Baptist Albert Mohler doesn’t get it: More Stupid Christmas Tricks

I’m not sure what to make of this sneering holiday column by Albert Mohler, leader of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s baffled, simply baffled by “atheist apostle” Richard Dawkins and his singing of Christmas carols. It’s not clear what Mohler thinks his point is here, other than that he believes there is some sort of disconnect between atheists and celebrating Christmas or even culturally Christian traditions.  I can’t quite follow the logic: do I really need to be “Hot for Teacher” to enjoy Van Halen songs?  Do I need to believe in Purple People Eaters to sing that song to kids?

All we can say for sure is that Mohler is a pretty good example of how incapable of empathy or understanding many believers can be when they try to wrap their minds around the reality of atheists (complete with an inability to use anything other than religious ideas like “apostle” to describe us). All he’s really exploring is his own self-flattering ignorance of who atheists are and what we’re about.

He even manages to find solid evidence that evil atheists like Dawkins want to purge our culture of religion just like Mitt Romney and Neuhaus warned us:

“So, yes, I like singing carols along with everybody else. I’m not one of those who wants to purge our society of our Christian history.

“If there’s any threat these sorts of things, I think you will find it comes from rival religions and not from atheists.” (emphasis added)

Oh wait, no.

Fail.

So, let me get this straight: religious nuts like Mohler spend half of their time railing against how atheists want to ban Christianity.  Then they turn around and debunk their own lies, and act surprised to find that atheists don’t actually hold the straw man position that they claimed  And we’re then supposed to think Dawkins is weird or inconsistent in the face of that sort of intellectual vaudeville act?
Well Mohler: Merry Christmas, moron.

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19 Responses to Baptist Albert Mohler doesn’t get it: More Stupid Christmas Tricks

  1. phillychief says:

    Wow, that’s really funny. This is coming up a lot this week. A caller brought it up on the Atheist Experience Podcast. They really can’t get over how you can celebrate christmas without believing the Jesus crap. Because they can’t separate the two idea, then we’re hypocrites. Yeah, whatever. Attention christians:
    If you celebrate Cinco de Mayo and are not Mexican
    If you celebrate St. Patty’s day and are not Irish and/or catholic
    If you revel during Mardi Gras and aren’t catholic
    then atheists can celebrate x-mas.

    Plus christians, don’t fucking tell me when you’re ripping open your gifts that at that moment you’re thinking how wonderful it is your baby god was born that day. Bullshit.

    Btw, How funny is it that that ass is going off on Dawkins being hypocritical yet the photo he has to represent christmas is a tree. BWAHAHA! Idiot. Should we be accusing him of pagan sympathies? Perhaps ask in which book of the bible it talks of “trimmeth thy tree with care”?

  2. Plus christians, don’t fucking tell me when you’re ripping open your gifts that at that moment you’re thinking how wonderful it is your baby god was born that day.

    Well, I suppose that I try to work that one in there somewhere. But mostly what I think is: “Why didn’t they include the goddam batteries?” ;>)

    Merry Christmas, my angry friend.

  3. Fascinating post. I have to admit my opinion of Dawkins just went up a notch or two. I’ll even go so far as to say he’d probably make one hell of drinking buddy.

    It should be noted that early in his TGD book, he professes to still having a soft spot for the Church of England, presumably on more or less cultural grounds, and really, why not? I’m a lapsed Catholic, but I still enjoy my “smells and bells” on the rare occasions that I am forced by social convention to go to church. It’s the church’s position on sociological issues that drives me to distraction.

    Albert Mohler? Please. Just as George W. Bush has made it difficult to admit one is a Republican, so cretins like Mohler make it difficult to be a theist. The man is simply a jerk.

  4. Brett says:

    I like how he had to explain what “BBC” meant.

    As for atheists celebrating Christmas, all the best bits (tree, presents, feast) are pagan anyway. So I just celebrate solstice, and pretend that I care about Jesus, just like real Christians.

    Kidding! I don’t even pretend anymore.

  5. Bad says:

    Funny you should mention drinking buddies, cus the video I posted about earlier is full of the sauce (except, I think, for Sam Harris, the Buddhist wuss!). Daniel Dennet even navigates a bearded martini sip like a champ (I could never get the hang of that).

  6. Worse says:

    First off i want to thank you for trying to have intelligent conversations on your blogs.

    Murderofravens, I’m guessing you’re not an atheist since you asked God to damn some batteries or something (lol). I really believe this is the same angle Mohler was coming from. But at the same time he may not have taken the idea that Christmas was celebrated really as a pagan holiday until Christians have Christianized it. It definitiely did not start out as the celebration of Christ’s birth. If you really want to get technical I would possibly argue that Jesus was born in more of a time such as September.

    I worry about you all who have posted on here. For one thing you have and will always miss the Christian celebration of Christmas because you have missed the One who came because you and I have messed up. We are totally separated from God and there is no hope, but in Jesus.

    Now, I don’t have much time to criticize or argue, but I do want you to know something. I do not want you to think I am trying to Christianize you, because I’m not and that’s not my job. My job is to let you know that not all Christians are trying to use “Christian” or “church” words to make you sound evil. The fact is we are all originally bad. We want to do bad things when we compare ourself with this Jesus they talk of in the Bible.

    Also, I want you to know that I will not go straight to one verse of the Bible and try to prove you wrong. I just want to make an observation. You hate God. It is not necessarily based on the fact that you really don’t believe in God; you just sincerely hate him. Maybe you hate him because of Christians like Al Mohler who are always very outspoken on these subjects, maybe you hate Christianity because of your prior experiences in churches or the holiday experiences. Maybe you hate Christianity because you were reared to hate it. The point is you hate Christianity, but even more bold is the fact that you hate God.

    You hate a God who is just and loving at the same time. You hate a God who loves, but will still send people to hell. You hate a God who has not spared the ones you love. You hate a God who gives you a free gift of sacrifice that you did nothing for–when we live in a society where we would rather work for everything we have (myself included much of the time) then to accept someone’s pity help.

    With this in mind I want you to know I do not know you from Adam and why should I care. Well, I know that you, according the Bible, are going in a direction of death and I do not want that for you. You may not care about anything I have to say and that is fine, but I just want you to know that you need to seek this Jesus you say is crap. I’m not one to go by the standards that fundamental Christians have come up with, rather I will go to the source of my Christianity, Jesus. He was a radical. He was hated and apparently is still hated by many, and only loved by a few. Even his own disciples had a hard time commiting to him. But he is the one who gives life and love. And with that love he has showed me I can actually care about you who I do not have any clue about. I pray that you will find this Jesus crap and understand it not as crap.

  7. Murderofravens, I’m guessing you’re not an atheist since you asked God to damn some batteries or something (lol).

    Think of me as the token theist. ;>) And, as you’re probably about to find out, I’m the least of your problems around here.

    But I would like to point out a logical fallacy in your statement: it is impossible to accuse an atheist of “hating God”, because to hate something you have to believe in it first. I suppose it’s possible for an atheist to hate the *idea* of God, but that’s different, and in any event it really doesn’t describe any of the atheists of my acquaintance, nor I think, does it describe this blog’s author.

    (Sorry, Bad, I know you can take care of yourself, but I had to slide that one in there. Too much caffeine tonight, I think.)

  8. Funny you should mention drinking buddies, cus the video I posted about earlier is full of the sauce (except, I think, for Sam Harris, the Buddhist wuss!). Daniel Dennet even navigates a bearded martini sip like a champ (I could never get the hang of that).

    Next time you’re in Boston I’ll be happy to show you. ;>)

    And yes, I do think it would be fun to knock down a few with Dawkins and go back and forth with him. Granted, he’d probably kick my ass by virtue of having spent more time thinking about this stuff, if nothing else, but it would still be fun.

  9. Bad says:

    For one thing you have and will always miss the Christian celebration of Christmas because you have missed the One who came because you and I have messed up. We are totally separated from God and there is no hope, but in Jesus.

    I once believed that. I don’t anymore. Not out of any enmity, because at some point I forgot to keep believing it, and then later realized that I had no good reason to start again.

    Is it true that people who were raised as believers could have nostalgia for the past? Certainly. But I also have nostalgia for high school, and I’m not going back there either (unless to teach).

    I just want to make an observation. You hate God. It is not necessarily based on the fact that you really don’t believe in God; you just sincerely hate him.

    I would say from this that your don’t really understand me and are trying to read far too much into too little knowledge on your part. I have no reason to believe that there is a God to hate. If I had a reason to believe in God, then I could have an opinion about its character, but until then, it’s all theoretical. As for the idea of the Christian god in particular, I find many of the ideas of what that being is and does monstrous, but I don’t hate it. That characterization just rings false.

    maybe you hate Christianity because of your prior experiences in churches or the holiday experiences. Maybe you hate Christianity because you were reared to hate it.

    Again, no. All of my experiences with religion were pretty positive growing up. I simply outgrew them, without even realizing at the time.

  10. phillychief says:

    First, as murderofravens correctly said, you have to believe in something in order to hate it. Atheists don’t accept any claims presented so far for there being a god; therefore, no god, no hate.
    Second, generally atheists don’t hate christianity. We think it’s silly, but why hate something for being silly? I think American Idol and Dancing with the Stars are silly tv shows and I wish people had enough sense to realize that and not watch them so they’d go away but why hate them? If people get some enjoyment out of them, so be it. Same with christianity.
    Third, to clarify your point, the objection atheists have to christianity or any religion is really what it can get people to do. There’s a saying that only religion can make good people do bad things. I agree with that.
    Fourth, cite why this Jesus guy should be accepted without referring to the bible and maybe an atheist will listen. If you can’t do that, then please go away and have a nice day.

  11. Worse says:

    First off, thank you all for you comments and your help in my apologetics. I am still learning, still growing. I admire your faith or lack of faith should I say. I mean that it really must be hard to believe in nothing. I understand where you are coming from in saying that to hate something you must first believe in him, but I still wonder what you do not believe in. Have you read the Bible? I know some of you have as you have mentioned. But is it that you do not want to be religious–is that why you do not believe in Jesus or God or Allah or any other diety or being? Or is it that you really just have no desire to believe in a god?

    Nonetheless, thank you for responding.

    Phillychief,
    I was just wondering for my benefit, why do I need to cite why Jesus should be accepted other than using the Bible. Other than my personal experience with being in a relationship with Jesus, the Bible is my main source for information about Jesus. I mean I could use the Qur’an and tell that Islam believes that Jesus was sinless, virgin-born (under a palm tree), a prophet, and a great man for that matter. The statement, “religion can make good people do bad things” is a weak statement. First off, coming from a Christian stance I believe that Christians are not part of a religion, but we are in a personal relationship with God because of this gift of Jesus. Secondly, I believe in a belief called original sin. This is where we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. We have all, from our beginnings been born with sin in our lives. See, Christians believe more in the fact that humans are naturally bad–mostly because of our father Adam who helped us along in inheriting sin. This is the Christian belief called original sin. Really, for most Christians, we will not consider our beliefs part of a religion but only a relationship.

    Bad,
    It seems as if you never truly believed in the first place. If you would have truly experienced Jesus you would never be able to deny it. Jesus is not someone or something that you can just quit believing or forget to believe if you have had a real experience.

    Murderofravens,
    I understand and appreciate your logical thoughts here. But let’s get down to point. If you know my presuppositions as a Christian you would know that I think it is not logical to not believe in God and still not hate him. Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. With this in mind you cannot not believe in him and still not hate him. He also explains that our love for him ought to be so great that our love for our families look as hatred.

    With all this said I hope that I have not upset any of you too bad. I really appreciate having a conversation of the sort with you.

  12. Bad says:

    I admire your faith or lack of faith should I say. I mean that it really must be hard to believe in nothing.

    Don’t you think it’s a little silly to characterize not believing in something you believe in as believing in “nothing”? I happen to believe lots of things: your beliefs just don’t happen to be among them. How could anyone “believe in nothing” in any case? One might not believe in anything, but believing in nothing would, I think, indeed be pretty difficult. Luckily, I’m not in that awkward sounding position.

    I understand where you are coming from in saying that to hate something you must first believe in him, but I still wonder what you do not believe in. Have you read the Bible? I know some of you have as you have mentioned. But is it that you do not want to be religious–is that why you do not believe in Jesus or God or Allah or any other diety or being? Or is it that you really just have no desire to believe in a god?

    It’s not really about desire, it’s about not having good reasons to believe, and many good reasons to think that the purported arguments for belief are all fatally flawed or unconvincing. I would certainly desire there to be a happy wonderful afterlife or any sort of other philosophical carrot. But I would certainly also desire to have a million dollars. Desiring something doesn’t make it exist or give me reasons to think that it does exist.

    Really, for most Christians, we will not consider our beliefs part of a religion but only a relationship.

    I don’t think this statement is true. This particular idea about relationship, not religion, is of a very recent vintage (mostly just within the last century), and is characteristic of a very small and specific sect of Christianity (the evangelical movement), mostly all located in America. The majority of Christians in the world and throughout the history of Christianity would likely not agree. It seems like sort of a silly distinction in any case: if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

    Bad, It seems as if you never truly believed in the first place. If you would have truly experienced Jesus you would never be able to deny it. Jesus is not someone or something that you can just quit believing or forget to believe if you have had a real experience.

    This explanation seems like a bit of a cop out to me. I certainly believed, and truly believed, that God and Jesus existed, were active, and had a relationship with me. I probably was not of your exact sect of belief of course, but there are certainly examples like me that were. If, however, you simply define everyone who stops believing as “never really having believed” then your statement that one cannot just quit believing or forget to believe is meaningless: it’s just a circular definition, rather than an informative statement or useful argument to that effect.

    If you know my presuppositions as a Christian you would know that I think it is not logical to not believe in God and still not hate him.

    If you say that it is illogical, then you are going to have to explain what the logical flaw is. Hating something is a pretty obvious experience: if I or anyone else hated something, we’d know. If by “hating” you mean something totally different than what most people understand “hating” to involve, then its up to you to specify what you are talking about. Because otherwise, you’re just plain wrong, whatever your presuppositions.

    With all this said I hope that I have not upset any of you too bad. I really appreciate having a conversation of the sort with you.

    Not at all. Critics welcome.

  13. Caveat says:

    Wow, I’m not one of those atheists of many generations’ standing who really gives a fig what other people believe, but Worse has it bad.

    In order to fully understand where these people are coming from, I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like to have a large portion of my functioning mind (such as it is) filled with a complicated architecture of belief in the unbelievable and unproven, all of which displaces inquiry, reason and the reliance on evidence.

    Most religions, somewhat like the cosmetic industry, focus on fear of death – one of the greatest that people have – and attempts to offer a solution in the form of fantasy. I actually don’t have a problem with this, ie, I don’t really mind what people need to believe in order to get on with things, as long as they keep it to themselves.

    As for Christmas, it was already a longstanding holiday widely celebrated in the North. It was co-opted by the church as part of their totalitarian push to control thought and to sequester knowledge, not to mention become fabulously wealthy.

    The same is true for Easter – a pagan holiday to celebrate the Spring solstice.

    What I find amusing is the assumption that morality can only be acquired out of the box since in my observation it is an inherent quality of humans and all other sentient creatures.

    It is impossible to hate something that doesn’t exist. I was certainly not raised to hate religious people although there was an element of pity for what they were missing by being unable to exercise their ability to reason, rather than memorize and repeat. As a young child, I felt sorry for my religious friends because they felt they always had someone looking over their shoulder. So did I, but it was my own conscience.

    Books like the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran and others certainly have their place as treasuries of ancient thought, law and morality as well as a lot of really good fables (Old Testament).

    However, like Aesop’s fables, while they may at times be apt as illustrations of a particular situation, they are only true in that context.

    It never fails to astound me when I meet someone who takes the material literally, which I’m positive was never the intent at all. It is also somewhat entertaining to observe the constant equation of religion with atheism, when atheism is the absence of religion not the absence of morality as so widely advertised.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

  14. Bad says:

    Oh, I really don’t mind even if people don’t keep it to themselves: I’m happy to have people express what they feel and care about openly, and we can all work out how to react to each other from there. I just don’t want it specially sponsored or privaleged by the government. How or why politicians decided that they should have any special authority over or say about religious matters is beyond me. And yet here they go passing pointless resolutions endorsing Christmas as really awesome, as if any American required a Congressman to have an opinion about a holiday. Where do these people get off thinking they have any role to play in this area?

  15. Mike says:

    Bad, It seems as if you never truly believed in the first place. If you would have truly experienced Jesus you would never be able to deny it. Jesus is not someone or something that you can just quit believing or forget to believe if you have had a real experience.

    I bet you also put sugar on your porridge, didn’t you, Bad?

  16. Mike says:

    The above notification of logical fallacy was made in memory of the intellect of Anthony Flew, which died in 2004.

  17. […] Thanks for Christmas, Love Atheists Christian friends, the season is upon us. Not, as some of you seem to think, just your season either. Our season. All of […]

  18. Joshua says:

    I know this is an old post but I gotta post anyway.

    This blog is solid gold. I’m a devout Christian but if Al Mohler’s view of God cornered the market, I’d be a carol-singing Atheist alongside Mr. Dawkins.

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