Issues

Ignorant Duck Dynasty Star Thinks our Pagan Calendar Somehow Disproves Atheism


Duck Dynasty’s Silas “Si” Robertson told The Christian Post that there is no such thing as an atheist.

He based this in part on his experiences in Vietnam, he said, which is fine: his perceptions are his perceptions. But his other reason is just plain ignorance:

“I don’t believe there’s a such thing as an atheist. Because there’s too much documentation. Our calendars are based on Jesus Christ.”

This is just plain bad logic (we all have to do and use a lot of things we don’t understand or agree with on a daily basis), but that’s not his biggest problem.

His biggest problem is that it is untrue. Actually, our calendar is based on the Pagan Roman “Julian” calendar. That is, it was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE as a reform of the previous Roman calendar. Thus we got a 365-day year, 12 months, and an extra day every four years. A minute problem with the length of the year was not corrected until the Gregorian calendar sixteen centuries later, but even then, the months remained as they had been.

The big change after Caesar’s assassination were that the month of Quintilis became “Iulius” (July) in Caesar’s honor because it was his birth month, and Sextilis became “Augustus” (August) after Augustus, who was known to the Roman world as a “savior” and “the son of God.”

We thus have a year full of Pagan references: Besides July and August, Martius (March) is named in honor of Mars, the god of war, because that’s when campaigning season began, while Maius (May) is named after Maia, the goddess of growth, because, as you know, April showers bring May flowers.

Even the days of the weeks are Pagan on our calendars, from Sunday (the sun goddess Sunna’s Day), Monday (Moon’s Day after the moon god Mani), Tuesday (Tiw’s Day), Wednesday (Wodan’s [Odin’s] Day), Thursday (Thor’s Day), Friday (Frigg’s Day) – Heathen Norse gods all, while Saturday has retained its Roman Pagan reference to the god Saturn.

I don’t see Jesus in there anywhere, do you?

The only thing remotely Christian about the calendar is the numbering of the years. Whereas the Romans numbered them from the founding of the city, or the year of this or that consul or emperor, a monk’s miscalculation gave us a misplaced “year of the lord” (Anno Domini) 1, bringing us to 2015 today. The rest of the calendar is pure Pagan.

So by Si Robertson’s logic, our calendar proves all y’all are Pagans, not Christians, and it says nothing at all about atheism, except that atheists weren’t invited to make the calendar.

I was so flabbergasted by Robertson’s very public betrayal of his ignorance (I mean, did he spend even a day in school?) that I decided I had to devote a little space to some of the other egregious examples of conservative “out there-ness” I have been seeing.

They pass this stuff along to each other, and use them as imagined “gotcha” moments to send to liberals and progressives. I know you feel me.

We see them as “Look at how stupid I am!” moments (their Hitler socialist gotcha moment is actually a quote by Gregor Strasser, who was later killed by Hitler for saying such things, and more recently we have seen the fake Clinton-Gore Confederate flag pin), but they really think their trolling puts them points up on us, rather than functioning as persuasive arguments for contraception.

I don’t want to say conservatives are uninformed, but they are, and so it must be said. Certainly there are some who pay attention – we don’t dare paint them with too broad a brush – but I wish those conservatives would show up and say something to the others who are making them all look bad.

One thing seems clear: if you are a conservative, you don’t correct other conservatives unless votes are at stake, and even then you just use one lie to dispel another. What you do do is just keep repeating the stupid endlessly till it shows up as memes on Twitter.

Like all those old emails conservatives used to pass around before the advent of social media.

And it’s not like facts aren’t out there. They are. They’re increasingly accessible, in fact. But the more easily facts can be had, the less interested in them conservatives seem to be. You have to try really hard to remain ignorant in today’s world.

But conservatives prove it can be done.

Tweets like those below reveal a lot about our ideological rivals, much more, in fact, than they do about the ideas or people they are criticizing. Fox News certainly gets a lion’s share of the blame, but even allegedly left-wing media outlets like The New York Times and CNN are not immune.

They reveal also that conservatives do not know what socialism is. This is not surprising, given they get their information from Fox News, but it is embarrassing to see so many ignorant Americans advertising that ignorance to the world.

But the left doesn’t love slavery. It just seems to be assumed that this is true. Nor does socialism equate with slavery. it is just assumed that it does.

Probably Americans in general don’t fully understand socialism, but this is particularly true of the political right. We have so many things in this country thanks to socialism, things conservatives use and love. But then, these are the save people who can wave Confederate flags at our first black president and still love his healthcare.

We have to understand the differences between stupid and ignorant. But while they are not the same thing, that does not mean that the same person cannot also be stupid and ignorant. The problem is, of course, that if you are stupid, you are too stupid to realize you are stupid.

Their wild-eyed insistence that these failings somehow apply to us on the left is almost charming, and would be, if it was not threatening to destroy our country.

Somebody has to be the adults, and that weight, alas, falls to us. So let’s shoulder the burden, keep the snickering to a minimum, and despite being buffeted with stupidity and ignorance (I haven’t even mentioned all the hate) and get on with the business of making this a better world for us all.

Even the ones too stupid and ignorant to realize we are helping them. Even Si Robertson.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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