Secular Sunday Speaker Series
- December 04, 2016
- 10:30 AM
- Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
522 West Maple
Dr. David Kyle Johnson from King’s College
Researching the history of Christmas reveals almost nothing one would expect. December holiday celebrations predate Jesus by at least 2000 years. The biblical account of Jesus’ birth is completely inconsistent (and not historical). Jesus’ birth wasn’t celebrated by Christians for Christianity’s first 300 years. The Puritans banned celebrating Christmas because Christmas celebrations were too secular. And those age-old-time-honored-authentic traditions dating back to ancient times that we love so much? At best, they’re actually only 200 years old. After presenting a quick history of the holiday, I will argue that the “war on Christmas” is a farce and that it is perfectly acceptable for non-Christians (including humanists) to celebrate Christmas. Although I generally hold that people should celebrate how they wish (if they wish), I will close by suggesting that there are a few traditions that should probably be avoided because they are not healthy for individuals or for society.
David Kyle Johnson is an associate professor of philosophy at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA and also teaches for The Great Courses (Exploring Metaphysics (2014) and The Big Questions of Philosophy (2016)). Although he publishes on heavy philosophical questions surrounding metaphysics and philosophy of religion, he also maintains two blogs for Psychology Today, writes for Wiley-Blackwell’s Philosophy and Pop Culture series, speaks regularly in public for humanists and atheist groups, and is the author of Humanist Press’ The Myths that Stole Christmas. He also teaches a course on Christmas and has appeared on multiple podcasts (e.g., Rationally Speaking, The Humanist Hour, Point of Inquiry) to talk about issues that surround the holiday. In this regard, he is perhaps most famous for arguing that parents shouldn’t lie to their children about Santa.
Timeline for this event:
10:30 am – coffee and conversation
11 am – lecture begins
12:30 pm ish – lunch at The Hamilton Kitchen & Bar
Parking: The Community Parking Deck (6th & Walnut) is a few feet from this event. Street parking is available, but limited; meters are not enforced on Sundays. See http://www.allentownparking.com/ for more information.