Somebody needs to tell Ross Douthat about the winter solstice

Monday, December 20th, 2010 · 14 Comments »

An actual sentence by an actual New York Times columnist on how hard Christmas is for Christians:

“Their great feast is compromised by Christmukkwanzaa multiculturalism.”

I understand the point though about not wanting things to get muddled. December 25 is already the birthday of Mithras and Sol Invictus; why bring Jesus into it? And most of us are much too busy wrapping Saturnalia presents and putting up Freya lights on the Yule tree to deal with churchy stuff.

Here’s a thought: maybe Christians should move their imaginary birthday celebration to the off-season. August, maybe. Everybody goes on vacation then anyway.

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14 Responses to “Somebody needs to tell Ross Douthat about the winter solstice”

  1. myiq2xu says:

    What about Festivus?

    “A holiday for the rest of us!”

  2. Melinda says:

    Not a Christian, but I think it takes a huge jackass to say to Christians that they should get used to living in a society that will be more and more like the Roman Empire from 2,000 years ago. That’s like telling Jews that we should get used to living in a society that’s more and more like Nazi Germany. I know that’s almost certainly not what Douthat meant, but that he has no idea what the Roman Empire of that era represents to Christians or what it was objectively like and pretends that it was some peaceful multicultural society makes him even more of a jackass.

  3. Three Wickets says:

    Guess he would prefer a time when it moved north and became the Holy Roman Empire. A solid majority.

  4. Ciardha says:

    Heh, I like your snarky thought. The whining about saying “Happy Holidays” from the right wing Christians makes me want to throw out the real history of why their holiday is so near to old pagan holy days. Heh, we pagans should start complaining about how Christian stole our holy days whenever possible when a Christian whiner starts on one of those rants. I’m sorely tempted at times….

  5. LC says:

    Also, isn’t there good evidence that within the Bible proper, the implication is that Jesus was born in the spring?

  6. Violet Socks says:

    Jesus died in the spring. The birth stories are fairy tales that got attached to the Jesus cult many, many decades after he lived.

  7. Melinda says:

    Violet’s right. 1st century rabbinical tradition meant that (with extremely few exceptions) neither a rabbi nor his followers would write down his teachings or his story, but would instead pass them orally. It wasn’t until after the exile that the rabbis started the written tradition. This period (about 70 a.d.) coincides with the first writings about Jesus. The earliest of these writings had nothing to do with his birth and were far closer to Jewish tradition. (Every other Orthodox Jew thinks his rabbi is the messiah. j.k.) The birth story may have been added later as a way to insult Rome since Caesar held the title “Son of G-d”.

  8. Melinda says:

    Three Wickets: Perhaps. I would hope so anyway since 2000 years ago, Rome wasn’t exactly good for Christians or Jews.

  9. tinfoil hattie says:


  10. Mary Tracy says:

    What an EXCELLENT post. Well said, Violet.

  11. tinfoil hattie says:

    Eh, I keep reading “Ross Douchehat” when I see Ross Douthat.

  12. JeanLouise says:

    I’m a long-time reader of this blog and a liberal Christian. I thought that Douthat’s article was pretty good. He could’ve been more sensitive to the other major religions which no doubt feel overshadowed by the Christmas hoopla but he did call out the tacky part of Christmas and the fake Fox-generated seasonal culture wars.
    His point, as I understood it, was that Christians need to find a way to fit into today’s multi-cultural world – not a demand that others fit into a Christian dominant society.

  13. lambert strether says:

    First good laugh I’ve had all week!

  14. angus says:

    Xmas is golden summer days, relaxation and mellowing with family. To stick it in the middle of winter, thats just too weird a concept it’ll never work.