Why Do Atheists Loathe the Baby Jesus? He’s Just a Baby

Bill O’Reilly actually said that on his show the other night.

He also asked: “How do you sell atheism by running down a baby?”

Normally, running down babies is right up my alley, but I really don’t get it in this case.

Here’s the American Humanist Association ad that’s getting O’Reilly and his panel all riled up, followed by the relevant clip from the show:

holiday-interior-ad-300dpi

I would love to know how this is an attack on Christmas.

Or Christians.

Or Babies.

Or Religion.

The end of the clip ends with O’Reilly claiming atheists are just jealous that Christians and Jews have something to celebrate this time of year while all atheists have to look forward to is “Rosie O’Donnell tapes” or “the next Bill Maher special.”

I don’t get the Rosie O’Donnell joke… I assume he’s just mocking her being a lesbian.

Personally, I would gladly celebrate the next Bill Maher special. If it aired on Christmas, even better. My family could watch it together.

Now, can someone tell me where in the Bible they mention Christmas?

The panel claims that atheists would never put ads up like this around Muslim holidays… not true. This particular ad went up around the same time as Eid al-Adha, which is the day after the holy Hajj.

The first (and most important) question that is asked is: Why is the AHA doing this at this time of year?

It’s not because they’re attacking Christians or whatever ludicrous explanation O’Reilly makes up.

They do it because people like Bill O’Reilly give the AHA more publicity, which raises awareness of the AHA, which brings in more contributions to the AHA, which more than pays for the ad campaign.

Furthermore, this isn’t even about Christmas. I know the people in the ad are wearing holiday clothing and the coloring is all red and green, but this ad’s purpose is to reach out to other atheists and let them know it’s ok not to believe in God.

Not only that, those kinds of ads have been going up all year! Atheist advertising on buses and billboards is nothing new.

This ad doesn’t attack religion any more than it attacks Scientology. The only people getting offended are the people who are religious and think any ad not glorifying Jesus is an insult to their faith. Those people are arrogant and ignorant; they’re wannabe victims.

The truth is if O’Reilly and other conservatives stopped giving these ad campaigns attention, they wouldn’t be popping up very often at all.

But O’Reilly loves the War on Christmas. It boosts his ratings. It gives his followers something to complain about. It’s in his best interest to keep acting like there’s some conflict when there never was one.

The AHA is more than happy to hear him complain about it.

  • Claudia

    Well, I have to wonder how many atheists watch O’Reilly, but sure, it’s publicity.

    I think we should just put up an FAQ about this issue. They always say the same things and it doesn’t matter how often we explain it, they always will.

    Some people are apparently so insecure in their religious beliefs that a public display of people who simply are happy with another way of life is taken as a threat. It’s the same crushing logic that leads people to interpret gay marriage as an “attack” on traditional (polygamous arranged?) marriage.

    If your faith is so weak that me not having any and not being afraid to say so threatens you, then there’s a problem alright, but it’s with your convictions, not mine. Likewise if you’re a man who feels like his marriage to a woman is threatened by seeing two men get married and be happy, then something is seriously wrong with your marriage, and you may want to see a psychiatrist about some possible hidden urges.

  • http://pinkydead.blogspot.com pinkydead

    Minor correction there: if I learned anything from my Catholic education, it’s that Christmas is not the most sacred Christian festival – Easter is.

    Christmas, however, is the one you need to hang your hat on if you’re trying to court controversy. AHA knows that and so does Bill and his two elfs.

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  • Naug

    I am physically unable to watch Bill O’ Reilly for more than 30-40 seconds a piece =(

    Apathy/anger/the-need-to-vent-about-the-worlds-morons takes over and I shut down the vid.

  • http://www.secularplanet.org Secular Planet

    Well, I have to wonder how many atheists watch O’Reilly, but sure, it’s publicity.

    (1) His war on the war on Christmas gets into other media.
    (2) Atheists have to sit in waiting rooms, visit right-wing relatives, etc.

  • http://lyonlegal.blogspot.com/ Vincent

    It hurt. I felt real pain watching that. I find Bill O one of the most offensive of the fox mouthpieces.

    Anyway, how is that ad even remotely anti-Christmas? The people in the picture are clearly celebrating Christmas! (I don’t think red hats with white balls and trim are a general fashion trend)

  • http://cousinavi.wordpress.com cousinavi

    Let’s not be disingenuous, Hemant. The folks in the poster are wearing Santa hats. Now, of course, Santa is a secular character (although with some ties to a Saint…for what that’s worth), and not associated with Baby Jesus, which must be at the root of what blows lumps of coal up theistic butts (It’s CHRISTmas!!!).

    Yet another ‘of course’, I’m absolutely onside with the AHA and their campaign to promote the idea that one need not have faith to be good, nor to enjoy the “Christmas spirit” – trees and gift giving and liberally spiked egg nog…

    AND, the arguments spouted by the shouting, arrogant, bitter old loofah bag ARE stupid, backward nonsense designed to appeal to the FNC demographic…which I shall not further disparage.

    Nevertheless, the temporal coincidence of Eid, Hannukah, Christmas and Kwanza (whatever the hell that is) does not detract from the fact that this particular ad is designed to piggy back on a religious holiday…AS IT WELL SHOULD.

    The ad is NOT disrespectful to anyone’s faith or desire to celebrate the birth of Christ. It merely states that there are plenty of us who have no dog in the hunt when it comes to singing Silent Night (disclaimer: I love singing carols…many seem to have been written just for my natural baritone. I digress…)

    Further, were I trying to get out such a message, I would legitimately and wisely choose just that time of year when the faithful are all running about most commonly yammering about their little swaddling leprechaun.
    A rather slapdash analogy might be a marketing campaign targeting women which ran during Super Bowl week (if you’ll forgive the assumption that most of those wrapped up in NFL football are men).
    “Husband staring at the TV? Bring the girls and come down to the SPA on Super Bowl Sunday! Free Clinque gift bags!”
    It doesn’t prevent anyone from watching the game, does it? It merely speaks to those with no interest in football.

    The arrogance of their position – that in order to celebrate Christmas one must bow down before the cross – is beyond the comprehension of Bill O’Reilly and the audience to which he speaks. They, of course, would be offended were they to find themselves in a Muslim country and be forced to fast for Ramadan, but the cognitive dissonance with the stridently Christian is strong.

    Nevertheless, while it is true that bus signs and billboards have been going up all over the place and at all times, let’s not deny the design of THIS ad is precisely to take advantage of a religious holiday.
    It IS, and there’s nothing wrong with that. No more than the Jew, Muslim or Hindu who operates a shop in which is sold wrapping paper, ornaments and Christmas cards.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    We need one site that outlines the moral issue clearly. Atheists aren’t in agreement with this issue. But then, neither are Christians. Yet it is the cruz of fears of Theists — without God, it all falls apart !

  • TXatheist

    It’s sensationalism/shock jock reporting and that’s all Fox News is really about.

  • http://feveredintellect.blogspot.com Viggo the Carpathian

    Hmmm, I am an atheist and I celebrate Christmas. I even go to midnight mass. I like the pageantry and ritual. I just don’t buy the truth of it. I have friends who are pagans and they celebrate Christmas. They tend to put a solstice spin on it but still celebrate Christmas.
    I don’t see how it is an “attack” on Christmas to point out that you don’t have to believe it.
    The whole keep Christ in Christmas thing really annoys me for the pure historical ignorance of it. The holiday is fine I like it but these people like O’Reilly seem to think it literally is Jesus’ birthday. It isn’t. It never was. Even if it were, what difference would it make?

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-8922-Portland-Skepticism-Examiner Charlie

    There is no War on Christmas. It’s entirely manufactured by Fox News and Christian Evangelicals. The only time anyone gets grief for using the wrong holiday greeting is if they don’t say the word “Christmas.”

    I’ve challenged my friends when they tsk tsk about how everyone’s attacking Christmas…”Who have you ever heard say that we shouldn’t say ‘Merry Christmas?’ What organization is out there campaigning against celebrating Christmas?”

    At first they tell me I’m crazy, because “everyone knows there’s a War on Christmas,” but if they think about it, they start to realize they don’t know.

    Sometimes they say “the ACLU,” but the ACLU has actually fought for people’s right to celebrate Christmas in public ways (as long as it’s not government-sponsored and sectarian). If it isn’t the ACLU, PFAW, Americans United, the AA, the AHA, or any of the secular group, who the hell is fighting a war?

    Sorry…this is getting to be a pet peave of mine. I can’t believe the entire FOX-watching country falls for this bull every frigging year.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/gettingfreeftw gettingfree

    Oooo, Bill O’Reilly. We are “hunting down a baby”? Wow we “must be” horrible. Yet again a desperate emotional appeal from christianity. It’s like when people promote causes only loosely related to kids saying it’s “for the children”. By the way, would have loved it if jeebus was never anything more than a baby. But he allegedly grew up and said things that christians try to push on others or worse the christians put words in his mouth and then push that on others.

    Funny how he asks people who are on his side to answer the question of why are these ads being placed. Why not ask the atheists instead of pulling answers out of one’s own a$$??

    Because we are off of work on Dec 25th, we get together with family and exchange gifts and play games together until the wee hours of the morning. Lots of fun! I just don’t have the illusion that the reason we do this on this day is because of some god born on Earth that day. I would hardly say I am jealous of a man who gets his panties-in-a-bunch over a bus ad sign. I wouldn’t care to have that kind of meaningless, hair-trigger stress.

  • stogoe

    Now, can someone tell me where in the Bible they mention Christmas?

    Jeremiah 10: 3-4 – “3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.”

  • martin

    If Atheists loathed babies so much, we wouldn’t eat them!!! This is like asking why Christians loath lambs.

    Seriously though, I can never understand how this type of propaganda still works. How can people so blatently ignore what is spelled out for them over and over again.

    and saying “Jeremiah 10: 3-4 – “3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4 They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.”

    is talking about Christmas is hilarious because that is saying that the traditions people use for Christmas today were those of the non-christians, the pagans and it was worthless!

  • Jer

    I actually like the Christmas Nativity story. I think for a sun god birth myth it’s fairly sweet. It’s certainly far better than the Easter story which is centers so much on torture and death. (The version of the nativity in Matthew is marred a bit by the whole “then God let Herod kill off all of the Jewish babies while Jesus’s parents were hiding out in Egypt” bit that Matthew tacked on. But there are worse myths.) And it’s a better deal than, say, Horus got. At least there’s no necrophilia in the Jesus myth, and the manger scene looks nice on cards and sitting out on people’s front lawns.

    I actually get a big chuckle out of Christians getting so offensive and belligerent at Christmas time. It’s pretty much the sweetest holiday in the entire Christian calendar – there’s no focus on death, you don’t hear about Hell at Christmas, and there’s a strong encouragement to focus on thoughts of giving to others and remembering your own family. Sure it’s a holiday they inherited from pagans and reworked to fit their own needs, but it’s a nice holiday that puts forward a lot of ideas that anyone can see are good ones (which is why it’s probably the most popular secular holiday in the US). And yet some Christians just love to turn the sweetest holiday on their calendar into a time to wallow in their own self-righteousness and sense of entitlement. Stuff like that used to tick me off when I identified myself as a Christian. Nowadays it just makes me laugh at the absurdity of it all.

  • http://twitter.com/almightygod almightygod

    If they want to know why the ad was purchased, here are two ideas for how to find out:

    1. Invite the org on and ask them.

    2. Have three borderline retarded Fox personalities sit around a table and speculate.

    No surprise that they picked the wrong option.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    No God? …No problem.

    Who are the ones with the problem then?

  • http://liberalfaith.blogspot.com/ Steve Caldwell

    It’s probably good for Bill O’Reilly’s blood pressure that he wasn’t alive during the early Puritan days in New England:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_Puritan_New_England

    Apparently, the New England Anabaptists, Quakers, Congregational Puritans, and Presbyterian Puritans didn’t celebrate Christmas because the holiday was too Pagan, too Papist, and generally non-scriptural for these Protestants.

    A traditional New England Christmas would be going to work just like any other day.

  • Siamang

    AWESOME!

    Anything Bill 0′Reilly is against makes it look better. Bill0 needs to do more of these segments about atheism, once a week.

    And for me, I like watching Bill0. He doesn’t make my blood-pressure rise. I think he’s entertaining. Especially when he can’t tell one of his blonde bimbo cohosts from the other! Neither can I!!

  • http://sundialsaga.blogspot.com Modern Girl

    Cousinavi,

    I actually think that if there was a parallel ad regarding the Superbowl, it’d be this:

    An add with people wearing football jerseys, and sports logo typed font face, and text that said something like, “You can be super without watching the superbowl. Be a team player and spend Sunday doing something for humanity”

    Now, if that ad came out, would it be considered anti-football? Would it be considered anti-American? Woud it be offensive?

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Those “blonde bimbos” were smarter than O’Reilly unless you recognize that his “theory” is really all about getting better ratings… then he is actually a bit clever (although also a bit immoral).

    Personally, I don’t have anything against the baby Jesus. I just don’t like calling something a “duck” when something is not a “duck”.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com miller

    I just thought up a new ad slogan for the holidays:

    Atheists wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

    I’d like to see Bill’s reaction to that. He doesn’t seem to want atheists to celebrate Christmas. So who here is fighting a war on Christmas?

  • http://cousinavi.wordpress.com cousinavi

    @ Modern Girl

    I actually think that if there was a parallel ad regarding the Superbowl, it’d be this:

    An add with people wearing football jerseys, and sports logo typed font face, and text that said something like, “You can be super without watching the superbowl. Be a team player and spend Sunday doing something for humanity”

    Now, if that ad came out, would it be considered anti-football? Would it be considered anti-American? Woud it be offensive?

    I dunno about anti-American…but it’s definitely anti-football. Your ad asks people who would otherwise watch the game not to do so.
    I don’t think the bus ad does anything of the sort as regards Christmas.

    I submit that in order for your analogy to be accurate, the atheist bus ad would have to suggest that people forego Christmas…and that WOULD be anti-Christmas.

    It does not ask anyone who wants to celebrate Jesus not to do so; it isn’t even aimed at them. It is aimed at people who are already “without god”, just as my hypothetical was aimed at those who are already uninterested in football.

    If you want to celebrate Christ, fill your boots. If you want to watch the game, go for it.
    I’m in for the rummy egg nog, and I don’t much care what anyone else gets up to so long as they don’t force it on me.

  • Heidi

    “Just a baby,” he says. Yeah, and Anakin was all cute and cuddly in Phantom Menace, too. Just look what happens when a kid has an invisible father.

  • Lilith

    The concept of the Trinity is hard enough to wrap your head around without having to see Jesus as both baby and adult at the same time. That’s just psycho.

    I always liked the line in the Jim Croce song, Which Way Are You Going, that says:

    You say you love the baby
    But you crucify the man.

  • TXatheist

    Now the U.N. is having a “war” on xmas or at least the trees…http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/58115

  • Flah

    “Sorry…this is getting to be a pet peave of mine. I can’t believe the entire FOX-watching country falls for this bull every frigging year.”

    Charlie, I’m a xtian, and it’s a pet peeve of mine, as well. The folks promoting the so-called war aren’t concerned particularly about people saying, “happy holidays”; instead they focus on retailers who don’t instruct their employees to say “Merry Christmas”. The store owners could be axe-murderers secretly selling crack out the back door, but as long as they prominently display a creche while they hoover out your bank account, fine and dandy!

    It just seems so many Christians have to be outraged about something but willfully look away from man’s inhumanity to man or any real suffering, and create some bullshit that they can “battle” and feel good about. I usually say something along the lines of: you can wear your WWJD stuff anywhere, wear crosses around your neck, politicians pander to you, radio and TV networks are dedicated to your view, and entire schools and universities exist to propagate your teachings. And yet somehow you’re persecuted?

    Celebrate. Don’t celebrate. But stop pretending this isn’t about $$s, Bill. The rest of us will enjoy the pretty lights and look for some goodwill to man.

  • Slider

    It’s funny when “they” say atheists have nothing to celebrate on Christmas, when in fact most of the traditions people enjoy on Christmas are all pagan in origin.

  • Vas

    “…by the way Gallop says 93% of Americans identify and celebrate Christmas. 93% of Americans are not Christians. “

    Well isn’t that kind of the point of the ad? Happy atheists in Santa hats, kind of celebrating Christmas, as in “No God? No problem”. This is not a war on Christmas it’s a call for inclusiveness. I am a lifelong atheist and most years observe some sort of holiday cheer and often on December 25th to boot, (okay I’ll admit some years I skip the whole thing but not all that often). Many years I even have a tree. In fact last Friday I attended a tree trimming party at a large company that manufactures and sells sex toys! I don’t know everyone’s religious beliefs at this place, but they are for all appearances a pretty secular lot. The company has a beautiful kitchen and after work on Friday a bunch of us got together and cooked a wonderful meal and sat around the large dining table and enjoyed our feast. Afterwards we decorated the offices with garlands and lights and trimmed a great big Christmas tree with traditional American Christmas music blaring the whole time, (fine the music was a bit annoying but some of them wanted that holiday feeling). No God, No problem. They were all good people and we had a good time. As a result I find myself all full of “Christmas spirit” even this early in the month. This same company is planning an official Christmas party in a few weeks. So fine you Foxes you can count me and the three happy people in the ad and a whole bunch of other atheists among that “93% of American who identify and celebrate Christmas”, some of us just do it without God, big deal. Christians don’t have an exclusive hold on Christmas. We all know, (yes even the Christians) it’s a winter solstice event that has been going on in some form for quite a long time, something to hold us over until the vernal equinox, it’s fun in the face of winter and anyone can jump in and celebrate, some wish to inject their gods into it, some don’t. As to the suggestion that the ad is a “direct and deliberate smear against Christianity” that is just a flat out bizarre persecution complex fueled by those troublesome polls Gretchen mentions, “more and more Americans are atheist and agnostic, and they’re seeing that growing movement…” they are beginning to reject “what comes with Christianity… traditional values”. Well okay sure if your goal is to have everybody fall in line with your beliefs and values I can see how that might make you feel like there is some kind of war going on even if you are the only one fighting in this war. But less people following your dictate does not really amount to a war. As for Mr. O’Reilly thinking we are jealous that is, again, just bizarre, “what do atheists have in December” ah let’s see Bill… give me a minute… oh yeah, Christmas, we get presents, we have fun, we have a celebration. The talking head women have that right, come on Bill “you don’t think atheists exchange presents?” , and the this little gem, (to Bill) “I think you’re nuts, I think you’re crazy” I guess every now and then the truth slips out on Fox” News”.

  • Claudia

    “Just a baby,” he says. Yeah, and Anakin was all cute and cuddly in Phantom Menace, too. Just look what happens when a kid has an invisible father.

    Quite honestly, I found Anakin annoying from his whiny little boy stage to his insufferable teenage brat stage.

    @Flah I’d like to think that there is a large group of people who are like you but that the idiots are just louder. I don’t really think I could beleive in a god even if his followers tended to be people who dedicated themselves to helping “the least amongst them” and not to hypocritical faux-victimhood, but I know my general opinion of Christianity would change radically. Merry Christmas ;)

  • Heidi

    Quite honestly, I found Anakin annoying from his whiny little boy stage to his insufferable teenage brat stage.

    Yeah, but he really only got bad once he opened his mouth. He looked cute when he was just a poster.

  • Richard Wade

    O’Really should be on the Olympic team, in the long jump event. It’s a superhuman leap from “Be good for goodness’ sake” to “We hate the baby Jesus.” He can soar over so many steps that he must think the alphabet is A,B,Z.

    I’m pretty sure that at least half of the Christians in the U.S. think that Un’Ruly is an idiotic blowhard and an embarrassment every time he opens his mouth about Christianity. But they just don’t care enough to denounce him, or they don’t want to risk him turning his ludicrous rants on them.

  • http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com Mariano

    The ads are mere propaganda that answers to an argument that no one has made. The claim is not that atheists lack of morals but lack of moral premise, lack of ethos.

    It is also a reprinting of their ads from last year:
    http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com/2008/11/another-atheist-charity-huge-success.html

    Yet again, during a time of the year when people are generally more inclined towards charity—peace on earth and good will towards non-gender specific personages—atheists are busily collecting hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars during a time of recession not in order to help anyone in real material need but in order to purchase bill boards and bus ads whereby they seek to demonstrate, to themselves, just how clever they are—need any more be said?

  • Flah

    but I know my general opinion of Christianity would change radically.

    @Claudia: mine too, honey, mine too. Merry Christmas back at ya.

  • ckitching

    It’s a good thing that Bill started talking over one of his lackies there. They came dangerously close to a real point.

    “By the way, Gallup says, 93% of Americans identify and celebrate Christmas. 93% of Americans are not Christian!

    If you think about this, this paints the holiday in a very different light than just a solemn religious celebration that Bill and Fiends seem to want to paint. Take away those who religiously don’t celebrate holidays (like JWs), or those that celebrate rival holidays that occupy the same calendar days (like Hanukkah), and you’re left with a lot of non-Christians celebrating a holiday for secular reasons.

    I liked the fatwa-envy, too. ‘They wouldn’t dare say something like this about MUSLIMS!!!!!‘ They can, and would. This veiled threat does not seem to exemplify the values Christians like to say their religion teaches.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    It just seems so many Christians have to be outraged about something but willfully look away from man’s inhumanity to man or any real suffering, and create some bullshit that they can “battle” and feel good about. I usually say something along the lines of: you can wear your WWJD stuff anywhere, wear crosses around your neck, politicians pander to you, radio and TV networks are dedicated to your view, and entire schools and universities exist to propagate your teachings. And yet somehow you’re persecuted?

    Flah — Hear, hear! I wish more Christians could see it that way.

  • muggle

    I’m just still laughing at this. You heard it. Bill O’Reilly admitted the Christ Child was “just a baby”! We Atheists should be playing this clip all over the damned place!

    Even those two vacant headed Malibu barbies laughed at him and called him crazy. If even they can’t take him seriously, do we have anything to fear from him.

    I think I’ll keep laughing.

  • Carlie

    I’ve decided that any time someone goes into a rant about the war on Christmas in my hearing, my response is going to be “I didn’t realize you were an anti-Semite”. Or, in case they don’t know what that means, maybe I should say “I didn’t realize you hate Jews.”
    I mean really, for a group that likes to claim solidarity with Israel and talk about “Judeo-Christian values”, they sure like to throw them under the bus all the time.

  • Brian Macker

    Most of the great stuff about xmas is secular or based on pagan traditions. Cutting the tree down and decorating it, gift swapping, celebration of the season, the feast, etc. I’m sure xmas cards have more to do with Hallmark than christianity. Christmas caroling started with beggars looking for a handout.

    The boring stuff, going to church, which almost no one does, is due to Christianity.

    Same goes for the other “Christian” holidays stolen from the pagans.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    Those poor, poor christians…

  • Pingback: O’Reilly: They Hate The Baby Jesus! | Miscellanea Agnostica

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Isn’t Christmas mentioned in the Old Testament? lol

    Seriously, it seems the publicity these people crave and how they are so offended by a neutral message that isn’t even directed at them. Most of these “No God” ads are directed at people that are already atheists.

    Once again, it’s the fear that their fairly tale-laced majority will somehow decline if people feel like they can be freethinkers.


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