Merry Christmas…without the ‘X’

Merry Christmas…without the ‘X’

By Peter


‘Tis the season for the atheist/humanist crowd to make fools of
themselves.  As millions of Americans celebrate Christmas, the American Humanist
Association is in the midst of their annual membership drive punctuated by
smart-aleck billboards and city bus placards that mock the existence of moral
authority and belittle faith in Christ.
Two years ago, their motto was “Why believe in a god?  Just be good for
goodness’ sake!”  Last year, they were more direct: “No god?  No problem!”  But
this year, as they feebly attempt to detract from the celebration of Christ’s
incarnation once again, perhaps it’s a fruitful exercise for our civilization to
consider their overtures and weigh the merit of their message.
As far as I can tell, the mantra “No god?  No problem!” has but one minor
flaw: the entire record of human history.  It is no coincidence that as German
atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche boasted, “God is dead … we have killed
him … must we not ourselves become gods[?]” (which, by the way, is the entire
basis of humanism dating back to the Garden of Eden), he simultaneously
predicted that the 20th century would be the most murderous in human
That Nietzsche was right is actually of secondary importance.  Most
significant is the apparent recognition Nietzsche had that man, left with no
moral authority beyond his own impulses and passions, would devolve into
Indeed, the banner slogan of “No god?  No problem!” could hang poignantly
over the ovens of Auschwitz, the killing fields of Cambodia, and the trash bins
of Planned Parenthood.
Though it might be more difficult to squeeze onto a billboard, the American
Humanist Association needs to correct its jingle to convey the more accurate
message: “No God?  No problem…except the one that even the greatest atheist
thinkers have recognized: when a belief in God dies, man dies.”
Moreover, the phrase “be good for goodness’ sake” is meaningless unless we
can define what “goodness” is.  For the believer, that is a relatively easy
question to answer.  Goodness is measured by the extent to which man’s behavior
conforms to the character and the will of his Creator.  That is why the
Christian believes the Bible is an irreplaceable component of human existence —
its revelation serves to guide us towards that divine will.
But the atheist/humanist has no such moral center…no fixed point of
reference.  Such people may talk at length about the need to be “good,” but in
the final analysis, their presuppositions fundamentally reject any concrete
basis for morality.
That is not to say that anyone who is atheist or humanist is a murderous
butcher ready to pounce.  Certainly there are a great number of nonbelievers who
are benevolent, caring, and kind.  But while the atheist points to these
upstanding godless citizens as proof of the theory that you can be good simply
for goodness’ sake, he conveniently ignores the cultural foundations that taught
those individuals good from bad.
As columnist Jeff Jacoby observed,
“[i]n our culture, even the most passionate atheist cannot help having been
influenced by the Judeo-Christian worldview that shaped Western civilization.”
Put another way, the American atheist who boldly touts his morality and decency
is humorously doing so only by appealing to the very Christian ethic he seeks to
Though this conclusion is inescapable, the pride inherent in humanist
thought forbids them from admitting it.  Consequently, we are persistently
treated to their vapid musings that one must choose between religion and
But suggesting that reason alone is sufficient to direct behavior is
intellectually dishonest.  Human reason will always be guided by
presuppositions.  That is why civilizations like ancient Rome found it
reasonable to murder handicapped children while we in the Western world find
that abominable.
Jacoby noted that Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger wrote, “‘We drown
even children who at birth are weakly and abnormal,’ … stressing that ‘it is
not anger but reason'” that provides justification for such an act.  This
horrific practice is the result of reason built upon a godless foundation.  In
contrast, American civilization bears the fruits of reason based on a Christian
ethic that teaches submission and obedience to a transcendent moral
That fact alone should cause the atheist to pause as he taunts believers
with signs proclaiming “Merry X-mas.”  Creating a Christ-less holiday season may
seem like a worthy cause until you realize where it leads.  Civilizations torn
free from the moorings of moral authority are not the kind anyone would want to
live in…not even a fervent atheist.
Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk
show host in central Indiana.  E-mail
or visit

Page Printed from:
December 19, 2010 – 12:56:32 PM CST

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