(Alternate title: War On Christmas 2009, Part 7.)

Bill O’Reilly is the most visible proponent of “the War on Christmas” trope, these days. It’s a battle he’s waged annually for several years. It comes as no surprise, then, that he’s come out against the current spate of freethinkers’ advertising efforts. He attributes this to hatred of “the Baby Jesus”:

Note what O’Reilly says:

Why do they loathe the baby Jesus? He’s just a baby…How do you sell atheism by running down a baby? It’s just a baby.

As usual, O’Reilly has made up his mind about what atheists and other freethinkers are thinking, based on his own subjective determinations. He has no idea what they actually think … and probably could never do so, even if he wanted to. I can’t speak for the “atheists” O’Reilly is railing against, but I can speak for myself, as a supporter of these advertising campaigns:

I can’t “loathe the baby Jesus,” Mr O’Reilly, because I’m not even sure there ever was a baby Jesus! As it turns out, not even you know it with certainty … which is why Christianity can only be taken on faith. Jesus’ existence is not a matter of fact or of history … and barring a major discovery, it never will be. I cannot “loathe” what I don’t even know ever existed.

Second, Mr O’Reilly, when you call the founder of your religion a “baby,” you do him a disservice. If he lived … and if he did even a few of the things Christians have attributed to him over the centuries … then he was definitely no “baby.” He was a man, a teacher, and — again, if Christianity is to be believed — a healer and a redeemer. For you to refer to him casually as a “baby” essentially dismisses all of that, and relegates Jesus Christ to a mere idol … an idol “wrapped in swaddling clothes,” sitting in a manger in Bethlehem. If all he is to you is a “baby,” Mr O’Reilly, then all of his teachings, his parables, the Sermon on the Mount, his healings, the “signs” associated with him, his death, and even his resurrection, all of that, may as well never have happened.

I’m not sure you intended to dismiss the entire career of the founder of your religion … but essentially that’s what you did.

One more thing, Mr O’Reilly … you say “atheists” are “jealous of Christians” because they have a holiday. Well, that isn’t quite true. Thanks to centuries of Christianity, much of it militant — and thanks more recently to your bellicose caterwauling — everyone in the US has Christmas rammed down our throats. Everyone in the US — Christian and otherwise — has Christmas as a holiday. We can’t avoid it. It’s in our faces, for several weeks every year. “Jealous”? How can that be? Because Christians have Christmas and we non-believers don’t? Non-believers do have Christmas — whether we want it or not. And it’s people like you, Mr O’Reilly, who annually ensure we get more of it than we could possibly want!

Note: O’Reilly’s column on this subject may be found here.

Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith and the Friendly Atheist.

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