SkepSun #169 (12_20_2015)

News on Freethought Radio includes how Saudi Arabia is scheduled to behead a nonbeliever and that an Indiana school is thumbing its nose at the Constitution by staging a “mannequin” nativity scene after a judge enjoined them from doing a “live nativity scene.” We hear some Winter Solstice songs and a reading about how Christians coopted the season. Then Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker talk with Holly Baer, the first winner of the Yip Harburg Youth Activist award, who challenged a Christian display in the city of Collins, Mississippi.

Gordon Bonnet, author of the Skeptophilia blog, pokes some fun at members of the U.S. Congress who, with all the domestic and international problems at hand think that the War on Christmas is something that deserves their attention. Gordon is right. There is no war by atheists on Christians to keep them from celebrating their religious holiday.

If there is a war, it is within the ranks of non-believers.  Should we atheists be caught up in this holiday and be doing up the Christmas trees, wreaths and lights? Well, for me an important holiday tradition is hearing from Tom Flynn on this issue.  He’s the Executive Director of the Council on Secular Humanism and editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry magazine. Nora Hurley talks with Tom on a Point of Inquiry podcast. According to Tom, Ho ho ho? No no no!

Then we hear from two atheists who like the holiday,  Julia Galef interviews philosophy professor David Kyle Johnson, the author of “The Myths that Stole Christmas” on the Rationally Speaking Podcast. Kyle explains the little-known, and somewhat sinister, origin story of Santa Claus — and then Kyle and Julia debate whether it’s ethical to lie to your children about the reality of Santa Claus and discuss possible alternatives to doing so.


Tom Flynn, Anti-Claus, and Nora Hurley of the Center for Inquiry

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