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Rory
Post  Post subject: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:40 pm
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Why do we continue, year upon year, engaging in the pompous charade that is Christmas?

If Christmas is really about the celebration of Jesus' birth and his life and message more generally, then why do upwards of 90% of the UK population (most of whom are not active church-going Christians) participate slavishly in the paraphenalia of Christmas celebrations?

For the average secular family, that means putting up kitsch decorations and exchanging commercial gifts as well as eating a meal together.

Is the complicity due to the reinforcement effect? I.e. so long as >50% of the herd participate in gift-giving then the rest of the herd are obliged to reciprocate. So then how do you topple a tradition that is not susceptible to demise by changing individual behaviour? Strike at the bottom of the jenga?

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 8:43 pm
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the point of christmas is getting you through the darkest part of the winter with the longest nights by spending it with your family having fun, carousing and drinking + eating far too much

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 1:35 am
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I'd also suggest it's no longer primarily about celebrating Jesus, but has instead become a secular holiday where we take hard earned time off from work, congregate, break bread together, share gifts, and generally just remind ourselves of our core humanity and priorities in life. It's a celebration of the year we just completed, a time to rest and take a deep breath in before we start the new year ahead.

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scoobydoo1
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 2:03 am
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Rory wrote:
Why do we continue, year upon year, engaging in the pompous charade that is Christmas?

I suppose this is due to the holiday being infused into your culture through many years of practice. It is a sociocultural phenomenon that I suspect began with the practice of celebrating a festive day even when the significance behind the celebration has no bearing to you on a personal/cultural level. This is commonly witnessed when non-Chinese participate in our lunar holiday celebrations and even practice the local cultural traditions of giving and receiving "red packets" and mandarin oranges when visiting the homes of both friends and families during the holiday season.

I would think that continuing a religio-cultural practice that has no significance on a personal level was cultivated as a means of integrating an outgroup with an ingroup; with the primary purpose of promoting and/or achieving social cohesion.


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:16 am
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All good points. marnix, the purpose that you state is one that is worth keeping. Perhaps a better idea would be to remove altogether the religious reference and especially the nauseating reference to Santa. Children would probably benefit more from being made conscious of the beauty and wonder of natural reality rather than sold an elaborate lie about 'magic'.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Sun Dec 21, 2014 9:29 pm
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on the other hand, Santa is not a bad introduction to atheism - because if children find out Santa doesn't exist, maybe it's the start of querying whether other beings such as god are also inventions of an overactive imagination

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 12:00 am
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Wait, what?!? Santa isn't real?!?!?! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! :( :o :(

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 5:28 am
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And maybe telling somebody that you love them and then cheating on them will teach them that not everybody is trustworthy :!:

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billvon
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:53 pm

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Rory wrote:
Why do we continue, year upon year, engaging in the pompous charade that is Christmas?

Same reason we engage in the "pompous charades' that are birthdays, new year's parties, Thanksgiving, the 4th of July (in the US at least), anniversaries etc. Because people like to celebrate things.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:44 pm
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we definitely need to continue celebrating the 4th of july - it's when the discovery of the Higg's boson was announced

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Mon Dec 22, 2014 11:22 pm
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At least birthdays and anniversaries have a significance on a personal level for those inclined toward sentimental feelings. It is not possible to know much of anything for certain about Jesus much less to be capable of celebrating his being on a personal level.

"Oh aye, me and old J, we go right back, don't we brother?"

"Oh no, that's right, you weren't there, you were dead..."

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:22 am
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Well, it is also Isaac Newton's birthday, so there's that.

It can also be viewed as a relatively reliable economic stimulus that increases revenues each year fairly consistently. Similarly, they have Singles Day in China which dwarfs large sales days in other countries (such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday).

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:02 am
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just for a moment i read that as "dwarves for sale in China" - my bad

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Really though, what is the point of Christmas?  |  Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:21 pm
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Well, when one needs dwarfs in large quantities, where else would they go if not China?

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