Soon: Chapter 1: It’s a Very Atheist Wintermas

As I mentioned a few posts back, there is a lot of ground to cover in these first few chapters.  Aside from the weak-ass plot and awful, awful characters, there is all kinds of atheist world-building going on.  Or at least, what a Real True Christian thinks an atheist world would be like.

And Jerry Jenkins thinks that in an atheist world, December 24 would be Wintermas Eve.

Washington, D.C.,  still knew how to do holidays.

Dense snowfall didn’t slow traffic or seem to dampen spirits this December 24–Wintermas Eve–of 36 P.3. 

The main thoroughfares of the historic city sparkled with blinking white lights that washed the trees with cheer.

Santas dotted street corners, ringing bells and thanking passersby for donations, but not to the Salvation Army, for neither salvation nor army remained de rigueur.  The money would go to international humanitarian relief.

They’re giving their money to international humanitarian relief?  Those atheist bastards!!!

Okay, many, many things about these bits from the opening chapter cry out with questions. 

To start simply: Does Jerry Jenkins think that white lights are an evil, secular abomination?  Does he think that colored lights are just too Christian for the atheists to deal with?

I was joking about the international relief thing, but I wonder if Jenkins was.  Is he actually trying to say that his evil atheist dystopia has a few good points, like generosity?  Or does he just think that charity is something less when it’s not religious charity?

Okay, and most important: Wintermas? 


Jenkins thinks that in an atheist world, December 25 would be Wintermas??  Um, what about all those other holidays at this time of year, Jenkins?  Wouldn’t it make sense for atheists to either declare no holidays in December at all, or for December to be some kind of genera-holiday?  Because I’m sorry, renaming Christmas but still having the holiday on December 25 does not strike me as particularly atheist at all, especially the straw-atheists of RTC imaginings.

Also…Wintermas?  Winter Mass?  This name leaves us with only two options that I can think of:

1.  Jerry Jenkins does not realize that “Christmas” is derived from “Christ’s Mass,” or is so convinced that Catholics are not Real Christians that he does not care (and thus, thinks everyone else feels the same way)…


2.  Jerry Jenkins thinks that atheists do not realize that “Christmas” is derived from “Christ’s Mass,” and thinks that in an atheistic dystopia, at the meeting to name the winter holidays, not one single person there would know what a “mass” is.

Some group or other is being insulted here, accidentally or not.  I’m just not sure which one.


I just cannot get over that.  As someone said in the comments, this is Imagination Fail.  Not even for one moment could Jerry Jenkins imagine how a non-Christian might name a wintertime holiday.  Nope, he just transposed the words “Christ” and “Winter.”  In an atheistic dystopia, he thinks that is what would happen.



Posted on December 12, 2010, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Atheism, Jenkins is… not quite doing it right. 😛

  2. I wonder whether perhaps he’s thinking of the “Winterval” thing. (In 1997 and 1998, Birmingham council (UK) used that name as an umbrella term for all its winter holiday events – including events for Christmas stuff, for Diwali, for New Year’s Eve, etc. The tabloids got hold of this and called it “Birmingham bans Christmas”.

    I find it very odd that “defenders of Christmas” are always keen to promote the Santa Claus figure, which passed straight from Pagan tradition to commercial tradition with only the name being (very loosely) associated with Christianity. For this reason, I’m inclined to think of them as much more aligned with the commercial interests of the season than with any sort of religious motivation.

    As for the lights, at least in the UK strings of white lights tend to be on big public displays – such as a whole (living) tree. Perhaps they’re thus associated with officially-sponsored things and thus, in American thinking, suppression of religion? (I dunno guv, I only work here.)

  3. If I was forced at gunpoint to create a new winter holiday to replace Christmas, I’d, 1, put it on the 21st (Y’know, the day of the actual solstice. Most of the time) and either make it New Years (the solstice makes far more sense than a week-and-a-bit after it) or call it Sol Invictus, or something, that sounds all grand and fine and essentially means “The sun’s coming back!”

    But Wintermas? Why? As you say, I think most atheists know full well what the “mas” in “Christmas” stands for, so is it just that Jenkins really, truly does not know?

  4. You know, there’s already a perfectly good winter holiday for the Evil Atheist Dictatorship ™ to use without invoking Christmas.


    Seriously, no atheist government worthy of the name would make a holiday by stealing all the Christmas traditions, even if virtually all those traditions were originally stolen from the pagans.

    • >>>Seriously, no atheist government worthy of the name would make a holiday by stealing all the Christmas traditions

      We used to manage quite well with New Year. For years. Still manage, despite not having an atheist government any more. The tree? Presents? Grandfather Frost? Check, check, check. All those are *New Year’s* traditions now.

  5. Mouse from Mouse’s Musings here, I’ve read a little of the book thanks to Kindle’s sample selection (no way am I going to pay their price for it, though) and so far my sympathy is with Ranold. First of all because he has Paul Stepola for an son-in-law and Paul is basically Rayford-lite, but also because he knows true suffering that cannot be shoved away with just a few verses though Lord help us, Jenkins does try.

    • Yep, Ranold is coming up. (btw, Ranold?? I have never met a single person named Ranold, or heard of a single person named Ranold, and the man is supposed to be of my generation)

      Yeah, Paul and Ranold are two peas in a pod, which makes it all the more headdesk-worthy when Paul converts and gets all holier-than-thou (literally) about Ranold.

      • RANOLD?

        What the hell is that one an anagram for? D:

        • Ranold, Ranold…

          The Wordsmith anagram server lists these possible anagrams for it:
          Ad Lorn
          Lad Nor
          Land Or
          Lard On
          Lard No
          Rand Lo
          Darn Lo
          An Lord
          Ran Old

          I rather like “Lard On” myself.

        • Yeah, I wondered that, too. Damned if I can find anything that really works, the way that Stepola=Apostle does.

          If is helps, his full name is Ranold B. Desenti. The best things I can find:

          Bladder Tension
          Bland Desertion
          A Dinned Lobster
          Bad Redolent Sin

          • Taking out the ‘B’ gives…lots of results. Like “Deaden Nostril”, “Sad Tenderloin”, “Android Nestle”, “Insane Toddler”, and “Loaded Interns”, but not much that seems significant.

            The only ones that look like they might be vague possibilities are:
            Adorned Tinsel
            Dared Insolent
            Ordeals Intend
            Tanned Soldier
            Dead Sinner Lot
            Slandered I Not

            Mind you, that’s only a sample of the first 1 000 from 76 925 possible anagrams, so, uh, there might well be one buried in there somewhere.

            …Oh dear, I think I’ve got “Desenti”, though:
            Almost looks like “Destiny”, doesn’t it?

  6. This isn’t just propaganda, this is flat out lazy. Just have some made-up winter holiday, or abolish Christmas completely and celebrate only New Year’s, or…or something besides fucking Wintermas.

    Not to mention the fact that this still sounds like a very nice world. It’s all the things I love about Christmas–charity, cheer, and shiny lights!–without having to bother with religious differences.

  7. Maybe Jenkins is trying to invoke associations with what RTCs see as the corrupt Catholic church, which was well known for absorbing customs associated with holidays from other faiths and giving them a Christian interpretation. If it worked for evil Catholics, why not evil atheists?

    As for “Winter Mass,” the etymology of “Easter,” the holiest day of the Christian calendar, is uncertain, but it’s believed to derive from an Germanic-language, pre-Christian month name which may refer to a goddess of spring.

    So, there’s precedent.

    On the other hand, you know how you know that this is all wild fantasy?
    Dense snowfall didn’t slow traffic or seem to dampen spirits in Washington D.C.

    Yeah, right.

    • Dense snowfall didn’t slow traffic or seem to dampen spirits in Washington D.C.

      Obviously in the new atheist paradise, with all the money freed up by abolishing religion, D.C. has finally been able to buy enough plows to solve its snow removal problems.

      • Or the huge investment in nuclear power plants (to drive all those electric cars) has meant they can simply heat all the streets and sidewalks…

  8. Consumer Unit 5012

    “Some group or other is being insulted here, accidentally or not. I’m just not sure which one.”

    The readers’ intelligence, would be my guess.

  9. Another thing which leaped out at me was this bit:

    “not to the Salvation Army, for neither salvation nor army remained de rigueur. The money would go to international humanitarian relief.”

    My first problem is: according to its website, the Salvation Army *does* do international humanitarian relief, so why is supporting “international humanitarian relief” rather than the Salvation Army specifically cause a problem? Or does Jenkins think that the Sally Ann only takes care of *American* homeless people?

    My second is: I’m speaking from a (British) position of ignorance here but: are there no other charity collectors out there at Christmas other than the Salvation Army in the USA at the moment? My local shopping street is full of them, some atheistic and some faith-based, some internationally focused and some domestic. So why single out the Salvation Army?

    Finally: although, again according to its website, the Salvation Army is an evangelical organisation, the website also states: “Its ministry is offered to all persons, regardless of race, creed, colour or gender.” So, in other words, they’ll help you whether you say the Magic Jesus Words or not. Do you think Jenkins knows what a lot of evil, tolerant ecumenicalists he’s just associated himself with?

    • I’m speaking from a (British) position of ignorance here but: are there no other charity collectors out there at Christmas other than the Salvation Army in the USA at the moment?

      I can only speak from my own experience, but no, there aren’t, and haven’t been for years. (There are plenty of such organizations, but they collect money in other ways. The ones standing outside stores and ringing bells are invariably the Salvation Army).

      And while the Army will help people who aren’t Christian, they *do* proselytize to them while doing it.

      • 1) Oh, OK. I wondered if that was the case, it just seemed strange to me.

        2) Yes, but they still seem like strange bedfellows for L&J types, as it seems to me that in case of Rapture the SA would actually be out trying to help/convert the unsaved rather than digging a big hole and hiding in it/taking a job with the Antichrist/etc. It just seemed to me that Jenkins just thought of the crack about both “salvation” and “army” being taboo and went for it, chuckling to himself at his own ready wit as he did, and without necessarily considering what he was endorsing in doing so.

  10. Look, if anybody’s being insulted in naming the day Wintermas, it’s us Australians. Oh, and south Africans and Chileans.

  11. I do have to agree with Jenkins on one thing. All white lights are evil!

  12. Late reply I know, but if I were going for a new winter festival I’d go with Sunreturn.

    Unlike Jenkins, I’m a lover of good literature.

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