Since Christmas is approaching, I thought this topic would be appropiate (X-mas)
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29-11-2012, 02:48 PM
Since Christmas is approaching, I thought this topic would be appropiate (X-mas)
Last year, I got into an argument with a Christian over the meaning of the word "X-mas".

You've all heard it, "IT'S TAKING CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS!"

I told them about an elusive thing called "history".

Feel free to use this this Christmas if it comes up:

Tell them that "X-mas" is an actual extolling of Christ, and not "taking Christ out of Christmas".

Χριστός is the Greek word for Christ. As it usually happens, people become lazy. The Greek are no different. After awhile, he -ριστός was dropped from the Greek word, and the letter chi soon became synonymous with "Christ".

"X-mas" became a stylization for Christmas because people wanted to focus on the *real* reason for the holiday (Christ obviously). So, they used the Greek symbol for Christ, thus creating "X-mas".

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29-11-2012, 03:14 PM
RE: Since Christmas is approaching, I thought this topic would be appropiate (X-mas)
I thought it stood for an asshole, but have it your way with your etymology and whatnot. Drinking Beverage

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29-11-2012, 03:33 PM
RE: Since Christmas is approaching, I thought this topic would be appropiate (X-mas)
I'm not sure I really buy this rationalization. Not in today's world.

Yeah, sure, Chi and all that. Maybe ancient Greeks (or even modern Greeks) really did come up with the idea that using the first letter of their spelling of Christ was good enough. That would be equivalent to writing "C-mas" in English, since that's our first letter for his name. Nobody does that, now do we?

Even given the possibility that Greeks did or do that in their language, I don't think saying "well, today we use the X because it's the Greek Chi which stands for Christ" is anything but a really lame rationalization. I don't use it that way. I bet not 1 person in a thousand in the English speaking Christian-infested world uses it that way or even consciously thinks that when they see it or write it that way.

So yeah, maybe it's some distant lost Greek origin. That's nice.

But what's really happening is people are using X-mas either because they're lazy, which is understandable, or because they're trying to be secular and actually are taking Christ out of X-mas for whatever secular or PC reason. Those people probably (I obviously don't have actual statistics) outnumber the people who are using Chi as a one-letter representation of Christ. Probably outnumber them by a whole lot.

I could be wrong.

I know that's how I've used it. I know I've had work discussions about using X-mas instead of Christmas for exactly that reason (we "value diversity" here so we don't want to offend our non-Christian employees by using religious terminology). I know that whenever I see X-mas I assume they're taking Christ out of the word to be secular or PC. I have never (knowingly) met even one person who has deliberately used X-mas because the X is Chi which stands for Christ. Not once.

So while I don't care even one whit about what we call it or how we write it (I've been an atheist my whole life and raised atheist kids and we always called it Christmas even though we didn't inject Christ into our decorations or celebrations), I can't very easily swallow that we're all just writing X-mas because of the ancient Greek origins.

In this case, I agree with the people who say this spelling takes Christ out of Christmas - I just don't agree that anyone should care.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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29-11-2012, 03:39 PM
RE: Since Christmas is approaching, I thought this topic would be appropiate (X-mas)
You mean that's not the X-Men's anniversary? Huh

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29-11-2012, 04:28 PM
RE: Since Christmas is approaching, I thought this topic would be appropiate (X-mas)
(29-11-2012 02:48 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Last year, I got into an argument with a Christian over the meaning of the word "X-mas".

You've all heard it, "IT'S TAKING CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS!"

I told them about an elusive thing called "history".

Feel free to use this this Christmas if it comes up:

Tell them that "X-mas" is an actual extolling of Christ, and not "taking Christ out of Christmas".

Χριστός is the Greek word for Christ. As it usually happens, people become lazy. The Greek are no different. After awhile, he -ριστός was dropped from the Greek word, and the letter chi soon became synonymous with "Christ".

"X-mas" became a stylization for Christmas because people wanted to focus on the *real* reason for the holiday (Christ obviously). So, they used the Greek symbol for Christ, thus creating "X-mas".
I believe you are right. Growing up, I always thought the X was a representation of a cross so I was never bothered by it. But later I heard the same explanation you just gave and was surprised. But it makes more sense.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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29-11-2012, 04:33 PM
RE: Since Christmas is approaching, I thought this topic would be appropiate (X-mas)
(29-11-2012 03:33 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  I'm not sure I really buy this rationalization. Not in today's world.

Yeah, sure, Chi and all that. Maybe ancient Greeks (or even modern Greeks) really did come up with the idea that using the first letter of their spelling of Christ was good enough. That would be equivalent to writing "C-mas" in English, since that's our first letter for his name. Nobody does that, now do we?

Even given the possibility that Greeks did or do that in their language, I don't think saying "well, today we use the X because it's the Greek Chi which stands for Christ" is anything but a really lame rationalization. I don't use it that way. I bet not 1 person in a thousand in the English speaking Christian-infested world uses it that way or even consciously thinks that when they see it or write it that way.

So yeah, maybe it's some distant lost Greek origin. That's nice.

But what's really happening is people are using X-mas either because they're lazy, which is understandable, or because they're trying to be secular and actually are taking Christ out of X-mas for whatever secular or PC reason. Those people probably (I obviously don't have actual statistics) outnumber the people who are using Chi as a one-letter representation of Christ. Probably outnumber them by a whole lot.

I could be wrong.

I know that's how I've used it. I know I've had work discussions about using X-mas instead of Christmas for exactly that reason (we "value diversity" here so we don't want to offend our non-Christian employees by using religious terminology). I know that whenever I see X-mas I assume they're taking Christ out of the word to be secular or PC. I have never (knowingly) met even one person who has deliberately used X-mas because the X is Chi which stands for Christ. Not once.

So while I don't care even one whit about what we call it or how we write it (I've been an atheist my whole life and raised atheist kids and we always called it Christmas even though we didn't inject Christ into our decorations or celebrations), I can't very easily swallow that we're all just writing X-mas because of the ancient Greek origins.

In this case, I agree with the people who say this spelling takes Christ out of Christmas - I just don't agree that anyone should care.
How many idioms do we utter without really knowing why they came to have their meanings? We say them because they have become part of every day speech. Still, they did have an origin. I think KC's explanation of X-mas is like that. Just because people don't understand why we say or write it doesn't change the fact that it includes, not excludes Christ.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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29-11-2012, 07:47 PM
RE: Since Christmas is approaching, I thought this topic would be appropiate (X-mas)
Huh, odd. I now realize that I assumed it was even lazier and simply meant "something"-mas. When I saw it the first time I had already been exposed to numerous other uses of "X" as a placeholder. Examples: LAX, xfer, xmit. It never occurred to me it actually stood for something in a sense like an acronym.

Also, I see what you did there, x-tolling and such. Wink

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29-11-2012, 08:28 PM
RE: Since Christmas is approaching, I thought this topic would be appropiate (X-mas)
I just say, |STOP TAKING THE SATURNALIA OUT OF SATURNALIA" and run away in my diaper screaming about Mithra and how Doc created multiple dimensions.

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