance,

    Good for you. 🙂

  34. point: Nance. conciseness, relavance, and correctness. You lose dave.

  35. @hoverfrog: In the Bible it says that there were shepherds out in the fields when Christ was born. Shepherds wouldn’t be out in the fields with their sheep in the middle of a cold winter’s night. There is some archeoastronomy that points to Christ actually having been born in the spring–something about a supernova but I’m not exactly sure.

  36. Thanks Tom. I’m not sure how cold it is in the Middle East in December having never had the privilege of being there at that time of the year.

    I think my point really was that there is not proof of Jesus’ birth, let alone proof of the date….sorry, no independently verifiable evidence, not proof.

  37. A supernova seems the likeliest connection to the star that harelded his birth; however, Bethleham wasn’t even a place back then. Sorry Tom. They even had the reigns of the kings scewed up, further evidence that it wan’t then and there, or even at all. Messaihs were a dime a dosen at that time, and “Yeshwa” seems to be the closest thing to Jesus that existed.

  38. Bethlehem was most certainly around back then. Bethlehem is pretty old. Its mentioned in the Old Testament as being the city in which the Messiah would be born in. I don’t know what your refering to by “having the reigns of the kings messed up”. Its true too that messiahs were a dime a dozen back then, but Jesus is the only one that claimed to be God and backed it up. Jesus is the Latinized form of Jesus’ name, which would be Yeshua in Hebrew [Joshua in English] so yes, “Yeshwa” is the closest thing to be Jesus that existed because he was Jesus!

    This is getting off topic of this particular post though. I’ll write more about this on my blog in the future and we can discuss it there. I’ll be looking forward to it.

  39. already have. oh and Yeshua isn’t as uncommon a you think, it was the name of many “messaiahs” that existed in 1st century Palestine. More likely than not, Jesus is an amalgamation of these different Messaiahs, which would make sense, because the writings that pertain to Jesus were al written sustantially later- the earliest being 40 years later. John, as it so happens Morse, is the oldest lol.

  40. Tom said:

    Jesus is the only one that claimed to be God

    When? It isn’t at all clear that Jesus made any claim to divinity at all.

  41. Even his followers didn’t go with the “divinity” card until they were politically empowered. And it is as such that the notion even came about; remembered, Romans liked thier king to be Divine, and since Jesus was for the greatest part, thier High Priest as it were, this makes sense.

    He was a representative messaih, like how the Messianic Age is considered by many modern religious jews; “Jesus” was such a figure, and given that there were indeed many Yeshuas, this theory is quite plausible.

    Oops!, “John, as it so happens Morse, is the oldest lol.” Strike that, reverse it. John is the Youngest of the 4.

  42. Jesus never came out and said directly that he was God because, as you’ve stated, the Romans viewed their emperor as divine and their were plenty of other people, just like today, who came out and said straight forward that they were God. Had Jesus said that He was God in such a straight forward manner, it would’ve meant nothing.

    Remember that Jesus came, at first, to be the Messiah for the Jewish people, so he naturally would make his claim of divinity in a way that the Jews would understand.

    “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8.58

    That may not seem like much, but this is a reference to Moses and the burning bush, God referred to himself as “I am”. The Jesus didn’t just let this slide as you can see in the next verse:

    “So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.” John 8.59

    The punishment for blashphemy, according to OT law, was stoning. The Jews realized what Jesus had said and so they were going to take care of him since he was viewed as a blasphemer.

    Jesus also accepted worship from people, which was he not God, he should have been stoned for as well.

  43. Here are the verses that show the punishment for blasphemy:

    Lev. 24:16 and Deut. 13:6–11

  44. Yeah tom it is interesting about how Jesus even survived to be crucified. After all, as a mere 12 year old, he was audacious enough to be preaching in a synagouge. he went on like this for a long time. I suppose the fact that he had a great following was what spared him for so long, but let us remember that messaiahs were a dime a dozen.

  45. It’s true that messiahs were a dime a dozen back then. The reason for this is that the Jewish people were expecting their messiah to come around the time that Jesus did. No one knew who the messiah was supposed to be, that’s why many of them got followings [which all eventually died out, unlike Jesus’] Check out Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy.

    As far as Jesus teaching in a synagouge when he was 12–he did neither. Jesus was at the Temple complex. He was in the outer courts with the religous teachers [when his mom and dad found him]. The Temple [complex more specifically the outer courts] were gathering places. Many topics would be discussed there, including spiritual things. Luke 2.46 says that, “..they found him [Jesus] in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” Jesus wasn’t preaching at them but discussing things, much like you and I are. No need for the people to get up tight. Adults discuss things with children all the time, usually on a simpler level. The people were even amazed by his understanding [Luke 2.47] and his understanding actually gave Jesus favor amongst the people [Luke 2.52]. He fell out of favor once he started to claim to be God and things of the sort.

  46. I don’t have a problem with Christmas. I do have a problem with Christmas being a national holiday as it indicates that one religion is being recognized.

  47. thanks for the correction. However, Yeshua has a great following, and all of them are a part of the “Jesus” identified in the gospel. There isn’t any proof that in fact “Jesus” ever existed. Much much less, that he did any of the things that supposedly prove him as the one-and-only.

  48. The Jewish historian Josephus recorded the person and the actions of Jesus. The interesting thing about him is that he was viewed as a traitor by the Jews because he was an official historian for the Romans. He was given the task of recording the history of Palistine, I believe.

  49. Tom,

    I’m sorry, but have you even read Josephus?

    Do me a favor. Go read him, and come back. Then tell me he recorded “the person and actions of Jesus”.

  50. Testimonium Flavianum is heavily criticised as not being an authentic work by Josephus. Why doesn’t Josephus major work, The Jewish War, make any mention of Jesus? There are other issues with lack of referencing for about 200 years, vocabulary, etc. The concensus is that it is a forgery.

    Anyway there are other inconsistencies in the gospel “histories” of Jesus life. Just start at the nativity and try to match it up with independent historical sources. Where is the census that forced the relocation of Mary and Joseph? What was Herod doing when Jesus was supposed to have been born? How old was Jesus when he was executed? Who was the Roman Emperor at the time? It just doesn’t fit the facts.

    The whole nativity play that I did at school was a fiction. I was the Innkeeper and he wasn’t even in the bible story. Herod was dead a full decade before the Census of Quirinius. The census was for Roman citizens under Caesar Augustus and didn’t require any sort of relocation anyway. Besides which why would a Roman perfoprm a census of an independent kingdom? It just doesn’t make sense.

  51. posted by- Chris, Pastor Steve’s ‘Blog master’ 😉
    Responding to your post on:

    “Christianity Taking a Back Seat”

    November 30, 2008 – I receive e-mails questioning me about why I believe Christianity is being forced to take a back seat in American Society.

    Let me sight one recent example that will shed some light on the subject and show the total disregard for what we call fairness and equality.

    A few years back a national retailer stopped the Salvation Army from collecting money in front of its stores in order to be fair to other charities. Further, their employees were forbidden to use the term Merry Christmas to customers as it was offensive to some.

    Now information received tells us that this same retailer will be offering a talking doll that proclaims, “Islam, the light of the world.” What are the chances of a doll being offered in the same retail chain that could sing a Christmas Carol or declare “Jesus, the light of the world?”

    Obviously the Christian today is presented as a narrow minded person that believes theirs is the only true way to G-d. But as time marches on American culture is allowing others to, in theory, do the same that Christians are denied in the name of fairness and no offense.

    Truthfully in a nation of freedom of speech and religion, somebody somewhere will be offended so do we coexist or eradicate those of differing opinions.

  52. Did anyone force this retailer, whom you do not name, to do these things?


    So quite frankly, the argument doesn’t sway me one bit.

  53. Today at work, this lady said to me “You know, last night I was doing my Christmas cards, and I realized I couldn’t send one to you because you don’t celebrate Christmas.” I just busted out laughing and said “Yes, I do! I have my halls decked.” 🙂

    What I think is the funniest is why not just ask? “Hey, do you celebrate Christmas?” or “Do you do the whole Christmas card thing?” Wouldn’t that just be easier for everyone??? lol.

  54. Yes – and it is not just a Christian v atheist thing. I have a friend who is Indian (Hindu) and their family also celebrate Xmas (a bit more low-key, granted) and say “merry Xmas”. And why not?

  55. I wandered on here; hello! And I just waned Christine to know that she is falling for an untrue Urban legend: Snopes is your friend, my dear.

  56. Who cares?!?! Wishing somebody Merry Christmas is not what God cares about. Jesus doesn’t care if His birthday is celebrated… and it surely isn’t about presents under a tree. I am a Christian and I love the Lord! Our children will never be coerced to believe in Santa Claus, nor will they come to know Christmas like the world knows Christmas. Our children will know about Jesus and what it is like to give back to the community. Maybe there will be some presents, maybe not… it doesn’t and won’t matter. And there will always be those who don’t see what we see who will not want Christmas or Jesus or even God anywhere. That is OK… we already know that this is going to happen. Even Jesus was persecuted. Just stay faithful with those who see what you see and pray for those who don’t. Don’t worry about Christmas, it isn’t even Biblical… just worry about you and Him.

  57. A) not his birthday, Saturn’s- you know, Roman god of wine?
    -it is about the gifts, Google “Saternalia”
    B) Santa Klaus is at least a myth based of a real person- St. Nickolas, while the “Yeshua” of the New Testament is likely an amalgamation of different supposed Christs in 1st Century Palestine.
    D) God can’t be seen anywhere, ‘cus he’s invisible, mute, and imaginary.
    E) persecution complex- boy, i hope you don’t meet any Jews who have ancestry in Europe
    F) “It isn’t even Biblical…” contradicts the premise behind A

  58. I’m always amused when an evangelist finds my site.

  59. @ morsecOde..

    I guess ketch22 decided to ignore your blog title.

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