A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, December 26, 2011

We Are the Xmas Borg: You Will Be Assimilated

While I quibble somewhat with some of Weiss' claims in this post, I am in fundamental agreement with him. The War on Christmas was fought many many years ago by Christians, and the majority decided in favor of a cultural holiday almost completely devoid of Christian theological moorings. If Christ is not in the celebration of Christmas, Christians are primarily to blame.

...those of us who are not Christian marvel at the annual claims of a "War on Christmas." From our seat, the actual war is the battle by Christmas against any other religion's tradition. I defy Bill O'Reilly and his compadres to locate the smallest corner of our nation immune from the months-long drumbeat of Christmas stuff. For us, the holiday seems closer to Star Trek's Borg Collective ("Resistance is futile!") than anything I can find in the Christian scriptures.

To be Jewish (or Hindu, Bahai or Brama Kumari) in America requires some effort to wall out the overwhelming pressure of our national majority faith.

On the other hand, and the religionists won't like to admit it, so much of Christmas in America has nothing to do with Christ or Jesus. If there was a war, it was waged long ago amongst Christians. And the majority of them decided they also wanted a cultural holiday that distilled an essence from Christmas and left most of the God stuff behind.

Look at our cultural holiday touchstones, all the way back to Dickens's Christmas Carol. What are the books, movies and TV specials that come back again and again and again? It's a Wonderful Life. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Nutcracker. Frosty the Snowman. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. A Visit from St. Nicholas. The Nightmare Before Christmas. And on and on.

There's only one example I can think of in the entire popular pantheon that includes enough actual theology for a short sermonette: Linus giving his unapologetic recitation from the Book of Luke in A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Let's not blame this on the ACLU or the Supreme Court or Barack Obama. The decisions about which of the many, many holiday-timed specials became perennials were made by the marketplace and over decades. Most attempts by Christian religionists to create entertainment that was explicitly Christian and transcendentally popular have had little success beyond preaching to their own choir.
You can read Weiss' entire post, "You Can't Hide from the Xmas Borg," here.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shoutout!

Jeffrey Weiss

Allan R. Bevere said...

You're welcome, Jeffrey. Thanks for a fine article. In your post you mention religious minority groups having to work to maintain their identities. I think that Christians have the same challenge being in the majority. It's an interesting contrast.