New Book Gazes Skeptically at the Star of Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem, as told in the Bible and other myths, did some impressive things that stars don’t normally do, moving in different directions, hovering in one spot, oh, and heralding the birth of the messiah. But what, if anything, was really going on?

Kimberly Winston of the Religion News Service recently interviewed Aaron Adair, the author of a new book on the subject, The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View, and they run through some of the theories, ruling many of them out. Comets and supernovae, for example, don’t fit the picture. But one idea that sticks out to me, and also to Winston, is that the “star” may have been something a little more mechanical in nature [Read more…]

John Hagee: Atheists Can Leave the Country if They Don’t Like Christmas Displays

John Hagee, he who says Hurricane Katrina was sent by God to warn us about the dangers of The Gay, he who thinks the Holocaust had some theological merit for nudging those stubborn Jews toward accepting Jesus, would like us all to leave.

Hagee, in this video, begins with the straw man of the atheist who is horrified at being told “Merry Christmas,” gives the usual blather about the U.S. being founded as a Christian nation (it wasn’t), and then suggests that if we don’t like religious displays on government property, we can just leave the country. [Read more…]

Nasty Church Volunteers Almost Ruin a Family’s Christmas, But Atheists Save the Day

What an odd flare-up! In Chickasha, Oklahoma, Tiffany Wait and her husband brought their 7-month-old baby to the Bible Baptist Church’s toy shop for Christmas presents that the church gives away for families in need. But things got weird and nasty.

According to the Chickasha News, the church volunteers insisted that Wait hand her baby over, but I can’t make out why. To receive the gift? To be blessed or something? Just to cuddle? I don’t know.

Wait said her baby doesn’t like strangers and she’d prefer to be with him. She said the volunteer said it has to be done this way, or the family wouldn’t be able to participate.

“I stood there, fighting back tears and asked, ‘You would turn a baby away on Christmas,'” said Wait.

The volunteers held their ground, according to Wait and one woman tried to forcibly take her child.

[Read more…]

The War on Christmas: Ken Burns Edition

Slate reimagines the War on Christmas as if it were a Ken Burns documentary:



[Read more…]

How Did Hanukkah Get Lumped In with Christmas?

There is no shortage of exasperation about the hypercommercialism of Christmas. Secular or devout Christian, it’s not news that the Dickensian ideal of enjoying time with one’s family with some drinking and music and feating upon a big goose is gone, replaced with an overwhelming and mind-numbing consumeristic orgy of overspending, overeating, and over-stressing.

Or maybe that’s just me.

But one aspect of the holiday season that gets less attention is just how Hanukkah managed to get lumped in with the whole mess. [Read more…]


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