Oh the Joy of the Winter Solstice!


In case you haven’t heard, Atheists are out sharing their “Winter Solstice” joy with everyone again this year.  And now the Governor of Washington is letting them do so by allowing an anti-religion sign (celebrating the winter solstice) to be displayed next to the Nativity scene this Christmas season.

What does the celebration of the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year – have to do with bashing Christianity and religion?  Apparently a lot (Maybe it’s like singing carols and giving gifts to the needy?).  Just read their sign:

So aside from the ongoing debate about whether this kind of obvious attack against a particular religion or federal holiday should be given such a podium and allowed as some kind of freedom of expression, I believe there is something much more interesting here.

As Christians, we often remain on the defensive with attacks like this.  Which is natural since we are being attacked, offended, and accused of having hardened hearts and enslaved minds.  We should defend ourselves.  And we should also remind everyone that it is far more reasonable to believe in God than to absolutely deny Him.

But we often lose sight of how horribly embarrassing this is for atheists.  Look at this sign.  It is indicative of the entire atheist argument.

They have nothing to offer us.  All they can do is attack what we have.  It is the very nature of being an atheist.  For being an atheist isn’t about believing in something – it’s about believing in nothing.

They say forget the goodness you’ve found in religion…instead, here…enjoy nothing.  Sure, it means there is absolutely no purpose to your existence.  In fact, there really isn’t anything to live for.  Except, of course, to bash and tear down religion…yes, this gives us purpose.

How sad.

They have nothing to give us.  All they can do is take away and twist what is good.  Sound familiar?  That’s because it’s the definition of evil.  Evil is not something.  Every evil is a deprivation or abuse of a good.

So here we are very reasonably celebrating the incarnation of God Himself.  He’s come to meet us in person and redeem the world.

And then you offer us…the winter solstice?  Oh what joy you must have.

The winter solstice is the shortest day of the year.  That means it is the day with the least amount of daylight and the most amount of darkness.  Atheists apparently celebrate this darkness.

The light of Christ is the greatest contrast to this darkness (one of the reasons the Church celebrates the birth of Christ during the darkest time of the year).

But I guess it all makes sense, really.  If I were an atheist, and therefore had absolutely no purpose in life, I guess I would wish the days were a lot shorter too.  Hooray for the shortest day of the year!

24 comments Add comment

Phil December 9, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Just curious if you think “agnostics have absolutely no purpose in life” – do you?

“If I were an atheist, and therefore had absolutely no purpose in life, I guess I would wish the days were a lot shorter too.”

Phil December 9, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Sorry, my quoting you should have started at “absolutely… and not at “agnostics…

Matthew Warner December 9, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Atheists are very different than agnostics.

But to be more precise – I don’t think anyone has NO purpose. I personally believe that we all have a purpose regardless of whether or not somebody recognizes that or believes that themselves.

But IF I thought that “there is only our natural world” as atheists in this sign above claim then I’m not sure what grounds I could claim any purpose? Can you?

And when I talk of purpose here I’m talking of a purpose that matters in an absolute sense.

When we’re talking of only a temporal existence, no matter what we accomplish, how much we suffer, or how much we learn in the end we’re all dead and nobody will be around to care. In the end, ANY temporal existence is reduced to exactly NOTHING when compared to eternity or something outside of time. We are insignificant – unless there is God.

Agnostics, as I would understand it, at least are open to the possibility of having a purpose and are hopefully searching that possibility out. Therefore, they are exactly infinitely more hopeful than an atheist.

Laurence Gonzaga December 10, 2008 at 10:42 am

This is great… keep it up… Happy Solstice to everyone… As a former atheist, I have to agree… I always had an axe to grind with all religious people… It was as if, I wanted everyone to be miserable… and yet, claiming to have their interest in mind by preaching, “do whatever you want, so long as you don’t harm anyone”… that is, except for the harm in bashing religion… atheism is a religion of contradictions, probably more than the alleged contradictions Christianity has.

cathrin December 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm


Jack du Toit December 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm

I’m all for freedom of expression, but that sign is completely inappropriate. Even Christian signs or nativity scenes convey love, happiness and joy, not hate and resentment. Stuff like that sign is childish.

Andrew Baker December 10, 2008 at 7:29 pm

I’m just wondering whether you’d agree that the purpose of the sign, namely to promote “reason” during the season, is frustrated by the display of the sign itself. As is often the case, efforts to discourage religiosity (Christianity in particular) fail because they result in dialogue and are met with impassioned commentaries such as yours. Whatever initial attention signs might garner for atheists’ views is quickly drowned-out by the push-back that inevitably results. I guess what I’m saying is that at the end of the day it’s a net gain for Christianity and the atheists are actually worse off for having spurred, once again, the call to arms of those willing to defend the faith. The more often atheists promote “reason,” the greater the opportunity for frank discussions about Christ and the significance of the season emerge. One need only be prepared to engage in the discussion.

Matthew Warner December 10, 2008 at 8:01 pm

That’s exactly my point. If their sole purpose was to promote “reason” then why the attack against Christianity? Why not present their “reasonable” view and why it is so reasonable that they believe we should celebrate the winter solstice and believe in NO God?

The answer, I believe, is that they can’t. Otherwise they would do it. All they do is tell us how what we believe is so wrong. They have nothing to offer us in the positive.

But I agree with you. We must see the positive from each of these incidents and engage in the discussion…and do so in a way that shares the hope and substance of Christ. Such a discussion only reveals their argument for what it is…a bunch of nothing.

Jack du Toit December 11, 2008 at 10:51 am

Whoa now. I would not say that an Atheists argument is a bunch of nothing. I would argue that is what they try and say about Christianity. In that context, both arguments are nothing. There are things Atheists can learn from Christianity that would benefit them greatly, likewise there are things about Atheism that could aid Christianity greatly. What benefits NO ONE is the senseless bickering and insults that the two seem to habitually exchange.

Paul December 11, 2008 at 12:31 pm

I celebrate the solstice twice per year, which gives me a balance. I cry over the lack of light and then jump with glee at the surfeit of it. I hope that the morrow of the Winter solstice will bring more light and mourn at the despair that the morrow in June will beging the decline of it. So I have a mixture of emotions going on. All you Christians have is love, love and more love; hope, hope and more hope. How boring can you get?

Matthew Warner December 11, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Excellent point, Paul! :-) It’s healthy to have balance in one’s life.

Jack – atheism is a belief that there is NO God. A belief based on the non-existence of something is a belief in a “nothing.” So it’s an argument for nothing. That is what I meant.

And I suppose all of these wonderful things that you claim Atheism offers Christianity just didn’t make the cut for the Winter Solstice sign? I’m confused. Please let us in on the wonderful things Atheism has to offer us that Christianity does not? I’m all ears…

Paul Nichols December 15, 2008 at 1:58 pm

You have to wonder if the Gov’nuh would allow special “disclaimer” or “protest” signs for all the other days that the State just happens to recognize (whether or not it endorses that particular day):

Would she allow the KKK to offer a sign to protest MLK day? My guess is no.
Would she allow the Angry Singles Assocition to protest St. Valentine’s Day?
How about a sign from the Concerned British Americans against St. Patrick’s Day?
Or how about —-

Yes, all of it is a bit ridiculous. But the point is that she’d never allow any other type of Public Wet Blanket like the one she’s allowed on Christmas.

Any you’re correct about Atheism, Matthew. It’s one thing to be agnostic, but it’s something altogether else to “believe” in the LACK of something.

Those of us who believe in God can’t obviously prove His existence, and those who believe that God doesn’t exist can’t prove that negative either. But they claim that WE’RE the nutcases…

Fr. Joseph McShane December 16, 2008 at 3:20 am

The above website is a link to a site which tells the conversion of an agnostic Jew, Alphonse Ratisbonne. He was particular known amongst the wealthy banking families of Germany and Europe for his hatred of the Catholic Faith. In brief, after accepting a Miraculous Medal to prove his friend wrong, The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and knocked him off his feet. She gave him the grace of infused knowledge of the Catholic Faith by which he understood all its teachings and truth in doctrine. Well, Alphonse begged to be baptized a Catholic, he broke off his wedding engagement and he became a Catholic priest, going to the Holy Land with his blood brother, who was also a priest, to work for the conversion of his people. Agnostics and Atheist take up the Miraculous Medal Challenge! Wear a Blessed Miraculous Medal and pray daily the Marian Prayer, the Memorare.

Laurie Weiss December 17, 2008 at 4:56 pm

I take exception to the generalization that individuals that celebrate the winter solstice are all atheists. I don’t call myself a christian, however I am deeply spiritual. It is unfortunate that those individuals chose to attack the christian faith. A belief system is a very personal thing and should never be attacked. If one is truly spiritual they respect all beliefs and understand that we are all on the same path headed in the same direction. So let’s stop the name calling and get on with life. There is a divine light in each of us. Let’s honor each other by embracing our diversity.

Laurence Gonzaga December 18, 2008 at 3:27 am

“A belief system is a very personal thing and should never be attacked. If one is truly spiritual they respect all beliefs and understand that we are all on the same path headed in the same direction.” – Laurie Weiss

Hi Laurie,
That’s the problem… our belief system does not believe what you believe… We believe that two contraries cannot be true at the same time. Incidentally, science agrees, the law of non-contradiction…


Laurie Weiss December 18, 2008 at 6:46 am

Hi Lawrence,

That’s my point. I don’t see this as a “problem”. It’s okay that our believe systems aren’t the same. There is no right and wrong here. That’s the beauty of this perfect universe :-) We are all talking about the same thing – the divine. How one defines the define is purely personal preference, nothing else.

“Deep peace of the winter solstice to you.
Deep peace of the falling snow to you.
Deep peace of the love of friends to you.
Deep peace of the gentle deer to you.
Deep peace of the moon and stars to you.”

Laurence Gonzaga December 18, 2008 at 8:53 am

Laurie says: “There is no right and wrong here.”

Well, one example, you state that we are all on the same road leading to the same place. We disagree. Buddhism is not on the same road as Islam, and Islam with Christianity. So, if you were to be consistent, you would have to be okay with the fact that we disagree, and alow us our position the there IS a problem.


mommadona December 26, 2008 at 12:33 pm

What a nasty little post.

As a traditional witch, I demand the Catholic Church STOP ABUSING MY RITUAL DAYS.

Pathetic. You can’t keep your ‘own’ interested, so your ancestors when about taking over MY RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS to boost your ‘attendances’.

Pretty nasty and insidious.

Just like a snake in a tree.

Mary October 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Oh dear, this post is a doozy. Where to start?

First off, I agree with you at the outset of your tirade. That sign is designed more to put down Christianity than it is to promote the celebration of the Winter solstice. Not sure what the creator of the sign had planned there, usually that kind of rhetoric does more harm than good. If I were a conspiracy theorist like you seem to be, I might suggest that a Christian put that sign up to get a response. But, of course, I don’t actually believe that. There are loads of idiots out there angry at Christianity for one reason or another. (Not that they’re idiots for being angry at Christianity, they’re idiots for thinking this sign would help their cause)

Also, one thing on the Winter solstice bit – I don’t see anywhere in your text where you acknowledge that the Winter solstice is the reason Christmas is placed where it was [I’m assuming you’ve accepted that as historical fact, given the ridiculously overwhelming amount of historical evidence for it]. You don’t seem to realize it, however, since you later bash atheists for celebrating the “darkest day of the year”. Clever spin work there, but our Pagan ancestors also celebrated the lightest day of the year, which you fail to mention, possibly because it doesn’t spin as nicely. In case you haven’t heard, Pagan culture was supplanted in the middle part of the 1st millennium by a very successful middle eastern campaign that used a brilliant iconography-swap strategy to gain a foothold in Europe. And the rest is history.

Now, to disparage the atheist argument by declaring “They have nothing to offer us” is only playing into their arguments, as atheists frequently claim that Christians only believe what they do because of the results it implies. Remember that merely because you personally would have trouble finding meaning in the world described by Atheists doesn’t mean that their argument is false. In some way, you could use your argument to fight a skeptical child’s argument that “there is no Santa Claus” by declaring “anti-santaclausists offer us what? No presents? No reindeer? What’s in it for me if I believe THAT idea?”.

Then you go on to outright declare atheism as “the definition of evil”. Not pulling any punches there, clearly. Now I’ve heard your definition of good, and I find it highly manipulated so that you can arrive at a conclusion such as you have here. I find that line of logic to be shameful. There are a lot of atheists that have done a lot of good in this world, and for you to label them as evil (or at least their guiding principles as evil) is ignorant and short-sided, as I don’t believe you even comprehend the number of good people you’ve just condemned with those easy-to-say words.

Now I know your counter argument involves, once again, the old favorite of asserting that good is God (the Christian God) and therefore atheism is evil by definition. I’ve heard it before, it isn’t an objective argument (I could just as easily define good in some other way), and, more importantly, it doesn’t even come close to passing the self-evident truth test (as I believe that all truth is self-evident over the long run). Much of the evil acts committed in the long, bloody history of mankind have been done in the name of one God or another, or earlier, one set of Gods over Gods another set. Furthermore, using history as my guide, I’ve observed that the concept of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ predate the modern organized religions by thousands of years and thus would mistakenly be defined in terms of religion. I know you disagree. I know you’ll say the Christian God existed even while nobody believed in him, clear back to the days before Jericho, before agriculture, before civilization. Can’t win that point, just wanted to illustrate a contrary opinion.

Also, I’d like you to back up the assertion that “it is far more reasonable to believe in God than to absolutely deny Him” with something objective. I say objective because you used the adjective ‘reasonable’, and reason comes from reaching a conclusion based on objective evidence. Defending this claim will take some effort.

Mike October 20, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Well put Mary.

Matthew Warner October 20, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Seriously, Mike? Mary, i’m not sure you even read my post. But thanks for your “tirade.”

You said

“I don’t see anywhere in your text where you acknowledge that the Winter solstice is the reason Christmas is placed where it was [I’m assuming you’ve accepted that as historical fact, given the ridiculously overwhelming amount of historical evidence for it]. You don’t seem to realize it, however, since you later bash atheists for celebrating the “darkest day of the year”. Clever spin work there…”

So when I said that the contrast of the winter solstice to the the light of Christ is “one of the reasons the Church celebrates the birth of Christ during the darkest time of the year” was what then? (birth of Christ = Christmas – btw). And Christians do so because it is in stark contrast to fallen man and the darkest day of the year…not because the Church celebrates the darkest day of the year itself!

And then you accuse me saying

Then you go on to outright declare atheism as “the definition of evil”.

And where exactly did I do that? What I said is that “twisting a good” (or a privation of it of course) is the definition of evil. And that’s true.

As for evidence of a God, there is far more evidence for a God than for not. Look around. Everything around us is contingent on something else. I don’t want to side track the discussion in the comment section here. But there are plenty of logical, reasoned, objective proofs of God (read Aquinas as a start). You can disagree or believe them if you like. But there are no such proofs or evidence that no God exists or that something (our existence) came from nothing. Everything we see has come from something. There is not a shred of proof and not one single example of anything ever coming from nothing. Simply based on that it is far more reasonable to believe that everything came from something (God) and not nothing (Atheism). But again, this is not about proof for the existence of God. This is about a ridiculous sign that offers NOTHING and is entirely aimed at attacking Christians.

I enjoy a good conversation and it’s fine to disagree. But at least disagree with what I actually said and be thoughtful in your comments. You’ve left a number of comments on the blog here on different posts and every one of them was in the same spirit and equally as deceptive.

Mark December 3, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I guess is is kind of fitting for atheists, since they change there colors just like the seasons.

allie December 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm

A better approach by the “winter solstice celebrants” would have been to offer an acknowledgement of the holiday, it’s history, it’s significance – anything/something to reflect it’s meaning as the event is not defined by whether one believes or doesn’t believe in a god. What I really find troubling are the comments by those who believe that the non-believers have no purpose. This suggests that those who do believe have only one purpose, that being to “meet their maker” at the end. Does that purpose really have any significance in the here and now and the life they are living presently. Living for the day (with intent and purpose), not just for eternity, might give us all a bit more of a purposeful existence.

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