Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas and Christianity

The Pope warns against materialism at Christmas. The Pope is a serious Christian. As Leonard Peikoff writes, the best thing about Christmas as it is celebrated in America is that it has nothing to do with Christianity.

1 comment:

McGroarty said...

I'd love to see Objectivist weblogs start recirculating this as we enter each Christmas season. Even some of my more staunchly liberal friends reacted positively when I passed it around last year:

Is it appropriate for an atheist to celebrate Christmas?

Ayn Rand answers:

"Yes, of course. A national holiday, in this country, cannot have an exclusively religious meaning. The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any particular religion: it is good will toward men -- a frame of mind which is not the exclusive property (though it is supposed to be part, but is a largely unobserved part) of the Christian religion.

"The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: 'Merry Christmas' -- not 'Weep and Repent.' And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form -- by giving presents to one's friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance....

"The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift-buying is good for business and good for the country's economy; but, more importantly in this context, it stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decoration put up by department stores and other institutions -- the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors -- provide the city with a spectacular display, which only 'commercial greed' could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you."

I first saw this on Robert Tracy's weblog.