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Atheists declare - This season celebrate reason.

American Atheists disagree with those who say this is a war against Christmas. "Rather," they say, "it's a war on intolerance and ignorance." In fact, they state that Christianity stole Christmas; we are the Grinch! No informed Christian debates the fact that Christmas was placed on the same date as other pagan festivals. The winter solstice, with the sun having an ever-increasing presence in the sky, stood for a re-birth; a new beginning in Christ the Light of the world.

Celebrate reason? No thank you. Celebrate with reason? Absolutely! For an authentic quest will lead us to the One who is the Reason for the Season.

Celebrate reason? No thank you. Celebrate with reason? Absolutely! For an authentic quest will lead us to the One who is the Reason for the Season.

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - When cars exit the Lincoln Tunnel on the New Jersey side, they are now greeted by a new billboard that says, "You KNOW it's a Myth - This Season, Celebrate REASON!"

Showing a traditional nativity scene and the three wise men on their journey in silhouette against a blue starry sky, billboard also shows the star that guided the magi, this time shaped like the Star of David.

The billboard, which cost $20,000, is scheduled to remain throughout the holidays.

While the Grinch was only able to steal Christmas, King Herod in Holy Scripture, you may remember, wanted to kill it. The former was a Dr. Seuss story, the latter history. This is the battle ground for this current assault.

In the spirit of Herod, the organization American Atheists has launched this new campaign aimed at putting an end to Christianity - claiming our faith is built on myth, using the word in its most common form.

According to their website, the group has three reasons for this outdoor advertising strategy is three-fold:
1. To address those atheists who "go along to get along", and to encourage them to come out of their closets
2. To attack the myth that Christianity owns the solstice season
3. To raise the awareness of the organization and the movement.

American Atheists disagree with those who say this is a war against Christmas. "Rather," they say, "it's a war on intolerance and ignorance." In fact, they state that Christianity stole Christmas; we are the Grinch!

No informed Christian debates the fact that Christmas was placed on the same date as other pagan festivals. The winter solstice, with the sun now having an ever-increasing presence in the sky, always stood for a birth or re-birth; it was a time of new beginning. How fitting for our feast when we celebrate the Birth of the One who is the Light of the new world!

Pointing to the Yule log, the Christmas Tree and Santa Claus, American Atheists claim on their site these all predate Christianity. Of course, Christmas traditions in many countries have adopted or incorporated certain cultural customs and symbols. Yet, none of these have ever been viewed as integral to the Incarnation of God the Son and His Nativity, which we celebrate on Christmas.

Interesting, however, to also point to Santa Claus, which they state is Nordic, Germanic or Celtic. That "jolly old elf" actually has a beginning in history as Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop from Asia Minor.

Our purpose here is not to refute each point of what they are attempting to say. The real irony of their campaign is found in setting our faith against reason. For the Catholic mind, reason does not lead you away from the manger but toward it.

As the Catechism states, "'Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason.' Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created "in the image of God." (CCC, 36)

Reason has been a strong part of the papal legacy of Pope Benedict XVI. Even some reporters from the secular media, most of whom spent of their time reporting on the reactions to a hyped misunderstanding of his address at Regensburg, couldn't miss his fundamental message.

Jeff Israely wrote in Time Magazine almost two years later, "Still, Regensburg had laid out, in forceful language, the keynote theme of Benedict's papacy: his belief that faith and reason can, and must, live side by side, within the individual and in society at large."

In a message he gave at the convent of Saint Scholastica in Subiaco, Italy, the day before Pope John Paul II died, he stated, "From the beginning, Christianity has understood itself as the religion of the 'Logos,' as the religion according to reason.

"In the first place, it has not identified its precursors in the other religions, but in that philosophical enlightenment which has cleared the path of traditions to turn to the search of the truth and towards the good, toward the one God who is above all gods."

"By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit." (CCC, 50)

St. Paul describes it this way in Romans Chapter 1. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened."

"Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man-and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:20-23, NKJV)

The campaign from American Atheists is calling us to celebrate reason as though it was an end in itself, but it is not. The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought, which we call reason, is a means to an end. It is joined to the work of the Holy Spirit to bring about the grace of faith.

"What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe 'because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.' So 'that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.' Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church's growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability 'are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all'; they are 'motives of credibility' (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is 'by no means a blind impulse of the mind.'" (CCC, 156)

When reason is not allowed exposure to immediate truths and first principles that extend beyond the grasp of man's immediate knowledge alone, we have, as St. Thomas Aquinas would call it, "a defect of the intellect." In today's world of technology, we would describe it as insufficient data. The end result, according to Aquinas, is sin.

Celebrate reason? No thank you. Celebrate with reason? Absolutely! For an authentic quest will lead us to the One who is the Reason for the Season.


Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and the CEO/Associate Publisher for the Northern Virginia Local Edition of Catholic Online ( He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.


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Keywords: atheists, billboard, campaign, myth, christmas


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1 - 10 of 33 Comments

  1. albert f. maas
    4 years ago


    The real problem is that the Catholic Church has been at war with humanity for the last 2000 years. You act like the rationalists and the enlightenment are bad things. Believing is easy, thinking is hard. That is why most people just believe. Lying to people and especially children is a crime. You should be ashamed.

  2. YK
    4 years ago

    Jesus is a myth. Sorry to rain on your parade.

  3. vance
    4 years ago

    Miguel, the problem is that the Atheists are at war against the Church. They have been at war against the church since the birth of the RATIONALIST and ENLIGHTENMENT movements. It is not a "Live and Let Live" situation.

  4. Miguel
    4 years ago

    I do believe and God but I don't think all atheist are evil but some might just not believe in anything. Also whats the point of arguing just celebrate it your way and well celebrate ours.

  5. vance
    4 years ago

    albert, I guess Julius Ceasar, Atila The Hun, Leif Erickson, were all figments of our imaginations?

  6. albert f. maas
    4 years ago

    There is no historical Jesus. Therefore his birthday is irrelevant. He was invented.

  7. Theresa
    4 years ago

    Thanks, "Anonymous," for your respectful response ,and for disassociating yourself from those who feel they have to verbally assault Christianity at the time of one of it's greatest solemnities: the historic birth of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that Jesus Christ was truly born, lived and was crucified. (Jewish writers and other writers of the time concur with the Gospel writers on this.) The question would be for a respectful, avowed atheist (and really, any non-Christian): Since this "man" did exist in this world 2,000 years ago, is it possble that he could also be God? I would wager, just from "reason" (and what we do know of him) that it is possible....This is why the Church is not an enemy of "reason:" God gave us an intellect (reason) and free-will. He does not force himself on us, but "blessed are those who have not seen--but have believed." (Jesus to Thomas...) None of us, today, have "seen" Jesus with our physical eyes, but we "see" Him every day through faith-- and "reason" is able to follow behind--when we are truth-seekers. Simply pray to learn and know the Truth, the whole Truth..., and you will "see!" There is no greater joy in this world than to know Christ Jesus and know that we are known by Him! It also humbles us....

  8. vance
    4 years ago

    albert, If Christ was not born on Dec 25th, do you know what date he was born?? If you know the date, please let us know. We would all like to be informed.

  9. Eva dela Cruz
    4 years ago

    I've never met an atheist. But if I ever meet one, and if he/she tells me that there is no God. I will tell him/her that he/she is the living proof of God. As my mother taught me when I was a young girl that God lent us His Spirit so that we can live. I think that is also a Catholic religion teaching that our God is the Living God.

  10. Beth
    4 years ago

    Well of course converts to Christianity in different times and places have incorporated their cultural traditions into the celebration of Christmas and other religious holidays! Duh. The idea that this somehow equates to the Church "stealing" these traditions is idiotic. These are "traditions" with a lower-case "t" - not to be confused with "Tradition" with an upper case T, which along with Scripture is the true essence of Christian belief. The Christmas tree? You can have it - it beautifies our home and reflects the joy of the season, perhaps as an evergreen even holds some meaning as a symbol of the ever-present love of God - but I'm not going to fight with atheists and pagans over who "had it first". How silly. I have to believe that most atheists feel the same way.

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