This is Part 2 in my series on the “true meaning of Christmas.” The topic today is “War, Victims, and the Satanized God.” If people believe that there’s a “War on Christmas” going on, then there must necessarily exist an enemy who causes this war, victims of this warfare, and a god who justifies the war and who rescues the virtuous (the “us”) and punishes the impious (the “them”).
Let’s start by looking at war itself. War is waged ostensibly for self-preservation. No sane person puts him/herself in harm’s way for the pure enjoyment of it. The costs of war — great as they are — have to be justified by the benefits that may accrue to those who wage it. Even wars of aggression need to be justified by the perpetrators by some (real or imagined) threat to the community’s existence or well-being. Even Nazi Germany had to justify to its people the need to overcome the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles and to provide for the continued existence of the Germanic state (lebensraum1). That means that there needs to be at least three factors in play to convince people to get involved in a war of any kind: 1) a perceived threat, 2) a sense of vulnerability or deprivation (victimization) and 3) a perceived perpetrator or cause (the “enemy”).
Now, about that so-called “War on Christmas” — what’s really going on there? Certain people feel victimized. They feel that somehow the commercial exploitation of the Christmas season, the greeting “Happy holidays!” and the missing “Christmas” symbols from the Starbuck’s coffee cups2 threaten their right or ability to acknowledge the birth of Jesus as the Messiah. We need to be clear about one fact: in order to justify a war (an attack), there must be a victim, real or imagined. Don’t get me wrong: there are such things as real victims (for example, the innocents who went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps). However, real victims are seldom able (or willing) to wage war. Most aggressors put on the mantle of victimhood to justify (to themselves or to their peers) their attacks.
What principles are really at stake here? Looked at objectively, the “threat” to Christmas consists in an affront to certain people’s sense of entitlement. They have convinced themselves that they live in a so-called “Christian nation” and that their beliefs should trump all others. They uncritically accept that their understanding is “true” and all conflicting beliefs are therefore “false.” In their minds, it has become a battle of “good” against “evil” (with themselves on the “good” side, of course). They cannot tolerate the concept of diversity because, in their minds, doing so would challenge their possession of the absolute, certain truth. We shall see in a future consideration just how illusory that “truth” really is. However, like a house of cards, once challenged, their belief system — and their victimhood — collapses.
In actual fact, their victimhood (regardless of how obvious it may seem to them and how passionately held) is clearly illusory to anyone who looks at them from outside of their belief system.
Nobody said you can’t say “Merry Christmas.” Nobody said you can’t call this a “Christmas tree.” Nobody is preventing you from celebrating Christmas the way you want to. The “War on Christmas” is something you made up to justify being upset that your religion isn’t being given special treatment. That’s how freedom works, though. As soon as you can stop whining and get over your false sense of persecution, we can all go about celebrating whatever holiday we choose in whatever way we like.3
Why would some people choose to adopt the role of victim? What advantage do self-styled martyrs seek to attain? These folks need an excuse to place blame on someone to justify their own sense of frustration and disappointment. In order to solidify their status as “us,” they must create a “them.” In order to support their conviction of being “right,” someone must therefore be characterized as “wrong.” Furthermore, by characterizing their attack as a religious war, they enlist the assistance of their god.
Their god, however, is a satanized god: “the accuser of our brethren…who accuses them before our God day and night.”4 In the eyes of the followers of this god, for every (innocent) victim, there must be a (guilty) perpetrator who needs to be punished here or in the hereafter. And that punishment, ultimately, is the destruction of the guilty party (or parties) by either conversion or (presumably) by death. In every case, the creation of a scapegoat (enemy) that must be destroyed expresses the powerlessness of the satanized god and its followers. The self-vindication of the satanized god and its followers depends on the creation and destruction of a scapegoat.
So, we come back to the “War on Christmas” and similar religious “wars.” The god of these religionists is powerless to save. It requires its followers to take up verbal, written, legislative, ballistic, explosive, or any number of other kinds of “arms” to defend it. It needs the destruction of its “enemies” by its followers to survive. Yet, since at its core it is powerless, the ritual must be repeated over and over again, with the same set of self-identified victims, but each time with new sets of scapegoats. The world belongs to the satanized god and you can recognize it in every “radicalized” religionist across the globe: Christian, Jewish, Moslem, Hindu, atheist, or whatever. All have the same goal in mind: the ultimate death and destruction of an “enemy.”
The belief in a “War on Christmas” is, itself, the best example of the denial and rejection of the “true meaning of Christmas.” Before we are able to uncover what that “true meaning” may be, it will be good to peel away the layers of this celebration that have no authentic connection to its meaning. Perhaps you will be surprised by what we need to throw away to get to the genuine core. In any event, that will be the subject of my next article, “The Saint of Coca Cola.”
3Attributed to Samuel Allen. Source is indeterminate.
4“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.” (Revelation 12:10)