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A Skeptical Christmas

A Skeptical Christmas December 5, 2018

If you’re looking for holiday gift ideas, let me suggest my two novels. The apologetic argument becomes something of an additional character in Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey. It’s the story of a young man torn between two mentors, an atheist and his pastor, as he struggles to make the Christian case in the aftermath of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival.

A Modern Christmas Carol is a reworking of Dickens’ classic, in which a shrewdly successful televangelist receives unexpected Christmas visitors: first, his long-dead partner, and then three ghostly guides. Finally able to acknowledge the shallowness of his message and doubts he has long suppressed, he makes amends with far-reaching consequences.

Here are my Christmas-themed posts:

  • The virgin birth story is a popular one in the list of supposed fulfilled biblical prophecies. When you actually read it, however, it’s startling how many ways this claim falls apart.
  • I summarize the argument behind Rick Larson’s popular Christian attempt to find a scientific explanation for the story of the Star of Bethlehem here (and critique that argument here).
  • A very different interpretation of the Star of Bethlehem story comes from an atheist source in the Zeitgeist movie (here). I don’t think much of that one, either (critique here).
  • The War on Christmas™ seems to come sooner every year, doesn’t it? Some Christians seem to enjoy being offended, and the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue is a professional at it. Literally—it’s his job. In one end-of-the-year survey, he thought he found a juicy factoid with which to attack the atheists, but it blew up in his face.
  • Stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt demolished a pop song and taught an important lesson about how God doesn’t work at Christmas: “How Christianity Infantilizes Adults.”
  • A parable about two kids arguing about evidence for Santa has interesting parallels with evidence for Jesus. Be careful about dismissing the existence of Santa, because that reasoning may demand that you dismiss Jesus as well.
  • In 2013, in what was must have been a War-on-Christmas miracle, I was given a copy of Sarah Palin’s newly released Good Tidings and Great Joy to review. I had a few thoughts. Here’s the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of that book.

Until it’s legal to once again say “Merry Christmas,” I’ll have to be content with “Happy Holidays”!

We cannot know that Santa definitely doesn’t exist. 
This is technically true. 
But what’s your best guess? 
Go on. Be bold. 
— Ricky Gervais

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Image from Donnie Ray Jones, CC license
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