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Discussion (46)¬

  1. Katha Pollitt says:

    I love this! Why not make it a Christmas card?

  2. Oelgaard says:

    Will a signed print not reveal Author’s idendity? 🙂

  3. CliffB says:

    The season of Christmas, or Yule,
    Was stolen by Christians so you’ll
    Sound like an ass
    If you claim that to wass-
    Ail is holy, you fool.

  4. Dr John the Wipper says:

    Well, jebus will have a real hard time in the Netherlands then!

    More and more supermarkets, schools, municipalities etc are shunning xmas trees and even the word “Christmas” in expressions like school’s xmas breakfast, xmas holidays, xmas presents etc (the same to easter for that matter).

    The reason is NOT secularism, but “in respect to religions to which it is felt as a sensitive issue”.

    AFAIK, in fact religions should be used in the singular, but that would not be policor…

  5. Herman says:

    ‘The reason is NOT secularism, but “in respect to religions to which it is felt as a sensitive issue”.
    AFAIK, in fact religions should be used in the singular’

    And THAT is exactly the reason, John the Wipper, why I “celebrate” Christmas as an atheist..

  6. Son of Glenner says:

    I normally stick to the neutral and inoffensive “Season’s Greetings”.

    Sometimes, to carefully selected friends, I write something a little bit more provocative (but only to the easily provoked) like “Best wishes for whatever festivals, events or anniversaries you celebrate around the shortest day of the year / around this time of year.”

    For even more carefully selected friends, I might add a short list, including Saturnalia, Yule, Kwanzaa, Yalda, Hogmanay and of course, Xmas.

  7. Jobrag says:

    Oelgaard, if he signs it “Author” anonymity will be preserved.

  8. sosusk says:

    This is so on point.
    I love this and I need this.
    As a poster.
    And another dozen in A4 size to give my blasphemic friends as a gift. Please, Autor?
    Pretty please with sugar on top?

  9. cjsm says:

    When I was a child – in the 50s and 60s – we would send “Merry Christmas,” “Season’s Greetings,” and “Happy Holidays” cards randomly. What was important to us was the pretty pictures, not the words. We even sent Hanukkah cards one year – and no one was Jewish, but the card was pretty. No one, as far as I know, cared about the words, but about the fact that someone cared enough to bother to purchase and send a card. The “war on Christmas” meme has always puzzled me. It must have started long before I was born and not recently as some claim.

  10. Author says:

    Katha and sosusk – I have no plans to make cards or posters, but you are welcome to use the image and make your own if you like. I’ll put up a hi-res version to download tomorrow.

  11. Michael says:

    At least in the US the War on Christmas is a bunch of conservative Christians whining that other people aren’t doing Christmas the way the whiners want it to be done. It’s just another case of certain Christians wanting to impose their particular beliefs on the rest of us.

  12. Jazzlet says:

    Author I love you more than ever, all my card ‘problems’ solved in one fell swoop, though I suspect I may get some from friends and family as well.

  13. jveeds says:

    “Happy Christmas”? Maybe that’s the European phrase. In the US, it’s strictly “Merry Christmas” (or “Xmas”)

  14. Laripu says:

    I usually wish everyone “Happy Arbitrary Distinction Day”, the day when we celebrate arbitrary distinctions of time.

    I started that in the early 90s, and it seems to have spread. I find others on the net using similar phrases.

  15. Someone says:

    Even though I have been “celebrating” the season as Yule for a while to give the finger to Christianity, I have found myself hating this time of year increasingly for the last 16 years or so, even before I went full atheist.
    When I was younger I was fine with sentiment of the holiday but after the millennium, to me it has become more commercial, more political and downright annoying. Xmas music and themes just keep getting worse and conservative bleating as demonstrated by Jesus actually makes me want to grab an axe and re-enact scenes from Silent Night, Deadly Night.
    Sure it’s nice to give and receive gifts amongst family and I do like the food. I just hate the insistence upon decoration, saccharine atmosphere, demand by the masses to get what they want weeks before they’ve made a purchase, and all the loud and aggravating noise (visually and sonically) that goes with a season split between greed and overbearing dogma.
    I don’t imagine it’ll be better this year or in the immediate future.

  16. Mahatmacoat says:

    Son of Glenner, your exhortation to “celebrate … the shortest day of the year …” is deeply offensive to us who live in the southern hemisphere.

  17. M27Holts says:

    Good excuse to eat rich foods, quaff strong dark ales and indulge in carnal lust. Oh and a nice fire also fills a primitive need as well….Solstice fun for all homo sapiens in the colder north of the north hemisphere….

  18. Son of Glenner says:

    Mahatmacoat: Fair point. Fortunately, everyone on my card list resides in the northern hemisphere, in fact, they’re all in the UK. If I ever acquire any Aussie, Kiwi or Argentine friends, I would of course make appropriate adjustments as you indicate. (As I am a very old person, it’s not very likely.)

    BTW, it would make more sense if the antipodeans were to have their main annual celebrations in late June rather than December, as I believe their neopagans do.

    Someone: “full atheist”? I’d have thought that implies being partly atheist, rather like being fairly virgin or almost pregnant; you’re either atheist or you’re not. In my book if you’re in between believer and atheist, you’re an agnostic.

    Thanks to both of you for feeding the pedant.

  19. Author says:

    Anyone who wants to use this image to create something can download a hi-res version here.

  20. Walter P. Kronkat says:

    Being a cat person and having to had the joy of sharing my home with a variety of cats my late wife and I sent out “Merry Catsmess” cards and signed them from Sandys’ Claws. If you are a cat person, you will know what I mean. I also like and have had dogs, but I refuse to bow to any doG.

  21. Dr John the Wipper says:

    Well, being Dutch, I just tried to translate.
    Officially we have two general expressions: “Zalig Kerstfeest” (blissfull xmas) for RC people, and “Gelukkig Kerstfeest” for others.

    Non-religious people have added a host of others in the last few decennia.

  22. Jim Baerg says:

    Mahtmacoat & Son of Glenner
    Re: December solstice celebrations in the Southern Hemisphere, look up “White Wine in the Sun” by Tim Minchen

  23. Son of Glenner says:

    Jim Baerg: I looked up your Tim Minchin song, which was unfamiliar to me, and I liked it.

    Thank you for introducing me to it.

    I liked his line that he would rather break bread with Richard Dawkins than with Desmond Tutu (a sentiment I’d be inclined to agree with, if I had that choice).

    Walter P Kronkat: Merry Catsmess to you; just don’t expect me to share your love of tiny tigers that wipe out lots of nice wildlife, given the chance.

  24. Matt Gerrans says:

    What about complaining that the holiday Starbucks card is not Christian enough? That is critical.

  25. postdoggerel says:

    as goes xmas
    with respect to the seasons
    there are sinister, dark, devolved reasons
    to broadcast aloud
    to the ravening crowd
    that this thing is a secular treason

    if it weren’t for this risible diversion
    there’d be time enough for some conversion
    as the preacher would say
    you could see it my way
    or be damned with your goddam perversion

  26. Someone says:

    Son of Glenner, I was agnostic for a couple of years after falling out with Catholicism.
    I did not believe that required explanation, since agnosticism is the natural bridge to athiesm and was exactly what I was implying, but there you have it.

  27. M27Holts says:

    Agnostic is a real cop out to appease religious numpties! Aye there may be a god or gods…but as with Dawkins assertion that in terms of probability it’s very improbable I think that the anti-Theist stance that Its virtually as close to zero as you can get in terms of a bacon hating entity who likes to care about which orifice one of creations sticks his penis in….God does not exist beyond all reasonable doubt!

  28. Son of Glenner says:

    Someone: Sorry if you were offended. Have a virtual drink on me. (But not communion wine!) I myself used to be agnostic, but now I’m not so sure. (Very old joke.)

    M27Holts: Perhaps a little unfair to call agnosticism a cop out. When you have had a religion (any religion) drummed into you from birth, it is difficult to clear your mind of it, you can have worries about offending much-loved family members and friends, being blackballed by prospective employers etc. You can even feel nostalgic for all the fairy tales you were reared on. It takes time to accept what should be blindingly obvious. Of course, if you are worried about relationships, employment, etc, you do not have to shout your atheist belief from the rooftops.

  29. M27Holts says:

    S.O.G. I suppose that I had a nominal xtian upbringing, so perhaps I struggle to empathise with those truly brainwashed. But as I always point out to Christian numpties. The next time a jihadist blows himself up and takes innocent people with him. THEY cannot take the moral ground because his beliefs are just as bat shit crazy as the Roman invented gospels that THEY believe are true…They are part of the problem and not the solution…

  30. Laripu says:

    There’s a another option, different than any of the three: belief, agnosticism, and atheism. It turns on the idea that something might be close enough to be called ‘god’ without precisely checking every single box. I’ll explain.

    People have always wanted to fly like a bird. Remember the myth of Icarus and Daedelus. Eventually we created aircraft. That’s not flying like a bird, but it’s ‘close enough’, so that we use the same word.

    What do we want from a god? Essentially, I’d claim, it’s immortality, the ability to rescue us from death, plus a perfect existence after that rescue, a heaven. Everything else is mere detail.

    While there may be no god today, imagine that one day beings come to exist through natural means, nothing supernatural, that are further ahead of us technologically than we are ahead of amoeba. Imagine that this tech ability allows them to travel backwards in time and perfectly record the mental state of every sentient being that ever existed, then reproduce that in the far future in a perfect existence, of a sort. The might do it for fun, or curiosity or just because they can. I’m not qualified to judge the motives of ‘gods’.

    I’d claim that if such a sci-fi scenario came to pass, it would qualify for being called ‘god’ by us, just as being a passenger in an airplane qualifies as flying. So what if you don’t have to flap your wings, it’s good enough.

    If an entity in the future brings back my deceased loved ones, young, healthy, and happy, I’ll call that entity ‘god’.

    Not singin’ any hymns, though. 🙂

  31. M27Holts says:

    Such beings are similarly unlikely as the god of Abraham. Flying is technologically simple compared with travelling backwards in time. Only massless objects can reverse time according to modern physics. So these technological beings would also be without mass?

  32. Merry Christmas everybody.

    Like Tim Minchin, who wrote my very favourite Christmas song, “White Wine in the Sun”, I like Christmas. Lately it makes me a bit sad, because the wonderful childhood memories have become rather painful nostalgia since the entire previous generation, and much of my own, has died. My pure Dickensian Christmas, including the annual viewing of the original Christmas Carol on television every Christmas Eve, and my mother stirring the Christmas pudding with each of us getting a turn, is now difficult to recreate. It makes me sad to think that grandfather will never again start a Christmas dinner with the toast: “Ladies and gentlemen, the Queen.”
    But, as Minchin says it, though the lyrics are dodgy I do like the songs.

    Author, thanks for this one, and for your generosity in making the hi rez available. Have a great holiday season yourself, eh.

  33. M27Holts says:

    I like Tim Minchin….But if you were a pagan in the southern hemisphere then it would be June when you got naked round the fire…Drinking white wine in the sun seems alien to me. Dark nights and freezing nights room temperature dark porter beer and pork pie with mustard…that’s what I associate the solstice with…wine/cider in the sun is summer barby time…no need to celebrate the coming of the sun since it is tanning your skin….

  34. LD50 says:


    ‘I normally stick to the neutral and inoffensive “Season’s Greetings”.’

    I find “Season’s Greetings” offensive, because you’re implying that “Merry Christmas” is offensive. To whom is it supposed to be offensive? I’m an atheist as is everyone in my family for generations and pretty much everyone else I know — but I put up a Christmas tree (not a Season tree) and buy Christmas presents and go to Christmas markets etc. It’s a cultural thing.

    If, as Herman seems to imply, people/companies do it out of fear of offending Muslims (have they even said they’re offended by Christmas???) then I find kowtowing to a violent religious minority *deeply* offensive.

  35. Laripu says:

    M27Holts, some data points:
    1. Lord Kelvin, in 1895 said “I can state flatly that heavier than air flying machines are impossible.”
    2. Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson said, in 1878, “When the Paris Exhibition closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it.”
    3. Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. No one will use it, ever.” Thomas Edison, 1889.

    When very intelligent and educated people are dead wrong about the technology to come in the next 10 years, I will disagree with your assessment of what advances might be possible within the next 100,000 or million or billion.

    Anyway, my goal in that post wasn’t to say that a future god would become a reality. My goal was twofold:
    A. To introduce a new option in the range of belief, let’s call it future pseudo-deism, which would be the belief that there are no gods at present, but there might be gods in the future. (This isn’t my belief, just an option.)
    B. To introduce the concept of “good enough” for use in descriptions of entities or actions. Another example (beside “flight”) could be the use of the word “telepathy” to describe a technology that weds cell phone technology to human brains via some sort of neutral interface.

  36. Someone says:

    Son of Glenner, no worries, I wasn’t offended. Just slightly bemused. Though I’ll have a pint anyway.

    Regarding hemispheres, I was born and raised in the north and while I’ve lived in the south for over half my life, I still associate Xmas with winter, Halloween with autumn, etc. I suppose I’m used to it being the other way around now but it never ceases to amuse me when the holidays are sold here with their northern aesthetics firmly in place, especially since summer is advertised as long as possible (before, during and after), plus only a fraction of Australia receives snowfall.

    Still, I am not one who enjoys spending all day in the sun.
    Give me a roof and if possible air conditioning, and I’ll leave you to your melanoma growth.

  37. M27Holts says:

    The last few years my visits to the Xmas markets in Mancunia have been in temperatures exceeding 10 Celsius. It ruins the crack if you start sweating whilst walking about looking to stuff another krakaur wurst in your face..

  38. FreeFox says:

    As shocking as this is for myself, as far as agnosticism goes, I find myself with M27 Holts. Everyone is an agnostic when you get down to it, as nobody “knows”. There are just different shades of conviction. The only reason to use the word is because deep down you know what you believe, however slightly, more than the alternatives, but you just don’t want to own it. That can be as much a former atheist being ashamed of admitting they’ve found some faith as a former religious person trying to soften the blow of their loss thereof. Even saying “I don’t really care enough about the question to make up my mind” is more honest than hiding behind the all-too-convenient label “agnostic”.

  39. Son of Glenner says:

    LD50: I have been using “Season’s Greetings” since long before all the current kerfuffle about Muslims. Here in Scotland, New Year is more important than Christmas to many people, or of equal importance.

    While I’m at it, an anecdote:

    About two years ago, a few days before 25 December, I was in a shop staffed by a married couple who are Muslim (he has no outward signs, she wears a hijab and long dresses). They are nice people. On this occasion their young son, about 3 or 4, was in the shop with them; they were about to go on holiday. As I left, I said “Goodbye and enjoy your holiday”, or similar, including the boy in my greeting. In turn, the parents wished me “Merry Christmas” and encouraged the boy to say the same, as he was having difficulty getting his tongue around it.

    I did say they were nice people.

  40. pink squirrel says:

    travel backwards in time – does that actually mean anything given that time is an illusion because if you consider a photon travelling at c -for that wave-particle time passes at zero thus to the photon travel from a to b is instantaneous while at the same time every moment of the light source’s existence is travelling through space behind therefore very moment of time before now exists at the same time

  41. LD50 says:


    my apologies. Anyone can say whatever they like.

    I’m sure the couple are perfectly fine people.

  42. Freefox, good to hear you back. I agree that agnostic is just a cop out. But when pushed, I’m rather fond of Russell’s “teapot agnostic”. I’m not going to try to prove the unproveable. So I will allow that much of a shadow of doubt.
    It’s interesting to read Russell’s conjecture regarding disbelief in the teapot once it has been ” affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school”. This seems to me to be where we are with disbelief in god today.

  43. M27Holts says:

    Basically once you have inserted your god into the zeitgeist it is very hard to remove that god unless the zeitgeist changes sufficiently or another god replaces the old one…I see the point of sun worship because the energy it released enabled evolution and a more fitting object of worship would be hard to find…

  44. Dr John the Wipper says:

    a more fitting object of worship would be hard to find…

    As a nudist I second that!

  45. Jim Baerg says:

    It’s a pity Elon Musk didn’t include in his Tesla launched into space a teapot labeled ‘Property of Bertrand Russell’.

  46. Son of Glenner says:

    Jim Baerg: Re teapot: Perhaps he did – why not ask him.


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