Religion and SpiritualitySkepticism

Reason is the Reason for the Season

The holidays are upon us, and once again we are overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the season. Many cultures and religions throughout history celebrate the winter solstice.  If you’re curious, here’s a list from Wikipedia.  According to Wikipedia, “winter solstice occurs at the instant when the Sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer’s hemisphere.”


The Christian religion has come to celebrate the solstice by linking the originally pagan celebration to the birth of their savior. Winter solstice festivals celebrate the return of light to the part of the earth.  Jesus is the Christian symbol of light coming back into the world. If you are a Christian, this works as myth. But it’s one thing to tell a story as myth; it is another thing to claim that a myth is historical fact.


In case you haven’t heard, skeptics have their own “Professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies.”  His name is Robert Price.  Let’s read just a little of what he has to say about the birth of Jesus:


The birth of Jesus is, of course, celebrated on December 25. How was this custom established? Was it simply that people remarked and remembered the birth date of a famous man? Apparently not. It is an important clue that the date coincides with a major holiday celebrated throughout the Roman Empire, Brumalia, the eighth and greatest day of the Feast of Saturnalia. It was the (re-)birthday of the sun god Mithras.  Mithras was a very ancient deity, first mentioned in the hymns of the Rig Veda in India as early as 1500 B.C.E.


I’m just discovering Dr. Price.  If you haven’t heard about him, I recommend that you take a look at his website and if you’re interested in the Bible at all, pick up one of his books.  The quote I provided is from his book, “The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man.” It seems that the story of Jesus is much older than… well, Jesus.


If you think about it, we skeptics are all about bringing light into the world.  It also seems that we are always up for a party, so why not celebrate the Skeptic Solstice? What brings more “light” than rationality, evidence and critical thinking?


I can see it now… a gathering of skeptics. Probably at a pub. Each one has a candle in one hand and a beverage of their choice in the other.  Before you know it, the skeptics erupt into song.


This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine!

This little light of mine,

I’m gonna let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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1 Comment

  1. December 26, 2008 at 1:32 pm —

    Great post. I love the idea of skeptics taking over the “this little light of mine” song. 🙂

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