Last night, Bill O’Reilly suited up for his “War On Christmas.” His guest was David Silverman, head of American Atheists. O’Reilly hits an all-time low when he blurted out that “Christianity is not a religion.” He insists that it is a philosophy.
By definition, Christianity is a religion. In fact, I do not know any Christians who would agree with O’Reilly. Calling Christianity merely a philosophy immediately negates the divinity claims of Jesus. Christians can not have it both ways. You are either a religion, in which Jesus is the savior and the only true way to salvation or Christianity is a philosophy which would make Jesus only a wise teacher, nothing more. I can only guess that O’Reilly is trying to take a page out of the Buddhist book since many claim it is not a religion but a philosophy. Buddhism might be more philosophic than some faiths but it is still a religion. This is a very low tactic on O’Reilly’s end. He is trying to muddle the meaning of the word Christianity so that Christians can take up residence on government property. But I don’t think he fooled anyone. Well, maybe his geriatric audience. They might be fooled. They probably thought they were watching reruns of Highway to Heaven with Michael Landon.
Silverman explains the history of Winter Solstice, a secular holiday. They both agree that everyone can celebrate whatever holiday they want to but Silverman adds that “the government can’t take sides.” For some reason, O’Reilly is not acknowledging this point. It is constitutional, no reason for O’Reilly to object. O’Reilly continues to state that it is a FACT that Christianity is NOT a religion. Silverman says it is “not cool” for O’Reilly to cloud this issue. He can’t seem to get O’Reilly to recognize that the issue is about religious neutrality from the government.
And then we come to the Christmas Tree. American Atheists are against the use of the word Christmas when referring to the tree, not the tree itself. The tree is a secular symbol. Now this is where the average Christian Joe gets pissed off. They think atheists are being ridiculous by objecting to calling it a “Christmas” tree. Did the word Christmas transcend religion and is the word now secular? Perhaps it has. At this point of the interview O’Reilly claims Silverman is being “unreasonable” and “frightening.” On some level I get why people just want to leave the Christmas Tree alone. It has always been that way and most people celebrate the holiday in a secular way and not a religious way. So why fight it? I understand the AA’s agenda, but I am more offended by Nativity Scenes & The Ten Commandments on government property than a Christmas Tree. The reason why is that the Christmas Tree is a reminder that Christianity stole from previous religions. The tree is not in anyway Christian. It was adopted and it reveals the roots of Christianity as a made up religion that stood on the shoulders of previous beliefs. Christians can’t deny this. It is a can of worms. If someone bothers to research how the tree got mixed up with Christmas, they can also find out why we celebrate it on December 25th. From there they might discover that there were other gods born of a virgin. When a person keeps pulling at the string the whole thing will soon unravel.
Silverman’s low point is when O’Reilly brings up that Christmas it is a Federal Holiday, Silverman claims they don’t have the votes to revoke Christmas as a holiday and O’Reilly says it is because Silverman’s view is “insane.” Honestly, Silverman won’t win any followers with this point. Nobody wants to go to work on Christmas. But why should they. December 25 can be a secular holiday. We could call it Solstice Day. But now we are just changing words and most people think that it is a waste of government time and money to make these changes.
I think our time is better spent opening the minds of the religious so that they come to secularism on their own. If we manage to change the minds of those who are deluded by religion, this holiday debate will work itself out on its own.
O’Reilly really does some damage when he calls Silverman and the American Atheists “fascists.” Calling Silverman a fascist because he is insists on equality for Americans is just backward and reveals that O’Reilly has no idea what the word actually means.
But making sense isn’t O’Reilly’s goal. His intention is to associate the word atheist with fascism. He continues to poison the mind of his already closed-minded viewers. When things like this are said it just makes atheists even more determined to push forward in winning the fight against hatred.
O’Reilly continually cuts off Silverman whenever he speaks. Because O’Reilly likes to steer the conversation in a way that makes it appear that he is winning when in reality he is deflecting reason and common sense. And from all the hate mail Silverman has been posting on his Facebook page it would appear O’Reilly is succeeding in spreading his ignorance and hatred to his audience.
This, in my opinion, is the most frightening and dangerous outcome from O’Reilly’s ignorance. What did Silverman actually say to generate such venom from people who claim to be loving Christians? His organization does not wish to end the celebration of Christmas or any holiday by religious groups. What he is speaking against is our government showing special preference to any one religion. That is what our founding fathers wanted and that is what we as Americans need to hold true. But O’Reilly’s audience, with their lack of knowledge in American history, are filled with rage–rage erupting from a volcano of ignorance. One thing we know from history is that this kind of ignorance is dangerous and deadly.
But lucky for us, these bigots are elderly and won’t be around much longer. Non-believers are on the rise and the majority of people who agree with O’Reilly are dying off. This is why I am optimistic about our future.