On Christmas Day, while many are in church or at home with family and friends, the Backyard Skeptics and the Riverside Atheists and Freethinkers will be celebrating the holiday in a different way: by debunking it. Instead of unwrapping presents, they will be passing out leaflets explaining the actual origins of Christmas. They've also chosen the kind of location to do this that one seldom associates with Christmas: the beach; specifically, the Huntington Beach Pier in Southern California (where a "white Christmas" is virtually unknown at any elevation below 4000 feet). They'll be passing out leaflets and answering questions there from 10 am to 2 pm.
No, they're not Grinchs out to spoil anyone's good time or soldiers in any "war on Christmas." In fact, one of their goals is debunking the myth that there is a war on Christmas.
From a Backyard Skeptics announcement:
Jesus is simply not the reason for the Christmas season. Unknown to most Christians, there is not one of the Christmas traditions that can be linked to Christianity. The Christmas tree, the Yule log, giving of presents, candy canes and ornaments on the tree all come from pagan traditions...
And here's some of their bullet points:
- Christmas's origins are in pagan celebrations of the Winter Solstice, when days cease getting shorter.
- It was co-opted by early Christians who had no equivalent holiday.
- It has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, whose nativity, most biblical scholars agree, occured at a different time of year.
- It owes much of its current popularity to commercialization, and
- Public ignorance of the holiday's actual history contributes to the belief that there's a war on Christmas.
Backyard Skeptics and Riverside Atheists and Freethinkers' purpose at this event not to eliminate Christmas, but to celebrate the real reason for the season: to find a source of joy, happiness, hope, goodwill a generosity. The second reason is to let other non-believers know that there is a community of non-theists in Orange County which supports science, rational thinking and reason.
For more information, contact Bruce Gleason, 714-394-6153 (cell) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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