A Christmas Carol; an Atheist’s Perspective on Christmas

And the final part! Merry Christmas, everyone!

The Writerly Blog of Lane William Brown

There’s an argument that this story is more responsible for the modern concept of Christmas than the Christian religion.  In brief, the Christmas holiday had actually gone somewhat out of fashion when Dickens wrote this novella, in no small part because fundamentalists had decided the holiday was too frivolous. There’s irony for you. It was a very common, folksy holiday that lots of people were above celebrating. This is why, while Scrooge asking his employees to work on Christmas was a bit mean-spirited, it wasn’t actually shocking. Dickens apparently did have a lot of affection for the holiday; A Christmas Carol is just the most famous of a series of short stories and novellas he wrote, all with the message that Christmas is a wonderful time of joy and goodwill that we should all celebrate more. And good god, did it work.

I was into Christmas specials before they were cool. I was into Christmas specials before they were…

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Veggietales’ The Toy That Saved Christmas; An Atheist’s Perspective on the Nativity

Part two of three!

The Writerly Blog of Lane William Brown

Christmas is a time of traditions. For some it’s touring the neighborhood lights displays. For some it’s putting on Christmas tunes the day after Thanksgiving. One friend of mine does not consider the season real until they have drunk spiked eggnog while watching Ralphie get his Red Rider BB gun with this thing that tells time. Traditions have many uses. They invoke nostalgia, provide a sense of stability, and often exist as a reminder of some deeper value. That last one is especially true of Christmas. Every other song and TV special is about finding its true meaning, which I suppose means one tradition is going a hunt for the point behind the traditions. Truly, it is the most meta of the holidays.

This episode has George the scallion telling his granddaughter a story about a town that didn’t get Christmas. Not in the Narnia cursed by the White Witch…

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Miracle on 34th Street; An Atheist’s Perspective on Santa

The first of three Christmas movie reviews. Happy Holidays, everyone!

The Writerly Blog of Lane William Brown

Kris and Susan Best Christmas movie ever. Except The Christmas Carol, but I’ll get to that soon.

I should start by explaining that my parents never let us believe in Santa Claus. They were afraid that when they told us he wasn’t real, it would make us wondering if other mythological-sounding ideas might be questioned, like the entire Christian religion. It was a Nativity-only household. In retrospect, I still experienced the same story as my Santa-believer friends. We were both taught about a man who comes to bring wonderful gifts, but only if you’re very good and believe in him. Disbelief meant you were cynical and coldly logical, incapable of true joy and goodwill toward men. Disbelieving people like that are the whole reason the world sucks. If you don’t believe, it’s your own fault. Jesus/Santa loves you, and the fact that he won’t prove his existence but still will punish you for…

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Dear Philip Pullman

The Writerly Blog of Lane William Brown

Spoilers for the His Dark Materials trilogy ahead.

Dear Philip Pullman,

I am a bit late to your party. The same parents who objected to Harry Potter for its alleged Satanism, Halloween for its history of Paganism, and Pokemon for… whatever that was about, objected to your epic fantasy trilogy because of its blatant, explicit villanization of churches who primarily operate by condemning perfectly harmless things. Shocking plot twist, I know. In any case, I thought your trilogy was incredible. It was subtle, beautiful, complex, rich, and full of characters I absolutely loved. I was sure this would become one of my new favorite series, destined to be reread for years to come.

Then I got to the ending. And now that I have done so, I would like to formally register the following complaints.

  1. When frequently stating that Lyra’s destiny is to be tempted and make a choice that…

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