Christmas Becoming More Secular

Thursday, December 19, 2013

There is some interesting polling data out regarding the upcoming holiday:

[O]nly a little more than half [of Americans] actually regard the [Christmas] holiday primarily as a religious celebration.

More than one-third say it's more a cultural holiday, a new poll from Pew Research's Religion & Public Life Policy found.
This calls to mind Leonard Peikoff's classic essay, "Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial", which concludes:
America's tragedy is that its intellectual leaders have typically tried to replace happiness with guilt by insisting that the spiritual meaning of Christmas is religion and self-sacrifice for Tiny Tim or his equivalent. But the spiritual must start with recognizing reality. Life requires reason, selfishness, capitalism; that is what Christmas should celebrate -- and really, underneath all the pretense, that is what it does celebrate. It is time to take the Christ out of Christmas, and turn the holiday into a guiltlessly egoistic, pro-reason, this-worldly, commercial celebration.
Earlier in the piece, Peikoff reminds us that Christmas actually originated as a celebration of the winter solstice, with Christians reluctantly taking it over when it proved impossible to kill off.

Assuming the poll numbers are accurate, they may represent a hopeful cultural trend. My headline would have been different, however: "Half of Americans Have Ceased Injecting Faith into Christmas."

-- CAV

P.S. My odd desire to be able to read the content of the Washington Times piece led me to save it to Instapaper first, stripping out whatever ad or script was causing my browser to repeatedly move things around. That reminds me further that there is -- finally -- an official Instapaper app for Android devices. It costs only a few bucks, and I have been quite happy with it so far.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Let's just hope that 90% of that 50% don't think so simply because they are opposed to strong convictions as such. In other words: they consider it their "religious duty" to denigrate their own religious beliefs by saying that they don't take them seriously, simply because their deeper "religion" is Kantian skepticism.